There are some aspects in Yeol-chan’s life that improves and shoots towards a brighter path. However, there are also some other parts that remain stagnant or become even more difficult for the general manager to endure. Just how will Yeol-chan deal with everything going on in his life and who will he turn to in times of hardships and challenges?
Kkondae Intern: Episode 9 Recap
Yoon-soo requests to meet with Yeol-chan for a small talk. Although Yeol-chan doesn’t expect much entering the conversation, he’s faced with a sudden threat from the intern. Yoon-soo accuses Yeol-chan of leaving his position at Ongol Foods due to an incident where he killed a man. However, if Yeol-chan gives Yoon-soo the permanent position after the conclusion of the internship program, Yoon-soo will keep quiet about Yeol-chan’s past. Despite the threat, Yeol-chan refuses to back down. Yoon-soo can do whatever it is that he wants. Yeol-chan is not phased. The break for Yeol-chan doesn’t last for long. Just as he re-enters his apartment, he receives a notification that the owner of the ox-head rice soup restaurant he met five years ago, Mr. Yeo, has passed away. Yeol-chan heads to the funeral site to pay his respects and finds Man-sik there as well.
After paying their respects at the funeral, Yeol-chan takes a break outside for a bit. He’s joined by Man-sik who shares about his past history with Mr. Yeo. He blames himself for the restaurant owner’s death and claims that it was his fault. You see, long before Yeol-chan came into the picture, Man-sik was a frequent visitor at Mr. Yeo’s rice soup restaurant. He enjoyed the soup so much he suggested that they collaborate on a new product for Ongol Foods. Although Mr. Yeo signed the agreement to collaborate with Ongol Foods on his rice soup recipe, the quality of the rice soup began to deteriorate and Man-sik wanted to terminate their contract agreement. With that, they battled things out in court so that the contract could be terminated. Although Man-sik internally sympathized for Mr. Yeo and felt sorry for him, he also needed to do his job and defend the company. Despite the bad blood between both men, Man-sik still cared for the restaurant owner and continued to keep his eyes on him, especially when Mr. Yeo threatened to commit suicide. However, it wasn’t until everything had settled down that things began to escalate once more. However, by then, Man-sik was less inclined to believe in Mr. Yeo and that’s when he sent Yeol-chan to check up on him.
Fast forward to the present and Man-sik apologizes for putting Yeol-chan in that difficult and complicated spot. He didn’t want to put the blame on himself for the situation with Mr. Yeo so he tried to pin it on Yeol-chan. But Yeol-chan admits that he wasn’t all that innocent either. During his visit to Mr. Yeo’s restaurant, Yeol-chan tasted the rice soup himself. Although he pretended to enjoy the dish, he actually disliked the taste and firmly believed that no one would ever want to eat the rice soup. Mr. Yeo happened to hear Yeol-chan’s harsh comment and attempted suicide that night by shooting himself. Since Yeol-chan was too scared to check up on Mr. Yeo, he walked away without following up with the restaurant owner. Yeol-chan admits that he too played a part in Mr. Yeo’s death, but Man-sik reiterates that everything was his fault. He ignored Mr. Yeo when Mr. Yeo needed help and he was the one who pushed the restaurant owner to the edge. Yeol-chan tears up upon learning the truth from Man-sik. The truth might have been revealed, but the guilt is still very much there.
Yeol-chan begins to worry about the owner of Taeseon Foods who isn’t picking up his calls. He then stops by Joon-soo’s place to apologize on behalf of the owner. Yeol-chan pleads for Joon-soo to refrain from moving forward with demanding compensation from Taeseon Foods. Yeol-chan himself will make up for the mistakes that were committed. When Yeol-chan returns to the funeral site, he finds Man-sik asleep on the floor. He covers the senior intern with a blanket and then reflects on what he learned about the situation with Taeseon Foods. Thanks to Man-sik’s efforts and connections, a few people have dropped their lawsuits against the sesame oil company.
The next morning, Yeol-chan avoids Yoon-soo when he enters the office and goes straight to his desk without greeting the intern. It’s only after he sits down and takes a look at his desk that he realizes something is off. He finds the intern evaluation sheet open on his desk and it now makes sense as to why Yoon-soo threatened Yeol-chan. Joon-soo prepares for a meeting with his dad, Executive Goo, and Yeol-chan. He inquires for more details on when his dad plans on making an announcement about the next CEO of the company, but his dad beats around the bush. Joon-soo eventually reveals his plans to drop the lawsuit against Taeseon Foods for compensation damages. So how exactly does Yeol-chan plan to make up for all the damage that’s already been done? Yeol-chan doesn’t exactly have an idea, but he’s sure he can come up with something. It’s then that Chairman Namgoong answers his own question: since they already have the formula for the Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen recipe, they can just make the product themselves. Afraid of Yeol-chan’s success, Joon-soo wrings the topic back to Taeseon Foods. Yeol-chan should still pay and be responsible for the mistake that Taeseon Foods committed. Chairnam Namgoong then comes up with a plan: if Yeol-chan’s Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen doesn’t sell well, he’ll fire Yeol-chan. Joon-soo (and Executive Goo) like the idea. Oof, the pressure is on.
Our team work together to boost the sales for the Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen. However, none of their efforts are paying off and people are hesitant to purchase the ramen noodles due to the incident with Taeseon Foods. After a day of promotions, our team returns to the office with their heads down. Assistant Manager Oh and Seung-jin argue that they should start focusing on projects that can improve their performance rates. They do have an evaluation and assessment by HR coming up soon. However, Yeol-chan takes offense to their comments and assumes his team doesn’t trust him and his leadership. Man-sik attempts to get both guys to stop complaining.
After work, Tae-ri exits the building and makes her way to the bus stop. On the way out, she’s confronted by her stalker who threatens her and becomes physically violent with her. He pushes her to the ground and is close to hitting her with a wooden sign. Thankfully, Yeol-chan comes to her rescue again and he blocks her from getting hit. Police is eventually called onto the scene and the stalker is arrested. Yeol-chan grows upset and angry at how Tae-ri often seems to be involved in dangerous and risky situations. Tae-ri is hurt from Yeol-chan’s comment; she interprets his words as if he’s blaming her for the incident. She bids farewell with him and heads to the police station. Joon-soo witnesses the latter end of the incident and becomes curious as to what happened.
Joon-soo accompanies Tae-ri at the police station and walks out with her after she finishes with the investigation. It turns out the stalker was the president at her former workplace. It’s scary how dangerous people can be nowadays. Tae-ri pleads for Joon-soo to leave her alone as she isn’t in the mood to interact with anyone. However, Joon-soo doesn’t want to leave Tae-ri alone. Just like how she’s saved him many times, he wished he could have saved her earlier during the incident. Tae-ri begins to slowly warm up to Joon-soo with his comment and they continue to walk together. Later on that night, Tae-ri replays the moment when Yeol-chan rescued her in her mind repeatedly. She can’t quite understand why he was angry and upset at her.
Yeol-chan shares some drinks with Man-sik that night (aww, I’m gonna cry!). The stress with work is too much for Yeol-chan and he needs to vent. He admits that he’s never had any confidence to begin with, but he especially doesn’t have any now with all the recent events that has been going on with work. Man-sik offers him some advice as a former General Manager himself and encourages Yeol-chan to save himself first. He’s not going to always be right. Yeol-chan can simply say one thing and then turn back on his words and say something else. Although not ideal, it’s a good way for Yeol-chan to survive in his current position. Man-sik also suggests that Yeol-chan reach out to Mr. Cha, the Director of their Shanghai branch, for some support. If the Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen isn’t selling domestically, they can always start selling internationally.
As much as Yeol-chan doesn’t want to admit it, reaching out to Mr. Cha doesn’t seem like a horrible idea. Plus, anything works for now and he could use the support. So Yeol-chan gives Mr. Cha a call and pitches his idea of a collaboration to him. Mr. Cha is opened to the collaboration of promoting the Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen in China, but if all goes well, he and his team will get the credit. Yeol-chan agrees to the condition; he just needs their new product to succeed. And so the results pour in and Yeol-chan’s new product does gain more traction and popularity. Thanks to a video of Tae-ri gobbling samples of the ramen noodles at a grocery store as well as Mr. Cha’s work, sales for the Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen soar. Yeol-chan is grateful to his team, but especially to Tae-ri and Man-sik for their hard work.
Yeol-chan make amends with Yoon-soo privately at work. After reviewing one of his proposals, Yeol-chan is impressed with his work and notes a few pointers Yoon-soo could improve on. Yoon-soo is thankful for his boss and is about to apologize for the threat he made towards Yeol-chan, but Yeol-chan brushes it off. He pretends as if nothing had ever happened. Since they’re already on the topic of Mr. Yeo, Yoon-soo informs his boss about Executive Goo. She knows about Yeol-chan’s past at Ongol Foods which alarms the General Manager. Executive Goo was the one who met with the guy that had information about Yeol-chan’s involvement with the incident related to Mr. Yeo. Uh-oh.
Chairman Namgoong holds a meeting with Chairman Cheon of another food company who owns 19.8% of shares for Joonsoo Foods. Chairman Namgoong eventually shares that he plans on promoting Yeol-chan as Junior Managing Director which upsets Joon-soo as well as both Executive Goo and Ahn. In a meeting with Executive Ahn, Joon-soo ponders if there’s a way to eliminate Yeol-chan once and for all. As an alternative to Joon-soo’s bribery scam, Executive Ahn recommends that they do something during Joonsoo Food’s 55th anniversary event coming up. Senior Intern Ok-kyung overhears the two discuss their plans as she sets up some tea in the office for them. It seems like she’ll have some tea to spill to her other fellow senior interns. Haha.
While leaving work, Yeol-chan recalls the words that Yoon-soo shared with him earlier. He can’t stop worrying about how Executive Goo met up with his former colleague from Ongol Foods. What exactly did they talk about and what’s going to happen to Yeol-chan? In need of some good ramen and some company, Yeol-chan heads to the spicy chicken restaurant he always goes to. Of course, Tae-ri is also there so the two sit down and catch up with each other. They start off about apologizing for the incident with Tae-ri’s stalker. He shouldn’t have gotten mad at her and she shouldn’t have been upset with him. Afterwards, Tae-ri becomes curious about Yeol-chan’s history with the restaurant. Is it true that he got inspired to start his popular spicy chicken ramen after he encountered a lady eating fiery chicken at the restaurant they’re currently sitting in? Just as Yeol-chan is about to feign ignorance and pretend as if he didn’t, the restaurant owner jumps in and confirms Tae-ri’s statement. Yes, Yeol-chan was inspired after seeing Tae-ri at the restaurant five years ago. Lol!
After learning the information, the situation between the two grow even more awkward. To clear up the air, Tae-ri enjoys some alcohol which she might have enjoyed just a bit too much. She ends up rambling while intoxicated. From complaints about her stalker to Yeol-chan himself, Tae-ri has a lot on her mind to vent about. Why did he act so differently in front of her and behind her back? Why did he rescue her so many times? Why did he say such cool and smooth things to her? Tae-ri rambles on and on, but she’s had enough talking. She ends up leaning in towards Yeol-chan and giving him a smooch on the face (OMGGGG). The kiss is enough to wake her up and she’s wide awake. Well kind of. Tae-ri pulls away from Yeol-chan and quickly leaves the restaurant after apologizing to him. GAAAAH.
That night, Yeol-chan and Tae-ri continue to think about the kiss they shared back at the restaurant. They’re so speechless and confused the only thing they can do is feel their heartbeat for some kind of answer. Yoon-soo and Jung-eun are also thinking about each other that night. Yoon-soo discovers his dog holding Jung-eun’s hair tie that she accidentally left behind on the night that they slept over together at his studio apartment. Jung-eun recalls the conversation she had with Yoon-soo at work the day after they slept together. He apologized to Jung-eun for the fact that they couldn’t afford to date each other at the moment.
The next morning, our two couples try to keep things on the down-low in their own ways. Jung-eun and Yoon-soo remain strictly professional with each other while Tae-ri and Yeol-chan avoid eye contact in the office. However, their eyes keep meeting so Yeol-chan takes the chance to make plans with Tae-ri for the weekend. And so the two meet at a cafe that weekend. Unable to hold in his feelings and thoughts any longer, Yeol-chan confesses the truth to Tae-ri. Unlike what he claimed before, Tae-ri is his Ramen muse and she’s important to him. She’s been his source of inspiration for his ramen products so far and she rescued him when the video of her stuffing Spicy Webfoot Octopus Ramen samples into her mouth went viral. Tae-ri’s played a huge role in his life and he’s thankful for her. Yeol-chan can’t stop thinking about Tae-ri and he wants to make his feelings for her clear. He likes her.
Tae-ri is taken aback by the sudden confession and grows shy. She admits that she too once had feelings for Yeol-chan. Tae-ri too admired and thought about Yeol-chan often. However, with every passing interaction, she only became more and more disappointed and eventually.. well.. her feelings for him began to disappear. The reason? Yeol-chan is too much of a Kkondae. LOL. Yeol-chan’s world begins to spin uncontrollably and it seems as if all time has stopped for him upon hearing the word ‘Kkondae.’ Him? Kkondae? How can that be? Yeol-chan backs away from Tae-ri and doesn’t ask for any follow up explanation or reasoning to her statement. Just hearing her call him ‘Kkondae’ was enough for him and Yeol-chan walks out of the cafe. Lol. Poor Yeol-chan!
Jung-eun does some thinking of her own at the cafe near her place. She takes another peek at the polaroid photo of her and Yeol-chan back when they used to date. Instead of taking it with her, she hides it under a napkin at the cafe before heading out for work. That chapter of her life is now closed. She’s now moved on to Yoon-soo and she communicates her feelings about him through a sticky note. She then sends a follow up text to Yoon-soo about meeting up at work so they can talk things out. But wait, it’s not just Yoon-soo who received the text. Tae-ri accidentally sent it into the team group chat (AHHH! That’s my biggest nightmare!). Everyone quickly connects the dots and tease Jung-eun and Yoon-soo for dating, but Yeol-chan breaks the mood. He’s not so happy at the two dating. Do they even have the time to date? Plus, they’ll just drag their relationship issues into the workplace and it’ll ruin everything. Oh, and also, their relationship might affect their evaluation exam and chances of receiving a permanent job. Jung-eun storms out of the office after hearing Yeol-chan’s rant and complaint. Everyone isn’t so happy with Yeol-chan himself and they all ignore his calls later on that night. Even Man-sik isn’t willing to come out and join Yeol-chan for some drinks. Yeol-chan remains a lonely soul with no one from his team responding to him.
The next day, Yeol-chan enters the office to find Yoon-soo and Jung-eun secretly exchanging gifts with each other and Tae-ri teaching Man-sik some tips and tricks on his computer. He can only watch his team in despair; everything seems like a mess. But things are about to get messier. Man-sik’s wife stops by the company building to visit Man-sik. She asks the receptionists at the front desk to meet with Director Man-sik, but they’re confused on who she’s referring to. There is no director by the name of Man-sik at the company. Back at the office, Man-sik presents Yeol-chan with a cup of dalgona coffee that he made specifically just for his boss. While the two bicker about the coffee, the entire team receives a surprise visit from Man-sik’s wife. She’s shocked to see her husband working at the office, but she’s even more shocked to find her daughter working with her dad as an intern. Everyone becomes confused at the sight of Man-sik’s wife who refers to Tae-ri as her daughter and Man-sik as her husband. Tae-ri? Man-sik? Daughter and dad? Wait, what’s going on?
No one in the office knows what’s going on and I don’t either. I don’t even know what the drama is doing in general now. The ending to this episode was a pretty clear indication to me that the drama has no idea as to what it’s doing or where it wants to go or how it wants to keep itself occupied. The drama could have left the Man-sik and Tae-ri relationship alone and just focus purely on Man-sik, but it chose to take on more than it could handle by throwing in Tae-ri’s familial connection to Man-sik. The drama was already beginning to lose sight of its original vision and plan and premise, but everything has pretty much gone out of the window at this point.
I don’t have too many new things to say about ‘Kkondae Intern’ other than that I wished it could have stuck with its original premise which was the whole Man-sik vs. Yeol-chan schpiel. That was how the show promoted itself and set itself up to be so I’m disappointed that the drama has now regressed to being something completely different. It was interesting at first watching Yeol-chan and his team fall through the cracks. It was interesting to watch his team discover Yeol-chan’s true colors and learn that he’s not as kind and perfect as he made himself out to be. It was interesting to watch Yeol-chan have to work with team members who only became more and more disappointed in him. The beginning of the show as well as all the new sub-plots made for a great and fascinating and heart-warming watch at first. However, things are just dragging at this point and the drama is just pulling random stuff out from thin air because it has no idea or trajectory as to where it wants to go.
Sure, I did want to see more silly and hilarious Man-sik vs. Yeol-chan fights, but hey, I’m also not complaining with all the bonding that the senior intern and General Manager is building. I love seeing them get closer to each other and air out bad thoughts or truths that they never had the time or courage to address in the past. Such as we saw in this episode, they finally had a proper and raw conversation about the incident with Mr. Yeo which they both were involved with. Yeol-chan and Man-sik were individually involved with Mr. Yeo in their own ways, but they both also played a role in the series of events leading up to his suicide attempt. It was nice to see them not only be honest about their wrongdoings and involvement in the situation with Mr. Yeo, but also to see the two process these feelings together. They acknowledged their own faults and mistakes within all of this, but they also learned the truth about the situation with each other.
The situation with Mr. Yeo was a huge turning point in the professional relationship between Man-sik and Yeol-chan back during Ongol Foods so it was relieving to see the two address the heaviness of the situation. Because it was always such a heavy and scary topic to talk about, they merely moved on with their lives and pretended as if nothing ever happened. However, both Man-sik and Yeol-chan also knew that it was an experience that they just couldn’t simply forget and ignore. Fast forward five years later and they’re still just as impacted and traumatized from that incident with Mr. Yeo. Nothing’s changed for the two so it was better for them to talk about the incident and come clean about it instead of suppressing their thoughts like how they had been doing the past five years. Growth comes in many different shapes and forms and that conversation about Mr. Yeo was one of the ways both Man-sik and Yeol-chan grew in this episode.
It was also touching to see Man-sik join Yeol-chan for some drinks in the earlier half of the episode. They were enemies of some sort at first because of their history back at Ongol Foods, but have now transformed into becoming mentor and mentee with their time at Joonsoo Foods. We’ve been witnessing Man-sik give Yeol-chan advice and tips on how to deal with difficult situations from past experiences he’s learned as a leader, but there was just something different with the way that Man-sik physically joined Yeol-chan in person for some drinks. It’s a sight and situation you would have never thought happen or be possible, but yet here Yeol-chan and Man-sik are, enjoying not only the alcohol they’re consuming but also the raw and honest conversations they’re having with each other about work and life. Sure, the two might not have started off on the best note and they still have a very complicated past that they’re slowly starting to accept and deal with. However, they’re also learning to move past all of the trauma and build better and brighter memories with each other. They can’t change their past, but they can change their situation in the present and that’s what they’re doing. Man-sik might be a senior intern at Joonsoo Foods, but he’s also a mentor and colleague for Yeol-chan, who I think we can all say, appreciates Man-sik’s support and company. Man-sik has come to mean a lot for Yeol-chan by staying by his side through all the work issues and challenges and it’s nice to see that Yeol-chan isn’t alone. He has Man-sik and that’s been more than enough for him.
I’m not so sure why the drama decided to pull some kind of plot twist on us by making Tae-ri and Man-sik related. I really hope that the show is just tricking us and that they aren’t actually family related (although, yes, I do see that they both have the same surname). I don’t think it was necessary in the first place and it seems like a random ploy that the show is enacting as a result of not knowing what it wants to do with its last few episodes. I see it as an attempt by the drama to fill in the remaining episodes which is confusing and frustrating for me because of just how much content and potential the drama had to explore other topics. It would have been great to just see Man-sik’s wife come to terms with the fact that her husband is not the director of the company which he was lying about this entire time. But then to pull Tae-ri into that already complicated situation and have her be possibly related to Man-sik? That’s when I knew the drama was doing too much. And as we’ve seen in the past, the drama has a tendency to do much more than it can handle and balance. And plus, you’re telling me that Yeol-chan has feelings for a woman who’s related to his former boss-turned-senior-intern? Please ‘Kkondae Intern’, please tell me this is all just a dream and that I’m overreacting. PLEASE.
‘Kkondae Intern’ has been long confused on what it’s about and what it wants to focus on. The path that the show has taken has changed drastically and I’m sad that the show no longer remains as addicting as it once used to be. It used to be the winner out of the three current dramas that I’m watching, but it’s heartbreaking to think that the drama is now in last place. A part of me keeps holding onto this hope that it can get better and redeem itself because of past episodes that were brilliant and entertaining, but another part of me is also telling me to just let that hope go and to simply watch ‘Kkondae Intern’ for what it is. Just like how Yeol-chan’s team members came to the realization that Yeol-chan wasn’t all that nice and sincere as he presented himself to be, I too should submit to the fact that ‘Kkondae Intern’ has surpassed its golden phase. It’s now turned into something else and there’s no going back to like how it used to be. The only way is to move forward.
Extra screenshots from the episode~