Why is it that a poor ending to a drama can completely break your heart and make you dislike a show. Okay, this just sounds like a bad break-up or something, but it was how I felt right after I finished this drama. That Winter, The Wind Blows started out incredibly well. It was beautiful, well-paced, the OST was gorgeous, Song Hye Gyeo had never looked so beautiful, Jo In Sung was incredibly swoonworthy, I loved Kim Tae Woo as the bad guy Moo Chul who I could never quite hate, and Kim Bum and Jung Eunji were as pleasurable as always. It was addiction worthy drama. bustered and I actually watched several episodes together, squeeing, screaming, shouting, and just generally having a good time together. I think my roommates thought we were a little batty as we oohed and aahed and talked to Soo and Young. It was the best kind of drama watching.
The drama had some incredibly moving scenes (hike to the top of the mountain - be still my heart), there was beautiful pain and love and loss and misunderstanding, and that awful Secretary Wang who I could never quite figure out, which is lovely when you have characters who are so layered and nuanced. There was fauxcest that got you feeling all confused, we had cute and swoonworthiness galore. It was all good. Yes, the drama wasn't perfect. Jo In Sung had a tendency to overact, but it worked. He was a vulnerable and lovely Oh Soo, the hurt, little boy who had never felt any self-worth or a desire to actually be better than his circumstances - until he met Song Hye Gyeo's Oh Young. She was smart and caustic and not taking anybody's nonsense. She was fighting for a sense of independency despite her circumstances. Oh Soo and Oh Young from the get go had sizzling chemistry, and such dazzling beauty, that I would often forget to read the subtitles. I was moved. I was addicted. I was in love and willing to overlook the flaws. The drama seemed to make sure not to ever head into the live shoot danger zone. It even survived the mid-drama-slump that often afflicts our beloved world of drama. And then episodes 12 and 13 hit, and I'll be honest, I thought about not finishing the drama. I could see it was heading downhill. And it did not make me happy.
Glutton for punishment that I am, I decided to finish it. Episodes 14, 15, and 16 restored some of my previous love for the drama. I was hopeful that the drama could recover it's not-so-awesomeness. We had some great scenes with Soo and Young. Moo Chul was beginning to be redeemable. Things were looking up. Silly Jin Sung though was not listening to his hyung and was getting himself into trouble. I could deal with all of that. I loved that Soo walked away without the money. I was glad that he had that great talk with Hee Sun about it (the one where he broke down while drinking soju). I was really glad that Young had told him that she loved him. It was going to be okay. It wasn't going to be as excellent as it began, but I was going to be happy with it. And then somehow, that last 20 minutes of the drama completely derailed all common sense that I thought the drama still possessed, and left me in the end confused, angry, unhappy, and with no sense that there had actually been any resolution at all. It hurts.
We ended up with almost no time to actually process Moo Chul's death. It just happened with little fanfare; so much so that we only found out for sure he was dead when his sister told Oh Soo. Okay, well maybe with Jin Sung's bleak face while carrying him as well. We never completely understood how Moo Chul had been protecting them, sure we can figure it out/infer things, but really, that's all we have. His whole storyline became almost meaningless because it had little to no impact of the trajectory of Soo's story. We never really saw Oh Soo react to his death in any meaningful way. It could have been completely written out and the story would not really have changed too much. (Though I really love the Oh Soo/Moo Chul scene where Soo kneels, begging and sobbing at the basketball court) President Kim could have been the bad guy just fine without that side arc. Sure, we wouldn't have had so much fighting/chance to vist the conflict of Hee Joo's death, but yeah, I am not convinced it was so necessary because of the way the writing played it out; I really wish it had played a bigger role. Moo Chul's character was so layered and complex and just great. And Kim Tae Woo played the devil-may-care-gangster-hyung-who-actually-is-good-ish so well. It just makes me sad because I really loved his story and I wanted to know more, and have a satisfying end to his death.
Some other things to suffer were two of the drama's big themes: forgiveness and family. In episode 7 we had that absolutely lovely scene where Soo tells Young his story and how he can't forgive himself for Hee Joo's death. It really was one of the most beautiful and memorable scenes I have seen in a long time. It was filled with pathos and suffering and forgiveness and a level of connection that Jo In Sung and Song Hye Gyeo's chemistry just allowed to really bring it home for me. It also
We also have the whole forgiveness arc with Secretary Wang which I don't think I will ever understand. I get that Young needed her, but really, she let the woman who let her go blind - deliberately - back really fast. It was too strange to me. If it had been an uncle who had sexually abused Young, or a family friend who had beaten her, I think there would have been more cries of "Abuse, abuse!" - so it's really sad to me that the physical abuse of making Young go blind, and the emotional
was in many ways like that of close siblings. I think that is probably why everyone felt so uncomfortable with the fauxcest (though I could be inferring too much from comments I read on blogposts and recaps). They felt so comfortable with each other, almost as if they were siblings who had never been parted.
Time jumps can work in a story, but only if they're done well. This one was not (though perhaps not as poorly as the Big time skip (or maybe it was) Why ever in the world didn't Soo go to Young? Was he lying in hospital himself? Did President Kim just want him stabbed and not dead? All of a sudden that big, nasty plot device went away? Was that a dream? Jin Sung still looks tortured even though it's now apparent he saved his family, but you would think we could have some sort of Soo/Jin Sung interaction, you know after he stabbed him with a knife! Now Soo's working in a coffee shop, or is that his restaurant now? And apparently it's okay that he's alive - President Kim forgave him - I guess. We don't know. And apparently the fiance is back in Young's life (I actually thought for a minute that she had married him) and not only running the company. And we can tell Young is happy, but seemingly still blind, but we know she survived surgery. Okay, back to the coffee shop. Young apparently knows it was Soo for a while. I'm not sure if she was waiting for him to make a move or something, and I also wonder why he never made a move. The saucy, suave Soo seems gone and in his place someone who is afraid she won't like his looks/like him? Remember when Young said she loved you Soo, as in the 사랑해 kind, and the you wept into her hair crying, "I love you, I love" over and over? It just felt wrong to me how they reconciled. It was like they were in kindergarten again. I am not even sure how I wanted their reunion because I felt like we were in another whole drama. And then the camera decided that we needed to pretend to be Young's eyes. (Seriously, that was distracting! I get a few minutes, but really, the whole last ten minutes?!) The whole dynamic and chemistry of the close, intense and passionate previous declarations of love turned totally silly in that last interchange. I felt robbed. I felt like I still needed another episode to process. If we weren't going to have tragic deaths all around (which I was sort of expecting - Othello style), then I at least wanted that final scene to have the pathos and language of all the other excellent Soo and Young scenes. It lacked umph for lack of a better word. Sweet, but a bit of a let down. (A beautiful colour palette and filter though).
I should probably end on a slightly more positive note than sounding like I was completely disappointed with the drama. I loved the initial episodes with the Oh Soo's moodiness and Young's hard shell getting slowly cracked by Soo. I absolutely adored Soo's styling when he was being her oppa. I know that not everyone loved his red pants, but I did - and when he wore them with that blue shirt with the band collar, I also loved his suspenders and the long coats he would wear - they completely suited