In a faraway realm of variety, the Running Man Kingdom is in need of a ruler. But watch out – a taste of power can be a dangerous thing. You don’t know what kind of royal you’ll get: a benevolent one, a dictator, or just a royal pain in the ass. But hey – it ain’t easy being king.

EPISODE 124. Broadcast on December 16, 2012.

Day 2. 8 AM. Our cast wakes up to a blaring siren for an alarm clock and surprisingly, it’s Ji-hyo who stumbles outside first. Everyone walks out in a daze and Hyo-joo pops her head out last.

 

Jae-suk jokes that Hyo-joo must not be the early bird type and Incriminating Kwang-soo feeds it, “She’s lazy.” Hyo-joo hollers, “I’m diligent!” Kwang-soo: “What are you talking about?! You woke up last!”

Entitled ‘Choice Race,’ our cast members will choose between two types of foods (Well, they’ll need to earn it, but we knew that) at four mission locations. The first person who arrives at the final mission location with the completed hanja “whang/king” will be declared king.

The sound of food is alluring but the mention of king grabs everyone’s attention. Who wouldn’t want to be Ruler for a Day? So they’re off.

 

Ji-hyo looks mighty annoyed to see Jong-kook at the same place and Jong-kook’s all, What, I was here first! Ha.

Meanwhile Haha and Kwang-soo are busy affixing yellow kiddie hats to their heads complete with white capes to resemble fried eggs. Both games are basically the same: jump successfully in order to eat.

Hyo-joo isn’t all that thrilled to hear that as she says, “Wait, we’re not eating first? I’m seriously hungry!” Aw, your tummy will have to wait for now. And hey – Gary does look like an adorable anime character in that hat.

Back to Jong-kook who’s taking his sweet time to ready himself, wrapping the blanket around him tighter. Go Soo: “So he does this every time?” Hee. Jong-kook actually makes it but Jae-suk calls him out on a technicality, so it’s no good.

Just in case we thought that this game was easy, Jae-suk and Suk-jin remind us that it isn’t as they fall into the pillows. HA. Go Soo asks if it’s true that they can’t eat until they pass. When they confirm it, he mutters under his breath that the RM staff really don’t feed you. Heehee.

I love how the others keep messing with Jong-kook even though he clears it. When Spartakooks looks to Go Soo to back him up, Go Soo says innocently, “[The pillows] fell on its own.” Why are you so cute?

So, Jong-kook pulls out his hidden card – he’ll make sure to eliminate them all early. He warns Jae-suk, “You remember that episode without Kwang-soo. Let’s see Running Man happen without you!”

 

Both Ji-hyo and Haha get to eat first at their respective locations and Hyo-joo stares with food envy. The sight of the delicious food compounded by Haha’s neener-neener eats at her (hur hur) and she pushes Kwang-soo out of the way.

She falls short and sadly watches Haha hungrily dig in. If one thing’s for sure, you do not get in between this lady and her food as she steps up out of turn again.

Thankfully for her (and maybe everyone else’s sake. Seriously, I’d think she might have cried.) she makes the jump and literally runs towards the food. When Haha asks if she broke the rules, she coolly asks, “Oh, there was an order?” Pfft.

Haha gloats when he learns that he’s currently in first place but this second mission looks like it’ll be a doozy. With a vast array of side dishes before him, he’ll need to follow Mr. PD’s instructions to the letter. Sort of like Simon Says with food.

Even Haha’s impressed at the staff’s cleverness to think of virtually impossible games. Then he freezes up at the first instruction, surveying the table with frantic eyes.

It’s even more hilarious once he kind of gets the handle of it but then the instructions get progressively more complicated. Hyo-joo falls over, laughing.

 

Not that it’s any easier for her and Go Soo complains that Mr. PD is being too hard on her. I know you ignored her twice yesterday but I’m with you on this one. How can she debone a fish and eat it right away?

Go Soo is up next and it’s like he’s on his own oasis. Taking his time to memorize the side dishes and getting into the right position, Suk-jin nicknames him “go-booki,” which sounds like, “geobooki”  (tortoise). The best part is that Mr. PD is like, “Can we start now?” Go Soo: “Sure.”

All that studying proves futile because Mr. PD tells him to eat a spoonful of rice and Go Soo rushes to take the lid off. Omg, you’re a heodang too. Love it.

At the other restaurant, Gary, Ji-hyo, and Kwang-soo acts as taste testers to avoid the spicy foods filled with hot pepper hidden among the dozens of side dishes.

Soon, Jong-kook joins them and now it’s his turn to be playfully annoyed by Ji-hyo. After they’ve cleared about half the table, Gary asks for the greens porridge. Uh oh – just the color alone has got me worried.

He takes a huge spoonful and lets out a discernable, “Mmm” … of pain. He even keeps up the act, chatting as if nothing’s the matter. But Ji-hyo yelps that she can smell the pepper on his breath.

I’m actually kinda impressed as he finishes the bowl and doesn’t betray an expression though the sweatdrops on his forehead say otherwise. Kwang-soo asks for a bite and then nearly spits it back up.

His eyes well up in tears but Peaceful Gary pulls through just long enough before he breaks down, crying, “It’s pepper porridge!”

Jae-suk teases Go Soo for his delayed reactions and Hyo-joo shows him just how speedily you need to grab for the food. Haha calls Jae-suk out for talking big before his turn. This is going to fail big time, isn’t it? Yep.

Hyo-joo passes first with a mouthful of anchovy, cabbage, and bread in her mouth.

We check back in with Jong-kook who just got a mouthful of pepper. He tries to blink several times to brace himself from the pain but the others catch on right away. Gary’s like, “Hyung, you have to eat the rest!” Jong-kook: “… *hiccup*”

But he can’t tolerate the spiciness any longer and caves. Gary: “I’m going to have to carry around pepper to protect myself from Jong-kook!”

 

Their third mission will test their strength and here they’ll need to chop firewood with a woodcutter. Hyo-joo finds the task difficult and a nice ajusshi instructs her to follow the grain. So she tries… and it barely makes a crack. Isn’t these one of those tasks where you let gravity do most of the work?

Hyo-joo stares blankly into the sky and comments that it’s a nice day out to cut firewood. “Beautiful.” But then her eyes grow wide when Jae-suk is able to cut his pieces smoothly.

I do have to hand it to her for trying and Jong-kook comments that it must be a hard piece to cut… and he breaks it in half. So, hard for whom again?

 

Go Soo finds himself fighting consciousness, so he takes a short nap on his way over to the mission location. He arrives later than Suk-jin and Haha and he comments, “People these days live too quickly.”

Mr. PD explains that they’ll test their strength by punching through slabs of tiles and Go Soo’s all, “The sunshine’s so nice.”

Ji-hyo joins the rest of the boys who gripe when they learn she’ll only need to break 8 versus their 12. She may be a lady, but at least she knows how to break those tiles correctly.

Go Soo puffs up with confidence though it’s his first time and the others cheer him on with slow words of encouragement. He breaks less than Suk-jin and in order to hide his embarrassment, he worries about Ji-hyo. Haha: “Who should worry about whom?”

 

That’s right because Ace Ji-hyo blasts through all 8 tiles in one bang and she squeals in delight.

She gives the boys some tips and Go Soo tunes in to learn from the master. Now the boys worry about him and Kwang-soo mentions, “It’s okay with us so you can give Go Soo hyung 8 tiles instead.”

Back at Woodcutter station, Gary tells Hyo-joo to trust the weight of the axe, and sure enough, it breaks easily. She throws up her hands in the air, victorious.

HA – Kwang-soo, did you just call on the power of “Giraffe”? Cut to: a sign of Girin (which can also mean ‘Giraffe’) Highway. LOL. That’s some power you called upon.

Go Soo breaks through his tiles and punches into the air. In the car, he sighs that the rest of the Running Man cast aren’t carefree. Then he comments that you only live once and that people should enjoy it. Life sage, are we now?

Mr. PD explains Jae-suk’s fourth mission: to move 20 small items with his chopsticks while belting a note. Jae-suk is confident in his chopstick skills but it turns out that grabbing corn kernels is harder than one might think.

Jong-kook says that grains of rice are easy peasy (uh huh) and of course, his voice breaks before he can manage to move a few grains. Gary has a good run despite his voice wavering for a few seconds near the end. He cuts off abruptly and then cries, “It’s too hard!” Aw, here here.

Here I was feeling bad for these guys but then we cut over to Kwang-soo who has to blow his teeny piece of broccoli past a line. Only that the veggie is in a plateful of flour (so the flour kicks upward) and the floret gets stuck. He goes to grab Myuk PD by the neck in frustration. HA.

Jong-kook beams at his luck, choosing HUGE dates and smiles at his grade school fans. Gary brings him back to Earth – all he has to do is make one mistake. And sure enough, instead of singing “mugwort sprouts” he belts, “date sprouts.” Whoops.

Jae-suk: “See kids? It’s no use having a lot of wit…” Jong-kook: “Don’t step on their dreams!”

 

We cut back to Kwang-soo and his broccoli, which Haha remarks that it’s gotten much smaller than before. Kwang-soo defends that it’s because it’s they’ve gotten used to seeing it, just like himself. Haha nods, “That’s right. At first, I thought you were 230 cm tall.”

Kwang-soo sets up his veggie and with another puff of air, he successfully blows it past the line. But Hyo-joo’s finished at her mission station as well and now it’s a race to the final mission location. Who will it be?

Kwang-soo rushes into the building and Myuk PD announces… that he’s king. He can barely contain his excitement and then Hyo-joo is literally two steps behind him. It’s a good thing too, because the king can’t be eliminated and has a bright golden ‘king’ sticker to boot.

As for the subjects, they’ll need to avoid the king. However, they’ll be able to vote for a new king and whoever receives the majority vote will rush in a new Running Man dynasty. But for now, it’s the age of King Kwang-soo.

King Kwang-soo is led to his throne where Eunuch Maknae FD greets him. He warns to his people that he’ll usher in a new era (of revenge) and warns Jong-kook that he’ll be out to get him. Then he cracks up mid-sentence at the absurdity and asks, “Can’t we start soon?”

The King’s War begins and boy is this a sight to behold – the Running Man cast are actually running away from Kwang-soo. Everyone panics and the slightest sound spooks them.

The ladies run into each other in the library, giving one another a fright, and they break out to look for the hidden ballots. Hyo-joo talks to herself, saying that there’s no way the staff could have stuck one in the thousands of books here. She then stops and says, “Should I check anyway?” That’d be a yes. Caption: Welcome to Running Man.

 

Both Go Soo and Suk-jin discover ballots and Jae-suk instructs Big Nose Hyung to vote for himself. Eh? Are you suggesting him because he won’t be able to catch you?

Hyo-joo gives him a curious look at this suggestion and Jae-suk explains that it’s to their benefit if the weakest link becomes king. As soon as they change kings, they can just eliminate Kwang-soo.

You can almost see the pieces fall together in Hyo-joo’s mind. She gives him a thumbs up in approval and Go Soo agrees to the plan.

Haha and Jong-kook freeze when they spot King Kwang-soo racing down the corridor. The king flies towards Jong-kook but Haha holds him back as Eunuch Maknae FD tsk tsks at this fruitless struggle.

Eunuch Maknae FD pulls Kwang-soo away, as the king has kingly duties to fulfill at the palace (The king will be called back every 10 minutes.). Kwang-soo sighs at the royal documents he has to stamp and when his eunuch reminds him to stamp them properly, King Kwang-soo warns, “Do you want to get hit properly?” HAHA.

King Kwang-soo bellows that there isn’t any time and elsewhere we see that votes are starting to pile up for Suk-jin.

Speaking of whom, Go Soo finds the possible future king hiding in a box. Too bad that King Kwang-soo discovers them at that very moment and Suk-jin pleads with the ruler.

But their Easy Brothers bond fizzles at present and in a pained voice, Kwang-soo screams, “We’ll be together again… next week!” and he rips off Suk-jin’s name tag.

So much for Jae-suk’s strategy and with Suk-jin’s elimination, the votes have reset. Gary: “We have to find [the ballots] again?!”

And if things can’t get any worse, King Kwang-soo sneaks into a room and in a chaotic struggle, he eliminates Haha as well.

Jae-suk finds another ballot and he suggests that Gary should become the next king. Gary first looks back at him in surprise and then he replies in gratitude, “I’ll be a good king, hyung!” Hahaha.

But once Jae-suk gets to the poll, a lightbulb flashes over his head – why don’t they elect Hyo-joo instead? So once Gary comes across another ballot, he sends Hyo-joo off with it, who then votes for herself.

Where’s Kwang-soo you ask? Why, busy stamping important official documents again. HAHAHA.

 

Once he’s out and about again, he runs towards the group, determined to oust Jae-suk. That’s difficult with Spartakooks in the way, and Jae-suk asks him how it feels to be king. Kwang-soo: “Hyung, don’t do it. It’s like hell!”

He then suddenly darts in the other direction and it’s a few seconds before they realize that he’s set off to catch Hyo-joo. The boys manage to crowd around him just in time while the ladies search for more ballots.

Go Soo rips off Kwang-soo’s name tag (which does nothing) and then admits, “I just wanted to rip it off once.” Hehe.

Ji-hyo rushes to add another vote for Hyo-joo and then runs back mere seconds befor the speakers announce that a new era has begun. The subjects crowd around the soon-to-be-overthrown King.

Jae-suk: “You can just go to jail immediately!” Kwang-soo:”No… I can sincerely apologize.”

Running Man’s new ruler? Hyo-joo. She breaks into a smile and then devilishly adds, “That means I can tear off everyone’s name tags.” That’s right.

 

I love that Hyo-joo walks to greet her subjects with a smug smile, fully embracing her new royal role. First order of business is to eliminate Kwang-soo and she names his unforgivable crime, “You fed me fish sauce yesterday!”

And with a swift rip of the name tag, she eliminates Kwang-soo.

As for her other subjects, they ask who they should put into the hotseat next. They panic a little when she looks to Jong-kook. Spartakooks sidles up to her and insists that he’d make a perfect bodyguard to the ruler.

Jae-suk reminds her, “What will you do when it’s just the two of you left?” Good point.

Despite the counsel of her people, Hyo-joo chooses to side with Jong-kook and the rest bolt. She orders that Gary be caught first and bodyguard Jong-kook runs to chase after him. Hyo-joo looks to the camera, “Wait, there’s no need for me to run.”

Feeling the harsh sting of betrayal, the subjects get to work looking for more ballots – the sooner they change kings, the better.

Jong-kook captures Gary and Hyo-joo allows him a final word. Gary: “I love you.” Hyo-joo bursts laughing but she calls him out for that crime and eliminates him.

 

Hyo-joo is called back to fulfill her royal duties (to string marbles together) and grows impatient when her eunuch tells her that there isn’t much time. “You telling me to hurry up makes it harder for me to string these!”

Once she’s done, she takes off her kingly robes (“When I’m in the public, I must dress like the people!”) and heads out in search for her bodyguard.

Speaking of, Jong-kook is currently being held back by Jae-suk and Go Soo, who struggle to keep a firm hold. Meanwhile, Ji-hyo casts her vote and the speakers blare the start of a new dynasty… of King Jae-suk.

Not if Hyo-joo has anything to say about it as she says, “I won’t go like this!”

 

Jae-suk looks upon his land and thanks Go Soo for his vote. He then orders him to go and eliminate the people and Go Soo replies, “I don’t want to be your guard.” HA.

Jae-suk: “Then you can be my general.” Go Soo: “I don’t want to be that either.” What can you do if the guy wants to remain a commoner?

The new king gives chase to Hyo-joo who calls for her former bodyguard. And sure enough, though he doesn’t have to, Jong-kook runs to her aid and buys her enough time to escape.

And in her hiding place, the deposed ruler recounts how she made kimchi, cut firewood, and became king. She has no regrets and will never forget the sacrifice her bodyguard has made on her behalf.

 

Now only three commoners and the king remain but we spend a moment catching up with Ji-hyo and Go Soo. It’s been seven years since they’ve last seen each other (they were both in a movie, Some) and Ji-hyo compliments him that he hasn’t aged a bit, both in looks and personality.

Jae-suk sneaks up on them and Go Soo fails to make a move right away. King Jae-suk corners the two, asking who’d like to be eliminated first. Then Go Soo grabs onto Ji-hyo’s wrist.

Ji-hyo: “Sunbae, you’re not betraying me right now, are you?” She belatedly realizes that they’ve made an alliance but she uses that to her advantage – Jae-suk might need her to take out Hyo-joo. Then Go Soo defends that he has no intention to become king.

Jae-suk contemplates over their strong arguments and gives a nod. He moves towards Go Soo… and eliminates him.

Ah, and then it’s too bad for Hyo-joo as Jae-suk catches up to her easily. For her last words, she gives a word of thanks to her former bodyguard. Jae-suk has to remind her that those words only hold weight in the previous dynasty not now before ripping off her name tag.

 

Now just the two of them, Jae-suk grants Ji-hyo a head start. She starts running and then it suddenly occurs to Jae-suk: what if Ji-hyo already has a ballot? That means she can vote herself as king. Oho!

He runs to the voting poll to stop her, but those confines are out of bounds. We flashback to see that she indeed found a ballot and saved it to use it for this very moment. So so smart!

Eunuch Maknae FD reminds him that he’s got less than a minute before he has to go fulfill his kingly duties but Jae-suk grabs him by the shoulders, “And what good have you been all this while?” (Which is pun happy since ‘this while’ is a play off of Maknae FD’s real name: Go Dong-wan.)

So King Jae-suk hears the news announcing the end of his reign while sitting on his throne. And Ji-hyo stands outside the door to greet him.

Jae-suk stumbles over his words, asking if Ji-hyo will be able to sleep well tonight. She assures him she will and then rips off his name tag, securing her win.

When everyone gathers back, Go Soo thanks everyone for the memories he’s made here. Hyo-joo says her thanks as well and signs off, “Beautiful!”

 

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