Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 3
It’s a crash lesson in the life of a deliveryman as Jin-gyu attempts to repay a debt he owes. While Kang-soo gets closer to figuring out what happened the night of Hyun-soo’s accident, Dan-ah is offered the chance to move closer to her ultimate goal of escaping overseas thanks to a bit of kindness on her part. That leaves Ji-yoon, who has to decide what’s more important in the end: her family, or her independence.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Jin-gyu dangles over the side of the bridge, pleading with Dan-ah to save him. But her feet slip and they both fall, splashing into the water below. As Dan-ah hits the water, a flashback shows Dan-ah at that very same bridge with tears in her eyes as she asked her mother to forgive her before jumping into the water.
Current-day Dan-ah drags the unconscious Jin-gyu out of the river. On the riverbank, Dan-ah desperately begs him to wake up as she performs CPR. Intermingled with Dan-ah’s CPR efforts are flashbacks to when a stranger saved Dan-ah in the exact same way.
When Jin-gyu finally comes to, Dan-ah bursts into tears, sobbing as deeply as she did the day the woman saved her own life. Jin-gyu, with tears in his own eyes, watches as Dan-ah weeps.
Kang-soo and his other delivery buddy, Sung-jae, find out that if Hyun-soo had made it to the hospital just ten minutes earlier, the doctors could have stopped the bleeding and prevented him from slipping into a coma.
Hyun-soo’s grandmother sees all the worried deliverymen waiting outside the ICU. She reassures them that Hyun-soo is doing well and that he’ll hopefully wake up soon, then she shoos them out since she knows they all have to work in the morning.
She continues that she doesn’t want them falling asleep on their bikes and getting into their own accidents. Aw, the delivery guys really respect her like she’s their own grandmother. As the guys get on their bikes and ride away, Kang-soo looks back at the hospital, willing Hyun-soo to wake up.
At a convenience store by the river, Dan-ah buys Jin-gyu a drink. He thanks her for saving him, and she asks him why he tried to kill himself. Jin-gyu quietly says he didn’t want to live like an idiot — he realized that nothing was going to change, so he decided to end his pointless life.
Dan-ah wonders what he does for a living, but Jin-gyu tells her that he just plays around. She finds that difficult to understand, assuming he must mean he’s looking for a job or studying for the civil service exam. Jin-gyu reiterates that he just has fun — he gets drunk, dates a lot of women, and hangs out with his friends. Dan-ah can’t believe that Jin-gyu has no shame in admitting that he still gets money from his parents.
She asks him why he wanted to kill himself when he could have kept living such an easy life. Jin-gyu sighs that even hanging out with his friends was becoming dull and pointless, since he was doing the same thing over and over. He just wanted to end it all, he says.
Dan-ah slowly clarifies that, while other people have been working their butts off for minimum wage or struggling to find better jobs, Jin-gyu’s just been having fun until he decided it was too tiresome, and therefore he decided to try and kill himself.
Outside, Dan-ah kicks him (in the legs, this time) as she tells him to go back in the river and die — she won’t intervene this time. She’s angry that she risked her life to save him when he’s never experienced a hard day of work in his life. She demands to know if he’s even aware of how many other people out there live in dire circumstances that would give them good reason to die.
Jin-gyu bursts out that he’s an idiot and that’s why he tried to kill himself, but he couldn’t even do that successfully. He adds that he hates himself and people like him. He starts to cry as he apologizes, fully aware that she risked her life to save his own worthless one. Despite her irritation, Dan-ah seems resigned to his explanation.
Jin-gyu says that they should leave before he feels even more like a pathetic idiot, and Dan-ah agrees that they should go their separate ways. Jin-gyu asks for her phone number so he can pay her back, and she scornfully asks if he’s going to use his mother’s money. He tells her that he generally asks his brother for money in these kinds of situations, which earns him another kick.
Thanks to her life-saving detour, Dan-ah arrives late to the English learning center. She gets a scolding from the director, and she offers to clean without getting her free lesson for the day to repent.
It’s time for restaurant staff to arrive, and Kang-soo tells Ji-yoon she needs to leave his room for the day. Since it’s the weekend and Ji-yoon isn’t working, she was planning to just stay upstairs, but Kang-soo tells her there’s no way she can keep quiet enough to prevent anyone from finding out that she’s there.
Kang-soo tells her to leave, but she pouts that she doesn’t have any money to go anywhere. He loans her some, and she cheerfully tells him that she’ll pay him back as soon as she gets her paycheck. In order to exit without anyone seeing her, she climbs down from the balcony, reassuring Kang-soo that she’s an expert at scaling walls.
After Ji-yoon successfully escapes, Dan-ah marches upstairs to find out what’s taking Kang-soo so long to come down and start his shift. She opens the door just after he’s accidentally knocked into Ji-yoon’s laundry that’s hanging up, and when Dan-ah finds him standing there holding a bra, she rolls her eyes at his supposedly perverted ways and orders him downstairs.
At the restaurant, everyone preps for the day ahead. Kang-soo bumps into Dan-ah as he’s mopping the floor, and she flinches in pain. She inspects a nasty bruise on her side that she got from falling in the river. She can also tell she’s getting a fever, but she realizes that she can’t call in sick when there’s so much work to do.
When Dan-ah arrives at a high-rise for a delivery, she discovers that the freight elevator is broken. The security guard refuses to let her use the regular elevator since the tenants will throw a fit if they see a delivery person on “their” elevator, so Dan-ah has to climb twenty flights of stairs — a feat which would be difficult in any circumstance, but especially so in her weakened condition.
She finally reaches the apartment and sets out the food in front of smirking and giggling high school students. Dan-ah knows that the girls purposefully ordered delivery just to make the her walk up twenty flights of stairs, and she wearily warns them not to do it again, adding that she gets scary when she’s angry.
One of the girls snidely says that she should be able to order food whenever she wants without having to worry about the person who delivers it. Annoyed, Dan-ah tells them that she’s in no shape to fight but warns them that if they ever pull a stunt like it again, then she’ll break every bone in their body.
The girl’s mother suddenly appears, yelling at Dan-ah for threatening her daughter. The woman tells Dan-ah that if she didn’t want to suffer as a delivery person, then she should have done better in school. Rolling her eyes, Dan-ah says that the apple apparently didn’t fall far from the bitchy tree, and the woman, affronted, orders Dan-ah to take the food back and leave.
Dan-ah slowly shuffles to the apartment door, clearly feverish and in pain. She gets dizzy and then faints, toppling over a vase that’s on a table by the door. The woman rushes over, but it’s only because she’s worried about her expensive vase that’s now broken.
An ambulance rushes Dan-ah to the hospital, which coincidentally is the same hospital where Jin-gyu is just leaving. Jin-gyu recognizes Dan-ah and follows the paramedics to the ER, where the doctor looks her over.
The doctor tells Jin-gyu that Dan-ah has a high fever, is dehydrated, and has contusions all over her body—she’ll need to x-rays and a CT scan to make sure there’s no serious injury. The doctor assumes Jin-gyu is her guardian and tells him to get her checked in right away so that they can attend to her.
Jin-gyu waits at Dan-ah’s bedside for her to regain consciousness, and when she does, she’s bewildered to see him there. He explains that he stopped by the hospital earlier because his throat hurt and then saw the paramedics bringing her in.
Dan-ah immediately starts to get out of bed because she has to work, but she’s still in bad shape, and Jin-gyu tries to make her lie back down. When Soon-ae calls, demanding to know why Dan-ah hasn’t returned to the restaurant for her other deliveries, Dan-ah asks Jin-gyu if he can drive a motorbike.
At the restaurant, Kang-soo and Soon-ae eye Jin-gyu suspiciously as Dan-ah tells Chef Jang over the phone that, since she’s in the hospital, Jin-gyu is her only option at the moment. Chef Jang tells Dan-ah to take care of herself and that they’ll figure it out, but no one seems particularly enthused about having someone who’s never delivered anything before suddenly take over Dan-ah’s route.
Kang-soo says that he’ll just do all the deliveries himself, but Chef Jang orders him to take Jin-gyu and teach him how to do the deliveries. The first step is wrapping the food, and Jin-gyu’s first attempt to cover the jajangmyun in saran wrap sends the bowl to the floor.
The guys head out for a delivery and Kang-soo tells him some tricks of the trade. Jin-gyu realizes he doesn’t remember the apartment number he’s going to but says he can just ring “both doorbells” to get the right one. Amused, Kang-soo tells him that this isn’t a fancy high-rise with only two apartments per floor, and Jin-gyu has to endure a barrage of insults from Soon-ae when Kang-soo calls to get the apartment number.
When Jin-gyu finds the right apartment, the guy is irritated that his order is so late. The customer becomes further annoyed when Jin-gyu doesn’t have a card reader. Jin-gyu starts to bristle at the rude way the man is treating him, and Kang-soo shoves Jin-gyu aside to pleasantly handle the customer.
Afterward, when they’re washing the dishes after the day’s deliveries, Jin-gyu grumbles about how rude everyone is to deliverymen. Kang-soo points out that Jin-gyu was rude to him when he first delivered to the car repair shop, and Jin-gyu awkwardly apologizes for the way he treated Kang-soo back then.
Kang-soo easily accepts Jin-gyu’s apology. When Jin-gyu is impressed by Kang-soo’s magnanimous attitude, Kang-soo tells Jin-gyu that he’s not the type to hold grudges unless someone is a truly terrible person.
Kang-soo then asks about Jin-gyu’s relationship to Dan-ah, and Jin-gyu tells him that he owes Dan-ah a debt and is paying her back. Kang-soo can’t understand how a rich guy like Jin-gyu could owe Dan-ah anything, and Jin-gyu vaguely says it just happened like that.
As the guys leave the restaurant after work, Jin-gyu is delighted to discover that they don’t deliver on Sundays, so he doesn’t have to be back at work for Dan-ah until Monday. But Kang-soo is distracted by the realization that his motorbike and Dan-ah’s scooter have both been stolen.
Gong-gi’s lackey Byung-soo and his buddies are the ones that stole the bikes as a way to get back at Kang-soo, and they’re pleased with themselves as they try to figure out how to pawn the bikes off for money. A delivery guy stops near them, recognizing Kang-soo’s motorcycle and demanding to know why they have it. Byung-soo takes off, and thanks to some fancy maneuvering, the trio manages to lose the other delivery driver.
The trio cackle that no one should be able to recognize the bike now that they’re in a different neighborhood, but they’re immediately recognized by two delivery guys who start to chase them down.
Back at the restaurant, Jin-gyu tells Kang-soo they should call the police. But Kang-soo calmly keeps an eye on his phone that keeps ringing with updates as he tells Jin-gyu that he’s tracking the bikes, confident the thieves will be caught soon. Jin-gyu is still doubtful, but Kang-soo trusts his friends.
Byung-soo and his buddies finally lose the other delivery guys that have been following them. The other two think they should just abandon their plans to sell the bikes since Kang-soo apparently has friends everywhere, but Byung-soo stubbornly insists that Seoul is a big place and it’s not like Kang-soo can have friends in every neighborhood.
Just when they’ve found a place to sell the bikes, at least a dozen deliverymen suddenly appear and surround them. One of them is Sung-jae, who orders them to get on their knees. Byung-soo, on the phone with Kang-soo, begs for forgiveness. Kang-soo orders him to return the bikes and then, if he doesn’t want Kang-soo to call the cops, to call Gong-gi and tell him what they did.
Ji-yoon happily makes her way back to the restaurant after a day spent at a sauna, but stops in her tracks when she sees signs plastered on the walls. It’s a message from her father, begging her to call him. Ji-yoon follows the trail of signs to where her father is putting them up.
As she hugs her father, Ji-yoon tearfully apologizes for running away, but Dad is just relieved that she’s safe. He tells Ji-yoon that they should go home so that she can talk to her mother—that’s the only way she can claim true independence by properly moving out instead of just running away. Aw, Dad seems sweetly supportive of his daughter, even though Ji-yoon looks unsure about facing her mother again.
Jin-gyu is impressed that the bikes were returned just like Kang-soo predicted. He asks if Kang-soo is psychic, but Kang-soo simply tells Jin-gyu that he’s tried to live as a good person.
They find Gong-gi beating the trio in punishment for them messing with Kang-soo and Dan-ah after Gong-gi specifically ordered them not to. Kang-soo intervenes, telling Gong-gi to stop.
Gong-gi apologizes to Kang-soo on the trio’s behalf, but Kang-soo says that all he wants is a promise that it won’t happen again. Gong-gi holds out his hand, declaring that Kang-soo is one of their members now. Everyone applauds, including Jin-gyu, who catches Gong-gi’s attention.
Gong-gi’s eyes narrow when he learns that Jin-gyu is helping at the restaurant because Dan-ah is in the hospital. Gong-gi is even less pleased to be told that Jin-gyu is Dan-ah’s guardian.
Meanwhile, Dan-ah’s roommate, Yeon-ji, visits her in the hospital. Yeon-ji tells Dan-ah that she has the worst luck, since they think that Jin-gyu is just some aimless freeloader. Yeon-ji says that Dan-ah should have saved a rich guy instead, but Dan-ah laughs at the thought of someone with tons of money wanting to kill himself like Jin-gyu.
After Yeon-ji leaves, Dan-ah worries over the cost of the hospital stay, plus paying for the expensive vase she broke. Just then, one of the hospital managers arrives to escort Dan-ah from the shared ward that she’s in to a VIP room. Dan-ah protests that she can’t afford it, but Jin-gyu appears to tell her that he’s paying for it.
Dan-ah still protests, convinced that Jin-gyu is unemployed and doesn’t have any money since he gets an allowance from his mother. She tries to order the doctors to return her to the shared ward, but they ignore her as they set her up in the VIP room.
After Ji-yoon gathers her belongings to go back home, she introduces her father to Kang-soo. She proudly tells Dad that Kang-soo was the one who helped her and kept her safe when she ran away. But Dad is just suspicious that Kang-soo didn’t call the police, especially when Kang-soo first thought that Ji-yoon was underage.
Dad’s final handshake painfully squeezes Kang-soo’s fingers until Ji-yoon orders her father to stop. As Dad’s chauffeur drives away, Ji-yoon cheerfully waves back to Kang-soo, telling him that he can sleep in his own room tonight.
Kang-soo sits down in his now-empty room, but he doesn’t have long to appreciate his solitude when his phone rings. It’s Sung-jae, who says he’s having trouble sleeping because he’s worried about Hyun-soo. Kang-soo tells Sung-jae to have faith that Hyun-soo will wake up, and that they’ll meet at the hospital tomorrow.
In the VIP room, Jin-gyu repeatedly tells Dan-ah that he can afford the hospital fees. She stubbornly refuses to believe him, mockingly asking if he’s some sort of chaebol. At his wit’s end, Jin-gyu awkwardly blurts out that actually, he is. She still doesn’t believe him, so he pulls out his phone to show her a news article about his grandfather’s funeral.
Jin-gyu tells her that it’s the only family portrait they have, but it’s proof that he’s the son of Ohsung Group’s CEO. Jin-gyu says that she should just accept the fact that if she had to save a loser, at least it was a loser from a rich family. He then asks how much money she wants for a reward.
Dan-ah hesitates at first, but at Jin-gyu’s encouragement, she calculates exactly how much is needed until she reaches her goal to leave the country. She tells him the oddly precise amount, and Jin-gyu seems mildly offended that she considers his life worth only approximately $16,000. But he cheerfully agrees to send it to her when she’s discharged from the hospital.
Dan-ah then wonders if she’s dreaming and asks Jin-gyu to pinch her. She closes her eyes and leans forward so he can pinch her cheek, but Jin-gyu hesitates when he gets close to her face. After he leaves, Dan-ah tells herself it must be a dream (since she never got pinched).
Ji-yoon kneels before her mother, telling her that she wants to stay in Korea and try living on her own instead of going abroad. Hye-ran agrees, but only if Ji-yoon agrees to date a man she’s selected for her.
If he doesn’t win Ji-yoon over before the end of the year, Hye-ran says, then they can break up. Ji-yoon readily consents to this arrangement, especially once she confirms that it’s only dating and not marriage, which means that she can continue living an independent life.
Meanwhile, Jin-gyu’s mother is threatening him to not do anything to mess up the blind date she’s set up for him, since this is the only decent family that seems interested in having their daughter marry him. If he gets dumped by this girl, she says, then he’ll be sent to do manual labor at the Ohsung resort in the Philippines.
It’s time for Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon’s blind date, and neither are thrilled when they realize who their parents have set them up with. Jin-gyu’s still stewing over what happened at the cafe, but he forces a smile as he attempts the standard first date chitchat.
Except Ji-yoon sweetly and hilariously refuses to play along, reveling in showing off her worst side. But Jin-gyu persists, warning her that there’s no way she’s going to shake his determination to woo her.
Meanwhile, Kang-soo and Sung-jae look into why the highway was closed the night of Hyun-soo’s accident. A taxi driver tells them he saw bunch of fancy sports cars leave the closed highway, and he also saw one of the fancy sports car drivers pay off the construction guy diverting traffic. Kang-soo vows to find the people who illegally blocked off the road, no matter what it takes.
I’m all-in with the contract dating shenanigans, especially since I’m already in love with the fun antagonistic chemistry between Ji-yoon and Jin-gyu. I’m undecided if I actually want them together in the end (or, honestly, if I want any of our main four characters to be romantically linked), but I know I’m going to enjoy the heck out of watching them happily torment each other. I just hope Dan-ah and Kang-soo don’t get caught in the crosshairs — at least, not too much.
While I was a little surprised by how easily Jin-gyu recovered from his suicide attempt (both physically and psychologically), he doesn’t seem the type to let past mistakes drag him down. Whether his attitude is by choice because it’s the only way he can smile through the day, or because he is, as he claims, an idiot loser, is perhaps something we’ll find out later — but he seems to know that it’s pointless to wallow in regret. I’m much more curious, however, about what brought Dan-ah to that literal edge. She’s come across as a tough and savvy character with strong survival skills, so to see her so vulnerable and emotionally raw was a small, yet powerful, moment (and made me wish for an epilogue — I need to know more about everyone’s past!). Then again, maybe those ruthless survival skills only really kicked in after she was given another chance at life.
Then again, as ruthless as she is, Dan-ah still has her limits. Even though she’s willing to do just about anything for money, Dan-ah still has her pride — she doesn’t want to be the “Cinderella” where some rich guy solves all her problems. But if she’s being given the chance to get the money she needs to better her life, then it would be foolish to not take it — a fact Jin-gyu rightly points out, using his analogy that if she saved the life of a baker, she wouldn’t think it strange to accept a gift of bread. Which really goes to show the difference between the whole “golden spoon” vs. “dirt spoon” socioeconomic dynamic. Jin-gyu was born with a golden spoon — he’s a chaebol not because he wants to be, but just because that’s the family he was born into. It’s a way of life for him just because that’s all he’s ever known. Dan-ah, on the other hand, was born into a poor family that struggles to stay out of debt, and she’s fighting tooth and nail for a chance to escape it.
Speaking of golden spoons, I’m happy that Ji-yoon is still determined to try and live independently. While I’m not sure how long she’ll last on a barista’s wages, I do believe she’s genuinely committed to try and make her own way without any help from her family. It seems like Ji-yoon is swapping out her golden spoon for a dirt spoon, and it will be an interesting experiment to see if it’s possible for someone to successfully switch social classes without falling back on the safety net of family. But if anyone can do it, I think the optimistically cheerful Ji-yoon could (provided she meets people as nice as Kang-soo, of course), just as I think that Dan-ah could possibly upgrade her dirt spoon to something a little bit better just through her hard work and resourcefulness.
I also really appreciated the way that Kang-soo accepted Jin-gyu’s apology for the way he first treated Kang-soo. I can totally believe that Kang-soo has made himself popular with all the delivery guys he’s worked with over the years, since Kang-soo seems to be a genuinely good guy who wants the best for everybody. I’m not sure whether he’s living up to his dying father’s last words to live as a good person or whether he’s just inherently kind, but I do appreciate that he’s willing to see the best in everyone and doesn’t hold a grudge even when some knuckleheads steal his bike.
But it’s a different story when it comes to someone hurting a loved one (or even just someone who offends Kang-soo’s sense of honor and decency, like that hit-and-run driver in the first episode). While Kang-soo might be able to forgive Jin-gyu for his thoughtless remarks against him, I’m not so sure there’s anything Jin-gyu will be able to say or do that will make Kang-soo forgive and forget Jin-gyu’s role in putting Hyun-soo in a coma. Which is a pity, because I’m enjoying their burgeoning bromance, and I’d like to see it continue for as long as possible.
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