Drama Recaps
Scent of a Woman: Episode 1
by | July 23, 2011 | 121 Comments

New drama!

Scent of a Woman premiered this weekend, and GAH! if this drama isn’t gorgeous — the reunion of the Dr. Champ team includes, thankfully, its awesome camera, which gives the show a lush, movie-like appearance with dark contrasts and lovely, rich colors. It doesn’t hurt that they’re working with a beautiful cast, but more than going gaga over their lovely faces, I’m going gaga over the actual images.


Tune – “끝없이 소비하라” (Spend endlessly) [ Download ]

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We start off with some old-film style cinematography, tipping us off to the fantasy nature of the sequence — not that that’s hard to determine, once our stranded heroine’s friendly volleyball (á la Cast Away) drowns and turns into a hunk of a man. Yeah, I’ll take that trade.

This is the dream that gets interrupted when its conjurer, LEE YEON-JAE (Kim Sun-ah), is woken up mid-medical procedure. Yeon-jae relates the results of her routine physical to her co-worker and longtime friend, Hye-won, as they sit out the events of company sports day. They’re both lower-level employees at Line Tours, both from similarly humble backgrounds, and both single and nearing that dreaded designation of old maid.

Hye-won’s physical came back with the warning that because of her dense breasts, she has to go in for more tests. (Yeon-jae: “And you haven’t even gotten to use that chest yet.”) Yeon-jae, on the other hand, has been losing weight recently but her results came back normal.

A couple of their male co-workers come by, and Yeon-jae’s supervisor, Manager Noh, tsk-tsks at the spinsters sitting idly. He clearly disparages them, but Yeon-jae obsequiously jumps up to do his bidding, and assures him that the lunch has been carefully prepared.

Lunch is presented in an oversize bowl, and oh my god, that’s like my dream come true. A huge…bowl…of bibimbap. Big enough to swim in, with oars for spoons. Apparently it feeds 100.

The company chairman thinks they need more spicy bean paste, and Manager Noh hisses at Yeon-jae to get it. Alas, she’s tripped at the last minute by her co-worker (and his obsession with picking up wayward coins), sending her splat right into lunch. Okay, now it’s my nightmare come true.

It’s not her fault, but when her boss rips into her, she starts to explain why she fell, then sees the nervous co-worker and instead meekly apologizes for her error. Such is the life of quietly suffering Yeon-jae, with no spine and little pride to speak of. Or rather, she’s got a spine and pride, but she can’t afford to lose her job over a fit of temper, and has learned to bite her tongue.

Yeon-jae’s the sole breadwinner for her family, which consists of her and Mom. They live in a modest home without a yard (getting them into arguments with the landlord over yard usage), and Yeon-jae’s always promising her mother she’ll upgrade their lifestyle — a better house, a better birthday present next year. Yet, it never seems to happen.

Mom urges her to ditch her “loser mentality” and put herself out there more, advising her of the recipe for an uptick in her fortunes: “Yeon-jae, the fastest way is to marry a rich man.” Yeon-jae returns, “The most impossible way is also to marry a rich man.”

Yeon-jae’s the office gofer in her hospitality department, the one upon whom everyone dumps work and orders around without compunction. She happens to see some brochure photos of a familiar-looking beach — the one from her dream — and learns that it’s an Okinawan island, marveling that her dream-beach does in fact exist.

It’s the busy season for their office, and Yeon-jae has a difficult task to complete, with the arrival of a famous Chinese star who requires the use of a particular fancy sports car during his stay. There are only six of those cars around, and five owners have rejected her request to rent it. The sixth is laid up in the hospital, having just totaled his.

He directs her to try the dealership, though, since a seventh model has just come in, and Yeon-jae happily takes the tip — arriving just as No. 7 is about to be driven off.

She jumps in a taxi and follows the red car through traffic, finally arriving at — surprise, surprise — her own office building. For a moment, the sight of the handsome new owner stops her cold, and she loses herself in a trance…just long enough for the taxi to get rear-ended by a truck. Curses!

No. 7’s owner is KANG JI-WOOK (Lee Dong-wook), the wry only son of the company chairman. Today’s his first day of work as a director, and he is introduced to the board of executives. Ji-wook disarms them by referencing, right off the bat, that he’s here thanks to nepotism and that he plans to do little ordering around, instead intent to watch and learn the other execs, who’ve been doing this work for so long. He’s matter-of-fact and direct, making me like him right away, and has a self-deprecating sense of humor.

But I sense something darker about Ji-wook’s sense of self-awareness, which intrigues me. For instance, he’s assigned a subordinate, Park Sang-woo, who happens to be his high school classmate. Sang-woo’s worked six years to make it to his current position as team leader, and Ji-wook says dryly that life’s quite the bitch, making someone work six years to be team leader, and making someone else the higher-ranking director on his very first day. Sang-woo’s respectful and declines Ji-wook’s offer to use banmal with him in private, but his taut expression shows us that he’s fully aware of that injustice.

The fender-bender with the taxi sends Yeon-jae and the taxi driver to the hospital, where she assures him that she’s perfectly fine and not going to sue him later. Yet the doctor asks to speak with her in his office, and leads her away.

When Yeon-jae hears his name, CHAE EUN-SEOK (Eom Ki-joon), she recalls another boy she’d once known with that same name — a boy who’d crapped his pants in elementary school. She asks the doctor if that’s him, and uses the nickname he’d picked up after that incident: Ddong-seok (Poopy Seok). Ha!

She means it completely good-naturedly, but she’s a little oblivious, whereas we can see that he seems like the sensitive sort — though he covers that up by acting brusque and professional. He immediately knows what incident she refers to — who could forget such trauma? — but says that he doesn’t, though she doesn’t believe it and starts speaking to him familiarly.

I love that this means they can immediately drop to banmal, even though they knew each other very briefly in their childhoods and Poopy Seok ended up transferring away — perhaps traumatized by her oblivious teasing?

Eun-seok gets to the point and tells Yeon-jae that she ought to be thankful to the taxi driver. Yeon-jae: “Why, for bringing us back together?” Eun-seok: “You have a tumor.”

It’s 3 cm big already and resides in her gallbladder, but he won’t say whether it’s cancer. He keeps his comments brief, saying merely that she needs to come in for a biopsy in order to determine what it is.

Yeon-jae’s a little startled, but she takes this in like a good sport, missing the signs in Eun-seok’s explanation that warn that this is probably more serious than she’s prepared for. He tells her to come in Thursday, overriding her protests that she can’t get away from work until the weekend.

Back at work, everyone is aflutter with the new director’s arrival, particularly the female employees. One of Yeon-jae’s co-workers, Nam Nari, steps in and takes over the car rental request because that’ll give her an excuse to speak to Ji-wook, despite Yeon-jae insisting that she can finish her task alone.

Nari’s one of those pesky office flies who looks down on Yeon-jae, buoyed by the idea that she’s younger, prettier, and better than her. When her team enters the elevator, for instance, excited to share space with Ji-wook (and begin the process of impressing him), the elevator beeps when its weight limit is hit, and Nari nudges Yeon-jae to step off.

Like I said, Ji-wook has an interestingly dry sense of humor. It’s sarcastic but without a mean edge, and so comes off more as wit. He also seems bored of life, as we can deduce from his dinner conversation with his father, Chairman Kang, as they await the arrival of his fiancée. Ji-wook has no interest in this marriage, but he’s going along with it because…well, there’s no reason not to, I guess. He definitely isn’t happy with this idea, but he’s not motivated enough to rebel. I get the sense that he just doesn’t care.

His fiancée, IM SAE-KYUNG (Seo Hyo-rim) is no more thrilled about the marriage, although she expresses her feelings differently. Where Ji-wook is noncommittal, she’s surly, almost rude. Chairman Kang is a cheery sort and looks fondly upon her, as though excusing her behavior, but it’s almost like she’s challenging him to find fault with her. (Is she pushing them to end the engagement? Hm.)

Sae-kyung is heiress to Seojin Group, and works as an executive director of Seojin Cards. At the meeting, she asks Ji-wook to handle the hospitality arrangements for one of her VVIP clients, a notoriously difficult pianist who is flying in to Korea and has requested some guided tours.

Sae-kyung asks to see Ji-wook’s bachelor pad (a woman ought to know her fiancé’s taste before sealing the deal) and makes one request of him, uttered with ice-cold authority: Don’t interfere in her personal life before the wedding, and she won’t mess with his.

Hm, is it weird that I kind of like her? She’s cold and sullen, but also self-possessed. She’s not easily likable, but maybe it’s more that there are qualities I respect about her, like her frankness. She’s strong. Like a sledgehammer, perhaps, overdoing it when more subtle means would do.

Ji-wook is more easy-going, and points out their differences — he has no greed for earning more money, while she’s all ambition. They suppose they’re in the marriage for the same reasons, and have decided they’ll get what they want out of it.

Yeon-jae goes out with her team for a department night of dinner and singing, and overhears the other women gossiping about her. I’m pretty sure she’s aware of the fact that she’s sucking up to Manager Noh to stay employed, but it’s particularly harsh to hear them smirking about it — and then pitying her.

She also gets stuck with the task nobody wants to take on: Escorting Sae-kyung’s VVIP client Wilson. It’s the only way to get Manager Noh to agree to give her a day off to go to the hospital, even as he pooh-poohs her worries, saying that she couldn’t possibly be worse off than him.

Taking charge of Wilson’s stay requires her to go out of her way to find food that falls within his dietary restrictions, as he is Muslim. She finds a farm that purveys Halal-certified food, and gets a chicken from them to be prepared by the restaurant.

Yeon-jae greets Wilson and his wife and embarks on her tour through some rural regions of Korea to show him the sights. In addition to being fussy and difficult, he also sniffs at all the places she takes him — a forest, a green tea field — by saying he’s seen better.

Wilson’s wife tells her not to take it personally, though, because he’s being particularly grumpy on this trip. He’s adopted, and has always had a longing for his mother country, but also feels hurt and resentful toward it. She assures Yeon-jae that despite his complaints, he is actually enjoying the tour, which reassures her.

However, plans meet a hitch when the classy restaurant reserved for lunch is closed, cordoned off with police tape. The owner got into a knife fight last night and is laid up in the hospital.

Yeon-jae sneaks inside to retrieve her precious Halal-certified chicken, and takes her guests to another restaurant, where she asks the proprietors to take particular care with the chicken.

And yet, the couple storms out of the restaurant soon afterward, sputtering and furious. It turns out that they were fed pork — a mix-up on the restaurant’s part — and this blatant disrespect for their religious customs offends them.

Sae-kyung hears about this snafu while she’s on the golf course with her father and Ji-wook. While she takes the call, Dad advises Ji-wook against inviting woman problems into the marriage (describing other men he knows with messy home lives, putting up mistresses or sponsoring actresses). Ji-wook points out that the simple solution to this concern is to let Sae-kyung marry somebody she’s in love with, to which Dad chuckles, “You can love her, and that’ll do, won’t it?” Umm, I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works, Dad. I begin to understand Sae-kyung’s personality, all ice covering up the simmering fury underneath.

Since the Wilson problem is currently in the hands of Ji-wook’s company, not Sae-kyung’s, he steps up to take care of it, and calls Yeon-jae.

Yeon-jae takes his call with trepidation, bracing herself to receive hell. Yet surprisingly, Ji-wook doesn’t scold her. He says with a sigh that what’s done is done, and that it’s tough guiding a difficult client. He advises that she do what she can to pacify Wilson’s anger, and leaves it to her to handle. She is surprised and grateful at his reasonable response.

Wilson is mightily offended and immune to Yeon-jae’s little efforts to appease him. When she reaches for the door, his ring catches in her sweater and he snipes about being careful with it. Like her off-the-rack knit cardigan has a shot against his diamonds.

Still, Yeon-jae heads out to the marketplace that evening and picks up a box of pastries, and brings it back to the hotel. Wilson faces her stonily, but his expression eases as Yeon-jae explains that she’d read in an interview that the one food he remembers his mother making is a type of bread, shaped like a quesadilla and stuffed with sweet red beans.

He’s actually touched, and Yeon-jae leaves feeling satisfied in her efforts.

She’s called back in the morning, however, to a much more hostile environment. Sae-kyung accuses her of stealing Wilson’s precious diamond ring, without which he refuses to perform. In fact, he’s canceling his performance and heading straight to the airport.

Yeon-jae protests that she didn’t steal it, but nobody believes her. Sae-kyung insists that the CCTV footage confirms that she’s the only one who entered the room, and Wilson is hardly going to steal his own ring. I can think of another explanation, but I’m guessing you pissy hotheads are immune to reason, with the weight of that chip on your shoulders impeding common sense from entering your brains.

Wilson tells Yeon-jae that he was actually moved by her gift, but now suspects it was just a ruse used so she could get at the ring.

The offended couple leaves, and Sae-kyung delivers a harsh slap. Okay, I revise my liking of her. She’s way beyond sledgehammer status. Bulldozer may be more appropriate, flattening anything in her path that doesn’t conform to her version of the truth.

Sae-kyung also dumps out the contents of Yeon-jae’s purse, which naturally doesn’t contain the ring, then accuses her of pawning it already.

Yeon-jae is left alone in the room, and sees her belongings strewn everywhere. It’s the family photo — in particular her beloved bygone father — that pushes her over the brink and into tears.

It’s not long before Wilson realizes he’s being an ass, when the airport metal detector locates the ring, which had caught on his sweater. At least to his credit, he looks sorry about it.

Yeon-jae hasn’t been by for her biopsy, to Eun-seok’s chagrin, but at least she finally shows up today. Alas, she doesn’t have a guarantor, although he’d clearly told her to bring one. She tells him to be her guarantor if she needs one so much, an idea he instantly rejects.

But then he turns back, feeling for her, frustrated and sympathetic. They take the biopsy, and it confirms Eun-seok’s suspicions — and her condition is bad enough that his colleagues wonder how he’ll tell his “friend” that she’s terminal.

At first, Yeon-jae doesn’t clue in to his grim expression (to be fair, it’s his everyday expression) and chatters cheerily about how she didn’t want to bring her mother as her guarantor, because it would just worry her about being cancer if it wasn’t really cancer.

There’s no better way to say it, so Eun-seok dives in: It’s cancer. It has already spread to the liver, so removing the organ won’t suffice. Radiation is not likely to help. He advises her to check herself in for tests.

Yeon-jae takes moments to let this sink in, realizing that she’s got cancer, and that it’s bad. When she finally speaks, it’s to ask how long she has left. Eun-seok won’t give her an estimate, but she presses him, wanting to prepare herself. He supposes six months.

She’s called in to work by Manager Noh, who’s about to rip into her for taking the day off after all. He tells her that one word from Sae-kyung — who has ties to the chairman — puts the entire team in danger.

Sae-kyung comes by to speak with Manager Noh, and he instructs Yeon-jae to serve them coffee. He hangs his head meekly and apologizes for the incident, hastening to distance himself from Yeon-jae by saying that the fault of one employee doesn’t mean that the rest of their team is equally suspect. Sae-kyung retorts that it’s his fault for assigning such a lousy employee in the first place.

Yeon-jae enters with her tray and starts setting out the drinks, just as Sae-kyung gets up to leave — walking right into the cup of coffee. It splatters over her legs, and she tries to wipe up the mess.

Sae-kyung shoves Yeon-jae aside and glares at her with contempt, saying that she should stick to work like this (serving drinks). She storms out, leaving Yeon-jae reeling in shock and hurt.

She heads back to her desk, too shocked to react, and Manager Noh starts criticizing her again, sighing that he should’ve fired her when he had the chance. But no, she’d begged and cried and he’d relented, making her a full-time employee. And now because of useless “things like you,” the qualified, educated new generation wastes away on the sidelines, unable to get employed.

That’s going too far, and Yeon-jae trembles as she defends herself, saying that she’s worked for him for ten years, making him coffee, cleaning his desk, taking care of his wife when she was in an accident. She even cried with him when he cried about a failed promotion. Tearily, she asks, “Couldn’t you believe in me just a little, respect me just a little?”

Psh, whatever, is his reaction, and he orders her to clean the conference room. At the end of her rope, Yeon-jae mumbles resentfully, “You clean it.”

Manager Noh asks incredulously what she said, so she repeats, louder now, that he should clean it. Insulted, he warns her that she could get fired.

Yeon-jae: “You won’t be able to do that. I just quit.”

Fumbling in her desk, she pulls out an envelope and presents the resignation letter she has had readied for five years. Every time he’s mistreated her, she’s been tempted to use the letter, but she bit her tongue and held back, every time.

Manager Noh scoffs, “So what? You’re gonna throw a resignation?”

Heaving with indignation, she yells, “Yes! Here’s my resignation letter, you asshole!” And flings it into his face.


The drama starts off at a rather languid pace, but by episode’s end, I was itching for the next one. The previews look pretty promising, as well, with Yeon-jae shedding her timid attitude and adopting a new one. I’m really looking forward to that, because it’s hard to watch a character you’re pulling for be so badly treated by everyone. It’s bad enough that she gets stepped on, but that she meekly bows her head and takes it?

It’s enough to make me blow a gasket. It’s the same dynamic we saw in Baby-Faced Beauty, as well as every ’90s Cinderella drama), where long-suffering was touted like a desirable character trait. Thankfully, that’s mitigated here by the knowledge that it isn’t going to last very long, because the whole premise of the drama rests on her transformation. Excited for that. I love Kim Sun-ah’s performance in the last scene, when you can see her trembling with her newfound courage, both scared and exhilarated by it. It’s like watching a baby animal stand for the first time.

Even with its more leisurely pace, I think it works for Scent of a Woman because this show is so gorgeous to look at. The camera almost becomes a separate character, establishing atmosphere and mood in a way that we don’t get merely from the story. I think I’m really going to like this writer-director pair; even if Dr. Champ wasn’t the most exciting drama, it felt refreshing and different. It was a lovely, relaxing show that was a feast for the eyes and had a nice soundtrack. That applies here as well, except we also get a high-premise concept to add energy to the story.

Plus, I’m really liking the characters so far. Okay, maybe not so much Sae-kyung, but I do actually find her interesting from a character standpoint — she’s not a bitch just because she’s a spoiled brat; I can sense there’s much more to her attitude underneath the surface (and not just because I read the pre-show profile info). I may not like her, but I find her interesting.

I’m particularly intrigued with Ji-wook, because while he shares a lot of surface similarities with leading men of yore, there’s something very different about him that I like. He looks like a Darcy, but he’s not. (Darcy was proud; Ji-wook has a wry understanding of his privilege, and doesn’t seem that happy with it.) He also looks like a Prince Charming, but he’s not. (He’s shown flashes of understanding, but he’s not a perfect gentleman, either.) He’s aware of his status, but doesn’t overcompensate for his wealth by embracing the other side. (That prize goes to Yoo-hyun of Miss Ripley.)

Instead, he’s just a guy with a brain, who doesn’t seem particularly embittered about love, but not really enamored of it, either. He’s just coasting by, characterized by ennui more than anything else. I really, really like that about the hero. He’s coolly aloof because he doesn’t care, not because he has a chip on his shoulder, or thinks he’s better than the plebes, or because he’s conceited and arrogant. The perfect foil to contrast with our heroine — she’s losing her life but determined to live it up, while he’s already given up on his.

Then there’s the doctor, who’s wonderfully played by Eom Ki-joon, whose sensitive side wars with his curtness in a palpable way. He’s not cookie-cutter Daddy Long Legs, but I can see him growing to care for our heroine, spurred by a mix of interest and pity.

This drama has a solid cast, fantasmagical cinematography, nice atmospheric music, and an interesting premise. The story’s the slowest part to find itself, but I have hopes that it’ll find its footing by the next episode. *crosses fingers*


121 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. mylene

    first! 😀 i think im going to love this drama!

  2. jshoe

    I was surprised you guys are recapping this! but I’m glad cause these recaps are like….my breakfast reading haha

  3. Peppy

    Thanks JB! I’ve been anticipating this July drama, another one to be added to my mountain of dramas to watch xP

  4. Kasie J.

    Bibimbap. YUM! I would have died if there was a giant fried egg on top. XD But seriously, all that wasted food! T_T

    Isn’t it interesting that the three dramas I’ve seen Kim Sun Ah in the father is absent? Kim Sam Soon, City Hall, and now this one? Just thought that was an odd coincidence. Whatever, more power to women!

    I love how Nari is told by Jiwook to not use her perfume and she just flips that around to brag about herself to the other workers.

    I would have liked Saekyung except she went all bitchslap mode on Yeonjae and that seriously does not speak of class despite her background.

    I don’t know what it is but whenever I see characters in dramas that get pushed down like that by rude ass people, it just makes me so angry and I teared up in this episode.

    But thank goodness Yeonjae stuck up for herself and totally kicked butt!

  5. rainey

    I’ve already watched the raw for this ep and quite shallowly, I’m most excited for the opportunity to admire my Wookie’s side profile for hours on end.

    • 5.1 maria

      hi, i quite love you already. 😀

  6. Kat

    I hate her boss. i hope this was his last appearance in this drama.

    • 6.1 Semi

      over exaggerate much
      I don’t see how you can watch something you don’t like just for 1 person.Why not just look at pictures of him

      • 6.1.1 Justine

        All the OP said was she hated the boss. And with every reason to do so. He did abuse her throughout the entire episode. She didn’t say she was going to stop watching it or anything.

  7. mane

    Meh. This drama has all the cliches that can exist in kdrama. i will only be watching for my oppa.

  8. casey

    Lee Dong Wook look pretty thin and frail in this.
    He looks tired. I just hope as the drama goes along he will
    look fresher. I just pity him for not having time to rest after
    the army duty and directly shoot for this drama.
    But nevertheless he is as HANDSOME as ever!

  9. Purpleclouds

    I like this already.

  10. 10 Alvina

    I dunno, watching the beginning kept making me get flashbacks to that those scenes in “What’s Up Fox” where Go Hyun Jung thinks she’s dying LOL

    I really like it though, it’s sooo pretty and (omg SOOOO PRETTY).

    Love the recap. thank you

  11. 11 ~♥ iZzie ♥~

    What worries me is that on the next episode, this scene of YJ standing up for herself turns into a fantasy sequence and she returns to her usual reality of taking it all in. *crosses fingers as well*

    Haven’t been interested in a weekend drama since Secret Garden. 😉

    • 11.1 Kasie J.

      OMG. NO! That would be so awful. I hope it’s real.

    • 11.2 wootwoot

      I don’t think she will, because the preview doesn’t indicate that sort of story

    • 11.3 malta

      She better have quit that job!…they can make her come back, but that was one of the best I quit scenes in a kdrama and they better not make it a fantasy!

  12. 12 yong in

    it’s really true she has a terminal illness? i read this was supposed to be rom-com, so i thought there was misdiagnosis or something. hmmm.

    • 12.1 Kayleigh

      I’m not sure but I will say one thing…

      If this drama wimps out with a “yeah, there was an error in the diagnosis” to make a neat, happy ending, I will be SERIOUSLY disappointed.

  13. 13 sam soon-ah

    Ahhhhhhhhh I am so excited. I totally adore Kim Sun Ah she is an amazing actress. Hope this drama doesn’t disappoint. Thanks for the recaps.

  14. 14 ck1Oz

    Oh man that was fast.Thank you I am off to read.

    • 14.1 ck1Oz

      Oh and every screencap of LDW here-he’s turned into a man.A gorgeous gorgeous man 🙂

  15. 15 So3

    I’m in love with this drama already!! KSA simply rocks in this drama! My eyes can’t help following her whenever she’s on screen!

    This 1st episode is rather fast-paced, which I like. It echoes with the fact that YJ’s time is running out *sob*

    They are having quite a decent rating for the first episode and I surely wish it will gain more popularity!

    The news are giving great comments on Sun Ah’s acting too~~

  16. 16 epyc

    Thanks for the recap, JB. The first episode looks promising and EKJ, what a scene stealer!

  17. 17 Eleven11

    Ooh, this looks promising! I love stories where the heroine (or hero) is forced to stand up and grow a backbone, they’re just so satisfying. I was wary, but I’m totally digging the terminal illness setup now. “I’ve got 6 months to live, I’ll do what I damn want.” Righteous.

    I think I’ll tune into the next one, to prepare myself for City Hunter withdrawals.

  18. 18 lala

    Like you said, I’m itching for the second eps!!!

  19. 19 Yer Vang

    Yah, it’s finally out 🙂 Thanks for the recaps. I just finished rereading the boys before flowers recaps. Miss those old days.

  20. 20 asianromance

    I had forgotten this was coming out this weekend! Thanks for the recap!

    I think I need to wait for another episode or two before I start watching this. It’s so hard to even read about KSA’s character/Yeon-jae being mistreated like that. Felt like crying. KSA really does have that “everywoman” feel. That Wilson dude should have called in to clear things up. I need some more happy-away-from-her-bitchy-work-life scenes before I can watch.

    As for LDW’s character, I’m also liking him too for being so chill and levelheaded. I’m glad they’re trying not to make him like other chaebols.

    As for whether she will die or not….hmm seems up in the air. Dramawiki lists it as a romance, not a rom-com, and this first episode doesn’t feel too comedic.

  21. 21 Juwo

    Wow, haven’t been so caught up in a drama solely by its first ep for a while – I can’t wait to see how KSA’s character grows! Thanks JB & GF for your generosity in sharing and recapping series =]!

  22. 22 Fall

    Ahh. I hate her boss. He was in City Hall with her too. I like her better in this drama for some reason.

    It’s sad that shes going to die, and I’m glad they didn’t waste a lot of the first episode crying about it yet.

    Liked the first ep so far! 🙂 I need a new drama to watch now that City Hunter’s wrapping up soon.

  23. 23 jastinel

    I wished for this recap, thanks javabeans!
    I always love Suna and in every drama that she does, she was able to upgrade her acting ability. She is superb, she made me laugh and cry again.
    I`m DL this drama and i want to watch it again.
    Congrats Suna…good job!
    I wish the ratings will get higher!

  24. 24 laya

    Thanks for the recap! <3 🙂

  25. 25 sulyn

    Thanks for the recap, javabeans.
    Now I know what’s going on. Really
    love seeing KSA in this drama. She is
    one remarkable actress. Love her and
    am looking forward to tonight’s episode –
    the meeting with hottie, LDW, in Okinawa.

  26. 26 Bluefyre

    Thank you JB for being so prompt with the recap! Had a busy day and almost forgot about this drama 😀

    “This drama has a solid cast, fantasmagical cinematography, nice atmospheric music, and an interesting premise. The story’s the slowest part to find itself, but I have hopes that it’ll find its footing by the next episode. *crosses fingers*”

    YES!! I totally agree! I’m going to go watch it without subs now after I post this comment just because I was so in love with Dr. Champ purely because of the cinematography. LOL. I’m such sucker for that camera!! Canon EOS 5D Mark II! I even memorized the name. Haha. Oy vey.

    I am loving the cast! Lee Dong Wook through the lens of that camera is even more GORGEOUS. Can’t wait to see the beach scenes! *prepares tissues for nosebleeds* 😀 (I could SO hug and kiss the PD-nim right now for bringing back the camera! SO happy!)

    I’m not forgetting Kim Sun-ah either. I’ve always liked her and I cannot wait to see her in this as well. She’s just…she’s just THE Kim Sun-ah for me! Haha!

    And Eom Ki Joon and Seo Hyo-rim are wonderful as well!! Yay!

    I really hope this drama lives up to all its potential! Pretty pretty please! I don’t just want to keep watch for the cinematography alone…my shallowness has its limits…I think. Thanks again!

    • 26.1 Bluefyre

      I’m 25 minutes in and…

      Kim Sun-ah is adorable!! XD Love her and her character! 😀
      Eom Ki Joon is SO funny!
      Lee Dong Wook…what can I say? O_O

      I’m also loving the soundtrack! It’s so fun and fitting! And that camera is just–!

      Worth not waiting for subs! ^^

    • 26.2 Bluefyre

      omg. lol!

      The actor for the Wilson fellow is that fortune teller in Sungkyunkwan Scandal if I’m not mistaken. Hehe. He was so hilarious! Coincidence that Seo Hyo-rim is in this too! 😀

  27. 27 anotheraddict

    I hope that we get to see a kinder, gentler side to Wilson in a subsequent episode– as far as I can remember, he’s the first Muslim character I’ve seen in a K-drama, and it saddens me that his character was portrayed in such a stereotypically negative light. But given that Wilson-the-volleyball (whom YH curiously called “William”) drowned in her dream, that’s probably not gonna happen. I know– I have to accept that xenophobia, like sexism, is part of the K-drama landscape– but it irks me nonetheless.

    Many thanks for the recap!

    • 27.1 abc123

      I heard you. I’ve never come across a Muslim character in K-drama before, maybe once in K-movie. All the trouble with the problem, I was thinking, just bring them to seafood restaurant, problem solved. Based on what I see in 1N2D & Family Outing, Korea has impressive selection of seafood. Well, conflict is a must in K-drama

      • 27.1.1 AigooAddict

        From personal experience Seoul has plenty of Halal joints and hosts a pretty large Korean Muslim community in the suburbs. It’s in the city that most of the Muslims are immigrants. But I get it that this is a drama.
        I like your perceptiveness anotheraddict. But I would like to say that the average Korean knows a lot more about Islam and is a lot less hostel to religion and to Muslims then Americans.
        ABC–what movie was that?

        • abc123

          The movie Psychic. He was one of Go Soo character’s friend. He isn’t korean and he mentioned that he can’t drink. I think that’s about it

    • 27.2 Laica

      Actually I was quite pleased with the portrayal of Wilson. He’s the first Muslim character I’ve seen in a kdrama too, and it’s refreshing that although he IS an ass, his assiness has nothing to do with his religion, just his personality. And the tour guide company was very respectful of his special diet restrictions, which was nice to see. I’d rather see Muslims treated like normal people with flaws and good qualities, than see a sugar-coated after school special type of portrayal, like let’s-all-get-along-together (although that’s better than the usual deranged terrorists/ignorant immigrants we usually see on American TV and movies).

      I also found the chicken chase hilarious, which was so true to life for Muslims trying to find Halal meat in rural areas with small communities – obviously it was a little exaggerated for humor. (Halal is very similar to Kosher, for those who don’t know.) And extra points to the PD for using real Muslims rather than Latino actors with terrible fake accents as we usually see in American shows.

      @abc123, I know! Seafood would have done the trick! But I guess they were trying to impress their VVIP.

      • 27.2.1 sime

        I couldn’t agree more with you on this…
        This guy is an ass, and that fact has nothing to do with his religion. SO.TRUE.
        even though, I confess I was also a bit disappointed to see that the first Muslim depicted in a K-drama is actually a pain in the ass, I clearly prefer that than a “Care-Bears” portrayal. Eww.

        As a muslim living in a non-muslim country (namely, France), I’d like to say that I’d LOVE to be able to eat whatever I want, mostly MEAT.
        I’m not too fond of seafood, and I don’t think we can see it as a joker for muslims.
        I think that most muslims are bored to death, having no other choice but choose seafood wherever they go. *sigh*
        so, props to them for searching specifically for meat. (love chicken food by the way, nom nom)

    • 27.3 Jomo

      Just an FYI, there was a Muslim character in Gourmet, too, that went to their restaurant. Similar situation with pork…

      I can’t remember now what nationality she was, or what language she spoke, but I was not sure whether she was the genuine article, or not.

    • 27.4 kindoftickedoff

      this was perhaps the first time I’d seen a muslim character in kdrama-land, seen a quran recitation (during the slaughter of the chicken) as well as a guy wearing shalwar kameez!

      it really did tick me off to see that the character was shown in such a negative light (even though it was more because of his situation of being adopted and not liking korea more than his beliefs) however I’m a Muslim myself and i’ve been in plenty of situations where halal food is not available and i’ve never made a big deal of it–i know of others who simply opt for vegetarian or seafood options or others who eat non-halal meat as long as it is not pork. i’ve accidentally had pork a few times and I have never made such a huge scene out of it because if it’s done accidentally, it is pardoned.

      also, on another note, the way the two muslim characters portrayed their “strong” muslim beliefs, i would have assumed their beliefs would have echoed in their lives–the woman had not covered herself and the guy plays music. i’m just saying that for someone to show such a strong reaction to eating halal meat/storming off when accidentally having pork, I’d have been more understanding had the characters been portrayed as muslims by ways other than what was said/shown. it just disheartened me that of the few times muslims are portrayed in the korean screen, it will be of such negative nature. i’ve heard a lot about xenophobia and a sense of superiority amongst many koreans and sadly, the on-screen portrayal isn’t helping change that perception.

      phew. i feel better now.

      on another note, I feel kim sun ah looks a lot older now that she’s become so incredibly skinny–i kind of liked her in city hall. and also, i feel that her portrayal of characters has always been more or less the same–the way she baby talks, makes fun of people and is always castigated by many of her peers. i know she’s a great actress and i just wish she had more opportunity like some of the other actors/actresses in kdramaland to exhibit her skills instead of always being more or less the same character.

  28. 28 Daniela

    I’m going to wait to watch it. By reading the recap I thing I will start in episode 2.
    Now that we know is terminal cancer, Im afraid that she is going to die in the end.
    Im not an oncologist, but how you save some one from terminal cancer, when the docotor said there’s no options? If they do it well,I can accept her death in the end. I would prefer her to live, but i dont know how. A misdiagnosis? Hmm, it wouldn’t be very convincing.
    Nevertheless, Im going to watch it, it looks promising.

    Thank you very much for the recap!

  29. 29 Birthday Girl

    YAY I am Muslim toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    • 29.1 Laica

      Haha me too 🙂

  30. 30 honestwill

    i guess this will be one of the things i can start to watch after CITY HUNTER

  31. 31 honestwill

    i think this will one to watch with city hunter finishing next week
    i have to wait for subs to watch it though
    the name Kim Sun-ah didn’t come to mind until i came to the end of the recap
    i couldn’t believe it was her
    she looks like she has lost her puppy fat since her times in My name is kim sam soon
    it was a role that was so big for her that no one could really not remember
    just like the song, because im a girl from KISS where the mv clip was bigger than the group itself

    anyway looking forward to watching some new tv shows

  32. 32 whateva

    i love kim sun ah acting.. she is trully a great actress. this drama has all the ingredients to be a big hit.

    hope LDW is at par with Suna acting capabilities.. but i suspect he will still do fine with the help of his good looks.

  33. 33 seradox

    I think I’m really going to enjoy this drama. I haven’t felt this invested in a protagonist since MNIKSS aired(obviously a lot of that goes toward’s KSA’s absolute prowess as an actress, that last scene… wow). Both the acting and the script seem very natural as well- hopefully this natural yet steady pace continues. Totally itching for the next ep.

  34. 34 dare

    yeah! go kim sun ah!!

    thanks for the recap!

  35. 35 mir

    sarah you used to be picky about kdramas in the past but these days it seems that you like every single drama they air.
    is it because koreans make better dramas,or maybe because you lowered your expectations?

    • 35.1 omo

      I am just tickled pink that DB loves/likes just about every drama out there right now. There’s always something for everyone over here. I don’t want DB or GF to be picky about dramas. And I also appreciate that they have guest recappers.

      I’d like to think we have a bumper crop in 2011 and it’s not about lowering standards either. DB’s about deconstructing kdramas whether they are awesome, meh or blah!!

  36. 36 Jasmin

    I’m really disappointed that you won’t recap the drama “Princess’ Man”!:-(

    • 36.1 mir

      sageuks are not javabeans’ specialty

    • 36.2 JJ

      not only that but warrior baek dong soo? woah wae wae JB? anyway i’m enjoying WBDS….this one is to be added to my sleepless nights of watching kdramas not that i’m complaining, they’re therapeutic!

  37. 37 yui

    i thought her dramas mostly like this…starting with ‘bad appearance’ and ending up with ‘good appearance’, okay i know ppl learn ppl change but she needs a new character…she’s a good actress but i see she’s stuck with this kind of character… no offense…

    • 37.1 jastinel

      I agree with you, I think She is the kind of actress that can portray any character, I want her to take villain role. Every time her TV-drama ended, I notice she will be gone for quite sometime, may be she was waiting for the right project to come, but since all the script that she`s been receiving mostly has the same character, she doesn`t have a choice, I think she said before that she wrote her own script and she will play the character that she never did before. (Something like that) and I`m waiting for her to materialize those screen play.

      • 37.1.1 anais

        I think she’d have an easier time attracting a different role if she played her characters differently. She employs the same voice, same whines, same facial expressions for every character during the initial loser stage.

        Mostly though, I wish she’d drop the aegyo voice, which is so grating that forty minutes into episode one, I’m having to step away to decompress from it. Does anyone else find it nearly unbearable?

        • tweetiepie

          It is off putting at times, but I normally just get used to it and love her in spite of it

          • anais

            I know her voice will change once she starts to assert herself. It’s just that I forget that this is her pre-transformation voice.

        • Atomicitrus

          YES. I’ve wanted to place her scenes on mute. If only she spoke normally, I’d be okay with the same expressions as all the other characters she has done…

        • Birdie

          I agree with you.After you have seen them repeatedly in her dramas, you get tired of it. I am kind of sitting on the fence here after watching episode 1. I am not sure if the characters of the female and male lead are interesting. They are bland at the moment. I hope the script get better.

          • yui

            yes…i respect some actresses who tried to play in many different characters… even some of them were failed..but then.. they did try… i wish she would do the same..and i’m not her fan, but i do like her acting skill… my fave actress is Ha Ji Won.. hehehe…

  38. 38 tiMER

    she btr don die in the end ._.

  39. 39 sulyn

    Guess KSA’s role will be different now.
    We’ll get to see her in fine clothes amidst
    scenic surroundings …. and perhaps be in
    the arms of the hot hot LDW most of the

  40. 40 FacePhase

    YAY! DB’s reviewing SOAW!
    Thank You javabeans~

    Ep. 1 has shown great potential. Can’t wait for ep. 2 tonight! ^^v

  41. 41 holly

    im looking forward to watching this – it looks good 🙂

  42. 42 31pop

    thank you – thank you- thank you !!!! These recaps will be my weekend vitamins since i cannot watch from where i am.

  43. 43 bishbash

    suddenly those office guys in City Hall are appearing everywhere.

    isn’t this manager noh one of those guys who scoffed at kim sun ah’s character in city hall?

    • 43.1 tweetiepie

      He sure is, that’s what I was thinking too

  44. 44 dany

    “The perfect foil to contrast with our heroine — she’s losing her life but determined to live it up, while he’s already given up on his.”
    Oh no, I can only guess, they fall in love and she is going to teach him how life is precious and stuff like that and then she is going to die??!! Not another 49 days! No way!

    • 44.1 Wells

      grasping straws already tsk tsk

      I loved it beautiful drama

  45. 45 sb

    Thanks for the recap, JB! Perhaps I’ll be sticking with this one. Been dropping dramas left and right, with such a glut of dramas these days.

    Few thoughts as I watched.

    * Damn, LDW. Lookin’ good.
    * KSA, aegyo = Me, hurl.
    * KSA looks pretty (har har) horrible. (In a GOOD way. She does the whole pitiful appearance thing, so well, and realistically.)
    * Hrm, if LDH prompted me to exercise a teeny bit harder, KSA is making me instinctively reach out for all carbs within my reach.

  46. 46 jojo

    Thanks for the recap JB…I’ve seen Ep. 1 and when I heard the strains of Por Una Cabeza during KSA’s dream, I thought CSW was going to spring out of the surf…

  47. 47 31pop

    thank you – thank you- thank you !!!! These recaps will be my weekend vitamin since i cannot watch from where i am. Will look forward to your recaps.

  48. 48 KDrama Fan

    JB, your recap has caught me just as you’ve said the drama has caught you.

    Looking forward to more:)

  49. 49 Qd

    This is the only drama I’m interested in after watching EPIC Best Love!^^ While this episode is pretty good for episode 1, it doesnt thrill me like Best Love does However i definitely agree I am excited for what comes next and for her transformation! Bring on Okinawa! Q

  50. 50 sweetspring

    drama got me at… stills of LDW in the sea…without a shirt… looking so fine the image of him is seared forever in my subconscious…
    and finally show has come. waiting for subs…anticipating a good time with show…fingers crossed as well…

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