Sitcoms/Variety Shows
Running Man: Episode 88
by | April 8, 2012 | 33 Comments

It’s time to crack the Running Man Code in this week’s episode. Get your brain cells ready to figure out the clues and follow the hunt to discover the hidden meaning behind the puzzle. Are you ready for a good ol’ brain exercise?

EPISODE 88. Broadcast on April 1, 2012.

Today’s opening takes place at Jeju Island. The previous night’s rain won’t damper their spirits, especially for Kwang-soo, who runs around breathing in the seawater… alone. Poor puppy can’t even get his one-shot.

Mr. PD introduces today’s guests as ‘musical fairies’ and their entrance is as whimsical as you can imagine – brought in with a horse-drawn open carriage. Seeing as they’re covered by umbrellas, they couldn’t be real fairies right? Hopefully not Choi Min-soo or maknae FD?

The umbrellas reveal that nope, he’s human indeed. Say hello to singer/songwriter Jung Jae-hyung. He bumbles around to greet all the cast, but misses Ji-hyo in the process. Jae-suk jokes that this hyung is available to guest right away (suggesting he doesn’t have much work, aw) and that he’s weak – he was caught with a nasty cold after he got hit with a water gun on Happy Together, another one of Jae-suk’s variety shows.

With more graceful steps, our next guest is singer BoA. It’s so strange to hear that this is her very first variety filming because she’s been in the entertainment industry for what seems like ages.

This naturally means she’s never met Yoo Jae-suk, which again is so odd because it seems all the big names are on friendly terms with the nation’s MC. Haha drops that they’ve been on radio together and she responds with that distant familiar but I don’t recall tone, “Ahh…”

You can hear the choruses of “Pfft” when Mr. PD declares that they’ll be choosing teams via a “Catch me if you can” game. It’s basically a game between lovers where commonly the woman will run along the beach/park/wherever and the man will have to ‘catch’ her. You can snort too – that’s okay.

Jae-suk pointedly notes that it’s especially embarrassing if you’re just running and no one ‘catches’ you. Which means that Kwang-soo must run first of course, to his protest. Caption: You were running so well by yourself earlier…

So he runs, and as expected, no one follows. Forever alone.

Jae-hyung contemplates running to Haha who lays it on thick that he wants to be on BoA’s team. So when he catches his hyung in mid-stride, he yells, “Not you!!” HAHAHA. They chase each other like lovers on a beach.

The rest of our teams are determined and they are: Red (Jae-suk, Gary, BoA), Yellow (Jong-kook, Haha, Jae-hyung), and Blue (Ji-hyo, Suk-jin, Kwang-soo).

Today’s mission is none other than to crack the Running Man Code using their brain and wit to solve the clues. First stop – find the Running Man file.

Maybe it’s just to break the awkwardness or to welcome her, but Jae-suk reminds Gary that it’s their job to make her feel as comfortable as possible. And he jumps to explain why his stage name is ‘Gary’ when BoA asks (the gist being that he added the ‘-ry’ to his childhood nickname of dog, ‘gae‘)

Then there’s confident Jae-hyung in the car but mentions ‘the woman’ in your cast and Haha remarks that it’s a blessing that he’s not in her team or he wouldn’t have heard the end of it – Ji-hyo could potentially hold you by the hair… literally. And Jae-hyung’s all, no prob, I’ve got no qualms about that.

The Running Man start rifling through the green tea fields to search for their files, initially discouraged that they keep discovering blank ones. That is until Jae-suk and Kwang-soo find the ones marked by the RM sticker – musical scores.

Jae-suk puts two and two together when they run to the piano on top of the hill and notice a suspicious box hanging on its underside. They’ll have to play it to unlock the box. But I have a feeling it can’t possibly be that easy.

It isn’t because it fails to open when they play the song and sing along. It’s doubly hilarious for the Yellow Team whose song is in French. As they garble through the song it sounds more like an alien language. It couldn’t possibly be that hard, right?

Everyone fails and Gary astutely notes that there must be a different relationship between their score and the piano. At the same time, Jong-kook figures that it must be simpler than they think – since even members like Kwang-soo need to solve the puzzle.

Speaking of, the Red Team is busy making fun of him and the ‘National Park’ team, teasing that the Giraffe can play the piano and has an IQ.

But be it singing it more cheerfully or singing in harmony, the boxes stay firmly locked (to BoA’s loud exasperation and Jae-suk again mentions how beauties have short tempers).

Then Jae-suk points out the hidden code – note names are scattered throughout the lyrics. So they’ll have to play those particular notes for the box to drop. And sure enough, it works.

But they’ve got to be on the move because the other teams are also discovering the secret code.

All that running and playing the piano must have taken a lot out of Jae-hyung as he sits, his mouth agape in the car. He fumes that he wanted to win but now they’re last.

Jong-kook reminds him that being first isn’t always to their advantage, so there’s no need to get upset. Jae-hyung: “It’s not that I’m upset… I’m annoyed! Seeing Kwang-soo’s face provokes me!”

In the National Park Safari’s car, Ji-hyo mentions that Kwang-soo’s mother had a fit when her son won one week but came back with an antique ink holder. Hm, well I guess it’s kinda measly compared to gold rings and Hanwoo meat. He jokes that it’s collected dust on his counter.

At the Leonardo daVinci Museum, the Red Team peruses the different exhibits, amazed at some of the inventions of yore and taking some fun pictures too.

They stumble upon a curious painting of a rhinoceros drawn by the ever-famous Yun-ho from TVXQ (he appeared in a previous episode). And taped behind the frame, is another puzzling clue.

They gripe about how it looks like they’ll have use their noggins all day today whilst the Blue Team waltzes in and finds an old sketch of Jae-suk, the famous artist being Jong-kook.

Kwang-soo immediately recognizes it as Roman numerals and inputs ‘2140’ into their small safe they acquired from their first mission. It’s wrong and he tries so many times that he ends up getting locked out and stewing his teammates annoyance.

Despite his argument that he was the one who found the painting, he was the one who figured out the clue… they just ignore him.

The Yellow Team saunters in (Jae-hyung: “Hey it’s all of those irritating kids!”) and belatedly see the out-of-place drawing hung on the wall. Jae-suk tells them to step a few feet back from his masterpiece and pokes fun while they figure out where the clue is.

A sudden announcement grabs their attention – a phone call is waiting for them. They all dash down the stairs, racing to be the first to answer that call.

Spartakooks beats everyone to the punch and then slips his teammates the location in the basement. They oh so casually try to slip past the others into the elevator, and BoA’s silent lurking presence scares the bejesus out of them.

While the others rush to pick up another phone call, the Yellow Team head downstairs to find a table filled with goodies that are sure to help them reveal the hidden message in the clue. They’re so caught up with the table that Jae-hyung realizes a second too late that he’s shown his back to the camera. HA – yeah, you might want to turn around so we can see your face.

Jong-kook gets to work to lock the door from the inside and Haha whispers, “Just knock out anyone who tries to come in!”

It doesn’t keep the other teams out for long and soon all the teams are using up all their brain power over this one clue. As Jae-suk sighs, frustrated and tired, BoA asks him, “Is it always this hard every week?” Jae-suk: “Yeah…”

But it’s still better than Kwang-soo who uses his body motions to mirror the images in their clue, all while trying to seek attention from his teammates. The gears in his head start turning – he only saw half of the Roman numerals before and he looks at the mirror in his hands…

He reflects it and reveals another four digit code: 0912. And it works – good job Kwang-soo! His sleuth skills earn him the front passenger seat in the car.

Soon afterward, the Yellow Team also figures out the code and takes out the cryptex inside. Haha wonders aloud, “How did Kwang-soo solve this?” And Gary’s response? “Stttresss!!”

With one look at the cryptex, Gary deflates, “Just hang the bells off of our shoes.” Strressss –seumdwa!!

Having found a nugget of confidence, Kwang-soo rattles on about how this episode is going to be amazing for him… and Ji-hyo shuts him up: “Do you want to sit in the back?”

The next step of their mission brings them to a town where they’ll need to search for clues for their cryptex. Dang, it’s cold AND wet AND they’re hungry. As they wander the streets, Ji-hyo notices that the townspeople appear to be wearing name tags.

They chase after a few suspicious old women who suddenly make a run for it and Kwang-soo yelps how they can run so quickly (they’re staff members).

I love how Jae-hyung’s antics make him such a good fit for variety. Not only is he bumbling, has a flaring temper, but he’s also physically weak which makes pretty much everything he does downright hilarious. He attempts to tear off BoA’s name tag but she turns around at the last second and his body goes flying in the same direction.

And then when they pick up that they need to chase the townspeople, he loses one who slips right through his fingers. Hide and Seek or agility is not this man’s forte.

They search through the town, coming up with mostly empty name tags. When they come across a clue, they’re letters and soon they have most of them, racking their brains for any five letter words.

Suk-jin nearly keels over in his seat when he figures out the clue – how about ‘music’? It clicks open for another clue.

Similar to a word search, the names Suk-jin and Kwang-soo jump out at all three teams. In the car, Suk-jin reaches over Kwang-soo’s shoulder, “How about we start with yours first?”

When they get to the final mission location, the Easy Brothers‘ expressions darken to see that they’ll need two coins to win the mission. If only they rip off one of each other’s tags, they can be sure that it’s hidden beneath theirs… and they glance at each other, once, twice, and three times.

Kwang-soo makes a run for it when the Yellow Team approaches and Suk-jin warily backs away in response before running. Then after a missed chance to take out Spartakooks, Suk-jin is targeted and taken out by Jae-hyung.

But don’t soak in that victory for long, because Suk-jin has eliminated you too. More importantly, Suk-jin’s tag is clean, but Jae-hyung’s…

Ji-hyo tucks the coin inside her jacket and proposes an alliance with the Yellow Team. Both of the Easy Brothers‘ tags were clean, which means they misread their clue. Taking away every clue referring to them, the phrase, “the fairies’ name tags” remain.

They deduce that they’ll need BoA’s name tag, but that will mean no color Team will decisively win (Haha: “It’ll be a Running Man win…”) and then Jong-kook’s eyes fall upon Ji-hyo’s back.

She catches the both of them in the act and grabs both of their hands to prevent them from reaching, but they jokingly reach across with their other hand as if hardwired to take her out.

Meanwhile, the Red Team is confused at the others’ warning to watch their backs. Buying into Haha’s words, they resolve that they should tear off each other’s name tags to find out. The captions read how they should be figuring out the clue instead of this nonsense.

Jae-suk gets the short end of the stick and is shocked to find that it doesn’t reveal anything. As he’s dragged off, BoA, frustrated, reaches for her own back. Jae-suk: “Don’t let her do it!”

You know that the alliance can only last for so long as Ji-hyo is eliminated by Jong-kook right outside the jail tent. The other teams moan at such blatant betrayal and Suk-jin asks; “Do you two even believe each other?” Touché.

HA – victory is secured in their hands if only Haha eliminates BoA, but he’s the one being chased, poorly at that. He’s easily eliminated.

BoA inserts the two coins, the pedestal lights up and she opens the case to reveal the Running Man code. They ask her what’s inside and she replies, “A plug.” HAHAHA – it’s a homonym in Korean and the entire camp is lit up.

The winning team earns a hearty meal while the Yellow Team cooks up curry for themselves. You’ll need all that energy because you’re stepping into Wonderland tomorrow morning…


33 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. N


  2. Ani

    Aaaaaaaaaaaw. Poor Easy Brothers. They were on a roll today, and then their engine pretty much sputtered and died.

    It was a pretty meh episode, just by reading the recaps. I bet that it’s a bit different when I sit down to watch it, since the funny in Running Man almost always comes down to the interaction between the cast. I sure hope they heat things up in the next episode. I say get out your big guns Running Man.

    • 2.1 Ani

      P.S. Happy Easter Beanies. I totally forgot to add that one bit earlier. I came back to correct my folly. XP

    • 2.2 sugarpunch

      Sometimes I feel that easy brothers can never catch a break, and i got a little frustrated. they were on a roll UNTIL people tried to solve the clue on the paper inside the cryptex.

      I felt it was unfair that the bunch of words on the paper all pointed to kwangsoo, sukjin, jae hyung and boa. it was definite that jae hyung and boa would have been in different teams from the start, so they weren’t in much risk having their names on the paper as their team members would protect them. so the fate of the easy brothers was doomed from the start…

      haha yeah… i dissected the game. Just felt it would be more exciting if the ending wasn’t so predictable…

  3. Cynthia

    Thanks for the recap, Gummimochi!

    I’m really rather puzzled at the inclusion of Jung Jae-hyung -he plays the piano, speaks French and ?. He came off as prissy, bad-tempered and didn’t even know who Song Ji-hyo was?! Plus, being introduced as a ‘musical fairy’ just made me wonder if he was batting for the other team, particularly when he was showing the hissy-fit side of his personality during the piano challenge. Oh, well. They can’t all be Yonghwa, Nichkhun or Big Bang. **sigh**

    BOA was an interesting inclusion – it’s nice to see her venturing out into the variety field. She’s gotten lots of positive response for the AI type of show she’s doing now. She laughs easily and isn’t afraid to mix it up with the guys.

    One thing that’s really starting to bother me is the ‘victim’ persona that Kwang-soo is adopting for this show. It’s hard watching him being alternately isolated and ignored – it was acceptable in earlier episodes because it was infrequent. Now, it’s a pathetic character he’s playing.

    • 3.1 hanabi

      I agree about Jung Jae Hyung. I can’t believe he wouldn’t make an effort to learn the cast members of a show he was guesting on. He came across as very arrogant.

      I liked Boa too. It’s more fun when guests are excited about the games and actively participate.

      I’m getting rather tired of the way the teams are formed recently. It seems like Jae Suk is always teamed with the female guests, and the Kwang Soo, Suk Jin, and Ji Hyo are cast aside.

      Overall, it feels like the episodes are becoming more and more scripted (not as in what the members say, but in how they interact/react). The games are not as interesting, and there haven’t been enough super funny or really exciting moments in the past several episodes (the second Big Bang episode not withstanding – that was fun!). The PDs need to bring back some of the activities from older episodes.

      Don’t get me wrong, I still love me my Running Man. It’s just not as fun/funny as it used to be.

      • 3.1.1 yeszzz

        totally agree.i used 2 be a huge fan of running man but it’s getting more boring and scripted.they need to do something or it will be axed like family outing.and about gwang soo, sometimes i do feel that he himself is rather annoyed with the way the members treat him

        • Cynthia

          I agree.
          After watching 2 out of 3 of the last RM episodes, I’m really giving some serious thought as to why RM is losing some of its luster (to me).

          Firstly, and I do NOT want to come off as a sexist here, but featuring a female as the ‘premiere’ guest just doesn’t cut it. The men are too busy fawning over her and trade their ruthlessness for winning for fan worship. I’m trying to remember some exceptions, but Kim Sun Ah is the only actress who really did a good job because she was totally sneaky.

          But, oddly enough, I really find the eps where several women come in to be successful – particularly the ep using SNSD. There were enough of them to pair off with the entire team, and the ‘couple’ concept was a really good one.

          What I really want is for the PD to return to high profile male actor/idols. The ‘Hunters’ RM was terrific. Choi Min-soo was beyond good. The guest has to be a generally recognized A-lister – and if he’s teamed with a companion, that person has to be on the same level – no fading into the background. That’s why idol groups do well – they all know the value of air/face time for the camera and aren’t hesitant to step up.

          Gummimochi – sorry to go a bit OT ranty here – but these last 3 eps really had me aggravated. RM is too good to be plateauing on this ‘meh’ level.

  4. JiHwan

    Gwang Soo always has that confused/I’m lost/someone help me look on his face. It’s so priceless.

  5. Hyuna

    Agu!! I was so angry that Jong Kook eliminated Ji Hyo!

  6. phoe

    Aah, Gwang sooo <3 ….
    Love the giraffe….

  7. jae

    thank you gummimochi! ^^

  8. xiaoSxin

    That last screencap looks familiar! Lava tube caves in Jeju?

  9. Anonymous

    Kwang Soo = mega brain !

  10. 10 yz

    Female guest always pick jaesuk, and their team always win. The endings arent as exciting as they used to be…

  11. 11 cielo009

    I honestly think RM should go back to what they do best, betrayals and simple hide and seek games, like that episode with Jaesuk and the water gun, that was an epic episode. RM feels like its stuck lately, the most recent episode that I actually enjoyed was the one with super powers, and that has been a long while ago. I didn’t even enjoyed that hyped up BB episode, it was such a bore. Hopefully KBS will show the new episode of QoM with Shinhwa maybe I’ll tune in to that instead for next week.

    And I guess most people don’t know who Jung Jae Hyung is and has a bad impression of him through this episode, he’s really funny. You should all watch Infinite challenge episodes with him.

    • 11.1 Lilian

      Oh man..I loved that episode with the water gun! Everyone was trying to guess who the guest was when there wasn’t even a guest! awesome =) Choi Min Soo’s episodes are also pretty interesting esp the one at the theme park. Also , love the one with the special powers where Gary won!

    • 11.2 LK

      The Big Bang episode was bo-ring. It was only hyped up because it’s Big Bang. But even their appearance wasn’t that interesting. No real funny moments.

      The water gun episode was hilarious! I also love episodes with Choi Min Soo and cool ones like the superpowers! They should definitely bring back the bells and add a spy. Those were the best! I feel like now they concentrate a lot more on the mini games and the chasing is short and lackluster.

  12. 12 jane

    I think this episode is really fun 🙂 thanks for recapping this, gummimochi 😀

  13. 13 sjkwifey

    Another lackluster episode from Running Man. I’m such a fan of Running Man that it annoys me that I have not been enjoying the recent episodes. I really hope that they change the format of splitting into teams because I’m bored of the sudden betrayals and the endless footage of car journeys, it just gets so repetitive these days.

  14. 14 dls

    Thanks for the recap!!
    Kwang Soo is amazing to solve the numeric puzzle.
    Big nose hyung is also great in solving the music crytex.
    I think this is the first time they are shooting in the middle of rain. Must be tiring.
    Running man manseh…please produce more exciting games and bring more laughter!!!

  15. 15 min

    next episode looks interesting!

    i like that they need to crack their mind on top of the running!

  16. 16 Scarlett Rox

    I know most people might be sick and tired of hearing this but I am getting pretty frustrated with Running Man. I felt that this ep was pretty interesting. I was actually on the edge of my seat for the most of it. But the ending! Come on! It was completely obvious that Haha let Boa win.

    I don’t balme the Running Man cast and nor do I actually blame the guest. For the most part I do like most of the guest that come on. It’s just recently I feel like that these eps (to me, at least) have been pretty intresting and than at the last second they ruin by not letting the real winner win and forcing the main guest to get the gold.

    • 16.1 Jackie

      Ya, they’ve been doing that alot lately, and Jae suk always being teamed up with the celebrity or the celebrity choosing only him. THere needs to be more – variety in this variety to be frank.

    • 16.2 Barbie

      TRUTH. was let down by that. i expected more “reality” i guess. i just complained about that before i read your comment.

  17. 17 Barbie

    i am loving running man so damn much. i can’t believe they have to come up with new puzzles for the cast to solve every week. it’s ridiculous! i do miss the monday couple but glad i don get to have my hopes up hoping they realize they’re meant for eachother lol. anyways i thought this episode was so funny. however, i thought the way boa ripped haha’s tag off was so fake. u could tell haha wasn’t even trying :(. oh wells, i can’t wait til wonderland. i hope gwang soo wins this round. he’s been on a roll lately.

  18. 18 crazyjnx

    just a speculation on why many of the female guest are paired up or pick jae suk: he’s probably the most polite, welcoming, and professional of all the guys(without being too awkward). He won’t googly-eye the girl to death, he knows the bounds and his mc persona is very automatic. you can even see from how he interacts with the non-guess people in the villages. He always makes sure to stop and shake their hand, make eye contact, smile, greet and thank them before he leaves(all the village people, people at the markets, etc). The other RM usually shout a thank you, but jaesuk just so naturally go this extra mile because he’s used to it? because he is very aware of his public image and role.

    So I feel this is a safety net for the female guests. No(or much smaller) chance of scandalous news in relations to a RM member(and it seems that most female guests aren’t allowed or are asked to NOT group with Jihyo, which eliminates her as a safer haven), and the comfort-ability and friendliness of jaesuk.

    As far as the last couple of RM eps goes, thanks for recapping as always. I too have found them lack-luster. Is it sad that I want more intense competitive name ripping, back stabbing, and action? LOLS. RM Hunger-games style! Less of the dramatic cg effects, slow modes, and recapping of the recap that occurred two seconds ago.

    • 18.1 LK

      I personally think that most female guests choose Jae-suk over the rest because let’s face it, he is Jae-suk! Most of them probably dream of meeting him. Especially the really popular A class actresses. Plus he’s polite, friendly, approachable and smart.

      It would be wayyyyy cool if one of those actress would group with Ji-hyo though. I loved the Charlie’s Angels episode where Ji-hyo was teamed up with other female guests!

      Running Man is at its best when we only have the original cast, meaning no guest at all!

  19. 19 karulann

    🙁 These last few episode.. I started to watch the start, fast forwarded in between, and finally skip to the end… Probably there are those that are delighted to see the ‘guest’. But for me running man charm lies in the interaction between them and the guest are just side dishes to me…

  20. 20 Maria

    Wooooooo, BoA

  21. 21 Used to like Running Man

    yes totally agree with you guys. RM is getting so scripted up front and BORING and losing it’s touch. It just gets more and more disappointing with each new episode . KJK is no longer sparta cause he is always eliminated pretty easily! Kwangsoo’s scenes were a torture to watch. Starting, he seems to be alright, but now he seems to be just acting to be pathetic and all…*rolled eyes* Yes! I love the episode on super powers Though was somewhat scripted (cause Haha couldnt be eliminated the first round right ;P) But it was still creative and funny! and I love the one where Jaesuk was spy..but it got very overwhelm when more and more spies were introduced in the subsequent episodes…*yawns*

  22. 22 Used to like Running Man

    And I think after the “break up” of monday couple, it seems quite dull 🙁

  23. 23 meme

    Kwang-Soo solving that code was really AWESOME!!!! I am very impressed with him! Besides being funny, I honestly think he’s really smart AND strong but was ‘ordered’ to play it down a bit for the sake of variety. Dang’s annoying sometimes. But I love it whenever he shows those hidden sides of him. I’m very proud of the Giraffe really =).
    Boa as guest is ok. I like her as a singer.
    JJH is…meh.

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