I felt the exact same way watching Please Come Back, Mister as I did while watching Yong Pal – disappointed. I was anxiously looking forward to the whole drama being out so I could begin what I thought was going to be a superb Kdrama but, sadly, I didn’t get what I was expecting. Oh, don’t get me wrong, it’s an okay show but definitely not the “awesome” I was anticipating.
Kim Young-Soo and Han Gi-Tak awake in an unfamiliar place, under a beautiful tree with golden leaves, next to a sign that reads “Purgatory.” A few steps away, another sign next to a train track shows arrows pointing to “Heaven” and “Hell”. Surprise! You’re dead. Young-Soo gets a flashback of falling off a building while Gi-Tak remembers being in a car accident. They each receive a ticket and once again meet, this time on a train bound for heaven. But Young-Soo refuses to just sit back and enjoy the ride. He’s not about to leave the family that needs him back on earth. So, he jumps off the train, with Gi-Tak right behind him. Since they are both so anxious to go back to their lives on earth, they are offered an “Application to Return” which they quickly sign. The next thing we see, they are back on earth, yes, but in totally different bodies – Kim Young-Soo is a young, statuesque man and Gi-Tak is now a woman, and a total knockout at that. They run into each other again, literally, in their new bodies and decide to help each other with their individual objective. But they’d better hurry because they’re only given two months to get everything settled before they have to return to the afterlife for good.
Kim Young-Soo, played by Kim In-Kwan and Rain, is a kind man who loves his family but finds taking care of their financial needs extremely stressful. It drives him to the point of becoming a workaholic and it’s his job that finally kills him.
Kim Su-Ro and Oh Yeon-Seo play Han Gi-Tak, a gangster turned chef. He has selflessly loved Song Yi-Yeon since he was a teenager, helping her however he could, even to the point of altering his entire life. He owns, and is the head chef of, a local restaurant. The men that used to work for him as gangsters now work as cooks in his restaurant.
Lee Min-Jung plays the character Shin Dae-Hye. She met and married Kim Young-Soo when they both worked at Sunjin department store. She is now an at-home mother, taking care of their young daughter, her sweet father-in-law, and their dog.
Famous actress Song Yi-Yeon is played by Lee Ha-Nui. Yi-Yeon loves Gi-Tak but liked the idea of fame and money a little more. She chose having a career and being married to a wealthy businessman, whom she later divorced, over being with her first love. She has a little boy and is going through an ugly custody battle with an ex-husband who doesn’t play fair.
Why, exactly, did I assume this drama was going to be fantastic? Because it stars Rain, that’s why! I mean, the last Kdrama he did was My Lovable Girl and his acting was absolutely flawless! I’m not saying he wasn’t good in this – he definitely outshines every other actor – but his character is just a little too…? I was going to say goofy but that’s not quite right. I think the problem is that he had to act like another actor’s character and that just lost too much “Rain” for me. Is he darling? Of course. That smile of his is a killer but I missed him having a more in depth character like the ones he’s played in previous Kdramas. There just wasn’t enough for him to sink his teeth into with this role.
The plot of Please Come Back, Mister is okay. The idea of coming back from the dead and being able to secretly help your loved ones is quite clever. However, the characters weren’t that engaging and the storyline was a bit lacking. I did however, enjoy the cute situations Kim Young-Soo and Han Gi-Tak were thrown into. I can’t, in all good conscience, call Please Come Back, Mister a comedy, but there are many things in it that made me smile or happily think, “Ah, geeze.” That being said, the show also has some tender moments that brought a lump to my throat. It’s a story about love and, when well written, that subject can often keep an audience fighting back tears.
How can Rain be in a Kdrama and not sing on the soundtrack? That’s so disappointing! There are lots of good songs, performed by several talented artists (Ailee, Topp Dogg, Lee Hyun, Son Hoyoung, and Noel, just to name a few) but I missed hearing Rain sing.
Showing a beautiful golden-colored tree amidst obviously autumn-like surroundings is, in my opinion, a wonderful way to describe purgatory – the space between earth life and heaven or hell. Since my favorite season is fall, I like to think that’s how the afterlife looks. The rest of the show has very nice scenery that blends well into the storyline – the huge department store, Gi-Tk’s house and cozy restaurant, Young-Soo’s lovely house, the spacious and expensive home of Song Yi-Yeon’s ex-father-in-law… nothing was a stretch or an exaggeration. Good going, location scouts.
Near the end of Please Come Back, Mister we learn a valuable lesson – Kim Young-Soo is complaining that he hasn’t yet finished what he wanted to accomplish. “This isn’t nearly enough time,” he tells the angel in charge of his return to earth. Her response is haunting but true, “It’s like that for everyone.” This Kdrama pleads for us all to live each moment to the fullest so we won’t have any regrets and feel an urgent need to jump off when we’re on that train heading toward heaven.
Just not as good as I was hoping it would be