White Christmas: Episode 1 Recap

by: Raine with comments by MadDino

Welcome to the realm of White Christmas, my absolute favorite K-drama. (Technically, it’s a special, but time is in complete suspension whenever I watch it). Everything about it is brilliant: cinematography, directing, location, acting, writing, wardrobe, and the OST. I’m really excited to bring this to you.

It’s a psychological thriller that really does its job. You will be enraptured, playing detective, cheering, jeering, gasping and more.

Please enjoy!

“Opening Theme”Still looking for the artist! (from the White Christmas OST)

(Episode 1: The devil himself can not open the door)


episode 1 recap

The camera pans over a beautiful winter scape in snowy Gangwon-do mountains. Hoards of green buses are zooming past as a male narrator introduces the infamous Susin High.

Susin is an independent private school that has the top 0.1% of students in the nation.  They place first with the number of students who are accepted to Seoul University. All activities but studies are banned.

The school, described as a glass Alcatraz, is located in a secluded area and all students are boarders. For three years they live fearing failure, moving through their studies like a racehorse with blinders on, only ever able to look forward.

Over a huge screen, the principal announces the start of the eight-day winter holiday. It is the only vacation of the year. Cheering kids run out of the school in droves and clamor aboard the green buses that wait to cart them away from their prison.

The narrator, student Lee Jae-kyu, then begins his story:

‬”December 24th, Christmas Eve. The only vacation of the year. The eight days of break have begun. And…The story I’m about to tell is about my fight with a monster. I had to become a monster myself for eight days to fight it.”

Moo-yul slowly walks down an empty hallway past a wall of awards. The last placard has not a photograph, but a mirror, underneath which a small sign reads, “Next is…” Stuck to the corner of the mirror is a wad of gum that Moo-yul carefully removes.

We follow him to his room, as do the security cameras, where he opens an immaculately organized desk and pulls out a black envelope. For a moment, he sits and contemplates it while the snow falls outside.

“When did it all begin?” Moo-yul wonders and he reads the letter while images of the emptied school flash by like a slide show.

You tainted me, made me pitiful.

You made me a monster in the corner.

You silenced me.

You ridiculed my false hopes.

You took the only thing I had and put it around your neck.

I held out my hand and you let go.

You deleted me from your eyes.

Finally, you overtook me.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.

After eight days, walk up the path by the Zelkova tree.

Under the clock tower you will see someone dead.

The night that Jesus was born, I curse you.

Night falls and we glance around the school, which looks eery without the sunlight. A voice over the P.A. calls “the seven idiot students” who stayed over the one holiday to a rather grim, spotlit dinner.

Slowly, the students trickle in. First, a shy student who sets up dinner and stutters when a lovely girl with marble features enters. She, in turn, coldly ignores the third person, Moo-yul.

The camera view changes to that of a camcorder and a kid with a white hearing aid, Kang-mo, begins the introductions for what seems to be a documentary of the eight-day holiday.

Park Moo-yul is the student that all parents want as their son-in-law. The lovely girl, Yoon Eun-sung, is the prettiest girl in Susin. The camera focuses on the kid who was setting up dinner and then on his name tag, “Lee Jae-kyu.” Kang-mo doesn’t seem to know him and asks Jae-kyu to introduce himself.

Before he can, a tall, sharp-featured, lanky fellow listening to an mp3 player breezes by with a curt wave. “The angel Gabriel of Susin, Yoon Soo.” He is followed by a silent Choi Chi-hoon.

There should be seven students who stayed behind but one is missing Kang-mo observes. He swings the camera up towards the stairs where the latecomer appears with a cheeky grin. Kang-mo’s face drops. He’d rather go home than stay with the latecomer, Jo Young-jae, who cockily approaches the table.

Finally, the teacher arrives and shoves Young-jae out of the way. He got stuck babysitting the students because he has no girlfriend or family. But no matter, he bought wine, despite the fact that it’s prohibited for students. He pours it as the radio delivers news about a thirteen car crash on the Yungjong Highway.

Moo-yul rises to turn down the radio and Young-jae promises not to tell anyone they were served alcohol but isn’t whether of not Moo-yul, the model of upright behavior, will keep quiet.

He will.

The teacher, Yoon Jong-il, complains again about spending his Christmas break with the kids. Angel Yoon Su retaliates with a snide comment about how Jong-il looks a lot older than his age.

A toast is made and Kang-mo refuses to clink glasses with Young-jae.

Then, Jong-il asks a loaded question: why did they stay instead of going home?

Moo-yul freezes but Young-jae saves him from answering by making up a ridiculous sob story. Quick on her feet, Eun-sung replies that the audience, not the comedian, should be entertained.

Kang-mo most definitely won’t be studying because studying is a cursed activity over break.

In 1999, a girl remained behind during Christmas holiday to study, but at that time, there wasn’t a teacher to watch over her.

During a study break, she went to brew some coffee and hummed a tune while waiting. Suddenly, the hairs on the back of her neck stood on end and she lowered her voice, but the humming continued…

Young-jae is completely effected by the story. His fear replaces his bravado, which spikes when the alarm goes off. Moo-yul, Jae-kyu, Jong-il and Young-jae bolt to their feet.

They rush down to the gate as images of the empty school flash across the screen. A bloody hand grasps a rod on the gate. It belongs to a man who is huddling in pain and fear.

The boys find him and hurry him inside. Jae-kyu straggles behind, glancing around the dark grounds warily.

In the infirmary, Jae-kyu and Jong-il help the injured stranger as Moo-yul calls the police. Because the stranger has only minor injuries and he was alone in the car, the police decide not to come. The thirteen car accident that was mentioned on the radio earlier has taken up all of their resources.

When Moo-yul asks for a person the stranger can contact, the stranger thinks a moment before giving him the number for an Oh Jung-hye.

The rest of the kids have finished dinner and Young-jae teases Eun-sung about living in the girls’ dorm alone with a ghost. Chi-hoon rises and coldly states that there were no girls in 1999 because the school became coed in 2001. Angel guffaws heartily much to Young-jae’s annoyance.

The boys are interrupted by Jae-kyu who delivers the news about the stranger. Both Chi-hoon and Angel brush by Jae-kyu with nary an acknowledgement.

Outside, Kang-mo is walking through the snow, engrossed in his camera. But his peace doesn’t last for long because Young-jae shows up and pelts snowballs at his head, where his water-sensitive hearing aid rests. Because Young-jae has “tested” the hearing aid before, he knows that it is neither water nor magnet proof.

With false contrition, he continues to follow Kang-mo begging for forgiveness with thinly masked malice. Young-jae flings a black envelope to the ground, furious because he believes that Kang-mo sent it. No one else but Kang-mo has a motive to send it and Young-jae starts to shove him around.

Kang-mo denies sending the letter and Moo-yul, who happens by, barely stops Young-jae from punching him. Shaken, he reveals that he received a letter as well.

Jae-kyu materializes out of the darkness and picks up the letter than Young-jae had flung to the ground. Both he and Moo-yul admit they’d received letters as well.

At this point, I noticed that everyone was wearing subdued colors save for Kang-mo, who had red on the elbows of his sweater. I wonder if the director will use wardrobe choices as indicators of anything.

Young-jae kicks up some snow towards the camera and when it falls, the boys are in front of the dorm. The safety level has been heightened so they can’t get in without a pass card – which again angers Young-jae. What doesn’t anger Young-jae?

Although, Kang-mo has already grown weary of this vacation, he remained because he thought the letter would make good news – he’s a journalist, right?

When he leaves, Moo-yul asks Jae-kyu if he really thinks that the letter is a joke. The snow falls quietly just outside the doors.

Moo-yul reads the ominous letter again and the camera pans over Angel Yoon Su playing guitar – a black letter is stuck to a dartboard by a red dart. Chi-hoon is working on an equation in his dorm – his letter is in the waste bin. Eun-sung is in a darkened room – she drops a red phone, which hangs from it’s cord off the desk as she makes her way out of the room and down the stairs.

The two adults, Jong-il and the stranger, bypass a security system into the teachers’ dorms. After a graduate broke into the school and set fire to the teachers’ dorms, the security system was installed. He then jumped off the roof and said that his three years in Susin were a nightmare.

“A nightmare?” the stranger questions. “Then, the kids here are inside someone’s nightmare.”

In a sparsely decorated white lounge with vaulted ceilings, Angel sits alone listening to music while the others gather around a coffee table. Choi Chi-hoon explains that he didn’t know what the letter meant so he threw it away – he stayed over break because of Riemann’s Equation. He’s probably the only one who didn’t stay because of the letter.

Young-jae thinks the letter is a prank played by a loser, but Eun-sung thinks otherwise. She glances towards the door and the camera follows her gaze – the teacher is coming with the stranger. If they inform the teacher, he’d surely find the culprit by using the security cameras. But if the letter is real, they’ll get penalties, their grades will be lowered and they won’t be recommended. Each point she makes is punctuated by a camera shot of a worried face.

As the adults enter, each student quickly picks up his letter. The stranger greets them formally. He is Kim Yo-han. Jong-il explains that he is a psychologist and the kids should feel free to go to him with any problems.

A quick aside: How wrong is it that a teacher would give such power to a complete stranger? As the daughter of a psychotherapist, I recoil at the thought.

Angel leaps at the opportunity, raising his hand to address a problem. Young-jae interrupts, saying he has a ringing in his ears, but Angel sneers that he should see an ENT for that. Resuming his entreaty for psychological help, angel says he dreams of a person in the nude – the boys cheer – but it’s a man. Can he be helped? Should he lie down on the sofa? He stretches onto the sofa and the boys jump on him and the adults smile at their antics.

In another student’s dorm room, AC/DC is blasting while a laptop plays security footage of the boys horsing around. The room is hung with AC/DC posters and overwhelmed by the bright daylight of a snowy day.

The students and Jong-il clear the snow in the courtyard away and start a snow fight in front of the Poseidon water fountain. Kang-mo is the only person in red.

Yo-han watches the fun, but doesn’t join in. Instead, Moo-yul approaches him with a question: can he tell someone’s state by the words they’ve written. Yo-han says that he can do one better: he can even tell their past lives! But stodgy Moo-yul doesn’t get the joke.

After Yo-han assures Moo-yul that psychologists and priests must keep their clients’ secrets, Moo-yul shows him the letter. Jae-kyu happens to see the exchange but Jong-il brings him back into the snow-flinging fray.

Moo-yul wonders if the psychologist thinks the letter is a joke. Yo-han reads it and replies that the writer is in a dangerous state of serious depression and aggression and he needs treatment right away.

Everyone heads inside and Jae-kyu asks Moo-yul about what the psychologist said – the letter is not a joke.

In Angel’s dorm room, Angel dries off after a shower (yum!). There is a guitar on the wall, a white catholic cross, a photo with an eyeball between two red lips, a dart board, lots of mirrors and several statues of the Virgin Mary. Angel contemplates a bottle of blue pills and then takes one.

A short while later, Moo-yul and Jae-kyu, student detectives, enter while Angel is noodling on a black electric guitar. When did he get the letter? they ask and notice the blue pills on the desk. He found it yesterday morning in his locker. Our detectives watch as Angel sits before his vanity mirror and two small magnifying mirrors. He drolly explains that he didn’t go home because “it’s an honor. Someone hates me so much they want to die. It’s polite to be there when it happens.”

Curious Jae-kyu lifts the Virgin Mary statue from its spot near the door an earns an immediate reprimand from Angel. Put it back; no, closer to the wall. If it’s wrong, the corner monster could appear.

“You made me a monster in the corner.”

Moo-yul gently interrogates Angel Yoon Su about the corner monster. His mother said that there was one in every house and the one he sees mostly looks like a child with a blue mark on his face. Haven’t they seen him? If not, why did they get a letter from him?

“Have you seen it here?” Moo-yul wants to know, but Angel has not. He has his good luck charms – the Virgin Marys.

Speculating that the blue mark could be a birthmark, the detectives head to the library to look through student records. Jae-kyu finds Moo-yul’s file and teases him about the fact that his mother is his hero – until he sees that Moo-yul’s mother has passed away.

Without much luck, they leave the library wondering if Yoon Su’s depression made him hallucinate the corner monster. They seek out Chi-hoon who is exercising. Does he know of anyone in the school with a blue birthmark on one side of his face? When he answers in the negative, Jae-kyu scoffs that Chi-hoon probably doesn’t know the faces of his own classmates.

“You deleted me from your eyes.”

“Is that me?” Chi-hoon muses with minor interest. “That’s the closest to me of the eight sins.”

The letter could refer to one person with eight sins or sins committed by separate people. Moo-yul, mystery thrilling in his veins, believes the letter refers to separate people. He hurries back to his room and searches for a poem entitled “You” (너에게/Noege) that he wrote as a first year.

He seeks out Eun-sung who in the girls’ dormitory writing something with her finger on the window. She is unhappy to see him but he’s picked up a scent and won’t be deterred. Does she remember when she was stalked after the festival first year?

She’d lost a USB and the stalker had left her a note in her locker telling her that she’d left the USB in her green track pants. Terrified, she’d run to Moo-yul. Eun-sung derisively calls her past actions “cute”; she’d felt romantic, like a lead actress, running to her prince.

Why is he digging into her romantic past?

When she gave him the letter, Moo-yul published it in the school newspaper under his name in hopes of either drawing the stalker’s attention to himself or completely halting the behavior.

Moo-yul shows her the letter.

To you

You are bad

You, who shines even brighter without me

Make my darkness so much thicker

Your name is bad

Your name that I cannot call

It’s so bad because it fits you so well

You are bad for laughing

My false hope becomes a poison

And makes me diseased.

Eun-sung is shaken and wonders, “Why is a stalker’s letter in the paper?” Because it reads like a love poem to those unaware of its true nature. Does she think it’s a coincidence that both letters mention “false hope”?

“You ridiculed my false hopes.”

And because Moo-yul took the stalker’s words and published them for all to see:

“You took the one thing I had and put it around your neck.”

“Of course the person wants to kill us,” she muses. “Someone’s heart was used as a tool to aid in first love. I admit it.” She used her stalker as an excuse to get close to Moo-yul.

Moo-yul watches her walk away and then blows hot air on the window to read what she’d written when he found her.Written over and over is the word “죽어/jugeo/die.”He watches her leave with concern written on his face. [Thank you to Zgzgirl for helping me make out the hangul on the window!]

Outside below, Kang-mo photographs them and turns away when Moo-yul spots him. Kang-mo has a pained expression on his face.

In a classroom, Moo-yul has gathered Young-jae, Jae-kyu and Kang-mo for a detectives’ pow-wow. If there are seven recipients of the black letter, then why are there eight sins? Kang-mo points out that Young-jae has committed enough sins for two or three people.

Wisely, Moo-yul breaks up the blossoming fight and starts to name the ways each person is linked to the other. Kang-mo points out that Young-jae could buy a building with the amount of money he’s taking from Yoon Su and Moo-yul is immediately curious. Frustrated with being a target, Young-jae asks why Moo-yul didn’t mention his connection with Chi-hoon. “You try your best, but you can never defeat the born genius.”

Suddenly, a stony-faced Chi-hoon shows up and asks if they’re going to eat; then, he walks away. This prompts Young-jae to hand down an edict, which is especially directed towards Kang-mo: no one is to say anything to the teacher.

They head down to lunch and unknowingly pass Angel Yoon Su listening to music whilst sitting in the rafters.

The radio is playing as lunch begins. Yoon Su straggles in and Young-jae asks “Hey Angel. Where were you?”

Psychologist Yo-han is curious as to why they call Yoon Su “Angel”. It is because he donated money to remodel the dorm in order to get into the school, Young-jae quickly replies. His nickname is “the Plague,” Eun-sung just as quickly counters. “I’m sure you can tell why.”

Ignoring the current conversation, Kang-mo listens to the news about a murderer on the radio and wonders aloud, “He’s still on the loose. Why do you think he killed?” The announcer says that it was not motivated by sex or money.

“Why did he kill?”

Young-jae thinks the man is crazy. He is the kind of man who neighbors describe as polite and quiet; they would wonder why he’d do such a thing.

Eun-sung: If you got caught, I’d say, ‘I knew this would happen one day’.

Young-jae: You wouldn’t. If I did, you’d be the first victim.‪

Chi-hoon: (Interrupts.) Are monsters like him born that way? Or are they raised into monsters?

Everyone glances up sharply as Chi-hoon continues the grim train of thought.

Chi-hoon: They must have problems, be it natural or learned. They could have brain malfunctions or some DNA error. If they were like that from birth, it’s not their fault. It’s just a disability. Is it right to punish them? If it’s the case that they were not born that way, if their father was an alcoholic or their mom was irresponsible, if their criminal personality was formed later, it is their fault?

Yo-han: Do you think that criminals shouldn’t be punished then?

Chi-hoon: They should be punished in order for society to function. I was just considering whether such ethical, emotional criticism is right. (He points to the radio.)

Moo-yul: Yes.

Yo-han:  (Grins.)

Moo-yul: Even if he has brain problems or if raised in bad conditions, he chose to kill, even though he knew it was a crime. If he chooses to commit a crime, he should be punished.

Chi-hoon: Hormones in a person’s brain…

Jong-il barges in, halting the conversation.

AC/DC’s “Back in Black” blasts as a kid with dyed red hair stares out the window and snaps his jaw in and out of place.

Lunch ends and Angel Yoon Su heads up the stairs. Yo-han stop him to apologize for asking about his nickname. Angel replies that it’s his fault for being born into a rich family, which puzzles the psychologist.

Angel stares at himself in his mirrors and then considers the bottle of blue pills. But he doesn’t take one. Instead he opens a hidden case, which has a mirror inside, and contemplates a small filigreed box that contains three small, white pills.

A close up of a white pill morphs into a scale as Yo-han changes his bandage. Eun-sung enters, complaining of a headache. When Yo-han offers her medicine, she notices a scar on his hand. It is from a patient who became obsessed with him. Occasionally, the patient emerges, but is mostly quiet.

In his room, an obviously high Yoon Su walks in circles as the camera traces his path, showing three of his figure at a time. He stops and stares at the camera like a bird of prey.

Moo-yul and Jae-kyu are searching for legends about the corner monster, but find nothing. Perhaps Yoon su’s mother made it up or perhaps it’s because he is unstable. Yoon Su has reason to hate them because they all call him Angel to his face.

A crashing noise stop their research and they investigate. Angel is throwing his Virgin Mary statues on the floor.

“It’s all useless now.”

He sits at his vanity and solemnly says, “It’s here already.” In the mirror, he sees a child with a blue mark over his eye and cheek huddled in the corner.

Alerted by Angel’s obviously drugged state, Moo-yul finds the pill box and it only has two white pills left. Is the corner monster in the corner now? Moo-yul asks, staring at the empty corner. Yes, Angel replies. It’s a child. It’s usually a child. There was one exception during the school camping trip their first year.

Flash back: Yoon Su is having a panic attack as a guy dressed in a kimono bolts and drops a wallet.

He flops to the ground and Jae-kyu wonders if they should tell the teacher. A glassy-eyed Angel advises that they quickly remember what they did to the monster in the corner. “I gave it a name. The monster in the corner. Then it really became the monster in the corner.”

Moo-yul rises, but is jarred from his dark thoughts when Angel says, “Eun-sung…”

The psychologist watches Eun-sung a moment and then notes that she is like his patients who have something to say but can’t seem to start. To help them, he’d bring up a topic like the weather, or his accident, which he’d exaggerate. He’d say that he almost died recently because it really gets the conversation going.

Eun-sung wants to know how he felt the moment he almost died. Pulling out a gold pen he replies that he didn’t see scenes from his life, but time did slow down and the world was silent. He heard a folk song in his head. Then, he taps the pen on the desk and begins to sing. A white car flies through the air and evergreens covered in snow are reflected in its windows.

The story telling works and Eun-sung is ready to tell her story, back lit by the setting sun.

Moo-yul, frozen in place by the mention of Eun-sung’s name, panics when Angel says that there was a picture of her in the monster’s wallet. It will probably eat her up.

A child sings Yo-han’s folk song as Eun-sung slowly walks outside towards the clock tower. She passes by Kang-mo who is hurt by her lack of acknowledgment; he pretends to be her and greets himself. He is bypassed again by Moo-yul and Jae-kyu who are running at breakneck speed to catch Eun-sung – again he imagines they acknowledged him.

Moo-yul’s voice over: The gates to heaven open wide on Christmas. The worst snowstorm ever and seven letters. After seeing the results, things that seem unrelated come together to form one, and unimportant moments all feel like destiny.”

Eun-sung walks towards clock tower and stop several hundred meters from it.

Moo-yul and Jae-kyu are joined by a curious Kang-mo as they hurry to reach Eun-sung.

Moo-yul’s voice over: “We’d find out later that the monster was already with us. We’d let the door open for the monster to enter.”

They are too late. Eun-sung lies in the snow, bleeding from her wrist.

AC/DC rocks on as redhead sits before a mirror and pops his jaw. He throws a towel at the camera and the screen goes black.

 Comments:

*SQUEE* I’m so stoked to write this and have Deeno comment as well. I’m going to let her speculate as she’s never seen this before. And I’ll cackle with secret knowledge of the future.

Raine‘s Comments

As I’ve watched this before, I’m going to try to keep the spoilers to ZERO. But I am seeing all sorts of things the first time that I missed and I think this is even more brilliant than I thought it was before.

Characters: They fit into typical molds presented by television screenwriters: the stoic hero, the tragic heroine, the bully, the quiet unknown, the lonely disabled kid, the macho teacher, the depressed rich kid and the perfect stranger. But the way the writer Park Yeon-sun uses them to tell the story is quite unique. Also, Kang-mo seems to have a need to be noticed. Perhaps this is why he’s a journalist with a camera. He notices the minute details of people’s lives as he wishes to be noticed.

Also, the way they interact really provides great entertainment. For example, Young-jae is the bully, but in turn, he gets bullied by sarcastic Eun-sung, the lone female of the group. Or hard-of-hearing Kang-mo bringing up what he heard on the radio about the serial killer.

A few questions raised in this episode: Who sent the letter? Why doesn’t Kang-mo know who Jae-kyu is in the beginning when he was introducing all of the students? Why is Eun-sung so cold to Moo-yul? Why does Angel Yoon-su resort to drug usage? Who is the hot redhead? Who do the rest of the lines in the poem pertain to?

Pet Peeve: I do appreciate using common character molds, the psychologist’s quick diagnoses of the letter writer drives me insane.

Clothing: Kang-mo is the only one wearing color, red. Yo-han is wearing white. All the others are wearing muted colors. I could be reading too much into it, but the red really stood out to me and I noticed the white because of it.

Camera work: I was so in awe of the camera I kept rewinding and wishing my screencaps could do it justice. The storytelling ability of the camera in general is fabulous, but here are a few points I noticed.

  • Clever usage of split screens.
  • Character actions causing camera/scene changes such as Young-jae kicking up snow to cover the lens and when the snow falls, they are in a different location.
  • Filming different locations at different times of the day.
  • Loads of mirrors and reflections for the obvious symbolism.
  • Inclusion of objects/people from the previous shot into the new one. For example, using the white pill to switch scenes to the infirmary by morphing it into a white scale. Or, filming two people and keeping one in the new shot while adding another character.
  • Hardly any direct face shots/head on shots. It really depicts a thoughtful moment well. The only time the camera faces someone directly is during a very important moment.

MadDino‘s Comments

I don’t know why it took one hour for a body to appear, but it took way too long. It’s hard to be a detective when there isn’t a body. Knowing that someone would be dying made me alert from the get go and I have all kinds of theories.

Right now all my suspicions are pointed at Jae Kyu, the quiet one. He’s always hanging around and it’s odd that the most social person, Kang Mo, didn’t recognize him from the get go. No one else seems to know him either, which means that he may not even be a student. He does claim that he’s in Chi Hoon’s class but he’d previously claimed that Chi Hoon wouldn’t recognize his own classmate. He claims that the only person he knows is Chi Hoon and that he has a weak tie to Young Jae. He’s not even close with Moo Yul, which seems odd with all the time they spend wander around together.

Jae Kyu also gets a lot of camera time. Most of them are reactions to the other’s interactions. He’s quiet, but he notices everything without standing out. He’s nearly invisible, unless he speaks. When Young Jae and Kang Mo are fighting he could have been there the whole time, but not said a word. He’d know how to disable Kang Mo’s hearing device and showed up later to prove that he has a letter. Or did he have the letter he was seen wiping a letter off in the snow. I guess they would have noticed had he stolen a letter.

For being completely unknown, he’s trusted. The teacher asked him to turn on the gate security system. He helped Moo Yul look through the student records for someone with a blue birthmark. Note how he distracted Moo Yul from the search by commenting on Moo Yul’s student record. At the front of the investigation, he knows more about what’s going on than  anyone else.

He has knowledge of the security system from the gates to when the doors lock. He doesn’t have the advantage of a camera feed, but I’m certain he’d be able to slip around them fairly well.

Jae Kyu’s wry eyes catch every detail better than a camera. He noticed that Moo Yul shared the letter with the shrink. Everyone else was distracted, but he seemed to be taking in everything. He already seems to have animosity towards the shrink. When he served the shrink water, I was totally expecting the shrink to keel over. If not from poison, then from the intensity behind Jae Kyu’s eyes.

There is so much going on behind his eyes. He gives the oddest expression when he finds out that Chi Hoon threw away his letter. Was it disbelief or disappointment? When he looked back as the others left the gate was he figuring out his escape or rejoicing that once again all the students were safely inside his prison? When Eun Sung suggested telling the teacher and reviewing the security footage, why did his eyes seem to panic?

Perhaps I’m reading too much into everything. If I were there, I’d be the one swirling around making accusations one after the other. Some would be correct and some wouldn’t. Or I’d be acting just like Jae Kyu, because I was the one behind the letters.

I don’t know what’s really going on with Jae Kyu, but the camera lingers on him a bit too much, like his reactions are important. They may show the reactions of other students in the same scene, but from scene to scene they keep highlighting his reactions. Perhaps he wrote the letters, but there may be more than one force at work here. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for clues, but one episode in he’s the most likely to be a closet serial killer. The other’s may have motive to kill, but they wouldn’t be so secretive.

I’d like to make a few a few predictions for future episodes. Under close examination I think the blue student is Chi Hoon. I could see the two best students falling for the most popular girl, but why would Chi Hoon keep silent? Is he her stalker?

The red-head with his security feed is too obvious to be truly suspicious.

The shrink is creepy and I can’t help thinking that despite saying there was no one else in the car, that there was and there is a corpse out there in his car, waiting to be discovered. He also has to be the most ineffective shrink ever. How can he survive if his patients kill themselves after talking to him like Eun Sung did?

I’m excited about Kang Mo’s hearing aid. He seems to compensate for having poor hearing by having two sets of eyes, his own and the camera. I could see his hearing aid malfunctioning at the wrong time. He wouldn’t hear the killer sneak up on him. With his double eyes there will be plenty of reasons to murder him. He may record the wrong scene, but the ever vigilant assailant will notice and take him down. Poor guy, I’m already hoping for his death.

Episodes 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Character introductions.

White Christmas Episode 1 Screencaps.


28 thoughts on “White Christmas: Episode 1 Recap

  1. Joey says:

    Though I’m about 3 years late to comment properly, I’m re-watching White Christmas and feel the need to correct something you mentioned. Kang Mo has a cochlear implant – not a hearing aid. In short, if it malfunctions or the battery needs replacing: he’s entirely deaf. (That line about silence for a week wasn’t an exaggeration, unfortunately.)

    To have a hearing aid, he would need to have some sort of auditory functioning/ability. I only mention this because I feel like it’s both important to understand for Kang Mo as a character and also because my own dad is hard-of-hearing and I’ve spent way too much of my time instilling in people that my dad can indeed hear. If he was literally deaf, yelling at him and/or speaking slowly would do nothing to help your cause- he can’t hear you and when you distort your mouth shapes and patterns by speaking slowly, he can’t read your lips.

    The more you know~~

    • Raine says:

      Awesome! Thanks so much! It does really help to understand the more you know. I’m re-watching this now and I’ll try to look at it armed with this new information! The deaf or partially deaf people I’ve worked with all knew sign language and lip-reading, and that’s not necessarily the norm. If you have anymore insight, do share!

  2. llamagirl007 says:

    Your recap is wonderful! I stumbled upon your while looking for White Christmas’s OST. I’m now devouring the rest of your blog. 😛

    Anyway, where did you find the opening theme of this show from? I’ve looked around and even downloaded the soundtrack but this particular bit of music isn’t in it. =\

  3. Nolia says:

    Hello, do you happen to have english subtitles for this drama? I have already downloaded the episode but there were no subtitles, and I have searched everywhere, seriously. I am really, really dying to see this 😦

  4. Janey says:

    Hi! I’m wondering if you know where I can download Eng subs for this drama? I just want to watch it so bad! I’ve only read good reviews about it, yours included. Huhuhuhu. T_T

  5. WhiteFox says:

    though i was aware of this drama and had files on my hdd for a year,
    finally i took the time to watch them recently.
    i’m glad that someone started the recap for this awesome drama.
    thank you and keep up the good job.

    * spoiler *
    a narrator in the opening is jae kyu, not mu yeol.
    he plays an observer for the viewers and it’s not random. you know why.

  6. muchadoboutlove says:

    you’ve done an excellent job to write the recap about this gripping drama! reading this makes me want to go back and watch WC again…but I’m afraid I’d get sucked into it again. I couldn’t get over the drama even after I finished watching it because it’s a drama that can provoke your thoughts and everything! I’d say I was (and still) addicted to this drama. The mixed feelings I had when I watched it couldn’t be described with words. It’s the kind of story that will make you think over and over again.

    okay, I’m totally ranting over here ^^ will wait for the upcoming recaps! thanks a lot for doing this~ 😉

  7. KStyle says:

    Omg so I totally had to find this show, which I did,thanks YouTube!
    I totally went Kdrama crazy and marathoned the whole show.
    Awww this show is so freaking Daebak!!!
    I mean where else can I find some of my favorite up incoming actors who just happen to range from cuties to oh hwat goodness ^.^
    I’m so crushing on Mad Mi Reu aka TOP older brother, he looks so much like my favorite BigBang member.

    Khamsanida so very much. This show will be added to The Best Kdrama Shows Collection Ever!!!

    • Raine says:

      I’m glad you love it. It’s totally my favorite show! Like JB says, it isn’t perfect, but I don’t really care. It’s entertaining, well made, creative, beautifully shot and fun to recap and watch all over again.

      I’m really hoping to get into discussions about it in the comments, ’cause it’s so thought provoking.

      Thanks for stopping by! I can always appreciate more WC fans. WE ROCK.

      PS Mad Mi-reu is AWESOME. And how hot does he look in that last picture!

      • KStyle says:

        ***Spoilers***
        I’m like so in love with not only the actors but the storyline. I laughed, cried, screamed so hard at my computer screen. It’s been a hot minute since a show has got me to the point of frustration for all the right reasons. Omg the crazy patient/ stalker, the confessions/ how well do you know your kids from the parents/ the stupid freaking cops(omg they have got to be the slowest cops ever in dramalandvhistory like ever).
        The whole concept, starting from the community suicide letter/ wakeup call and psycho doctor’ s experiment WOW, there is just so much to discuss from those two themes. Like if a classmate commits suicide or homicide, are you partly to blame because you didn’t do or know enough/ anything to help/ prevent. It all goes back to the concept of being a collective or individual society. Man WC, what a ride. I can’t wait to show it to my roomie, she will absolutely love it and flip out over the multitude of hotness( so many good-looking guys, thank you Kdrama casting gods).

  8. Eliza Bennet says:

    I’m very happy you have started this. It seems very interesting and different. I always like a good whodunnit.

  9. whimsyful says:

    Yesss ep 1! I love how detailed your recap is, btw, and it doesn’t spoil anything either. There are so many important clues hidden in each episode. And the cinematography is gorgeous. It’s morbid, but I found the shot of Eun Sung bleeding in the snow surprisingly beautiful.

    Re: the teacher’s quick acceptance of Kim Yo Han. I was bugged by it too, but then I realized he’s not exactly the smartest or most competent person around. It’s a running theme actually, how all the adults in the show end up disappointing or failing the students.

    One of the things I noticed about the group of students (we need a nickname for them. The Susin Seven(+1)? Susin Subjects? The Study Group of Angst?)is that most of them barely know each other, and more than a few of them are hostile towards each other. They are not complete strangers like in most closed circle mysteries/thrillers, but they’re not friends either. They talk and joke around easily with each other, but very few of them actually trust each other.

    Jae Kyu is the type who always fades into the background, especially compared to the others who all stand out in some way. As Deeno mentioned, he’s invisible, but he notices everything. I think Moo Yul lets him tag along because he thinks that Jae Kyu makes a good sidekick: quiet, observant and obedient. Moo Yul is the natural leader among them–notice that the other students hide their letters before the teacher comes only after he picks up his. People always listen to him.

    Whew, that was a really long post.

    • Raine says:

      I tried to point out clues without making it obvious! Especially with the photos…

      The shot of ES in the snow is stunning. I really love that photo. Haha.

      ****spoiler-y****

      And yes, the kids are only acquaintances with each other and they can only rely on each other…at least they think so.

      As for a nickname, I like the Soo-Sin Subjects, that was it’s inclusive and short. I shall credit you in the next recap!

      Moo-yul was established as the silent, broody hero with some mommy issues and a leader in the school and among the Soo-Sin Seven because of his quiet charisma.

      Did you notice how Jae-kyu kinda ingratiates himself into the sidekick position though? Just sort of is THERE and no one says anything otherwise. And whereas he is invisible, Kang-mo is the one who FEELS invisible.

      ****end spoiler-y****

      Awesome comments whimsyful!

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