The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Ep. 2 review

Episode 2 felt a little slow to me, unlike episode one which seemed to move a lot faster, but that’s pretty typical of stories where there’s a lot to be revealed. One wants to know everything now, but things need to be revealed in their own time. This episode, we learned a lot of tidbits and solidified the mood of a quiet unease. Something is unidentifiably wrong.

So far I’m liking the music in general, but it’s only noticed in key moments when it is helping to further the plot, most notably at the end of this episode when a suspect for the murder in episode one is brought in. The opening credit montage with the kaleidoscope motif furthers the idea that what we are seeing isn’t the reality, not just yet.

So, what did we learn? Yoo Jin Kang (Jung So Min) definitely appears to be a product designer and is currently working on a contract for the Arts brewing company that Kim Moo Young (Seo in Guk) works for. Writing wise, this is of course an easy way to make sure they keep running into each other.

One of these occasions is a date. Jin Kang’s officer brother (it seems really like he’s just had some kind of demotion to a regular beat cop and likely not by choice) Yoo Jin Kook (Park Sung Woong) has set her up with his younger colleague Eom Cho Rong (Kwon Soo Hyun) and they go for a drink at the Arts pub. Here we are shown that Jin Kang has a scar on her arm and we learn that she both hides it and likes to keep it.

Not a lot is going on with our rich damsel, Baek Seung Ah (Seo Eun Su). She’s now dating Kim Moo Young and wants to part with the rich boy that she was previously dating, only he doesn’t want to let her go. Their relationship seems to be the standard family set up and they weren’t together for love, which is why it’s so easy for her to move on. There’s some indication that Kim Moo Young is merely playing with her, as he’s seen going on a date with a different girl who, interestingly enough, is connected to the girl who was murdered. However, he tells Yoo Jin Kang that he is sincere in his pursuit of her friend.

Throughout the episode we see that Kim Moo Young really unsettles the brother and sister. Jin Kang seems drawn to him, perhaps is attracted to him, and though he tries to manipulate her into confessing, she doesn’t fall for it. We also learn that Kim Moo Young has a similar scar on his shoulder and that he remembers seeing her three times, not the two times they’ve met on the show up to that scene. Because we’ve already established that Moo Young is either very smart or has a photographic memory, we are inclined to believe him. Some time in the past he saw her or was with her and perhaps they were part of the same accident.

Contrast that with the brother, Jin Kook, who clearly remember seeing Moo Young at some point in his past, while Moo Young seems to not remember him, yet asks him very pointed questions, like has he ever shot someone? Is Moo Young struggling to remember an incident from his memory that isn’t quite clear, or does he remember and is trying to manipulate Jin Kook into giving away information? As Moo Young shows up at the end of the episode to see the murder suspect brought in, we get a startling possibility. He goes into the officers’ back room at the station and see photos he’s not supposed to. A girl in one of the photos is the girl he took on a date earlier in the episode and we recall it seemed important to him that she knew the murdered girl. Since he’s been shown as being very smart, is he himself investigating this case and trying to find the murderer? That’s an interesting idea because the evidence that officer Jin Kook found indicates Moo Young was at the scene of the crime, or someone with photographic memory was.

This episode seemed to reflect most poorly on the men in the show. They were all revealed to be lying or hiding something. Moo Young’s coworker clearly states he’s not a student and is baffled why the damsel gave him money for school. So Moo Young lied to her, but we don’t yet know what his plan is for her. The damsel’s boyfriend simply came off as a jerk who doesn’t care about her, and Jin Kook possibly shot someone in the past, but will not openly acknowledge that. The most unsettling bit is at the end where Moo Young is looking at the photos in the officers’ room. He actually seems to not be looking at the photos, but at himself in the mirror to an eerie degree that indicates a very literal narcissism. The last shot is also of him meeting his reflection’s eyes in the door as they leave the building. Is he a narcissist? Is a Jekyl and Hyde situation? Is he seeing something in the reflection that we can’t? We don’t know. We do know he is kind towards animals, so that is an indication that he may be a good guy after all, but it remains to be seen.

The elephant in the room for me is this (major spoilers, here). The original Japanese show did contain an incest plot line between brother and sister and I really hope that that’s one of the things this remake ditches, but it was carefully brought up in this episode: Moo Young teases Jin Kang, saying she’s like a cute little sister to him. It’s very likely one of the big plot reveals will be that they are actually brother and sister, which would explain why she is drawn to him and why they would have possibly been in an accident together and have similar scars. However, that would mean that Jin Kook is also his brother and it just doesn’t make sense that neither would know him immediately, but it could be their brother was supposed to have died or something.

It also brings up the question of Jin Kook, also with the implication that he shot someone: Is he really Jin Kang’s brother? Did he possibly shoot her mother or father (or if Moo Young is her brother, their mother or father or both) and then take custody of her and raise her to ease his guilt? Maybe that would be too typical of a storyline, though. However, from the show promotion posters it does appear that Moo Young is eventually going to either turn Jin Kang against her older brother, or protect her from him, or both.

Altogether, I found episode two to be so-so. The mystery part was only slightly there, and although we learned a lot about the characters, there’s something about the story that just makes them ultimately unknowable at this point. We want someone to clearly root for, but the director keeps pulling that away from us, giving us only the satisfaction that Moo Young and Jin Kang are good enough people to care about the life of a stray cat. Since they are the main characters, we will likely end up rooting for them, however, it may be uneasily so.


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