Rooftop Prince: Episode 4
You know, I wasn’t sure I was totally grasping how the time-travel and reincarnation and inheritance conflicts would all fit — or whether they would at all — but with this episode we start to see the threads coming together, and I’m going with it. I’m still not sure I love the corporate battle, but now I at least feel assured that the show knows where it’s going, and has a solid trajectory planned.
Ratings remain mostly the same; everybody rose a teeny bit but the rankings are unaffected with Rooftop at 11.4%, The King 2 Hearts at 14.6%, and Equator Man at 8.5%.
SONG OF THE DAY
Rooftop Prince OST – “해피엔딩” (Happy Ending) by Park Jaebum [ Download ]
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Se-na slaps the prince, who is immediately dragged away and thrown out. He keeps shouting, “Princess!” but she turns back to her work, ignoring the crazy man outside.
Park-ha continues readying her shop for its opening, which is called Park-ha’s Fruits and Veggies. Her landlord drops by to complete the contract paperwork, which is when Park-ha realizes that the envelope is empty — her bank check for 40 million won (about $35,000) is missing. Ah, so that’s what Se-na stole out of her bag the other day, evil wench.
Park-ha frantically searches her things, then calls Se-na, who ignores it. A flashback shows us that not only had she taken the check, she’d ripped it up. Arggggh, but I guess this way her action is untraceable, and nobody will ever know what happened.
Park-ha pleads with the landlord to give her till tomorrow morning to get him the money, but he doesn’t budge, preferring to cancel the contract. He tells her to empty the store and be out today.
It’s such a bummer that it makes it hard to laugh at the Aqua Men, who arrive wearing animal suits (to promote her store), with Becky and Lady Mimi helping out. Aw, I love when friend-families spring up, and if a friend is willing to make himself look ridiculous to help you, that’s a keeper. Although, yes, these boys don’t know they look ridiculous. Side point.
Yi Gak waits outside the company building all day, until Se-na leaves with Grandma CEO. He shouts for her again, but the guards muffle him this time and she leaves in the CEO’s car.
The lost check doesn’t work exactly like cash so it’s not like money has just fizzled into nothing, but putting a stop payment and getting a new check issued will take Park-ha several days. And if she can’t cough up the cash, she loses her contract deposit as well as all the money she put into buying product. She asks her stepmother to borrow the funds in the meantime, but that’s no small sum and it’s not like Mom’s got it lying around.
Se-na interrupts the conversation and asks to talk to Park-ha. She takes this opportunity to say “I told you so,” about predicting that Park-ha would ask Mom for a handout. Se-na draws out the smug scolding, but Park-ha has no time for idle chitchat and starts to leave… until unni offers to lend her the money.
Ah, so she’s going to use this as a way to manipulate Park-ha. Evil bitch is an evil wily bitch.
Her quid pro quo: Take the money to settle her affairs, then return to America. She gives her till tomorrow to think it over.
Park-ha has forgotten two things, and she first rushes back to close up shop before remembering the prince. He stands shivering in the rain, still outside the now-empty corporate building, dutifully waiting for her to pick him up as she promised. Aww. There’s something so pathetic about that image, him clenching his fists and shaking in the cold.
She apologizes for coming so late because she was held up with important matters, and Yi Gak rails at her angrily. Was her promise with him not important? Was it not worth keeping?
They’ve both had crappy days and take it out on each other. Arriving home, he decides she cares about nothing but money — she’s fixated on her store and completely neglected him. And because she’s a person who doesn’t keep promises, her business is sure to fail.
Park-ha isn’t in the mood to take this, and she turns things around on him: He may have gotten used to speaking his mind, but he’s a useless man who knows how to do nothing. He may call her a lowly fool, but he’s one too.
She takes a swing to slap him, but he grabs her arm and they stand there glaring furiously at each other.
Joseon era. Aw, I’ve missed the Joseon scenes.
Yi Gak finds his wife, Hwa-yong, waiting for him in the courtyard and has a joyous reunion. He holds her close and asks her to never leave him again, and she’s just as pleased to be with him.
And then… a ringtone cuts in, and Park-ha stands there, insistent that he earn his keep and work. She ignores his protests and drags him away, separating him from his princess.
He wakes up in the rooftop room, sighing over his unlucky dream.
In the morning, Park-ha finds her ducklings sitting at the table, awaiting their hot omurice breakfast. She’s still in a rotten mood and stomps out, ignoring their requests for food. Aw, honey, that’s mean. Yes, they’re grown men, but they’re also babies.
Yi Gak has his pride, and he declares that they don’t need her to feed them — they can figure it out themselves. Yong-sool is always quick to act and offers to find a cow or pig or something to eat, but Man-bo reminds him to use his brains before brawn: They won’t find any of those outside. Chi-san pleads for the prince to go to the convenience store to buy instant noodles, but Yi Gak has to face the humbling truth: “What money have I?”
It’s therefore super-touching that the Aqua-ducklings make arrangements through Becky to find part-time jobs, but hide it from the prince. They urge him to rest up today at home, while they’ll endure Becky’s annoying insistence that they go sightseeing, wink-wink.
Man-bo gets to work directing traffic in a parking garage, wielding his baton like a sword as he points, stabs, and parries. Too bad he’s not doing any real directing, and he ends up with a traffic jam on his hands.
Yong-sool gets a job as a barista, which is just crazy; the boy just landed in modern times and you’re going to make him figure out the intricacies of pulling espresso? A woman orders her drink and hands over her card, and he eyes her suspiciously: “Do you take me for a fool? You have to give me MONEY.”
Chi-san actually enjoys his task washing cars with the high-pressure hose and soaping up the exterior — and just as I’m thinking he might end up the winner today, he goes on to soap up the leather interior, too. OH NO. And then he gleefully turns the hose on the leather, spraying the suds away. Cringe cringe cringe. If he makes it through the job alive, he’ll be lucky.
Thankfully the three boys make it home alive, where they fess up and tell the prince that they were working to earn money for Park-ha, because her business was ruined before it even began. Yi Gak hadn’t known, and now he feels sorry for his harsh words the night before.
Becky comes to collect the boys again for work, and Lady Mimi gives the prince a once-over, wondering why he doesn’t work. She’s been told he doesn’t “do” manual labor, and she tsks-tsks disapprovingly, sizing him up as a lazybutt.
Park-ha heads out to meet her New York friend, Amy, who’s gotten married and is here to visit. Amy brings a tin box from Park-ha’s old locker, which she’d left at the pub.
Amy tells her she and her husband are going to open a restaurant, and encourages Park-ha to come to New York to work with them. So after seeing her friends off, Park-ha considers taking her sister’s money offer after all, and moving back to the States.
It would mean giving up the life she’s carved out for herself here, and the thought is enough to bring her to tears. At home, she finds the radish doll Yi Gak had picked up from the ground and rehung inside, which makes her smile.
Becky teaches some dance moves to the animal-suited boys, who follow along. They’re the kind of sexy-cute moves appropriate for her — yunno, a woman — but look terribly strange coming from them. (At least they’ll have their costume heads on, which explains why they’re going for such aegyo moves.)
Yi Gak watches with a skeptical This can’t be right look on his face. (And then he turns around and tries a move himself. Omg so cute.) What cracks me up about him is that half of him is too cool for school, but the other half is fiercely competitive so he always wants to outdo the others, even if that means he’s out-ridiculousing them.
Yong-sool asks if they really have to dance, and Lady Mimi tells them not only do you have to dance, you have to dance like crazy, to get people’s attention. Somehow I don’t think crazy will be a difficulty. She also reminds them that while they’re in costume, they have to be fully in character as animals — so, no talking.
The boys head off to begin working, but don’t forget to dutifully bow to their prince first. Adorable.
Lady Mimi leaves with another disapproving look at the lazy leader who won’t work, and that raises his hackles. Ha, I love that you can’t persuade him to work, but you can shame him.
So it is that Dog, Cat, and Rabbit are joined by Panda. Lady Mimi assumes this is Becky and complains that the others are doing such a poor job that Becky needs to show them how it’s done. Omg.
So Panda takes his place and dances his little heart out. I’m torn between loving the gag of the disguise giving him free rein, and desperately wishing we could see his face.
Back to the Home & Shopping company; I know it’s hard, but let’s try not to zone out. Great Aunt is in a snit because Tae-mu has disregarded her connections and chosen models from a different company for their wedding feature today.
Great Aunt feels belittled and storms off, then visits a man named Pyo Taek-soo, telling him it’s time to come back to Seoul and ask Granny to return to his old job. Taek-soo declines, saying sadly that he caused too much trouble before. His place is here, as the warehouse security guard. I’m not sure if he’s an ex-husband or a relative or why we care (’cause I don’t), but no doubt he’ll come into play later.
Grandma CEO worries about the model switch for today’s broadcast, since this is an important expansion of their market. Tae-mu assures her he has this well in hand, and adds that it’ll be good to use company employees for their shoot. He nominates Se-na as their model — a surprise move that Se-na isn’t expecting — but Grandma goes with it.
Se-na asks why Tae-mu sprung this on her, and when he grabs her for a hug, she reminds him that they might be seen. He’s feeling confident (or maybe reckless) and says he’s the company’s owner — “I will be, soon” — and doesn’t have to fear anybody’s eyes.
Park-ha sees her friends selling strawberries for her, touched at their initiative. A large crowd has gathered, drawn in by the silly dancing animals, and Lady Mimi credits Becky for doing all the hard work in attracting people.
The Panda is still gyrating energetically, but finally runs out of gas and keels over. The friends rush to “her” side worriedly, and Yong-sool decides to carry her to get help. The boys take off their masks (the ajummas ooh at their pretty faces) and take Panda indoors to rest. The guard recommends removing the costume, but Yong-sool stops him — they should respect the lady’s modesty, after all.
He calls Park-ha instead, just as Panda takes off his head to reveal Yi Gak. He hears Park-ha outside, though, and hurriedly puts the head back on and crosses his hands demurely in a ladylike pose — can’t let her see his embarrassment!
Park-ha offers “Becky” water and tries to take off the head, but Yi Gak refuses. So Park-ha takes his hand and thanks Becky for all her help, reminiscing on how they met two years ago, when they’d both been new to Korea. She apologizes, saying that she might leave without being able to repay all of Becky’s kindnesses.
Yi Gak shies away at the hand touch, but when Park-ha says she’s going to leave the rooftop for America, he whips around to stare at her. Then he gets up and crosses his arms in a full-body pout, and Park-ha apologizes; because she lost that check, she has no choice. She adds the request that Becky not tell her boys about this; she’ll tell them when the time is right.
Yi Gak storms off angrily and runs into Becky, who thinks he’s mad because he had to wear the suit in her place. (She got called on a last-minute job and needed the money.)
The wedding show prepares its broadcast, and Tae-mu pulls aside Se-na for quiet moment. He pulls her in close, then does a sleight-of-hand trick that ends with a diamond ring in his hand, which he slides onto her finger.
He asks her to marry him, suggests they break the news to the elders after the show, then whisks her off her feet to twirl her around. Aw, they really are cute together, when they’re being happily adoring, and not devilish or murderous. You’d think that wouldn’t have to be a caveat, but that’s K-drama for ya.
The rooftop family of seven — ducklings, Park-ha, and the girls — gather for a dinner party, where Park-ha heaps the gratitude and praise onto the three boys and pours them drinks. She ignores Yi Gak, assuming he was his usual unhelpful self, and he pours his own shot and seethes silently. When she promises to repay their kindness, he bursts out, “When?!” He accuses her of making a false promise, knowing she plans to leave, but since she doesn’t know that he knows, his reaction puzzles everyone.
Becky looks troubled and asks Yi Gak to step aside for a cup of coffee. (Yi Gak: “Rather than coffee, do you have something sweet?”) Her TV is set to a home shopping channel, and he looks amazed to see her onscreen modeling clothing.
Becky feels bad for getting the credit for his work and wants to tell Park-ha that he was dancing in the panda suit, but he’s distracted by the shopping channel’s wedding segment — and the bride, whom he recognizes. He wonders what she’s doing, and when Becky says she’s getting married, he bolts up in alarm. The princess, marry? It can’t be! (HAHA. His horror is real, but the misunderstanding just cracks me up.)
The Home Shopping family hears that their wedding package is a hit, and Tae-mu’s father hastens to praise Tae-mu for the good work. Grandma has been skeptical all this while, holding off on the congratulations, but now she gives Tae-mu credit for a job well done.
Yi Gak arrives at the shoot location in a taxi as the broadcast winds down, pushing his way inside frantically. He finds Se-na and laments the “wedding,” asking how she could do this, how she could not recognize him: “It’s me, Princess! Me!”
Tae-mu grabs Yi Gak and pulls him away, punching him in the face. The moment mimics that punch on the yacht, and in an eerie echo, Yi Gak goes flying over the railing and hits the water below. Dude, again? Once was an accident; twice means anger management.
The similarity rattles Tae-mu as they watch the red tracksuit floating facedown in the water.
Park-ha opens her old tin box and takes out a postcard — the one Tae-yong had drawn of her in New York. He’d been too shy to ask her out in person at the bar, but apparently he left it for her with the bartender, adding a note to meet him here in two days. She’d come, but he hadn’t.
There’s also a cell phone: A tourist had come to the pub to return a cell phone — she and some other dude had taken each other’s phones by mistake, and she wants to make the swap. (I speculate this will turn out to be Tae-yong’s phone, but we’ll have to wait and see.) Last but not least, there’s some kind of doll figure (a woman and a man) made of twine and stones.
A rescue team fishes Yi Gak out of the water and takes him to the hospital in an ambulance. Tae-mu rides along, badly shaken — you’ve gotta figure he’s got some rotten luck, finding himself in the same accident two times, with the same person (kinda).
Yi Gak is unconscious and unresponsive for a long while. As he lies on the gurney being treated, we flash back to his fall into the water. He floats there, wondering:
Yi Gak: “Who am I? Am I alive or dead? Who is this Tae-yong, who has the same face as I do? Who is the woman who bears the same face as the princess? Is this reincarnation? Have we been reborn? So, the princess must have been reborn. I must have died, then been reborn as Tae-yong. But if I was reincarnated as Tae-yong, then what am I doing here? Where is Tae-yong? Have I come here to take Tae-yong’s place?”
As his mind wonders these things, we see visions of his life, and Tae-yong’s — though I’m not sure if he’s seeing Tae-yong’s memories, or if this is for our benefit.
Yi Gak is defibrillated, but he flatlines. The doctor calls time of death. The family has gathered around the bed, and looks on in stunned silence as the sheet is pulled over his head, and Tae-mu’s initial shock gives way to relief, again.
But then the heart beats. Not dead yet.
Park-ha waits up that night, wondering where he is. Becky assures her that he’ll be fine, since she sent him off with Park-ha’s contact information and some cash.
As the family leaves the hospital, Grandma says it’s a good thing, since they were almost responsible for a death. She tells Tae-mu that he almost killed a man, and instructs Se-na to make arrangements: They’ll take responsibility for the patient and give him a VIP room.
They don’t know who the man is or who his emergency contacts are, so when the nurse finds the scrap of paper with a phone number in the red tracksuit, they give it a call.
Park-ha arrives in time to share an elevator with Grandma, and then she’s introduced to Se-na and Tae-mu as Red’s guardian. They look at her in wide-eyed shock but don’t betray that they know her, leading her to the room.
When they arrive, they find Yi Gak awake and sitting up, awaiting their arrival. He looks straight at them and says, “Grandmother, it’s me. Tae-yong.” Whaaaa?
One heart failure averted, only to spur three almost-heart-attacks. He smiles, ever so slightly.
Ooh, nice twist. My assumption is that Yi Gak hasn’t managed to somehow acquire Tae-yong’s memories, but has pieced together enough of the details to figure out the family dynamics. Going on the theory that he has been reincarnated, he suppose there’s an important connection between him and Tae-yong — and so, the best way to get to the bottom of that is to remain in Tae-yong’s circle. If he wants to find out the mystery of his lost princess’s death, for now this is the best plan. At least it IS a plan — otherwise, what else can he do but sit around and wait for the rooftop portal to open again, if ever?
This is just my speculation, so perhaps you’ve got other ideas. I do love that a drama like this opens the door for so much fun speculating. Now that I see where this is heading, I have some faith that there IS something to speculate, that the writer has a concrete idea of where he’s taking this story.
I know there’s some speculation that the dead woman in the pond wasn’t the princess, and I’m not discounting that theory. It’s an interesting one, and one I’m keeping at the back of my mind. But so far the drama hasn’t given us any indication that a body-switch is part of the intrigue, so I’m going with: The princess died in the pond. Until we get more clues, at least.
I do love the makeshift family storylines that are starting to emerge. I was plenty happy with the central fivesome — Park-ha and her Joseon ducklings — but it’s also nice to have the extension of her neighbors. On their own, I don’t think Becky and Lady Mimi are all that interesting (yet?), but as part of the big family, I love it. Becky’s the foreign transplant, Park-ha’s the orphan, the others are displaced in time, and Lady Mimi — well, she’s eccentric.
So you have this ragtag team of outcasts who don’t really fit in here, or belong anywhere in particular, and they’re making their own home here with each other. The theme of non-family members bonding together in a family that’s created, not born — it’s a recipe for awesomeness. When it’s done well, that is. And so far we’re doing it with humor and heart, so I’m a happy camper.
I shouldn’t be surprised since the writer wrote my favorite makeshift-family drama Bad Family, but in any case, it’s always nice to get more than you were hoping for.