Jang Eun-sil Report – Physical: 100 Episode #6

Last episode, we learned that five eliminated players would be returning, though their identities weren’t revealed right away. “So, they’re the survivors,” Chung-hoon says in proper anime form as they walk in – still unrevealed. We flash back to a “Quest 2.5,” where the torso busts hang from the ceiling via shibari, and the room is lit with steamy red. This is when Seohyun walks in and cracks the whip, but unfortunately, Love and Leashes never made it to the Netflix top ten. Physical: 100 hit number two this week!

Anyway, the twenty-five contestants eliminated from “Moving Sand” gather around this circular arena and lament the twisted sight. What a cruel display! But things change when they’re informed that this is their second chance.

What is this, Hellraiser?

These torso busts are 40% of their corresponding contestant’s body weight. The challenge of Quest 2.5 is to hold onto a rope and ensure the bust doesn’t plummet to the earth. The pink-haired woman whose elimination I whined about last time – Shim Eu-ddeum – says that she’s gonna hold on even if it kills her. Of course, this would seem to be another challenge where the huge dudes have the advantage, but then again, they’re handling more weight. It’s tough to say.

It’s a symbolic echo of the Pre-Quest, but with subdued music and greater stakes. One by one, the torsos fall and smash into pieces. Tarzan, Jang Seong-min, An De-jeong. Some of these guys have gloves and some don’t? I’m not really sure what that’s about. And they notice that Eu-ddeum is standing there, expressionless, which breaks DBO. “I can’t beat her.”

The five winners of Quest 2.5 aren’t revealed immediately, of course. Four dudes walk into the gallery, and – Is it? Yes! – Eu-ddeum follows. “A woman made it back?” Jin-hyeong says, surprised. “That’s incredible.” She might agree, reporting to the twenty-five that “the consolation match was really scary.” Even more curious – depending on who you ask – is a guy whose leg is injured. We didn’t see that happen, but it was during the ball game, when he jumped off an obstacle and landed like a straight-up Harrison Chute. These “consolation five” form a team automatically, because it looks like we’re sticking with the same rosters for the next challenge. Whether or not that means Jang Eun-sil has been screwed again, she remains, nevertheless, screwed.

In an unorthodox move, however, the host reveals the next game before opponents are selected. Similar but less concise than “Moving Sand,” this one is “Moving… a 1.5-Ton Ship,” and it’s got Eun-sil het up. “How are we supposed to pull 1.5 tons?” Jin-hyeong, on the other hand, is smiling. “I’m an expert at pulling.” If it isn’t Quest 2.5, or the ball game, and certainly not the Pre-Quest, finally we have a game that gives the advantage to whatever huge dudes we have left. “To move a ship, we need strength,” Eun-sil says, “and they are all burly.” As this is the thinking of multiple teams, suddenly Jin-hyeong is feeling like the prettiest girl at the dance.

These six teams of five will become three alliances, with only two alliances advancing past Quest 3. What follows is an even more extreme version of the “women are weak” tension of episode four. “For an easy win, I wanted to team up with Sung-bin,” one of the guys says, “because all of them are guys.” Another even plots to steer the weaker teams – Eun-sil’s and the consolationers – to ally with each other and be likelier to lose. “We’re not just ordinary women,” Eun-sil insists. Way to stick up for girls everywhere, but I get what she’s saying. I’m not a woman myself, so while I understand academically it’s frustrating to be constantly underestimated or even preconceived about/upon, I don’t have that frustration buried deep in my bones.

To play devil’s advocate, though, I’ve also never competed for a whopping ₩300 million! Oh, my God – which is apparently about $245,000. What? Especially given inflation, I figured $1 million was the base standard for reality shows – minimum wage, let’s call it. I mean, a lot of these celebrity-types are earning that much anyway. Right? Right? (As someone who’s yet to break out of the $30,000 entry-level salary, I have no clue how much money people actually make. It’s crazy, people don’t tell me). But still, to earn that much money for running a few obstacle courses, it’s a good enough deal that it may just pare the social brain down to primal instinct – garnering criticism online that many of the men here are being outright sexist.

Yes. I mean, generally speaking, sexism is the easiest charge to levy, before it even becomes traditionally problematic. Eun-sil is probably channeling internalized sexism by cleaving her (and her career achievements) from her stereotyped gender. So I’d have to agree that these guys are sexist, because you can’t spell “sexist” without “exist”! You can take that to the blood bank. It doesn’t mean they’re any worse than you or I – also sexist – but let’s focus on this discrete case before us.

Well, isn’t it true that I once said, in the first episode’s recap:

Sure, if a man and a woman followed the same bodybuilding regimen for however many months, the man would end up being bigger.

That’s correct, I did. And that postulation was followed by, “But as we’ve already seen, that doesn’t help in every situation.” Here we are, now, at the situation where it does help. It would appear I’ve boxed myself into a corner, because I can’t say “strength is measured by more than muscle mass” and follow it, sheepishly, with “muscle mass matters not at all.” Honestly, though, that first maxim is sufficiently satisfying. I don’t need Jang Eun-sil to be able to pull harder than Jin Ji-yeong. She’ll do that leg-grab maneuver, or zoom into her opponent with jump-scare speed, like a crocodile exploding out of the water. Whatever the approach, guaranteed, she’ll put you on the floor. That’s what matters to me.

And Physical: 100 itself agrees, revisiting the Pentagon of Strength, in which physical strength is only one point. “Moving… a 1.5-Ton Ship” is heavily weighted toward that point, but the three teams are about to discover that it’s still more balanced. And so, they line up in the staging area, with Yun Sung-bin and Ma Sun-ho the first alliance, and Choo Sung-hoon forming the second with Jin-hyeong. This leaves Jang Eun-sil and her team of women, the injured guy, and a plastic Halloween skeleton wearing sunglasses. They may not have the bulk, but they certainly have the motivation. “I felt a bit of pressure as team leader,” Eun-sil says, “but you never know until you try. So I’ll push to the end.”

So my question is, why create underdogs and not rivalries? I mean, it’s so natural to have people turn on each other in a competition, so lean into that! With the current narrative strategy, you risk having the underdogs lose, which nobody wants to see. It wouldn’t be satisfying. If Jang Eun-sil does pull this off – spoilers, we don’t find out this week – yeah, I’ll be through the roof. But if she doesn’t? I’m never watching this show again. And I say that as if it’s the first time.

Now in the event room, with the big ship, each team is charged with loading it up with ten barrels – one of which has to be released from a locked crate – and then use logs to roll the ship over to the ramp, where they’ll attach it to a pulley and eventually a stake. To start, twenty people will be doing three different jobs simultaneously, so it’s a lot of activity when the whistle blows. Less of a concern is that there are suddenly two team leaders (something Eun-sil won’t have to deal with), but in the first round, Sung-hoon steps up and Jin-hyeong takes a support role.

It’s a good call, because everyone’s gonna listen to Sexyama. Even though nobody can stand at a distance and direct, Sung-hoon is really sharp about recognizing what needs to happen, like when the ship starts to drift to the right, or that big problem of even moving the damn thing in the first place. All twenty holding onto the decorative oars and pushing forward can’t make it budge, so they switch to lifting and pushing at the same time, which edges it onto the logs. And with the logs, they have to run out and replace the one at the front to keep the boat sailing. “Our teamwork is almost perfect.”

Despite a near-disaster, where a woman’s leg is caught under a log, they manage to heave-ho to the ramp for the final section, where it really is all about brute strength. They’ve attached the pulley and Jin-hyeong is just screaming, “One, two, three!” so they can pull in unison, and the count sounds a lot more intense in Korean. More syllables, anyway. The friction of the slope grinds their progress to a halt, so Sung-hoon tells everyone to take a breath. “Our Captain Choo,” Nippert says, in a rare interview, “I trust him.” Again, they have to lift it slightly from behind.

All of this is surprisingly dramatic, especially coming off of “Moving Sand.” Everyone’s straining and sweating, while at the same time there’s problem-solving. Physical: 100 reveals its hidden strength here, with its depiction of humanity born in adversity, of the contestants discovering things and overcoming a towering problem. Sung-hoon recalls the moment with tears in his eyes. It’s like winning an MMA match. He walked off that ramp and yelled out, in English:

Next up, it’s Sung-bin and Sun-ho, which also has Miracle and just one woman. In a flashback to the lounge, they sit around strategizing, with the caveat that they’ll probably end up improvising once the game’s parameters are revealed. They also decide that anyone over 90kg is “a strong guy,” and with the creation of labels, a hierarchy, in-and-out groups, whatever you want to call it, I think we’ve found our meatheads. Come on, guys. And once they’re on the field, we do find that it’s a slightly multidimensional game. The guy charged with opening the crate doesn’t have the “measure twice” philosophy of Nippert, who knew to smash the hinges, not the whole thing. On the other hand, Miracle is quick to shape up his log-carrying partner, directing him to hoist it onto the shoulder for safe travel.

This team favors the ropes over the oars. They’ve got the “one, two, three” rhythm down, but they’re pulling, not pushing. I’d have to ask Donovan, but I assume that pushing in this scenario uses your legs and back, where pulling is more about the arms? Also, they never figured out the lifting trick, which doesn’t bode well for the ramp. And their ship is crooked!

By the second goalpost, they’re three minutes behind the previous team. And the final struggle to hook the rope around the stake is just painful to watch. Sung-hoon was right to let everyone pause and reorient when needed. These guys take brute strength to a terminal, possibly fatal point. But we won’t know until next Tuesday, which means you’ve screwed me again, Physical: 100. I’ll be taking this up with Consumer Affairs.

Things are getting dicey now. It was probably inevitable that this competition sharpen toward a battle of the sexes, but I’m surprised that any of the ten leaders chose to have women on their team whatsoever, making for tokens anyway. I was only here to root for Jang Eun-sil, but now the cheerleading has grown to encompass an entire gender. With this boat-moving challenge, though, I have to wonder how much biological difference is actually gonna matter. If you add up all the muscle mass of each team and compare them, is the range so great when we’re talking about 1.5 tons? Nobody is ideal for such a task, and whether some are more or less ideal is offset by the quick-thinking and leadership required.

For more coverage…
Physical: 100 Episode #1
Physical: 100 Episode #2
Physical: 100 Episode #3
Physical: 100 Episode #4
Physical: 100 Episode #5
Physical: 100 Episode #6
Physical: 100 Episode #7
Physical: 100 – Final Report


2 thoughts on “Jang Eun-sil Report – Physical: 100 Episode #6

  1. “So, they’re the survivors,” Chung-hoon says in proper anime form as they walk in…”

    IKR! I laughed out loud, nobody talks like that IRL unless they’re in an anime 🤣🤣🤣

    Pushing does utilize the back and legs, hamstrings more specifically. Pulling with your whole body also requires the back and legs, but as we saw with the 2.5 challenge, your biceps are the chief muscle to draw upon. The back is a larger muscle though, and legs are stronger, so once the second team hit the incline and KEPT pulling, I was like “They’re blowing this”. It’s pure physics. Literally, put your back into it and get it moving.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s