Good Job: Episodes 7-8
This week on Undercover Boss — I mean, Good Job — our chaebol and his keen-eyed sidekick disguise themselves as members of his company’s janitorial crew, and toilets aren’t the only thing they’re cleaning. There’s some corrupt management that needs to be trashed, but tossing out the riff-raff upsets the status quo and paints a target on our hero’s back.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
We pick up this week where we last left Sera and Sun-woo: surprised that they’ve woken up in bed together — fully clothed, of course, because they are on that slow-burn romance track that we love oh-so-much. Once Sera gets her bearings, she leaps out of bed, concerned that she was the one who pounced on him last night. Not only did I get a good snicker out of her thinking she was the more likely aggressor, but it warmed my heart that she trusts him not to have not taken advantage of her. Dawww!
Sun-woo assures her that she didn’t take advantage of him while she was drunk. Instead, she fell asleep, he carried her to the bedroom, and like a proper gentleman, he crashed on the sofa. At some point in the night, though, he went to the bathroom, and out of habit he climbed into the bed instead of returning to the sofa.
After sorting out what happened the night before, Sera and Sun-woo use his secret tunnel to take a shortcut to work. Sera sets out for Tae-joon’s office unaware that Tae-joon now knows she’s been spying on him. Plus, after pondering her identity a little longer, he finally recognizes Sera as the woman in the pink dress who so elegantly compared him to a monkey’s scrotum.
Sun-woo realizes — either telepathically or via Tae-joon’s cloned phone, not sure which — that Tae-joon is onto Sera’s real identity, so he tells her to abort the mission. He will help her find a way out of the building undetected. The plan: hide her in a trashcan and smuggle her past Tae-joon, who is on the hunt and out for blood.
While he does manage to throw Tae-joon off Sera’s scent with a strategically placed durian, Sun-woo’s chosen disguise complicates matters. He and Sera are mistaken for real members of the janitorial staff, and they are put to work! Coincidentally, their first task is to clean the office of Manager KIM HONG-SOO (Kim Joon-won), who has seemingly disappeared after logging into the company forum and posting a tell-all exposé publicizing Tae-joon’s slush fund.
After searching Hong-soo’s office, Sera and Sun-woo come to three conclusions. One, Hong-soo was not liked, especially among the female staff. Two, someone left-handed drugged his coffee, so he’s probably not hiding of his own volition. And finally, whoever drugged the unlikable sexual-harrassment-lawsuit-on-legs was probably not Tae-joon, because Jae-ha is also searching for Hong-soo.
From that point on, our hero’s investigation is repeatedly stalled by a series of tasks handed down by the manager of the janitorial staff, which yields a bunch of comedic hijinks as they try to solve their latest mystery and avoid detection. The poor lofty chairman roughs it for the day and has to clean the toilets of his own company.
Not only does he have the misfortune of seeing and smelling some things that he’d rather forget, but he also learns that the members of his cleaning staff are under-appreciated and mistreated. Company policies put in place by — you guessed it — Tae-joon have made them second-class citizens, pariahs that should remain unseen and un-smelled by the rest of the company staff.
Sun-woo’s stint as a janitor also makes him privy to a lot of company gossip, and eventually he puts all the clues together to figure out that a former employee drugged Hong-soo and posted the message on the forums under his username. She wanted to expose not only Tae-joon’s slush fund, but the toxic and sexist work environment that she and her female coworkers had experienced. Ashamed by his ignorance and failure to protect his employees, Sun-woo encourages her to file a lawsuit and share her evidence of the slush fund with the police. He has her back.
And as another act of benevolence, he remodels the janitors’ break room and revokes all the rules Tae-joon established to segregate the cleaning staff from the rest of the work population. It’s unclear if the cleaning staff eventually recognize Sun-woo from his cardboard cutout in the lobby, but either way, he’s earned their loyalty. And I loved this wholesome undercover boss resolution. Sure, it may have taken us on another detour away from the whole murdered mother plot line, but I honestly don’t care if the revered Queen’s Tears necklace ever gets mentioned again.
Oh right, the necklace! Now that Tae-joon’s slush fund and Sera’s alliance with Sun-woo have been exposed, Sun-woo drops all pretenses and goes for a more direct approach. He straight up asks Tae-joon how he came into possession of the necklace. Tae-joon’s confusion over the matter indicates that he didn’t kill Sun-woo’s mother, which was pretty obvious from the beginning, but his round-about way of skirting the truth points to the more likely (and age appropriate) culprit: Wan-soo.
After a celebratory dinner with Sera, Sun-woo walks her home — omo, they’re so close to holding hands! — and reveals that he believes Wan-soo is the villain that they are going up against. That’s when Sun-woo notices the gangsters lurking in the shadows. Trying not to alert Sera, he abruptly cuts their conversation short and urges her to head home. Sera, who definitely wants to linger, reluctantly follows his orders, but she only gets so far before turning back and witnessing the gangsters attack Sun-woo.
When Sun-woo unexpectedly puts up a fight, one of the gangsters stabs him, which was not part of their original plan. Unsure of how to proceed without their boss’s orders, they abduct him, but Sera — and a no-questions-asked taxi driver — pursue their getaway van.
Sera uses her super-sight to tell the driver which turns to make, and in between instructions she calls Jin-mo, who is trying — in a roundabout way — to define his relationship with Na-hee. When they hear that Sun-woo has been kidnapped, they hop in the batvan, and while Na-hee drives and weaves through traffic, Jin-mo clings to the “Oh, shit!” handle and uses his laptop to track Sun-woo’s cell phone.
Our trio regroups at the gangsters’ hideout, where their leader PRESIDENT BYEON (Ryu Sung-hyun) calls Tae-joon and updates him on the current situation. Yeah, they were only supposed to rough up Sun-woo a little bit, but one of his guys got a little stabby-stabby, so what should they do with Sun-woo now?
Tae-joon panics at the messy turn of events, so Wan-soo takes the phone away and tells President Byeon to take care of Sun-woo — permanently. After hanging up with Wan-soo, President Byeon puts Sun-woo inside an oversized fish tank with a lid, and it’s clear his murder method of choice is drowning. But it’s a slow process — what with filling the tank and stuffing Sun-woo inside it — so Sun-woo tries to stay his execution by explaining to President Byeon that he’s worth more alive than he is dead. As President Byeon considers the offer, Sera and the rest of the rescue team suit up and arm themselves.
Entering the warehouse to what sounds like a bootleg version of the Ghostbusters theme song, our battle-ready heroes come charging in with a forklift, lead pipes, glacial acetic acid, and a slingshot as their primary weapons of choice. The skirmish is just as chaotic as it sounds, but like all of Jin-mo’s backup plans, it works, and Sera and Sun-woo escape into the woods.
Unfortunately, the gangsters follow them. Sun-woo’s protective instincts outweigh his injuries, and he tells Sera to run while he holds the men off and herds them in another direction — a direction that leads to him falling off a cliff. When the police arrive on the scene and comb the woods, they are unable to locate Sun-woo, and Sera fears the worst. To make matters worse, Wan-soo and Tae-joon moved quickly and flipped the narrative, causing the media to report that the missing Sun-woo is a corrupt chairman involved with gangs and drugs.
Sera is not able to idly sit around and wait, so she goes back to the scene of the crime in search of him. She’s not the only one searching the woods, though, and she inadvertently stumbles across President Byeon’s men, who have been ordered to finish the job they started. But before they see her, she’s grabbed from behind and pulled out of sight — by none other than Sun-woo!
Our favorite chaebol didn’t survive a stabbing and an attempted drowning just so he could let a little fall off of a cliff kill him! He’s gone into hiding, biding his time until he can put the next phase of his plans into motion. If Sera had stuck around the batcave a few minutes longer, she would have seen the coded message that Sun-woo sent to Jin-mo.
But if she hadn’t gone looking for Sun-woo, then he wouldn’t have whisked her away to his secret hideout (his childhood family home). And that’s waaaaaaay more enjoyable for us to watch — especially since their alone time together allows them to lower their barriers and open the door to more intimate conversations — and skinship!
Sun-woo’s wounds need dressing, and Sera innocently assists him, wrapping the bandage around his bare abdomen. For a woman who so recently feared that she’d drunkenly pounced on Sun-woo and ended up in bed with him, I cannot fathom how she didn’t jump him in that extremely charged moment. I guess her concern for his wounds outweighed her attraction, but if the look Sun-woo was giving her is any indication, he wouldn’t have said no to a little… pouncing.
But before anything happens, Sera notices a photograph of his mother. It was taken at the very orphanage where she grew up, and it confirms that Sun-woo’s mother is the “Angel Ajumma” that was so nice to her as a child. Unlike the other kids and adults at the orphanage, Sun-woo’s mom believed Sera when she said she could see things that other people couldn’t.
Being able to talk openly about his mother with someone who also has memories of her softens Sun-woo even more, and during their time together, they naturally grow closer. He holds her hand and falls asleep with her head in his lap when she wakes up from a terrible nightmare, and he indulges her every whim when she drags him into the nearby town to shop and eat street food. Then, they both take a bicycle built for two — but peddled by one because Sera doesn’t want the injured Sun-woo exerting himself — to a spot by a lake where both of them once (separately) visited with his mother.
I know it’s overly cliché that they have a childhood connection, but in this case I don’t mind it because — even though Sera’s nightmares lead me to believe they might have crossed paths the night his mother was murdered — it doesn’t appear that they otherwise met as children. Instead, there is a degree of separation through Sun-woo’s deceased mother, and by making her their common ground, the two are able to bond over their shared memories and have their relationship evolve organically.
Sadly, their private getaway must come to an end because Wan-soo and Tae-joon have already moved to fill the vacant chairman’s seat with — no surprise here — Wan-soo. They’ve called a board meeting, but just when everyone present is about to make the official vote, the boardroom doors open dramatically.
Enter Sun-woo, looking like an absolute snack in his white suit, and at his side are Sera and Director Hong — who accidentally stumbled upon Sun-woo’s batcave and is now a fully initiated member of Sun-woo’s secret team. Oooowee! I really do love a good, “Surprise, bitches! I’m not dead!” cliffhanger.
It’s very rare that I can look back on an episode of a show and think, “Wow, hardly anything happened in the last hour to progress the plot, and I’m totally okay with it.” But that’s exactly what happened to me this week after watching Episode 7, and it made me realize that a large part of this drama’s charm is that it doesn’t try to complicate its overarching plot (viz., who killed Sun-woo’s mom) with a ton of twists and misdirections. Instead, it spoon feeds us the (fairly obvious) clues one-by-one and fills the gaps between each new lead with mini capers, situational comedy, and romance.
And speaking of romance, this week’s episodes had me squeeing out loud, which is a pretty dangerous thing to do while watching dramas on my lunch break. Thankfully, no one heard my squawking happy noises and mistook them for cries of pain because if someone had come to check in on me, it would have been a bit awkward if they’d caught me watching the shirtless Sun-woo scene. Seriously, I can’t be the only one who watched that quasi-backhug and thought, “Oh my,” in George Takei’s voice, right?