The Thousandth Man: Episode 5 Recap

by: Raine

This episode really explained a lot, pushed the plot forward and passed very significant romantic milestones. Despite this, the person who really got me in the gut this episode was Hyomin. She’s a fabulous actress that really made me run the gamut of emotions and then back again. Bravo girl. Way to defy public opinion!

The episode held steady at 4.6% according to AGB Nielsen Nationwide.

Episode 9Tangled Love!

“Only You” –  Goo Ja-myung  (from the The Thousandth Man OST)

episode 5 recap

Mi-jin’s Goryeo Dynasty husband, the general, is hunting Mi-mo and they have a pretty awesome battle. (Lee Chun-hee also looks fumazing in sageuk-wear. *drool*) The  general manages to deeply wound Mi-mo’s arm and Mi-mo jumps over the wall into his hanok to escape.

Inside, Mi-jin finds her sister bleeding profusely and hides her. The general comes in, worried for his wife who quickly tries to assure him that all is well. But the astute general spots Mi-mo’s blood trail and begins to track her. Thinking quickly, Mi-jin partially gumiho-fies herself, growling and biting her own arm. Her cry of pain draws her husband’s attention and she sends him searching in the wrong direction.

Mi-jin startles awake from her dream and wonders why Mi-mo was there in the first place.

That’s what I’ve been wondering, too. Also, does Mi-mo recognize Eung-suk? Did she have a thing for the general back then?

Eung-suk broods over Mi-jin’s determination to keep dating. In fact, he gives us a mild, but still sexy, shower scene and then prettifies himself. After a moment’s hesitation he calls…Mi-mo? Anyway, she is getting ready with her mom to go somewhere and is thrilled to see Eung-suk’s call. She’s also thrilled to blow off her mom to go meet “Gum”. Mom can go with the “fox”. Ha.

Neither Mi-jin nor her mom want to go with each other, but her mom explains that Mi-mo hasn’t changed even though she became human. She’s still going out to meet men, this time one codename “Gum”. Secretary Park starts laughing (a very creepy affair) and comments that Mi-mo seems more fox than human, scaring the gumihos. But he clarifies that Mi-mo is more like a fox than they are. In retaliation for her scare, Mi-sun buys dry rice cakes and eats them in the car so that the crumbs fly everywhere and horrify the OCD Secretary Park.

Eung-suk meets Mi-mo who gives him a bag full of gum (heehee) and tells him that she’s disappointed that he gave in so early. But he just wants to see how men and women play…before he dies. Mi-mo is suspicious of his intentions because she doesn’t realize that he means what he says. She thinks he’s playing hard to get or perhaps that she is Mi-jin’s substitute. (Bingo!)

Okay, I just have to say this. I love Eung-suk and his innocent faith in love is wonderful, but what he is doing to Mi-mo is just cruel. How can a thirty-something not realize that asking a woman who likes him to teach him how to date is just plain ol’ MEAN?

So Mi-sun and Mi-jin were heading to a gumiho council meeting. More gumihos! The old chairman is on the deathbed and they need to elect a new one. Mi-sun desperately wants the position but another gumiho, surname Park, hostilely challenges her.

And I want to call this hostile, mean gumiho “Mean-iho”. Heh.

Mean-iho says that Mi-sun is too rich and too busy to care about half of the members who are out of contact. Also, Mi-sun has a flaw and Mean-iho implies that it’s Mi-sun’s not-yet-human daughter, Mi-jin. So Mean-iho proposes to thoroughly investigate any chairman candidate. When the gumihos clap their approval of this suggestion, Mi-jin joins in, earning a fierce pinch from her mother.

Eung-suk decides that eating chicken feet together is a great idea for a date (uh….) and confuses Mi-mo further. But she decides to go with the flow and gives him three chicken feet conditions. (She bites off the chicken toes to count the conditions.)

  1. She’ll come whenever he asks her out. (Okay, he agrees.)
  2. She’ll do whatever he asks her to do. (So far so good, he replies.)
  3. If he wants to break up… (She bites all of the chicken toes off.) Raine says, “Eek!”

At home, Mi-sun explains why she needs to be elected. She can’t let Mean-iho become chairman. Mean-iho once stole her kill by pretending to be a dog and has continued to botch her plans, even in today’s meeting. Although Mi-jin agrees that the election should be fair, she doesn’t realize what a hindrance her inhumanity is. A gumiho is expected to become human just like a South Korean son is expected to serve his compulsory military service. There are only two months left. Mi-sun begs Mi-jin to become human for her sake as potential future chairman. It’s all she needs to become chairman after the money and connections she’s earned over her long lifetime.

I think it’s funny how Mi-jin is more human than her mother and sister. Mi-sun thinks that money and connections means being human. Mi-mo wants love but thinks of it more as a game. It’s like hunting men as a gumiho, but for lower stakes.

Mi-jin steps outside and finds Woo-hyun and a friend playing a game of pick-up basketball. He introduces his friend as Sung-gyu (played by INFINITE’s leader, Sunggyu) who is his bestie and someone who is always working at his part-time and at school. Currently he is taking time off to study for a test, which is for “Middle Ages Korean”. Of course, Mi-jin is an expert in it and offers to help him study.

An aside: now I know what language the gumihos were speaking in episode 2 in front of the suicide man.

Eung-suk walks Mi-mo home and he wonders if there is a motor in her mouth. “This motor has a sensor,” she replies. “If my companion doesn’t talk, it rolls automatically.”

BWAHAHAHA. I have to use this. I am the person who fills silences in conversations.

She wonders if he is curious about her and he asks if she is really Mi-jin’s sister. They are so different. The mention of Mi-jin’s name annoys Mi-mo. Of course they’re different. A human and a non-human can’t be the same. Eung-suk tells her to stop being to mean to her sister and pisses off Mi-mo. Did he ask her out to take Mi-jin’s side? Mi-mo stalks off leaving naive Eung-suk alone and confused.

Mi-jin tries to explain vowel differences to the boys but receives blank stares. Sung-gyu asks if he can come after his part-time if he has any questions and of course she agrees, happy to impart her knowledge.

The moment is interrupted by Eung-suk chasing after Mi-mo. At first, she wasn’t about to give him the time of day, but when she sees Mi-jin staring at them with wounded eyes, Mi-mo smiles and decides to forgive him, VERY loudly. Then she flips her hair and heads inside, which is when he sees Mi-jin and her expression. He awkwardly hides the bag of gum, bows a greeting and hurries away.

But Mi-jin isn’t the only one hurt. Woo-hyun is crushed as well. Sung-gyu notes their expressions.

Gah! Mi-mo knows that she is hurting, but Eung-suk is almost worse in a way. How did he NOT see this situation coming?

Well, now he knows and he’s taking out his embarrassment and anger on some very unfortunate vegetables with a very large knife. Chef Seo is confused by his behavior because he thought Eung-suk was playing all day. This comment angers Eung-suk even more and he brutalizes more veggies.

Mi-mo is rubbing in some face cream and watching t.v. while puzzling over the days events. Mi-jin comes in, biting her nails.

Mi-jin: Did you two have a date?

Mi-mo: *nods*

Mi-jin: Did you call him first?

Mi-mo: *shakes her head*

Mi-jin: Then are you seeing him?

Mi-mo: *pretends to laugh at the t.v., glances back at Mi-jin with a noncommittal head movement and laughter, then turns back to the t.v.*

Mi-jin leaves and Mi-mo feels terrible.

Woo-hyun knocks on the window and asks Mi-mo the same questions. She is annoyed and hits him, but he catches her hand, calling her cute. She seems affected by this show of power and emotion.

Mi-sun wants to have the next council meeting at Last and asks Mi-jin to reserve it. Mi-jin refuses and Mi-mo takes up the baton. Last is under her control now. She is very obviously rubbing it in Mi-jin’s face. Their mother tells Mi-jin to be more like Mi-mo. Nice move, mom. Mi-jin’s jealousy gets the better of her and she stalks away from the table, leaving a plate of perfectly good and fresh raw meat.


Mi-mo heads out to Last and walks right past Woo-hyun who is dejected; everything seems so drab to him now.

At Last Mi-mo is denied. When she points out their dating, he quickly corrects her. He is learning how men and women play together. Is that confusing?

Yes, Eung-suk, yes it is.

He clarifies that work is work and personal is personal. Mi-mo wants to know why he accepts Fox. Because he promised her of course.

Woo-hyun goes to Sung-gyu’s part-time job to seeks advice. Sung-gyu explains that both Woo-hyun and Mi-jin seemed shocked by the situation. It’s a tangled love situation. Woo-hyun feels like his world collapsed when he saw Mi-mo with that guy. Sung-gyu thinks he’s being overly dramatic, but Woo-hyun says the colors of the world are now dull. You’re in trouble, Sung-gyu says with a smirk and Woo-hyun sighs, completely lovesick.

Mi-jin is with a client and lost in thought. She absently agrees to everything the client says, which eventually ticks her off. The client demands to see the director when Mi-jin gets a call from Mi-mo, asking her to head to Last. The client is insulted and furious. She grabs Mi-jin’s collar but the gumiho has no time to waste. She apologizes and picks the woman up bridal style and runs her down the hall, shocking everyone. Mi-sun walks into the lobby an gapes. “You wanted the directer? Here she is.” Mi-jin plops the client down in front of Mi-sun as Mi-jin runs away, leaving everyone mouths agape. Mi-sun offers the client a massage.


The gumiho hurries to Last and makes the reservation. She and Eung-suk are all smiley and flirty. His flirtations are pure but hers are laced with a sense of mocking and victory over her sister who is glaring between them with jealousy. Chef Seo has enough sense to inspect a pole for anything unusual. Heehee. Finally, Mi-mo can’t handle it and calls her sister away for a chat. Chef Seo stops Eung-suk from following them, calling him a troublemaker. Eung-suk finally gets it. Again.

Wow, he seriously needs a lot of reminders.

They go to the bathroom for a showdown. A thousand years of latent anger and unresolved tension plus recent jealousies come to a head.

Mi-mo: Are you happy? Are you gloating?

Mi-jin: I wouldn’t say I am. But you don’t seem to have Last under your control.

Mi-mo: Let me ask one thing: Do you think Eung-suk ssi will give you his liver?

Mi-jin: No, it’s not that.

Mi-mo: Wake up. Stop wasting your time here and find another guy and become human, you stupid animal. You acting like a human disgusts me.

Mi-jin: How dare you talk to me like that!

Mi-mo: Don’t act like you’re nice. What? You’re looking for a guy who’d give his liver out of love. Yah, I know you look down on eating random livers, but this is reality. I am a human and you’re an animal. Know your place.

Mi-jin seems hurt beyond words. Mi-mo exits and Eung-suk is worried to see her come out alone. Seconds later Mi-jin hurries from the restaurant. Mi-mo stops Eung-suk from going after her. Since Eung-suk let Mi-jin reserve the restaurant, he can now go play with her. He agrees half-heartedly.

After a moment Mi-mo asks, “You like her that much? Don’t hurt her or I won’t forgive you.”

I will attempt to explain this in my comments. I might need time to digest this gut-wrenching five minutes of emotional drama torture.

Episode 10A person who is happier by 1 centimeter!

Mi-sun organizes the council meeting while her daughters sit before her, arms crossed and refusing to communicate directly with each other. They try to get Secretary Park to relay messages between them and piss their mother off. Mi-sun is so aggravated she accidentally let’s something unusual slip.

Mi-sun: They fought for milk before. They haven’t changed one bit.

Park: They fought for milk? Were they twins?

Mi-sun: Stop talking nonsense. In the litter of four, Mi-jin came thirty seconds before [Mi-mo]. The rest died.

Park: Litter of four?

Mi-sun grabs her aching head and orders them all out. Haha.

Woo-hyun and Sung-gyu are sitting in a field and chatting. Woo-hyun is seeking more advice and Sung-gyu is just envious that Woo-hyun can afford to feel gloomy – his world is pitch black because he has to worry so much about money. A bit guilty, Woo-hyun apologizes for having rich parents and whining about love. But Sung-gyu won’t let Woo-hyun stay down. He encourages him to show Mi-mo his real self.

Cue Woo-hyun getting snazzified and climbing on his sexy motorcycle.

Eung-suk is thinking while Chef Seo is working hard. He asks for help, but Eung-suk is stuck thinking about Mi-jin. “It won’t work,” he frets to which Seo replies, “You can do it!” Encouraged, Eung-suk heads out, leaving Seo with a mound of work. Haha.

Sung-gyu waits for Mi-jin to ask about slang used in Joseon times. Mi-jin recalls that she used to use a few choice phrases when she was on patrol. In a flashback we see her searching for and catching a criminal. She threatens him with all sorts of phrases that refer to different torture techniques. Sung-gyu thanks her for the phrases and high fives her.

Of course, Eung-suk comes in and completely misinterprets the situation – not that I blame him- and he becomes surly. I think he has there to see Mi-jin but now that he’s seen her with a younger man, he declares that he came to meet someone younger, too. He asks the woman at the front desk to see Mi-mo.


Okay, I think Eung-suk’s naivete is slowly dissipating. Well, not so slowly.

In the car Eung-suk declares that he’s counter-cheating when Mi-mo asks what they’re doing. He shudders with disgust and asks to see the ocean, which makes her happy. Suddenly, a man on a motorcycle starts tailing them. She realizes it’s Woo-hyun. He rides up beside her and starts yelling. She pretends to be angry and not to understand him. She speeds up and amuses Eung-suk who guesses that Woo-hyun likes her. Mi-jin is, of course, more angry that Woo-hyun stopped following her.

Sung-gyu, the love guru, notes that Mi-jin has the same look as the first time he met her and that she must like that guy. She wonders if he knows about love and he answer vaguely. He has to give up a lot everyday because he is poor. What she thinks is difficult is even harder for someone like him. If he tries harder, will he get the future he wants? Is it possible?

Mi-jin comforts him with the fact that people had harder times during the past thousand years. We don’t make the future; it just comes by as we’re living. Today will be better than yesterday some day.

Woo-hyun shows up again, secretly pleasing Mi-mo. She loves the chase. He busts out a megaphone and Eung-suk thinks he’s cool so he opens the window for Mi-jin. Woo-hyun declares that Mi-mo is his woman now.

They both stop and she stomps over to him, wondering what is wrong with him. He has realized that he can’t live without her, that she is the one who makes his heart beat. She watches him leave in shock as Eung-suk envies his beating heart. (I.E. The long life ahead of him.)

The gumihos meet for the final decision and while they meet, Secretary Park and Chef Seo wait for them. Park says that Seo is waiting like a dog for his clients and Seo retaliates that he doesn’t have to wait for like while Park follows his master like a dog every day. Park needs a moment to forgive, which Seo (and I) finds bizarre, but he agrees to let him “forgive”. While Park forgives, Seo reads some ancient Korean document in hanja, which Park can’t read. Seo pokes fun at him again and again Park needs time to forgive. HA!

Mean-iho is trying to cut Mi-sun down with mean comments and the fact that although it’s an evil gumiho’s duty to become human, someone has a child who still isn’t human. Is she qualified? Mi-jin is angry, but this time Mi-sun came prepared.

Mi-sun explains that because her child has tried to become human for a thousand years, she can appreciate those who are human even more. She can be a chairman who will truly understand them. Mean-iho explains that there are rules, but Mi-sun counters this as well.

(I’m assuming the rules say that the chairman can’t be affiliated/related to any non-human gumihos.)

Mi-sun has Mi-jin hand her some research on the gumihos who were unable to attend the council meeting. 30% of them are poor, 20% are beaten by their husbands and 15% have emigrated. If gumihos struggle to be human, they deserve to be happy. Those gumihos aren’t happy because of the previous chairmen who only cared about the rules.

Mean-iho sneers, “Why don’t you just say you’re rich and you’ll grease us up?” She challenges the council to vote between rules and dirty money.

Before they can vote, however, another gumiho comes in, Mi-ja. She carries news that the current chairwoman woke up and the doctor says she has a few years left on her.

BWAHAHAHA! Sorry Mi-sun, but that’s just funny.

Mi-sun asks Mi-ja if shes human yet, but she isn’t and Mi-sun explodes at both Mi-ja and Mi-jin to become human already. Mi-ja quickly leaves and Mi-jin follows her.

Why isn’t Mi-ja human yet? Mi-ja wonders if Mi-jin is still waiting for a liver from someone who loves her. She thinks it’s weird and wishes Mi-jin would just become human because she’s nice and innocent. There are too many people in the world who are worse than “us animals.”

Mi-jin smiles sadly and thinks that Mi-ja would be a really nice human, too. But Mi-ja isn’t sure. She really wanted to be human before because she could see human’s affections then, but the world is scary now. People changed more during the past ninety years than during the past nine hundred years. Mi-jin is waiting for love, but Mi-ja doesn’t have that dream. She’s rather live as a gumiho and disappear.

The words scare Mi-jin. Mi-ja takes her hand and tells her to be human for sure; she deserves it.

At a restaurant on the beach, Eung-suk doesn’t want to drink because it makes him honest. When Mi-mo asks, “you didn’t come to see me, right?” Eung-suk starts to drink. “Do you really love, fox?” He drinks again.

Why is he drinking so quickly? she asks.

He’s sick, he admits. “Mi-jin ssi. I’m really sick.” His head hits the table as Mi-mo gapes at him, hurt by the name change.

Eung-suk: I can handle my illness and fear of death, but I can’t handle this heartache, okay? Mi-jin ssi, don’t hurt me, okay?

Mi-mo watches him with heavy realization and picks up her phone to call her sister. She tells Mi-jin that Eung-suk is looking for her but also that she won’t give up.

Then she cries on her drive home, calling herself a coward and wishing she was dead. She stops the car, unable to drive further and cries her heart out.

Mi-mo has proved her mettle and is also finally feeling her first real love pain as a human. It’s not quite like liver hunting, is it love?

Mi-mo trudges back to her house and passes Woo-hyun who is playing and singing INFINITE’s “Only Tears”. She remmebers all of her encounters with Eung-suk and we even get a bit of extra footage on the gum scene at the end of episode 4. They have a little gum chew-off. SO. SUPA. CUTE.

Suddenly, Woo-hyun slips his arms around her, but she removes them. She loves someone else. But that’s okay, because he loves only her.

She understands know, Woo-hyun. But heartache is not easy to deal with, especially when you think you’d experienced it all. She had a thousand years of experience and still that didn’t prepare her for this.

On the beach in the early morning, Eung-suk sleeps on Mi-jin’s lap as she strokes his hair. “Don’t get sick now,” she quietly begs. “I won’t hurt you again.” She remembers talking with Sung-gyu who wondered if trying hard will bring the future he wants. And Mi-ja had said that love was the only thing that makes humans human. Mi-jin has that to live for. Mi-ja doesn’t and would rather disappear as a gumiho.

Mi-jin makes a decision with tears in her eyes and thinks,

If I can be with him, I won’t regret it even if I vaporize.

Eung-suk stirs and glances up at her. When he registers her face he sits up.

Eung-suk: Mi-jin ssi!

Mi-jin: *tears well in her eyes*

Eung-suk: *pulls her in for a hug* Mi-jin ssi. I won’t be able to make you happy for good.

Mi-jin: *starts to cry*

Eung-suk: But at this moment I want to make you happier just by one centimeter.

AWWW! *squee*

They pull away slowly and share a very sweet kiss.


FAN GIRL *SQUEEEEEEE*! I can’t tell you how pleased I am with that last scene. So few words. Mi-jin didn’t speak at all. It was an overwhelmingly sweet acceptance of reality and what could be for just a little while. Both of them had been struggling with being with each other for their own reasons. He because he knew she was ill and knew she was looking for a man and avoiding him. He was also scared to date and impose his short lifespan on someone. She because she was looking for love AND death. But she felt more for Eung-suk and didn’t want to take his life.

I wonder if her decision comes from knowing about his short lifespan. I doubt it though. She’s willing to give up her life to be with him. I think she’d make the same decision even if he was going to live longer. What Mi-ja said really hit her hard. And Mi-jin has always been different from her mother and sister. She’s more human than they are!

Speaking of human. There are so many issues that that word brings up in this show. Human versus nonhuman. Nonhumans are treated unequally. Mi-mo constantly taunts Mi-jin and calls her “fox”. Mean-iho discriminated against Mi-sun because of Mi-jin. Although being a gumiho and being a human have different traits, it’s horrid of them to look down on Mi-jin. A not so small commentary on discrimination. And an amazing play on the meaning of the word “human” and what it means to embody that word.

And then we have that conversation between Mi-mo and Mi-jin in the bathroom. Wow. I seriously had goosebumps as Mi-mo ripped Mi-jin’s heart to shreds. It’s obvious that Mi-mo has been conflicted about Mi-jin’s desire to have the man who dies for her love her. Also, Mi-mo seems to think that Mi-jin looks down on the gumihos (like Mi-mo) who killed indiscriminately. Mi-jin tried to live like a human until she killed whereas her mother and sister lived like beasts.

I don’t think this is the case. I think it’s something that is quite personal to Mi-jin and doesn’t expand beyond that. But it’s a misunderstanding that is so common to the human condition – especially between sisters. When it’s family, a person feels things so much more strongly.

That also applies to the jealousy and competition between them over Eung-suk. Mi-mo sees that Mi-jin wants a real relationship with him and is jealous and perhaps fearful. Real relationships are for humans, Mi-mo assumes, and this is her reason for claiming Eung-suk. But his has always been her problem. She and her mother both focus on “I am human therefore this is how things must be”. But love isn’t that way and I think Mi-jin saw that over her lifetime and coveted it.

In any case, Mi-mo was extremely harsh with her sister and said things that were incredibly hurtful. But then, mere moments later, she warns Eung-suk not to hurt Mi-jin. Again, the nature of sisterhood. There is that bond that cannot be broken. Even though there are so many unresolved tensions between them, they are sisters who have shared years, struggles and, of course, they share blood.

I like that the show explored that relationship.

And the general. I’m still curious what happened with him. I know Mi-jin was drawn to Eung-suk because of his remarkable resemblance to her former husband, but I think she also loves Eung-suk for himself. How can she not? He’s so earnest and so wounded. Also, does Mi-mo remember him? Is that why she is chasing him? WHY?!

As for Mi-mo, the reality of being human seems to be hitting her hard. She started chasing Eung-suk as a game, like chasing men always was, and it became something all to real. I love seeing her grow through it and I love watching Hyomin. She rocks.

My biggest criticism of the episode was the way that the writers moved the plot forward. It was exciting, informative and fun, but at the same time, throwing in Sung-gyu and Mi-ja was a little awkward. Mi-ja fit in a bit better because she was part of the mysterious world of the gumihos and it makes sense that she would just randomly appear with an opinion contrary to most gumihos’. But Sun-gyu was more awkward. “Hello, here is my friend I’ve never talked about before who has entered as a love guru.” At the same time, however, each episode has Mi-jin meeting another man. For some reason, though, the other men seemed more organically introduced.

But whatcha gonna do? It’s a mini-series!

And we have another man to add to our list:

Episode 1: Self-serving love with a man who wanted to marry for appearances.

Episode 2: Insecure love with a man who didn’t have the strength to love.

Episode 3: First love with a man who never overcame it and was unable to forget.

Episode 4: Manipulative love with a man who used love for profit at the expense of his partner.

Episode 5: Reality of love with a young man who puts love in perspective.

Sung-gyu’s character grounded love for our characters this episode. He is our love guru. We may love, but we need to consider how it affects our lives and the lives of others. He’s the young but ageless and wise person who our thousand year old gumiho turns to for advice. Love isn’t just a fantasy, but something we live with and grow with and learn from. We have to actively participate it and make very difficult decisions about it. Sometimes, like Sung-gyu, we have to go without it. Sometimes, like he advised Woo-hyun, we have to go after it. Sometimes, like Mi-jin, we have to sacrifice everything for it.

Now to see what happens next episode. I was incorrect last post. The last episode was last night. I’m going to try to catch up! I need to see what happens post kiss and with Mi-mo.

Episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Character introductions.

The Thousandth Man Episode 5 Screencaps.

2 responses to “The Thousandth Man: Episode 5 Recap”

  1. Love this recap! I feel so bad for Hyomin! She has so many pitiful moments in this episode. But I just love the ending, and how she suppresses her feelings and pride, and makes sure Mi Jin can hook up with Eung Suk.

  2. Only eight episodes? Okay I just read your recaps and this might be a nice way to celebrate my semestral break. One last exam, one last day and Lee Chun Hee! I miss you Raine, I miss Korean dramas. HUHU. Nice Guy is the only thing I’m keeping tabs with and that’s just by reading recaps. /loser

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