Misaeng Ep 20: The Beat Goes On

When one door closes, another opens; but often we look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.

– Alexander Graham Bell



Morning has come, another day at work. GR walks to the garden to enjoy the crisp morning air before beginning his day at his corner.

GR voiceover:

After Mr. Oh left, our team became stable as he had wished. The remaining people were making efforts for me. The more they did, the the more reasons there were for me to leave.

The reason I stay despite all that… [are the parting words by Chief Oh – ‘Hang in there. Win’]

The day which is the end is approaching.


GR is making coffee for his team when the other 3 cautiously enter. BK signals to SY to begin and he spouts poetry, “April is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain. You feel me, don’t you, GR? Don’t you feel ticklish all the way to your bones, GR?”

GR:  If you’re itchy, go to the sauna. You’re dirty.

BWAHAHAHAHA!!! XD XD XD . So sweet of them to cheer GR up 🙂

Then SY changes the topic, “Which teams are going for the transition meeting?”

GR:  Wasn’t it us, Sales 1, Resource, Steel and Fabric?

BK:  Transition meetings give me a sense of deja vu.

SY:  Deja vu? You mean Mr. Ma and Mr. Oh’s conflict?

UGH. NO, no, no SY :/

Awkward silence. He realizes his faux pas too late and the other two cringe inwardly. GR excuses himself to begin organizing receipts.

SY:  The contract due date is approaching and there’s no solution. Mr. Kim and Mr. Chun are doing their best, but they can only do so much. And they can’t do anything about it.

YY:  But Ms. Sun is doing her best.

BK:  I want to do anything I can to help

Sales 3 Team

The new leader of the team is on the opposite spectrum of Mr. Oh. DS, Chun and GR are struggling to work in a new group dynamic. New boss micro-manages and controls the team on a tight leash. Doesn’t trust their abilities or judgment and does not believe in empowerment. He is least impressed with GR saying in his face, “We’ll get a new employee with better specs.” BK and YY overhears this putdown from the corner.


YY is at her desk when the rest of the team returns from a major meeting with other departments especially with Mr. Ma presiding. Ever since the incident when Mr. Jung grew titanium spine, he has been avoiding eye contact whenever possible and Mr. Ma pushes more work and responsibility to his team.

Mr. Yoo brings up the matter of GR’s impending departure from One International. Although they recognize GR’s contribution to Sales 3 Team and the effort from DS and Mr. Chun in helping GR’s case, they know the company will not sign GR on as a full-timer.


YY takes a break in the seating area, looks at the empty seat across from her and remembers the time when she explained to GR about her reason for choosing him as her presentation partner when they were interns.

I’m reaching out for my first tissue… 😥

And Mr. Ha sits in that empty chair, “It’s sad. The four of you started work together…”

YY:  Is there really no solution? That’s all I think about these days.

Ha:  There isn’t… [he shifts in his chair] Maybe you can start a movement. The more the better, you know… The company can reconsider it if many people think about it… Though it’s not a solution.

Awww, you’ve come a long way Mr. Ha.

YY, BK and SY

She rounds up the other buddies and share Mr. Ha’s idea. Make it known to the company that GR is someone worth keeping and he has to stay. But how? They can’t do a Presentation about GR or put posters like in college, or make their demands known with Management like some drama XD XD

Why not? SY argues. This is like the last resort to save GR’s career in One International. SY is determined to help his friend out and will do so via a means that made him a fool within the company. BK then has a light bulb moment and takes off as well, leaving YY standing by herself, furiously thinking of other ways to help GR. Suddenly she makes a call to Ms. Sun, asking for a favor.


He begins to write an open letter via the intranet:

I’m Fabric Team 1, Han Suk Yool.
It’s been nearly two years since I’ve started working here.
I had contacted you before because of an unpleasant issue.
I’d like to apologize first.

The reason I’m apologizing first is so people won’t close the window just by the mention of my name.
I’d like to ask an important favor today.

Two-year contract employee, Jang Geu Rae, started work with me and he’s working in Sales Team 3. I hope he can become a full-timer.

Ms. Sun and YY

They had gone directly to the Planning Manager and Ms. Sun implores that they can’t simply ignore GR’s performance.

The manager understands,”The interns were always complaining he started through connections and special treatment.”

Yo dude, you’ve got proof of that? :/

YY:  That’s not necessarily true.

Ms. Sun:  We’d like a fair evaluation, not special treatment.


He passed the presentation interview with me two years ago. He joined Sales Team 3. He was the first from our group to be in a presentation with upper management. That radical presentation brought the Jordan used-car business to success. We owe it to Jang Geu Rae.

Yes, people called him the GED. Jang Geu Rae who used his connections to get the job. So when we all entered as a full-timer, he joined as a two-year contract employee. He had to suffer various insults since his intern days. But he worked harder than anyone else thinking of One International as our company.


Mr. Kang looks over BK’s shoulders and asks if “it’s for GR.” Yes. BK is putting together some files to show GR’s performance for their team. Mr. Kang agrees those portfolios are necessary for full-timer transition evaluations and he’ll take a look at them when BK was done.



He’d come to work with us, and leave after we do. He worked so hard to make up for his lacking experiences. When the business item he planned, he was excluded because he was a contract employee, he gave up on it without a complaint.

How can specifications make someone’s treatment so different from another? Why should one’s effort be treated differently from others?

The basics are key to evaluate one’s adaptability to work life. Though it was hard to prove his basics at the starting point, he has shown enough potential during the last two years.

Jang Geu Rae must become a full-timer.

He said, “I’ll sell this fabric with you, Suk Yool.”

Please help me keep that promise.

I’ve had my shameful moments, but I’d like to keep that promise.


In the dark of the night, GR all alone at his desk, reads SY’s heartfelt plea on the intranet. Tears stream down his cheeks.


Next Day

Ms. Sun excitedly rounds up Sales Team 3. In the meeting room, she tells them that HQ will send revised guidelines about transitioning competent contract workers to become full-timers. Even upper management will look into their guidelines. Trends are changing. DS and Mr. Chun are excited about GR’s possible turn of luck. Somehow, GR is not as enthusiastic as the rest.

GR walks back to his corner and looks at Mr. Oh’s seat and asks himself, “Can I be ambitious again?”

Chief Oh

Donned in a work suit, he speeds around the neighborhood on a scooter. He stops at an intersection, letting the cars drive by. One of the sedans was ED’s and he took a good look at Chief Oh in a grey suit on a Chicken Delivery scooter.

Pray tell what goes through your mind, you ^*#!>%+  o_O

He arrives at a Fried Chicken restaurant, and as he enters, the Ahjumma scolds him for being late.

OH? So he IS a fried chicken delivery guy who wears a suit? o_O

He is on a break and receives a call from Ms. Sun. Good news. GR passed HR’s interview and his case was brought up in the Admin Team’s meeting. All GR needs now is the participant’s majority vote. Chief is moved by the immense support GR has in Ms. Sun and his former team, and thanks her.

One International

The threesome are gathered near the outdoor deck, all anxious for the outcome of the meeting that will either change or seal GR’s fate. BK and YY are cautiously hopeful for a positive outcome. Then GR rushes by them with stacks of files in his arms. He’s such a busy bee, yet the others are worried for him.

The people GR bumps into on his way to his office speaks volumes about how they regard his worth in the company. Even Mr. Kang invites him for after-office drinks.

It’s business as usual in Sales 3 Team’s corner, but it’s heartwarming to see that Sales 2 Team are as anxious of GR’s fate and someone from that team spots Ms. Sun making her way over. This is it. The Verdict is In.

Everyone is standing still. Ms. Sun simply looks at GR. The hopeful look he had slowly disappears. No words are needed. He knows his fate.

Everyone just cannot believe the decision and everyone is devastated. GR reins in his disappointment and manages to smile at Ms. Sun, conveying his thanks to her for everything she has done to help him stay on in One International.


GR simply stands at the foyer next to the outdoor garden, looking out at the view from evening till night. He returns to his desk only when everyone else has gone home. As he takes each step, he remembers his early days as an intern, his first interactions with YY, BK and SY who have now become his friends. GR has many fond memories of his time being part of Sales 3 Team when Chief Oh was their leader.

Mr. Kim and Chief Oh

They’ve started their own small trading company and Mr. Kim gets excited to receive a contract via email. Due to the messy Mr. Park’s case, Mr. Kim as the Sales Manager responsible for the project was forced to leave the company. However, he was brought in as a salaried CEO. The real investors of this new venture are Chief Oh and the other Mr. Kim who had challenges meeting ends meet when he left One International.


He still is in a dysfunctional working relationship with Mr. Sung. When the latter nonchalantly tells SY that his approved leave will be cancelled because of a training on the said day, SY almost lost it right there in the office. He returns to his desk and takes out an envelope with incriminating photos.

At the stairwell, he browses the captured moments of Mr. Sun with a lady in a car during the night where they had a tryst by the Han River. He puts them all back into the envelope and writes:

Sung Joon Shik of Fabric Team 1 is having an inappropriate relationship with Chungsol’s Mrs. Lee Gyung Sun, bringing huge losses to our business, so please look into this.

He stands in front of the suggestion box, but doesn’t have the heart to submit the photos. Instead, he places it on the big boss’ desk. Still, he can’t make himself do the underhanded tactic towards Mr. Sung. He burns the photos at the rooftop, “You should’ve taken bribes, then it’d be easy for me to tell on you.”

Next Day

A visitor comes over to SY’s corner and asks for Mr. Sung. SY directs him to Sung and after confirming that Sung was indeed Sung Joon Shik, the man begins to smack him at his desk. Sung retaliates and asks what is going on, “Who are you?!”. The visitor is trying hard to control, “Who am I? Do you know Lee Gyung Sun?”

Sung:  Yes, she’s one of our clients.. Who are YOU?

SY quietly takes a few steps back. This Shiatz is Goin’ Down! o_O

Visitor:  Who am I?… WHO AM I?! [grabs Sung’s collar] What are YOU doing with my Wife?

Dun. Dun. DUUUUNNN. Everybody freezes 😮

Sung:  What are you talking about?!

Visitor:  Yeah, I knew you’d deny it, so I took all these shots… LOOK! Is this you kissing her or not?! You still don’t know?!

Sung:  I think it’s me…

Visitor:  You THINK… [he grabs a fistful of Sung’s hair and whacks his head on the table]

Shiatz is gettin’ into MMA level, peeps. KARMA BABY! XD

Visitor:  What did you do and how far did you go?

The ticking bomb question thrown in the air with a growing audience waiting for Sung’s response…

Sung stutters but the husband cuts in, “DON’T tell me!” and continues the brawl. Someone will get more than bruises and a bloody nose by the end of Round 2.

GR at home

He is cleaning the floors while listening to a language course through his earphones. He shares a funny moment with his mum when YY calls him out for drinks.

He is happy to see her. It has only been three weeks since he left One International.

YY:  After you left, SY is so disheartened, he doesn’t even come downstairs… we have new interns now. But no one makes an impression like you… Oh! They’re here.

BK enters first and shakes hands with GR, glad to see him. SY drops his bag and jacket and zooms in for a bear hug! XD XD XD

They enjoy dinner and drinks together, catching up on old routines and BK asks if Chief Oh ever contacted GR to join his company.

YY:  He could feel sorry about inviting him to an unsettled company.

BK:  That true. He could be thinking an adventure for himself is enough.

YY:  Why don’t you give him a call?

BK:  Yeah… just call to say hi.

SY:  GR, you just can’t join and leave a company as you wish. Like I can’t control the love I have for you

BK:  STOP IT!  [YY throws crumbs at SY]


Full and feeling rather tipsy, GR trudges home singing a song along the way. Just before he enters his compound…

Chief:  You can’t help but sing thinking of how you can play while everyone works?

GR’s eyes grew as big as saucers, couldn’t believe his Mentor was actually standing right before him, “What brings you here?”

Chief:  Are you done getting settled? It’s been three weeks already. The milk is ready. The suit, the dress shirt and tie are ready. Suitcase too. Shoes too. You can come anytime.

AWWWW!! Chief actually marked this date on his calendar. The day he will get GR into his fold. 😀

GR is beyond grateful.

Sales 3 Team

DS and Mr Chun are preoccupied on their respective phones, while the new intern buzzes around sorting things out, or trying his level best to get things done. DS finds that it’s no longer fun to work without Chief Oh and GR…

GR’s new job

He easily slips into working mode and prepares documents just like he has always done for two years at One International. He places Chief Oh’s family photo upright again and wonders why he always places it facing down. He asks Chief the reason for that action: You’ve haven’t heard my wife nag. If it continues, it sounds like a barking dog.


Chief:  What happened to the experienced employee case?

GR:  The hits are increasing, but I haven’t gotten any replies.

Mr. Kim:  Oh yeah, what about using the new material? I heard the restrictions have been lifted, and it can be sponsored.

Chief:  Yeah? I’ll look into it.

DS:  I wasn’t going to fling the door open… That’s my seat. The Trade Association should be calling. What should I do now? OH! Mr. Kim! Err CEO Kim… Hello. I looked around the whole building. The rooftop needs work [HEE HEE HEE] GR, take the recruitment ad down. Work is no fun for me now. Take it down.

Chief:  What are you doing? We have procedures too! We recruit properly!

DS:  Procedures? You told us to be radicals. He got in through connections too. Come on. You let GR be radical and I can’t? Really? Do IT! (No- Chief) Do it please! (No, where are you going? Don’t go, Come here!- Chief)

Mr. Kim:  Get back to work!


Now it’s only Mr. Chun left of the original Sales 3 Team. He now occupies DS’ spot, but he walks over to Chief Oh’s former seat and slips into it for size. Is this where he wants to be in the next 5 years of less?

New Company

Chief barks a familiar name, “Suh Jin Sang?!” Apparently the light-fingered Mr. Suh took cell phone case samples from the China factory and ran off. They are working in tandem with Mr. Chun who has intel that the China resident employee has gone to the Immigration office, so it shouldn’t be hard to find him.

Crisis management mode. Mr. Suh’s selfish act can place not only their contracts in jeopardy but also One International’s. A phone call from Mr. Chun again,” Mr. Suh ran off to Jordan.” They have to go on a manhunt immediately. DS is tied up with the Vietnam business, so it’s GR and Chief off to Jordan! 😀

GR in a business suit, sans tie with a mature slick hairstyle, walks to the counter at Incheon to check-in for his flight to Amman. Chief Oh calls him just as he was done at the counter, “You know you have to change planes? You have Mr. Cho’s number? Don’t simply eat everything – ”

GR:  Mr. Oh… (What – Chief) I’m not a kid. (Right – Chief)

I ❤ this moment!


GR is waiting for Mr. Cho at a balcony of a restaurant. He informs GR that Mr. Suh is in Amman but he is not in any of the hotels or guest houses. What about acquaintances? He has none in Amman.

GR remembers that day in the pantry when Mr. Suh was selling them the Baekdusan Deer Honey, and he mentions about a motel in an alley. Bingo.

Mr. Cho:  Where’s Mr. Oh?

Somewhere in the desert…

An Indiana-Jones-like Chief Oh braves through the desert in a 4×4. He stops at a location, walks further out and scopes the landscape with his telescope. His phone goes off:

GR:  Mr. Oh, where are you?

Chief:  I’m looking at the land (What? – GR) You know why the Russian mafia has tattoos on their knees? It means they’ll never kneel down. They never give up. You should do whatever you can. (Err… but that’s too – GR) We always need a Plan B. This will determine our business’ success, so be alert. I heard building one doesn’t take long. This call is costing a lot. Bye!.

However, he calls GR back and tells him to meet up at Petra in 3 hours. Hangs up again. Looks at the vast, neverending horizon of the desert. And Chief speaks aloud an English poem:

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally
leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh,
Somewhere ages and ages hence:Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Chief:  Alcatraz. Pharaoh’s treasure. The gateway to Petra. It’s a path you have to pass by. It was the central trade route in the ancient times connecting the Persian Bay to the east, the Red Sea to the south, and Mediterranean to the west.

GR:  Incense Road?

Chief:  Come to think of it, my dream as an 18-year-old was to travel around the world. As I watched Indiana Jones 3, I became determined. (Indiana Jones 3? – GR) I had forgotten about it. But Jordan reminded me of my dream. As commerce decreased, Petra was forgotten for over a thousand years. (I see – GR) So I was thinking, just because you forgot your dream doesn’t make your dream vanish. Just because you can’t see the road doesn’t make the road vanish.

Lu Xun said this, ‘Hope can’t be said it exists, nor can it be said it doesn’t exist. It is just like roads across the earth. For actually the earth had no roads to begin with, but when many men pass one way, a road is made.’

GR:  Mr. Oh, why did you want to meet here? (I just told you – Chief) What? When? (Just now – Chief) What? (I just told you – Chief) What?!

Chief:  I should’ve brought YY. She would’ve gotten it right away… I should’ve brought YY.

GR:  Do you mean you want me to catch Jin Sang?

See? GR’s as fast as YY too 😀 ❤ ❤ ❤


This drama has come full circle. It is now back to the opening scenes of Episode 1 where GR and Mr. Cho are tracking down the elusive Mr. Suh. They finally find their way to a nondescript hotel in an alley way…

GR:  Mr. Suh Jin Sang!

Suh:  I can’t believe this!… My, my neck! My ribs! I think I’m dying.

GR:  Where are the items?

Suh:  Wha- What are you talking about?

GR:  The samples you took from the China factory. (Wha-What did I take? – Suh) Mr. Suh, if you just give back the items, we’ll end it by firing you. If you don’t, we’ll take legal actions. I mean you’ll end up in jail.

Suh:  What do you me- mean? Are you crazy? Come on! Must I go to jail on this trip?

Cho:  It’s not in his room… You JERK!

Suh:  Let go! It hurts! I’ll kill you guys! I’ll call the embassy about this diplomatic issue. You have proof? Huh?!

GR:  We have no choice…

Wadi Rum

Suh is tied down to a chair, while GR and Cho calmly sets the room. Seems that only his arms are tied, so Suh gets up with the chair stuck on his back and tries to run out of camp site. GR helps by drawing the thick material aside and when he’s outside only then does he realize their in the middle of the desert. At night. Temperatures drop drastically in the desert. Suh changes his mind and returns into the tent.

GR:  Let me repeat myself. If you just give back the items, we’ll end it by firing you.

Suh:  I really don’t know. Come on. And GR, who are you to threaten me? Do I work for your company? Am I Korean? Geez…

GR nods his head, gets up from his chair and makes a call, “Mr. Oh. We caught him, but he won’t tell us. We don’t have a choice either without evidence. What? Russia… Mafia’s knee tattoo?

Suh:  Come on! I swear I didn’t take the samples.

GR:  They’re looking for you in Basilisk, Russia too.

HEY! An indirect reference to HP! XD XD XD

GR:  Mr. Cho what’s the share of the Russian Mafia for Basilisk? (What? – Cho)

Man, get with the program Cho o_O

GR:  Mr. Oh said it’s about 70%. Isn’t that absurd? Aaand Cho finally gets the hint.

Cho:  Right. I heard they’d been sponsoring for a few years. Already 70%?  Then, that’s a mafia company.

GR:  Mr. Suh, Mr. Oh told me to tell you something. In Russia, the fist is more influential than the law.

And then Chief Oh really calls GR and says “Let’s wrap this up” and proceeds to shout the phrase in Russian so that GR is able to repeat the words back to Suh. 4x4s can be heard revving outside their camp. Suh is feeling the noose getting tighter around his neck. Within seconds he wails like a baby, “Amman Airport. It’s in a locker at Amman Airport. Number 20. I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.”

Cho: GR-Sshi, you’re a true One International employee.

Chief:  Who did you call a One International employee? He’s with our company, not One International!


Chief and GR walk to their vehicle and the former easily slips into the passenger seat. He wants to know why GR didn’t correct Cho about being One International employee. Does he miss working there that much? Does he want more pay and benefits now that he has been working with Chief for a year?

As GR drives, he says to Chief, “Captivate me. Just captivate me. What do you have that you can sell?” Chief remembers exactly how it pans out when he did that to GR years ago. With a broad smile he hits GR’s head instead, “Drive, man!”

GR voiceover:

A road opens as you tread along it. A road that doesn’t open isn’t a road. Roads are open to everyone. But not everyone can have the roads. Another road has opened.

And I’m not alone.



A young GR and his mother are grieving at the funeral parlor. His dad had passed away. Can’t listen to his mother’s crying anymore, GR leaves his spot and almost bumps into a man who was rushing from the opposite direction into another funeral parlor. Eun Ji was the deceased, and the man who almost collided into GR was Oh Sang Shik.



NICE! Can’t ask much more than this! GR and his Mentor, paving new roads for their adventures! ❤ ❤ ❤

Well, not really… still a bit miffed about ED :/

But I laughed out loud when Basilisk was inserted in their dialogue!










  1. ah. finally..i sort of recovered from ep. 19 & 20. what an emotional journey it has been! the misaeng road that we had travelled on has ended..shall we make a new road then?

    i thought i’d be strong enough to go thru the ‘separation’ and boy, it’s very hard! and now, as i re-read your recap, i started bawling again when i read SY’s petition. that was beautiful!

    i am miffed too abt the ED..he got away with just a slap on the face..while mr. oh got punched out. heh..good thing our mr. oh is a strong-minded fella. you can’t knock someone that strong out..he’s down but he’s not out.

    love it when the ST3 reunited in a group hug(GR looked so..itsy bitsy teeny weeny little puppy). i guessed mr. chun prefer to stay at one international where he could climb up the corporate ladder.

    my,my..after a year, what a transformation for GR! no longer that boy who walk ever so slowly, the one who is shy and soft-spoken(unless SY pokes him), the one who a bit afraid(and in awe) of his boss. we got a new GR who walks and speaks confidently, who can speak in English, who can ‘fly’..heh. and he can even teased mr. oh and even bicker with him towards the end of the show.

    what can i say? a perfect ending for a perfect show! thank you,chom2, for all the recaps and funny snippets. here’s to season 2 and hope the ED, Mr. Ma and Jung daeri got eaten by the basilisk!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anyeong Kayla 🙂

      Gracious me! Thank YOU for sharing your insights and feels about Misaeng. It is certainly one of those unique dramas that tugged many hearts of the ordinary working folks all around the world. Despite geographical boundaries, political and cultural differences, the themes tackled in this show were rather universal.

      That is, in my opinion, what makes this KDrama a super special one 😀

      I’m hopeful for more original and thought-provoking works to come out from cable channels (ie tvN/ jtbc/ ocn, etc) for they are not afraid to tell “real” stories.

      We all saw how GR grew into a confident and dependable young man, unafraid to create new means as solutions to his problems. And that’s largely due to his immense luck in having Chief Oh as his mentor… who over time has become a good friend too XD . AH! The FEELS about these two!!

      Till we stumble upon another gem of a Kdrama, I wish you a fabulous brand spankin’ 2015 😀


      1. you too, chom2! and i hope we’ll get more great dramas too. i am still nursing a massive misaeng hangover that i doubt the bottled black tea can cure! i am still unable to let our ST3 & newbies go. pathetic, huh?

        so, here’s to a very hopeful 2015 and i hope to read more of your recaps of future dramas(i think the drama i’m curious to watch now is ‘kill me, heal me’. the sight of ji sung with curly hair n a ribbon n playing with a teddy bear caused to cackle..). aah, wonder which drama will topple misaeng from my list of most favourite dramas(of any language!)

        Liked by 1 person

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