Run On: Episode 7
Cuteness still abounds, but the hijinks take a slightly less feel-good turn. Our protagonists get their wires crossed, hitting an unexpected snag in their developing relationship. Although it’s clear to anyone who knows them how much they care about each other, they’ll need to figure out how to communicate effectively if there’s hope for them to have the kind of rapport they (and we) deserve.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Mi-joo and Sun-kyum sleep in the car, and have breakfast with Coach Bang. Sun-kyum asks if the rumors are true: did she really retire after beating up another coach for making unwelcome advances on her? She doesn’t deny it, but says she didn’t retire—she was kicked out, and the man who harassed her is now head coach. Ugh.
Mi-joo suggests that Coach Bang go with her to watch Sun-kyum the next time he mentors the school team, so she can judge properly how he’s doing. “Think of it as a picnic,” says Mi-joo. Coach Bang gruffly says she’ll consider it.
On the drive home, Mi-joo suddenly recalls asking Sun-kyum to like her, although to him she maintains her pretense that she doesn’t remember. Sun-kyum is disappointed, but tells her to rest and thanks her for her help.
On his way to Dan-ah’s agency, Sun-kyum runs into Young-hwa, who invites himself along. Young-hwa admits that it’s an excuse to see Dan-ah. Sun-kyum says that he’ll provide Young-hwa the excuse whenever he needs, within reason.
Assemblyman Ki invites Dan-ah along to his wife’s upcoming movie premiere as a way to encourage a match between Dan-ah and Sun-kyum. Meanwhile, Young-hwa keeps sending cryptic messages through Mr. Jung in the hopes that Dan-ah will grow frustrated and text him directly.
Mi-joo’s PD friend asks if Mi-joo and Mae-yi can fill in on an emergency job on the set of her current film. She gives Mi-joo two tickets to the Korean premiere of the film Mi-joo translated at the film festival.
Mi-joo meets Woo-shik, who’s preparing for the civil service exam. He’s figured out that Mi-joo is the “Furry Kim” who posted all the translations of his article online. Woo-shik thanks her for translating his words twice. She says it would have gone viral anyway, but she knew she’d do it best. And it was for Sun-kyum’s sake too, she admits.
Mi-joo says that often she finds Sun-kyum’s words more difficult to interpret than the foreign films she translates. He’s hard to figure out, and that makes her want to know him better.
Sun-kyum stops at his parents’ house and finds Assemblyman Ki waiting to confront him. He tells Sun-kyum to either return to running after his six-month suspension, or marry Dan-ah—just for two years. Sun-kyum flatly refuses, saying, “It’s my life.”
Assemblyman Ki says his life belongs to his parents who gave it to him. Sun-kyum replies that he can’t bear his father using the family as a tool for his own advantage anymore.
Ki claims he supported Sun-kyum’s dream, but Sun-kyum responds that he doesn’t even know what his dream is. He pleads for them to at least maintain their father-son relationship.
After Sun-kyum leaves, Assemblyman Ki wonders what the problem is. “I haven’t changed.” His chief of staff replies that perhaps Sun-kyum has.
Sun-kyum runs into Eun-bi outside, who has been summoned for signing with Dan-ah’s agency against their father’s wishes. Sun-kyum asks if she did it for him, and she admits that she knew it would distract the press from his issue.
He asks why she’d be his human shield, and she says, “Because you’re my little brother.” Looks like matter-of-fact sacrifice for the ones they love is another thing these siblings have in common.
Sun-kyum catches up to Mi-joo as they’re both heading home, and she asks him about his visit home as they walk. He tells her his dad scolded him for retiring, and she says it’s understandable given how hard Sun-kyum has worked all these years. Doesn’t he regret it? He confesses that he isn’t fully over it.
Mi-joo asks what track and field athletes usually do when they retire. Sun-kyum says that they often become trainers or coaches, open athletic academies, start totally different careers or just disappear. But he’s unsure yet what he’ll end up doing.
Mi-joo asks what he wants to do—unlike her, she’s sure he can use his regrets to motivate himself. He asks what motivated her. “Fear and obsession?” she responds.
Idol Tae-woong’s group member asks why Young-hwa is the one person he follows on Instagram. Tae-woong realizes with embarrassment that he accidentally did it while stalking him.
Tae-woong’s fans press Young-hwa for the dirt on how the two men know each other. Young-hwa has the extremely delayed realization that Tae-woong and Dan-ah have the same last name, and hopes they’re related so that he doesn’t have to compete for Dan-ah’s affections.
Dan-ah endures her own interrogation from Tae-woong, and tells him Young-hwa is a painter she commissioned. Tae-woong asks if she still wants the art gallery. Dan-ah tells him that she did, but she doesn’t dislike Tae-woong because he ended up with it.
Mi-joo lets Sun-kyum know that she and Mae-yi will be gone for ten days starting next week, and to make himself at home. He immediately deflates, and poutingly says that he won’t be able to, with the owners gone. Mi-joo feels the sting in those words, and asks if she hurt his feelings, but he leaves to “get some air.”
Young-hwa finds Sun-kyum sitting alone on the side of the street. “E.T.’s Friend,” Sun-kyum greets him. Young-hwa asks what he’s doing, and Sun-kyum says he’s got nowhere to go. He thinks it’s time for him to leave, so he’s practicing. Ahhh, why are you breaking my heart, you sad little puppy?
Young-hwa asks Sun-kyum how he knows Dan-ah, and Sun-kyum responds that their families are acquainted with each other. Young-hwa comments that it seems like they live in a world far away from him. “She chose me and wanted me, so I guess I thought we were on the same level,” he says.
“I get anxious when people get close to me,” responds Sun-kyum. Young-hwa takes him back to his place for more drinks.
Sun-kyum tells Young-hwa he won’t be seeing him around after next week, because he doesn’t want to be alone. Young-hwa deduces that he’s been spending time with someone, and remarks that Sun-kyum must have been very lonely. Sun-kyum nods and says how much he liked the homey smell, and hearing other people in the house.
Sun-kyum goes back to Mi-joo’s the next morning to find her waiting up for him. She comments sarcastically, “I see your fingers aren’t broken.” She’s unimpressed with his explanation that he fell asleep after drinking with someone she wouldn’t know.
Mi-joo ignores him all day. In the evening, he knocks on her closed door until she opens it, and asks when they should leave to meet Coach Bang the next day. She tells him through gritted teeth to text her the time, and shuts the door in his face.
She’s still mad the next day, and mocks Sun-kyum’s earnest (and rather adorable) coaching of his students. Coach Bang asks if they fought, and Mi-joo says that Sun-kyum probably doesn’t even know why she’s angry. Bang observes that he must have ticked her off with that innocent expression, and they amicably badmouth him together.
Coach Bang asks Mi-joo to be her drinking buddy—it’ll give her an excuse to come to Seoul more often. With that, she jumps into coaching the kids. Aw. Here’s another lonely person Mi-joo has brought into her circle.
Afterwards, Sun-kyum asks a resistant Mi-joo to talk to him. Sun-kyum explains that he didn’t know she would wait all night for him. He read her messages in the morning, but by then, replying wouldn’t have changed anything. Mi-joo is understandably flabbergasted.
Sun-kyum says he wasn’t trying to provoke her, but she asks how else she’s supposed to respond—was it that hard to text her back? He asks why she didn’t just call, and she points out that she doesn’t have the right to ask him personal questions about what he’s doing and when he’s coming back.
“Why do you need the right to ask things like that?” he asks. She responds that some people feel more comfortable when they’re given that right. He begins to nitpick about her choice of the word. Dude.
Sun-kyum tells her that he didn’t think about contacting her because he’s never lived with someone before. She wonders if he just didn’t bother because he was only staying with them temporarily, but he assures her that’s not it.
Mi-joo tells him she invited him to stay because she was worried and wanted to keep him company, but he keeps drawing lines between them. “If you were going to do that, then you shouldn’t crossed my lines. You act like you don’t have walls, while you climb over mine so easily.” She leaves and tells Sun-kyum not to follow.
Dan-ah tracks down Young-hwa at school, and tells him to stop harassing Mr. Jung and text her so she can ignore him personally. She tells him not to cross the line, but he refuses. That’s why she came to see him, after all.
He follows her as she walks over to watch a soccer game, and she tells him to thank his parents for the honey. A stray ball rolls toward them, and she kicks it back with the widest and most genuine smile we’ve seen from her so far.
Dan-ah tells Young-hwa that she used to play for a soccer club, until her brother ruined it. Her dream was to be a soccer player, but now she realizes dreams aren’t meant to come true. She’s just glad to be able to kick a ball now and then. “Is that why you always wear sneakers?” he asks her. “You never know when and where the chance will come,” she responds.
Young-hwa says he doesn’t have time for dreams, although he’s discovered a goal recently: to be able to talk to Dan-ah directly about his painting.
Mae-yi gives her movie ticket to Sun-kyum, who shows up to meet Mi-joo in her place. She says she’ll watch the premiere with him, but only out of politeness to the person who invited her. “As for us, we can solve our problem once we know what it is.” Even if Mi-joo figures out the problem, she won’t be the one to say it. He agrees penitently.
Sun-kyum’s parents are at the same theater, for Ji-woo’s premiere. Assemblyman Ki tells Ji-woo that Sun-kyum is retiring; she wonders what he plans to do, since he’s refused to inherit her father’s hotel, too. Ki reveals his plans for Sun-kyum and Dan-ah.
The two couples run into each other, and Assemblyman Ki instantly accuses Mi-joo of following his son around. Does she even know what this occasion is for? Sun-kyum replies that it’s his father’s attempt at arranging a “natural” date night with Dan-ah. Assemblyman Ki tells Mi-joo to know her place. Mi-joo says she’ll do that.
She asks Sun-kyum if he’s coming to watch the movie with her. “I’m great at finding my spot. I’ve been to this theater countless times,” she says pleasantly. She takes his arm and leads him away, and he smiles as he follows her.
Woo, is that the first wrist grab ever that made me want to stand up and cheer?!
This family really has no idea about each other’s lives, do they? We’ve seen it since the beginning, but the sad lack of communication between Sun-kyum, Eun-bi and their parents was really evident in this episode. Neither Assemblyman Ki nor Yook Ji-woo truly understands their children; Ki has no interest in anyone outside what they can do for him, and Ji-woo doesn’t know how to cross the distance her neglect created between her and her kids. Even Sun-kyum and Eun-bi, who clearly love and do their best to protect each other, are awkward about it. That scene where Eun-bi admitted to diverting media attention from Sun-kyum with her own news was sweet, but it broke my heart a little too. Both are so accustomed to keeping their emotions hidden for fear they might be used against them—even with the person they trust most, they never drop their guard.
That’s something that shows in Sun-kyum’s relationships with everyone else, too. He’s very honest, but as Mi-joo points out, he never reveals more of himself than he has to. Before this, Mi-joo assumed that he doesn’t understand the ritual of self-confession that’s such a basic building block for friendship, so she’s been gently teaching him to do it—modeling how people behave with those they’re close to. But she’s growing frustrated, because his distance is beginning to seem deliberate, rather than naive. And that’s especially hard given how unusually vulnerable she’s made herself to him.
I think Sun-kyum’s behaviour is both deliberate and naive. Like he said, he’s never had the kind of warm home life he’s experiencing with Mi-joo and Mae-yi, so he doesn’t know all its norms. But he also is 100% drawing that line between them that Mi-joo accused him of, whether consciously or not. He admitted as much to Young-hwa—getting close to people makes him anxious. Understandably so, given his history of abuse. As much as it hurts to watch, I’m so glad the show is exploring the effects of the trauma Sun-kyum’s upbringing caused, on not just his emotional state but his behavior and communication style.
Mi-joo doesn’t magically heal his psychological issues with the power of her love. Even better: she calls him out on his avoidance so he can see it clearly and work through it. I appreciated so much that she told him he’d have to be the one to recognize their problem and verbalize it. She can only do so much—and she often does, like the way she gave him courage in that confrontation with his father—but if they have any chance for a healthy relationship, he needs to meet her halfway.
I love Sun-kyum’s developing relationship with Young-hwa for the same reason. Young-hwa is the literal embodiment of sweetness, and thus a perfect friend for Sun-kyum. There’s none of the tension or expectations between them that hangs in the air whenever Mi-joo and Sun-kyum are in the same space. (Or Young-hwa and Dan-ah, for that matter.) They just like each other, and Young-hwa is so open-hearted that it’s easy for him to say things to Sun-kyum that most people wouldn’t have the courage to. He’s as blunt as Sun-kyum, Mi-joo, and Dan-ah, but there’s a clear affection in that honesty, because he’s not afraid of making himself vulnerable the way they all are. He asks Sun-kyum at one point why he’s so nice, “making me want to use you.” Sun-kyum replies that he’s used to it, but the nuance flies over Young-hwa’s head, whose viewpoint is so deeply colored by optimism.
Young-hwa seems to have a loving, stable family, if the endless jars of honey are anything to go by. He uses his bluntness to let people in, whereas the other three use it as a shield to avoid being hurt. So I’m enjoying his amiable invasion into Dan-ah’s and Sun-kyum’s lives immensely, and I can’t wait for Mi-joo to meet the man Sun-kyum spent the night with. I just hope Young-hwa’s sunny view of the world doesn’t get crushed too badly in the process, although arguably that’s a necessary part of growing up. There was a lot of talk this episode about drawing lines vs. crossing them, as these four navigated the growing intimacy (or lack thereof) between them while still trying to protect their hearts. Perhaps Young-hwa’s purpose in this story is to bring down those walls, with his ready smile and freely given interest. Dan-ah certainly isn’t indifferent to his honey, literal or metaphorical. And he’s admitted he wants to protect Sun-kyum, so he’s totally in my good books.
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