Girl Who Sees Smells: Episode 8
One step forward and two steps back for Jae-hee, as the cops get close and he starts to make mistakes. Mu-gak and Cho-rim get no closer to solving the serial murders, but they still manage to get closer in other ways, though it’s unclear what effect this could have on their incredible teamwork.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Mu-gak lies bleeding on the ground at the storage building, but thank goodness a security guard finds him and calls an ambulance. He’s wheeled into surgery, with Lieutenant Yeom there to monitor the situation. She answers his phone when Cho-rim calls, worried that he didn’t show up to meet her, and tells Cho-rim what’s happened.
Cho-rim makes it to the hospital just as Mu-gak is settled into a room after his surgery, and she pretty much loses it when she sees him lying unconscious. Yeom leads her into the hall to calm down, and tells her that Mu-gak lost a lot of blood, but he managed to say that he saw the murderer’s face before he lost consciousness.
The rest of the team arrive, but Yeom says they’ll have to wait until Mu-gak wakes up to find out who it was that he saw. Taking charge, she sends Detectives Ki and Yeh to talk to the security guard at the storage building, and has Kang brief all his contacts in case someone may know something.
The guys ask to see Mu-gak first, which is so sweet, but Yeom is in full Business Mode and says they can see him when he wakes up. Aww, they slump out of there disappointed not to see their friend, and Kang is especially worried that Mu-gak will be okay. Such a big turnaround for him, considering how much he used to hate Mu-gak!
Ki and Yeh watch the CCTV video at the storage building, frustrated that Mu-gak managed to get himself stabbed in a blind spot. They yell at the security guard for not doing his job, and letting their partner get hurt on his watch.
Back at home, Jae-hee cleans up after his night’s bloody work and studies Baek-kyung’s books — the ones titled “Golden Fish” and “Lonely Man” — wondering what message the doctor was trying to send to him. Later at the restaurant he notices that Cho-rim is distracted, and feigns surprise to hear Mu-gak was injured and is in the hospital.
Not realizing she’s talking to the murderer in question, Cho-rim reveals that Mu-gak said he saw his attacker’s face. She tells Jae-hee that he didn’t say who it was, but that they’re waiting for him to regain consciousness to find out. The wheels in Jae-hee’s sick mind start to spin, as he realizes he needs to silence Mu-gak before he can wake up.
The detectives stand around Mu-gak’s bed and wonder what he was doing at Baek-kyung’s storage unit, but their guesses are way off, and it’s Lieutenant Yeom who figures out that Baek-kyung must have discovered something about the murders. It explains why the Barcode Killer broke his pattern of only one or two victims a year, and his death means that Mu-gak is the only witness alive (that they know of).
Detective Yeh talks to Mu-gak in case he can hear them, since people can sometimes hear things around them when in comas. Kang fusses at him but upon closer inspection, decides that it does seem as if Mu-gak is listening. Yeom says the doctors declared his surgery a success, and that Mu-gak will probably wake up in two or three days. She sends the guys home to rest, saying that she’ll stay to watch over him.
Jae-hee packs up some lunches to take to the detectives at the hospital, asking Cho-rim to go with him to visit Mu-gak. Clever — this way he gets to assess how many cops are watching over his potential victim, and look like the nice guy. He casually asks if Mu-gak has woken up yet, secretly pleased to hear that he hasn’t.
When they deliver the lunch boxes, Jae-hee takes advantage of the detectives’ hunger to go into Mu-gak’s room alone. He approaches the bed where Mu-gak is still unconscious, and reaches into his jacket for… something. But before he can do anything, Lieutenant Yeom enters the room.
Yeom is clearly suspicious, as she makes a point to mention that two of Jae-hee’s closest acquaintances were both murdered by the same serial killer. With narrowed eyes, she even notes that usually, victim’s friends and family tend to avoid the cops, yet Jae-hee seems to be actively seeking them out.
Cho-rim visits Ae-ri at the coffee shop where she’s apparently gotten her old job back, engaging in some mopey PPL (but now I kinda want that charger) and obsessively checking her phone for updates. Ae-ri brings her a drink which Cho-rim can instantly tell from the visible scent is actually soju and not coffee, and she drinks it gratefully.
Dressed in a doctor’s coat, mask, and glasses, Jae-hee strides through the hospital halls as if he belongs there. He approaches Mu-gak’s room, and we see that Lieutenant Yeom is lying in wait with her gun cocked and ready… and Mu-gak is conscious! He feigns sleep but stealthily palms his own gun under his blanket, as Jae-hee quietly approaches the bed.
From another room, the rest of the detective team (dressed as patients) hear a noise like a gunshot and come running — and find a young clown dressed like a doctor, delivering a sort of singing telegram and scared out of his mind with five guns pointed at his head. They ask who hired him, but he says he was hired over the phone and of course, the number that called him is turned off now.
We see Jae-hee dispose of yet another phone, and a short flashback reveals that his walk through the hospital clued him in that the detectives were planning a trap for him. That seems sloppy, to sit in the room next door to Mu-gak’s and wave your guns around. Free and clear yet again, Jae-hee drives home with a self-satisfied smirk on his face.
Mu-gak apologizes to Yeom for blowing their chance, but Yeom says he hasn’t lost — it’s now 1:1. The murderer gets a point because he now knows they don’t really know his face, and the cops get a point because they know the killer is near, since he got their “leaked’ information so quickly.
Cho-rim takes Mu-gak for a walk in his wheelchair the next day, scoffing that she knew he was faking the coma all along. He teases that she sure sounded pretty upset, and Cho-rim grimaces when she remembers her hysterical crying over his bed. Hee. Mu-gak adorably tries to get her to admit she was sad, and she does allow that she was scared at how dangerous his job can be.
Cho-rim lets go of Mu-gak’s chair to check her phone, accidentally releasing him at the top of a hill and having to chase his runaway wheelchair as he screams. HAHAHA~gasp~, that’s the best thing ever. He gripes that she’s more dangerous than the killer, and she gives him a shove the rest of the way down the hill. I was wrong, THAT was the best thing ever.
Mu-gak is released to rest at home, and he orders Cho-rim around the grocery store buying supplies to make an old recipe of his mother’s. He’s having so much fun sending her back and forth, she whines that he’s so controlling that people will think she’s his girlfriend, and Mu-gak is just all, “Yep.” When Cho-rim objects to the idea, he sends her on an extra lap around the store for no reason. Hooray for the return of Petty Mu-gak!
Both of them take a moment to primp before Cho-rim gets to Mu-gak’s place, and as she’s cooking, Mu-gak watches with a look in his eyes that proves he’s completely smitten. SWOON. When they sit to eat Mu-gak declares the food delicious, though Cho-rim frowns at him — why is he being so flattering when he can’t even taste?
Mu-gak says that his mother used to cook this when he was sick, and tells Cho-rim that even though he can’t taste it, he feels energized. Cho-rim is motivated to open up a bit, and tells Mu-gak about her missing memory and how she only remembers the last three years.
She says she doesn’t remember her parents, and that when she sees pictures of them, she doesn’t really feel a connection. She thinks that even though her head may not remember, just like how Mu-gak’s heart remembers his mother’s cooking, wouldn’t her heart remember them?
Mu-gak asks why she’s not trying to recover her memory, and she says that her father doesn’t like to talk about the accident. Thinking about it gives her headaches and frustrates her, so she decided to let it go. Mu-gak sweetly reassures her that everything will fall into place eventually.
Cho-rim notices a bit of sauce on Mu-gak’s lip and reaches out to wipe it, and her face so close to his changes the mood. Gently Mu-gak takes Cho-rim’s hand, and leans closer… but Cho-rim starts to back away. Mu-gak isn’t about to let that happen, and he pulls her in by the hand and kisses her.
… and kisses her.
And kisses her.
Whoa, that is one epic kiss. But suddenly Mu-gak flinches and grabs his wounded side — ohmygod, did he just feel a stab of pain? He barely gets a chance to register what happened when Cho-rim nervously backs away and leaves. But once outside his door, Cho-rim touches her lips and smiles.
Detective Ki receives a package from his girlfriend Elena Vashilivnashivanova, which turns out to be a set of nesting dolls painted to look like him. Cute. Detective Yeh tells Ki that they’ll have the CCTV footage from the fishing area, where Baek-kyung’s car was left for two days, in time for their meeting the next day.
At the meeting, Yeom briefs the men on Mu-gak’s partial description of his attacker, so they now know at least his height and body type. From the clown and the hired driver, they know he’s got a soft voice and a Seoul accent, and they estimate him to be in his late-20s to mid-30s. Unfortunately this is way too vague, so they turn to the CCTV footage for more clues.
Of course they don’t see Baek-kyung’s car on the video feed, unaware that it was driven there in the hold of a large truck. Yeh remembers that it was the same with Ma-ri’s car, that it wasn’t on the CCTV video being driven to the spot where it was abandoned.
Detective Ki comes in carrying his nesting dolls as if he’s discovered something important, and shows everyone how they work. He says that if the smallest doll was Baek-kyung’s car, all that’s needed is a slightly larger car that it would fit into, and it could be moved without any evidence. They watch the video again, and there it is — the truck carrying Baek-kyung’s car, though they can’t see the driver’s face clearly.
Lieutenant Yeom and Mu-gak attend Baek-kyung’s funeral, paying their respects to his father. As they leave, Jae-hee walks right past them until Mu-gak speaks up. Turns out Jae-hee’s the one footing the bill for the funeral, which seems to make Mu-gak and Yeom (even more) suspicious.
They wonder why he didn’t seem to recognize them even though he looked Yeom right in the eyes, but they assume he’s just unhappy that they suspect him. Mu-gak wonders again what it was that Baek-kyung wanted to tell him, and Yeom says it couldn’t be so simple as just protesting his innocence.
They’re also curious why he went all the way to Jeju to check the fisherman couple’s daughter’s medical records, when she’s supposedly dead. Yeom thinks possibly he saw Choi Eun-seol alive (since she’s suspected all along that she wasn’t really dead), and they head back to the station to talk to former-detective Oh.
Oh isn’t at all happy to see them, but he pauses to hear that there’s been another Barcode murder, and out of the usual pattern. Mu-gak introduces himself as the brother of the Choi Eun-seol who was murdered in the real witness’s place, and says that he wants to meet the other Choi Eun-seol.
But Oh sticks to his story, and insists that the Choi Eun-seol whose parents were murdered never woke up from her accident, and that he only retired from the force because he was tired of being a cop. Mu-gak doesn’t buy it for a second and asks why he’s hiding the girl, but it gets him nowhere.
Jae-hee checks his tie, then pushes the mirror aside to reveal a hidden passage to his secret library. He contemplates the books from Baek-kyung’s clue again, still not seeing a connection, but notes that one of the books is the 5th in the series. He turns around and the wall behind him slides aside, revealing the white room where he keeps his victims before killing them.
Baek-kyung sits in the room writing in a blank book, but after a few seconds he fades away — it’s just Jae-hee’s memory of his latest victim. He flips open Baek-kyung’s book, the one he’d been writing in, and stops at page 5 where Baek-kyung had written about a patient who’d been grateful for saving his life.
For a long moment Jae-hee sees nothing of note, but then his eyes widen as he realizes that if he reads the lines top to bottom, the first character of each line spell out, “The witness…” Things start to snap into place and Jae-hee picks up the other book, which is 47th in it’s series. He turns Baek-kyung’s book to page 47, and reading top to bottom, sees the word, “…is alive.” The witness is alive.
Jae-hee convinces Baek-kyung’s father to let him back into the storage unit, and he looks around for more information about the witness. He finds Cho-rim’s medical file and notices that it was recorded a few days after he thought he’d killed her, proving Baek-kyung’s clue to be truth. He takes a photo of her x-rays, for as-yet-unknown reasons.
Ae-ri visits Cho-rim at home and asks after Mu-gak, but Cho-rim hasn’t heard from him “after what happened.” Ae-ri immediately knows they kissed, and is furious that Mu-gak kissed her friend then hasn’t contacted her since. She’s all, “Break up! Oh right, you never dated,” and Cho-rim kicks her out, pfft.
Still highly suspicious, Mu-gak follows former-detective Oh home, managing to stay unseen though Oh seems to sense something. He loses Oh when he runs into Cho-rim near their home, and he quickly invites her out to dinner to cover for being in the neighborhood. She says she already promised to eat with her dad, and grumbles that his phone must be broken. Mu-gak hears her subtext and apologizes, just saying he’s been busy.
Cho-rim gets home to find Oh packing for an out-of-town job, which seems to be a common occurrence. He asks if she still hasn’t remembered anything from before her accident, but Cho-rim says she still gets headaches when she tries.
Looking for more information, Jae-hee takes out Cho-rim’s real parents’ books they wrote while he held them captive, finding Cho-rim’s old school nametag tucked into her mother’s book. He mutters that he knows he killed Choi Eun-seol in the emergency room and turns his attention back to the book, but he’s interrupted by a call.
It’s his producer, calling to ask what he’ll cook on his show the next day, and Jae-hee says he wants to make something simple as he flips through Cho-rim’s mother’s book. He decides on seaweed soup with urchin and abalone shells, when he reads that it was one of Choi Eun-seol’s favorite foods as a child. The shells were her mother’s own addition, making the soup unique.
Cho-rim is going to head home when it’s time to start filming the cooking show, but Jae-hee reminds her that she promised to help him and orders her to come to the shooting. He says that he finds her smart and attractive, and asks her to introduce his dishes during the show. Cho-rim demurely declines, but Jae-hee tells her to come and watch anyway, and maybe she’ll change her mind later.
During the show he explains that leaving the abalone shells in the seaweed soup adds to the ocean-like umami taste of the dish, and Cho-rim watches intently. After the filming she asks what happens to the food he cooks, and he tells her to take it home if she likes.
She runs home with the soup to find Mu-gak waiting for her, and he’s pleased that she brought the soup even though he can’t taste it. He reminds her it’s all about the feeling the food brings, but when she offers it to him to take home and eat, he gives her the cutest hangdog expression. He slumps a bit and pitifully clutches his side, reminding her in a sad voice that he’s still recovering, so she invites him in to have some at her place.
She says he has to leave right after eating, though, and Mu-gak is disappointed he doesn’t get any rice. Okay, she concedes to rice, then he has to leave. But then he says he’ll need some water, and digestion time… but he shuts up and follows obediently when Cho-rim just rolls her eyes at him and goes inside. So adorable.
Cho-rim lays out the food while Mu-gak goes around touching her stuff (how are you so cute?!), and when they sit to eat Mu-gak does his usual thing of complimenting the food even though he can’t taste it. But Cho-rim takes one sip and freezes, and her eyes well up with tears. Mu-gak notices she’s just sitting there, tears in her eyes and a stunned, searching look on her face, and asks what’s wrong.
Cho-rim starts to cry in earnest, though she seems confused, and can only say, “This… this taste… I know it.” Mu-gak rushes around the table to sit next to her, and asks if she’s remembering something. Cho-rim shakes her head No, and she doesn’t know why she’s crying, either. But suddenly she realizes, “I remember a person’s face.”
Now we’re getting somewhere. I like the advancements in the story in this week’s episodes, which feel well-paced and natural and not too rushed. I do worry a bit that we’re this close to Cho-rim getting her memory back, and the police are also getting very close to figuring out who the Barcode Killer is, when we’re only at the halfway point. I don’t normally wish for plot advancement to slow down, but in this case I think there’s still a lot of story to tell and I trust that there’s a reason things seem to be moving quickly this week.
Jae-hee is getting a little sloppy, which I hope means that he’ll make some crucial mistake soon — though it’s entirely possible that he already has. Not only has he broken his pattern and killed a victim (Baek-kyung) out of order, but he’s now offed two of his closest acquaintances, and Yeom is onto him. At the very least, it’s clear she finds him highly suspicious. Anyone would find it suspect that two of a serial murderer’s victims just happen to be the same man’s girlfriend and best friend. Even in the absence of any other evidence, just that piece of information alone is pretty likely to put him at the top of the suspect list.
And it’s not the first time — he already broken his pattern once before by killing Mu-gak’s sister (I’m assuming, now that we’ve seen his MO, that he’s acting alone and it was Jae-hee who killed her. I’m also assuming that his face-blindness is the reason why he killed the wrong girl), and now he’s impulsively stabbed Mu-gak when he got too close for comfort. I believe his plan in the hospital, before Yeom interrupted, was to kill Mu-gak quickly — though that would have been stupid since only five people knew he’d gone in there alone at that moment. He’s starting to let his control slip, and I’m just waiting for the final mistake that gets him caught.
Hat’s off one more time to the writing, which constantly impresses me with the way seemingly random, meaningless things can become major plot points within an episode or two. A small example is Elena Vashilivnashivanova’s (that name makes me giggle every time) nesting dolls, which at first are just a cute moment for a side character. But a few minutes later, it’s the thing that cracks a mystery wide open. There are so many instances of this in this show, and I’m surprised every single time. Of course the latest one is Baek-kyung’s riddle, which seemed to be just a raving man losing his mind as he realized he wasn’t going to make it out of that room alive. But it did turn out to have a meaning, and led Jae-hee to the realization that he’s not nearly as safe as he thinks, and the girl he thought he’d disposed of years ago is still alive. Why Baek-kyung would want Jae-hee to know that, and why he chose to frame it as a riddle instead of just saying, “The witness is alive,” I have no idea. But I have full faith that there’s a reason, and I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if the clue wasn’t ultimately meant for Jae-hee, but for Mu-gak. Since that’s what he was meeting Mu-gak to tell him that night at the church, I believe Baek-kyung simply found another, though much more roundabout, way to let Mu-gak know that Cho-rim is the witness.
The only thing left to talk about is that kiss, but honestly? Analyzing it would ruin the magic. It was tender, and romantic, and perfect. That is all.