Running Man: Episode 293
This week’s episode might be dedicated to voting, though I’ll say it does little teach any of us about the national voting system itself. Our cast will get a say on who will be the majority leader of the hour, but those power trips are short-lived compared to the large chunk dedicated to all of the celebrity sightings before any of the actual elections. And when you think that majority will rule by avoiding unanimous results, you’ll find that true power is in the hands of the few, or in this case, just one.
EPISODE 293. Broadcast on April 3, 2016.
Today’s preview highlights the upcoming legislative elections set to take place on April 13 (to vote on members of the National Assembly) and questions the idea of a ruling majority. Er, with a Hitler clip? Surely there could’ve been other examples.
But for now we open on the day before filming when our cast members are approached to cast their votes on tomorrow’s call time: 9 AM or 1PM. The catch? A unanimous vote means their call time is at 7AM.
Early afternoon appeals to everyone, and then we see everyone show up… at 9 AM. It was a 4:3 vote in favor of the morning, and when Jong-kook complains of how difficult it is getting into Seoul during rush hour, Haha exclaims, “You work out in Gangnam!”
Today’s race is entitled “Dangerous Unanimity” where a unanimous vote spells out doom for them all. No one should be coerced into their votes, which everyone points out is a warning for Jong-kook. There’s a quick change of subject to why Kwang-soo will attend the cast and crew dinner for Descended From the Sun on April 1 (which was paid for by lead actors Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-gyo) for his cameo appearance.
After Kwang-soo argues that he was invited, the conversation shifts back to the actual subject matter: selecting today’s team outfit.
This decision is also put to a vote in their respective booths, where they must choose between two outfits: a normal black and white attire or a sweater stamped with statements. Again, if they all choose the same one, they’ll be wearing the sweater paired with hot shorts.
It’s a 4:3 split in favor of the sweaters, and Jong-kook asks the crew why his has a picture of him in a pink sailor dress. (He explains it was for his concert). Gary’s has actual dried squid attached.
Three elections will be held today, and the majority leader will be in charge for one hour. Additionally, that person will be given two badges allow him (or herself) and another member to clock out.
This means one person will be left behind… to spend the night in an abandoned amusement park. However, that person won’t be alone—he or she can call back any member who is supposed to leave.
Everyone is tasked to find supporters, and the first two to complete their mission and arrive at the house will be considered nominees for the first election. Ji-hyo needs to find someone who shares her Chinese zodiac sign, and this time she’s determined to find someone younger than her.
While Gary calls AOA Seolhyun through her manager, Kwang-soo think of another FNC Entertainment member: actor Kwak Dong-yeon, his co-star of the drama special Puck!. Unfortunately, Dong-yeon’s busy.
Haha’s looking for someone who was once school president, so he offers to give Kwang-soo singer Yoo Seung-woo’s number in exchange for actor Yoo Yeon-seok’s. Kwang-soo calls the number to make sure it’s correct (it is), then in true Betrayal Icon fashion, runs.
While Jae-suk speaks with a college student who can wrap an arm around her waist, Suk-jin is at an outdoor market to hear a compliment about his hearty appetite. He stops at a stand, takes a huge bite of food and downs some water, but neither gets the reaction he’s looking for.
Determined to find Park Bo-gum, Ji-hyo calls his Answer Me 1988 co-star Ryu Joon-yeol, who jokingly asks if it’s okay that he asks for Bo-gum’s permission first. He does send the contact info, and when she’s told he’ll be free in half an hour from now, she accepts that as a small sacrifice.
Gary meets Seolhyun at the salon, where he’s told that she saw the Q&A episode where his brain activity flared at the sight of her photo. Seolhyun is an honorary ambassador of the general elections; it’s his job to grant her a request, so she asks him to give her a ride to her next gig.
After Kwang-soo hands over Yoo Yeon-seok’s number, he calls the actor to tell him that he needn’t turn up for Haha. But Yeon-seok had already agreed to meet him, so Kwang-soo says to make things difficult for him then.
HA—Haha is doing the exact same thing by telling Seung-woo to stall for time.
In the car, Gary’s heart sinks to hear that Seolhyun can believe that he resembles dried squid. She’s also been a longtime fan of Joong-ki’s, so when Kwang-soo calls, he responds with: “I’m prepared to tell her all of Joong-ki’s secrets so her affections for him disappear.” Unfortunately for him, her love for Joong-ki is unwavering.
Seung-woo keeps Haha updated and is told to stall for time in whatever way he can. That’s the same advice Kwang-soo gives to Yeon-seok, and Kwang-soo is asked to wait because nature calls for Seung-woo.
But it isn’t long before Kwang-soo figures out what Haha is up to and immediately calls him out for it. They both end up waiting for their respective celebs for a while, and Haha catches Yoo Yeon-seok on the phone with Kwang-soo.
He tells Yeon-seok that he’s here to grant him a request. Yeon-seok hands him an electric razor per Kwang-soo’s suggestion to give him an absurd task like shaving off his goatee in under 10 seconds.
After Haha does a haphazard job, Yeon-seok kindly helps him shave the bottom portion, but feels bad when Haha starts to bleed. Haha gets impatient when Yeon-seok keeps stalling on stamping his supporter’s card, but hopes that Yeon-seok appears as a guest on RM one day. Yes, please!
Kwang-soo keeps waiting until finally Seung-woo appears… but it’s not the ’97-er cutie Yoo Seung-woo he’d been expecting. This is Lee Seung-woo who is part of the R&B trio Soul StaR.
Turns out Haha had been expecting Kwang-soo to turn on him, so he gave him Lee Seung-woo’s number, and Kwang-soo had only confirmed the “Seung-woo” part of the name. So after an awkward farewell, Kwang-soo calls Haha with an annoyed “yah”. I have to say that was a devious yet brilliant prank.
Jong-kook meets up with Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun who asks for a piggyback ride. He gladly obliges. Elsewhere, Ji-hyo shrieks at hearing Bo-gum’s voice. She offers to meet him, but he says he’ll come to her.
It just so happens that he needs to be in her neighborhood, so Ji-hyo gets up to wait for him. Aww, and then he comes running to greet her. His wish is take a selca with her and get her autograph. So they exchange autographs and take a couple of pictures together. So. Cute.
Kwang-soo calls up Apink’s Jung Eun-ji, who tells him that Ha-young is currently filming Law of the Jungle. He’s the only one who hasn’t succeeded yet, but the others are already headed to the house. Haven’t we seen that house before?
As expected Kwang-soo looks ready to rip into Haha upon seeing him. Gary and Jae-suk were the first ones to arrive, so they’re our first pair of candidates. Gary’s platform is simple: he won’t cause unnecessary stress to the team.
The group casts their votes—it’s 4:1 in favor of Gary, and we’re also told another set of rules: those who vote in the minority will receive a punishment. Suk-jin has taken one for the team by voting for Jae-suk, and he’s rewarded with getting his fauxhawk spray-painted neon green and pink.
As the new leader, Gary sends out the mat hyungs for groceries. The others take a break in the house, where Kwang-soo bluntly confirms that if Gary doesn’t choose him to clock out early, then he’ll take Gary with him to the abandoned amusement park.
But when Gary decides to punish Kwang-soo ahead of time for the trouble he’ll most likely cause, Kwang-soo insists that he was only joking. Haha suggests they write up a contract instead, and Gary names the terms: Kwang-soo will not choose Gary if he’s left to spend the night alone.
Gary states: “If I, Kwang-soo, break these terms….” Haha: “I will reveal each one of my ex-girlfriends on Gary’s social media account.”
The hyungs return with snacks and Kwang-soo is tasked to wash Gary’s favorite fruit, strawberries. With Suk-jin’s encouragement, Gary hints at him to cut off the stems.
Gary’s reign ends soon after snack time is over, then it’s time to play another game for the second pair of candidates. They head out to a fishing spot where the first two to catch a fish will be in contention for the election.
Jae-suk pulls up his line thinking he’s caught something. He hasn’t, but Haha has. A little later, Jae-suk asks Kwang-soo where his fish head mask went (from the movie Mutant), then everyone crowds Ji-hyo’s space when they’re told that’s a good fishing spot.
And then Kwang-soo, Jae-suk, and Ji-hyo all have something at the end of their lines. Jae-suk and Ji-hyo lose their fish, but Kwang-soo succeeds… with a tiny fish.
The group votes between Haha and Kwang-soo—the votes are tied 2:2, then Gary cheers with Kwang-soo. Could it be that he voted for him?
But no, he voted for Haha, who is now the second majority leader. The minority are given neon hair: Jae-suk gets pink polka dots, and then Gary belatedly realizes that Kwang-soo doesn’t need to be spray-painted as the candidate.
But it’s too late—Kwang-soo’s already sporting a pinkish ‘do. Haha puts one of his go home badges on the line for the winner of a ping pong tournament. The Neon Trio pull ahead with a 2:0 lead, then pick up two more points.
A little later, the score is 7:10 in favor of the Neon Trio. Jae-suk and Gary volley for a bit until Gary hits the ball out of bounds. Only one of the Neon Trio can get the badge, in which they choose between three cups held by Haha, Jong-kook, and Gary…
… and Kwang-soo is the only one who stays dry. Next, the Pop-Up Pirate is used for their third game. The pirate pops up for Suk-jin, which is a good thing this time, and then it pops up again for Kwang-soo.
To prove there were no editing tricks, we rewind to Suk-jin’s celebratory moment. The game is reset, and the pirate pops up at Kwang-soo’s very first turn.
When asked if Suk-jin will give up one of his badges to his Neon Trio members if he wins the election, he promises that he won’t. Jong-kook is willing to put that to the test, saying that he’ll keep Suk-jin here with him if he’s stuck here tonight.
After voting, they tally the votes and Suk-jin celebrates his current 2:1 lead by accidentally letting one rip. He ends up getting a 4:1 victory, and then Jae-suk—who voted for Kwang-soo—realizes he has a punishment. Gotta take one for the team!
We see that Jae-suk sported stockings and hot shorts as his punishment, and this decision of who to save from tonight’s punishment drives Suk-jin batty. He knows Jong-kook will keep his word but Jae-suk will also pull him back to stay with him out of spite. Jong-kook: “All you have to do is decide who will stay with you tonight!”
Kwang-soo: “Or you may as well give both of your badges since you’ll spend the night here anyway!”
An hour later, it’s decision time. Gary and Suk-jin must hand over one of their badges… and Gary chooses Jong-kook. It’s an unexpected choice, and Suk-jin thinks about it for a moment before he adds jokingly to Kwang-soo: “Should I give both of them away and we’ll go together?”
He ends up giving one to Ji-hyo and keeping the other, giving Jae-suk the most powerful decision of the day. He teasingly taunts that the last person to run to the car will stay with him, and as the cars pull out, he says he’ll make the call.
Jae-suk calls someone… and it’s Gary. Jae-suk: “Why did you give the badge to Jong-kook?” Gary cries out in protest, and Jae-suk lets him off the hook. HA.
He calls Ji-hyo next and makes her feel guilty for leaving, then lets her go too. Perhaps the third time’s the charm, and then Suk-jin’s phone goes off. Jae-suk: “Where are you going?”
Needless to say Suk-jin gets called back and their mission is to find a worn piano and sing a song. There’s only one terrifying thing about this nighttime mission: the screeching, off-tune two-part harmony.