Life on Mars Episode 1 Recap

Jung Kyung-Ho is back and looking sexier than ever in a dazzling brown leather jacket. Yes, I know this is a super important drama about time travel, ethically finding killers, and justice. But we need need to focus on the important parts. Sexy Jung Kyung Ho. So come join me as I share my top 6 moments from episode 1 Life on Mars (hint… Jung Kyung Ho’s style might be the star of my recaps.)

For those of you just discovering our blog, I am Kmuse, one of the main bloggers at Dramas with a Side of Kimchi. I will be bringing you my opinions on some of the episodes.  Why only some you might be asking?  You not only get myself doing recaps, but also Clkytta is joining in as well.  A little about me: I am a mother of three and an avid kdrama watcher. I love to watch literally everything. There are very few currently airing dramas that I am not watching, so if you have any questions about them (or really any drama since I have seen an insane amount) feel free to ask me in the comments. Or better yet come follow our facebook page and ask me there. For those of you who have not read my past recaps, I am one of those bloggers that really like to just discuss my opinions on certain scenes or concepts of the drama. I don’t go step by step through the whole thing. So if you are looking for a complete recap you might have to look elsewhere (and then come back and read ours of course).

Character Introduction – Present

Like any good first episode we first must discover who the characters we are watching are.  Since we have time travel involved I will start with the present and later introduce those from 1988.

Han Tae-Joo (Jung Kyung Ho)

Han Tae Joo is a by the books policeman.  He is so by the book that if the forensic evidence does not match-up he will blow the whistle on the situation.  Something that rarely happens in Korean police procedurals.   This has isolated him from the rest of the police department.  While it does seem to bug Tae Joo it doesn’t stop him from doing what he thinks is right.

Jung Seo-Hyun (Jeon Hye-Bin)

Prosecutor Seo Hyun is the ex-girlfriend of Tae Joo.  While their breakup seems to make both a little sad (lingering feelings maybe?) they both seem to be cordial.  Enough that Seo Hyun gives Tae Joo a chance to make a comeback in the national forensic dept if he investigates the crime-scene of a serial killer case for her.  While there are no fingerprints or DNA present, she has faith that he will find something to help her case.

Serial Killer Guy

Introducing our show’s friendly serial killer. OK, not friendly as much as creepy as freak. His nervous habit of chewing his fingers has eradicated his fingerprints and I find the constant chewing very unnerving. He also seems to recognize Tae Joo and references to knowing him from, that time. Are we foreshadowing much?

Scary Serial Killer….. Check

As I mentioned above. The serial killer is very serial killery. He also seems to have someone supporting his killing habits. Maybe someone in the police force? This seems likely since our killer is acquitted of his crime due to a contaminated crime scene. Tae Joo not only finds the killer’s DNA (via saliva from his chewing habit) but that of multiple dead criminals. Something which would be impossible unless corrupted on purpose.

As soon as he is released persecutor Seo Hyun is taken but not before leaving a voicemail on Tae Joo’s phone saying that the killer had backing. Tae Joo and the police track him to a neighborhood where Tae Joo apprehends our killer. Only to have an unidentifiable person come up behind him with a gun. Tae Joo is shot and our killer(s) get away.

When Tae Joo stumbles out towards his car he hears a radio station playing an old 80s song and then is hit by another car. Hello, 1988.


Character Introduction Past (1988)

Lee Yong-Ki & Jo Nam-Sik 

These two junior detectives will be part of Tae Joo’s team.  They both seem nice enough but I am sure we will learn more about their backstories in the future.

Yoon Na Young (Ko Ah-Sung)

The only female on the past team, Na Young is treated more like a secretary than a policeman.  Forced to clean up after her co-workers and make coffee she is not considered a real policeman.  Sexism at its worst.  I look forward to her growing in her career.

Kang Dong-Cheol (Park Sung Woong)

A traditional 1980s cop, Dong Cheol doesn’t meet a criminal that he can’t beat up on. He is pretty much the anti-Tae Joo and I suspect we will see a ton of arguments between the two regarding the correct procedure. I look forward to it since both these actors are perfect for the roles they are playing.

Sexy Tae Joo Doesn’t Play Well With Others

We already witnessed that Tae Joo doesn’t deal with other people well. His porcupine personality and obsessive detail-driven work ethics just don’t mesh with the go by the gut classic police style. This, of course, is intensified when he is sent back in time.

He meets his co-workers by being arrested for being “suspicious” and after getting into a fist fight with Dong Cheol he is a bit antagonistic. Luckily for him, his co-workers seem to be a bit easier going. While I don’t think Dong Cheol is ready to be bromantic, he is ready to let bygones be bygones and solve cases together.

Coma or Time Travel?

At this point in the story, we don’t know if this is really time travel or a huge elaborate coma induced dream due to Tae Joo’s head wound. There are possibilities on both sides. Serial Killer claims that he knew him from “before”. Before when? As a child when he first got his killer habits? Tae Joo also seems to suffer from hallucinations and loud beeps that are congruent with a hospital room. Does that mean his reality is actually a hospital and bits of it are leaking through? Guess we will have to watch more to find out.

Serial Killers are Timeless

We close out the episode with Tae Joo and the team being called because of a discovered body.  A body that is showing some very similar signs to the victims in the present serial killer case.  Dun dun dun.

My Thoughts:

I am loving this remake and I can’t wait to see what happens. I also want to give props to the screenwriter for not using the traditional serial killer from the 80s. You know the one. It is used in every serial killer drama that comes out of Dramaland. For once we have a unique serial killer that can be creepy on his own makeup obsessed merit.

I also am enjoying the styling and music. I love everything Tae Joo has worn so far and I think he looks stylish despite the clothes being retro. If he only wore that jacket for the rest of the drama I would be a happy fangirl.

Be sure to join Clkytta who will be covering episode 2 in the upcoming days. We look forward to sharing our Jung Kyung Ho love as well as all the awesome moments of this drama.

Til the next murder,


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

8 thoughts on “Life on Mars Episode 1 Recap

  1. Wow how do you find time to watch everything.
    I really loved the first ep and am excited to continue. Initially I was confused but I loved the ride nonetheless.

  2. Heh, The Leather Jacket in the British original had almost as many fans as the characters themselves. 😃

    I loved the original LOM, so I initially wasn’t all that hot this remake, but the 1st two episodes turned out to be pretty good. Hope they keep it up. The cast is great, which is a big plus.

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