Since the beginning of the internships, our team has never really gotten a break from anything. They continued to face many challenges and situations, some they overcame as a team and some that started from within the team. The breaks don’t last for long and the many struggles only continue to build, but combine these predicaments with love and relationships and things only get more complicated. How will our team come out of all of this alive?
Kkondae Intern: Episode 8 Recap
Yeol-chan and Man-sik’s attempts to flag down the helicopter is unsuccessful. In fact, the pilot and folks inside the helicopter is busy taking care of a pregnant woman who’s about to give birth. With that, both men have no choice but to wait on the island. But don’t fret just yet! Man-sik’s come prepared with a backpack full of goodies. From ramen to water to a wooden pillow to even playing cards, they have plenty of ways to keep themselves full and occupied. However, with each passing day, Yeol-chan and Man-sik begin to worry and lose hope. The winds are still strong and the waves are still heavy. There’s no end sight to the raging waves. Yeol-chan worries that Mr. Cha’s arrived in Malaysia for the event and has secured contracts with some important business partners. However, Man-sik reassures him not to worry.
While Yeol-chan and Man-sik are worried about being stuck on the island, Tae-ri, Yoon-soo, and Joon-soo celebrate back on land. They sing some karaoke together and munch on some yummy snacks. While eating, they chat about Yeol-chan and his ideas for the new product. Joon-soo’s curious as to what Yeol-chan has up his sleeve, but Tae-ri and Yoon-soo aren’t so sure either. They then move on to talking about Tae-ri and Joon-soo. Has Tae-ri thought about Joon-soo’s request to be his girlfriend? Again, Tae-ri makes it clear that she’ll only consider things once he breaks up with all of his girlfriends. Joon-soo doesn’t see what the problem with being a playboy is. Every guy’s a playboy, including Yeol-chan. Yeol-chan and Jung-eun did date back then because he thought she was the Ramen Lady that he had been searching for the past five years. However, it turned out to just be all a lie and the two broke up not too long afterwards. Now everything makes so much more sense for the two interns. Back at the office, Jung-eun goes through memory lane by glancing at a photo that she and Yeol-chan took together back at the ramen restaurant that they frequented.
Yeol-chan manages to finally get some kind of reception on his phone. He receives an update that Mr. Cha’s succeeded in securing some contracts at the Malaysia showcase. Disappointed and saddened, Yeol-chan grows hopeless and has no energy to eat. After refusing some of Man-sik’s food, the two get into a fight. Yeol-chan storms back into his tent and lays down. He doesn’t want to do anything. Man-sik calms Yeol-chan down and gives him some words of wisdom. As a former boss himself, Man-sik knows how Yeol-chan is feeling and advises that Yeol-chan should use this as a learning lesson.
Back at the pier, our three musketeers all hang out and have some fun. Joon-soo decides to climb up on the wooden fence for some photos. However, his foot accidentally slips and he ends up falling over into the water. Yoon-soo immediately reacts and attempts to rescue Joon-soo, but he has difficulty taking off the backpack he’s sporting. Tae-ri ends up being the one to jump into the water to rescue Joon-soo. She manages to successfully bring him back onto land and steps away after a few seconds to calm herself down. Joon-soo jokes that she should date him when she saves him the third time around, but the jokes don’t last for long. Yoon-soo and Joon-soo’s attention is fixed on Tae-ri’s bushy, curly hair.
And so Yeol-chan and Man-sik eventually make it back onto land! YAAAAY! They’re safe and okay and they reunite with the rest of the team. They immediately get back into the car to drive back home. Of course, Man-sik is the driver and they get into another round of bickering. Man-sik is just relieved to be back at home with his family after the dangerous and wild trip. Yeol-chan reflects on Man-sik’s words of wisdom while relaxing at home. The next morning, Yeol-chan returns to the office. He has his position as General Manager back, but he learns that Mr. Cha has been promoted to Director of their Shanghai branch. This motivates Yeol-chan to work even harder so along with Tae-ri, Yoon-soo, and Man-sik, they all gather in the lab room to do some trial runs. The rest of the team joins in test tasting the new ramen product that Yeol-chan’s created, but they’re not so impressed with it. Yeol-chan throws the first trial product out and creates an entirely new ramen product based off of his observations from the trip. When work concludes for the day, Jung-eun prepares to head out. Yoon-soo quickly flags her down to thank her for feeding his dog while he was away. She coldly pushes him away. Although his dog was cute, he shouldn’t raise one if he can’t seem to take care of it.
Yeol-chan also leaves the office. While outside with his umbrella, he finds himself sharing his umbrella with someone else. Who could this person under his umbrella be? It’s none other than Tae-ri who seeks refuge under Yeol-chan’s umbrella to protect herself from the rain. After making eye contact with each other, Yeol-chan begins to grow paranoid. Wait, the big, bushy, and curly hair Tae-ri is sporting looks familiar. But wait! She also has the same two purses that the Ramen Lady wore when he first saw her at the restaurant. To confirm his doubts and suspicion, Yeol-chan pesters Tae-ri for more information. Has she ever visited the fiery chicken restaurant in the neighborhood? Has she ever gone there? Did she happen to go there five years ago? Although Tae-ri is puzzled and frustrated with Yeol-chan’s urgent questions, she answers yes to all of them. Yeol-chan remains in disbelief that Tae-ri is indeed the Ramen Lady he had been looking for all these years. Tae-ri is the Ramen Lady. She’s his Ramen muse. Yeol-chan has trouble processing the discovery that night in his bed. He pretends as if the Ramen Lady has never played an important role in his life; from now on, Ramen Lady no longer exists for him.
Yeol-chan returns to work the next day and has his team continue giving him feedback on his trial products. He also grows angry and upset when they don’t agree with him on which product tasted better. After eating over 100 different trials of ramen noodles, Seung-jin’s had enough. He speaks up and voices his opinion on the whole testing and trial process: he has an upset stomach and he can’t digest any more ramen noodles. Just when Yeol-chan suggests that he take some painkillers, Seung-jin makes it clear that he’s had enough. This isn’t something he can just resolve with some painkillers. Plus, he’s already busy enough and he shouldn’t even be participating in this taste testing since he’s not a part of the development team. Seung-jin is driven out by Assistant Manager Oh, but his behavior alone is enough for Yeol-chan to send everyone home. While Yeol-chan stays late into the night by himself to develop some more products, he becomes ill and pukes out some blood. Man-sik – who stops by the lab room – thankfully discovers Yeol-chan just in time to get him to the hospital.
The rest of the team stops by the hospital to visit Yeol-chan. They all panic and worry upon seeing their team leader lie on the hospital bed. However, the doctor reassures them that he’s just asleep and that he’ll eventually wake back up after he recovers from his exhaustion. Thankfully, Yeol-chan does wake back up shortly afterwards and he attempts to escape. He needs to get back to work. However, the doctor updates everyone about Yeol-chan’s gastric bleeding. As a precaution, Yeol-chan is to avoid spicy food from now on. News about Yeol-chan’s hospitalization spreads and it doesn’t take long for Chairman Namgoong and Joon-soo to find out. Just when Joon-soo assumes his dad is finally preparing to give him some shares, he faces the cold truth and reality. Upon visiting the hospital, Joon-soo finds his dad taking care of Yeol-chan inside of his hospital room. Joon-soo’s anger soars and he can’t stop thinking about the moment he saw the two together at the hospital. Those shares might not be for him like he originally thought.
Yeol-chan returns to the office once released from the hospital. He gets back to working in the lab room and developing new trial products. Of course, Tae-ri is there to assist and she tags along to help Yeol-chan under one condition: he has to listen to her and allow her to give him honest feedback. Yeol-chan eventually gives in and the two work together to create the next big product for the company. Through all the trial runs, Yeol-chan can’t help but fall for Tae-ri. She is his Ramen muse after all. He has to remind himself to snap out of it every time he grows entranced by her, but it’s thanks to Tae-ri that he comes up with his final product: Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen. Sales for Yeol-chan’s ramen product spikes and everyone fights for access to the newest and latest ramen noodles. Chairman Namgoong is also impressed with Yeol-chan’s work and he compliments him during a board meeting. One point for Yeol-chan, none for Joon-soo.
Things are going well for our team with the newly released and popular, Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen. While munching on some snacks in the office, Seung-jin apologizes for his harsh behavior the other day and everyone is in a good mood. However, Jung-eun isn’t with them since she’s busy meeting with Executive Ahn. This meeting could only mean one thing: the evaluation performance for the interns is will be held soon. Later on that night, Jung-eun hangs around outside of the company. She overhears Executive Ahn talking on the phone about her. As a contract worker, there’s no way he would hand her a permanent job. He recommends another employee for the permanent position which throws Jung-eun off. She’s nearly in tears upon hearing Executive Ahn’s comment.
It’s another day of work which means another day of no peace. Our team watches as a news station broadcast a report highlighting various food products containing dangerous amounts of carcinogen, benzopyrene, which has lead to an increase in illnesses. Joonsoo Foods is no exception to the danger since they work with the sesame oil company who creates their ramen seasoning. Man-sik and Yeol-chan head over to the sesame oil company, Taeseon Foods, to assess the situation. When they arrive at the company building, they find a crowd gathered in front of the store to protest against the owner of Taeseon Foods. Yeol-chan and Man-sik take him inside the building to gather more information about the situation.
The owner shares that the Ministry of Foods and Drugs Safety has refused to run any more tests on the sesame oil they’ve produced. However, he can’t seem to comprehend why they came to his company and took additional sesame oil bottles from him. Yeol-chan begins to connect the dots and his suspicions of Joon-soo grows. Man-sik decides to take things into his own hands and grabs a few sesame oil bottles that were manufactured prior and after the incident. They’ll have these bottles tested somewhere else. Man-sik and Yeol-chan visit different labs to get the bottles examined. On the drive home, Yeol-chan reassures the owner to not worry. Test results should be out soon so they should remain patient. He also hopes the owner doesn’t think of doing something bad. Of course, this is a reference to the same exact comment that Yeol-chan made five years ago when he met with the owner of the ox head rice soup restaurant. Man-sik recognizes Yeol-chan’s comment and takes notice of it.
While walking home, Yoon-soo comes across an intoxicated Jung-eun at a cafe. He joins her for some drinks and they chat about each other. Jung-eun assumes Yoon-soo has a crush on Tae-ri, but he adamantly denies the accusations. He doesn’t have a crush on her and never will. Instead, he expresses his interest in Jung-eun. Just like how Jung-eun has been doing on the interns, Yoon-soo has also been paying special attention to Jung-eun at work. He also keeps count of how many times she goes to the bathroom or office pantry at work. Lol. With that, the chatting concludes and the two decide to take things one step further. Yoon-soo leans in to Jung-eun for a kiss, but they don’t stop. They take it back to Yoon-soo’s place and end up sleeping together over night. When Jung-eun wakes up, she quickly removes herself from Yoon-soo’s bed and hurries back to her place. Yoon-soo awakens not too shortly afterwards and finds himself naked. Lol. Omggg. When they encounter each other later on that morning at work, Jung-eun avoids Yoon-soo. Assistant Manager Oh senses that something is off between the two. Haha.
All the seasonings in the ramen products that Taeseon Foods’s delivered to other companies were found safe. However, the damage has already been done and sales have gone down by half. It’s three against one and Yeol-chan suggests that they wait a little longer. He’s visited several laboratories to run some tests on the seasoning sauce. However, Executive Goo, Executive Ahn, and Joon-soo urge Chairman Namgoong to cut their ties with Taeseon Foods. Chairman Namgoong sides with the three and demands for Taeseon Foods to compensate for the damage. Yeol-chan confronts Joon-soo later on in his office. He questions why Joon-soo is ruining and torturing Yeol-chan’s life, but Joon-soo has no answer. Instead, he threatens Yeol-chan that he could do even worse to him. Test results are finally released so Man-sik and Yeol-chan hurry to Taeseon Foods. On the way there, they attempt to get in contact with the owner, but he doesn’t pick up. Yeol-chan’s anxiety spikes and he worries that the owner might have done something to himself just like the incident from five years ago.
Yeol-chan and Man-sik rush to find the owner at his company building. After a few minutes of frantic searching, they discover the owner lying unconscious in a dark room with a few bottle pills next to him. Oh noooo. Man-sik hurries to the owner’s side while Yeol-chan’s trauma gets to him. Eventually, they pull the owner outside onto the street and begin to perform CPR on him. Thankfully, the owner is alive and he wakes up. While Man-sik stays behind with the owner at the building, Yeol-chan stops by the different laboratories for the test results. They all come out positive and conclude that there were unsuitable amounts of benzopyrene found in the sesame oil used to make the ramen seasoning.
The owner of Taeseon Foods finally comes clean to Man-sik. Instead of replacing the machines that were malfunctioning and acting funny, he decided to keep them to make a few more products. He was going to eventually replace them once his next inspection came around. However, things were too late for him by then and the Ministry of Foods and Drugs Safety ended up grabbing products that were manufactured by the old, broken machines. Man-sik is disappointed in the owner for lying, but he notes that Yeol-chan will be even more disappointed. He was the one who stood up for the owner and gave him the benefit of the doubt. And indeed, Yeol-chan is greatly disappointed and upset. How could the owner think of lying to him?
Back at the office, Jung-eun and Yoon-soo finally talk things out after an entire day of avoiding each other. Yoon-soo assumes Jung-eun must still have feelings for Yeol-chan which is why she’s been ignoring him. However, Jung-eun clarifies that it’s Yoon-soo who she feels conflicted about. She’s not sure if they can even afford to be dating each other at the moment. Later on that night, Yoon-soo submits a report to Yeol-chan and places the document on his boss’s desk. He finds another set of documents on Yeol-chan’s desk and takes a peek at it: it’s the evaluation chart for the interns. Tae-ri and Man-sik are both tied for first place while Yoon-soo is last. Yoon-soo exits the company building in disappointment and dismay. While outside, he encounters a man holding a newspaper article about Yeol-chan in his hand and watches the man enter the company building afterwards.
There’s no break for Yeol-chan. Just when he gets home that night, he’s called out for a talk with Yoon-soo. Although exhausted, Yeol-chan makes time to meet up with the intern. Yeol-chan enters the conversation without any expectations, but his interest peaks once Yoon-soo opens his mouth. Yoon-soo exposes Yeol-chan’s past by claiming that Yeol-chan killed somebody in the past. The intern isn’t afraid to speak his mind and he closes the space between him and his boss. He stares Yeol-chan straight in the eyes and makes his presence known. He knows about Yeol-chan’s past.
Woah woah woah, was that a threat, Yoon-soo?! I know you’re upset and angry and frustrated, but let’s take it easy now, Buddy! Let’s take a deep breath and talk things through.
No, but seriously, this episode was so serious (especially in the latter half) that it was difficult for me to process everything that was going on. This isn’t the first time that our characters has faced such a serious and difficult issue. There are many enemies from within the company who are trying to take one another down. They have their own little schemes and plans up their sleeves to gain a spot at becoming the next Chairman of the company. However, I had a little bit more difficulty enjoying this episode for a few reasons. All the seriousness sort of killed the comedic mood and atmosphere that the first half of the episode built up. While I like that the drama isn’t all about the comedy nor is it always serious, I wish this episode was a bit more strategic in the way it balanced both tones. From Tae-ri’s reveal as the Ramen Lady to the Taeseon Foods case to Yoon-soo and Jung-eun’s complicated hook-up, there was a lot happening throughout the episode. It felt overwhelming in a sense and there was just simply too much.
I think the drama is also starting to become more comfortable with the routine it’s built itself the past few weeks that it’s starting to feel formulaic. I wouldn’t have such a problem with this if each case and each situation felt different every time, but the case in this episode didn’t. It just felt like another issue that was brought up just to keep our characters occupied which was disappointing. We’ve already seen Yeol-chan and Man-sik go through plenty of trials and challenges in the past few episodes so I wasn’t so interested in watching them investigate on the Taeseon Foods case in this episode. What made this case different than all the other ones we watched in the past? What did this case prove to anyone? How was the outcome of this specific case different than all the other ones prior? I like ‘Kkondae Intern’ and I still do enjoy it, but episode 8 probably had to be my least favorite episode. There were just too many things going on at the same time and the second half of the episode was too serious for me to enjoy. I don’t want fun and comedy all the time, but I also don’t want to be mislead into watching a show that does more than it can handle.
Yeol-chan’s past is starting to come to light and it’s going to be interesting to see how the General Manager reacts to his own team members learning about these traumatic details of his life. As we’ve seen, Yeol-chan is still struggling to process the trauma from the restaurant owner incident five years ago. Although it’s something that he’s tried to move on from, it’s obvious that the memories still haunt him five years later. If Yeol-chan is already having a difficult time in just processing the incident, how much scarier and more traumatic will it be when his own team members know about it and bring it up to him? Even worse, how much more hurtful is it going to be when an intern like Yoon-soo uses it as a threat to gain leverage and to try to get things his own way? Knowing that he’s not so favorable in the eyes of Yeol-chan compared to Tae-ri and Man-sik, he’s resorting to such desperate measures to get what he wants in the end.
Of course, it’s unfair for Yeol-chan and no person should ever be threatened or taken advantage of by trauma events in their life. While Yeol-chan does have a stronger connection to Man-sik and Tae-ri, I like to reason that he’s had more opportunities to interact with them than he did with Yoon-soo. Therefore, his evaluation of each intern is reasonable and fair. Tae-ri’s done plenty for Yeol-chan including helping him test out their new product when everyone else quit on Yeol-chan. Meanwhile, Man-sik’s really stepped up to save Yeol-chan in dire situations from Manji Island to Taeseon Foods. Man-sik is using his former experiences as a leader at Ongol Foods to aid both him and Yeol-chan in these new and challenging issues that they’re presented with at Joonsoo Foods. Although he might just merely be a senior intern at Joonsoo Foods, he was once a leader elsewhere and gained many great learning experiences in the process. I think whereas Yeol-chan brushed Man-sik off in the past and dismissed him as just a senior intern, he’s starting to slowly lean on Man-sik for support and learn to trust him for advice. Man-sik has been there and done that and Yeol-chan is finally starting to appreciate and listen.
I anticipate that future episodes are only going to get more intense and serious with Yoon-soo’s threat towards Yeol-chan. Again, I’m not completely disappointed with the turn of events in this episode, but I’m also a bit nostalgic when I reflect on what the first half of the show was like. It makes me wish we could have seen more Yeol-chan vs. Man-sik games before the drama decided to have them slowly start to work together. The drama was supposed to be about the two going against each other and starting off as enemies. While we got a bit of that at first, the drama eventually drowned that out by moving on to more company politics, office romance, and grumpy Yeol-chan (I honestly don’t even know how to process the short hook-up between Yoon-soo and Jung-eun in this episode.. like what was that all about? Where did that even come from?).
Although things have changed within the drama on quite a drastic level, I still do enjoy parts here and there. Of course, the happiest moment in this episode was Tae-ri’s confirmation as Yeol-chan’s Ramen muse that he had been searching for all along. A part of me feels guilty for feeling disappointed in the change of direction and mood that the drama pulled in this episode, but I also want to remain hopeful that things will get better. Maybe things won’t stay this way forever and ‘Kkondae Intern’ will redeem itself. Just like how Yeol-chan’s journey at the workplace is a wild roller coaster ride, our journey in watching this show is similar. When you fall down, the only direction you have left is to go back up.
Extra screenshots from the episode~