Ok, I concede. Other than the almost-similar set up where a police officer seems to go back in time after a near-death accident, Mars is veering off the time-travelling premise. For one, the “voices” Tae-joo hears in his head — of a medical team trying to revive him from possible heart failure — blurs the line between him being PHYSICALLY transported to the 80s, and his subconscious comatose mind trying to awaken him to something important which he has missed.
And the latter argument seems to be winning. Tae-joo himself admits that a portion of his childhood (the timeframe where he finds himself in now), is a blur. He can’t seem to remember anything when he was 8. And we suspect it is related to a trauma. Not a physical one, but a mental block of something so horrifying his younger self was unable to cope with it. And the “horrible event” was probably a murder (related to the present day nail polish serial murders) he witnessed. As to HOW the serial murderer in the present time seems to know who he is, that still remains a mystery (maybe he is the time traveller in Mars?)
But while I am all for the argument of Tae-joo’s mind sending him back to the past to unlock the whatever he has forgotten, another part of me is wondering …how in the world can he end up in some place that is so…rich? The characters — his new colleagues, the criminals, victims — his mind “thought” up in his coma state, are a little too real to be entirely fictional. As Ms Yoon pointedly asks — does he think they are fake? And the longer Tae-joo spends time with them, the more he is convinced they are real.
Probably the only way to “prove” their existence is when Tae-joo wakes up from his coma and digs into Insung City’s police records. But if he does find they do exist…it will be a pretty much creepy situation.