Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 10
It feels redundant to keep declaring that each new episode is my favorite, but every week this show just keeps getting better and better. Kang-soo’s business plan is put into action, and the delivery guys (plus Dan-ah) get their chance to shine. Everything is so pleasant and charming and wonderful that there’s no possible way it can last, but at least a recapper can hope.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Decked out in their suits, Kang-soo and his “Strongest Deliverymen” visit the struggling neighborhood restaurants offering the use of their services for 2,000 won each delivery, instead of having to pay a monthly rate for a dedicated delivery guy. At each restaurant that agrees to work with them, Kang-soo puts up a little decal showing the restaurant is affiliated with “Strongest Deliveryman.”
Of course Grandma agrees to work with Strongest Deliveryman (henceforth SD for short), although the guys hilariously and awkwardly run way when Grandma says that starting tomorrow, she’ll be paying them for their services. Aw, I guess they still want to help Grandma without causing her any hardship.
Soon-ae and Chef Jang tell Dan-ah she’s fired. Lucky Noodles has also become affiliated with Kang-soo’s company, at a discount of 1,000 won since Chef Jang has allowed the guys to use one of the storerooms as the SD office.
Kang-soo hands over his business card, telling Dan-ah that he’s looking for new delivery drivers. She stands up to kick him in the shins, but the other delivery guys surround and protect their new and beloved CEO. Dan-ah yells at the guys to get out, but Chef Jang says that she’s the one who should leave — after all, she no longer works there.
Dan-ah doesn’t have much choice but to become one of the SD workers, although her body language during the first official business meeting makes it clear she thinks it’s all a joke. The guys take it very seriously, however, even giving themselves corporate-sounding titles.
Min-chan begins the meeting by declaring that there are 381 drivers that are a part of SD (the Deliverymen Army has grown!). All of the drivers have chipped in 100,000 won each to help fund the company, which makes everyone a part-owner. Even though Dan-ah balks at the idea of parting with some of her precious savings, Min-chan says they can just deduct it from her first paycheck.
Kang-soo’s first speech as the CEO is to thank everyone for helping make his dream come true. He points out that even though everyone looks down on delivery drivers, they actually work very hard with little reward. That’s why he wanted to give everyone a chance to dream and plan for a future, even while making deliveries. Aw, I love that SD’s primary motto is “Be a good person.”
Then Kang-soo closes the meeting, saying they should return their borrowed clothes. Hahaha! I guess snazzy suits aren’t made for delivering jajangmyun.
Dan-ah still seems unimpressed, but keeps her opinions to herself. However, when Kang-soo informs her that he’s on his way to meet Ji-yoon, Dan-ah grumbles that he shouldn’t tell her outright that he’s meeting another woman.
When Kang-soo meets up with Ji-yoon, he apologizes that he’s treated Ji-yoon like a little kid, even though she’s a grown woman. She hesitantly asks if Kang-soo likes Dan-ah, and he honestly answers that he does. Ji-yoon’s voice quavers as she says that she really shouldn’t have asked.
Ji-yoon admits that it’s not his fault she feels the way she does, and it’s not his place to worry about how she feels. She’ll deal with her emotional turmoil on her own. But she’s pleased that he’s distressed by the situation as well, so now he can understand what she feels. Oh, and she won’t give up on him just yet.
At “their” bench, Ji-yoon tells Jin-gyu that she’s going to find a way to make Kang-soo hers no matter what. Jin-gyu doesn’t think Ji-yoon’s willpower will be able to overcome unrequited love, and warns her that there will be some heartbreak ahead.
Ji-yoon finds it odd that it sounds like Jin-gyu is speaking from the voice of experience, despite having previously told her he’d never liked anyone before. Jin-gyu grumbles that he’ll just keep his mouth shut then. They banter a little more, and he pulls out a bottle of lemonade so she can have something to drink with her kimbap.
When he leaves, Jin-gyu nonchalantly says he’s going to meet with her father and ask for Ji-yoon’s hand in marriage. As he drives away, he calls out, “I love yooouuuuu!” Ha! The idea of Jin-gyu visiting her father gets a rise out of Ji-yoon, and with a distressed look on her face, she tries to chase after Jin-gyu’s car to get him to stop.
Jin-gyu does meet with Ji-yoon’s father, but his primary goal is to understand how Jung Family obtains and distributes its supplies. Dad still sits him down for a chat about Ji-yoon, though. Jin-gyu politely agrees with everything Dad says, although somehow I don’t think Jin-gyu really wants to hug Ji-yoon every time he sees her or try to nibble on her because she’s so dang cute.
Dad then hands over a stack of photos of Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon, taken secretly during their “dates.” It’s a warning to Jin-gyu that Dad is always watching (“If you hurt her, you’re dead!”). But Jin-gyu pulls out a photo and points out that it’s not him — it’s a picture of Ji-yoon and Kang-soo. Dad: “Pretend you didn’t see this.” Pfffft.
During a break from their busy schedules, the SD drivers hang out by the river, enjoying a sausage snack. Kang-soo points out to Dan-ah that he’s wearing the shoes she bought him, but Dan-ah, annoyed, just elbows him away. The other delivery guys pretend they didn’t see anything between their CEO and his girlfriend, but it’s mostly so that they can avoid Dan-ah’s glare.
After their first full day of deliveries, the guys are thrilled to be working for a “real” company, bragging to their families that they now get health insurance and other benefits. Min-chan gets a call from his father, asking about the results of his interview. Min-chan’s family is disappointed he didn’t get the job, especially since they spent so much money to send Min-chan to a good college.
Min-chan’s father is still confident that Min-chan will be able to get a good job, though. Min-chan has to, really, since his father believes that the only way to live an honorable life is to get hired at a big company. Min-chan’s father has no hope for anyone who can’t achieve that.
Poor hopeless Min-chan goes to the convenience store to buy a can of beer, only to end up next to a tipsy Yeon-ji who’s buying a bottle of water. When she accidentally drops her bottle, they both bend down to pick it up and bump heads, which causes Yeon-ji to yelp in pain.
She’s suspicious as Min-chan follows behind her, since both are headed to their respective homes. He offers to walk in front instead, but she realizes that she recognizes him — she’s just not sure from where. Min-chan vaguely says she must have seen him around the neighborhood, but she insists that she has a good memory.
They have a pleasant chat until Yeon-ji realizes that he’s the guy from the karaoke room. Embarrassed, she quickly walks away while Min-chan tries to reassuringly call after her that he doesn’t remember anything.
Dan-ah worries about how viable Kang-soo’s business will be. She points out that the big corporations don’t let small companies survive for very long. She also doesn’t think SD will be able to make enough to pay for the employee benefits and guaranteed monthly salary.
Kang-soo’s confident that he’ll get investors, though. Dan-ah realizes he must be using his own money to help fund it, and asks how much he’s put into the business. Her jaw drops when he tells her he’s put in 115,000,000 won. But Kang-soo points out that it’s not like he’s needed to spend much money on himself, especially when he gets his room and board for free, and he’s been saving it for this purpose, anyway.
Dan-ah’s surprised that he hasn’t given that money away to his family, considering how he’s always trying to help everyone else. Kang-soo matter-of-factly tells her that he doesn’t have any family. His father passed way, and as for his mother, well, he simply tells Dan-ah that he doesn’t have a mother. His friends are his family.
Later, Dan-ah muses over the fact that she’s often wished she was an orphan. But now that she’s met someone who is actually without a family, it makes her wonder what it’s like to have no one. She thinks Kang-soo must be lonely.
Yeon-ji’s also lost in thought in her own little world until she suddenly asks Dan-ah if they should move. Yeon-ji says she’s getting sick of the neighborhood, but Dan-ah says Yeon-ji can wait to move until after Dan-ah emigrates.
Dan-ah finds it odd that Yeon-ji would want to move since Dan-ah knows Yeon-ji enjoys the attention from the neighborhood guys. But Yeon-ji snaps at Dan-ah, insisting she doesn’t like it when guys stare at her.
Kang-soo’s fallen asleep in the SD office, but wakes up with a start when his alarm goes off at an ungodly early hour of the morning. He’s startled out of skin when he sees Dan-ah standing in the doorway. She accurately assumes that he was going to go to the center to help her clean, and he sleepily insists that it’s fun for him.
She literally twists his arm to get him to go to bed, and forces him to go to sleep with a quick hand-chop to the back of his neck. After Dan-ah tucks him, she wonders if she hit him too hard and bends down to listen to his heart beating. Whew, he’s still alive.
But then she also takes a moment to rest against him, her head pillowed on his chest, a smile on her face. As she heads to work, she tells the little bear keychain that she wishes Kang-soo would leave all his friends behind and go with her when she emigrates.
Jin-gyu is early to the center as well, surprised to find Dan-ah there alone. Jin-gyu assumes Kang-soo must be resting after starting his new business.
Dan-ah is in turn surprised that Jin-gyu knows about Kang-soo’s delivery business, but Jin-gyu explains he saw the affiliate sign in Grandma’s window and asked her about it. Dan-ah’s thinks it strange that he talks to Grandma, but Jin-gyu points out that he and Grandma are in the same industry.
Jin-gyu then pulls out a gift for Dan-ah, explaining that it’s something to help block the sun’s rays while she’s outside. Dan-ah refuses to accept it, and Jin-gyu tries to hide his sadness as he tells her that she can at least accept this much. It’s not like anything will happen because of it.
Dan-ah agrees, but also doesn’t want to make Jin-gyu become more pitiful by accepting his gift. Jin-gyu wonders if it will be more cruel to not let him be pitiful. He then asks about Kang-soo — when Dan-ah leaves, won’t that make Kang-soo pitiful, too? Why did she decide to date Kang-soo if she’s just going to leave him?
Dan-ah cooly tells Jin-gyu that Kang-soo will get over it. As she walks away, Jin-gyu wonders: “Is it really that easy?”
Dan-ah pauses in her cleaning to check her D-Day counter: only 215 more days to go. But then Kang-soo surprises her by popping into the room, a big smile on his face as he tells her they should clean together (and he’s apparently forgiven her for knocking him out for a few hours).
The loan shark stops Chef Jang on his way to the restaurant, wondering if Chef Jang has considered Viper’s offer. Viper needs Chef Jang’s answer by the end of the day.
Kang-soo tells the SD guys that their next step is to create a delivery app. That way, customers can order, get their delivery, and pay — all at the touch of a button. Min-chan’s worried about the cost and time that it will take to build a viable app, but Kang-soo has already thought of that.
In walks the beautiful and flirtatious (but technological and marketing savvy) Yoon Hwa-young. Dan-ah, previously uninterested in the app, sits up and takes notice as Hwa-young greets Kang-soo with a kiss on the cheek. The guys practically fall over themselves to introduce themselves, and Hwa-young explains that she met Kang-soo when he saved her from a mugger.
Gong-gi says they should get their guest a cup coffee, and the guys keep handing down the job to the lower-ranking “officer” until someone tells Dan-ah to get it. Ooooooh. Kang-soo immediately offers to get the coffee himself, but Dan-ah slams her hands on the table and growls that she’ll do it.
At least Kang-soo knows they’re all probably gonna die at Dan-ah’s hands later, even though Hwa-young has no idea why the guys are acting so awkward. Dan-ah just barely restrains herself from spitting into Hwa-young’s cup.
Jin-gyu introduces a new business plan to his restaurant team. Instead of opening at 9am, now they’ll be opening at 6:30am in order to get the breakfast customers before Grandma’s restaurant opens. He knows it’s a lot to ask for his employees to come in that early, and offers a respectable compensation to make up for it.
He gets enough volunteers, and says that he’ll oversee the kitchen himself, as well as all the marketing promoting the new hours. The restaurant manager thinks he’s doing too much, but Jin-gyu cheerfully tells everyone he has plenty of stamina. He proves it by doing push-ups in front of his staff, who giggle in delight. As do I.
Kang-soo spends the morning persuading more places to join SD as an affiliate, and as he does so, he sees Jin-gyu handing out flyers for Jung Family. Kang-soo notes that Jin-gyu is opening early now, and Jin-gyu sighs that if he had it his way, the restaurant would be open twenty-four hours.
Kang-soo warns Jin-gyu that he’s going to do all he can keep Grandma’s restaurant open. Jin-gyu admits that he never wanted to force Grandma to close down her restaurant — he’s just doing what he has to do in order to complete the mission of bringing more people to Jung Family’s restaurant.
Jin-gyu muses that this is the first real chance at victory he’s had in his life — it’s an even better feeling than street racing. Kang-soo wishes there was a way both of them could succeed. Jin-gyu agrees, but points out that in this capitalistic society, it seems unlikely to happen. They amicably wish each other well, though.
True to his word, Jin-gyu watches over the kitchen (while studying his English). He may have been trained in the kitchen, but his novice skills mean he ends up burning his hands with hot soup.
Meanwhle, Hwa-young explains to the SD team how the app will work. The guys are enraptured, but Dan-ah can barely hide her irritation at Hwa-young’s overly-friendly manner towards Kang-soo.
The SD team hits the street to spread the word about their app, and Kang-soo smiles proudly as he watches Dan-ah explain how it works to a prospective client. Meanwhile, Jin-gyu tirelessly continues to hand out flyers.
Kang-soo offers to make Dan-ah dinner after their long day, bust Dan-ah insists she’s not hungry — Kang-soo should have dinner with HWa-young, instead. Kang-soo laughs at Dan-ah’s jealousy, and cutely begs her to stay for dinner. Dan-ah’s stubbornness melts at Kang-soo’s adorable face, and she laughs as she agrees to stay.
Kang-soo says it’s pointless to fight over silly things when they don’t have much time left together. Aw, Kang-soo serves the jajangmyun with a little vegetable smiley face.
After dinner, Dan-ah gets ready to leave, warning Kang-soo not to wake up early in the morning to help her clean the English center. Kang-soo watches her drive away, quietly wishing she didn’t have to leave.
When Dan-ah arrives home, she sees her landlord with Ji-yoon. The landlord quickly skedaddles when she spots Dan-ah, but Ji-yoon’s delighted to see her “unni” again. Ji-yoon asks if Dan-ah lives there, and Dan-ah straight up tells her that she doesn’t want to live in the same building as Ji-yoon.
Ji-yoon promises to look elsewhere. Still, she’s envious when Dan-ah admits she lives on the rooftop. Ji-yoon marvels that Dan-ah really has everything — enough money for her own place, her own scooter, plus good fighting skills.
Ji-yoon adds that Dan-ah also has a really good body, wondering if Dan-ah has had plastic surgery. Bewildered, Dan-ah asks if Ji-yoon is really childlike or is instead knowingly ingenuous. Ji-yoon pouts that she was always asked those kind of questions in school, and it’s made her life difficult.
Dan-ah says that it’s the people around Ji-yoon that have the most difficulty. Ji-yoon wonders if she could visit Kang-soo, but Dan-ah says that he’s tired and needs his sleep. Ji-yoon pouts as she says under her breath that Kang-soo apparently really does belong to Dan-ah.
Chef Jang has agreed to help Viper, and Viper fills him in on the other gang that refuses to relinquish their rights to a mall that Viper has his sights on. Chef Jang seems to recognize the name of the other head gangster, Chul-gyu, but when Chef Jang arrives at the mall that’s protected by the other gang, they refuse to let him through.
The other gang members may be younger and have sticks as weapons, but Chef Jang holds his own against them as he beats them up. Chul-gyu arrives to break up the fight, and has a tête-a-tête with Chef Jang, apologizing that his guys are too young to remember Chef Jang’s honorable gangster name.
Chul-gyu agrees to give up the mall for a price, adding that he’s repaying his past debts to Chef Jang. He then warns Chef Jang to be careful — whatever payment Viper has offered him for this job is metaphorically poisoned.
Dan-ah arrives at the English center and it’s her turn to nearly have a heart attack when she sees Kang-soo already waiting for her. They have fun as they clean together, making games out of each of the tasks. Dan-ah’s D-Day counter continues to get smaller and smaller.
Grandma serves the SD team dinner as a way to thank them for all their hard work. She tells them that it’s all due to them that she feels so encouraged about the future. Aw, then she tells Kang-soo and Dan-ah that they should go out on a date since tomorrow’s Sunday. Even though the mood around the table is jovial, the guys know better than to tease them, though, since Dan-ah would (and could) probably kill them.
Late that night, Grandma slips money into envelopes labeled with each of the delivery drivers’ names. She smiles as she writes Kang-soo’s name, whispering her thanks, but the smile doesn’t last.
Jung Family’s restaurant manager reports to Hye-ran, revealing that Jin-gyu has done well this past month, but the profits still won’t be over 20,000,000 won. The difficulty is Grandma’s restaurant, which has only survived because of the delivery guys.
Even if they open the entire Jung Family complex, they still likely won’t see the profits they’re expecting due to so many neighborhood restaurants being SD affiliates. Hye-ran realizes Grandma’s restaurant is at the epicenter of all this.
Ji-yoon is surprised that Jin-gyu doesn’t want to go out on a date tomorrow. Jin-gyu explains he’s busy with work, and even though Ji-yoon seems disappointed, she points out it’s not like she’s ever enjoyed dating him before. Yep, because why go through the effort of straightening your hair to spend time with a guy you don’t even like? Mmm-hmmm.
Ji-yoon says he’s just working hard to raise sales in order to not get fired, but Jin-gyu insists that this is something he really wants to achieve on his own. She accuses him of being money-hungry, and he just sighs, telling her she can think whatever she wants.
Despite what she says, Ji-yoon seems sad to realize that her usual Sunday plans have now fallen through.
Dan-ah secretly borrows Yeon-ji’s lipstick, and when Yeon-ji notices Dan-ah stubbornly lies that it’s just kimchi sauce. Uh-huh. Her big “date” is just to study with Kang-soo — this time at the SD office.
Kang-soo shushes her when Dan-ah keeps pestering him about getting something to eat, but he can’t stay annoyed for long, and cheerfully offers to buy her whatever she wants. But before they can grab some dinner, they get a call from Gong-gi informing them that Grandma is being evicted.
Dan-ah and Kang-soo rush over, watching as moving guys pack up all of Grandma’s stuff. Gong-gi reveals that it’s because of Jung Family, and Kang-soo blames Jin-gyu, who also hurries over to find out what’s happening. Everyone watches as Grandma silently and sadly walks away from the building that used to be her restaurant.
If this show hadn’t already taught me that it moves from plot-point to plot-point in the blink of an eye, I might be feeling disappointed that yet again Kang-soo will be blaming Jin-gyu for something that isn’t directly Jin-gyu’s fault. There’s still a chance it could go that way, but I’m really hoping that the “it’s not personal, it’s just business” camaraderie between them will survive this next hurdle. I want somehow for everyone to win. It may not be realistic (or “capitalistic,” as Jin-gyu might say), but this is a feel-good drama — I need the happy ending! Surely there’s a way for Jin-gyu to prove himself worthwhile to Hye-ran, while also allowing the neighborhood restaurants to continue to thrive as best they can. He’s been doing so well with coming up with ideas for the restaurant — maybe he’ll be able to think outside the box and find a working solution (with the help of Kang-soo, of course).
Then again, I could totally see Hye-ran making an effort to “invest” in Kang-soo’s company with the result that she somehow forces everyone to stop making deliveries — or only deliver for Jung Family. Not that I think Kang-soo would allow that to happen, but Hye-ran is a shrewd business woman. I’m sure she could see the potential for SD’s growth, if she wasn’t so focused on her own empire.
But enough business talk! Let’s focus on the important things, like how cute everyone is. I keep holding my breath, wondering when the angst is going to kick in again, but I love how real and relatable everyone is in their relationships. It’s so much fun watching Ji-yoon slowly realize that Jin-gyu is becoming important to her, and how easily they can discuss their problems with each other. Those lunch-time bench “dates” may seem trivial, but it’s probably bringing them closer than a month’s worth of official Sunday dates ever could. I hope the banter never stops, though, since I think one of Ji-yoon’s and Jin-gyu’s strengths is that they’re equally matched when it comes to teasing each other. There’s no uncomfortable power imbalance between them, and they both have thick enough skin to not take each other too seriously (although they also have paper thin skin, at least where it matters).
The same holds true for Kang-soo and Dan-ah. I love that they’re equally matched, and that their strengths and weaknesses balance each other out. Dan-ah can stubbornly insist she’s fine on her own all she wants, but Kang-soo will continue to pop-up (with that adorable grin!) and remind her that teamwork is pretty awesome. In the same way, Dan-ah keeps the idealistic Kang-soo grounded. Maybe knocking him out wasn’t the best way to make sure he got some sleep, but she also knows that he can be too generous and needs take care of himself, too.
Then again, when they both know that there’s only about 200 days left for them to be together, why waste precious time sleeping? There’s just something so wonderful about the way Kang-soo calmly accepts that Dan-ah will leave — I never get the feeling he’s trying to manipulate her into rethinking her decision to move away, even if he wishes she could stay. He’s just being himself, wanting to enjoy what time they have, even when it’s working side-by-side. I don’t know if I’ve been watching all the wrong dramas, but it’s refreshing to see potential Big Misunderstandings over Small Incidents become quickly diffused when both parties are honest and admit that their knee-jerk reactions are kind of stupid. That’s not to say those knee-jerk reactions aren’t valid (hey, who would want the guy they’re dating to suddenly have some new girl fawning all over him?), but the instinctive fears and suspicions aren’t allowed to linger longer than necessary.
All the relationships, despite some trope-filled beginnings (chaebol double-fake dating is maybe still my favorite thing), feel so grounded that for once I don’t question how long each couple could last (even knowing that Dan-ah’s determined to break things off in a few months). Which is a far cry, I know, from my bewildered “wait, what, how?” puzzlement just a few weeks ago, when I wasn’t sure how believable Dan-ah and Kang-soo’s love-line would be. But now I’ve seen the light — or at least the adorable cuteness — and I can’t imagine it any other way.
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- May the Strongest Deliveryman prevail in new character teasers
- Thumbs-up for Strongest Deliveryman’s first script read
- Jang Mi-kwan and Lee Yeol-eum join KBS’s Strongest Deliveryman
- Go Kyung-pyo takes on first leading role in Strongest Deliveryman