The ratings for Hot Stove League continue to rise every week and it’s easy to see why. This baseball drama has done a wonderful job spinning character drama into an interesting pressure cooker of seeing behind the scenes of a struggling baseball team. There’s some really good acting here too and with more negotiations this week, all of this builds up to a pretty intense finale that leaves things wide open for the next episode.
Episode 8 of Hot Stove League begins with Se-Young snapping, breaking off the contract with Yeong-Ju and deciding they won’t re-sign with him given how disrespectful his actions have been. After some awkward comments regarding how cheap Seung-Soo’s trousers are, Se-Young heads back to the office while Seung-Soo decides to take a break and head off to Seoul.
Once there, he has a meeting with the head coach of Vikings, discussing different players he’s interested in signing. While he does, Se-Young exhibits some suspicions surrounding the assistant manager, who winds up texting while they sit in an Operations meeting discussing the fate of the different players. Unfortunately it turns out the players become aware of them potentially being traded out in the second round of the draft and confront Se-Hyeok about their contracts and prospects for the future.
The next day, Jae-Hee meets with Se-Kyeok to continue negotiations while Se-Young and Seung-Soo use their wits to meet the various players outside the negotiation room. While Se-Hyeok obviously rejects all of the contract offers put before him, the duo manage to sign the players they need without him. Even Yeong-Ju, who arrives and eventually caves, signing the initial contract given, having been humbled by Se-Young earlier in the day.
Lamenting the choices he’s had to make, Seung-Soo phones a journalist and requests an article being written regarding the tam. That article is published around the team falling apart which gets the Junior Managing Director in a lot of trouble with the Director, who uses an analogy involving hay and slaves to make him get their team in order.
He immediately heads down and confronts Seung-Soo who stands tall and questions the Director over his desire to make them fight over such a small amount of money. It’s even more frustrating for him because he won the fight and worse, is now being forced to go without being paid just to help make the team succeed. This confrontation does the world of good too, as the Director caves and allows them to increase the wages for all the different players. This increase, as it happens, allows Jin-Woo to change his opinion and sign.
That evening, Chang-Joo’s interview is aired on TV but as Se-Young watches, she notices something afoul and phones Seung-Soo to let him know. Although Seung-Soo tries to steady the ship and requests they leave things and focus on baseball, the Junior Managing Director seizes this opportunity to pounce on the chaos and spin this story to his own liking. He immediately brings Seung-Soo into his office and asks for his voluntary resignation, pointing to the door where we leave things wide open going forward.
Hot Stove League returns with a bang this week and with plenty of drama throughout, this Korean drama is fast becoming one of the must-watch dramas of the week. There’s a lot of good stuff here and the bubbling character drama spills over and almost feels like a second part to the fiery confrontations from before. With Seung-Soo seemingly all on-board with the team now and lots of scope for the second half of this drama to follow, Hot Stove League leaves things wide open going forward.
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