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Misaeng: Episode 20 (Final)

Get the hankies ready — not just because this is the final episode of what has become one of the best dramas of the year, but also because we (and everyone else) must figure out what life is like at One International without our beloved Chief Oh. Because life still goes on, and everyone rallies around Geu-rae to fight against the corporate machine so he can be hired on as a full-time employee. More importantly, we finally discover what fateful road lead him to take that soaring leap in Jordan.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After Chief Oh’s departure from One International, Sales Team 3 goes back to business as usual. But despite everyone treating him the same as ever, Geu-rae still feels uneasy, finding more reasons to leave than stay at the company. But the reason he stays is due to Chief Oh’s admonishment to hang in there and fight until the end.

As Geu-rae makes coffee for his department, the other newbies cautiously peer around the corner before nervously enterting. Seok-yul does his best to break the ice and raise Geu-rae’s spirits, but immediately puts his foot in it when he mentions the project takeover transition meeting reminds him of Manager Ma’s and Chief Oh’s old conflicts. After Geu-rae leaves, Seok-yul sighs that Geu-rae’s contract end-date is getting closer, and despite everyone’s best efforts, there isn’t anything they can do.

The new Sales Team 3 department chief is a total micromanager, belittling Dong-shik when he explains to the new chief that they’re normally left to their own devices to complete their tasks. That kind of work style isn’t going to fly anymore, and with a scornful look at Geu-rae, the micromanaging chief adds that when they get their new employee, it will be a college grad with good qualifications.

Assistant Manager Sung finds out that Seok-yul hasn’t paid Chungsol, the company that has been consistently late on their deliveries. Seok-yul sticks to his guns, insisting that because some important quality control documents were missing, if the products were insufficient, he would end up responsible. Of course, Assistant Manger Sung jumps on that word, “responsible,” wondering what kind of environment Seok-yul was raised in to make him so distrustful and selfish.

Oooo, you don’t mess with Seok-yul’s family, and as he sits back down at his desk, he pulls out the envelope of photos he took of Assistant Manager Sung — only to shove them back in his desk, calling them “too dirty” to look at. Innnnnteresting.

At the transition meeting, the representatives from the textile, resource, steel and sales teams amicably discuss what projects to hand over to each other. Manager Ma is in the seat of authority, and he takes issue with the fact everyone wants to work together instead of just focusing on their own projects. His unwillingness to let the resource team give away projects, and his particular focus on Chief Jung turns the chief into a stuttering mess of nerves.

Young-yi’s on the phone with a client, and as she’s about to discuss a delivery schedule, she notes that next month is her two-year anniversary of working at One International — which is also when Geu-rae’s contract is up.

The resource team return from their meeting, Chief Jung still rattled from his encounter with Manager Ma. The other assistant manager wishes Manager Ma was a contract employee, and as they watch Dong-shik and Chief Chun return to their cubicles, the resource team wonders what will happen to Geu-rae.

Young-yi takes a coffee break, and while she’s remembering when she and Geu-rae were interns, Assistant Manager Ha sits down across from her. He can tell it bothers her that they’ll soon be losing Geu-rae, and she admits that she can’t stop wondering if there’s a solution to help get him hired on permanently.

He suggests that she start a “movement” — if she can get enough people talking about how Geu-rae needs to stay at the company, then perhaps the executives might rethink things. She passes on this suggestion to Baek-ki and Seok-yul, admitting it’s not exactly a perfect solution. Baek-ki doesn’t know how it’s possible to start a “save Geu-rae” campaign. After all, it’s not like they can do a project presentation on Geu-rae or go crying to the CEO like people do in dramas.

But heart-on-his-sleeve Seok-yul refuses to give up without even trying, and he decides to use the format that once made him look like a fool. On the employee forums, he apologizes for his previous use of the message board, and begs everyone to please read his request. As he writes about how important Geu-rae has been to him personally, as well as the rest of the company, we see a montage of Geu-rae’s past experiences as both an intern and a contract employee.

Meanwhile, Young-yi and Deputy Director Sun go to the personnel department to find a way that a contract worker might be hired on as a permanent employee, begging that he get a fair review, untainted by his association with the executive director’s removal. For his own part, Baek-ki creates a spreadsheet, listing all the ways Geu-rae has been helpful to the steel team.

Assistant Manager Kang realizes what he’s doing, and even offers to check it over when he’s done, since this kind of documentation will be useful for Sales Team 3 to try and convince the executives that Geu-rae is worth saving. Aw, it seems everyone is on “Team Geu-rae.”

Seok-yul wraps up his passionate plea that Geu-rae must become a permanent employee with the hope that he may fulfill Geu-rae’s promise from the intern presentation review, where Geu-rae said he would sell the textiles with Seok-yul. Late at night in a darkened, empty office, Geu-rae reads Seok-yul’s post, tears streaming down his face.

A new crop of interns is ready to be selected, and Chief Chun encourages Geu-rae to go down and represent their team, acting like a proper sunbae. But Deputy Director Sun arrives, breathless, asking to meet with them.

They’re stunned to realize that headquarters is changing the policy regarding contract workers, and that in the future contract workers will be hired on after a performance review. Deputy Director Sun promises to help out all she can, and Dong-shik’s overjoyed that they have a chance to save Geu-rae.

As Geu-rae dazedly walks back to his desk, he looks over at the empty desk that used to be Chief Oh’s, wondering if it’s okay for him to be ambitious again. Speaking of Chief Oh (because he’ll always be Chief Oh, no matter what), he’s now…

…delivering chicken while dressed in his business suit? I can’t decide if that’s hilarious or just sad. The chicken restaurant ahjumma chides him for being late on his deliveries, and he cheerfully apologies.

During his lunch break, Chief Oh overhears a couple of office workers complaining about their new intern who had to call his mom to figure out how to make photocopies. Haha! But that reminds him of when Intern Geu-rae had begged him for a chance, if Chief Oh would just teach him what to do.

He pulls out his phone and stops at Dong-shik’s number, but while he’s debating whether or not to call, Deputy Director Sun calls him instead. He cheerfully greets her, telling her if she’s had enough of Manager Ma, to throw her resignation in Manager Ma’s face and just come work with him instead.

But she’s actually calling to inform him that Geu-rae has passed the initial performance review, and all that’s left between him and becoming a permanent One International employee is tomorrow’s vote by the board of directors.

There seems to be good buzz among the higher-ups that there will be a majority vote to keep Geu-rae on permanently. Everyone around Geu-rae seems more nervous than he is about his future, as he calmly sets about his daily tasks. But when Deputy Director Sun walks over to his desk, no words are needed — the look on her face is enough to tell him that he didn’t make it. Oooof.

Everyone fights back tears while Geu-rae forces a smile. Day turns to night as he stands, unmoving, staring out at the courtyard. Alone in the office, he slowly walks back to his desk, remembering his first day when he was so bewildered by the hum of the office. In the dark, he stands in Sales Team 3’s department, remembering those early days when he first worked with Chief Oh and Dong-shik.

The tears flow freely now, and he makes his way to the rooftop where he fought with Seok-yul, where he had run laps as a punishment, and where Dong-shik had asked to get to know him better. He reaches the railing of the rooftop, remembering this was the spot where Chief Oh told him that “enduring is winning,” and just hanging in there means he’s moving towards a complete life.

Chief Oh is at a new office, and, oh, hey — it’s Manager Kim! Apparently the chicken delivery was just Chief Oh field-testing a new style of helmet they’re planning on exporting to Vietnam. He’s actually started a new company with his old work sunbae, the one who had been so desperate for work, and hired on Manager Kim to be the CEO of their company.

As Chief Oh leaves his new office, his son calls to ask that he buy fried chicken. But his wife takes over the phone, grumbling that he’d promised that this new career would mean he’d have more time to spend with his family, but he’s just as busy as ever.

Seok-yul’s irritation with Assistant Manager Sung’s petty tyranny reaches its breaking point when Assistant Manager Sung casually orders Seok-yul to reschedule his day off. Seok-yul reminds Assistant Manager Sung that he requested that day months in advance so he could go on vacation with his family in celebration of his father’s 60th birthday, but Assistant Manager Sung insists that he’ll have to cancel his plans.

Snatching the envelope of photos from his desk, Seok-yul sits down in the stairwell and flips through them. It turns out that Assistant Manager Sung has been getting cozy with the CEO of Chungsol, who also happens to be a married woman. Seok-yul is about to drop the incriminating photos in the suggestion box, asking that Assistant Manager Sung be investigated, but he stops himself.

After much thought, he decides to leave them on Chief Moon’s desk instead. But when Seok-yul escapes to the roof to call his mother, apologizing that he won’t be able to make it on the family vacation, he pulls out the envelope of photos and burns them in the trashcan. Whew; it looks like someone has finally learned to take the high road.

But karma is working for Seok-yul when the husband of Chungsol’s CEO (a cameo by Oh Jung-se) arrives with his own set of incriminating photos. The once cocky Assistant Manager Sung becomes frantically apologetic as he takes a literal beating, offering to hand over all the gifts Chungsol’s CEO gave him — such as his watch, his shoes, and the keys to his car.

The chief of the steel department compliments Baek-ki on how well he’s done, adding that he’ll catch up to Assistsant Manager Kang’s records soon. Baek-ki’s appropriately humble, but when Assistant Manager Kang points out an error in an email Baek-ki sent to one of their German clients, Baek-ki points out that actually he was correct — just like he was correct when Assistant Manager Kang had tried to correct his German pronunciation. Hee!

Baek-ki eats lunch with Young-yi — or tries to, but ox-blood stew still makes his stomach churn. Seok-yul arrives to take it off his hands, and fills them in on how Assistant Manager Sung has taken a sick leave for now, but he’s sure the “psychopath” will be back soon once his pride and broken nose heals. He casually asks when they saw a movie together (and, pffft, is like “why would you watch a horror movie when there are so many others to choose from?”), adding that they shouldn’t leave him out. But that only makes him miss Geu-rae, and he points out how unbalanced they are now, with only three people sitting at a table for four.

On his hands and knees, Geu-rae is busy cleaning house while he practices English via audio lessons. Mom mentions that one of her acquaintances is looking for someone to help run a restaurant, but Geu-rae says he’d prefer to work on his skills first.

Young-yi calls him to get together for drinks with the rest of the newbies, and everyone is happy to see him again, particularly Seok-yul, who wraps him tightly in a hug — which Geu-rae tries to avoid, as per usual. But in the midst of the cheerful chatter (largely fueled by Seok-yul’s unrequited love for Geu-rae), Baek-ki wonders if Chief Oh has asked Geu-rae to join his new company. Young-yi tries to cover the awkwardness when Geu-rae admits he hasn’t, by suggesting that Chief Oh wouldn’t want to bring on anyone new until the company is properly situated.

As a tipsy Geu-rae makes his way home, singing to himself, Chief Oh is waiting by his house and calls out to him, asking if he’s done settling everything around him. He points out that Geu-rae’s got the suit and tie required for the job, so he just can come around to the new office whenever. Awwww.

Back at One International, Sales Team 3 is busier than ever, and their new inept intern seems to only make matters worse. Dong-shik and Chief Chun take a break on the rooftop, and Dong-shik bemoans the fact that time seems to now crawl — work no longer seems fun. As he looks down at the spot where he, Chief Oh, and Geu-rae had gulped down the spoiled milk, he wonders why he feels so lonely.

Yay! Geu-rae is officially at Chief Oh’s new company! As he sets down a report on Chief Oh’s desk, he flips up the photo of Chief Oh’s family. But as soon as he returns, Chief Oh puts the photo back facing down. When Geu-rae wonders why he always keeps it face down, he explains that it’s because he doesn’t want to hear his wife’s nagging.

They haven’t heard any response on the job posting they put out, and are contemplating seeing if they can get an intern, when, to everyone’s surprise, in breezes Dong-shik. He makes himself at home, telling them that Geu-rae can take down the job posting. Huzzah, the team is back together!

All that’s left is Chief Chun, but it looks like he’s got his sight set on becoming a department chief at One International, as he tests out sitting in Chief Oh’s old chair.

Geu-rae’s new hairstyle lets us know that some time has passed, and Chief Oh gets a call that fake deer-honey Manager Seo has stolen the cell phone case prototype they were planning on manufacturing and selling. Chief Chun tips them off that he’s been tracked to Jordan, and it’s adorable how, as he prepares to fly there, Geu-rae has to stop Chief Oh’s constant barrage of helpful tips by reminding him he’s not a kid anymore.

When he meets with the One International representative in Jordan, Geu-rae learns that they haven’t been able to find Manager Seo, either. But Geu-rae remembers Manager Seo had mentioned during his con-artist patter about the fake deer-honey that he prefers to stay in the cheapest place he can find.

As for Chief Oh, he’s out in the desert of Jordan, and as he looks around, Geu-rae calls him. Geu-rae seems a little annoyed that Chief Oh is “going this far” for their fallback plan, but he tells Geu-rae that the Russian mafia get tattoos on their knees as a sign that they’ll kneel for no one. So they’ll keep fighting, too. After he hangs up, he boisterously belts out his favorite Russian song (the same one he sang for Young-yi in Episode 7), then immediately calls Geu-rae back to tell him to meet him in Petra.

Geu-rae walks along the lighted path to Al Khazneh while Chief Oh recites Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken.” He meets up with Chief Oh, and is suitably awed by the ancient structure before him as Chief Oh explains that Petra was once the center of the trading world.

But it wasn’t until he was here that he remembered that, as a kid watching the third Indiana Jones movie, Chief Oh remembered that he’d wanted to be a world traveler when he grew up. Just because you forget a dream, doesn’t mean that it stopped existing. In the same way, just because you don’t see the road, doesn’t mean the road doesn’t exist.

Chief Oh quotes the Chinese novelist, Lu Xun:

Hope cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many men pass one way, a road is made.

But Geu-rae’s still confused as to why he called him there, despite Chief Oh insisting he just told him (and grumbles that he should have brought Young-yi instead, since she would have understood from the start). Geu-rae: “So, you want me to catch Manager Seo?”

Which leads us to the opening scene of Episode 1, where Geu-rae chases Manager Seo through the streets of Amman and across rooftops, before gearing up for his big leap between buildings…

…and he makes it!

He finally catches up with Manager Seo by saving his life when he tries to jump off a rooftop that would have had him landing on the ground below. But instead of being grateful, Manager Seo can only complain about the injuries he’s incurred. When it becomes clear that Manager Seo isn’t going to tell him where the phone case prototype is hidden, Geu-rae uses a piece a cloth to cover Manager Seo’s head.

When Geu-rae removes the cloth later, Manager Seo finds he’s been tied to a chair. He tries to escape, only to realize that they’re in a tent in the middle of the desert, and there’s nowhere to run. Geu-rae asks one more time for Manager Seo to tell him where the phone case is, but when Manager Seo refuses, he calls Chief Oh to see what he should do next.

The One International employee who helped Geu-rae track Manager Seo down is surprised when Geu-rae mentions the Russian mafia, but he plays along as Geu-rae threatens that the mafia is also interested in finding Manager Seo, and they believe in the “fist before the law.” At the sound of cars approaching and someone shouting in Russian, Manager Seo finally cracks, breaking down in tears and telling him where he hid the prototype. In awe, the other employee tells Geu-rae that he’s a true One International employee.

Chief Oh pops his head into the tent at that moment, demanding to know what he meant. After all, Geu-rae no longer works for One International — Geu-rae is his employee now. Hasn’t he heard of their company motto: “We may lose work, but we don’t lose people.”

When Chief Oh sees the sweaty and nervous Manager Seo, he shouts the Russian lyrics of his favorite song. Hahaha! The made-up Russian mafia was just a part of their elaborate fallback plan to get Manager Seo to confess.

Later, when Chief Oh and Geu-rae drive away, Chief Oh asks if Geu-rae regrets leaving One International and wants to go back. Geu-rae says he’s not sure, then suddenly asks Chief Oh to sell himself so that he’ll want to buy. Chief Oh, now in the passenger seat, is reminded of when he first met Geu-rae, the hapless intern who could only offer to sell him his unused effort.

As the men drive off into the sunset, Geu-rae’s final voiceover is the same as his first:

A path is not simply for walking: its purpose lies in moving forward and improving oneself. A path that fails to do this is not a path.

After the credits, we see in a little epilogue that when teenage Geu-rae stepped outside of his father’s memorial room, a distraught Chief Oh collided with him in his haste to Eun-ji’s memorial. Who knew then that when these two were saying goodbye to a father figure and a beloved contract worker, they would one day be filling those respective roles for each other in the future.

 
COMMENTS

It’s all over. Sniffle, sniffle. How do you say goodbye to your favorite drama of the year? Is it even possible to gracefully let go of something you’ve grown to love so dearly and passionately? I need my own version of Chief Oh to come and distract me with poetry and adventure while I grieve the loss of this beautiful and perfect drama.

Even now, I’m struggling to come up with words to express how all these characters have wormed their way into my soul and found a home there, and how glad I am that they’ll continue to live on in their own little worlds, be it at the global corporation of One International where even simple office tasks take on great meaning, or at the swashbuckling “people come first” company where Chief Oh can finally be everything that he couldn’t be — and where Geu-rae can blossom in confidence and excellence.

The last half hour seemed almost too cinematic at first, especially after spending weeks in the muted palette of cubicle country. Going from the mundane world of instant coffee, copy machines, and endless stacks of files, to suddenly landing in the beauty of the desert and Petra’s Al Khazneh, well, it was jarring, to say the least. And I admit I totally cracked a few Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade jokes before Chief Oh even mentioned the film.

But it only highlights how out-of-place Chief Oh and Geu-rae truly were at One International. These are men who can follow the rules — all those finicky procedures that are so important in a global corporation (as we know full well from when Geu-rae tried to sell Seok-yul Chief Oh’s worn slippers). But when it’s a choice between following procedure or following the heart, the heart wins.

While I don’t anticipate that Chief Oh’s company will always have them out on the unknown road, seeking adventure as they try to reclaim what’s rightfully theirs, I am happy to know that he and Geu-rae (and Dong-shik!) now have the freedom to work to their strengths, instead of always trying to work around them.

Even though this show is and forever will be about Chief Oh and Geu-rae, I can’t do a final wrap-up without giving some major love to Seok-yul, especially since he finally managed to actually think strategically and be as patient as everyone has been counseling him to be. Honestly, every character has gone through some major growth throughout this show, but Seok-yul’s is the most memorable to me. Remember when we first met him, and instinctively we recoiled from his smarmy greasiness and his “Wall-dog” ways? But somehow he’s become my favorite of the newbies, the glue that binds them together, even when Geu-rae is gone. (I’m also not going to admit how many buckets of tears I cried when he wrote his petition to save Geu-rae.)

Because as much as this show is about Geu-rae and Chief Oh, it’s also about the people around them, people who had their own stories and lives, and weren’t always what they appeared to be at first. So often in Dramaland, what you see is what you get — but here, we had to learn that each character was a person, too, with their own secrets, hopes, dreams, and foibles. Each had their own road to travel down, and sometimes the roads coincided with others, and sometimes they swerved away. The road of the office worker is an endless horizon of projects, presentations, and promotions. Some may end up taking that less traveled road, but still, the road continues on.

In the end (oh, how it kills me to say “end” — what were those rumors about season two?), I don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop praising this show. It was one of those rare-but-perfect combinations of directing, script, acting, and general zeitgeist that seem to pop up in Dramaland once in a blue moon, and I’m forever thankful that my “road” led me to the chance to recap such a wonderful drama.

 
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I've been waiting all day, thank you for posting this!

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Wonderfully, beautifully put. You summed up my feelings for this drama perfectly - I've become so attached to these characters, it's depressing to know I won't be seeing them anymore. Here's hoping for a season 2, even if it's years and years away.

And of course, thanks so much for the recaps. You and dramallama did great summarizing everything, especially the confusing office-lingo, which I couldn't understand even with dramafever's subs. I really enjoyed reading your comments and insights, and look forward to your next series!

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the best k drama for me in 2014 .> <.

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Misaeng is possibly the best k-drama ever.

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Agree with both of you!

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Agree
Excellent drama
The best so far but
I have watched several times but never find it boring

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The drama is so bittersweet.

I guess it is a romantic reflection on corporate life, but as many many people have attested, the drama really does have a realistic color to it.

Best drama of 2014.

Thank you guys for the recaps!

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No WORDS can express how beautiful this drama is. I'm just speechless here.

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I'm almost speechless except that I have to agree with so many comments and accolades so well written by all beanies here.

I am just so satisfied that Geu Rae's simple desire has come to be fulfilled in the best possible way... dreams do come true.

Uri. Kachi. Kesok.

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true. the one thing he ever wants out of his job is to work together with ST3. and he got his wish! i was grinning widely to them group hug! yup..a team that drank spoiled milk together, stays together!

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@ Kennedy Rose
Oh that spoilt milk scene was hilarious,... especially when all 3 were in their toilet cubicles LOLOL!!! And it didn't work as hoped. All that alcohol must have toughened their tummies! :D

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every time i saw that clip, i burst out laughing. the look on DS's face..the doubts on Mr. Oh's..and GR's trusting look.. and i just can't stop laughing when GR innocently told Mr. Oh that he still hasn't finished off his milk while DS was gagging away.

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I really enjoyed dis drama no romantic attachment its was fun all through Best k drama 2014 my opinion tho Thanks

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What a wonderful drama misaeng has been. Im truly in awe at how perfect this drama has been from beginning to end down to each detail. I love everything about it and saddens me to say goodbye. There are not many dramas that I can say this about..with dramas often starting out great and then fizzling out before they get to the end but Misaeng has been utter perfection.
I relate to this drama in so many ways even though my career would never take me down the office work route..if anything i will probably spend my days in a lab or something lol. But Geu-rae and the newbies' ups and downs are so relate able. Although i sometimes wished that there would be a magic solution (like when we thought he was gonna be made into a full time employee, i totally prefer this version. Everything is dealt with realistically and there is no cheap solutions.
Chief Oh, Baek ki and Young Yi were great too and I would love to meet them as people but its Suk-Yool that I truly love. I love how he matured and learned to be patient and the fact that he was the glue that held the newbies together. Without him, I doubt we would get the wonderful team of newbies that we got. And I will forever never not find his attempts at hugging geu-rae and geu-rae avoid him funny. Their bromance was adorable seconded to baek-ki and gue-rae. LOL
I can't heap any more praise onto this drama because its just that good. Im going to stop babbling now..i've never written so much on a drama.

Thank you odilettante for the recaps ^^

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I know everyone called Seok-yul "dog-wall" at first, but he's really a big puppy who wants to show his affection to Geu-rae (who is also a huge puppy, but more the 'poor scolded puppy' kind than the exuberant Seok-yul kind of puppy). I love his attempts at hugging, and the faces Geu-rae makes to let him know he's being a pain. So cute!

I remember being worried at the early episodes about whether Misaeng could sustain 20 episodes of that level of excellence....well, it just did exactly that. In style.

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I wouldn't been able to foresee myself falling in love with Seok-yul when I just started the drama, because Seok-yul started off as such a greasy creep. But 20 episodes later, I find Seok-yul to be sooooo endearing (aww, those bromance moments. Sniffles.) And also, it was only when Seok-yul first changed his hairstyle that I realised how handsome Byun Yo-han actually is. He's gained a fan!

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Geez, odilettante. I'm beginning to cry buckets just reading this. I am.

Many thanks to you for your wonderful coverage of this wonderful drama.

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Cried buckets again.

Best k-drama of the year, and my favourite k-drama of all times (not an easy spot to gain).

One International didn't deserve Mr. Oh and Geu-rae, and was glad that Dong-sik was able to join them in the end. Their hug said everything. Mr Chun will be fine at One International, he'll miss them, but he can fit in enough. But I vaguely hope that Young-yi and Seok-yul make it to Mr. Oh's company one day... Baek-ki has a good mentor at OI and can probably continue to fit right in as well, but I could see Young-yi and Seok-yul at the new place too (okay, in ideal life, I'd want all four newbies there).

Seok-yul's letter: wonderfully written and a tearjerker indeed. Revealed his heart of gold that we would have never guessed he had at the beginning... All three newbies doing their bit for Geu-rae was heart wrenching.

Loved all the poetry (Chinese, T.S. Eliot) in this final episode (and the previous one)!

I'm hopeful for a second season, I very much want it to remain as good. The brilliance of this drama owes a good chunk to the webtoon writer – that the drama stayed close to the webtoon (from what I hear), that no romance line was developed. I hope the webtoon writer feels no pressure as he continue to develop the story. I can't wait for the webtoon to be translated either, so I can see what of this drama adaptation came directly from the webtoon (e.g. in terms of narrative structure, all the poetry used).

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Yeah, it's now my #1 drama of all time too - and rightfully so.

I do agree that Chief Chun is the best candidate out of all of Sales Team 3 to remain at One International, because he can probably negotiate those waters much better. He'll miss his team, and genuinely valued them, but I think he also fits into the company's structure and politics more than they did/has learned to deal with it. But I'm with you on wanting the other newbies with Chief Oh again.

(I'd adore a season 2 continuation of this story, but only if it was done after the manhwa gets completed. And only if they retain the cast.....which might be tough two years in the future, seeing how popular they got. But I really want Misaeng season 2 to be great....and I'm already wondering how we'd keep our storyline going with the newbies if Geu-rae and Chief Oh moved away to a different company)

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Yeah, I'd like prefer the manhwa/webtoon to be completed first two – I want the writer to write just what he had in mind all the time, not to feel any pressure that there might be a season 2 drama adaptation.

Same, I'd want the original cast (all 4 newbies, Mr. Oh and Dong-sik minimally), though if we're between two companies... not sure how it would work out! If these things don't line up (esp. the casting) and we never get a season 2, I'm fine with that – I would rather have one perfect drama than a middling season 2 just for the sake of success of the first one...

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I would rather have one perfect drama than a middling season 2 just for the sake of success of the first one

That's how I feel, too. I hope Yoon Tae-ho holds true to his own vision for Misaeng just as he did with the first series of his webtoon - I'm glad to see so much mutual respect between the drama team and the artist.

(and I think none of us WANT another Answer Me 1994 scenario.....more successful in ratings than mk. I for sure, but far inferior to the Answer Me 1997 in so many ways. I would hate if that happened to Misaeng, like hate it on a personal level)

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Good analogy re: 1994 vs. 1997!

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I was so happy when Dong-shik joined Chief Oh. While the focus may be on Chief Oh's mentorship to Geu-rae, I find Dong-shik and Chief Oh's mutual trust and support extremely touching as well.

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I can't even read reviews of this show without getting choked up. This show is hands down the best drama I've seen and rightfully has earned a spot in my Forever Favorites list. No other drama has spoken to me in such a real way.

As someone in middle management in an office environment, I've taken a few lessons from Chief Oh.

I'm really going to miss this show and our kids. Fingers crossed for Season 2.

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Thanks so much for your coverage of this drama! It was excellent throughout...

Just for fun, if there WERE a season 2 of Misaeng, what would everyone like to see?

My short list is:

1) A few subtle and well-done lovelines. I admit that I want to see what (if anything!) develops between Baek Ki and Young Yi, and it would be nice to have a fun new character introduced as a love interest for Seok Yul
2) More female characters introduced. I'd also like to see the return of that head of finance, she was awesome!
3) Mgr. Ma finally getting his comeuppance...I was waiting for it this season and it never came!

What about y'all?

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I'll comment on #3: Comeuppance? YES! But on the other hand, there is always going to be a Mgr. Ma type in an office, so...?

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Maybe Season 2( if there's one) they can show a young Mgr Ma or appropriately a newbie Ma. Perhaps he had his struggles, too and something tragic happened and he became an asshat.... Nah, that is STRETCHING a bit too much. That man was born nasty ??

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And, yeah... I was waiting for him to get his comeuppance, too. Surprised me.

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comeuppance

This, too, was a perfect commentary on the hidebound corporate culture - the entrenched assholes never lose their jobs - and that fact is why Chief Oh kept a resignation letter in his desk.

The difference between Manager Chun's statement that work isn't supposed to be fun and Dong Sik's enjoyment of his job under Chief Oh is another stark contrast. One Intl has kind of a toxic workplace - Chief Oh's business will flourish in part because all the employees find joy in their work.

I found it interesting that Asst Mgr Sung wasn't fired or - at the least - demoted for his actions. All the corporate places I've worked, giving preferential treatment to a company based on a personal relationship would have brought swift and terrible retribution. (More toxic atmosphere, there - jerkfaces flourish, nice guys get ground down and have to work by the bathrooms.)

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Season 2 - I'd like to see ...

1)Chief Oh's company big enough to be a supplier for One International and see how he wades through business with his old colleagues while maintaining his integrity.

2) Dong Shik go through successfully with a blind date and a girl who appreciates his sweetness and see him blossom as a man in love!

3) Geu Rae playing baduk with Baek Ki and beating him at it.

4) More singing from Im Shi Wan, and singing overall from the cast.

5) Seok Yul's boss being transferred and Seok Yul able to take over his position faster than most hoobaes.

6) And yes, more ladies on the sales team's floor (16th? floor) so that Mgrs Ha, Kang, etc will have more opportunities to act like smitten dorks (LOL!)

7) The start of a loveline for Geu Rae with that kindergarten teacher.
:)

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I'm not sure I want to see Geu-rae with the kindergarten teacher, I was ok with the idea of a love line.......but that was before she started doing stuff like following him home and continuing to send him flirty texts even when the poor guy clearly tells her he isn't interested and can she please stop. (think of what we would think if the genders are reversed)

I would be quite open to seeing Geu-rae develop a love line with someone else, though. As long as any love lines are in keeping with the tone of the story that is.

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I was thinking about this too... I didn't like the following around, but also by this moment in time they met more than two years ago (they met very much at the beginning of Geu-rae's 2-year contract). She apparently texted him every now and then, texts which he didn't respond to because he didn't know how (=he wasn't interested!). They only interaction they've had is that outing with Dong-sik, but that's it. If she's still pursuing him & texting him because she wants to be his girlfriend... I'd find that creepy but also very misguided. Because if someone has not really responded over years – basically he's not that into you.

So I would prefer a new person to be appear on the horizon for his love interest, one that Geu-rae is interested in or becomes interested in over time (working with her, first being friends - the way these things happen in real life!), not someone that pursues him in the manner the kindergarten teacher did. Even if Geu-rae was very much the quiet observer in the beginning of Misaeng, one of the things he learned over time was also to take action. I'd like that reflected in his love life too.

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I didn't even think of the time gap between their interactions - that's a good point! Even weirder if she's so pushy after his repeatedly expressing that he doesn't want anything to do with her.

And Geu-rae is clearly not incapable of having romantic feelings - we all saw how he developed a whopper of a crush on Young-yi on day 1 at the office but didn't know what to do about it other than stay quiet. I remember someone on an earlier recap saying how sweet, puppylike Geu-rae was exactly the kind of guy who becomes the rejected second lead in all conventional kdramas - which is why I'd find it even more intereesting to see how it is when he feels attracted to a girl and is willing to act on it.

(I wouldn't mind if it was Young-yi because I love Kang Sora and the handling of possible love lines has been deft enough to remain flexible, i.e. no cemented OTPs.....but as long as they get a good young actress to pair with Im Shi-wan, I'm open to Geu-rae having feelings for a new girl too. That is life, after all)

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<Even weirder if she’s so pushy after his repeatedly expressing that he doesn’t want anything to do with her.

Weird, but it does happens all the time in Asian dramas (both with male and female characters). But in real life – if someone doesn't get the message after a "no" and several weeks (and multiple messages) of non-response, it's at best pushy, at worst stalkerish. I want Misaeng to stay close to life, because that's where it excelled and where it was so different from most k-dramas.

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hey, our puppy is still too young to date! what if the girl he likes break his heart? our boy has only been happy for a bit of time...so girls, back off! let him be! shoo! shoo! (over-protective mommy syndrome!!)

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LOL! shoo! shoo!

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I'm on the fence about a season 2. But if it really has to happen, I'd like to see:
- the same actors if the same characters reappear
- GR finding his piece of paper with YES written on it and hidden in One International building pillar
- an encounter between ED Choi and GR. If they had to play a Baduk game in this season 1, I was wondering if GR should win or let ED Choi win on purpose. But in season 2, GR needs to win it.

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Geu-rae took out his YES! paper from its hiding place in the pillar after his temp status crisis came up - I don't remember seeing him put it back :(

But I agree that if they plan a season 2, they have to get the cast back - our newbies, Sales Team 3, everyone. It won't be the same without them!

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i wouldn't worry abt the 'newbies'. they have become firm friends and i am sure they do meet up once in awhile to catch up with each other's news. what i want to see is that 'group meeting' be shown a bit more than season 1. and if Mr. Oh's company continue to flourish, he might lure YY!

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I'd love to see Young Yi and Chief Oh working in the same team, but I'm also loath to see her give up her hard-earned place in her current job (not to say she should remain stuck there for life, though!).

I can see her (& SY & BK) "supporting" Chief Oh and Team Geu Rae from a slightly different place - after all, they're in the same industry still!

I think it's now more of a running joke for Chief Oh to declare that he'd still rather have Young Yi. He can bluff all he likes. We know he and Geu Rae were fated to be together!

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I'm pretty sure he did. If my memory is correct, he is slipping it back into the hiding place when Mrg Chun comes walking up.

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he did put it back when mr. chun called out to him. pretty sure abt it. (another reason to watch misaeng again)

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Thanks! And yes... another reason. All use 'em all. :-)

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SO. GOOD.

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I find the song at the end both funny and well suited for the drama. It's actually a Russian classic by the Great Vladimir Vysotsky himself, Koni Privedlivye, "untamed horses" (free translation). It's a song about freedom and at the same time how you kind of rush forward so fast that you do not really manage to live. I guess it suits manager Oh well.

Also, the part when he's yelling at the guy in Russian he's actually saying that he's gonna give water to the horses. :D

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Thanks @Arawn! I'd been wondering about that all along, since Ep 1. It had a Russian feel to it, and the viki translations added to that as well.

Chief Oh talked about living in Russia and sang a snippet of the song to Young-yi one time when they talked on the roof.

Thanks again. I really wanted to know. Yes, so fitting.

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I found a video of Vladimir Vysotsky singing it, with English subs.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3zGf4hlzgYg

If you google you'll find various sites with translations. I have zero idea how accurate this is. Here the song is titled "Capricious Horses", which I've seen used several places. I've come across "Fastidious horses" about the same amount of times, which doesn't seem to have any connection at all, but what do I know? I like @Arawn's “untamed horses” myself. :-)

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In my opinion "capricious" is better. The word "privedlivyi" has several meaning and fastidious is one of them, but not suitable for this particular song. Here the idea is that the singer cannot control his horses - he begs them to ride more slowly and laments that he had been given these "uncontrollable horses" that do not listen to his commands or even answer his whip. This is why I used word "untamed" - of course horses here are technically tamed as they have been put before wagons but they are too wild for the driver to control.

So here privedlivyi means "difficult" but in a sense "difficult to control". Difficult horses would just sound silly... :D

For me it is always difficult to translate from Russian to English and vice versa, because my vocabulary in both is somewhat limited and especially in English I do not often grasp all the nuances of words as I am not a native speaker. Russian is my mother tongue, true, but weaker of the two (stronger one is Finnish) so that adds to the problem. :D

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Thanks for all this info Arawn! Great song. I'd watched Ep 20 before at soompi, but just re-watched it now at viki, where they sub the music.

Hard to imagine Misaeng without this song throughout the series. So meaningful.

Thank you again. ♥

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Chief Oh's "shukran" (thanks in Arabic) sounded very funny.

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Oh gee! What am I going to do without this drama? I guess it's not lost forever as I can always stream it whenever the urge to see my newbies pop up...but dang!!!!!

Thanks for all the wonderful recapping you did. Is it sane to miss drama characters as if they're like..."real" people?

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Well if it's not sane, there are a lotta whack-jobs here. :-D

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don't worry, Carole..you're not the only one wondering.. i've been listless these past few days and kept googling 'misaeng' just for the heck of it. luckily, Siwan & ZE:A's FB pages upload some photos from Misaeng or the cast & crew holidays pics so it helps a bit.

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:-) @reviow! Good to know!

@Kennedy Rose:
It's a weird lost feeling, isn't it? Like saying goodbye to friends who visited for the holiday. I guess the ending of a good show brings both joy and melancholy.

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it's kinda depressing.. i'm struggling to watch another kdrama.. i managed to catch up with pinocchio(i love the choi family!) but i just seem to be unable to start on healer, punch, sweden laundry, etc. i even tried watching 'old' kdramas like love letter and smile dong hae..but it's really an uphill battle.

argh!

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Oh dear! You're having it real bad.

I'm get by with Pinocchio and Healer both of which I like. Also with Valid Love and Sweden Laundry, more out of curiosity. And there are MVs and OSTs and things to dampen the longing, or does it just make it worse??? ;)

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Wow! Who's this confident young man, that wore his suit like it was made to fit him, made his travel arrangements calmly and told his boss that he's not a kid? What a transformation in Geu Rae! And Im Siwan was able to pull it off perfectly. Excellent acting. Understated but very natural.

So Baek ki and Young yi are now an item? Not really sure how I feel about that.

All's well that ends well. In the end, both Geu Rae and Chief Oh blossomed away from One International. Instead of being stuck at a desk job, he was able to travel around the world. I am so gonna miss this show.

PS - the reason Chief Oh gave for placing his family picture face down is hilarious. LOL. Passive-aggressive wouldn't you say?

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That confident man was Geu Rae. He was attractive when he was insecurity but also incredibly attractive when he exuded power and confidence. I'll take him either way but confident Geu Rae does make my ovaries flutter. The other Geu Rae I kinda wanted to protect from the world. Ah, how quickly men change!

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That's the beauty of the writing and Im Shi-wan's performance - that young man who teases his boss and tells him not to call him a kid, didn't appear out of nowhere.

The Geu-rae we saw in episode 1 has been changing and growing towards this Geu-rae for a while now, he may have been still reserved and shy but he started to come out of his shell as early as episode 3 thanks to Seok-yul.

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I don't think that Baek-ki and Young-yi are now an item. They are just more relaxed in each other's presence (especially Baek-ki)... They could develop into an item, their teasing of each other would seem to hint at that there is some interest on both sides (possibly).

I wouldn't mind them together – at the beginning I was more shipping Young-yi with Geu-rae (since no one would ever expect him to have a gf like that), but because they developed no love line in this drama but let everything happen naturally (friendship between the four newbies, everyone getting to know each other and close to each other, rather than some overly dramatised romance-that-only-happens-in-the-movies) I would cheer them on now. Because it would feel quite real if they did get together. Again, if another season happened, I wouldn't want any love story to overwhelm to overwhelm the drama. More like this one guy photographed for Humans of Seoul said the other day "we always were friends. one cold day we just held hands and that was that" (see`; http://humansofseoul.com/post/105646322176/something-special-in-my-life-ive-had-a).

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it is so amazing to see a change in GR's personality. working with his idol does him good. gone were the timid attitude, the shy demeanor, the slow-paced walk, the eye-cast-downward thingy, the bashful smile, the sad eyes.. you can see GR walks with a swagger now. he hold his head up and he makes eye contact with the person he talks to. he even dare to tease Mr. Oh and confidently threw back Mr. Oh's words back at him.

my,my. the old GR is more like Siwan in his private moments(he's quiet and shy) and the new GR is a reflect of Siwan when he's on stage with ZE:A.. confident and full of energy.

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Thanks for the link. What a sweet story.

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I'd like to think that Baek ki and Young yi are 'just friends' but they are a little too jumpy around Seok Yeol (first with the shirt incident, and then at lunch with the movie reference), makes me think that something is going on (they're developing feelings for each other), otherwise they would've just taken things in stride. But the funny thing is, Seok Yeol just takes these things in stride and attributes it to friends hanging out. No harsh teasing from him.

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I think they are sort of developing feelings for each other... it's possible that nothing will happen though.

I think Seok Yeol is totally on to them. Possibly because he can sense that neither would take the first step (for different reasons). Baek-ki only bought the shoes because Seok-yeol was teasing him about the shirt, Baek-ki himself would never had the guts to buy shoes for the girl he likes/has a crush on, but the "guilting" him allowed him to buy them as "I can't accept such an expensive gift without giving you something in return".

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I believe that Seok Yul probably got it right away and also probably knows that they are at the very early stages in a possible romance, where it could all fall apart.

I like that he's being very sensitive and is treating BK's and YY's relationship as normal and usual so that no unnecessary tension will arise between the 2 of them as well as between the 3 of them and spoil their nice friendship.

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I wouldn't mind Baek Ki and Young Yi getting together eventually (although that would be a whole new series of hurdles with "procedures" at One International)

But I'd actually like to see Baek Ki get some more dating experience. Just to see him get teased by Young Yi (and Seok Yul, of course). I reckon she'd give him sound dating advice, too!

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@ Thursdaynexxt
YY give "sound dating advice" yes, without a doubt. That will really be fun to see, that is, if he will reveal the fact that he is dating without being embarrassed about it. The time they met by chance at the cinema, he tried to bluff that he was coming from a wedding but YY knew at once that he'd had a blind date LOL!! and he looked kind of shame faced about it....

He came out of a horror date and fell into a horror movie :D Poor Baek Ki.

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No words can encapsulate my love for this drama. The past 10 weeks have been a pleasure mainly due to the wonderful characters in this spectacular show. I'll keep revisiting/re-watching as I've gleaned far too many life lessons.

Major kudos to everyone involved in this show.

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What an awesome drama! And the ending exceeds all of my expectations too. It made me cry and also made me laugh like a crazy person. This has made into my list of favorites of all time. Thank you for all the recaps.
Didn't dramabeans post a while ago that the webtoon creator and the production team are discussing Season 2 already? I'll be eagerly waiting for it.

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Yes.

Season 2 talk for Misaeng the manhwa and the drama
http://www.dramabeans.com/2014/11/season-2-talk-for-misaeng-the-manhwa-and-the-drama/

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Thank you for sharing " the road" with us.
As with the others, MiSaeng is one of my all time favourite. It captures my heart since Epi 1 when all I want to do is to console woori GR , and it never lets go as I was watching( and rereading )Seok Yul's heartfelt attempt to save Geu Rae in the finale.
I really doubt that there will be another drama that will affect my heart and soul the same way MiSaeng did. The webtoon writer, the director of the drama and the entire film crew are exceptional.
I might be a minority, but I actually do not want Season 2. This drama is too good to be "messed with". Perfection happens once, why ruins it??
I will miss my Chief Oh and Geu Rae, but I can rewatch the drama( and probably cry again).Any lesser caliber of director, actors might not duplicate the same quality even if we have the same Webtoon writer. This is just my humble opinion.
Again, thank you for all the recaps and all the sharing of experiences from fellow Beanies. Our love in MiSaeng also makes us a team... Yes, Team Yes/ Geu Rae.
Happy Holidays ?

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I'm scared about a Season 2 as well @cingdoc. Crave it, but afraid of screwing up perfection.

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As long as the drama's writers rely on the source material, I think the 2nd season will be almost or as good.

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Yes, but the major difference is that for Season 1 the source material was already completed, for Season 2, the webtoon writer hasn't written anything more yet.

If he keeps his head screwed on right and doesn't let the immense popularity of the drama get to his head (i.e. give in to any "demands" whether from producers, networks, fans, etc.) it'll be alright.

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i don't want a "season II" either. I feel a special relation to real friends. A point comes with a real friend in which one doesn't need to see or even talk to them to know that one year, ten, or forever won't make any difference-- the separation is immaterial. I remember hearing a student friend call to me in the Denver airport whom I HADNT SEEN in 29 years, and didn't recognize--she didn't recognize me either but she said she knew my voice (loud) immediately--and the intervening years fell away. . . in our friendship absolutely nothing had changed. We said goodbye with hugs, tears and smiles as I do now with Chief Oh and Geu Rae.

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Misaeng is easily the best thing I've seen on tv in any language all year - this is one drama that totally and thoroughly deserves its success. There's no other drama out there that marries bleak reality with human warmth quite as well as it did, which I think is ultimately what got to all of us.

We all wanted our Sales Team 3 and newbies to remain at One International because it's the place they could be together, but I think it was right to have them leave one by one - like so many have said, the company certainly didn't deserve Chief Oh, or Geu-rae, or Dong-shik. And while being forced out felt like a catastrophe, it's not the end for them. I totally got what you said on the last recap about the stakes feeling higher than just banal corporate stuff - to these people, it is their life. Which is why it makes absolute sense to portray it that way, because it is that important to them.

And I really love that this is a drama where the grand prize at the end of it all isn't to a huge chaebol business or anything fancy or heroic - it's just negotiating a difficult environment and and getting to do their jobs properly.

(the ending really is a perfect one, I got goosebumps of Geu-rae bumping into Chief Oh at his father's funeral....talk about a fated relationship. Fangirling to follow!)

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@pogo. Thanks for your perfect comments. I couldn't have said it better.

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@revlow - I know a lot have called this drama depressing, but imo there's an incredible and uplifting message to Misaeng, which is that even the simple fact of survival in our day-to-day lives, is an accomplishment of sorts and should be valued.

(which is really a great thing to take away from this drama, given how so many of us have felt like Jang Geu-rae at one point or other)

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Absolutely! You nailed it.

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Uplifting, indeed.

I think the original manhwa artist said that the objective he had when creating Misaeng was to honor the unsung heroes of everyday life. To show that despite everything, life is still worth living and labor is sacred. Very timely reminder and positivism especially with increasing suicide rate and negativity in Korean society.

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@Pogo You're right. Calling this drama depressing is a deservice to many of us who live the corporate life every work day. I refuse to call my life depressing. And I see many of what affects me, and my colleagues, mirrored in the lives of those who work at One International. Not to that degree, of course. But to a great many of us, Misaeng is not depressing, it is reality. We have our good days and bad days, just like they do.

That's the beauty of Misaeng, and what makes it an uplifting, wholesome drama. For what is life without hope?

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I never found it depressing. It had dark and difficult moments, but it was just real.

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P.S. Odilettante, re: Seok-yul, I'm going to pull a big fat I TOLD YOU SO. I've loved him and said so ever since Geu-rae slugged him on that rooftop in episode 3, when he was still just greasy comic relief to most of us.

Not one of us knew anything about Byun Yo-han (he didn't even have a dramawiki page) when Misaeng began, but he is the biggest dark horse to come out of the drama - talented as hell, and ridiculously good-looking once he got a haircut (which I did not like at first despite its cuteness, because of the loss of irrepressible Seok-yul associated with that haircut - first time in drama history I have disliked a makeover on someone!). He's one character who's made me laugh (which I expected) and cry (which I didn't) over the course of these 20 episodes - and even in this episode alone, i was shedding buckets when he wrote the petition for Geu-rae, and then giggling like a fool when Assistant Manager Sung got a nice beating in front of the whole office. Poetic justice indeed....and his open affection for Geu-rae was beyond adorable. That hug when they meet up...

As for Im Shi-wan....I knew he'd be good in this role ever since his casting was rumoured, in a post where almost everyone was rooting for someone else to be the lead instead. But no one could have BEEN Jang Gae-rae as perfectly as he was. He's one incredibly talented young man who earned that lead role on his own merit, and deserves all the praise he's getting. There's something about that gaze of his that expresses so much with barely a flicker (I especially like his puppy looks directed at Chief Oh and Young-yi) - but I love that even when Geu-rae turned into Indiana Jones, Geu-rae stayed consistent.

Mad props also to Kim Dae-myung, who as Dong-shik played the kind of character who would usually be reduced to a stock trope in your average kdrama (talkative ajusshi coworker). But this drama chose to make him a fully realised character in his own right instead, and it was the greatest decision in a strong of great ones. (I teared up at that Sales Team 3 reunion hug at the end - so cute! And awww @CEO Kim wanting in and then barking at them all to go back to work when he can't find a way into the group hug.

And also to Kang Haneul, who took on a role that strays well outside likability, and Kang Sora, who did likewise - I love that they challenge themselves as actors, and aren't hung up on necessarily playing leads.

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Agree with your comments 100%!

Everyone played their roles to perfection - even the characters who were a**holes or weasels or just plain shady. Director Kim Won Suk and his team have created a work of art!

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yeah, the ensemble cast is flawless, even people in minor roles played them so well. The casting director clearly values talent!

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Even Chief Oh's kid was well played. The little kid brought some sunshine to the grey/blue storyline.

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Oh, loved Chief Oh's kids. All three of them (the whole family, wife included) but the one demanding fried chicken was hilarious! He had such an infectious smile too. So cute!

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@sophie

speaking of kids..not only Mr. Oh's three boys are cute, so's that child actor who played young GR. Kim Ye Jun is one very cute kid and i love how he cracked a tiny smile when he realized he's going to win the game.

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Actually, just found a collection of Misaeng news (over at Omona's site)

Tidbits include:
- Season 2 news (also covered by revlow in this thread @ 17.1)

- Im Shi Wan's agency originally rejected the role of Jang Geu Rae, before SW found out and personally said that he wanted to do it. So maybe ... it was fate, after all!

- why there was so much more PPL in the second half of the show: the director said he didn't want PPLs to interfere with the unfolding of the story, "But there were so many that we had held off on that [the products] were just everywhere." Hee hee!

- the Misaeng cast will feature on tvN′s Taxi New Year′s Special program! (fingers crossed some kind soul will sub it or summarise it!!)

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Thanks Thursdaynexxt. Interesting tidbits.

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Wow! Lots of interesting tidbits at that site. I'm going to give the link again; for some reason it didn't work for me, hopefully this does.

http://omonatheydidnt.livejournal.com/14774792.html

A few items:

* Great photos of Byun Yo-Han from a Marie Clair spread!

* Adorable photos of the "Sales Team 3" in special team shirts they had made. Siwan’s shirt had "our kid" written on the back.

* News of Park Hae-Joon (Manager Chun) landing his first starring role in a movie.

* And last but not least, a cute exchange between Siwan and Lee Sung-Min as they presented the Best Couple Award at the 35th Blue Dragon Awards a few weeks ago.

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Thank you Thursdaynexxt. I really enjoyed visiting Omona's site.

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@Thursdaynexxt - thanks!

I can't imagine what Im Shi-wan's agency was thinking, rejecting the role when HE'D ALREADY PLAYED IT in the prequel short. Thank goodness our kid has more sense!

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Indeed! Can't imagine Jang Geu Rae played by anyone else (or Chief Oh, for that matter)!

It's the kind of anecdote that makes for a great retelling at an awards ceremony... (hint hint, tvN!)

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I can't even imagine alternate castings for any of the roles.

I know Moon Geun-young was initially courted to play Young-yi (and as we all know, that role ended up in the very capable hands of Kang Sora).

I love MGY and she's fully deserving of all the praise she gets.....but the concept of Young-yi being played by anyone but Kang Sora is one I can't even fathom. That's how good KSR (and all the cast) is.

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actually, you can get lots of updates via soompi forum page too. or you can get updates or photos upload from Misaeng FB page.

Siwan's agency is not exactly capable of doing things right, honestly. if it isn't for the looooooong contract time, Siwan would've bailed out already. as it is he's stuck with star empire along with his group. those poor boys worked so hard to promote themselves and when they don't have any group activities, they work hard on individual projects. so, working hard and being patient is really nothing new to siwan..that's why he's perfect. he KNOWS. and i really hope his agency does not take heaps of his earnings coz at the moment, he's the goose that lay the golden eggs. if it wasn't for junyoung's revelation, no one knows that the star empire took 70% of ZE:A's earnings..and the balance of 30% is divided amongst the 9 boys. and i do hope that is not the case anymore coz it is totally unfair.

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I wasn't familiar with most of the actors before, certainly not by name. (Actually, it was pure chance that I started watching Misaeng. I just gave it a try when it started airing, wasn't watching it for anyone or anything.)

Saw bits Im Shi-wan in Triangle (which I skip-watched), but he didn't have much to do there and didn't leave me an impression in terms of his acting.

Lee Sung-min I'd seen before, playing interesting characters but I wouldn't have been able to tell you the actor's name or anything. Similar with Kang Sora – the little I watched of Dr. Stranger gave me an intro to her, but the less is said of Dr. Stranger the better. Kang Ha-neul I do remember from Monstar.

All the others, don't think I had seen in anything before. I've got more respect for all of them now, I appreciate Kang Ha-neul "choosiness" with regards to roles – that he sees himself primarily as a musical actor and that he isn't fishing for leads but looking for roles that are interesting. Byun Yo-han for playing such an interesting character now – really hope I can track down some of his films and I also hope that he gets casting offers in films too (esp. good, independent ones with character roles that allow him to shine, not mainstream rom-coms that exist in the dozens and are quickly forgotten after a few months). I want all the actors to get good role offers in the future. The entertainment industry will probably reach out quickly to some of them (Im Si-wan, Kang Ha-neul, Kang So-ra, Park Hae-Joon, Oh Min-Seok), because they have the "right" kind of looks for lead roles in kdramas, but I want those like Kim Dae-myung to do just as well. Because they all were fantastic. Really, I think it's the entertainment industry that should take away some lessons from this drama – have a fantastic script, cast talented (not the most famous) actors, don't follow all the long-time ingrained conventions of that a character like Geu-rae can never "win", or someone like Dong-sik can only be a trope used for comic effect.

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Triangle really wasted most of its talent, as did Kang Sora's last drama - but I remember noting that despite the messiness of those scripts and the waste of their talents, they somehow managed their performances - not exactly sparkling, but with flashes of something better here and there. Think of it this way, it's like even with a trainwreck drama, they managed to stick a landing - maybe not in style, but they managed somehow. Misaeng is them doing it in great style.

I really hope all the cast get the career boost they deserve from a drama as successful as Misaeng - word is that Im Shi-wan and Kang Sora are certainly piled with CF offers, but I want great things for Lee Sung-min, Kim Dae-myung, Kang Haneul and especially Byun Yo-han too. (now off to track down his filmography)

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@pogo...

So far the best Byun Yo-han filmography I've found is at a fansite:

http://hiddenskylight.blogspot.com/2014/11/byun-yo-han-profilepictures-get-to-know.html

You have to scroll down a bit to get to the filmography section. It seems the author of this blog has done a good job of gathering info. It says: "All infos gathered from daum, imdb, asianwiki, edited and organized by me.
pics from: official site, BYH facebook, twitter, naverblog as tagged, daum, nate, news sites."

Ah, at the bottom of this page I just found a link to his official site. Has filmography in both English and Korean:

http://www.esaram.co.kr/main/bbs/board.php?bo_table=1_1&wr_id=2

However, it doesn't appear to be as complete as the blog writer's, which includes short films.

Also his official:

Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/saram.byunyohan

Twitter
https://twitter.com/qusdygkssla

I seem to remember a link elsewhere to his Instagram. If I find it again I'll post it here. As I recall he posted a lot of fun photos. His Facebook has some good ones in the photo gallery as well.

There has been such a dearth of info on him -- hopefully that will change soon!

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Hi pogo...

I've got a comment awaiting moderation. It's got several links to Byun Yo-han's filmography, plus his official site, Twitter and Facebook. It's Christmas -- hopefully our Chief Beanies aren't hanging around to moderate and are actually having a nice time!

However, in that comment awaiting moderation I mentioned that I'd found his Instagram account before, and if I could find it again I'd post it here. I found it. If this comment goes through it might be out of order. So stayed tuned for the big one with the rest of the info.

Byun Yo-han's Instagram
http://instagram.com/qusdygkssla

PS -- Sorry for the lengthy confusion. I really did give good info in the other comment, so do check back!

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LOL! The 1st comment just now went through! If only I'd waiting a couple mins. Oh, well.

Hope this helps. :-)

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Me too! Loooooooved, Seok Yul. Agree with everything you said.

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Calling All Fans of Lee Sung-min

Some of us have been trying to come up with a way to send our appreciation to Lee Sung-min, to let him know how much we admire his brilliant acting. @tt, @pogo, and I thought it might be a good idea to start this thread. We are asking fans to write comments for LSM here. The messages will be translated and posted on his fansite, which is the place he’s mostly likely to read them.

Thanks!

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A brilliantly nuanced organic performance; I just loved seeing so many aspects of one chracter. But I've always liked Lee Sung-Min's work. I am sure the younger actors learned a lot about acting from watching him. Incredibly skillful but not showy...just a wonderful performance.

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I am more than happy to get on that train! I have been a fan of his acting since Pasta and I think he is the best character actor in Korea. Whether playing a King (Kings2heart) or a thug (Miss Korea) he's always been convincing in his roles. I hope he gets the recognition he deserves (after this performance I am sure he will) and get as many CFs as Siwan. lol

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Quite honestly, his performance as Chief Oh is one of the best acting performances I've ever seen, in Korean or any other language - and it has been a privilege and a pleasure to watch. (and I've been a fan since I saw him in The King 2 Hearts)

Chief Oh is the heart and soul of Misaeng, in so many ways, and I am so grateful to Lee Sung-min for taking that role and making him a character that we all connected to and rooted for - I'm still amazed at the nuance and depth he brought to what was already a very well-written role.

I enjoyed every second when he was on screen, except when I was crying over the unfairness of the company to him - by the end, we all felt like it was our own beloved boss and father figure who was being treated badly, not just Jang Geu-rae's.

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Hi, I am a fan of you since Miss Korea. I am a fan of your acting, specially now in Misaeng as Chief Oh. You gave so much heart to this character, I cared whenever Chief Oh went through hard times, you made me care so much for a fictional character as if it was real. That is something special because it doesn't matter how good an actor is that requires a lot of talent. You are a brilliant actor and I look forward to your future projects, because wherever Chief Oh goes I go.
Greeting from Texas.

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My heartfelt thanks to you, Lee Sung Min-ssi, for your unforgettable performance as Chief Oh.

I've enjoyed your performances in Pasta and Miss Korea, but I completely fell in love with your portrayal of Chief Oh. You captured the essence of the ordinary salaryman and flawed husband, who's also a fighter, philosopher, visionary, and a man of tremendous dignity and compassion. He's an inspiration and a comfort - and a pure joy to watch!

I wish you all the best with your future projects, and anticipate them eagerly!

- Greetings from Sydney, Australia

(PS @revlow et al: thanks for getting the ball rolling - great idea, you guys!)

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Thank you for making my autumn. You instill humanity into all of your characters--something so many actors fail to do. I have enjoyed this series and your work so much. Truly, it was my favorite show of the year from any country, in any language, and that was in large part due to Manager Oh.

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I'm a fan of his from America. I've loved his work since I watched him in 'Pasta', 'King2hearts' and 'Miss Korea'. Once again he's blown me away by his performance as Chief Oh in Misaeng. It is so real to me, he's become my hero. What a stellar, uplifting, heartwarming performance. Keep up the good work. Lee Sung-min fighting!!!

I am so glad that kdramas exist. They make up for what we lack on American tv, and it's in a large part to the quality of acting in dramas such as these. Hope to continue to see more of it.

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I think Lee Sung Min started to get some attention after his amazing performance as a doctor in Golden Time. What's amazing about him is that he has the ability to truly become his character. In Golden Time, LSM genuinely appeared to a doctor. In Misaeng, he really appeared to be an real employee who worked for some company. Without a doubt, LSM is one of korea's elite actors. I hope to see him win some more awards.

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Thank you Lee Sung Min-sshi for your dedication and hard work. You have made the shows you acted in come alive with believable characters that we can feel for. We trust that you will keep up your wonderful work as a consummate actor and we will continue to root for you. Fighting!!!

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My English is not that good, but I want to say THANK YOU to Lee Sung Min-ssi for such a wonderful performance as Chief Oh. You made us laugh and cry with you, feel bad when you felt bad, and celebrate your happiness like you were not only Geu-rae's Chief Oh, but ours. Thank you so much for sharing this great performance with us, and for all your hard work!

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Lee Sung Min Sir I hope you win lots of awards in recognition of your superb acting in Misaeng. Thank you and fighting.

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@revlow, @popo and anyone who wants to send a fan letter to Lee Sung-min may use the following address.

Actor Lee Sung-min
Hodoo and You Entertainment
Marriott's Park Centre, Building A #801
28-3 Yeouido-dong , Yeongdeungpo-gu
150-881, Seoul, Korea

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So sorry, I mean pogo.

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@tt -- thank you! That is fantastic!

Will you still be able to translate the above comments and post them at his fansite?

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Of course. I'm probably going to wait until next week to get as many messages as possible and then get to it. Thanks for your help on this.

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Thanks! I thought that, but what can I say -- I'm compulsive! :-)

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@tt - thank you so much! Now I know where to send it!

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My greetings from New York City!

LSM gave us all a master class in completely inhabiting a role and making each moment count. He was surrounded by extremely capable actors, and yet, when he was on screen, you couldn't look elsewhere. LSM would chew the scenery when appropriate, or let time stop around him.

His performance had a Toshiro Mifune quality -- bluff, mannerless, comedic, but also capable and pragmatic and ultimately noble. This set of choices gave the whole production a sort of samurai movie feel... ronin in the corporate world, if you will. Quite appropriate then, that the character became sort of a masterless samurai.

I am humbled by this performance, and hope to see LSM given many more such layered roles in the future. Best wishes.

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Chief Oh daebak
Enough said
Your character so profound and true
I fall in love with you on day one but
truly crazy in love with you when you
defended GR and called him "our kid"
Misaeng will always be my incomplete life

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Dear Lee Sung-Min,

Thank you for pursuing the craft of acting. You sir are a truly talented thespian. I'm fairly new to kdramas (circa 2012) so I revel at the chance to discover really good kdrama projects. I'm impressed by the kdrama characters you choose to embark upon and by the excellent performances you deliver time and time again. :)

Just to name a few...
(2014) Miseang, Miss Korea
(2013) Monstar
(2012) The King of 2 Hearts, Arang & The Magistrate,
(2011) My Princess

Oh, by the way...your past dramas Pasta, Golden Time, and Can You Hear My Heart are certainly on my Kdrama to watch list for 2015.

Happy New Year to you!

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Thank you all for participating in this. I'm going to post the translations of all comments here on his fansite tonight. I'll check back here for a while to see if there's any more and add to the post on his fansite so keep 'em coming.

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Thank you tt for all your help! If not for you, we wouldn't have been able to do this. ♥

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No, thank YOU for making this possible. I wouldn't have done this alone.

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Count me as a huge fan of Lee Sung-min! First time watching a Korean drama, and Lee Sung-min was number one among a very talented cast. Now I intend to find more of his work, and hope there is many more new performances to watch. Lee Sung-min made Misaeng come alive for me, and made it a real experience.

New fan from Alabama, U.S.

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Hi Eric. Welcome to the wonderful, wacky world of Kdramas! You couldn't have picked a better one to start with than Misaeng.

I've loved Lee Sung-min in everything I've seen, memorable performances no matter how small the role. You have a lot to choose from. So far I've seen him in 6 movies and 4 Kdramas -- so I've barely scratched the surface. It's a long list.
http://asianwiki.com/Lee_Sung-Min_(1968)

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Hi @tt. I'm finally getting around to doing this. :-)

============================

Dear Mr. Lee Sung-min,

For the first time in my life I am writing a fan letter. I feel compelled to do so in praise of your work in Misaeng. Your wonderful portrayal of Chief Oh was filled with nuance, making this multi-layered character "real" for so many of us. I shall always count this series as one the richest experiences in storytelling, and your subtle performance in a class all its own.

Thank you for this powerful performance. I hope the success of Misaeng will bring you many more roles with such depth. I look forward to seeing you in all your new ventures.

Wishing you all the best.

============================

I'm sure I could do better, but I don't want to let this opportunity -- and your generous help -- slip away. I may also send a letter to the address you gave.

Thank you for all your hard work.

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If you do, you may well be the first foreign fan to send him a fan letter :D

And thanks.. will add the new ones to the existing post.

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This was (for lack of a better word) a flawless drama. Everything was executed to perfection and there was not one single episode that I found lacking. I am in complete awe of this drama. I can't even blurt out any compliments right now because it might not do the drama justice. Best drama of the year for sure.

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This drama is perfect. That is all.

Making us laugh, cry, smile, angry, jealous... when a drama makes you feel so much, you know it's good. And what a drama for giving us realized secondary characters with, if short but definitely satisfying character arcs that puts many other dramas to shame. And I loved the subtle YY and BK relationship/friendship progression - it made my shipping heart explode but it didn't take away from the main themes of the drama, so subtle, understated, and realistic.

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I had actually finish the eps 20 a week ago but still waiting for your recap

and thank you, you have beautifully said and wrap all the things we (if i can claim) feel about the drama, even know after days i still got my eyes teary reading all their feeling toward Misaeng, this drama really is powerful in its simple way

To me, watching Misaeng is like listening to melancholy song, it takes you around, to your own self experience, to each of the character life, i feel like Misaeng let me involve myself to it

I remember how everytime there is new character coming in the new episode, i'm amazed how each of them can be so different from one and another but still simply realistic

I especially adore Mr. Oh wife's role of becoming the wife that able to just being the biggest supporter, that's love there for sure (and they say Misaeng doesn't have storyline, ha!- it has lots of it that i happily feel overwhelmed when i'm drowning into it!)

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I really like that at the end, Mrs. Oh has done up her hair nicely with a pretty ribbon and looks happier/far less stressed than in Chief Oh's One International days - I'll choose to take her nice new hairstyle as a sign that he does spend more time with his family now (he is obviously happier, too).

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people always think that by 'loveline' it means romance, lovey dovey couples, kiss-kiss, yadda, yadda..

but isn't love all around? love for your family, your friends, your colleagues, your pets, your teachers, etc? and we find lots of love in misaeng, right?

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Yes, since in Misaeng relationships and the growth of persons in relation to others is key, the story is really full of love, (plus other not so positive aspects of relationships). But definitely it's the individual who trumps the corporation when he makes and finds meaning in his work day because of the people he's with, and what they mean to him.

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YES YES YES!!

My love and thanks to everyone involved in the production of this little jewel Misaeng, and to odilettante and dramallama for their beautiful, insightful recaps!!

This show hit all the right notes for me (including the wonderful OST) - as someone in the same work environment, it taught me some real life lessons, and even also helped put some of my past experiences and troubles into perspective!

Guess it all boils down to what your priorities are - whether it's finding a group of people that help the work day to pass a bit quicker, or opting for the security and stability of a well-travelled and firmly established route/course, like Chief Chun. Or maybe something in between.

Highlights:
- Seok Yul's message board letter had me in a blubbering mess - that boy's so generous and affectionate!
- It was great to see Chief Oh perky and smiling again - it was totally worth shooting on location to see him belting out that Russian song in the middle of the desert!
- Cameo by Oh Jung Se was awesome - I admit it was especially satisfying when he gave Ass. Man(ager) Sung his comeuppance!
- And yeah, I wish Manager Ma was a contract employee, too!

The "fated" meeting at the funeral was trope-y and coincidental, but was beautiful nonetheless (it reinforces my love for the Chief Oh-GR OTP!), and it still felt natural to the flow of the show, since we've seen similar things happen with Young Yi and Mr Shin, and ex-coworkers becoming coworkers again. It's that "six degrees of separation" thing - our roads are bound to cross again!

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I really loved all the little touches that contributed to the aesthetic and feel of the drama - from the changing title cards showing the changing of the seasons, to the soundtrack (which was beautiful, and never intrusive).

I did have a smile to myself when Geu-rae was drunkenly singing on his way home, considering how some of us expressed a wish to hear Im Shi-wan sing in this drama at least once. I guess we didn't expect drunk-singing, haha.

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I laughed at the scene where Geu Rae got drunk with the other newbies - I mean, it was a sad scene, but it reminded me of when Dong Shik got drunk with his group. I thought to myself: "Ah, so Geu Rae takes after his Mom..." (since Chief Oh is his Appa, of course :))

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Hehe, it didn't help that at their last meal together, Mgr Chun called DS an ahjumma because of his hair.... affectionately, of course.

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Siwan did sing an OST for the show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_8tuvnfz9o

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saw the MV for that song yesterday..became a blubbering fool again. augh. even without the MV, i teared up each time i heard the song..especially when i found the english translation of the lyrics. sniff..sniff..

you know, i kinda wish siwan breaks into one of his 'pop idol' dance, maybe during a drunk scene..can you imagine Mr. Oh, DS, Mr. Chun and even BK dance along with him?

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ST3 practicing some dance moves led by idol Siwan, lulz: http://imgur.com/H5iVGjm

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@kdramas. Oh, my god! How cute is that!!?

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i saw that on youtube..something abt misaeng BTS.. it is kinda hilarious. oh, did you guys read abt kang so ra's interview.. she said kang haneul has a weird sense of humour..corny jokes and all where no one..except for Yo-han..gets it! ahahahaha!

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Paying my tribute to the most intoxicating yet sobering, filled with loneliness and togetherness, incomplete yet perfect drama ever. It is just all kinds of wonderful.

One of the things I liked most about this drama was, true to the international trade business backdrop, it was so open and appreciative of all these different nations and cultures. Not so many dramas out there where you can hear Russian, Chinese, Arabic, German, and English in one drama.

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One of the best.....of all time!!!

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YES to this!

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Omg can't even. Hands down the best drama of 2014 and quite possibly my favourite all time. Everything about this drama was so carefully crafted and thoughful. Be it comic or dramatic beats, never felt half-hearted or slapdash. And the acting, OMG. I remember thinking after the first episode that this felt like a film, the kind you might find at an indie film festival maybe. I love where Misaeng took me not only through story but also through artistry and saying goodbye to that beautiful (those rooftop shots of smoggy urban Seoul and the rain on the window pane opening :'() is almost as sad and painful as saying goodbye to the story world and our characters. While i have nothing but praise for the director, writer, cinematographer and music director, the acting left me floored. Wow. Im Shi Wan and Lee Sung Min were outstanding performances but all around the energy of the cast started on an impressive high and stayed right there to the end. I think the highlights for me in this episode were Seok Yul's petition and Ast. Manager Kim Dong shik's return to Chief Oh and Geurae. Ah I don't know how to say good bye to these characters. And unlike other drama (series) where withdrawal might be fed by the promise of season 2, for some reason with this drama, I'm not waiting and counting down for season 2. I completely trust that this cast and crew will deliver an equally solid second round. But Misaeng is that kind of raw good that leaves such a deep (exhausting) impression, you need recovery time from episode to episode to soak it in. I admit this final episode had it's jarring, slightly fantastical feeling moments but I'm still glad we had an grand ending of epic proportions befitting our larger than life Chief Oh and all his faithful puppies. Misaeng totally deserves the love and fame (I'm so glad) it's getting.

Thank you so much for your recaps! What a perfect Christmas gift from dramabeans (it's already Christmas on this side of the world hehe) merry Christmas to all. Saying goodbye to this drama is harder than saying goodbye to 2014 LOL. Hoping (so much HOPE in this final episode!!) you find hope and beauty no matter what comes in the new year ahead.

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Hand down the best show in any language this year if not ever. Words cannot describe how much I love this show. I wish it could be recognized more by other countries and other languages specially here in the U.S. I dread and hope that they make a remake but that it keeps its heart because that is what made this show especial. I hope we get a season 2 soon, I can't wait. Also damn you show for making me cry in every episode. Thank you for the recap odilettante.

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there are rumours that the US is thinking of remaking the show..which i think is horrendous. i prefer they simply show it as it is..subbed. there's a reason why teachers teach us to read, you know. from what i heard, the US would like to make the show centred on the Wall Street scenes..but i dunno. it just doesn't seem right.

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Gads, I hope not. I'm anxious see what the heck they are going to do with the American adaptations of You From Another Star and Grandpas Over Flowers. Hard to imagine.

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