Scent of a Woman: Episode 12
We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road for Yeon-jae, but the moment she gives in to her despair, it cuts like a knife. Her hope and her desire to fill her time with meaning starts to give way to resentment and fear of what’s to come, and everything around her that points to the future starts to magnify the damning truth… that she’ll never have one.
What aggravates me is that it’s getting harder to watch the couple continually angst when there’s such precious little time left for them to even do anything. We’re on a clock here, people! Not just a drama clock, but the grim reaper kind, and not a friendly neighborhood Scheduler version either. I just want to smack some sense and some urgency into somebody, or everybody. Except for Poopypants. He gets a hug.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Ji-wook asks one last time if Yeon-jae really wants him out of her life, and she sticks with Operation: Die a Noble Idiot, and says yes. Aaaaaargh. *stomping of feet*
He cries, she cries, and Eun-seok can only watch and be frustrated like me.
Eun-seok asks if this is really what’s right, and she tells him that she loved her dad, but sometimes she resented him. She wondered why he had to have cancer, why he wasn’t like other dads. And every time she caught herself laughing, she immediately felt guilty. Aw. My heart breaks for little Yeon-jae.
She says that she couldn’t do anything without feeling that survivor’s guilt – eating, sleeping, laughing. Ji-wook will have to go through the same, and long after she’s dead, which she can’t have. When she puts it like that, it’s hard to be mad at her for pushing him away.
The next day Mom catches her cleaning out her closet, and she takes Mom shopping to fill her closet as she empties out her own. Mom eyes a new winter coat for Yeon-jae and insists she try it on, but Yeon-jae looks at it wistfully and says, “I don’t think I’ll need it.”
I don’t know why, but that’s sadder than when people are crying in this drama – I love the implication of something so simple as a winter coat reminding her that she won’t be around to see winter.
The moment stays with her, and at home even the ticking clock on her nightstand starts to take on an irritating power, as she starts to envision it ticking faster and faster and taking precious seconds off her life.
She runs out of the house and back to Teacher’s bakery, and this time as she looks in from outside, we see a bit of the backstory in flashback. Yeon-jae ran away crying from Teacher, and then Mom later asked if he did anything inappropriate to her. He was promptly fired.
This time she blurts out right away that she’s sorry. She tells him that she hated the fact that he liked her mother. It reminded her of Dad and she wanted to split them up, so she lied. She asks for his forgiveness.
He asks why she’s doing this now, after so many years, when he’s buried all that in the past. She tells him that it’s been weighing on her all this time, and asks again for his forgiveness. But he’s not ready to forgive, and walks away.
Hee-joo congratulates Eun-seok on his impressive tango, as does the entire hospital, now that they know the stony-faced doctor moonlights as a latin lover. Who knew a little tango could go such a long way?
Hee-joo asks why he danced with Yeon-jae, and he tells her that they’re grade school friends. She gets adorably jealous, asking how serious Yeon-jae’s cancer is. Pfft. I really love how this girl doesn’t treat death like death.
Eun-seok stays too preoccupied with Yeon-jae to enjoy his new popularity though, and calls her out for a walk. She sighs at all the happy people passing by, now just reminders of what she’ll never have. She tells Eun-seok that she’d prefer if time just passed quickly now. Oof.
Ji-wook is as depressed as Yeon-jae, barely even registering the people around him. Sae-kyung shows up to ask for another chance, admitting that what she’s shown him thus far isn’t her true self. Yeah, that’s not a comfort really.
He walks away, but then apparently a shower changes his mind. Damn that shower. I have equal love and hate for you right now.
He takes Sae-kyung out, but then proceeds to just drown his sorrows in drink and she tries to stop him. He asks what it is she wants – to marry? “Fine. Let’s get married. Within the month.”
She can read the situation well enough to know this isn’t what she wanted. It hurts her pride something fierce to have him use her as a bandaid when he’s clearly a wreck because of Yeon-jae.
He scoffs at her, asking if she wants to date or fall in love, as if she just asked for a purple unicorn that lays eggs. She confesses that she was serious when asking for a chance, and tells him that she doesn’t dislike him, but he doesn’t have the right to step on her pride, and storms out.
Hye-won comes to see Yeon-jae with news, and Yeon-jae gives her a brooch that she’s been wanting for a long time. Hye-won thanks her for making her reconsider the guy who proposed, because it turns out that she’s pregnant.
She’s getting married within the month because of the shotgun nature of the whole deal, and Yeon-jae happily congratulates her. Hye-won says she’s sorry and Yeon-jae does the right thing, refusing to let her feel bad for her own happiness.
Mom gets suspicious when she sees Hye-won crying yet again, and Yeon-jae tells her the news. Once Hye-won leaves Mom blows up at Yeon-jae for being the last to be married, wondering how she can just be happy for her friend with no recourse for her own dead-end life.
She screams at her to get a job this instant, because she’s too embarrassed to even introduce her to people. Yeon-jae refuses and blows up right back, saying that Mom doesn’t even know what she’s going through. “Do you think I’m just endlessly happy for Hye-won?” She sobs into her pillow.
Ji-wook continues his zombie existence, until he finally can’t stand staring at Yeon-jae’s plant any longer, and asks the housekeeper to get rid of it. He shows up at Sae-kyung’s place, intent on starting over with her.
Eun-seok calls and Yeon-jae tells him that she’s going wedding dress shopping with Hye-won today, and he tells her not to eat anything bad or drink anything, and she tells him that he must be busy, so he doesn’t have to call every day to check on her.
He stammers, genuinely surprised, “Did I do that?” AW.
Hye-won tries on a wedding dress and Yeon-jae looks up at her happily, but with mixed emotions fighting beneath the surface. When Hye-won gets a call from hubby-to-be and has to run off, Yeon-jae starts to walk away, but then stops in front of the window.
She goes back inside and asks if she can try on a dress, and the sales associate is really sweet about it, saying that she’ll probably be married soon, since trying on a dress is a sign that she’s ready to be married.
She opens the curtains and Yeon-jae looks at herself in the white dress, barely able to hold back the tears. It’s heartbreaking and lovely, all at the same time.
Ji-wook gets called to dinner by Dad, who jumps the gun and invites Sae-kyung, wanting to skip the engagement this time and go straight to the wedding. Exasperated, Ji-wook tells him that they just barely started, and that if they end up liking each other, they’ll date, and maybe get married, just like other normal people. Seriously, Dad.
When Ji-wook drops her off after dinner, she asks when he’ll start being happy to see her. He wonders the same thing, and drives off. Ha. Way to tell a girl you have totally indifferent feelings towards her.
Yeon-jae comes home and goes through her bucket list, adding the picture of her in the wedding dress and marking that one with a teary face. Aw.
She starts to cry as she looks at the page, the tears turning into angry sobs as she comes to resent the fact that she even has a bucket list to cry over. She tears it in half, wailing out loud.
She grabs her half of the plant she gave to Ji-wook and shatters it on the ground, and knocks down the rest of the plants along with it. She goes straight for the kitchen sink and starts gulping down soju straight out of the bottle, desperate to numb the raging anger and heartache.
She ends up in front of Ji-wook’s house, but hides as he arrives. He stops and turns around, perhaps feeling something, maybe just missing her, and she stays hidden from view, tears falling.
Mom comes home to find the empty bottles and the mess in Yeon-jae’s room and gasps. Yeon-jae comes home and just collapses on the floor, washed out from her emotional tornado.
She admits to having a really tough time, and Mom just hugs her and apologizes for making the Hye-won situation worse when she’s clearly upset about it already. God, I don’t even want to think about how sad it’s going to be when Mom finds out.
Hye-won invites Ji-wook to her wedding, and asks if he’s really going to end things with Yeon-jae this way. He says that this is what Yeon-jae asked for, and she tells him that Yeon-jae fell for him at first sight, and she’s doing this to protect him.
He knows and doesn’t dispute it, and says that he’s doing what she wants.
Meanwhile Eun-seok gets an invitation to dinner from the chief of staff, who was impressed with his tango and wants to thank Yeon-jae for giving other patients hope. He calls but Mom picks up her phone instead.
She says that Yeon-jae went out without her phone, and then she looks around the room feeling that something is off – she’s been weird the last few days, and then overnight she cleaned up the mess and left without her phone.
She calls Hye-won, who calls Eun-seok, who paces and worries, and then calls Ji-wook. He asks if he’s with her and to call if he sees her, but doesn’t say anything else. But Ji-wook knows it’s serious enough that Eun-seok would even call him, and starts pacing too.
It turns out she’s skulking outside Teacher’s bakery. This time she sends in a note – that she knows asking for forgiveness with one “I’m sorry” isn’t going to cut it, but that she really wanted to say one thing…
She thanks him, for covering up her absurd lie, and for taking the fall. She tells him that she always wanted to say thank you and sorry, but never had the courage to do so. Her letter finally moves him, but when he comes outside to find her, she’s gone.
Day turns into night and everyone’s worry turns to fear as they sit and wait for word from Yeon-jae. Eun-seok runs all over town looking for her, in the dance studio and in the neighborhood, but can’t find her.
Ji-wook runs out to do the same, and finds her at the Han River, sitting there in the place where he proposed and got rejected. He walks toward her, but then he remembers her pleas that he not be around to watch her die.
It rips him up as his heart races toward her, but his feet stay firmly planted in their place. Just then Eun-seok calls to see if he found her, and he tells him where she is.
And then Eun-seok walks up to the same place where Ji-wook was just standing. God you boys are taking turns just gutting me. How can you both be so heartbreaking one after the other?
Eun-seok storms over to Yeon-jae, pissed at her disappearing act when everyone is worried sick. I don’t think his worry is unwarranted since he knows how depressed she is right now, but technically, she’s a grown woman who just forgot her cell phone for a day. His worrying is cute nonetheless.
She wonders how he found her here, and he doesn’t lie about Ji-wook being the one who found her. I love this guy. She’s clearly disturbed to realize that Ji-wook came and went, and Eun-seok gripes about her breaking up with him if she’s going to be like this.
Yeon-jae: “Eun-seok-ah, I wish my life would just end right now, like this.”
Nooo! It’s crushing to hear her be so sad that she doesn’t even want to cling to her remaining days.
At home, Mom starts putting more of the pieces together and decides that something is definitely going on with Yeon-jae. She asks Hye-won if she knows, and Hye-won tries her best to play dumb to Mom’s worries.
Eun-seok brings her home, and Mom wonders what the hell is going on with her, but Hye-won intervenes and takes her to her room. Mom does get distracted long enough by the presence of Eun-seok, and walks him out.
Her Future Son-in-Law Radar goes off, and she asks what his relationship to Yeon-jae is. She’s a little disappointed to hear that they’re just grade school friends, but when he asks her to take good care of Yeon-jae, she sends him along cheerily, practically plotting their wedding march in her head.
Hye-won asks if she shouldn’t get married, and that maybe she should’ve been more considerate about Yeon-jae’s feelings. Yeon-jae tells her that’s ridiculous and assures her that it’s not because of that.
Eun-seok calls Ji-wook, who’s now sitting in the spot where Yeon-jae was. He tells him that Yeon-jae is home safe and sound, and thanks Ji-wook for his help. Aw, such a well-mannered curmudgeon.
It’s time for Hye-won’s wedding, and her coworkers stream in, but Yeon-jae is nowhere to be found. Hye-won worries and waits, and Yeon-jae finally arrives just before the ceremony starts.
Yeon-jae looks at her friend and tells her that she looks beautiful, and tells her to live a long and happy life. Hye-won cries and Yeon-jae walks her into the room.
She turns to see Ji-wook arriving, and they stare for a charged moment, until Yeon-jae walks into the room. He steals glances at her throughout the entire ceremony, which she watches in a mix of happiness and utter despair.
She makes a quiet exit before it’s over and he goes too. He drives along outside and then sees Yeon-jae doing a zombie walk right into the middle of an intersection, ignoring the cars zooming at her.
It’s unclear whether she’s dazed or actively trying to get hit, but Ji-wook sees the oncoming car and swerves in its path, taking the hit to save her.
She stops at looks up at the accident not two feet from where she’s standing, and sees blood streaming down Ji-wook’s face as he stirs.
Her jaw drops in shock.
I’m not gonna lie – this episode was pretty much the definition of a downer, with Yeon-jae falling into the worst of her depression. It kills me to watch her come to resent even the little time that she has left, to the point that she’d rather die now than go through what’s ahead.
At this point I’m just desperate for anything to change her mindset, even if it’s something cruel like false hope of remission, just to get her living again. It’s like she’s already dead, which pains me more than the fact that she’s dying. Perhaps with Ji-wook’s reckless but heroic act, she’ll be jolted out of her misery and grab hold of something, anything, to live the rest of her days instead of just wishing they’d end.
It breaks my heart that Eun-seok is there for her but it’s not enough, and he knows it. To call Ji-wook, despite knowing what it means… it’s the kind of love that really gets to me, because it’s asking for nothing in return. This really is an interesting untraditional love triangle because I think Eun-seok is the better man, but Ji-wook is the person she loves, no question. And the fact that she only has a few months to live means that both get to be by her side in a way, and then both have to lose her. Without that traditional one-guy-winning-the-girl sort of setup, it’s a great way to not have to split loyalties. Sometimes you CAN have your cake and eat it too. For a hefty price, of course.
Just… somebody, please do something happy soon. I’m going to start picketing if this stupid denial continues any longer.
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 11
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 10
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 9
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 8
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 7
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 6
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 5
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 4
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 3
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 2
- Scent of a Woman: Episode 1