The ultimate variety idol veterans climb on board to capture what might be the best Running Man episode in recent memory. As a group who have stayed together for the past fifteen years, they know all the ins and outs to deliver the goods that leave us laughing for more. Cunning, ruthless, and even downright adorable, I wouldn’t mind being stranded on a deserted idol with any of these A-dol pirates, that’s for sure.
EPISODE 161. Broadcast on September 1, 2013.
Our cast comes face-to-face with their not-so-terrifying captors: Shinhwa (Eric, Min-woo, Jun Jin, Hye-sung, and Andy). These guys crack me up already, like how their pirate cheer lacks that scare factor and how they try to suppress their laughter to stay in character.
Jun Jin struggles to open the chest, only to find the stash of gold missing and a letter in its place. The teams (Running Man cast versus Shinhwa) will face-off and acquire hints in order to track down their treasure.
The conversation is mostly a rehash of last week, but what we need to know is that Shinhwa is, simply put, ruthless and ready to take on any challenge.
In regards to the extent of their competitiveness, Jae-suk puts it best: “These guys dominate their enemies and then start fighting amongst themselves!”
Suk-jin thinks that he can at least take on maknae Andy (it’s funny how Andy’s still the maknae at age 32), but the A-dols name Eric as the weakest link. Eric: “I’m feeling seasick right now…”
The teams drop anchor at a sand island which only appears at low tide. Here, they’ll run as far as they can to stake their claim of the land. Problem is, there are only ten flags and twelve of them. Jae-suk complains that it’s virtually impossible to beat these athletic powerhouses, even if they’re free to steal flags from each other.
It’s a mad rush as soon as the race starts and aw, Kwang-soo picks up an extra flag for Ji-hyo. Everyone is scattered when the whistle blows, and for a moment there, it looks like the RM team has won it.
But there’s a twist: the team who returns to the finish line with the raised color flag first is the true winner. Min-woo: “So it wasn’t a good thing to run the furthest!”
The color’s blue, which makes Jae-suk the prime target. He runs with everyone hot on his tail, and the flag gets passed among the RM team until it ends up back in Jae-suk’s hands.
Everyone regroups to do a toss-up, but true to his betrayal icon character, Kwang-soo makes off with the flag. Ha, at least he wins the first round for his team!
Shinhwa is utterly flabbergasted at the move, but the RM members have learned by now to expect it: “We all knew he would run!” And so, the trash talking begins as the RM team is all, You’re so gullible! and Betrayal didn’t exist in variety in YOUR day. Heh.
Jong-kook charges ahead of Min-woo in the second round, but then Min-woo pushes him away at the last second to grab the flag. This time it’s Pass the Flag among the Shinhwa members, which highlights their amazing teamwork to the finish.
Now they’re all smiley, and Hye-sung even does his trademark “crab dance” move for old time’s sake. (Older variety fans might recognize it from the X-man and Love Letter days of yore.)
I’m always impressed by the Running Man cast’s speediness, but Shinhwa is none to be trifled with as they intercept the flag. It’s a stand-off mere feet before the finish line, and this time, Shinhwa knows better than to trust Kwang-soo as referee.
Gary takes off as soon as the whistle blows, and the RM team wins another round. Then thanks to Jong-kook, Shinhwa ties the score 2:2.
It’s down to one last round. Ji-hyo sits out this round while the boys battle it out on the sand. The flag gets passed between both teams a few times, sometimes even tackling each other in their efforts. But then Jun Jin passes it off to Andy, who wins the game for Shinhwa, earning them a helpful hint: Steal the shoe from the undead.
It’s lunchtime for our hungry pirates, but there’s no such thing as a free meal on this show, and they immediately complain about how they have to earn their grub. The first game is toe wrestling, and Kwang-soo and Jun Jin step up for their teams.
The sight of two grown men with their toes intertwined is pretty odd, so the staff shoots a commemorative photo. Kwang-soo: “It feels weird ’cause I’ve never done this before…” Jae-suk: “Then d’you think Jun Jin has?” Pfft.
The mention of food brings everyone back, and soon enough, Coach Kookie starts nagging about strategy, which basically requires Kwang-soo’s back to be turned away from the camera. They finally begin and both of their faces read: paiiiiinnnn. Hahaha.
They switch for the next round, but it must hurt like hell because Jun Jin throws in the towel.
In their next game, Shinhwa will wear headphones and it’s the RM cast’s job to guess who’s actually dancing to music. The RM cast rule both Andy and Min-woo out when they laugh at their commentary, but they’re still pretty confused when it’s time for them to guess.
So the Shinhwa members dance individually for them. It makes for a hilarious watch as some members are better at pretending than others, like how Jun Jin actually looks legit whereas Eric dances for two seconds before he’s told “That’s enough! We’ll guess now!” Ha.
Unfortunately, the RM cast guess wrong, giving the dish to Shinhwa.
We skip ahead to a race where they’ll scoot along the floor on their butts. Jong-kook and Min-woo are sent out after a few rounds of goading, and Suk-jin sings an impromptu cheer about biceps. Hehehe.
Jong-kook takes the lead at the turn, and I admit it’s pretty funny watching the muscle man scoot on his butt. Needless to say, he wins it.
Now the score is tied for the last game with kalgooksu (literally ‘knife’ noodles) on the line. They’ll be playing a hand-slapping game, and Jong-kook pipes up to complain when Shinhwa chooses to avoid the slap first. Jong-kook: “But we won [the last game]!” Hye-sung: “But we’re the guests!” Puhaha.
When Suk-jin and Andy are up first, Suk-jin gets so irritated by Andy’s smile that he slaps him. But no worries since it was just part of Andy’s strategy, and then he knocks the mat-hyung out in a moment of distraction.
Jae-suk nearly tires himself out trying to keep his hands moving, which allows Andy to swoop in at the opportune moment. Hee. The cast teases him for the cheap shot: “You’re worse than Kwang-soo!”
How funny would it be if Andy took everyone down with this same wait-til-they-get-annoyed technique?
HA, Jong-kook looks like he’s going to pop a vein in his neck any second now. It’s HILARIOUS. Every. Time.
They put a time limit and Jong-kook’s hands start to slow down at around the 30-second mark. Andy attacks, but Jong-kook insists it doesn’t count (“Look at the tape!”). They start up again, and everyone counts down the final few seconds… and Andy misses.
Jong-kook collapses onto the floor, his arms literally sweating. Spartakooks‘s speedy hand motion is so memorable that they call for a potential music video, so the staff compiles the video clips with the “Jong-kook loves his biceps~” song. HEE.
Now the tables have turned, and now it’s Gary’s turn to attack. He misses, but he claps his hands so hard that he reels from the pain. Then weakest link Eric gets tagged out in a blink of an eye. HA.
Jun Jin is Shinhwa’s last hope and his off-beat rhythm keeps Gary confused. With less than five seconds remaining, Gary waits… and misses.
Everyone digs in, and don’t you think I didn’t miss that Lady and the Tramp noodle almost-kiss moment there. Shinhwa obtains their next hint: a yellow parasol.
It’s back to the water for their third game (a water wrestling game), to which Shinhwa gripes that Jong-kook has the clear advantage. I love that when Jo PD mentions there’s also a woman (Ji-hyo), Jun Jin totally blows past it, exclaiming, “Who’s a woman? I know how strong she is!”
Min-woo: “We’ll take Ji-hyo and give you Eric instead!” But the RM cast still seems apprehensive, so both sides decide to have Ji-hyo sit this one out.
Andy bravely throws himself towards the other team… and ends up in the water. HA. Jun Jin follows suit, but then Shinhwa takes down the Easy Brothers soon afterwards.
Now the real battle begins as team members get shoved off left and right until it’s down to 2:2. But then all four fall in simultaneously, and it’s a draw.
Andy approaches warily again, but it’s Jae-suk who slips and falls in first. That gives Shinhwa the opportunity to move in, and only Jong-kook and Haha are left after the chaos. Jun Jin launches himself at Jong-kook, only to get thrown in instead.
Jong-kook then falls in with Eric, which leaves Haha to stand alone in victory. HA. Jae-suk: “What’d HE do [to win]?”
You’d think Andy would have learned his lesson not to approach first by now, but he offers to go up against Jong-kook in a 1:1 battle (in short, you hit each other’s palms, and the person to lose their balance first loses).
…and then Andy totally shoves Jong-kook into the water. HA. Looks who’s coming out of their betrayal cocoon. Then Shinhwa takes the others down easily.
Before their final match, Shinhwa comments that the RM cast’s stance looks like it came straight out of an album jacket. So they in turn strike their classic group pose (eee!), and the ’90s idols (including Jong-kook) wonder why they struck such pointed poses back in the day.
Jun Jin rearranges his shirt so that Jong-kook isn’t able to grab it, but it comes off his shoulder, inadvertently giving us a hilarious sexy shot. Then the RM cast peels Andy’s shirt off when he charges at them. Why thank you, Running Man.
But at least Andy eliminates a few members with him, and then Min-woo brings down the remaining members for the win. In the replay, we see that Hye-sung tries to help, but he slides in just a tad too late. LOL.
The Black Pearl ships out towards the final mission. On the bus. Jong-kook guesses that there must be one “immortal/undead” member on each team. Damn those crazy deduction skills—you could give this man one letter and he’d probably be able to figure it out.
Here at the quiet little town, the teams must eliminate the “undead” member’s nametag, recover their treasure, and lift the curse. Seems straightforward enough.
The staff attaches their nametags, but it’s important to note that each team doesn’t know who their undead member is. They head out in search, and the RM cast is able to make some educated guesses even with their vague clues.
Jae-suk stops in his tracks when he sees a Shinhwa member pass by, but he immediately smells a trap and doesn’t follow. Gary sighs, “I’ve already used that trick two years ago.” Then we see Min-woo volunteer to act as bait. HA.
It’s pretty funny how his appearance doesn’t surprise them in the slightest, but then Andy shoots out from behind. Too bad the sneak attack doesn’t work and Gary eliminates him.
Normally, I would feel bad, but it’s no secret that the RM cast are masters when it comes to nametag rippin’.
Andy isn’t the undead member, but his elimination spurs the others into action. Elsewhere, Ji-hyo rips off Hye-sung’s nametag, and he cries: “I lost to a girl!” Aw, and then neighborhood puppy climbs into his lap to comfort him.
At the same time, Eric eyes the rooftop patio where a yellow parasol stands alone…
Gary finds himself cornered by Jun Jin and Min-woo, who both lunge at him. They eliminate him, but Gary isn’t the undead they’re looking for.
Even though the numbers are in the RM cast’s favor, they still jump whenever they see Shinhwa approach. Haha is eliminated (his nametag is a dud), and then take out Jae-suk. And what do you know—Jae-suk is the undead.
That means Shinhwa needs Jae-suk’s shoe, but Jae-suk won’t go down easy, and he eliminates Min-woo. The cast comes running down the hill a minute later, forcing Jun Jin to run.
Though only two (Jun Jin and Eric) Shinhwa members remain, Kwang-soo points out that trying to tear off their nametags will only help them figure out who their undead member is. Which means that that one member will pick them off one by one.
They don’t know the necessary magical incantation either, and Kwang-soo turns to Jong-kook: “We have no choice but to capture them and torture it out of them.” Er, ya do know you’re not on your sageuk drama set, right Kwang-soo?
Once Eric is filled in, he and Jun Jin head out to meet the RM cast. They know they have the advantage, but they’re offering a deal: a 2:2 battle in exchange for a hint. When they gripe about how Ji-hyo is one of their choices, Jun Jin blusters: “D’you know what Hye-sung went through because of her?” Lol.
The others leave Jae-suk and Kwang-soo behind while they scratch their heads over their obtained hint (“gold”). The remaining duo faces off, and Kwang-soo rips off Eric’s nametag… to reveal that he is the undead. Ooh.
Jun Jin is eliminated in the scuffle, but it doesn’t matter now because Eric makes off with Jae-suk’s shoe.
The RM cast worry over what to do next since they don’t have the incantation, but then Jae-suk realizes they can just overhear Eric shout it out. You could also just borrow a pair of shoes from someone, too. Just sayin’
But they’re running out of time because Eric is up on the patio. He places the shoe in the vessel and says the incantation: “Gold Power! Begone, you immortal!”
It doesn’t end there—Eric needs to use the golden glove to tear off Jae-suk’s nametag and place both of the nametags of the undead on top of the treasure chest in order to lift the curse.
But it’s not like you can really hide something that conspicuous for long. So Eric holds it up in defense: “Don’t mess with me! You’ll all die!” Omg, I’m dying. Hahaha.
It’s freakin’ brilliant since the cast doesn’t know that it’s harmless, so they jump back like it’s a hot potato. Ji-hyo grabs Eric’s shoe, but it doesn’t matter because Eric rips off Jae-suk’s nametag.
With both nametags in hand, he asks: “Do I have to say the incantation?” Ha. He starts to say it: “Gold Power! Begone! Undead… wait a minute.” HAHAHA, did you forget what it was?
What’s better is that he turns to Kwang-soo for the answer. Oh my gosh, how could one minute of Eric be THIS entertaining. Hahaha.
So it’s back to the ship to lift the curse, and the Shinhwa boys collect their treasure (actual gold coins). Jun Jin asks the staff to invite them over more often, to which I can only say: Yes, please.
Now excuse me while I go and watch more Shinhwa Broadcast for the next few hours.
- Running Man: Episode 160
- Running Man: Episode 159
- Running Man: Episode 158
- Running Man: Episode 157
- Running Man: Episode 156
- Running Man: Episode 155