Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Kdrama Review: That Winter, the Wind Blows (2013)

That Winter, the Wind Blows
그 겨울, 바람이 분다

I suppose I should address it, because after all this drama did capture the attention of most drama watchers I know – for better or for worse. In my case, it’s definitely the latter scenario. Perhaps I’m just not feeling the melo these days. Innocent Man captured my heart, and then I was done. By the time I Miss You came around, it was an automatic skip. I actually thought skipping one Kdrama ‘season’ would be enough, and was ready for a new dramatic show – ready to be swept away by the atmospheric wintery landscape and stunningly gorgeous leads. Jo In Sung wasn’t someone I’d seen before, but Song Hye Kyo still gives me fond memories from her performance in the tragic makjang of 2000 Autumn in My Heart. On top of that, she’s so beautiful it almost makes my eyes hurt. (He is too, for that matter.) What’s not to love?

The Plot, oh – Lord the plot. In a reverse rich girl poor man situation, add a blind girl, and… not much else. And what do you get? Loan sharks and mobsters more dangerous than most, mistaken identity and enough fauxcest to get your feels all in a tangle (until you start feeling the ick factor). Jo In Sung as Oh Soo wheedles his way into tricking Song Hye Kyo’s Oh Young that he is actually her long lost brother. His aim? To cheat her out of money, of course. In a nicely done drama set-up though, Oh Soo isn’t just a bad guy with aims of making it rich. He’s desperate and his life is literally on the line if he doesn’t pay back a serious debt that an ex-girlfriend (that b****) managed to invent. 

Heads up - I'm going to make some weird decisions in the drama.
그래요? I'll count myself as warned. 

Seems legit, right? It’s actually a plotline that I bought for a while. However I think I was just mistaken by the beauty of the scenery and leads into thinking the writing would hold up to the end. What started out as a nice, romantic melodrama ended up annoying me to no end. I guess it’s just a case of the drama wanting to take itself so seriously, for too long. 16 episodes of does-she-know/doesn’t-she-know and I just want everything to be revealed and have them kiss for real! Get on with it already! – says me with a not so enthusiastic tone. 

Spoilers Ahead! 

Note: This isn’t really a great review. It’s just me showing some appreciation for the good stuff, and ranting about the rest. /End Note

Character Appreciation

Before I get to the end, I guess I should give this show some props. After all, for such a buggy, dragging drama, it did a few things right in its characters.

Bae Jong Ok as the stepmother-esque Secretary Wang was particularly well casted, and I loved how the drama portrayed her as not quite evil, but just having made some really bad mistakes in her youth. I actually empathized with her struggles to earn Youngi’s trust more than I thought I would, though I still think there should’ve been some kind of more serious consequences for her. Overall though, after so much screentime with her (and not our main couple), I gave up caring.

My favorite character was definitely baddie-turned-reformed(?) gangster Moo Cheol, played to fabulous effect by Kim Tae Woo (the actor, not the singer). I could probably listen to that man’s voice for hours. It’s like honey, with a taint of venom. His character though was a seriously well-done twist on the typical gangster loan shark. From stabbing Oh Soo in the first episode, to becoming an actual character with some depth… wow! A drama could go multiple ways with this kind of steoreotypical character. 1) Supreme baddie with no mercy, or 2) Supreme baddie who gets redeemed for completely bullshit reasons, or 3) Supreme baddie who rather than turning 180 and becoming an awesome, sympathetic guy, still manages to look human and make slightly more human decisions for complicated motivations. Yes he’s dying of leukemia, but no this plot card doesn’t suddenly make him a great humanitarian. It just makes him suddenly think about his life, and cause him to give a slight damn about the people around him, shortly before his turn on this earth is done. Moo Cheol, I miss you. *tear*

I miss you too, Rosie.  You were the light of my life, who caused me to
reflect and begin to change my life. I hope... we can meet again one day.

Character Defamation

Sadly, it’s this show's leads that caused me to check out emotionally. Youngi isn’t quite our typical damsel in distress, but I got ridiculously tired of her stoic attempts to end her life. Seriously, woman? You’ve lived this long with your wretched life, and you seem to be doing just fine. What suddenly causes you to WANT TO DIE!! I blame the writers though, not her. Writers – thank you for showing us an emotional scene in a bathroom where a girl tries (and fails) to slit her wrists. I’ve really never seen such a scene before, like… ever. When I didn’t just roll my eyes in pain. Such a great inspirational moment for all the people watching who occasionally aren’t satisfied with their life. Might try it sometime, next drama that makes me want to roll my eyes in such agony. (Hint: that was all sarcasm. I wouldn’t try to slit my wrists. I’d probably just go bury my head in a hole for a few moments. That makes about as much sense. *sarcasm continuing*) 

I know... I tried to stop those writers. I just didn't make it in time.

Oh Soo: You had so many great expressions. Jo In Sung: you tried really hard to do justice to this role. I think you may even have succeeded. But there’s only so much angst and tragedy that Rosie can stand to watch. 미안해요.

By the way, did you know that Kim Bum was in this drama? Hooray! I think he did a good job too. But why oh why did they make him out to be such a loyal character, who suddenly decides he should believe the ultra bad guy into thinking his family would be safe if he kills his best friend/hyung?!? *facepalm* I don’t know what happened there. Stupidity, that’s what happened. 

BFFs for life?  Let me get back with you on that...

So How About That Ending!?

Happy ending, or sad? What’s the verdict? I don’t know if I care to really delve into it. Oh well, I’ll do it anyways.

Proof that Oh Young and Oh Soo are still alive and in love:

  • It’s totally possible that Youngi’s surgery went well, and that she can see and was just missing her crutch that time she goes for a walk and pulls out her walking stick.
  • She definitely hears a bell bracelet, and Oh Soo definitely stops to look back at her on that bicycle, and serves her at the restaurant. 
  • They kiss and everything seems all happy and dreamy.
Proof that Oh Young is still blind and Oh Soo is dead:
  • Youngi still uses her walking stick, and only pretends that she is capable of seeing.
  • Her ears are still the primary method of sense when she hears all the bells ringing.
  • Oh Soo has already been stabbed once; what’s the chance of him surviving two stab wounds. 
Proof that Oh Young are Oh Soo are dead:
  • That last scene was way too purposefully fanciful, and come on – what are the odds that Youngi survives the surgery, and Oh Soo survives the knife attack?
Proof that the writers are just too afraid of offending their viewers, and left it open-ended:
  • That last scene was way too purposefully fanciful, and come on – CHOOSE A &@$&!(# ENDING AND BE DONE ALREADY!
Confession:  How Rosie spent most of the last 10 episodes ^


  1. Hi, I love your reviews. I suggest that you try watching Nine Times Time Travel. It's the best k drama so far this 2013. It's unpredictable and full of twist and its a smart drama. After episode 4 your journey with nine will be an amazing experience. Hopefully, you may also make a finale review about it, thanks

    1. Thanks! I've been noting all the positive buzz about Nine for a while now. It's my plan to start watching it this summer, sometime when I can marathon it probably :D

  2. Hello. This is A.K.I.A. Talking…
    Thanks for the great review of That Winter, The Wind Blows 그 겨울, 바람이 분다 (2013)! I enjoyed it a lot.
    I added it to my collection of reviews for the show. The show has now an average score of 76.2%.
    Here is a link to the page if you would like to give it a look:
    Thanks again for the review. If you want to do something with my blog, please contact me. Also, if you know of reviews of this show that I do not have please send it my way!

  3. I'm saddened by the number of bad reviews this excellent drama received by the blogosphere, Many, many people did not appreciate the finely crafted writing by No Hee Kyung. This is just not some fluffy drama full of insanely good looking twenty-somethings crying because someone did or did not phone them! This is a poignant story of two people who manage to love one another despite overwhelming odds. Young Ah has been emotionally and physically abused by practically everyone around her and knows the people in her life stay with her because she is wealthy. That would drive anyone into depression. Oh Soo is just another person who comes into her life to use her, but in the course of his deception, he falls in love with her. This, from a man, who uses people in any way he can. This is an heart-breaking exploration of how one man is redeemed by the love of a good woman. This is not a new theme, but so well done that I encourage you to try to revisit it again. As you can see, I defend this drama where ever I go. It's just that special.