The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: That Winter, The Wind Blows

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

A melodrama that has such beautiful cinematography, lovely music and good-looking actors that watching it often feels like looking at gorgeous moving postcards with their own built-in sound.

Unfortunately, logic is not this show’s strong point. On the upside (?), this flaw doesn’t become terribly glaring until fairly late in the show.

In the meantime, there’s a good amount of tension-laden fauxcest to mess with one’s mind. Which, I have to admit, was a fascinating exercise in itself.

That Winter The Wind Blows OST – 겨울사랑

THE LONG VERDICT:

There are 3 – well, more like 3 and a half – main reasons that I decided to check out this show:

(1) I’d heard how gorgeous it was to look at. I like shows that are beautifully filmed, and I wanted to check out All The Pretty for myself.

(2) I’d also heard intriguing things about the fauxcest between our lead characters. Everyone was talking about how this show messed with their minds. I was intrigued. Would I feel messed up too?

(3) Kim Bum. I love how he’s been shooting up the hot meter while retaining strong shades of adorable with each new role, and the stills of him in this show looked tantalizing, with him showing significant swag and ‘tude. Can’t blame a girl for wanting to see that swag in motion. I mean, just look at him:

(3.5) This is more like a side reason, but I’d heard about That Ending. Not in specifics, but in vague upset rumblings. Amid those upset rumblings, I’d also heard a small smattering, not of approval, but of acceptance of how the show ended. I wondered which camp I’d fall into.

In the end, this turned out to be a show that had me rather hooked in stretches, but that ultimately left me feeling mostly bemused.

There were things that I did like about it, and quite well too. But there were also things that left me scratching my head.

I’m going to break it down in those 2 major ways in this review, and I’m going to try to not go too epic while I do that. Coz while epic reviews have become a bit of a trend on this blog, the weak logic at work here just doesn’t hold up to the usual scrutiny.

THE GOOD

Cinematography & OST

The raves about this show’s beauty were not unfounded. Everything is gorgeous.

The skillful camera-work, the intense, rich color palette, the careful lighting and their beautiful subjects all come together to make lots and lots of Pretty on our screens.

This show is gorgeous to look at, whether it’s scenic, sweeping shots of nature:

Or strikingly attractive close-ups of our characters:

Or a moment suspended in time, of our characters in the midst of that natural beauty:

Or even a simple scene in a coffee-shop:

So. Much. Pretty.

To top it off, the beautifully scored OST is immersive and deftly applied to effectively draw us into the midst of the heightened surreality on our screens. We almost feel like we’re also walking and breathing among our characters, bathed in the same glorious light, with our every word and action amplified by the same melodic strains of the OST.

Pretty hard to get more immersive than that, I’d say. A rock-solid strength of the show.

The Set-Up

Our story is set up quickly and the key players are swiftly and skillfully shifted into place, so that our central conflict can take centerstage.

I enjoyed the brisk pace and the lack of drag, and felt surprisingly engaged after just the first episode.

By the time the credits rolled on episode 1, I felt like I understood the dilemma that our protagonist Oh Soo (Jo In Sung) was in, and I was definitely curious to see more.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Soo is not introduced as a good guy. In fact, when we first meet Soo, he’s fresh from a poker con, and his pillow talk with his girlfriend So Ra (Seo Hyo Rim) consists of an exchange where So Ra says sadly, “Some day, you’re going to leave me.” Soo replies matter-of-factly, without even turning around to look at her, “Things turn out the way you believe.”

So Ra cries, “You’re cruel.” Soo can barely contain derisive laughter as he half turns to her and replies, almost delightedly, “I acknowledge that.”

So no, we aren’t under any delusions about Soo being a good guy.

By the time we reach the end of episode 1, though, we know that Soo does have some good in his heart.

One significant clue is that he helps a blind girl whom he doesn’t know (Oh Young, played by Song Hye Kyo) even in the thick of police chasing him down.

Soo receives a call from a frantic Jin Sung (Kim Bum) informing him that the police are after him, and he drags a confused and panicky Young with him as he ducks behind a building after being spotted by police.

In the face of Young’s increasing agitation, Soo claps his hand over her mouth and says urgently, “I won’t let you get hurt. Just stay here a minute… Your brother will be here soon. Go back to the guards after I leave, and look for your brother. [releases her and presses her letter into her hands] On the last line, your brother said that he loves you. Bye. [literally, go well]” And Soo takes off running, with the police hot on his tail.

That Soo would take the time and trouble, to not only tell a blind and lost Young, whom he’s just met, what to do and where to go, but to even take those few precious extra seconds to assure her that her brother loves her, even while his own neck is on the line, is extremely telling.

By the end of the episode, Soo has been framed, wronged, imprisoned, beaten up, stabbed and threatened, and basically backed into the tightest corner imaginable. And it is only at this point that the scam presents itself to him, when Lawyer Jang (Kim Kyu Chul) approaches him, asking if he is (the other) Oh Soo.

Lawyer Jang assumes that Soo is the one that he’s been searching for and asks, “What’s wrong, Soo? You don’t remember me at all?”

At first, it doesn’t even occur to Soo that Lawyer Jang has got the wrong guy. As it sinks in, though, and as the pieces fall into place in his head – his friend Oh Soo’s previous words about being the son of the PL Group, the debt of 7.8 billion won, the 93 days that he has left to pay it – it is only then, that Soo stutters, with tears in his eyes, “No, I remember you… [trembles] Ahjusshi, you’ve aged so much.”

I think it’s pretty key that Soo is pushed to a desperate place before the scam, and that the scam presents itself to him; he doesn’t go looking for it. Plus, at the point of actually agreeing that he’s the other Soo, there are tears in his eyes. We don’t know for sure what those tears mean: he could be sad &/or relieved &/or scared of what he’s about to do.

What’s clear, though, is that Soo is nervous about pretending to be the other Oh Soo.

In episode 2, Soo stutters to Jin Sung in a dazed state, “I don’t know why… I just… I just pretended to be the deceased Soo.”

Jin Sung is shocked too, so we see that these 2 aren’t the sort to jump at a scam. And that makes them immediately more sympathetic.

At the same time, the set-up, of putting Soo on the path of falling headlong in love with the fake sister that he’s trying to scam, is quite compelling.

That all of these pieces are so quickly and skillfully put in place before we’re even through with episode 2, is testament to the strong set-up of our story.

I was sucked in before I knew it.

[END SPOILER]

Jo In Sung as Oh Soo

Another thing that really worked for me, was Jo In Sung’s performance as Oh Soo.

Jo In Sung’s Oh Soo is at once confident, suave and charismatic, yet at the same time, often conflicted, confused and deeply troubled. And Soo’s inner struggles are always clearly and quite wonderfully written across his face for us to share in it.

We don’t ever feel like Soo is a cipher, and that makes it so much easier for us to engage emotionally with him as a character.

This is the only role in which I’ve seen Jo In Sung, so I can’t compare this to any other performance by him. But I will say that his delivery as Oh Soo is nuanced and detailed. Every tick and twitch of Soo’s face and body muscles, and every sharp intake of breath and varying timbre of his voice tells us so much about his internal war with himself, and it effectively draws us in to his psyche.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In episode 7, while Soo and Young sit together in the ski lodge cabin, Young asks Soo about the other Oh Soo (ie, himself, since she thinks he’s her brother), and Soo tells her about how that Soo was trash since his birth, abandoning the girl who loved him and was pregnant with his baby, and how that was just unforgivable. We can hear the self-loathing in Soo’s voice as he speaks, and it is poignant to hear.

Young responds thoughtfully, “Who are you to forgive him? What one person can do for another is not forgiveness, it’s consolation.”

She describes how scared she was as child when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and how everyone told her it was nothing and that she would be fine, when all she wanted to hear was, “You don’t have to be fine.” … “Young, it’s okay not to be fine. It’s okay to be scared.” … “It’s okay to cry.”

Young continues, “I think [Soo] was like me. When he was too young to remember anything, he was abandoned under a tree. And the mom that came by left after leaving him just 58,000 won. Even worse, he lost the only woman he ever loved at the young age of 19. He couldn’t get consolation from anyone. Still, he was wrong not to take care of the baby. Yeah, it was wrong. A terrible wrong. But he was 19 and too young to even take care of himself. At that age, it must have been scary to think that his baby would become just like him.”

As Young talks, Soo’s face begins to contort as he tries to hold it all in. Clearly, Young’s words are the first words of compassion he’s ever heard for himself, and his struggle to reconcile her empathy and its accompanying release, with his self-loathing is written all over his face.

I don’t often shed tears while watching drama, but Jo In Sung’s delivery in this scene was nothing short of arresting, and I cried for Soo’s pain.

Kudos indeed.

[END SPOILER]

That Winter The Wind Blows OST – 먹지

Tension-Laden Fauxcest

In line with everything that I’d heard, the fauxcest in this show is at once disturbing, yet heady and addictive, and it does mess with your head.

On the one hand, we know that Soo and Young aren’t really siblings. And we know that Soo knows that they’re not really siblings. On the OTHER hand, Young doesn’t know, and for a good stretch of the show, genuinely believes Soo to be her brother. And that’s where things get confusing and become a complete mash-up of heady yet squicky, addictive yet disturbing. Such diametrically opposing emotions, warring against each other.

I found it all very intriguing. And yes, even fun.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In episode 4, while at Young’s class reunion, Soo sits with her, and describes what is going on at the party. As excitement erupts in the room, Soo tells Young, “Mi Ra’s boyfriend is proposing to her.”

Young wants to know, “How?”

Soo continues, “While singing, he approached Mi Ra and got on his knees. Mi Ra must be impressed…. She’s tearing up… He’s giving her a ring.” As Soo talks, Young smiles, enjoying his descriptions.

As the events unfold before them, Soo keeps going, “Mi Ra was running away… And the guy did this… and he kissed her.” And Soo grabs Young’s face and leans in, inches from her face.

Omo.

On the one hand, half your brain screams, “SKINSHIP!!!!” while on the other hand, the other half of your brain is probably screaming, “But she thinks he’s her BROTHER!!!!”

To make the entire thing even more inappropriate, Soo follows the moment by asking, “Do you know the difference between a kiss and a peck?”

Um. Do brothers ask sisters this kind of question? I.. tend to think not. But I can’t deny that my breath caught in my throat when he leaned in and grabbed her face like that.

So inappropriate, but so addictive, really.

In episode 5, Young asks Soo why he can’t sleep in the room with her. Soo answers, “Look. Men and women can’t sleep together.”

Young seems surprised as she asks, “You’re a man? … But you’re my brother.”

Soo instructs, “A brother is a man, too… And you are not just asking me to lay next to you and sleep. You want to touch me too.”

They go back and forth for a bit, and Young emphasizes that she wants to know everything about him, but can’t know unless she touches him, since she can’t see.

Eventually, Soo relents, “Fine. Touch me. [he pauses] I’m sure you know where you can and can’t touch?” And she smiles happily, “I do.”

Um. Loaded much? All that talk about touching, and knowing where she can and can’t touch him is so suggestive.

After Young is done exploring Soo’s, um, “appearance” with her hands, she finally lies down, and Soo props himself up on his elbow and starts to touch her face, wondering if she can really tell what he looks like just from touching him. Omo. More skinship!

As they talk, Young asks for Soo’s arm as a pillow, and when he gives it, she nestles into his side, closer and then closer still, until her face is in his chest and her arm is around his back. Even more skinship!!

UM. I know that she’s being played as completely innocent in this scene, and that her innocence is literally that of a child’s because no one has taught her any better over the years. But still. Snuggling with your brother like that, it’s.. definitely squicky. Right?

And so our glorious inner conflict while watching all the fauxcest continues.

The next night, Young asks to sleep with Soo again, and Soo tells her, “Even if we’re siblings, we shouldn’t sleep together! I’m a man. And men need to be careful. Do I really have to teach you everything?”

Omomo. That sounded loaded with double meaning, especially the last part. As if he’s asking if he has to literally show her how men and women, er, sleep together.

And Young’s response sounds equally loaded, “Yes, everything. If you’re my brother, you should teach me everything. I found out from you that a brother is a man, too.”

Cue coughing fit. No wonder everyone says they need a therapist after watching this show! It really messes with your head. And makes you want more, while you’re at it too.

Since I can’t possibly cover all the heady fauxcest, here’s a photo spasm instead:

So heady. So squicky. So heady.

[END SPOILER]

Jin Sung & Hee Sun

Amid what were sometimes heavy plot developments, Jin Sung (Kim Bum) and Hee Sun (Jung Eun Ji) were a very welcome breath of fresh air.

Separately, they are both likable and interesting – Jin Sung as Soo’s hot-headed, fiercely loyal bestie, and Hee Sun as the equally hot-headed, conflicted younger sister of Soo’s dead ex-girlfriend Hee Joo (Kyung Soo Jin) – but together, they are just golden.

Jin Sung and Hee Sun start the show seeming to hate each other’s guts and they bicker like there’s no tomorrow. Their chemistry is warm, sparky and very tangible, and any time they are onscreen together, they bring the cute. Their chemistry is so tangible, in fact, that I suspect the writers decided to give them a love line as an afterthought.

When things get romantic between Jin Sung and Hee Sun, it feels a touch tacked on, to be honest. But they are so darn cute together that I readily forgive any unevenness and unwieldiness in the introduction of their love line.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In episode 9, we get the cutest moment ever, between Hee Sun and Jin Sung, while they stake out Myung Ho’s (Kim Young Hoon) possible meeting with his lover.

Jin Sung makes to get off the motorbike, saying, “Let’s get off and wait.”

Hee Sun pulls him back and buckles down, saying, “Let’s stay like this, I’m cold.” Ooh. Snuggles.

Jin Sung dead-pans, “I love you. Who knows? Maybe those words will warm you up.”

After a pause, Hee Sun pipes up, “After we’re done helping Oh Soo, let’s start dating.”

Jin Sung replies without missing a beat, “I’m going to the countryside. My dad can’t work at the restaurant with those legs. Looking at him today, he really can’t stay. I’m going.”

Hee Sun shoots back, “I thought you didn’t like your dad. You like him?”

Jin Sung answers with a small smile, “How can I not like my own father?… Let’s go together.”

In disbelief, Hee Sun vents, “I give him one thing and now he wants two. I said I’d date you… you want to live together. You think I’m crazy enough to go there? I’m a city girl for sure. I won’t go.”

Jin Sung grins, “Just think about it.”

When Myung Ho’s girlfriend shows up, a triumphant Hee Sun grabs a stunned Jin Sung for a kiss, and then another.

She teases, “If you liked it, then smile.”

Jin Sung breaks into the most adorable smile ever, and then kisses her right back. AWWWW.

The next morning, as Myung Ho and his girlfriend exit the building, our newly minted couple take a multitude of paparazzi shots, wearing the most gleeful expressions on their faces.

So, so cute.

[END SPOILER]

Oh Soo & Jin Sung

The bromance between Soo and Jin Sung doesn’t take centerstage, but it is a strong and distinct undercurrent throughout the show, and I enjoyed it.

Right away, when we meet them, we can tell just by Jin Sung’s adoring puppy eyes that his love for Soo is nothing to be sniffed at.

At the same time, we soon learn that this fierce love flows both ways. Soo loves Jin Sung just as fiercely, and both men demonstrate multiple times how each cares for the other more fiercely than himself.

[SPOILER ALERT]

In episode 1, we learn about Jin Sung’s love for Soo in their conversation after Soo is released from prison, when Jin Sung takes Soo to see the river where he’d scattered the other Soo’s ashes.

As they walk, Jin Sung brightly fills Soo in on what’s happened in his absence:

“Your house, car, cash, and stock… Boss Kim took it all. That bastard… I was so mad I went to his club and screwed around… He pulled my arm out. I went back the next day with a cast… He broke my leg. After my leg was healed, I went back with a bottle of gasoline to burn the club down. He gave me money. He told me to come work for him. But, I’m Park Jin Sung, man of loyalty. I spat on his face. Then he punched me, and I lost two teeth. [points to his teeth] The two in the front are implants.”

Woah. Man of loyalty indeed. That is some serious, can’t-be-snuffed-out love right there.

And Jin Sung demonstrates that fierce loyalty throughout the show, never hesitating to put himself in danger if it’s for Soo’s sake.

As for Soo, his concern for Jin Sung shows up regularly too. In episode 1, when Jin Sung talks blithely about their future plans together, Soo tells him somberly, “You should leave this line of work.”

That’s something that Soo repeatedly tries to drum into Jin Sung, for his own safety. But of course, Jin Sung, Man of Loyalty, doesn’t ever listen.

In episode 11, Moo Chul bargains with Soo to bring forward his debt deadline by 5 days in order to save Jin Sung from Moo Chul. Soo agrees, basically giving up 5 days of his life for Jin Sung, and says, “It’s a good price for getting Jin Sung off the hook.” Wow. That’s love, right there.

Later that same episode, Jin Sung tells Moo Chul to kill him too, and rages at him, getting completely beaten up in the process. And then he tells Dong Il, “I’d jump into fire with Soo.” Aw. These two.

Another instance where Soo’s care for Jin Sung struck me, is in episode 14, when he chooses, as a matter of principle, to leave behind the money Young has prepared for him. When Lawyer Jang tries to persuade Soo to take it, Soo takes out a single bundle, saying, “This is enough.”

We know that it’s far from enough to pay off his debt of 7.8 billion won, and we soon see him handing the wad of money over to Moo Chul (Kim Tae Woo).

Moo Chul asks, “What about your debt?”

Soo smiles slightly, and answers, “There’s still time. Jin Sung is debt free now.”

Aw. That Soo backed off on his principles just enough to clear Jin Sung of debt, says so much. Jin Sung is more important to Soo than his own dignity. For a man, that’s deep, deep love indeed.

[END SPOILER]

That Winter The Wind Blows OST – 눈꽃

THE HEAD-SCRATCHING

If I had to sum up the reason for all the head-scratching that I endured in this show, it would be Lack of Logic.

We start the show well enough – very well, actually – but as we get deeper into the show, bit by bit, Logic starts to slip away. It’s barely noticeable at first. Often, it simply gave me a case of, “What? Why? Oh well. Maybe I missed something.”

Logic persists in her exodus, though, and by the time we reach the last stretch of the show, Logic has exited the building. In waves. Taking all her children and grandchildren with her.

Considering what a strong start the show had, this is massively disappointing.

What began as a strong narrative with interesting characters ends up going nowhere. Ok, it goes somewhere, but we have no idea how we get there. There’s no proper follow-through on points that have to do with character development, relationship development and plot development alike, and while we are aware that things are happening on our screen, we have increasing difficulty understanding why.

At first, we try to piece it together, thinking, surely the writers who managed such a strong start know what they’re doing, right?

Um. Maybe not. Coz the further into the show I got, the less sense everything made. And by the time I got to the end, nothing made any sense anymore.

To end on such a low point, after a strong start fanned such high hopes, is doubly painful.

I don’t particularly want to protract the pain by talking at length in this review about how logic failed in the show, so I’ll just talk about 3 main things here.

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

Oh Young’s Arc

In the beginning of the show, I didn’t understand Young completely, but I felt like she could be understood. I felt like if the show revealed enough about her past, that we would be able to understand why she was the way she was.

I liked that she was steely and refused to be pushed around despite her blindness. In episode 1, we see her push back, refusing to marry Myung Ho simply because her father had chosen him to be her betrothed.

And in episode 3, when Secretary Wang (Bae Jong Ok) throws a fit over Young’s outing with Soo, Young firmly puts Secretary Wang in her place, saying evenly, “Another word for a legal guardian is a hired hand. Someone I can fire at any time. But, I like you. I understand why you’re doing this…” … “If you care about me… Please close that mouth of yours.” Bad. Ass.

Yes, Song Hye Kyo played Young as more of a cipher than I preferred, but I understood Young’s coldness towards most people, to an extent. She’d been brought up in a cold, controlled environment and with vultures hovering over her wealth and her ailing father, she needed to be on her guard.

I enjoyed the spurts of bubbly Young that we got to see, in the happy stretches with Soo. And I was moved by her flashes of compassion and wisdom during their conversations.

I even understood, in some small part at least, her desire to die, given the aggressive nature of her brain tumor and the painfulness of its treatment.

Ok, it’s debatable how suicidal Young was throughout the show. At some points, she seemed to want to live, and it’s even a plot point between her and Soo in episode 11, where Soo tries desperately to get her to say that she wants to live. And she does say that she wants to live, by the end of that arc.

So it’s rather perplexing that Young attempts suicide at the end of episode 15. Does it mean that her resolve was that weak? Or, that she never really stopped wanting to die? Or was staying alive a deal that she had struck with her Oppa, and once Oppa wasn’t who he had claimed to be, the deal was off?

Never mind. The more perplexing thing is the conversation that Young has with Soo at the beginning of episode 16, in the wake of her suicide attempt.

Young stops Soo’s efforts to make normal conversation and tells him to leave, saying:

“I can’t forgive you. I can’t understand how you couldn’t even make an excuse. I don’t want to admit it. But I can’t be a better person. Even if you didn’t take the money… it will not bring everything back to where it was.” … “Like what you said in the video. If it’s not over between us… After my surgery… If I’m still breathing then… I will see you then. Let’s talk then. When that time comes, you will answer all of my questions without hiding anything. If you had really loved me. How guilty did you feel while you loved me… Did it really hurt you as much as it hurt me when you were lying… And… Where did you bury my brother, or which river did you spray his ashes? You will answer all my questions honestly.”

Given that her chances of survival after the surgery have been continuously purported to be dangerously low, I find it really difficult to understand why Young would insist on this conversation happening only after her surgery.

I mean, yes, perhaps it is something that she only wants to talk about when she is able to see, but honestly, if there’s a 90% chance you’re going to die, then having that conversation now would probably be a better idea?

Young then goes on to change tack completely, saying:

“But… We can postpone your excuses for later. But just in case… I have to tell you what I want to say right now. When you were gone and I couldn’t see you… The hardest part was that I still missed you. I guess it wasn’t over for me either when I let you go. Even at the moment when I wanted to end it… A part of me still wanted you to run back to me. When I had slit my wrist, I looked forward to you opening my door instead of feeling scared. As if I never wanted to die once. Look at me. I still have a lot to tell you. But… today… This is… Not over between us. After the surgery goes well… Later… just like now… We will be able to talk, right? You and I? Don’t cry. I love you very much.”

Soo kisses her, and they embrace tearfully.

There are so many confounding things in this conversation.

First of all, Young claims that after she slit her wrist, she realized that she was looking forward to Soo coming through the door. At its best, it’s some kind of weird reasoning that only she understands. At its worst, it’s emotional blackmail.

Secondly, I’m glad that she loves him. But I don’t understand the flow of her words. She starts by telling him to leave, and that she can’t forgive him. And ends by telling him she loves him very much.

And after they kiss and declare their love and cry, he still has to leave?? But, why?? Headdesk.

Maybe it could have been presented as it being because Young needs to go through this on her own, or something. Anything. But to dress it up as her needing him to leave because she can’t forgive him, after she’s kissed him and told him she loves him.. It’s harder to reconcile, that’s for sure. So.. she loves him and will kiss him, but won’t forgive him because she needs him to be punished for his wrong-doing? Even if it means punishing herself? So.. something like, cut off your own foot to spite your toe??

I.. still don’t understand.

A Tangent on That Brain Tumor

The writing around the brain tumor and the surgery becomes absolutely senseless by the time we reach the last episode.

Throughout the show, Moo Chul’s sister Sun Hee refuses to operate on Young because she says it’s impossible and the probability of success is less than 10%.

Then, hoping to prove themselves wrong, the doctors perform a simulation, which fails. We even see Sun Hee angrily throw her surgery gloves to the ground. After this, though, somehow, Sun Hee finds a ray of hope (which is never explained to us) and decides to go ahead with the surgery.

Um. That already totally goes against Sun Hee as a character, because the show establishes clearly, early on, that she never takes on a surgery that she can’t be sure of performing successfully

But wait, it gets better.

In episode 16, in her final consult with Young before the surgery, Sun Hee is pleased with Young’s attitude and pronounces breezily, “The success rate is higher than 50% with that kind of an attitude. Why? Because the doctor is not pressured.”

Say WHUT???

From less than 10%, to more than 50%, just like that? Because the patient has a more positive attitude? REALLY??

That is some crazy writing, right there. Complete, utter Non. Sense.

That Winter The Wind Blows OST – 겨울에 만난 사랑

Secretary Wang’s Arc

Secretary Wang is a character whose arc started out intriguing, but ended up making no sense whatsoever.

We learn early in the show, in episode 1, that Secretary Wang deliberately allows Young’s father to die.

By episode 4, we find out that Secretary Wang basically forced Young’s blindness, having taken the girl to Japan on the pretext of getting her medical treatment, but not actually taking her to anything resembling a hospital. Ugh. That takes some evil, to intentionally allow a child go blind.

The plot thickens when we find out that Secretary Wang has basically paid Young’s friend Mi Ra (Im Se Mi) to lie about Young’s medical condition and corroborate Secretary Wang’s story that Young’s blindness was incurable due to the brain tumor.

So, Evil Woman, basically.

As the show progresses, we see that Secretary Wang seems to take meaning from her role in Young’s life; that she derives a sense of worth from having Young be wholly dependent on her.

All traits of an interesting villain, to be sure.

Then it gets confusing in the middle stretch, when the show starts to hint that Secretary Wang actually does genuinely love and care for Young.

In episode 11, when Soo, tussling with Young over whether or not she wants to live, tells Young to get in the car, it is surprisingly Secretary Wang who opens the car door for her and encourages Young to get in the car. Considering how much Secretary Wang hates Soo, this must be an act of genuine concern for Young.

As the episodes progress, we see more and more of Secretary Wang’s brand of sick crazy, where she genuinely cares for Young, whom she made blind on purpose, so that Young would need her.

Fine, I can buy a villain who’s sick in the head and has some sick ideas about love.

What’s disturbing and senseless is how, in the last stretch of the show, everybody starts saying that Secretary Wang is the best person to care for Young, and one by one, they ask her to come back.

First, Lawyer Jang asks Secretary Wang to come back, and eventually, even Soo asks her to come back to Young. And eventually, when Secretary Wang does come back, Young is happy to see her.

Again, whut???

I think I missed the part where everyone decided to sweep Secretary Wang’s misdeeds under the carpet.

Seriously. She MADE Young BLIND! That’s different from, say, stealing jewelry or laundering some money. She literally made Young go blind. On purpose. Planned. Pre-meditated.

And everyone just simply decides that Secretary Wang is the best care-giver for Young? Because, beneath her evil make-you-blind ways, she really does love Young? Really, Show?

Not only does it not make sense, this direction that the writers took also doesn’t ring true for the characters.

That Ending

The ending is truly a head-scratcher, but before I talk about my thoughts on that, let’s revisit what happened after Young’s suicide attempt and that bizarre conversation she had with Soo.

Soo goes to Boss Kim’s and together with Jin Sung, corner Boss Kim into investing in the game, and then proceed to win their way out of debt. Which is all fine and good, except it leaves us wondering why Soo went through all the trouble of trying to scam Young in the first place.

Sure, playing against a bevy of players in Boss Kim’s territory is dangerous and risky. But so was passing himself off as Young’s brother.

Afterwards, Soo leaves Jin Sung behind while he calls Mi Ra to ask about Young’s condition, saying that he’s on his way to her.

In the meantime, Jin Sung gets threatened by Boss Kim: basically, kill Soo, or I will kill your family.

Which, argh. I get that Boss Kim has a personal grudge against Soo, but did we really have to go there? Couldn’t we have just had Boss Kim scream in angry defeat and left it at that? Y’know, since we’re gunning for a happy ending anyway?

And so, Jin Sung follows Soo to an inexplicable rooftop and stabs him in the gut.

Soo repeatedly asks Jin Sung, “Why?” and Jin Sung can only sob.

Since when does “on my way to the hospital” mean that you take a slow detour to the rooftop?? Seriously, Show. If you want a dramatic stabbing scene on a rooftop, you hafta write it in to make at least a little bit of sense.

We see Soo collapse and twitch and writhe in pain. And then, we see him go still, his eyes unblinking, while Jin Sung cries a short distance away.

The scene fades to black, and we come back the following Spring.

Young is alive. And she’s still doing volunteer work with the blind. And she’s still on speaking terms with Myung Ho.

She also seems to have a new focus in her eyes, but we don’t know for sure if she can see. She still uses a cane.

Young gets out of a taxi to walk among the cherry blossoms, and hears a familiar tinkling of a bell.

A blurry figure who looks suspiciously like Soo cycles past her and stops to look back at her briefly before cycling off.

We see Jin Sung and Hee Sun in the countryside. They are still together, and the way they talk about Soo hint that Soo is dead. Hee Sun asks what flowers they should bring to Soo on their next visit.

Jin Sung looks wretched and sad, and tells her they should bring lamb’s ear.

Young arrives at a cafe and sits down. She’s clearly a regular here and the waitress recognizes her.

Someone wearing the same tinkly bracelet that Young gave Soo serves Young tea.

Young strikes up a conversation with the waiter, talking about the weather.

The man asks if she can’t see, seeing as how she uses a cane. Young asks if he’s never seen a blind person before, and he answers, “No, there was a girl that I really loved.”

Young asks if it was hard, not being able to look into the eyes of the girl he loved, and the man replies, “No, it was never hard. I always felt as if she was always looking at me. With all of her body and her heart.”

The man asks if Young can’t see anything at all, and Young focuses her eyes on him, and we see Soo’s face come into blurry focus. Young smiles, “I can see just enough to see that you’re very good looking.”

And all this while, I am thinking that Soo is dead, and Young is simply imagining that the person she’s talking to is someone like him.

But suddenly, the man asks Young, “How long have you known?” SOO IS ALIVE.

Young explains that she’s known for the last 6 months, but had been waiting for him to talk to her.

Soo tells her, “I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I thought that you may not like me when you see me.” Um. What?

After a pause, Soo asks hesitantly, “Can we… Ever see each other again?”

Young smiles coyly, “I don’t know..” And Soo bends down to take her face in his hands and kiss her.

The scene changes, and suddenly Soo and Young are kissing along the cherry blossom road where Young had walked earlier.

They smile. And credits roll. And I’m like, Huh??

Clearly, the writers were gunning for a happy ending, for as many people as possible, since that even included Secretary Wang.

So here are the additional questions that came to my mind, on top of the ones I’ve already mentioned:

  • Why did we have to have Jin Sung stab Soo? If we were gunning for a happy ending for everyone, couldn’t we have let the poor boy have one too? Now he’s depressed and guilty over having stabbed his bestie. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT TO HIM??? ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE GIVING SECRETARY WANG A HAPPY ENDING??? Soo asked Jin Sung the question, and I’ll ask it too. Why?? WHY, SHOW, WHYYYY???
  • If Soo was going to live, why have him stabbed anyway? What was the point in that? It felt so unnecessary and so tacked on. Did someone in authority insist on a rooftop stabbing scene, or nobody got paid??
  • So Soo survived. WHY didn’t he go to Young the minute he could? He was going to go to her right after his poker game, so it’s not like he had planned to give her time and space and all that.
  • Why did Soo suddenly grow an inferiority complex about Young not liking him?? This, after she dramatically confessed that she loved him very, very much??

So many questions, and so few answers.

I mean, I don’t begrudge a show its happy ending. It’s not like I’m chomping at the bit for Soo to die or anything. It’s just, can’t we get there in a way that actually makes some sense, pretty please?

I can buy that this is a warped world and all that, but see, even a warped logic has its own consistency. And this show doesn’t. And that’s where I feel it failed me – us – as an audience.

In her review, the lovely BetsyHp likened the show’s lapse in logic to poetry: very pretty, but may not make a lot of sense.

And I can see the likeness. When this show had its logic intact, it was serving us prose. And when logic left the building, it was serving us poetry.

My problem is, I expected at least a decent amount of prose all the way through.

When you start out all prose, we kind of expect you to at least sustain the logic of the prose all the way through. Don’t pull a personality change on me partway through, and serve me only poetry when I’ve bought in based on the prose. If I’d wanted pure poetry, I would’ve gone for pure poetry. Elsewhere. Y’know what I’m sayin’?

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Starts strong and quite wonderfully even, but also falters quite spectacularly towards the end. A pretty experience, if you can let go of your need for logic.

FINAL GRADE: C+

VISUAL TREATS:

Here are 2 beautiful MVs, set to two of my favorite tracks from the OST. I would consider these only moderately spoilery.

Great to relive some of the beauty, if you’ve seen the show. And if you haven’t seen the show, these will give you a taste of all the pretty without the commitment of watching it. Or, these might just whet your appetite for more, heh.

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

64 thoughts on “Review: That Winter, The Wind Blows

  1. I like what you have to say here kfangurl. No worries, you weren’t the only one completely confused by the ending. I wrote a rather lengthly post about why I felt it was terrible/badly executed: http://www.samsoondowntherabbithole.com/2013/04/that-winter-wind-blows-why-ending-blew.html So I won’t say too much here. I will probably say that my favourite scene in the whole drama was the episode 7 scene where she shows him compassion. It was so beautifully done.

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    • Yes, I LOVED that scene in E7!!! So lovely, and so full of pathos, mixed with sweet release. That is one of my top scenes in this drama too!

      And you know what? Your post is the detailed analysis that I couldn’t bring myself to do for this show! I felt so let down by the ending that I was like, “No. I REALLY don’t want to give you any more of my brain cells than I can help, Show.” Love your analysis, dewaani. Fabulously insightful! Kudos! ❤ ❤

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      • Aw, I am glad you liked my analysis ^^ I think I was so mad about it that I just had to write something to vent about it. I think for me the drama really started going downhill at around episode 8 or 9. It just started unravelling. It would have been sooooooo much more interesting if she had been smarter and onto Soo’s con earlier. The writing ruined what could have been. That said, Song Hye Gyeo was AMAZING!!!

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        • Yes, the drama did start to unravel somewhere in the middle.. that’s about the time I would be puzzled, but still have some trust that the writers would sort it out at a later juncture. It’s only at the end that everything just went down the drain.

          ABSOLUTELY. I would have loved it if Young had seen through Soo’s con earlier. Completely agree with your analysis that she is smart enough for that, and her complete cluelessness about it despite the various clues available to her, doesn’t jive with her otherwise whip-smart characterization.

          Song Hye Kyo DID give an excellent performance. Some of her scenes were truly outstanding. I do wish, though, that she &/or the PD could have opted to have Young portrayed as a little less of a cipher. I would’ve loved having more access to her inner trains of thought and emotion. As she is portrayed, whenever she clammed up, we as the audience got shut out too, along with the rest of her world. I would have preferred if we had been privy to what was going on in her mind at those points, instead of having to infer everything.

          I also commented on your post, about how I LOVE your commentary on the themes of forgiveness, family & sight. So well-put and spot on. (I don’t know why my comment got buried in the midst of older comments, so this is just in case you didn’t see it!)

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  2. I never saw this drama, but what a great review. *I don’t mind the spoilers.* I know a lot of people assumed that the very ending they were both dead. I watched that ending and without having seen any other episode I knew they were living and breathing and there was some mix-up. They pulled the same trick ending in…oh wait, never mind! LOL. Won’t spoil anything for you. It could be that netizen response to the drama demanded a re-write for a happy ending, or they just planned it this way. Not sure.

    The scenery is beautiful, and I know the leads had a lot of passion to. I can see why things got squicky based off that dialogue. I get ‘innocence’ but come on now. It’s supposed to be your BROTHER. Unless we are supposed to realize that maybe in the back of her mind knew the truth somehow.

    This drama is actually based on a 2006 movie called ‘Love me not’ with Moon Geun Young as the blind woman. She’s known to be mega-talented, and from some stuff I’ve seen she is, but I’m not a fan. Something about her rubs me the wrong way. 😛 Anyway, I haven’t seen the movie yet, I wanted too. But here’s the link if you’re interested.

    http://www.gooddrama.net/korean-movie/love-me-not

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    • I’m typing too fast and leaving out words. Sorry! Forgot to add, you made some lovely screen-caps! That scenery really is breathtaking. Wish I could be there. And Puhhhleeze, he really thought she’d be disappointed when she his face for the first time? I guess his self-esteem is at the bottom of the barrel and he never owned a mirror. He’s not a pretty boy, he’s manly, rugged and so good-looking!

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      • STILL leaving out words! Gahh! I forgot to zoom in. The text is too small for me.

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        • I did wonder if they were dead, or if SHE was dead, and this was her vision. But no, after re-watching the ending several times I really do think the writers want us to believe they’re all very much real and alive. IF it’d been a vision, it would be easier to accept, but given that it’s supposed to be real, the lack of logical flow is really glaring. Even while I’m admiring all The Pretty, my brain is super distracted trying to make sense of it all. And failing. Heh.

          And no, Young is not supposed to know he’s not her real brother. I did wonder too, if she knew and was attracted to him as a man, but later in the show, she gets terribly upset when she finds out that he’s not her real brother, so.. that just amps up the squick, coz she snuggles up to him and demands to sleep on his arm, and pesters him to share her bed multiple times, GENUINELY believing him to be her brother. Makes your head spin a little, doesn’t it? XD

          Also, TOTALLY with you on Soo’s sudden loss of self-esteem. He’s so confident through most of the show.. Where did that confidence and swag go, at the end of the show? It just feels so weird.

          But yes, the scenery is gorgeous, isn’t it? If nothing else, this show is absolutely beautiful to look at. Though, for many viewers, I’d guess that wouldn’t be quite enough 😛

          Oh! Thanks for the link to the movie, Lady G! I’d read that it was based on a movie, and that the movie was actually based on a 2002 Japanese drama. I’m curious about whether the other 2 versions had logic problems too >.<

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          • Sure, no problem. 🙂 Now I’m curious about the J-Drama. But reading some of the comments here, I’m also iffy about the ‘fauxcest’ too. I knew a fan who raved on this drama, but didn’t even mention it. Unless it went over their head or something. lol. But based on the review w/ the cute pics, it’s obvious they act more like lovers than siblings.

            It makes me mad when characters like that evil secretary don’t get punished in the end. That happens too much in dramas. They cause all sorts of mischief, and sometimes even deliberately kill people, or are responsible for death and pain but they get away with it all. I guess TWTWB lost logic along the way because it went on far too long. J-dramas are normally only 12 episodes, and I’m positive with the movie you can tell this entire story in 2 hours. Sometimes that’s the downfall of K-drama remakes. They lose steam and common sense.

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            • The fauxcest is completely addictive, that’s probably why your friend raved about it. And they do behave more like lovers a lot of the time. But they also behave like siblings too. It messes with your head, but the romantic moments are so cracky that you just want to see more. I suppose some people don’t let the “supposed to be siblings” bit bother them too much, since they technically aren’t siblings..

              Yes, I was perplexed that the show chose to paint the secretary in a kind light by the end, but made the cute bestie stab his friend. I just don’t get WHY the writers would do that. Argh.

              Good point, about the length of kdramas vs J-dramas! I think that affected Operation Proposal too. Remaking a 12 episode drama into something that’s 16 or 20 episodes definitely can affect your pacing and therefore the story that you end up telling. ^^

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              • Yeah, normally it wouldn’t bother me because we know they are not real sibs. But it’s pure crack that she doesn’t know yet still acts that way, LOL. I think the writers were going for a big ‘shocking’ twist but didn’t realize how that would affect fans of the character. 😛

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                • Well, the concept of fauxcest doesn’t have a great deal of appeal for me in general, but while watching this show, with the context built around it and the execution, I was completely sucked in. One of the things that totally messes with you, is the very fact that she doesn’t know he’s not her real brother, and is fine with the very non-sibling-esque way their relationship is. In this regard, I feel like the writers knew exactly what they were doing – they WANTED to mess with our minds, and we all lapped it up giddily 😉

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  3. “On the one hand, half your brain screams, “SKINSHIP!!!!” while on the other hand, the other half of your brain is probably screaming, “But she thinks he’s her BROTHER!!!!”

    My inner monologue for many scenes in this drama.

    “No wonder everyone says they need a therapist after watching this show! It really messes with your head. And makes you want more, while you’re at it too.”

    Yeah. When I start shipping two characters where one of them believes them to be siblings, I’d say it’s officially messed with my head.

    Jin Sung and Hee Sun – “any time they are onscreen together, they bring the cute.”

    They really did. Fangirl confession: My reason for watching this drama was for Kim Bum. So I already knew how much I loved him and his screen presence but I wasn’t expecting to like her as much as I did. She was hilarious, I thought. AND I thought that surprise kiss on his motorbike was just about the funniest/cutest thing ever.

    I was completely wrapped up in this show for about the first half of it and then that’s when, although I finished it, I started to loose interest. I felt like the whole brain tumour thing was used as a default plot point too much. ‘Oh we have a logic leap? Brain Tumour time!’ Also, I’m part of the camp who hated the ending. It’s not that I need a perfectly cut & dried ending or anything. I appreciate a good open ended finale as much as the next person but I do like to know what just happened instead of being left with that ‘what did I just watch?’ feeling.

    Visually stunning though to be sure! It also served up two extraordinarily handsome male leads.

    Thanks for the review, very well written as per usual 😉

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    • HAHA! Sounds like we had pretty similar experiences while watching this show, Kirsten!! I was so addicted to AND conflicted over the fauxcest! XD

      Like you, Kim Bum was big on my radar where this show was concerned. I LOVE how hot he’s getting these days! A far cry from his BOF days, that’s for sure!! NOW I want to see him headline his own drama, with this new swag in place. He was too much cute and not enough swag in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry.

      I really enjoyed Jung Eun Ji in Answer Me, 1997. Have you seen that one? She is adorable.. she’s got shades of Hee Sun to her character there, but she’s definitely more fleshed out. And her chemistry with her co-star Seo In Guk is super natural & sizzling! And their kisses! Very nice indeed 😉

      Again, like you, I was really hooked in the earlier parts of this show.. I’d watch episodes back-to-back, which I rarely do nowadays. I was giddy with all the goodness the show was serving up. And then, my enjoyment started to fizzle about halfway, and went down a slippery slope to the argh-inducing ending. I don’t need a happy ending so much as I need an ending that just makes sense, y’know? I’d be happy even with an ending where every single major character dies, if only it made sense. (Heh. Don’t I sound sadistic, though, when I say that?)

      So much Pretty. It’s a pity that it all had to end this way – with question marks and furrowed brows on this side of the screen, despite the smiles & kisses on the other side. Sigh.

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  4. lovely review….and I even read spoilers this time 😛
    I decided to stay away from the drama as I dislike fauxcest themes and I don’t think I would have been able to watch it!!

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  5. ..yehey!…and finally your review!…first of all thank you for your review on this one..i may not contribute much on how i see this drama but reading your reviews and from others somehow vent some of my thoughts and nurtured my knowledge. I concur with your opinions that this drama has a great cinematography, a very nice OSTs and of course beautiful lead castings…each time i see Oh Young and Oh Soo on screen with a very adorable scenery can’t help but mesmerized with it…romantic scenes from the lead cast lingered vividly in my mind. For me,no matter how many spoilers and some mind boggling queries this drama have i would still say it’s a worth watching for me….<3

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    • Aw, I so agree with you, evez – reading other people’s opinions, be they review, recap or comment, can be very thought-provoking and expand our ideas about the show. To me, that’s all part of the fun! That Winter is definitely one of the prettiest shows I’ve seen in a long time, and the beauty of Jo In Sung and Song Hye Kyo, combined with wonderful lighting and great camera-work is so gorgeous it’s almost surreal. No wonder you were mesmerized! ^^

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  6. Yes i was really mesmerized!..the beauty of Jo In Sung and Song Hye Kyo did a great wonder on this drama..they’re such a lovely couple on screen…i’ve seen Song Hye Kyo paired with other Korean actor but for me Jo In Sung is the best…they have a good chemistry as a couple and i wish to see them again being paired in a drama.

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    • Yes, I thought their chemistry was nice and natural, especially in the breezy fun scenes where they’re playing around. About an onscreen reunion though, we’ll have to wait and see if that happens.. Onscreen reunions do happen, but it’s not all that common either.. The one that sticks in my mind coz it’s so rare, is the fact that Jang Hyuk and Lee Da Hae worked together 3 whole times: Chuno, Robbers & Iris 2. Now THAT’S about as rare as a purple kangaroo, I think! XD

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  7. And finally I’m able to give this review the attention it deserves! 😀 (And thank you for the shout out, by the way!)

    As soon as I saw Kim Bum’s pic at the beginning of the review I thought, “uh-oh.” Because his character is the one that gets most screwed by the big logic lapse. Which really was epically unfortunate and I would love to know what went wrong. Did the writer get bored with the story she’d set out to tell and decide to change course midstream?

    That’s my favorite theory — because up until the awkwardly fit, but adorable unto itself, love scene between Hee-sun and Jin-sung the two characters fit the plot beautifully. And then they started not fitting and it slid down hill from there.

    I think the story between Moo-chul and Soo gets told well. And the one between Young and Soo gets told emotionally well (though — yeah, her suicide attempt and especially the suddenly viable brain-surgery — logic indeed left the building — and oh my gosh, your line about taking her children and grandchildren too was hilarious! :D). But they could have been told better if they’d stuck to what I think was the original script that incorporated Hee-sun and Jin-sung.

    (I wonder if the sacrifice came because the writer got focused on Secretary Wang? Because her story took a very weird turn. An interesting turn — but one that really should have been better foreshadowed and just plain old set up well. It’s like the writer got a sudden insight into why Wang did such a monstrous thing — maybe the actress shared her thoughts? — and decided to try and show the viewers why and… yeah. It came about too late in the game to handle well. )

    I got pulled into Soo and Young’s story — so I was able to be forgiving of the rest and just enjoy what did work. But I definitely agree — this drama failed to do it’s job. It’s just… it was really, really pretty while it did so. 😉

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    • Yes, that Big Logic Lapse really did create a huge mess, didn’t it?? Your remark about Bae Jong Ok maybe sharing her thoughts about her character makes sense to me – probably because I’m currently watching King of Dramas, ha! 😛 It’s possible that a senior actress like her could apply pressure on the writer to make tweaks to her character in the script. And, I suppose there is a ripple effect to doing that, since all the characters are interrelated. Once you start to tweak one character’s arc, other arcs get affected too.

      I still fail to understand why Jin Sung had to stab Soo, especially if Soo got to live afterwards. I mean, Jin Sung stabbed him coz Boss Kim wanted him DEAD. So what are we supposed to make of the ending, where Soo survives and Jin Sung is no longer trying to kill him to protect his family? That Boss Kim changed his mind and was happy with merely serious injury? There are just so many bits that don’t make sense.. Which I can’t make sense of, even when taking into account possible BTS factors like actor demands & PPL.

      The story between Moo Chul and Soo was told *better* than a lot of the rest of the show, but I actually wanted the writers to give us a little more overt insight, I guess. Like, towards the very end, we’re told that Soo & Jin Sung are still alive only because of Moo Chul. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean.. How did Moo Chul protect them, exactly? Coz what we get to see of Moo Chul, mostly, is him making things difficult for Soo and Jin Sung, not the other way around.

      I did genuinely like the moments of honesty between Moo Chul & Soo, like when Soo told him that Hee Joo wouldn’t still want to punish him, coz she wasn’t that kind of person. Still, I wished that we could’ve had more of a moment of, well, closure between the 2 men before Moo Chul died.

      As for Soo & Young’s story.. I felt pulled in too. At an early-ish stretch of the show, I was giddily lapping up back-to-back episodes. I realize though, that perhaps logic means more to me than seeing a happy OTP. The lack of logic really took me out of the moment. SO very many things didn’t make sense that I couldn’t stay pulled in. Which is a pity, coz I completely agree with you that this show was really, really, REALLY pretty.

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      • I think the writer and Bae Jang-ok have worked together a lot. So, in my head (this is all strictly my imagination ;)), they get to talking over drinks or something and BJO gets to sharing her insight into Wang and they’re weeping over the pain of it and how she’s just trying, in her own way, to love and be loved, and… bam! Next morning there’s a script change. Would work in a drama about dramas, right? 😉

        And! In my imagination I figure the stabbing scene was actually penciled in from the beginning (the betrayal of his right-hand man figures into the movie version, iirc — and there were early attempts to turn Jin-sung) and that’s part of what drew Kim Bum to the character — the emotional journey required to get him there. And, even though it really didn’t fit anymore, the writer liked Kim Bum (they’ve worked together before) and didn’t want to steal his big scene away and… illogical stabbing is a go!

        Because Moo Chul’s story fits in with Jin-sung’s — their pasts are all connected — but Secretary Wang is truly a wild card — I presume it was her story that changed and caused the rippling lack of logic. If we’d had more focus on Moo Chul’s story I’m thinking his motivations and his actions would have been clearer. (If he’d done something to actually end Boss Kim, for example? So many problems solved right there.)

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        • I LOVE how your imagination works, Betsy!! The way you’ve got it worked out, I would TOTALLY watch a drama about the goings-on around the making of this drama! ;D

          An emotional and easily swayed scriptwriter as our protagonist, weeping over the newly discovered hidden pain of Secretary Wang and making abrupt script changes as a result, AND who is too soft-hearted to begrudge the very cute and very hot Kim Bum his desired stabbing scene. Maybe she nurses a crush on the boy, and that feeds into her desire to give him his stabbing scene, illogical as it works out to be onscreen. HAHA!! What a great satire that would be!! A great accompanying piece to King of Drama, and a great sequel to That Winter! It could be titled “That Winter, Her Thoughts Swayed” ;D

          And YESSS, if we’d had more focus on Moo Chul, that would’ve been so much better! ESPECIALLY if he’d done Boss Kim in. I loved the scene where he took Boss Kim to task for not playing by the rules. They should’ve totally fleshed that out. That would’ve eliminated a lot of problems, like you said. No more need for Jin Sung to stab Soo, even. Although, that might’ve not been a happy thing for Kim Bum, if he’d actually been wanting to explore that dark side of his character. Hm. Maybe we could get Jin Sung to stab Boss Kim instead? Heh.

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          • i have nothing new to add here since I didn’t see TWTWB, but, please oh please write a nice long kfangurl review of King of Dramas!! I LOVED that one! 😀

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            • Aw ❤❤ I do plan to give King of Dramas some attention, Lady G! ;D It may take a while though, coz my watch is about to get interrupted by 2 weeks of hectic work travel. Real Life, it interrupts sometimes. 😛

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              • Yeah, I know about the Real life interrupting the fun stuff. Well, I look forward to it whenever you can. 🙂

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                • I’m hoping to finish it in a couple of weeks, after my trips are done. I must say, it’s proving to be a fun watch so far! ^^

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                  • It’s really fun and despite the inevitable shifts into ‘melodrama’ here and there, upbeat. Love the 2nd leads Choi Siwon and Oh Ji-Eun as the two spoiled movie stars. Have you ever watched a drama where the 2nd lead stories captivate you more than the leads? It’s like the writer(s) suddenly decided they liked them better and put more focus and character development on them, even giving them kissing scenes before the actual leads. (not giving spoilers btw, just saying.) Not that it really happened here, but there were a few ho-hum moments and those 2 broke them for me. I noticed it’s usually when there is a strange, eccentric lead like Anthony is. It’s like the writers feel they must appease their usual crowd of viewers with some K-Drama normalcy. But you’ll let us know in your review. lol

                    Hope your work travels go safe and well. 🙂

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                    • Yeah, I do notice sometimes second leads get a tacked-on love line.. Maintaining kdrama normalcy is one factor.. another is actor chemistry, like in That Winter with Kim Bum & Jung Eun Ji.. and of course, audience reaction. Most of the time, it’s clear from a mile away that it’s tacked on, but often, it’s so cute that I lap it up anyway. Like in That Winter, and also in Flower Boy Next Door. While I often wish the love lines could have been fit in more elegantly, I mostly just forgive simply based on how much additional cute those tacked on love lines bring. 😉 We viewers sure have our priorities sorted out, heh.

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  8. Of course we do! LOL. We know what we want from our K-dramas. 😀 I love happy tacked on endings for the 2nd leads, especially if they were good characters all along that deserved better. Sometimes you really have to question why the lead girl/guy falls for the other lead. :p

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    • Ooh.. That’s a whole other kettle of kdrama tropes we’re talking about.. Opposites attract, cold chaebol prince is destined for spunky Candy character, seemingly cold jerks have hearts of gold just waiting to be nurtured to fruition by the right kind-hearted girl.. First Loves are Meant To Be.. Lol!! XD

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  9. What is funny to me is that both Jo InSung and Song HyeGyo were in two of my all-time favorite dramas, and I still could not bring myself to start this one! Not even all the great fan press…and now I just read your review and the term “tension-laden fauxcest” made me all fearful again! Haha. I don’t know if I can handle an entire drama of incest-tease! ^^; But I’m mad at you now, kfangurl, because when I read the parts where you discuss Kim Bum and all the cute, I got interested. Now I feel like I HAVE to watch it. Damn Kim Bum, he’s going to be my undoing. As if Goddess of Fire wasn’t enough…

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    • Hee! Oopsie? ;D Kim Bum was a big reason I checked out That Winter, despite knowing this show’s weaknesses, so you’re not alone, dnoella! On the bright side, it’s actually really quite good for a solid first half, before starting to slip downhill.. I think it’s a better watch than what Goddess of Fire sounds like (even the mane of glory on Kim Bum is not getting me near that show!), and since you’re strong and brave enough to weather THAT.. maybe That Winter would be a step up? Plus I WILL say that Winter isn’t as hard a watch as I Miss You, which I’ve been enduring for the sake of seeing a bit of Yoo Seung Ho on my screen. (man, the things we do for fangirl love..!! Although, there is no guarantee that I will actually finish it!)

      In any case, here’s fair warning, from one fangirl to another 😉 Downside: The 2 biggest casualties of the show’s eventual lack of logic are The Plot and Kim Bum’s character’s arc. Boo. Upside: Kim Bum, with that sharp lookin’ hair, being hot AND adorable on your screeeenn 😉

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  10. I hear ya on that one, I also tried to watch I Miss You, and got as far as the early episodes before giving it up. Ok, I’m convinced, I’ll go check out this drama! *shuffling off in fangirl defeat* I can’t say no to the possibility of Kim Bum cuteness, but I will keep in mind your warning about his plot derailment!

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    • Heh. I spoke too fast. I have just officially dropped I Miss You. I managed 13 whole episodes – the last few with great difficulty – and have just officially thrown in the towel on that one! The levels of crazy are beyond description! >.< That Winter, despite its flaws, is definitely *less* illogical. Although, that's not hard to accomplish! XD

      Enjoy the Kim Bum cute – he is quite the sweetheart in this show ❤ I often just wanted to squish him, just for being so darn cute!

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  11. GOLD.

    I totally enjoyed all your “omo!” moments, especially with the whole fauxcest. I went on a total rant when I wrote my “review” – which I’ve long cooled by now and only remember the show as being… Pretty – and I’ve read a mixture of reviews on this show – some lovin’, some hatin’ – but I’m with you on your unanswered Qs. The ending is just WTFery for me, though I’ve considered if the writer actually meant to show it as an alterna-ending? Ergo Soo really did die, but this is what would’ve happened had he lived. Cos that rooftop scene was otherwise (if he didn’t die, and we didn’t take the epilogue seriously) completely, totally wasted.

    Thanks for the wonderful read, must’ve taken AGES to write considering the length! andddd thanks for all the pretty screencaps which I kept wishing I took more of, but obviously never did haha.

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    • Tee hee! I’m glad you enjoyed the read, jandoe!! And yes, those “omo!” fauxcest moments were quite something else, weren’t they?? Sometimes, I could hardly believe my eyes AND ears. That “Do I really have to teach you everything?” line had me literally dropping my jaw! XD

      I just can’t make ANY sense of the ending.. I did wonder if we were meant to think that this was Soo’s afterlife we were seeing, but all the details, like the dictated timeframe of “Next Spring” and all the other familiar people in that universe made me think we were supposed to believe this was real. I know some people thought the blurry effect at the end was supposed to mean this was Soo’s afterlife, but my take was that it was just us looking at everything through Young’s new, blurry eyes. Which was quite distracting after a while, I have to admit.

      So because I believed we were supposed to take it as real, man, my WTH questions just shot through the roof! I can imagine why your review was ranty! I was put out to the extent of almost not wanting to write a review at all, I was that bemused. And I was not amused.

      But, at least they did SOMETHING well? The fauxcest was unbelievably, disturbingly addictive, and the show was undoubtedly gloriously pretty. I went a little screencap-mad, there was just so much pretty on my screen! XD

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  12. I did like this drama, but every time he wanted to hold/touch her in the not so brotherly way , i was screaming nooo that is your sister, but then had to remind my self , that she was not…lol

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    • Lol!! I can just imagine you screaming at your TV – and maybe even throwing things, heh! ;D This show does have a knack for messing with our minds that way, doesn’t it?? I was gloriously conflicted over the fauxcest too; I found it one of the more addictive parts of the show. That, along with the very, very pretty cinematography ^^

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  13. Tears in my eyes! I laughed so much reading your review, loved your writing and so spot on with my own thoughts. I loovee lovee this show so dearly…just finished it 10 mins ago. It was an amazing and beautiful journey ..regardless of the ending.

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    • Glad you enjoyed the review, DeeDee! I find it really interesting that we apparently have similar thoughts about the show, and yet, you love it so much while I blithely give it the side-eye (with added eye-roll) for failing me. THAT’s fascinating stuff indeed, that we can have such different feelings coming away, despite agreeing on pretty much everything! 😀 I’m glad you found a way to enjoy the show, though, coz in the things that the show got right, it did them so very well. It’s just too bad, about Logic making a break for it and all that 😉

      Like

  14. Pingback: Review: Haeundae Lovers | The Fangirl Verdict

  15. Pingback: Review: Feelings [Neukkim] | The Fangirl Verdict

  16. Pingback: Review: It’s Okay It’s Love | The Fangirl Verdict

  17. Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
    Thanks for the great review of That Winter, The Wind Blows 그 겨울, 바람이 분다 (2013)! I enjoyed it a lot.
    I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The show has now an average score of 76.2%.
    Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a look:
    http://www.akiatalking.com/2015/01/that-winter-wind-blows-2013-korean.html
    Thanks again for the review. If you want to do something with my blog, please contact me. Also, if you know of reviews of this show that I do not have please send it my way!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Oh boy, this drama is a tough one for me! I really can’t decide whether or not to continue with it. I love the leads and the cinematography is so beautiful, but that whole her thinking he’s her brother thing and still wanting to sleep in the same bed and being so overly physically close to him much of the time is really messing with my head! I’ve been able to enjoy some dramas that had a bit of a fauxcest type story line, but this one is over the top! It’s a beautiful, emotional, intense love story yet at the same time it’s so wrong! To continue or not to continue, that is the question 🙂

    I wish I could somehow turn my brain off about the fauxcest and just enjoy it, but I’m finding it difficult.

    Like

    • Hey there, Lora!! I’m sorry for the late reply – life’s been hectic and I’m only just now catching up on comments! I have to agree that That Winter is a show that inspires a whole lot of internal conflict! 😛 We and practically all of dramaland agreed that this show messed with our heads.

      I personally rather enjoyed allowing Show to mess with my head with the fauxcest. The thing that made me ultimately bemused with Show was the fact that logic became sparser and sparser in the later stretch of the show. I found the ending severely lacking in the logic department. So if logic means a lot to you, and the fauxcest is particularly hard for you to stomach, it might be better for you to drop the show.

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  19. Pingback: Review: Answer Me, 1994 [Reply 1994] | The Fangirl Verdict

  20. Hey kfangurl!! I ended up dropping the show for a while, but the beautiful way it was filmed and Jo In Sung’s performance kept haunting me. So I decided to start from the beginning again and just enjoy those two things. And a funny thing happened, I ended up loving it, even with the over the top fauxcest and the lack of logic!! I was never very impressed with Jo In Sung before (although I loved Shoot For the Stars) but I am very impressed with him now! I actually dropped It’s Okay That’s Love early on, but I might give that one another go now too. Have you seen his earlier drama, Spring Days? I haven’t seen it yet, and I’ve read mixed reviews. Some say that his performance in Spring Days was way over acted. It’s also a love triangle, and some weren’t happy with whichever guy got the girl.

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    • What an interesting experience you’ve had with this show, Lora!! Yay that you found a way to love this show, in spite of the fauxcest and lack of logic. I was ok with the fauxcest; it was the persistent lack of logic that eventually killed my enjoyment of the show.

      But yes, Jo In Sung is great, and if you’re in the mood for more JIS, I do think It’s Okay It’s Love is worth another shot. I actually ended up liking it quite well, in spite of its odd quirks and relative lack of logic in spots. And JIS is excellent in it, as you’ve probably heard. 🙂 I haven’t seen Spring Days, but if it’s an older drama, it’s likely that his acting was of the more raw variety. Something more recent would probably do him more justice, I think ^^

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      • Sadly I usually expect lack of logic in most dramas these days, especially in the final episodes. But, on the up side, many recent dramas, like That Winter the Wind Blows, have been filmed so beautifully that I find that all the pretty visuals make up for some of the letdown in the logic department. I often find myself thinking, well that didn’t make sense but look at all the pretty!! 🙂

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        • HAHA! You’re so funny, Lora! XD It’s true that with the pressures of the live-shoot system, more dramas tend to have illogical elements in their final stretches. Even so, I hope that this won’t become something that I expect from dramas. I continue to hold out hope that even in the face of the live-shoot system and crazy PPL pressure, that writers will still strive for narrative integrity in their works. Yes, I’m idealistic that way! XD

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  21. Pingback: Year In Review: 2013 | The Fangirl Verdict

  22. The most hilarious part of this show was his model girlfriend who framed Oh Soo for embezzlement to make him stay in jail away from other girls while she went to America (always travelling to the west). I wish we had seen more of that.
    As I understood it, the Big Bad Mafia Boss wanted to kill Oh Soo because this girl loved Oh Soo more than Big Boss. And Big Boss had “taken her in” and helped her family when she was 16. And that was a good thing? Basically the family selling their daughter as a sex slave at 16? And the Big Boss Loved her? One more of the illogicals in this series, these young pretties are interchangeable for an older man like that.
    Other annoying things: A blind person is unable to walk on her own feet because there are trees around and some leaves on the ground? Certain death awaits a 24-year old if not operated on, the operation has a 10% succesrate yet the surgeon doesn t want to do it? A seeing person reads braille by using the fingers? A blind person insists on “watching” movies instead of listening to books on tape? She has so much money but no scanner that can read books for her? She doesn t even put on the safety belt in the car by herself? (She did this later in the show, maybe here we were supposed to see her personal development)
    And the people who were ill were just too healthily walking around to be believable.

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    • Hahaha! Your observations made me giggle, Toove! 😂 Tis true. There are a lot of things that didn’t make sense in this show, including that WTH ending. I stuck it out to the end because it was so atmospheric and so pretty to look at, but honestly, there were many wonky things about this one. 😆

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  23. Pingback: Dropped: Hwarang | The Fangirl Verdict

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