That Winter, The Wind Blows might as well be called the Jo In Sung show. The camera LOVES this man. For the first three episodes I was trying to immerse myself into the story and get a feel for what this world was trying to set up, but the first time I sat back and just watched him act it was a startling reminder of just how mesmerizing he is to watch onscreen. Especially on the small screen, when he sucks the air out of a scene and with his height and visual intensity fairly demands the viewer to be riveted to his every move. It’s nice to know that even 9 years after What Happened in Bali, he’s still the same burning sun that illuminates the universe around him. Once the wham bam plot set up happened in the first two episodes, now the drama can take its time and just explore the dynamic and dysfunctional interactions between Oh Soo and Oh Young.
I am not emotionally vested in their characters yet to demand happy endings with passionate kisses and problems magically solved. I rather like that she’s not a total victim and he’s not a total con man, and in between they dance around each other’s curiosity about the other. Because Oh Young is blind, she’ll never be able to verify that he’s her brother with so much time spent apart. But I wonder if others can’t see that he’s grown up to be so different looking than his young self, regardless of the DNA test results. It’s the usual K-drama stretches of credulity even if it’s not that far-fetched. It amuses me to watch Jin Sung always helping his hyung out, and Hee Sun may be a brat but she’s a conflicted one at that which makes her more interesting and three dimensional. So while Myung Ho and Secretary Wang continue to try and confirm Oh Soo’s identity through detective work, Oh Young tries to figure out using the old fashioned method of talking to him.
Episode 4 recap:
Oh Young returns to the room under the greenhouse and Oh Soo quickly hides next to a bookshelf. She can’t see him but she can sense someone else is in the room when she notices the bell has been moved. She asks out loud who is there and Oh Soo is saved by a kitten meowing. Oh Young leaves the room but then padlocks the entire greenhouse doors, unwittingly locking Oh Soo inside.
Myung Ho reads the DNA report which finds a 99.9% sibling match between Oh Soo and Oh Young. Turns out Hee Sun and Jin Sung did manage to switch the envelopes after all. He’s furious the interloper is legitimate and crumbles up the test throwing it on the ground. The doctor says there is something weird.
Oh Soo sits down to watch more videos recorded by Oh Young. He sees one where she tells the camera that Secretary Wang took her to Japan to cure her blindness but didn’t actually do it. She lied to the Chairman and Oh Young told him that she was lying but her dad didn’t believe her. Oh Young can actually see a tiny bit still and knew Secretary Wang didn’t take her to the hospital. She cries as she asks for her mom. Oh Soo is stunned to watch this video.
Jin Sung is at the police station kicking up a fuss at assholes who say their father ran into their motorcycle, despite Jin Sung’s dad saying they drove recklessly. He’s so angry when his mom shows up with money and he gets in a fight right then and there because they dared call his mom. I love how visceral his personality he, reacting with his gut to everything. He’s like a breath of Summer heat in all this Winter chill.
Oh Soo tries to call Jin Sung for help and ends up calling Hee Sun. Oh Soo sees a picture with little Oh Soo and an older boy, and he realizes its the now grown up Joon Tae who runs the coffee shop. He notices in the picture that little Oh Soo’s burn is on the left arm. Hee Sun sees Oh Soo looking at a picture of dead other Oh Soo and tears it up to destroy the evidence that the burn was on the left arm. She confirms that the DNA was switched successfully, turns out not when she did it but afterwards in Myung Ho’s car by the quick thinking Jin Sung.
Hee Sun notices Oh Soo’s interest in watching videos of little Oh Young and asks if he sees her as a woman? She heard Oh Young is very pretty from Jin Sung, asking if she’s prettier than her unni? She warns him that she’ll be keeping an eye on him.
Its morning time and Secretary Wang sees Oh Soo hanging a wind chime on Oh Young’s window sill. Oh Young is in the bathroom and biting back her discomfort.
Oh Soo goes to get Oh Young and sees her walking out of the bathroom. She goes to sit by her desk with her face stark white. He asks if she’s sick since he heard retching sounds from the bathroom. She asks if he’s that anxious for her to be sick so he can get the money? She screams that he stayed away when she had a brain tumor and went blind, so why he us here asking about how she feels as if he really cares. Oh Soo says he came to put in the wind chimes, which will always make a sound even after he leaves.
Hee Sun, who appears to be a florist, arrives with lots of plants and fertilizer, clearly intending to revive the greenhouse. Secretary Wang confronts Hee Sun out in the garden and asks who she is. Hee Sun says she is Oh Soo’s dongsaeng. Secretary Wang says she run this house but Oh Soo says he’s doing this because of Oh Young. Hee Sun calls upstairs to Oh Young asking if she wants to help plant, whispering to Oh Soo that she wants to make friends with Oh young.
Oh Soo takes Hee Sun to the nursery and they open the door to start tidying it up. Jin Sung chastises Hee Sun for coming here but has to shut up when Oh Young walks over. Oh Young walks in and Oh Soo tells her to stay quiet, this belonged to his mom as well and he wants to share in the memory. Oh Young quietly says she wants to go inside.
Oh Young trips and Oh Soo teases that all she needs to say to “help me” and he’ll help her. He picks her up and carries her to sit down. Hee Sun and Jin Sung are peeking by the door and Jin Sung asks if Hee Sun is jealous. Jin Sung reminds Hee Sun that she’s perfect with him.
Oh Young sits down and feels a flower that she recognizes as the ones her mother loved called Lamb’s Ear. Their mom always said Oh Young’s ear was softer than it. Turns out Hee Sun brought it and Jin Sung gestures to Oh Soo to keep going and Oh Soo asks what about the item he was supposed to buy for her? Oh Young says that is hard to find these days so forget it. Oh Soo offers to take her out planting flowers then. Oh Soo pulls Oh Young over and has her help plant the flowers
After the plants are all in the soil, Jin Sung starts to water the plants and all four get into a happy water flight. Secretary Wang walks in and sees Oh Young enjoying herself and leaves without bothering her.
The four later sit and have some hot tea after the water fight. Oh Soo asks if Young doesn’t want to change and she says she didn’t get much water on her. He laughs that it all got on him. Hee Sun stands up and says she is all wet but Oh Soo ignores her. She then walks over to the secret door and asks about it. Oh Soo gives her a warning look and says that is just a wall. Hee Sun introduces herself and asks if Oh Young doesn’t want to be friends with someone like her who didn’t go to college and just runs a flower store?
Oh Young then says Hee Sun should call her unni but Hee Sun says she doesn’t have an unni other than Moon Hee Jun who used to be Oh Soo’s girlfriend. Oh Young asks if Oh Soo dated her sister but Hee Sun speaks up and says her sister is dead. When her sister died, Oh Soo cried like a baby. Hee Sun then walks over to Oh Soo and asks if he thinks she’s friend or foe? Jin Sung bumps Hee Sun in anger as he storms out of there.
At the company, Secretary Wang is talking with Myung Ho with suspicions about the DNA retrieved from the toothbrush. It’s DNA that is a year old so they decide to continue their investigation. Myung Ho decides to look for the Oh Soo that dead other Oh Soo mentioned in his letter to Oh Young last year.
Evil crazy ex-girlfriend So Ra arrives at the company and Secretary Wang greets her warming as she models for the company. She cut short her activities in the US when she got this job. She gets a text message from Moo Chul with a picture of Oh Soo saying that he knows where to find him. Does she want him to arrange a meeting?
Oh Young has dinner with Lawyer Jang wanting to establish her will. He tells her not to be in such a rush since she’s so young. Oh Young says anything can happen. Lawyer Jang worriedly asks if she’s not feeling well but she says no, her last check up was fine. She then asks why he doesn’t confess to Secretary Wang about his feelings since its clear he likes her. He denies it and then is worried that Oh Young told Secretary Wang and she laughs.
So Ra tries calling Moo Chul but doesn’t get through to him. He notices the call and purposely doesn’t answer, wondering to himself how to use Jin So Ra.
Jin Sung walks with Oh Soo outside the house and Oh Young’s friend Mi Ra comes out and wonders why Oh Young suddenly doesn’t want to go to the class reunion party organized by Joon Tae at the coffee shop. She suggests Oh Soo go as well, though Mi Ra says Oh Soo probably doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t have a good relationship with Joon Tae. Jin Sung doesn’t want Oh Soo to go since it’s too dangerous, but Oh Soo says he has to go. They live in the same neighborhood and can’t keep avoiding him. Plus its been 20 years and people forget. He also needs to figure out the riddle Oh Young gave him to get closer to her.
Secretary Wang is in the greenhouse and Oh Soo walks in to talk with her. She says the flowers are very pretty and Oh Young must be very happy. Oh Soo asks about Oh Young’s visual impairmen, if it’s true that she has a brain tumor pressing down on her optical nerve? He asks if it’s true that its an incurable disease? He’s holding a bear key in his hand. He asks if she never told their mom? Secretary Wang claims she told their mom.
Secretary Wang says it’s true, if it was curable she would have taken Oh Young to be treated. Secretary Wang says their mom didn’t like to talk to her. She didn’t call their mom as the woman the Chairman was sleeping with, she called as Oh Young’s nanny. The Chairman sent away his wife and son but kept Oh Young likely believing that would bring his wife back. The Chairman only ever loved their mother. But their mother hated the Chairman and Secretary Wang which is why she ignored Oh Young. Oh Soo tells her that she is not their mother. He will only acknowledge that she is Oh Young’s guardian.
Secretary Wang helps Oh Young get ready for bed saying that the wind chime is lovely. She notices a bear key hanging on the door and hands it to Oh Young who holds it and smiles.
The next day, Oh Young accompanies Oh Soo to the store go shopping. Oh Soo tries on a purple (LOL) suit. He teases that if she could see him she would say that her brother is very handsome. She asks if he’s good looking and he says that if she’s seen walking with him, she won’t be embarrassed. She laughs. He promises to cure her blindness. Oh Soo wants his sister to be pretty as well and Oh Young asks if she’s not pretty. Oh Young says she doesn’t know what to wear and he tells her that making him happy ought to be a good enough reason to get dressed up.
Oh Young changes and the sales lady applies her make up. When she’s done, Oh Soo is impressed and says that when she gets married, he’ll walk her down in the aisle in place of their father. He takes her arm and puts it in his before humming a few bars of the wedding march,
Oh Soo drives Oh Young to the reunion but when she learns where they are headed, Oh Young gets out of the car and refuses to go. He asks why she won’t go? She claims it’s because she doesn’t want to see her first love, but Oh Soo thinks she doesn’t want people to pity her. They start to argue and he asks when she’s going to stop hiding from people.
Oh Young thinks back to her school days and cries that he has no idea that she was taunted and teased behind her back. Oh Soo screams that she needs to stand up for herself and show them that she is not to be pitied or taunted. Oh Soo says he’s here now and she’s not alone anymore. He knows how she feels and wipes away her tears.
Oh Soo says that he’s leaving after 3 months but she will still be living here so she needs to stop being alone all the time and start living a full life. He wipes away her tears and says he knows what its like to live a lonely life. He tells her they are leaving in 5 minutes, its rude to be late.
Jin Sung shows up at the coffee shop for the reunion first. He notices an employee bringing in a picture of So Ra and almost chokes on his drink. He finds out from that So Ra is Joon Tae’s crush and Joon Tae comes out and kisses So Ra’s picture. He asks Jin Sung if Oh Soo still dislikes him? Jin Sung asks what happened between them?
Joon Tae says dead other Oh Soo must not like him because he caused the burn on his left arm when he was smoking at school. Jin Sung calls Oh Soo that the burn was on the other arm. Joon Tae introduces his twin kids to Oh Soo. Oh Soo barrels ahead takes off his jacket and rolls up the sleeves and shows the right arm scar as he helps to cook. Joon Tae notices the burn scar and Oh Soo suggests that his memory is fuzzy. Joon Tae thanks Oh Soo for coming and Oh Soo says he came for Oh Young’s sake. Joon Tae says he owes Oh Soo a debt and he’s very sorry still.
Oh Young and sits down with her first love dude who asks Oh Young how she’s doing and claims he wanted to see her. She asks if he has a girlfriend and he reveals he’s married. He takes her hand and uses it to write his wife’s name for her using sign. Oh Young realizes that he went to work at a disabled center and met his wife who is deaf. She asks if his wife is the sweet kind and he laughs and says no, she’s a fairy like Oh Young who torments all the guys.
Oh Young’s female classmates all coo over all handsome Oh Soo is and asks if Oh Young forgives her for the past.
Oh Soo goes to sit next to Oh Young while the reunion continues. He asks if the guy still likes Oh Young and she laughs and says he called her a fairy which makes Oh Soo laugh. Joon Tae is looking through his childhood pictures for one of dead other Oh Soo with the burn. A classmate proposes to another and Oh Soo narrates the event for Oh Young.
The group chants for them to kiss and Oh Soo suddenly pulls Oh Young near and asks if she knows the difference between a kiss and a peck? Oh Young says yes and then gets nervous and heads to the bathroom.
Myung Ho arrives and asks Oh Soo for permission to marry Young since he’s her older brother. Oh Soo says he doesn’t know Myung Ho so he can’t say yes or no. Myung Ho takes that as a yes. Oh Young’s head starts to hurt in the bathroom. She looks up towards the light and appears to see flashes though its very painful.
Oh Soo leaves and drives off. He stops at an intersection and sees that it’s the same intersection from the picture of little Oh Young and Oh Soo with cotton candy. He appears to visualize the event where little Oh Young cries looking for her brother and wanting some cotton candy. He remembers now that its the thing Oh Soo used to stop his sister’s crying. Oh Soo chases down some kids eating cotton candy to ask where they bought it.
Myung Ho goes inside and talks with Oh Young, wondering if he ruined the party since everyone left after he arrived. She asks if he’s shaken after Oh Soo returned? She reminds him that they haven’t even been on a date before. Myung Ho says its because she didn’t want to. Oh Soo returns and Oh Young walks outside. Myung Ho wants to follow but Oh Soo tells him to endure for two months, he’s going to leave in the end anyways. Out by the car, he hands her cotton candy. She’s so happy he remembered.
Oh Young says she went to that little store everyday after he left with their mother. It was okay if he had forgotten since its such a small detail. She remembers their mom not being happy when they ate it behind her back. They bend their heads toward the cotton candy and eat it together. OMG this scene is super beautiful and just takes my breath away.
Oh Young asks to go visit their mother’s hometown. Oh Soo remembers Jin Sung saying that dead other Oh Soo wanted to be buried where he was from. He smiles and says let’s go.
So Ra continues to obsess over Oh Soo and keeps trying to call Moo Chul. Finally she leaves the meeting at PL Group.
Myung Ho tracks down the swanky apartment that Oh Soo used to live based on the return address in the letter dead other Oh Soo mailed to Oh Young. He rings the doorbell and Moo Chul answers. He asks if Oh Soo used to live here? Moo Chul asks which Oh Soo – the son of PL Group or the swindler Oh Soo? Myung Ho’s eyes open wide in shock.
Oh Soo and Oh Young drive to their mother’s hometown. He tells her not to wander off.
Oh Young starts to remember the past and starts walking towards the river. Oh Soo skips rocks over the water. Oh Young remembers playing here happily with her mom and brother. She drops her cane and walks into the river with a smile on her face.Oh Soo finally realizes what she’s doing and chases after her into the river and carries her out.
He slaps her to get her out of her daze. Oh Young remembers when she was small and got lost and her brother found her and slapped her, reminding her angrily that their mother warned her not to wander off.
Oh Soo carries Oh Young away from the river and she reaches out to touch her face. She is curious what Oh Soo looks like since she’s never seen his face before. Oh Soo freezes as her hand flits across his face.
Thoughts of Mine:
I find myself enjoying the experience of watching this drama more than the actual story interests me. It’s the classic case of “looks so pretty” that I can’t look away. All four main leads are doing a swell job of selling their characters and creating a very compelling world of false identities and shady motivations. This drama has a dramatic core but somehow doesn’t come off as being overly dramatic. I can tell the actors are also really nailing their characters with an oomph, but they also don’t make me feel like they are overacting. Only Jo In Sung can do the impossible of actually overacting but not making me feel like he needs to tone it down. I think one of my concerns with this drama is that the final resolution feels so predictable, and not just because it’s a remake of a K-movie which was in itself a remake of a J-dorama. I know Oh Soo will have to pay a steep price for his life choices before meeting Oh Young, and for his decision to engage in this deception. I know Oh Young will get swept up into a maelstrom and eventually her vision will teeter on a chance to be medically cured. It’s for that reason I’m a smidge more interesting in lippy brat Hee Sun and hotheaded Jin Sung. I feel like their stories remain intriguing in its possibilities.
It’s because the main OTP’s story feels like it’s on a set trajectory that I can predict that there is a lack of tension in the air in terms of plot. But the two leads make up for it by transforming even in the simplest of scenes into something beautiful and crackling with chemistry. I’m still not sold that Jo In Sung and Song Hye Kyo can possibly top their own previous amazing chemistry with other famous co-stars, but they are creating something very fascinating all their own. Their characters feel weary but alive around each other. Both have been going through the motions for so long, she in her sightless world and he in his emotionally desolate one, when they are around each other is when everything becomes unpredictable and therefore interesting. It is that very unpredictability of what they will say or do with each other that keeps me coming back for more. Will Oh Soo find a way to take care of Oh Young even while he tries to swindle money from her? Will Oh Young believe he’s her brother even as she clearly has a woman’s awareness of him? Will Moo Chul let Oh Soo continue the con? What is Secretary Wang’s ultimate goal? If the drama continues to be so gorgeous to behold, I’ll remain a happy viewer letting the story develop in its own luxurious pace.