Rules are not necessarily sacred, principles are.
– Franklin D. Roosevelt
You only think about what you think is right. Everything else doesn’t go however you want it to.
Chief Oh nods to himself as he dresses up in a suit he normally wouldn’t wear. His wife teases him, but he remains stoic, “Just go classy today since you need all the luck you can have. Order good food and take a taxi there.”
Both men face each other, and ED smirks slightly before inviting Chief Oh to sit at soft seating area, “Your concerns are leading to results. It’s a good thing it didn’t lead to disappointment. Poshin joined the national solar energy business recently. So the variable isn’t reflected in the solar panel business. So reflect that and have your team show what you’ve got.”
It is obvious that Chief Oh had decided to take the path that will inflict the most heartache for him personally, but a route he believes would grant him access to help those he believes in.
Someone is lost in the past, reminiscing the good old days when passion drove them to deliver results in many projects they worked on. The other person is basically reigning all control to not barf all over the pristine office.
Chief Oh: Mr. Choi, I have a question [looks at ED in the eye]… Why me? Why Sales Team 3?
ED: Why are you asking? I’m asking you because you’re Oh Sang Sik… Oh Sang Sik. Would there be any other reason?… Let’s have lunch later.
Chief breaks the news to his team. He sits with his hand supporting his forehead. DS has an incredulous look on his face. Mr. Chun looks on at Chief worriedly. And GR is trying to make sense out of it all.
Chief remains silent as DS continually questions his decision. Mr. Chun says it’s a good opportunity for them to move away from the toilet. DS passes both files to GR and tells him to get familiar with the half-billion won project. GR’s jaw drops. Mr. Chun asks how does connection work in this project.
Chief Oh: Decrease our margin by controlling the original costs and increase Poshin’s profits.
DS: Mr. Oh, I’d do anything you ask me to do. But the fact that they might not get the power plant business is what you’re concerned about too. (Yeah, as of now – Chief) (As of now? – Mr. Chun)
Chief: There’s a way to eliminate the risk factors. The Chinese government wants quality solar panels and facilities. They want a company that does much business and can handle a big development. From Poshin’s position, the more solar panels they have, the higher the chances they’ll get the business.
DS: The more solar panels they have? Hold on. [he peruses the file] But why did the company before have such a small scale?
Chief: Since it wasn’t linked to the power plant business, things changed recently.
Mr. Chun: So it depends on how we do? (So we actually have the upper hand regarding connections? – DS)
Chief: Stop the nonsense. DS, ask what Poshin thinks about our plan. Find out if any quality solar panel exporters are connected to us.
He tells GR to read up on the files properly and support DS and Mr. Chun as they execute their tasks. And don’t act like a Team Captain like he did the last time 😀 The three men leave the room and Chief Oh closes his eyes and cringes. Did he make the right decision?
GR asks DS what “connections” mean, but the latter said it was better not to know about it. Mr. Chun disagrees as it is part of the business manual. In China, connections come first in business. In other words, personal relationships are more important than the law, especially in business.
Mr. Jung walks over to YY’s desk and announces that HQ still wants to go with her item despite her request not to do so. Apparently Mr. Ma’s team of sycophants have been booted out, much to Mr. Jung’s delight.
She thanks them for their guidance and support and as a reward, she offers to make coffee for the entire team.
YY, BK and SY
En route to the pantry, she bumps into BK and she notices the shirt he has on (her gift when coffee was splattered on him). “It’s been a while,” she says and then SY joins in at the opportune moment, “Been a while? What’s been a while?” He shifts his gaze between YY and BK. Is there something brewing between these two?
All three end up in the pantry where SY pretends to struggle replacing the water container and brawny BK swoops in to the rescue. SY runs his hand across BK’s back as though complimenting his strength, “Thank you BK… Your dress shirt looks really nice. ” And then he runs both hands along the length of BK’s sleeves “This is… Pima cotton and this type of fabric is made with high standards [BK and YY exchange alarmed looks]. It’s a quality shirt, easy to dye with a smooth finish… Psyche! It’s not that great. Still, you must’ve spent a small fortune. But I don’t think it’s BK’s style – ”
BK can’t take much more and lunges forward to muffle SY’s big mouth with his hand. LOL!! XD XD
SY reads through his email and finds that Chungsol has been picked as a supplier for one of their projects. He marches directly to the Big Boss where Mr. Sung is by his side, probably currying favor of sorts. Boss seems to be in the loop and Sung covers by saying if Chungsol is late again, a penalty will be given and this clause has been included in the contract.
Private Room in a Restaurant
The atmosphere is like having lunch with Death Eaters. ED and Sales Manager sit on one side of the dining table, Chief Oh on the opposite side. Chief refrains from drinking because it may hamper his productivity at work later. ED pours him a cursory first drink anyway, and places a relish on Chief Oh’s plate.
ED: Partner management could be the core to work. They say it has changed, but China is still all about connections. It works despite the views on it. I lived in China for 5 years. All my Chinese partners are on their own now. They’re all doing well.
Sales Mg: I think businesses should be based at facilities. The fulfillment –
ED: Those you leave at some point after making profit are no good anymore. It should go for a lifetime. You should make a lifelong friend too. Sang Sik-ah [he gives his cup to Chief and refills the contents] Let’s make this happen.
Chief Oh: [slight pause] Yes, sir.
But goodness gracious… the conflict within him is palpable.
ED: And… [he dials a number on his phone… and Chief’s phone goes off] I knew you wouldn’t have saved my number.
ED had saved Chief’s number on speed dial. Number 8.
Sales Mgr: The number 8 is considered a lucky number in China.
ED: Let’s talk on the phone like we used to.
Awww man! I SO wanna rescue you Chief!!
Sales 3 Team
They’re busy fielding overseas calls regarding the solar energy project. DS asks GR to dig more detailed info on Poshin from the person in-charge at the Trade Association. Just then, he receives a text message from the day care teacher. DS teases him about it and encourages him to keep up good relations with her.
GR tells him she’s rather aggressive in her pursuit of making a connection with him. The night when DS was drunk (after his failed blind date), the teacher followed him back all the way to his house and he made it quite clear that he wasn’t interested in taking the “next step” with her. She disregards his stance and states she will continue communicating with GR.
Chief Oh returns to his team and gets status update from DS and Mr. Chun. DS is rather perplexed with the non-existing Middle Manager in Poshin though. He dialed the contact number given but the CEO answered the phone.
Fishy, fishy, fishy… Chief Oh reports that to his boss but the reaction from the Clueless Yes-Man is: Isn’t it good that the CEO shares the same line? That means he’s taking care of it himself since it’s important. Just like Mr. Choi does it himself here.
BING! BING! BING! Red flags should be waving like crazy Right Now 😮
Chief Oh: Because it’s our business. If there are no middle managers like us, who will take responsibility if there’s an issue later?
Sales Mgr: What issue? Mr. Oh, what’s wrong with you? As soon as the solar panels are ready, approve and submit it. I told you it’s all set. The approval is just a formality.
Chief! Listen to your inner voice! Feel the force!
GR takes orders from his team for Subway sandwiches and BK joins him at the joint on a similar errand for his team. He noted the busy atmosphere at GR’s corner. GR says that ED gave them a project that clearly went against Chief Oh’s principles…
GR: Though it’s weird why Mr. Oh accepted it.
BK: Riiight… He doesn’t like him.
GR: But I think that decision was possible since it’ll help the team.
GR remembers the time when he had to do a presentation with SY who was not exactly the best partner to have then. But he realized that he needed SY and had to acknowledge him. There’s a difference one can’t overcome with just pride and stubbornness.
BK: The leader has to think of the team members. For Mr. Chun, Mr. Kim and…
BK stops in this tracks. A revelation may have hit him, “Did Mr. Oh say anything else?” No.
Mr. Kang informs BK of a schedule change and he no longer needs to stay back for work. He plucks his courage and poses a question to Mr. Kang, “What changes when a team grows? When the team’s position changes or size grows…”
“You’ll need that much more manpower. The Department Head can ask for more people,” Mr. Kang replies without looking up from his task at hand.
BK: Then, can you switch temps to full-timers?
Kang: That should be possible. Why?
BK now understands why Chief Oh took on work that he hated with his entire being.
BK walks by the same shop that had a pair of sensible black low-heeled shoes on display. He looks at his dress shirt and smiles.
GR is continuing his work in his room, and recalls DS’s comment about Mr. Oh’s unlikely affiliation with a project that went against his principles. And then he remembers his conversation with BK on their way back to the office with sandwiches in hand.
However, I still have this doubt in my heart I can’t get rid of. Why?
Mr. Oh was insisting on it like never before.
It seemed like he decided not to make trouble about Poshin not having a middle manager. We focused on securing solar panels instead.
Procuring the companies went smoothly regarding the supply, costs, and quality too. Poshin agreed that the conditions were great.
Mr. Oh sent a contract to Poshin. Now, only approval is left. Everything seemed to be going smoothly.
Then, something unexpected happened…
Chief Oh receives new email in his Inbox. It’s from Poshin. He reads through the Commission Agreement document and couldn’t believe his eyes, “Connect me to Poshin’s CEO!” He remembers that meeting in ED’s room on that fateful Monday and say to himself “Is this why Mr. Choi?”
Damage control discussion time. DS asks why do they have to go through an agent with a 2.5% commission on top of that? Chief says Poshin CEO insists it was agreed upon verbally.
Mr. Chun: Verbally with whom? [Silence] Mr. Choi? [Chief lets out a deep sigh]
GR: So, they’ll take out 2.5% out of our 3% margin? Then our profit will decrease to 0.5%.
DS: We decreased the 5% margin to 3% considering the connections. But commission and an unnecessary agent? [Sigh] The 3% margin was set reflecting the connections in the original cost. But the sudden agent and commission from our margin could be a problem.
Mr. Chun: I have a different opinion. It’s not like the margin is zero, and many of our businesses have 0.5% margin. If we were to consider the potential growth of solar energy power plants, I think this could be considered connections too. I don’t think there’ll be any problems.
Chief: Well,… I have to say something at least.
I don’t know what’s going on for sure, but I could feel disharmony. Just like trying to squeeze into unfitting clothes. It felt unnatural. I had so many questions. What’s going on?
Chief asks his boss if he knew about the tough conditions. The adjusted costs were already reflected in the contract, and now their margin is lower and there is an addition of a Poshin-appointed agent too.
Sales Manager: Mr. Oh… [he shuffles the documents back] Just approve and drop it.
Chief: Then,… you knew all about it?
Sales Mgr: The profit may be small, but the figures are fine within the company.
Chief: Alright… Let’s say we use an agent, but don’t you think 2.5% commission is too much?
Sales Mgr: There’s no problem!
THAT’S COZ YOU’RE LIKELY TO BE ON THE TAKE TOO! 😡
Chief: I don’t feel good about this business. With the middle manager, this and all… If something happens, our team will die.
Sales Mgr: Come one. Who’s going to die? You don’t need to worry so much. Please have some faith. You shouldn’t be on this case now. Wrap it up and focus on the solar energy power plant business! That’s why you’re doing this anyway!
Chief walks back to his corner, and tells his team, “Hold the China item for now. Record all the calls related to China from now. GR, you had contacted the resident employee in China before, right? (Yes, Mr Seok – GR) Have you talked with him ever since then? (I thanked him before – GR) And what did he say? Is he trustworthy? (I didn’t think he was flaky – GR)”
Chief turns to DS and instructs him to contact Mr. Suh and ask him to find out what the Poshin-appointed agent is like and whether there were other cases where an agent is suddenly introduced among Poshin’s items. “Tell him to call me directly. It should be take care of quietly,” Chief ends his instruction to DS.
GR gets some alone time to sort through the adrenaline pumping moments he had just experienced. A new agent introduced at the eleventh hour? With a high commission to boot? Verbal agreement? GR connects the dots and they collectively point to ED.
SY ends his call with his supplier and reports to his Big Boss about Chungsol being sued by other companies due to their tardiness. Big boss is aware and he leaves it in Sung’s capable hands. Speak of the devil, he comes in with a car brochure. He wants his boss to help pick out a car he will purchase with his bonus.
Be patient SY, all will unravel and it will be SPECTACULAR! XD XD
BK is rather antsy at his desk. He keep peeking to the back and then he glances at a shopping bag tucked neatly under. Ooh! Did he get those shoes for YY? Attempt #1: Casually walk over to YY’s desk with said gift in hand. But the situation became too awkward for a simple hand over. Attempt #2: Text her and ask to meet at the garden.
YY: BK-Sshi. What is it? What’s going on?
BK: So, uhh… I thought the shirt was so expensive. I already found out so, I had to do something. It costs $50,000… and I really bought it at an outlet, so no worries at all. (Thank you – YY) See if it’s your size. (Shall I? – YY)
YY: It fits perfectly.
BK: Take care of the heels.
YY: I normally don’t wear heels…
SY: What? You bought it for her? Hee! Hee! Hee! XD Good job! I was going to buy you a pair. Every time handsome YY wears heels, I feel uneasy. Your right heel is shaky, right?
YY: Why’s you observe my shoes?
SY: I didn’t observe them, your shoes caught my attention. Your shoes did it, not me. Your shaky shoes. (Okay, okay – YY) I’m glad you’re here. Let me hear your opinion. Okay, let’s say there’s a company. We buy it and sell it. So we have the upper hand. But, we have to serve them, we have to. We should be on the receiving end. And they’d been sued for not meeting deadlines. I’m talking about that company. But, they still go ahead with the contract by adding articles to it. What is this?… Bribery is going on… I’m sure of it.
Chief is on the phone with Mr. Seok (whom GR had been in contact with). He informs Chief Oh that the agent is a corporation but not much info available because they’re still new. He also looked into Poshin’s trading history and he finds that they have never used an agent before. If necessary, they had one to begin with. Mr. Seok agrees with the ridiculous 2.5% commission stipulation because it’s usually 1%. In fact, the margin should even be higher than 5% since they’ve had previous engagements before.
DS is floored by the intel Chief Oh had dug up. Mr. Chun bites the bullet and asks point blank, “Mr. Oh, do you… do you think Mr. Choi is receiving a rebate?” DS urges Chief to drop this case. He understands Chief’s reasons for taking up the challenge, but this could mean the end of the entire team.
DS: Why are you hesitating? You have another plan?
Chief looks to the ground for a moment, “GR is on the line”
BK and GR
It’s late in the evening and as usual, GR is still at his desk and BK walks over to have a chat with him.
BK: I don’t know what’s on your mind, but just do it. Don’t look back. Don’t ask any questions and trust Mr. Oh.
GR: Why should I?
BK: You said so. That this business is meant for Mr. Oh to build up the team. If that happens and he becomes Department Head you could… have the chance to become a full-timer. GR, I don’t know what you’re concerned about, but I wish you’d do it.
DS and Mr. Chun are speechless…
Chief: That’s why. If I insist, the team could get in trouble, but if I quit, GR could be losing his last chance.
Mr. Chun: Mr. Oh, there’s no proof that Mr. Choi is receiving a rebate. Please give it some more thought.
DS: Yes Mr. Oh. If GR’s on the line, I want to do the best I can too
GR is still at his desk, his mind is racing with the unbelievably selfless move Chief did regarding the China business. He gets up, grabs his jacket and walks to the pantry. No one around. He makes a phone call to Chief and asks for his present location. Chief replies he is on his way home. GR gets into the elevator, with a determined look on his face.
DS and Mr. Chun make their way down to the 15th floor but only DS gets off. The latter gives the excuse of needing to think things through in the crisp night air… yup, the one that can only be found on the 18th floor… but he changes his mind confronting ED.
Chief: What is it? Why –
GR: Is it because of me? All the strange circumstances with this case. Things you wouldn’t have ignored normally. This time you’re overlooking them. Is it because of me?
Chief: You’re so arrogant! (Please stop if it’s for me – GR) I don’t understand what you mean! And what do you mean ‘strange circumstances’? Stop the nonsense and go work.
GR: I couldn’t understand why an agent appeared out of nowhere on the contract, and a commission was requested too.
Chief: I call the shots
GR: I’m saying this out of concern that I might’ve affected your judgment. (Arrogant kid. Who are you to say my judgment – Chief) You’re trying to save me. You’re trying to make me a full-timer. Isn’t that why you’re working with people who you normally never would? I don’t want to put the team in danger. Please. Don’t do it.
Chief: I don’t know what you’re thinking! But if you want to criticize Mr. Choi, save your breath. Yes, we don’t get along. But we can keep our personal lives and work separate! He and I both! You think work is a joke?
GR: I think Mr. Choi has ulterior motives. I think he’s using us.
Chief: Don’t be absurd! He’s produced much greater results than you! Also, his contribution to this company is a lot greater than me! He’s worked at the company much longer than you or me! He might hate me, but he wouldn’t hurt his team or company! Don’t worry, I’ll make this work. No one will have trouble. I’ll find a solution to get the best results.
Right! It’s a chance to save you. So I’ll do what I can… why you ask? If I don’t do it now, even if the chance comes next time, I don’t know if I’ll feel the same way.
Flashback: I told him he won’t make it. It’s tougher than Eun Ji’s time. What’s the use of high hopes and irresponsible consolation? Many people are desperate for those words or consolation. Still he won’t make it.
Chief: Go down. Your job is to work. Don’t do anything besides that. Don’t have suspicions about anything.
Chief Oh, [sigh] You’ve got a soldier in this part of the world who’d wade through the waters of hell and back for you 😮
BK and YY
They’re both going home for the day. He’s happy to see she’s wearing his gift as a means to break them in. They walk round the corner and she freezes: Her dad is standing there. BK introduces himself as YY’s co-worker and she quickly hints to him to make a move.
BK overhears her dad telling her that he spoke to Mr. Shin. She tries to mask the alarm that’s fast taking over her system. What is the deal with Mr. Shin and her dad? He asks her out for rice and soup.
They adjourn to a restaurant, but only dad is eating. YY simply sits and stares at him. Apparently her mum had fallen ill, so he goes to YY for food. What a LOSER of a dad 😡 She wants to know how he knew where she worked. He had met Mr. Shin and that’s how he found out. And we also learn that her dad had borrowed A LOT of $$$ from Mr. Shin too.
YY: So what are you doing here?
Dad: I heard you have a new bank account. You paid it all off? I was going to help somehow but I’m sorry I couldn’t. Don’t use your money and save as much as you can. That way, you can use it in an emergency.
The gall of this man. She paid off HIS DEBTS. And emergency should be YY’s. Not her parents’.
Dad: Oh yeah… ummm… wire me $500 if you can.
YY: What should I do? What should I do to escape from you, dad?
Dad: Wire it.
He gets up and leaves. Not even a “thank you for dinner.” BK walks towards the front of the restaurant and sees a dejected YY sitting all alone at the table. He texts her: Shall we have a drink? She looks up and sees BK looking in with a look that says he is there for her to talk to.
They sit quietly on a bench. He doesn’t say anything, allowing her to open up to him at her own pace. She takes her phone out and shows her contact list. Dad’s number has three dots next to it. Not even a name. Not even ‘dad’.
YY: My dad was a soldier. He was upset that I wasn’t born a boy. He always say ‘you should’ve been born a boy.’ He always told my mum ‘don’t put too much effort into the girl.’ They never helped with tuition. I started to work part-time from high school. My dad quit and started this and that business. He got swindled and went bankrupt. Then he took my paycheck too.
I went to college on a full scholarship. I worked part-time and gave him money again. But I couldn’t get free. I got a job before I graduated. Yes… at Samjung.
BK: You know Shin Woo Hyun?
YY: Yes. He was my boss. (But why – BK)
Dad: How much is your pay? How are the benefits? Since it’s a big company you can get a big loan right? I’m going to open a store.
YY: I loaned money from the bank to help him out. But it didn’t stop. There was no way. Then my dad went to Mr. Shin without telling me. Mr. Shin taught me how to live as Ahn Young Yi. Not a girl who’s sorry for not being a boy. The fulfillment of labor and myself, my future. I started to value them. Until I learned my dad had borrowed money from him.
Flashback: Why’d you do that? Why didn’t you ask me? You thought I’d appreciate it? You thought I’d thank you forever? (I didn’t want such circumstances to shake you – Shin) Shake me? Who – That’s what he said?! That I’d have trouble without the money? Drop it. You’re a hypocrite. You did it knowing how pitiful I’d feel. I know you’re enjoying this situation.
I just yelled at him like I was crazy. And it was over. After quitting Samjung, I stayed home for about 6 months. Like I was dead. I wanted to die. Then one day, when I was watching a documentary on TV, I realized I shouldn’t die just like that. (What documentary was it? – BK) i don’t know. It was about company workers arguing over who’d pay for lunch. They looked pathetic.
I thought I should be among them. I wanted to live my life.
BK: Did you… like Mr. Shin?… YY-Sshi, shall we go see a late-night horror movie?
YY: What? You can’t watch horror.
BK: Uhh… I suddenly felt that I could watch one.
YY: Then let’s have some red blood soup afterwards.
BK: That’s too much for as of yet… let’s go.
All alone at his desk with only the monitor providing some light in the darkness. He mulls over Chief’s parting words at the rooftop: Don’t worry. I’ll make this work. No one will have trouble. I’ll find a solution to get the best results.
Chief Oh is drinking beer from a can in the comfort of his home.
GR’s mind is still preoccupied with what unraveled at the rooftop last night. Chief walks in, notices the quiet demeanor GR has and warns him to stop being a philosopher. GR begins with a “Mr. Oh”. Chief snaps back with “get to work.” “Mr. Oh-” “Enough!”
GR sits down, but within seconds he gets up again and walks over to Chief’s desk:
GR: If you or the company has any trouble because of me, it’s all useless. Your intentions to save me are more than enough, sir.
He bows deeply towards Chief and walks off.
Sales 3 Team
After cooling his jets, GR returns to his desk, but no one is around. Chief Oh’s phone goes off and he debates whether to answer the call or otherwise. He goes over anyway and it’s Mr. Seok from China. GR asks him to leave his message if it’s urgent. He will record their conversation:
Seok: I contacted Poshin, and rumor has it, if this solar panel order works out, the power plant business will practically take off.
GR: Then there’s no reason for One International to take these conditions, right? Don’t we have a supporting role so that Poshin can obtain the business, by securing supplies?
Seok: Right. So I told Mr. Oh there won’t be any problem with a bigger margin.
GR: But Poshin is requesting the margin we deserve as the agent’s commission? Under the name of connections.
GR: [the dots are connected at the speed of light in GR’s head] Mr. Seok, I have a question. Then aren’t the roles reversed right now? I don’t know how Mr. Choi made that judgment, but our company actually has the upper hand, right?
Chief: JANG GEU RAE!!
Both men look at each other. Chief Oh’s face says it all: What have you EFFING done??
This episode was about as long as a movie shown in cinemas, but hoo boy, it sure didn’t feel like it was 1hr and 20 mins.
Woven with moments of suspenseful drama and revelations, Episode 18 packs a lethal combination that bodes well for the final week ahead.
ED, YOU ARE SO DEAD! 😡