Chief Kim: Episode 13
The battle begins as Sung-ryong and Yul try to best each other through intelligence gathering as well as petty name-calling. If you thought two adults with respectable jobs were above childish pranks and insults, think again. While the consequences are real and deal with billions of dollars, that doesn’t stop our hero from throwing one-liners and laughing with glee when he sees his opponent stumble.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Yul goes out into the lobby and catches Sung-ryong ushering out all the managers while lying that Yul cancelled the meeting because he’s suffering from hemorrhoids. Annoyed, he asks if Sung-ryong wants to die, but Sung-ryong explains that his new goal is to crush Yul. Thus, he plans on stopping Yul from moving to TQ Retail, but Yul scoffs at him, since those are just rumors. He tells Sung-ryong that he isn’t moving, and Sung-ryong is left utterly confused.
In the Business Operations Department, Myung-suk continues organizing receipts while Sang-tae enjoys his newfound powers. Manager Lee comes by to check on their newest member and swishes his coat, successfully scattering the receipts and causing more work for Myung-suk. Right then, Hee-jin barges into the department and tells everyone about Sung-ryong’s recent stunt.
Yul opens a letter at his desk and takes out a petition from the managers of TQ Retail. Realizing the chaotic state of TQ Retail, Yul pays a visit to the chairman and bluntly asks if he was assigned to TQ Retail because it’s a battlefield. Though frustrated, Yul accepts the challenge and offers to fix the subsidiary within one week. However, he wants to be appointed CEO of TQ Retail, but the chairman tells him to save it first.
Executive Director Jo yells at her henchman through the phone for failing his mission to hurt Yul. She can’t believe he ran away and left behind two witnesses and orders him to meet her later.
After his debacle with Yul, Sung-ryong saunters into the office, but Director Chu immediately smacks him and drags him into the break room. He and Ha-kyung scold Sung-ryong for rushing into things because of a rumor, and Ha-kyung is tasked with keeping an eye on Sung-ryong.
Sang-tae scrolls through the online bulletin board, which is filled with complaints from the TQ convenience store managers. He informs Sung-ryong about the posts, noting that sending them away has caused an even bigger problem, and when Myung-suk calls Sung-ryong a troublemaker, Sung-ryong throws Myung-suk’s receipts to the floor. Poor Myung-suk.
The complaints by the TQ managers make the news, and Madam Jang reads about the unpaid workers.
Sung-ryong sulks after being scolded, and Ga-eun tries to cheer him up. She suggests wiretapping Yul, and when Sung-ryong assumes she’s joking, Ga-eun explains how you can buy the hardware online and it’ll come in less than an hour. Sung-ryong is excited about the idea, but then asks how Ga-eun seems to know so much about wiretapping and all his plans and whereabouts. Leaning in closer, Sung-ryong asks if Ga-eun planted something on him, but then says he’s only joking while Ga-eun laughs in relief.
The listening device arrives, and soon, Ga-eun presents a “gift” to Yul. She explains that all the directors are receiving a “welcoming spring” gift, and then acts overly cute by singing a song and winking. This has the opposite effect on Yul, who grimaces at her, so Ga-eun attempts to quickly leave.
However, Yul stops her and asks what’s inside the gift as he rattles it. Sweat starts to drip down Ga-eun’s face as she tries to come up with a lie, but the box opens and reveals a stash of chocolate bars. Yul “oohs” at the chocolate, and Ga-eun safely exits the office. It’s official, Yul’s weakness is food!
Ga-eun delivers the listening device to Sung-ryong, and the two of them eavesdrop on Yul’s meeting with Director Go and the director of the accounting department. While munching on a chocolate bar, Yul orders them to bring him the original reports on TQ Retail and informs them that he’s most likely transferring to TQ Retail.
Excited that his hunch was correct, Sung-ryong shares the news with the rest of the department. They grudgingly accept that his guess was right this time, and Sung-ryong happily declares that he’s going to stop Yul. When Myung-suk laughs along, Sung-ryong calls him out and warns him not to tattle to his mom.
Yul’s minion tells Yul that the surveillance camera didn’t capture anything useful because it was too dark outside, but he did discover that Executive Director Jo made calls to an illegal phone. Having enough information to support his hunch, Yul barges into Jo’s office, and she nervously asks why he’s here. He tells her to forget about TQ Retail since he’s taking it over, but he deliberately talks ambiguously in an attempt to get her to confess. But Executive Director Jo feigns ignorance and orders him out.
Ha-kyung tells Sung-ryong about Yul’s recent attack, and when she worries that someone might be after him, Sung-ryong quickly declares that nothing bad can happen to Yul… because only he can crush Yul! Ha-kyung shakes her head, commenting on how quickly Mr. Righteous was filled with evil, but Sung-ryong ignores her remarks as he gets another devilish idea.
Yul walks to his car in the parking lot, nervously checking his surroundings, while behind a pillar, Sung-ryong watches him with a mischievous grin. Once Yul’s back is towards him, Sung-ryong quietly advances, but is met with a shocking surprise when Yul twirls around with a Taser.
Sung-ryong is electrocuted and ends up splayed on the ground, completely knocked out as Yul stares at him, unsure of what to do. As Sung-ryong slowly regains consciousness, the Business Operations Team gathers around him and chides him for his childish behavior. All the while, Sung-ryong mumbles that he feels like a cactus and tries to get up, though no one offers a helping hand.
Ms. Uhm cleans the men’s bathroom, but stops and takes out a key. In flashback, we see that Chief Lee (the previous chief of the Business Operations Department) handed her the key to use in case something happened to him. He told her to give the key to someone trustworthy, but when Ms. Uhm mentioned Director Chu or Ha-kyung, Chief Lee warned her that those two could be in trouble. Instead, he advised her to find someone who could fight against the company.
In the present, Sung-ryong walks into the bathroom, startled to see Ms. Uhm standing there. Still wobbly, he tells her to not peek, but then loudly complains that “it” won’t come out. Talking aloud, Ms. Uhm mumbles, “He would be perfect, but…”
Sung-ryong and Ha-kyung leave work together, and Ha-kyung berates him for not acting like a gentleman like his namesake. He laughs and tells Ha-kyung a little secret: He’s actually named after Jackie Chan. Ha-kyung keeps in her laughter, and Sung-ryong makes her promise not to tell a single soul, since not even Kwang-sook knows this.
Of course, Ha-kyung immediately shares the secret with Kwang-sook, and the two share a good laugh over his name. Kwang-sook then asks how Ha-kyung feels about Sung-ryong as a man, but she firmly states that he’s not her type. Unconvinced, Kwang-sook replies that a strong denial is a strong confirmation.
Myung-suk’s house is a battlefield between his parents as they argue about TQ Retail. Madam Jang yells at the chairman for allowing such atrocities to happen at the company and announces her plan to create an internal monitoring system at the next board meeting. She asks Myung-suk for his opinion, and when he hesitantly agrees with his mother, the chairman belittles his son.
Executive Director Jo hands an envelope of money to her henchman, ordering him to leave the country for a month. Just as the henchman leaves, a man with white hair tackles him outside, and Yul stands in front of Executive Director Jo’s car. She screams in fright, and Yul smiles menacingly as the headlights ominously illuminate his face. He then walks up to the driver’s window and asks if she wants to go for a drive.
In his room, Sung-ryong sits on the tiny rocking horse thinking of ways to destroy Yul, and Director Chu comes up with snacks. He laughs when he sees Sung-ryong’s poster of ideas to crush Yul because it only has one line, but Sung-ryong proudly states that he’s going to make him kneel. Director Chu likes the sound of that, and re-enacts Terminator 2 to show how Sung-ryong should shatter Yul.
Yul cooks a hotdog over an open flame in an abandoned building while Executive Director Jo attempts to run away. She falls to the ground in fear when her henchman suddenly appears, battered and bloody. Yul threatens to kill Jo, but quickly pretends to be joking, clarifying that he’s only talking about her temper.
He orders his minion to arrest the henchman, but before he’s taken away, Yul punches him in the face. Shaking, Executive Director Jo apologizes to Yul, but he shouts at her to shut her trap. Whispering in her ear, he threatens her to support him from now on. And then, turning eerily calm, Yul says that their conversation is over and asks if she wants food.
The next day, Chairman Park warns Yul about Madam Jang’s plans to create an internal monitoring system that would ruin all they’ve done so far. Hence, the best preventive measure is for Yul to solve the problem with TQ Retail in order to convince the board to take their side.
Yul meets with the TQ convenience store managers and uses his usual tactics of threats and curt remarks. He demands that they drop their case if they want to negotiate terms, but the managers fight back against Yul’s bullying strategies. They want a written promise from the company about paying past wages, and won’t settle for anything less. Eventually, Yul retreats and yells at his minion to investigate all the managers’ personal backgrounds.
Sung-ryong and his mini-team of Ha-kyung and Ga-eun look over the financial reports concerning TQ Retail. Ha-kyung is shocked to read that TQ Group has failed to pay its employees for over three years, which results in over ten billion won in owed wages. They find that TQ Cosmetics is the biggest hole, and Ga-eun suggests investigating them further. Unfortunately, neither Ga-eun nor Ha-kyung have connections to look into TQ Cosmetics, but Sung-ryong might know someone who could help.
That someone turns out to be Myung-suk, and Sung-ryong offers to buy him drinks and yummy food after work. They go out to eat pig skin, and Sung-ryong explains to Myung-suk that he only acted mean towards him to help him grow in order to take charge of a subsidiary like TQ Retail in the future. Sung-ryong spins a tale about how Yul would take over TQ Retail and then the whole company, and Myung-suk completely falls into Sung-ryong’s trap.
He asks Myung-suk to help him take down Yul and asks if he knows anyone at TQ Cosmetics. Myung-suk admits that his uncle is the vice president there, but he feels awkward suddenly contacting him. Sung-ryong reminds him that the company is at stake, and after some whining, Myung-suk finally agrees to call his uncle.
Yul learns that a handful of managers are facing crippling debt situations and decides to use the weak links to his advantage. He instructs his minion to contact these individuals and tell them that the company will solve their problems first if they cooperate. After the call ends, Yul stares outside his window and thinks back to his conversation with Ha-kyung about stopping his destructive march.
As Sung-ryong arrives to work in the morning, Yul spots him in the lobby and walks next to him. They exchange petty barbs like school children on a playground, and Yul ends the conversation by calling Sung-ryong an information eunuch: “Eu to the nuch!”
Sung-ryong grumbles to himself about being called a eunuch and runs into Ms. Uhm, who’s cleaning outside the office. Smiling, Sung-ryong calls her Maggie Cheung and uses clipped speech to act cute. He asks for a favor, and thinking back to Chief Lee’s request, Ms. Uhm agrees to help Sung-ryong in order to gauge if he’s a trustworthy person who can fight against the company.
Yul meets with his usual team and tells them to use the funds from TQ Mart to solve the wage problem with TQ Retail. He then instructs Director Go to gather more managers on their side. Meanwhile, Ga-eun listens to their conversation and furiously writes down notes.
She delivers the information to Sung-ryong, and also tells him about frequent meetings between the southern region convenience store managers that are close by. As Ga-eun reported, the managers meet at a café and discuss their predicament, thinking that the company might actually listen to them since they had an initial meeting. However, Sung-ryong interrupts their conversation and pops their optimistic bubble.
Elsewhere, Director Go visits a manager who’s struggling with debt and a recent loan. He offers to solve the manager’s problems first and lower his quota if he agrees to help the company by gathering more managers to take their side. All the while, the rude cashier from before watches their exchange.
Sung-ryong explains to the managers that the company isn’t trying to actually negotiate, because in reality, they have the money to pay the wages but are using it elsewhere to cover costs. He promises to prove that TQ Retail is not in a deficit, but when one of the managers suggests talking with the company, Sung-ryong yells at them to stop being pushovers. The managers are surprised by Sung-ryong’s fervor, and he says that he’s doing this for revenge… against the unfair system, of course.
Ms. Uhm fulfills Sung-ryong’s favor, which is to dig through Yul’s garbage. She finds a crumpled financial report and safely tucks it away before heading out.
Ha-kyung checks the Manager Alliance Forum and notices that there seems to be some internal strife within the group. Sung-ryong assumes that Yul is behind this, and likewise, Yul sees the strife and blames Sung-ryong for stirring trouble. Thus, he orders Director Go to send his message to the managers Sung-ryong met.
Ga-eun reports on Yul’s latest actions, but they don’t have information about the message Yul is talking about. Curious, Sung-ryong suggests that he go to the meeting tomorrow and intervene, but Ha-kyung thinks that would only cause more problems. Sighing, Ga-eun states that there seem to be so many monsters, and wonders if they were always monsters, or whether they became monsters out of greed.
During the convenience store managers’ meeting, Yul shows up, in person, and tells them the company’s decision. 60% of part-time employees’ wages and 50% of full-time employees’ wages will be covered. If any mangers refuse, they will be removed from their position, their store will be turned into a franchise, and the manager will have to pay a penalty. Anyone who agrees will have to come sign an agreement, and payments will be made in order of arrival.
The terms are soon made public, and the Business Operations Department is aghast by the harsh conditions. Despite knowing that the terms are unfair, they acknowledge the fact that the managers will probably agree because there doesn’t seem to be any alternatives.
As predicted, the managers arrive to sign the agreement, and Sung-ryong confronts them, pleading with them to hold on a little bit longer. Understandably, the managers are beaten and weary. They’ve decided that losing this battle would help them in the long run and accept their powerlessness. They thank Sung-ryong for his support before leaving.
Witnessing this, Yul applauds before mocking Sung-ryong for failing to block him. He offers some advice to him: “Be a shrimp.” Yul explains that shrimps have their hearts with their heads so they use both together, but Sung-ryong only uses his heart. Snidely, Yul tells Sung-ryong to do his actual job better, and walks away.
Yul reports to the chairman that everything will be settled in three days, and Chairman Park laughs heartily, since he knew Yul could do it. That’s why he already organized a board meeting, and he advises Yul to prepare an impressive speech for the board.
Sung-ryong stares off into space, lost in thought, and the others assume he’s dejected. Director Chu says that revenge isn’t easy, and Myung-suk mutters that Sung-ryong is going to explode again. Suddenly, Sung-ryong bangs his desk, and Myung-suk immediately stammers, “I’m kidding. I’m kidding. I’m kidding.” Sung-ryong ignores Myung-suk and exits the office with new determination: This isn’t about personal revenge anymore.
He meets with Kwang-sook and asks her if she’s willing to do a skit with him. He then mentions a person named Chae-ri, and Kwang-sook reluctantly calls her.
The day of the board meeting has arrived, and Sung-ryong watches Yul enter the lobby from around the corner. He signals Ms. Uhm to go, and she carries a red sign towards Yul just as Kwang-sook bumps into him. Yul runs into Ms. Uhm’s sign, which is wet with red paint, and she quickly excuses herself.
As Ms. Uhm leaves, she exchanges looks with a nearby woman and then slaps her butt. The woman covers the handprint with her bag until she bumps into Yul, and then reveals the large, red handprint on her behind. She accuses him of being a groper, and Yul screams, “I didn’t touch you!” Just around the corner, Sung-ryong laughs, clearly enjoying his little skit.
One by the one, the members of the board enter the meeting, and Executive Director Jo looks scared and crushed as she sinks into her chair. On the other hand, Chairman Park walks in with a confident smile, as if he’s already won the battle.
In the lobby, Yul stares blankly into space as the woman explains the situation to the police. To make matters worse, Yul doesn’t make a convincing case for his innocence, acting in his usual rude manner. As he attempts to leave, the police grab him, and Sung-ryong arrives to berate the officers for mistreating their director. However, once Sung-ryong sees the red handprint, he calls Yul a pervert and yells, “I knew you were weird when you called me a eunuch!”
At the police station, Yul tries to use his ex-prosecutor status as leverage, but the police ignore him and call him a jerk for making the woman cry. Fortunately for Yul, his connections help, and a call from the prosecutor’s office has Yul freed in no time. Despite Yul’s attempt to get to the meeting as soon as possible, his tardiness is sorely felt in the meeting room, and the damage is already done.
As Yul gets into a taxi, a car from behind hits them. The driver turns out to be Sung-ryong’s colleague, and when Yul tries to escape, the colleague holds onto Yul’s leg, begging him to come to the hospital with him.
After all those fiascos, Yul finally arrives at TQ Group, runs down the hall, and pushes open the doors to the meeting room. He’s met with snores, and the room is completely empty — save for Sung-ryong, who’s sleeping on a chair. Infuriated, Yul grabs Sung-ryong by his lapels, but Sung-ryong grins because he managed to be an obstruction to Yul in the end. Mission accomplished.
Everything seemed to happen rather quickly this episode without much in-depth development in terms of plot. The issue concerning unpaid wages and the unethical practice by the company were all introduced this episode and then subsequently “resolved” in this episode, too. I assume this will be like the previous arc with the union workers in that another dimension to this problem will be brought up so that Sung-ryong will continue to butt heads with Yul. For the most part, I’m used to the show using broad strokes to create and resolve issues concerning the actual company and related politics. However, I think I was slightly less enthusiastic with this episode because I didn’t really consider Sung-ryong’s “solution” at the end to be clever or, to be honest, much of a solution.
At best, it’s a bandage that has bought Sung-ryong more time to find a way to stop Yul from taking over TQ Retail, but nothing has happened this episode that makes me think that Sung-ryong will find a way to stop Yul that will be any different from his previous adventures. Part of my dissatisfaction is that the show isn’t as clever as it is funny, which makes the “battles” between Sung-ryong and Yul a bit flat. Most of the time, the fights just end up being who can gather and hide information the best, which feels like an old party trick after seeing it a couple of times. That being said, I enjoyed the petty exchanges and the quirky moments between the two rivals, and I hope the show capitalizes on this more.
After focusing on the battle between Sung-ryong and Yul, Ha-kyung has really fallen into the background, which is a shame. It’s possible that this might be a temporary situation because I feel like Ha-kyung could use more screen time in order for the viewers to grow closer to her. I’ve gotten to know Sung-ryong and Yul much better, but Ha-kyung still feels more two-dimensional in comparison. Besides that, the show has actually done a really good job incorporating side characters into the story, and I’m enjoying Myung-suk’s little comments sprinkled here and there. In addition, Ms. Uhm is a hoot, and I hope to see more of her since it looks like she might (literally) hold the key to Sung-ryong’s success.
As for Yul, he continues to be a quirky character, and I’m glad that the show seems to be embracing his evil side. That creepy smile he gave to Executive Director Jo sent chills down my spine, and I sort of don’t want an easy way out for Yul. I personally don’t want Yul to experience a change of heart, though it might still be a possibility since the show has shown small flashes of hesitation from Yul. Despite that, I kind of like the “monster” Yul has become, and want him to continue down his road of destruction just to see the final battle between him and Sung-ryong.
One of the merits of the battle between Sung-ryong and Yul is the fact that both of these characters are actually quite similar. While Sung-ryong started off on the wrong side of the law, he has switched over and learned how to control his greed by making relationships. On the other hand, Yul started on the right side of the law, but has switched over by letting his greed take control and by failing to establish relationships with those around him. In a way, their paths have crossed and then diverged, and it’s interesting how the show uses these two similar yet different characters to show a range of human motivation and action.
On a side note, the illustrations continue to be hilarious, and I actually thought the little Jackie Chan image in the corner saying, “I love Sung-ryong,” was funny in a silly and tacky way. Also, I agree with Ha-kyung, it’s kind of hilarious that he’s actually named after Jackie Chan, but pretends to be named after the renowned scholar instead.