Drama Recaps
Rooftop Prince: Episode 1
by | March 21, 2012 | 174 Comments

Premiere day (times three)! With a whole slate of new shows out today, let’s start with the one that always drew the most of my interest: Rooftop Prince, the fusion drama that mashes a half-dozen genres into one and somehow makes it all look appealing. There’s court intrigue, murder, parallel identities, betrayal, time travel, and hilarity. What, like those don’t naturally go together?

To get the obvious out of the way: Yes, this premise is cracked. It’s Encino Man and Jeon Woo Chi and Murder She Wrote and The Three Musketeers all rolled into one, with some Women in the Sun makjanginess thrown in, too. So, I had no idea if it would be good, but I did figure it would be entertaining.

And that it is. There are some uneven spots and tons of time-skipping (we jump backward and forward within the eras, as well as intercutting between them), and I don’t know how I feel about the modern-day antagonists. But the Joseon-era setup is quite engrossing, compelled by a murder mystery to keep our curiosity engaged.

Furthermore, the element that had me most leery — the whole doppelganger business, with our prince somehow magically running into his beloved in both time periods — actually has a nice twist to it, to surprise me by going contrary to my expectation. I’m intrigued by what that means for the love story — and in a drama where the love story is sorta spelled out from the outset, it’s refreshing to have a question mark hanging over that part to skirt predictability.

Ratings note: Rooftop Prince took in a 9.8% premiere, while The King claimed the top spot with 16.2%, and Equator Man managed a 7.7%.


JYJ – “You’re” [ Download ]

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We open in 18th-century Joseon times, with a cat meowing on a rooftop. Cat, roof, geddit? (See: Hot Tin. Also, Attic Cat.) I bet somebody’s patting themselves on the back for that one.

Inside his royal chamber, Crown Prince YI GAK (Yoochun) stirs and finds himself alone in bed. He calls out, asking if his princess-wife is outside, but finds no response from anybody. This is a dangerous sign — royals are never left unattended — and Yi Gak is alarmed. A eunuch arrives and delivers bad news.

Guards are mobilized and Yi Gak runs through the palace, coming to a halt by a pond where a body floats: his princess. He calls brokenly to her, fighting the officers who grab him before he falls into the pond, too.

We get a glimpse of the princess’s body floating in the water, and then it’s joined/superimposed with a man — Yi Gak, but now dressed in modern clothing. Hm, wonder what that’s about.

We skip backward in time to childhood, when Yi Gak was asked by his father, the king, what kind of girl he would like to marry. He had answered that he wanted a pretty face, so that he’d want to look at her every day. Sigh, boys. They’re the same in every generation.

The royal decree is issued to begin the search for young ladies to present as potential princess-brides. Two sisters sigh in excitement; as daughters of a minister, they’re on the shortlist for princess-hood. (Elder sister Hwa-yong is Moon/Sun’s Kim So-hyun, which is frankly effing with my brain a little since I can only see her as Bo-kyung.)

To their shock, Dad declares that the daughter offered up for princess selection will be Bu-yong, the younger sister. Everyone is stunned, having expected unni to be the one married off. Hwa-yong is especially crushed, crying angry tears, but agrees to prepare her sister.

Fast-forward to modern times, when the two girls meet again. In this lifetime they aren’t blood-related, though they become stepsisters when their parents marry. Now their names are Park-ha (future Han Ji-min, the younger sister) and Se-na (future Jung Yumi, the elder).

Se-na becomes a reluctant unni to the happy Park-ha and quickly develops into a problem child, shoplifting and blaming things on her sister. One day she leaves Park-ha napping in the back of a covered truck while she runs an errand, and when Se-na comes back to retrieve her, she’s seized with temptation.

After hesitating with her conscience (she does have one, though it’s teeny), Se-na lets the truck driver leave without saying a word to stop him. Park-ha wakes up in time to see Se-na watching the truck drive off, with her in it. She screams for help, but Se-na turns her back.

The same sisterly resentment builds between the Joseon-era counterparts. Hwa-yong pretends she’s happy for her sister and prepares her for princess selection. Bu-yong knows her sister is disappointed and treads lightly, trying to smooth things over. But this isn’t a problem she can fix.

The night before the official selection, Bu-yong offers her unni dried persimmons. Hwa-yong declines, though she forces a smile as she irons her sister’s skirt. She contemplates the hot iron with a deliberation that is unsettling, but it’s ultimately an accident that sends it flying. Hwa-yong trips over her skirt while reaching for a fallen persimmon, and the iron brands her sister’s cheek.

Dad is furious, and has to swap out names. And so, Hwa-yong is married to the crown prince while Bu-yong spends the rest of her days wearing a half-mask to cover the ugly burn.

They grow into adulthood, and Bu-yong (Han Ji-min) becomes a sort of perpetual shadow-bridesmaid to her sister (Jung Yumi), tagging along on walks in the palace, trailing a step behind the happy couple. She spends her time embroidering beautiful designs that her sister takes credit for; Hwa-yong preens while Yi Gak heaps her with praise for her silk butterfly.

Yi Gak quotes verse and looks to his wife for a witty reply. Hwa-yong darts a nervous look at her sister, who answers instead. Aw, it’s like Cyrano in reverse. Bu-yong loves the man who was supposed to be her husband, who thinks her work is that of someone else, who doesn’t know what she even looks like.

Yi Gak is impressed with his sister-in-law’s answer, and they spar back and forth in poetic repartee. It’s cute, which is why Hwa-yong stews and inserts herself back into the conversation — but he’s caught up in the fun of wordplay and offers Bu-yong a riddle to solve. Okay, how awesome is it that the shallow prince thought he wanted a pretty bride, but is much more stimulated by the brain of a smart girl? I love that Hwa-yong can only comment on superficial things, like “Look at that pretty flower,” while the riddles go over her head.

Yi Gak’s riddle: What dies despite living, and lives despite dying? She mulls this over, and Hwa-yong laughs prettily about not knowing the answer. Yeah, you wouldn’t.

Another time leap. We return to the opening scene, as Yi Gak deals with the aftermath of his wife’s death. Taking charge, he orders an investigation into last night’s events and vows to find her killer, so he can rip him to shreds. As he sobs, the butterfly from the embroidered design becomes real, returning as a motif in our next time-skip.

Modern-day New York. Sketching by the street is Yi Gak — er, Tae-yong in this life. (No Quantum Leap? Hm.) Seeing a butterfly, Tae-yong reaches for it, which draws his attention to the girl in the distance: Park-ha, selling fruit.

Two boys pilfer apples and she throws one at them; it flies through the air and knocks him in the head instead. His cousin YONG TAE-MU (Lee Tae-sung) arrives, fresh off the plane from Korea, in time to help him up, allowing Park-ha to go after her thieves.

The boys go out for a drink, where they again run into Park-ha, this time working the bar. Like a good hyung, Tae-mu clocks his cousin’s interest in the girl and plays matchmaker, urging him to ask her out. Hilariously, Tae-yong has no game and misses his chance.

Park-ha gets happy news: She’s located her father and is heading to Korea. (I’m trying to decide which is worse: Decent acting with poor English, or bad acting in fluent English. Right now, I’m putting them at a draw. A draw called Use Mute, For Your Own Good.)

The cousins head out on Tae-yong’s yacht, since they’re both filthy stinkin’ chaebol-rich, although they have vastly different work and life ethics. The family corporation is run by Grandma, and both their fathers also work there. Tae-mu, the sharp businessman, works hard for the company while Tae-yong’s the artist who wants to stay here in New York and pursue his own interests.

The difference is rooted in their “unequal” birth; Tae-mu’s father is an illegitimate son and therefore his family line is not blood-related to Grandma CEO. Thus they never feel quite good enough, and Tae-mu has never dared call their CEO “Grandmother.” Meanwhile, Tae-yong is the favored grandson and tells his hyung they’re all the same family.

Tae-mu reveals that he’s here to drag him back to Korea, on Granny’s orders. It’s time for Tae-yong to take his position at the company. Tae-yong has no desire to inherit and wants to leave it to his cousin and uncle.

Tae-mu yells this exposition at Tae-yong, reminding him of their places in the family. Tempers rise and Tae-yong pushes his hyung in frustration, who punches him back… and sends him over the rail and into the water, hitting his head on the way. Somebody’s been watching Ringer!

Tae-mu starts to dash to save him, but at the last minute he hesitates. Ooh, shades of Se-na. He watches Tae-yong floating away, then starts wiping away fingerprints from the boat. He finds Tae-yong’s phone, which contains photos of them taken today, and throws it into the water. Then he jumps into the water to attempt rescue swim away.

When Tae-mu returns to Korea, his girlfriend welcomes him back — Se-na. Aw, these two backstabbers found each other. There is somebody for everybody!

He reports to his family that Tae-yong has disappeared, not betraying that he knows (or believes) him to be dead. He says that he couldn’t find him in New York, and that nobody knows where he could be.

Park-ha also arrives in Korea, and gets a positive match from a DNA test. Her father has been eager to locate her and had his information in the DNA database. The problem is… he’s dead.

Park-ha arrives at his funeral parlor, just days late. Se-na arrives dressed in her obligatory blacks but not the least bit sad, and wonders about the sobbing girl at the altar. She tenses upon learning it’s Park-ha, bracing for the truth to come out — but to her relief Park-ha doesn’t remember her. She sustained a head injury from a car accident and doesn’t recognize Se-na, which buys her some time. For now.

Back to Joseon times. Yi Gak finds resistance from the court regarding his investigation. He argues that it was a murder but nobody else wants to open a political can of worms and isn’t willing to make that judgment. The princess’s own father argues in favor of an accident, saying that Hwa-yong liked to take walks at night.

The police chief reports finding a witness: A court lady says that the princess was walking by the pond and slipped. The court lady ran away out of fear, fought her apprehenders, and was killed in the tussle. It’s likely this story has been fabricated, and based on everyone’s reactions I’m putting my money on the girls’ father. But the prince has no recourse, and no momentum to press his argument.

Time to go rogue and assemble the prince’s entourage. First up: SONG MAN-BO (Lee Min-ho), who lives as a playboy because his illegitimate birth prevented him from taking public office. But he’s highly educated and smart, and has put those brains to good use solving a recent murder case. Now Yi Gak seeks him out with a new murder case to solve.

Next, Yi Gak saves a man from execution: WOO YONG-SOOL (Jung Seok-won) is charged with the murder of a nobleman who killed his mother and defiled his sister. Furthermore, he killed seven of the man’s bodyguards, and now his swordsmanship will serve Yi Gak.

Then there’s DO CHI-SAN (Choi Woo-shik), whom we meet dressed as a gisaeng and peeing at a man’s urinal. HAHA. He was raised as a eunuch to serve in the palace, but was kicked out for being too friendly with the court lades. But… he’s a eunuch. Isn’t that sort of like nipping that problem in the bud?

In any case, now he’s part of a top gisaeng establishment, a position that allows him access to a lot of high-ranking officials. Using his stealth and wits, he’s able to pick up on all sorts of top-secret information. Oh, Korea, always taken down by your two biggest weakness, liquor and libido.

Now the trio is gathered, cleaned up, and dressed in what will become their trademark colors — woot, Voltron complete. They’re brought to court under the prince’s aegis, as his own private task force. Aw, he’s fulfilling their unfulfilled potential; that’s sweet.

Yi Gak walks them through the last night the princess was alive, which wasn’t particularly unusual. Bu-yong had dropped by to solve his riddle, he had a drink, then he slept. When he woke up, the princess was gone.

Scholarly Man-bo retraces the princess’s steps, and reports that it’s feasible that she was poisoned. She could have walked to the pond before the poison kicked in, and fallen in the water.

Warrior Yong-sool tracks down a dealer of arsenic powder, who’s dead when he arrives. Looks like somebody’s covering up some tracks. But with this information, the Voltron task force deduces the culprit: the dried persimmon, with poison sprinkled on top.

Oh, damn. Could it be?

Gisaeng-eunuch-womanizer (how is he all those things?) Chi-san keeps his ears open for gossip about the princess’s death, and is able to track down a witness. Yi Gak insists on going right away, so the foursome heads out that night, coming to the meeting point in the forest.

But as soon as they arrive, they’re ambushed. Arrows fly at them in the dark, and Yong-sool springs into action, defending his party from attackers. The prince and his men ride off, pursued by archers who keep shooting arrows after them.

Bad news: They fast approach the end of the line, coming to a cliff. With no choice, Yi Gak spurs his horse to make the jump across the abyss, to the opposite cliff…

…but as their horses leap, the men are bucked into the air like ET defying gravity, at the exact moment that the moon is eclipsed. The horses land safely down below, but bearing no riders — the guys are nowhere in sight. Voltron go poof.

2012. Two years have passed since Tae-yong died and Park-ha returned to Korea. She has scraped together a modest living, opening a tiny shop in the marketplace. She’s on good terms with her stepmother, and materialistic Se-na is as pouty and bitter as ever.

Mom and Se-na leave, and Park-ha closes up for the night. She heads to her rooftop home, breathing in happily as she makes her way into the cozy, cramped home.

And then, a strange sight catches her eye: four very strangely dressed men sitting in her living room, still gleaming with moonlight.

She demands to know who they are, jolting them out of their trance. She brandishes a frying pan, and they jump back in fear.


What a whole lotta setup. I’m surprised they managed to squeeze in so much plot to the premiere, but glad they managed to do it — we all know about the time-warp, so the sooner the boys make it, the better. No need to tease that out; we just want it to happen.

The time-skipping actually helps move the story along briskly, because it allows us to get to the meat of each scene without lingering too long in aftermath. It also develops the parallels between past and present, in a shorthand that I’m grateful for since I don’t need lots of heavy-handed dramatics hammering in the point. I suspect it’s tougher to follow the time-skips in the recap than in watching the drama, because I found it fairly easy to keep track of which timespace we were in, despite the abundance of them.

I loved everything about the Joseon era, because I found the conflict there refreshing — it’s basically a whodunnit, cloaked in sageuk garb. It’s not about royal succession or clan warfare or high treason; it’s a straight-up murder mystery.

I find it an interesting choice to make the victim somebody we don’t like, although the prince is deeply mournful. But it’s also a great twist to point the finger at Bu-yong, because surely our heroine can’t be the murderer, can she? But who else has a motive? Why here, why now? There’s always the suspicious father — but why would he kill his own daughter? The use of the persimmons was a nice touch, because it seemed like a throwaway bit early on, and then came back to be a crucial clue. I’m pretty sure it can’t be her, and that it’s designed to make us worry it might be her… but in the absence of an alternative, it’s an effective twist.

The sisterly strife is an interesting reversal of expectations, because of Bu-yong’s sorrowful feelings for the prince and what she could have had. It’s not a repeat of the Moon/Sun dynamic, where one princess usurps the other one, because in this case Yi Gak clearly loves his wife. It’s a missed chance, but not a cosmic injustice. Yet we can see that perhaps he would have been just as happy with Bu-yong as his wife, because they’re so well-suited on an intellectual level. Nice touch there.

So, the Joseon plot is a win for me. I was onboard when the guys were in crime-solving mode and doing their Reservoir Dogs strut, and I anticipate I’ll be even more onboard when they go comedic for the fish-out-of-water stuff.

I’m glad to see how much better Yoochun’s gotten, which is a bonus. It’s refreshing to see the growth; it’s not that his Sungkyunkwan and Ripley turns were poor, per se — but seeing him exhibiting so much more range here shows what we were missing in those other roles. It’s like he turned up his energy dial. Part of that is the way the characters were written, and part of it is due to being more comfortable in the role.

The show isn’t without downsides, though, and with so many pieces in motion, not all of the tonal variants mesh perfectly together. I like the present-day stuff that we’ve just barely gotten to see, but I’m more skeptical about the stuff from the sisters’ childhood (circa late 1980s) and the yacht death. I get that the parallels are intentional, but having both our hero and heroine ditched by sibling figures, who then end up dating? Erm, I’m not sold.

Plus, I’m not sure about this whole two-heroes thing. Yi Gak AND Tae-yong? Really? Okay, I suppose if we’re building a world of doppelgangers — a sort of alternaverse — then it makes sense that everybody gets a double, not just the two girls. So yes, I see what you did there. But I was all ready to root for Yi Gak, full-force, and now you throw me another poor hero and split my rooting powers? I feel like I don’t know who’s the “proper” hero when you’ve got the second guy floating around (hur hur) to play spoiler.

The one thing that does make the two-heroes bit worth it, I suspect, is seeing Tae-mu’s reaction when his long-lost cousin reappears and turns his world upside down, but starts talking all funny and acting like a royal pain in the ass. ‘Cause he’s going to be an ass, right?

Verdict: Well-paced, nice overarching whodunnit to maintain suspense, and some refreshing conflicts that deviate from the usual suspects (mixed in with a few familiar ones that don’t get me excited, but which I’ll tolerate). I’m waiting for the show to bring the funny, but I expect that’ll come sooner than later.


174 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. blokkoms

    Woohoo, I’ve been looking forward to this! Thanks javabeans *hugs*

    • 1.1 molly

      I liked the first episode. It was actually better than I expected. The drama kept my attention and had me in suspense. Lol, I guess I’m in for the long haul. Can’t wait to see were they go from here. There were some nuanced details that assured me that the cast and crew know what they are doing. Yoochun has also improved leaps and bounds. Han Ji Min has always is a cutie.

      I usually dislike the first episode of dramas, but RTP was actually pretty good.

      • 1.1.1 Daniella

        Agreed! Yoo Chun has really gotten much better like Java said. I was kinda hoping the ratings would be much better but I had no complaints with the first episode.

        My only problem is why does the Unni look younger than the younger sister? Lol, don’t get me wrong. Looking forward to episode 2 today!

        • redfox


  2. Noemi

    thanks for the recap! can’t wait to watch the episode…also love your choice for song of the day πŸ˜€

  3. Ivoire

    Thank you for the recap, as always!

  4. MiMi

    Oh yay! I didn’t realize this was going to be recapped as well! I hope it’s good! πŸ˜€

  5. Nida

    Wow, it’s kinda hard to wrap your head around it, isn’t it?..but I like it. Not sure of I’ll see it but maybe…

  6. susan

    I just saw, and I found it boring and weird, is a mixture of scenes that make no sense, the acting is very flat, the music is boring. Still, what I will continue watching, I hope to see your improvement in the next chapters.
    I’m not interested in ratings, because not always coincide with my tastes

  7. Bluefyre

    YAY!! Off to read! Thank you JB!
    (and you used “You’re”!! Thank you! I LOVE that song to bits! It always makes me feel good!)

  8. jomo

    Haven’t watched it, but I am shocked it is 100% subbed on viki already?

    I guess I shouldn’t be shocked with this cast, but still,
    thanks Super Subbers!

    • 8.1 Ivoire

      You are right, I went and checked and it IS 100% subbed already. I watched it this late am, when it was at 1st 66% subbed and I refreshed it and then it was 82% subbed. I applaud and admire their dedication. And yes, “Thank You” Super Subbers.

      • 8.1.1 JadeL

        I’m kind of surprised that King2Hearts got the higher ratings by over 6%. It seemed TO ME that Rooftop Prince was the one more awaited for. I guess there is a gap in likes btwn Korea and World viewers?

        • Ivoire

          Maybe the big draw for K2H in Korea are Ha Ji Won and Lee Seun Gi? And the curiosity about how the whole North and South Korea coming together were going to be handled? I am just speculating, of course.

          • minch

            i agree…me too is very interested with K2H how the story goes along…thingking of it as an eye opener…

          • lulu

            I agree. K2H is definitely more interesting. It has mixed of being funny, romantic and serious stuff (although I hate the magician stuff) all in one. And I’ve always been wondering and wanting some ideas how things go down at the North. With Hallyu, it’s been all South Korea and too little about the North. I know it’s a drama and fictional but maybe we could get something from it. And I wonder how the North would react to how they were depicted, if they would even care.

    • 8.2 JoAnne

      what? I looked at it this morning and it was at 7 percent. Now I’m hopeful for King 2 Hearts, which was at 1 percent.

      • 8.2.1 Ivoire

        Hi JoAnne, I checked some 30mns ago, and they were still working on it.

        • Ivoire

          I hope you know I was talking about King 2 Hearts.

  9. msu

    I love the episode and like ur recap ^^ Hope we have another nice ride tonight

  10. 10 stars4u

    I think this drama will be a fun ride!

  11. 11 Hanna

    Wow yeah, I’ll assume it was easier to follow watching. Because I’m a bit confused from the back and forth, but I’ll watch and catch up later!

    Oh this drama, I look at every screencap of Yoochun and feel so sorry for him. His father passed away like a week or so ago, and he was back on set just a few days later, so I’m wondering how he’s coping with all the emotions that he must have from his father’s funeral and all.

    It looks interesting, I’ll say, but some of the plot points, like you pointed out, were a bit.. like, really?

  12. 12 pinki

    Yay! Just in time

    After finishing up Shut Up Boy Band I had to get my pretty boy fix.

    *Dashes off to read*

  13. 13 Gab

    It’s much better than I thought it would be. Excited to see more recaps! Thanks Javabeans πŸ™‚

  14. 14 kaka

    Thank for recap,
    I love YC acting in here, really good, much more than I expect.. only the first ep, the stroy which so many happen so quick, I cant say i get motion deep yet but make me feel intense and curious, but the butterfy sence adsolute beautiful.

  15. 15 Jay

    Thank you for your recaps, as always, I find they always enhance my drama watching experience. πŸ™‚

    I always appreciate a drama that doesn’t drag things out or dumb itself down for the audience (thinking for whatever reason that we need it).

    I’d expected a long sageuk build up based on the trailer, and was sort of dreading that, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fast pace in this ep. It’s like it just decided to bulldoze its way through the set up and jump straight to the fun! πŸ˜€ And I always love a murder mystery.

    It may be a bit soon, I’ll have to watch a few more eps to decide, but this one could be a keeper.

  16. 16 kewbie

    I watched it partially subbed, and I have to say, it’s better than I thought it would be. They definitely did cram a lot into the first episode, didn’t they? I wonder how quickly they will solve the murder/missing person thing, and how long they will go back-and-forth between eras, if they are planning to do that at all.

    BTW, does anyone know how many episodes this will have?

    • 16.1 Ivoire

      Hi Kewbie, this drama has 20 episodes.

      • 16.1.1 kate

        oh, yey! 20 eps of fun, then. haha

        jb, thanks for recapping this! you’re jjang!

  17. 17 lil_ole_me

    anyone know the answer to Yi Gak’s riddle: What dies despite living, and lives despite dying?

    • 17.1 Mystisith

      Let me try this one even if it’s not the official answer.
      What dies despite living? Memories (specially painful ones). They lose their intensity with time and fade away when you age.
      What lives despite dying? Memories (specially good ones). They become tales, legends and myths transmitted from a generation to the next.

      • 17.1.1 kaka

        wow..I dont know it is the right answer or not but you are so good, I love it ^^

      • 17.1.2 analee

        I’m pretty sure that the riddle will be the key to making Yoochun realize Han Ji Min was the princess’s sister (since he won’t recognize her by her face, since it’s always covered) πŸ˜€

      • 17.1.3 Ivoire

        I don’t know if it is the right answer either, but that is a really good guess, Mysti.

      • 17.1.4 alexe

        Tchoukaeyo !

    • 17.2 jomo

      A butterfly is my guess, since we see one often.

      • 17.2.1 chara

        yep! i think you are right. The dying part is meant to be the metamorphosis of the butterfly. It is both dying by shedding its old self as a caterpillar and living to become a butterfly.

      • 17.2.2 IBELIS

        My first thought was Love, even when love dies the memory of that love lives on.

      • 17.2.3 shopgirl

        I’m second to that,,since we know that butterfly embroidery is made by han ji min character πŸ˜€

    • 17.3 Kim Yoonmi


      Because the real ending of Boy meets girl is always boy loses girl. But despite the person dying, love still lives.

    • 17.4 lulu

      My guess was candle. When it’s ‘alive’ and burning, it is actually dying. And wen it’s dead and unlit, it stays longer. But I’m not sure.

  18. 18 Linda165

    I’m watching it right now!
    Be back later!

    • 18.1 Linda165

      Thanks JB! I really really really liked the first episode. I was going to watch this drama no matter what, so this is just icing on my Chunnie cake.

      “Isn’t that sort of like nipping that problem in the bud?” OMG! That’s gold, right there!! And, ouch!!

      I don’t think Tae Mun jumped to save TY. He jumped to swim to the shore as if he never was there.

      I think I’ve heard that riddle somewhere else… Someone please, put me out of my misery so I can sleep tonight!

      • 18.1.1 kate

        ditto. my fluffy heart for chunnie is fluttering right now. like a butterfly’s. as jomo pointed out, that’s probably the answer to the riddle… ^^

  19. 19 Granny

    Is it just me..or Yoochoon is getting good at this. is it, what, his 3rd drama?
    I like him better in a Joseon get-up. aahh…adorable…

    Anyway, love the first episode..and so definitely join the ride.

    • 19.1 Kim Yoonmi

      I think he was made for Sageuk. YSH, as good as he is… didn’t look good in sageuk gear, which makes me think that Yoochun’s ancestors had an eye for faces with sageuk gear. ^.~

  20. 20 tata

    They put many details in one episode, which I think it’s pretty hard to follow but it’s also mean we’ll see funny and hilarious scene from F4 soon!
    I will keep my eyes on this drama. Yoochun acting has improved a lot, I cross my finger and toes. Next episode will be fun! πŸ˜€

  21. 21 mao

    thanks for recap !!!
    and nice choice for song of the day ^^

  22. 22 :O

    Idk… the episode felt a little flat to me. The characters seem too shallow & everything just seems mashed up & rushed.

  23. 23 ellenlee1990

    i have a feeling someone killed the princess and dump her in the pond and i know who

  24. 24 biankoy

    YaY!! I was waiting for this!!

  25. 25 analee

    I’m mainly watching this for Lee Min Ho (who else is? :D) So I’m kind of sad that he appeared so little in this ep. I’m also disappointed that F4 posse don’t really talk much at all and just kind of follow him around everywhere which gets boring …I hope they will develop more depth later on. Cuz I’m really not enjoying the fact that its all focused on Yoochun (I get that he’s the main character) but give the side characters some life too ok? Please?

    Tbh I have a soft spot for the actress that plays the evil sister when she was young, and I really hate Han Ji Min’s kind of character (perfect and goody-goody) so I’m actually kinda rooting for the evil sister (until she makes me hate her for good) lol

    That was fast dramabeans, you never disappoint! πŸ˜€

    • 25.1 la dee dah

      I wouldn’t worry about the side characters yet. They were just introduced during like the last 15 minutes of the show, they had to set up the whole scenario before that before we can get to the side characters, so of course there wouldn’t be much of them in the first episode. I’m sure that will change in the following episodes.

  26. 26 sauyinzhi

    Thank you for posting the recap. As I do not speak Korea, the recap is very helpful. I look forward to watching more of this drama. Hopefully, there will be more scence Lee Min Ho in. I like Lee Min Ho the most in this drams.

  27. 27 la dee dah

    Thanks for the recap. Really liked this episode. I really really liked Yoochun in SKKS. Though I know a lot of people didn’t like his role and preferred Yoo Ah-in, but I thought he took what could have been a bland role (given how the character didn’t outwardly show much emotion) and really made him more interesting than I thought possible. I was really impressed. But glad this prince is more outwardly emotional so that he could show his range to everyone.

    I watched some of the episode, but was wondering something. Did they show Bu-yong after the sister was found dead? At first I thought maybe it was Bu-yong that was in the water dead but for some reason wearing the sister’s clothes, since I don’t recall them ever really showing the face of the girl in the water. Maybe it’s just me speculating. Also, when the modern day prince Tae-yong fell in the water, and then after wards Tae-mu jumped in the water, for some reason I didn’t think it was attempt a rescue, I thought he was merely abandoning the boat and swimming back to shore. Again, maybe me speculating… But this episode went by so fast. Can’t wait for the hilarity to ensue in the next episodes!

    • 27.1 Ivoire

      Hi La Dee Dah,
      I can’t answer your 1st question, but Tae-Mu was swimming back to shore as you pointed out. Remember that he wiped off all the possible hand and finger prints (thus proving the prince’s presence on the boat) on the steering wheel, threw away the phone that had pictures of him and the prince/his cousin and he chose not to throw the rescue ring in the water to the prince, and told his family when he came back to Korea that he didn’t not see his cousin.
      So yeah, not only did he not help his cousin, but he also quickly left, so as not to be seen (or caught) on the boat, so he could then claim that he never saw his cousin.

      • 27.1.1 Ivoire

        sorry, I think I was wrong on the reason why the cousin wiped the prints off. He was wiping his own prints off (the cousin) so there would be no proof that he was ever there, when and if the body of his cousin (the prince) was recovered, as well as the boat (being found). Hope this is helping…

    • 27.2 Kim Yoonmi

      Yeah, I thought it might be Bu-yong, which would give motive for the father to *not* have the Prince investigate.

      If it went down, the Crown Princess (Bigun) killed her sister, then the father would want to cover that up. Because then the Crown Princess is in risk of losing her position and also that of the father. (Whole families were wiped out for less in sageuk tradition).

      Since they don’t show the answer to the riddle, that’s probably the motive for the murder.

      If that’s true, then the Crown Princess is a sociopath… since it seems that it was impulsive rather than planned.

    • 27.3 MsScorpion

      I’m totally convinced that the body in the pond is the little sis. don’t know why but I just have this gut feeling bout it.

      See how her unni was shooting daggers when she came to solve the riddle.

      I also think that her dad covered everything up to save his daughter since she now could live impersonating her sister with the scarf on her face and no one will recognize her.

  28. 28 somethimgsomethingstartswithat

    so was i the only one that could have watched it as a straight fusion sageuk? watch the guys run around solving the case… thinking it’s the sister even as he’s falling in love with her (despite her scarred face!) than having to prove her innocence etc. etc. just me?

    • 28.1 asianromance

      you aren’t the only one. I rather like sageuk Buyong more than her modern counterpart, Park-ha, who is thisclose to getting on my nerves. Actually I’m a bit turned off by the modern parts overall with the insanely messed-up-in-the-head second leads. And wouldn’t it easier to solve the mystery while they’re still in ancient times? Or maybe modern Taeyong goes back into the past and having watched years of CSI and other crime procedurals on American television, will be able to crack the case?

      • 28.1.1 somethimgsomethingstartswithat

        heh but this is drama land and he did just fall off a boat… you know what that means, conveniently inconvenient amnesia! ::LOL:: but i agree the modern conter parts are on the edge of unlikeable for me as well (andd shes so pretty in those masks!) the very idea of the coming “wacky hijinks” is enough to make me wince

      • 28.1.2 reeen

        same here. I really liked the budding romance between the prince and Buyong (probably will keep liking it more than the present day one. But the hijinks! I almost died from laughing just now when I watched ep.2.

      • 28.1.3 jasmine

        And here I was starting to think that I was the only one who disliked the modern parts of this episode!! I was cringeing the entire time on the scenes supposedly set in the US. And that altercation on the boat between the two cousins just didn’t feel right or believable, not after the bromance between them the day before. There just wasn’t enough tension in that scene for me. Also, the dialogue! Or maybe it was just the delivery of the lines? And I think Park Ha was over-acted, especially on that scene with the butterfly. Then there’re the villains of the show. I find them too one dimensional. I hope their characters are given layers in the next few episodes because at the moment, I just don’t understand what they are about.

        I much prefer the sageuk parts too, and specially much more interested in the murder mystery that is the crown princess death. Not too mention that Buyong was much more likable than Park Ha.

        In any case, I’ll still check the next couple of episodes just to see what’s what.

        Thank you for the recap, JB.

  29. 29 kbap

    Aww, I love the eunuch-ginsaeng! He’s so funny (and Min-ho from Ten! I love him). And is it just me or Lee Min-ho, in his last drama (Moon/Sun) also played a similar character, though w/o all that angst? Not complaining though, awesome seeing him πŸ˜‰

  30. 30 Ani

    Man, with so many references (whether intentional or not) to other shows I like (Voltron/Power Rangers anyone?), Attic Cat, and the main male characters seeming interesting (read: kjisdubajsdc HOT/CUTE), I want to give this baby a go. *looks for possible subbers

  31. 31 Hang

    I’ve been waiting for your recap the whole day. Thanks, very nice one. I watched the first ep partially subbed and I buy it already. I’m biased toward Yoochun but it’s the suspenseful plot that gets me hooked. I’m looking forward to more comedic scenes in coming episodes.

  32. 32 Ivoire

    Hi, I didn’t understand the significance of the cat on the roof. Could someone explain to me its importance, or at least its significance? Thank you!

    • 32.1 Linda165

      I think JB mentioned it because is a possible reference to the drama Attic Cat (with Kim Rae Won!), and this drama also being known as Attic Prince… Or maybe not. I think… I dunno… *shrugs*

    • 32.2 iluvsmores

      I don’t know if it’s the same in Korea, but from where I came from, black cats usually signifies bad omen..

    • 32.3 Ivoire

      Thank you for your responses, they were helpful.

  33. 33 hanabi

    hmmmm. Not sure about this. I’m rather disappointed. Episode 1 was so not what I was expecting. I’m hoping this turns happier and funnier and doesn’t go melo. I’m not a fan of the evil sister/cousin aspect. No makjang for me, please. I just wanted a funny time-travel rom-com. The end of the episode had such a different tone than the rest of it. I’m curious to see how the drama and comedy mix.

    • 33.1 wannstar

      omg, i agree!

  34. 34 Minnetter (aka: Min)

    Hmmm I didn’t read the situation with the hot iron as purely an accident… I almost thought I saw her twist a bit as she fell so that the iron would hit her little sister…
    then the cousin didn’t jump overboard to rescue, he just did so to escape, after all if he would have tried to rescue he wouldn’t have had to wipe out all his fingerprints from the boat.

    • 34.1 tessieroo

      Yes, that was totally NOT an accident. She did twist and burn her sister on purpose. (and in present day, she leaves her baby sister in a truck & turns her back as it drives away) Sociopath alert! And yes, the cousin didn’t try to save him at all & then lied to everyone. TWO sociopaths in one drama! And they’re together! (perfect couple)
      I’m watching King2Hearts and will wait for this one to return to the funny. Too much evil makes it not that interesting.

  35. 35 bim2

    There’s no killer just accident (or maybe planned murder which is fail and kill the planner) ^^ <– detective nose

    • 35.1 danny

      I’m with u in that. The Prince wife originally plan to get rid of the sis coz she notice that the Prince intellectually attracted to her and the plan failed . She gets redi of herself instead. ^^

      • 35.1.1 one_nee

        ah! i also think the same lol..
        it seems the evil sis was trying to kill her younger sis but dont know how, it was ended by her being killed instead. and maybe thats why the father tried to coverage the incident, since it could out his family in jeopardy (you know open the prince eyes that his wife not all that sweet, etc)

  36. 36 danny

    JAVE BEeeeeeeAaaaaaaNSssssss @ GIiiiiiRLFRrrrrrrrrrrrrrIDAaaaaaaaaY

    Thank you! I really really really like your recaps . Can u please recap Kings to Heart too. Pleassssssssseeeee!
    You two are really the best drama and movie critics out there. I’ve been reading your works and so satisfied that it feels i watch the entire three months drama episode and honestly ust watch you tube MV’s and OST’s only. Yup, that’s how good your recaps are.

    So I beg u guys share more of your witty, clever, funny , word emancipating reviews. Please, please recap King to hearts too. xie xie, arigato, salamat, terimakasi! mwah****

  37. 37 Veronica

    I missed micky on dramas sice ms replay and my all time favorite sungkunkwan scandal. I need something to watch so I can forget I wasted 16 hours of my life watching dream high 2. I should’ve listened!!!

  38. 38 Abbie

    Man, that was confusing! What the heck? I’m not sure I’m sold on this drama yet. I like Yoochun, but the rest of the cast…..eh. I don’t know.

    Thanks for the recap, Javabeans!

  39. 39 Joe

    Mahalo for recaping episode 1 of Rooftop Prince.

    Off to watch Micky Yoochun’s bother … Park Yoo Hwan’s drama titled K POP The Ultimate Audition (Korean Drama).

  40. 40 b1


  41. 41 vox26

    yoochun sure improved tons!! i love his acting and i loved the 1st episode! hoping for more fun, fun, fun in the 2nd episode!

  42. 42 21

    This looks promising and I am sooo excited to go home and watch this tonight!! Bring on the funny!!!!!!!!! Thanks for the recap!!

  43. 43 sarang

    Viki has the first episode fully subbed already. <3 I just finished watching it and I'm amazed at how well written and paced it is. The saeguk portions also had me cracking up. Can't wait for the next episode.

  44. 44 my

    wow! now I’m looking forward for the english sub… “) fighting rooftop prince!!!! I will support you all the way.. and also thanks for the sub <3

  45. 45 iyra

    i was hoping for king 2 hearts recap but thanks for this recap,i am still not sure whether i’ll watch it or not…

  46. 46 jomo

    Thank you for the recap!

    I didn’t think about how 50% cousin/Duckie would react when he saw the Joseon version of his dead relative appear. Very good, Show! Btw, doesn’t Lee Tae Sung look and sound all grown up? He prolly was before, but played teen very convincingly in PK.

    I liked the energy. Love the quartet’s earnestness and how the Prince narrated their attributes and biography in front of them. It made me giggle.

    I wasn’t too sure I understood how little back of the truck sis ended up in NYC, but that was explained later.

    Ah Micky, I love your Joseon Princely ordering people around voice. It suits him nicely. And don’t we all LOVE the sexy white pajamas?

    Mostly, I feel bad for Kim So Hyun who has to be the evil second lead girl in TWO sagueks in a row! She stole the Crown Princess job two times, too! Hopefully, drama Karma will give her more positive characters later.

    • 46.1 Ivoire

      Hi Jomo,
      How was the “going to NY” explained (of the little sister)? I know she had an accident and was in the hospital for a long time, but still it wasn’t clear to me how she got to NY. Was she adopted, maybe? That wasn’t mentioned… What do you think? Thank you.

      • 46.1.1 Jomo

        I gathered from:
        when she got the phone call from the States that they found her father,
        then, at the funeral when she says she had the accident and forgot her real family (or DID she?)
        that the orphanage shipped her off to the States.

        Doesn’t sound like her family tried too hard to find her, though. Especially since some poor unknown girl gets into a serious accident. Wouldn’t the police involved in the accident case talk to the police involved in the missing child case?

  47. 47 song pong

    Thank you for the recap! (and for JYJ song, I love that one!)

    I liked it, but didn’t love it. It was only the first episode with lots of set up so I’m not judging it too harshly yet. I do have to say that so far Park-ha’s character is annoying. (the too good for her own good, tragic past type of of a character) Also the actor who plays Tae-mu fell so flat, he’s going to make one hell of a boring villain. (if a villain at all) My lovely Yoochun did a great job though so I’m waiting for more:)

  48. 48 desdemona

    subbers are insanely fast

  49. 49 kirara

    I was wondering whether you would recap this drama.. just reading your recaps got me soo interested.. I like how they put the mystery, romance and a whole lotta other things.. like you said in your post.. “Encino Man and Jeon Woo Chi and Murder She Wrote and The Three Musketeers all rolled into one” which I have to agree with you just by reading this post only.. πŸ™‚

    Gosh.. I’m going to be soo busy but yet I soo want to watch this.. I will have to wait for the weekend.. sucks but oh well.. THANKS A BUNCH FOR POSTING.. Yoochun is back on TV!! πŸ˜€

  50. 50 mcd

    anyone know where i can watch this SUBBED? not viki, doesn’t work where i live.

    • 50.1 canxi

      Does dramafever work where you live? If not, you can always check youtube or dramacrazy! I’m sure there are more sites but those are the ones I usually check first.

      • 50.1.1 Linda165

        Check out kimchidrama

    • 50.2 purplemay

      try kimchidramas and dramacrazy

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