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 The set design was gorgeous and supportive of the plot, from the slightly cold and outdated look of Young’s room to the deceptively cozy look of the secret room full of pain the sets carried the ambiance necessary for such a depressingly deceptive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!