Radiant Office: Episode 15
If I’d known that all it takes is a couple of beers to get these two flirting, I’d have suggested it a long time ago! This episode offers plenty of cute to go along with the inevitable angst as we barrel our way towards the final showdown with Hyun. He seems bound and determined to do everything wrong despite all advice to the contrary, and someone is going to have to face him. Personally, I’m betting on our girl Ho-won.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Ho-won confronts Hyun during a meeting, fearlessly insisting that it’s employment fraud to promise a job to the design contest winner only to then rescind the job offer. Both Manager Park and Suk-kyung try unsuccessfully to calm her down, but Woo-jin just watches her with a mixture of worry and admiration. Hyun ends the meeting and goes back to his office, though Ho-won’s words seem to have shaken him on some level.
Suk-kyung pulls Ho-won aside to ask if she’s crazy, but Ho-won argues that Hyun put her in charge of the contest, so it’s her responsibility to speak up at the injustice. When Suk-kyung says that Ho-won should have spoken to her first, Ho-won reminds her that it was Hyun who said at the company dinner that he wants to eliminate rank and position.
Suk-kyung angrily tells Ho-won that it’s time for her to adjust to the office atmosphere and stop saying whatever she wants, but again, Ho-won disagrees. She says that it’s not what she wants to say, but what needs to be said. She asks how lying to college students could possibly be beneficial to the company.
Suk-kyung is finished, but Yong-jae makes sure that Ho-won knows he thinks what she did was stupid. He snaps at her to stop thinking like a struggling student and start thinking like a person who has a job to protect.
Woo-jin reports to Hyun, who says that he thinks Suk-kyung is doing a great job these days. Woo-jin admits that it’s difficult for the marketing team lately with nothing to do (Hyun has forbidden them to work on any new marketing campaigns), so Hyun tells him that a restructuring will be announced soon.
He puts Woo-jin in charge, but Woo-jin knows that only means he has to decide who gets fired. He warns Hyun that restructuring without a good reason will lower morale, but of course Hyun doesn’t listen. He orders Woo-jin to check the employees’ review scores and make a list of those who will be let go.
Ho-won walks home that night on the verge of tears, exhausted and disillusioned, only to find Woo-jin waiting at her gate. He gently complains that she’s always causing trouble, but Ho-won says sadly that people like him can’t understand how desperate people like her are. She cries that they have no right to take advantage of other people’s hope and breaks down sobbing, but all Woo-jin can do is take her in his arms and try to comfort her.
They sit on a bench to talk, and Ho-won says that it feels terrible to be unable to speak up when things are unfair. Woo-jin agrees, feeling that way a lot himself, lately. Ho-won says that the applicants aren’t speaking up about the unfair change in the contest only because they’re afraid of backlash.
More worried for Ho-won, and knowing that people are about to be fired, Woo-jin asks if she can let it go. Ho-won reminds Woo-jin that when she was hired, he told her to take responsibility for her decisions, but now she feels like she’s in charge of deceiving the contest applicants.
Again, Woo-jin tells her to look the other way just this once. Sure that he was going to support her and urge her to stick to her principles, Ho-won says that she’s disappointed in him and goes home without another word.
Woo-jin goes to see Hyun in Chairman Seo’s hospital room to humbly beg him to reconsider the restructuring. He argues that there’s more to an individual than cold hard numbers, and that their review scores don’t reflect ability alone. Hyun refuses, but he does promise to hold off deciding how many people to let go until he sees Woo-jin’s list.
The next day, Woo-jin goes over everyone’s most recent performance reviews, but the chore only depresses him. Ji-na comes to his office to bring him the budget review, and she expresses that it feels strange to be facing the off-season without any marketing campaigns planned.
Woo-jin asks if Ji-na’s father still works, whether she has siblings who have jobs, and if she has any marriage plans. She answers, though she wonders why he’s asking personal questions all of a sudden, and she says it’s nice that he’s taking an interest.
During a moment when the office is empty, Ki-taek brings Ji-na some paperwork to check over. She slips movie tickets onto the clipboard and hands it back for his “approval,” and he pockets the tickets. He hands the clipboard back to show her the train tickets to a weekend getaway that he’s included in the report. Too cute.
Ji-na simpers happily, and Ki-taek takes her hands and says that he has something to tell her while on the trip. Yong-jae breaks up their little flirting session, complaining about dating at the office, but Ji-na shuts him up by threatening to tell everyone his embarrassing little secret. When Ki-taek asks about the secret, Ji-na just giggles.
Yong-jae goes to the break room to grumble his frustration at Ji-na for thinking he could ever like a girl like her. But his vehemence only proves that she knows exactly why he hates seeing her with Ki-taek.
Ki-taek takes a break with Kang-ho and Ho-won, and he complains that he’s been extremely tired lately and has no appetite. He confides that he’s been studying to become a chef, and that he’s going to tell Ji-na when they go on their trip. Even though Woo-jin offered to extend his contract, Ki-taek says that it’s time to start thinking of his long-term plans.
He tells his friends that his dream has always been to live a normal life with a wife and children. But then he realized that by working in an office, he’s been chasing a dream that belonged to other people. Kang-ho admits that he’s often wondered if this is his dream, or his mother’s.
Ki-taek continues that he’s always loved to cook, and his friends conform that his cooking is delicious. He says that he plans to get his license so that he can help his parents in their restaurant, and eventually open one of his own.
Later as Ho-won sends design entry confirmations, she gets an email from one contestant asking if the winner will really get a job with Hauline. She recognizes it as being from the girl who brought her entry in person, which the design team leader then threw away, and she starts to draft a response.
She’s interrupted by Woo-jin and tries to hide behind her desk, but he spots her and asks her to make some copies. She complies with cold indifference, still angry at him. Ji-na finds Ho-won cringing in the copy room and asks her to pick up a birthday cake on her way to work tomorrow.
Woo-jin and Gu-dong share a drink at a pojangmacha after work, where Gu-dong volunteers himself for Woo-jin’s cut list. Woo-jin wearily lists the personal reasons why he doesn’t feel comfortable firing anyone on the team, such as Suk-kyung being a single mom or Yong-jae’s debt from paying for his siblings’ college.
Gu-dong cuts him off with his own personal reason, that his parents are in nursing homes with dementia, and Woo-jin confesses that he’s never considered his employees’ personal lives before. Gu-dong insists again that he be on the list, citing his own slipping employee reviews and saying that he’s ready to retire.
He tells Woo-jin that he knew his time was short when Hyun showed up, particularly since he’s one of Chairman Seo’s people. Woo-jin asks what he should do, and Gu-dong says he has two options: do as Hyun says, or don’t do as Hyun says.
Woo-jin arrives the next morning to an empty office, then he’s surprised when everyone bursts from the break room singing “Happy Birthday.” Ho-won carries the cake (Woo-jin blows out the candles in her face, ha), and she offers him a smile, having decided to forgive him.
Everyone sits down for some cake, and while they’re all together, Woo-jin tells them about the upcoming restructuring and inevitable firings. Shocked, Manager Park accuses Suk-kyung of knowing about this and not telling him. Ho-won realizes that this is why Woo-jin asked her not to make waves right now.
Woo-jin tells the group that he thought it would be better for them to come up with a solution together, and first he asks for volunteers to resign. Gu-dong sweetly tells the new hires not to worry, that it’s the older employees who aren’t at their peak anymore who are in danger.
Woo-jin retreats to his office and finds a gift on his desk. The attached note identifies that it’s from Ho-won, who writes that when she first met him, she desperately wanted to impress him. The second time she was bolder, and the third time, after getting the job at Hauline, he rejected her by making the sales team take her.
The note continues with Ho-won thanking Woo-jin for everything he’s taught her about working hard and taking responsibility, and especially about proving her own worth. She promises to continue learning if he will teach her and concludes by saying that having him as her first boss is the best thing that’s ever happened to her. Woo-jin opens the gift to find a beautiful tie, and he smiles.
Kang-ho worries that Woo-jin is secretly watching them all to decide who to fire, but Ki-taek defends him, saying that if that were true, he wouldn’t have told them all about it. They agree that things have gotten worse with Hyun around, and Kang-ho warns Ho-won to be careful of him.
Hyun is very unhappy to hear from Manager Park about Woo-jin telling the office about the restructuring. Suk-kyung sticks up for Woo-jin, saying that he asked if anyone would resign voluntarily, but Hyun thinks Woo-jin’s way of doing business is out of line.
The marketing team go out for dinner and a beer, where Woo-jin declares that tonight is for fun only. But a few beers later, Ji-na is an emotional mess. She slurs that she can’t quit because she has to provide for Ki-taek, who looks embarrassed and begs her to stop. But she says that there’s no law that says the man must be the breadwinner, and that she’s okay with him being her house-husband. She’s actually a pretty adorable drunk.
Woo-jin finds her funny and wonders out loud who will support him if he stops worrying. Ho-won says that she’s jealous, and Ki-taek mentions that he wants to set her up with someone, which draws Woo-jin’s sharp attention. Ho-won tells Ki-taek to stop it, while at the same time enjoying Woo-jin’s reaction.
Then Woo-jin barks that she promised to learn from him, so she has no time for dating. But he waves at her to go ahead if she wants, then mutters into his beer that she was confessing to him not that long ago. Eek, he heard her! He can’t help but ask if Ho-won plans to go on the blind date, and she purposely says yes just to torture him.
Later Ki-taek piggybacks Ji-na home while she issues drunk threats if anyone dares to fire her. Ki-taek says that his love will never change even if he’s poor, so she gets down and orders him never to make her pathetic over him. Happy beyond words, Ki-taek just hugs Ji-na and kisses her forehead.
Woo-jin also walks Ho-won home, and they stop on a playground to talk. Ho-won confirms that he told her not to make a fuss over the contest because of the restructuring. Woo-jin assures her that nobody lower than assistant manager level will be fired.
He thanks Ho-won for the tie and the note, which makes her shy. He oh-so-casually asks a third time if she’s going on that blind date, and she says that she should, while watching carefully for his reaction. Inexplicably, Woo-jin just says that he heard from Ki-taek that she makes good kimbap, then he says she should make some tomorrow. You two are so cute!
Working late, Suk-kyung finally tells Kang-ho to go home. He gives her a gift as thanks for buying their dinner that time, then he barely makes it out of the office without tripping over every chair on the way. Smooth. Suk-kyung opens the gift to find a new wallet with one of Kang-ho’s business cards tucked inside.
The following morning, Ho-won makes kimbap, bouncing in excitement. Her roommate Hyo-ri teases her about her date, though Ho-won insists it’s not a date. But in case it is a date, she offers Hyo-ri half the kimbap if she’ll lend Ho-won a dress.
Woo-jin takes Ho-won on a picnic overlooking the river. He compliments the kimbap, lamenting that he only knows how to make kimchi stew. He suggests they trade his kimchi stew for her kimbap, then he flusters Ho-won by leaning in close to pluck a grain of rice off her lip.
Remembering how Woo-jin once told her not to let anyone at work know that they live in the same neighborhood for fear of gossip, Ho-won asks Woo-jin if he’s worried someone will see them together. But today he acts like it’s no big deal, saying that he doesn’t care what they think even if they do see them, which makes Ho-won all fluttery.
After lunch they go on a bike ride, and when it gets bumpy, Woo-jin instructs Ho-won to hold onto him. She enjoys the chance to wrap her arms around him and snuggle close, smiling widely (and HAHA, at one point they hit a big bump and you can hear the camera crew laugh!).
Manager Park runs into former-CEO Han eating at a convenience store and tries to sneak away, but Han spots him and tells him to sit. Manager Park tells Han about Hyun taking over and reorganizing, and Han philosophically sighs that execution day is approaching.
They’re joined by the store owner, Ho-won’s former boss, and Han tells Manager Park that he’s thinking of opening a convenience store like this one. Manager Park thinks it’s a good idea, but the store owner, sensing incoming competition, does his best to convince them that owning a store is awful.
Ji-na tries calling Ki-taek when he fails to show up for their weekend trip, but he doesn’t answer. He can’t, because he’s writhing on the floor of his apartment, clutching his belly in agony. Oh no, it’s Ki-taek, isn’t it? He’s the one who’s sick.
Woo-jin and Ho-won take a break from the bike and settle on a bench (and hee, Ho-won accidentally sits on Woo-jin’s hand). Ho-won gives Woo-jin a talisman from her mother, guaranteed to give him luck at work, but he says that this kind of easy luck is also easily lost.
He gives the talisman back for her to use herself, urging Ho-won to aim at becoming Hauline’s first female CEO. He says that if anyone can do it, she can, though he also reminds her to know when to hold back. She asks if he’s trying to help her, but Woo-jin shakes his head. He says that instead of him doing it for her, they can do it together.
Ji-na waits outside Ki-taek’s place until late, when he finally drags himself home (from the hospital?). She starts to fuss at him for not calling her, but he just grabs her in a tight hug and begins to sob. He says that he just found out that a very close friend is sick and may be dying and cries like his heart is broken while apologizing over and over. Dammit.
Later, Ki-taek makes dinner for the two of them. He piles up food on Ji-na’s rice, barely choking down his own meal while trying his best to hold back more tears.
On Monday morning he’s in a better mood, smiling as he gets to work. He tells Kang-ho that he’s happy because all of the people he loves are here where he can see them. Ho-won joins them, and they notice how happy she seems, but she doesn’t tell them about her not-a-date with Woo-jin. Even Kang-ho had a good weekend, having had a good talk with his father.
Ji-na notices Woo-jin’s birthday tie at the morning meeting, and he says that someone with good taste gave it to him, which has Ho-won twitching with excitement. Woo-jin assigns Ho-won and Ki-taek to work on an upcoming online promotion, and everyone notices that Ki-taek is completely checked out.
Woo-jin makes a point to give each team member a good long look before he leaves the room. He does the same with the office itself, then he heads to Hyun’s office for a meeting. Oh no, he seems sad—what’s he planning?
With the managers there, Hyun says that he’s thinking of laying off two people from their departments. He asks Woo-jin for his choices, but Woo-jin says there’s nobody to lay off. He argues that there are only four of them, so they need every person.
Hyun snaps angrily, saying that he refuses to put up with Woo-jin’s behavior. In response, Woo-jin slaps a file onto Hyun’s desk and says that he needs authorization on it. Hyun opens the file to find Woo-jin’s resignation letter inside.
Don’t you do this, Show, don’t you do it. I will hate you forever if you kill off Ki-taek, I mean it. He’s had a hard enough time — he’s spent the entire show pining for the love of his life, then he didn’t get the job he needs to win her back, then when he miraculously got her back anyway, he finds out he may be dying. Ki-taek is such a sweet, pure soul who works hard and loves even harder. He’s just decideded what he wants to do with his life. If his reward after all this is a terminal illness, then I’m just done with you, Show.
Not to mention, I’ve been angry with Hyun for weeks now, but I’m going to have a very serious problem with him if he’s known that Ki-taek was sick for months and hasn’t said anything. I’d hoped that maybe the test results he discussed the night of the attempted suicides was about another patient, because I couldn’t fathom anyone keeping such information from the patient. But Hyun seemed to know something when the four of them went out for drinks, the way he kept asking Ki-taek about his health, and Ki-taek had even said he’s been having stomach issues. As a doctor, it’s not just irresponsible for Hyun not to disclose a life-threatening illness, it’s actually criminal. If Ki-taek could have been saved by earlier treatment and ends up dying all because Hyun didn’t tell him about his test results, then I want to see Hyun in prison. He’s danced around the ethics of his actions ever since meeting Ho-won and her friends, but if he lets Ki-taek die when all he had to do was give him a heads-up that he could be sick, then he needs to go away for a very long time.
On to a happier subject — I really love how Woo-jin is changing for the better, not because he’s forced to or because anyone expects it of him, but simply from being exposed to another perspective by Ho-won. A few months ago he would have compiled a list of employees to fire easily, never knowing or caring how it would affect them. As someone who could quit a job for trivial reasons and get a new one within days because of his specs, it never occurred to Woo-jin that not everyone can just go out and get a job with ease. But now he’s seen what a job means to people who have to struggle for it, and how important it is for their sense of personal pride and accomplishment. He can no longer turn a blind eye to how his words and decisions can harm those who depend on their job for more than just money.
And Woo-jin’s awakening to the value of a good job extends to himself as well, because for the first time, he has a place and people that actually matter to him. He cares about the employees at Hauline and understands that it’s on him to protect them. So I liked seeing him struggle over the decision to quit, unwilling to fall back into his old ways of bailing at the slightest hint of a mildly uncomfortable situation. But I also think that he’s tried everything he can to oppose Hyun’s way of managing — refusal, negotiation, even bargaining — and now he’s realized that he there’s nothing he can do to alter things when Hyun’s mind is made up. He’s learned from Ho-won that even though the job is an honorable thing to fight for, sometimes standing up for what’s right is more important than caving in fear in order to keep that job.
- 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