Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 15
The Strongest Deliverymen (and woman) have had their ups and downs as they’ve worked to establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with. Perhaps now their time has finally come to shine, proving that those born with dirt spoons can be successful, too. The rich, powerful, and soulless corporations can’t win all the time — or can they?
EPISODE 15 RECAP
The Sunjin CEO reads off the votes to see who won the lunch contract. Hye-ran smiles in satisfaction when she hears that the Jung Family got 638 votes — more than three times the votes of other food companies. Then the CEO reads the Strongest Deliveryman votes: 787 votes. SD Corp wins the contract!
The SD team jumps up in celebration while Hye-ran gives Kang-soo a death glare before storming out with her crew. Hye-ran tries to regroup, angry that SD’s emotional campaign was successful. She fires all of her management except for Manager Sohn, since no one but Manager Sohn was able to think of creative ways to think outside the company manual.
Thanks to the contract with Sunjin, business is booming for the local restaurants and the SD app. Kang-soo and Dan-ah look over all the orders they’ve received, and Dan-ah sincerely says, “Good job, CEO!” Aw.
Kang-soo leans in for a kiss, reminding her that she’d kiss him once they were successful, but she teasingly deflects him, telling him that they’re not successful yet.
Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon show up at the restaurant for lunch, and Ji-yoon is hilariously all-in with her new couple status with Jin-gyu, cutely feeding him radish despite his obvious discomfort. Ji-yoon also peppers Dan-ah and Kang-soo with questions about their relationship.
Dan-ah gulps when Ji-yoon asks how “far” they’ve gone, and Ji-yoon surmises that they’ve definitely kissed. She wants to know more details, though, and when Dan-ah protests, Ji-yoon pouts that she needs to know as a reference for her own relationship.
The guys quickly slurp down their jajangmyun and make their escape, leaving Dan-ah and Ji-yoon alone. Ji-yoon leans in and asks to know what happened after Dan-ah and Kang-soo kissed. Soon-ae, who’s been pretending not to eavesdrop, also wants to know.
Dan-ah leaves the table, ignoring the question. But Ji-yoon shouts after her that there’s no reason to be embarrassed by sex. Haha!
During the SD business meeting, Min-chan reveals that they’re now making enough money that they might actually start to turn a profit. Kang-soo tells the deliverymen that if Jung Family leaves the neighborhood, he’ll give them bonuses. That gets him a round of cheers.
Meanwhile, Hye-ran’s facing the reality that Jung Family is currently hundreds of millions of won in debt, not even counting the 10 billion won loan that they’ll have to start paying back in a few months (plus interest!). Hye-ran decides that their next tactic is to start offering their own delivery services.
She also has another plan that she’ll unleash soon — one that will utterly destroy the Strongest Deliveryman corporation. Dun dun dun!
Kang-soo catches Dan-ah intently staring at her phone. He’s curious about it, but when she hides it behind her back, he leans in and teasingly tells her that he’ll kiss her if she doesn’t show him.
She immediately shows him the phone, which is a counter of the days since her “Happy Day,” the day she decided to stay in Korea. Dan-ah says that it may look like a simple change in words to go from her D-Day countdown, but for her it’s a reminder of the first time she felt hope and believed she could really be happy.
Dan-ah quietly adds that it’s all because of Kang-soo, and tells him that he has to succeed, no matter what. Smiling, Kang-soo agrees, thanking her for being by his side and making him happy, too.
Dan-ah pulls him closer, and they kiss. The camera pans back to discretely leave it to our imaginations as to what happens next, but I’m pretty sure Ji-yoon would be proud.
Speaking of Ji-yoon, she can’t stop staring at Jin-gyu who’s lying on the other side of their DMZ barrier. Jin-gyu tells her she’s making him uncomfortable, but Ji-yoon says that he’s too handsome for her to look away.
That makes him laugh, but Ji-yoon insists it’s true. The more she gets to know him, the more handsome and charismatic he seems. She explains that she originally thought of him as useless diamond, but he’s now become a useful pebble.
Jin-gyu points out that being a pebble seems a little insulting, but Ji-yoon brightly says that she knows he loves her backwards compliments.
They fall asleep on their respective sides of the barrier. Or at least try to, because Ji-yoon’s annoying teeth grinding makes it impossible for Jin-gyu to sleep. He hunts around for her mouth guard, and then sits beside her, ready to put it in her mouth.
But he stops to watch her sleeping, whispering that he’s thankful for her making him into a useful pebble. Surprising him by revealing she’s not really asleep, Ji-yoon gently takes his hand and says that actually she’s the thankful one. If it weren’t for Jin-gyu, she would have spent her days crying and alone.
Ji-yoon wonders if it’s okay to love him, and if he wants to love her, too. Jin-gyu doesn’t answer, except to tell her to close her eyes. Ji-yoon takes that as a refusal, and agreeably tells him “good night.”
Instead, he leans down and gently kisses her. Ji-yoon starts to kiss him back, but then she springs up, realizing that she hasn’t brushed her teeth. She tells the bewildered Jin-gyu to wait a minute and be ready for more kissing when she gets back. I’m pretty sure that DMZ wall came a-tumblin’ down that night, if you know what I mean.
The days go by in a whirl of happiness as the SD corporation continues to succeed. Dan-ah and Kang-soo grow closer, too, holding hands under the table and stealing little kisses as they pass each other. So cute.
Kang-soo is surprised to see his old prison cellmate walk into the restaurant, but Soon-ae recognizes him as an old friend of her father’s. He’s actually there to see Soon-ae, disappointed she never told him about what happened with her ex-husband.
Soon-ae explains it was just easier if she quietly disappeared, especially since her father’s friend can be pretty scary when he takes matters into his own hands. He agrees, but says that they should still keep in touch. As he leaves, he realizes that Dan-ah must have been the person Kang-soo kept thinking about in prison.
Dan-ah gives Kang-soo grief for talking about her while he was in prison, but Kang-soo is more curious about how Soon-ae and Chef Jang first met. Dan-ah explains that Soon-ae was the daughter of a rich man, and Chef Jang was the head of a gang that had been ordered to kidnap Soon-ae.
He and his men searched everywhere, and Chef Jang eventually found Soon-ae hiding in a cabinet. But when he saw her scared and tearful face, he couldn’t bring himself to kidnap her, and lied to his men that she wasn’t there.
Afterwards, Chef Jang and Soon-ae would secretly meet up. Soon-ae even asked him to run away with her, but Chef Jang hesitated and lost his chance. Kang-soo realizes that’s why Soon-ae is so mean to Chef Jang.
Dan-ah asks Kang-soo to promise that, no matter what happens, they won’t break up over stupid reasons. Instead, they’ll find a way to work through difficulties together. They cutely handshake on it, sealing their promise with a kiss.
That night, Soon-ae reaches for Chef Jang’s hand as he walks her home. Even though Soon-ae maintains her usual stoic expression, Chef Jang’s grin is ridiculously wide as he happily clings to Soon-ae.
One of the restaurant ajumma’s counts up the day’s earnings, thankful that Kang-soo has helped to save her restaurant. Her employee offers to close up the restaurant, and the restaurant ajumma cheerfully promises to give the employee a raise once the restaurant is back on its feet.
After the ajumma leaves, Manager Sohn arrives. The employee explains that they’re closed, but Manager Sohn says she has an offer to make. Considering the employee was just talking about how funds have been tight, it’s probably an offer that will be too tempting to refuse. In the morning, the employee looks awfully nervous when the morning food deliveries arrive from the countryside.
Hye-ran also orders Sung-jae to meet with her, threatening to send him to jail for his attack on Jin-gyu. Sung-jae scoffs, preferring to rot in jail rather than help her. But Hye-ran isn’t after Sung-jae — she knows that Kang-soo will be miserable if Sung-jae goes to jail.
Kang-soo will be too distracted trying to save his friend instead of focusing on his company. If Sung-jae doesn’t want Hye-ran to ruin Kang-soo, then he’ll have to agree to work for her and bring over as many of the other deliverymen he can.
The guys are happily slurping down ramen when Sung-jae returns home, and Kang-soo realizes that there aren’t enough chopsticks for everyone. He cheerfully hands over his chopsticks to Sung-jae, who grumpily tells Kang-soo that he should stop thinking about others first all the time. Kang-soo should make sure he’s fed himself before he tries to feed others.
Everyone’s happy — and Kang-soo makes terrible puns that would make Soon-ae proud — but Sung-jae can only solemnly watch the carefree Kang-soo.
In the morning, Jung Family’s new delivery services causes the SD team to run outside to see it for themselves. Shocked and betrayed, Kang-soo watches Sung-jae drive by on a Jung Family scooter.
Kang-soo blocks Sung-jae’s way, demanding to know what’s going on. Sung-jae flippantly says that Jung Family pays better. When Dan-ah questions Sung-jae’s loyalty, reminding him that Kang-soo went to jail for him, Sung-jae says that it’s better working for a boss who isn’t so nosy.
The SD team are shocked that Sung-jae would abandon them for money, but Kang-soo stubbornly insists that Sung-jae isn’t the type to be won over by mere money. Kang-soo is convinced there must be something else behind it.
Jin-gyu knows that Jung Family will do anything to succeed, and he warns Kang-soo that they’re only using Sung-jae to get to him. Kang-soo can’t believe a business would play so dirty, but Jin-gyu knows better. Gong-gi declares a delivery war, and tells the men to get their stations. Er, scooters.
Kang-soo reassures Dan-ah that he’s fine and Sung-jae will return. But her worried expression makes it clear she knows that Hye-ran hit her mark.
Hye-ran’s evil plans continue as the local restaurant employee secretly accepts deliveries of imported ingredients and mixes them with the domestic ingredients.
During a surprise inspection of their ingredients (thanks to a tip from someone likely in the pay of Jung Family), the local restaurant loses their certification of 100% domestic ingredients. The restaurant ajumma is shocked, and all her customers walk out, angry that they’ve been lied to.
The negative rumors about where the Restaurant Row ingredients come from means that SD is in danger of losing the Sunjin contract. Kang-soo sets up a sign with a heartfelt apology outside Sunjin as he humbly kneels next to it all day, but the employees won’t be won over.
Even so, Kang-soo stays there all day, not moving even when it starts to rain and the employees have all left for the day. Dan-ah arrives with an umbrella, gently telling that it’s late and he should go home.
The restaurant owners also blame Kang-soo since he was the one who provided the ingredients, and they arrive en masse to confront him. They believe that Kang-soo lied about the authenticity of the ingredients, and only wanted to use the restaurants to make money off his app instead of actually believing in the integrity of the product.
Kang-soo silently accepts their abuse, but Dan-ah steps in and angrily points out that just yesterday, Kang-soo was their hero. Yet overnight he’s suddenly became the bad guy. Dan-ah spits out that the restaurant owners are trash, willing to throw away their trust and pride for money — they’re just another example of everything that is wrong in this “Hell Joseon.”
Dan-ah helps Kang-soo shuffle his way home, his legs stiff and aching after kneeling all day. The rest of the delivery guys are waiting for them, and Min-chan breaks the bad news that Sunjin has cancelled their contract.
Without a word, Kang-soo goes upstairs to his room. Dan-ah tries to follow, but Kang-soo’s locked the door. She knocks on the door, and he calls out that he’s okay and that he’ll see her tomorrow. But he sits in the darkness and quietly weeps.
When Dan-ah arrives at Lively Noodles in the morning, she’s surprised to see Kang-soo already up and prepping the restaurant. At her cautious greeting, he smiles and tells her that he’s fine. Everyone practically walks on eggshells around him, doing all they can to hide their concern as they try to make him happy.
Hye-ran is satisfied that her plans are working and that Sunjin now wants to sign with Jung Family. But she won’t stop until the SD team are completely destroyed. She sends Manager Sohn to meet with Min-chan and ask him to join Jung Family, which will give him more opportunities to climb the corporate ladder.
Byung-soo and Young-taek pay off their month’s interest to the loan sharks, but with things not looking so good for SD, they fret about how they’re going to pay next month. Byung-soo wonders if they should join Sung-jae at Jung Family — it’s either that, or wait until the loan sharks kill them and sell their organs on the black market.
Jung Family continues their aggressive marketing, with their new selling point being that they don’t fool their customers about where the ingredients are sourced. Unlike certain other restaurants, Jung Family has “integrity.” Ouch.
Late at night, Ji-yoon wonders what will happen to Kang-soo and his company, realizing that her mother has made things difficult for the deliverymen. She hesitantly asks Jin-gyu if he will hate her because she’s the daughter of Jung Family.
Jin-gyu reminds Ji-yoon that she’s moved out of her family’s house and is now her own, independent person. Aw, he’s so sweet and tender as he reassures her, holding her hand in encouragement.
At the SD office, Min-chan tells Kang-soo that Byung-soo and Young-taek quit and will be working for Jung Family. He also reveals that they’re no longer getting orders on the app, but they still have to pay for the ingredients and wages from the past month.
Kang-soo refuses to touch the investment money from the delivery guys (who all originally chipped in 100,000 won) and instead tells Min-chan to take it out of what’s left of the 100 million won that Kang-soo invested. That means there won’t be anything left of Kang-soo’s money, but Kang-soo wants to make sure everyone is paid — including the guys who left to go work for Jung Family.
Dan-ah sees Min-chan leave the office and knows that there will be no money left after this month. She tells him to accept her 100 million won as an investment — but to keep it a secret from Kang-soo.
Except Kang-soo overhears her offer, and refuses it. He won’t let her give up the money she’s worked so hard to save. Dan-ah points out that she’s making an investment, just like he did. Plus, she’s not just making an investment in the company, she’s making an investment in him. She demands to know why he won’t accept it.
Min-chan waits for Yeon-ji as she walks home, and he offers her a lozenge, knowing her throat hurts (from singing, y’know). Aw. He tells her that he might be moving to a larger, more stable company soon.
Yeon-ji asks about SD, wondering how Min-chan can go somewhere else when the guys need him most right now. She tells him that he shouldn’t leave if he thinks he’ll regret it. Using herself as an example, Yeon-ji explains that she threw away her pride for money, and is miserable every night because of it.
Kang-soo offers to walk Dan-ah home. They slowly walk hand-in-hand, and Dan-ah quietly asks if Kang-soo is really okay.
With a smile, he reassures her that he is. She doesn’t seem entirely convinced, but takes him at his word as she rests her head on his shoulder. After they say “good night” to each other, Kang-soo lets out a deep breath and heads back to the restaurant. He looks like he’s about to cry.
Yeon-ji asks Dan-ah what’s going to happen with Kang-soo — if things will end. Dan-ah is convinced that he’ll be able to succeed and keep going. She doesn’t know how, exactly, but it’s Kang-soo — he’s able to overcome anything.
Worried, Yeon-ji asks what will happen if things don’t go well. Will Dan-ah decide to move away? Dan-ah shakes her head. She made a promise to Kang-soo not to leave, and she smiles as she thinks about him.
Back at Lively Noodles, Kang-soo studies the Strongest Deliveryman sign that he removed from the wall. Next to it is a pile of the SD affiliate signs that used to be in the other restaurants’ windows. Kang-soo slowly stands up and, with one last look around at SD headquarters, he turns off the light and leaves.
Dan-ah studies her cute bear keychain that Kang-soo won for her, wondering if Kang-soo is really okay. Her eyes grow wide as she realizes something, and she runs back to Lively Noodles.
When she gets there, Kang-soo’s room is empty except for a note. In the note, Kang-soo apologizes for leaving and asks her not to look for him. He tells her that she should follow her original dream and move to a place that will give her hope and happiness. He just wants her to be happy, and apologizes for breaking his promise to her.
Dan-ah runs through the neighborhood, calling for Kang-soo, but he’s nowhere to be found. She crouches in despair as she cries.
Kang-soo sits on a train, lost in thought as he heads away from Seoul.
Up until now, I haven’t really had an issue with Hye-ran. She’s a businesswoman who’s determined to make her company succeed, and even if I didn’t agree with her business tactics, they still made sense. But now, I’m angry. How dare she purposefully hurt this giant marshmallow of a man and use his innate traits of loyalty and kindness against him? Kang-soo is the kind of person who would literally lay down his life for a friend, but now that the Jung Family is stealing all his friends, what else is there for him to live for?
I used to be annoyed that Ji-yoon didn’t step up and use her status as Hye-ran’s daughter to stop the Jung Family shenanigans, but now I can’t blame Ji-yoon for wanting to cut off all contact. Not that Hye-ran would actually listen to any heartfelt plea from her daughter anyway, since money is the only thing she seems to care about.
While I have faith that somehow, someway, my beloved delivery guys will be able to find a way out of this hellhole that they’ve found themselves in, I know there’s got to be some painful sacrifices — maybe not everyone will escape unscathed. But I want to believe in the happy ending! I need to know that integrity and honor win over greed and power! That the common man who trusts in himself can succeed in his dreams, even when the world seems determined to destroy him!
At least all the romance is super, super cute. Kang-soo and Dan-ah’s relationship has been utterly enjoyable to watch as it organically unfolds. It’s a romance that’s built on friendship, mutual respect, and a healthy regard for boundaries — and that’s my most favorite kind of romance. I love how honest and vulnerable they’ve been with each other the past few episodes, and how protective they are of each other’s dreams and happiness. (I also am lovin’ all those kisses!) Which is why I’m frustrated (but not surprised) that Kang-soo is playing the Noble Idiot in an attempt to not drag Dan-ah down with him, since he seems to think there’s no way out.
My hope is in Dan-ah, though. She knows Kang-soo well enough that those little red flags she must have been feeling all night were proven right — that he really isn’t as “okay” as he kept reassuring her. But he needs to know that there’s someone out there who is willing to fight for him as much as he has been willing to fight for his hundreds of friends he’s made over the years (not to mention the hundreds of strangers he’s saved one way or another). Besides, Dan-ah should be able to spend her hard-earned money however she wishes, and if she’s chosen him for her hope and happiness, well, then, he better not keep running away.
I also adore Jin-gyu and Ji-yoon’s comfortable “Yeah, we’re pretty much married” vibe. It feels almost impossible that a chaebol couple could completely walk away from their wealth, especially in dramaland, but I’d really hate it if suddenly one (or both) returned to their previous lives. I want them to live forever in their teeny-tiny room where he makes her lunch and she gets to have all the fun sexy times her horny lil’ heart could desire, while they lovingly bicker and support each other in their bumbling attempts to live a simple life away from their rich and overbearing parents.
Perhaps it’s unrealistic to idealize a life where someone throws away a gold spoon to happily accept a dirt spoon, but this adorable and heartwarming drama has shown us that someone who works hard to achieve their dreams, no matter how little they make or how small the dream, is worthy of as much (or perhaps even more) respect as any high-ranking CEO.
- Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 1
- Smiling to keep hope in Strongest Deliveryman
- Premiere Watch: Strongest Deliveryman, Rescue Me
- Strongest Deliveryman refuses to keep hungry people waiting
- The gamble for hearts and empty dishes in Strongest Deliveryman
- 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