Ha Donghoon

Running Man: Episode 165

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It’s a race around Namyangju, which is Gwangsoo’s hometown, to find the young school girl who presented the Running Man staff with a fan gift album.

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The members are given mission cards in various areas in Namyangju and the task given to them: get 30 autograph requests in the Running Man photo vending machine. It’s a twist of the autograph signing mission they used to do and both members and producers had a hard time collecting the numbers. The people don’t even know the members are behind the “machine”.

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There’s this funny sequence where the members just shake their head in frustration because nobody’s approaching their vending machine stand and the waiting seems to be getting everyone tired. They amuse themselves by drawing on the other members’ faces with pen.

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They can’t speak and let others know they’re there but some of the members devised tricks to get around them. Sukjin’s got his electronic-sounding voice going for him. Gary tries the same tactic as well while Gwangsoo goes for the kill and actually talked a woman into voting at the vending machine. His tragedy: amid his attempt at subtlety (asking the aunty to vote for anyone she wanted and not to mind him), aunty still chooses Jihyo much to Gwangsoo’s chagrin. As expected, Yoo Jaesuk and Song Jihyo are the first one to complete the mission, which the PDs have lowered to 5 autographs. They’re given phones with their instructions to go to the next venue.

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Members start arriving at a furniture factory and immediately go into search mode. Namyangju’s boy, Gwangsoo, arrived second to last. And his face goes through several expressions of disbelief. Why? Because he knows the place. Like know it, know it. He even asks the PD if there’s a hidden camera. When Jaesuk and Jihyo question him on his reaction, his answer is: “this is my dad’s factory”. And the surprised looks on their faces were hilarious.

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The rest of the members got in on the information and now it’s a quest to locate Gwangsoo’s dad. They reached his office and all the members greet him and then tell Gwangsoo that he doesn’t look like his dad at all. When it was Jongkook’s turn for the greeting, Gwangsoo goes all ‘that’s him, Dad. That’s the guy who always bullies me’ and Jongkook turning red in embarrassment was just too adorable. When Gwangsoo’s dad receives the mission via telephone call, he relays it to the members and off they go.

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Something’s hidden in the exhibition hall. And who finds it first: the Ace. But even though she did, everybody else catches up on her and has no choice but to share it with the rest of the members. It’s a scrapbook made by a young school girl who’s a big fan of the show. The PDs explain that the pictures in the scrapbook are clues to their ultimate goal of finding the girl and taking a picture with her. And whoever sticks their picture at the back of the scrapbook wins.

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The members get to choose from the first set of photos and were divided into three groups, each going to a different location. Jihyo and Gary head off to the Han riverside where they were tasked to find the kite (among many) that has another photo in it. Gwangsoo, Jongkook, and Haha go to the city hall where they were tasked to defeat the fastest paper stapling employee.

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But the most entertaining of the bunch were Sukjin and Jaesuk who went to the library. Their task, find a book with an R sticker and study the book for a quiz. Jaesuk complains that he has a longer book than Sukjin but the PD’s all ‘you have 6 more minutes to study the book’. He he.

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These two veterans seemed to have forgotten that they were in a variety show because they felt confident about the questions but when they heard they were all about the pictures in the book and not about the story at all, their expressions speak for themselves.

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Nobody got it right so its on to the second book. This time around, did they learn their lesson? Why, yes of course. Because all they did was study the pictures. But then the PD goes in for the kill and asks what the name of the main character’s best friend was. And their facial expressions were answer enough. Soon after, Jaesuk gets it right and their off to their next destination.

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What looked like a monument of some sort turned out to be a wall-climbing structure. Clues divided into low, medium, and high were strategically placed against the wall and members have to climb to get to them. Gary and Sukjin target high while Jaesuk and Jihyo both go for medium. All of them succeed. Except Sukjin. But luck is with him as Jihyo offers him her medium clue since she’ll climb again for the high clue. Bad-ass Jihyo once again shows her fearlessness, as opposed to Haha, who targeted the Low. But not to worry, those without the High hatched an ingenious plan to just follow the taxi of those who got the High clues, aka, the Monday Couple.

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Jongkook and Gwangsoo arrive just as the other members are leaving. Gwangsoo surprisingly gets to the last medium clue but on his way down, he loses his hold on the clue, which dropped straight into Jongkook. The Commander grabs the clue and heads right for the taxi. And Gwangsoo just stands there looking like ‘this can’t be happening to me but it is. Again.’ But karma’s karma, and Jongkook actually went to the opposite direction and had a hard time decoding his clue.

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The rest of the members are led by their clues to an apartment building, where the mystery school girl lives. She isn’t at home when the members come knocking in pairs but they were invited in and shown into the girl’s room.

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The members are surprised and touched that the school girl is such a Running Man fan but none more so than Gwangsoo, who’s the girl’s favourite. Her room was filled with Gwangsoo paraphernalia. It was a touching moment and I also felt goose bumps just like Gwangsoo as he looks around the room. She even received a personal note and signature from Gwangsoo: signed to Hyemi. They even found a picture of her (with a stuffed toy giraffe) hanging on the wall.

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The members are then directed to the school where they have to search for the original scrapbook hidden in the faculty room as well as look for the mystery school girl and take a photo with her for the final mission. Everyone immediately starts the search and latecomer Gary goes into the room and within seconds locates the scrapbook and stealthily gets it out of the room without anybody noticing. Not until later when the rest of the members can’t seem to find them anywhere and Gwangsoo asks if maybe it was already found. Then they zoom in on Gary’s absence and chases after him. The members locate Gary and try to steal the scrapbook but to no avail. Their alternative tactic: find the school girl and get a photo with her first before they worry about the scrapbook.

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The members run around the school building trying to locate the girl. And who finds her first? Gwangsoo!

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They edited the scene like a reunion in a drama. The girl looks adorably flustered that when Gwangsoo tells her to hide from the other members, she tries to go in a mop closet or hide inconspicuously beside a cabinet.

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Unfortunately Yoomes Bond and the Commander arrive and take a look inside the classroom and then decide to leave. Gwangsoo starts to release a sigh of relief when Jaesuk backs up a bit and goes inside the classroom again. Could it be? The girl in the picture looks a lot like one of the school girls. So Gwangsoo stealthily walks back to Hyemi and snaps a picture of the two of them. Chaos ensues as both Jaesuk and Jongkook tries to snap one of their own. But Gwangsoo won’t let them as he stops the guys and shouts at Hyemi to run away. “All of the boys in this world are the same, except for me.” Pfft. And aww… (I am so dying with envy for Hyemi. I mean, Gwangsoo’s right in front of her and she’s participating in Running Man! Daebak!)

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Hyemi runs with all her might, dodging member after member. And there’s this hilarious bit when she turns a corner a almost collides with Spartakooks! How does Jongkook even do this, every. Single. Time? It’s really like a predator lying in silent wait for his prey.

When everybody gets their pictures taken with Hyemi, the hunt returns back to Gary who has the original scrapbook. The poor book gets stolen, made the object of a tug-and-war, dropped from a flight of stairs, and literally ripped into its individual pages, all for the chance to stick their picture on that last page. Gary secures the book and prepares his picture (aka, licks the back of it for adhesion) and sticks it on the wrong page. Several times. This gives Sukjin the opportunity to snatch back the scrapbook or the last pages at least. But that’s what counts as he gets to stick his picture on the designated space. And after 165 episodes, Sukjin finally wins in an individual contest episode.

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The cast gather in the classroom with Hyemi and her friends and they thank her for the scrapbook and for making Running Man enjoyable because of it. When asked why she likes Gwangsoo, she shyly confesses that she saw him in one of his movies and he was walking while petals were falling around him. And she blushes for her life.

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But that’s okay since the attention has Gwangsoo blushing as well and the other members mentally scratching their heads at her adorable reason.

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Some more thoughts:

I love that they went to Gwangsoo’s hometown. In a roundabout way, this episode was Gwangsoo’s episode. I love that the whole gang got to meet Gwangsoo’s dad. And I so appreciate that the production team was able to create an awesome episode based on a fan’s gift. It’s a double-win as they also got to show their appreciation to Hyemi for her efforts.

Again, as it has been mentioned many times before, there’s something really special when it’s just the members. They already have this built-in, long-standing, and hilarious group dynamics that make everything just flow smoothly. Great episode, you guys. This is a tough one to follow but I trust all of you.

Photos grabbed from video with subs by KShowNow.