Time to roll the variety clocks back because this week it’s X-man vs. the Running Man. The cast run around this week trying to figure out who the X-man is. Will the X-man be able to keep the Running Man off of their tail? Be careful of red herrings here people because it may not be the person you thought after all.
EPISODE 114. Broadcast on October 7, 2012.
Gary’s back! The cast bow deep in apology for worrying the audience about Gary’s news of leaving and then un-leaving Running Man and Gary thinks aloud, “When will I stop wandering aimlessly in my life?”
(In short, his company, Leessang, was involved in the sudden cancellation of the Infinity Challenge ‘Super 7’ Concert, which then led to both Gil and Gary’s announced hiatus from their variety world. About a week later, they returned to their respective variety shows.)
Gary tries to shy away from being the center of attention, and apologizes (in English): “I am sorry.” I also read that the Running Man cast gave up their Chuseok holiday to film this episode with Gary, which just extra aww.
The cast are gathered around a white platform which looks oddly familiar. Jong-kook asks if it’s a ddakji game again like last week. Power trip, much? Jae-suk: “I never got a chance!”
Adding to the mysterious set up is a wedding cake, reminiscent of their famous guests like Ha Ji-won and Park Ji-sung‘s entrance. And they gasp at today’s guest: actress Moon Geun-young (Mary Stayed Out All Night, Cinderella’s Sister). Woah, I think this pretty much takes the cake. (I couldn’t resist!)
Jong-kook calls Jae-suk out on pulling out his A-list Celebrity BFF card again and this time, Jae-suk admits, “I was surprised too!” Jong-kook mentions that Geun-young is his ‘ideal woman’, a compliment she finds flattering.
The cast asks if she’s heard about Gary’s scandal and she has – in fact, Gary is the reason why she watches Running Man religiously. Jong-kook: “Quit!” Gary: “I can’t quit anymore!” Not when the Nation’s Younger Sister is your #1 fan.
Jong-kook still fishes for compliments, asking if she saw his ddakji run and wrestling. It earns him a thumbs up and, “You’re the best!” which I’m sure made him die a little inside.
Haha astutely points out that today’s set up is eerily similar to their X-man days. They would use the platform for an opening dance sequence. Ah, that’s why it looked so familiar. Turns out the Running Man staff are the same people from X-man! Who knew?
As soon as Haroro gets on that stage, I know we’re in for a trip down variety memory lane. I’m going to love this episode, aren’t I? Everyone takes a turn on the platform (Geun-young even does a little wave) and even Yoo Hyuk graces us with his presence.
Mr. PD introduces today’s mission as X-man vs. Running Man. To jog your memory or if you’re unfamiliar, each member listens to hear if s/he is the X-man or not. The X-man works like a mole and works to secretly sabotage their team’s mission.
And if it weren’t a perfect enough replication of ye olden days, Haha quips, “Won’t Yoon Eun-hye come out [to guest]?” Great minds think alike, good man.
That rains on Jong-kook’s “I love Geun-young” parade and Geun-young tosses out a polite compliment, “I was a fan [of Jong-kook’s] since his Turbo days.” Meaning she was in elementary school. Well, that pretty much dates the man.
Mr. PD proceeds to explain the rest of the mission: There’s one X-man and the cast will be divided into two teams. Through a series of games, the winning team of that round may switch out a member they suspect to be the X-man. The team who ends up without the X-man wins.
The X-man will have special missions of their own and if they complete them all, the X-man wins it.
So it sounds like the same formulaic recipe of the vintage show. Jae-suk: “The teams will likely trade Geun-young regardless of who the X-man is.” HA – that is Jong-kook had that choice.
Haha steps up first and we hear the classic line, “[Yes/No] You are the X-man.” I always loved people’s exaggerated reactions to this tidbit and sure enough, we get the same gag here. Cracks me up every time.
Out of these 8, who could it be? Ji-hyo: “Who’s the X-man?” Gary: “I’m your X.” HAHAHA – as in “ex”?
The Blue Team (Jong-kook, Geun-young, Haha, Kwang-soo) heads out first and it doesn’t take long for Geun-young to pipe that she’s the X-man, “I don’t know what to do!” The boys swear that they won’t trade her. Jong-kook: “Even at the end, I won’t do it. We’ll just lose.”
Kwang-soo: “What makes you think we won’t trade you?” I know you’re joking but careful with those words there, buddy.
The boys are impressed at Geun-young’s strategy: if she were X-man, she’d make sure to stick around to the end. She doesn’t seem too deterred that Gary isn’t on their team, “I’ll just trade for him!”
We check in with the Red Team (Jae-suk, Suk-jin, Gary, Ji-hyo) and Jae-suk mentions the apple juice Gary handed out to the staff today. (apple = sagwa = apology) Ha, so like Gary and so punny!
Back to the Blue Team’s car where the dongsaengs are hard at work to set up a loveline with Jong-kook and Geun-young. Ha, he can’t even stare at her while he vehemently insists that there’s too much of an age gap and that he’s just a fan of her work.
But he does admit that Geun-young’s grown up as a woman and the boys “Oohh!” in the backseat. Such troublemakers these two, keh.
Mention of the “Dangyunhaji/Of Course” game directs the conversation back to the X-man days and Geun-young namedrops Yoon Eun-hye. Not only does that get Jong-kook plenty flustered but the boys reenact that famous moment in the variety world repeatedly as Geun-young dies of laughter in her seat.
HA – and I love it how Jong-kook warns through gritted teeth, “You don’t think I’ll hit you because Geun-young’s here?”
With some time to kill at their first mission location, the Giraffe and Penguin keep up the relentless teasing despite Jong-kook’s protests that they should act cool like they do with their former guests. (Kwang-soo: “He has his hand around her shoulder!” Haha:”They both have their hands in their pockets!”)
It’s further aggravated when the Red Team appears but Jae-suk interjects, “He hasn’t forgotten Eun-hye yet.” Pffft – they’re never gonna let him live it down. Now Jong-kook looks righteously pissed off now and two steps before he actually blows his gasket.
Anyway, back to the mission. Here they’ll need to grab the other’s team’s tail aka name tag to win. Suk-jin seems honestly lost and confused: “Is there a tail? Do we grab [at the waist]?” What kind of deprived childhood did you have, sir?
The two whip around each other (Gary blushes when Geun-young touches him) and Jong-kook grabs ahold of Jae-suk, which lets Haha get into position. Eyes locked on the target, he soon has Jae-suk’s name tag in his hand. Oh, game’s on now.
Except that our eyes are drawn to another sight:
AHAHAHAHAHA!! Jong-kook calls Kwang-soo out to be the X-man for his stunt and Ji-hyo jumps to his defense that Kwang-soo bore a genuine expression.
Kwang-soo grabs Jae-suk’s name tag in Round 2 of Grab the Tail and as we whip around, we find out that Geun-young has it in her hand. Fingers point to Jae-suk and the Blue Team fuels the fire, “You showed [your name tag] to her!”
The Ace charges towards Kwang-soo in Round 3 and gets a firm hold his sweater. It slips off and he whines, “Where’s my name tag?!” Ji-hyo reaches for his exposed back but her hands slips. And then, as she bides her time, someone else rips her name tag off – Geun-young.
This effectively throws off any X-man suspicion off of Geun-young’s tail and Jae-suk gripes that the games in recent weeks have all been strength-based. No, no, Jong-kook corrects him – it’s all about speed.
We get his hilarious bit of Haha and Jae-suk all up in each other’s faces where Haha’s all, Whaddaya got if you don’t have strength? Age? I think Suk-jin wins in that department!
Geun-young goes for name tag #3 and then another short minute as Jong-kook hoists Suk-jin into the air and serves him like a platter so Geun-young can rip off the final name tag.
As for the trade, they propose to trade Jong-kook for Gary (they ring-around-the-rosy in happiness, ha) and suspicion falls on Kwang-soo again who just stares back defensively, “It’s not me!” Yeahhh, I don’t think they believe you.
In the car, the matchmaker dongsaengs work their magic again with Gary who blushes awkwardly. They throw out possible names for the X-man and are surprised to hear that Geun-young suspects Jong-kook. Forming her arms into an X, she says, “He drove like this!”
The boys are impressed at her astute deduction – crossing one’s arms could be the secret mission. She enthusiastically responds that she would love to be a part of the Running Man family and then adorably suggests with doe-like eyes, “Monday Couple?” Girl after my own heart.
The cast eats heartily at their second mission location and is instructed to suggest their own games. Here, they’ll need to win three out of five. The first game is a “zero game” using spoons.
Mung Ji-hyo hasn’t really figured out the rules (If someone calls out a number and that number of spoons is raised, they’re out. Last one remaining is the loser.) but Suk-jin hasn’t figured out the game.
The ex-Monday Couple both lift their spoons and then after, when Geun-young calls out 4 and only 3 are lifted, Jong-kook gripes to Kwang-soo, “Why did you lift yours?” D’aww, did you want a special moment too? And after you so denied a loveline?
HA and then when she calls out “One!” later, Jong-kook says, “We were the only two who didn’t lift our [spoons].” Oh you soo want the loveline! Soon it’s just Jong-kook and Gary and Jong-kook wins it.
The Spartakooks Specialty aka arm wrestling, is served out as the second game and just when you think Jong-kook will win it all, the Blue Team sends in Geun-young. They start to mess with his head too when Jong-kook takes off his sweater (rawr): “He’s showing you his body.”
Jong-kook opts to use one finger and then their hands hover for a long while (“Why are you trying to hold her hand for so long!” “What are you doing?”) until Jong-kook throws in the towel and scurries away. Peeved, Jae-suk asks, “Then why did you write down arm wrestling in the first place?”
Anyway, it’s 1:1 and the next game is to flip a pen. The Red Team comes out with 12 and they call out Geun-young for catching rather than flipping the pen. Suk-jin: “Let’s go for 50 (catch) (catch)!”
You were talkin’ pretty big there Gary and now the game rests on your shoulders. And sadly, Gary messes up, giving the Red Team another win.
The following game is a staring contest and Geun-young picks Jong-kook as her opponent. He explains that he hasn’t been sleeping much lately (He’s preparing for a comeback later this month) and Geun-young just smacks the ground in response like, c’mere. HA – I like this girl.
I love how everyone gets up to surround them saying, “We have to learn from this!” and cry for a round of the “Of Course” game. The staring contest begins and Jong-kook and Geun-young gaze into each other’s eyes… and Jong-kook pulls away a second later.
As for his second attempts, he lasts all of three seconds. Jae-suk blames their losses on Jong-kook with a wary eye – could he be the X-man? Jong-kook defends that he can’t look into a woman’s eyes. They’re like, “What about Ji-hyo?” Jong-kook: “She’s family.”
It’s 2:2 now and the tie-breaking game is to move corn kernels with chopsticks. Am I really watching this?! Kwang-soo comes out victorious, winning the second mission for his team and he cries out, “I’m not the X-man!” Then who is?
Their third mission is a subway rock-paper-scissors game where the team who has the most remaining team members wins. Haha and Kwang-soo face off first and unsurprisingly, the latter loses.
Like a lost puppy, he asks why his hyungs won’t believe him and the children around him reply, “Because you betray them a lot.” It’s a truth universally acknowledged in this variety world.
Aww dang, and the Blue Team’s number dwindles down to two as Jae-suk loses. (He was traded to the Blue Team.) He calls up Kwang-soo and asks for the truth: is he the X-man? Kwang-soo denies that he is.
The game is tweaked at their next station with rock-paper-scissors minus one (you take one hand away) and Gary wins this hand, leaving Ji-hyo behind. And in a surprising turn of events, he even wins against Jong-kook. Two members left on each team.
The eliminated wonder who will win since the winning team will receive a hint about the X-man. They pull up to the station… where Geun-young waits with a smile, “I lost!”
This means the Red Team wins, gaining a hint and also a chance to trade team members. Kwang-soo interprets Jae-suk’s claims to mean that he loses on purpose as the X-man. Jae-suk counters that Kwang-soo’s reactions have sure been weird lately to which Kwang-soo cries, “I’ve always been weird!”
So the Red Team chooses not to trade and then in the car, they scratch their heads over the hint: Moon Geun-young? Whaaa?? They deduce that their hint is about the X-man’s mission and not the X-man itself. So how does Geun-young fit into all of this?
Suk-jin wonders if it means losing the games with Geun-young, which means it would be Jong-kook. Or perhaps giving her a high five which points the finger to Kwang-soo. Suk-jin denies that it would be Jae-suk – he’s too obvious.
They put their suspicions to rest for now since they have to a final mission to focus on.
Here, the cast will need to employ the audience’s help where the winner is determined the number of people collectively jumping rope together. More the merrier! The team who wins gains a valuable hint about the X-man as well as a final trade.
Each team gathers their participants from the crowd and the Red Team leers at Kwang-soo and Geun-young who do look mighty friendly right now. The Blue Team is up first and one by one they jump in… and only five of them successfully jump in before they mess up.
The Red Team gets nine people jumping together until Ji-hyo miscalculates her time to jump in.
On their second try, the Blue Team manages to get eight people under the rope but in a practice round before their third try, they get 13 people to jump. Impressive.
Their third try is where it counts – if they don’t get at least 10 people, they’ll lose to the Red Team. Unfortunately, they only get 9 people, handing the win to the Red Team.
The cast relocate and the Red Team receives their hint: DB. Like Dramabeans? (Don’t tell me you weren’t thinking that too.) Gary: “Daebak.” HA!
Faced with the choice to trade a member, Geun-young pipes that she’s the X-man. Kwang-soo gets in on this train too and the Red Team just reply, “We know [you are]…” They decide not to trade.
Now Mr. PD explains that the X-man’s secret mission was to remain on the same team with Geun-young in order to win. They all look at Kwang-soo.
The Blue Team steps up and Kwang-soo places his hand over the button… he’s not the X-man. Then what about Peaceful Gary? Nope. This means that if Jae-suk isn’t the X-man, then the Blue Team wins it.
Jae-suk places his hand over the button… and say hello to today’s X-man. Jae-suk lets out a victorious cry as we replay clips throughout the day confirming his X-man status. Turns out the ‘DB’ clue refers to the characters on the keyboard spelling out, “Yoo.” Sneaky!
Running Man vs. X-man? X-man wins.