Running Man: Episode 181
Keeping a secret romance under wraps is no easy task when your fellow students are determined to find out your dating status. Old flames bring about past bitterness while new rivalries threaten to tear classmates apart, and one couple must get through the day without getting caught lest their secret is blown wide open to the entire school.
EPISODE 181. Broadcast on January 19, 2014.
On a nippy winter morning, a mystery student enters an empty classroom. Oh hi there, Lee Jong-seok, who sits down to read a note. From a secret admirer perhaps? Or maybe a special someone?
An hour later, four students (Jae-suk, Suk-jin, Haha, and Gary) are told that they currently don’t get along with their female classmates. They lounge around (sort of) until the door slams open and Ji-hyo takes to task on the boys, which only Gary finds endearing.
Then we meet Ji-hyo’s galpals aka teammates: actress Lee Se-young, whose appearance makes the boys immediately forget about the war of the sexes. And why yes, I did see Gary sneakily take Ji-hyo’s hand.
The next student, however, isn’t so lucky as the boys immediately round on Kwang-ja (Kwang-soo’s female alter ego). Jae-suk snaps that he briefly dated Kwang-ja, only to find her unattractive. Are you talking about the time you two were teamed up together?
Both parties are still bitter about their “relationship” as they mock-slap each other, then Ji-hyo jumps in to ask how far they went. HA. Embarrassed, Kwang-ja yells, “I can’t tell you that!”
The boys grow anxious at the mention of a “Samson” and hilariously retreat at the sight of Jong-sook, Jong-kook’s female doppelganger. As a self-proclaimed artist and cook (Jong-kook won the cuisine battle last week), Jong-sookie is even scarier than her male counterpart: “You think I only know how to cook chicken? I can cook you, too.” Eep.
While Jong-sookie technically may be the strongest among the “girls”, she isn’t the jjang or best fighter of the gang. That title belongs to actress Park Bo-young, and the boys are in awe of the petite leader.
Jong-kook takes issue with the boys speaking to Bo-young in banmal, citing that she’s “early” in their year (or in other words, one of the oldest). Then Jae-suk points to Suk-jin: “He’s really early!” and the mat-hyung quips to Bo-young that he had a drink with her father. Haha.
Jong-seok then joins the group to balance out the teams, and Kwang-ja is quick to claim him as her boyfriend: “It’s our 100 days anniversary tomorrow! We’ve already kissed!”
When the cast jokes that the girls have already fallen for pretty boy Jong-seok, Kwang-ja snaps, “Have you been toying with me?” Settling for Jae-suk is out of the question and Jae-suk laughs in disbelief that he’s still clinging to Kwang-ja, who notes curiously, “So YOU were the caller with the restricted number!”
Today’s “Farm Romance” race prompts Ji-hyo to nervously ask whether they’re heading to a rice paddy, which means getting wet and dirty. Jae-suk says no way because it’s the dead of winter, but Ji-hyo isn’t so sure—the RM staff could pull anything on them. Caption: You know it~
Ackkk, that makes me super nervous—it hasn’t been that long since the cast crossed the Han River on a cardboard-built boat in the freeeeezing cold (and wet. Let’s not forget that).
Jo PD drops the bomb that there’s a secret couple amongst them, and Kwang-ja runs to plant a wet one on Jong-seok, who shivers, “S/he sniffed me.” Anyway, their job is to win the games and acquire hints to figure out who that couple is.
Initial suspicions start flying, but Jong-seok remains silent. We backtrack an hour to learn why as he reads the letter from his secret “girlfriend” who writes that they can announce their dating status if they win today’s mission undetected.
Jong-seok gets adorably nervous at the prospect of his secret mission and practically beams as he describes his ideal girlfriend (someone who has a pretty nape of the neck and clingy) with a smile. Aw, I’ve read headlines about how Jong-seok would like to get married soon and he sounds like a romantic.
It looks like we get to meet today’s Juliet now, and I’d recognize that shade of red from a mile away… then Ji-hyo walks in to meet her partner. She jokes that they’ve been secretly dating for a while but he hasn’t appeared on the show for such a long time. I’ll say.
Their side mission is to strike couples poses in each game without attracting attention from the other members. Every time they succeed, a fake hint will be given to the cast members to throw the scent off their trail.
Hee, they’re awksomely stilted around each other (mostly on Jong-seok’s end), and when the PD asks if they’re promising to work hard for the gold prize, Ji-hyo defends, “No, we’re in love!”
She totally runs with the romantic pairing and asks the staff to let them publicly date, adding that they’ve only seen each other twice in the past year. HA, then Jong-seok just tags along to her statements. You two are already adorable.
In the present, Jong-seok is still awkwardly reserved and Ji-hyo notes that today is Tuesday (which means no Monday Couple? Boo), to which Gary sighs exasperatedly, “All right, I got it.”
Everyone heads out, and in the girls’ car, Ji-hyo is first to broach the topic about today’s secret couple. Bo-young remarks that the dating news only made her feel more lonely, and the ladies wonder if it’s one of the two “girls,” which successfully throws suspicion off of Ji-hyo for now. Well played, m’lady.
Meanwhile in the other car, Jong-seok is so nervous around the guys that you’d think he’d be a dead giveaway with his awkward laughter and general uneasiness. Luckily for him, the boys reason that Jong-seok would be too obvious of a choice and settle on Jae-suk.
Both Jong-seok and Ji-hyo spot the couple pose they have to complete (linking arms) as they arrive at the field with their teams. A flashback warns us that failing to complete their mission risks sending out a real hint to the winning team and endangering their identities.
HA, they have to wear ajumma pants? Whatever this game is, it just earned an extra fifty entertainment points. Haha jokes that he can’t stop thinking about Jong-sookie in those fashionable printed pants, and in a play on words, Jong-sookie smiles, “Then I’ll just stomp on you.”
Here, both teams will start from different ends of the field to fight for a spot on a small platform and the last one remaining loses for their team. Linking arms should be easy enough while everyone’s distracted, right?
Jong-sookie is a force to be reckoned with once the whistle blows, taking down the other team with—what else?—brute force. That and the surrounding chaos makes our secret couple’s task that much more difficult to accomplish, and in the end, only Se-young passes the first round.
I love how Bo-young just accepts the boys’ taunts with a cheery smile, and she later climbs over Suk-jin to stake her claim on the platform. Ji-hyo manages to link arms with Jong-seok in the struggle, but then lets go to avoid notice.
Jong-sookie hurls more guys out of the way, and then Jong-seok climbs on top of the platform. But time is running out and Jong-seok-ah, you can’t leave Ji-hyo behind! Secret mission, remember?!
But alas, both Jong-seok and Jae-suk pass, which is another problem altogether because now the boys are without their two of their strongest members. Double whoops.
In the next round, the “girls” pin Gary and Haha onto the platform, which would essentially leave Suk-jin to fight helplessly on his own in the following rounds. Heh, that’s a pretty good strategy.
It works, leaving the boys ironically in the lead. Jong-sookie comments that the girls will really end up losing at this rate. But Suk-jin is determined to climb on that platform himself, but while Jong-sookie is still in the field, I’d say your chances are pretty slim.
So Suk-jin runs as soon as the whistle blows to plant himself on the platform, but he gets peeled off of it soon enough and dragged back to the start. That allows the girls to pass easily, and then our couple steps back to link arms just as the next round starts. Yay, success!
At the same time, Suk-jin and the “girls” fight on the platform, and in a surprising turn of events, Jong-sookie rolls off. After the others follow suit moments later, they go for another round and the comedic circus-like music cracks me up.
The “girls” end up winning the game, and the boys rally for a 1:1 against Jong-sookie, who chucks them all aside easily. Is anyone else reminded of how Jong-seok was easily pushed off the water platform the last time he faced Jong-kook?
When they hear that they might eat for their next game, Kwang-ja rallies that they go for another game before lunch, and Jong-sookie adds that it’s best to exercise on an empty stomach.
Oh, so it seems that the winning team earns one real and one fake hint (“J” and “P.K.” respectively). Bo-young quips that if they’re trying to pin the “P.K” on her, then she’s definitely not part of the secret couple.
The girls later take a call from the boys, who claim that they know who the secret boyfriend is: Jae-suk. Both Ji-hyo and Jong-seok breath a sigh of relief at that.
When they arrive to their next mission location, Ji-hyo nearly gapes to see the next challenge: hold hands while interlocking fingers. She even mouths to the staff: “How are we supposed to do that?”
Jong-seok seems just as surprised, but then Gary spots the staff members holding hands and mistakes them to be dating for real.
The girls yell at the boys to hurry along now, and when Jae-suk dryly addresses them as “princesses,” Bo-young whips back, “Don’t just call us ‘princesses,’ but treat us like ones.” Heh, I like her spunk.
The game is called “Scarecrow,” which basically boils down to swinging on a bar to the other side (while avoiding the boundary lines around it) and take four steps since the word contains four syllables. The objective is to return safely in the next turn and either falling down or touching the other team results in elimination.
Jae-suk starts off the round fairly easily, but then Kwang-ja does something atypical and wraps herself on the bar. Problem is, she’s got three more syllables to use and ends up painfully hanging from the bar, toes just outside the boundaries.
Kwang-ja is forced to remain in that position as the others take their turns. Then Suk-jin ends up in a similar position from a failed jump.
Ji-hyo ends up far from the crowd, but then Gary catches up to block her, making it difficult for Jong-seok to try to sneak in a hand-holding.
As expected, Kwang-ja falls to the ground in her attempt to make it back, but so does Suk-jin. Thus it’s a draw before the next round, and Haha and Gary trap Se-young in her tracks.
Ji-hyo leaps a far distance again and Jong-seok quickly follows her, to which Gary comments repeatedly, “Don’t block her, don’t block her!”
It puts our secret couple in a prime position, if only the next four turns didn’t end up surrounding them. Se-young is eliminated on her way back, but her teammates make it back just fine, including Ji-hyo.
Jong-seok watches from the sidelines after letting himself be eliminated. Kwang-ja is in a pickle herself and kicks Jae-suk in the face, perhaps harder than she’d anticipated because she immediately rushes to Jae-suk concerned.
But this means time is running out for our secret couple as the game is winding down. So while everyone’s distracted watching the game, Ji-hyo and Jong-seok interlock fingers. Pfft, I love how each time after they complete their side mission, the cameras cut away to Gary.
Oh right, the game. This boys win this time, but the clues (an infinity symbol and a “12”) hardly tell them anything, and Haha notes that it’s strange that Jong-seok doesn’t seem too happy about their win.
The boys still generally suspect Jae-suk in the car while Kwang-ja entertains the possibility that Ji-hyo could be the girlfriend. To that, Ji-hyo admits she is, but that gets cast aside by other guesses.
At the marketplace our secret couple’s third task is to do a forehead kiss. The other boys find Jong-seok’s flustered expression suspicious, which the latter explains away as a phobia towards fists. Take a deeeppp breath, Jong-seok.
The teams will need to couple up in this game and Kwang-ja can barely contain herself: “What if they all choose me?!” Caption: You sure dream big…
Our secret couple smiles when it’s Jong-seok’s turn since being paired up together makes things much simpler. And then Gary says confidently, “I have insurance.” Er, you mean Ji-hyo? SO not the right thing to say to your once-a-week girlfriend.
Then Jong-seok swoops in to choose Ji-hyo, who readily agrees and snaps at Gary for calling her his insurance. In shock at the outcome, Gary defends, “I meant that I was your insurance!”
Se-young does the nice thing to pair up with Suk-jin, which leaves the two “girls,” Kwang-ja and Jong-sookie. For a moment it looks like Haha seems annoyed to be faced with this decision… and then admits each “girl” has her own charm. HA.
Apparently Kwang-ja is cute and Jong-sookie is sexy in his eyes, and both boys choose… Kwang-ja? Ha, well it seems like the safer choice, but d’you really want to risk setting off Jong-sookie’s temper?
Kwang-ja decides on giving a backhug to the man of her choice as they both try to appeal to her. Oh, this isn’t going to bode well for the one with Jong-sookie. It’s Haha, who cowers as Jong-sookie levels, “It would have been nice if you came nicely…” Welcome to hell.
The couples are told to buy anything at the market as long as they complete the rest of their mission within three minutes. While the others are busy buying various items, Ji-hyo and Jong-seok attempt to complete their forehead kiss.
They get interrupted however and hurry back, where everyone’s surprise task is to build a tower with their items. But with mere seconds left on the clock and a rogue clementine (that Gary later stuffs into his mouth. Hee, to get rid of evidence?), they fail the round.
Kwang-ja astutely points out that the secret couple is likely trying to prevent them from succeeding on purpose. Naturally that draws suspicion in Kwang-ja’s direction, and then Haha says that the culprits are amongst them. Caption: Where else would they be?
Kwang-ja’s direction, and Haha says the culprits are here in this room. Caption: Where else would they be?
They decide to change partners and now it’s ladies’ choice. The boys quiver in Jong-sookie’s presence, and when she chooses Jae-suk, he tells her to get lost. Oh man, you are so going to regret that decision.
Then per Jong-sookie’s request, the other girls pair up with different boys (and the Monday Couple end up together), leaving the mat hyungs behind. Both “girls” choose Jae-suk, who doesn’t hesitate to take Kwang-ja’s hand.
That particular outcome, however, draws suspicion towards the pair and Jong-sookie shoots them a death glare. Then it’s back to the marketplace as everyone suspects everyone else.
The couples are tasked with holding their item between their cheeks for a minute and the Monday Couple (who bought beans) asks if that means one bean. Answer: Yes. Insta-skinship!
So Gary is happy as a clam to be pressing his cheek against Ji-hyo’s and doesn’t break away even when time is up. Hee.
The staff burst in laughter when Ji-hyo notes that Kwang-ja and Jong-sookie are fighting for Jae-suk’s affections. She even adds that Jong-sookie threatens them to keep their paws off of him.
Jong-sookie gets her wish in the next round and orders Jae-suk around. Mr. PD asks whether they should extend the mission time to five minutes to, you know, give them more alone time. And Jong-sookie is the perfect naggy girlfriend who gets peeved when Jae-suk tells another couple that they’ll be breaking up soon.
Everyone gathers together again and completes their mission with ease—but doesn’t that mean both hints are real now? But they’re given one real and one fake hint, which can only mean that our secret couple completed their mission. And sure enough, we see in flashback that they did. Twice!
Both hints are a string of numbers that confuses everyone. In the car Jae-suk guesses the real hint points to the number of strokes (when the names are written in hanja characters). That boils down the possibilities to two pairings and Jong-seok awkwardly defends that it isn’t him.
They arrive at their final mission location which is a set up of picture frames and old-timey cameras. The boys fluctuate between either a Ji-hyo and Jong-seok pairing or Gary and Bo-young, and Ji-hyo reminds them that the girls have an extra hint on their hands.
Apparently there was another mission before the marketplace one that tasked the secret couple with a backhug. It seems a bit jarring to add this sequence right before the final decision, but perhaps that’s the whole point, so we’ll run with it.
It was an “I love you” game where the cast members would either accept or reject someone’s heartfelt or comedic confession without laughing. Se-young had whispered in Gary’s ear, who had answered, “Me too.”
Then both Se-young and Bo-young had kissed Gary on the cheeks, which pretty much meant he could die happy that very moment. But when it came down to the actual backhug, Jong-seok broke into laughter at the sight of Kwang-ja and the girls acquired a real hint.
Back in the present, each team is told to present their choices. The boys initially think of sending out Ji-hyo and Jong-seok, but they’re thrown off by Ji-hyo’s poker face. Gary insists that it isn’t him because they can read him like an open book, but Jae-suk points out that his acting has gotten much better lately.
So they send out Ji-hyo and Jong-seok, who prepare themselves to be found out… and get hit with a blast of white. Both teams reveal how they knew who the couple was (the boys noticed that Jong-seok remained eerily quiet while they were figuring out the hint and the girls’ own hint pretty much gave it away) and everyone is surprised to hear that they had side missions of their own.
When Ji-hyo and Jong-seok shows off holding hands, Gary belatedly recalls seeing the staff doing the same. At least now Gary can rest easy that Ji-hyo is still his Monday girlfriend, and when Jong-seok is asked for final thoughts, he cries: “I told you not to put me up to this [secret mission business] because I can’t do it!”