Radiant Office: Episode 12
With every conflict at Hauline seemingly coming to a head at once, it’s hard for the employees to know who to align with or where to promise their loyalty. Even the smallest of decisions could have lasting, permanent consequences. Woo-jin struggles to right the wrongs of the current administration and keep Ho-won safe at the same time, but he may be fighting a losing battle.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Ho-won repays Hyun for the hospital bills he covered, then informs him that she’s planning to sue him for defamation of character and violation of medical law. She says that writing a book about her and her friends without their consent is against the law, and though he doesn’t seem too concerned, Hyun asks about a possible settlement.
Ho-won thinks a settlement sounds just dandy, but she doesn’t want his money. She tells Hyun to have the company formally review her, Ki-taek, and Kang-do’s job performances fairly as originally planned, and she’ll forget the lawsuit. To his credit, Hyun actually looks impressed at her initiative.
Over a snack on her way back to work, Ho-won thinks about the line from the movie Thelma and Louise: “I don’t remember ever feeling this awake.” Now that she’s not haunted by death, she realizes that her drive is coming from inside, and everything feels different in a good way.
Woo-jin calls a meeting of the marketing team, where they discuss importing furniture directly from Italy and cutting out the middleman agency. He’s his usual serious self until the meeting concludes, when he can’t help but smile at Ho-won’s newfound enthusiasm. Even Ji-na and Ki-taek are in good moods as they exchange cute little grins.
Woo-jin takes his decision to cut out the import middleman to CEO Han, where of course he meets opposition with Manager Park. Woo-jin asks for three days to prove it’s a good idea before leaving, and of course CEO Han and Manager Park are furious because they have a shady deal with the agency. They’re afraid Woo-jin will discover it, and CEO Han makes it clear that if that happens, he’ll make sure Manager Park takes the fall alone.
Manager Park expresses his concerns to Suk-kyung, worried that Woo-jin senses that they’ve set out bait for him. Suk-kyung assures him that Woo-jin won’t make a move without proof and that she’s prepared everything perfectly.
Woo-jin is indeed onto them, though Gu-dong wonders if he’s being too obvious about it. But Woo-jin is confident in his plan to shake things up until Manager Park grows nervous and makes a mistake.
After his discussion with Ho-won, Hyun had called Manager Park to ask about the temporary employees’ evaluations. Now Manager Park tells them that they’ll be evaluated for the full-time position as planned. Woo-jin wanders out and learns of the news, and when Ho-won circles her arms over her head in celebration, he shoots her the cutest shy thumbs-up you’ve ever seen.
Ho-won, Ki-taek, and Kang-ho celebrate that night over chicken and beer at the boys’ place. Ki-taek wonders what changed Manager Park’s mind, but Ho-won just says that maybe Woo-jin helped. They briefly consider inviting him over, but they know he’ll decline, and Ho-won does a dead-on impression of him refusing, ha.
Instead, they send Woo-jin a chicken delivery, then Ho-won texts him so he’ll know it’s a gift. Awww, he pouts because he has to eat it alone. He starts several replies but deletes them all, eventually settling on a simple, “Thank you.”
The boys notice Ho-won checking her phone, though she denies waiting for a message. When it comes, there’s a typo which makes it looks like Woo-jin is calling Ho-won a chicken, and he quickly follows it up with an adorably awkward explanation and correction.
Ho-won is so charmed that she has a giggle fit and collapses. The guys guess that she must be dating, and her halfhearted denial doesn’t convince them one bit.
At work the following day, Woo-jin takes some concerns about the import agency to CEO Han, who impatiently brushes them off. He refuses to consider getting rid of the agency and tells Woo-jin to just concentrate on selling the product once it arrives.
Woo-jin slams out of CEO Han’s office, and once he’s gone, Ho-won pops up from her hiding place under secretary Kkot-bi’s desk. She learns that the bosses are fighting about the import agency, but Kkot-bi advises her to worry about herself right now.
Kkot-bi hands over a list of the criteria the company looks for when evaluating temps for permanent hire. Ho-won checks the list to see how she measures up, but every requirement reminds her of a time when she did the exact opposite in spectacular fashion. She scores negative fifteen points, yikes.
Manager Park visits Chairman Seo in the hospital with Hyun, where they’re both surprised to see CEO Han show up with a huge gift basket. Manager Park rolls his eyes at CEO Han fawning over the chairman, but Hyun doesn’t seem that impressed anyway. CEO Han sneers at Manager Park for coming empty-handed, which is perfect timing for Suk-kyung to arrive with an even bigger gift basket, hee.
When they get back to the office, CEO Han tells Manager Park that Woo-jin came to him with concerns about the import agency’s finances. Suk-kyung tells him that everything is in order, but he warns them not to underestimate Woo-jin.
After CEO Han leaves, Manager Park grins, excited that Woo-jin took the bait. He’s looking forward to getting rid of Woo-jin and CEO Han in one fell swoop. He anticipates Hyun taking over the chairman’s job, while he has his eye on CEO Han’s job, and Suk-kyung—… but he doesn’t finish the thought.
Woo-jin works late attempting to pin down the discrepancies in the import agency’s financial statement, refusing to send them the advance payment CEO Han ordered until he does. Ho-won pokes her head into his office to invite him to play late night snack roulette with them, and at first he grumps that he’s not interested.
Then Woo-jin sees Ho-won’s sad little face and barks that he’ll take number five. (Ha, he’s totally whipped and they aren’t even dating… yet.) He drifts out just as the game is down to him and Ho-won, and the loser has to pay for a snack run. Of course, Woo-jin loses, and Ho-won celebrates.
Ji-na insists on taking Ki-taek with her to buy snacks, and on the way, she comments about how warm it is now and how cold it was on the day they broke up. She admits that she almost cried when Ki-taek gave her his scarf.
Steeling himself, Ki-taek tells Ji-na that he doesn’t think they should get back together right now. He doesn’t have much of a future at the moment, but he says that he wants any woman he dates to at least have hope for a good future with him.
Ji-na insists that he does give her hope — hope that he loves her more than anyone in the world and will always be on her side. But Ki-taek says that he’s learned that kind of hope isn’t enough. Ji-na actually gets angry that he’s not lying to get her back like most men would do in this situation.
Ki-taek promises Ji-na that if he gets the permanent job at Hauline and Ji-na is still waiting for him, then they’ll discuss reconciling. Ji-na says that she’ll wait for him, and they both smile.
Woo-jin catches Ho-won moping over the list of requirements for permanent hire, and he reads the list and quips that she should just give up, hee. But he says they aren’t following that list, which has Ho-won wilting in relief.
Woo-jin asks if she really thinks the new criteria will be any better for her after all the trouble she’s caused. Luckily she knows he’s not serious, since he can’t hide his mischievous grin. Ho-won shows Ki-taek and Kang-ho the list just in case, and they all agree not to fight over the job.
The next morning, Ho-won finds herself alone in an elevator with Hyun. He eyes the coffees in her hands and criticizes the assistant managers for sending her on such menial tasks, but she cheekily retorts that at least the assistant managers are honest people.
Hyun says that she’ll be a permanent hire in no time, and even offers to make that happen if she wants. Ho-won refuses the offer and tells him not to worry about her. She adds that being the chairman’s son must not be as good as she thought, since nobody wanted to get into the elevator with him. Ouch.
Manager Park bursts into Woo-jin’s office hollering that the import company is accusing Hauline of violating their contract because they haven’t been paid. He warns Woo-jin that if they get sued, he’ll be on the hook for all of the legal fees.
Manager Park makes it back to his office before collapsing, exhausted but satisfied with his little performance. He’s pleased that Woo-jin seems to have fallen for their trap, gleefully looking forward to both Woo-jin and CEO Han being fired soon.
Woo-jin ups the ante by requesting a business trip to Italy to check out the import agency’s finances in person. CEO Han refuses, telling Woo-jin to stop arguing and to just go along with the way things are. Woo-jin reports back to Gu-dong that CEO Han responded just as he expected.
By now they’ve figured out that Manager Park is intentionally prodding Woo-jin to stir things up with CEO Han. But Gu-dong still urges Woo-jin to let the matter of the import agency drop, believing that they have enough evidence of corruption already.
When Woo-jin worries that it’s not enough, Gu-dong presents him with his copy of the email that Ho-won accidentally sent to the whole company. In it, Ho-won had talked about seeing Manager Park taking bribes, making her the sole witness to Park’s crooked dealings. Woo-jin looks nervous about asking Ho-won to testify.
He takes Ho-won to dinner that night, where she proudly tells him that she went head-to-head with Hyun. He’s suitably impressed when Ho-won adds that she’s not afraid of anything after that. He’s cute when he says that that makes him scared for her.
As they walk home, they make small talk about company outings, and Ho-won decides they should plan a hiking trip. But then she remembers from the volunteer weekend that most people don’t like to do things with colleagues in their free time, so Woo-jin casually says they can always go alone. (Is he asking her on a date? Because that sounds like a date.)
Ho-won tells Woo-jin that now would be a good time if he’s got anything he wants to say to her, but he just asks if she has any plans for her assessment for the permanent job. She admits that her self-administered negative score on the previous year’s assessment makes her nervous. Woo-jin laughs at that, then hustles them along anxiously when he hears a kitten meow nearby. PFFT.
Gu-dong calls Woo-jin later that night to see if he asked Ho-won to testify. Woo-jin says that he thinks they should go with the evidence they already have, feeling uneasy about drawing people’s attention to Ho-won’s involvement in the controversy just when she’s hoping to be hired.
When Gu-dong finally leaves the office, he runs into Manager Park on his way back in despite the late hour. Manager Park asks if he’s adjusting to working in the home office, and Gu-dong says coldly that it’s not any harder, just nastier.
He asks if Manager Park is confident in his success after having backstabbed his colleagues to get where he is. Manager Park tells Gu-dong to watch his mouth, and Gu-dong instantly becomes affable and friendly again, wishing Manager Park a good night and leaving with a cheeky little wink.
Up in the office, Manager Park finds Gu-dong’s desk light still on, and when he goes to turn it off, he sees a copy of Ho-won’s email on the desk. He calls the owner of the restaurant where Ho-won witnessed him taking the bribe, and the owner tells him that someone came by recently to ask about that night.
Ho-won shows up at work early the next morning to tell Woo-jin that Gu-dong asked her about testifying before they had dinner last night, and that she’s already decided to do it. Knowing that Woo-jin is feeling conflicted about this, she says that she believes he always makes the right decisions.
But Woo-jin tells her not to get involved and to just concentrate on getting hired on permanently. He goes to his office to stew over Ho-won’s stubbornness, and Gu-dong comes to tell him that he overheard their conversation.
Woo-jin snaps at Gu-dong for talking to Ho-won without asking him first, but Gu-dong argues that he knew Woo-jin wouldn’t broach the subject with her. Woo-jin says that he still doesn’t want to have her testify, so Gu-dong asks why he’s so upset.
Woo-jin fumbles for an explanation, simultaneously insisting that he’s not upset while wondering why he’s so upset. Gu-dong suddenly realizes what the problem is and gives Woo-jin a knowing smile. After he leaves, Woo-jin watches Ho-won at her desk, longing written all over his face.
Manager Park tells Suk-kyung that they’re in trouble because Woo-jin tricked them and is planning a counterattack. Before she can process this, Yong-jae runs in to breathlessly tell them to read the announcement on the company website.
Manager Park reads it, sees that CEO Han has been put on probation, and sits back with a relieved sigh. He thinks back to his visit with Hyun at the hospital, when he’d gotten on his knees to beg for mercy. Hyun had accepted his explanation that he never took bribes but only did what he was told, but he’d warned Manager Park that someone had to be held responsible.
When he hears the news of CEO Han’s probation, Woo-jin remarks sarcastically to Manager Park that the timing of this is awfully perfect. Feeling cocky, Manager Park tells Gu-dong (referring to his comment that the home office is a nasty place) to learn to enjoy the stink or he won’t last long.
In Woo-jin’s office, Gu-dong admits that he may have made a mistake because he wanted to teach Manager Park a lesson. He sighs that having the chairman’s son as a backer must have saved Manager Park from being punished alongside CEO Han. Woo-jin considers it a victory that they at least got rid of half of the corruption in the office, since he assumes that Manager Park can’t cause much trouble by himself.
CEO Han calls Manager Park and Suk-kyung into his office, sure that Manager Park had something to do with his probation. He doesn’t believe Manager Park’s protestations of innocence, having been informed by the audit department that Manager Park turned him in. On his way out, he tells Suk-kyung to watch her back, because she’ll be betrayed once she loses her usefulness too.
Woo-jin takes Ho-won to one of the company stores, instructing her to act like a customer when a salesperson approaches them. While they wait, he says that they’ll be announcing the date of the assessments tomorrow, but he’s confused when she says that Ki-taek and Kang-ho will be excited.
She flops down on a bed and says that she doesn’t have much hope for herself. A salesperson arrives and assumes they’re an engaged couple shopping for wedding gifts, so Ho-won goes along with it as she was told. She growls at a befuddled Woo-jin to lie down when the salesperson suggests it, but they both pop up nervously when she asks for their wedding date.
Ho-won turns to Woo-jin, cooing at him and calling him “Oppa,” which shorts his brain out for a second. Then she does it again just to watch him squirm, hee.
They all stay late again, unwilling to go home while Manager Park is still at work. They’re all there to witness CEO Han come roaring in disheveled, furious, and screaming about being fired. Manager Park implores him to leave with dignity, which CEO Han finds ironic considering that it was Manager Park who got him fired through underhanded tactics.
He bellows at them all to witness their own future, then he bursts into tears, wailing that he gave his life to this company. Woo-jin holds him up and comforts him, and CEO Han says that he used to be just like him. He screams that he didn’t do anything wrong, and Woo-jin has to practically drag him out.
In the break room, Kang-ho wonders what it feels like to be fired after working at the same company for thirty years. Ki-taek thinks it must feel like being dumped by a person you dearly love.
They head home to find Kang-ho’s mother waiting to talk to him, so Ki-taek leaves them alone. Mom looks around disapprovingly, clucking that Kang-ho has never suffered before and must appreciate her more after living in this dump. She snaps that she can’t hold her head up in front of her friends because of him, seeming not to have changed at all.
But then she softens and asks if he’s eating, and she hands Kang-ho an envelope with some emergency money. She says she’s still working on his father, then she asks about the upcoming assessment, which she heard about from Jae-min. She tells Kang-ho to do whatever he can to get that job and come home.
When the day of the assessment rolls around, Ji-na passes out the list of evaluation criteria to the three candidates, and Yong-jae can’t resist the opportunity for some mean-spirited teasing. They notice that the CEO’s vote counts for half of the decision, but with CEO Han gone, they don’t know if that position will be taken by Manager Park or Woo-jin.
Woo-jin comes out to call a marketing team meeting, but they’re interrupted by Hyun’s unexpected arrival. He says that he’s here to personally announce the person who will take over CEO Han’s job — himself.
Well, that’s going to throw a wrench into things, though I have no doubt that that’s exactly Hyun’s intent. By appointing himself to CEO Han’s vacant position, he’s shaking up everything that Manager Park so carefully planned, and Manager Park isn’t going to like that one bit. Not to mention that it gives Hyun the power to choose which of the three temporary employees is hired on permanently. I fully expect Hyun to use that advantage to manipulate Ho-won and her friends into something unscrupulous by holding the job out as tantalizing bait, and I only hope that they’re able to stick to their principles and defy him.
I am so freaking proud of Ki-taek right now, I could burst. Ji-na breaking up with him may have been painful and almost literally fatal, but he’s grown up so much because of it. Before, he just wanted to be with her, and didn’t think about how she was shouldering all the financial weight and worry in the relationship. As much as it would be wonderful if it didn’t matter, many marriages break up because of money, so it’s not shallow for either of them to be concerned by Ki-taek’s lack of a career at his age (he’s over thirty). Ki-taek has learned from this experience that he has a lot of work to do on himself before he’s ready to jump back into a relationship with Ji-na or anyone else. It’s a huge deal to go from wanting to die over losing Ji-na to turning her down because Ki-taek knows he’s in no position right now to be taking on a relationship that could very well lead to marriage. I do hope they get back together eventually, but I have so much respect for Ki-taek for understanding that if he lets things go back to how they were, they will just break up again eventually.
I’m really pleased that the show has never taken the easy path of having Ho-won, Ki-taek, and Kang-ho fight over the permanent job that only one of them will get. Even though they’ve known from the start that two of them will lose out and one will win, they’ve never let that come between them — in fact, it’s never even occurred to them to act like rivals. They always support each other and work as a team. I don’t expect the show to pull the last-minute save and have them all get hired either, in large part because they teased that already then discarded the idea, so it feels like that solution has left the building.
What the show is doing, and it’s killing me, is giving each of the three friends a very compelling reason to want the job beyond just the regular paycheck. Ki-taek’s future with Ji-na depends on being hired and earning the confidence that he can be a good provider. Kang-ho’s relationship with his parents hinges on landing the job and proving to them that he’s not a failure. And Ho-won has just learned how to stand up for herself for no other reason than because she deserves good things, so losing the job could set her right back to square one. They all three have very good reasons for wanting to be hired on permanently, and I really don’t know which one will get it.
If I have to be honest, I’m mostly wishing for Ki-taek to get the job, because he needs it to feel confident enough to get back together with Ji-na. I genuinely believe that Kang-ho would be better off not getting the job and cutting ties with his parents. They still seem toxic despite his mother’s visit, which just felt like another reason to give Kang-ho a “succeed according to our criteria or else” ultimatum. Ho-won is already strong enough to go out and take on the world, and I have no doubt she could land another job without a problem now that she’s gotten some experience and self-confidence. But Ki-taek’s newfound conviction is that he needs to prove to himself that he’s a safe bet before asking a woman to put her trust in him. So if he doesn’t get the job, he could very well cut Ji-na loose for good. It wouldn’t be the end of the world, and they would both be okay, but after all they’ve been through, it would be a shame not to see them find a way back to each other.
- 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