Run On: Episode 10
It’s never easy to face up to our true feelings about relationships and careers, but our protagonists learn how to muster up the courage to admit their innermost thoughts and fears. Emotions rise as they struggle to understand each other’s feelings, but learning to communicate is necessary if they want to move forward together.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Dan-ah and Young-hwa continue their tense stand-off, with Dan-ah realizing that the painting Young-hwa’s just ruined was meant for her. Dan-ah asks who he is to expect anything from her, or be disappointed with her. He shoots back, “Who are you to treat me like a vending machine?”
She coldly informs him that can make or break him, and Young-hwa says his question was rhetorical–he’s teaching her he’s a human too. Dan-ah cuts him down angrily, nitpicking his use of banmal and to watch his manners. She adds as an afterthought that she couldn’t possibly expect a peasant like him to have manners anyway. Ouch.
Young-hwa asks if all this is part of being rich, trying to control people you need and throwing away who you can’t control. Dan-ah’s only angry because she hates to lose, and he asks if she finds it fun to live like this. She doesn’t give him a direct answer, but she does say that it would be fun to ruin him since she can’t have him. The disappointment and hurt is clear on Young-hwa’s face and he tells her she’s the worst. She tenses at his reaction and calmly tells him she hopes he learned not to expect more from a business transaction.
From the primal scream Dan-ah lets loose once she’s outside, it’s pretty clear her composure with Young-hwa was an act. She calls up Mr. Jung and tells him to find her a new artist and emphasizes that she wants a purchase contract with a clear completion deadline.
Alone at home, Mi-joo prepares juice, then opts for a real meal, keeping in mind what Sun-kyum said to her about eating properly. Young-hwa trundles home, carrying his ruined painting and looking downcast. When it rains, it pours; before he can go inside, his landlady stops him to ask why the rent is late.
Still in a foul mood after her fight with Young-hwa, Dan-ah hangrily searches for her jellybean stash. She spots Young-hwa’s rent money, still neatly in its envelope and Young-hwa agonizes over which he should choose: rent money or pride. Another member of the Seo family has Young-hwa on the brain, and Tae-woong fumes when he sees Young-hwa’s uploaded a photo of Dan-ah on his social media.
Sun-kyum drops off Woo-shik after a day of working together and Woo-shik asks for advice on the legal aspects of ending his running contract since he’ll be meeting the head coach soon. There’s still a lot of time left before Woo-shik’s contract is done though, and Sun-kyum says thoughtfully, “We only have to make a decision when we’re at the starting line.”
He means to discourage Woo-shik from quitting, but Woo-shik just smiles and says that’s why he didn’t bring this up sooner. He gives Sun-kyum two thumbs up; and marvels that Sun-kyum is bolder than people give him credit for.
After Woo-shik heads off, Sun-kyum schedules an appointment with Dan-ah via Mr. Jung. Before he can drive home, he gets an invite to meet up from Young-hwa.
Young-hwa is one gloomy Gus, and he confides to Sun-kyum that he’s depressed. He’s living in this great apartment but he’ll have to move out since he’s late on rent and has no way to come up with the money quickly. He gives Sun-kyum a Look and without missing a beat, Sun-kyum asks if he’s asking for money.
Young-hwa pleads for help, promising to serve him like a king. If Sun-kyum is willing to lend him the rent money now, he can move in and Young-hwa will take care of all the other expenses. Without any hesitation, Sun-kyum asks for Young-hwa’s bank account info. That earns him an ecstatic “Hyung!” and Young-hwa goes in for a hug but is quickly denied.
Grateful but slightly put out that Sun-kyum didn’t want to be roomies, Young-hwa has something else he wants to get off his mind. Young-hwa asks if Dan-ah had ever walked over Sun-kyum. Sun-kyum says he’s never felt like Dan-ah abused her power, and Young-hwa glumly wonders why he felt that way.
Mae-yi gets home to a dispirited Mi-joo lying on the sofa, and tries to cheer her up by getting her out of the house to buy groceries and cook together. As they cook, Mi-joo confides that she feels like a loser. She’s been afraid to confess to Sun-kyum and afraid of rejection and losing him, but she had also been waiting for him to confess first. Mae-yi advises her to confess instead of ranting to her, using the honey he left behind as an excuse.
They imagine a few scenarios, including the famous scene from A Moment to Remember where Jung Woo-sung tells Sohn Ye-jin they’re dating if she drinks the shot he poured her… except when Mi-joo tries out that line, it ends with Sun-kyum emptying his glass mid-air.
Mi-joo worries that Sun-kyum might not even want to meet her, and Mae-yi firmly tells her to just do it. This results in Mi-joo calling him, demanding to meet to return his honey, and hanging up before he can say a word.
On the other side of the phone, Sun-kyum’s puzzled since Mi-joo hadn’t mentioned a time to meet. Young-hwa tells him that they’re close enough to call her to ask, so Sun-kyum does just that. But Mi-joo freaks out at the incoming call, and can’t bring herself to answer it, instead sending him a text response.
Young-hwa says he didn’t expect Mi-joo to be such a wuss, and says he had to muster up his courage to side with Sun-kyum on this, since he likes Mi-joo. His comment reminds Sun-kyum of what Mi-joo had said about her always having to be the brave one, and he wonders if he’d made her do it again. Young-hwa sighs and offers his own courage to Sun-kyum, since he won’t be needing it for a while.
When Young-hwa asks if the two are having any problems, Sun-kyum admits he’s the problem, because he’s boring and doesn’t know how to share or give to others. Young-hwa counters that Sun-kyum is interesting, but Sun-kyum is distracted by Young-hwa’s ruined art. The two stare and analyze it. When Sun-kymu decalres that it’s art, Young-hwa says it must be true, since art becomes art only when people think it is. As an aside, Young-hwa suggests Sun-kyum can speak casually to him, and Sun-kyum says that he already is… in jondemal. Young-hwa sighs and says he now knows what Sun-kyum had meant about not being able to share his thoughts.
The next day, Sun-kyum goes to meet Dan-ah at her office, and bumps into Ms. Dong. Sun-kyum asks if she had meant what she said about his gift of motivating others, and Ms. Dong says that even Sun-kyum’s focus on his career the last two years was enough to motivate her. She advises him to make good use of his talent now that he knows about it.
Assemblyman Ki waits for Chairman Seo at a comic bookstore, grumping about the chairman’s taste (the chairman loves comics). He’s there for a “casual” get-together, i.e. trying to push for the arranged marriage between their children. But Chairman Seo doesn’t want to commit, making digs at Sun-kyum’s unemployment, since Dan-ah is always busy and working too much. Assemblyman Ki tries to pacify him by saying that Sun-kyum is coaching a young team with potential and will bring them to Dan-ah’s charity run.
The fact that these two are having this conversation cozied up in a comic book store, resting on pillows and ordering ramyun, makes them seem almost boyish, and certainly less authoritarian.
Back in Dan-ah’s office, Sun-kyum thanks her sincerely for what she did to support him while he was sorting out his feelings over retirement. But he’s also there to talk about Woo-shik, and asks Dan-ah for her opinion. As a whistleblower, it would be hard for him to both stay on his old team, or find a new team to transfer to. Sun-kyum hints that her agency might be able to help Woo-shik, but Dan-ah says he has nothing to offer, unlike Sun-kyum with his background, looks, and second-place medal.
Sun-kyum, however, believes in Woo-shik’s potential, and cleverly spins it how Dan-ah likes it, saying she could be portrayed as a kind philanthropist who helped a hopeless athlete get a second chance. She’s not unreceptive to the idea, but cautions Sun-kyum that it won’t be easy. On his way out, Sun-kyum spots his discarded photograph, but says he’s not upset by it.
Assemblyman Ki calls his wife, asking her to attend the charity run with him since Sun-kyum will be bringing the team he’s coaching, but she chides him for giving their son a hard time again. She’s not willing to go for her husband’s sake, and uses her shooting schedule as an excuse to hang up.
Sun-kyum and Mi-joo both watch a movie separately, him in the library, and her in a theater. They meet the next day in the park for the Very Important honey jar return, and Sun-kyum tells Mi-joo that he finally watched Jerry Maguire. Mi-joo asks if he enjoyed it, and he quickly says no. But he related to it. The male lead in the movie had not been able to withstand his failures and ended up hurting the person who stayed by his side. Sun-kyum confesses that he, too, had been scared that things would end between them if they got closer.
Mi-joo seems a bit surprised at this sudden heart-baring, but Sun-kyum has more to say: Mi-joo’s affection for him gives him meaning and value, but he wasn’t sure if his feelings were reciprocated, so he hesitated. Does she also want to hold hands, hug, and even kiss, like he does? When he ends off by asking her not to hate him, Mi-joo answers him with a kiss.
She tells him that that was her answer, and Sun-kyum asks: “Then can I keep doing it?” Mi-joo questions if he means liking her just to do her a favor. He assures her he means liking her sincerely, and says that he won’t stop liking her even if she says no.
Mi-joo grants him the permission, and he’s so relieved that it’s impossible not to melt at this moment (and the entire scene). Then it’s Mi-joo’s turn to be honest, and she says she was worried she really offended him the other day. She adds that she doesn’t want to just be a one-month girlfriend like the rest of the girls who chased him, and that needs his help on that (since he “helps people for no reason” lol). He agrees to do his best.
They eat lunch together, and as they walk back after eating, Sun-kyum tries to take her hand, but that damn honey jar thwarts him. They start talking about Woo-shik, which leads to a meaningful conversation about their professions. They both viewed the people in each other’s professions as passionate and happy in their field of work, but now realize that it’s much more complicated than that, and they each have their challenges and misperceptions.
Sun-kyum asks Mi-joo where she’s heading, as he wants to walk her there, but Mi-joo insists on doing the same for him instead. He ends up stopping at Young-hwa’s place, saying that he now lives with Young-hwa, and Mi-joo is happy that he’s back living in her neighborhood. She bashfully admits that it’s because they can be closer if he lives nearby, which prompts Sun-kyum to wonder to himself if he should really do that.
Mi-joo asks him to let her know when he’s going to bed, and leaves after promising to be good to him, and telling him how much fun she has with him (aww!). When she’s walking away, Mi-joo repeats that she’ll be good to him, and that she’ll spoil him. Then, she asks if they should use banmal, and Sun-kyum quickly refuses (of course), and Mi-joo laughs saying it’s true — they argue enough already as it is.
Sun-kyum heads upstairs to find Young-hwa trying to sweep his angst away, complaining to himself about love, romance, and all the homework that’s due. Young-hwa is surprised to see him and asks what he’s doing, but Sun-kyum is too busy tutting to himself like a mother hen, worrying over Mi-joo walking home alone.
Young-hwa asks why he’s being so chatty, and suddenly we realize that Sun-kyum only pretended to be staying with Young-hwa, as it was a more convenient place for Mi-joo to walk him to. Sun-kyum suddenly brings up the offer to live with Young-hwa for a month, and while Young-hwa is understandably confused by the lack of context (and the fact that Sun-kyum gave him the rent money without wanting to move in), he goes along with it anyway.
Back home, Mi-joo unloads her bag at the door and thinks of when Sun-kyum asked the point of carrying a fake gun around. She puts her lighter gun in the cabinet, saying that she has found the real deal now and doesn’t need it anymore.
In her office, Dan-ah beams at her new photograph of Eun-bi, but realizes that she’s not actually that excited after all. She can’t understand why, and tries to psych herself to be hyped up to meet Eun-bi. When Eun-bi arrives, she sees Sun-kyum’s discarded photo and gets angry on his behalf. Dan-ah asks if all biological siblings behave that way, and Eun-bi takes it as sarcasm, although Dan-ah says she’s genuinely surprised by how different they are.
Eun-bi says that she and her brother are kind-hearted, but Dan-ah is just obnoxious. When Dan-ah talks business, Eun-bi brings up retirement, but Dan-ah looks horrified and says, “Our journey has only begun!” Eun-bi confirms she won’t retire yet, and will continue being Sun-kyum’s shield for a while longer, since he did the same for her.
That night, Dan-ah struggles to sleep as she thinks of her quarrel with Young-hwa, and talks to herself, trying to figure out why she’s upset, since she had a good day. She realizes that it was because she only faked being happy, and concludes it was “all because of you.”
Dan-ah calls Mr. Jung to take her somewhere, armed with a bottle of whiskey. She doesn’t want to go to her usual bar, though, as books can’t talk and won’t help her sleep. When we see her next she’s standing in front of Mi-joo’s house, staring down the chicken deliveryman outside. Dan-ah asks if he made an appointment with Mi-joo, but he answers that he’s just here to deliver chicken, hah.
Mi-joo opens the door to grab the delivery, but shuts it just as fast when she sees Dan-ah standing there. Dan-ah all but forces her way into the house, though, and Mi-joo begrudgingly lets her in. Mi-joo asks why she’s here, and if she doesn’t have any friends, and simultaneously Dan-ah asks why Mi-joo was going to drink alone. Good news, she says.
Dan-ah has her expensive whiskey from a giant juice glass, and Mi-joo has her soju shots. While drinking, Dan-ah admits that someone had called out her lack of empathy, even though she finds it more convenient that way. She wonders why she has to empathize, and Mi-joo explains that you do it because you are concerned and care about someone, and Dan-ah must have a screw loose if she doesn’t understand. Dan-ah says she’s been called a sociopath many times, but this is the first time it’s bothered her.
Later that night, they’re sitting in front of the couch, and Dan-ah’s whiskey bottle is completely empty. Mi-joo offers her her first taste of soju. She’s still asking Dan-ah why she’s there, and Dan-ah finally answers. She says she thought Mi-joo would understand Young-hwa’s actions as a fellow peasant. Mi-joo tells her to get out, but of course Dan-ah ignores this.
Dan-ah explains the situation with Young-hwa and the ruined painting, and asks how to return Young-hwa’s money in a way that will enrage him. But she refuses to call it revenge, as that will mean admitting she cares, and Mi-joo says that Dan-ah obviously does. She’s distracted, however, by Sun-kyum’s sweet goodnight message, and Dan-ah sadly muses to herself that she had really liked Young-hwa. It’s not every day that she opens up to others, but when she likes someone, she likes them forever. Mi-joo again tells her to go home, but Dan-ah ends up falling asleep at the table.
Mi-joo drags Dan-ah to her room for the night, but the next morning, she’s back home by the time Mi-joo wakes up to check on her. Her father voices his concern over her health, and Dan-ah asks him not to treat her like a patient as she hasn’t been sick in ages.
Still hungover, Dan-ah can’t concentrate at work (blaming the soju), and Mr. Jung brings her honey water. She chides him for being slow in finding a replacement artist, and Mr. Jung tells her that it seems like her purpose has changed. She originally wanted Young-hwa’s painting because Myung-min replaced hers, but it now seems like she’s looking for a painting because of Young-hwa. As this realization dawns on Dan-ah, she asks Mr. Jung to return the honey + money and tell Young-hwa not to bother her again.
Mr. Jung meets Young-hwa outside his apartment and relays the message. Young-hwa’s not happy with Dan-ah’s methods of doing everything through a messenger, and bitterly deletes her number in front of Mr. Jung by request.
Back in Dan-ah’s office, Ji-woo waits to see Dan-ah, wanting to show some support for her daughter by visiting her agency. She doesn’t have the time to wait longer, however, and Ms. Dong passes her Sun-kyum’s discarded photograph before she leaves. Ms. Dong notes that Ji-woo has been spending more time with her son, and Ji-woo agrees that she has been thinking about acting more like a mother once in a while.
Woo-shik meets the head coach, who only offers him two options: to terminate the contract (without a penalty fee), or transfer to another team. He suggests Woo-shik trains alone, but the reality is that Woo-shik (and every other athlete) needs the money and can’t run just out of passion. The head coach scoffs that Woo-shik should have kept quiet about the incident then, and puts the blame on him for not thinking of others, since he will be reminded of his mistake whenever he sees Woo-shik now. He tries to convince Woo-shik to start afresh, but anyone can tell it’s for the Coach’s own sake.
After the meeting, Woo-shik asks his grandmother about his possible career options, and his grandmother sweetly supports all his decisions. He sends a text to Sun-kyum to inform him of his contract termination.
On his way home, Woo-shik sees Sun-kyum waiting for him, and the second he recognizes him, he bolts. Sun-kyum chases him, but Woo-shik’s leg soon gives out in pain. He yelps for Sun-kyum to stay away as he doesn’t want to waver from his decision.
Sun-kyum asks him how it feels to run again, and Woo-shik says that it’s too difficult. He doesn’t think he can do it. Tearing up, he tells Sun-kyum that he’s not just physically injured — he’s hurting inside too. He’s dedicated ten years of his life to running, and what is his performance will never be the same again?
Sun-kyum is moved, but asks Woo-shik why he’s voicing all of his worries here. Instead, Sun-kyum tells him to bring them to the track. He should try again, knowing that he can always give up then, if it’s too hard. He then promises to be the person that will help Woo-shik, if Woo-shik is willing to trust him. “But for today,” says Sun-kyum, holding out a hand, “let’s get you back on your feet first.”
Seeing Woo-shik collapse in pain made me want to cry as well. He’s been through so much and it’s not surprising that he’s feeling the mental burden as well as the physical burden of his injuries. It’s likely that the people around him would have focused more on him healing from the physical injuries, because those are more visible and tangible, but Woo-shik’s been through a fair bit of mental trauma. He’s had to endure years of bullying, and made a difficult decision to stand up for himself despite knowing the consequences. On top of that, injuries are tricky and Woo-shik’s probably afraid that his and Sun-kyum’s efforts could go to waste–he might never be able to run as fast again. I can only imagine the amount of mental stress this fear is inflicting on him.
It’s nice to see Sun-kyum taking charge of his life and making moves to do something that he wants to do (coach, manage, date). When he was speaking to Woo-shik at the end of the episode, you could see the determination in his eyes when he told Woo-shik that he’ll help him. I’m glad that Sun-kyum’s choosing to stick by him, and I hope he will be able to put his gift of motivating people to good use.
As for Dan-ah, when she’s in her defensive mode, she tends to lash out at the people around her, and it can definitely come off as heartless and cold. It’s obviously a defense mechanism for someone who’s always had to fight for her way in life and protect what’s hers. As Dan-ah says, it’s easier for others to see her as a sociopath than for her to admit that she cares, because caring would be a sign of weakness. Showing that you care about something gives it the potential to hurt you, and Dan-ah can’t afford that, what with her struggles to prove her worth to her father and as a businesswoman. Having a cold facade is also much easier than baring her soul and communicating how she actually feels. I think it’ll take time for Dan-ah to open up further to Young-hwa, and accept any form of emotional support from him, but fingers crossed that the two make up soon.
I cheered when Mi-joo and Sun-kyum finally sat down and had The Talk. The tension and feelings between them have been stewing for a while, and I can understand Mi-joo’s frustration over always having to be the brave one. She was in a position where she was unable and too afraid to push Sun-kyum for anything more since they weren’t officially dating. Someone has to take the first step over the line where friendship ends and romantic feelings begin, and neither had been willing to give it a try until now. I’m looking forward to see how the two’s relationship grows now.
I really do like the increased interactions between all the characters, and how they give each other advice and different point of views on the conflicts each of them is facing. Mi-joo’s lucky to have Mae-yi as a sounding board and an older, wiser friend who doles out practical advice, but the others don’t really have anybody around them to play that role. I think Mi-joo and Young-hwa can give Dan-ah and Sun-kyum more insights on what it means to build relationships and to empathize with others.
And on the other side, I’m hoping that Dan-ah and Sun-kyum bring some good changes to Mi-joo and Young-hwa’s lives too. It could be as simple as a lifestyle change for Mi-joo (eating proper meals, sleeping at night), or a slice of reality for Young-hwa, who’s younger and less experienced. After all, relationships and friendships are all about learning about each other’s opinions, communicating about our feelings, and growing together to become better versions of ourselves.
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