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! 🤩
Huge, HUGE thanks to Trent, who had an extremely hectic week, and STILL managed to get these notes out on time for us. As they say in kdrama, you’ve worked hard, Trent! ❤️
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! ❤️
Oh my [expletive deleted 🤬], I just can’t even with Oh Chae-rin, THAT FOX 🦊!
I mean, she is such a sneaky, conniving, vicious little snake 🐍, isn’t she? It was actually painful to watch her in action this episode.
Kudos to the writers, I guess, coming up with such diabolically malicious backstabbing maneuvers 👹🔪. And this is only the fifth episode…what if she gets WORSE? Is that possible? I’m honestly not sure my heart can take it. 💀
Anyway. We open from last episode’s fraught conclusion with the two couples sitting down to dinner with each other.
Chae-rin chatters on about how she met Min-hyung in Paris. Min-hyung asks Sang-hyuk when he and Yu-jin are getting married, and Sang-hyuk is like, oh, we’re like a married couple already (uh…yeah, about that…🤨), so we could get married tomorrow, right Yu-jin?
Yu-jin, whose brain is clearly plane-walking in another dimension at the moment, surfaces long enough to nod and mumble “yes.”
After the couples part, Chae-rin starts (well, continues, really) on the delicate work of undermining Yu-jin’s character and credibility.
She asks if Min-hyung didn’t think Yu-jin was a little “weird,” and then points out that Yu-jin didn’t tell Sang-hyuk that she was working on the project with Min-hyung.
When Min-hyung scoffs and says he didn’t tell Chae-rin that he was working with Yu-jin, Chae-rin says she’s getting “anxious,” and then starts to weave some song and dance about how “Yu-jin tends to do the same things I do,” and even in school, Yu-jin would get the same shoes or same outfit as me, even if she didn’t like them that much.
Then…(of course) Chae-rin is all, she even liked the same guy I was interested in! 🤮
Min-hyung assures her she’s making a mountain out of a molehill, which gives Chae-rin the opening to express how much she just hates acting like this, talking about her friend behind her back! 🙄. But seeds have been planted, y’all!!
We switch to Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk, where all is not paradise in engaged-couple land.
Yu-jin, who apparently subscribes to the notion that the best defense is a good offense, braces a surly Sang-hyuk, telling him that they need to talk and then asking him “why are you lying to me.”
Yu-jin’s quick to point out that Sang-hyuk shouldn’t be saying he’s just fine when he’s clearly upset.
And so on the one hand, I got a good chuckle out of Yu-jin accusing Sang-hyuk of lying, because girl, you know I love you, but there’s a party here responsible for recently telling some whoppers, and it ain’t Sang-hyuk, you know?
But then on the other hand, she’s got a perfectly valid point: if he’s pissed off, being honest about his feelings and trying to resolve it if she’s upset him seems the way to go. Just smothering it and failing to communicate is not the way to build a healthy relationship, right?
Well, pushed to it, Sang-hyuk does admit he’s upset, not so much about the lying per se, as because he can see this guy is getting under Yu-jin’s skin. So I guess he’s not a total block of wood? 🤪.
And then Yu-jin admits that yeah, she did have a hard time telling Sang-hyuk and she was confused because the dude reminded her of Jun-sang, and she apologizes for lying and not telling Sang-hyuk So then Sang-hyuk is back to being all noble and supportive, and Yu-jin is all teary-faced and grateful, and they share big hug (but still no kissin’!).
Yu-jin is all, I’ll quit the project, I don’t think it’s good to work with him, and Sang-hyuk is like, no, no, you’ve worked hard on it, you should see it through! You get right back on that horse and ride it, show it who’s boss, cowgirl! Fighting!
And I mean, look…I don’t mean to sneer at Sang-hyuk being supportive and understanding and all, because that’s awesome, really, you should be supportive and understanding of your partner.
It’s just that the fundamental problem we’re facing here is a total imbalance in desire (not physical desire, per se–although okay, yeah, that too–but rather desire–yearning–for the other as a person and as a romantic partner).
Yu-jin is his everything, and Sang-hyuk is definitely not hers, and that’s always and everywhere gonna suck. (Haven’t we all been there, to some degree, at some point in our lives?).
(Brief interlude here to note that when Min-hyung goes back to his hotel room, the film canisters for the pics Yu-jin was snapping on site pop out of his coat pocket…some of you were fingering those canisters as having a role to play, so looks like y’all might be on to something! Jolly good show, junior sleuths, pip pip!)
Next day at work, Yu-jin fields a call from Chae-rin, and they meet for tea.
Chae-rin is all probing to see if Sang-hyuk got Yu-jin to quit the project, and Yu-jin’s like, nah, boo, I’m still on it. Sure, dude looks like Jun-sang, but he’s not Jun-sang, and so Sang-hyuk just told me to face it and soldier on. If I quit, it would seem like I wasn’t over Jun-sang, right?
(Uh…sorry Yu-jin, but breaking news: you’re totally not over him).
Chae-rin, unexpectedly (but temporarily!) backfooted, is all, well…good, that’s good! (Oh, you can just see the wheels turning in that 🦊’s head).
Cut to Chae-rin’s boutique, where Jin-sook has dropped by to visit, and after Chae-rin casually mentions that Jin-sook is rooming with Yu-jin, and establishes that she’s kind of at loose ends (i.e. needs employment), Chae-rin offers Jin-sook a job at the boutique.
Jump to the bar after hours, where Yu-jin, Sang-hyuk, Jin-sook, and Yong-gook are all celebrating that Jin-sook has secured gainful employment.
Jin-sook gets pretty plastered, which allows her to slip into the role of brave truth-teller, repeatedly yelling that Yu-jin CAN’T work with THAT GUY and be stuck looking at him all day, and OF COURSE Sang-hyuk is just saying he’s OKAY with it, when everyone knows he is TOTESY NOT OKAY with it. 😵🍺🥴
Well, back at the boutique, Min-hyung has swung by at the end of the day (Burberry scarf sighting!!), and he holds forth on what makes a woman attractive, and then picks out a dress he likes for Chae-rin to try on.
He tells her she looks great, which of course makes poor Chae-rin glow from the flattery (see, there are these occasional flashes of humanity that are almost enough to make me feel a twinge of guilt for hating on Chae-rin. Then she does something terrible again, and I get over it 😏).
Min-hyung and Chae-rin head off to dinner, where he mentions that his company is holding a party to celebrate its foundation day, and he kind of feels obligated to go.
Chae-rin asks if Yu-jin is going; he allows as how she will probably be invited. Then Chae-rin asks if she should go? She could drop by for a bit before her already-scheduled fashion show!
Chae-rin is acting all happy-positive, but of course what she’s really up to, we can be sure, is more scheming over how to most efficiently slide the shiv between Yu-jin’s ribs.
Next day at work, Min-hyung casually inquires of his minion and discovers that the Polaris party invite was overlooked, so he dials up his secretary to make sure they get invited.
Then, the film canisters make another appearance! Min-hyung pulls them out and tells minion to get the film developed and he’ll give the prints to Yu-jin (…and of course, I expect Min-hyung will be shocked and taken aback by all the candid shots Yu-jin snapped of his pulchritudinous mug, yes?)
Back at home, Yu-jin and Jin-sook are chillin’ on the couch. Jin-sook wants to take Yu-jin to dinner later in the week to celebrate her starting work, and Yu-jin is like, sorry girlfriend, gotta go to a pah-tay, and golly, I don’t even know whatever am I going to wear?
So of course, her first day at work the next day, Jin-sook is going through the racks of dresses and Chae-rin is all, girl, why you gotta be fingering the merchandise like that, you got a party to go to or something?
And Jin-sook is like, not me, but Yu-jin got invited to a party and doesn’t have a dress 😥…so could I like, maybe borrow this dress, and you take the rental fee from my first paycheck?
Naturally, this is like catnip to our Chae-rin, who’s all, girl, I gotchoo. So Chae-rin pulls out a copy of the exact dress that Min-hyung just told Chae-rin she looks good in, and tells Jin-soo to have Yu-jin wear this one…but be super sure not to tell her it’s from Chae-rin; wouldn’t want her to feel uncomfortable, right? (I mean, everyone can see the approaching train wreck, I assume? 🚂💥)
We move to Min-hyung’s office, where he and Yu-jin are sitting at the table together going over project plans.
Min-hyung, continuing his inappropriate boundary trespassing ways, asks Yu-jin what shampoo she uses, and then comments that he likes how it smells. Which, dude. No. Not cool.
Minion and Jeong-ah come in; minion suggests they all go to dinner, and Yu-jin is all, nah, sorry.
Just then Chae-rin pops in carrying sushi for she and Min-hyung…but just as Yu-jin is about to make a clean escape, Min-hyung is all, don’t forget the party tomorrow, I’m looking forward to seeing you 😫.
Well. Not that Min-hyung is justified in making comments like that (he’s not), but…that’s definitely like waving the red cape in front of Chae-rin, who is more than happy to have the opportunity to continue to merrily poison the well (recall that she has already told Min-hyung about how Yu-jin supposedly likes to copy Chae-rin by wearing the same clothes and even going after the guys she likes).
So now Cha-rin starts telling Min-hyung that she showed the dress he liked to Yu-jin, who told Chae-rin it didn’t look good on her and not to wear it (blatant lie, obviously). Min-hyung is like, are you my girlfriend or Yu-jin’s? (Which, okay, good point, I’ll give him that).
Jump to Yu-jin’s room where she’s trying to figure out what to wear for the party. Jin-sook comes in with Chae-rin’s dress, and although Yu-jin protests and doesn’t really want to wear it, Jin-sook basically twists her arm until she agrees. Then Jin-sook pours Yu-in into a pair of high heels she got, and shoves her out the door.
Of course, Yu-jin shows up at the hotel and is immediately having problems with the high heels…
Min-hyung and his minion are in the party room, when Chae-rin walks in wearing THE DRESS.
So they set up over at a corner table, where Chae-rin idly observes Yu-jin hasn’t come yet, and she really wanted to see her before she had to leave 😒.
Well, just about then, Yu-jin totters in the front entrance of the room, also wearing THE DRESS.
Min-hyung gets kind of a WTF?! look on his face, while Chae-rin (after a fleeting moue of satisfaction scampers across her mien) goes into her full service shocked and distressed bit, acting like she might faint, before bravely rallying and telling Min-hyung that she’s just fine, honest, and maybe she’ll just go retrieve her coat now, hmmm? (Yu-jin hasn’t spied them over in the corner yet).
Before she goes, she implores Min-hyung not to say anything to Yu-jin, because “she probably didn’t think I’d wear THE DRESS.” And I mean, we’re in Best Actress territory here, because Chae-rin is just emoting like nobody’s business.
Yu-jin eventually notices Min-hyung staring a hole in her back, and then Min-hyung makes his way over to her.
Right as Min-hyung is all, I think I’ve seen that dress before, Chae-rin comes up wearing her coat…which completely covers up THE DRESS, so poor Yu-jin doesn’t even have the least clue how comprehensively she’s just been knifed in the back 🔪, or why Min-hyung is acting all standoffish.
Chae-rin nobly compliments Yu-jin about how beautiful she looks 🤮, and then takes her leave. Min-hyung escorts Chae-rin out, while Yu-jin wanders off to a deserted hallway to suffer over her high heels some more.
Oh, and just about then, Sang-hyuk wanders in looking for Yu-jin, because of course he does.
Out in front of the hotel, Chae-rin kind of rhetorically wonders “why Yu-jin would be doing this?”.
Then she earnestly asks Min-hyung if Yu-jin has ever told him that he looks like someone? He’s like, no, why? Chae-rin is all, oh, it’s nothing…but…well, she might tell you that you look like her “first love.” All the guys fall for her when she tells them that, you know. So just be careful, alright?
(So…Chae-rin is following a vaccination strategy, I guess? It’s clever and probably quite effective; also sneaky, underhanded, and super-dishonest).
Heading back in, Min-hyung runs into Yu-jin, and understandably is pretty cold to her, but before he can really get started, Sang-hyuk pops up (because of course he does).
So Sang-hyuk drives her home, and naturally he’s all hung up on how she’s never worn heels or a dress like that for him, which I guess is more confirmation for the “friends but not really lovers” theory, as if we needed any more.
Next day, at the office, Jeong-ah is playing around with her tarot deck (foreshadowing, y’all! Make note of it!), before they drag Yu-jin out to a piano bar for drinks after work.
Meanwhile, over at Min-hyung’s office, the wayward film canister omen has come to fruition, y’all!
The secretary brings Min-hyung the developed photos, and of course he notices all the candid shots of himself, and Chae-rin’s poisonous gossip about Yu-jin flashes across his mind. Then his minion comes in and drags Min-hyung off for drinks as well.
And ONCE AGAIN, Min-hyung and his minion end up at the same bar, where Yu-jin’s table is playing spin the bottle.
And look, I’m just gonna say, this part really is pretty contrived on the part of the writer, I’m sorry, because when it lands on Yu-jin, her colleague is like, I’ve always wanted to ask…you’ve been with Sang-hyuk for 10 years, but is he the only one? Did you ever have a “first love”?
Yu-jin is like, forget this nonsense, I’m outta here…and of course she stands up, minion notices them, so naturally they combine tables, and then Yu-jin’s colleague repeats his question: who was your first love? (but this time with minion and Min-hyung listening).
Jeong-ah asks Min-hyung who his first love was, and Min-hyung is all, I don’t remember (😮) , only the woman I’m with now matters.
Then colleague is back to pressing Yu-jin, and Jeong-ah is all, forget it, just let her drink her cola (we already know Yu-jin is not really a drinker), but minion sticks his oar in and is all, no no, there are rules here, you don’t answer, you have to pound a glass of beer.
Then Min-hyung kind of needles her, he’s like, forget it, she’s probably had countless men in her life (so what, he’s implying she’s a slut? Nice, coming from Mr. Serial Monogamist Player himself. Physician, heal thyself, no?)
At that, Yu-jin gets her “eff you” face on, and pounds down the brewski 🍺.
Then Yu-jin proceeds to get wasted, as does Jeong-ah. And then the colleague and minion escort Jeong-ah out for the night, leaving Yu-jin and Min-hyung alone at the table.
Yu-jin, who is now drunk and a bit out of it, asks Min-hyung if he’s the type to never repeat the same mistake twice, or if he keeps making the same mistake, even if he tries not to. (and I’m feeling some more of that foreshadowing vibe here…maybe it’s just me).
Min-hyung is like, I may fail at something, but I never make mistakes 🙄.
Then poor drunk Yu-jin is like, you really are different than him…but how can you look like him? Min-hyung is all, what did you just say? And Yu-jin is all, you look like someone…really look like someone I know…he was my first love.
Of course, storm clouds are gathering on Min-hyung’s brow, on account of how Yu-jin just told him how he really looks so much like her first love…JUST LIKE THAT FOX SAID SHE WOULD! 😲😱😠😤
Anyway, Min-hyung is like, time to go home, but at this point, Yu-jin is so blotto that she can’t tell Min-hyung where she lives so he can get a taxi for her, so Min-hyung loads her up on his back and totes her back to his hotel room.
And dude, I mean it’s a noble impulse and probably even the right thing to do, but…no way this goes wrong, right?
So then Min-hyung lays Yu-jin on the couch in his front room, and then he takes off his glasses, covers Yu-jin with a blanket, and then pops a beer, at which point Yu-jin blearily opens her eyes and sees him and kind of half-whimpers “Jun-sang.” Freeze frame, and curtain…
Chae-rin, man. Shaking my damn head… Wow.
So the thing is, this show is actually pretty interesting, even compelling sometimes, if we didn’t have to constantly be in fear of Oh Chae-rin parachuting into a scene to spread toxic negativity all over the landscape.
People want to complain about emotional manipulation? I gotcher emotional manipulation right here, and it’s named Oh Chae-rin…
So. When last we left our star-crossed lovers, Yu-jin was whispering Jun-sang’s name in an alcoholic fog.
So Min-hyung (that bastard!), to the accompaniment of languid violins and tears streaming down Yu-jin’s face, sort of coaxes her into continuing with her emotional effusion, and so Yu-jin’s mumbling about how much she missed Jun-sang, and how could he leave her, and she’s really pouring her heart and soul out here, y’all, and Min-hyung seems to be playing along.
He takes her head in his hands, he leans in like he’s going to kiss her, it’s all very touching and romantic…AND NO! 😮
That rat bastard was leading her on, and really he’s disgusted with how she’s just totally confirming everything that Chae-rin (🦊!) warned him about as far as Yu-jin’s patented seduction moves and so forth.
So Min-hyung kind of tauntingly asks Yu-jin if there’s more to the show, or if she was wanting more from him, implying that she was hoping and expecting him to make a move, proceed with the seduction, and all.
Well, that sobers Yu-jin right up, and since that is very much not where she’s coming from, she hauls off and fetches him a nice slap upside the face and storms out. Which seems to maybe introduce at least a scintilla of doubt into Min-hyung’s conception of what’s going on?
Next day, there’s a big meeting at Marcian of various principals on the ski resort project to do pre-planning for an extended on-site stay that’s coming up.
After the meeting, Min-hyung asks Yu-jin to stick around, and they get into it again—she apologizes for being drunk and confusing him with someone else, he pushes her on it, asking if she’s sure she was really just confused; she’s like, eff you, you rat bastard (whups, that was me, sorry! Yu-jin’s mouth didn’t say that, but her body language sure did. Maybe I’m Yu-jin’s anger translator?); she’s like, let’s finish up this project and then we’ll never see each other again—good day, sir, I SAID GOOD DAY😤.
So we can kind of see that another little seed of doubt has maybe been planted in Min-hyung’s psyche, because Yu-jin’s really not acting consistent with the picture Chae-rin was trying to paint of her, right?
Back at home, Yu-jin and Jin-sook are eating together, and talking about the upcoming trip, and Jin-sook is all, are you sure it’s wise to go off on a road trip project with THAT GUY?
So Yu-jin is all, you know, for so long, I set Jun-sang away in his precious memory palace in my heart, but now I’m going to bring him out and talk about him sometimes, and that way I’ll gradually be able to let go and forget him…and I’m like, uh, okay, not sure it works that way, but sure, why not 🤔?
So then later at Min-hyung’s hotel room, Chae-rin pops by to give him some warm clothes for his trip, commenting that she wanted to see what it looks like where he lives—implying that this is her first time going to his actual room?
And I’m like…maybe they do the whole boyfriend-girlfriend thing differently in those parts?
Anyway, Min-hyung still has something on his mind, so he sort of brings up with Chae-rin how maybe Yu-jin’s “patented seduction move” isn’t that at all, in fact, maybe she’s not wrong and I do resemble someone she knows?
Which of course gives Chae-rin the perfect opening to get all teary-eyed tremulous wounded innocence and say she wants to leave, and is it so wrong that she just doesn’t want “her friend” Yu-jin to take her man away “again.” Argh.😣
Min-hyung proposes dinner and goes to change, leaving Chae-rin to monologue to herself about how Yu-jin really did it after all, told Min-hyung that he looked like Jun-sang.
Oh, and then Chae-rin just happens to find Yu-jin’s planner notebook lying on the floor under the couch (from where it had dropped out of her pocket when she was lying drunk on the couch the night before). Yikes! 😯
Well, Yu-jin has mustered up her resolve and decided to well and truly exorcize this Jun-sang ghost that’s been haunting her, so she’s going around telling Jin-sook and Sang-hyuk that she’s committed to finally facing the past and putting it behind her, finishing up this project and moving on without looking back.
And everyone’s all jazzed and happy and Yay! Fighting! 🎉🎊. So of course we know that’s exactly what’s not going to happen, because FATE AIN’T DONE WITH YOU YET, MISSY. (Show has to make it super obvious, too, by introducing A TAROT DECK into the mix. Fine, show, we get it).
[So to dwell once again on the slightly weird relationship vibe between Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk, he’s dropping her off at her apartment the night before she leaves for the project road trip, and Sang-hyuk’s all happy and he wants to stare at her face to fix it in his mind (so he says), and of course Yu-jin does “cute face” for him, and they hug… and there isn’t the tiniest feint towards a goodnight or goodbye kiss or anything.
In fact, they’ve been together, we are told, for ten years now (as a couple), and there isn’t the slightest hint that they’ve ever done anything more physical than hold hands (and sure, sure, how would we know? But! I’m talking vibes, my friends, impressions, yeah?).
And hey, maybe Sang-hyuk’s an ace (hey, maybe Yu-jin is too!), and if so, more power to him, shine on, you beautiful diamond…it’s just…hmmm. I dunno.
And for that matter, Min-hyung supposedly has that reputation as kind of a womanizer (sorry, energetic “serial monogamist”), and he has definitely been emitting kind of a player-ish vibe, as several of you have perceptively noted (which kind of leads to questions about what he’s doing in a nominally steady relationship with Chae-rin in the first place, wouldn’t you say?), but there’s likewise zero indication that (to put this indelicately—hide your eyes!) he and Chae-rin have ever engaged in any sort of intimate or carnal activities even once, much less on the regular.
I mean, they never kiss, even a peck on the cheek that I can recall, and like I just pointed out above, she clearly implies that it’s her first visit to his place, you know?
Now, not being a complete idiot (😉), I understand that the dual explanation for all this is that
1) this is the dawning of classic hallyu, an early 2000s melodrama that is being broadcast on the public airwaves to a still quite socially conservative populace, relatively speaking.
They might allude to unmarried couples maybe “sleeping together” (our high school students in the first couple episodes mentioned it, for example), but they aren’t going to actually show anything that implies it or hints at it; and
2) symbolically and narratively, our fated OTP must be kept pure and unsullied for each other, which means no hanky panky, or anything like unto it, with outsiders, even if Yu-jin and Min-hyung are both nominally in relationships (even engaged, fergawdsakes!) to other people at the moment.]
We arrive at the resort; Min-hyung, main minion, and assorted under-minions, along with Yu-jin and Jeong-ah.
They get set up in their rooms, then Jeong-ah, Min-hyung, and minion go for coffee while Yu-jin stays to hang out in the room.
At coffee, Jeong-ah is playing with her TAROT DECK, which she brought along for funsies, and Min-hyung gets roped into giving it a go, and proceeds to pick the Wheel of Fortune card three times in a row.
Well, Jeong-ah tells him it is his fate (ooooh), and that it means that his soulmate is coming to him (ooooh). And that if he meets a woman who has THIS CARD, he should “go to her.”
(and I’m like, oh c’mon, really!? I bet the writer totally made that up! But whatever, not like I have any expertise at tarot reading or anything).
Minion disarmingly observes that like, dude, you don’t need no Wheel of Fortune card to get women…
So then Min-hyung asks Jeong-ah what she thinks of Yu-jin? He heard she’s had lots of men, and he’s thinking maybe he should get on the list (dude, seriously?).
Of course, Jeong-ah is all, what the hell? Who told you that 🐮💩? You must be a bad judge of character; Yu-jin is not that kind of girl at all, she’s very much a one-man woman.
Off we go to the introductory project kick-off dinner, where the crusty old construction foreman starts acting like he won’t work with no wimmin, no way no how, until it turns out he’s just having some fun, and he’s actually good friends with Yu-jin from previous projects.
And then when someone tries to get Yu-jin to drink a toast, crusty old dude kind of spontaneously testifies that there’re three things about Yu-jin you can take to the bank: she don’t drink; she don’t lie; and she don’t chase after men.
Which…is the exact opposite of what Min-hyung has been led to believe, and gives him even more food for thought.
So Yu-jin walks the tipsy foreman back to his place, admonishing him that he should be drinking less. And then she runs into Min-hyung, who apologizes to Yu-jin for previously accusing her of not really being drunk, just pretending in order to lead him on.
Yu-jin is like, I’ve already forgotten it, and so should you. Min-hyung is like, I’m trying to understand which is the real you…you seemed so innocent when I first saw you, but then at the hotel…And Yu-jin is all, the hotel, pfff, do you really still believe that I was hitting on you?
And of course, right then is when Chae-rin crashes the scene, having determined to make another one of her “spontaneous” trips out to the resort to visit.
Chae-rin’s all, am I interrupting your convo? Yu-jin is like, nope, night y’all. Then Chae-rin asks Min-hyung if he’s happy to see her, and oh, she missed him, so she’s booked a room on weekends so they can hangout, and does he want to go get a drink.
Min-hyung, who is looking decidedly less than 100% enthusiastic at the sudden arrival of his main squeeze, much less the news that she’s planning to be underfoot during his weekends, is all, nah, I’ve gotta do some more work, maybe we can go skiing tomorrow, good night 🤨.
Are we sure these two are in a relationship 🤔?
Chae-rin, seemingly undaunted by the brushoff, heads off the next morning to Yu-jin’s room (for what is probably the real purpose of her visit, anyway), where she shows Yu-jin the planning book that she found on the floor of Min-hyung’s hotel room.
Of course Yu-jin is super apologetic and explains that nothing at all happened, Min-hyung was just looking after me while I was drunk.
This gives Chae-rin the chance to engage in a bit of righteous-but-magnanimous role play, telling Yu-jin that she understands how Yu-jin could mistake Min-hyung for Jun-sang, but really Yu-jin, you should think of poor Sang-hyuk 🙄.
Yu-jin is more than happy to solemnly assure Chae-rin that once the project is over, Yu-jin is definitely shaking Min-hyung’s dust from her feet and will never see him again.
Chae-rin (🦊!), alas, has not exhausted all of her stratagems for this trip, so she grabs Min-hyung for a coffee sit-down, where she adopts the ol’ cold and offended persona.
She proceeds to tell Min-hyung that she met with Yu-jin, and then reveals that she knows Yu-jin was in his hotel room.
Chae-rin then leaves in a huff, exclaiming that she’s going home, so there! Min-hyung pursues, protesting that he can explain everything.
Now that he’s nicely on the defensive, Chae-rin serves up a noxious cocktail of half-truths and lies, telling Min-hyung that “Yu-jin told me everything,” and then making it sound like Yu-jin warned Chae-rin that she needed to be careful of a guy who would flirt with someone engaged to another man, and take drunk girls to his hotel room.
Min-hyung is all, she said that?! And then Chae-rin is like, tell me the truth, do you like Yu-jin? Min-hyung is like, Chae-rin, what the hell…? (BUT! Doesn’t answer her directly, just for the record).
So then Chae-rin storms off in a high dudgeon to drive back to Seoul, seemingly in tears, although she gives away the game as the camera lingers on her sly smirk as she drives away. Lordt, she’s such a PILL.
Yu-jin wanders into her room, where Min-hyung is waiting to confront her (Yu-jin wants to know how he got in, as do we!).
Min-hyung is like, Chae-rin says you told her about the hotel room encounter.
Yu-jin (not realizing that what really happened and Chae-rin’s version of what happened are…not the same thing) is apologetic all over again, and Min-hyung is like, I don’t care about your apology; do you like me?
Yu-jin is all, dude say WHAT? And Min-hyung is all, yes, it’s true, I like women, just…not women like you, you’re really not my type, so just get over it and move on.
Whew. Lot going on here, gotta say…
Next day, Yu-jin learns they’re going to fire the crusty old construction guy because he got too drunk and slept in the next day.
So she goes to plead his case with Min-hyung, explaining that he’s alone and doesn’t have any family, and moreover that it’s the anniversary of his wife’s death, please have some mercy, etc.
When Min-hyung won’t budge, saying that’s not an acceptable excuse, Yu-jin says well, I’ll quit too then, we hired him so it’s really our responsibility, right?
Min-hyung is all, aren’t you being too emotional (🤬🤮), so then Yu-jin reads him for filth, telling him she doesn’t want to work with someone as inhumane as him anyway, and he’s never had the experience of losing someone next to him, who inhabits his heart, and so he doesn’t know how that can affect you.
She sails out, having convincingly seized the moral high ground, but she’s clearly made Min-hyung think.
Well, next day, Jeong-ah is playing with her tarot deck again, because of course she is, and she has Yu-jin pick a couple cards just for fun.
Jeong-ah tells her the first one is what she is worried about now, and the other is the answer to that worry.
So the “worry” card turns out to be “the lovers,” pointing to a romantic relationship, and the other, “answer” card, Jeong-ah tells Yu-jin points to her soulmate, and says she should keep it and give to Sang-hyuk–Jeong-ah doesn’t look at it, but of course it is Wheel of Fortune card.
And I mean c’mon, clearly our writers room was stuck for inspiration or something, so they must have gotten a little tipsy and just started throwing wild ideas out. Show is really being heavy handed with the symbolism, here.
Yu-jin heads down to the construction yard, where she learns from head minion that Min-hyung has rescinded the foreman’s firing order and then gone back to Seoul for unspecified business.
Back in Seoul, Sang-hyuk is having a heart-to-heart with his colleague Yoo Yeol, who is the on-air talent at his station (interesting note: this the same Yoo Yeol who appears in the movie Tune in for Love (with Jung Hae-in and Kim Go-eun) as a star DJ at the radio station).
Sang-hyuk is all moping about how he misses and worries about his girl, so Yoo Yeol is all, go on, take off, go visit her! So Sang-hyuk hits the road to go off and visit Yu-jin at the resort.
Min-hyung takes a call from Chae-rin (who has been ignoring his calls until now), and arranges to meet her after work.
Cut to Chae-rin at her boutique, where she’s explaining to Jin-sook about how Yu-jin went to Min-hyung’s hotel room (the more or less true story; Chae-rin encourages Jin-sook to tell Sang-hyuk about it if she wants to), and then Chae-rin warns Jin-sook that she better not tell Min-hyung that he does look like Jun-sang, or Jin-sook will be in big trouble.
BUT! Min-hyung has already arrived, and has overheard most of the convo from the stairs outside the room.
After Chae-rin steps out the other door to run an errand, Min-hyung comes in and sits down with Jin-sook and asks if he really looks like someone?
This leads Jin-sook to assume that Chae-rin has actually already told Min-hyung about the resemblance, so Jin-sook proceeds to fill him in on how shocked she was when he showed up at the high school with Chae-rin, because he looks exactly like Kang Jun-sang, who they all went to high school with.
Then Min-hyung’s like, I hear he and Chae-rin used to really like each other? And Jin-sook is like, hah 😆! Yeah, Chae-rin liked him for sure, but he liked Yu-jin.
And then Min-hyung (who is clearly having his foundations rocked just a wee bit) is like…so where is this doppelganger dude now? And Jin-sook is like, oh, he died, didn’t Chae-rin tell you?
That spurs Min-hyung to pop up and rush off, jump in the car, and book it back to the ski resort, as a montage of all the bits and pieces of things that Yu-jin has said to him about Jun-sang and her relationship to him flashes helpfully across Min-hyung’s mind.
Meanwhile, Chae-rin comes back to find Min-hyung already come and gone, and is big mad about it, but Jin-sook is like, well, he’s your boyfriend, and it looks like he already knows about the Jun-sang thing, so you’re the big mouth not me…so good for you, Jin-sook, and SUCK IT, Chae-rin 🦊.
Min-hyung arrives at the resort, but of course now that Sang-hyuk has also gotten into the “surprise visit” spirit, and showed up on the scene, Min-hyung can scarcely expect to have a good heart-to-heart convo with Yu-jin under those circumstances, right?
After a short talk in her room, Yu-jin kicks Sang-hyuk out and makes him get a separate room, even though he protests that he can just sleep in the other room of the suite.
(Which conversation Min-hyung just happens to overhear, standing around the corner in the hallway. He’s kind of making eavesdropping a habit? Although not sure I would be able to resist, either, and it is in public?).
Anyway, this is my neutral poker face 😐, carefully not commenting or saying anything about the dynamics here…
Next day, Yu-jin walks up to Min-hyung in the construction yard, and thanks him for not firing the foreman.
As she’s walking away, the Wheel of Fortune tarot card that’s been tucked in her planner falls out.
Min-hyung notices and calls out to Yu-jin as he picks up the card; he recognizes it (my soulmate?!), just as Yu-jin turns and sees a stack of loose lumber tumbling towards Min-hyung’s head. Yu-jin dives to tackle him out of the way…and, CURTAIN.
You know, seriously, if we could just stash Ms. Toxicity somewhere, this show might really go somewhere…
(I know, I know, it’s Ms. Toxicity who is driving a lot of the angst and dramatic reveals at this point. STILL!).