Scent of a Woman: The First 6

[This poster is just too magnetic isn’t it? It looks as if this is an official still of someone’s wedding. These two are that believable together. I’m in awe each time I see it.]

When I found out that Lee Dong Wook was completing his military service and directly filming a drama–with Kim Sun Ah, I clapped like a seal and giggled like a hyena—for days. I can’t say, I was sitting around waiting for his return but I definitely missed him. Now that Scent of a Woman has hit my mark, I have plenty to say and tons to share so let’s get started.

The Synopsis: A woman is given the diagnosis she has a few months to live, so she quits her job and decides to live her life to the fullest.

Episode Lowdown: A regular working class girl, Lee Yeon Jae (Kim Sun Ah), falls ill in a taxi and is rushed to the hospital. There she meets Chae Eun Suk (Eom Ki Joon), an old elementary friend(now a doctor) who tells her she will die of cancer in six months. This news hits hard and she begins to rethink her life, mainly her job and quits. She boards a flight to Japan (she saw a location in a recent dream) to have the fun she’s passed up all these years. In Okinawa, she meets Kang Ji Wook (Lee Dong Wook), the new president of her old company(having mistaken her for his tour guide) and they spend their vacation together. But all their fun and budding attraction in thwarted when, Im Se Kyung (Seo Hyo Rim), Ji Wook’s fiancée, shows up revealing, Yeon Jae’s identity. Turns out, Yeon Jae was accused of stealing a treasured ring of Se Kyung’s client causing both companies (Se Kyung and Ji Wook) to look bad. The ring, however, was never truly stolen and later found, but at present none of our characters know this. Therefore, several stank eyes, class disputes, tit-for-tat facial slaps and now a lawsuit have resulted.

Once everyone returns back home, Ji Wook is hurt but realizes soon he wasn’t being “pursued” for his money and tracks down Yeon Jae, finding ways to be in her presence, including taking tango lessons. Unfortunately, he’s also heard of Se Kyung’s plans to file suit against her but keeps this secret. Yeon Jae, however, makes a bucket list and hunkers down to complete it. Her first step–going in for the chemo she told Eun Suk, to shove and take proper care to live. She actually checks a couple items off: Make Mom smile each day (nothing like a day spa) and have a date with JYJ’s Junsu (nothing suckers a sucker like rekindled first love). So when she gets the lawsuit in the mail, she’s stunned but determined to remedy this herself. Lawyers won’t touch the case though and all her assets are frozen. She decides to seek out Ji Wook, to convince Se Kyung to drop the suit. However, he has awaken to his growing feelings for Yeon Jae and doesn’t like this change in himself, so, instead of a confession, he throws money at her demanding to never see her again. Are So Beautiful – Xiah Junsu (Scent of a Woman OST Part 2) by 2happysworld2
The Characters:

1. Lee Yeon Jae

“I want to live. I want to meet someone and fall in love, and live with him for a long, long time. I want to get old and gray like you…I want to live like that. I want to be by my mother’s side when she dies. I want to marry, and have babies, and live until my child marries…” episode 4

Yeon Jae is a pleasant heroine. She isn’t overly annoying or chipper. She’s nicer than I am, certainly, but her kindness is genuine and based in reality. She isn’t a person that lives in a fantasy world and when we meet her, she’s just doing her. It’s true she had allowed others, especially her boss, to dump all over her, so it was great that she got over that by the end of episode one. Her transformation as a character was realistic because she again, knew what she was doing and wasn’t entirely being attacked. She gave people permission to be jerks to her because she didn’t care enough to hate them. She chalked it up to humanity. But once she is confronted with how she’s been living her life versus how she wants to have lived, she has to make changes and call a few people out on their shysty ways. Ultimately, she’s likeable because she reminds you of a friend, or a neighbor, perhaps even your mom– someone whom you like but aren’t quite like yourself.

2. Chae Eun Suk

“Does wanting to live make everyone live? Is a strong will the only thing keeping people alive? If that’s true, then there’d be no patients here! Stop clinging to useless thoughts.” episode 3

Honestly, I absolutely love this guy. His gauche, geeky kid, becomes doctor story is just perfect. In the first episode, he says some shoddy things to Yeon Jae and he was abrasive and prickly but in every subsequent moment, I’ve adored him. He says what needs to be said and doesn’t mince words– my type of guy. Also, he’s not actually trying to be cruel or malicious, evil  or uncaring. He doesn’t see his patients only as a number but he’s clear on what is job is. He isn’t a savior, he’s a preserver. As a doctor, he doesn’t want to dish out false hope or coddle scared sick people. He wants to find a way to help them to live as long as they can, as comfortable as they can— and when they can’t, he tells them. It doesn’t come from a place of insensitivity, it’s actually quite kind and heartfelt. I also believe that he’s distant because if not controlled, he’d care too much and that’s not good for anyone.

Over the past couple episodes, we’ve been made privy to his long standing crush on Yeon Jae, which didn’t surprise anyone, but it’s so cute that you can’t help but smile. I’m so glad that Chae Eun Suk is Yeon Jae’s doctor, for I believe there is no one who is going to challenge or support her, as much as he.

3. Im Se Kyung

“I want to make something clear. Before we get married, I hope you won’t interfere in my private life. Regardless of whom I meet or what I do.” episode 1

Do I have to comment on this character? I really don’t know where to begin with her because I really don’t like her, but initially this wasn’t the case. My thoughts toward her as a woman and daughter singularly, are different from my opinion of how she treats others– I suppose. I see Se Kyung as someone that it’s hard to respect and therefore, like, because of how she treats Yeon Jae, Ji Wook and herself, frankly. She’s spoiled and elitist, but there’s so much more to her. I don’t necessarily need to see the vulnerable side to her, however, if she acted entitled without an air of self-righteous superiority, I could relate.

She’s a layered character because it seems the unhappiness and loneliness she feels is of her own making. Her father seems of the kind sort, therefore, her break up with her boyfriend and angry, sullen attitude toward her father appear unwarranted. She’s been shafted and used several times, this last time being no different. She’s hurt but not destroyed, although, very, very broken. I want to care for her. I want to see her open her eyes to the real world but not at the expense of anyone else in the drama. She truly isn’t worth it. Instead of lifting her head and assessing her own situation, she’s thrust herself into making Yeon Jae’s life Hell and that’s just petty and ridiculous.

4. Kang Ji Wook

“Take the money and go. And don’t show up in front of me again. Because of you… I think I’m going crazy.” episode 6

This year has been a good year for leading men in my book. Kang Ji Wook is added to the list for nicely written male leads, that aren’t idiotic, complete jerks or rabid narcissists. He’s this guy that knows who and what he is (to his family and society). –Which I actually think may be a running a theme for the entire drama, for, it’s true of each character on some level. Almost from the onset, we see that he’s the type of guy that understands the world (chaebol, rich boy) that he lives in. Unfortunately, his personality is one that doesn’t really care too much; he’s extremely flippant about life and people in general. It seems he knows what’s in store for him and sees no need to fight it or embrace it. He just coasts.

Of course, this attitude of laissez-faire shifts when he meets Yeon Jae because she challenges him to sit up and take notice of something (not just her). Personally, I believe he’s lost hope in living his life for himself so long ago, that he doesn’t truly grasp the privilege his life affords. Not only should he be grateful for what he has or who he is, but for the opportunities he has each and every day to be decent at his own life.

One thing I actually like about the drama, is that the wealthy fathers aren’t complete tools. And their relationships with their children aren’t precocious tales for social worker handbooks. Ji Wook and his father are rather pleasant, and would probably be the same even without all the titles and money and politics. I do believe the aforementioned distances them slightly, but only so. Overall, Ji Wook is a well-adjusted guy who probably has never cared enough to be in love. That makes him adorable but also, very easy to like and forgive. [Eventhough, if I were Yeon Jae I’d never speak to him again after his silly in episode 6.]

The Cancer: Illness is always a touchy subject in media because it has to be treated delicately. Especially, with a subject like cancer(an illness that most humans experience in some way), it has to be broached realistically. Lee Yeon Jae is a woman who has dealt with cancer before(her father died when she was young), so she’s weary of how to proceed. Initially, her stance on keeping it quiet, I understood, because I’d do the same, however, now, it’s evident there are so many other factors that come into play for her.

If I were to say that all these things begin and end with her father, it wouldn’t be a stretch. As a character, she has a lot of regrets when it comes to her father and how she handled his ending days.Instead of allowing him to live and die the way he wanted, she demanded he continue treatment and he died sick, uncomfortable and unhappy. This is a huge burden to carry and though I don’t think she “blames” herself, now that she’s confronted with this same journey, those regretful thoughts resurface.

Not only does she not want to be like her father or repeat her past actions, she also doesn’t want the added burden of her mother. When you’re sick, it’s even worse when there is someone who makes everything in life about themselves. Unfortunately, this is a major issue with Yeon Jae’s mother. If she were to find out (and of course one day she will), Yeon Jae has to relive all her mother’s pain concerning her father and then deal with her mother’s anguish on what she did to deserve such a thing to happen to HER(again).

There are two things that I actually do like about the cancer storyline so far. The “cancer” isn’t a character; it doesn’t have a life of it’s own. It’s apart of Lee Yeon Jae’s reality, therefore it’s a problem but it’s not other worldly or overbearing. Yeon Jae is living with cancer at the moment but it doesn’t consume her life, nor does it dictate all of her actions. She does make decisions based on the knowledge of her health but they are choices she should make ill or well. It isn’t an elephant, a jester or a friend; it just is.

Also, the cancer (as far as we can tell) is real. I don’t think that it’s going to magically be cured or come down to an improper diagnosis and I like that. I enjoy light and sweet rom-coms like anyone else but when you have a premise like this one, it always seems the easy road is–  “Oh there was a mistake at the lab” or “Wow, it’s gone!” It’s true, I don’t want to watch Yeon Jae vomit or deteriorate, or even die but I don’t want the cop out of incompetency either.

The Actors: To be honest, I probably squealed like a piglet when I read the casting news for this drama. (I channeled tons of animals in relation to this drama.) It’s not often that the entire cast is so worth watching individually that you can’t wait to see what kind of magic they create together.

Kim Sun Ah is always winning to me. I’ve seen several of her projects and haven’t been disappointed once, regardless of how much I loved the project or the character. Another thing about her, is there’s no male that she can’t conjure a spark with– in the world! NOT ONE! Seriously, I have zero desire for her to enter a relationship with Eun Suk but she and Eom Ki Joon are wonderful on-screen. But, it’s Lee Dong Wook who has me in a tailspin. He, as Kang Ji Wook, is just brilliant. I’m not a diehard Lee Dong Wook fan but I’ve always appreciated him. I really love what he brings to Kang Ji Wook. He gives his aloof indifference a flare that endears Ji Wook and makes him duende as a character, instead of the torpid personality that Ji Wook is most certainly on paper. Eom Ki Joon is an all time favorite of mine but I love him best as characters that are a bit gruff and bombastic. His portrayal is spot on but I never really had any doubt it would be. Lastly, is Seo Hyo Rim and I think she’s doing a fine job as well. Her acting is exactly where it needs to be for this portrayal and I truly commend her for taking on this challenge. She pulls off this conniving witch meets disgruntled princess so well, you’d think she’s always been playing such characters. The closest role to this one was her bit in Insoon is Pretty but without the layered nuance of malice that this character has. I believe she’s doing a good job because I certainly didn’t think she’d ever pull off  making me (want to) hate her character but she’s won me over.

Thoughts: As soon as I finished episode six on Sunday, I decided that I am in love. I’m not sure if it’s the camera or Lee Dong Wook… Ok, yea I do but it’s still love people,  so… WHATEVER! I truly only have one substantial gripe: the lost ring. Alot of silly, horrible things happened to Yeon Jae during her day with persnikety Mr. Wilson but the theft accusation really scraped my resolve. Not only did it make NO sense for Yeon Jae to be considered the thief initially, but to not check CCTV footage was beyond comprehension. Beyond that however has to be Wilson’s discovery of his mistake and even now four episodes later, there has been no clarification. I know that it’s hard to step down from your pride and admit a wrong but false accusations create a whole load of unnecessary problems, ie this revolting lawsuit. I can’t help but think it’s the drama’s way of creating conflict or manufacturing a reason to abhor Se Kyung. I find this pointless, though, because even without the “ring” incident, there are a million reasons why Se Kyung is hateable. Ultimately, I understand that everything doesn’t fit into a nice and neat package and issues similar to these arise daily, but somehow it just doesn’t sit well with me. Therefore– Show fix that mess IMMEDIATELY!

Overall, I don’t think Scent of a Woman is a drama I could wax on and on about but it’s certainly a drama I’m addicted to at the moment. Whether it’s the actors, the candy or the story, I’m still not sure. All I know is, if it continues down this vein, I could see it being a complete and total 2011 delight!


8 Replies to “Scent of a Woman: The First 6”

  1. Yeayyyyyyy, I nearly screamed in delight when I opened your blog! How cool is it for us to have posted at the same time? ^__^

    I was thinking about the ring too. I do not think it ends there, have a feeling they will bring Wilson back for some reason or another. And he’ll be the key to proving YJ’s innocence in court (if the court case does go thru). But if he does come back, I foresee more Se Kyung bitchiness (knowing that she’s been pawned from head to toe) and possibly more evil tactics from her to reign JW in. aiks.

    *looks at poster again* is it me or does it have this magical aura emanating from it? I just can’t help but stare at it twice, thrice and more…

    1. I was too! I was in the middle of finishing and I saw your post so I kept it open but refused to read till I was done. I was so curious (anxious) to read your thoughts I typed like the wind and was finally able to read it all the way through right before I watched Heartstrings. Needless to say, I’m so glad we agree!
      The ring, however, really is a point of annoyance for me because it just seems to disregard common decency on Wilson’s part. I’m sure the truth will come out but will we be happy when it does? I really don’t think, at this point, there’s any way to make that situation a positive reveal. Either Se Kyung knows already and doesn’t care, will find out and pursue damages anyway or the show will drop the ball altogether and treat us like idiots.
      Personally, I hope they think outside the box, choose none of these options and my jaded drama fears will be squashed but I’ve seen it more and more over the years. The only reason I’m not incredibly disappointed is Sun-ah and Dong-wook.
      It’s that stinkin’ poster! The poster does it all for me. Ah! I love it. And I’ve watched the tango scene more times than I’d like to admit. I want that kind of steam in every episode. These two are a dream. I just want them to marry and run around the world together.

  2. Thank you for this, I was bored the whole day, looking for updates everywhere about this drama and photos are not enough to make me contented. Love what you wrote and i`m glad that there are people like you who can put all those wonderful thoughts in writing cause i`m not good at it.
    Loving this drama, not only because I`m Suna4life fan, but because this drama makes me feel like I`m in a different world. Suna made the right decision in choosing this project. i`ve waited for her come back in 2 years and it`s worth it!
    The Tango dance, what more can i say, it`s was so wonderful!

    1. Oh that’s so sweet Jastinel! I’m very grateful you stopped by and read, then thought enough to comment. I’m glad to hear from you and even happier there’s someone else out there loving this drama! Stop by anytime 🙂

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