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 yet another extremely hectic week, and YET AGAIN, still managed to get these notes out on time for us. You’re our MVP, 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! ❤️
So, things are a little bit whip-lashy this episode, as certain people’s attitudes (looking at you, Min-hyung) undergo some major readjusting…
In our opening scene this episode, we have transitioned from last episode’s accident-in-progress (a stack of falling lumber about to take out our boy Min-hyung) to a scene of an ambulance racing to the emergency room.
Yu-jin is wheeled into the hospital, with a still-hale Min-hyung running after the gurney.
Cut to a discontented-looking Sang-hyuk moping around his hotel room; he perks up when the doorbell rings, but it’s just a rather exercised Chae-rin, who after determining that Sang-hyuk hasn’t heard from either Yu-jin or Min-hyung, rushes off without bothering to tell him anything.
Just then, Sang-hyuk fields a call from Min-hyung.
Back at the ER, Min-hyung and Jeong-ah are waiting anxiously in the hallway when Sang-hyuk and Chae-rin come rushing in.
Min-hyung is all, I’m sorry, it’s because of me that Yu-jin got hurt… the doctor says it’s not critical but she’s still unconscious.
Sang-hyuk gets all up in Min-hyung’s grill, until just then a nurse steps out asking if any of Yu-jin’s family are here. Sang-hyuk is like, yo! fiancé counts, right? (apparently it does?).
Standing at Yu-jin’s bedside, Jeong-ah tells Sang-hyuk that he’s getting it all wrong–Yu-jin ended up hurt because she pushed Min-hyung out of the way, not because Min-hyung intentionally did anything to harm her.
Just then, Yu-jin starts to come around. She recognizes Jeong-ah, then of course the first thing on her mind is to ask if “he’s alright?”
Naturally, Sang-hyuk, standing behind Jeong-ah, is not particularly thrilled to hear this expression of concern for THAT DUDE from his hunny-bunny.
Meanwhile, Min-hyung is lurking around outside the ER entrance, being all broody and pensive and stuff.
Chae-rin rolls up and is all, well, Yu-jin is awake and lookin’ great, so guess we can leave now! Min-hyung throws her a dismissive look and heads in to see for himself.
Back at Yu-jin’s bedside, Chae-rin gets to act all chipper, telling Yu-jin to get better soon and thanks so much for saving Min-hyung.
We learn that Yu-jin will apparently be fine with a few days’ rest.
Min-hyung apologizes and expresses his thanks to Yu-jin; he says he can get a caregiver for her if Sang-hyuk has to go back to work. Sang-hyuk is all, butt out, my man, we can take care of ourselves just fine, thank you.
Min-hyung and Chae-rin are on their way out when Sang-hyuk calls Min-hyung back.
He apologizes for losing his cool earlier, then tells Min-hyung not to assume that Yu-jin got hurt because of him specifically–she didn’t do it for him in particular (in other words, it could have been anyone, and good-hearted Yu-jin would still have leapt into action. I dunno, it may even be true, but it’s kind of telling that Sang-hyuk is so focused on getting that message across to what he now clearly sees as a budding rival).
Back at Min-hyung’s room at the resort, Chae-rin is in a bit of an anxious, placatory mode, asking if Min-hyung wants to go to dinner.
But no, Min-hyung is not having it, and he proceeds to take Chae-rin to the metaphorical woodshed over how she’s lied to him about various things, starting with l’affaire Kang Jun-sang.
Caught more or less red-handed, Chae-rin gets an “Oh, shit, busted!” look on her face, before admitting that she lied, and then trying to still push the “Yu-jin didn’t really like Jun-sang, she only acted like it because she saw how much we liked each other” line 🤮.
Well, it took Min-hyung awhile to figure out the lay of the land, but he eventually did, and now Min-hyung just ain’t having it; he’s like, I don’t believe you, I can tell Yu-jin has been genuinely moved due to meeting me, and she’s not faking anything.
Pushed to the wall, Chae-rin falls back on the ol’ tried’n’true fountain of tears approach, with a liberal helping of “he was my first love, too, you know!” and “I was so afraid of losing you to her,” and “…but, I love you.” (Oh, well, okay then! All is fair in love and war, n’est-ce pas? 😒)
Min-hyung is unmoved; he’s like, okay, but really, even so, how could you do your friend so dirty? (excellent point, good sir!)
Then he’s basically “we need to take some time apart,” which is a clear prelude to “we’re going to break up.”
(What is that I see on yonder wall? Why yes, I do believe it is HANDWRITING. Steel yourself, Oh Chae-rin, hard times they are a’ comin’…)
(And just to observe for the record, our friend Min-hyung Ssi has been more than a bit sus here in his opening episodes on our stage—occasionally cold, trespass-y on the boundaries, kind of @$$holish here and there—but it turns out that he can see through a brick wall in time (as they say in Bree), and now that he’s been clued in to Chae-rin’s duplicity, he seems to be taking the opportunity for an honest reassessment and (it is to be hoped) a readjustment of his behavior).
Back at the hospital, Sang-hyuk is finally working himself into an “I feel wronged” posture with Yu-jin—he’s like, you went and got yourself hurt to save Jun-sang, right?
And Yu-jin (whose affect at this point is kinda like, “great, as if dealing with this damn tasteless hospital mush weren’t trial enough, now I have to placate this jamoke…”) is all, well, I didn’t want him to get hurt, even if he’s not Jun-sang.
Sang-hyuk is like, pffff, you don’t even try to deny it. I hate it when you’re so darn honest! What you’re really saying is that you aren’t over Jun-sang at all!
(And I’m a bit confused, because it seems like Sang-hyuk is clearly misunderstanding her at least somewhat (unless the subs are a bit off?), because it sounds to me like Yu-jin is saying it wasn’t because he had any link to Jun-sang? Either way, Sang-hyuk is clearly getting more and more wound up about the Ghost of Jun-sang 👻. So welcome to the club, I guess? It’s clearly got Yu-jin in something of a sweat)
Well, eventually Yu-jin is all better and ready to leave the hospital and head back on site.
She opens the hospital room door, to find Min-hyung there with a vase of flowers to thank her.
Min-hyung goes to drive them back to the resort, but first diverts to a park where they sit down for a talk; he has the grace to apologize to her for being rude to her for so long, and say that he’s gotten her all wrong.
He tells her that he didn’t actually know there was another person who looked like him, so he thought she was just making up that story.
Since he’s all demonstrating empathy and openness, Yu-jin also opens up to talk about what she was thinking and feeling, being around Min-hyung and wanting him to be Jun-sang.
Min-hyung asks what Jun-sang was like, and how the two of them are different. Then Min-hyung holds out his hand and “introduces” himself and proposes that they start over again on a new foot, to which Yu-jin agrees.
(And I just have to interject that this is a very pleasant, friendly, empathetic, meeting-of-two-minds (and hearts?) sort of interaction we have here, which on the one hand is great, and definitely welcome and necessary if we are in fact going to have a believable reforging of our OTP (or something like it, given the continuing Jun-sang/Min-hyung mystery), but then on the other hand, hoo-boy are there complications looming just under the placid surface…the biggest and most obvious being tied to that lil ring Yu-jin is toting around on her finger, yes? 💍)
Anyway, back at the resort, Min-hyung and Yu-jin, accompanied by minion and Jeong-ah, ride the air tram up the mountain to the restaurant building at the summit to look over renovation possibilities there.
Minion notices that Min-hyung is blowing off Chae-rin’s calls, and observes that it must have something to do with Yu-jin. He can’t resist snarking to Min-hyung that he does realize she’s engaged, right?
Back in Seoul, Chae-rin hunts down Sang-hyuk at his radio station, where she sounds the alarm loud and clear.
She’s like, what is wrong with you? And then tells him get his sh*t together and hurry up and marry Yu-jin already.
Pressed by Sang-hyuk as to what her deal is all of a sudden, Chae-rin falls back on her usual MO, i.e. liberally freelancing with the truth (although ironically, she’s not too far wrong this time).
She outright implies to Sang-hyuk that she’s going to lose Min-hyung to Yu-jin if Sang-hyuk doesn’t stir his stumps and get a move on.
Cut to the next scene, where Sang-hyuk is in a stake-holder meeting at his radio station to discuss where they should hold the next iteration of their “special on-site concert series.”
Sang-hyuk, of course, suggests that they hold it at a ski resort this time…and he just happens to know the perfect one (he even admits it’s because his fiancée is working there). So they take his suggestion, and decide to set up a concert there.
And then Sang-hyuk goes home to his parents, where he announces that he and Yu-jin are going to get married as soon as possible (to be clear, he has not as yet mentioned all this to Yu-jin. Not that her opinion matters or anything, right Sang-hyuk? 😠😲).
Sang-hyuk’s mother, who as we have established, doesn’t much care for Yu-jin, and still hasn’t forgiven her for standing them up at the engagement ceremony, is opposed to actual imminent, rather than comfortably theoretical, wedding plans, but Sang-hyuk is pretty firm.
Back at the resort, Min-hyung and Yu-jin are taking a stroll and chatting.
Min-hyung sees a photo of Yu-jin and Sang-hyuk and asks her what she likes about her fiancé. Yu-jin runs through a laundry list of why he’s a “good person,” and she feels comfortable with him.
So then Min-hyung asks what she most liked about Jun-sang.
She mentions that they didn’t know each other for a long time, but they went on a date to a lake near her hometown, where they built snowmen in their first snow and so forth.
Then Jeong-ah comes hustling up to say they’ve just heard that Yu-jin’s mother has collapsed or something 😱.
Of course, Min-hyung insists on driving Yu-jin home, on the pretext that her car she’s driving won’t handle the wintery roads very well.
They arrive at her old home (in Chuncheon), to find that mom has already been checked out by the doctor and is basically fine.
So Yu-jin goes into the room to meet with mom, who naturally has to play propriety cop 👮♀️, and tell Yu-jin she shouldn’t have come with a guy, and be sure not to tell Sang-hyuk about it.
Mom pays a lot of lip service to “just wanting her to be happy,” but what that really means is making sure Yu-jin is sucking up sufficiently to her future mother-in-law and making sure she doesn’t queer the pitch with Sang-hyuk.
(Mom is clearly also buying into the class assumptions here, it seems like…).
Meanwhile, Yu-jin’s younger sister, who is an older teenager now (around 18-ish?), hangs out with Min-hyung, whom she of course recognizes (having met Jun-sang when she was younger, remember).
This gives Min-hyung a chance to pump younger sister for more information, in particular about “the lake” nearby that Yu-jin used to visit (Danger, Will Robinson!!).
So then when they leave, rather than heading directly back to the resort, Min-hyung drives him and Yu-jin out to Namiseom instead.
As soon as Yu-jin (who has been lost in thought) recognizes the location, she’s all like, uh…can we go somewhere else?
And he’s like, what? But…it’s really pretty here, I like it! (…and dude…I can sort of see what you’re thinking, but Yu-jin definitely has a sad painful look on her face, and maybe this isn’t that sensitive to her needs and feelings, you know?)
Anyway, they make it out to the island, where they stroll around the same pathways from ten years ago, and Yu-jin experiences Big Sad and sheds some tears 😭.
Yu-jin eventually regains her equilibrium, and then asks Min-hyung why he brought her out here.
He’s like, you told me you didn’t have many things to remember him by, and she’s all, we should go back.
Then Min-hyung kind of pushes her on whether she is going to stay stuck in her sadness, locked away with her memories and closed off to love, when there’s warm and beautiful places like this one.
And…he probably has a point? It maybe seems kind of insensitive of Min-hyung to push like this (not to mention more than a little bit self-serving if, as seems obvious, he is quickly developing feelings for Yu-jin), but he’s also not wrong.
Is there a way to heal your heart, Yu-jin, so you don’t settle for the dubious comfort of a stable but passionless marriage with Sang-hyuk, and slide through life with a whole suite of feelings permanently numbed?
And I’ll also give show its due: it is a beautiful location; the languid romantic string music is effective; Min-hyung is a very handsome dude who is currently exerting his not-inconsiderable powers to be agreeable and empathetic; and Yu-jin does the whole Our Lady of Sorrowful but Beautiful Aspect particularly well.
So it’s a very nice tableau, no lie. You can practically see Min-hyung falling for her. And then they head back to the resort and call it a night.
Next day, Min-hyung is back up at the top of the mountain with his minion, mostly out of it and lost in thought.
They’re in a storage room where there’s an old piano, and Min-hyung reaffirms that he can’t play the piano at all…but then he starts idly plinking at the keys, and then all of a sudden he’s playing a song, and it’s “First Time,” the one that Jun-sang played for Yu-jin back in the day (which experience of course Min-hyung doesn’t know about).
And then Min-hyung shrugs it off with a laugh and is all, I think I must be a genius, hahah!
So, yeah 😮.
Up until this point, seven episodes in, show has been playing it very straightforward: Jun-sang died, Min-hyung is just a dude who coincidentally looks exactly like him.
And there hasn’t been any hint of Min-hyung concealing anything, he hasn’t really said or confirmed a single thing about his past or background, and he has seemed genuinely surprised and taken aback to find people believing he looks just like this dead guy Kang Jun-sang.
To be clear, I never really bought the “Jun-sang really died” story. It was too abrupt, with no follow-up or detail provided for such a foundational event.
BUT! Until show showed its hand, so to speak, I’ve been willing to just go with it, and take it at face value, assuming that the narrative twist, whatever it was, would eventually arrive.
And this spontaneous tune on the piano is like the first inkling that…something is awry with the whole cover story, and there is, somehow, a Jun-sang/Min-hyung equivalency lurking, waiting to be revealed 🤔. Hmmm.
Anyway. Sang-hyuk, Chae-rin, Jin-sook, and Yong-gook all load up the car for an expedition up to the resort (which Sang-hyuk is nominally passing off as a “site visit” for the coming outdoor concert event).
Meanwhile, Min-hyung and Yu-jin head back up to the summit lodge at the top of the mountain via the tram again.
They walk around (YES! Just the two of them!), share meaningful glances and a beautiful sunset (with, of course, a slow piano accompaniment).
Then, we find out the high winds on the mountain have shut down the air tram, and Min-hyung and Yu-jin are stuck up there all alone…just as Sang-hyuk and the crew are arriving at the base resort.
Min-hyung and Yu-jin build a fire in the fireplace, and Min-hyung asks Yu-jin if she’s uncomfortable around him (the answer is clearly yes, if only because she is definitely considering the impropriety of being alone with a guy at night while engaged to a different guy).
Min-hyung dozes off, and Yu-jin comes over to sit down, and then reaches over and takes off his glasses.
He wakes up, and then bluntly confronts Yu-jin, asking her just how long she’s going to go on thinking of a dead man? If he were still alive, would you still be in love?
At this point, Yu-jin is firmly in “you shut your big stupid mouth!” mode, but nope, he is not done yet: Is it love, or are you just obsessed with his memory?
It’s none of your business, Yu-jin says; No, I have to tell you, he responds, this isn’t love that makes you continue thinking about Jun-sang, it’s obsession, regret, and self-pity.
Stop it, she says. He takes her by the arms: wake up and face reality. He’s dead. Please stop it! Why are you doing this to me?! she yells.
BECAUSE I LIKE YOU. …then… I…I love you.💖 [record scratch] huh?! Say whaaa…?!
So, uh, yeah, that happened? Which, okay, clearly he was headed that direction, but…still seems a bit abrupt. Not to mention, that was a pretty intense conversation?
Also, it’s about time we start excavating the mystery of Mr. Lee Min-hyung’s priors, and get to the bottom of Just What Exactly Happened to Jun-sang. Right?
Also^2, Sang-hyuk and Oh Chae-rin (🦊!) are not going to take this lying down, you can just bet. No sir!
Also^3, who knows what the Sam Hill our Yu-jin is going to do in response to this confession?
Alrighty, so things are definitely heating right up in Fated Love Land 💞. Let’s check in with the kids, see what they’ve been up to since the curtain rang down on last episode, shall we?
So after that fateful, intense, but also somewhat out of the blue confession from Min-hyung, Yu-jin goes running out into the blowy, snowy night on top of the mountain.
Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk is having a bit of a freak-out down at the base of the mountain.
Informed by minion that the tram operator says no chance of getting up the mountain in these winds—but don’t worry, Yu-jin is with Min-hyung so she’ll be fine! (yes, I’m sure Sang-hyuk finds that super-comforting to contemplate, thank you minion! 😲)—Sang-hyuk tries to set out on foot to climb the mountain, until Yong-gook grabs him and (literally) slaps some sense into him.
Eventually, Min-hyung heads out into the blustery night to look for Yu-jin.
He can’t find her (of course), but when he goes back in the lodge, he sees that she has come back inside and fallen asleep in front of the fire. He covers her with his coat and goes to sleep in another corner.
Next morning, the two of them wander outside in the beautiful fluffy new snow to talk.
Min-hyung’s opening gambit is basically, I’m not going to apologize, I know I hurt your feelings, but I wanted to say it and I don’t regret it (which…is a bit self-centered? But also maybe depends a bit on whether he’s referring to the getting in Yu-jin’s face about her Jun-sang fixation, or to his love confession?)
Yu-jin’s face actually opens up a bit, and she’s like, you know, I often wondered what Jun-sang would look like if he had lived to be our age, and I’m grateful to be able to see that through you, but I don’t have any other feelings for you and I’m sorry if I led you to believe otherwise.
And Min-hyung is like, did you ever like me even for a moment, as Min-hyung, not Jun-sang?
And she’s like, newp, sorry. And he’s all, well, what about Sang-hyuk? Who do you love now?! (and look, dude, I know this is all emotionally intense and everything–for us, too, and we’re only watching it!–but just because you went and threw out an unsolicited love confession doesn’t give you license to poke and prod her sensitive and private psychic wounds. Just sayin’).
Well, Yu-jin very much doesn’t want to answer that question directly, and they’re staring each other down, and Yu-jin’s like, let me go!
And then Sang-hyuk (who has just arrived on the scene, along with Chae-rin, via the freshly reopened air tram) pops up and is all, UNHAND her you knave! That’s my fiancée you’re so rudely manhandling! (So then of course, Sang-hyuk has to manhandle her instead, grabbing her arm and hauling her away so she doesn’t get any more Min-hyung cooties 🙄).
Then Min-hyung says to Yu-jin, you didn’t answer me: who do you love? And Sang-hyuk is all, what the hell business is that of yours? To which Min-hyung replies, I love her.
(At this effusion, Yu-jin’s facial expression is like a perfect study in “g-td-mmit, if you insist on being all crazy-cakes, can’t you at least keep it on the QT?” 🤐 I feel ya’, Yu-jin…).
Naturally, that provokes Sang-hyuk to grab Min-hyung and get in his face, and there’s a bit of 🐮💩 male posturing, while Yu-jin is all, c’mon guys, chill–Sang-hyuk, let’s go.
Sang-hyuk delivers his ultimatum: don’t ever go near Yu-jin, I won’t allow it! and then grabs Yu-jin’s arm (modified wrist-grab! 😣) and hauls her back towards the lodge.
Chae-rin has been watching this contretemps from a distance, so then later, back in Min-hyung’s room, she’s waiting for Min-hyung when he comes in.
Chae-rin starts out trying to act all wronged and offended (and I mean, it’s Chae-rin, right, so I’m not naturally disposed to be particularly sympathetic to her tales of oppression…but I am forced to admit that she kind of has a point, technically. If you’re in an acknowledged boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, you kind of owe it to your partner to wind up the affair before you go confessing your love to someone else. At least, that’s what I was taught in Relationships 101…).
Chae-rin moves right into telling Min-hyung he’s just confused, asking him how he can do this, how he can possibly think he loves Yu-jin, followed by “is that all I mean to you? How can you do this to me?”
Min-hyung is like, we are all of us prone to moments of irrationality when the heart flies where it will, but…I do know that once my heart has flown to someone, I can’t call it to return.
Chae-rin is all, STOP! I don’t want to hear anymore! We can talk later. And Min-hyung just quietly says, “I think you and I are over.”
(And look, YES, it is the right thing to do—should have been done earlier, but better late than never—but dangit, show, here you’ve gone and got me feeling at least fleetingly sorry for Chae-rin. Quick, Chae-rin! Go do something reprehensible so I can regain my equilibrium!)
Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk is industriously going through Yu-jin’s closet and tossing everything on the bed and then throwing her stuff in her suitcase.
And Yu-jin is all, dude, what the hell are you doing? He’s like, I can’t let you stay here, we’re going back to Seoul. Just pack up what you need and have Jeong-ah send the rest.
Yu-jin is like,wait, you know how much this project means to me, I can’t just cut and run.
So then Sang-hyuk starts saying it’s kind of her fault, too, why else would Min-hyung say stuff like that…with an ugly undercurrent of “if you weren’t being such a loose hussy, throwing out signals to lead him on, this would have never happened,” which I am very much not here for, Sang-hyuk you retrograde dinosaur.
We shift to the resort parking lot, where Sang-hyuk is trying to physically shove Yu-jin in the car, while she remonstrates with him, asking if he doesn’t believe her that there’s nothing going on (I mean, nothing on her side; just because this dude is broadcasting right out loud that he loves her is not her problem, right?).
And Sang-hyuk is all, no I don’t believe you. If there’s nothing going on, why didn’t you answer him when he asked you who you love? What is the answer, then? (tellingly, Yu-jin doesn’t say anything in response this time, either).
Sang-hyuk finally gets in the car and drives off alone, leaving Yu-jin standing there by herself.
Of course, Min-hyung has just appeared over to the side of the parking lot, so then Yu-jin strides up to him and says, you ask me who I love? The one I need to love is Sang-hyuk. (I mean, there’s the crucial distinction right there; she needs to be seen as loving him, whether she actually does or not. C’mon Yu-jin, just make a clean break, it will hurt and be messy, but at this point, this relationship with Sang-hyuk isn’t doing anyone any good).
Yu-jin goes back to the room where Jin-sook and Yong-gook are hanging out, and Chae-rin has just stormed in as well looking for Yu-jin, so when Yu-jin walks in, Chae-rin strides up and fetches her a slap, and tells Yu-jin she will never ever let Min-hyung go, and she won’t let Yu-jin take him like she took Jun-sang. (…thank you, Chae-rin, can always count on you to come through and relieve me of needing to feel sympathy for you!).
Yu-jin keeps trying to reach Sang-hyuk, but he’s got his sulky on, big time, and keeps ignoring her calls, so she just leaves him apologetic voice messages.
That evening, while Yu-jin is out strolling in thought, Min-hyung intercepts her and asks if they can talk.
They go sit at a (deserted) bar, where he tells Yu-jin that he’s told Chae-rin that they’re done, and then he apologizes for dumping his feelings all over her, and not realizing that in making himself feel better by expressing that he loves her, he was making it hard on her, and also making things hard for her with Sang-hyuk.
He says he’ll try to be more chill about it now, and hopes she’ll be able to just treat him “normally.” 🤔.
Later, he gives her a ride to the bus terminal, and tells her to just go see Sang-hyuk without calling him first, that way he’ll be happy to see her. And he tells her to come back to the project with a smile.
So Yu-jin goes to Sang-hyuk’s work, and he’s acting all wounded and standoffish, even as she’s apologetic and conciliatory.
He’s like, did you think I’d be happy to see you if you just showed up without warning? Do you think I’d just smile as if nothing had happened; nope, not going to be all accommodating like that any more. If you hurt me, why can’t I hurt you back, huh? 😠.
Yu-jin rallies and is all, how about let’s go get dinner together, and Sang-hyuk is like, nah, I have to go to work, bye.
And dude, I get it, it’s hard to do the right thing when you’re feelings are hurt, but…really, you’re acting like a big baby, and kinda stupid to boot 🤪.
If ya girl is wavering already, then “punishing” her with some modified silent treatment like this is maybe a wee bit of a tactical error? Just a thought.
(Later we do get a montage of Sang-hyuk getting drunk at the bar by himself and then walking around feeling sorry for himself, until he finally leaves an apologetic voice message for Yu-jin).
Anyway, Yu-jin takes the bus back to the resort, and of course runs into Min-hyung and they sit down for coffee, and she’s all kind of lying about Sang-hyuk’s reactions (he was glad to see me and wanted to have dinner!) to excuse his bad behavior.
So then Min-hyung asks her if there’s anything he can do for her.
Yu-jin asks him why he’s being nice to her, and he’s like, you do remember I like you, right? But that aside, I know you don’t feel the same way, so all I can do is offer to help you do whatever you wish.
Then Min-hyung leads her out to the foot of the mountain where the snow-making machine is blowing, and tells her, you want to cry, right? Well, this is the perfect place, where no one can see or hear you, and you can have a good cry, as much and as long as you want, and then you’ll feel better. And so she does…
Min-hyung goes back to Seoul for work, and Chae-rin walks into his office all ready to call him on the carpet for not contacting her, but she switches tacks when she sees that that’s not going to get her anywhere.
She asks if he still wants to break up, and he’s like, yeah, sorry, not feelin’ it, boo. So she asks him how he could be this cruel?
Then (back hug alert!) she begs him, says she’ll do anything he wants, just let her stay together with him anyway, even though he doesn’t love her, and he’s like, nah, don’t think so, and so she leaves.
But do not count our vulpine mistress out! She may be down, but she’s still capable of mischief!
Back at her boutique, we can see the mischief-plotting wheels turning in her head; just then Jin-sook comes in with a package sent by Yu-jin’s mother for Sang-hyuk’s mother’s birthday. Aha!
Next thing we know, Chae-rin has headed over to Sang-hyuk’s house to give mother a birthday gift, but her real purpose is clearly to bend mother’s ear (recall that mother really doesn’t like Yu-jin) and tattle to her with all the gossip about how Yu-jin is off working with Chae-rin’s boyfriend at the ski resort, and thereby creating mucho anxiety for beloved baby boy Sang-hyuk.
Ah, our Chae-rin (🦊!), always there to spread malice and pain.
Back at the resort, Yu-jin is getting ready to head back to Seoul in order to attend (soon to be) mother-in-law’s birthday celebration.
Min-hyung has offered to drive her to the bus terminal once again, but when she goes to answer the doorbell, it’s Sang-hyuk, who has driven up to get her. He’s worked through his sulkiness and is all apologetic, and so is she, so on the surface at least they are reconciled.
Of course they get to mother’s house, and mother is being kind of a pill; even meaner toward Yu-jin than usual.
She kicks Yu-jin out of the kitchen and won’t let her help get the food ready, and then later she starts asking Yu-jin if she’s really going to marry Sang-hyuk, and where she’s working, and with whom, and if there’s anything to these scurrilous rumors about taking up with other men? 😯
At which point Sang-hyuk jumps in and demands to know who told her all this nonsense.
Mother tells Sang-hyuk he’s a fool (harsh but fair!), and he starts yelling again, demanding to know why mother hates Yu-jin so much…at which mother fetches him a slap and demands to know why he has to like her so much, and if all these rumors about Yu-jin are true.
So then Sang-hyuk leaves, dragging Yu-jin out with him. So that went well…
Sang-hyuk drives them out to the river side, where he sits on the hood and broods for awhile.
Yu-jin eventually gets out and is like, c’mon, let’s go back to your house, you need to apologize to your mom.
Sang-hyuk has other things on his mind, though, and he’s all, what is Min-hyung to you? why do I have to keep hearing about you and him from other people? Do you like him? TELL ME!
And of course Yu-jin can’t really answer him (the way she looks down all evasive-like is practically a confession in itself).
So they get back in the car, and after a bit Yu-jin is like, wait a sec, this isn’t the road home, where are we going?
And Sang-hyuk is like, we aren’t going home, I’m not letting you go tonight. (and not gonna lie, it’s like, pretty ominous sounding… 😲).
Then they pull up at a hotel, and Yu-jin is like, don’t do this, Sang-hyuk, it isn’t right. And Sang-hyuk is all, you spent a night in a cabin with Mr. Lee Min-hyung, so why can’t you stay with me? Let’s go.
Yu-jin’s phone starts to ring, and he grabs it and says, I don’t want anyone to bother us, let’s just think about each other.
Then we cut to Sang-hyuk and Yu-jin in a hotel room, and Sang-hyuk is drinking a beer, and Yu-jin’s face is broadcasting loud and clear “I really don’t want to be here!”.
Sang-hyuk is like, you can sleep on the bed, I’ll sleep on the couch. Yu-jin is all, is this really necessary, and he’s like, yes.
So then Yu-jin gets up and goes into the bathroom to… collect her thoughts? Get a solid door between them?
And Yu-jin’s phone—which, recall, Sang-hyuk had taken from her earlier—rings, and Sang-hyuk answers it. It is Min-hyung, who identifies himself and asks where she is and how she’s doing? OOPS. 😬.
Sang-hyuk is like, what are you doing calling her…just as Yu-jin comes out of the bathroom and is like, what are you doing?! She goes over to him and tries to grab the phone, and Sang-hyuk is all, what? You don’t want him to know we’re together? Yu-jin is all, we’ll talk later.
So Sang-hyuk grabs her and forcefully kisses her, then pushes her down on the bed, with him on top of her.
Not gonna lie, folks, it looks very much like we’re going to be getting our sexual assault on, there’s a very rapey vibe here, as Yu-jin screams for him to stop it and he pulls off her scarf and goes for her coat 😱.
BUT! Cut to a shot of the hotel corridor, and then of Yu-jin running down it while shrugging her coat back on.
She runs out the front door of the hotel, flags down a taxi, and drives away. Just ahead of Sang-hyuk, who runs out after her, and is now projecting a very pronounced “Boromir on the slopes of Amon Hen after Frodo flees with the Ring” aura (“‘What have I done? Frodo, Frodo!’ he called. ‘Come back! A madness took me, but it has passed. Come back!’”) 😞.
Well, Yu-jin ends up sitting by the side of an empty fountain at a plaza somewhere, and then Min-hyung calls her again, and she’s all in tears, and he’s like, where are you, and she’s like, I don’t know where I am…and Min-hyung (who is standing out at the foot of the mountain at the resort) is all, stay right there, I’LL COME FIND YOU! 🤨.
And then Min-hyung goes booking down the mountain, and cut to a scene of him pulling up to the plaza where Yu-jin is sitting…
… and C’MON, SHOW. I mean, I can mostly take the heavy-handed symbolism sprinkled liberally throughout the show, because fated love 💞 and all, but this is way before ubiquitous commercial GPS and tracking apps, even if they would have mutually shared locations, and are we meant to believe he just homed in on her primary spiritual essence or something? OKAY, THEN!
So Min-hyung approaches, and they stare intently at each other until he moves forward and embraces her, and I’m all ready for the freeze frame, let fall the curtain…
…but then, suddenly we cut to the airport arrival lane, and a woman is walking in, and wait a minute… is that Jun-sang’s mother? (who we have only seen very briefly in eps. 1 and 2), and she calls someone on her phone and is like, I just arrived; how is Jun-sang doing? 😲
NOW freeze frame, draw curtain.
And well, we KNEW something hinky was up with the whole “Jun-sang is DEAD” sitch, so it’s ABOUT TIME, is all I can say. Looks like shenanigans are back on the menu, boys!