Radiant Office: Episode 5
Ho-won and the guys find themselves faced with a near-impossible challenge, and once again, their jobs depend on whether or not they’re successful. Luck seems to be on their side, but life has a way of throwing a wrench into one’s plans just when you think you’re coming out on top. Ho-won is starting to learn that nothing in life is fair, so if she wants to be successful in the time she has left, she’s going to have to stop placing blame and start taking responsibility.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Woo-jin is very unhappy to learn that Ho-won, Kang-ho, and Ki-taek didn’t get their jobs with Hauline on the strength of their experience or education, but because Manager Park specifically requested them. The HR employee takes offense to Woo-jin’s accusations of unfair hiring practices and snaps at him to take his complaints to Manager Park.
Manager Park storms into Woo-jin’s office later, incensed, having heard about Woo-jin’s dissatisfaction with his hiring decision. Woo-jin argues that he has every reason to ask why those three were hired… particularly Ki-taek, who didn’t even go to his interview.
Manager Park insists that connections had nothing to do with his decision, just his own intuition about them. Woo-jin says that he will manage his team based on his own beliefs, and he refuses to work with the three newcomers based on his disagreement with how they were hired.
So Manager Park brings everyone into the same room for a belated interview. Ho-won asks if they’re here because Woo-jin suspects them of something, but Manager Park says that in fact, he’s the one Woo-jin suspects. Woo-jin clarifies that he finds all of them suspicious.
Woo-jin says that he still hasn’t heard a satisfactory explanation as to why they were hired, especially Ki-taek. Ho-won insists that she doesn’t have any connections, so she’d assumed they were hired on standards outside of their resumes.
Woo-jin asks the three if they know that they’re eligible for permanent hire after their three month contracts end, only to tell them that that’s no longer the case. Ho-won asks what they can do to change his mind, then points out that it’s actually Manager Park’s responsibility to justify their right to be here.
Manager Park takes the problem to Hyun, who originally asked him to hire those particular applicants. Park complains about Woo-jin’s accusations of unfair hiring practices and mentions in the process that he’s planning to get rid of him when the sales and marketing teams merge.
But instead of offering advice, Hyun says that he’s disappointed in Manager Park for being unable to handle such a minor issue. His manner is very different than the sunny personality that he shows to Ho-won, since he’s dark and angry with Manager Park. He asks if the new hires are adjusting well, and while they talk, someone secretly snaps pictures of the two men.
In private, Ji-na asks Ki-taek why Woo-jin was asking questions about him. Ki-taek understands why Woo-jin is suspicious, since he didn’t even show up for his interview. He thinks Ji-na is too nervous about it, but she thinks he’s not nervous enough, afraid that Ki-taek will blab that they used to date.
Ki-taek decides that he’s the main reason Woo-jin disagrees with their hiring, so he tells Ho-won that he’ll handle it. Ji-na freaks out and runs to Woo-jin’s office, calling an emergency team meeting to delay Ki-taek from confronting him. During the meeting, she texts Ki-taek to keep his big mouth shut.
Manager Park and Woo-jin argue about whether online sales are necessary — Woo-jin thinks they’re needed to sell older inventory, but Manager Park wants to simply pressure their stores to sell more. Everyone else doodles and passes notes, and Ho-won has to poke Kang-ho to keep him from falling asleep.
Manager Park opens a window and a huge gust of wind blows everyone’s papers around the room. Yong-jae is mortified when his doodle page ends up on Manager Park’s face, and everyone sees that he was doing a childish love compatibility test, which only came to two percent, hee.
Disgusted, Manager Park abandons the meeting, so Woo-jin carries on. He announces that he wants to change suppliers for a cushion their home shopping channel gives away. But Ji-na says that while the company he wants, Modern Goods, offers a superior product, they’ve had conflicts with them in the past, so they won’t work with Hauline.
Woo-jin accuses Ji-na of just being too lazy to try, and at that moment, she gets a text from Ki-taek saying that he can’t keep quiet. So in retaliation, Ji-na volunteers the temp employees to secure a contract with Modern Goods.
Woo-jin decides that this would be an excellent way to gauge the trio’s skills, and he tells them that this will be their employment test: If they get the contract, they can keep their jobs. Meanwhile, Yong-jae doodles a compatibility test between Ho-won and Woo-jin, which calculates them as ninety-six percent compatible.
Ho-won, Kang-ho, and Ki-taek nervously go to Modern Goods, and though Ho-won is worried about the company’s reputation for being tough, Ki-taek is determined to make this happen. The company president seems friendly at first, but it’s all an act – he shoves them out the door, yelling that he tried to sell to Hauline once, but they humiliated him.
Ho-won tries the same tactic that worked with the mattress customer, whining that they’ll be in huge trouble if they don’t get this contract. But this time it doesn’t work, so Ki-taek decides to try a different angle.
The three pitch in to load a truck with orders, but the president says that nothing they do will change his mind. He hands Ki-taek some money to pay them for the work they did, and as he walks away, he doesn’t hear Ho-won trying to get his attention.
Gu-dong shows the pictures that were taken of Manager Park and Hyun to Woo-jin, informing him that the two have been meeting often. He says that hasn’t been able to discover who Hyun is yet, then adds that someone would like to talk to Woo-jin.
Woo-jin finds himself meeting Chairman Seo, the owner of Hauline, who is friendly, if a bit frail of health. Chairman Seo tells Woo-jin that he inherited Hauline from his father, and that early in his ownership, Gu-dong was hired at the factory.
Woo-jin mentions that he’s heard that Chairman Seo doesn’t manage the company anymore, and Chairman Seo compares it to raising a child — when it was younger and smaller he felt very close to it, but now that it’s grown, it no longer feels like his. He says that Hauline belongs to the customers and the employees who run it.
Woo-jin tells Chairman Seo that he’s not here to win the approval of his superiors and that he thinks of Hauline as a company whose owner doesn’t abuse his authority. He says that he hopes it’s a place where his hard work is recognized, and where his colleagues’ efforts are rewarded. Chairman Seo completely agrees, adding that Gu-dong can help Woo-jin.
Woo-jin goes back to Gu-dong, impressed by his powerful friend in Chairman Seo. Gu-dong says that with salaries being directly deposited into employee bank accounts these days, he feels sorry that Woo-jin will never know the feeling of being handed his pay in an envelope and feeling the security of holding it in his hand.
Gu-dong says that he wants to make Hauline like that again, then he calls Woo-jin a coward for running away every time a job gets uncomfortable instead of staying to try and fix the problem. Woo-jin doesn’t respond and just listens to Gu-dong’s challenge to stick around and help make Hauline into a place he can be proud of.
But when he’s alone later, Woo-jin says that he’s not running away, just avoiding the fire. But he admits — to himself at least — that Hauline is his last chance, and he has nowhere else to run.
Ho-won takes Ki-taek and Kang-ho to her old convenience store, and she tells the boss she never felt like he trusted her when she worked there. He says that he actually trusts her a lot, which cheers her up a bit.
She takes the drinks to Kang-ho and Ki-taek, and Ki-taek apologizes for getting them into this situation. Ho-won says that Woo-jin is suspicious of her too, and they wonder what to do now. Ki-taek decides they should show up at Modern Goods bright and early the next morning, and they vow not to give up.
Ki-taek stands to get them some real food, leaving his wallet in his chair. Ho-won picks it up and sees a picture of Ji-na, but she hides it again. Later, she sighs that Ki-taek is unlucky in love, then decides that at least he’s dated someone.
She sees a vision of Hyun on a mannequin winking at her from a store window and remembers that he asked her to buy him a meal. She nearly calls him, then chickens out, deciding that he probably didn’t mean it.
Instead, she stays up all night making kimbap for the president of Modern Goods, and Kang-go brings a bottle from his dad’s liquor collection. Unfortunately, the president throws their gifts back in their faces, still angry at how he was treated by Hauline in the past, and says that he already has more orders than he can fill. He tries to shove past them, and when Ho-won reaches out to beg him not to go, she accidentally tears his shirt halfway off his body, revealing several angry-looking marks on his chest.
The three go to the park, trying to think of another way to make the contract with Modern Goods happen. Ho-won apologizes, explaining that she got carried away because the president reminds her of her dad. Kang-ho wonders if they’ll have to find another company to supply the cushions.
Back at the office that evening, talk turns to Ji-na’s love life. Word is that she’s been dating the same guy forever, and Yong-jae asks if she’s getting married soon, since she said her boyfriend passed the civil service exam last year. Ki-taek stares at her, surprised, knowing full well that he never passed the exam and that Ji-na lied.
Ki-taek finds Ji-na at the bus stop later and says that he now understands that she didn’t want him calling her late when they were dating because she was exhausted from work. Ji-na refuses to apologize for lying to her coworkers, and Ki-taek apologizes for making her feel as though she had to lie in the first place.
The trio go to Woo-jin to ask for more time to secure the Modern Goods contract, but he stands firm on their timeline. Just as he’s declaring they aren’t eligible for rehire, Ho-won gets a call from the Modern Goods president.
He thanks her for her advice to see a doctor, because he learned he has cirrhosis — she literally saved his life. He says that he’ll sign a contract with Hauline and give them top priority for deliveries. Woo-jin just heads back to his office, but once there he grudgingly admits that the trio did a good job.
Ho-won explains to secretary Kkot-bi that she recognized the symptoms of cirrhosis in Modern Goods’ president because her own father suffers from it. Kkot-bi sighs that Woo-jin’s bad attitude gives him charm, but Ho-won disagrees, thinking he’s just plain evil.
Ho-won asks Ji-na to sign off on an order of one thousand cushions from Modern Goods, which Ji-na does without even looking at the contract. Kang-ho gets a call and heads out to have ice cream with an adorable little girl who tells him that her daddy moved out a few months ago.
When her mother arrives to pick her up, we see that it’s Suk-kyung, who apologizes to Kang-ho for having to take time out of the office to take care of her daughter. She sends him back to work, asking him not to tell any of their coworkers about this. He watches Suk-kyung for a moment, who’s warm and loving with her daughter, seeing no sign of the Ice Witch.
Ho-won is thrilled to see Hyun in the Hauline halls, here to drop off some employee health paperwork. He gives her a huge smile and asks about work and the other two new hires she mentioned. Ho-won says that he’d never believe how the three met, and he asks for the story, curious.
Woo-jin spots the two talking from down the hall and grumbles to see Ho-won all smiling and flirty. Then he recognizes Hyun from the pictures Gu-dong showed him, who Woo-jin suspects is a headhunter.
Woo-jin is still frowning when Ho-won returns to the office skipping and smiling. And as Hyun leaves the building, he calls someone about sending them a manuscript, asking when the book will be published.
When Modern Goods makes their first delivery to Hauline, Ji-na is horrified to learn that she signed off on one thousand cushions when she was only supposed to order one hundred. She whines to Ki-taek that Woo-jin already hates her and this will make it worse, so Ki-taek tells her to blame him for the mistake.
He goes to tell Woo-jin but Ho-won stops him, prepared to take the blame for ordering the wrong amount. Plus, she adds that Woo-jin is most suspicious of Ki-taek, and Ho-won wouldn’t be able to accept a full-time position even if it were offered to her.
She enters Woo-jin’s office, interrupting a conversation between him and Gu-dong, and explains that they ordered too many cushions. She says she’ll think of a way to fix this, but the simple idea of using the extra cushions in the next show isn’t good enough, so Woo-jin tells Ho-won that she’s fired.
He’d warned her this would happen if she made another mistake, and this is a pretty huge mistake. He tells Ho-won to leave right now, but she marvels that this seems so easy for him. She tells him that sometimes, people have reasons they can’t reveal, but he rightly argues that the company shouldn’t have to pay for her unsaid excuses.
Woo-jin says that Ho-won shouldn’t even be doing things she can’t explain and tells her to stand behind her own actions. He repeats that this was her last chance, so Ho-won goes to collect her things. After she leaves, Gu-dong asks Woo-jin if he thinks that Ho-won was hired unfairly.
Ki-taek and Kang-ho follow Ho-won out of the office, and Ki-taek says that he’ll tell Woo-jin about Ji-na erroneously signing off on the order. Ho-won refuses, explaining that she forgot the promise she made to Woo-jin when she joined the marketing team. She tells the guys that she wouldn’t have been with Hauline for long, anyway.
CEO Han is annoyed when Woo-jin’s home shopping show sale sells out, proving that his new ideas produce great results. But the marketing team is thrilled, having met all of their goals for this show.
Ho-won buys beer to share with her roommate Hyo-ri, though she doesn’t feel like talking about getting fired. Hyo-ri sets Ho-won up with a part-time housekeeping job, and Ho-won gasps when the place turns out to be a total pigsty.
She grumbles that the nitpicky list left by the homeowner reminds her of Woo-jin, then she gets to work. Of course, the place does belong to Woo-jin, and he’s impressed when he arrives home to find a spotless apartment and dinner simmering on the stove.
When Manager Park returns from his business trip, he’s furious to find that Woo-jin fired someone that he hired. Woo-jin points out that Manager Park dumped Ho-won onto his team, which made her his employee to fire as he likes.
Ho-won arrives at Woo-jin’s place to clean again and finds a note thanking her for the stew. With a smile, she sets to work doing laundry, then re-pots his half-dead plants in cute little cups. When Woo-jin sees this, he chuckles to himself that he wouldn’t worry about his employees if they worked as hard as this housekeeper.
The next day, Woo-jin gets a call from Modern Goods asking for the person in charge of the cushion order. Woo-jin tells them that Eun Ho-won was let go, but the caller says that the name on the order is Ha Ji-na. Woo-jin checks his copy of the order and sees that it’s true — Ji-na signed off on the incorrect order.
At Woo-jin’s house again, Ho-won lowers the blinds for the first time, and actually falls over when she sees the larger-than-life print of Woo-jin’s face on the fabric. HA, that’s hilarious. She tries to run out of there but Woo-jin comes home, so she hides in his closet.
She tries again to scuttle out when he goes to the restroom, but has to run back to the closet when he comes out. Woo-jin grabs a beer and wonders to himself why Ho-won would cover for Ji-na, then decides to call her. He hears Ho-won’s phone ringing in his bedroom, and creeps in to investigate (wielding a mop as a weapon, hee).
Woo-jin yells and flails around the room, then realizes that the intruder must be in the closet. He freaks out screaming when Ho-won slowly opens the closet door, then stares in shock when he sees her face.
I’m beginning to find Hyun both intriguing and a bit creepy, because I can’t figure out what his game is — he’s so mysterious, and he seems to be a different person every time we see him. He says he’s not interested in business, but he’s getting himself involved with Hauline at least to the point of pulling strings to get Ho-won, Kang-ho, and Ki-taek jobs, and I don’t know that I believe that his only business connection to Hauline is employee physicals. Until this episode I thought he got Ho-won and the boys their jobs because he felt bad for them, knowing that they all three tried to kill themselves over their inability to land respectable jobs. But the conversation with Manager Park worried me when Hyun went all dark and scary, and I can’t help but wonder what kind of pull he has over Manager Park. His demeanor was so dramatically different from the cheerful, friendly, joking face he shows to Ho-won, and I don’t know which is worse… that the dark Hyun may be the real man, or that both sides are really him. Actually, now that I think about it, the second option is a lot more frightening.
I’ve also wondered if Hyun and Woo-jin are related, maybe even brothers, as there have been some clues indicating there may be a connection. We heard Hyun talking to his father about how he wasn’t interested in competing with his business-minded brother, which does sound like it could describe Woo-jin. Plus, they have the same family name — not that that’s unusual, but it could be a clue. Even Manager Park has wondered if Woo-jin is hiding a connection to someone high-up at Hauline, which would explain his confidence. But then this episode made it obvious that Woo-jin doesn’t know either Chairman Seo or Hyun, which blows that theory out of the water. At the very least I’m assuming right now that Hyun is Chairman Seo’s son, since we’d been led to believe that’s the case and it explains Hyun’s pull at Hauline, and that Woo-jin isn’t.
Speaking of Woo-jin, I appreciated seeing Gu-dong call out his bad behavior like he did, especially his bad habit of escaping difficult situations and never even attempting to be a part of any solutions. And we know that Woo-jin has been telling himself that he just has high ideals, so I respect that when the truth was laid out for him, he didn’t argue or justify his actions, but he actually stayed and listened to what Gu-dong had to say. It takes a lot of courage to listen to someone tell you how you need to change, even if you don’t agree, and I didn’t expect Woo-jin to take Gu-dong’s constructive criticism so calmly. I don’t think he’s ready to admit to himself yet that his “quit when things get hard” attitude isn’t a virtue, but a severe character flaw, but at least he respects Gu-dong’s opinion enough to listen.
The show seems to be settling into an episodic rhythm, with each episode throwing the three new hires a challenge to prove their right to keep their jobs at Hauline. An episodic format can be entertaining as long as the thing they’re working for is different each time, but right now, it’s starting to stretch my ability to stay emotionally invested when every single challenge is their last, very last, no-really-we-mean-it-this-time absolute last chance to stay. If every episode is about the trio fighting for their jobs then it’s going to quickly lose its sense of urgency, because we’ll know that even if they fail, they’ll find a way to hang around anyway. I’ll honestly be fine if every episode is about them trying to accomplish something together by thinking creatively and relying on each other, so long as they aren’t always playing for the exact same stakes.
But Ho-won has been fired a couple of times now, both for very good reasons (for accusing her boss of taking bribes, and for costing the company a lot of money — even though Ji-na signed off on the order, it was Ho-won who wrote the contract incorrectly in the first place), so it’s getting hard to understand why Hauline would hire Ho-won back a third time. If she were fired for things that truly weren’t her fault, that would be one thing, and I would be cheering for her as she fights for justice. But that’s not the case, and her fighting spirit isn’t enough to make me believe that she deserves to be rehired again. She hasn’t even solved her work challenges with legitimate professional solutions, but by lying about her identity the first time, and blind luck the second time. I’m going to need the conflicts to be genuinely unfair, Ho-won’s work successes to be actually work-related, and the reasons for keeping her on more compelling than a popularity vote if the show wants to keep me emotionally on board with Ho-won’s struggle.
- Radiant Office: Episode 4
- Radiant Office: Episode 3
- Radiant Office: Episode 2
- 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