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Radiant Office: Episode 7

Woo-jin is beginning to see Ho-won in a new, more personal light, and his confusing feelings create trouble for him when he overhears something he shouldn’t. Ho-won has her own problems to worry about, with pressure from both family and work pulling her in several different directions. But there’s someone else in great danger of self-destructing, and if someone doesn’t start paying attention, it could be too late to save them from themselves.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

Woo-jin waits outside Ho-won’s apartment for her to come home, and he asks her if she tried to kill herself because of him. Instead of answering, Ho-won passes out cold and crumples to the pavement. Woo-jin frantically tries to revive her, but he’s shoved away from her by Hyo-ri, her roommate, who thinks he’s a pervert preying on a drunk woman, ha.

Hyo-ri drags Ho-won upstairs, then belatedly realizes that Ho-won doesn’t smell like alcohol. When Ho-won finally wakes she sees her younger brother, Ho-jae, who came over when Hyo-ri called him. Ho-won belatedly remembers Woo-jin, but Hyo-ri says there was only a pervert who she beat up. Ho-won realizes that she must mean Woo-jin and cringes.

Ho-won’s mom surprises Woo-jin at his front door and follows him in, then starts cooking him dinner. She assures him that she’s not doing this to incur special favors for Ho-won and talks about her daughter as she cooks. She asks Woo-jin to have pity on Ho-won for being born to bad parents, blaming herself for Ho-won’s shortcomings, and Woo-jin takes this information in thoughtfully.

When Ho-won learns that her mother is at her boss’s home, she runs over as fast as she can. Meanwhile, her mother somehow loses track of a live eel, which flops on the kitchen floor as Woo-jin screams and jumps onto the table. PFFT, he’s such a wuss.

Ho-won shows up just as Woo-jin is escorting her mom out, and she sees him tuck away a suspicious-looking envelope. Ho-won can’t get her mother out of there fast enough and ushers her down the stairs when the elevator takes too long to arrive.

Woo-jin goes through the cooler full of food that Ho-won’s mom left for him, smiling at the notes on each container. Awww, that must be touching for a guy who never had a mother.

Back at her place, Ho-won asks her mother why she went to her boss’s house, complaining that now she’s even more embarrassed to see Woo-jin at work tomorrow. Her mom reminds her that it was Ho-won’s idea to send him the food, she just delivered it in person instead of mailing it.

Ho-won isn’t in the mood for logic, and she accuses her mother of not understanding how much she suffers every day, but her mother yells that she’s not the only one who suffers. She tells Ho-won that it was no picnic raising her, and Ho-won spits back that if she had a daughter, she wouldn’t treat her this way.

Her mother leaves angry, and right away, Hyo-ri admonishes Ho-won for not treating her mother better. Ho-won starts crying when she sees the second cooler of food that her mom brought for her, then runs out to apologize.

She’s too late — her mom and Ho-jae are already pulling away in a taxi. Ho-won sinks to her knees in the street, begging for forgiveness. Woo-jin had been on his way to bring her the envelope her mom left with him, but when he sees Ho-won crying in the street, he turns back for home.

Hyun is summoned to dinner by Hauline’s Chairman Seo, who is indeed his father. Hyun is guarded even though Chairman Seo acts friendly and welcoming, and he urges Hyun to try the shrimp as he asks how Hyun’s new hospital is coming along.

When Hyun says that his hospital is already making big profits, Chairman Seo looks concerned. He says that saving lives should be done out of compassion and duty, not to make a buck, and Hyun snaps back that nothing he ever does is good enough. Hyun laughs wryly, adding that he can do no right and his brother can do no wrong.

Just to prove that his father doesn’t truly care about him, Hyun pulls back his sleeve to reveal the rash developing on his wrist — he’s allergic to shrimp, and his father doesn’t even know. He says that it was Chairman Seo’s idea that they compete, and that he knows he’ll be the loser. He stands to leave, and his father dryly tells him to just say what it is that he wants.

In the morning, Woo-jin digs into the food Ho-won’s mom left him, muttering to himself that Ho-won got her cooking skills from her mother. Ho-won prepares for another day at work, and today she decides to wear the pretty new suit Ho-jae bought for her.

The first thing Woo-jin notices when he gets to the office is that Ho-won isn’t there, so he asks Ki-taek to call her and tell her to stay home if she’s not feeling well. Yong-jae makes a snippy comment about temps who come to work late, prompting Ki-taek to retort that Yong-jae takes days off when he doesn’t feel well. Ji-na watches Ki-taek stand up for Ho-won with a strange expression on her face.

Ho-won comes to work late, her mood dejected, and it only gets worse when someone shoves onto the elevator and forces her to get off. But then she thinks that even if she’s dying tomorrow, she still has to live today, so she perks up and heads for the stairs.

Woo-jin spends his morning scowling at a box on his desk, wondering if Ho-won will take it the wrong way if he gives her the new cellphone. He decides it’s his prerogative as her boss to give her a gift, then obsesses about what to say if she asks why he’s giving it to her. Aw, he’s so cute when he’s insecure.

Ho-won comes to him to apologize for her mother, but Woo-jin just snaps at her for passing out and surprising him. He says that keeping healthy is part of her job, then gives her the phone, muttering that it’s a freebie he got at a promo event. He explains that he’s only giving it to her because her phone battery dies frequently and she needs a reliable phone for work.

Ho-won answers that instead of a phone, he can just give back the bribe money her mom obviously slipped to him last night. Confused, Woo-jin hands Ho-won the envelope, which contains not money, but a luck talisman. HA.

Ho-won then assumes Woo-jin is giving her the phone in exchange for the food her mom made, and he’s relieved to have a plausible excuse and agrees — only to have Ho-won criticize him for putting a price on her mother’s generosity. Poor guy can’t win.

Ho-won calls her mom about the talisman, then grows irritated and hangs up on her. She hugs the cute pink phone from Woo-jin, admitting at least to herself that she really likes it.

Ki-taek calls Ho-won back to the office, where she finds CEO Han ranting at the entire staff. Ki-taek whispers that the Chief Director is in the building, which is why CEO Han is on edge, unhappy with the sales team’s dismal numbers. He rakes Manager Park over the coals right in front of everyone.

CEO Han turns to Woo-jin next, but his manner is completely different. He apologizes to Woo-jin that he has to work extra hard to make up for someone’s shortcomings, then leaves.

Manager Park orders the sales team into his office to pass his humiliation down to them. He calls out Yong-jae (the senior salesman on the team) as the problem, blaming him for the low sales, and screams in his face until Yong-jae is literally crying. Finally, Manager Park calms down slightly, and he tells Yong-jae to increase his numbers or else.

A few minutes later, Yong-jae sends a text to Kang-ho, Ki-taek, and Ho-won, ordering them to the roof. He tells them that he expects them to sell furniture to increase his sales numbers. He strongly implies that their chances at the permanent position rely on their success, even though Ki-taek points out that he and Ho-won are on the marketing team, not sales.

Ho-won wants to know if this edict is coming from an actual manager. Yong-jae claims that Manager Park implied that they should help, reminding them of who hired them. Ho-won refuses, knowing that Yong-jae is trying to use them, and Yong-jae openly admits it. But he says that if they don’t want to do it, they’ll be transferred to work as clerks in the store.

Ho-won decides to ask Manager Park about this, but suddenly Kang-ho yells, “Don’t!” He agrees to Yong-jae’s orders on behalf of all three of them, then when Yong-jae leaves, Kang-ho angrily rounds on Ho-won. He says that the permanent position may not mean much to her, but he needs that job.

Ho-won and Ki-taek are shocked at Kang-ho’s outburst. He tells them that he’s scolded by Manager Park every single morning, and that if Ho-won makes an issue of this, it will only make his life harder. Ho-won argues that this is an impossible task, but Kang-ho retorts that if they don’t do it, he’ll be the only one who suffers.

Woo-jin treats Hyun to lunch, claiming that it’s thanks for helping when the Hauline employees couldn’t volunteer after their accident. But he really wants to know about Hyun’s book, in which he wrote about three people who tried to commit suicide on the same night, then were coincidentally hired by the same company.

He asks Hyun if the people in his book are Hauline’s three new temporary employees. Hyun admits it, and Woo-jin wonders out loud how all three ended up at Hauline together. Hyun says it’s a strange coincidence, but Woo-jin replies that coincidences often hide hidden intentions — such as the intentions of the chairman’s son.

Hyun congratulates Woo-jin on his excellent perception, adding that his father thought he’d hidden him and his brother well. He admits that he got them hired, not with hidden intentions, but out of compassion for those who needed a chance. He asks if it’s so wrong for those with money and power to use them to help others.

Woo-jin wants to know if Ho-won knows about this, and for the first time, Hyun looks unsettled and asks if it would change anything. His eyes narrow, and he asks if Woo-jin is bothered that he used his power, or that Woo-jin has no such power to use.

He adds that if it’s the former, Woo-jin can just fire the three temps. And if it’s the latter, he should work on gaining power for himself, and even offers to help.

After lunch, Woo-jin takes Ho-won to a new product photo shoot, noticing that she seems preoccupied. When he asks if she’s okay, she starts to ask about sales, then backpedals and asks if she can turn on the radio. A perky girl group chirps through the speakers and Woo-jin grumbles about music on the radio these days, only to have Ho-won point out that it wasn’t the radio. HAHA.

Ho-won perks up during the photo shoot, interested in learning how everything works, and Woo-jin looks both annoyed and amused by her enthusiasm. He overhears two employees gossiping that he and Ho-won are dating and looks angry when they accuse Ho-won of seducing him with an ulterior motive.

The photo shoot goes well until a tech accidentally bumps a set piece, which falls directly towards Ho-won. Luckily, she quickly ducks under a table, letting the table catch the wall. Though he initially looks terrified, Woo-jin’s reaction when he sees Ho-won safe is to yell at her for being in the way. He sends her straight home after the shoot, and in the privacy of his office, he thinks about the nasty rumors he overheard.

Ho-won sits pouting at the bus stop until Hyun pulls up and offers her a ride. They go to a restaurant, where Ho-won gets four orders of ddukbokki in increasing levels of spiciness, explaining that this is a great way to relieve stress. Hyun admits that he’s scared of spicy food, but he gamely agrees to join her.

Ho-won starts with the least spicy ddukbokki and confesses that she’s stressed out at work because of the sales. Hyun takes a bite and reveals that he went on a blind date but got rejected. Ho-won cutely grumbles that the girl will regret that.

She takes a bite of the next level of ddukbokki, this time admitting that she said horrible things to her mother. Hyun’s second bite looks like it stings, as does his confession that he doesn’t enjoy treating patients these days. Ho-won fusses at him gently, saying that sick people really rely on their doctors.

Ho-won struggles to take the next, third-spiciest bite, and she tells Hyun that she made Woo-jin angry today. Hyun says she must really dislike Woo-jin if he’s her third-level stress, but she smiles as she says that she doesn’t dislike him at all. Hyun takes his third bite and tells her that his third-level stress is his father.

Ho-won is surprised that anyone with a successful son like Hyun would stress him out, but Hyun says that his father doesn’t like him. Ho-won disagrees, explaining that fathers just don’t show their feelings well. She says that her father always complained, but after he died, she discovered that he’d saved enough money for her to go to college. Hyun smiles, and says that her father would consider it money well spent.

He asks what her fourth-level stress is, so she takes that last, painful bite, and quickly blurts that she’s sad she has fewer days to live. Hyun says that everyone feels that way, then takes his last bite. He smirks as he says that his fourth-level is a secret, then clutches his throat in dramatic agony.

At the end of the work day, Suk-kyung volunteers Ki-taek to give Ji-na a ride home. He stiffly agrees, but when they get downstairs, Ji-na says she’ll take a taxi. She’s surprised when Ki-taek doesn’t insist on driving her as she expected him to do, and she tells him to keep personal matters out of their work relationship. (Funny, considering that’s what he’s finally doing.)

Out of nowhere, Ji-na insists that there’s nothing going on between her and Jae-min, but Ki-taek calmly says that he no longer has feelings for her. He tells her that she doesn’t need to explain anything to him, then leaves her standing there frustrated.

On his way home, Ki-taek makes a bunch of calls and finally talks someone into meeting him tonight to buy some furniture. He sees an elderly woman digging through garbage and runs over to stop her, only to have her cry, “Oppa!” and throw her arms around him. HAHA. She takes his glasses, calls him Oppa again, then slaps him across the face and accuses him of cheating on her. LOL, this is the best thing ever.

Ki-taek submits to eating the rotten rice cake the elderly lady foists on him, though he declines the rock she wants to feed him next. He tries to leave, only to be yelled at again for cheating while his glasses get thrown around the park. He breaks free and takes a call from the person who was going to buy furniture, who cancels the deal because Ki-taek is late.

The next day, Ho-won sees Kang-ho throwing something away on the roof, and she picks it up to find a receipt for enough furniture to meet his sales goal. She asks incredulously if he put all this on his credit card, and Kang-ho says that he had no other choice.

He reminds Ho-won that he has to get the permanent job at Hauline because he’s been telling his parents he already got it. Ho-won says she understands, but asks how he plans to meet his sales goal next month, or the months after that.

Ki-taek runs into Kang-ho’s mother in the lobby and innocently offers to escort her upstairs. Kang-ho sees his mother before she sees him, and he instantly collapses in a panic attack. He pitifully begs Ho-won to help him, so she takes his hand and they run.

Just as Kang-ho’s mother is introducing herself to his coworkers, the fire alarm goes off. Everyone runs to get out of the building while Kang-ho and Ho-won hide in the stairwell. Once the alarm is turned off, Ho-won assures Kang-ho that his mother should be gone now. But he looks up to see her looming over them, and he pales in fear.

Ho-won slinks back to the office to find everyone returning, all except Woo-jin, who never left. He says he assumed it was a prank since there was no announcement, and yep, we see that Ho-won sneakily set off the alarm herself.

Still in the stairwell, Kang-ho’s mother slaps him hard across the face, furious that he lied about being the top pick among all the marketing candidates. Her anger is all about herself and her embarrassment in front of her friends, with no concern whatsoever for the nervous wreck she’s made of her son.

Kang-ho returns to the office, but before he can even tell Ho-won and Ki-taek what happened, a journalist from a business magazine arrives to conduct some interviews. Manager Park is interviewed first, and he lies shamelessly about how fairly and kindly he runs the department. Ho-won can barely contain the urge to roll her eyes.

Suk-kyung’s interview sounds over-rehearsed, and Yong-jae is stiff as a board. Ji-na finally gets her turn, but she gets the nervous giggles and can’t even speak. Ho-won notices Kang-ho fighting back tears and pats his hand comfortingly.

Woo-jin stays in his office during the interviews, but he’s persuaded to come out just as Ho-won’s turn comes up. The journalist asks Ho-won’s opinion of Hauline from the viewpoint of a temp, and she decides to be honest. She looks up at Woo-jin with a challenge in her eyes, and boldly says, “Everyone here is lying.”

 
COMMENTS

I’m really liking this softer, gentler Woo-jin, because who knew all that compassion and sensitivity was hiding under his stern exterior? He’s still himself, but he’s definitely changing in the way he sees Ho-won. I believe that he’s been tough on Ho-won because he sees a lot of himself in her, the way she has the brains but not the advantages to be successful in business, just like himself when he first got out of college. Woo-jin had to work his butt off to get ahead, so he’s been pushing Ho-won to stop viewing her disadvantages as unfair and start making her own opportunities. He just wants to see her take a proactive role in her own life instead of sitting back and waiting for someone to hand her a chance.

Woo-jin’s mistake has been in letting himself identify with Ho-won a little too much, and now he’s gotten emotionally involved. I don’t think his feelings are necessarily romantic yet, at least not consciously. But Woo-jin definitely feels a connection to Ho-won to the point that he’s starting to care how she feels about things, even though he’s tried hard to keep that wall up between them. And what’s interesting is that Ho-won isn’t even trying to get close to Woo-jin — in fact, she’s doing her damnedest to hide her emotional reactions around him when she’s upset. But Woo-jin keeps seeing her true feelings anyway, and he’s being drawn in spite of himself. Regardless of how it happened, I find Woo-jin’s flustered fumbling around Ho-won straight-up adorable, and I hope he doesn’t figure out what he’s feeling for a while so we can enjoy his discomfort for a bit longer.

I’m utterly fascinated by Hyun and by his intentions in making sure Ho-won, Ki-taek, and Kang-ho were hired by Hauline. I know he said to Woo-jin that it was an act of compassion, but he has to know that getting them only temporary jobs wouldn’t truly help them in the long term. He’s made a few comments that go by so fast you almost miss them, but they feel like clues. For instance, when he said his father thought he’d hidden “them” well… is he implying that his mysterious genius-in-business brother might also be someone we know? Hyun’s jab at his father at dinner, when he mentioned that they were in competition, also felt like it means something important. And he said, when discussing Manager Park’s upset with Woo-jin, that “we” thought better of him. So who is Hyun working with, and why? Is getting the friends their jobs part of this competition he and his father are having?

I don’t believe he got the three attempted suicides their jobs out of pure compassion (though he seems like a decent guy despite his air of secrecy, so compassion may have played into it to some level), but that his goal is ultimately to use them to some end. I just can’t figure out what it is. And for that matter, is Hyun’s apparent interest in Ho-won genuine? I can actually believe it may be, because he seems much more open around her than he is when he’s playing the congenial doctor around people like Manager Park and Woo-jin. With them, his every word and expression come across as carefully calculated and scripted, but when he’s around Ho-won, he’s relaxed in a way that we don’t see when he’s with anyone else. My gut tells me that while Hyun definitely has a motive for placing his three former patients into their jobs at Hauline, he does actually like Ho-won, so it will be interesting to see if his growing feelings end up putting a kink in his plans.

I’m growing worried about Kang-ho again and the increasingly bad decisions he’s making in order to avoid telling his mother the truth. I think his terror of her is well founded, but his solutions to the problem are only making his anxiety worse. It’s not easy to stand up to an overbearing, controlling parent, particularly one who thinks it’s appropriate to strike their adult child in his workplace, but Kang-ho really needs to find a way to take control of his own life or things will only get worse. I don’t know why, but it worries me that we don’t know how he tried to end his life the first time — somehow, I feel like he was much more serious about actually doing it than either Ki-taek or Ho-won, one of whom acted on impulse and the other who just had an accident. But I believe that Kang-ho truly meant his suicide attempt, and I’m scared that if something doesn’t change for him soon (and I don’t mean getting the job his mother wants, because that would just reinforce her behavior), that he’s going to try again, and this time, he might succeed.

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