Rooftop Prince: Episode 7
As you know, there’s only one episode this week due to the pre-emption, so this one will have to satisfy us for the time being. At least we got a nice dose of cuteness to tide us over till next week—not enough, I know, but I’ll take what I can get.
The election broadcasts didn’t slow down the ratings for either pre-empted show: Rooftop Prince came out in first place again with a 12.5% rating, The King 2 Hearts with 11%. (King’s 8th episode, which aired right afterward without drama competition, rose to 12.5%.) Equator Man settled back down to 10.8%.
Basically nobody’s far ahead or behind, so it’s a pretty close race at this point. Which seems appropriate, since all three shows seem solid in their own ways.
SONG OF THE DAY
Lucite Tokki – “Thief” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Yi Gak runs into Park-ha following her emotional confrontation with Se-na, after her childhood memories come rushing back. Oh, thank goodness for short amnesias. (Drama-wise, I mean. Character-wise she’s been dealing with that memory gap for about fifteen years.)
He sees Park-ha’s tearful eyes and looks from sister to sister, then runs after Park-ha (yay!). He asks what’s wrong and why she’s glaring so hard, since he doesn’t know she saw the charm bracelet he gave to Se-na. He insists on an explanation, frustrated when she leaves without a word.
Park-ha returns to the hospital to her stepmom’s bedside, where they get a surprise visitor: CEO Jang, aka Jang Sun-joo, aka deadbeat mother. Mom excuses Park-ha, then clears up the question that’s been lingering since this character’s introduction: “She’s not the girl you’re looking for.” As we suspected, she’s Se-na’s mother.
Jang Sun-joo is here to ease Mom’s fears, saying that she made a mistake coming back for her girl. Now she reaffirms the promise she made to Mom 29 years ago: “I won’t look for my daughter, not till I die.” Mom confirms, “You won’t go tracking down my Se-na?”
Jang Sun-joo’s answer explains her reappearance: She had surgery for cancer four years ago, thought she was in remission, but has now relapsed. She’d wanted to see Se-na, but realizes it’s selfish of her and does nobody else any good. There’s nothing like the fear of mortality to strike a little decency into a cold, black heart.
With that tension dispelled, Mom warms up to her old friend, and they catch up: After a young and single Jang Sun-joo left her daughter with Mom, she got married, though it didn’t last. Years later she met her current husband, moved to Hong Kong, and got wealthy. She has no children in Hong Kong… but she does have another daughter from that brief marriage. WUT. Is this what I think it is…? Rooftop Bachelorette’s Veggie Store? Funny enough, that mashup totally works, on multiple levels.
Jang Sun-joo has a lot of regrets, and sighs that she was a bad mother to Number Two, too. She steps aside, and that’s when Se-na shows up. Both mothers freeze, but Jang Sun-joo gives Mom the nod to assure her she’ll stay away.
Yi Gak calls Park-ha, and ha, his name is entered on her phone as “Unidentified Man.” She steps off the bus and doesn’t see that he’s standing behind her just a short distance away at the bus stop. He holds two bottles in his hands and asks, “Do you like banana or strawberry?” Milk, he means. So cute.
But she’s not in the mood and just tells him she’ll be late so he shouldn’t wait up. She heads to the River of Sadness and mulls over the recent events: being told of her birth mother leaving, her stepmother being hit by a car, her memory of Se-na abandoning her as a child, her realization that Yi Gak’s gift wasn’t for her. That is what we call a bad day.
And then the camera pans over to the next bench to show us Yi Gak, drinking his milk. That’s adorable. The boy followed you here because you’re sad! He’s like a homing puppy!
It’s the sound of him sucking on his banana milk that gets her attention. Ha, he’s drunk both himself. Why is he so cute just drinking things?
When she notices him, Yi Gak tells her he must know why she’s angry at him. Irritated, she yells, “Who says I’m angry?!”
She storms off, warning him to mind his own business. He’s confused, then piqued—she can’t just treat him like that!
In the RV, the boys try out some massager-type devices and twitch uncomfortably. They’ve been assigned to market these products, but they have no idea what they’re meant to do.
Park-ha comes home and Chi-san says pitifully, “Park-ha sis! Park-ha sis! This thing keeps hitting my stomach and makes me feel bad.” Man-bo: “Miss Park-ha! I’m staying still but this makes my neck twitch. This hurts my pride!”
Hilariously, just looking at them jerking around makes her jerk unconsciously in response. She’s too tired for this, though, and irritably says she’s going to bed.
The boys find Yi Gak outside (with yet another sweet drink) and complain about how unhelpful she was. Would it have killed her to just tell them what those things were? They indulge in a round of, “If this were the Joseon era…” saying that she wouldn’t have been fit to speak to the prince, and how she would’ve been groveling on the ground.
They chuckle at those satisfying images, until they notice that Yong-sool is quiet—as he always is when they mention Park-ha. He’s always defending her and refraining from making fun. Suspicious, suspicious!
Man-bo wonders if he has feelings for her, which gets Yi Gak looking sharply at him with narrowed eyes. Yong-sool loudly denies it, and the prince invites him to voice his own complaints like the others.
So Yong-sool starts in on his own grievances, only he exhibits his characteristic poor sense of timing by exclaiming, just as Park-ha exits the trailer, that he would’ve punished her fiercely and shown her who’s who.
The other boys see her mid-tirade and hastily turn away, leaving Yong-sool to rant to the wind till he has his “She’s standing right behind me, isn’t she?” moment.
He finds her glaring and bows his head meekly, but she’s not having it. And here she was, feeling bad about snapping at them, coming out to show them what those devices were after all. She rips into him, calling him a lowlife after all.
The other boys feign ignorance (Chi-san fakes a phone-grab, hehe)—way to throw him under the bus.
Yi Gak finds her packing her bag in the RV; there’s no point in sticking around with people who scorn her behind her back. He reaches out to hold her back, and when she shoves his arm away her bag goes flying, along with the childhood photograph of her and her father.
At his prodding she identifies the photo and he asks excitedly whether she has her memory back. So they sit outside, mood calmer now, as Park-ha explains her mother leaving and her father cutting her out of the photo. He tells her it’s a great thing that she recovered her memory, but she says tearily that it may have been better if she hadn’t.
Yi Gak thinks of his princess and tells her that without memories, you can’t be together even in spirit: “If you have memories, you can be together forever.”
Then it’s time for him to turn his thoughts to his own problems. Although he was reincarnated (as Tae-yong), Se-na has no memories of her past life as princess. In order for his time-warp to make sense, he has to figure out why it happened and who killed the princess 300 years ago.
Mom is released from the hospital, and Tae-mu sees to her departure with more apologies and promises to take care of all her medical bills. Mom goes easy on him by letting the accident slide as an instance of mutual bad luck, but decides to take him up on his generosity and ask if he could find her daughter a job. She promises that Park-ha is a diligent worker who’ll do whatever is asked of her. Ha, way to complicate the Home & Shopping family; at least this drama has figured out another way to make the company storyline more interesting.
Park-ha insists there’s no need, but Tae-mu agrees to look into it and asks her to drop by the office later. I’m pretty sure Se-na’s going to bust a gasket… which makes me like this plan, actually.
At the office, the three minions huddle around a cell phone, playing a round of celebrity Hot or Not. In this case, the question is “Who’s your ideal type?” and the choices are: Every man’s dream sweetheart Shin Mina, or the comedian Shin Bong-sun. Man-bo declares this is no contest: Shin Bong-sun, naturally.
Chi-san shoots him an Are you kidding me? look, and Man-bo explains to him that women ought to be modest and fertile. Ha. They argue back and forth for a good long while, until Yi Gak joins them carrying a big jug of mints. He’s rather proud of his discovery, since they’re park-ha candies, or peppermints.
Ha, I love that the show managed to combine his two great loves into one tasty, symbolically efficient treat. Even if his reasoning for eating them right now isn’t spurred by love, but annoyance: “Let’s all bite down together!” Chomp chomp chomp. Oh, misplaced aggression, you are adorable.
Yi Gak is pleased with the reactions of Chi-san and Man-bo, both of whom bite hard and enjoy the refreshing aftermath… and then catches a glimpse of Yong-sool, ever so gently sucking on his candy, trying not to hurt it. Yi Gak: “Why are you just sucking on it?! I order you to crunch loudly, now!” Yong-sool does, and satisfies the prince’s bloodthirsty mood.
Yi Gak gives them a second helping, purposely handling the mints roughly and giving Yong-sool extra. Chi-san tattles: “Your highness! He’s not crunching!”
Tae-mu catches up to CEO Jang, worried that she’s backing out of their agreement to steal the company from Grandma. She appeases him, saying she just wanted to leave quietly, and asks him for a personal request. Taking out a photograph, she asks him to help find her daughter. And as we suspected, it’s the same photograph Park-ha has, only CEO Jang’s face is intact in this one.
The trip-up, likely, is in the naming: Jang’s daughter was named Park In-joo. That means Dad must have renamed her, and if it happened early enough Park-ha wouldn’t know of her other name.
(Note on naming: It’s something of a trend I’ve seen in recent years to name someone a two-syllable name like Park-ha, but rather than calling her simply “Ha,” she is called her full name as though it’s her first. Park-ha-ya, Park-ha-sshi. Example: Go Soo’s family name is Go, but nobody calls him Soo; Go Soo is just his name. That’s different from the standard way, as you call someone like Kim Bum; Kim is the surname, Bum is his first name, friends call him Bummie or Bum-ah.)
Se-na catches a glimpse of the photo and Tae-mu explains that it’s CEO Jang, and the daughter she’s trying to find. To her shock, Se-na recognizes Dad’s face and realizes who the girl must be.
Park-ha arrives to meet Tae-mu, and Se-na quickly covers the photo with a folder before she sees it.
Realizing that Tae-mu is giving the dreaded sister a job here, Se-na accuses her (away from Tae-mu, that is) for following her here. As though everything she does is purposely designed to piss her off. Se-na needs a button that reads: It’s not all about you, princess.
Park-ha has a pretty awesome response, which is: I didn’t want to take the job as compensation for Mom’s accident, but then I heard this was your office and decided I wasn’t going to run away. She adds the firm warning: “I won’t go around exposing your true nature, so don’t mess with me.”
Se-na bites out that Park-ha had better leave this company before she’s chased out. But Park-ha turns to her with a serene smirk: “You don’t make me angry, because I pity you.”
Se-na asks Tae-mu who this CEO Jang is, and blanches at his response that next to Grandma, she’s got the most ownership in the company. Oh, let her stew in that jealousy for a while. Se-na offers to help, and makes herself a copy of the photo.
Yi Gak decides to help Park-ha with her parental mystery, since they can track down the family portrait to the studio where it was shot. The find the place still there, and she asks about nearby elementary schools, remembering something about a bridge and trees.
As they walk the neighborhood, Park-ha relates stories of walking home from school with friends, running away and having a grand ol’ time. Yi Gak clucks, saying that running away is for thieves and criminals, and for her to find that activity fun must mean she’s a delinquent. How can she enjoy such a thing?
Challenge accepted. Park-ha rings a doorbell several times with a devilish grin, then when the ajumma calls out, “Who’s there?” she makes a dash for it, telling Yi Gak to run. Hee.
But he doesn’t go with it, remaining standing firmly in place, lecturing her on answering the woman’s question. LOL. He refuses to budge.
Then the ajumma opens the gate and assumes the worst, wagging an angry finger in their faces as she starts to chase. Flight instinct kicks in and Yi Gak runs, hands clasped with Park-ha, both of them giggling madly.
Stopping to catch his breath, he crows, “We almost got caught!” Giggle giggle.
Now it’s his turn to play Ding Dong Ditch, only this time it’s a highly fit man in a tank top and ripped muscles who chases them down the street. Park-ha loses a shoe, but that doesn’t diminish their childlike glee.
Park-ha checks with the school, but to her disappointment there’s no record of a girl with her name in their records. He asks if maybe she got her name wrong (Park-ha: “What am I, an idiot?”), then asks for the hanja characters of her name.
He confirms that her “ha” character is the one meaning lotus flower: “The lotus flower is also called bu-yong.”
That means more to him than to her, and he thinks back to his sister-in-law. He asks Park-ha the same riddle: What lives though it dies, and dies though it lives? She declares it an easy one, and he leans forward in anticipation as she replies… and then deflates when she says it’s life: “Living isn’t living, you know!” He calls her dummy, disappointed.
Then she thinks, “Ah!” and he leans in intently again. And Park-ha says, “Unconsciousness! You’re not living, but you’re not dead.” Lol. And siiiiigh. He barks at her, then flicks her forehead.
She chases him around the playground in retaliation until they’re out of breath, and then the dam breaks and she starts to cry.
He wipes her tears from her face and gives her a consoling hug. “Don’t cry,” he thinks. “You’ll only make good memories from now on.”
Tae-mu accompanies CEO Jang to the very same photo studio, which makes the proprietor comment on the unusualness of getting two such requests in a day. A young woman came with a young man and asked about a nearby elementary school.
But it’s Se-na who arrives first and watches Park-ha with Yi Gak. She fumes. Then she notices the second couple arriving, and steps in before they can see Park-ha, saying she’s here on that errand to find that woman.
Tae-mu introduces her to CEO Jang, who keeps her reaction under control, knowing this is her other daughter. Se-na plays it off like she was the one at the studio, nipping their lead in the bud for now. She adds that she already checked with the school and found no information.
CEO Jang takes the opportunity to request her return ride with Se-na, and says she’s pleased to have gotten to know her better. As they part ways for the night, she even takes the ring off her finger and gives it to Se-na, who accepts it gratefully.
Tae-mu is particularly pleased, and grabs Se-na into a hug; it benefits them both for CEO Jang to hold her in high regard. They’re both on the same page: If Jang takes Se-na under her wing in place of her lost daughter (in a close friendly relationship, not Crazy bitch wants us to pretend WUT?), she’ll be happy to take on that role.
That hug, however, gets seen by Tae-mu’s father, who flips out. His exalted son with the secretary?
Dad confronts the pair, berating both for their inappropriate relationship. It’s clear this Will Not Do. He warns Se-na to end the relationship immediately.
Park-ha and Yi Gak take the bus home, falling asleep next to each other in their seats. She wakes up taken aback at their pose, but then Yi Gak guides her head back to his shoulder, and they sit there cozily, smiling to themselves.
But then he has to go and mess it all up, because as soon as they get off the bus he perks up at a message from Se-na, who wants to meet. He dashes back on the bus to run to her side.
Se-na’s drinking by herself, and he joins her for a beer. Se-na returns his bracelet, and asks him if it’s true that he’s interested in her. At his confirmation, she says she isn’t interested in him, but he declares, “You will come to like me.”
She finds it absurd and funny, since he doesn’t know her. He asks if she believes in reincarnation—another absurdity, which she scoffs at—and says she’ll come to believe in it.
He asks if she has a younger sibling, and that makes her momentarily panic. She stutters a no, spooked at his comment, “I ask because it seems like you would have one.”
Taking her hand, he fastens the bracelet on her wrist, thinking of his statement about memories letting you live together forever (which must be the answer to his riddle, no?).
And this is the sight seen by Tae-mu. Ooh.
Se-na comes home to find him waiting, and she answers vaguely that she was just out and about, and had a drink. He apologizes to her for his father, pleading with her to give him some time to sort it out and persuade Dad to accept them. She’s insulted that their relationship is something he has to gain approval for, and tells him that if he’s serious, he should tell his father they’re going to marry.
Tae-mu can’t do that, though, and that answer proves her point: “Then let’s break up.”
In the morning, Park-ha hurries off to work without the boys, because they’re going to make her late on her first day. That leaves them grumbling after her (Yi Gak: “She without loyalty!”), and they catch up to her in no time. Yi Gak mocks her with the hilarious use of his fingers: “Short legs walk slow!” The boys overtake her with big, long-legged strides, forcing her to run after them.
At work, we get a face-off between the two opposing strategists: Pyo Taek-soo (Team Grandma) and Tae-mu (Team Not-Grandma). Pyo Taek-soo knows about their meetings with CEO Jang, which are a pretty transparent grab for more power.
Tae-mu keeps his cool, but Pyo Taek-soo’s pretty sharp and asks, “Just because the disappeared Tae-yong has come back, do you think that disappearance case will be over?” He harbors suspicions, because he remembers quite clearly that Tae-mu met Tae-yong in New York, contrary to his claims.
Tae-mu must feel confident that he covered his tracks because he smirks that this sounds like a crazy novel, but Pyo Taek-soo has found one piece of the puzzle he hasn’t covered up: Two years ago on his trip to meet Tae-yong, Tae-mu used a corporate credit card at a restaurant, covering a meal with two people. He declares that he will help Tae-yong recover his memory and says warningly, “Life’s no joke. Stop joking around, Tae-mu.”
Tae-mu tamps down his roiling temper. Hey buddy, maybe you can just follow him around everywhere and your terrible luck will get him into an accident. Turn your weaknesses into strengths, I say.
Park-ha’s job has her working on the set where the home-shopping segments are filmed. The boys find her there to deliver the news that they’re moving back into the rooftop room tonight, and will be holding a housewarming party.
Tae-mu happens by the doorway to them chatting, and decides to eavesdrop with the help of the cameras. He flips on the mics in the sound booth and listens as the boys request their favorite foods of her. Aw, Yong-sool is reluctant to join the pile-on, since she’ll be doing all the cooking.
Park-ha suggests a crab dish marinated in soy sauce, but Chi-san declares that they can’t serve that. Yi Gak admits that he once almost died eating that dish; just the smell of it was enough to give him breathing difficulty. This is a tidbit that gets Tae-mu’s interest, though I’m not sure if it’s because this is something he would have known about his cousin, or if it’s because he’s just found a secret weapon—if you can’t find an accident, make one, right?
Squash court. Tae-mu offers to teach Yi Gak, but it’s really a test as he sees how terribly Yi Gak swings and gets himself hit by the ball.
This further confirms his suspicions, and Tae-mu says, “A person may forget memories in the head, but the body doesn’t forget. I’ve never beaten you in squash.” He thinks of the yacht fight again, and declares, “I’ve never once believed you were Tae-yong.”
I’ll be honest, the moment I learned there were TWO lost daughters, I had to groan—really? As though one weren’t enough, you’re gonna go there with double birth secrets?
As I mentioned before, though, what saves the storyline for me is the connection to the past lives. They’re not exactly saying that history repeats itself, but I suppose the reincarnated souls have to share more than just a passing similarity to the “origin” story. In mimicking the relationship of the original sisters, the drama uses modern drama tactics to give us a feasible way to connect them. So I’m going with it, even though the negligent mother storyline is getting pretty overplayed at this point.
I’m intrigued at Yi Gak’s suspicion that there may be a Park-ha/Bu-yong connection. It makes sense given that Se-na’s nearby and his eyes are open to the reincarnation connection possibilities, but I hadn’t thought the drama would get him there quite so quickly. It’s something I appreciate about this show in general—the instant you see where a story is heading, the show plays it out rather than letting you see it coming all series long, only to make the grand reveal in the finale, making it more of a anticlimactic reveal.
I don’t think it’s too far-fetched that he wouldn’t recognize her by face alone; ostensibly he’s always been enamored of his bride, so there’d be no reason to gaze intently at Bu-yong’s eyes. And when somebody wears something as distinctive as her facial mask, your eyes tend to fixate on the distraction. So I expect him to guess her identity through an intellectual process, like he does with her hanja name.
It’s still rather frustrating that he’s fixated on winning Se-na over, though again, it makes sense within his character’s context. She was his beloved in his past life, so she must be his beloved in this life. Although technically speaking, using that logic it’s really Tae-yong who should be paired with her.
Because the fate/reincarnation thread runs so strong, I’m mostly curious to see how he’s going to get past that mental block to see Park-ha. For someone who believes his very presence in this world is a result of the reincarnated souls, it’s going to be very hard to shake that fundamental belief, like convincing someone the world is flat (or cubed, as the case may be) when they’re sure it’s round.
But no matter, because this coupling is super adorable and charming, and I basically love all of their interactions. Especially if it involves sweets and/or insults. And yes, hugs and kisses, naturally.