Running Man: Episode 323
Our cast will feel the restraint of being kept on a leash this week when they’re forced to answer to every beck and call of their masters. But this game is also rife with bombs and gold, so these pairings will need to work as a team if they have any shot at victory. This game is full of switcharoos and unexpected surprises, and only team will take the victory home.
EPISODE 323. Broadcast on October 30, 2016.
Today’s opening begins in Paju, where the guys each receive an earpiece and told to obey their masters. So when Kwang-soo gets out of the car to greet his hyungs, the voice in his ear immediately tells him not to and take five steps forward.
He obeys his orders like the Kwangvatar he is, and one by one each voice comes online. The voice in Jong-kook’s ear tells him to lift his shirt, and when he shows the t-shirt underneath, she asks to see his six-pack.
He does as told and asks the staff if this is okay. The voice says it’s fine, they’ll just blur the image, and the crew blurs out everything BUT his abs.
Now that the voices have had their fun, they’re given their first mission: use their avatars to find the specific hidden chair. The avatars run around the set, and though, Gary and Suk-jin find the chair, four guys haul the item back to their starting point.
Suk-jin repeats a two-line acrostic poem that Jong-kook responds with a slap. But the game isn’t over yet as the voices say that their avatar must sit in the chair on the mat, which Haha is instructed to steal. But then Jong-kook swoops in to sit in the chair.
Time to introduce the faces behind the voices: actress Seo Ji-hye (Jealousy Incarnate) has been speaking with Jae-suk, but is totally lost when Haha swears they’ve met over a decade ago. Turns out they were both on an episode of War of the Roses on KBS back in 2002.
The voice in Haha’s ear is comedian Kim Joon-hyun, who is a familiar face ’round these parts. Ji-hyo is the voice in Kwang-soo’s ear, and Jong-kook greets his voice, comedienne Jang Do-yeon.
Comedian Yang Se-chan is the voice in Suk-jin’s ear, and then SHINee’s Min-ho pops his head out.
Entitled “Avatar House,” today’s race will start off with each team selecting two out of twelve available briefcases. One briefcases contains gold bars whereas two others have explosives. They’ll have chances to exchange briefcases throughout the day, but the teams who are in possession of the explosives in the end will face punishment.
Do-yeon and Jong-kook are given first pick as well as a hint for winning the first mission. They learn the explosives are somewhere between briefcases seven and twelve, so they choose briefcase four and six.
Everyone else chooses their briefcases and head inside where the avatars are bossed around and told to sit on their tiny stools. When Haha asks how old Avatar Suk-jin is, the latter responds, “Close to hwanggap .”
Ji-hyo hits her avatar when he starts eating without her permission: “I told you to peel it, not eat it!” She teases the clementine before feeding it to him while Jae-suk remarks that Avatar Gary’s looks pale in extreme comparison to his master.
The teams are welcome to check their briefcases, and one of Jae-suk and Ji-hye’s contain a bomb while the other is empty. Do-yeon brightens when she sees her briefcase contains gold.
A little later, the teams are informed of their first mission: Backhug Jjajangmyun. Here the masters will feed their avatars from behind while blindfolded. Whichever pair empties their bowl first, will be able to switch out a briefcase for one they want.
As the avatars get ready, Suk-jin reveals that this will be the first bowl of jjajangmyun Jong-kook has had in three years. Do-yeon: “Can’t we just feed him chicken breast dipped in jjajang sauce?”
Jae-suk is taken aback when Ji-hye gets close to test out a method. Haha: “Why do you like your master that much?” Jae-suk spits a three-line acrostic poem of “jjajangmyun” at Suk-jin, and Do-yeon hops on that train with a punchline that says she ought to hurt that mug (myunsang) of his.
All the masters get moving from the start, and while some avatars inhale the noodles, Se-chan complete misses Suk-jin’s mouth. A quick check-in teaches us that Ji-hye and Jae-suk are ahead, and they finish soon afterward.
Ji-hyo berates Kwang-soo for not eating fast enough while Gary says at one point, his master was pressing upon his neck so he’d eat faster. Jae-suk and Ji-hye choose one of Do-yeon and Jong-kook’s briefcases, and both teams slip out to check.
Jong-kook and Do-yeon keep it together despite getting a bomb while Jae-suk and Ji-hye rejoice in silence over acquiring gold. They rejoin the group, and when Jae-suk mentions how surprisingly competitive Ji-hye is, he also knows Min-ho is the same. Jong-kook: “If [Min-ho] loses one more time, he’ll flip his lid.”
The masters and avatars switch places for this next round, and Ji-hye sweetly offers Joon-hyun some of her noodles. As expected, Kwang-soo opts to get some revenge and grabs the noodles with his hand to draw it to Ji-hyo’s mouth.
Even though Joon-hyun has the lead, the ladies aren’t far behind. But it’s Joon-hyun who wins in the end, and he says in the second half, Haha’s hand felt like his own. Min-ho might be upset by the loss, but at least his face is clean of jjajang sauce unlike Ji-hyo.
She says Kwang-soo even tried to open her mouth at one point. She responded by biting his thumb. Still, Haha and Joon-hyun are allowed to switch briefcases. Haha is scolded when he says they’ll switch with Jae-suk and “my dongsaeng,” only for Joon-hyun to follow up that they’ll switch with Jae-suk and “his dongsaeng.” Heh.
Both teams make the switch, and Ji-hye and Jae-suk are ecstatic that they still have the gold. Everyone can tell that they’re acting, but they don’t know to protect what.
The next game is called “My Avatar Can” where the masters will place a bid on whether their avatar can win or not. Auctioneer Kim Min-seo will oversee the games where the rules are: only the highest bidder can volunteer his or her avatar.
If the team succeeds, they’ll be given a chance to trade briefcases; however if they lose, they will need to show one briefcase to everyone. Min-ho hones in on Jae-suk when he asks if they only need to show one, which suggests that Jae-suk has something.
The first game is breaking as many bananas in one minute, which is a relatively easy task. Ji-hye surprises Jae-suk when she wonders if she should bid for 30. The auction starts off with Se-chan agreeing to 10, and Ji-hyo ups that bid to 20.
That number keeps rising, and Ji-hye bids for 48. Soon that number reaches 61 thanks to Se-chan, and the auctioneer keeps the bid going for a few more seconds before Do-yeon calls out: “70!”
Auctioneer Kim gives the floor a final chance… and then Ji-hyo calls out: “71!” But then Se-chan responds with 80, and Ji-hyo gets in again with 81. Do-yeon gets in on the bidding war with 85, and wins it.
Jong-kook is presented with a pile of fresh bananas, then starts ripping into the pile. He gets through half by the halfway mark and starts to slow down in the final seconds. He doesn’t get through them all, and Haha jokes that his master will eat all 85 bananas.
After enjoying some banana smoothies, Jong-kook and Do-yeon must show one of their briefcases. It’s a bomb.
Again, the masters and avatars switch roles for the second round of this game. This time, the masters will need to split chopsticks within one minute, and Do-yeon proudly says that her comedic experience has made her an expert in splitting chopsticks with her butt cheeks.
Jae-suk says his master can do that too, and Ji-hye replies, “What?” The auction starts off with 10, and when Kwang-soo drives that number up to 60, everyone yells at him for taking the fun out of things.
Auctioneer Kim resets the count by enforcing a rule that they can only bid one more at a time, and then Kwang-soo has to stop himself before offering “60” again. Min-ho notices that Suk-jin and Se-chan are just trying to drive up the auction, and after Jong-kook agrees to 58, Kwang-soo again cries out: “60!”
Jong-kook and Suk-jin call even higher numbers, and then Jae-suk says his master will go for 66. Everyone withdraws so they can see it for themselves. Ji-hye starts splitting and immediately yells at Jae-suk when he doesn’t keep up.
She gets into a rhythm, but the timer runs out with five pairs of chopsticks remaining. They need to show one briefcase, and Min-ho figures it’s the one that shows evidence of a former sticker. Unfortunately for them, it’s just an empty briefcase.
Both the master and avatar will bid to play in this third round: Couple Jump rope. Gary and Min-ho have a great rhythm, and so do Jae-suk and Ji-hye… until Jae-suk trips and she asks, “Why did you trip?”
The bidding starts with three, and soon the numbers jump to the double digits. Suk-jin claims he and Se-chan have a shot, but then Min-ho spikes up the bid to 41. Se-chan calls out 50, and Min-ho lets them have it.
Immediate regret follows, and Se-chan says Suk-jin has a bad knee. Haha thinks it’ll be funny if they can’t even do one… but no, Suk-jin can’t even jump twice.
They can’t even jump at the same time, but the surprise everyone once they start. They get to 19 before the jump rope catches on Se-chan’s feet. Their chosen briefcase is empty, and thus ends the second game.
The third game is called Obstacle Card Race, where the masters will try to stick as many of the correctly spelled spoken words on their person. However many cards they acquire will determine the difficulty of the obstacle course for the avatars later on.
Ji-hye has trouble understanding the rules, which prompts Jae-suk to talk about how nervous Ji-hye was during the break because she thinks she came off too strong. Much like the other guys, he’d told her that it was already too late today.
Everyone gets a peek at the cards before the start, but once that word is announced, there’s plenty of pushing and shoving. It’s Ji-hyo and Min-ho who gets the first word “acupressure mat”, though Ji-hyo realizes that she could NOT do anything and let her avatar, Kwang-soo, suffer later.
The second word is “plunger”, and Ji-hyo steps back from the chaos. Joon-hyun sprawls on the mat, but he doesn’t immediately realizes that he’s practically sitting on top of the word. Se-chan isn’t afraid to go in there, and Ji-hye looks lost among the misspelled words.
Min-ho finds the correct word again and so does Joon-hyun. For a second, Ji-hye believes she’s found the right word too, only to be told that “plunger” is spelled with a double consonant. Annoyed, she tears off the other words and slams them onto the mat.
All the masters run toward the mat for the third and final round, looking for “puddle.” They crawl over the mat, and at one point, Ji-hye tries to get underneath Joon-hyun’s bottom.
She gets dragged away, but not before she plasters the correct word onto her own butt. Joon-hyun is still in shock, but Ji-hye gets the word.
Now the avatars line up for their specialized obstacle course race. Gary is in the lead at first, followed by Haha and Kwang-soo. He gains more distance when the others are caught in the hurdles while poor Suk-jin brings up the rear all on his own.
Jong-kook catches up to Gary by the fishnet leg of the race, but Kwang-soo is free to keep moving on. Jae-suk looks like he’s about to cinch the lead for himself when Gary runs up on all fours…
… and wins. Ji-hyo sweetly patches up Kwang-soo, who jokes that he has a love-hate relationship with his mom too. Gary and Min-ho have the chance to switch briefcases, so they choose Jae-suk and Ji-hye.
Jong-kook can tell from Min-ho’s overacting that he’s got gold. He can also tell that Ji-hye is upset again. We’re thrown into the final mission, Bomb Hide-and-Seek, where only four out of six teams can escape if they have two suitcases containing gold.
Since Ji-hye and Jae-suk along with Do-yeon and Jong-kook are in possession of bombs, they can tear off another master’s nametag in order to pass along the bombs. Jae-suk suggests that they pretend as if they don’t have the bomb whereas Kwang-soo and Ji-hyo adopt the opposite strategy.
Unfortunately for them, they run right into Jong-kook and Do-yeon. Time to run! Jong-kook eventually catches up to Ji-hyo, though the right to tear off the nametag remains in Do-yeon’s hands.
Kwang-soo yells at her to hit Jong-kook in the family jewels, but Do-yeon tears off Ji-hyo’s nametag anyway. Now their roles are reversed, though she’s slightly reassured that the news of the reversal isn’t out in the open yet.
Jae-suk and Ji-hye keep up the ruse when they meet Haha and Joon-hyun. They run a play pretending that someone is coming to allow Ji-hye to swoop in and attack. She rips off Joon-hyun’s nametag to pass the bomb to their team.
Meanwhile, Se-chan and Suk-jin follow the noise to see Jong-kook teaching Ji-hyo and Kwang-soo a lesson for trying to attack them. Kwang-soo gives chase, and Suk-jin loses his master.
Even Se-chan’s VJ doesn’t know where his subject has run off to, though a few of the stationary cameras installed throughout the building catch glimpses of his whereabouts. But Se-chan does appear in the lobby in time to warn Gary and Min-ho before he starts running again.
Kwang-soo and Ji-hyo do catch up to Gary and Min-ho, who’s tickled to the ground. Se-chan and Suk-jin are reunited, but it isn’t long before they cross paths with Haha and Joon-hyun. Se-chan starts running when Suk-jin is held back, but he runs right into Kwang-soo’s waiting arms.
He and Joon-hyun eventually flag Se-chan down to give him the bomb. But Haha and Joon-hyun can barely take a breath before they turn the corner to see Gary and Min-ho. Needless to say, Joon-hyun gets the bomb again, and then Gary finds a gold briefcase which allows him and Min-ho to escape.
We catch up with Jong-kook and Do-yeon after they find their first gold briefcase. She gets so excited when they find another one that she squeals, “If this is gold, let’s date.” It is, and a flustered Jong-kook says she should consider how he feels too.
Only four more gold briefcases remain, but we see Ji-hyo spot two more with her eagle-eyed vision. Both Jae-suk and Ji-hye and Haha and Joon-hyun only need one more briefcase to escape, but Se-chan has his eye on Ji-hye, and tears off her nametag.
Haha and Joon-hyun attack when Se-chan and Suk-jin turn the corner. Joon-hyun tears off Se-chan’s nametag and even finds a briefcase. I’m not sure why the discovery of their first gold briefcase is a big reveal when the graphic five minutes ago told us the same thing, but in the end, Haha and Joon-hyun are the last ones to escape.
The bottom two teams will engage in a death match where each team will choose one of two briefcases. The masters can choose whether or not to do one last switch, which will be determined by an electric shock.
Both Se-chan and Ji-hye push their buttons, and Ji-hye withstands the oncoming pain. They go for another round, and this time, Se-chan yelps in pain. They both check their respective briefcases while their avatars nervously sit under flour-filled balloons.
Se-chan acts as if he’s giving Ji-hye an opportunity when she’s deciding on a briefcase. She chooses the one to his right and opens it…
… to win the game. Suk-jin gets a flour explosion and shares a powdery hug with Se-chan. As for Ji-hye, it’s her fierce spirit that makes her the Competition Incarnate.