Our cast kicks off the new academic year in this University special, where they’ll be hitting the campuses to recruit teammates who are crazy enough to row across the Han River with them. At least Gary can find solace in the fact that today just might be the best day of his life thus far because all eyes are on him wherever he goes. Who cares about the freezing cold when there’s so much love and adoration on campus?
EPISODE 187. Broadcast on March 2, 2014.
Our cast gathers together at a cafe this morning, and wow—it feels like it’s been forever since we’ve gotten a rather low-key opening, hasn’t it? Er, aside from the pseudo endorsement for Caffe Bene, though, health junkie Jong-kook notably doesn’t touch the sweet offerings.
He claims he already ate breakfast, which prompts Suk-jin to ask when he woke up today. Jong-kook: “4 AM.” Jae-suk: “That’s a late night snack!” Kwang-soo: “[Jong-kook] stayed up all night to eat breakfast.”
I admit that I already saw the preview for this episode, and despite the crew’s best efforts to keep things under wraps, the cast has also heard whispers through the grapevine. Sure enough, the rumors are true—today’s final mission is to cross the Han River. Again.
Acckk, seriously Running Man? It hasn’t even been that long since their last nearly hypothermic incident, and I doth not purchase the argument that the cast will be just fine because of their wealth of experience. Have we forgotten about the capsizing in freezing waters?
Despite the collective groaning, the cast remains optimistic about their various building materials; we definitely know that cardboard works but it’ll be interesting to see what else might get them across. Like how Gary tosses out that it’d be nice to have a basin and is surprised to hear that’s on the list. But then Haha mixes up that word (dae-yah= basin) with the similar sounding dae-ha = shrimp. Ha.
And then Ji-hyo jokes that they’ll have a troup of a thousand shrimp pulling them across the river. Hahaha.
The cast is told to choose among seven pictures of beautiful actresses, and though they know none of the ladies will make a guest appearance today, the selection process is still hilarious. At one point, Jae-suk sighs over how he couldn’t make it to Jeon Ji-hyun’s wedding, and Haha chirps: “You weren’t even invited!”
They peel off the back to reveal the actresses’ alma maters, which segues into today’s University Race. Each cast member will visit their respective campuses to recruit two university students for their team for river-crossing later today.
Gary whoops in celebration to be sent to a women’s university, and Jong-kook muses that he’ll need people who will listen well. Caption: We don’t think you have to worry about that?
Today’s race coincides with the start of the academic year, and the cast brainstorms what necessary qualities they’ll need for their teams as they head out to their respective university campuses throughout Seoul. Jae-suk: “A guy like Kwang-soo and a girl like Ji-hyo.”
Kwang-soo’s preferences sound more like what he looks for a girl, but he’d like his team to become a family and jokes that they’ll build boats on the weekends.
Problem is, it’s still school break which means the campuses are mostly empty of students. Suk-jin: “You didn’t tell anyone I was coming, did you?” Ha.
Kwang-soo stumbles upon a small group of students, who are eager to help. They aren’t the least deterred by the idea of building a boat, and it’s as if you can see Kwang-soo flush bright red to be getting so much attention. Aw.
Speaking of being on cloud nine, Gary asks if he can only choose two teammates, and then teases the PD for turning bright red, too. On the other hand, Jae-suk’s potential recruit has been having a pretty rough morning with having to deal with a theft at home.
But then the student Young-taek says he can totally join Jae-suk in building a boat today, looking to participate in something positive to make his day better. He claims to have been in athlete too and learned a little boxing as well. When he’s asked for how long, he admits: “Two months.”
Young-taek’s insistence in his ability to do all things cracks me up, since he definitely sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. That is, until he’s put to the test and the execution doesn’t match his words.
There’s a Kwang-soo-esque quality in his can-do attitude, and even with his nickname of “Crazy,” Jae-suk chooses him as a teammate. The PDs are wary that Jae-suk hasn’t fully explained the nature of today’s game, but not only is the student willing (“I’ll even build a house!”), he’s also capable (“I’ve been windsurfing…”).
He’s totally okay with falling into the Han River too, and pfftt, who needs a change of underwear when you can spend the day with the nation’s MC? Young-taek is definitely amusing enough for variety, but Jae-suk worries that the student’s trying to find a match in their potential female teammate.
Haha is approached by a Jong-kook doppelganger on the Dongguk University campus, whom he promptly ditches for another couple (the look-alike also has to work today). Aw, they’re even the same majors. Haha has an impromptu race against the boyfriend, who’s pretty speedy and easily wins with just one shoe.
Suk-jin holds his own race (and fights a little dirty, ha) at Kyunghee University, but he seems more interested in garnering attention than anything else, especially when the students ask where Jae-suk and Gary are.
Gary revels in the shower of attention (“I don’t want to go anywhere!”) and Kwang-soo asks if he can role play to fulfill his fantasy of being the big man on campus. They oblige, but then they all reel when Kwang-soo sends a flirtatious wink.
Jong-kook has a pretty good turnout too, and it’s cute how Ji-hyo has her male Konkuk University students carry her. One even comments on how light she is with this big ol’ smile on his face.
Jae-suk surveys the small crowd of students to get some opinions on Young-taek, and aw, a sunbae backs him up on the grounds that he’s a good boxer. Jae-suk: “Are you sure? I’ve seen him.”
They take a minute to ponder what they need in their female teammate, which just ends up sounding like what Young-taek would like in a girlfriend again. Ha. His extensive water experience includes riding on a banana boat and going canoeing, and Jae-suk tells the staff to stop asking questions.
The duo runs into a few female students and as it turns out, they’re the same Kyunghee University students Suk-jin had informed about Jae-suk’s location. As for Suk-jin, he’s still busy rallying support from the crowd.
Haha likens his intrusion to a musical female theatre student’s practice as something out of a movie. After singing along to the song, Haha calls their chance encounter as fate and explains today’s race.
Back at Sungshin Women’s University, Gary gets his portrait drawn by a class of art students. A blissful ten minutes later, the ladies show off their portraits. I personally like the one where Gary’s eyes are drawn as cartoonish hearts, but they each have their unique talents.
Then Gary has his candidates construct an acronym poem out of his name. One student says, “If I meet Gary Oppa at Gangnam, I’m going to tie him up in a ribbon and take him home.” And that poem gets her to be chosen as one of his lucky teammates.
After talking to a pair of female Korea University students, the staff asks what Young-taek thought. Young-taek: “I think… they’d both be good at building boats.” Hahaha, now I really hope he finds a girlfriend at the end of the day.
Laughing, Jae-suk says he saw the glint in Young-taek’s eyes. As the morning passes, Young-taek points out more potentials, yunno, on the grounds that they’ll work well or are assertive. In any case, they chat with a pretty strong psychology student and enlist her for their team.
In the car, Haha asks his teammates if there’s anyone they’ve been hoping to meet in person. He waits expectantly… and they answer the Monday Couple. Kwang-soo asks the same question in his car, and when they call out different names, he asks if he should pull over.
The teams gather at their first mission location, and everyone gapes to hear that Kwang-soo recruited a soon-to-be Sogang university student. Jae-suk: “You’re saying he’s in high school?”
Ji-hyo introduces one of her teammates as a Gary look-alike, to which Gary asks, “Is that why you chose him?” Konkuk University Gary: “Nope, Ji-hyo’s mine!”
When Haha recounts his tale of how his musical theatre student was playing a sad break-up song, Jae-suk counters with a real-life tragedy: “Young-taek’s family was robbed last night!” Aw, the truth can be hilariously sad.
Once everyone’s finally gathered together, Jo PD explains that the teams will be playing games that will determine what building material they’ll get for their boats. Here, they’ll be playing a four-legged obstacle course race.
Haha’s team takes the lead after the first two obstacles whereas Kwang-soo’s team keeps lagging behind. Everyone runs into trouble at the last leg, but it’s Suk-jin’s team who pulls ahead for the win.
The team who wins today’s boat race will receive a scholarship, and the teams each choose their building materials. I’m thinking light materials like plastic bottles or cans will be advantageous, and Ji-hyo’s team makes the curious choice of blankets. That leaves Gary’s team to build a boat out of plastic wrap.
Aw, Suk-jin is determined to see that his teammates win that scholarship with their plastic bottle boat. Kwang-soo’s team’s balloons keeps popping on them unexpectedly whenever they try to attach the balloons together.
As Gary’s teammates draws a concept design, I’m getting the sense it would have been nice to have an industrial design or civil engineering student on the teams. They make makeshift balloons with their plastic bags, which seems pretty smart.
Young-taek gives a thorough explanation to his teammates about their aluminum can design, and Jae-suk jokes that sleepyhead Ji-hyo’s use of blankets is appropriate. Ji-hyo: “I plan to sleep on the Han River today!”
Even if Ji-hyo’s blanket raft doesn’t even end up floating, it looks like she and her teammates are having a grand ol’ time putting it together. Aww.
Jae-suk and Jong-kook don’t miss an opportunity to throw barbs at each other (Jong-kook: “Is today recycling day?” Jae-suk: “I’ll include you too!”). Over at Haha’s basin boat, it turns out that the musical theatre student is pretty handy with tools, and it actually looks like Ji-hyo’s blanket raft might float.
Jae-suk’s team draws a little face on their boat, and Gary’s team’s plastic wrap boat oddly resembles a banana boat. Slowly but surely, everyone’s designs start to come together and the teams carry out their finished products.
On the bus, the musical theatre student explains that her fellow classmates build the sets themselves. That certainly explains her construction skills earlier, and on the other bus, Suk-jin remarks that they’re about to make lots more memories today.
They reach the riverside by late afternoon, and Jae-suk tells the staff that they don’t have to explain the rules because, well, it’s pretty straightforward, isn’t it? He does ask if they can start a bit away from here (they can), because he’s still traumatized from the last time. And ha, it’s the exact same spot.
The teams get in position and Kwang-soo hilariously cries that their balloon boat is already sinking. Oh no! And just to remind us that Running Man has taken every safety precaution to this task, they give a final warning and have safety divers on standby.
The teams start rowing and even though it’s a little crowded at the start, I’m more surprised that all the boats are floating on the water just fine. Four teams chug along ahead while the others spin in place, and it’s Ji-hyo’s team in the lead.
As for Suk-jin’s team, they’re stuck in last place and unmoving, but at least that’s better than Haha’s boat that’s on the verge of sinking.
So we focus on the first two teams as both Gary and Ji-hyo’s team speed across the water. Kwang-soo’s boat isn’t too far behind but Jae-suk’s team is quickly gaining on them. It’s pretty incredible to see how fast Ji-hyo’s team is, and they reach the other side in just over sixteen minutes.
Gary’s team and their caterpillar plastic boat pull in second and they jump in celebration to hear that the first three teams will all receive a scholarship. Gary: “Who knew that blankets and plastic bags would work so well?!”
Now it’s down to the fight for third place, and we can hear the staff saying that Jae-suk’s team might pull ahead. And they do.
But upon hearing that they still have a shot at grabbing that scholarship, Kwang-soo jumps into the water and swims the rest of the way. Aw, you gotta love his determination.
The finished teams cheer on the others until the very last team crosses the finish line. Ji-hyo’s team accepts the scholarship on behalf of everyone and Konkuk University Gary says he’ll apply this turn of events for his perspective on life: that by working hard, you can still end up in first place.
One Sungshin student remarks that studying is easier than appearing on this show, to which Gary calls blasphemy. The teams give one final cheer and take a souvenir photo to commemorate their unforgettable time together.
And eeeeee, that Australia preview looks EPIC!