Run On: Episode 6
In the face of a major life change, our resident athlete finally has space to breathe and think about how he’s been living his life so far. An opportunity also springs up for him to spend more time with our plucky translator, which leads to them slowly learning each other’s ways.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
In his hotel room, Sun-kyum wakes up and changes into his running clothes. As he’s about to head out, he pauses and ends up getting back into bed, staring forlornly off into space.
We see how the truth of the events around the assault is impacting Sun-kyum’s family and circle — first, his parents, and then Dan-ah. Dan-ah’s in the middle of a doctor’s appointment but she’s focused on her phone and Sun-kyum while her doctor says he’s recommending a Holter monitoring test (it measures heart activity).
Sun-kyum doesn’t seem to have done anything all day and it’s evening when he finally checks his phone. There are texts from Young-il, Woo-shik, Dan-ah, and Mi-joo. He re-reads Mi-joo’s texts and thinks about their moment in the rain before falling asleep, curled up alone in his hotel room.
The disciplinary committee reconvenes, this time to discuss what actions to take in light of Woo-shik’s interview. The decision is made to shuffle Gyu-duk and Ki-bum off to the military and not bother with any action regarding Woo-shik since he’s already quit the sport. A female committee member complains that this mess happened because of the male-dominated, hierarchy-hewing environment but gets shut down when she calls for more female leaders.
Sun-kyum is handed a six-month suspension. It’s clear he’s received special treatment, though, and Sun-kyum makes the committee members uncomfortable when he requests that he be treated like any other athlete–even if it means being banned.
The members scoff and say there’s no need to throw his career away, telling him that this is an opportunity for Sun-kyum to make up for his mess. Sun-kyum stands and thanks them for the opportunity… to retire. He bows deeply before walking away.
Outside, Sun-kyum stares up at the sky and says to himself, “I really am unemployed now.” Officially retired now, he gets his affairs in order, which means checking out of his hotel to avoid pesky reporters, and calling Woo-shik. He’s made arrangements for Woo-shik and his grandma to stay at the hotel so they can avoid reporters trying to hassle them.
Woo-shik is grateful and apologetic; he explains he needs time to gather his courage and face Sun-kyum. Sun-kyum says he’ll respect Woo-shik’s decision and they say goodbye when a call from Dan-ah comes in.
Mi-joo’s at her local cafe, thinking about that rainy night with Sun-kyum. After their hug, she had rushed to get him a towel and umbrella, but by the time she got back outside, Sun-kyum was gone.
Dan-ah steps into the cafe and makes a beeline for Mi-joo as soon as she spots her, ready as ever to tease her. Mi-joo says she has something to say first, and asks abruptly why Dan-ah said she was Sun-kyum’s last. Dan-ah laughs in disbelief that Mi-joo’s been stewing over that comment all this time.
Dan-ah explains she was trying to be friendly, which knocks Mi-joo back. “That’s your way of being friendly? I thought we were in a love triangle.” Dan-ah says she wants to be friends, thoroughly creeping Mi-joo out. She even “compliments” Mi-joo, saying she likes how Mi-joo always talks back and likes to have the last say. Plus, Mi-joo even takes bribes.
Mi-joo ends the exchange by saying she’s busy and putting her headphones on; Dan-ah walks away with a smile.
Dan-ah notices Young-hwa’s newest artwork and asks the cafe owner to sell it to her, since the owner refused to accept money for the last painting. The cafe owner demurs and recommends speaking to Young-hwa directly, but Dan-ah decides not to bother.
Sun-kyum arrives at the cafe and greets Dan-ah, totally missing Mi-joo, who goes from waving to pretending she’s not there. Mi-joo not-so-stealthily pushes back her headphones to eavesdrop as Dan-ah announces that Eun-bi’s decided to sign with Dan-ah’s agency. Then Dan-ah presents a notice of contract termination for Sun-kyum.
He takes it in stride, and Dan-ah asks why he checked out of his hotel (turns out his maternal grandfather owns it). Dan-ah may have known about his hotel departure, but she’s surprised to hear that Sun-kyum has chosen to retire. She actually looks a little worried and asks where he’ll go now when her eyes land on Mi-joo. You can practically see the wheels in her head turn. Dan-ah goes into flirt mode and grabs Sun-kyum’s hand as she offers him her place. Sun-kyum says he can take care of things himself while trying (and failing) to reclaim his hand. The more Mi-joo hears, the more horrified she becomes.
The last straw is when Dan-ah cradles Sun-kyum’s face as she offers to stay with him. Sun-kyum has no idea what’s going on; Mi-joo jumps up to offer her own home. The conversation keeps going–between Dan-ah and Mi-joo. Dan-ah talks up her apartment while Mi-joo shoots down every luxury feature (death trap, bad for the environment, etc.) and counters by saying her home has three rooms and hardwood floors.
Sun-kyum sits there puzzled, and then finally asks if he gets a say. He can’t figure out why they’re deciding for him, nor why Mi-joo is acting the way she is. When Dan-ah slyly winks at Mi-joo, she seems to come to her senses and literally backs away from Dan-ah and Sun-kyum lol.
As Dan-ah leaves, Mi-joo runs after her to ask why she’s toying with her. But Dan-ah says she’s not toying with her. Anyone can see that Sun-kyum is upset, but he has no friends, and a useless family, and she’s come to the conclusion that the best person for Sun-kyum is Mi-joo. Mi-joo’s at a loss for words at that. Dan-ah pats Mi-joo’s face like she’s petting a puppy before saying there’s no need to thank her.
When Sun-kyum comes outside, Mi-joo asks if he and Dan-ah ever dated and he just says no. She says she overheard him say he’s retired, but he doesn’t have much to say about that either. Someone from Mae-yi’s office pulls up, struggling with some heavy boxes. Sun-kyum immediately pitches in to help.
Mae-yi gives Mi-joo the stink-eye when she spots Sun-kyum, and Mi-joo whispers she found him just outside and appeals to Mae-yi’s sympathy by playing up Sun-kyum’s pitiful situation. Mae-yi sarcastically offers to give up her room for him but Mi-joo doesn’t want that–she wants Mae-yi to chaperone them lol.
Mae-yi seems against the idea of having Sun-kyum stay with them, but she’s not made of stone and says she’ll help out in a natural way. That “natural” way? Claiming there’s a predator mugging and terrorizing women in their neighborhood, and then half-begging Sun-kyum to stay with them. Sun-kyum politely declines and assures her he has a place to go, not even wavering when offered the biggest room in the house.
Before heading their separate ways, Sun-kyum lets Mi-joo know that he’ll be staying at another hotel. But sadness, that hotel is his family home… which is completely devoid of people. As he goes about his days, he thinks to himself:
“Back then, I didn’t know that my choices would end up hurting me forever. I’ve never really been sick of living like this. Because I wasn’t interested–even though it was my life. Of all the things I’ve loved, why have I never loved myself?”
Now that Sun-kyum’s name has been cleared, the school he volunteers at seems open to hiring him as a coach. Despite one of the teacher’s pleas, Sun-kyum says he has someone better in mind. He calls up Ms. Dong and asks for help locating someone who turns out to be his first track and field coach. Ms. Dong says it might be tough because rumor has it the coach is practically a hermit now.
Mi-joo catches sight of Sun-kyum in the park near her home. She smiles a little to see him, and then asks what he’s doing there. He doesn’t respond right away, but finally comes up with an excuse: he’s on patrol for the mugger, but he hasn’t spotted anyone suspicious yet.
She disagrees–there’s a suspicious person right in front of her. Mi-joo asks why he’s really there, and he just stares at her. She guesses he’s there because he wants to stay with her after all. It’s hard to say if she’s joking or serious, but when Sun-kyum asks sincerely if he can stay for just a few days, it only takes Mi-joo a second to agree.
At home, Mi-joo shares the history and significance of the gun that first brought them together, and Sun-kyum says thoughtfully that she didn’t just have the gun–it held a lot of meaning, too.
Mi-joo thinks the same applies to Sun-kyum, as he didn’t help her for no reason. She continues, “People tend to say they did things for no reason to prevent anyone from feeling burdened.” Sun-kyum mulls that over then agrees that he didn’t help for no reason. The moment’s broken when he asks where his room is, and Mi-joo says this is it. Sun-kyum corrects her, “This is the living room.” She casually informs him the living room (a.k.a. the biggest room in the house) is his room.
Sun-kyum lies awake in the dark, tucked away on the sofa. Mi-joo attempts to work but she absentmindedly types, “Sun-kyum is asleep behind that door.”
The scenery may have changed, but Sun-kyum still spends the days alone; we see him cooking kimchi fried rice for two and eating by himself while he stares at Mi-joo’s door. It’s late at night when Mi-joo finally wakes up.
He observes her having a meal of cereal and a dozen vitamins before commenting that he’s worried about her. He says he waited up to ask her something. The next thing we see, Sun-kyum is waiting for Mae-yi outside her office and tells her he’ll drive her home. As they chat, he lets Mae-yi know he hasn’t seen anyone suspicious. He’s doing the occasional patrol, but just to be safe he’d like to pick Mae-yi up whenever she works late and drive her home.
Mae-yi says to herself, “No wonder she can’t get over you.” Sun-kyum doesn’t quite get the gist of it and he’s still in the dark when Mae-yi tells him not to worry about love triangles since she’s asexual. Confused, but ever polite, he says okay.
We get our first look at Dan-ah’s home life, and it seems pretty adversarial. She and Myung-min have a battle of wills over the artwork at their family’s museum. The two siblings argue over whose artists should get displayed where, and their dad tries to de-escalate things by telling Dan-ah to just bring in a new painting. Their dad changes the topic to Dan-ah’s blind date list, and she says she’ll stop by HQ to discuss the list since she has something to say, or rather do, to Myung-min.
In his office, Assemblyman Ki types out a pious social media post, but his chief of staff literally runs to stop him, begging him to let the team handle his social media. Assemblyman Ki complains and says social is his one joy in life. He’s further put out when his chief tells him that Eun-bi’s signed with Dan-ah. The news of Sun-kyum’s retirement also infuriates him (but when isn’t he infuriated?).
Sun-kyum is out buying groceries when he runs into Young-hwa. Young-hwa recognizes him right away, but Sun-kyum needs some prodding to put the pieces together. When Sun-kyum points at him in recognition, Young-hwa touches his fingertip to Sun-kyum’s. Sun-kyum looks at Young-hwa like he’s an alien before asking what he’s doing. Young-hwa replies that he thought Sun-kyum wanted to “E.T.” (i.e., express his feelings).
They walk on and Sun-kyum tells Young-hwa that he’ll pay for both their groceries. That puts a huge smile on Young-hwa’s face and he cries out “hyung” gratefully.
Mi-joo searches for her phone, and Sun-kyum finds it for her and sneaks a peek at her room. Mi-joo notices his interest and says he can take a look around. She shows him her current project, her schedule, and her work diary. He takes a pencil and writes a note in her diary: “Eat.” He tells her not eating regular meals is one of her problems.
When Sun-kyum confesses that unemployment is hard to adjust to, Mi-joo wonders how he can run all the time, while he wonders how she can just sit all the time. She shoos him away, but before closing the door, he mutters glumly that she had offered to keep him company.
The next morning, Mi-joo’s waiting for Sun-kyum and says she’s making time to hang out with him. She huffs and puffs during their run and keeps trying to buy herself some rest by pretending she has something important to tell him. She finally asks him to teach her how to run and gets a personal lesson in how to move her arms and breathe. When he critiques Mi-joo’s breathing style, she snaps that he must be excited to see her struggle. He replies, “I’m excited to be running with you.”
Sun-kyum says the most important thing is setting your own pace and not giving up. Mi-joo asks, “What if I lose sight of you?” Sun-kyum replies, “Then I’ll wait till you come around.” They set off again and though Mi-joo struggles a bit, she looks like she’s enjoying herself. Sun-kyum says she’s a true translator.
Mi-joo wonders how he feels now that he’s quit running professionally; before, he said he felt breathless. Sun-kyum says he should look back on his life from now on. He wonders if he should start keeping a diary since being unemployed is boring.
Later, Ms. Dong passes him the address of the coach he had been searching for. She advises him to bring lots of alcohol as a gift since she’s legendary for turning people away. Sun-kyum asks after Dan-ah and is told she’s at HQ, meeting with her father to give feedback on her blind date list. He’s nonplussed to hear he was included on the list since he never agreed to it.
Speaking of Dan-ah, she looks exhausted after her meeting with her father. In the lobby, she spots Myung-min and gives him a running kick. He flips out, but she assures him she didn’t kick him at full strength so he won’t have problems walking.
She lets him know that it’s payback for “messing with what’s hers.” Myung-min can’t believe she’s doing this all because of Mr. Jung–also, he keeps using the word “outing” incorrectly, claiming credit for “outing” her and ending her soccer playing days for good. She gives him a schooling on the meaning of the word (so she’s not a lesbian?). She tells him to study if he wants to do business globally.
Young-hwa looks at his sketch of Dan-ah and wonders why she hasn’t asked him for compensation for her fancy bracelet. He gets a call just then–he’s been summoned to Dan-ah’s office by Mr. Jung. Tae-woong spots him from where he’d been waiting outside Dan-ah’s office, and furiously searches Instagram for any information on Young-hwa.
In her office, Dan-ah asks Young-hwa to sell her the painting in the cafe. He doesn’t answer, he’s just pleased to see that Dan-ah liked his earlier painting enough to display it. She says she likes his paintings because she sees time in them, and time is what’s most valuable to her.
If Young-hwa won’t sell the painting, Dan-ah requests compensation for her bracelet in cash. When Young-hwa refuses to sell it, he explains he’s not being difficult, it’s just that he painted it with the cafe in mind, and it wouldn’t work anywhere else. Not even the Seomyung Art Museum? That catches his attention, and he says he’ll paint something new for her. Young-hwa admits he was playing hard to get the last time so he wouldn’t look desperate.
He asks for her personal number, but Dan-ah directs him to Mr. Jung. She dismisses him, giving him a week to send her a rough drawing. He just pats the paper bag he brought her and heads out, thanking her for lending the robe. In the bag is Dan-ah’s robe, a giant jar of honey, and $500 in cash.
He texts her business number to say his parents are beekeepers and requests her personal number again. Interestingly, she doesn’t throw the honey away; she instructs Mr. Jung to look up where the honey came from.
When Sun-kyum comes home carrying two boxes of soju, Mi-joo worries he’s going wild now that he’s unemployed. He allays her concerns and says the soju’s a gift because he has to go somewhere. He asks if Mi-joo wants to go with him and get some fresh air. Mi-joo cheerily agrees and they set off the next morning on a journey to find Sun-kyum’s first-ever track coach.
They drive through the countryside but get a little lost along the way. Sun-kyum drops Mi-joo off at a small mart so she can get some ice cream and rest while he looks around. Mi-joo is enjoying the countryside when an older woman rolls up on a tractor.
Sun-kyum manages to find his coach’s house but it’s empty. The older woman from the store drives up with Mi-joo peeking out from behind, having hitched a ride. It’s none other than the very coach Sun-kyum’s been searching for, BANG BAE-JUNG (Seo Jung-yeon).
Coach Bang invites them in for drinks and food, and Mi-joo cheerily offers to be her drinking buddy since Sun-kyum can’t drink. They drink late into the night as Sun-kyum peels fruit for them and Mi-joo’s clearly wasted at this point. Coach Bang, totally fine, reminisces about the old days. Sun-kyum brings up the vacant coaching position, but Coach Bang isn’t interested, saying she’s content with her current life.
Sun-kyum carries on, explaining that he thinks she would be a great mentor, but she shouts at him to get out. That wakes Mi-joo from her stupor and she tries to help. She says she’ll say it since Sun-kyum didn’t: Why don’t you want to get involved again? You turned a last place runner into a national athlete. Who hurt you? I’m going to kill them all!
Mi-joo starts to throw veggies and slump over, and this time when Coach Bang throws them both out, Sun-kyum complies.
As soon as they’re outside, Mi-joo vomits and Sun-kyum asks her to wait in the car as he searches for a place to stay, but Mi-joo grabs his hand and tells him not to go. She’s worried he’ll disappear. He assures her he won’t. Mi-joo starts to confess that she “wanted to help” would be a lie… she wanted to see more of him. Mi-joo groans that her head hurts and Sun-kyum tells her he’ll do everything he can to give her what he needs. She doesn’t believe him, but she asks, softly, “Can you like me?”
“I already do,” he confesses, but Mi-joo is fast asleep.
In Episode 4, Sun-kyum had asked if Mi-joo liked him and told her everything she said sounded like a confession. This episode, everything he said sounded like a confession, and it’s such a beautiful reflection. We’ve seen the building attraction between Sun-kyum and Mi-joo over six episodes now, with Mi-joo having been very straightforward about how she feels. It’s nice to finally hear Sun-kyum say what was so obvious, and finally express his feelings. It’s a pity that she wasn’t awake to hear it, but I’m sure it’ll come up again soon. Why do so many dramaland confessions seem to happen when one party is dead drunk and/or unconscious?
I think that seeing Woo-shik get bullied, discovering the head coach knew all along, and the ensuing cover up, was the breaking point for Sun-kyum. Up till that point, he had been willing to play the obedient son and follow his father’s wishes. A few people around him have already called him out previously for being too considerate and thinking of others first, but it’s not surprising seeing how he was brought up. It’s a testament to his character and strength that he decided to put Woo-shik first this time, and in a bit of delicious irony, this selfless act is part of how Sun-kyum was pushed to set out on a path of his own making.
Sun-kyum has been able to make very few of his own choices in his life with a hands-off mother and a father who sees control as as a way of expressing love. It was jarring for me as a viewer to hear Assemblyman Ki callously talk about Sun-kyum’s sports career rather than his health. He talked about his son like a business investment. It’s no wonder that Sun-kyum never quite learned to love himself. It will be a tough lesson for him, but I’m sure with Mi-joo’s support, he’ll be able to see his value as Ki Sun-kyum the person and not Ki Sun-kyum national athlete, or son of Yook Ji-woo and Ki Jung-do, or Eun-bi’s brother.
I’m hoping to see a friendship to develop between Young-hwa and Sun-kyum, as I think Young-hwa could give him some unique insights on life. I also hope Woo-shik and Sun-kyum will be able to reunite soon as they have such a sweet relationship already. It feels unfair that Woo-shik basically had to quit his career when he had so much promise and wasn’t at fault, but I suppose that’s life sometimes. (Part of me hopes Woo-shik will make a comeback after he heals from his injuries.)
The Young-hwa and Dan-ah interactions were very interesting in this episode. I quite like Dan-ah, mostly because I’m rooting for her to succeed and inherit the family business; she’s clearly the most qualified of the siblings. It would be easy to write her off as a rude and condescending rich girl, but she has more dimension than that. Dan-ah does care for the people around her, she just shows her interest and care in a way that’s different from most.
Much like Sun-kyum, her circumstances and upbringing seem to have played a large role in how she interacts with the world today. Where Sun-kyum bends, Dan-ah fights. She seems to be battling a lot, a complicated family, health issues, and navigating the business world. It’s good that Young-hwa’s not too fazed by her manner, and in turn, his cheerful weirdness seems to disarm her just a tiny bit. Maybe his influence will help her stop and reflect on her life a bit, rather than always running at full steam.
We still don’t know too much about Mi-joo’s backstory, besides the information that she grew up with no family and has always had to take care of herself–financially and otherwise–so I personally find that I can’t relate to her that much yet. I’d like to understand her more, beyond what we’ve seen, which is that she’s got a quick wit and has no problem standing her ground. I look forward to seeing more of how the characters develop, both individually, and with respect to the relationships around them.
- Premiere Watch: Run On, Sweet Home
- Romance begins for Im Shi-wan and Shin Se-kyung in JTBC’s Run On
- Im Shi-wan, Shin Se-kyung toast to romance in new teaser for Run On
- A new teaser for Shin Se-kyung and Im Shi-wan’s romance drama Run On
- First look at Im Shi-wan, Shin Se-kyung in JTBC’s Run On
- Shin Se-kyung, Im Shi-wan to star in new JTBC drama