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50

Manhole: Episode 2

I never imagined it would be so much fun to watch a giant man-child get sent back in time to experience high school again, but ermahgawd, it’s so much fun! I could watch poor, hapless Bong Pil flounce around all day long. I’m sure there are other things I’m supposed to be paying attention to, like the plot and directing and character development, but honestly, I just want more foot stomping, head shaking, and precious looks of confusion.


 
Episode 2: “Oh, the horrible life. One more time?”

In 2017, Soo-jin searches for the vanished Bong Pil, calling his phone and fuming that he chucked her wedding invitation before bolting. When he doesn’t pick up, she calls juice-truck owner Jin-sook, who is back with their group of friends getting adorably drunk. Soo-jin asks if Pil came back there, but Jin-sook slurs that Pil never returned after leaving with her.

By herself, Soo-jin scoffs that Pil is always unpredictable and stomps her way home, raging at the skies that this is why she and Pil just can’t get along. Methinks the lady doth protest too much.

Returning home, Soo-jin gets a text from her fiancé, Jae-hyun, apologizing for punching Pil earlier. Soo-jin looks less than happy at the message, and instead starts firing off a bunch of texts to Pil, demanding that he answer her. She gets angrier and angrier, until finally she texts him, “Have a good life, Idiot.”

Unbeknownst to Soo-jin, the magical manhole has been playing goalie to all her messages, and we see them literally bounce off the cover. Looks like there isn’t much reception while time traveling.

The next morning, Pil’s mom and dad happily dig into breakfast, cheerfully determined to live their lives without worrying about their good-for-nothing son.

Across town, Pil’s friends are having a rough start to the day, with all of them finding something missing in their normal routines. Then, simultaneously, they all come to the same conclusion: Bong Pil is missing.

This jumps us back ten years ago to where we left off, with 2017 Pil calling his high school German teacher “Gestapo” (the name of the Nazi police enforcers).

Pil is understandably completely confused and keeps asking everyone why they’re all here, pointing to his friends who – as far as he knows – already graduated. The teacher waves his baton threateningly and instructs Pil to recite grammar rules before he receives a beating.

Poor Pil is still trying to convince himself that this is a dream and has a minor meltdown, yelling, “If I didn’t know this ten years ago, how could I know it now?!” The entire class stares at him like the crazy person he seems to be, and Gestapo hollers at him to turn around. The next thing we hear is Pil getting smacked by the dreaded baton. Ouch.

After class, neighborhood hyung Gu-gil tends to Pil’s battle wounds while Dal-soo serenely serenades them nearby. Still trying to figure out what’s going on, Pil asks his friends why they’re back in school when they already graduated. They, of course, think he’s lost it and start checking to see if Gestapo hit Pil on the head. Pfft.

Pil takes refuge in a tree and contemplates his old-school 2G flip phone, finally believing that he might have traveled back in time exactly ten years. Just as he’s coming to grips with the truth, Jin-sook bounds up, smacking his injured butt as she demands a head scratch.

While obliging her, Pil desperately asks if she believes in time travel. He jumps down to lean in close and asks, “What if I tell you that I’m from the future?”

Undaunted, Jin-sook asks quite matter-of-factly, “Then where are you in the present?” Pil stares, gobsmacked, and Jin-sook logically points out that if he really had come back from the future, then there should be two of him: his past self and future self. Heh, Pil looks like his brain just exploded.

At track practice, Pil’s coach finds him pouting on the sideline. Pil mumble-whines that he already quit track years ago, but his coach talks over him to advise that while Pil has amazing acceleration during the race, he has a terrible start. Pil morosely thinks that he’s right: He’s always had a bad start in life.

In the classroom, the high school Soo-jin happily takes pictures of all her classmates with a (then) fancy digital camera. Jin-sook asks where she got the camera, but Soo-jin fidgets, vaguely saying that she borrowed it from someone. Jin-sook wonders if it’s from that church boy, asking Soo-jin if she’s decided to date him yet.

Out on the track field, Pil gets down in starting position with the other boys. It’s all rather dramatic, but as soon as the pistol goes off, Pil jumps up… and trots over to the coach. Without preamble, he announces, “I’m quitting running,” and walks off. Pah!

Girlish screams draw Soo-jin and Jin-sook’s attention to the track field, where Coach has apparently rejected Pil’s resignation and is now forcing Pil to practice his start amidst a group of cheering high school fan girls. Jin-sook sneakily drops in the comment that Pil likes Soo-jin, but Soo-jin doesn’t believe her, arguing that Pil never said anything to her.

Jin-sook sagely suggests that it’s hard to confess to a friend, since it means that you might lose the friendship. Unfortunately, that goes right over Soo-jin’s head, and she instead thinks that Jin-sook likes Pil. Jin-sook does a heavy eye-roll and says that she doesn’t have any feelings for Pil, thinking of him the same way she would a desk: either comfortable or uncomfortable.

After track, Gu-gil and Dal-soo converse about how Pil doesn’t excel at anything, and instead always chooses to try impossible things. Their musings are cut short when Pil asks his friends if they’ve seen another version of him running around, “Not this me, but a different me.”

At their blank stares, he takes a chance and solemnly announces that he’s from the future. It’s cool for a moment, until they simultaneously call him a liar and walk off, leaving Pil talking to thin air.

Alone, Pil tries to replay the events from last night (that is, the 2017 last night), but the sudden tone of the class bell brings on a searing headache and a flash of déjà vu. Pil sees a vision of Soo-jin cowering in in a hallway and immediately tears off looking for her.

Sure enough, Soo-jin is returning from gym when one of the soccer nets she’s putting away snags on a giant mirror, and it starts falling towards her. Pil comes running up just as the mirror shatters on the floor, mere inches from where Soo-jin is crouched.

Stepping up, Pil slowly walks over to the whimpering Soo-jin and sweetly tells her everything will be all right. Soo-jin just stares back at him, still shaken, when a teacher’s voice rings out.

Pil remembers this very accident from ten years ago and recalls that he had told Soo-jin, “You go ahead. Everything will be fine.” He repeats the same thing to her now and gently pushes her behind a corner just as Gestapo waltzes in, baton swinging.

Pil immediately takes responsibility, claiming that he was practicing his running start and accidentally knocked the mirror over. Pil flinches to remember what happens next, and a split second later, Gestapo has him by the ear and is dragging him down the hallway.

As Pil is hauled away, Soo-jin pokes her head around the corner and gazes after him.

Gestapo and Coach have a literal tug of war with Pil’s ears, each mock-arguing that Pil can’t help running around and breaking things. Coach starts to say that Pil should run… but Pil interrupts to suggest, “Fifty laps.”

Gestapo instead assigns him one hundred laps, and Pil looks positively faint as he thinks that it used to only be fifty. He realizes that this means things can change the second time around, then stomps off to start running.

In class, Soo-jin stares out the window where Pil is running. Afterward, she makes her way down to the field and takes pictures of Pil running, quickly ducking out of site whenever he rounds the corner near her. As he runs, she quietly frets that he must be hot. (I’ll say…)

Soo-jin grins and admits that, looking at him now, Pil looks a little bit cool.

Unable to run anymore, Pil collapses on the field and tries once again to remember what happened last night after he left Soo-jin. Finally he remembers, “The manhole!”

With that, Pil jumps up and sprints out of the school while screaming about the manhole and looking absolutely nuts.

Pil races to the manhole and tries everything from attempting to rip off the cover, to praying for the manhole to let him back in. Regrettably, nothing works, as the mystical manhole doesn’t seem to be a two-way door. Pil collapses on top of it and yells to the sky that he doesn’t want to relive “this life that I couldn’t even get started.” Aww.

Soo-jin gets her pictures developed and hurriedly flips through them to find the shot of Pil running around the field. Grinning at it, Soo-jin labels the back of the picture, “The day when he ran around the field 100 times!”

Soo-jin put the picture in an envelope just as buddy Seok-tae arrives at the store to see her grinning at the photo. Soo-jin quickly drops the letter and hands Seok-tae the pictures she took of him, though he scowls to see that he’s sleeping in all of them.

Seok-tae follows her outside and watches as she puts Pil’s picture in the mail. He offers to carry her bag for her, but when she turns him down, he keeps on insisting before pretty much wrestling her bag away from her, growling slightly. Ok, that was a bit alarming.

After his failure with the manhole, Pil mopes his way back into town, but he immediately snaps to attention when he sees Seok-tae escorting Soo-jin.

Hah, Seok-tae looks positively terrified when Pil runs up to him, and he starts trying to lie that Soo-jin asked him to carry her bag (Soo-jin: “When did I do that?”). Pil glares at his friend and tells him to leave, claiming Soo-jin’s bag for himself.

When Seok-tae scampers off, Soo-jin grabs her bag back, saying it’s uncomfortable if he holds it. She uses Jin-sook’s line from before and calls Pil an uncomfortable desk, but Pil adorably thinks that he would be happy to be her desk, then when she lays her head down on it to nap… Eeee! Oh my goodness, that lip bite. I can’t, he’s too cute!

Pil abruptly gets an idea and grabs Soo-jin’s arm. He shouts that she had to go somewhere with him and drags the confused girl all the way back to the manhole. She furiously throws off his arm, but Pil grabs her again and desperately asks if she’s actually from ten years into the future.

Soo-jin is equal parts pissed and alarmed as Pil tries to get her to remember what happened when they split apart last night. (Er, that is, last night ten years from now. Or ten years from then? Time travel is difficult on grammar.)

She is understandably confused, and his frantic animation freaks her out. Giving Pil a solid kick to the shins, Soo-jin runs off, and Pil has to admit to himself that she must really be the past Soo-jin.

Still holding the pink backpack, Pil catches up to Soo-jin. He starts reciting things that will happen in the future and warns her against things like riding scooters and dating pharmacists. (Hah!)

The pair run into Jin-sook, and she quickly pulls Pil to the side to warn him that Soo-jin is going on a date that night with a guy from church who has a reputation for kissing a bunch of girls. Pil realizes that she’s talking about the guy who — in his timeline — will give Soo-jin her first kiss.

Soo-jin has been inching closer this whole time, but when Jin-sook pushes her off, she huffs that the two of them should have fun together and walks off with her bag. Pil moves to follow, but Jin-sook pulls him back, asking what he’s going to do to stop Soo-jin from seeing Church Boy.

Pil mutters that a kiss doesn’t really matter much, and starts a mini-rant that only yesterday, Soo-jin was going into multi-purpose rooms with a pharmacist. Boy just cannot let that one go.

Flailing and stomping, Pil is on his way home when he gets scared by Jung-ae, who pops out from behind a bush. He grimaces at her heavy makeup and wonders if she was always like this. Sighing that no matter what she does to her face, her husband won’t change, Pil walks away, muttering about having to see her again in the past.

Jung-ae runs after him and literally jumps on him as she asks for a favor. She pours on the aeygo, which only makes Pil uncomfortable, and spurs another déjà vu headache. Next thing we see, Pil and Jung-ae are at a fast food joint with Dal-soo, Gu-gil, and Seok-tae.

It looks like Jung-ae’s favor was for Pil to call out Dal-soo so that she could buy him lunch, but instead, he called the whole gang. Suddenly shy, Jung-ae pulls a pink letter from her pocket, and Pil sighs internally, watching the scene replay from his memory.

Jung-ae slides the letter across the table to Dal-soo, but Gu-gil makes a grab for it. Annoyed at everything, Pil grabs the envelope and puts it back in front of Dal-soo, snapping that it’s a love letter.

Dal-soo stares happily at the letter, and Jung-ae grins embarrassedly. She whispers at him not to show anyone, then takes off, giggling. She barely gets five steps before Pil, knowing what happens next, calls out that the floor is wet. But it’s too late—Jung-ae still slips, landing hard on her butt.

Jung-ae tries to muster her remaining pride and limp out quickly, except Pil yells for her to watch for the door… and then she runs face first into a sliding glass door. Everyone else looks shocked, but Pil just shakes his head, having seen it all before.

At the table, Gu-gil pouts about Dal-soo getting a love letter from Jung-ae. Pil cuts in to beg him to please forget about her, but Gu-gil swears to never give her up. It’s too much for Pil, and he wails that he needs a drink.

Cut to the pool hall, where the three friends watch in astonishment as the now-inebriated Pil works his way through his fourth bottle of soju. Just then, a group of on-leave soldiers come into the pool hall and tut to see the high school-aged Pil drinking.

Three sheets to the wind, Pil drunkenly yells back at the men that he’s turning thirty soon. The soldiers snigger at him, inflaming his pride and setting him off even more. Pil angrily starts towards the men, and Dal-soo and Gu-gil leap up to intercept.

Seok-tae, however, sprints away from the conflict and flees the pool hall. He’s in such a hurry that he trips into the path of an oncoming scooter, causing the driver and his packages to go flying. As it turns out, the driver (Woo Hyun) is actually Seok-tae’s father and the neighborhood postman.

Seok-tae’s father isn’t exactly lovingly supportive, and his old tattoos show us that he used to be a gangster. Seok-tae tells his dad that Pil has always looked down on him ever since elementary school because Pil’s father is the postmaster, while his is just a postman.

This drives Seok-tae’s father nuts, and he snarls that his son must take revenge, instructing that the best revenge is stealing what the other person treasures most: “Then you can destroy him completely.”

The words remind Seok-tae of the letter that Soo-jin sent to Pil, and he asks his father for help. Soon after, we see the two of them holding letters over an open fire and laughing.

At home, Soo-jin giggles over her pictures of Pil, thinking back to how he saved her that day when the mirror fell. She tries to slap herself out of it, but it’s no use, since she immediately starts grinning again.

Soo-jin gets a text from an unknown number that just has the quote, “Faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Soo-jin texts back to ask who it is, then sends a quick message to Pil, asking what he’s doing. She also thanks him for helping her out today.

Unfortunately, Pil is a little busy at the moment, as he’s trying to take on the four soldiers by himself with Gu-gil and Dal-soo struggling to tug their friend away. Soo-jin keeps texting him, mentioning that she has somewhere to go, but won’t leave if he’s free to meet her. All the while, Pil and his friends dart around the pool hall, fighting with the soldiers.

Soo-jin texts that she’ll wait for him and offers to buy him dinner to make up for his one hundred laps, but as the time ticks by and there’s no answer, her texts turn angry. Just like ten years from now, Soo-jin sends a stream of angry messages that go unheard, finally culminating in a, “Get lost!”

In the pool hall, the fight has ended with the arrival of Gu-gil’s father (who owns the pool hall). Post-fight, Pil lies drunk and semi-conscious on a pool table, his parents standing over him. Gu-gil’s dad, who’s pretty drunk himself, yells at them for not raising their son right. Pil’s dad gives a weak answer that they did the best they could, but it didn’t work out.

All the yelling rouses Pil enough for him to mumble out that Gu-gil’s father should stop drinking, since he dies in 2014. Everyone looks confusedly at Pil, but Dad takes the opportunity to punch his son in the stomach. Well, that’s one way to sober up.

The punch knocks Pil into a kind of nightmare where he imagines he’s at Soo-jin and Jae-hyun’s wedding, but no one can hear his fervent cries of, “Objection! OBJECTION!!”

Pil returns to consciousness when his parents shove him into the bathroom via plunger and broom. Dad brings up their missing digital camera, and Pil remembers that he had given the camera to Soo-jin. Before he can defend himself, both declare that they’re wasting their time and should just worry about their own lives. Harsh.

After a shower, Pil wonders if he should just devote himself to this new chance at life and actually get things right this time around. He imagines a future where he becomes a successful doctor and happily marries Soo-jin. Emboldened, Pil figures that he already knows everything that happens in this life, so he can fix his own history.

Pil goes up to his room to study with renewed vigor, already eagerly anticipating Soo-jin’s reactions to his amazing grades. Sadly, he doesn’t know the answers to his math homework, and his passion to start anew fades in the face of algebra.

Instead, his mind drifts to Jin-sook telling him that Soo-jin is going on a date with the church playboy that night, and he decides that his new history will instead begin with saving Soo-jin’s first kiss.

Pil runs to the church but has another déjà vu along the way, remembering that in the past, this confrontation resulted in him getting his butt kicked (and we see it, punch for bloody punch). He takes a quick detour and recruits his friends to come with him.

In the church, Gu-gil, Dal-soo, and Seok-tae fret over whether they’re going to hell for sitting in church when they’re planning to beat someone up. Pil is oblivious to everyone and glares daggers at Church Boy, who’s sitting with his arm around Soo-jin.

Seok-tae tries to tell Pil that the guy is the best fighter in his school, but Pil psyches himself up that the guy is still just a high schooler, while he’s an adult. Heh, his glowering draws the boy’s attention, and he looks over to see Pil drawing his finger across his throat at him.

Outside the church, Pil saunters up to the boy, greeting him like an old enemy and saying the time has come for revenge. Church Boy, of course, has no idea who he is or any memory of fighting him, but he still meets Pil threat for threat.

Soo-jin runs up and tries to get Pil to back down, but Pil snaps back that she has terrible taste in men, adding that this guy will end up dumping her in six months. Church Boy takes offense, and the two of them physically bump chests as he tells Soo-jin that he’ll have to cancel their plans tonight — something just came up.

Pil preempts the guy’s suggestion to go somewhere else to fight, knowing that he’ll suggest a park behind the church. He heads off towards it, thanking the manhole for giving him a chance at revenge.

In the park, Pil runs around, flipping over trash and looking for something while everyone stares at him. Jung-ae and Jin-sook also arrive to watch, though Jung-ae is more intent on Pil getting his butt kicked, while Jin-sook wants to stop the fight. Dal-soo pulls her back, saying, “Realization always comes after suffering.” Pwahaha. Some back up.

Pil finally finds what he’s looking for under a piece of cardboard: a drainage grate. The fight commences, and Pil immediately starts getting his butt kicked. It’s pretty clear that Church Boy is a very skilled fighter, and Pil’s friends weakly cheer as his face becomes a punching bag.

Elsewhere, a father watches a Cinderella cartoon with his young daughter and tells her that the magic only lasts until midnight, then everything goes back to normal.

Back at the playground, things aren’t looking good for Pil as he’s knocked down again, the fight playing out exactly as it did the first time. As he’s bashed down once more, a small chyron appears on the corner of the screen to count down: Two minutes until midnight.

Pil gets up and takes a wild swing at Church Boy, forcing him to step back. As he does, the guy’s foot get caught in a drainage grate — the same grate that Pil had uncovered before the fight. Both boys freeze and a narrator chimes in to tell us that this is the same grate that Pil had gotten his foot stuck in ten years ago, costing him the fight. Ahh, clever boy.

As Church Boy struggles to regain his balance with his stuck foot, Pil looms in with a punch, and the tide turns. Pil delivers hit after hit and finishes with an uppercut of his own, knocking Church Boy flat.

The friends cheer, but Soo-jin jumps in to whack Pil. She yells that if he would have answered her texts, none of this would have happened. Pil has no clue what she means, but Soo-jin tells him to forget it and runs away.

Before Pil can follow, Church Boy struggles to his feet, grabs a stick of wood, and takes a swing at Pil. Our hero dodges, and the bat heads straight for Jung-ae.

Gu-gil immediately jumps in front of Jung-ae, blocking her and taking the hit himself. Standing shocked in his arms, Jung-ae swoons up at Gu-gil while Dal-soo watches. Uh-oh.

Pil races after Soo-jin, but just as he catches up and grabs her wrist, a bell tolls and a voice announces that it is midnight. Time freezes, and Pil’s future self is magically pushed out of his body. He gapes at the image of himself and Soo-jin, but a bright light transports him back into the supernatural manhole waterslide.

As Pil slides, we return to the manhole cover, except this time, there’s a bunch of litter and trash surrounding the area. The lid unexpectedly bursts off, and Pil slowly emerges from the hole… as a gangster?

Complete with the requisite gangster bling and a giant tattoo, Pil the Gangster climbs out of the hole. As Pil gazes around, a radio playing from the boom box of a passing homeless guy announces increasing gang related crimes in the town.

Pil wanders up to a broken mirror and gapes at himself. He stares at his sleazy outfit and tattoo and asks his reflection in disbelief, “This is me?”

A chyron announces that it is currently noon in 2017, six days before Soo-jin’s wedding.

 
COMMENTS

Hah! He’s a gangster! He wins one fight and suddenly he’s the neighborhood Godfather. Now that’s what I call a butterfly effect! It fits though, because Pil’s life so far has been a kind of blank canvas — he’s never truly started with anything, so he never really became anything. I loved that hidden metaphor his track coach dropped in about life being a series of starts and finishes, and without a solid start, it doesn’t matter how fast you accelerate. The fact that his winning just one fight changed his whole future makes me think that he was just waiting to find one something to try for.

It appears that Pil does have a lot of hidden potential, but without a direction, he never applied it and simply settled for being an adorable goof, bumming his way through life. After watching the way his parents treat him, it’s pretty clear that his parents gave up on him from an early age. I’m not saying they’re bad parents, since we’ve barely scratched their backstory, but so far they’re showing a disturbing kind of apathy towards their son, only caring when his actions directly affect them. It’s amusing to watch, but a bit unsettling if you think of how their actions shaped their son. A cornerstone of a child’s development is the motivation they receive from their guardians, and if Pil grew up with parents that didn’t care to push or inspire him, it’s no wonder he’s lacking in drive.

I am really curious to learn how the relationship between Soo-jin and Pil got so tangled, especially since it looks like they were heading toward each other even in high school. If Pil was that kind to her, and Soo-jin had already developed feelings for him, I have no idea how they didn’t end up together. I appreciate that Seok-tae may have thrown a wrench in their story given that he probably stole all their letters for two decades, but that by itself couldn’t have been enough to ruin their relationship completely.

I’m absolutely loving Pil’s character, and Jaejoong is doing an amazing job of completely throwing himself into the role. The constant flouncing and wailing is entertaining, but there are some warmer moments that just melted my heart, like Pil comforting Soo-jin when the mirror fell. His whole demeanor softened, and for once he lost the flippant attitude and focused completely on her. I can already tell that he cares so much, but has no idea how woo his lady love. Thank goodness for aliens and their mystical manholes giving him another chance. Crossing my fingers that Pil can find a way to fix his own start on life, and stop a wedding before it’s too late.

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I'm really loving this drama's colors. Too sweet ? Loved the high school scenes and looking forward to more manhole travels which makes for a good laugh at Jaejoong. I just wish Pil will tone it down a bit. He's too whiny.

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Gangster Pil is what makes me sticking into this drama. It was fun to watch how one event changes his future. I'm looking forward to more of different Pil in the next episodes!

Anyway, anyone notice how comfortable Jin Sook was around Pil? I loved when she put her head on Pil's hand for a head scratch when Pil was on the tree. I know this is a journey of Pil becoming a worthy person to marry Soo Jin, but I can't help with my ship.

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you're not alone ?
i'm happy when jin sook with bong phil ???

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I kinda wish Jin Sook's lying to Soo Jin when she said she doesn't like Bong Pil as he's just considered as desk.

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I noticed she stole his ice cream straight from his mouth! Seriously thought she have feelings for him...

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Oh man, the second lead syndrome is bad over here on my doomed Jin Sook/ Pil Ship.

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Pil and Jin Sook are the only characters i'm interested in. I like this pretty clean and close relationship of both. What kind of friend Jin Soo is? drives my curiosity.

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Okay, this episode is a lot better. I got used to Pil's hyperactive personality (Jaejoong is doing A LOT with this character), we also get more info on how Soo-jin is. I still don't root for him, though, because the more I watch, the more I see that it was Pil's idiotic decisions and missed opportunities that separated them (Soo-jin seemed pretty into him in the past, so what exactly was he doing for 10 years?).

BUT! The butterfly effect - I absolutely love it. Pil emerging from the manhole as a gangster because of that one fight was pure gold. This got my attention (and a lot of laughs), so I'm willing to stay for another week. Manhole, fighting!

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Unlike many people I instantly liked Manhole. I like shows where a lot of characters are introduced in the beginning as part of a community like JI. However, I liked the first episode better than the second. I thought the first one was better when it comes to humor but the second episode lacked the wackiness of the first even if it was narratively stronger.

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Same! I instantly liked manhole and I rarely instantly like Kdramas lol. I really like how JJ is immersing himself in his role, and to me, he's not over-acting. Everytime I see his face I wanna laugh, and his antics have been funny so far. UEE I'm still okay on, though i like how calm her character is and how patient she is with Pil. I really like Jin Sook, she seems tough and like a genuine good friend of both leads. I'm not really sold on Seok Tae and the rest of their friends yet, they all seem like caricatures for now, though i much preferred their student versions. ST always struck me as kinda shady and i'm not surprised he used to (still does?) hold a touch for Soo Jin. I was abit less engaged with ep 2 as well, thought it had less funny moments and im generally not into high school narratives. Though the scenes provided a necessary backstory.

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Ok. Episode 2 is much better. So, there's the Cinderella's rule here where Bong Pil will return to his own timeline once the clock strikes midnight. I laughed so hard when he returned to present day and turns into a gangster, armed with that pompadour hairstyle, gold chain and massive snake tattoo and the music really drummed up the scene a lot. This trigger my interest - where it seems every little changes that he make in the past will lead to somewhat drastic changes in his present timeline which made me even curious to see to what extend.
On a lower note, I don't like UEE's acting especially that scene when she discovered that she has destructive touch and broke the giant mirror. Her cries looked so forced and unnatural - she made the sound but no tears and the expression was really fake.

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Yes, this ep was better than the first one. Really.

Except for the parts I slept thru and the part I missed at the end because I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Really. But not because of the show.

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I'm not sold on Uee's acting either. The rest of the cast seems so natural then when I look at her it feels forced. She reminds me of the prosecutor from Duel in that their facial expressions don't match any of the scenes. And as a result they have a the same "face" in every single shot

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Yup i was alright with UEE until the broken mirror scene where she was scared/crying. Took me right out of the scene. Looked too fake/unnatural.

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the female lead character doesn't interest me. and the second female lead character seems to gain more fan since 1st episode. well, this is new. if i would ever stick for the show, it's definitely to see how they develop JS character. and btw, the first male lead still annoying.

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I %100 agree with your short review in the end. He has a potential that gives hope to viewers for his character development. When he helped Jungae to confess and helped Soojin with mirror, I was sold lol. It saddens me that some people think Jaejoong is not good at acting because the character is over the top, but I think its how it has to be and he's doing great with other actors. I have more expectations for coming episodes, I can't wait!

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oh i'm sold ?
eventhough there are many silly things here ,,i just can't stand the bong phil character,,,
but i can't hate it,,,i love it,,,i laugh so hard for this entire two episodes ,,,
i'm happy that at least i give it a try
rom com is truly a medicine for drama slump and heartbreaking withdrawal syndrome ???
finally i move on ???

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Pil should give up sprinting and try longer distances. He gets enough practice running all over town.

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That's the theme of Operation Love. Your own legs are the best Transportation medium. And to make it real his father is a postmaster.

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Oh noes, Seok-tae, are you the Peter Pettigrew of this gang..?
Laughed a lot the whole ep. Poor Pil caught like a candy between two men, only it's his ears they were pulling ?
The fight scene was fun, at least we know he got brain.
And seriously, Pil, check your text message, duh!

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Hahaha! Peter Pettigrew of the gang is such perfect analogy!

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Gotta worry about the finances for this show, what with the low ratings... and it's gotta be tough doing PPL for 10-year-old cameras :)

Did they have Subway in Korea then? Can Subways time-travel? Is that how Korea gets Subway? Was Subway invented by little space aliens?

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THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN. It just kept being funny scene and scene and that’s good enough for me. As a result, i was in so much pain from laughing. I applaud the show for keeping the personalities of the characters the same in the present and the past. Can Jin Sook and Bong Pil please end up together ????

Favorite scene: When the girl gave the guy the love letter then proceeded to slip on the wet floor AND hit her face on the door

Gangsters in kdramas always have such colorful, fun looking shirts. (In falsify he had a red polka dot shirt!!)

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That one with the girl and her love latter is so funny lol so embarrassing and more funny is when all the guys (exp. Pil bcs he already know ) think she is practicing a circus lol.

All pil squads is so funny

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Enjoying the comedic hijinks

BUT

It really jarred with me that Pil took the blame for Soo Jin accidentally breaking that mirror. Why should he? Because he's a 'he' and she's the 'she' he's in love with, so that makes it a sweet gesture? The reinforcement of gender stereotypes in that scene made me both angry and sad.

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Does Jaejoong's flailing around and throwing tantrums (and to some extent his looks) remind anyone else of Seo In-Guk?! esp the tantrum throwing from Shopping King Louis?!

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Jaejoong flailing is so cute, especially after the 50-upped-to-100 laps. Have to admit 80% of the reason why am still watching is him...

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Oh god, you liked him so much that you compared him to Ziggie?? Woah! This comment would have made me give this show a try if I didn't know how bad the later reviews were! :P

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I'm really enjoying Manhole! Both episodes were exactly what I look for in a summer drama: light, fun, slightly kooky, showing promise of more crazy gags to come. Beautifully shot. And I wanted to watch the next episode immediately, which is always a good sign. So, I'm hooked!

I usually watch romantic shows and the chemistry between the main couple is what I need the most ... however, the majority of dramas like that get angsty and draggy in the second half. I'm hoping Manhole will be a nice breezy watch from start to finish.

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Thank you CandidClown for the recap and ohhhhh, I love your very insightful comments about Pil's "original" life has been like a blank canvas, and that he had all the potentials but lacked a direction, that's why he ended up never really started at/committed to anything. Isn't this also true for many of us in real life, though most of us would have achieved much more than Pil did at age 28, we would still have underdeveloped a lot of our potentials because we lack a strong drive/direction?

Your analysis of Pil's parents' lack of interest in him was so spot on as well. I, like most viewers simply found their disinterest funny because I did not see it from the perspective of a parent. But my mom who's watching the show with me was incredulous, "What has he (Pil) done that's so bad for his parents to give up on him at such young age?!" Haha, guess I shut off my brain while watching Manhole so I didn't realize non-abusive but uncaring parents can have serious negative influence on their children too.

The butterfly effect wherein a small change in the past can lead to a series of events that completely alters your present, is the MOST fascinating element of this show for me. I seriously can't wait can't wait can't wait for gangster Pil in ep.3 and alllll the other Pils that will appear in future episodes! Manhole may not be the show that has the best production value and it may not garner great ratings, but it's been a looooooooong time since I am this eager to see the next episode, and I've enjoyed quite a few shows recently!

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This drama have potentials, eps.2 is much better also the story maybe sound like that Japanese dorama but this one is more crazy lol and the butterfly effect is what I'm looking forward ever time pil messed up the past. Now he is in the results with messed up future lol wonder what time and what situation pil should go back to change the past...

Jaejoong characther here is so hopeless and crazy I hope next he will calm a bit and focused not just change his relationship with this girl but also with all his squad like how sok tae actually hate him so much to the point he's hiding sok jin weeding invitations and how his reaction knowing Jin-sook like him too also this love triangle between his other friends lol ... looking forward

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i have a problem with Uee in this drama...she is too unatractive here and Jaejoong is way too hot!!!

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This drama is so funny i love the cast and all the actor did a great job especialy Uee and jae joong i start to shop them

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MAn, Pil has the worst case of Oneitis ever. Basically still not over a woman for 10 plus years? Man, that's not healthy. But I think the writers will make the fiance a jerk and justify having Pil ending up with Soo-jin. Still Operation Love anyone?

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It's hilarious how a single (right) move can cause such a huge change in the future. I wonder who Pil is going to be next, after his gangster shenanigans. While his whining can be annoying at times, a whining gangster can certainly create more laughs.

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We'll probably get new "characters" each week. Can't wait to see him as gangster Pil. (Though he kinda looks like an EXO boy group member promoting their latest single, Ko Ko Bop.)

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Are you kidding me?! This show is a mess. Pil's manic screaming, panicking, panting, running, repeat, makes up 80% episodes 1 & 2. It's giving me a headache. Ok, we get it, we get it. He doesn't want her to marry the guy but did we have to spend the entire episode 1 just drumming that message around? If I was Sujin, or any sane woman for that matter, why would I be attracted to an immature guy like that? Just because he has been crushing on her for 28 years means he deserves her? Has he done anything with his life? Ok, maybe that's what the premise of the show is about and hence he is getting a second shot at life to be a better version of himself that is deserving of her. At least that is what I am hoping for anyway. But tone down the manic-ness. Reacting less does not mean you care less.

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Pil the Gangster - is the funniest bit in this episode seriously. Thanks@candidclown for the recap, I love the analogy "He wins one fight and suddenly he’s the neighborhood Godfather. " that crack me up so bad!!!

They weren't kidding when they say that the miniscule change will have hilarious consequences.

Oh and glad to know I'm not the only one shipping Jin Sook and Pil judging by all the comments here :)

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Too much screaming, too much hysteria, too much mania. Just too much too much! I want to like this show but I feel like I needed a Tylenol for my headache after this hour. The premise is great but the execution is just too damned manic.

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This is giving me Quantum Leap vibes - with a twist!

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I'm really loving this surprising drama. Jaejoong's physical comedy is awesome and I can't help but think that the new muscles he gained in the military have helped this new level of athletic slapstick. He's a pure joy to watch...and that face...erma gawd! But poor Uee. Her frail frame is really painful to watch. It looks like her skeletal arms and legs will snap the next time Jaejoong grabs her. I don't know what happened in her life to cause such near-anorexia, but gosh. Maybe two failed relationships within one year did the poor girl in, although she was starting to look really thin in Marriage Contract. She's such a good actress, though, and I'm looking forward to her acting distracting me from every moment being bothered by her appearance.

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this really reminds me of proposal daisuken but at least there I was rooting for the leads..here, I'm rooting for Jin Sook more than Soo Jin..

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It's basically obvious to everyone how much Pil likes Soo-jin. Everyone is also telling Soo-jin how much Pil likes her. They seem to also have genuine affection for each other. So how could've things gone wrong, enough for Soo-jin to marry another guy? Is it just about Pil missing his chances and/or Soo-jin misunderstanding his actions? If yes, it's quite sad as they've been "frenemies" for 28 years. Or did something major happen to put a wedge between them? I'm curious to find out. Despite its faults, I'm very much enjoying this show.

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I'm in the wrong ship in this drama. I hope the writer or pd notices Jaejoong's chemistry with Jin Sook and pairs them up instead. I really don't "feel" UEE as the female lead. Jin Sook is more charming. UEE and Jaejoong doesn't make me flutter at all.

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Actually after watching the first episode, I could see why this drama didn't have a good rating. I felt a little bit uncomfortable cause acting felt a bit unconvincing and rushed, maybe it wasn't acting but it was definitely rushed! but the second episode got much better, plus story is fun, actually it's super fun, the effect that past can have on future is also fun, so I'm eagerly waiting for next episode! ^_^

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I'm just curious, but did anyone notice that the tunnel next to the manhole is the same one as the tunnel in Goblin?

Really makes me curious as to how film / drama locations are chosen.

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"Is this some kind of existential question?" :)

Somehow Pil seems saner in the past. His present behavior doesn't look as bad on him ten years ago. I'm kind of sorry he is back in the altered present so soon. I already like his loser self better.

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I'm getting strong ProDai vibes. I didn't like that drama at all and my memory of it sums up to a feeling similar to "Ugh" when I dropped it after episode 3 or so.
I'm going to try a few more recaps to decide if I'm interested enough in the plot/characters/actors to continue reading it though.

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so he didn't answer her texts and she gets all annoyed/pissed? ugh Soo Jin is annoying, I don't see why he even likes her -_- I'd rather Jin Sook was the main leading girl

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Anyone noticed the Dong Bang Shin Ki posters in Soo Jin's room? I can definitely spot Chang Min and Yunho there.

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