Winter Sonata – Episode 17

We have had a few moments of cute. Joon-sang and Yoo-jin have finally found each other. But outside forces are already gathering to challenge their love.

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Jung-sang wakes up from a nightmare where bits from his past (when his mom said his father was dead) and the present (Yoo-jin’s promise to marry him).

It’s a bright morning outside Meridian. Yoo-jin sprints for the white Jeep, late as usual. The couple smile happily at each other, though Yoo-jin’s catches his sleepless night by his bloodshot eyes. The ride to the resort is problem-free; the sidekicks are already there waiting for the main couple to show.  Manager Kim wonders if they snuck off for some us-time, but they both agree that their co-workers are too responsible for that. Too bad, Kim muses, because if the others play hooky privately then that opens the door for Jin-ah and he to follow suit. Whoa, there Tex! Polaris’ manager is not ready for that. Yet.

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Our couple is contentedly strolling through the grounds, happy to return to the snow. Joon-sang remembers when the two of them were in opposition, at the beginning of the renovation project. The wind, the snow, the chilly attitude between them, all those wintery things.

Yoo-jin is sad that winter will soon change to spring; ever since that traumatic event ten years ago, she has hated it whenever everything melts. Joon-sang promises that this time it will be different, and they will never part again.

Uh-oh, Yoo-jin’s mom is meeting with Sang-hyuk’s dad at a café. She tells him that Joon-sang’s mother spoke with her, and it appears Mi-hee’s boy is in love with her daughter. It’s a surprise to Professor Kim that Joon-sang and Yoo-jin are together, even more when she tells him that Mi-hee wants to break the young couple apart.

Jong Mom is heading back home with Professor’s Kim’s words in her ears. He agrees that these two cannot have a future together. But why?

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The next day, Professor Kim is tracking down Kang Mi-hee’s location, in order to meet up with her, but she is out of town. He looks at an old picture of a couple, and remembers conversations with Joon-sang and Yoo-jin’s mother.

Meanwhile, our couple is snuggled in the cable car. They arrange a stack of rocks on the summit, and Yoo-jin prays that they stay together forever. He warms her hands in his and smiles. They end up frolicking in the snow, making snowballs, and kissing. At the end of the day they dust themselves off and head back down, still playing with each other in the cable car.

SHUKNOTE: This might be a good time to talk about the background song, “Violet”, sung by Ryu. It was first composed by singer/composer Jo Dong Jin in 1985, then used seven years later in Winter Sonata, and then again in 2015, as part of the OST of MBC’s Kill Me Heal Me. It is sung by Ji Sung, who had loved the song since his school years. Indeed, it’s actually my favorite vocal piece on the Winter Sonata OST.

Once back, though, it’s all business as they go through one of the café room. Yoo-jin is sketching the lighting when she hears a familiar song. It’s Joon-sang playing a bit of “First Time”, the piece he recorded in his school days. He segues into Lohengrin’s “Bridal Chorus”. She smiles as she hesitate-steps towards the piano, with her hand out to an imaginary groom. She’s ready to keep practicing, but Joon-sang stops playing. How about they both head to her mother’s place so he can formally ask permission to marry her?

At Marcian, Joon-sang is clearing his desk for the trip. He asks Manager Kim to hold down the fort while he proposes. In addition, he asks a favor of his faithful sidekick. In the next scene, Manager Kim is in the unfinished café at the resort. He talks to the electrical engineers to see if the lights can be installed that day. Is he making a cozy rendezvous?

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It’s dark by the time Joon-sang and Yoo-jin make it to Choonchun. He’s a little nervous, but she is perfectly calm. After all, her mother liked him as a boy. However, it’s distinctly chilly in the Jong household. Joon-sang is tentative when he asks for permission. Jong Mom says nothing. Yoo-jin adds in her plea. When Mom speaks, it’s a polite refusal. Everything is so sudden, and she’s not willing to make a decision at this time. Yoo-jin is shocked and Joon-sang tries again. He promises that he will do his best to make her daughter happy, but Jong Mom interrupts him. It’s not that simple, and she begs him to leave before bolting for her bedroom.

Outside, Yoo-jin asks if her lover is okay; he hugs and assures her that he’s fine. She hugs him tighter and calls him a liar. His heart is racing, so how can he be okay? She promises to talk to her mother and bring her around. He calls her a liar, after feeling her body shaking when they hugged.

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Yoo-jin and her mother are finally alone. She tries to talk to her mom, who is too upset to listen. Why does it happen to be him? To Yoo-jin, Joon-sang is the only man she needs, to support and love her. Mom is aghast; will her daughter be with this man whether or not she approves? Cryptically, Jong Mom states that even if she agrees, Joon-sang’s mother never ever will. Not that it matters, she will never approve this marriage either. Mom finally pulls out that familiar blank-and-white photograph.

Joon-sang is at the resort to check on the status of the café. Both sidekicks are there. They both want kudos for the arrangements, right down to the clothes.

Back in Choonchun, Mom finally breaks the adult’s silence. She admits that her husband, Professor Kim and Joon-sang’s mother were best friends in school. Once they reached adulthood, Yoon-jin’s father and Kang Mi-hee were engaged. He broke off the engagement when he met Jong Mom, but Mi-hee’s obsession made things hard for them, especially when she attempted suicide. Kang Mi-hee had attempted to drown herself, but Professor Kim rescued her.

After that, she was out of their lives, but Jong Mom is remorseful of her pain, and will not overstep any decision Joon-sang’s mother decides. What are the chances she will want Yoo-jin as a daughter-in-law? None.

Later that night, Yoo-jin looks at the faded photograph and thinks. Joon-sang is resting on a couch I his hotel room when he get a sudden chill. He scrubs his face, wondering what he felt.

It’s practically the last shuttlebus when Yoo-jin arrives at the resort. There’s no answer at Joon-sang’s room so she runs downstairs, to find the sidekicks sharing a drink. They tell her to head for the café – mission accomplished!

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When she gets there, the room is completely dark. She turns to go look somewhere else. Suddenly the light pops on, and she sees an intimate table set for two. with a pretty white dress on one of the chairs. The two of them share a meal. She asks about the reason for the surprise. He smiles. First, she designed the café, and he wanted her to be the first one to eat there. She counters; does he want her to take responsibility if there are problems? After all, he was part of the process too. Joon-sang laughs and tells her that the two of them should do everything together from now on. Not just projects, but think and feel everything together as well. And the second reason? That’s a secret.

They are strolling down a deserted sidewalk, and Yoo-jin wants to flip a coin to see if it comes up heads (they stay together forever) or tails (they will end up apart), just like the movies. She throws the coin up into the air, but Joon-sang expertly catches in his palm. He explains that the coins are made so that both sides are heads.

Joon-sang finally asks her about her mother. Did she agree to their marriage? Yoo-jin’s silence says it all. No matter to him as together they will win her over, In fact, that was the second reason for the dinner tonight – to combine forces to overcome all the obstacles to their love. Yoo-jin finally speaks about their situation, and explains what her mother told her. That this very talented woman interfered with her parent’s relationship and was once engaged to her father.

They walk hand in hand back to their rooms. Joon-sang assures her that they will stay together, no matter what, and asks her not to worry too much. Yoo-jin agrees. He wipes away traces of tears from her face and smiles. But his smile falters once she closes her hotel room door.

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There is a particularly fluffy gray kitty at the veterinary clinic. Jin-sook and Dr Kwon discuss the impending nuptials between their two school mates. The vet feels bad for the other member of their circle of friends. Just then Sang-hyuk shows up, just in time to hear the news. He’s happy for the pair, and looks forward to learning the wedding date.

Joon-sang is asleep, but his dreams are disturbed by fleeting flashes of memory from his childhood, centered around that single old pictures. He wakes up in a sweat. He’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, though, when Yoo-jin shows up that morning. They drive to a local photography studio, where he has made arrangements for couple pictures; after all, they don’t have any mementos from way back when. Or today.

The chatty photog arranges the setting, asking which one of the three reasons they are having formal portraits done: premarital photos, people wanting to acknowledge their relationship, or couples facing opposition. He comments on their similarities before snapping the lens. Afterwards, he drops Yoo-jin off at the hotel, citing some urgent business in Seoul. She wants to tag along, but she’s has work to do there. He promises to return that night.

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Joon-sang is finishing up his work in the office, when Sang-hyuk stops by for a drink. The two of them head for a bar, where Sang-hyuk sincerely congratulates him for his impeding wedding. He does, however, remind Joon-sang of his promise not to make Yoo-jin cry. Joon-sang ruefully says that he wasn’t able to keep that promise; since both of their mothers oppose the union, it’s hard on them both.

Sang-hyuk is surprised at this, so Joon-sang explains the relationship between Professor Kim and the two moms. And the failed engagement. Sang-hyuk makes a parallel between their parent’s complicated past, and this generation’s complicated friendships.

Sang-hyuk recommends they elope; if Yoo-jin had loved him, he would have left everything behind for her. Should he take the advice? But Joon-sang feels fate still has something more in store for them, something they can’t run away from.

Outside they shake hands, friends again. Sang-hyuk changes his advice; stick around, don’t elope. Everyone’s hearts will eventually change, and they can get married with everyone’s blessing. As they part, Sang-hyuk has a parting thought; Joon-sang should thank his mother because if she followed through on the engagement, Joon-sang and Yoo-jin wouldn’t have been able to date, since they would be siblings. This strikes a chord in Joon-sang’s mind.

As he walks back to his truck, Joon-sang goes through all the conversations about his father: Kang Mom talking about his missing father; Yoo-jin talking about her missing father. Hmm.

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Joon-sang decides to pay a visit to Professor Kim. While waiting in his office, he looks at several frames of family photos on the shelves. He accidently knocks one over, and a single photo falls to the ground. He picks it up. It’s the same dratted photo that everyone seems to have: Yoo-jin’s father, Joon-sang’s mother, Sang-hyuk’s father. He woodenly walks away from the office, ending up at this mother’s hotel.

At the resort, Yoo-jin is checking her watch during a meeting with her partner, when they decide to finish for the evening. The two of them walk by the lake, and Jung-ah mentions that this is probably the last of the snow for the year. Yoo-jin feels a wave of sadness at the thought. Once they get back inside, she decides to wait for Joon-sang by taking another walk around the grounds. Near the snowmaking machine, she spots a familiar coat. She calls out, and he turns. She wonders if he is there to cry, remembering when he led her to this location in the past. He gives her a half-hearted smile, but she catches on that something is the matter. He blames it on the cold though, and gives her a hug. She can’t see him crying as they hold each other until the billowing clouds of ice.

Over a cup of coffee, he drops a bombshell. The two of them should get married. That night. Yoo-jin wonders if he is joking, but Joon-sang is dead serious. She remarks on the strangeness of it all, and thinks he is discouraged over their parents. But no, he tells her that he needs her and wants to be with her now, even if everyone is against it. She’s hesitant, but agrees.

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Jung-ah wonders why Mr Lee is acting so strangely, and Yoon-jin explains the problems from both of their parents. Her partner agrees with Joon-sang; after all, a wedding is just to tell your love to the world. Yoo-jin is still puzzled, but her buddy tells her that if she loves him, that all that’s needed.

Joon-sang is sitting in his hotel room, still in his coat, but with his eyes closed. His mind is awhirl with all kinds of flashbacks. All the places that picture has turned up; Yoo-jin talking about her father; he as a young man running to catch up with her; and the final blow.

He asked his mother point blank whether Yoo-jin’s father was his dad. Mom looks down and apologizes. Yikes! Now we know what all the adults were whisper-whisper-whisper about. There’s a very real possibility that he is in love with his half-sister. Birth secrets never go well for the innocents, do they.

He opens his eyes when the air around him becomes brighter. It’s Yoo-jin, opening up the blinds. Together, they go for a walk on the mountain. They take a moment to admire the view, then she broaches the subject. If he is really sincere about holding the wedding today, she agrees to it. She wonders about witnesses, but Joon-sang doesn’t need them as long as the two of them exchange vows. They hug.

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At the Kim residence, Sang-hyuk has just gotten home. He pauses before going into his father’s study. Proffesor Kim is on the phone, telling the other party that Joon-sang and Yoo-jin must never marry. When he is done with the phone call, Sang-hyuk pushes open the door and demands to know the reason. After all, he is okay with it. His dad says it’s not his son’s fault, but what else can it be?

Kim Dad sighs that Jong Mom doesn’t understand either, why he is against her daughter’s choice of husband. Dad swallows, and in a quiet voice, asks his son to promise that he will stop the pair from exchanging vows. And in two short sentences, it’s done. “Joon-sang is Hyun-soo’s son. Joon-sang and Yoo-jin are half-siblings.”

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Next thing we see, Sang-hyuk running to his vehicle as, at the hotel, Joon-sang is donning a suit. Yoo-jin is in a pretty white dress; she slips her star necklace on and stares at the reflection in the mirror.

We see Sang-hyuk run into the hotel lobby, but at a simple church, Joon-sang and Yoo-jin are already there. Yoo-jin slowly walks towards the altar, still in her overcoat. They hold hands as, in his mind, Joon-sang asks for forgiveness from God.

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Uh-oh. Consanguinity is disapproved by almost every human society there is, and South Korea is no exception. It seems the parallels between the two generations have taken a nasty turn. How will our couple find happiness? Although it seems strange for Professor Kim to send Sang-hyuk to try and stop the pair; after all, didn’t he have suspicions of his own concerning Joon-sang’s paternity? Even if they manage to complete vows in front of the altar at the church, without a priest or formal marriage license, it has all the permanency of a handfast. Can they please have their moment together before the circumstances rip them apart, Show?


About Shukmeister

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

Posted on December 19, 2015, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I was interested in the wedding sans witnesses and however that could have been justified. Is this ok by Korean law? It would have been easy enough to include the sidekicks, although someone else would have to have revealed the location of the chapel. Details, details I know but it bugged me.

    • Carole Dent – IKR? It’s not a sacrament in the eyes of the Catholic Church because there’s no priest officiating. And it’s not legal in SoKor because no marriage license has been signed at the registrars. So, really, they could rub noses and pledge their troth at the Blue Moon jazz bar and it would be just as ‘real’. ^^

  2. I kind of cringe at Joon-sang with this episode. I’m like how could he marry his sister even if she doesn’t know it. A bit of a disgusting thought actually, and very selfish.

    Anyways, thank you for this recaps. I first watched this drama in the Philippines last 2003, dubbed in Filipino. It’s just now that I got to watch it again in Korean language with eng subs. Still gave me the same heavy-heart feeling at the ending as if it’s the first time I watched it. Still in-love with Yong-joon 😍

    • I think the poor guy was just desperate to have someone actually love, or even like, him. Once he realized what his mother has done, he probably doubted he was even worth loving. No excuse, of course.

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