Radiant Office: Episode 3
As hard as Ho-won worked to get her new job at Hauline, it’s nothing compared to what she’ll go through just to keep it. She can’t seem to get anything right, and when she tries to do the honorable thing, it backfires on her in a spectacular way. She’s swiftly learning that what works in the real world doesn’t always fly in business — and it’s still only her first week.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
After overhearing Kang-ho telling Ki-taek that they’re both healthy, thus it must be Ho-won who is terminally ill, Ho-won goes back to the office and writes out her resignation. Woo-jin is still there, and when he sees Ho-won’s resignation, he blows up at her for quitting after finally getting lucky enough to be hired.
He’s even more unimpressed when he smells the alcohol on her breath, so he tells her to just get out. Faced with his rejection yet again, Ho-won’s fighting spirit rises up, and she tells him that she loves working in this office.
Woo-jin retorts that if she loves it that much, she should try sticking around and working hard. Ho-won asks if he can’t make a place for her, but Woo-jin doesn’t see why he should when she’s under-qualified and inexperienced, not to mention thoughtless.
Crying now, Ho-won says that he can’t know that about her in just a few days. She says that she just wanted to be a good worker like him, and sobs that she doesn’t want to die like this.
Woo-jin accuses her of being in a hurry to get a job, and also for not appreciating it once she has it. Given that in his view, she worked for one day, got drunk, then tried to resign, Ho-won can’t really blame him for being angry.
She tells Woo-jin that coming to a job like this every day was a dream of hers, and that someone like him can’t understand how she’s lived or what she’s done to get this far. Ho-won adds that she just wanted to show him she was worthy, but now she can’t.
When she gets home, all Ho-won can think about is the doctor’s voice saying that (she thinks) she has only six months to live. Her mother calls, having heard about her new job, but Ho-won just yells at her for not even asking how she’s doing. She cries that she’s still her daughter, job or not, and hangs up.
She goes inside and starts pulling all of her job search information and research off her walls, ripping it to shreds. Books and tutorials on job hunting are thrown to the floor in her tantrum, then she takes it all outside to burn.
Heartbroken that she spent so many years wanting this job only to lose it this way, Ho-won screams into the sky. A sudden thunderstorm drenches her and puts out the fire, and Ho-won stands still in the cleansing downpour.
After sitting awake all night, Ho-won rouses when her alarm goes off and momentarily clutches her stomach in pain. Then she gets up, makes a decision, and heads to the office. She makes a scene when she breaks down crying on the bus, thinking again about the doctor’s words.
In the Hauline lobby, Ho-won spots a fifty-thousand won note (about 45 U.S. dollars), and though she wants to have too much pride to take it, she’s flat broke. As she grabs the money, she sees a trail of random items on the floor leading to a man who seems to be… well, humping the turnstile.
She takes the items to the man, who thanks her then goes back to what he was doing, thankfully only climbing over the turnstile. Ho-won lets him in with her pass, then follows as he grabs a huge box of stuff and goes right to her office. He turns out to be a transfer from the logistics department, GU-DONG, here to join the marketing team.
Both the sales and marketing teams have a meeting with CEO Han, who is furious that Hauline is at the bottom of the furniture industry. Woo-jin and Manager Park get into an argument over which department’s fault it is, until CEO Han shushes them and asks for ideas on how to fix it.
Woo-jin thinks the marketing team should participate in an upcoming product show, which will help them formulate a more aggressive marketing strategy. “Ice Witch” Suk-kyung points out that the design team, who are in charge of the show, won’t like the interference, but Woo-jin is confident that he can handle them.
In the bathroom, Ho-won rehearses her apology to Woo-jin, intending to leave with her dignity intact. But she forgets all about it when she gets back to the office and finds the new employee, OH JAE-MIN, introducing himself. Well, isn’t he just the perkiest thing you ever saw.
Ho-won and fellow short-timer Ki-taek take in Jae-min’s bright red ID badge, marking him as a permanent hire, while Kang-ho oddly hides behind a partition. Ji-na introduces Jae-min to everyone, and when he spots Kang-ho, he chirps a happy, “Hyung!” No wonder Kang-ho was hiding — Jae-min is his college hoobae, so it’s embarrassing that he landed the better job.
The head of design is a hard sell when Woo-jin tries to convince her to let marketing participate in the upcoming show. She snottily inquires as to whether he even knows anything about furniture, so he opens her design book and rattles off little-known facts about several furniture sets. Wow, she got told.
Ho-won sees her chance to turn in her resignation to Suk-kyung, but Suk-kyung has to leave and brushes her off. The same thing happens with Assistant Manager Lee Yong-jae, so Ho-won simply lays her resignation letter on Suk-kyung’s desk.
She goes to lunch with Ki-taek and Kang-ho, where she offers to treat them with the money she found this morning. She tells them she’s quitting, which shocks both boys.
Next, Ho-won visits helpful secretary LEE KKOT-BI, intending to tell her that she’s leaving the company. She notices the intricate snack schedule Kkot-bi has on her desk for the CEO’s breaks, and Kkot-bi says that’s the least of the things she has to keep track of.
She tells Ho-won about the argument between the sales and marketing teams, explaining that the sales team is jealous because things are better for the marketing team since Woo-jin joined. Ho-won realizes that her resignation will ruin Manager Park’s day even further.
She hauls butt to her office to take back her resignation letter, but she’s seconds too late. Suk-kyung picks it up, along with a pile of other papers, to take to Woo-jin’s office.
Ho-won enlists Ki-taek and Kang-ho’s help to get it back, but Woo-jin’s holed up in his office, so they need to find a way to make him leave. Ho-won takes him an entire tray of drinks, hoping they’ll make him need to use the restroom, ha. Woo-jin stares at her like she’s gone bananas as she loads his desk up with drink bottles, so she says that they’re an apology for her behavior yesterday.
Hiding his amusement, Woo-jin asks if she’s submitted her resignation yet. She says she hasn’t before standing there awkwardly, hoping for an opening to snatch the letter off his desk. But Woo-jin kicks her out, and Ho-won loses her chance.
Since their desks face each other, Ki-taek is forced to watch as his ex-girlfriend Ji-na teaches adorable newbie Jae-min how to use the company email. Ho-won motions to him to go see if Woo-jin is drinking the drinks, and Ki-taek excitedly motions back that he’s had several.
Elated, Ho-won makes a big “O” with her arms at Ki-taek. Ji-na glares at her, and Ho-won turns the “O” into an arm-heart, hee. Suk-kyung tells Ho-won and Kang-ho to go home for the day, but Ho-won has to get that resignation letter, so she volunteers to stay and help prepare for the showing.
At the end of the day, Ki-taek approaches Ji-na, offering her some dinner he picked up for her. She reminds him that they’re broken up, frustrated that she still has to see him every day. Ki-taek says that he knows they broke up, but he’s glad that he doesn’t have to wonder if she’s okay, because he can see for himself.
Over a convenience store dinner, Kang-ho tells Ho-won that Woo-jin still hasn’t left his office. Kang-ho starts to say something else, but she interrupts him to tell him about the rumor that one of them will be hired at the end of their three-month contract. Resigned to the fact that she probably won’t get her letter back, she tells him he has a fifty-fifty chance and asks him to let her know how it turns out.
She goes back to work, where she wilts to see that Woo-jin is still in his office. Ji-na drops a pile of flyers on Ho-won’s desk for her to put up around the building, so she sighs and gets back to work. She’s excited when she runs into Woo-jin on his way out for the night, even when he gripes at her for taping up a flyer crooked.
Ho-won works her way to the showroom, where the furniture has been set up in anticipation of the upcoming show. Captivated by all of the fine things, she strolls through the showroom, stopping in front of a beautiful bedroom set.
She imagines herself waking up in that bed, choosing an outfit from the closet, and getting ready for the day at the vanity. She can’t resist laying on the bed for just a minute, wishing she could own something this lovely.
The show gets underway the next morning, and Ki-taek and Kang-ho are assigned to hand out water bottles to the guests. They both watch as permanent hire Jae-min shadows Ji-na, both of them jealous of the new guy, though for different reasons.
They’re worried about Ho-won, who hasn’t shown up and isn’t answering her phone. Kang-ho fears that she got caught sneaking into Woo-jin’s office last night.
CEO Han calls Manager Park for a private meeting, unhappy with the new product sales numbers. He wants to know why their primary supplier, J.J. Furniture, was left off the new product list. Manager Park assures him that of course J.J. Furniture is on the list, though he fidgets nervously as he answers.
In the showroom, Ki-taek sees a little boy climbing on a shelf, and he rushes over to shield the child with his body as the shelves come crashing down. The boy’s mother yells at Ki-taek for not doing his job properly and for almost letting her son get injured.
Woo-jin takes the mother’s side, and he pulls Ki-taek and Kang-ho aside to yell at them for being careless. Kang-ho tries to explain that they prevented an accident, but Woo-jin screams in his face that there was an accident.
He accuses Ki-taek of making phone calls instead of paying attention (he was trying to reach Ho-won) and orders both of them to get lost. He stomps off, and Kang-ho quips that now he knows why Ho-won felt like driving a truck through the lobby of the last place Woo-jin worked, ha.
Back in the showroom, Ji-na and Jae-min show some customers the bedroom set that Ho-won admired. The customer sits to check out the mattress, then leaps up in horror. They pull the comforter back to find Ho-won, fast asleep.
Woo-jin takes a thorough dressing-down from CEO Han for embarrassing the company. He tries to downplay the disaster, saying that it was just an employee’s mistake and unrelated to the quality of the product. Manager Park interrupts to supposedly defend Woo-jin, though he immediately fusses at him for not preparing enough.
Everyone but Woo-jin heads out to a company dinner that evening, but Ji-na tells Ho-won not to come. Instead, she orders Ho-won to organize today’s surveys and email them to her before she goes home. Ho-won tries to ask her how to use the company email, but Ji-na just sails out.
Ho-won is still working when Woo-jin finally leaves his office. He flings her resignation letter at her, so Ho-won tries to apologize. Woo-jin isn’t interested in her explanations, and snaps that he hopes he doesn’t see her back here in the morning.
Ho-won stays late, writing out a long email to Ki-taek and Kang-ho, explaining why she’s leaving and sympathizing with their own scolding at Woo-jin’s hands. She sends the email, but instead of just sending it to her two friends, she accidentally sends it to everyone in the company. Oh nooo.
The next morning, as Ho-won packs to move out of her apartment again, she gets a call from Yong-jae. He doesn’t listen when she tries to tell him she doesn’t work at Hauline anymore and gives her an address where he needs her to run an errand.
His directions lead her to a hospital, where she’s supposed to find someone and get a signature from them. The floor Yong-jae sends her to is undergoing major reconstruction, and when she finds the person she’s here for, it turns out to be ER doctor Seo Hyun.
Hyun obviously knows who Ho-won is and looks delighted to see her, but she never saw his face that night. He doesn’t tell her that he’s the one who revived her, but just introduces himself as the owner of this hospital.
Ho-won is a bit twitterpated by Hyun’s good looks, but she does the job she came to do and takes pictures of the office space while Hyun looks through the furniture catalog. He asks for Ho-won’s name before smiling at her, and they share a cute little moment. Hyun asks if she’s new at Hauline, and Ho-won starts to tell him that she’s not staying, but Yong-jae calls and orders her to the office immediately.
Woo-jin arrives at the office to find Manager Park throwing a tantrum, furious at the things Ho-won mentioned about him in her email. Woo-jin reads the email, and he laughs at Ho-won’s sleepy ramblings about how she’d never been in a bed that nice.
The email mentions Manager Park forcing Ho-won to drink more than she wanted on her first day, and that the subcontractor paid for their dinner. Woo-jin gets an idea and makes a call to the IT department.
Manager Park paces his office nervously, knowing that he could get in huge trouble for what Ho-won revealed regarding his activities the other night. Woo-jin smirks in Manager Park’s direction as he promises to send a certain document to the IT guy, and seconds later, Ho-won’s email is deleted from the entire server.
But CEO Han already saw the email, so he calls Manager Park, Woo-jin, Suk-kyung, and Ho-won into his office to discuss its contents. Manager Park’s biggest sin is taking bribes from the subcontractor, but he stammers in outraged denial when Woo-jin calls for him to be fired. Manager Park orders Ho-won to tell the “truth,” but he insults her several times in the process, getting her hackles up.
So she does tell the truth, the real truth, and she brings Kang-ho in to back her up since he was also there. Ha, the theme music from CSI plays as Ho-won is labeled as The Whistle-blower, Suk-kyung as The First Witness, Kang-ho as The Second Witness, and Manager Park as The Suspect.
Ho-won tells CEO Han (The Judge) that not only did the subcontractor pay for their dinner, he also gave Manager Park a large amount of cash. Manager Park protests his innocence, so Ho-won turns to Kang-ho and begs him to tell them what he saw. Kang-ho wrings his hands and makes several false starts, scared to tell the truth and risk his job.
Out in the office, Yong-jae frets about what might be happening in the meeting. Ji-na snaps that everyone knows the sales team takes bribes, mostly because of Yong-jae’s big mouth.
Suk-kyung re-enters the office, followed by Ho-won and Kang-ho. We see that Kang-ho chickened out and denied seeing Manager Park taking a bribe. He’d added that Ho-won was very drunk that night, implying that she didn’t know what was really happening. Oh, you traitorous coward.
Ho-won cleans out her desk, asking Kang-ho why he had to lie that way, and at least he has the grace to look guilty. Ho-won apologizes to Suk-kyung, and Suk-kyung apologizes in turn for not being able to tell the truth. She tells Ho-won that what matters most in business is the outcome.
Ho-won finds herself in the elevator with a trio of employees from another floor, who gossip cruelly about her email. They’re very insulting towards temporary workers, saying that this kind of thing is why temps can’t get a permanent job.
The elevator jerks to a stop, and Ho-won fantasizes that she’s saying what she really thinks. Her alter ego yells that temporary employees are still employees, and that she made an honest mistake because nobody bothered teaching her how to do things like send emails properly, because she’s just a temp.
Of course it’s all in her head, and the elevator is soon running again. But then one of the workers jokes that the elevator must be a temp, and Ho-won has had it. She tells the workers that she’s the temp who sent that email, and screams, “I’m really going to die!”
She heads back up to the office crying angry tears, and marches to the middle of the room. She throws her belongings and purse on the floor and announces, “I can’t quit like this!”
Good girl! I’ve been waiting for Ho-won to reach her breaking point — not the one where she gives up, but the one where she fights back. She truly has nothing to lose at this point, because she’s already lost her job and she thinks she has only months to live. She knows she’s right about seeing Manager Park taking bribes, and she knows that everyone else knows she’s right, and I can’t wait to see her kick some ass and take some names.
Generally, office dramas aren’t my thing, but there’s just something about Radiant Office that keeps me wanting to hang in to see what happens next. It’s not that the show offers anything new, really, or that we can’t predict exactly what will happen next. The show isn’t going to break any new ground, but it’s the real, down-to-earth characters that speak to me, with their small dreams and simple hopes. I find myself just wanting to follow them as they carve out their little corner of the world.
Ho-won particularly touches my heart, since she’s such a simple girl who doesn’t ask much from life. She just wants a normal office job, and though it’s a small dream, it feels so big to her. She’s a smart girl who does the best she can, she just didn’t have any particular advantages growing up, so even her everyday wish to work in an office seems like a pipe dream. It must be so frustrating to watch others who are no smarter or harder-working than she is get what she wants so easily, and yet Ho-won can’t seem to land even the lowest of entry-level positions. No wonder she felt like killing herself — when your very best isn’t good enough no matter how many times you try, seeing your life stretching before you in an endless line of thankless part-time jobs with verbally abusive bosses would definitely make a person want to just end it all.
But that determination to get her small dream is also what keeps Ho-won alive and unwilling to back down on what she wants. She knows she’s not asking for too much, so even when she wanted to die, there was still a spark inside telling her not to give up until she gets it. Every time Ho-won wants to just lie down and surrender, her pride won’t let her buckle under the pressure. I think that finding a nemesis in Woo-jin, as much as she hates his guts, will give Ho-won a focus for her resolve to show him that he’s wrong about her. She’ll succeed, even if only to prove to Woo-jin that she’s worth more than he thinks she is.
As for Woo-jin, while I don’t approve of his selfish, bullying methods, I can see where he’s coming from in his anger at Ho-won and her cohorts when they create problems. Since he hired them (though remember, he was forced to choose them by the boss’s son, Hyun), everything they do reflects on him. And he’s new at Hauline too, trying to pull a failing company out of its recent slump and make a good showing of himself. Not only that, but this is the last bridge that Woo-jin hasn’t burned. There are no more companies that meet his criteria — he has to make this one work. So he must be frustrated beyond belief to have three under-qualified employees thrust onto him, with no idea why he has to take the blame for their mistakes.
But I think that seeing Ho-won stand up and fight for herself could very well change Woo-jin’s opinion of her for the better. He obviously respects those who respect themselves, and this is the first time he’s seen Ho-won demand the respect she deserves. Hopefully Woo-jin will see something in Ho-won worth believing in and start fighting with her, instead of against her.
- Radiant Office: Episode 2
- Radiant Office: Episode 1
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- Detectives, spies, liars, and new hires in poster parade for spring dramas
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- 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