Open Thread: Winter Sonata Episodes 9 & 10

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! 🤩

Can you believe we’re already at the halfway point of our watch?!? Time flies when you’re drowning in delicious snark, yes? 😁



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! ❤️

Trent’s thoughts

Episode 9

Oh me oh my, this episode was so painful to get through. And not in the “this is deeply emotionally wrenching” sort of painful, but in the “this is so cringe-y, deeply embarrassing” sort of painful.

You can see the epic trainwreck 🚂💥 coming down the rails from a mile away. Shenanigans, indeed…

Well. So after Min-hyung inexplicably homed in on Yu-jin hanging out at random urban plaza, he drives her back to the resort; she’s unsurprisingly exhausted enough to have fallen asleep by the time they arrive.

She wakes up and Min-hyung goes to get coffee for her, but comes back to a note from Yu-jin thanking him and saying she’s gone to her room. 

We have a quick scene of Jun-sang’s mother “clearing her schedule” for the day for “a personal matter,” and then going back to her old residence in Chuncheon to wander through the rooms and reflect on old memories, apparently. 

No real concrete information as yet, but she has obviously been invited on stage for a reason, so no doubt some sort of revelation is imminent.

A day goes by, and in Min-hyung’s office, his minion is probing to find out what happened the night before. 

Minion observes that Min-hyung left and then came back to the resort with Yu-jin (which he knows because Jeong-ah told him), and minion also notes that when a couple is “falling in love,” their friends tend to pay keen attention to their goings-on…which is actually a pretty astute observation, I’d say. We do like to watch the drama in our friends’ lives, don’t we?

Then minion is like, but did you guys have an argument, because she looks kind of depressed today… 

So that evening, Yu-jin is sitting out all pensive and looking at the snowy mountainside, and Min-hyung goes to find her, and they take a walk, and Min-hyung goes for the ol’ “wrap her in my scarf” maneuver, which Yu-jin resists, but he insists, so…

Then he tells her, sometimes we stand at a fork in the road and we have to decide which way we’re going to go. And when we do, it’s good to have someone there to back you up! Like me! 🤨

And then he goes to grab her hand, and she resists, and he insists here too, so now they’re strolling in the picturesque snowy landscape holding hands.  

And…okay, I’m all for progressing this budding whatever-it-is, and Yu-jin is so conflicted right now that she’s not going to get anywhere without a nudge, BUT. I’m not feeling great about Min-hyung kind of steamrolling her ambivalence, you know?

I get the sense that show is on a schedule and feels like it needs to hit its marks or something? But if they’re going to build anything lasting, AND weather the resulting storm, it’s kind of gonna need a strong foundation, to say the least, and is this the way to lay it?

Anyway. Sang-hyuk calls Yu-jin and arranges to meet. They sit down, and of course he’s apologetic, and acknowledges that he lost his mind at the hotel.

Yu-jin’s like, I really don’t want to talk about it. So then Sang-hyuk promises that something like that will never happen again.

Yu-jin’s all, could you consider not getting married? (YES!! HALLELUJAH! 🎇) And he’s like, say what?

And she’s like, don’t get me wrong, it’s not due to what happened (except duh, it probably kind of is, maybe? It certainly should be at least a factor…), but, you know, I’ve just been having a really hard time lately, and everything seems to crumbling, and…could we just reconsider this getting married thing?

And Sang-hyuk’s like, why a hard time? Is it because of THAT GUY?!

And Yu-jin is all, not just because of him, to which Sang-hyuk is like, if not just because of him, that means at least partly due to him, yeah? (yes, yes, my lad, you are a budding logician. You are very smart. Now siddown and shaddup). 

So that’s when Yu-jin pulls out the dreaded “can’t we just be friends? Like we used to be?” (BOOM 💣 ya bein’ friendzoned, my dude, which frankly is more than you deserve at this point…).

Well, Sang-hyuk is not at all up for being moved to the friendzone, so he’s all, NO WAY! Never! Never, ever, ever!! and then gets up and clomps out without further ado.

(And I feel like making a digression into the concept of no-fault divorce and how the same principle should apply with even more force BEFORE you’ve legally tied the knot, i.e. either party can freely bail on a relationship without the other side having a right to veto… but, maybe not so helpful, sorry).

Now it’s Yu-jin and Min-hyung’s turn to have a face-to-face.

They sit down in the resort cafe, and Yu-jin is like, you told me when I’m at the fork in the road, I have to choose one direction or the other, and the thing is…I like you (❗❗). But also, I can’t like you.

If I’m with you, I feel bad for him, and vice-versa. I can’t take either fork, so I choose neither one, you know?

Today I just told Sang-hyuk I can’t marry him (…not sure the message totally got through, Yu-jin, but appreciate the effort!), but I don’t think I can be with you either. So I just want to be alone for awhile, okay?

And Min-hyung is like, nah, boo, that’s not choosing, that’s just giving up, and I don’t like it. (And, well, I’m not entirely down with his reasoning here—why does she have to choose one or the other?! Eschewing both for some alone time is a perfectly legit choice, dude!).

(Yu-jin is definitely having men problems at the moment, and I sympathize, but also to be brutally frank, a good portion of it seems to me to be of her own making… I sympathize more that she’s trying to dig herself out but the dudes are NOT COOPERATING).

Well. The big radio-station sponsored concert is upon us. Sang-hyuk and his on-air talent Yoo Yeol have arrived at the resort to get set up.

Yoo Yeol is all, so do I get to finally meet your fiancée today? and Sang-hyuk is like, sure, cool!

Then Sang-hyuk goes off to Min-hyung’s on-site office and is all, you’re the SOB that was in a relationship with Chae-rin but confessed he loved Yu-jin right in front of me…I’m not like that, I would never do anything that isn’t moral (a little attempted rape aside, right Sang-hyuk? …why no, I’m never going to let him live that down, why do you ask?). I don’t have any interest in something that’s not mine…but I’ll do anything to keep what is mine.  (GRRRR. My wee mannie, if she’s not interested in continuing, SHE’S NOT YOURS!!).  

Sang-hyuk continues, do you know Yu-jin thinks of someone else when she looks at you, she thinks of Kang Jun-sang…don’t use that to go confusing my poor innocent Yu-jin. 

Min-hyung is like, oh, am I confusing her? Did you use the same line to Yu-jin and Jun-sang?  I don’t need to rely on any resemblance to reach a woman’s heart 😒.

Sang-hyuk is all, I will never let Yu-jin go, to which Min-hyung replies, isn’t that kind of up to Yu-jin? (thank you for at least giving lip service to the principle; now if you could get a little better in execution?). 

Then Sang-hyuk goes and hunts down Yu-jin, who is busy at work on site with Jeong-ah, and tells them they have to come to the concert tomorrow night. 

Then he tells Yu-jin they should have dinner together, and Yu-jin tries to get out of it by saying she has to work late, but Sang-hyuk says he has to introduce her to his colleague, and basically refuses to take no for an answer.

(if Yu-jin would just go all no-more-f&*ks-to-give mode and pitch a fit, that would probably help a lot, but I get it, cultural conditioning and social expectations are a thing, so). 

So then at the appointed time, Sang-hyuk drags Yu-jin down to the restaurant, and puts his arm around her and introduces her to Yoo Yeol as his fiancée, while Yu-jin looks like she’d frankly rather be mucking out stables or something.

Of course, Min-hyung and his minion are eating in the same restaurant, so they get to overhear Yoo Yeol asking when they’re getting married, and please hurry up because Sang-hyuk is all wound up and needs to get married to settle down, and Sang-hyuk is all, don’t worry, we’re going to set a date real soon now. 

So Min-hyung and his minion get up and leave, and minion is all, man, her fiancé is kind of an @$$h*le to be purposely saying all that in front of you!

After dinner, Yu-jin gets Sang-hyuk alone, and basically tells him to cut it out, it wasn’t easy for her to tell him all that the other day, but she didn’t say it on impulse, and she’s not going to change her mind, so just stop trying to push on like nothing’s changed.

And he’s like, I told you I couldn’t do as you wanted. So then Yu-jin is like, we’ll talk more later, and rushes out, and he rushes after her, and he’s like, just stay with me, you don’t have to love me (so… he’s basically echoing Chae-rin’s identical proposal to Min-hyung earlier 😣). 

Sang-hyuk is all, it’s basically been a one-sided love this whole time anyway (ah, so he did realize it!). 

And she’s like, are you saying I never loved you? (yes, girl, that is in fact what we’re saying; it’s clearly true, after all. A little more self-awareness, please).

Then Yu-jin is all, I can’t, I just can’t do what you’re asking of me.

And Sang-hyuk is like, it’s just because of Min-hyung, right?…and of course that happens to be just as Min-hyung is walking by in the lobby, and of course he overhears Sang-hyuk saying this, and he tells Yu-jin she can go to her room and he’ll talk to Sang-hyuk (🙄).

So then Sang-hyuk goes for the lapel grab, and Min-hyung is all, sure, you can punch me all you want, but I won’t let you be rude to Yu-jin!

And then Min-hyung taunts Sang-hyuk about not being able to haul off and hit him, because it’s “immoral,” after all (which is both poking Sang-hyuk about his earlier posturing in the office, and also echoes a very similar thing that Jun-sang said to Sang-hyuk back in the day).

So now we start to move on to the preparation for the shenanigans portion of our program.

We cut to a scene of professor dad reading a newspaper article about how Kang Mi-hee (Jun-sang’s mother) is going to be giving her first public concert in ten years soon, just as Sang-hyuk calls up and tells professor dad that he and mom must come out to the resort tomorrow, he has “something to tell them.”

And then Sang-hyuk arranges for and invites everyone else to come to the concert as well: Jin-sook and Yong-goook; Chae-rin; and also Yu-jin’s mother. 

And it is at this point that we can clearly see the outlines of the train that is eventually going to wreck just pulling out of the station, because it’s obvious Sang-hyuk is planning a big public “put-her-on-the-spot” maneuver, and dude, I’ve retained at least some sympathy for you up to this point (at least when I manage to forget that whole hotel room nonsense), because yes it sucks to really love someone who doesn’t really reciprocate the feeling and is actively looking for an exit (although I’m starting to entertain the notion that this goes beyond “love” and into the realm of “obsession”).

But this sort of lowly emotional manipulation—nay, coercion—is just ugly and impossible to sympathize with.

(I mean seriously, I haaaate these sorts of surprise public pressure campaigns. They are the WORST! 🤬😤😠 Some people apparently love them or think they’re appropriate? I dunno, I don’t understand humanity sometimes….)

Well, the players are starting to show up the afternoon of the concert.

Yu-jin runs into Min-hyung and apologizes for making him upset.

And Min-hyung is like, why? because you went with Sang-hyuk? Nah, you know, you’re too nice. You worry about hurting other’s feelings, so you can’t be straight with them, so you end up giving them a hard time, and also yourself a hard time.

Yu-jin’s like, you mean I’m indecisive? And Min-hyung is all, I don’t mean it’s bad, I like your personality…but you have to be clear with people now.

She’s like, what should I do? and he’s like, just say what you think clearly, and whatever you do decide, I’m on your side. 

Which…I feel like he’s correct in principle, but also, that’s kind of what she’s been doing, or trying to do, right, and so far the DUDES are not exactly responding in accord with the anticipated, approved model, you know?

So…Sang-hyuk’s parents arrive, and they just happen to run into Min-hyung and Yu-jin strolling down the sidewalk, and professor dad is like, Kang Jun-sang? Hey, you used to come by my office a lot, right?

And Min-hyung is all, uh, no, not me, but they tell me I resemble this person to whom you refer.

Of course, Sang-hyuk’s mother is staring daggers at Yu-jin, and then later mother inadvertently sees Yu-jin giving the scarf that Min-hyung had loaned her back to him, and not unreasonably skips to the conclusion that the rumors she’s heard (from Chae-rin) are right, and Min-hyung and Yu-jin do have something going on. 

Chae-rin, Jin-soo, Yong-gook, and Yu-jin’s mom all show up, and run into Sang-hyuk’s parents in the lobby; Yu-jin’s mom goes off to have coffee with them and tender her awkward apologies for the whole engagement ceremony fiasco.

Chae-rin shows up at Min-hyung’s office, and is all, don’t worry, I’m just here as a friend…are you coming to the concert? And Min-hyung’s like, not sure…and she’s like, well, you should, I think it will be…interesting (so either Chae-rin has been tipped off, or more likely her finely-tuned antennae for toxic chaos have picked up on the vibes and reached the obvious conclusion 😯).

So we go to the concert, and Sang-hyuk is priming Yoo Yeol to be ready with whatever he’s planning, and then everyone’s seated in the audience while the concert goes on.

Min-hyung, Yu-jin, minion, and Jeong-ah are leaving work, and Sang-hyuk runs up to them and invites them all to come to the concert, then grabs Yu-jin’s hand and hustles her in. Yu-jin sees her friends and her mom, who she had not realized was invited. 

Then all the acts finish, and Yoo Yeol gets up to thank everyone for coming, and then he calls the producer (Sang-hyuk) up to the stage and gives a canned spiel about how Sang-hyuk is engaged, and his fiancée is here, and let’s give her a big hand and maybe she’ll come on up…so of course a visibly uncomfortable Yu-jin goes up on stage, and Yoo Yeol is all, hey, we didn’t plan this (🙄🙄🙄), but I’ll just ask, when are you guys getting married? (NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS!…she doesn’t say, alas 😞😠)

And Sang-hyuk tries to play all coy, but then eventually he’s all, next month! (what a dick! since it’s news to Yu-jin, who is staring at Sang-hyuk like WTF?! DUDE), and Yoo Yeol is all, hey, cool, and take note, you’ve promised in front of everyone so you gotta do it, right?!

Well, cut to the post-concert scene in the cafe with all the family and friends sitting around in a group, and Sang-hyuk’s mom is holding forth on how she is NOT OKAY with this imminent wedding plan, and then she starts pressing Yu-jin over whether she really loves Sang-hyuk, because she doesn’t think Yu-jin really does love him that much. 

Yu-jin is looking down and not saying anything, and Yu-jin’s mom is sticking up for Yu-jin, and Sang-hyuk’s dad is telling his wife she’s being rude (it’s quite the little gang of dysfunction here, is what I’m saying), and so then of course Sang-hyuk’s mom starts in on telling everyone about the scarf incident…

…and OF COURSE right then Min-hyung and his minion come in the cafe (I swear, the timing of entrances and exits in this show is so preternaturally calibrated as to defy belief…IT MUST BE FATE, or lazy writers, I’m not sure which), and Sang-hyuk’s mom is like, yes, that dude, right there!

Min-hyung is all, I don’t know what you thought you saw, but Yu-jin didn’t do anything wrong, so then Sang-hyuk jumps up and hollers, get the 🤬🤬🤬 outta here, at which Yu-jin (who has been sitting silently through all this, and is now in tears), pops up and is like, just stop it! I’m sorry, I can’t marry Sang-hyuk, no way no how, I’m sorry mom (said to her own mom), and then she rushes out.

Min-hyung rushes after her. Sang-hyuk is all, if anything happens between me and Yu-jin, I will never see you again (not clear who he’s aiming that one at, but I think most likely his mother?), and then Sang-hyuk rushes after them too.

Min-hyung catches up to Yu-jin outside, and he hugs her and tells her he won’t let her go anymore (and I mean, Yu-jin is not exactly dead zombie girl in response, like last hug he attempted last episode, but she’s not exactly enthusiastically returning his embrace? And on the surface at least, what Min-hyung is saying isn’t all that different than what Sang-hyuk is saying? Hmmm.  Need some clarity here; what do you think, Yu-jin?).

So then Min-hyung releases her and looks at her and says, will you do what I ask you to now now? And she hesitantly nods yes, while tears run down her face, and he hugs her again, and pan out and she does appear to be returning the embrace?

Which…pending further review and updated information, I’m going to tentatively assume she is making a voluntary agreement here, but we really do need to suss out thoughts and feelings while the pressure is turned down several notches, you know? 

And of course then Sang-hyuk gets there just in time to see the two of them driving away in Min-hyung’s SUV.

They pull up to a house out in the woods, and Yu-jin’s like where is this? And he’s like, this is my family’s vacation home. (pause to note that it’s interesting that Yu-jin was so reflexively opposed to going to the hotel for the night with Sang-hyuk, but here she’s all, empty home in semi-remote location with dude who isn’t my boyfriend? No problem!)

And as they walk up onto the porch, the door opens, and Kang Mi-hee (Jun-sang’s mother) smiles and says “Min-hyung,” and embraces him. And he replies, “mom.”

Dun-dun-DUNNNN! Freeze frame, curtain.

SO. That was a lot, as we chugged inexorably toward the impending train wreck. But, progress? Maybe?  And c’mon show, I think we have dragged out the Min-hyung/Jun-sang mystery long enough, don’t you?

Episode 10

So here we are. Yu-jin and Min-hyung have escaped the epic clown show 🤡🎪 engineered by Sang-hyuk to strong arm Yu-jin onto the “wedding real soon now” path, and fetched up at Min-hyung’s secluded family vacation home, only to be met at the front door by Jun-sang’s mother, who embraces our boy and calls him “Min-hyung.” 

Mother makes them all tea, and they engage in some small talk, in the course of which Min-hyung mentions there’s a scenic river nearby where they could go swimming if it were only summer.  

Mother is all, no way, it’s dangerous, that’s where you almost drowned when you were seven!

And then Min-hyung is like, Mom! that happened in the U.S. when we went on vacation that one time! I wasn’t in Korea as a kid!

So mom gets an “oh crap, momentarily forgot my own cover story” look on her face, and is all, right, right, heheh, what was I thinking?

So…clearly there is some tomfoolery going on here that relates to the at this point rapidly unraveling Jun-sang/ Min-hyung cover up, so just flag this tidbit and let’s see if it comes up again, as I suspect it will…

Well, Min-hyung has introduced Yu-jin as a work colleague, and then he mentions that she’s originally from Chuncheon, and asks mom if she’s ever been there. At which mom glances aside evasively and says, no, no, never visited (recall that we saw her wandering through her and Jun-sang’s old home in Chuncheon just last episode!).

Then mom is like, welp, gotta run, and then as she heads off, we see her stop to briefly talk to some random dude on a bike and thank him for his help with her son “back then.” 🤔😮.

So yeah, the layers on this onion are gettin’ peeled, slowly but surely.

Min-hyung apologizes to Yu-jin for the distraction, saying he wanted to take her by the hand (which he now does) and comfort her. 

And Yu-jin doesn’t get all effusive, but I have to say she does at least look pretty receptive to this message.

Then they sit down on the bench outside, and Min-hyung puts his coat (with him still in it!) and arm around Yu-jin, and she is definitely not looking uncomfortable with it, like I can almost guarantee she would be were it Sang-hyuk doing it. 

They have a heart to heart chat, where Yu-jin references Polaris (aka the North Star) as a fixed point to guide us through uncertainty, and Min-hyung asks if she’s felt like she’s lost her way, and then Yu-jin talks about the people she loves who she’s hurt who may not be able to forgive her (mom, Jin-sook and Yong-gook, Sang-hyuk), and Min-hyung is all, well can I be your support, and will you trust me?

And Yu-jin looks at him and nods, and Min-hyung kisses her forehead to the accompaniment of languid string music, and then she rests her head on his shoulder. AND…that’s about as far as show is ready to stretch as far as skinship goes at this point 🤗😘🥰. 

(With much trepidation, I will confess that it was at about this point when I first watched this episode—confirmed when I watched it again to revise this recap—that I had the distinct impression that hey, even though these kids really aren’t ready (along several axes) to go all the way (as we used to quaintly refer to it back in my youth), damned if they wouldn’t benefit from a torrid make-out sesh on the couch 😘😍💕.  I know, I know, that’s just not how classic hallyu rolls. [*sigh*])

Moving on!

We jump back to the resort’s cafe and the assembled gallery (mother is definitely getting a headache!), and Sang-hyuk comes back in to inform everyone that Yu-jin has gone back to Seoul.

Sang-hyuk’s mother is all, surely you mean, she’s gone back with Chae-rin’s boyfriend? (I mean, she’s not very nice, but she’s also not an idiot, it appears). Sang-hyuk gets fired up and yells, Mom! I told you it’s not what you think it is!  

Then he’s like, I have to tell you something (and by “you,” of course he means everyone; parents on both sides, friends, it’s a full gallery here paying rapt attention).

He continues: that night of mom’s birthday, I did something to Yu-jin that I shouldn’t have. I didn’t allow her to go back to the resort (by the dramatic reaction of basically everyone present to this announcement, along with the musical cue, this is meant to imply pretty much exactly what you’d think).

More Sang-hyuk: and after that happened, I felt I had to rush to announce the news of our getting married, but then Yu-jin was still upset with me, and that’s why she was refusing to get married. So anyway, I apologize to Yu-jin’s mom, and mom, could you please also apologize to Yu-jin’s mom?

So of course Sang-hyuk’s dad is all, if you did that to her even though she didn’t want it, I’m very disappointed in you, son (“that”? I mean…😣😒…let’s trace this out: if “that” is referring to what is being heavily implied here, and she “didn’t want it,” I’d think being “very disappointed” in your son who just confessed to sexual assault is a woefully inadequate response, no?). 

Then professor dad apologizes to Yu-jin’s mom. Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk’s mom mutters “you’re such a fool,” (with which we are in full agreement, although probably not for the same precise reason) and gets up and walks out.

(To elaborate, from the various contextual clues, I think we are pretty clearly meant to understand that Sang-hyuk is implying to everyone that he not only spent the night with Yu-jin, but that they engaged in some level of hanky-panky, up to and likely including going all the way, and that Yu-jin really was not on board with the proceedings.

Yes, it’s at least somewhat subtextual, but I’m also pretty confident that’s the intended implication. 

And really, this M🤬F🤬in’ guy… This is just gross and manipulative and a clear attempt to assert control by narrowing the range of actions Yu-jin can take, and it almost bothers me more than the hotel room scene (if only because she successfully escaped from that immediate peril). 

He’s taking a reputational hit in order to damage her reputation as well (and yes, I KNOW it’s not fair that her reputation would suffer from unwillingly being taken advantage of, that’s one of the things that makes it infuriating), and force her to stay with (or go back to) him to repair the damage (after all, they’re engaged, and a “little blip” like this can be swept under the rug once they get married and live happily ever after, right?).  What a complete jackhole. Sheesh).

Then Sang-hyuk runs into Chae-rin, who’s all, you can fool everyone else, but not me…Yu-jin left with Min-hyung didn’t she?

Rather than answer, Sang-hyuk is all, did you tell my mom about them? I know why you did it, and it didn’t turn out quite like you were expecting, so just butt out and leave everyone alone now, hmmm?

Then Sang-hyuk goes to Yu-jin’s mom, who is up in her room, packing to go to Seoul to see Yu-jin, who she “needs to teach how to behave.” (🙄).

So Sang-hyuk apologizes to Yu-jin’s mom directly, and she’s like, I don’t believe that you would do that to Yu-jin. Tell me the truth, where is Yu-jin really? I don’t believe that she would really go off with some other man. Is she with that guy, really?

And Sang-hyuk just looks down and won’t answer her.

She heads out to leave and Sang-hyuk tries to stop her, but she finally jumps in a cab and is gone. (By and large, Yu-jin’s mom has pretty consistently undershot expectations. She’s not particularly empathetic or supportive of our girl, alas 😞)

Meanwhile, our new OTP is bedding down at the vacation home—separately, in different rooms on different floors (no make out sesh 😥)—and then the next morning, Yu-jin wakes up to the bright sunlight, and Min-hyung has left a note that he’ll be back shortly.

Yu-jin takes a walk around outside until Min-hyung returns with a basket of fresh fish, and then Yu-jin kicks him out of the kitchen and whips up breakfast so they can have a nice cozy breakfast.

Then Yu-jin finally calls Jeong-ah, and learns that her mom has gone back to Seoul, so Yu-jin tells Min-hyung that she needs to go there first, and that she doesn’t think Sang-hyuk told anyone (presumably that the two of them had left together the night before).

Min-hyung is like, are you prepared not to get hurt? And Yu-jin is like, I’ll hurt them first, I guess.

Everyone else is headed back to the city too. Sang-hyuk is driving Jin-sook and Yong-gook, and Jin-sook is all, Sang-hyuk, so did you…really do that to Yu-jin? And then Yong-gook pipes up and is all, hey, they’re adults, nothing wrong with doing it, right?

Then Jin-sook is all, well, if they did do it, maybe it’s for the better? (say WHAT? 😒).

Of course Sang-hyuk just maintains an uneasy silence through all this (My dude, allowing everyone to continue thinking you’ve slept together, when you’re the one who created that impression in the first place, no less—so confirming via silence, basically—and when there’s still clearly some significant social stigma attached to it, is very, very uncool. FLAMES, FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE 🔥😣🔥).

Min-hyung drops Yu-jin off at her apartment and drives off.

Who should be waiting at the kitchen table but Yu-jin’s mom, who is VERY PERTURBED.

Mom starts in on the whole “how could you do that to Sang-hyuk? Do you have any idea how much you hurt him? Do you know how much he’s done for you? What have I done, what has he done, to deserve this?”

…and I’m sorry, I’m ready to start throwing things at the screen at this point, because this is all complete bullshit, seriously. (deep breaths, whew, deep breaths 😤). 

Anyway, mom continues…why are you doing this, Yu-jin? 

Yu-jin is all, he didn’t do anything wrong (…and girl, I get the impulse to try to smooth it all over and cover up for this jabroni, but whyyyy insist on protecting his reputation? I guess it makes a certain amount of sense; if this turns into a mud-slinging contest, no one comes out looking good….but Yu-jin, you’re not going to escape the wreckage unscathed, girl, regardless).

Mom continues, just tell me, is it because of that man, Lee Min-hyung? Do you like him that much!?

And Yu-jin is finally, mom, I just…don’t love Sang-hyuk (Yes! a breakthrough!! Hallelujah! I’ve only been saying that since about the third episode!).

Cut to scene of mother busting out the front door of the building, with Yu-jin chasing after her, saying “I’ll explain everything,” but mom cuts that attempt at conciliation short with “are you even my daughter? are you even Yu-jin?” and then storms off down the road.

Gee, thanks mom, for your love and empathy and understanding…😬😠😣

Back in the apartment, Jin-sook, Yong-gook, and Sang-hyuk finally arrive, and Jin-sook hugs Yu-jin and is all, Yu-jin, I knew you’d be in Seoul, you wouldn’t go run off with another dude (haha, little do you know! She totally would…).

And then cut to Yu-jin’s bedroom (with Jin-sook and Yong-gook shamelessly eavesdropping at the door), and Sang-hyuk is all, why did you have to do this? Wasn’t I enough? (no!) Was I so bad? (yes!) Why choose him, he’s not Jun-sang, you know!

Yu-jin responds, I don’t know… then Sang-hyuk asks, do you really want me to leave? Do you want to break up with me?

And Yu-jin is like, I’m sorry (in other words: yes). Then Sang-hyuk is like, I will never ever forgive you, and goes striding out.

And Jin-sook is all, Yu-jin, how could you, and goes rushing off, no doubt to comfort the titanically wronged Sang-hyuk (🤮).

Shift to Min-hyung’s room, and he’s having coffee with his mom, and she’s like, you look a bit out of sorts today, is it because of that girl yesterday?

And he’s all, back when she was going to school in Chuncheon, she liked a guy who looked like me…but then he died.

At which, mom fumbles her coffee cup and spills it all over the table. And Min-hyung is like, are you okay? and she’s all…I just need to wash my hand, it’s nothing. Hmmmm. The suspicious bits and pieces, they are piling up, no?

Meanwhile, back at Yu-jin’s apartment, Jin-sook has her bag all packed, and is all, sorry Yu-jin, but I can’t even look at you right now. You’re my friend, but so is Sang-hyuk, sorry. 

(I guess she felt she had to do something suitably demonstrative to convey her moral disapproval. Jin-sook goes off to stay with Chae-rin, who happens to be drinking herself stupid(er), and lights into Jin-sook with a whole pity party about how none of this would have happened if Jin-sook hadn’t told Min-hyung about Jun-sang).

Back in Yu-jin’s room, she takes off her engagement ring and puts it in its box, while whispering “Sang-hyuk… don’t forgive me.” 

Next day, we are back at the resort, where Min-hyung greets Yu-jin’s arrival with much joy. He says he was afraid she wouldn’t come back, and asks if she’s alright. She says she’s fine, and smiles at him. I love smiling Yu-jin! We need more of her!

We then get another idyllic interlude where Yu-jin and Min-hyung frolic and act all silly out in the sunny snowfields, and Yu-jin starts wearing a necklace with a pendant of stars, no doubt to symbolize their discussion of the stars and Polaris and all.

And for a brief happy moment we get a glimpse of what they could be together if THE WORLD would just LEAVE THEM BE. 

But, no, sorry, that’s not how show rolls, you know?

So then Yu-jin gets a phone call from Yong-gook, who asks if she knows how Sang-hyuk is doing?

And then he tells her that Sang-hyuk is in a bad way, he’s quit his job and won’t talk or eat or sleep or anything, and Yong-gook wants her to come back to him, he’s sure he’ll get better if she’ll just come back. 

And Yu-jin is all, I’m sorry, but there’s nothing I can do for him (And I’m like, doing the victory dance here, I’m all, props, girl, it’s the RIGHT ANSWER, even if it’s also not an easy one, and I support you ONE HUNDRED PERCENT 💯). 

BUT. Next up is Sang-hyuk’s mother, who arrives at the resort for a sit-down with Yu-jin.

She informs Yu-jin that Sang-hyuk is now in the hospital, and if Yu-jin is doing “all this” because of her, she’s very very sorry… just come back to Sang-hyuk and save him, if Yu-jin will just marry Sang-hyuk like he wants, mother will buy them a house, Yu-jin can even keep her job, and mother will do whatever she wants.

And Yu-jin is all…I’m very very sorry. So then mother is like, how could you do this to him after all those years you were together? I didn’t realize how cruel you could be! …and storms out.

Min-hyung hears via his minion about the basic situation with Sang-hyuk, and how his mother came by to see Yu-jin, and how Yu-jin appears to be thinking heavy thoughts. 

So Min-hyung undertakes a wee reconnaissance mission, slipping away to the hospital, where he pokes his head in the door of Sang-hyuk’s room.  There he sees Sang-hyuk’s mom begging an unconscious Sang-hyuk to come back, to eat just a spoonful of food. 

So then Min-hyung goes back to the resort and finds Yu-jin walking lost in thought in the snow.  He tells her that the one thing he envies Sang-hyuk for is that he had all that time to spend together with Yu-jin.

Then he asks Yu-jin if she worries about Sang-hyuk, and if she doesn’t want to see him? And Yu-jin is like, he will be okay, he’ll make it through this. 

So then the next day, Min-hyung tells Yu-jin to come with him, there’s somewhere they need to go, and when she’s all, where? He’s like, it’s where you want to be.

Then he drives them to the hospital, and tells her to go see Sang-hyuk.

And Yu-jin is like, Min-hyung, this isn’t the right thing to do (I just have to note that there’s a distressing pattern of men—even the nominally “good” guy—doing things that directly affect Yu-jin without actually consulting her, you know? And although I do think Min-hyung isn’t nearly as egregious about it as Sang-hyuk…he’s still not great, unfortunately).

And Min-hyung is all, it is the right thing,  you’re worried about him, aren’t you?

Yu-jin is like, I’m worried, but I have decided not to be; let’s go back. Min-hyung is all, it’s okay, I’m alright with you going to see him, I’ll wait for you to come back. And she’s like, what if I don’t come back?

And he’s like, I guess I could live with it, it’s better than seeing you suffer. But it will be alright, you can find Polaris, right? Don’t get lost on the way back. Even if a long time passes, you’ll come back, right? And Yu-jin’s all, I promise, I’ll come back. (and look, just gotta say, the sense of dread and foreboding this is giving me right here is OFF THE CHARTS 😬😲).

Yu-jin goes in Sang-hyuk’s room and calls to him, and he revives and asks why she came back, she didn’t need to, he’s fine, stop crying, did she come because his mom went to her, did she hear what was happening from Jin-sook and Yong-gook? Did you just come to cry because I’m all, like, dying?

Yu-jin is like, I’m sorry… Sang-hyuk is all, don’t say you’re sorry, I don’t want to hear it; will you stay? And of course Yu-jin is just, I’m sorry, and so he’s like, forget it, just go, I’ve had my shots and I’m going to be discharged tomorrow.

So Yu-jin goes out to the hallway to chill for awhile, but eventually a phalanx of doctors and nurses go piling in Sang-hyuk’s room, and then the doctor tells Yu-jin that it’s a real crisis and Sang-hyuk will be in grave danger if he doesn’t start to eat. 

So Yu-jin goes back to sit at his bedside, and he wakes up and sees her and she gets emotional and kind of throws a fit, crying and exclaiming to look at him, what is he doing? Why is he doing this?

She puts her head down on the bed, and he kind of embraces her…just as Jin-sook and Yong-gook are peeking through the door and watching the scene, and then they close the door and are all happy and moved and like, we knew she’d come back. (So add them to the ever-lengthening list of people I kinda want to punch at this point 😤).

Back out in the parking lot, Min-hyung finally wakes up from his doze and puts his seat back up and pulls out to leave…

So then we shift back to the resort, and apparently the on-site portion of the project is winding up.

We see Yu-jin putting her star pendant necklace inside her shirt and zipping up her suitcase. Jeong-ah comes in and asks how Yu-jin is doing, and Yu-jin gives her a chipper “doing great!”

Then Jeong-ah asks how Sang-hyuk is doing, and Yu-jin is all, he’s being discharged, and going back to work tomorrow!  Then Jeong-ah is like, and how about Lee Min-hyung, are you going to say goodbye to him?  And Yu-jin brushes her off and is like, let’s go. 

So then they’re loading up their SUV when Yu-jin sees Min-hyung standing off at the edge of the parking lot, and she’s like, hang tight, I’ll be back in a minute.

So Yu-jin and Min-hyung go for a last stroll, and Yu-jin is all, I won’t say I’m sorry, because you took the most important thing from me…you took…MY HEART 💔. And then…I love you 💕💞💔.

And then she starts to leave, and Min-hyung grabs her and embraces her, and tells her thank you, and tears roll down her face, and as she returns his embrace, we see that her engagement ring is back on her finger.


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7 months ago

Trent, yet another set of fantastic nails hit on their heads! I particularly appreciated your take on Sang Hyuk’s big ploy – I didn’t get the “strategic disclosure” aspect AT ALL. I was, perhaps, distracted because the whole thing hit me as a scene from “The Californians”:

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7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc — hilarious pic! Yes, that was pretty much the look on my face as well.

It definitely helps going through it a second time to mull over what’s happening and firm up first-time impressions. If you look at my rough notes from the first viewing (buried back somewhere in December’s Deep Dive zone on Patreon, I believe), you’ll see that I was a lot more equivocal about what Sang-hyuk was up to there. But after thinking it over (and with input from phl1rxd, et al), it seems much more clear that he’s out to hedge Yu-jin in and constrain her ability to escape him. Yuck!

7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j2ffc – 🤣😂😅🤣😂😅

7 months ago

Thank you so much for the throw-back-my head laughs, Trent. I need it after these episodes, which tried my patience mightily. I am so frustrated. Yu Jin tells Sang Hyuk she just wants to be friends. Next scene he’s trying to get his mom, who intensely dislikes Yu Jin, to go the ski resort. Huh? Then Min Hyung tells Yu Jin he won’t let her go to anyone anymore. I think she should walk away from both of these controlling jerks! When she finally gets the gumption to end it with Sang Hyuk she gets guilt trips from everyone, even Jin Suk!

I have to say this is the BEST group watch ever! I seethe and yell at the characters, then get to come here and laugh until I cry! I’m with you on the huge steaming stinking pile of bullsh*t!

7 months ago
Reply to  Cathy


7 months ago
Reply to  Cathy

Cathy — it definitely soothes the sting to be able to kvetch about the nonsense with others! There’s a certain satisfaction in making rude gestures at the screen, but it’s even better to holler with folks who can holler along in sympathy…

7 months ago

Wait! They don’t still say “go all the way??”

Well, I’m glad “make-out session” is still on the table, then.

And who can resist becoming all romantic-like with Harry Nillson crooning in the background. It was kind of a sure bet, back in the day (so I hear.)


Anyhoo. I haven’t actually been watching the show til now, just following along with Trent’s nifty summaries (read: outrageously entertaining). But last week’s post inspired me to jump in and watch the current episodes, to check out how people’s voices sound, catch more of the vibe via the much-mentioned soundtrack, and do some scarf-spotting in person, among other things.

It kind of felt like a deep end of the vintage-melodrama-pool place to start. Indeed, the levels of outrage and frustration and forehead slapping were so high as Show progressed, that by mid episode 10, I paddled on over to the ladder and climbed back out. I believe I shall watch from over here, on the beach towel, until further notice. 😉

I LOVE, though, both the summaries and the comments, even beyond the entertainment value. I feel like I’m getting an important primer in early-ish hallyu, that will continue to serve in noticing and understanding the long arc towards more modern productions.

Question: Are the, to me, exceedingly slow speech patterns in the show the style early in aught 2, or are they specific to Winter Sonata? The thought occurred to me, that one way to get to 20 episodes is to draw out and add a number of pauses and reflections mid conversation.

Thanks, Trent, et al!

Last edited 7 months ago by Leslie
7 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Leslie — I’m sad to say that this is where I confess that I’m not exactly au courant with all the hottest euphemisms for dancing the horizontal mambo. They may still use “going all the way,” for all I know? Or maybe it’s like that line in Star Wars (“It’s an older code, sir, but it checks out”).

Oh no! you made it up to halfway through ep. 10? That means you missed jerkface’s outrageous self-martyrdom gambit! On the other hand, you drastically reduced your chance of a spontaneous aneurysm, so…good call? I hope you’ll still continue to participate with us via recaps and comments…

Interesting observation about the speech patterns. I had actually not particularly noticed it (which doesn’t mean it’s not there; I only started picking up the errant boom mics once people started pointing them out). I shall have to start paying attention to people’s delivery.

7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – I think I know “they” don’t say “go all the way” or “make-out session” anymore (at least not as option #1!) I am mostly poking fun at the fact that I’m fluent in “older code” for sure. I burst out in a chuckle when I read both phrases. 🤣

Caught jerkface’s martyrdom gambit via FF, and then a quick read from the side of the pool! 😖 Thanks for taking one for the team, witnessing and reporting on it in a few short sentences for those of us on the sidelines (my metaphors are about to implode.)

Maybe it’s mostly Yu Jin that speaks and reacts slowly. It effectively showcases her diffidence, for sure.

7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Trent – “It’s an older code, sir, but it checks out” 🤣😂😅😀😁😃😄😆😅🤣😁😀🤣😄

7 months ago
Reply to  Leslie

Harry Nilsson indeed! I have been absolutely floored by classic tunes this show throws out left and right with, I suspect, not a royalty check to be found. I even found myself humming Show’s omnipresent piano theme the other day!

7 months ago
Reply to  j3ffc

Oh, your observation is tempting me to get back in the water to listen for more said tunes, j3ffc. Hmmm…

7 months ago

Oh.My.Gosh! These episodes were SO frustrating to watch. I was ready to strangle just about eveyone. Including Yu Jin, for being such a mopey wet blanket. She was like a ragdoll being pushed, pulled and shoved around. Girlfriend, grow a backbone, put your foot firmly down and say “Hell NO, I’ve had enough of this. Eff off you lot!!” Sigh. Not going to happen of course, this is an early 2000 kdrama after all. I’d forgotten how much I came to dislike these wet blanket FLs of yore. There were quite a few of them back in the day. I know… cultural conditioning, social expectations and all that, especially in those days. It’s still frustrating as heck, no going around it.

It’s been a while since my first viewing of WS, so I don’t actually remember much of the plot details. It’s like I’m watching it for the first time but after reading some major spoilers. Back then I was a total noob to kdramas and hadn’t yet turned into quite the grumpy old gurmudgeon I’m now. 😁 I feel I was much more “swept along” by the fated romance annnnd probably dazzled by BYJ’s smile, ha. I’m pretty sure most of the characters (excluding Sang Hyuk, hated his guts even then 🤨) got a pass on their behaviour. No one gets a pass this time around!

Ah, this was such tropey fun in the beginning, now it’s just a tinkling of a sad piano. 🥺Trent’s recapping is still on point though.👍🏻

7 months ago
Reply to  Timescout

Timescout — ah, welcome to the Commiseration Club, where sit around and vent about the nonsense in the latest episodes of WS! The more the merrier!

It’s 100% true that Yu-jin spends the majority of her time, particularly as we have gotten into the meat of the show, crying or looking distressed or being upset or pensive about a particular situation or even life in general. I feel like I want to semi-defend her just on account of she does have a lot of crap to put up with, and even when she tries to shovel her way out of the crap, it’s like she’s thwarted at every turn…even by the “good” guys or at least the ones that ought to be on her side!

Hadn’t these people ever heard of the concept of “Ride or Die?!” Maybe she just needs to fake her death and go live under an assumed name far away or something… Like I mentioned though, that does make her flashes of lightheartedness and her smiles that much more precious.

That’s funny that you say you gave everyone but Sang-hyuk a pass the first time through. I can see it; it does make me wonder how he was received when this first aired? Was he widely hated (as he should have been!), or did people want to give him a pass too, see him as being misguided but understandable because he is thwarted in love? (which to be clear, I don’t agree with, but I can see some people maybe viewing him that way?)

7 months ago

Another flawless week Trent! Bravo! Just wonderful! Thank you! 😘😘😘😘💖💖💖 Fangurl – my two favorite pics are the ones showing Yu Jin and Min Hyung smiling and happy. I needed to see those two bits of happiness 💖💖 amongst the disasters that make up our Yu Jin’s life right now. Thanks for those.

EP. 9
Looks like Piano mom is visiting the Jun Sang residence? What the actual heck? 🤔 Be still my beating heart – does this mean that our Min Hyung is actually the resurrected Jun Sang?

Yu Jin – listen to me sister – do NOT accept Sang Hyuk’s apology as it is NOT OK that he tried to rape you. 😡🤬 Why are you asking if it is OK to not get married? Why would you keep someone who tried to rape you as a friend? 🤮

All his actions are foul. 🤔 Why is Sang Hyuk pretending that they are a loving couple and – again here we go – Sang Hyuk drags her to a restaurant where Min Hyung is. Why does he need to assert a dominant position over Yu Jin for Min Hyung to see? This is awful.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Sang Hyuk went so far over the line of decency with the manipulative and obnoxious concert prank. At this point in the drama I had to yell some not-so-nice comments and make more hand and finger gestures (yes those) at my TV screen, Note that the parents have jumped on the ‘bad’ bandwagon here so I included them in my salutes. Sang Hyuk – Cue Ludacris: “How low can you go?” This is what you call love? No, it is a very sick obsession.

Chae-rin – it definitely is her finely tuned antennae for toxic chaos, yes, to taunt Min Hyung about the concert. 🦊  

I feel like everyone is walking around with a bag over their heads.

This is going to be bad – real bad. And it is – real bad. In fact, it is awful.

Trent – I also noticed that she had no issue with the overnight stay and obviously felt safe with Min Hyung. So, off they go to Min Hyung’s vacation house to…duh du duh du…meet Piano Mom…

My personal Faves: “not sure the message totally got through, Yu-jin, but appreciate the effort!” and “Yu-Jin looks like she’d frankly rather be mucking out stables” but especially – “FLAMES, FLAMES ON THE SIDE OF MY FACE 🔥😣🔥” LMAO Hyterical!

EP. 10
Piano mom is too nervous and I am beginning to think that there is something not quite right here as she denies ever having been to Chuncheon,

What really killed me Trent, was when they cut to the vacation house and all is nicey, nice feelzy and the director wants us to think “Yeah Yu Jin is finally headed to her happy place”. We get to see her really smile instead of her walking around like Debbie Downer. 😀😄🌹
Back to hotel and the swirling cesspool of dysfunction…

Let’s start with the family meeting where Sang Hyuk unabashedly implies a sexual relationship between he and Yu Jin. Here is my thought on that – I believe he was hinting that he raped her because he thought that that would push the parents to force a quick marriage.

Yu Jin gets home and mom lays the guilt trip on so thick you can cut it with a knife. Mom takes the guilting to a new level. 🔝 I now genuinely feel sorry for Yu Jin even if she caused her own issues. So she gets honest with mom and she pays dearly for it? The rest of the bunch gang up on her when she gets home and I really had a hard time with their comments and insinuations.

So we must ask ourselves – “Do these people (all of them, dang it, even the parents) really care about each other?” (Note Trent – this is a question I asked myself many, many, many times while watching this drama). That was when I wasn’t shooting ‘that’ appendage at my screen – sometimes with both hands!

I feel that it is impossible not to get emotionally involved in this drama despite the ridiculousness of it all.

Rolling on the floor and LMAO – “moves out of the apartment to stay with Chae-rin, who happens to be drinking herself stupid(er)”.
That is flat-out hilarious.

I am saying it is officially “Let’s all dump on Yu Jin” time. 🚛

Sang Hyuk in the hospital milking 🐄🐄 the heck out it. Yu Jin is now at the Sang residence. Honestly Trent, I am really kvetching right now, I kid you not.  He will die if he cannot eat?

To be honest Trent, up until this point I really felt that the only rational one was Sang Hyuk’s mom but it looks like she was bit by the mad dog as well, 🐕🐕‍🦺🐩 leaving us berefit of any sanity. Then Yu Jin admits she loves Min Hyung but must leave him to take care of a$$hat Hyuk. They are all barking mad.🤪

The plethora of emotions: guilt trips (that includes both giving and taking), shame, love, agony, anger, deception, lies, the extravagant manipulations…and…I am here for it. 🙄🙄🙄 This drama could be used as a college study course in Psychology 101.

Trent – your closing statement is an ABSOLUTE gem 💎💎💎, sir, and exactly how I felt at this point! Can you believe that we’re only at Episode 10? What new fresh agita (anxiety, stress, or aggravation) does this show have to bring us?

Min Hyung’s individual Scarf Count – 17 🧣🧣🧣 He seems to be wearing that plain lime-ish green one more often.

7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd — Oh no!! could it possibly be that they have run through their scarf budget only half-way through the show?! How will Min-hyung soldier on without fresh scarves? Surely he cannot be expected to drape an unfashionable, tattered, used scarf over a semi-willing Yu-jin to advance his cause?

“Heavens to Murgatroyd” Snerk. That takes me back quite a few years, watching cartoons in front of the old, small CRT TV screen…

That’s a good insight about another facet of jerkface “confessing” to forcing Yu-jin: it will increase pressure on all the friends and relations to want to “fix” it by “legitimizing” it, i.e. see them married quickly. Gah, what a jerk!

Can it get worse, phl1rxd? Oh boy, buckle up, because we’re about to find out.. (I think I’m in a semi-permanent state of mad about that ending, though!).

7 months ago
Reply to  Trent

Ah Trent – Ack can it get worse? Well, it’s like that line in Star Wars – “I don’t know about you but I got a baaad feeling about this”.

And think Trent – we are only at Episode 10 and we have 10 more to go. We are going to need all of our inner strength to make it through. 😳🤯😱🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️🤦‍♀️

As for the scarves, it looks like Min Hyung has bottomed out for the time being. I am also taking note of Honorable Mentions of other scarf wearers.

Thank you for making this whole trip down memory lane so engaging.

7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Honestly Trent, I am really kvetching right now, I kid you not.  He will die if he cannot eat?

Right you are, ! And we have somehow let go (or more likely I have missed) the appearance of yet another k-drama trope for the ages: the over-reliance on medical treatment and the insertion of an IV line at the drop of a hat (even in personal domiciles)! What is in that thing that Sang-hyuk will die without solid food? I mean – I mean – what is the effing point?

And don’t get me started on the 73% probability that any individual who wakes up with an IV line going in a k-drama will take it out themselves and stalk out somewhere. Grrrrrr.

Snow Flower
Snow Flower
7 months ago

Starvation!!?? Seriously, dude! And I thought that Chae Rin was the master manipulator. Sang Hyuk’s hospital stint takes the crown for most manipulative move. Dude, you have 10 episodes to redeem yourself. Right now, you are not my chingu!

I am hoping for more scenes with Piano Mom next week. The show has been feeding us crumbs regarding Jun Sang/ Min Hyung’s true identity, but I want a bigger reveal to stir things up. Ah, where are the Money Flower cliffhangers?

7 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Whew, yeah, I mean, you hit it on the head about how Yu-jin tries and tries and everybody just keeps steamrolling right on over her.

I think there really is something about seeing it again that makes it pop even more; I watched this the first time over a month ago now, and like I said I basically went through it a second time this week to revise notes, and knowing what was coming allows for a focus on nuance and details that left me that much more angry and distressed! I don’t think I’ve got it all out yet!

Now…I am at least conflicted about Min-hyung, because on the one hand, yes, he is tromping on her agency and still trespassing her boundaries, BUT on the other hand I don’t feel like he is entirely unredeemable. Just bracketing the whole “fated love” thing, setting it entirely to the side, I think I still need to consider that there is a definite attraction there on Yu-jin’s side (and okay, she’s going to say it’s not because he resembles Jun-sang, but I’m not convinced she’s entirely trustworthy on that point), and that she does have some openness to his advances, even if she is rightly conflicted on account of her engaged status and all.

So while yes, it is absolutely true that choosing herself and turning from both of these dudes would be a 100% valid, defensible choice, I can at least see her being inclined towards being open to Min-hyung’s suit. He’s trainable, he has some good instincts to go along with his bad habits, I feel like. So their being together is maybe understandable, it is within the realm of the possible to believe that Yu-jin does feel happiness to be with him and that she has a budding affection for him. It’s not just “fate” or scriptwriter’s fiat, there’s an organic element to it. (Contrast to the relationship with Sang-hyuk, which is just blaring “WRONG WRONG WRONG” at roughly 120 decibels…)

AND THEN (now that I’ve gone off and semi-defended him), Min-hyung has to go and shove her back into Sang-hyuk’s arms. She was trying SO HARD to fight the good fight, to do what was emotionally healthy for her, and…he just cut her legs right out from under her. I mean, I see how you are also kind of semi-defending what he does, and you’re not wrong (although he is substituting his judgement for hers rather than supporting her choice…and then it becomes her choice as well, as she clearly feared it would).

I just…it absolutely grinds my chops that she would be forced into sacrificing herself, her hope of future happiness and emotional fulfillment, to knuckle under to that asshole’s coercive, manipulative little power play. I blame Min-hyung, some, but I blame Sang-hyuk approximately 100x more.

Whew. Yeah, clearly this is a show that gets its hooks into you. And your ex-colleague was right about the ups and downs; it’s not just doom and gloom. The happy moments are too few, but they are legitimately nice, when our couple is just enjoying being together, and we can imagine them living happy and unbothered. And then, well, stuff happens 😣.