Infinite Challenge 387 – Speed Racer #5 – Qualifying Races
The actual competition begins with the qualification races for the main event.
Planning and Direction: 6
Although this episode mostly wrote itself, it was nevertheless very well coordinated and filmed. In contrast to the World Cup episodes, the IC staff seemed to have more freedom to film the KSF race and did an admirable job in what was likely a chaotic environment. Having the non-racing members compete in a ‘race’ to pick their teammates at 6:00 AM was also a nice minor touch.
In addition to the usual good graphics that helped keep the viewer informed about the action on the track, the episode was very well edited in terms of dramatic narrative, particularly during Jae Suk’s arc. There was not a lot of music in this episode, which actually added to the dramatic and realistic feel.
Yoo Jae Suk : 6
While he didn’t have much time to make jokes or speak at length about the events, his trials and tribulations were the focus of much of the episode, and Jae Suk’s reactions really helped to put into perspective just how difficult these challenges are relative to any of the other shows on air. Seeing the usually unflappable Jae Suk frustrated, flustered, and worried was an important and meaningful moment of this long-term story arc.
Park Myung Soo: 4
Literally slept through much of the opening, which was really unfortunate because it also left Jae Suk and Hong Chul high and dry in terms of providing good footage in the only comedic segment of the episode. While he did OK in serving as the butt of the jokes and seemed to be more involved in supporting the team later on, Myung Soo was nevertheless the forgotten man of the episode.
Jung Jun Ha: 5
Had good interactions with his group in the opening segment, but was mostly focused on driving for the bulk of the episode. Nothing really good or bad to report in terms of entertainment, but he actually did really well with the driving itself.
Jung Hyung Don: 6
The polar opposite to Myung Soo, Hyung Don took his non-racing status as an opportunity to take the lead as the resident mood-lightener of the members. Interacted well with everyone and showed good reactions throughout.
Ha Ha: 5
Similar to Jun Ha, Ha Ha was mostly focused on driving this week, but did well at narrating his thoughts while doing so.
No Hong Chul: 5
A bit of a rough week for Hong Chul, who was not only stuck in the Myung Soo group early on, but seemed extremely nervous during the racing to the point where he uncharacteristically clammed up for most of the episode. Provided some drama with his failures though.
None, other than the usual racing arc people.
Episode MVP: Yoo Jae Suk
While this week’s episode was nowhere near as emotionally charged as the dancesport, bobsled, or rowing episodes, it was nevertheless painful to watch Jae Suk in such discomfort as concerns about letting down those who were expecting him to play a key role in the race were flashing through his mind. While he didn’t -do- much this week, per se, the very fact that he takes on so much responsibility for his shows allowed this week’s episode to have meaning.
Final Score: 6
A good, well-paced episode where the races began to really matter and the drama was upped significantly. While there were no really incredible moments, the episode was very nicely filmed and edited to provide as much impact as possible for the qualifying races.