‘Frankly Speaking’ Episodes 3-4 Recap & Ending Explained: What’s Song Ki-Baek’s Switch?


In all honesty, Frankly Speaking isn’t a terrible show. In fact, it is occasionally funny, but then something terrible will sour that within the hour-long episode. Also, we’re in 2024; why do we still see cultural appropriation in K-drama? I’m tired, and this show is treading on tired tropes that I’m honestly done with. With the current K-drama market, there’s no way this show is going to do well if it goes on like this. Especially when there’s a Lovely Runner that’s garnered global acclaim and The Atypical Family, that’s the fantasy drama of the season. There’s only so much one can watch, and one is willing to watch. I really wanted to like this show for Song Ki-Baek and On Woo-Joo, both of whom are excellent actors and also lovely to watch, but frankly speaking, this show better switch it up before it’s too late. Anyway, before I get canceled for going on about how bad a show is just from 4 episodes, let me dive into the recap.

Spoiler Alert

Why does Ki-Baek lie so much? 

As it goes with any negative quality in K-drama leads, they will be attributed to childhood trauma or mistake. For Ki-Baek, he was taught as a young boy that lying might help him succeed in life. It would also keep him and his family safe, which is why it became a habitual problem later on in the future. His mother said that to look after her and his younger brother, if he needed to lie, he could, and it became engraved in his brain. So, in high school, when people assumed facts about him because of his good grades, he never corrected them, and in adulthood, when his colleagues thought he owned the house he lived in and his parents lived in Gangnam, he simply agreed.

In the present day, we see that Woo-Joo has managed to save Ki-Baek from drowning and still believes he was trying to take his own life, but he tells her he simply wanted some air. He then also tells her to stay away from him because she only brings him misfortune, but due to the circumstances, she has to drive him home. On the way there, Woo-Joo becomes severely ill from the sea escapade, and Ki-Baek rushes her to the hospital. He looks after her well, and seeing his kindness, it seems she’s developing some feelings (already?!). We then learn that she also has a son; could he be Jeong-Heon’s? I don’t know just yet. 

While Ki-Baek is preparing for the audition to become the new anchor, his dream is finally so close that Woo-Joo is struggling to keep her show alive. Apparently, the concept is too outdated, and nobody’s going to watch it (sounds familiar if you ask me). To add insult to injury, a junior writer named Ha-Young, who was tutored by Woo-Joo in the kindest way possible, is joining the team. And Woo-Joo is trying hard to avoid the singer and her ex, Kim Jeong-Heon, like the plague, but he keeps showing up everywhere. It seems he might be the only one who can save her dying project, though. At the same time, Ki-Baek also realizes that Woo-Joo might be the reason he’s able to control his illness, i.e., every time he’s stopped “frankly speaking,” it’s always been Woo-Joo with him. Ki-Baek’s disinhibition isn’t very odd to the doctor, though. He tells Ki-Baek that he possibly has a switch inside of him that triggers his reaction. Something that left a lasting impression on him. 

It seems the main outcome of Frankly Speaking episode 3 is that when Ki-Baek and Woo-Joo are down, they are each other’s support. They’re able to help each other but not themselves, making them perfect for each other. Before Ki-Baek’s big audition, he ends up sneezing. However, before he starts the audition, Woo-Joo shows up to wish him luck, and to calm his anxiety, she taps his chest and tells him to look after his heart first before all else. Somehow, his disease of speaking only the truth evaporates, and he gives an impeccable audition, despite hearing the crew speak ill of him in his earpiece. Somehow, the whole situation gives Ki-Baek the courage to speak his mind at the audition. Earlier, when Ki-Baek was down, Woo-Joo had asked him why he wanted to be a news anchor. He finally knows that the answer to that is, to tell the truth to the people. The one place where he would never lie. But this means he has to leave the corrupt news company (whoops, good on you, buddy). 

What’s Ki-Baek’s switch? 

In Frankly Speaking episode 4, Woo-Joo tries to cheer herself up despite everyone around her badmouthing her. She tries hard to keep her spirits up, despite everything going on with her. When she gets home, she learns that Ki-Baek’s family lives in the house above hers; basically, she’s their landlady. At home, Ki-Baek has a tough time adjusting because everyone tiptoes around him. Also, his brothers kind of hate him, but I suppose at some point, he was a cute and kind older brother, which we’ll get to see flashbacks of, I guess. 

Seeing how things have turned out for Woo-Joo, she gathers up the courage to speak to Jeong-Heon about joining her show. He’s eager to do it anyway, so she simply has to give him some attention. In the meantime, without really knowing it, Ki-Baek ends up interacting with Woo-Joo’s kid. Teaching him how to bike (kind of), though it seems like Ha-Young is evil, she might actually want to support her. I’m not entirely sure; it could be one of those pretend games in front of Woo-Joo’s subordinates, but maybe she’s actually nice. We’ll find out eventually. 

On the other hand, Ki-Baek meets with a senior of his who has always encouraged him to do well. He’s a bit surprised to see how things have turned out for him after his retirement from being a news anchor, but Ki-Baek needs to get some help now that he’s quit his job and such. At night, Ki-Baek and Woo-Joo share a drink and talk like old friends about their problems. It seems they’re both quite fed up with their own situations, but they’ve been pushing themselves to do better. Then we have a little romantic moment when Ki-Baek drops some spicy food on his white t-shirt. Ki-Baek then gives Woo-Joo a notebook with some words of encouragement. 

Ki-Baek works hard to figure out how he’s able to turn his switch on and off, and he is certain it’s got something to do with Woo-Joo. He also gets a job thanks to his senior, and they offer to pay him quadruple the amount, so he agrees to do it, but he needs to figure out how to turn off his problem before that. The job’s tutoring a rich kid, and it doesn’t go very well because the kid’s an absolute basket case, but he helps Ki-Baek realize that he needs to sneeze to turn on his switch! 

At the end of Frankly Speaking episode 4, for some reason, we switch to fantasy; I don’t even know if I can call it that. Ki-Baek and Woo-Joo run around the neighborhood to find each other, ultimately meeting on the rooftop. However, it seems they both start a domino effect on the streets, where one thing crashes into another (and this goes on for a really long time) until the power of the whole neighborhood goes out. At the same time, the two of them have a huge argument about whose life is more pathetic, though at first, they were both simply excited to tell each other their big plans. But when the power goes out, Ki-Baek grabs Woo-Joo’s hand and puts it on his own chest, telling her that the switch has gone off. So, the whole power situation was simply to set up that piece of dialogue. And then the power comes back on (please save me). The episode ends with what looks like a love triangle, and both Jeong-Heon and Ki-Baek joining Woo-Joo’s show.

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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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