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Life on Mars: Episode 14

Life is about choices and the time has come for Tae-joo to choose. As conflicting narratives come into focus, Tae-joo is going to have to decide what to believe and face the consequences that could impact not only the 1988 timeline, but his 2018 fate as well.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Tae-joo gets a medical update via snowy TV and hears that he’ll be waking up soon. Mom’s voice comes through promising to never give up and urging him to do the same. Tae-joo thanks her and then the phone rings—Chief Ahn wants to see him.

At the office, Chief Ahn pulls out a photo of Dong-chul’s friend, Detective Shin, dead in his car. He coolly states that the body was found an hour ago and that a witness had seen Dong-chul at the scene. What’s more, he ran away with an unknown man before the police arrived.

Chief Ahn is suspicious and asks where Dong-chul is. Tae-joo claims not to know and Chief Ahn lets it drop. Tae-joo asks for details on Detective Shin’s death and learns that the police believe he committed suicide to cover up his transgressions.

Chief Ahn pulls out a bankbook and tells Tae-joo that Insung Construction—a shady company that used to run under Oh Jung-man (the gangster arrested for murder back in Episode 9). The bankbook belongs to Detective Shin’s daughter and has received regular deposits from Insung Construction.

Insung City is in the process of redevelopment and those deposits were for Detective Shin to look the other way on Insung Construction’s “business.” Chief Ahn adds that there’s evidence that Chief Kim was also receiving bribes. He suggests that Tae-joo keep his distance from Dong-chul and the others.

A man comes to collect Chief Ahn, but Tae-joo stops him to ask what his reason is for coming here. With a cryptic smile, Chief Ahn answers that Tae-joo already knows why. Tae-joo presses and Chief Ahn replies, “After this case is closed, let’s go home together.”

He tells Tae-joo to hang on a little longer, and takes his leave. Na-young shuffles up behind Tae-joo, her tiger mascot suit dangling from her fingers. Her voice is tired when she calls out to him, and he immediately relieves her of her bag and the mascot head.

Na-young asks about Dong-chul and Tae-joo says he’s been found and is with Yong-ki and Nam-shik. She wonders if he’s heard about Detective Shin’s death and Tae-joo admits the two of them were at the scene earlier.

They go into the office and Na-young sits on her desk while Tae-joo fetches her a glass of water. When he returns and props himself against the adjoining desk, she asks if he’s really planning on going back. Na-young admits that she overheard Chief Ahn telling him they’d return when the case was closed.

Tae-joo swallows and looks away, unable to answer. Na-young pushes forward, saying she thought he’d finally come to like it here. She guesses she was wrong, and asks if he still hates this place. Tae-joo quickly denies it, but when asked why he’s still leaving he says, “I can’t stay here forever.”

Tae-joo says he has to return and Na-young ducks her head, staring at her hands. Tae-joo apologizes, but Na-young says it’s nothing to be sorry about… but her voice wavers and she doesn’t look him in the face.

She redirects attention to the duffel she was carrying and says that it’s extra clothes Dong-chul’s wife packed for him. Quickly swiping a tear from her eye, Na-young asks Tae-joo to deliver it before excusing herself for the night. Oof, my heart.

Heading over to the health center, Tae-joo finds Yong-ki standing outside the examination room keeping guard while Dong-chul is with Detective Shin’s body. Nam-shik has bought them a little time by taking the actual guard out drinking. Tae-joo heads into the autopsy room to find Dong-chul sprawled on the floor, soju in hand.

Tae-joo suggests that they leave as Chief Ahn could come in at any moment, but Dong-chul snaps that he’s not afraid. Sighing, Tae-joo reveals that Chief Ahn thinks Dong-chul is involved in both Chief Kim and Detective Shin’s deaths.

Dong-chul laughs ruefully that Chief Ahn thinks he killed Detective Shin, but Tae-joo corrects him that it’s been written off as a suicide. Snapping to attention, Dong-chul asks what he means. Tae-joo repeats what Chief Ahn had said about the bribes. Dong-chul grows irate and grabs Tae-joo’s collar, shouting that Detective Shin never accepted so much as a free cup of coffee throughout his carreer.

Tae-joo lets Dong-chul shout and then reasons that it’s possible Detective Shin wanted to leave something behind for his daughter. He continues that Detective Shin had confessed to having cancer and less than a year left to live. Tears stream down Dong-chul’s face as Tae-joo admits that Detective Shin hadn’t wanted him to know.

Defeated, Dong-chul mutters that life isn’t fair. He stumbles over to the autopsy table just as Yong-ki scrambles inside to say Chief Ahn is coming down the hall. A detective bangs on the door and demands that Dong-chul come out. Chief Ahn orders the door be broken down, but Tae-joo spots the soju bottles on the floor and throws one at the outlet—successfully shorting out the building’s power.

The hallway goes dark and a man bursts out of the autopsy room and tears off down the hallway. The two detectives with Chief Ahn give chase but he pauses to peek inside the autopsy room—but it’s empty!

Chief Ahn races after the others and as soon as he’s gone, the door of one of the cold lockers bursts open and Dong-chul and Tae-joo roll out. Tae-joo worries about Yong-ki (who ran out as a decoy) but Dong-chul assures him Yong-ki knows the area better than anyone.

Despite Tae-joo’s concerns, Dong-chul insists on accompanying him to the station to see Detective Shin’s bankbook himself. Tae-joo is anxious, but follows anyway and sends the station guard out for a break so Dong-chul can sneak back into his office.

Tae-joo asks if Dong-chul has his keys for the locked drawer on the desk and he assures him he does… before just ripping the drawer out with sheer strength. Heh.

Tae-joo says Detective Shin is their prime suspect for Chief Kim’s death since he’s the only person other than Dong-chul and the thief they’ve confirmed at the scene. His voice softens and he adds that he knows it’s a rough situation, but Dong-chul needs to set aside personal feelings if he wants to clear his name.

To Tae-joo’s horror, Dong-chul tears out a page of the report. Dong-chul points out he’s already wanted for murder, so theft is nothing. He’s ready to investigate and Tae-joo shoves everything back into the drawers before joining him. Unfortunately, Chief Ahn has just returned and Tae-joo only has a moment to shove Dong-chul in a corner and throw him Na-young’s mascot suit.

Tae-joo steps up to distract Chief Ahn, saying he heard Dong-chul was spotted and asking if they’d caught him. Chief Ahn grumbles that despite his looks, Dong-chul is sly and managed to evade them. Dong-chul—clad in Na-young’s tiger suit—stumbles out to join them as Tae-joo agrees that Dong-chul is a “cunning scumbag.” Hehe.

If Chief Ahn finds them suspicious, he doesn’t say anything, even as Tae-joo introduces the very tall tiger as Na-young. After a curt nod, Chief Ahn shuts himself in his office and the two detectives hustle out of there. In the hall, two passing officers slap Dong-chul on the butt and Tae-joo has to hold him back as he grumbles, “He touched me. He wants to fight the tiger!”

Dong-chul and Tae-joo reinvestigate Chief Ahn’s house and Tae-joo runs back through the crime. The killer murdered Chief Kim in the bath with his award plaque and turned on the hot water to disguise his time of death, which was actually around 3:00 a.m., rather than 4:00.

At 3:30 a.m., Dong-chul had drunkenly burst in and immediately passed out on the couch. The killer had wiped everything he touched clean, and then reapplied Dong-chul’s fingerprints to the murder weapon. Afterwards, the burglar, Oh Yong-tae, had arrived and seen the culprit leaving.

The only thing the men can’t figure out is why Detective Shin would murder Chief Kim… or stay at the scene for an extra half hour afterwards. Tae-joo wonders if he was searching for something and remembers how he’d seen Detective Shin rifling through Yong-tae’s house before they’d all chased the thief down.

Yong-tae is still in custody, so they have him released. Yong-tae is dubious… and rightly so as Dong-chul jumps him as soon as he’s free. Tae-joo disapproves of Dong-chul knocking the guy out, but Dong-chul points out he’s already seen them together and it would be bad if he told Chief Ahn.

Nam-shik joins them, having finished covering Yong-tae’s release. They wake the thief and demand that he show them everything he stole from Chief Kim. Unfortunately, someone is already ransacking Yong-tae’s place when they arrive.

Nam-shik rushes in too early and the intruder manages to push past. Dong-chul and Tae-joo give chase and Dong-chul finds the intruder first. They scuffle and Dong-chul spots a gang tattoo on the man’s back before he escapes again.

Running after him, Dong-chul meets Tae-joo in the alley moments before a car comes careening towards them. They jump out of the way just in time, but they lose the intruder, who Dong-chul reveals is part of the Seobu Gang.

Nam-shik joins them and they ask what he did with Yong-tae. Nam-shik assures them he cuffed Yong-tae to a gas tank, but he’s gone by the time they return. Fortunately, Yong-tae hasn’t gotten far as the gas tank is heavy. They easily find him shuffling down a nearby alley and drag him back to the house.

Yong-tae piles everything he stole in the middle of the room, but admits the ledger is missing. He adds how it was strange how carefully Chief Kim had hidden it and wonders where it went. Since the gang member tonight was empty-handed, the Tae-joo realizes Detective Shin must’ve taken it.

Tae-joo and Dong-chul start to leave and Nam-shik wonders what to do with Yong-tae. Dong-chul says Yong-tae admitted to stealing everything, so of course he’ll go back to jail. After confirming Yong-tae will keep his mouth shut about Dong-chul, they have Nam-shik lock him back up.

Unfortunately, Detective Shin’s place is crawling with cops, so Dong-chul and Tae-joo head back home. Nam-shik joins them later and flinches when he sees Yong-ki, who’s coated in mud and grass after leading the cops on a wild goose chase. Everyone, including Na-young, is seated around the table eating dinner by candlelight.

Yong-ki compliments Na-young’s cooking and assures Tae-joo that the officers are searching in the opposite direction of his house. Dong-chul affectionately places kimchi in everyone’s bowls and it’s such a warm moment, Tae-joo’s face breaks into a rare smile.

Afterwards, the team huddles up and Dong-chul says they need to wrap this case up quickly. He asks about his family and Na-young assures him that they’re doing well, and believe in him. Yong-ki wonders why the Seobu gang is involved when they supposedly broke up after their leader, Oh Jung-man, was arrested.

Nam-shik says the members regrouped to become Insung Construction. Oh Jung-man’s position as CEO was passed on to a relative of Chief Kim. Na-young adds that when Insung Construction was investigated, Jung-man was arrested for fraud but Chief Kim had all the charges dismissed. Additionally, the officer in charge was Detective Shin.

During the investigation, the ledger was one of the items confiscated and Dong-chul guesses that’s why the Seobu Gang is involved now. Tae-joo promises to check whether Chief Ahn has found the ledger tomorrow.

After everyone has left, Tae-joo finds Dong-chul sitting quietly in the corner, drinking soju. Tae-joo suggests that they go to bed, but Dong-chul says he has too much to think about. Tae-joo pours them both a drink and then admits that he’s never trusted anyone his whole life.

Tae-joo:“I always thought that I was the only person who was right. Then… I lost the only person who trusted me. Maybe that’s why I am they way I am now.”

Tae-joo says that unlike him, Dong-chul has a lot of people who trust in him—Tae-joo included. Realizing Tae-joo is trying to cheer him up, Dong-chul snorts that Tae-joo must be dying soon. Tae-joo snipes that Dong-chul is the one acting weak. Chuckling softly, Dong-chul tells Tae-joo to hush up and drink.

The next morning, Tae-joo hears his 2018 doctor discussing his surgery with Doctor Ahn, who says Tae-joo needs to remain mentally stable for the surgery to be a success. “You’ll undergo surgery soon,” Doctor Ahn says, “You have to trust me until then.”

Getting up, Tae-joo realizes Dong-chul is not with him and dials Na-young. He tells her Dong-chul has disappeared without a word again and to inform Nam-shik and Yong-ki as well. No sooner does he hang up than there’s a knock at the door.

Chief Ahn greets him with a smile and they relocate to the pier. Chief Ahn admits that he’s known all along Tae-joo and Dong-chul were together. Tae-joo wonders why he feigned ignorance. Chief Ahn says he was worried about Tae-joo and if he’d forgotten where he came from.

Tae-joo assures him he knows where he’s from and asks when Chief Ahn will bring him home. Chief Ahn replies, “When the risk factors are gone.” His words mirror 2018 Doctor Ahn’s and Chief Ahn slids over a file of bribery allegations, saying it’s a report on Dong-chul.

Tae-joo opens it to find a bankbook set up the same way as Detective Shin’s. Tossing the file in the backseat, Tae-joo says it’s impossible. Chief Ahn points out that Dong-chul is looking for the ledger and admits that he hasn’t found it yet, either. However, Chief Ahn says Dong-chul’s name will be in the ledger, along with multiple other officers from their station.

Concerned about Tae-joo’s relationship with Dong-chul, Chief Ahn asserts that Dong-chul is “volatile” and there’s no knowing when he’ll “burst.” Tae-joo takes it as a metaphor for his surgery and asks if Chief Ahn means for him to eliminate Dong-chul in order for his operation to succeed.

Tae-joo explains that Doctor Ahn had said they needed to remove the “risk factors” in order for the surgery to be successful and Tae-joo to wake up. He insists that they’re in his dream while he lies in a hospital bed and Chief Ahn is really the surgeon who’s going to help him wake up.

Shaking his head, Chief Ahn sighs that he’d heard Tae-joo had been in a car accident the day he arrived. He tells Tae-joo to snap out of it: “You came here from Central to perform an internal audit.”

Tae-joo argues that he’s from the forensic branch and this is all just a dream. However, he suddenly seems unsure. As if trying to convince himself, Tae-joo shouts that it’s a dream while repeatedly pounding his fist into the roof of the car. Staring at his throbbing hand, Tae-joo extracts himself from the car.

Chief Ahn joins him and hands over Tae-joo’s initial report on the audit. Flipping it open, Tae-joo stares at Dong-chul’s profile. Chief Ahn tells him to check who wrote it and Tae-joo’s own name glares back at him.

“You started all this,” Chief Ahn says, “Do you get it now?” He barks that Tae-joo is not from the forensic branch, but the Seoul Central Investigative Agency. Staring at Chief Ahn in disbelief, Tae-joo flashes back to Kim Hyun-seok warning him not to trust the man who called him.

Tae-joo asks how he can trust Chief Ahn and the older man shouts that he’s the one who sent Tae-joo here. He reiterates that this is not a dream and urges Tae-joo to pull himself together. Tae-joo doesn’t accept it and tears up the report, tossing it into the water.

Returning to the station, Tae-joo makes a beeline for his file. Pulling out the transfer notice, he’s dismayed to find Chief Ahn’s name on the signature line. Voices from 2018 and 1988 mingle together from different devices, repeating conflicting truths.

Tae-joo’s 2018 doctor shouts that his vitals are going haywire, calling for Doctor Ahn. The detective from the TV program whispers that it’s okay for Tae-joo to give up if everything is hard while another voice tells him not to believe anything, as they’re all lies.

Papers fly into the air as Tae-joo’s heartbeat drowns out the voices. Na-young arrives and stares at the papers scattered all across the floor. She addresses him and Tae-joo snaps out of his stupor long enough to glance down at the crumpled transfer notice in his hand before collapsing to the floor.

Tae-joo wakes up at the health clinic and Manager Park snaps at him to take better care of himself. Sitting up, Tae-joo sees his wound—from Hyun-seok stabbing him on the bridge—has been redressed. Manager Park says Tae-joo overexerted himself, resulting in the wound reopening and becoming infected.

Manager Park tells him to rest and leaves as Na-young walks in. She asks if he’s okay and he starts to agree, but then admits he’s in pain. He asks her why he’s still dreaming, or if this is actually reality. Tae-joo’s confused and looks lost as he asks if he’s gone crazy.

Na-young reminds him that you can’t feel anything if you’re not alive and places his hand on her heart—just as she’d done when he’d first come and tried to jump off the roof. She asks if he still doesn’t feel anything and Tae-joo stares up into her eyes for a few beats before pulling back.

Tae-joo reveals that Chief Ahn showed him something but he doesn’t know how to take it. He tells Na-young he’s not sure what’s the truth or what he should believe.

Na-young:“Listen to the sound of your heart instead of using your eyes to see. The truth lies there. Just like it has always been.”

Yong-ki and Nam-shik come in to check on Tae-joo and report that while they still haven’t heard from Dong-chul, Chief Ahn hasn’t found him either. Unfortunately, the Seobu Gang is on the hunt for Dong-chul as well.

Nam-shik sighs that Dong-chul should’ve included them in his plans, but Na-young thinks he was trying to protect them. Tae-joo is sure Dong-chul is searching for the ledger and urges the other two to keep looking for him.

Ripping out his IV, Tae-joo starts to leave as well, but Na-young worries that he shouldn’t be moving around yet. Tae-joo says that he plans to listen to her advice and find the truth for himself.

Tae-joo and Na-young try searching Detective Shin’s place first. Spotting the keys Detective Shin had given to Dong-chul under the table, Tae-joo knows that Dong-chul was there. However, since Dong-chul hasn’t called, he must not have found the ledger.

When they’d arrested the thief Yong-tae, Tae-joo remembers that Detective Shin had excused himself to go home. He realizes that Detective Shin must’ve already had the ledger, but he died before ever coming home that day. Which means the ledger is hidden elsewhere.

Na-young wonders if it’s in the car so they go to investigate. Unfortunately, there’s no ledger to be found but Tae-joo does discover a tape recorder hidden under the steering wheel. They hit play and Detective Shin’s voice tells Dong-chul he’s sorry, and that this is all he can do for him.

“I hope you’ll prove your innocence with this,” Detective Shin says before replacing the recorder in its hiding place. They then hear someone enter the car and a new voice asks if Detective Shin found the list. Detective Shin demands to know why the other man framed Dong-chul for Chief Kim’s murder… and why Chief Kim had to be killed at all.

The other man simply replies he just did what had to be done. Detective Shin says Tae-joo is suspicious and the other man replies that he’ll take care of it. By now, Na-young and Tae-joo have identified the mystery voice as belonging to Chief Ahn and he asks where Detective Shin hid the ledger.

Detective Shin assures him it’s in a safe place only he knows about, and promises to hand it over when Dong-chul is cleared. Chief Ahn warns him not to make matters worse for everyone but Detective Shin adamantly demands that Dong-chul be removed from the wanted list.

Chief Ahn says he believes Detective Shin hid the list well and asks if anyone else knows its whereabouts. Detective Shin confirms he’s the only one and Chief Ahn greasily reasons that if Detective Shin is gone, no one will ever find it… before snatching Detective Shin’s gun and shooting him in the head.

They realize Dong-chul is in danger and Tae-joo notices a small key on the key ring Detective Shin had given Dong-chul. Na-young says it looks like a drawer key and Tae-joo remembers how Detective Shin had said he’d bought a gym and would keep a locker for Dong-chul.

Tae-joo says they have to find him before Chief Ahn, and Na-young fills in the other two about the murders. Nam-shik swipes radios for each of them and they spread out to find Dong-chul. None of them is having much luck when the radio in Dong-chul’s car starts playing. Tae-joo walks over to investigate and gets run over by another car.

Tae-joo manages to get up and through the ringing in his ears, he hears a 2018 nurse shout that his cerebral artery has burst—they need to perform the surgery immediately. Shaking it off, Tae-joo turns his attention to the gangster stepping out of the car with a knife.

Even concussed, Tae-joo is a beast and quickly knocks the guy out. Na-young’s voice cries out of the radio that they’ve found Dong-chul but he’s been cornered at a warehouse by the Seobu Gang. Tae-joo tells her he’s on his way and rushes over.

He arrives to find the others fending off a horde of gangsters. Tae-joo starts to join them but Chief Ahn appears and points a gun to his head. Turning to face the gun head-on, Tae-joo guesses Chief Ahn called the gangsters and tells him to call it off.

Tae-joo accuses Chief Ahn of killing Chief Kim and Detective Shin. Chief Ahn barks at Tae-joo to wake up from his delusions and without breaking eye contact, Tae-joo places his forehead against the gun. “Kill me so I can come back to my senses.”

The evening lights-out drill blares and Tae-joo is able to wrest the gun from Chief Ahn. Tae-joo tosses Chief Ahn his cuffs and tells him to put them on. Tae-joo starts towards his team again but Chief Ahn warns him not to get close to them if he wants to return home.

He shouts that they’re “delusions” that keep Tae-joo here. Tae-joo’s ears start ringing and he hears the 2018 nurse urge him to trust Chief Ahn and then 2018 Ahn’s voice promises everything will be okay if he trusts him.

Chief Ahn pleads again for them to go home and Na-young cries for Tae-joo to help. The team is being overwhelmed and everyone is taking hits. Chief Ahn says it’s almost over. Finally, Tae-joo speaks. “Who you really are isn’t important to me,” he tells Chief Ahn, “I will believe… what’s happening before my very eyes.”

Tae-joo runs towards his friends and in 2018 we hear that the surgery is nearly over. Just as he’s about to reach the others, everything goes white… and Tae-joo wakes up in his hospital bed in 2018.

 
COMMENTS

What??? We’re back? What is happening? What does this mean? Surely 1988 wasn’t just a coma dream… it’s too crazy for that! How can we be at the threshold of the finale and still have so many questions?

This show is such a roller coaster and Tae-joo sure had a lot of twists to navigate this episode. From the beginning he’s been wrestling with himself as to whether or he’s dreaming or just crazy. Chief Ahn’s arrival finally brought that inner turmoil to a head and forced Tae-joo to decide. It’s so odd that Chief Ahn in 1988 shares an identity with Doctor Ahn of 2018 and I’m not sure what the implications are.

At first, Tae-joo believes that Chief Ahn is a literal representation of the surgeon that’s going to wake him up, but nothing is as it seems in 1988. It’s possible that (if this is a coma dream) Tae-joo created Chief Ahn after hearing about him in his sleep… which could imply that everyone else has a 2018 counterpart? At least that way we aren’t completely losing the 1988 family we’ve grown to love. But at the end when Tae-joo rebelled against Chief Ahn and the voices and ran towards his friends even if that meant he might not wake up… that was beautiful and just speaks for how far Tae-joo has come from the detached intellectual of old. And why it was actually heart-wrenching when he woke up in the hospital before he could save them.

With only two episodes left, I’m really anxious to see how the show wraps things up. As much as I didn’t want to leave 1988, Tae-joo had unfinished business in 2018. Kim Min-seok is still running rampant and with an unknown accomplice! After Hyun-seok died, did someone else take him in and groom him to be a serial killer? Or is Hyun-seok even dead in 2018? Or did he even exist at all? If 1988 was just a dream to help Tae-joo work things out, what parts would be fact and what parts fiction? I can’t believe the show has managed to keep me in the dark right up to the end and all I can say is I hope the reveal is worthy of all this great setup. It’s a tall order, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

I think my favorite thing about this show, and this episode in particular, is the characters and their growth. Tae-joo has come so far from Episode 1 and really let his little team in. He’s usually so cool-headed and stoic that I was stunned when he broke out into a huge smile over dinner with his friends. These are the connections Tae-joo is missing in 2018 and while I know having forged these bonds will help him connect with people now that he’s back… I’m not ready for those 1988 bonds to be broken.

 
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Arrghh... My head hurts. I used to think that the TV inspector and even Ahn Min-shik are Tae-joo's only link to the present. And I've came to acknowledge that at the end he does need to cut ties with the '88 world no matter how painful the process would be. But the fact that he woke up right after he decided that he did care about all his team members dream world be damned put a wrench to my initial theory. So, does that mean that the important point of this whole "time travel" is to teach Tae-joo about trust, love, friendship, and compassion? Is Na-young right again, then? That all Tae-joo need to do is to open his heart and stop putting a wall between himself and other people?

But where does that leave us? I don't want to part with all those people I've come to like and care about. And that will be quite depressing for Tae-joo to wake up just to find them gone like they never exist in the first place.

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I was thinking how we do notice that people change after brain surgery, after amnesia... or after surviving a big life threatening event. This story explains (whether it meant to or not) how that change could happen.

If in the time the brain was 'asleep', new emotions and attitudes are triggered, ie different chemicals in the brain were activated, the patient could perhaps recover with a 'new' personality.

I wonder if Tae Joo will retain his new, warmer, healthier attitude towards others post-surgery and post-coma. 😉

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Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but I'm actually glad that he woke up. He needs to sort things out in the present timeline. And if all this is just a dream, does that mean he was fighting against his own self to not wake up? What about his mother and aunt in the present? They need him too.
That doesn't mean I'm not sad about the people left behind in 1988. I just hope the final week gives a satisfying conclusion to all characters...I'm asking for too much aren't I? Well I hope that's the case for the pentad and his family in the present.

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I agree.
I think for us and for him to know what happened, he has to return to 2018. While we have learned to love the team in 1988 warts and all, we don't really know how they factor into his malaise. Were they the reason why he couldn't go back? Or are they the reason why he finally can go back? These are the sorts of things we need to told in some kind of convincing fashion. I'd be very interested to see how the K version intends to play this out in terms of the themes that have been woven all throughout the series.

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I believe he was fighting himself. There is the part that realizes that something is not right and the other part that wants to remain in this world. And so we have the introduction of Chief Ahn into this world and the crazy plot/intrigue that ensues.

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Same. As much as I like the relationship between Taejoo and the guys, I want Taejoo to wake up and use his valuable learning experiences in 1998 as a gateway to take the first step towards a better and brighter future in 2018, where old relationships will be strengthened (his family and ex-girlfriend) and new ones will be easily formed.

I think it would be beautiful and poignant if Taejoo left 1998 because he grew as a person and is finally ready to live a fulfilling and happy life on his own in 2018.

However, I have an inkling that he will end up coming back to 1998 somehow.

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Oops, I meant 1988.

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in my brain, it's getting closer to notion that it's probably not really a time-travel.. Because 2018 Tae Joo was actually dealing with police corruption case too (the reason why he moved to different division, and hated by other police officers in that time), that's why the Insung Construction case popped up in this 1988 coma dream/imagination/sub-consciousness/mind palace.

I still can't believe that Nail Polish Murderers is actually over, though.. was it just a coincidence that Hyun-Seok's victim have connection with the gang/Tae-Joo's dad?

and, when I saw Little Min-seok put nail polish in kidnapped Na-Young..did he learn that from his brother?!

ALSO ALSO, it's only 2 more episodes?? HOW?!
I'm going SO into RAGE if the conclusion is gonna be a mere coma imagination..

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If they go with the original ending (and I strongly think they won't), it will all make perfect sense. And if they do, and they remake the follow-up show (Ashes To Ashes), it will all come together beautifully. But with the changes they have made up to this point, I think they are gonna go a different route.

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Hi, Beanies. I am going to share what I wrote on my fanwall a couple of days ago about what I think is going on.

Just two things: I accidentally wrote Chief Ahn's full name as Ahn Min-seok (based on Asianwiki), when it should be Ahn Min-shik. Also, regarding the mention of cold case files: after re-watching the first half hour of episode one, I think that Tae-joo was actually looking at cases up for retrial, not cold cases. Anyway, I will share my post as it was originally written.

--Original post--

Thinking back on the beginning of episode one (which we’ll have to rewatch), @buffy86 was wondering if the people (mainly the cops) Tae-joo interacts with in 1988 might have been mentioned in the cold case files he was reviewing in 2018. That got me to thinking that the cases he has solved in the 1980s world might have been some of the cold cases in those files.

The world that Tae-joo inhabits is becoming more and more unreal. Who else feels that things are becoming ridiculous—not in a bad way, but in a way that is making us question reality? That Ahn Min-seok is both Tae-joo’s supposed superior in Seoul and the Doctor who will perform a complicated surgery on Tae-joo is interesting. The worlds are colliding with each other, or perhaps it is better to say that they are bleeding into each other. And the revelation that Tae-joo was supposedly sent to perform an internal audit on Dong-chul’s precinct due to deep levels of corruption just seems so bizarre (not completely impossible but quite doubtful). It’s like all these elements are being thrown in to make Tae-joo’s subconscious realize that the world around him is not real; it is an attempt to awaken him. But Tae-joo’s struggle is represented by the doubt cast around An Min-seok. Even the serial killer, Kim Hyun-seok, warns Tae-joo not to trust him just before the former jumps over the bridge. How would Hyun-seok have even known about An? A large part of Tae-joo wants to remain in the ‘80s, so part of his subconscious is making a villain out of mystery man from Seoul. That same mystery man from Seoul might also be the other part of Tae-joo’s subconscious, fighting to bring him back. So, An Min-seok is an actual person in 2018 and as a figure in the ‘80s, he is Tae-joo subconscious.
The level of detail in this 1980s world is still too much for this to simply be a dream world. There is something more to this. I also think that a large part of why Tae-joo “traveled” to this world was to achieve some kind of closure, in terms of his relationship with his father. He has also learned how to open up to people, something he wasn’t able to do in his own timeline, which led to a lot of isolation.

--End of Original post--

I still wonder how the show will handle Min-seok, who is still on the loose. I also wonder if the mystery man who helped Min-seok was his older brother. If time travel didn't actually...

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occur, then the 2018 world would remain as it is, with no changes. Is Tae-joo's ex-girlfriend still missing or not? I don't think, however, that everything can be explained by a coma. Could this be some other world, rather than the past? I don't know.

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From the beginning (episode 1 or 2, can't remember) it was implied that Tae-Joo's ex-girlfriend has come back and okay, and in few episodes back Tae-Joo also heard her voice, begging him to come back. BUT, I don't really believe that all the voices he heard in 1988 are actually come from 2018... it could be just the making from his brain, trying to put things into place.

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Yes, early on it says she came back. But then there is another moment (I don't remember if it is when Minseok visits Tae-joo in the hospital), where it is implied that she is not all right. It keeps going back and forth. But this mirrors the overall confusion going on in Tae-joo's mind right now. Information is unreliable. She might be alive and well, but there was something questionable a few episodes ago. I might be wrong, but I could have sworn there was.

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A lot of great points. I also hope that the show addresses the current whereabouts of Min-Seok and the identity of the man who helped him.

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i'm still confused as to what part is a dream and which aspect is reality. especially the people involved in Tae Joo's accident. i have so many questions but don't know where to start. hopefully next week will answer them.

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..places his hand on her heart— She asks if he still doesn’t feel anything ..

❤️😍😊

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well, i'm imagining a very serious NOONA Romance happening in 2018... a bit awkward, of course, but a nice fantasy for those of us "older gals"....
*winks*

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I'm pumped for the final 2 episodes. The setup from ep 1 to ep 14 has been so great. I will miss the 1988 gang so much but tae joo has a lot to do in 2018. I wonder how they are going to fit everything in only 2 episodes.

I like the recurring theme of trust. Taejoo has grown a lot since his stoic days in ep 1. He has learned to give and take, to trust and lean on someone else. His growth is gradual and feels organic. The whole 1988 team is a fun bunch. Dongchul is what glues them all together. Yongki might have issues, but deep down he's a good guy. Namshik is dependable and a cute maknae. Nayoung is resourceful, brave and simply a girl crush hahaha.

It has been a very enjoyable ride, i trust the crew and cast to deliver the best until the very end. Thank you for such an amazing remake (eventhough i havent watched the original version), this drama is a gem!

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the Team's candlelight dinner, Yong-ki stopped being so toxic to "Mr. Seoul", and that Tae Joo's big grin.. ugh. I can't! I can't!
just stay in 1988 and make a fortune from sport gambling already!!

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LOL at the sport gambling!

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Can we be sure that Tae joo woke up in 2018? What if it is a fake-out and he is still in 1988 after being in a fight with the gang. Though I am hoping he woke up in 2018. There's too much things to settle in 2018. Unless, there is season 2 whicu I am dreading because of the eventual cliffhanger.

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There's a flat screen TV in front of him. Unless someone had the crystal ball 30 years ago of how a tv should look like in the future, it's unlikely it's a fake out.

*sigh* I don't want TJ to go back to 2018 either. Conflicted.

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Na-young:“Listen to the sound of your heart instead of using your eyes to see. The truth lies there. Just like it has always been.”

These words were just so beautiful. So the moment Tae-joo decided to run towards his friends made me proud and scared. What if the people he finally let in to his life are just illusions he created? What if he indeed travelled back in time but now he won't be able to come back in 1988 unless he's on the brink of death again?

My heart and head hurts at the same time right now.

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Thanks @Sunny
Oh how I loved this episode, especially the funny moments, because the feeling moments, were just so rich ... so sweet, or painful or hard to bear.

First the funny:

Dong-chul—clad in Na-young’s tiger suit—stumbles out to join them as Tae-joo agrees that Dong-chul is a “cunning scumbag.” Hehe.

- that was hilarious! Dong Chul in tiger suit walking repeatedly into the wall because he did not get the tiger head on straight!!! I was in stitches. I loved Jung Kyung Ho's totally serious face while all the bumping around was going on with tiger and having to twist the tiger head to face front. I wonder if it took only 1 take or several.

The feeling moments: That little team dinner, cooked by Na Young, in Tae Joo's place was just the sweetest little gathering of the rough and tough. There was so much to feel in how they related to each other. They were no longer officially a team, but more so now than before, in their hearts they remained united. It was so sweet to forget the troubles for that short time, I just knew that was a sign that it was going to be about the last chance they'd have, to be cozy together.

Dong Chul for all that quick temper, has so much heart and loyalty, and I actually could feel with him, his loss of a mentor and friend, and how he refused to believe that Shin would ever commit suicide or take bribes. It is the faithful warmth and care of Dong Chul and Na Young who have made it possible for Tae Joo to choose helping the team over taking care of himself. I think I was jumping around and cheering for him (in my heart) as he turned to run to them.

His waking up in 2018 was bittersweet to me. On the one hand, I thought the greater cliffhanger would have been to have ended in a white-out and not even showing us that he had awakened in our present (of course we'd all be howling in protest, but that would have been the cliffhanger of cliffhangers!!!). On the other hand, while I'm glad his surviving surgery has been confirmed, the uncertainty as to what happened and whether Tae Joo's jumping into the fray had made a positive difference in the outcome continues to rankle. I hope we won't be left hanging.

In other shows, I'd have complained that it's so impossible for a person to have been knocked down by a car (twice) and shot, and stabbed and drowned and each time to have survived, and not only that, but had got up to fight again, but in this show, because it could have been a dream within a coma, anything is possible. I thought at first that show had totally glossed over the fact that TJ had been stabbed, so I was glad to see that his would was still needing to be dressed. 😆

A question from the previous episode ... I wonder what Shin was searching for in the thief's house, since by that time he already had found and hidden the ledger. As usual, I hope that with this tight writing, even this little puzzle will be explained. 😜

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i also wonder the magical powers of healing for our lead TJ, but then when he passed out and the doctor/coroner mentioned something about infection, i'm like this writer is good, hahahhahaaa...

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Life on Mars has been so good since the beginning. I really don’t want to part from the 1988 team and I don’t want this whole situation to be a coma dream. Seeing the gang huddled together for dinner in the tiny, semi-dark room was cute and heartwarming. Yong Ki looked so goofy and cheerful and I’m glad he is not fighting against Tae Joo anymore. They all looked closer than ever.

It cracks me up that even as the show is getting more intense and serious, they still manage to include moments of humor. And it never feels jarring. Like Dong Chul in the tiger costume and Yong Tae trying to escape with a big gas tank cuffed to him.

I actually didn’t expect Chief Ahn to be the one behind the murders. I kept waiting for a new culprit to appear.

I’ve fiercely grown attached to the team, but I have to admit that Tae Joo does need to get back to the present. Where he truly belongs. I’m just not sure what the show will do to give us a satisfying ending. Maybe it would be okay if the 1988 team had a counterpart in 2018 like @Sunny proposed. I’m still wondering if there will be enough time (2 episodes left?) to explain/wrap up the present story. It might be kinda unbelievable if Min Seok is found too quickly.

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"I actually didn’t expect Chief Ahn to be the one behind the murders. I kept waiting for a new culprit to appear."

The death of Detective Shin plays out in two different ways. The first time, there is a female witness whom we see shouting right before the gun shot. It's like she saw what Shin was about to do and yelled (ineffectually) for him to stop.

In the second version, which is more drawn out, Chief Ahn speaks at length with Detective Shin before shooting him. If that were the case, how would he have had time to leave the scene without being noticed, especially since Tae-joo and Dong-chul arrived shortly after hearing the gun shot? Also, what happened to the female witness, who does not figure into this version?

That's why I do not believe that Chief Ahn is the villain. I just think that things are becoming crazier as the battle (which I mentioned in my earlier comment) within Tae-joo's mind continues. There is the desperate part of Tae-joo's subconscious which I believe wants to stay in this world.

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I had forgotten about the female witness. I replayed the scene. It looked like she was on the road outside, looking towards the inner lot and discovering Det. Shin after she heard the gunshot. She was obviously shocked. I think she was too far from the scene to try to shout at him and his window was also closed all the way.

You brought up a good point though. Chief Ahn would not have enough time to leave the crime scene because Tae Joo and Dong Chul were minutes away. Or maybe he just barely had enough time because Tae Joo and Dong Chul ran up to the witness first. Maybe the witness only saw the aftermath.

This show is mind-boggling for sure.

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i really appreciate the unexpected humor that the writer interjects into scenes. the scene in the morgue is a highlight 'coz TJ & DC could have easily taken a drawer each, but no, they shared one, making the scene more funny:)

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What an exciting, heart racing episode. I was shaking with anxiety towards the end. It was nice to see he chose loyalty to his team over going back home, even though it changed nothing.
I can't wait for finale episodes but I also don't want the drama to end.
I'm wondering if the present was a dream and the past is the reality? Because it was a point of believing what's right in front of you.
I don't want him to wake up. Where's the truck of doom?
I hope we get a satisfying ending for such a great show.

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This show is going to break my heart no matter if TaeJoo wakes up in 2018 or stays in 1988. He has ties to both worlds/timelines and has been struggling with his conflicted allegiance. The show has been so good so far that I’m going to just trust the writers to bring it to a good conclusion. Bring it in show! I’m prepared to bawl or laugh hysterically 😭😑😂
The sweet interlude of TaeJoo taking care of NaYoung after her long day was well done. NaYoung’s sadness at TaeJoo’s gentle rejection was heartbreaking. It felt like they were talking about more than just TaeJoo staying in 1988. 😫💔
The team dinner was so sweet. TaeJoo smiling and DongChul taking care of everyone like a papa bear was lovely. I want to see more of them working as a team solving cases and sharing good and drinks (spin off maybe??!!).
This is show is so awesome. Every character is so detailed and real. I love love love it! 💗

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Same to everything you said.

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I'm still confused about why tae joo daddy died. Was all because the money?

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When the beach scene suddenly appeared, I think my brain just fizzled...
Seeing Tae-joo running to where his heart is but then never managing to get there, omg, why so cruel show? T_T
I do know at some point he has to go back to 2018, but losing the 1988 will be too painful. I have this scary vision of Tae-joo existing normally back in 2018, and googling Yoon Na-young and finding that she's married to Nam-shik with 2 grown up children or something. Please don't do that to me, show!
Only a week left, am sad that our time with the squad will end soon but also am glad because I totally need to get to the bottom of all this! But have all the faith for the reveal coz so far it hasn't disappoint.

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What? Wh- how.... Who?
What's happening? What is happening, show, tell me please.
As much as I love this show, waiting another week for the final reveal will kill me.

Thank you for the recap again.

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Tae-joo created Chief Ahn after hearing about him in his sleep… which could imply that everyone else has a 2018 counterpart?
OMFG. That would be nuts.

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i'm so confused..........

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thank you sunny & helcat for the recaps!

i luv how NY have become a refuge for TJ, to reassure him of what's real, important and true. 1988 might be a dream for TJ but his feelings is real, the connections/friendships he had made is continually changing him. most of all his quest for facts, has become a journey in finding out the truth, both within & outside that enables him to trust and help DC.

TJ in return is quick to reassure NY about things, he apologized for wanting to leave, he assisted her when she was carrying the mascot stuff. i wish there was more for these two 'coz they genuinely care and respect each other as individuals.

i've not watched the original UK version, but if it's half as good as this one, i'm sold! i'm hoping for a happy resolution next week, but i'm getting ready also for a heartbreak. i really want TJ to stay in 1988, this was the time/place that he found colleagues that he can also call friends!

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I loved the ambiguous ending of the Brit version. "Happy resolution" is subjective.

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i'll take ambiguous ending as long as it's consistent with the characterization of TJ as someone who found himself in 1988 (meaning his trust conversation with DC), or in 2018 (not sure how the writer can cover this much ground in 2 episodes), fully invested in his new found realizations he gained from his 'time-travel' days...

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Part 1 of 2

Thank you for your recap and comments, Sunny! Like you, I cannot imagine what's going to happen in the final two episodes. I can't wait to find out how this saga is resolved.

At the same time, I'm already feeling bummed out that our plucky band of misfits in 1988 Insung City will no longer be gracing my screen after next week. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Tae-joo will somehow be able to continue associating with them in his own adult time line. I'm not asking for too much, am I, Show?

I never believed the pronouncement that Detective Shin had suicided. I'm half expecting to learn that the daughter in whose name the bogus bank account had been opened was in fact dead before the first deposit had even been made, but the perpetrators did not know that. Or maybe she was not even in Korea. Sure enough, the rest of the scene revealed the true story of Hong-chul's demise. Once it was revealed that he was terminally ill, I expected that he would be a red shirt, but I was not expecting that twist.

I still don't understand Detective Shin's motive for killing Chief Kim -- if he was even the assailant. I could imagine him doing something drastic to protect Dong-chul and his team since he was going to die anyway. But that didn't ring true. He never so much as accepted a free cup of coffee, as Dong-chul later revealed, so I cannot believe that he would have acted as a vigilante.

Chief Kim's murder has Chief Ahn's fingerprints all over it, metaphorically speaking. Or maybe the Insung Construction gang's. Are we going to find out that Chief Ahn is on their payroll, and that he's come down from Seoul to bury his involvement? Maybe we'll find out he's actually the head of the gang, since corruption seems to know no bounds in this dramaverse. (Or am I confusing Insung with Gisung?! Where are the Lawless Attorneys when you need them?!)

Hong-chul's statement to his protege that he had bought back the gym and set aside a locker for Dong-chul caught my ear when he said it. Ye Olde Drop Box is in play -- but maybe that, too, is a red herring. Perhaps Coach stashed the ledger in the heavy bag, which would be apropos for a couple of boxers.

I really don't know what to make of Chief/Dr. Ahn. Has Tae-joo conflated them in his subconscious? Do they even exist in the "real world"? I haven't got a clue, and keep thinking of Min-seok's warning not to believe anything said by the caller from Seoul.

It was heartwarming to see Violent Crimes Team #3 continue to pull together to defend their captain and search for his friend's killer. If Yong-ki hasn't redeemed himself by leading Chief Ahn's (deluded) minions thither and yon for two days, I don't know what could serve as an acceptable display of loyalty and brotherhood.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

Along with Dong-chul's vigil with Hong-chul in the mortuary, and Tae-joo's revelation that his friend had terminal cancer, the team's candlelight dinner at Tae-joo's apartment was poignantly touching. To me, it looked like the Last Supper, minus Judas (aka Chief Ahn, who dropped by later). Tae-joo had finally come in from the cold. At long last he extended trust and caring to other people, and was able to reciprocate by accepting the same from his fellows.

If Tae-joo's central "developmental task" has been to learn to trust and care for people instead of living his life strictly by the book, then he has achieved that milestone. But he could not have done it without his confreres in the mysterious realm he awoke in after his accident. It took Tae-joo many years to truly learn that "No man is an island." If anything, he now looks like an isthmus. ;-)

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Have you seen the British original? If you haven't, you really must watch it after this!

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No, I haven't seen the original version of LIFE ON MARS.

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If it follows the British version don't expect all the answers. You don't need all the answers.
I wonder whether or not Na young is also in a coma and has decided to "stay" in 1988. There's something unreal about her good advice to him.
The final question might be: does he go back to the present or choose to stay in 1988 with Na young.

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I really really want him to stay with NaYoung. She’s been his most consistent friend, philosopher, and guide. She gets through to him more than anyone else. They trusted each other when no one else trusted them (TaeJoo was the first to trust NaYoung’s policing skills and NaYoung was the first to trust TaeJoo’s intentions when solving crimes). They are so lovely together as a couple. 💕
But I feel for TaeJoo’s mom and aunt who are waiting for him in 2018. 😥😩
I didn’t care much for the ex-gf character in 2018 so I really hope they don’t shoehorn a romance with her. 😏🤨
Th childish immature teenage side of me would rather have TaeJoo single in 2018 than with someone other than NaYoung. 😱

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Na Young seems other worldly to me. Wonder if her true identity will be revealed. So intriguing.

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With this version I am expecting some answers ;) Maybe not all but some. Not least because he's already back with two more episodes to go and that encourages me to think that they will make some attempt to explain the method to the madness.

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Do you know if the Tae Joo rebel scene is also in BBC version of the series?

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I don't remember, but my daughter just informed me we have the Brit version on DVD (I had totally forgotten!)

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That looks like the gym from Are You Human Too?
That aside, this show is blowing my mind. While I'm excited for the next episode, I'll be sad to say goodbye to the show.

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Yes, Gym Of Non-Doom also stars in ARE YOU HUMAN TOO. I recognized it from the 2000 movie THE FOUL KING. It also appears in episode 2 of the 4-part drama special PUBERTY MEDLEY (2013).

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Hi @pakalanapikake. I always appreciate your references to ther dramas, films etc.
Re ADOLESCENCE MEDLEY (sounds better to me than PM). Looks like a nice story and cast. A nice 4 episode drama for the summer.
Totally O/T and somewhat removed from its airing. One of AM's cast Kwak Dong-yeon wasn't even 21 years old when he was portraying Dr. Jason on RADIO ROMANCE. There must have been comments on such a young guy playing an MD but I don't remember.
I remember comments about the age of cast members and playing MDs in HOSPITAL SHIP.

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*other dramas,*

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@marcusnyc20 Bong-soo,

You're welcome. I try to mention shows I have enjoyed so others can discover them, too. And it sure is fun to spot shooting locations and landmarks that crop up in numerous dramas.

At 16, Kwak Dong-yeon had a lovely singing voice. He did well in ADOLESCENT MEDLEY, which I agree is a better-sounding title. I found the show listed as the clinical-sounding PUBERTY MEDLEY with English subtitles on KBS World TV on YouTube. It's a lovely show with a lot of heart. IIRC, he was also good in MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT A.

The music (OST and BGM) is great. I'll post some of it on my fan wall. KDY sings lead vocals on Lee Juck's "Running Across the Sky."

They got me with the acoustic folk music with tasty fiddle that plays during views of the countryside around Namil-Myeon, Geumsan County (Geumsan-gun) in South Chungcheong Province during episode 1. It had been called Jinnae-gun or Jinnaeeul-gun during the Baekche (Three Kingdoms) era.

The "motivational" posters on the wall in the boxing gym in ep. 2 are a hoot:

"It doesn't count as a workout if you don't vomit." -- HAR!

"In three months, you can take down a brown bear."

"When will you stop getting beaten up?"

Methinks KDY was miscast in RADIO ROMANCE. He was way too young to be a psychiatrist, and I think I said so. But beyond that, the role was kind of bizarre, and a letdown after his turn in MOONLIGHT DRAWN BY CLOUDS, which was excellent.

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I want these posters. LOL

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Yes, it's The Only Boxing Gym in Korea. Also appearing in The Snow Queen and at least one more drama I can't think of.

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Jochiwon Boxing Gym Here is some info on the place.
(From one of my new favorite kdrama sites.)
https://koreandramaland.com/listings/jochiwon-boxing-gym/

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Thanks, @marcusnyc20 Bong-soo. It's not every day you see a full 2-story Quonset hut. ;-)

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PP, think it must be left from the war?

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@marcusnyc20 Bong-soo,

It would not surprise me if this Quonset hut were a relic from WWII as they were used to build US bases all across the Pacific. They were designed to be portable, so they may have been pressed into service during the Korean War, too. They were an American version of the Nissen huts developed in England during the First World War.

Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quonset_hut:

The most common design created a standard size of 20 ft × 48 ft (6 m × 15 m) with 10 ft (3 m) radius, allowing 960 square feet (67 m²) of usable floor space with optional four-foot (1.2 m) overhangs at each end for protection of entrances from the weather. Other sizes were developed, including 20 ft × 40 ft (6 m × 12 m) and 40 ft × 100 ft (12 m × 30 m) warehouse models.

Per https://www.guampedia.com/quonset-huts/, the large ones were called "elephant Quonsets." The design was able to withstand typhoons. Interesting.

Per https://www.quonset-hut.org/types-of-quonset-huts/,
the 40-ft. wide x 100-ft. long "elephant huts" were aka "utility buildings."

40-ft. width (diameter) of the semicircle =
20-ft. radius (height of roof), which is nominally 2 stories in the US. I think we have a winner. ;-)

Now that I think of it, one of the local lumberyards near where I grew up must have had an elephant Quonset. It was much taller than the one in the color photo in the Wikipedia article.

It's possible that the Jochiwon Boxing Gym has been reduced in length from its original size. It's really hard to tell. I took a gander via Google Maps satellite imagery. According to the scale, it is less than 100-feet long. Perhaps it was truncated to accommodate the parking lot.

We started out discussing boxing gyms and ended up yakking about portable military buildings. Only on DramaBeans. LOL. ;-)

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Yay as always for koreandramaland.com! I love how that mural never changes 😆
Good to see Hyun Bin again 😍 (from Snow Queen)

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hello bong-soo! thanks for sharing, and good to see that the gym's been featured in LOM! we'll be happy to add this to the site - our first location for the drama, actually - and credit you for the tip. please let us know if that's okay :) -MichKDL

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Hi @michh Mich. Thank you but please don't credit me. Credit should go to @mysterious and @pakalanapikake above.

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oh! sorry, missed out those mentions :) and sure, thanks for clarifying!

just curious - how many other 'non-doom' locations are y'all privy to here! now that i've encountered the Cliff and the Gym - any others i should be aware of? hehe.

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Hi, MichKDL,

just curious - how many other 'non-doom' locations are y'all privy to here! now that i've encountered the Cliff and the Gym - any others i should be aware of? hehe.

I mentioned the "motivational" posters from the Gym Of Doom (GOD?!) in ADOLESCENT MEDLEY here, which add a vibe of pain and suffering, if not outright doom, to the decor:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/08/life-on-mars-episode-14/#comment-3281830

I just remembered that there's a bona fide Gym Of Doom in the 2003 SBS drama PUNCH with Joo Jin-mo and Shin Min-a. Her brother dies in a boxing match with JJM. He's a great dancer, BTW. And the show itself was very nice.
http://asianwiki.com/Punch_(2003-South_Korea-SBS)

In LIFE ON MARS, there's the Bridge Of Non-Doom for Tae-joo, but it's deadly for killer Hyun-seok. Do we have to call it "Bridge Of Non-Doom YMMV" for truth in advertising?! It technically also put in an appearance in GREASY MELO when Sae-woo went there with Buster the horse to end it all, but never got around to jumping after meeting up with Poong, who shared his fortune cookies with her.

Bridge Of Doom puts in a rainy appearance in ADOLESCENT MEDLEY when Motorcycle Of Doom drives off a washed-out span, tossing the driver and his passenger in the drink; they are rescued without loss of life.

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WOW thanks for all of those! could either of these be the BoND (haha these acronyms) - https://koreandramaland.com/listings/hwarangyuk-bridge-%ED%99%94%EB%9E%91%EC%9C%A1%EA%B5%90/ or https://koreandramaland.com/listings/hangang-bridge/ (i didn't watch the show so am not sure!)

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@michh Mich, August 2, 2018 at 5:24 PM

The Hangang Bridge is indeed the BOND for Sae-woo in GREASY MELO, and also in TWO COPS.

Shoot! I just remembered another Bridge Of Non-Doom, and that's the one in YONG-PAL. I think it's episode 1 in which Joo Won escapes from police with a shot-up gang boss, and when they get trapped in the roadblock on a bridge, he injects himself and his patient with adrenaline and jumps into the river with him. They successfully evade police.

The BOND in DRAMA SPECIAL: PUBERTY MEDLEY, ep. 3, is supposed to be located in
Namil-Myeon, Geumsan-gun in South Chungcheong.

LIFE ON MARS I believe is set in Insung City, outside Seoul somewhere.

I hope that covered all the bases for you. ;-)

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indeed! thanks for this :)

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This was my fav episode of LOM, the last action sequence and Tae-joo rebel was just so precious to watch.

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When I saw Taejoo smile, like actually SMILE for literally the first time in this show, during dinner with the gang, I had to go back and replay it multiple times because I thought my eyes were starting to trick me. The fact that Taejoo was smiling, even for just those few frames, says so much about how incredibly much he has grown and adapted. I think the show is trying to communicate that Taejoo, who has supposedly never trusted anyone but himself, is learning that he can trust others and not be disappointed. Taejoo's smile is like his embrace towards everyone sitting around him, as if he's saying thank you for being here. He's finally realized the huge impact 1988 has had on him, and he's beginning to cherish it!

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I am so happy with this show that I have nothing much to write. I'm a big ranter and speechless raver. But I have to say this before the finale because I don't know how it will end yet.

For the longest time I have wondered how people are when they are in a comatose state. Are they conscious? Not as defined by medical terms but at a level not known to science. Do they think? Can they feel but not respond? How about brain death? If we believe in soul, does it depart when brain is irreversibly dead or when we no longer breathe?

Although I love our motley cop team in 1988 to bits, I'd rather it not be a time travel story. I admit that it was Chief Ahn 1988 and Dr Ahn 2018 that my head favor 'coma dream' though my heart bleeds for time travel because the latter would mean Na Young, Dong Chul and gang actually exist.

I think Tae Joo's subconscious mind, 2018 cases, clues and people are all mashed up in this dream. And then there was the hurt left behind by Dad. As we have seen, Tae Joo is emotionally scarred by his childhood trauma. He lost the person he trusted most - his Dad and lost his trust in anyone thereafter. Now, I am wondering if Na Young's words about listening to his heart was a plea from Dad or Mom which we never got to see.

Whatever it is, Tae Joo now comes out of his coma, awakened in more ways than one.

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@outofthisworld,

I don't know anyone who has come back from a coma. But if anyone would be able to give insight into what people in comas experience and recall later, I'd bet a dollar to doughnuts that the late Oliver Sacks is the neurologist to read. I had the immense pleasure of hearing him speak on "Music and the Brain" at the World Science Festival in New York some years ago. You can watch the video on YouTube. He commented that dementia and Alzheimer's patients can often be helped to remember after hearing familiar old music, which is why he always sang "Happy Birthday" when consulting with new patients, regardless of their actual birth days. Nearly everyone knows this song, and even people whose memories were profoundly compromised would join him in a singalong. People with Parkinson's disease, who cannot initiate movement on their own, can "hitch a ride" on the rhythm of music they're listening to to get themselves moving.

The film AWAKENINGS is based on one of Dr. Sacks's early cases of working with people in a nearly-Parkinsonian state of frozen inability to move which turned out to have been caused by encephalitis lethargica.

I don't know if any of that is helpful, but I wanted to mention Dr. Sacks. He was a wonderful writer, and a humble human being with a delightfully dry sense of humor.

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Thanks for the tip about the Oliver Sacks YouTube video. Lucky you for getting to hear him speak in person.

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You're most welcome, @risaa.

I had read several of his books (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, The Island of the Colorblind), and jumped at the chance to hear him speak in NYC. The talk was held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, and their magnificent gospel choir blew the roof off.

My mother had Alzheimer's for about 15 years before she died... and had participated in a clinical trial for Aricept, the medication Chairman Nam takes. We had noticed that Mom sang along to old songs, so it was exciting to hear Dr. Sacks mention that aspect of memory.

You night enjoy this BBC program on colorblindness that Dr. Sacks did as part of a series. It only deals with hereditary colorblindness. I recall from the book that people in another part of Micronesia (Guam, Saipan?) develop it from eating improperly-processed cycad sago palm, so it's really a matter of toxicity. In the last part, there's some nice footage of the columnar basalt structures at Nan Madol on Ponape. Very cool. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM06G26X-rQ

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*whimpers I'm so confused 😿

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I didn't think a drama could defeat us intellectual beanies who analyze every aspect of all dramas, but alas, LOM has done it.

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I realized I'd met my match, and have purposely tried to rein myself in lest I blow a gasket (or my mind) trying to unravel this Gordian Knot of a drama. I really need to defrag Ye Olde Gray Matter, install more and faster RAM, update my BIOS, and reboot. It would be so much easier if I were Nam Shin 3. Grumble, grumble...

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gwaenchanh-a, gwaenchanh-a...
*pats you on the back because i'm in the same boat*

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Well, I'm grateful for the company, guys. Only two more episodes until we, hopefully, reach solid ground 🛶

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Thank you Sunny for the recap and the final image showing Tae-joo smiling. I want to thank the LOM PD or whoever was responsible for the scene of the last supper of the team. It was beautiful. Like @sukstan suk when Tae-joo smiled I was like wow!

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I liked the neat transition from 1988 to 2018 with the image of the blue ocean waves and sandy shore. It looked so beautiful and surreal and then the camera smoothly zoomed out, revealing the tv screen in Tae Joo's hospital room. Cool camera/editing work. :)

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I thought maybe that ocean scene was meant to represent the "sea of consciousness".

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The trippiness got even trippier and I was constantly questioning what was real, and now my brain hurts and I don't even know if I'm real, lol.

Was E.T. guy telling the truth when he said he was from 2018? Is he who's working with Min-seok? In ep 1, his ex g.f. (I forget her name) was really upset with him for not having faith in her and for prioritizing doing everything by the book above all else. Was this whole trip his subconscious's way of understanding exactly what she meant? So many questions!

*fingers crossed for a good finale weekend*

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Ah.. I wasn't able to be part of ep 13-14 recaps.. Really hope I am able to catch the ep15 recap and then the finale party! There will be so much to discuss!

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