Thursday, 11 April 2013

That Winter the Wind Blows (2013)

That Winter the Wind Blows (2013)
[WARNING: This post isn't spoiler free.]

That Winter the Wind Blows was the comeback drama of the big stars Jo InSung and Song HyeGyo. Though the drama slipped quite a few times, I have to say it's saved graciously by our lead stars. I am not the type to watch heavy dramas, but I didn't hesitate watching this one.

Based on the movie Love Me Not, the drama looked depressing from the start. It's a story of Oh Young (Song Hye-Gyo), a blind young woman looking for her brother, and Oh Soo (Jo In-Sung), the man who pretends to be his brother. Oh Young's brother has the same name as Oh Soo, and they also happen to be friends. While the brother is a good man aspiring to be a chef, Oh Soo is a con-man and a gambler. When Oh Soo is suddenly in debt and his life is at stake, he is forced to pretend to be Oh Young's brother.

We all know what happens next. Suspicions arise but eventually, Oh Young will believe that he's the brother. And despite this, the two will fall madly in love with each other and the audience will have some philosophical crisis because yes they're not real siblings but it still feels so incestuous!!!  I love this show.

I have seen the movie years and years and I gladly have forgotten most it. I watched That Winter almost spoiler free, and yes, I instantly fell madly in love with the show, the way the pseudo-siblings did with each other. But you see, I feel like I fell too fast, because it truly has the ability to pull you in and the only thing you could do is follow. With such a gorgeous cinematography with the most amazing lighting in a Korean drama, That Winter is just so beautifully shot. I sometimes feel like I'm watching a movie. 

BTS from High Cut (also known as my favorite photo shoot ever)
The first few episodes offered a pretty tight writing with some of the most suspenseful and intense episodes I've seen in recent dramas. Maybe I haven't watched that many melo, but the episodes are incredibly full of emotions. It's not hard to care for the characters. We have Oh Young who learned how to be strong and tough despite her disability, and in turn, people turn to think that she's an ice queen. Then we have Oh Soo who is orphaned as a baby and grew up just to survive with no reason to live at all. So despite being flawed individuals, it's not hard to love Young and Soo. At the end of every episode, I just want to pull them closer to me and huge them and smell Jo InSung! So basically, at the end of every episode I'm a mess.

The story moved quite fast. I think I prefer this version over the movie for the mere reason that we have a clear understanding of every character, except Secretary Wang, that is. But really, the characters are so fleshed out, and I love how the characters are put to good use.

However, I didn't love this drama through and through. As much as I want to say that it's perfect, the latter half just didn't do it for me. The revelation has so many rough edges and I felt like Young is at the losing end so so so much. As much as I love Oh Soo, I felt for Young. I cannot hate her for wanting to die (spolier!), though I'm not saying that I'd do the same thing.

There are so many questions left unanswered, questions that I feel like wouldn't have been addressed at all if the characters and the plot haven't pointed it out. For example, I didn't really ask why Oh Young's mom left with the brother and left Young. But they raised the question, so I expected an answer and got none. Another one, I didn't think for a moment that Secretary Wang is Oh Soo's mother, but there's this  scene in one of the last few episodes that they implied it! And it turns out that she's not. It's frustrating because there are things that I didn't question at all, but they did so I started to ask, too, but they left me hanging. Open endings are fine at times, but not this time.

Whenever people would ask me what happened in the ending of Love Me Not, I didn't know what to answer because I was pretty sure they won't like it. Thankfully, the ending of That Winter is completely different, but somehow, I still don't like it. I'm glad that Oh Soo and Oh Young got their happy ending, but it's really weird how they got there.

I feel like I've been cheated. I really don't like time jumps because I feel like the writers are merely being lazy when they do that. I do not like how the tension is raised near the ending and we're shown new conflict. A part me kind of wished they took a different path, depressing it may be, but at least it takes no shortcut. I do not like how I have to make my own conclusions, to guess what could have transpired for the characters to reach that point.

Good thing the ending is shot really, really well, that I ended up sighing anyway. I do have my complaints but I guess it still didn't change the fact that I want Oh Soo and Oh Young to be happy. They deserve that at least.

This drama is far from perfect, but at least it didn't disappoint. It's my second drama this year, and so far so good. I have yet to hate any drama, but I'm pretty sure this won't be my favorite. But I still love you Jo In-Sung, I love you even more now.

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