192

Life on Mars: Episode 15

Tae-joo is back through the looking glass into the real world—so why does it feel so empty and unreal? Trying to regain a sense of normality in the present, Tae-joo has some amends to make with people he left behind, and a major mystery to solve that followed him across the time periods. But he can’t forget the team that needs him back in 1988…

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

Tae-joo’s eyes snap open and he wakes up alone and bewildered in 2018. He staggers to the door, and nearly runs into his mother on the other side, who anxiously runs off to find his doctor.

The doctor from Tae-joo’s TV screen smiles at him and introduces himself as Dr. Jang Won-jae, although Tae-joo already recognizes him from his visions in 1988. Dr. Jang tells Tae-joo that the surgery was a success, even if some of his strength has been depleted.

Tae-joo is more focused on his mother though, as he softly apologizes to her. Relieved that he’s woken up at all, Mom says, “I’m so happy you’ve returned to me like this. It must have been so hard.”

Which is when Chief Ahn enters the room, to cast shadows on the happy reunion. Disconcerted, Tae-joo narrows his eyes as Chief Ahn smilingly says, “Congratulations on retuning home, Han Tae-joo.” Now, why does that give me the chills?

Alone, bright lights from outside Tae-joo’s window cast an eerie glow on his face. Stupefied, Tae-joo wonders, “What happened?”

While catching up on the recent news, Tae-joo’s ex-fiancee Jung Seo-hyun surprises him with a visit and hugs him tightly to her. Going outside, Tae-joo apologizes to Seo-hyun. Taken aback, Seo-hyun confesses that she should be the one who’s sorry since it’s her fault he was attacked.

Seo-hyun explains that she was rescued by Officer Cho, but no one has seen any sign of Kim Min-seok since the night she was captured. Tae-joo sincerely tells Seo-hyun to come to him if she has any problems, but Seo-hyun is quick to point out that he’s only been awake for one day, and he should focus on getting better. Seo-hyun asks, “What’s it like to be alive again?”

Contemplative, Tae-joo answers, “I’m not sure. It feels like I’ve had a long dream.” Seo-hyun smiles that it must have been a nice one if he stayed in it for a whole month. As he walks away, Seo-hyun shyly says that she’s glad he came back, which touches him.

Tae-joo recuperates enough to finally go home (sans head bandage, thank goodness) but something at the hospital door gives him pause—the number of his room 5355 reminds him that the mysterious caller’s number ended in 5355.

As Tae-joo gets driven home, Mom by his side, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” starts to play on the radio. The words of real-life radio presenter Choi Hwa-jung catch his attention as the lyrics seem to play just for him, “Have you ever been to the world of dreams over the rainbow? While you’re listening, why don’t you try to forget all your dreams and concerns of that place?”

Looking lost in his own apartment, Tae-joo busies his hands by helping Mom fold laundry. Worried for his health, Mom makes him promise to take time off work and come live with her and Aunt for a while. Tae-joo notes that he missed his father’s death anniversary but Tae-joo doesn’t look reassured as Mom tells him his father will understand.

Instead, he asks Mom if they have ever lived in Insung. Shaken, Mom says that they did for a little while, and Tae-joo tells her that he had a dream while he was in a coma—that Dad wasn’t the great person he remembered. He asks Mom how his father really died.

Mom falteringly answers that she didn’t want to know any of the details, but the police told her that Dad was shot to death. Dad wasn’t the great person Tae-joo thought he was—but, Mom adds, he really was a great father to Tae-joo.

Overcome, Mom weeps that she should have told Tae-joo earlier, but Tae-joo gently hugs her and apologizes for bringing it up when it must have been so hard for her.

Trying to find closure, Tae-joo drives to Insung police station, where the familiar halls are filled with unfamiliar faces. In his old office, an ordinary scene between Yong-ki and Nam-shik fills his vision and when Dong-chul comes up behind him, it feels so real—but then the current captain of the office breaks Tae-joo’s reverie.

The captain is curious how someone as young as Tae-joo can remember the serial killer case, but is happy to let Tae-joo hunt through the old files for clues. Na-young stands among the shelves—but she’s just a ghost and disappears when Tae-joo tries to follow her.

Tae-joo finds what he is looking for, the serial killer case from 1988. He gets increasingly perturbed as he flicks through the contents—everything in his coma-dream really happened, from Go Yeong-suk and Kyung-se’s murders to Hyun-seok’s shooting on the bridge.

Determined to find the truth, Tae-joo asks the police captain to search for records of his 1988 team on the database. The captain warns him that records from thirty years ago are spotty—and he’s right, as they can’t find any mention of the four. The captain promises to look through a more extensive database.

Uh-oh. News from the TV announces that the still-missing Kim Min-seok hasn’t stopped his spate of serial murders—the body of another twenty-year-old woman was found and all signs point to him.

At the police station, Seo-hyun is mobbed by a crowd of journalists clamoring for a comment on Min-seok’s newest victim. Tae-joo has come to help, and although Seo-hyun does express her doubts that he should be working, she shows him the footage of Min-seok in the convenience store near the victim’s house.

Seo-hyun reminds Tae-joo of the phone call she left him the night she was abducted—she thinks that Min-seok has an accomplice who is protecting him. Intent, Seo-hyun asks if Tae-joo can remember anything about the person who shot him—and now that he’s thinking about it, he remembers the gun was an old model of the guns given to police officers. The accomplice might be a fellow cop.

This revelation is quickly followed by another—the police have discovered Min-seok’s hideout. Rushing to the scene, it isn’t a pleasant sight—Min-seok was living in a hovel without any proper facilities. The neighbors had no idea he was there.

Tae-joo grimly takes note of the picture of Min-seok with his brother and sister, as well as the pile of nail polish. Spotting Min-seok’s food rations, Tae-joo deduces that he must have stayed here for at least a month. A packet of painkillers particularly warrants Tae-joo’s scrutiny.

Outside, a gunshot rings out. Min-seok has been spotted near the crossroads, and some of Seo-hyun’s team chase after him. Worried, Seo-hyun orders for reinforcements and tells Tae-joo to stay where he is since he still isn’t healed… which of course, our reckless, brave hero obeys for all of two seconds before he takes off running.

Tae-joo catches up with Min-seok just in time to see his smug face, and do a pretty nifty jump-roll out of the way of his getaway car (Tae-joo learned from last time!) before Min-seok speeds away. The thwarted police come running after, unable to pursue on foot.

They find the getaway car the next day, abandoned. The journalists’ reports are harsh as they criticize the police and their incompetence in catching Min-seok, which puts the whole team on edge. An officer confirms that Min-seok murdered the recent victim because his DNA was found at the crime scene. Tae-joo is surprised by this, but Seo-hyun cynically thinks that Min-seok is showing off now.

Tae-joo notes that this brings Min-seok’s murder count up to eight women—nine, Seo-hyun corrects him. An as-yet-unreleased victim was found, murdered nine days previously. Which, worryingly, means that the period between murders is getting shorter. Worse than that, Seo-hyun adds, is that the crimes are becoming more violent as well.

Something about this feels off, and Tae-joo instinctively believes that Min-seok’s methods couldn’t have changed this much. The cogs are ticking in Tae-joo’s brain, as he thoughtfully picks up Min-seok’s packet of painkillers.

Tae-joo works through the evidence—Min-seok’s DNA revealed that he has lead and arsenic in his blood twelve times higher than it should be. A surplus of lead and arsenic can cause dizziness, spasms (caught in camera in the convenience store), and paralysis as well as disordered thinking. Tae-joo states that Min-seok is suffering from heavy metal poisoning.

With a new clue to guide the investigation, Seo-hyun orders her team to look back at the cases again.

Back at the newest crime scene, Tae-joo sighs over the evidence. As if Tae-joo called him up when he was needed most, Dong-chul’s familiar voice jovially tells Tae-joo to quit wasting time. He chides, “You can’t catch the culprit with your eyes. You have to do it with your legs.”

Yong-ki and Nam-shik hover in the doorway, ready to jump to do Dong-chul’s bidding (and aww, they give Tae-jo the thumbs-up). Still blustering, Dong-chul bangs his way out of the house—but Tae-joo can’t find him when he follows.

Tae-joo takes Dong-chul’s advice to go do something and retraces Min-seok’s steps from the convenience store to the victim’s house. As he imagines the crime as it happens, he wonders if the reason for Min-seok’s crimes is because of his attachment to his sister.

“I don’t think it’s necessarily because of attachment.” Aww, now it’s Na-young’s turn to guide Tae-joo, as she points out there is no evidence that Min-seok has any sense of connection with the women he murders.

On the contrary, they are locked up and Min-seok forces makeup on them, so it’s more like an expression of anger. Na-young says this looks like a subconscious compensation on Min-seok’s part to make up for some pain he was dealt in the past. With a last smile, Na-young asks, “What’s wrong, Chief?” When Tae-joo glances up again, Na-young is gone and he looks bereft.

A discrepancy in the time between when Min-seok was at the convenience store and when his target was killed clues the team into the fact that Min-seok’s victims aren’t just random. Instead, he carefully chooses and stalks them—which means his next victim has already been found. The blurry image of a woman reveals who Min-seok has targeted next.

Seo-hyun uses this information to direct the search, while Tae-joo muses on Min-seok’s motives. His sister Kyung-ran was abused by their father, so he probably was as well, but he shows no resentment towards his father—Min-seok’s crimes are a reflection of his sister.

As Tae-joo figures this out, Min-seok overpowers his next victim inside her home. Lying on top of her on the bed, Min-seok starts to apply makeup onto her crying face, and demands, “Stay still. I told you I’m going to make you look pretty.” Clearly no longer talking to his victim, but to his sister, Min-seok rasps, “What, are you going to hit me again? I won’t suffer because of you anymore.”

The police frantically search the area of the convenience store. It’s too late though, as Min-seok’s face contorts and he smashes a heavy weight down upon the woman’s head.

But perhaps not—Tae-joo and Seo-hyun are close by, and find the woman just barely alive. Tae-joo desperately runs out of the house, knowing that Min-seok can’t have gotten very far.

And he hasn’t. Tae-joo follows the bloody trail Min-seok leaves and slams into him, knocking him over. Although Min-seok attempts to fight back, he is weak and limping, so an agile Tae-joo is able to subdue him quickly.

But Min-seok’s mouth is firmly closed as he is interrogated at the police station. Even though they have enough evidence to lock him away, Min-seok won’t say anything about his accomplice. As an aside, Seo-hyun is informed that Officer Cho has left Seoul to inspect the handgun.

Coldly confident, Tae-joo asks to take a crack at Min-seok. Min-seok greets him familiarly, and notices that Tae-joo has finally remembered him. He tells Tae-joo it’s good to see him alive like this, when Min-seok even went to say his final goodbyes at the hospital. Tae-joo snaps back that he is looking forward to returning the favor when Min-seok is locked up—that is, if he avoids the death penalty.

Tae-joo states that the only way Min-seok is going to avoid the death penalty after his crimes is if he gives up his accomplice. He adds that they already know it must be a cop because of the handgun. Tae-joo leans in to cuttingly say, “I’ve already saved you twice, while risking quite a lot. Why would I do that for a murderer like you?”

Min-seok isn’t cowed though as he smirks and taunts, “You will never catch him. Because that person doesn’t exist in this world.”

This sparks an idea for Tae-joo, and he goes to hunt through the old case files with Seo-hun. Tae-joo muses that Hyun-seok was the culprit in 1988, although Seo-hyun looks confused as she reminds him that Hyun-seok died thirty years ago. Tae-joo is sure he is onto something though, and he orders an officer to look up the details of Hyun-seok’s death.

Hyun-seok was shot while trying to kill Director Park—who was mysteriously killed in 2008. A 38-caliber gun and theophylline (used in inhalers) were found at the scene. Tae-joo realizes with a start that Kim Hyun-seok must not have died in 1988, but has been living as someone else for all these years.

As if to confirm the theory, an officer runs in to inform the officers that Min-seok’s first getaway car was discovered abandoned in a junkyard, and theophylline was found in the car.

The team races over to the junkyard, where they find the proof they were looking for—a name badge with Hyun-seok’s face on it, going by another name now. Seo-hyun orders a sweep of the junkyard, but it’s Tae-joo who notices the figure of a worker running away.

Tae-joo leaps over a wall in pursuit… to be met with the same handgun that shot him a month ago. Hyun-seok demands to know who Tae-joo is, and Tae-joo uses the moment to swat the gun from his hands. The two scuffle, but it is Tae-joo who emerges triumphant with the gun, while Hyun-seok lies gasping on the ground.

Hyun-seok deduces that Min-seok must have been caught, and asks how Tae-joo could know his real name from thirty years ago. Perhaps—have they met before? After a pause, Tae-joo asks if he remembers the name Han Choong-ho.

Hyun-seok isn’t sure. Tae-joo’s face tightens, and he repeats, “You’re not sure? With this gun, you killed my father. And you’re not sure?” Tae-joo takes a step towards Hyun-seok, seeing the vision of his father dying in front of him, his face twisting and hand shaking. Hyun-seok doesn’t move a muscle as he stares helplessly at the gun pointed at his head.

A tense moment passes. Tae-joo whips the gun into the air and shoots it harmlessly into the sky in his fury. Still tense, Tae-joo tells Hyun-seok that the statute of limitations on his string of murders has passed, but his crimes haven’t gone anywhere. Hyun-seok sags against the ground.

As Hyun-seok is loaded into the police van, Seo-hyun confirms to Tae-joo that Hyun-seok’s “death” was fabricated. The original investigation seems like a cover-up, because Hyun-seok’s body was never actually found after he fell from the bridge. But between the Seoul Olympics and the Hwaseong serial killings, it was important to close this case.

That isn’t all—Detective Cho has been arrested today after he was bought off by Hyun-seok to tamper with the evidence in Min-seok’s case. Seo-hyun congratulates Tae-joo on a job well done, and Tae-joo even manages to muster a small smile for her.

And here we are full circle, as Seo-hyun and Tae-joo wait outside the courtroom to provide testimony in the criminal proceedings. Tae-joo promises, “I won’t do something I regret again.” Entering the courtroom, Tae-joo shares a trusting look with Seo-hyun before he announces himself with purpose.

Later that night, the TV broadcasts the outcome of the case—Min-seok has been sentenced to death for killing ten women, and his brother Hyun-seok was arrested for being an accomplice and on suspicion of Director Park’s death.

Almost at peace now, Tae-joo looks down at the old case files sent over from Insung. As he is flipping through, one catches his eye—the murder of a group of police officers by gangsters. With trepidation, Tae-joo picks it up, afraid of what he’s going to find.

It’s as bad as he feared—inside are the details of the deaths of four police officers. It’s Dong-chul, Yong-ki, Nam-shik, and Na-young. Oh no, this can’t be happening.

Tae-joo flashes back to the awful scene just before he was pulled back to 2018—of his four teammates desperately fighting for their lives, but getting overwhelmed by the bludgeon-armed forces of gangsters. Na-young’s screams echo in his head. Tae-joo jerks his head up in horror.

 
COMMENTS

Well, here we are. We are finally near the end of this wonderful, thrilling, head-spinning journey. I was terrified that something like this was going to happen. We have diverged from the original BBC series now, with the confirmed existence (and deaths) in 1988 of our plucky team. Whether this means we will be following the UK ending or not, I’m not actually sure, and I love (and hate!) that I don’t know where we are going. That’s just the appeal of a really good mystery, I guess. But it has left me very nervous going into the finale…

I enjoyed that we got a lot of time to spend with Tae-joo in his 2018 life. This felt like a resolution, and a necessary one, given that Tae-joo has spent so much time growing into a better person in 1988. But we always knew that he wanted to come back to 2018, and he definitely had unfinished business to wrap up—in both his professional and personal life. Mom became a comfort in 1988 to Tae-joo, but their roles have flipped in 2018, and it’s time for Tae-joo to provide comfort to his mom. Their scenes together were short, but very effective, and sweet. I’m glad that Tae-joo got the chance to say goodbye to Mom if he is going back to 1988. The return of the driven and lively Seo-hyun was a welcome one as well. I had a soft spot for her, and it was good to see a woman competently handling a team of police officers.

It is clear that Tae-joo has grown as a person, and what struck me was how many apologies he made to his mom and Seo-hyun. The Tae-joo of 15 episodes ago would have been too rigid to give an apology when he didn’t actually have anything to apologize for—but now he recognizes the pain they went through and wants to ease it for them. But the ghosts of his past are haunting him this episode, as the team pops up to lighten the atmosphere. It was bittersweet to see them surround Tae-joo, as he—and we—weren’t sure we were going to see them again. And it’s clear from the longing in Tae-joo’s eyes that he really, really wanted to see them again. Even in 2018, the team felt like the most alive, vibrant part of the episode.

Despite the moments of warmth in this episode, everything was overlaid with a heavy dose of melancholy. Even the palette of 2018 reflects this, as everything was just a little too crisp, too dark, and too blue compared to the earthy tones of 1988. Tae-joo was clearly finding it difficult to adjust back to 2018, even though it was what he had been searching for nearly the entire time he was in 1988. Whereas before it seemed like Tae-joo was actively being abrasive to co-workers and alienating himself, he has mellowed now and just… doesn’t fit in 2018 anymore. It doesn’t feel like a home in the same way 1988 does, which was perfectly exhibited in the scene in his modern, fancy apartment, from the stiff lines in his body. In fact, I have to applaud Jung Kyung-ho here, because there isn’t anything in Tae-joo’s dialogue during the episode that I could point to that showed he felt out of place—this was all down to the lovely, subtle acting done by Jung Kyung-ho.

It has been an absolute joy to watch this adaptation, which hasn’t faltered once and took all the good parts of the original Life on Mars but added a unique Korean spin to the narrative. It has been a tour de force, and is how adaptations should be executed—holding true to the spirit of the original while layering in native flair. I’m so glad that the excellent story and characters of Life on Mars has been transposed to another country for more people to enjoy. Thanks for coming on this ride with me.

Tune of the episode: The scene with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” was one of my favorites from the original, so I was delighted to hear Israel Kamakawiwoʻole’s beautiful voice again in this version.

Mystery of the episode: What does it mean that Hyun-seok died in Tae-joo’s coma (his body definitely was found in that timeline) but not in this 2018? Did 1988 really happen?

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , ,

192

Required fields are marked *

This drama never ceases to amaze me. It’s like I couldn’t breathe nor blink while watching this episode. Jung Kyung Ho is brilliant as always and I also missed the ‘88 gang a lot!

22
21
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wasn't this just the perfect role for Jung Kyung Ho!

17
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was indeed a role that did him justice as an actor and one that he did justice to as well.

I believe, he acts all roles well.

15
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

And he's such a versatile actor. I think I've seen him in just about everything that's available to me except the movie Manhole. And some things more than once. I even liked Missing Nine.

8
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

hi Linda!

been a fan of JKH but not totally coz i still pick & choose depending on the story. any recommendations for movies?

2

@bugsbunny One of his very first works was Sunny. He wasn't the main character but he still shined. It might be on Netflix. I haven't seen the others listed on Wiki.

2

@bugsbunny for a different (quirky) taste of JKH, try Fasten Your Seatbelt

2

JKH is probably my my top fave actor, just purely because of his acting and his charm. i have watched almost all except Prisoner's playbook, as he isn't the lead there. is it worth the time to watch?

2

@linda-palapala & @geliguolu
thanks for the recommendations! will definitely check them out as time permits.

0

@theyuna PRISON PLAYBOOK IS SO WORTH THE TIME. At first, I felt that it was too long but it's an easy watch and you'll crave for more. I watched it for JKH but ended up loving everyone in the drama. <3

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't been able to get into it yet.

0

okay shall try it for JKH then! now that my weekends are empty without him and the Life on Mars team :(

1

Yes and ironically he's catching a serial murderer in the drama and in the 2014ish movie Manhole he was the serial murderer. 😯

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Jung Kyung Ho appears in 95% of this drama, he really looks sick and it’s not just a makeup. Yet his performance never disappoints, I never knew he was such a brilliant actor.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Couldn't agree more! Jung Kyung Ho is amazing! I hope he'll get award for his acting in this series. He is never disappointing. Just like everyone else in this forum, I love LoM production for its perfect cast, director, writer and crew. I've never thought a television production could be very serious with its cinematography. The director is brilliant. No wonder JKH trusted him so much that he took the role without even looking up the script first..
I even love the cast' chemistry in the bts, hahaha...

10
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

that's interesting that he didn't look at the script first! :).

I watched him first in "Falling for Innocence", and I fell in love with his acting.

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

JKH might say it jokingly, though.. but I think he enjoyed working with the production team as we can see from the bts videos. Here's the link of the article about his not reading the script first:
http://kpopherald.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=201806061156415533192_2

I started to notice him to be a terrific actor from "Prison Playbook" only by the end of last year, then I watched "Falling for Innocence", and just like you, I fell in love with Kang Ming Ho/JKH. Then.. watched most of his shows while waiting for LoM. Worth waiting for indeed :) <3

0
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@kakiperi, thanks for the link. We’ll check out later... 😬. By the way, your ID name sounds like “Bahasa.” 😬

0

@pakalanapikake You might enjoy this article if you didn't see it.
Quotes:“I myself thought ‘time travel again?’ when I was offered the series. But this one is more about the protagonist finding his identity in a space between reality and dream,” he said. “I myself thought ‘time travel again?’ when I was offered the series. But this one is more about the protagonist finding his identity in a space between reality and dream,” he said. first quote from the director, 2nd from Jkh.
Jkh is in every scene, something I hadn't realized. This is very much like a novel's first person account, they need to be in every scene. Quite interesting and makes it all the more true that it's his dreamlike state.

0

@pakalanapikake oops, i copied the same quote twice. This is from the director:journey of finding one’s identity between dream and reality.
And thank you @kakiperi for the link!

1

@lemoncello,
By the way, your ID name sounds like “Bahasa.” ---> It is :) Do you speak it too?

0

@kakiperi: I speak the language fluently 😬😬😬😬😬

1

When Somewhere Over the Rainbow played, I got chills, and that's when I sort of knew Tae-joo might not be in reality, and not everything was going to be okay. Life on Mars is too nuanced of a drama to just give us a 2018 ending like that. And that's why I love it so much. I love that this episode was washed over with a subtle harsh blue tone, with all the lines and edges sharper than they need to be. Compared to the warm 1988 that we've all gotten used to, the present is cruel, no matter how hard Taejoo might try to adjust to it. I don't think Life on Mars wants to offer us a clear reality with a message, but rather we should look at what the show is trying to tell us with blurred lines around the edges.

24
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow, I never noticed the harsh blue tones. Must go back and re watch! Love your comment "what the show is trying to tell us"...

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Agree 100% about the message. I’ve been wondering about it all day after seeing the finale last night. The show gives us a lot to process and that why this show is going into my all time favs along with Forest of Secrets.

6
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I judge my favorites by how many times they're worth watching more than once because they're multi-layered. While at first I thought Forest of Secrets was one of my all time favorites, when I tried to rewatch it I got rather bored. It was about the mystery and once that was solved I was no longer interested. Even though LOM is somewhat of a mystery, it's fascinating enough and the characters are so good that I already want to watch it again.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

My favorites are shows and characters that stay with me for a long time, especially when I get emotionally involved with the characters. Maybe because I’m a bit of a robot in real life. 🤖😊
I still think back to ShiMok and YeoJin often. To me the characters were written and portrayed so well that they are almost real to me. Now with LOM TaeJoo, NaYoung, and the gang of 88 will join the ranks of fictional characters that I wish were real!

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, that too. "characters that stay with me" that's why I usually rewatch. I did love Forest of Secrets and was disappointed when I tried to watch it again. But I will probably go back and try again since it's been a long while.

0

This is good!

Tae Joo before the accident was full of sharp and rigid lines. He was always principled, but he was coldly, aloof and detached in living them out. It was all black and white to him. As in the fact that he was a whistle blower without compunction.

After having his sharp edges rounded off in 1988, it's hard for him to readjust to 2018. I suppose in RL, most of us in the same position would have worked on softening the edges of our time as well and of gelling with others in the course of work. But do we choose to live on Mars or not? 😉

13
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Do we choose to live on Mars or not?" I love that!!

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

*pack my bag to go to Mars* ><

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

..."And I think it's gonna be a long long time
Til touchdown brings me around to find
I'm not the man they think I am at home..."

8

I wish life on mars was a option! I think I’ll choose it in a heartbeat.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me too if you mean figuratively and not literally! I once worked at NASA for the Viking Mission to Mars and no, you wouldn't really want to live there...though I heard the ending of the U.S. remake was that he literally was on Mars.
If we all want to live on Mars in our head and heart, then isn't that why we watch kdramas?

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't even know what to say, you said it all. The divergence from the original (which I loved) as you stated and its Korean take is wonderful. Jung Kyung ho, geez I love him so much, and the whole cast! Even though the ending may be different physically, I think it still will maintain an ambiguity and not answering all the questions we might have in a concrete way. My favorite endings, those. And you beat me in mentioning Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. His rendition of Somewhere over the Rainbow still gives me goosebumps! (Or "chicken skin" as my Hawaiian husband used to say).
Thank you for all your hard work in giving us wonderful recaps and comments - oh, wait, we still have the finale to go!

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven't heard chicken skin in a long time.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It was painful to watch TaeJoo’s loneliness in 2018. I couldn’t process the 1988 team’s death (knowing the BBC version’s ending and hoping for that might have something to do with it). I loved TaeJoo’s scenes with his mother. His mom and SeoHyun were his two biggest ties to 2018 apart from Kim Min Seok.

Only interesting observation was SeoHyun change of clothes in the middle is a chase scene. She’s wearing a dark suit at Min Seok’s hide out but is seen wearing a white suit when they come running to find TaeJoo! I don’t know is it’s a mistake or an indication of something else.

Jung Kyung Ho is phenomenal! I love watching his face for all the small expressions. I also appreciate the use of clothing to signal TaeJoo’s emotions/mindset - back in 2018 he now wears loose fitting shirts casually whereas he used to wear fitted shirts crisply before his jaunt to 1988. Amazing details! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

19
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Do you guys hear that? That's the sound of my heart breaking whenever Tae-joo sees the 1988 gang and then they disappear afterwards.

21
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ahh!! Those scenes broke my heart into pieces.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you @helcat for the recap! It shined more light to the episode and made me understand it better.

I liked the colour pallete and tone difference between 1988 and 2018. 1988 felt warm whereas 2018, cold.

My heart dropped when TJ saw the 1988 gang death report. He desperately wanted them to be around him since he was hallucinating their presence in 2018. For him to see that they died during the attack was sad since TJ witnessed it and in his mind he was not able to save them.

I do have questions about the timeline of everything because i do feel that TJ healed so fast after brain surgery. I watch greys anatomy and there it seems that it took longer for a brain surgery patient to heal 😅. But i'm no doctor, i dont know which one is medically accurate.

Waiting for ep 16 recap to discuss the ending hehe.

LoM has been an enjoyable ride since episode 1. On of my fave is episode 7, the kidnapping case. It was based on a true case and showcased how different the law is on the rich and powerful vs normal civilians. And those words “If you have money, non-guilty. If you don't have money, guilty.” are used until today. (https://simple.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ji_Kang_Hun)

7
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have never seen a realistic coma recovery in a kdrama. A month in a coma (especially due to a brain injury) would require quite a bit of rehabilitation and recovery.

But I guess, for the sake of narrative flow and pacing, we couldn't spend that much time on Tae-joo's recovery. Let's just suspend our disbelief. ;)

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ahaha. Lets try to arrange taejoo's timeline as of episode 15. This timeline is based in my assumptions so it may be wrong, please feel free to comment 

Earlier half of 2018

I really dont know which month taejoo was shot. So i tried to find clues in ep 1 and found this interesting tidbit: TJ arrived in 1988 in February, 207 days before 1988 olympics which is 23 February 1988. The 1988 olympics started on 17 September 1988. 

April - May 2018
The expiry date on KMS's milk cartons were in April and May 2018. 

June 2018

I assume TJ woke up on 3rd June 2018, coinciding with the 1988 gang's date of death. However, the news clip shown on the TV at the hospital was an event that happened in May - President Moon visited US.

Based on the assumption that TJ woke up in June or late May and he was in a coma for a month, maybe it can be assumed that he was shot in late April or early May 2018.

July 2018

No info. I assume TJ is recuperating after brain surgery. His mom did say something about outpatient treatment. And it gives time for his hair to regrow hehe

August 2018

One of the latest murder victim was killed or found on 7th August 2018.

--------
I just cant help analyzing scenes and timelines. The logic in me needs to try arrange it hahaha

11
reply

Required fields are marked *

This made me laugh because I remember in the drama Man of Honor aka Glory Jane aka Young Love Jane aka Young Kwang Jae in, Chun Jung Myung's character had brain surgery and the bandage was pasted on his hair so that it would flop around. Did I not see the same thing in this drama?

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was surprised by how he was able to get up and walk. His muscles should be quiet weak after a month in bed!

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

My thoughts exactly. The fact that he can get up and walk towards the door is a miracle in itself. Making everything more dreamlike, i guess 😅

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The way certain things happened and the way certain scenes were shot made the 2018 timeline seem unreal. Then again, to Tae-joo, the 1988 world of his mind was more real than anything else.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was a bit sceptical about that too.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

During this episode, I was able to feel Tae-joo's pain and loss, after having been separated from his 1988 family. It's like a part of his soul has been ripped apart. Those Insung files confirmed the fact that our team truly existed. I thought that Tae-joo might have had some of those files at the beginning of the show. I thought he might have seen or come across something in episode one (he was looking at files). I got the feeling that he had read something and seen something in those files, but had forgotten about everything.

I feel mixed emotions. While I know that Tae-joo wants to return to his Insung family, I can't help but feel sad for his mother. :(

10
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Even if Tae joo goes back to 1988 there's still his other self who's just a boy, who will grow up and be with the mother. Right??? My head is spinning...

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

@peridot
You'll know the answer when you watch the last episode.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did watch the last episode before this recap was posted, but sometimes I am not sure if I misunderstand the subtitles. According to the recap, he looks at the Insung files that he has recently requested post coma. But I know that he was handling older cases/cases up for retrial in the first episode, and I thought something he read in those files might have shaped the 1988 world. I believe that I am on the right track about the files. @buffy86 and I had some posts about this last week.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

TaeJoo’s love/concern for his mother and his regret to SeoHyun were his biggest attachments to 2018. In a way I feel that TaeJoo’s dilemma about his mother is an extreme form of what many adult children face when it comes to their parents as they build their own lives and are not as much in their patents lives as they used to.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

That last scene wrecked me. It would be fairly easier to part ways with the '88 squad if I at least knew that they still lived happily somewhere in the universe. That they still remember Tae-joo and sometimes missed him, just like what he felt the moment he woke up from his month-long coma. But that headline completely crushed my flimsy hope. Can we at least get a heap of cuteness and silliness before they left us with such bittersweet ending?

11
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My favorite remake of all time. Jung Kyung Ho and the Gang are all perfect for the role. That final scene in episode 16 though make me want for them do SEASON 2 with the same cast :D

4
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm assuming they left it open for that! And with the good ratings maybe it will happen. The original had a sequel, according to Wikipedia.

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, but...have you ever seen a kdrama where the 2nd season didn't disappoint?

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

The sequel Ashes to Ashes is a spin-off with a new main character (female), the male lead from LoM and the female officer aren't in there (but mentioned & the ending explains what happenend to them) and it explains the mystery behind the place in the past.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

And I believe it didn't do so well in the ratings.

0

ashes to ashes sequel is not with the same cast it has a different characters but mentioned about what happened to the character in Life on Mars.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

On hindsight, should've watched this back to back with the final ep, coz all I did while watching was doing a litany of "so 1988 is just a dream?". Doesn't help that Tae-joo is acutely missing his squad as well. Then was totally sledge-hammered in the last few minutes, omg. All in all, a miserable sunday T_T
It's funny that the case that seems so confusing in 1988 ends up quite straightforwardly in 2018. They actually caught him due to CCTV, so I guess tech really does play a lot. I like how show brought back Kim Hyun-seok instead of having some new villain, but damn confused coz he sure looked dead in 1988... Loved the unexpected reveal of the sister, it really goes to show that violence will just beget more violence.
It was so freaky when Tae-joo confronted Hyun-seok with his father's name and he didn't seem to remember, did he kill so many people in 30 years that he lost count, or maybe he didn't kill him at all in this timeline..?

3
17
reply

Required fields are marked *

"did he kill so many people in 30 years that he lost count, or maybe he didn't kill him at all in this timeline..??"

This did not occur to me at all. But it may actually be the case! I'm now even more convinced that Tae Joo did not actually time travel. With Kim Hyun Seok being alive & Ahn Min Sik being the Chief from Seoul in 1988, we know that at least certain parts of 1988 were fabricated/not true to actual 1988.

Moreover, as sad as it sounds, if 1988 is a figment of Tae Joo's subconscious, it explains why he's so comfortable there and feels at home.

7
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I so want to quote a line from episode 16...

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The struggle is real! I want to discuss so 16 so bad...so many questions answered!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

But but... am actually questioning that in favour of parallel world theory, hehehe. As in there are two people in both worlds and their roads diverged.
First and foremost it's because I need the 1988 to really exist, of course, but I still think that it is way too detailed to be unreal. For example, the 3 Kim siblings photograph that show fondly focused on, it's the same as he saw in their burnt house in 1988; surely Tae-joo's subconscious can't made it up..?
But then again, who knows with this show. So to sum it up, Tae-joo can achieve greatness either a) in 2018 as crime novelist, or b) in 1988 through sport betting ^^

3
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

This parallel world reminds me of 'the best hit'. There were 2 hyunjae, one as dabong in 2017 and another went into hiding due to sickness in the past and eventually died.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

O_o just realised this. And to think I consider The Best Hit's time travel mechanism as lame but want it so bad to be true this time... *feeling messed up*

4

It's a parallel world if one needs 1988 to exist. ^^ I agree.

For me, I think it is what Tae Joo doesn't want it to be, but what IS the most obvious explanation. It was a long dream.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’ve been thinking about the parallel universe theory since one of the early episodes (4 or 5).
IMHO, the parallel universe theory neatly wraps up everything about the show. We get both 1988 and 2018 to be real and TaeJoo and maybe Kim Hyun Seok are traveling between universes.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I honestly didn't believe that KHS was dead, because he was shot in the back, near his shoulder blade if I remember correctly. And he willingly jumped in the water, meaning he knew how to swim. Also he was determined to not lose his brother again. So it doesn't make sense that he would leave his brother all alone again. Plus he seemed too important of a character to just exit the show like that!
When TJ saw his body beside him, it might be his subconscious making it up because he had already read it in the newspaper in 2018 that he was shot while escaping (although he didn't remember reading it before) or maybe he really wanted to believe he was dead. On hindsight, my theory doesn't really make sense 😂 but just sharing my thoughts.

6
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hahaha I was trying to remember where Tae Joo saw his body. It was in the water? LOL - *sighs* I can never tell with this Show.

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

No remember in the next episode when TJ was lying on the ground surrounded by his teammates? He turned and saw the first aid team was trying to resuscitate KHS.

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Aaaah. Okay. Thanks. So basically someone declared him dead even though he was alive. If we want time travel to be the truth.

2

Sorry I didn't get you. If we want time travel to be the truth?

2

Haha I was not clear, even I don't understand what I wrote. =.=

What I meant was: If the viewer wants to think that Tae Joo time travelled, then that's the interpretation: whoever declared him dead, lied. For whatever reason.

If the viewer thinks Tae Joo did not travel time, but the '88 verse is maybe his subconscious (like I do), then it's yet another inconsistency that proves the point.

4

It's good having company while going down the rabbit hole ><

5

@greenfields even I think that it's his subconscious. But like I said above, maybe he really wanted KHS dead so his subconscious presented him as that or maybe he might have read about him in the newspaper in 2018 when he was investigating min seok and that info was stored in his brain.

2

Your theory makes perfect sense. I never believed he died for real because the only person who would defend the psycho was his blood brother.

Maybe spoiler cuz I watched 15-16 back to back and don’t recall where 15 ended: Everything TJ saw in 1988 was self-simulated based on his subconscious memory of case files.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

shoots it harmlessly into the sky

Uh, wait till they land before you say that.

5
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Amen! People have been killed by bullets falling out of the sky, or so I've read.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I've always wondered about this.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I vaguely recalled news reports of people being struck by bullets dropping out of the blue, so searched on "killed by bullet falling from sky" -- and turned up the following, among others:

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Bullet-falling-from-the-sky-kills-Houston-man-5989581.php

http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/post-tribune/news/ct-ptb-falling-bullet-death-st-0710-20170709-story.html#

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5912041/

People also get struck by lightning out of a clear, sunny sky.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yikes! Not like we needed any more proof that guns are terrible things.

2

I have no words for this show honestly and JKH’s performance makes it just that much more compelling

11
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

and if you look at his face, it's different between in 1988 and 2018. He's a little bit pale and sickly in 1988, while he doesn't look like that in 2018.

5
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah I’ve noticed that

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ah, that's it. To me Tae-joo looks noticeably younger after awakening from the coma. But maybe it's because he's in better shape.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think so... In 1988, I also noticed that his lips were usually so dry. Because in 1988, he's lying down in coma in 2018. I

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Aargh, something else I never noticed. Could it be my small screen? Did he look healthier in 2018, as in more color to him? Another reason (excuse) to rewatch.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

To me, Tae-joo's eyes looked less baggy, and with more of a glint. They seemed clearer and more vital.

I use a 16" laptop, and even then sometimes miss out on fine details. I hate to think how much detail is lost on hand phone screens, even high-resolution ones.

0

I felt that he looked pale and sickly in 1988 not from the beginning but as he kept overworking himself and pushing too hard. He does seem more healthy in 2018 - sharp and more in focus.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Besides the makeup his acting also played a part. I’m sure he was definitely exhausted from filming but he does act more healthy in postcoma 2018. While when he was in 1988, he really felt sicker as his body’s condition got worse, and then rebounded a bit closer to the surgery date.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Good Lord, Tae Joo's depression was so apparent this episode. And we will never have a answer as to whether he ever got help for it, but I think I know the answer.m

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really appreciate this mention of Tae Joo's depression. It falls beautifully (& cruelly) in line with the logic of the Show

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes.

I knew it was obvious, but this episode solidified just how bad it is.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm MANY weeks late mentioning this, but I have my doubts about Dad and the baseball. Remember he chased the bus, was out of sight for a while, then came back with the autographed ball.

But he was out of sight long enough so he could have forged it.

7
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

*head spins* This show makes me question everything.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

For every new theory we mention we create another alternate timeline possibility.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's my question as well.... In some translation of the drama, the year was "1998", which means it doesn't fit with the year at that time (1988). But I could be mistakenly seen the wrong year in the translation.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I saw 1998 in subtitles, too. Perhaps it was a typo.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

That's a great observation, @lordcobol. After seeing all the other stuff Dad's been up to, forgery would be small potatoes.

And now I'm having visions of ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. ;-)

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is the shortest reply I've ever seen from you! Antiques Roadshow, ha, ha! I see lots of typos and mis translations in subtitles.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmmm. I must have slipped up. Or maybe I was out of Pedantic Mode. ;-)

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Outside, a gunshot rings out

This is such a common phrase. I drives me crazy crazy every time I see it, which is often. Guns aren't bells. Shots don't ring.

2
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

What do they do? Or perhaps by now, through common usage, have they come to ring out?

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

'Rings out' perhaps is not to denote what sort of sound it made but the quality of that sound. A sound that electrified the atmosphere, is heard even far off, that gives a shock (as sudden loud, piercing sounds do) in it's strident, ear-splitting effect.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ringing is not synonymous with bells, it's only one of the most prominent ones (ringing in ears, ringing telephone) and a ringing gun is absolutely accepted usage for the sound of a 'ring'. The relevant dictionary definition- makes a clear resonant or vibrating sound.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gun sound ringing is a very old phrase. But as far as I know it is used when the sound is echoed, not for a single shot sound.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I interpret it as the reverberation of the sound. You could also say that the clashing of swords rings out, because of the metallic quality.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, that is true.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Maybe it's the ringing in your ears...

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

But then the sound would be "ringing in". ;-)

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Nit picker...

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Although going back in time, you see how socially backwards 1988 feels, I was fascinated by how isolating 2018 felt coming from the past. I'm sure we do spend a lot more time alone these days than before, and you see Tae-joo driving alone, being in his apartment alone, investigating alone.

13
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great observation @abalyn. That is so true of our modern life where being an individual has become more the rule than being with the group, and especially with our e-device infested lifestyle. Even when we are with people we know, we are in our own worlds, looking at our mobile devices.

I've actually been regretting how even family life has turned out so lacking in togetherness, and wondering if it can be turned around somehow.

8
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, but I don't feel isolated with you Beanies around.

9
reply

Required fields are marked *

hi abalyn,

i also think isolation might be a by-product of technology or industrialization. we have become more reachable by the new means of communication but not really more connected to nurture deeper relationships.

sorry to sound like a ludite...

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’m conflicted about this in RL. In 1988 the world was small and you had no choice in the people that were around you - you circumstances and perspectives were limited but it was a simpler time. The 2018 world is vast because of technology and provides choices in experiences and perspectives.

Even now because of my phone/technology I’m able to have entertaining conversations and get different perspectives from people all around the world. Even if I’m alone I am not lonely. And I can choose to walk away from toxic situations and people.

I honestly don’t know which is better! But I do love discussing dramas with all you beanies out there.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

@abalyn,

As I see it, two levels of social isolation exist in LIFE ON MARS: the anomie of the larger society in flux, and the personal estrangement of the individual, which in turn exists both within the self, and between the self and other individuals. Tae-joo is Everyman, and Nowhere Man. (See my fan wall.)

If you think 1988 Insung felt socially backward, from the standpoint of someone roughly Tae-joo's age at that time, all I can say is, you should have been alive in America during the 1960s. At times it felt as if the whole country were flipping its lid or going to the dogs. I can personally recall some of the social upheaval – such as the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., plus anti-war demonstrations, sit-ins on college campuses, race riots, and Newark, NJ burning during the “Summer of Love.” Women's Liberation versus Male Chauvinist Pigs. Police brutality. Kent State. Hedonists letting it all hang out. Hippies versus hard hats. To this kid, it was mighty confusing and disturbing. (I was reminded of those days while watching the thoroughly excellent LIVE.)

1988 Insung resembles early-1960s America, but with military dictators – and the Cold War on the front doorstep instead of in Cuba and Berlin. Patriarchal sexism is also there, but with deep Confucian roots. Modernization is in full swing as the economy shifts from agriculture to manufacturing. Meanwhile, the industrial revolution has nearly run its course in the USA, and manufacturing is increasingly being outsourced to overseas vendors unencumbered by collective bargaining and federally-mandated wage, occupational safety, and environmental-protection laws. To places like Insung, at the behest of yuppie MBAs and venture capitalists whose sole focus is on short-term gain.

Insung is a collection of neighborhoods with local mom-and-pop stores and eateries. Neighbors recognize each other. Beat cops know the residents and their histories, and that's also the case in rural areas. But there's no work there. Young people move away from family to where the jobs are: big cities like Seoul. Family ties get stretched in the process. It superficially resembles the independence and self-sufficiency that used to be expected of American youth, but it's not motivated by individuation so much as economic survival.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@abalyn,

If I had to pick one aspect of modern life that has been a curse rather than a blessing, it is the way in which portable telecommunications promises to bring people together, but does the exact opposite. Conversing in person is a lost art owing to the clamoring of smartphones and the stunted attention spans of people exposed to one jump-cut too many. The shiny little images on their screens have bewitched so many folks that no one pays much attention to living people in their physical presence.

And don't get me started on distracted driving, which terrifies me. My brand of defensive driving used to assume that everyone else on the road was either drunk or crazy. Now I have to add "distracted by electronic attention thieves" and its attendant ruination of reaction time.

I am suddenly reminded of former advertising executive Jerry Mander's 1978 magnum opus, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Published before PCs were commercially available, and when the predecessor of the Internet was accessible to only a select few, he exposes the ways in which outside interests elbow their way into our minds via broadcasting. His comments on the deleterious effects of artificial light from CRTs is prescient, although I'm sure that there's plenty of more current research on the effects of electromagnetic radiation on the human nervous system. The way in which our consciousness is shaped by the design of the medium is an eye-opener.

Four Arguments is one of the most important and insightful books I've ever read. Keep in mind when it was written, and remember to extrapolate the author's statements to the electronic media that have arisen since then. It is guaranteed to stimulate your gray matter, as will the readers' comments in this link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/228250.Four_Arguments_for_the_Elimination_of_Television

I am acutely aware of the irony of recommending this book to my far-flung Kdrama buddies in cyberspace whom I will never meet in person. I'm just grateful to have found kindred spirits with whom to discuss Korean culture as well as drama. I consider DramaBeans to be an agora, a refreshing oasis, and a technological boon. DramaBeans is my argument in favor of TV. ;-)

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for these great comments, @growingbeautifully @wonid2017 @pakalanapikake ! I was moving apartments (upgrade, hurray!) and not checking.

I'm not sure if technology is good or bad. I also thought Tae-Joo's evenings in the past looked mighty boring, but this made him almost relieved when his colleagues came and bothered him.

I'm glad for dramabeans too! Ultimately, I'm not sure the past or the present is better or worse, just different. I'm not one to think all of our problems come from our current modern lives, but I also don't think none of our problems come from them.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks so much @helcat for great reviews and recaps.
It has indeed been a wonderful ride to Mars and back.

It has been an absolute joy to watch this adaptation, which hasn’t faltered once and took all the good parts of the original Life on Mars but added a unique Korean spin to the narrative. It has been a tour de force, and is how adaptations should be executed—holding true to the spirit of the original while layering in native flair.

I agree with this so much. I'm beginning to watch the original BBC-made Life on Mars now and can start to see how good an adaptation this is.

I gloried in Tae Joo's ability to finally catch Min Seok with his own hands, his confidence without the coldness and the way his 2018 story is being resolved. The feeling of pathos and compassion for Tae Joo has never entirely ceased for me. Even in this penultimate episode, there is no peace or a sense of the last episode being all rosy or just full of filler like in many shows. The cliff hanger stress continues even now.

My watch of the original series is more to see the lead up to the end over there, and to see how I feel about the BBC characters and the denouement. If it all makes sense, then there's that and it should be satisfactory, right? 😉

5
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can believe I like the Korean version better than the Brit version, but Jung Kyung-ho might have something to do with it.

4
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

Now that I'm watching the BBC version, I'm already feeling the same. Still, I must give Sam Tyler a chance. 😉

2
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, yes, please do. John Simm was a great Sam Tyler.

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hi @Linda Palapala
Here's a link to my thoughts on the BBC Version compared to this version:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/08/open-thread-564/#comment-3285662 😉

0

I just realised that to tag you, I have to add a hyphen to your name! @linda-palapala

I hope you see my message above.

0

hi growingbeautifully,

do let me know if the BBC version is worth the time, thanks!

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, it will be interesting to get someone's perspective who's seen the kdrama version first.

1

LOL @bugs_bunny and @Linda Palapala

I've been watching the BBC LoM and re-watching our K LoM slowly... as and when I can. I'll see what strikes me and give you my take on the 2 shows (I just cannot help comparing of course!!!) on the Open Threads on Fridays, as far as I'm able. How's that? 😉 I'll tag you and @thequiet1 as well, so you should get some notifications. 😃

2

@growingbeautifully
i'll check the OT on Fridays for you inputs. this reply might be out of order, but i hope you get this message, thanks!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I watched a video from their press conference weeks ago which saw Park Sung-woong admiration of JKH. It's only a few minutes and I hope I didn't misinterpret since it didn't have any sub.

PSW said, at the beginning, he thought that JKH is just a mediocre actor. But after works with him for several weeks, he found out that he is an incredible one.

I always love JKH acting, and by the way, I like his little (dot) mole over his lips. It's one of his charms I guess.

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't really want to take anything from the original because it started it all and provided the framework for all the other adaptations to work from. But in certain aspects, I think this K version exceeds the original. For me at least. :D What I especially enjoyed was seeing the continuity in TJ's personal journey all throughout. I loved how the death of his father and the nagging questions he had regarding that was woven all throughout the other discoveries from cold cases he had been researching.
But really it was from Episode 8, that I already thought that this personal journey was much better done than the original. K dramas generally do that sort of thing really well anyway.

The only thing I really miss from the Beebs version is Gene Hunt's acerbic jibes. ;)

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

We keep talking about how great Jung Kh is, but I also loved the rest of the cast. They all did a wonderful job, even the second secondary characters. What actress played the police woman? She did a perfect job as the 80s female cop who mostly got coffee but was actually did more brilliant police work than the guys.

3
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Go Ah Sung - she'd been in Radiant Office and a few other dramas, but mostly movies -- Snow Piercer is a big one, Beauty Inside, among others...

i loved her demure character that was actually quite bad ass.

5
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked her character in Heard it Through the Grapevine.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, she was brilliant in HITTG.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

She was really brilliant in Heard it Through The Grapevine 👍🏻

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

She is one of my favorites.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Fyi, nayoung, dongchul and yongki have acted together before! Its a thriller movie titled 'office' hohoho

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

First of all, I want to thank you @helcat for your generosity of time and energy each week with your posts. This is a big job and I'm grateful that this site had the foresight to commit to this process and what has turned out to be a worthwhile endeavour. I also gained extra historical insights along the way which enhanced my viewing experience of what was already an excellent piece of storytelling. Thank you for giving this drama the publicity it richly deserves.

Secondly, I want to say that this is one of those rare drama experiences that is surefooted from start to finish. A great majority of shows I watch have wobbly bits... whether it's the beginning... the middle or the end. But this show doesn't. It knows exactly what it wants to do and delivers in spades. I think it was when I saw the first extended trailer that I knew we were in for a treat. For me what has been much more amazing is how good this has been as an adaptation. It's true to the spirit of the original and yet works beautifully as a Korean drama with Korean concerns.

Thirdly, I love this show's entire approach to the HTJ character. HTJ is not Sam Tyler and for the story it wanted to tell, it was the right call to make because they found a wonderful, sensitive actor to imbue him with a sense of authenticity as he grappled with the constant flow of unanswered questions. TJ was a reticent character who kept his thoughts to himself and yet we were a part of his conundrum because JKH gave a nuanced performance that rendered words almost unnecessary.

Fourthly, I will miss the gang from 1988. Such a lovely hodge podge of characters that made HTJ's stay (and ours) such a memorable. I loved how they gradually took him into the fold, helped him open up and made him one of their own.

11
2
reply

Required fields are marked *