Get ready to live multiple lives in this week’s reincarnation episode. It feels like it’s been forever and a day since we saw an episode sans any guests and watched the ol’ gang try to decipher who’s up to what. There are some unexpected surprises in this hour and a half along with the reassurance that some things don’t change with the passage of time.
EPISODE 130. Broadcast on January 27, 2013.
Present day Seoul. We’re thrown right into the middle of the action as cast members point fingers at each other left and right. At the moment, all accusations fall upon Jong-kook, who is strangely missing.
Suddenly Spartakooks emerges from the shadows and rips off Jae-suk’s name tag… which reveals a different name. Huh? What’s going on? What d’you mean, ‘Reincarnation’?
1938 Seoul. Our cast members roam the streets in their period clothes and while some members embrace their wardrobe (Jong-kook: “Do I look like Kim Doo-han?” [a notable gangster who was later involved in the resistance movement]), others hide their faces in embarrassment (Haha: “I just noticed our nametags!”).
I love how Gary’s like, “We have to ride the subway wearing this?” but he plays along. Then there’s Kwang-soo who sticks out like a sore thumb in his imperial garb and calls himself Joseon’s last king. Aw.
The cast read their letters informing them that they are secret couriers sent by different organizations. Their mission is to find the hidden keys to access the chest in the mayor’s office containing gold bars.
A bit of history: 1938 places us in the middle of the Japanese occupation of Korea and the resistance movement. Resistance members also addressed each other as “comrades,” which explains the letter and Gary’s declaration as a martyr for the nation.
The cast arrives at City Hall station and Comrade Mung playfully rips off Comrade Yoo’s nametag. They meet up with Gary and laugh at his wardrobe, which does look oddly familiar.
What awaits them at City Hall are dozens of similarly dressed extras. They explore the building and Gary discovers the chest in the mayor’s office. What do you know – it requires seven keys to open.
I love how Comrade Gary fails to stash his letter away when Comrade Yoo walks in and he thinks out loud what’s required of him. All of the keys are hidden in various locations and the couriers head out to find them.
The Betrayal Trio (Haha, Suk-jin, and Kwang-soo) arrive moments later and they’re hilariously perplexed to find the chest locked. They settle on stealing everyone else’s keys before finding their own but barely a minute goes by before they start arguing. Ha – how typical.
Then they all start grabbing for each other’s name tags. Hehe.
A young lady catches Gary’s eye who oh-so-casually bumps into him, spilling her papers. Gary scratches his head at the words “Jingle Bell” as Ji-hyo watches the scene from above.
But this isn’t just your ordinary 1930s City Hall because Jong-kook starts getting pelted by young’uns while Jae-suk is currently being chased by a mob. The package the mob is after turns out to be nothing, but Jae-suk looks up… straight into the eyes of Jong-kook.
Meanwhile, Ji-hyo reads Gary like a book and immediately figures out that he’s found his key. Gary’s letter rips in half when she tries to take a peek and then Gary stuffs it into his mouth. HA.
But he’s got a bigger problem on his hands because in the struggle, the key falls to the ground. To cover his mistake, he pretends to be fascinated by the neon lights of the elevator. They strike a deal and our first alliance is born.
Poor Jae-suk – as soon as he finds his key, the young’un from before stuffs another package into his hands. Jae-suk: “I won’t take it! I won’t take it!” But it’s too late and now he’s gotta run.
He’s breathless by the time he escapes and is confused why the young man kept on insisting though he declined. Then Kwang-soo keeps getting hit over the head, getting mistaken for someone else. Perhaps there’s more to this than meets the eye…
At least some of the surprises are nice because Ji-hyo has a group of young men proclaiming their undying love for her. And at the center… is Gary. Aww.
They chant “Hug her! Hug her!” which gets Gary red in the face with embarrassment. Then Ji-hyo steps forward… and hugs the extra. Gary: “Were we in a love triangle [back then] too?”
We get this hilarious moment when Jae-suk discovers a camera on wheels (Jae-suk asks if it’s like a pet, ha) and the contraption amazes the Easy Brothers who play around with the camera angles and fisheye lens. It’s all fun and games until Jae-suk rolls it in between Kwang-soo’s legs. Er…
Anyway, back to the mission on hand and tension runs high among the cast. Then Jae-suk eliminates Kwang-soo (You can get eliminated here too?) and gains his key for his own.
Jae-suk gets stuck with the package for the third time today but this time, the cast corners him, demanding to know what it is. It’s nothing but they don’t know that and the next thing we know, Suk-jin is eliminated.
Haha jumps back in surprise to see Jong-kook (who has eavesdropped on this entire exchange). The Tiger waits for the Grasshopper to fall into his trap… but Jae-suk is quick on his feet. Even Jong-kook is impressed and acknowledges that Jae-suk’s reflexes have improved.
They part but Jae-suk realizes that there’s never been a time when he’s beaten a 1:1 battle against Jong-kook. Too bad his sneak attack works against him and falls for the same tactics he used just minutes earlier.
Jae-suk is understandably reluctant to hand his keys over to Spartakooks (who knew that Jae-suk might take advantage of the situation). With that, Jong-kook has four keys in total.
Our resident jailed member, Suk-jin, pointedly notes that his elimination wasn’t broadcasted like it usually does. Interesting – so does this mean it isn’t actually the end? Then when Kwang-soo hears that they’re in solitary confinement, he gapes: “What kind of grave crime did I commit?”
But back to the action and now the Tiger has finally revealed his claws. He’s super agile and quick as he hunts down Haroro and in a blink of an eye, it’s just him versus the ex-Monday Couple.
Seeing Spartakooks this quick on his feet makes me recall the golden Running Man days of yore. It’s just that Ace Ji-hyo has learned a thing or two over the years and she isn’t afraid to go up against him. But even then, Jong-kook manages to rip her nametag off too.
Ji-hyo wishes Gary the best of luck as she’s led out but Gary already concedes defeat. “I’ll see you in a minute.” LOL.
Now Gary and Jong-kook face off and that glint on the Commander’s face is unsettling. But Gary isn’t someone to be trifled with either and they both grab each other at the same time.
We hear a rrrippp but can’t be sure who managed to get to the chest. The rest of the cast left are in the dark as well because Mr. PD announces the end of today’s filming and sends them home.
The mysterious victor opens the chest… but finds nothing but air inside.
2013. Seoul City Hall. One by one, the cast members emerge from the time-travelling wormhole and Mr. PD informs them that they’ve been reincarnated. Jae-suk is super realistic and deadpans, “I’ve never died, so how can I be reincarnated?” HA.
The empty chest from the ’30s now lies on the table as the members learn that the keys are missing once more. It appears that our victor opened the fake and the real chest is safely hidden elsewhere.
Jae-suk gets super realistic once more as he realizes that they were all in solitary confinement so that no one would know who won the last round. Ha.
Why am I not surprised that Kwang-soo doesn’t understand a word of the rules. He asks for a cheat sheet; since he was eliminated first, he doesn’t have the slightest clue who won. Their job now is to find the one who literally holds all the keys.
Is it Gary or Jong-kook?
Suk-jin is right on the money when he presumes that it’s either Jong-kook or Gary. The problem is, neither he nor Jae-suk are strong enough to take Jong-kook on.
So when they run into him, Jae-suk tells Spartakooks: “We need at least three people to take you on!” It’s funny… ’cause it’s true.
Once he’s alone, Jong-kook contemplates how to abate everyone’s suspicion of him when a young man suddenly stuffs a briefcast into his hands, telling him it’s valuable. Hey, we saw you in the past!
Jong-kook runs and once the mob backs down, he realizes that he saw the same young man in a previous life chasing after Jae-suk. What could this mean?
Meanwhile, Gary is in the middle of recounting the tale of how the Tiger overtook him, complete with gestures. He even adds that Jong-kook whispered, “I’m going to protect my character [image] today…” which is enough for the mat hyungs to believe him.
Ji-hyo reaches deep into her memories and recalls that 80 years ago, she was eliminated by Jong-kook. Kwang-soo reminds her that it still means that it’s uncertain whether it’s Jong-kook or Gary, and then she’s all, It’s common sense, duh!
Kwang-soo proposes that he’ll twist Jong-kook’s pinky to catch him (then Ji-hyo’s like, And then you die) and the five promise to stick together. Mmhm – let’s just see how long that lasts.
Then we’re back to the very beginning of the episode as Haha warns the others not to run into Jong-kook. He’s in complete Hunter mode and he can hear their every word.
…so Kwang-soo immediately starts singing praises about Jong-kook and Haha joins in, “Who in the world would hate Jong-kook hyung?”
We see proof of Haha’s words just around the corner where Jong-kook lies in wait.
He runs out of his hiding place, ripping off Jae-suk nametag in the process. But we see someone else’s name hidden underneath: Suk-jin’s. That throws everyone into a whirlwind of confusion as accusations start flying.
The others give chase and Jong-kook zips down the corridor and disappears.
Mr. PD invites Jae-suk to figure out the situation and flatly tells him that he’s wrong. Jae-suk shoots Mr. PD this glare when the staff dangles the carrot in front of his eyes that he could re-enter the game if he correctly deduces the situation.
Mr. PD gives him a minute and when Jae-suk can’t figure it out, he’s like, “Okay, let’s go.”
The others are trying to deduce the same thing and then Kwang-soo has a Eureka! moment: the present nametag was in white font with a black background. Furthermore, the nametags in their past lives had the opposite.
Suk-jin gasps: “Jae-suk is me!” What he means is that when everyone was reincarnated, 1938 Suk-jin was reborn as present day Jae-suk. Following that logic, that means everyone was reincarnated as someone else… and no one knows who the 1938 victor is in present day 2013.
Suk-jin is really on the ball today as he points out that his elimination marks the official start of the race, as usual. That’s just plain bad luck but it’s still funny.
Now the question is: how will they be able to tell who’s truly who in 2013?
Leave it to Jong-kook who once again arrives at the correct conclusion. He recalls that Jae-suk was being chased in the 1930s and now they’re chasing him. Which means he’s got Jae-suk’s name written on his back.
Funny how one can still recall getting hit by random strangers some 80 years later. This time, it’s Suk-jin who gets hit and he asks Kwang-soo if this is familiar to him. Kwang-soo lies.
It’s hilariously ironic that now Gary’s the one getting proposed to and the suitors now cry, “Kiss! Kiss!” Gary tries to resist but his admirer plants a kiss on his forehead. At least Gary now realizes that he’s Ji-hyo reincarnated.
Jong-kook runs into Suk-jin and Ji-hyo and proposes that they find his reincarnation first. Then Ji-hyo recalls that 1938 Jong-kook was pelted with balls…
Speaking of which, Kwang-soo walks into the theater when he’s suddenly battered by a volley of balls. I wonder – is it worse getting hit upside the head by strangers or this?
Kwang-soo can’t seem to remember, so he raises his hand asking, “Does any of you remember anything from their past lives?” They hit him with more balls.
A flirtatious exchange is enough for Ji-hyo to guess who she was in her past life. Wait – does this mean these two are actually meant to be? A girl can dream, okay!
Seems to be that Gary feels the same way I do and Ji-hyo laughs when she hears that Gary was just proposed to (and kissed!). She asks Gary once more if he didn’t win the last round and Gary reassures her that all the keys belong to past Jong-kook.
Speak of the devil – past Jong-kook aka Kwang-soo joins the two and he lies to protect his identity. HA – and then he freezes like a deer caught in headlights when he realizes that Ji-hyo knows how to identify 1938 Jong-kook.
Ji-hyo calls Kwang-soo out and she can see right through him despite his obvious attempts to keep up the ruse.
Kwang-soo’s identity is confirmed as soon as they walk into the theater and Gary suggests they ally together. Then he rips Kwang-soo’s nametag off, revealing his past identity.
But something’s amiss because Gary doesn’t immediately acquire the seven keys. He plays it off that the staff doesn’t want to give them to him.
Now Ji-hyo’s suspicious and when she resists, Gary lunges for her back, ripping off her nametag. And sure enough, there’s a small addendum that identifies Gary as the 1938 victor.
A flashback teaches us that indeed, it was Comrade Gary who overtook Jong-kook in a surprise twist. Then we hear Gary’s distant cries that he worked so hard to beat Jong-kook and there’s no reward.
Back to 2013 where Gary apologizes to Ji-hyo, promising her 2% of his winnings. I love it how she answers, “10%.” Girl knows how to deal.
Gary rushes to the mayor’s office where Granny Maknae FD returns his keys and even drops a tip: someone from the past has been reborn as himself.
While Gary wonders who that mysterious person may be, Haha walks into a room and suddenly everyone starts dancing… just like they did in 1938. Hmm.
It must be really boring in jail because the boys start to play rock-paper-scissors to see who can draw on each other’s face. Soon both of them end up with huge moles and Kwang-soo complains that he can see the monstrous blotch on his nose.
The remaining four boys circle around each other and it’s Jong-kook who attacks first and reaches for Gary. This time, Jong-kook beats him and acquires the keys, much to everyone else’s surprise.
Gary shares what he learned from Granny Maknae FD before he leaves and all fingers point to Haha. Haroro bolts.
He doesn’t run for long and Haha sighs that Granny is one funny lady.
Another flashback tells us that Haha met with Granny Maknae FD who told him that there were two chests. 1938 Haha took the heavy gold-filled chest before anyone else arrived.
Haha asked why he was being told this golden secret and I love Granny’s answer: “‘Cause you got here first.” And that’s why while everyone was reincarnated as someone else, Haha retained his body, soul, and memories.
Now in the present, Haha hrmphs that victory is within his reach so he isn’t going to give up that easily. But like he has a choice when he’s face to face with Jong-kook.
They drag Haha out of his corner but then Suk-jin attacks Jong-kook, alliance be damned. Then the unexpected: Suk-jin rips off Spartakooks‘s nametag. Boy, this year is just full of new surprises, innit?
It’s even more entertaining to watch Haha and Suk-jin go head to head as they wheeze and gasp for air every five seconds. Then in a final burst of strength, Haha pulls off Suk-jin’s nametag and revels in victory.
Haha returns to the place where his 1938 self hid the chest and struggles once more to move it (It cracks me up that Suk-jin wears Jong-kook’s nametag on his hat.). Once he unlocks the chest, we see that it’s filled to the brim with gold bars.
The ban on the gold prize has yet to be lifted in the present, but since this gold originated from the past, Haha is allowed to take the both the gold and the glory home with him.
I’m sure you’ll need it with a little one on the way. Congrats Haha!
- Running Man: Episode 129
- Running Man: Episode 128
- Running Man: Episode 127
- Running Man: Episode 126
- Running Man: Episode 125
- Running Man: Episode 124