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93

Life on Mars: Episode 8

Tae-joo chases down the demons of his past but the closer he gets, the more his mind seems to rebel. He’s finally diving into the main mystery, but it’s hard to search for the truth when you’re not sure you’ll like the answer. To make matters worse, memories continue to bombard Tae-joo with a vengeance and the effects are not going unnoticed.

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

The body of Go Yeong-suk—the woman Dad was hiding in the bathroom with—has been found in a hotel. The scene reeks of the Manicure Murderer’s M.O. and everything points to Dad as the killer. Shaken, Tae-joo stumbles out of the room. Happy memories of Dad flash through his mind to the soundtrack of his pounding heart and train whistles. Everything comes to a grinding halt with the image of Dad’s bloodied face. “It can’t be,” Tae-joo whispers.

The team heads to Dad’s house first thing the next morning. Today, their captain Dong-chul’s aggressive approach sets Tae-joo more on edge than usual. Dad isn’t home, and Mom explains that he went to meet someone the night before. Little Tae-joo adds that they’re going on a trip together and Dong-chul notes the stacks of clothes ready to be packed.

Dong-chul notes that it doesn’t look like they’re preparing for a short trip. Mom nervously admits it’s their first family vacation so Dad suggested they stay awhile. Aunt barges in, then, complaining that Dad has been messing with her cosmetics—that she sells—again.

Mom sends Little Tae-joo with Aunt and then the police literally tear the house apart in their search. In addition to personal items—eating utensils, toothbrush, and a cigarette butt—bagged by the officers, Dong-chul also snags a cookie tin. By the time Dong-chul calls it a day, the house looks like a tornado blew through.

Outside, detective Nam-shik reports that the neighbors had nothing but positive things to say about Dad. The only odd thing he’d learned was apparently that Dad used the corner store payphone every evening at 10 p.m. Nam-shik leaves to fetch the call records and Yong-ki sets out to locate victim Go Yeong-suk’s acquaintances.

Tae-joo lingers behind to help Mom straighten up a little. Mom asks if Dad’s done something really bad this time, but Tae-joo can only promise to tell her as soon as he discovers anything.

Rejoining Dong-chul in the car, Tae-joo is appalled to see him rifling through the cookie tin he’d swiped. From the contents, it’s clearly a collection of Tae-joo’s treasures, but among them are lighters that could only have come from Dad. Dong-chul argues that those are evidence.

The duo drops in on Manager Park to get the skinny on Go Yeong-suk’s corpse. Manager Park confirms that she suffocated on the panties crammed down her throat and reveals that he found a tuft of chloroformed cotton in her nostrils. Na-young comes in to report that the test results on the fingerprints and blood found at the motel belong to Dad.

Dong-chul holds the folder out to Tae-joo, but the younger detective is in the middle of another episode. Tae-joo imagines his father in the motel room, smiling sadistically as he paints Go Yeong-suk’s nails. With horror, he watches as Dad murders the woman in his imagination and then bolts from the room.

In the bathroom, Tae-joo empties his stomach into a toilet and stumbles over to the sink to wash his face. When he looks back at the mirror, a bright light flashes and the mirror switches between his reflection and his doctor and nurse. The medical team attempts to stimulate Tae-joo’s brain, but is disappointed with the results.

Tae-joo screams that he can see them but the doctor sighs that his reaction is too weak. “I believe something is getting in the way of Mr. Han Tae-joo’s consciousness,” Doc tells the nurse, “Otherwise, it could be that he’s deliberately avoiding the situation.”

Tae-joo presses for answers but Doc only says that if he wants out, he’ll have to show them something. Tae-joo screams that he’ll find a way to prove that he saw them and smashes his fist into the mirror. Na-young finds him like this and takes him to get his hand bandaged.

After the nurse leaves, Tae-joo quietly wonders how long he has to stay here (in 1988). Na-young figures he still must not like it there, but Tae-joo quickly assures her that’s not what he meant. Tae-joo admits that his childhood is fuzzy, but recently unpleasant memories have been resurfacing.

Na-young points out humans only have access to five percent of their memory, while the rest is stored in the subconscious. She says it’s a defense mechanism and suggests that he not try too hard to remember. “Some memories may be better left forgotten,” she tells Tae-joo. Dong-chul bursts into the room and eyes the pair suspiciously. Na-young hides a smile and excuses herself. Dong-chul notices Tae-joo’s bandaged hand and asks if Tae-joo is trying to copy him. Hee.

Back at the station, Yong-ki is enjoying himself as he “interviews” (cough—flirts—cough) with the dead girl’s coworkers. His fun is cut short by the arrival of Dong-chul and Tae-joo. The women tell Tae-joo they didn’t really know Go Yeong-suk since she’d been working less than a week.

Despite not recognizing his name, the women immediately react do Dad’s photo. They call him “Mr. Pacific” after the cosmetic brand he always gifts them with—after stealing it from Tae-joo’s aunt. One woman worries she might be a target since Dad had also given her a bottle of red nail polish.

The women reveal that Dad had another girlfriend. Alas, all they know is that she’s part of the Lottery Gang. One of the women thinks Dad is probably already dead—apparently the dead woman Dad was seeing had also been involved with dirty CEO Oh Jung-man. It’s a name Dong-chul recognizes and he looks unnerved.

Later, Nam-shik explains to Tae-joo that CEO Oh owns a lot of property the police can’t touch. Yong-ki wonders if they really should go digging for Dad’s body and Tae-joo asks if Dong-chul really thinks Dad is their killer. The other detectives seem convinced, but Tae-joo argues there’s no motive.

Na-young brings Dad’s payphone call records. Most calls are to the motel where the dead girl, Go Yeong-suk, had been staying. However, there were a handful to a coffee shop and a stationary store, and one call abroad. The coffee shop matches one of Dad’s lighters from Little Tae-joo’s treasure tin, so the detectives head over to investigate.

The manager denies knowing Dad, so Tae-joo asks for a list of the girls working there. Dong-chul notes the shop closes at 10 p.m.—the same time Dad called. The detectives overhear an argument between the manager and young woman who works there.

The men get up to block the girl’s exit but she’s feisty and sends the rest of the patrons running by brandishing a knife at the detectives. Hilariously, her crazy is no match for Dong-chul. He breaks through his team and hoses her down with a fire extinguisher, muttering his usual gripe about disrespecting cops. Hee.

They manage to sit her down for questioning, but she remains uncooperative. Her disrespectful attitude grates Dong-chul’s nerves and when she claims not to know Dad, he blows up. Dong-chul can tell she lives at the café and therefore has been the receiver of Dad’s phone calls after the shop closes. Yong-ki’s comment that she’s dating Dad finally elicits an answer and she snaps that not only is dad old, but he already has a girlfriend—Madame Jo.

She doesn’t know anything else about the mystery woman, and has only seen her once, herself. When asked why Dad calls, she reveals that he asks about business since he’s the boss of the Lottery Gang. The detectives are shocked and the young woman continues that Dad even runs a casino with Madame Jo.

They drag her back to the station where they figure out there are nine members in the Lottery Gang—with Dad and Madame Jo at the top. Na-young adds that the gang has made 750 million won (or roughly 750,000 dollars). The men try to calculate the bank interest but the café girl snorts. She points out that criminals would make more using their cash to give out personal loans—aka loan sharking.

When asked how Dad handled his money, she says he carried around what he needed in a bag and hid the rest in a storage room only he and Madam Jo know about. The detectives realize that Dad didn’t have a bag when they’d first arrested him and return to the Hawaii Room Salon to check the bathroom.

Alas, the ceiling hatch they’d remembered being ajar is now empty. Dong-chul figures Go Yeong-suk likely retrieved the money while they’d interrogated Dad. He thinks they fought over the money and that was Dad’s motive for murdering her. Feeling overwhelmed, Tae-joo steps out and Nam-shik worries they’ll be in trouble with Chief Kim for releasing Dad. In the hall, Tae-joo notes the palm tree mural on the wall and recognizes it as the backdrop to the postcard Dad had sent home from “abroad.”

Afterwards, Tae-joo sits down for a meal at the bar and confides to the manager that he’s unsure what he should do. Barkeep makes an analogy that when cooking gukbap—a kind of soup—you can try to mask the smell but it won’t work. Only by realizing the source—the meat—can you take the proper steps to eliminate the odor. “If there’s a problem,” he concludes, “you need to find the source of the problem first.”

Dong-chul arrives and asks Tae-joo what’s wrong, suggesting that he just go home if he doesn’t want to work. Tae-joo recalls that Dong-chul once said Tae-joo came here because he wanted to. Looking up at Dad’s wanted poster, he vows to find the source of the problem.

That night, the men sit in Dong-chul’s car staking out Tae-joo’s family’s house. Tae-joo chides Dong-chul for eating the candy in the treasure tin he’d swiped from the house. Dong-chul gripes that it’s not like they belong to Tae-joo. Hehe.

Dong-chul tells Tae-joo to guard the treasure tin and steps out to take a wiz. After he’s gone, Tae-joo spots his younger self and goes out to return the tin. Little Tae-joo says sadly that he knows the detective came to arrest Dad because he’s done something bad. Tae-joo’s heart breaks as the boy asks if his Dad is a bad person.

Tae-joo quickly denies it, saying that they still don’t know anything for certain. Opening the treasure tin, the detective tells the boy he also used to collect pogs (small disks bearing popular cartoons or athletes). Little Tae-joo lights up and asks if the detective collected Haitai pogs.

Tae-joo admits he had every player except one and Little Tae-joo says it’s the same for him. He shares that he thinks the stationary store in the city has the coveted pog, but Mom won’t let him go alone. His words trigger something for Tae-joo and he promises to bring Dad back.

Afterwards, Dong-chul is startled when Tae-joo zips past him in his car. At the station, Tae-joo asks Na-young about Dad’s payphone calls to the stationary store. Na-young confirms that Dad had inquired about his son’s missing pog and Tae-joo enlists her help.

They drive Dong-chul’s car to the station and park in the alley to stake it out. Na-young doubts Dad will show since he’s on the wanted list, but Tae-joo is confident. “If he’s the person I remember,” Tae-joo says, “he’ll definitely come.”

Just as the store owner starts to close up, Dad runs up. Tae-joo corners Dad in the store and asks him to come down to the station. Dad nervously claims he’s busy and promises to come tomorrow instead. Tae-joo ignores him and says he won’t use handcuffs, imploring Dad to come now.

Throwing some merchandise at Tae-joo, Dad escapes outside only to be caught by Na-young. Dad plays dumb when Na-young accuses him of operating gambling parlors and suspected murder. Tae-joo ignores Dad’s whines that he’s innocent as he slaps cuffs on his father’s wrists.

However, when Tae-joo mentions that Go Yeong-suk is dead, Dad seems genuinely shocked. Dad cries that he had no involvement but suspects CEO Oh to be involved. He explains that she’d argued with someone at the motel when he’d stepped out. Dad admits that he’s involved with some shady stuff, but is adamant that he’s never killed anyone.

Dad pleads with Tae-joo, asking if he really thinks Dad’s that kind of person. Tae-joo honestly admits he doesn’t know what kind of person Dad is. They’re interrupted when a group of thugs calls out to Dad. Identifying them as CEO Oh’s men, Dad urges the detectives to run since the thugs won’t care if they’re police.

Tae-joo orders Na-young to get in the car with Dad as he steps between them and the thugs. A fight ensues and while Na-young is distracted by her concern for Tae-joo, Dad manages to escape. He warns them they’ll be in danger if they continue to search for him before disappearing up the street.

Tae-joo is at an unfair disadvantage going up against four gangsters armed with pipes, so Na-young jumps into Dong-chul’s car and drives through the fracas. The thugs scatter and she’s able to run to Tae-joo. Unfortunately, they’re still outnumbered and things are looking grim when suddenly a siren sounds.

Backup arrives and the thugs are cut off by Dong-chul and Yong-ki. The detectives quickly subdue the gangsters and Tae-joo asks them where CEO Oh is. He fills Dong-chul in on what Dad had said, but the thugs reveal CEO Oh is away on business—and has been for days. Dong-chul grumbles that everything that comes out of Dad’s mouth is a lie.

Catching the despondent look on Tae-joo’s bloody face, Dong-chul barks that Tae-joo should’ve told him if he was going somewhere. Tae-joo’s quiet apology only serves to worry Dong-chul further. He grumbles that Tae-joo’s face is messed up before proceeding to clean it off with a classic spit-wash. Aww… he’s worried.

While Tae-joo doesn’t even seem to notice, the rest of the team is completely weirded out by Dong-chul’s affectionate fussing. Noticing their watchful eyes, Dong-chul barks at everyone to pack up. Yong-ki whispers that he also hurt his hand but Dong-chul only snaps that he’ll live. Hee.

Only now does Dong-chul notice his car—which Na-young had crashed into a stack of boxes moments before. Tae-joo finally moves, briskly walking in the opposite direction and breaking into a full run with Na-young when Dong-chul shouts after them, “Which jerk did this?”

Everyone returns to the station and Dong-chul notes that Nam-shik is not watching the café girl like he should be. The young detective runs in behind him, confessing that he needed to use the restroom. The café girl whines that she’s hungry until Dong-chul explodes that she needs to earn her meal.

Pouting, the girl says she did and holds up a sheet saying she identified Madame Jo. The detectives are stunned to recognize her as one of Go Yeong-suk’s coworkers. Dong-chul barks out orders and the team races off to catch her.

Madame Jo isn’t home but they find an armload of Pacific brand cosmetics on her dresser and Tae-joo’s handcuffs—that he’d used on Dad—discarded in a corner. They visit nearby businesses with Dad and Madame Jo’s photos, but don’t discover anything useful.

Morning breaks, but they have yet to find any leads. However, Tae-joo is positive the pair hasn’t left town as they haven’t had time to retrieve the money yet. Dong-chul agrees there’s no way they’d leave without it, but the question is—where is that money?

Na-young chimes in that she did some research on Madame Jo and discovered she was the mastermind behind the Lottery Gang creating a gambling den. She lists numerous properties in Madame Jo’s name, revealing that she also owns 60 percent of the Hawaii Room Salon. One of those properties is an abandoned cement factory near the railroad.

Dong-chul recalls the owner of that factory had committed suicide five years ago and Na-young says that man was Madame Jo’s husband. The officer keeping guard over Tae-joo’s family’s home calls and reports that Little Tae-joo has gone missing.

The detectives rush over and learn officers have already searched the neighborhood to no avail. Little Tae-joo has been missing for two hours and Dong-chul wonders if Dad kidnapped his son. The ringing phone triggers Tae-joo’s memory and he flashes back to his childhood when he’d received a phone call from Dad and snuck out to meet him.

Tae-joo asks where the nearest train station is, announcing that Little Tae-joo went there to meet Dad. Dong-chul asks how he knows but Tae-joo doesn’t have an answer. Luckily, Yong-ki remembers the station is near Madame Jo’s cement factory and the team heads off. Before leaving, Tae-joo promises Mom he’ll bring her son home.

They find Little Tae-joo sitting on a bench outside the station and Dong-chul and Tae-joo question him. Little Tae-joo says Dad called him out to the station to give him his missing pog. He asks if the detectives are there to catch Dad, and Dong-chul fibs that they just want to apologize to Dad for suspecting him.

Little Tae-joo accepts this and says Dad is supposed to meet him at 9 o’clock. Dong-chul hands a walkie-talkie to a plain-clothed Na-young. He tells her to stand near Little Tae-joo and contact them if Dad appears. To Tae-joo’s horror, Yong-ki pulls out a case of guns for the rest of the team. Despite his reservations, Tae-joo reluctantly takes the pistol handed to him.

The hour comes and goes, but no sign of Dad. Dong-chul thinks Dad has tricked them and calls the team back. Tae-joo lingers behind and Na-young gives the boy her jacket. She starts to walk back when Little Tae-joo suddenly takes off running. She and our Tae-joo give chase.

Little Tae-joo had spotted Dad running down the train tracks up ahead. Dad notices them behind him and yells for the trio to turn back. The scene begins to overlap with Tae-joo’s memory of running down the train tracks as a child, except in the memory, he’s crying as he runs away from Dad.

Tae-joo sinks to the ground as his memories converge and he watches Na-young running in her white dress before it shifts to a memory of a dark-haired woman in a white dress running through the woods. Then it shifts again to the hole in the wall—where Tae-joo had seen Dad’s bloody face—and someone strikes the woman in the white dress, causing her to fall back on the table.

Tae-joo snaps out of the memory, realizing the woman he’d seen his father attack is Na-young. He takes off at full speed after the others and somehow finds himself racing through the woods as hospital sounds from 2018 echo in his ears. The nurse is worried that Tae-joo’s heart rate is spiking and Doc assumes Tae-joo is doing something in his subconscious.

Memories continue to overlap with the present as Tae-joo makes his way to Madame Jo’s cement factory. Inside, Tae-joo watches his younger self pass through an entryway and pauses. Doc says something is either blocking Tae-joo’s consciousness, or he’s trying to disregard the current situation.

Steeling himself, Tae-joo passes through and finds the floor on the other side littered with money. Little Tae-joo runs one way but our Tae-joo hears Dad yelling and follows it. He reaches the room just in time to see Dad strike a woman wearing a white dress with a pipe. Dad turns and sees the detective but doesn’t have time to react before they hear a sound on the other side of a wall.

It’s Little Tae-joo and he screams when he sees Dad. Dad drops the pipe and runs back to grab a bag of money, sparing a quick glance at our detective before taking off after his son. Tae-joo makes no move to follow, staring instead at the body on the table. Walking over, Tae-joo is surprised to find that not only is she dead, it’s not Na-young at all—it’s Madame Jo.

Na-young calls him from behind and Tae-joo turns to find her standing behind him. A wave of relief crashes over him but then he remembers Dad and takes off after him. Tae-joo quickly catches up and pulls out his gun.

Turning back, Dad demands to know why Tae-joo is hounding him so much. “I’m here because of you, who I erased from my memory,” Tae-joo cries. Dad is understandably confused by this seemingly nutty guy. Ignoring Tae-joo’s odd response, Dad shouts that he had no choice but to hit Madame Jo because she attacked him first.

Tae-joo shouts at Dad to stop lying. “I trusted you,” he says, “No matter how bad the things you did were I believed that you wouldn’t have killed someone.” Dad reiterates that he’d only defended himself against Madame Jo, but Tae-joo is asking about Go Yeong-suk. Dad argues that he had nothing to do with that.

Calming down, Dad implores Tae-joo to let him go. He says his family is waiting and he’d planned to quit crime after getting the money. Tae-joo asks if his family will be happy with his dirty money and wonders if Dad plans to keep running for the rest of his life. “Your wife and son don’t need that money,” Tae-joo says, “We’re happy if you’re by our side.”

As sirens begin to wail in the distance, Tae-joo tells Dad he’s arresting him for compulsive gambling, operating a gambling den, assault and battery, and suspicion of murder. Dad sighs and finally holds up his hands to be cuffed, telling Tae-joo to do what needs done. Tae-joo clips one cuff before Dad smashes a rock into the side of his head.

Dropping the humility act, Dad asks why Tae-joo had to make things messy, and wonders who he is to worry about Dad’s family. Grabbing the money, Dad runs off and Tae-joo struggles to follow. He makes his way back to the tracks just in time to hear Dad arguing with someone.

Dad scuffles with a man in a baseball cap, accusing him of killing Go Yeong-suk. The guy in the cap pulls out a gun and Dad tries to run back to Tae-joo, screaming for help. Just before they reach each other, the gun fires and Dad collapses. Then, the scene rewinds and Tae-joo tries again to reach his dad. He comes up short and the scene rewinds a third time. This time Dad calls his name right before the gun goes off, and he falls dead for the final time.

 
COMMENTS

Well, if this wasn’t an incredibly traumatic episode, I don’t know what is. As if thinking his father (and personal hero) is a cold-blooded serial killer wasn’t bad enough, Tae-joo then had to watch the man be murdered three times right in front of him. And was completely helpless to stop it. It seems to have been inevitable, as Dad had died around this time in Tae-joo’s original timeline. But if the dissonance between Tae-joo’s memories of the train track chase and the actual event (being that he had been running away from Dad in the memory but both Tae-joos were chasing after Dad in the “present”) it suggests that some things can be altered. That, or Tae-joo’s memories themselves are unreliable.

Halfway through the show, and I still don’t have a solid handle on the mechanics. With all the time-warping and auditory interruptions from Doc, it would seem this is just a crazy lucid coma dream. But everything is far too intricate to just be a figment of Tae-joo’s imagination. It’s both frustrating and refreshing. The mystery has added another layer, as well. The one thing Dad never lied about was his innocence in Go Yeong-suk’s death. He seemed to think the real culprit was CEO Oh, but he was supposedly out of town. And was that CEO Oh who shot Dad? Tae-joo never got a clear look at him. And although black baseball caps are common… I can’t help but think it’s been a while since we’ve seen Kim Min-seok.

Either way, Tae-joo has his work cut out for him.

Switching over to the things that didn’t break my soul: Na-young and Dong-chul. Both took notice when Tae-joo started acting off and then made a point to watch out for him. They’re both so protective of him and honestly, Tae-joo needs that more than he probably realizes. I love that Na-young (who I’m not sure even knows how to drive) was ready to mow down a group of thugs in order to get them off of Tae-joo. And I about died when Dong-chul started mothering him like an errant kid brother. I mean, Tae-joo stole his car, lost the suspect, and got beaten up in the process… but not only did Dong-chul not reprimand him, he was genuinely worried Tae-joo had gotten hurt.

As we glimpsed in his 2018 life, Tae-joo has a bad habit of closing himself off from others. However, when it comes to Na-young and Dong-chul, Tae-joo is surprisingly receptive. I love how candid he is with them, honestly voicing his uncertainty about what to do and feelings of displacement. What makes it so rewarding is that while neither can fully understand the extent of his words (I mean, time-travel?) they’re both happy to listen and offer advice. They’re truly forming a family and Tae-joo needs them now, more than ever. His mental state was already a bit fragile thanks to the time trip, but after everything that’s happened in the last episode alone it’d be no surprise if it broke down completely.

 
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Wow. This Show.

I felt like it hosed me with the fire extinguisher so I couldn't see, proceeded to smash the back of my head with a rock so I couldn't think, and then the ending left me in between the the train tracks to die.....and I love it.

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I know the feeling. If I don't love this show so much, I'd hate it for always twilight-zoning me!

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We could all very well be suffering with the Stockholm Syndrome in the current time line!

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This is such a detailed description of what it feels like to watch this show!

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How I want to believe in dad, if only for Tae-joo's sake. It's painful to witness his love, trust, and adoration for his father crumbled one by one whenever he found out another of his father's outrageous lies. But the most terrible thing? That continuous loop of dad's death, when in each new loop Tae-joo becomes even more determined to catch up to his dad before the gun went off, and he always failed and everything went back to the first terrible moment. It gave me chills when in the last loop dad panickly called out to him not "detective," but "Tae-joo~ya".

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Apparently I have no site to watch episode 8, so I appreciate your recap and thoughts. But I'm just sick it isn't available. The first 7 episodes were so good.

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Try www3.watchasian.co/life-on-mars-episode-8.html

or at daebakdrama.com

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Thanks - I'll try it!

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You're welcome!

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@couchpotato101 Thanks again. I just watched it thanks to you. And oh, wow! The ending. So far this is every bit as good as the original LOM. Hope the ending is every bit as ambiguous and open to interpretation as the original. But would anybody else feel the same as I do?

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I've only watched a couple of eps. of the original before spoiling myself with the ending. Honestly, I'd want a better ending for this version. After watching the korean remake of Suits where they took the liberty to alter some aspects of the story towards the end, I am feeling optimistic that they'll take the creative liberty to give us a more sarisfying ending for this version.

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I like endings that leave something to the imagination, or can be interpreted. If you mean by a satisfying ending that it's happy, then, eh, I dunno, I just hope it comes to its logical conclusion.
I wonder if it was a hint in ep 8 where the lady said the dad's bones are probably buried on the hill.

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That ending... And the repeat T_T
So now our heartbroken Tae-joo has to unravel the connection between Go Yeong-suk and the Manicure Murderer, and how did the murders happen both in 1988 & 2018. And the whole squad probably just want to pin the murder on dad, huhu. I'd rather think it's a copycat murder (a child of the victim maybe?) coz having two time-travellers is going to be another headache. Altho I'd love to time-travel to next weekend...
Lub Dong-cheol so much in this ep. First he was like a spurned lover (You should've told me where you're going!) and nagging spouse (You never listen to me!), and then just a big mother hen spit-wiping his lost chick, I can't even... Him releasing his frustration over his unlucky car to that poor stack of files got me cackling, and all those hilarious interactions with the feisty cafe girl too, they are really well matched ^^

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Honestly, this show is scaring the bejesus out of me now and I don't know if I can take an escalation in it. I put my hand on my chest at some point and by the end had pushed through near to my spine. Well, it felt like that anyway.

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Wow such a weirdly trippy hypnotic episode! That scene in the bathroom with the 2018 doctor trying to make TJ react and TJ in 1988 looking through a window to a dark abyss and trying to break that was just SO WELL DONE!

And that last scene. I could forgive the show for that preview of ep7 where it made me scare for Na Young. But then it went and did that. I mean I love the show, but I hate it. That rewinding of appa's death was a perfect depiction of what a trauma would look like. And I love (hate) how the background noise just turned off and then u hear the gun shot- again and then again. Gah! That momentary silence before TJ's world collapses! WOAH! Reminded me of that line from Eliot: "This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper." (I know, there is not much of a parallel between these two, but it just reminded me of it)..

The trio is still awesome n I love the growing camaraderie. But seriously some scenes make you forget the whole ep and that last scene was just that!

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I didn't understand at first that they were actually rewinding the freaking scene...until I saw it actually replaying again and Tae-joo's different stance/expression. Such bastards!! Poor Tae-joo, I wonder what all this means for his 2018 body!

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I don't think Tae Joo is stuck in the past. I think he's stuck in his head, in a coma, in a hospital bed somewhere on the outside in present day.

And I hate that idea because I want Na Young and Dong Chul to be real people. But I don't think that's what the drama is showing us. The story is all about Tae Joo's family and the case he's been following (manicure serial killer). His subconscious knows there's a link to his own past and this accident has put trapped in his head and he keeps trying to figure it out. I think the last scene of episode 8, actually proves it. How else would he see the replay 3 times?

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Thought the same, replaying while trying to figure out who's behind the gun (whom I think it the one who shot him in 2018)

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And how to explain that photograph of his family that materialized out of nowhere into his hand (at the beginning of ep. 4)?

If he really did time travel to 1988, he seems to be going in and out of an altered state of consciousness while there. But it appears likely that this is his 2018 subconsciousness's rather elaborate way of processing repressed memories and putting the puzzle pieces together.

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This sounds plausible yet my heart keeps saying nooooo..o!

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And I about died when Dong-chul started mothering him like an errant kid brother. I mean, Tae-joo stole his car, lost the suspect, and got beaten up in the process… but not only did Dong-chul not reprimand him, he was genuinely worried Tae-joo had gotten hurt.

THISSS!! <3 <3

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I think i forgot to breathe in those last few minutes. Whew.

This was one hell of an episode. The last time i felt this intensity was from Save me When OCN is thrilling it really delivers. How can i fill the void of this week with no new episodes??

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I want to give little Tae-joo a big hug. Seeing him run down the train tracks made me so nervous.

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Aw man me too! The little kid is too adorable and very good in his role ☹️

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With this show, every episode is easily the best episode so far. Why, ep. 8 is such a rollercoaster ride! That ending is just epic. But I'd also like to take note of the lighter stuff i like in this episode:

1. Mother-hen Dong Chul
2. Jung Kyung Ho looking so dashing in black
3. The fact that Tae Joo's worry for NaYoung snapped him out of his episode so he can continue the chase
4. TJ and NY running away from DC after they damaged his car, and
5. YongKi's jealous face when Madam Jo commented that TJ is too handsome for a detective

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The black shirt looked amazing on him. All his shirts look great on him. Maybe it was just me but his back looked exceptionally good in the black shirt 😍😍😍

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Not just you!

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😁

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WHAT IS GOING ON. This show is nuts, sad, engaging, and I love every minute of it. But seriously. What the heck is going on lmao

(and I refuse to believe Na-young's shoe coming off in the alley wasn't scripted, haha)

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*wasn't UNscripted, oops

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How she laughed running to get it back was hilarious!

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This episode is crazy and I gave up to making theories. I'll just sit and eat some popcorn.

Anyway the pacing of this drama is just amazing tbh. It kept you hooked but not overly stressing.

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I think I died in the last 10 minutes.
Almost had a heart attack for officer Yoon.
Then Tae joo's dad got shot 3 times. Great. Forget Tae Joo, even I am traumatized.

Thank you for the recap Sunny

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Hello all, just join this drama bandwagon. I started last Sunday and marathoned the last 4 ep yesterday. I was so curious that I went to the original drama wikipage to find out what will happened next. Seems like the original version was also being vague on the time travelling part. My theory is that he is in a coma and he witness the things that happen, specifically at the train track. Maybe he went through some of the old cases so he can made it up in his head. If this is true, i'm sad that nothing will happen with Tae Joo and Nayoung.

And all the actors are doing a great job! Love Jung Kyungho and Go Ah Sung!

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Hi!
I'm not sure if it'll do any good to take the original UK version as your base...the US version ended in a completely different note from the UK one so I'm guessing this Korean version will also have its own, original ending!

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Yes, hoping the korean version will be different.

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Ok, but where is everyone watching this drama at? i dont see it on viki, dramafever or netflix??:(

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Yeah. On, as they say, "alternative" sites. I Google around to find it (never know where it will be) and have to watch via computer rather than stream on Roku. Incredible miss on the part of everyone you mentioned 🙄 Whyyyy???

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I think "'alternative' sites" is a good way to put it. ;)

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I am late catching up and just finished episode 8. Like another beanie commented every episode is the best so far.
I have a feeling that LOM will wind up of Netflix. My main reason is that subtitles are available. Supposedly CHILDREN OF A LESSER GOD (OCN) is coming to Netflix but I have not been able to confirm that. Anyway if you still are looking for a place to watch LOM you might try:
https://www1.ondramanice.io/drama/life-on-mars-detail

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OMG, Show really went there! It keeps punching us in the gut, but I must be a masochist, ‘cause I want moar! I feel so sorry for Tae-joo—getting to see how much his dad doted on him was such a gift, then it all turned into the worst nightmare ever for him.

I’ve had a lot of doubts about the 1988 timeline being real, but now I’m questioning all the scenes and sounds that we assume are taking place in a hospital in 2018, too. They’re just way too Twilight Zone-y. What the heck was the deal with the nurse trying to get comatose Tae-joo to respond by showing him scenes on a tablet? I had to rewind and keep stopping that part a bunch of times because the images flashed by so quickly. First there was a scene of a youth (Tae-joo?) huddled next to a door, looking locked in, in some kind of creepy storeroom that had stuff like a rocking-horse in it. Then there was a scene of a youth (the same one?) running down a hallway. Then one of an old boy band (from the 80s?) that morphed into a scene of a modern-day boy band. Am I taking the tablet-scene therapy images too literally? Like maybe it's his sub-conscious showing him those images, not a real nurse? Then maybe the doctor's voice isn't real either? Or maybe those scenes are from some future time when tablets can connect to one's psyche? I'm so confused, and it’s all just so trippy—I love it!

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The nurse showed him BTS - Fake Love MV...

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Ah, that explains it-- sorry Army! I feel extra dumb now because I had watched the clip of their Fake Love performance at the Billboard Music Awards-- obviously, I hadn't seen the MV yet.

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I really enjoyed your interpretation of what the nurse showed Tae Joo on the tablet. :) As answered by another commentator, that's the MV for recently released, rather popular K-pop song called 'Fake Love'. I think it was chosen because most Koreans and a decent bit of the international fanbase would know it for what it is.

For me, since I am fan of the group & have heard the song often - it was a jarring choice. It jolted me out of the Show into my real life, just as in that moment, Tae Joo was jolted out of 1988 into 2018, even if only for a second.

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I have been wondering if another reason "Fake Love" is chosen is to foreshadow the future of his relationships with all the characters in the 1988 world since they are all figments of his imaginations. 😭😭😭

The opening if the song feels fitting:
You've been confusing since the day I met you
Another night chasing, this feels like home

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That's actually a very good reason for choice of song.🤔 Yes - could be. The theme fits the idea. T_T Especially if you consider the episode and what Tae Joo learnt about his father.

Correction on the opening lines :

If it’s for you
I could act like I was happy even when I was sad
If it’s for you
I could act strong even when it hurt

But that's actually what Dad was doing. "Mold a pretty lie for you." "I want to be a good man, just for you."

And also - it was not what his family would have wanted. As Tae Joo pointed out.

So yeah - That makes sense!

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OMG how careless was I with all my mindless googling and quoted another song with the same title. My apologies to everyone! Thank you @greenfields for the correction.

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@kimbapnoona - it's totally cool? *I do still think what you say could be a reason* ^^ *even if the lyrics were wrong, the essence was right*

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I’ve not been thinking about the mechanics of the time travel so far. But I just finished watching the most recent season of Agents of Shield and there was a theory about Multiverse. This made me think that maybe there are two TaeJoo’s (or more) the 1988 TaeJoo and the 2018 TaeJoo and both are real. The coma in 2018 is letting the 2018 TaeJoo visit 1988 to get information about the Manicure Murderer. This makes both 1988 and 2018 real. And maybe at the end of the show the 2018 TaeJoo will be given a choice - to stay in 1988 or go back to 2018 and the choice will create another universe in which the adult TaeJoo gets to live with all the wonderful folks in 1988!

I think I’ve confused myself now! 🤔🤣

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Now that you put it like this, I'd say that adult Tae Joo 1988 cannot be real. Why? Because there cannot be two Tae Joos - child Tae Joo and adult Tae Joo in the same time frame. If adult Tae Joo isn't real, then who is the person who Dong Chul, Na Young and the rest are interacting with? A ghost? Or like what @hikarinw suggested in her comment below?

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I think the Multiverse theory allows for the existence of adult TaeJoo and Child TaeJoo in the same timeline. The latest Star Trek does that with Spock! They are essentially two separate individuals who have lives through separate circumstances as a result of different choices made at different times. I’m don’t know a lot about Multiverse theory but I believe it goes like there are infinite universes that exist at the same time due to the various choices that people make and some forms of time travel is just one version of a person visiting other universes at different times.

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A key point I forgot to mention is that time is supposedly experienced differently in different universes so what is a 4 years in one universe can be 35 in another.

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Incredible episode and much credit goes to the writer for pulling it all the threads together and Jung Kyung Ho for putting us in the passenger seat in the rollercoaster of emotions. That scene in the bamboo grove and then on the railway track... was heart-rending stuff. JKH was amazing, wonderful and pathetic all at once.

If the show keeps this level of quality up, it will be one of my favourite K dramas of all time.

I still don't think Dad is the serial killer. He may be a womanizing scumbag and an inveterate liar but I don't think he's the "manicure" killer. Or the progenitor of the "manicure" killer. But poor Tae Joo... what a harrowing discovery about all his father's misdeeds.

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Thanks to the replay, I got to watch JKH run that gut wrenching run more than once. I was telling myself "That's exactly how someone would run and look in such a situation."

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It was a great episode !

It's sad to see Tae Joo realize that his father is not a good man, a good father but a criminal in the real life.

The last scene was awful but I really hoped that we would see the face of the killer of the father and the same who seemed to have killed the both women (try for the second).

The fact that Tae Joo is in a coma makes me sad because it means that his relationships with Dong-chul and Na Young are not real.

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Thank you so much for your recap and comments, Sunny. This jam-packed episode was twisty, and I appreciate your play-by-play.

Tae-joo's encounters with his younger self are touching. But his meetings with his father are even more poignant. I would be a basket case if I had such experiences, so I have to hand it to the detective. He seems to be delving deeply into the hidden recesses of memory. Lucky for him that Dong-chul and Na-young are in his corner.

The audio bleed-through from 2018 has me on the edge of my seat.

Rampant Speculation:
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Madam Jo may have decided she didn't want to share the money from the casino operation with Tae-joo's father, so attacked him.

I bet Go Yeong-suk was bumped off by CEO Oh Jung-man, whose name had caused Dong-chul to shudder. Perhaps she had stolen something from him -- or he is possessive, and thought she was running around with Tae-joo's father. CEO Oh (or a minion) could have killed her and framed Dad to get revenge on both of them.

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When I started watching this drama up to episode 7, I thought that maybe Tae Joo's situation is similar to Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart Ryeo. She went back to the past and her soul resided in the body of the real Hae Soo in Goryeo, that is why she has/had physical body in Goryeo along with real experiences living in that time. Meanwhile Tae Joo also has physical body, real job and he meets a lot people and has interactions with them. So I was thinking maybe his soul resided in someone else's body from that era.

But when episode 8 happens, I am not so sure what to think anymore. When the last scene keeps replaying over and over again (one when his dad got shot), I am beginning to think that this is all is in his head, and I must say it is not the kind of conclusion I want to see. Maybe there is more to it, and we all have to wait for this drama to play it out and I am excited!

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I can't remember what's the deal with Hae Soo in Scarlet Heart Ryeo but I think no one knew Tae Joo 1988 before he got transferred to the station. So, he might not have existed in that timeline.

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About nobody knew his existence, no one knew him maybe because the 1980's Tae Joo got transferred from Seoul and just arrived when the 2018 Tae Joo's soul transported into the 1980's body. The confusing thing is when Dong Chul and the gang found the transfer letter. One question, whose letter is that? I wonder what is the purpose of the letter. Is it because the letter can make the story move forward, which is so very convenient when Tae Joo just got there.

In Scarlet Heart, the present IU (can't remember her name in the drama) got in to an accident, ended up in a coma, and that's when her soul got transported to the Hae Soo from the Goryeo era, which happened to be drowned at the same time the present IU's soul transported to the past. From there onwards, IU lived as Hae Soo in Goryeo. When she woke up from the coma, she realised that everything that happened in Goryeo was real.

At first I though that's what happened to Tae Joo, but since the scene his dad got shot kept replaying, it seems like I was wrong.

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I thought I had seen enough time travel shows then this show happens.

Honestly, I haven't been impressed with any kdrama mystery thriller so far. Signal was the best I had seen and if this show keeps up, it will surpass Signal. Maybe it already has but I'll save my verdict for the ending.

Granted this is a adaptation but we know how an adaptation can fall short even if the original is good. I have not watched the original LOM (no spoiler please!) and I am loving the Twilight Zone feel to this show.
I was hooked to the Twilight Zone shows in the 80s. Can kdrama do an adaptation of this kind of one mystery per episode? It would be a delightful departure from all the rom coms and melodramas.

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My thoughts exactly. I LOVE Signal to pieces, but at this rate, this Show might be even better.

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After watching Asian dramas almost exclusively for the last couple years, LoM makes me realize how much I miss trippy shows like Twilight Zone or Twin Peaks. Yes to more shows like this in Dramaland!

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Yes, I love Twin Peaks too! I can still remember the haunting introductory tune. During that period, I was a fan of X-files, American Gothic and Ray Bradbury Theater.

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All the time-period handling seems consistent with the BBC series, which they eventually explained, but it took them 5 seasons to do it. Yes, the original Life on Mars was only 2 seasons, but there was a 3-season sequel, with the explanation in the 3rd season. That explanation doesn't fit very well with how kdramas normally do things, and I don't expect the kdrama to have 5 seasons to build up to an explanation, so maybe they will pull a surprise explanation on us (???).
For a spoiler, check the wikipedia articles, although you are probably better off if you don't.

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I tried to resist the temptation but failed! I’m happy for it 😁

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Aside from the sad moments which were well executed. I enjoyed the bromance between Captain & TJ, TJ and NY cutely running away from Captain and seeing BTS's Fake love for 5 seconds :D

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This episode was all Tae-Joo for me. Tae-Joo went through sooo much in this episode. He’s such a strong character. The actor is doing an awesome job. He portrays the character’s desperation, confusion, longing so well. This is my first drama of Jung Kyung-ho and I’m super impressed. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽

I was very relieved that it wasn’t Na Young that Dad was beating! The show totally trolled us!
I loved how Tae-Joo waited for Na-Young when she lost her shoe as they were running away from Dong-Chul. They are adorable together. All of them.

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The scene where she lost her shoe was so funny. I like how they tried to flee Dong Chul. I wonder if it was written or she just really lost her shoe and they chose to release this scene like this :p

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Yeah that scene was so cute! And both of them ran back together .....

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Lol! Wait till you watch falling for innocence, heartless city and prison playbook
There's just SOMETHING about him.
His roles are different but there's something similar and endearing about them all
He literally makes them his own. so even though you and i both know he's acting and its all just the script you cant but be in awe of how he places so much of himself in the roles that you can see traces of just what his real personality might be

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Poor Tae-joo had to repress his bad childhood memory.

It wasn’t wonder he was reluctant to go to his dad memorial day...

Maybe, from what happened that day has changed a little cheeful Tae-joo into such a reserved person who’s really hard to trust people...

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I think so. But more than that, it's also I think what's caused him to be rigidly by-the-book in his profession. A lifetime of penance perhaps to make up for his father's sins.

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Ok, so I just spoiled myself with the original shows ending and now I really don't want that for uri Tae Joo!

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It was truly heartbreaking watching adult Tae-joo try to alter history, even though he father sure did not deserve it.

I knew he was scummy, but I am glad we got to see he was just flat out scum. I do not believe for one minute that he was going to take his family once he got the money. Nope, not at all because he dropped that act real fast when adult Tae-joo said all they needed was for him to be there.

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This show is THE best thing airing right now. I have a million things to say, but the ending was something else altogether.
When the scene rewinded and tae joo had to witness his fathers death... 3 times! Idk how to describe it, I felt myself taken in completely in the scenario. It's maybe the actor or special effects (or a combination of both) but i just loved that scene and it was executed perfectly.

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Lol for a moment there i was wondering if doramu was somewhere around and a bargain was coming up soon. Lol

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Doramu?

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This show is SO good. I wasn't interested at first, but it's got me hooked and eagerly waiting for every episode. How adorable were Tae-joo and Na-young when they ran away from Dong-chul screaming about his car. Tae-joo even waited for Na-young when she lost her shoe, awww. This makeshift family is so cute and all these mysteries are mind-blowing. I'm curious to see how Tae-joo's mind is going to handle all of this. Knowing your father died is one thing, seeing it happen is a whole other thing. I watched my father wither from illness and was there when he took his final breaths and it's not an easy thing to deal with.

Here's a thought, maybe little Tae-joo was running away from Dad and Dad lost sight of him while our Tae-joo was checking on the woman in white, and we just didn't see that scene. Dad did go after his son right away but our Tae-joo didn't follow immediately. Or maybe events in the past are changing slightly.

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I have a pretty high expectation for this drama since I love the bbc one. And I'm so happy that this is better than how I first imagined the korean version to be!

And it doesn't help that there's something about jung kyung ho that makes him soooooo likeable...

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Do u guys know there are no new episodes this week? We have to wait till 14 July for episode 9!!!!! Ahhhhhhh how am I going to survive with that cliffhanger ?

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so cruel :((

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Yeah :( I held off on watching episode 8 because of that but it's so hard to fight temptation...

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That’s true. I was refreshing Youtube channel Sat evening but all videos popped up were all BTS things. I had a crazy weekdays so I’d thought I’d watch “Life on Mars” on the weekend. I was so miserable because they were pre-empted with a cliffhanger ending on Ep 8. 😰

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Actually I am glad since I just finished episode 8 tonight. A week late. Here is a possible explanation for the delay in airing new episodes:
https://www.allkpop.com/article/2018/07/ocn-drama-life-on-mars-to-take-a-break-this-week
LIFE ON MARS: please take your time and get it right.

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I was confused as to why Na Young wore a white dress similar to Jo Madam. Then I noticed that the white dress Na Young wears in ep 8 is from ep 3 when she buys clothes with the fake credit card while going undercover at the mall!

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Whoa, nice catch!
I totally went back to watch that scene in EP 3. ^^

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I am behind as usual and just finished episode 8. Jung Kyung-ho (already one of my favorites) is just amazing as Chief Han Tae-joo.
I really can't describe his acting (which is the sign of a great actor I guess) other than to say that he is so internal with his emotions.
What he can do with his eyes, I call it The Look,is quite special as far as I am concerned.

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I knoooww! That's why i love him so! From falling for innocence to prison playbook to heartless city and now this. He never disappointed 👏👏👏👏

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A Danisa Traditional Butter Cookies Tin like the one used by little Tae-joo to hold his trinkets (and Dad's lighters) is available for purchase out there. I don't know if that was an intentional PPL or not.

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hello, im sorry, im still confused, who did shot tae-joo in 2018 if you remember, that person wasn't showed tho.

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The one who shot Tae Joo is still a mystery. At first I thought it was Min Seok's brother. But if in the past, on the same timeline, Hyun Seok died, then the man in 2018 might not be HS. We have to watch to the end to find out!!! 😉

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All i have is praise for the script writer and original writer. If this were a book it'll be aNew York bestseller for years! Brilliant idea. Brilliant delivery from Every single actor esp my personal fav JKH *grin

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My head hurts so much. I think I need a break from this drama. Whoa.

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