Posted in Commentary, Drama Series

Misaeng: on episode 11~12

Fallout, fallout, fallout. That’s what our favorite salarymen deal with in this pair episodes. In the wake of Manager Park’s case in episode 11, and from the project choice they take up at the eleventh hour, literally and figuratively, in episode 12.

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Reward the good, punish the evil — it’s ideally like that, but sadly isn’t always so. Sales Team 3 experiences it firsthand, the double standard of what’s considered good deed in corporate world. Putting a halt to Manager Park’s shady Jordan used-car deal is a necessary action but also something that doesn’t come with desirable outcome. It is applauded by the company’s president but side-eyed by fellow workers. Getting punished for doing something right… yeah it happens.

Manager Park didn’t take the fall himself, he brought four higher-ups (those who approved the contract?) down with him, including Department Head Kim. Aww, why nice people had to go? His farewell is bittersweet, particularly from Manager Oh who has been under him through ups and downs since Day 1… and now who causes his abrupt leave. Worse, the sexist dept head from gender inequality episode is filling in for him… ugh.

If anything, Manager Oh is finally able to graduate from the position he’s held for seven years, moving up from gwajang to chajang now. One man’s loss is another man’s gain after all. One gripe i’ve had while watching the series is the many versions of what the title translates as. For instance, Manager Oh’s new position is referred to as senior manager by Viki, deputy head by Soompi, and deputy director by Dramabeans. Same thing goes for other titles in this drama, which can be confusing to viewers/readers (especially the nitpicked one like me xp).

To illustrate how long-overdue the promotion is, check out the family’s broadest grin below:

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[aren’t their laughs infectious?]

Dismissal of Manager Park means arrival of another person. I am actually fine with just three of them, but the team is clearly shorthanded they can’t say no to an extra pair of hands. That’s how Manager Chun (Park Hae-joon) becomes the new fourth member in the corner cubicle. While Dong-shik notes his normalcy — he used to work with Dong-shik and under Manager Oh too — his disposition isn’t as amiable as anticipated.

If Manager Park is sent by Dept Head Kim, Manager Chun is handpicked by the executive director. We have yet to find out if there’s any ulterior motive behind Geu-rae’s appointment, and now we’re wondering what’s behind Manager’s Chun’s. He’s told to support the team well, but is that all?

(Am i the only one who keeps seeing Manager Chun as Agent Cha of Doctor Stranger? That character was well-acted and left such an impact that seeing him brooding or making this face, i half expect him to pull out a gun next XD)

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After the initial tense air is smoothened out over drinks, where Geu-rae’s ordered to trim his hair and Dong-shik to straighten his (lol), the team moves to brainstorm business proposal — budget, action plans, performance goals included — for the following year. Their burning the midnight oil for several days to no avail gets Geu-rae to think back to his little self listening to his baduk teacher’s explanation as to why his skills weren’t improving: too by the book; he needs to break the rules and be unconventional. Tentatively, he does that: how about the Jordan project?

Sensitive topic aside, it is a profitable business and something Sales Team 3 can work on. For someone who likes seeing things to the end, Geu-rae thinks this project was left unfinished. Plus, he wants them to turn the project around to benefit the company. Still, it stumps everyone, at which they can’t bluntly say no. They need a legitimate reason to reject the idea beyond “we don’t want to/shouldn’t do it.”

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However, the hardest thing isn’t deciding whether or not to revive the project, but whether or not the company is on the same page — they can’t proceed unless it’s approved anyway. First round of objections come from fellow managers, then from the condescending dept head (figured). Both Manager Chun and he separately report the plan to the executive director who doesn’t show slightest signs of surprise or objection and readily gives his green light.

I thought it would be a case closed, but no, the dept head tells (now Sr) Manager Oh to present the case before the executive officers and earn their approval and gloats when the latter tenses up at that. It is troublesome and time consuming but they’ve come this far, why stop now? It is not until presentation rehearsal that Geu-rae senses something’s amiss. He argues they’re too caught up in following the rules — in this case, the format and order of the presentation — and again points out the need to be unconventional to make it convincing and eventually work. The other two understandably stand against it. The hearing is due in two days, reworking the entire presentation doesn’t make sense. But again, how can Manager Oh sells it if he himself isn’t convinced?

Ahhh, i’m torn. I get both sides’ points of view but i only want them to nail it. I don’t want this to deepen the crack. Dong-shik and Manager Chun aren’t fully onboard with the project though still fully support Manager Oh’s decision; in the latest turn of event, they’re this close to lose it. When Dong-shik plainly tells Geu-rae he’ll be angry at him for possibly a long time if the presentation goes south, it shows how dead serious the situation is.

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Geu-rae is the newbie so ideas are all he can contribute for now. It is not that he just blurts out nonsense — every move is derived from baduk strategies, applied to real life setting and they have worked in his favor thus far. However, his conviction begins to waver upon listening to the final rehearsal and hearing the perplexed remarks from the Jordan’s representative on the unconventional slides’ format. Don’t you want to make this business work?

Ack! Did Geu-rae make a bad move this time? Because the goal is to win the game. As he narrates in the beginning of episode 11, making all the right winning moves along the way may be pointless if you end up losing. Pleasepleaseplease let it not be the case…

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Well, that’s on Sales Team 3. Misaeng has steadily shown more of other teams where the other newbies are. I am glad the show do it one at a time that it’s never overwhelming. Geu-rae was first. We still vividly remember the hard times he had trying to be accepted by his team while other interns were already up and running, don’t we? Then Young-yi and Baek-ki found themselves at the bottom of food chain; by now they have gotten their breakthrough and find their footing in the team. Only Seok-yul is left now.

Young-yi has started getting real tasks to do, handling Russian agencies and leading business meeting with her former company on Ha daeri‘s absence. (Awkwardness between her and her former boss is really noticeable, i am wondering what caused her to quit the company. Harassment? Affair?)

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Baek-ki continues to receive basic training, this time on concise writing. Simple yet difficult task, eh? It must be it, because hearing a flat “it’s good” is enough to make his day.

Seok-yul is still a newsy busybody though dealing with his superior infallibly raises his hackles. The kind that dumps all work to you yet takes credit for your doings is common. Everyone has different leadership style, i am hoping he is coaching Seok-yul in his own ways. I can’t wait to see how he overcomes the barrier — bet it’ll be useful and practical. His situation isn’t looking good, he’s on the brink of quitting too, but the rest are so patient and submissive i like that he takes issues with it, outrightly.

On the bright side, his breakdowns are hilarious to watch! And look at the other three’s expressions:

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A Misaeng episode isn’t complete without the lighter moments or dry humors. These two give us happy family cut, Young-yi pulling prank on Geu-rae twice, Seok-yul miming Young-yi’s 40km/hour drive like it’s the scariest thing ever, Geu-rae’s childlike smiles when she mentions “we” and after she pats him, his mortified expressions and bleat protest upon being called “Team Leader Jang”, and Manager Oh’s and Dong-shik’s perplexed look upon spotting him doing handstand in the office — the latter even calls 119 (911 in US) hahaha…

Ahh, it’s Friday already; get ready for this week’s edition~

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