Ho-won is finally earning the respect that she wants from her boss and coworkers, proving that she can do the job despite her lack of experience. A new project gives her the chance to show how she’s grown as an employee, and she’s not the only one showing growth and newfound maturity. But not everyone has the company’s best interests at heart, and desperation may be pushing a trusted team member to push their own agenda at the expense of the others.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
By the time Ho-won is asked by the journalist to give her opinion of Hauline from the temporary worker’s point of view, she’s fed up with everyone else’s fake, canned answers. She decides to be honest and says, “These people are all lying.”
Referring to Manager Park’s description of them as a family, Ho-won asks if families hate and hurt each other. She recites Hauline’s claim to offer equal opportunities to women, but says that she’s learned it’s not true. She leaves the room, and immediately Manager Park orders the journalist to edit out her comments.
Manager Park calls Ho-won into a meeting with the senior team members, and both he and Woo-jin take her to task for being irresponsible in her interview. Ho-won counters that the others were lying to make the company look better, when they all know they’re struggling because of the recent low sales numbers.
She asks Manager Park to call off the evaluation of the temporary employees based on their sales performance, and everyone exchanges confused looks. They ask Ho-won who said that, and she says that Yong-jae told them that they had to make sales to qualify for the permanent position. Woo-jin barks at her to leave the room, now.
Woo-jin is furious with Manager Park, assuming he manipulated the temp hires into selling for his team. But Manager Park insists he knew nothing about this, and Suk-kyung backs him up. Woo-jin backs off, though he makes it clear that he will evaluate his two temps in his own way.
He goes out to inform Ho-won that what she said in her interview was inappropriate, and she admits she was just upset. Woo-jin makes it clear that that’s no excuse, forbidding her or Ki-taek to make any public statements or follow anyone else’s orders without consulting him first.
Just as Ho-won is convinced that she and Ki-taek are in deep trouble, Woo-jin changes directions and assigns them to finish up the new Hauliz line catalog. Ji-na argues that they’re not ready for such an important project, but Woo-jin says they’ll never learn if they aren’t allowed to do anything.
Manager Park seems to think that Yong-jae’s little stunt is amusing, and he tells Suk-kyung proudly that he got his own position by kissing up to his bosses. She tries to say that what Yong-jae did to the temps was wrong, but Manager Park interrupts to remind her that she joined his team in the hopes of getting a promotion.
He tells her that in order for her to get his job, he needs to be promoted first. Suk-kyung promises to help him, but Manager Park says that’s not why she hasn’t been promoted yet. He bluntly says that it’s because she’s a woman, so using her old methods won’t work.
He reveals that he has a connection to Chairman Seo’s second son, but that he intends to use that connection to his own advantage. So he tells Suk-kyung that if she wants her promotion, she needs to stay on his good side and make sure Woo-jin doesn’t discover any of this.
Suk-kyung takes Ho-won aside to berate her for making a huge fuss over a miscommunication, and tells her to stop spreading rumors. She’s pretty harsh, though she also tells Ho-won to have Kang-ho cancel the order he made with his personal credit card.
Kang-ho gets a text from Ho-won as he’s stocking the employee fridge telling him to cancel his order, adding that she thinks Suk-kyung called the store about him. When Suk-kyung comes in to make some tea, he offers to do it for her, grateful for her intercession on his behalf.
He and Ki-taek go to the convenience store for a beer after work, where Ki-taek apologizes for letting Kang-ho’s mother into the office. Kang-ho mutters that it’s his fault for lying to her, and Ki-taek says to just tell her that he’s doing his best.
They’re approached by a scary-looking trio of high school girls who want to buy their beer. Ki-taek delivers a hilariously weak lecture (“Don’t drink underage or you’ll turn out like me!”), and the leader angrily calls him “Oppa” like it’s an insult. When he asks what school they go to, she slaps him upside the face for treating them like kids. Kang-ho runs for the store owner, who chases off the girls before they can beat Ki-taek to a pulp.
On her way home, Ho-won runs into Woo-jin in his sweats and slippers. She apologizes again for her behavior today, but he interrupts and asks her to pretend they don’t know each other when in their neighborhood and not to tell anyone they live near each other.
He’s probably just trying to avoid more nasty rumors cropping up about him and Ho-won, but he ends up just leaving her confused. She watches him walk toward home, then sees him literally jump out of his shoes when a cat meows at him. PFFT, what a chicken.
Too scared to go home, Kang-ho hangs out in a park near his apartment building, ignoring his mother’s phone calls. Jae-min runs into him on his way to visit a friend, and he mentions that he met Kang-ho’s mom today. Kang-ho asks if it was Jae-min who told her he’s a temp, and when Jae-min nods, Kang-ho punches him right in the mouth.
Kang-ho questions whether Jae-min is really his friend, since he’d already asked Jae-min not to tell his mother the truth. Jae-min argues that she’d already seen Kang-ho and figured out something was off.
He sneers that this is why Kang-ho never passes his interviews, and he calls Kang-ho an embarrassment to their school, which earns him another punch. This time, Jae-min fights back, and they roll all over the playground, hitting and kicking each other.
Ki-taek sits in his tiny gosiwon room rolling an egg over his swelling black eye. He answers a knock on the door to find Kang-ho standing there looking pitiful, sporting a matching black eye. Awww.
Secretary Kkot-bi and Ho-won stare at them the next morning, both boys in eye-patches, ha. It gets even funnier when Jae-min walks into the break room also wearing an eye-patch, then just turns and walks back out again.
When Woo-jin is ready to head home after work, he finds Ho-won asleep at her desk. He takes off his suit jacket to cover her, and when she starts to rouse, he hides in the only place he can find — under Ji-na’s desk. HA, the moment he’s under there, he’s all, Why did I hide??
Ho-won is surprised to find Woo-jin’s jacket over her shoulders, and she takes out her phone to call him. Of course his phone rings not five feet away, and instead of coming out, he adorably sits under there poking at it to make it stop.
Eventually, he emerges with as much dignity as he can muster, claiming that he was just looking for something. Ho-won laughs, reminded of the time she hid in his closet. Woo-jin insists that this is a totally different thing from her thing, then shoves Ho-won when she tries to see what he was looking for. HA.
When she offers him back his jacket, Woo-jin yammers that she was coughing in her sleep, and if she gets sick she might faint again. He snatches his jacket back and oh-so-casually saunters to his office, but once he’s there, he cringes with embarrassment.
Kang-ho is staying with Ki-taek in his gosiwon, and because the wells are paper-thin, he and Ki-taek resort to made-up sign language to communicate. Ki-taek asks when Kang-ho will go home, then they have a silent discussion about who’s going to pay for dinner. This whole scene is super cute.
The next day, Ho-won presents the project she and Ki-taek have been working on. Manager Park gets a bit high-handed with Woo-jin over the products available for sale, but Woo-jin neutralizes his snark by offering to try it his way if his own plan doesn’t work after two weeks.
The sales team leaves, and Woo-jin asks Ho-won and Ki-taek to double-check their prices carefully before sending everything to the catalog printer. Gu-dong tells them they did a good job, and Ki-taek and Ho-won exchange triumphant little cheers.
They stay up late that night making sure all the prices are correct. When they’re finished, Ki-taek sends Ho-won home, saying that he’ll do one final check. He declares everything perfect, ready to send the numbers in, but a call has him stepping out for a bit. While he’s gone, a mysterious figure goes into the file and lowers many of the prices, then sends the file.
Ki-taek finds Ji-na nearby, drunk and pleased that he came when she called, like he always does. She tells him that her friend accidentally took her purse so she has no way to get home. Ki-taek gives her some money for a taxi and says that this is the last time he can comed to her rescue.
The new Hauliz line is launched the next day, and everyone celebrates the fact that the sales numbers are great right off the bat. Woo-jin particularly thanks Ki-taek and Ho-won for their excellent work. But in the middle of their little party, Suk-kyung gets a call, and her horrified reaction makes everyone freeze with dread.
She tells them that the catalog contains the wrong prices, and both teams go into damage control mode. They simultaneously attempt to stop the vendors selling at those prices, convince the customers who’ve already bought to cancel their purchases, and figure out who made such a huge mistake.
Ho-won and Ki-taek look through the catalog, mystified as to how the prices could be wrong when they were so careful. They have no adequate explanation for Woo-jin when he screams at them for not checking everything correctly.
Manager Park informs everyone that as a result of this huge debacle, the chief director has decided to merge the sales and marketing teams. He’s terribly smug when Woo-jin objects to such a decision being made without him, telling him to worry about fixing his current problem first.
That evening, Ho-won is still calling customers to explain the mix-up and indulging in small crying bouts between calls. Woo-jin sees her, and instead of approaching, he tries to call her. But she doesn’t answer, since she’s too ashamed to face him even on the phone.
Ki-taek is also crying and drinking in his room with Kang-ho. He sobs that he checked the prices so many times, wanting so badly to do a good job and be proud of himself.
Hyun shows up at the office the next morning with coffee and donuts, and right away, he notices that Ho-won isn’t there. Manager Park gets excited to see Hyun and brings him into his office to officially meet Suk-kyung. Manager Park tells Hyun about the marketing team’s huge mistake, then they send Suk-kyung out of the room. That seems strange.
Woo-jin arrives back at the office just as Hyun is leaving, and Hyun wishes Woo-jin luck dealing with his problem. He offers to help Woo-jin in any way he can, which makes Manager Park and Suk-kyung look nervous, and maybe a little jealous.
Anxious to find some way to mitigate the damage done by the misprinted prices, Woo-jin flips through the catalog looking for any hints. He notices that on the very first page is this sentence: “Sales of certain items may be limited.” He heaves a huge sigh, having found his solution.
Ho-won comes back from a trip to the local store, and Ji-na blows up at her for not following her directions and just copying last year’s catalog. Ho-won says that she did, and Woo-jin comes in to agree. Luckily that includes the text informing customers that items may be limited, but he says they should call the customers personally anyway.
When he sits down to make some calls, the customer says that Hauline already sent them a letter, personally written by the employee who made the mistake. The customer adds that they placed their order again at the correct, higher price.
The team leaders report to CEO Han that the crisis is over, and all the incorrect orders have been canceled. Since many of the customers re-ordered at the correct price, Woo-jin considers the situation under control.
Manager Park points out that their company reputation has still been tarnished, but Woo-jin tells him about Ho-won’s handwritten letters of apology, which seems to have satisfied most of the customers. CEO Han says that that’s certainly impressive, but he still tells Woo-jin to fire Ho-won and Ki-taek. Woo-jin argues that they can’t blame it all on them, but he’s informed that either he fires them, or he’s fired.
Ji-na complains to Ki-taek, accusing him of taking the fall for Ho-won because he likes her. He says that it really was his fault, and he decides to tell Woo-jin that. Ji-na wants to know exactly how many times he checked the prices, and he yells that he checked them over twenty times that night before she called him, so he doesn’t understand why it wasn’t enough.
Something about that makes Ji-na curious, and when she checks, she realizes that at the time the file was sent, Ki-taek was out of the office giving her taxi money. She calls down to security and asks for the names of the people who left the building during that time.
Woo-jin fights hard to save Ho-won and Ki-taek’s jobs, citing their passion and their ability to learn, but CEO Han says that temps are a dime a dozen. Woo-jin refuses to accept this and says that he’ll take full responsibility for his team’s mistakes.
Ji-na hears back from Security, and she’s shocked when she learns the name of the person who left the building last on the night before the launch. She whirls around to confront the culprit… Jae-min.
In front of the entire office, Ji-na asks if Jae-min edited the price file for the catalog. She points to the CCTV camera over their heads, informing him that everything that happens after the office closes is recorded. Busted.
Jae-min is brought to CEO Han’s office to explain to the team leaders why he altered the file. He says that he was angry that the temporary workers were being assigned jobs he felt he should be doing, but that he thought it was just a prank. He assumed they would have checked the numbers again.
CEO Han wants to know who hired “this punk who doesn’t know the basics,” and those words flip a switch in Jae-min. He loudly asks if the company even knows how to identify talented people, then criticizes Manager Park for the way he yells at his team every morning.
He even complains that sometimes he’d just like a simple hamburger for lunch, instead of the loach soup Manager Park always makes them eat (that makes Woo-jin laugh, ha). He throws down his resignation letter and tells the team leaders that instead of looking for talented people, they should work on being good enough to hire people like him.
In Woo-jin’s office, Ki-taek and Ho-won apologize for not doing a final check, but all he says is that he’s sure they learned a lot by this experience. He even apologizes for scolding them without finding out the truth, though he also asks them to each write an apology letter for not doing the final check.
They leave in a bit of a daze, having expected to be fired. Ho-won squeals that she’s never been so happy about having to write an apology letter, and Ki-taek giggles that he nearly cried when Woo-jin apologized.
Ki-taek and Kang-ho get a tiny apartment together in Ho-won’s neighborhood, which is exciting for Kang-ho, though he’s a bit nervous about living in such a small place. They hit the street market with Ho-won, spending their day eating delicious food and enjoying each other’s company. They get ice cream for the walk back, and on the way, a car honks at them.
Ki-taek impulsively throws his ice cream at the car, which screeches to a halt and backs up, revealing the driver as Woo-jin. Whoops. He asks who threw the ice cream, and Kang-ho and Ho-won hold up their cones, throwing Ki-taek right under the bus. Woo-jin offers them a ride home, then orders them not to tell anyone they all live in the same neighborhood.
Hyun is surprised when his father visits him at his hospital. Chairman Seo is in a terrible mood, having heard that Hyun has a mole inside Hauline. Hyun doesn’t deny it, reminding Chairman Seo that if he wants Hyun to prove he’s qualified to take over his position, he needs to learn about the company.
We flash back to their dinner the other night, when Chairman Seo had told Hyun to just plainly say what he wants. Hyun had said that he wants Hauline, and for his father to stop comparing him to his brother.
Chairman Seo growls that if this is Hyun’s way of securing his share, then he’s going about it wrong, because he wanted to see Hyun’s personality, not how well he uses people. He says with a sigh that Hyun has already proven that he doesn’t qualify to inherit Hauline.
Hyun retorts that he just never truly saw him as a candidate, and Chairman Seo admits that may be true, since he’s never liked Hyun’s jealous, selfish nature. He spits that Hyun is just like his mother, then leaves. Hyun mutters that his father didn’t even remember that it’s his birthday.
Ki-taek, Kang-ho, and Ho-won have some drinks at the boys’ new place, and when Ki-taek accidentally mentions Ji-na, Ho-won quickly covers for him. She asks Kang-ho if his mother knows he’s moved here, and he says that she does, but it’s okay because she doesn’t want to see him anyway.
Ho-won heads home, and Kang-ho tries to stop Ki-taek’s drinking. Ki-taek resolutely downs several more cups of soju, obviously fighting tears, and eventually he says that they really should take Ho-won to the hospital. Crying hard now, he tells Kang-ho that just thinking about her being sick breaks his heart.
Kang-ho thinks they should respect Ho-won’s wish for time to think, but Ki-taek yells that she doesn’t have time. He decides to call her, even though Kang-ho says she left her phone at work.
Someone answers her phone, and Ki-taek starts to ramble before the person even says anything. Thinking he’s talking to Ho-won, he offers to pay for everything if she lets them take her to the hospital, because they need to find out what she has and how much time she has left.
He screams that there’s still time to save her life, as on the other end of the line, Woo-jin’s eyes go wide with horror.
I’d almost forgotten that Ho-won is supposed to be dying. I sort of agree with the theories that she’s not really sick, that Hyun was probably talking about a different patient entirely that night in the emergency room. But what matters is that Ho-won thinks she’s dying, as do her two closest friends, and as time (they believe) grows short for Ho-won, it’s going to start affecting everything. I also wasn’t expecting Woo-jin to find out that Ho-won might be sick so soon, and I think this is going to change everything for him in how he deals with her at work and in private.
I’m suddenly seeing a lot of growth in Woo-jin, how he’s becoming more willing to be a leader instead of just quitting when things get difficult. Aside from his (probably) developing personal feelings for Ho-won, he also sees that she’s not whining about life being unfair anymore, but standing up and taking the blame for her mistakes. Not once did she make an excuse for why the prices were printed wrong, or defend that the last time she saw the figures they were correct — she just quietly took it upon herself to write letters to the customers and apologize. I think that her evolving maturity is impressing Woo-jin, and when he sees her taking responsibility, it makes him want to protect her as a team member that he trusts to do the right thing. It’s no wonder that he’s never figured this out, the way he always bailed on a job the moment someone showed an imperfection. Now that that’s not an option, he’s learning that what matters isn’t having people on his team who never make a mistake, but having team members who can be relied upon to make it right when they do make mistakes.
Speaking of team members, I’m surprised to find Ji-na actually growing on me. I don’t find her nearly as horrid as I did when we first met her. I still don’t think she’s a nice person, but it’s obvious that a lot of her attitude springs from her desire to get ahead in life. She dated Ki-taek for years waiting for him to pass the civil service exam and only broke up with him when it became clear that he might never be able to offer her a stable future. And she’s only mean at work when someone does something that threatens how her own job performance is viewed. I also think she may still have feelings for Ki-taek, though I’m not sure that she truly cares about him for himself, or only feels the loss of not having him at her beck and call. His breaking away from her for now will be good for them both, whether they get back together or not.
I’m totally thrilled to see Kang-ho getting out from under his mother’s thumb and being independent, even if he didn’t exactly do it by choice. The important thing is that he’s on his own and doesn’t have to dread going home every night or explain his choices to a mother who only cares about him as a reflection of herself. I don’t think he’s out of the woods yet, because he’s just so sensitive, and I fear that a confrontation with his mother is looming that could potentially send him into a downward spiral. But I’m happy that for now, he has good friends who genuinely like and support him, don’t criticize him for having intense feelings, and are there to tell him that he’s a good person. He’s going to need them.
I felt that Ho-won’s experience with office sabotage was a lot more believable than the previous challenges the show has given her, and for once, the mistake made truly wasn’t her fault (though I don’t believe a large company would let something so important go to print without someone more experienced double-checking their work). Ho-won was actually doing a very impressive job when Jae-min decided to ruin everything, and unlike her other mishaps, there was nothing in her task performance that allowed the sabotage to happen. It could be argued that Ki-taek shouldn’t have let himself be distracted by Ji-na without sending the file first, but if there hadn’t been a saboteur, nothing would have come of his stepping out for a few minutes. So at least the conflicts Ho-won is facing are becoming more realistic, and she even got to solve the problem herself, and in a professional way. It’s a step in the right direction, so it’s sad that just when she’s finally finding her place at Hauline, her supposed terminal illness is about to rear its ugly head.