‘Frankly Speaking’ Episodes 1-2 Recap & Ending Explained: What Happened To Song Ki-Baek?


If you’re into slapstick comedy and like good comedic timing, the Go Kyoung-Pyo and Kang Han-Na-starring Frankly Speaking may be the show that’ll scratch that itch for you. Yes, it’s instantly a little bit on the nose, and the comedy is brash, but with the two leads having such excellent comedic tone and timing, it’s quite entertaining. Interestingly, the show is not just for entertainment; it also explores the mind of a “people-pleaser.” It also dives into the anxieties of such a person, especially when they’re trying to do their best to simply live. The show revolves around a news announcer named Song Ki-Baek and a variety show writer named On Woo-Joo. Let’s see how their lives intertwine, intertwining in a hilarious twist of fate for Song Ki-Baek.

Spoiler Alert

Why does Song Ki-Baek’s reputation end up on the line? 

Song Ki-Baek is an announcer at JBC, and he’s either beloved or envied by all his fellow workers. He’s the kindest announcer at JBC and never says no to anyone who gets him to do petty work for them. Like the yes-man at JBC. He’s also a really capable announcer who never messes up. One day, his fellow announcer’s husband learns that she’s been cheating on him with variety show star Kim Seong-Hun, who happens to be on On Woo-Joo’s show. To everybody’s utter shock, her husband shows up at the station and harasses Ki-Baek on live television, tarnishing his impeccable image and making him look like a fool. On the other hand, Woo-Joo is in a meeting with a doctor she wants to get on board for her show; however, she’s called mid-meeting to take care of a fiasco at the shoot of the show involving Kim Seong-Hun. When she gets there, the news of the happenings at JBC is all over the internet, and Kim Seong-Hun flees the scene. 

As the situation makes Ki-Baek the meme of the country, his chances of becoming a lead anchor grow fleeting. Ki-Baek has a stress problem, and the news of his nostrils being on the nation’s screens makes him realize he’s quite the joke and all his hard work is going to crumble like the leftovers of a perfectly flaky croissant. His stress causes him indigestion, and he ends up in a lift with Woo-Joo. Ki-Baek is unable to maintain his decorum in the lift and makes Woo-Joo aware of his stomach situation (I don’t understand the Korean obsession with poop jokes, but here we are). The lift is also stuck because the maintenance guys accidentally turned off the lift when the two of them were in there. Finally, they arrive to rescue them, and Ki-Baek is most embarrassed. 

Ki-Baek works hard day and night, helping all his colleagues in order to get the lead anchor job. However, his boss has something else planned for him. After his fiasco on the news, Woo-Joo hears him speak on the radio and wants to get him on board for her variety show. His boss thinks it’s a great idea, but this would diminish Ki-Baek’s chances of becoming an anchor. After some consideration, Ki-Baek decides to take up the show “Men on the Run” because he wants to improve his public image. However, the opposite of that is going to happen. 

On the show, he has to play a game of dodgeball, and opposite him is a spoilt K-pop idol named PN who doesn’t treat anybody with respect except for those in the top order. Ki-Baek is, of course, very kind to PN as well; however, on the court, he hits PN three times in the face during the game. PN never gets out because the team somehow manages to save him, but the writers grow angry at Ki-Baek for trying to seem like the Dodgeball King. Finally, Woo-Joo has to interfere and takes Ki-Baek out to talk to him. They end up in a room with a high voltage warning, but it’s fallen to the ground, so they don’t realize it. Woo-Joo explains to Ki-Baek that PN is the star of the show, so he can’t keep hitting him in the face; all the sponsors would be mad. While the yelling is happening, Ki-Baek suddenly has to sneeze and ends up putting his hands on some wires. He gets electrocuted, and the whole building loses power. Ki-Baek ends up unconscious, and Woo-Joo is super scared. However, he wakes up soon enough and says he’s just fine. Woo-Joo tells him to visit the doctor, but he refuses, claiming he’s normal. 

At the end of Frankly Speaking episode 1, Ki-Baek’s personality changes, and when PN harasses one of the rookie writers on Woo-Joo’s team, he blows his top and yells at the K-pop idol. Ki-Baek is about to physically assault the guy by planting a massive slap on PN’s face before Woo-Joo pushes him to the floor and stops him. Ki-Baek doesn’t know how to react and starts to scream that it’s all a lie. 

Why is Ki-Baek speaking frankly? 

Another mishap, another viral moment; however, this time, it’s all Ki-Baek’s fault, and he becomes the internet’s most hated man. Suddenly, wherever Ki-Baek goes, he’s telling everyone his true feelings, i.e., all the bad thoughts you’re supposed to keep to yourself in polite society. On the other hand, we learn that Ki-Baek isn’t from a rich family like everyone at JBC believes. He’s from a poor family that can’t even make ends meet and is a second son with two other brothers. Woo-Joo attempts to get Ki-Baek to come with her to apologize to PN, so her show doesn’t end up getting canceled, but he refuses because he knows his mouth will simply spew nonsense if he goes anywhere near the guy. Later that evening, after giving his boss an earful, Ki-Baek goes to his parents’ house because he worries Seoul is not the place for him to be, with everything that’s happened. It seems Ki-Baek feels like his family only cares for his money and not about him anymore, but of course, his mother really worries about him. However, after fighting with his younger brother, he leaves. 

He learns that Woo-Joo waited 5 hours for PN, but he refused to see her. She thanks him for speaking the truth because, despite his method, he said the right things. She had always wanted to yell at PN for harassing her younglings. She ends up falling asleep drunk on a bench, and Ki-Baek sends her home in a police vehicle. At work, Woo-Joo sees Ki-Baek giving his boss an earful and even telling him that his feet are stinking. This makes her realize that he’s been acting strange since he got electrocuted the previous day. Woo-Joo takes Ki-Baek to the doctor she wanted on her show, but he says he’ll have to run some tests on Ki-Baek; however, there shouldn’t be much to worry about. 

In the meantime, there’s a star named Kim Jung-Heon, who seems to be Woo-Joo’s ex. He hears that her show got canceled and wants to get her on board for something for him. Later, he meets her at an award show that Ki-Baek is hosting (whoops) and tries to speak to her, but she ignores him because it seems she’s still hurt. At first, the award function goes perfectly fine; however, when Ki-Baek’s face gets a bit sweaty, he’s asked to be powdered by the director, which makes him sneeze. This is when all hell breaks loose, and Ki-Baek announces his new personality. I guess sneezing is his “on” button. He reveals a huge drug scandal about a celebrity and gets slapped on stage, leaving him unconscious yet again. 

Ki-Baek has a dream where he sees his mother, who tries to comfort him, but soon, she turns evil and begins to laugh at him. Ki-Baek is clearly really anxious about his life, so it’s all manifesting in his dream. Ki-Baek is in the sauna, and he imagines a giant shark in there; however, the shark turns into Woo-Joo. In an epilogue, we see a kid tell Ki-Baek that his mother told him that the tubs have sharks in them, so he shouldn’t go in. But Ki-Baek tells him that it’s not scary and there’s no such thing, so the kid comes in and asks him some questions. The kid then says he should stick around with Ki-Baek because he might be an interesting person to hang around with. I guess Ki-Baek’s big fears are manifesting in the form of imaginary sharks too now. 

This, too, must’ve been a dream, because, he wakes up in his lavish apartment, but then gets a call from the owner of the place. Apparently, he’s returning immediately, and Ki-Baek doesn’t have enough money to get himself a place. Elsewhere, Woo-Joo meets Jung-Heon in the street and tells him straight to his face that she’s avoiding him. In a flashback, we learn that they were a couple, and it seems they both wanted to make it big in the entertainment industry; however, only Jung-Heon did. I guess, as it goes with Korean celebrities, he had to leave Woo-Joo if he had to be a successful artist. 

Ki-Baek gets a call from the doctor, who tells him that he’s probably suffering from disinhibition. It’s not life-threatening, but considering his job, Ki-Baek will need to take care of himself. Ki-Baek is then invited by his close friend to go fishing, and Woo-Joo ends up in the same place for location scoping. 

At the end of Frankly Speaking episode 2, Ki-Baek is alone at the top of a rock, and Woo-Joo spots him. She thinks he’s all depressed because of the situation she put him in, or she’s simply a really nice person because she tries to go and “save” him. However, Ki-Baek isn’t planning on doing anything rash; he’s only looking out into the distance. When Woo-Joo shows up, he suddenly yells at her to stay away because she’s the reason he has so many problems in life; however, she doesn’t listen, and they both end up falling into the sea. I guess the series is going to be about Ki-Baek getting over his anxiety, drawing a line between white lies, and getting stepped on like a doormat. Obviously, there’s also a love story, and Woo-Joo will probably help keep Ki-Baek calm in his toughest moments, and then their love story will begin. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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