Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thanks for joining us for this fated commemorative group watch of Winter Sonata! I hope you’re enjoying Trent’s notes; I know I am! 🤩
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! 😉
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! ❤️
*brief programming note that may be of some interest?*
Autumn in My Heart is coming to Viki, and it looks like it’s set to drop next Wednesday (Jan. 25th).
As I mentioned last week, this was the first drama of director Yoon Seok-ho’s “Endless Love” tetralogy, and the forerunner to Winter Sonata, and I made several references to it in the first couple episode notes.
It’s got baby Song Hye-kyo, broody Song Seung-heon–Won Bin scratches his head and does his best James Dean–romantic piano motifs at every turn, more angst than you can shake a stick at!
Of course, you should stay plugged into our Winter Sonata group watch, but if that doesn’t slake your thirst for classic hallyu melodrama, well. Go check it out!
** Just popping in to say that another alternative, is, if you guys are super into the idea, Trent *might* be persuaded to anchor a future group watch of Autumn In My Heart – or some other retro drama that would benefit from the very special, delicious snark-tastic treatment that only Trent is gifted to give? 😉 Let us know your thoughts about this, in the comments! ~KFG ❤️
Okay, okay, okay. I knew we were going to be getting up to shenanigans. Really, I did!
I mean, this is classic melodrama, where shenanigans are pretty much baked into the cake, right? But! I don’t know if I expected shenanigans quite this early. Silly me, no biscuit! 🤣
To what do I refer? Let me explain.
As you will no doubt recall, when last we left our dewy-eyed young lovers, the Truck of Doom had presumably just sent Jun-sang flying into the next county.
And so I speculated that
1) obviously our ML wasn’t dead;
2) we would, however, maybe be getting some amnesia action?; and
3) it was time for the predicted time skip.
And I was mostly right, I think? Maybe?
Hard to say for sure, since show is determined to have some fun with us.
See, we can already tell that our show’s credo appears to be “let’s toy with our audience for maximal emotional effect” whenever possible.
Which means that we’ve been left wondering if our boy survived his rendezvous with the front end of Ahjeossi’s delivery truck.
Then, just when we are taking solace from the thought that OF COURSE show wouldn’t kill off its ML (as indeed I was just saying, right?), show is like “Ha, FOOLS! You underestimate me!” 😈
So. As the episode opens, Yu-jin, late to morning class as usual, is monologuing to herself over Jun-sang’s failure to show up at the market the night before, alternately chewing him out and then pretending that she doesn’t care, so there!
But then she walks into class to find that everyone is super upset and most are in tears, and when she’s like, yo, what’s up?
Her classmate is all, Jun-sang is dead. And Yu-jin is like, the hell you say.
So then Chae-rin is like, Jun-sang is DEAD (sob, sob 😭😭).
Well, that turns on the waterworks on Yu-jin’s face (it never fails to amaze me how actors can just cry on demand…) and she goes rushing out of the room, pursued by Sang-hyuk, who grabs hold of Yu-jin as she rambles incoherently about how she has to find Jun-sang, she has to tell him something, etc.
Then we cut to a bleak winter landscape and the gang all assembled out on the lakeside dock, where they burn paper to memorialize Jun-sang’s passing and say goodby to him.
Then of course Chae-rin, being the designated beeyotch in this here production, has to yell at Yu-jin about how it is ALL HER FAULT, since Jun-sang was on his way to see Yu-jin when he got rudely pancaked by a Mack truck (Q: how does Ms. Catty even know that? Who told her?).
Notably, we are shown no formal funeral, no dead body, no grave marker or cenotaph.
We are essentially relying on the word of an as-yet unspecified someone that Jun-sang has gone and f#%$ed off to join the choir invisible 😇🎶. I expect this to become relevant at some point, so make note, Watson.
Yu-jin goes home to find a cassette tape that was mailed to her by Jun-sang before he left, waiting for her on her desk. It’s a recording that he made of the song (“First Time”) that he played for her, so she listens and has a good hard cry.
Okay, so here we are, now can we have our time skip? YES!
We jump forward an unspecified period of time (comments later in the episode seem to peg it at a 10 year skip [ed. note: later episodes clarify that it has in fact been ten years]).
Which is good, since it aligns the characters’ ages more or less with their actors’ actual ages, and as a result, our characters no longer look like weirdly mature high school students. Which is more of a relief than I thought it would be, to tell you the truth.
Anyway. The curtain rises on a new age, and we meet Yu-jin (with a nice new sort of pixie bob cut) running around on a construction site. It looks like she’s working as some kind of designer for an interior design firm called Polaris.
In a delightful bit of news, she is still running to catch buses, and still sitting in the back corner of the bus. Our girl is consistent, ay?
We also learn that Sang-hyuk is working as a producer at a classical music radio station.
When Sang-hyuk gets off work, he heads to the jewelry store to pick up a ring, and we learn that his engagement ceremony is tomorrow evening. (Please please please tell me he’s not engaged to Yu-jin…😟).
Yu-jin is standing out on the street, where she’s approached by a kind of pushy lady with a fortune teller vibe, who tells Yu-jin she can see a man who has left her (ooooh), and asks if Yu-jin if she wants him back (ooooh).
Just then, Sang-hyuk strolls up and is all, nope, it’s me! (RATS! It looks like Sang-hyuk and Yu-jin are, in fact, engaged.😒)
They sit down at a restaurant and are going over logistics for their formal engagement ceremony; Sang-hyuk pulls out the ring to show Yu-jin, and she tries it on, while Sang-hyuk reminisces about how when they were little, people said they looked alike.
Yu-jin laughs and recalls how after they got haircuts the lady at the salon asked if they were twins, and I’m sorry but after the hints and quasi-revelations of last episode, I’m just a leeetle bit incest-shy, okay?
Is that so wrong? So if you could just stop throwing hints about how much they used to look alike, show, like oh, maybe siblings or something….Sheesh.
(I don’t think this is going anywhere, to be clear. At most, it’s just show messing with our heads a bit. Thanks, show!)
(Although…after a bit of reflection, it hits me that if there is going to be a birth-secret connection, I would much rather it be with Sang-hyuk (assuming we can dispose of this inconvenient engagement somehow) rather than currently-dead-and-in-need-of-resurrection Jun-sang, who appears, after all, to be the fated love of the piece.
Again, to be clear, I don’t know what happens at this point, this is just me idly speculating. For funsies, you know? 😁)
Sang-hyuk drives Yu-jin back to her apartment, and then he swoops in for a good night kiss, which Yu-jin avoids…smiling and in good humor, but definitely avoids.
And I’m just gonna say, there’s already a bit of a weird vibe between them, romantically speaking.
Sang-hyuk is clearly besotted with Yu-jin, as he has been from the beginning of the show; meanwhile, the feeling that she projects is that Sang-hyuk is a close and treasured friend of long standing, but not really a lover.
The impression already is that this is a couple that haven’t really gone beyond the holding-hands stage. Which…um…okay?
The next morning, Yu-jin is rushing around the apartment getting stuff ready for the engagement ceremony after work while her roommate talks to her.
We see that her roommate is a member of the original gang from the high school broadcasting club, who at this point I’m just going to tag as the 3FL (but her name is Jin-sook).
Jin-sook mentions that the forecast says that it’s going to be “first snow” later in the day, and I trust I need not remind everyone of the loaded symbolism around first snow in kdrama lore, right?
Particularly since it was “first snow” when Yu-jin and Jun-sang snuck off to Namiseom for the second time (but first–so far only–kiss!)…
At work, Yu-jin’s colleagues are talking up the hotshot new director of the architectural firm they are angling to work with on a new project.
Supposedly he’s won a bunch of awards and has a great background, and Yu-jin’s colleague tells Yu-jin that if he happens to be good looking too, then “he’s got it all.”
Yu-jin says she hasn’t met him yet, then announces that she’s knocking off a bit early, and that she’ll drop off the plans they’ve been prepping to the other firm on the way.
So Yu-jin is trotting down the crowded, busy street, when suddenly in the distance, she catches sight of a guy that seems to…OMG! Does he look like…Jun-sang?!
Yu-jin pauses, peers hesitantly around a tree…but she’s lost sight of the dude, so she shakes it off and stops by the other firm (named Marcian) to drop off the revised plans they’ve prepared.
The new director isn’t in, so she leaves them with the deputy director.
While there, she and the deputy director notice and remark on an unfinished jigsaw puzzle that is being carried into the new director’s office; on the way out, Yu-jin sees a puzzle piece lying on the stairs, and pauses to pick it up and put it in her coat pocket.
She then heads off to the salon to have her hair done before the ceremony.
At the venue, family and friends are assembling; Sang-hyuk’s mother sails in wearing the traditional hanbok, and we learn that she doesn’t really care for Yu-jin and only consented to the match because Sang-hyuk likes her so much. So…standard mother in law fare, I guess? 😜.
Yu-jin finishes up at the salon and rushes down the street to make it to the ceremony on time.
As forecast, it has indeed started snowing, and Yu-jin takes a moment to look up and enjoy.
When she looks down at the street again…There! Up ahead! Again she sees a guy who bears an uncanny resemblance to the long-lost Jun-sang (fashionably mussed hair style and fashionable glasses aside).
He’s closer this time; Yu-jin’s sang-froid has fled entirely to the wind.
All of a sudden he turns down a side avenue, and Yu-jin is jolted to action. She chases after the guy, through the crowded street, but although she catches glimpses of him, she just can’t catch up.
Meanwhile, the guests and relations have all assembled at the ceremony location, and are growing increasingly restive as the prospective bride continues to be a no-show.
Yu-jin continues to stumble through the streets, until she eventually gives up and wanders in a daze to the ceremony.
But by the time Yu-jin arrives at the venue, it is hopelessly late and everyone except Sang-hyuk and the parents have already left.
And look, I get that the shock of seeing the doppelganger of your presumed-dead first love wandering the streets ten years later is going to throw you off your game, but… it’s just such a huge social faux-pas–downright rude–to just leave the assembled company waiting in vain for your arrival like that.
I understand that it’s meant to convey how affected Yu-jin is, how much she’s still tied to the memory and image of Jun-sang, but not gonna lie, it still kind of grates. I’m kind of chagrined/embarrassed on her behalf 😳😞.
Well, when Yu-jin finally shows up, naturally Sang-hyuk’s mother is…not impressed. But of course Sang-hyuk himself doesn’t act overly upset (no doubt at least in part because Yu-jin is acting all dazed, before collapsing in a faint).
Yu-jin’s mom puts her to bed, and then after Yu-jin assures her nothing’s wrong between her and Sang-hyuk, mom is…not exactly a well of empathy, alas.
Next day, Yu-jin goes to Sang-hyuk’s house to apologize.
Mother is not having it (won’t meet with Yu-jin at all), but Sang-hyuk is all Mr. Noble-and-Magnanimous, not even pressing for a detailed explanation of why Yu-jin didn’t make it to the ceremony–didn’t even give a word of forewarning–just assuring her that he will always be there for her (and I gotta interject: easy enough to do when nobility comes cheap; let’s see if our boy reverts to form (jealous and petty) when actual competition re-emerges…).
Later, Yu-jin is in her room, looking at the picture she drew of Jun-sang, listening to the tape he made for her, writing out her stream-of-conscious thoughts about him. Then she leaves to wander the streets some more.
Sang-hyuk shows up at her apartment.
Informed by Jin-sook that Yu-jin isn’t there, Sang-hyuk goes into her room (is that a thing? Seems a bit boundary trespass-y to me, even if he is her fiancé) and of course he sees all her innermost thoughts about Jun-sang written out on her notepad.
So Sang-hyuk rushes out to find her, and eventually runs into Yu-jin sitting by herself on the street.
He tells her she can tell him anything (be careful what you wish for, dude), and that he will wait for her (presumably to work through her residual Jun-sang issues?) and then he starts pondering about how if only HE had been the one to find her that night at the cabin, would she have fallen in love with HIM instead?
And dude, NO! You just don’t get it, do you? You were NOT THE FATED ONE. It was never going to happen! Don’t torture yourself with “what ifs,” you know?
Now, of course, Yu-jin’s emotions are all in a muddle, and she’s all teary-eyed, and Sang-hyuk is being all empathetic and understanding (and not to downplay that, seriously! That’s great!).
So then Yu-jin decides to grow up and be responsible, and goes and burns her drawing of Jun-sang and says goodbye to him in her heart.
And uh…sounds nice and all, but we’ve still got 17 episodes here, so I think the best-laid plans of Jung Yu-jin are definitely going to have to yield to the iron demands of fate, right? Sorry, Yu-jin. 😥
Back at work, Yu-jin gets an email from Chae-rin of all people, which is all breezy and like, long time no see, girlfriend! I’ve been back from France for awhile, I’ve heard what you all have been up to, we should get together to chat, and oh, by the way, I have a BIG SURPRISE! 🤔
Now, my friends, that there is the sounding of the trumpet calling forth shenanigans-town to come out to play.
Jin-sook and the other friend from the old broadcasting club (who I’m going to tag as the 3ML; his name is Yong-gook) got the same email from Chae-rin.
So they get to talking together and hit upon the grand idea to arrange a “surprise” informal engagement ceremony for Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk.
Then they tell Sang-hyuk (so Yu-jin is the only one truly surprised), and at the appointed hour, they all traipse off to the old high school back in Chuncheon.
Sang-hyuk takes Yu-jin out to the athletic field and they exchange rings, and then the four of them all gather in the old broadcast club room to have cake.
BUT. Of course our organizers have also invited Chae-rin (THAT FOX! 🦊 …okay, wrong show, but right sentiment (yes, this a plug for all of you who haven’t seen Yumi’s Cells yet to rectify that omission)) to the happy event, so they all blow out candles on the cake, and Chae-rin is muttering to herself “why is he so late?” as Jin-sook is spinning up “that song Yu-jin used to play so much,” which of course is “First Time.”
And right as it is playing, the door opens, and a dude walks in with a smile on his face, and (drumroll, please, although is anyone surprised?) IT IS JUN-SANG THE RESURRECTED. CAN I GET A HALLELUJAH FROM THE CONGREGATION?! 😮😇🤪🤪
Except, then Chae-rin introduces him to everyone as “Lee Min-hyung,” her new boyfriend who she met in France.
And this Min-hyung dude says hello to everyone, with zero indication that he recognizes anyone or has ever seen any of them before.
Then he turns to Chae-rin and is like, we’re leaving, right? And Chae-rin is all, yeah, you go first, I’ll be right along.
Of course the foursome are all standing there like a herd of poleaxed oxen, so Chae-rin kind of faux-innocently remarks how “oh, yeah, isn’t it a really close resemblance, haha? I was shocked at first myself!” And then Chae-rin is like, well gotta run, later dudes, and off she goes.
It is clear from how Min-hyung doesn’t recognize anyone there that our amnesia theory is looking pretty good at this point…unless Jun-sang had an identical twin stashed somewhere, which I am not ruling out at the moment, just so you know.
From the look on Chae-rin (THAT FOX 🦊)’s face, both where the others can see as well as while she’s walking away, it is clear that she knows exactly the effect this whole “big surprise” is having, and she is absolutely reveling in being able to throw a big ol’ stink bomb into the middle of everyone’s lives.
As she and Min-hyung drive away Min-hyung is all, so, why did your friends seem so surprised to see me? And Chae-rin is all, yeah, about that…must be because you’re the first boyfriend I’ve introduced them to, heheh. 😤
I believe we may have found the villain of the piece! At least for now…
The next day, Yu-jin is off to give her company’s presentation for working on the ski resort project to the new director at Marcian.
As she’s on the bus riding over, she calls up Sang-hyuk and tells him not to be worried about her, she’s doing fine and doesn’t want him to be concerned for her.
She arrives at the building, and is ushered into the new director’s office to await his arrival.
While waiting, she notices that the jigsaw puzzle in the director’s office has been completed, all except for one missing piece.
So she reaches into her coat pocket and pulls out the piece she picked up from the stairs on her last visit, and fits it into place, completing the puzzle. NICE SYMBOLISM, SHOW! …or is it foreshadowing? Or both! (she completes him, you know?) Hmmmm.
Just then, the door opens. Yu-jin turns to see the new director standing there.
Three guesses who it is (and the first two don’t count). YES. It is Lee Min-hyung aka Jun-sang (or his doppelganger?). 어떻게 ?! The curtain falls on Yu-jin’s frozen face.
SHENANIGANS, I TELL YOU! 😳😬😧
Alright, so I can kind of see an outline taking shape here.
Our main couple fall in love as high school students in the first couple episodes, then for still-hazy family or birth-secret reasons, the ML determines that the relationship can’t continue to develop, and he’s going to ghost on outta there.
Then the big Truck of Doom event happens, and we skip forward ten years to round two.
Meaning, our couple are basically going to fall in love all over again.
Our FL, of course, has never really gotten over that first love, and while of course the ML doesn’t remember a thing (or is a twin? I regard this as unlikely but not impossible at this point) he is nevertheless drawn to our girl.
Unfortunately, my crystal ball…gets murky again after that.
Other than that there will probably be a second (or even third!) accident or tragedy to split them up, and that someone or someones will be dead by the final frame. Because that’s just how the classic melos roll, you know? 😥
Anyway. Our episode opens with Yu-jin’s emotions all askew as the new director at Marcian (the firm her company is looking to partner with on the project) turns out to be Min-hyung, aka “not-Junsang.”
He recognizes Yu-jin…as one of Chae-rin’s friends. What a coincidence! he says with a smile. Uh, yah think, dude? If you only knew….
They sit down at the table to go over the plans. Yu-jin can’t stop staring at him, and of course Min-hyung notices and jokes about it but is also kind of weirded out.
He asks if she’s all right; Yu-jin starts leaking tears, mumbling out an excuse before rushing out of the room as her feelz overwhelm her 😭. Min-hyung’s face is all, huh, am I that much of an abrasive bastard?
Later, Min-hyung is eating takeout in the office with his minion (the deputy director), and asks him, so, what does it mean when a woman stares at you for awhile and then just starts crying out of the blue? (good question!! 🤔).
Meanwhile, Yu-jin hasn’t gone back to her office, but has apparently been riding around aimlessly on the bus.
It looks like Chae-rin is actually preparing to open her own high-end clothing boutique, and Yu-jin eventually finds her way there.
Chae-rin makes them tea, and starts burbling about how she’s going to make Yu-jin’s wedding dress for her, so make sure to give her plenty of lead time, okay?
Yu-jin starts to bring up the subject of her visit, and Chae-rin is all like, yes, yes, I know, I knew you would come to ask me about it. After I introduced you to Min-hyung the other day, I regretted it; I thought it might remind you of the past (🙄), he really does look a lot like Jun-sang, doesn’t he?
(the fake sympathy dripping off Chae-rin’s face here is really something. What a pill…)
Yu-jin asks how and where Chae-rin met him, and if he really did grow up in the U.S.? Is she sure he isn’t Jun-sang?
Of course, that’s not the sort of challenge that Chae-rin is going to take lying down, so she’s like, do I have to go into all these details just because Min-hyung looks like Jun-sang? He’s got nothing to do with Jun-sang, who as you know, is dead. It would be weird to like someone just because he looks like a dead guy, right?
Yu-jin is all, I know, I know…I should go…bye.
Later, Sang-hyuk meets Yu-jin and they go for drinks; he asks why she seems down, and if the new director didn’t like her presentation; if he didn’t like it, he must be really strange.
And Yu-jin is kind of like, yeah, he is strange. Sang-hyuk is all, buck up, li’l camper, I’m always in your corner, you know? 🤗
The next morning, back in Min-hyung’s office, he and his minion are talking about how someone from Polaris (Yu-jin’s company) is coming by to go over the joint project contract.
When the Polaris rep arrives, it’s Yu-jin’s colleague (Jeong-ah), and Min-hyung is like, where’s the other one. Jeong-ah is like, well, she was busy, and I’m the one who usually signs contracts.
Then Min-hyung is like, we still need to do the full project presentation, is Yu-jin doing that? And she’s all, nope, it’s me; Yu-jin’s assigned to another project now.
So of course Min-hyung is all, well…we’ll sign the contract…on ONE condition (bet you can guess what it is).
So then Jeong-ah takes Yu-jin to lunch to celebrate the signing of the contract with Marcian, and then casually slips in that, oh yeah, Lee Min-hyung said his one condition is that you, Yu-jin, have to be in charge of the project from our side.
Yu-jin wants to say eff alla that, not wanting to be stuck working on the project with the dude who looks just like her lost first love, and who is oh-by-the-way dating her super-catty and inclined-to-jealousy high school “friend.”
And oh yeah, in the meantime, Yu-jin is engaged to a close long-time friend who she likes but doesn’t really love.
So Yu-jin makes her presentation to the Marcian board, and then she and Min-hyung sit down again in his office to go over details, and Min-hyung is speculating that she doesn’t like him, and she counters that one can like the project and not the people involved.
Min-hyung is all, well if we’re working on a project, we should get to know each other better… if you’re hungry, let’s go grab some dinner. (written out, it sounds like he’s hitting on her, but I think the vibe is really more casual and non-romantic than that).
But she’s like, nope, sorry, see ya!
Yu-jin comes out to find Sang-hyuk waiting for her, and as they head off to go to dinner together, the deputy director comes out and says “hi” as he’s leaving for the night.
Sang-hyuk casually assumes that he’s the “strange director,” and Yu-jin, rather than correct him, just allows his assumption to stand.
Min-hyung goes to the grand opening of Chae-rin’s boutique, where he receives a big hug from Chae-rin (which I do believe is the most skinship we’ve seen thus far, notwithstanding that “first kiss” on Namiseom).
They head to a bar, and Chae-rin mentions that it’s frustrating that Min-hyung won’t get a place, but just keeps living out of a hotel room.
He’s like, you build your true home in the heart of the one you love…which makes Chae-rin perk up momentarily, until he says he’s not ready to build that home yet.
Min-hyung brings up the interior designer he’s working with on his new project (why?! 😑) and keeps trying to get Chae-rin interested in knowing more and goading her into asking him to tell her about them.
Chae-rin keeps putting him off and refusing to take his bait, until she finally leaves.
So…looks like we have another kind of slightly weird relationship on our hands, no?
Then we arrive at the centerpiece of this episode, our first trip out to the actual ski resort.
Jeong-ah is supposed to go on a site visit with someone from Marcian, but at the last minute she can’t go, so she taps Yu-jin to take her place.
The deputy director was supposed to be representing Marcian, but Yu-jin arrives to find that he’s also been subbed out at the last minute, and it is now Min-hyung going in his stead.
So there the two of them are, driving off to the winter wonderland together. Min-hyung keeps trying to make conversation while Yu-jin tries to ignore him.
This leads to Min-hyung analyzing her engagement ring (too shiny to be her type); commenting on how people in love are supposed to be all aglow, but she just looks gloomy; and then breaking down her personality traits.
This in turn prompts Yu-jin to be like, boundaries, dude! (which, good for her, he is being kind of intrusively personal at this point).
Meanwhile, Chae-rin swings by Min-hyung’s office, only to find he is not there. She sits down with his minion to chat over tea and learns that Min-hyung has gone to the ski resort for a site visit.
Of course, minion also can’t resist dropping the tidbit that Min-hyung was accompanied by “a gorgeous woman from our partner company.” Which, uh, is definitely going to soothe Chae-rin’s raging insecurity, right? 😮
Out at the snowy resort, Yu-jin and Min-hyung traipse around going over blueprints and learning about the project, usually accompanied by workers, but sometimes alone.
Yu-jin snaps photos of the buildings and fixtures from various angles, but also finds herself continually thinking back on scenes from her time at Namiseom with Jun-sang…which results in her snapping rather a lot of photos of Min-hyung while he (mostly) isn’t looking.
Yu-jin fields a call from Sang-hyuk, who learns for the first time that Yu-jin is out at the resort on a site visit–last minute, didn’t have a chance to tell you, sorry…
Sang-hyuk asks if Yu-jin went with Jeong-ah, and Yu-jin is all, uh…yes. Sang-hyuk is like, okay, I’ll just grab a drink with Yong-gook; say hello to Jeong-ah. (yeah, this definitely isn’t going to come back to bite our girl in the butt… 😬).
Then as Yu-jin and Min-hyuk are walking together in the snow, he asks her if she and her fiancé have a house picked out, and Yu-jin is like, if you truly love someone, the best home is the one you have in each other’s hearts…WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT MIN-HYUNG JUST SAID TO CHAE-RIN. 🥰.
Needless to say, this makes quite the impression on Min-hyung; clearly he is getting more and more interested in this lady.
After sundown, the two of them head into an empty lodge and start a fire to dry their shoes.
All this recalling of various memories of time spent with Jun-sang has Yu-jin feeling all the feelz, and so she finally breaks down and starts asking Min-hyung a chain of questions, like did he really go to HS in the US? Did he grow up there? Did he never go to Chuncheon?
Does he remember a high school there? She asks if he might take his glasses off for just a moment; he wonders why she acts strangely around him.
She trembles on the edge of starting to explain…when just then, there’s a sound at the door. Min-hyung opens it, to find…Chae-rin (🦊)!
Chae-rin (no doubt with thoughts of “gorgeous woman” keeping Min-hyung company) has come to surprise her oppa! YIKES!
Of course, Chae-rin is way too much of a pro to go straight to DEFCON 5 right off the bat.
Instead she plays it up like, oh this is so cool that you guys are working on this project together! She even calls Yu-jin her “best friend,” which is an obvious lie 🤢, and demands that Min-hyung “treat her well.”
Chae-rin and Yu-jin drive back to the city together while Min-hyung goes separately.
Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk has gone to pick up Yong-gook, who is working as a veterinarian, and he totally coincidentally runs into Jeong-ah, who is there to pick up her dog. So now Sang-hyuk knows that Yu-jin lied to him about Jeong-ah accompanying her on the trip.
Later, Sang-hyuk, Yong-gook, and Jeong-ah are out for dinner, and Jeong-ah starts asking Sang-hyuk if he’s noticed how Yu-jin is different lately, how she seems kind of depressed?
And then she starts asking him about the last time they went to a movie, and if he’s been paying attention to her and so on.
Afterwards, Sang-hyuk (who is kind of tipsy at this point), goes by Yu-jin’s place. He asks her again if she went to the resort with Jeong-ah, and Yu-jin reaffirms her lie that she did.
Rather than pursue it, Sang-hyuk asks her if she will go on a date with him tomorrow, maybe to a movie and for a drive.
Alas, the next day all the movies are sold out, so they end up at a classy bar.
As they’re talking, Marcian’s deputy director and some of his colleagues come in. Sang-hyuk asks if that’s the director, and Yu-jin once again is like…yeees. Sang-hyuk proposes they go somewhere else, so Yu-jin gets up and heads out.
As Sang-hyuk starts to follow, he overhears the conversation, where the deputy director is all talking about how the director wants this, and I’m only the deputy director…so now Sang-hyuk knows that Yu-jin has deliberately told him two lies.
So now driving in the car, Sang-hyuk eventually takes a couple of kind of noble-but-dim boyfriend attempts at getting Yu-jin to come clean, observing that she “seems different,” and asking if there’s anything she “hasn’t told him,” or if there’s anything she’s “hiding from him?”
Yu-jin just looks at him and says “no.”
So Sang-hyuk is all, well, if you didn’t tell me, you no doubt had your reasons. Sorry if I was a bit sensitive today. 😖.
The next day at work, Yu-jin learns that Jeong-ah ran into Sang-hyuk the night before, so of course he knows Jeong-ah wasn’t on the site visit, and therefore, he also knows she lied to him. Oops.
Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk runs into Chae-rin at the radio station, who in the course of their encounter, 1) realizes Sang-hyuk doesn’t yet realize that Yu-jin is working directly with Min-hyung on the project, meaning that Yu-jin has apparently gone out of her way not to tell him, and 2) overhears his brief phone convo with Yu-jin, making plans to meet later that evening at a certain time and restaurant.
Okay, so I’m bending over backward at this point to try to have some empathy for Chae-rin.
If you had a very good-looking boyfriend and were kind of insecure about it, and also knew that your very beautiful “friend” (although let’s be scrupulously honest here—Park Sol-mi (Chae-rin) is quite attractive herself) had previously had a thing for a dude who is at the very least the spittin’ image of your current boyfriend, well.
Of course you would have some issues, and would be inclined to be defensive and protective of your relationship prerogatives. All well and good, right?
BUT. That still doesn’t excuse Chae-rin’s actions from this point. Chae-rin (🦊!) is clearly a dedicated, inveterate shit-stirrer, taking actual pleasure in being toxic and mean in the guise of being nice. 😣😤
The way that plays out here is that Chae-rin takes Min-hyung along to the cafe where Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk are meeting so that they can “accidentally” run into them.
And of course, right off the bat, Min-hyung says to Yu-jin, oh, you looked so cold yesterday, have you rested? Yu-jin gets a sort of “busted!” look on her face; Sang-hyuk looks kind of confused.
So naturally, Chae-rin jumps in and says to Sang-hyuk, oh, you know, I was going to mention it to you earlier, but it seemed like Yu-jin hadn’t said anything, so….but you know, Min-hyung is the director of the ski resort project Yu-jin is working on.
(And c’mon, Chae-rin, you knew perfectly well how this would all play out, you were in fact planning on it).
Sang-hyuk is stunned, Yu-jin is mortified…Chae-rin (🦊!) is valiantly suppressing a pleased little smirk.
And…curtain! Whew. We got a little mess brewing up nicely here, yes?