After Dae-sung (Lee Kwang-soo) heads off in search of Seo Yul (Ahn Se-bin), a loitering Cheon-won (Jang Won-young) makes his move to enter MS Mart. Cheon-kyu (Ryu Yeon-seok), who happened to be passing by, pauses for a moment to contemplate before heading in as well. While waiting to make payment, Cheon-kyu finds out from Young-choon (Shin Sung-woo) that Dae-sung had gone to deliver Yul’s forgotten items to her. Before leaving, Cheon-kyu curtly tells a taken-aback Young-choon that he’d “like it if [Dae-sung] wasn’t so friendly with Yul”.
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At the real estate office, Cheon-kyu approaches Dae-sung and Yul – who runs over to hug him around the waist – just as Dae-sung asks the little girl if the wounds on her arms were caused by her father. Cheon-kyu warns Dae-sung not to go near his daughter again, and likewise tells her to stay away from the supermarket. Dae-sung tries to reassure Yul that it’s okay to seek help, but she instead speaks up for her father, saying that he “isn’t like that”. Just then, Myung-sook (Jin Hee-kyung) – along with a dressed-up Saeng-seon (Park Ji-bin) and Jung-yook (Lee Kyo-yeob) – approaches the trio to find out what was going on, but Cheon-kyu leads Yul back into his office without another word.
Chaos ensues back at the supermarket when Young-choon and Cheon-won go head-to-head with each other, as the verbal barbs escalate into a full-on physical scramble. Cheon-won only takes off when Myeong-sook, Dae-sung, Saeng-seon and Jung-yook return, leaving a scratched-up Young-choon behind. While making his way back to his apartment, Cheon-won senses that he’s being followed – a hunch that turns out to be correct, much to his disadvantage.
At his apartment, Cheon-kyu tells Yul that he’s going to visit her mother, which makes the little girl’s eyes light up. But upon finding out that she had “lost” her mother’s cell phone, Cheon-kyu coldly tells Yul that she has “no right” to see her mother, additionally claiming that the little girl “lies” and “meets with people” he’d told her to stay away from. When asked if she knows what kind of child she is, Yul answers without hesitation: “A useless and horrible one.” Tears well up in her eyes as Cheon-kyu rises from his seat, a rolled-up belt in his fist.
The next day, Gong-san puts up flyers on MS Mart’s window for a lost Pomeranian pup, Meonji, which A-hee (Kim Seol-hyun of AOA) had previously found once before. Myeong-sook asks Gong-san why she’s interested in helping a stranger find her dog, to which the latter pragmatically states that a ₩1,000,000 reward isn’t easy to come by.
Dae-sung, however, reckons that it’s because Gong-san plans to run for Women’s Association president, with Yang-soon (Moon Hee-kyung) out of action due to her attack. When Gong-san steps out of the store, the MS Mart team searches her delivery bag, and comes across a filled-up notebook, which part-timer Al-ba (Jo A-ram) helps to secretly take photos of.
A-hee tracks down the ex-boyfriend of Meonji’s owner, who previously had a stalking charge filed against him, and hauls him to the police substation under suspicion of “special theft”. After being reminded that CCTVs in the area would have recorded all his actions, the man explains that he’d taken Meonji because he’d missed the dog. He was on his way to bring Meonji back to his ex-girlfriend’s house when he’d gotten pushed over by an older lady – none other than Gong-san. This caused him to lose his grip on Meonji, and the pup scampered away.
At the supermarket, Myung-sook goes over the details in Gong-san’s notebook, and notices that she’d indicated which of her cosmetics customers lived alone. Myung-sook decides to visit one of them, and realises that it’s Meonji’s owner, Park So-hee. Before Myung-sook could ask any questions, Gong-san runs up to So-hee with Meonji in her arms, with Dae-sung following suit. It turns out that Dae-sung had come across the pup while following Gong-san back to the alley where she’d (knowingly) beat up the guy – So-hee’s ex-boyfriend.
What’s surprising to both Dae-sung and Myung-sook is how Gong-san didn’t even accept any reward for the find. Gong-san then shares that this is her way of providing extra “customer service”: watching out for female customers who live alone. With all the supermarket staff cleared of suspicions, Dae-sung feels like they’ve hit a brick wall in the search for the killer.
Despite being told to stay away from the mart, Yul turns up and heads straight for the toy catcher, but is confused when she doesn’t find the koala pouch she’d hidden her mother’s cell phone in. Unbeknownst to her, Young-choon had caught it, intending to give it back to her, but it got snatched away by Myung-sook. While chatting with Yul, Dae-sung gives her his phone number, along with an SOS whistle, telling her to blow on it when she’s in trouble. Yul asks Dae-sung what if she’s in a situation where she can’t talk into the phone, and he assures her that even if she doesn’t say anything, he’ll still get the hint and go in search of her.
As Yul starts to leave, the little girl winces when Myung-sook caresses her arm, but refuses to let her see why. It is then that Dae-sung accidentally (on purpose) pours cola over her clothes, so that she’d have to change. As Myung-sook helps Yul change in private, what she sees on the little girl’s body breaks her heart: bruises, burns, blood-stained wounds – some old, some fresh.
Dae-sung leaves the supermarket with Detective Choi (Bae Myung-jin) – who had been staking out the supermarket – following after him. Instead of making a report at the police station, he heads to Cheon-kyu’s real estate office, where he has no qualms breaking and entering in front of the detective. When the two men head further in, they find a door hidden behind a map. They discover a separate room with toys, a glue gun, and even Yul’s shoes, which Cheon-kyu had claimed were taken by bullies. Dae-sung realises that this was where Yul was held captive on the night she was found running barefoot.
Dae-sung and Detective Choi also realise that the “G” word on Yang-soon’s lips as she was stretchered away after her fall was not “glue gun”, but “Geumsong”, the name of the real estate office – thus pinpointing Cheon-kyu as the perpetrator. It is then, too, that Cheon-kyu returns to the office, stabs Detective Choi in the stomach and locks Dae-sung up in the hidden room. After numerous attempts to bash through the door, Dae-sung breaks free, and is found crouching over Detective Choi’s body by A-hee, who had rushed over from the police station. Though intending to arrest him on the spot, Officer Kim decides to make yet another judgement call and lets Dae-sung off in search of Cheon-kyu.
Yul wakes up in a daze in a strange apartment, which she is taken to by her father after being told that he’d bring her to see her mother. Wandering around, she spots the industrial freezer in the living room and opens it – her eyes widening in shock as she discovers Cheon-won’s body stuffed within.
On the night of his murder, Cheon-won had caught Cheon-kyu following him, and tries to strike up a deal: with the evidence he had from filming Yang-soon’s ordeal, he would implicate Dae-sung instead; in return for helping the real estate agent escape scot-free, Cheon-won asks for an apartment lease away from this neighbourhood. However, the former counterfeiter loses his life instead.
The next day, Myung-sook makes a delivery to the empty apartment next to Cheon-won’s, which Cheon-kyu had started to occupy. After returning to the supermarket, she finds that the same order had been placed by the same customer, this time with a “505” in the request section. Dae-sung realises that the request had been placed by Yul, who had previously mistaken the “SOS” on the whistle packet as “505”.
The entire MS Mart team sets off on a rescue mission, with A-hee and Officer Kim as backup. Cheon-kyu is caught off guard when he hears the commotion next door, as the group collectively works on gaining entry into the vacant apartment. Seizing the opportunity, Yul runs into the bedroom and locks herself in, and attempts to escape by climbing out of the balcony window. She stretches her little legs and steps onto the vacant apartment’s shaky air-conditioning unit, and is spotted by A-hee and Officer Kim as they reach the complex.
As the rest of the MS Mart team scurry around in search of items to cushion any potential falls, Saeng-seon and Dae-sung continue to work on entering the vacant apartment. On Cheon-won’s apartment door, Dae-sung spots a door lock that he’d remembered seeing at the real estate office, which had been replaced by a newly-purchased one by Cheon-kyu.
While Ah-hee manages to reach Yul and carry her to safety, Dae-sung enters the vacant apartment after Saeng-seon successfully breaks into it. He steps in gingerly and heads towards the industrial freezer. Mentally preparing himself for what he might see, Dae-sung pulls the doors open and finds Cheon-won’s body within. It slumps forward and another frozen body is revealed: Ngyuen Thi Zhonglin – Yul’s mother.
After ambushing and attacking Saeng-seon, who had entered Cheon-won’s apartment, Cheon-kyu makes his escape with Dae-sung and A-hee hot on his tail. The couple loses him, which sparks a wider manhunt, with all hands on deck from the MS Mart team (sans an injured Saeng-seon and Al-ba, who accompanied her to the hospital) and the police. It is then that Young-choon hands over Yul’s mother’s mobile phone to Officer Kim, who views the footage that Yul had captured of her father’s deeds. Gong-san also activates her network of cosmetics saleswomen, of which one spots Cheon-kyu running down an alley.
While chasing Cheon-kyu down on the motorbike, Myung-sook and Jung-yook are attacked by him, and they both end up being taken hostage. Cheon-kyu uses Myung-sook’s cell phone to call Dae-sung, and she manages to slip in a “505” mention, which he picks up. He lures Cheon-kyu over to the supermarket, saying that he’s alone with Yul, and it is there that the two eventually come face to face. Cheon-kyu demands to know Yul’s whereabouts, but Dae-sung says: “Just because she’s your daughter, it doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with her. She isn’t your property.”
Dae-sung locks himself and Cheon-kyu in the mart, and a cat-and-mouse game ensues as both men dash between the aisles. Eventually, Dae-sung manages to take down Cheon-kyu with two head butts, but holds himself back from knocking him out with his favourite weapon of choice – a can of peaches. With Al-ba’s superhuman strength, the MS Mart team and police eventually get the shutters open and enter the store.
As Cheon-kyu is handcuffed by A-hee and Officer Kim, Dae-sung tells Cheon-kyu the reason he risked his life to delve into other people’s business: “I just wanted the people who came to the store yesterday to come back today and tomorrow without any problems. I want them to come back, that’s all.” Later, as Cheon-kyu is led away by officers, little Yul goes up to Dae-sung, reaches out for his hand and thanks him.
Business picks up again at MS Mart following the recognition of Dae-sung’s heroic deeds, and life changes for the team in different ways. Ya-chae (Oh Hye-won) returns to the neighbourhood, and no one else is happier than Jung-yook; Gong-san succeeded in her bid to become the Women’s Association president, and even helps Yang-soon – still recovering in hospital – reunite with her long-lost daughter from America; accepted by those around her, Saeng-seon becomes more comfortable in her own skin, and starts to dress up to reflect her true self.
As for Yul, she started a new life in Vietnam, under the care of her maternal grandmother. She continues to keep in touch with Dae-sung and the MS Mart team through regular video calls, with a much brighter and happier disposition.
Outwardly, it appears that nothing much else has changed for Dae-sung, as he continues to work diligently at MS Mart. When A-hee and her father (special cameo by Park Chul-min) turn up at the supermarket, the older man asks Dae-sung the very same question he’d previously asked the younger man, about what his dream is. This time, Dae-sung smiles confidently, having already fulfilled it – and that is to co-run MS Mart, which now proudly stands for “Mom and Son Mart”.
‘The Killer’s Shopping List’ is available to stream on iQIYI and Viu in select regions.