Running Man: Episode 97
I hope you haven’t gotten sick of Park Ji-sung yet because there’s more to come in this Spy Mission and Asian Dream Cup 2012. There’s some serious soccer player fangirling ahead so don’t say that I didn’t warn ya.
EPISODE 97. Broadcast on June 3, 2012.
Last week, we left off with Park Ji-sung been given a spy mission (eliminate all the Running Man) and the opportunity to “buy” an ally among the cast from a menu. At the time, he didn’t have enough to choose anyone.
Everyone is enjoying some downtime when Suk-jin asks IU who she considers “oppa.” Nearly all the guys fall under that category except for Ji-sung who she refers to as “Sir.” The soccer sensation blushes at the respectful formality.
Ji-hyo asks if the mark on his arm is a tattoo but alas it’s a pen mark from giving an autograph. I remember this hit headlines and caused a little stir as well.
The cast scratch their heads at the mission card. Suk-jin: “It’s just a question mark.” Mr. PD explains that today’s final mission is hidden beneath someone’s name tag. Additionally, various hints of that person’s identity are hidden in the building.
Then Ji-sung is personally told what that mission is: Find the Spy. Ooh, this is good.
We’re reminded how much Baht he’s earned thus far: 18,500. Problem is, he’s still short of scouting out who he really wants: SpartAce. So who will he choose?
I love how each cast member’s description and price pops up whenever we meet them. Like how Gary won both Strongest Running Man Games or that Kwang-soo is known to betray others.
In another part of the building, Ji-sung meets with his recruit…
The crew has hilariously masked the voices but given the nervous mannerisms, we can guess who… They agree to find out who is carrying the final mission on their back before they eliminate anyone else.
Ace Ji-hyo smiles at her first hint: Song. She thinks, “Is it me?” We flashback to see that, indeed, the mission card is hidden underneath her name tag.
Jae-suk finds another hint himself:Single/Unmarried. Another pointed arrow to Ji-hyo.
Incriminating Kwang-soo is back, whispering to Jong-kook that Suk-jin has targeted the Tiger. On that word alone, Suk-jin is taken out. HA – and underneath his, it says, “Race Start!” After Ji-sung hears the announcement, he wonders if Suk-jin was eliminated without a reason.
He spots Ji-hyo in the distance but she’s not alone as Jong-kook emerges from the shadows. He moves in, placing a hand on his back… and Jong-kook whips around, sincerely shocked.
Ji-sung pipes, “I just wanted to touch [your back] once!” Boy’s gotta work on his poker face too because he looks at SpartAce blank-faced when Ji-hyo shows them her clue.
And what is eagle-eyed Jong-kook’s deduction? “It’s a song [you sing]…” Oh honey, the clue’s staring straight at you.
Ji-hyo suspects Gary, who’s acting strange and then SpartAce turn to Ji-sung. They don’t believe that he hasn’t found anything yet and then Ji-sung turns his pockets to prove it. Hahaha, aw.
So Ji-sung buckles down to find some clues, searching high and low. He wanders around, wondering why he hasn’t found one yet – the RM staff tends to hide them in obscure places. People wouldn’t laugh at him for his tactic, right? We are but it’s because you’re adorable.
He gets a flare of jealousy when he sees Haha, Jae-suk, and IU gathered, exchanging hints. Added to the list is: Over 160cm.
Jae-suk jokes: “I guess Haha and IU are out then.”
Everyone suspects Haha and who should sneak up to them but the man himself. He throws up his hands as the crowd close in on him. They’re free to check him but he doesn’t have a single clue on him. They’re not ready to believe him yet and Jae-suk points out that IU’s hand is mere inches from his back.
Haha defends that it might be Jong-kook because he’s always the spy when they least expect it and immediately IU’s line of sight zeroes in on Jong-kook’s back. HAHAHA.
Jae-suk points out that she pulls the scared act when she’s being chased but looks with hungry eyes when she’s the chaser.
In any case, Jong-kook reasons that it can’t possibly be Ji-hyo because it’s too easy. I can’t wait for you to see this to see how wrong you were.
Meanwhile, Gary uncovers another clue: the letter H (for Ji-hyo). Then he SHOUTS it out for the entire world to hear. The cameras focuses in on Haha. Whoops, time to run Haroro!
The others demand to see the hint themselves. So off comes the hat and there it is, sitting on his head. HAHAHAHA.
Haha gets defensive, “It doesn’t have to be me! Song Ji-hyo!” Jong-kook dismisses the idea and this time, IU eyes Ji-hyo’s name tag. Haha runs to the rooftop and I love how everyone is so hung up on this particular clue. Jong-kook: “It’s not ‘One Man’ right?” (One man = Han namja)
There’s a noise downstairs and we see Kwang-soo’s eliminated. Aw the poor guy didn’t even get a funny phrase behind his name tag!
Everyone gathers on the roof and they close in on Haha. Then IU reaches for Haha’s back and subsequently tears of his AND Gary’s name tags. Woah, that’s a shocker.
Haha run off again in that distracted moment and IU argues her logic, “Gary’s real name is Hee-gun!”
Haha has a final request: to go 1:1 versus Ji-sung. He’s given a 2 second head start but Ji-sung speeds up right away and Haha’s eliminated in 5 seconds flat. Dude, that’s what you get for trying to outrun a professional soccer player!
But too bad Haha’s name tag comes up blank. Haha: “I told you!”
That’s enough of a clue for IU to make another educated guess and this time she runs straight for Ji-hyo. Just like that, the final mission is out in the open. Commence chaos.
Confused, Jae-suk asks about the “H”connection and Haha explodes in the background, “It’s H for Ji-hyo you idiots!”
Now with only four remaining, they rack their brains over possible spies. On first glance, Jong-kook would suspect Ji-sung but on behavior, it would be IU. Ji-sung tries to turn the tables onto Spartakoook but he stutters, “If he is a s-s-spy…!”
He makes a fine recovery when they call him out on it, stating his fear for Jong-kook. Ji-sung suggests that there’s power in numbers which is when IU starts walking towards Jong-kook who balks, “Why are you coming here again?!”
Jong-kook and Jae-suk slip away to another room when the former is hit with an idea – there could be 2 spies. Now you’re talkin’. They agree to trust each other for now and decide to take on Jisung… when he suddenly appears outside with a huge smile on his face.
And while Jong-kook tries to find a way to lock the door safely, a hand reaches for his back…
We flashback to the earlier “secret” meetings and look who it is: Jae-suk. Oh man Gary – you didn’t even suspect that little head nod of his?
Now back to the present and rrrriipppp goes Jong-kook’s name tag. You can almost see the blood boiling just beneath the surface. Ji-sung eliminates Jae-suk to get IU off their tail and in the next moment he takes her out too, calmly as you please.
When the pieces come together in her head, she lets out her pent up emotions. Ji-sung succeeds in his spy mission and then invites the whole cast to the Asian Dream Cup.
So it’s straight to the airport onto Thailand! They arrive late at night and this is when I’m impressed: hundreds of fans await their arrival at the airport.
Morning. Jae-suk is oddly missing and the others clamor to take over the center spot. They decide to pretend like he’s there and the staff Photoshop him in, green blazer and all. HA!
Mr. PD explains that only two of them will have the honor to participate in the soccer match and that will be decided via a Survival mission. There’s still that teeny issue about the main MC and Ji-hyo suggests that the second best-looking man should do it (Jae-suk was first, Gary second).
Gary steps in: “I’ll do it seum dwa! Starting today the Monday Couple will start over!” Yes please! But there’s no need for them to fill in because Jae-suk has already sent in a substitute…
… and Ji-sung takes his place in the center. I knew you couldn’t be away for too long! Jong-kook comments that it might be a little much and then Ji-sung launches midsentence into MC mode.
We see Jae-suk asking Ji-sung for this very favor, apologetic that his return flight is at the break of dawn. Ji-sung: “If I knew that, I wouldn’t have invited you.”
The cast runs him through the catchphrases, (e.g. “Stress!”) but Ji-sung refuses to participate in the Feel Touch, Cross! chant.
Ji-sung introduces the first game – VJ arm-wrestling. Breakin’ down that fourth wall for us there, aren’t ya? Kwang-soo’s VJ wins his first round.
Woah, Jong-kook’s VJ is nearly as built as he is. Easy win. Then Suk-jin’s VJ loses and he bursts, “I let you rest enough when I got eliminated first all those times!”
The cast runs Ji-sung through that classic variety move of choosing an ideal girl group he likes via “World Cup.” (Basic premise: You choose one over the other within a time limit through several rounds of elimination. Whoever is left is presumed to be your ‘ideal’.) Girls Generation comes out on top but then they egg him to choose one member.
He chooses YoonA and then sends her video message, “Oppa’s on break right now. You free?”Oppa means it!
Then Haha points out that Suk-jin isn’t here to witness this. Oh, right… I totally forgot about him.
At their next mission location, they’ll need to buy the item that Ji-sung tells them in Thai. They scatter pronouncing the word (‘eung-uh’) every which way until someone finally understands them. The fans inform them (one even speaks in Korean) that it’s rambutan, a kind of fruit.
Once Haha and Kwang-soo find it, they fight over who gets to bring it first. Haha bites down. Hard.
Now it’s just a matter of who comes in last – either Jong-kook or Ji-hyo. We see them buy the fruit at the same time… and it’s Jong-kook who comes ’round the corner.
They arrive to their third mission location where Ji-sung signs and kicks three soccer balls. Kwang-soo unfortunately loses out.
Then it’s their final elimination mission before the game. And awaiting them is North Korean-Japanese striker, Jung Dae-sae (He was born in Japan but his parents are of Korean descent. His mother identifies as North Korean.). They freak out excitedly.
What’s better about this greeting is that Dae-sae and Gary take one look at each other. The resemblance is striking and Dae-sae comments, “My mother said that I had a hyung in Korea.” Gary: “That’s me!”
He compliments Ji-hyo which is when Gary steps in again, “Sorry, it hasn’t been that long since we’ve broken up!” Monday Couple for lyfe!
Oh right the mission – Dae-sae is going to tear off your name tags. Gulp.
In the downtime, Gary suggest that they drop the formality to which Dae-sae agrees to. He calls Gary, “Hyung-nim,” and he melts. Dae-sae rests his head against Gary’s shoulder and I’m a goner. Why are you soccer players so damn cute?!
Omg and do you have to jump hug him like that Gary? I’m seriously dying from the cute.
The mission starts and Dae-sae goes after Jong-kook first. Off comes one name tag (they’ve got 2 lives) and I am seriously impressed. Jong-kook is legit afraid of Dae-sae.
After taunting them, Dae-sae runs straight for Haha and soon all three have one life remaining. Gary defends himself, “It’s hyung!’ Dae-sae’s final target? Haroro which leaves Jong-kook and Gary to participate in the game.
Just when you thought we were all guest-ed out, someone else saunters in: Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand. He’s just as tall as Kwang-soo and is familiar with Running Man. Aw, Haha – you sent him chocopies as a fan?
Haha’s heart sinks because he didn’t hear of a response but Rio says that he posted a picture. “You don’t follow me on Twitter?” I think he will now.
Jong-kook and Gary sweat in the locker room and on the field and, wait… hold up. IS THAT JOONG-KI?!
The game begins and Haha and Kwang-soo act as sports commentators. Lee Chung-yong sinks in a goal to make it a 1:1 game.
Kwang-soo must have a lot of fans in Thailand because the stadium starts to chant his name. He performs his robotic dance for them and the stadium erupts in cheers.
The first half ends and we see that Jong-kook and Gary are so nervous that they haven’t laughed once or looked away from the field. When the second half begins, they’re told to warm up one by one.
OMG that’s Ahn Jung-hwan (fangirls). Anyone else who has seen the 2002 World Cup will know how I feel.
Jong-kook gets control of the ball and it’s like Spartakooks on a rampage. It’s so cute how the others get so excited cheering for him on top of their lungs. He kicks… and it’s too far from the goal. Aw.
What’s hilarious is that Ji-sung takes him by the shirt and pretends to yank him. Heh, doesn’t forget for a second that they’re still filming a variety show.
Gary, on the other hand, is a little bit more embarrassing to watch and the cast avert their eyes. Pass after pass he fails and the looks on the Korean National Team players are priceless. They’re all, Wuh?
He eventually finds his groove… well almost because the opposing team intercepts the ball. You probably want your Duplicator power back, huh?
They lose the match (2:4) to the Thailand All-Star Team and they hang their heads. When Ji-sung walks in, Gary mentions that he got yelled at by Ji-sung: “There’s not that much time left!”
They snap some souvenir photos and Ji-sung leaves a warm-hearted message to Korea…
… and it’s not quite over yet. Gary suggests to Dae-sae that they should produce a single together. Dae-sae entitles it, “My Life.” Gary: “So how much of a cut (%) are you thinking…”
Dae-sae: “Let’s talk when the cameras aren’t rolling.”