For Park Dong Hoon, the neighborhood restobar is the safest place in Hugye, and he goes there whenever he wants to be alone, away from the observant eyes of the Hugye gang and Yoon Hee. Over the course of our story, it’s a place where he lets show his longing, smiles, worry, and even his tears.
It’s also the special spot where he invites Ji An to join him. From the time he takes Ji An there for a drink in Episode 6, to the time they have their bittersweet farewell in Episode 16, the restobar sees several important and increasingly-intimate scenes unfold between them.
As usual with other locations in this show, the restobar is packed with symbolism and things to discover. For one thing, there’s at least one male-female couple in almost every instance.
The chance encounter between Dong Hoon and Ji An to complete My Mister is magical, from the onset when Ji An hears the voice she had become so intimate with, to the camera as it follows her over the shoulder to reveal a reborn young woman, standing in the beautiful sunlight and finishing with a handshake that is anything but.
It’s wonderful that Ji An, the mentor, has seen her student Dong Hoon become so happy. BUT WAIT, you may be thinking, Dong Hoon is obviously the mentor here. Hear me out though as I make my case. I think the Writer, Park Hae Young is brilliantly flipping the obvious roles of mentor/mentee here in ways that on the surface appear one way but in actuality are reversed.
Auditioning for her comeback film in Episode 8, Yu Ra has to deliver lines that surprisingly portray Ji An’s situation: “It’s a terrible pity that I’m younger than you, [Department Head]. I want to bite off your arms and legs, curse at you, and quit. But I have a loan to pay off. So I’m going to love you starting today.”
Follow Dong Hoon and Ji An as they say goodbye and navigate new chapters in their lives, Dong Hoon in Seoul and Ji An in Busan. Why do they lose touch with each other, and what are they thinking when they reunite at the coffee shop?
Find out with The Road Back to You, a fanfic that covers conversations and events during the time skip (and beyond) as Dong Hoon and Ji An make their way back to each other.
As mentioned in Part 1, Do Joon Young and Ji An spend a lot of time together. For someone who says, “What man would eat and drink with a woman he doesn’t like?” he meets up with her quite often. He even has her over to his house a couple of times. If only the Managing Directors knew about that!
Tracing the progression of Do Joon Young’s relationship with Ji An, we see how and when things start to turn against him. At first he believes (understandably) that Ji An is working with him to fire Park Dong Hoon. Then as he attempts to use her to trap Dong Hoon further, he starts observing troubling things about her — she seems to have feelings for the loser engineer! Suspicion turns to confirmation, confirmation turns to fear as Ji An starts working against him, and finally what he thought was a win-win situation crumbles.
By the end, Do Joon Young is our disgusted shipper in the show, the one that drives Ji An more into Dong Hoon’s orbit and then names the love between them. He had tried to pair them off to create a scandal….but his plan comes back to bite him.
It’s a K drama trope to end episodes with cliffhangers, and My Mister used it with great effectiveness. For My Mister, not only were these ending scenes cliffhangers, but most of them were the highlights of those episodes as well. Looking at these final scenes per episode, we get a glimpse of how the show moved the narrative forward.
The first 4 episodes established how the fates of Dong Hoon and Ji An have become intertwined:
Do Joon Young is the slimy CEO we all love to hate, the cause of many of Park Dong Hoon’s problems and the one who doesn’t care if people get run over on his quest to maintain power.
There’s so much to say about him, but I want to focus on his relationship to Dong Hoon and his relationship with Lee Ji An. His interactions with these two demonstrate his character as well as one key role he plays, that of naming the love between Dong Hoon and Ji An.
Dong Hoon goes to the convenience store, buys cigarettes, and then throws them away on two different occasions.
The first time takes place in Episode 2 when he’s lost the bribe. He goes to the store, buys it all, throws it all away, and then the next thing he does is visit Yoon Hee in her office and tell her what’s happening.
Throughout the show we see close-ups of the other characters’ hands. But I noticed the show hardly ever shows Yu Ra and Ki Hoon’s hands — and I do think this is because the show wants us to listen carefully to what they’re actually saying.
One thing I noticed during a re-watch was how often PDnim focuses on hands. He portrays an emotion and tells a story just by having us look at a character’s hands, and through this he encourages us to keep paying attention.