Side dish: I’m going to guess that nobody on Sales Team 3 is getting enough nutrients, given their increasingly sickly appearance. If you don’t want to end up looking equally unwell, how about a quick swiss chard and squash seed tart for lunch? Here’s a recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini.
At the One International office, deputy chief Oh Sang Sik (Lee Sung Min) announces to Sales Team 3 that they’re going to go ahead with newbie contractor Jang Geu Rae’s (Im Si Wan) suggestion to restart the corrupt Mr. Park’s used car project in Jordan. The two other team members, Kim Dong Sik (Kim Dae Myung) and Chun Gwan Woong (Park Hae Joon) can see nothing but disaster ahead, though neither can deny that it makes good business sense.
Worried about the hit that their careers in the company might take, Dong Sik takes Geu Rae aside, and asks to be consulted about any suggestions in the future. Mr. Chun, for his part, is on the roof, reminiscing about how he was sent to Sales Team 3 by the disgraced executive director, in order to find a way to get rid of them.
Resource Team contractor An Young Yi (Kang So Ra) looks happily at her bank book, while Steel Team contractor Jang Baek Ki (Kang Ha Neul) walks by. He’s surprised to find her human enough to be pleased about getting her paycheck, an impression that’s reinforced when her heel breaks, and she falls over.
Fibre Team contractor Han Suk Yool (Byun Yo Han) complains to Geu Rae about his supervisor in the staff kitchen. Suk Yool’s pity party is interrupted by the entrance of Mr. Chun, who unceremoniously lays in to Geu Rae for his ignorance in making a suggestion on such a sensitive issue.
Suk Yool calls in Baek Ki and Young Yi to pass on the gossip, but when Young Yi defends Geu Rae, he lists off the many times where she listened to Geu Rae’s advice over everyone else’s. Somewhere in the midst of his tirade, Young Yi’s boss, Assistant Manager Ha (Jun Suk Ho) overhears Sales Team 3’s plan to redo the Jordan used car proposal.
The entire Resource Team marches over to Sales Team 3 to confront them over breaking protocol. Sang Sik is away from his desk, and by the time he comes back, the confrontation between Dong Sik and the Resource Team has gotten heated.
Sang Sik barrels ahead with the plan, regardless, sending Dong Sik and Mr. Chun on a trip to evaluate used car dealers around the country. Frustrated, Mr. Chun speaks to the executive director, but gets no help. Back at the office, Geu Rae apologizes for making the suggestion in the first place, but Sang Sik just berates him for taking too much on his own head.
The next day, Young Yi gets panicky as the Resource Team leader tells her they’ll be cooperating with a Mr. Shin at Samjung company for the Mexico coal consortium deal. Young Yi is too shocked to even respond when Assistant Manager Ha makes a crack about how he’s better-looking than superstar trading man, Mr. Shin. As Baek Ki comes to see the Resource Team, Young Yi flashes back to awkwardly quitting the Samjung company.
Back at Sales Team 3, Sang Sik calls Mr. Cho in Jordan. Mr. Cho reassures him that the used car business is a good money-maker, but they’ll need to overcome the effects of Mr. Park’s scandal first. Dong Sik and Mr. Chun, for their part, work around the clock on their business trip, finally going to bed in the morning. Before they fall asleep, they confide in each other their desire to see Sang Sik succeed despite their dislike of the proposal. When they get back, Sang Sik immediately drags them into a meeting to get back to work on the proposal.
The next morning, Sang Sik presents the proposal to acting department head, Mr. Ma, who rejects it outright. He’s overruled by the executive director, and Sang Sik is given a week to present the proposal for evaluation before the entire executive body of the company.
Back at the Resource Team, Assistant Manager Ha’s absence forces Young Yi to step in for a meeting with Mr. Shin of Samjung. Baek Ki notices the weird atmosphere between Mr. Shin and Young Yi, but Young Yi gets it together and handles her side of the meeting well. Afterwards, Young Yi meets Mr. Shin at a coffee shop, where he reassures her that their interactions will be strictly business from now on. She denies it, not sure that she’s comfortable with him, but he doesn’t respond. Instead, he tells her she did a good job and congratulates whoever trained her. Her flashback reveals that she was trained by Mr. Shin himself, while working at Samjung company.
As Young Yi walks down the street crying, she runs into Baek Ki, and invites him out for a drink. She downs her drinks silently, then they both leave. Baek Ki stops to stare at women’s shoes in a shop window, thinking of Young Yi’s broken heel, while Young Yi miserably walks herself home. Geu Rae, for his part, comes home exhausted, to find that his mother has cleaned his room and turned his map upside down.
The next morning, Suk Yool is working hard at the Fibre Team while his supervisor tries to make a date for a movie premiere. He stops Suk Yool to grab the pen out of his pocket, and then tosses it in the garbage when it doesn’t work. Flabbergasted, Suk Yool can only stare as his supervisor impatiently asks him for another pen. It’s time for another round of Suk Yool flipping out on the roof, as Young Yi, Geu Rae and Baek Ki look on unsympathetically. They counsel him to suck it up and have patience, but Suk Yool is all out, and he storms away.
Back at the team, Sang Sik rehearses the presentation, down to the most minute detail. Both Sang Sik and Geu Rae feel uneasy about it, but can’t pinpoint why. Geu Rae tries to look at the map of the world on the office wall upside down, but whatever thought he was coming to is interrupted by the arrival of Sang Sik and Dong Sik.
Later, Geu Rae struggles to articulate the reasons for his unease, and finally suggests they try a more radical approach to the presentation. Sang Sik concurs, since the traditional format emphasizes the doubt they all feel about the proposal. Instead, Sang Sik hands over the presentation entirely to Geu Rae to outline as he sees it. Mr. Chun storms out in protest, followed by Dong Sik. They end up on the roof, where Mr. Chun pours out his frustration at Sang Sik’s lack of judgement, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of the executive director, who is taking the air on the roof.
Geu Rae works into the night, creating an outline for the presentation, emails it out, then falls asleep at his desk. He’s awakened the next morning by Dong Sik, who sends him to a sauna to freshen up. Geu Rae is apologetic again, but no one has any reassurance to give him, as Dong Sik gets to work revising the presentation.
At the rehearsal for the presentation, the new format surprises the vice-president who is video-conferencing from Jordan. Geu Rae loses what little confidence he has left, just in time for the entire executive body to arrive.
Much as I feel bad for Geu Rae in this episode, I have some sympathy for the position of Dong Sik, whose loyalty to Sang Sik is holding strong, despite his own opposition to the proposal. The person I feel for the most, though, is Mr. Chun, who is in the uncomfortable position of being forced to be a viper in the nest of a former mentor and friend. It must be pretty tricky having to balance backing up Sang Sik for a proposal he doesn’t believe in, and being used by the executive director as a pawn in his plan of setting up Sang Sik to fail.
That said, I get that having taken down a whole chunk of the company, Mr. Park’s used car deal in Jordan would be a sensitive issue. But, the amount of drama it’s generating seems to be over the top. Plus, given the level of tension and emotion they’ve piled on in this fairly serious episode, it’s a bit deflating to realize that this proposal will definitely succeed in some form or another, since we know from the start that Geu Rae is going to end up in Jordan.
That said, still a good episode. It was interesting to watch Young Yi’s drama with Mr. Shin play out quietly in the background, rather than as the main focus of this episode. “Misaeng” keeps its focus sharply on the workplace, and surprisingly, it’s a better show for it.