Misaeng: Episode 1

So I didn’t watch this in Russian because they spoke English sometimes and the subtitles don’t appear for English so I wouldn’t know what’s going on.

We start off this drama in busy Cairo, where our main character is chasing some guy like an action hero.

Sorry this is hard to screencap.

Sorry this is hard to screencap.

He says in the voiceover, “Roads are open to everyone, but not everyone can have the roads.” Okay. I put that there because he said that a lot. Maybe it’s important.

I don’t know what that was all about, but back to the real world. His name is Geu Rae. He worked in dead-end part-time jobs, like cleaning a public bath and uber-ing drunk men in the middle of the night.

He looks like a kpop star.

Looking like a kpop star while at it.

Ah, turns out, he was a kpop star:

He used to be in a boyband. too.

He used to be in a boyband. too.

But that’s just the actor. Geu Rae is certainly not a kpop star. However, his mom just got him an internship at some company so he could finally quit his dead-end work and have somewhat of a new career. We don’t know for sure how she did it, but she got it.

He’s reporting for his first day in his father’s suit because he ain’t got none.

In an oversized suit.

Tsk tsk.

At work, he met Mr. Kim, one of his supervisors. In their conversation, we learn that Geu Rae is 26, has only a GED, no college, no proper skills, and no language abilities.


A rare species in this competitive Korean society.

Next, we meet Young Yi, an intern in another department who’s got her shit together. She can speak multiple languages, including English.


“I be slaying, you hear?”

I’m pretty sure she’s going to be Geu Rae’s love interest because she’s literally the only girl here. Okay, whatever.

Mr. Kim asked Geu Rae to go make copies.

He failed, having never made copies before in his life.

Successful first day.

Successful first day.

Geu Rae went back to his desk and Mr. Kim was not around. Suddenly, the phone rang. This is the most triggering scene I’ve ever experienced.

He’s forced to answer the phone despite literally being here for only 30 minutes.

He couldn’t understand the person on the other end because they spoke a different language.

But I could.

But I could.

Panicking, he spotted Young Yi walking by and asked her to help him with the call.

She’s like, “The fuck? I’m not in your department.”


“But they’re talking about something…idk…like Mband?”

He begged her and eventually she gave in.

She answered the phone and spoke in her best Russian. I think we’re supposed to be impressed but I couldn’t understand her. Here’s a clip if you want to hear it (it’s at 0:57)

A for effort.

A for effort though.

We see a montage of him answering the phone and running to her for help. She would reluctantly help him but then get so annoyed and he would do it again. At some point, she’s like, nope, I’m done.


Now he’s all alone.

Next, we’re introduced to Kang Ha-Neul. He’s also an intern but in a different department. He’s super ambitious and smart. He finished a presentation on the African resource development investment business for his boss before the deadline. He sent it in PPT, PPTX, and PDF just in case. He used size 14 Gothic font and subtitles are in size 15 Maglun Gothic. Anything you’ve ever accomplished is suddenly trivial compared to him.

And he's good-looking. Just for good measures.

Why are you so perf—GOD. I’m frustrated.

So recap: Young Yi is the super smart girl intern and Kang Ha-Neul is the super smart boy intern. Let’s hope they don’t end up with funny business together.

We’re starting to see that everyone hates Geu Rae because people learned from HR that he was hired through his connections despite having no skills whatsoever. Meanwhile, the interns here went to great schools and jumped through a lot of hoops to get the job.

BUT the one person who doesn’t hate Geu Rae?

Kang Ha-Neul, because he’s such a nice guy. He introduced himself and told Geu Rae to ask him if he needed help. Aww.

My boy.

My boy.

Here’s Kang Ha-Neul eating lunch:

Did you know he can use chopsticks?

Did you know he can use chopsticks?

In a twist, we learn that Geu Rae does have skills. Since he was little, he’s been playing the game Go (aka “baduk” in Korean).


I….have no idea what this is.

He used to be very good and could have gone far, but he missed his potential because he couldn’t focus on it. During high school, he had to work part-time jobs to help his parents. When his dad died, he quit it completely.

The next day at work, Geu Rae met Mr. Oh, another supervisor.

Mr. Oh also didn’t like Geu Rae and would constantly ask Geu Rae why he shouldn’t be fired

Because he's actually a kpop star.

Because, old man, he’s actually a kpop star in disguise.

At the office, Kang Ha-Neul tried to talk to that girl but she’s clearly uninterested.

Stay uninterested, girlfriend.


He’s not available.

Geu Rae’s mom came by and gave him a new suit that she just bought so he wouldn’t have to wear his dad’s oversized suit anymore.

A little better. It's still not tailored though.

A little better. It’s still not tailored though.

Mr. Oh organized a bunch of interns together for a meeting. Idk what this company does, but apparently they sell squids. They learned that their shipments of fresh squid suddenly has octopus parts mixed in, so the interns now must go to the factory and look through every shipment to find the dang octopuses.

Here's Kang Ha-Neul in a blue shirt.

Here’s Kang Ha-Neul in a blue shirt.

Geu Rae, Kang Ha-Neul, and the other interns travelled to the factory.

Everyone got in proper clothes-covering garments, but they didn’t have enough so our poor Geu Rae was stuck working in his suit.

Oh this is gonna be bad.

Oh this is gonna be bad.

He had to look through all these barrels of squid meat to find octopuses:

But how do you tell squid from octopus meat?

But how do you tell squid from octopus meat?

Everyone’s working hard to find it, including Kang Ha-Neul.


It’s amazing how little info I need to tell that it’s Kang Ha-Neul.

Geu Rae dropped his phone in the barrel of squid meat and ruined his suit trying to look for it. Of course that would happen.


Get yo shit together, Geu Rae.

About 30 minutes later, Mr. Oh called to tell them to stop because the situation has been resolved and they didn’t need to look for octopuses anymore.

Kang Ha-Neul told two guys to tell Geu Rae to stop working and meet them at the car.

1/10 would not recommend this look again.

1/10 would not recommend this look again.

Those two guys turned out to be assholes. They decided not to tell Geu Rae and just left him there.

Assholes at best.

Assholes at best.

Back at work, Kang Ha-Neul’s like “where’s Geu Rae” and those guys just laughed.

Kang Ha-Neul’s not having any of it and tried to call the factory to get in touch with Geu Rae.

A concerned Ha-Neul.

A concerned Ha-Neul.

Someone from the factory finally told Geu Rae that everybody left a long time ago. It was now nighttime.


This just sucks.

He eventually went back to the city and met up with Mr. Oh and everyone else at a nearby eatery.

Another concerned Ha-Neul.

Another concerned Ha-Neul.

We end the episode with Geu Rae saying that he will work super hard.

The end.

The end.

To recap: Geu Rae is the new intern who everyone hates because he’s incompetent and only got the job through his connections. They think he’s a rich guy with no skills. However, he’s actually a poor guy who used to be good at Go/Baduk. Kang Ha-Neul doesn’t hate him. The girl Young Yi does. I still have no idea why he was in Cairo at the beginning.


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