Winter Sonata – Episode 13

Poor Lee Min-hyung. After all assertions to the contrary, can he convince anyone he is really Kang Joon-sang? Does he even believe it himself?

WS 13 01 Missed


Min-hyung begs Yoo-jin to look at him and see who he really is. She wonders what in the world has gotten into him. “I’m Joon-sang!” he states will all the fierceness that desperation can give. She all but calls him a liar who is trying to play on her emotions. He holds her by the shoulders, but Sang-hyuk comes out of the restaurant and deliberately calls him crazy. Min-hyung throws a punch, and that’s it. Yoo-jin is firmly with Sang-hyuk, and leaves with him.


In the restaurant, the rest of the gang speculate if the engineer really is their long-lost classmate. Doctor Kwon wonders aloud what Yoo-jin will do if he does turn out to be her first love? Chae-rin is silent, but glares as Jin-sook says aloud what she is thinking: if true, they are destined to be together, and everyone else will need to let go. She leaves on that thought.

Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk are in a taxi, and he demands that she promise to never see Lee Min-hyung again, ever ever ever. Nor listen to anything he says. Nor believe anything she may hear about him. I really dislike him for frequently lying to Yoo-jin and playing upon her sympathies. You are a bad man, Sang-hyuk, who demands promises of others but always breaks his own. Anyway, he gets the affirmative from Yoo-jin.

Jin-sook is at the apartment when Yoo-jin arrives. Wait, wasn’t she at the restaurant? Anyway, Mom is there too. Another liar in Yoo-jin’s life. Before she goes to the bedroom where her mother is waiting, Jin-sook relates the events at dinner that night. She thinks the man will do anything to get Yoo-jin back.

Mom is asleep in her bed, but wakes up when her daughter opens the door. Yoo-jin snuggles in, just wanting some mother/child cuddling. After a short while, she receives a phone call from Min-hyung. He quietly says her name, several times, and then asks in a low voice to come outside and talk for a moment.


She tells him the reasons why he can’t be Joon-sang: he was never pushy with his feelings; he never tried to hurt people with their weaknesses; he never even told her how he felt. The boy she knew never had confidence or dignity, and almost never smiled. He can’t ever be the boy she remembered. And even if that boy returned, she won’t leave her fiancé. They both cry. He still begs her to come outside and see him, even if it’s for the last time.

She thinks for a moment, and then leaps up and heads for the door. Evil Mom chooses that time to fling open the bedroom door and stop her daughter, even to the extent of physically holding her. When that doesn’t work, she fakes a collapse. Speaking of low-lifes, Sang-hyuk arrives at the apartment as the doctor is examining her mom.


Meanwhile, Min-hyung is sitting alone outside. Inside, Mom pretends to be unconscious, but grabs Yoo-jin’s skirt when she tries to leave the bedroom. Nasty, manipulative Mom. You deserve that son-in-law.

Sang-hyuk meets up with Min-hyung, spins a sob story of how much he loves the woman he is going to marry, and chastises Min-hyung for not being around for the last ten years while the rest of the world has grieved and moved on. He acknowledges his rival really is Joon-sang, but basically says nobody gives a rat’s butt for this familiar stranger, and tells him to disappear.

Poor Joon-sang goes back to his mom’s empty house, remembering everything he heard that night. Later, when he comes out of the bedroom, his mother is sitting at the table with her hands tightly clenched together. She asks him if there is anything she can do for him.

He demands she return his memories and everything he has lost. She wants to explain the reasoning behind her decisions ten years before, but he doesn’t care. She still tries: he was bitter, angry, mom-hating, illegitimate child, and she gave him a father and happy memories to cover that pain. She lost Joon-sang forever, but gained Min-hung, which made her a happy mom.

The air between them eases a bit, enough that he gives her a hug before she leaves. In the house, he decides to go through things. He hangs her pictures back on the wall, and goes through his old room, which had been left alone all these years. In the storage room, there are pieces of furniture and boxes.


He idly sifts through things, and finds a box containing Joon-sang effects: his high school pin and name badge; notes passed between Yoo-jin and his former self; and a cassette. In his old bedroom, he finds a player, and listens to it. It’s his own voice wishing Yoo-jin a Merry Christmas. Aww, his face as he listens, it’s so sad.

In fact, he listens to himself try several times to put into words what that young heart was feeling then.  The current Joon-sang cries as he rewinds and listens again.


Yoo-jin tucks her mom in at Joon House before heading to her old high school to drop off a wedding invitation to her old professor.

Joon-sang has beaten her there, though, and is wandering around, trying to find something, anything, that would unlock those lost memories.  They almost-meet several times on campus.

Yoo-jin bumps into her younger sister at the campus radio station, and gets introduced to all her sister’s chingu. She gives them a little inside information on how to soften “Professor Gargamel”: read poetry, especially love poetry, out loud. The kids decide to broadcast.


Joon-sang enters the music room, and touches the piano.  Is this the one he first played for her, all those years ago? After touching the keys, he begins to play “The First Time” at first tentatively, but then with more power as his finger memory, at least, returns.

The kids start reciting “The Flight” by Sarah Teasdale.  Joon-sang stops and listens. Yoo-jin is also feeling the words in her heart.

Look back with longing eyes and know that I will follow,
Lift me up in your love as a light wind lifts a swallow,
Let our flight be far in sun or windy rain–
But what if I heard my first love calling me again?

Hold me on your heart as the brave sea holds the foam,
Take me far away to the hills that hide your home;
Peace shall thatch the roof and love shall latch the door–

But what if I heard my first love calling me once more?

Afterwards, Yoo-jin wanders to the same places Young/Adult Joon-sang walked. She ends up in the recital room, and touches the keys.  She thinks about her younger self, and the poem. Tears fall, but she resolutely shuts the fallboard.

Manager Kim is looking for his boss at Marcian; he has some paperwork that the engineer needs to review and sign off. Min-hyung tells him that he will be in charge of finishing the resort, as he plans to return to the States.  Manager Kim scoffs as Min-hyung pauses over the signature line on the forms.  He resolutely signs them “Lee Min-hyung”.


Dirtbag Fiance Sang-hyuk receives a phone call requesting a meetup. Once he arrives, Min-hyung loses no time in telling his plans to return overseas and wish Yoo-jin happiness from a distance.  He plans to live the rest of his life as Lee Min-hyung who once loved a girl named Jong Yoo-jin. Sang-hyuk thanks him and they shake hands. He goes after one final cut, though: he thanks him for being Joon-sang, and being alive.

At Chae-rin’s boutique, Yoo-jin’s wedding dress is complete. Jin-sook is clearly more excited about it than the bride is.  They go into the changing room, just as Min-hyun shows up to say his goodbyes to his previous girlfriend.

And our pair’s eyes lock as Yoo-jin opens the curtain. He comes to his senses first and gives her a polite, formal bow.  She is flustered, though, and loses a shoe while untangling the dress from the dressing room curtain.  He walks over and slides the shoe back on her foot, while she remembers that long-ago time at school when he did the same.


When he straightens out, they are once again looking at each other. He quietly tells her she looks good (I rewatched to make sure he didn’t say ‘beautiful’). She replies that it has been a while since they have seen each other.

They sit together on the couch, but an awkward distance apart, with an awkward silence between them. He finally chooses his words, wanting to ask her something. She agrees to answer. The question? “When you said you loved me, was it because I look like Joon-sang?”

Yoo-jin readily answers. No, she loved Min-hyung separately from any others, including her first love. He sincerely thanks her and they share a wordless moment before Jin-sook pops in. Since Chae-rin isn’t there, he takes his leave, offering Yoon-jin his blessing on her upcoming marriage.

Professor Kim (Sang-hyuk’s father) stops by Jong House to see Yoo-jin’s mom. She delicately approaches the fact that Madam Kang is back in South Korea. He, of course, already met her at the concert hall. Yoo-jin arrives, and escorts him out of the house. She thanks him for visiting her mother, and he is happy she calls him “father”. Especially since he, her father, and ‘another person’ were close friends in school, just like the relationships she had at the same campus. He asks about Engineer Lee; he wants to apologize for his wife’s rudeness, stating he can’t get the young man out of his mind. He had a visceral reaction to Min-hyuk that made him think he really was Kang Joon-sang, but his gut feeling must have been wrong for once.


Yoo-jin asks Professor Kim about the time he spoke to Joon-sang, but all he could remember is that the kid didn’t have a chance to ask him anything. She admits that no-one went to the funeral, purportedly it was held in Seoul. Later than night, she thinks about her conversation with her father-in-law until she gets a headache.

Chae-rin meets up with Sang-hyuk at his studio; she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is leaving South Korea. She runs out to try and track him down. While driving, she receives a phone call.

At a café, a private investigator reveals information she hired him to check. He all but confirms that Kang Joon-sang and Lee Min-hyung are the same person, with the name change upon his mother’s marriage in America. Oh snap! She pulls over to the side of road, and quietly freaks out.


When she arrives, exhausted, at her boutique, Jin-sook is chatting away on the phone with Yoo-jin. Chae-rin ignores her, until she hears the words “Deceased Persons records”, and finds out she is planning to visit their high school again to ‘find out something’. Chae-rin runs out and immediately calls Sang-hyuk about the situation. They find out from each other that the two alters are actually the same person, and that Yoo-jin may believe that as well. Both panic-flee towards the school.

Chae-rin reaches the school first, but she doesn’t have enough time to keep Professor Gargamel and Yoo-jin from meeting. The prof mentions Sang-hyuk was there too, but Chae-rin deflects the conversation. He’s got a meeting, so Yoo-jin promises to stop by at a later date.


Playing the chingu card, Chae-rin tries to pry information out of Yoo-jin, and all but yanks her into the car in the name of friendship and drives her directly to her mom’s house, where Sang-hyuk is waiting to hustle her back to Seoul. Man, these two manipulators should get together instead.

On the drive back, Sang-hyuk is caught by his tangled lies as Yoo-jin asks about his presence in Choonchun. He comes up with more BS to try and coverup everything. She’s puzzled but lets it slide. Does he even feel bad about lie after lie after lied after lie?

Who knows, but one thing is for sure; he didn’t notice when once he dropped her off, she flagged a taxi and headed out.


Min-hyung is finalizing his flight plans for tomorrow when Yoo-jin shows up at the hotel. He’s packing up everything, including her star necklace, when she reaches his door.

She pauses before ringing the door bell. Will she or won’t she?


I hope Yoo-jin is starting to think on her own. From our point of view, there isn’t a single person in her life who is honest and supportive.  Even Jin-sook parrots what she’s been told by everyone else.  Joon-sang / Min-hyung genuinely wishes her well, which could be why she always thinks about him in odd moments.  But he, too, doesn’t seem inclined to inform her of everything going on.

Yoo-jin’s mother is the one that upsets me the most,  Her daughter’s happiness should be more important than pride or money, and lying is bad, even when you try and justify it by saying it’s for her own good.  Your children need to make their own decisions, and laugh or despair based on that. And her faking illness?  Ugh ugh  ugh, the worst.

We still have a long way to go, and there’s plenty of room for angst and bad things to happen.  But I want more good times too.  A little balance wouldn’t hurt, Show.



About Shukmeister

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

Posted on February 12, 2015, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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