Radiant Office: Episode 4
With only one more chance to prove that she deserves to keep this job, Ho-won faces her biggest challenge yet. She must learn how to stop being a victim of her circumstances and take control instead of just going along with the status quo. Help comes from the most unlikeliest of places, if Ho-won can only recognize that help when it presents itself.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Ho-won decides that she’s not going to accept her unfair firing, so she goes back to the office and tells Suk-kyung that she accidentally sent the email to the entire company because nobody bothered to teach her how to do it correctly. She says that it’s not right that permanent employees are carefully taught while temps are ignored.
She insists that she can do a good job if they only bother to teach her. She says that she’s just started to realize that Hauline is a great company, but Yong-jae sneers that this “great company” doesn’t want her after she slandered her boss with a lie.
Ho-won smugly offers to prove that she wasn’t lying — all they have to do is check the restaurant’s CCTV cameras to see who paid for dinner that night. Yong-jae backpedals and tries a different attack, insisting that nobody in the office feels comfortable working with Ho-won now. Gu-dong, the new transfer, mildly says that he’s just fine working with her and proposes that they take a vote.
Both Ki-taek and Suk-kyung are okay with that idea, so Yong-jae is forced to agree, though he tells Ho-won that she must accept the result. Nobody else objects to the plan, and when Ho-won looks at Woo-jin again, he’s actually smiling, like he just can’t wait to watch her be humiliated.
Yong-jae has a mild panic attack, remembering that he also took a fat wad of cash from the supplier on the night of the dinner. He assesses the likelihood of which way each employee will vote and cheers up when he figures that only two of them will vote to keep Ho-won.
Slips of paper are handed out for everyone to write their vote on, but Ki-taek asks why the temps didn’t get a ballot. Ji-na sneers that temps don’t get a vote, but Suk-kyung argues that they work here, too. Surprisingly, Woo-jin agrees that Ki-taek and Kang-ho should get a say, but Ho-won is told that she can’t vote.
Ballots are cast, and Ji-na stands to count them. The first four votes are split evenly, but then the next two votes swing the tally in Ho-won’s favor (and ha, what do you want to bet that itty-bitty “o” is Kang-ho’s scaredy-cat vote?). Two more votes tie the score again, with one vote remaining.
And it’s a yes! But Manager Park no longer wants Ho-won on his sales team, so he tells Woo-jin to take her. Woo-jin refuses, so Manager Park offers to give him complete control over marketing new products. Woo-jin reminds him that he already has that authority, ha.
We see that Woo-jin has an ace up his sleeve — Gu-dong nabbed a hard copy of Ho-won’s email before it was deleted. He’d told Woo-jin that it’s good to know his enemy’s weakness and had told him to keep the email until the time is right to use it against Manager Park. Now Woo-in tells Manager Park that he’ll take Ho-won, but he wants something in return.
He goes out a few minutes later and announces that Ho-won and new permanent hire Jae-min will be switching teams. Jae-min and Ji-na both object, but Woo-jin pulls rank, and they have to accept the decision. Ki-taek sends Ho-won a congratulatory fist-pump, happy that they’re on the marketing team now.
Woo-jin pulls Ho-won into his office to ask how she pulled this off after getting in trouble with both general managers in one day. She says it’s because he discriminated against temp workers, and she repeats that she can do a good job if he just teaches her how. Woo-jin puts her on warning — one more mistake, and she’s out.
Ho-won asks him why he agreed to let her on his team when he dislikes her so much. Woo-jin says that even though she claims to have a future, he thinks her future will be meaningless, and he wants to see that.
Word of Ho-won’s success gets around the office, and secretary Kkot-bi corners Ki-taek in the break room to ask how she did it. She thinks it’s strange that Woo-jin would trade his permanent employee for a temp, then mutters that this wouldn’t have happened if Kang-ho hadn’t betrayed Ho-won.
Well, that little tidbit is news to Ki-taek. He flies into a furious rage and drags Kang-ho to the roof to confront him. Kang-ho says that he had no choice, and we see that on the night of the dinner, Yong-jae had “strongly advised” him to forget everything he saw at the restaurant.
Kang-ho says that he’d just have been fired too if he’d told the truth, but Ki-taek yells that he should have told the truth anyway. When Kang-ho scoffs that Ho-won is just a temp employee, Ki-taek grabs him by the collar, demanding to know how he could do that to her when he knew her situation.
Kang-ho shoves Ki-taek away, yelling that Ho-won doesn’t have many days left to work, anyway. Stunned, Ki-taek decks Kang-ho with a right hook. He says that although it may be true that Ho-won won’t be around long, he himself will never get the permanent job at the end of their contract because he lacks the qualifications, so the job is Kang-ho’s either way. Disgusted, Ki-taek leaves Kang-ho alone on the roof.
Calling a meeting of his new team, Woo-jin gives a depressing pep talk outlining how he’s the only knowledgeable member of the team. He gives them a responsibility chart for the new product launch, then instructs Ji-na to begin training Gu-dong in marketing.
Ji-na complains that she can’t possibly handle all of this work plus training someone. Ho-won volunteers to handle online marketing, but Woo-jin tells her and Ki-taek to just be support for the others.
Insulted, Ho-won asks how he knows what she’s capable of when he won’t give her any tasks. Woo-jin angrily tells her to give it a try then, and she imagines him throwing his pen at her, and her catching it with her upper lip. HA.
Curious to know who cast the fifth vote to keep Ho-won, Yong-jae waves Jae-min aside to get some intel. Jae-min voted no, so Yong-jae approaches Ji-na next. Her strident response proves that she also voted no.
Ki-taek and Ho-won are also curious about who voted to keep her. They know that Ki-taek, Gu-dong, and Suk-kyung voted for her, and guess that Kang-ho did as well. Ki-taek is positive the fifth vote wasn’t Ji-na, but both Manager Park and Woo-jin hate Ho-won, so it remains a mystery.
Ho-won is willing to go on not knowing, because regardless, she has the job she’s always dreamed about. Ki-taek tries to tell her that he and Kang-ho have gotten clean bills of health, but Ho-won stops him to say that she already knows.
Ki-taek offers Ho-won money to get a physical, but she says that in her whole life, she’s never gotten the results she wanted in any situation. She anticipates a bad result since it’s the opposite of what she wants, and says that knowing for sure would just kill any hope she has left.
In a meeting with Manager Park and Woo-jin the next day, CEO Han complains about Woo-jin’s methods, particularly his request to replace their outsourced online marketing company, K Communications. Woo-jin explains that it’s not cost-effective, and that the company is no longer doing a good enough job.
When Ji-na brings Woo-jin the new online marketing contract she drafted for K Communications, she can’t answer any of Woo-jin’s questions (such as why their fees increase by ten percent every year) except to say that that’s how they’ve always done it. He yells at her for just going along with their terms without knowing why they exist and refuses to accept the contract.
Ji-na expertly turns on the waterworks, whining that she’s sooo busy and sooo exhausted, and complains that Ho-won isn’t much help. She leaves his office, immediately turns off the tears, and attacks Ho-won for just copying her report from last year.
Ho-won goes into research mode, looking into the online marketing records of previous years. She takes her findings to Woo-jin, telling him that K Communications has been doing the exact same things for years with no changes or improvements. But Woo-jin isn’t impressed with just data — he tells Ho-won that if she thinks the subcontractor is suspicious, it’s her responsibility to find a solution.
So she buys a variety pack of energy drinks, deliberately going to the store where she used to work so her old boss can see that she has a fancy office job now. But all that bravado deflates when she gets to the K Communications office only to be practically ignored. When someone finally sits down to talk to her, he’s rude and dismissive when she asks to see the files on the work they do for Hauline.
He laughs in her face when he finds out she’s a temp, and says he’ll email the files to her. Attempting to reclaim her power, Ho-won tells him that Hauline isn’t happy with their work and that there could be a problem if he doesn’t comply, but he just blows her off.
Yong-jae sends Ho-won to Hyun’s hospital again, this time to deliver flowers. Ho-won finds Hyun’s office empty, so she lingers to get a better look at a human body model. Hyun sneaks close to greet her, scaring her into a wild flail, and she tilts off-balance.
Ho-won’s fall knocks the flowers off his desk, but Hyun catches her in his arms before she crashes to the floor. It takes Ho-won a minute to regain her composure after being so close to his pretty face, then Hyun gently bandages her hand where it was cut by the flowerpot.
Hyun teases that he won’t charge her for the bandaging if she doesn’t ask for compensation, but all Ho-won wants is for him to keep this a secret from Manager Park. He asks if everything is okay, but just as she’s about to confide in him, he interrupts her. He says that his hospital treats Hauline employees for free, so she confesses that she’s only a temp.
Hyun explains that Hauline wants healthy employees, so they pay the bills and get to see any medical test results. Ho-won insists that she’s very healthy, so Hyun sighs dramatically and says she’ll have to buy him a meal instead.
Woo-jin is annoyed that CEO Han hasn’t read his online marketing proposal, which he can see on the company website. He discusses things with Gu-dong, who informs him that K Communications is run by CEO Han’s nephew.
Woo-jin hates nepotism more than anything, so he decides that they definitely won’t be using that company anymore. Gu-dong tells him that he can’t fire them without a reason, but they refuse to release their work-related documents — and even if they did, they could very well falsify the information.
Ho-won comes to report to Woo-jin what he already knows: The subcontractor wouldn’t give her their documents. She’s indignant that they treated her rudely because she’s a temp, but Woo-jin says that she can’t keep using that as an excuse before telling her to quit if she can’t do the job.
Ho-won complains to Ki-taek in the cafeteria, telling him that the subcontractors won’t talk to a temp employee. As they work their way through the line, one of the servers seems familiar to Ho-won over her face mask — is that Kkot-bi? Whoever it is, she switches places with another server when Ho-won isn’t looking, leading Ho-won to think that she imagined it.
At home that night, Kang-ho overhears his mother calling her friends, bragging about how her son is the new “top marketing employee” at a furniture company. (He’s been lying to her about the job, hasn’t he.) He goes to his room and flops on the bed, beating up his mattress in frustration.
When Ho-won arrives home, she begs for her roommate’s dinner leftovers, and Hyo-ri hands them over like this happens all the time. Hyo-ri asks about Ho-won’s job, saying that a three-month contract is a long one, but Ho-won blows up, yelling that for her, three months is a very short amount of time.
She sinks back to the floor, explaining that she overreacted because she’s been keeping things bottled up for too long. She tells Hyo-ri that the subcontractor looked down on her for being a temp, so Hyo-ri orders her to go back in there and demand respect.
Woo-jin refuses to leave the office until CEO Han signs off on his subcontractor proposal. CEO Han admits that his nephew owns the online marketing firm and refuses to sign the papers that will effectively fire them.
The standoff continues the next day, with Woo-jin emailing the report to CEO Han, and CEO Han rejecting it. They do this over and over, until they’re both snarling at their computers and spamming Send-Reject-Send-Reject several times a second, hee.
CEO Han asks Manager Park who hired Woo-jin, and Manager Park figures he must be related to someone to be this fearless. Since the company chairman’s family name is also Seo, they wonder if Woo-jin is related to the big boss.
Woo-jin finds an arrogant stranger swaggering around the office, who turns out to be Dae-man, CEO Han’s nephew and the owner of the online marketing company. He’s heard that Woo-jin is trying to cancel their contract with Hauline, but Woo-jin has no interest in discussing it with this jerk, so he tells him to scram.
Woo-jin tries to make a smooth exit, but Dae-man suddenly recognizes him, which brings back some bad memories. They used to work together at the same company, and Woo-jin isn’t shy about the fact that Dae-man was hired on his connections.
A flashback shows that when they were first hired, the best candidate was allowed to choose his department. As the acknowledged best candidate, Woo-jin expected to be put on the marketing team as he requested. But to Woo-jin’s shock, Dae-man was given his coveted marketing job.
Dae-man lays it on thick to his uncle, saying that he feels like their companies are practically one entity. But Woo-jin calmly says that he doesn’t want to work with a company that doesn’t bring in a penny of profit, and brazenly informs CEO Han that this kind of nepotistic outsourcing is illegal.
Ho-won “borrows” an outfit while Hyo-ri sleeps, and she and Ki-taek head to the K Communications building. They stroll in like a pair of badasses, and Ki-taek pulls up a chair for Ho-won before going to stand next to the rude little manager who dismissed her before. Heh, they look like low-level thugs.
Ho-won pulls the Do you know who I am? act, and Ki-taek whispers to the manager that she’s the Hauline chairman’s crazy niece. Ho-won tells the manager haughtily that he made a big mistake by treating her rudely, while Ki-taek hilariously acts like he’s too terrified to even look at her.
Ho-won suddenly rushes at the manager, who hits his knees, quaking with fear. Ki-taek gives her a thumbs-up, and she goes back to Hauline with the needed documents in hand.
She works late, but when she presents the contract to Woo-jin, he’s confused, because it’s exactly the same as before. Ho-won tells him that this document is what Ji-na told her to turn in as is, and that she obeyed because Ji-na is her supervisor.
But she pulls out a second folder, explaining that as the person in charge of this project, these are her own findings. She discovered that Dae-man’s company actually out-outsources Hauline’s work to a smaller company, Nanda Communications. Woo-jin doesn’t offer her any compliments, but he looks a bit impressed.
He presents his proposal to the board of directors, explaining how hiring new outsource companies can strengthen their bottom line. He addresses the problem of hiring companies whose owners have relatives working for Hauline, and though he doesn’t name anyone specific, CEO Han sputters indignantly.
Woo-jin must have convinced the board, because the first thing he does after the presentation is to have Ho-won contact Nanda Communications to arrange a meeting. Ji-na actually congratulates Ho-won on a job well done, which is kind of sweet.
Ho-won answers a phone call from Kang-ho’s mother, who hasn’t been able to reach her son all day. He’s not at his desk either, so Ho-won tells her that he’s on a short business trip.
Gu-dong treats the marketing team to dinner to celebrate, but Woo-jin wants to split the bill. Then he sees Ho-won’s happy face at the thought of a free meal and decides that he’ll pay after all.
Ho-won struggles with the decision of who to hand a set of cutlery to first between Woo-jin or Gu-dong (this is a custom of respect – it’s a conundrum because Woo-jin is her boss, but Gu-dong is the elder at the table). Woo-jin settles the question for her by getting out his own cutlery. When the waitress brings the side dishes, Ho-won stands to help, but then her former-waitress muscle memory kicks in, and she nearly gets all the way to the kitchen before Ki-taek calls her back. HA.
Yong-jae, Jae-min, and Kang-ho return to the office late with a lot of work left to do. Yong-jae pawns it all off on Kang-ho while he and Jae-min head home, and Kang-ho just meekly takes it. He sees a note on his desk from Ho-won telling him that his mother called while cheerfully adding that he worked hard today.
At dinner, Woo-jin suddenly realizes that he doesn’t remember seeing Ki-taek at the interviews. Ki-taek confesses that he didn’t actually interview because he was late, and that he thinks Manager Park hired him because he used to work for a furniture company that often dealt with Hauline. Okay, that’s definitely suspicious.
The next morning, Ki-taek sits Ho-won and Kang-ho down and tells them that it’s time for them to make up. Kang-ho offers Ho-won a sincere apology, and they shake hands. Ki-taek joins in a three-way handshake, and they toast to their renewed friendship with their coffee.
Woo-jin gets copies of Ho-won, Ki-taek, and Kang-ho’s resumes from Human Resources, curious as to why they were hired if it wasn’t because they did well in their interviews. He learns that they were handpicked by Manager Park, and his eyes widen in horror as he realizes that all three got their jobs through the thing he hates most — their connections.
I’m not sure that I agree with the logic of the way the Hauline office runs — Ho-won has already done several things that would get her rightfully fired, not the least of which is accusing her own boss of taking bribes. In the real world, no boss who was accused of such a thing (guilty or not) would go along with his office taking a vote on whether to keep that employee. I guess we just have to chalk it up to drama logic, even if it makes no sense. I have no problem doing that, because the show is otherwise fun and zippy with a pretty earnest heart at the center of it all, though I’m sure it will cause some more head-scratching moments in the future. Having a vote just seems like a cop-out though, when there are more plausible ways to have Ho-won be allowed to stay.
I can almost understand now why Kang-ho betrayed Ho-won the way he did, because he believes she’s terminally ill. So in his fear-filled mind, she won’t be around for long anyway. Obviously, lying about the bribes was just plain wrong, but Kang-ho wasn’t looking at the situation with a calm, rational state of mind. He’s under so much pressure from his mother that he was willing to die to escape her, and he’s lying to her that the job is permanent, so he’s probably desperate to make it true and escape her constant criticism. What Kang-ho doesn’t realize is that people like his mother never change — even if he gets the permanent job, she’ll just shift focus to some other way he’s disappointing her, and it will go on forever as long as he keeps trying to live up to her standards. The way to make it stop isn’t to comply with his mother’s wishes, but to stand up and tell her that he’s not going to take her abuse anymore. I’m not sure Kang-ho has that kind of strength in him, so I’m glad he has Ho-won and Ki-taek on his side again, because he’s going to need them. I’m very worried that he’s heading for another crisis.
On a positive note, I think I finally found something to like about Woo-jin in this episode. His abrasive attitude and mile-high ego still annoy me to no end, but he does seem to work as a pretty effective motivating force for Ho-won, even though I’m sure it’s unintentional on his part. Woo-jin seems to know exactly where Ho-won’s hot buttons are, and every time he pushes one it just makes her that much more determined to prove that she can do the job. He’s inadvertently teaching Ho-won about persistence, excellence, and personal responsibility by refusing to believe that she’s capable of any of those things. By going out of her comfort zone in order to show him that he’s wrong about her, Ho-won is also learning to take responsibility, think creatively, and push beyond what she thought were her limits. And I do believe that Woo-jin was the fifth vote to keep Ho-won, because as much as I think she irritates and frustrates him, there have been moments where I caught him looking at her with what seemed to be a grudging admiration. He may not think she’s capable of much, but I think that he respects her belief in herself.
I also respect that Woo-jin doesn’t just talk the talk, he also walks the walk. He may demand the best from his workers, but he expects it of himself as well, so he’s actually setting a good example if you can overlook his nasty personality. Woo-jin is unafraid to rock the boat if it’s what’s best for the company — for example, learning that the CEO’s nephew is the subcontractor he’s trying to fire didn’t even faze him, when most people would back down in that situation. He sticks to his conviction that letting this subcontractor go is what’s best for Hauline, and he’s willing to stand by that decision even in the face of strong opposition.
But the way Woo-jin treats people is still hurtful and unkind, and in a way, he can serve as both a mentor and a cautionary tale for Ho-won. You can see how her life experiences could turn her jaded and angry, just like Woo-jin has become, so that (assuming she’s not actually dying) while she might learn to be successful in business, she could easily slip into the bad habit of carrying that anger and disillusionment around with her, the same way Woo-jin does. I’d like to see Ho-won learn the positive things that Woo-jin has to teach, and hopefully her belief that she only has a short time left to live will keep her from giving in and becoming apathetic to the feelings of others. Hopefully they can learn from each other and become better people in the process.
- Radiant Office: Episode 3
- Radiant Office: Episode 2
- Radiant Office: Episode 1
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- 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