Open Thread: Winter Sonata Episodes 1 & 2

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thanks for joining us for this fated commemorative group watch of Winter Sonata! 🤩

SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:

ZERO SPOILER POLICY

1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.

The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD. 

ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).

This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.

We need to protect the innocent! 😉

SPOILER ZONE

2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!

Without further ado, here are Trent’s reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️

Trent’s thoughts

Preface

Alrighty, friends and relations, are y’all ready? Buckle up and let’s do this thing. 🥳

So. I hadn’t been watching kdramas for too long–maybe a few months–before I started to get a rough sense (very rough!) for the history of the form, which meant that I also started to learn what some of the landmark or best known shows were. 

Which in turn obviously meant hearing about Winter Sonata, seeing as how it’s generally considered to be an iconic drama that was one of the early standard bearers of the Korean Wave (“hallyu”). 

From there it was a shoo-in to go on my list of “I should see this at some point” shows.  

What’s held me back from actually seeing it for a couple years now is, first, that it’s definitely a classic (even though it’s only been 21 years since it came out), and it appears that drama trends, tastes, and fashions have noticeably evolved in the last two decades.

And second, it just hasn’t been easily available (at least in the U.S.), short of going hunting for it on sketchy semi- (or not-at-all-) legal sites. 

But then, lo and behold, it suddenly showed up as a new arrival on Viki.com. 

It must have been fate! (Fate, we will shortly see, is a big thematic element in the show).

As I write this, I’ve already watched up through episode fourteen. 

After finishing each episode, I’ve written out episode notes and posted them on KFG’s Patreon (as comments on the Drama Exchange: Deep dive zone for December and January) before moving on to the next episode.

The notes for the first couple episodes–particularly the first one–were originally fairly brief; after that I started expanding them into fuller recaps, and eventually started (as you will see) commenting and editorializing fairly liberally (because again, as you will see, how could I resist? 🤬).

I have, somehow, managed to remain unspoiled for both minor and major plot points in episodes I haven’t seen yet.

I have gone back to revamp and fill out the notes for the initial couple of episodes, to bring them more in line with the length and content of the later notes, and I have edited and “polished” the later notes with an eye towards clarity, mostly. 

What I have tried hard to avoid is altering my contemporaneously written notes to reflect knowledge gained from viewing of later episodes.

So there is speculation and commentary in the earlier notes that I now know is wrong (and some that is right!), but I’ve done my best to just leave those alone. 

Also, FYI (many of you will know this already), Winter Sonata is part of a seasonally-themed four drama cycle that came to be informally known as the “Endless Love” series. 

They share the same director (Yoon Seok-ho), some of the same writers, some of the same actors, and some similar themes. 

The first to appear was Autumn in My Heart, in 2000. Winter Sonata was the second, and turned out to be by far the most successful and beloved. I actually watched Autumn in My Heart last summer, so there are a few brief comparisons to it in the first couple episode notes. 

I do get…opinionated, here and there 😏.

And although it should go without saying, I want to stress that my views are not authoritative. No one should feel hesitant about sharing or expressing a different opinion or viewpoint in the comments to each episode.  Sound good?

Right. Enough throat clearing. Enough chit-chat.  Let’s get into it. 

Episode 1

Our curtain rises on a comely young lady in what appears to be a school uniform, running down a residential street and hollering at some dude named Kim Sang-hyuk. They’re trying to catch a bus, which is super-crowded; she makes it on but he doesn’t. 

After the bus empties out a bit, our young lady finds a seat in the back, where she dozes off on the shoulder of a young guy sitting next to her (until he pushes her head off). 

They look suspiciously at each other, while the romantic piano music starts playing. I’m guessing this is a cue, a HINT. 

(This would be one similarity to Autumn in My Heart, which used its rotating list of romantic piano motifs to underscore every meaningful moment and make sure we don’t ever miss a cue.

It kind of beats you over the head with the musical cues, is what I’m saying, and I’m anticipating this show is likely to be the same). 

Our young lady, who I’m going to assume will be our FL (I’m kind of cheating here, since this is recognizably Choi Ji-woo, who we know is the FL) dozes off and misses the correct stop; when she gets off, the dude gets off with her (also cheating: this is the ML, since it is recognizably Bae Yong-joon, who is playing our ML). 

She yells at him for not waking her up, during which we learn that he is a new transfer student to her high school; they share a taxi the rest of the way to school.

They’re about to be late, but the ML just has to stop for a wee minute to establish his disaffected bad-boy cred by leaning against a street post and pulling out a cigarette 🙄 (which, gross! I mean, I know it’s been the accepted bad-boy cool signifier since at least James Dean, but c’mon dude). 

We shift to homeroom class, where the teacher is demonstrating that he’s the very archetype of the petty martinet beloved of high-school-drama script writers everywhere.

Our ML is introduced to the class, and we learn his name is Kang Jun-sang. We also learn that the class president is Sang-hyuk, the same dude with whom our FL was originally trying to catch the bus. 

Later, during a break, a group of the girls are scoping out the new meat (i.e. Jun-sang), and one of them (who gives off a distinct air of Miss Pretty-n-Popular) calls “dibs” on him.

She slides on over to Jun-sang, who is busy being all broody and absorbed in the existential pain of living or something, and introduces herself as Oh Chae-rin.

In keeping with his budding “eff alla you” image, Jun-sang doesn’t bother responding. (Which, okay, gotta appreciate his commitment to the bit, right?)

Next up is Sang-hyuk; when Jun-sang ignores his outstretched hand, Sang-hyuk informs him that he at least needs to sign up for a club. Jun-sang tells him he’s not interested, and walks out.

Our FL grabs the club roster from Sang-hyuk and buttonholes Jun-sang in the hall; Jun-sang responds by saying he’ll join whatever club Sang-hyuk is in, which turns out to be the broadcasting club. 

After school, Yu-jin (oh yeah, at some point in there we learn our FL is named Jung Yu-jin) is walking out with Sang-huk, and she’s speculating that Jun-sang is “kinda strange,” and she thinks he only joined the broadcast club because of Sang-hyuk (who protests that no, he just met the guy).

We jump to the school library, where Jun-sang appears to be looking through old school yearbooks.

He looks at a pic of “Kang Mi Hee,” and then “Kim Jin Woo,” and then pulls out a tattered photo from his pocket with the same Jin Woo standing with a girl (might be Mi Hee? Can’t tell for sure).  

Jump to a college lecture hall where the Jin-woo from the picture, now older, is lecturing to a class. Jun-sang is sitting quietly in the back row observing.

The professor calls on Jun-sang to come up and work out a math problem on the board, which Jun-sang does, impressing the professor, especially when he realizes Jun-sang is just a high school student.

After class, professor asks why Jun-sang is there; Jun-sang says he’s “looking for someone.”

Just then, Sang-hyuk calls to professor from down the hall, and we learn professor is Sang-hyuk’s dad. 

(Here we have a similarity to Autumn in My Heart: Jung Dong-hwan played a professor dad in Autumn as well; there it was father of the ML, rather than of the 2ML, which is what I’m assuming Sang-hyuk will be). 

Also, looks like Jun-sang is really in town in order to track down some mystery? Based on that photo of professor as a young guy?

Shift to Jun-sang at home, in conversation with his mother, who is apparently a professional concert pianist. 

She is wondering why Jun-sang wanted to come to this city, and he’s all, hey, this was your high school, after all…so it looks like his mom might be the Kang Mi-hee in the yearbook photo he was looking at earlier? 

Also, we learn that Jun-sang specifically wants to learn more about his father, and his mom won’t tell him who his father was, only that he’s dead. 

SO! Looks like we have a birth mystery on our hands, maybe? 

Then we jump to professor dad’s home, where he and his wife and Sang-hyuk are at the dinner table, talking about how the death anniversary of “Hyun Soo” is coming up, and that this is Yu-jin’s father. 

Next day, Yu-jin is dozing off on the bus again; this time, Jun-sang wakes her up at the last minute, in time to get off at the right stop.

The homeroom teacher is patrolling the entrance gate for late arrivals, so Yu-jin drags Jun-sang around the corner and enlists his aid in going over the wall.

He helps her put her shoes back on and catches her as she comes down off the wall, thus creating our first awkward embrace.

It is also evident that in keeping with the true (male) tsundere style, our bright outgoing Yu-jin is already beginning to seed cracks in Mr. Disaffected’s cold unfeeling exterior shell.

(No wonder this show was so popular in Japan, right?)(Also, all you anime fans feel free to tell me how wrong I am 😊).

Later, at the lunchtime show at the broadcast club (where we have an unexpected musical cameo by “Music Box Dancer,” which I recall as being ubiquitous back in the day…) Yu-jin starts editorializing on the subject of “responsibility,” anonymously reading Jun-sang for filth (he was apparently supposed to show up to help but didn’t; as it happens, he’s snoozing obliviously on the roof).

Then we get another musical cameo from ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” so rock on, show, get down with your bad self! 

Just about then, Jun-sang arrives to peek through the door and see Yu-jin rocking out to the music; this is the first time we see a smile cross Jun-sang’s face.  Yup. He’s about to fall hard, my friends… 😍 (to be fair, Yu-jin is very fetching, so hard to blame him). 

Very efficient, show, we’re only halfway through the first episode.

Of course, Yu-jin finally notices him watching and gets that whole awkward “I’ve been making a cake of myself” look on her face, and ends up sweeping out in moderately high dudgeon. 

Then we have an interlude where two of the classmates are analyzing how Yu-jin and Jun-sang appear to have completely opposite personalities…which just means that they are meant for each other!

Which, c’mon show, a bit heavy-handed on the foreshadowing, don’t you think? Oh, and we also learn that Sang-hyuk likes Yu-jin, while Yu-jin sees them as good friends. Hmmm.

Gym class, the guys are playing volleyball while the girls observe. Chae-rin is all mooning over how hot Jun-sang is (yeah, you and approximately 100 gazillion other women across Asia, girl, get in line). 

Jun-sang is getting kind of aggressive toward Sang-hyuk, who confronts Jun-sang, but in a nice respectable sort of way; Jun-sang then taunts Sang-hyuk for being unable to actually hit him, like he wants to start a fight or something. 

It’s becoming clear that Jun-sang has kind of a chip on his shoulder about Sang-hyuk. 

Later, as everyone is walking out of school at the end of the day, Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk are walking together, while Jun-sang is a ways behind them. 

Chae-rin sidles up to Jun-sang and starts nattering about how they say they’re just friends, but obviously they’re just hiding their relationship (Jun-sang resolutely ignores her).

Then Chae-rin is like, you like me, don’t you? 😯. And Jun-sang is all, girl say what now? Chae-rin is like, okay, fine, I’ll go out with you. And Jun-sang is all, girl, if you wanna write bad romance novels, keep ‘em to your diary, don’t drag me into them (or words to that effect). 

That evening at Yu-jin’s home, we learn that Yu-jin has a little sister who looks about ten years younger than Yu-jin (well, than Yu-jin is supposed to be). 

Mom is working at a booth at the street market selling clothes.  Pause to acknowledge the redoubtable Kim Hae-sook, reprising her “mother of the FL” role (in addition to playing Yu-jin’s mom here, she was the FL’s (biological) mom in Autumn in My Heart). 

A bit weird to see her here after just watching her as the nasty malevolent queen dowager in Under the Queen’s Umbrella.  

Yu-jin pays a visit to her mom at the street market, then while leaving via a deserted alleyway, she’s accosted by an older guy.

Jun-sang, who happens to be strolling through the market, hears her yelling at the dude to get off her and comes to her assistance.

Eventually, they all get hauled off to the local police station. The officer wants Jun-sang and Yu-jin to call their fathers–but of course, neither one of them actually has a father to call. 😢

After they get released, Yu-jin goes to the pharmacy to get stuff to treat Jun-sang’s cuts and scrapes; while doctoring him, she starts talking about their mutual dadless state.

Jun-sang, not so interested about the dad topic–publicly, at least–responds by asking Yu-jin if she likes Sang-hyuk 🤨.  Dude.  Smooth, very smooth. Yer a right playa, you are.

Yu-jin is like, Sang-hyuk has been like family to us since we were little, our dads were best friends since high school—they even went to the same school we’re going to now!

Next day at school, Yu-jin pulls Jun-sang aside and takes him to the deserted auditorium, where she intends to tutor him a bit on the piano so he’ll be ready for their music class, saying she is paying him back for helping her out the night before.

She launches into a creditable rendition of “Traumerei” but forgets how it goes after a few bars. 

Of course, Jun-sang’s mom being a concert pianist and all…he picks up the tune where she left off.

She is duly impressed, and then Jun-sang starts playing another limpid, languid melody for her, and it’s all very romantic with the darkened auditorium and gauzy backlighting through the window. 

He tells her the song he played is called “First Time,” then asks her if she’ll do something else to pay him back instead of teaching him piano.. 

Shift to Yu-jin and Jun-sang walking out of school together; Sang-hyuk smiles as he catches sight of Yu-jin across the yard, but it turns to a frown as he sees Jun-sang is with her.

The two catch a relatively deserted bus together (are they skipping afternoon classes?) Yu-jin gazes happily out the window while the wind blows her hair in Jun-sang’s face (he doesn’t seem to mind…) and romantic violins provide accompaniment.

They take a ferry over to an island in the river, and from outside reading, this must be fabled island Namiseom, which I am given to understand became quite the famous tourist destination because of this show.

(If you search for “Namiseom” in Google Maps, you will see a marker that says “Winter Sonata First Kiss Spot.” I’m not kidding! Try it and see…)

Anyway, so the final ten minutes we’re treated to a montage of what is essentially Jun-sang and Yu-jin’s first date, as they wander through the lovely scenery of Namiseom together, talking and getting to know each other better. 

And I’m just going to temporarily abandon my Throne of Snark and observe that it really is a very pretty tableau: lovely scenery, beautiful characters, soothing romantic musical accompaniment.  It’s very nice.

And alas, if I had to place a bet, I would wager that this is probably the happiest our two leads will be for the entire show (this is not foreknowledge or intended as a spoiler, it’s just that this is a melodrama, you know, and my understanding is that the classics lean heavily into the angst and loss angle.  Heaven knows Autumn in My Heart certainly did.) So enjoy it, kids! 😭

Near the end of their sojourn, Yu-jin asks Jun-sang if he found the person he was looking for, and he says that he did. So she asks who it was, and he answers, “my father.”

Under Yu-jin’s questioning, he goes on to say that his father didn’t seem to recognize him, and he’s not sure how he feels about him.  So…I’m guessing that Jun-sang has in fact come to the conclusion that the professor (Sang-hyuk’s dad, Kim Jin-woo) is his father?

Which would probably explain much if not all of his animosity towards Sang-hyuk, who, after all, has been soaking up all that paternal time and attention as a legitimate son, rather than a literal unacknowledged bastard? 

As the two of them walk back towards Yu-jin’s house, Sang-hyuk steps out; he’s brought Yu-jin her bag that she left at the school.

Just then, professor dad also strolls up–he’s there for the memorial ceremony for Yu-jin’s dad. Jun-sang avoids looking at or speaking to professor dad before abruptly leaving.

After the memorial ceremony, Yu-jin’s younger sister is looking at a photo album, and we see the same picture as the one Jun-sang has…except the full picture shows professor dad, Jun-sang’s mom (Kang Mi-hee) and next to her on the other side, Yu-jin’s father. 

Was there a love triangle?! Dunno, probably? Will we find out more? Stay tuned, kids. That’s the end of episode one.

So, I like the opening episode better than Autumn in My Heart, I have to say.  I feel more interested and engaged, and it doesn’t feel quite as rough around the edges, somehow. 

I do kind of like the high school setting, for now at least; I assume that this is largely prefatory setting up the narrative, and that we will most likely have a forward time progression at some point before too much longer?

The big love quadrangle conflict appears to be getting put in place, with Jun-sang, Yu-jin, and then Sang-hyuk as the “childhood friend with a secret crush on Yu-jin” as the 2ML, and Chae-rin, the pretty classmate with an inflated opinion of herself, as the 2FL.  I can definitely see Chae-rin taking on the “Shin-ae/devious snake” role from Autumn. 😠 

The actors…. well, you can’t fault these productions for not getting stunningly beautiful people to star in them at least. 

Choi Ji-woo, just like Song Hye-kyo (FL of Autumn), deserves her reputation as one of the really top-tier beauties; Bae Yong-joon is likewise a very handsome man.  Both Park Yong-ha (Sang-hyuk–the 2ML) and Park Sol-mi (Chae-rin–the 2FL) are quite attractive. 

One reason I’m fairly confident we need a time skip soon, though, is that the lead couple, especially the ML, really don’t look like high school students.  I mean, beautiful, absolutely; teenagers? nope, sorry.  (Choi Ji-woo is 26-27 when this is filmed; Bae Yong-joon is 30!). 

That said, maybe the fact they’re a bit older means they’ve developed more skill in the acting department? Because Choi’s Yu-jin definitely seems a lot more lively and interesting than SHK’s Eun-soo in Autumn, where she mostly seemed to be playing the sacrificial “Iphigenia before the altar” vibe to the hilt.

And Bae’s Jun-sang is a much more believable, nuanced lead than Song Seung-heon’s oppa, whose main and mostly only register in Autumn seemed to be sullen introspection.    

So there we are. So far I am intrigued and looking forward to the next episode, so I count that as a good start. 🥰

Episode 2

Okay, this episode we are definitely moving into the minting of our OTP, stage the first (well, more like stage the second, since we had the “first date” at the end of last episode). 

A few false starts, and lo, there is a bit of a serpent in paradise, as an unseemly jealousy coils and takes up residence in the breast of Sang-hyuk.  (In Chae-rin as well, but she’s less important or at least less developed at this stage of the proceedings).

Alright. It’s next day at school (after our little fantasy frolic on the island last episode); Yu-jin and Jun-sang run into each other in the hallway, where they’re all bashful smiles at each other.

Then they walk into homeroom class together, and the assembled class is all, woo-hoo, welcome to the newlyweds! (it appears common knowledge that they cut class together and went off on an expedition or something).

Sang-hyuk looks like he’s been sucking on a whole bag of lemons, which, I feel ya, dude.  When the girl you’ve been secretly crushing on for a few years is suddenly all googly eyes at the new bad boy in town, it’s gotta suck, right?

Teacher calls Jun-sang and Yu-jin up to the front and chews them out for cutting yesterday’s study session, then “punishes” them by assigning them to clean up around the trash incinerator together? Okay… 🤔 

In the washroom, Chae-rin tries to start beef with Yu-jin for flirting with “her man,” but Yu-jin is so not having it, so that goes nowhere (except Chae-rin looks petty and silly, so, win?).

Shift to our main couple out burning leaves in the incinerator, which gives Yu-jin the opportunity to wax lyrical about how the smell reminds her of her dad, and allows Jun-sang to get all philosophical about meeting people who you miss (a veiled reference to his still-unrevealed dad, I’m thinking?). 

Later Jun-sang goes back to the college and meets up with professor dad again. Professor is impressed with Jun-sang’s mathematical ability and suggests he study with him, although professor doesn’t seem to have any inkling that he’s (maybe? probably?) Jun-sang’s father.

Jun-sang asks if professor loves Sang-hyuk, and professor is all, of course! He’s my only son! He’s a really good person, too, even if he’s not as smart as you…

Back at the broadcast club, Yu-jin is waiting alone when Jun-sang enters the room; she chooses a song to play (spinning that vinyl, very retro!), which turns out to be the “First Time” melody Jun-sang played for her on the piano.

Which leads to Yu-jin listing out all the first times she’s had lately: missing study session, going over the wall with a guy, holding a guy’s hand, etc. 

Jun-sang  is of course smart enough to recognize an opening when he sees one, and so he asks Yu-jin if she’d like to go to the movie with him on the weekend. (He confesses that this is the “first time” he’s asked a girl out). 

Later, at home, Yu-jin asks mom what she liked about dad; mom is all, well, at first he was cold towards me and I thought he hated me, but actually, come to find out that really meant that he liked me! And Yu-jin is like, YES! THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING! 😍.

Mom, who apparently didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday, is like…you like someone, don’t you Yu-jin? And Yu-jin gives the most unconvincing denial in the history of denials before allowing as how she probably does, in fact, like someone.  

Meanwhile, at school the next morning, the gang is making plans to take a weekend trip off to a cabin to celebrate Christmas, and of course Jun-sang and Yu-jin both claim to have other “plans,” leading to all sorts of suspicious glances and rising jealousy from Sang-hyuk and Chae-rin. 

Needless to say,  Sang-hyuk is super-not-excited about this developing state of affairs, so after school, he tails Jun-sang…which leads him to the college, and peeking through the door of professor dad’s office, where he sees Jun-sang and professor animatedly going over math problems together.

Sang-hyuk’s face is all “how dare!” and then he slumps dejectedly off into the night.  

BUT! Sang-hyuk’s growing animus comes to a head when Sang-hyuk confronts Jun-sang at the broadcast club then next day, where Sang-hyuk is basically all, what the hell do you think you’re doing trying to cozy up to my dad, huh? (and, umm, is this the conduct of a secure, well-adjusted individual? Hmmm 🤔).

And then Sang-hyuk purposely antagonizes Jun-sang by accusing him of using Yu-jin as a tool just to get to Sang-hyuk (I’m over here like, jeez, dude, it’s not all about you! For a supposed “nice guy,” you’re sure acting like a horse’s ass).  Jun-sang is like, yeah, you got me, dude.

UNFORTUNATELY, Yu-jin is listening to this confrontation through the doorway, and since she’s not exactly translating Jun-sang’s tone of contrary sarcasm very well, and she is definitely not one to take this sort of apparent diss lying down, she strides in and fetches Jun-sang a (rather anemic, honestly) slap, and calls off their date.

So there we are on the train platform, the group (including Yu-jin) all gathered for the weekend trip to the cabin, and at the last minute Jun-sang shows up, so now we have three couples…none of whom are actually “couples” as such. 

Apparently everyone’s parents are cool with them all just running away to a cabin in the woods for a weekend, I guess? 

They arrive at the cabin, play games and tell stories around the campfire, and then Yu-jin slips away for a walk.

Jun-sang follows her to try to talk, but Yu-jin flares up at him, and rather than work to achieve some good open communication, Jun-sang flares up too and is all, fine, what I said to you was all insincere, are you happy now?

Which of course sends Yu-jin running out into the dark woods, where she promptly gets lost. 

Everybody else heads out to try to find Yu-jin, but it’s Jun-sang that eventually does, after Yu-jin has fallen down and is all in tears. 

So of course when he finds her, she tearfully falls into his embrace, and then Jun-sang has a chance to talk more openly and sincerely to her, and so they ultimately reconcile, draw closer, and end up walking back holding hands, just as everyone is worriedly standing around wondering if they should call the police…so of course the whole gang all observe Yu-jin and Jun-sang holding hands—which certainly doesn’t improve Sang-hyuk or Chae-rin’s moods in the slightest. 😤 (Sang-hyuk in particular has his best “Imma murder a dude” face on, so…)

Our group arrives back at Chuncheon station, and yes! that’s the city this is taking place in, Chuncheon (which…may have been mentioned before this, I don’t recall? Looks to be maybe 35-40 miles to the east of Seoul?).

Sang-hyuk rejects suggestions they all go to lunch together and takes off by himself; Yu-jin, no doubt feeling like it’s her responsibility to expend the emotional labor to manage his feelings, rushes after him. 

This leads to a colloquy in which Sang-hyuk excoriates Yu-jin for swallowing all Jun-sang’s bullsh*t and getting taken in by his insincere apology.  (It’s all very high schoolish–you may picture, if you wish, me rolling my eyes 🙄).

Yu-jin takes it in, then responds by saying that she likes Jun-sang (and yes, this is clearly the uniquely Korean sense of “like”: a semi-formal confession of romantic feelings. I’m like, girl, cool! But aren’t you supposed to confess to the object of your affection rather than this other dude?)

Back on incinerator duty, Yu-jin and Jun-sang are talking, and Yu-jin gets on the subject of first snowfall, and Jun-sang asks what she’s going to do when first snow comes, and she’s all, hmmm…well what are you going to do?

And Jun-sang is like, I’m going to meet someone by the lake (wink, wink 😉), and of course this is subtext in a register that Yu-jin manages to translate just fine…

So not long after, first snow does in fact arrive, and Yu-jin heads back to Namiseom, where wonder of wonders, who should she run into?! (Duh. It’s Jun-sang!)

Jun-sang announces his presence by pelting Yu-jin with a snowball, but it’s all good fun, and we get several more idyllic scenes of them frolicking in the snow, making snowmen, running around and chasing each other, etc.

They have their first kiss, which is not at all spicy, in fact, is like, anti-spicy, more of a drive-by peck on the lips, important as much for its symbolic significance as anything else. 😘

(But nevertheless portentous for all that; recall the “Winter Sonata First Kiss” marker that’s now part of the actual physical landscape at the actual physical island where this was filmed….)

Well.  Back in town, they stroll through the market together, and make plans to meet there again on Dec. 31st.

Yu-jin invites Jun-sang in for dinner; her adorable younger sister (maybe 7-8 years old, at a guess?) is smitten by our handsome young lad, and is showing him an old photo album while Yu-jin cooks (mom is at the market, working hard, no doubt).

Of course, looking through the album, Jun-sang sees THE PICTURE, the one of his mother standing between professor dad on one side and Yu-jin’s dad (who is the one she is actually linking arms with) on the other.

Jun-sang is all…who is this? And Yu-jin is like, you already know Sang-hyuk’s dad, and the other one is my dad, they were all best buddies in high school…isn’t the woman beautiful? My mom said they were just friends, but look how she’s holding dad’s arm like that, don’t they look like lovers? 😳😬😰

Dun dun DUN.

Yu-jin goes back in the kitchen, while Jun-sang pulls out his copy of the photo, which of course is torn so that Yu-jin’s dad doesn’t even appear.

And now I’m imagining all sorts of scenarios, like: Granny on her deathbed pulls young Jun-sang close, hands him a tattered photo, and gasps out “your mother never wanted you to know, but you deserve to know…Mi-hee said your father was in this photo…” (to be clear, this didn’t happen, it’s my imagination).

The POINT is that Jun-sang seems to have already arrived at the conclusion that professor Jin-woo is his dad, based at least in part on information we are not yet privy to, and NOW it appears that he never had access to the full photo that included Yu-jin’s dad, and seeing it has apparently rocked his world and very possible effectively doubled the pool of possible Jun-sang daddies? Hmmm?

And I am like NO, SHOW, DON’T YOU EVEN DARE WITH THAT NONSENSE! 

To just state the obvious, if Yu-jin’s dad turned out to be Jun-sang’s dad as well, that would make our budding OTP actually incestuous (rather than the kind of quasi-incestual vibe of Autumn in My Heart that I, at least, never quite managed to shake off).  NO BUENO, SHOW.

(It also means that, regardless of which one is the actual Jun-sang daddy (assuming one of them is), the one who is…is kind of a jerk, isn’t he? Given that Jun-sang, Yu-jin, and Sang-hyuk are all in the same grade and thus roughly the same age?  Bit of a player, an alley cat, our boy? Whew.

Of course this still pales in comparison to the whole “are they half-siblings” bombshell that’s sitting unexploded on the carpet, but there it is). 

Well, Jun-sang has clearly just had his big brain comprehensively blown 🤯, so what does he do? Gets up and quietly leaves the house without saying a word to either Yu-jin or her younger sister (neither of whom are in the room at the moment to see him go).

And then Jun-sang immediately hotfoots it over to campus and the professor’s office, where he tries to not-very-subtly probe the professor on the real state of the relationship between Jin-woo, Mi-hee, and Hyun-soo (Yu-jin’s dad) way back in the day.

Professor is of course reticent, but eventually admits that while he kind of had a crush on Mi-hee, she had liked Hyun-soo, and left town when Hyun-soo got married (to Yu-jin’s mom).

This bit of intelligence leaves Jun-sang in a deep funk, and he slopes out of the office and down the hall. 

After sitting pensively in the dark at home for awhile, Jun-sang gets on the phone with his mom to inform her that he’s ready to leave for the U.S. immediately. 

We cut to a scene of Yu-jin in her room with little sister on Dec. 31st, trying on different scarves in preparation for her evening rendezvous with Jun-sang at the market. 

No explanation for why Yu-jin has apparently done nothing to get to the bottom of why Jun-sang just totally ghosted them at dinner; she’s seemingly entirely shrugged it off as an oddity not worth dwelling on? Which…okay, I guess?

So Jun-sang and his mom are loading their luggage in the taxi and heading off to the airport, just as Yu-jin is standing out in the drifting snow among the crowd at the market.

On the road to the airport, Jun-sang discovers that he still has Yu-jin’s mittens tucked in his coat pocket, which awakens his remorse over totally ghosting her without at least saying something to her before he leaves.

So he’s like, hold everything! I have to make a stop first… and mom is like, forget it, my boy, we’re about to miss our flight as it is.

In response, Jun-sang jumps out of the taxi, runs across the road, and catches his own taxi back to town. 

He jumps out near the market, and is dashing through a traffic circle when…. YES, YOU GUESSED IT! TRUCK OF DOOM TIME, MY PRETTIES!! AHHAHAHAHAHA.  😝😱🤬. 

OMG! Was the Truck of Doom already an overused trope at this point, or was it still considered a fresh narrative device? It did make a very memorable appearance in Autumn, after all 🤔. …and ring down the curtain on this episode.

Anyway.  Our ML is obviously not dead, we still have 18 episodes to go, and I’m fairly confident this is not Game of Thrones

What I do expect is the appearance of another one of our oh-so-venerable tropes…the AMNESIA trope.  Yaaaay. 🙄 (not). 😑🤨😠  We’ll see. 

I also expect a time skip and that our characters have moved into new situations and circumstances when our fated pair meet again, as of course they must.  Stay tuned, duckies…

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JJ
JJ
3 days ago

@Trent – Finally finished all of Episode 1 – here are some of my notes, 😂

  1. Manly jump over the wall at the 24 min mark. Did anyone notice the mic boom getting into the shot??? 😂😂😂 Mic Boom’s 3 seconds of fame.
  2. Volleyball game – employing the freeze action fame to up the tension between our ML and 2ML! Hmmm, is this a shout out to Top Gun?? 😂😂😂
  3. Love the beautiful walk on the beautiful Island on the beautiful Autumn Tree lined path and then a BIKE appears out of nowhere! 😂😂😂 But as you said Trent, “enjoy this now, kids” Its probably all they will get.
  4. Soooo, is the Schumann’s piano piece “Träumerei” first appearance in this Kdrama Show? Because we do know it appears in “Do You Like Brahms?”
Trent
3 days ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ — Late is better than never! Welcome to the WS group watchin’ club!

Good catch on the boom mic, several of our other commenters have also called out those errant mics. Believe it or not, I was so oblivious I hadn’t even caught them until someone mentioned it, and then I was rewatching a bit from ep 5 or 6, and I was all, wait! that’s a mic up at the top of that shot!

I don’t know if there’s a “Traumerei” connection, per se…here it’s just a quick throwaway, Yu-jin trying to show off a bit, while in Brahms it’s much more of a central plot element that weaves through the entire show, as you know. But maybe the writer of Brahms took some inspiration, thinking back to WS?

JJ
JJ
3 days ago
Reply to  Trent

@Trent – YES!!!! Thank you 🙂

Ah I need to catch up on everyone’s comments 🙂 I cant believe you missed it, but I am chalking it up to your hyper focus on the story for your weekly retelling tale to delight us with laughter ! That Boom Mic needs a nickname 😉

If this Show is iconic and brought on the Hallyu wave, then maybe Brahams writers picked up the idea then? Who knows, but its fun to think about and look for other possibly inspired by WS Shows 🙂

On to Episode 2!!

uyen
7 days ago

I haven’t had a chance to watch the eps, but I couldn’t NOT join the party with Trent’s threads. Ahhh these two eps seem like the very cute budding relationship and sadly as mentioned, probably the happiest we’ll get this whole drama. Boo.

Have to pull out one of my go to gifs at seeing Sang Hyuk and Chae Rin being introduced…..SIGH.

1081.gif
Trent
3 days ago
Reply to  uyen

uyen — glad to have you along for the party! Hope you enjoy our journey through this wild melo…

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago

How a writing style is different for different writers, well this write up tells me that.

I am not comparing anything here. I literally enjoy both of yours writing thoroughly. 

How come just few bunches of words, but what an amazing world it can create!
I am just devouring this like anything. 

Late to join the party. 

I liked this review for ep 1&2 by Trent, and experienced and relived these two episodes again frame by frame.
You all guys here (n galz of course) are gifted/talented, simply genius. KFG then Trent then jj then seafletcher then martina, Natalia, j3ffc, ele nash, snowflakes, BE, phl1rxd all of you. (When it comes to writing, i am zero. But yeah, I like to read.)

Abt the drama ep 1&2

– it takes u through the winter and sonata (literally for entire 2odd hrs) . I do not have much knowledge about music (but I just love it), still my cochlea of inner ear all the time was making a note of some piano notes, mouth organ being played in the background, and as you (Trent) have pointed out that writer/director wants you to pay your attention and not miss the theme. 
👍 
(Was wondering what was the parallel part for snow here, in the drama autumn in my heart. Did they show fall colours from autumn?

FL, she is bubbly chirping all the time, it’s hard not to fall for this character, especially after witnessing her dancing in the radio room.
Our ML, me too find him a bit old for a high schooler, ( plus clothing like layers of sweaters n turtle neck not helping).
The second FL, where else we have seen her? Or is there any other actress at present resembling her? As I find her face very familiar.

Maths genius stuff runs through the blood (well , most of the time), according this, ML shd be the son of maths professor, but we never know what writer has got in his mind. But pls pls, don’t them be half siblings.

Scenes for me were – 
her tassels touching his face, 
helping him with piano assignment thinking he is new, how innocent and sweet,
Climbing the wall,
The Talk during the burning of leaves,
Slopes on the way to school,
Story making game at campfire

Loving this drama, and your review. (Yet to go through the comments part, which even more I do enjoy reading). 

Trent
3 days ago

LaVieEstBelle22 — You’re absolutely right, there are some very perceptive and talented folks who participate in the big drama watching party here. Thank you for being so kind to mention me in the company of all the other people who make it a fun community to hang out with.

Welcome to the WS group watch, and I hope you continue to enjoy it! Look forward to you sharing your reactions and comments with the rest of us!

CarpControl
CarpControl
15 days ago

Thank you KFG for hosting this❤️ More than a group-watch, I’d like to call this the ‘Winter Sonata Support Group‘. I know a melodrama from the early 2000’s is bound leave a lot of us with a broken heart (us = mainly me, I’m a sucker for angsty love stories) and Trent’s weekly appearance on the blog is going to be the salve to heal me, as I chuckle through the non-stop rain pouring on my face! 🤣 Trent, you’re doing a fantastic job, and I look forward to read more! ^^

Ps. Am I the only one who hasn’t watched this classic before? And am I the only one pinning my hopes on those pink mittens making a fateful appearance later as part of a big reveal? 😝

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
14 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

It is a first watch for me!

j3ffc
j3ffc
14 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

First watch club! 🙋‍♂️

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

🙋‍♀️ first watch

JJ
JJ
4 days ago
Reply to  CarpControl

– First watch for me, too!!!

MC
MC
15 days ago

Trent, I haven’t watched but I read your notes and loved them. It’s truly a labour of love. I look forward to more!

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago

Aaaaargh! Truck of Doom! Birth secret! I am looking forward to more scarftastic goodness.
When Jun Sang sees the whole picture in You Jin’s family album, he runs out in distress. The piano music played at this moment was the 3rd movement of Beethoven’s Sonata in D minor (nicknamed “The Tempest”).

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

Did they mention ‘tempest’ in drama SLA somewhere?

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
6 days ago

I don’t remember Tempest being played in SLA, but it’s been a while since I watched it.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago

OMG! I feel like I am back in high school! I remember riding the crowded bus. My school uniform looked similar. We also had a teacher checking on the student’s appearance and remember being sent home once because my hair was too long and not tied.

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  Snow Flower

This brings me notice one.

Certainly present highschooler or any highschooler at any moment of given Realtime, will not be watching this drama or any drama that shows high school stuff.

As they r busy in college entrance exam / gaocao preparation n studies.

So sad they can not compare the way we have liberty to.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago

Just stopping by to say that I finished the first episode and read Trent’s hilariously accurate notes. I imagine a low voice straight from a movie trailer narrating them.

Ele Nash
17 days ago

Trent!!! Hello!!!! Truck of doom, time lapse, amnesia… I’m with you! Of course they don’t have the same father 🤢 This show is meant to be a classic, so they simply cannot be siblings!! Loving the breezy storytelling – other shows may have drawn things out, but not this show. I actually really enjoyed these eps, and I wasn’t expecting to, given how old it is and how old the leads are 😄 Where is it all heading, though? I mean, bar the happy conclusion of romance, where else is this story going?! I’m super-curious. Thank you for leading us through with such aplomb! xx

j3ffc
j3ffc
17 days ago

I join the chorus of praise for Trent’s fantastic notes on the start of the show. I will say – before I get to piling on commenting – that this has been quite an agreeable watch. It’s one thing to watch a dated show, knowing its dated and that you will have the pleasure of having someone to share all of the eye-rolling with – versus just going in cold and realizing just how tropey it is but just suffering in shocked silence. And I can think of few that I’d like to hear break that silence more than Trent or KFG.

I have been thinking about that photo way too much this week and so appreciate that I’m not only one whose thoughts went to a Bad Place in figuring out where it went. Similarly glad to know that I’m not the only one struck by the sheer efficiency of the writers. I am imagining a scene in the writer’s room (or head) where, it’s like, “wow, I really need to have a character struck by a truck to move things forward and, if I don’t use it RIGHT NOW, no one else will ever think of it and this beautiful plot device will never see the light of day.” 

And I got a serious case of Drama Whiplash when Yoo-jin decided that Yong-joon, despite his boorish behavior and general aloofness, was The Guy to develop a crush on. (Ah, Fate, thee are fickle and unknowable.) And, yes, I know that the word “crush” doesn’t begin to describe what we’ll be seeing.

But besides this, some questions to ponder:

How did Yoo-jin end up all the way at the back of what was at one point a seriously crowded bus? Osmosis?And what are the chances that she ends up sitting next to the ONLY young male on that entire bus who would react to her comely head on his shoulder with disdain?Is transmission of skills (piano, maths) considered proof of parentage in dramaland?
Thanks to Trent for being our guide here! Looking forward to next week already….

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
17 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Q: “How did Yoo-jin end up all the way at the back of what was at one point a seriously crowded bus? Osmosis?”

A: The Flying Fickle Finger of Fate

Flying Fickle Finger of Fate.jpg
j3ffc
j3ffc
17 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

I remember the FFFoF from Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In (1968!!) Who knew they were drama enthusiasts??!! 😂

Trent
17 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc — These are worthy questions, indeed, and I am sure phl1rxd has the right of it: when show decides that a character needs to be in a particular place, or a particular event needs to happen, then by golly, they’re gonna be there or the event is gonna happen, logic be darned! Fate, in other words 😉

j3ffc
j3ffc
17 days ago
Reply to  Trent

I am now imagining a deeply sleeping Yoo-jin being crowd-surfed all the way to the back of the bus….🤷‍♂️

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
16 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

🤣🤣🤣

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

😀

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  j3ffc

At J3ffc

Me 🤩 @ your imagining traffic, “stuff going on in writer’s mind”

Cathy
Cathy
18 days ago

Thank you so much, Trent. I had such fun reading your comments!

I watched this two years ago, about eight months into my kdrama love affair. I’m really excited to see how my reactions differ now that I have watched so many kdramas.

Here’s my random observations:

I got chills when I heard the opening song! I’m amused at how often mics show up in the frame. Bae Yong Joon does NOT look like a high school student.

I laughed out loud at, “Jun-sang, who is busy being all broody and absorbed in the existential pain of living or something.”

Loved the “Winter Sonata First Kiss Spot” on Google Maps. Thanks for the tip, Trent! And Fangurl, loved the photo of the statue on Namieseom Island!

Second laugh out loud moment was when Trent wagered that the scene of our OTP on Namiseom Island is probably the happiest they will be for the entire show given it’s a melodrama and all. Oh, if only I would have understood what a Korean melodrama really was my first time watching this I could have saved myself a lot of angst!

I am resisting the urge to count the tropes! Why don’t actors zip up/button their coats? I see that in modern dramas, too. Couldn’t help but think of “Love Story” when our OTP are playing in the snow, complete with melodic song playing in the background. Did they HAVE to throw the half-sibling trope in?!? And what’s a melo without the Truck of Doom!

Trent
18 days ago
Reply to  Cathy

Cathy — yes indeed, I’m all groaning to myself like, whyyy do we need to flirt with forbidden love by way of possible incest? Did writer-nim imbibe too much of the Greek classics in college or something?

Stay with us, we need the (non-spoilery) wisdom and insight of those who have already taken this journey!

Timescout
18 days ago
Reply to  Cathy

“Why don’t actors zip up/button their coats?” Omg, this! They usually don’t have anything on their heads either, nor scarves or gloves/mittens. I get cold just by watching them. Guess being trussed up to their eyeballs isn’t cinematic enough. 😄

Timescout
18 days ago

😄 Thanks for the laughs. These first episodes are quite snarkable, aren’t they.

It’s been almost a decade since I watched Winter Sonata and I realised I don’t seem to recall much of the actual plot anymore. What I do recall, is having been way more taken with it back in the day. Ah, those halcyon days of being a drama noob, when everything looked shiny. BYJ’s voice is still swoony though.^^

Few things that popped into my head while watching. 😁 “oh yes, actors playing their teen selves was pretty common back then… they do look good though”, “that piano piece is going to get on my nerves, isn’t it… at least it’s not a sad violin”, “THAT photo! I’d clean forgotten about the daddy issues… and who the heck the daddy actually is”, “oh, hello there Ryu Seung Soo… and Kim Hae Sook too”, “can the dialogue be any more awkwardly stilted, lol”, “another ‘pregnant’ pause, I see”, “gosh, this is such a trope-fest”, “wait, what… truck of doom already?”.

I’m giving myself a full nostalgia treatment here as I dug up my old, *cough* not exactly leagally obtained * cough* 649 Mt avi-files. The picture quality pretty much matches the dated look of the drama, ha.

Love the pictures you picked, KFG! That last “deer in the headlights” one is perfect. 😆 I’m looking forward to more of Trent’s wonderfully entertaining commentary to come.

Trent
18 days ago
Reply to  Timescout

Timescout — glad to have you along with us for the ride! Hope you can stay interested among the nostalgia-fest!

Yes, we definitely seem to have fallen headlong into the forest of tropes… Although I feel like I shouldn’t be too judge-y since a lot of these were probably fresh and new, relatively speaking, back when this came out. That’s not going to stop me from snarking away, of course 😁

Timescout
16 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Oh, I will try to keep up with the rest of you. Not sure if I’ll have time or enough brain power to comment much but at least I’ll be reding everything. 🙂

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yes! The Mom Seal of Approval! I am chuffed! I think you can safely assure Mom that my reaction to certain interesting developments is appropriately acerbic….

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago

For those that missed it, I am leaving this photo here.

Winter Sonata.jpg
Su San
Su San
17 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Yes! Saw that on my visit to Nami Island. There was a line of people for photos with the statue. The Winter Sonata gift shop is very close by with winter themed souvenirs, especially the little snowmen.

I visited in 2015, BEFORE I saw the drama, and was impressed at the amount tourists interested in Winter Sonata related things. There is even a restaurant near the docks called Winter Sonata.

The island was beautiful and worth a daytrip if you are going to visit.

LaVieEstBelle22
LaVieEstBelle22
8 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Can we compare this spot with the “that coffee table in the restaurant in NY city where Sally faked o!r#g*s@m (i am not sure whether i am allowed to type this word as per the rules for writing comments at KFG, apologies in advance)scene from ‘when harry met sally’ “?

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago

Trent – please do not forget the wonderful saying in your Patreon write up of E8. Please share that bit of brilliance with us when we get there.

Trent
18 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd — I can only assume you are referring to my LotR reference, in which case I assure you I would not dream of leaving it out…😜

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
17 days ago
Reply to  Trent

That is an affirmative Trent! Hooray!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago

Trent –

E2: What cracks me up is all the running that Yu Jin does. She runs hither and yon but is always late. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

No truer words were ever spoken – “He’s a really good person, too, even if he’s not as smart as you…

I see the green headed monster a’coming! Sang Hyuk says NEIGH! 

YES! THAT’S WHAT I’M SAYING! and “Imma murder a dude” – LMAO 🤣😂😅

Duh De Duh Duhn is right! OMG – that photo. I can see Jun Sang’s mind exploding into a thousand pieces and for all the obvious reasons you listed. 🤯🤯🤯

So right now we are all thinking “Who’s your Daddy?” And just like that folks, in 2001, a million minds all over Asia also pondered that very question…

Okay – the mittens are bound to return… 🙄

Fangurl – the Truck of Doom photo is perfection! 🚍🚍🚍

Trent – this is perfection.

Last edited 19 days ago by phl1rxd
seankfletcher
seankfletcher
19 days ago

Well, Trent – based on your delectable recapping, the first two episodes have it all – troped up to the eyeballs. I loved the reference to Game of Thrones – because it’s true re the tv series, you wouldn’t be resurrected, but in the books, things are a little different.

My conclusion at this point is that I think show, with voiceovers from Trent, would absolutely be Scarlett’s cup of tea 😉

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean – that is a brilliant idea.

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sean — it’s true that the TV series cut Lady Stoneheart (to the sorrow of obsessive book fans everywhere), but (do we really need Game of Thrones spoilers?) I was specifically thinking of Eddard Stark, who seems to have all the indicia of being the main protagonist in both book and TV series and then…oops! 😳🥺😭

seankfletcher
seankfletcher
18 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – yes, oops! As ES said to Arya: “When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.” And, so it came to pass – we all carried on without poor old Ed. It’s a bit like dealing with Winter Sonata, despite my misgivings, I’m here to support the group watch in some way 😁

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago

Trent – Dude –

E1: I just got done E1 and I have to give you major props for this humdinger “Iphigenia before the altar”. I die. I am dead. I can’t…stop…snort…laughing. I swear I am going to record myself laughing as I read this and send it to you. You are hysterical.

I offer my opinion on this – “Chae-rin sidles up to Jun-sang and starts nattering about…” to “Chae-rin slithers up to Jun-sang and starts nattering about…”

Methinks we gots the Mother of all Birth Secrets?

Also – the photos – please – they are sheer perfection! The one on the hookey day on the bus with the hair sweeping over his face just cracked me up. I truly and totally get what you are doing here.

Let me wipe the tears from my eyes (from laughing so hard) and read E2…

Last edited 19 days ago by phl1rxd
Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd — “Iphigenia before the altar” is actually my callback to Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series, which I love immoderately. I forget which book, but Stephen Maturin uses that phrase to describe a another character–Jack’s wife Sophie, as I recall?–and her air of uncomplaining, sacrificial innocence.

But you were there riding shotgun when I was snarking my way through Autumn in My Heart, don’t you agree that sort of “uncomplaining, sacrificial innocence” describes Song Hye-kyo’s Eun-soo reasonably well?

Anyway. “Chae-rin slithered…” may have merit later on, but I like to see her as only potentially snake-like at this stage of her evolution. She has yet to flower and grow secure in her wickedness.

You know, I basically watched these two episodes a second time when I was putting together this recap, and I picked up so much more of the through-line on Jun-sang’s search–what he’s looking for and also what he appears to be finding. The first time I was basically, well, he’s pretty upset about his dad, it seems? Okay, whatever. The second time, I’m all, ah, okay, that’s the conclusion he’s drawing, that’s what’s changed, etc.

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – yes I do agree that the two ladies share that trait. Great observation. A milder form of this exists in some dramas today, although the FL suffering from this trait usually goes through a change and shakes a lot of that off.

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd — yeah, one thing I think we’re going to run into a lot of is some fairly “retro” attitudes and points of view. I think it’s one of the things that most clearly highlights how kdramas in general have evolved over the last couple decades.

Leslie
Leslie
19 days ago

As I predicted, Trent’s take on things is definitely my cup of tea. 🍵 Keep up the good work!

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  Leslie

Glad to have you along for the ride, Leslie. Good times await, I have no doubt. What does our show have in store for these crazy kids?

Last edited 19 days ago by Trent
JJ
JJ
19 days ago

@Trent – Another home run with your episode/play by play notes for a Show! I am as entertained as I was with All of Us Are Dead!

I only made it half way through Episode 1 then got distracted by Meet Yourself and now Prison Playbook hence the baseball references 🙂 But thats ok because now I can just read your notes before I get caught up to reduce (the favorite thing I do of yours)my stress watch 😂

Didnt the ML actually smoke a cigarette and not just pull a cool James Dean impression?!?! I remember gasping seeing actual cigarette smoke?! Could be wrong….

Well, we all know who KFG can call if she ever decides to finally take a much needed and well deserved vaca 🌴

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  JJ

Hahaha…the funny thing is, I don’t think there is much that is too stressful in these opening episodes. As I mentioned, I suspect that all that frolicking on the beautiful island is a pure as it’s going to get for our characters. We’ll see what awaits us on the other side of Truck of Doom…

I think you’re right, and our man Jun-sang did actually light up and take a drag or two on his cigarette…

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago
Reply to  JJ

JJ – Trent is correcto mundo. Yes he did and it happens a few more times if I remember correctly. This was before the big kick to get smoking out of dramas. Nowadays they pull out a ciggy and conveniently get distracted by someone/something or their lighter suddenly does not work. I always notice when an actor pulls out a cigarette in a KDrama.

Trent
19 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yeah, it is kind of distracting to see them in their sober high school uniforms, trying to pass themselves off as high schoolers! But CJW does have the high school affect going pretty well, it’s true, so that’s all to the good.

And yes, show is very efficient in getting us to where we need to be; the first couple episodes almost feel like their own little mini-drama, setting up the essential frame work for where ever show is going to take us next…

Trent
19 days ago

KFG — Thank you so much for the screenshots! Well chosen, and they add so much visual pop to everything. Really helpful to illustrate what’s happening!

phl1rxd
phl1rxd
19 days ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Aha! Fangurl – you did a perfect job with the photos. Just perfect! I am crying laughing over here at some of them.