Run On: Episode 2
As our protagonists get to know each other a little better, we learn that our hero may not be as dispassionate or aloof as he first seemed. When some upsetting truths come to light, our hero tries his best to serve his version of justice, but his actions might wind up having some serious consequences.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Sun-kyum and Mi-joo are reunited once more, but this time as client and interpreter. As Mi-joo tries to wrap her head around the quick turn of events, Dan-ah clocks their familiarity with each other and asks them with an air of amusement what their deal is. When neither one divulges any info about how they’ve met, Dan-ah says it’s fine as long as Sun-kyum doesn’t attract any media attention, like the police station incident.
She asks how that wrapped up, and at Mi-joo’s pleading glance, Sun-kyum simply states that justice was served. Mi-joo makes a hasty retreat so the two can talk. Dan-ah, in the most indifferent manner ever, says that she likes Mi-joo because Mi-joo “knows her place” as a gofer.
As Mi-joo rushes off, a newspaper with Sun-kyum’s name plastered across the front page catches her eye. It’s a piece on the budding romance between Sun-kyum and a major actress, Choi Tae-ri. Back at the cafe, Sun-kyum declines to reveal how he knows Mi-joo, so Dan-ah changes her tactic. She asks flirtatiously if his answer would change if she were asking as the woman he used to like. “Then you should have asked me about this back then, not now.” Ha.
Dan-ah asks about the dating report instead. We get a flashback of Choi Tae-ri (cameo by Kim Ye-won) running into Sun-kyum outside the gym. While she’s all smiles, Sun-kyum greets her with a blank face and asks who she is. Tae-ri’s dumbfounded by his response and assumes he’s joking since it’s only been a few days since they did a photoshoot together. She playfully punches him on the arm and that fleeting encounter was captured on camera, launching headlines.
Back in the present, Sun-kyum asks Dan-ah to make an official announcement that there’s no romance. Ever the businesswoman, Dan-ah refuses to do so until their photo shoot has been published, claiming that it will be great publicity. She evaluates him like a piece of merchandise and Sun-kyum says that if she’s done checking his face, he has to leave for training.
Mi-joo’s waiting for Sun-kyum outside the cafe and she stops him to ask how this is their fourth meeting. He’s reticent, so she switches subjects and asks for her lighter back. In response, he asks what happened later that night and after a discursive discussion, they agree he can return the lighter later.
Sun-kyum asks why she had claimed to be unemployed and Mi-joo says this interpreting job is more a side hustle, calling it charity as she isn’t even getting paid. He says she must like interpreting a lot to be doing it for charity. Barely holding back a smile, Mi-joo says that you usually do charity as penance.
As they walk, Mi-joo confesses that she had wanted to buy him a meal and ask for a favor: don’t tell Dan-ah that she’s the reason he ended up at the police station. To get on his good side, Mi-joo calls out the media for referring to Sun-kyum as just “Tae-ri’s boyfriend,” ignoring the fact that he’s a national athlete. Sun-kyum tells her that he’s okay; he’s used to being labelled and linked to others, like how he’s “Tae-ri’s boyfriend” to the reporters, and a “lunatic” to Mi-joo.
Sun-kyum promises to keep her secret and attempts to say goodbye, so Mi-joo stops him to ask why he’s in such a hurry. Can’t he even spare time for a meal? He tells her it’s almost like she wants to buy him a meal and be done with him. Slightly chastened, she asks him to send her a few dates and times so they can meet up later.
Back at her apartment, Mi-joo works on her translation, pausing only to read an email about Sun-kyum’s schedule.
In the office, Mi-joo smiles to herself when she gets a detailed text with dates and times from Sun-kyum. Mae-yi asks how Mi-joo is progressing with her “handsome fate.” Mi-joo claims they’re too different to have any progress.
Mae-yi gives a bit of dating advice, then a bit of news: Suk-won just won a major award for his film. Mi-joo veers between irritation (that Suk-won won) and happiness (it’s the first time one of her translated projects has won). She’s furiously scrolling through film festival photos when she sees Sun-kyum–with her beloved Yook Ji-woo. Mae-yi tut-tuts at Mi-joo for only now learning about Yook Ji-woo’s family, despite being such a big fangirl.
As the two friends talk, we see Sun-kyum having a great training session and outrunning his hoobaes. Mi-joo thinks back to when he spoke about being used to having his name linked to others. She muses that Sun-kyum’s life seems full of people but empty of him, whereas she only has herself.
Back at the training center, Gyu-duk is doling out “discipline” to Woo-shik in the form of punches and insults. When Woo-shik recoils from a punch and inadvertently hits Gyu-duk in the face, the abuse get worse. When Woo-shik says that he’s always considered himself Sun-kyum’s stand-in, since Guy-duk’s too scared to face Sun-kyum, the beating intensifies.
Walking in the rain, Sun-kyum senses something’s wrong when he spots Gyu-duk and Ki-bum from afar and he finds a bloodied and battered Woo-shik. He softly mutters, “I’m sorry” before Sun-kyum helps him up and to a hospital.
Aw, when he comes to, Woo-shik’s first worry is about what to say to their coach. He says he’ll tell the coach everything later, and Sun-kyum pushes back. When? Later, after his tendons have ruptured? He asks if Woo-shik is really okay and Woo-shik pauses for a moment before bursting into tears and shaking his head no.
Sun-kyum tells him not to worry about the bills and to focus on getting better. When he stands to go, Woo-shik grabs his arm and begs him not to do anything. Woo-shik’s afraid because of how Gyu-duk might respond. Sun-kyum assures him that things will be fine. He continues calmly that they can say he’s the one who hit Gyu-duk, not Woo-shik, and says goodbye.
Sun-kyum wastes no time finding Gyu-duk and punches him on sight, telling him it’s for Woo-shik. Instead of showing remorse, Gyu-duk blames Sun-kyum being too indulgent as a reason he’s had to “discipline” Woo-shik.
The two of them grapple and Sun-kyum emerges from the fight with a bloody lip. His next stop is to see his coaches and he immediately tells them he’s assaulted someone. The head coach tries to give him an out by asking if he assaulted them or disciplined them. Sun-kyum states matter-of-factly that he doesn’t think it’s considered discipline if he hits someone just because he’s not happy with them.
There’s one more thing he needs to tell them–but the bullying is a surprise to no one. Head Coach tells him not to make a big deal out of the matter since these things happen all the time. Sun-kyum refuses to back down and says they can take it to the disciplinary committee then.
Head Coach loses his temper at that, shouting that Sun-kyum will destroy his future with his actions. Sun-kyum retorts that if this is the kind of flexibility that’s expected of him, he doesn’t think he has a future at all because he wanted to be a leader with principles.
Tae-woong’s back in Dan-ah’s office with a plant peace offering, but his sister’s not there. He calls her, annoyed by her absence and the remains of the destroyed pot. He tells her she should have cleaned it up, and Dan-ah responds by saying he should do it, and wonders without malice if he could cease to exist as well before hanging up.
He grumbles but actually starts cleaning and ends up cutting his finger while he’s at it. Dan-ah’s right hand man Jung Ji-hyun swoops in to the rescue with a vacuum cleaner. They have a moment of connection as they clean and when Mr. Jung tends to Tae-woong’s finger.
Dan-ah runs into Mi-joo at a small cafe, but instead of saying hello, Mi-joo feigns sleep. It doesn’t work (obviously) and Dan-ah takes the opportunity to ask how Mi-joo met Sun-kyum.
Unwilling to tell the truth, Mi-joo tries to play it cool asking if there’s anyone who doesn’t know who Sun-kyum is. Dan-ah reminds her that Mi-joo hadn’t even known his name, then oh-so-casually asks if they met at the police station. Mi-joo’s saved from answering thanks to Dan-ah’s coffee order coming out, heh.
Before leaving, Dan-ah stops to straighten a painting hanging on the cafe wall and gets fresh paint on her sleeve. The cafe owner apologize profusely but Dan-ah’s more interested in purchasing the painting. She offers double the original price and walks away with her latest acquisition, only just missing the artist behind the painting, Young-hwa.
He notices right away that one of his paintings is gone and the owner fibs that someone was so interested she gave it away. He’s extremely excited to hear that someone liked his painting that much, and he presses her for more information when Mi-joo pops out. They have a happy reunion, with Young-hwa congratulating her on successfully resolving her gun case.
Sun-kyum’s waiting for Dan-ah in her office and he’s there to tell her he’s going to be disciplined for assault. He apologizes and Dan-ah’s taken aback but says he must have had a good reason. She asks for details and Sun-kyum simply says he did it for revenge. She cracks up, saying he sounds ridiculous. She stops laughing when Sun-kyum asks if she thinks violence as discipline is funny–the victim was beaten so badly that he nearly needed a tendon implant.
The wheels in Dan-ah’s business brain start turning: companies don’t want to be associated with a violent athlete so that will mean contract cancellations. But Sun-kyum lashed out to avenge his hoobae…so they’ll sue in response to any discipline and turn him into a hero. Sun-kyum asks in disbelief if she means it, questioning how she could think of heroes when he assaulted someone.
Dan-ah ends the conversation by asking Mr. Jung to book Sun-kyum a dermatologist’s appointment. Sun-kyum tells her to find someone else she can manage better, since he’s only with her agency because Dan-ah wanted his sister Eun-bi as a client. Sun-kyum bitterly says he had forgotten that the company was merely a way for Dan-ah to play dress-up, telling her he couldn’t care less what happened to her. He sweeps out of the room when she tries to reprimand him.
Sun-kyum runs his worries away at the gym, but afterwards when he checks his phone he sees a string of messages from Mi-joo. He accidentally stood her up. Mi-joo walks by herself, grumbling that you shouldn’t treat people you’re working with this way, and tells herself to forgive him since she is pretty and kind-hearted.
From a distance, she sees someone sprinting towards her. It’s Sun-kyum, and Mi-joo’s eyes widen at the sight of him. We get a glorious slow-mo of Sun-kyum as he gets closer–but he runs on, straight past her. Mi-joo wonders what’s happening and marvels at his speed. She calls him and he breathlessly answers, asking her where she is. She replies that he just ran past her lol. He dashes back, a touch slower this time around.
Sun-kyum explains he gave her the wrong dates when setting their appointment, but Mi-joo’s quick to move past that. She says they should rehearse, but Sun-kyum asks if they can skip work today. She asks if he wants to watch her movie, saying today might be the only chance to see it in a theater since it’s an indie film.
They take their seats and the lights dim. Mi-joo whispers that she likes theaters because she feels safe inside, but Sun-kyum says that it seems more dangerous since it’s dark and scary. Mi-joo tells him that would be the case if you were alone, then reassures him that everyone is in the dark together. The movie ends, but Mi-joo stays seated while the credits roll. At the very end, Mi-joo’s name appears, listing her as the translator.
Outside, Sun-kyum tells her that the movie was boring, and she hadn’t even been in it. Mi-joo says that she was there in the closing credits, but that most people don’t notice since they don’t stay till the end. Sun-kyum says, “So in order to see you, people have to wait until the end.” (How is that so romantic?)
He asks if she drinks before suggesting they have a few drinks next. Mi-joo asks if he knows what people call a movie and drinks. He thinks for a moment: a date. She playfully shakes her head and calls it a business dinner instead, leading the way out.
They share drinks and food at a pojangmacha as they talk films and translations. Sun-kyum asks if it was her love of movies that made her want to be a translator. Mi-joo shares that she became a translator because a line in a movie had once consoled her, and she wouldn’t have known what it meant without subtitles. It made her want to become a bridge between languages and share the same experience with others.
She then asks why Sun-kyum wanted to get drinks when he seems like a lightweight, and Sun-kyum confesses that it’s because the man in the movie seemed happy after drinking.
Mi-joo asks another question: What does it feel like to run for a living? He adorably replies that he just feels out of breath. He says that when running, only the finish line matters, and today, she was his finish line. He laughs, a little tipsy, as he says he might have broken a record in running to her, if he had bothered to measure it. Mi-joo watches him laugh, looking utterly smitten.
Sun-kyum really wasn’t kidding about not being much of a drinker. He stumbles along as Mi-joo frets at him. She calls him an acronym for alcohol lightweight that he mistakes to mean a lousy woman instead, ha.
She tells him to sober up and make his way home, explaining that if he keeps making her heart flutter with his smiles, she might end up making a mistake. He wonders what she means by a mistake, and Mi-joo steps up close to him, “Something like this.”
They gaze at each other silently for a beat until Mi-joo breaks the tension by stepping away. She informs him that she has to control herself since they’ll be meeting again. Mi-joo says goodbye and walks away.
Sun-kyum sits on a curb, attracting stares from passers-by. He’s not alone for long, though–Mi-joo comes back to help him home and he beams at her. She offers a hand to help him up, and Sun-kyum asks what was the line from the movie that had consoled her.
“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” With that, she helps him to his feet and they head to where Sun-kyum left his car.
It turns out his car is at the gym where Sun-kyum and Tae-ri were snapped, and the reporters are waiting for her again. Tae-ri spots the reporters but she doubts that anybody in their right mind would still appear at the gym after a scandal. She turns and sees Sun-kyum right in front of her, leaning against her car.
She assumes he’s looking for attention and starts to tell him off when her agency president runs up to them, convinced he’s caught them red-handed and dating. Mi-joo appears just in time for him to jump to the conclusion Tae-ri’s been two-timed.
As Tae-ri and her president continue to bicker, Sun-kyum solemnly asks Mi-joo if he can be the one to make the mistake instead. Sun-kyum pulls her close, and then leans in for a kiss. His actions shock Tae-ri and her president into silence, and they pause their argument to stare. Sun-kyum grabs Mi-joo’s hand and announces that she’s his girlfriend. Mi-joo whisper-screams at him, asking if he’s crazy. “Seriously?”
Still holding her hand, he smiles and replies, “Seriously.”
Whew. I feel like we got to know Sun-kyum so much better in this episode. Sun-kyum cares nothing about societal niceties, and finds no meaning in mincing his words just to fit in. He is blunt and probably comes across as antisocial, or even obnoxious, but we see from his interactions with Woo-shik that he can be warm and caring.
On the other hand, it seems as though Sun-kyum has been repressing what he really wants for a long time, which isn’t surprising given his family background. With his whole family in the spotlight, I can imagine how Sun-kyum must have had to restrain himself from doing anything that could attract too much negative attention. I can’t help but wonder what it does to someone to always be know as part of someone else, rather than a whole you. He’s not just Ki Sun-kyum, he’s Yook Ji-woo’s son, Assemblyman Ki Jung-do’s son, and Ki Eun-bi’s little brother. It’s no wonder that Mi-joo said it seems like his life is full of people but not him. Could always being linked to others have resulted in Sun-kyum struggling to find a way to be his own person? Are his social habits a way to keep other people at a distance?
Woo-shik’s scenes felt especially difficult to watch this episode, more so because we realized that the coaches had been allowing the bullying to happen under the guise of discipline. I feel as though Sun-kyum had already known, but that he’d been giving Woo-shik space to set forward on his own terms. I think he found an extremely smart way to bring the matter to light. He did to Gyu-du exactly what the latter had been doing to Woo-shik: calling out assault disguised as discipline. If he gets punished for doing this, there is no way Gyu-duk could get off the hook.
We’re only two episodes in, but we’ve already gotten a deeper insight into some of the characters’ insecurities and how these insecurities have manifested in their behaviors. Dan-ah struggles to hold onto her place in her family’s company, all while being belittled for her company choices and gender. It may be that her situation has molded her thinking into a cold, sterile, business-only perspective. Tae-woong seems to be hiding his hurt over his birth with a false cheery exterior, though we have seen in the previous episode how mercurial his moods can be. We haven’t seen much of Young-hwa yet, but he’s being set up as an interesting contrast to Dan-ah. Dan-ah seems to think and calculate her way through life and business whereas everything we’ve seen of Young-hwa says he’s a sweet-natured artist at heart.
Now that we’ve had a peek into Sun-kyum’s interior, I’m looking forward to getting to know more about Mi-joo and what makes her tick. She mentioned that she was envious of Sun-kyum having a family and that she only has herself, so I’m guessing there may be a sad history there. I’m also really keeping my fingers crossed that Woo-shik gets the justice he deserves.
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