Painter of the Wind: Episode 4
Ha! Park Shin Yang in drag. That image has been BURNED onto my BRAIN.
I guess that shows you just how much more lighthearted this episode was over, say, episode three, which was Angstfest to the Max. What I appreciate about Painter is that, although it can try a little too hard to be humourous at times, those light scenes always serve something to the plot and the characters. So I can tolerate things that I wouldn’t be able to tolerate in lesser dramas.
SONG OF THE DAY
Cherry Filter – “난 여자였다” (I was a woman). Dahee says: “From their first album, ‘Head-Up’. I adore Cherry Filter with my entire being, and this song seemed very suitable, for obvious reasons.”
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EPISODE 4 RECAP
Hong-do takes Yoon-bok to a doctor, who says she’ll be just fine. As for her hand, she just needs to open and close it several times a day, and keep it flexible. Oh, and she needs to take some medicine too, but what doctor in a drama doesn’t prescribe medicine?
Later, once Yoon-bok’s awake, Hong-do takes her to Jung-sook’s place, and tells her to stay there for the time being. Yoon-bok tells him there’s no need, and that he should butt out of her business, since she has no intention of going back to the Dohwaseo. In fact, she doesn’t even need to call him “teacher” anymore, and reverts to the less formal “Kim hyung”.
Hong-do, however, isn’t about to let her go, and as she turns to leave, he reminds her that, with that battered hand, no one will hire her or take her. Faced with no other choice, she follows him into the house.
However, once she’s there, she refuses to eat or change clothes, and simply spends all day lying in bed. But then she gets a special visitor: Young-bok.
The two of them have a light, friendly conversation, in which Young-bok tries his best to cheer her up, and shows her some paint powder from the Danchongso, which he supposedly made. He tells her that he’s doing really well at the Danchongso, and, without outright saying it, that she shouldn’t feel worried or guilty over his plight. Yoon-bok’s too smart not to know that he’s probably exaggerating, but she’s very touched by his gesture. Young-bok is too sweet for words. Awww.
But then we get a glimpse of his real life at the Danchongso, in which things aren’t nearly as cheery as he made them out to be. He’s bullied there for being from the Dohwaseo (and thus originally of a higher class), and gets harrassed regularly. He manages to do okay, however, by the thought of Yoon-bok.
Meanwhile, Jeong-jo’s meeting with an envoy from China, from whom he’s received a gift (the one for Jeong-soon shown in episode one). It’s now his turn to send a gift, and he instructs the Dohwaseo to submit paintings to send the Chinese.
Along with the Dohwaseo elders, Hong-do’s planning on a painting, too, and Jeong-jo tells him that he’s looking forward to seeing it. Talk about laying on the pressure.
However, Byeok-soo has ordered several painters to pack up Hong-do’s things, because he’s sending him off to Pyeongyang. When Hong-do goes to confront him, Byeok-soo argues that, since he’s done with his mission, he’d might as well leave. Hong-do asks him if he’s that afraid of him, and Byeok-soo scoffs, but he doesn’t answer directly.
Hong-do declares that he can’t leave, and that he’s a little different from his teacher, who died ten years ago. As he turns to go, Byeok-soo basically tells him that, since Yoon-bok has disappeared from the Dohwaseo and has pretty much done whatever she wants, that she won’t be able to take the exam to become an official painter.
Hong-do goes to visit Yoon-bok, who’s still in bed. He forces her out, and the two of them go on a little outing to the marketplace. They do things like drink, eat, try on sunglasses (yes, sunglasses), watch a cockfight, and look at pretty merchandise (Yoon-bok looks at a butterfly ornament again – this has been an interesting and recurring theme for her, since they are made for women. Does it symbolize her hidden womanhood, and her longing to “fly”, and embrace the woman within her?). As they do, there’s a voiceover in which Hong-do tells Yoon-bok that he, too, once upon a time, tried to quit painting. He refused to do anything, and caused lots of trouble for everyone. They all gave up on him, except for his teacher, who suffered a lot because of him. Yoon-bok’s intrigued, and asks him why he paints at all.
Hong-do: “I don’t know.”
Yoon-bok: “What do you mean, you don’t know?”
Hong-do: “Do you think those cocks know why they’re fighting?”
Hong-do: “Do you know why you’re eating food as you eat it? …For painters, painting is food. Food! You can’t eat because you’re not painting. …So don’t think about it too hard, and just paint. Because it seems to me that you were just born that way.”
Hong-do takes Yoon-bok to what looks like a shack back at the house where Yoon-bok’s staying, and the two of them stick up large sheets of paper. Looking at the blank paper, Hong-do has a Michelangelo moment, and asks, “Can you see it?”. Yoon-bok can’t see anything, however, and Hong-do tells her that everything they need is already in the paper, so it’s the same thing as having painted an image already. Yoon-bok scoffs at him, and Hong-do goes to show her – quickly sketching an old man with his brush. Once he’s done, he asks Yoon-bok, “Can you see it?”.
Yoon-bok doesn’t seem to get his point quite yet, so he continues to paint, repeating each time he’s finished drawing another person, “Can you see it?”.
Finally, after the third sketch, Yoon-bok realizes that he’s painting random people that they encountered throughout the day. Hong-do tells her that it’s easy to paint things exactly the way they are when they’re right there in front of you, but it’s important to know how to capture the images you want in your mind, and be able to draw them again later, having captured the essence – the spirit, if you will – of the person. It’s just like when she broke through the invisible line of the six dots.
Inspired, Yoon-bok begins calling him “teacher” again. Hong-do holds up a candle, and tells her:
“Just like the way a single light creates countless shadows, one line can contain countless different shapes. If you can see those shadows, then you’ll be able to capture everything within your painting.”
As he’s saying this, we’re given the image of young Yoon-bok wih her father, who told her the exact same thing when she was little. Yoon-bok is startled, and a little touched – it’s like her father is speaking to her through Hong-do, beyond the years (little does she know that Hong-do and her father knew each other!). Hong-do holds out the brush to her, asking, “Will you paint?”. She takes it, hesitantly.
In a beautiful moment, Hong-do wraps his hand around hers, strengthening her grip on the brush. And he says, “Don’t be afraid.” He guides her hand, and the two of them paint, with Yoon-bok visibly affected by their close proximity. It’s very romantic.
The romance factor is very in-your-face in the following sequence, in which we’re shown images of the two of them painting together throughout the night, continually bumping into each other, accidentally bringing their faces close to each other, falling back onto the ground, and, after Yoon-bok accidentally splatters paint on one portion of the giant painting they’re working on, Hong-do playfully chasing her with a rake. It’s a great way to show how close they’re becoming, and the underlying romantic tensions between them.
In the morning, Yoon-bok wakes up first. They’ve finished the painting, and it looks absolutely gorgeous. She watches Hong-do as he sleeps, and in a very tender gesture, takes his hand and whispers, “Thank you, teacher.” She brings his hand to her forehead, and Jung-sook takes this moment to enter the shack, interrupting a highly embarrassed Yoon-bok, who drops Hong-do’s hand like a hot potato. It’s adorable.
Her spirits renewed, Yoon-bok attacks her breakfast like someone who hasn’t eaten in years. The way she stuffs her mouth with random food is fairly disgusting. Poor Moon Geun Young. This scene must have been awful to do. And why do I keep getting reminded of Yoon Eun Hye’s early jjajangmyun eating scene in Coffee Prince? Blergh.
Jeong-jo is being presented with all the paintings that the members of the Dohwaseo prepared to be sent as a gift to China, but he’s displeased with each painting that is brought forward. He asks where Hong-do’s submission is, and Byeok-soo tells him that Hong-do hasn’t prepared a submission. Asshole.
But! Hong-do arrives at the palace with his own offering – the painting he spent the night making with Yoon-bok. (Funny how it looks so much smaller now…) It is the super-famous work “Group of Gods” by Kim Hong-do. Jeong-jo loves it at first sight, naturally, and declares that this will be the painting sent to China, regretting, at the same time, that he won’t be able to look at this painting for much longer. The Dohwaseo elders are not pleased.
Jeong-jo tells Hong-do that he’ll grant him a wish in return. Hong-do tells him that he didn’t make the painting himself, but that he was helped by a student, Yoon-bok. He would like Yoon-bok to be promoted to the level of official painter. Jeong-jo asks Byeok-soo for his opinion, and Byeok-soo argues that Yoon-bok ran away from the Dohwaseo, and that it would be wrong for the Dohwaseo to take him back so easily. So Jeong-jo offers a compromise: If Yoon-bok passes the official exam, then she’ll be promoted. But if she doesn’t, then Hong-do will have to return to Pyeongyang.
The day of the exam arrives! Only one person can pass (yes, it’s that exclusive). They have until noon the next day to finish. WHO WILL BE THE WINNER? My god, it’s like a game show! Only more awesome.
They’re given two subject choices: One is a painting that depicts an event during the late King Yeong-jo’s reign. The other is a poem (which mentions air, swinging, and skirts). They have to understand it, and paint something that depicts the poem properly.
The other students get to work right away, with the oldest student conveniently mentioning that no one’s ever chosen the very difficult poem choice before. But Yoon-bok simply sits, pondering it over. She remembers Hong-do’s words – “Create a painting that lives.” And she suddenly remembers Jeong-hyang (say it with me, folks: SO GAY!). She gets up and gets permission to leave, in order to find a suitable subject.
Meanwhile, it seems that Byeok-soo has instructed one of the painters to make sure that Yoon-bok doesn’t pass the exam – no matter what it takes to stop her. He wants to make sure that Hong-do has to leave for Pyeongyang. Ugh, dude. Must you persist with your asshattery?
Once outside, Yoon-bok asks a group of women where the women’s swinging (and bathing!) location is. The women tease her, pretty much calling her a Peeping Tom, and Yoon-bok runs off, her tail between her legs.
As she’s running off, a random kisaeng calls out to her, acting all flirty. Yoon-bok asks her if she can ask her a question, and the kisaeng says yes – if, that is, she’ll paint her. Yoon-bok turns away, uninterested…and then gets an idea. Setting it in motion, she says coquettishly, “I can’t draw women when they have their clothes on.” Ha! Yoon-bok, you giant flirt.
So she takes the kisaeng to a remote location by a tree, where the kisaeng passes her her articles of clothing one by one, and Yoon-bok puts them on. Once she’s completely changed, she runs off, leaving the poor kisaeng alone and in her undergarments.
Yoon-bok saunters through the market, making ridiculously bad attempts to look feminine. It’s really quite amusing. As she walks along, she accidentally runs into Hong-do, who’s followed her out of the Dohwaseo, but has lost track of her along the way. Thankfully, however, Hong-do doesn’t recognize her, and Yoon-bok hurries along on her way. She goes back to the women who teased her before, and once again asks where the swinging is taking place. They, too, fail to recognize her, and tell her right away.
Not long after Yoon-bok’s gone off, Hong-do approaches the same group of women, and asks them if they’ve seen a short student painter around. They tell him that they saw one who asked them where the bathing was taking place, and thus Hong-do goes off to follow her there.
Yoon-bok successfully infiltrates the bathing area, where the women are taking turns on the swing, bathing, chatting and generally having a great time. She’s found the subject for her painting.
And then Jeong-hyang arrives! Feeling mischievous, Yoon-bok approaches her, and lightly chats to her as though she’s a woman (which…she is. Oh. Right. I forgot). Jeong-hyang is confused at first, but it’s pretty clear that she comes to recognize her, even if she plays along with Yoon-bok’s ruse. Yoon-bok believes she’s fooled her.
The person who’s been taking a turn at the swing finishes, and Jeong-hyang suggests that the two of them ride together. So they get on the swing together, and begin – with Jeong-hyang revealing that she knows who Yoon-bok is, saying, “Hold on tight…student painter. The first time is always important.”
Thus follows the gayest scene of the entire drama so far. The two of them are swinging back and forth on the swing, facing each other, and Jeong-hyang’s eyes are like, BORING A HOLE into Yoon-bok’s face. Yoon-bok, on the other hand, is too awed by her surroundings, busy turning everything she sees into a painting in her mind’s eye to really look at her all that often. But seriously. They’re rocking back and forth. There’s some serious chemistry going on there. And at the end, Yoon-bok shouts in jubilation (breathing heavily…), “It’s done! It’s done!” (she’s talking about the painting, you pervs!). It is like a big, fat, obvious metaphor for sex. And Yoon-bok gets an orgasm at the end. OH. MY. GOD.
I knew I was watching this drama for a reason.
Meanwhile, a random male passersby sits down by the tree where the kisaeng is isolated, lamenting the fact that he doesn’t have a girlfriend. That’s when the kisaeng gets his attention, and asks him for his help. Tee hee.
Hong-do’s found a way to sneak to the bathing area. He steals some clothes from a sleeping woman, and basically crossdresses, covering up his face so that no one will know he’s a man. He finds Yoon-bok, who’s busy painting (surrounded by an admiring crowd), and lets her know that he’s there.
This scene is interesting in its use of silences – every time the camera focuses on the painting, and on the painting process, everything becomes absolutely silent – we can’t even hear the sound of the waterfall anymore. Very nice way to show the concentration and genius involved.
But as Yoon-bok’s about to draw the person on the swing, she hesitates. Hong-do asks what’s wrong. Yoon-bok says she can’t draw the person there, because she hasn’t seen into the heart of that particular woman yet. (Ooooooooh.)
That’s when the kisaeng finds her, and demands that she return her clothes. Hong-do tries to calm her down, and accidentally gets himself revealed as a man. Hong-do makes up a lie on the spot, pretending that Yoon-bok’s his sickly wife, and that he just wanted to make sure that she was okay. The kisaeng shouts that it’s Yoon-bok who’s the one who stole her clothes, and that she’s a man. No one believes her, but as Yoon-bok and Hong-do are about to make their getaway, Yoon-bok drops her male painter’s clothes, and they’re found out. Jeong-hyang promises to take care of Yoon-bok’s painting supplies for her, and Yoon-bok and Hong-do run away. End episode.
We see some major developments in the Yoon-bok and Hong-do relationship in this episode, which was quite nicely done, I thought, despite the fact that the scene with them painting together could be a little too obvious at times. Painter always has that tendency to overdo things, but it hasn’t quite slipped over the edge into obnoxiousness yet, which I really do appreciate.
But while it can overdo things at times, it can also be really subtle in its tiny, perfect little details – such as the repeated scenes of Yoon-bok looking at the butterfly ornament. Almost everything means something, and for that, I really have to respectfully bow my head towards writer Lee Eun Young, who seems to be turning out to be an exciting new talent in sageuk.
Also, I know I’m always fawning over Moon Geun Young, but I just want to note that she does a very good job of showing the awkwardness of Yoon-bok’s masquerade as a woman – it’s one thing to act like a guy, but to act like a guy who’s trying to act like a woman? That’s a little trickier. And Moon pulls it off with panache and charm. I really do want to marry her. I’m serious about this. Here’s to hoping her poor nose makes a quick recovery.
- Production hopes for speedy recovery for “Painter” star
- “Painter” delayed due to more injury
- Painter of the Wind: Episode 3
- Falling down on the job
- Painter of the Wind: Episode 2
- Take two: Painter of the Wind, Episode 1
- Painter of the Wind: Episode 1
- The current drama landscape: An overview
- Press day for The Painter of Wind