Yes, Will It Snow For Christmas is shaping up to be standard melodrama stuff, in terms of story. Still, I’d say it’s excellently drawn standard melodrama (which makes it not so standard after all?). Trust me, you won’t find anyone who’s more reluctant to dive into the melo genre, but for some reason this drama has dug its claws under my skin. Ew, problematic metaphor. You know what I mean.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lyn – “실화” (True Story) [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
The air is tense in Kang-jin’s apartment as he asks Tae-joon if he’s too busy to take his fiancee to the hospital. He asks pointedly, “If you’re busy, should I take her?” Tersely, Tae-joon says that he’s been an inconvenience and will buy him a drink later. He takes Ji-wan by the arm and leaves.
In Tae-joon’s apartment, Ji-wan affects a cheery tone, saying she’s not really sick — she’ll be fine after she eats. She grabs things from his fridge and starts to dig in, but because he’s upset (at himself), he yells at her not to eat food that’s expired.
Ji-wan questions his words: “I’ve been quite an inconvenience. I’ll buy you a drink later. Was that all you could say?” Wasn’t he supposed to get offended that Kang-jin overstepped his bounds, stand up for her, and maybe even hit him? He should have yelled at her for being spending the night with another guy and called her names. Then she could yell at him for not showing up at the engagement party and ignoring her calls.
I love this conversation because they’re both overcompensating; so much more is going on below the surface discussion. She’s feeling guilty for feeling drawn to Kang-jin (suspecting, but not knowing, that he’s “her” Kang-jin), while Tae-joon is feeling guilty for cheating.
Ji-wan starts to toss out the question, “Were you with some other woman?” but cuts herself off. She must suspect the truth but pulls back at the last minute, as though challenging him to confirm it but then not wanting to hear it. She tells him, “If you can’t take responsibility for me through the end, don’t hold on to me,” and leaves.
But as she steps out into the hallway, she says in disappointment, “I told him not to hold on — is he really not going to hold on?” She has also walked out wearing mismatched shoes — one slipper, one boot — but can’t go back to change now.
Kang-jin finds a hairpin Ji-wan left behind, and takes it. He runs into Ji-wan at the elevator and asks why she’s not going to the hospital; she answers that she’s all better. Noticing her shoes, he guesses that she left in a fight. Ji-wan finds his familiarity unsettling — probably because she suspects who he is and is trying to keep him at a distance, unsuccesfully.
Ji-wan: “How many women have you taken to your bed without their permission while they were asleep?”
Kang-jin: “I haven’t counted so I don’t know. Aren’t you curious what I did after I brought you to the bed?”
Ji-wan: “Are you a player?”
Kang-jin: “Do I look like a player?”
Ji-wan: “How long have you lived like this?”
Kang-jin: “I haven’t counted that either, so I don’t know.”
Ji-wan: “Do I look like a pushover to you?”
Kang-jin: “How do I look to you? Up close, I’m really handsome, aren’t I? Don’t I look high-class?”
Ji-wan: “You’re being rude. I’m your colleague’s fiancee.”
Kang-jin: “I thought the ceremony didn’t happen.”
Ji-wan: “What are you trying to do?”
The elevator doors open. He traps her, and says, “I’m thinking of seducing you, for real, like a player.” She stutters, “Don’t you know who I am? D-don’t you?”
She starts to repeat the part about being Tae-joon’s fiancee. He cuts her off with a resigned sigh: “Fine, insist that you’re Park Tae-joon’s fiancee. So what? Have you ever seen a player being picky?”
All this excitement is pretty overwhelming for Ji-wan and she walks out in a daze. She stumbles when Kang-jin honks her out of his way and zooms on past her.
But he doesn’t just leave with that rude gesture — he returns to find Ji-wan still sitting on the curb. Without a word, he gets out of the car and sets a new pair of boots down in front of her, then drives off again. Naturally, she recalls the last time Kang-jin gave her shoes.
(Are they going to subvert the whole “don’t give your lover shoes” adage? By the way, I would LOVE if they did. I’m so tired of that gesture representing such manufactured meaningfulness.)
At the office parking garage, Kang-jin pulls in to see Woo-jung venting her ire on the poor security guard for a tiny scratch on her car. Kang-jin tells her to take it easy — it’s barely noticeable and she’s overreacting.
Woo-jung can’t believe his nerve: “Don’t you know who I am?” Not intimidated, he answers that he does know, which is why he’s being so polite. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have bothered to try, since she’s such a selfish person who doesn’t care about hurting others.
She fumes, “Are you done talking?!” He answers calmly, “If I think of more, I will let you know.” He bows and takes his leave. Shocked to be treated with anything less than servility, Woo-jung screams after him to stop, but he ignores her.
In her office, she seethes, and tells her employee Jae-hyun (who’s Kang-jin’s co-worker friend) that she’ll have him fired him immediately, just as soon as Daddy gets back.
His words really got to her, so she asks Jae-hyun if she really is someone who disregards other people’s unhappiness for the sake of her own ambitions. Jae-hyun gets her permission to answer honestly (he’s her grade school classmate), and answers bluntly, “Yes, you are. Cha Kang-jin has an awful temper but he never says something that’s not true.”
Unable to let it go, she exclaims, “When did I do that?” Who has she hurt because of her greed? Jae-hyun points out one case — Ji-wan.
So, Woo-jung drops by the cafe. Without introducing herself, Woo-jung takes stock of Ji-wan’s appearance, sees that she looks pretty resilient, and says, “I can feel less sorry, then.” She offers to give her a much cushier job with better pay. Or money, if she needs. When asked by a puzzled Ji-wan who she is, Woo-jung answers, “Park Tae-joon’s girlfriend.”
Ji-wan realizes this must be director Lee Woo-jung. She asks why Woo-jung would pay her, and gets back the careless answer that she feels sorry “for this and that. I was with Tae-joon on your engagement day. I’m starting over with him. Maybe I should apologize for it, so in any case I’m sorry.”
Woo-jung says this all with her rich, privileged air, like she’s rather pleased with herself for actually apologizing and being so generous. Ji-wan counters, what if she kicks up a fuss? What if she says she can’t let him go? What if she clings?
Woo-jung asks, “Isn’t it better to preserve the last of your dignity?”
Tae-joon conducts his meeting with the Chinese developers, which has been rescheduled since he missed the original meeting. But the Chinese men stop him — his presentation differs from what they’d discussed yesterday. The lead Chinese businessman takes out a series of napkins with design plans on them, and asks for Cha Kang-jin. The only reason they agreed to this meeting is because they liked his ideas.
Thus Kang-jin is called in to take over. He completes the napkin diagram and explains his concept of planning an eco-friendly development — a green city. All the while, Tae-joon eyes his colleague in a new light.
The Chinese developers are pleased and trade happy comments amongst themselves. As they converse in Chinese, Tae-joon addresses Kang-jin:
Tae-joon: “You’re a frightening man, Team Leader Cha. Backstabbing someone who asked for your help.”
Kang-jin: “It was not my intention. I’m sorry. I couldn’t hold onto them with your concept.”
Tae-joon: “Why are you doing this to me? Do you have a problem with me?”
Kang-jin: “Is that what it looks like?”
The Chinese developers are ready to agree to work together, and regardless of whose idea this was, it should be a victory for the Bumseo Group team, not a personal glory for Kang-jin — but Tae-joon’s jealousy gets the better of him. Rather than accepting graciously, he suggests that Kang-jin put on a presentation himself. This makes it a competitive situation, and just makes things more difficult for everyone; it’s sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face.
Jae-hyun gripes about Tae-joon’s dick move on Kang-jin’s behalf — he only has one week for a presentation that would be difficult to do in a month! What was Tae-joon thinking?
Kang-jin accepts this as his challenge and figures he’ll have to give it a shot. Jae-hyun warns him that he’s going to get fired as soon as the president returns, but Kang-jin’s not terribly worried. He jokes that if Woo-jung sics her father on him, he’ll just sic his mother on her.
Speaking of mothers, Chun-hee drops by Jun-su’s office, saying that she’s unwell. Ever since she was beat up by that thug, she has been in pain, and asks Jun-su to take a look.
Jun-su refuses, keeping his tone brisk and telling her to go to another hospital. He tries to get her to leave and ignores her persistent pleas. This piques her temper, so she asks, does she have to break a leg to get him to treat her? Fine, she’ll do that.
Chun-hee heads up to the roof so she can fling herself off it and break something. But at the last minute, she wonders, “What if I die? I’m only trying to get hurt.” She vacillates, stepping off the ledge, and back on, and back off again.
Jun-su watches — he’d worried, but now that he sees her hesitation, he dryly says that he’s waiting to give her a hand if she can’t do it herself. So Chun-hee challenges him to give her a push: “Why, can’t you kill me a second time when you’ve already killed me once?” The Chun-hee he once knew died 30 years ago when he killed her.
He pulls her down from the ledge and drives her somewhere — and his wife Young-sook spots them leaving together. Jun-su pulls up to a hospital and tells her to get an X-ray, then calls in a favor with a doctor friend. Chun-hee’s eyes fill with tears at this unexpected kindness.
It’s a small but probably significant tidbit that Ji-wan still wears Kang-jin’s necklace. You’d think she would find it painful, but the whole matter is rather emotionally complicated, so I can see her attachment to it.
Meanwhile, Kang-jin still has Ji-wan’s hair pin, which he puts onto his necktie and wears as a tie clip.
After his morning fight with Ji-wan, Tae-joon has been feeling conflicted — I’m sure he does care for Ji-wan and hates to hurt her, even though his passion for Woo-jung seems to be much more fiery. He shows up at their new apartment, which is completely furnished with new appliances, clothes, everything.
In contrast with Woo-jung, his behavior is quiet, reserved, almost resigned. She is thrilled to be together again and tells him not to go anywhere. Tae-joon looks at her injured wrist and tells her not to hurt herself again. But her happy smile fades into confusion as he adds, “Even if you say you’re really dying, I won’t come again. I’ve done as much as I could. I think we’ve gone as far as we could.”
Now his attitude starts to make sense — why he didn’t break it off with Ji-wan, why he couldn’t fully embrace Woo-jung, why he seems angry with himself. Growing angry, Woo-jung asks what he’s saying. She doesn’t understand his beating around the bush, so just say it!
Tae-joon confesses that he received money from her father to break it off. He used it all so he can’t even return it. She demands to know how much. He answers, “Enough that a man like me wouldn’t be able to touch that much in my lifetime. Enough to make me regret not accepting it earlier.” Stunned to have the bomb dropped on her like this, Woo-jung wrestles with her hurt, bursting out that she’ll die if he goes like this. He tells her to go ahead — he warned her that he wouldn’t come again. Tearfully she asks whether this is all their love amounted to. Was it so little that he could give her up for money?
He genuinely seems pained, but with his face averted, he strives for a cavalier tone (though he has tears in his eyes): “I guess it is.” He walks out, then calls the president’s man to say that it’s all over.
That night at the office, Woo-jung is nowhere to be found and her phone goes unanswered. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but Kang-jin’s team, who have been working incredibly hard to make their presentation deadline, needs her signature of approval on some documents. They only have two hours left before they have to send it over to the New York office. Kang-jin had thought her approval had already been given, and the team hadn’t anticipated this hiccup.
Kang-jin heads out of the office immediately and calls around to find out Woo-jung’s whereabouts. This is an emergency, and he scours nightclub after nightclub, even barging into private rooms and restrooms.
He finally spots her drinking alone in a corner at a particular club, and states his case in an urgent but businesslike manner. Woo-jung is in a foul mood and yells at his impertinence for barging in at this hour, at this location, to talk to her about business. Undeterred, Kang-jin presents the document — everyone has been working their asses off for this project and they just need her signature. They only have thirty minutes left to make their deadline.
Uncaring, Woo-jung pours herself more liquor, spilling alcohol all over his paper. He’s come this far and he’s not going to let her petulance interfere, so Kang-jin angrily grabs her arm and drags her out. She resists and complains, so he hoists her on his shoulder and carries her out. He calls the office to inform them he’s heading over, so get the paperwork ready.
As he charges out of the building, Kang-jin hears her shouting turning into sobs. This is the moment I felt most keenly for Woo-jung’s character, and it’s also possibly the first time Kang-jin does, too. She cries, “What did I do wrong? Why did you play with me?” Her pain doesn’t necessarily excuse her behavior, but it does explain it.
After dropping by the office, Kang-jin retrieves a fresh document and again asks for Woo-jung’s signature. She scribbles it, then proposes drunkenly, “Stay with me tonight.” She offers him a lot of benefits, such as money, in exchange.
For a moment it seems like Kang-jin looks at her with sympathy, but when he answers, it’s with a brusque tone. Jae-hyun is on his way here, so if she’s going to buy a man’s company, she should buy his. He leaves her in the car and walks off.
Ji-wan arrives at the cafe that night to find Tae-joon staggering, drunk, in front of the door. He asks for a late-night drink, like he used to do. Ji-wan answers coolly that she’ll charge him exorbitantly for the privilege.
For a while, Tae-joon drinks by himself; it’s like old times, only the emotions are all a-jumble this time around. She’s fighting her hurt, while he gazes her with regret and sadness. Tae-joon breaks the silence — he has something to tell her. He waits for a sign from her before continuing, and there’s a long moment of silence as she works out how best to respond.
Finally, she bursts out, “Go then! I’ll let you go, so go! You don’t have to pretend to be so miserable, I won’t hold you back! So go to her!” She’ll meet a better man and live happily, so he can leave without worrying.
Ah, the irony. Just as he’s broken things off with Woo-jung… He doesn’t argue; he just drops his credit card to pay his bill, and leaves silently.
Working late, Kang-jin asks someone to pop out to buy some snacks, but all the others are passed out in exhaustion. So he goes instead, pausing to look at the (seemingly closed) cafe before continuing on his way.
On Kang-jin’s way back from the store, he sees a drunk Tae-joon stumbling out and heading for the street. Ji-wan runs after him to return the credit card, only to see that Tae-joon has staggered into the busy intersection against the light signal. Cars zoom past him and he collapses in the middle of the road.
Alarmed, Ji-wan rushes into the intersection after him and urges him to get up, but he’s unconscious and doesn’t budge. Cars honk and brakes screech, but one oncoming car is headed straight for them. She can’t move Tae-joon, so she makes a split-second decision: she stands up in front of him, arms outstretched, as though to take the brunt of the impact instead of him…
…which is when Kang-jin races into the street and grabs her tightly, positioning himself between her and the car.
(Agh! The emotion on his face — it kills me! It makes this cliche of a moment worth it.)
The oncoming car swerves to avoid them, and after registering that they’re safe, they break apart in stunned silence, looking intently at each other… which is why it’s got to hurt for Kang-jin when Ji-wan races to Tae-joon’s side and worriedly calls out to him.
Kang-jin carries Tae-joon home and deposits him on the bed, then faces Ji-wan with a frustration that manifests as anger. His fear over her actions causes him to lash out with harsh words, especially when he sees her scraped, bleeding hand:
Kang-jin: “Do you often hear that you’re foolish? That you’re stupid, and pathetic? You must get that a lot. If you act like this, will he come to you? If you give up your life or beg, do you think you could hold onto him?”
Ji-wan: “I’m going to try. I’ll do whatever I have to. If I can hold onto him by risking my life or begging, I’ll try. I’m thankful for today, but if you’re done, could you leave? I want to be alone with Tae-joon.”
He turns to go, then pauses, looking at her face searchingly.
Kang-jin: “Can I ask one question? What is his mother like? What kind of person is Park Tae-joon’s mother?”
After he walks out, her stricken face starts to crumple in tears.
I’m editing this part, because I prefer an alternate interpretation proffered, which is that this cuts through Ji-wan’s denial and proves that it’s really Kang-jin. The statement speaks to her rejection of him as kids, when she invoked his tawdry mother as one of the reasons she didn’t like him. Even if she didn’t mean the words then, Kang-jin’s question is quietly condemning.
As if to underscore the point, his mother calls. He’s not in the mood to sing tonight, so she offers herself for lullaby duty. After today’s encounter with Jun-su and his kindness at the hospital, she’s in a great mood. She sings Shim Su-bong’s “그때 그 사람” (That man of the past) [ Download ]
When it rains, I think of that man from the past
He never had much to say
He hid love’s pain and cried
because he couldn’t forget a lost love
He asked one day in the car
what the saddest thing in the world is
Sadder than love is emotion,
he said, shaking his head
He played guitar for me in the lonely sickroom
consoling me tenderly, that beloved man
He didn’t even say goodbye
Is he happy somewhere now?
Shall I think of him just once?
I still miss him, that man of the past
The one I have to forget now, that man of the past
While Chun-hee sings to her son, we see Jun-su staring off into the darkness alone, as he so often does. His wife Young-sook watches him, no doubt wondering what is between her husband and Chun-hee.
Ji-wan tends to Tae-joon throughout the night, and a heartbroken Woo-jung drinks herself to sleep.
In the morning, Ji-wan cooks breakfast and checks in on Tae-joon, but leaves without talking to him. As she walks past Kang-jin’s door, his words ring in her head, about how foolish she was.
Personally, I think Ji-wan isn’t 100% sure that this Kang-jin is her childhood love, and is trying to deny with her head what she guesses in her heart. She stops at his door and recalls his teenage confession, and also her harsh words rejecting his feelings.
There’s a milk delivery at his doorstep, which catches her eye. Just then, he comes up from behind her, arriving home from an early-morning workout.
Kang-jin offers the milk to her in a casual, friendly tone, but Ji-wan is nervous to be caught here. He forces a cheerful tone as she makes the excuse, “I came here because I don’t think I thanked you properly.”
Kang-jin replies, “But I didn’t ask why you came to my place at dawn, or why you were lurking here for a long while.”
Uncertain how to respond to such a direct assault, Ji-wan turns quickly to walk away. Kang-jin grabs her arm and whirls her back around.
This time, he looks at her intently. He’s not going to let her evade the issue any more, and demands, “Do you not know me? Han Ji-wan, do you really not know me?”
The drama has a nice way with little moments that add meaning to scenes — like how the streetlight turns green after the danger is gone. Or how Ji-wan braces herself for the car’s impact by squeezing her eyes shut, as does Kang-jin when he grabs her to suffer the blow instead.
Another thing that elevates this drama is (as I previously mentioned) how well these characters have been drawn. And by now, we’re far enough from the childhood portions to apply this to adult Kang-jin and Ji-wan as well.
I often find myself hating second leads in melodramas — so clingy, so demanding, so crazy, so unrealistic — but here, I actually like them. Take Tae-joon, for instance. He’s sorta tragic, isn’t he? Because he’s so weak. I was all set to write him off as a two-timing, indecisive, selfish jerk, but this episode adds layers to his character that we didn’t see in the previous episode. I appreciate that. Episode 3 suggested that Tae-joon was purely using Ji-wan, at least at first. Episode 4 gives us more complex mixed feelings, and it helps that actor Song Jong-ho has a great talent for incorporating subtleties to his expressions, so that even when he’s saying the heartless words of a cad, his face is showing more behind the words.
Woo-jung is another oddly relatable character, and I say “oddly” because she’s rich, spoiled, and bratty. But to her, this really doesn’t make sense because she has done nothing wrong, and she’s being jerked around by the two men in her life who are, presumably, most important — her father and her lover. I love the moment when Kang-jin pauses to really hear her sobs, because she sounds like such a lost little girl.
It actually struck me that in an alternate universe, Kang-jin and Woo-jung’s relationship is like the melodrama version of the pairing we saw in My Fair Lady with Yoon Eun-hye and Yoon Sang-hyun.
I will apologize in advance for going off on a tangent, and I really don’t want to turn this into a big issue, so please don’t assume that I’m directly comparing the two dramas or making statements about which is better, etc. It just strikes me as a funny coincidence. Here you have the same spoiled brat who has a director’s title with the company but didn’t earn the spot; who abuses those around her, including (and especially) the one she loves; who was forced apart from her love by familial interference; who acts out and is self-destructive because of grief; who is challenged by a new man who, unlike everyone else, refuses to kowtow to her position.
I’ve heard that Pretty Woman was almost cast with Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino — and what a different movie that would have been, yeah? Darker, less fluffy, less romantic but almost definitely more intense. It’s the same difference here. Just thought I’d mention it.