Personal Taste: Episode 11
With the drama really hitting its stride, I’m loath to think what might happen if the potential extension goes through. In any case, I hope they decide quickly so the writers have time to plan accordingly.
Wow, ratings jumped up for this episode. Personal Taste drew a 16.2% today, while Cinderella’s Sister had an 18.8% — I didn’t think we’d ever see the numbers so close. Prosecutor Princess rose a little to 9.9%.
SONG OF THE DAY
Vanila City – “Icarus’ Wings” [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
So. Now that it’s Game Over on the revenge plan, where do we go from here?
But first, let’s look at that kiss just one more time:
Ahhh. Even though I think the relative chasteness of kdramas has its charm, the limp-lipped kissing in most of them drives me batty, and I know I’m not in the minority on this one. I always enjoy the rare kdrama that features a realistic kiss where lips actually move — and even better, shows the female actively participating! I know! What a novel concept!
Episode 11, in keeping with our weather theme, is titled “Clear skies beginning today?” Lemme tell ya, I don’t like that question mark. Not one bit.
Let’s also take a moment to enjoy In-hee’s petulance at witnessing the kiss. Aw, poor heartless lady. You’d almost think the In-hee Bot had emotions, except I think it’s more likely the kiss just triggered her ego-support software.
Chang-ryul shoves Jin-ho off of Kae-in’s lips and reminds him that he’d agreed to back off. Jin-ho replies, “I was going to, but I can’t. I’m going to start loving her as a man now.”
Kae-in’s completely confused, so Jin-ho finally confesses the truth: “I’m not gay.” He apologizes for waiting so long to tell her, and asks her to forgive him.
Starting to cry, Kae-in thumps his chest with her fist — once, twice, then again and again. It’s barely a tap, like she wants to hurt him for causing her such misery but not having the heart to. Jin-ho grabs her arm, then pulls her in for a hug.
In-hee and Chang-ryul relocate to a bar, where the latter proceeds to drink heavily. In-hee asks if he’s going to let things end like this — clearly she has no comprehension of what “game over” means. I’d really hate to play games with this girl — she’s that person who refuses to accept the outcome of a game, argues everyone’s ears off, and demands a rematch. Best two out of three. Best three out of five. No, seven out of thirteen. Soon enough she’ll run out of prime numbers, or so you think. But alas, the girl knows how to count.
Chang-ryul reminds her of the look on Kae-in’s face when Jin-ho admitted he wasn’t gay: “Didn’t that expression explain it all? I don’t even have 1% of a chance.” In-hee alludes to Chang-ryul’s declaration that he cannot be without Kae-in — doesn’t that mean he should grab her no matter what? Chang-ryul doesn’t want to. In-hee demands why not. I yell at her, “Because he has some decency!”
Chang-ryul replies, “Because I love her. Because she’d suffered so much because of me. And because of Jin-ho, she can laugh now.” Awww. Okay, Chang-ryul, you’re off my shit list. I no longer think you should end up miserably ever after with In-hee, who doesn’t deserve you, even if you are pathetically weak.
In-hee laughs at him, mocking, “You think that’s love, don’t you? Stepping aside generously feels like real love, doesn’t it?” No, it’s called COMMON SENSE, but whatever. Sense does not compute with the In-hee Bot.
In-hee declares, “I’m going to do things my way from now on.” Good lord, does she really think she’s been a passive wilting flower all this time? Bring it on, Evil Wench-ho In-hee. Bring. It. On. Oh crap, is she looking at me? *ducks behind computer screen*
Chang-ryul tells her to stop it already, but In-hee replies that she only knows one kind of love: “If I can’t have him, nobody can.” Why are we not surprised? Also: What the heck does that actually MEAN? Hide your bunnies, people.
(I know, I recycled a joke. But what are the chances you actually read the recap from years ago where I first used that line?)
Jin-ho and Kae-in stop on their way home to talk about this. She tells him in a wounded voice, “Things were so confusing for me all this time.” She’d felt so stupid for finding herself drawn to him romantically, and it hurts to know it was all for nothing. She wasn’t even into the revenge — she just took it on because she needed an outlet for her energies.
Jin-ho tells her that he wasn’t confident that she had feelings for him, and only became sure when she told Chang-ryul she couldn’t go any further. Kae-in calls him stupid for only figuring it out today — she’d even dressed up as a man and done all sorts of foolish things to try to rationalize it. She went as far as to think that she could give up her femininity (i.e., hopes for a hetero relationship) just to stay with him as a friend.
When Jin-ho asks for her forgiveness, she’s so hurt that she answers, “No, I don’t want to forgive you.”
During the drive home, Jin-ho appeals to her once more — she has the right to be angry with him and he wronged her terribly, but won’t she forgive him? Kae-in keeps her gaze firmly averted, narrating another diary entry:
Kae-in’s narration: “Tomorrow’s weather forecast. The person I wanted to keep as a friend tells me today that he’s sorry and wants to start over as a man and a woman. My heart flutters enough to burst, but all the tears I’ve shed tell me not to forgive him today. But starting tomorrow, I won’t be afraid of bad weather.”
Upon arriving home, Kae-in tells Jin-ho to leave the house — she’s not up to seeing him tonight. He follows her inside anyway, saying that he knows she feels betrayed, “But this is the first time I’m feeling this way, so I don’t know what I should do either.” Perchance she might cut him a little slack?
Kae-in points out that he has been in love before, with Eun-soo (Yoon Eun-hye). Jin-ho starts to explain, but before he can get very far, visitors burst in — a drunk Hye-mi, followed by Tae-hoon. Seriously, can they get a deadbolt or something? A chain? Two knobs and a piece of twine?
Hye-mi stumbles over to Jin-ho, asking why he doesn’t love her. She’s younger than Kae-in, and prettier, and loves him more! Why, why, whyyyy?
Kae-in practically rolls her eyes and starts to walk away, while Hye-mi clings and whines. Jin-ho tells her, “I don’t see anyone else as a woman except for her. All right?”
Kae-in pauses ever so briefly at that, but continues to her room. Once inside, she tells herself she can’t forgive him right away, but the smile that flits across her face shows that she’s definitely going to.
Jin-ho takes Hye-mi back to his mother’s home to sleep it off, and tells his mother not to worry.
Mom tries to be open-minded about him being engaged to Kae-in, but she can’t quite get onboard with them shacking up together. To mitigate that, Jin-ho makes up a story about this setup being convenient for his job, because they’re working on a museum planning project together. It’s not TOO much of a stretch since they are both working on the museum in separate capacities, but he makes it seem that they’re collaborating closely.
Although she’d told Jin-ho to leave, Kae-in grumbles at his absence, growing more and more agitated the longer he’s out. She even strings up her doll and uses it as a punching bag. (Sohn Ye-jin is so cute.)
Of course, he arrives behind her and smiles to see her beating on the doll that she calls Jin-ho — he’s glad she’s letting out her anger. He’d rather she take it out on him, though, and holds her hand to hit himself with it (a reverse of the “Why are you hitting yourself?” maneuver some of us may have suffered in childhood).
Kae-in asks what his relationship to Hye-mi is, since the girl had called herself his fiancee. Jin-ho clarifies that she’s been saying that since she was seven, asking with amusement whether Kae-in is jealous. She says he’s mean for knowing Hye-mi liked him all this time without caring about her feelings, to which he agrees that she’s right — he does have a cold side.
Kae-in brings the topic back around to Eun-soo, as he never answered her question. Jin-ho explains that before Eun-soo left to study abroad, she had told him that she wouldn’t go if he held her back. And he didn’t, because he wasn’t sure that Eun-soo meant enough to him.
That prompts Kae-in to ask what she means to him. He answers, “Even if my life were different, I wouldn’t want to leave you out of it.”
Sweet! Growing flustered, Kae-in hastily changes the topic and offers to cook up some ramyun. But as she tries to pass by, he stops her and pulls her toward him. Holding her, he says, “This strange woman who suggests food whenever she gets embarrassed — I love her.”
And then, even the music shifts up one key, signifying the lift in Kae-in’s heart. And ours. Unless yours is swimming around in a puddle on the floor, that is.
In the morning, Jin-ho is in a grrrreat mood and hums to himself, presenting his staff with breakfast and coffee. The guys suspiciously inspect their cups, wondering if it’s poisoned. He gives a short speech to encourage them on and announces, “I love you all.” I mean, just look at that smile on his face! You can’t even begrudge the guy for falling in love with someone other than ourselves when he’s that happy.
Young-sun’s initial reaction to the news is to ask if Kae-in’s on drugs. Then, “Kae-in, are you very lonely? Are you imagining things on your own?”
Kae-in confesses that Jin-ho kissed her in front of Chang-ryul and In-hee. That convinces Young-sun, who gets excited on her behalf — but she adds the disclaimer, “If you just dreamed this all, I’m killing you.” You and me both, sister.
Young-sun gives herself credit for seeing something in Jin-ho when she dragged him in to live here. Honestly, I don’t think you need much other than eyes to “see something” about him. The hotness is pretty self-evident, y’know?
But then she realizes, “Then Sang-jun, that punk…!”
Sang-jun joins her at a cafe, suspecting nothing. She gets straight to the point: “So you’re not gay?” He tries to laugh it off, but she levels that glare his way and he asks, voice dropping to its natural baritone, “How’d you find out?”
Mortified over all the things she told him, she ignores his avowal that he really did feel a connection with her, and declares that they’d better stop meeting. He wonders how she found out, then guesses she must have sensed the masculinity emanating from him despite the gay act. Lol.
But no, Young-sun tells him that Kae-in and Jin-ho are dating, which he races to the office to confirm with Jin-ho. When asked about Do-bin, Jin-ho answers that he’s going to tell him the truth, but Sang-jun protests — what if Do-bin withdraws his support? Jin-ho answers that there’s nothing he can do about that, which makes Sang-jun ask if he really loves Kae-in that much. Jin-ho nods.
Do-bin gives Kae-in tickets to Jeju Island for a working trip, since there are lots of children’s theme parks there that may help her. He confides that Jin-ho will be going as well, to attend a seminar. After the botched dinner date set up by Young-sun and Kae-in fell flat, Do-bin is thinking of trying again in Jeju Island.
Feeling uneasy, Kae-in starts to set him straight (heh), but they’re interrupted by In-hee. Her meddling sonar must have pinged.
Scarface Han bursts in on a hungover Chang-ryul, infuriated yet again at his worthless son. He threatens him with banishment to the office in China, given how poorly he’s doing things these days. To his surprise, Chang-ryul agrees resignedly. He doesn’t want to stay here either, so he may as well go to China.
At the museum, In-hee sees Jin-ho arriving and congratulates him on his relationship. Then that fake-sweet voice turns harder and she asks what he saw in Kae-in. As his relationship is going to disappoint Do-bin a lot, In-hee wonders if Kae-in is enough to make that worth it. Is she so great? He answers, “Yes.”
He’s here to see see Do-bin, but In-hee informs him he’s on a business trip. She gives Jin-ho an invitation to the Jeju seminar on behalf of Do-bin, adding that the Dahm project judges will be there.
As he turns to leave, she asks, “Why is it Kae-in? As your partner, aren’t I better?” Partner in HELL, maybe! Lordy she’s delusional. She explains that she’s better positioned to persuade a disappointed Do-bin, and to have an influence over the Dahm judges.
Jin-ho: “I’m not looking for a business partner, but a life partner.”
In-hee: “Do you think Kae-in has a right to be your life partner?”
Jin-ho: “Why are you wasting your time like this? If you saw what happened with me and Kae-in yesterday, you ought to know that this is a waste of your time.”
In-hee: “Isn’t it persistence to do my utmost till the end?”
Man alive, the “end” is so far back in In-hee’s rearview mirror that she must be trying to circle the earth to catch it from behind. The better to kill it with.
Since he’s here, Jin-ho drops by to see Kae-in and requests a date. Kae-in plays coy, teasing, “Well, I’m a little busy, but if you beg…”
She agrees to the date, since she’d like to finish their talk about Eun-soo. He pretends he has to leave, but just then, his mother calls to request a meeting with both Jin-ho and Kae-in.
Kae-in fidgets nervously while they wait, afraid that his mother will hate her and oppose their relationship. Jin-ho assures her that his mother will like her because he does, which calms her a little.
Contrary to her worries, Jin-ho’s mother is quite polite to Kae-in, saying that she trusts Jin-ho. Furthermore, she can tell that Jin-ho must really like her by the way he’s treating her.
However, she worries about their “project” together, which confuses Kae-in. Jin-ho jumps in to say you know, that project, wink wink, the one where we’re working together, pulling all-nighters?
Mom is making an effort to be open-minded, but makes one request: please no premarital pregnancy! Kae-in chokes in surprise.
Once home, Kae-in instructs Jin-ho to move back home rather than lying to his mother. He calls her on her bluff and offers to leave, and thus begins a hilarious loop of Go, Fine I’m Going, Good I Want You to Go, I Mean It I’m Really Going, I Know So Bye, Fine Then Bye, Wait Is He Really Going??
For instance, she points out how slowly he’s packing, enjoying the idea that he doesn’t really want to leave. Testing him, she suggests that they limit their dating to one a week, since she’ll be so busy with work. Jin-ho isn’t about to let her have the upper hand and wants to prove that she’s bluffing, so he ups the ante and says he’s so busy they’d better make that one date a month. Yet when she agrees, he grimaces to have it backfire on him.
Basically, both want the other one to admit that they want Jin-ho to stay, but they’re not going to say it first. That leads Jin-ho as far as his car, but he mutters that if he really leaves, it’ll be more difficult to invent an excuse to go back. And so, he practices excuses in the car. Should he fake a stomachache? Go in to check that the door is locked? Say that the car is out of gas and he has no money?
When he comes back inside to get his laptop (ostensibly), Kae-in sees that he’s really going to leave again and fakes an ankle twist. He rushes to her side, but when he handles her ankle, she forgets to fake pain and giggles because it tickles. Haha. She’s such a bad liar, and Jin-ho knows it.
And then, they become aware of their closeness and move in for the most awkward nose-bumping kiss ever…
…only to be interrupted by Young-sun’s arrival. (People! Locks!)
Immediately embarrassed at what Young-sun might think of her if she found them in the room together, Kae-in forces Jin-ho to hide while she goes out to talk to her.
Young-sun has come lugging her bags, having fought with her husband. She asks if she can stay for a while, and Kae-in is forced to agree even though she’d love to send her away.
Motivated by selfish thoughts, Kae-in tries to convince Young-sun to think of her son and go back home, then shoves her into the bathroom for a shower to allow Jin-ho the chance to sneak away.
While she’s telling Jin-ho to go, Kae-in leans up to peck him on the cheek — only to have the doors burst open by Young-sun. Oops!
Jin-ho is therefore forced to leave, and heads to his office.
The next day, Hye-mi drops by the museum to see Kae-in, luggage in hand, to ask if she’s really going to marry Jin-ho. She’s on her way to the airport to return home to Canada — she gave up everything to come to Korea for Jin-ho, and therefore can’t watch him marry someone else. Hye-mi still can’t believe she got passed over for Kae-in — there’s no woman in the world who can love Jin-ho more than her.
Kae-in can’t say that she loves Jin-ho more than Hye-mi. However, when she thought he was gay, she would have married him anyway if he had wanted it. “That’s how much I wanted to be with him.”
That makes an impression on Hye-mi, who leaves in a huff.
In-hee receives materials from Do-bin’s father’s secretary (for Do-bin), and asks why the president is so set on Professor Park’s style of designing. Her eyes widen to hear that it’s because of Sanggojae.
In-hee then spies Hye-mi walking out of her meeting with Kae-in in a glum mood, and pulls her aside for a talk.
And here’s the unplanned Kim Nam-gil cameo! To be honest, I could barely pay attention to the conversation because I was glued to Kim Nam-gil the whole time. How can he make reading a book look so damn sexy? I mean, on one hand you have two petty, selfish girls arguing over one man to whom neither has a claim. On the other hand, sexy bastard Kim Nam-gil. Like it’s even a choice.
Hye-mi has grudgingly come to accept that she has been pushed out, and I enjoy her frustration because she is expressing a mature thought in an immature way. She gripes, “Damn, it’s annoying and driving me crazy! It feels like they’re really in love!”
Never one to accept no the first or hundredth time, In-hee plants seeds of doubt, asking if perhaps Jin-ho’s being fooled. She tells Hye-mi about Chang-ryul, who was her ex-fiancee and also Kae-in’s ex-boyfriend. Hye-mi is outraged: so Kae-in was two-timing Jin-ho?
As Kae-in walks up her street, she sees President Han in front of her house, approaching with gifts. Uncomfortable with this gesture (and him in general), she tells him that she has broken up with Chang-ryul, but he waves that aside. Young kids are always fighting, and he’ll apologize in place of his son.
But Kae-in won’t let him barrel his way inside and blocks him from entering her house. She’s trying to figure out how to get him to leave when a car pulls up, making her eyes widen: It’s Jin-ho’s mother and Hye-mi, and Mom immediately recognizes the evil man who usurped her dead husband’s position.
(Interestingly, Han calls Mom 제수 — wife of my brother — so does that make Chang-ryul and Jin-ho cousins? We’ve never heard this mentioned before.)
When he calls Kae-in his “daughter-in-law-to-be,” Mom assumes the worst and freaks out. Kae-in tries to explain, but Mom snaps at her and gets right back into the taxi, in tears.
At home, Jin-ho explains — or tries to — but she is so rocked with the emotional shock that she won’t listen. She now opposes his relationship with Kae-in and tells him, “Over my dead body.”
Likewise, Han is shocked to see that there are relationships between these people and demands to know why Kae-in is calling Jin-ho’s mother “Mother.” Why? WHY????
When Jin-ho comes home, he’s frustrated and takes the wrong tack, blaming Kae-in for letting President Han come here bearing gifts. She defends herself — it’s not like she could stop him — so he retorts that it’s her fault for mounting her revenge. Kae-in reminds him that he’s the one who pushed her into the revenge plan, and if they’re playing the blame game, he was the one who acted gay in the first place.
Both of them are being a little unfair to each other, not really meaning what they’re saying, but tempers are running high. Jin-ho leaves the house angry, and Kae-in berates herself for her part in the fight.
Jin-ho gets on his knees to appeal to his mother, telling her that Kae-in and Chang-ryul have been over for a while. Furthermore, he was the one who liked her and clung to her.
However, because Kae-in is now entangled with people who represent such horrible things to her, Mom refuses to accept her, even when Jin-ho says, “I can’t be without her.”
Kae-in worries to Young-sun about the fight, fearing that Jin-ho’s furious with her. Young-sun says that she called Sang-jun (against her own will) to check up on Jin-ho, and heard he is going on a business trip to Jeju Island. She urges Kae-in to go, and get pregnant (“like I did”) to force his mother’s acceptance.
I LOVE the conversation on the plane, which takes us to meta levels as Young-sun wonders, “But Kae-in, why am I going?” Kae-in says, “I wanted to ask you that earlier. Why ARE you going?” Because the plot needs her! HAHA.
Young-sun is working in league with Sang-jun to get the two lovers to bump into each other, figuring they’ll work it out on their own. And they’re right, because the moment Jin-ho sees her, he smiles.
She says defensively that she’s here for work, but he calls that an excuse and takes her outside.
The relocate to the rocky shore, where she worries about his angry mother. He tells her his mother will come around — he even said that he’d die without Kae-in.
Kae-in says she’s not in the mood for jokes, but he tells her he’s not joking. He assures her that there’s no need to worry, because there will be no cause for them to break up.
(Saying that in Episode 11 is like saying, “What could possibly go wrong?” in a horror movie. Don’t tempt the Fates!)
When they arrive back at the hotel, they run into Do-bin, who knows none of what has happened and suggests that they all dine together. Jin-ho gets right to the point and says he has something to tell him.
They start off with the pleasantries before arriving at the point. Do-bin offers Jin-ho a gift of a painting he had admired, which is in his hotel room. Jin-ho declines, saying that he can’t accept. Disappointed at Jin-ho’s response, Do-bin guesses that the news will be bad and says he’ll have to hear it next time, after he has had time to prepare himself.
But Jin-ho doesn’t want to drag this out, and speaks up.
Meanwhile, Kae-in runs into Chang-ryul at the hotel — their meeting is spotted by eagle-eyed In-hee, who never misses a thing. Kae-in requests that Chang-ryul keep her father from dropping by again, and he agrees readily, acknowledging that he put her through a lot. He can do that much.
She apologizes for the revenge attempt, but he waves that off good-naturedly, keeping a smile on his face. But when she turns, his face twists a little and he asks, “You’re happy, right?” After she nods, he says, “Then I’m fine.” Kae-in walks away.
Do-bin has been sensing Jin-ho’s serious mood, and it’s Ryu Seung-ryong’s wonderful acting that lets us feel his growing nervousness underneath the polite exterior. Jin-ho works up the nerve, then finally tells Do-bin, “I’m sorry.”
Do-bin asks what for. Jin-ho answers, “I love Park Kae-in.”
And then, a truck comes shooting out of the garage, heading straight for Kae-in. Chang-ryul races to shove her out of the way, and they both miss being hit but they land hard on the ground — particularly him.
I’m glad I got this episode to recap, and I’m going to guess the real angst gets going from here on out, probably starting next episode. Sorry, girlfriday! Muahaha. This one was neither too angsty nor overly sweet, and had decent plot movement with time for comic moments.
One small moment that I want to comment on is one of Mom’s remarks after finding out Kae-in and Chang-ryul used to date. I can understand her abhorrence of the Han family, and even how that extends to those connected with them, so I see where she’s coming from. But she’s also acting like Kae-in has been “dirtied” by her association with Chang-ryul, which rubs me the wrong way. Can a woman not be her own person without being defined by the men she has known?
This sets us up for some Montague-Capulet theatrics, and I don’t have a problem with this in theory, but I hope they don’t drag it out too long. Like, a week is fine, but please, I hope you’ve got other tricks up your sleeve after that.
- Personal Taste: Episode 10
- Personal Taste: Episode 9
- Personal Taste: Episode 8
- Personal Taste: Episode 7
- Personal Taste: Episode 6
- Personal Taste: Episode 5
- Personal Taste: Episode 4
- Personal Taste: Episode 3
- Personal Taste: Episode 2
- Personal Taste: Episode 1
- Cinderella, Prosecutor, Taste: First episode impressions
- Personal Taste (the novel): Part 3
- Personal Taste (the novel): Part 2
- Personal Taste (the novel): Part 1