Oh my goodness, this episode was so good. Probably my favorite yet.
(Sorry for the delay; it’s been a hectic week. It doesn’t mean I didn’t want to watch this episode; I honestly just couldn’t get to it.)
I was prepared to be content if the drama continued to be at the same level as Episode 9, but no, it went and outdid itself. Not only was Episode 10 packed with emotion, we actually saw some long-brewing conflicts and grievances come to a head and finally get addressed.
SONG OF THE DAY
Bye Bye Sea (안녕바다) – “내 맘이 말을 해” (My heart speaks) [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Woo-jung asks Kang-jin if Ji-wan is the one he loves. Kang-jin had been working so hard to keep up the ruse that he no longer loves Ji-wan, so to be outed in front of her fills him with chagrin. He keeps his gaze averted from both women, but even without Kang-jin’s answer, Woo-jung knows her suspicion is true.
He is spared from responding by the arrival of two investigators, who announce that they’re here to search his things. Because Bumseo Group has charged him with being a corporate spy, they get to work rummaging through all of Kang-jin’s belongings.
The two women wait in agitation outside while the men do their work. Kang-jin calls Woo-jung and asks her to take Ji-wan away: “Quickly, anywhere. Take her away, please.” His voice is gently pleading.
Woo-jung resents him for putting her in this position, but she can’t ignore his plea. When Ji-wan grabs the door handle, as though to burst inside, Woo-jung blocks her and says they should leave.
Ji-wan refuses and pounds on the door. Woo-jung bursts out, “He doesn’t want to show you! He doesn’t want you to see him being dragged off by the investigators! That’s why he told me to take you away somewhere else!” Feeling ill-used, Woo-jung says bitterly, “How can he ask that of me? Cruel bastard.”
Impatiently, Woo-jung tells Ji-wan to do whatever she wants. If she wants to see him getting dragged off, fine. Woo-jung leaves, and shortly after, Ji-wan turns away from the door, recognizing the sense behind Woo-jung’s words.
Neither woman actually leaves, however — Kang-jin meets eyes with Woo-jung in the parking garage as he is escorted away. He doesn’t see, however, that Ji-wan is also in the parking garage, watching his departure.
Ji-wan asks Woo-jung for an explanation — what did she mean about Kang-jin sacrificing himself to save Tae-joon? Woo-jung glares and confronts her angrily. Where she should start? “Shall I start by telling you about the bird-brained thing that the worthless Cha Kang-jin did for his enemy Park Tae-joon because of one stupid girl named Han Ji-wan?”
Hearing that Kang-jin traded himself to spare Tae-joon, Ji-wan is assailed by guilt over her own unfair accusations. She recalls how she had called him heartless and cruel for trampling over people beneath him, regretting her hasty words.
The next day, Woo-jung arrives to visit Kang-jin, who is still being held in detention. As she walks into the building, she sees Ji-wan huddled on the steps outside, but passes by her without exchanging words.
Woo-jung points out that Kang-jin is ruined now, and with this stain on his reputation, there’s no company that would hire him. Therefore, they should leave the country and go abroad together — they can live in the States, or France, or wherever: “If you go with me, I can abandon everything.”
Kang-jin answers simply, “I don’t want to.” This raises her hackles, and she demands, “Because of Han Ji-wan? Are you drugged? Have you been shot? She’s Park Tae-joon’s woman!”
He fixes her with a hard stare. She taunts, “Why, you don’t want to hear it?’ Kang-jin, as ever, remains silent and merely thanks her for the drink, effectively dismissing her.
On Woo-jung’s way out, Ji-wan is still sitting outside, and this time she addresses her — is she here to see Kang-jin? Ji-wan answers that Kang-jin refused to see her, and Woo-jung’s voice drips with hostility as she asks why Ji-wan would continue to sit here like an idiot.
I love Ji-wan’s reaction, because she doesn’t even register Woo-jung’s scorn; she just asks worriedly, “Did you meet him?” She grabs Woo-jung’s arm and asks for her help: “You’re the only person who can help him.” Understanding that Woo-jung isn’t fond of her, she adds that she and Kang-jin aren’t anything to each other, they’re not in a relationship.
But that just insults Woo-jung — she’s not stupid — who asks, “Are you playing with me?” Ji-wan says that Woo-jung and Kang-jin like each other, and Woo-jung loves him, so can’t she help?
Woo-jung tosses out a suggestion: “Will you break up with Park Tae-joon? Can you break up with him if I save Cha Kang-jin?”
Dismayed but desperate, Ji-wan says, “I can.” But that’s too easy, so Woo-jung amends: “No — why don’t you marry Tae-joon? So that Cha Kang-jin can’t even look your way anymore, or even dream.”
Woo-jung figures she can’t agree to that and turns to go. Ji-wan bursts out urgently, “I can. I will. I’ll marry Park Tae-joon. Is there anything else you want? I’ll do anything.” Harshly, Woo-jung returns, “Get lost. Cut ties with Kang-jin. Don’t even show up near him.”
Ji-wan lets the full import of that sink in, then nods.
Woo-jung meets with Tae-joon to inform him that Kang-jin threatened her father to try to get him to return Tae-joon’s stolen project. She asks with some exasperation how long he’s known about Kang-jin and Ji-wan’s relationship — what was he doing all this while, unable to keep his girlfriend close? She’s surprised at Tae-joon’s clarification, “Cha Kang-jin was first. He was before me.”
Tae-joon starts to relate a story of a boy with a pendant and a girl who had tried to recover it for him. Impatient Woo-jung thinks Tae-joon is just telling a random silly story and gets up to leave. She doesn’t realize it’s about Kang-jin and Ji-wan until Tae-joon says so.
That changes things. After hearing the full story, she isn’t completely mollified, but her attitude is more of pity than of anger. But trust Woo-jung to fix upon the one part that is good for her: “They can’t be, anyway,” she says, as though to make herself feel better. “Fate is on our side, and the game is over.” Telling Tae-joon he should marry Ji-wan, she says, “And I… I…” trailing off for a moment, before deciding, “I’ll wait.”
Speaking from personal experience, she believes that at some point Kang-jin will get over his feelings, however strong they are now. It appears she’s clinging to her hope, trying to convince herself of something she doesn’t fully believe, but unable to contemplate the alternative.
Tae-joon is one step ahead of her, however. He asks, “I’ll let go — so will you let go too? I’ll let go of Han Ji-wan, so will you let go of Cha Kang-jin?”
Kang-jin is released the next morning. Walking out of the building alone, he has an unexpected visitor — Tae-joon — who greets him with a friendly smile, starting the conversation with the mundane question of whether it will snow. He hands over a package that makes Kang-jin smile — it’s tofu (which is what you give people after they get out of jail).
Tae-joon got his project back when Bumseo gave up its claim, thanks to Kang-jin. Kang-jin is glad to hear that, though in characteristic fashion, he doesn’t say so in words.
As Kang-jin starts to leave, Tae-joon calls after him: “What about you, now that you’ve lost everything? Thanks to you, I got everything back. But you’ve lost everything — what’ll you do?”
Kang-jin merely sighs and continues on his way.
Across the street, Woo-jung watches, and a brief flashback shows how she had begged her father on her knees to let Kang-jin go. She had pleaded, trying to appeal to his mercy, only to be coldly turned away. So then, her voice had hardened and she had turned to her last resort — those documents Kang-jin collected about Bumseo’s lobbying are now in her possession. If her father refuses to concede, she can send them to the press. She had challenged him, “I’ll do it.”
Woo-jung calls Tae-joon, and they look at each other across the street as she asks, “Do you believe there’s such a thing as love? I… I…” Woo-jung’s voice falters as she thinks of her answer, and then she decides, “I… think there may be.”
Tae-joon understands that Woo-jung is letting go, and smiles.
Tae-joon next visits Ji-wan, who is studying (and banging her head on her desk in frustration). He informs her that Kang-jin has been let out, so she should go meet him. We understand that this is Tae-joon’s gesture of letting go, but Ji-wan doesn’t know that and is operating under the deal she made with Woo-jung. She ignores him and gets back to her memorization.
Tae-joon firmly directs her attention back to him and reveals that Kang-jin had overheard her drunken confession at the police station, when she had cried about her brother’s death. Kang-jin had taken her home that night, and when she collapsed, he had visited her in the hospital. Ji-wan’s expression slowly turns tearful as Tae-joon admits that he had told Kang-jin to let go for her sake, because Ji-wan would never let go of him. He apologizes for not telling her earlier.
Numbly, she makes her way to the kitchen, where she falls to the ground. She starts to cry — loud, heartbroken wails — as the implications of Tae-joon’s words sink in. That Kang-jin had always loved her, that this was all a big misunderstanding because he’d wanted to keep her safe and healthy.
Kang-jin returns home, where he receives a call from his mother. Their joking banter soon turns serious when she asks whether people with brain tumors always die. He asks why, growing concerned but keeping his voice light — does she have one? She sighs, “I’d rather it was me. I shouldn’t have come back to Sancheong.”
He’s left wonder what’s the matter as Chun-hee says, “I’m so scared.”
Ji-wan races to Kang-jin’s apartment building, now that she knows the truth. But she hesitates for a long while in the lobby, torn. Little does she know that at the same moment, he is packing a suitcase to leave — and he enters the elevator just before she gets off on his floor, meaning they just miss each other.
While he drives off, Ji-wan pounds on his door, saying tearfully, “I was wrong, I’m sorry,” feeling guilty over all the horrible things she had called him. But he’s not inside to hear her.
Instead, he heads down to Sancheong, surprising his mother when she finds not one but two of her sons asleep in their room. For a moment she is adorably confused, thinking she’s hallucinating, or still drunk.
Kang-jin sits up to assure her that he’s real, and asks what has her so afraid. Gleaning from her previous phone call that some guy is the source of her fear, he jokes, “Which jerk is he? Bring him here.” He explains that he got a long vacation from his office, and offers to take care of all the guys who scare her.
That morning, Kang-jin rides his bike out to the bridge, where he looks at the pendant in his hand. He recalls the past, how he had first lost the necklace, and how Ji-wan had seen him diving to recover it.
A little while later, surprisingly, Ji-wan also stands on the bridge, also looking out at the water. She has returned to Sancheong, and makes her way to her family’s front gate.
Jun-su treats a patient inside with acupuncture needles. However, as he reaches for the last two needles, he is suddenly stricken with pain. His hand shakes, and he struggles to keep his grip steady.
Just as he is about to drop the needle, two hands reach out to take it from him. He looks up at Ji-wan’s face, stunned, immediately guessing who this is. She keeps her face turned toward the patient and asks about his condition, administering the needle.
Finally, she turns to see her father, who asks, already knowing, “Are you Ji-wan?” She answers, “I’m sorry, Father. I was wrong.”
Nervously, she braces herself for his reaction, but Jun-su doesn’t rage. Instead, he answers gently, “You should have told me you were coming out today. I would have gone to greet you.” Trembling, he grabs his daughter and hugs her tightly.
Mom’s reaction is more of a question mark, as Young-sook walks into the room. Jun-su tells his wife that Ji-wan is back, and she stumbles backward, quickly leaving to break down in another room.
Ji-wan enters the room quietly and lays two switches by her mother. Raising her leggings to bare her calves, she offers them for punishment. Young-sook grabs them and whips the backs of her legs, driven in a frenzy, until she falls sobbing. But Ji-wan picks up the switch, puts it back in her mother’s hand, and says, “You have a long way to go. You have to really beat me. You have to hit me hard enough that I can’t walk for a while, that I can’t even crawl.”
Young-sook sobs, “Why did you come back? You shouldn’t have ever come back!” But for once I don’t think she’s being hurtful on purpose. As with Ji-wan when she first re-encountered Kang-jin, it’s like the scab has been ripped off the long-covered wound and now she has to let it heal properly.
Ji-wan gathers her mother to her, and says, “It wasn’t my intention — I didn’t mean to come so late. I’m sorry I came so late.”
Kang-jin brings his brother to a house under construction — he has bought it, and intends for their family to live here together. Since Bu-san has found a woman he intends to marry (the nurse), Kang-jin jokes that his brother will have to introduce him to some women here.
Bu-san is confused — but isn’t he going back to Seoul? Kang-jin explains that their mother has been talking about leaving, “So we have to let her plant her roots and live here.”
Chun-hee has been avoiding Jun-su ever since he fell unconscious in the car, burdened with the knowledge of his condition. She even cries out in her sleep, “Take me with you!”
Jun-su comes by to address the issue they’re skirting — he knows his doctor friend told her about his brain tumor. He asks her not to tell Young-sook, and wonders if she’s planning to move away. He heard she is letting go of her tearoom and vacating her house. Why?
Chun-hee: “It happened to you because of me. I gave you a hard time and made your head ache, so you got sick. I shouldn’t have come back to Sancheong. I didn’t mean to make things hard on you or torment you. I was just going to watch you from afar, without bothering you at all. I must have been crazy for a moment. If I leave, you might improve. They say all diseases come from the mind, and if the source disappears from in front of you, you might really get better. I’m sorry, Han Jun-su. I’ll make sure to receive punishment for tormenting you. Even if God forgets, I won’t and I’ll still receive my punishment.”
Chun Ho-jin, the actor who plays Jun-su, has always been wonderful at expressing himself through his eyes (which is crucial since he so rarely speaks), but he really steps it up a notch here as he listens to Chun-hee’s tearful, babbling explanation.
Ji-wan comes to the tearoom and orders warm milk. Nobody recognizes her or pays her any mind, and she sits alone behind Bu-san. She doesn’t expect to hear another familiar voice join in — Kang-jin walks in and suggests a game of Go-Stop.
Her eyes fly open to recognize his voice, but she keeps her back turned. She sits quietly, unmoving, while the others ignore her to engage in an enthusiastic game.
Finally there’s an opening as Kang-jin wonders which move to make. Ji-wan leans over to peer at their table, and cheerfully points out what he should do. She dispenses advice to the others, and points out that Chun-hee has been cheating — how could he not notice?
Kang-jin looks up at her sharply, his mood instantly growing dark. Abruptly, he leaves the table to get some air outside. Chun-hee, still having no idea who this is, yells at her for butting in. Ji-wan apologizes and hurries outside, where Kang-jin continues to glare at her.
As he walks on, she trails after him — reminiscent of their childhood dynamic — chattering on about the Go-Stop game. She asks if he wants to eat dinner together, but he ignores her.
Ji-wan finally steps in front of him to block his path, entreating him to eat dinner together. She promises she won’t throw up this time, that she doesn’t throw up anymore and is eating fine now.
Ji-wan: “Watch how well I eat. And let this go once — for being so curt with you, for talking to you meanly, for driving a nail into your heart, for saying things I didn’t mean, for lying. Let it go just once. For being weak like a fool, for hurting you, for upsetting you, for making you crazy, let it go just once. Just this once. If you overlook it just this once…”
As Ji-wan pleads with him, Kang-jin watches her intently, tears slowly pooling in his eyes. He steps closer to her and takes her face in his hands… and wonderfully, he smiles.
He kisses her, first slowly, and then again. Tears fall from their eyes as the narration is provided by teenage Ji-wan — these are the words she had written in her first letter as a teenager, when she was trying to win Kang-jin over. Back then, she had been faking her crush on him, but now the words are a lovely way of bringing them back to the beginning:
Ji-wan: “Kang-jin oppa, hello! I’m a first-year student in Class 3, Han Ji-wan. When we first met in the field, I had a hunch about our connection. I realized that at last, the one I had been waiting for had arrived. It felt like we were people who had loved but had to separate from sadly through some kind of misunderstanding, and also like we were an unlucky couple who had been kept apart because of our parents’ opposition. Oppa, you probably feel that too, don’t you? I’ll wait for the day that you recognize me too. I won’t ever grow tired waiting. From first-year student, Class 3, Han Ji-wan.”
So many things to say, where to start?
Although the melodrama tag is what made me initially wary of Will It Snow For Christmas?, I don’t even feel like this IS one, at least not in the Hallyu v.1.0 sense, where characters reveled in heartbreak and tears and glorified tragedy. For instance, this is one of my favorite instrumental tracks of the soundtrack, and I love that it suits the mood when it’s sad as well as when it’s hopeful, which is what appeals to me about the drama as a whole. (It’s “잃어버린 팬던트” (Lost Pendant) — Download)
Naturally, we have a good amount of angst, but I don’t even mind it because there are so many little payoffs along the way, little truths that are revealed. It’s not like in other dramas where one singular angst keeps the couple apart for multiple episodes, which is when I grow tired of the drawn-out conflict. Here, the relationships evolve and even when our main couple experiences a setback, they also gain something significant. Either they learn one more bit of the other person’s story (such as the reason for Ji-wan’s brother’s death, or the fact that Kang-jin pushed Ji-wan away on purpose), or they gain an insight into their own feelings.
That’s why even though we’ve had ten episodes of this couple not-quite-being-together, with only one brief half-episode of happiness, I haven’t felt bored or (too) frustrated. The characters are so well-drawn that it’s actually enjoyable to watch them navigate their circumstances, which is not something I’d say of many melodramas (where characters are often a victim to the Fates/Furies). There’s a realism grounding the characters, but at the same time there is a sense of dreaminess and romanticism woven throughout the drama that draws me in.
If the last episode had me impressed by Song Jong-ho for showing Tae-joon’s vulnerability, this episode had me impressed by Sunwoo Sun. I don’t quite feel sorry for her character but I think she is very well acted, and her emotions made accessible. The way she glares at Ji-wan, how she can’t hide her resentment, how she can’t bring herself to let go even when it’s becoming clear that she has to… there’s an immediacy to her emotions that brings her character to life.
I don’t really like Woo-jung as a person, but I can’t hate her — she’s definitely more relatable than many second leads who turn evil and possessive. When those evil second leads finally give up, usually I don’t buy their transformation (they cling, cling, cling, and then poof! Just when the plot needs it, they let go), but I actually felt rather proud of Woo-jung when she does it. Her admission to Tae-joon that she may believe love exists is a lovely way to tie in her former comment to Kang-jin, when she vowed not to give up because she doesn’t believe in what he calls love.
It’s also nice that Woo-jung’s last gesture for Kang-jin is an act of sacrifice. While I’m sure her father wouldn’t retaliate against her as harshly as he did Kang-jin, the mere fact that she did something that wasn’t for her own gain is meaningful. It wasn’t even to preserve her love, since this would set him free. And by “free” I don’t mean that he would have stayed with her otherwise, but at least she could have clung to her hope. Keeping Kang-jin in a vulnerable state, at her mercy, she could have kept up her insistence that he leave the country with her. By getting her father to let him go, she’s also officially letting go, not just of Kang-jin but also her hopes for him.
I also really love that they both went back to Sancheong, back to where it started. Because as with all illnesses, you’ve got to treat the source, not just the symptom. Although I had joked about how lame it is that Kang-jin felt he could “solve” Ji-wan’s vomiting condition by leaving, that was sort of the entire point. I mentioned the parents’ situation mirroring the kids’, and once again we have a parallel, because Chun-hee takes the mad idea into her head that if she leaves, if she removes herself from Jun-su’s presence, his illness will heal. Just as Kang-jin’s logic was flawed, so is hers, and it makes Chun-hee’s desperation all the more sad.
But again, the kids’ generation contains a ray of hope, and this return to Sancheong reinforces it. It’s been said that Kang-jin seems like a perfect guy — a TOO-perfect guy — but he’s not really. He thinks he can solve everything on his own, that his decisions are the best for those he loves. While he’s noble and means well (and this is a common flaw of kdrama heroes), he can’t fix Ji-wan. She needed to address her scars herself, which is why I love that she came back to Sancheong on her own.
Ji-wan’s reunion with her father was one of the highlights (and thank goodness she arrives before he dies, if he dies), but I found the one with her mother even more significant, since she and her mother have always had a complicated relationship. I saw Ji-wan’s punishment as a touching expression of love more than anything, that she was finally ready to come back and face how she had hurt her mother (by killing Ji-yong, as she believes, as well as by running away). Just as Chun-hee tells Jun-su that she will take all of heaven’s punishment even if God forgets to mete it, Ji-wan puts the switch back into her mother’s hand. Accepting punishment also signifies that Ji-wan is finally ready to forgive herself.
I don’t believe in some kind of cosmic fate having a hand in our lives, so the concept of fate is one I wish dramas didn’t hinge upon so much. That’s why I like that there’s a more realistic way of looking at their coincidental meeting in Sancheong — this dual homecoming is a poetic way of expressing that Ji-wan and Kang-jin both had to heal themselves first before getting their proper second chance. Meeting as adults healed some of their hurts, but not all of them, and Ji-wan still needed to address the source of her pain on her own. Only then did “fate” — or call it circumstance — allow them to come back together, and now the timing works in their favor. (This lets me forgive that horribly angsty missed-each-other-at-the-elevators moment, because the timing wasn’t right for them to see each other then.)
Lastly, the title.
I’ve tried to understand the significance of the title and wondered if we would find out in due course, but now I think it probably doesn’t refer to a specific event. I see it as a rhetorical question, asking whether things will work out. Will the gods favor us? Will the groundhog see its shadow? Will it snow for Christmas?
When Tae-joon greets Kang-jin upon his release, he wonders whether it will snow. Within the context of the scene, it’s a simple conversation-starter, but in the meta context, this is a scene where Tae-joon is letting go of Ji-wan to Kang-jin. And when Kang-jin does reunite with her, note that it’s snowing in the last scene: Yes, the gods favor us. (For now.)
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 9
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 8
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 7
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 6
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 5
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 4
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episode 3
- Will It Snow For Christmas: Episodes 1-2