Winter Sonata – Episode 20 Final

Will Yoo-jin leap into Sang-hyuk’s arms? Will Joon-sang finally shake off the Noble Idiocy and grab his woman for some buckle-polishing slow dancing? Will I ever again spend three years recapping one 20-episode series??

WS

Final Episode

Sang-hyuk and Yoo-jin are sitting in his car. He states his case; she can’t have the person she loves, but his is willing to be her partner for life and protect her, since he loves her enough for both of them. But Yoo-jin is adamant. There is no changing her mind, and she apologizes for not having the tiniest corner of her heart available for him to stick. But despite the gigantic neon sign over her head that says “NO”, he still plans to wait until she changes her mind and accepts him. [sigh] Joon-sang is watching the car convo from the shadows, but eventually walks away.

Sang-hyuk makes it home and decides to see his dad in his study. Professor Kim is still mulling over the paternity test, but quickly hides it. Sang-hyuk sits down and tells his dad that he plans to re-re-re-court Yoo-jin. Again. He asks for his father assistance to change KimMom’s opinion of the match.

Dad asks the good question: Did Yoo-jin agree? His son admits she hasn’t, but he has hope that eventually she’ll change her mind. Dad wonders if she still loves Joon-sang, and gets an affirmative answer. That both sides of the couple still love each other. Professor Kim is totally for Team Joon/Yoo now, and won’t help Sang-hyuk. He wants to know why his father won’t support him.

cat-out-of-the-bag

Cat. Bag. Out. Dad admits that his son’s love rival is in fact his illegitimate older brother.

Sang-hyuk flees the house, much to the consternation of his mother. KimMom hurries to her husband’s office to find out why, but Dad bolts out without saying anything. KimMom is left wondering what happened. But not for long. When Dad comes back in the house, the paternity paperwork is in her hands and she’s screaming at her unfaithful husband.

That morning, KangMom and Joon-sang part ways. She is heading back to the States, and he promises to follow her in a short while. She tries to apologize one more time; he gives her a hug and sends her off. Oh Sang-hyuk was there, watching the two part ways.

He eventually ends up at Yoo-jin’s house. She surprised to see him but is friendly. Is he going to tell that the biological light is green for her and Joon-sang? Nope, Mr One-Track-Mind states he’s quitting his job and following her to France, so they can be together. Honestly, he’s possessed, and possessive. Once he commands her to not say anything because he won’t change his mind, he stomps right back out.

Joon-sang heads to work. Sang-hyuk is there, and they awkwardly share a few banalities before Sang-hyuk zeros in on his creepy obsession. He wants Joon-sang to convince Yoo-jin to go abroad and let him tag along. The whole France thing is a surprise to our engineer, and he states he won’t get involved. Sang-hyuk, keeps biting at his brother. It’s the right thing to do, you don’t want to hold on her, you messed up me and my family, it’s all your fault, etc., etc., bark bark bark. Then he whines that he wants to turn back time, and runs out of the office.

At KimHouse, Mom is in bed and refusing to talk to Dad. She just wants him to leave, go away, vamoose. Sang-hyuk comes in, and Dad decides they need to chat. Dad understands that he won’t forgive him, but asks for understanding. But Sang-hyuk is far from forgiving his father. Still, Dad tries to explain why they shouldn’t break up the couple. Good, bad, or indifferent, he raised the son in front of him, and he wants to do something good for the one who’s not. Sang-hyuk brushes off his father’s pain and reveals his ultimate fantasy obsessive plan. He’s following Yoo-jin to Paris and they will get married there. Joon-sang will help him achieve this. After all, he loves Yoo-jin too! Dad begs him not to victimize the victim, but Sang-hyuk doesn’t care. He’s hurt too. He calls his dad selfish and storms out.

At the hospital, Joon-sang collects his medical records to send to the neurologists in the States. He asks the good doctor for a prognosis of his recovery. The doctor is honest; a full recovery is probably impossible, with a strong possibility of vision damage.

In his office, Joon-sang looks over Yoo-jin’s impossible house, the edges going blurry as his vision recedes a bit. He replays the doctor’s words in his head. Immediately, he grabs blueprint paper and begins to feverishly draw the house, in all its angles and elevations. Hours go by, until the morning comes, and he finally has a paper-towel-roll of renderings. Manager Kim pops in, all fresh-eyed and energetic. He is impressed with his boss’ efforts but wonders why Joon-sang thinks he can’t draw them later on.

Driving home, he calls Yoo-jin to arrange a meeting. No, Joong-sang! Don’t support your creepy brother!!

She’s unsure of what the meeting is for, but makes sure she’s pretty. In his condo lobby, she comments that he looks unwell; he just brushes off her concern. She wonders if he is really leaving the country; he congratulates her on her own upcoming ex-patriate status. He goes on to say that he wanted to meet her so he could look at her once more. Tell her, Joon-sang! Tell her of your illness! Stop the Noble Idiocy!

Nope. He reminisces on how beautiful she was in their teen years, and what a miracle it was to meet again at Polaris. Her brightness shone through everything she did. But all he was able to do is dim that brilliance and cause her tears. She denies that; instead she was happy to have met him again. They smile sadly at each other for a moment.

He asks for a favor, to study abroad with Sang-hyuk. NOOOOOOO! He would feel better knowing that she is abroad with someone who will protect her. Tears fill her eyes; she will agree with any favor but that one.

It’s dark when he arrives at her apartment. She is silent as he assists her from his truck. He tells her not to farewell him at the airport tomorrow; it would be hard to leave otherwise. He wants her to be happy, but never see him again. Just remember the fun time at the beach, and throw out any bad memories. Through her breaking heart, she promises. They are both crying. She touches his arm and says goodbye.

The next morning, Joon-sang says goodbye via phone to Manager Kim. His apartment is now cavernous and empty. Goodbye, bromance! His flight leaves later that evening, but this is it for our Sidekick.

Wait, whut? Joon-sang meets up with Sang-hyuk at the radio studio. On the rooftop, he comments that this is the last time he’ll see the winter sky in South Korea. He tells his brother that he’s on his way to the airport. He begs Sang-hyuk to take care of Yoo-jin as his most precious thing, since he’s not coming back. He starts to walk away but Sang-hyuk calls after him.

He begs him not to go; he’s a stubborn, envious ass. And Joon-sang really shouldn’t leave since there’s no issues left between him and Yoo-jin. But he just sadly smiles and will still leave. Sang-hyuk wonders why; is it because they are half-siblings and competitors? But his older brother just says he’s the better person. I throw up a little. He goes on to say that Sang-hyuk can stay by her side longer than he can. He finally turns and leaves a puzzled jerk behind.

That jerk is still puzzled when he comes home. The house is silent except for the telephone ring. It’s the local hospital looking for Joon-sang. Why would they call there? In any case, the hospital has some medical records that he will need for his surgical procedure in the States. At this, Sang-hyuk bolts for his car.

As he’s driving, we hear the doctor juxtaposed with Joon-sang’s voice. The operation is critical and may not be successful; the man won’t be coming back. Finally, he makes it to Yoo-jin’s place. He begs her to go see Joon-sang at the airport, but she’s already promised that she wouldn’t. Sang-hyuk finally comes clean and admits his selfish jerkiness. He also tells her everything; Joon-sang is his half-brother and not hers. And he might die. Or lose his sight. Or die.

Together they head for the airport. But it’s late and they are running out of time. Joon-sang is already there, and even in 2002, Customs doesn’t let any old people run willy-nilly through their area. Even so, the pair runs through Gimpo Airport looking for their man. Too late, though. The plane has left and Joon-sang is gone.

Yoo-jin and her mother sniff over dinner. Mom doesn’t really want her to go to France, but doesn’t want to hold her daughter back. Yoo-jin promises to stay healthy and eat well. Their food is flavored with their tears. Finally, she’s all packed and ready to go. Sang-hyuk shows up with a one-way ticket to New York City and asks her to follow Joon-sang instead. She flashes back to their promise not to see each other again, but silently takes the ticket. At the airport, she leaves it on a bench and walks away to Paris. Enjoy that Eiffel Tower, Yoo-jin, when you could be enjoying Joon-sang’ Namsan in New York City.

WS 20 13

Winter became spring, seasons changed, and three years passed.

time skip

A bespectacled Sang-hyuk and a smartly-dressed Yoo-jin chase after a crying toddler. There’s no way the writers would be cruel enough to splice those two together. He scoops the little girl into his arms, and Yoo-jin comments that she’s as stubborn as her father. A short distance away, a familiar outline is observing the pair. Jin-sook and the good doctor run up, carrying grocery bags. It’s their baby! So the two of them finally got married – good for them! The groceries are for a welcome party for Yoo-jin, newly arrived from France.

A strident voice calls down from the window. It’s Chae-rin, scolding everyone inside. Yoo-jin is the last one up the steps. She pauses as if she senses a presence nearby but then head inside.

The five of them surround the familiar table and toast with bakseju. And, it turns out she’s still working for Polaris. At the old office, Jin-ah brings her an architectural magazine to look at. It appears that someone has created her Impossible House, but for reals! Was the design stolen? Yoo-jin immediately wants to track down its location.

The house looks warm and sunny. I’m guessing it’s on Jeju Island. And look! There’s our engineer, now carefully walking along the wooden floor, a pair of wire-rimmed glasses perched on his nose. He smiles as he navigates the features of the home, all the way towards a side table and chairs standing next to a railing overlooking the sea. He reaches a completed jigsaw puzzle of a castle glued into a frame. We hear a voiceover of Manager Kim. He must have been the engineer who oversaw the building of the house and left the puzzle as a gift.

As he is fondling the picture, a single piece pops off. Joon-sang tries to find it, but it’s beyond his reach somewhere.

We get a flashback. It’s post-surgery, post-blindness, but Joon-sang is still in the engineering game. He apparently does seminars all over the world, including Japan. He was visiting Seoul only for the day, the day of Yoo-jin’s arrival. Faaaate!

Anyway, our intrepid heroine makes it to the island, and starts following the instructions to the house. At the ImposiHouse, Joon-sang is touching a fuschia geranium. He remembers Yoo-jin’s favorite flower is the white rose. Did he plant any? He wonders if she would actually like the house he built. But home is where your heart is, right?

He’s looking at his trees; meanwhile, she is drawing closer, walking towards the house she designed and he built. She finally reaches it; just as a large group of people are leaving. She starts the climb down, pausing to feel the sunlight on her face.

In the meantime, a servant has picked up Joon-sang to drive him to his next seminar. Too slow, Yoo-jin has reached the now-deserted house. She doesn’t seem to have a problem just opening the gate and inviting herself in. Is she that sure who lives there? She reaches the puzzle picture, finds the missing piece and finishes it. Not without another flashback to that fateful meeting by another almost completed puzzle.

Joon-sang is back! He apparently forgot something. He follows his usual routine as he carefully makes his way through the foyer. She has his back to him, listening to the waves. Her purse makes a small scraping noise on the table, and Joon-sang halts at the sound. He asks aloud, Who is there? Several times, all the while staring in Yoo-jin’s direction. Her face reveals her dawning knowledge of his blindness.

He realizes who might be waiting in front of him, and tentatively asks if it’s Yoo-jin-ah. She whispers his name, which he easily hears. Yay! 13+ years after they first met, they finally are sharing the same deck!

Finally, they are together. Joon-sang gently touches her face, memorizing the new contours. As dusk descends, the pair is thrown into shadowy relief as they finally kiss. Kiss again, guys! Hug! You’ve earned it!

FINAL FINAL COMMENTS

Completed! I cannot believe that it’s been three years since I realized that no one had ever recapped what was for many people, their gateway show into South Korean dramas. And, love it or hate it, this one had all the elements for a Shakespearean epic. Birth secrets, Trucks of Doom, amnesia, time skips, childhood rivalries, clingy jealous women, and a$$hole parents. To the point when I could only mutter “What now?” for our poor Joon-sang.

I never liked Sang-hyuk, either as a pretentious school boy, or a lying scheming adult. Chae-rin is another of his ilk. I mean, did she date Min-hyung just because she could flaunt him back home as a Joon-sang clone? Or did she genuinely love the happy, smiling SoKor-American engineer? She never seemed deeper than a puddle, so I’m guessing it was her need for one-upsmanship even as an adult and business woman.

WS 20 end 1

Still, it had good points. It had one of my favorite actors, Kwon Hae-hyo, playing Manager Kim. This actor works for social justice issues, has performed in dramas, variety shows (yes, he’s been on Running Man!), movies, and theater. His hair is fabulous, and he never fails to deliver a quality job.  In face, the interaction between the Sidekicks was some of the best banter in the series.

Although I’ve never really fallen in love with SoKor makjaeng dramas (please ignore my recent enjoyment of slap-kiss Thai lakorns),  I am glad I spent this time reliving my second (or possibly third) SoKor drama in my Asian-dramawatching experience. I hope you enjoyed the ride as well!

thank you

About Shukmeister

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

Posted on June 29, 2016, in Recaps, Winter Sonata (2002) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. caroleandnoel

    Loved your comments Shukmeister. Sorry it’s over. I have just a couple of thoughts: what does Namsan mean in this context? Secondly, the appearance of Joon-sang observing the reunited friends scene in the first few minutes is surely just a continuity error?? He’s blind at this point isn’t he? And finally, the location of the Impossihouse is http://english.visitkorea.or.kr/enu/CU/CU_EN_8_5_1_1.jsp simply because I wanted to see it when there (and didn’t). Cheers, Carole.

    • Hello again!.
      I was making a risque comparison between the Eiffel and Namsan Towers. After all, if YJ had gone to New York, they would have been together and probably married.

      I agree with your second point, and didn’t actually understand how he was there at her apartment, without assistance, in an unfamiliar place.

      Thanks for the link to the final location! In the drama, I thought the RL ImpossiHouse didn’t look like the model at all, You would think that the model would be created after the location was selected so it would look like that place. The entire park is just breathtakingly beautiful even if you never go to the house.

      When I was in Busan, I stayed on Haeundae Beach for a relaxing couple of days before spending the majority of my SoKor vacation in Seoul. I didn’t wander more than a couple of blocks away from the sand, so I didn’t see a lot of the places tourists like to visit.

  2. I’ve always been curious about this drama since it is so famous but the makjang scares me away. Personally, I have used the jdrama Hana Yori Dango to addict several of my friends/family. It’s a guarantee!

    • sparksofember –

      HYD is definitely a classic as well, and one of my first JDoramas. Tsukasa / Matsumoto is my favorite F4 leader of all the adaptations

      WS has a lot more of those tropes we now associate with over-the-top dramatic license, with the exception of Chaebol vs Candy that is so prevalent in HYD. WS wasn’t about class distinction, or the haves-vs-have-nots. Instead, it focused on the sins and actions of one generation affecting the next.

      Looking at it from 2016, it’s a little (okay maybe a lot) cheesy with the dramatic music stingers and longing glances and such. But during it’s production, I bet viewers were glued to their televisions, wondering what else could befall our hapless hero. LOL

      For several of my friends, the Asian drama hook was Master’s Sun with SJS and GHJ, and White Christmas, with all those young fresh faces.

  3. I wanted to read a summary, because I was confused about the person who was looking at the friends (seems like it was joon-sang)? Do you think he was really there or was it just an imagination? I watched the series but I am really glad I came across your blog. Your summaries are reeky nice to follow!

    • Ichi – I think it was Joon-sang. It looks like his hair. And it makes logical sense that he would visit places he previously knew well, especially if this is his first time back in Seoul in a long while. Plus, Yoo-jin sensed someone, and Joon-sang would be the only person she knew very well, that wasn’t already there for her welcome-home party.

      Thank you for reading my post!

  4. droliza Fe A. Mejorada

    i am captivated by this beautiful yet heartaching drama. i just want to thank you for the episode synopsis you have made. these helped me grasped the nuances of this lovely series and led me to a better perspective of its development. Each time i watch this series, i could not help but i agree wholeheartedly with your commentaries and analysis of each character in the drama that made me appreciate Winter Sonata even more.

    • Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them.
      I was surprised that no one had ever recapped it before, and I’m glad it helped you understand it. I don’t think I’ll ever recap another makjaeng South Korea drama, though. They can be quite draining.
      Currently, I’m recapping “Cinderella And Four Knights” on my collaborative blog, and it’s definitely more light-hearted and fluffy than this one. ^^

      Thanks again,
      Shuk

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