I *love* this cast. Even in a year of betrayal and stealing and nametag ripping, there’s nothing like a good ol’ bet between the cast versus the staff to remind you that when you put these seven members together, they’re unstoppable. Nothing can replace years of teamwork in this variety family, and at the end of the day, the love they have for one another. What a way to end 2013 with a bang and Happy New Year Running Man!
EPISODE 178. Broadcast on December 29, 2013.
The cast files in this morning in angry protest, voicing their complaints to the staff: “No more bungee-jumping [unless it’s with an actress]!” “My fellow castmates smelled like frogs!”
Whoa, twenty-four episodes that included water games in 2013? Why that’s nearly half a year! It’s not like they can scrap the idea altogether, but Jae-suk diplomatically argues that there’s a clear difference between games where the cast falls into the water versus deliberately constructing ones for that intent.
But that’s what these year-end negotiations are for, as Jo PD introduces today’s competition between the cast versus the staff. Kwang-soo astutely points out: “How hard did you make these games?!”
Jong-kook: “Let’s do nametag ripping!” Kwang-soo: “Let’s do nametag ripping ON the acupuncture floor!”
I was hoping that we’d get to see the staff actually playing the games against the cast members today, though it looks like from the previews that the cast will be doing much of the work. In classic RM fashion, they’ll acquire running balls through today’s missions; if there ever was a silver lining, at least the staff are also subject to the water punishment if they lose today.
Kwang-soo asks if he can’t make some suggestions for the Staff team, and the cast recommends all three PDs. Ooh yes, can we make that happen?
I love it whenever our cast must work as a team, and they all rally together in determination to win today. Jae-suk says it’s nice that they don’t have to worry about betraying anyone, of which Jong-kook points out that there may be someone who wants to appeal to the staff. Do we have to worry about you today, Kwang-soo?
Mention of that spurs suspicion as Jae-suk notes that Suk-jin didn’t seem so thrilled either. Sticking together as a team must be their top priority today, and when Jae-suk cries out to keep their change of undies nice and dry today, Suk-jin breaks into an addictive song/chant.
The cast is met with a giant Jenga tower for their first mission where one person will sit on top while the others must remove four pieces each to win. There are 15 Running Balls at stake here, and they gape to hear that the staff will gain 10 Running Balls per game regardless.
When they ask why, Myuk PD answers, “Because we’re the ones who made the games.” Well that doesn’t sound all that fair to me either.
The staff has prepared all safety precautions beforehand (“Just mind to run away quickly if the tower falls”), and Myuk PD heckles them right off the bat, cheerily pointing out that they only have to remove twenty-four out of the sixty blocks: “That’s not even half!”
They send the ever-fearless Ji-hyo to sit on top of the tower and start the Human Jenga mission, using Kwang-soo as a literal boost. It’s nice that he’s so tall, but his shoulders are gonna be a-hurtin’ by the end of it.
At one point, Suk-jin is so focused on the game that he warns his teammates not to tip the tower over. Jae-suk: “You should worry about whether someone gets hurt!”
It goes a lot faster once they use a stick to aid them, but they hit a snag with one piece and Jong-kook proceeds to explain all the reasons why it’s not working. Which is when Jae-suk finally bursts and tells him to do less talking and more doing.
Poor Human Ladder Kwang-soo cries out in pain beneath him, and then we see white flakes falling from the sky. It’s Jong-kook, who’s resorted to attacking the styrofoam piece with a stick.
That leads to a string of snow jokes (“I’m freezing to death because of the snow.” “There’s heavy snow! Evacuate!”) and Jong-kook oh-so-carefully removes the eighth piece.
We skip ahead where the cast is in high spirits after removing their twenty-second piece as the staff nervously looks on. The cast is supremely confident about winning this round and are quick to tease the PDs when they suddenly gather for an urgent meeting.
The cast talks a big game, though they worry when they leave it to Kwang-soo to remove their final piece. Would the variety gods grant favor to Kwang-soo and forsake victory for entertainment at the last moment?
Then Kwang-soo gives it a few taps before the piece smoothly falls out and they rejoice in victory. After another hushed discussion, Jo PD proposes they go for another round for 20 Running Balls if they remove five more pieces.
There’s a hilarious moment where Jae-suk negotiates with Jo PD on how many Running Balls they’ll get should they fail, talking as if being courteous to the poor staff members who had to pull an all-nighter. So they all jump on that bandwagon to bring that count down.
Is… Ji-hyo asleep on top of the tower? The boys look on with amazement at how peacefully she can sleep when more than a third of the tower is missing. HA.
They wake her for their bonus round and carefully remove three more pieces despite some very close calls. Then Jae-suk climbs onto the jenga structure itself as Ji-hyo steadies herself on top of it.
With one final piece to remove, Kwang-soo jabs it to create more “snow” before carefully pulling it out. Yay!
There’s an excitement in the car as the cast pride themselves in their teamwork, calling themselves different elements of this team. But then they spot a VJ filming as they cross the bridge. Uh oh, does the next task involve water?
They’re still in disbelief as they stare at the pile of cardboard and tape by the riverside. Jae-suk: “There’s no way they’re going to make us cross the Han River, are they?”
Oh yes they are. It’s the return of the Cardboard Boat Race where they’ll need to cross the river in thirty minutes (or twenty-five for a bonus). I love it how the PDs quells their fears in a nonchalant tone, all, “We [the staff] already did a simulation this morning.” In these waves and near-freezing temperatures?
They’re instructed to build two boats within one hour, and it isn’t long before Coach Kookie launches into full explanation mode and bickers with Jae-suk. Kwang-soo says they should consider the aesthetics of their boat, to which Jong-kook jokes, “What about your face?”
Suk-jin draws out a miniature version of their boat, totally convinced that the boat-like shape will work. Suffice it to say the execution is far from his conceptualized model and Haha screams that they’re screwed.
Then a minute later, Haha suggests a far simpler canoe-like structure. Pffft. Things continue to look good as time ticks by, and they even employ the staff’s help to construct their boats within the time limit.
Each team even adds some rafters and Jae-suk wonders if they’ll really be able to cross the river like this. Both boats look pretty impressive by the end, but the Han River is no joke.
The Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack playing in the background really feels appropriate as both teams embark on their journey. Remarkably, both boats float easily and they set off. Ha, did they really name their boat “Kwang-soo”?
Just watching them paddle feels tiring on the eyes, so I can’t even begin to imagine how much more difficult it must be for them. But then the F4 boat is suddenly in danger of capsizing… and they all fall into the water. Oh no, they must be freezing!
One by one, they’re fished out of the water while the other trio continues on. Now safe on land, Jo PD informs them that ten minute have already past and they have the option to either start over or cheer on their teammates.
They decide to go at it again, but the problem is their water-logged boat. So they turn it into a makeshift raft and climb aboard, wet clothes and all. Gary: “I believe there’s an 88% chance that we’ll capsize again!”
Maybe it’s just the music, but there’s something so intense about seven people just trying to cross a river by their own efforts. At one point, the F4 is faced with an oncoming wave and they nervously ride it out before paddling again.
The other trio keeps paddling in the other boat as Haha breathlessly says they must work hard for the sake of their families. They’ve all been at it for a while now, and when Jo PD offers to pull them along with their motorboat, they refuse and keep going.
The trio gives one last spurt and oh my god, they actually make it across. Serious. Props. Then Ji-hyo grabs the flag and they practically collapse from exhaustion. The good news is that they’ve acquired 10 Running Balls for making it within thirty minutes.
As for the bonus… they’ve got that too with a final time of 20 minutes and 39 seconds. The trio can’t believe it, crying tears of relief and happiness, and I’m not crying, I’m not crying, I’m not—*sniff*
The F4 boat finally make it across shivering from the cold. I’m just blown away at the stamina and determination of the cast, which makes this moment an incredible achievement. So even though the second boat is well outside the time limit, I daresay that there aren’t many who can boast that they crossed a damn river on a makeshift cardboard raft.
The current count of Running Balls is 40 to 20 in favor of the Running Man cast.
It’s evening by the time the cast takes a breather before their third mission. They tease Myuk PD for tweeting out of boredom whilst they were working so hard, and then hint that he’ll soon need to use that spare underwear. Jae-suk: “We’ve already changed ours!”
Here they’ll participate in a relay rhythm gymnastics race where they’ll have to complete seven different tasks within seven minutes. Ha, they even change into bright red long johns for the mission.
Ji-hyo starts them off and finishes easily, as expected. It takes a few tries for Gary to succeed and Jong-kook sorta gracefully turns with a ribbon in hand. It’s declared no good though, and the other cast members shake their heads whenever Jong-kook barks in annoyance.
The following cast members get through their turns, and now it’s down to Kwang-soo to bring it home with one minute remaining. He has to turn twice on his heel and catch both juggling sticks, but they end up falling on him instead. Frustrated, Kwang-soo then chucks one at Myuk PD.
After making some edits in exchange for three Running Balls, the cast takes another whack at it. They get through the first four tasks in three minutes, and things are definitely looking up with two more obstacles remaining.
It’s all up to Gary with his final task, and he zips up the stairs after he succeeds. Coming it at just a few seconds shy of six minutes, the cast win another 20 Running Balls.
At the final mission, it’s a simple lottery as one ball will determine the victor. The staff is already dressed for the occasion and both sides face each other to await the outcome.
So while Announcer Kim Hwan places the balls inside, the cast is assured that the odds are in their favor. The name that comes out is the winner, and that’s…. the staff.
And then the staff are the ones who get dumped with water. HAHAHA. Oh man, I don’t even care if it’s a mistake—it’s not like you get to see a wet Jo PD every day, don’tchaknow.
Happy and dry, the cast and crew send their New Year’s greetings to the viewers. Happy 2014 to all!