Run On: Episode 14
Sometimes, you just have to process life through the lens of a period piece crime drama. Fortunately, our translator gets the perfect script to help her muddle through what life throws at her (including a romantic reconciliation and a friendly kidnapping). Her devoted beau has a busy few days himself, as Sun-kyum struggles to keep his father out of his work. Meanwhile, our acerbic CEO struggles with accumulating stress that not even a sweet seaside date can soothe.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
We resume mid-back hug, as Sun-kyum tearfully begs Mi-joo not to break up with him. Mi-joo doesn’t have the will to withstand Sun-kyum’s pleas (who could?), and so she faces him and they embrace.
They retreat to Sun-kyum’s car, Sun-kyum still wiping his tears away. As composure returns, Sun-kyum asks about Mi-joo and Soo-bin. Mi-joo says that she may have been channeling the type of friend she wished she had when she was young, though she’s a little ashamed that she almost threw a brick through a windshield. Then again, she didn’t actually throw it, so she gives herself credit for being mature enough to hold back, haha.
Sun-kyum reaches out for Mi-joo’s bandaged hand, while Mi-joo tries to convince him that it’s fine if she breaks the rules and drinks alcohol while she’s on the antibiotics (he does not agree). They do agree that they’re awkwardly reconciling, and Sun-kyum promises to work hard to keep all external drama out of their way from now on. With things patched up, Mi-joo asks if Sun-kyum would like to come back to her place for ramyun, the universal slang for asking someone over for a romantic interlude.
Cut to Mi-joo and Sun-kyum huddled together in Mi-joo’s tiny bed. The two talk and joke, as Mi-joo encourages Sun-kyum to continue learning to love himself, something Mi-joo says she still works at finding the balance for herself. When Mi-joo asks for a kiss, Sun-kyum asks for ramyun, and though he’s pretending to be naive, this is one reference he totally gets the meaning of. He pulls Mi-joo close, and they kiss tenderly as the camera pulls back to the “No Minors Allowed” sign on Mi-joo’s closed door.
The next morning, Young-hwa struggles with how he should apologize to Dan-ah about the botched party. He texts her his progress on the painting and though her response is curt, Young-hwa is happy to just get any response. Dan-ah tells him to focus on the painting, and look at the photo he took of her if he misses her. Hmmm, seems she’s seen the instagram photo.
Sun-kyum finally returns home and is in and out of the apartment so quickly, Young-hwa wonders if the guy is also upset with him. Young-hwa heads out to the rooftop to look at the photo of Dan-ah. In a quick flashback, we see that he didn’t take the photo secretly, but rather requested permission first from his model.
Then Young-hwa realizes that Tae-woong figured out who he was and where he went to school just by the social media photo, and he deletes it to avoid any future conflicts with him online.
Sun-gyum’s first stop for the morning is his dad’s office, but the assemblyman is already out and about. Assemblyman Ki turns at his wife’s side to talk. By talk, he means he wants to blame Ji-woo for their son’s behavior. Assemblyman Ki wants Ji-woo to talk to their son about it, but she says she’s too busy working to interfere in her son’s life.
The assemblyman is focused only on his bid for the presidency, and Ji-woo tells him that her life is hers, not his. When he of course says that’s not true, she suggests a divorce. The assemblyman raises his hand to strike her, but with all the people around he lowers it. Ji-woo insists that her focus is on her work.
Speaking of Ji-woo’s work, Mi-joo starts reading through Code Name Candy at her desk. Reality bleeds into the script as Mi-joo imagines herself a dirty peasant on the road, while Ji-woo as Candy appears to take the girl in. In the fantasy, Candy escorts Mi-joo to a cell, where a scrappy Dan-ah in a newsboy cap stands to challenge the newcomer. When Mi-joo warns Dan-ah about speaking too casually without knowing her age, Mi-joo’s character reveals that she’s eight, and Dan-ah shoots back that she’s seven. Awww, they’re scrappy street urchins!
Candy returns to introduce their new boss, Anthony, played by none other than Sun-kyum in a fedora, bwahaha. The real Mi-joo begins to bleed into the fantasy, as she snorts at Anthony’s name. The script reading is interrupted, however, when the real Dan-ah arrives at the door.
Dan-ah barges in even when Mi-joo insists that she’s got a lot of work to do, and Mi-joo seems to forget all about not being allowed to drink as the two of them sit side by side with their respective alcohol. Dan-ah is upset that she told Young-hwa not to call her and he did as he was told, of course. As Mi-joo tries to work and listen, reality blurs into Code Name Candy again, and real-life Dan-ah’s relationship troubles come out of the urchin Dan-ah’s mouth. It seems Dan-ah stopped at Young-hwa’s apartment to see why he was ignoring her, but no one was home.
Mi-joo suggests that it might help if Dan-ah apologized about her reaction to the birthday party efforts. Dan-ah wonders how to apologize, since she hasn’t done it since she was a child. The combination of antibiotics, alcohol, and Dan-ah’s hubris is enough to send Mi-joo right to sleep on the couch. With an unconscious Mi-joo and a text from Mr. Jung with an address where Young-hwa is right now, a sly smile spreads across Dan-ah’s face.
When Mi-joo wakes up, she’s showered, dressed, and seated in the passenger seat of Dan-ah’s car. It seems she’s been kidnapped for a roadtrip to Young-hwa’s home town where he’s camped out. Mi-joo tries to protest, again mentioning her work, but Dan-ah understands work commitments and points out she’s got Mi-joo’s computer in the back seat.
They arrive to find Young-hwa in full beekeeper attire. Amazing. He’s here to help out while his mother recuperates from a bee sting. Young-hwa jumps from wondering how Dan-ah found out his parent’s address to why she would waste time driving down to find him. Mi-joo suggests Dan-ah is feeling guilty, which leads to defensive bickering from Dan-ah, but that’s all interrupted when Young-hwa’s dad calls and demands help. Dan-ah throws an arm over the petulant Mi-joo and promises to wait until he’s done working.
This means both Dan-ah and Mi-joo spend their time catching up on work as they grab lunch. Mi-joo is grumpy about being kidnapped (understandable), but Dan-ah hints that she needs the cover so that others wouldn’t find out she was dating an ordinary college student. Though it’s a very different world, Mi-joo seems to understand Dan-ah’s struggle with it. Mi-joo gets a break to really work when Young-hwa finally arrives to whisk Dan-ah away.
While everyone else enjoys the seaside, Sun-kyum is busy hustling to find a team for Woo-shik. He speaks with a team manager who may be interested, but it’s mostly to fill-in for an athlete and to distract from a scandal. The woman still shows concern that Woo-shik will always be known as a whistleblower, but Sun-kyum stays adamant that his abilities will surpass any of that in the public’s perception. He says the public sees him as a victim and will remember medals, not scandals. The woman is convinced enough to speak with her boss about the prospect, and Sun-kyum leaves with a little hope.
On his way out, Woo-shik calls to see where his agent is. Sun-kyum has one more meeting before he can meet Woo-shik. He meets with Ms. Dong, who has information and an offer. First she lets Sun-kyum in on his sister’s case of the yips, and then she offers Sun-kyum a job as an agent at Dan-ah’s company. She recognizes his abilities, and it’s becoming clear that they need more people to provide a more personal service to their athletes. Sun-kyum doesn’t have an answer yet, but Ms. Dong says she’s willing to give him time to consider.
Back to the seaside, Young-hwa gives Dan-ah a tour of his hometown. Through their typical banter Young-hwa apologizes for the birthday disaster and offers to celebrate her real birthday in the future, just them. Then Dan-ah asks where she should sleep tonight, and there’s some grinning and exasperation before he realizes she’s teasing him.
In a Seoul hospital, Myung-min receives reports from his men who are spying on Dan-ah. They report that she was over at an attractive woman’s house last night. Myung-min switches gears and tries to seem worried as he bursts through his father’s hospital room door. Chairman Seo promises that he’s hanging on until Dan-ah gets married.
Tae-woong arrives, sounding genuinely concerned for his father’s well-being. Dad seems happy to see the youngest, and Myung-min scowls. Once the siblings are out in the hall together, Myung-min tells Tae-woong there’s no need to tell Dan-ah about their father’s condition. Tae-woong struggles through his honorifics, while Myung-min reminds him that the only way for Tae-woong to claim his inheritance would be to come forward as an illegitimate child, which would surely tank his idol career.
Young-hwa has helped Dan-ah book rooms at a local hotel for herself and Mi-joo. Dan-ah sets the ground rule that she can pounce on Young-hwa as she pleases, but she’ll kill him if he does the pouncing. And that’s when it hits Young-hwa, that Dan-ah intends for them to spend the night in the hotel room together.
But of course, Young-hwa was previously staying with his parents, and now he pleads with his mom on the phone to let him stay at a friend’s place just this once. Hahaha.
Mi-joo settles into her room and calls Sun-kyum to flirt and tell him that she misses him. She requests a selfie, and he sends a weird one from a strange angle with bad lighting. Mi-joo takes three adorable selfies of her own and sends them on as examples for him to try better next time. So cute.
It’s back to the world of Codename Candy, and now Young-hwa joins the cast as Candy’s contact, Terius (of course). I guess Anthony has caught on that she’s undercover, and we’re treated to Sun-kyum, er, Anthony, working on his selfie game, hehehe. Young-hwa’s Terius is just leaking sweat all down his face, and Candy wonders if he suffers from hyperhidrosis.
Back in reality, Young-hwa watches Dan-ah work, hearts in his eyes. He inches towards her bit by bit, and eventually convinces her to set aside her work and go for a walk. They head out to a long stretch of dock, and Young-hwa wonders if Dan-ah will still give him her heart after the painting is done. They dance around the topic, and Dan-ah asks what Young-hwa’s dream is. His is simple: he doesn’t want to break up with Dan-ah. The wind ruffles their hair as Dan-ah gazes intently back at Young-hwa.
It’s gotten late, and Dan-ah finishes up her work at the hotel. She finds Young-hwa passed out asleep, a sketch he’s completed of her lying next to him on the bed. Dan-ah leans in and threatens to pounce, but Young-hwa’s lack of reaction confirms he’s really sleeping.
As she watches him, Young-hwa’s eyes flutter open. He wonders why she isn’t sleeping already, and she delivers her usual, “I don’t want to waste my time,” but it has a different meaning now. Young-hwa folds her into his arms and hums to her, as though to rock her to sleep. Slowly, Dan-ah’s eyes shut and she curls in to his chest.
In the morning, Young-hwa sees Dan-ah and Mi-joo off for their return to Seoul. Dan-ah leans in and yanks a bit of hair from Young-hwa’s head, to test to make sure he isn’t also a secret illegitimate brother of hers. Young-hwa and Mi-joo both grimace in response because, yeah, weird.
Sun-kyum visits his dad’s office, and again the assemblyman is absent. The staffer stops Sun-kyum and tells him that if he and Mi-joo had just apologized once, everything would be resolved. But now, he says, Sun-kyum has brought all the consequences on himself.
Sun-kyum struggles to fall asleep that night, and sends a text to Mi-joo asking for a movie recommendation. She playfully scolds him for not making sure she survived her kidnapping, and the warm-hearted teasing is comforting enough for Sun-kyum to try to sleep.
Dan-ah already has the DNA results back from Young-hwa’s hair, and good news, he’s definitely not related. Dan-ah picks up a call from Tae-woong, just as she notices some online headlines about AtoZ and a “bastard” idol. Tae-woong says there are rumors about him online, and their father isn’t available to cover things.
Dan-ah hangs up, and Mr. Jung barges in with the same news. So far everything is speculation, and nothing points back to Chairman Seo. Dan-ah orders headquarters to be ready for a press release, and Mr. Jung looks defeated as he mumbles that Tae-woong really enjoyed being an idol.
Ms. Dong picks her daughter up at school. Ye-chan whines that she can’t sneak away to box anyway because the gym is closed, but this is what mom insists on now until graduation.
The bad press just keeps coming in. Now Dan-ah, Ms. Dong, and Mr. Jung fret over articles speculating that Eun-bi is having an affair with the young politician her father asked her to spend time with. Dan-ah wants to just ask Eun-bi what’s going on, but Ms. Dong reminds her that Eun-bi has been too stressed out already. They joke that they need an exorcism, and Dan-ah thinks at this point its a genuinely good idea, haha.
The charity run is tomorrow, and Mi-joo sets her running gear out for the morning. She texts Sun-kyum, asking when she’ll get a new selfie, or if she’ll just see him at the race. Sun-kyum texts back encouragement as he packs up his own gear, but then he gets a call from his father’s office asking to meet the next day.
At the charity run starting line, the runners have gathered to warm up. Mi-joo turns on her running app, while Dan-ah greets all the participants. She locks eyes with Myung-min and he spits his water out with a scowl. And then, the race starts and the runners are off.
Sun-kyum does not make it to the race, and instead sits in his father’s office. Assemblyman Ki gruffly scolds Sun-kyum for working as an agent for Woo-shik, the kid who “ruined Sun-kyum’s life.” Dad has an offer though: he’s putting together a track team and he’ll scout Woo-shik as long as Sun-kyum comes along as his agent. It seems too good to be true, so Sun-kyum asks for the catch. Dad says all he needs to do is apologize to Chairman Seo.
At the race, Young-hwa bikes around as a volunteer, offering water to the runners. Mi-joo lags behind the other racers, but she keeps running. Young-hwa spots Dan-ah, who is bent over and struggling. Just as Young-hwa approaches, she collapses into his arms. He wants to call emergency services, but Dan-ah protests and asks him to just shield her face. Meanwhile, Myung-min tries to compete with a scooter and promptly slips and falls hard. At least one good thing happened during this race.
Young-hwa gets Dan-ah to the race’s med tent, and Dan-ah comes to enough to explain that she has a heart condition and needs special treatment. She wants to call Mr. Jung, and Young-hwa picks up her phone and tells her to rest while he takes care of it. Dan-ah worries about being humiliated, and Young-hwa tells her there’s nothing to be humiliated about. She’s sick, so she should rest, that’s it.
Chairman Seo joins Sun-kyum and his dad. Sun-kyum apologizes officially for the golfing incident, and the chairman takes it in stride. However, the two fathers proceed to talk over Sun-kyum, about how Sun-kyum and Dan-ah will get married soon and then Sun-kyum will take over Dan-ah’s company. Oh no.
As soon as Chairman Seo leaves, Sun-kyum protests that this is more than he agreed to. Chairman Ki says that Sun-kyum’s relationship with Mi-joo won’t last anyway, so he’s just giving Sun-kyum an official deadline. And when Sun-kyum suggests that he won’t take the offer, the chairman sighs that Woo-shik will just have to forever train without a team then. Sun-kyum faces a choice: his love for Mi-joo, or his hopes for Woo-shik.
Mi-joo is the only runner left on the course. She’s tired, and she gasps aloud that she wants to give up. Her running app loudly declares that she’s doing great, but really she’s on the ground, near defeat.
But then she recalls Sun-kyum’s advice, to maintain her pace and go slow when she needs to. She gets back up. As she runs, Mi-joo recalls days working at a restaurant, or days when she studied and ate in the backroom of a convenience store in between ringing up customers. Further back, when she was a student blamed for bullying, and how a dark theater and good movie were her only refuge. And now, images of Sun-kyum cuddled next to her. Student Mi-joo begins to run. In the present, Mi-joo keeps running. Ahead of her is the finish line, finally, and standing there waiting is Sun-kyum.
As she crosses the finish line, Mi-joo glances at the empty road and wishes someone had waited for her. “I waited until I could see you,” Sun-kyum says, smiling softly. Present day Mi-joo transforms into the student version, while Sun-kyum is replaced by his youthful version in the hospital gown. These versions of themselves, when they each faced big life decisions or great difficulties, stand in front of one another, smiling, seeing one another.
Thank you, Mi-joo’s mind, for cigar-smoking, fedora-wearing Sun-kyum. And even thank you for secret agent Young-hwa and his excessive sweating, hahaha. The slips into the world of Code Name Candy were a pretty delightful way to both incorporate something important to Mi-joo (her work, movies) and move along several scenes in a playful way. So many new people have entered Mi-joo’s life recently, and even when she’s dedicating most of her time to her work, she’s still thinking of them.
As we get close to the finale, it’s harder to see the changes in Mi-joo, especially when compared to Sun-kyum’s big transformation. That’s why Mi-joo’s work daydreams and this final moment at the end of the race are so interesting. Mi-joo runs with every version of herself inside her, and she runs for all of them. The student who was blamed, the part-timer who had to hustle while attending college, every version wants her to succeed, to keep running, to finish. Mi-joo has lived a life where she’s always had to pick herself up off the ground and force herself to keep running forward.
But this run, it’s a bit more about finding peace. Mi-joo has been learning about meditation through this new practice Sun-kyum has introduced her to, just in the way she learned to savor cooking with Mae-yi. It feels like she’s finding peace for student Mi-joo, who felt betrayed by the adults who were supposed to protect her. And similarly, every version of Sun-kyum exists in him. The parts of him that faced a pivotal moment in life and chose to run, that part meets with the same part of Mi-joo. They see one another, and they understand.
The show has been very sympathetic to the troubles that come with inherited wealth and status. I think it’s so noticeable because in the opposite direction, we see very little tragedy for those who remain “peasants” in Sun-kyum and Dan-ah’s circles. There are moments, like Woo-shik’s bullying or Mi-joo breaking down after Assemblyman Ki threatens her, but for the most part the show isn’t so interested in dramatizing the trauma of ordinary people for juicy storylines. Mi-joo has been able to keep most of her dark past to herself. While Mi-joo and Sun-kyum were briefly broken up, Mi-joo continued to live her life as usual, while Sun-kyum lost his bearings and started wandering the neighborhood to catch a glimpse of her.
A lot of the conflict comes from the top down here, from those with all that power. When things get complicated, Mi-joo and Young-hwa both still have their work and friends to keep them occupied. Whereas whenever Sun-kyum or Dan-ah tries to have something that is just theirs, their family swoops in to either co-opt it or take it away entirely. There are a lot of options for the final week’s conflicts, and we’ll see soon if there’s an answer that finally offers the rich kids their freedom.
We can’t possibly imagine. though, that Sun-kyum took the bait and chose between Mi-joo and Woo-shik, right? As much as Sun-kyum wants both his love life and to see his athlete succeed, he certainly knows that Woo-shik wouldn’t want success to happen at Sun-kyum’s expense.
The circumstances are more complicated than just turning down Dad’s evil plans, of course. The offer from Ms. Dong to join Dan-ah’s company as an agent seemed like a good fit. Everyone there knows, cares, and respects Sun-kyum, and the offer was made without any ulterior motives or expectations from Sun-kyum. But of course, with the evil plan in play, Dan-ah could easily feel threatened by the idea of letting Sun-kyum into the company at all.
There are so many opportunities for misunderstandings no matter what Sun-kyum decides to do. And yet, everyone is always so open and honest, I can only imagine that Sun-kyum and Dan-ah will team up immediately rather than struggle alone.
The moments were brief, but I really enjoy Mi-joo and Dan-ah moments. They are often talking right past one another when it comes to their views of the world, but then you see them both swiping their tablets and typing at their computers together while they eat lunch and you see how similar their work ethic is, and how the same types of fears have driven both of them to be workaholic overachievers.
Pressures unfortunately finally caught up to Dan-ah. She does her best to try to appear invincible, but multiple scandals, threat of being found with her boyfriend, and a long distance run all stacked together to expose the weakness that I suspect bothers her the most. She’s not going to enjoy all the care that Young-hwa will undoubtedly want to unleash upon her next week. Maybe we’ll luck out and Myung-min will have an injury from that big fall that keeps him from messing things up too much.
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