It’s hard and heartbreaking to believe that it’s already been two weeks since Kwang-soo’s last episode on ‘Running Man.’ Episode 560 was the first episode without Kwang-soo and it was a bittersweet watch despite the episode having its usual comedic highlights and the cast members doing their best to continue without the former member. Like I mentioned in my post about my thoughts regarding Kwang-soo’s departure from ‘Running Man’, I wanted to recap his last episode as a way to bid farewell and remind all of us of his amazing effort and time on the show. The past eleven years with ‘Running Man’ has been a wonderful and wild ride and it’s bittersweet to have to say goodbye to this chapter in the show’s history. To our beloved Kwang-soo, you have done so well.
Running Man: Episode 559 Recap
The episode starts off with a recap of Kwang-soo’s time on ‘Running Man.’ What eventually started as one day turned into a month and then into a year and then eventually into 10 years and 338 days. Although the laughter and jokes and hilarious antics that ‘Running Man’ is known for will continue on without Kwang-soo, it’s only fitting that we dedicate time to commend and celebrate Kwang-soo’s time on the show. So for a pre-recording shoot that takes place ten days before his final shoot, Kwang-soo meets up with PD Bo Pil to talk about his last episode. He’s gifted some dessert during the pre-recording and Kwang-soo being Kwang-soo, he jokes around that the dessert is PPL and gives it a thumbs up while staring into the camera (LOL, typical Kwang-soo. I’m going to miss this from Kwang-soo soooo much). Kwang-soo is then asked to think of places, food, and memories that he would like to experience one more time with the cast members. Kwang-soo gives it some thought and lists out the following: the SBS building where the first shoot of ‘Running Man’ was recorded and Han River which they’ve visited multiple times on the show. Kwang-soo has memories of chicken kalguksu which he ate with the members when they visited his place during an episode as well as some pork belly which they ate in a recent episode. The LP bar they visited in that same episode is also another location that Kwang-soo would like to visit. Ultimately, Kwang-soo hopes for the recording to be as if it was any other day. Just a normal recording during an ordinary day, but we all know deep inside it won’t be that way.
It’s the day of the recording for Kwang-soo’s final episode and everyone shows up to the rooftop garden of the SBS building where they shot the first episode. It brings back memories and it doesn’t help that Kwang-soo’s mustache reminds them of the mustache he also sported in that first episode, haha. Suk-jin is also a bit greedy for that solo camera time and he rambles a bit about it being Kwang-soo’s last day. Of course, Kwang-soo points out that Suk-jin didn’t even mention anything until the cameras started recording and Suk-jin loses his spot next to Kwang-soo, hahaha.
With that, PD Bo Pil explains the theme of the mission for the day: “Goodbye, My Special Brother” (as a reference to Kwang-soo’s movie). Kwang-soo’s committed crimes over his time on the show and PD Bo Pil went above and beyond to recruit a former judge to give Kwang-soo a verdict (omg, they’re always so extra I love it). After explaining all the crimes to the former judge and the amount of times they were committed, the former judge eventually sentences Kwang-soo to 1,050 years in prison. Everyone is shocked by the results, but also, is it really that shocking? LOL. And so with the 1,050 years, the rest of the members are tasked with achieving missions to reduce Kwang-soo’s entire sentence. Failure to do so by the end of the day at 6:30pm will result in a penalty for everyone. With it being Kwang-soo’s last day, the staff have also prepared gifts for the member that he has a chance of winning every time 150 years is reduced from his sentence. There is also a photographer on set assigned to take photos of the members throughout the day. Everything seems pretty simple, but there’s something that the rest of the members are hiding.
Our seven members meet with PD Bo Pil an hour before the recording to go over the day. They learn about the mission and the gifts that the staff have compiled for Kwang-soo. There’s also a chance for the members themselves to win the same gifts as well. Whoever takes the most photos with Kwang-soo by the end of the day will have the opportunity to win those gifts. It seems pretty simple and the members have an incentive to participate in the missions that will help reduce Kwang-soo’s sentence. No one wants the scary penalty.
And so we proceed with the first mission: Kwang-soo Knows. He is to choose two balls at random in two different boxes and come up with statements that apply to the rest of the members. Of course, our members are caught up in the secret mission of taking photos with Kwang-soo and they slowly creep up from behind to steal some photos with him. This catches Kwang-soo off guard and he freaks out upon seeing the members crowded behind him. LOL. They take a photo together before continuing with the game. The first word that Kwang-soo picks out of the box includes the hint ‘last night’ and he must come up with a statement that applies to only one member. So with that, he has Jong-kook set in mind and questions who went to the gym the night before. Things aren’t always as they seem and no one stands up to the statement. Not even Jong-kook. It turns out he went earlier in the morning and not at night like he usually does. LOL. Kwang-soo fails with that one and he moves on to the next. The next one is also unsuccessful when he discovers that all the members ate dinner the night before (it was just Kwang-soo who failed to eat any dinner).
However, third time is the charm and Kwang-soo finally succeeds with his first statement. He withdraws the key phrase “last year” and has to form a statement that applies to only one member. So with that, he asks if anyone bought a new car the year before. The statement proves to be true for Haha who bought a new vehicle with the birth of his youngest child. It’s a touching moment for Haha since Kwang-soo was thinking of him during that moment and he pretends to tear up. Haha. The next few attempts are successful by Kwang-soo and he succeeds with this first mission. After overcoming interruptions from the rest of the members to hurry up with statements, Kwang-soo is instructed on how to win the gifts that the staff has prepared for him. There are two eggs presented in front of him: one that is hard-boiled and the other that is raw. Kwang-soo wins the gift if he manages to utilize his luck to select the hard-boiled egg. With his first try, Kwang-soo is lucky and he pulls through with the hard-boiled egg. Woo hoo, Kwang-soo wins his first gift and his sentence is reduced.
Everyone moves on to the next location that Kwang-soo has selected. While preparing to get into the van, Yoo Jae-suk jumps onto Kwang-soo’s back for what would be his last piggyback ride. Who else will be giving Jae-suk these piggyback rides once Kwang-soo is gone? 😦 With that, our eight members get into the van to head to the next destination. Of course, Jae-suk is the driver like usual and Suk-jin sits in the passenger seat. Memories of Jae-suk as the driver or episodes involving them driving places appear on the screen and we go down memory lane again (sooo sad). During the drive, the members reminisce past memories and tease Kwang-soo for leaving. He should rethink his choice and pretend that the episode was just a prank. It’s not too late and he can turn his decision around. Of course, it’s not a joke and Kwang-soo really is leaving.
While strolling to their next destination, Haha and Sechan spend some more time with Kwang-soo by walking next to him and holding hands. The cameras are on so Suk-jin pretends to be interested in Kwang-soo and he snaps some photos while walking behind the trio (haha, Suk-jin is so funny). Eventually, everyone gets on board a boat and our members feast one last time with Kwang-soo. Although they complain about the idea, it’s obvious the members are just teasing Kwang-soo and they enjoy the pork belly and chicken kalguksu that Kwang-soo mentioned at the beginning of the episode. They also learn that the 3,991 number written on Kwang-soo’s prison uniform stands for the amount of days he’s been on the show. There was only 9 more days until he would hit 4,000.
After eating, the members succeed in reducing another 150 years off of Kwang-soo’s sentence during another mission. With that, Kwang-soo gets the chance to potentially win another gift, but he’s not as lucky as his first try. He cracks a raw egg onto his forehead so he doesn’t get the gift. But it’s not all that bad. Jae-suk immediately washes Kwang-soo’s face with a bowl of water that was prepared for the game they played and Kwang-soo is amazed at how much of an expert Jae-suk is at washing people’s faces. LOL. Everyone moves upstairs for the next portion of the recording. While doing so, the members make sure to check in with the staff on their respective positions in regards to their secret mission and how many photos they’ve taken with Kwang-soo so far.
While waiting for the cruise to set off, the members tease Suk-jin for continuing to bring up Kwang-soo’s departure from the show. It’s only something that he does when the cameras are rolling. The members then shift their attention to PD Bo Pil who’s seen wiping his eyes with a tissue. The members tease him for already crying, but Kwang-soo can’t help but notice that tears seem to only be falling from one eye LOL. The next staff to be teased is cameraman Chan-hee who the members respect for his many years of being in the variety show industry as a cameraman. The members watch as some staff set off on another ship which Jae-suk assumes Chan-hee is on. However, Kwang-soo interrupts Jae-suk just in time to point out that Chan-hee is actually on the same ship as them so everyone laughs and Jae-suk playfully apologizes. Hahaha. That was a close one, Jae-suk!
And so the boat that our cast and staff are on sets off and the cruise begins! They tease Suk-jin for choosing the right furthest seat with the sun shining directly onto him. There are also some seagulls that accompany the cruise and want to join in on the fun. Eventually, they begin their next mission which includes a game where the members are to guess elementary-level Chinese characters. If all 8 members answer correctly, 300 years will be reduced from Kwang-soo’s sentence. While some feel confident in their knowledge of Chinese characters, others like Haha and Sechan aren’t as confident. At one point, a seagull can be heard croaking from above and the members interpret this as the seagull laughing at them. Haha.
And so the game begins and it’s off to a good start. Kwang-soo and Sechan surprisingly get their answers correct, but Haha struggles with the game. They switch things up so Somin starts the next round, but she too doesn’t answer hers correctly. Haha attempts to succeed again, but it’s not so great for him. He continues to get the answers wrong and struggles to explain the meanings behind the Chinese characters even when the members feed him the answer, lol. At one point, Jae-suk pleads for PD Bo Pil to protect their dignity. If the show continues to expose the members like this, viewers might get bored with the members. And so the members replay the game with a few changes. They agree to reduce 200 years off of Kwang-soo’s sentence if they answer five characters correctly. Excluding Haha, Sechan, and Somin, the remaining five members succeed with the game and Kwang-soo successfully selects a hard-boiled egg to win his gift. And just like that, the fun cruise comes to an end.
On the way to the bus, the members walk along a path surrounded by flowers and snap a photo together. Just like the scenery itself, we hope that Kwang-soo and Running Man will always walk on a flower path. With that, everyone reconvenes on the bus to their next destination. They crack a few more jokes before resuming their next mission: a prank phone call to one of Kwang-soo’s friends or acquaintances. If they can pretend to be Kwang-soo during the call and succeed in tricking the person that it’s Kwang-soo they’re talking to, our team will win. With that, Suk-jin is chosen for the special challenge and the person he calls is actor Ahn Bo-hyun (from ‘Itaewon Class’). Bo-hyun texted Kwang-soo the other day upon hearing about his departure from the show so the members seize the opportunity to contact him for the game.
With that, Suk-jin calls Bo-hyun and manages to actually strike up a conversation with the actor! Everyone else is shocked by the results and how gullible Bo-hyun seems. The actor doesn’t seem suspicious at all and continues to chat with Suk-jin who sort of doesn’t sound like Kwang-soo, lol. Eventually, Suk-jin succeeds and the truth is revealed to Bo-hyun by Kwang-soo and Jae-suk. When asked if Bo-hyun had a strange feeling, Bo-hyun admits that he did. However, he didn’t bring anything up because he didn’t want to hurt Kwang-soo’s feeling and thought that maybe Kwang-soo sounded a bit different because he was crying after wrapping up the show. Aww, Bo-hyun is so sweet. With that, the game ends and our team succeeds once again! 300 years is shed off of Kwang-soo’s sentence. Woo hoo! As the bus inches closer to their final destination, the members pull yet another trick on Suk-jin who’s caught taking a nap in the front of the bus. They wake him up by pretending to finish a mission and PD Bo Pil joins in on the joke by announcing that Suk-jin has agreed to leave the show. Omg, hahaha. They are too funny!
The bus arrives at the LP Bar that Kwang-soo wanted to visit and each member gets off the bus one by one. Suk-jin is the first to leave the bus in order to participate in their next mission: each member’s knowledge of Kwang-soo is put to the test and they’re each asked a different question pertaining to the member. As the members exit the bus one by one, it gets lonelier and lonelier and quieter and quieter. Eventually, Kwang-soo is the only one left on the bus and the last to leave. It’s a bittersweet feeling for Kwang-soo as he watches the members carefully exit the bus. Oof, why does this scene hit so hard? It makes me want to cry.
And so the final part of the episode begins and it all comes down to this. Kwang-soo’s infamous theme track plays in the background as Kwang-soo enters the room. Hahaha. The song will forever be iconic! They all go over the questions about Kwang-soo that the members were tasked with answering. Suk-jin, Haha, and Somin fail to answer their questions correctly, but it’s different for Jae-suk who was asked to write down Kwang-soo’s father’s name. To no one’s surprise, Jae-suk gets the name right and he successfully remembers Kwang-soo’s father’s name. Kwang-soo’s father did appear on the show earlier during the show’s run which surprises Kwang-soo even more. He unexpectedly sheds some tears upon knowing that Jae-suk answered the question correctly and everyone is surprised at how early the member is already crying (this was the part where my tears just began to flow uncontrollably. I could not stop crying once Kwang-soo started crying). It means a lot to Kwang-soo as his father made a surprise appearance on the show years ago. It also means a lot that Jae-suk remembers his father. In Yoo Jae-suk, we can always trust.
Jong-kook and Ji-hyo also manage to get their questions about Kwang-soo correctly and everyone is impressed and moved by them. Sechan is the last one to go and he was asked to recite Kwang-soo’s phone number. It’s a lot more challenging as no one memorizes people’s phone numbers these days. Just when you think Sechan knows Kwang-soo’s phone number by heart, he actually doesn’t and the numbers that he recited out loud was just a bunch of numbers he compiled together. Kwang-soo has never heard of the phone number before and everyone laughs at the hilarious exchange. Kwang-soo notes that all his tears have dried up by this point. Hahaha.
Kwang-soo receives more opportunities to reduce his sentence by the 6:30pm deadline that is quickly approaching. He manages to somehow choose 3 hard-boiled eggs to crack onto his head (the other eggs were actually raw eggs). His good luck continues when he somehow succeeds at the pirate roulette game and finds the exact slot to pop the pirate out on his first try. Nothing was preplanned or predetermined and even the owner of the LP Bar is just as shocked and flustered by the results. So with that, Kwang-soo is cleared of his sentence and he is “released” after serving his full sentence (haha, PD Bo Pil is too funny!). Kwang-soo receives one last chance to win one last gift, but of course, it’s Kwang-soo we’re talking about and he cracks a raw egg on his forehead on his last try. Haha. Good luck doesn’t last forever with Kwang-soo, amirite? While the photos that the photographer took throughout the day is being developed, the members take the rest of the time to get in their feels and write some letters for Kwang-soo. As if I haven’t cried enough already, the show decides that it wants to make me cry even more.
It finally starts to hit the members as they write their letters. Time is running out and it’s almost time to wrap up the episode. The 7 members are divided into two groups: the first group consists of the 4 Hyungs while the second group includes Ji-hyo with our two Maknaes. Suk-jin is up first and Jae-suk ends up reading his letter for Kwang-soo who tears up before he can even read Suk-jin’s letter. Suk-jin writes,
Kwang-soo, it has already been 11 years since I first met you. You were just Long Legs Kwang-soo whom I met at work, but now you’re my little brother who I’ll be with forever. Kwang-soo, I was happy when I shouted “Feeling! Intuition! Cross!” with you. “Feeling! Intuition! Cross!” might have been nothing to others, but I was sincerely grateful for each moment of it. Kwang-soo, you are kind and cool. Kwang-soo, let’s see each other forever. Let’s be friends forever. Even if you’re not on ‘Running Man’, we’re family. I love you, Kwang-soo.
While reading Suk-jin’s letter, the members burst into laughter at how he went straight into “Feeling! Intuition! Cross!” without there being any sort of development whatsoever. Regardless, Kwang-soo is still touched by the letter and they transition to Jae-suk’s letter. Jae-suk writes,
To my beloved brother Kwang-soo, it has already been 11 years since we started ‘Running Man.’ It’s hard to put into words how much effort you put in. You did so well. I don’t know who to interrupt and who to ask for piggyback rides anymore, but I think it will end up being Se-chan or Suk-jin. It will feel empty and be hard without you around, but don’t worry about us. Do everything that you’ve wanted to do. Let’s see each other often. Call me if you ever need anything. Thank you, Kwang-soo. It wasn’t boring because of you.
Of course, the members burst out laughing when Jae-suk unexpectedly brings up how Se-chan or Suk-jin should be the one to replace Kwang-soo’s duties. Kwang-soo’s tears dry up once again due to the abrupt laughter. As sad as the situation is, all the members do their best to lighten up the atmosphere and to cheer each other up. After Jae-suk is Jong-kook’s letter which Kwang-soo musters up enough courage to read himself. Jong-kook writes,
I don’t know why it was so fun. We used to laugh every time our eyes met. I thought we would stay this way forever. And I thought you would be there until the end which is why I think I feel even sadder. We won’t be together on ‘Running Man’ anymore, but let’s be together for the rest of our lives. Be healthy always, you punk.
While Kwang-soo reads Jong-kook’s letter out loud, Jong-kook shyly and quietly sketches a portrait of Kwang-soo on his notebook and hands it over to the member after he finishes. Jong-kook is quite the artist and the portrait is beautiful. Jae-suk jokes that Jong-kook has about 3 talents and skills: singing, variety shows, and drawing. If you include exercising, that totals to about 4. LOL. Jae-suk always manages to make us laugh. Haha’s letter is up next and it reads,
To my younger brother Kwang-soo, to my lovely Kwang-soo, hello Kwang-soo. It’s me, Haha. Since I saw you every week for the past 11 years, I feel like I will see you next week as well. It’s because you did your best and showed an incredible amount of effort that so many viewers are upset and as sad as we are. You worked hard. Who will I tease now? Who will I con now? With whom will I stay up all night talking to? I love you. I will pray that you stay dazzling and cool and realize your dreams no matter where you are. I love you, Kwang-soo. Stay healthy and happy. This is a passionate goodbye. From Haha.
With that, the first group reveals their song dedication to Kwang-soo which matches with Haha’s letter. It’s ‘Passionate Goodbye’ by Toy which the owner of the LP Bar plays. While the song plays in the background, clips and footages of the four Hyungs with Kwang-soo pops up on the screen. So many memories flash in everyone’s minds and it’s sooo bittersweet. Se-chan’s tears just won’t stop flowing (just like mines) and he lowers his head onto the table to cry. Somin comforts him by leaning on him and also sheds some tears with him as well. As the new additions to the show and the two Maknaes, there’s no doubt that Se-chan and Somin relied on Kwang-soo when they first joined the show. Kwang-soo has done so much for them and vice versa and that’s why the two Maknaes can’t help but cry.
Speaking of the Maknaes, it’s time for Ji-hyo, Se-chan, and Somin’s letters. Ji-hyo is up first so Kwang-soo reads her letter,
During the mean, happy, exhausting, stressful, touching moments, and when we went to unfamiliar places and saw fascinating things, thank you for staying with me through thick and thin for the past 11 years. Thank you. You worked hard. Kwang-soo, you are my younger brother. I love you Kwang-soo.
Kwang-soo pauses at one point in the letter because he couldn’t make out one of the words so Jae-suk had to step in for him to read the rest. LOL. Everyone breaks out into laughter at the abrupt stop, but Ji-hyo’s letter is still loving nonetheless. She stays behind a little bit after the recording to write another letter to Kwang-soo:
Kwang-soo, it’s me. Like I said earlier, it still doesn’t feel real to me. I think deep sadness will hit me and make me crumble when it hits me that you are no longer here. Visit whenever you miss us. I love you, Kwang-soo.
Somin is after Ji-hyo and her letter reads,
Kwang-soo, I am really thankful that I got to know you during the time that is neither short or long. I am really thankful for the unforgettable memories I will pray for you every step of the way and I will keep the show going. Visit ‘Running Man’ anytime. We will be waiting.
To wrap up the session, Kwang-soo reads Se-chan’s letter. Se-chan has already been crying his heart out the entire time, but he continues to do so when his letter is read. It reads,
Kwang-soo, you worked hard the past 11 years. I was happy to spend 4 years with you. We used to call each other after every shoot and have long conversations. I guess that won’t happen now. I will miss you a lot. I will always miss you, think of you, and feel empty. Now, do everything that you want to do in the world without penalties.
The members burst out laughing at Se-chan’s closing line about a world without penalties. How strange will it feel when Kwang-soo returns to a world where there’s no ‘Running Man’ or penalties waiting for him like there used to be? It’s a funny thought, but also one that is sad and heartbreaking. With that, the second group requests to play “Goodbye” by Jung Jae-wook as their dedication song to Kwang-soo. And just like with the Hyungs, clips and footages of Kwang-soo with Ji-hyo, Se-chan, and Somin play on the screen. Ji-hyo and Kwang-soo bickered like siblings would while Kwang-soo was that pillar of support for Se-chan and Somin. Together, the three Maknaes relied on each other both on and off the screen.
Kwang-soo is the last one to go and it’s his turn to read his letter. The silence is unbearable and quite long; no words are spoken but it’s obvious and clear how everyone is feeling in the room. After a few seconds, Kwang-soo is able to open up his heart and his mind and he reads his letter to the rest of the members,
Members, you helped me become the person I am today and gave me another family. Thank you so much. I am sorry. Again, I am sorry. Again, I am sorry. I didn’t do well over the past 11 years, but I think I did my best. Every week, the ‘Running Man’ members do their absolute best. Please continue to give the show a lot of love and attention. Thank you.
Kwang-soo cries while apologizing in his letter and it’s a lot to process for everyone. The album with the photos that were taken throughout the day is finally ready, but PD Bo Pil reveals the results to the secret mission that day. He reads off the results by starting with Jae-suk who managed to capture 27 photos with Kwang-soo. However, Suk-jin and Haha and Jong-kook and the rest of the members also took 27 photos with Kwang-soo. They all tied in the secret mission, but what the members aren’t aware of is that Kwang-soo was behind the secret mission. The gifts that Kwang-soo won throughout the day are actually gifts that Kwang-soo bought for the members. He just needed a way to get the gifts to the members so the staff came up with the secret mission in order to do so. The gifts were never for Kwang-soo, they were from him to his ‘Running Man’ family.
Fast forward to the day of the shooting, Kwang-soo was given the instructions to his secret mission on how he could successfully deliver his presents to the members. There was the hard-boiled vs. raw egg challenge, but to make it a little bit easier for Kwang-soo, his secret mission was to make sure that each member had the same amount of photos with him. That would be the only way Kwang-soo would be able to present his gifts to the members. So with that, Kwang-soo made sure to continually check with staff throughout the day on how many photos each member had with him and he continually made adjustments as needed. In the end, all the members ended up taking the same amount of photos with him so Kwang-soo succeeded in what would be his last secret mission on the show. In this special episode, there are only gifts and no penalties.
The gifts are brought out and presented to all the members. Suk-jin receives a designer bag, Jae-suk receives the designer hoodie, Haha gets some designer pants, Somin gets the champagne since she likes sweet champagne, Ji-hyo gets a bedding set since she likes to sleep, Jong-kook gets the sound bar since he likes to watch Netflix on TV, and Se-chan gets a picture frame. Now it’s time for Kwang-soo to receive some gifts for all his years of hard work on the show and he’s gifted with a golden name tag with his name on it. Name tags are the symbol of ‘Running Man’ so it’s a gift Kwang-soo will never forget. However, that’s not all. All 112 staff members of the show put together a journal with written messages to Kwang-soo. Kwang-soo also gets a speaker as another gift since he enjoys listening to music. Of course, the members joke around and question whether the speaker is PPL so Kwang-soo gives a thumbs up to the camera while smiling (omg, silly Kwang-soo!). They add that Kwang-soo can use the speaker and enjoy it with his girlfriend. Aww. Kwang-soo also receives the photo album of the photos that were taken throughout the day and two coupons with one pertaining to coffee trucks that he talks about often.
So with that, the end is near and Kwang-soo expresses his final thoughts after everything. With tears in his eyes, he comments how he’s grateful and that he was happy. He thanks everyone once again and gives a final bow to viewers. Clips and footages of his start on the show all the way to the present plays and we take a trip down memory lane once again (soooo many feels!). Jae-suk wraps it up as the MC of the show by thanking Kwang-soo for his hard work and encouraging viewers to still tune into the show even after Kwang-soo leaves. They’ll continue to do their best to make viewers happy. Sometimes, things in life doesn’t go as planned and that’s okay. Seconds before snapping one last photo together as 8, the members joke around about the gifts and where they can get themselves a set. LOL. Eventually, the last photo of them together on the show is captured. Everyone congratulates and thanks Kwang-soo many more times before Kwang-soo is asked to clap one last time as the slate for the show. Just like that, Kwang-soo’s clap wraps up his final episode and the bittersweet ending to this chapter in ‘Running Man’s history.
In his final interview, Kwang-soo thanks his members for everything:
Our oldest member Suk-jin, Jae-suk who helped me come this far, my moral support Jong-kook, Haha who is always like my family and friend, Ji-hyo who’s like my real sister, Somin and Se-chan who are like my sister and brother — with my gratitude to all of them, I’ll try my best for the rest of my life. I love you.
The episode concludes by bringing back the theme of this episode “Goodbye, My Special Brother” and tying it all together. Thank you to our special brother, Kwang-soo, for the past 11 years.
Wow, 2 weeks later and I’m still crying over this episode. Having watched the two newest episodes of ‘Running Man’, I thought I’d be okay, but re-watching this episode to make this recap definitely proved me wrong. I don’t think I will never not cry while watching this episode and the only word or sentiment I can use to describe it is bittersweet.
I appreciate that there were still comedic highlights and humor throughout the episode as sad and heartbreaking as this episode was. From Jae-suk’s comment about Chan-hee to PD Bo Pil “crying” to Suk-jin and Se-chan being named as Jae-suk’s new targets to the members “complaining” about Kwang-soo to the prank phone call, there were great moments in this episode like usual. I think that’s why I felt even sadder as the episode progressed. In between all the laughter and the happy moments and the cheerful mood, there was also this sadness roaming in the back of my mind knowing that this would be the last time we would ever see them as 8 with Kwang-soo. That was the hard part to progress and accept.
While there were many wonderful moments in this episode, my favorite part probably had to be the session at the LP Bar. It’s not just because of the letters that they wrote each other and the gifts Kwang-soo gave his members or just the way that the episode concluded with the LP Bar. Like Kwang-soo, it has to do more with the memories that are associated with the LP Bar. One of the most memorable moments that I will always cherish and remember was during their first visit to that LP Bar in episode 553. By the time the episode aired, news of Kwang-soo’s departure from the show had already been announced and it just didn’t feel the same watching the episode. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was a scene in the episode when all 8 members sang together to “As Time Passes” by Choi Ho-seop and just like So-min did in that moment, I too was crying. Just the way all the members sang their hearts out to the song together while holding hands and swaying left and right. Gah, that image is so beautiful but also so sad because we probably will never get to see something that beautiful ever again. I really liked the moments in episode 553 at the LP Bar which is why I’m glad that they visited the same location once again for Kwang-soo’s final episode. It wraps everything up together and sure does bring back many great memories.
I’ve already seen this episode a few times and I’m not so sure why I didn’t realize this before, but I cried while watching Kwang-soo read his letter to the members. I don’t know why I didn’t pay as much attention to his part before. Maybe it was because I concentrated more on the members and the letters they wrote to Kwang-soo, but tears were pouring from my eyes when Kwang-soo apologized three times in his letter. The more he apologized, the more he wanted to cry and it just absolutely broke my heart. He has nothing else to say because he truly does feel apologetic for leaving the show. He feels sad and bad that he couldn’t stay until the very end with his second family; he feels heartbroken that he’s left them and that he left the show this way. Kwang-soo shouldn’t feel bad or guilty; he has the right to choose himself each and every single time to do what is best for himself. However, rewatching that scene once again for this recap definitely got me engulfed in tears.
Like I mentioned earlier, it’s been two weeks since Kwang-soo’s final episode and I still do find myself enjoying the show just as much. I thought that Kwang-soo’s absence would be a lot louder and noticeable, but I think the members have done a great job in filling in for him without necessarily trying to be like him or act like him. They still bring Kwang-soo up in the two latest episodes and mention him here and there and poke fun at him, but they’re also still having a great time filming the show and that’s what makes me feel relieved. I actually really enjoyed episode 561 and found myself laughing so many times throughout the episode. Although it would have been even funnier and better if Kwang-soo was there, ‘Running Man’ is still ‘Running Man’ and the rest of the 7 members are doing great with what they’re given. Watching the episodes without Kwang-soo still feels and looks weird so it’s going to take me a while longer to get used to, but I think we will eventually and somehow come around to it. I’m still holding out the hope that Kwang-soo will return to the show someday, but if that doesn’t work out, I remain optimistic that he will make a few appearances sometime in the future.
I’m going to miss Kwang-soo on the show and I already do miss him on the show after having watched the two latest episodes. However, there’s also a part of me that somewhat feels at peace with the decision that’s been made and where we are at the moment. Kwang-soo is finally able to take a break and get some rest; he can stop running and he can walk at his own pace peacefully. We still have the show that is ongoing and airing where the members still work so hard to make us laugh and be happy. When you think about it from that perspective, we are all still in a winning situation and we should celebrate all that’s been accomplished so far. We should celebrate and commend Kwang-soo for his eleven years on the show where there was never a boring shoot. And hopefully, we can also see 11 more years of our members acting like the goofy and funny people that they are.
We’re all already aware of this, but if there’s anything we’ve learned from this episode, it’s really just how close all of the ‘Running Man’ members are to each other. In the earlier years of ‘Running Man’, I think the show was more focused on the games and missions such as the name tag game that defined the show. However, as the years progressed, so did the show and the show started to implement other types of games and missions that didn’t require as much physical activity. During this transition, we got to see more of the members just talk and be themselves. We got to see more of their characters and their silly personalities and the hilarious dynamic that they had as a group, as units, as pairs, and as individuals. Whether it’s quizzes or games like the ‘Strawberry’ game or prank phone calls like in this one, the show began to highlight more of our members and less about the games. The members got closer to one another and really relied on one another both on and off screen. Only the members themselves know what they’ve each gone through. Only the members themselves know what was required of them to be on the show for so many years. In those letters that were written to Kwang-soo, I know there were still so many things that were left unsaid. There were still so many things the members wanted to say to Kwang-soo that they didn’t say just for the entertainment purpose of the show.
But the members understand each other better than anyone else and the words that they were unable to articulate I felt they expressed through their eyes and emotions. Their hearts were heavy in this episode and there was a lot on their minds, but they really have gone through it all together and I don’t think the members would have wanted to go through the show with anybody else. They really are like a second family to one another which is why they stuck it out together for so long. There might have been member changes and transitions in the history of the show, but nothing will ever change off the screen. Like the members wrote in their letters, they wish to be together with Kwang-soo for a very long time. What might have started off as just a professional and business relationship has evolved and transpired to something so much bigger and better. ‘Running Man’ is family and Kwang-soo will always be a part of the ‘Running Man’ family.
Extra images from the episode~