Episode 336: ???’s Week – The Final Strongest Player: January 29, 2017
There’s a big question mark over someone’s face and then the words “Who is next?” roll on the screen under the faces of Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Kwang-soo, and Haha, the three cast members who have yet to do their members’ week challenges. We don’t know quite yet who will be the protagonist this week.
Today’s episode will be another battle of superpowers. Ooh. These are always fun. Just a quick reminder, the winner of the first and second “Strongest Player Battles” was Gary. The winner of the third one was Haha, the fourth was Yoo Jae-suk, and the fifth was Haha again.
Round One: Obtaining Superpowers
At the SBS Headquarters in Sangam District, each of the <Running Man> cast members are called into a room to find out about their superpowers. They’ll each play a short game to determine how strong their powers are. There are three possible levels. The better they do on the mission, the stronger the superpower.
Yoo Jae-suk is Yoomes Bond, and he finds three water guns on a table in front of him. He’s given a little gun, and told to discreetly shoot the other cast members’ name tags. The more name tags he’s able to shoot, the better the gun he’ll be able to obtain to use in the main game for today.
- Level One – small water gun
- Level Two – medium water gun
- Level Three – big water gun
Haha is the Time Controller. His mission is to deactivate the three bombs in front of him. He’s given nonsense puzzles that tell him which colored wires he has to cut to deactivate each bomb. The number of bombs he disables determines the level of his superpower. If he disables one bomb, his superpower will be level one, two bombs means level two, and three bombs means level three.
- Level One – pocket watch (turn time back by 1o seconds)
- Level Two – alarm clock (turn time back by 1 minute)
- Level Three – wall clock (turn time back to his desired time)
Song Ji-hyo is Black Mong, and her power is her beauty. She must get three different sized coins to stand upright for at least three seconds each. The number of coins she succeeds with determines her superpower level.
- Level One – scene stealer (a designated player is frozen for one minute)
- Level Two – heart stealer (all male staff members will help her for 1 minute)
- Level Three – strength stealer (disable a player’s powers)
Ji Suk-jin is Ji Sherlock. He hasn’t had the best of luck with this character. His challenge is called the master of sight. He needs to spot the differences in a cast member’s appearance. If he finds at least three differences he’ll get level one, at least five is level two, and at least seven is level three.
- Level One – pretending to not be (camouflage backpack)
- Level Two – pretending to be dead (one time fake elimination announcement)
- Level Three – pretending to not have seen (turn invisible when in danger)
Kim Jong-kook is Kook Thor. He has thirty seconds to hit as many nails as possible into a wooden board. He only has one shot per nail. The number of nails he hits correctly determines his level.
- Level One – cotton hammer (expand two name tags)
- Level Two – toy hammer (expand two name tags + wings)
- Level Three – Thor’s Hammer (expand eight name tags)
Lee Kwang-soo is Kwangvatar. His superpower level mission “Avatar Communication” which means that he has to walk around the SBS building, find civilians and say to them, “Maku Maku Maku Toomb,” and extend out a piece of his hair. If they repeat it and touch their hair to his, he’ll succeed.
- Level One – Choose between Ji Suk-jin’s or Haha’s power
- Level Two – Choose between Yoo Jae-suk’s or Song Ji-hyo’s poewr
- Level Three – Kim Jong-kook’s power
Kwangvatar walks around the SBS building embarrassed with his Avatar getup. Yoo Jae-suk spots him from a distance, and makes his moves. Kwangvatar then complains about how Yoo Jae-suk is dressed so normally and kicks his PD in anger. Yoo Jae-suk uses this opportunity to shoot Kwang-soo’s name tag. Kwang-soo doesn’t even notice. Yoo Jae-suk then pretends like he didn’t do anything, and instead makes fun of Kwang-soo’s hair to fluster him even more, “What is this? Are you a servant?” (In the Joseon Dynasty, servants would braid their hair down.)
The two then spot Song Ji-hyo trying to do her coin mission. Yoo Jae-suk sneaks his gun from under his coat and manages to shoot Ji-hyo’s name tag as well. He covers Song Ji-hyo’s back with his leg, but then Kwangvatar notices there’s a green water spray mark on Song Ji-hyo’s back. Yoo Jae-suk whispers, “Pretend you didn’t see it. I didn’t attack you yet.” Kwangvatar agrees to keep quiet if Jae-suk helps him with his, “Maku Maku Maku Toomb” mission, but Jae-suk just runs away. Lee Kwang-soo chases after him, but Jae-suk is too fast, so he just kidnaps Yoo Jae-suk’s VJ Kwon-ryeol instead to help with his “Maku Maku Maku Toomb.”
Yoo Jae-suk then runs past Kim Jong-kook and shoots his name tag. Jong-kook is too busy hitting his nails to notice. However, Kim Jong-kook doesn’t manage to hit a single nail properly and just gets the cotton hammer and one superpower exchange voucher.
Yoo Jae-suk looks for Ji Suk-jin who’s busy finding the differences in a staff member’s appearance. He walks into Suk-jin’s room pretending to be curious about what he’s doing. While Suk-jin incorrectly deduces that Jae-suk is there to spy on his and tries hide his superpower tools from Jae-suk, Yoo Jae-suk uses this opportunity to shoot Suk-jin’s name tag.
Yoo Jae-suk then heads for Haha, who’s also currently doing his superpower mission.
Meanwhile, Lee Kwang-soo walks around outside and approaches a couple middle aged women. He gives one of them his hotpack. She says thank you and walks away. Lee Kwang-soo, “No, come back!” He says, “Maku Maku Maku Toomb” and holds out his hair. She doesn’t understand and just says, “You have pretty hair.” Pft. She then runs away saying she’s busy.
Lee Kwang-soo then finds a group of young women who’ve actually seen the movie <Avatar>. He then tries the “Maku Maku Maku Toomb” thing with them, and after a couple tries manages to succeed. Poor Kwang-soo. How come he’s the only one with an embarrassing mission.
Yoo Jae-suk is still looking for Haha. He hears him yelling in the distance. Haha is trying to figure out which wires to cut, but the puzzles are impossible. Haha manages to properly disarm just one out of the three bombs. Yoomes Bond starts running towards him, but Haha has his guard up and doesn’t let Yoo Jae-suk near him. He knows that he has a water gun, and yells at him to leave. Yoo Jae-suk pretends to leave, then waits for Haha to walk out after finishing his mission.
He sneaks into Haha’s waiting room to find that Haha is pantsless? Haha definitely has his guard down, so Yoo Jae-suk just brute forces his way into shooting Haha’s name tag. Mission all clear. The breakdown of the superpower levels is . . .
- Yoomes Bond – level three – big water gun
- Black Mong – level one – scene stealer (a designated member is frozen for one minute)
- Gwangvatar – level two – choose between Yoo Jae-suk’s or Song Ji-hyo’s powers
- Kook Thor – level one – cotton hammer – expand two name tags
- Ji Sherlock – level two – pretending to be dead (one time fake elimination announcement)
- Haha the Time Controller – level one – pocket watch (turn time back by 1o seconds)
Round Two: Additional Superpowers
The superheroes then assemble with their costumes and weapons. Everyone has a good laugh at Kook Thor’s tiny hammer. Haha is dressed like a bartender. Black Mong comes in riding a toy scooter. Kwangvatar complains again about how everyone else still has normal looking costumes except for him.
The PD announces today’s challenge is the “Last Strongest Player.” However, before they officially start today’s main challenge, they’ll each get a chance to obtain additional superpowers. They’ll play a series of games to earn some vouchers which they can later redeem for extra powers.
The first of these mission is group jump rope. If they succeed five jumps, they’ll get 10 vouchers, 20 jumps is 7 vouchers, and 30 jumps is 10 vouchers. They only get one chance at the group jump rope though. They manage to get 15 which means that they get 5 vouchers. I’m really impressed that no one messed up while entering the jump rope, that’s always the hardest part or me.
Since they only got five vouchers, the MCs have to decide how to distribute the vouchers. Song Ji-hyo says whoever ever messed up should confess, so that he doesn’t get one. Haha accuses Ji Suk-jin. Kwang-soo pretends like it wasn’t him.
Yoo Jae-suk decides to give them out randomly. They’ll have the staff members put the vouchers randomly in various rooms, and each MC will choose a room. They play rocks-paper-scissors to decide who gets to choose rooms first. Kwangvatar wins first, but he chooses the wrong room. It’s empty, so everyone gets a voucher except him.
The next game is “Real 1:1 Snipper Battle.” The MCs will be given a hashtag hint and told to choose and opponent based on the hint. They will each get a chance to bet the vouchers they have.
Ji Suk-jin is up first and he gets #eyesight. He chooses Song Ji-hyo. For their battle, there’s a steel delivery box like the kind that Chinese takeout places use. They have to guess what’s inside.
Yoo Jae-suk quickly shakes the door of the box open and shut while Ji Suk-jin and Song Ji-hyo try to see what’s inside. Yoo Jae-suk spins the box around and around, teasing them. Ji Suk-jin gets so mad that he kicks the box. He and Song Ji-hyo try to spin around as fast as Jae-suk spins the box. Eventually, Song Ji-hyo correctly guesses “gonggi” which are the Korean version of jacks.
Kwangvatar gets #sense and chooses to battle Haha. Both of them bet 1 voucher each. An item will be placed in between their cheeks, and they have to guess what it is while wearing blindfolds.
The first item is Yoo Jae-suk. LOL. Kim Jong-kook teases them, “You’ll be super pissed once you find out what this is.” Jae-suk puts his face in between Haha and Kwang-soo’s and then slips out, making Haha and Kwang-soo kiss each other on the cheeks and nose. Kwang-soo tries to lick him. Haha guesses pig skin. After a few more tries, Haha guesses Yoo Jae-suk. Yoo Jae-suk then yells at Kwang-soo for licking him. Lee Kwang-soo, “Sorry, I thought it was something edible.”
Kwang-soo gets the next one which is broccoli. The third one is abalone, which is actually quite prickly with it’s shell. Kwang-soo correctly guesses abalone after sucking on it a few times. Poor abalone.
The final battle round is Yoo Jae-suk versus Kim Jong-kook. They will have to face each other and place laundry clothespins on each other. The first to make a sound loses.
Kim Jong-kook goes straight for eyelids, while Yoo Jae-suk is too nice. He just puts the clothespins on Jong-kook’s mouth. Yoo Jae-suk gives up after the third pin is put on his eyelid. Definitely don’t try this at home.
Now it’s time for each MC to redeem the vouchers. They get to choose based on how many vouchers they have. There is a gold box (3 vouchers), silver box (2 vouchers), and bronze box (1 voucher). The MCs don’t know which power is inside which box until they open it up.
- Yoo Jae-suk gets a gold box which contains “Death Note”
- Song Ji-hyo gets a gold box as well. She finds ???
- Ji Suk-jin gets a bronze box with “Location Tracker”
- Haha gets a bronze box which contains “Blindfold”
- Kwang-soo gets a gold box and gets ???
Round Three: Superpower Battle
Now whe Superpower Battle starts. The goal is to eliminate all the other players by ripping off their name tags. The last one standing wins. However, if the protagonist of the Member’s Week wins, then everyone gets a punishment. If the protagonist loses, then it’s individual punishments for the losers only.
There is also an ‘”Upgrade Room” where they will be able to spin a wheel that will land on either “upgrade” or “fail” for a chance to upgrade their powers or lose them.
Yoo Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, and Haha all meet up in a hallway. Yoo Jae-suk doesn’t want to waste his gun just yet, because he knows that someone has a “turn back” time superpower.
Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, and Kim Jong-kook spot each other in another hallway. Song Ji-hyo wisely says they should work together to get the protagonist out first. Kim Jong-kook suspects it’s Yoo Jae-suk because his opening mission was so much easier than everyone else’s.
Lee Kwang-soo then runs away and finds the upgrade room, but doesn’t use it. Haha finds it as well, but Kwang-soo blocks him, and instead just calls Song Ji-hyo with the room’s location. Song Ji-hyo, “Why do I have to go?” (He wants her to use it, because he can copy her power.) Song Ji-hyo, tells him to do it himself. Lee Kwang-soo lies, “I don’t need to because I’m already on level three.” Ji Suk-jin and Kim Jong-kook then arrive as well and try to go in the upgrade booth, but Lee Kwang-soo blocks them.
It’s suspicious, but eventually Song Ji-hyo decides to trust him and use the upgrade room. Unfortunately, Song Ji-hyo spins the wheel and lands on “fail” which means that she loses her power. She walks out and curses at Kwang-soo. Lee Kwang-soo curses right back.
Meanwhile, Yoo Jae-suk is in an elevator. He gets in the elevator without his VJ, so all we have is the CCTV footage. Song Ji-hyo then spots VJ Kwon-ryeol waiting upstairs. Poor Kwon-ryeol doesn’t know what floor Jae-suk went to, so he just goes up the stairs and stops at every floor with the other MCs chasing after him. Eventually, Kwang-soo and Ji-hyo corner Yoo Jae-suk.
Suddenly, an announcement calls out that Ji Suk-jin is eliminated. We all know that it’s a fake out though since he has the superpower “Pretend to be Dead.” The others aren’t fooled though. Kim Jong-kook correctly deduces that must be his power since he’s Sherlock.
Song Ji-hyo suddenly decides to attack Haha. Yoo Jae-suk uses the commotion to eliminate Kook Thor, but Haha turns the clock back 10 seconds to save him. The three then chase after Yoo Jae-suk and Kook Thor tears off Yoo Jae-suk’s name tag.
Yoo Jae-suk sulks saying he wasn’t this week’s protagonist. Now we know that it’s either Haha or Lee Kwang-soo.
Song Ji-hyo decides to team up with Kim Jong-kook, since they both already did their Member’s Week, so neither of them can be today’s protagonist. Haha tries to create an alliance with Lee Kwang-soo, but they’re both suspicious of each other. Both argue that it’s not them.
Then suddenly, four men walk run in and attack Lee Kwang-soo. Kwang-soo fights them off, but he sees Gary in the distance. Everyone’s confused.
Rewind to today’s opening. Gary was invited to members’ week as this week’s protagonist. Gary is back! He had to blow out candles with a nun-chuck and got level three power which is four roll rolls (basically four helpers).
Haha asks, “Didn’t he quit the show?”
Lee Kwang-soo jokes, “Then this means Song Ji-hyo Nuna has to cry again today.”
Haha, Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, and Kim Jong-kook decide to team up and fight Gary together. Kook Thor says he has the power to copy one person’s power, so he’ll use it to get Gary’s roll rolls. Suddenly, an announcement calls out, “Kim Jong-kook eliminated.” Yoo Jae-suk had used his “Death Note” power and wrote, “Kim Jong-kook dies 10 minutes after I do.” Oh No!
Kim Jong-kook goes to elimination room where he finds Yoo Jae-suk greeting him with some evil laughter. Kim Jong-kooks says angrily, “You fool! Gary’s here.”
Meanwhile, Gary sends his roll rolls after Haha and Song Ji-hyo. They’re too fast though, and the roll rolls even leave Gary behind. The roll rolls grab Haha who then uses his one minute blindfold superpower.
Lee Kwang-soo, Song Ji-hyo, and Haha meet up in a stairway. They know they have to attack Gary first, or else all of them will get punished. Gary walks by and sees Song Ji-hyo. Their song comes on.
Haha threatens to turn back time. Gary replies, “How about to seven years ago when I met Song Ji-hyo for the first time.” Aw. Gary sics his roll rolls on Haha again. Haha’s out.
In the elimination room, Ji Suk-jin reveals that he’s not actually eliminated yet. Ji Suk-jin then goes to find Lee Kwang-soo, and they come up with a plan to trick Gary. As the roll rolls go after Kwang-soo, Ji Suk-jin hides behind a door and chases after Gary who’s chasing after his roll rolls. Gary is sharp though, and he notices Ji Suk-Jin behind him. He fights off Ji Suk-jin while the roll rolls return to help and eliminate Ji Suk-jin for real this time.
While Gary’s getting over his shock of seeing Ji Suk-jin since he though Ji Suk-jin was already eliminated, Song Ji-hyo sneaks up behind him. She tries to rip off Gary’s name tag and then yells out, “He grabbed me. He grabbed me.” She also had the power of “Death Note,” and had written, “If someone grabs both of my arms, he’s eliminated.” Oooh. Tricky. Tricky.
Gary isn’t too sad about it though and yells, “Ji-hyo you have to win! I just can’t ever beat Song Ji-hyo.”
I wish Gary had just a little bit more screentime, but at least we got a few more Monday Couple moments.
Now its just Song Ji-hyo and Lee Kwang-soo left.
Song Ji-hyo hears Kwang-soo coming her way and yells at her VJ to go away.
She sneaks up behind Kwang-soo, and rips off his name tag, only to find the word “reflection” underneath his tag. We flashback to just a couple minutes before where Kwang-soo had seen Song Ji-hyo sneaking up behind him, but just let her attack since he had the reflection power, which means that whoever rips off his name tag is eliminated instead, so actually, Song Ji-hyo’s out and Lee Kwang-soo is the final winner. Lee Kwang-soo gets a gold medal.
All the MCs gather for the show closing. Ji Suk-jin comments that he follows Gary on SNS and saw tons of photos of him in Harbin. Gary says he put them there on purpose to trick them. It’s 7012 for the first time in a long time, just in time for Lunar Near Years, so all the MCs end the show with a big bow to the audience.
This episode made me feel like <Running Man> has gone back to its roots. It’s been a long time since we had a name tag elimination mission, and it’s just so satisfying watching name tags being ripped off.
I think this is the perfect episode to watch right after the recent news that the <Running Man> cancellation has been cancelled. So much nostalgia! I was ready to send this show off on a high note, but with so many good episodes in a row, I don’t think I want to let it go anymore.
I know the show’s gotten a lot of criticism lately, but seeing how <1 Night 2 Days> was able to revive itself after a lackluster season two, I’m hopeful that <Running Man> can do the same.
Next Week: Bungee Jumping