Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 5
When many people are united in achieving a goal, even mountains can be moved. Or at least it seems that way, as the deliverymen work tirelessly to find any evidence that will link Jin-gyu to the street racing. It’s thankless, exhausting work, but at least the deliverymen have nothing to lose — unlike Jin-gyu, whose future may come to an abrupt end if the truth gets out.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Hundreds of deliverymen gather at the meeting point, and Kang-soo addresses them like a general leading his troops. Even though Kang-soo knows who was responsible for putting Hyun-soo in a coma, he needs proof, and the Deliverymen Army cheer as Kang-soo orders them to find evidence so they can put the culprit behind bars.
The guys slowly drive down the street, honking their horns as they carry the banner asking for witnesses from that night. Their parade catches the attention of bystanders who post it on social media. Even popular web channels get into the act as a favor to their reliable and friendly delivery drivers, and soon the phrases “3rd generation chaebol race” and “street racing” are trending on the search portals.
Ji-yoon shows off the effects of Kang-soo’s campaign on social media to one of her friends, who is also a news reporter. Ji-yoon confirms that if they can get some evidence, then her friend will run with the story.
Her friend agrees, since with so many chaebols involved, this story will likely get even more attention than the “nut rage incident” (a true story of the Korean Air heiress who threw a fit because she didn’t like the way the flight attendant served her pre-packaged nuts, which eventually resulted in a huge scandal with a lot of public backlash against Korean Air, the heiress, and the general abuse of power by chaebols).
News Reporter Unni is concerned that Ji-yoon’s “ajusshi” won’t be able to get any evidence for her to use, but Ji-yoon is confident that Kang-soo will succeed. After all, he’s got 300 deliverymen on his side. Then Ji-yoon adorably cheers, “Sparta!” I’m not quite sure the war between a neighborhood deliveryman and a third-gen chaebol is quite at the same level as the Battle of Thermopylae, but the imagery is effective. (Does that make Kang-soo Gerard Butler? Hmmm.)
Ji-yoon tells Reporter Unni that they know Jin-gyu is behind it, wondering if he’ll be punished once they get evidence. Reporter Unni reassures Ji-yoon that the police will react quickly after the broadcast. Reporter Unni then finds it odd that Ji-yoon is working against Jin-gyu, who she’s supposedly dating, but Ji-yoon says that she’s a “fan of justice” — as well as being Kang-soo’s fan, of course.
Reporter Unni suggests that Ji-yoon stick close to Jin-gyu and prevent him from being contacted by anyone else so he doesn’t get word of his potential arrest and try to flee the country. Ji-yoon isn’t exactly thrilled at the idea of spending the day with Jin-gyu.
Meanwhile, Jin-gyu is at the hospital with Dan-ah, who reassures him that she’s doing well, even offering to demonstrate a roundhouse kick on him as proof. Even though he’s happy she’s doing better, he’s curious as to why she cried so hard after she saved his life that night.
Dan-ah says her tears weren’t about him — it was because she went through the same thing five years ago. She explains that she had to pay two million won each month to loan sharks, but because she only had her high school diploma, she couldn’t find a job that paid well enough. As she was wandering around back then, she stopped in front of a “Kiss Room.” Upon the realization that the only way she’d be able to make enough money was to work in a place where she’d be prostituting herself, she decided she’d rather jump off the bridge.
Dan-ah laughs at herself, pointing out that Jin-gyu probably can’t understand this kind of “poor person” story. But Jin-gyu can understand that being saved from the brink of death can feel just as much of a burden as it is a blessing.
Dan-ah agrees, but she felt like her rescue was totally a blessing, since because of it, she discovered a job that would pay enough to pay off the loan, revealing that the woman who saved her life was a jjajangmyun delivery driver. Even after Dan-ah paid off her family’s debt, she still worked hard to earn as much as she could to leave the country since she didn’t see any hope for her by staying in Korea.
As Jin-gyu leaves the hospital, he gets a call from Ji-yoon, requesting a movie date. Hahaha, he’s saved her in his phone as “Blood Pressure Warning.” He’s in no mood for a date, preferring to just pretend they met to appease their parents. Ji-yoon takes that as evidence he’s rejecting her, so Jin-gyu is forced to agree to meet her unless he wants to work on the Ohsung Group’s construction site in the Philippines.
Ji-yoon’s made plans to watch three movies together. When Jin-gyu balks at the idea of spending all night at the cinema, Ji-yoon says she’s obsessed with movies, and then insists they turn off their phones because it’s rude to have them on during the film. Which is true, but it’s really all part of her plan to keep Jin-gyu distracted so that no one can tip him off about the delivery guys finding evidence against him.
Unfortunately, the delivery guys are exhausted after running around all day. They’ve handed out all their flyers and still haven’t heard anything. Kang-soo refuses to let them quit, though, convinced they’ll find something soon.
While the other guys decide to take a break at a PC room, Kang-soo continues to go door-to-door, asking if anyone in the neighborhood has seen anything. He and another one of Gong-gi’s guys, Young-taek, find a delivery driver with a broken bike. Kang-soo fixes it for him, then asks if he’s seen any street racing in the area. The deliveryman hasn’t, but he recalls making a delivery to a young punk who looked like he was watching a video of street racing recorded on his phone.
At the PC room, the knucklehead trio have settled in front of their respective computers. Byung-soo takes a break to use the bathroom, and as he waits for the two high school kids to finish using the urinals, he overhears them talking about the deliverymen’s flyers and how it’s referring to the video one of them took. The young punk says he’s not going to call them since he doesn’t want to end up going home in a cop car.
Byung-soo blocks the young punk’s way, asking if he’d rather go home on the back of his bike instead. Then he orders the young punk to show him the video. Ha, I love that Byung-soo’s rebellious “bad boy” decision to take a break from canvassing actually ends up getting them the evidence they need.
The video is now enough proof to put out a warrant for Jin-gyu’s arrest. Meanwhile, Reporter Unni prepares for a special “breaking news” morning edition.
The delivery guys return to their original meeting spot. Kang-soo raises his arms in victory as he declares that they’ve succeeded. All the guys cheer, and Kang-soo thanks them for the effort, giving them all high-fives as they drive off into the night.
After their movie marathon, Ji-yoon insists that she wants to watch just one more film. Jin-gyu grumbles that it’s weird that she wants to spend so much time with him when she doesn’t even like him, and as he pulls out his phone to check his messages, Ji-yoon blurts out that she actually does like him. (Anything to distract him from his phone.)
That’s not an answer he was expecting, so he’s suitably surprised (and suspicious) as she grabs his hand and explains that while she didn’t like him at first, she finds him utterly charismatic and has never felt this way about someone before. She then asks if they should stay together for the rest of the day, and at his shocked and slightly horrified reaction, she takes his phone, sweetly telling him that he’s her “love hostage.”
Jin-gyu just starts to walk away, convinced that Ji-yoon is crazy, or at least has bipolar disorder. He says that he’ll accept his fate doing manual labor in the Philippines, so they should just end things now so she can get herself checked in to a hospital.
Ji-yoon hurries after him, telling him that he absolutely cannot go to another country — he has to stay in Korea! She waves his phone at him, telling him he can’t leave while she still has it. Jin-gyu: “Keep it! Bye!” and then bolts. She tries to chase after him but he’s too fast for her.
Chairman Oh is woken up in the middle of the night by the news of Jin-gyu’s warrant for arrest. All the usual methods of protecting Jin-gyu won’t work since the story has already leaked online and Chairman Oh’s people won’t be able to cover it up. Not to mention that, since Jin-gyu doesn’t have his phone, they don’t even know where he is.
Kang-soo tells Hyun-soo’s grandma that they’ve found the culprit. Grandma is angry that a bunch of rich kids would block off the road without caring who they might hurt, but Kang-soo reassures her that they’ll be punished and the ringleader will go to jail. It won’t help Hyun-soo come out of his coma, but at least its something.
In the morning, Dan-ah readies herself to be discharged from the hospital. This means it’s also the day that Jin-gyu will give her the reward, and Dan-ah happily kisses her phone when she sees her savings app declare it’s finally “D-Day.”
Meanwhile, Kang-soo, Ji-yoon, and Grandma — in their respective establishments — watch Reporter Unni’s news segment on the irresponsible chaebols who blocked off a public road for their own pleasure. Reporter Unni drives home the point that these chaebols who think they’re above the law actually made it so an emergency patient is now in a coma. Gong-gi and his boys, also watching the news, cheer when she says that the police are currently looking for “Mr. Oh” to arrest him.
Jin-gyu, completely oblivious to what’s going on, whistles as he arrives at his bank to pull out money for Dan-ah’s reward, her hospital bill, and the broken vase. But cops are waiting for him and they arrest him before he can enter the bank.
Jin-gyu protests, asking for just ten minutes so he can get the money for a friend, but they haul him towards the back of their vehicle and try to shove him in. Jin-gyu fakes a head injury to distract them and manages to break free, running to his car and speeding away, the cops hot on his tail. He hurries to the hospital and practically drags Dan-ah out of there, explaining the police are after him.
She orders him to stop and explain. Jin-gyu babbles that it wasn’t his fault and he’s being framed. He begs Dan-ah to trust him for at least one hour until he can get her the money he promised. Just then, Kang-soo pulls up on his bike, demanding to know where Jin-gyu thinks he’s running off to.
As Jin-gyu tries to move past him, Kang-soo punches him in the face. Jin-gyu angrily says Kang-soo should just hit him and put him in a coma. Dan-ah pushes Kang-soo out of the way when he steps forward to punch Jin-gyu again. She’s apparently decided to trust Jin-gyu, and knocks Kang-soo down when he tries to come at Jin-gyu.
Jin-gyu and Dan-ah make their escape, and Dan-ah demands to know what Jin-gyu has done to make Kang-soo act that way. But Jin-gyu’s focused on making sure she gets her money and pulls over at the nearest bank.
He’s shocked to find out that all of his accounts are empty. That’s because Chairman Oh has cut off all of Jin-gyu’s assets so they can find the wayward son as soon as possible. Chairman Oh notes that their company is already reeling from the bad press. Chairman Oh refuses to stop the arrest, reminding everyone that Jin-gyu is no longer a part of their family.
Jin-gyu apologizes to Dan-ah that his father must taken all his funds. Jin-gyu still promises to find her a way to get her the money, offering to give her his car until he realizes the cops are looking for it. He also remembers that he doesn’t have his phone so he can’t call his friends to beg for money, either.
Sighing, Dan-ah asks about the crime Jin-gyu committed, since she knows Kang-soo wouldn’t be acting like that without reason. Jin-gyu quietly explains about the blocked road, the racing, and Hyun-soo’s coma. He insists he wouldn’t have done it if he’d known what would have happened.
In silent displeasure, Dan-ah steps out of the car and starts walking away. Jin-gyu chases her down, insisting that he’ll find a way to pay her back. She wants nothing more to do with him, but it’s all he has left to give. His life is over now.
Jin-gyu knows he’ll go to jail once he’s caught, that he’ll get the maximum punishment in order appease public opinion, and then his family will disown him (for real this time) once he’s a felon. If he doesn’t pay her back now, he’ll hang himself once he’s in jail. He pleads with Dan-ah to save him. Dan-ah is not impressed.
She must still have some sympathy, though, because when his stomach rumbles, Dan-ah ends up buying him some ramen because he doesn’t have any cash on him. Dan-ah is still irritated though, calling him the poorest rich boy ever. But he’s just happy to be at “their” convenience store again, then tries to beg for some kimchi before Dan-ah’s death glare makes him realize it’d be best to keep quiet. Hah.
Later, as they wait for Jin-gyu’s brother to arrive, Jin-gyu explains that his brother is the obedient one, but Jin-gyu’s always been the troublemaker. That’s why his father beat him and called Jin-gyu an idiot, which kind of backfired since it only made Jin-gyu act out even more and play up the role of the “idiot.” Jin-gyu happily says that his brother was always secretly on his side, though.
Not today, though. Jin-gyu’s delight at seeing his brother pull up is immediately destroyed when Hyung tells Jin-gyu to turn himself in to the police. The public opinion is too far gone against Ohsung Group. As a bunch of security guys start to drag Jin-gyu away, he calls back to Dan-ah to help save him.
Dan-ah’s still annoyed at Jin-gyu, but that doesn’t stop her from grabbing Jin-gyu’s wrist to pull him away. Then Dan-ah jumps into the fray, using her Hapkido skills to fight off the half dozen security guys while Jin-gyu flees to his car. Dan-ah dives in through the open passenger window and they speed away. So badass.
Jin-gyu’s reeling from his brother’s betrayal, and stubbornly refuses to turn himself in. But he’s soon surrounded by a bunch of delivery guys wh’ve all been alerted by Kang-soo to keep an eye out for Jin-gyu’s car. They manage to redirect Jin-gyu to a blockade of deliverymen (oh, the irony), and Jin-gyu ends up at a dead end where Kang-soo is waiting.
Jin-gyu says it’s not over yet and speeds towards Kang-soo, much to Dan-ah’s horror. Kang-soo stands, unflinching, and Jin-gyu hits the brakes at the last second, stopping mere inches from Kang-soo.
As the cops arrest and handcuff Jin-gyu, Kang-soo tells Jin-gyu that if he goes to jail and pays for his crimes, Kang-soo will see him as a human being. Kang-soo’s final words, much like his father’s final words, is for Jin-gyu to live like a good person.
Their goal achieved, the deliverymen disperse. The only people left are Kang-soo and Dan-ah, who avoids Kang-soo’s gaze, clearly feeling uncomfortable that she beat him up earlier since she trusted Jin-gyu instead of Kang-soo.
Kang-soo reassures her that she doesn’t need to be sorry — trusting someone isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, Kang-soo trusted Jin-gyu before, too. Kang-soo offers to give her a ride home, but she elects to take the bus instead.
Jin-gyu sits in his prison cell, and as the rest of his cellmates sleep, he quietly says he’s sorry.
Ji-yoon, Kang-soo, and the delivery guys enjoy a celebratory drink for catching Jin-gyu. Ji-yoon says it’s no big deal using her Reporter Unni connection — she was just happy to help out. Ha, when one of the guys asks her what her relationship is with Kang-soo, Ji-yoon chirps, “He’s my guardian!”
At home, Dan-ah sadly stares at her D-Day counter, which is now back up to 190 days. It gets even worse when the hospital calls the next morning, requesting their fees — which include the VIP room that Jin-gyu insisted she have (since he was planning to pay for it). As if that wasn’t bad enough, the snobby lady shows up with an official estimate for the broken vase: 5,000,000 won. Yikes. That sets Dan-ah’s savings back to 300 days until D-Day.
Kang-soo finds Dan-ah sitting and staring out over a view the neighborhood. He asks how much she’s lost, feeling sorry because it’s due to him that Jin-gyu wasn’t able to pay it off (since Jin-gyu went to jail instead). Dan-ah gruffly says it’s none of his business, and to stop being so nosy.
The next morning, Dan-ah hurries to the English learning center, panicked because she’s late. But when she gets there, the center is already clean. Bewildered, she finds Kang-soo finishing up her usual morning cleaning routine. Dan-ah: “What are you doing?” Kang-soo: “Being nosy.” Hahaha!
He has a proposition for her: when the restaurant is closed in the morning, they can start their own delivery service. He’ll cook, she’ll deliver. After the cost of ingredients, they’ll make 500,000 won a day. Thanks to a very convenient lesson about numbers and money in her English class, Dan-ah realizes that she could reach her “D-Day” saving goals in just a few months by working with Kang-soo.
First she has to sample his cooking skills (which he’s picked up over the years by watching the various chefs he’s worked for), and agrees it’s tasty. They create a flyer to hand out and gradually drum up some business. Their main rules are that they only accept cash and their first expense is to replace whatever supplies they use from the restaurant. But it’s enough to start making a dent in Dan-ah’s saving goal, and soon a month flies by.
As Kang-soo carefully makes sure the restaurant inventory is correct, Dan-ah happily thanks him for giving her hope again. She muses that she’s never met anyone like him, so nosy yet so righteous.
Chef Jang arrives at the restaurant sooner than they were expecting, and they scramble to hide their inventory list. Their reactions are suspicious, but Soon-ae’s figured out why they’re so jumpy: “You two were kissing.” Kang-soo and Dan-ah stare at each other in shock, and when Soon-ae says it was just a joke, they awkwardly burst into laughter.
As they head out on their official deliveries, Dan-ah laughs at how stressful it was almost being caught. She’s reminded of Jin-gyu, wondering what’s happened to him since his arrest a month ago. Kang-soo thinks Jin-gyu deserves more punishment than just waiting for his trial, especially since Hyun-soo is still in a coma.
They drive through the neighborhood to make their deliveries, stopping when they see that the Jung Family soup restaurant is set for its grand opening tomorrow — and it’s opening up right next to Hyun-soo’s grandmother’s restaurant. Kang-soo is not impressed by the underhanded business tactics.
Kang-soo’s even less impressed when Hye-ran arrives at the restaurant with her new district manager, Jin-gyu.
I love that this show is tackling the real-life public perception of a chaebol’s misuse of power and money. Considering that the reporter knew the street racing would be more newsworthy than the “nut rage incident” makes me think of the trial that’s currently going on with Samsung’s chaebol (who was accused of bribery and corruption in relation to the scandal surrounding ex-president Park Geun-hye). It’s been heralded as a “trial of the century” and people are eager to see how the Samsung chaebol will be punished, because the prosecution is not using a light touch that is normally given to those from rich and powerful families.
That makes me somewhat disappointed to suddenly see Jin-gyu standing in front of the Jung Family restaurant, since the show had a chance to draw a deeper parallel to the real-life trial. But instead, Jin-gyu is freed without punishment, and as much as I love the way he has been showing himself to be conflicted and broken, I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to support him if he walks away scot-free, enjoying the privileges of his socio-economic class.
Despite my concern about how the show will handle Jin-gyu’s redemption, one of my favorite moments this episode was Dan-ah saving Jin-gyu like the damsel in distress he appears to be. How often does the woman get to do a wrist-grab and fight off all the baddies to save the guy? It was a fun “turn a trope on its head” moment that I really appreciated, especially since it was clear Dan-ah had one of those “Oh no, I’m not going to save this loser again, am I?” moments. Because of course she will. She’s Dan-ah, and I get the feeling that once her trust is gained, it’s very, very hard to shake it, no matter how big of a mess you are.
So it’s only fair that my other favorite moment of this episode would be Kang-soo forgiving Dan-ah for the way she beat him up because she chose to trust Jin-gyu. It was such a natural, easy, quiet moment, a “Hey, no big deal, I trusted him, too.” I wonder if the difficulty I have in figuring out Kang-soo is because it feels somewhat odd to have a lead that is kind and unconcerned about holding grudges (unless, of course, you’re an unrepentant chaebol who’s hurt one of Kang-soo’s friends). Also, while I don’t mind letting romance remain low-key, it’s also seems somewhat unusual for a lead to not automatically be interested in romance, but would rather help people because it’s the right thing to do.
Or maybe dramaland will surprise us and not give us the love triangle (quadrilateral?) we’re expecting. After all, just because you’re thrown together at work, doesn’t mean you’re Meant To Be. Not that I would blame Dan-ah for starting to melt at the way Kang-soo was uncomplainingly willing to find a way to make sure she earns back the money she lost due to her unexpected hospital and vase replacement bills. The way to a girl’s heart is definitely by helping her achieve her goals. At least we’re finally starting to get to the originally-promised main premise, which is Kang-soo becoming the CEO of a delivery app. While the app itself may not be a reality yet, the fact that he’s opened up his own secret deli restaurant makes me think this plot point can’t be too far away.
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- May the Strongest Deliveryman prevail in new character teasers
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- Jang Mi-kwan and Lee Yeol-eum join KBS’s Strongest Deliveryman
- Go Kyung-pyo takes on first leading role in Strongest Deliveryman