That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 7
I just love it when I love a heroine, even when this one comes with personality flaws to spare, loads of emotional baggage, an unhealthy obsession with death, and plenty of secrets. Maybe it’s because Young is such a flawed person that she remains so engaging, but I’d like to think it’s because we understand her on a fundamental level, and so far each episode shows us something new. Maybe it’s just because I can respect a character who comforts someone else based on how they’d like to be comforted, and knows enough to admit that sometimes it’s okay to just NOT be okay. Is it weird to watch a show and feel comforted by a fictional character’s fictional conversation? Probably. And I thought I was done with therapy now that I’ve accepted the fauxcest. (That’s a line I never thought I’d say in any situation, ever.)
EPISODE 7 RECAP
A tense moment passes as Soo and Secretary Wang just stare at each other, both of them weighing their options. (Admittedly, Soo’s options seem pretty darn slim right now.)
The moment is broken when Young asks if her oppa came – she can smell his scent in the room. Secretary Wang keeps her gaze locked with Soo’s as she lies to Young that he didn’t come, all while writing Soo a message he can read from her phone to escape while she uses music to mask the sound.
Jin-sung and Hee-sun prepare to leave town, banking on Soo’s success – but their bubbles burst when they find out he was caught instead.
Secretary Wang sits a very nervous Soo down for a little chat, but he remembers all the unanswered question about Wang’s treatment of Young in her video diaries, which gives him some ammo to turn the odds in his favor.
He explains/lies that he was in Young’s room to find her diary, since he wants to find out whether Secretary Wang did all she could do to help Young, or if she let her condition get worse on purpose. His tactic saves him, but Wang gets the upper hand when she offers to give him the money he needs to pay off his debt if he leaves Young. (She heard the details from Mi-ra, her spy in the coffee shop.)
Oh man. Now this is a pickle – Soo’s just been offered his life-saving golden ticket on a silver platter. He’d be nuts to refuse… right?
While suffering from one of her head-splitting migraines, Young goes tearing through Soo’s room until she finds the Instant Death Pill, and desperately clutches it in relief.
Soo refuses Secretary Wang’s offer, again asserting that he’s there for Young and not for money. But he does tell her that he’s even more suspicious of her than ever before, and he’ll be keeping an eye on her from now on.
Wang’s a tough cookie and isn’t fazed by his threats, confident that she has the leg up, especially when she plans to move the contents of Young’s safe to the bank. Just as Soo suspects her, she declares that she’ll be suspecting him, and it’ll just be good times all around.
Meanwhile, Young lies in her bed… next to the empty pill canister. Whaaaat.
Jin-sung scolds Soo for not taking the offer, but Hee-sun scolds Jin-sung for being so simple-minded – of course it was a trap, and if Soo had fallen for it, Wang could have proven that he wasn’t the real Soo. I don’t know what these boys would do without her.
So Soo proposes a change in strategy by blackmailing the money out of Secretary Wang. They can use the fact that she didn’t get Young proper medical care as a child AND her selection of the less-than-single Myung-ho as Young’s fiancé as proof that she has plans to take over PL Group.
Hah, it’s cute that Jin-sung lets Hee-sun scheme away just this once, but he makes her promise to live her life honestly after they save Soo. She’s already way ahead of him, since she feels much more comfortable blackmailing someone like Secretary Wang over the innocent Young.
Except, Hee-sun notices how happy Soo seems and calls up Young to arrange an apology meeting, even though her true intention is to find out whether Soo is in this just for her. Dude, does it really matter?
Secretary Wang has the contents of Young’s safe moved to the bank, leaving it up to Lawyer Jang to tell her. (Judging by the fact that she’s alive, I’d guess that she just hid the pill.) Wang has already updated him on Soo’s stealing attempt, causing him to wonder whether he made a mistake in bringing Soo to Young’s house.
“I wish you wouldn’t trust Soo,” Lawyer Jang gently warns her, but “trust” is one of those trigger words for Young, and it all comes spilling out once Mi-ra brings her coffee.
“The one and only brother I share my memories with, I can’t trust. I can’t trust Secretary Wang, I can’t trust you, who loves Secretary Wang. My friend here, Mi-ra, I can’t trust.” She shocks Mi-ra by revealing that she knows Secretary Wang has been paying her to act like her friend, and even though it hurts her, when Young says she understands the circumstances which led to Mi-ra accepting the deal, I really believe she means it.
Young cuts Lawyer Jang off when he claims that Secretary Wang has reason to suspect Soo, because she knows exactly why: Secretary Wang wants her to be alone so that in the end, she’ll be the only one by Young’s side.
“She wants me to be like her,” Young adds, holding back tears. “Trapped in a jailed home, always cold and nasty to others. So in the end, I will be left feeling awful and alone.”
Aww, I actually feel bad for Lawyer Jang because he definitely means well. Things are only made worse when Friend Soo’s childhood friend, Joong-tae, stops to tell Lawyer Jang that something seems strange about Soo.
Later, Lawyer Jang keeps watch nearby as Young lets out all her pent-up sorrow outside. What a nice ajusshi.
Soo finds something he can use against Secretary Wang in Young’s video diaries, this one from her high school days where she mentions two doctor visits. In the first visit with Mi-ra, she overheard the doctor tell her that her blindness was not caused by a brain tumor, but by an eye disease called retinitis pigmentosa. (It affects the tissue behind the retina responsible for converting light and images into nerve signals that the brain can process. In other words, sight.)
Basically, he told her that her vision could have been helped if she had been treated in the early stages. But when she went the second time, with Secretary Wang, the doctor told her she heard him incorrectly. Ah, so Secretary Wang paid the doctor to lie? To keep Young sick? That’s sick.
In the video, Young addresses Secretary Wang: “I’m sorry, but today isn’t the end, because I’m not alone.” She continues, trying to put up a brave front even though she can’t control her tears. “I have my oppa. I… have my oppa. When he comes, he won’t forgive you for making me like this.”
Tears. She literally had no one to protect her, and put all her faith in her missing brother. It’s just heart-wrenching, especially when Soo thinks back to Friend Soo’s death, and Young begging to be able to trust him. Now he knows that she’ll never get her true brother back, and you can see the weight of that realization, coupled with what he’s doing to her, bearing down on him.
Young calls him so they can meet, but both of them are caught in the lie of claiming that they’re out of the house when Soo can clearly see her in the yard. She just wants to see him and happily agrees to meet at the intersection near Mi-ra’s cafe, so in order to make it seem like he was already there, Soo has to sprint ahead of her in slow motion. (Let she who did not also giggle a little at this cast the first stone.)
Secretary Wang saved the glass from the painting with Soo’s fingerprint on it, and attempts to get Lawyer Jang in on her plan to use it to prove to Young that Soo is a thief, so that they can then perform a DNA test.
When Lawyer Jang wonders what she would do if Soo does turn out to be Young’s real brother, she replies that she’d chase him out anyway, because he’s a danger to Young. (More specifically, her control over Young.) And if he’s not, they can charge him for theft and fraud.
But Lawyer Jang isn’t willing to go along with this plan without Young’s consent, and tells Wang that if she wants the DNA test, then she has to gain Young’s trust. Now that he’s talked to Young he knows how much she believes in Soo, and tries to reassure Wang that it’s a good thing for Young – she’s finally learning to trust. Even if Soo came for money, the sum he needs is small, and a small price to pay for Young’s happiness. Awwww, this ajusshi.
Secretary Wang’s jaw clenches tighter and tighter, but Lawyer Jang kindly tries to allay her biggest fears: “Even if Young has Soo beside her, there will still be a place left for you.”
Soo grows nervous when Young tells him that holding the Instant Death Pill helps her sleep, but she’s not so eager to give it back. She at least reassures him that she won’t use it without his permission, and gets him to agree by threatening that the alternative is for him to sleep with her whenever she wants. It’s kind of morbidly funny that he’d rather agree to the pseudo-suicide pact.
When Myung-ho calls about the conversation she overheard at the meeting, Young lies that she didn’t hear anything, acting like everything’s fine. The secretary at Myung-ho’s side seems to be the same one he’s having an affair with, though the two lovebirds are in disagreement over a risky merger that Myung-ho wants to push through.
Young answers Soo’s earlier question about whether she likes Myung-ho by more or less shrugging. He asks her if her heart flutters when she meets him since that’s normally a good indicator, but she surprises him when she replies, “Then that means I like you.”
She claims it’s fine for her to live with a person who says he likes her, which seems like a definite lie. She adds that she’ll need Myung-ho to manage the company if Soo is leaving… Hmm. Is she pulling a reverse psychology trick on him, hoping that he’ll stay rather than see her married off to someone they both know is a terrible human being?
Soo attempts to solve this problem when he tells her that he’s going to make sure she gets her eyes re-examined before he leaves. “If Secretary Wang interferes with that, you have me. So don’t be afraid.” She’s not afraid of Secretary Wang anymore, she’s afraid of him leaving her, even though she doesn’t blame him for wanting to.
Soo decides to lift her spirits by going with her idea to take a field trip with Hee-sun and Jin-sung. It’s an experience she had to miss out on when she was young so her excitement is childlike and infectious, even as Secretary Wang stews over Soo’s text, which I’m paraphrasing as, “We’re going on a trip! Hope you like them apples!”
The four friends go inner-tube sledding(?) on a ski slope, with both couples racing against each other. Everyone’s all smiles and laughter until Soo and Young wins, and he’s so caught up in the moment that he kisses her on the forehead before he snaps a few pictures of them being adorable.
Hee-sun’s smile fades at the sight of them, and Jin-sung starts getting nervous, especially knowing her temper. But he gets denied when he asks her if she’d like him to kiss her on the forehead. Aw.
Hah, the men are relegated to do the cooking while the women sit by, and at Hee-sun’s nagging, Jin-sung whispers to Soo, “I regret loving her.” Soo: “You two are just right for each other.” Agreed.
Hee-sun snaps at Young when she inquires about the photos Soo took, but covers her butt well enough. However, Young can pick up the sound of Soo’s vegetable cutting and notes that it doesn’t sound all that refined, especially not for an Italian chef. YIKES.
She says it so nonchalantly, but Team Soo freezes in fear, knowing that they’re on thin ice with their lies when Young is so freakishly observant.
Young asks Hee-sun to tell her what Soo’s charms are, and Hee-sun sums it up with: “He’s not… totally bad.” Basically, he’s more than the sum of his parts, especially when those parts consist of womanizing, lying, selfishness, and a mean temper.
Later that night when Soo and Young are alone, she asks him to tell her about the other Oh Soo. He tells her about the tree meaning behind the Hanja character for Soo, telling the story of his past as if it were Friend Soo’s.
He talks about Hee-joo’s pregnancy (of course, without mentioning her name), his voice and expression filled with self-loathing as he describes how “Oh Soo” left his pregnant girlfriend, right before she had an accident. When he claims that “Soo’s” actions were unforgivable, he means that he can’t forgive himself.
Young interrupts him: “Who are you to forgive him? What a person can do for another is not to forgive, but to give comfort.” She explains how no one consoled her when she was diagnosed with her brain tumor, and instead forced her to be brave when all she wanted them to say was, “It’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to cry.”
Her words resonate with Soo, since we know from experience that no one ever told him that it was okay for him to be… not okay. Especially with people like Hee-sun and Moo-chul who consider any moment of happiness he has as a betrayal to Hee-joo’s memory.
He fights tears, but they spill anyway. While talking about Friend Soo, it seems like Young is… comforting our Soo. She’s explaining why it’s okay, because it was a mistake, and people make mistakes. (Gasp!)
Aww, poor Soo. I’m really happy he gets to hear these words though, and that he finally gets to let it all out. (But now I’m freaking out that Young knows more than she’s letting on.)
Myung-ho concocts a scheme with Secretary Wang to test Soo’s authenticity by introducing him to Psycho So-ra, knowing that she has a past with one of the Oh Soo’s. He’s desperate to disprove Soo before a big gala, otherwise he’ll get pushed out of the running for chairman once the board members know that there’s a male heir.
Young insists on walking part of the way home, though she gets one of her migraines the second Soo drops her off. He can’t stop thinking about her as he drives away, and a flashback to the night before reveals him asking her what she’d want to see first if she could see.
“Right now, it’s you,” Young replied. “No matter how much I imagine and explore, it’s you that I don’t really seem to know.”
Soo goes straight to a doctor noona he knows to ask about Young’s condition, but it’s clear the two have a terrible past as the noona refuses to give him the time of day. She mentions losing a promotion because she refused to operate on gang members, so my guess is that Soo is to blame.
Moo-chul spills the whole story to So-ra about Soo impersonating Friend Soo, and makes sure to stress the fact that he’s romancing Young in order to rile So-ra up.
It works, and So-ra heads off to make a scene at PL Group, just like Moo-chul wanted. And he got the best of both worlds, since it won’t look like he manipulated anything (and ideally, he won’t get blamed for not collecting Soo’s debt if matters were out of his hands).
Young fights the pain as she picks up something from a jewelry store (we don’t see what, maybe a ring), but ends up stumbling on her way, looking sweaty and pale. She proves that she listened to Soo, because at least this time she not only accepts help from those around her, she even asks for it.
Moo-chul finds out that Boss Man is keeping tabs on him once So-ra leaves, but he lets his boss know that she’s on her way to ask about Soo. Since she seems to be Boss Man’s kept woman, the thought of her going to Soo makes him angry.
And the kid snooping on Moo-chul seems to be the same one Moo-chul turned away from Gangster School. He makes sure to tell our resident baddie that he’ll regret denying him, and we know those words never go unheeded.
Bad timing abounds when Soo calls Moo-chul to meet, only to be met with the news that his psycho ex is en route to Myung-ho. Moo-chul seems to be having fun as he urges Soo to hurry and catch her. If he doesn’t, there’s a good chance his cover will be blown.
Young has collapsed at the department store, but per her request the salesclerk calls Soo instead of the hospital. Soo speeds off to help her, even ignoring a call from Moo-chul in the process, one that would tell him where So-ra and Myung-ho plan to meet. Ideally, of course. There’s no telling with Moo-chul.
Soo finds Young surrounded by a small crowd in the store, and sweeps her up into a bridal carry as he orders the bystanders to call an ambulance.
And surprise surprise, So-ra walks in at just that moment. Ohh, this is the department store Myung-ho runs, so she was on her way to their meeting.
She stops in her tracks when she sees Soo fawning over Young, and he stops in his tracks the second he meets her gaze.
This. Is. Bad.
This episode really got to explore Young in a new way, and frankly, I’m just happy that there’s so much depth to her, even when we keep peeling back layer after layer. Some dramas have a tendency to try and fool us into thinking that their heroine is deep by presenting her with a tough outer shell, even if it’s just a temporary front made to disintegrate as soon as love is thrown into the mix. Here, I feel like I’ve witnessed Young struggling tooth and nail against her need to need others, so much so that I get instantly nervous when she reveals her vulnerable side, because she does so with so many reservations that it becomes like a balancing trick. One wrong push, and it’ll undo all the progress she’s painstakingly made.
Granted, she’s tough and whip-smart, and seems more than capable of handling (most of) her problems. But like most people she can’t do everything alone, and it’s a mixed blessing that she needs someone like Soo right now. He knows as much, and I’m sure that he’d rather not care about her so this whole conning process could be easier. If the last scene is any indication, Soo cares more for Young than for his cover, at least when it matters. His evolving attitudes are in keeping with this show’s depiction of morality and humanity as something ever-changing, rather than something set in stone from birth. Even though we do have some semi-clear baddies, like So-ra, and Moo-chul to a lesser degree, because he’d rather forsake his job if it means Soo gets to die.
I got an inkling suspicion this episode that Young might know that Soo isn’t her real brother, but I’ve been burned before by assuming a heroine knows way more than she does (Moon Chae-won in Nice Guy comes to mind), because hints can be so misleading. (That’s why they’re hints!) I will say that it’s a valid possibility, especially with their conversation about Soo’s past, since Young just seemed far too interested in the other Oh Soo in a way that made me think she was purposefully trying to manipulate Soo into telling his own story.
If she is operating under the assumption (or at least a niggling suspicion) that he’s a fraud, I’d assume she’s going with the lie because she really, really, REALLY wants him to be her brother, and because she needs her brother right now more than anything. She has no one else, and the more we find out about Secretary Wang, the worse things start looking for Young. Again, I could be reading too much into this whole situation, but the moment where she offered Soo comfort based on how she’d like to be comforted seemed tailor-made for who he really is, as if she knew the story he was telling was his own, and that it meant something real to him.
If there’s a major hint that led me to that (sort of, maybe, I’m willing to be wrong on this) conclusion, it’s that Soo doesn’t know that Hee-sun told Young how Hee-joo died. And while he didn’t mention a motorcycle accident specifically at the lodge, Young has to think it’s weird that BOTH Oh Soo’s had a tragic love that they lost in a freak accident, right? Unless that’s just a normal Thursday in dramaland.