After a quick recap, Episode 2 starts with a BANG with Chuu going on a full aegyo assault of Hani; just an unfair, one-sided battle as Chuu, wearing matching pajamas (!!!), begs for hugs and tells her to never get sick. Sunmi and Hani catch up on old times, Chungha zones out, and it seems like they get plenty of sleep, barring some YooA snoring.
The next day, Sunmi is the first to wake and get some Kimchi-jjigae going, while we’re treated to some gorgeous shots of the house.
The crew plans to split up for the next run, with Hani + YooA going to the mountain for some ziplining and Chuu/Sunmi/Chungha opting for some beach ATVing (vroom vroom). While I’m a little nonplussed that we’re splitting up already, it makes sense to group up based on course difficulty. Meanwhile Chuu makes some noises, makes faces into the camera, carries snacks around like a hamster and pretty much dominates the action.
Both the mountain and the beach are insanely gorgeous. These runs are pretty short, with the beach being a fairly flat 1km. But honestly any running is better than none, 1km is more than enough if you’re not a regular jogger. The girls take their sweet time to enjoy the water, the leaves, the trees, the fresh air.
YooA and Hani make it to the top of their run, and decide to enjoy the instant ramen they packed. Only problem is, they didn’t pack any clean hot water, just flower tea. They forge ahead and while YooA claims the combo tastes like mother’s makeup, Hani the Queen of Adaptability says it’s fine, taking a big swig of the soup itself. Meanwhile, the beach crew enjoy a hot chocolate next to the water, taking a few selfies to commemorate a run well-done.
Since the voice guide prompted the girls to meditate on the obstacles in their life, they start opening up to each other about their anxieties. Sunmi talks about Chuu’s excessive kindness, and we flash back to the night before, where Chuu talks about her growing impostor syndrome as her group gains more opportunities to perform. YooA also talks about her inability to stop worrying, while Hani tells YooA about how how all her perceived obstacles have one thing in common: herself.
Cut to the ATVing and ziplining, capped off by a shot of the crimson sunset.
The menu for tonight is Haemul Kalguksu, Seafood Noodle Soup with big, flat, hand cut noodles. Sumni becomes a clam expert as they pick up some from ingredients from the market. YooA coyly reveals her stash of marshmallows, which leads to mush-mouthed puffy-cheeked mukbang from the younger girls and Hani ascending into boomerdom.
Upon returning to the house, Chuu wastes no time and continues her aegyo siege on the unnies. Sunmi starts copying her speech, stating that Chuu has infected her brain like the parasitic fungus that mind controls ants for reproduction (ok maybe a bit far). But after some more aegyo squealing, Chuu declares herself available for adoption.
Sunmi prepares buttered hotteok and drinks as the girls reflect on the events of the day. I really have no clue what exactly the Friend 42 cards are about but they use the cards as prompts to talk about their feelings for the year. Exhaustion, tension, anxiety. Running Girls has given these girls a chance to escape all that.
At this point Sunmi begins to open up about her career, revealing that five years ago she was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. Her BPD made her feel like a burden to the people around her, but luckily through treatment and therapy she was able to recover. She remarks that her growing years and adolescence was spent in the backseat of company vans. And when she looks at her dongsaengs she only worries that they are experiencing the same hardships.
This moment in the show has been given a lot of attention in the press, and rightfully so. Mental illness is a huge stigma, especially in Asia, and it’s very very rare that a person will openly admit (or even seek) a diagnosis. Even Sunmi’s responses (“I’m a burden to others,” “I’m 100% cured”) are the result of a culture that normalizes shame and self-reliance that can cause an avalanche of difficulty. I’m not one to believe that anyone ever really “cures” a diagnosis like BPD or depression or any sort of neurodivergence, but on the bright side, Sunmi’s willingness to talk about it reflects her own ability to live with BPD in a mature and healthy manner. In light of the increasing accounts of Asian celebrities inflicting harm on themselves, literally speaking anything about mental health in a mainstream format can only help.
Next Episode sees a change in location, shuffling of running groups, and a surprise vist!