I have never imagined that I would be this thrilled about an actress who has finally found her track regarding acting. Many of us were worried about her when the cast was chosen. In her 11 years of acting, her watchable roles are so few; 2-3 at most. I was always wondering what did the producers and directors see in her. Last year in Blade Man she showed potential, and if the writer didn’t mess up, that would have been Se Kyung’s first commendable role. I hope you understand that this is all my personal perspective. So anyhow, not many were glad she was taking the role in The Girl Who Sees Scents knowing how important that drama was for Yoochun who was enlisting in the army.
I’m someone who personally likes Shin Se Kyung – mostly because my first sageuk ever was A Tree With Deep Roots where she did a good job compared to her other roles. So when I started the drama and the first 2 episodes were finished I thought; wow! Is this her?! Or is this just a stroke of luck?! But now I’m writing this after finishing 8 and being superstitious by nature I kept watching her closely, and man! The girl is finally an actress. I can’t say she’s impressing compared to other actresses, but she’s doing very well. I mean, all the wooden acting has disappeared. I’m so happy and proud of her. So after all, practice makes it better.
Enough of my crazy feels and let’s get to the awesome drama; a drama which exceeded all my expectations, regarding cast, story and production.
Shin Se Kyung plays Oh Cho Rim/Choi Eun Seol, a girl with limited talent who’s trying to be a comedian. Oh Cho Rim is always cheerful and optimistic. She doesn’t let anything bring her down and she sticks to her dreams no matter what stands in her way. Cho Rim, though, had to suffer a lot because of her strange eye. She was in a car accident and after spending a long time in a coma she wakes up to find one eye in a different color. With that eye she could see smells; literally.
I know that might sound ridiculous to some, but bear with me.
Cho Rim doesn’t remember anything before she woke up and therefore had no idea what happened to her. Her adoptive father (Jung In Ki) knows though. Three years ago, Cho Rim witnessed her parents’ murder and she saw the murderer’s face. As she was being chased by the murderer, she got hit by a car. The emotional shock was so huge making her lose her memory.
On the night of that murder, the criminal was able to take Cho Rim (whose name was Choi Eun Seol)’s name tag. He saw her getting hit by the car and carried to the hospital. He searches for the name and slices the throat of the girl in bed – we find out later that he has Prosopagnosia and is unable to recognise people’s faces, that’s why he kills the wrong girl. The killed girl’s only brother, Choi Moo Gak, falls into a mental shock and loses consciousness. When he wakes up he figures that he lost his ability to feel pain, taste, and smell. He becomes a police man to find his sister’s killer. Three years after both incidents; the two fated people meet and they start developing feelings towards one another.
Now all this is background information. Let’s analyze the characters then allow me to tell you why you should watch this and why you’re going to love it.
Our hero is Choi Moo Gak (Yoochun playing his last drama before enlisting in the army). Moo Gak is a young diver living for and because of his younger sister and only family member, Eun Seol (the awesome talent Kim So Hyun). He’s cheerful, caring and funny. When his world collapses with his sister’s death, Moo Gak lives only with revenge in his mind. He endures all the humiliation, the emotional pain and the loneliness to catch the criminal. After meeting Cho Rim, Moo Gak starts feeling his buried emotions resurfacing. Unknowingly, he starts caring for Cho Rim, worrying about her, missing her and waiting to be consoled by her. Moo Gak starts feeling alive again.
Yoochun is doing a great job as usual. Although I’m going crazy, because he actually gets hit as we’re shown and was hospitalised because of that, I’m admiring his effort. The man is always giving his all.
As a scarred man unable to feel pain, he gives such a heartbreaking realistic performance. He doesn’t even blink, making me laugh and cry at the same time. The drive in his eyes as he chases criminals and the confused and loving looks he gives Cho Rim makes a perfect Moo Gak. He was born for the role.
I talked a lot about Oh Cho Rim and Shin Se Kyung above. I just want to mention few things I specially like about her. I like how her hair style and fashion suits the character perfectly. I like how trusting and caring she is. To help the people she cares about, she’s ready to run without hesitation, trusting that she’s doing the right thing. Her innocent love for Moo Gak is so adorable. No such girl still exists. Though the omens are really worrisome, I hope nothing bad happens to her.
And again, Shin Se Kyung is doing an admirable job.
Let me mention the second female lead before I jump to the villain. I was so excited to see Yoon Jin Seo here. I love the girl. But now I’m disappointed. Not because she’s not doing a good job, but because her role is small and limited. I want to see more of her please!
She plays Yeom Mi, the cop responsible for the barcode serial murders. She’s work-oriented and ultra-good at it. She cannot stand injustice and wants to catch criminals quickly. She’s tough and of few words.
Now our villain, let me take a breath. (sorry guys but to be able to talk about the villain I need to spoil it for you a bit)
In the first episode, and as I realised Nam Goong Min’s role was not some love triangle nonsense, I started fearing the worst. I tried to believe Song Jong Ho was to be the villain. I love the actor but he’s used to being the bad guy. But something was missing. If SJH was the villain, what was NGM’s role?! And something about SJH was screaming that he was innocent. The more I dreaded what was coming the more hints were given. Then bang!!!
So Nam Goong Min plays Kwon Jae Hee, a charismatic and popular chef. He’s good-looking, rich, talented, well-mannered, well-educated and amiable. He’s every girl’s crush.
Behind the perfect image lies a psychopath who commits murder every 12 months and inscribes barcodes on the victims arms. He makes them keep diaries and then adds them to his book collection. We still don’t know what his logic behind the book-related things in his library and the barcodes are, but we know that he’s a genius and meticulous criminal who leaves no traces and forms perfect crimes. That glare he doesn’t show anyone gives me the creeps. And I’m impressed. This is the kind of twists and surprises I like, an actor always playing the good guy suddenly is the villain, a man nobody would ever suspect when they see his charming smile, the kind of person you’d willingly leave your life in his hands!
P.S I started noticing bar codes everywhere it's driving me crazy.
Our fun doesn’t end with the cute moments of Cho Rim and Moo Gak, we have four more characters who are so adorable it’s contagious.
The three foolish and clumsy detectives, Kang Hyuk (my lovely ahjussi; Lee Won Jong), Detective Ki (the endless wit Jo Hee Bong) and Detective Ye (Choi Tae Joon; my Ugly Alert discovery and crush) give the drama a different sweet taste. When one of the three is on screen there’s always some fun. When the three are, you’ll find yourself laughing for sure.
The fourth element and the cutest of all is Ma Ae Ri (Park Jin Joo; the bundle of charms). Ae Ri is Cho Rim’s friend. She’s the kind of friend I wish to have. She’s clever, quick and carefree. She fires her bosses and looks for others. Well, just an example of how endearing she is.
The plot might sound childish at first. When you see Cho Rim actually seeing scents in the very first episodes you might want to actually drop the drama. But watching that ability turning into a great help in investigations, watching it boosting Cho Rim’s confidence instead of torturing her and watching it bringing two lonely and scarred people together; it won’t sound absurd any more.
Though they show Ma Gook’s inability to feel in a funny way, it’s heartbreaking. No one wants to feel pain. Everyone wishes that they never feel pain. But being hurt and not even knowing you are is much more painful, I believe.
Again we have appearances vs. reality theme. I’m not blaming anyone. If I were in their place, I would never suspect Chef Kwon. On the contrary, I’d be and infatuated by him. It’s human nature to love pleasant things. And no one is more pleasant than Chef Kwon. I only wish bad guys would be branded so. If he only had ‘pyschopath’ carved on his forehead!
What is villainy? Who’s a villain? How would we recognise bad people? If some people are mentally disturbed and they accordingly commit crimes, who are we to blame? Them? Society which didn’t care for them? Or their families that didn’t treat them?
How much of our actions is our choice and how much is destined? Is everything determined by fate and we simply fill in our parts?! what is love? And is it also fated? Then it’s not our personal feelings either?!
How important are our memories? Can we live peacefully without our memories no matter how painful they were? Would avoiding our problems help us forget them?! When facing a trauma is so agonising, can’t we just suppress it? Do we need to face it?! And what are the sequences of each choice?!
Life is really….. complicated.