Running Man: Episode 281
We’ll get a glimpse of the world of the rich and famous this week, as our cast risk their real estate investments in The House. They’ll quickly learn that living the high life isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be, with the constant fear that it’s only too easy to lose it all. So it’s time to make some wise investments and hope for the best, lest someone swoops in to take the land deed and everything with it.
EPISODE 281. Broadcast on January 10, 2016.
Welcome to Running Village, where the top seven heirs and heiresses of varietyland reside. There’s Haha, who pours instant coffee powder into his wine glass, Kwang-soo, the supposed party animal, Jae-suk who calls for his butler, Ji-hyo, who refuses an arranged marriage, Suk-jin, who tells his staff to prep his brand-new plane, and a few more.
All seven are invited to The House to participate in the Heirs Game, and as prettily furnished as it is, I can’t help but notice that every inch of floor is taped off into squares.
They’re called outside with a sound of a bell, where a special guest awaits them: actress Im Ji-yeon. Like with any other pretty lady, the guys clamor to attend to her, literally flinging each other’s coats away. When Kwang-soo’s coat gets flung, he exclaims: “This one’s sponsored!”
As today’s game presenter, Ji-yeon explains that the premise is simple: Each cast member will attempt to acquire as much “property” in The House (a total of 119 squares) through today’s games. But what good is real estate without a deed—if said property deed gets taken, ALL of their land goes with it.
They won’t be able to start from square one (hur) either—once your land is gone, so are you. Furthermore, the castmates will only be able to step on their own property and will need to pay a fine to step onto somebody else’s land.
Their first game will be a nametag-rippin’ relay race, where the goal is to rip off the nametag ahead of them. Their ranking will determine the initial area of their given property. Last one standing, wins.
Everyone prays that they’re not stuck in the No. 2 spot (since Jong-kook is No. 1), but as soon as Suk-jin says it… he gets drawn the short straw. Gary gripes to hear that Haha will be chasing him (Haha: “Time to catch some squid!”), but that’s not as bad as Kwang-soo, who’s stuck between Jae-suk and Jong-kook.
He gets caught trying to gain an advantage by taking a few steps forward, but once the whistle blows, everyone starts running. Jong-kook reduces that gap with Suk-jin easily, only that slight delay allows Kwang-soo to catch up with him and eliminate him.
But then Jae-suk is hot on Kwang-soo’s tail, and then the rest of the order fall like dominoes. Soon only Haha and Ji-hyo remain and round and round they go until Haha picks up the pace and rips off her nametag for the win.
Each of the cast members pick up their money and squares, from Haha picking up 30 squares for coming in first place to Suk-jin picking up a measly 6 squares for coming in dead last. He hides his property deed blue square and covers the rest of the house so he can move pretty easily (including the bathroom).
Ji-hyo is annoyed to see that the essential passageways are already taken, but lays out her squares. Gary opts to go for the bed, and when Kwang-soo says he should’ve run harder if he’d known the real estate in this house was this important, Jae-suk retorts: “When did you ever?”
Suk-jin has it the worst, trying to find any available property. He makes sure to go to the bathroom before he’s required to pay a fee to Jae-suk.
Speaking of fees, Ji-yeon explains that the crossing entrance fee is 3 coins per owner. It’s a problem when it comes to going to the bathroom or the stairs for some, but thankfully they’re allowed to buy and sell their squares—they can buy a square for 30 coins, but they’ll only get 10 coins for selling.
The others are quick to advise her to use “10 R” with caution (since ship-ahl can sound like shibal or “fuck”). There’s a menu of munchies (pizza or fried chicken) available too, at a cost of course. Health junkie Jong-kook is not pleased.
Everyone settles in their squares, and Jae-suk makes sure that the VJs are stepping on the correct property. Kwang-soo has bought up a square two spaces away so that he can walk along the border and make it to the bathroom. I’ll laugh if he doesn’t make it.
He doesn’t and falls on both Jae-suk and Ji-hyo’s land. Suk-jin figures that it’s easier for him to traverse the neutral border, but he too falls into Kwang-soo and Jae-suk’s land. Kwang-soo makes his payments, and when he can’t quite reach to get his money from Suk-jin, Jae-suk offers to deliver him his money… for a fee.
So when Suk-jin tosses a coin over, Jae-suk snatches it up. Gary gets creative when it comes to heading over to the kitchen, entering through his square and climbing onto the dining room table.
Unfortunately, the ramyun is nowhere to be found… because Jae-suk has snuck the entire stash into his suitcase. Lol. Turns out he had thought ahead because he figured that he could barter it later. Ha, smart.
He offers to hand it over if they all get to it, to which Haha says Jae-suk can enjoy his raw ramyun on his own. And then Jong-kook, who lays under an open window, asks if they all have to fight like this.
Haha finally gets the ramyun packs, only to harbor second thoughts once he starts cooking. Desperate and hungry, Ji-hyo offers to piggyback Jae-suk across her land so that he can persuade Haha. She actually manages to do so until Jae-suk falls off, rolling into her land and Haha’s.
Upset, Haha demands that the Easy Brothers apologize before him, but when Kwang-soo tries pulling Suk-jin into his land, they both fall into Jae-suk’s. I think I could watch them do this all day.
Haha calls everyone to the table, and Kwang-soo inches his way across the floor. Making sure not to step onto anyone’s land, he sliidddesss down to the floor. He loses another 3 coins when someone steps on him. Then there’s Ji-hyo, who literally piggybacks the mat hyungs to the dining room.
Suk-jin is astounded to find Jong-kook munching on raw ramyun noodles (“You must be hungry”), which is when Jong-kook says, “The one who has nothing to lose is to be most feared.” Ain’t that the truth.
Everyone except Jong-kook chows down on the ramyun when it’s done. Taking’s Haha advice that hoarding the money doesn’t do him any good, Jae-suk sits down on Gary’s seat for 2 coins.
When everyone is called out again, Ji-hyo keeps a sharp eye out as everyone leaves (since her square covers the entrance). In this game of bubble wrestling, the last one that remains inside the ring wins.
Everyone can’t help but compliment Ji-yeon on her MC skills, which she admits is because she’s part of Section TV (on MBC). Kwang-soo calls her cadence “lovable,” which earns him a smack. Anyway, back to the game: The top three will be the winners from each round, and will be able to steal someone else’s squares (from five to three to one).
Everyone then realizes that it’s possible to score all of someone’s land if they’re wise about which spot to steal. While Jae-suk is still on that rant, Ji-yeon cuts him off so that they can get on with the game.
Jong-kook is rarin’ to go and pushes people out of the ring. His eyes are peeled for golden opportunities, ready to bump into someone when they’re still down. Suk-jin spins out following two bumps from Jong-kook and Haha, respectively.
Jong-kook charges into Ji-hyo, but Haha bumps into him until he gets kicked off his feet. But soon Ji-hyo gets knocked out, leaving Haha and Jong-kook behind. It isn’t long before Jong-kook rolls him out of the ring with his feet dangling in the air.
Suk-jin gets pushed out first in the second round, followed by Haha, whom Gary chases out for bumping into Ji-hyo. The Monday Couple works together to attack Kwang-soo, who grabs the first opportunity to eliminate Gary.
On the ground, Ji-hyo grabs Kwang-soo’s leg to pull him down, then climbs out of her bubble to swiftly kick him in the buttocks. He waits until she’s back in her bubble to literally bump her out.
After Gary bumps Ji-hyo out to win the third round, Jong-kook opts to steal Suk-jin’s square on the first floor. His reasoning is that he’s trying to grab the deed, especially when Suk-jin realized that other people might’ve hid their deed square on the second floor.
Jong-kook pulls up the square in the corner that Suk-jin has been sitting on all this time… to find the property deed. With that, he increases his property area from 10 to 16 squares.
Kwang-soo claims to know where Jae-suk’s deed square is, and as soon as they get in the general area, Jae-suk whispers that he knows where Kwang-soo’s is. Immediately, Jong-kook changes course, and Suk-jin picks up on Kwang-soo’s stilted acting to guess that they’re getting warm.
And so they gather around one of Kwang-soo’s lone squares, and Suk-jin does the honor… to find it clean. Jong-kook decides to rip up one of Jae-suk’s squares as payback for false intel. He’s followed Jae-suk’s line of sight once they stepped inside the room too, which doesn’t help.
They go with the square closest to the door, but that one’s clean. Jae-suk whispers into Jong-kook’s ear once more, which convinces him to rip up one of Kwang-soo’s squares. Plus, he has a better chance of grabbing all of Kwang-soo’s property vs. Jae-suk’s.
Noticing that this one square is suspiciously well-placed, Jong-kook plays it up to his audience: “Do you want [to see] it?” They do, and indeed that square is the deed square.
So Jong-kook increases his property size to 28 squares. Asked as to how much property he owns now, Jong-kook feigns innocence: “Does a rich man keep count of his money?”
Jae-suk looks nervous when Gary chooses one of his squares. It doesn’t help when Kwang-soo says he’d been listening when the PD asked Jae-suk where to place his deed either.
Jong-kook points out one square that seems to have been “crying” (because of the wrinkles), to which Jae-suk cries, “I’m the one crying!” Up it goes… and it’s clean.
A little later, Ji-yeon drops by to deliver fried chicken, which the Easy Brothers happily munch on. Jong-kook ends up paying towards the meal. Ji-yeon is also here to describe their next game, where they’ll be betting on a portion of their property squares.
There’s also an opportunity to use Ji-yeon as a substitute—if she wins in their stead, then they can acquire twice as many squares of their ante. She claims that her efforts will be worth their bets, and they can each use this opportunity once.
As Jae-suk reviews the game choices, Haha entices him to go up against him. They agree to put five squares on the line, and Jae-suk uses his Ji-yeon Chance right then and there.
The Lighter Game is simple: They’ll each choose one of five lighters, and whoever doesn’t light it in one shot determines the loser. Both Ji-yeon and Haha choose a lighter, then light it at the count of three…
… and only Haha’s lights up. HAHAHA. This means Jae-suk’s out five squares, and everyone heads back up to the second floor. He pulls up the square Gary almost went with… to find the word “deed” staring back up at him. And so, Haha acquires all of Jae-suk’s property.
Jae-suk is still bitter when the group is called out to participate in the next game. Here, they’ll slowly remove rods that are holding up a pile of balls. They’ll place said ball in their respective baskets whenever one slips through, and the top three people with the least amount of balls in the end will again get to do some property stealing.
Those left to participate are invited to utilize their fallen comrades (which Jae-suk says it better than the Ji-yeon Chance) who can scoop up 10 coins of their own, but the Ji-yeon Chance is still available.
Haha is pleased to see the Easy Brothers appeal to Jong-kook, but Jae-suk has no intention to grovel: “Aren’t you going to see me on Saturday?” HA. (He means for their OTHER variety show, Infinite Challenge.)
Gary decides to use his Ji-yeon Chance while Jong-kook opts for Suk-jin. Ji-hyo gets one ball when she removes one rod, and drops a few more on her second turn. Jae-suk hits Kwang-soo with one well-timed ball, and yes, I rewound just to watch it again.
Jae-suk doesn’t miss any opportunity to remind Ji-yeon how well she’s doing now vs. when she was playing for him earlier. Haha gets two consecutive ball showers on his turns, and when Jae-suk reminds Gary that Ji-hyo’s watching him with Ji-yeon, he jokes, “Isn’t that all in the past?”
At this rate, it looks like Gary is all set to win it, which puts Jong-kook in a high possibility of being eliminated. After Ji-yeon’s final turn, Haha ends it by pulling out the second to last rod in a dramatic fashion.
When the winners pick up their squares, Kwang-soo immediately attends to Gary, since there’s a good chance Gary might be his new boss. That doesn’t sit well with Jong-kook.
Then it’s time for the grand finale, which the previews tell us holds plenty of reversals. Gary is up first with his 10 squares, so he heads for the dining room where we initially found Jong-kook under the open window.
His first two choices yield nothing, but Gary is determined to see things through. That third square is clean too, so Gary decides to set his sights elsewhere. They head upstairs to the bedroom, and the fourth time is a charm. With that Gary gains Jong-kook’s wealth and property, as well as two lackeys.
Gary still has six chances left and moves on to Ji-hyo’s property. And within two squares, he pulls up the deed square.
Now with four chances remaining, this puts Haha in an uneasy predicament. Haha has marked his territory all throughout the house, so Gary tries putting himself in his shoes. He decides to pull up a lone square… but that one’s clean.
Jong-kook points out that second square near the dining room table, which leads nowhere. (His argument is that Haha would find a way to easily travel through the house before planting other property). Haha can’t bring himself to watch the possible massacre… and when that square is pulled up, there’s the deed.
Haha can’t believe it even when he sees it, but that doesn’t change the fact that Gary is our victorious landowner. Every inch of The House now belongs to him and he picks up a trip to Jeju (for four!) as well.
He passes over the trip to Ji-yeon, the self-proclaimed good luck charm. Niiiccceee.