Strongest Deliveryman: Episode 9
Kang-soo is back and cuter than ever! Well, it’s more like he never left, but at least the angst over his going didn’t last very long. While it might seem like there’s nothing but good times and sunshine ahead, Kang-soo’s previous actions come back to haunt him and the rest of the delivery guys.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Dan-ah is surprised to find Kang-soo at the restaurant, and he cheerfully tells her that he won’t be able to leave just yet. He immediately gets to work, pausing in his mopping to smile and tell Dan-ah that he missed her.
She’s still dazed by finding him there, demanding to know if he’s just playing games. Kang-soo reassures her that he’s sincere, but he promises that he won’t cling on to her and force her to stay. If leaving is what will make her happy, he’ll support her.
Chef Jang and Soon-ae are also surprised to see Kang-soo at the restaurant, but they assume Dan-ah must have sweet-talked him into staying. Ha.
It’s back to work as usual as the orders pour in. During one of the deliveries, the elevator is broken, and Dan-ah sighs as she realizes that means she has to climb the flight of stairs. But Kang-soo grabs her delivery box and races up ahead of her, teasingly taunting her to catch him.
Yeon-ji isn’t working at a hostess bar, but she is working as a karaoke girl. When one of her customers gets a little handsy for her liking, she smashes her tambourine over his head and storms out.
Her pimp-employer tells her that she’ll have to suck it up and endure the grabby hands or else she won’t make any money. Being a karaoke girl isn’t just about singing.
Under the advice of his fellow deliverymen, Gong-gi’s purchased a designer bag (please tell me it’s one of Ji-yoon’s!) and readies himself to act like a “cool, tough, rich asshole” in order to win over the heart of Yeon-ji. He’s under the impression that girls like the forceful kind of guy who orders them about and buys them expensive bags.
His plan works about as well as you’d imagine, when Yeon-ji tosses the designer bag into a nearby garbage truck. Gong-gi drops all “cool guy” pretenses as he runs after the truck to try and save the bag.
When Yeon-ji finds out that Kang-soo didn’t leave, she muses that this will make it difficult for Dan-ah to emigrate. Dan-ah stubbornly insists that Kang-soo won’t change her plans. Yeon-ji surprises Dan-ah by admitting that she hopes Dan-ah will be able to leave, vaguely explaining that she’s starting to hate this country more and more, too.
Kang-soo lies down in his room, holding onto the shotes Dan-ah gave him so he could originally have a fresh start. He wonders if he’s really doing the right thing by staying, remembering his original goal was to find his mother. Kang-soo holds up his shoes, and tears up as he says they look like the boats his father lost.
In the morning, Mom goes to the hospital to see Hyun-soo, but skitters to hide around the corner when she realizes Kang-soo is there, too. Hyun-soo’s being discharged today, and even though he really wants to stay and be with the other guys to help his grandother’s restaurant, Kang-soo says the best place for him to rest and get better is with his mother.
Hyun-soo wonders his mother is, since he wanted her to meet Kang-soo. Kang-soo gets a call just then and has to leave, promising he’ll try and meet Hyun-soo’s mother later. I’m sure he will.
When Kang-soo walks around the corner, headed her way, Mom hurries to hide in the bathroom. She tries to stifle her tears of anguish as she stares in the mirror.
Ji-yoon’s moved on from triangle kimbap to triangle sandwiches, and when Jin-gyu plops down on the bench next to her (much to her surprise and annoyance), he tells her that he could feed her better lunch at the restaurant. Ji-yoon retorts that she’s on a diet, and Jin-gyu agreeable tells her to call him when she’s skin and bones and he’ll bring her a bowl of soup.
Ji-yoon’s annoyance at Jin-gyu is momentarily washed away as she picks his brain about what it means for a guy to buy clothes for a girl. Jin-gyu irritably tells her he’s never like someone enough to pick out clothes for them, which makes her wonder what he’s been doing all these years. Jin-gyu: “Being a total idiot. Why?” Pffft.
But Ji-yoon isn’t finished, as she asks him for tips on how to prevent teeth grinding at night, wondering if he ever grinds his teeth. Jin-gyu pleasantly tells her he only does it when he’s really stressed, which means he’ll probably be grinding them tonight (because of her). Ha!
Jin-gyu stifles his frustration with her endless questions and says that he’ll buy her a mouth guard. She’s adorably delighted by this solution. He continues his forced-cheer act as he tells her he can’t wait until her teeth-grinding ways steal his heart. Then he nonchalantly waves as he walks away, much to Ji-yoon’s amusement since it was the same way she waved to him after their last date.
At the restaurant, Jin-gyu notices that the people waiting in line have decided to go somewhere else where there is a less of a wait. The restaurant manager tells him it’s because they have groups that linger, so they aren’t able to turnover tables very quickly. Jin-gyu decides they should offer complimentary plum tea at the end of the meal, both as a nice gesture and as a subtle reminder that the meal is over.
Jin-gyu asks the manager what she thinks of his idea, and she grudgingly admits it’s a pretty good one. However, she warns him it will mean more work for the kitchen staff, and that they won’t be happy about it.
Throughout the day, Kang-soo is bubbly and bright as he both playfully teases Dan-ah. When they find themselves both trying to squeeze through the same narrow space between the car or fit on a full elevator that requires someone to get off before it work, Kang-soo proposes a game a “rock-paper-scissors” to determine who will move first. He wins both time and happily makes her move, despite her attempts at aegyo.
After their deliveries, Kang-soo proposes “rock-paper-scissors” to see who cleans all the dishes, and Dan-ah wins! She cutely celebrates, which causes some serious stares from Chef Jang and Soon-ae.
But once Soon-ae and Chef Jang leave the restaurant, they both admire Kang-soo’s ingenuity with the “rock-paper-scissors” game to get Dan-ah to warm up to him again.
Hahaha, Chef Jang tries to do “rock-paper-scissors” to get Soon-ae to let him walk her home, but she just glares at him and he goes the other way.
Kang-soo finds the cards from the loan sharks plastered all around the neighborhood. Knowing that a lot of the other restaurants have been taking loans, and he confronts Grandma, asking if she’s taken out a loan from the loan sharks. Grandma says she had to because of Hyun-soo’s medical bills, but tells Kang-soo not to worry about it.
Jin-gyu respectfully bids all of his kitchen staff goodnight, and they’re all charmed by his adorableness (and dimples, too, I’m sure). The restaurant manager isn’t impressed by the way obvious way he’s buttering them up, but he points out that he has to keep the staff happy so they won’t complain about the extra work he’s asked them to do.
Hahaha, she has to stifle her own pleased reaction when he respectfully bows to her, realizing she’s also getting caught up in his plan to woo the staff.
Watching from across the way are Hye-ran and Jin-gyu’s mother. His mother desperately wants to go over to him, but Hye-ran reminds her of their agreement: Jin-gyu is to have no contact with his family for two months while Hye-ran puts him through business bootcamp.
To find more customers for Grandma’s restaurant, Kang-soo and the other delivery guys decide to focus on groups that like to linger, such as the PTA ladies and sports teams — the very kind of groups that Jin-gyu was working to get out of his restaurant as quickly as possible.
The effect is felt by Jung Family, because even though they now have a higher turnover, they no longer attract the groups that would spend more time (and money) there. Jin-gyu now has to think of a new strategy to earn more profits.
Jin-gyu goes to the English center early to focus on his studies, surprised to see Dan-ah there as well. Of course, she’s busy cleaning, but she chats with him about his studies, telling him he’s halfway to becoming a decent human.
Jin-gyu asks if Dan-ah wants to get a cup of coffee later, but she’s distracted by Kang-soo arrivng to help her clean. Jin-gyu thoughtfully watches the two of them playfully banter as they chase each other around the offices.
Kang-soo later finds Jin-gyu out on the rooftop. Kang-soo offers him a cup of coffee and asks him how the studying is going. Jin-gyu says he wants to die (is it wrong to laugh at that?) but he’s doing it so he can beat Kang-soo. Kang-soo: “But I don’t speak English.” Snerk.
Jin-gyu clarifies that he’s studying English so he can win against Grandma’s restaurant. Kang-soo points out that Jin-gyu’s already won, because Grandma is barely surviving. Sighing, Jin-gyu says that it’s not enough. When Kang-soo suggests that Jin-gyu could get a good job anywhere, Jin-gyu defensively says that working at Jung Family is a good job.
He rightly points out that it’s not a crime to compete with other restaurants and sell inexpensive food. Kang-soo still doesn’t think it’s a fair fight, but he says it in a pleasant, matter-of-fact way instead of a combative way.
Kang-soo gently rests his hand on Jin-gyu’s shoulder, apologizing for getting in Jin-gyu’s way. Kang-soo’s only determined to partake in this restaurant war because of his principles — it’s nothing personal.
Ji-yoon takes her lunch break at Lucky Noodles — while wearing the dress that Kang-soo “bought” her. Kang-soo practically chokes on his own lunch when he sees her.
As Dan-ah serves Ji-yoon, remarking on how she likes Ji-yoon’s dress (Ji-yoon: “A really nice person gave it to me!”), Kang-soo looks like he wishes the ground would open and swallow him up.
Kang-soo gobbles down his lunch in an effort to escape, and Dan-ah berates him for eating so quickly. Ji-yoon takes offense at Dan-ah’s rough tone. Ji-yoon suggests, in her passive-aggressive way, that Dan-ah has anger issues.
Chef Jang and Soon-ae tell Dan-ah to keep her cool as Kang-soo hustles Ji-yoon out of the restaurant. Soon-ae: “Don’t beat up the customers. Wait until you see encounter them on the street.” Ha!
Kang-soo pleads with Ji-yoon to go, insisting that Dan-ah can be pretty scary. Ji-yoon says that she can be scary, too — she has a black belt in Taekwondo! Aw, how does that sound so cute?
Both Ji-yoon and Dan-ah think there’s something odd about their interaction with each other, although they can’t figure out what it is. Dan-ah asks if Kang-soo still has the dress she gave him, and he reluctantly reveals that he gave it away.
Dan-ah pushes him against the wall as she forces a confession. Kang-soo admits that he accidentally gave it to Ji-yoon, who was also the girl he let live in his room when she had no other place to go. Dan-ah is annoyed by this, telling him that it’s better when he minds his own business.
Ji-yoon stops by Jin-gyu’s office to get information about Dan-ah, since she assumes he would know something after working at Lucky Noodles for a week. He tries to ignore her and focus on his work, but she keeps peppering him with questions about Dan-ah’s relationship to Kang-soo.
Jin-gyu says she should just ask Kang-soo herself, but Ji-yoon persists in her questions. Jin-gyu finally has to point out that no matter what he says, Ji-yoon won’t give up on her Kang-soo crush, so it’s pointless to try and figure out an answer.
Kang-soo makes a late-night soup delivery for Grandma to a local bank, where a lone worker is snoring at his desk, surrounded by paperwork. Kang-soo takes note of the man’s exhaustion and later brings him a complimentary bowl of hot soup after finding the man’s fallen asleep again and his soup has gone cold. The man is appreciative of Kang-soo’s kindness, but points out that’s no way to run a business.
When Dan-ah arrives at work the next morning, she’s surprised to see all the delivery guys already there — along with their respective restaurant owners and Grandma. Uh-oh. The other restaurant owners are furious that Grandma’s secretly been using their guys for deliveries. Grandma quietly apologizes, taking the full blame and asking the owners to forgive the guys.
The restaurant owners fire all of the guys, anyway. Kang-soo speaks up, saying it was all his idea and that it’s not the other guys’ fault, but the other restaurant owners don’t care. It’s a quiet, somber atmosphere as Gong-gi and the guys file out of the restaurant.
Chef Jang and Soon-ae decide not to fire Kang-soo, even though they already knew about his extra deliveries and secret Sunday restaurant. Chef Jang says that he and Soon-ae wouldn’t even be in business right now if it weren’t for Grandma, so he tells Kang-soo to keep delivering for her restaurant.
Soon-ae also volunteers Dan-ah to help, and Dan-ah agrees, saying that she’ll have to work twice as much at Lively Noodles if Kang-soo only works for Grandma, so they might as well work together. It’s a fair rationalization, but Chef Jang and Soon-ae roll their eyes as they tell Dan-ah that she could have just admitted she wanted to work with Kang-soo because she likes him. Ha!
When Kang-soo arrives at Grandma’s restaurant, he explains that he’s angry at the way Grandma was shamed and that the other delivery guys were fired because of him. He warns Grandma that if he doesn’t succeed in helping her, then he’ll just turn his anger onto himself.
Dan-ah realizes that Kang-soo’s past the point of being the nice guy, and Kang-soo just smiles ruefully as he agrees he’s gone a little crazy.
Dan-ah returns to Lively Noodles to find Ji-yoon waiting for her. Ji-yoon’s decked out in her taekwondo uniform, and looks pretty fierce as she tells Dan-ah to follow her. Dan-ah’s reaction is more “Okay, what now?” resignation than intimidation, though.
Dan-ah doesn’t Ji-yoon’s threats and warnings seriously, and when Ji-yoon finally tries to attack, Dan-ah calmly stands aside, causing Ji-yoon to fall on the ground. Ji-yoon: “You’re pretty good.” Dan-ah: “I didn’t do anything.” Ha!
Ji-yoon is easily subdued by Dan-ah, who does nothing more than grab Ji-yoon’s arms and get her to stop kicking. Ji-yoon seems to accept this new hierarchy and respectfully serves her new “unni” some water. But Ji-yoon also is desperate to know if Dan-ah likes Kang-soo (Dan-ah: “None of your business.”) or if Kang-soo likes Dan-ah.
Aw, Dan-ah can’t help but laugh when Ji-yoon asks if she can still like her “ajusshi.” Dan-ah just bemusedly shoos the younger woman away. Ji-yoon sniffles as she leaves, clutching her arms. A far cry from the tough young woman who was convinced Dan-ah would be hurt by her taekwondo skills.
Kang-soo arrives at Gong-gi’s place, but he and most of the other guys are passed out drunk. Min-chan is the only one still awake and sober, since he has a job interview in the morning. Kang-soo asks if they all can meet up tomorrow afternoon after his interview. Kang-soo has something he wants to discuss with them.
As Kang-soo and Dan-ah do the dishes, Dan-ah hesitantly suggests that he should buy Ji-yoon a meal sometime. Kang-soo’s shocked that Dan-ah and Ji-yoon met, but Dan-ah says she understands why Kang-soo would feel so protective of Ji-yoon.
But Kang-soo tells her he has to study on Sunday. Dan-ah’s amused at the thought of Kang-soo studying anything, and he insists he’s become an expert in road laws and accident policies thanks to his research.
So to the library he and Dan-ah go. He’s apparently the slowest reader ever, and Dan-ah keeps sliding him teasing little notes about his intense, focused reading. But he’s fully intent on his book about entrepreneurship.
Min-chan greets one of his interviewers, asking what the interviewer thinks of Min-chan’s chance of being hired by the company. He’s desperate for any feedback, and the interviewer tells Min-chan that it doesn’t look like he’d be a good fit. It’s not just about the “specs” — Min-chan clearly comes from a poorer background which means he would be a passive worker, more afraid of not getting fired than really contributing something to the company.
Min-chan drinks away his sorrows and eventually stumbles his way to a karaoke room, where he drunkenly protests the owner’s insistence that she’ll find the prettiest girl to join him since he’s all alone. Yeon-ji is, of course, the girl who’s sent to join him, and Min-chan recognizes her, although she doesn’t seem to recognize him.
The library is closing, and Kang-soo’s still in the same spot, his nose in a book. Dan-ah’s the one who points out that they have to leave. Aww, I’ve missed Dan-ah’s little “Good job, oppa!” although this one seems less sarcastic than previously. She’s curious about what he’s been studying, and he explains he’s got a plan to help Grandma and the guys who were fired because of him.
It’s actually something he’s been planning for awhile, for when he decided he no longer needed to keep moving every two months. Kang-soo hauls out his handwritten business plan: “Strongest Deliveryman.” Ooooh, title shout-out! Kang-soo tells her it’s the name of the business he wants to make, one that specializes in delivery services.
Dan-ah thinks he’s crazy, but all the other delivery guys are excited and agree to give it shot. The next day, the deliverymen all confidently walk through the neighborhood looking spiffy in suits.
Part of me wonders why it took so long to finally reach the point where the show matched up with the original premise we were all expecting from the promos (“A deliveryman becomes a CEO of a delivery app company”). Another part me realizes that I might not be quite this invested in watching Kang-soo’s new venture if I hadn’t already spent this much time with him and the other characters (especially the other delivery guys), so perhaps it’s a good thing it’s been a slow build. I just hope this means we’ll be able to see the app in action and that it will somehow save Grandma’s restaurant, the neighborhood, and, well, just the world in general.
Kang-soo may sometimes be an annoying do-gooder busy-body, but I still want him to succeed in whatever he puts his mind to since I know he means well. I know it can make him seem too boring at times, but I like that he’s a squishy marshmallow except for his iron backbone of idealism. He actually reminds me of friends I have in real life, and I think that’s one reason why I’m willing to cut him such slack because I can easily imagine him on his pursuit of justice, standing up for those he thinks are being unfairly downtrodden. He may not always be right, but I still respect him and his convictions.
I do know I’m going to miss his hair, though. That perm kind of became a part of his character, and even though I’m excited about his new business venture, I can’t decide if I like the new hair or not. I’m sure Go Kyung-pyo will appreciate not having to fry his locks every week, but still — that perm is iconic!
The most enjoyable parts of the episode were all the cuteness between the couples. I still love the comfortable way Kang-soo is able to break through Dan-ah’s defenses — he doesn’t push her, but keeps being adorable and helpful, and knows when to playfully push her around. I also love that he told her that he wasn’t going try to hold her back — he knows that she’s set on moving as soon as she’s saved enough, and doesn’t want to detract from her dreams. But until then, why not have a good time, enjoying each other’s company as they work together? If you’re going to spending hours together at work, why not make it (almost) as fun as dating?
But my favorite has to be Ji-yoon and Jin-gyu. I love watching their lunch chats! It was only this episode that I realized her lunch bench is right near his restaurant. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, because this is a small neighborhood. But that means he has to be watching for her because he always seems to join her just as she’s taken a bite of her triangle-shaped meal. So Jin-gyu can pretend not to care (or only pretend to care in order to fulfill his agreement with Hye-ran), but I’m pretty sure Ji-yoon’s starting to get under his skin. And not just in an irritating way, like a splinter. Well, maybe she started that way, but I sense some genuine camaraderie growing between them. Ji-yoon may only use Jin-gyu as her own personal Google, but I think one day she’ll realize how patient and helpful he’s been (whether he’s wanted to be or not!).
Although, how could I forget Ji-yoon and Dan-ah’s first official meeting? Why did it take so long for that happen, show? I’m super thankful the confusion over the dress didn’t linger, nor the rivalry between Ji-yoon and Dan-ah. I much prefer Ji-yoon and Dan-ah as friends than foes. Plus Ji-yoon could use an older more wise friend to help her out in her new independent adventures (can you imagine Dan-ah selling Ji-yoon’s designer bags? No one would be walking away with a discount, that’s for sure!). Mostly I’m pleased that our four leads are all finally sorta-kinda friends, even if our resident chaebols are setting themselves up for heartbreak (until, of course, they realize that their fake dating was just a banter-filled prelude to real dating).
- 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