Winter Sonata – Episode 16

Our couple shares some quiet happy time together. But already, the actions of the previous generation are casting a cloud over their relationship.

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Episode 16

Our couple spends some quiet night time staring into each other’s eyes. Yoo-jin finally tells him the words in her heart for over a decade: “I love you.”

She wonders what else Joon-sang can remember, but it’s just little snippets of scenes flashing in his head. The isolated incidents at school, and his behavior at the overnight trip, times when he was mean, and the reason she named her company “Polaris”. They smile at each other.

There is no smiling at the radio studio, at least by Sang-hyuk. But his sidekick is happy; they are waiting for Joon-sang’s mom to make an appearance and interview. He muses that Kang Mi-hee was his first crush, and they last forever…

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Later that day Yoo-jin’s mother shows up at the studio, bringing the wedding money back to Sang-hyuk. They both apologize to each other. Mom seems to feel particularly sad about his feelings, almost more than she feels about her own daughter. He muses that he wanted to make Yoo-jin happy, with children to bounce on Jung Mom’s knee. They both sigh.

Back to our pair, Yoo-jin is ready to take her man to hospital and try to retrieve all his memories. He doesn’t really want to, though, in case there are ugly memories that might surface.

Outside the studio, Yoo-jin’s mother is leaving and Joon-sang’s mother is arriving. It’s an awkward stare-off, and they clearly know each other. Jung Mom leaves after exchanging a few neutral words, leaving the other with Sang-hyuk. He explains that it’s his friend Jung Yoo-jin’s mother, which surprises the musician. But why?

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Yoo-jin is asleep on the bus, and Joon-sang cuddles her as he has another flashback, this time of his meeting with Kim Dad at this classroom. Once they arrive at Yoo-jin’s house, he wonders aloud why he ran out when she was making snacks. He still can’t remember that part, but speculates. In the meantime, Jung Mom arrives, and Joon-sang makes his greetings and leaves the two to continue into the house.

Mom is clearly not happy, and mentions Joon-sang only obliquely, wondering if he has fully recovered yet. After all, it’s difficult is your memories are lacking, but it’s also difficult if your memories are full. Mom, what are you trying to say?

Joon-sang’s mother has Yoo-jin running through her mind, going over all the times they met and the information she has gathered. On impulse, she calls her son, and they make a promise to meet up the next day, before she travels to Japan.

In the morning, he’s waiting on the street; he looks up and smiles and Yoo-jin comes racing around the corner, clearly running late again. He teases her as “Miss Tardy” before they both run into the hotel where his mother was staying.

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Mom is not happy to see Yoo-jin, but the exchange greetings. Kang Mom muses that Yoo-jin looks a lot like her father, but swiftly changes her statement to a question – Does she take after her father? Yoo-jin answers in the affirmative as her son, her assistant, and her luggage arrive.

Everything gets piled into the airport limousine, and Joon-sang asks her what she wanted to tell him. Kang Mom glances over at Yoo-jin, and states that they will talk at a later time. With that, she heads out of South Korea.

Back at the office, Manager Kim and our engineer are going over the project to confirm that everything is running smoothly. He sees that the boat jigsaw puzzle has been moved – did Joon-sang do the puzzle all over again? A smile is his answer. They set up dinner plans, but his sidekick recognizes it as a housewarming / meeting the woman in his life.

Our couple meets at the grocery store to gather foodstuffs to stock the pantry. While unloading the bags in his kitchen, Joon-sang contemplates that they feel like a married pair already. She wonders why he bought so many items, and he admits that tomorrow is Min-hyung’s official birthday, and Manager Kim is coming over for a meal. It takes her a moment before realizing that he probably wants his previous friends there too. He deflects her comment and she lets it go.

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Out on the streets, Sang-hyuk is wandering along, and sees a familiar coat and a woman with short hair. He starts following her, only to find out she is not Yoo-jin. He is sad all over again, standing still in the middle of the sidewalk. That’s where Dr Kwon finds him, and together they head to a bar.

He admits to Yong-gook that he’s not doing too well; they were apart for a long time when he was doing his Military Service, and in this case they haven’t been apart all that long, but he feels the gulf this time. He misses her and the plans he had made for the two of them. Yong-gook offers the advice that time will eventually smooth over the sharp pain, but Sang-hyuk is bitter and unhappy about it, filled with envy for Joon-sang and unable to do a thing about it.

At their apartment, the two girls share breakfast. Jin-sook is exhausted; her boss has been running her ragged every day. She is making everyone’s lives miserable, probably because of her breakup. The younger woman wonders how long the friends will stay apart from each other. She’s happy to know Joon-sang’s memories are almost complete, and is gung-ho about getting everyone together in one place, even if they all yell at each other. Yoo-jin is more cautious, especially regarding Che-rin and Sang-hyuk, but on impulse invites Jin-sook to Joon-sang’s for his birthday party that night.

While at work at the boutique, Jin-sook receives a phone call from the vet, and Che-rin overhears the party plans. She categorically refuses to go; instead threatening the younger woman with working an all-nighter. Sang-hyuk is sitting in the dark somewhere when he receives his invitation from Yong-gook. He comes up with an excuse not to go.

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At Joon-sang’s apartment, everything is prepared. He worries that they made too much food, and Yoo-jin tells him of the extra guest. He promises to eat everything, even if nobody shows up. They share a smile as the doorbell rings. But to their surprise, the first person is Sang-hyuk! He graciously offers his congratulations as they invite him inside. But the conversation is stilted between Yoo-jin and Sang-hyuk, both striving to act normally but both failing. As the conversation winds down, she quietly mentions that he is looking thinner. He gives her a sad smile in response to her nagging. Finally, he asks if she is happy, but we don’t hear her response. Joon-sang is pouring coffee and watching from the kitchen.

Later, the two men walk outside. Sang-hyuk admits that Yoo-jin never shined as beautifully as now. He wishes them both good luck with their relationship. Before he turns away, though, he mentions that his father and Joon-sang’s mother were classmates in school, just like they are.

The other two classmates show up at the apartment, and we get a montage of Sang-hyuk alone in his studio, and Che-rin silent in her office juxtaposed with the partygoers at the apartment. It’s a merry affair there, bright and cheerful. Even the rest of Polaris show up to celebrate his birthday. When it’s finally just the birthday boy and his squeeze, he thanks her for bringing his old friends to see him. She says it’s their actions, not hers, and urges him to find Che-rin and try to mend their relationship.

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He takes the advice to heart, and finds Che-rin at her boutique. He apologizes for his treatment, both as Min-hyung and as Joons-sang. She sees it as a sign that he might want to return to her side, and hugs him, calling him “Min-hyung”. After all, Joon-sang always loved Yoo-jin, but Min-hyung loved Che-rin first.

He gently untangles from her arms and tells her it’s impossible. She flashes into anger. How dare he pity her! Softly, Joon-sang says he is looking for his old high school chum, but she only wants Lee Min-hyung. He can’t do it, of course, and apologizes again before turning to leave. Her final words? “I’ll make you return to me.”

Back in his now-empty apartment, he has a sudden dizzy spell. Oh no, what’s happening in his brain?

Sometime later, he’s having porridge with Yoo-jin. He laughs about fate; if he hadn’t gone to Choonchun, none of the problems would have happened. But then he wouldn’t have met her. She tells him that when they first met, all those years ago, he said he was looking for his father. They wonder who he is, but, since he’s dead, there is no way to track him at this late date, and his mother gave him very few clues. Later that night, Joon-sang thinks over the conversations with his mother regarding his father.

At KimHouse, Mom is flashing a picture of a marriageable young woman and offers to set up a matseon, but he isn’t interested, and just gets more and more irritated as she pushes him. Finally he leaves the room, and Dad chastises her for trying to force their son.

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However, Dad heads up to his son’s room to a heart to heart. He admits to Sang-hyuk that it’s hard to let your love go. Sang-hyuk explains the circumstances of Joon-sang’s fateful and remarkable return to Yoo-jin. Dad is surprised, even more so when he finds out that Joon-sang is Kang Mi-hee the pianist’s child. His face registers several emotions and pales. Sang-hyuk asks if he is okay, but he brushes it off and leaves his son’s room. They are both lost in thought.

The next day, Professor Kim goes to her hotel room to try and contact KangMom. Unable to meet her, he calls d confronts her about Joon-sang, stating that her son may be his. What?? She totally denies it and hangs up on him. It still gives him food for thought, and when he bumps into Joon-sang, they head to a café to talk.

Joon-sang has questions of his own, and asks the older man about his visits while still in school. Did he ever ask the professor about his father? He’s not sure, and his questions about what Joon-sang’s mother might have told her son is also fruitless. Except that she had told him that his father was dead. Ultimately the two men agree to drop the subject, especially if it opens up old wounds for Mi-hee.

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Back at work, Joon-sang is lost in thought when Manager Kim walks in. His sidekick wants to know what else Boss is looking for, since he has his memories and his girl back. He admits to curiosity about his father like a stone in his heart. Kim assures him the pain in his heart will go away when he has children of his own.

At the Kim residence, though, the Professor is looking at an unblemished copy of the three friends photograph from his childhood, and wonders about what happened all those years ago.

Yoo-jin and Joon-sang go for a nighttime stroll. She thinks it’s nice for a couple just to walk, just like her parents used to. Being with him reminds her of the times when she was with her father. He has a moment of sadness, since he never knew what it was like to have a male in his household. He shakes off the melancholy as they reach a nearby church. On impulse, they sneak inside and witness a wedding rehearsal.

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After the wedding party leaves, they find the cue cards with vows printed on them. He looks them over and realizes that she is praying. Yoo-jin is sending a prayer of thanks for bringing Joon-sang back into her life. He prays as well, asking God to allow them to grow old together, along with their children. He asks to protect and care for her forever, his beloved.

Kang Mi-hee is back in Korea after her concerts in Japan. The first place she visits is Yoo-jin’s mother in Chunchun. Young-hee is surprised to see her, but graciously puts the kettle on. After a few banal words, Mi-hee gets to the point. Yoo-jin is her daughter, but did she know that Kang Joon-sang is Mi-hee’s son? Young-hee’s eyes go wide with surprise. We are left to wonder why.

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The music becomes darker as we return to our couple at the church. Joon-sang places the star necklace back on Yoo-jin. They look at each other as he proposes: Will she marry him? She nods and they share a kiss before the altar.

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Hooray! We are down to the final four episodes. Of course, that means all the makjaeng elements will be popping up like daisies.

As the relationship of our couple solidifies, the sins of the past generation begin to rear their ugly heads. The parallels between the two generations become much clearer: the same love triangles and issues. No doubt tough things are on the horizon for Joon-sang and Yoo-jin, and we can only root for them to make it through. Already, it’s giving me a headache. How about you?

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About Shukmeister

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

Posted on September 29, 2015, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Thanks for the recaps! I’ve of course heard of this drama (you can’t watch K-dramas and not have heard of it), but I’ve never seen it. Now I’m finally learning all about it–and seeing all the ways more recent dramas clearly took inspiration from it.

  2. I agree! It does seem over the top and dated now, but I think at the time I would have been glued to the television. 🙂 And as it is, even given how makjang-y it seems now, I still read all of your recaps in one night. So even though I’m kind of rolling my eyes at it, I can see why it was so popular. 🙂

  3. please post the recaps for the last episodes, i cant wait to read them

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