Misaeng Episode 14 recap

Side dish: A couple of days ago, I screwed up this recipe from My Very Educated Mother for sweet potato scones, by forgetting the butter, and adding the sweet potato mash before it cooled, thus melting all the chocolate. Surprisingly, they turned out delicious.

Episode Recap

One International celebrates the year-end with a general meeting for all employees. As they go over what happened in the year, contract worker, Jang Geu Rae (Im Si Wan) realizes that he’s just a cog in the machine.


At the Steel Team, newbie worker Jang Baek Ki (Kang Ha Neul) is on the phone with a German client. When he hangs up, his supervisor, Assistant Manager Kang (Oh Min Suk) gives an impromptu lesson on improving his German accent. Baek Ki reluctantly repeats after him. After Assistant Manager Kang leaves, Baek Ki mutters under his breath that he majored in German Literature.


Back at the Resources team, newbie worker, An Young Yi (Kang So Ra) completes one assignment, then gets another from her supervisor. When one of her colleagues has trouble finding a construction agent, she offers a list of construction companies. To the shock of her team elders, the boss assigns that to her, as well.

Assistant Manager Kim Dong Sik (Kim Dae Myung) is on the phone, selling low alcohol rice wine to Japan. When he hangs up, Geu Rae offers some facts about Japanese drinking trends, but is interrupted by Dong Sik’s mother calling to set him up on a blind date. Dong Sik demurs, but asks her to send a picture.

When Dong Sik leaves to go to Finance, Mr. Ham of IT sales comes by the Sales Team 3 office, ostensibly to get copies of some documents. In actuality, he feels Geu Rae out in the hopes of poaching him, since Geu Rae is the contractor who was complimented by the CEO. Their chat is interrupted by Dong Sik. After Mr. Ham leaves, Dong Sik lets it slip that it won’t be a problem if Geu Rae turns out to be useless, since he’s a temp.


Dong Sik obviously feels bad, because he goes straight to team leader, Oh Sang Sik (Lee Sung Min) and reports what happened. Sang Sik tells a harried Mr. Ham to back off from Geu Rae.

Young Yi delivers a coffee to acting department head, Mr. Ma, who decides to take out his annoyance at her existence on her team leader. Mr. Ma yells at him over a lost contract, and then pokes him with the file.

The new employees, Geu Rae, Young Yi, Baek Ki, and Fibre Team newbie, Han Suk Yool (Byun Yo Han) are called in to an HR meeting. Before they go in, Young Yi and Suk Yool tease Baek Ki and Geu Rae about their dating lives, and then laugh at their offended expressions.


In the lobby of the building, Sang Sik runs into the executive director, who asks about Geu Rae. He points out that Sang Sik’s actions in the case of Mr. Park were reasonable, but that he would have liked to have been informed ahead of time. Sang Sik bows as the executive director leaves.

At the HR meeting, the newbie employees are given their contracts to look over, but there isn’t one for Geu Rae, because he’s a temp. He immediately gets up to leave the room, and goes back to the office, but everyone there is talking about their employment contracts as well, since January is the season for pay raises and evaluations.

Melancholy and envious, he goes on to the roof, but all of the assistant managers including Mr. Chun (Park Hae Joon) and Dong Sik are up there, as well. In the end, he goes back to the office where Sang Sik tells him off for slowing down, and tells him to work as usual. Geu Rae wants to know if working as usual will make him a full-time employee, but Sang Sik has no reassurance to give him; the company will only hire based on education, grades and talents, which eliminates Geu Rae from the pool entirely.


After Sang Sik sends him home early, Geu Rae goes outside to pull out the note of encouragement that he had stuck in a pillar of the One International building. Before he can get too far into moping, Mr. Chun comes out and invites him for a drink. At their usual place, Mr. Chun tells him that he’s quitting alcohol, because he’s been enjoying work lately, and he doesn’t need it. He counsels Geu Rae to keep a cold mind and a warm heart.

At the Fibre Team, Suk Yool’s supervisor passes off a 15 page report to him, which is due 9:30 the next morning. The lazy supervisor informs the team leader that he’ll be staying late to look over Suk Yool’s work. However, once the team leader leaves, the supervisor takes off to have drinks. An enraged Suk Yool deletes the completed report.


The next morning, Suk Yool discovers that despite his machinations, his supervisor still gets off scot-free, and he’s blamed for being late. Later, Geu Rae finds Suk Yool putting up an anonymous post on the intranet about his supervisor.

Back at Sales Team 3, they’re in planning mode for the Jordan used car business. Sang Sik is in a bad mood, and leaves them to it. Dong Sik and Mr. Chun look over another blind date photo for Dong Sik, and speculate whether it’s his weight, his hair, or his voice that are the reasons for him still being single.


Young Yi reports to Mr. Ma about arrangements she’s made for a meeting with Samjung company. He asks her about her relationship with Mr. Shin of Samjung, but she refuses to answer on the basis that it’s not work-related. Mr. Ma is about to launch into a tirade when he is called away for a coffee. When Young Yi goes to the roof to get away, she’s followed by not only Baek Ki, but also Mr. Ma. Mr. Ma chews her out for talking back to him, and tells her that he was only looking out for her with his questions. Since caring is sharing, he throws his coffee at her, but Baek Ki steps in, and ends up getting burned.

As a thank you, Young Yi purchases a new shirt for Baek Ki, since the one he’s wearing is covered in coffee. He offers to pay her back, but ends up taking it as a gift. He beams at his reflection after putting it on.


Geu Rae spends his day off cleaning the house, while thinking about Sang Sik’s words that he’ll never become a full-time employee. Dong Sik calls to ask him to stand by, in case his blind date goes wrong again. It does, when his date bluntly tells him that he seems like the kind of nice guy who makes his family suffer.


Still at home, Geu Rae gets a phone call from Dong Sik to come out and drink. He gets a phone call directly after from the friendly daycare teacher he’s been avoiding, Ms. Ha. They all end up drinking together, Geu Rae, Ms. Ha, and Dong Sik, talking about modern relationship woes. Since he’s just a temp, Geu Rae has little to contribute to the discussion.

Suk Yool, meanwhile, discovers that his efforts to embarrass his boss have rebounded back at him. At work the next day, on the elevator with the other newbies, he overhears a conversation about his intranet post, basically characterizing him as a useless newbie. Humiliated, he hides behind Geu Rae for the rest of the elevator ride.


Back at the office, the employees get a New Year’s gift of expensive ham, while Geu Rae, a temp, finds a box of cooking oil on his desk. Passing by, Sang Sik tells him not to ask for too much, but for Geu Rae, the real issue is not that he’s a temp or a full-timer, but that he’d like to continue working where he is. The moment is interrupted by the arrival of Dong Sik and Mr. Chun, and Sang Sik thinks back to another hard-working temp who wanted to stay.


In the copy room, Baek Ki and Young Yi come in to find Geu Rae in a daze. Before they can comment, Dong Sik sends Geu Rae to buy red ginseng as a buyer’s gift. When Young Yi offers to go with Geu Rae, a jealous Baek Ki tags along as well, pretending to buy something for his parents, but ultimately leaving empty-handed.


When Geu Rae gets back to the office, Sang Sik gives him a New Year’s bonus. That night, he gives the money to his mother at home.

With his relatives coming over, Geu Rae agrees to leave the house, since he’s sure they’ll be badmouthing him. With nothing to do, he ends up at the office, but since he’s a temp he has no place there either. He realizes that he is responsible for supporting his mother, and rushes home. To his shock, he finds that his mother, rather than defending him from scorn, is bragging about him. Moved to tears, he quietly leaves again, without announcing his presence.


The next morning at the office, Sang Sik avoids getting on the elevator with Geu Rae, and instead runs into the executive director, who invites him to his office.

Over tea, the executive director points out that Geu Rae is a lot like Sang Sik, getting on with work without calculation. The executive director reminisces about their work together, wondering why they became so distant. He brings up a case where there was a mini-scandal, and a temp was fired (the one who later died), and wonders if Sang Sik will try to protect his temp again. Sang Sik abruptly gets up to leave the room, and the executive director muses whether Sang Sik said at the time that he would or wouldn’t take responsibility for the temp.


Sang Sik ends up on the roof with his colleague, Sun Ji Young (Shin Eun Jung). Unaware that Geu Rae is also there, he vents his anger that the executive director has forgotten Eun Ji, the dead temp’s name, and erased himself from that incident. Sang Sik blames himself for Eun Ji’s death, since he gave her false hope of getting a full-time position. He tells Ji Young that he didn’t give the same empty hope to Geu Rae. Ji Young wonders if times are so tough that they can’t even give empty hope. An emotional Sang Sik points out that no matter what, Geu Rae won’t be given a full-time position. From where he’s listening, a devastated Geu Rae steps back, and the episode ends.



I’m not sure if the episodes are getting longer, or if I’ve forgotten how to keep my recaps short. Either way, my apologies for the epic length, and for the unnecessary, but cute screencap of Assistant Manager Kang.

After the hijinks of the last episode, this episode was slower and sadder, as Geu Re discovers the difference between a temp and a full-time employee. Sang Sik’s refusal to give him false hope was brutal, and probably not as kind as he thought it was, since he expected Geu Rae to continue to put in the same amount of work for no expectation of reward. It’s no wonder he felt guilty and gave him what amounted to a tip for New Years, and then tried to avoid him.

I suspect, however, that Geu Rae is going to turn this into motivation to be the one contractor that makes it to full-time employee status. Which is good, because this sad episode, punctuated by Suk Yool’s humiliation and Dong Sik’s rejection, wasn’t one of my favourites. Here’s Geu Rae’s only smile this episode, to perk you up:



Misaeng (미생)

misaeng 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 || series review


  1. Once again, you are doing a tremendous and helpful job with the recap. I actually liked that it was a “smile-less” episode, confirming once again that the show falls in that genre of series that tries to hew a little closer to reality in Korean society (or at least seems to). Another one in that genre, I think, was “Wife’s Qualifications” (An-ae Ja-gyuk).


      1. It was very, very good, in my opinion. Not capable of remembering the Korean names of the stars, I just know the female lead is the same as that of Secret Affair. She did a superb job, and overall the drama was a fairly scathing attack on the excesses of modern Korean bourgeoisie.


      2. Corrected! Please feel free to nitpick; it would have driven me nuts if I’d found it later myself.

        I have to agree with you; the story-telling here is top-notch, especially considering how boring this could have been. And yet, we have dramatic tension, complex characters, and a story that we’re all invested in. Really well done.


    1. Thanks for reading! Don’t get me wrong; I agree with you that they’re trying to come close to the reality of working in an office, and they’re doing a great job of keeping us interested in the ups and downs. It was just a bit sad to see almost everyone go two steps backwards.


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