The Girl Who Sees Smells continues to be the bees knees, just what the good doctor ordered to cure my recent drama disappointment. It keeps on delivering the lovely and entertaining moments, never straying beyond the existing storyboard and spending all the development time in all the right places. Moo Gak finds out his Eun Seol died in the worst case of mistaken identity EVER but doesn’t yet know his Cho Rim is the real eyewitness Eun Seol. He does call her our Cho Rim to stake his claim in front of Jae Hee, who doesn’t seem to be interested in Cho Rim “that way” if my Koala tingly sense is correct, but makes for a jealous Moo Gak.
There is yet another random murder in this episode and I’m pretty onboard with the one death per episode pace. This case gets cracked quickly and with minimal brains, mostly just luck, but continues to put Jae Hee in a ring of people dying around him. I can see why Cho Rim is so friendly towards Jae Hee since she’s friendly towards everyone she thinks is nice, what I can’t see why Jae Hee is so nice back unless he’ll keeping her close for a nefarious reason. I’m just glad Moo Gak’s deductive skills keeps getting polished because if he’s falling for Cho Rim like I think he is, then he’s got to succeed in keeping her safe because I don’t think he’ll survive losing another person he loves.
Episode 5 recap:
Cho Rim gets all dolled up to go see Moo Gak at her friend’s restaurant, only to stop in her tracks when she sees him laughing and smiling across from Detective Yeom.
Cho Rim ends up leaving without making her presence known, stopping in front of a store window when she notices the reflection of her gloss stained lips a reminder of wanting to look pretty to go see Moo Gak. She wipes the lip gloss off and walks home.
Cho Rim is in low key mode, eating ramyun out of a pot in the living room while chuckling too heartily at a gag show on TV. Moo Gak calls and orders to come out and meet him as he’s in her neighborhood. Cho Rim tries to act like she’s busy but he calls her on eating ramyun in the living room watching TV. Ha, she can sees smells and he can see through Cho Rim.
Cho Rim changes out of her scraggly lounge clothes and meets Moo Gak in the neighborhood park. He’s annoyed at being kept waiting for so long, wondering if she lives so far away that she needs to traverse the mountains and hills to get here. He notices she’s dressed up and wonders why she has the time for this, suggesting that they practice their skit now. Cho Rim hides her happiness and wonders where they should practice? Moo Gak has her follow him and they head to a chicken restaurant.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim munch on fried chicken and beer while practicing yet another comedy sketch about country bumpkin Moo Gak not knowing the ways of living in Seoul. He wants to rent a Seoul apartment with his paltry means and she points out he can only afford a Seoul apartment that is forever in darkness. Moo Gak has perfected his “whut?!?!” reaction and can’t believe it costs so much to live in Seoul.
Cho Rim stops midway when she notices everyone in the restaurant is watching them LOL. Moo Gak and Cho Rim then discover that another patron has paid their bill already, passing along the message for the two of them to live well in the countryside and work hard. Ahahaha, love it! Cho Rim and Moo Gak exchange a deadpan look that it just so precious.
Detective Tak is being led away in handcuffs for covering up his little brother’s crime. He apologizes sincerely to his team, for bringing shame to them and vows to make penance for his actions. He thanks everyone for the time working together and bows his head low.
Detective Tak thanks Moo Gak personally for catching him this quickly otherwise he would continue making the mistake. He really liked working with Moo Gak however short the time was and asks to shake Moo Gak’s hand. Moo Gak takes Detective Tak’s hand in a shake before covering his handcuffs with the white cloth again. The remaining team watches as Detective Tak is driven away.
Detective Yeom is back on this team and reminds the remaining members to continue their investigation into the bar code serial killings now that the gym trainer death is concluded. She walks away and the other detectives wonder why she’s so indifferent after what the team went through with Detective Tak.
Moo Gak pulls into a restaurant parking lot with his colleagues, Detective Ye is the younger one and Detective Ki is the older one with the foreign girlfriend who keeps calling him during cases. Detective Ki is especially anal with his car and orders Detective Ye to be careful when he opens the car door so as to not scratch it. Moo Gak gets out of the car which is when a dead body falls on the car roof. Moo Gak looks up and sees chef Kwon Jae Hee peering over the edge.
Flashback to 10 minutes earlier, the location is the opening of Jae Hee’s new restaurant and he greets newly arriving guest Cho Rim. He is seating her when he hears other customers complaining about why the food is taking so long. Jae Hee asks where head chef Hong went and hears he went up to the roof to pick some herbs and still hasn’t come back.
Jae Hee runs up to the roof which is when he sees Chef Hong dangling over the edge and then falling over, leading to the scene where Moo Gak sees the dead body fall on the car. We see a pair of legs hiding behind the door when Jae Hee arrives on the roof, and later Jae Hee finds the roof door closed and locked. Moo Gak runs up to the roof and arrests Jae Hee since he’s the only one up on the roof.
The customers all watch as Jae Hee is led away in handcuffs. Cho Rim is with the bystanders and a man bumps into her before walking away. The cops interrogate Jae Hee who admits he knows the dead man as a chef that works for him. When asked if he strangled the victim before tossing him over the roof, Jae Hee refuses to answer and asks for his lawyer.
Cho Rim notices that the victim’s neck area has a scent trail on it, but Jae Hee’s hands don’t have the same scent trail, which means Jae Hee didn’t strangle the victim. She then remembers the man who bumped into her, when she picked up his cell phone to hand back the man’s hands exuded the same scent trail. Cho Rim runs after the real murderer.
Jae Hee waits in the interrogation room while the cops stand outside, unable to ask him questions now that he’s invoked his right to stay silent and asked for his lawyer. Moo Gak gets a text from Cho Rim asking to meet.
Cho Rim explains to Moo Gak that Jae Hee is not the real killer. The victim has a specific scent trail around his neck where he was strangled but Jae Hee’s hands don’t have that scent. Furthermore, Cho Rim saw the man who did have that scent on his hands. Moo Gak claims he also saw clearly, he clearly saw Jae Hee’s face on the roof after the victim fell over. Cho Rim argues that Moo Gak’s conclusion is incorrect but Moo Gak doesn’t see another explanation since Jae Hee was the only other person on that roof. Moo Gak is certain the killer is Jae Hee and orders Cho Rim not to investigate further on this case.
Moo Gak hands a drink to Jae Hee in the interrogation room, saying that it’s from Cho Rim. He so doesn’t like Jae Hee because of Cho Rim, heh. Moo Gak says “our Cho Rim tells me you’re innocent so don’t make you feel uncomfortable.” Jae Hee smiles and says nothing to that. Moo Gak explains that the search of his home tomorrow after the warrant is issued may close the investigation if nothing incriminating is unearthed. Jae Hee thanks Moo Gak for sharing this information with him. Moo Gak asks Jae Hee what to do about his little dog as Cho Rim is worried.
Cho Rim unlocks Jae Hee’s front door and goes inside to retrieve the dog. She is about to take the dog home with her when she sees three stacked boxes of wines in the living room. She sees dead model Mari’s scent coming from the middle box but isn’t suspicious since Mari and Jae Hee were dating so her scent could have gotten on it.
Cho Rim runs into Doctor Chun as she leaves the house. He thanks her for taking care of the dog and she heads home, leaving Doctor Chun alone when he goes inside Jae Hee’s place. Flashback to Jae Hee meeting with Doctor Chun in the police interrogation room and asking him for a favor. Jae Hee claims that he has some crooked accounting books to cover up his restaurant expansion money crunch that will get him into major trouble if the police find it. He asks Doctor Chun to retrieve it from his place before the police search it tomorrow morning.
Doctor Chun gulps down a drink of water in Jae Hee’s living room before walking over to the boxes of wines in the living room, the same boxes Cho Rim saw exude Mari’s scent. Jae Hee tells Doctor Chun to take the middle box which contains the accounting books. Doctor Chun takes the box back to his office.
The cops are prepping to search Jae Hee’s house and using it to also look for Mari’s missing diaries. Since she swallowed the diary key right before death, it was clearly important to her and may contain information about who killed her. The search warrant comes down and the team moves out for the search.
Cho Rim is out trying to find the real killer and wanders around to places that uses the herb she smelled on the victim. The killer happens to bike past her so Cho Rim chases after him but finds herself cornered by the man. Cho Rim runs away from him and the man can sense she knows something so chases after her and whips out a knife.
Cho Rim texts Moo Gak to help her as the killer is chasing her. She eventually hides inside a building storage room but the killer finds her and pulls out a knife to menace her. Moo Gak arrives and we see his ice crystals scent wafting into the storage room followed by his voice calling out for Cho Rim. The killer silences Cho Rim and puts a knife to her throat to keep her quiet.
Moo Gak pretends to leave before kicking down the storage room door and tussling with the killer. The man manages to escape from Moo Gak because he’s worried enough about Cho Rim to go back and check on her. He finds Cho Rim crying in the storage room and hunched into a ball. Moo Gak hears that she’s alright and gently takes her hand to lead her out of there.
Moo Gak chews out Cho Rim for following a suspect even though she has no training. He gets even more upset when he spots her covered in cuts. Cho Rim argues back that the killer needs to be caught as soon as possible because innocent Jae Hee is being locked up for a crime he didn’t commit. Moo Gak explains that the search warrant is doing executed right now and Jae Hee will be released by tomorrow.
Cho Rim hands Moo Gak a plate of mugwort rice cakes and he thinks she’s trying to feed him. She has to explain that the mugwort scent is the same as around the victim’s neck and on the killer’s hands. But the concentration of the scent was many times greater and Cho Rim went to all the places that uses mugwort but couldn’t find that concentration of scent. Moo Gak orders Cho Rim off this case and heads back to continue investigating based on what Cho Rim told him.
Cho Rim takes off her jacket and sees various floral scents on it from when the killer grabbed her. She runs after Moo Gak to tell him about the additional flower scents. Moo Gak hands Cho Rim some medicine for her cuts which makes her happy again. She sits down and sticks out her leg for Moo Gak to apply the medicine. Moo Gak tells Cho Rim in all seriousness to stop investigating anymore. It was his fault for getting her involved and from now on she doesn’t need to help on the police side but he’ll continue to be her comedy sketch partner. It’s too dangerous for her so he wants her to stay out of it.
The police execute the search warrant and take away various items from Jae Hee’s house. Team leader Kang notices the box of wines in the living room, but now it’s two boxes instead of the three. He opens the box on the bottom and sees that it’s just wine inside. The cops leave the search having found nothing useful.
The detectives are at the precinct discussing what they have learned about Doctor Chun, who remains a suspect in the bar code murders. Turns out he had a wife who died two and a half years ago of a heart ailment. Supposedly she always had a heart problem since childhood and he moved to Jeju Island with her to allow her to live in a cleaner environment. He quit a job at the top Seoul hospital and moved to Jeju to work at a smaller hospital.
Moo Gak’s ears light up when he hears that Doctor Chun worked at a Jeju hospital for the year prior to his wife’s death. He shows the team the dead Jeju sea diving couple (Cho Rim’s parents) who were killed three years ago in Jeju. Detective Yeom orders Moo Gak to go to Jeju to check on Doctor Chun’s alibi for the days that Mari went missing.
Moo Gak is heading out to investigate when he runs across a street vendor selling little teddy bear’s that can record a short message. He flashes back to going to Namsan Tower with Eun Seol who records a message on the teddy bear “Oppa, I’m hungry, where to eat in Seoul?” and he records back “Choi Eun Seok, silly.”
Moo Gak pays a visit to Eun Seol’s altar in Jeju with flowers and the voice recording teddy bear. He remembers bickering with Eun Seol about what to eat in Seoul during that trip. Moo Gak places the little teddy bear in Eun Seok’s altar and heads out to investigate.
Moo Gak hears from the doctor in Jeju that Doctor Chun was there during the specific days Mari was missing. Doctor Chun came to check on the patient file for Choi Eun Seol, a patient who had X-rays taken, surgery files, and stayed in the critical care unit. It doesn’t make sense for Moo Gak since his Eun Seol was killed when she arrived in the ER. The doctor is confused so Moo Gak asks for the file on Choi Eun Seol. Moo Gak reads Cho Rim’s file, of course, and realizes that the birthdays are not the same. That Choi Eun Seol was not born on the same day as his Choi Eun Seol, which means it was two girls with the same name.
Moo Gak gets back to Seoul and tells the detectives that the real killer must be working at a flower shop which is what his colleagues have deduced already based on excessive electricity usage. The cops raid the flower shop in question and Moo Gak arrests the killer and another guy. Detectives Ki and Ye find the hidden room behind the flower shop where an illegal marijuana hothouse is being kept.
The two suspects are taken in on drugs charges but Moo Gak piles on the additional murder change for the killer offing the victim in a marijuana deal gone bad. The dead chef didn’t want to use the restaurant to deal anymore so was killed in the argument. Jae Hee happened to arrive on the roof right after and allowed the real killer to pin it on him and slip away.
Jae Haee is driven by his lawyer back to his house and he immediately heads inside to go check on the boxes of wine, looking pleased that the box in the middle is gone. Cho Rim arrives to return the dog.
Moo Gak reports his Jeju findings on Doctor Chun’s activities to Detective Yeom. She hears that Doctor Chun accessed Choi Eun Seol’s patient file. Moo Gak wonders why Doctor Chun is looking at the file daughter of the dead sea diving couple? Especially when the daughter has been declared dead as well in the official files. Moo Gak believes that if they can catch Doctor Chun in one slip up then it’s game over for him.
Jae Hee finds the steak in the fridge still good despite him being locked up the past few days. He offers to make a steak dinner to thank Cho Rim for helping and believing in him. She happily accepts but brings up wishing Moo Gak was here as well to partake, too bad he doesn’t have the culinary luck.
Moo Gak accesses his little sister Eun Seol’s files and wonders about the coincidence of the two girls sharing the same name. Detective Yeom walks over and wants to see what Moo Gak is looking at. She reads Eun Seol’s file and asks who she is? Moo Gak reveals that this Eun Seol is his little sister, which is when Detective Yeom reveals that the sea diving couple’s daughter Eun Seol may have seen the face of the bar code victim and is an eyewitness.
Cho Rim sits down to dinner with Jae Hee and gushes over the tasty food. He asks about her work at the comedy troupe and hears that Cho Rim enjoys it but the pay isn’t good. He wonders why Cho Rim doesn’t get a part time job but she can’t find out that is flexible and the boss is nice. Jae Hee suggests Cho Rim come for at the restaurant part time, he’ll be the flexible nice boss for her but she’ll have to work hard otherwise he’ll get mad at her.
Cho Rim thanks Jae Hee profusely and lowers her head to eat while Jae Hee stares at Cho Rim.
Moo Gak connects the dots finally, that Eun Seol/Cho Rim saw the killer and was hit by a car and taken to the hospital, while Moo Gak’s little sister Eun Seol was also taken to the same hospital. The killer accidentally killed the wrong girl in trying to off eyewitness Eun Seol.
Moo Gak storms to confront Doctor Chun, screaming that he killed his little sister Eun Seol by accident when mistaking her for the eyewitness Eun Seol. Doctor Chun says nothing while Moo Gak keeps screaming that she wasn’t the eyewitness!
Detective Yeom drags Moo Gak out of there and reminds him that case protocol prohibits family members of victims from investigating. She doesn’t want their case halted because of Moo Gak involvement, so she’ll forget that she heard about his little sister.
Cho Rim happily walks home and sees Moo Gak’s presence by her house when she sees his ice crystal scent trail. Moo Gak asks why she is out so late and hears that she was at Jae Hee’s place. He curtly wonders why she went there and hears she returned the dog, had dinner, and also landed a part time job. Moo Gak mutters that Cho Rim encountered Santa but she points out Jae Hee isn’t old and is quite popular with the ladies.
Moo Gak asks if Cho Rim quit drinking after she made a fool of herself last time. She has but asks if he wants to drink with her? Moo Gak offers up another teddy bear to Cho Rim, claiming that it was a buy one get one free deal. Riiiiiight. She coos over the present and offers to take him out drinking. He insists on paying since she doesn’t drink anymore. She tells him to stop being so missish today and they both call for soju at the exact same time. Cho Rim adorably grabs Moo Gak’s arm and they head off.
Cho Rim watches Moo Gak drinking a lot and can tell something is on his mind. Moo Gak says nothing but smiles a little staring at Cho Rim. He then reaches out his hand to stroke her head which makes her blush until he tells her that she got soup on her head with how messy she eats. Moo Gak calls for another bottle of soju while Cho Rim steps outside to call for some girlfriend advice from Ae Ri.
Cho Rim basically recounts her friendship with Moo Gak and all their times eating together, and now he’s given her a stuffed animal as well. What does he feel about her to do that? Ae Ri asks if Detective Choi gave Cho Rim a stuffed animal and she freaks out that Ae Ri guessed correctly.
Cho Rim goes back inside and gets up her courage to asks if she can go on the next investigation with Moo Gak. He has his eyes open and is staring straight ahead but doesn’t answer her. Cho Rim hears snoring coming from Moo Gak and realizes he fell asleep. She remembers how he didn’t sleep for many days after his little sister died and then passed out.
Cho Rim accidentally presses the little teddy bear and Moo Gak’s voice message for Eun Seol plays. “Eun Seol-ahh, it’s Oppa. Are you well? I suddenly had this thought, wishing we had pork noodles on our trip to Seoul.” Cho Rim remembers Moo Gak revealing that he lost his little sister. The restaurant owner comes to ask them to leave so Cho Rim takes Moo Gak to the park.
Moo Gak sleeps in Cho Rim’s lap (a reversal of the drunken Cho Rim sleeping on Moo Gak’s lap at the police station) as the cherry blossoms fall romantically around them. One petal lands on Moo Gak’s cheek so Cho Rim tentatively tries to pick it off but worries about waking him up. She leans over to blow it away which is when Moo Gak wakes up and stares at Cho Rim hovering right above him.
Thoughts of Mine:
The crime elements of this drama are simplistic but never crosses the line into the comical absurd. That’s why I’m willing to extend a long line to the writing in doling out the reveals about the bar code killer case. It helps that both current suspects Doctor Chun and chef Jae Hee are riveting potential villains. The drama landed on two jackpots in casting versatile Song Jong Ho and Namgong Min in the respective roles. Both can be good or bad at the drop of a hat, and even simultaneously giving off the veneer of warm with underlying sinister underpinnings. The signs continue to shift from Doctor Chun to Jae Hee as the bar code killer, or at least as the creepier of the two. Doctor Chun seems shady, like he’s hiding something, but Jae Hee comes across as straight up a sociopath in hiding. The way he was so friendly to Cho Rim gives me heebie jeebies, not to mention the way he roped Doctor Chun into removing the box from his house so the police can’t find it. I know Cho Rim working for him makes good drama, and part of me adores the little rise out of Moo Gak when Cho Rim speaks highly of Jae Hee, but I wish she would be less trusting and wonder why this guy she just met offered her a job just like that.
Moo Gak’s big information dump in this episode is the kind of pacing I love, the information is revealed to him sooner rather than later but doesn’t ruin the continued tension. He still doesn’t know Cho Rim is the other Eun Seol, and even if he did it won’t affect the affection he’s built up with her nor does it change anything between them. Cho Rim was the first victim while dead Eun Seol was the second, to love both girls is to want justice for what happened to them. It was sweet that Moo Gak, who didn’t seem to have any friends or social life after Eun Seol died, is now seeking out Cho Rim when he needs company. I think they like each other at about the same pace, nothing that feels dramatic and instead comes across as soft and free flowing like the cherry blossom petals falling on them. Cho Rim can see Moo Gak’s pain and consideration while Moo Gak sees a kindred spirit that he can be himself around. Judging from the flashbacks, old Moo Gak had quite a jokey streak on him which makes sense why he could excel at comedy now. He simply lost his will to laugh and smile but deep down inside his real personality was a man who loved his life and loved his little sister until both were torn asunder from him.
Cho Rim’s friendship with Jae Hee is understandable from her perspective even if I just want to yell at her to run the hell away from his high creepiness. She’s a kind person and thus far nothing she’s seen of Jae Hee makes him seem culpable in all the crimes being investigated. He always seems like the innocent man who is in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think Cho Rim’s smell seeing ability makes her feel more confident that she is correctly assessing people, if she can’t see anything suspicious about Jae Hee then she in turns trusts him too much right away. She also got really close to Moo Gak really fast, a development we love of course, but realistically speaking he could have a total creep for all she knows. Her open nature is why she’s gotten into Moo Gak’s heart through the tiniest of cracks, but it also puts her constantly danger from the bar code killer still after her. I wished her adopted dad would do more to keep her safe rather than assume he’s done a good enough job with her new identity. Not remembering the killer’s face is of no help when the killer doesn’t know that. Or maybe the killer does know that now, if the killer is Jae Hee and he can tell Cho Rim doesn’t remember him, he might have made the logical jump and is now keeping an eye on her for the time being.
Click here to watch The Girl Who Sees Smells.