Café Minamdang – K-Drama Episode 5 Recap & Review


Episode 5 of Café Minamdang begins as the area surrounding Ms Kim’s house fills with police, ambulances and worried neighbours.

When Su-cheol wonders if this is Gopuri’s work, Han-jun says that their MO is the same as it was three years ago, bar one thing. We flash to the body being loaded into an ambulance, and the victim’s white heels are visible.

Observing the commotion, Han-jun thinks it’s possible that Gopuri is watching them at that very moment. He’s right. Among the crowd is a man dressed in black clothes with his face concealed behind a mask and hat. Pulling the brim down, he exposes the burn scar on his wrist.

Su-cheol scopes out the area while Jae-hui has her team start running through the CCTV footage. Han-jun is one step ahead of her, collecting the dashcam footage from a parked car. It shows him a black van that frequently visited that spot. Investigating it further, Hye-jun finds that the black van was reported stolen, and someone has rented it using a stolen identity.

Jae-hui grabs at the dashcam footage while Su-cheol spots a suspicious man spying from afar. Han-jun joins him and they shadow the man with the intention of determining whether he’s an accessory like Choi Yeong-seop or Gopuri himself.

Detective Na singles out the black van in the CCTV footage and uncovers its stolen status. After tracing the phone number used to rent the van, he places the driver within the vicinity of Ms Kim’s house, but he can’t pinpoint their exact location until a call is made.

Hye-jun finally gets a good angle of the suspicious man’s face through the CCTV as he stops to call someone to ask for a meeting point. It’s Yeong-seop. Han-jun and Su-cheol amp up their pace.

Now that Yeong-seop has made a call, Jae-hui and Detective Jang head to his location in their car. Their approaching sirens put him on high alert. Han-jun calls Jae-hui, asking her to hold off so that they can find out who Yeong-seop is meeting. Jae-hui is too stubborn to listen, and when she sights Yeong-seop and realises who he is, all bets are off.

Yeong-seop breaks into a run and all four of them give chase. Jae-hui is in the lead when the black van, Gopuri at the wheel, hits Yeong-seop at full speed and drives off. Jae-hui and Detective Jang start calling for help. When their backs are turned, Han-jun pilfers Yeong-seop’s phone from right out of his pocket.

Do-won is in his office when Jae-hui calls him from the hospital with the news that she’s apprehended Yeong-seop. Now, though, she believes he had an accomplice.

Su-cheol slinks around the hospital. He eavesdrops on Jae-hui and Detective Jang as they wait for the result of Yeong-seop’s surgery and discuss his missing phone. Jae-hui catches a glimpse of Su-cheol trying to sneak away and follows him right to Han-jun, who is failing to crack the passcode on Yeong-seop’s phone.

To no one’s surprise, Jae-hui and Han-jun start arguing. When Jae-hui gathers that Han-jun didn’t immediately catch Yeong-seop despite knowing who he was, she flies into a rage and punches him.

Speaking through his earpiece, Hye-jun informs Han-jun that she found the black van. He exaggerates his reaction to the punch so that he and Su-cheol can make a quick departure to get to the black van before the police.

They never make it there because Hye-jun has terrible news: their mother is on her way to Café Minamdang, bible in hand and a big smile on her face. Hye-jun has already sent Na-dan in their place and she urges them to return home.

They return just as Han-jun’s mother, Senior Deacon Kim, does. She starts badmouthing her friends for having an appointment with a shaman. A moment later, those same friends show up outside Café Minamdang for their appointment.

Fearing his mother’s reaction to the truth, Han-jun pins the shamanism on Su-cheol. Su-cheol is not happy about this at all and very reluctantly plays the part of a shaman possessed by a child spirit for the duration of the friends’ appointment.

Meanwhile, Na-dan finds the black van. It’s obviously been abandoned, and he finds no obvious clues. The police are almost there too, so Na-dan grabs a trash bag from inside and takes off. Detective Kim is the next person to give the van a once over. With the luxury of time, he finds a bloodstain in the back. Unfortunately, the van is in a CCTV blind spot.

Senior Deacon Kim leaves Café Minamdang none the wiser. Left to their own devices, the Minamdang crew examines the contents of the trash bag Na-dan brought back. They find a Red Cross receipt addressed to a place in the slums. Han-jun notes the possibility that Gopuri left it behind on purpose.

At the police station, Jae-hui’s team goes over the evidence. The DNA in the van matched Yeong-seop’s, and the DNA from the bloodstain matched the sewer victim. Despite Gopuri’s stunt at the wheel, they found no other DNA. Plus, they haven’t been able to identify the victim.

The briefing ends when Do-won calls with Yeong-seop’s address. Han-jun and Su-cheol arrive at the dirty, one-room place first. They find photos of the victim on the wall and a single clean shelf that contains the victim’s shoes and a bottle of benzene. Han-jun is sure that Gopuri planted them there, his preference for cleanliness giving him away.

Hye-jun alerts them to Jae-hui and Do-won’s approach. Su-cheol is eager to scram but Han-jun pushes their luck, lying on the bed to see things from Yeong-seop’s perspective. Stuck to the ceiling above him is a picture of Yeong-seop with his wife and daughter. He grabs it and they make it out just in time to avoid detection.

Hye-jun finds out the birthdays of Yeong-seop’s wife and child. Neither is the passcode to his phone. Han-jun thinks about the handwritten message promising to ‘always protect you’ on the back of the photo. He tries the date that Yeong-seop’s daughter’s rapist, Do Jun-ha, was killed, and the phone opens.

Jae-hui and Do-won also come upon the shelf with the shoes in Yeong-seop’s place. Both are satisfied that this proves he’s the mastermind. When they see the pictures of the victim, Jae-hui recognises her as Kang Eun-hye, the missing girl whose case never went anywhere.

With Yeong-seop’s phone unlocked, Hye-jun is able to determine that he had been hiding in the countryside and only came to Seoul around the time the body was found.

Han-jun and Su-cheol go back to the hospital where Yeong-seop is coming to. Su-cheol tampers with Detective Na’s car to distract him while Han-jun swindles Detective Jang with his usual shaman act.

Their antics pay off when Detective Jang gives Han-jun some alone time with Yeong-seop. Han-jun pretends to speak with the ghost of Yeong-seop’s daughter, using the details he surmised from the photo he took to convince Yeong-seop to believe in the act.

Han-jun tries to convince Yeong-seop to reveal Gopuri’s identify. Yeong-seop was apparently indebted to Gopuri after Gopuri killed Do Jun-ha for him, though he never saw Gopuri’s face. He also believes in Gopuri’s pure intentions, convinced that they must have has a good enough reason for the killings.

Jae-hui and Do-won arrive at the hospital. After seeing Su-cheol with Detective Na, Jae-hui rushes to Yeong-seop’s room and bursts in to find Han-jun losing his patience. Disorder ensues as Jae-hui pulls him off. Su-cheol sees a chance, slipping into the bathroom and planting a camera by Yeong-seop’s bed when everyone else has left.

Jae-hui drags Han-jun to the rooftop, Do-won following behind. When she questions the validity of Han-jun’s suspicions regarding Gopuri, he reveals that he has seen the real culprit.

The epilogue shows us Gopuri wrapping up the body in the sewer. He also claims another victim with an injection to the neck. Another scene has him placing the heels in Yeong-seop’s cupboard and sticking up the pictures of her on the wall. We end on Gopuri buttoning up a crisp white shirt.

The Episode Review

The convenient discovery of the body was not a coincidence after all. All signs point to Gopuri setting Yeong-seop up once again to take the fall for his crimes. The question is why now, on a seemingly random day three years later?

My biggest suspect at the moment is Do-won. He would have had access to Jae-jeong three years ago, and it would explain why Yeong-seop had so much faith in his actions being justified (in this case, as those of a prosecutor delivering justice one way or another). Then that epilogue gave us Gopuri in a button-up that matches Do-won’s usual attire. If there’s any truth to this theory, then the framing at the end of the episode, with the shot of Han-jun and Jae-hui being watched by Do-won, might be a killer’s perspective disguised as a potential love-triangle.

Another problem that this could solve is the confusion around the whereabouts of the victim’s shoes. Han-jun clearly saw the shoes on the body when they found it, and they were still secured as it was loaded into the ambulance. So Gopuri would have had to steal them after the body was taken away. An easy task for someone in a position of trust…

Previous Episode

Next Episode

Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!
  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment