That Winter, The Wind Blows: Episode 8
They really weren’t kidding about the dichotomy between our two leads when it comes to their ideas on life and death during the pre-production press cycle, and it’s an issue that’s becoming all the more apparent as we officially hit the halfway mark (I know!). Even with darkness looming ahead, there are more cute moments in this episode than you can shake a bell at, giving off the vibe that we’re actually watching two people bond as opposed to two actors just giving it their best shot. Thumbs up, Winter. Thumbs up.
As far as ratings go, That Winter isn’t necessarily killing it at 13.3%, but when you consider that its competition is pulling in single digits, it’s a pretty valid victory.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Soo and So-ra’s charged glance doesn’t last long, since he’s got to get Young to the hospital. So-ra is prevented from following by Young’s totally amazing fiancé, while Hee-sun witnesses it all before calling Jin-sung for backup.
Young gets rushed in for examination, with Soo frantically declaring guardianship over her. Jin-sung calls in the meantime about what to do with So-ra, but we don’t hear Soo’s instructions.
Myung-ho asks So-ra to point out the Oh Soo she dated from a picture showing both of them, and she points Friend Soo out as deceased before confirming Soo as the one she dated.
At the same time, Jin-sung calls her to tell her that if she’s got a shred of compassion left for Soo, she’ll keep quiet with Myung-ho if she ever wants to talk to her beloved again. She complies by lying to Myung-ho that the Soo she dated was PL Group’s only son, prompting Jin-sung to initiate phase two of Soo’s plan by calling up an old contact.
Myung-ho cancels So-ra’s contract with them (probably because he’s mad she didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear), so she turns the blame over to Soo, as if he needs even more emotional blackmailing from the likes of her.
Because Young woke up during the middle of testing and refused any more treatment, Soo settles for chatting with the doctor instead, becoming visibly disheartened when he learns that there’s a chance her brain tumor has relapsed (hence the fainting). But, the only way they’ll know is through an examination, and Young’s made it clear she doesn’t want one.
Young jumps all over Soo the second he suggests getting tested, because she’s been through this song and dance with Secretary Wang countless times before even for the smallest symptoms.
It’s not the testing process she’s afraid of as much as being stuck in a hospital with Secretary Wang, so by accusing Soo of siding with her, she effectively gets him to drop the subject. For now, anyway. She promises she’ll get tested if she experiences pain again.
She wants him to go to the company’s big anniversary gala with her, so she can show her brother off to everyone and prove that she’s not alone. She knows how to guilt Soo (who doesn’t?), and gets him to agree to go so that way he can know if she gets sick or not. If he doesn’t go and she were to get sick, she claims she’d never tell him. It’s emotional blackmail of the highest order, but at least he’s aware of her tactics. Not that it does much.
Young tells Secretary Wang that she’ll be going to the party with Soo, which sort of leaves Wang out of the equation. She covers by saying she didn’t have time to go to the party anyway despite her looking visibly affected, even though Young keeps barreling over her decisions for this and that. Even the dress Secretary Wang picked for the gala won’t do – she wants the one Soo gave her.
She cuts off any retort by Secretary Wang with the claim that she doesn’t want to fight, since she’s determined to be happy for the thirty-one days Soo has before he leaves.
Jin-sung happily shows his hyung photos he and Hee-sun snapped of Myung-ho and his flame looking cozy, but they also have a video of him desperately trying to end things with her.
Soo still wants Jin-sung to follow Myung-ho in hopes that they’ll catch him with his guard down, even though he’s hoping that their contact will come through in digging up Secretary Wang’s past. As for So-ra, Soo claims he’ll deal with her alone.
Speaking of the devil, Myung-ho informs Secretary Wang that So-ra confirmed Soo’s identity as heir of PL Group, but she’s not so easily convinced and wants So-ra invited to the anniversary to see what happens.
Soo and Young head to the resort where the gala will be taking place, and Young drops some not-so-subtle hints about not wanting Soo to leave for Italy. “Don’t have any hope that I’ll stay here,” Soo tells her lightheartedly.
“When I was young, do you know what I learned while I was sick? ‘If I have hope, I will be the one who gets hurt,'” Young replies. Aw.
Soo seems baffled when chefs bring in baking ingredients, and Young explains that she wants to make pastries for Soo. It’s less about the bread and more her desire to feed him with her own hands, which is cute.
She’s pretty capable at baking too, by using voice instructions and touch. Soo steps in to help only when she needs to use a knife, and guides her hands while standing behind her. It’s skinship galore from here on out, even though it seems strange to call it that considering the fauxcest. But the closeness is wayyy more couple-like than sibling-like.
Soo wants to know why she was at the mall in the first place, causing Young to teasingly reply that she was buying a gift for someone she loves that’s NOT him. Hah. The recipient of the jewelry gift is actually Lawyer Jang, and Young went by herself because she wanted to pick the present out personally to make it special.
He asks her if she trusts Lawyer Jang, enough to trust him when he’s not around anymore, and she nods happily. Soo seems comforted that she’ll have someone to depend on When The Time Comes.
They’re both clearly having fun so Soo decides to play around by smearing icing on her face, only for Young to get revenge by literally COVERING his face and hair in the same stuff. I’m not even going to lie, this scene is squee-inducingly adorable. At least on this end.
He finds Young frantically searching for the carnival bell he won her after he washes up, and has this strange moment where he seems to realize just how dependent she is on him/their memories together when he helps her find it.
He helps her prepare for a ski lift ride by making sure she’s got multiple layers of socks and scarves, by all intents playing the part of a caring brother. Maybe he is really getting comfortable with this relationship, because he has another unconscious slip like the forehead-kiss scene of the last episode, only this time he just grabs her face and bumps their foreheads together playfully.
Hah. Some worried company members try to dissuade the two from going to the top of the mountain because it’s dangerous, so Young and Soo fight back by parroting each other’s sentences and finishing each other’s thoughts. Like real siblings. Waitaminute… Gah, this show is messing with my brain chemistry.
They take the ski lift, with Young enjoying the winter wind. Soo promises her that he’ll make sure to keep taking her to windy places, and there’s your show title.
Soo has to put her down for a bit of rest, since he’s been hiking up the mountain with her on his back. She feels sorry for burdening him and hopes that he’ll meet a nice woman eventually, leading them to talk about his dating life. Young: “You’re a player, aren’t you?”
He puffs up a bit and jokes, “I’m just the kind of man that women like.”
He puts a pair of earmuffs on her for the rest of the hike, which seem to work like a blindfold in her case. Once they make it to the very top of the mountain he takes them off, and the wind rustling through all the frozen branches around them makes the sound of thousands of tiny wind chimes.
It’s musical and magical, overwhelming Young enough to bring tears to her eyes. Soo wraps his arms around her from behind: “Later when I leave, even if you lose the bell, if the winter wind blows the trees will always make this sound.” Awwwww. That’s why he looked so troubled when she was so worried about the bell. And that’s why he carried her up a MOUNTAIN.
“If only you could see this now,” he says. “It would have been really nice. But more than this, what I want to show you is actually you, yourself, more than anything.” He goes on to say that if she could only see herself she’d see how pretty and cool she is (d’aww) and Young turns around in his arms…
…And kisses him on the cheek. “It’s okay to kiss an oppa like this, right?” she asks with a smile. Soo’s completely fine with it and holds her close as soon as she goes in for a hug. (The water, it gets murkier.)
Young wants to sleep in oppa’s room that night, so he lets her take the bed while he stays on the floor, reading her to sleep. He wonders if he’d want his memories back if he lost them like the character in the book (please don’t go down this road, Winter), deciding that he wouldn’t care about any of his memories save for the ones he has with her.
Soo tries to shift Young on the bed since she’s already fallen asleep, but he ends up hypnotized by her lips again and leans in, this time delivering the lightest of kisses on her lips. I’m talking a literal brushing of the lips, so tiny and brief that you’d miss it if you blinked. (But who’d be crazy enough to do that?)
She stirs slightly, serving as a wake-up call to Soo, and he returns to his spot on the floor. Young wakes up later and sneaks past in order to make him coffee, and despite stumbling around a bit and burning herself, she manages just fine.
Soo gets a literal wake-up call from Young as she sings him happy birthday. He’s confused at first, but recovers quickly: “Ah, right. It’s today, isn’t it?” Please tell me you remember your friend’s birthday, Soo. Otherwise this is a really foolproof way for her to know if you’re lying.
She’s already gone (hence the call), but urges him to go into the living room to find the present she left. “After you leave, in the event that you miss me, I want you to listen to that sound.”
Ah, so she DID go to the department store to buy a gift for him. It’s a bracelet with a tiny bell charm that she’s left on the top of the cake she made him, which means she woke up early in order to frost and decorate it. Awww.
As he blows out the candle on the cake we hear him in voiceover, as though he’s narrating from the future: “If I could have stopped, I would have stopped then. My dangerous acts to get close to Young were crossing the limit. The warning sounds that rang from deep within my heart… I definitely heard them.”
He slips on the bracelet and shakes his wrist by his ear, causing the little bell to ring. Now he feels extra bad and fights back tears when he takes a bite of the cake, clearly touched but also weighed down by guilt.
His voiceover continues that now, for the first time, he’s considering how much he’ll get hurt by this whole scam, even more so than Young.
Later, he finds Young rehearsing for a presentation she’ll have to give at the gala, and lets her know he’s arrived by shaking the bracelet so she can hear.
This is interesting – So-ra gives Moo-chul the heads up that she’ll be crashing the gala, but we find him with the Doctor Noona who turned Soo away. And that Noona actually seems to be Moo-chul’s real sister, who’s none too pleased with Moo-chul living the kind of life he does.
Moo-chul’s defense is that he’s got two months left to live, so he’ll live how he pleases. (News to everyone.) He has a contemptuous relationship with Noona because it seems like she abandoned the family and the rest of their siblings, causing Moo-chul to become a gangster in order to support them. But because she saved one of his brothers through brain surgery (and seemingly paralysis), Moo-chul still gives her the time of day.
Still, we know he’s suffering from something serious, even though we only see some blood splatter on the snow.
Hee-sun and Jin-sung keep an eye on Myung-ho even as he heads to the gala, and for the first time she starts noticing that Jin-sung has some appeal. It’s about darn time.
She’s half-joking when she wonders whether she should just go out with him since her and Soo clearly aren’t meant to be, but Jin-sung fires back that he’ll only listen to her when she really means it.
Secretary Wang puts on a smiling face outside the gala, though she’s just waiting for So-ra to show up and crash the party. That’s all she can hope for at this point, since shareholders are showing interest in the long-lost prodigal son, leaving no room for her or Myung-ho in the company.
Unfortunately for Soo, Lawyer Jang gets a call from Coffee Shop Joong-tae with news – while looking up articles on So-ra, he found paparazzi photos of her and Soo together. Naturally netizens must have done a little digging at the time, enough for Joong-tae to know that Soo is NOT an Italian chef, but an infamous illegal gambler from Cheongdamdong (an extra affluent part of the already-affluent Gangnam District.)
Uh oh. That’s all the info Lawyer Jang gets, but it’s enough to know that Soo lied through his teeth about his past.
So-ra arrives as the party is about to start, while Jin-sung and Hee-sun hang around in the back with a picture of Myung-ho’s girlfriend as they try to spot her in the crowd.
Soo is nervous about going in front of this kind of crowd, but Young convinces him to do it in order to help her look stronger and more capable to the nervous shareholders who could oust her from the chairman position at any time.
As he leads her out, she smiles to hear his bracelet before her smile falters. Eek. Is she getting another headache? Those things sure do have some dramatic timing.
Soo helps her up the stage where she addresses the mass of partygoers, and even Jin-sung notes under his breath how engrossed Soo is into his role as Young’s brother.
So-ra’s in attendance and scoffs when Young mentions that Soo has no interest in the company because he’s an Italian chef, knowing what a lie it is. Soo keeps his introduction short and just asks the shareholders to support Young, giving her the report afterward that no one applauded with pity – the shareholders seem to respect her now.
He meets So-ra’s gaze before he heads off stage to meet her (closely followed by one of Myung-ho’s lackeys), leaving Young to finish her presentation while she sweats from pain. To her credit, she’s doing an awesome job holding herself together. So far no one can tell.
Jin-sung’s eagle eyes on Myung-ho pay off when Myung-ho’s girlfriend shows up to the party, and he leaves Hee-sun at the table to pursue his prey. What’s he got planned?
So-ra lures Soo to her hotel room for a chat, only Soo borrows her phone during the elevator ride to call her extremely jealous sponsor (and consequently the man he owes all his debt to), knowing that he’ll freak out to know his girlfriend is with him.
He’s smart enough to wait until they’re out of security camera view to pin So-ra against the wall so she can’t interrupt his conversation. Yikes. He basically tells her boss to keep better tabs on her if he wants his money, because Soo won’t be able to get it if she keeps interfering. She’s gonna be in trouble.
She doesn’t get a word in edgewise as Soo warns her to stay away from him if she wants to keep her acting career. Judging by the way he body checks Myung-ho’s lackey the second he scuttles from the elevator, Soo was well-aware that he was being tailed.
Myung-ho and Secretary Wang have to plaster on their best fake smiles as shareholders reveal their newfound support of Young, with those on the fence having changed their mind after seeing Soo. Lord knows they couldn’t have changed their mind from the rousing speech he gave.
Meanwhile, Lawyer Jang calls a detective contact of his to look into Oh Soo, The Gambler. Not good.
Soo finds out belatedly that Young’s left the party when she calls him on her way home. She’s looking sicker than ever as she barely holds it together, but Soo goes on red alert and rushes out when she mentions going home to take “medicine,” immediately thinking she means the Instant Death Pill.
Ha. Okay, it’s a leetle bit funny that she’s cried wolf too many times for Soo to not think she’s going to commit suicide at any given moment. Even though I’m sure she just meant normal, non-lethal medicine this time… right?
Young struggles to make sure no one is alerted to her condition on the way home, even going so far as to threaten her driver with termination if he tells anyone. She all but crawls to her room with her hair plastered to her face with sweat. Oh no.
Soo bursts into the empty house to find his room ransacked and the Death Pill gone. He rushes downstairs, but doesn’t see Young drinking water in the kitchen while we do. Oh no.
Something seems to come over her after she drinks, and the glass falls from her limp fingers. Soo rushes into the kitchen at the sound and sees Young crumple to the ground, only inches away from the empty pill canister.
But there’s no Death Pill in sight. Did Young take it?
This show has been hinging one too many cliffhangers on the question of whether Young lives or dies, and to be honest, I finally got a wee bit frustrated with it this round. It’s not that I don’t feel for Young’s pain or that I don’t understand her motivations, but the constant “Will she or won’t she?” aspect of this whole suicide issue is getting a little tiring. Surely there must be other aspects of the story we can use as cliffhanger fodder, right? Granted, this opinion is subject to change if Young really did take the pill intending to die once and for all, but if it’s another Clever Editing Scare and it turns out she’s fine (which, let’s face it, we’re only halfway through the series), I’ll consider my desensitization threshold thoroughly tested. It’s getting to that point where I hear much thunder, but I see no rain.
There was an interesting turn this episode as far as the sexual tension versus the incestual tension goes, in that the closeness between Soo and Young has started to feel almost too natural, which sapped some of the romantic tension out of their moments together for me. I’d chalk that up to Soo becoming more comfortable in their relationship, since we’d see how every little touch from Young used to affect him before, only for him to be much less self-aware and much freer with with his hands now. I’m not really sure if this falls under the desensitization category, because far be it from me to say there’s too much skinship, it’s just that the intent behind it has changed with their relationship. They’re still not siblings and their behavior isn’t normal even FOR siblings, but their dynamic has eased a bit and settled down. Which isn’t a bad thing at all, more like an interesting new dimension to explore.
I don’t think So-ra’s role in this story is done, though it’s refreshing to have a hero who’s decently straightforward in dealing with his problems. He normally doesn’t sugarcoat what he says when he needs to say it, giving him an earnest quality that I still find endearing and appealing regardless of the overarching con. (I’m so going to be eating these words later when the truth comes out, aren’t I?) I really do believe him when he claims to want Young to live happily once he’s gone, and I really do believe that he wants the best for her despite everything.
The only problem is, I have to qualify that “despite everything” every time, because I am gonna need whatever Soo is on if he thinks he’s going to make it out of this with both of them amicably parting ways and therefore richer for the experience. For now, I’ll give him a gold star for his efforts to keep Young alive, since that’s becoming quite the full-time job.