Come Back Ahjussi (also known as Please Come Back Mister) tells the story of two middle-aged men who die and then come back to earth and inhabit the bodies of a young man (Rain) and young woman (Oh Yeon Seo) in order to protect the ones they love.
Come Back Ahjussi had the terrible misfortune of airing directly opposite of the smash hit Descendants of the Sun for its entire run. Because of that, its ratings certainly suffered. But we all know that ratings don’t always give us the full picture. The drama really does have a lot going for it terms of story and actors. That being said, it’s a drama that didn’t completely click with me, especially at first.
I’ve had a difficult time pinpointing the exact reason I didn’t love it. Come Back Ahjussi definitely has a very interesting and unique story that was pretty well executed. I enjoyed that each of our guys had people they loved and needed to help when coming back to earth. So first, let’s meet some of our key players.
Han Gi Tak (Kim Soo Ro) has worked to come out from his gangster ways to become a law abiding restaurant owner. But his past complicates things, and when a scandal threatens the career of the woman he loves, he loses his life trying to protect her.
Kim Young Soo (Kim In Kwon) is a sweet, but over-worked family man. While he dearly loves his wife and daughter, work has become his priority in life, even over them. And the tragedy is that his work is what ends up killing him.
The star of the drama for me was Oh Yeon Seo as Han Gi Tak/Han Hong Nan. The moment she was cast, I knew she would be perfect for this role, and she definitely was! This girl is hilarious and went all in for portraying a man stuck in a woman’s body. Her mannerisms were a bit over-the-top, but very spot on. And she made some of the best faces I’ve seen! I really am impressed with her performance.
I was very excited to see Rain back on my screen as Kim Young Soo/Lee Hae Joon. I didn’t love his look in this drama, but he made up for it in his acting. I loved his humor, and his interactions with Oh Yeon Seo were priceless. His character was very emotional which was sometimes strange for me, but it had nothing to do with Rain. And I loved getting to see the interactions between him and his daughter. Adorable.
Honey Lee was great as Song Yi Yeon. As a once popular actress caught up in scandals, she constantly met with adversity from past enemies, managers, and a difficult ex-husband.
That ex-husband, Cha Jae Gook (Choi Won Young), becomes one of the primary villains in the drama causing trouble for all of our characters.
Yi Yeon is one of the primary reasons Han Gi Tak comes back to earth as Hong Nan. He is determined to protect her in a way that he couldn’t when he was alive. Although Gi Tak had deep feelings of love for Yi Yeon, the two develop a sort of sisterly relationship. But the relationship ran even deeper than that. Yi Yeon seemed to sense a special connection to Hong Nan and always seemed drawn to her. It was a touching relationship for sure.
I liked Lee Min Jung as Young Soo’s wife Da Hye. She’s a sweet, soft spoken woman who is faced with the tragic loss of her husband and having to care for her family. Things certainly become confusing for her when she gets involved with Lee Hae Joon.
Kim Young Soo returns to earth as Lee Hae Joon and makes it his mission to protect and provide security for Da Hye. These two had some very touching moments as Young Soo really gets to know his wife and as they sort of have a chance to rekindle their relationship.
But Kim Young Soo and Han Gi Tak were the true pair of the drama. These guys are thrown together by a twist of fate, but they end up being true friends as they work to accomplish their goals. There are no walls between these two, and that made for some hilarious interactions. One of my favorite scenes in the drama is below where his face results in her face 🙂
We also have the other men in our ladies’ lives. Sung Jae (Lee Tae Wan) becomes Yi Yeon’s bodyguard. He had a brotherly relationship with Gi Tak and ends up developing feelings for Hong Nan. It was an interesting scenario.
Ji Hoon (Yoon Park) was previously in a relationship with Da Hye and is ready to step in when Young Soo dies. There was certainly a lot of relationship confusion in this drama!
So let’s look at what didn’t quite come together for me. The main issue I had was that it felt like the drama took a while to get going. The first half had a slower pace that didn’t advance the story enough for my liking. I also think there was so much going on with so many key characters, that the drama really wasn’t sure where it wanted to go or what it should focus on.
During this time, despite enjoying the characters on a surface level, I wasn’t quite connected with them on a deep level. There was a whole lot of crying in this drama too. Now I’m fan of melodramas, so excessive crying doesn’t usually bother me. But it seemed a bit forced and out of place much of the time. All this together left things feeling a bit hollow.
But the drama seemed to really settle in around the halfway point, and my interest level really increased. There’s a sort of symbolic moment that happens when all of our characters finally come together and enjoy a meal together. This was when all the different threads really intertwined for me.
Our characters were finally clear on what they were trying to accomplish. We also got to see them interact with their loved ones on a deep level. At this point, I was much more engaged and finally able to relate to the characters and sympathize with their heartaches.
So the second half of the drama was much more focused and heartfelt. I enjoyed seeing our guys work to protect their loved ones and genuinely felt their struggles. There’s also a couple of twists that really impact where the story goes.
On a side note, there’s a little epilogue that plays at the end of most of the episodes that follows the story of the real Lee Hae Joon and his pilot who get stranded on a deserted island during this whole time period. These little snippets of story were one of the highlights of the drama for me. Rain and Lee Moon Shik were quite the pair and brought many laughs through their tribulations. Seriously, I want to see their story as a drama!
To sum things up, the main negative for Come Back Ahjussi was it’s slow start and lack of direction. But the story is interesting, the comedy is great, and the actors are wonderful. With so many pluses, I can see why people might enjoy it a lot more than I did and may feel completely different about the first half of the drama. I don’t regret watching it at all because I did get a good amount of enjoyment from it, and I’m pleased with the overall direction it went in the end.
My Rating: 7/10
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