So I’ve been thinking about That Winter the Wind Blows some more. (A good sign!) And I’ve realized that its strength was how tightly it told the story of Oh Soo and Oh Young — both their individual development and the development of their relationship. Which is why my overall impression of the drama is a good one. Those are the two characters I cared for — deeply. And those are the two characters the drama served exceptionally well.
Yup! The ending gets spoiled. Again.
It’s the reason, though, that the climatic scene right towards the end failed so epically. Not just for me, but within the story itself. Because that scene had nothing to do with either Oh Young or Oh Soo or their relationship. You could maybe argue that it had to do with Oh Soo’s relationship with Jin-sung, and therefore Oh Soo — but it was all on Jin-Sung’s side.
There was no causative action on Oh Soo’s part and, other than threatening his life, the action changed nothing about Oh Soo. Once it was over and he’d survived (my personal take-away of the ending) I’m sure Oh Soo easily forgave Jin-sung and moved on. And Oh Young wasn’t even aware it had happened, so it didn’t create a challenge or change for her either.
The only person who was really affected by the action was Jin-sung. And this isn’t his story. Which the drama knew because, other than this out of place scene, Jin-sung’s function was as a support for and barometer of Oh Soo. We clocked Oh Soo’s growth by the way he moved away from the con Jin-sung was so anxious for him to continue. And it was Jin-sung’s acceptance of Oh Soo’s reasoning (that he wanted, for once in his life, to be a decent person) and Jin-sung’s defense of it to Hee-sun that told us Oh Soo was achieving his goal. (If Jin-sung bought it, it was real.)
My understanding is this scene happened in the original J-drama TWtWB is based off of. So I suspect that there was a feeling on the part of the creators that this scene had to happen. But I also suspect that the relationship between Oh Soo’s character and Jin-sung’s character was much more front and center in the J-drama. (Frankly, the importance of Oh Young was something I adored, so I was fine with Jin-sung’s relative lack of importance.)
I wish they’d been able to let it go. Or shifted it around so that… oh, maybe Boss Kim or one of his minions (though a desperate Boss Kim would have been more exciting) made a vengeful lunge at Jin-sung (since he was the apparent master-mind behind the “we’re all watching you” setup) and Oh Soo blocked the hit with his body. Then we’d have the same “oh my gosh, is he dead?!” moment for the audience and a nice guilt/rage moment for Jin-sung (bonus if he takes down Boss Kim) and the same “is he? isn’t he?” question about Oh Soo’s being alive at the end. And it would have been something Oh Soo decided, a plot-turn he created. One that backed his decision to live as a decent human being, tying the scene back to the relationship between him and Oh Young.
But, as it is, the reason I’m able to let that scene go — just handwave it away, is it honestly had nothing to do with the story we were told. And it’s the story we did get that I loved.