Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Today marked the conclusion of That Winter the Wind Blows, SBS’s hit Wednesday/Thursday melodrama. During its run TWTWB has dominated ratings and received critical acclaim. Starring two talented actors and Eunji this drama has had a lot of things going for it. The early episodes were majestically shot and featured a solid buildup to the story (which many a melo sucks at). The characters showed real potential and raw emotions that made me care where they were going. So how did it all end? Well…
To be honest I have mixed feelings about the last episode. While some elements felt fulfilling and narratively consistent others (here is looking at you last two scenes) seemed completely illogical and a series low point. While the majority of this drama was great, the conclusion left me more than a little judgmental of the entire drama- probably wrongly so. After all, I have eagerly tuned in for eight weeks and have enjoyed the story for the most part.
Alas I have been trying to look on the bright side lately so I think I need to jump back a few (or ten) episodes and remember what I liked about this show. Then I am going to drink half the glass (overly critical one shot!) and rant about the elements that made me groan and go for a refill. To cut a long story short prepare for an eminent Lore in Stone Cities ramble…ice wind bells and all. Cheers!
Directing, Cinematography, Costume, and Set Design- aka Nice to look at
Hands down the TWTWB production team deserves an award. Because they nailed it. The cinematography and directing was stunning, the symbolic tone of the show- a cold winter- was conveyed beautifully with outside shots of a barren landscape and inside shots of large and overbearingly lonely spaces. The set design was gorgeous and supportive of the plot, from the slightly cold and outdated look of Young’s room to the deceptively cozy look of the secret room full of pain the sets carried the ambiance necessary for such a depressingly deceptive storyline.
And continuing the visual trend, whoever decided to put Jo In Sung in those suits and suspenders created a classic look that I will not soon forget. There was something old Hollywood about him, maybe Bogart or Grant that made this leading man into more than just a smooth talking conman. One thing is for sure, the more I think about it I will miss the visuals of this drama the most.
I cannot even begin to imagine the difficulty in playing someone who is blind when you can see. Than again I am not an actor but still- Song Hye kyo nailed this to the point I felt weird when she could see. Like it was wrong somehow, which made me realize how believable her portrayal of Young’s blindness really was. In addition to portraying visual impairment realistically Hye kyo conveyed Young’s sorry story with grace and a distance that accentuated the reasons viewers should care.
Jo In Sung, in his comeback role post military was far from disappointing. The raw emotion that played across In Sung’s face was at times the greatest indicator of the repressed feelings that were central to this story. In Sung and his expressive face aside, he also nailed the duality of this character- a bad person kind of turned good- and made me give a damn if Moo cheol stabbed him
Speaking of Moo cheol I want to give props to Kim Tae woo as well. He was certainly creepy and menacing, so much so that I jumped a little every time the camera panned to him leering at our leads. This character hid most of his true nature during our story, acting the baddie while concealing a twisted empathy. Overall fascinating to watch and well played.
The illogical and confusing ending
Seriously! Huh? I mean, did this just happen? So we spent the last sixteen episodes leading up to….Jin Sung stabbing Soo to save his family? What! All of a sudden Jin Sung trusts mob boss Kim enough that he is certain that if he stabs his BFF everything will be fine?! And then all of the brain surgery, everyone’s going to die bit was resolved by Soo working as a waiter and meeting Young at a café so they can reunite?! Huh times five thousand!
Not to mention the fact that the drama gives us the huge question mark of if any of it is real- what Soo has been doing since a member of F4 stabbed him, if he is really alive, if Young is even really alive, and if Soo is alive who knows he is alive . Some netizens are pointing out that the “bring flowers for Soo” means the real brother Soo, others are proclaiming that both Soo and Young died and everything is an illusion. One thing I hate is ending confusion- give me a finite answer damn you! If the characters dies just tell me. If they lived to really frolic in a cherry orchard then make it clear that they are really living! I can handle it, really! And that is all I have to say about that.
The actions that made me not really care
Young’s suicidal tendencies killed it for me (seriously, no pun intended). She wanted to live, she wanted to die, she would kill herself, she wouldn’t, then she would, never mind kidding, and then she slit her wrists. I stopped giving a f**k after the suicide pill incident. Because one thing I hate is when a character I care about goes off the deep end into the unpredictably switcheroo of motivations and actions. The only end result is a lack of feeling on my part. Make sense already!
What you said… ^ All of it.
Siigh, drama endings these days (melodrama endings at least).. I think they are too scared to upset people. Do you want it sad? Do you want it happy? So they go for the apparent policy of appeasement and try to do both. Let the reader try to decipher, and choose whichever story he/she wishes to believe. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I really like having to choose – especially when it’s obvious that’s what they’re trying to do. If it was a nicely done twist that might reallllly get the brain cells working, that’s one thing. But making the end vague and hazy on purpose just screams of a lack of confidence in whatever outcome the writers wanted to make (or not make) in the first place… I checked out of this drama emotionally about 5-6 episodes before the end. So at this point, it’s all just meeeh.
Thanks! The last episode was beyond frustrating, it did not fit into the story arc in a believable way. And I agree with you-my emotions checked out five episodes ago. It is hard to care when the characters keep making such stupid choices backed up by nothing…not background, not prior character choices, hell not even personality. They just did and that was the story-which was super disappointing considering the early episodes were well written and consistently paced.
Hi… I love reading your though..
I felt the same way, about for not to care any longer for the character’s journey for the last 5 episode onwards…
I can accept about a character whom always making a bad choice in their life, It’s okay if the writers want to create abit realism for their character as long as I understand their action. But if your character keep making the same mistakes for entire drama, it’s become repetitive and how can we can watch them make it all the time for the entire 16 episode? lol
And I don’t feel the same way as you about the directing… The directing is one of the reason I can’t connect to the character…. really…. I really hate it to the core. Never in my wwildest dream I will annoyed by overused close up face scene… and TWTWB did it for me! ARGHHHHH… I admit, some scene is briliantly edit and really fit to the narrative purpose… but overall, It’s poorly edit… Is it just me? the close up scene is too much for me so we, viewers, can’t see their chemistry and acting towards each others more often…
And It makes me hate Jo In SUng emotional scene because his overacting become more visible and it’s more obvious due to too much close up scene, and makes someone likes song hye kyo with her subtle acting really shine shine (her best acting so far!)
Thanks! The characters actions were stale after the umptenth time they made the choice to go down the same long and illogical road. I really hated that about this show- the writers seemed to turn up the repetitive nonsensical action dial to 11 (spinal tap reference here). For me this was an emotionally restrained drama that only showed the pain when the camera came in close hence my love of the directing. I can understand your point about Jo In Sung if I think about his close ups- this man had emotional reactions aplenty in this show (which at times could be OTP). Yet most of the time I found his reactions a break through the cloud of the stalwart non feeling masks portrayed by the rest of the cast, for me it was his character that was the guide to how horrible it really felt to live in this world, as wrong as it all was.
Could have longer 20 episodes or even 18 episodes to just explain the plot holes in the drama..Its come to an end – yeah am happy, and sad cause am gonna miss it but I still have lots of questions. So Moo Chul dies, and just before we are told that he’s been protecting everyone (those who rated him as their enemy) from the evil boss (Kim, i think) and yet even after he dies, his death is just dismissed without a word of ‘i don’t know, thank you – or some random tribute or any show of remorse and guilt towards how they’d all treated him’. They grew up together, surely something could have come from it. Not even his funeral…..
Am still wondering secretary Wang’s love for Young. what was her motive? was it Young? the love of money (& the company)? or the love of Young’s father? What was her ‘end-game’? She loves(d) Young as her own, yet she blinded her?
Then there’s Myung Ho, who abruptly leaves the drama then suddenly reappears again???how’s that? and am still confused about his character overall. So am guessing he was initially gonna marry Young for the company, then what, suddenly realises he’s inlove with her after her fake oppa arrives (and this is even before they find out that he’s fake).
So Jin Sung, you stub your friend? why? to save your family…ok..but the episode looks like they have already been involved in the accident before you actually stubbed Oh Soo. (& does everyone know what you did?)
What was the plan about the gambling scene anyway, & Moo Chul’s right hand man? was it for Kim to lose or win?
I watched the movie before, so my heart was already set for a sad ending, as much as as everyone looks at it as happy,after watching the ending scene again, i now think they’ve stuck to the orignal movie ending – ‘He died 6 months before she did… 😥 the surgery may have been a success, but even with chemotherpy the turmor got the better of her (i don’t know). The white, fluffy,clear picture gives it like a ‘skip of scenery’ (heavenly look) effect.
Sorry, i know am rumbling on but there’s just soooo much………………Thanking you ❤
Thanks! This show made me ramble too- I had a lot of frustration about certain elements of the story (cough *the ending* cough). I will always remember That Winter as a great looking drama with good acting and a lot of weak plot points. Too bad because if the writer had done an awesome job than this drama would be damn near perfection in my opinion.