Running Man ep 197 – National Ddakji War
The members split up and recruit teammates from Korean universities, then play a ddakji tournament with scholarships as the prize.
Planning and Direction: 5
This episode was a good example of the benefits of keeping it simple in terms of direction, as it was mostly just some individual recruitment segments then the game itself. In this case, trying to add too many segments or twists to the show would have likely created a lot of confusion due to the number of guests and the nature of the final game. The only problems were a confusing ‘power’ given to Ji Hyo without explanation, and the inclusion of a 7-way tug-of-war game that was boring and fairly useless – but neither really made much difference in the end.
Good postproduction work this week, as the visuals were clean and helpful during both of the main segments, so it was always clear what university they were at, what the score of the game was, and so on. The music was also a bit better than usual, although it still had a few of the usual lazy Running Man background music work.
Jang Dong Gun – The Way to Go to You
Leessang – Let’s Meet Now
Cypress Hill – Insane in the Brain
The Ventures – Hawaii 5-0
Shin Hae Chul – To Her
Travel Sketches – Destiny
Congorock & Nom de Strip – Minerals
AC/DC – Shoot to Thrill
Queen – We Will Rock You
Feri & Multi – Rockin
Queen – We Are the Champions
Random WWE Theme Songs
Yoo Jae Suk: 5
Solid week from Jae Suk, who didn’t really add a great deal to the show but was important as the ‘live MC’ for the ddakji game, and as a finalist in the competition. He seemed more interested in playing ddakji than being entertaining, however….he seemed to be really serious about it most of the times he was on stage.
Kim Jong Kook: 4
Jong Kook had a boring student segment, then got a pass for the first round of the game, then was eliminated quickly. Didn’t get to appear much as a result.
Ha Ha: 5
HaHa got a big assist from the students at Incheon University, who were really energetic and funny, making his job easy for the first segment. In the main game segment, he put in a decent enough effort, and helped out with the MCing a little bit when Jae Suk or Suk Jin were busy playing.
Ji Suk Jin: 6
Suk Jin continues his unexpected upsurge in Running Man, both in terms of games and good performances. He did a really good job with the students early on, then joined Jae Suk to do the live MCing of the main game – and may have done the better job of the two. His ddakji performance was good as well, making for a good outing in this week’s episode.
Lee Kwang Soo: 4
Kwang Soo had a bit of a disappointing performance, being out of the main game quickly and preferring to try to be funny all by himself instead of working with the students. Unfortunately, he wasn’t really funny and got cut a lot as a result.
Gary was solid this week, with both his student segment and main game segment being right around the middle of the pack in terms of entertainment.
Song Ji Hyo: 4
Ji Hyo continues to be incompetent at carrying solo segments, with her student recruitment scene basically being run by the PDs on site with Ji Hyo “hosting” instead of interacting with the students, being funny, and so on. It was heavily cut, and her main game appearance was short lived. The score could even be worse, as Ji Hyo barely did anything in this one, but the staff has to share some of the blame for putting her in situations outside of her skill set.
APink, various university students.
APink just showed up to do some awkward dancing to a medley of their songs, then left. There were many students featured, with the highlights being the Jae Suk lookalike girl, the Annoying Guy, and the other crazy Incheon students that went so far as to bring their own gags to the shoot.
Episode MVP: Ji Suk Jin
Although he won the game, that is not the main reason for being MVP – he was one of the top members at getting a good segment out of the students, and then contributed a lot to the main game by MCing as well. A nice, hardworking performance from Ji Suk Jin that continues his recent streak of good showings.
Final Score: 5
Kind of a so-so episode that had a few hiccups, but was mostly solid. The student segments were edited so as to put the focus on the more interesting personalities, but didn’t stay with any one group too long to become tedious. The main game was about as good as could be expected from a ddakji tournament, with enough twists and turns to keep it interesting just long enough to fill the time needed. Nothing special about this episode, but it was a decent enough change of pace.