Running Man: Episode 236
Time to let out the beast in this week’s Manly Man Race where our teams will duke it out to show off their brawn and loyalty. Mostly, I’m excited to see the original idols back in varietyland and ready to bring their A-game to the table.
Who will come out as today’s victors: the Running Man cast who have a formed a strong bond in the past four and a half years, the idols who have been together for over half a decade, or the six who have been through thick and thin for over seventeen years?
SONG OF THE DAY
Shinhwa – “표적 (Sniper)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 236. Broadcast on March 1, 2015.
We begin with an introduction of our three teams in this Manly Man Race: our resident Running Man guys versus Shinhwa (Eric, Min-woo, Jun Jin, Dong-wan, Hye-sung, and Andy) versus ZE:A (Lee Hoo (aka Moon Jun-young), Hwang Kwang-hee, Kim Tae-heon, Kim Dong-joon, Jung Hee-chul, Park Hyung-shik).
Even though the group has been in the biz for 17 years now, the Shinhwa boys can still bust a move. Jun Jin is as hilarious as ever, as evidenced by his suave moment in the sun turned awkward when he discovers that he’s the only one dancing. Hee.
Dong-wan outs himself as the black hole of the group, promising to deliver today anyway. And ha, the cast tries to pull Kwang-hee towards them saying that he belongs with them, the entertainers. When Kwang-soo brings up Hyung-shik’s recently ended drama What’s With This Family, Haha quips (to Kwang-soo), “You ended things with a woman too.”
Aha, so Tae-heon is also a mixed martial arts fighter (but also lost his debut match with a fractured nose, ow), and it takes a minute before the cast realizes that Jun-young is the same idol who took to Twitter to speak about unfair treatment from his agency. (In short, the series of tweets back in September quickly spiraled into a hot-button issue that has since been put to rest.)
Shinhwa’s cool “Sniper” outfits aren’t quite practical as Shinhwa members left and right get tangled up in their own buttons. Then it’s time to hear the rules: our teams will face off in a series of games and try to win the most amount of points by rolling different dice.
Depending on the outcome, it’s possible for the first and second place teams (as well as second and third) to roll the same number. So not only will our teams need to try their best, some of it is up to luck as well.
Today’s MC is none other than our beloved Miss Mung, who directs the teams to their cars before realizing she needs to hitch a ride, too. When the Running Man boys leave her high and dry, she runs to join the ZE:A boys, who are more than happy to have noona riding with them.
And then her former teammate Dong-joon tells the guys to listen up, “All of you be quiet because noona’s going to fall asleep [in the car] soon.” Ahahaha.
The ZE:A boys are the last to arrive at their first mission location and hurriedly get ready in front of their sunbaes. Kwang-hee gets called out for tossing in his shoe lift into his rubber boot before putting it on. Hehe.
Now shivering around the mud pit, our teams will split into three pairs based on ability level (high, mid, and low). Last pair standing wins a point for their team, and the first team to grab two points wins the first mission. The others get upset when Shinhwa places their strongest, Min-woo and Andy, as their “weakest” members, though if you think about it, it’s a pretty strategic choice.
The mid-level pairs are called out first, and Min-woo tells the ZE:A boys to go easy on their sunbaes. But with contenders like Gary, Jae-suk, and Hye-sung, I’m pretty sure the idols will have to be the ones to be careful.
Sure enough, the boys split and the other two teams jump on the opportunity. Jun-young gets pushed out of the pit, and so does Hyung-shik a few moments later. Jae-suk is left outnumbered 2:1 after Gary gets pushed out, and then scares off his pursuers by splashing his own face with muddy water.
As a result, Dong-wan jumps out of the pit, and Hye-sung runs before getting pushed out by a muddy Jae-suk. Kwang-soo jumping into the pit face first doesn’t quite result in the scary mudman effect, but this next battle ought to be good anyway.
I love how Eric oh-so-quietly steps away from the main brawl, then both Dong-joon and Tae-heon hoists Jong-kook up in the air together. Next thing we know, Jong-kook whirls back around to take the boys on, and Kwang-soo is the first one rolled out of the pit.
The remaining four all grab one of Jong-kook’s limbs, but Jong-kook manages to hold his ground. Min-woo steps in as a reporter covering this unbelievable event, and when they all take a quick timeout, Jae-suk says it’s faster to start eliminating each other than Jong-kook.
Jong-kook manages to convince his hoobaes to take the Shinhwa members out first, so while the boys take on Jun Jin, Jong-kook deals with Eric. And then Hye-sung calls out from the sidelines that Jong-kook and Eric should eliminate the young’uns instead. Exhausted, Jong-kook yells, “Are you guys going to keep using me [like this]?”
Desperate, Dong-joon yells, “Hyung, this is the first time [our members] have appeared on variety!” Aw, Eric forms a heart over his head. And Jong-kook decides to sit this one again. So does Eric. Hahaha.
We skip ahead to after Jun Jin is pushed out, and Jong-kook and the ZE:A boys take a breather, completely exhausted. Since this battle is going nowhere, Taek PD issues a two-minute time limit. If both Tae-heon and Dong-joon are left standing afterwards, the win will go to ZE:A.
Oh man, even the cheerleading squad from the sidelines (with chants of “Turbo! Turbo!” and lyrics from ZE:A’s single “Aftermath”) is funny-sad. Soon there’s only 30 seconds remaining and Jong-kook hoists Dong-joon up in the air. But it isn’t enough, and ZE:A picks up the hard-earned point.
After Shinhwa earns another point, the teams are tied at one point each. Eric asks what they gain by winning this game, and when he’s told that they get the best die, he asks again, “Is [winning] that die that great?”
They decide on one final match between two random members from each team: Min-woo and Dong-wan vs. Hyung-shik and Jun-young vs. Haha and Suk-jin. Jae-suk: “We’re done for!”
The Running Man and ZE:A teams form an alliance to take on Shinhwa, and it’s Hyung-shik who makes the first strike at Min-woo. The ZE:A boys work together to push Dong-wan out, then during their attempt to push Min-woo out of the pit, it’s Suk-jin who gets eliminated.
Hyung-shik gets worked up when Haha switches allies, then ultimately chooses to work alone. Watching Haha tackle Jun-young finally makes Hyung-shik yell at his former ally: “Hyung! You can’t be doing that right now!” Omg, the poor kid looks like he’s going to break down in tears at any moment.
Eventually only Haha, Min-woo, and Hyung-shik are left, and they’re so tired that they all grab each other’s faces to remind the other of the alliance they once made. But Hyung-shik gets pushed out anyway.
As Haha gets pushed up into the wall, he uses the momentum to kick off and twirl around to pin Min-woo down. That was cool. Haha then pushes Min-woo out of the pit, giving him and his team the win.
Each team throws their respective dice, and the current scores are as follows: Running Man (100), Shinhwa (70), and ZE:A (50).
Our three teams gather together again at Ewha Women’s University to face off in a test of manners. Each team’s black holes (Kwang-hee, Dong-wan, and Kwang-soo) engage in a round of rock-paper-scissors, and thanks to Kwang-soo, the Running Man Team advances automatically.
In this game of dodgeball, the men must protect their respective queens (a randomly chosen Ewha student) to the end. It’s cute how Shinhwa comes up with their own little cheer for their queen, and Dong-wan explains the rules of the game to her in English. Assuming that the members can take it from here, MC Mung moves on. Ha.
As Shinhwa and ZE:A get ready for their first match, Kwang-hee tells his teammates that they have to protect his face. Min-woo is eliminated in the first few seconds, but then gets hold of the ball from the other side of the court when Hye-sung’s attack falls short.
Distracted by Eric, who makes even the small things look cool, ZE:A’s queen gets hit by the ball, thus ending the match. And then Hee-chul gets scolded for trying to avoid the ball instead of protecting his team’s lady. Jae-suk: “You waited 6 years to be on variety, but you couldn’t last for one second?”
So we head straight for the finals with the Running Man Team vs. Shinhwa. Dong-wan grabs for the ball first, which gets passed around between the members before Andy throws… and it bounces over the line.
Haha grabs at the opportunity to attack Jun Jin, who catches the ball that gets thrown right back at the Running Man Team. But seeing as the Running Man members are doing a good job in protecting their lady, the Shinhwa boys pass around the ball in order to confuse their opponents.
It works, and Jae-suk is eliminated. Kwang-soo tries confusing the Shinhwa team on his own, but eventually the ball finds its way into Jun Jin’s hands. He shoots… and it flies past Suk-jin’s head, taking his hat off with it.
Moments later, the ball rolls out of the court and into Jae-suk’s hands. He eliminates Jun Jin, who immediately gets a chance to attack the Running Man team from the other side of the court. He misses, and a few more throws and eliminations later, Gary goes straight to attack Eric…
… who catches the ball. Nice. Only Gary and Kwang-soo are left to protect their team’s lady, and Jun Jin makes a throw that narrowly avoids the Running Man’s lady but sends a camera to the ground. Whoops.
Jong-kook eliminates Eric, then Andy is taken out not long afterwards. Min-woo and Dong-wan remain to protect their queen, and then a minute later, another one of Jun Jin’s shots hits yet another camera.
Eliminating Dong-wan leaves Min-woo as the lone bodyguard twirling around as the ball flies in different directions. But then Gary catches the ball, leaving his team’s lady in the line of fire. Min-woo extends a hand, but it’s too late.
The ladies throw the dice for their teams, and then it’s time for another score check-in: Running Man (190), Shinhwa (140), and ZE:A (100).
It’s nighttime by the time the teams pull up near the Han River in this last game that will test their loyalty. The rules are simple: the first team to climb up the incline will win, but they’ll need to climb over each other’s shoulders to reach the top.
The teams split and strategize, though it helps little in practice: Kwang-hee yelps in pain when Hyung-shik tries to climb over him, then crumbles before slipping down the slope. It turns out that even if one leans against the incline, the weight can sometimes be too much to bear. Like it is for Suk-jin, whom the team decides wouldn’t be fit for the second to lowest spot.
Then it’s time for the Human Ladder game to begin, and everyone has their game faces on. Each team get three men each on the board rather swiftly, but it isn’t until the fourth climbs up that the ones on the bottom can start to feel the weight.
While the fifth member is still climbing, Dong-joon runs up. But uh oh—the added pressure causes the ladder to crumble, and all the ZE:A boys slide off.
Jun Jin realizes that this gives his team a prime chance to win, so he runs up… but then a weak link in his team’s ladder causes him to slide back down. Unable to hold the weight any longer, the Running Man team slide off, too.
So it’s back to square one for everyone, and the teams work speedily to get four men each on the board. It really does look painful, and soon afterwards, it’s up to Jun Jin, Kwang-hee, and Haha to run up and ring that bell for their teams.
It’s Jun Jin who climbs up the ledge and rings that bell first, but Kwang-hee doesn’t give up, peeling off his gloves and socks to get a better grip. He rings the bell for the ZE:A team whereas the Running Man boys all slide back to the bottom.
Despite coming in last, the Running Man team has still got luck on their side in rolling a 60. ZE:A and Shinhwa both roll decent numbers of 70 and 90 respectively.
But this isn’t the end—our three teams climb onto platforms to await a fate left in Lady Luck’s hands: Ji-hyo’s. Aha, so the third game’s score will either be added or subtracted from the teams’ combined score from the first two games.
Nervous, Haha asks if they can press pause so he can face the possible water punishment in commando. Jun Jin: “Rocks won’t come falling out of this, right?”
Ji-hyo chooses a scroll for each team, and then it’s time to hear the results: ZE:A ends up with a total score of 170, giving them a chance to win if the other two teams are stuck with minus signs.
But the Shinhwa gets their scores added too with a plus sign, leaving them with a score of 230. And now the fate of the Running Man team can go either way.
Taek PD unravels the white scroll Haha didn’t have a good feeling about… which reveals a plus sign, bringing up the winning Running Man Team’s total to 250. Our other two teams receive their watery punishment as the victors revel in their gold.
And aww, everyone celebrates Suk-jin, Gary, and Eric’s birthdays in February, wrapping up this manly man race on a sweet note.