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Manhole: Episode 4

Oh Time Travel, how you do confound. Pil has his hands full this week, trying to navigate a mystical manhole, prevent an upcoming catastrophe that only he knows about, and fix his previous mistakes while trying not to make any new ones. It’s a good thing Pil has a never-ending supply of energy, as this journey is anything but smooth sailing.


 
EPISODE 4: “Love hotly!”

After leaving behind his gangster self of 2017, Pil awakens to find himself not back in high school as he expected, but on a lovely sandy beach. Stumbling towards the ocean, Pil screams to the sky, “Where did you take me to, you darn manhole!” and a helpful passing chryon tells us that this is 2011.

Collapsing back on the lounge chair, Pil realizes that he does remember when and where he is. He also starts dry-heaving at the sand. Looks like his 2011-self partied a bit too hard the night before.

As Pil lies there just trying to maintain, a man waltzes up to his chair and starts digging into him for drinking too much. Apparently this is Pil’s ex-marine Uncle, whom Pil’s father had given instructions to “build [Pil] into a legitimate human.” Best of luck, friend.

After Uncle leaves, Pil laments that he can’t fix anything from here, since he was supposed to go back and lose the fight with Church Boy. He quickly forgets his trouble though, when a beautiful girl walks up to him, smiling and asking if “Oppa” is all right. She laughs that he couldn’t hold his alcohol from last night, but poor Pil can barely manage a twitch and just stares pathetically at The Pretty before passing out again.

Pil’s friends are on a road trip together, with everyone crammed into the car and happily singing along to music. Jin-sook snaps at them to be quiet so she can concentrate on driving, but the silence barely lasts a second before they’re back at it.

Between Dal-soo’s begging for air conditioning (because he’s overheated from Jung-ae clinging to him), Seok-tae’s whining about bumpy pot holes (because he’s sitting in the trunk, ha), and Gu-gil’s demands for a change in music, it’s all too much. Jin-sook gives an almighty bellow and yanks the car off the road.

At a rest stop, drill sergeant Jin-sook puts everyone in their place before dismissing them with instructions to eat, drink, and poop, then return in 20 minutes. They all scatter, no one hearing Seok-tae’s pitiful pleas to let him out of the trunk. Aww, they forgot about him in there.

Still stuck in a haze, Pil dreams of fire and jerks himself awake, just in time for his uncle to toss a bucket of water in his face. Heh. Sopping wet, Pil staggers around, suddenly remembering that there is going to be a bad fire that night.

Soo-jin manages to get a smile (albeit reluctantly) out of Jin-sook and wonders why Pil invited them all to the beach. Ah, so that’s where they’re going. Jin-sook scoffs that Pil invited them because Soo-jin would never have agreed to come alone, nodding to the group and calling them all “just bridesmaids.”

As the gang loads up into the car, who should pull up right in front of them but Church Boy and his friends. He looks very different from the studious guy we just saw in 2017, calling out to the group and smirking at Soo-jin who looks like she’s trapped in a nightmare.

Soo-jin spends the rest of the drive lost in bad memories while the group ineffectually tries to cheer her up with the suggestion that their three guys should go back and take on Church Boy and his two friends. That is, until Gu-gil points out that their third dude is Seok-tae, who’s more likely to cause damage than help in a fight. Everyone perks right back up however, when Jin-sook spots the ocean.

Pil is still trying to remember the events leading up to the fire that night and recalls that all his friends will arrive at the beach. He attempts to call them, but his phone is dead.

He snatches his uncle’s phone, but because Pil is used to current-day smart phones, he doesn’t have Soo-jin’s number memorized (Pil: “Who memorizes phone numbers these days!?”). Uncle yells at him to go charge his phone in the shack, but by the time it has enough battery to turn on, the gang has arrived.

Pil runs up shouting at them to leave, but Soo-jin just snaps his picture and Jin-sook tosses the car keys at him, leaving him to park the car while they all rush to the beach.

While Soo-jin takes everyone’s pictures on the beach, Pil tries to tell Jin-sook that there will be a big fire here tonight. He rants that though no one will get hurt, some guy saves Soo-jin’s life and they end up dating seriously for a while. (Pfft, figures that that’s the part he’s worried about.) Jin-sook of course has no idea what he’s talking about and yells that he must still be drunk.

Pil tries to explain further, but Uncle steps up with a squirt gun and starts shooting at his nephew like he’s an errant puppy. Uncle escorts Jin-sook away while Pil screams ineffectually that a fire really will break out.

As the group sets up camp on the beach, Church Boy and his friends wander past, deciding that they should camp nearby.

Determined to prevent the fire, Pil runs around hauling buckets of water over to the shack, ignoring the crazy looks from his friends. When Soo-jin asks what he’s doing, Pil gasps out that it’s for the fire, you know, just in case there happens to be one. Dal-soo just shakes his head and jokes that Pil is going crazy since Soo-jin is here.

Pil runs off for more water and doesn’t see Seok-tae march past him. Sweaty from the beach, Seok-tae upends one of the buckets on himself. Pil turns at the noise and shrieks to see Seok-tae empty another of his precious buckets. Losing his mind to see his water go to waste, Pil chases Seok-tae around the campsite while everyone laughs.

When things calm down, Dal-soo and Gu-gil have a literal sunscreen tug-of-war over who gets to apply it on Jung-ae, and Pil looks like he’s died and gone to heaven as Soo-jin gets up close and personal to apply sunscreen on his face.

As Soo-jin twitters concernedly that he’s getting too tan, Pil’s eyes can’t help but wander downwards until he’s legit gawking at her chest. She snaps at him to bring his eyes up top, but she doesn’t really seem upset.

Pil gives her the saddest puppy eyes and thinks to himself, “How are you getting married? What will I do without you?” Right next to the couple, Jin-sook watches them almost wistfully.

The sun lotion party is broken up by the arrival of Church Boy. Everyone jumps up to confront him and Pil immediately tugs Soo-jin behind him, promising that nothing will happen to her. She stares at him for a moment, remembering when he said the same thing the day she broke the mirror.

Pil puts on a strong front, swaggering as he reminds Church Boy that he beat him up before. Except, Church Boy looks confused at that and Pil’s friends shake their heads urgently.

Soo-jin jumps in to break them apart, but Pil continues to taunt the guy, saying that after he “beat him to a pulp,” Church Boy started studying for the civil service exam. It’s too far, and suddenly Church Boy’s fist is making contact with Pil’s face.

For a split second it looks like Pil will dodge it the same way he did in his gangster days. But it seems his fighting skills are no more, and Pil gets knocked flat on the sand.

As he lies dazed on the ground, Pil wonders how this happened. He passes out, and we suddenly cut over to a classroom full of elders who are learning about computers. The teacher explains the concept of a reset button: Everything goes back to the way it was in the beginning. Ahhh. That’s a twist.

Pil wakes up with his friends hovering over him, and he learns that his rewrite of the past never happened, and he actually lost the fight at the church. He starts writhing around to realize that whenever he goes back in time again, whatever happened in his previous time travel gets reset to the way it was originally.

Soo-jin heads straight over to Church Boy’s camp. Smiling at her ex, Soo-jin tells him that throughout her life, there have only been two times when she was embarrassed for confessing her feelings. She says the first time was to Pil, when she secretly sent him a picture she took of him running because she was too embarrassed to say how she felt out loud.

Church Boy cuts in to say that he knows the second time was when she confessed to him. However, Soo-jin corrects him that the second time was also to Pil. Pointing back towards the beach, she says that Pil just stood up for her, that he is always the one to stand up for her, taking the blame and promising that he will protect her.

So, Soo-jin continues, she confessed to him in her heart, but was embarrassed that she couldn’t say it out loud. Church Boy notes that she told him how she felt really easily, but Soo-jin argues that when you truly like someone, you’re terrified to say it because you’re scared that the other person’s love for you will cool.

Dropping her friendly tone, Soo-jin tells Church Boy that she heard he’s been asking around for her, wanting to date again. She guesses that their meeting at the beach isn’t a coincidence and firmly tells him that he hasn’t got a chance with her.

With a final warning not to touch Pil ever again, Soo-jin storms off like a boss, not seeing Jin-sook standing nearby, having overheard everything.

Soo-jin finds Pil in the shack and tells him to stop getting beat up. Pil, however, just pouts that yesterday he was such a cool badass, and now he can’t dodge a single punch.

Jin-sook heads back to the camp as well, just in time to stop the boys from launching a Braveheart-style revenge attack on Church Boy. Bit late, fellas.

The boys play on the beach while the girls watch, Soo-jin remarking that Pil has a lot of energy to already be running around after just getting knocked out. Jin-sook wryly comments that whoever ends up marrying him will never be bored.

The revelry gets interrupted by the arrival of the pretty girl who woke Pil up that morning. She happily joins in on the fun, though the guys look decidedly more excited about the addition than the ladies.

Elsewhere, Pil’s parents continue their lives on their own, blissfully content to leave their son in the care of his uncle.

In town, the Bong Bong Pub opens and the owners stand outside distribution flyers. Seok-tae’s postman father happens to drive by and comes to a screeching stop when he catches sight of one of the lovely owners.

At the beach, the boys have all flocked around the new girl as she tells them that she felt an instant connection to Pil, laying it on pretty thick. For his part, Pil looks pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing and desperately tries to change the subject when she asks if he has a girlfriend.

Not twenty feet away, the girls all glare at the boys, with Soo-jin looking like she wishes that the straw she’s chomping on were Pil’s neck. Jin-sook quips at Soo-jin to let the straw live, and Jung-ae growls that the new girl is dead if she turns her attentions on Dal-soo.

Pil jumps up, desperate for an out, and trots over to Soo-jin to announce that he has to go up to the lodge and collect the rented inner tubes. Soo-jin plays it off like she couldn’t care less, but scowls to to see the girl run after Pil.

Pil tries to collect the inner tubes and leave, but the girl is pretty much glued to his hip the whole time. Using a combination of guilt-tripping and aeygo, she manages to drag Pil up to her room. He gapes to see that her room is literally covered in racy underwear and bathing suits, and hurriedly collects the inner tubes so he can skedaddle.

Tenacious, the girl grabs on to one side of the tube and pulls Pil back, asking him to stay the night with her. It’s as he tugs on the tube that Pil remembers when this happened the first time. He flashes back to the image of Soo-jin and Jin-sook storming into the room and calling Pil trash.

Pil immediately lets go of the tube and the girl goes flying back onto her butt. She starts fake crying as Pil remembers that the last time this happened, the girls treated him like a pervert for the rest of the trip. He tries to leave, but can’t ignore the girl wailing about her booboo. Going to help, he kneels down right behind her, and of course, that’s when the girls walk in.

Pil tries to explain, but between his stuttering, the girl clinging to him, and the underwear lying around, it looks bad. When the girl attempts to lay claim on Pil, Jin-sook angrily grabs his and Soo-jin’s hands together and yells that these two are dating. The girl quickly drops the cutesy act, glares at Pil, and coolly walks out.

Pil watches her leave, apologizing to her in his head and hoping that she finds a good man someday. Unfortunately he gazes after her too long, and Soo-jin and Jin-sook give him twin glares of death. Soo-jin vents her rage, shoving Pil down into an inner tube before Jin-sook pulls her out of the room.

As Jin-sook drags her friend out, they pass right by Soo-jin’s future fiancé, Jae-hyun, with what looks like his current girlfriend (the same girl from the park the last time we were in 2017).

Pil staggers down the stairs with his arms full of inner tubes muttering that he did nothing wrong, but stops short to see Jae-hyun and his girlfriend.

Pil strolls up to the table and bangs his hands down, demanding to know what he’s doing there. But when he gets nothing but confused looks, Pil remembers that Jae-hyun hasn’t met him yet. Pretending he mistook him for someone else, Pil backs off and rushes out, swearing to tell Soo-jin the truth about her fiancé when he returns to 2017.

Pil runs up to Jin-sook and starts trying to justify his actions to her, but she turns him around to show that he has a much bigger problem than proving his innocence: Soo-jin has found herself a new guy (Dayum! Hello, six-pack). As Soo-jin laughs with the sexy shirtless hottie, Pil stares, horrified.

Seeing the newcomer’s face, Pil remembers that this is the guy that will eventually save Soo-jin from the fire and start a relationship with her. We flash forward in Pil’s memory to see the guy carrying Soo-jin out of the burning shack while Pil looks on helplessly from afar.

Pil dashes up to the pair and tries to interfere, but Soo-jin completely brushes him off in favor of Mr. Six-Pack.

This time it’s Pil’s turn to watch as Soo-jin flirts with another guy, and he’s not taking it well. Jin-sook comments that Soo-jin looks uncomfortable, then whacks Pil and yells at him that Soo-jin clearly doesn’t care about the guy and wants Pil to come save her from the conversation.

Pil just stares at her, so Jin-sook sighs that he really was no good at starting a race. She says that the gun has already gone off and he hasn’t started running. That finally gets through to Pil, who downs his beer and sprints to his crush.

Pil grabs Soo-jin’s hand, offering to help her apply sunscreen, but Mr. Six-Pack gets annoyed and pushes Pil back. This is the wrong thing to do in front of Soo-jin, who gets suddenly protective of Pil.

Luckily Uncle comes over at that moment and gives Mr. Six-Pack a shove in return, yelling at him for hitting his nephew. It turns out that the guy is actually a marine himself (explains the abs) and he runs off on ex-marine Uncle’s orders.

Uncle sends a wink towards his nephew and gives Pil the keys for a jet ski. Next thing we see, the two of them are speeding across the water, Pil laughing while Soo-jin hides her face in his back, terrified. He totally goes faster to make her hug him tighter.

Afterwards, the group of friends watches the sunset together, all of them enjoying the sight. Pil just stares at Soo-jin instead. Aww.

The group gathers around a campfire that night (HAH! Pil has ringed the campfire with water buckets and fire extinguishers). Jung-ae fangirls while Dal-soo sings the love theme from Secret Garden (which came out that year), and Gu-gil reenacts the sit-up scene with Seok-tae like a couple of doofuses.

Dal-soo ends the song and comments that he shouldn’t sing any more sad songs, blathering on philosophically that one must approach love with reason, not emotion.

Jung-ae swoons at that, but Gu-gil drunkenly rants at him, “Do you know what love is? Do you know how it feels when you can’t say you love the person that you love?” The words strike a chord with Soo-jin, who looks over at Pil.

After Uncle retires for the night, the friends light some fireworks, and Pil and Soo-jin sit off to the side, watching the display. Soo-jin thanks him for standing up for her earlier, while Pil stares at her longingly, wondering if he should just kiss her now and accept the probable slap she’ll give him after.

Soo-jin tells him that she knows she can take care of herself, but when someone steps up to help, it feels like she’s not alone in the world. She then asks if Pil will be there for her in the future, the same way he was today. Regrettably, Pil is so busy staring at Soo-jin’s lips and debating kissing her that he misses the question, and she snaps at him to keep his mind out of the gutter.

Soo-jin brings out her digital camera and Pil laughs, remembering when he gave it to her. He tells her to keep taking pictures, saying that she’ll make a living with it one day. Soo-jin is doubtful, but Pil jokes that has an eye for the future. Soo-jin asks what he sees in his own future, and he thinks, “I get married to you.”

Nervous at the topic, Pil dashes off and Soo-jin is left looking at the picture she took that morning of Pil running towards the group. She decides to title it “Run to Me.”

Away from everyone, Jung-ae puts some serious moves on Dal-soo, and the flustered poet looks like he’s about to faint from his hormones. His leg drifts too close to the lit mosquito coil and he yelps from the burn. Jung-ae leaps at him to help, nearly crawling up his leg to “blow on it.” Goodness. Girl knows what she wants, I suppose.

The rest of the group is sitting around the fire and Soo-jin wonders where the other two went. Pil recalls that after this trip, Dal-soo and Jung-ae move in together, and he breathes a sigh of relief to know that she’ll never end up with Gu-gil. But then Gu-gil pops up, having heard that Jung-ae is off with Dal-soo, and he drunkenly runs out into the night looking for them.

Soo-jin is quite tipsy herself, and starts heading towards the shack to sleep. Pil leaps to stop her, saying that there will be a fire and asking her to just stay with him until midnight. Instead, Soo-jin hauls him over to the shack and posts him as a guard outside the door. Yelling at him to protect her, she stumbles inside, locking the door behind her.

Pil sits himself down to guard her room and ticks off his time-travel to-do list: The church fight is back to normal, and he can reveal the cheating fiancé when he returns. All he has to do now is prevent a fire for the next hour, and he’s home free.

Seok-tae wakes up to find that he’s the only one left at the campfire. Wrapping himself in a blanket, he walks by the fire and unknowingly drags his blanket over the dying embers. He then loses the smoking blanket on the pile of inner tubes before waddling over to Pil.

Pil jumps to see that everyone is gone from the campfire and immediately douses it with water, sighing that the threat has been eliminated.

Just then, Pil is distracted by the sight of Jung-ae stomping over, with Gu-gil and Dal-soo arguing behind her. Looks like he found the lovebirds. Pil runs over to break it up, not seeing that the fire has begun to spread from the blanket to the inner tubes, and then finally the shack.

As Pil tries to drag Gu-gil away, they all freeze when Gu-gil notices flames coming from the shack. Pil pauses for one shocked moment, then sprints towards the fire. Nearby, Uncle also sees the smoke and runs to the beach.

Everyone runs around the shack, using Pil’s water buckets on the fire, but it’s too strong. Pil starts to wrap himself in a wet blanket so he can break through the flames, but Uncle comes running up and drags his nephew back from the blaze.

While Pil struggles against his uncle, Mr. Six-Pack comes bounding up with his own wet blanket. Pil sees him and runs straight at the guy, shoulder checking him hard and grabbing the blanket from him. Pah!

Pil throws the blanket over himself and jumps through the glass window. He wraps the blanket around the unconscious Soo-jin, gathers her into his arms, then he kicks open the door and hero-runs out of the shack.

Stumbling to the sand with her, Pil yells frantically for Soo-jin to wake up. She finally stirs awake coughing, and stares up at Pil. He flops to the ground in relief while Soo-jin gapes at the chaos around them.

Soo-jin leans over Pil and asks what happened. Looking at her like she’s his whole world, Pil tells her:

“I told you that nothing would happen to you. You asked me whether I would come forward if something happened to you. Of course. Have I ever not done that?”

Aww, he did hear her. Soo-jin looks completely lost for words, and as everyone dashes around them, she starts to slowly lean down. Pil stills, actually trembling as she draws closer and closer to him for a kiss…

But then, when Soo-jin’s lips are a hairsbreadth away, the clock strikes midnight and time freezes. (Gah!) Pil’s 2017 self is once again forced out of his body and he’s yanked upwards, all the while yelling at the damn manhole for its terrible timing.

We return once more to the waterslide manhole tunnel, then cut to the exit where it’s bright daylight. Yet again, the manhole cover flies off. Then, out of the billowing smoke rises… oh my. Hubba hubba!

Wearing a sexy black suit and styled hair, Pil nearly floats out of the manhole like he just stepped off the cover of GQ.

The manhole cover comes plummeting down once more and a chryon updates us that it is noon in 2017, now five days before Soo-jin’s wedding.

Looking at his fancy new threads and checking that his gangster tattoos are all gone, Pil smiles to see that he fixed the future. Believing that he’s now mastered the rules of time travel, Pil sets off, eager to find Soo-jin and confident that he got things right this time.

Epilogue.

Rewinding to mid-afternoon in 2011, all of the friends spend the day speeding around on jet skis and banana boats. That night, when Jung-ae is putting the moves on a nervous Dal-soo, Gu-gil comes screaming out of the woods and rips Dal-soo out of her grasp.

Gu-gil yells at his friend that they’re supposed to be a family and begs him not to break their friendship over a woman. Dal-soo fervently agrees and barely gives Jung-ae an “It was fun, see-ya!” before trotting off with his buddy.

 
COMMENTS

Oh, Gu-gil. I appreciate your tenacity, but sometimes you really need to know when to quit. Although, given Jung-ae’s single-minded determination in pursuing Dal-soo, they may actually be perfect for each other.

After making it through our second week of episodes, I still really like this show, but it feels a bit like there is something missing. The acting is great, the music is moving, the shots are beautiful, and the plot—while slightly cookie-cutter—does have some entertaining twists when it introduces new rules into the time travel. (I honestly wasn’t expecting the reset concept, and it’s a clever way to both fix and cause problems.) The one thing that doesn’t quite mesh yet is the relationship between Pil and Soo-jin.

I hesitate to say it’s an absence of chemistry, because I do feel the tension, and those puppy eyes they make at one another melt the ice around my jaded heart very nicely. It could just be a lack of backstory. So far in each timeline, Pil has spent more time with his friends than with Soo-jin. Without that interaction, it’s hard to appreciate their dynamic. I really want to like them, but I just don’t understand them (yet!) and am constantly left wanting just… more. At this point, I’m feeling more of a connection between Pil and Jin-sook than with Soo-jin.

And how about that Jin-sook, huh? I’ve really liked her character this whole time, but I totally didn’t see her as part of a love triangle until this episode. She and Pil seemed like just great friends, until the look on Jin-sook’s face when she watched Soo-jin and Pil playing with sunscreen. I’m not sure if this is intention, or if these two characters just have some great chemistry, but now I’m finding myself torn. I’m used to always getting Second Lead Syndrome when the guy likes the girl, but I’ve never watched a drama where I wanted the second lead girl to triumph. I have no idea if there’s some twist planned for the end game, but at the very least, I’m hoping that one of these upcoming future 2017s will include a storyline where she and Pil are together, just so I can see what it would be like between them.

As much as I enjoy the bumbling Pil, I really like this cool and suave guy that just climbed out of the manhole. Pil’s main flaw seems to be a lack of confidence, which leads to zero motivation for anything—including pursuing the love of his life. He spends so much time second-guessing himself and pining for what he wants without the confidence to just go for it. I am a firm believer in what they say about confidence being attractive, and this new suited-up and self-assured Pil sure is sexay. But as this can’t be Pil’s last trip through the manhole, it immediately raises the question: How many ways can this go wrong?

 
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Can I just say - I find myself skipping large parts of the episode, particularly around the middle, and just watching the ending. I feel like there's nothing happening in the middle - there are conversations, friends doing silly things, tidbits thrown in (like Jin Sook may have a tiny crush on Bong Pil!) but nothing happening per se. Some dramas really pull this kind of thing off, where you are just watching for the characters and not for the plot, but Manhole isn't quite there.

I do enjoy the beginning and the end of episodes though. ^^ Jaejoong is comic gold (well, at least silver) here in his different avatars.

Pil and Jin Sook for the win!

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Yes Pil & Jin Sook for the win!

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I agree #TeamPilsook.

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Of course Seok Tae caused the fire. ?? I don't know why, I think he's too annoying and no wonder his friends treat him like that. And writer-nim, you better not make Jin Sook and Seok Tae end up together at the end because my girl deserves better! ? If she's not with Pil, give her a good guy at the end or else, I'll forever hold a grudge on you, writer-nim.

Anyway, why do I get the feeling that Jin Sook likes Pil but she knows Pil likes Soo Jin and Soo Jin likes Pil, so there's no point of her getting in between them? Because what's up with her expression when she heard Soo Jin talked to the church oppa about her love towards Pil?

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Jin Sook and Seok Tae together would be the worst. I am completely with you here!

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Noooo Jin Sook deserves better. If not Pil, pls someone else.??

Jin Sook seems to like Pil, but in the name of friendship is trying to pair these two together because both are dimwits, they like each other but they are taking so long to confess ?

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CandidClown, thanks for the recap. Jin-sook & Pil.

My version of this story ends like this. Pil ultimately realizes that Jin-sook is the one for him. Soo-jin goes on the marry the pharmacist and eveyone lives happily ever after.
Jin-sook is the one that knows everything about Pil. It would be a waste of good characters if it follows traditional drama scripting.
Writer-nim needs to flesh out the characters a bit more. Less running around. Give some depth. What's with the ? anyways?

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Except that the pharmacist is in a long-term relationship with someone else! So, while I wouldn't object to Pil and Jin-sook, I wouldn't want Soo Jin to stick with the pharmacist... she deserves better.

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You are right. Forget the pharm guy. Soo-jin could meet a model on a photoshoot .

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Do you note that Jin-Sook is the only one that remember the feeling when Pil travel to the past in the episode 3?

"Jin-sook tells everyone that this strange feeling she has now also took place ten years ago in high school, and we flash back to when Pil asked Jin-sook if she believed in time travel and told her he came from the future."

That is a good sign to Jin-sook and Pil will be the endgame

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I think I would start getting Second Female Lead Syndrome when they get more scenes, but at the moment I absolutely love this show..... which is weird.
I mean, I dropped The King In Love, Strongest Deliveryman, Reunited World and make myself watch Live up To your name. This are all the shows I was supposed to love but here I am, confessing my love to show called Manhole: Feel So Good.
It's not even like I like the cast that much

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I second this! (Pun not intended) The thing with this show is that it seems like Pil and Soojin's love line looks a little bit forced, while his chemistry with Jinsook is just so natural I end up rooting for them instead.

We still have 12 episodes left, and so far, my favorite character is Jinsook so I hope she gets what she truly deserves in the end!

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I also am keen to see suave Pil. I've liked his kooky energy so far (although this episode I did start to feel like it was slowing down the plot a bit), but it'll be really fun to see him try something more confident on.

I also am finding the OTP a bit difficult to connect to, and I think it is indeed lack of backstory more than the acting. We don't have a sense of why these two have feelings for each other, or really of what has kept them apart. This episode does start to provide that a bit though. I found it interesting that this episode revealed that both times the manhole took him to were times when Soo Jin wanted to confess to him. Since she remembers that moment from the second episode (in high school), it's clear that that moment existed in the original time line. I hope that the show does something more with that. It would be interesting, and might help solve the "but why" that the OTP is giving off right now.

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I agree - I'm excited to see Pil feel good about himself for once!

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With the reset thing, I guess the true pairing is Ordinary Time Travel + Groundhog Day.

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I love this episode, there's a lot of clue. And it's awesome that everything is intertwined.

By the way, I watched Proposal Daisakusen years ago. And I think that Manhole is inspired by it, The Buttefly Effect, and About Time. While in the Proposal Daisakusen, the butterfly effect didn't make any drastic change to other characters present time and also to the lead cast except his love line. Manhole make it "more realistic and daring" just like About Time but the different is Bong-Pil can't choose the exact time and place. And, instead of throwing a serious drama in that crazy situation just like The Butterfly Effect, Manhole still give us a boyish comedy.

Many girls maybe dislike Manhole because of its lackluster lead male character and his friends that didn't show any deep emotion. Oh my bad, Seok Tae and Jin Sook already shared their thoughts.

and.. Soo-jin? Why not giving Soo-jin role to Jung Hye Sung? She looks healthier, fresher, and more charming than the "now" Soo-jin. Soo-jin and Jung-ae have same skinny body type, make-up, and skin tone. That's why Jin-sook (Jung Hye Sung) is really shining between them. She should be the "it girl".

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what i mean with "lackluster" here is Bong-Pil character who's lazy, quick-tempered, jobless, not smart, not rich, not romantic, unlucky, not showing his great body, not neat, unwise, noisy, childish, stupid, and not strong. He has nothing good, except that he is not a criminal and he is loyal to his friends.

But, IDK why Bong-pil character really frustrated me but also entertained me at the same time. I just hope he become maturer and successful, and marry Jin-Sook.

I hope that there will be a twist: that Bong-pil can't change his destiny to not be with Soo-jin.

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I feel like we've been shown a Bong-Pil that cares and protects people he loves, which tends to win me over no matter his faults. So while he frustrated me, it wasn't as bad because I felt like the show was purposefully showing us only his bad points.
I give a lot of credit to Jae-Joong for this, because he's able to show those emotions with his eyes, making me believe that the same Bong-Pil is in the body of these utterly changed people.
Right now, I still like him way more with Jin-Sook than with Soo-Jin. It makes it hard to root for his time travels, except as a way to accept himself and find his talents.

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Except for Pil's whining and acting like a man-child, I do like this show a lot. I enjoy seeing Pil and Soo-jin together and feel the chemistry between them. The time travel is cool and all but what I'm really missing is the back story and also the character development. It's obvious that both have feelings for each other for majority of their 28 years, but is it just because of bad timing, missed opportunities and/or not wanting to ruin a deep friendship that they never got together? Speaking of being close as friends, I am not sure that this is something the drama has established between Pil and Soo-jin in the first four episodes.

Jin-sook, as the second female lead, is a refreshing one at that as she does not seem petty and out to destroy the lives of our OTP. While I like Pil with Soo-jin, I hope they don't make Jin-sook sinister as the story unfolds. And yes, please don't make her end up with Seok-tae.

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Agree with you about the chemistry between Pil and Jin Sook!
The last time I shipped a second lead female was Kang SoRa in Doctors.

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Thanks for the recap CandidClown!

I agree with you about just about everything, including the Hubba Hubba at the end! ? JaeJoong really looked so yummy and magazine cover worthy. Hehe.

I think my main grouse though is that since this story seems to be told from Pil's point of view that we are sadly lacking Soo Jin's perspective and proper story arc. She just appears and disappears in scenes with no continuity- past, present, different time lines... I have no clue how deep her feelings for Pil run other when she says them out loud- because it kind of seems weird that she adores Pil in the past but ends up marrying someone else (and the same guy too!) All The Time in the present. I mean, that fire scene- Pil practically confessed his eternal devotion with his heart in his eyes- how could she not get together with him after that?

? But then again it's Man-Child Pil.
He's more than capable of shoving his foot into his mouth and messing things up. So I shouldn't be surprised ???

Hoping next week it's not just Pil's clothes that have improved but that he has matured just a tad bit. 20% less of flailing is all I ask! Please! ?

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I can't help but love Bong-Pil. Yes, he's manic, but I kind of feel like it's not as 24/7 normally.
I hate his parents. What idiots. Nothing has painted them in a good light, including that much of how Bong-Pil acts comes from them not caring about him. I also hate Seok-Tae, but don't want to waste more space on him.
I love Jin-Sook, which is frightening me, because I hate SLS. I can't figure out what the deal is between her, Bong-Pil, and Soo-Jin. Right now, though, I don't particularly like Soo-Jin. She's marrying someone else while still holding a torch for Bong-Pil? Like, she knows he likes her, and she's known him for over 20 years, so she should understand his lack of confidence. It's interesting, because I'm not sure if it's the writing or the acting, but there is so much more background/explanation in Jin-Sook's small bits than in Soo-Jin's.
Overall, I'm hanging in for the ride and hoping my heart won't be broken.

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I like Bong-pil but it's not right to blame on his parents. Seems like his parents already did anything to make him more energetic, manly, and not lazy. That's why he was sent to his marine uncle's beach shop. His parents finally chose to stop being frustrated by their lazy only son. That big boy has to experience real life lesson to be maturer. LOL

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I thought that about his parents in ep. 1, but ep.2 showed they'd already given up on him before he was out of high school. I just feel like they never gave him any direction or cared enough to see what was good in him. Shipping him to his uncle's was to get rid of him, not to make a man out of him. They just make me angry as a parent.

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I just want Pil to calm down. Spastic Pil is too much for me.

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I think this drama has Japanese dorama feel to it, sort of Modern Farmer-vibe too. The plot is really fast, with multiple cut scene to scene.

I'm really liking this drama because I'm a fan of Jdrama. I think Jaejoong really gives his all energy to make his character lively, almost comically. At times it works, but at times I want him to take a moment to breath. I understand he's in panic about the fire stuff, but he can just bring the pails calmly, but I guess that's what the director or writer wants him(?). But I guess who can calm down when you are the only one knows something bad about to happen and it's unstoppable, you gotta gives your best to stop it, isn't it?

I love this episode as we can now be sure that Soo-jin does have feeling for Pil too but honestly Jin-sook steals the thunder. Pil and Jin-sook got this comfortable-friend chemistry while Pil and Soo-jin got this will-they? chemistry, afraid to cross the line. Both pairs are fluttering but since Pil and Jin-sook always have more conversation and interaction, I can't help to ship them. This is the same case as School 2015.

I love that all characters don't stay the same every time-travel happens, including all the men that could be the one for Soo-jin. It opens for so many things to happen and be unpredictable. I'm waiting for the upcoming episodes eagerly.

I feel bad about the rating though, I hope everything will be okay.

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Wow another splendid recap! I second everything you said in the comments and seriously, episode 5 NEEDS to show a more mature Pil or the ratings will probably get even lower Dx! I myself am still enjoying the show because in this case, I don't really care if I particularly like the OTP- as long as the plots remain funny, and Pil continues to evolve into a more three dimensional character then I am all good. But writer/producer need to understand that Manhole as it currently stands, lacks any element that draws interest from a wider audience, and it's up to them to turn the series around.

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Right now, the only thing I can think of is Jaejoong handsome face in the last shot! let me day dream... ^_^
Now, let's get serious, I know so many people are shipping Pil and jinsook but for me, they need much more chemistry(or probably screen time) together, I think our imagination of their relationship is stronger than what drama actually gives us!

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The problem is that the drama isn't giving that time to SooJin either, and she's engaged and off the market.

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can Soo-jin be more dimensional character ? i mean you are pretty, you like the guy, but you're marrying someone else because he didn't make any move ? just be bold and ask him on a date. be the one heck of a girl that we crazily adores in drama. already epi 4 and i can't still understand why they make this character as a main lead.

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I think Pil should date jin sook.I mean he shares everything with her even about his time travel.And with soo jin its just a crush on pretty girl.

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Although this show isn't perfect, I am *reeeally* loving it! Bong Pil's manic energy seems to be wearing people out but I kinda (really) love the flailing - when the plot starts to slow, it gives me hope that he will do something to move it on. Also, he technically hasn't slept in 2 days so that crazy energy is a blessing in practical time travelling terms!
I'm surprised by how smart he is figuring out the rules of the manhole - as a viewer, I'm given information that he isn't but he still manages to be ahead of me (I'm notoriously dim but still): He worked out the 12 o'clock rule and the reset rule and he's stopped trying to persuade the people in the past that he's from the future.
*Despite* this intelligence, his care and sensitivity. The thought of Soo-Jin in danger from the fire, despite the fact he knows she doesn't get hurt (and yes, admittedly, jealous was huge motivating factor), he still couldn't bring himself to just sit back and let it happen. Then he wrapped himself in a wet blanket and threw himself through a burning window in order to guarantee her safety.
I'm going to be over here if you need me, fanning myself desperately with my unbroken, ungreen-taped fan.
Didn't like the random girlie, but damn Pil - you really are too soft-hearted and were fortunate that your memory stopped you from being squished in the claws of that clutching, inconsiderate woman.
Seok-tae - You suck. Moving on.

Soo-Jin: She's growing on me. She's a little bit mad (re: The laughing at her mistakes) but you have to be to have held a torch for Bong Pil without being committed to the asylum. I find it interesting that she seems to be waiting for Bong Pil but isn't afraid of dating other guys [while Bong Pil seems terrified of women in general]. To me, this is a refreshing trait (on paper, at least - still waiting to see her motivations revealed in the show) because the amount of times I've seen girls in love with boys and not dating or looking around while the supposéd lovelorn male romps his way across the female population within half a mile radius....oyyy.

Jin-Sook: I feel like Pil would exasperate her in a relationship and that that line is more familial...buuuuuut the expression on her face after Soo-Jin's confession to the Church Thug was inscrutable. So we gotta wait and see.
Can we just have her yelling at everyone and telling Seok-Tae to stay the heck away from her forever please?

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I love Soo-Jin's out-of-place laughter! In the firstish(?) episode when she climbed the hill and found out she didn't have her camera, and just laughed... I was like "ah! She and Pil DO make sense" :D I want more of that... more scenes with that side of her personality.

I also agree with you about Jin-Sook. The director is obviously giving us little things that make us wonder, but she could as easily be exasperated by the two friends she cares about not able to confess their mutual love as jealous... I confess, I'm hoping for the latter because I think it opens up some more interesting possibilities for the relationships between them all.

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on the contrary, i have a tons of girlfriend who constantly keep her option open while waiting the guy to confess. cause girl just like to have a backup. i guess it's okay as in real life love does have expired date and you can't hold on something that may and may not be there. but since we're in dramaland, of course we expect the fantasy. i don't mind if Soo-Jin do some work to Pil rather than just waiting for him but do nothing. i mean, how much do you want him ? even Duk-seon in Reply 1988 try harder to give a Jung Hwan push to move forward. and she's not even that pretty or popular among boys, she just blatantly honest to her feeling. that's why you call girl with some character. I thought at first the reason why SJ is marrying someone else cause both lost their timing to confess at each other. but now it seems that he's time travelling to make SJ fall in love with him, with help from JS. BP could have been Jung Hwan who time travelled and try to make everything right and be honest with his feeling, it would be much great show IMO. well, i think that's why Reply 1988 get that rating and this show doesn't. i do still think Manhole present the fresh and original idea, but somehow ( alot how actually) lack in its characters development. and the worst is they made the SECOND FEMALE lead are favored over the main lead. has it been happened in drama land before ??

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Every season there's always a drama that somehow grabs me and sucks me into their universe no matter how shitty the drama is. (And it's always only one drama!) Last season it was The Best Hit where I was squealing for the OTP. This season it's Manhole but I'm rooting for Pil and Jin Sook. Many people think that Pil is unbearably whiny but to me he's actually quite okay. (Still whiny though) And it's really weird because I can see the flaws in the dramas but I still love them.(For The Best Hit, the time travel element wasn't explained very well and was very rushed but I still liked it nonetheless, and for Manhole, even though we're supposed to support Pil and Sujin, but there's just something missing, as CandidClown had said.)

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So am I the only one who thought "on no, funeral..." based on how he is dressed in the last scene? But he does look really good in a suit.

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Help!! Who is that girl who called Bong Pil Oppa while they were playing in the beach? From what kdrama is she? She looks so familiar?

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I'm very curious who the guy (six pack guy) shirtless with uee.. What's his name????!!!

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