Chief Kim: Episode 9
The divide between Madam Jang and Chairman Park becomes more distinct this episode, as people start taking sides. With more than his well-being at stake, Sung-ryong is now responsible for his whole team, but the extra responsibility doesn’t seem to faze our hero in the slightest. In fact, it seems like everyone is rising up to the challenge together.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
In slow-motion glory, Sung-ryong enters the board meeting, much to everyone’s surprise. Madam Jang asks him why he’s here, and Sung-ryong loudly declares that he will save TQ Delivery without restructuring. When Yul challenges his authority to offer a solution, Sung-ryong confidently states that those in the Business Operations Department are experts at dealing with figures and holes. Who else, then, would be more apt to solve this problem?
As Chairman Park leaves with his entourage, he comments on his wife’s rubbish team. The aforementioned “rubbish” team’s leader bemoans their dire situation and wonders why they’re doing this, since it won’t give them a raise nor improve their working environment. Surprised, Sung-ryong asks them if they didn’t receive incentives, and when both of them shake their heads, Sung-ryong cheerfully laughs that it’s their duty to do the right thing.
Director Chu doesn’t share in his sense of responsibility and simply laments the fact that they’ve been labeled as traitors by Chairman Park. Thus, any hopes for walking down a flower path (a common phrase denoting smooth sailing) are gone. In response, Sung-ryong promises to throw petals in the air for him.
Chairman Park meets with Madam Jang in his office and expresses his disapproval of her plan. She argues back that a revival plan without restructuring will please their partners too, and anyway, the decision has already been made by the board. Surprisingly, Yul concurs with Madam Jang and states that they’ll have to follow the official decision. (One point for Team Madam Jang.) However, once the meeting ends, Yul makes a phone call and angrily orders for the financial management documents to be brought to his office.
As Sung-ryong returns to the department, Ha-kyung stops him for a moment to ask about his real reason for coming back: Was he worried about her? In flashback, Sung-ryong opened the letter from Madam Jang, which contained a check for one hundred million won, and she wrote that once he successfully completed the task, she would give another two hundred million won. Back in the present, Sung-ryong lies that Ha-kyung figured him out, and she playfully bops him in the arm.
Sung-ryong enters the office and is greeted with party poppers, signs, and a cute welcome back song. Manager Lee crankily notes his quick return, but the others are much more cheerful to have him back. The mood is festive until Director Chu yells for silence.
In his office, Yul pores over the regulation guide and takes special interest in the section about rules that can’t be violated by the Business Operations Department.
Director Chu and Manager Lee go back and forth about their new assignment, and as always, Ga-eun eavesdrops and notes Manager Lee’s incessant chirping (while cracking her neck and making a fist in the process). Unfortunately for Manager Lee, everyone else seems to be on board with their new task, and when Sung-ryong calls for a vote, only Manager Lee votes against it.
Right then, Madam Jang walks into the department, and Director Chu can’t believe she would come down to their shabby office. In their feeble attempt to be more presentable, Sang-tae spritzes air freshener, and everyone belatedly bows to her, having not recognized her when she came in.
In her office, Executive Director Jo shares her worries to Director Go about the new revival team looking into TQ Delivery’s financial materials. He reassures her that they’ve masked it well, but Executive Director Jo is afraid of the slight chance that it’s discovered, because it could hurt the chairman directly.
Madam Jang apologizes to the group for placing such a burden on them, but Sung-ryong interjects that it isn’t a burden at all. She explains that they were the only ones she could trust, and when she asks if Sung-ryong is confident in his plan, he almost lets slip that he received money as an incentive before quickly stating that he “received” love and trust. Their meeting gets interrupted when Yul messages Director Chu to come upstairs with his team.
Yul wishes to discuss the bylaws with the Business Operations Department, and states that according to their company regulations, their department is also supervised and lead by the head of the division (i.e. Yul). Thus, given his authority, Yul establishes two new conditions to the revival plan: (1) the plan will be submitted in two weeks, and (2) if the plan fails to meet expectations, the Business Operations Department will be dissolved.
The team immediately disapproves of the new rules, but Yul tells them to take responsibility for their actions. Sung-ryong asks if Yul will take any penalties if they succeed since they’re working with an arm on the line (Director Chu adorably places his arm on the table for emphasis), but Yul snickers, since he doesn’t have to negotiate with his subordinates.
He orders Director Chu and Ha-kyung to leave, and once they’re outside, they agree to keep this a secret from the rest of the department. Meanwhile, alone with Sung-ryong, Yul mockingly applauds him and asks if he was two-timing him. Sung-ryong says that he likes working alone, but Yul doesn’t believe his explanations, convinced that Sung-ryong acted brazenly because of his faith in Madam Jang.
Before he leaves, Sung-ryong offers his hand for a handshake, and Yul laughs in disbelief, calling him crazy through gritted teeth. Making a face, Sung-ryong notes that if he grits his teeth then he’ll get a… toothache (which also sounds like “strange”), and the double entendre is not lost on Yul.
Ha-kyung reports the new conditions to Madam Jang, and she offers to negotiate with her husband. On the other hand, Chairman Park is elated about Yul’s plan, and wants to use this chance to get rid of everyone on his wife’s side. One point for Team Chairman Park.
The Business Operations Team gathers to discuss their revival plan, and all heads turn expectantly towards Sung-ryong. They ask what his plan is, and Sung-ryong laughs in response. Everyone (minus Manager Lee) joins him, but when the laughter dies, Sung-ryong finally admits that he doesn’t have a plan. The team is thrown into disarray (Director Chu grabs his neck, about to faint), but Sung-ryong knows who to talk to about their plan.
Sung-ryong ends up at the police station with Ha-kyung, here to see the jailed union workers from TQ Delivery. However, the officer on duty explains that groups can’t visit unless it pertains to the investigation. Hence, Sung-ryong uses his “chance card,” which turns out to be a call to Madam Jang. He whines that he’s a lowly employee who needs her help, and throws in a request for a car, too. Heh!
As a result, the lawyers from Law Firm Go & Go (the ones who helped Sung-ryong get out of jail before) arrive, and they easily get a meeting with the union workers. When Sung-ryong asks them what was the biggest issue concerning company expenses, they all agree that it was the rule about only doing business with designated companies. In other words, the workers had to get gas, repairs, GPS, and even cellphones from specific places that often cost twice the amount they should have.
The head lawyer assures the jailed union workers that they’ll take care of them from now on, and Sung-ryong places his arm on the lawyer’s shoulder like they’re best buddies. Unamused, the lawyer points at Sung-ryong to remove his appendage, but he merely grabs the lawyer’s finger. Ha!
At a bar, the young ones from the Business Operations Department put their heads together and try to decipher Sung-ryong’s actions, thinking that he asked them to meet outside to prevent eavesdroppers. Cranky as always, Manager Lee yells at them for talking amongst themselves, and Director Chu reminds the over-imaginative employees that no one in the company cares about them.
When Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung arrive, the eager employees ask why they met outside, but Sung-ryong simply explains that he was hungry. Ha-kyung shares what they learned at the police station, and Manager Lee notes that this is typical behavior to create a secret fund. Unfortunately, these are also really hard to catch.
When Director Chu asks if Sung-ryong has any alternatives, he draws everyone in closer before giving them an acrostic poem (using the word “alternative”) about how he’s hungry and that food is the best. Annoyed, Director Chu wonders if he has anything concerning the revival plan, and Sung-ryong proudly mentions that he does. Then he pulls out his smartphone and does a quick internet search for “revival plan.” Peeved, Director Chu threatens to beat up Sung-ryong.
Madam Jang tries to negotiate with Chairman Park at home, but he tells her that an official decision can’t be undone. She argues that he’s overturned even bigger decisions in the past for his own gain, but the chairman states that he doesn’t do that anymore.
Back at the bar, Director Chu secretly talks with Ha-kyung and Sung-ryong, and decides to keep the conditions a secret from the team for now. Afterwards, Ha-kyung and Sung-ryong decide to leave early and head back to the office for some more work.
Still in his office, Yul looks over the real TQ Delivery financial statements and wonders where the money went. Leaving for the day, Yul waits by the elevators, and Ha-kyung spots him. She tells him that his actions were harsh towards her department, but he calls her shameless for deceiving her superior. She’s surprised by his sudden accusation, which only riles Yul.
He recounts her past behavior, noting that she was ordered to get closer to him, and now she’s feigning ignorance, which he interprets as scorn. Ha-kyung admits that she had ulterior motives when talking to him and felt guilty as a result. However, those feelings have disappeared recently because of his behavior.
He unfairly jailed the union workers and now plans to dissolve her department, and the only commonality those two actions share, in Ha-kyung’s opinion, is that no one is happy afterwards: “Not even you.” Undeterred, Yul says that he’ll find his own happiness.
In the office, Sung-ryong tries to figure out where the trail of money leads to, since once he finds the secret fund, everything will be solved.
At home, Director Chu dejectedly stares at a family photo, unable to call them, and Sung-ryong finally comes back home. He goes up to his room and smells his new money, still astounded by how easily he legally obtained such a large sum. Suddenly, Director Chu pops in and tells Sung-ryong to come down for some drinks.
After some drinks, Director Chu asks Sung-ryong if he’s actually confident, and Sung-ryong reassures him that he’s already halfway there. Sighing, Director Chu explains that he needs to work at least six to seven more years in order to send his daughter to college, but Sung-ryong promises that he’ll make sure the director can even see his daughter get married.
Ha-kyung and Kwang-sook do laundry at home, and Kwang-sook explains that Sung-ryong usually acts confidently on no grounds. He’s the type to hold onto something and never let go, and Ha-kyung mentions that he sounds like a dog. Kwang-sook agrees (heh), but adds that he always wins no matter how big his opponent is because of his tenacity.
Completely drunk, Sung-ryong asks Director Chu why he doesn’t trust “Mr. Righteous,” but ever since he arrived, Director Chu slurs, “Every day a tsunami! Every morning a hurricane!” This prompts Sung-ryong to ask for the director’s opinion of who he is, and Director Chu matter-of-factly states that he’s a liar who does bad things.
Miffed, Sung-ryong wonders why he invited him to his home then, and Director Chu bangs the table: it’s because he doesn’t prey on them. Real scoundrels prey on those around them, but those who look after the people around them, they still have hope. Then Director Chu thanks Sung-ryong for coming back… but quickly retracts his statement, because he’s too embarrassed to admit it. The next morning, Sung-ryong and Director Chu wake up holding each other, and they scream in unison. Heh.
After hanging up a call, the Director of Accounting complains about the Business Operations Department, and then calls for one of his chiefs to go downstairs. The accounting chief interrupts the Business Operations Team’s meeting and tells them that they’re starting audits early this year, which means daily reports.
Director Chu calls out the Accounting Department for meddling in their affairs, and Sung-ryong comments on how this stuff usually happens in daily dramas with rich mother-in-laws. Hee-jin then mock-slaps Sang-tae, telling him to send the report by tomorrow. Ki-ok joins and parodies the daily drama I Loved You, and then as the cherry on top, Manager Lee re-enacts the iconic orange juice scene from the show as everyone gasps in surprise after hearing the birth secret. I’m dying; this is perfect.
Brooding in his office, Yul thinks back to Sung-ryong and his confident declaration to make a plan before smirking to himself. Meanwhile, Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung go to the parking garage, since Madam Jang also provided the car he requested. Unbeknownst to them, across the lot, Yul’s prosecutor underling watches them.
Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung meet with the leaders of TQ Delivery and mention the workers’ complaints about designated business partners. The leaders explain that it’s just a misunderstanding, and that the workers are like family to them. Sung-ryong agrees with his statement since, statistically, murderers tend to be family members. Shots fired!
After their meeting, Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung carry boxes of files to the car, and Sung-ryong tells her that he’s good at spotting liars. In fact, the head of accounting, who was in the meeting, showed too many side effects and couldn’t keep a poker face. Just then, Ha-kyung receives a call from Madam Jang, who apparently wants them to meet someone.
Yul opens a package, and inside, it contains information about a bank account. The deposits on the account are from TQ Delivery, and Yul smiles to himself, since he’s finally found where the trail of money leads to.
Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung sit in a coffee shop with the female representative from Seoahn Jangryong (their Chinese partners), and she’s angry about the new revival plan since their company wanted an efficient termination. Suddenly, Sung-ryong grabs her hands and begs for a little bit of time and opportunity to change fate. He’s risking everything, and asks her to believe in his will.
Flustered by the sudden contact, the representative gets up to give a report, and once she’s gone, Ha-kyung asks what he’s doing. He explains that he was appealing to her emotions, and from the representative’s pounding heart, it appears that his strategy worked.
The director of accounting is called to Yul’s office, and when he sees the bank account, he states that he doesn’t know what it is. Yul tells him that the money siphoned from TQ Delivery was deposited to this bank account, and when he traced the address of the depositor, it led him to the twelfth floor of this building—in other words, the accounting department.
Yul offers the director a chance to tell him the truth, but the director continues to feign ignorance. Before the director leaves, Yul reminds him that if this account is discovered, then they’re completely defeated.
Rattled by the discovery, the director stays in the office until he’s the only one left, and then takes out a file from his locked drawer. Coincidentally, Ga-eun walks into the office and witnesses all of this. Luckily, she hides before the director sees her and watches him as he shreds the file. As soon as he leaves, Ga-eun retrieves the pieces from the trash.
The director of accounting leaves, but waiting in the elevator is Yul’s henchman. Once the doors close, the henchman pushes the first floor button again (cancelling it), and the director realizes that he’s in trouble. He ends up tied in a very familiar looking warehouse, and the henchman grabs a burning stick before warning the director to answer all his questions.
Ga-eun listens in on the Business Operations Department, and when Hee-jin says that they need another person to help, Ga-eun immediately gets up. Down in the office, Manager Lee guesses that these documents are forged, and Sung-ryong suggests that checking on the companies directly would be more fruitful.
Surprising everyone, Director Chu arrives with pizzas paid for with his own credit card, and Ga-eun enters soon after, pretending that she was just passing by. She offers to help, and the team gladly accepts her offer.
Late at night, Yul listens to the recorded confession of the accounting director, who admits that the accounts were for Executive Director Jo and Director Go. The next day, Yul eats a sandwich in front of the terrified accounting director and tells him to sit down. He notices that the director looks fine, and the director admits that he was scared.
Uncharacteristically, Yul offers half of his sandwich to the director, and then promises to keep his identity a secret. Now that their meeting is finished, Yul orders the director to leave just as he’s about to eat, and then tells him to leave the sandwich.
Yul throws the account information on Executive Director Jo’s desk and threatens her to follows his orders from now on. She refuses, saying that the chairman won’t stand for this, but Yul mentions how the Chairman would probably be very pleased once he saw these accounts.
Myung-suk hesitantly enters the Business Operations Department looking for Sung-ryong, because his mom told him to ask him for help reading company documents (heh, he’s so pathetic it’s kind of funny). Apparently, the documents are so basic that any employee should be able to read them. But Myung-suk acts nonchalantly, which frustrates Sung-ryong, almost causing him to chuck a cup at his head.
Outside the Business Operations Department, Yul throws his wrapper, but misses the garbage bin. When he walks away without picking up his trash, Ms. Uhm witnesses this and smacks him on the back. She berates him for littering, and Yul tells her that he’s the director of finance. She immediately bows and apologizes, but then asks if that was what Yul was expecting. Ha!
She says that if he’s a director, then she’s the founder of this company. Seeing his nice clothes, she assumes he’s a peddler, which only irks him more. Hearing the commotion, Director Chu looks out and greets Yul. Realizing her mistake, Ms. Uhm quickly escapes before Yul can yell at her, and before going inside, Yul ends up picking up his trash.
Immediately, Yul notes that the office smells like mold, and is then surprised to see Myung-suk down here. To save face, he lies that he came to scold some people, but then bows his head at Sung-ryong. Looking around, Yul mentions how lax everyone is even though they only have ten days until the due date.
He asks if they didn’t hear about the penalty, and Director Chu, Ha-kyung, and Sung-ryong each try to stop him, to no avail. Bulldozing through, Yul announces to the room that the department will be dismissed if they don’t succeed with their plan. Sang-tae drops his cup in shock. Infuriated, Sung-ryong yells at Yul for going too far and marches right up to him. The two men face each other in the middle of the office, neither willing to back down.
This episode felt like a setup for bigger things to come, and for the most part, nothing monumental occurred. However, it’s the little interactions between characters that make this show shine, and in that regard, this episode delivered, as usual. There’s nothing much to dissect in Chief Kim because it’s mostly a silly show that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The conflicts are relatively minor and normal for workplace drama. Most characters are straightforward, and the general flow of the plot is unsurprising. These aren’t necessarily weak points as long as your expectations for the show match. As a result, though I find myself laughing out loud less because of the absurd antics and situations, overall, I’m enjoying the episodes more as we go. This show is an easy watch, and for anyone who just wants some good laughs and a few quirky characters, Chief Kim doesn’t disappoint.
As for now, I’m resigned to the fact that Yul is probably just a bad guy, and I’m actually okay with that. He’s brash and petty, and I think it’s this combination that makes me enjoy watching him as a straightforward villain. He really doesn’t let things mull over, usually confronting people once he has his evidence, and I think some of his brashness comes from his prosecutor days when being bold helped him intimidate suspects and get people in jail faster. However, he’s also very petty in my opinion, as displayed by his quirky eating habits. I thought it was both mean and a bit funny (in a sad, pathetic way) how he asked for his sandwich back. Yul is in no way magnanimous, and is actually very close-minded in how he handles social relations. As a result, when people step out of line of his expected behavior, he gets mad quickly and a little whiny, which I think is hilarious (in a fictional world, mind you).
On the other hand, Sung-ryong is actually quite good at joining hands with people and forming positive relationships. Kwang-sook is a prime example of this quality of Sung-ryong, but even the way the union leader remembered Sung-ryong displays a part of this character. Thus, I completely agreed with Director Chu’s assessment of Sung-ryong during their little drinking party. Sung-ryong is a liar and a bad person. However, he knows how to take care of those around him, and as Director Chu said, “There’s still hope.” For the most part, I get the impression that the show is past the “is he good or is he bad” stage in Sung-ryong’s character development, which hopefully means we get to see more of “bad” Sung-ryong using his human capital for some “good” actions for a change, because I think that’s the value of his character. It’s the fact that Sung-ryong doesn’t play by the rules that makes him interesting (though I think it’s his exaggerated facial expressions and untimely humor that makes me actually like him).
As usual, I’m loving the side characters, with Director Chu and Ga-eun battling for first in my heart. They’re both weird in their own way, and though I thought Ga-eun was supposed to be the second female lead, I think she’s much better as a minor side character. I enjoy the small bursts of screen time I get of them, because whenever these characters are on screen, they really leave an impression on me with every little action and expression they make. The thing with good side characters is that you can’t have too much of them or they start to feel repetitive and a bit like a gimmick. For the most part, I think the show is striking a good balance with its tertiary characters, giving them enough scenes to make their mark while still making sure the titular characters get to shine.
Also, the pictures at the end of each episode are hilarious, especially the little captions, and for this episode, the Super Saiyan versions of Sung-ryong and Yul at the end were awesome.