The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Ep. 9 Review

Finally, in this series, they appear to be wrapping up the murder mystery. Most of episode 9 is spent on it, which is great, because it’s been sort of dragging on, and isn’t such an integral part of the overall plot that it needs to be stretched out to the end or anything (unless this isn’t really the end of it, and they do decide to reveal something more about it the last few eps of the show).

The beginning starts where last episode left off, with Eom Cho Rong in super detective mode, realizing Officer Yoo has been keeping evidence about Kim Moo Young’s possible guilt and is out with his team to arrest him. Cho Rong is surprised to catch Moo Young following his girlfriend, Yoo Jin Kang, and only becomes more defeated upon discovering that she is one of the people Moo Young calls and texts the most. We see a very assertive Cho Rong as he calls Moo Young out on this and asks him what his plans with Jin Kang are. Does he want her to be questioned in a murder investigation? Moo Young didn’t forsee this possibility, and subsequently decides not to call her later, so that her number won’t be recorded while he is in jail.

Officer Yoo, on the other hand, has finally gotten a solid confession out of Tattoo girl Im Yoo Ri. Yoo Ri was at the scene of the crime at the right time and though she was on medication and doesn’t remember what she did, she is the likeliest killer as it comes to light that the murdered girl was blackmailing her for a long time. Officer Yoo and his previous team member Lee Kyung Cheol but heads, as Lee thinks that Moo Young is the culprit. Officer Yoo again talks to Moo Young, asking him if he’s just playing a game again, but once again, Moo Young doesn’t give him any serious answers.

As far as the larger plot goes, Kim Moo Young is starting to remember the trauma that happened in his childhood, and also is subconsciously connecting Jin Kang to it. Officer Yoo knows the truth, but he’s no longer feeling supportive of Moo Young in any way, because although he finds the young man isn’t the murder, he’s possibly something far worse.  Officer Yoo calls him a devil.

Through their investigation, Officer Yoo and Cho Rong’s team find that Kim Moo Young did indeed meet the murdered girl before she was killed. She was acting the angry drunk at the Arts bar, and Moo Young took her home. They also find that Im Yoo Ri called him the night of the murder because she found herself in the girl’s apartment, but didn’t remember how she got there or why she was there. Instead of coming right over, Moo Young walks in the rain where the car black box catches him with the Arts umbrella, and then goes to a convenience store for almost half an hour, sitting in a spot where he has a clear few of the fated upper story apartment. He claims to actually have heard her fall.

Sensing the darker truth, Officer Yoo calls Moo Young to come to the same convenience store and he tells Moo Young to his face that he is a devil for what must have been going on in his head. Officer Yoo says Moo Young memorized the apartment code and also the route to avoid all cameras, and told both to Im Yoo Ri, knowing she was desperate to get out of being blackmailed. We do actually visit Moo Young’s mind briefly, and Officer Yoo’s idea is the right one. Moo Young found out about the blackmail and basically helped Im Yoo Ri set up the murdered girl, inviting her to the bar where she would drink too much and he, playing the nice guy, would take her home. We see her trying to sleep with Moo Young, but he’s disgusted by how she’s preying on Yoo Ri. He always calls Yoo Ri “pretty” and this seems to be his main reason for having anything to do with her. Perhaps his motive in all of this is to help her, but making it possible for her to commit and nearly get away with murder isn’t what most good people would consider “helping.” It also ends with Yoo Ri being sent to prison for, if not life, a long, long time.

This is why Officer Yoo calls him a devil, and gets extremely upset when he finds out that Yoo Jin Kang has been spending quite a lot of time with Moo Young. He wants to force her to stay away from him, shouting at her all of the reasons Moo Young is bad, especially considering what happened to her friend, the Damsel. Jin Kang asks him, “so you think everyone can change, but not him?” Her pretend brother says, no, Moo Young can’t change because he doesn’t have normal feelings. He is a psychopath, a devil, and a monster, due to his emotional impairment. Moo Young doesn’t know what being good means.

In her heart, Jin Kang knows that Moo Young is risky business, but she is inexplicably drawn to him. She’s overly concerned over his arrest, though really it shouldn’t come as so much of a surprise, and she finally tells Eom Cho Rong that she’s sorry, but their relationship isn’t working. Cho Rong says it’s ok if she doesn’t date him, but please don’t turn to Moo Young. Anybody but him, as he’s bad news.

Jin Kang’s boss gives a defining speech about bad boys like Moo Young as the working trio goes out for a drink. Jin Kang says, “poor, good-looking, complicated men are the worst.” Her boss agrees, and even says, “listen to me on this because I have such a man at home.” She says, “Does a person go in that direction because she doesn’t know she shouldn’t go there? No, it’s that as you’re going, you realize you’ve gone too far to turn back.” You also may get one more chance to turn and, essentially, be saved, and if you run away at that point you will be saved. This thought preys heavily on Jin Kang’s mind, but we already know she’s reached the point of no return, so despite all of the continual warnings, she finds herself again at Moo Young’s rooftop home.

Jin Kang is crying. She knows she shouldn’t be there, she knows that Moo Young is bad and doesn’t know how to be good. Perhaps out of options to have her as his, Moo Young puts forth his last card: “Teach me,” he says, in a desperate tone of voice and pulling out all of the stops as tears appear to spring into his eyes. A bad boy wants to be reformed by a good woman? Oy vey, there’s so many woman that fall for that, and he’s broken through all of Jin Kang’s defenses at this point, plus it’s they have a fated attraction that is impossible to overcome. That will likely be aptly explained if they are indeed siblings. This has happened before in real life, brother and sister meet and fall in love, all the while not knowing they are related. They are devastated when they find out later. Is their attraction merely the familiarity of family genes? Are they genuinely in romantic love? I don’t know, but it’s very tragic.

One player is still left over from the Damsel and CEO storyline, Jang Woo Sang’s sister, Jang Se Ran, who is the new CEO of the company and who made some sort of deal with Moo Young after the accident. A million dollars for his silence. Se Ran is intrigued by Moo Young: he amuses her, and like so many women on this show, she’s probably attracted to him as well. She bails him out of jail and offers to set him up as manager of a new bar she plans to open. Normally, this would be a pretty good deal for Moo Young, but Jin Kang tells him not to take the position and to stay away from that family, as they are toxic. If only she took her own advice. Sigh. Moo Young wants Jin Kang more than he wants the job at this point, so he agrees to turn it down without any hesitation.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes presents us all of these storylines, yet it is not a cynical story. It is full of hope, laughter, and happiness at the same time. The truth is, people don’t often sense when things are going to end in tragedy. Officer Yoo is perhaps the exception, but both Jin Kang and Moo Young seem to think they will somehow beat the odds. Perhaps this is a ray of hope they built in their minds from the long ago trauma of their childhood? Or is it just the normal hope that humanity in general possesses? We’ll see what happens.

Nanowrimo is here

Happy reading, everyone!

It’s November and NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month! I am participating this year, as I have a story that needs to get a draft out as soon as possible. If you want to be a writing buddy, I am under Pixie Beldona. The nanowrimo site appears to be down at the moment, so there must be a ton of writers planning to participate, which is awesome.

As I want to get a good start on the new story, it may be a couple extra days before getting out my reviews for episodes 9 and 10 of The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. The pace of the series is picking up as Yoo Jin Kang finds herself, despite her abhorrence, falling for the psychopath Kim Moo Young. She seems to believe that perhaps Moo Young can turn a corner and be a better person, but I don’t see that happening at all, and so we’re in for a roller coaster ride that will likely end in tragedy.

On the reading side, I got about halfway through Caleb Carr’s lauded The Alienist, and gave up as it was far too wordy with so much unnecessary detail. Some writers are writers and some are storytellers. Carr is not a storyteller, from what I can tell, and even managed to make the seedy side of NYC in the 1890s kind of, well, boring. He’s probably a very good historian, but this novel is likely hit more due to the fact it was recently made into the TV series, and the subject matter, which is a trendy subject among the virtue signaling set, than for his writing or storytelling. For a better series about a psychologist detective, try A Death in Vienna by Frank Tallis. The fourth book was a bit much for me, but the first three books, I thought the mysteries excellent and the setting great. Warning, your mouth may water from his descriptions of the food.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Ep 8 Review

Things are heating up on the show. Lots to be revealed yet, but this episode gave us a lot to consider.

Episode 8 starts with the car crash from episode 7 and the thing to notice as the Damsel and Moo Young are tumbling down the cliff is the material bouncing around inside the car. It is the charms from the bracelet that Moo Young gave Seung Ah the night they met, the one he put together perfectly after it was broken. Not sure if I mentioned it back then, but the the bracelet is a bit girly, especially for a tough guy like Moo Young. So, why did he have the bracelet in the first place? Whose bracelet is it? A long long sister’s perhaps?

The end of the storyline has seemingly finally come for the Damsel and her fiancee Jang Woo Sang, who sadly both die in this episode, but off screen. Seung Ah’s mother seems sincerely mourning her state, even calling in Jin Kang for a hug, forgetting the hard slap she gave her a few episodes ago. In fact, everyone, even Jin Kang’s brother, Officer Yoo, is deep stricken by Seung Ah’s death. They cry real tears, especially Jin Kang, and that doesn’t happen often, even in dramaland.

However, we learn there is a possibility that some of Jin Kang’s tears are guilty ones. She tells Kim Moo Young she never really thought the Damsel would die, that her focus was on him, as he is missing for a time after the accident. Jin Kang tells him this and pushes him away again, still denying her feelings, and, again, rightly so. Moo Young really seems to have no feelings or emotions, and shows no remorse for the fact that he agitated Jang Woo Sang, the rich fiancee, and pretty much set in motion the likelihood of a disastrous end to the affair. Moo Young even takes a bribe from Woo Sang’s sister, which is interestingly only one million dollars, not the two million that Seung Ah gave him.

No one is more upset about this than Officer Yoo, and he goes to confront Moo Young. At first, Moo Young shrugs off his accusations. Who could have known what would happen, after all? Yoo Jin Kook even says himself that Moo Young probably didn’t mean this game to go that far. But as the officer gets angrier and angrier at him, Moo Young snaps into defiance mode, declaring that he would have done everything just the same, even knowing the outcome of two deaths. For that, he receives a punch in the face, and I have a feeling that Moo Young’s taken quite a few punches his whole life. Jin Kook tells Jin Kang to stay away from Moo Young because he only cares about playing games with people.

The highlight of the episode for most was probably the kiss. Seo In Guk, who plays Moo Young is known as the “king of kisses,” and this is largely due to the fact that he delivers actual kisses on screen, not the weird motionless kisses so many drama actors do. This wasn’t a super kiss, as Jin Kang (Jung So Min) pushes him away, but it does show that the actors and especially the characters do indeed have romantic chemistry. Will they fall in love and make it to the end of the show only to find out they are siblings?

Officer Yoo probably knows the answer to this, as he now knows who Moo Young is. He’s a kid who went missing many years ago when Officer Yoo shot someone, got his detective team disbanded, and made Jin Kang his pretend little sister. A member of his old team is the traffic officer for the car accident, and Yoo visits him, searching for information. The traffic officer brings up that kid from long ago who came looking for him at the Haesan precinct. Officer Yoo is shocked. He’s had no idea that this happened, and it’s been about 20 years since. He angrily confronts the other old team member, the snide Lee Kyung Cheol, who is his current superior on the detective team. Lee says it happened long ago and doesn’t matter anymore.

On the murder mystery side of things, Eom Cho Rong is on the case, perhaps to avoid thinking how terrible his progress is in dating Jin Kang. He finally figures out that Officer Yoo has been keeping information from him regarding Moo Young. Some of this is due to the fact that Officer Yoo now thinks Tattoo girl did it. Im Yoo Ri does not confess and claims to not remember what happened that night, though we find she was in the murdered girl’s apartment and witnessed her fighting with her now exonerated boyfriend. Officer Yoo has the idea that Moo Young showed her how to go from her house to her friend’s without being observed by CCTVs in the area, and that he even told her the code to get in the apartment (speaking of that, let’s not forget he now knows the code to Officer Yoo and Jin Kang’s house).

Eom Cho Rong follows a lead regarding Arts Brewery beer glasses and learns from Moo Young’s old coworker No Hee Joon, that the murdered girl was a nasty drunk while at the Arts Bar, and that Moo Young took her home. The episode ends with Eom Cho Rong and his detective team going to arrest Moo Young. They catch him as he’s follows a distraught Jin Kang home from his place. She is so sad that he doesn’t show remorse or feelings about the death of Seung Ah. The only person he does care about is Jin Kang, though the reason is still a secret. Is it that she is his sister? Is it fate that’s drawing him, or is it just that he has genuinely fallen for her despite his emotional handicap? Whatever the reason, Eom Cho Rong is clearly wondering what he’s doing hanging around Jin Kang.

Overall, this episode wasn’t as awesome as I thought it would be. I really didn’t expect Seung Ah and her fiancee to die and am not sure what will fill the space for their storyline. I’m also hoping the murder mystery wraps up soon or they get a new interesting case to follow, as I fear it’s dragging on now. Perhaps the murderer is really Im Yoo Ri, and perhaps she will turn herself in so they’ll release Moo Young. Good thing is, there’s definitely going to be an all out war between Officer Yoo and Moo Young, with Jin Kang caught in between. Will she fall for Moo Young’s manipulation? Will she forgive Officer Yoo for whoever he killed back in the day and raising her as his sister? Will she be able to save Moo Young from himself and his stupid games?

Until next time.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Ep. 7 Review

Episode 7 is mostly setup for episode 8. The biggest thing that came to light for me was that Eom Cho Rong (Jin Kang’s boyfriend she’s holding at arm’s length) really does not know Kim Moo Young. Poor guy, I berated him for not recognizing the jerk when he really hasn’t actually met him.

This episode solidified the fact that Jin Kang does indeed have feelings for Moo Young. She uses the woman screaming super power to stop a bunch of thugs from beating him up and stays with him in the hospital. Even so, she’s still in denial of her feelings herself, probably because the pendulum is constantly shifting back and forth on Moo Young being decent (not sure we could ever call him good) or a royal bastard of the first order.

Moo Young follows this second nature, seeking revenge on the Damsel’s fiancee for sending gangsters to beat him up. The only time he appears to be second guessing this plan of action is when Jang Woo Sang (the rich fiancee) threatens Jin Kang’s safety in response to Moo Young’s confrontation at an Arts Brewery event. Moo Young even goes so far as to tell Jin Kang to leave the party, as she’s throwing him off his game.

The show producers and writers aren’t going to give the audience any easy answers regarding Moo Young. He’s quick to manipulate the Damsel’s emotions once again to get back at her fiancee, and risks three lives in this process. He tells Woo Sang that Baek Seung Ah knows he’s trash, that’s she knows it, but will still run to him over Woo Sang. My guess is Moo Young is just the easiest way to escape the prison of her life, and he gives her a foothold to openly defy Woo Sang. Or maybe she just likes pretending to be a bad girl. Moo Young tells him he wouldn’t have bothered with Seung Ah if he saw her by herself. Rich girls are a dime a dozen. What interested him in playing this game was that once he saw Woo Sang, he knew right away how easy it would be to take her away from him, and that was the true temptation. He did it all just because he could, and without much effort. The episode ends with a spectacular car crash involving the three of them, and one has to wonder why Moo Young seems to have a death wish, as he’s generally so entertained with his games of manipulation it seems he wouldn’t want to give them up. Maybe it is just that he can’t escape his stated philosophy of taking “eye for eye and tooth for tooth,” as he tells Officer Yoo.

Speaking of Officer Yoo, not a lot regarding the murder mystery this time, but it appears as if Tattoo girl, Im Yoo Ri, is going to turn herself in for it. She’s a bit angry with Moo Young for not liking her in a romantic way and thinks he sees her the same as the stray cat he’s adopted. This is probably accurate, as Moo Young doesn’t seem to have any genuine feelings for anyone except for Jin Kang.

Officer Yoo and his friend Tak keep doing that will-they-or-won’t-they friends vs. lovers dance. Men and women can’t be BFFs, and they should both be sat down to watch When Harry Met Sally. At some point their friendship will end, either because they will become lovers, or because they won’t become lovers and thus can’t be friends anymore. One of the two, either man or woman, will have romantic feelings and either ruin the friendship or make it something more. It’s as inevitable as the sun rising in the east.

I wanted to note one more thing: This show makes use of a lot of great overhead shots, and I think this is for the following reasons: One, this is a tragic story, so the shots remind us to look at everyone and everything objectively. Don’t get too invested. Two, it’s a signal that the characters in a sense are just following their fate. Three, it’s reflecting the nonemotional state of Moo Young who in his rooftop house is almost a god overlooking his kingdom. So many of the other characters come to him, and he’s happy to receive them if they amuse him. Their hurt feelings are not his concern. Well, only Jin Kang, who throws him off his game. Will he come to resent her for this? We will see.

Book Review: The Decagon House Murders

The Decagon House Murders by Yukito Ayatsuji is a locked room murder mystery in the tradition of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Originally published in the 1980’s, it is about a group of university students who are in a mystery club and who go to stay on an island for a week. The appeal of the island is that four people were murdered there previously and the main residence burned to the ground. Rumors circulate that the ghost of the original owner haunts the island.

Strangely enough, I found the parts of the story that happened off-island more interesting than the one-by-one murders happening on the  island. Ayatsuji’s writing in this is purposefully simple, making each character fit their role and nothing more. There is also no speculation on the heart of man, the state of the world, and larger themes that Christie in particular often speculates on in her stories, and there’s little to no romance. Decagon is about the mystery alone. In the off-island scenes, Ayatsuji introduces an amateur detective only incidentally related to the other characters, and he was the main intrigue for me in the story. I thought if I followed his thinking I would solve the mystery. Even so, I didn’t guess who the murder was.

With this book, Ayatsuji reinvigorated the Japanese mystery tradition called honkaku, a tradition in which the focus of the story is the mystery only and in which the characters have a blankness much like characters in a video game. Fellow mystery writer Soji Shimada writes a great introduction explaining this, and it’s well worth the read. The honkaku style is supposed to be a true game for the reader, using fair play rules and clues so that he has a chance at guessing the culprit before the story ends. Again, I wasn’t able to guess, but at some point I do plan to read it again to determine what I missed that I should have picked up on.

It is also possible translation could be an issue here. At times it didn’t seem like the English really matched the story well, and Ayatsuji’s word play is probably a lot more fun in Japanese. Many times I wasn’t sure who was speaking, and also wasn’t sure if that was purposefully confusing. That all being said, once we get the full explanation for the murders, I’m not so sure literary trickery and devices weren’t used. It didn’t seem like something a reader could glean from the information given, but I maybe just didn’t pay enough attention.  There were likely a lot of clues that I just didn’t pick up on.

The best part of The Decagon House Murders is the house on the island and the fact that all of the characters go by their mystery club names, not their actual names. The mystery club names are taken after English mystery writers: Christie, Poe, Ellery, etc. There are also a lot of good discussions not unlike those in the movie Scream in which the characters talk about the tropes and devices in horror stories, only here it’s with mysteries, specifically locked room mysteries. As in And Then There Were None the “locked room,” in this isn’t a room, but the whole island, and the Decagon house in itself is a snare both to the characters and to the reader as we are constantly focusing on it as the locked room.

I plan to read more honkaku mysteries in the future and find this idea of a more literal puzzle story for readers to figure out, a good one. My family and I are really into playing Escape Room these days, and those are also locked room mysteries. I missed having a Poirot or Sherlock or main quirky detective to follow, though.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Episode 6 Review

A lot was going on in this episode, so I’m just going to touch on a few things I noticed or am wondering about.

Officer Yoo finally gets a view of Kim Moo Young’s burn scar that is similar to Yoo Jin Kang’s. Immediately, Officer Yoo rushes to his car to process this and consider that Jin Kang told him Moo Young is also from the same town they are from. Officer Yoo suspects Moo Young is actually a missing child from back whenever the accident happened, and we conclude that Jin Kang and Moo Young were part of the same accident and that perhaps Officer Yoo saved Jin Kang and also tried to save Moo Young, but we really don’t know. Officer Yoo appears to be a good guy, but things aren’t often what they seem.

There is also the discovery that Tattoo girl is also left-handed. Officer Yoo is now like us considering the possibility that Moo Young was at the scene and perhaps helped Im Yoo Ri cover up the fact that she killed her friend. Im Yoo Ri has often been on medication in which she can’t remember things.

Missing child. On the hunt for a missing child in his neighborhood, Officer Yoo hears people talking about someone going to jump from a building. He finds it is Im Yoo Ri who is preparing to jump off the building where Moo Young lives. This is presumably because Moo Young is not home and is not answering her calls, etc. He can’t or won’t give her the attention and love that she wants. Officer Yoo is clearly on the side of good hear as he valiantly tries to save the life of someone who tried to take his sister’s life not too long ago. The missing child is later found and Moo Young witnesses the reunion with the parents, perhaps thinking of his own story in which he was never reunited with his.

Eom Cho Rong. Jin Kang’s would be suitor continue to seem ill-suited for her. Most often he behaves like a bumbling child or a sidekick. Two things stuck out with him in this episode. First, he is in the scene where Im Yoo Ri is going to commit suicide. It is not explained why he is there, if he arrived with the police to help or because he heard Officer Yoo was there. In, I think it was, episode two, Cho Rong comes across Im Yoo Ri at the movie theater with Jin Kang and makes an offhand comment about her tattoo. That he can’t stand it or thinks she is rude, etc. He probably just remembers interviewing her for the murder case, but I keep thinking he has some connection to her we don’t know about yet. The second thing involves Cho Rong’s mom. Mom is super anxious to have him solidify things with Jin Kang. Later on in the episode we find that Mom has been severely burned. It’s mention a few times, and I think will be important in the future. Could Kim Moo Young be involved in this at all? The connection of burns and also that he is jealous of Cho Rong? We will see. Let me also say that Eom Cho Rong appears to be the most unobservant detective ever. He fails to notice Moo Young stalking him and Jin Kang and even doesn’t appear to recognize him when he’s bending down to tie his shoe.

The Damsel and her fiancee. These two are rather one-note characters and don’t seem to be necessary to the story anymore, yet they keep popping up. Officer Yoo tells Moo Young that he appears to be playing a game for his own amusement, just skating close enough to danger to make things exciting. We see Moo Young boldly delivering the fiancee’s requested wedding beer to the front desk of his company well after the wedding has been called off and Moo Young has broken things off with Seung Ah, or the Damsel. Is this all really a game in which the fiancee, Jang Woo Sang, is Moo Young’s real target? Why would anyone purposefully try to antagonize someone so rich and quick to feel insulted? The episode ends with Moo Young getting the crap beat out of him by Jang Woo Sang’s goons.

Moo Young and Jin Kang. Speaking of games that Moo Young has going on. He mentions something striking to Jin Kang (assuming the translation is accurate): Aren’t you so happy we met by chance? She says no as she’s answering no to everything he asks her, refusing to give him the confession of love or affection that he wants. When a person like that asks a question like that, one immediately wonders, but was it just chance how they met? Isn’t it possible that Moo Young, at least, has seen Jin Kang before? He remembers everything. The Arts Brewery is both connected to her friend, the Damsel, and also her work, and it could be that a day or two before the plot of the series started in which Moo Young happened to see Jin Kang and become interested in her.

Furthering this thought, let us consider that Moo Young clearly likes Jin Kang, but doesn’t have or show feelings in the normal way. It is entirely possible that his real goal is to get the Damsel and her world, her mother, her fiancee, as far away from Jin Kang as possible, because it’s becoming evident that whatever Moo Young’s wrong doings, these people are toxic and selfish. The Damsel is drowning herself in drink due to being rejected by Moo Young and has now also become jealous of Jin Kang. With good reason, of course, but Jin Kang has certainly tried to be a good and loyal friend and although she is perhaps unwillingly attracted to Moo Young, she clearly wishes not to be and she is also trying her best to appeal to the best of both their natures.

Jin Kang has told Moo Young that she pities him because he has no heart and doesn’t care for the hearts and feelings of others. This bothers him because he senses her pity is sincere, and he doesn’t get why she should pity him so for this. Jin Kang also calls him “good,” because it seems to her that although he pretends to be a bad boy he always ends up doing the right thing. For example, he comes to pick up a drunken Damsel to clean her up and get her home safely. We have seen that he saved Im Yoo Ri from a previous suicide attempt. He quite obviously protects Jin Kang from the wrath of the Damsel’s mother, pretending it was he alone who brought her home, not the both of them together. Moo Young shrugs the compliment off, saying that some days one does these things even if they are annoying, and some days one doesn’t. Jin Kang says again that that’s being “good,” but as it’s become obvious she does like Moo Young, we, like him, are thinking she not seeing things as they actually are.

Near the end of the episode, the fact that Jin Kang pity’s Moo Young is brought up by him again. This is because Jin Kang is very angry with him for telling the Damsel that he likes Jin Kang. This declaration is of course ruining the friendship she has with the Damsel, but we are seeing more and more that their friendship may really not be that deep. In any case, Moo Young seems to think Jin Kang should be happy he’s telling the truth. He’s being very open about liking Jin Kang and not wanting her to be with Eom Cho Rong. And he’s frustrated that Jin Kang doesn’t get why she’s so angry. It’s not because of the Damsel knowing, it’s because he’s telling the truth and because Jin Kang, despite her better judgement, likes him back. But she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge this fact. Moo Young asks who is more to be pitied, someone without feelings or someone who has feelings but ignores them? He never says it, but we know that he is also silently holding up before her the fact that she knows Eom Cho Rong cares about her, but that romantic feelings on her side are pretty much nonexistent. She is stringing him along just like Moo Young was stringing along the Damsel. Two peas in a pod, but in different ways.

The only other thing I wanted to mention was that Moo Young tells Officer Yoo that Im Yoo Ri can’t lie. This is interesting because we are shown a few times that Moo Young often tells the truth, but in roundabout ways. Both of these things are likely to figure largely in future episodes, as well as the fact that both Yoo Jin Kook and Yoo Jin Kang are the “good” ones, but often conceal or ignore the truth about things.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes: Ep. 5 Review

The writing on this show makes use a lot of the “catch up” device. The audience is given information on many things ahead of time, but we follow the characters as they make their own discoveries of the same things. However, with the great acting and engrossing story and how everything unfolds keeps the show fresh and interesting.

Showing perhaps how kind they are, pretend brother and sister Yoo Jin Kook and Yoo Jin Kang rush Im Yoo Ri (Tattoo girl) to the hospital when she passes out after trying to kill Jin Kang. Both are baffled as to why Yoo Ri should do such a thing, and at first Officer Yoo assumes he was her original target due to his questioning her about her friend’s death. The audience knows her target was actually Jin Kang as she is jealous of Kim Moo Young’s attentions to her, but it takes a few scenes for most everyone to learn this, even Moo Young.

As for the murder mystery, Kim Moo Young is still Officer Yoo’s prime suspect and he and  junior detective Eom Cho Rong spend a lot of time hunting down CCTV or security camera footage that would show he was at the scene of the crime. They also start to center their investigation around Im Yoo Ri as she and her friend who died were in a picture holding Beer Festival glasses from Arts Brewery. In an earlier episode, Officer Yoo spotted a Beer Festival umbrella someone carried while walking on the street. They smartly gain more access to even more cameras and footage by using the excuse of a stolen scooter case. This case was not far from the apartment where the girl died (I think, the English subtitles for this part weren’t completely finished when I watched it).

As far as Moo Young goes, he’s looking guiltier and guiltier as Officer Yoo confirms he is definitely left handed and Moo Young has the trophy (not a ballet girl like I originally thought. Not sure what it’s supposed to be). He takes the trophy from the cooler and other incriminating items and places them in a flowerpot in his apartment. We are left thinking he’s either guilty and trying to decide what to do with the evidence or is puzzled as to why these items are at his place. Maybe he’s still investigating, too. The third possibility is that he was witness to an accident and helped someone, maybe Im Yoo Ri, cover it up.

Jumping back to the topic of CCTV cameras, security cameras, and black box cameras in cars: If this is modern police work in South Korea, they must have a pretty easy job. Everything everywhere is recorded, especially by cars. Why people have these boxes constantly recording everything from their cars, I don’t know, but it’s kind of creepy. We maybe have this in the US, too, I just haven’t heard a lot about it here. The value is obvious when it comes to an accident or whatnot, but it seems a major invasion of privacy. Anyway, Officer Yoo definitely places Kim Moo Young walking to the scene of the crime, as it’s caught on the black box of a passing car. He’s holding the umbrella. Officer Yoo speculates Moo Young took a specific route to get there because he knew he could avoid security cameras along that route.

We find out a lot more about Im Yoo Ri this episode. She’s more than just a one-note character and we are left wondering exactly how she knows Kim Moo Young, especially because she goes to the same psychologist who perhaps knows him from when he was a child. Moo Young sees a book this psychologist wrote and it includes Yoo Ri’s story. Although he passes the book to Yoo Jin Kang, as it’s her brother’s, we can be pretty confident he’s at least flipped through it and knows the contents. Yoo Ri is so rude and prone to suicidal tendencies because she went through some kind of trauma (likely abuse) at a young age. She was nine the first time she tried to kill herself and has been seeing the psychologist ever since. When Yoo Ri tries to get rid of the evidence she tried to run over Jin Kang, Officer Yoo is at first in an angry hurry to get it back as he decides to arrest her, but upon reading her story in the book holds off on turning in the evidence he has.

Before writing about how the relationship between our leads Kim Moo Young and Yoo Jin Kang, is going, let’s talk about the Damsel. Baek Seung Ah is living in a fantasy. She thinks Moo Young really loves her and that she can give up everything, throw caution to the wind, and run away with him to Greece or Morocco where they will live happily ever after. She persists in this thinking even though Moo Young has stopped returning her calls and texts and he finally just has to tell her that he’s not interested, and of course she deals with that by thinking it’s her fault and that she can somehow fix things. Moo Young appears to be a player and has surely been down this road before, but he still seems a little confused that she doesn’t get that this was just a fling for him.

For being so smart, Moo Young is very out of touch with his emotions–and he appears to have some, although guarded at best. Obviously, being nonemotional helps him manipulate people, but it is possible since he once encountered or was even a patient of the psychologist who keeps popping up, that he has some kind of mental illness due to a childhood trauma–the incident where he and Jin Kang got their scars. Or he’s just a sociopath. Moo Young is so not aware that it takes Yoo Ri to tell him he has a thing for Jin Kang. He seems surprised by this information and tells Jin Kang that he likes her but that he wants to spend more time together to check.

Their budding friendship comes to a halt at this. Jin Kang is a good friend and is angry at Moo Young for wanting to date her while still dating her friend. She tries to get the Damsel to stop and think that she really doesn’t know Moo Young well at all and I can’t help thinking Jin Kang would have been better off taking Moo Young’s hint and just telling the Damsel that he’s a playing, cheating scumbag. Because he is a player and likely a murderer, I’m not too thrilled that Jin Kang is attracted to him, but attraction often just happens and is difficult to end. Still, Jin Kang stays strong, calling Moo Young out on how he’s treated her friend. Moo Young explains dating a pretty girl as a way of “checking” if love might be out there, even though he doesn’t believe in love, much like an atheist will go into a beautiful church just to check if God really does exist. Jin Kang’s response to this is: A person’s heart means nothing to you, right? The expression on Moo Young’s face says it all: No, but why is that a problem?

This smart, nonemotional young man has suddenly stepped into territory out of his depth. She’s upset with him, but he’s doesn’t understand why. Jin Kang walks away from him, refusing his offer to date and saying she feels sorry for him that he doesn’t really care about people. Looking as crestfallen as is possible for him, there’s a hint that perhaps this is the first time Moo Young’s own feelings or heart have really been hurt. Or maybe he’s just ticked he can’t manipulate Jin Kang as easily as other women.

Despite their relationship being on hold, the bigger picture is already at play: Eventually Moo Young is going to bring Jin Kang completely over to his side, either by manipulating her, or by some discoveries yet to be unveiled. Officer Yoo is hotly against Jin Kang having any relationship with Moo Young. Im Yoo Ri and the Damsel are also threatened by this relationship, indicating that at least in their minds the nature of that relationship must surely be romantic.

The saddest part of the episode for me was that the Damsel’s crazy fiancee got Moo Young fired from the Arts brewery, as he just couldn’t stand the sight of the man who’s cuckolded him (okay, the two had only promised to marry, but still). Moo Young’s handsome boss kindly offers to send him to another brewery, the Eagle brewery, at least for awhile. I am sad we may not be seeing the Arts logo and truck as much anymore, because I really started to like them and Moo Young’s character had become connected to them. Oh well. People, even fictional characters, are not the stuff that surrounds them.

Outstanding things going on: The silence. It is used well, and the little music in the show is subtle yet effective. I like the guitar string part (I think it’s guitar) that is often played during the beginning recap or connection from last episode to the new one, and that is also played at the end. It kind of reminds me of the same musical motif used in AMC’s series The Killing, though that, I think, was drums. The other thing is the acting, especially from Seo In Guk. He’s definitely in tune with the series title, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes. It’s creepy how Moo Young’s eyes change when he hears something he doesn’t want to or if people aren’t acting as he wants them to. The scene where he’s trying to figure out from Im Yoo Ri why she tried to kill Jin Kang is great. He flirts with her just enough to get the information he needs, and then his eyes go dead, just as if she’s dead to him after sharing her reasons.

Until next episode. –P. Beldona