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! 🤩
Woah. As I said to Trent, watching this week’s episodes, it became clear to me all over again, why this show had folks tearing their hair out, back in the day. 🤪 We’re in the final stretch, friends! Hang in there! 😅
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! ❤️
Remember how a few episodes back, I said I wanted to fire everyone into the sun? WELL FIRE UP THE ROCKETS, MABEL, we done gotta LONG TRIP COMIN’ 🚀🌞.
We can exempt Yu-jin…and I was going to say exempt Jun-sang or Min-hyung or whatever sonny-boy is calling himself these days, up until the last 10 minutes of this episode, because WHEW, does it sure look like he veers off the rails there at the end.
And most definitely NOT exempting the $%^&$ 🤬 script writer, because they are just manipulating the heck out of us poor saps at this point, in order to wring out every last bit of emotion and leave us all withered husks.
…I, uh, I think I may be at risk of losing a firm grip on my ironic detachment here, friends.
Oh, and just so you know, I’m going to try my very best not to make any Targaryen jokes or references, but I can’t make any promises 🔥🩸🐉
ANYWAY. Let’s go.
This episode opens with kind of a disjointed montage of scenes from last episode, all centered around the increasingly salient issue of Jun-sang’s paternity…and then suddenly Jun-sang sits bolt upright in bed, so maybe his subconscious mind is grinding away and coming up with some disquieting impressions?
That morning, we get happy (but tardy!) Yu-jin charging up to Marcian’s parking garage, where she meets Jun-sang to drive up to ski resort (so, like, Yu-jin is fully back on the still-not-concluded project).
She notes his red eyes and asks if he had trouble sleeping, and Jun-sang is all, I slept great, dreaming of you! 😁
Up at the resort, our happy couple walks around hand-in-hand, reminiscing about the times they’ve already spent there. They chat about winter coming to an end, and Jun-sang is like, let’s not be apart any more, and Yu-jin is all super A-okay with that proposal.
But alas, the forces of division are on the march…we move to Yu-jin’s mom, who after meeting with piano mom, has now arranged a meeting with professor dad.
After the de rigueur apologies, and dad’s pro forma assurances that, notwithstanding the canceled wedding, he still thinks of Yu-jin as a daughter, mom gets to the point: Mi-hee visited her, and it seems that Yu-jin and Mi-hee’s son are “seeing each other.”
Professor dad’s equilibrium is noticeably shaken somewhat at this little info-nugget, and he’s like, you mean, Kang Jun-sang? You’re saying Yu-jin and Jun-sang love each other?!
To which mom replies, Mi-hee told me that they couldn’t be together, they had to break up, that Yu-jin could never marry him. Professor dad is like, I agree with her, they can never get married.
Then professor dad is back on the phone, asking when Mi-hee will be back in town, because they need a face-to-face to hash this mess out, dangit (Mi-hee has sure gotten conveniently peripatetic all of a sudden, speaking of irresponsibility).
Of course, then professor dad has to go look at THE PICTURE again, and replay all the sound clips in his head that point to a dire conclusion, which he is clearly in the process of arriving at, if he’s not there already.
Well, that’s enough heavy for the moment, so we jump back to our blissful couple, snuggled up together in the air tram heading up the mountain in the bright sun with the snowy backdrop.
And darnit, Yu-jin just looks so fetching when she has her light-hearted happy face on…JUST LEAVE HER ALONE, SHOW!!! 🙏
We get scenes of them strolling around in the snow at the top of the mountain, and then they play pelt each other with fresh snow, until they’re both all frosty but happy looking, and they ride back down on the tram.
Back in the base lodge, our couple goes back to work with minion and Jeong-ah, then moves to the basement cafe, still in need of remodel and new lights, where Jun-sang plays the opening bars of Wagner’s Bridal Chorus 🎶 while Yu-jin undertakes a stately glide down an imaginary aisle.
Jun-sang stops and is like, let’s go to Chuncheon…to visit your mother and ask her permission to marry. Then Jun-sang is off to tell minion he’s taking the afternoon off, and by the way, could he have the dudes install the lighting in that basement cafe, get it cleaned up and stuff?
Jun-sang and Yu-jin arrive at her house in Chuncheon. Jun-sang expresses that he’s nervous, and Yu-jin is all, it’ll be fine, mom will like you! 😳
So of course, our couple is sitting in front of mom, and things are decidedly not going according to plan.
Mom is giving it the ol’ stony face, and then Jun-sang asks her blessing to marry Yu-jin, and Yu-jin chimes in with a “please, mom.”
Then mom is like, I’m not comfortable being put on the spot so suddenly 😬. Yu-jin is all “what the hell?!” (okay, she says “mom!”, but that’s what she means). And mom is all, please show yourself out now, thank you very much.
So Jun-sang–who’s not a quitter, gotta give him that–is like, I get it if you don’t like me much, and yeah, it’s true that I gave Yu-jin lotsa grief…but I’m gonna do better, by golly!
And then mom is all, so not the point, my bucko…this situation is complicated, you see (and this is just the first of many brush-offs that is going to drive me absolutely up the wall this episode. If you’ve got a complicated situation, one with very grim implications, complete honesty is the only path, not muddled innuendo and unexplained refusal).
Mom continues, I’ll have a convo with Yu-jin, so if you could just beat a hasty retreat, much obliged 👋. Yu-jin is once again, “what the HELL?!” (“mom!!”), but mom is already headed to the bedroom. Sooo…that went well, right?
Yu-jin walks Jun-sang out, and he’s all, I’m alright…they hug, and Yu-jin is like, why are you lying? Your heart is beating super fast.
Yu-jin is like, I’ll talk with her…she probably just feels bad because of Sang-hyuk. It will be alright. Then Jun-sang is all, why are you lying? You’re shaking, that means you’re not alright.
Back in mom’s bedroom, Yu-jin is putting on the hard sell, telling mom that she can’t live without the boy, it’s Jun-sang or bust!
Mom is all, why! Why does it have to be him?! Why do you have to be such a glutton for punishment?
(And mom, you apparently didn’t get the memo, but they’re like, super happy right now. It’s only going to be painful if you stop covering up whatever it is that is preventing this seemingly blessed union, you know?)
Yu-jin is like, I’m not scared of anything, I can face anything, as long as I’m with him! And mom is all, even if I won’t allow it?
Mom, apparently intuiting that it’s going to take more than just her unexplained opposition, is all, even if I did say yes, Jun-sang’s mother would never allow it.
Yu-jin’s like, huh? 🤨 So mom drags out THE PICTURE and hands it to Yu-jin, who gives us an “I’m sure this is a dire portent, I’m just not entirely sure why” look.
Well, hold that thought, Yu-jin, because we are shifting venues to the basement cafe, where Jun-sang is strolling in to check up on how minion and electrician dude are doing.
Just then, Jeong-ah pops in and is all, I picked up the clothes you asked me to get in Seoul, here you go (she hands over a garment bag 🤔). Then minion is all, how’d it go in Chuncheon? And Jun-sang is like, it…will all work out!
Back to mom’s bedroom, where mom is explaining to Yu-jin how Yu-jin’s dad, professor dad, and piano mom were like best buddies from the time they were young.
After they grew up, Yu-jin’s dad and Mi-hee got engaged (!!). Before your dad met and married me, he was Mi-hee’s friend and fiancé. Her obsession with him drove both him and me crazy. But eventually, she left us alone… after she tried to commit suicide 😲 (!!).
She tried to drown herself, but professor dad saved her. I’ve given her so much pain…so if she says “no,” how can I go against her? So you see, Yu-jin, why I can never ever ever let you marry that dude!
(I feel like there’s a lot being left out of this tale…for one thing, that timeline is crazy compressed, if we’re contemplating breaking up, meeting and marrying someone else… not to mention potentially two pregnancies, which haven’t been mentioned yet but are definitely lurking in the background!)
Well, Yu-jin eventually arrives back at the resort, and goes looking for Jun-sang. Minion and Jeong-ah are chillin’ in the lobby, and Jeong-ah is all, I think your boy is down in the basement cafe.
So Yu-jin heads down, and it’s all dark and kinda scary, so just as she’s about to leave, the lights (just installed!) go on, and there’s a nice table all laid out with a high-class meal, and a pretty white dress draped over one of the chairs.
Jun-sang comes strolling in, and they sit down to eat dinner.
Yu-jin is all, this is great, what’s it for? And Jun-sang is all, a couple reasons.
First, it’s a gift to you, for your work in making this cafe possible (I guess Yu-jin did the design work on it?). From now on, let’s do everything together, you good with that? And of course, sounds great to Yu-jin! She’s all, so what’s the second reason? And Jun-sang is like, it’s a secret!
Post-dinner, they take a nice stroll in the night’s snowscape, and eventually Jun-sang asks Yu-jin what her mother had to say.
Yu-jin’s continued silence is a pretty good indication it didn’t go well, so Jun-sang is like, well, it’s okay, we expected it, right? We’ll just work to change their minds.
Oh, and you know the second reason? It was for us to fight and press on together (which, I’m sorry, doesn’t make much sense? It’s kind of the same as the first reason, at least the “do everything together” part).
Yu-jin isn’t very impressed by the second reason either, apparently, because she jumps in with the news that her mom laid on her, about how there was a love rivalry between Yu-jin’s mom and Mi-hee, and how Yu-jin’s dad and Mi-hee were engaged for a time. Which is like, totally news to Jun-sang.
Yu-jin is all, that’s why they’re against us getting married…so, what should we do? They walk back to their rooms, and Jun-sang is all, don’t worry about it, I’ll make sure everything gets taken care of, it will be fine.
And Yu-jin is like, okay, sounds good…they stare deeply, soulfully, longingly at each other for a few seconds before parting for the night.
(And I’m not even going to make any snarky comments about no good night kiss, much less spending the night together, because given the looming hidden siblings disaster that to all appearances is fast approaching, I think we can all be grateful at this point for ultra conservative early hallyu dating conventions, and in particular the extreme reticence vis-à-vis skinship displays. Yes?)
We move to the vet’s office, where Jin-sook and Yong-gook are discussing (what they assume is) the pending wedding, and how they feel bad for Sang-hyuk…just as Sang-hyuk himself strolls in.
Sang-hyuk puts up a reasonable façade of “oh, that’s great, I’m very happy for them!” that probably no one believes, but at least comports with the expected social niceties.
Back to Jun-sang, asleep in bed, sweating heavily as scenes of his search for his dad’s identity from pre-Truck of Doom run through his head. He wakes up with a puzzled, contemplative look.
The next morning, he and Yu-jin load up for a trip. Yu-jin wants to know where they’re going, but Jun-sang insists it’s a surprise. He takes them to a little photo shop, where they can have their portraits taken together, since they never had any pictures from their time together before.
Back to the resort, where Jun-sang tells Yu-jin he has to head back to Seoul to take care of some urgent matters, but he’ll be back in the evening, promise.
Cut to Jun-sang going through documents in his office. A knock on the door turns out to be Sang-hyuk on an unscheduled visit; he invites Jun-sang out for a drink.
They reconvene at a bar, and Sang-hyuk offers his congratulations; he heard they were getting married. He’s all, no, really, I mean it! I just want to know if you’re keeping your promise not to make Yu-jin cry?
Jun-sang is like, umm, yeah, about that. You see, our moms are mutually opposed to our getting married, which since both of us only have moms at this point, is kind of a bummer, you know?
So Sang-hyuk is all, why are they opposed? Jun-sang is like, didn’t your dad tell you? Apparently there was quite the little quasi-love triangle going on back then. My mom and Yu-jin’s dad were even engaged for awhile.
Sang-hyuk makes a bid for Understatement of the Entire Series when he says, wow, the three of us, and our parents, “were in an unusual relationship.” (YA THINK? 🤪)
Jun-sang is all, I know, right?! So then Sang-hyuk puts on his problem solver hat, and is all, just run away, dude. If Yu-jin loved me (ouch, nice self-burn, my man 🔥), I would say “sayonara” to parents and friends, and just run away with her.
Jun-sang is all, hmmm, but even if we were to run away together…I’m really anxious that something would haunt us…and I’m not sure why I’m so anxious about it. (YES, show, FORESHADOWING, we get it, thanks!)
Out on the street, Jun-sang is like, so…are we friends now? Sang-hyuk sticks out his hand, and they shake, and Sang-hyuk is all, don’t run away for real, eventually they’ll let you get married. Then when you do, you’ll have everyone’s blessing.
And then, as they’re walking away, Sang-hyuk is like, hey! Just remember to be grateful for your mom. If she hadn’t lost her first love, you would never have met Yu-jin. If your mother had married Yu-jin’s father, you two would have been siblings 😲😱😬. So be grateful for fortune out of misfortune! Bye!
(And so look, I know we’ve shared some speculation over whether Sang-hyuk has truly turned over a new leaf, or if he’s actually lurking in the grass, playing the long game, planning out a devastating counter-stroke.
But the thing is…I just don’t detect much evidence of his duplicitous intent at this point. Show seems to be playing it straight—he’s offering congratulations and advice in more or less good faith.
Even that last comment about siblings seems to be intended as a straightforward hypothetical “if Mi-hee married Yu-jin’s father, then you would both have been siblings of that marital union,” rather than a veiled suggestion that Yu-jin’s father is also Jun-sang’s father. So, I dunno 🤔)
Well, Sang-hyuk may not have meant it that way, but by the frozen look on Jun-sang’s face and the dramatic piano music, he is having very unsettling thoughts right about now, so….
We switch to Yu-jin, sitting at the desk in her room, looking at THE PICTURE…which is then overlaid with the burned, truncated version that Jun-sang originally had, as a means of switching scenes to Jun-sang walking by himself, deep in thought, pondering the little snippets of what he’s been told.
He makes his way to professor dad’s office, where a student assistant lets him in to wait for the professor to arrive.
While waiting, Jun-sang picks up a framed picture of Sang-hyuk and professor dad from the shelf…and a copy of THE PICTURE falls out. Which triggers a jumbled memory cascade of some sort in Jun-sang’s brain.
We cut to Jun-sang sitting in the lobby of piano mom’s building, waiting for her to arrive.
Just as mom walks in the doors, we move back to Yu-jin, who is fretful because Jun-sang hasn’t come back yet (apparently this is supposed to be the same day Jun-sang went back to Seoul, even though show is being very loose here, seeming to show a night (at the bar), a day (professor’s office, mom’s lobby) and another night (meeting with mom). Oh well, just go with it, I guess…).
Jeong-ah is reassuring Yu-jin that Jun-sang is a big boy who can take care of himself and who will surely be back soon. They go strolling for a bit, then Yu-jin sends Jeong-ah up to her room, while she waits in the lobby for Jun-sang.
Yu-jin goes back out to the base of the hill to watch the snow machines blowing out snow… where she finds Jun-sang, who has returned and apparently had an urgent need to commune with the snowy hillside. No doubt because of his talk with piano mom, the content of which we are not yet privy to…
Yu-jin is all, did you come out here because you needed to cry? (recall that many episodes ago, Min-hyung told Yu-jin she could cry to her heart’s content out here on the mountain).
Jun-sang is all, no, no, nothing sad happened to make me want to cry. Yu-jin is more attuned to emotional currents than that, though, and she’s all, what’s wrong? You seem different. Did something happen?
So then Jun-sang is all, no, it’s just, like, freezing out here, you know? And Yu-jin’s face is all, don’t bullsh*t me dude, but then she’s like, I was worried about you.
Jun-sang is all, I’m sorry, and then he hugs her, and big fat tears run down his face while he embraces her 😳, so, uh, this is not looking good?
We move to Jun-sang and Yu-jin, seated at a table in the restaurant the next morning, and out of the blue, Jun-sang is all, let’s get married today.
And WHOA!! HOLD ON JUST A DING-DANG MINUTE, MY GOOD SIR! ✋🛑 Are you kidding me right now?!
Look, the secret elopement plan was all fine and dandy when the main problem was maternal opposition (setting aside concerns about unfilial behavior, etc etc), but IF, as appears to be the case, you have received intelligence allowing you to draw the strong inference that you and Yu-jin might very well be half-siblings…what the hell business do you have,
1) not sharing that intelligence with Yu-jin and
2) pushing forward to propose an immediate marriage, for sweet pity’s sake? I mean, WHAT THE HELL, dude?!
(deep breaths…deep breaths)
Yu-jin is also like, are you kidding? (although her tone is much more benign, to be sure). Jun-sang is all, no, I’m serious, let’s do it today, just the two of us.
Yu-jin is all, you’re being strange, why all of a sudden? Jun-sang is like, I just don’t want to wait anymore.
So she’s all, are you upset because our parents are against us? And he’s like, no, I need you right now. Will you marry me, even if my mom is against it? And even if your mom is against it?
Yu-jin is all…yes. Jun-sang is like, I will too, so why do we have to string this out, just feeling anxious and upset? It’s been ten years already, let’s just get married.
(So, I’m sorry to once again be indelicate, truly, but this is one place where I’m feeling the language/cultural barrier, because the translation my subs give is “I need you right now,” and if that were really the English sentence, in this context, I would feel it very likely that there is intended to be some sexual connotation there…but I’m less sure here.
If that is in fact a reasonable connotation, well. I do think show is doing its absolute best to yank just about every emotional lever it can get its hands on, and the very very verboten frisson attendant to this long-drawn out teasing of a potentially incestual liaison is…right up that alley, providence help us all).
Back on the couch in her room, Yu-jin is pondering deep thoughts. Jeong-ah is all, so why did your dude get back so late, and Yu-jin is all, not sure. Then Jeong-ah is like, you gotta learn to control him before you marry him 🤨😬.
So then Yu-jin gives an explanation of the maternal opposition problem, and how she thinks it’s making Jun-sang suffer, and Jeong-ah is all, so now he doesn’t want to get married?! And Yu-jin is like, the opposite, actually, he wants to get married right now.
So Jeong-ah nods knowingly and is all, he probably needs you so much… marry him! (🤔😉)
(I really need a jury of impartial citizens to weigh in on the “needs you” question! Could be entirely non-sexual, too! Could be the comfort and stability of the formal legal relationship! Could be the completion of spiritual union with one’s soul mate! Could be…all of the above?).
Jeong-ah continues to philosophize, how the most important question is if they really love one another, and if they do, all else is dross. If you love him, and he you, marry him right now!
Back to Jun-sang, sitting alone in his room, as ominous piano music plays…he is remembering how he first encountered THE PICTURE that night at Yu-jin’s house, ten years ago.
And then we finally see his most recent confrontation with his mom, when he asks her straight out, who is my father? Is Jung Hyun-soo (Yu-jin’s dad) my father? Is Yu-jin’s father my father?
I’m sorry, Jun-sang, she says…and then we cut to Yu-jin pulling the curtains open and asking Jun-sang why he’s sitting there in the dark.
(This is what I mean by show being manipulative, by the way. It is just dragging this out in bits and pieces, teasing us to the point of madness without ever quite giving a declarative statement answer)
Yu-jin takes Jun-sang’s hand and suggests they go out for some fresh air. So we get more scenery of them walking around the beautiful snowy scenery up at the summit of the mountain, and then Yu-jin is all, did you mean it when you asked me to get married?
And Jun-sang is like, I did. So then she’s all, who will be our witness? Jun-sang is like, we don’t need one; we are the witnesses. Yu-jin is all, okay, let’s get married then.
Cut to Sang-hyuk arriving home, where he goes to the study to greet his dad.
But before he goes in, he hears dad on the phone with someone (no doubt one of the two mothers) saying that he agrees that Jun-sang and Yu-jin should never get married (Sang-hyuk here, continuing his trend of overhearing critical confidential information…).
Dad continues, I know it’s hard, but you should go to the resort to stop them, if we don’t stop them now, it will be harder later.
He hangs up, and Sang-hyuk comes in and is immediately all, why are you against them getting married? Is it because of me? I told you I’m fine…it wasn’t easy, but I’ve let her go. It’s none of your business anymore.
So dad is all, it’s nothing to do with you. Even Yu-jin’s mother doesn’t know why I’m against it (although for pity’s sake, you’d think she’d at least have an inkling by now?).
Sang-hyuk is all, so what is it, what’s the deal? And then professor dad, showing the exemplary moral courage that the elder generation has consistently demonstrated throughout this production (😬🤪🙄), is all, if I do tell you, do you promise to stop them from getting married?
So dad heaves a big sigh, then… Jun-sang is Hyun-soo’s son. Jun-sang and Yu-jin…are siblings. And FINALLY, a definitive statement of what we’ve been tap-dancing around for lo, these many months (or so it feels like at this point).
Cut to a scene of Sang-hyuk running out the front door and jumping in the car, no doubt to race up to the resort and DO HIS DUTY to put a stop to this unnatural nonsense.
Then we immediately move to a view of Jun-sang with his bare back, shirt half off, and I’m like, whoa! that progressed quickly! Aren’t we missing a few intermediate steps?! But no, false alarm, the shirt is half on, and he’s getting dressed for the wedding.
We see Yu-jin at her desk, in her simple white dress, putting her star pendant on… Meanwhile, Sang-hyuk skids to a stop in the resort parking lot and goes racing into the lobby.
Jun-sang waits alone in the church, in front of the altar with lit candles. The door opens, and Yu-jin slips in. She walks down the aisle to meet him. And as they take each other’s hands and gaze solemnly at each other, we hear Jun-sang’s voice-over: God, please forgive me.
Et fin. And not gonna lie to y’all, I think this may have been the closest I’ve come to actually throwing something at the screen. 🤬😤😠🚀🌞
So I’ve got a few things to get off my chest. I’ll try to keep them brief.
Item the first: the absolute moral cowardice of the elder generation.
Look, I get that this is a supremely uncomfortable, taboo subject, and that it’s deeply tied up in old wounds from the past.
But the stakes here are astronomical, and you absolutely owe it to the people that you brought into the world and who are on the hook to be directly affected by this situation to sit them down and level with them and give them the full truth, as you understand it.
To fail that duty is a complete abdication of moral responsibility, and you are bad people.
Item the second: Jun-sang, what in the SEVEN HELLS are you thinking?!
Or rather, you apparently aren’t thinking? You clearly either know or very very very strongly suspect that evidence points to you and Yu-jin sharing a father, and yet… you say nothing to her?
You push on with a snap marriage? That’s not love, my dude, that’s toxic obsession. God ain’t gonna forgive you, and neither are we.
Item the third: Has no one heard of DNA testing?
I mean, in later kdramas (Money Flower, as just one example) they throw them around like candy when there’s the slightest question about parentage (maybe it’s because of this show, and others of its vintage, that DNA testing became its own trope in later productions?)
This episode literally sent me googling for when DNA testing became commonly available, although I didn’t really come up with any definitive conclusions about what would have been open to the general public in Seoul in the early 2000s, so.
Item the fourth: Despite that declaratory sentence (finally!), that Jun-sang and Yu-jin are siblings, show is still not showing its work in a lot of places, meaning there’s still a lot we don’t know and a lot of spaces for secrets to be hiding.
In fact, if I were forced to bet at this point (as I write this, I have not yet seen the final three episodes, nor heard what happens), I would say it’s more likely than not that Jun-sang and Yu-jin turn out to actually not be siblings.
For one thing, I don’t trust Mi-hee as far as I can throw her, so the possibility that she is tainting the evidence, as it were, is rather high.
BUT, I would also bet that the reveal will come too late, i.e. only after calamitous consequences have ensued.
WE SHALL SEE.
I have come to the conclusion that this show is not good for my blood pressure.
Although I have to reluctantly give it credit for the (unintended, I’m sure) bracing shot of black humor we get at the (almost) end of this episode. I literally laughed out loud, although I kind of feel bad about it. Let’s get into it, shall we?
We start out with a stitched together recap of significant scenes from last episode, just to make sure our sense of impending disaster is nicely tuned up and ready to go.
Then we get Sang-hyuk pounding furiously on Yu-jin’s resort room door, before heading back downstairs, where he serendipitously runs into minion and Jeong-ah, and demands, then pleads to know where Jun-sang and Yu-jin are, because it’s really really important, guys!
Then we’re back in the church, where our couple faces each other before the altar.
Jun-sang puts a pretty flower tiara on Yu-jin, and then they say their vows to each other. And just as Jun-sang is getting to the end of his, the door is wrenched open, and in runs Sang-hyuk.
He strides up the aisle, looks at both of them, and then is all, let’s go Yu-jin. He grabs her wrist (the original wrist grab?!) and starts dragging her out of the church.
Yu-jin is resisting, of course, and she calls to Jun-sang (who is just standing there watching), and Jun-sang calls Sang-hyuk’s name.
Sang-hyuk turns, and is like, you think it’ll be fine if you just get married like this? No, you two can never marry. I won’t let it happen. Never!
And then he continues dragging a resisting Yu-jin out, while Jun-sang stands there like in a trance.
Outside, Sang-hyuk drags Yu-jin over to the car and shoves her inside, then takes off down the road.
Meanwhile, back in the church, Jun-sang is sitting on the altar step, when minion strolls in to find him.
Minion is all, your buddy Sang-hyuk was looking for you, so I told him you were here, did he come by? Oh, and where’s Yu-jin? To which Jun-sang mutters, I thought no one would find out. I thought no one would know about it 😬😲😒
Minion’s all, what? What’s going on with you? Did Yu-jin leave with Sang-hyuk? Jun-sang doesn’t answer, just gets up and walks out.
(And so, seriously, what was Jun-sang’s intended play here?
Even if he honestly didn’t think anyone would “find out” that he had gone and married his half-sister (putative half-sister! As we shall see, that’s still very much up in the air, as far as I’m concerned, but Jun-sang believes it, at this point in time, which is what matters), how was that supposed to work out?
Look, indelicate me is going to come out to chat for a bit here, so avert your eyes, all you who hate this sort of speculation, but… was he planning on a sexless marriage? Right from the very start?
What excuse was he going to give for that to Yu-jin, after talking about how he wanted to have kids with her? Or was he going to fake his death or something, really early on?
Or was he going to get a stealth vasectomy and never mention it to Yu-jin, and oh, isn’t it tragic that we can’t seem to get pregnant? I mean, THESE ARE ALL CRAPPY SOLUTIONS, DUDE! I am not thinking very highly of you, to say the least!)
Moving on! We are in Yu-jin’s apartment in Seoul, where Jin-sook and Yong-gook are in hand-wringing mode in the dining room (and seriously, what are they doing there? I mean, Jin-sook lives there, but…do we need a Greek Chorus or something to bear witness?), while Sang-hyuk and Yu-jin are in her bedroom.
Sang-hyuk explains himself by saying that he thought he could let her go, but he couldn’t do it, couldn’t see her get married to THAT GUY, so just break up with him, okay.
(And this is why, or at least one of the whys, that my blood pressure is in danger, because it’s driving me crazy that no one will level with Yu-jin.
They are all taking it as a given that she is such a delicate flower, such a perfect cinnamon roll, that to find out she’s fallen in love with her half-brother will destroy her.
And for sweet fancy Moses’s sake, give the woman some credit! Respect her agency! Yes, it will be a shock, and yes it will be painful…but not more painful than this horsesh*t about Sang-hyuk being so residually jealous that he must break up the marriage to Jun-sang, and never let her marry? Let her know the truth, I’m begging you all).
Of course, Yu-jin is all, you know I won’t do that. Sang-hyuk is all, you don’t have to come back to me, just break up with him. You can get over the pain. And the mothers are totally opposed!
Yu-jin is all, it doesn’t matter, I don’t care who’s against us, I don’t care if we don’t have anyone’s blessing, we have each other and that is all that matters. Sang-hyuk is like, no, you can’t marry him!
TELL HER WHY, YOU ABSOLUTE PUDDING!
Sang-hyuk comes out, and Jin-sook and Yong-gook are all, dude, what the hell? You were doing so good, holding up so well, now why are you being like this all of a sudden? So Sang-hyuk is all, do you trust me? (uhhh…) Just trust me, okay?
Out in front of the building, Jun-sang is there waiting for Sang-hyuk, so they go have a sit-down on a park bench to talk things over.
Jun-sang confirms Sang-hyuk found out from his dad, and then asks if Sang-hyuk told Yu-jin. Sang-hyuk is like, no, I couldn’t, how could I? Then he’s like, so what are you going to do? Jun-sang is all, what should I do? If we were to run away, far away, would you turn a blind eye?
We move back to the resort, where minion and Jeong-ah are trying unsuccessfully to ascertain the whereabouts of Jun-sang, who has apparently gone to ground and is incognito.
Jeong-ah is now claiming that she was “just joking” when she urged Yu-jin to get married at once (yeah, right, you sounded pretty serious to me!), and she just thought Yu-jin was going to the church to pray 🙄. Then Yu-jin calls Jeong-ah, also trying to reach Jun-sang.
So then Yu-jin swings by Jun-sang’s new pad, and his office, neither of which contain a Jun-sang, and then she goes to piano mom’s to see her.
Mi-hee (who honestly, really seems to be coming into focus as the true villain of the piece, methinks) comes out and is all, what are you doing here? Didn’t I make it clear enough that I don’t want you with my boy? And you’re still hanging around seeing him?
Yu-jin is like, I’m sorry, but we’re not breaking up. Mi-hee is all, and didn’t Jun-sang tell you why I was opposed to you being together? I see that he didn’t. Please leave.
Yu-jin is all, please, do you know where he is? Please tell me? And then Mi-hee is like, I don’t know, and it’s better if you don’t find out either.
As Yu-jin is trudging down the stairs, someone bumps her and the star pendant necklace she was holding in her hand for some reason falls down the stairwell and the stars break loose (yes, show, SYMBOLISM, we get it!).
We cut to Mi-hee and Jun-sang meeting. Mi-hee tells him that Yu-jin came looking for him, and she knows how hard it must be for him right now.
She’s all, I know it broke your heart, but I loved Yu-jin’s father so much, and as I was raising you, I couldn’t forget you were his son… and Jun-sang is all, STOP!
So Mi-hee is like, break up with her, break up now, if you don’t it will just be more painful. And if you don’t, then I’ll tell her the truth. I’ll tell her exactly why you two can’t get married. Jun-sang is all, no, you can’t, it will DESTROY HER! (😤😠).
So then we shift to Yu-jin’s building, where Jun-sang is waiting out front, and Yu-jin rushes down the stairs. She’s all, what the hell?! What’s going on! Do you have any idea how worried I was?! Where did you go, I couldn’t reach you!
Jun-sang is all, I just had something I had to do…it wasn’t a secret, just something complicated, but it’s taken care of now.
And Yu-jin is all, so it’s not anything I need to worry about? Jun-sang is all, no, nothing to worry about. Yu-jin is like, well, you’re here now, and that’s what matters, and he wipes the tears off her face, and they embrace, and then Jun-sang is all, so, do you wanna go to the beach? (say WHAAAA? 🤨).
They drive to some beach somewhere, and drive right out onto the beach as the sun is rising. Jun-sang is like, this is the first beach we’ve been together, and Yu-jin is like, that’s right, our first beach! And then Jun-sang’s voice-over is all, and it’s also our last beach…I’ll leave her here. 😣😭
And then we’re treated to a lengthy montage of them frolicking on the beach together, doing beachy sorts of things, and it’s all a very innocent and happy vibe, and Yu-jin is carefree and super adorable, and show is totally trying to have its cake and eat it too, because on the one hand INCEST, can’t have a relationship!
But on the other hand, he’s going to leave her forever after this, so he’s seemingly made clear, so that makes it quasi-okay, sort of, so we can enjoy the innocent frolicky vibes, secure in the knowledge that nothing will ultimately come of it… or, maybe I’m just weird for seeing it that way. I think I’m getting punchy here near the end, to tell you the truth.
Yu-jin has been collecting lost coins on the beach, and Jun-sang’s all, should we buy a boat and sail out to the ocean…and Yu-jin is all, but eventually we’d have to come back in because of all the people who miss us and care for us, and Jun-sang is all, right, let’s not hurt the people we love anymore.
So then Yu-jin is all, wait here for a bit, and she goes running off toward the shops at the beach.
While she’s gone, Jun-sang calls up Sang-hyuk, who’s taking a break at work, and Jun-sang is all, dude, I want you to come down here tomorrow night, can you do that? (I assume he’s told him exactly where “here” is). Sang-hyuk is all, okay, I can do that.
Then Jun-sang is all, and one more favor. I took pictures with Yu-jin and had them sent to her house, before I knew about “all this.” Could you intercept them before she gets them, and get rid of them? I don’t want to leave anything that reminds her of me.
(Oy, so looks like we’re gearing up for some really Olympic grade noble idiocy here. I cannot possibly SHEESH hard enough to convey my disgust at this development 😤😠)
So then Yu-jin bounces up, and Jun-sang is all, did you buy something with the coins you found?
Yu-jin is all, I did! Ta da! And she pulls out a disposable camera (the type that were ubiquitous when we old fogies were younger, but that you hardly ever see anymore in this age of smart phones everywhere).
And then Yu-jin shows him the coins that she’s attached together so that it has two heads (calling back to an earlier episode, where they were joking about flipping a coin, heads they get married, tails they part), and she’s all, see, now we win, no matter what! It’s always heads, so we will always be together! And then they take pictures on the beach with the camera she bought.
Well, after sundown, they stroll up to an old inn, and ask if they have any rooms available, and the lady is like, well, I don’t get many guests so I haven’t kept up with the cleaning…but how many rooms?
Jun-sang is all, two rooms. Yu-jin nudges him and looks at him like what the hell, dude, and then is like, just one room, we’re married!
So they head off to the room, and Yu-jin snaps another pic of Jun-sang and is like, to celebrate our first night! And Jun-sang looks kind of out of sorts, so she’s like, I was just joking!
So they sit down on the floor against the wall, and Yu-jin is all, right, I got us toothbrushes! Do you want to wash up first? And he’s like, no, I’ll wash later.
Then Jun-sang looks at her, and calls her name, and then he reaches out and brushes her cheek and starts to stroke her hair, and I gotta say full marks to Choi Ji-woo here, because she is totally nailing the demure look, kind of shyly looking to the side and really giving off an intense vibe of she knows exactly where this is headed and she is 100% down with it, but in a very “demure bride” sort of way.
So now Jun-sang is stroking her cheek with his other hand (this is probably the most skinship we’ve had in the show) and he leans in close, and Yu-jin closes her eyes, clearly in FULL ANTICIPATION of the best damn kiss she’s ever had in her life…and Jun-sang stops, mutters “I’ll be right back,” and gets up and leaves. Wow. I’d be pissed if I were Yu-jin, not gonna lie.
So Yu-jin gets up and follows Jun-sang out. He’s standing out looking at the ocean and… having a smoke? She gives him the ol’ back hug, and is all, I’m not scared of anything anymore, as long as you’re with me.
And then it’s next morning, and Jun-sang slides the room door open, and Yu-jin is standing out looking at the ocean, and she’s all, did you sleep well?
They then spend the day with more frolicking, walking on the beach, and then going to walk around the crowded market.
Jun-sang goes to buy some fish bread for Yu-jin, but while he’s gone, an old lady comes and asks Yu-jin to help her carry some stuff for her.
So when Jun-sang comes back, Yu-jin is gone, so then they spend a long montage running around the market looking for each other with increasingly worried faces. They finally find each other, and Jun-sang is really upset even after Yu-jin explains where she was.
Then they go and sit by the ocean again, and Yu-jin mentions to a still-broody Jun-sang how her star pendant got broken the other day, maybe it was a sign I was going to get lost today?
Jun-sang is all, why don’t you give it me and I’ll get it fixed for you. Yu-jin is like, okay, but you have to give it back to me as soon as you get it fixed!
Then they’re sitting back in their room, and Yu-jin is all, wow, was that our first argument? Jun-sang is like, I’m sorry I was short with you, I shouldn’t have been.
But then! Jun-sang starts pointing out how Yu-jin gets distracted on the street, and shouldn’t do that, and how she loses things and has to be more careful, and also, she needs to get better at saying no to people sometimes, instead of just reflexively agreeing to everything.
At this point, Yu-jin is all, you’re being weird! Talking like you’re going far away or something…and why are you just saying bad things about me? Don’t I have any good qualities?
Jun-sang is all, no, you don’t. And Yu-jin is all, are you sure? Jun-sang (with very sad/depressed look on his face) gets up and is all, no, you don’t, and then walks out.
So later, Yu-jin has fallen asleep in the room, and Jun-sang is sitting looking at her, and then he whispers her name, and leans down and kisses her on the cheek.
He goes out to the beach, and after staring out at the ocean for awhile, he throws the two-headed coin in the ocean, and then he takes out the disposable camera, and throws it in, and then finally he takes out the star pendant necklace (gasp! Not the necklace!) and throws it in too 😭.
It’s next morning, and Yu-jin wakes up, looks over to see no Jun-sang lying by her side. So she jumps up and runs out…to find Sang-hyuk sitting outside, looking at the ocean.
Yu-jin is all, what are you doing here? Where is Jun-sang? Sang-hyuk is all, Jun-sang…left. Yu-jin is like, that’s a damn dirty lie! Why did he leave? Why would he?
So then Sang-hyuk is all, Jun-sang couldn’t take the pressure from his mother, who forbade this relationship and said she would never see him again if he married you.
Yu-jin is all, that can’t be true, and Sang-hyuk is like, it is, that’s why he left you, and he won’t see you again, and he asked me to tell you this. Yu-jin is all, I can’t believe it, it can’t be true.
Back at Sang-hyuk’s house, his mother is all, honey, what’s wrong with Sang-hyuk? Is he having another Yu-jin problem (🙄). Professor dad is all, he’s fine, just have him come see me when he gets home.
So then professor dad is reflecting on the recent meeting he had with Mi-hee.
He was like, I remember right after Hyun-soo got married, and you were drowning in the water. Then you left here and ran away…so I thought Jun-sang was my son (I think this is implying that he and Mi-hee got together around the time he saved her from drowning, right?).
Mi-hee is all, why are you dredging up the past, I don’t want to talk about it.
Professor dad is all, were you already pregnant with Jun-sang? I thought you just wanted to die because Hyun-soo left you, but if you were pregnant…that was another reason.
But why didn’t you tell Jun-sang he is Hyun-soo’s son? You loved Hyun-soo so much, and you wanted to get him back. If he had known about Jun-sang, he wouldn’t have left you.
At this, Mi-hee (who hasn’t said anything during this exposition), is all, you know the difference between you and Hyun-soo? When you’re in love, you believe whatever your loved one says. You loved me, and Hyun-soo didn’t.
And I gotta say, I am becoming more and more convinced that Mi-hee is lying, and that professor dad is in fact Jun-sang’s father 🤔🤨
We move to professor dad’s home office, and Sang-hyuk walks in to see him. He leaves the door ajar, of course, so just as he sits down to talk, mother strolls up with a snack tray…but hearing them start talking, she pauses at the door and thus hears everything 😬.
Professor dad’s first question is, when did Jun-sang first learn he and Yu-jin are siblings? (which sends mother’s eyebrows into the stratosphere, as you might imagine).
Sang-hyuk is all, he found out when his memories returned awhile ago. Professor dad is all, so that means he knew about it before the accident?
Sang-hyuk is all, yes, but I’m not sure exactly how he found out. Anyway, they broke up. I do feel really bad for them. I should never have let her go to Jun-sang, even if she didn’t love me, I should have held onto her so she wouldn’t have to go through this 🙄😤.
Professor dad is all, oh, by the way, I don’t think Jun-sang and Yu-jin are the same age, are they? So how could you all be in the same class?
And Sang-hyuk is all, no, they are the same age, their birthdays are only a few months apart. At which dad gets that sort of “oh shit” look on his face, probably as he works out the timeline.
(And I hafta say, at this point I am in the “90% or more sure that Mi-hee is lying about Hyun-soo being Jun-sang’s father” camp, and that it is actually professor dad. Wondering if professor dad has reached the same conclusion?)
Well, we switch to Yu-jin’s apartment, where Yu-jin is sitting on the couch with pensive sad face, when the doorbell rings.
(And it was at this point, I was all, AHA! I bet it is Sang-hyuk’s mother, come bearing tales! And when Yu-jin answers the door, and it is indeed Sang-hyuk’s mother, not gonna lie, I burst out laughing 😁. Maybe it was just a release of nervous tension, but I was like, oh boy, of course.
Well played, show, well played. Because of course Yu-jin was going to learn the truth, and this is just the path of maximum shenanigans).
Sang-hyuk’s mom sits down at the kitchen table to talk with Yu-jin, and she’s all, I’m not here to talk about calling off the wedding, that’s over and done with…but are you still seeing Sang-hyuk?
Because I heard that you were going out with THAT GUY who I saw at the ski resort, and then you broke up with him?
Look, I get it, I was shocked too when I heard about it, but if you’re looking to get back together with Sang-hyuk just because you’re having a hard time, I can’t allow it.
I don’t care if you and Jun-sang are siblings or not (😲), but you and Sang-hyuk are absolutely over for good.
(As I’ve remarked before, Sang-hyuk’s mother is not a particularly nice person, overflowing with the milk of human kindness or anything, but she has a certain refreshingly blunt, mercenary quality to her that is kind of a breath of fresh air amidst all the duplicity).
At this, Yu-jin looks up and is like, what are you talking about?
Mother repeats, it was a shock to hear that you and Jun-sang are siblings, but the one you should blame for that is your father. Why did you drag Sang-hyuk into…and Yu-jin interrupts her with, what did you say about Jun-sang and me? Say that part again?
Mother is all, you didn’t know? Yu-jin, as the tears start to flow, is all, what did you just say? Mother gets that sort of exasperated “dammit, I f*&%d up, didn’t I” look on her face, and our final shot before the curtain closes is of Yu-jin rushing full speed down the stairs….
SOMEBODY BRING ME A TONIC AND A HOT COMPRESS!! I NEED A BIT OF A LIE-DOWN TO DECOMPRESS HERE.
It’s the homestretch, kids! Two more episodes, one more week. What enormities lie in wait for us to yet discover?