Winter Sonata – Episode 11

Now we get to the part of the story that just makes me angry.  Through a tissue of lies by the very people who should love and support her, Yoo-jin pulls away from her own happiness and heads for responsibility and pain instead.  And poor Min-hyung also finds out secrets that his loving family has been hiding.Winter_Sonata_ep-11[T1][(101945)08-02-08]

Episode 11

Poor Lee Min-hyung is left alone in the snow as Jong Yoo-jin hurries back to Seoul after making the decision to stay with Kim Sang-hyuk.

At the radio station, a perfectly healthy Sang-hyuk strolls to the production booth and catches his coworker smoking. It’s a happy reunion. His friend wonders aloud what happened that he would take all of his vacation time and leave without pay. Wait, so the whole hospital stay / quit your job thing was a big lying setup? That is one sick obsession and a far cry from love.


At Polaris, Yoo-jin prepares to quit her job, handing off several of the blueprints to her coworker. She falls asleep at her desk, and wakes up when Mr Obessive Possesive shows up to invite her to family dinner. Mom is happy to have them both there, but her face falls when Sang-hyuk announces that the couple will move overseas. It’s news to Yoo-jin as well, but she just goes along with it.

When he drops her off at her appointment, she is in complete passive mode, and he can tell she’s not acting correctly. Inside the apartment, both her old roommate and her mom are there to welcome her. Over coffee, she tells her mom of Sang-hyuk’s decision to leave South Korea. Mom says it’s a good thing; Yoo-jin smiles but it doesn’t reach her eyes. She finally asks her mom, can’t she just live on her own and take care of her mother? Mom says absolutely not; her daughter is where she belongs.

Yoo-jin admits that she still loves Min-hyung and feels nothing but a gulf of sadness and guilt when she sees Sang-hyuk. Per mom, though, she has to go through with it no matter what, and they cry together. Later that night, Yoo-jin’s mother is soothing a sleeping daughter, whispering that there are more important things in life than love, and that her relationship with Sang-hyuk is too important to give up. She asks that her daughter not hurt too much.


Min-hyung is lost in thought at the result. Manager Kim notices and they decide that he needs to take a few days off. He drives up to his villa, but the first thing he sees in his mind is Yoo-jin standing in the living room in her white wool outfit. He sadly turns off the light again.

Kang Mi-hee is having a concert at the university. The radio team is at the concert hall to ask for an interview. So is Sang-hyuk’s dad. He lurks outside her dressing room until she comes out. When his son calls out to him, she whirls around and the other couple lock eyes.


Min-hung is moping outside the villa, sitting next to the frozen lake. The friendly neighbor from before stops to chat. Min-hyung mentions he would like to try ice fishing, but the man admonishes him. It’s very dangerous since the lake is very deep. Twenty years ago he saved a young kid from drowning, but kids these days never show their gratitude. Especially that Kang Joon-sang. Min-hyung is shocked at this revelation.

Back in the concert dressing room, we find out that Sang-hyuk’s father and Min-hyung’s mother went to high school together. She is gracious as everyone introduces each other. It’s time for the concert, though, so she has to leave. But she promises to do the interview. The radio team excitedly leaves, but the older pair linger for a moment. Sang-hyuk turns back to speak with his father, and ends up eavesdropping on their conversation.


Dad asks if she knows a “Kang Joong-sang” who visited him at the university but ended up dying in a vehicle accident while still in high school. She tells him that her son is alive and well, and so can’t be this other person. Before they part company, however, he mentions that someone named “Hyun-soo” died sixteen years ago. Her face freezes as he takes his leave.

With the concert over, she exits the venue, only to collapse outside the hall. Sang-hyuk and his coworker are waxing rhapsodic when they spot Min-hyung walking across the foyer.

People rush by Min-hyung, and he speeds upn to catch up with his mother’s doctor friend. Next thing we see, he’s piggybacking Mi-hee to hurry her to the hotel. Why not a hospital? Doctor Ahn gives her an IV and tells Min-hyung it’s stress-related. And Dr Ahn is a psychologist??


Min-hyung asks the important question – Does Mom have any other children? Dr Ahn assures him that he is an only child who was born and grew up in the States, but quickly takes off before Min-hyung could ask any other questions.

Yoo-jin is chattering at the dinner table peeling apples; Sang-hyuk is silent. When he finally speaks, he mentions seeing Lee Min-hyung that day.  He gauges her reactions, and she wonders if he is trying to test her. She isn’t indifferent but that doesn’t mean she wants to go back.  Sang-hyuk smiles for a moment before looking thoughtful.

Min-hyung is playing with a half-empty highball glass, going back over all the little things that bother him: his mom’s reaction to Yoo-jin being a local girl; her mention of him drowning at the villa; the neighbor who saved Joon-sang; and Dr Ahn’s nervous reaction.  He is saved from further rumination when Chae-rin calls him. She knows right away that he has been drinking, and quickly leaves her boutique to meet up with him.


He’s not exactly welcoming when she arrives. She’s worried about him, but seeing his lack of reaction, hesitantly adds that she’s only there as a friend. What is he thinking about? He replies in a monotone: Kang Joon-sang, is he a long lost twin? A distant relative?  Or maybe, just maybe he IS Kang Joon-sang.

Chae-rin scoffs at this idea, wondering if he likes Yoo-jin so much that he’s grasping at straws. She gets more annoyed as she talks. If he is going to talk nonsense, not tell his precious Yoo-jin that he is Joon-sang. He ruefully answers that, even if he did, it wasn’t likely that she would return to him.

Chae-rin grows desperate when he asks her to leave. He’s Min-hyung, Min-hyung Min-hyung! He is barely listening, and walks away, leaving her at the bar. He wanders around, until his feet bring him to Yoo-jin’s apartment.

Sang-hyuk is ready to leave, and comments on the pretty new star necklace. Yoo-jin tucks it under her neckline and walks her fiance to the front steps. Min-hyung is hiding behind a tree and witnesses their goodbye hug. Yoo-jin sighs, then turns towards the street to check the shadows before heading back in. She doesn’t spot Min-hyung.


At the hotel, Kang Mom is finally awake. She feels better, but get nervous when her son asks her if she’s ever heard the name Kang Joon-sang. She playts dumb, but I don’t think Min-hyung is buying it. And I think she knows that.

Yoo-jin is getting ready for work. Her now-returned roommate mentions that Chae-rin and Min-hyung were dating again. Yoo-jin is seemingly unaffected. At the office she starts fielding phone calls. One of them is from Chae-rin. They meet for coffee, and the designer mentions wanting to make her wedding dress. Yoo-jin cuts to the chase; what does she really want?

Chae-rin goes into some story that Min-hyung is pushing her away, and she asks for help. She had hoped that he would return to her once Yoo-jin was married, but he will not return no matter what. Once back in the office, Yoo-jin sits and thinks. She touches the star necklace around her neck.

Sang-hyuk is given a couple of concert tickets for a performance that night, so he tries to track down Yoo-jin. He pulls up to her office just as she is hailing a cab, and follows her to a bar. Through the window, he sees that Min-hyung is there to meet her.


Over coffee, Min-hyung is all smiles, happy that she wanted to see him. There’s a little small talk, and she tries to get to the reason she wanted to meet. He just wants a moment to look at her and hope that she missed him. Instead, she wanted to give him the star necklace back. Oh, Yoo-jin, do you plan to sacrifice everything for everybody else? He is understanding, of course, but he had hoped for more. He is grateful that he had a chance to see her.

Their conversation devolves into talking about the weather, metaphorically. He only feels comfortable at the ski resort where his thoughts are clear; from her, everything in Seoul has changed and don’t quite fit anymore. There is a charged moment before Yoo-jin mentions Chae-rin. Min-hyung interrupts her; he is willing to do everything Yoo-jin asks, but he won’t go back to her friend. They both stare at each other and lie that they are doing well.

At the crosswalk, he wonders out loud if she had ever met with him if he hadn’t look like her first love. He feels like he’s waiting for a traffic light that will never turn green. She tells him that she is already on her path, and it’s too hard to try and change it. They part ways; he stays behind, she runs across the street.


Sang-hyuk is waiting outside her place when she finally arrives. He asks where she as been, at the office? She agrees that’s what it was. He hands her a small box, and mentions a conversation a long time ago where she promised to hold his hand when he was sad; he reaches out and she places her hand in his. Inside the apartment, she opens the box and finds another necklace, this one a single diamond caged in a circle of metal.

Yoo-jin is at Kim Mom’s house having a meal. Mom is prattling about the wedding, and gives her a gift for her mother. Mom is grateful that she saved the life of her son. I guess Mom doesn’t know that he lied and staged the whole thing.

The four share coffee and snacks. Yoo-jin confirms that she plans to quit her job right before the wedding, in about a month. Sang-hyuk is all smiles, of course. They are driving back to her place when she receives a call fron her boss. Jun-ah and Manager Kim are having drinks in Seoul and plan to leave for the resort in the morning. They wanted to see her before they left. She declines and they hang up. Manager Kim decides to contact his boss instead. In the car, Sang-hyuk decides that they should go, especially since Min-hyung isn’t there.


The sidekicks already have an impressive display of beer bottles on their table when Min-hyung arrives. Their boss grabs his first one, while the piano plays “Hey Jude”. The conversation between the three comes to a halt when Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk arrive. Jun-ah is the first to recover and offers them seats. Min-hyung pops up, eager to leave, but Sang-hyuk insists he stay and they leave.

Yoo-jin has to run to catch up with Sang-hyuk, who snarks that the four of them would have had a fine old time if he hadn’t had showed up as well. She insists that she didn’t know Min-hyung was there, but Sang-hyuk bitterly confronts her with her late-night meeting with Min-hyung the day before.

She tries to explain she had something to return, but he fires back: did she have something to return tonight too? He is angry that he can’t trust her. After all, didn’t he nearly die without her? Sang-hyuk, you are a possessive obsessive big fat liar. He takes off without her, leaving her at the curb.


There is a bunch of people looking for taxis. She steps past the parked cars, and nearly gets run over, only to be pulled back by Min-hyung.


Ugh ugh ugh. From Sang-hyuk’s deception to Chae-rin’s desperation, there isn’t a single individual that supports Yoo-jin. Except Min-hyung. But he is bounded by her decision, and so can only support her from a distance. Which doesn’t help the situation.

I’m disappointed in Yoo-jin. Yes, family and friends and financial security are all good things, but to give up your job, your love and your person due to the selfishness of others? No, no, no. Your friend abandons you for stepping back from an abusive relationship? It’s best to scrape off such “friends”. But we are stuck with her choices, helpless to do more than watch her wither into a reflection of everyone else’s expectations.

Min-hyung, I believe, is more than convinced there is a connection between him and Kang Joon-sang. What he decides to do with that knowledge is still up to interpretation. He doesn’t want to burden his lady with his love when it has little chance of happiness, so all he can do is wish her well. I’d rather he kidnap her to French Polynesia where they can share coconut drinks and never see another snowflake. But winter is their season, unfortunately.


About Shukmeister

I have a great fondness for chocolate chip cookie dough, 80's science fiction movies, and thunderstorms.

Posted on October 6, 2014, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. thank you very much for your very detail and spesific synopsis…
    i cant wait for it… i will wait for the next episodes..
    like their OST – from beginning till end

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: