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…