Winter Sonata – Episode 19

And the hits just keep coming! All these problems piling up like debris on a beach. Each wave depositing  even more. And somewhere down the line, we still want our happy ending!


Both Joon-sang and I are exhausted!


With the revelation that StupidKimMom tells her, Yoo-jin goes tearing out of the house to look for her boyfriend. In her haste, she trips on the stairs leading up to his apartment. Knocking on the door, it’s unlocked, and slowly opens. H e’s not there, but his mom is.

The second nasty mom in this show sits down with Yoo-jin, oozing with empathy. She hasn’t been able to contact her son either, [crocodile tear, crocodile tear]. The younger woman tightly grips her teacup and asks EvilKangMom point blank: is the news correct? Are the two half-siblings? Do they really share a father? EKM stands and turns away, but warns Yoo-jin to forget about her son and disappear from his life. She never answers any of the questions. Yoo-jin finally just rushes out of the apartment.

Joon-sang is at Marcian, staring blankly into space. Manager Kim wonders why he wasn’t able to contact his boss for a while, and now he’s there with bloodshot, tired eyes.

Poor Joon-sang, he just closes his eyes in pain and lets the questions wash over him. Before he says anything, his office door bursts open. Yoo-jin has arrived! She’s mad, he’s sad. Manager Kim is confused but leaves the office.

In a monotone, he tells her that he’s breaking up with her and moving back to the United States. They won’t get back together and she shouldn’t try. She wants answers. He tells her that he doesn’t love her, and hasn’t since he regains all his memories. She calls him out for the liar he is, and he realizes she knows of the consanguineous issue. They both start crying.

JongMom is hanging out the laundry when her daughter tiredly drags herself through the gate, just wanting to spend time with her mother. Joon-sang is dragging himself into his apartment, but he doesn’t want to see his mom. EvilKangMom go away!

At JongHouse, JongMom apologizes to her child that the sins of the parents have fallen like a ton on bricks on her. Yoo-jin chokes out that she hates her father for all of this. Mom doesn’t want that, and hugs her.

Joon-sang is just sitting on his bed while his mom apologizes for the depths of his pain and her ignorance of how much he loves Yoo-jin. Keep rubbing it in, Mom. If we are lucky, he’ll cut all ties with your sorry butt, EvilMom. But all he wants her to do is leave his room and his place, and not bother him again until he’s ready to see her again.

Sang-hyuk’s dad is walking around campus and sees a father playing with his young son. What does that mean?

Joon-sang’s doorbell is ringing. He reluctantly gets out of bed to answer, covered in sweat and still wearing multiple layers of clothes. It’s Kim Professor?! He has a few questions, but before he can ask them, Joon-sang collapses to the floor. Kim Professor takes him to the hospital.

Chae-rin is going through her wedding dress inventory, but Jin-sook is moody. She wonders what happened to their two high school lovebirds, and Chae-rin learns for the first time that her first love maaaayyyyy potentially be available again. She hurries to the radio station to touch base with Sang-hyuk. Sang-hyuk gets the Joon-Sang-Hospital phone call before they have a chance to really talk.

Meanwhile, Kim Professor is talking to the doctor about the man he brought in. He asks the doctor to perform a test on him, and we see a montage of the professor: he gets blood work done, and thinks back to several conversations: the narrow age difference between the two supposed siblings, the conversation with Mi-hee regarding her son’s parentage. He’s reaching out for Joon-sang’s face when his son shows up. Outside, he assures his dad that the couple has broken up. Dad wants to know what he thinks of Joon-sang, but immediately decides he doesn’t want to know.

Chae-rin really wants to know if Joon-sang and Yoo-jin are no longer seeing each other. Sang-hyuk skirts the pointed questions by stating generalities that the pair decided they weren’t really in love. Chae-rin clearly doesn’t believe it, especially since the sick guy was mumbling her rival’s name in his sleep. Sang-hyuk spills the beans.

The next day, Joon-sang is sad to realize he is still alive and will be discharged. Chae-rin shows up to drive him home. OMG, is she rooting for them? Because, in his house, Chae-rin tells him to run away with Yoo-jin and live happily ever after. She implores him to go; that way she won’t demean herself by begging for his love again. Her use of “Joon-sang” gives a ghost of a smile to his face.

Yoo-jin is at her father’s grave, to drop off flowers and talk. She had a dream of showing off her happiness and her true love, but the connection she felt was  apparently sisterly love for a brother, and that picture in her head can never become reality. As she sadly walks down the hill away from the grave, she sees another couple doing what she hoped she would do. She whispers goodbye to her dream and her love.

We now see Yoo-jin smartly dressed in a business suit. She visits Sang-hyuk at the radio station. She apologizes for worrying him. Over lunch, she announces her plans to resign from work and rest before she makes any decisions for her future. She requests his assistance to meet up with Joon-sang one more time. He is unenthusiastic, but agrees to do it anyway.

At Marcian, Manager Kim sighs at the cost of breaking the engineering contract at the resort. Joon-sang shrugs; why doesn’t Manager Kim take it over then? He has two seconds of reluctance but is ready to dive in. Of course, he flubs the conversation when he mentions the interior designer. But he has to wonder when will his boss and his boss’ girlfriend stop their misery?

Joon-sang gets the phone call request from Sang-hyuk. He doesn’t really want to see Yoo-jin, but agrees. In another part of the city, Kim Professor receives a phone call regarding the results of his test.

Yoo-jin is disassembling her desk at Polaris. She sadly looks at a model of a multi-story house, just as her boss shows up. She uses this model as an analogy of her life: the house is too impractical to ever be built without a lot of expense. So she will no long chase the impossible, like this building.

She leaves the business, carrying the model. Unknown to her, Joon-sang is outside and watches her from the Jeep.  She ends up at a children’s park, where she offers the model to an inquisitive boy. He runs off without it, so she picks it up again. She stops short when she sees Joon-sang, smiling sadly at her.

They sit at a nearby table, the model and the recent events like a barrier between them. Yoo-jin carefully asks about his health; instead of answering, he touches the house. He pauses for a moment, then quietly apologizes. He did not want her to ever know the circumstances of their births. She murmurs that he should have tried harder to keep the truth from her. He carefully asks about her health, the stilted awkwardness of the conversation a sharp contrast from their usual conversations.

In a quiet voice, she says, “I love you.” She has always loved him, and will continue to love him. He swallows a lump in his throat as she continues. Is that so bad? Is it wrong? He nods. It’s okay, even though it’s impossible, too.  To Yoo-jin, it makes her heart leap with joy and crash with sadness. Their time together is made up of precious memories, even without a future. She promises to remember everything, no matter how tiny the details, and asks him to do the same. He agrees, his heart breaking yet again.

At the edge of the park, Yoo-jin asks that they turn and walk away at the same time, so their final memory is not of the other person walking away. They both look at each other a moment longer, then turn around and slowly separate. He has the model with him.

At the doctor’s office, there is a great revelation with Professor Kim. It’s positive! But what ever it is, it’s enough to make Sang-hyuk’s dad collapse to the medical office floor.

Joon-sang is in his office, the model in front of him. He stares at the Impossible House, then slowly touches it as he cries. In another place, Professor Kim bursts into KangMom’s rehearsal. She asks him if there is some sort of unfinished business between them. He stammers for a moment, then asks the 64 000-won question.

Is Joon-sang their son?? Dum-dum-duuuuuuuuum.

Just then, Joon-sang gets dizzy and falls to the floor in a dead faint. And Professor Kim stumbles out of the practice room. Mi-hee finally admits that her son is his son. Finally! The truth is revealed! Our lovebirds can get back together!

But wait. The doctor is anxiously hovering over Joon-sang as the prone man slowly opens his eyes. Good news? Bad news? We all know our boy just can’t catch a break. And this is no exception. He has a blood clot in his brain, the result of one of his several traumas. It may kill him, cause brain damage, or blind him. Immediate surgery is his only hope of any sort of positive outcome. And even if it is performed tomorrow, there is still a high possibility of post-surgical deficit.

Joon-sang wants to think about, but the good doctor stresses that there is no time for rumination. Action must be taken ASAP or  his life will be in danger.

At the Kim household, Dad is still in shock about his older boy. The rest of the family, oblivious, has an ordinary breakfast set ready for an ordinary morning meal. Sang-hyuk discovers his dad isn’t in the house, but they figure he had an appointment or something.

Professor Kim is at Joon-sang’s apartment, but there is no answer to the doorbell, and he leaves the building without speaking to anyone. But just then, Joon-sang walks up, filled with his own thoughts. He’s surprised to see his old teacher, but offers him a cup of tea.

Joon-sang is uncomfortable under the older man’s scrutiny, and is confused when he tells him how much he looks like his grandfather. Professor Kim is mostly talking to himself, wondering why he never noticed, and why he could never forget the unsmiling boy of a decade ago. Poor, confused Joon-sang! But only a few seconds more, and the man drops the bombshell: Luke, I am your father! You are my son! And like Mr. Skywalker, Joon-sang can’t comprehend the words. But KimDad persists until Joon-sang understands.

His eyes widen with horror. Yay, he’s the bastard son of an illicit affair with a married man. This smiling clueless man across the table, who is also the father of his high school enemy and contemporary love rival is his biological dad. And you wonder why our engineer doesn’t just break out in happy tears like the now-crying sperm donor!

Joon-sang quickly drives to his mother’s workroom, his travel punctuated by  flashes back to all those times he interacted with the professor in his younger years.Staring at the mirrors in the music room, he wonders aloud why his mother lied to him. Lied that his father was dead. Lied that his father was Yoo-jin’s father, too. Why? Why? Why? She only hangs her head and apologizes as his pain turns to anger at the unfairness of it all. That her selfishness destroyed his happiness.

At the radio station, Yoo-jin meets up with Sang-hyuk. She is heading to France to go back to school, as a way to restart her life with positive change. Even though her mom is sad to see her go. Sang-hyuk promises to stay in touch. Once she’s gone, though, his radio partner shows up and wonders why he isn’t courting her again. After all, his boss still loves her, and he should do what he can to get her back.

Outside in the dark, in front of Yoo-jin’s apartment, Joon-sang sadly looks up at her window. Inside, she is snuggled with her bestie, who sighs that she’s need to find new digs. But Yoo-jin is okay with her staying until she marries the vet. Jin-sook is all blushing embarrassment, and quickly changes the subject to a farewell party for her roommate. They can invite all of the old gang. Too late, she realizes that Joon-sang is part of the old gang too.

She gets a phone call that sends her rushing outside. Is Joon-sang going to tell her they aren’t blood-related? Yes, jusayeo??

Nope, it’s our annoying underfoot radio producer. He hits her with that one question: Can we start over?

Final Comments

NOOOOOOOOOO! I don’t want her with that lying, whining weasel! I want her with our fluffy-headed, scarf-and-turtleneck-sweater-wearing engineer! [eyes rolling]

WS 19 end

Pointing out the number of ways Writer-nim has been messing with our heads.

One of the frustrating things in this drama is how often the moments of cuteness get derailed. Yes, you have to have that bit of tension to arrive at the happy ending, but hours and episodes of angst is almost not worth it, just for that tiny glimpse of closeness for the One True Pairing. And the BS to OTP ratio in Winter Sonata is just too skewed for me to really enjoy the show. But the truth is now revealed, and we have one episode left for our two to get their hard-won happiness.

WS 19 end 2

I think it is very interesting how the dynamic between Joon-sang and Yoo-jin has evolved throughout these many hours. In the beginning he was the steady lover, willing to wait and be supportive as she flitted about between the two men, trying to please everyone but pleasing nobody. And now, at the nadir of their relationship, Yoo-jin is the serene and logical one, while he seems more emotional and needy. True, the underpinnings of his life have now been knocked out from under him by his mom, his peers, his doctor, and his father. She still has the support of her mother and friends. Maybe that’s what makes the difference for all of us: who is there to catch us when we fall.

Anyway, one episode left!! And I can hardly wait!


About Shukmeister

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

Posted on June 24, 2016, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. caroleandnoel

    Love your posts on this. Wish we could sit and watch it together and discuss!

    • Hi, caroleandnoel –

      I’m actually trying to catch up on Beautiful Gong Shim, so I can then start Squad 38. There are just too many Asian dramas out there! And not enough hours in the day.

      Winter Sonata was my second SoKor drama, and I remember really hating Sang-hyuk, who I (still) see as little better than his dad. He was willing to play tragic hero and lie to ping Yoo-jin’s sympathies, and then probably blame his rival when the marriage fell apart. In fact, I don’t remember having sympathy for any “friend” character, since they were all selfish and mean in their own ways. Maybe not the vet, I would have to think a bit harder. But Chae-rin was just a show-up who wanted to prove herself better than anyone, Jin-sook wouldn’t stand by the person who gave a roof over her head, the parents were ugh-ugh horrible.

      Now the sidekicks, I wanted them to hook up. The project manager with the great hair with the prickly, liquor-loving designer boss. Now that’s a drama I would have loved to watch!

      Anyway, thanks for your comments, and stand by for the final episode! After this one, I’m going to work on my Woobin fanfic, and my Thai lakorn recaps. I’ll still be recapping on PotP, though.

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