Secrets come out by the truckload, since everyone but Young gets to eat their Wheaties this episode. Our hero tries to use the precious time he has left to help our wayward heroine, but the prognosis just gets bleaker and bleaker with each episode. Or, rather, it just stays the same: Abandon all hope. Nice ‘n cheery, just like you’d expect.
Ratings took a slight dip this episode, dropping from 14.9% to 13.3%, though That Winter still maintained the lead among competitors IRIS 2 and Level 7 Civil Servant.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Young is awake for the kiss, and through her very limited vision she sees Soo’s skin texture (and a scar, maybe?) – but there’s something more. She’s seen this scar before, one year ago…
She shuts her eyes before Soo notices, but he’s too overcome with the realization that the charade is coming to an end. So-ra’s threatening text message springs to mind, and he knows that everything will be revealed if he doesn’t do as she says. It’s all pretty much over, anyhow.
Soo records a video for Young in her mother’s basement room, fighting back tears the whole time. “If you’re watching this, you’ll know that I’m not your real brother,” he starts, having to pause the recording when his voice starts shaking too much.
He produces a photo of her real brother for the camera and introduces him as a kind and good man. “Your real brother loved you so much,” Soo ekes out. “So much.”
Jin-sung faces off against Boss Man and a group of mean-looking thugs, showing no fear even when he’s vastly outnumbered. It seems like Boss Man wants him to kill Soo, which seems like a roundabout way to do it. Doesn’t he have people for that?
Either way, Jin-sung refuses with a cavalier smirk, even getting in a few jabs about how Boss Man can’t keep tabs on his girl when Soo is around.
This lands him in a fight with the hired help, though Jin-sung holds his own as long as he can. When the thugs get the better of him, who should show up to join the fray but Moo-chul, fighting on Jin-sung’s side. Whoa. There’s a decent guy in there? Is this one for real? (I don’t trust you anymore, Winter!)
Unfortunately for Moo-chul, Boss Kim spots him. Uh oh.
…Or not, since Moo-chul chases after him and jumps in his car, breaking Boss Man’s face against his own steering wheel before locking the doors against outside thugs. Badass.
This leaves Jin-sung behind to deal with the rest of the thugs, and he’s beaten bloody.
Moo-chul doesn’t sugarcoat his words as he threatens Boss Man to have some patience, or else. If he waits, he’ll have his money and Soo’s head, but not if he keeps breaking the rules. One of those rules apparently includes keeping Jin-sung out of Soo’s trouble, though that’s a bit strange coming from Moo-chul when he’s the one who got Jin-sung involved in the first place. Just sayin’.
“I’m warning you,” Moo-chul grits out. “You can get rid of me, but I can also get rid of you, too.”
Young catches herself touching her lips as she remembers Soo’s kiss, and things get a little awkward when she all but jumps out of her skin when they bump into each other.
He knows something’s off but Young keeps mum about being awake the night before. “Did you wait a long time for me last night?” he asks, happy at the thought. “I should have called to tell you I’d be late. In my life, no one has ever waited for me, so I didn’t imagine that you’d be waiting.” Aww.
Soo confronts Secretary Wang about why she’s bothering to keep his secret when she knows who he is, and her response is that it’s all in service to get Young into surgery. After that, she expects him to leave the house empty-handed.
Soo: “I thought I told you, when I leave this house, you’re leaving with me.”
While Soo takes Young to see Doctor Noona Sun-hee, Secretary Wang calls in some security personnel and Lawyer Jang to the house. What is she up to?
Soo calls Young out on her abnormal reactions to his run-of-the-mill touches, which she explains off as being a blind person thing. He seems to buy it before he tells her not to lose hope if Sun-hee tells her that there’s no chance for her, and that she should keep insisting for surgery no matter what.
Young tells him to let go of her hand when he holds it, but she can’t come up with a compelling reason as to why he shouldn’t other than that it’s uncomfortable. He tells her to bear with it as they peel out of the driveway, and he ignores a call from Hee-sun in the process.
Turns out Secretary Wang called in the security personnel to check the house’s CCTV footage, which only shows the exterior of the greenhouse as both Soo and Young enter it at different times.
She concludes that there must be a secret inside that only the two of them know, and that it would explain the part of Soo’s lie that’s she’s been unable to figure out – how he was able to fake his shared memories with Young.
We get a rather pointless company interlude with Myung-ho (he exists!) before cutting to Young and another MRI, after which Sun-hee advises her not to get the surgery, since the chance of success is less than 10%. And even if she were to survive, she’d have to undergo dozens of chemotherapy sessions with a high chance of relapse. Basically, it’s hopeless.
Young smiles slightly as she parrots back Soo’s words about not letting Sun-hee’s Negative Nancy outlook discourage her. She admits that she has no hope for the surgery herself, but she’s doing it for her oppa. “I want the people around me to think that they did the best for me.”
Sun-hee tears into Soo about forcing Young to go through a pointless surgery, since he’ll be cutting her short of the one to two months she has left to live. (What IS it with everyone having two-month lifespans in this show? Too many ticking clocks at once.)
Hee-sun takes Young to the only coffee shop in Seoul, and after waxing poetic about the color of sunlight for a while, Young asks her: “Is it all right for a sister to like her brother?” Not really.
Jin-sung urges his hyung to try and get the money out of Secretary Wang, so Soo has to break it to him that his cover’s blown. There’s no way he’ll get any money now.
He gives all the cash in his wallet to Jin-sung and urges him to go to the countryside with his parents and Hee-sun in order to escape from Boss Man. “At least once, let me behave as a person should!” he all but begs his old friend, remembering all the terrible things he’s done to him and his family over the years.
Then, his angry facade breaks down and he confides in Jin-sung as a friend. “They said Young can’t be operated on. To a girl who only just made up her mind to live, I now have to tell her to give up. Because of me, Young agreed to go through with such a frightening surgery. She only just made up her mind. Jin-sung-ah… All I am is trash. Even though I was thrown out like trash, because of her, at least once… I wanted to live like a decent person.”
With that, he says goodbye to his friend. And if he has it his way, they’ll never see each other again.
Hee-sun seems a bit uncomfortable when she tells Young that it’s not so weird for a sister to have feelings for her brother, of course knowing that Young’s feelings are technically normal since Soo isn’t her real brother. But that’s getting complicated.
Young admits to having her heart flutter when Soo is around. “I think I’ve been alone for too long,” she admits. “I thought all this time that I was really doing fine. I guess I wasn’t, having these kinds of feelings for oppa.”
On the car ride home with Soo, Young remembers faintly seeing his scar from the night before. (Has she placed it as the same scar she saw a year ago?) When she tells him she doesn’t want them sleeping together anymore, he responds by holding her hand. When she tells him no, he holds it tighter. No means no, dude.
She finally pulls her hand from his grasp, and Soo pulls over, wanting to know the reason behind her change in attitude.
Young turns to him with tears in her eyes. “I know that you kissed me last night. Why did you do that?”
Soo doesn’t even move a muscle: “Because I love you.”
These words hit Young like a slap in the face. “Oppa, I’m your sister,” she reminds him. Soo: “It doesn’t matter.” AHH! Cool it, guys. We all know the truth (okay, maybe except for Young) but this is gettin’ strange.
Young bolts out of the car, and Soo admits that he was wrong. She shakes her head, claiming she’s just afraid. “Oppa, your feelings are not only wrong, but mine are, too. Let’s not do this. This isn’t right.”
Sun-hee’s doctor buddy calls Soo up with the whereabouts of the doctor that lied to Young, and urges Soo not to give up on the surgery once he finds out that Sun-hee is setting up a meeting with other surgeons.
Jin-sung and Hee-sun have a lover’s spat when she threatens to just ask Young for the money, since she likes Soo as a man. What’s the harm?
He tells her that it’s over between them if she does, because he’s abiding by his hyung’s wish to live like a decent human being. “I’m going to let him do that. If you tell Young, you’ll never see my face again.”
I love Hee-sun’s wise retort: “If he’s going to live like a decent person, he has to be alive!” Hah.
Soo tracks down Young’s fraudulent doctor to a closed office. In flashback, we see Sun-hee’s doctor buddy tell Soo that Young didn’t go blind from her brain tumor – if she had been diagnosed correctly, she could have avoided her blindness.
Secretary Wang steals Young’s greenhouse key from under her nose, and doesn’t miss the chance to tell Soo that Young wanted her door locked. Why?
Soo spins around, coming THIS CLOSE to hitting Secretary Wang. He’s shaking with rage as he tells Wang that Young’s blindness was caused by retinitis pigmentosa, not a brain tumor. Her eyes widen as she realizes that he might know her secret.
He threatens her against feigning care for Young in front of him if her surgery doesn’t go well. Is he so mad because even he got fooled for a bit into thinking she really cared about Young?
While Wang sneaks to the greenhouse, Soo tries to open Young’s door. It’s locked, and they both know why.
Young calls him, and when she asks why he doesn’t say anything he simply responds: “I want to be by your side.” With the string attached to her wrist, Young rings the glass bell. “You are by my side.” Soo smiles.
“Oppa, there was nothing between us. You know that, right?” Young asks. Soo plays along perfectly when he asks, almost teasing, “There was something between us?” Young pretty much breathes a sigh of relief, because denial really is just a river in Egypt. Now they can go back to spooning with impunity.
Secretary Wang finds the secret room, and starts freaking out when she imagines Young’s mother inside, almost like she’s seen her ghost. Her fear doubles when she reads Young’s tape titles in Braille, taking a good guess as to what’s inside.
An interesting (if impossible) sequence plays out where Wang imagines Young recording the video (the one where she accused her of letting her condition get worse) as she would have back then, with Wang now like the ghost in the room. She’s clearly scared of what Young may know. So… she is guilty?
In her next clairvoyant vision, she sees Soo placing the picture of the real Oh Soo on the wall. And for a moment, the recent past and present meet when Vision Soo seems to stare straight through her.
Secretary Wang is still in the room by morning, having spent the entire night going through Young’s home movies. There’s a glazed look in her eyes as she watches one of the happier times Young spent with her mother and brother.
She’s cryptic with Young at the breakfast table, but the insinuation is that she raised Young in her image – with that image being someone strong, harsh, intense, and sometimes even cruel. “You always exceed my expectations,” she adds.
Soo tracks down Young’s fraudulent doctor, but is forced to leave a message and wait outside when he’s unavailable.
Meanwhile, So-ra gets all her money out of the bank in preparation for her trip to Sweden that night. And if Soo doesn’t come with her, she’ll expose his identity to Young.
Soo follows the doctor out of the office in his car, making it no secret that he’s in this for revenge, since he knows that Young’s life would have been better had this doctor not lied. When the doctor spots him, Soo offers a malicious smirk.
Sun-hee’s colleague, Dr. Goo, calls Soo to deliver the bad news that a team of surgeons performed a simulation surgery to see if Young’s surgery was even possible. “The brain tumor is inoperable,” he tells him. And there’s no way to fix her vision, either. Click.
Soo’s eyes fill with tears as he realizes that he won’t be able to keep his promise to Young because she won’t be able to see again. What’s worse is that he was the first thing she wanted to see.
Soo channels that guilt and rage into an unnerving stillness as he pulls in front of the doctor’s car in order to drop a glass bottle to blow out his tires. (Mythbusters Moment: Is that even possible?)
The doctor’s car swerves before screeching to a halt, and Soo’s there to drag him from the car in order to beat him mercilessly. As he throws each punch he thinks about when he took Young to the mountaintop. “If only you could see this right now, I would be happy.”
And he thinks back to how he’d wanted her to see herself most of all, just so she could see how beautiful she was. How he wanted her just to see. He knows that won’t ever happen now, and blames all of it on the doctor he’s about to beat into a coma.
We see him next looking like a wounded puppy outside Young’s door, hoping to be able to sleep next to her even if he has to sleep on the floor. “In a few days, even if you want me here, I have to leave.”
Young doesn’t relent, because she’s very aware and very scared of her feelings, since she can’t stop thinking of him as a man. “How your lips touched mine… I keep thinking about it,” she admits, and Soo bows his head, knowing that he gave her this crisis of conscience.
Still, he asks to stay by her side, needing her companionship. She still refuses, not because she’s afraid of his feelings, but because she’s afraid of her own. (So she’s worried she’ll jump him. Got it.)
“Oppa, help me. Just help me so that these feelings will naturally go away,” she all but begs him.
She retreats into her room, and Soo turns around to see that Secretary Wang has overheard everything. Somebody’s in trouble.
Soo misses his scheduled flight with So-ra, and she goes through with her promise to call Young with the truth: “Oh Soo is not your real brother. Your real brother is dead.”
Young starts shaking, her eyes brimming with angry tears as she demands clarification. So-ra merely tells her that Secretary Wang already knows this truth, and to tell Soo that she’ll be waiting for him in Italy. Sure, now he’s really going to want to visit your crazy ass.
Young stands there, completely stunned.
Secretary Wang backhands Soo repeatedly over his kiss with Young, shouting, “How dare you put your hands on her?!”
Soo subdues her by grabbing her wrists an pressing her against the wall, barely restraining his own anger. “I wish I could kill you. If I could kill you right now, I’d be happy.” I bet he would be.
He tells her about Young’s tumor being inoperable, and how she won’t even be able to regain her vision. “I don’t believe you when you say that you love Young,” he spits. “You… you piece of trash. You were just trying to find a reason to exist in Young.”
Secretary Wang throws those words back at him: “And you? You weren’t trying to make up for your lowlife existence through her?” Well… that’s not untrue.
“Young’s eyes? Yes, I made her like that. Young knows it too,” Secretary Wang fires back, and Young overhears from downstairs. “But why do you think that she pretends not to know? Because she needs me.”
“You’re crazy,” Soo says. Truer words have never been spoken.
Wang asserts that her crimes against Young don’t even hold a candle to his. “When Young finds out you’re not her real brother, have you thought about how she would feel? You stole Young’s memories in the secret room inside the greenhouse to pretend to be the brother that Young missed so much. Will Young forgive you? Because of your debt, you pretended to be love your younger sister. Do you think Young will forgive you?”
Young has been listening from outside the door, her shocked face changing more and more into devastation the more she overhears.
Only now does she put all the pieces together, matching the scar she saw on Soo to the scar she saw on him a year ago. Only now does she remember his voice as he read the letter then, realizing that they’re one and the same. Soo is not her brother.
She sees a blur as Soo and Secretary Wang struggle against each other, but a flash of light enters her vision. Another migraine.
Is anyone else confused? I feel like I’ve been had.
So here’s the thing: I went into this knowing that I shouldn’t give more credit to the heroine than what was due, knowing very well that any assumptions could later be proven wrong. I let things roll with this show since there was everything but a Broadway musical number telling Young to be suspicious of Soo, and the charade could only drag on for so long before I was forced to form an opinion on what was really going on with her. And there were so many scenes leading us to believe that somewhere deep down, Young WAS suspicious of Soo, even if she tried to deny it or just play pretend.
Then we got Young’s sexual awakening last episode, leading her to have a moral crisis over her incestual feelings for her brother. That was where things started leaning toward the “So she really doesn’t know?” camp, but it seemed less likely that, out of the clear blue, Young would develop romantic feelings for her brother had she actually considered him her brother. What seemed more likely (because the opposite would mean that we assumed WAAAY too much about Young’s intelligence), was that Young was becoming overwhelmed with all the fingers pointing at Soo as a fraud, and while she desperately clung to the hope that Soo was her brother, some part of her knew the truth and thus couldn’t help seeing him as a man.
But, if none of that happened, and Young really just became sexually aware of Soo after all the touching and hugging and cheek-kissing and spooning with no real catalyst other than that it was in the script, I’m left feeling disturbed. Not because of the nature of her feelings, but because it was impossible to get behind her and this reveal when we were manipulated into believing Young knew more than she did, especially when we started toeing the fly-by-night incest waters. (Which taken by itself would have made for a compelling conflict had it been introduced earlier when Young was in her infancy stages of blindly trusting Soo, before everyone and their mom started telling her that he was a fraud.)
When she was left totally floored by the realization that Soo wasn’t her brother, *I* was left totally floored by the realization that in order for me to have bought her shock wholesale, I would have had to dial her Intuitive-o-Meter down to about a zero. All the smoke and mirrors ended up doing the big reveal a disservice, because instead of being with Young in that moment (which I wanted to be, so badly) all I could think was, Really? C’mon. Same goes for Secretary Wang, but to a lesser extent. At least she was self-aware enough to try to fool everyone in the first place.
Basically, the audience manipulation here seemed less like clever storytelling and more like narrative convenience, which is a little disappointing when you want to love your heroine. This isn’t like a mystery where we were carefully led one way only to be surprised with another, it’s like being Opposite-Keyser-Söze’d. (You know, if Keyser Söze had trust issues and never knew enough to fool anyone.)
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 11
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 10
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 9
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 8
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 7
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 6
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 5
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 4
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 3
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 2
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 1