Drama Recaps
History of the Salaryman: Episode 5
by | January 17, 2012 | 37 Comments

It’s always fun to have a well-crafted fish out of water story, and Yeo-chi definitely fulfills that quota this episode. The bickering is brought to a whole new level as Bang and Yeo-chi find themselves on the run from the law, and the screen just lights up whenever these two are on it. We have a delightful cast of characters, each with their own issues and layers (surprise, Grandpa Jin may have a heart!), but Bang and Yeo-chi really bring both the drama and the funny. More of that, please!


The police arrive at Ho-hae’s house due to a robbery being reported (we can all take a guess at who reported it), and we see them cart the corpse away while they comb the scene for evidence. Bang and Yeo-chi are stuck at the police station telling their stories, and while Yeo-chi goes on a cussing rampage behind him, Bang calmly tries to explain that he’s working for the National Intelligence Service. Oh dear.

To anyone else but Bang this sounds insane, so it’s no surprise when the police officer doesn’t believe him. Bang tries to prove his story by calling Shin – who sees the call and, under Hang-woo’s urging, ignores it. Bang is left looking like a crazy person while 98% of Yeo-chi’s words are bleeped out in the background. Ha.

At least Hang-ryang feels remorse for Ho-hae’s accidental murder, as his almost-brother Hang-woo meets him as he prays in a church. When Hang-woo asks his hyung what he prayed for, Hang-ryang replies: “Allow me to go to hell. For committing sins in my life, may I go to hell, and may I pay for all of it in hell.” Well, that’s pretty dark. But he murdered a person, so it’s legitimate.

Pulling out the bottle of non-Eternal-Youth, he solemnly tells Hang-woo that this is the price of hell. He sacrificed his soul to get this drug, so Hang-woo must be successful in taking down Chairman Jin and Chun Ha.

Woo-hee has invited Bang out for another “date”, and she’s surprised to find that he’s arrived directly from the police station. Ho-hae’s murder is news to her, and she should know better than anyone that it was all due to Eternal Youth… the same drug that she sees Bang pop into his mouth, as he believes they’re multivitamins. The look on her face is priceless. Probably because each pill he’s taking is literally priceless.

She gets an opportunity to steal the bottle when Bang gets a phone call, but she’s far too slow. He picks his backpack up as he informs her that he has to go to the funeral service… but she can call him later. I hope these fake-dates continue, just because the misunderstandings are hilarious.

Before entering the mourning room, Chairman Jin runs into Yeo-chi. He coldly tells her to go to the U.S. and stay there until he’s dead. (Ouch.) She coolly responds that she hopes he lives a long life, as she has no intentions of returning. (Double ouch.) Once alone with his staff, Chairman Jin warns them all against useless mourning. The louder they wail, the farther the stocks will fall, so everyone has to keep their wits about them.

It seems cold-hearted and mean, but he’s clearly holding his own emotions back over his dead son. There are tears in his eyes as he turns to face Ho-hae’s picture, and this tiny moment effectively works to add some depth to his character.

The last part of the first episode opening scene plays before our eyes, as we see Yeo-chi and Bang being dragged off on suspicion of murder. Now the cutaway to Hang-ryang suddenly makes more sense, seeing as he’s the real murderer.

Bang asks the police escorting them what evidence they have against him. They explain that his fingerprint was found on the rock that killed Ho-hae – and we flash back to reveal that Shin was called in by Hang-woo to smear the crime scene with Bang’s fingerprints and other incriminating evidence. He was also tasked to burn Hang-ryang’s resignation letter, which we see end up near the fire, but we don’t see whether it burned or not.

Shin has a nice moment of conscience (however small) when he lets Hang-woo know how uneasy he feels about the whole framing operation. It’s one thing to use Bang, but it’s another to make an innocent man into a murderer, he claims. Hang-woo puts the kibosh on that right away, defending the fact that Hang-ryang is his brother, and his brother is most important. He gives Shin a briefcase of money and a one-way ticket to the U.S., saying that he’ll call him back once things have settled down.

So we’ve got the evidence on Bang – but how about Yeo-chi? One of the officers pulls out an evidence bag containing Ho-hae’s ring, which had Yeo-chi’s blood on it from the time he slapped her. They know her relationship with her uncle was rocky, and take that as enough motivation for murder.

Bang has been oddly quiet this whole time, and makes an in-the-moment decision to choke the driver so that the police car veers off the road and crashes. Whoa, what? I can’t tell if that’s brave, or reckless, or both.

Either way, he’s made a decision and he’s sticking to it. Everyone’s survived the car crash despite a few bruises, and Bang makes as if he’s going to leave Yeo-chi there. She desperately clings to him, but he reveals his reason for trying to leave her behind – that way he takes all the blame, and she takes none. Still, she declines, and chooses to escape the car crash and follow him instead.

Acting on Chairman Jin’s orders, Gabi and Bun-kwae are on the way to the police station with a lawyer. Naturally, they pass the wreckage on the way and see both Bang and Yeo-chi escaping from the vehicle. In a display of loyalty, Gabi orders Bun-kwae to block the chasing police and sets to beating the crap out of them. I love that she kicks so much ass.

She claims not to believe their story that they’re police officers, until Bun-kwae interjects at just the right moment (having already given Bang and Yeo-chi time to escape) to explain that they were at the funeral earlier. Gabi switches gears instantly, apologizing for the misunderstanding. Teamwork for the win!

With the lab fire, Ho-hae’s murder, and what they believe to be Eternal Youth in their grasp, Chairman Oh gives Hang-woo the okay to proceed in bringing Chun Ha down. Now that Hang-woo’s successfully completed a murder cover-up, he’s free to give evil glares at his leisure.

Hang-woo doesn’t waste time, and goes straight into a series of meetings designed to work undercover for Chun Ha’s collapse. The public can’t become aware that Jang Cho is behind this, so secrecy is a must. As far as their company goes, they’re trying to bring over Chief Kim from Chun Ha. A meeting is planned for tonight, and Hang-woo intends to go.

Chief Kim isn’t the only one at the meeting – he’s brought Woo-hee along too. Seems like both of them are out of jobs now, and Chief Kim explains that they’ll be meeting with the general manager from Jang Cho… Hang-woo. He tells her to be on her game considering Hang-woo is unmarried, good-looking, and rich. She puts up a front that makes it seem like she doesn’t care, since she’s of the mind that all rich people are terrible anyway.

But then she goes to the bathroom, and begins to preen and doll herself up. Ha! She goes farther and farther each time, even going so far as to put extra padding in her bra and undo some of the top buttons of her blouse.

She bumps into Hang-woo outside, and tries to keep the tone light as she asks if he’s been hired Jang Cho. He sort of dodges the question before noting that she has a few too many buttons undone. Haha! I love that he just calls her out on everything. To add insult to injury, he notices her excess of makeup and wonders if she’s trying to seduce someone. She blusters, and he makes faces as he leaves first, glad to be gone.

She re-enters the meeting room, and to her horror discovers that the man who just left, the one she knows as ‘King Kong’, is Hang-woo – the general manager of Jang Cho. Yikes. To make things worse, Hang-woo calls his representative on the way out and tells him not to hire Woo-hee.

When she finds out that Hang-woo has specifically objected to her, she looks like she’s about to cry. It’s sad, but also funny.

Meanwhile, Bang tries to place a call to Chairman Jin. Yeo-chi puts a stop to it and hangs up the phone for him. Bang can’t understand why she won’t just go back to the police station – he’s sure Chairman Jin will hire her the best lawyer. They’re on different wavelengths as she tells him that her grandfather looked at her like she was a murderer when she was being carted away – so she doesn’t believe he’ll save her. Speaking of, though – why did Bang run away?

He explains that it’s because he doesn’t have the money for a lawyer and no connections, so his only hope lies in finding Shin. Yeo-chi is all for this plan, since in clearing his own name he’ll clear hers too. That means Bang is stuck with her, and he’s not happy about it.

With police on high alert, they decide that they have to camouflage themselves if they want any hope of escaping detection. This takes them to a donation bin, and Yeo-chi reels in horror as Bang goes searching through the abandoned clothes. He actually wants her to go around dressed like that? “I can’t wear anything that’s not designer,” she whines. Oh dear, this is going to be a problem.

Bang has had it with her already, and says that though he’s never hit a woman, he’s certainly thinking of it now. They start undressing and re-dressing like thieves in the night, but they’re soon discovered by a man with a flashlight. They look like they were in the middle of something naughty, and so they’re forced to scatter, with Bang holding his pants up as he runs. Hee.

Yeo-chi is incredulous that they have to stay in a filthy motel, and continually complains about Every. Single. Thing. The strain is wearing on Bang, who looks like he’d be thankful if someone just took her off his hands. We see him take another Eternal Youth, while he describes Shin to her and asks if she’s maybe seen him around. He’s trying to solve this puzzle, and Yeo-chi is doing nothing to help.

Claiming that she can’t trust him, Yeo-chi handcuffs him to a floor lamp. He yells at her to just leave him alone already, but she says she can’t when he’s giving her such lustful looks. “See! Look how your eyes are bleary. It’s strange!” she points out. His response? “That’s because I’m hungry!” Ahaha.

She’s too firmly stuck within her own world, and laments the fact that she’s sexy, he’s a guy, so he probably just can’t help it. I’m sure Bang feels the exact opposite, and for the moment, thinking of her as a woman is the furthest thing from his mind.

We get a peek into Shin’s back story as we see why he’s as loyal as he is. The briefcase of money Hang-woo gave him earlier goes directly to his sick daughter, who’s in need of a heart transplant. Now they have the money but no donor – and at least it’s one step in the right direction.

When Hang-woo calls him later, Shin lies about being at the airport. He can’t leave his wife and sick child alone, so Hang-woo can basically stuff it.

Having been rejected for a new job, Woo-hee drinks her sorrows away and continuously drunk-dials Hang-woo, who continuously ignores her calls. The next time he picks up a call from her the person on the other end is the waiter – who tells him that she’s passed out and needs help. Hang-woo absolutely refuses, but becomes too flustered to continue working.

So, he grudgingly goes to the restaurant in order to carry her home. Aww. He’s done some bad deeds, but he’s not all bad – because he once again has to put up with her drunk abuse and does so like a champion. I wouldn’t go so far as to say he’s a good guy, but a totally bad guy would have just left her there without losing any sleep. Hang-woo strikes me as the type that would lose some sleep.

Bum-jeung, meanwhile, seems to be taking a closer look at the Ho-hae case and sees Hang-ryang on the security camera footage. That’s bad news for Hang-ryang, but good news for justice.

The next morning, Woo-hee wakes up a hot mess. She’s all disheveled and horribly hungover… and does a spit-take as she sees that she drunk-dialed Hang-woo – er, King Kong – way too excessively last night. Ha.

Chairman Jin is working hard to clear his granddaughter’s name – even going so far as to threaten the police force should they not launch a thorough investigation. “More than proof, I trust my granddaughter the most,” he tells them. Aww, you do have a heart!

Once she’s alone with him, Gabi starts acting a little forward. As she massages his tense shoulders she begins to prod him about announcing a successor… and that it should be someone he trusts the most. There’s a strange, ambitious glint in her eye as she soothingly guides him to make a decision. I can’t quite tell what she’s getting at, though. Surely she can’t be proposing herself as a successor?

Hahaha. Okay, this is hilarious. While in the hotel, Bang lays out his thoughts to Yeo-chi. There was a mastermind behind Shin who’s been after him from the start, but they made a fatal mistake. They chose him, of all people. “But soon, they will know clearly that I’m the grim reaper!”

But the moment they step outside with their clever disguises, the theme music from Oldboy starts to play. Especially with the wig, Bang looks strikingly similar to the protagonist of that movie. And now the plot of his journey bears similarities, so it’s just funny references on top of funny references.

They begin a slow, direction-less search for any clues related to Shin. The theme music continues to play as the two sit together on a set of stairs to eat, and Bang pops another Eternal Youth into his mouth. (I’m keeping track only because something is bound to happen with this.)

Due to the unstable nature of Chun Ha’s management section, different executives from the company are beginning to gather their own forces. Everyone seems to have picked the same restaurant to gather, and Bum-jeung listens to the brown-nosing from a distance with a resigned air. He’s been doing his own investigations on Hang-ryang, and has set up a meeting for the two of them.

He flat-out asks Hang-ryang if he believes that Bang and Yeo-chi killed Ho-hae, to which Hang-ryang replies that he does. He also adds that he thinks Bang must have the drug – which we know is an outright lie, since he believes the drug to be in his hands. Bum-jeung isn’t afraid to let Hang-ryang know that he’s suspicious, and he declares that a lot of details just don’t add up. Hang-ryang is uncomfortable, as expected.

Bang finds Yeo-chi freezing outside their motel, and finds out that they’ve been kicked out due to lack of payment. He offers her a bowl of ramen, and despite being starving she knocks it to the ground. She’s that hungry, and all he’s brought her is a measly bowl of instant noodles? Is he treating her this way because she’s dressed like a beggar?

The two of them fight, and Bang eventually thanks her for asking him to leave. When he does so without even looking back, Yeo-chi becomes even more upset that he’s leaving. Haha. Yeo-chi, you have to speak human. Bang is not of a mind to understand women’s subtleties and hidden messages right now.

Hilariously, Yeo-chi finds herself on the outside looking in as a well-fed mother and her well-fed son enjoy a large pizza. It’s as if she’s trying to absorb the food through the glass, which is just too funny. (And is that a cameo by Ding Dong?)

Back in the motel, Bang sees a tray of leftover food and trash outside of a door. It looks like he’s seriously considering taking it… and he does. He doesn’t really think twice, and begins tearing into the leftovers. Ewwwww. I mean, I get it, but ewwww.

Yeo-chi finds him and swiftly sets to scolding him. She just knew he was secretly feasting behind her back, so how dare he try to keep this food from her? He can’t get a word in otherwise, and she goes straight into the food. He makes an executive decision not to tell her about the true origin of the food, until the deliveryman comes upon them to take back the jjajangmyun bowls. Yeo-chi thinks he’s trying to steal from her and fights him over the bowl…

…Which results in her getting noodles to the face. Ha! And aww. I thought she would blow up, but she asks in a completely controlled voice, “By any chance, is this leftover food someone left behind?”

He answers yes, and she starts sobbing.

Chun Ha’s stocks are falling, and it’s pandemonium. The general public is even aware of the murder rumors circulating around, which only spells bad news bears for Chun Ha. To top it all off, Hang-woo ends up on the news, and is asked about his predictions for the future of the group. What are the chances that Chun Ha will recover? “Unless an innovative management method is introduced, it’s very unlikely,” he responds. Chairman Jin has been keeping up with the news, and is most displeased to hear so many negative things about his company.

Bang finds himself waiting at a crossroads while Hang-woo’s face is projected onto a huge screen behind him. Shin ends up on the other side of the street in his trademark bicycle-riding gear, and the moment Bang sees him, the Oldboy theme kicks up again. He grabs Shin’s arm, and coolly asks him how he’s been these days… as he takes off his sunglasses and wig for the big reveal.


Ahhh! Bang, put that face away before you scare someone!

This episode was a bit slower than those that preceded it, but the funny moments definitely delivered. Fallout from the lab fire was inevitable, and now we’re getting to see all the powers at play now that Ho-hae is dead and Yeo-chi is missing. Everyone has a stake in the company, and no one is ready to sit back and just let the events unfold.

We got to see a change in Bang, too, in how he handles himself under pressure. I was really surprised when he took the initiative in the cop car and freaking ran it off the road, because that’s pretty hardcore. I get where he’s coming from, though – he’s had so much injustice in life because of his social status, so he knows what a hopeless case is when he sees it. And Yeo-chi following along is just priceless. Instead of being grating, Yeo-chi manages to keep her character grounded. In fact, she seems to be doing pretty well in the wild, especially for how spoiled she is. She may complain about the blankets, the food, the clothes – but she does what she has to do. We can all complain about bad circumstances, but it’s what we do while we’re going through them that counts.

I’m excited for how Bang and Yeo-chi’s relationship will develop in the future, romantic or not. She follows him around because he’s her lifeline, but he’s also the only friend she has. He may hate it, and she may hate it, but they’re in this together – and that’s something I just love.

It’s nice when even side characters get layers, like Yeo-chi’s grandfather. He does have this heartless and cold exterior, but it’s clear that he still cares underneath. I’m sure that if Yeo-chi would have given him the chance, he would have saved her. But she didn’t, and now we get to see what happens because of it. Onward!


37 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Sojuboy

    Boy 2Heads, you must be working overtime. I’m loving this show. I don’t remember Korea ever doing something like this, wacky-dark-comedy. This show reminds me of Dr. Strangelove.


  2. harimsam

    tHanks for the superr fast recap headsno2 i am glad for your support for SALARYMAN always waiting for your post for this brilliant drama keep it up hwaiting!

  3. elle loves kdrama

    Ha! How much do I love this drama! Poor Ding Dong, it’s about time I learned his real name, he is SO cute!

    Thanks for the “Oldboy” reference, I knew I knew that song from somewhere 🙂

  4. Cool

    Especially with the wig, Bang looks strikingly similar to the protagonist of that movie.


    • 4.1 Musings

      um… yes.

      • 4.1.1 Cool


  5. thiramek

    headsno2, thanks a lot! you just mke my day 😀

  6. Koreandramasrock

    Kumawoyo!!!! ^_^

  7. Alkachan

    Loving it ! Recaps (CHEERS !!), show, characters, and unexpectedness all around 🙂

  8. Trisha

    that was fast! thanks =)

  9. kopytko

    Thank you for the recap, HeadsNo2!

    I am really happy that you’re recapping this series. Just love its vibe. And I didn’t suspect Jung Ryeo Won of being able to play a role like this.
    I am looking forward to the next recap!

  10. 10 Rachael

    Thanks for the recap HeadsNo2! It helps me get all excited for the subbed version on dramafever :). I wonder if we’ll see side-effects at any point from Bang even semi-consistently taking the drug considering they played around with that so early on. Haha, Yeo-chi seems to be steadily latching on Bang, which is hilarious while he’s saying “Get awaaaaayyyyy from meeeeee!”

  11. 11 John

    Thanks for reference to Oldboy, now I’ll have to watch it.

    Bang is full of surprises, isn’t he?

    He just doesn’t quit.

    Woo-hee padding her bra.. Hah!. The skirt she was wearing was awful short, (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Yeo-chi wearing donation box clothes and eating discarded food ! Cussing the cops and begging through the window. That’s funny stuff.

  12. 12 Mystisith

    I will wait to see the ep first, then i’ll come back to read this. Thanks HeadsNo2.

  13. 13 beggar1015

    Having never seen this Oldboy, can someone fill me in?

    • 13.1 HeadsNo2

      I’d be happy to, since it’s one of my favorite films. Oldboy is a 2003 Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook, and it follows a man named Oh Dae-su who was locked in a private prison for fifteen years without ever being told why. He’s suddenly released, so it ends up being about his search for the man who imprisoned him, and it’s like a revenge thriller on speed. I highly recommend watching it if you’ve got a strong stomach for horror.

      • 13.1.1 HeadsNo2

        Apologies for the italics. They were unintentional. Cheers!

  14. 14 boo

    Headsno2, i officially love u! Thanks fr this recap cos i missed it but i managed to watch ep 6 live, so yayyyy..
    I know u hate spoilers n dont watch previews but d epilogue (or whatever u call it) @ d end of each ep is just soo funny..

    Jung Ryeo-won’s such a hoot. She shud avoid doing weepy roles (that’s all i remember of her) from now on….

  15. 15 sm

    This show is brilliant. I worried it would be a watered down, modern-day version of Giant, but it is shaping up to be the most unique, tour de force, dark comedies I’ve had the honor of watching. Many thanks for recapping this excellent series!

  16. 16 WhiteBirch

    I also went into this series hoping that it wouldn’t be another Giant. I loved Giant, but I didn’t need to see another series with so many of the same actors in the same roles. The tone is completely different from Giant, much quirker and more random with all the Chinese Warring States Period references. Btw, has anyone else noticed the “weblogs” at the end of each episode? it comes on after the previews. Some funny little sequence that only makes sense if you’ve seen the episode. They’re really funny. especially today’s- episode 6.

    • 16.1 jenny

      yes i have!! hahah yeah today’s was pretty funny. but i reckon the one where woo hee was having a shower and the guys could see her through the necklace camera was a classic, cracked me up so bad hahaha

  17. 17 jenny

    Hey! Thanks so much for this.
    hahahah ahahah
    i cant believe korean would be able to dish out something so authentic and awesome ahahah
    its hilarious and i love bang to bits!!

    thanks for the recaps they always enhance my viewing experience

  18. 18 JoHannah

    Thanks so much for the summary, it’s hilarious!

    Oh, that was Ding Dong!
    Hope that Woo Hee and Hang Woo end up together, absolutely love them!

  19. 19 moana

    this show is hilarious! i’m so loving bang and yeo chi. can’t wait til they get together (oh and they better!). they’re way more entertaining than all of the corporate stuff.

  20. 20 heesoup

    thanks so much~

  21. 21 Molly

    Thanks for the recap! I really want to start watching this – where can I view it online?

    • 21.1 John

      Both Viki.com & dramafever.com have this show.

  22. 22 Eliza Bennet

    Thank you so much for recapping this HeadsNo2. Your efforst are highly appreciated.

  23. 23 mskololia

    This episode flew by. The romantic entanglements are shaping up nicely.

    Yes, the adorable kid eating pizza is Ding Dong….I love this kid.

    Thanks HeadsNo2 for picking this one up.

  24. 24 mihinikki

    I laughed so hard when Yeo Chi realized she was eating leftovers. And I loved the Ding Dong scene. I am officially IN LOVE with HOTS. Thanks for the recaps!

  25. 25 Alkachan

    I love so much Yeo Chi’s face in your head screencap ! Spot on and priceless !
    Heaps of thanks for recapping !

  26. 26 Lilian

    Yeochi eating the jajangmyun part was awesome! When she slurps up the cheap but delicious food…haha! Finally a chance to see the other side =)

  27. 27 jomo

    Thank you for the recap!
    I am enjoying the slapstick mixed in with the revenge stories, sick relatives and suicidal parents. I love how they aren’t trying to disguise any of the plot devices and cliches.
    The grateful mother holding a suit-case of ill gotten cash that will buy her daughter a heart — super like!

    Mostly I really enjoy the Bang+YC scenes but there was something “off” when she handcuffed him to the lamp. It seemed even too mean-spirited to me. (Or maybe since I saw Blind, I have been afraid of watching folks get handcuffed.)

    I think the line with the “everyone from our company is here at this restaurant” was a poke at Giant. Everyone was always at the same two restaurants meeting clandestinely, listening through paper walls, witnessing the comings and goings of their enemies. You kinda wondered if there were any other places to eat in Seoul…

  28. 28 bamsa

    Thank you for the subs!! I am loving Bang more now 🙂

  29. 29 ay

    Could anyone tell me the name of the song that was played during the scene when Shin visited his daughter at the hospita, pleaaase?

  30. 30 purpleZ

    I’m a bit late. I enjoy this drama much. And Bang’s style as as Choi Min Shik’s Oh Dae Soo in Old Boy is hilarious! I burst out in laughter when the ost started to play with bang walking in slow motion. Haha. Old Boy is one of my favourite movies, it has great OST. But back to Salaryman, it’s so catchy.the kind that unexpectedly glue you in front of the TV.

  31. 31 dd

    dang, I’m way late but obviously loving this dang drama. I tried to watch the first episode about 4 times but could never get into it. I’m glad I did not give up. I’m giggling over the second lead couple actually…can’t wait to see where this goes.

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