Drama Recaps
Personal Taste: Episode 7
by | April 24, 2010 | 124 Comments

This was it! This was the episode that made me love Personal Taste. All of a sudden it went from merely entertaining to heart-tugging, and I credit the great performances. I love Kae-in, I love Jin-ho, I love Sang-jun and Young-sun, I love Do-bin, I love to hate In-hee — pretty solid lineup, really. The directing and editing (this drama’s biggest weaknesses) were better in this episode and the music cues used in less obtrusive ways. But most of all, it was emotionally sincere.

SONG OF THE DAY

Bubble Sisters – “가시리” (Thorn) [ Download ]

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EPISODE 7 RECAP

As this episode (titled “Coming Out”) opens, Jin-ho is drunk and presumably lost in the moment, but Kae-in looks pained even as she’s kissing him. The next morning, she worries over what this means. Can he be interested in women? Specifically, her?

Jin-ho doesn’t betray any recollection of the night before and says that he was pretty drunk — he didn’t make a mistake, did he?

Arg — it’s a common phrase, but SO open to ambiguity! Example: In this case of a drunk guy kissing a girl, he might really mean, “Do you think what I did was a mistake? Or did you like it?” Or he might mean, “I can’t remember and I really hope you’re not mad!” By answering no, the girl might be saying, “No, I was happy with the kiss!” or she could be saying, “I don’t want to make you feel bad so I’ll say it didn’t happen and let’s let this go.” But nobody knows what anyone really means and everyone ends up dissatisfied. Most of all the viewer.

Kae-in tries the trick of saying that she had lent him 50,000 won, to see if he will protest. But Jin-ho can’t betray that he knows the truth and immediately reaches for his wallet, so she assures him that it was just a joke. Somberly, he says, “If I made a mistake, please forgive me.”

Disappointment plays across her face while she has her back turned to him, but she forces a smile upon facing him. She says lightly that it’s nothing, but once alone, she chides herself for confusing the moment for something it wasn’t.

Jin-ho decides to move out, now that he’s been cut out of the Dahm Museum project and has no reason to stay at the Sanggojae. It’s time for the firm to move on to new projects.

In case In-hee wasn’t hateable enough, at work she treats Kae-in coldly and even dares to admonish her for not addressing her more politely at work. She even calls Jin-ho while Kae-in is still in the room — talking in dulcet tones as though they’re closer than they are. On the other end of the line, Jin-ho is businesslike as ever, but Kae-in doesn’t know that. She listens to In-hee offer to buy him a drink as a pick-me-up for his recent setback.

Kae-in asks what that means, so In-hee tells her about Jin-ho losing his chance at the Dahm project, saying it in an accusatory tone like she’s a bad friend for not knowing. Dude, it’s not like she’s not a bad friend for backstabbing and cheating. In-hee accuses, “You’re always like this. You act nice, but in the end you only see what you want to see.”

The words make Kae-in feel guilty, but she isn’t the type to wallow in the sulks so she sets out to cheer herself and Jin-ho up. For one, she sees a doll in a store window and buys it, thinking it looks like Jin-ho. It sounds like she names the doll Jin-ho, but I’m going to guess that it’s actually Ji-no per the book. Making that slight name alteration is a playful gesture, like Kang Ji-hwan naming his dog Noki after Yi-nok.

Kae-in cooks dinner, then gives Jin-ho a pep talk to cheer up. Jin-ho, thinking of moving out, starts to give her general advice, which has the ring of a goodbye speech. Kae-in says that thinking of him leaving has ruined her appetite, and he tells her sharply to fix that sort of behavior, as she gets attached too easily. Jin-ho suggests one “last test” tomorrow, to see if she’s learned from his lessons. He’ll pretend to be her boyfriend to test her.

Stepping outside to take out the trash, Kae-in finds Chang-ryul drunk on the doorstep. He hadn’t intended to come here, but he wanted someone to talk to now that he has nobody to listen. Yeah, that’s what happens when you cheat and lie and alienate people.

Chang-ryul is genuinely heartbroken and confesses that his mother is moving to Africa. She couldn’t attend his wedding because of his father, and now her only wish is to cook a meal for her son and his wife (she doesn’t know about the breakup) before she leaves. This may be the last time he ever sees her, because in his mind there are no such things as planes, emails, or gchat. Yo, it’s called a webcam.

Kae-in reminds him that In-hee should be the one listening to this. He tells her that In-hee only liked the Chang-ryul of Kae-in’s fantasy, and “I was my best only when I was with you.” Okay, that is an unexpectedly sad tidbit that turns Chang-ryul into a rather pathetic character. Not likable, but sympathetic.

Overhearing the voices from inside, Jin-ho listens with a grave face as Chang-ryul asks a big favor of Kae-in (which we don’t hear). Chang-ryul acknowledges that it’s a crazy request and apologizes, but he’s desperate.

Kae-in tells Chang-ryul that he’s a real piece of work. How can he asks this of her? But she can’t remain indifferent when he cries that she is actually his biological mother, not just one of a string of brief stepmothers. The official story is that she died, but that was just because Chang-ryul’s father is a horrible person.

Back inside, Kae-in asks Jin-ho if they can push back their fake date, lying that she has to help her friend who has just had a baby. Jin-ho knows that she’s lying, and because he feels upset that she has succumbed to Chang-ryul’s demands again, his answers come out cold.

Kae-in feels hurt at his response, even though she tells her doll that she understands that it’s because his work is not going well. Still, can’t he get angry like a normal person, instead of taking it out on her?

Kae-in apologizes again for breaking the date. Seeing that Jin-ho is headed out for a drive, she asks if she can tag along.

As they drive, Kae-in shouts out the window, explaining to Jin-ho that his problem is that he holds everything inside, which is bound to make him sick. He should let it all out, like her. He attempts a pititful “Ya,” and she urges him to try again, a li’l bit louder now. He tries a second time, letting out a respectable “YAH!” Getting into the spirit of things, he adds, “You’re all dead!”

They end up at the river, and as girlfriday has so succinctly noted, nothing good ever happens at the river. It’s practically drama shorthand for Big Important Conversations, either of the heartbreaking or the gangster variety.

Kae-in suggests that Jin-ho do the last test here, because she feels ready. Jin-ho says seriously, “Don’t like me, because I don’t love you.” Kae-in deflates, until it occurs to her that this is his test, which is a relief. Jin-ho continues with the scenario, acting the part of a fictitious boyfriend who is trying to dump her and doesn’t deserve her compassion. (Her “test” is to respond to his breakup with dignity.)

Jin-ho says that he only dated her because she reminds him of an ex-girlfriend he can’t forget. If they keep dating, he may accidentally call her by the ex’s name, and he may even start wanting her to act like the ex. Is she still okay being with him despite that?

Kae-in thinks it over and answers slowly, “Because I love you, and we should all listen to the ones we love…”

Frustrated, Jin-ho grabs her — is this what he taught her? She’s being foolish again, giving the guy too much license to abuse her trust. Kae-in says that the words just came out automatically in response to his earnestness.

Obviously this is a mixed-up, conflicting scene for them; both are having trouble telling the difference between the fake scenario and their real feelings. Kae-in asks what she ought to have answered, because love is about putting aside your pride, isn’t it? Jin-ho contradicts her: love doesn’t make you lose pride, it helps you preserve it. He urges her not to trust anyone easily, or to love easily, or to forgive easily. It’s like he’s preparing her to shun him.

She promises to try, but Jin-ho thinks to himself, “Then you shouldn’t have agreed to that jerk Chang-ryul’s request. You’ll never change.”

Jin-ho drops Kae-in off at home, saying that he has something he has to do before going in. In actuality, he just needs to get out and to be alone.

He comes home with a rose, which he leaves outside her door, thinking, “Please, grow stronger.”

When Kae-in finds the rose in the morning Jin-ho cautions her to remember that roses have thorns, dashing our hopes that it had some other meaning. Now that’s just mean! Y’know, you could always snip the thorns off and then roses are romantic, Jin-ho!

Sang-jun and Young-sun: How much do I love thee?

Sang-jun’s voice goes up a couple notches when he answers her call in a fey tone: “Unni?” (This is particularly hilarious because the actor has a naturally baritone voice, and the way he switches back and forth is a hoot.) He has decided to put an end to this masquerade… but as soon as they meet, Young-sun presents him with skincare products like a doting older sister. Still, he grits his teeth and makes his confession — but then immediately rescinds it by saying it was a joke.

Young-sun has something to ask him, something she can’t quite ask Kae-in: “How am I as a woman?” Is she lacking appeal? No, of course not! She’s got a great figure and she’s totally attractive! Sang-jun heaps on the compliments, and Young-sun is duly flattered.

While I wouldn’t call these two co-dependent, they’ve found something comforting in this relationship, which allows them to play out these roles that make them happy. Of course, Sang-jun is faking his sexual orientation so I’m not going to call it completely healthy, but they’re enjoying this dynamic. Young-sun has somebody to take care of, and in exchange she has someone to buoy her spirits and assure her she’s wonderful. I love that this adds a tiny bit of subtlety to what could be played as simple comic relief.

Surprised at himself for chickening out of telling the truth, Sang-jun mutters to himself, “I think I’m addicted to the gay act.” (I would like a Sang-jun, please!)

Jin-ho comes home while Kae-in is getting ready to meet Chang-ryul. She invents a story about the fictional friend’s fictional baby, which Jin-ho recognizes as another lie.

You may have already guessed that Chang-ryul’s favor involves Kae-in posing as In-hee to meet his mother. Chang-ryul hasn’t had the heart (or the guts, or the spine) to tell his mother that In-hee dumped him, and wants to send her off happy.

At dinner, Kae-in(-hee) shovels food into her mouth, not saying anything. Not only does she not appreciate being used, she feels guilty for lying to Jin-ho. Chang-ryul urges her to speak up, but Kae-in mutters that he told her all she had to do was eat. When she steps aside to use the bathroom, she looks at herself in dissatisfaction and wonders what she’s doing.

Mom asks her son about the Dahm project, and Chang-ryul is actually bummed that his father stepped in to make it impossible for Jin-ho to participate. Mom considers that fortunate — she had worried that the bad blood in the parents’ generation would spill into the kids’ generation. Yeah, it’s so great that didn’t happen! Overhearing this conversation gives Kae-in the first indication of history between the families.

To cap off the evening, Mom presents Kae-in-hee with a brooch that she was given when she married.
Kae-in-hee wants to protest, but Mom pins it on her and she has to accept.

She hands it back to Chang-ryul when he drops her off at home. He tells her to keep it, since his mother gave it to her and the real In-hee has no right to it. Kae-in retorts that he can do whatever he pleases with it, but she isn’t keeping it.

Jin-ho is home when she enters, but before he has a chance to say anything, she beelines for the bathroom. After shoving food down her throat all night, it’s no surprise that she throws up. Jin-ho pats her back, although I think this is a case where holding back her hair might be more helpful, dude. Isn’t that what best girlfriends are for?

Still feeling ill, Kae-in asks Jin-ho to prick her finger (the traditional method of relieving indigestion). Jin-ho is squeamish and refuses to do it, but when Kae-in heads to the bathroom for a second vomiting spell, he agrees.

(To use this method, one typically massages the blood in the arm down to the fingertips, then wraps the thumb with thread to trap the blood. Using a sterilized needle, the skin just above the nailbed is pierced, letting out blood that is blackened, therefore freeing the circulation from the blockage causing the heartburn. It sounds like crazy voodoo stuff but it really works, and brings relief about a half-hour quicker than Tums.)

Jin-ho grasps the needle and braces himself, squeezing his eyes shut — eek, keep them OPEN when you’re thrusting a sharp pointy object into my person! — and stabs. Kae-in yelps, but it does the trick.

Thinking of the conversation she overheard, Kae-in asks whether his father knew Chang-ryul’s father. It turns out that Chang-ryul’s father was an employee of Mirae when Jin-ho’s father was running it, and had joined with a rival to steal away control of the company. This explains Jin-ho’s drunken, deprecating words from the night before.

Kae-in urges Jin-ho not to give up — that’s not like him. It’s too unfair to be forced to quit his project just because his opponents went behind his back like cowards to block him. In an effort to buoy his mood, she offers to cook for him to cheer him up, and although he declines the food, it’s the thought that counts more than the meal itself. (And when we’re talking about Kae-in’s cooking, that’s probably wise.)

In-hee had tipped Jin-ho off about Do-bin standing up to his father about the Dahm project bid, which gives him hope that all is not lost. Although he initially brushed this aside, now with Kae-in’s encouragement ringing in his ears, he reconsiders.

Using In-hee’s tip, he visits the villa where Do-bin has gone for some peace, joining him by the waterside where the latter is fishing. Do-bin knows he must be here because of the museum, but rather than jumping into business matters, Jin-ho soaks in the tranquil vibe and seems in no rush to press his case; he says that chatting with a friend seems like a better idea at the moment.

I find it interesting how he is here for the Dahm project, but he puts no pressure on Do-bin. The Mirae guys are throwing their weight around (and lots of money), trying to strong-arm their way in to getting what they want. Jin-ho, by contrast, is pretty much staking this last chance on his character.

In a thoughtful mood, the men sit and look out at the water. Do-bin asks Jin-ho if he has ever confessed love for someone. He’d only done it once before, with a hoobae (junior student) at university. Jin-ho has had a similar experience, but admits that he was the problem in the relationship — he had felt that love required him to DO so much. (This suggests that Jin-ho probably wasn’t in love, if he saw dating as a sum of activities.)

Do-bin had confessed his feelings to his crush, and for a brief while they were together. However, he felt that his love was “toxic,” and so he broke the relationship off first. The handkerchief that he lent Jin-ho is his only memento.

Jin-ho comments that the handkerchief was quite valuable for him to have lent it to him, and Do-bin supposes that it happened so that they could become friends. It’s a nice, understated scene between these two.

Back at home, Jin-ho feels content that he did as much as he possibly could. Looking up at the sky, he tells Kae-in that he’ll miss this sight of the sky from Sanggojae. She tells him, “Then you can live here for a long time.” But alas, dramatic irony says no!

Do-bin informs Kae-in about the possibility of him leaving his job, assuring her that her job is secure regardless of what happens to him. He is prepared to fight for his belief that the Dahm competition should be fair, and if things work out, he’ll stay. But if not, he’ll leave, and he’s telling her now in the event he doesn’t have a chance to later.

Kae-in finds his rueful tone worrisome, but there’s not much she can do. Without anything else to say, she calls out to him, “Fighting!”

Team Mirae (President Han, Chang-ryul, and the secretary) arrives at the museum to demand a briefing on the project. (He sure believes in being aggressive, doesn’t he?)

The men see Kae-in rushing out of the museum, curious about her business here. The secretary reports that Kae-in is in charge of designing the children’s lounge, and furthermore, she is Park Chul-han’s daughter. Immediately, Han kicks his son for being so foolish as to dump the legendary architect’s daughter.

I do love these comic misunderstandings, and we have another when Tae-hoon and Sang-jun show up to work wearing the same striped sweater. Sang-jun has swiped his from Jin-ho, while Tae-hoon has decided to copy Jin-ho in everything in order to win over Hye-mi. Both men want the other guy to change his shirt; Tae-hoon thinks he’s got a better claim to it, and insults Sang-jun for being too round for his.

Jin-ho has bigger things on his mind than his matching employees and broods in his office. Catching himself thinking back to the kiss, he wonders what’s wrong with him. Oh, I know, I know!

Meanwhile, Tae-hoon and Sang-jun’s argument results in coffee being spilled on Sang-jun. Ah, now the reason for this all becomes clear! Now Tae-hoon has even more reason to pressure Sang-jun to change shirts, and jokes, “Take it off, hyung!”

Kae-in arrives in time to see their incriminating pose, with Tae-hoon jokingly trying to pull the sweater off. Sang-jun immediately knows what Kae-in must be thinking and says, “This isn’t what it looks like” — and honestly, when have those words ever been used to describe something innocent?

Sang-jun tries to shut Kae-in up before she mentions The Gaaay, taking her to Jin-ho’s office. Laughing about her misunderstanding re: Tae-hoon, Sang-jun tells Jin-ho in a flirty tone, “You know you’re the only one for me, don’t you?”

Kae-in gives Sang-jun the evil eye for being disloyal to Jin-ho, who decides that enough is enough. Sending Sang-jun out, he explains to her, “I’ve never dated them, either one. You misunderstood from the beginning.” Kae-in doesn’t quite get what he’s saying, and he fumbles for words, adding, “I’m not actually g—”

Which, of course, is when Sang-jun bursts back in and interrupts. Jin-ho pushes him back out and tries to resume talking, but of course the moment is lost. Kae-in recalls the reason for her visit, and shares that Do-bin told her there’s a chance that things may work out for Jin-ho, because he’s going to fight. Jin-ho says she could have called, but she answers that she wanted to see him smile in person. Aw.

Han’s lackeys — Chang-ryul and the secretary — wait for Kae-in to return to the museum so they can see what she’s up to. To Chang-ryul’s surprise, she arrives with Jin-ho, and being the self-centered fool that he is, Chang-ryul decides that she must be hanging out with Jin-ho because of him — she’s doing it to get back at him.

By chance, Chang-ryul runs into an old friend, played by Julien Kang, which gives them a chance to speak some English (Julien is Canadian, Kim Ji-suk lived in England). They head inside for a chat, and Julien — er, I think his character’s name is Joe, though it hardly matters — explains that he’s here because he happens to be acquainted with Do-bin.

As Joe explains how he knew Do-bin, he reverts from Korean to English to make this delicate revelation: “Mr. Choi is… special.”

Jin-ho is here to return the handkerchief and to thank Do-bin for fighting on his behalf for the museum project, regardless of the outcome.

Do-bin muses, “Do you know, when I’m with you my mood improves,” which is a compliment that Jin-ho readily returns. Do-bin asks, “Then do you also know that I like you?” Jin-ho returns, “I like you, too.” But… they’re having two entirely different conversations here, if ya know what I mean.

Jin-ho means his words, but purely at face value. However, recall that Do-bin already believes Jin-ho is gay…

To keep us hanging for just a moment longer, we return to Chang-ryul, who prods Joe for a straight (snerk) answer. Joe does that maddening thing where he practically taunts, “YOU know… oh you don’t know?… maybe I shouldn’t tell… but do you want to know?” He may as well be a 16-year-old mean girl, the way he relishes this gossip. He says knowingly, “Well, he’ll never be able to fulfill his desire. What Mr. Choi likes is… a man.”

(This is cringey acting at its cringiest. The cheesy English dialogue certainly doesn’t help. Eek!)

We don’t hear the declaration directly from Do-bin, but we return to see Jin-ho’s stunned reaction. Do-bin confesses that he first started to feel something for him at the Dream Art Center presentation, and the moment he heard about Jin-ho’s “true nature,” he felt they shared a special connection.

Jin-ho stutters, unable to come up with a proper response. Do-bin continues, saying that he hadn’t thought to confess his feelings for someone again, but he believes that Jin-ho will understand how he feels, which is how he mustered the nerve to confess. Do-bin isn’t asking for an answer now; they can both take time to think.

(Ryu Seung-ryong is so good, because he makes you feel sorry for his hope, and it makes you hope that Jin-ho will somehow be able to escape without hurting his feelings. He’s really vulnerable in this moment, and he’s just basically given Jin-ho the means with which to hurt him…)

Speechless, Jin-ho walks out of the meeting with heavy steps. He’s not in the mood for drama when Chang-ryul confronts him, all puffed up with bravado now that he thinks he’s got the upper hand.

Jin-ho warns that this isn’t the time to mess with him, but Chang-ryul taunts, “The almighty Jeon Jin-ho wouldn’t possibly pretend to be gay to gain Director Choi’s interest, would he? I thought you said you wanted to fight with bare fists, fair and square, you punk.” His voice turns aggressive and Chang-ryul grabs Jin-ho’s shoulder, so Jin-ho lets fly a punch.

Chang-ryul takes this as confirmation, and says that he didn’t think Jin-ho would be so low to use Do-bin’s sexual orientation for his own gain. Jin-ho says he’s never used Do-bin, so Chang-ryul scoffs, “What, then? Are you dating? Why do you keep hanging around here?”

Alas, just at this moment Jin-ho sees Do-bin standing there, having heard everything. Chang-ryul continues to challenge Jin-ho — is he using Do-bin? Or is he really gay? What, is there no Door No. 3?

As if the moment weren’t fraught enough, a different angle reveals to us — but not to the men — that a fourth person has walked into this conversation. As Chang-ryul presses for Jin-ho’s explanation, two very curious, very vulnerable people await his answer, each hoping for a different response.

Jin-ho can tell the truth and hurt Do-bin — and also potentially make himself look like he was using him, as Chang-ryul accuses — or he can lie to preserve Do-bin’s feelings and give Chang-ryul more ammunition against himself. After struggling with himself for a long moment, Jin-ho answers, “You’re right. I’m… gay.”

Kae-in drops her materials in shock, which fall to the ground loudly. Jin-ho turns and sees her standing there, but what can he do? He hangs his head in chagrin.

Chang-ryul reacts to this with surprise but also glee, like he just can’t wait to rub this into Jin-ho’s face. He crows, “Really? So you weren’t really a man?” (This hammers in the point I mentioned in a previous recap about the Korean wording that pegs gay men as “not really men.”)

Sick of Chang-ryul’s douchey behavior, Kae-in bursts in to tell him to cut it out, and I love her in this moment. I think her expression (below) explains just why she’s such a good friend.

Do-bin quietly leaves as Kae-in challenges Chang-ryul, “Who are you to mock him? It’s not like he wanted to be born this way. So if a man loves a woman, he’s a man — but is he not a man if he loves another man? Are you a real man — is that why you tore my heart?”

Jin-ho tries to stop this argument, but he goes unheard. Finally, he yells for her to stop and angrily he walks off. Kae-in follows him out to the car, pleading with him to talk to her. Dully, he asks, “What about? I have nothing to say.” He gets in the car and leaves.

Chang-ryul accosts Kae-in to demand what her relationship is with Jin-ho. Why is she taking the side “of such a dirty bastard”? He sneers, “Are you dating a gay guy now?”

Just as In-hee comes along (unseen for the moment), Kae-in slaps him, demanding, “Dirty? What’s dirty? Why is Jin-ho dirty? Whether man or woman, a person loves a person. You’ve never truly loved anyone. Who are you to call him dirty?”

Her passionate response startles Chang-ryul, who says, “You weren’t even like this when I broke up with you.” Kae-in agrees that back then she couldn’t say a thing, stupid fool that she was. “But not anymore. Jin-ho must have changed me.”

And Jin-ho drives off feeling all sorts of frustrated, driving recklessly.

 
COMMENTS

What made this episode stand out was that the conflicts were played out from a place of emotional sincerity. We’ve had our gay-not-gay jokes and comic misunderstandings, all meant to elicit laughs. Now it’s time to get deeper into the messy conflict, and I appreciate that they treat this problem of Jin-ho’s mistaken identity with respect. How much do I love that the one actual gay guy in this drama is portrayed with such quiet dignity? There are no laughs made at his expense, and despite the fact that Do-bin’s misunderstanding is rife with comic potential, I like that they didn’t write him off as joke fodder.

Ryu Seung-ryong played his scenes with so much pathos that I felt myself moved along with him. Rather than exaggerating his misunderstanding, he cautiously puts his trust into Jin-ho’s hands — to be protected or shredded at his will — and I found myself hoping against hope that maybe Jin-ho could be gay after all, since Do-bin is lonely character. In fact, he’s rather tragic, in the way he is forced to live in isolation. It’s not that he is repressing his homosexuality or self-loathing, because one gets the sense he has accepted himself for who he is. However, Korean society is still generally unaccepting of gays, and therefore he has decided to live without romantic love. Now that he finds someone who makes him hope again, we feel sad to know that his hopes must at some point be dashed.

Furthermore, I love the way Lee Min-ho played Jin-ho’s struggle whether to say he is gay or not. It wasn’t about his own pride at all, nor was it about sticking it to Chang-ryul. Instead, he understood that he’d been given something fragile and held the power to break that or preserve it with his answer. When he “admits” that he is gay out of respect for Do-bin’s confession, it just about melted my heart. (If only he had seen Kae-in first! But then I fear he would have been so conflicted it woulda broken him, he’d be like the robot who self-destructs when presented with logical fallacy.) And then Kae-in hears this, and Jin-ho realizes he has closed the door to any possibility with her, whereupon she leaps to his defense. If it weren’t already in a gooey puddle on the floor, my heart would have then broken. And I love Sohn Ye-jin as Kae-in — she hits every note just right, whether it be a comic moment or a heartfelt one, but particularly the heartfelt ones. Her impassioned defense of Jin-ho is angry, hurt, loving, indignant, sorrowful, all at once.

The novel played these moments off as comedy bits, but the drama actually imbues them with heart and emotion. (I usually feel the opposite to be true when novels are adapted to the screen.)

Also: Isn’t it ironic that Kae-in finally gives Chang-ryul the answer he deserves, and it’s all because of Jin-ho — but not because of his “lessons”? She’s not asserting her own pride, but upset at his affront to Jin-ho’s.

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124 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. marbleloaf

    i have to agree…this was an epic episode! personal taste has always been fun and entertaining but this week’s episodes actually made me feel. thanks for the recap!

  2. theleenbean

    ah, <3

  3. starstrukk

    wooo! thanks for the recap. i love this show!!! it’s soooo awesome. i think that’s is really good. waiting for wednesday and thursday is getting really hard! thanks for your hard work!

  4. Ace

    Thanks for the recaps!
    I loved this episode as well – SYJ & LMH’s acting are really great here!
    Can’t wait for next week’s episode and your recaps for ep 8!

  5. estel

    If it weren’t already in a gooey puddle on the floor, my heart would have then broken. <– This is exactly how I felt at the end of this episode — seriously, it took me a couple tries to make it through the scene, because I was feeling so much for poor Jin-ho. I haven't been that impressed up to this point, but I have to applaud how they pulled this off, and I'm waiting with bated (not baited! kk) breath to see how they work out all the knots in this story without totally destroying someone.

    Thanks, as ever, for such an awesome recap, Javabeans! You truly are the definition of awesomeness.

  6. Choufy

    I was not that much into this drama but I’m SO glad that I sticked to it…
    The Do-bin & Jin-ho interaction is just awesome in this episode : from the time next to the river (even if I was like, wth with Do-bin’s hair?) to the time at the museum.
    What I could feel was Jin-ho’s earnest care for Do-Bin and Do-Bin’s fragility and trust to Jin-ho… So subtil and yet so intense…

    p.s : hahaha for girlfriday’s point about the han river :)

  7. Amg1

    Dear JB thanks for such a a good recap, one of my favorites so far, This episode made me cry, I am a straight guy but I have family members who are Gay, and also one of my dearest friends is Gay, I will agree with you, the way that the director/writers dealt with with this situation was full of dignity to the character who is actually Gay, Jin-ho own this episode by protecting the Innocent in taking the fall when he had the chance to come on top, this episode is one of the first in K-Dramas where the Gay issue has bean dealt with a high level of respect and dignity…..
    Thanks again!! : O }

  8. snoopyvkd

    Me too, I’m really on baord this drama after this week’s episodes. The bad side of this is that I’m starting to have sporadic need for some LMH fix.

  9. bippa

    THANKS FOR THE RECAP

    still waiting on subs but this’ll hold me till then

  10. 10 s

    omg…my jaw hit the floor with this episode….I kinda suspected that RSR was gay….bwahah my gaydar xD But the by-the-lake convo tipped me off…but still, the confession scene totally moved me. He looked so weary yet hopeful and oh poor jinho XD all he wants is to do his job and do it well and all these people keeping crushing on him ^_^;;; And Kae-in was fantastic too, the way she boldly leaped to Jinho’s defense like that. Gosh, she’s a true blue friend. How could the crajee b1tch Inhee (and CR) treat her so badly X_X!?

    We’re at the halfway mark now but Im super anxious to see how this will all play out. I feel so awful for RSR :( Cuz ultimately Jinho isn’t gay…

    Anyway, on a different note, I’m really enjoying seeing how k-dramas and movies are showing how slowly but steadily Korea is opening up towards gays. Especially seeing the sensitive treatment of gays in this “trendy” drama is refreshing – we get to see the fairly innocent stereotypes Koreans have of gays (played HILARIOUSLY by Sung-jan…seriously, he’s stealing every scene he’s in), the dark side of how many Koreans disparage gays (gahhh wanted to slap CR for being such a jerk and calling Jinho ‘dirty’ for being gay) and best of all, how gays are just people like everyone else~ If everyone saw gays like Kae-in, “Who are you to mock him? It’s not like he wanted to be born this way. So if a man loves a woman, he’s a man — but is he not a man if he loves another man? Are you a real man — is that why you tore my heart?”….it would be a much better world~

  11. 11 brigitte

    I’m loving this drama so much! And LMH’s hotness is a bonus! Both leads and sub leads are doing great. Thank you for the recaps JB, it’s always nice to read your comments!

  12. 12 kdramaobssessed

    Javabean, your recap was spot-on as always.

    I am watching Personal Taste simultaneously with Oh! My Lady and Cindrella’s Sister and this episode was the same one that sealed it for me emotionally. In comparison, Oh! My Lady has virtually no emotional impact other than using a young girl to drive sympathy and attachment. And Cindrella’s Sister is a great show-don’t get me wrong- but the way that Personal Taste can use relationships to spur emotions and create meaningful conflict (without the need for kidnappings, car accidents, etc), is really testament to its quality as a show. Great performances, great comedic timing interlaced with heart-breaking interactions, and as you said, true emotional sincerity.

    LOVING IT! :)

  13. 13 adorabelle

    Ughhh that ‘coming out’ scene…

    Just the sheer complexity of emotions that LMH portrayed as Jin Ho was staggering. I literally sat there afterwards with a pen and paper trying to analyze the elements LMH was portraying and I’m surprised that he didn’t just blow up right there like the aforementioned robot. There were about 5 types of regret, disappointment, with a handful of pity, and a big spoonful of resignation.

    Lee Min Ho is an amazing actor. I would not have thought that before this episode.

    Also my heart went into shatters when Ryu Seung-ryong was standing there. At that moment, I really wanted Jin Ho to be gay.

    (BTW, I think all of this could be solved if JinHo told Gae-In that he was bisexual. Well, I say ‘solved’ but I mean ‘weaseled out of’)

  14. 14 Nhu

    Oh wow. I don’t understand korean so I haven’t watched this yet, but if the episode is half as good as you make it seem, I’m in for a ride. I loved the snippets of translations you did, especially Kae-In’s speech. I can just imagine how good SYJ is giving that slap in the face as Kae In to Chang Ryul.

    But it also impresses me that a trendy drama has such a sensitive portrayal of gays in Korea. In the early episodes, even as I watched and saw that it didn’t disparaged gays, I was scared that it would eventually. Now I can rest easy and enjoy the drama.

    Gosh, how delicious. The drama is rising and the ratings are too… Only I have to wonder how much more successful it’d be had the director been different. And if the editing team wasn’t so much. Seriously, that’s the drama’s one true flaw. The characterizations and acting through the board are above par and the writer on par. It’s JUST the framing of the scenes and the pacing! (kills me!) But still, I feel like this drama should be more of a hit than it is. Can anyone fill me in on why it’s not doing as well as I feel like it should be?

  15. 15 labeatnik

    I agree! I love how this drama has progressed, and I love how the solid acting has made me feel towards the characters.

  16. 16 Icarusfalls

    I am soo in love with this show!!! Thansk for the recap!

    P.S -Did anyone else thing for a few secinds Jin Ho said he was gay as he wanted to have a chance at the project? I suspected it for a millisec! =.=”

  17. 17 Fan

    Fabulous review thanks JB! :)

    I’m loving this too… the whole gay pretense was a comic misunderstanding, but like most misunderstanding/lies, they can have grave consequences, and JH sucks it up…. although I’m still not convinced it was the “right” answer. I always vote for honesty and transparency.

    Which is why…..

    (SPOILER ALERT!)

    … the next episode is what really did it for me.

    I was ready to kiss JH when he told DB he’ll never love him in return (though he still didn’t tell him he was straight, though I guess it’s none of DB’s business in a way at that point), and then said “I know this makes me seem a rascal. To use you and then tell you my lack of feelings for you the moment I get what I want.” (i.e., a fair chance to get the project).

    But what made me want to fall on my knees and kiss the ground DB (and the actor for him! Gods!) walks on is DB’s reaction.

    Eyes shut in a AWFUL flinch. (Ouuuuuuch!)

    Rapid, inhumanly controlled recovery.

    And his heart-breakingly professional and warm response.

    “Are you trying to make me seem the bad guy? That’s not why I made the fight fair.”

    And then JH’s passionate promise.

    “I’ll repay you with passion in the work.”

    “That’s all I ask for.”

    (END OF SPOILERS)

    PT has made it out of the minor league for me with these two episodes too!

    But let me say, in spite of liking the drama, I’m still a sucker for Sang-jun’s antics, and if I had to vote… he’s still my favorite character! :)))))

    Actually find the sisterly relationship with YS very sweet… and JB you hit it on the head about them making it just a little more than comic relief. They’re both really cool, really sweet people who want to spare everyone’s feelings, and I hope, even after the truth is revealed that those two stay solid friends. :) (Many have said it before, but if she weren’t already married, I’d be rooting for a romantic development between them. They’re so good to each other… for all the wrong reasons, but hey… kindness and extending the embrace of friendship to someone is always correct no? :) )

  18. 18 langdon813

    One of my best friends is a gay man and we’ve totally had that whole shopping extravaganza / trying on clothes together experience (hey, a man who will tell you that YES, those jeans make your butt look big, and then ask you to return the favor? Priceless)! So up to this point I’ve mainly enjoyed PT because of Sang-jun and Young-sun, who have to be the two best side characters EVER.

    But finally, finally…I’m feeling the heat between Jin-ho and Kae-in, and it’s a wonderful thing. Ryu Seung-ryong is awesome, what a great looking guy. He’s giving such a nicely understated, moving performance, with just enough vulnerability. It makes me sad too, to think of his inevitable pain.

    Great recap, JB!

  19. 19 Emi

    It must be hard for them to film those scenes at the river because of the high chance of running into other drama productions filming their scenes at the river XD Just once I think it would be funny to have a drama show a dramatic River Conversation scene while in the background you could see the crew of another drama filming a River Conversation scene :)

    Anyway, this episode was amazing, and by far the best yet. Episode 8 is excellent as well. These two episodes really make me feel like the drama has hit its stride. I can’t wait for 9-10! LMH’s acting was fantastic, and Do-bin’s cautious sincerity and courage to express his feelings was heartbreaking. During their conversation when he confessed, I could totally see Jin-ho’s youthful handsomeness through Do-bin’s eyes and understand how he’d fall for him.

  20. 20 estel

    @Emi –> It must be hard for them to film those scenes at the river because of the high chance of running into other drama productions filming their scenes at the river. XD Just once I think it would be funny to have a drama show a dramatic River Conversation scene while in the background you could see the crew of another drama filming a River Conversation scene. Hahahahahaha I totally laughed when I read that! Just once, it’d be nice to get a scene with dramatic! moments! that isn’t filmed there. But at least they didn’t go to the ocean, because that would have spelled death for the possibility that they’d ever get together.

  21. 21 gingeranna

    I loved this episode too… well, but Chang-ryu with that red jacket seems an hotel waiter or something similar!!!!!

  22. 22 luckystarz

    sounds like an epic episode but does anyone know where i can watch this episode with subs because i don’t understand korean..

  23. 23 Sukispop

    JB, thanks so much for the wonderful(and excellent) recap!

    I’ve fallen in love with this drama, too. I’m also watching and enjoying Oh! My Lady and Prosecutor Princess. I’m having fun with all three, but PT has stolen my heart.

    Lee Min-ho and Sohn Ye-jin, especially in these past couple of episodes, have been amazing. I enjoyed Lee Min-ho in BBF, and thought he was one of the two true standouts in that fun but messy drama(Lee Min-jung was the other), but I am so impressed with the heart, sensitivity, and complexity that he’s brought to Jin-ho. Someone commented in an earlier recap that she/he was so disappointed in this bland and lifeless character, after having watched the dynamic, arrogant, charismatic, and larger-than-life Gu Jun Pyo. I have to respectfully disagree; Jin-ho’s character is far more interesting and compelling. The wide array of conflicting emotions that LMH gives us in Jin-ho, and the ease with which he can shift those emotions with just a subtle change in his eyebrows, eyes, and mouth. Wow.

    I’ve not seen Sohn Ye-jin’s other projects, yet, but after having watched 8 episodes of Personal Taste, I can’t imagine anyone else in Kae-in’s role. As you mentioned, she hits every note just right, and her sense of timing is flawless.

    I really love The Fantastic Four. No, not Jin-ho, Kae-in, Chang-ryul, and In-hee. Jin-ho, Kae-in, Sang-jun, and Young-sun! I love Sang-jun and Young-sun’s scenes, together, almost as much as I love Jin-ho’s and Kae-in’s! Who doesn’t love perfect friend Young-sun? And Sang-jun’s gay portrayal of himself is possibly the most hilarious character I’ve yet seen in any drama…and his self-analysis of this “act” is even funnier! Sang-jun rocks!

    P.S.- JB, so the indigestion finger prick really works, eh? And faster than Tums?

  24. 24 lovin it

    lovelovelove..
    but how is this misunderstanding ever going to be resolved????

  25. 25 Sukispop

    #23 Luckystarz,

    http://www.viikii.net/channels/goto/PersonalTaste#

  26. 26 moira

    fuck. awesome episode.

  27. 27 Hesthi

    thanks for the recap!

    I like when Kae-in slaps Chang-ryul….

    I’m sure, it’s really hurt……….!!!!!!!!!!

  28. 28 celestialorigin

    JB! Thank you for the recap.
    I agree with you 100%.

    What this drama makes it so enjoyable and refreshing is that there are some seriously decent human beings like DB and JH presented in KI’s world, in addition to a typical K drama-ish bi**h, a villain, a jerk, GF and so on. And LMH is doing such a commendable job depicting JH’s rather complex? complicated charactor or the situation he somehow put himself into. His presence has such nice heart warming vibes.

  29. 29 althea

    javabeans, your recaps are always like a breath of fresh air! thanks!

  30. 30 Sukispop

    After posting my comments about LMH and SYJ, I realized that I also wanted to comment on another character in PT- President Han, or, more importantly, the role as played by actor, Ahn Suk-hwan. To date, I’ve seen his work in My Girl, BBF, and now, this drama.

    Is it just me, or do others here feel that Ahn Suk Hwan is grossly overacting the role of President Han? His exaggerated facial expressions, his overblown reactions, and that silly evil snickering that he does, between lines…what the heck???

    It’s like he’s trying to be the Korean version of Snidely Whiplash, that dastardly evil archvillain in the cartoon, Dudley Do-Right.

    In such a tongue-in-cheek cartoon, a character like Snidely Whiplash is right at home…but, in a deftly crafted drama like Personal Taste, Ahn Suk-hwan’s characterization of President Han seems over the top and out of place(imho).

    I mean no disrespect to Ahn Suk-hwan, but felt the need to comment on his portrayal of the character, President Han.

  31. 31 who is

    oh man.. I’m really really afraid to watch the scene when Jin ho has to tell everyone the truth… how shocked everyone must be. Because know… basically the entire world thinks he’s gay since he publicly “came out”
    oooooh man… this is going to be very very messy.
    In some ways, I feel like it’s worst than coffee prince. Perhaps maybe it’s because only one person was in the dark, but everyone else found out before and was cool about it.

    ahhhh… anticipation!!!

  32. 32 Minho!!!

    love love love minho

  33. 33 kdramadork606haha

    OMG .!! this drama just gets better and better .. ♥
    itS so0 cute that Kae In named her new friend, Jin Ho heheheh
    when Chang Ryul asked her the favor and she accepts, i felt really bad for Jin Ho and thought that she was stupid to let that jerk use her again.
    Then i loved her again when Jin Ho-Kae In moments began..
    Poor kae In .. she couldn’t let go of her broken heart .. just let it go girl, you have Jin Ho to catch you and he’s hotter .!!

    i feel sorry for Jin Ho. being confused of what he feels for Kae In and now STUPID Chang Ryul adds to the problem and accused him of using DoBin to win the competition( weren’t they the one who tried to get id of Jin Ho in the competition those freaking cheaters.!!! ) anyway, Lee Min Ho is really perfect for the role Jeon Jin Ho.. i love he plays the charater like its really him, like they’re one unlike some actors i’ve seen.
    cant wait for the next episode ..
    oHh .. BTW .. the sountrack is really great and im listening to it right now .. kdramas like this makes me want to learn korean .! wahahhah ..

    FIGHTING .!!

    thnk you for this excellent recap .! ♥

  34. 34 anna

    Can they please, please make Jin-ho gay???? Please???? I feel like my heart is breaking just from reading this recap, especially the scene between Do-bin and Jin-ho. :( Give that man some love.

  35. 35 mmmaggie

    What an episode. Do-bin…such a heartbreaking and elegant performance. His confession to Jin-ho that he likes was so understated and wonderful. Bravo, Ryu Seung-ryong.

    And Sang-jun… I <3 you! Every time he says "Very good. Veeeery good!" I laugh and laugh and laugh. Love his facial expressions too.

    Cannot wait to see how this series unfolds.

  36. 36 AuntieMame

    “…and I found myself hoping against hope that maybe Jin-ho could be gay after all, since Do-bin is lonely character…”

    Exactly my sentiments. And, I died a thousand deaths hoping that JH would find an escape from having to answer the question. But, I am so proud of him, as a human being, for answering the way he did.

    hahaha … fantasy ending: Director Choi reunites with his first love … Kae In’s father. This will let JH off the hook; to be with Kae In.

    And, if there is any justice, from the heavens, Chang Ryul and Hye Mi should end up together. So, that they can drive each other crazy.

  37. 37 calen

    — and I found myself hoping against hope that maybe Jin-ho could be gay after all, since Do-bin is lonely character.

    I second this sentiment SO HARD. (But then again, maybe not because I’m cheering for our two leads to eventually get around the misunderstandings and end up together~) Had it not been for meeting Do Bin’s sad eyes while looking past Chang Ryul, I have no doubt Jin Ho would have vehemently asserted his heterosexuality. It was obvious, though, that his answer wasn’t about what might benefit himself in terms of the Tam Art Center but was entirely about not hurting Do Bin. This scene was full of great acting; it made your heart hurt because there really wasn’t a graceful, painless way out. (Re: Door 3, I imagine saying “I’m not gay but I’m also not using the Chairman” would have come off as an excuse in Chang Ryul’s mind and he’d have latched on to one of the other choices and used it to torment/defame Jin Ho anyway.)

  38. 38 marbleloaf

    p.s. i’m secretly hoping that sang jun turns out to be gay and gives dobin the lovin that he needs =)

  39. 39 calen

    D’oh, should read the comments before replying to avoid double-commenting…

    @ 31 Sukispop
    YES. Yes, I thought exactly the same thing. I think cartoon-ish is the best way to describe this villain. The goofy evil laugh is so Minister Seo from HGD, but it just doesn’t fit in this drama.

  40. 40 luckystarz

    #26 Sukispop thanks, but is there an alternative link/website by any chance? the website you gave me, their links for episode 7 are broken..

  41. 41 MuLaN

    This proves that LMH is such a good actor. He nailed it…JH character..awesome..SYJ &LMH performance. I was totally carried away!

  42. 42 Mawar Merah

    Thanks so much for the detail summary. Yes, I can feel the dilemma in Jinho when confront with chang ryul. Love this drama esp this ep alot.

  43. 43 Aleutia

    I KNEW IT. DO-BIN is gay!

  44. 44 Lemon

    Thanks Javabeans for such a speedy recap! I was expecting it to come out next week, and it really surprised me to see this episode’s recap on your blog this morning.

    Nothing feels better than reading a wonderfully-written recap in the morning :D (Its morning here)

    wow this was a great episode. I love Jinho, Kaein and Dobin.

    Just one query: Did Jinho admit he was gay because of Dobin’s confession? Or did he do it because he wanted the Dahm Museum project- and continuing his pretense of homosexuality let Dobin continue to fight for him to get a chance to participate in the project?

    It’s confusing ):

  45. 45 sora

    loved this episode. thanks a lot!!!!!

  46. 46 starletbang

    AHHH I LOVE KIM JI SUK AND THE BRIGHT COLORED SUITS HE WEARS!

  47. 47 fyoora

    @45 lemon: I think Jinho admit he was a gay bcause of Dobin confession, he is not a character to use someone like that…but I also think that he wants to give a chance for Dobin to fight for what is right and fair. Actually, I’m not 100% agree with Jinho falsing his gayyish thing…but it’s a drama right?? Hope Do bin will find his love with julien :)

  48. 48 Laeah

    I loved this episode too! Though now that I’ve seen 8, I love 8 more. I almost cried.

    I was almost cracking up with Director Choi confessed.. simply from the awkwardness, but I really agree. Director Choi is finally a distinguished gay man in a Korean drama.

    I love this drama! I don’t think Lee Min Ho is the best actor out there, but I do think he is improving a lot with this role. I just love Jin Ho. <3

    I thought Director Choi was in love with Kae In's dad. Maybe not. I kind of hoped that mixed guy would distract Director Choi away from liking Jin Ho so that Jin Ho wouldn't feel so bad and could just go for Kae In.

    AGain.. I don't want to spoil episode 8, but I can't wait to see your recap for that one! It was INSANE. And sooooo sad.

  49. 49 Keipi

    SON-YE JIN’s acting is really GREAT!
    She’s such a PRO!

    I LOVE HER!!!
    \(^O^)/

  50. 50 nabi

    I loved the last scene-the unavoidable confession, and Gae-in protecting Jin-ho. This show is getting better and better. I love how GI and JH’s relationship has been developing so far.

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