Running Man ep 196 – Time Travelling
The members revisit the games from some of their most memorable past episodes.
Planning and Direction: 6
Although the idea of “redoing” classic episodes is one that somewhat lacks creativity and could easily have backfired horribly, the end result turned out to be about as good as it could possibly be. The episode was action-packed from beginning to end, with no useless guests or trite mini-games to get in the way, and this resulted in a fast-paced and fun episode on the whole. Although much of the episode was heavily scripted and/or directed, sometimes awkwardly so, this was somewhat more acceptable than usual as the PD staff seemingly made a good decision to focus the episode more on nostalgia and good-natured fun than competitiveness or drama. The tweaks to the games were also well done, although the ways that they were connected together as a whole was a bit awkward and forced at times, as well as mostly unnecessary.
The music was composed entirely of stock BGMs, OST instrumentals, and the usual RM themes, and the laugh track was unnecessary and inappropriate at times, but the graphics and visuals were quite well done.
None, just the usual generic RM BGMs.
Yoo Jae Suk: 5
As opposed to last week’s role and the central figure, Jae Suk had a much reduced role this week, as he didn’t have to MC much and was eliminated from the games quickly. Still, he was good when he was onscreen and had nice interactions with the others.
Kim Jong Kook: 7
Jong Kook continued his streak of good performances this week, and this may have been the funniest he’s ever been on Running Man. His ‘acting’ during the pill taking, humming classical songs while chasing people down, admitting that he barely stopped himself from going shirtless Rambo style and so on were some of the funnier bits and much more than Jong Kook usually provides – he seemed to really be enjoying himself in the episode and gave a very good performance as a result.
Ha Ha: 6
While Ha Ha didn’t appear a lot until the final game, his reactions and comical over-acting were strong this week and added a lot to the light-hearted nature of the show. HaHa usually flourishes during the more heavily scripted episodes and this was no exception.
Ji Suk Jin: 5
Suk Jin didn’t do a lot in this episode, but was mostly fine when he was onscreen, keeping his character going and contributing some narrative aspects.
Lee Kwang Soo: 6
Along with Jong Kook, Kwang Soo was one of the beter members in the episode. He really played up his usual comical overacting and haplessness, and although this can be tedious at times when he does it in the wrong situations, this episode was the type of scenario where his antics are most useful (and funny).
Another good week for Gary, who was energetic throughout and provided good reactions as well as a few jokes of his own.
Song Ji Hyo: 5
Similar to HaHa, Ji Hyo usually is at her best in scripted segments as well as games that require an element of stealth, of which this episode had both. Ji Hyo didn’t really step up and add anything memorable to the episode, but her reactions were good and she was active in advancing the plot in several of the segments.
Hao Chao return!
The somewhat obscure skit team return, and were funny mostly because of how intense they were in their role as assistants – at some points they were running around at top speed and giving hand signals like they were a SWAT team or something.
Episode MVP: Kim Jong Kook
Although it was close between Jong Kook and Kwang Soo, the edge goes to Jong Kook for several reasons. First, Kwang Soo mostly just played Kwang Soo, while Jong Kook stepped a bit outside his usual role, with good results. Secondly, while both were funny in their own rights and played their characters well, Jong Kook did slightly more in terms of both interacting with other members as well as progressing the games themselves. Nevertheless, both put it quality performances this week.
Final Score: 7
Although the concepts were not original and the episode almost seemed as if it was filmed a bit cheaply and casually at times, it managed to remove a lot of what has been dragging down recent Running Man episodes (bad guest, stupid games) while emphasizing action and situational comedy. Additionally, the cast members all seemed to be enjoying the shoot and gave good performances across the board, which kept the energy high and made the episode very easy to watch. All in all, a very enjoyable episode.