Radiant Office: Episode 14
The decision of who gets the permanent job is made, but the lucky pair can’t even be happy for themselves as they watch the unlucky loser deal with rejection yet again. It’s difficult to celebrate your own good fortune when you know that it comes at the expense of a good friend.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The employee evaluations are in, and it falls to Woo-jin to deliver the news of who will be offered the permanent job with Hauline. He surprises the office by telling them that two candidates have been chosen instead of only one, and he announces their names: Kang-ho, and Ho-won.
There’s a long moment of shock, as it hits everyone that not only have Kang-ho and Ho-won gotten the jobs, but Ki-taek has not. Ki-taek heroically keeps it together long enough to send his friends a brave smile and a thumbs up, but he leaves the office when he sees Ji-na’s disappointed expression.
Alone in his office, Woo-jin thinks about his conversation with Hyun just before making the announcement. Hyun had decided to hire the two with the highest scores, since the sales team rookie quit and the marketing team didn’t get a new hire during open recruitment.
He claims that he’s doing this to support Woo-jin while they launch the new high-end line. But considering that Ho-won was the candidate with the second-highest score, it seems a bit convenient that Hyun suddenly decided to hire two people after seeing the evaluation results. Still, Woo-jin is happy that Ho-won is staying.
Kang-ho and Ho-won tentatively approach Ki-taek, who congratulates them genuinely. Ho-won apologizes to Ki-taek, feeling guilty that he put up with everything while she caused trouble, yet she’s the one who was hired. Ki-taek sweetly says that she got the job because she deserves it, and he sighs that there’s always next time. Awww, both Ho-won and Kang-ho burst into tears.
Later, Ki-taek locks himself into a bathroom stall and sobs as if his heart is breaking.
Kang-ho calls his mother to give her the good news, and the first thing she says is that she’s been telling her friends he’s an intern to save face. His happiness pops like a balloon, and his eyes go down and his voice goes quiet, suddenly looking like the old suicidal Kang-ho. Oh no. His mom tells him she’ll pick him up this weekend to take him home.
Ki-taek is silent that evening when Hyun treats the whole office to dinner, and Manager Park gushes that work is much more fun now that Hyun is their boss. Hyun says he’ll expect good work out of them, pointedly quipping that there’s no such thing as a free lunch for Ho-won’s benefit (he said it to her when she confronted him about revealing their connection).
He shakes everyone up again by announcing that he’ll use the new high-end furniture project to decide who’s qualified to head the department, regardless of current rank. He smirks when Woo-jin agrees that the better workers should be rewarded, but his expression goes dark when Woo-jin continues that it shouldn’t just apply to the employees.
Woo-jin explains that sailors will only work their best under a great captain, saying that he looks forward to seeing Hyun’s abilities. We’ll just consider that gauntlet thrown, then.
Ho-won finds Woo-jin waiting outside her apartment when she arrives home, and she explains that she was talking to Ki-taek and Kang-ho when he fusses at her for being late. He’s such a mother hen! Woo-jin gripes that the guys didn’t walk her home and she deadpans that the dark streets are scary for men too, ha.
Woo-jin gives Ho-won a gift, and she opens the box to see a gorgeous pen. He tells her that an official Hauline employee needs a good pen for all the times she’ll be signing her name and taking responsibility for the things she authorizes. All together now: Awwww…
Ho-won says that it’s starting to feel real all of a sudden, but she wonders why he didn’t just give her this gift at work in the morning. Woo-jin makes about eighteen excuses at once, trying to look smooth and failing utterly. Finally he leaves, and Ho-won smiles dreamily as she goes inside.
Up in her room, she uses the new pen to sign her name in her diary. She thinks that it can be scary when a good thing happens after a long stretch of only bad things, hoping that this feeling isn’t just a dream.
In the morning Hyun presents Ho-won and Kang-ho with their new red badges, marking them as permanent employees. Kang-ho is tearfully grateful, but Hyun notes that Ho-won seems subdued and asks what happened to all that bravery from the day she threatened him. Hyun gives them their first assignment as new employees — to organize a design contest for the new furniture line.
In the restroom, Ho-won switches her black temporary ID for her new red badge. She thinks to herself that it’s just a different color, but somehow she still feels like an outsider. Thinking about her future, she wonders if she’s traded her pride for the badge.
Ji-na finds Ki-taek in the stairwell, where he apologizes for not being a better man. Anticipating his rejection since he didn’t get the job, Ji-na angrily snaps at him, and he gives her the most heartrendingly sad smile as he says that she’s too good for him.
In a private meeting with Suk-kyung, Woo-jin asks if this new premium line is really necessary since they just launched Hauliz. He reminds her that the idea was scrapped once already for not showing enough potential profitability, and he says that she’s fully aware that it will be a struggle to make it work.
He asks bluntly if she’s pushing this so hard because of Hyun. Suk-kyung explains that as a woman, she’ll never be evaluated purely for her skills, so she has to take advantage of the opportunities she’s given if she wants to advance. She tells Woo-jin not to judge her until he’s looked into the unfair treatment women receive at Hauline, and he sincerely apologizes.
Ho-won’s brother Ho-jae is in town for a wedding so he comes to Hauline to visit her, and Woo-jin happens to see them hugging in the lobby. HA, he’s so jealous. He’s much happier as he drives them home after work, knowing now that the cute boy is family and not a rival.
Ho-jae’s plan is to stay with a friend, but Woo-jin sees an opportunity to earn brownie points with Ho-won, so he offers to let Ho-jae stay at his place for the night. He mischievously teases that Ho-won can show Ho-jae around his apartment, purposely making it sound more intimate than it really is. Naughty boy.
Woo-jin orders way too much takeout, and when Ho-won makes a comment about so much “sin,” he asks what she means. She explains that their mother says if they don’t finish their food, they’ll have to eat it all in the afterlife. Woo-jin decides they’ll just have to eat it all, but he hardly touches the food as he enjoys watching the siblings interacting comfortably.
Suk-kyung and Kang-ho get off work at the same time, and Suk-kyung asks if he’s moving out of his place with Ki-taek now that he got hired. She tells him that she was also a sheltered only child, and that she moved out when she got her first job. She says with nostalgia that it was difficult, but that she felt like a real adult for the first time.
Kang-ho thinks about those words as he gets back to the small, messy place he shares with Ki-taek. His mother calls to say that she’s on her way to bring him home, and for the first time in his life, Kang-ho tells her no. He says that he wants to stay and stand on his own two feet, and he promises to visit her regularly.
Ki-taek finds Ji-na waiting for him outside his house, and she cutely fusses at him for walking with his head down. They go to the park to talk, where Ji-na tells Ki-taek that after she broke up with him, the thing she missed most was hearing him ask if she’d eaten yet.
It’s a simple thing, but Ji-na says that besides her parents, Ki-taek is the only person who ever cared to ask. She promises to be good to him and love him, but Ki-taek is still too ashamed to accept.
He reminds her that she saw where he lives, and he says that he can’t imagine ever being able to do better. Ji-na says they can do it together, but Ki-taek argues that he doesn’t want to make the woman he loves live that way. He says that if he ever has a daughter, he’d never let her marry a guy like him, his voice shaking with stifled sobs.
Ji-na reminds him that he once said love was enough, but the painful reminder just makes him angry. He asks what happened to the girl who didn’t want to bet her life on him. Crying, he says that now he understands what she meant, and he turns to walk away.
Ji-na runs after him, throwing her arms around his waist and apologizing. She sobs that she regrets saying that, and Ki-taek asks why she’s still making him cry. They stand that way for a long time, unable to overcome the pain they’ve caused each other.
After dinner, Woo-jin and the siblings sit down to play Go Stop, which Woo-jin admits he’s never played. Ho-jae warns Woo-jin not to play with Ho-won if he really doesn’t know the game, but Woo-jin doesn’t listen. As Ho-jae teaches Woo-jin the rules, Ho-won suggests they make a small bet with a wolfish look in her eye. Uh-oh.
Soon she’s taking Woo-jin’s money with obvious glee, telling her brother not to go easy on him because he’s big on things like fair play. As Ho-won and Woo-jin bicker and taunt each other, Ho-jae grins to himself, joking that they have the same competitive, outspoken personality.
Woo-jin walks Ho-won home later, and she thanks him for letting Ho-jae stay with him. She says that Ho-jae is younger but he acts like her oppa, and Woo-jin recalls that Ho-won called him “oppa” once, though she obviously doesn’t remember.
Ho-won continues that Ho-jae has given up a lot of things for her, like college, so now she wants to help him do the things he wants. She promises to work hard at Hauline for Ho-jae’s sake, and Woo-jin actually giggles at her over-the-top sincerity.
Later that night, Woo-jin gets up for a drink, and Ho-jae sits up to talk to him. He shyly asks if Woo-jin and Ho-won are close, and Woo-jin stammers that of course they’re close, purposely avoiding the real question he’s being asked. HA, the Sure, whatever dude look Ho-jae gives him is hilarious.
Suk-kyung makes a presentation outlining the premium brand that Hyun wants to develop. When she’s finished, Woo-jin asks facetiously if launching the brand automatically means it will sell. He points out that buyers of high-end products want prestigious brand images, and that image isn’t made overnight.
He wonders why they should cut back on their existing, profitable lines, to focus on a product with a high risk of failure. Hyun speaks up to say that high risk means high returns, and he tells Woo-jin not to be contrary just to be contrary. When Woo-jin continues to argue, Hyun announces that the marketing team will no longer participate in this project, and that Suk-kyung will run it from now on.
Sensing that something is off, Manager Park pulls Suk-kyung into his office to ask if she’s bypassing him and taking orders directly from Hyun. He doesn’t believe her when she denies it, and he tells her not to forget who got her this far.
In another private meeting, Hyun orders Woo-jin to shut down the discount line, even though Woo-jin says it’s very profitable. Hyun says that he relies on his instincts, but Woo-jin argues that his instincts know nothing about the furniture industry.
Hyun reminds Woo-jin that he also came here from a different industry. He makes it crystal clear that he intends to run a company that follows his orders, so if Woo-jin wants to keep working here, he’d better fall in line.
Kang-ho gets a new hairstyle (thank goodness) to go along with his new outlook on life, which of course earns him some teasing from Yong-jae. His and Ho-won’s design competition is going well, since the winner will also be offered a job. They feel bad for the applicants, knowing that they’ll only have their ideas appropriated by the company.
Ki-taek watches them, heads together, discussing how difficult it is to get a job. Ji-na watches Ki-taek watching his friends and she makes a sudden decision. She stands, loudly calls him “Oppa,” and invites him to go get coffee with her. She pretends that the “Oppa” just slipped out, and when Yong-jae expresses shock, she announces that Ki-taek is her boyfriend. HA, jaws drop all over the office.
Yong-jae’s objection to Ji-na’s public confession is loud and dramatic, prompting Gu-gong to ask if he likes Ji-na. Yong-jae doth protest too much, which gives Gu-dong the giggles, which only makes Yong-jae scream louder. I knew he liked her.
Ki-taek is the only person who isn’t delighted, and he orders Ji-na to follow him outside. He asks how she’s going to deal with the fallout from this, and Ji-na says that she’ll say that her boyfriend was studying for the civil service exam, but now he works very hard for Hauline.
Ki-taek is surprised that she doesn’t seem embarrassed of him anymore, but Ji-na counters that there’s nothing to be embarrassed about when her boyfriend is kind, loyal, and loves her to death. Ki-taek is completely disarmed, and he finally gives in.
Kang-ho and Ho-won meet with one of the design contest applicants, who apologizes for not submitting her designs through email. She explains that whenever she does, she’s never sure if it went through, so she’s brought her submission in person.
She asks if she’ll be given special consideration during open recruitment if she wins the contest, seeming desperate to get a job. Kang-ho and Ho-won both see themselves in her, and they wish her luck.
Ho-won takes her submission down to the design department, where it’s immediately thrown into the trash. She’s told not to accept any more submissions that don’t follow the guidelines.
After another PPL break, Ki-taek asks Ho-won and Kang-ho why they’re so down over the contest. Apparently no winner was chosen last year, and with the promise of a job offer this year, they feel bad for the applicants who are placing such high hopes on winning.
Woo-jin confronts Suk-kyung when she reduces Hauliz’s supply order as Hyun instructed. He’s upset that the marketing team is being left out, but Suk-kyung apologizes, saying that they have to make room for the new premium line inventory.
Manager Park is suspicious when he comes to speak to Woo-jin and finds Suk-kyung in his office. After she leaves, Woo-jin tells him that Hyun seems to be issuing all his orders through Suk-kyung now. To save face, Manager Park pretends that he asked her to do it since he’s been so busy.
Manager Park prepares to barge in on Hyun, but Hyun tells secretary Kkot-bi to send him away. After Manager Park slinks off, Yong-jae pops up from his hiding place behind Kkot-bi’s desk. He demands all the juicy info on this situation, but Kkot-bi just says dryly that if he’s caught gossiping, he’s done for.
Manager Park meets former-CEO Han for dinner that night, though Han is still irritated at him, knowing that Manager Park planned to take his job after forcing him out. He guesses that Hyun is using Suk-kyung to cut Manager Park out of the loop. He tells Manager Park that Hyun’s plan is probably to do something so big that it elevates him to a higher position, and that he’s most likely decided that Manager Park is of no use to him.
The teams assemble for their weekly meeting, and they’re all surprised when Hyun joins them. He orders the marketing team to put their upcoming promotions on hold, but Woo-jin argues that it’s nearly off-season so the new promotions are needed to maintain sales. Hyun tells him to just make up the difference some other way, and Gu-dong judiciously stops Woo-jin from saying any more.
Because the premium line is adding so much work to their load, Manager Park asks Hyun to let the sales team hire some more employees. But Hyun says that there will be no recruitment in the second half of the year. Ho-won reminds Hyun that the design contest promised to hire the winner in the next open recruitment, and since the company will own the copyright of the winning design, the applicants are entering primarily for the chance at the job.
To be fair, she wants to tell the applicants that there won’t be a job for the winner, but Hyun forbids her to say anything. Hanging her head in frustration, Ho-won blurts out that this is fraud.
She stands to say that if they promise to hire the winner with no intention of doing so, many hopefuls will apply when they could expend their energy elsewhere. She repeats that she thinks they should be told there will be no recruitment.
The others all try to get her to stop, having said her piece, but Ho-won isn’t finished. She accuses Hyun of using people’s desperation to deceive them, then reminds him of something he’d said during his TV interview. He’d said that he realized what he should do after meeting the three of them, and it had led to his philanthropic gesture to get them jobs.
She repeats her request to remove the promise of recruitment from the contest, adding, “Hauline must remain an honest company.”
Ugh, I hate him I hate him I hate him. How did I ever think Hyun was a nice guy? He used to seem so open and sincere, but now he’s just a nasty little bully, charging into Hauline and making all these changes without caring if they hurt the company. He doesn’t give a damn about the company or whether it does well long-term; he only cares about starting a luxury line of product that will make him look good. But you can’t launch a new high-end product without marketing it, and he’s hobbling Woo-jin and his team to the point that they aren’t allowed to do anything. He’s undercutting everything that keeps Hauline afloat, and it’s inevitably going to backfire on him. The sad part is that I do think his getting Ho-won, Kang-ho, and Ki-taek their jobs at Hauline was mostly meant as a kind gesture on Hyun’s part, but somewhere along the way he’s started putting his sick need for Daddy’s approval above everything else. He’s so desperate for his father to pay him some attention that he actually believes that building this premium brand will change Chairman Seo’s mind about him for the better, even if he burns Hauline to the ground in the process.
On a more cheerful note, it makes me so happy to see Kang-ho finally starting to smile. I didn’t realize it before, but I don’t think he’d smiled at all until this week’s episodes. But now he’s finally feeling as though he has worth beyond the status his accomplishments could grant to his parents, so I’m ridiculously proud of him for standing up to his mother and deciding not to move back home. He’s taking his own accomplishments for himself, which is exactly how it should be. He can keep living with Ki-taek and learn to be his own person, instead of the blank, human-shaped object that he was under his mother’s thumb. I’m just so glad that he’s finally found the strength to be his own person, and even gladder that he didn’t have to suffer another crisis to do it, as I feared.
On the other hand, Ki-taek broke my heart in this episode, several times. I just so badly wanted him to get the job and find his self-confidence. He’s just the sweetest, most earnest, bestest friend ever, and he deserves only good things. It’s so like him to be genuinely happy for his friends even in the middle of his own disappointment — the scene where they were crying and he was comforting them was just such a perfect depiction of how their friendship works. Then later when Ki-taek was watching Ho-won and Kang-ho discussing their contest I kept expecting to see jealousy or resentment on his face, but instead he smiled. He’s just incapable of any bad feelings for them, because he’s that pure of a person.
And if you’d told me several weeks ago that I’d be cheering on Ji-na in her quest to get her man back, I’d have thought you were nuts. But she’s really changed, and it’s obvious that she truly loves Ki-taek and isn’t afraid to let everyone know it. She’s realized that having someone who loves you to the ends of the earth and back is just as important as being financially stable. I particularly enjoyed her loud announcement that they’re dating, when she was the one who had initially warned him never to let anyone know they used to be a couple. It proves that she’s not ashamed to be associated with Ki-taek, and in fact is proud to have it known that they’re together.
I do believe that Ki-taek has a point, that stability is also crucial to a successful relationship, but I also think that he’s still very hurt from Ji-na’s initial rejection over his lack of prospects. Now that he’s going to be unemployed soon, I don’t blame him for not wanting to open himself up to having his heart broken again. Ji-na had her job cut out for her, convincing Ki-taek that she’s not the same money-focused girl she was when she broke up with him, and that she just wants to be with him no matter what his income happens to be. So it made me so happy when she publicly announced their relationship, proving to Ki-taek that not only is she not ashamed of him, but that she’s actually proud to be with him.
But it’s Ho-won I’m the most proud of, because she’s lost a bit of herself lately in her quest to get this permanent job. She’s forgetting the lesson her terminal illness scare taught her, that it’s important to stand up for what’s right even if it’s not the popular thing to do. She never really expected to be hired, and I think that everyone assumed Ki-taek was getting the job, so being hired at his expense shook Ho-won up pretty badly. But she’s vowed to give her best to Hauline, and that means speaking out when she sees an injustice. All this time I’ve been expecting that Hyun’s greatest opponent would be Woo-jin, but after this most recent outburst, I think Hyun would be smart to worry about the pint-sized tornado he’s just hired.
- 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
- Ha Suk-jin considers a romance with Go Ah-sung in Radiant Office
- Go Ah-sung in talks to headline new MBC office drama