‘Girl Who Sees Smells’ Halfway Review

 So we’re now 8 episodes in to “Sensory Couple” AKA “Girl Who Sees Smells” with another 8 episodes to go and the mystery of the “Barcode Killer” is heating up. That’s not the only thing heating up though (and I mean that in the most non sexual way ever), our two leads Choi Mu Gak (Yoochun) and Oh Cho Rim/ Choi Eun Seol (Shin Se Kyung) are also getting closer and closer they’re practically unofficially dating by episode 8. Which makes me wonder what direction the drama will take once Mu Gak finds out that his dongsaeng was killed because she had the same name as Cho Rim.
 For those of you who do not know this drama, as the title suggests it centers around a girl who can see smells. Choi Eun Seol comes home one day to find a masked man dragging the body of her mother across their house and flees, only to be hit by a car and wake up with no recollection of who she is, to top it off she discovers that one of her eyes has turned an electric blue and awhile later realises that she can see scents. Choi Mu Gak works at an aquarium until one day his little sister Choi Eun Seol (Kim So Hyun) is murdered at a hospital, four and a half years later we watch as he slurps down piping hot convenience store ramen and coffee whilst on a stakeout. Their paths cross whilst Mu Gak is chasing a suspect and Eun Seol (now known as Oh Cho Rim because she was placed in the witness protection program by the detective in charge of the case) accidentally hits Mu Gak with the car she’s driving. She ends up helping him catch the suspect using her ability to see scents, and their relationship progresses from there.

So I’m pretty sure that by episode 8 we can say that these two are in an unofficial relationship, her crush on him is obvious and he’s pretty whipped by her, I mean the guy went around Seoul with her trying to break an alibi to help her friend Ae Ri (Park Jin Joo) just from one look from her. Whilst it did feel like her crush was one sided and it happened a bit early, it is nice to see that he isn’t as oblivious as he seems and he in a way returns her feelings (Mu Gak watching Cho Rim as she cooks ddeokbokki for him from his stairs was adorable). I feel that their relationship is going at a steady pace even if they are still unofficial but I do worry about what will happen to them once the truth is revealed.

Speaking of the truth, I like how we finally got an explanation to why Dr Chun Baek Kyung (Song Jo Ho) was so weird about Cho Rim and whilst I would have liked to have him around a bit longer I love how his last message will cause Jae Hee (Namjoong Min) to slip up, because you know that he will get sloppy having to wear so many masks and now that he knows he killed the wrong Choi Eun Seoul. I do think that’s it’s interesting how they made him have prosopagnosia (the inability to recognise faces) to blend in with the theme of “senses” within the drama, it also explains why he killed Mu Gak’s little sister since all he had to go on was her name and a glimpse of her face.

What I’m the most excited about finding out is how Jae Hee got in to killing, what made him commit his first murder and more importantly who that person and where is the body now, what is the meaning behind the barcodes, why does he keep them for a few days and more importantly why does he make them write journals? (ok I sound a lot more excited than I should be since we’re discussing a fictional serial killer). Clearly there is a connection to the publishing company that closed down and his kills but there doesn’t actually appear to be a pattern between his choice in victims (maybe he’s chosen his victims based on their backgrounds? Or occupations so that he can create his own library filled with various works? Because from the looks of his private library/torture chamber he seems to be a very big reader). It’s also a bit creepy how he’s used his cooking knife skills to carve barcodes so precisely on each victims arms.

Presently I am enjoying the overall pace of the drama and whilst there are some things which were a bit annoying such as a few of the blunders the detectives have made whilst on a case Detective Ki (Jo Hee Bong) taking a call from his Russian girlfriend whilst he’s supposed to be under cover for example, those can do nothing to deter my enjoyment of this drama. I’ve never seen Shin Se Kyung in her other roles but from what I heard I was prepared to head-desk myself at her portrayal of Cho Rim. However Shin Se Kyung whilst not the strongest actress portrays Cho Rim wonderfully and gives her this balance of cuteness and hilarity which gives her character life and all of her scenes with Yoochun so far have been really cute. I feel like Yoochun is playing himself with his dorky demeanor, Mu Gak kind of reminds me a bit of Sungkyunkwan Scandals Lee Sun Joon who always seemed a crayon short of a full box.

I like the fact that the two are so honest with each other, they don’t dance around anything (except for the status of their relationship), he told her that he would protect her and he does, his first thought when he see’s Dr Chun’s body in the car is to tell her to avert her eyes. They’ve bonded over their lack of/ enhanced senses and opened up to each other, Mu Gak rushing to her side when he sees her crying over the seaweed soup and just being a comforting presence was totally cute. I like how she’s now accepted within the wings of the group and the three other detectives do genuinely seem to like her. It’ll be interesting as the drama goes on to see what kind of mistakes Jae Hee makes, I wonder if Mu Gak or Cho Rim will be used as bait in the end though (because we know that’s what will ultimately happen, they’re not just going to catch Jae Hee, he’ll have one final hurrah before he goes down), and whilst Cho Rim is the obvious choice to play bait, I think Mu Gak will be bait instead to draw Cho Rim out and she’ll use her enhanced sense of smell to find him based on his distinct scent.

The Girl Who Sees Smells airs Weds – Thurs on SBS.

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