[Drama Review] ‘The Girl Who Can See Smells’ – Episode 3 & 4
< EPISODE 3 >
When we last left our insipid intrepid heroes…
Cho Rim and Moo Gak follow the smells only to find the woman they’re looking for in her car in the river — another victim in the barcode murder chain. Meanwhile, Moo Gak is promoted to the investigative team under Lt. Yeom Mi and deflects his superior’s questions about how he came to any conclusions about the case (hiding Cho Rim’sinvolvement). Meanwhile, our hero and heroine get to know each other better. Despite his promise, Moo Gak fails to show up at the audition to perform a skit with Cho Rim. She ends up getting fired because of this. Finding her in an extremely drunken state, Moo Gak opts to carry her home. Her directions to her house lead him on a circuitous route, which gives him an idea on how the suspect in the murder case might be implicated despite his alleged alibi. Moo Gak heads to the station and pitches his idea to Lt. Yeom Mi, who is on her computer reviewing the victims of the barcode killer. When a drunken Cho Rim stumbles into the room, Lt. Yeom Mi recognizes her as one of the victims on her screen…
After seeing three episodes, I can confidently say that this show is a number of different things. Is it a drama? Well, it certainly has dramatic (and melodramatic) elements. Is it a comedy? It has quite a few humorous moments. Is it a thriller? There are tense (and intense) parts. Is it sci-fi? There is the whole low-key superpower thing. So what is it? Normally this is a weakness, as everything works against each other. Forced chuckles amid underwhelming suspense, weak effects, and tacked-on backstories don’t do much for a narrative. You end up with a subpar, lackluster version of Scooby Doo* (minus the pooch). This is different, taking all the disparate threads of a good story and tying them together masterfully. It’s been great fun so far and has me chuckling at the banter even as I’m on the edge of my seat waiting for the next piece of the puzzle, not to mention learning more about the characters.
* = I actually like Scooby Doo, so no hate, ok?
In my last article I talked about shipping Moo Gak and Cho Rim. I think the writers have this in mind, too, but they’re taking their sweet time. It’s an unwritten rule of K-Dramas that if a woman spends enough time (like four scenes) with a guy of a similar age, they’ll be in love–or at least be part of a triangle. Part of the humor in this show is that they get them in a compromising position, the hero holding the heroine in his arms, their faces close, the sappy romantic music rises, and then *BAM!* something happens to ruin the moment. They do this well, and I think just when we’ve gotten used to the teasing, they’re going to kiss. 🙂
I like Lt. Yeom Mi. She’s a no-nonsense type of woman, but she can still laugh. Frankly, I think she’s the most competent investigator at the station. She’s driven to catching the killer, but her own colleagues tease her openly. I would love to see her bust out some appropriately pithy line to put them in their places once in awhile.
What do you think of my predictions and my wish list for the show? You think I’m dead on? Or just full of it? Lemme know in the comments below.
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< Episode 4 >
< < < 4 > > >
In my last review, I praised this show for the perfect blend the writers kept between drama, comedy, and suspense. Perhaps I should have asked if they could keep up the sense of pacing that they showed us in the first three episodes, the ideal balance among these elements. Because they didn’t. Not quite. There’s a lot of drama, plenty of cute moments, and a completely unrelated case. It also takes a good 20 minutes before the show picks up, and the suspense comes in the form of few second teasers that do little to thrill. To recap:
Cho Rim is roused from her drunken sleep, only to find herself watched by the astonished members of Inspector Kang’s team. After recovering from this embarrassing situation, she tells Moo Gak that he’s ruined her life and she never wants to see him again. After this, we get a generous helping of character development. Moo Gak gets Cho Rim’s job back. When she finds out, Cho Rim apologizes to Moo Gak and their relationship is back on track. Later, Cho Rim is treated by Dr. Chun, the sinister doctor, who, after comparing X-rays, confirms that she is really Choi Eun Seol.
They spend about half the show tracking down a copycat killer who carved a barcode in his victim’s arm. It turns out to be Detective Tak‘s brother who accidentally killed the victim in a fight, and Tak fabricated evidence to try to pin it on someone else. Meanwhile, the investigation gets handed to Inspector Kang, and then quickly back to Lt. Yeom Mi again after Moo Gak nails the real killer thanks to Cho Rim‘s abilities. At the end, Moo Gak dines with his sunbae Lt. Yeom Mi, and smiles when he gets access to the special case files. A hopeful Cho Rim has pretty much admitted to herself that she likes our hero and gets to the cafe just in time to see Moo Gak and Lt. Yeom Mi together smiling…
Now, before I get all critical, I thought I’d talk about the female lead, Shin Se Kyung. I’d seen her before in ‘Queen Seondeok’ and ‘Iron Man,’ and liked her in both. She makes it look easy, able to go from serious to comedic at the drop of a hat. This isn’t the funniest show I’ve ever seen, but wherever she pops up, she can usually coax a smile out of me — well, in this drama at least. She’s engaging and fun to watch and a nice foil to Moo Gak.
And I thought the Inspector Kang thing was annoying. They could have made the authority swap more tense than it was, but they didn’t give you time to finish being annoyed by this turn of events before the Lieutenant is re-appointed to head up the investigation again. Too easy? It would have been more effective, perhaps, at the beginning. Besides, would you trust this goober to lead an investigation?
I think one of the biggest faults is that they tried to pad this episode too much, and I think the pace was off. There were lulls that lasted way too long, and they lingered on scenes just a little longer than they should have while not showing us enough of the good stuff. In padding the show, they may have packed it too full because it ended up as a confused jumble. Instead of being impressed with their mad cop skillz, I was scratching my head, trying to connect the dots. And we hadn’t seen enough of Tak to really care if he did it or not. It wasn’t even that much of a surprise. With the first three episodes, I sat in rapt attention. Here, I found myself looking at the clock. Still, it’s only one episode, and I like most of what I’ve seen so far. Here’s hoping they only fell down for one episode.
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