My love for The Girl Who Sees Smells continues to grow as this drama keeps getting better and better. Let it be said that this drama keeps my attention in all aspects when the lovely kiss in episode 8 isn’t even the highlight of this episode but is just one of many great narrative moments. Moo Gak’s stabbing at the end of episode 7 gets a satisfying payoff, nothing mind blowing but enough to move the cops in a clearer direction while giving killer Jae Hee more thrills knowing the authorities are getting smarter. I don’t think he’s playing a cat-and-mouse game with the cops but he clearly enjoys winning the escape game.
The romance continues to flow along at a perfect clip, with the young lovebirds getting their first taste of worry but following up with so much sweetness to make their own confections. Moo Gak sees how much his brush with death worried Cho Rim while she gets to take care of her man and share more personal secrets with him. I love that the drama allows the two to get together without much fanfare, I can’t even pinpoint the moment they both just went with the flow of kinda sorta dating rather than having pointed discussions about it beforehand. Moo Gak has his Cho Rim now, and Cho Rim takes care of her Moo Gak, it just is and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Episode 8 recap:
Moo Gak investigates Doctor Chun’s storage container by himself and happens to cross paths with serial killer chef Kwon Jae Hee. He senses someone was in the container moments before and races around the container yard looking for the suspect. Jae Hee is still one step ahead of Moo Gak and manages to bump him in the dark and shiv him right below the ribs.
Moo Gak collapses on the ground and sees the figure of his hooded attacker walking away in the distance before passing out. Luckily the container yard employee is doing patrol and finds Moo Gak injured, calling the ambulance to whisk him away to the hospital.
Detective Yeom is waiting outside the operating room for Moo Gak to get out of surgery. Cho Rim has been waiting at the park for Moo Gak this entire time and calls his cell phone. Detective Yeom answers and explains to Cho Rim that Moo Gak has been injured and is in surgery right now. Cho Rim races to the hospital to see Moo Gak.
Cho Rim arrives at the hospital room where Moo Gak is resting after surgery. She has to compose herself when she sees Moo Gak’s name on the door but she loses it when she goes inside and sees Moo Gak laying in the hospital bed. Detective Yeom takes Cho Rim outside to calm her down and explain that Moo Gak was injured during an investigation into the serial killings. Before he lost consciousness he said “I saw the killer’s face”. Cho Rim is even more unnerved to learn that Moo Gak is the target of the serial killer.
The other detectives arrive just then and ask if Moo Gak really saw the face of the killer? Detective Yeom tells them to ask Moo Gak when he wakes up, until then she assigns the team to look into the events that led up to Moo Gak’s attack tonight. Team leader Kang actually cares and asks to see Moo Gak’s face first but Detective Yeom coldly orders them to focus on what’s important now since seeing Moo Gak won’t solve anything.
The cops have cordoned off Doctor Chun’s storage unit while the two detectives are looking through CCTV footage at the container yard. Unfortunately the location where Moo Gak was attacked is a blind spot in the surveillance camera recording zone. Detective Ki is upset and takes it out on the container yard employee for sitting in his office while Moo Gak was being attacked by a dangerous killer.
Said dangerous killer is currently back in his swanky lair. Jae Hee changes out of his bloody attack clothes and takes the two books from Doctor Chun’s container to read. One book is called Golden Fish and the other book is The Lonely Man, both books are from the same publishing series with similar book jackets. Jae Hee repeats “golden fish needs to see lonely man”.
Jae Hee arrives at the restaurant the next morning and greets a zoned out Cho Rim. He wonders what happened for her to look so wan? Cho Rim reveals Moo Gak’s attack at the hands of the serial killer who killed Mari and Doctor Chun. Jae Hee asks if Moo Gak saw the face of the killer and Cho Rim confirms it but right now Moo Gak hasn’t regained consciousness. Jae Hee hides his alarm at hearing this.
The detectives keep vigil by Moo Gak’s bedside while analyzing the attack. They wonder why the killer was at Doctor Chun’s storage unit, perhaps there is something inside that implicates the killer? Detective Yeom deduces that Doctor Chun sussed out the identity of the killer which is what landed him as the latest victim. The bar code killer broke his usual schedule to kill Doctor Chun because he knew too much. The detectives believe that Moo Gak is the sole eyewitness now and hope that he wakes up soon.
Detective Yeom sends the other team members back to rest and continue investigating while she keeps vigil by Moo Gak’s beside.
Jae Hee is packing takeout containers that he plans to bring to the hospital, claiming that he feels terrible hearing about Moo Gak’s attack and wants to do something for the cops. He invites Cho Rim to go with him and uses the packing time to ask if Moo Gak has woken up and how many cops are stationed at the hospital keeping watch.
Jae Hee and Cho Rim arrive with the takeout food and the detectives happily accept the care package. Jae Hee hands off the food and goes to pay a visit to Moo Gak. Jae Hee walks into Moo Gak’s hospital room and reaches into his suit pocket but doesn’t get to do anything because Detective Yeom walks in.
Jae Hee doesn’t recognize Detective Yeom until she reminds him that they met when he went to identify Mari’s body. Detective Yeom thinks Jae Hee ought to feel awful that two people close to him are both dead at the hands of a serial killer. Jae Hee claims to be comforted that the police are working on the case and believes the culprit will be apprehended soon. Detective Yeom finds it odd that Jae Hee isn’t avoiding the police like what others would do in this case. Jae Hee explains that he likes to tackle problems head on. Detective Yeom thanks him for coming to visit Moo Gak and Jae Hee takes his leave.
Cho Rim is at the café with Ae Ri, constantly checking her phone for a call that Moo Gak has regained consciousness. A perfect PPL moment to check out her new Edge with WiFi battery charging capabilities LOL. Ae Ri brings Cho Rim a cup of coffee while urging her to drink and not worry because Moo Gak will be fine. Cho Rim doesn’t want the coffee until she sees the smells coming from the cup, confirming that Ae Ri gave her soju to help her cope. What a good friend! She’s even brought Cho Rim snacks to go with the soju hidden under the placemat.
Jae Hee is disguised as a doctor and walks through the hospital towards Moo Gak’s room. Jae Hee stops outside a door pulls it open. Detective Yeom is behind a door and pulls out her service weapon. We see the door to Moo Gak’s room opening and a man dressed in a doctor’s coat walks in. Moo Gak pretends to be asleep but grabs his gun under the blanket.
There is a bang sound that causes all the detectives to rush into Moo Gak’s room. He’s being serenaded by a guy dressed as a doctor who gets hired to celebrate patients getting discharged. Moo Gak sighs that their plan has failed. Detective Yeom realizes now that the killer is aware of their plans. The detectives grill the guy who was hired to come to Moo Gak’s hospital room, the guy got the job over the phone and now that number has been disconnected.
Jae Hee sits in his car and takes out the SIM card in a cell phone before throwing it away out the window. He smiles and drives off. Flashback shows up Jae Hee disguised as a doctor doing reconnaissance in the hospital beforehand where he saw the detectives getting ready for the sting operation to catch him. That’s how he avoided the trap and sent the decoy instead.
Moo Gak apologizes to Detective Yeom for the failure of their plan but she believes they got something out of it. The killer knows the cops still don’t know what he looks like, which is a win for the killer, but the cops also got a win because now they know the killer is someone around them. When they leaked the news that Moo Gak saw the face of the killer, the person made a move quickly which confirms the killer is close by. Moo Gak wishes he did see the killer’s face before passing out but Detective Yeom just orders him to rest for now.
Cho Rim is wheeling Moo Gak around the grounds of the hospital, both relieved that he’s fine but peeved she was worried over his pretending to be in a coma. Cho Rim claims she wasn’t ever worried because she could tell he was acting but Moo Gak calls her on that lie since he was actually awake when she was sobbing over his bedside.
Moo Gak teases that he almost tossed the plan out the window, tempted to sit up and cry along with Cho Rim since she was sobbing so hard. Cho Rim insists even neighbors feel bad to see people hurt. Moo Gak hides his smile and asks if she really felt so bad? Cho Rim didn’t realize how dangerous his job was so now she wants him to be extra careful and never put himself in danger again. Moo Gak smiles to hear Cho Rim admit she was so worried.
A call comes in for Cho Rim so she lets go of Moo Gak’s wheelchair to answer her phone. He’s still smiling until his wheelchair speeds down an incline, at which point he’s screaming for Cho Rim to come save him. Once Cho Rim stops the wheelchair, Moo Gak calls her more dangerous to his wellbeing than the killer. Cho Rim’s miffed and pushes a yelling Moo Gak faster down the incline so he can get a taste of what real danger feels like.
Cho Rim is shopping to cook for Moo Gak and the two are video chatting the entire time so Moo Gak can backseat grocery shop. He directs Cho Rim on which items to buy from the comfort of his bedroom. Cho Rim points out that people will think he’s her boyfriend to which Moo Gak says “carrot” which also sounds like “of course”. Heh.
Moo Gak continues to direct Cho Rim all around the supermarket, making her run the entire store until he directs her back to the same spot. Cho Rim asks what type of stew he wants and hears Moo Gak wants her to make an MSG stew because that’s what his mom made. Moo Gak signs off with “slowly hurry up and come back” before getting out of bed to check his hair in the mirror. Awwwww. Cho Rim does the same, putting on lip gloss as she leaves the supermarket.
Moo Gak sits on the stairs watching Cho Rim cook, wondering if she can cook and ordering her to follow his exact instructions. She waves the knife around and tells him to be quiet and wait so he does exactly that like an obedient dog.
Cho Rim finds the end dish too spicy and oily but Moo Gak scarfs it down since he can’t taste anything. Moo Gak chows down and explains that his mom used to make this dish for him when he was sick. Even if he can’t taste it now, it still makes him feel comforted to eat it. Cho Rim reveals she only has the memory from the past three years and has no memory of her life prior to the car accident three years ago. So Cho Rim doesn’t have any memory of her mom, when she sees pictures of her mom she doesn’t feel anything either. Cho Rim finds it weird that she doesn’t even feel anything even without the memory, but she hasn’t tried to get the memory back because it would worry her dad. Moo Gak assures Cho Rim that eventually things will go back to the way it is even if she doesn’t force it.
Cho Rim notices sauce on Moo Gak’s lips and moves in to wipe it off for him. Moo Gak takes her hand and pulls Cho Rim close but she is tentative and moves back a little. Moo Gak pulls Cho Rim in more forcefully this time and the two sweetly kiss. Cho Rim is initially shocked but kisses him right back.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim break apart when he jerks because his wound hurts. She nervously makes an excuse about the time and quickly runs out of his apartment. Cho Rim stands outside Moo Gak’s front door with her heart beating rapidly and she’s all silly smiles over the kiss. Moo Gak stands inside touching his wound. What?!? Wuri Moo Gak can feel pain in the wound now?
Detective Ki gets a shipment of Russian stacking dolls with his face on it from his honey. They discuss the fishing pond providing the CCTV footage by tomorrow, which is also when Moo Gak is coming back to work. Moo Gak brushes his teeth and looks at his bandaged wound. Later Moo Gak goes to the hospital to get his wound tended to.
The detectives run through the composite description of the killer from Moo Gak’s memory – lean build, medium height, uses his right hand, very strong and agile. From the substitute driver and the hospital worker who heard the killer’s voice, he has a Seoul accent and speaks with a calm and warm tone. The detectives then move into the video room to watch highway surveillance footage on the route to the fishing pond, looking for Doctor Chun’s car. Detective Ki runs in with his Russian stacking dolls and uses it to illustrate that Doctor Chun’s car just needs to be transported in a bigger car which is why there is no footage of Doctor Chun’s car on the highway.
The detectives review both highway footage from the route to where Mari’s car was found and the route to where Doctor Chun’s car was left. They discover the same freight truck on the road in the hours prior but the driver’s face is not visible to the cameras.
Detective Yeom and Moo Gak go to the memorial hall to pay their respects to the departed Doctor Chun, giving their condolences to his uncle. They pass by Jae Hee on his way into the memorial hall and he takes a moment to recognize them. They hear that Jae Hee is organizing this memorial to help out and Doctor Chun’s uncle feels very grateful to him.
Detective Yeom has sensed that something was off with Jae Hee back there, that he didn’t seem to recognize them or chose not to recognize them. It could be that he doesn’t like to be around cops now. Seeing Doctor Chun’s portrait reminds Moo Gak about what Doctor Chun wanted to see him to discuss the day he went missing. There is also the mystery of why Doctor Chun went to Jeju Island to look for the medical records of the sea diving couple’s daughter Choi Eun Seol.
Detective Yeom agrees that they need to look finding out why Doctor Chun acted in certain ways before he died. What if he saw Choi Eun Seol alive and wanted to confirm her identity with the medical records. Moo Gak doesn’t understand since Choi Eun Seol is officially declared dead. Detective Yeom takes Moo Gak to pay a visit to Cho Rim’s dad.
Cho Rim’s dad refuses to talk with them until he hears that there are two more victims of the bar code killer in the last six months. Moo Gak reveals his little sister was the Choi Eun Seol who was mistakenly killed three years ago so he wants to see the real Choi Eun Seol. Detective Yeom is certain that Cho Rim’s dad has the real Eun Seol in deep witness protection and listed her as dead to the public. Cho Rim’s dad insists he left the force because he got tired of being a cop and the real Eun Seol died at the hospital.
Jae Hee walks through his mirrored closet and pushes open the secret door which leads to his library lair. He sits at his desk and rifles through the two books, still wondering what Doctor Chun wanted to say to him. He press a button and the walls behind his desk part to reveal the secret all white room he’s been using to lock up his victims.
We see Doctor Chun writing while in captivity, and the book he was writing in is the one that Jae Hee later labels with the book serial number and places on his bookshelf as a trophy. Jae Hee reads entry #5 (the book Golden Fish is book 5 in the series) where Doctor Chun writes about saving a patient’s life and being thanked for it but he felt that he didn’t deserve the thanks. He merely did his job but whether a patient lives or dies is not the will of the doctor but the fate of the patient.
As Jae Hee reads this passage, he suddenly reads the first word in each line which reads “The eyewitness…..” Jae Hee looks at The Lonely Man which is book 47 in the series so he flips to page 47 in Doctor Chun’s book and reads the first word in each row in that entry which says “Is still alive”. Put together it reads “The eyewitness is still alive”.
Jae Hee and Doctor Chun’s uncle are at the storage container unit, with the uncle asking Jae Hee to go inside and help him look. Jae Hee looks through the boxes and finds Choi Eun Seol’s medical records which confirms for Jae Hee that Eun Seol was still alive after February 9th, the day he slit Moo Gak’s little sister Eun Seol’s throat at the hospital. Jae Hee snaps a picture of Eun Seol’s x-ray to take with him.
Cho Rim is hanging out with Ae Ri and she asks about how Moo Gak is doing. Cho Rim grouses about him not contacting her after “that day” which leads to Ae Ri guessing that they kissed already. She’s upset for Cho Rim that Moo Gak didn’t contact her after kissing and tells her to break up with him.
Cho Rim’s dad leaves work and Moo Gak is waiting to tail him. Cho Rim’s dad seems to sense someone following but Moo Gak evades being spotted. But his reconnaissance is interrupted when he runs into Cho Rim. He has no choice but to call if off and instead asks to have dinner with Cho Rim. She grouses about him not calling lately and he apologizes before explaining that he’s been busy. Cho Rim is placated and heads back home to have dinner with her dad as Moo Gak walks off.
Cho Rim’s dad is packing at home, explaining that he needs to leave first thing in the morning since he got a good job elsewhere. He wonders how Cho Rim is lately and whether she remembers anything about the past? Cho Rim doesn’t remember anything and her head hurts if she tries.
Jae Hee takes out the books written by Cho Rim’s dead parents and inside one of the pages is Eun Seol’s name tag that he grabbed that night. He gets a call from a PD about tomorrow’s cooking show program. Jae Hee wants to make something simple and Korean, a special sea urchin seaweed soup made with abalone shells. Jae Hee reads an entry written by Cho Rim’s mom where she said that her daughter’s favorite dish was the sea urchin seaweed soup that she added abalone shells so it tasted like the sea and her daughter loved it.
Jae Hee has brought Cho Rim to the TV station with him, explaining that he finds Cho Rim pretty and talented so he wants to help her succeed. If she is an announcer for his cooking show, she can get some exposure on air. Cho Rim isn’t ready for that but Jae Hee tells her to just watch from the audience today. Jae Hee records his cooking show and teaches the audience how to make the sea urchin seaweed soup with abalone shells.
Cho Rim goes up to Jae Hee after the recording and asks if she can take the food he cooked today home? Jae Hee happily lets her take it home so Cho Rim hurries off carrying the food to meet Moo Gak. She wants to share the sea urchin seaweed soup with Moo Gak since it’s a Jeju Island speciality. She tells Moo Gak to take it home to eat but he plays up his still injured state and how she wants him to warm up food himself.
Cho Rim invites him inside to eat the soup there but orders him to leave right after while he wheedles that he needs to drink water and digest as well. Moo Gak looks around the house while Cho Rim gets the soup ready. They make small talk about what they did today, Moo Gak went to a crime scene while Cho Rim explains she was at the TV station with Jae Hee recording a cooking show.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim sit down to drink the soup, with Moo Gak chowing down with gusto but Cho Rim takes one sip and pauses. Cho Rim takes another sip and starts to cry. Moo Gak notices her tears and asks what’s wrong? Cho Rim drinks more soup and can barely talk to tell Moo Gak that she knows the taste of this soup.
Moo Gak immediately gets out of his seat and runs around the table to sit down next to Cho Rim to ask if she is getting her memory back? Cho Rim doesn’t know why she’s like this but she remembers someone’s face.
Thoughts of Mine:
Smelly Girl continues to send me on a roller coaster ride, but instead of getting sick I’m thrilling in a way I haven’t felt in quite some time. Every time I think the tension is too much the drama tosses in the most effortless fun scenes to liven up the mood, deftly continuing to balance the thriller with the rom-com with confident ease. I know Jae Hee is a formidable foe but he’s not that scary because he doesn’t kill indiscriminately. He’s a danger to his next victim, and now poses a threat to the detectives investigating the case who are getting too close for his comfort. Otherwise I can see him going about his life as a celebrity chef and when the time hits he unleashes his serial killer side for one methodical killing before resuming his non-homocidal daily routine. That’s what makes him scarier but also less imminent a danger. I don’t think he’ll try to off Moo Gak now that he knows Moo Gak didn’t see his face. It’s a step in the right direction for the cops to stage the plan to catch the killer by using Moo Gak as a lure, too bad Jae Hee is smarter and more patient than anyone knows, he’s not easy to trick and his killing resume proves how adept he is at evading authorities. I don’t think he was going to kill Moo Gak when he openly visited his hospital room, that would be insanely stupid and impossible to explain away.
I am worried now that he’s been made aware that the eyewitness Choi Eun Seol is still alive, but it might take him awhile to connect her with Cho Rim. I don’t know why Doctor Chun revealed that tidbit to Jae Hee, if it was to set up Jae Hee to trip up and be captured then it’s a good final hurrah. But I can’t like it because it puts wuri Cho Rim in danger and that’s not a risk I, or Moo Gak, would ever want to take. If Moo Gak knew Cho Rim was Eun Seol, it makes sense that he would actually support what Cho Rim’s dad did. He’s come to care for Cho Rim and must understand that keeping a loved one alive is more important than clues to catch the killer, especially if it puts that person at risk. Moo Gak is starting to feel pain, whether from his brush with death (again) or because he’s fallen for Cho Rim. After he kissed her is when he tensed from the belly injury, too bad she was so swoony she didn’t realize it. I’m less worried for Moo Gak if he can feel pain, not feeling pain doesn’t mean he doesn’t get injured but it does make him less likely to realize that he is hurt. Now he can start living his emotional life again as well as be a normal person when it comes to attempting police heroics. No one is going to beat Jae Hee on brawn and brute strength, to catch the bar code killer will need an entire squadron working together to tie the tiny clues left behind so far.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim’s romance took another fast forward in this episode, who knew Moo Gak was such an assertive guy when push came to shove. It was so lovely the way their first real kiss happened, in the privacy of home with them sharing more secrets and spending time together. No hijinks needed, thank you very much, these two people are mature and thoughtful enough to understand what each is feeling and how to process it. Moo Gak make the first move and Cho Rim returned the kiss, that’s as good as it gets with onscreen romance without resorting to unnecessary tricks. Just as the foundations are being laid for how the police keep getting closer to finding the bar code killer, the drama also shows us how each time Cho Rim and Moo Gak hang out they are falling more for each other. She’s so full of warmth and caring that she showers on him even if her words claim otherwise to cushion her pride. He’s loving all her attention but can’t help teasing her about it. When push comes to shove, they always have each other’s backs, just as Moo Gak immediately moving to sit next to Cho Rim to show his support when she broke down drinking the seaweed soup. I’m glad the drama has taken the first step in unlocking her memory, at some point she needs to properly grieve for her dead parents just like Moo Gak needs to know her connection with how his little sister died. The truth will strengthen what they already feel for each other, the hallmarks of a wonderfully crafted drama OTP.
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