This was a funny penultimate episode of The Girl Who Sees Smells, continuing the tried and true formula of policing like a third grader coupled with sweet and sincere character interactions. It’s worked so far for me, and while the ratings for the drama overall have been nothing impressive at the very least it doubled its predecessor. Headed into the final week, the drama teased us with cute proposal stills that may or may not be a dream sequence, but I had faith that the end result would still be the couple headed down the aisle. Whether they actually make it to the end remains to be seen but with Jae Hee out of the picture for the most part allowed the romance to finally reach the much deserved conclusion.
Moo Gak put away the killer that took his sister from him yet inadvertently led to him meeting the love of his life, while Cho Rim got closure on the death of her real parents by getting her memory back when it wasn’t needed anymore. The tension was low today but the happiness was sky high, with each member of the special investigation team getting their own satisfying end note. Seeing the characters we’ve come to care about continuing their lives would have made a great fare thee well, as long as Jae Hee is really gone for good. Could he be that easy to put away, or did everyone pop the champagne too early yet again?
Episode 15 recap:
Moo Gak points his gun at Jae Hee but they are separated by the glass barrier. Jae Hee leans his head in menacingly before spinning around to make his getaway. Detective Lee carries the unconscious Detective Yeom out of the room while Moo Gak runs out the secret tunnel to block Jae Hee’s escape.
Jae Hee runs to the closet to grab his prized possessions, the life story books of his victims. That gives Moo Gak enough time to arrive at the house and stop Jae Hee in his tracks with a shot into the air followed by a gun pointed at his head.
Jae Hee isn’t cowed in the least and asks how Moo Gak found him and asking to be let go. Moo Gak warns him to not say another word or else, so when Jae Hee brings up killing Moo Gak’s little sister it’s no surprise that Moo Gak promptly shoots him in the gut. Oh yeah, that was so long overdue. Jae Hee falls to the ground in pain but then manages to grab his bag and stagger out of the house.
Finally the cops are doing their jobs as Jae Hee finds himself surrounded by dozens of cops with their guns pointed at him. Jae Hee is wrestled to the ground as handcuffs are placed on him. Moo Gak opens the bag and takes out the books inside while Jae Hee screams at Moo Gak to not touch it!
Cho Rim accompanies Detective Lee to place Detective Yeom in the waiting ambulance before climbing inside to go to the hospital with her.
A defiant Jae Hee is deposited in the waiting police van and Moo Gak climbs in with him, but not before handing the crucial evidence of the victim books to team leader Kang.
The team is gathered at the hospital anxiously waiting for Detective Yeom to wake up. She almost suffocated to death with the amount of anesthesia that Jae Hee pumped into the room but luckily received treatment in the nick of time. Moo Gak wonders why he doesn’t feel happy despite Jae Hee being captured and hears that it’s just one case in the career of a cop forever trying to catch bad guys.
Cho Rim comes out with good news that Detective Yeom is awake and the entire team file into the room to see her. She’s barely awake but still asks about Jae Hee, hearing that he’s been captured thanks to her efforts. Her team encourage her to rest up and get better soon. The doctor ends the visit and clears the room so Detective Yeom can get some much needed recuperation.
Cho Rim and Moo Gak go back to his place to finally eat and relax, with Moo Gak feeling strange that Jae Hee has been caught but the pain doesn’t stop just like that. The victims’ families remain forever suffering. Cho Rim shushes and orders Moo Gak to eat up and stop thinking about the case. Moo Gak takes another bite and feels full and it takes Cho Rim a second to realize that Moo Gak really is getting his sensations back. She’s so happy for Moo Gak and now is her turn to get her memories back.
Cho Rim has a dream that night of her real parents when they lived in Jeju. A high school Cho Rim comes home after school and finds her smiling parents sitting at the dinner table waiting for her. They just smile and don’t say anything until suddenly they are gone.
Cho Rim cries out in her sleep for her parents and Moo Gak wakes up. Moo Gak goes to comfort Cho Rim in bed, embracing her tightly as she cries from the remembrance of her real parents finally. Cho Rim now remembers everything, including Jae Hee’s attack on her parents and the accident afterwards.
Jae Hee has invoked his right to stay silent, sitting in the interrogation room without a single move. Moo Gak walks in holding the victim books and a trash bin. Jae Hee wonders why Moo Gak didn’t shoot him in the head that day and end everything? Moo Gak doesn’t answer that question and instead takes up Doctor Chun’s book to burn it in front of Jae Hee. Detective Yeom tells the other cops outside that it’s not the real victims book but an identical empty one from Jae Hee’s library. Jae Hee loses his composure and starts crying for Moo Gak to stop burning it, begging him to stop and finally agreeing to answer questions.
Detective Yeom hears that and walks inside, taking over for Moo Gak who leaves with the other books in his arms. Jae Hee is surprised that Detective Yeom is alive but she cuts to the chase to ask Jae Hee how he created an alibi for being in the US when Mari died?
Moo Gak goes home and finds Cho Rim cleaning his place. He sits her down and reveals that he just saw Cho Rim’s adopted father. He handed Moo Gak a picture of Cho Rim with her real parents and Cho Rim’s mother’s ring to pass along to her. Moo Gak then gives Cho Rim her parents victim books that Jae Hee forced them to write.
Cho Rim picks up the book and starts reading her mom’s last words. Her mom writes that her daughter is so sweet and dutiful, she really wants to watch her daughter grow up but she knows her daughter will become a good mother herself one day. Her mom writes how much she loves her Eun Seol. Cho Rim goes to the park to cry after reading the books while Moo Gak keeps watch over her from a distance.
Team leader Kang sits with Jae Hee after the interrogation has been completed, hanging over the finished report for Jae Hee to sign before his case is turned over to the prosecutor’s office. Moo Gak asks his team for a few moments alone with Jae Hee so they all file out.
Moo Gak takes off Jae Hee’s handcuffs while saying that he needs to do something now because he won’t see Jae He ever again. Jae Hee replies “I’m sure we’ll see each other again.” Moo Gak replies that Jae Hee won’t ever get out of prison but Jae Hee repeats again that he will see Moo Gak again for sure. Moo Gak wants an apology from Jae Hee for Cho Rim’s parents and his little sister.
Jae Hee doesn’t think an apology means anything because it won’t make anyone feel any better. Jae Hee would rather tell Moo Gak what it felt like when he killed Moo Gak’s little sister. Moo Gak punches out Jae Hee for his little sister and Cho Rim’s parents before the other detectives rush in to stop him. Jae Hee tells Moo Gak that he’ll get him back for what he did today. Jae Hee is escorted out to be transported and reporters are swarming the transfer yelling questions at him.
The team and Cho Rim head out to dinner as a farewell to Detective Yeom who is returning to her original position now that this special investigation has concluded. She thanks everyone and confesses not wanting to go back. Detective Yeom tells Cho Rim that she’s very happy to have met her and starts to tear up a little at the farewell to everyone. Team leader Kang teases that their ice princess is melting and everyone toasts to Detective Yeom.
Cho Rim shows Moo Gak where she grew up in Jeju on the computer. Moo Gak asks if Cho Rim wants to pay her parents memorial a visit? Cho Rim thinks it’s in Jeju but hears that her parents’ memorial was moved to Seoul so it’s closer for Cho Rim to visit when she got her memory back. Moo Gak also moved his sister’s memorial to the same hall.
Moo Gak goes to buy an engagement ring before accompanying Cho Rim to pay a visit to their loved ones. Cho Rim stands before her parents memorial and cries, apologizing for coming so late but assuring them that she’s doing well. She promises to live well and visit them often. Moo Gak talks to Cho Rim’s parents in his mind, promising to take care of her for her whole life so they don’t need to worry. Awwwww.
Their next visit is to Eun Seol, with Cho Rim apologizing for living while Eun Seol died but promising to live extra hard for Eun Seol’s sake. Moo Gak smiles and tells Cho Rim that the next time they visit she won’t need to speak to Eun Seol in formal language because Eun Seol will be her little sister, too. Double awwww.
Moo Gak takes Cho Rim to a nearby aquarium, explaining that his aquarium sunbae from Jeju recently transferred her. Cho Rim is happy to visit the aquarium with Moo Gak but can’t imagine Moo Gak wearing a wet suit.
Cho Rim admires the fishes while Moo Gak talks to his sunbae about getting a job here. Sunbae is happy Moo Gak wants to come back and work in an aquarium and compliments Moo Gak on getting a very pretty suitable girlfriend. Cho Rim wonders what it feels like to work in water but Moo Gak gets an even better idea about having a wedding in the aquarium. Moo Gak stares at Cho Rim but she starts humming a funny tune and stops his proposing momentum.
Next stop is a café where Moo Gak excuses himself to go to the bathroom but it’s really to go back to his car to check on his prepared surprise. Moo Gak imagines how the proposal will go, he will bring Cho Rim out and open his trunk where balloons and a sign “Will you marry me?” will float up. Moo Gak imagines Cho Rim hugging and kissing him from the happy proposal but that plan gets ruined when a guy rear ends Moo Gak’s car and causes the balloon proposal sign to float off.
As Moo Gak and Cho Rim walk through the park, Moo Gak wonders how he should propose now and gets an idea by the water fountain. In his imagination, Moo Gak gets on his knees and sign THE MOST HILARIOUS rendition of a proposal song ever. But it ends with “Cho Rim-ah, will you marry me?” in Yoochun’s sexiest voice in the universe.
Cho Rim accepts the ring as Moo Gak walks up to her and puts her hand on his chest and says the cheesiest line “here, there is only you, my baby.” He hugs Cho Rim as the crowd chants around them. Moo Gak is jolted out of this daydream as Cho Rim wants to go elsewhere since there are too many people by the fountain. Moo Gak maneuvers her to the fountain where another couple is proposing the exact same way Moo Gak was thinking of doing, getting on his knee and singing to the girl. Cho Rim says she hates this so Moo Gak quickly ushers her away just as that girl whack the proposing guy with the roses he prepared LOL.
Moo Gak goes to a sandlot and puts the ring in the sand for Cho Rim to run across as she walks by. Oh this is so going to end badly. Cho Rim comes back so Moo Gak drops the ring but doesn’t realize he kicks it away. Moo Gak drags Cho Rim to walk by the place and pretends his shoelaces have come undone. He leans down to pick up the ring but can’t find it anymore. Oh shit!
Cho Rim just watches in confusion as Moo Gak keeps rooting around for the ring. She ends up sitting on the playground equipment as Moo Gak keeps looking, finally getting fed up because he’s not telling her what is going on. Moo Gak starts to cry and confesses that he can’t leave here. His stomach then growls so he runs off to the bathroom and asks her to wait here for him.
It’s nighttime by the time Moo Gak is finally ready to prepare. He takes Cho Rim to a lighted garden and borrows her perfume bottle to run off and spray his proposal in the air with scent. Cho Rim stands in the distance and reads the scent trail as it says “Will you marry me?” Cho Rim breaks into a beaming smile as Moo Gak nervously waits for her answer. Cho Rim makes a heart shape over her head before nodding.
Moo Gak rushes back to his girl and pulls her in tightly for a hug. They are too cute for words. Moo Gak pulls back a but before leaning in to kiss his new fiancée. Cho Rim suddenly remembers something and takes out the engagement ring she found in the sand while Moo Gak was in the bathroom. Yay for her using her scent seeing ability to good use.
Moo Gak puts the ring on Cho Rim’s finger and asks directly “Will you marry me?” Cho Rim answers yes and gets more kisses from her very happy man.
Jae Hee sits in his prison cell as ominous music plays. He doesn’t look defeated in the least.
Moo Gak is attacked by Jae Hee in his apartment but it turns out to be Cho Rim’s nightmare only. Whew.
Cho Rim tells Moo Gak about her nightmare during breakfast but he’s nonchalant about it, assuring her that dreams are the opposite of reality and Jae Hee is locked away forever so there is nothing for her to worry about. Cho Rim tries to act fine but clearly the dream still weighs on her mind.
The cops are all gathered in the office when breaking news come on about the transport van carrying serial killer Kwon Jae Hee crashed into the Han river after a tire burst. The cops are on the scene looking for survivors after the van is pulled up from the river. The team don’t think it’s possible that Jae Hee could have caused an accident to get away, not with five cops guarding him. Turns out he’s been transported often to various crime scenes during the investigation. The team can’t accept Jae Hee dying like this rather than getting his due punishment. Moo Gak says nothing while looking very upset.
Five days later, the search has been called off after some bodies have been recovered but three bodies remain unaccounted for. The cops believe Jae Hee has to be dead, along with two other still missing cops, especially with Jae Hee wearing handcuffs when the van went into the river.
The team that captured Jae Hee gets an official commendation for their hard work. Moo Gak narratives that everyone in the team got a one level promotion before returning to their normal lives.
Team leader Kang finally got a daughter who looks like him after having six sons. Detective Ki’s Russian girlfriend finally makes her appearance during one of his undercover missions at the park and they sweetly embrace.
Detective Lee has to deal with an angry dad when he refuses to quit being a cop to take over the family business. Detective Yeom has become a criminology professor and is swarmed with admirers. As for Moo Gak, he tenders his resignation to a sad team leader Kang so that he can return to working in the aquarium.
Cho Rim is back at the Frog Comedy Troupe and presents a skit that isn’t funny in the least but she’s very happy to be back.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim plan for their future together, starting with finding an apartment for their newlywed life. They find a nice place which Moo Gak calls their home as he starts calling Cho Rim wifey as well despite their wedding being still a month away.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim record a video for their wedding guest. Cho Rim makes Moo Gak redo it to look more enthusiastic and do multiple takes to get it right.
The team reassembles to head to Cho Rim and Moo Gak’s wedding at the aquarium. A much sexier Detective Yeom turns heads as she walks up to the police department to join her former team.
Moo Gak and Cho Rim take wedding pictures and are too cute for words. Cho Rim and Moo Gak run into the arriving police team and get their share of congratulations and compliments. As they walk off, we see the shoes of someone walking down the stairs.
Next comes Cho Rim’s Frog Comedy Troupe members arriving for the wedding. Troupe leader affects an accept and asks country bumpkin Detective Choi didn’t he come to Seoul to find a girl? Moo Gak seamlessly plays along and uses his hilarious saturi to joke that he came to Seoul but ended up choosing a Jeju girl. He ends with a brand new “what?” face and howl that gets everyone laughing uproariously. Troupe leader teases Moo Gak’s comedic talent and suggests he come to perform if he’s not happy after marriage.
Ae Ri accompanies Cho Rim to the waiting room to fix up her makeup and allow her girlfriends to come say hi before the wedding. The ceremony starts with Detective Ki as the announcer and team leader Kang as the officiant. The groom is announced and Moo Gak walks up to the altar to wait for Cho Rim.
Cho Rim readies to head out when the door to the waiting room opens. She sees a scent trail first from the doorway before Jae Hee walks inside. He takes off his disguise glasses and says ominously “Congratulations on getting married, Cho Rim-sshi.” Cho Rim looks scared out of her wits.
The wedding waits anxiously as Cho Rim doesn’t come out to walk down the aisle. Detective Yeom gets out of her seat to go check and finds the waiting room a mess with things. She rushes back to tell Moo Gak that Cho Rim is missing. Moo Gak runs off to find his missing bride.
Thoughts of Mine:
The ending to this episode comes as no surprise as the writing laid it thick that Jae Hee was down and not out. I’m not upset at the writer trolling a happy ending on us only to yank it away at the last minute. There is room for one final confrontation between Moo Gak and Jae Hee because there wasn’t a satisfying closure in this episode even after Jae Hee was locked up. We still don’t have his backstory, to hear more about what makes him tick and so soulless. He’s also got tons to settle with Moo Gak, and vice-versa, so this is one showdown that is going to end with one dead or never end at all. Same goes with Jae Hee and Cho Rim, that he spent the entire drama looking for the real Eun Seol while being intrigued by the current Cho Rim is a narrative thread that never got probed. While I don’t like seeing Cho Rim in his psycho clutches, I want to hear what he’s thinking about her and also how the good guys manage to once again out duel Jae Hee. I’m sure the denouement might not end up being all that exciting, but with one episode to go I’m happy to give this drama a chance to sign off with a bang. The last scene here was nicely done even if the idea of Jae Hee escaping police custody AT ALL makes me headdesk. To keep me happy I shall continue chanting don’t miss the forest for the trees.
Capturing Jae Hee did feel anticlimactic, with the fallout rather perfunctory and the process of picking his brain left off screen. I love Detective Yeom’s interactions with Jae Hee and this episode could have benefited from her turning the tables and interrogating him in a locked room for a change. Moo Gak’s book burning threat may be highly illegal police tactic but tapped into the only thing that can push Jae Hee’s buttons, namely his precious victim books. It’s pretty sick that he gets his kicks reading the lives of other people, especially people he personally killed. It feels like a double violation even after the victim is dead. Cho Rim reading her mom’s book to hear her final words was so sad but necessary for closure. I like how the drama isn’t overly dramatizing the sad moments and milking the tears, especially since the deaths of all those loved ones happened years ago and we’ve spent episodes watching Moo Gak and Cho Rim living courageously in the present and finding happiness again. I liked that Jae Hee was stripped of his weapons and trophies when the books were taken away from him, and hopefully returned to each victim family. I’m not upset the cops got a commendation for catching him, even if they really ought to get docked for letting him slip through the cracks so many times before finally nailing him. Too bad the cops guarding him in the van died otherwise they clearly ought to be fired for getting played by a killer in shackles.
The mood toggling in this episode felt off a tiny bit, mostly due to Jae Hee being in custody yet all the signs pointed to this not being over with him. So I was anxious all during the extended lovey dovey sequences with Moo Gak and Cho Rim, worried that Jae Hee was going to scuttle their happiness and wondering when he would strike. The wedding is as dramatic a moment as any, but why does Jae Hee need to wait and kidnap her in such a public setting eludes me other than to heighten the tension for the audience. At least the low key moments remain pitch perfect, and unfurl with such organic humor at Moo Gak’s hamfisted attempts to propose to how he finally got it right in the end with the only way could only work on Cho Rim and no one else. How sweet of this story to reserve so much screen time for the little details of a couple’s day together, showing us their little quirks and bantering asides. I can see Cho Rim running the household while Moo Gak dotes on her, but then she becomes cute and playful whenever they’re making up from life’s many small fights. The serial killer may have returned like an unlikely zombie phoenix but the core romance continues to anchor this drama in swirls of warmth and delight. I have no doubt Jae Hee will die in the end and the brave OTP will get their closure at last, I remain highly intrigued by how that will unfold in the final episode to come.
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