And back from my kdrama hiatus, I finished this stunning, stirring and affectionate “I pretended to be a long lost brother to a blind heiress because I needed money to continue to live only to find myself waking up wanting to protect my fake little sister every single day” in between anti-histamine and sleeping. Given the drama bucket I’ve piled in the past few years, making me stay sitting on a drama was a feat hard to achieve, and this year, “That Winter, The Wind Blows” was the first one to notch it, and no candy crush nor any other distraction can compete with Jo In Sung oppa for my attention. *wink
This is how a melodrama should be done, enough emotional scenes to stimulate the heart and tear ducts, but not bordering to weep fest. This spectacle was like Innocent Man, but what was half-achieved by the former, was strongly fulfilled by this winter romance show.
Loving someone when you are literally blind takes faith beyond reasons, and finding a reason to live because you love someone takes bravery beyond faith. These are the two love lessons I have learned from Oh Soo and Oh Young, and so far this year, they are my favorite love couple.
A tale of not really brothers and sisters who were entangled by fate, unexpected fondness, blind trust, and true love, this drama blew me away on the early episodes and the intense scenes when the revelations were surging up. It took me a while to be convinced on how the lead girl’s firm grasp of things disregarded how her hero abnegated his own happiness because he got infected with the love he was feeling for her, but as I realized, I without disability have insecurities and would really feel awful if I will be betrayed, how much more for a blind girl like her. It always help to step on the character’s shoes to see through their perspective.
Oh Soo together with his sidekick brother by affinity Jin Sung were famous gamblers in Gangnam, but when he can’t reciprocate the love of his sponsor’s mistress, So-ra, he was framed embezzling Mr. Kim’s money and was imprisoned for a year.
When he got out of jail, he was forced to pay for the debt he didn’t acquire by Moo-chul who loathed him because he blamed him for the death of the woman they both loved in the past. Time was ticking and when Oh Soo learned that his dead friend who has the same name as his was a long lost heir to a big conglomerate company, he seized the opportunity and assumed his dead friend’s identity.
“Operation get some money and pretend I am my dead friend” proceeded and thanks to Oh Soo’s nimble mind, he was able to escape compromising situations requiring memories of his old friend that of course he didn’t have. For him to settle his business, he has to deal with his supposed heiress-sister Oh Young who became blind after the separation of their parents. She was taken care of by Secretary Wang, who was also the cause of divorce of her parents. People around Oh-young are nice to her because of money so she shielded herself with a strong-this- is-what-I-want facade. Oh Soo slowly broke the fortress her fake little sister put around her, and has made her understand that given her challenge in vision, she has to accept help from other people and be grateful and put confidence on them.
Soon enough he gained her trust, but the pressure from the gambling world he came from were also building up. Oh Soo discovered Young’s hiding place where she kept her video diary while she was growing up, and from there, the urge to protect the innocent girl who was putting a brave front all her life grew in his heart and blossomed to pure love. He also learned how her condition would have been resolved from its early stage if not for the selfish reason of Secretary Wang, who really cared for Young as her own daughter but has made her live a life in prison.
And then So-ra came back to spoil everything, in her little exposure in the story, she has managed to chafe me to a hilt as her selfishness pointed to Soo and Young’s suffering. I abhorred her character. She gave a whole new meaning to obsessive love.
So when Oh-young was dubious of her frailty condition, and she was really being pushed to get the surgery by Secretary Wang and Oh-soo, So-ra dropped the truth bomb that he was not her real brother. At that point of the story, Oh-young was already having a hard time because she has fallen romantically in love with her brother. So I was thinking that she would initially caved in after feeling she was stabbed in the back, but her blind whims and unreasonable and irreconcilable trust issues let it lingered and made her even more jaded.
But since unrequited love can cure almost all kind of pain, on Oh-Young’s last attempt to make a fool out of herself, Oh-Soo in his knight-in-shining-armour self managed to rescue her suicide attempt, and I cried when she said… “I was not feeling scared of dying, I was actually waiting for you to come to me”. When she woke up, they has a very heartfelt talk, and acknowledged that they both needed each other to live happily in their lives.
The finale episode was a combination of exquisite moments for me as the blind heiress and the conman finally sealed their love with a kiss, but Oh-soo has to deal with his final gambling showdown on the night when his girlfriend would also undergo the surgery. Soo and Jin-sung were able to slap back Mr. Kim to avenge the unfounded grudge they didn’t deserve, but the vile villain took his last card to threaten Jin-sung. Jin-sung stabbed his hyung in order for his family to live.
Since a lie started the web of deceit, the swinging of how to keep it up moved to degrees of annoyance and appreciation to me because I got a heroine who was frail but not gullible at the same time. I have always liked Song Hye Gyo, and this is her “I’m sorry abby for making you watch A Reason to Live peace offering”, I supposed. When the illness-dying twist emerged in the story, I was shouting, “why is she in the brink of death drama scenario again?”, but I was appeased with her superb portrayal showcasing a vulnerable character who has learned when to turn off her protective bubble to bring the best of her and to reconcile with the idea that bravery can also mean trusting people wholeheartedly without a hint of hesitation. But, in the finale episodes, I detested her stubborn self, I mean, “hell I know you are blind, but stop being proud! and just live happily ever after with Oh-Soo oppa!”
I have slight issues with how In Sung oppa exaggerated his acting sometimes, but given his hotness and knee-crumbling appeal, I let it slide and because at the strong scenes he was seamless in nailing it. He was way beyond Cullen or Grey or the rest of the fictional sexiest man alive list. He smiled.. he smirked… I fainted. His every move in the camera was a justification of my korean drama addiction. *hearteyed
The supporting people helped in maintaining the crisp and throes of the storyline. Oh-soo’s bromance with Jin-sung was amusing and cute as Hee-sun’s bossy-ing around to the darkside-brothers was a breather on despondent situations where Oh-soo was involved. There was also that double sided hyung-villain that I despised and then learned to love in the end because he died. I just can’t comprehend why he can’t move on when he didn’t even have the Oh-soo’s ex-girlfriend’s love in the first place.
A lot of misplace love for the supporting villains, something that helped in strengthening the main lead characters and solidifying the conflict, but neglecting the redeeming point or karmic justice that would have been served for them. I just want that So-ra girl to be crushed by a 10-wheeler truck, the way our local drama payback time always does. *giggles
I would be honest that there were dallying episodes after the mid-part of the story and Young’s indecisiveness which you have to tolerate because of her disability was the minus factor in the story. There were inconsistencies in her character that were just salvaged because she was blind, but since I grew tired empathizing with her, I disliked how she saw through her visual impairment and felt how the people around her move to please her so as to gain favor from her, only to not rely on her instincts when it was needed. All throughout she was in a battle of who-to-trust-and-not, and had she not submitted to weighing the twinge of trust properly, I would have been disappointed because the building of this drama was impeccable, but the fulfillment should be at least satisfying.
I almost had an asthma attack in Oh Soo’s breakdown scene and how he was blaming himself on not just playing the con he started instead of making love complicate all things. It was such a strong memorable moment that sent me to weep island, and will be on top of my favorite scenes this year on kdramaland.
It was a safe ending. It was not a happy-yey!-ever-after closure, but at least they were together. And I’m happy about it. There were hanging questions that were not explained and karmic justice that were not served to some of the characters like Mr. Kim and So-ra, and they only focused on what the ultimate yearning of the love couple was — for Young-i to see Soo oppa. So they ended it in her quarter-blindness, it was like… “Okay, blind girl, you can be happy now, but don’t jump!” Other than this puny finale episode sulking, I really loved this drama because it didn’t give me the satisfaction of getting a fairy-tale ending. And because at those scenes that really mattered I was able to feel for the characters and the struggle they were hurdling. It drove to the path of how Oh-soo and Oh-young’s self-contemplation on what they have to offer with each other to be worthy of each other’s love. Oh-soo who has never saw meaning to his life has found it when he met a woman who was also sharing the same sentiment as his. Sometimes it’s really the pain that makes the love so worth it, because without it you can never differentiate if you are willing to let go or to love the person.
“That Winter, The Wind Blows” was a poignant love drama that will make you remember how you were scared to start a love you were unsure of, and how you took the odds to claim it. This was a cure for people with “trust issues” and its delightful and piercing romance take will definitely appeal to people wanting to love… wanting to be in love and wanting to be loved back. It was a splendid romantic drama ride for me. It was not perfect but it was emotionally astonishing.