Winter Sonata Drama Recap

Winter Sonata – Episode 1

Posted by Shukmeister

Hello everyone!  Shukmeister here.  I’ve decided to recap what is considered among many circles as the first South Korean television drama that became successful internationally. Since it’s original airing in 2002, It was adapted to a anime series and a musical, created an entire tourism economy based on the filming locations, and is credited with creating the second “Hallyu Wave”, extending South Korean culture beyond its borders.  It also has a soundtrack that I still enjoy and listen to, even now.


What I found out, though, is that it has never been recapped online; at least, I’ve never been able to track it down.  Therefore,  I wanted to give back to one of the first Asian shows I ever watched.  And because it is old, the videos are a bit grainy and hardsubbed.  But that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the series!


WS 01 01

Our chronically-late student is hoofing it towards the bus station; this is our first glimpse of Jong Yoo-jin (Choi Ji-woo).  She catches up with another student, Kim Sang-hyuk (Park Yong-ha), just in time for the arrival of the bus.  It’s already extremely crowded, but she manages to get on.  Sang-hyuk, however, is left behind to wait for the next bus.

01 - 01 bus meet

As the bus empties, she finds herself dozing on the shoulder of a stranger dressed like a student from her school.  She also finds out that they missed the bus stop.  Once they are dropped off, she berates him for missing the stop and orders him to share a taxi.  He complies with few words.

At the school, she runs for the front gates, while he stops for a leisurely cigarette.  She leaves him there and enters the campus, only to get stopped by Gargamel, one of the stern professors.  She ends up kneeling in punishment with a classmate of hers, Kong Jin-sook (Lee Hy-eun).  It appears to be a familiar scenario for the two friends.  When the new student shows up at the gates, Yoo-jin flashes him a look of anger.

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In class, a student is reading an apology letter out loud.  His punishment is cut short when the new student arrives.  He is introduced to the class as Kang Joon-sang (Bae Yong-jun). During a break, the girls speculate about the new kid; the rumor mill is th  at he is a math genius.  The obvious princess of the group, Oh Chae-rin (Park Sol-mi) decides to add him to her man collection, but he studiously ignores her, much to the catty glee of the rest.

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As the president of the class, Sang-hyuk asks him what afterschool club he wants to join, but Joon-sang just leaves the classroom.  Yoon-jin chases after him, and you can already see that she intends to act as a bossy noona.  She pushes him to choose just as Sang-hyuk walks into the hallway, and Joon-sang tells her to sign him up for whatever club the President is in.

Turns out our groups of friends are all also in the same club, which runs the campus radio station. There’s a problem with the transmitter, and the new kid finally helps by checking the wiring and gets the equipment up and running.  Princess is all about the cheery aegyo, and Yoo-jin looks at him speculatively.  Later, when they are cleaning the classroom, she catches him staring at Sang-hyuk, and mentions it to her friend when the two of them leave the school together.

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She tries to walk around the top of a low-lying fence.  When things get shaky, Sang-hyuk offers her a hand, but she refuses, stating only that “one special person” will be able to hold her hand.  And it’s clear Sang-hyuk wants to be that person.

In the school library, Joon-sang is looking through yearbooks until he pulls the 1966 one out and starts looking at the photos, until he finds a match to a rather battered photo of a couple.  He stares intently at it.

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We cut to a college math class, where the man in the picture is teaching differential equations.  Joon-sang is sitting in the back of the classroom when the professor asks someone to solve the equation on the chalkboard.   He asks if anyone would like to try, and Joon-sang walks to the front of the class.  His equation problem-solving appears unique but correct to the professor, who realizes up close that the person who solved the equation is a high school student.

Outside the classroom, the teacher asks if he was there to request early entrance into the university.  Joon-sang denies this, but before the teacher to delve into further his son calls out to him.  Who happens to be Sang-hyuk.  Joon-sang ducks out and disappears before his classmate recognizes him.

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Joon-sang’s mother is at home when he makes it back.  She is a concert pianist, just stopping home for a short time before headlining in concerts in Japan.  Their relationship is cordial if not exactly warm.  She wonders why he wanted to go to her old high school when he was doing well in the States.  He says he wants to go to the same school where she met his father.  “And who is my father?”  She snaps back that his father is dead.  And now we see some tension between them.  Was he born out of wedlock?  She plans to go back to their place in America after her current round of concerts.

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In sharp contrast, it’s happy dinner time at the Kim residence.  Professor Dad is telling them about the high school student he met today, but the best math student in his school is Yoo-jin.  Mom chides her son for putting that girl on a pedestal, and Professor Dad mentions he is going to the memorial day ceremony for his old school friend.  This touches a sore spot for Mom, but everything is smoothed over and they continue to eat.  Outside, Joon-sang is looking at the family through the window.  Clearly he is harboring the possibility that the man in the photo, and the man at the dinner table, may be his biological father.

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In the morning Yoo-jin is late again, but stops the bus by jumping in front of it.  Really, school isn’t nearly as important as your life, really.  Still, it stops and she clambers on,  She recognizes Jang-soo on the bus, but studiously ignores him.  She ends up falling asleep on the bus, but he taps the glass just as the bus pulls away.  Hee hee.   The tardy teacher is manning the gate, so Yoo-jin grabs Joon-sang and leads him to a wall, when she enlists his help in climbing over.  He is amused while removes her shoes and uses his back as a step stool.  He doesn’t say anything, except that she is heavy. Once she is on top, he pops over the wall with little effort and offers to help her down on the other side.  She gets all princessy, but takes his help.  He puts her shoes back on, and easily lifts her down.  She’s a little flustered at the close proximity.

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He’s late to the radio studio, so she pops in Frank Mills’ lively “Music Box Dancer” and broadcasts a short editorial on responsibility.  Joon-sang is relaxing on a rooftop, but smiles when he hears it.  While playing Abba’s “Dancing Queen“,   he finally shows up, but breaks into a smile as he see Yoo-jin dancing to her own jive.   She catches him staring at her from the door, and quickly ducks from embarrassment.

01 - 02 DancingHe steps into the control room like nothing happen, flipping through a sketchbook of still lifes.  In the sound room, she’s pretending like she is reading the album cover when she see him looking at her artwork.  She starts yelling at him through the glass, but he just smiles a little and doesn’t make eye contact.  Just when she yells “Hey!” she switches her mike.  Her screech is heard all over campus, bringing the other radio boys running.  They arrive just as she stomps out, sketchbook in hand. They run into the studio where Joon-sang is sitting calm as you please.

During recess, Apology Boy lays his head onto the lap of Yoo-jin’s BFF.  He tells her there’s something going on between her friend and the new kid, and that opposites attract. He has a bad premonition of trouble to come, since Sang-hyuk’s feelings are transparent, even though Yoo-jin has friendzoned him.

In music class, the students are tested on the piano, and the music teacher gives Joon-sang a week to show some proficiency.  At volleyball, Joon-sang is all over Sang-hyuk’s position.  The class president tells him they have to work as a team, and the transfer student snarks that book-learning is nothing. That gets a collar-grab, but Joon-sang just growls a question: “What, were you taught that violence is bad?”  He breaks free and leaves the court.

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Yoo-jin is heading for the water fountain, and confronts Kang Joon-sang there.  Do you have something against Sang-hyuk?  He asks, are you going steady?  And jogs off before she can think of a snappy comeback.

On the way off campus, Sang-hyuk and Yoo-jin are heading out together, and the class president asks in a moment of weakness, “Do I look like a wimp?”  She teases him out of his moment of seriousness, all while Joon-sang watches from a distance.  Chae-rin sees him, and moves in for a kill,  explaining that the couple have been an item for a long time.  She blithely goes on to say since he joined the radio club because of her, she is ready to date him.  He scoffs and blows her off, telling her to use that great imagination for something better.

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Yoo-jin is sketching her little sister, who can’t sit still long enough to complete the profile.  A phone call interrupts them, and Hee-jin gleefully scampers off.  It’s her mom on the phone, and Yoo-jin meets her at a clothing market, where she manages a stall. After some chit-chat, she heads back home, past a street food stall where Joon-sang had finished eating.

In an alleyway, Yoo-jin get accosted by a drunken ahjussi.  Joon-sang pulls him away, but the old guy comes up swinging, and they end up at the police station.  Drunk Ahjussi spins a tale of seduction while the two youngsters wait.  She gives him a handkerchief for his wounds, and asks him to call his parents so she doesn’t upset her mom.  The police officer demands they contact their legal guardian, leading both of them to admit they don’t have dads.

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Outside the police station, she asks about his parents, but, instead of responding, he asks his previous question: Do you like Sang-hyuk?  She recoils and explains they are just childhood friends because their fathers were friends in high school.  She then asks him, did you transfer out to the sticks because you got in trouble in a school in Seoul? He tells her he is there to find someone, but they aren’t close enough to share secrets.  He leaves her, but she tosses him medicine for his scratches and gets the last word in.  He seems to like that.

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At school, Sanng-hyuk notices the bandage on her neck, but before he can look at it, a loud Chae-rin asks about the bandage on Joon-sang’s neck.  And the two friends both glance between the couple.  Jin-sook is worried about the next piano test, and her fortune-telling loverboy loses no time in telling her the Fates predict another dismal grade.  That gets Yoo-jin thinking, and she pulls Joon-sang into a room with a spare piano to show him the basics of fingering.  She plays a halting redition of a song.  He smiles when she finishes, and completes the musical passage. He briefly smiles and says he never told her he could n’t play.  He then goes on to play this drama’s signature piece, “First Time”.

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Joon-sang stares out the window as she plays a few chords.  He sees Sang-hyuk talking to the other pair, clearly looking for Yoo-jin.  He turns to her and asks if she wants to do something. That “something” is play hooky, and they sit at the back of the bus.  He reacts to her hair flying against his face.  They end up going to Namesoon Island  and play among the falling leaves.  He is enjoying her company as she hops onto his shadow.  He tells a story of a guy who ended up in a shadow land where no one could hear him feeling alone and lonely.  She laughs at him and tells him he needs friends, jumping up on a nearby log.  She nearly falls, and he offers his hand.  She decides to take it.  Aww, the beginnings of romance.

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He rents a bicycle and they go for a ride through the park.  They are both clearly happy in each other’s company, and are still amicably chatting as the sun starts going down.  He finally tells her his quest to find his father, and that he believes he found him.  Ooh, so he believes the professor is his biological dad. He feels ambivalent about meeting him, moving from curiosity to sadness that he didn’t recognize him.  Joon-sang matter of factly thinks she still resents the person who fathered him.   It’s dark when they final catch the last boat and head home.  They walk together to Yoo-jin’s house, where Sang-hyuk is waiting with her bookbag and her coat. He snipes that he took study notes for her too.  Just then, Professor Dad shows up for the memorial service, and Joon-sang quickly averts his head and leaves, ending up on a park bench touching the damaged picture of his mom and the Professor Dad.

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After the memorial service, little Hee-jin goes through the family scrapbook with her sister.  And there, inside the scrapbook, is a duplicate of Joon-sang’s picture, except that there are two men in the picture.  Yoo-jin identifies the woman as their father’s old girlfriend.  Who is Joon-sang’s mother.

WS 01 29


This episode does a nice job of introducing our primary characters in a way that we already have, if not a complete idea, at least what trope they may be: Perfect Class President, The Pretty Girl, The Reliable Best Friend, The Taciturn New Guy, and The Woman Who Knows Them All.  It seems a little early to already have a birth secret revealed, but the final shot of the photograph, showing two different men, implies that there is more to the story than we have been given.

Winter Sonata – Episode 2

Posted by Shukmeister


Shuk:  Episode 2 still has us back in the bonny days of 1992 as our pair grow closer.  As one of my first SK melodramas, this episode had the majority of the cute before all the angst began to muck up everything.   And we get the snow motif that is the cornerstone of the drama.


The Jong family is having a memorial service for the patriarch, and Professor Kim and Sang-hyuk participate.  Once it’s over they leave, never noticing Kang Joon-sang lurking in the shadows outside Yoo-jin’s house.

The next day they share a smile before reaching the classroom, where everyone claps and cheers for the couple, even humming the wedding song.  It all comes a halt when the teacher shows up.  He immediately puts them in front of the chalkboard and dresses them down.  He immediately blames Joon-sang, because, while Yoo-jin is the Queen of Tardiness, she had never played hooky before.  Joon-sang apologizes, but Yoo-jin pipes up that she wanted to sneak out.  The teacher is not pleased, and gives them a month of yardwork as punishment.

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In the bathroom, Jin-sook pulls her classmate aside.  Did scary Joon-sang bully her into leaving campus? Yoo-jin counters he’s a nice guy and not scary at all.  Just then, Chae-rin and her cronies show up, and she immediately gets into Yoo-jin’s face. Since she already called dibs on the new guy, was she trying to seduce him?  Yoon-jin cheekily counters: How many tails does Chae-rin have under her uniform (implying she is a gumiho / nine-tailed fox), flips up her skirt, and runs off laughing while Chae-rin fumes.

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Our hooky pair are doing their punishment.  Yoo-jin mentions that the burning leaves smell like her late father’s tobacco.  Joon-sang is thoughtful, and asks her if  she has ever made a mistake, does she never make it again, or continue to make it, knowing it is wrong?

Yoo-jin thinks for a moment, and asks what does he mean?   He replies, “You decide not to see someone again, would you keep the promise, or see that person again?”

Her answer is simple. “I would see that person again.”

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Later that night, he thinks about her answer, and ends in front of the Professor’s office.  The Prof offers to tutor him in advanced mathematics because of his abilities. The conversation switches to the Sang-hyuk, and Joon-sang muses aloud that Professor must love his son very much.  The Prof is happy to say that he loves his only son, and all fathers are proud. He hopes they will be friends in school.

At the school in the radio room, Joon-sang brings in some records from home, and watches Yoo-jin as she goes through them.  Aw puppy love is cute.  She chooses one; it turns out to be “First Time”, the song he played on the piano previous.  He offers her the album to keep, but she says he plays it better.

She goes on to say that he was her first for a lot of things: the first time she skipped class; the first time she stepped on someone’s back, and the first time she held a guy’s hand, and the first time she rode a bicycle.  The speech gives him the courage for a first of his own – to ask a girl to the movies. She agrees.

At her house that night, she asks her mom what did she love about Dad?  Mom answers; the way he secretly looked at her and how he acted cool when he really liked her.  This strikes a chord with Yoo-jin, who slaps the table in agreement.  Her mom asks if she is in love, and she eventually admits it.

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At school the next day, the gang is planning an overnight trip Christmas Eve, but Yoo-jin has to decline due to a previous appointment.  Later, Yong-kuk invites Joon-sang to the trip, but he also declines, citing a previous engagement.  Our exponential friend comments out loud at this, which gets Sang-hyuk thinking bad thoughts.  He decides to follow the transfer student and see if he meets up with Yoo-jin.

He doesn’t see Yoo-jin, but it’s almost as perplexing; Joon-sang is meeting up with his dad, doing math things and laughing.  Ooh, is our Class President feeling a bit inferior?

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Joon-sang is the first to arrive at the radio station, but Sang-hyuk isn’t far behind, and immediately asks him why he is bothering his dad.

The two lock horns just as Yoo-jin arrives.  Sang-hyuk wants to know if Joon-sang is after him for some reason; he replies that he hates people who have everything, and he wants to take it all away.  Wow, that’s some big chip you have on your shoulder, Joon-sang.

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The Class President grabs him by the collar and asks him why he way playing around with Yoo-jin.  He admits it, and Yoo-jin pushes in and confronts both of them.  She ask Joon-sang if what he said was true; he doesn’t make eye contact, but tells her yes.  She slaps him, and tells him she has a prior engagement for Saturday.

At home, her mom had prepared an outfit for her Saturday date,   She tell her mom there is a change in plans, and she will be going to the cabin with her friends.  She goes to her room and cries.

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The next morning, the gang is at the train station.  The last person to show up is Joon-sang.  Sang-hyuk and Yoo-jin are less than thrilled.

There’s a smattering of snow in the mountains as they trek to the cabin, our transfer student bringing up the rear.  The two girls are speculating why Joon-sang and Yoo-jin are acting cold to each other.  Chae-rin is convinced he rejected her. Jin-sook thinks it’s Chae-rin that got dumped by Joon-sang.

Chores includes firewood, Christmas tree and stringing lights. Sang-hyuk keeps an eye on our icy pair.  Later that night, they are playing 1N2D games around the fire.   They fish sweet potatoes out of the fire and share stories. The story, a love triangle, touches a chord in Yoo-jin, and she excuses herself to take a walk.  Joon-sng follows her, and tries to talk to her, telling her it was a misunderstanding.  She refuses to listens, telling him he is sure is full of secrets. It culminates it him blurting that every bad thing about him is true.  And she runs off into the woods.

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It gets later and the gang gets worried that she hasn’t returned.  Sang-hyuk and Joon-sang start looking for her.  She’s lost, and scared of the noises.  She falls and hurts her ankle, ending up curled in a miserable little ball.  A bright light has her looking up, and Joon-sang gets a brief view of her tearstained face before she launches herself at him.  The relief for both is palpable.

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Before heading back, Joon-sang tells her.”I wondered whether I should come or not. But if too much time went by, it would be too hard to tell you. I can’t blame you if you hate me, but my feelings are sincere.”  They head back to the cabin with the air cleared between them.  They start walking hand in hand as Joon-sang explains about  Polaris, The North Star.  No matter what happens, if you can find Polaris, you can find your way home.

Everyone at the cabin is pacing, especially Sang-hyuk, when the couple come into view. Everyone also gets an eyeful of the handholding.  The next morning she is walking down from the cabin.  Sang-hyuk realizes she doesn’t have her jacket and heads out behind her.  Before he can catch up, she calls out to Joon-sang, who quickly puts his own jacket on her, leaving Class President fuming.  At the train station, Yong-kuk wants to extend the trip by going out to eat, but a grouchy Sang-hyuk stops that idea, and heads off.  Yoo-jin chases him to ask him what’s wrong.  He starts lecturing her; doesn’t she know Joon-sang is insincere and a liar? And that he is a loner who can never love anybody?  She interrupts him; she likes Joon-sang.  He just storms off without another word.

At the schoolyard incinerator, it’s business as usual as our pair burn leaves.  Yoo-jin laments the lack of snow so far this year. On the first snowfall the year before, she shared way-too spicy dukkbeoki with Sang-hyuk and smiles sadly.  I guess Sang-hyuk is still cold to her after the Christmas Eve Cabin disaster.  Joon-sang attempts to cheer her up by making it snow – leaves that is.  He asks her what are her plans for the first snowfall this year, because he plans to meet a girl at a lake he once played hooky at.   She just smiles and dances with the leaves.

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Then it happens: snow!  They both pretend they “just happened” to be by the lake.  They throw snow, make a rather scary-looking snowman, and a couple of cuter, smaller ones.  She makes the smaller ones kiss, then impishly smooches Joon-sang on the cheek.  He is startled and looks at her, but now she turns shy.  He’s a quick learner, though, and calls her name.  When she looks up, he gives her a kiss on the lips.  The shyness doesn’t stop their fun, as they frolic until it’s late.  They end up back in town, playing twenty questions and eating street food.  He asks her to meet him there on New Year’s Eve night, and he will tell her who is favorite  person is.  They  end up on her front porch, where she gives him her pink mittens to keep his hands warm on the way home.  On impulse she invites him in for dinner.

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Her little sister decides she going to marry the handsome oppa, and is set to entertain him while Yoo-jin unni cooks.  She gets out the family album, and starts showing him all the  photos, trying to convince him that she is better than her older sister because she is cuter and not a picky eater.  He continues to glance through the book and the two sister bicker a bit, until he finds the duplicate photo to the one he has.   He asks Yoo-jin about  the picture; Yoon-jin replies it’s Sang-hyuk’s dad, her dad, and their high school friend. Which we already know is his mom. The two girls go back to the kitchen, while Joon-sang stares at the photo. When thetofu stew is on the table, they go get him, but he is nowhere to be found.

He is actually running away as fast as he can run, but he can’t outrun his thoughts: who really is his father?  He goes all the way to Professor Kim’s office and finally asks him the important questions: does he know the pianist Kang Mi-hee, who went to his high school? Professor says that the girl in the picture was extremely close with Yoo-jin’s dad, and left soon after he got married. Joon-sang’s faces goes through all manner of disbelief.  Professor Kim says he had a crush on the girl too, but she only had eyes for Jong Hyun-soo.   Professor chuckles that it’s all ancient history, but for Joon-ang, it is very much a big big problem.   At home, he thinks in the dark for a while, then calls his mom to tell her he is ready to go back to America.

Winter_Sonata_ep-02[T1][(112148)04-36-05]It’s New Year’s Eve, and Yoo-jin’s little sister is suspicious of her primping.  She offers up her Sanrio earmuffs for extra cuteness.  Meanwhile, Joon-sang is getting into the car, preparing to head to the airport.  It’s snowing again when Yoo-jin makes it to their meeting point and starts checking her watch.  In the car, Joon-sang pulls out the pink mittens, and on impulse, tells the driver to stop so he can meet someone.  It’s clear he intends to meet up with Yoon-jin and tell her everything, including his suspicions of who his father is.  Mom is having none of it and refuses to stop the car, so he jumps out and grabs a taxi.  The traffic is ugly, though, so he chooses to run instead.  Meanwhile the time is ticking.

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He’s almost there, when there’s a blare of horns and  one final word from  Joon-sang: “Yoo-jin-a”.



Winter Sonata – Episode 3

Posted by Shukmeister

In the last episode Joon-sang got hit by the Truck Of Doom on New Years Eve.  What does this episode have in store for our couple?  I’m doubting it’s puppies and rainbows.

NOTE: The original airing enjoyed at 19.2% viewership rating.  Anthony would have been proud!



Yoo-jin ended up spending all night at their meeting place.  In the morning, she is rehearsing  what she wants to say to him, everything from yelling at him for not showing, to apologizing for not being there herself.

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When she gets to the classroom, everyone is crying.  She asks the gang what happened, and finds out that Joon-sang is dead.  She goes from disbelief to panic, and bolts out the door.  Sang-hyuk catches here.  She yells that she has to find him to tell him something important.   Sang-hyuk continues to hold her until she is in full-fledged meltdown mode.

We get a segue of shots: the silent piano, the cold incinerator, the empty classroom with a single white flower on his desk.  The gang goes to a frozen lake near the school and burn remembrances as a  group funeral rite.  Yong-gook yells a farewell, but everyone else is silent, well, except for Chel-rin, who screams at Yoo-jin that it’s her fault since he was going to meet her. She stoically ignores her friend.

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Afterwards, Sang-hyuk walks Yoo-jin home, and she is still silent.  At home, she rinses her face, and finds a small package that was mailed to her.  She opens it up to find an audio cassette.  She listens to it: it’s Joon-sang playing “First Time”.  She listens, remembering him in front of the piano.  At the end of the song, he wishes her Merry Christmas, and she finally breaks down and cries.

Time Skip

It’s now ten years later, and it appears Yoo-jin is still chronically late as she runs for a bus.   In the bus, she sits in the back row and glances at the empty seat next to her. We find out she works for an interior design company called Polaris. At work she receives an email, and turns the radio on to hear a song called “Violet”.  We see that Sang-hyuk is now a program manager for a radio station, and asked the DJ to play that song for Yoo-jin.


After work, Sang-hyuk picks up an engagement ring.   Yoo-jin is waiting for him outside, and being accosted by a fortune teller.  She tells her she is looking for someone, and she can do a reading to help find him.  Just then Sang-hyuk shows up.  They go to a restaurant, and he shows her the rings for tomorrow’s engagement ceremony.

They talk about their history.  Apparently, he announced he was going to marry her when they were eight.  Now that they share rings, he hopes she will stay by his side.   He lingers in front of her house until midnight, and they  try to share the most awkward kiss ever, which turns  into a giggle session without any skinship.  Did they have skinship in 2002?

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She hurries to work the next day, and her roommate (Jin-sook) gives her lunch and tells her she’ll make sure her Mom makes it to the hall in time.  Also, the first snow of the season is due that evening.

At work, things are not running smoothly.  A client they are trying to woo, Marcian Architecture, sent back revision requests yet again.  Their new engineer is a exacting critical guy, but is an award-winning architect, already famous for designing several critically acclaimed buildings.   He is working on a ski resort renovation because it’s part of his company’s holdings

During the conversation, she completes the revisions and heads out to deliver them.  On the street, though, she spots someone that reminds her of Joon-sang.  She loses him in the crowd and dismisses it.

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At Marcian’s headquarters, they are still moving in, but she manages to catch up with one of the architect and give him the revisions.  He is carrying a frame with a partially-completed puzzle, and wonders out loud what’s so great about puzzles.   She thinks that they must be remembering many things, one piece at a time. As she is leaving,  she finds a puzzle piece and absentmindedly puts it in her pocket.

The family is gathering for the Engagement party, and Sang-hyuk’s mother is decided cool about the entire thing.  It appears she doesn’t approve of her soon-to-be daughter in law.   Meanwhile, Yoo-jin is getting her hair done in a tight conservative bun.  Outside the salon, she calls Sang-kyuk to tell him she’s running a bit late, and stops to admire the first snowfall of the year.  Suddenly, she sees the figure that morning, and drops her phone is shock.  It’s Joong-sang, smiling up at the snowflakes.  She begins to chase him, but keeps losing him in the crowds.  The family is still waiting at the banquet hall, and the gang is getting worried; since she hasn’t made it yet and isn’t’ answering her phone.

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She never makes the engagement party, and our psychic vet Yong-gook says he’s feeling the same vibes as when she disappeared from the cabin ten years ago.  She finally shows up hours later in a disheveled shape.   The mother in law scoffs that they worried for no reason and brushes past her.  Yoo-jin collapses, and gets taken back to her place, where her mom takes care of her, still dressed in hanbok.  She asks her daughter what happened, but she doesn’t say anything.

The mother in law is locked in her bedroom and refuses to come out for the couple. The professor tells them it is best for them leave.  Outside the house, Sang-hyuk dismisses her attempt to explain, and tells her it doesn’t matter and that everything is fine.

But that night, she looks at a charcoal portrait of Joon-sang and listens to his tape, while her fiance barely pays attention to his DJ and his on-air words of encouragement.

Sang-hyuk shows up at Yoo-jin’s with the rings, and finds a notepad where she wrote down her chaotic thoughts from yesterday.  His eyes widen in shock as he reads it:

Did I just dream of you?  My memories of you fill my heart: the way you played the piano, the sunset by the lake where we once walked, your smile when you held my hand. I prayed that I would see that smile again. Was my wish granted on the first snowfall? Was it just a vision? Joon-sang, where are you now?

He runs into the night, looking for her, and finds her on a bench.  He kneels down next to her and asks a question that has been preying in mind for a decade: if he had found her at the cabin first, would she had fallen in love with him instead?   Sang-hyuk, spectacularly obtuse. He tells her he doesn’t regret his one-sided love, so he could be there to help shoulder her pain.  She apologizes and they hug.   That night she burns the portrait and says goodbye.

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At work the next morning, her boss asks sympathetically how she is doing, but Yoo-jin just jumps right in to work.  She also receives an email from Chae-rin, who has been study clothing design in Paris, and is now setting up a boutique in Seoul.  Doctor Kwon is amazed that she’s matured, bickering good naturedly with Jin-sook; it appears these two are an item. Jin-sook comes up with the idea of having an engagement just between the gang.

Sang-hyuk picks up Yoo-jin and the drive to their old high school, where the rest of the gang has set up.  Yong-gook uses the PA system to be the officator.  They exchange rings in the quad before going to the radio booth for the party.  Che-rin is there, too, in all pink flouncy glory.  She gets in a little snipe about her plain friend before they light the candles. Che-rin wonders out loud where her boyfriend is, while Jin-sook pulls out the record that Yoo-jin played the most – “First Time.”  They all quietly listen for a moment until there’s a knock on the booth door, and Che-rin’s boyfriend walks in.

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They all stand in shock at the man, who looks just like Joon-sang, except for his fluffy brown hair and ready smile.  Chae-rin has a malicious gleam in her eye as she introduces Lee Min-hyung to everyone.  You just know she wanted to cause that splash because a moment later, the pair leaves while everyone else reels from the discovery.  The party breaks up pretty quickly after that.

While driving back to Seoul, Min-hyung muses that they seemed shocked to see him, but Che-rin deflects that it’s the first time she’s introduced a man to her friends.   And Jin-sook hesitantly broaches the subject to Yoo-jin at their place, but she refuses to dwell on it.  The boys go to a p’macha for  pork belly, soju, and conversation. Yong-gook apologizes for inviting Che-rin. Sang-hyuk is worried about his fiancee’s reaction.


Things are hectic at Polaris. The boss is heading to a job site, and Yoo-jin has a meeting with the lead engineer for the resort project. Hwaiting! When she gets on the bus, she decides not to sit  at the back, but can’t help but remember her times with Joon-sang. She calls the radio station and tells Sang-hyuk she’s okay, and asks for luck with her presentation.


At Marcian, she’s asked to wait in the office, and notices an almost-completed puzzle of a boat.  It’s only missing one piece, and she remembers the one she had previously pocketed.  She pulls it out of her coat, and it’s a perfect fit! The puzzle is completed.  She smiles for a moment and turns when the door knob opens to reveal the lead engineer on the project – Min-hyung!



Now we get into the meat and potatoes of  the story, where Fate and cosmic forces come into play to give us hint after hint of the drama to come.  I feel bad for Sang-hyuk, with the insecurity of a one-sided love more almost twenty years in the making; and for Chae-rin, who just sowed the seeds her own destruction for a moment of petty one-upsmanship.  But breaking eggs are necessary for a perfect omlette.  Hmm, I just realized there’s a lot of food reference here – note to self: do not recap while hungry.

Winter Sonata – Episode 4

Posted by Shukmeister

Yoo-jin has come face to face with THE face that has been haunting her for a decade.  How will she handle this strange amalgam of high school crush and potential boss?



Yoo-jin stares at the man in the doorway: Che-lin’s boyfriend from the States, Lee Min-hyung.  He immediately breaks into a smile, but she reacts woodenly to his overtures of friendliness.   Her hands shake around her cup of tea as he goes over Polaris’ proposal.

He is oblivious to her anxiety as he chats before sitting down next to her to review the plans.  She can’t tear her eyes away from his face, until he half-jokingly asks her if she always looks this intensely at someone.  She accidently spills her tea, and he realizes she is close to tears.  His confusion increases as she grabs her stuff and bolts out the door.

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Back at Polaris, everyone but Yoo-jin is back from their respective jobs. Boss lady wonders what the Marcian engineer looks like; her coworker Sung-ryun hands her a file with a short resume of his accomplishments.  She is impressed, but her favorite aspect for a man is his voice. Just then, her phone rings, and it’s Lee Min-hyung on the other end. Her verdict? “Perfect!” He asks to speak with Yoo-jin when she comes back.

Once he hangs up, his sunbae Manager Kim shows up with ramyun and beer.  Kim teases him for playboy ways, but he turns the conversation to the strange reaction of Yoon-jin, wondering out loud why a woman would cry after looking at you.  They decide to eat instead of answering the question.

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Yoo-jin goes to Che-lin’s boutique where she’s preening in front of a mirror.  Che-lin has been anticipating her friend, and they sit down for tea. She gives some song-and-dance about her regret for upsetting everyone at the party, but refuses to tell Yoo-jin anything about him.  After all, he’s not the same person, even if they look alike. Yoo-jin begins to tear up and leaves.

Sang-hyuk is waiting for her when she arrives home, and they go out to a bar.  He remarks on her low spirits – did the presentation not go well?

And we get the first of many boom mike scenes where the microphone shows up like an uninvited visitor on samgyupsal night.  I’ve decided they are well worth a soju shot each time.

boom mike

Sang-hyuk remarks that the engineer must be a strange person to make her life difficult, and he promises to always be by her side.  She tries to tell him who the engineer is, but he brushes past her sentence and the moment slides away.

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Back at Marcian, Min-hyung sees the completed puzzle and wonders how the final piece showed up.   His sunbae wonders if each piece is a girlfriend, and repeats to Min-hyung Yoon-jin’s statement that the pieces might be memories that one wants to remember.

The secretary announces Polaris’ representative, but Min-hyung is disappointed that it’s not Yoo-jin but Boss Lady Jung-ah.  They go over the contracts; she will be in charge as Yoo-jin is assigned to another project. Min-hyung interrupts her and offers to sign if she would agree to one condition.

Jung-ah takes Yoo-jin for dinner that evening and tells her what the condition is: Yoo-jin is to be Polaris’ chief designer for the project.  Yoo-jin objects but the contract is signed.  She performs the presentation, keeping everything impersonal and formal.  At the end of the meeting, it’s just Min-hyung and her at the conference table.  He comments that she appears to be detached from their interaction, and it’s important that everyone be comfortable with each other.

She tells him she’ll do her best with the project, whether or not she gets along with everyone, and he comments that it seems he makes her uncomfortable.  She offers to break the contract, but he tells her he wants to work with her.  She declines dinner and a leaf, even when he states it’s a way for them to get more comfortable with each other.  He’s puzzled by her reaction.

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Sang-hyuk is waiting outside the office, and briefly meets Manager Kim before they part ways.   He assumes the man is the engineer in charge of the resort, and offers to tell him off for her.  She tugs his arm and pulls him down the street.  Min-hyung is exiting the building and sees the interaction between the two.

At Che-lin’s boutique, Min-hyung with the owner and takes her out for drinks.  Let’s all have one, shall we?  She complains that the business side is taking away from the creative side.  He brings up the attractive, talented designer he will be working with, but she gets sulky before he reveals the name.  Instead, she wonders when he will move out of the hotel and get a real place to live.  He tells her he plans to build a new house, beautiful and  strong, built in the heart of the one you love.

She goes aeygo but deflates when he says he’s not ready to build yet.  She flounces off and tells him not to call her tonight. He just laughs, well used to her antics.

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The next morning, Yoo-jin receives a phone call from Boss Lady.  She can’t meet with Manager Kim due to a personal issue and asks that Yoo-jin go in her place.  The personal issue?  She’s at the vets, actually Doctor Kwon’s practice, with her dog Happy.  Psychic Pet Doctor To The Stars tells Jung-ah that the dog is anything but happy, because he’s alone a lot  (I’m thinking it’s the ugly sweater on the poor thing).  She leaves the dog at the vets.

Meanwhile,  Yoo-jin is running to get to the front of Marcian on time.  Lee Min-hyung is with a white SUV, and tells her Manager Kim couldn’t make it to the site, so they are going together instead.

It’s snowing as they are driving. He’s trying to get a conversation going, but Yoo-jin barely responds until he mentions that, for a new engaged woman, she looks depressed. She finally tells him to stop probing her personal life. He chuckles a bit but stops.

Che-lin stops by the office, only to be told he’s on his way to the resort, with the beautiful interior designer. Her claws come out briefly, but Manager Kim promises he’ll return that evening.

The pair meets up with the construction team to go over the resort. Yoo-jin is feeling a little cold, until Min-hyung throws a heavy jacket over her. She protests but he gets in her personal space and tells her not to argue, especially when she doesn’t like talking to him.

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As they are crunching through the resort, she flashbacks to Joon-sang’s snowplay, and begins to surreptitiously take photos of her boyfriend’s doppelganger. The camera is a 35mm, so she exchanges the film canisters and stuffs them in her pocket. Sang-hyuk calls regarding dinner, and asks if she’s with Boss Lady at the resort. Yoo-jin reluctantly says yes.

A smiling Min-hyung pops her out of her thoughts, and they walk together to catch up with the rest of the team. The mood is a little easier than the drive there, and Min-hyung asks her where she plans to live after marriage. She muses that for a couple in love, the house they build in their hearts is the most important. Min-hyung stops for a moment that her thoughts are so similar to his own.

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The two make it to an outbuilding, and he lights a potbellied stove for warmth as she looks around and gives him her opinion of the renovations. Finally she sits next to him, and props their shoes to dry them. He lights up a cigarette, and sits back as she glances from the shoes to his face.

She starts asking questions, faster and faster: What high school did you go to? Were you in the States? Are you sure? Do you know Choonchun High School? Have you ever been to Choonchun? Did you ever live in Korea? He first laughs at the flood of words, but sobers when he sees the sheen of tears in her eyes. Still staring, she hesitantly asks him to remove his glasses; he finally stops her when she reaches for his face. Immediately she apologizes and lowers her head.

He asks her why she always sounds strange when she with him. She begins to tell him, but they are interrupted by a knock on the door. And Che-lin leaps into his arms, and then realizes Yoo-jin is there. She’s surprised that the two of them are working together, but quickly tries to establish dominance between them, partially joking for Min-hyung to be nice to her old classmate, and then glomping all over him. At the parking lot, Yoo-jin gives Min-hyung back his coat and drives back with Che-lin.  Kitty can’t resist the urge to talk about how wonderful her boyfriend is.

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Sang-hyuk is playing with Happy (who, to be honest, doesn’t look happy at all) at Yong-gook’s office when  Jung-ah shows up.  The two are surprised to see each other; Sang-hyuk especially, since she was supposed to be at the ski resort with his fiancee. Busted!

Back in Seoul, everyone separates. Min-hyung and Chel-lin go out to dinner, but Yoo-jin does home.   At the restaurant, Min-hyung asks how Yoo-jin was in high school, because of the sadness that surrounds her. Che-lin is quick to say that Yoo-jin likes to pretend in order to elicit sympathy from men. Min-hyung teases that Yoo-jin is attractive, and Chel-lin gets huffy.

At another restaurant, Jung-ah, Sang-hyuk and Doctor share alcohol and conversation. Jung-ah is quick to say the Marcian lead engineer is attractive but picky, and Sang-hyuk scoffs that he’s good-looking (he’s thinking they are talking about Manager Kim). Jung-ah turns the conversation to a serious question: does Sang-hyuk notice that Yoo-jin appears depressed? She tells him a girl likes to be acknowledged, and have time with her man with long walks and candlelight dinners. Doc is amazed at her uniqueness, but she’s given Sang-hyuk some food for thought.

A tipsy Sang-hyuk shows up outside Yoo-jin’s apartment, and she lies again about being with Jung-ah at the resort. He chooses to ignore it, and asks her on a date tomorrow: a movie and a car drive.

Things do not go well, however. The movies are all sold out, no matter where they go; they walk around but the weather turns bad. They decide to go for a drive, only to find a parking ticket on the car. They finally end up at a restaurant and a candlelit table. Sang-hyuk apologizes for not doing everything a boyfriend should do. Some of the Marcian guys, including Manager Kim, show up at the restaurant and say a quick hello before going to their table.

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Sang-hyuk overhears the conversation from the employees, and realizes that the person he thought was in charge is not the right person. The drive back to Yoo-jin’s house is a silent one, and Sang-hyuk decides to pull over and talk to his fiancée. He remarks that she seems to be different recently and wonders if there is too much pressure on her. He asks her if she is hiding something, but she demurs. You can almost see the wedge between the couple. He says there must be a reason if she has secrets, but he trusts her.

At work the next day, Yoo-jin finds out from Jung-ah that she’s been caught in her fabrications. Chel-lin shows up at the radio station, checking Sang-hyuk’s mood. I think she wants to see how he feels about his fiancée working with her boyfriend. While there, Yoo-jin calls, and Chel-lin overhears their dinner plans. She quickly leaves, and I’m sure she up to no good.

Which is born out when the pair show up at the same restaurant, just when Yoo-jin was about to tell her fiancé everything. And Sang-hyuk finds out for the first time that Lee Min-hyung is the Marcian lead engineer.

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Che-lin is a bad news fairy, sewing the seeds of negative energy everywhere, all in an effort to feel like superior to her classmates. All it really does is foster enmity between everyone and eventually it will wreck her too. I wonder why her character is so two-dimensional: is it because, like Prince John in Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, the writer needs a convenient villain? In any case, she has looks, talent, a huge ego, and a tiny bit of self-confidence. And not much else.

I wonder if Doctor Kwon and Polaris’ manager Jung-ah are sparring over the dog for more than comic relief. Is there to be some budding attraction between them? With long-term girlfriend Jin-sook there, I tend to doubt it, but the interaction of the two takes up some time in this episode. Maybe it’s to get the two halves of Yoo-jin’s life together, the past and the present.

I like how the lead characters are developing. Yoo-jin sees both the differences and similarities between her lost Kang Joon-sang, and Lee Min-hyung, appearances and personalities, and even habits (like the smoking, which, ugh). Is it bad to look forward to the unraveling of everyone’s relationships? As the first South Korea melodrama I watched, I enjoyed the disintegration almost as much as the rebuilding of friendships and more on the other side.

Winter Sonata – Episode 5

Posted by Shukmeister

Jealousy and Insecurity. Our lead male and second lead female are both standing on that cliff’s edge, and it’s going to take very little for either to fall into the waters of Assholery. Just who is this mysterious Lee Min-hyung, who looks so familiar but whose personality is completely different from their old classmate?


Our couples meet, thanks to Che-lin’s machinations, and Sang-hyuk now knows who his fiancée is working for. Based on the look on his face, Sang-hyuk’s whole day with Yoo-jin just dropped even lower than it was when they reached the restaurant. Chel-lin has a tiny moment of satisfaction before they join the other two.


Che-lin and Min-hyung talk about how they first met in Paris. Sang-hyuk finally recovers and asks her boss to take care of her. Outside the restaurant, they each go their separate ways. In Min-hyung’s vehicle, Che-lin wastes no time in subtly bashing her friend, calling her a mimic who always copied Che-lin’s clothes and shoes, and who stole her first love. Min-hyung is incredulous; he didn’t sense anything of the sort from Yoo-jin. Che-lin winds down her griping in the face of Min-hyung’s assertions.

In the other direction, Sang-hyuk is silent and cold as they walk to the car. Yoo-jin stops him on the sidewalk and demands he talk to her. All the hurt that was pent up inside bursts out:

“Yes, I’m mad. Do you think I’m mad that you lied to me? That you didn’t tell me who you were working with? That’s not it at all. I’m mad because you still think of Joon-sang!”


Yoo-jin denies it, but Sang-hyuk steamrolls over her objections. She offers to quit if it will make him feel better, and he agrees that it would. In the car, she admits she thought of her high school love and feels sad working with someone who looks like him. After some thought, though, he tells her to keep working the contract, both to save him face and for her exorcise her memories of Joon-sang.

In his hotel room, Min-hyung puts away his coats and finds Yoo-jin’s film rolls in the borrowed coat.

Che-lin asks Yoo-jin to meet her for coffee, and almost immediately ask her if she is quitting the project. She’s shocked when she finds out Yoo-jin is going to continue, especially when Sang-hyuk encouraged it. Che-lin’s second plan of attack – she invites Jin-sook to tea, since she’s roommates with Yoo-jin. When she finds out she doesn’t have a steady job, she offers her a position at the boutique. She celebrates with the good doctor and our affianced pair, and everyone finds out who Yoo-jin is working with.

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Jin-sook gets chatty when she drinks, and starts talking about her new job at Che-lin’s. Dr Yoon tries to hush her, but Sang-hyuk tells everyone it is okay, and that Yoo-jin will continue working with the Joon-sang clone.

At her store, Min-hyuk chooses a less than flattering dress for her, but tells her to be happy with the choice her man makes. During the conversation she finds out that there will be a party for all the companies working on the resort, and she gets one of her evil ideas. She can’t go to the party due to a fashion show, though.

Jin-sook is deep deep deep in her cups and starts yelling at Yoo-jin to quit her job at the resort and stop breaking Sang-hyuk’s heart. She’s a sloppy drunk, but Sang-hyuk still supports Yoo-jin. The two couples go apart outside the bar as the good doctor takes the Drunk One home. Sang-hyuk and Yoo-jin go for a nice evening walk. She apologizes for wanting to do a good job at the resort, and he’s happy. He talks about the good old days when she used to jump on things and try to walk them. He tries it himself on a flower bed retaining wall, and asks for her hand, hoping she will always take his hand and not walk alone.

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There’s discussion about the Marcian party between Manager Kim and Min-hyuk. He hands off the film canisters for processing, and asks Kim to make sure Polaris is invited. Kim mentions how often “Polaris” is mentioned.

Yoo-jin tells Jin-sook that night about the party. The next day, she asks her new boss to borrow an outfit for their friend. Che-lin offers her the same dress that Min-hyuk chose for her. Why would she do that?

It’s a late night at Marcian, and Min-hyuk and Yoo-jin are going over blueprints. He gets a little into her hair, and mentions her hair smells nice. He mentions the party; she says she’s not sure what to wear, but he assures her she looks good in anything.

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The rest of the team shows up, and Manager Kim is all set for a little food and drink action, but Che-lin shows up and everyone scatters. Min-hyuk stops his designer to remind her to show up at the party. Chel-lin is less than pleased. Is that her real hair?  Who knows.  She waits while her boyfriend finishes his review, and coyly asks if she should wear the outfit he picked out.  Good grief, she’s going to play the Suspiciously Similar Outfit card!

Our affianced couple promises to meet up at the hotel after the Marcian soiree is done.  Jin-sook gives her roommate the dress.  It’s just as unflattering on her as on Chel-lin’s.  She ends up in a pair of Jin-sook’s pumps which are the wrong size, so her feet are already hurting when she arrives at the hotel.  She tucks a bit of tissue at the heel.

Ice sculptures, classical music and lots of schmoozing are underway.  Min-hyuk is also having problems with his suit, at least with his strangling tie, but he’s happy to see Chel-lin show up, in that dress, of course.

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Then Yoo-jin shows up in the dress, and Chel-lin’s acting becomes Daesang-worthy.  She breathlessly says she’ll leave so no one gets embarrassed.  Now Min-hyuk thinks his Polaris connection is a hussy, and Chel-lin puts the icing on the whiny-cake: Yoo-jin may mention that he looks like her first love, but it’s just a pickup line.

As Che-lin leaves, Sang-hyuk arrives.  Min-hyuk bumps into a limping Yoo-jin and dashes off a snarky comment that the clothes looked borrowed; he leaves, but not before Sang-hyuk gets a little jealous flame at his fiancee’s outfit.  He comments in the taxi that the dress is new, and doesn’t really suit her.

At Polaris, the girls collect their stuff to head out to the job site in the morning.  Sung-ryung, their partner, as usual grouses about the work.  Boss Lady Jung is playing with a set of Tarot Cards, but apparently her prince is nowhere to be found within the Major or the Minor Arcana.  The three decide to go out, and Jung-ah ends up three sheets to the wind.  They go bar-crawling to the next place.

At Marcian, Min-hyung reviews the photos from the film, and is shocked to find a lot of his own face staring back at him.  Different conversations go through his head: Che-lin’s warnings, Yoo-jin’s honest thoughts.


Min-hyung and Manager Kim are talking about Yoo-jin over a piano version of “Oh Shenandoah”.  He’s confused over what she says and what she does, so Kim tells him to get to know her better.  The Polaris gang end up at the same place, of course.  Remember, this IS a Korean drama.  They are playing Truth or Dare, and it’s Yoo-jin’s turn. She gets asked the question: Did she have a first love?  Or has it always been Sang-hyuk?  The discussion catches the eyes of Manager Kim, who pops on over to say hi.  Now the party is on!!

The table fills with beer bottles as they continue the game with the new participants.   What, no soju?  Maybe this isn’t a Korean Drama.  The discussion is still on first loves, and Min-hyung scoffs. After all, isn’t your current love more important? Yoo-jin sinks a little bit more with the conversation, until it comes back around to her first love.  Min-hyung wonders out loud if she’s had too many to name just one.  That’s it for Yoo-jin, who downs an entire glass of beer rather than answer it.

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It’s finally the end of the evening, and everyone leaves except Yoo-jin and Min-hyuk.  Yoo-jin is still drinking, and asks a question of the man across the table while staring owlishly at him:  “Director Lee, are you a person who never makes the same mistake twice? Or do you keep making the same mistake, knowing that it’s wrong?” He is curt when he replies that he rarely makes mistakes, and never repeats them.  Her next drunken question: If you promise not to see someone, but you really miss them, would you stick to your promise, or go see that person?  Min-hyung would stick to his promise.

Yoo-jin launches into a drunken monologue: “But how can they look so similar? You look like someone I know.”  Min-hyung knows where this is going, based on his conversation with Che-lin.  Yoo-jin continues: “The first person I ever loved.” She looks up earnestly at him as he snorts in disbelief and gets up, prepared to leave.

He tries to get a taxi but she’s a big ol’ floppy doll. She starts mumbling the last conversation she had with Joon-sang:  Your favorite color is white, your favorite season is winter, etc.  Since he can’t get any useful information from her, he ends up piggybacking her to his hotel room.  Once there, he dumps her on the couch, whips his glasses off, and grabs a glass of water.

Yoo-jin slowly wakes up, and see Min-hyuk without his glasses, looking even more like her lost love.  She calls out Joon-sang’s name, and the man in front of her turns and answers.



Min-hyung is definitely intrigued by the seeming contradictions that Yoo-jin is showing.  He’s begun to pay attention to his interior designer’s moods and behavior.  It’s not quite attraction, since he is also repelled by the belief she a lying liar who lies.  But his interest is piqued.

Che-lin, on the other hand, is Lady Deceit for real.  Her need to be in the limelight overshadows any friend-feeling she has. I can’t help but wonder if there are blonde roots in there – after all, she introduced Min-hyuk to her circle of high school friends knowing that they would be fascinated by his resemblance to their dead friend.  The fruits of her labor are not at all what she hoped, but, really, she only has herself to blame.  And the lies will only weigh down her relationship.

For Sang-hyuk, he is already sensing the undercurrent and Yoo-jin’s ambivalence to the lead engineer, but I don’t think he believes anything is being reciprocated, at least not yet.  But, oh the shades of green we will see when it does!!

Winter Sonata – Episode 6

Posted by Shukmeister

I’m not gonna lie, this is my favorite episode. There’s so much development between our canon couple, the attraction, the revelations, and everything in between tell us that the pair’s relationship at the beginning is very different from the one at the end. At least, for one of them.



Yoo-jin wakes up on a couch in a hotel room, and through her teary bleary eyes sees Min-hyung without his glasses. She calls out for Joon-sang, and the man answers. He walks to the couch and kneels at eye level; she searches his face, asks if it really him and grabs him into a hug.

Min-hyuk is surprised when she starts babbling and crying. Through her sobs, she says, “I’ve never forgotten you. How could this happen? I’m not dreaming, am I?” By this time, Min-hyuk has regained his equilibrium, and plays along for a short time, finally going for a kiss.

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Except he doesn’t. Pulling away, he tells her this sob story is ridiculous, and he doesn’t appreciate easy women and ones who try to steal their friend’s boyfriends. The shock of his cruel words snaps her out of her state as she stares at him. He offers to be her lover at least, isn’t that what she wants?

A resounding slap is his answer, and she storms out.

Later that night, Min-hyung puzzles over Yoo-jin’s contradictory behavior. He’s still thinking about it the next day at work, when Manager Kim brings in the day’s schedule. He asks his sunbae: How do others see him? Kim realizes they are talking about a woman, but all his fishing gets him nowhere.

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Joo-jin is missing from the meeting, and Min-hyung bulls ahead rather than wait for her, but she shows up a few minutes later. At the end of the meeting, he asks to speak with her; outside the meeting room Kim and Jun-ah wonder what happened after they both left the bar last night.

There’s awkward silence before Yoo-jin apologizes for last night’s conduct. He wonders out loud if she was faking drunk just to seduce him. She sets him straight – she is not a loose woman – but he tells her that he’s confused by her differing actions. She stiffly apologizes and promises that it won’t affect their working relationship.


Jin-sook and Yoo-jin chat over the dinner table, and Yoo-jin speculates that she is still affected by Joon-sang’s memory because she never talked to anyone about him, and asks her roomie to be her sounding board sometimes.

Che-lin shows up at Min-hyuk’s hotel room with cold-weather gear, but he isn’t really paying attention. Instead, he tells her that it bothers him to be told he looks like someone else. She realizes that Yoo-jin must have told him and tenses. He’s surprised when her eyes well up with tears, and offers to take her to dinner. Her tears dry up the instant he leaves the room to change. She discovers that Yoo-jin was in the hotel room when she finds her notebook on the floor.


We get a nice scene of our fiancés grocery shopping so she can stock her larder for her roommate while she is at the resort. Outside her apartment the two exchange hugs.

The snow is crunchy at the worksite, but the roads are dry when the girls arrive. There’s some low-level flirtation between Jung-ah and Kim, and they set up a drinking date for later. Man, those two can put away some baekseju! Yoo-jin begs off afternoon coffee, so Manager Kim, Jung-ah, and Min-hyuk go to the café for coffe and Tarot. There are wasp’s nest hanging from the ceiling in lieu of lamps.


Min-hyuk takes his turn at the Tarot table, and pulls the same card every time: The Wheel Of Fortune. I don’t think he can buy a vowel, but she tells him that his soulmate is getting closer. He will recognize her because she will have the same symbol on her. He scoffs and stares out the restaurant window. Catching sight of Yoo-jin, he asks her boss how she perceives Yoojin. After all, according to rumors, she has a lot of lovers, and he would consider joining the stable. Jung-ah flat out rejects the rumor and calls him a poor judge of character, surprising him.

At the dinner party, the site manager aggressively points out that he will never work with young women who don’t know their place. Yoo-jin jumps up and gives him as good as he gave, and it’s now clear that they’ve worked together before and that this is a fun routine they do. Min-hyung is impressed.


The alcohol flows freely, and one drunk worker offers Yoo-jin a drink. The Ahjussi site manager becomes her Black Knight and tells everyone three things about her: She can’t drink, she won’t lie, and she doesn’t fool around. He goes on to say she loses control when she drinks, and almost died once. She stops him by singing a song, but Min-hyung is absorbing all of this.

Before they head to their hotel rooms, Min-hyung apologizes to her for his previous assumptions, but wonders what the real Yoo-jin is like. The conversation gets deeper but they are interrupted by Chel-lin, who just showed up at the resort “just because”. It gives Yoo-jin an excuse to leave the conversation and the other two.

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At the vet’s office, Happy is in a hideous coat but is eating well. Jin-sook is hanging out there too, and then Sang-hyuk shows up. I guess it’s dog treats and coffee all around.

It’s not so happy at the resort, when Che-lin goes to Yoo-jin’s room. She gives her friend her notebook, and Yoo-jin tells her everything. Chel-lin runs a line of BS and guilt, telling her not to hurt Sang-hyuk and don’t cause a rift in their friendship. Oh, and never see Min-hyung after the project is over.

Next Che-lin confronts her boyfriend about that night. Her newest lie: Yoo-jin told her that Min-hyung tried to seduce her in his hotel room. And how can she date such a man?

After Che-lin leaves, Min-hyung finds Yoo-jin and confronts her, telling her to stop trying to ruin his relationship with his girlfriend. He spends the rest of the night trying to call Chel-lin, who is staring at her phone and smiling her evil smile.


The next morning, the site workers find Ahjussi unconscious. Yoo-jin shakes him until he wakes ; it appears he drank too much and fell asleep at the site, nearly freezing to death in the process. Marcian wants to fire him, so Yoo-jin tracks down Min-hyung to find out.

They argue about it, and Yoo-jin passionately defends him: he is a lonely man and his wife’s deathdate was the day before. Min-hyung taunts her; is drinking and crying the way you remember the dead? That’s an excuse for loneliness and it’s best to forget the dead.


Yoo-jin tells him she is quitting too – after all she hired Ahjussi, so the responsibility is hers. He calls her overly emotionalm , but she doesn’t want to work for a cold individual.

JYJ: You’ve never truly loved anyone, have you? I doubt it. That’s why you can talk so cavalierly. You don’t know what it’s like to have someone disappear from your side. Nothing changes, except that person is no longer there. Someone like you would never understand. Is it so wrong to miss someone with pain?

It’s something Min-hyung thinks about into the night. Yoo-jin is also sleepless, going over his words about forgetting the dead. She ends up calling her mom for a bit of comfort. Mom confirms that her memories of her late husband are a comfort to her, even fifteen years later. Wise mom tells her that a person buried in your heart can never be erased.

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Boss Lady tries to cheer her up with a Tarot reading. Yoo-jin’s problem is a relationship, and her solution? The Wheel Of Fortune. Jung-ah tells her to keep the card for luck.


At the site, Yoo-jin finds out that the fire order for Ahjussi was recinded. And in other news, Sang-hyuk is heading to the resort to surprise his fiancée. And in other other news, Che-lin finally breaks her silence and invites Min-hyung to pick her up at her business.


Min-hyung happily arrives at the store, but his steps slow on the stairs when he overhears Che-lin and Jin-sook talking. They are talking about Yoo-jin, and Chel-lin freely admits that she tricked Yoo-jin into telling her about the hotel night. She makes her employee promise not to talk to Min-hyung about Joon-sang, and heads out for a brief meeting. Once she’s gone, he chats with an unsuspecting Jin-sook.

She confirms he looks just like their old classmate Joon-sang. He remembers Yoo-jin saying the name, and probes further. Jin-sook keeps talking: Che-lin like Joon-sang, but Joon-sang only had eyes for Yoo-jin. He asks where their classmate is, and finds out he died. He leaps up and heads out the door, running to his truck.
All the little conversations they had come back to him: Yoo-jin asking him about his high school, his likes and history; her crying jag and hug; her assertions about a loved one leaving a hole in your life. He speeds up.

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Chel-lin finds out, but who cares.

Min-hyung knocks on Yoo-jin’s hotel room door, but Sang-hyuk answers. He gives a work excuse and spends a bunch of time leaning against his truck. He heads back to the hotel room in time to see Sang-hyuk get the bum’s rush by Yoo-jin. No overnight stay together for our affianced couple.

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It’s snowing at the work site the next day. Yoo-jin thanks Min-hyuk for keeping Ahjussi; in turn he asks about Sang-hyuk, who is leaving after lunch. He tells her to knock off now so she can spend time with him. She nods and walks away, dropping her Tarot card in the process. He picks it up and turns it over – omo! It’s That Card! He so engrossed in his head he fails to notice that some worksite materials are falling towards him.

But Yoo-jin does. She lunges forward and pushes him away, only to be buried under the fallen lumber.


What a place to end the episode; the fiancé hanging out in a hotel room while his significant other is crushed saving the man that looks like his childhood nemesis and love rival for over a decade. In spite of the melo nature of this drama, we know she won’t die, but it’s a great way to get all the parties together in one place, even if someone has to be injured to do it. A nice little shake-up, even though we are only a third of the way through the series’ run.

It also marks the turning point in some of the relationships. Min-hyung knows his girlfriend is a Lying Liar Who Lie, and their relationship is heading for a dead end. And his attraction to Yoo-jin is pushed forward as he begins to understand her more. And Sang-hyuk is even more afraid his fiancee’s heart is swayed by a ghost.

Winter Sonata – Episode 7

Posted by Shukmeister

Yoo-jin has thrown herself in danger for the stranger that looks like her lover; how will that stranger react to such feelings?


Yoo-jin is rushed to the hospital after pushing Min-hyung out of the way so falling lumber. Sang-hyuk is pacing his hotel room when the doorbell rings. It’s Chae-lin, looking for her boyfriend. Since he’s not there, she whirls away. He gets the phone call from the hospital.


In the waiting area, Boss Jung-ah and Min-hyung are, well, waiting. The other two show up, and Min-hyuk apologizes for Yoo-jin’s injuries, which sets off her boyfriend. Sang-hyuk starts manhandling him, but he doesn’t resist. Jung-ah wedges herself between them just as the doctor calls out for family members. Sang-hyuk abandons the group. Jung-ah tries to smooth everything over, but Min-hyung is distracted. Chae-lin notices, so you know her insecurity radar just went into overdrive.

Jung-ah heads for Yoo-jin’s hospital bed, and explains to Sang-hyuk what happened. Yoo-jin finally opens her eyes, and pisses off Sang-hyuk by asking about Lee Min-hyung.

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He is outside on the hospital grounds alone, when Chae-lin finds him. He gives her a long searching look before heading back inside, leaving her to trail behind. So now, Min-hyung, Chae-lin and sang-hyuk are all hovering around the bed. The guys all but growl at each other as Chae-lin mouths platitudes. She also thanks her for saving “her” Min-hyung. Sang-hyuk says his fiancée would have done the same for anyone, and he politely thanks the engineer for his help, but he will handle everything regarding Yoo-jin. After they leave, though, his face tells me he doesn’t believe his own words.

Sang-hyuk meets with Min-hyung outside the hospital, and reiterates that he’s nobody special to Yoo-jin, just the equivalent of some random guy. Then he runs back inside and berates her for saving Min-hyung because he’s special. He hates that “that man” reminds her of Joon-sang. She counters that she wish she could forget him, but her eyes remember his looks and her heart remembers his words. He tells her he needs to think about their relationship.

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Chae-lin is getting the silent treatment from Min-hyuk until they reach his hotel room. Then he flat-out asks her: why did she lie about Kang Joon-sang? Chae-lin goes into her rehearsed story: Yoo-jin always wanted everything Chae-lin had, and only liked Joon-sang because she liked Joon-sang. But he’s not buying it anymore. Yoo-jin’s odd behaviors around him are making more sense.

Chae-lin starts crying; how could she tell him he looked like her first love? She was afraid her friend would steal him, just like she stole her first love.   He is unmoved, and tells her that they need some time apart. Chae-lin is at her car and tries one more time, but Min-hyung is firm that he needs to think about their relationship.

Finally alone in his room, Min-hyung searches his pockets for his cigarette lighter and finds the “Wheel Of Fortune” tarot card. He stares at it for a moment, thinking.

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Yoo-jin is clearing out of the hospital room and prepping to visit the site, when she finds a pic of her and Sang-hyuk. She opens the room door, and Min-hyuk is waiting with flowers and a ride. He tells her it’s the first time he’s given flowers to a woman; Assistant Lee calls him a playboy, but he really isn’t.

At the resort, they end up on a wooden bench together, and he apologizes for his rude behavior when he thought she was pursuing him. She accepts the apology; since the misunderstanding is resolved, it’s finished. He admits that he didn’t realize he looked like her first love; he thought it was a ploy for his affections, but he now knows better.

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His curiosity is piqued, and Min-hyung asks if he really resembles her high school sweetheart? She confirms it that she wanted to believe they were one and the same. She remembers his words that it’s best to forget the past, and he asks for her forgiveness. She’s gracious about it as they go for a stroll. She admits that, with the exception of his face, he is nothing like her memory. With a smile they shake hands as friends.

Everyone heads to the uppermost building of the resort, which can only be reached by cable car. That’s two leads, two sidekicks and four scarves.

Min-hyung decides to check the feasibility of converting the restaurant to a cabin, and Lee mentions how many times Polaris or Yoo-jin are mentioned every day. Our fluffy-haired engineer gets a bit defensive when Lee reminds him that she’s engaged. He claims it’s nothing like that.

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It’s nothing like that, Yoo-jin tells her unni, but Jung-ah is quick to point out that Sang-hyuk is probably upset that she saved another man. Yoo-jin starts idly playing “First Time” on an old piano. Min-hyung shows up and comments on how nice that song is, even though he can’t play the piano. To Yoo-jin, it’s just more proof that he’s not Joon-sang.

And in another location, Sang-hyuk’s radio station is also playing that same song. The DJ wonders why Sang-hyuk is down, but Chae-lin shows up and pulls him to a cafe. There, she almost hysterically demands that he marry Yoo-jin, but he has no time for her nonsense. At least, until she admits Min-hyung wants to break up and it’s all because of Yoo-jin.

The DJ comes up with the idea of doing a outdoor winter jazz festival, and Sang-hyuk recommends the ski resort. So if renovations and peak season aren’t enough business, lets tack on creating an outdoor venue to the mix. The DJ is happy for an innovative idea.

Sang-hyuk talks to his parents that night, and tells them he wants to marry Yoo-jin as soon as possible. Mom balks; she still hasn’t forgiven her for the botched engagement. Her son goes so far as to kneel, but she’s not having any of it and leaves.

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At the resort, our pair is walking through the complex and the picture of Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk falls out of her portfolio. Min-hyung asks her what is about her fiance that she likes? She lists some traits: he’s kind, understanding, responsible, a close friend…Min-hyung laughs. Those are too many reasons to love him. He feels love shouldn’t have any reason; he asks what she loved about Joon-sang. That stops her in her tracks for a moment and he aplogizes. She decides to tell him, though. She jumps on a snow ridge and balance walks across while she talks: Joon-sang always argued and only had one real date, the first snow that year. She suddenly slips and he catches her. Both are self-conscious about it, but Jung-ah breaks the moment to tell Yoo-jin that her mother in Seoul has collapsed.

Min-hyung immediately takes charge and drives her to Seoul, afraid that her emotions might make her careless on the slippery roads. He drives straight to her house, where her mom is resting in the care of her younger sister. Hee-jin tells her the doctor has already left and she going to be fine.

Hee-jin takes one look at Min-hyung, and tentatively asks, “Joon-sang oppa?”

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Yoo-jin takes care of her mom, who cuts to the chase; is there something going on between that man and her? She warns her daughter not to say anything to her fiance, and wonders if her mother-in-law-to-be has forgiven her. She answers in the affirmative, and Mom tells her she wants both of her daughters to be happy.

Yoo-jin’s dongsaeng serves Min-hyung tea, and can’t stop staring at him. She tells him that her unni almost died of grief. He asks her where the nearby lake is located, the one her sister went to when she played hooky with Joon-sang.

After leaving her mom’s, he drives her to the lake, and all but forces her to take a stroll with him. It’s all but silent. Yoo-jin tears up when she sees a couple on a tandem bike, remember her bike ride with Joon-sang.  She quickly hides them from Min-hyung.

They continue walking, and Yoo-jin relays the story of the Shadow Land: there was a man who lived there, but no one would speak to him, so he was lonely.  It is Joon-sang’s story, and Yoon-jin finally asks him why they came to the lake.

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He takes on a serious tone, and tells her that in a beautiful setting like this, she can only see sadness.  How can she learn to love again, if she is the one living in the Shadow Land?  They both look over the lake with their own thoughts. Later, in their own resort rooms, they both are still contemplating.

The next day,  the boys are going over the blueprints, but Min-hyung wants to ask his hyung a question. Instead of saying what you want to say, you end up saying something completely different.  What does that mean? Manager Lee is pretty blunt: 1- you forgot what you wanted to say; 2-you’ve done something wrong; 3- you like the other person.

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Manager Lee plunks out “September” on the old piano while Min-hyung muses out loud what it’s like to truly love someone.  Manager Lee guesses #3 was the correct answer.  Min-hyung wanders over to the piano, and plays a decent version of the “First Time”.  He breaks into a big smile – maybe he is a genius!!

Sang-hyuk heads to the resort.  Mom is still complaining, but Dad genially tells him to invite Yoo-jin to Mom’s birthday party.  It turns out he’s meeting all the high school gang.

It’s just Min-hyuk and Yoo-jin as they ride the cable car to the tower at dusk.  He brings the rough renovation plans and they walk through and make notes.  At the observation deck at the topmost part, she recommends using pure white for the walls, and he remembers something she said when she was drunk: white is her favorite color, and winter is her favorite season.  She wonders why he would bring it up. They finish just when the sun is finally down.

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The sidekicks meet up, and Manager Lee tells Jung-ah that the wind has increased and it’s too windy for the cable cars to safely function. So our couple has to spend the night on the mountain.  He starts a fire in the lodge fireplace, prepared to hunker down.

At the base of the mountain, the group from Seoul shows up.  Our little lovelorn whiny-butts immediately freak out that their respective significant others are together and alone.  I personally wonder how the cable cars work without any workers at either end.

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Yoo-jin comes back from wandering around to find Min-hyuk asleep in front of the fire.


This episode has Min-hyung changing from defensive tactics to keep Yoo-jin away, and actively trying to understand her.  He has been more or less solicitous of her well-being even before the lumber accident, but it’s gone a little deeper than that as he becomes more and more attracted to her.  And Yoo-jin?  The pull of those familiar features was already tugging at her heartstrings, so without Min-hyung actively avoiding her, the pair can’t help but get a little closer.

Chae-lin still remains the most annoying character ever, with Sang-hyuk a close second.  She never learned the lesson of the previous episodes, and yet again uses her manipulation skills for her own selfish needs.  Sang-hyuk is just jealous, but it seems he’s never been convinced of Yoo-jin’s affection.  Otherwise, why would he always be just a hairbreadth away from annoyingly clingy.

Winter Sonata – Episode 8

Posted by Shukmeister

It was a dark and stormy night. No really, it was a dark and stormy night. A sudden and gusty snowstorm has locked our couple together in the highest area of the resort. On a clear day you can see forever, but what can see in the dark confines of the heart?



Lee Min-hyung is asleep in front of the fireplace. Jung Yoo-jin gently pulls off his glasses and searches his face. He awakes with a start, and she stammers that he looked uncomfortable. As she turns away, he asks her with perfect frankness, how long will she keep the dead alive? She turns to leave, but his question stops her.

“If Kang Joon-sang was still alive, would you still be in love?”

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She flashes from hurt into anger as he continues:  Does she still cling to his memory because he is no longer around? He tells her that she is right, he doesn’t understand what love is, but clinging to the dead isn’t it. He grabs her by the shoulders and tells her to face the reality of his death. Her voice gets louder as she throws out the question why does it matter to him.

“Because I like you!” His sudden declaration freezes her for a moment, and he goes one step further. In a gentler tone he tells her that he thinks he loves her. That snaps her out and she bolts from the room down the stairs and out the door.

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At the base of the mountain, the gang is huddled by the non-running gondola when the final verdict comes in: the pair are stranded until tomorrow, Sang-hyuk freaks out and runs out into the storm, determine to walk the entire way if need be. Our vet tackles him for the suicidal loon that he is, ultimately punching sense into him.

It’s very quiet in the tower, and Min-hyung decides to look for Yoo-jin. He checks outside, but she isn’t anywhere in sight. We see that she is in the observation deck, a little sighing ball of unhappiness. Min-hyuk finally comes inside, only to find her asleep in front of the fireplace. His shoulders slump in relief, and he spends a few minutes staring at her before covering her with his coat (which technically should be icy-cold from being outside).

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Finally dawn breaks and a pale sun makes it over the horizon. Yoo-jin wakes up, still covered in the coat. She wanders outside through the white-draped trees, finally looking over a clearing. Our blunt engineer follows her there and tells her he was worried. He also knows her confession pained her, but he doesn’t regret it.

She finally opens up. She wonders how Joon-sang would have grown up, and is happy to see that never-happened future in Min-hyung. But she has no feelings for the living man in front of her. He repeats her words as if to test them.

The cable car has finally reached to the top, and Sang-hyuk and Chae-lin leap out of it and go on a frantic search for their respective partners.

Yoo-jin calmly replies no one can replace her first love in her heart, but he tosses back then what is her fiance to her? She tries to pull away, but he wants an answer of who she really loves.

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Suddenly a voice rings out, and Sang-hyuk shows up. He shoulder-grabs his fiancee and starts dragging her away, but Min-hyung isn’t finished and challenges Sang-hyuk to hear her answer. Sang-hyuk gets into his grill – why does it matter to him? The answer rolls from Min-hyuk and infuriates the man in front of him: “Because I love her.”
Sang-hyuk grabs his collar but Min-hyuk is unyielding. She tries to pull them apart, but Sang-hyuk grabs her arm and hustles her away. And all this is seen by Chae-lin.

An exhausted Min-hyung makes it back to his hotel room, only to find a fuming Chae-kun. He’s calm through her histrionics, quietly telling her the heart finds a link that can’t be returned, and that they need to break up.

In the other hotel room, things are much crazier. Sang-hyuk is yanking Yoo-jin’s belongings out of the closet and throwing them on the bed, commanding her to quit the job. She refuses, so he storms off. She catches up with him in the parking lot, and he asks the same question that Min-hyung did. She doesn’t answer, and when he sees Min-hyung exiting the building, he jumps in the car and takes off. Yoo-jin sees Min-hyung in the parking lot, and storms over to him. Her answer to his question is Sang-hyuk and that’s it.

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Our cute vet and his girl are wondering where the engaged couple is. He is trying to entice her into a snuggle on the couch when crazy-eyed Chae-lin rushes in looking for Yoo-jin. Not seeing her, she heads for the door, just as her enters the room. She hauls off and give Yoo-jin a solid face slap, and accuses her of telling Min-hyung to break up with her. After a final snarl that she’s never take her man, Chae-lin leaves. The other couple decides to head back to Seoul immediately.

Sang-hyuk has his phone turned off, forcing Yoo-jin to leave an apologetic voice-mail message. In Seoul, he listens to the message, but doesn’t call her back.

At the resort, she’s wandering around outside, and Min-hyung asks for a moment of her time. Once in front of a fire, he tells her that he broke up with Chae-lin tonight, thinking it’s best to break things cleanly once you decide. But after more thought, it was a selfish decision, much like his choice to to confess to her. But he didn’t realize how it would affect her and her friendships. He sincerely promises not to make things a burden between them. She leaves the building, but not without a backward to see Min-hyung alone by the fire.

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The next morning, he overhears her making plans to head back to the city. After she misses the shuttle, he offers to drive her to the train depot. He purposefully keeps the conversation light; and tells her to come back smiling.

Sang-hyuk is at work , discussing the outdoor jazz concert with his colleague, who mention he’s been sulking a lot. Yoo-jin shows up at the radio station, but the conversation is stilted and cold. She tries to make amends but he verbally throws off her apology, and tells her he will strike back next time. She asks them to share a meal, but he refuses, citing work, and walks away.

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Sang-hyuk ends up alone and nursing a drink at a local watering hole. He staggers home, and drunk-dials her that he was happy to see her today, that he apologizes, and wants to see her again. Then he deletes the entire message before sending it.

Min-hyung is going over blueprints when he spots her in the lobby. They share tea, and she spins a story that her fiance was ecstatic to see her, but too busy to do anything. He sees through it, though, and tells her that he wants to help her find what she wants, even if it’s not him. He takes her outside to the snow-maker; what she really wants to do is cry, and she can do that here where no one can hear her. He leaves her with a smile, watching her until she begins bawling.

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Yoo-jin throws herself into work, having a clumsy moment when Manager Kim mentions the boss is in Seoul. At the office, Min-hyung is finishing some paperwork when Chae-lin shows up, convinced he didn’t mean to break up. He quickly disabuses her of that notion, and she switches to the injured bambi routine, including the back-hug beg, but he is immovable. She leaves crying.


Chae-lin isn’t crying at her office though, just seething and snappish. Ji-sook brings in a package: it’s a present for Sang-hyuk’s mother, who is having a birthday. Chae-lin perks up, and the next thing we see is a mutual admiration group between the two. She tries to convince KimMom to push for the wedding, but we all know that she doesn’t want Yoo-jin for a daughter-in-law.

At the resort, Min-hyung invites Yoo-jin to a company dinner, but she declines, since she has to head to the city for KimMom’s birthday. He offers to drive her to the terminal in an hour. She is done primping and packing when Sang-hyuk shows up to drive her to Seoul. He offers her an apology and they get ready to leave. Min-hyung rounds the corner and stops short at seeing them, but smoothly passes it off. He’s disappointed, though.

KimMom is cold and formal to Yoo-jin, although KimDad is all friendly outgoingness. Prepping for the meal, Yoo-jin tries to help in the kitchen, but KimMom blows her off. The four of them have a quiet dinner. KimDad thinks it is the last time his wife will have to cook for her own birthday; Yoo-jin can take over the task next year. Mom snarks that she probably won’t want to. Yoo-jin follows her again to the kitchen, and KimMom starts throwing back everything Chae-lin told her, wondering if she is seeing someone behind her son’s back. Sang-hyuk overhears and throws a hissy in the kitchen. Mom slaps him and wonders what’s so good about this Jezebel. Sang-hyuk grabs Yoo-jin and they leave.


Manager Kim and Min-hyung are sharing manly times. Kim’s gots a bunch of beers, but Min-Hyung just wants water. Since liquor heats a man and water cools him down; he wants to cool down his heart. LOL

Our fiance’s are glumly looking out over the Han River, which is always a bad idea when talking relationships. He’s ready for a fight – is Yoo-jin attracted to that engineer. She doesn’t answer, so he insists on going to a hotel to spend the night together; after all, she spent the night with him.

Pleasantly three sheets to the wind, Manager Kim wants to talk about whatever is happening with his boss, but he nods off. Min-hyung speaks aloud anyway. He wants to say it all, not wanting to lose her, not wanting to see her with another man, and that he loves her.

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Outside the hotel, Yoo-jin tells him to stop behaving this badly. Just then her phone rings, and he confiscates it. In the hotel room, he’s drinking beer, just sitting stiffly on the couch, with no eye-contact. He will sleep on the couch; she can have the bed. Okay, now I’m a bit confused, but whatev.

She heads to the bathroom as he stares out the window. Her phone rings again. Oh snap, it’s Min-hyung. Sang-hyuk gets aggressive on the phone, telling her boss she won’t be back tonight. Yoo-jin argues, then Sang-hyuk just loses it. He throws Yoo-jin on the bed and starts tearing at her clothes while she screams.

She manages to break free and run out of the hotel, hailing a cab and bolting before Sang-hyuk came to his senses. Once he does, he realizes his actions, but she is long gone.

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Min-hyung is in the crying space by the snow-maker, thinking about his phone convo with with his rival. Yoo-jin is sitting on a fountain somewhere when her phone rings. The moment Min-hyung hears her quivering voice, he knows something is wrong. He commands her to stay put and runs for his truck. Driving like a madman, he goes through all the interactions the two of them have had since he met her at Marcian’s headquarters.

When he arrives, she still sitting, too broken to cry. She turns around and they make eye contact. Without saying anything, he pulls her into a big hug.

A final jarring scene; it’s busy at the airport as a stylish older woman steps off the plane. She calls as soon as she has her luggage, asking the person at the other end how her Joon-sang is doing. Whut??

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All kinds of emotional pots are being stirred in this episode. It appears that ten years of repressed beta-dog attitude imploded inside Sang-hyuk. From feeling second behind a dead kid to feeling third behind a handsome stranger. Still, dude, raping your fiancee is not the way to show how you care.

Min-hyung is pretty straightforward and blunt, which is a good thing in the business world, but not so much when you are muddling through interpersonal relationships. Still, I like that he supportive without being pushy, despite his own urge to step in and take over Yoo-jin’s life.

Yoo-jin is the big mystery, and I have to scratch my head. Even in the most crucial moment, she fails to either react or open her mouth, leaving nothing but ambiguity and questions among everyone, from her friends down to her fiance. Speak! Please!

And who is the mystery woman at the end of the episode?  Another character to shed light on the mystery of the two doppelgangers.  And knowing this for one of the earliest and most popular makjaengs, it can only end in tears.

Winter Sonata – Episode 9

Posted by Shukmeister

Thank you to all my patient readers waiting on the next recap of “Winter Sonata”. At this rate it may be winter again before I complete, but I am still plugging along!  



It’s still dark when our couple arrives at the resort. Yoo-jin is asleep, exhausted, and Min-hyung takes a moment to caress her hair, wondering if she ever sees the man and not the doppelganger of her first love. Her eyes pop open and he quickly removes his hand.

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He offers to grabs some warm drinks, and bolts from the truck. Of course, by the time he returns , she’s gone, leaving a thank you note.

Kang Joon-sang’s mother arrives at a vine-covered building. Everything seems relatively dust-free, and the piano stayed in tune. Does she visit this house every time she’s in the area? It’s clear nobody currently lives there.

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Manager Kim brings today’s schedule to his boss. He wonders where Min-hyung drove off to last night; he had heard it from Jung-ah. After all, the sidekicks need to stick together. He speculates that his boss had a date with the lovely designer, but Min-hyung denies it, stating Yoo-jin missed the last bus and he went to pick her up. Manager Kim wonders why she is in a somber mood.

Yoo-jin is outside on a bench, going back over the events of the night, when Min-hyung tracks her down. They go for a walk. Despite her reluctance, he wraps his scarf around her and grabs her hand, telling her that sometimes you meet a crossroads in your life, and you will need to make a decision. Or, just go with the flow. Okay, I don’t understand the advice, but whatever.

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Afterwards, she receives a phone call from an apologetic Kim sang-hyuk. She heads down the mountain and meets him for coffee. During the conversation, she tells him they need to rethink their marriage plans. Clearly , this is not what he wanted to hear, and he immediately goes on the defensive. Is it because of Min-hyung? He refuses any change in their status or any change in her heart, and stomps off.

Sang-hyuk is at home, acting like there’s nothing wrong while his mom makes dinner, and still talks about the upcoming nuptials. Yep, he’s clearly in denial mode.

The sidekicks and Boss Lee are heading for the slopes when they bump into Yoo-jin. She pulls Min-hyung away from the group for a moment, so they have a quiet time with hot chocolate. She admits that she likes him, but won’t do anything about it. She also put her marriage on hold, not wanting to hurt either man, and plans to spend some time alone. He argues that she’s copping out on any chance of happiness.

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The next day Manager Kim and Project Leader Lee watch the concert trucks trundle to the resort. Sang-hyuk uses the opportunity to track down Min-hyung for a little “meum et tuum” conversation. Basically, Yoo-jin is his and Min-hyung shouldn’t be sniffing around her using his dead-love looks to sway her.

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Min-hyung confidently says it’s completely her decision. We all know Sang-hyuk has an inferiority complex, so this can’t end up well. He leaves the office and immediately seeks out Yoo-jin, playing the adoring fiancé to the hilt in front of her boss. Her eyes call bullshit as she tells him she’s working late, but he sidesteps that by telling her he will escort her to the outdoor concert that evening.

Promptly at 1900 hours, he shows up at her hotel room, and takes her to meet his coworker for dinner, doing all the touchy-feely things a fiancé does. Ugh. In the wake of her request to cool it, it’s clear he completely dismisses her request and her feelings. They arrive at the resort restaurant, where Min-hyung is also eating with Manager Kim, and makes sure the engineer overhears wedding-talk. She says nothing to refute it, and soon Min-hyung leaves the restaurant with Manager Kim in tow.

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FYI: Least favorite suit on Bae Yong-joon (baggy mint is NOT a good look for him).

Min-hyuk ends up walking alone outside to think, while the couple breaks off from the DJ. Sang-hyuk wilts under Yoo-jin’s stare; he knows he behaved badly and tries to cover it up with anecdotes. She stops him; his behavior changes nothing of her decision. He yet again refuses to hear what she’s saying.

She leaves the table, and he chases after her, spinning her around in the lobby. He can’t let go of her, even though it’s been a one-sided love all these years. She’s shocked that he would even doubt that she cares for him. He tells her to just stay by his side, like always. When she demurs, he shakes her and insists it’s because of Min-hyung. Whups, the person in question shows up, and warns Sang-hyuk to stop mistreating Yoo-jin. He challenges Sang-hyuk to punch him, and sneers that he was probably taught that it was wrong to hit. Something about that phrase jars him, and he lets go of Min-hyung, and there is a flashback of Kang Joon-sang saying those exact words ten years before.

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We get a montage of our love triangle: Min-hyung and Sang-hyuk staring out their respective windows; Yoo-jin sadly taking a walk.

Kim Dad is reading the article on Kang Min-hee’s piano concert when his son calls to make sure his parents come to the outdoor concert. He also calls Oh Chae-lin to confirm that the gang will be there as well.

Yoo-jin wonders if Min-hyung feels bad about what happened last night. He laughs a little and calls her soft-hearted; she spends too much time worrying about other people and therefore makes herself and them miserable. Her heart is something he likes, but she could do better by making herself clear. No matter what, he will support her decisions.

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The Kims show up at the resort, and Sang-hyuk escorts them to the concert venue. They bump into Min-hyuk and Yoo-jin, and Dad is right away struck by the appearance of that earnest young high schooler a decade before. Sang-hyuk hastens to explain Min-hyuk’s presence and appearance. Mom shoots a scathing glance at her son’s fiancée before the elders leave. AS the couple walk in the other direction, Yoo-jin wonders why Joon-sang would have visited Professor Kim.

A short time later, the rest of the gang shows up with Yoo-jin’s mom. The parents are left together in the lounge, but the conversation is a little stilted. Jung Mom apologizes for her daughter’s behavior at the engagement party. Kim Mom says nothing, but Kim Dad is good at bouncing the conversation ball.

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Chae-lin stops by the engineer’s office; Min-hyuk is less than thrilled to see her. She snarks that his love must not be smooth sailing, and he admits it’s been rough. She angles for a drink later but he declines. She smiles an evil smile before leaving, and tells him the concert will have some interesting parts.

Min-hyuk and Yoo-jin are walking together, and he comments on how his scarf looks good on her. She immediately attempts to remove it, but he tosses it back playfully. Finally, she manages to tie it around his, all in view of a now-angry Kim Mom who happens upon them when heading back to their hotel room.

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The concert begins, a series of jazz and operatic pieces. The Kim / Jung party are in the front row. Sang-hyuk is clearly planning something; the moment the renovation team shows up, he quickly cuts Yoo-jin out of the herd to the front of the concert. She’s happy to see her mom and they share a hug. The rest of the team finds seating nearby.

Finally, the concert comes to the end, and the MC brings Producer Kim Sang-hyuk to the stage. The MC goes on to explain the reason behind the outdoor concert; his finacee works at the resort. Yoo-jin is all but pushed onto stage, where Sang-hyuk announces their wedding next month, which is a complete surprise to everyone. Yoo-jin is forced to endure a spotlight song. Kim Mom is furious, Yoo-jin is downcast, and Sang-hyuk is quiet, but everyone else is excitedly happy. Min-hyuk leaves the venue while Chae-lin smirks and Sang-hyuk looks triumphant.

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Manager Kim meets up with Min-hyuk, and sympathizes with his boss, saying that the woman in question is stuck in a hard place. It’s even worse, though. The Jungs are being grilled by Kim Mom, who is thoroughly unpleasant in her disdain for her son’s chosen. It’s an unfortunate moment that Manager Kim and Engineer Lee arrive as Kim Mom accuses Yoo-jin of loving another man.

Min-hyuk apologizes for any misunderstanding but insists Yoo-jin is innocent. Sang-hyuk gets nasty toward him until Yoo-jin jumps up and cries that she won’t marry Sang-hyuk. She runs away, leaving a thunderstruck party behind.

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Min-hyuk finally catches up with her and, with one look at the tears swimming in her eyes, gives her a big hug. He asks her to follow him for a bit, and when she acquiesces, hugs her again.

Sang-hyuk frantically searches the parking lot, but doesn’t see the pair until it’s too late; they head out in the truck to points unknown.

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The truck arrives at a villa outside town, that belongs to the Lee family. Before he can unlock and open the door, however, Kang Joon-sang’s mother opens it up from the inside and hugs her son.


We now have the proof that Kang Joon-sang and Lee Min-hyuk are the same person. Her surname is Kang, and she asked about Kang Joon-sang as soon as she landed in South Korea. And now she greets Min-hyung as her son. So now it’s time for some revealing; what happened ten years ago? And where does Yoo-jin, and, really, all the people from his past belong. And why is he so altered that the only thing familiar is his face? You would think that the Truck of Doom all those years before would have messed up his face but kept his personality intact.

Either way, Yoo-jin’s life is taking a turn into a bad place. Her fiancé is determined to marry her over her own objections, and the current object of her interest appears to have secrets of his own. And we aren’t even halfway through the series.

Winter Sonata – Episode 10

Posted by Shukmeister

Now that Sang-hyuk has shown extreme jealousy and aggressiveness in their relationship, does Yoo-jin really want to stick around, especially with someone who ignores her requests, whines a lot, and basically tries to railroad her into matrimony?



Lee Min-hyung and Jong Yoo-jin arrive at his family’s villa, only to be greeted by his mother. The three of them share an awkward moment when Mom starts asking questions over tea. He deflects them by stating they are there on business, but she clearly knows her son isn’t telling her the whole story. He tries again; since the villa is located on a famous fishing lake, he thought he might relax a bit with a rod and reel. Lee Mom doesn’t like the idea so much, since he nearly drowned in that lake when he was a child. Or did he? Min-hyung remembers that it happened in America, not Korea.


Mom is surprised (and not in a good way) to find out that Yoo-jin is from Choochun, and decides it’s time to end this line of conversation and head back to Seoul, leaving the pair behind. As she is leaving, she stops to chat with an old neighbor.

Once she is gone, Min-hyung loses no time in holding hands with Yoo-jin, happy that he is able to comfort her. They share a park bench near a lone tree, snuggling under his coat. It’s a cloudy night so there aren’t any stars, but Yoo-jin relates the time when Joon-sang taught her the steadiness of the North Star. Min-hyung wonders aloud if she feels lost, and she admits she’s bothered by the number of people she hurt tonight when she ran away. He promises that even if everyone misunderstands, he will stand firm by her side, like Polaris, if she will let him. She tearfully nods, and he kisses her forehead as it begins to snow.


At the hotel, everyone is waiting for news on the pair, and Sang-hyuk’s mom can’t resist the dig of “that woman” running off with Chae-rin’s boyfriend. Sang-hyuk decides to let everyone know (including his friends) of the night when he tried to force his fiancée the night of his mother’s birthday. The gang is shocked, and Kim Dad apologizes to Yoo-jin’s mother for his son’s behavior.

Once everyone goes their separate ways, Chae-rin corners him in the hallway. Did their respective partners run off together for real? Sang-hyuk stonily states that Yoo-jin left the resort to go back to Seoul. He fires back – didn’t she implicate the two of them to his mother? He takes her silence for a yes; and bitterly states the outcome wasn’t exactly what she wanted – to separate the two.


In her hotel room, Yoo-jin’s mother is packing up to head back to Seoul. Sang-hyuk apologizes for his behavior, but she just wants to go home and talk to her daughter. He’s forced to admit that Yoo-jin didn’t actually go home. Jong Mom practically flees the hotel, despite his entreaties to stay.

At the villa, Min-hyung makes sleeping arrangements putting them on separate floors. The next morning dawns bright and sunny. Yoo-jin wakes up to a trays of fruits and a note from Min-hyung that he would return. She turns her phone back on and sees all the calls, but chooses to shut the lid and take a stroll to the Lone Tree bench. She’s there when Min-hyung pulls up. With live, flapping fish. Did he catch them? With a cheeky grin, he replies: They got caught, and he bought them!


Together they make a meal; Min-hyung nurses his cut finger while commenting how wonderful it feels to have a woman fuss over a meal for him. They share a companionable feast, and he’s happy to share a meal rather than eat alone again. Once they are done, though, it’s time to head back and face the music. Yoo-jin calls her boss and finds out Mom left for Seoul, and decides to head home to talk with her mother. Min-hyung drives her to Seoul.

Sang-hyuk’s parents leave that morning, and Manager Kim comments that, even though it’s snowing, the storms of last night have passed. He wonders out loud if the pair ran off together for real, but Boss Jung-ah cuts him off to focus on work.

In Sang-hyuk’s car, they are all talking about the events, but Sang-hyuk doesn’t say anything during the entire drive.

The white truck arrives in front of Yoo-jin’s apartment building. Before she heads in, Min-hyung hugs her and exacts a promise that she will return to the resort soon. He watches her until she’s inside.


When she unlocks and enters her apartment, however, her mom is sitting at the dining table. Without raising her voice, she upbraids her daughter for hurting Sang-hyuk’s feelings. Yoo-jin all but remains silent as her mother continues her quiet yelling. Yoo-jin finally has a chance to say something. With a halting voice, she finally admits something she has known for a while – that she doesn’t love Sang-hyuk. That’s the end for Jong Mom, who leaves, wondering what kind of daughter she raised.

Yoo-jin is left alone at the dining table, when Jin-sook and Yong-gook arrive. Oh, and Sang-hyuk. The vet and friend stay in the living area while the affianced couple hash it out in her room. Does she really love this engineer? After all, he’s not her first love. Yoo-jin can’t explain it, but she wants to break up. They both cry, but before he leaves, he promises to never forgive her.


Since he is in Seoul, Min-hyung meets up with his mother as well. He tells her over coffee the strange circumstances of his first meeting with Yoo-jin; how she went to high school in Choochun, how he reminds her of his first love from that school. Her hands begin to shake, and she spills her coffee, rushing out to clean up.

He makes it back to the hotel and wonders about his mother’s strange reaction. Yoo-jin is at her place, thinking about Sang-hyuk’s parting words. When she leaves her bedroom, Jin-sook is packing up to leave. She can’t stay there anymore with a friend who hurt another friend. Um, so you are going to stick with the ‘friend’ that tried to sexually assault his fiancée?


Jin-sook heads over the Chae-rin’s shop, and finds the owner drinking herself senseless. She drunkenly accuses the younger woman of causing the whole fiasco by telling Min-hyung about Joon-sang. She yells for Jin-sook to leave, since she was never really a friend anyway. Jin-sook hugs her as Cha-rin begins to cry about her lost love.

Yoo-jin sadly puts away her engagement ring, and wishes that her fiancé doesn’t forgive her.

The next morning, Min-hyung pulls open the drapes at his hotel room at the resort and smiles to see a familiar face walking from the bus stop. He runs out to meet her, finally catching up and slowing as Yoo-jin wanders across the snowy landscape. She stops when she realizes someone is stepping in her footprints, and smiles at her shadow. He takes the smile as consent, and they play in the snow. He tosses her a snowball, only to have her throw it back over her head. He hurriedly retrieves it and tosses it back – he tells her there is a present inside! She squishes the ball and finds a necklace of stars. Later, she sticks glow-in-the-dark stars on the roof of his truck. Manager Kim finds them amusing.


Their idyllic time comes to a halt with a phone call from Yong-kuk. The vet tells her that Sang-hyuk is in the hospital after quitting his job and refusing to eat or sleep until he collapsed. Yong-kuk wants her to visit him, but she refuses and hangs up.

Min-hyung sees her sad face and correctly guesses that she has information about Sang-hyuk. She honestly tells him about the situation, but believes he will be better once some time passes. It sounds false to her own ears.

At the worksite, Yoo-jin is working with her boss and Manager Kim when Sang-hyuk’s mother shows up at the resort. Over coffee, Mom tries to convince her to go see her son in the hospital. Also, to return and marry the man, even if she keeps her life separate from his. Yoo-jin naturally refuses, but the older woman presses the point, smearing on a layer of guilt to her request and calling her heartless.


Manager Kim and Min-hyung are going over the day’s plans when Kim starts a story about a man and a dog. After owning the dog for ten years, he gave it up when his new place wouldn’t allow pets. The dog died a short time later of a broken heart. How much worse is it for humans who have been together for ten years? Min-hyung finds out about the visit from Sang-hyuk’s mother, and Kim observed that Yoo-jin looked confused and guilty at the time.

Min-hyung is wandering around outside and sees Yoo-jin inside the café staring into space over her reports. That night, he drives to the hospital to personally check on his rival’s condition. He peeks into the room, and sees Sang-hyuk’s mom pleading with her unresponsive son to eat something. Min-hyung is thoughtful as he quietly closes the door without going in.


In the dark, Yoo-jin is going over everything in her head as Min-hyung approaches her. He tells her that he is jealous of the time she has spent with Sang-hyuk. She refuses to admit she’s worried about him. That night, Min-hyung makes a decision.

The next morning, he drives her to the hospital and urges her to go in. Yoo-jin admits to being worried about Sang-hyuk, but is more fearful of not returning to the man by her side. Min-hyung tells her that returning to him is better than seeing her in pain, and promises that, like the North Star, even if time passes, she will only have to look and find her way back to him. She promises to return, but both have tears in their eyes.


Outside Sang-hyuk’s hospital room, she pauses before going in. Our ever-present ionizer is smoking in the room as she quietly says his name and wakes him up. He tells her not to feel sorry, since his mother and their friends contacted her to force her to show up. Then he does a complete turnaround and begs her to stay – is he faking it? She walks out of the room, and he yanks his IV out of his arm. Min-hyung is still waiting in his truck for her return, but she sits down in the waiting area outside the room.

A flurry of activity pops her out of her reverie, and the doctors tell her that, without the IV, he could have become critical. She sinks to a chair beside the bed. Min-hyung is still waiting in his truck.


She is still in the room when Sang-hyuk wakes up, and she breaks down crying and calling him stupid. She hugs her just as the gang shows up. In the parking lot, Min-hyung sadly drives away.

Later, at the resort, we find out that Sang-hyuk is getting ready to be discharged and will be going back to work. Boss Jung wonders how Min-hyung is doing; Yoo-jin deflects the question as rhetorical. In the parking lot, the sidekicks are bickering as Min-hyung arrives. The pair head off a bit for a heart-to-heart talk.


Yoo-jin tells him that, while he has her heart, Sang-hyuk gets the rest. She’s wearing the ring as they hug a final time before she runs off.

boom mike

Another Boom Mike scene


Aggression is described as “overt, often harmful, social interaction with the intention of inflicting damage or other unpleasantness upon another individual”. When Sang-hyuk acts like an ass, why is Yoo-jin the culprit for running away? I will be charitable with her friends, and surmise that they perhaps had never seen this side of their childhood friend.  But I am appalled that even her own mother won’t stand by her when she makes the decision to stay away from Sang-hyuk.

I’m even more surprised that she would return to him, after some very clear signs that the relationship is rapidly becoming dysfunctional.  Hopefully, she will see the light before it’s too late, and chose the person that makes her happy, rather than the one that makes her feel obligated.

Winter Sonata – Episode 11

Posted by Shukmeister

Now we get to the part of the story that just makes me angry.  Through a tissue of lies by the very people who should love and support her, Yoo-jin pulls away from her own happiness and heads for responsibility and pain instead.  And poor Min-hyung also finds out secrets that his loving family has been hiding.Winter_Sonata_ep-11[T1][(101945)08-02-08]

Episode 11

Poor Lee Min-hyung is left alone in the snow as Jong Yoo-jin hurries back to Seoul after making the decision to stay with Kim Sang-hyuk.

At the radio station, a perfectly healthy Sang-hyuk strolls to the production booth and catches his coworker smoking. It’s a happy reunion. His friend wonders aloud what happened that he would take all of his vacation time and leave without pay. Wait, so the whole hospital stay / quit your job thing was a big lying setup? That is one sick obsession and a far cry from love.


At Polaris, Yoo-jin prepares to quit her job, handing off several of the blueprints to her coworker. She falls asleep at her desk, and wakes up when Mr Obessive Possesive shows up to invite her to family dinner. Mom is happy to have them both there, but her face falls when Sang-hyuk announces that the couple will move overseas. It’s news to Yoo-jin as well, but she just goes along with it.

When he drops her off at her appointment, she is in complete passive mode, and he can tell she’s not acting correctly. Inside the apartment, both her old roommate and her mom are there to welcome her. Over coffee, she tells her mom of Sang-hyuk’s decision to leave South Korea. Mom says it’s a good thing; Yoo-jin smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes. She finally asks her mom, can’t she just live on her own and take care of her mother? Mom says absolutely not; her daughter is where she belongs.

Yoo-jin admits that she still loves Min-hyung and feels nothing but a gulf of sadness and guilt when she sees Sang-hyuk. Per mom, though, she has to go through with it no matter what, and they cry together. Later that night, Yoo-jin’s mother is soothing a sleeping daughter, whispering that there are more important things in life than love, and that her relationship with Sang-hyuk is too important to give up. She asks that her daughter not hurt too much.


Min-hyung is lost in thought at the result. Manager Kim notices and they decide that he needs to take a few days off. He drives up to his villa, but the first thing he sees in his mind is Yoo-jin standing in the living room in her white wool outfit. He sadly turns off the light again.

Kang Mi-hee is having a concert at the university. The radio team is at the concert hall to ask for an interview. So is Sang-hyuk’s dad. He lurks outside her dressing room until she comes out. When his son calls out to him, she whirls around and the other couple lock eyes.


Min-hung is moping outside the villa, sitting next to the frozen lake. The friendly neighbor from before stops to chat. Min-hyung mentions he would like to try ice fishing, but the man admonishes him. It’s very dangerous since the lake is very deep. Twenty years ago he saved a young kid from drowning, but kids these days never show their gratitude. Especially that Kang Joon-sang. Min-hyung is shocked at this revelation.

Back in the concert dressing room, we find out that Sang-hyuk’s father and Min-hyung’s mother went to high school together. She is gracious as everyone introduces each other. It’s time for the concert, though, so she has to leave. But she promises to do the interview. The radio team excitedly leaves, but the older pair linger for a moment. Sang-hyuk turns back to speak with his father, and ends up eavesdropping on their conversation.


Dad asks if she knows a “Kang Joong-sang” who visited him at the university but ended up dying in a vehicle accident while still in high school. She tells him that her son is alive and well, and so can’t be this other person. Before they part company, however, he mentions that someone named “Hyun-soo” died sixteen years ago. Her face freezes as he takes his leave.

With the concert over, she exits the venue, only to collapse outside the hall. Sang-hyuk and his coworker are waxing rhapsodic when they spot Min-hyung walking across the foyer.

People rush by Min-hyung, and he speeds upn to catch up with his mother’s doctor friend. Next thing we see, he’s piggybacking Mi-hee to hurry her to the hotel. Why not a hospital? Doctor Ahn gives her an IV and tells Min-hyung it’s stress-related. And Dr Ahn is a psychologist??


Min-hyung asks the important question – Does Mom have any other children? Dr Ahn assures him that he is an only child who was born and grew up in the States, but quickly takes off before Min-hyung could ask any other questions.

Yoo-jin is chattering at the dinner table peeling apples; Sang-hyuk is silent. When he finally speaks, he mentions seeing Lee Min-hyung that day.  He gauges her reactions, and she wonders if he is trying to test her. She isn’t indifferent but that doesn’t mean she wants to go back.  Sang-hyuk smiles for a moment before looking thoughtful.

Min-hyung is playing with a half-empty highball glass, going back over all the little things that bother him: his mom’s reaction to Yoo-jin being a local girl; her mention of him drowning at the villa; the neighbor who saved Joon-sang; and Dr Ahn’s nervous reaction.  He is saved from further rumination when Chae-rin calls him. She knows right away that he has been drinking, and quickly leaves her boutique to meet up with him.


He’s not exactly welcoming when she arrives. She’s worried about him, but seeing his lack of reaction, hesitantly adds that she’s only there as a friend. What is he thinking about? He replies in a monotone: Kang Joon-sang, is he a long lost twin? A distant relative?  Or maybe, just maybe he IS Kang Joon-sang.

Chae-rin scoffs at this idea, wondering if he likes Yoo-jin so much that he’s grasping at straws. She gets more annoyed as she talks. If he is going to talk nonsense, not tell his precious Yoo-jin that he is Joon-sang. He ruefully answers that, even if he did, it wasn’t likely that she would return to him.

Chae-rin grows desperate when he asks her to leave. He’s Min-hyung, Min-hyung Min-hyung! He is barely listening, and walks away, leaving her at the bar. He wanders around, until his feet bring him to Yoo-jin’s apartment.

Sang-hyuk is ready to leave, and comments on the pretty new star necklace. Yoo-jin tucks it under her neckline and walks her fiance to the front steps. Min-hyung is hiding behind a tree and witnesses their goodbye hug. Yoo-jin sighs, then turns towards the street to check the shadows before heading back in. She doesn’t spot Min-hyung.


At the hotel, Kang Mom is finally awake. She feels better, but get nervous when her son asks her if she’s ever heard the name Kang Joon-sang. She playts dumb, but I don’t think Min-hyung is buying it. And I think she knows that.

Yoo-jin is getting ready for work. Her now-returned roommate mentions that Chae-rin and Min-hyung were dating again. Yoo-jin is seemingly unaffected. At the office she starts fielding phone calls. One of them is from Chae-rin. They meet for coffee, and the designer mentions wanting to make her wedding dress. Yoo-jin cuts to the chase; what does she really want?

Chae-rin goes into some story that Min-hyung is pushing her away, and she asks for help. She had hoped that he would return to her once Yoo-jin was married, but he will not return no matter what. Once back in the office, Yoo-jin sits and thinks. She touches the star necklace around her neck.

Sang-hyuk is given a couple of concert tickets for a performance that night, so he tries to track down Yoo-jin. He pulls up to her office just as she is hailing a cab, and follows her to a bar. Through the window, he sees that Min-hyung is there to meet her.


Over coffee, Min-hyung is all smiles, happy that she wanted to see him. There’s a little small talk, and she tries to get to the reason she wanted to meet. He just wants a moment to look at her and hope that she missed him. Instead, she wanted to give him the star necklace back. Oh, Yoo-jin, do you plan to sacrifice everything for everybody else? He is understanding, of course, but he had hoped for more. He is grateful that he had a chance to see her.

Their conversation devolves into talking about the weather, metaphorically. He only feels comfortable at the ski resort where his thoughts are clear; from her, everything in Seoul has changed and don’t quite fit anymore. There is a charged moment before Yoo-jin mentions Chae-rin. Min-hyung interrupts her; he is willing to do everything Yoo-jin asks, but he won’t go back to her friend. They both stare at each other and lie that they are doing well.

At the crosswalk, he wonders out loud if she had ever met with him if he hadn’t look like her first love. He feels like he’s waiting for a traffic light that will never turn green. She tells him that she is already on her path, and it’s too hard to try and change it. They part ways; he stays behind, she runs across the street.


Sang-hyuk is waiting outside her place when she finally arrives. He asks where she as been, at the office? She agrees that’s what it was. He hands her a small box, and mentions a conversation a long time ago where she promised to hold his hand when he was sad; he reaches out and she places her hand in his. Inside the apartment, she opens the box and finds another necklace, this one a single diamond caged in a circle of metal.

Yoo-jin is at Kim Mom’s house having a meal. Mom is prattling about the wedding, and gives her a gift for her mother. Mom is grateful that she saved the life of her son. I guess Mom doesn’t know that he lied and staged the whole thing.

The four share coffee and snacks. Yoo-jin confirms that she plans to quit her job right before the wedding, in about a month. Sang-hyuk is all smiles, of course. They are driving back to her place when she receives a call fron her boss. Jun-ah and Manager Kim are having drinks in Seoul and plan to leave for the resort in the morning. They wanted to see her before they left. She declines and they hang up. Manager Kim decides to contact his boss instead. In the car, Sang-hyuk decides that they should go, especially since Min-hyung isn’t there.


The sidekicks already have an impressive display of beer bottles on their table when Min-hyung arrives. Their boss grabs his first one, while the piano plays “Hey Jude”. The conversation between the three comes to a halt when Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk arrive. Jun-ah is the first to recover and offers them seats. Min-hyung pops up, eager to leave, but Sang-hyuk insists he stay and they leave.

Yoo-jin has to run to catch up with Sang-hyuk, who snarks that the four of them would have had a fine old time if he hadn’t had showed up as well. She insists that she didn’t know Min-hyung was there, but Sang-hyuk bitterly confronts her with her late-night meeting with Min-hyung the day before.

She tries to explain she had something to return, but he fires back: did she have something to return tonight too? He is angry that he can’t trust her. After all, didn’t he nearly die without her? Sang-hyuk, you are a possessive obsessive big fat liar. He takes off without her, leaving her at the curb.


There is a bunch of people looking for taxis. She steps past the parked cars, and nearly gets run over, only to be pulled back by Min-hyung.


Ugh ugh ugh. From Sang-hyuk’s deception to Chae-rin’s desperation, there isn’t a single individual that supports Yoo-jin. Except Min-hyung. But he is bounded by her decision, and so can only support her from a distance. Which doesn’t help the situation.

I’m disappointed in Yoo-jin. Yes, family and friends and financial security are all good things, but to give up your job, your love and your person due to the selfishness of others? No, no, no. Your friend abandons you for stepping back from an abusive relationship? It’s best to scrape off such “friends”. But we are stuck with her choices, helpless to do more than watch her wither into a reflection of everyone else’s expectations.

Min-hyung, I believe, is more than convinced there is a connection between him and Kang Joon-sang. What he decides to do with that knowledge is still up to interpretation. He doesn’t want to burden his lady with his love when it has little chance of happiness, so all he can do is wish her well. I’d rather he kidnap her to French Polynesia where they can share coconut drinks and never see another snowflake. But winter is their season, unfortunately.

Winter Sonata – Episode 12

Posted by Shukmeister

Our guy finally finds out who he is, but raises a big conundrum: Is he a childhood name with no memories?  Or an adult name with fake memories?  Which one is the real person?

WS Ep 12 painting


Our ill-starred pair end up staring at each other for a moment, before Min-hyung, without saying a word, tracks down a taxi for Yoo-jin. He hands her into the cab, but she doesn’t look at him and drives off in silence.


She ends up outside Sang-huk’s residence. He steps out, but isn’t very welcoming. She tries to cajole him into a better mood until he finally apologizes and they hug.

Min-hyung ends up at the hotel, and meets Manager Kim for even more drinking fun. Min-hyung muses how great it would be to just erase Yoo-jin out of his memory. The manager has a few ideas how that could work: drinking, rebound woman, or therapy. Our engineer finally cracks a smile, and the manager persists. Since One and Two won’t work in this case, maybe he should go see a psychiatrist. In fact, he had heard of a special hypnotic treatment where they can erase a painful memory and replace it with an artificial but more pleasant memory instead.

The piano player finishes a set, and Manager Kim asks his boss about his famous pianist mother. He feels cheated; his amazement at Boss Lee’s spontaneous piano playing at the resort just means he probably knew how to play as a kid but forgot it as an adult. As he listens to “Someone To Watch Over Me”, Min-hyung’s smile changes into thoughtfulness; hmm, he can’t remember his past…?


At the radio station, Sang-hyuk is leaving early and in a suit. Yoo-jin shows up at the studio as the sidekick passes, and congratulates her on picking a wedding date. The guy starts explaining the vacation-time-as-quitting subterfuge plot, but Sang-hyuk overhears him and quickly shuts him up with busy work. Yoo-jin asks about what happened, but he just blows it off, and she doesn’t protest. Yoo-jin, this is why you are going to miss your happy ending.

The couple head to her father’s grave, so Sang-hyuk can tell him the wedding news. Before they get there, though, there’s already a visitor at the grave site – it’s Min-hyung’s mother!! She knows he would be upset that she remembers his birthday, but she can’t help it; she remembers the smallest details about him. Clearly, she was in love with Yoo-jin’s father. Is he the other guy in the old photograph?


Our affianced couple is surprised to see flowers on the grave already, since it’s never happened before. They share a graveside meal. That lying liar or liars promises Yoo-jin’s happiness.

At the Jong house, Yoo-jin’s mother can’t think of who might remember her late husband’s birthday, but she’s grateful. Sang-hyuk confirms he received a blessing from her spouse, and hands her a money packet so that Mom can start planning the wedding. Throughout most of this exchange, Yoo-jin has her head down, but she lifts it to stare at Sang-hyuk at the mention of money. They try to push it back, but he insists. I guess he’s using monetary guilt to bind them together even tighter. Bleh.

Winter_Sonata_ep-12[T1][(021780)20-30-22] - CopyWinter_Sonata_ep-12[T1][(023802)20-30-58] - Copy

On the drive back to Seoul, Yoo-jin wonders why sometimes he seems like a total stranger, especially when he just arbitrarily makes decisions without consulting or even informing her. They (meaning he) decide to road trip for a short while.

While rummaging through his glove box for maps, she finds the program from Kang Mi-hee’s performance. And Sang-hyuk finds out that she is Min-hyung’s mother. He pulls off to the side of road and demands to know if that is the truth. When she confirms it, he flashes back to a conversation with his father, the one about Kang Joon-sang visiting him in his math lab. He hides his reaction with a prevarication, and hauls butt to a bus stop to drop Yoo-jin off. What?


She ends up sitting in the back seat and opening the window, just like she used to do with Joon-sang. At the same time, Sang-hyuk calls Chae-rin to confirm that she really met Min-hyung in France, and that the engineer grew up in America and doesn’t have any link to Joon-sang. Chae-rin is surprised at the line of questioning; since it’s similar to one she had with Min-hyung just a short time ago. Now all his alarms are going off.

Chae-rin decides to visit Marcian, but Min-hyung’s secretary says he’s been outside the office all day.

Sang-hyuk drives like a bat out of hell to the old high school grounds to track down their old teacher. He wants to check out Joon-sang’s old school records. They’re supposed to be restricted, but the teacher allows him to access it.

Except that, according to the Registrar, he had already pulled those files earlier that day. The person wasn’t related, so he couldn’t see them, but the man did give him Joon-sang’s old address.


Min-hyung arrives at the location and wanders around a bit before checking the door. It’s unlocked, so he just lets himself inside. Inside are covered furniture and an upright piano with an open fallboard. He taps the keys experimentally. Suddenly someone opens the front door – it’s his mother!

Sang-hyuk realizes the truth at the school, while Min-hyung bolts out of his mother’s house while she chase him. He runs to his truck and drives off before she can stop him.

Sang-hyuk barges into the Jong home calling for his fiancée, but Mom says she’s at the lake. You know, the lake where she first fell in love with Joon-sang. Sang-hyuk runs back out, no doubt headed for the island.


Yoo-jin is slowly walking down the row of trees until she reaches a park bench. Min-hyung’s voice regarding sad memories come into her mind, just as the man of her thoughts shows up.

He’s staring at her, mute, as she tries to initiate a friendly conversation. When she winds down, he asks her in a low voice, “Yoo-jin ssi, I look different, don’t I. It’s strange…” As his voice tapers off, she asks if he is okay. He tries again. “If…if I…if I were Jo…”


Our jealous pinhead shows up and spoils everything, and goes all territorial on Yoo-jin, dragging her away and leaving Min-hyung / Joon-sang standing alone with tears in his eyes.

It’s dark at the lake, and Min-hyung is still there. He goes over the conversation at this mother’s house in his head. He asks her how she can be at Joon-sang’s house when she had told him she didn’t know the family. She turns to flee and accidently hits some artwork that was leaning against the table. They fall over; it’s some professional portraits of her in front of the piano. With the proof on the floor, he demands an answer. Who is Joon-sang? Who is Min-hyung? When she just stands there with that shell-shocked look, he runs out the door.

Sang-hyuk is driving like a maniac, fast enough to concern Yoo-jin. He finally pulls over for a cigarette near some train tracks. She wonders when he started smoking. He just says that she likes Lee Min-hyung more than just his resemblance to Joon-sang. He asks her point-blank what her feelings for the engineer are. She’s not able to answer; she just apologizes. He then asks her, if Joon-sang was really alive, what would she do now? She thinks he is talking in riddles, but he really wants to know if she would stay with him if her first love wasn’t dead. She calmly tosses his cigarette and hugs him; to her, it’s a moot point since Joon-sang is dead.


Min-hyung seeks out his psychiatric, and gets the real story. Since his brain injury caused a two-month coma and memory loss, it was decided to replace everything with happy memories. So rather than use hypnosis to recover his reality, they used to paint a whole new existence in his head.

He ends back at the old house in Choonchun. His mom is long gone as he wanders around, looking through the boxes. He finds a high school picture; and remembers Yoo-jin’s description of the shadow-person that no one ever sees.

Sang-hyuk is at Marcian trying to speak to Min-hyung, but he’s not there. He bumps into Chae-rin and the two head out to a cafe. Chae-rin wants to know what’s up, but Sang-hyuk just deflects her questions, stating that he’s edgy because Yoo-jin is still seeing “that guy”.

Yoo-jin is waiting for her fiancé at Chae-rin’s boutique, since they were supposed to be fitted for their wedding finery that night. The owner is there, and mentions that she saw Sang-hyuk at Marcian that afternoon. And she can’t help but dig at Yoo-jin for indecisiveness in bouncing between two men’s feelings.


At the studio, Sang-hyuk is just staring into space when he receives a phone call from Min-hyung’s secretary. At Marcian, Min-hyung is staring at the jigsaw picture of the boat. Manager Kim shows up looking for him with some paperwork to sign. As he gets ready to use his signature, he pauses for a moment to stare at the typed line “Lee Min-hyung”. He drops the pen and paper and walks away without a word.

Outside, Sang-hyuk sees his truck leave and follows him to his hotel. He confronts him with his name: “Kang Joon-sang.”

The girls (well, Jin-sook) are drinking soju and snacking. Jin-sook tells Yoo-jin not to be bothered with Chae-rin’s lecture. Yoo-jin muses that her teenage heart fluttered and reached out for Joon-sang; it never moved again after Joon-sang died, until Min-hyung showed up and she began to feel that pull again. But it isn’t because they look alike, especially when they are different people, but to her heart, they feel the same.


In Min-hyung’s quarters, Sang-hyuk confronts his old high school rival with the shared information, wondering how he never knew who he really was. Min-hyung is in no mood to play games, and flat-out asks Sang-hyuk what he wants. Sang-hyuk is blunt: who cares who he is, he has no intention of allowing him to go near Yoo-jin and make her suffer. Neither as Kang Joon-sang or as Lee Min-hyung, he has no right to the woman. After all, Joon-sang told Sang-hyuk that he only used Yoo-jin to get closer to him when they were in school together. Sang-hyuk sinks to his knees and begs Min-hyuk to back off and let Yoo-jin be. We don’t hear his response.

Our two roommates reached their apartment. Sang-hyuk is waiting on the stoop, and quickly envelopes Yoo-jin in a hug.

In his room, Min-hyung drinks a glass of whiskey and thinks back and forth about his two names: Min-hyung with his current memories, and Joon-sang and the blank that exists. He ends up at Chae-rin’s place, and the proprietress is giddy to see him. He asks her to dinner. She contacts Yong-gook to cancel her dinner plans with the gang, but Min-hyung pulls the phone away and advises the vet that both Chae-rin and he will be coming to dinner.


It’s a silent, uncomfortable affair at the restaurant with Chae-rin, Min-hyung, Jin-sook and Young-gook staring at each other. Jin-sook tries to start a conversation, and talks about the radio club in high school. Min-hyung smoothly moves the talk to that missing person from the club…what was his name?…oh yeah Kang Joon-sang. Sang-hyuk shows up just as Min-hyung starts his questioning. He asks about the relationship between the dead boy and his rival. Young-gook asks him to stop this talk out of respect for the dead, but Min-hyung just laughs a bitter chuckle. How do you know he is really dead, if no one ever went to a funeral? After all, he could have been in an accident, gotten amnesia, anything.

Sang-hyuk tries to halt this, but Min-hyung is unstoppable. Had anyone thought that maybe he himself was an altered Kang Joon-sang. Jin-sook scarely breathes the prospect before Min-hyung stands up. It’s not possible, of course, since he IS Lee Min-hyung. With that, he leaves the restaurant, closely followed by Chae-rin. She doesn’t reach him before he enters the elevator and disappears. At the table, the couple is confused, and Sang-hyuk looks disturbed.


Chae-rin pauses by the elevator and goes back over all the recent strange conversations with both Sang-hyuk and Min-hyung. Her eyes grow wide when she realizes what happened, and whispers, “Kang Joon-sang.”

Outside the building, Yoo-jin is just reaching the doors when Min-hyung walks out. He grabs her arm and pulls her aside, his eyes stormy. When he doesn’t say anything, she tries to walk past him, but he yanks her back. She yells that this isn’t his normal behavior, what has gotten into him?


He snaps, how is he supposed to act?  Can she tell him who he really is?  Slowly he pulls it out of his heart.  “I…am…Joon-sang.”


I like that Yoo-jin admits that, in the absense of any proof that they are, in fact, the same person, her heart still recognizes Joon-sang / Min-hyung and feels that wonderful flutter when her love is nearby.  It’s just a shame that she is blinded by her promises, her circumstances, and the people around her, who demand that she ignore her heart and follow what they believe is her best chance for happiness. In wine there is truth; in her case, the soju tells us all what we already know. She loves the same man no matter what his guise.


And poor Min-hyung / Joon-sang. He feels without those childhood memories, he has no chance of reaching Yoo-jin, even though we all know she already felt the connections. But he is impotent in the face of all the people in her life that have 10-plus years of experience that he can never regain.  How hard it was for him to stare at those strangers at the dinner table, and know that they shared experiences he can’t remember.  I hope that soon he will regain his equilibrium, and regain his confidence to show Yoo-jin through his actions how much she means to him.

And Sang-hyuk.  What to sayn about him? He now knows the truth, but just like that jealous little boy from decades ago, he dissolves into childish “Mine Mine Mine” mind games.

Ultimately everything is in Yoo-jin’s court.  She needs to decide on what constitutes her happiness and act on it; otherwise, the two rivals will make everything spiral out of control as they vie for the love of this one woman.Winter_Sonata_ep-12[T1][(073911)21-00-11]


Winter Sonata – Episode 13

Posted by Shukmeister

Poor Lee Min-hyung. After all assertions to the contrary, can he convince anyone he is really Kang Joon-sang? Does he even believe it himself?

WS 13 01 Missed


Min-hyung begs Yoo-jin to look at him and see who he really is. She wonders what in the world has gotten into him. “I’m Joon-sang!” he states will all the fierceness that desperation can give. She all but calls him a liar who is trying to play on her emotions. He holds her by the shoulders, but Sang-hyuk comes out of the restaurant and deliberately calls him crazy. Min-hyung throws a punch, and that’s it. Yoo-jin is firmly with Sang-hyuk, and leaves with him.


In the restaurant, the rest of the gang speculate if the engineer really is their long-lost classmate. Doctor Kwon wonders aloud what Yoo-jin will do if he does turn out to be her first love? Chae-rin is silent, but glares as Jin-sook says aloud what she is thinking: if true, they are destined to be together, and everyone else will need to let go. She leaves on that thought.

Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk are in a taxi, and he demands that she promise to never see Lee Min-hyung again, ever ever ever. Nor listen to anything he says. Nor believe anything she may hear about him. I really dislike him for frequently lying to Yoo-jin and playing upon her sympathies. You are a bad man, Sang-hyuk, who demands promises of others but always breaks his own. Anyway, he gets the affirmative from Yoo-jin.

Jin-sook is at the apartment when Yoo-jin arrives. Wait, wasn’t she at the restaurant? Anyway, Mom is there too. Another liar in Yoo-jin’s life. Before she goes to the bedroom where her mother is waiting, Jin-sook relates the events at dinner that night. She thinks the man will do anything to get Yoo-jin back.

Mom is asleep in her bed, but wakes up when her daughter opens the door. Yoo-jin snuggles in, just wanting some mother/child cuddling. After a short while, she receives a phone call from Min-hyung. He quietly says her name, several times, and then asks in a low voice to come outside and talk for a moment.


She tells him the reasons why he can’t be Joon-sang: he was never pushy with his feelings; he never tried to hurt people with their weaknesses; he never even told her how he felt. The boy she knew never had confidence or dignity, and almost never smiled. He can’t ever be the boy she remembered. And even if that boy returned, she won’t leave her fiancé. They both cry. He still begs her to come outside and see him, even if it’s for the last time.

She thinks for a moment, and then leaps up and heads for the door. Evil Mom chooses that time to fling open the bedroom door and stop her daughter, even to the extent of physically holding her. When that doesn’t work, she fakes a collapse. Speaking of low-lifes, Sang-hyuk arrives at the apartment as the doctor is examining her mom.


Meanwhile, Min-hyung is sitting alone outside. Inside, Mom pretends to be unconscious, but grabs Yoo-jin’s skirt when she tries to leave the bedroom. Nasty, manipulative Mom. You deserve that son-in-law.

Sang-hyuk meets up with Min-hyung, spins a sob story of how much he loves the woman he is going to marry, and chastises Min-hyung for not being around for the last ten years while the rest of the world has grieved and moved on. He acknowledges his rival really is Joon-sang, but basically says nobody gives a rat’s butt for this familiar stranger, and tells him to disappear.

Poor Joon-sang goes back to his mom’s empty house, remembering everything he heard that night. Later, when he comes out of the bedroom, his mother is sitting at the table with her hands tightly clenched together. She asks him if there is anything she can do for him.

He demands she return his memories and everything he has lost. She wants to explain the reasoning behind her decisions ten years before, but he doesn’t care. She still tries: he was bitter, angry, mom-hating, illegitimate child, and she gave him a father and happy memories to cover that pain. She lost Joon-sang forever, but gained Min-hung, which made her a happy mom.

The air between them eases a bit, enough that he gives her a hug before she leaves. In the house, he decides to go through things. He hangs her pictures back on the wall, and goes through his old room, which had been left alone all these years. In the storage room, there are pieces of furniture and boxes.


He idly sifts through things, and finds a box containing Joon-sang effects: his high school pin and name badge; notes passed between Yoo-jin and his former self; and a cassette. In his old bedroom, he finds a player, and listens to it. It’s his own voice wishing Yoo-jin a Merry Christmas. Aww, his face as he listens, it’s so sad.

In fact, he listens to himself try several times to put into words what that young heart was feeling then.  The current Joon-sang cries as he rewinds and listens again.


Yoo-jin tucks her mom in at Joon House before heading to her old high school to drop off a wedding invitation to her old professor.

Joon-sang has beaten her there, though, and is wandering around, trying to find something, anything, that would unlock those lost memories.  They almost-meet several times on campus.

Yoo-jin bumps into her younger sister at the campus radio station, and gets introduced to all her sister’s chingu. She gives them a little inside information on how to soften “Professor Gargamel”: read poetry, especially love poetry, out loud. The kids decide to broadcast.


Joon-sang enters the music room, and touches the piano.  Is this the one he first played for her, all those years ago? After touching the keys, he begins to play “The First Time” at first tentatively, but then with more power as his finger memory, at least, returns.

The kids start reciting “The Flight” by Sarah Teasdale.  Joon-sang stops and listens. Yoo-jin is also feeling the words in her heart.

Look back with longing eyes and know that I will follow,
Lift me up in your love as a light wind lifts a swallow,
Let our flight be far in sun or windy rain–
But what if I heard my first love calling me again?

Hold me on your heart as the brave sea holds the foam,
Take me far away to the hills that hide your home;
Peace shall thatch the roof and love shall latch the door–

But what if I heard my first love calling me once more?

Afterwards, Yoo-jin wanders to the same places Young/Adult Joon-sang walked. She ends up in the recital room, and touches the keys.  She thinks about her younger self, and the poem. Tears fall, but she resolutely shuts the fallboard.

Manager Kim is looking for his boss at Marcian; he has some paperwork that the engineer needs to review and sign off. Min-hyung tells him that he will be in charge of finishing the resort, as he plans to return to the States.  Manager Kim scoffs as Min-hyung pauses over the signature line on the forms.  He resolutely signs them “Lee Min-hyung”.


Dirtbag Fiance Sang-hyuk receives a phone call requesting a meetup. Once he arrives, Min-hyung loses no time in telling his plans to return overseas and wish Yoo-jin happiness from a distance.  He plans to live the rest of his life as Lee Min-hyung who once loved a girl named Jong Yoo-jin. Sang-hyuk thanks him and they shake hands. He goes after one final cut, though: he thanks him for being Joon-sang, and being alive.

At Chae-rin’s boutique, Yoo-jin’s wedding dress is complete. Jin-sook is clearly more excited about it than the bride is.  They go into the changing room, just as Min-hyun shows up to say his goodbyes to his previous girlfriend.

And our pair’s eyes lock as Yoo-jin opens the curtain. He comes to his senses first and gives her a polite, formal bow.  She is flustered, though, and loses a shoe while untangling the dress from the dressing room curtain.  He walks over and slides the shoe back on her foot, while she remembers that long-ago time at school when he did the same.


When he straightens out, they are once again looking at each other. He quietly tells her she looks good (I rewatched to make sure he didn’t say ‘beautiful’). She replies that it has been a while since they have seen each other.

They sit together on the couch, but an awkward distance apart, with an awkward silence between them. He finally chooses his words, wanting to ask her something. She agrees to answer. The question? “When you said you loved me, was it because I look like Joon-sang?”

Yoo-jin readily answers. No, she loved Min-hyung separately from any others, including her first love. He sincerely thanks her and they share a wordless moment before Jin-sook pops in. Since Chae-rin isn’t there, he takes his leave, offering Yoon-jin his blessing on her upcoming marriage.

Professor Kim (Sang-hyuk’s father) stops by Jong House to see Yoo-jin’s mom. She delicately approaches the fact that Madam Kang is back in South Korea. He, of course, already met her at the concert hall. Yoo-jin arrives, and escorts him out of the house. She thanks him for visiting her mother, and he is happy she calls him “father”. Especially since he, her father, and ‘another person’ were close friends in school, just like the relationships she had at the same campus. He asks about Engineer Lee; he wants to apologize for his wife’s rudeness, stating he can’t get the young man out of his mind. He had a visceral reaction to Min-hyuk that made him think he really was Kang Joon-sang, but his gut feeling must have been wrong for once.


Yoo-jin asks Professor Kim about the time he spoke to Joon-sang, but all he could remember is that the kid didn’t have a chance to ask him anything. She admits that no-one went to the funeral, purportedly it was held in Seoul. Later than night, she thinks about her conversation with her father-in-law until she gets a headache.

Chae-rin meets up with Sang-hyuk at his studio; she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is leaving South Korea. She runs out to try and track him down. While driving, she receives a phone call.

At a café, a private investigator reveals information she hired him to check. He all but confirms that Kang Joon-sang and Lee Min-hyung are the same person, with the name change upon his mother’s marriage in America. Oh snap! She pulls over to the side of road, and quietly freaks out.


When she arrives, exhausted, at her boutique, Jin-sook is chatting away on the phone with Yoo-jin. Chae-rin ignores her, until she hears the words “Deceased Persons records”, and finds out she is planning to visit their high school again to ‘find out something’. Chae-rin runs out and immediately calls Sang-hyuk about the situation. They find out from each other that the two alters are actually the same person, and that Yoo-jin may believe that as well. Both panic-flee towards the school.

Chae-rin reaches the school first, but she doesn’t have enough time to keep Professor Gargamel and Yoo-jin from meeting. The prof mentions Sang-hyuk was there too, but Chae-rin deflects the conversation. He’s got a meeting, so Yoo-jin promises to stop by at a later date.


Playing the chingu card, Chae-rin tries to pry information out of Yoo-jin, and all but yanks her into the car in the name of friendship and drives her directly to her mom’s house, where Sang-hyuk is waiting to hustle her back to Seoul. Man, these two manipulators should get together instead.

On the drive back, Sang-hyuk is caught by his tangled lies as Yoo-jin asks about his presence in Choonchun. He comes up with more BS to try and coverup everything. She’s puzzled but lets it slide. Does he even feel bad about lie after lie after lied after lie?

Who knows, but one thing is for sure; he didn’t notice when once he dropped her off, she flagged a taxi and headed out.


Min-hyung is finalizing his flight plans for tomorrow when Yoo-jin shows up at the hotel. He’s packing up everything, including her star necklace, when she reaches his door.

She pauses before ringing the door bell. Will she or won’t she?


I hope Yoo-jin is starting to think on her own. From our point of view, there isn’t a single person in her life who is honest and supportive.  Even Jin-sook parrots what she’s been told by everyone else.  Joon-sang / Min-hyung genuinely wishes her well, which could be why she always thinks about him in odd moments.  But he, too, doesn’t seem inclined to inform her of everything going on.

Yoo-jin’s mother is the one that upsets me the most,  Her daughter’s happiness should be more important than pride or money, and lying is bad, even when you try and justify it by saying it’s for her own good.  Your children need to make their own decisions, and laugh or despair based on that. And her faking illness?  Ugh ugh  ugh, the worst.

We still have a long way to go, and there’s plenty of room for angst and bad things to happen.  But I want more good times too.  A little balance wouldn’t hurt, Show.

Winter Sonata – Episode 14

Posted by Shukmeister

Out from under all the machinations of the people around her, Yoo-jin manages to find the one boy she has always dreamed about. But he is no longer a boy, and no longer quite the person she used to love. Can she find a connection with him, even without the memories to forge that link?

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Does Yoo-jin ring the doorbell to Joon-sang’s room? Nope, she turns away and runs back to the elevator. Wae?????

She stares at her reflection in the elevator wall, and chastises herself for still wanting to find Joon-sang. With that she falls to the floor and cries. Poor Joon-sang is just sipping his cocktail and staring out the window, unaware that his love is in his building just a few steps away.

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It’s morning, and Min-hyung is cleaning up the last of his stuff out of his office while Manager Kim gripes at him for leaving mid-project. The two shake hands, and Min-hyung rolls out, but not before stopping in front of the completed jigsaw puzzle. He muses that he really did have a lot of little memories come together during his stay.

At Polaris, Yoo-jin is also packing up. It seems she planned to quit once she goy married, but she also had decided to leave earlier than planned. Boss Jung-ah gripes much like Manager Kim, but mentions that Engineer Lee left her a package at the office. Yoo-jin finds out for the first time that Min-hyung was flying to the US that morning. Boss wonders if she wants to run to the airport and stop him, but why should she? Still, she opens the thick envelope and finds a CD.

It’s a copy of “First Time”, and she listens to it, sadly staring at the CD player. She picks up the jewel case and a note falls out. It reads: “By the time you read this, I’ll be on a plane. You may not want this, but I had to give it you. I can record myself like Joon-sang, but I still want you to have it. Please be happy.”

She slowly puts the case down, thunderstruck. She had never told anyone of the cassette gift from Kang Joon-sang all those years ago. And she certainly never told Lee Min-hyung. With that she desperately heads to the airport.