Cigarette Girl – Season 1 Episode 3 “Red” Recap & Review


Episode 3 of Cigarette Girl begins right where the previous one left off. Raja and Jeng Yah get intimate, and the former says that his likes the tobacco smell on Jeng Yah’s hands. Lebas and Arum share an awkward moment.

Jeng Yah prepares a special cigarette for Raja

After the opening montage, we are taken back to 1964. Flyers drop down from the sky marketing Proklamasi cigarettes. Jeng Yah says that they must take a counter measure but her father rubbishes it off by saying that Mr Djagad is only jealous because he (Mr Idroes) has something that Mr Djagad does not have. He looks at Jeng Yah’s mother while saying this.

Jeng Yah offers a new cigarette to Raja, and he appreciates her talent. Mr Dibjo is handing out incense to the workers to cleanse the place after Jeng Yah enters the mixing room.

Later we see Raja talking to a man at the local market. That man is one of the customers of Raja’s outside business. He demands double the amount of tobacco for the next two months from Raja and he agrees. He also asks if Raja wants to join the political party. Raja subtly rejects the offer, but the man offers Raja a wad of cash in payment.

Raja and Jeng Yah are at a distance but not without keeping track of each other’s movements. When Jeng Yah is clearing the table, one of her documents on distillation falls out. Raja sees this and subtly picks it up.

He brings the necessary materials for Jeng Yah, and she gives Raja a newly made cigarette with a new flavor. She asks him to drink something before smoking. He identifies the emulsion of some herbs used to prepare the Wedang drink, and she says it is nutmeg.

When he remarks that the cloves taste different, Jeng Yah says that she used the sandalwood incense Mr Dibjo was using yesterday and burned the cloves with it. He also smells rose too.

Jeng Yah wants to tell her father about her and Raja’s relationship. Raja says that he is not yet capable of meeting her father as her lover. He needs to set up his own business first and show his capabilities. She also reminds that they don’t have much time since she is engaged now.

New Year… New Beginnings?

Lebas drives Arum to her home. When she enters her house, she sees the roof tile has moved causing the rain water to flood her house. She goes up the roof to fix it and although Lebas offers his help, Arum tells him to mop the floor. Lebas is quite clumsy in his task and Arum shows him the right way.

Arum makes a quick dinner for the two of them. Lebas enquires if Arum’s mother had dinner yet and she confirms, saying that her mother has to follow a regular schedule owing to her medication. She adds that her mother is out like a log after taking her medication.

Lebas asks Arum about her mother’s profession. She worked several odd jobs to make ends meet. She would sew, work at supermarkets, sell jewellery, etc. Arum adds that she feels indebted to her mother and hence wants to do everything she can for her. They resume reading the rest of the letters.

Raja’s voiceover tells us what comes next. Everyone was celebrating the new year, but Jeng Yah is in her corner alone. Raja sees Jeng Yah but does not go to her. He engages in a conversation with Rukayah and Purwanti. Jeng Yah’s mother sits next to her and tells her to not do this after marriage for it would make her husband feel lonely. She adds that Seno has put in a request for his transfer to the city. Jeng Yah shows no signs of visible happiness and leaves to the front yard.

Meanwhile, Raja is talking to the girls. He notes Jeng Yah standing at the gate. Seno soon arrives there, and Raja’s demeanour changes the moment he sees them interact. Seno greets Jeng Yah’s family, and when Seno and Jeng Yah are alone he gifts her a roll of batik print cloth.

Jeng Yah refuses to accept it. She cannot marry Seno because she loves someone else. She looks at Raja after saying this and Seno sees it too. He accepts her decision and says that she can always come to him for help and he leaves.

Jeng Yah’s parents are angry and worried about Jeng Yah rejecting Seno’s match. She says she is in love with someone else. Raja overhears the conversation. He apologises to Jeng Yah’s parents, and asks her parents to let her get engaged to Raja. Her parents are in utter shock. Mr Idroes tells Jeng Yah to go to her room and to leave the house. Raja says that despite the separation he plans to reunite with Jeng Yah again.

Gadis Kretek

Arum gives a set of bedding to Lebas. The two share a light moment and Arum leaves but Lebas calls for her help soon when he sees a lizard on the wall. Lebas speaks to his mother on the phone. The mother-son duo share a few light hearted words but his mother does warn him to not bring home whatever that he is out searching for. He resumes reading Raja’s letter.

It is year 1965 now. Raja gets a part-time job at Mr Mul’s factory. He refuses to join a full-time job because he has other stuff to tend to. He talks to Mr Idroes at the market. He apologies to Mr Idroes and reassures Mr Idroes that his feelings for Jeng Yah are honest and pure. Mr Idroes says that he only wants best for Jeng Yah. Raja says that he might not reunite with Jeng Yah again. He tells Mr Idroes about Jeng Yah’s talent as a flavor maker. Mr Idroes is surprised.

Raja goes to Jeng Yah to tell her the good news that her father likes the new cigarette flavor and also approves of their relationship. Medreka launches a new flavor named Kretek Gadis, which would make one remember a woman. Mr Idroes hosts a movie screening to boost the new launch. Mr Djagad also tries the new cigarette and looks longingly at Jeng Yah’s mother. Seno also joins in and he berates Raja’s social standing and reveals his past. Mr Djagad sits a row behind Jeng Yah’s mother.

Seno and Raja share a few pointed words. Without beaconing, Mr Djagad says that Jeng Yah has her mother talents. He remarks on the roses and leaves. Seno warns Raja that if any harm befalls Jeng Yah because of Raja then Seno won’t spare Raja. Raja and Jeng Yah leave the space to get something to eat.

One Year Later

It is 1966. Mr Djagad is angry that the new packaging’s delivery is delayed. The reason is the huge order from Mr Idroes. Raja arrives at the shop and requests Mr Janto to complete Mr Djagad’s order first. He then asks for his order – it is the invite for his and Jeng Yah’s reception.

Mr Djagad remarks Raja’s strategy. He says that he can beat Seno now but when Raja asks Mr Djagad to explain himself, Mr Djagad says that he knows that Raja is the one making new cigarette flavours and now Raja is set to marry Jeng Yah. Mr Djagad tries to poison Raja’s mind against Mr Idroes and also offers a 3x salary compensation.

After receiving first half of his packaging order, he leaves. Mr Janto gives Raja his print order, congratulates him and also hands over a set of cigarettes from Mr Mulyadi (Mr Mul) and Mr Agus. Mr Mul and Agus’s brand of cigarettes was shut down after their party disbanded.

On the radio, we hear the announcer deliver the news about the latest political situation. The government has dissolved and prohibited the Red party, their affiliations and anyone remotely related to the party. Just then we see Raja hand over the pack of cigarettes to a group of workers. The pack of cigarettes is the one given by Mr Mul, who was a member of the Red party.

The group of workers discuss about a certain Mr Kandar who has been missing for a few days now. Raja reaches Jeng Yah’s house and shows the wedding invite to Jeng Yah.

Mr Idroes remarks at the new tea set. Jeng Yah said that those are the new freebies with the cigarettes after lighters and bicycles. The tea sets would make the wives want to complete a collection, thus allowing their husbands to buy Medreka’s Gadis Kretek cigarettes.  

A while later, Raja enters Jeng Yah’s room and asks if she wants anything from the market. She says she doesn’t want anything. She sits next to him and they proclaim their love to each other. She then remembers Rukayah asking for something heads out to ask Rukayah if she wants anything from the market.

Lebas meets Rukayah

Lebas finishes reading the letter and goes out to Arum’s clinic. He finds it locked and turns to head back when one of his brothers call him. His brother asks if Lebas can make it to the shareholder meeting the next morning. Lebas says he cannot since he is still not done with his search for Jeng Yah.

His brother reprimands Lebas for shirking responsibility. Rukayah, who was asleep, wakes up to Lebas’ voice. She goes out of her room to see who it is. There, she sees Lebas leaning to the wooden frame and is reminded of Raja.

She remembers asking Raja to get her ginger candy from the market. Raja goes to the market, but it is oddly dishelved and deserted as well. The door of Mr Janto’s press is painted with a red X. A person peeks from behind a window and closes the curtain as soon as Raja spots him. Raja’s voiceover tells us that something strange happened that night.

The old Rukayah holds onto Lebas and says that “they” took her sister away when she did not do anything wrong. Mr Idroes’ house is also painted with a red X mark. He is taken away by the soldiers. Old Rukayah says that “they” were also looking for Raja that night. Parallely, we see Lebas’s father Raja showing signs of panic and instability.

When young Raja returned from the market, he saw the tragedy befall Jeng Yah and her family. Mr Idroes was struck in the head and rendered unconscious by one of the soldiers. Jeng Yah, Rukayah, their mother and Marem look on helplessly. Raja does not stay still and goes after Mr Idroes. A soldier points his gun at Raja and we hear a trigger sound as the credits rolls.

The Episode Review

Talk about personal happiness eclipsed by politics! Jeng Yah and Raja’s love story was finally seeing a smooth sailing, but it won’t be the one for the books without a dose of tragedy to it, right? An ill-fated union as hinted from the beginning, Jeng Yah and Raja’s match causes altering effects to them and those around them. Seno being in the army, his warning to Raja, the government blacklist the Red party, all these were imply foreshadowing the ill-fate that Jeng Yah and Raja would have to face.

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