KDRAMAGUK : Korean Drama Soup

a landing site for quick, completely biased, and totally snarky korean drama reviews


Saturday, August 28, 2010

REWATCH: Personal Taste - Ep 9 - Part 1 of 2

When the heart is right, why do we still turn left?
At M Architecture’s office, JinHo is still conspicuously AWOL after dashing out of the office in an unexplained rush earlier in the day. TaeHoon and SangJoon are left scratching their heads, wondering where he’s hiding. They marvel at this uncharacteristic behavior. The Jeon JinHo they know isn’t the sort to run off in the middle of the work day and miss out on scheduled meetings…and he always answers his cell phone. “What if something’s really wrong?” SangJoon wonders anxiously, “running out of the office like that…and now we can’t even get a hold of him.” His peers, specifically the love line savvy TaeHoon, wonders if it could be woman troubles. After all, when a guy starts acting out of character, it’s usually because of a girl! Ah, truer words have never been spoken. 

Speaking of troublesome girls, at that precise moment, InHee walks through their door. Since JinHo is out, she’s offered tea while she waits for the return of the boss.

Hitching that unwanted ride from ChangYul from the hospital, GaeIn listens as ChangYul accepts a call from his skunk-weasel father. When she overhears her name so casually mentioned, she ventures, “Your father knows who I am?” ChangYul hedges and throws her yet another lie, “He saw you at the wedding, remember?” To GaeIn’s credit, she doesn’t yell, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” She accepts it; doesn’t share that ChangYul’s father had come to visit her, imploring her to give his son a second chance. She recalls what Mr. Skunk Weasel said, that his son had been foolish, after all, the daughter of a famous architect would be such an excellent catch for their family! GaeIn sits in the car quietly stewing at the memory.

Elsewhere, InHee has lured SangJoon out to a bar to get him blasted on drinks. Since SangJoon has already demonstrated to be susceptible to flattery, most especially by pretty girls, it’s no wonder he’s drunk as a skunk in no time at all and oblivious to InHee’s true intentions. “But,” she begins coyly after getting him sufficiently slurred, “Can I ask you one thing?” SangJoon warbles, “Then…bite me here on my neck!” The Korean word for “ask” and “bite” are sonically similar. SangJoon giggles drunkenly and apologizes for the provacative comment. She’s completely sober and brushes off the light-hearted pick-up line and gets to the point: is JinHo dating anyone? SangJoon considers the question and realizes InHee is interested in JinHo. He actually thinks the two attractive young professionals would be perfect for one another. InHee says thoughtfully, “But it seems JinHo doesn’t have any interest in women…” SangJoon, liquored up and loose-lipped, tsks that notion, “Hey, now, are there really men that aren’t interested in women? He may not seem like it, but JinHo’s a real man!” SangJoon spills that JinHo being gay is a misunderstanding. InHee clarifies for both of them, “So JinHo is a man who can fall in love with a woman?” InHee all but sparkles in delight at the welcome news.

Outside Sangojae, ChangYul is trying to get an invitation past the threshold. GaeIn thinks it’s absurd that ChangYul presumes so much, even if it is out of concern. She’s not that desperate for a caretaker. “I’ll just stay until you fall asleep,” ChangYul assures. When she still refuses, reminding him how long it took for him to receive an invitation when they first dated, ChangYul is surprised, “You mean I have to repeat all those initial steps all over again?” GaeIn replies flatly, “It may even take longer this time.” ChangYul readily accepts the punishment, however, although he’s clearly disappointed. He comments on how different GaeIn seems nowadays. Dryly, GaeIn awards all the credit, aka blame, to ChangYul. It was because of him, she explains, that she realized she has not lived her life with any self-respect. ChangYul returns a a variation of the comment back: he promises her that he will also change, but instead of loving himself more, he will love himself less and love GaeIn more. He will become a better man, one worthy of her. Again, it must take all of GaeIn’s self control not to roll her eyes. Their day together finally ends when ChangYul gets chased away by YoungSun who has come to check up on GaeIn after hearing of the accident. Understandably, she wants to know why the hell ChangYul is at Sangojae’s door. The great best friend that she is, there’s no forgiveness in her for the jerk that tore out her friend’s heart. Just as it should be!

Later into the same night, JinHo is back at his office. He’s depressed and replaying the day’s events over in his bothered mind, specifically the cozy scene between GaeIn and ChangYul at the hospital. When his phone starts buzzing, he checks the caller ID and can’t hide his wearinesslandlord

Bracing himself, his answers dully, “Yes?” On the other side of the call, GaeIn puts on a brave voice and semi-cheerfully asks, “JinHo-sshi, why is it so difficult to get a hold of you on the phone?” A bit coldly, playing dumb, he asks, “Did something happen?” GaeIn carefully ignores his aloof tone and offers him details on her accident at the lumber yard. She ventures that he must have been very shocked when their call was cut off so abruptly. She tells him that she even fainted! JinHo’s voice is distant, “So?” The icy response startles her into momentary silence. Not exactly the reaction she’d expected from someone who’d always been so caring of her health in the past...and definitely a strange response from a friend. JinHo wants to push her away, make her upset, but GaeIn is too nice a person to take obvious offense from his rudeness. Determined to stay positive, all she can manage is a hesitant, “I wasn’t badly hurt…JinHo-sshi...don’t worry...” but she can’t resist asking, “Did something happen? Your voice sounds a little strange.” JinHo denies that anything is wrong but the awkwardness between them seems only heightened because of the late hour, because the silences are stretched through the phone. But this is JinHo, someone GaeIn cares enough to afford some leniency, so she brushes her own mildly hurt feelings aside and brightly asks when he’ll be home. “I’m working late at the office, so don’t wait up,” he tells her curtly before hanging up.

On GaeIn’s side, she continues eating her dinner after hanging up with JinHo. YoungSun wants to know what JinHo said. When GaeIn explains that JinHo is working late and won’t be home until much later, YoungSun aptly thinks that’s a bit heartless. She can’t believe he doesn’t even seem to care that GaeIn was hurt. These are, of course, GaeIn’s thoughts exactly but she doesn’t want YoungSun thinking so badly of JinHo (always trying to protect him, even from harmful words!), not to mention it probably doesn’t feel so pleasant to think she means so little to him. It’s easier to believe that he’s only distracted by work than realize he doesn’t care whether or not she’s hurt. So GaeIn lies, “Of course he was very sorry, but he has too much work to do.” YoungSun mutters, “Well, that’s true, too, why would you be more important to him than his work?” 

To make her feel better, YoungSun offers to get more food for her, but GaeIn refuses, “No. From now on, I’m going to be the type of woman that makes a man hot and bothered.” GaeIn refusing food? YoungSun suspiciously concludes that this new side of GaeIn must have something to do with ChangYul. GaeIn tells her friend not worry, she’s a changed woman now. “Besides,” GaeIn mumbles, “if I don’t do at least this much, I don’t think I’ll be able to bear it.” YoungSun is even more confused: “Bear what? You won’t be able to bear what?” But GaeIn doesn’t answer, her expression resolute. A while later, after YoungSun has left, GaeIn allows herself a bit of a pity party. “No matter how busy he is, a friend was hurt. How could he not come home?” Later in bed, she continues to think about JinHo’s behavior. GaeIn tosses and turns in dissatisfaction. “Why’s JinHo like that?” She interrogates her Stuffed Animal JinHo, “You know the answer, don’t you? You know, don’t you?”

Fresh off the drunken revelations revealed to her by SangJoon, InHee places a call to JinHo. She fabricates an elaborate story about a break-in at her place, going so far as breaking her own furniture. When she cries fearfully that she has no one else to turn to but him, JinHo is compelled by his good-person-conscience to go over. As soon as he arrives, she shocks him with a clutching bear hug. “I couldn’t call ChangYul…and it was too disgraceful to contact GaeIn. You’re the only one that came to mind.” She’s playing the damsel-in-distress card. JinHo is sympathetic, but clearly, not completely moved by her display of feminine weakness. She’s manipulative, and he knows it. While he does not suspect that she’s lying, he’s wary. 

After helping her clean up the trashed condo, JinHo tries to make an exit but InHee claims that she’s too scared to stay there by herself. JinHo counters that a man spending the night where a woman lives by herself seems a little inappropriate. InHee throws the gay trump card at JinHo and traps him with his own deception. “But that’s not something that’s an issue with someone like you, JinHo, is it? After all, you are always alone with GaeIn without any issues.” Then she says pointedly, “Or are you saying that it’s okay with GaeIn but not with me?” On the one hand, she’s accusing him of affording extra considerations for GaeIn and wanting to spend time with her regardless of propriety, but it’s also an attack on GaeIn’s supposed lack of appeal as a woman. She wants to comfirm whether or not GaeIn is viewed as a “woman” by JinHo. InHee wants to make it clear that it is she who presents a seductive danger to his comfort level, not mousy GaeIn. This is a classic case of being stuck between a rock and a hard place…and JinHo sighs in frustration knowing he’s going to end up staying the night. He can’t agree or disagree with InHee’s challenging accusations. After all, he’s too busy trying to deny and understand his own feelings for GaeIn.

JinHo ends up sitting stiffly on the sofa for the night. Some time during the night, InHee emerges from her bedroom in her flowing white satin nightgown. She implores him to rest comfortably in the guest room instead of torturing himself in the living room. JinHo becomes agitated. InHee likes that she makes him uncomfortable, takes it as an indication of his attraction to her. She’s very satisfied to learn that she was able to get under his skin by spending this innocent night together. But she’s misreading the signals and JinHo has had enough of her play and announces that he must leave. “You promised to stay the night,” she argues. “It’ll be light soon,” he points out before heading for door.

The next morning, GaeIn finds JinHo’s bed unslept in. Shes annoyed that JinHo hadn’t come home at all. She takes the opportunity to do some light snooping in his bedroom. 

Across town, JinHo is back at work and learns about SangJoon’s indiscretion while drinking with InHee, although he does not know the extent of SangJoon’s revealing. When the conversation turns back to Sangojae, JinHo gets fidgety. SangJoon wants to know if JinHo has taken any pictures of the place yet, if he’s made any effort, how about trying to at least find the blueprints to the house? SangJoon’s unspoken question: Come on, what are you even doing while living there!? Since it’s too early for our hero to own up to his true feelings and admit that he’s fallen for his landlord, JinHo settles for silence. Hes tired, not only from the previous night’s escapades with InHee but because of the lies he’s told GaeIn. Misinterpreting JinHo’s exhaustion as a result of frustration at his inability to study Sangojae at leisure because of GaeIn’s presence, SangJoon suggests, “If you take GaeIn out, I can sneak in and take some pictures.” JinHo replies, “Do we really have to take it that far?” SangJoon says they’ve hit rock bottom, there isn’t anything they couldn’t do at this point!

When JinHo continues to hesitate on the sneaky snooping idea, SangJoon sniffs something odd about his boss’ mood. “Is this because of GaeIn-sshi? Wait a sec, by any chance…you’re not…interested in GaeIn in another way, are you? No way…are you?” JinHo doesn’t answer and SangJoon can’t quite decipher the expression on JinHo’s face. But before SangJoon can investigate further, TaeHoon announces an unexpected visitor: GaeIn. Speaking of the devil! When JinHo isn’t looking, GaeIn shoots him a narrowed glare, but offers him a falsely sweet smile when he looks up at her. JinHo meets her gaze impassively.

They step outside to talk privately. She’s brought him some clean clothes (including underwear!). She suspected that a neat freak like JinHo would be uncomfortable wearing the same thing two days in a row. “What…you went through my drawers?” he asks immediately. She brushes his concern off, going through closets and handling underclothes is nothing between friends, after all. Nothing to be embarrassed about at all! When he starts to grumble, she chides him for his lack of gratitude and hands back a piece of advice he’d offered her earlier in their relationship: “Thank you. Times like this, you’re just supposed to say ‘thank you’ and let it be.” He studies her for a minute, then, somewhat unthankfully, mumurs, “Thank you.” 

She steps closer to him. “That’s guilt, right?” He narrows his eyes at her. “For what?” he challenges. Well, she explains, maybe because he has this good friend, the sort of good friend who even thinks to bring him clean clothes, but he can’t even be bothered to come home early when that friend gets hurt—that kind of guilt. Determined to stay closed off, JinHo denies feeling any guilt. She tries to convince him of her pain, but he simply counters that people like her who get into accidents on a daily basis aren’t ones to die so easily. GaeIn huffs in astounded disbelief, Whoa, seriously, aren’t you being a bit much?” She doesn’t understand why he has to be so cold, how hard is it to tell her that he was worried but couldn’t do anything about it because of work? What’s so hard about common decency? When she points this out, JinHo attacks matter-of-factly, “And why do you need me to worry about you?” He reminds her of The Revenge. He reminds her to keep her focus on ChangYul and don’t mind him. Then he dismisses her, saying he has work to do. GaeIn sighs in pity and concludes, I guess there really is nothing else that matters to you besides work.” JinHo is visibly shattered by that observation, although he does an admirable job of hiding his reaction and keeps his mask in place. He agrees flatly, “Yes. Nothing else.” As she walks away, it’s plain as day that JinHo is hating himself at that moment.

At work building children’s furniture in the gallery, GaeIn is still bitter from that morning’s exchange with JinHo. She titters to herself about JinHo’s lack of interest in her welfare when Director Choi drops by for a surprise visit. They decide to share some morning coffee, GaeIn’s treat. After a sip, Director Choi cheerfully marvels at its deliciousness. GaeIn jokes, “Free is the best flavor, isn’t it?” They enjoy the camaraderie. Seemingly out of nowhere, Director Choi comments, “Do you know the best thing about unrequited love?” GaeIn half-jokes, “It doesn’t cost any money, don’t you think?” They both play a game listing the many benefits of loving someone from afar and in secret: cheap, freeing, no obligations, no expectations, happy just to see them. GaeIn sobers, “And...I can stop…whenever I want…since I’ll only be hurting myself.” Director Choi jokes lightly, “It seems you have more experience in the unrequited love department than I do.” GaeIn laughs in agreement, “That’s my specialty.” They’re both crushing on the the same man, although neither of them realize it. 

At Director Choi’s interest in her crush, GaeIn admits she’s not sure of the exact definition of her feelings for this person, but she doesn’t want to burden the object of her affections, so she’s keeping it to herself. She admits that she’s been trying to keep herself occupied elsewhere while she comes to grips with her troublesome feelings for this person. When Director Choi admits that he is also suffering from a one-sided love, she’s sympathetic and tells him to keep the hope, as it may not be that the other person doesn’t care, but only a matter of bad timing. 

“Thank you, Unrequited Love sunbae-nim,” Director Choi says. 
She laughs, “Fighting, Unrequited Love hoobae-nim!”

In another part of the art gallery, JinHo has just arrived for a meeting with the director, only to bump into InHee first. Unfortunately, GaeIn is passing by around the corner and overhears their discussion about the previous night’s events. “I worried all day if your work would be affected because of me,” InHee coos in concern. When InHee tries to secure a date with him after his meeting with the director, JinHo merely bows and moves past her. GaeIn realizes that JinHo has lied to her. He hadn’t been working the night before but had spent it secretly with InHee. Considering InHee has secretly stolen someone important from her before, GaeIn’s mood sinks as she suspects the worst.

GaeIn may be worrying about JinHo, but ChangYul and his father are focused on her. They pow wow on how to bring her into their family. Mr. Weasel Father wants his son to step up his game as they’re running out of time. Hurry up and nab her, no matter what it takes! According to Weasel Father, women are a dime a dozen and all that’s required to secure their hearts is some properly laid manipulation and management. This infuriates ChangYul since hes determined to court GaeIn properly this second time around. When his father lets it slip that he has visited GaeIn and made mention of GaeIn’s famous father, ChangYul realizes that his own sincere efforts to win GaeIn’ heart had taken another large step backwards.

In their meeting, Director Choi is trying to find a more familiar and friendly ground with JinHo, rather successfully, in fact. He asks if it would be alright if he called on JinHo once in a while, to be a friend he can laugh with when he gets bored. That way he can feel less like an outcast. JinHo kindly and genuinely accepts the offered branch of friendship. 

Downstairs, a similar outreach is happening, but with red roses. ChangYul has shown up with flowers for GaeIn. “Thinking back, I realized I’ve never bought you flowers,” he says shyly. GaeIn is startled, even a little touched, but before she can respond, InHee and JinHo walk into their periphery. InHee is quick to draw GaeIn’s attention to the fact that she’s the one by JinHo’s side now while GaeIn is back with ChangYul. “Congratulations,” InHee says cheerfully. “Isn’t this what you’ve always dreamed of?” she calls out brightly. She is, of course, referring to ChangYul’s suddenly ardent devotion to GaeIn. “I guess now that I’ve removed myself from the picture, things have worked out for you,” she concludes cattily. It’s another of InHee’s clever backhanded compliments, her insinuation here being that GaeIn is ChangYul’s second choice. JinHo stands behind InHee, his eyes on ChangYul and GaeIn. His expression is stone.

JinHo and InHee have dinner together. InHee wants to repay JinHo for his kindness the night before. At the restaurant, InHee doesn’t realize she’s being counter-productive to her own goal and incessantly chatters about GaeIn’s renewed love with ChangYul. JinHo is so tense he looks as if he might splinter apart from within. As he listens to InHee gush over GaeIn’s newfound glow, all due to ChangYul’s love, his expression turns from stone to granite. The more InHee talks about the other couple, the farther JinHo’s mind wanders away from their dinner date. He can’t concentrate on the conversation as he keeps imagining GaeIn accepting ChangYul’s flowers. He’s wondering what part of the act is revenge and what part of her could really be accepting ChangYul’s heart in sincerity. ChangYul was, after all, GaeIn’s first love. Finally sensing that JinHo was not going to cooperate with her seduction, InHee decides to fall back on luring him with sympathy and makes a dramatic show of taking medication for her “shock” from her “robbery.” In fact, she says, she’s still afraid of going home, worried about being home alone. She wants JinHo to stay the night again.

Ever the nice guy, JinHo drives her home, checks her house to make sure it’s safe, then promptly tries to excuse himself. Since all of her more subtle female tricks have so far failed to snag his interest, she goes for the more direct approach and plants her mouth on him. “What do you think you’re doing!?” he demands angrily, shoving her away. InHee hisses, “Is it women, or just me you don’t like?” JinHo snaps, “I really can’t seem to figure out why youre behaving this way, Kim InHee.” 

InHee, if nothing else, is one mega-determined vixen. She informs him that this is just the beginning of her interference into his life. She may have picked the wrong man the first time around, but she’s quite sure she’s got her sights on the right one this time. Because she knows JinHo is The One, she’s going to cling onto him at all costs. “You’ve picked the wrong guy,” he tells her coldly. As he walks away from her, she calls after him, “You’ll come to see we’re cut from the same mold. You and I, there’s nothing we won’t do to get what we want.” 

The look on JinHo’s face is one of disquiet---the heavy worry in his own heart that perhaps InHee...isn’t completely wrong about him.

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the recap!!! love director choi in this ep!!


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