Summer Scent

Reviewed by: il_mare

December 16, 2003

Rating: three

Yoo Min-woo: Song Seung Hun (Autumn Story)
Shim Hye-won: Son Ye Jin (Delicious Proposal)
Park Jung-jae: Ryu Jin (Who's My Love)
Park Jung-ah: Han Ji Hye (Scent of a Man)
So Eun-hye (Min-woo's deceased girlfriend): Shin Ae
Oh Jang-mi: Jo Eun Sook (Propose)
Ji Dae-poong (Min-woo's upperclassman): Ahn Jung Hoon (Sunflower/My Lady)

For more info on the cast (in Korean), go to :


While in college, Min-woo loses his first love Un-hae in a car accident. Her heart is donated to Hye-won, a high school student suffering from heart problems. Many years later, Hye-won is a professional florist with a bright and healthy personality. She is happily settled and engaged to her long-time boyfriend, Jung-jae.

Min-woo comes back from his studies in Italy, but is still grieving over his first love. Jun-ah, Jung-jae’s sister, is in love with Min-woo, who was her senior in Italy. She comes back from her studies as well, to track Min-woo down.

Hye-won sprains her ankle while hiking in the hills. She meets Min-woo who was hiking, and both spend a night in the hills where Min-woo takes care of Hye-won. During the chanced encounter, Min-woo finds many similarities between Hye-won and his deceased girlfriend, and is immediately attracted to her. Hye-won in turn notices that her heart beats in an uncontrollable manner when Min-woo is around, and is puzzled by the response. As Min-woo thinks Hye-won is married, they part ways without exchanging each other’s names and contact details.

As fate would have it, Min-woo and Hye-won have another chanced meeting at the hometown (tea garden) of Un-hae. They spend an unforgettable day at the tea garden, both feeling a connection. But they do not manage to exchange any information again this time. But as destiny has charted out for them, Min-woo and Hye-won will meet again because of the Kara Holiday Resort project.

Jung-jae’s hotel chain buys over a Holiday Resort and is planning to have it renovated. Min-woo’s proposal (who is an Artistic Director for such projects) is accepted as the winning bid.

When Min-woo and Hyw-won meet for the third time, both are formally introduced, and find out that they will be working on the project together. Min-woo also finds out that Hye-won is not married but engaged to Jung-jae. Min-woo sees his first love's shadow in Hye-won, and believes that Hye-won is the second person to let him love again. And with the commencement of the Holiday Resort project, the love lives of the 4 leads start to get complicated.

As both interact more during the project, Jung-jae notices the mutual attraction, and pushes for Hye-won to have their engagement ceremony. On the day of the engagement, Hye-won faints, and is admitted to the hospital. While she is hospitalized, Hye-won has a dream. She dreams that someone gave her encouragement, and a hand to lead her out of her coma. When she awakes, she thinks the person is Jung-jae. But later, when Hye-won eventually finds out that the person giving her those encouragements is Min-woo, she realizes that she is also in love with him.

Against all odds, Min-woo and Hye-won end up together. However, as both Jung-jae and Jung-ah refuse to give up easily, their union becomes strained with the guilt and emotional baggage of their previous relationships.

When it is eventually revealed that Un-hae’s heart is beating in Hye-won, it creates a further rift in their fragile relationship as both are confused whether their inexplicable attraction is due to this common link that they share, Un-hae’s heart. Min-woo is overcome with guilt on his treatment of Hye-won as Un-hae’s replacement. Hye-won is also unsure of her feelings for Min-woo, and as she does not wish to constantly remind Min-woo of Un-hae with her presence, Hye-won decides to break up with Min-woo.

Min-woo tries relentlessly to win Hye-won back, but convinced that he is burdened with his deceased girlfriend’s shadow in her, Hye-won decides to go back to Jung-jae and marry him to let Min-woo give up on her entirely.

On her wedding day, Hye-won finds out that Min-woo is leaving for Italy to continue his studies. And on his way to the airport, Min-woo drops by the hotel to take a last peek at Hye-won. Hye-won spots him with the distinct heartbeat she feels when Min-woo is around. She chases after his car and faints. Her condition has become critical as her body is rejecting the transplanted heart. In order to save her life, she has to go through a major operation. Hye-won is unwilling to have another operation, as she will possibly be bed-ridden for the rest of her life.

Jung-jae begs Min-woo to convince Hye-won to undergo the operation, and Min-woo agrees to talk to her. Hye-won agrees to Min-woo’s plea, but in exchange requests that Min-woo leaves Korea. Jung-jae lies to Min-woo about the results of the operations, informing him that Hye-won died during the operation.

But Hye-won actually survives the operation, and receives a man-made heart instead. 3 years later, Min-woo returns to Korea for another project. Both leads have another meeting, and Hye-won’s heart starts to beat and respond the same way when she passes by Min-woo.

It was with great expectations that I saw Summer Scent and with great disappointment that I write this review. I followed Summer Scent in quick succession to Winter Love Song, and I regret to inform all fans of the 4-seasons series that the highly anticipated third installment is so far the weakest one that has been produced. I am not sure whether the problem was with the script, the poor execution of the actors or the weak plot.

There were also many similarities with Winter Love Song, e.g. subject of destiny and fate having laid out the one person for you; the male lead’s hairdo; the male leads involved in architecture-related work; the key place that love blossomed between the male and female leads a result of working on revamping a resort (Ski resort for Winter Love Song, and a Holiday resort for Summer Scent); both leads starting off with partners that were crazy about them; the female lead had to betray all those whom she loved to be with the male lead, both leads separated for 3 years before getting back together, etc. Too many similarities, too little originality, too few memorable moments, and too weak a plot basically sum up my view of the show.

The drama started out with a good story about the female lead being the beneficiary of a heart transplant, and eventually falling in love with the fiancé of the heart donor. The entire build up to their eventual union was good and convincing. The only unbelievable part was the steadfastness of Jung-jae’s affection for Hye-won. He was willing to ignore the fact that Hye-won was falling for Min-woo. He also refused her request to break up, and firmly believed that she would be his, and that he was the only one for Hye-won. And he even suggested marriage to Hye-won when she was trying to break up with Min-woo so that Min-woo would give up on her completely.

But it goes downhill after they got together. I felt that the latter part of the serial required much stronger delivery by the leads as it deals with mostly the emotional struggles on trying to affirm their relationship. The story got draggy and the execution by the leads was not convincing.

The entire script is peppered with “I’m sorry”, and “Thank you”, which is extremely frustrating to watch as they keep repeating the same lines over and over again. The serial was not able to carry my emotions as the story proceeded, like it did in the previous installments.

The only saving grace was that the serial kept with the traditions of Autumn Tale and Winter Love Song, exhibiting some of Korea’s beautiful sights, and had an excellent OST. The director used matching umbrellas and outfits when shooting the raining scenes, and applied different color schemes to bring out the different characteristics of the various roles in the serial.

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