Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 recap – a more intense episode

By Nathan Sartain
Published: July 11, 2022
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Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 recap - a more intense episode


A more intense episode that, while retaining its outlandish humor, focuses more on the criminal drama.

This recap of Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

Picking up where we left off, we see the police come to collect the corpse from the sewer, while Du-jin hears of Choi Yong-seop’s potential involvement due to the similarities between this murder, and the one involving Prosecutor Han three years ago. Meanwhile, Han-joon and Su-cheol discuss their own interpretations on the unravelling case, including the fact that the sewer appeared to only be a temporary spot for the body to be stored in. “Maybe he’s watching us from somewhere even now,” the shaman says, as a disguised man slips away from the onlooking crowd.

When Han-joon begins his own investigations, he ends up confronted by Jae-hui, who goads him about staying silent if he is not being able to take responsibility after Du-jin wonders if the shaman saw anything. Such a statement is brushed off though, and the two quickly return to their own priorities.

Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 recap

Next, the detective asks the poor children if they had ever seen a particular man before they head to the station, only to hear that they haven’t. So she changes her tactic, requesting CCTV footage from the area so that suspicious vehicles can be earmarked. However, Han-joon is way ahead of the police, and has already noticed that a black van appeared at the same spot every 10 minutes. So he orders his own inquiries, finding that said car was rented from someone using a stolen identity.

However, Han-joon’s unconventional methods frustrate Jae-hui, who forces him to hand over the dashcam he has been using to avoid an arrest. The shaman does try and hold out, stating that the owner gave it to him herself, but he humorously moves towards what he believes is cooperation, handing over a USB stick. It’s not quite enough for the detective, who warns Han-joon about his shady deeds involving evidence, and the punishment that could come with them, before she prods for the item she is actually looking for.

After the second flash drive falls to the floor, we cut to Su-cheol, who has noticed the potential suspect hiding a short while away from the worried crowd. He swiftly feeds back the information to his associate, who smugly removes himself from his argument with Jae-hui to aid in the tailing. Here, we find out that the two former police workers believe that Choi Yeong-seop was only an accessary to the murder of Prosecutor Han, meaning that the Gopuri they are seeking is someone different entirely.

When the pursuit hits a lull, we return to the police force, who have caught up to the shaman’s group in terms of investigations by discovering that the owner of the suspicious black van is still in the area near the crime scene. Jae-hui subsequently instructs her team members to continue their search into location of both the vehicle and the suspect, while Hye-jun suddenly spots that the person being tailed is in fact Choi Yeong-seop. Shocked, Han-joon and Su-cheol rush towards the suspect, just as Jae-hui also gets wind of the precise position of the man she has been chasing for years.

As Han-joon discovers the police’s plans to catch Yeong-seop, he calls them to request they stop their impending arrest, revealing that the man they are looking for is not the real culprit, but rather a man being used by the perpetrator. Yet, his pleas to wait until the two allies meet falls on deaf ears, because Jae-hui immediately goes for Yeong-seop when realising where he is. What follows is an intense chase scene in the darkness of night, with everyone looking to achieve their goals. Ultimately though, nobody gets their way, with the accessory to murder hit by the true criminal’s car when close to being caught. Shortly after, when the police call an ambulance, Han-joon steals Yeong-seop’s phone.

At the prosecutor’s office, Do-won is teased over his obsessive nature, and is given some tips on how to improve his unsuccessful dating life, before a phone call interrupts this breezy chat. It’s Jae-hui on the other end of the line, claiming that she has caught the person responsible for her brother’s death. Nonetheless, the detective acknowledges that this deed is likely to have not been committed alone, noting the incident with the car as potential proof that someone was trying to kill Yeong-seop. Somewhat startled, Do-won immediately leaves his office when the phone call with his friend abruptly ends, ready to lend a hand.

Eavesdropping to gain information on the attempts to find Yeong-seop’s phone, in addition to his wider condition, Su-cheol soon ends spotted by Jae-hui, who chases after him in the hospital. While doing so, she finds the former policeman huddled over with Han-joon, stopping them to warn them about their interference in the case. However, this comes as a minor relief to the shaman, as he thought he had been busted for stealing evidence, so he begins to chat back, pointing out that it’s Jae-hui’s fault that the car accident ended up happening in the first place. The detective then instructs the pair to stop disrupting the investigation and go home, only to hesitate in rage when realising that the fraudsters let Yeong-seop run in the hopes of finding who they believe to be the true culprit.

After being punched into a state of overly exaggerated shock, Han-joon quickly recovers when hearing of the location of the perpetrator’s car, knowing that he needs to find it before the police. Though such a search is swiftly halted by the news of Deacon Kim’s imminent visit, one that requires everyone aside from Na-dan (who has been sent to look for the vehicle) to help handle. The ensuing scenes are bizarre in their comedic fashion, showing the bold, panicked attempts by Su-cheol and Han-joon to prevent the latter’s mother from discovering the fans at the cafe (and ultimately his faux shamanism).

When Deacon Kim eventually calms down in her meeting with Han-joon, she ends up furious again when hearing that the shaman her church members are visiting is at the very cafe her son runs. As such, she confronts the owner of Minamdang, poking around for answers until she hears falsely that Su-cheol is the shaman just so Han-joon can save face. The next minutes then show the barrister cover as the head of the business, bluffing his way through the appointment with Deacon Kim’s friend and helping her gain advice on the fraud case that troubles her. Elsewhere, Na-dan inspects the empty car for any potential evidence, but ends up needing to flee before anything substantial can be found due to the arrival of the police.

During their examination, the police find blood in the trunk of the abandoned car, reporting the information to Jae-hui, who swiftly orders it for DNA testing, and ensures that her team do everything they can to ID the suspect. The detective then turns to Do-won after the phone call, hopeful that when Yeong-seop regains consciousness, she can properly find out why her brother had to die three years ago. Meanwhile, Deacon Kim leaves the scene with instructions to pray for Su-cheol, while a returning Na-dan signals the start of the group’s rummage around the garbage found in the criminal’s car.

Despite very little being found, a clue from a receipt for the Red Cross in Ilsan could indicate Gopuri’s location. Concurrently, the police are being briefed about the context of the case, which informs us that the DNA in the car matched Choi Yeong-seop’s, the bloodstain belonged to the victim found in the sewers, but no other evidence has been found aside from traces of dye in the cloth used to wrap the victims up. There are some negatives however, as the common dye needs a detailed analysis, and the victim’s DNA has yet to produce a match at the data centre, perhaps signalling that they were a runaway (meaning they would have to identify them in another way). So, the hit-and-run driver will now be considered an accomplice of Choi’s, ushering in a different kind of investigation.

With a revelation that Prosecutor Han had died because he let Choi Yeong-seop go, Jae-hui fields a call from Do-won, who she will soon join in an investigation of the hospitalised man’s residence. Of course, Han-joon is already there alongside Su-cheol, with the two prying into the small home to find pictures of who they deem could be the sewer victim, in addition to drugs that Gopuri is alleged to have placed neatly in the house. Again though, no major inroads can be made, as the police are hot on the tails of the fraudsters, although a complacent Han-joon is happy to sit, reflect and deduce what Yeong-seop’s phone passcode could be.

Eventually, Su-cheol succeeds in pulling away his partner from the investigation scene, before a drunken man interrupts Jae-hui’s potential discovery of the two shady characters. Outside, Han-joon cracks the passcode too, realising that it was the date his daughter’s rapist was killed. With that in mind, the two then head to the hospital, wanting the call record of the phone, the location of the number, and the recent locations of Choi Yeong-seop. Meanwhile, Jae-hui starts to realise that the man she is pursuing is likely to just be an accessory after seeing the neatly stashed drugs. Here, there’s also the reveal that the missing girl, Kang Eun-hye was the victim found dead in the sewer, causing the detective to reflect on how she should have investigated the case better.

Hearing of Yeong-seop’s consistent countryside location (until he came to Seoul on the day the body was found), Su-cheol theorises that he was called to help dispose of the corpse, while Han-joon acknowledges that they need to find the person who called him to the crime scene most importantly. Afterwards, the pairing humorously distract the police so they are able to access Yeong-seop’s ward, with the exploitation of Du-jin’s unenviable work situation particularly funny.

Soon, Han-joon gets some alone time with Yeong-seop, taunting him over his daughter and the fact he has been framed, making him vulnerable enough to open up about the fact he promised to pay whatever price should his ally kill his Jun-ha for him. Elsewhere, Jae-hui attempts to rush into the hospital when believing that Han-joon is there, while Yeong-seop continues to be truthful about his rather tragic situation. “I never got to see his face,” the hospitalised man says when pressed for information on Gopuri, before adding that he doesn’t really remember his voice either. Still, Yeong-seop remains firm in taking the fall too, thinking that his late daughter will understand the situation, and that he does not need to clear his name.

However, this angers Han-joon, who immediately mentions Han Jae-jeong, as Jae-hui concurrently attempts to get information out of Su-cheol about why the shaman has arrived at the hospital. When we cut back to the ward, Han-joon is interrogating more intensely, wondering why Yeong-seop’s accomplice killed Prosecutor Ha and the girl in the sewers, but receives the answer that such deeds must have been for a good reason. At that point, the shaman tries once more to get the true answer out of the hospitalised suspect, flustering him to the point only intervention stops potential death. The grilling wasn’t completely without reward, however, as Yeong-seop does mention that he tried to save Jae-jeong.

The ending

After leading him outside, Jae-hui angrily talks with Han-joon about his actions, dismissing the fact that he was looking for something deeply important to him. But the shaman gets brittle back, explaining that Yeong-seop admitted to his wrongdoings, and that it was the detective who stopped the catching of the culprit. “It’s not like you saw him kill someone with your own eyes,” Han-joon remarks when Jae-hui becomes adamant that Yeong-seop is the murderer, before adding that he has seen the real culprit.

On that note, Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 moves towards the epilogue, where we see the slow reveal of the scarred hand, and the murderous acts, committed by the true culprit, who for now remains faceless, but is seen to work in a place of law.

You can stream Cafe Minamdang season 1, episode 5 exclusively on Netflix.

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