Rating:
Average user rating 4.6
65

Life on Mars: Episode 4

Tae-joo’s time-traveling coma continues on its trippy trajectory but for all his answer-seeking, he only seems to find more questions. It’s no wonder that he feels more lost than ever. Unfortunately, criminals have no intention of waiting for him to figure things out, so he’ll have to push his own troubles aside in order to bring justice to another case.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Following the discovery of his family photo at the camera shop, Tae-joo, our detective from the future, sets out to locate them. Unfortunately, the address is no longer valid and the current owner is no help. Dejected, he leaves but does attempt to place a phone call (presumably to his parents’ old number). An automated message declares the number out of service but when Tae-joo starts to walk away, the phone rings.

Tentatively, he picks up the receiver but instead of his mom’s voice, he hears hospital noise. A nurse worries that Tae-joo has had a sudden seizure despite his CT scan being normal. The doctor replies that it’s likely Tae-joo is having a nightmare… or remembering something unpleasant.

The doctor then addresses Tae-joo directly, saying that he’s suffered some nerve damage to his brain, but he will wake up. Then the line goes dead.

Shaken, Tae-joo starts walking again but the mention of an “unpleasant memory” stops him short just as the family photo mysteriously appears in his hand. He stares at the picture in a daze until his captain Dong-chul pulls up in his car and barks at him to get in—there’s been an incident.

A village chief has been found dead on the banks next to a field in the countryside. Apparently, he’d gone out to gather reeds to make brooms for extra cash only to be discovered by some folks who’d come to fish. Fellow officer Yong-ki points out a head-wound on the victim and suggests that he tripped and accidentally killed himself.

Dong-chul dismisses this theory, noting that the injury isn’t fatal, but wonders about the man’s heart condition. Yong-ki confirms that he’d had a large heart surgery two years prior and Dong-chul supposes it could’ve been a heart attack that did him in. To his surprise, Tae-joo actually agrees and he wonders if the sun rose from the opposite direction that morning.

Ignoring Dong-chul, Tae-joo points out a trace of vomit on the victim’s mouth. Leaning in close to smell it—much to the disgust of the other two detectives—Tae-joo assesses the cause to be potassium cyanide. Their teammate Nam-shik calls their attention to a nearby area littered with empty makgulli bottles.

Upon inspecting a bottle, Tae-joo finds more traces of cyanide, solidifying this as a murder case. Nam-shik snaps shots of the crime scene: the bottles, an overturned kimchi dish, and a few crumpled 10,000-won bills (roughly 10 dollars apiece), dotted with blood. A red knit scarf caught on a nearby reed catches Tae-joo’s eye.

Back at the station, Tae-joo finishes compiling the information from the initial investigation. They have yet to hear anything back on the forensics, so he opts to pay medical examiner Manager Park a visit at the health center. Before he can leave, a call comes in saying Dong-chul found the culprit.

Tae-joo arrives at a house and pushes through the reporters to join the rest of the team. In the kitchen, Yong-ki finds a block of potassium cyanide and excitedly calls out to Dong-chul. From an adjacent room, Dong-chul appears dragging a handcuffed woman behind him. Yong-ki proudly brandishes the cyanide and the reporters snap pictures, while Tae-joo curiously notes the bloody wounds on the woman’s face.

Later, the suspect, Yoo Soon-yi, sits quietly in the interrogation room as Nam-shik fills Tae-joo in on her background. Born and raised in the village, Soon-yi had suffered a head injury as a child that resulted in lasting effects on her mental development. Additionally, she has no family, save for a 7-year-old daughter, father unknown. Nam-shik adds that she makes a living by hunting pheasants with cyanide.

They’re joined by the rest of the crew and Dong-chul immediately begins questioning. Soon-yi confirms that the scarf is hers and that she’s heard of the village chief’s death but is quiet when asked if she often goes to the fields to hunt with her daughter. Pushing ahead, Dong-chul asks if she went hunting the day of the incident and Soon-yi is quick to say that her daughter Young-joo wasn’t there—she went alone.

Dong-chul doesn’t care about such details, but Soon-yi cuts him off, saying, “I did it.” To everyone’s surprise, she clarifies that she killed the village chief. Nudging the tape recorder closer, Dong-chul asks her to repeat herself and she does so without hesitation.

Although taken aback by the ease of her confession, Dong-chul rolls with it. Considering the case closed, he makes an announcement to the press that the village chief had loaned Soon-yi money (200,000 won, or approximately 200 dollars). However, when the chief demanded she return it, Soon-yi had grown angry and killed him. Dong-chul further claims that the cyanide in the makgulli bottles matched the block found in her home.

Next, Dong-chul drags Soon-yi down to the village to reenact for the press how she committed the crime. She readily complies, but has to be prompted every step of the way. They return to the field where Soon-yi is supposed to demonstrate giving the poisoned wine to Nam-shik (standing in for the village chief). She argues that Nam-shik is not the village chief but Dong-chul insists, emphasizing her desire to kill him. As he speaks, Soon-yi’s demeanor changes, her hands shake with anger and she grips the kimchi bowl tightly before launching herself at the “village chief.”

With a yell, Soon-yi smacks the bowl over Nam-shik’s head and tackles him to the ground. She continues to beat at him with her fists until the other officers drag her off. Terrified, Nam-shik scrambles away as Yong-ki holds her back and Tae-joo takes in her anguished screams.

The incident signals the end of the demonstration and as they lead Soon-yi back to the police van, a woman from the village breaks through the crowd and attacks her. She shrieks that Soon-yi is an evil wench and cries that they’d lent her money and food. Officers manage to pull her away but before they can get into the van, the enraged woman drenches Dong-chul, Tae-joo, and Soon-yi with a bucket of water.

In the confusion, the woman attacks Soon-yi. A little girl runs out and screams that her mother isn’t evil, but is held back by a younger woman. Dong-chul and Tae-joo separate Soon-yi and load her into the van. Both mother and daughter cry out for each other as it drives away.

Afterwards, the men clean up at the local bathhouse. Dong-chul tries to impart his “live and let live” wisdom on Tae-joo but he’s not having any of it and excuses himself just in time to avoid Dong-chul letting loose a massive amount of gas in the bath. Gross.

Nam-shik brings them their freshly laundered clothes along with the forensic report. Dong-chul proudly announces that there’s a perfect match for Soon-yi’s fingerprint as well as her blood type at the scene. He tells Nam-shik to add the report to the warrant documents, but snatching the document away, Tae-joo notes that there are six other unidentified fingerprints. Dong-chul is unfazed, arguing that so long as they have evidence for the victim and the culprit, anything else is an unnecessary expenditure of effort.

Outside, Tae-joo finally voices his concern that Soon-yi might not be the guilty party. Dong-chul snaps that just because she’s naïve doesn’t mean she can’t commit murder. He reminds Tae-joo of her violent outburst at the scene, chiding him for only looking at documents instead of people.

An argument between a customer and the bathhouse attendant temporarily draws their attention. The customer asserts that her child is young enough to come in free but the attendant isn’t buying it. Seeing an opportunity to prove his point, Dong-chul smugly tells Tae-joo, “The most important virtue of a detective is intuition. You need to recognize the culprit with an animal-like sense, intuition, and sharp eyes.”

Slapping a huge smile on his face, Dong-chul approaches the child and correctly guesses based on height and build, the child is 8 years old (the cutoff for free entry to the bathhouse being 7 years). He goes on to peg her birthday as sometime in April and while the child is awed, the mother grimaces at being caught in her deception.

Dong-chul throws Tae-joo a self-satisfied smirk as Nam-shik declares his boss as having shaman-like insight that solved ten cases in the past year. Gloating, Dong-chul comments that the child’s strong physique could lead to a promising future as a wrestler, only for Tae-joo to retort that “he” is a girl. Tae-joo walks off, leaving Dong-chul behind with the crying girl and her furious mother. Hee.

When they return to the station, Yong-ki informs them that prosecution will be arriving shortly to pick up Soon-yi. Dong-chul is pleased but they’re still missing the medical report, so he calls Manager Park to complain about the wait. Hearing that more tests need to be run, he releases an irritated sigh and passes the phone over to Tae-joo.

Tae-joo asks a few questions and requests a blood test as well before hanging up the phone. Fuming, Dong-chul asks what he thinks he’s doing. Tae-joo explains that he’d requested Manager Park to find out how much potassium cyanide the village chief had actually consumed and asks that Dong-chul hold off just one day on sending Soon-yi over to prosecution.

Stubborn, as usual, Dong-chul ignores Tae-joo and tells Yong-ki to prepare Soon-yi before picking up the phone to call the prosecutor’s office. Just as he starts to speak, Tae-joo presses the hook-switch on the base, disconnecting the call. He calmly repeats his request to wait one more day but Dong-chul dials again. Punching the button more fiercely this time, Tae-joo snaps that it won’t hurt anything to wait another day.

“Then by waiting one more day, will that change the cause of death?” Dong-chul explodes, reaching out to dial once more. Taking the receiver and slamming it into the cradle, Tae-joo declares, “The culprit could change.”

Tae-joo leads the way back through the field to where they found the body as Dong-chul follows behind, grumbling that he’s not Tae-joo’s chauffeur. Tae-joo throws back that he knows Dong-chul doesn’t have anything else to do, and Dong-chul wonders if Tae-joo’s always been this rude. Tae-joo snarkily replies he wouldn’t know—he doesn’t remember much of his childhood.

Reaching the place where the village chief had been discovered, Tae-joo checks his watch and announces that it takes ten minutes on foot to get from the place the village chief drank the makgulli to where he actually died. He explains that if Soon-yi had really put two spoonfuls of potassium cyanide in the bottle as she claimed, then factoring in the chief’s weight, he could’ve only had about five minutes before the dosage killed him.

Despite the discrepancy, Dong-chul argues that Soon-yi had willingly confessed, jokingly adding that it’s not like he beat it out of her. Tae-joo says he can’t know what Dong-chul did when he wasn’t looking. Offended by the accusation, Dong-chul snaps that even without her confession, there was plenty of that evidence Tae-joo is so fond of. However, Tae-joo concludes, there’s no motive.

It’s hard to believe that Soon-yi murdered a man over a measly 200,000 won, but Dong-chul doesn’t want to hear it, and firmly stands by his case. Tae-joo throws his own words back in his face, “If you only focus on evidence and the law, people will end up dead.”

Convinced Soon-yi is hiding something, Tae-joo questions her himself. It’s telling that Soon-yi can only offer vague answers such as “sometime ago” and “a lot” when asked when she’d borrowed money and how much she’d received. Turning off the recorder, Tae-joo asks Dong-chul how she could kill a man over money when she didn’t even know how much it was.

Tae-joo enlists the help of fellow officer Na-young to fingerprint all the residents of the village, and while Nam-shik assists them, the other two detectives opt to merely watch. Yong-ki accuses Nam-shik of taking Tae-joo’s side and balks when the rookie argues that they’re all a family.

When Tae-joo and Na-young join them, Nam-shik is suddenly struck with the idea to search for the kimchi that was found in the field, since each household’s kimchi would have a slightly different taste. The outburst only earns him a beating from Yong-ki, and Tae-joo and Na-young excuse themselves from the chaos.

Once alone, Tae-joo asks Na-young if she believes Soon-yi is the murderer. She agrees that it appears that way looking at the evidence, but in truth, she’s conflicted. Regardless, she’s impressed at Tae-joo’s commitment to the case.

Passing by Soon-yi’s house, they’re shocked to see angry graffiti on the wall. Tae-joo decides to take a look around and nearly jumps out of his skin when he opens the kitchen door to find Dong-chul testing the kimchi! Hee.

Meanwhile, Na-young is looking around the bedroom and one of the photos of Soon-yi and her daughter Young-joo on the wall catches her eye. She runs out to show Tae-joo and is so startled when Dong-chul leans over her shoulder to have a look, she slaps him. Ohmygosh, I’m dying.

The picture shows Young-joo wearing the red scarf instead of Soon-yi, and just as Na-young begins to wonder if it belongs to the daughter rather than the mother, Young-joo appears and snatches the photo out of her hand.

Young-joo runs off and the trio follows her all the way to the village chief’s home. There, they meet Seon-ja, the chief’s daughter—the same woman who’d held Young-joo back earlier—who’s tending to her sick mother. They also discover that the woman who attacked Soon-yi was the chief’s sister.

Seon-ja brings Young-joo out to speak with the detectives, but when Na-young asks about the scarf, she clamps her mouth shut. Dong-chul tries to bribe her with some spending money but the second he touches her, she freaks out. Oh no.

Manager Park wants to see them so they run down to the health center. When they arrive, he points out a bite mark on the victim. Based on the size, it’s clearly from a child, and after witnessing Young-joo’s reaction earlier, there’s no question that the village chief had sexually abused her. Still, they bring Young-joo in to be examined and Manager Park confirms it.

Tae-joo questions Soon-yi again and she says that the village chief hurt her daughter. Despite finding a viable motive, Tae-joo still believes she’s innocent. Unfortunately, his gut isn’t enough to sway Dong-chul, who remains firm that she’ll be picked up the next day by prosecution.

Tae-joo goes to the bar after work and the barman takes notice of his sour expression. Tae-joo admits that he feels stuck and the barman encourages him to fight. “You don’t seem like the type to lose,” the barman muses, “Maybe you’re fighting against the wrong person.” Tae-joo doesn’t know whom he’s fighting and the barman guesses that he’s fighting himself. He says that internally, Tae-joo is afraid of something.

At home, Chief Inspector is on TV and once more the man on the screen speaks to Tae-joo directly. (Last time I made a mistake thinking that Doctor Jang was the same man… whoops!) The man steps out of the screen and when Tae-joo looks up, the office from the show is now joined to his room.

Mysterious TV man says he knows Tae-joo feels like he’s stranded on an island and that the longer Tae-joo stays, the greater his fear will become. Whereas last time he’d told Tae-joo to stay strong, now he says it’s okay to give up if it’s too hard. He instructs Tae-joo to lie down, forget everything, and go to sleep.

When Tae-joo wakes up, the room has returned to normal. It’s still dark outside, but Tae-joo returns to the station. Na-young hasn’t left, so he brings her a drink and asks what she’s working on. Shyly, Na-young shows him the analysis she’s compiled for the case. Tae-joo compliments her on her profiling and at her confusion, explains that it’s a skill that will be needed in the future. Smiling, Na-young says she hopes so.

They’re interrupted by the arrival of Young-joo looking for her mother. Na-young puts her to bed on the couch while Tae-joo organizes what they’ve discovered from the remaining fingerprints on the bottle. Apart from the victim and Soon-yi, there were prints from the brewery owner, deliveryman, and supermarket owner who all have solid alibis. Any remaining partial prints were too small to compare to anything.

Na-young can’t help but wonder what Soon-yi and Young-joo were doing at the crime scene if they had nothing to do with the murder. Tae-joo fetches the tape from Soon-yi’s interrogation and notes that while Soon-yi is very forthcoming about killing the village chief, she clams up whenever asked about Young-joo. Similarly, Young-joo won’t say much either but believes her mother is innocent. Tae-joo thinks they’re hiding something, while Na-young thinks they’re protecting each other.

Young-joo’s cries alert them that Soon-yi is being taken away. Tae-joo runs out to stop the transfer and of course clashes with Dong-chul. They’re about to get physical when Na-young screams for them to stop… Young-joo has something to say. Tearfully, the child admits that she gave the chief the makgulli under the direction of her “auntie,” who threatened that if she said anything, she’d never see her mom again.

Needless to say, Soon-yi ends up back in the station. She tells Tae-joo that the chief had hurt Young-joo again and offered them money to apologize. She’d gone to give the money back and found him in the field trying to assault her daughter again. Enraged, she’d attacked him, but he’d struck back, resulting in the wounds on her face.

The chief had chased after Young-joo but collapsed on the shore and died. Believing her daughter had killed the chief, Soon-yi had confessed to the crime while Young-joo had kept quiet to protect her mother. What’s more, Na-young reveals that the “auntie” Young-joo spoke of is the chief’s daughter.

At the village chief’s home, his sister informs them Seon-ja, the chief’s daughter, took her mother back to her house. Unfortunately, it appears no one has been there in some time. There’s a large supply of potassium cyanide in the workshop (presumably for the husband’s business) and inside the house, everything is covered in red repo tags. A pungent stench in the bedroom leads to the discovery of Seon-ja’s husband’s naked corpse in the closet.

When the rest of the team arrives, Yong-ki explains that the business closed after the husband became paralyzed. No one’s seen the husband in a while and assumed he was on vacation with his wife.

Manager Park examines the body and he and Tae-joo deduce that the husband seems to have been poisoned over an extended period of time with bleach. Turns out, Seon-ja’s husband was deep in debt and his business had already been seized. She had inquired about the value of an orchard property owned by her father and a week prior to his death, gotten into an argument with him over it.

Since she isn’t a resident of the village, she had avoided investigation. Additionally, she’s been collecting on her husband’s disability insurance for the past year and has taken out four life insurance policies on him. She’d been slowly feeding him bleach—just enough not to kill him—for some time and he finally died from breathing complications as a result of his paralysis. Seon-ja’s mother currently is exhibiting the same symptoms and is the only thing standing in the way of her inheritance.

Additionally, Na-young found a car insurance document in her home. While there are no cars registered to either Seon-ja or her husband, she did buy a vehicle three months ago and registered it under the name of the agent who sold her the insurance policies.

At the insurance agency, Tae-joo rolls his eyes as Dong-chul drags the agent by the ear into the men’s room. Yong-ki and Nam-shik stand guard while inside, Dong-chul dunks the man’s head into a bucket of water. He suggests the man mooched off Seon-ja but he squeals that he merely accepted the gifts she gave him. He swears he doesn’t know where she is, but tells them she borrowed the car and he’d noticed it was loaded with a lot of water.

Tae-joo and Dong-chul realize she must’ve gone to the abandoned orchard and sure enough, that’s where they find her trying to feed her mother porridge laced with bleach. She’s quickly apprehended, and as the officers load her into the squad car, Yong-ki tsks that she’d been living with the insurance salesman for a while, basically just waiting for her husband to die. He shudders that money is scary and Nam-shik wonders how she could do such a thing to her own parents.

With a sigh, Dong-chul says it’s because she’s human. “Animals don’t kill their flesh and blood like this,” he clarifies, “It’s because she’s human… that her greed can drive her to kill someone.”

At the station the next morning, Tae-joo washes out some cups in the sink and Na-young looks at him like he hung the stars in the sky. He catches her watching and she smiles and says that it looks like he’s getting adjusted. Walking back to his desk, he spots the picture Na-young took of him hanging on the wall under his name.

Behind him, Nam-shik attempts to take the statements of two women arguing over an alleged fraud. One woman snaps that she was sold a faulty product while the other balks that it’s the woman’s face that is faulty. Oddly, Tae-joo recognizes the second woman as his aunt. A brief flashback shows her affectionately wrestling with todder Tae-joo for for a kiss.

In the “present,” his aunt has engaged in hair-pulling with her accuser while Nam-shik fails to intervene and Yong-ki cheers. Only Dong-chul screaming for everyone to shut it calms the chaos. Taking advantage of the lull, Tae-joo addresses his aunt.

We don’t see what is said, but it’s safe to assume he asked for his parent’s address because he shows up outside a hair salon just as his younger self runs past him to go inside. He’s about to open the door when he hears a woman calling his name and steps around the side of the building in time to see his younger self run out. Little Tae-joo stops and stares up at our Tae-joo and there’s a freaky moment where the little boy morphs into an adult Tae-joo, still wearing the baseball uniform, before running off.

Tae-joo chases himself a short distance before the image of the boy running down the street is overlaid with the opening scene where he’s running down the train tracks. We can’t see the face of the man chasing him, but we see the boy run into the tunnel. Then, we watch young Tae-joo crawl up to look through a hole in the wall where a woman is covered in blood, her nails covered in a perfect red manicure. He gasps and turns back as the faceless man leans in. Young Tae-joo screams and then our Tae-joo passes out.

 
COMMENTS

Holy crow! What is even happening with this show? I say that positively, because the mystery is really keeping me on my toes. This week we may have cleared up Doctor Jang’s mystery, but what about the man in the television? Is he Tae-joo’s doctor? And if so, why did he tell Tae-joo to give up? It doesn’t sound like his 2018 body is doing so hot. Will staying here in 1988 too long have a negative effect? And if his body dies in 2018, what happens to Tae-joo in 1988? I don’t think I want to find out…

Tae-joo made some headway in his personal mystery, but what does any of it mean? At the very end we saw he ran into the man who is likely the original Manicure Killer. Was it a brief encounter or did something happen? We know he had a trauma in his youth, enough that his memories have been locked away. How does this tie in with Kim Min-seok in 2018 other than the fact that he was probably mentored by the 1988 killer? When Tae-joo figures out the answer, will he return to 2018 permanently?

The case in this episode was particularly heartbreaking and difficult to watch. It was a good narrative twist for the “victim” to be the true monster, but it’s a sickening reality. Luckily, this episode was sprinkled with some bright spots to combat the dark. Nearly any interaction between Dong-chul and Tae-joo turns into a pissing contest, often with pretty hilarious results. I love that Dong-chul has a way of bringing out a more playful side to the naturally stoic Tae-joo (and it’s even funnier when Dong-chul’s teasing backfires).

The other bright spot, as always, is Na-young. I cannot express how much I adore her character and have since her introduction. She just has such a shining presence and I can’t wait until the rest of the team embraces her as an equal. She deserves the world and I want her to have it. The fact that Tae-joo simply cleaning up a little affected her so much just goes to show how crappy her job was before he showed up. It’s really no wonder she lights up whenever she sees him and I can’t help but wonder about their potential future… or if there even is one. Regardless, be it romantic or not, their relationship is absolutely lovely.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , ,

65

Required fields are marked *

the endings for this show always leaves me wanting more. Can't wait for next week hopefully they get more into the main mystery coz i want answers!

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

NY is more insightful and capable than the rest of the team combined.. atleast from what I've seen so far. It's true that her job was crappy before TJ turned up. No wonder she lights up around him. He recognises her talent and gives weight to her opinions. He relies on her whenever he's stressed and trusts her enough to reveal his predicament, though for all he knows, it sounds crazy to her.I'm loving these two!

18
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is hunting pheasant with cyanide really a thing? Was it 30 years ago?
Then what?
I can't think of ways to make money off dead pheasants except as food, but cyanide is not my idea of a good dietary supplement.

4
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

Was confused enough to google "eat something that has been killed by cyanide" and got no definitive answer...

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yep. I tried a little googling too and also came up with nothing. Oh, well.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Apparently there's a market for the pelts and feathers too, though they're primarily sold for the meat.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Their feathers lol

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Maybe for their fathers

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Those poor pheasant-appa! ><

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven’t found if cyanide was actually used for hunting pheasants but it is used for fishing (including for catching live fish for later consumption) and for animal (pest) control.

According to a document from the govt of New Zealand, other poisons used for pest control require wait times and buffer zones - animals in those zones and times should not be eaten, in case they were exposed to the poison. However, cyanide does not have a buffer zone and is specifically NOT included (disincluded? Unincluded?) in the “do not eat” information. So I guess unless you eat a whole lot of animals who have ingested it, it is not super dangerous to eat an animal or fish that has been exposed to cyanide?

Sorry if links aren’t clickable - I don’t know how to do that here.

Cyanide fishing: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cyanide-fishing/

New Zealand document: https://www.doc.govt.nz/nature/pests-and-threats/pesticide-summaries/important-and-caution-notes/

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol - nvm, links work (although I need my glasses to read them 😂😂😂)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the research.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I seem to remember in one of the Agatha Christie novels that there was mention that cyanide was used as rat poison.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

My head hurts trying to theorize the whole time travel or not mystery. Until we get more concrete info regarding this weird trip to the 80s, I'm just going to assume Tae-joo is in a coma and that the eventual explanation will probably have some holes in it, as most time travel plots do in the end. Time is just weird like that.

But besides that... the bromance that is shaping up has me in stitches most of the time. Park Sung-woong is one of my favorite ahjusshi actors and it looks like he's having such fun in this role. SUCH. FUN. I have fun just watching him!

Na-young is absolutely a bright light in this show. My heart pretty much broke and then repaired itself when she watched Tae-joo wash his own cup, like, jeez, I appreciate ANYBODY who cleans their own cup, and seeing her little smile just got me. The two of them have a lovely rapport and I really hope Na-young gets even more chances to prove to everyone she's got a wicked smart brain and a mean choke-hold. I almost don't want there to be any romantic feelings between her and Tae-joo because if they start to fall in love, it's just going to be so SAD when Tae-joo eventually returns to 2018 and I don't know if my poor heart can take that...

Life on Mars is shaping up to be a new favorite of mine. I'm enjoying the rom-coms airing right now, but I missed the excellent stuff OCN can give us.

16
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Na Young is just delightful! I want to bake her cookies and give her lots of beautiful notebooks and pens to write all of her wonderful ideas in <3

15
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

What a lovely thought.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The last scene where TJ saw himself as a child morphing into his adult self was both trippy and cool. Also TJ fainting at the end of every other episode is a thing now!

14
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Tae-joo washes out some cups in the sink and Na-young looks at him like he hung the stars in the sky." >>> love this to bits!
Dong-chul almost revoked my good opinion of him from the last episodes by trying so hard to pin a murder on someone so suggestible. Isn't is somewhat out of character that he was more interested in closing the case and not caring about the people involved at all? So satisfying to have Tae-joo throw his own words to his face.
It's jarring to see how a basic thing like identifying finger prints takes such a effort back then. Was expecting the mother-daughter to be protecting each other, but didn't expect the twist of the quiet daughter as the cold-blooded murderer! Was betting on the irate ajumma but guess she's a red herring.
From the way Tae-joo start his day, the sun might as well rise in the west. That's all I can say about the time travel...

7
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Isn't is somewhat out of character that he was more interested in closing the case and not caring about the people involved at all? So satisfying to have Tae-joo throw his own words to his face."

Actually, it isn't that out of character. He is always in a hurry... that's where his brutal interrogation techniques come from because he wants quick results. I get why... he cares passionately about the safety of the residents on his turf and wants to get rid of the unwanted elements as soon as possible. But the problem with being in a hurry is that you miss the other possibilities.

That's why I supported TJ's decision in the last episode to do things by the book because DC has the propensity to circumvent the law to get quick results. He becomes a law unto himself and that's no good either.

10
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I suppose I got a bit of hero worship over Dong-chul's making a stance for the weak (the pickpocket gang's victim) so it bothers me a lot when he didn't shed a thought about poor Young-joo being left alone and marked as a daughter of a murderer...
But I do think what you said is true about him wanting result, as Dong-chul & Tae-joo are sitting on the opposite extremes where one only cares about the end result and the other only about the process. And they need to learn from each other, like any other kdrama OTPs ^^

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

What I think TJ really needs to learn is to work with people and be part of a team. More than anything else. Even in 2018 he was a loner, sitting in his lab talking to himself. In 1988 he has no choice. He's part of a team. It's not that he's wrong most of the time but he needs to be able to sell his hunches, justify his actions to the rest of the team. He needs to explain himself a lot more even if he thinks that DC is a Neanderthal.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I found it terrible during the murder re-enactment, that all the actions were being directed by the police officer, and not independently initiated by Soon Yi herself. How many people must have been wrongly accused and punished, if that is the normal 'protocol'. 😱 😠 😐

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The interesting aspect about that reconstruction was how she went hammer and tongs after Nam Shik with the metal bowl just like she actually did during the event. It struck me then that was far more likely to be her MO than putting cyanide in the makgeolli. I imagine that's more or less what TJ suspected as well.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, I thought the same. I was expecting that TJ would have pointed this out to the rest of the team, but he did not, which surprised me. It accounted for the head wound, but it should also have proved that if she was bashing the victim on the head, she would not likely have also poisoned him beforehand.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

So trippy! That photograph appearing in TJ's hand out of nowhere; Mystery Man stepping out of the TV; TJ facing his younger, morphing self *cue Twilight Zone theme song* Mystery Man (Choi Bool-am) was Jung Kyung-ho's grandfather in Smile You, and Jung Kyung-ho played baseball as a kid in Prison Playbook-- that made it feel even more like this is all a dream.

Could there be a connection between the beauty salon and the manicures of doom?

I sure hope uri Na-young gets a kickass ending befitting of the kickass heroine that she is.

10
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

ooh! Interesting about the beauty salon and the Manicures of Doom! (Love that name)

1
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Another Beanie came up with "manicures of doom", but I don't remember who. 😔

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think it was @wishfultoki (http://www.dramabeans.com/members/wishfultoki/activity/523473/)
I remember the weak-hearted Dong-ha ^^

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

OH FABULOUS thank you @meowingme and also @wishfultoki and @risaa! That whole thread reads like something @cloggie needs to know about.

1

This weak-hearted Dong-ha is still watching (taking breaks to catch her breath) and hoping to catch up with you all soon. :D

1

This episode was probably my favourite so far and I've lost count at the number of times that I've watched it. Too many probably. :D As it has been noted, the subject matter was pretty bleak but I enjoyed where the rabbit hole took our resident detectives in terms of whodunit. I especially liked that the White Rabbit was a bit of a theme in this episode with the little girl leading the detectives to a significant clue in the investigation and then with TJ's younger self leading him through the labyrinth of alleyways of his own memories... perhaps.

Na Young is as much a refuge for Tae Joo as he is for her. At work she's the bright spot for him... the confidante on which he can unload all his doubts and the colleague that understands where he's coming from. It's must be mentally exhausting for TJ to have to contend with all the oddities of what's going on around him as well as the recalcitrance of his superior officer. It is really a credit to JKH's performance that we feel something of his quiet despair and inner struggle to make sense of what sense can be made.

It must be wonderful for NY to have a colleague and superior officer who's not only respectful but sees her as a competent skilled officer who can contribute to investigations. She's certainly proven herself more than once.

One of my favourite moments in the episode is the reappearance of the Columbo-esque Chief Inspector ushered in by a Henri Mancini style track. He seems to be a figure of comfort for TJ... a benevolent grandfatherly type. But Magic Chief Inspector feels more like one of those late night re-runs than a prime time drama.

I am thrilled to pieces by this adaptation. It has exceeded even my expectations especially with the way it has re-contextualized the different cases.

11
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@lilium
I have reservations about the grandfatherliness of the TV guy, because most everyone is telling Tae Joo to fight and not give up, but this guy is telling him to give up and sleep... and the heart machine beeps turned to a flatline sound when he did so. I found that pretty ominous. Is TV guy getting Tae Joo to relax too much so that he loses himself or dies in his 2018 timeline? A few people sound like they are giving advice ... we wonder whom should Tae Joo listen to. 😖 😨 😄

3
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's freaking me out too, my inner voices are screaming nooooo don't listen to him! But I don't pick up on all the background sound clues like you guys do. You and our recappers are why DB is so wonderful ❤️

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

From my perspective at least there's some kind of interplay between TJ's unconscious and memories so the Magic Chief Inspector might be some kind of projection of that.

I think it all depends on what he's asked to "give up". Is it to give up fighting his own inclinations? Or to give up living altogether? That's not clear. Also this event follows on from his conversation with the pub owner about inner conflicts being the worst.
That entire exchange between him and the Magic Chief Inspector is certainly nebulous. TJ feels himself pulled in different directions but when he wakes up he goes in to the station to further investigate. I understood that as him no longer fighting with his own inclinations but pursuing a line of inquiry that's been bothering him for some time.

I don't remember hearing a flatline beep but I bow to your superior medical knowledge on this. :D

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LOL, not superior and not medical 😂 ... just normal viewer observation... I re-watched it to check on the sounds and on why that scene bothered me. 😉

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Why isn't there a PPL on that bleach?

I finally caught up on this show. OCN does these mystery thrillers like no other. There are many time travel dramas but no one captures the paranormality of it quite like this show does and I love it!

I've always like Park Sung Woong but not his dramas in recent years except for the hilarious cameo in Waikiki. So, thank goodness for this. Tae Joo and Dong Chul makes one of the best police partners I've seen in a long time.

Na Young is more than a rose among the thorns. She's nothing short of brilliant and an absolute angel. I have a question though - was workplace sexual discrimination so bad in the late 80s? I'd just accept it if this was the 60s or earlier but it's not.

12
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have a question though - was workplace sexual discrimination so bad in the late 80s? I'd just accept it if this was the 60s or earlier but it's not.

This is from a Korean perspective though, not American or British. The Korean war only ended in 1953 and after that, it had a slew of dictators until Roh TaeWoo became president in Feb of 1988. Who has time to address workplace sexual discrimination?

9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hahaha about the bleach PPL.

I can report that in the late 80s, Korea was a lot like America in the 60s. Women in the workplace were "office ladies" and did clerical tasks, personal tasks and ran around a lot with drinks (tea, instant coffee, Coke, barley water) on little trays. Work was something they were expected to do only until they got married. All the managers and account supervisors were men. I would think NaYoung would be pretty unusual in the police force and very much the forward edge of progress, especially in a small city.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

A thought: what if the woman he saw with the nail polish was his aunt? I really hope not...

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

His mother gave him a call in 2018 at the start of episode 1, it is revealed the aunt is still alive as well, only the father has died.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm curious how can you miss a part of your childhood, become cop and not try to find the truth about the missing part. I understand that it was a traumatic but he didn't become a cop for nothing.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@Kurama
I'm guessing that eventhough he may have investigated his own past, he did not come up with answers, or he may have been given an explanation, but it did not resolve his dreams/memories. Either way, he did not recall the actual happenings, therefore he says he does not recall much of his childhood.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Echoing what everyone else says here: I Love Na Young. Truly, she is such a gem of a character, and the actress really brings out so much organic personality in her.

Really though, I think a character such as Na Young is rare in K-drama. She may be a soft spoken and quiet character on the surface (who has resigned to her role as expert cup & laundry washer in the station), but you can tell she is a girl made of inner steel, and not just because of that mean choke-hold she did. Hopefully the writer doesn't mess up with her character, as is so wont in Kdramas after establishing the female's personality.

Also, you can tell Park Sung Woong is having a hoot playing Dong Chul, who is not only the role model of old time' police brutality (and incompetence and workplace discrimination) but whom you can't help liking anyway. Also loving how they solve cases as well - I love Tae Joo being frequently frustrated at the lack of certain technology, and having to resolve to other creative but scientific methods to solve the case.

7
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ep 4 was so so brilliant! It put up so many questions and gosh it did it all so well! Trying n make sense of the mysteries of the show doesn't make sense anymore cuz we won't go amywhere with our guesses! I will just be waiting for the show to keep being as awesome as it is!
Thanks a lot for the recap! <3

9
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks @Sunny
It's another good episode with enough freaky time warpiness, comedy, crime and developing relationships, woven together nicely.

I was heartily amused by Dong Chul's use of the hair dryer, to warm up or dry out his nether regions. Crudest, misguided cop that I've ever come across in kdramaland, but why do I find him quite endearing? 😂

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This show is so freaky! I'm loving the recaps. I think I really will wait to binge it because I don't think I could handle the suspense if I was watching it live. I'm still a little removed from it and not attached as I would be if I was live watching.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Smart. I'd definitely be binge watching this if it had finished airing. The cliff hangers are delicious. You immediately want to reach for the next episode.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved the small touch of Tae Joo washing his own cup, as everyone does now. NaYoung's expression reminded me of one of us today seeing a high executive roll up their sleeves and do something they haven't done since they were in the trenches as a trainee (like, actual work🤣). Respect!

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm a complete scaredy cat when it comes to horror. This show isn't even horror but the scene where this mysterious doctor type being is walking out of a tele and telling Tae Joo to give up is horror enough for me. My eyes and ears were covered - dunno how I watched it.

LOVE this show. The soundtrack is spectacular and it has a very Doctor Who feel. I keep expecting the Doctor to show up and for everyone to team up.

Na Young ftw! *waves pom poms*

7
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

OMG same! I even wrote a post abt it!
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/obsessedmuch/activity/523004/

I keep getting scared by the show when there is not really a lot to be scared of!

Park Sung Woon would make a very fun Doctor btw.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hahaha guess I hadn't seen ep 4 then so I skipped over the post to avoid spoilers. Thanks for the link!

*Glad I'm not alone* ^^

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I remember reading somewhere that one of the British papers called the original BBC version... "the thinking person's Doctor Who". ;)

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh! Now I kind of want to watch the original. ^^

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

You should anyway... maybe not at the moment... but it's certainly one of the more inventive things ever made for telly. But the British own the crime genre IMO.

If you're creeped out by the Magic People in this, wait till you see what's in the BBC series. :D

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you @sunny for the recap! This was another great episode that explored so many topics/issues. My heart broke for the mother and daughter. The scene of the mother running frantically through the field to get to her daughter had me on edge.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That part of this episode was tied up with real life for me in the story the US has going on right now with children being forcefully separated from would-be immigrant parents at our southern borders. It was so hard to watch that little girl and her poor mom.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

LIFE ON MARS is off to a great start. Jung Kyung-ho is nailing the part of Chief Han Tae-joo. I am not familiar with the original series so it is all new to me. Thank you @sunny and @helcat for the recaps. They are very important for me especially for a series like this. I missed seeing the photo just appear.
Unfortunately for beanies I think LOM is in the same situation that SUITS found itself that is not easily available for viewing. I am grateful LOM is available and subbed on my go to *alternate* site. That leads me to believe that it may wind up on Netflix. That is a pure guess since I have no inside knowledge.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

this episode totally need a graphic warning lasdjbfnaiusbdfaiubfa
my stomach was sick when that corpse shot showed up.

AND YASHHHH this drama is so good and Jung Kyungho deserves getting a drama THIS good omg

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your comment helped me know when to cover my eyes. It's not my usual modus operandi to read recaps before watching episodes, but I need graphic warnings for this show.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

tbh so far that was the only scary shot. I totally didn't see that corpse to be fully shot like that albdjfauisdbjshd

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The detective on the TV is his grandfather Kang Man Bok in his drama Smile you. So happy to see them reunited :D
I love this drama. I like Jung Kyung Ho as an actor and I watched all his drama and movie. There's something in him that made you become curious in his role. I didn't watch the original so I can't compare but I'm pretty sure the original is more darker than this version. They put comedy and that makes the drama watchable. You will never get bored watching it.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think the woman Tae Joo kept on seeing in his dreams the one with the red nails is officer Yoon I just noticed that they have the same hair and shape of the face lol or I'm just imagining things

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@Fekinowsom
Hmmm, maybe when she's all dressed up acting as decoy?

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

So did nobody notice how Auntie fixed her hair when the handsome Tae Joo addressed her? I got some Back to the Future deja vu. Eww.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Currently Airing

Prime-Time Shows This Week
Monday-Tuesday (April 6-7) Wednesday-Thursday (April 8-9) Weekend (April 10-12)