Rooftop Prince: Episode 11
With feelings both growing stronger and starting to conflict with our main mission, this episode brings us a spot of angst and heartache, while our leads grapple with What (I Assume) Must Be versus What I Want. I’m just waiting for them to figure out that they may be operating on some skewed assumptions on the What Must Be side of things. That, or maybe they can say to hell with it and just take what they want. Hey, once you’re on the path of idiocy, who’s to say noble is better than selfish?
SONG OF THE DAY
Eco Bridge – “난 걷는다” (I walk) [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
Yi Gak chases down Park-ha, who cringes at the thought that he’s read her confession of love. He takes out his phone and taps it tellingly, insisting, “Take responsibility.” Do you mean you’re holding her to her words? Aw, honey, is that a proposal?
And then he adds, “…the dirt got inside so it won’t turn on.” HAHA. Park-ha apologizes through her relief, much happier now, and pedals on.
There’s something in Yi Gak’s reaction, though, that makes me wonder if he’s faking the ignorant act. He’s a little too pensive, and watching her a little too closely…
Park-ha and Yi Gak head to Mom’s house, and just barely miss seeing Se-na leave the neighborhood. Probably best for all, at this stage of things.
Park-ha’s here to pick up Mom’s documents to help her file her taxes, and Mom returns something she found mixed in with her things: Tae-yong’s cell phone, the one Tae-mu tried to destroy (twice). Mom recognizes Park-ha’s gentleman friend on the wallpaper, and hands it over.
Park-ha gives it to Yi Gak, who recalls the suspicious circumstances of its disappearance: how the family had urged him to get it unlocked, and how Tae-mu had acted strange when it went missing.
At home, Chi-san deals with a tummyache, and HA, is the duckling literally wearing a duckling on his shirt? Oh my meta. Se-na arrives for their barbecue party just as the boys decide to piggyback him to the hospital, and drives them over.
Man-bo and Yong-sool pace in the waiting room, hoping he won’t die, and breathe a sigh of relief when they’re told he’ll be fine after a simple surgery for his appendicitis.
Man-bo packs an overnight bag for the hospital stay, and heads out just as Park-ha and Yi Gak arrive. The trio immediately head for the hospital, where they find Chi-san in recovery. Man-bo praises Se-na for her quick thinking and calls her a life-saver, earning everyone’s gratitude. Park-ha quietly leaves, feeling ever more discouraged, taking a moment to gather her deflated feelings in the bathroom.
Upon her return Park-ha overhears Se-na talking to Yi Gak, expressing her unease about him and Park-ha being alone together, despite his assurance that she has no reason to worry. Again he tells her it’s nothing—although his expression seems to hint at something else.
Chi-san tells his friends that when he was in the throes of pain, the idea that he might die here, away from his family, was enough to bring him anguish. Yes, this life is comfortable, but it’s not home. He laments, “I really want to go back.”
Yi Gak feels responsible for his men’s difficulties, and it renews his desire to end this journey quickly. He asks them to endure just a little longer until they can achieve their goal, after which they’ll be able to return home. It’s a theory that makes some sense, given that they were brought here for a reason—they just have to fulfill their task and the mojo that brought them here should kick in again, right?
Park-ha brings them dinner, but excuses herself to head home early. Yi Gak also cites a lack of appetite and declines to eat, while Chi-san is unable to eat until he passes the post-surgery gas still in his gut. Loyal Yong-sool chooses solidarity, which is a riot given the abject seriousness of his tone contrasting with the words: “Until he farts, I will not eat, either.” Funny, ’cause I probably wouldn’t want to eat after that, either.
That leaves Man-bo looking longingly at dinner and shooting Yong-sool a dirty look—he can’t be the only one eating, after all. That would just look bad.
Park-ha and Yi Gak head home in silence, not speaking, both lost in thought. Yi Gak doesn’t realize that she hasn’t followed him onto the bus until he looks out his window, seeing her turning to walk on alone.
That means he arrives home first and waits up for her worriedly. His call goes unanswered because she’s shut her phone off, so he heads out to look, scouring the streets.
While he’s out, Park-ha sits in a huddle on the front stoop, reluctant to go inside to face him. She looks up at their beach mural, but it doesn’t seem to provide much comfort today.
Yi Gak finds her sitting there, and covers for the fact that he was out looking for her by saying he was just getting some air. And when he asks why her phone was off, he makes up the excuse that wanted to send her on an errand.
Yi Gak tends to their aquarium, fishing out the sprouted lotus seed and replanting it in a pot. She asks why, and he answers that it’s to make sure it doesn’t die, but she asks, “Can’t it just live in the aquarium with the fish?” The analogy isn’t lost on either of them as he replies, “I was intending to move it and plant it from the start.” The background song sings out, “I know that’s a lie,” but Park-ha takes him at face value and walks away feeling disheartened.
She sits outside on the patio, and he silently joins her. Uncomfortable in his presence, she gets up to leave, but he grabs her wrist as she walks by and asks, “Is it true that you like me?” I knew it! He did read the message!
She starts to feel indignant that he read the text and pretended not to, making a fool of her, but he’s not to be thus distracted and repeats his question.
He takes her by the shoulders, turning her to face him, and says gently, “Don’t like me.” She turns to hide her tears, and after her departure he says to himself, “I’m sorry.”
Yi Gak takes the recovered cell phone to the service center for unlocking and repair, then looks through its contents for clues. In the gallery, he finds that photo of the cousins in New York together, with metadata confirming the date of shot, betraying Tae-mu’s lie. (February 17 is the date, for future reference.)
With one hunch confirmed, he asks Park-ha for the postcard and asks how she came to have it. She tells him she never knew Tae-yong drew her and never met him, but she does backtrack through her memory to confirm that she received the card on February 17. Another puzzle piece falls into place.
She still thinks she got stood up, but Yi Gak tells her that the reason Tae-yong didn’t meet her was because he died right before their rendezvous date. That’s his belief, at any rate, and he fixates on this bit: “You could have met Yong Tae-yong. You were meant to meet Yong Tae-yong.” Ooh, keep going with that line of thought—just a few more steps till you uncover more thwarted destinies…
Yi Gak asks Pyo Taek-soo for information, trying to retrace the events leading up to Tae-yong’s death/disappearance. His boat was found on February 18, missing its owner, so that narrows down the window some more. Tae-mu arrived in the States on the 17th. Taek-soo says they just need proof of the cousins meeting to shine a light on Tae-mu’s lie.
Yi Gak keeps his mouth shut about the photo for now, opting to gather more corroborating evidence first. He calls Tae-mu out for a drink and baits him, saying, “I keep running into someone I’m supposed to remember, which feels like my memory is starting to come back. But my memories just upset me.” He wonders if his hyung believes in fate. Tae-mu laughs that no, such things don’t exist.
But Yi Gak’s tone gets more serious as he uses his beer glass and bottle to symbolize two people: Say a man and a woman were destined to meet. But instead, something happened and interfered. Thwack! He knocks the bottle over: “Thus that man couldn’t meet that woman. That angers me.”
Tae-mu is unnerved at this loaded analogy, but he brushes the subject aside and says he’d rather talk about something less confusing. Yi Gak agrees to an easier topic, and asks: “When I was living in America, what was the last conversation we had?”
Tae-mu says their last exchange was an international phone call, before he left Korea to meet Tae-yong. Yi Gak asks if they’d ever gone to a bar like this in New York, and that strikes a note of alarm in Tae-mu’s brain. He scans the place and realizes that it’s a lot like the bar they’d drunk at the night before the yacht accident. But he’s careful not to betray his fears; slapping on a smile, he replies that it’s possible they went to a similar bar—there’s nothing too unusual about this one.
Yi Gak says that this is an example of him not being sure of whether he’s remembering or imagining things from the past: “And my memory of our last conversation wasn’t a phone call, but on a boat.” Dun dun dun!
While Tae-mu trembles with nerves, Yi Gak asks for just one clear answer: “Two years ago on February 17 when you arrived in New York, did you meet me, or not?”
They lock gazes, and Tae-mu growls, “Crazy bastard.” Yi Gak growls right back, “Either we met or we didn’t, it’s one of the two. The answer isn’t crazy bastard.”
Tae-mu chooses outrage as his mode of deflection, accusing his cousin of toying with him, but Yi Gak persists with his question. Tae-mu answers that they didn’t meet, and Yi Gak laughs in his face, saying, “You say we didn’t meet, so you’re a liar. If you’d said we did meet, you’d be a killer. Which are you?” Oooh. Ballsy. He follows that with: “But those two people are the same: the killer and the liar.”
Tae-mu steps close and warns, “You’ve crossed the final line.” Which would put them on the same side, by my count, though I’m pretty sure the killer doesn’t get to complain about lines of propriety. Tae-mu vows to trample his cousin thoroughly to ensure he never says those words again. Okay, now, you can’t just announce your murderous intent—not when you’re doing such a poor job whacking people already. Now you’re just giving them more ways to escape you, Worst Killer Ever.
The awkwardness continues between Park-ha and Yi Gak at work, where they keep their distance despite being keenly aware of the other. When Park-ha trips on a stair and hurts her ankle, Yi Gak keeps himself from hurrying the help her, but he goes out to buy band-aids and medication and leaves them for her.
She corners him at home to ask why he’s being so solicitous, looking after her. He feigns ignorance and says he hasn’t been, nor does he intend to. Frustrated, she bursts out, “I’m not telling you to like me!” She’s just trying to make sense of his mixed messages.
She’s opened this can of worms, so he sits her down and starts his explanation—of the princess who was poisoned before he made the time-jump, and how he must solve her murder in order to return home. And how he believes that to do so, he has to re-create the events of the day she died. To do that, he’ll have to marry Se-na and make history repeat itself. His impersonation of Tae-yong and his job at the company are all in pursuit of the goal to marry the princess’s reincarnation.
In so doing, he believes there will be an attempt made on the princess’s life in this world as well: “I’ll reveal who it is that tries to kill her in this place, and prevent the death. Then I will know who poisoned the princess in Joseon, and once I know, my companions and I will return there.”
On the upside for him, Se-na is all about marrying him, and she says so in their next date, acting like she likes him so much that she wanted to confirm their feelings and get that out in the open. With any other guy it would be jumping the gun, but in this case this just makes his job easier and he thanks her. And then they handshake, because marriage is a business transaction entered into by consenting adults with personal agendas to further. Right?
They agree to break the news later to the adults, who laugh that this is speedy but probably just characteristic of youngsters these days. Grandma wants an engagement period before the ceremoney, but is otherwise pleased to welcome Se-na as future in-law.
Uncle Money, meanwhile, sits back with a devious smile, since he’s content to let two of his enemies shack up. That gives him the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone—which in this case may not even be much of a metaphor. You never know with this family.
On the other hand, Tae-mu doesn’t take this news well, since he does really love Se-na and has yet another grievance to level against his cousin. He clenches his fist, not even hearing his father’s advice to hurry up and marry first, securing his position before his cousin.
He calls Se-na out to a quiet stairwell to demand to know what she’s doing. She reminds him that she broke up with him cleanly, and that this will be the last time they’ll be meeting like this, secretly.
Tae-mu follows her out into the hallway and grabs her arm, but sees Yi Gak standing at a distance and forces his voice low. He warns, “You won’t get what you want. I won’t allow it—not for either of you.” Is it just me, or does anybody else hear the implied Or I’ll kill you hanging in the air?
Yi Gak asks what that intense encounter was about, ready to swoop in to her defense. Se-na lies that she’d made a mistake and assures Yi Gak not to worry, since she merited Tae-mu’s anger.
Se-na sits down with her mother to tell her the news, and Mom is thrilled that her daughter is engaged to the company president’s grandson. Se-na adds hurriedly, apologetically, that the other family doesn’t know about Mom and that she hasn’t told them about her. Since having a mother is pretty standard, as far as humans go, in this case her wording suggests that Se-na has fibbed about Mom’s whereabouts and that she knows it’s hurtful. So she pleads with Mom to be understanding and promises to introduce them later. Like maybe after the wedding, when it’s too late to kick up a fuss?
Mom is disappointed but agrees to go with it. Later she has a drink with Park-ha, who’s feeling drinky herself. They smile and laugh together, both trying to find their cheer amid the hurt, and when it’s time to part ways Mom finally breaks down in tears, hugging Park-ha as she cries.
Yi Gak watches over the lotus plant, thinking of Park-ha. He’s gazing at the beach mural when Park-ha stumbles home. She wonders tearily, “Of all the places in this big city, why did you have to fall onto my rooftop?”
The team continues with their product launch, and Park-ha accompanies Man-bo to the warehouse. As they unload boxes, a faulty electrical outlet starts to spark, going unnoticed until after Man-bo steps out for more boxes, the door locking behind him.
Thus he can’t get back inside, even as smoke seeps out of the door cracks. He shouts for help while Park-ha navigates the burning interior, looking in vain for an exit path.
Meanwhile, Se-na and Yi Gak take a meeting to work out contract details. He excuses himself to take Man-bo’s phone call, is stricken with alarm, and rushes out immediately.
At the warehouse, Park-ha inhales too much smoke and collapses. The guards finally get the lock open just as Yi Gak arrives. but guards hold everyone away from the burning building.
Yi Gak pushes his way through anyway, shouting Park-ha’s name as he makes his way inside amid falling boxes. Park-ha vaguely registers the shouting, but fades into unconcsiousness.
Eh. Sort of a perfunctory episode, I thought. We had to get here and I don’t really have issues with the content of the episode, which were necessary steps. Yi Gak had to fight his feelings for Park-ha to keep his eye on the big picture, and he had to move forward with Se-na. But he also had to also be jolted into action because of Park-ha (ergo, heroic rescue), which presumably will make him realize how he really feels about her. I’m operating on the assumption that he has an inkling of his feelings for her but is consciously suppressing them, because a new romantic future is a luxury he can’t afford to indulge right now.
But the show kinda sleepwalked through these plot points, zooming straight through without stopping to pick up its sidekicks, Cute and Funny. And in the absence of these two scene-stealers, we can really feel the energy level drop. It felt like the show just chugged on quickly, taking a “Let’s just get this over with, folks” approach. I do agree that the comedic sidebars do tend to be on the periphery to the main plot, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing. In this drama’s case, the quirk factor gives us the zip and zing, so they’re welcome additions, and I missed them.
I also see, narratively, why they toned down the sidekicks’ moods in this episode, since we’re in the part where they get homesick—they’ve assumed all along that they’d get to go home, but I don’t think it’s been that clear to us. Now’s the time to start preparing the audience that these boys will have to be Quantum Leaping back to their real lives, reminding us that they don’t belong here. On the other hand, much of the lighter, adorable beats that this drama has successfully pulled off isn’t directly related to these plotlines, so I don’t see why we couldn’t have had more duckling action regardless.
But most of all, I think it’s the Park-ha heartbreak that really changed up the mood, because she spent the episode moping. I was there with her emotionally so I wasn’t upset that she was moping—girl has a pretty good reason for being bummed—but it definitely weighed down the ambiance. Park-ha is at her most winning as the spunky and occasionally crabby mama duck, so I missed her energy.
Since this episode took us to the angst zone, here’s to hoping we get pulled out of it soon. Like, tomorrow-soon.
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 10
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 9
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 8
- Rooftop Prince delivers a triple dose this week
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 7
- The untold love story: Rooftop Fashion King
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 6
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 5
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 4
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 3
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 2
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 1