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Monday, April 19, 2010

REWATCH: Personal Taste - Ep 6 - Part 1 of 2

The head doesn’t know yet
At the MS Group party celebrating the Dam Art Gallery project, we rejoin the fray between JinHo, GaeIn and HyeMi.

JinHo is still urgently trying to prevent GaeIn from causing another scene, most especially her determination to announce his secret which, in fact, is not really his secret so much as her manufactured one. Unfortunately, she’s too worked up about the heartbreak heading HyeMi’s way to allow herself to be pacified by his pleas to keep quiet. 

Despite the fact that she now considers JinHo a friend, and she should know not to meddle in his business anymore, her indignation is a force to be reckoned with; it is being spurred on by an excess of alcohol and her own heartbreak at the hands of man. “In a situation like this,” she is saying to JinHo in an alarmingly loud voice, “you have to settle your affairs! I already told you how painful heartbreak can be for a person!” HyeMi has heard enough. She interprets GaeIn’s vague words about a secret JinHo is harboring to mean GaeIn has been having a secret relationship with him.

She throws a glass of cold water into GaeIn’s stunned face.

“What do you think you’re doing—?!” JinHo yells at HyeMi but bites his temper mid-sentence when HyeMi’s eyes widen in teary surprise. She can’t believe that her JinHo is actually raising his voice in anger at her. Getting a handle on his frustration, he grabs HyeMi by the arm, “Come with me.” TaeHoon follows JinHo and HyeMi out while SangJoon fusses over the drenched GaeIn, who doesn’t  know why she was the one who had to ‘swallow water’ when all she wanted to do was spare HyeMi from future heartache. JinHo’s earlier lessons about self-control have apparently not stuck with GaeIn. It seems he wasn’t wrong. GaeIn’s biggest obstacle to herself is her own over-eagerness, in all things, whether it be in love or meddling in the affairs of her friends.

Nearby, President Han is standing with ChangYul, regarding the scene between JinHo and his group in shrewd fascination. His son next to him, however, carries upon his face a more invested concern, one that hints at some leftover feelings for the woman he had dumped. He can’t tear his gaze away from GaeIn and the pitiful sight she makes at this moment. Perhaps it is just pity for a person in a sorry situation, but more likely he can’t completely shake the feeling that she is his ‘wet puppy.’ In fact, he looks one exhaled breath away from running over to her side himself. 

InHee, who has also witnessed the water-throwing scene, snickers in satisfaction, “That’s what you get for coming here.” To finish her thought that is not actually spoken but implied: that’s what you get for coming to a place where a nobody like you does not belong.

In the ladies restroom wiping up, GaeIn is whimpering to herself that it’s not fair that she was the one punished when she did nothing wrong. She’s about to head back to the party when she feels a sharp pain in her lower abdomen. She doubles over a bit and gingerly heads into a stall.

“Stop crying, you look like a panda!” TaeHoon alternately insults and tries to comfort HyeMi. In the parking garage, HyeMi is still in hysterics over JinHo’s supposed betrayal of her love. Her make-up has smeared down her face in long streaks. Inappropriately (as always), SangJoon tsks, “Yeah, look at skater Kim Yuna, her mascara never runs even when she cries! You need to find out what brand she uses and that’s the one you should be buying.” He wags his finger at HyeMi in all seriousness. “Aigoo,” SangJoon sniffs airily, turning away from the hiccuping girl as if disgusted by the very sight of HyeMi’s smeared liner.

JinHo can’t help but shoot SangJoon a momentary ‘what the—?’ look of dismay at the unhelpful comment before refocusing his attention back to HyeMi. “Why are you even here?” JinHo wants to know. HyeMi ignores the question and continues to wail about GaeIn, “What is she to you? Who is that woman? Why is she here as your partner for an event like this!?” JinHo pleads with HyeMi to go home, his voice brotherly but firm, “She’s not anything to me so please just go. TaeHoon, take her home.” Even as TaeHoon picks HyeMi up and gets her into his car, she continues to cry for JinHo in a shrill, paint-peeling voice, spreading her arms out in a frantic reach for him. She’s like a child reaching for the favored teddy bear that’s being denied her.

After seeing HyeMi and TaeHoon off, JinHo and SangJoon go back inside to look for GaeIn. Of course, ChangYul has been keeping an eye out for JinHo to return to the main hall and accosts him as soon as he steps through the doorway. “Why does GaeIn have to suffer that kind of humiliation here?” ChangYul blasts. JinHo immediately snaps back, “Thats none of your business.” But ChangYul continues to verbally attack, “That woman—she doused GaeIn with water over you, isn’t it?” JinHo can’t believe the nerve of ChangYul to stand there and point fingers at him. “I don’t think a guy who stood at the alter with her friend is in any position to talk,” JinHo calmly points out. His aim is perfect; his cool glower speaks volumes even in silence. ChangYul really has nothing to say in response and watches JinHo disappear into the party crowd.

Next up, InHee. She steps into JinHo’s path. “It seems your relationships with women are pretty complicated,” she remarks, the smile on her face knowing. JinHo’s responding expression is not the same icy stare he gave ChangYul moments earlier, but it is nevertheless a guarded one and not completely welcoming. InHee notes rather confidently that it seems that she is just one of many women who can’t help but see JinHo as a man, a desirable one. He stays silent, not quite sure how to respond to her bold advances. Thankfully, he is saved from answering when Director Choi calls for her attention.

JinHo goes back to searching for GaeIn, who calls him on his cell phone. Behind him, we see Director Choi who has one eye trained on JinHo’s back, amusement lifting his expression. It appears HyeMi and InHee aren’t the only ones who harbor a bit of over-interest in JinHo’s direction. Not aware of the other man’s growing curiosity over his personal affairs, JinHo heads off to collect GaeIn. “You were in there the whole time?” he asks when GaeIn tells him she’s holed up in the bathroom. He thinks she’s hiding in there because she’s embarrassed by the public humiliation she’d suffered because of him and he tries to apologize, but she tells him quickly that she’s gotten over the impromptu shower…but there is another problem. “What’s wrong with your voice? What’s wrong?” he asks, always in a state of worry when it comes to GaeIn. She ventures sheepishly, “I need…the thing…with wings…” He’s confused, “Wings? You lost…your wings?” She keeps trying to explain, “You see, it’s that day…” Still confused, as any man would be, JinHo wants to know, “Today? What day is today?”

Moments later, he finds himself running down the street in his tuxedo, bemoaning the direction his life had taken. How did it come to this? Why is he making a frantic run to the corner mart in the middle of a party to buy pads for a woman?! He rushes inside the small store and heads for the hygiene aisle. Three school girls are there enjoying a snack. When they notice the tall, handsome man dart in, three young adoring faces immediately turn his way. He notices their attention and slows his step. He turns sharply away from their stares to face the aisle of products. 

Feigning nonchalance, he picks up the nearest thing in the aisle. The girls loudly discuss his gorgeousness as he stares blankly in front, trying to figure out a way to buy the feminine product without seeming unmanly. When he picks up a book, they crow about how cool he looks handling a book. When he picks up a razor, they titter about the kind of shaver he uses. They are watching his every move like sports commentators, except this isn’t soccer but another favored pastime for young female sports fans: hot-guy-watching.

JinHo is shifting foot to foot, fidgeting. He is extremely uncomfortable. Finally, unable to stand there all night long trying to out-wait girls who have no intention of leaving first, he gives up and grabs for a bag of pads, but his fingers only graze the bag on the first try. He has to linger a fraction of a beat longer as he grabs it on the second try. He dashes away with both the bag of pads and the manly razor.

When he leaves, the girls look toward the direction of the shelf his fingers had reached. They stare at the row of pink bags. Their expressions become even more dreamy and they giggle-swoon. “Whoever that woman is, I’m SO jealous!” one of the girls declares and her friends immediately agree. “So lucky!” They think it’s romantic that such a hot guy would run this sort of errand for a woman. All three girls have their faces pressed up against the store window. They sigh and wave at him as he tries to get out of there as fast as possible. JinHo, apparently, even steals female hearts when he buys hygienic products.

Back in the women’s bathroom, JinHo is handing over the goods. “What took you so long? My legs were killing me!” GaeIn complains. He retorts, “Do you think that’s anything compared to what I had to go through?” She peeks into the bag and pulls out the extra object. “What’s this razor?” she asks, confused. He fibs that its for her to shave her legs. It’s a little odd, but she is grateful for his help anyway. “I’ll be out right away,” she assures him. He’s still embarrassed from the errand itself and mutters, “Do whatever you want.”

Outside, he’s leaning against the wall, waiting for GaeIn to come out. He has a glazed expression on his face. Knowing full well she’s caused him inconvenience yet again, she apologizes, telling him she must have forgotten what day it was because it had been so hectic lately. He argues it’s more likely because she lives her life as a total flake. 

When GaeIn realizes she has a bunch of unused pads but no bag to put them away in or any pockets on her dress to hide them, she asks JinHo to hold it for her. After all, its too wasteful to throw them away. “Can’t we shove a few in your pockets?” she asks, forcibly trying to tuck a few pink packets into his jacket. “What do you think you’re doing?!” he exclaims, jumping away from her as if she’d burned him. He yanks them out and waves them at her. “Are you telling me to walk around with these things in my pockets!?” The fact that he’s holding them is ridiculous enough and to his chagrin, a female passerby shoots the couple a curious gaze. GaeIn insists that she will not waste money and keeps trying to squeeze them into his clothing. He slaps her hands away, trying to protect himself from her pads. “What do you expect me to do about it!?” he yells in frustration. He wants to throw them away. She won’t let him. Eventually, he finally gives in and decides to take the purchases to his car for stowing. As he trudges away, she’s still worried he’s going to throw them away and calls after him, “You better really be taking it to the car!”

While she’s waiting for JinHo to return, ChangYul sees her in the corridor. “Why are you running around with that JinHo guy?” he wants to know. “It’s because of me, isn’t it?” She denies it. But ChangYul doesn’t believe her. He’s convinced that GaeIn is only spending time with the other architect because she’s aware of his rivalry with JinHo, as she had witnessed their confrontation the day of the Dream Art Center presentation. “Don’t overreact,” she tells him. “ChangYul, you’re not someone that is important to me anymore.” He tells her that no matter what she says, he knows her too well. She’s not the kind of person to fold away her feelings so easily after giving someone her heart and he advises her that this behavior isn’t like her. She really shouldn’t chase around JinHo just to get back at him.

At this point, JinHo has returned and catches most of their exchange. The look on his face is glacial. GaeIn tries to stand her ground. She informs ChangYul that her relationship with JinHo has nothing to do with him, but he takes her by the shoulders and arrogantly proclaims, “I know you, this is all because you can’t let go of your feelings for me—!”

JinHo has heard enough and barks, “Han ChangYul!” He steps in between them and forcibly shoves ChangYul away from GaeIn, breaking their physical connection. JinHo warns him to keep away from GaeIn. “You stay out of it,” ChangYul hisses, “this is between GaeIn and me.” JinHo replies, “There’s no such thing; there is nothing between you and this woman anymore.” JinHo pauses, and asks, “Isn’t that right, GaeIn-sshi?” She looks conflicted. JinHo doesn’t bother waiting for an answer. He slides his hand into GaeIn’s and pulls her away. She lets herself be swept away. ChangYul stares after them.

Out of earshot, GaeIn thanks JinHo for jumping in the way he did and also for pretending to be her man. She tells him it felt really good, probably even better than giving him a beating might have felt. JinHo realizes what he has done. He looks at her, startled, as his actions had actually been in sincerity, not pretending anything. Furthermore, he realizes their hands are still joined. They both looked down at their intertwined fingers and quickly pull them apart. The close up of both their twitching fingers shows us that the tingling electricity of attraction had been mutually felt. They stand awkwardly for a while before JinHo breaks the unfamiliar mood. He asserts that his actions weren’t a big deal, as it was done in consideration for a friend. The stress on friend definite. He explains this in a voice full of forced casualness. Missing his stiff tone altogether, she smiles gratefully at him. 

“Let’s go,” he says, but his face is aloof now. Upset. He turns his back on her and walks ahead.

Back in the main hall, Director Choi is speaking to the guests: “All of you gathered here today are individuals who build houses. What does a house mean for people? It is in a house that we eat meals and sleep. It is where we have kids and raise those kids. And it is there that we also dream. Art, too, is about dreaming. It is in search of that dream that MS Group has created the Dam Art Gallery. I ask all of you to help us further this dream.” 

As everyone applauds the speech, ChangYul can’t take his gaze off of JinHo, who is standing beside GaeIn.

When the applause quiets, GaeIn sighs wistfully, “Those sound like my father’s words.” JinHo looks at her, very interested. She tells him that for her father, Sangojae represents a small corner of the world he dreamed of for his wife and child, where they can dream themselves. “That’s why I feel as I’ve failed my father, because to him, it must seem as if I live my life without any dreams at all.” JinHo looks at her profile, thinking about her words, thinking about Sangojae. About fathers. The dreams of parents for their children.

And about the Dam Art Gallery bid.

Later that night, by himself, he thinks about Director Choi’s speech: All of you gathered here today are individuals who build houses. What does a house mean for people? It is in a house that we eat meals and sleep. It is where we have kids and raise those kids. And it is there that we also dream. Art, too, is about dreaming. It is dark and JinHo is nursing a beer in the courtyard of Sangojae. He can’t help but also think on GaeIn’s words about what Sangojae meant to Professor Park. A small world, a place that was a dream built around

When GaeIn comes out of her room in pain, holding her lower stomach (most notably with a new look: straight hair!), JinHo wants to know why she’s not asleep yet. GaeIn says she’s looking for some painkillers. The extent of her pain concerns him. He wants to take her to the hospital; she thinks that’s unnecessary, she just needs to bear it. He’s annoyed, “Then we should have stopped to get some drugs on the way home.” She counters that it was late and the stores were already closed. Besides, she thought she’d already had some at the house. He’s worried, “Is there anything I can do for you?” She tells him to just go to sleep himself.

Of course, he does not go to sleep. He does some research on muscle aches on the internet and prepares some ginger tea for her to warm her body and loosen the tension. She’s grateful and touched at his effort. She tells him that it’s a nice feeling to have a guy friend who can help when she’s sick with even female ailments. “Must be just dandy for you,” he says drily, unimpressed by her gratitude when he’s still concerned about her pain.

Despite his tea, she remains in pain. The natural remedy did not help much. He is pacing outside her door and asks her if she’s feeling better through the door. She tells him to just go to bed as she’ll just get medicine tomorrow when the stores open. But the sight of her inability to sleep because of the pain and her struggle to bear it upsets him too much. He decides to run home in the middle of the night to get her medicine. As he’s fastening his seat belt, he mutters, “I can’t believe all the things I have to do because of that person.”

At his house, HyeMi is balling her eyes out after the night’s events. JinHo’s mother is trying to calm her down. She speculates logically, “If there really is a woman he is dating, don’t you think he would have introduced her to me?” In a moment of perfect (or perhaps bad) timing, JinHo walks in. He explains to both women that it was a work-related date. HyeMi still doesn’t like that another woman had been standing by his side. That is her rightful place. He ignores her clinging attention and asks for some painkillers because he has a headache. HyeMi concludes JinHo’s head must hurt because he was worried about her, to which he vaguely agrees just to stave off another weeping fit. He wants to quickly get what he came for and leave.

With the medicine in hand, he rushes back to Sangojae. When he opens the door to her bedroom, GaeIn is not on her bed. “Why are you on the floor?” he demands, worried. She replies that she thought it seemed warmer on the ground. He tells her to take the medicine he’s brought. “Where did you get this at this hour?” At his answer, she’s even more confused. “From home? Why are you living here if you have your own home?” He lies (again), “You see…the house is too far from work so...” She looks at him, wide eyed. She asks quietly, “Your home is that far away and…you went all the way there tonight…for me?” Without any warning, she throws her arms around him and hugs him fiercely. JinHo can barely contain his shock. “I love you!” she cries. He’s even more stunned. And speechless. She repeats, “I love you, friend.” He untangles himself from her arms. “Just take the medicine and go to sleep!” he orders roughly and tries to make a quick, desperate getaway. But she grabs onto his legs and clings on. He looks like a skittish rabbit, anxious and panicked. She tells him, “Friend, can I ask for a favor?”

He’s sitting on the edge of her bed…rubbing her stomach. He’s muttering to himself, “What am I doing…?” A question that is almost habit now when it concerns GaeIn. She tells him that whenever she suffered from cramps, as she was often prone to severe attacks, InHee would rub her belly this way while murmuring, “Mother’s soothing touch cures baby’s upset stomach.”* GaeIn says that even though she wants to hate InHee, she can’t forget the kind things InHee had also done. There had also been goodness in their time together, not just betrayal.

Looking off into the distance, not at GaeIn, JinHo starts to murmur gently, “Father’s soothing touch cures baby’s upset stomach.” A tear slips down her face. Her voice breaking, GaeIn says quietly, “Thank you…very much. My father has never once done this for me. To me, JinHo-sshi, you are like a friend and a father.” JinHo’s gaze seems both resigned and sad, and completely lost. He looks down at her and their eyes lock. He places a comforting hand on her shoulder.

*Literally: Mother’s hand is medicine, baby’s stomach is full of poop.

Next day, YoungSun and son come visiting only to find JinHo and GaeIn cuddled in bed together. GaeIn’s arm is casually draped over JinHo’s shoulders. “Mom, did Aunt GaeIn get married?” her son wants to know. Surprised, YoungSun calls for them to wake up. JinHo is first to realize where he is sleeping and jolts out of bed.

In the bathroom, he is once again gazing into his reflection and trying to come to terms with his own inexplicable actions of late. YoungSun’s son opens the bathroom door and interrupts to ask when JinHo has married his Aunt GaeIn. “It’s not like that,” he tells the little boy. The smart kid counteroffers, “Then why are you two sleeping together?” JinHo scowls, “You, go, go! Get out.”

“Even if he’s gay, sleeping together like that is a little…don’t you think?” YoungSun is asking. GaeIn says JinHo saved her life last night and even soothed her belly by rubbing it. “He must have fallen asleep while doing that,” she says. Remembering JinHo’s wonderfully sweet gesture of taking a long, late-night drive home just to get her medicine, GaeIn says, “I think he’s a really great person.” YoungSun is envious. In fact, she wants to know what it felt like to sleep next to him. “Really comfortable,” GaeIn says thoughtfully. “It’s interesting how comfortable I felt. I imagine that’s how it might feel to sleep next to a father. I’ve never experienced that with my father, you know.” YoungSun is super jealous. She really thinks GaeIn must have saved a nation to be blessed such amazing good fortune as something/someone as great as JinHo. “Oh,” GaeIn realizes she hadn’t asked, “but why are you over here so early in the morning?”

Turns out, YoungSun came over to recruit JinHo for some modeling. Naturally, he’s resistant, as he has never done such a thing before. But YoungSun will not give up. Since JinHo is GaeIn’s friend, why can’t he be a friend to her, too?  Since it’s Sunday and his schedule is free, YoungSun decides to put on a show. She lays on him some over-dramatics about her poor, hard life trying to support her overly large extended family through a mere online shopping site. JinHo’s undeniable goodness can’t say no to her desperate begging, especially when YoungSun’s son proclaims, “Ahjussi, I hate you!” JinHo can’t believe this is how he’s going to end up spending his Sunday. He says in surrender, “What do I need to do?”

At the photo shoot at a picturesque park by a lake, GaeIn, JinHo and YoungSun’s son must pretend they are a nuclear family. That is the concept for the day. JinHo is especially bad at modeling. His facial expressions are forced and awkward. “What kind of expressions are those?” YoungSun wants to know. “You look more like a man eating crap, not a man who is happy. Come on, give me an expression that says ‘I’m so crazy happy’!” When JinHo crinkles his face again, she comments, “JinHo-sshi, that is not the face of a happy person. Try to look at GaeIn with some love, okay?” JinHo shoots GaeIn a disgruntled glance as the icy wind blows in his face. YoungSun tries to get him into the mood, “GaeIn is your wife. You’ve dated for over 10 years! You even have a cute rabbit-like kid! You’re so frickin’ happy you’re about to go completely nuts!” JinHo barely manages a thin smile. At GaeIn’s suggestion that JinHo can’t fake that kind of a lovely-dovey expression for a woman, YoungSun suggests imagining SangJoon in GaeIn’s stead. JinHo’s face is even more unpleasant as he imagines SangJoon’s face swirling around him.

The photo shoot then moves indoors. They’re in a studio now and all three models have been costumed in matching sweatshirts. “You’re really a family now,” YoungSun directs. When one of the shots requires JinHo to kiss GaeIn on one cheek while YoungSun’s son pecks the other side, JinHo is aghast. YoungSun explains, “Father and son kiss their mother’s cheeks!” At the direction to kiss, JinHo grumbles, “This is insane.”

GaeIn is an obedient model and smiles widely at the camera as JinHo kisses her on the cheek. After the kiss, JinHo looks unsettled. The confusion registered on his face is one of a man who doesn’t understand what he’s feeling. His discomfort goes beyond just the awkwardness of modeling. He’s felt a stirring of something at the physical contact and he can’t completely hide his reaction. He’s not sure he likes it, this new sensation; it makes no sense to him and it is unexpected.

Next GaeIn is ordered to sit on JinHo’s lap. His discomfort level rises exponentially and it is written all over his face. His blinking is furious, as he often does this when he’s nervous. “What?!” JinHo yelps when YoungSun says it is GaeIn’s turn to kiss JinHo on the cheek. JinHo involuntarily puts his hand between himself and GaeIn to ward her lips away from his face. She brushes the gesture aside. When GaeIn’s lips touch his cheek, his expression becomes even more rigid. GaeIn also tenses up. This time, she has also felt something. All their forced skinship (read: physical intimacy) has created too much self-conscious awareness between the two and it becomes too uncomfortable for both involved. JinHo and GaeIn tell YoungSun that the photo shoot is over.

The roll of film captures what the eye might have missed, the awkwardness that speaks of their growing feelings for one another:

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