Radiant Office: Episode 2
After surviving the worst day ever, our three job seekers finally get some good news, which they hope will turn their luck around. But getting what you want isn’t necessarily the same as getting what you need, and they still have a long way to go before they see their dreams come true. Unfortunately, the Sad Sack Trio are as out of place in the corporate world as they are in their regular lives, proving that landing a good job isn’t the end of their problems, but only the beginning.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Ha-won and her new friend Kang-ho wait for their turn to interview, this time at a furniture company named Hauline. The receptionist calls in three candidates, and when they stand, one of them whips out a gun and shoots one of the other candidates.
HA, it’s Ho-won’s runaway imagination again, and all hell breaks loose as she scuttles for safety. Job seekers go after each other with guns, knives, anything they can use to take out their competition and secure a job for themselves.
Ho-won watches as a girl parachutes in and makes a beeline for the interview room. Ho-won races past her, barrel-rolls into the room first, and pops up triumphantly to see… Woo-jin, the man who ruined her last interview.
Still fantasizing, Ho-won pulls out a bow and lets an arrow fly right at Woo-jin’s face. But he’s not even surprised and just bats it away with his pen like it’s nothing.
Back in reality, Ho-won finds herself in the same interview group as Kang-ho. She stays outwardly calm, though inside she’s screaming, “Why did you do that to me??” She smiles down at her tiny imaginary self cheering her on from the floor, telling herself to take advantage of this opportunity.
Woo-jin starts by commenting on her grades as her only asset, and asks, just like he did last time, why she only concentrated on her grades. Ho-won wonders if Woo-jin remembers her, though he’s given no indication that he does.
He turns to Kang-ho, who looks so nervous he could throw up, to ask why he applied to their company. Kang-ho’s voice is way too loud as he stumbles through an obviously rehearsed speech about furniture, concluding that he’ll bet his life on this job, which makes Woo-jin doubt his sincerity.
Woo-jin asks if Ho-won feels the same way, noting that she has no experience. She says that she’s been busy working part-time jobs to pay her rent and student loans. Angry and working herself into a righteous fury, she stalks towards Woo-jin, stating defiantly that she applied here because she needs to make a living. Suddenly her tiny cheerleader hollers up to her to pay attention — this is not a fantasy, and she really just said those things out loud. Whoops.
Horrified, Ho-won slumps back to her chair. Woo-jin laughs and reminds her of what she said before: that her talent was holding back her anger. Oh no, he does remember her!
Defeated, Ho-won tells him that she’s worked thirty-two part time jobs, never receiving insurance or benefits, while she dreamed of getting a job for a company like Hauline. Looking Woo-jin directly in the eyes, she says that even after one hundred rejections, she never gave up.
She says that her part-time jobs taught her that people in power are strong, while subordinates are always struggling. And the small companies where she’s worked are always subordinate to large companies like Hauline, so that’s why she’s applied here — to have a bit of power for once. Knowing she’s blown the interview, Ho-won stands and leaves.
The girl who broke Ki-taek’s heart, Ji-na, works here at Hauline, and she’s startled to run into Ki-taek on his way to the interviews. She’s furious, but Ki-taek says that she doesn’t like him anymore since he doesn’t have a job, so here he is. Ji-na snaps that he’s not good enough or smart enough to work here, and Ki-taek agrees that she’s probably right.
Ji-na tells him to leave again, and Ki-taek asks if she’ll reconsider dating him if he does. Ji-na turns it around on him and says that if he still likes her, he’ll leave.
Kang-ho and Ho-won run into Ki-taek outside the building, and the three have a Sad Sack reunion and finally learn each other’s names. Kang-ho tells Ki-taek that the interviewer today was the same one who drove Ho-won to jump in the river.
Although Ki-taek claims that his interview went well, he seems squirrelly when Kang-ho tells him which manager it was. Did he really go to his interview? They decide to get revenge on the jerk who hurt Ho-won, and when she sees a man delivering someone’s lunch, Ho-won hatches an evil plan.
They march out of the building like they’re on a mission, never even seeing their doctor from the emergency room, Hyun, heading inside. He just laughs to see them again.
The trio find a phone booth and start making calls, all to restaurants that Ho-won has worked for and who don’t pay their employees fairly. Soon a mountain of fast food is being delivered to Woo-jin’s office under his name, hee.
The employees scramble to hide the food from the head of sales, MANAGER PARK SANG-MAN (Kwon Hae-hyo), who has banned food from the office due to the smell. Of course, he’s the first to dig in while a confused Woo-jin swears he didn’t order anything.
Manager Park and Woo-jin meet with their CEO to discuss some reorganization within their departments. Woo-jin isn’t happy to learn that the ace of his marketing team is being transferred to Manager Park’s sales team, especially since marketing is about to be swamped with a new product launch. He’s told to just hire some new team members.
That evening, Ho-won goes to her roof to burn her remaining resumes, having decided to give up her dream of working for a large company. In the morning, she asks her roommate Hyo-ri if she can buy her old cell phone, and as soon as she has it activated, she gets a call from Hauline offering her a three-month contract.
Confused as to why they would hire her after her disastrous interview, she learns that Manager Park specifically requested her. Interesting, considering that he wasn’t even at the interviews.
Ho-won is still befuddled that night as she works at the convenience store, wondering why it’s only a three-month contract. But she remembers that she may only have six months to live, so she considers giving it a shot.
A man sneaks into the store and starts shoving things into a bag, which Ho-won sees on the security mirror. The man spots her and runs for the door, so Ho-won whips off her shoe and flings it at him.
But the thief escapes, and Woo-jin walks in with Ho-won’s manager right behind him. Her shoe hits her boss in the face, and her response is to hide from both of them behind a shelf. Ha.
The manager checks on Woo-jin while yelling at Ho-won, and she cringes in mortification when he says her name out loud. Woo-jin recognizes the name and smirks, saying she should be fired. Jerk.
After Woo-jin leaves, Ho-won’s manager yells at her for leaving the counter and allowing the theft to happen. She tunes him out to daydream about the Hauline job, but he gets her attention again when he says she should just quit.
When her boss informs her that he’s docking her pay for the stolen items, that’s the last straw. Ho-won yells that it’s part-timers like her who keep the store in business, and that without them, the whole country’s economy would crash.
Ho-won adds that part-timers are his employees, not his prey, and actually gives him The Hand when he tries to get a word in edgewise. She throws down her work vest and tells him that she got another job. Boo-yah.
Ho-won arrives at Hauline on her first day to discover that both Kang-ho and Ki-taek were also hired. None of them can figure out why when their resumes are lackluster at best, but they are supportive of each other.
As it turns out, the young ER doctor, Hyun, is the son of the chairman of Hauline. He has lunch with Manager Park to discuss teaching him the basics of company management, even though Hyun confesses that he has no interest in running Hauline.
Manager Park is nervous to be eating with the boss’s son, but Hyun butters him up so well that he guesses Hyun wants this kept a secret. Manager Park mentions that he took care of that favor Hyun asked of him before asking how he knows those people.
Hyun says that he feels sorry for them, and that he seeks symbiosis (a mutually beneficial relationship). Wait, so Hyun got the three misfits their jobs? How very interesting.
Woo-jin receives an envelope with no return address, and inside is a handwritten, unsigned letter. The writer says that they have proof that Manager Park is corrupt, but for now, we aren’t privy to the details. Woo-jin tucks the letter away safely and looks up Manager Park on the company website, then calls HR to request a list of the people who were hired at the same time as Manager Park.
Ji-na escorts the new employees to the marketing department (and boy, is she annoyed that Ki-taek is one of them) where Manager Park enthusiastically welcomes them to the team. He explains that he was too busy to sit in on the interviews, which is why such talented people as them didn’t get permanent positions and were only offered short-term contracts.
He makes a huge production about discovering their unique talents and qualifications, then tells the office that Ho-won will join the marketing team, and Ki-taek and Kang-ho will go to his sales team. But Woo-jin saunters up to say that nope, that’s not what’s going to happen.
All three of the newbies cringe, remembering the food-delivery prank they played on him. Woo-jin decides that Ho-won should work for the sales team, since marketing doesn’t require her famous patience, but Manager Park says that he prefers men on his team.
Woo-jin calls him out for gender discrimination, which has Manager Park backpedaling hard. Ho-won speaks up to say that actually, she’d prefer to work for the sales department (in other words, not with Woo-jin). Manager Park pulls Woo-jin into his office to speak privately about the issue.
He insists again on taking the guys for his team, but Woo-jin says he shouldn’t have hired a woman if he didn’t want to work with her. Woo-jin gets in Manager Park’s face to ask why he hired those three in particular, threatens to notify HR of his unusual hiring practices, and pointedly repeats that Ho-won should be on the sales team.
The three newbies sit in the break room moaning over their bad luck — Ho-won and Kang-ho because they’re terrified of Woo-jin, and Ki-taek because he has to work with his ex-girlfriend. When a secretary enters the room, they quickly change the subject to the confusing list of managers.
The secretary helps them out, giving them the lowdown on the three infamous sales managers. She says that Manager Park is a huge fake who’ll pretend to be your best friend, but if you get on his bad side, look out.
Manager JO SUK-KYUNG, the woman who was transferred to the sales team, is a perfectionist and workaholic known as the Ice Witch. The third is Assistant Manager LEE YONG-JAE (Oh Dae-hwan), the office suck-up.
Kang-ho asks about Ji-na, and they’re told that her nickname is Madame Face, because she spends most of her time applying her makeup. But nobody knows much about Woo-jin since he’s new, so Ho-won silently vows to throw her lot in with Manager Park.
Since the trio haven’t been assigned to a department yet, Suk-kyung sends them to visit one of the company stores with Yong-jae. Yong-jae wheedles for permission to go straight home after, but Suk-kyung coldly orders him to come back for a company meeting. Ice Witch, indeed.
Ho-won hangs back to beg Suk-kyung to help her get onto the sales team, promising to work hard. Suk-kyung says that what the company wants is a job well done.
Yong-jae spends the car ride to the store complaining about women in the workplace and how they’re always crying sexism and taking time off work to have children. (Well, isn’t he just delightful.) But Ho-won swears that she has no plans to get married or have children soon and asks him for a job in sales. Yong-jae says that to work on his team she has to forget she’s a woman, and he’s impressed when she says she can do that.
They arrive at the store, and Yong-jae goes inside. But before the others even get to the door, he runs back out screaming.
He tells them in the car that a woman bought an expensive bed there a few months ago that she was told was king-sized. But when she went to put her pricey, custom-made sheets on it, she discovered that it was actually a queen-sized bed and flew into a rage. She’s been throwing tantrums at the store for months because they refuse to give her a refund.
When they get back to the office, Suk-kyung informs Yong-jae that said angry customer is in the meeting room waiting to talk to him. Coward that he is, he whines that this situation isn’t his fault, and Ho-won seizes her opportunity. She offers to handle the customer herself, asking for a job in sales if she’s successful.
She’s allowed to try, so Yong-jae gives her a copy of store policy before they talk with the customer. He warns her not to apologize or take responsibility, since the woman could use it against them.
They enter the meeting room, and Ho-won launches right into a canned “we value our customers” speech. The disgruntled customer (cameo by comedienne Jang Do-yeon) slaps Yong-jae across the face and angrily offers to finish the speech she’s already heard so many times.
She blows up at Yong-jae’s insistence on following store policy and snatches him up by the hair. He accidentally calls her “ajumma,” and now he’s done it — she chases him around the room screaming and flailing, while Ho-won attempts to hold her back.
Woo-jin does a little detective work, figures out who sent him the letter about Manager Park, and goes to visit him where he still works in the company warehouse. The man, Gu-dong, is impressed that Woo-jin found him so quickly, so he invites him to have lunch and talk.
Once Yong-jae escapes the room and the customer calms a bit, Ho-won gets on her knees and introduces herself as a temporary employee. The customer isn’t pleased to have been pawned off on a rookie with no authority to make decisions.
Ho-won offers to let the customer hit her all she wants, because getting this job was harder than enduring abuse. She takes off her brand-new employee badge and says that if the customer storms out, she may lose her job. She tells the woman that it took over a hundred tries to get this job, which horrifies her.
Ho-won tells her everything, particularly the part about Woo-jin being so cruel at her interviews. The customer cries, identifying with Ho-won because after one hundred blind dates, she finally met a guy, but he fell in love with a younger woman. They end up in each other’s arms, wailing over their shared misfortune.
Soon after, the customer leaves the meeting room, announcing that Ho-won handled her claim to her satisfaction, and that she won’t be needing a refund. After advising Ho-won not to avoid obstacles, whether those are people or work, she leaves.
Ho-won puts her employee badge back around her neck, and I adore the tiny triumphant glance she shoots at Woo-jin before she confidently asks Suk-kyung about that spot on the sales team. Later, as she relates the story to her new friend the secretary, Ho-won learns a secret — that one of the temporary hires will be offered a permanent job at the end of their contract.
The sales team, which now includes Ho-won and Kang-ho, go out for drinks after work with the CEO of their supply company. Ho-won thinks about that possible permanent job offer, gives Kang-ho a quick apology, and makes her way to Manager Park’s side to begin her kissing-up strategy.
Ignoring the strange looks from the other team members, she pours Manager Park a drink then takes one from him in return. The way Suk-kyung watches her is interesting, as if Ho-won’s behavior worries her.
Ho-won is drunk by the time they leave the restaurant, and she and Kang-ho accidentally witness Manager Park taking a bribe from the supplier. Suk-kyung seems to have seen it too, but she doesn’t say anything.
They all head to a noraebang next, where the managers have a blast, Suk-kyung looks annoyed, and Ho-won falls asleep with Kang-ho watching over her. Manager Park wakes Ho-won, saying that company get-togethers are a part of work while pouring her another drink.
Ho-won refuses the drink as she’s not feeling well, but Manager Park gets a bit offended at her backtalk. Kang-ho and Suk-kyung both look uncomfortable when Ho-won gives Manager Park a cheeky grin and downs the drink. Manager Park tries to drag her to the dance floor, which is going too far in Suk-kyung’s opinion, so she tries to stop him.
The marketing team — basically Woo-jin, Ji-na, and now Ki-taek — stay late at the office, so Ki-taek gets to witness Woo-jin taking Ji-na to task for her sloppy filing system. Ki-taek offers to help her reorganize everything, but Ji-na snaps that he doesn’t know enough to help.
That looks like it stings, but Ki-taek gamely tells her that he feels like he started a brand-new life today. He says that he feels capable of accomplishing anything before asking if they can get back together. She looks at him like he’s something she found on the bottom of her shoe and says that if she wanted that, she wouldn’t have broken up with him in the first place.
Kang-ho calls Ki-taek, worried that Ho-won is about to get herself in big trouble. She’s drinking anything the managers give her, singing and dancing with them, and Kang-ho wants Ki-taek to come take her home.
Kang-ho says that he wants to tell Ho-won the truth — that they’ve both seen the results of their medical workups, and neither of them is terminally ill. Oh no, it’s Ho-won. Kang-ho heads outside to meet Ki-taek when he arrives, and Ho-won peers around the corner. She heard everything.
Ho-won goes back to the office alone and sits down to write her letter of resignation. Suddenly all the lights come on and Woo-jin sees her there. Ho-won clutches the resignation to her chest, trying to hide it from him.
I’m glad that the office focus of our story seems, so far, to be as interesting as the characters’ personal introductions we were given in the first episode. I like that the misfits are still struggling to find their purpose even after landing a job, and I’d love to see them learning more about themselves and what they’re really capable of as they face the challenges of a cutthroat, and often corrupt, workplace. Each of them are already interesting and sympathetic as they are now, but they’re far from being confident and sure about their places in the world, which is something I really want for all three of them.
I think that Ho-won is an amazing lead female character. She may not be the smartest or the most capable person in the world, but she knows where her strengths lie. She’s also well aware of her weaknesses, which makes it that much more painful when Woo-jin pokes at her sore spots. She’s not afraid to stand up for herself when anyone tries to take her pride away from her. And she doesn’t just sulk, she gets up and takes action — it was very brave of Ho-won to take on a problem customer her very first day on the job, knowing that she had a good chance to screw it up and lose the job she’s worked for three years to land. But she refused to follow a bad company policy and chose honesty instead, which got her the reward she wanted.
We know the least about Kang-ho, only that he has a mother who is so hateful to him that her disapproval pushed him to attempt suicide. He’s such a cinnamon roll — sweet and meek, eager to please, and way too sensitive for the cutthroat corporate world. But it makes me wonder if he has some secret, especially considering that he has all the right education and experience, yet he’s also struggled to secure a good job. With his qualifications, even though he’s quiet and shy, shouldn’t he have been able to find something by now?
But Ki-taek is my favorite of the Sad Sacks, mostly because he’s just so pathetically heartbroken over a girl who doesn’t even remotely deserve him. Ji-na has him believing that he’s not good enough for her, which is why he got the job at Hauline in the first place, and his sadness over her rejection just kills me dead. But rather than behave like the desperate jilted lover we’ve seen in so many dramas, Ki-taek is actually pretty respectful of Ji-na’s wishes, and mostly keeps his distance while doing everything he thinks she wants. And while I do want all three of the misfits to get what they want out of this new job, it makes me sad that Ki-taek only did it get Ji-na back. I sincerely hope that working with her so closely allows him to see what a shallow, nasty piece of work she really is, and that he ultimately decides to just go be awesome all by himself.
I also find the doctor, Hyun, to be very interesting in a mysterious, vaguely unsettling sort of way. My interest in him increased exponentially when we learned that he was responsible for getting Ho-won, Kang-ho, and Ki-taek their jobs at Hauline. Obviously he finds them fascinating for some reason, and he appears to want to help them, but I wonder what he meant when he said he wanted to create a “symbiosis” with them. What does Hyun stand to gain by having them work at his father’s company? Since we know that his father, the Hauline CEO, pits him against his brother career-wise, I suspect that Hyun is planning to use the trio to manipulate his father somehow, and I only hope that his idea won’t harm them in any way. He seems like a nice enough guy so far, but looks can be deceiving. It will be enlightening to watch what he does once he starts interacting with the three new hires — remember, Hyun knows who they are, but none of them have ever seen his face, they’ve only heard his voice. They probably won’t guess that they’re dealing with the doctor who saved their lives the night they all first met.
But… damn. I was really hoping that the identity of the terminally ill patient would remain a mystery for a while. I liked not knowing who the sick person was, though I suppose it’s not very realistic to expect three people to know they might be dying and not look into it pretty quickly. But I do appreciate that Radiant Office is unafraid to take us down uncomfortable paths for the sake of a great story. As I mentioned before, there’s always the chance that we’re all being trolled and that the terminally ill patient Hyun was referring to wasn’t one of the three of them. But as unpredictable as the show is turning out to be, I don’t think we’ll really know the truth for quite some time.
- Radiant Office: Episode 1
- Go Ah-sung livens up the company meeting in Radiant Office posters
- Detectives, spies, liars, and new hires in poster parade for spring dramas
- Butting heads with the boss in Radiant Office
- Battling for survival at the workplace in Radiant Office
- Everyone’s desperate to work in MBC’s Radiant Office
- Go Ah-sung’s part-time blues in Radiant Office
- MBC’s Radiant Office fills its rank and file employees
- Ha Suk-jin considers a romance with Go Ah-sung in Radiant Office
- Go Ah-sung in talks to headline new MBC office drama