k-dramas reviews

Sensory Couple: First Impressions [Episode 1 & 2]

When I saw the first episode of Sensory Couple (also known as The Girl Who Sees Smells) was available to stream, I knew I had to jump at the chance to watch it. Why? The concept seemed fun and engaging. Plus, there’s Yoochun (huge Rooftop Prince fan here). So, I pulled an all-nighter just to watch it—and let me tell you that it was a struggle to make it my Thursday at work. I’m sure we’ve all been there—getting sucked right into a drama that we throw all rational sense out the window and stay up a lot later than we probably should.

But as any k-drama fan knows, the drooping eyelids and constant yawns throughout the day are totally worth it. (Most of the time, that is.) And if I may be so bold to say, I think Sensory Couple is totally worth a watch or two or three… well, you get the idea.

Note: If you haven’t watched the first two episodes, please proceed with caution as you’ll probably see a lot of spoilers.  
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What I liked:

Straight out of the gate, Sensory Couple jumped right into the story. Four years ago, two people [Eun Seol’s parents] were murdered within two minutes of the episode. Unfortunately for Eun Seol, she came home late from school to see the killer hovering over her dead parent’s bodies. The killer tried to smother her to death, but the clock struck 10, and Eun Seol used that as her golden opportunity to escape. The killer chased her through the streets–hot on her heels–and he probably would have caught up to her if she wasn’t hit by a car.

Her saving grace really was that car. I mean, how much does that suck? She evaded a killer and survived because he ripped off her name tag and they couldn’t identify her at the hospital. Essentially, she became a “Jane Doe” coma patient, and while the killer perused the hospital looking for her, he stumbled across another patient by the name of Eun Seol, and thinking that’s her, he killed her. Even worse, the main male lead, Moo Gak, just happened to be the big brother of the Eun Seol that was murdered.

It’s a twisted web and it’s right up my alley.

Even worse, when Eun Seol woke up from her coma, she remembered nothing. Nada. Zilch. A big goose egg. To be fair, I don’t think I’d want to remember my parents being murdered either, but it sucks that she doesn’t even remember her name. Also, she has one blue eye and a brown eye. Heterochromia. As if that wasn’t a strange enough change, the blue eye gave her the ability to see smells and scents. What I love the best is the way that the special effects team show the scents. It’s just so colorful and whimsical with floating, colored shapes.

One of the detectives that found Eun Seol’s parents dead ends up keeping a close eye on her. She becomes Oh Cho Rim, and she believes this detective is her father. They even live together, and it’s a sweet little father-daughter repertoire they have going on. The only negative to this is that the detective is lying, and when Oh Cho Rim remembers the truth or discovers the truth through other means, I have a feeling it’s going to be bad. What exactly is he up to? Is this like some strange witness protection program where he wants to protect Cho Rim in case this killer surfaces? And, furthermore, how is he connected to her parents?

I loved the way that Cho Rim met Moo Gak. She literally ran into him with her sunbae’s car. Luckily, he can’t feel pain, but he does hijack the car and Cho Rim follows along as Moo Gak is trying to catch the “salon robber.” Thanks to Cho Rim’s keen senses, she helps Moo Gak in nabbing the perp. If it hadn’t been for her, Moo Gak would have never caught the guy.

Coincidentally enough, after Moo Gak had agreed to pay for the car damages once the estimate came in, Cho Rim finds a way to accidentally “need” Moo Gak in her life as her gag partner as she totally lied to her director. I’m still stunned that he agreed to it. Their gag was so bad and not funny at all, but Yoochun really hammed it up to the point that it was too funny not to laugh.

Also, Cho Rim and Moo Gak have a great push and pull. Moo Gak can’t feel pain, and Cho Rim has the enhanced sense of smell. When they team up, I surprisingly love their interactions. Also, how fun was it when Cho Rim was proving her ability to Moo Gak and he was unable to believe it? He kept putting her through test after test, and she kept passing. I think my favorite scene was when he decided to play “hide and seek” and see if she could find him, and she followed his every step in the exact order that he did.

What I didn’t like:

The pacing felt off. I can’t put my finger on it, but the episode didn’t flow as smoothly as it could’ve. I’m giving episode one a pass, but I feel that even episode two wasn’t quite as smooth either. Oh Cho Rim and Moo Gak seem to be helping each other out really quickly, and it felt a bit unnatural and non plausible at times. But, hey, this is k-drama land, so reality can’t always be applied, and it can take a few episodes to iron out some of the kinks.

Does Oh Cho Rim even have friends? It seems that she’s always catering to her sunbaes at work, but we have yet to see her have a true friendship with anyone. She doesn’t seem to be the loner type, and she’s not shy, so I was kind of disappointed that we don’t see her have any actual friendships. I sure her ability makes maintaining any kind of relationship hard, but I thought she would have had confided in someone about her ability. As much as I like that it seems that Moo Gak is the first one she’s reached out to, it makes me a little sad. What does she do besides work? Hopefully, some of my doubts will be smoothed over in time.

Other thoughts and questions:

Why were Cho Rim’s parents murdered? What was their job? Did they see something they shouldn’t have seen? There are so many possibilities that I’m anxious to find some bread crumbs during the next couple of episodes.

Cho Rim and Moo Gak have pretty tragic histories. What is going to happen when the truth is unveiled? Moo Gak is all about revenge and avenging his younger sister’s [Eun Seol] death. This seems to be his primary motivation for getting a spot in the homicide division of the police force. I feel like his emotions are going to create a huge problem when he’s officially a part of homicide. Will he be all about the cold case with his sister or will he be able to focus, levelheaded, on other cases?

Already, Moo Gak is having trouble explaining how he knows what he knows thanks to Cho Rim. With her at his side during his cases, won’t this cause conflict with the police force? After all, she’s going to be at crime scenes and I wonder how they’re going to explain that way–unless they just plan on not being seen together. I’m honestly curious how Cho Rim will be a part of all these investigations. No doubt questions and problems are bound to arise.

Also, how in the world are they going to juggle things on Cho Rim’s side with Moo Gak being her gag partner? I feel as if there is too much going on between the two of them, and I’m genuinely curious how the show is going to manage and juggle both of their lives.

I’ve read a lot of comments online to people being unsure with the casting when it came to Shin Se Kyung playing Oh Cho Rim. I’m not personally familiar with the actresses previous work, so I can’t make any assumptions based on that, but what I do know is that she pulls off her character very well in this drama.

What I’m most excited about with this drama is that it will allow Cho Rim to have fun with her special ability. Up until this point, it has seemingly been a burden for her. I hope that her working with Moo Gak can help her to find purpose and peace with her extended sense of smell.

So, what are your thoughts? Do you like this drama? Is it something you’re interested in watching? Or maybe it didn’t capture your interest?

Sensory Couple, while having dark roots, is a pleasant, vibrant, creative series that doesn’t try to take itself too seriously. Also, it was another pleasant surprise to find a female lead having a job that isn’t the norm in k-drama land, so bonus points to that.

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