I think KBS actually rolled out some pretty interesting 8 episodes or less mini dramas, while their usual 16 or 20 episodes dramas fared poorer in terms of writing. I’m glad Baek-hee has Returned is short and engaging with its story and solid acting. The story is nothing fancy, but it was full of comedic moments (and of course also heartwarming ones) and it made the 4 hours spent totally enjoyable.
Kang Ye Won plays the titular character, Yang Baek-hee, who for some reasons, returns to her hometown on a sleepy little village after 18 years of absence. She’s made a name for herself on some home shopping TV channels selling seafood pastes and stuff, and she’s even changed her name to erase a shameful past. Underneath that peaceful facade, she’s trapped in a loveless marriage and has a rebellious daughter Ok Hee (Jin Ji Hee) out of her control. It is hinted at that her husband also came from the same island, and seems to know of her past. Her husband Shin Ki Joon (Choi Phillip), although a doctor, owes a big debt due to his gambling habits, and that was the reason Baek-hee gave for returning to her hometown.
Come to think of it, escaping debtors was most likely the only reason Baek-hee returned to the sleepy island, although Show turned out to be more about Ok Hee and the Three Island Ahjusshis. As the story unfolds, we learn that Baek-hee dislikes Ok Hee for some reason, while all Ok Hee wanted was some love from her parents. Even though Baek-hee married Ki Joon only three years prior to the beginning of our story here, Ok Hee was ecstatic to finally have a father, but Ki Joon couldn’t care less about her. So when the Three Island Ahjusshis found out that Ok Hee is Baek-hee’s daughter, they’re clamouring to claim parentage, which is what Show is actually about.
Ok Hee finds that the Three Island Ahjusshis care for her more than her biological mother, and guessed that one of them must be her biological father. The three men too, have their own reasons for thinking they’re Ok Hee’s father. The first contender, Woo Bum Ryeong (Kim Sung Oh) was Baek-hee’s first love, and they even share the same tattoo on their index fingers. An unfortunate rumor tore the young lovers apart, and Bum Ryeong lost his chance of furthering his studies because of that. The second contender Cha Jung Myeung (Choi Dae Chul) is the richest guy on the island, and he used to have a crush on Baek-hee. He woke up one day finding himself totally naked, and all he remembered was Baek-hee was with him the night before (and thought she kissed him…or did she?). The last contender is Hong Doo Shik (In Gyo Jin), who also had a crush on Baek-hee, but in turn was being crushed on by Baek-hee’s friend.
It’s actually a simple story where the identity of Ok Hee’s father is an easy guess from the beginning, but the way the story pans out is interesting and often hilarious. We see that Ok Hee is without a doubt Baek-hee’s daughter, inheriting her temper and good fighting skills. Baek-hee tried very hard to shed her old personality, but it’s of no avail in front of all her old friends. Show is not just about Baek-hee, but also about Ok Hee. Both mother and daughter learnt to accept each other, and especially for Baek-hee, to embrace her past. Definitely recommend this for a short drama fix.