There’s a bit of meandering and soul-searching our characters need to do before everyone finally cuts to the chase, though you might be left wanting when it comes to the Big Confrontation. Really, we should know by now that holing two characters up in the middle of nowhere usually leads to something we either seriously like or seriously don’t like, but sometimes shows can still surprise us. And not that happy kind of surprise where you’re all, “Oh, Winter, you shouldn’t have!” More like, “Oh, Winter. You really shouldn’t have.”
SONG OF THE DAY
Radiohead – “Videotape” [ Download ]
EPISODE 13 RECAP
While Young processes the earth-shattering revelation that the brother she thought she trusted was only lying to her, and that her real brother is dead, Secretary Wang and Soo continue their battle of wills none the wiser.
Despite admitting to being responsible for Young’s blindness due to intentional neglect, Secretary Wang is adamant that the surgery be performed on Young, since Sun-hee found an iota of optimism even with the failed simulation.
On that day, she expects Soo to leave empty-handed. The most she’ll do for him is tell Young that he didn’t take any money because he loved her.
But Soo tags her right back, since he’s set up a meeting with Lawyer Jang and Young’s fraudulent doctor. This news doesn’t faze Secretary Wang until he adds that Mi-ra will act as a witness – and that gets her quaking in her boots. “I told you,” Soo reminds her, his face expressionless. “We’ll go down together.”
Unaware that Young knows everything (though you’d think he would have been more careful about yelling in a blind person’s house), Soo tries knocking on her door. When she doesn’t answer he just rests against it, resigned.
Inside, Young sits and stews over all the puzzle pieces now fitting together – all the clues she’d heard before but ignored now serving as proof of Soo’s con. Different emotions flash across her face – rage, sorrow, disbelief, maybe even anger that she let herself be fooled. Now it all makes sense to her.
Coupled with all the evidence pointing to Soo’s falsehood come the fond memories Young shared with Soo, which only work to confuse her feelings. She sits at the edge of her bed shaking with sobs, desperately clutching (but not ringing) the string attached to the glass bell.
It’s like she’s resisting every urge to ring it, until she finally casts the string aside, causing it to ring anyway.
So-ra messages Soo that she told Young everything, adding that his only chance of survival lies with her, as long as he skips town to join her in Italy. I know this girl is delusional as all get-out but Come. On.
Lawyer Jang becomes outraged when Mi-ra tells him the truth – that she conspired with Secretary Wang to hide the truth of Young’s illness from her for money. “How can a human being do something like that?!” he yells. “How could a friend do something like that?!”
For that matter, he also turns in Young’s fraudulent doctor to get his license revoked.
Young goes to the secret greenhouse room to record a video, noticing the different scents in the room only now – Secretary Wang’s, and Soo’s.
Soo tries attempt number 3,993 to rid himself of Jin-sung, but Jin-sung explains his tick-like resilience as such: “Hyung, you’re my family.” And something he learned from his mother when he and Soo were kids was that you don’t abandon family. Soo: 0, Jin-sung: 3,993.
Jin-sung is also unwilling to give up, and has already cooked up some alternate plans to get Soo to live, which involves him returning to his gambling roots.
“You have to win that game no matter what,” Jin-sung calls after him. “Then you can finally be the decent person you couldn’t be until now. Be a son to my parents. Be a hyung to me. Be an oppa to Hee-sun. And to Young… when you get a chance to tell Young everything later, be sure to tell her this: Because of her, you – who didn’t think much of life before – you who said you’ll live like trash because you were thrown away like trash… For the first time, you wanted to live like a decent person. You have to tell her that.”
Lawyer Jang is on a rageathon and slaps Soo the second he sees him, calling for a joint meeting with Secretary Wang. Young’s surgery is scheduled for the coming weekend, and while Wang thinks Soo will be the only one leaving the house, Lawyer Jang reminds her that she’s grossly mistaken. Both of them will leave, and he’ll stay with Young.
Secretary Wang sticks her nose into the air, confident that Lawyer Jang won’t get his way. But he’s got evidence against her the company shareholders won’t like, and that’s not even including her crimes against Young, which he’ll discuss with her personally before taking action.
He freely admits that he doesn’t understand either Secretary Wang or Soo, but he wants Soo to continue the charade of being Young’s oppa “until the end.” Soo says he’ll do his best.
Young acts collected when she meets the three downstairs, though her request for Secretary Wang to accompany her to pick out a wedding dress comes as a surprise. Soo starts to get an inkling when Young reaffirms that he’s not invited, but the real bombshell comes when Young calmly asks him if he’d like to go traveling before the surgery. Somewhere like Italy.
He already knows she knows, and if she didn’t know he knows she knows (I know), then she’s making it pretty clear now that SHE KNOWS. The icing on the betrayal cake comes when Young has the glass bell thrown out.
Despite Soo realizing her aim, he plays along and suggests a different destination before he secretly saves the bell from the recycling bin.
While en route to go shopping, Young asks Wang about her past in the household, somehow taking pity on the woman because she was as old as Young when she first showed up twenty years ago.
Young reaches out to hold her hand, noting that they’re always cold. Wang tears up as she agrees. I really hope this is fake-pity and not real pity for the woman who made her blind. (I guess if it’s real pity, there’s hope for Soo.)
Soo goes to the secret greenhouse room, a room which apparently gives all who enter the magical ability to see all the past events that transpired in it. He sees exactly how Young trashed the room before he calmly starts to pick up the pieces.
He watches the video Young left for him, where she tearfully asks how much of this he planned – did he just want her to trust him as her brother? Did he lie so she could love him? She knows he can see her pain and asks how he feels to see her that way, and judging by his facial expression, he’s had better days.
“Perhaps, do you think you’ve won?” Young asks through the projection, and Soo bows his head in guilt.
Young seems to be giving Secretary Wang her perfect day, one where she gets treated like the mother she always wanted to be. I shouldn’t be feeling sorry for Secretary Wang, but why do I feel like I want to be?
Hee-sun calls Young up to meet, and we know she wants to just ask for the money. Jin-sung knows too, and refuses to acknowledge her until she promises not to tell Young anything.
In the meantime, he tries his own method for saving Soo, by contacting someone who can lend them gambling money. Hee-sun isn’t happy about it and tries to convince Jin-sung not to do it if she promises to live with him, to which he replies: Bros before hoes.
Secretary Wang swells up with pride when she sees Young in a wedding dress, and Young plays right into her earnest desires by having their picture taken. Like a true family.
“For someone who took care of me for over twenty years,” Young begins. “It’s tragic how this is the only present I can give you.”
Ah, but here comes the qualifier: After Young wakes up from surgery, Secretary Wang is fired. Maybe you should’ve waited to give her this news until after the surgery, when the chances of her smothering you with a pillow in your sickness are smaller.
Hee-sun flat-out asks Young for the money, though she does freak out a bit when Young knows the exact amount she needs, thinking Soo’s cover has been blown. That IS the case, but she also told Young about his debt that time she almost ruined his whole scheme. Hee-sun breathes a sigh of relief.
She tries to convince Young that Soo isn’t behind the request: “I hope you don’t misunderstand or hate him. Soo was a good guy, enough for my sister to love him.” She pauses. “Help me. You have the money.”
Young starts to get angry, but Hee-sun isn’t deterred and reminds Young that she loves Soo. “To you people, is my love an excuse to get money?” Young grits out. I love that Hee-sun only sort-of cares about her feelings, since she tries to stress that this is a life or death situation for Soo, and Young can just give him the money now and sort out her feelings later.
Jin-sung borrows money from an old contact, though he fails to realize that the deal is too good to be true when that contact reports directly to Boss Man. Ah, so the moneylending was intentional so that Boss Man could control Jin-sung. But why?
There’s some hope, in that Moo-chul knows something shady is going on. (And he seems to care about Jin-sung.) But he won’t get anything out of the Gangster Wannabe who’s sworn revenge on him, because Moo-chul didn’t let him join in any reindeer games.
Young finds Soo waiting for her in the greenhouse, and they have a passive-aggressive discussion about their upcoming vacation, since Soo doesn’t remember the villa where they used to go to, when the real Oh Soo would have.
“You remember useless things like the cotton candy, but you don’t remember that?” she all but scoffs. For now the pretense is maintained only by virtue of no one talking straight, but Young forces him to agree to taking a vacation the next day, right before her surgery, since she can’t be sure if she’ll live to do it after.
She brushes across another memory Soo fooled her with, the lamb’s ear plant, and throws it in frustration. This vacation is going to be super fun, isn’t it?
They head off for the promised land, with Soo waxing poetic about how the winter wind never felt cold when he was around her, only for Young to fire back that it was still plenty cold when she was with him. Hah. I’m sure her deadpan remarks aren’t meant to be funny, but they sort of are right now.
Secretary Wang finds out that So-ra told Young everything and calls Soo in a panic to come home, but since he already knows, he just hangs up at Young’s behest. He even does exactly as Young says and turns off his phone.
Wang continues to fret about Young’s strange behavior and eventually finds a new will Young drafted in Braille, one which gives all her wealth to the blind charity center. (Also, the orchestra from Inception stops by to lend a little background music.)
Myung-ho calls up to say that Young broke off the engagement through a text message. (Hah.) But the point is, Young’s actions make it seem like she’s preparing to die.
The drivable road ends for Soo and Young, so he decides to trek the rest of the way with her on his back. Young had thought he would just turn around, so when Soo replies that they’ve come too far to go back, it seems like they’re talking about the broader issues between them.
Soo pauses for a breather, and Young is nice enough to give him some water before they finally reach her family’s long-neglected and incredibly-isolated villa. Only then does she notify him that she’s hungry, but leaves the finding of foodstuffs up to him since they’re in the middle of nowhere.
Young keeps making simple, childish demands that Soo submits to without protest, bringing up old memories that he obviously doesn’t share all the while.
Soo goes out that night to find food, while Young just waits, still as a stone.
Meanwhile, Secretary Wang tries to find out where they could be staying, and stumbles across Soo’s letter to Young in Braille. She knows that Soo knows, and that both of them know everything, but she can’t figure out why they’d take a trip together.
Lawyer Jang tries reassuring her that Young is safe if Soo’s there, but the poor ajusshi tears up when he finds the picture Soo left of her real brother, torn in half.
Soo returns to the house with food, and momentarily panics when he can’t instantly find Young, only to sigh in relief to find her waiting in a back room. I’m sure he’s worried about what she’ll do in this angry state, but it might be a little easier if they both stopped ignoring the big white elephant in the room.
Young brings up “their” dad again when Soo is cooking, pestering him with questions about memories he should have. Soo avoids most of them by being non-committal, though Young keeps going, this time talking about how her dad would give her mom coffee by the fireplace. Something about these memories is starting to ring false…
Soo asks about Mom and Dad’s relationship, which triggers something in Young: “Leave the day I get my surgery.” He planned on leaving after she got it, but she corrects him – she wants him to leave the second they get back to Seoul.
So Soo responds by… playing along with her memory game? *looks at the time*
Young catches him on this fake-memory, since he was taking her words at face value that their/her parents had a good relationship, when in reality, Young’s last memory at the cabin was of her hiding with her brother under the covers as their/her parents fought. She intentionally misled him to see if he’d take the fake-bait, and he did.
To make matters worse, the memory she’s rehashing is the exact moment when their(?) parents told them that Young would stay with her father while Soo would go with her mother.
“What I told you today were all lies,” Young finally admits. Everything from the firewood to the soup to the coffee were all made-up things that never happened. She confesses that the past few days have been terrible for her, but then decides to change the subject. How about that Oh Soo who was abandoned under a tree? Was his dream to be a conman?
Soo lets her have her say, his eyes brimming with understanding. I guess that’s the best reaction, since it’s not like he can be mad that she’s mad.
Young is careful to talk about “the conman Oh Soo” in the third person, as though they’re still NOT talking about him. When she asks what Conman Oh Soo wanted to be when he grew up, Soo replies, “A carpenter. A farmer. A fisherman. An engineer. Anything but a conman or a gambler.”
Then, he drops the facade: “Not from the beginning, but after I met you.” For some reason, Young tries to cling to the farce that they’re still talking about anyone but him. Soo’s the one to put an end to the charade first: “Let’s stop it. You know who I am.”
Young tearfully admits that she does, she was just trying to see how long Soo would keep toying with her. “Let’s hear your excuses,” she says, and I don’t think she’s expecting Soo’s reply. “I have no excuse. I know that I hurt you.”
This is what pushes Young over the brink, and what she says makes a surprising amount of sense:
“Rather than saying those words, if you had just told me that when you were young, the wounds you received from being abandoned like trash caused you to live like trash, and that more so than a blind person like me, you were hurting more… Those words would have been more comforting. You knew I loved you yet you still fooled me. If you had just told me that you didn’t get a kick out of tricking me, it would have been more comforting. Out of all the reasons why I can’t forgive you, the main reason is that right now, I can’t even mourn the death of my brother who I missed as much as my mother. Because of you. Loving a conman like you, let’s just blame it on my blindness. Although I hate you enough to want to kill you, no matter how I think about it, there’s nothing a blind person like me can do. You fooled me good, all along.”
Soo tries to stop her from leaving with a Wrist Grab, but she spins around and slaps him. This time, he stops her and pulls her into an embrace, overpowering her struggles by holding her tighter. This is getting really uncomfortable.
They struggle back and forth, with Young trying her best to get out of his embrace. Soo then grabs her by the face and forcibly kisses her, coming up for air afterward like he just took an underwater dive. She keeps struggling.
Soo goes back in for another kiss(?), holding her still until she stops struggling and gives in.
And then, a quiet moment passes as he finally pulls away and lets her go.
“It’s really the end for us,” Young says before she walks away, devastated.
It’s not too surprising that the plot pretty much came to a halt after the big secret reveal, if only because the secret was SO big that everyone needed some time to come to grips. Granted, it was mostly Young coming to terms since everyone around her knew Soo’s secret, but in that sense I’m thankful that we got their reactions staggered throughout the series rather than piled on top of hers all at once, since her reaction was the one that really mattered.
So while Young took her time in finally getting to the point, I was actually surprised and pleased by what she said when she did get around to saying it. Most of the time, excuses are generally unwelcome in apologies, but Soo’s simple acknowledgment of wrongdoing wasn’t enough for her. Not because she wanted to keep arguing about it, but because maybe, deep down, she wanted to try to understand him. And in a way, her willingness to understand him and the fact that she thought of all the excuses he could have given instead of just a deadpan admission means she did understand him. Doesn’t mean she can’t still hate him for tearing her heart out.
And that’s all moderately acceptable. I can buy that these two characters put themselves in an internalizing hell so much so that they had to lock themselves in solitary confinement and drag the proceedings out until the very last second, until they could get to a place where they could think about discussing their issues. Good. Finally.
But… the discussion stopped there.
If we were to break this scene down just by character motivation alone, then Soo still comes out as a terrible human being. And that hurts me to say because I genuinely like his character (not to mention Jo In-sung) and, honestly, I was already completely over the con. Let’s face it, HE was over the con a while ago, and was in this only because of his feelings for Young. Otherwise he’d care about the money and his life a little more, right?
To me, that’s a noble change. To go from conning Young willingly to save his own skin, to saving her even if it costs him his own skin – that’s all stuff I can get behind. And yes, he’s been operating on a different wavelength than Young since he was never under the assumption that they were related and could then love her to his heart’s content. Up until last episode (which seems to equate to a few days in drama time), Young had NO IDEA that the man she was spooning with this whole time was in fact *not* her brother. (Regardless of the issues I had with Young’s naivety, I can’t change the show’s internal logic.)
So he’s seen her go through this (admittedly recent and convenient) moral crisis about having inappropriate feelings for her brother, only for her to try hard to overcome those same feelings. Then, she finds out she got tricked, with just a tiny bit of time to process the fact before Soo tries to solve their problems by forcing her into a kiss. The fact that he does so twice and with an added forced-hug doesn’t do him any favors.
Before I even get to her reaction, how wrong was that, from his perspective? Not even just on a “No means NO” basis, but from someone who knows her and claims to love her, in this specific situation. The fact that Young started having feelings for Soo when he was her brother doesn’t provide a compelling enough argument for Soo to think that forcing himself on her like that, when she’d previously thought of him as FAMILY, was anything less than horrifyingly, gut-wrenchingly wrong. It’s emotionally scarring enough for someone without that kind of subtext to be forced into intimacy, but the fact that she’d previously thought of them as blood kin… it just made my skin crawl, frankly.
In retrospect, I think the moment would have been more tolerable had she struggled her way out, instead of giving into the kiss. Even without all the feelings and bad connotations her submission brought about, it’s unsatisfying just on a flat-out story level, because their issues transcended the realm of what romantic love could solve. And that’s even considering whether one could cover his actions under the umbrella of, “He just loved her so much, and didn’t know how to express it.”
I can’t. I tried. And I feel gross for even trying, because on a base level that kind of force is never kosher, no matter whether his intent was just to stop at a kiss or take it all the way to the bedroom. The fact that she later gave in does not give that scene an automatic checkpoint, it just makes me really, really upset.
Winter. Seriously. If there was ever a show that needed to stand in the corner for a week, you’re it.
- That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 12
- 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