Radiant Office: Episode 9
The bigger your secret, the harder it is to actually keep it a secret. As Ho-won and Woo-jin grow closer, he begins to worry about her in a much more personal way, and it’s growing more difficult for him to hide what he knows. It looks like Ho-won’s secret may be out soon, even though she would prefer to ignore her possible illness as long as she can.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Alcohol and the knowledge of Ho-won’s probable terminal illness combine to overwhelm Ki-taek, and he starts to cry. He sobs to Kang-ho that they need to urge her to see a doctor, so he drunk-dials her. But she left her new phone at work, and Woo-jin picks it up.
He listens as Ki-taek blurts out everything, thinking that he’s talking to Ho-won. Woo-jin pales to hears that Ho-won is sick, maybe even dying, but he doesn’t say a word.
Kang-ho takes Ki-taek’s phone when he slumps over, exhausted. He pretends to fuss at Ki-taek for getting drunk and reciting movie lines, then hangs up. But it’s strange that whoever was on the line wasn’t speaking, and Kang-ho wonders if it was really Ho-won.
Ho-won gets home to find Hyo-ri asleep with a book on her face, and she stops to read it. It’s all about filling your days with happy things, which makes her a bit weepy.
Knowing what he knows now, Woo-jin thinks back on Ho-won’s tearful words: “I just wanted to be a good employee like you, not to die like this.” He realizes that she wasn’t just being facetious. Things like her refusal to pick the cherry blossoms and the way she collapsed in the street now seem much scarier.
He stands outside her apartment, trying and failing to call her. Upstairs, Ho-won looks out over the city from her balcony, vowing to live only happy days while she can. She looks down to see Woo-jin driving away and wonders why he was there.
Back at the office, Woo-jin objects to Manager Park’s decision to change the Hauliz product line, reminding him of his promise to give Woo-jin complete authority over new products. He’s concerned that the older designs won’t sell, but CEO Han takes the sales team’s side.
When Woo-jin continues to insist, CEO Han relaxes enough to allow a survey on the company website. The team that wins will have full control over which new products are added to the line.
Always privy to what’s really going on behind the scenes, Gu-dong informs Woo-jin that the outdated products CEO Han endorses are made by a particular subcontractor. He warns Woo-jin that CEO Han has been making back-door deals with them for years now, and that this is all a scheme to take control of the new product decisions.
Ki-taek doesn’t remember anything about calling Ho-won’s phone the night before, and he’s horrified that Kang-ho thinks someone else answered her phone. They’re both worried that this information could be leaked and that Ho-won will be fired, so they decide to find out who answered her phone and beg them not to spill the beans. Ki-taek is worried it could be Suk-kyung, but Kang-ho defends her, saying that she wouldn’t do such a heartless thing.
Ho-won is sent on an errand to the coffee shop, where she’s thrilled to run into Hyun. He seems off and says that he’s going away for a few days to nurse a wounded heart. He vaguely explains that someone he knows is sad because people don’t like and trust them, and that he hurts for that person.
Ho-won doesn’t realize that he’s talking about her, but she recognizes those feelings. She says that she’s learned that whether people like her isn’t important — what matters is if she likes them. She adds that working at Hauline taught her that, and Hyun looks impressed. Ho-won mutters that she doesn’t have much time left for such things anyway, but when Hyun looks curious, she brushes it off.
Hyun sends Ho-won back to the office before taking a call that appears to worry him. He says something about his father giving permission, and how he must be disappointed that the caller doesn’t want to live with him. He tells the person (whom he calls Hyung… could this be the mysterious brother?) that he will always support their decisions.
After doing some recon, Ki-taek and Kang-ho determine that the person who answered Ho-won’s phone couldn’t have been Gu-dong or Suk-kyung. That leaves Ji-na, Yong-jae, Woo-jin, or Manager Park.
Woo-jin takes Ho-won with him to take photos of the store displays, hoping for a chance to ask her about her illness. But she’s distracted when they drive past her college, so he takes her for a walk on the campus, where Ho-won offers to buy Woo-jin’s lunch as thanks.
She gets the giggles when a student mistakes Woo-jin for a professor, and he grouches that he doesn’t look that much older. Ho-won can’t stop herself from cheekily calling him “Professor” just to needle him. She tells him what it’s like being a Humanities major, forced to take classes you don’t want to take but that might help you get jobs.
She shrieks happily when she runs into a handsome sunbae, Tae-yang (cameo by Hyun Woo). Woo-jin hovers until Ho-won introduces him, then he wanders away so they can talk. But he watches them laugh and joke together, seething with jealousy.
When Ho-won comes back, Woo-jin sneers at her admission that she used to have a crush on Tae-yang. He asks why Tae-yang is still in school if he’s her sunbae, assuming he’s a bad student. Ho-won says he graduated top of his class, but he couldn’t find a job so he’s studying for the civil service exam.
Ho-won buys them sandwiches for lunch, and they sit by the lake to eat. Woo-jin asks why the campus is so quiet, so Ho-won explains that everyone is too busy studying and applying for internships to play outside. She tells Woo-jin that college was very different than she expected because it was all about struggling to get a job. Still, she adds wistfully that it was the happiest time of her life, because back then, she had hope.
In a meeting with Manager Park and Suk-kyung, CEO Han suggests disbanding the marketing team now that the Hauliz line has debuted. Manager Park is confident the sales team will win the online survey, and CEO Han warns Suk-kyung that they still need to increase their sales.
Manager Park remembers that Suk-kyung’s husband works for a construction company that just finished building a large apartment building. He suggests they boost their numbers by selling furniture to them, which makes Suk-kyung uncomfortable since she hasn’t told anyone that she and her husband split up.
She calls her ex to ask for the favor anyway, and he initially refuses. Suk-kyung growls that she raises their daughter while he does whatever he wants, so she wants his help in lieu of a divorce settlement so that she can get promoted.
Ki-taek spies on Yong-jae in the bathroom and learns that he had a blind date last Saturday, which removes him as a suspect for answering Ho-won’s phone. Ki-taek’s disgusted to discover they went to the same high school, and when Yong-jae asks for some tissue, Ki-taek passes him one tiny square. HA, and ewww.
Meanwhile Kang-ho sneaks into Manager Park’s office to search for clues. He ducks under the desk when Manager Park returns unexpectedly, accidentally overhearing a phone call in which Manager Park seems to be in big trouble with his wife.
Kang-ho shrinks into a tiny ball when Manager Park walks around his desk, but luckily another call distracts him enough that he doesn’t notice Kang-ho. He tells this caller that he needs to hire a few hundred people to “like” some products on a website. What a scumbag.
He leaves his office, and Kang-ho jumps back up before stealing the top page of a stack of sticky notes. He reports back to Ki-taek to do a rubbing of the page, and the words that emerge in relief spell out “Yangjae Country Club, Saturday 10 p.m.” Manager Park isn’t the person who answered Ho-won’s phone.
Ki-taek gets the awkward task of asking Ji-na what she did last Saturday, and she answers in a snippy tone that she was working. He assumes that means she answered the phone and mutters that she must feel deceived, but she mistakenly thinks that he’s talking about their relationship and storms off.
Ki-taek’s former gosiwon room manager calls to say that he left his sneakers behind. He mentions that he asked Ki-taek’s girlfriend to take them to him when she dropped by on Saturday, but she left them too.
That effectively rules out Ji-na, leaving Woo-jin as the person who must have answered Ho-won’s phone and heard Ki-taek talking about her illness. Ki-taek even confirms with the janitor that Woo-jin was working on Saturday evening.
After their long day, Woo-jin drops Ho-won at home and asks her bluntly about her illness. He doesn’t allow her to change the subject by asking how he knows, but insists that she answer his question. Ho-won says it’s true, and Woo-jin reacts as he always does when something upsets him — he gets angry.
He demands to know why she hasn’t sought treatment or told anyone at the office that she’s sick. He tries to drag her to the hospital right that moment and gets angry again when she refuses to go. Woo-jin asks how Ho-won can go to work like nothing is wrong, and she says that it’s because she loves it so much.
Ho-won reminds Woo-jin that her dream was always to get a job at a company. Woo-jin criticizes that as a flimsy excuse for not respecting her life, but Ho-won justifies that there’s no point to finding out what’s killing her, because she’ll die either way.
Woo-jin asks if she has no hope that her illness could be cured, but Ho-won counters, “And what then?” She says she wants to just do normal things and live a normal life while she can. Woo-jin is incredulous that Ho-won would let herself die without even trying.
He wants to know what happens if Hauline keeps her on and she collapses at work. Ho-won asks him to let her keep working just for this week, then she’ll leave voluntarily. She goes upstairs before he can argue with her further. She lies on her bed and reassure herself that it was still a good day, but the tears come despite her resolve.
At work the following morning, Woo-jin sees the sales team’s suggestions for the new Hauliz line and proclaims them as bad as he expected. Gu-dong believes that Manager Park and CEO Han will do anything to skew the survey in their favor, so he warns Woo-jin not to expect them to act logically. He adds that if anything goes wrong it could cause a permanent black mark on Woo-jin’s work record.
Ji-na explains to Ho-won and Ki-taek how the survey works — netizens will choose which product they like better, and the product that receives the most votes by tomorrow morning wins. She smirks that Ho-won should recognize the marketing team’s bedroom set, the same bed she slept on during the show, but Ho-won just smiles.
Later, Yong-jae worries that the sales team’s living room set isn’t doing well in the survey, so Manager Park informs him that that will soon change. But he’s still concerned that it’ll be the end for the sales team if things go wrong, since CEO Han’s nephew (the slimeball who owns the PR company that treated Ho-won so rudely) is mad about losing his contract with Hauline, and Jae-min sabotaged their online shopping catalog.
On her way to sign the contract with her ex-husband’s company to furnish their building, Suk-kyung finds a strange woman standing near her desk. She says that she’s here on behalf of OS Construction, since Suk-kyung’s ex-husband had to leave on a business trip. They go to a private meeting room, and while Yong-jae brings coffee, the woman snaps that it’s inappropriate for Suk-kyung to contact her ex about anything other than their child.
Yong-jae slinks out of the room, and once they’re alone, the woman informs Suk-kyung that she’s marrying Suk-kyung’s ex-husband next month. She repeats that unless it’s about their daughter, Suk-kyung isn’t to contact her ex-husband again.
Suk-kyung congratulates her on her upcoming nuptials but reminds her that this is business, and she curtly tells the woman not to let her person feelings get in the way. Yong-jae eavesdrops, and he mouths an impressed “WOW” at the way Suk-kyung deftly takes control of the conversation.
He runs to the break room to tell Ji-na the juicy gossip that Suk-kyung is divorced, and that the woman she’s talking with is marrying her ex-husband. Ji-na also knows that Suk-kyung met and married her ex while working at OS Construction, and she defends Suk-kyung’s decision to keep her divorce a secret.
As they talk, Kang-ho makes coffee and carefully takes in every word. Ho-won walks in, so Kang-ho gives her a tiny head-shake to warn her to keep quiet as Yong-jae and Ji-na devolve into childish finger-pointing.
The fiancee tries to shame Suk-kyung for asking her ex-husband for a favor like this, but Suk-kyung keeps it professional, telling her that she has to sign the contract since the two companies have already made a verbal agreement. When she gets back to her desk later, Kang-ho notices that she seems rattled by the confrontation.
Woo-jin goes to Ki-taek for information about Ho-won, and Ki-taek tells him the whole story. Woo-jin finds it unbelievable that Ho-won would assume she’s dying based on overheard comments, but Ki-taek says that he’s seen her experiencing some pain. Woo-jin urges Ki-taek to convince Ho-won to go to the hospital, and Ki-taek agrees while thanking Woo-jin for keeping her secret.
By the end of the work day, the sales team’s survey numbers are much higher than the marketing team’s, which has Manager Park and Yong-jae feeling pretty smug. But they suddenly notice the marketing team’s votes climbing fast, so Manager Park freaks out and demands to know what’s happening.
Ki-taek approaches Ho-won, honestly revealing that Woo-jin asked him to persuade her to go to the hospital. He says that Woo-jin seems very concerned for Ho-won, but she just tells him not to worry.
Hyun invites Ho-won, Ki-taek, and Kang-ho out for drinks. He tells them that he’s closing his hospital soon and invites them to stop by first. He shows particular interest in Ki-taek’s health, and Ki-taek admits that he sometimes gets burning stomachaches.
Kang-ho mutters to Ho-won to ask Hyun about her illness, but she shakes her head adamantly and tells Hyun that she’s fine. When Hyun mentions that he used to work at Hankook University Hospital (where they were treated after their suicide attempts), the friends exchange alarmed glances.
Manager Park takes the list of bloggers who voted for the marketing team to CEO Han, which he claims is proof that the marketing team cheated by buying votes. Woo-jin breezily admits that it’s true, then offers CEO Han another, identical list and says that he and Manager Park hired the same company. What?
Woo-jin explains to CEO Han that he discovered that Manager Park hired a company to pad their survey with three hundred votes for the sales team. So Woo-jin also hired them to add three hundred votes to the marketing team’s survey, making the survey results fair again. Brilliant.
Woo-jin calmly says that he’s aware that they boost sales by favoring certain companies, and he warns Manager Park to knock it off before he decides to make an issue of it. He sails out of the room triumphantly, but his satisfaction fades as he remembers Kang-ho asking if he answered Ho-won’s phone and heard Ki-taek mention her illness.
Kang-ho had asked him for a favor — if Woo-jin promised not to fire Ho-won until she’s ready to leave on her own, Kang-ho would give him some important information. Woo-jin had agreed, which is how he learned of Manager Park’s plans to skew the survey votes.
Furious, CEO Han orders Manager Park to stay out of the upcoming project. He tells Manager Park that he has to work the way CEO Han wants if he wants his help, and when Manager Park whines that they need to act as partners, CEO Han barks that he’ll just change partners.
He puts Manager Park on probation, telling him that Woo-jin is a step ahead of him already. Manager Park thinks to himself that he’s way ahead of CEO Han. Back in his office, he decides that if CEO Han wants a fight, then he’ll give him one. He takes a thick folder from a locked cabinet and prepares himself for battle.
After drinks with Hyun, Ki-taek and Kang-ho worry that Hyun may know them from the night they tried to off themselves (and HA, Ki-taek only just now makes the connection). Ho-won insists that Hyun wouldn’t pretend not to know them if he actually did.
That night, she writes Woo-jin a thank-you note, which she adds to a stack of notes. She thinks to herself that this is her Cinderella moment, when the clock strikes midnight and it’s time to let go of the fantasy. When she gets to work the next morning, she carefully takes in all the sights and sounds of the office, committing them to memory.
Yong-jae berates Ho-won for coming in late, and she has to remind herself that this is just the kind of person he is. She takes out the note she wrote for Ji-na, who ignores her as she and Yong-jae gossip about a couple of employees, one permanent and one a temp, who were in an accident and are hospitalized.
They think that the temp should quit his contract, since he probably won’t be able to work well after getting out of the hospital, but they agree that the permanent employee should take extended leave to rest up. Unable to stay silent, Ho-won asks why the permanent employee can take extra sick leave but the temp has to quit when they were in the same accident.
Working up to a good rant, Ho-won says that there’s no rank in life. She screams that it’s unfair to treat one person with compassion but fire the other and call him useless.
Yong-jae yells that it’s none of her business, but Ho-won yells right back, “It’s not someone else’s business, it’s mine! Do you think I want to be sick?” She says that they would do the same thing to her, and she quits on the spot.
She runs out of the office sobbing, and she doesn’t even notice that she walks right past Woo-jin. He turns around to look at her just as she clutches her stomach in pain, then falls to the floor in a dead faint. Woo-jin carries her to the hospital where he’s called Hyun to meet them, and both men look at each other with matching expressions of worry and fear.
I haven’t ever really believed that Ho-won is dying, despite all of her symptoms like dizziness, stomach pain, and fainting. I think she’s probably stressed and anxious, and may even have an ulcer, especially since Ki-taek also reports stomach pain that started when he got the job at Hauline. But now I’m nearly certain that Ho-won isn’t terminal, mainly because of the way Hyun behaves whenever Ho-won mentions not having much time. My theory is that Hyun and the nurse were discussing an entirely different patient than the three in the ER that night, and the three just assumed he was looking at the medical records of one of them.
Aside from the fact that it would violate several ethical laws if Hyun knew a patient were dying and didn’t tell them, he seems genuinely baffled when Ho-won makes comments about running out of time. In fact, Hyun seemed more concerned about Ki-taek’s stomachaches than he ever has about Ho-won. He doesn’t appear to be concerned or conflicted around her, which I think he would be if he was aware that she had a terminal disease that wasn’t being treated. I really don’t think Hyun is a bad person, he’s just conflicted by the way his father treats him, and around Ho-won he’s always very relaxed and happy. I believe that, if she truly were sick, we would see him behaving very differently around Ho-won.But for now, everyone is working on the assumption that Ho-won is sick, and I find it sweet that Ki-taek and Kang-ho went to such lengths to discover who accidentally learned their friend’s secret. They’re both such great friends — Ho-won is a lucky girl.
I also appreciate that Woo-jin didn’t brood about the news for several episodes, but came right out and asked Ho-won about it. But even though it’s frustrating that she refuses to even get checked out, it’s Ho-won’s right to make that decision, so I love that her friends (especially Kang-ho) make a point to respect her wishes even if they don’t agree. I don’t expect Woo-jin to keep so quiet on the subject, particularly now that Ho-won just scared ten years off his life by passing out right in front of him for the second time. I actually hope that now that she’s in the hospital, we get to learn exactly what’s happening with Ho-won’s health. I could still be wrong, and she really could be dying.
I really enjoy the way Woo-jin and Ho-won’s relationship is developing, slowly and steadily as they get to know each other better. Love isn’t always (or even usually) about instant fireworks or accidental kisses that make your heart suddenly pound. Sometimes it just sneaks up on you when you’re not looking, until one day you realize that the person you thought was just a colleague is suddenly someone very important to you. I like that Ho-won’s feelings started to change when she learned that Woo-jin’s life while growing up was very much like her own, which got her to see him as someone similar to herself instead of a powerful, privileged manager who has never understood what it means to struggle. And Woo-jin is also experiencing a change of heart about Ho-won as he discovers that she’s not just a mediocre person who doesn’t try hard enough, but a determined young woman who is doing the very best she can with what little she has.
The show really hasn’t presented Ho-won and Woo-jin in much of a romantic light yet, but I like that. I appreciate that they’re becoming friends first, and that anything else that may come of that friendship will also grow naturally from mutual respect and understanding. I do expect Woo-jin’s feelings to experience a push now that he thinks she’s dying, and he’ll probably realize that he cares about her much more than he thought when he faces the idea of losing her. I can see him caring for her more and more as he tries to convince her to get treatment, and as Ho-won insists on living each day to the fullest, she’ll probably decide that that applies to her romantic life as well. But I think the show has laid down a nice foundation between them so far, and that anything more that comes of their feelings for each other will feel completely natural.
- 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