Introverted Boss: Top Dog, Under Dog

Having move past the initial melodrama (remember those dark, thundery scenes with Hwan-ki?), Introverted has settled into a more mundane pacing with the focus on Hwan-ki as well as his Silent Monster members’ personal growths.

What started out as a “dumping ground” for the “never-do-wells”, the “will-not-make-its”, Hwan-ki’s selection of his team members reveals that he knows how to recognize a diamond in the rough. The overly motherly Yoo-hee, who is overlooked by Woo-il’s rather snarky team mates for being only slightly better than the cleaning lady (or a free bread van), turns out to possess uncanny instinct for being an office “weather vane”. You may have someone like her in your workplace, s/he may be a big gossip, but you know who to look for to suss out your bosses’ “mood” for the day. Also, such colleagues are usually the ones who keep everyone bonded and appreciative of the workplace.

More importantly though, I appreciate Hwan-ki for not only being understanding about Yoo-hee’s need to balance her family and her work, but he goes all out to encourage her to spend time with her kids at the expense of skipping “work”. I suppose Woo-il’s subordinates are either single, or married without kids, since they used to denigrate Yoo-hee for her “extracurricular” activities that force her to take urgent leaves from work. (i also don’t think Yoo-hee is promoted much under Woo-il’s team)

But most interesting is nay-sayer, Sun-bong. He probably was brushed off several times under Woo-il’s team for being “too critical”, “overly pessismistic” or juz not supportive enough. Although he brings his caustic tongue to Silent Monster, turns out that his constant poking holes at projects and ideas do help the team to recognize potential pitfalls before the project is implemented. And isn’t that important? No one wants to spend tons of money only to realize mid-way that the idea won’t work.

Surprisingly, Sun-bong’s “negative” outlook also allows him to look at the flipside of things, and he really gives an out-of-the-box, unconventional idea when he proposes to rebrand a tired looking cinema into an all-in-one space for the horror flicks’ lovers. And because of Hwan-ki’s affirmation and appreciation of Sun-bong’s “hidden” talent, Sun-bong becomes Hwan-ki’s biggest fan, to the point that he now constantly runs all his ideas through Hwan-ki, never mind that it may be in the middle of the night.

The person who benefited the most from a little appreciation is Hwan-ki. From the initial mistrust the members have with him (most of them assume they are being punished for being transferred to Silent Monster), to their grudging acceptance that he does know his work and finally to outright admiration, when Hwan-ki (in the effort to “rescue” Ro-woon back to Silent Monster), takes on his biggest fear – that of public speaking.

Although Ro-woon is the main factor for Hwan-ki being able to complete his PPT and not freak out onstage, the cumulative support from his team members helps as well. Besides doing up the groundwork, they had to sit through several sessions of his PPT’s rehearsals, cheering him on and also cringing in embarrassment when he falters. (i find that there is nothing more pitiful then seeing someone freak out on stage…) And when Hwan-ki does stammer, they are more worried about him than the loss of the project (or their possible jobs). (aww)

While Under Dogs Hwan-ki and Silent Monster are on their way up, Top Dog Woo-il, in contrast, appears to be sliding downwards. Although he is a natural performer, most of Brain’s ideas (and counter-strikes on other PR agencies’ proposals) stem from Hwan-ki. With Hwan-ki pulled out to head Silent Monster, suddenly the magic Woo-il has been creating begins to disappear. Brain starts to lose projects, and in the “show-down” between himself and Hwan-ki on stage, Hwan-ki’s sincere PPT clinches the paint company’s deal.

For someone with a rather sensitive ego, the sudden sense that he is no longer “powerful” (his subordinates talk behind his back, saying that he has “lost his touch”), or even needed, is scary to say the least. Made worse when he realizes who Ro-woon is. From Woo-il’s point of view, if Ro-woon knows how involved he was in her sister, Ji-hye’s, death, not only will his pristine image be tarnished, but Ro-woon (whom he does feel affection for) will hate him. So he wants her away, but bizarrely transfers her to his department.

Of course, I think Woo-il’s act of plucking Ro-woon away from Hwan-ki and keeping her by his side is very much due to Hwan-ki’s romantic interest in Ro-woon. And it’s quite obvious to Woo-il that Hwan-ki is changing cos of Ro-woon. So if Woo-il wants everything to revert to their original states, and himself to continue being THE only voice of Brain, Ro-woon and Hwan-ki have to separate.

In Woo-il’s defense (even though I don’t like him), his desperate need to feel wanted probably stems from his orphanage background. As an adopted “son” (or slave), he always had to show that he had been worthy of Chairman Eun’s “selection”. This deep seated insecurity colors everything he does and also tint his interpersonal relationships with others.

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