Drama Recaps
Scent of a Woman: Episode 14
by | September 4, 2011 | 203 Comments

I think this episode may have dehydrated me, with all the tears I shed. But in contrast to the last several episodes, I loved all the tearful moments in this episode, which were peppered with warmth and tons of heart. It’s probably my favorite Scent episode in quite a while, maybe overall.

The reason I found the last few episodes duller than usual and trying to my patience was because they felt empty and manipulative — lots of strings being pulled but no emotion behind them. This episode, on the other hand, brings us back to what the drama had done so well: drawing out moments of connection between people, playing up a small detail that turns out to carry tremendous emotional impact, and doing it in a way that moves you.


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Chairman Kang tells Yeon-jae he knows “everything,” so when Mom pops out and wonders who the visitor is, Yeon-jae hurriedly asks him to speak outside, before he gives away her condition.

He turns his scorn on her in full force — she’s shameless and selfish, and did she ever think about the people she’d be leaving behind? How could she leave Ji-wook to certain heartbreak? She’s tearful and apologetic, but doesn’t waver in her conviction as she tells him that she and Ji-wook can’t, and won’t, break up.

Yeon-jae sinks down to her knees right there on the sidewalk, but Dad is unmoved, telling her that Ji-wook quit the office to spend more time her. Yeon-jae says she’ll convince him to go back to work, and do what she can to make sure he can be happy after she dies. Dad tells her to return Ji-wook to the way things were, “or I won’t forgive you.” Oh, boo hoo. I’d say his forgiveness is a goal she can leave off her bucket list.

When she comes back home, Mom pounces, wanting the story. Yeon-jae lies that he’s just the company chairman asking about work, but Mom can be pretty sharp when she wants to be, and guesses that he’s Ji-wook’s father and opposes the match.

Mom tells Yeon-jae to not let his opposition cow her into giving up her man, and says that the children always win over their parents in this situation — it’s how she married Yeon-jae’s father despite fierce opposition. Ha, she really is opposite mom. She has a minor gripe of Ji-wook, though, saying he should’ve made sure to nip this in the bud before Dad came seeking out the girlfriend.

Sae-kyung drinks alone at a bar, thinking of Yeon-jae and her cancer, and shows up at Ji-wook’s door. He tells her sternly not to come by anymore, and she slaps him. (Again?! Now it just seems perverse that she got in such a snit over being slapped when it seems to be her response to everything.)

Sae-kyung accuses him of making a laughingstock of her, of letting her think she could work it out with him while he was off in his grand love with someone else. She scoffs that she can just wait, since it won’t be long till that woman dies. Yeeeeesh. Ji-wook orders her out, saying he’s disappointed in Sae-kyung.

Crying, Sae-kyung says, “I hate her.” She says it in the way that children say they hate mommy when they can’t have what they want — a helpless sort of frustration. Ji-wook sighs, more pitying than upset now.

Ji-wook takes Yeon-jae to see a house, announcing that he intends to move into it — with her. Seeing her nonplussed reaction, he asks if she doesn’t like it, and she replies that she doesn’t. (He says, “Uh-oh” in a way that makes me suspect he may have already bought it…)

She takes him somewhere else, and Ji-wook finds himself completely out of his element as Yeon-jae volunteers at a day care. He struggles to change a diaper, talking to himself to psych himself into doing it, and awkwardly comforts a crying baby.

Yeon-jae watches him with amusement at first, but seeing him ease into the role of caretaker gets her emotional. When the manager lady compliments them and says they look like a family, he sends her a big grin.

Mom nervously gets ready for her date and greets Teacher Kim shyly. Her cantankerous landlord yells at her as she’s leaving, griping about old folks going on ridiculous dates, and Teacher Kim steps in with a smile to smooth things over.

After day care duty is over, Ji-wook asks if she really disliked that house. She tells him that his father told her he quit his job, and although she assures him that Dad didn’t say anything terribly bad (“What do I have to be scared of?”) she urges him to go back to work.

He says time is precious. She agrees, but adds that there’s another person in her life: Mom. She wants to spend a little more time with her under normal circumstances, before having to live like a cancer patient. She asks him to spend his time “as normal” as well, because she’s happy right now.

Eun-seok is still raising Malbok, but with his transfer to M.D. Anderson looming, he asks his friend to take in the dog. When the friend figures it’ll be easy enough to keep the dog in the yard, Eun-seok hesitates, saying the dog’s used to being indoors, and it might get cold in the winter. Ha, he’s gotten attached despite himself.

Eun-seok runs into Hee-joo in the hallway, who introduces him to her mother, who promptly embarrasses her by commenting that he’s just as handsome as Hee-joo said. Ha. She cringes in mortification and ushers Mom away, but Eun-seok smiles.

Yeon-jae tells Mom that she’ll be bringing Ji-wook over tonight to meet her, which causes Mom to flip out at the lack of preparation time. Off to the supermarket it is.

Mom’s reception is surprisingly cool, though, which causes the couple to shoot puzzled looks at each other. The reason becomes clear when she asks Ji-wook whether he’ll be able to win over his father (implying their marriage), and he replies that he’ll work things out. He eats uneasily, as though expecting attack at any moment.

Yeon-jae finds Mom crying after Ji-wook leaves, but Mom explains that it’s because she’s happy that her daughter found such a great man. Yeon-jae asks why she treated him so coolly, and Mom says that if she acted too eager, “He might not realize how valuable you are.” Awwww, now that gets me right in that heartspace. For all the cliches this drama has piled on about meddling rich chaebols, it sure has a fascinating, unpredictable Mom.

Ji-wook goes home unsure of his standing with Mom, and asks a friend for advice on impressing her. So the next day, he shows up to the store where Mom works, saying he’s here to buy some clothes. Mom assists him with a smile, and he agrees to buy her recommendation — and asks for sizes to fit her and Yeon-jae.

Yeon-jae’s happy that her mother has met someone, and tells a photo of her father that after he died, she was there for Mom, but after she dies, she wants Mom to have someone else to be with her.

Mom shows Yeon-jae the jackets that “Ji-wook-ie” bought for them, thrilled at his lovely manners. Yeon-jae tells her mother that she has to go somewhere for a few days, lying that it’s for a work-related matter. Mom picks up on her awkwardness, but jumps to the other conclusion — that Yeon-jae is slipping away with Ji-wook, as she must have done all those other times she said she was away for work.

Ji-wook goes along with this story, picking Yeon-jae up on the day of her treatment, though he asks how much longer she’s going to keep this a secret. Yeon-jae tells him that Mom’s so happy, she’s loath to ruin that for her.

Chairman Im hears about “the ridiculous rumors” surrounding Ji-wook, and asks Sae-kyung about them. She wonders why after all this, she still can’t let go of Ji-wook. Isn’t that my line?

As Ji-wook drops Yeon-jae off at the hospital, she urges him to go back to the office. He tells her that she’s the most important person to him right now, above his job. She replies that she feels the same, but that he’s not the only person in her life — she has her mother, her friends, and things she wants to do. “I don’t want for me to be the only thing in your life. If you come to me after giving up your job and your father, I’ll be too uncomfortable with that.”

He leaves her with a hug, which goes witnessed by Eun-seok and Hee-joo, the latter of whom is shocked to realize that Yeon-jae has a boyfriend — and that Eun-seok likes her anyway.

So when Yeon-jae chats with her mother and offers them pastries as a gift, Hee-joo is uncharacteristically quiet and rejects the offering, leaving the room in a huff.

Yeon-jae finds her outside and prods her jokingly, asking, “Why has your love cooled?” Ha, it’s cute, and annoying in the way that older siblings don’t take younger siblings’ feelings totally seriously. Hee-joo says she’s mad about Yeon-jae hurting Eun-seok’s feelings, revealing that he likes her.

Startled, Yeon-jae says that’s not true, but can’t shake those words when she consults with Eun-seok about her treatment. It makes her distant with him, to his puzzlement.

Sae-kyung goes to the hospital and sees Yeon-jae sitting outside, hooked up to her IV. Despite intending to speak with her, she tears up and turns back — at least she has a tiny shred of decency not to inflict herself upon a terminal cancer patient during chemo. I’m not willing to concede much more, but I’ll give her that much.

Hee-joo loves having her mother with her in the hospital, and the two are affectionate and cuddly with each other — a sight that gives Yeon-jae a pang.

Meanwhile, Ji-wook thinks over Yeon-jae’s words, and returns to the office, telling his father that it’s what she wants him to do. Dad’s unimpressed, tossing out the “If she told you to die” question, to which Ji-wook replies that he would die, if she wanted: “But she wouldn’t want it, because she wants me to be happy.” Ah, touché.

Dad tells him to prepare to leave for the States, but Ji-wook replies firmly that he won’t leave her, and that Dad had best give in quickly, as they don’t have much time left.

The cancer team looks at scans of a patient’s tumor, startled at the rapid change in condition. Eun-seok takes Hee-joo’s mother aside, and despite his gentle smile, it tips Hee-joo off right away that news is bad.

Eun-seok tells Mom the news regretfully, and Hee-joo finds him sitting outside in a glum mood. She confides that she’s the reason Yeon-jae has cooled toward him, explaining that Yeon-jae must be feeling uncomfortable now that Hee-joo has told her of Eun-seok’s feelings.

Hee-joo winces, expecting him to blow up at her, but instead he just smiles ruefully: “That’s good. I feel lighter.” It had weighed on his mind, and he’d felt it was time to come clean anyway.

Hee-joo says that makes her feel worse, and that it would be better if he got angry at her. He teases, “If I got angry, you’d fall for me even more.” She giggles, and it’s sweet.

He tells her to put her webtoon back online if she wants, since it was her dream to be a manhwa writer. She asks him for one favor: a tango.

He can’t refuse her that, so they take their places right then and there, and he leads her in the steps.

Halfway through, she slips her hand out of his grasp and turns into his chest, and he holds her as she cries and smiles. It’s amazing how the tango scenes are even more moving than love scenes in this drama, saying so much in such a short sequence.

Yeon-jae chats with Hee-joo’s mother, who asks why she’s alone during treatments. Yeon-jae explains that while she has a mother, she hasn’t managed to tell her about her condition yet.

Hee-joo’s mother entreats her to consider it from her mother’s perspective, saying that it’ll be painful to know that her daughter was enduring all this alone without telling her.

Upon her discharge, Hee-joo says her goodbyes to Yeon-jae and boasts, “I danced with Dr. Eun-seok!” Yeon-jae says with mock disappointment that he was supposed to like her, and Hee-joo reminds Yeon-jae that she’s got her boyfriend: “Dr. Eun-seok is mine!” With that, they make up for their earlier tiff, and while Yeon-jae talks about seeing her for the next round of treatments, there’s a little extra meaning in Hee-joo’s words today, a finality to her goodbye.

Eun-seok drops in on Yeon-jae and returns her old book to her with a smile, telling her that he should have returned it years ago. Then he delivers Malbok to his friend and gives him instructions on how to take care of him. But a call sends him running back to the hospital, where Hee-joo suffers from hemoperitoneum, an accumulation of blood between the internal organs that requires surgery.

Hee-joo opens her eyes and holds out her hand, which he clutches tightly. But her vitals fail before she can get into surgery, and she dies right there in the emergency room bed. There’s a horrible moment between her death and Eun-seok’s realization of it, because he’s so caught up trying to revive her that it’s Mom who indicates that it’s over.

Eun-seok staggers dumbly through the halls and cries, collapsing in a darkened corridor.

Yeon-jae hears the news from a nurse, and finds Hee-joo’s mother in the mortuary section of the hospital. She finds Eun-seok some time later, still sitting in the hallway, and reaches out a comforting hand.

He breaks down in sobs as he asks her, “Please live. I don’t hope for anything else. But Yeon-jae-ah, I beg you to live.” Oh god, can’t type, tears are clouding my vision.

The next day, she finds Eun-seok’s office empty. His friend happens by and tells her that Eun-seok didn’t come to work today, and that he’s been acting strange lately, with his talk of regretting choosing his specialty and now Hee-joo’s death. He also tells her that Eun-seok was selected to go to M.D. Anderson, but is worried that he may let that opportunity slip by again.

Yeon-jae is discharged, and runs into Hee-joo’s mother on her way out, who tells her that she was told of Hee-joo’s worsened condition before her collapse. That gave her some time to prepare herself, and while she hadn’t told Hee-joo, she’d known anyway. Mom asks Yeon-jae to tell Eun-seok that Hee-joo had put her webtoon back online.

When Yeon-jae sees Ji-wook waiting for her by his car to pick her up, she’s overcome with emotion and hugs him tight. She asks him to take her somewhere, and arrives at Eun-seok’s door. He’s sitting inside amidst packed belongings, and ignores her for a several long moments before finally opening the door.

Yeon-jae tells him that Hee-joo’s webtoon is back up, and that her mother had asked him to take a look.

He opens up his laptop and reads her latest entry, which brings him to tears:

“I have happy news to share with all of you who have shown your love for my webtoon. Ah~! Today, I danced the tango with Dr. Eun-seok. My heart felt so warm and cozy. All the things I called him — king bastard, mean devil — cancel, cancel! Dr. Eun-seok smiling looked totally cool! Soooo touching. Hoping that he’ll smile lots to other patients, Hee-joo’s hospital days are, as of today, over. Hee-joo has been really, really happy all this time, and will be happy from here onward too. So, everybody, including Dr. Eun-seok, be happy!”

Yeon-jae’s especially quiet on the drive back, and Ji-wook guesses that something happened at the hospital. She tells him, “I’ll have to tell my mother. Will you cheer me on?” He nods and takes her hand.

Yeon-jae comes home to a chipper Mom, who declares that even though she’s terribly curious about her daughter’s getaway with Ji-wook, she will refrain from prying, because she’s a Mom who respects privacy.

Yeon-jae asks her mother what she would most like to do with her, and thus they end up on the Han River ferry. Yeon-jae’s surprised at this mundane activity, but Mom reminds her how she’d once said she wanted to ride it because she’d never been on it before. So they’d planned to ride the ferry, only Mom had gotten a stomachache and they’d had to go home, and Yeon-jae had been irritated. Mom had felt guilty and told herself to come back someday, and now feels light-hearted to have fulfilled that intention.

Afterward, they sit on the banks of the river (ack! The river of doom makes its reappearance) and Yeon-jae asks, “You know I love you a lot, right?” Mom’s smile fades, picking up on the shift in mood, and Yeon-jae works up to her confession: “I…I…have cancer. I’m sorry, Mom.”


Ah, and Scent of a Woman is back. What I love about this episode is that all the emotional ups and downs resonated with me and made an impact, whereas all the Daddy chaebol and fiancee chaebol nonsense put the characters into all this turmoil but left me feeling nothing. Aside from annoyance, that is.

What’s doubly great is that the emotional throughlines worked through each story thread in an organic way, in a way that felt natural and realistic with the characters. Hee-joo dying was a surprise on one level in that we didn’t see it coming, but not a surprise in that all of the events leading to it, and then following it, paid off in ways that were true to everybody. Eun-seok has been feeling more in touch with his patients, and his own emotions, and been letting more of his true sensitive nature come out over the course of the series…so when his adoring puppy-dog patient dies, it’s absolutely devastating.

Perhaps the old Eun-seok would have thrown a few things in private and then repressed his sadness, but this Eun-seok is heartbreakingly vulnerable, and it plays into his fears for Yeon-jae as well. It was painful to watch Yeon-jae beg her doctor to save her life in a previous episode, but watching her doctor beg her to live? That gutted me.

I also appreciate the way that the stories have dovetailed to create the moment of Yeon-jae’s confession to her mother. Despite feeling that she ought to have told Mom way before, I can see how she’d been too scared to ruin their brief happiness, and loved seeing how all these things have finally given her the push she needed to confide in her. Now that we’ve seen her screw up the courage to tell her the truth, I’m vastly relieved that Mom didn’t find out the truth accidentally, or through somebody else’s hand. This is one thing Yeon-jae really needed to come to terms with, because although Yeon-jae has had time to deal with her diagnosis, I don’t think that she was ready to fully accept it until she was ready to tell Mom, either.


203 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. aya

    This episode has literally SUCKED every LIFE and TEARS out of me……(I’m still hoping for an happy ENDING) but after this episdoe i’ve literally lost all HOPE… plz writer let there be some kind of MIRACLE ending… (I still love SOAW!!!!!!!!!!!) thank you for the recap!!! it was a pleasure reading your comments.. ^^

    • 1.1 haruko

      I was thinking about it, and I think a “miracle total cure” ending would take away from the drama….

      What I would like is a smaller miracle. Not a total remission, but hope a little more time. Something like, her prognosis is a little better and she has a year, or maybe even two. And it ends with them deciding to live life to the fullest.

      That would be my ideal ending :D.

      • 1.1.1 aya

        a year, or 2 is a miracle in itself for me…

      • 1.1.2 mim

        I agree! I can’t imagine a cure/remission/complete happy ending that wouldn’t feel like deus ex machina was pulled out. I mean, I want her to live, but… the drama would be ruined.

        One other thing: if Ji-wook returns to the way he is after Yeon-jae dies (as Daddy Dearest demanded), then Yeon-jae failed. Gawd, it’s galling for Kang Bad Dad to act like he doesn’t like this relationship because he loves his son and how dare she bring him future suffering, when his son was like deadened to everything before partially because of his actions.

      • 1.1.3 Kiki

        Wow wow I totally agreed with you on the end of this drama.

    • 1.2 rich

      Same here… cried buckets of tears for this episode… I felt sad for Hee-joo’s death. Although I know she’s really ill, it still didn’t register to me that she would die. 🙁

      I’m not sure if this drama will have a happy ending… I will leave it to the writer(s). I’m loving this drama so far despite it being too much sad.

      • 1.2.1 aya

        I’m glad I’m not the only one who was in denial of Hee-joo’s death. even 30 mins after finishing episode 14 i was still crying. i gotta say I took her death “HARD’ . I’m just wondering how i’m going to handle Yoon jae’s.

      • 1.2.2 Birthday Girl

        I am so glad I didn’t watch this episode. Just reading the recaps made me cry buckets.

      • 1.2.3 momosa

        I don’t want to cry/don’t like crying…that’s why I stopped at episode 10.

        I got tricked by 49 days, cried a river and I’m not doing this again. It’s just too sad….

        I’m happy just reading recaps, though feeling the weight of the story! So sad…

        • ajaAja

          same here…i stopped watching this drama but never miss recaps..

          the death of Y, I think I can handle that…we knew from the get go. BUT I can’t handle to see the agony of the mom and J. That’s unbearable for me.

          i will go back watch the drama once it’s done.

          thanks for the hardwork ..recapping.

    • 1.3 Deasy

      I think the ending has been decided, that is Yeon Jae will die in the arms of the one who really she loves, that is Ji wook…
      if miracle happened it will just ruined the hole story become nonsense, from less than 6 month life remain to cure. I know that all of us want them to be happy, but before we watch this drama off course we already know for the possibility of unhappy ending drama.

      • 1.3.1 Wesley

        While it’s heartbreaking to watch, “sad” endings are sometimes the most appropriate a la Flowers For My Life which is objectively and subjectively the best kdrama that I have seen.

        • obivia

          I know, I totally loved Flowers For My Life. Death is the only certainty in life and that drama portrayed it w/ due respect and poignancy. I hope the same for this drama, too. I don’t know what will happen to Ji Wook but I know he’ll be better off b/c of YJ. Sigh.

          2 episodes left and I’m already crushed.

          Thanks so much for these beautiful recaps!

        • My.Ning

          I just finished reading the recaps on “Flowers for My Life”. It makes me want to watch it too.

          Hana’s mom is the same actress as YJ’s mom. Is Hana’s dad JW’s dad? What a small kdrama world! =)

    • 1.4 Deasy

      I think the ending has been decided, that is Yeon Jae will die in the arms of the one who really she loves, that is Ji wook. just like Yeon jae list…
      if miracle happened it will just ruined the hole story become nonsense, from less than 6 month life remain to cure. I know that all of us want them to be happy, but before we watch this drama off course we already know for the possibility of unhappy ending drama.

    • 1.5 malta

      I’m wondering if we are going to see her die or not? There are only 2 episodes left and for us to see her die, either her condition has to deteriorate really quickly (T.T) or they are going to have to fast forward in time…

  2. ck1Oz

    Thank you I was in so much tears and wanted to read your take on the episode.

  3. Kirst3n

    Please drama. Give us viewers a semblance of a happy ending. Is it too much to wish for a miracle?

    • 3.1 imclumsy

      I totally agree. I want them to at least show that she’s getting better even if she hasn’t gotten over it. I really hope she’s not going to die. 🙁

  4. Myn

    thanks for the recap.
    I, too, enjoyed this tear-jerker episode more than the previous few.

  5. Ladymoonstone143

    I cried so much on this episode that my tears had dried out and all I had left is a tearless but loud sobbing. I had to compose myself because hubby told me why I am torturing myself…..

    Just so sad because i got a gut feeling that it will be sad finale but am in for the ride and more tears…

    Thanks for the recap Javabeans.

  6. mrs.lee

    i’m crying right now. thank goodness scent of a woman that i loved is back. the previous episodes were kinda, “ah.. okay”. but now i’m loving it again.
    in real life i’m in love with lee dong wook but in here, EUN SEOK-AH… BE MY MAN. seriously.

  7. birdscout

    I haven’t watched this episode, have only read javabeans’ superb recap, but I think I am officially in love with
    Eom Ki-joon. His screen caps alone bring me to tears. What a charismatic actor!

    (It’s Na Ha-na’s mom and dad from Flowers For My Life:)

  8. cher

    I can’t help but cry! I have to prepare a box of tissue for the next episode. Thanks!

  9. celest1al

    I agree with you that this was the best episode in awhile within this series.

    I haven’t really cried in this series (I’m not heartless, I promise LOL). But the scene where Eun-seok pleads Yeon-jae not to die in the dark corridor… Wow. It moved me to tears. I really applaud Uhm Ki-joon in this scene. His sorrow, fear, and desperation was so believable.

    • 9.1 flowerpot

      It was the way he said her name that made me bawl… I have never heard him call Yeonjae that way… It was full of love and desperation and pleading… Like he was literally begging her not to die…

      Gosh just thinking about it makes me cry again…

      • 9.1.1 suitfetish

        Hee-Joo telling Yeon-Jae how he feels not only made him feel freer then, but gave him the freedom to mourn this way, too, I’d think.

        How weirdly appropriate–his grief is over both of them, and he can only express it because she did die.

      • 9.1.2 sungsang-nim

        Me too, reading the recaps, reading the comments about it is making me tear up again.

        This scene really had me bawling, tears flowing, crying my eyes out – especially when he said that he just wants her to live.. -well, I interpreted it more as “I’m not even gonna ask you to love me in return, I just want you to live.. even if it’s in another man’s arms” It hit me like a bullet straight to the heart.

        Eom Ki Joo – I liked you in Dream High but I’m flat-out in love with you now. You’re in my “must-watch-and-google-everyday” actor list now. So glad that you weren’t taken out of this drama.

  10. 10 Minnetter

    damn… so sad TT____TT I’m crying endless tears… It was really really sad to see Eunseok Crying. It was worse than seeing Yeon Jae cry… actually thinking about it, maybe being an oncologist is out for me too… I’d thought about it in thinking what I want to specialize in and maybe it’s not for me, if I cry with a drama, how much more would I cry for the patients? …

    • 10.1 LaGaviota

      This is off topic from the recap but felt I should respond. 🙂

      Please don’t let this show discourage you … they’re specifically showing patients with the types of cancer that don’t lead to long survival. I think they specifically chose gallblader cancer for YJ because it has such a small survival rate.

      I’ve had cancer twice with the odds in my favor to having (other) cancers in the future and believe me, I have no intention of dying from any of them. And I would definitely (I’m full of superlatives…) appreciate more oncologists around with compassion cause the ones I’ve seen and see are how Poopyseuk was in the beginning. But now Poopyseuk rocks!

      • 10.1.1 yumi

        Congrats on winning the good fight.

        as they say on k-dramas “aja!”

        The fact that everyone with cancer seems to die on this show sends a bad message.

        They needed to (and I don’t remember them doing so) explicitly state that his cancer unit deals with difficult diagnoses that have a small chance of survival.

        Right now they are sending a message of hopelessness.

      • 10.1.2 helena

        Thank you for sharing with us your personal experience.You are a positive person and a brave fighter and you’ll overcome your illness. As for our Yeonjae, I hope some miracle for her even if it’s only a year’s remission. All our tears can’t be for nothing..
        And for you Gaviota, I keep my fingers crossed! Fighting!

  11. 11 anna

    It’s just so unfair… T_______T

    • 11.1 maria

      much of life is unfair. i think that’s why it strikes such a chord for all of us. T_T

  12. 12 webfoot

    The SOAW writers clearly don’t want to depart from k-drama melo for the remainder of the storyline, which makes me sad, but if they would to the following, I would be contented.

    1. Show resolution for all of Yeonjae’s loved ones. Mom, BFF, Doc and Ji Wook.

    2. Give Ji Wook hope for tomorrow. An initial trajectory like ‘Heartbreak Library’ or ‘PS I Love You’ would do it. Let YJ prepare him with love.
    I watched Lee Dong Wook’s Heartbreak Library over the weekend. It’s bizarre, but the first 75% of the show might as well be the epilogue for SOAW.

    I’d recommend it for all SOAW withdrawal symptoms.

  13. 13 Minty V

    i cried every time EunSook did 🙁 his character is just so amazing…

    and i am SO loving the mom… so unpredictable… i can’t wait for the next episode to watch the continuation of the last scene…

    • 13.1 Minty V

      and where are my manners??? THANK YOU JB for every recap you have done… always full of insight and makes my viewing experience all the more better 🙂

      btw, is Yoon Jae’s mom the same actress as the ebil ebil madame in Bad Guy/Nappeun Namja?… and if so, may i know the name of the actress?… she is SO good… always convincing in her role…

      • 13.1.1 anotheraddict

        @Minty V

        I just looked up her name for you– it’s Kim Hye Ok. I’ve seen her in tons of dramas, but never knew her name. According to the d-addicts wiki, she’s been in 45(!) dramas– including Bad Guy– and eleven movies. Kudos to her!

  14. 14 sangay

    just reading the recaps have me in tears. i better get the tissue boxes ready before i watch this episode.

    sharks ! i’ll be travelling mid-week … i hate to miss the ending …. thank goodness for internet !

    • 14.1 sangay

      just finished watching episodes 13 & 14.

      sigh … why did hee joo got to die ? i really like her character. she’s bubbly, and optimistic, and simply so adorable. to me, she was like that breath of fresh air in the hospital. watching her tango with eun seok is sad. that dance … really saved a thousand lines of scripts. the emotions that they went through, it’s heart breaking !

      hee joo’s parting words to yeon jae is heart wrenching. with hee joo’s death, it’s like there’s no more hope for yeon jae.

      hee joo’s definitely mature beyond her years. she can read eun seok so well, encourage yeon jae during her 1st chemo session, etc. that last webtoon … oh my, that was so touching. her mum’s right, she knew her time was up, and she used her webtoon to say goodbye and send encouragement to all her webtoon fans, etc. i’m definitely going to miss her while i try to accept her passing.

      ji wook’s just like any person who wants to spend all his/her time with their beloved on knowing the limited amount of time they have together i suppose. yeon jae’s worried about what ji wook will be like after her passing. so despite her wanting to spend more time with him, she’s ‘teaching’ him that there’s more to his life than just her. i guess that’s her way of preparing ji wook for life without her.

      honestly, when i first got to know the drama synopsis, i knew it’s not going to be a light hearted drama, with cancer and death topic. but at times, i find this drama just so heavy as it tries to convey the emotions of a cancer patient, of someone who knows her timeline on earth.

      the scriptwriter’s brilliant so far. the actors and actresses are brilliant too.

      i shudder to think of what’s going to be in the last 2 episodes, but i believe and hope ji wook and yeon jae will continue to make beautiful memories together till that day ….

  15. 15 imee

    just reading this made me cry, what more when i watch the ep? thanks for the recap!

  16. 16 Cynic

    Dramabeans, thank you for your recaps! I enjoy your recaps so much I’ve given up watching the actual episodes cos your recaps are so full of insight and emotional layering! Who is the script writer for SOAW? I’m keen to read more scripts by this writer. Also, can you recommend modern korean fiction that is as poignant as such korean drama serials? titles and writers, please? thank you!

    • 16.1 ashura

      JB’s recaps are amazing, but you should really watch the actual series for your own take of the drama. This drama is amazing, and it’s a waste not to watch LDW and KSA’s wonderful performance in the show 🙂

  17. 17 kawaii

    WHAAAA~~~~ So good!!!
    Thank you!!

  18. 18 ♥_♥

    Javabeans! Thank you so much for the wonderful recap! I love this series because it gives me an excuse to weep but it also helps you to appreciate the fact that you are healthy and how beautiful it is to be alive. I particularly found Hee Joo’s last webtoon particularly touching because she’s such a young woman who has accepted that she will die at an age where most people are just beginning to live life fully. My heart aches for her character as I am of a similar age and find that Hee Joo’s attitude and her wishing happiness to everyone was a show of how she was mature beyond her years and despite moments of childish-ness, she had the wisdom of someone who was dying of old age. ♥

  19. 19 JS

    I haven’t even had a chance to watch the episode yet, but I’m already sitting here crying like an idiot after just reading the recap. I’m almost scared to actually watch now.

    • 19.1 Sherry VS

      I watched it, sobbed in several places (aw, Jee-Hoo… so sad…), then decided to read your recap. Read it, sobbed in several places (dang it, Jee-Hoo!!!). I love to see what seems to be genuine emotional involvement between characters- when Yeon-jae hugs people, it makes me want that same kind of all-enveloping hug. And, I have to say that when she & Ji-Wook are kissing, it looks more real to me than almost any other drama I’ve watched.

      • 19.1.1 Sherry VS

        I also am enjoying the heck out of the viewer comments while watching it on www.(notgonnatypeit).com – too too funny, witty, on target, crazy, annoying, wishful, sad – so many T__T crying faces – everything. Makes the whole experience of watching this drama online even more enjoyable.

      • 19.1.2 flowerpot

        Agree on this on several accounts. I love how they hug. It’s as if they are pouring their heart and soul into that one simple gesture of putting their arms around the other and just with that they are able to say so much.

        Like Jiwook giving her his strength so that she can fight and survive and live and Yeonjae giving him her assurance and affirmation that as long as he is beside her, she can give it the best she’s got.

        God! Their love is just so freakin’ beautiful it’s enough to bring tears to my eyes.

        And don’t even get me started on how Sun Ah and Dong Wook brings such life to these characters that i can almost believe they’re really in love in real life. (actually, i’m surprised they aren’t dating yet with the number of intimate scenes they had to shoot and those hot, hot tango scenes). Man, they must think about each other while in bed and while off work… LOL

  20. 20 writtenwordaddict

    I can’t believe how GOOd this episode was…I was getting worried considering some of the past ones. I don’t think i have any tears left,i had to stop and calm myself when i could no longer see the screen. Thanks for the recap.

    Can’t wait for next week!!!!!!

  21. 21 trixicopper

    I’m suprised that I had that many tears left after last week. This show is gonna kill me.

    Thanks JB!

    • 21.1 etee7114

      It’s a sure sign that we’re all still alive here. V

  22. 22 September

    Just reading the recaps had me in tears…. how am I going to watch this episode later 🙁

    Thank you for the recap JB

  23. 23 cha

    “It was painful to watch Yeon-jae beg her doctor to save her life in a previous episode, but watching her doctor beg her to live? That gutted me.”

    That’s exactly what I thought when I saw this scene..

    Eunseok is so devastated like this when his favorite patient dies, what would he become when it’s Yeonjae’s turn?? T___T

    Eunseok-aah.. Let me give you another hug..

  24. 24 Laeah

    Oh Jesus. Hee Joo’s part made me cry so bad.
    Because I’m like Hee Joo and the guy I’m in love with is so similar to Eun Seok. Gah.
    I was bawling.
    I’m glad she got her chance to at least have the dance.
    But it broke my heart.

    I’m glad I’m not watching this drama anymore and just doing recaps. I think I’d die too if I actually watched this episode.

  25. 25 Caitlyn

    I’ve started watching the Raws while reading the recaps now, because I can’t wait the day or two it would take for the subs to be released! This show is just killing me!

  26. 26 Opal

    JB,…….don’t know how to call you. Reading your recap….it made me cried lots already….., I haven’t watch SOAW but following your recap.

    Today’s recap is definitely a brilliant one…., I couldn’t help crying….


  27. 27 Cinnamon23

    I love the perspective that EJ has and tries to impart to JW….that she shouldn’t be the center of his universe and he should continue living, as she doesn’t make him the one and only thing to live for. Such a mature kind of love.

    The scene between ES and EJ….him telling her to live, brought on the waterworks!!!! The tango scene with HJ and him reading the webtoon…The doc was great in this episode.

    • 27.1 Jomo 143∞

      Me, too.
      She knows that if he isolates himself, watching her die, he will be completely alone and adrift in pain when she is gone. He CAN’T cut all ties!

  28. 28 bishbash

    haven’t watch this ep, and haven’t cried so far, but there was this scene where YJ was waiting for ES to come to a park one night, and she was looking at this family going by her, the wistful look on her face, knowing she’ll never be able to have the same kind of family (getting married and having children), made me teared.

    the simplicity of the scenes in SOAW are really fantastic.

  29. 29 keats_is_love

    hi dramabeans! i’ve been quietly following your blog for several months now (since LTM <3 )…i just really would like to thank you for painstakingly (and quite thoughtfully, might i add) analyzing every episode of our favorite korean dramas. ive been withholding myself from commenting but this episode just wrenched my insides so much. i thought i was impressed by KJW's tearful confessions of love a few episodes back, but the doctor won me over. i was blown away by the corridor scene after HJ's death. i recently graduated from med school and i can't imagine going through that with my patients (read: oncology is not in the cards for me). the amazing thing is how that actor translated those emotions so well on screen…i really am flabbergasted. kudos to him! and kudos to the writer as well!
    i honestly don't know how i'll recover after next sunday. my heart feels so heavy at the impending finale that's about to happen. like all other good korean dramas, this coming weekend's series ender will definitely be anticipated and revisited many times over. :). again, thank you from the bottom of my non-Hangul-comprehending hypothalamus! hehe.

  30. 30 Orleanas

    I’m now afraid to watch the final episodes. Though many have said that Yeon-Jae will die in the final episodes, a part of me clung to the hope that she would survive because in one of the early episodes the chief doctor had said something about needing people to test out an experimental treatment. Seeing as how that element has not been introduced, it seems I have to accept that she may really die in the end and not be saved by some miracle treatment.

    Adding to my fear is that Sae-Kyung seems to have fallen for Ji-Wook and is sticking around. It seems as if she is learning about the nature of true love from Ji-Wook and Yeon-Jae’s romance. Ironically, Ji-Wook’s devotion to Yeon-Jae is what makes Sae-Kyung worth waiting for for Sae-Kyung because he’s proven himself to be a man of character and quality.

    And quality he is. My God! he is the most perfect boyfriend. I love that he wants to spend all his precious time with Yeon-Jae and begrudges her for seeming to put others between them (as he expressed while he sat on the bench under the tree after their volunteer work at the day care).

    Just when I thought no other male character could be as sexy and as romantic as Jo Gook from City Hall, I get Ji-Wook: sweet, supportive and sexy. Kim Sun-ah sure knows how to bring the best out of her leads.

  31. 31 bluelime

    thanks for the recap!! =)

  32. 32 laya

    Hee-joo T___T

    Thanks for the recap! *sniffling all the way*

  33. 33 yumi

    Thanks for the recap!

  34. 34 Jomo 143∞

    Thank you for the recap.
    I agree that it was one of the best eps. They laid the groundwork very well for all of us to react the way we did.
    It wasn’t a head achingly painful crying show because so much resolved beautifully. We cried saying, “I know, I know, I know…”

    The tango scene had me crying out loud, and I loved that as much as she needed to hug him, he reeeeeeally needed to hug her back. His chin on the top of her head…. aish! …. I felt like someone belted me.

    Have we talked about Doc E’s friend who took the dog much? Because he is fantastic.
    His character has consistently shown us how human and real Doc E is. With his teasing, and his competitiveness early on, we could see that Doc Poopy wasn’t all bad.
    Loved when he made the joke that if Doc E didn’t like oncology that much, maybe he should have thought about it more when he was an intern. Loved that he moved into Doc E’s personal space and put his arm around him.
    I wanna hang out with that guy!! It’s almost as if all the other characters are clearly acting, and he’s just an MD who found himself on the set one day so they hired him. I haven’t ever noticed this amazing of a “background” player before. He’s perfect.

    It really is a wonderful show when we spend this much love on the non-OTP, chaebol fiends aside.

    (By the way, I am watching Lovers in Prague now, too, so the actor playing nice Mr. Teacher-future-husband was so evil in LIP it’s tough for me to love him.)

    • 34.1 maria

      for me, i’m on a trippy 4th watch of dream high where perfect dr. eun-seok poopypants is all goofy and bumbling and stumbling and doesn’t notice the girl wearing a flower hairclip for him. and fast forwarding through my World’s Within dvds to see him all cold and stern ans so in love with Sae-Kyung. yeah, i’m on a poppypants spree. it’s 87 kinds of trippy.

      jomo, do you think we watch too many dramas?

      • 34.1.1 Jomo 143∞

        Chultae andwae!!

        • maria

          nyahahah araso! 😀

      • 34.1.2 missy_k

        hahaha, i also watch wayyyy to many dramas, it should be my dayjob 😀

      • 34.1.3 ladida

        Ugh, love him in Dream High.

    • 34.2 yumi

      I have been noticing Eun-Seok tall handsome friend, wondering when does he get to be a lead or second lead in a drama.

  35. 35 Katy

    OMG my heart is breaking seriously Hee Joo’s mother saying it’s over, poor Eun-seok & I have a feeling I’m going to cry waterfalls at the end of this series.

  36. 36 OLI

    I love this drama very much. But if I have one negative comment, it’s that Yeon-jae’s physical appearance has not deteriorated yet. If she’s receiving cancer treatments at the hospital, I surmise it may be either chemo or some kind of radiation treatments, right? In that case, shouldn’t her hair have fallen off after the treatment? Apart from this and the chaebol/fiancee dilemna which jv has pointed out, I love almost everything about the drama.

    • 36.1 LaGaviota

      No, it really depends on the treatment, your personal genetic makeup and other factors. I had breast cancer at 23 and due to the age and agressiveness of my cancer, I was given very heavy chemo, and I never lost a single hair…and actually ended up gaining 20lbs in just a couple months cause I had to eat so much due to the chemo (and this was almost 15 years ago so they’ve even improved things now).

      I don’t know about gallblader cancer treatment at all, but it’s all really dependent. And the anti-nausea drugs they have now are amazing.

      I have to say I think they’re being amazingly realistic with alot of this stuff…well, except for that huge red book on ES’s desk entitled BLOOD. That’s just hysterical every time I spot it.

      • 36.1.1 yumi

        The hospital is a research facility, and Yeon-Jae is a part of an experimental treatment protocol. Maybe that explains the huge red book, entitled BLOOD.


        all right, but that’s all I got.

      • 36.1.2 OLI

        Thanks for the info! At least, I know that hair loss is not always automatic for chemo therapy.
        I’m glad to know, too, that you have survived cancer. May God continue to bless you and give you a healthy body.

      • 36.1.3 Missdrama

        That book is quite realistic…it’s a common textbook for any hematologist/oncologist to have…I actually enjoyed that they put some real medical touches on the show. Even YJ’s CT had an actual abnormality at the gallbladder, that I saw when I froze the screen on it. The only thing obviously fake was the CPR scenes.

    • 36.2 malta

      I don’t know about her appearance…Hee joo didn’t look like she was gonna up and die right then, but she did.

      Someone close to me died of gallbladder cancer some time ago and his appearance deteriorated considerably. Gallbladder cancer is a beast…one of the most unforgiving and cruel types of cancer you can get. Whatever experimental treatment Yeon jae is receiving, I don’t think it’s very realistic, but that’s ok. This drama is so good anyways.

  37. 37 Hanare

    T T this drama really makes me cry!!! Its like my fav novel A Walk To Remember… But with different character… Oooo i’m egarly waitin how this gonna end!

  38. 38 su choo

    watched it this morning and its the night time and my eyes are sore!!!!!!! all the crying….so….so…..sad!!!! eun seok devastated that his patient died so quickly. my goodness how fast are the writers planning to kill off the yeon jae next??? it needs to be extended!!!! seriously!!

  39. 39 babyfat

    hee-joo’slast dance on the top roof scene is heart breaking . Very little actions nor words but it cut my heart like a knife – OMG this is worst than stairway to heaven

  40. 40 shuanacoo

    This takes me back to A walk to remember… Yes, a miracle would be great that she would live, but through all the ups and downs in this drama revealing everything to us step by step, it also needs it’s closure. The gift of her presence in their lives, the miracle that she was there and the dramatic change she made in each of their lives without them realizing it themselves… beautiful movie this is!

  41. 41 Noelle

    This was a really good episode. Ya know I’m so freaking thankful that EKJ didn’t have to serve any jail time or whatever for that DUI. So flipping thankful. He is doing an awesome job. I can’t imagine this show without him.

  42. 42 asianromance

    Thanks for the recap! Just reading the recap is making the tears (and snot! plugged my nostrils with tissue so I can write this comment) flow like crazy!

    soooo glad they kept the chaebol opposition mostly out of the spotlight.

    Hee-jooooo!!! I had always hoped that she would make some miraculous recovery. I’m heartbroken that she died. But so glad she got her tango with Eun-seok. And when that webtoon image popped up, I lost it!

    “I’m vastly relieved that Mom didn’t find out the truth accidentally, or through somebody else’s hand”– i agree!!

    (I wonder if Hee-joo’s webtoons will get published in real life–as in real life outside of the drama)

    • 42.1 Daniela

      “I wonder if Hee-joo’s webtoons will get published in real life–as in real life outside of the drama”

      I would love that. Please, please!

  43. 43 x0mi07

    I got up extra early to read this. Thank you so much for the wonderful recap. I’m crying a lot right now so I bet I’ll be all puffy when I get to work. But it really was a beautiful episode. Can’t wait til the subs are out so I can watch it. Thanks again JB for tiding me over til then. *hugs*

  44. 44 yumi

    This episode was less about Yeon-Jae’s bucket list and more about the viewer’s bucket. The bucket they needed to catch their tears to keep their house/apartments from flooding.

    This is THE Eun-Seok episode. Well written, well acted by all, but Eun Seok was brilliant.

    The tango scene, the two-parter breakdown in the half-lit hallway and the reviewing the webtoon all required two buckets each.

    I’ve always suspected that in addition to a lack of social skills, one of the reasons Eun-Seok came off as being so cold wasn’t because he lacked feeling, but because he was always endanger of feeling too much and attaching too deeply and hadn’t learned how to put up appropriate barriers between him and people he comes to care about.

    Even his relationship with Yeon-Jae suggests a tendency towards deep attachments. She was kind to him twenty-five years ago but there is no indication on her part that he was very special to her. Yet she (and her kindness) looms large for him and he kept all the mementoes of their relationship.

    Through his episode you see him trying to detach from her in some extent. He seemed to have decided to go to MD Anderson, he returns her book to her–which he didn’t have to, and gives the dog away. I think he did this because he doesn’t want to watch her die. [That doesn’t sound right, because it makes him seem like a coward] Now that he knows that Ji-Wook is there for Yeon-Jae, I don’t think he wants to watch her die when he should but doesn’t have the power to save her.

  45. 45 anotheraddict

    Thanks for all your hard work, as always, JB.

    For me, the last several episodes have been disappointing in terms of the writing, but this one was so poignant! I loved the way Puppy-seok was finally able to embrace Hee-joo and all that she represented. Actually, every single tango scene in this drama, from YJ’s cathartic dance with the Brazilian to Hee-joo’s last-wish-tango, has been truly awesome.

    I hope JW continues to do volunteer with children after YJ’s passing– kids can be so healing and he’ll need an outlet into which he can pour all his love.

  46. 46 maria

    that was really beautiful. it made more sense for me telling her mom would be the hardest hing to do.
    i have many many words to describe this drama, but a rom-com it ain’t— i think somewhere in my heart (because it ‘s wookie and kim sun ah after all), i was still expecting it to be. i was, however, NOT expecting it to be so real. so this episode (after that long stretch of going more cliche-way, as jb described) REALLY knocked the wind out of me, and that’s a good thing, i think. after my sob-fest, i feel hazy and ill-equipped to wax poetic about why i thoughtthis episode was beautiful, for me it just truly, truly was.


  47. 47 yumi

    One of the things that is problematic for me about this series is that they did not set up/identify this Cancer Unit as a place for people in later stages of a cancer diagnosis with little hope of recovery.

    As a result everyone that is introduced on the series with a cancer diagnosis seems to be terminal.
    Yeon-Jae’s father
    and it looks like Yeon-Jae herself.

    That does not accurate portray the current reality of cancer treatment and sends a message of hopelessness.

    Yeon-Jae isn’t dead yet, and as much as I will mourn her passing, I can’t see a way they can make her live without invoking deus ex machina and cheapening the drama.

    So it seems to me that the series is saying cancer=death.

    • 47.1 momosan

      Nope, SK’s Dad had a tumor found on a CT scan after he had an angina attack. Called in Eun Seok for a consult and it was deemed operable and curable. Her brother remarked something to the effect that she went from being a zero to a hero since she went from causing the angina attack to being the indirect cause of them finding the tumor.

      The writers clearly picked a cancer for Yeon Jae that has an incredibly low survival rate if it’s gone beyond the gallbladder. Generally in k-drama land, if they want to cure you, they go for leukemia.

      • 47.1.1 yumi

        Thanks for the reminder. That issue went so fast I forgot about it.

      • 47.1.2 missy_k

        haizzz… so by choosing gallbladder cancer, the writer is not giving YJ any chances of a miraculous recovery ah? so sad T_T

  48. 48 girlatsea

    Before Korean dramas I never cried watching a movie or any American show. I read half the recap before I realized that I had to watch this episode fist. Now I’m crying like a baby. God, what will I do when Yeon-jae dies. ;_;

    Thanks for the recap! If it wasn’t for you guys I wouldn’t be watching this drama.

    • 48.1 girlatsea

      Also, all of the Eun-Seokie scenes in this episode were just heartbreaking. Eom Ki Joon is such a great actor.

  49. 49 ayo

    i’m not crying, i’m not crying, i SWEAR i’m not crying.
    ugh. the worse part in all of this is knowing that they have to die. i was expecting Hee-Joo’s death, but why did it have to be so dang moving D;
    fufufufufu i’m not crying. i’m not crying.
    i’m not crying at all. ;__;

  50. 50 Tina

    I really love this episode as well. I saw this before any English sub and was bummed out by all the tears and sadness. But when I watched it with the English sub, I was actually heartened by the message of love and courage in this episode. The one thing about this series that I really appreciate is the depth of character that the writers have imbued LYJ and Ji Wook. A lot of times, I watch dramas and I wonder what is so great about the heroine, but in this drama, I really see by Ji Wook would fall in love with LYJ. She has a lot of strength and so much heart – like when she tells Ji Wook that although he’s important to her, he’s not her entire life and so he should not make her his entire life either. The writers did an excellent job developing both of their characters.

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