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Alice: Episode 16 (Final)

Everything comes to an end in the final hour. With Teacher’s identity finally out in the open, we head back to the past to settle things once and for all. Our lieutenant never loses sight of his goal and remains unwavering in his love for his mother, but sacrifices may be necessary to restore the balance of the timeline.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Love is patient. It always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” – The Bible

The elderly Teacher tells present-day Jin-gyum that he’s giving him a chance to control time. Jin-gyum has zero interest in that and vows to undo and put an end to everything Teacher started. He plans to kill Teacher after saving everyone that died because of him.

Teacher takes out his gun but before he can shoot, Jin-gyum travels back to 2010. It’s the morning of Sun-young’s birthday and she serves seaweed soup for breakfast. Something’s clearly bothering her as she observes teen Jin-gyum eating. He doesn’t seem evil in this dimension, at least.

The young Do-yeon waits outside the house to walk to school with Jin-gyum. She reprimands him for being ill-prepared for Sun-young’s birthday, then makes plans to meet after school to pick out a cake and present together. At Jin-gyum’s silence, Do-yeon figures he must be stunned to see her pretty face. She gets ignored, of course. Hee.

Sun-young misses a call from adult Jin-gyum and when she sees the unknown number, heads out to meet Oh-won. She regrets pulling him into this world and urges him to forget everything he has learned about time travel. She’d created time travel as a way for people to be happy, as they’d be able to heal from the past and fix regretful moments.

However, she realizes that pain is necessary for a person’s growth. What was meant to bring joy resulted in obsession and greed instead. Oh-won assures Sun-young that she had good intentions and isn’t at fault. He vows to help her achieve her goal, but she makes it clear that she must deal with the fallout herself.

Adult Jin-gyum isn’t able to find Sun-young at home, so he visits the only person he can think of for help – Captain Go. It doesn’t take long for him to understand that Jin-gyum is here from the future.

They enter an interrogation room to chat and the captain naturally assumes that he’s here because of Sun-young, promising that he’ll never kill her. Jin-gyum knows this, but this is as much about Mom as it is about all the other people that were murdered.

Looking to put an end to the violence, Jin-gyum asks for information about Teacher but Captain Go doesn’t know any details. After the captain answers a call from In-sook, Jin-gyum decides that he shouldn’t have come here to complicate the simple life Captain Go desires.

Captain Go offers to help Jin-gyum run away with Sun-young, but the lieutenant declines. He says Mom can’t find out about his plans since she doesn’t want things to change, so the captain realizes that it isn’t Jin-gyum’s first time traveling here. Jin-gyum continues that if he runs away, he won’t be able to revert the deaths that have happened.

He lies that the captain and In-sook will be safe and won’t die. Aw, he learned when to not be brutally honest! However, Jin-gyum asks for one final hug and sheds a tear as he admits, “I’ve missed you.” His sincere feelings can be felt by the captain, who asks if they become close.

Jin-gyum reveals that things were really difficult for him after Mom passed away. It was because he had the captain by his side that he survived. Now, it’s time for him to be by his mother and protect her along with everyone else he loves.

He finds Sun-young at the market and keeps a close eye on her. Thankfully, Jin-gyum hasn’t noticed any rashes yet this time around. Meanwhile, his teenaged counterpart thanks Do-yeon for helping him prepare for Mom’s birthday. She says he needs to tell Sun-young that he has a reaaally pretty friend name Do-yeon who bought the cake.

On a more serious note, Do-yeon wants Sun-young to know that she’s sorry for falsely accusing Jin-gyum for the incident at school. He’s sure that Mom understands without it being said and confirms that he isn’t angry at Do-yeon either. Skeptical, Do-yeon asks him to prove that he isn’t mad by smiling. He complies…but it’s so awkward that she decides that it’s better that he doesn’t smile after all. Pfft.

Adult Jin-gyum follows Sun-young all the way home and watches as the all-too-familiar birthday dinner routine plays out. When the moon turns blood red, Jin-gyum prepares to protect his mother. Sun-young doesn’t notice him following her all the way to the store.

She makes a run for it once she spots the Alice drone and Jin-gyum chases her through the neighborhood, trying not to get caught. He runs straight into Oh-won’s arms and the director claims that Sun-young wanted him to prevent Jin-gyum from saving her since the future can’t be changed.

Our lieutenant picks up on the fact that Oh-won knows about the other deaths from the future. Ah, this is the time traveler Oh-won who killed Captain Go at the lake. Having been found out, Oh-won drops his act and sticks the barrel of his gun to Jin-gyum’s temple.

Sun-young dodges the drone’s laser beam and gets home unharmed. She frantically calls out for Jin-gyum, but he stepped out earlier to look for her. A wave of calmness washes over her once she realizes that she has a sudden visitor…Teacher. She turns to greet him as if she’d been expecting him all along.

She had hoped the Book of Prophecy would be wrong, but her son ended up chasing after her until he became an old man. Teacher hasn’t thought of her as his mother in quite a while, it seems.

Meanwhile, Oh-won admits that it was short sighted of him to trust that Captain Go would finish Jin-gyum off. He didn’t think he’d give up on a life with In-sook to save the lieutenant. The captain from this dimension emerges from behind and demands an explanation.

The captain takes the upper hand with his gun aimed at Oh-won, freeing Jin-gyum to go save Sun-young. Jin-gyum finds Mom’s scarf on the ground and pockets it. He rushes home once again, hoping that he isn’t too late.

Over the years, Teacher grew to resent Sun-young for opening the doors of time, forcing him to kill so many. She’s willing to accept any punishment for it but requests that he leaves Jin-gyum alone, not wanting him to turn out like Teacher. Teacher claims that she’s the one who made him become a monster.

When Jin-gyum makes it into the house and aims his gun at Teacher, Sun-young jumps between them and begs him not to shoot. If he kills Teacher, then Jin-gyum will die. Teacher tells Jin-gyum that he used to try saving Sun-young too, but says that he doesn’t know her true self.

Teacher tells the story of why Sun-young stayed in 1992 (from his perspective). After reading the Book of Prophecy, Sun-young understood that the death of her child would result in the end of time travel. She had the child to keep the doors of time open.

Proving that he once thought the same way Jin-gyum did, they say in unison, “My mother would never do such a thing.” Teacher reveals that Jin-gyum will roam different dimensions for many years trying to save her. “Why did I become a monster? Why will you become a monster?” he challenges.

It’ll take many years for Jin-gyum to realize that the only way to save Sun-young is to go back to 1992 and stop himself from being born. Before Sun-young left the hotel room back then, Teacher had appeared before her.

At the time, Teacher was still fixated on saving Mom. He warned her to return to her time and get rid of the child so that she can live. He merely introduced himself as someone who shouldn’t exist so of course, Sun-young didn’t take the stranger’s advice. Instead, she aimed her weapon at him to protect her child.

She didn’t believe him even when he explained that he wanted to save her from dying at her child’s hands. Even if it were the truth, Sun-young was still the child’s mom and would raise him well. When Teacher pulled out his sword insisting that the monster needed to die, Sun-young shot him and coldly stated, “Who needs to die is you.”

Listening to the story, adult Jin-gyum takes Mom’s side – she didn’t know who Teacher was. However, back then, he had groaned after being shot and cried, “Mom…” Sun-young was in denial that he was her son and left him there.

The elderly man believes that Sun-young only pretended to love them. He lived a life he didn’t want to live and became a monster because she decided to give birth. Teacher’s goal is to help Jin-gyum escape from the pain he experienced and to do that, Sun-young must die. Mom agrees and tries to convince Jin-gyum, but the lieutenant would rather die and save her.

She disarms Jin-gyum and Teacher warily asks if she’s trying to kill him again now that she has a gun. He taunts her to shoot him in the head. Sun-young tearfully admits that she has felt guilty since that day but if she had closed the doors of time, Jin-gyum would disappear.

Teacher believes that the worlds she created through time travel is more precious to her, but she sobs, “To a mother, a child is the same as her entire world. Even if I don’t exist in that world, you just need to be safe.” She knows that it’ll be hard for Jin-gyum to forgive her for what she’s about to do. With a final look at Teacher, Sun-young pulls the trigger on herself.

This actually takes Teacher by surprise. He’s quite confused, frozen in place as Jin-gyum once again, holds his dying mother in his arms. Sun-young caresses his face and apologizes that he was born as her son. He assures her that he was happy, and would be born as her child again in their next lives. It never gets any easier watching Sun-young die.

Now in denial, Teacher mutters that this wasn’t supposed to happen. She tried to kill him, so why is she dying instead of him? Jin-gyum answers that it was her sacrifice as their mother. Setting her down gently, Jin-gyum grabs his weapon and aims for Teacher.

Jin-gyum tells the man to go to hell and be tormented by her selfless sacrifice forever. He places a bullet through his head and Teacher falls to his knees. Teacher reaches out for Sun-young as he disintegrates into thin air. The doors of time close and Alice gets sucked into a wormhole, leaving 2020 as if it never existed in the first place.

Everything that our Jin-gyum has experienced rewinds back to the moment when he witnessed his classmate falling from the roof. We catch up with them on Sun-young’s birthday again and as usual, she spots the cake from Jin-gyum. Adult Jin-gyum watches from outside and cries as he sings along, secretly wishing Mom a happy birthday.

Things have changed because teen Jin-gyum sings the entire song with a smile on his face. He even agrees to drink with her and they link arms as they go out to buy alcohol together. Sun-young senses Jin-gyum’s presence and sends the high schooler back inside to grab her wallet.

When Sun-young turns around, she sees her grown-up son lost in thought, staring at his childhood home. He leaves his mother a silent message that she doesn’t get to hear, but definitely seems to understand:

I’m sorry it took so long. Still, I kept the promise I made to protect you. Now, you’ll come to my high school graduation. When I get accepted into college and become a police officer, you’ll be the happiest for me. When I get hurt during an investigation, you’ll worry about me more than anyone else. When I earn my first paycheck, I’ll give you an allowance, and on your birthday, I’ll sing you the Happy Birthday song. It won’t be me, but it’ll happen that way so you don’t need to worry. Live happily. That’s all I need.

Oof. Who’s cutting onions? Jin-gyum takes her scarf out from his pocket and allows it to fly with the wind as he, too, disappears. Sun-young wraps the scarf around her neck and when teen Jin-gyum returns, she pulls him into a big hug and thanks him, but for more than just grabbing her wallet. There’s no longer a blood red moon.

2020. Tae-yi wakes up in her own bed and finds that things have changed. She apparently came back from a seminar abroad, and Jin-gyum seems to have been erased from everyone’s minds. Someone new lives at their safehouse, and nobody from the precinct knows him. Dong-ho and Captain Go are alive (yay!) but they only know Tae-yi because they’re regulars at Crime Squad.

When Tae-yi returns to her office, she finds her sunbae Seo-jin (from the Schrödinger case) waiting for her. Tears well up in Tae-yi’s eyes as she realizes that everything has been returned to normal…except for Jin-gyum. She’s completely out of it for the rest of the day, thinking about all the times they’ve shared.

That night, Tae-yeon asks if she’s okay, noting that she seems different after returning from her seminar. Tae-yi admits that it feels like she’s returning home after a very long journey. “In that place, I lived a different life, as a different person. Now, I’ve returned as myself but it doesn’t feel right.” It’s because of Jin-gyum, whom she’ll never get to meet again.

Tae-yi puts on the necklace as she thinks, “Thanks to you, we’re all living well. However, nobody can remember you. Maybe one day, I’ll become like them. However, I can promise you one thing. I’ll try my best to live a happy life, since this is a day you’ve protected for me with your life.”

After class one day, she learns that Do-yeon is requesting a consultation with her to do some research on scientific concepts being used in a movie. Tae-yi seems happy to meet up with her although Do-yeon doesn’t know Tae-yi in this new reality.

Naturally, the movie is about time travel. Do-yeon doesn’t personally believe that it’s realistic, but Tae-yi says it’s possible. However, she doesn’t believe it should be made possible because memories from the past are meant to be cherished. Turning back time is just a result of human greed.

Do-yeon is reminded of an architect that she interviewed recently. He went into his field to cherish the memories of the past. Although emotions and memories fade as time passes, he believes that spaces help to stop the passage of time. This is exactly what Tae-yi had told Jin-gyum while they were locked in the storage room.

The architect really is Jin-gyum – he works with a client to remodel an old home and is clearly passionate about retaining the memories attached to the house. “To someone, a space can be life itself,” he tells the client.

She looks around the office and spots some sketches, including one of Tae-yi standing in front of the safehouse. These images just come to Jin-gyum like déjà vu, and hold no special meaning to him.

When Tae-yi visits his office to check if the architect is Jin-gyum, she’s told that he’s out at a construction site. She makes a run for it and manages to catch him just as he leaves his client’s house. However, he passes by without a flicker of recognition.

Tae-yi calls out to him, “It’s me, Yoon Tae-yi,” but he replies, “Who are you?” She apologizes and says she has the wrong person. Although it’s a sad moment, she decides not to be disappointed. The fact that he can’t recognize her means that he’s living a good, normal life. “Please live happily, as you are now,” she thinks as she watches him walk away.

Jin-gyum ends up looking back at her in curiosity. When he returns to his office, he opens his sketchbook. There has been a face he’s been trying to draw, but wasn’t able to get the features right. Seeing Tae-yi today has allowed him to complete the sketch. He takes a look at his drawing of the safehouse and things seem to click.

The next day, Tae-yi waits by the house, thinking about how she’d told Jin-gyum not to sell it so that she can visit in the future. “I’ll be waiting until you come,” he’d promised. Tae-yi turns to leave but Jin-gyum catches her just in time. “Sorry I made you wait so long,” he tells her. They smile at one another, happy to be reunited.

 
COMMENTS

At the very core of it, Alice had a nice, solid message. Treasure your present without lingering on your past. We are reminded that when there are many important people rooting for our happiness, it’s a waste to spend every waking moment being tormented by a past that cannot be changed (it certainly ruined Teacher’s life). By no means is the show saying, “just get over it,” but it seemed more like they wanted to showcase that it’s important to cherish those around you before it’s too late. It’s a nice, sweet message.

What I can’t really get behind is the whole concept of the Book of Prophecy and the “monster” that had to kill its mother. It was never explained clearly why either Jin-gyum or Sun-young/Tae-yi had to die in order to restore the balance of the timeline. It was Teacher who went on a rampage killing all the different versions of his mother because he was hurt by that one incident back in 1992. I don’t really blame Sun-young for shooting the mysterious person who was on a mission to kill her baby. However, Teacher became hurt by it and decided that his life’s mission changed from saving Mom to killing her.

To me, that’s something that was super low stake and could have been resolved with a conversation…but Teacher needed her to physically sacrifice herself in order to understand the power of his mother’s love. But… he already knew how much she loved him before that confrontation! It hurts my brain to wrap my head around this very lackluster reasoning behind the prophecy, so I’ve decided to just move on from it. It doesn’t make her death any easier to watch though, and I really feel for Jin-gyum every single time.

Ultimately, I think that this whole reset is probably one of the best outcomes that could’ve happened. Everyone is alive (even though sadly, we never got closure with Min-hyuk to see how he’s doing) and thriving. Do-yeon’s no longer involved in a decade-long crush, Captain Go is presumably happily living out his days with his wife, Dong-ho’s alive, and Jin-gyum no longer spent a decade being traumatized by his mother’s death. Instead, he chose a profession that he was more passionate about, and I can live with that. (Judging by the birthday scene, he also doesn’t have alexithymia anymore, which makes no sense, but we’ll just go along with it.)

The biggest problem I have with the ending is – how did Jin-gyum not recognize Tae-yi? Even if he didn’t remember her as the professor, he should’ve done a double take because she’s the splitting image of his own mother. Similar to @LollyPip, I actually enjoyed Alice as a viewer – it’s really just the lack of continuity that gets me frustrated. It’s one of those, “Don’t think too hard about it if you want to enjoy it” types of shows. So with that, I’ll focus on how the amazing cast made me feel rather than the tiny questions that creep up at the end of every episode. Thanks for joining us on this adventure, Beanies!

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so um... Can someone explain to me how time travel started in the first place and/or why Sun-young went back to 1992? also, why did 2020 Tae-yi keep her memories?

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Thanks for the ride Selena! You were a great guide to understanding this one. I love sci-fi, and although this one held my attention wondering what was going to happen, it never "gripped' me. I think it suffered from being 'over-gilded': a great idea that got weighed down by parallel but different worlds mixed in with four time periods and the many characters that looked like their parallel world & timeline counterparts but weren't the same people. It made for interesting plot twists-and-turns, but somehow I came away feeling like I never got to know them well enough to worry about them since they straddled both sides of the 'good' versus the 'suspicious' timeline and seemed like split personalities. Our genius loving Mom-scientist had secrets and decisions she wasn't proud of, and her monster son, a lionhearted cop, exemplied filial love (in most of the timelines that is). Likely not a popular opinion, but for me "Alice" fell down the rabbit hole of logic and and into a Wonderland of inconsistencies. Characters walked into danger alone, never shared vital information with each other, and, my favourite thing, when facing-down the bad guy alone without a weapon: they threatened them. The over-use of tech-jargon slowed the story for me too instead of adding to it. Just as the pipe-smoking cheshire cat asked Alice as she entered Wonderland: "Which way R U going?" I also wondered where the plot was going. The answer was: in circles. It was a long way to time-travel round-and-round just to get to this silly last episode explanation. I wish the Queen of Hearts had been there instead of the "Hooded He"... to "cut of all their heads". Excuse the Alice metaphor...the last two episodes really disappointed.

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"Likely not a popular opinion, but for me "Alice" fell down the rabbit hole of logic and and into a Wonderland of inconsistencies."

Ummmm I don't know how unpopular that opinion is but I, for one, am 100% with you!

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I feel that unpopuar opinion is quite popular here XD

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First of all, let me thank the recap crew. You all have been wonderfully working hard on this one.

I don't think I want to make sense of any of this. I feel like the show could have been a big hit as I somehow feel like it has solid backbone of the story; but how it turned out like this is beyond my imagination. No actor in the world, no matter how talented he/she is, can save such a confusing plot. I don't think the writer knew what was going on either.

Having said that, I must say that the scene I love the most in the show show turned out to be the scene poor (and overworked both in and out of the screen) Min Hyuk died. I loved the scene very much as he pictured himself making a different decision. That was sweet.

And Show, good bye. Have a nice day. And I don't think we will meet again.

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The first 4 episodes were very solid, and the ratings for Ep 4 reached 10%. After that, it was in the 7-8% range due to the story becoming more convoluted and strange. Such a shame really, had it been more streamlined and better explanation with the time stuff, the show would've reached 14-17% in the finale. Still, it was solid ratings but man what could've been ://

It's a testament to the actors for pushing through when sometimes the show would let them down. Joo Won, Kim Hee Sun, and Kwak Si-yang all did a great job esp. KSY (Hello Hot Daddy!!). But like you said, great acting can't save a meandering script at the end of the day.

Def. the highlight for me in Ep 15 was Min-hyuk's true decision had he not been loyal to Alice. That moment was bittersweet, and the way the writers did a disservice to him and Do-yeon made me pissed as heck!! I so wanted more moments of him with Tae-yi and Jin-gyeom. Why did he join Alice? How did he and Tae-yi fall in love? Who was he before he was in Alice? Never explored or given a nice send off like Detective Ko got :((

Biggest disappointment (2020 K-dramas), a great premise, great actors, interesting storyline, good world building, but in the end it becomes one of those "Had the potential to be a masterpiece but ultimately a show that won't be in many people's minds long after." Also the ending sorta feels like the writers/PD were all into making Tae-yi/Jin-gyeom end game/OTP? Which is hella gross b/c he was her son and she was her mom EEWW.

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I even hoped the rating reached 15% when the show aired its 3rd or 4th episode! It's a shame really.. to think of what it COULD have been.

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Yeah if the show continued on the path of Ep 1-4's greatness, but man Ep 7-8 was weird w/ mom/son tensions which made a lot of people drop the show. Ep 9-10 had some interesting revelations, and Ep 11-12 created more interesting complex ideas into the plot. Ep 13-14 made things more confusing, and Ep 15 just felt like the finale, and Ep 16 made the show seem like everything that came before didn't matter. UGH.

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So much wasted potential indeed!
I was so invested after the first few episodes and I thought Do-yeon was an interesting and cute character... and then everything went downhill.

And the romance! Honestly, if I met someone who looks identical to either one of my parents, even if time travel doesn't exist, even if they have completely different personalities and different DNA it would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to feel romantic or sexual attraction to them. 🤢

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Right? It would feel gross to say the least.

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I actually think if the leads hadn't been big names the drama would have been better, giving more room for secondary characters. It's like they said "oh, it's Joo Won back from the army with abs, and Kim Hee-sun - they should be the OTP and take up most of the screentime even though we're not sure how to do it because he's her son".

Props to the show though for having Teacher in mind from Episode 1 though. I watched it only recently and distinctly remember the man with grey hair and long black coat standing outside the night when Tae-yi died.

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I knew it from the start when the director of the show in the press conference was praising Joo Won on his post-army body lol ok, and other things praising him as the actor that all directors want to work with. And not much towards Kwak Si-yang, I was like hmm ok lol :3 It showed here, b/c while KSY made the role memorable and interesting, the show never gave him an opportunity like proper father/son bonding moments or his relationship with Tae-yi which should've been given the scenes that were given to TY/JG in Ep 7/8 EWW.

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"I actually think if the leads hadn't been big names the drama would have been better, giving more room for secondary characters. It's like they said "oh, it's Joo Won back from the army with abs, and Kim Hee-sun - they should be the OTP and take up most of the screentime even though we're not sure how to do it because he's her son"." 1000%%

Talented/charming actors no doubt. However, it was annoying how some characters like DY/MH was sidelined b/c they weren't big names. Not just talking about small screen time but also their scenes and their worth. In fact, there was barely/to none scenes of father/son, father/mother, or friend scenes at all. Ep 16 felt like it was always going to be TY/JG end game which we know is gross for obvious reasons. The last 5 minutes of the show really made me feel like the show's overall message was undermined. JG didn't come back as her son, but as someone different meaning the door to whatever it be (platonic or romantic) was open :///

Ah yes, I remember someone did a screenshot somewhere and said "Whose the mysterious figure in black with grey hair?" I assume b/c it was pre-production (which double lol b/c whew the lack of proper explaining on the time stuff) was an utter mess.

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Also: no actor, no matter how talented could save a scene with make-up as atrociously distracting as Teacher's age-job. 😅

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Why do I kinda like the make-up? 😅 I always put my face so close to the screen to see the eyes of Teacher. I was wondering if that was also Joo Won with make-up or if they found someone to play him in older age.

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Yes, it was Joo-Won.. :D I didn't recognised at first, but yes, it's him.... The guy who almost stabbed Tae-Yi in the storage room (the hooded man, it was also played by him). Only the scene where Jin Gyeom encountered with Teacher at the scene where Tae-Yi shot herself, it was stuntman (and I'm sure they shot another scene with Joo-Won played Jin-Gyeom). Some BTS showed these scenes. But too bad I couldn't find with BTS of Joo-Won did the make-up since someone on YT said that she watched the BTS Joo-Won's make-up process.

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Ngl, I sorta chuckled/light snort when I saw the make up job. They could've just hired an older actor lol. Let's hope Joo Won ages better in the future lmao.

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I had written earlier that I was expecting the ending to disappoint me, and it did. Anyone logical viewer would have known is that the only solution to break the cycle would have been Jin-gyum to cease to exist since it seems like he should not have been born in the first place. But I was skeptical whether they would even go there and kill him off, but atleast then show did a "reset", which was good......and then they ruined it by showing the last portion where Tae-Yi remembers him and has kept her memories, but no one else remembers him. Again, I thought...OK, I could possibly live with this, but then they went one step further and brought back Jin-Gyum as an architect who doesn't remember anything and then remembers. And what is that final scene supposed to indicate??? They start having a very Oedipus-like romance??? If they had just not given Tae-Yi any memories, but shown everyone living their new lives, that would have been good. Sigh.....well, atleast this is over, and I can repress the memories of it like the others that were equally disappointing (looking at you MOA & Eternal Monarch!)

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Just imagine how awkward family dinners would be if your girlfriend looks EXACTLY like your mom. 😅

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Your final episode recap was far too kinder than it should've been! There was a good message about focusing on the now instead of the future or past. However, the whole Book of Prophecy and proper usage of Min-hyuk really grated on me as the show went on. The time stuff was never properly explained which made this a "Don't think too hard and enjoy shows." Utterly disappointed by the ending, after it ended I got super frustrated and pissed as a viewer. It was def. one of those endings that made the whole series feel like nothing that happened prior to it mattered. UGH.

Even 1 week later, I'm still irked with how Min-hyuk wasn't able to get the happy ending that he wanted. If it had ended like Tunnel did, with him and Tae-yi along with Jin-gyeom in her stomach, I would've been satisfied somewhat. The only character that made a deep impression on me was Min-hyuk. Kwak Si-yang was extra hot AF here lol, I hope he gets to be a Male Lead next time in an action drama soon.

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As a non-scientist, the Book of Prophecy was the one thing that I could understand, because it gave the story a sense of myth and magic. Oh-won's explanation of the prophecy was too complicated though. I couldn't follow why Tae-yi should die - having her kid in the wrong timeline wasn't wrong, I guess she was punished for creating time travel. Also, it was pretty clear to me that we would end with a reset, since the last page of the book showed the sword but Alice and the serpent were both gone. *pats self on the shoulder*

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Yeah, it was a bit confusing on that front imo. The whole thing with the Book of Prophecy, it should've been more used in the show than other than just being a plot device.

Tae-yi death in multiple timelines was a result of creating time travel. What I don't get is, no matter what occurs isn't she always going to die every time?? Or was there another timeline where Jin-gyeom could've gone to where that didn't happen??

Lol! Good one there! They should've have read the page with the serpent tbh, ugh my head hurts just thinking about the time explanations or lack of clear explanation.

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Hell hath no fury like a K drama addict scorned.

Ha ha ha 😤

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The time reset was the most sensible ending I could ask from this drama, I guess. But there were just too much questions plainly left hanging... how did time even travel start? who wrote the book of prophecy? why does 2050 Tae Yi who went back to 1992 look exactly the same as she was in 2010-2020, doesn't she ever get old??

And if it truly was a time reset, why does another Jin Gyeom exist??? How could he have been possibly born when the premise of his character was being a child of 2050 born in 1992 because of time travel??? It doesn't make sense? But then again, this show has been demanding so much brainpower from us to suspend our logic, am I even surprised at this point? And with this unrelated 2020 Jin Gyeom now, idk but is the show trying to suggest further that weird romance between Tae Yi and Jin Gyeom?? Uhhhhmmmm..

Quite honestly, I would've accepted if better it if the architect ended up to be Min Hyuk. Min Hyuk was truly such a waste of a character. I felt like there was so much to be explored for us to understand his deep loyalty to Alice and his love for Tae Yi. His character (as with many aspects of the show) was built up with so much mystery but ended out flat and unresolved leaving us with so much more to be desired.

I do appreciate the bigger message of the show, to learn to accept our circumstances and live with our existing present. But I leave this show being so unresolved that I'm sincerely taking a hiatus from all time-bending dramas until I retrieve my lost brain cells.

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Aww I hadn't even thought about the possibility of Min Hyuk being the architect... that would have been a much nicer ending!

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Then at least we get a full circle ending on their little family plotline, where Tae Yi and Min Hyuk can go on and live normal lives and give birth to a non-time warp radiation exposed Jin Gyeum. I'm just gonna convince myself that's how it ended to give justice to Min Hyuk's character.

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I was actually holding my breath thinking the architect would turn out to be Min-hyuk. I was so disappointed it was Jin-gyeom LOL.

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They did Min-hyuk's character so so dirty UGH. It pains me that Kwak Si-yang's breakthrough role in Alice hasn't lead to him getting a Main Lead role. Instead, he's playing second fiddle a.k.a third main lead in his next role :((

They should've just made it like Tunnel did (UGH, this show failed on the character's interacting relationships with one another) and ended it with Min-hyuk and Tae-yi meeting again and thus falling in love and creating Jin-gyeom. Rmfe at this weird/cop-out ending with the mom/son.

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I cannot believe the writers were able to write a final episode that made even less sense than I expected 😂

Seriously, I had very low expectations but nothing makes sense, like Jin Gyum not recognizing Tae-Yi as a doppelganger of his mom - what does that mean??? He did live with his mom in this reality, right? (Despite the fact that if time travel really doesn't exist... she shouldn't have ended up getting pregnant and, you know, time travelling to the 90s!)

Also, if time travel never existed in this timeline... how did Tae-Yi become an orphan? She lives with her adopted family, after all.
And how did Jin Gyum spend his life trying to save his mom until he was old and wrinkly only to change his mind about his mom when her only crime was to PROTECT her baby from a creepy time travelling stranger?

And how old is Teacher to look THAT BAD? (Also, why not wear one of those illusion earpieces?)

I have way more questions but I don't even have the energy to write them down lol

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One final comment before I stop ranting about this drama lol: I was disappointed with the implication that asexuality is a result of having alexithymia :(

Like, maybe the alexithymia-free version of Jin Gyum is still supposed to be asexual but I doubt that's what the writers intended, especially with the hint at that creepy romance in the final scene.

Also... how on earth does he not have alexithymia now? Because he isn't a worm-hole baby in this reality? BUT HOW DID HE END UP BEING BORN WITHOUT TIME TRAVEL- oh, wait. I already complained about that. 😅

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I feel for the actors and the crew, really. I will remember this writer’s name and will be utmost careful with her future projects.

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and also don't forget that he said that "the house in the picture was from de javu..." If the Jin-Gyeom the architect is the high school student Jin-Gyeom the police saw that night, how could he said it's a de javu? didn't he and his mom live in that house? and how could he forget Deo-yeon? didn't they get the cake together?

Never mind... hahaha.. i stopped thinking a lot about the ending, like many of us...

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omg there are more and more plotholes the longer we think about this 😅
NOTHING MAKES ANY SENSE AT ALL 😂😂😂

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Reading the final recap, I don't have any regret about dropping this show :D

The fact they still tease a romance between the leads is weird.

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I'm happy that I saved from dropping Alice. I'm not an Alice dropper.

In my opinion, I didn't disappoint the final episode and I felt a bit of lonely but in generally, I had a lot of happiest fun scenes including the final action and of course, the continuing romantic relationship between Jin-gyum and Tae-yi which perfectly wasted the Alice's time. Also, I felt comfortable by relaxing myself while watching due to good cinematographic and editing quality, so-so OK'd SFX and excellent CGI. What a good job from the Alice cast and crew! :)

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I loled at your ‘a bit lonely’. I understand your feeling chingu.

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The writers/PD must've some unfinished mommy business. Weirdos!!! In the press conference, the director was praising Joo Won and Kim Hee Sun so much. I guess SBS/writers/PD knows that both are big stars/names, so random/useless moments were given to them. Still though, both stars are charismatic and talented and made me stick through even though this show got stupider at the end lol.

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I liked the actors but not the characters. Kim Hee Sun's characters :
- The mother was so badass in the first scene and then she became this weak mother.... I mean why she couldn't love her son and still being a badass?
-The professor : I didn't really like her. She was kinda childish, it was the humor part I guess, but I found it irksome like when he took her in his old house and she behaves like she is at home or trying to steal the card from the futur.

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They made her a damsel in distress way too much. Must be always have these scenes where men get to be heroes and save the day?? Boring. After Ep 1, I was bored/annoyed with what they did to Tae-yi as a character. I've never seen a female in a K-drama that's a main lead that's been badass or have these supernatural forces/powers. Where's the female Goblin or Action Hero??

Her professor character may been a genius in smarts, but she was childish and her research fell down by the wayside as the show progressed. UGH. It's a testament to KHS's rl likability/charm that I liked her character as a result. Woman is an ageless goddess!

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during my engineering days one of my Mechanical Engineering professor gave us one line as to how to approach any viva interviews.. he said "Either convince them or confuse them"
so for me Alice started as one of most promising shows which was about to convince me "about living in present and not resenting the past" but sadly it ended up confusing me as to why and how Tae Yi of 2020 remembers all that happened from 1992 till 2020 that too in all multiverses...
and then biggest confusion.. why Jin Gyeom could not wonder seeing her that she is his mom's another version. if he does not remember that Tae Yi he still is the Son of his mom Yoon Tae Yi.

This show suffered badly with an over ambitious director who wanted to show everything about time travel but failed to execute the most basic continuity till the very end.

I am dispoointed.

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I was SO ready to suspend my disbelief and just go with whatever the show does.... but then the Jin Gyum/Tae Yi romance started and I just had to drop it. Now I am glad I dropped it so early because watching this final episode would have made me so angry!

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I love how drama viewers get so invested in the dramas we watch, even if we don't finish them. We still keep reading the recaps and comments. Thanks Dramabeans for being the forum that allows us to connect and share.

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"Either convince them or confuse them" - This is gold and so typical of PhD supervisors.

As to why Jin-gyeom couldn't remember Tae-yi, I think it's because Jin-gyeom the architect has different parents and is altogether a different person. I don't know how he knows about the house though.

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But with different parents Jin Gyeom wouldn't look the same, would he? I mean, even if we believe nurture has everything to do with personality, genes determine what we will look like so he needed to have the same parents to look the same.

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If The teacher's death prevents the whole thing from collapsing then wouldn't Sun Young never meet Min Hyuk in the first place and Jin Gyeom shouldn't exist and Tae Yi should exist as separate entity......I can't logically wrap my head around this no matter how many times I had tried. The only way is they are giving it to us so just accept it, there's no logic to this. I am glad the police gang and Da Hyun never met Jin Gyeom though, they looked happier. I will take that but I have no idea why they went with the ending where Tae Yi and Jin Gyeom meet all over again. Makes no sense. This show started with a bang and then collapsed on itself abandoning all logic, continuity relations like a giant star. But instead of a supernova we got a tiny solar flare.

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Now I'm in favor of faux-pest as much as anyone (I mean - have we forgotten how sexy the Cruel Intentions trailer and beginning was?) - but something about Tae-Yi and Jin Gyeum (sp?) ending up together was icky. She's the image of his mother. And she knows it! I'm also puzzled about why (and how) both Sun Yeong and Jim Gyeom stayed in 1992 - the reset should have sent them back to their original timeline, and it would have meant that we'd get to see Min Hyuk happy - which was the only thing I really cared about at the end.
It's not a How I Met Your Mother ending level of scrub-all-memory-from-brain failure, but its up there with Memories of Alhambra awful for sure. At the end of their weird ride I guess that best I can say for this drama is that I watched it?

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thanks you for the recap.

agrred with you about the book. the whole drama, they are been talking about the prophecy but without explaining why either of them must die. and who wrote that book or they talked about it but i missed it. i mean, there are a lot of huh? and eye rolling, so i maybe missed some crucial points.

and i dont like the ending. I dont understand the mechanism behind why TY retain her memories while everything and everyone starts new. even reset has t&c and disclaimer now? If you chose reset as a plot, be bold and wipe off everyone memory and let them meet naturally. choosing a standard kdrama ending where they meet, sparks fly with some kind of dejavu feelings between them, i dont mind that tbh. after all the messiness and inconsistencies, a simple kdrama happy ending is not so bad.

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Yay, finally the recap is here! Thank you for your hard work @selena and @lollypip.

LOL, beanies, don't be so frustrated. We knew the ending wouldn't make sense. I have to say I was mad at the way the show underutilized Min-hyuk. He was also supposed to be smart. So that grand plan of escaping Alice with Tae-yi shouldn't have included telling Oh-won about it, I think. They should have just slipped out? Sigh.

Anyway, I have a theory about the ending, half jest half serious. Nothing makes sense ok, and that only makes sense if the drama we watched was a dream. Who's dream? 2020 Tae-yi. My argument is that the ending was modeled on Alice in Wonderland. Our heroine has spent the whole drama running around like Alice in Wonderland, hearing stories that contradict each other. Stuff happens and is left unexplained. It's like a bad nightmare, where no matter what you do you always end up repeating the same scene, in this case, Sun-yang/Tae-yi's own death as a punishment for creating time travel. We could get all psychoanalytical about this and say her subconscious created a world where she sees the fatal consequences of time travel, and where she was in a weird love triangle with a handsome dude in a suit and a cop who turned out to be her son. That's quite a nightmare.

Also, she is the only one who retains memories in the end. Her family and her life are the same, but Jin-gyeom does not exist. Jin-gyeom the architect is an entirely different person (I assume he has different parents or he would have reacted to seeing Tae-yi). The drama should have ended there, when she wished him happiness and they went their separate ways. But the drama then suggested this Jin-gyeom somehow remembers memories of another life or dimension ("deja vu"), which is supposed to be a romantic new beginning for the OTP (think SPLISH SPLASH LOVE or any other reincarnation endings - different person but maybe has some vague memory of past lives). Of course by now the audience is grossed out because we've seen them as mother and son for so long.

Also, after hinting in episode 15 that Do-yeon and Jin-gyeom might actually end up together, the show decided to wipe Do-yeon's memories too, sinking that ship into oblivion. RIP.

Final note: I am traumatized by seeing Jin-gyeom's mom die so many times. It's like seeing Truck of Doom in THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES hit the dad again and again and again (about 14 times I think).

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I don't have any regrets about watching this mainly because there were some good ideas driving it at various times and good family dynamics at play. But there's no denying that this show represents a colossal waste of so much potential and good will. Good ideas alone don't make for a good drama. I don't see the point of gaming the audience for its own sake and then painting oneself into a corner when simplicity would have made for better storytelling overall. As has been said, the ending was utterly nonsensical. I'm not that desperate to have a happy ending and certainly not in the form of some marketing promo of the leads.

One of the drama's bright spots was Kwak Si-yang's Min-hyuk who was really one of the more pleasant surprises for me. I hope that in the future he can make his way to OCN as an antihero character of some description. I was hoping good things for him but it was not to be sadly. In general the way the show ended up using the Alice side of things was woeful.

The show really needed to get away from the idea that just because Joo-won and Kim Hee-sun were top billed actors that they had to do everything and be in every scene especially in the second half of the drama. It isn't just about the incestuous overtones but their scenes together became repetitive and dreary to be honest. I always thought this was supposed to be about an ensemble cast. At least that was the impression I was given in the first half. But in the second half there were so many characters criminally underused.

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I don't know if you've heard about it, but there is a post here about an upcoming sageuk drama for SBS channel that Kwak Is-young will play an anti-hero. Perhaps the drama god has heard your prayer, but it will be by SBS not OCN.

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Ok, so now did Jigyeom get to live with his mother till the end after everything turned to normal? I just need to know that😭😭 Did he get to live a normal life with his mother?

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Drama started amazing and ended in a way that left me confused and frustrated. Loved the actors and good job overall. One thing I didn’t understand aside from the numerous plot holes already mentioned is little Tae Yi not recognizing her “mom.” We saw that 1992 pregnant Tae Yi decided to raise little Tae Yi as her own, but later left her at the orphanage. Later, when Jin Gyeom was a toddler and met little Tae Yi, older Tae Yi takes the picture. How does little Tae Yi not recognize big Tae Yi as the mother that abandoned her? Did I miss something?

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Stopped watching at episode 8. The incosistencies have piled up to an unbearable point. Setting up the laws that govern the overworld only to break it multiple times is bad writing. And using the grandfather paradox as a main plot is one that I always find to be absurd. He tried to prevent himself from being born resulting in his mother's death, all to save him the agony of losing his mother!? It is an endless loop with no real starting point. Glad I save myself further time from watching this trash.

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Late to this party, and I'm glad I am because I wasn't swept up in the general sense of disappointment. For me, a willing suspension of disbelief comes with little effort. Additionally because I am also watching Sisyphus, Alice seems relatively uncomplicated. But all lack of convincing explanations for the plot aside, I want to give a shout out to Joo Won. He is such an amazing actor. When I think about the different shades of character(s) that he had to get in this: the school boy with alexithymia, the Detective, the evil school boy, the old man (very ugly, with a bad wig, and I'm sure he will age more gracefully than that), and the architect. They were all fairly close to each other, but also showed variations in shading. He got the grief, the anger, the integrity, the bitterness, and the evil, and all the time when he was not supposed to show emotions - like acting with your hands tied behind your back. I knew he was good when I saw Gaksital, and his character in The Good Doctor was so wonderful that I cannot bear to watch any rip offs. I get that everyone wants to work with him, and he carried this, in spite of the holes that irritated people other than me. Alice itself was such a mixture of deep mythology about time and a baby with no ordinary ability being born to the world. Was it a cautionary tale about living in the present and not regretting the past? Maybe. And I agree that there was so much in it that could have been teased out further, especially secondary characters who deserved more of a backstory. I hadn't really taken any notice of Kwak Si-yang before, although I do remember him from Chicago Typewriter, but thanks to the angst expressed by Beanies about his character's underdevelopment here, I'll be looking out for him in the future.

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