Chief Kim: Episode 7
Just as Sung-ryong has decided to embrace the good within him, he learns that past misdeeds have their repercussions. However, it’s frightening how quickly the public’s attitude can shift, but through these challenges, true bonds are formed and tested. Our hero realizes that having one or two people who believe and support you can be one of the greatest assets in life.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Sung-ryong is being investigated by detectives since they’ve obtained the account books he forged, and now with nowhere to go, Kwang-sook follows Ha-kyung home. The two ladies drink, and when Ha-kyung puts on a worried face, Kwang-sook reassures her that Sung-ryong is invincible. However, Ha-kyung mentions the fact that Sung-ryong will have to go to jail if the police found evidence, and Kwang-sook bursts into tears.
Yul visits Sung-ryong in jail to warn him to stay quiet about the incidents that occurred at TQ Group, but Sung-ryong tells him to scram. Yul mockingly waves goodbye to Sung-ryong, and after Yul leaves, Sung-ryong calls him a stupid sociopathic jerk who always eats by himself.
Sung-ryong is taken out of jail to be transferred, but three lawyers appear, claiming to be Sung-ryong’s attorneys. Utterly confused, Sung-ryong asks why they’re here since he never requested them, but apparently someone else made the request for him.
The director of accounting yells at everyone in the Business Operations Department because of the possibility that Sung-ryong could have leaked sensitive business documents. He then declares that all of the computers in the department will be investigated, despite Director Chu’s protests.
At the police station, the attorneys declare the detective’s actions unlawful since he shouldn’t have been able to make an emergency arrest with these charges. In addition, some of the account books are missing, and furthermore, the detective didn’t even have a warrant from the original district.
Now a free man, Sung-ryong finally meets the person who made the request: Ha-kyung. Before she explains, she asks him if he really did commit those crimes and if he’ll continue committing those crimes. He gives a vague shake of his head, and Ha-kyung accepts his answer.
Hearing the news about Sung-ryong, Yul yells over the phone, but is as equally flummoxed as the detective over who could have made the request. Meanwhile, Sung-ryong thanks Ha-kyung while they eat, and he wonders why such a prestigious and expensive law firm helped him. She quickly says that her father knows someone on the board, and she made a special request. Sung-ryong accepts her explanation, but that doesn’t answer why she helped him. She explains that he had no one else that would help him, and to be honest, he seems like a good person now.
Walking home, Sung-ryong calls Kwang-sook, who’s vacuuming Ha-kyung’s apartment, and he complains about being like a time-slip hero in a movie. She asks if he’s returning to work, and he confidently states that everyone is probably waiting for him.
In the Business Operations Department, Manager Lee loudly declares that he won’t trust Sung-ryong, since there’s no smoke without a fire. Director Chu argues that sometimes the innocent get falsely accused, but that doesn’t convince Manager Lee.
Chairman Park worries about downsizing TQ Delivery since the workers there are all employees of the company, but Yul tells him that they’re going to let go of people by age. Executive Director Jo argues that the union will fight back, but Yul is confident that he can handle this. Chairman Park sides with Yul, and then asks about Sung-ryong. Yul says that he’s in the process of getting rid of him, and the chairman orders him to quickly resolve it.
Ki-ok nervously walks up to Ha-kyung and asks what the criteria for downsizing at TQ Delivery will be, but she doesn’t know, since it’s not her area. Director Chu overhears their conversation, and a while later, he tells Ha-kyung that Ki-ok’s father works at TQ Delivery.
Sung-ryong takes a shower, telling himself to stay strong, but the water suddenly turns cold. He lets out a shriek and bangs on the wall, yelling at his neighbor for always pooping and flushing whenever he takes a shower.
Ha-kyung meets with Madam Jang—the actual person who helped make the request—and when asked why she helped Sung-ryong, Ha-kyung says that her perspective of him changed. Likewise, Madam Jang admits that she, too, wants to keep an eye on Sung-ryong.
Sung-ryong enters a fancy restaurant where Yul eats by himself (as usual), and when he tries to sit down, Yul orders him to stay standing. He tells Sung-ryong to turn in a resignation letter, but Sung-ryong refuses. Yul quotes Nietzsche, “Those you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall faster.” Then on a final note, he dares Sung-ryong to go to the end because he’ll show him what a true sad ending is. However, Sung-ryong is unfazed, even showing him a recent text from his attorney about his acquittal.
Sang-tae gets drunk during a small after-work gathering since he truly felt proud and happy about Sung-ryong, but now he feels betrayed. On the other hand, Sung-ryong doesn’t know any of this, and happily searches “Mr. Righteous” on the company website. Thus, he’s in for a rude awakening when he reads all the slander about him online.
Ha-kyung comes home to a homemade meal prepared by Kwang-sook, and thanks her for cleaning and even making food. Kwang-sook promises to find a job quickly in order to stop burdening Ha-kyung, but Ha-kyung tells her to take her time, since it seems like she genuinely likes her company.
Sung-ryong arrives at work, but everyone gossips about him and runs away. Unlike the others, Ms. Uhm excitedly greets Sung-ryong, since he’s the celebrity who was Mr. Righteous one day and then a criminal the next. He tells her that he got acquitted, but she doesn’t really believe in his innocence.
As consolation, she offers him candy, but only has wrappers. She hands them to Sung-ryong, telling him to live honestly in this superficial society, and reminds him that the garbage should go in the trash. As a petty revenge, Sung-ryong drops the wrappers on the floor in front of the garbage can. Ha!
Sung-ryong enters the department, and Manager Lee immediately informs him of the two major events that happened while he was gone: their chief (Sung-ryong) was arrested, and as a result, their hard drives were confiscated. Sung-ryong apologizes to everyone, and notices something must be really wrong after seeing Sang-tae’s downtrodden mood. Eavesdropping, Ga-eun can’t believe how rudely they’re treating Sung-ryong, and wonders who the whiny-voiced man is.
In the break room, Sung-ryong talks with a real estate agent about looking for a new apartment, and Director Chu spills his coffee while trying to overhear his phone call. Just then, Sung-ryong gets a surprising message, and ends up in front of the Director of Ethical Management.
She calls him a bad person and blames him for staining the company name. She lists all his misdeeds, but Sung-ryong just mocks her back. She finally gets to her point, stating that she could fire him, but Sung-ryong says that would be violating the law. If that’s the case, the director notes that they only have one choice and pretends to twist something with her hands while making robot noises.
Sung-ryong knows that this is above her powers, and so he barges into Yul’s office. He confronts Yul for sending him into the waiting room, but Yul simply ignores him. In the end, Sung-ryong is dragged out, and the news about him staying in the waiting room is announced on the screens in the company lobby.
Ha-kyung chastises Manager Lee for embarrassing Sung-ryong, but Manager Lee asks when she suddenly changed. He calls her out for being a hypocrite and snidely apologizes for being the only jerk here. Director Chu interrupts their conversation and tells Ha-kyung that “it” happened.
Sung-ryong stares at two desks in a hallway where another gentleman is also there waiting. He tells Sung-ryong that they can’t do anything, but Sung-ryong says that he still has to work. Right then, Ga-eun stops by and hands Sung-ryong a drink, expressing her support.
The Business Operations Department discusses Sung-ryong’s predicament, since apparently no one has lasted more than two days in the waiting room. However, even if someone lasted, the company would force coworkers to testify against the employee, which means that the end result is always the same.
Kwang-sook interviews at a coffee shop, and despite some bumps, she gets the job at the coffee shop at TQ Group. As she walks out, she passes Sang-tae, and the soundtrack from The Lonely Shining Goblin plays in the background. She turns around, possibly recognizing him, but walks away just when Sang-tae turns around.
Sung-ryong is busy at work in the waiting room while his companion gloomily swipes through family photos on his phone. The Director of Ethical Management walks by and reprimands Sung-ryong for working. She throws away his files then lifts up his laptop to drop it, but stops when Sung-ryong comments that it’s company property.
The Business Operations Department is busy dealing with complaints, and then Myung-suk saunters in, pretending to looks for “Mr. Righteous.” He’s here to request them to reimburse his credit card bills, and when he starts to cause a commotion, Sung-ryong arrives.
Unaware of Sung-ryong, Myung-suk continues to blabber about how he could have beat him, but when he accidentally locks eyes with the man himself, he chokes on his own spit. He’s suddenly at a loss for words, and Sung-ryong explains that he was stopping by to get his phone charger. He lifts up a finger, and confused, Myung-suk touches his finger until Director Chu tells him to get the charger.
Like an obedient sheep, he follows Sung-ryong to a café, and Sung-ryong forces him to eat a hotdog. He starts to give Myung-suk advice about how to spend money and offers his wisdom to him—though when Myung-suk asks about financial and investment concerns, Sung-ryong threatens him with a stick. Once Sung-ryong leaves, Myung-suk pretends he wasn’t scared.
At his desk, Sung-ryong tries to keep his pens standing up, and the Accounting Department mocks him as they leave for the day. Ha-kyung and Director Chu come by, and they go out for drinks. Ha-kyung asks if he’s really okay, and Sung-ryong says he’s great at hanging in there.
Director Chu asks Sung-ryong if he’s found a new place yet, and when Sung-ryong says that he hasn’t, Director Chu tells him to just come live with him. He’ll even offer free television and internet, but Sung-ryong asks for free ramyun as well. Director Chu agrees, and to seal the deal, the two of them share a love shot.
Sung-ryong moves into the apartment, which is filthy, and Director Chu shows him his room (the attic). Sung-ryong complains that he’s afraid of ghosts, but Director Chu reassures him that no one has died here. He highlights the positives of the room, rephrasing all of Sung-ryong’s criticisms as valuable features of the room (a draft will keep you virile!). However, he warns Sung-ryong to keep the door open, since it doesn’t open from the inside. Sung-ryong asks what happens if he gets stuck, and in response, Director Chu hands him an empty bottle. Ha.
In the morning, Director Chu wields a knife with flair and presents fried rice for breakfast. Sung-ryong compliments Director Chu on the food, and he tells Sung-ryong to eat up, since he’ll be sitting in front of a wall all day.
Yul watches the clips from the police station security camera, and in voiceover, his henchman informs him that Ha-kyung most likely asked Madam Jang for help. In the hallway, Ha-kyung greets Yul as she passes him, but Yul stops her, asking if she’s playing baseball lately. She says she hasn’t because she’s been preoccupied, and Yul reminds her of their promise to play catch.
Ha-kyung hands Ki-ok the list of fired employees, and when he thanks her for helping him with a personal matter, she says that his father is also an employee of TQ Group. She leaves him to check the list in private, and Ki-ok finds his father’s name.
Sung-ryong stretches at his desk and notices his companion fervently writing something. As he leans over to look, the Director of Ethical Management comes by to hand Sung-ryong a document: since his “employee of the month” title was revoked, he has to return the prize money.
Sung-ryong yells in anger, which catches the Accounting Department’s attention, and Ga-eun steps in to calm him down. However, Sung-ryong continues to pour oil into the fire, shouting at the director disrespectfully, and the director calls Sung-ryong despicable. Before he can react, Ga-eun calls the director “lady” and yells back at her. She’s so irked that now Sung-ryong has to try to calm her down.
She ends up in the stairwell with Sung-ryong and expresses her disbelief at everyone’s abrupt change of heart. She says that he isn’t like everyone else, and calls him cool. When Sung-ryong denies and ignores her comment, Ga-eun forcefully repeats that he’s cool until Sung-ryong meekly agrees.
Sung-ryong walks back to his desk while happily thinking about Denmark, but notices his companion missing. He looks at a letter on the desk, and it’s clearly a suicide note. He calls Ha-kyung and then frantically searches throughout the office.
Director Chu joins the search as well as Ha-kyung, but it’s Sung-ryong who finds him on the rooftop. Soon after, Director Chu and Ha-kyung join them, but nothing they say convinces the weary gentleman to step down from the ledge. He’s worked twenty-two years at this company, but all it’s given him now is humiliation and guilt. This company was his life, so now it feels like his life is crumbling. Sung-ryong says that a company is just a company, but Ha-kyung and Director Chu seemed to empathize with his struggles.
As the weary gentleman takes a step forward, Sung-ryong asks if he ever embezzled money or stole any. If he hasn’t, then he’s lived perfectly well. The ones who should be on the ledge are those jerks who stole money and don’t feel an ounce of guilt. Sung-ryong then mentions the gentleman’s daughter, and Ha-kyung adds that he wouldn’t want his daughter to walk down the aisle alone.
Sung-ryong cautiously approaches the man and puts out his hand for him to grab. The man grabs it, and Sung-ryong pulls him down to safety. The gentleman cries that he lived honestly and well, and Sung-ryong assures him that he knows. Holding his tears, Sung-ryong laughs and pats the gentleman on his back.
In the office, Sung-ryong talks aloud about how the gentleman resigned, but still told him to hang in there. Ha-kyung smiles at him and explains that she feels like she did the right thing in getting him out of jail. She asks if the embezzler he talked about was him, but Sung-ryong denies it. However, when Ha-kyung mentions that she was going to buy him crab if it was about him, Sung-ryong loudly declares that people can’t live spotless lives.
The Director of Ethical Management has the desks in the waiting room put away, assuming that Sung-ryong quit, but from down the hall, a voice shouts at them to stop. Sung-ryong pushes a red armchair down to his desk and breaks out in a grin. They’re not getting rid of him that easily.
There were a lot of new and transformed relationships this episode, and I loved all of them because they highlighted what I find to be the greatest strength of the show: the quirky interactions between characters. The unconventional cohabitation between Ha-kyung and Kwang-sook was quite adorable, and I was surprised by how well they connected. Kwang-sook is probably the best homemaker/roommate, but the thing that I love about her is that she’s not intending to manipulate anyone or take advantage of Ha-kyung’s compassionate nature. In fact, I’m sure Ha-kyung would benefit from having Kwang-sook stay over, and it’s nice to see Ha-kyung interact with more characters.
The other sweet roommate situation was between Sung-ryong and Director Chu, which I also found surprisingly endearing. Part of what made this relationship more than a quick gimmick to induce laughs is how Director Chu has changed in his interactions with Sung-ryong. The biggest change is obviously from Ha-kyung, but Director Chu has also boarded the Sung-ryong Express. He actually sees him as part of the team, so the offer to rent him a room did not come from only a financial need, but from a more emotional response. In a way, both are lonely people without families currently, and maybe this cohabitation can help both sides feel the warmth of family again. That’s not to say their scene wasn’t funny, because everything about that attic scene was hilarious, especially Director Chu’s deadpan responses. Also, Kim Won-hae is brilliant, and his chopping skills amaze me every time I see it (he was part of the original cast of Nanta).
Besides the new roommates, it was great to see Sung-ryong make more friends and supporters besides Kwang-sook. Ga-eun is lovely, and I’m really enjoying how she’s completely forgotten about her mission and is simply cheering for Sung-ryong now. If there has to be romance, this is the ship I root for right now (though I highly doubt it will happen). On the other side, Ha-kyung took a while, but now that she’s firmly on Sung-ryong’s side, their playful interactions are sweet. She knows how to banter with Sung-ryong and doesn’t let him off the hook easily, which is what he needs. They have an easy chemistry together, and I get the feeling that our hero might be warming up to our heroine more than he would like to admit. There’s definitely room for romance to bloom here, but I’m also secretly hoping that Yul has a chance with Ha-kyung.
On that note, this episode had very little Yul, and in general, it felt like there were less scenes involving the chairman and his lackeys. That could possibly be why I enjoyed this episode a lot more than usual, because unless I know more about the chairman, he’s still too one-dimensional for my taste. He hasn’t actually done much except order Yul to take care of things, and besides being a corrupt and greedy man, I don’t know anything about him.
The short arc about Sung-ryong’s waiting room companion was well executed, and I found it much more effective than the union workers (though it appears the show might still deliver on that front) because the struggles of the auxiliary character was actually a reflection and time for contemplation of our main characters. The show nicely tied Sung-ryong’s confession and character growth into the story, revealing how he’s now accepting honesty and living well as a worthwhile lifestyle rather than the one he lived before, which is in contrast to his declaration during his father’s memorial. In addition, the disillusionment and hopelessness felt by the downtrodden employee was also a connection to Ha-kyung and Director Chu. It’s been shown in earlier episodes that Ha-kyung struggles with following company rules at the expense of her principles, and Director Chu has devoted his life to the company like the gentleman, since they both understand that feeling of abandonment. Though he has given the company everything, in the end, the company is only looking out for itself, and his life feels empty. However, the show ended on a hopeful note because our hero will continue to hang in, and the best part about it is that he’s not alone.