Now that That Winter, The Wind Blows did something new in airing the first two episodes back-to-back yesterday and then episode 3 today, I might become spoiled and want all future K-dramas to premiere this way. I think it worked well because the first two episodes were nicely cohesive in setting up the entire premise, and now episode 3 slowed down considerably as things start rolling in a mature and muted way. I was rather dazzled by the oppressive Winter aura of the drama that I didn’t quite absorb its full color palate yesterday, but in today’s episode I noticed how washed out the colors are. Jin Sung’s red hair isn’t really vivid in its gingerness, Oh Soo and Myung Ho have a penchant for burgundy or crimson when they choose red, Oh Young goes for primary colors in the beige and brown family.
The only people who feel alive and colorful are Hee Sun and Jin Sung, and their wardrobe reflects that they are the two people who still have a vibrant zest for life. Everyone else seems resigned, as if they know this is all they have in their lives. Even if Oh Young has money, she’s locked into her own blindness and a family without a real family. I am really captivated by this drama for the moody evocativeness and the things that are left unsaid. It’s pretty uneventful, with things happening such as death, incarceration, violence, and attempted suicide that are purposely toned down rather than amplified to heighten the intensity. Nothing about the denizens of this drama are realistic, but they come across as plausibly three-dimensional. TWTWB is shaping up to be an introspective personality-driven piece and I’m confident that in the hands of a capable production team it’ll be a heady experience to watch.
Episode 3 recap:
Oh Soo gets the text from Moo Chul, who is standing on the opposite subway platform, asking if she’ll give him money that easily and what might happen should Oh Young suddenly die? That is indeed the easiest way for Oh Soo to get the money, and he watches the oncoming subway and his hand twitches. Oh Young says that Oh Soo should just push her right now if he wants the money.
The subway enters the station and Oh Soo stares at Oh Young and then the subway. Oh Young steps forward into its path. Oh Soo startles and reaches out and wraps himself around her, shielding her from getting closer to the train.
Oh Soo thinks – the me who wants to live, saved the you who wants to die. Their life is so different, but why is it that moment she seemed just like him. It was that moment he began to be curious about her.
Jin Sung and Hee Sun sit in the coffee shop watching Secretary Wang chastise Oh Young’s friend for leaving her with Oh Soo. Friend’s mom doesn’t think its wrong for siblings to spend together. She tells Secretary Wang to stop yelling, they are not that easy to berate.
Secretary Wang orders her to do her job well since she’s paid to do it, she lent them money for this coffee shop. Jin Sung and Hee Sun take in this confrontation and file it away, realizing that everyone is talking money all the time. I totally wouldn’t mind if the rest of the drama was just Jin Sung and Hee Sun on dates pretending to be doing reconnaissance.
Oh Soo and Oh Young sit and he refuses to take the subway with her again. She wonders why he didn’t push her into the train, she would have pushed him. He warns her to watch what she’s saying.
Oh Young asks what Oh Soo thinks about death and he confesses all the painful experiences he’s endured has made him think about ending his life before. Oh Soo thinks back to Hee Sun’s sister’s death. Oh Soo says he’s sad that the sister he hasn’t seen for 21 years is asking him to kill her. Oh Young cries hearing him apologize for coming so late even though she would still be blind even if he was by her side.
It’s dinnertime again and Secretary Wang rather brusquely sets the food down in front of Oh Young tells her the dishes. Oh Young just wants to go to sleep and Oh Soo says to let her be. Secretary Wang chides him for being a guest here and overstepping his bounds. She’s lived with Oh Young for twenty years and knows her place. Oh Young says the law gives Secretary Wang the right to guide her life.
Secretary Wang warns Oh Soo not to take Oh Young anywhere again. Oh Young calls Lawyer Jang and asks if she can change guardian and power of attorney if she chooses. He says yes and she thanks him before turning to Secretary Wang and saying that she can change guardians like firing an employee. But she likes Secretary Wang just like she likes her brother right now. When Secretary Wang tries to say she’s looking out for Oh Young’s best interests, Oh Young tells her to stop talking now then.
After Oh Young leaves the table, Jin Sung wonders why Oh Young speaks to the woman who was like a mother to her for the last twenty years so rudely? Oh Soo points out that Oh Young is rude to everyone, but she’s able to be polite when the situation calls for it. Oh Soo says that Oh Young doesn’t have anyone she can trust in this house which means its more likely she’ll turn to him.
Myung Ho is sitting with Lawyer Jang and another guy, bitching about the new development and how the successor to PL Group might change. After Lawyer Jang leaves, the other guy reveals that he suspects Secretary Wang purposely let the Chairman die, though Myung Ho warns him that the Chairman died of natural causes. Riiiiight.
After dinner, Oh Soo goes to Oh Young’s room and she allows him in. He wonders why a blind person has so many paintings and pictures around. She knows ever corner of this room so it doesn’t affect her. He picks up a picture and she tells him to put it back. He asks why she’s so rude to Secretary Wang who is like a mother to her. Oh Soo asks if Secretary Wang is only pretending to be nice but secretly is mean to Oh Young? She tells him to butt out, she can handle it.
He grabs her book and talks about how he likes it. Oh Young listens to Oh Soo talk and suddenly starts have a recollection of his voice. She asks if he’s the man she met a year ago. In fact, his voice has been familiar since she heard it again. He asks if she has an overeager imagination or she’s interested in him? She says blind people have an acute sense of hearing. Oh Soo tries to explain that she’s mistaken and is using this excuse to get rid of him? Oh Young tells him not to think that just because she’s blind that also means she’s gullible.
Oh Young says Oh Soo has analyzed exactly what she likes and is doing everything right. Oh Soo claps at her reasoning and admits that everything he’s doing is to get her to accept him. He tells her to trust him then, otherwise she’ll continue to be all alone.
Oh Soo leans in close to fasten a necklace around her neck. He tells Oh Young to keep suspecting but it won’t last very long because her suspicions are wrong. Oh Young says she doesn’t want this meaningless necklace, doesn’t he remember what he promised her if they were to meet again? Oh Soo is taken aback.
Oh Young reveals Myung Ho doesn’t trust that Oh Soo is her real brother and wants her not to trust him. But she plans to make her own determination if he’s real or fake. If he manages to convince her family, then she’ll start tot trust him.
Jin Sung gets up in the morning and accidentally sees the cleaning lady drop a bag containing something. He follows her and sees that she hands a razor to Myung Ho, who calls Director Kim and says he has DNA for the so-called Oh Soo and suggests a DNA test.
Jin Sung is about to freak out but Oh Soo walks up and covers his mouth to keep in quiet. Okay, Oh Soo totally has this weird habit of shutting Jin Sung up that is too close for comfort. They decide to contact Hee Sun. It’s pretty amusing that Hee Sun is now their fixer.
Hee Sun is teaching a flower arranging class and we see a girl sneak into the back room and take money out of her wallet. Later Hee Sun tracks down the girl who is on her knees begging forgiveness. Hee Sun lets her go this time. I love Jung Eun Ji and she’s awesome here, but who else is getting the sense of déjà vu that she’s reprising Sung Shi Won. She even has the same dead older sister plot line! This would be like Shi Won moving to Seoul after her sister died and started harassing Tae Woong all the time.
Jin Sung goes back to their old rooftop apartment which is being renovated by the landlord. Their old belongings have been tossed in the dump and Jin Sung tries to chase the dump truck down. Hee Sun arrives and lays down on the ground to block the dump truck’s path. Jin Sung smiles in approval. They grab piles of trash and proceed to search through the dump for dead other Oh Soo’s belongings.
Jin Sung finally finds the box which also contains dead other Oh Soo’s old toothbrush. He’s so happy to have found it and so is Hee Sun, who pops a kiss on his lips and then draws back in shock and slaps poor Jin Sung.
Jin Sung sneaks back into the Oh house late that night and sees Oh Young coming down the stairs. He’s shocked to see her turn off the lights.
After she leaves the house, he sneaks into Oh Soo’s room and reveals that Oh Young can see, otherwise how would she know to turn off the lights. They wonder if Oh Young can see and knows all along Oh Soo is a fraud? They also wonder where she’s doing so late at night?
The next morning, Oh Young goes jogging with her friend leading the way. Oh Soo follows but he is stopped by Moo Chul who is parked outside. Moo Chul checks out Oh Young as she runs past and asks Oh Soo if he thinks of her as a woman instead of a sister.
Moo Chul wonders if Oh Soo has finally developed human emotions and Oh Soo scoffs at that. Oh Soo promises he will survive this though there is nothing that can have obtained if one doesn’t shed some blood along the way. Moo Chul is genuinely scary. I always get this sensation that he’s three seconds away from shiving Oh Soo at any moment. Where’s useless gangster Jae Shik when we need comic relief and not real dangerous thugs.
Secretary Wang sneaks into Oh Soo’s room and flips through his desk. She finds his ID card which has been doctored with dead other Oh Soo’s information but Oh Soo’s picture.
As Oh Young is jogging, Moo Chul drives over and pretends she’s in the way. She apologizes as she is visually impaired and Moo Chul apologizes as well. He clearly did this on purpose and we can see Oh Soo is pissed.
Secretary Wang is looking through Oh Soo’s planner to compare handwriting when Oh Soo returns from his run. She claims to be there to gather his clothes for a wash and invites him down for lunch. Oh Soo checks the surveillance camera he turned on and saw what Secretary Wang did while he was out.
During lunch, Jin Sung stares at Oh Young and finally asks out of curiosity whether she is completely blind or can see something. Secretary Wang speaks up that Oh Young is completely blind. Oh Soo asks if Oh Young sometimes may think she’s seeing something? Secretary Wang chides him for speaking nonsense.
Oh Soo arrives and says Secretary Wang is the weird one, what was she doing in his room? Was she looking for his ID card, passport, clippings about the Chairman? He takes everything out for her to see. He asks Secretary Wang to speak with him outside.
They head out and sit on a park bench. Oh Soo says Oh Young’s blindness is just like him having everything taken away by their dad. The world is a dangerous place for her and she needs him by her side. Secretary Wang says she still cannot trust that he is really her brother.
Secretary Wang gets a call from Myung Ho that he’s headed to the hospital to get a DNA test. Oh Soo follows behind her and calls Hee Sun, who confirms that she’s changed it. She tells him to work hard on getting along with Oh Young.
Oh Young is talking with Lawyer Jang about changing her guardian to Oh Soo, and giving him part of the inheritance. He objects and so does Secretary Wang. She’s been like a mother to Oh Young for the last twenty years, and also her father’s servant and secretary. Oh Young says Secretary Wang is good at making her seem like the bad person in wanting to change guardian, and she knows without Secretary Wang she’s just a useless blind person.
But Oh Young knows the reason she went blind is because of Secretary Wang, and she doesn’t believe Secretary Wang’s claim that her dad died of natural causes. She doesn’t believe that she has a tumor in her brain that is causing her blindness and it’s inoperable. Oh Soo stands outside and hears all of this.
Later Secretary Wang talks privately with Lawyer Jang and reveals one morning little Oh Young woke up and couldn’t see anymore. Secretary Oh was making breakfast and little Oh Young came to ask for help. That day Oh Young called her ahjumma, and that was the day her new life started.
She wasn’t just a nanny, she was taking over the role of mother for Oh Young. She tells Lawyer Jang to change Oh Young’s will like she asked. She will stay beside Oh Young until the day Young dies.
Oh Soo drives Oh Young out for a day out. He discusses why she’s changing her will but she wonders why he’s not happy about it.
They head to an amusement park, for stopping to watch kids break dance. The crowd frightens Oh Young and she clings onto Oh Soo. He stands behind her to shield her, telling her that even if she wants to die, she might as well enjoy this music now and he’ll protect her. Oh Soo embraces Oh Young from behind and tells her to relax. She does and her fear lessens.
They head to a shooting game and a guy shoots down a bear for his girlfriend. Oh Young wants to play and Oh Soo stands behind her and guides her hand holding the gun. Oh Young is really happy and she shoots down a bear.
They switch to a water balloon tossing game where Oh Soo’s face is visible in the center of a board and Oh Young is trying to hit him with the water balloons. Others in the crowd cheer on Oh Young and tell her where to aim. Oh Young’s throws all manage to hit Oh Soo and she’s really enjoying herself while poor Oh Soo gets a free face wash.
Afterwards, Oh Young wipes Oh Soo’s face and she thinks about their childhood playing with her brother Oh Soo. Oh Young asks Oh Soo if their mother ever missed her. He says she thought of Oh Young often. He offers to tell her more tomorrow but it’s getting late now.
Jin Sung drives Hee Sun to the hospital to intercept the DNA test and she puts on a disguise with glasses and a scarf. She follows Myung Ho through the hospital and bumps into him and switches the envelopes. Later Myung Ho realizes the envelopes are incorrect since his had the company logo on it and chases down Hee Sun to switch it back. He hands the envelope to the doctor for a DNA test.
Later that night, Secretary Wang calls Myung Ho to ask about the DNA results.Oh Soo notices that Oh Young left the house again and followed behind her, seeing that she walked to an outhouse. The outhouse appears dilapidated and abandoned but Oh Young goes inside.
After Oh Young leaves, he enters the place and finds a hidden room in the basement. He walks in and finds it filled with Oh Young’s things. She has a projector able to play old VHS tapes containing videos made by their mom showing happier times with little Oh Young and Oh Soo. He pops a few in and watches the videos, touched when watching the happy memories onscreen.
When Oh Soo gets to the one video made by Oh Young herself after her mom left with Oh Soo, she cries and cries in the video wanting her mother and brother back. She begs her mother to take her along as well. Little Oh Young writes in a diary every day about what she went through, and now she comes very day to relive the memories.
Myung Ho gets the DNA test results and he reads the document and his eyes widen.
Oh Soo hears a noise and hides when Oh Young returns. She can sense someone is in the room and asks who is it?
Thoughts of Mine:
For a drama premised on the long con, this story is unfolding with the conning part all rather haphazard and not terribly urgent. For a man who has a ticking day clock of when he needs to pay up, Oh Soo is surprisingly way more into figuring out Oh Young than figuring out how to get her money to pay off his debts. I never once feel like he’s conning her – it’s more like he’s playing a part so that he can pierce through her rude and frigid exterior to see what trauma turned her into this guarded and bitter girl. I know Oh Soo’s debt isn’t going to magically get resolved at the end unless he gets money from Oh Young one way or another, but right now that feels like the impetus for the con but quickly placed by the wayside so that Oh Soo can engage in word and mind games with Oh Young. I don’t find Oh Young all that interesting a character yet, though Song Hye Kyo’s lovely performance makes her feel very vivid. I figure everything can be pinned on her having an emotionally scarred childhood from maternal abandonment, fraternal separation, and paternal neglect. Conversely Oh Soo’s very broken background fascinates me because he’s much more nuanced as an adult with actions that surprise me at turns. I guess there is a reason why Jin Sung is so loyal to him, and their bromance is really one of the highlights of this drama.
With TWTWB, four of Koreas top top actors and actresses have now created four different indelible couples in drama lore. There is Jo In Sung and Ha Ji Won in What Happened in Bali, Song Hye Kyo and Hyun Bin in World’s Within, Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin in Secret Garden, and finally now Jo In Sung and Song Hye Kyo in TWTWB. It’s fascinating to see the same actors spark completely differently onscreen, something more passionate, other times more romantic. I don’t think Jo In Sung and Song Hye Kyo’s chemistry so far is anything to write home about, but luckily this drama has a lot for me to savor and think about other than the romance side of things. I don’t think Oh Soo needs a brother or a lover, she just needs a good person she can trust in her life who isn’t going to abandon her and will put her first. If Oh Soo turns out to be that person to her, then if I were her, I’d give him whatever money he needs because at the end of the day, his intentions matter less than his ultimate purpose in her life. If it was a debt and a con that brought then together, then let it be a first time emotional connection for both of them that releases each from the prison of their empty hearts.