Rooftop Prince: Episode 8
The plot thickens, and so does the romantic attraction. Oh sure, these kids are still in the denial phase of things, but there’s nothing like a nice dose of jealousy to spur things along. That, and the supreme frustration known as driving lessons.
Ratings reversal! Woot woot, those always make things a bit more interesting. Equator Man leapfrogged over the other shows to claim #1 for the first time, just as Uhm Tae-woong’s revenge gets going. It scored a 12.0%, while Rooftop Prince remained more or less in place with an 11.4%, and The King 2 Hearts slipped to last place with 10.8%. (These numbers are all pretty close so we’re not talking huge differences, but reversals spice things up a little.)
SONG OF THE DAY
Standing Egg – “그래도 좋아” (I like you anyway) [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
It’s time to move back to their rooftop home, so the posse heads back to their fancified digs. Yi Gak smiles approvingly at the changes while everyone else stares, mouth agape, and Park-ha breathes, “Daebak.”
There’s a faux lawn, and a wood walkway with pebbles, making it look like a mini-mansion of its own. Omg, did the prince really install a balcony? Onto his rooftop apartment? That’s like putting little wings on bigger wings, to help them fly better. At a certain point, some things are just unnecessary.
They ask Yi Gak to take a photo of them at the house, and he says, “I’ll shoot on three. Three.” HAHAHA. Yong-sool’s attempts at smiles are the funniest things—he’s trying, but his face just doesn’t move that way.
On to the supermarket for groceries. Once again the duckling quartet attracts women’s admiring gazes, and Park-ha puffs up a little. As if to say, “They’re with me!” They load the cart. Yi Gak adds about ten crates of yogurt drinks, and brandishes his magical black card that buys everything.
Meanwhile, the boys make a discovery in the sugar aisle: gak-sul-tang, aka gak sugar, aka cubes.
Chi-san says intently, “Won’t it be fun to chew these up?” And they all look over at their other Gak, aka the prince. Hahahaha. Yong-sool suggests, “Let’s get a few more.”
Park-ha stops at an aquarium of colored fish, which remind her of their Power Ranger troop. Yi Gak indicates them by color—Chi-san is yellow, Yong-sool is blue, Man-bo is green. He stops and Park-ha points a finger at herself, wanting a fish too.
Yi Gak sees a display of lotus seeds and remembers that lotus is the meaning of Park-ha’s name (also Bu-yong). He picks out a seed, saying, “This is you,” and tosses it into the water with the fishies. Park-ha pouts.
Chez Grandma, the ladies chat about Tae-yong’s rooftop housewarming, and Se-na offers to send over a gift. Tae-mu suggests that crab-in-soy-sauce dish that Tae-yong was so fond of—you know, the one Yi Gak is deathly allergic to. Oh, Tae-mu, am I going to have to upgrade you from accidental killer to premeditator?
Ah, and now we get the squash court scene that ended the previous episode, with Tae-mu kicking Yi Gak’s butt and declaring that he doesn’t buy his impersonation one bit.
While the not-cousins are having their confrontation, the family drops in on the revamped rooftop room, which now looks like a luxury mansion. Okay, fancy new furnishings I understand, but the interior of this sucker must have tripled in size, and only an enlargement spell can explain it. Did you get that house out of Harry Potter?
The boys arrive and dinner is served. “Tae-yong” freezes when he’s presented with that crab dish he supposedly loves, and everyone waits expectantly.
Park-ha recalls that eating crab almost killed him once, but she and Tae-mu look surprised as Yi Gak takes a bite, then praises the dish. He manages a smile, thwarting evil cousin’s plan.
But later Park-ha finds him outside, doubled over and gasping. She rushes to his side and urges him to breathe—so when Se-na leaves the house, she catches them “kissing,” turning away before seeing that Park-ha is breathing air into his mouth.
Meanwhile, the other boys play cards downstairs with Becky and Mimi, and thoroughly hustle the ladies. They’d feigned ignorance of Go-Stop, then clean up and win lots of cash, dancing in their seats. Cute.
Park-ha takes Yi Gak to the clinic, where a shot clears up his reaction and returns his breathing to normal. He marvels at modern medicine, saying that if he were in Joseon times he would’ve been in trouble. But that mention makes Park-ha look at him suspiciously: “Who are you? You’re not Yong Tae-yong.”
True, he’d told her from the start that he was a time-traveler, and she accepted that. But then he “recovered” his memory, and she accepted that as the explanation. So she’s upset about his deception, because now she knows he’s just impersonating Tae-yong. She tells him she can’t believe what he says anymore and turns away to head home.
So what does he do? He turns the other way and walks right into traffic, causing cars to honk and screech. He doesn’t so much as flinch as he makes it across the street, and Park-ha races back to yell at him, both angry and worried. He asks if she’ll believe him now—it was something of a test of faith—and she takes back her words, saying that he’d better convince her with words, not actions, since she’ll believe him after all. (She kicks him for good measure.)
The adults decide it’s time to leave, assuming that Tae-yong and Park-ha went off somewhere together (Grandma and Great Aunt smile knowingly at the antics of “young people these days”). Se-na offers to stay behind to clean up, as does Tae-mu; the air has been strained between the exes, particularly with Uncle looking smug over getting her away from his son.
They’re not broken up in his mind, though, and Tae-mu comes up behind her to ask if she’s still angry. He looks dismayed when she pushes him back, and asks her to wait just a little longer until his father accepts them.
Se-na wanders into Park-ha’s room and sees the postcard on the wall—the drawing of Park-ha that Tae-yong drew in New York. She smirks, guessing that the two must be together.
Park-ha asks why he’s pretending to be Tae-yong, not seeing how anything could be so important that he’d knowingly put his life at risk to keep up the ruse. He answers that it’s because of the reason he came to the future: to meet someone. She asks who, and he tells her that she doesn’t need to know beyond the fact that such a person exists, “But I won’t tell you any lies.”
Yi Gak wonders what Park-ha did earlier to help him breathe, since his memory is hazy. She describes mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, which makes his eyebrows shoot up; a second later, he suddenly clutches his chest and wheezes. HAHA. Or you could just ask for a kiss.
Park-ha asks if he needs to return to the hospital, but he gasps, “Mouth…to…mouth…” She realizes he’s faking and scolds him, but he keeps pretending, “I can’t breathe!” She barks, “Then don’t breathe!” She hits him with her tiny ineffectual fists, and he says she must’ve been a general in a prior life.
As the rooftop house’s owner, Yi Gak issues instructions and divides the labor amongst the boys, like housekeeping and finances. And Park-ha? He takes particular pleasure in pointing out that she’s no longer the landlord, so her duties will cover cooking, laundry, and cleaning.
Chi-san (that rabble-rouser) adds the dig, “Maid,” then puts in his breakfast order—omurice, natch. Yong-sool, on the other hand, bows respectfully and wishes her good night. Adorable. The fact that he’s the stiff-faced badass warrior makes his soft spot for her doubly sweet.
Park-ha tosses and turns that night, wondering at Yi Gak’s comment on needing to meet somebody. The next day, she heads to the library to do some reading on Joseon royalty. She finds the passage she’s looking for, and looks crushed at what she finds.
Yi Gak asks Pyo Taek-soo to fill him in on his life leading up to the disappearance. Taek-soo asks why he trusts him, and Yi Gak answers that he does because Grandma does.
Taek-soo shares his belief that Tae-yong met with Tae-mu in New York prior to disappearing, despite Tae-mu’s claims to the contrary. He warns Yi Gak to be wary of his cousin: “Either he knows something, or he did something.” Yi Gak realizes that this shiftiness fits with Tae-mu’s behavior, and is duly put on his guard.
So the company factions are solidified: Tae-mu and Uncle, versus Yi Gak and Taek-soo. More sniping between the ajusshis sheds light on their history: They both entered the company together and rose to similar positions. But Uncle got by on his family connection, while Taek-soo earned his way up.
Tae-mu smirks at his cousin, asking if he’s finding things difficult. Yi Gak replies in kind: “Aren’t things worse for you?” Tae-mu snaps to alert—what does he mean by that? Yi Gak replies, “We both know very well what that means.”
The stare-down is interrupted by the adults, who separate the brewing conflict. Taek-soo wonders if that was coming on too strong, but Yi Gak says he’d just tossed out the words to see what would happen. Judging from the reaction, there’s something there, all right.
Uncle delivers the news to the elders that Tae-mu will be going on a blind date with potential marriage material, purposely doing this in front of Se-na to get the message across.
Grandma sits Se-na down to ask if she’s dating anyone; she’s been pleased with Se-na lately and asks if she’d consider dating Tae-yong. She urges Se-na to give it a shot, while Tae-mu looks stricken. Ha, that’s got to sting—not (only) that his cousin gets his girl, but that Grandma looks favorably on Se-na. And here he was, too much of a wimp to go public himself.
Tae-mu gives Se-na tickets to a musical, which he’s gotten to purposely coincide with tomorrow’s blind date, to prove to her that he’d pick her over Dad’s wishes.
Mom drops by the rooftop mansion, and Park-ha explains the living situation by calling it a boardinghouse situation; she introduces the boys as boarders. Yi Gak doesn’t blow her cover, letting her keep up the white lie.
Marriage is the theme of the day, because Mom has scored an incredible match for Park-ha. The boys eavesdrop from the second floor (there’s a second floor!), looking gobsmacked at the words wedding and children and family. One of the ajusshis at the market has seen Park-ha and decided he’d like to match her with his son, a good-looking schoolteacher. Mom’s already set the date.
Mom catches sight of the four bachelors just hangin’ around, listening in, and wonders what they’re all about. Park-ha grimaces and motions them away, to which Yi Gak mouths right back, “This is MY house!”
Chi-san notices that Yong-sool is particularly deflated at this news, sitting in a spineless slump on the floor. Yong-sool declines to join the others on their nightly run, and they pester him to come anyway till he barks back, “Who says I can’t feel sick?!”
Chi-san indicates his chest and asks slyly if that’s where he hurts—is it a heartache? Devilish cackle.
Park-ha and Yi Gak are also out getting some exercise. Well, she’s working out while he’s pacing with his nose in the air: “For me, this IS exercise!” Haha. Just wait till all those sweets go straight to your hips, and then let’s talk.
Park-ha explains that she’s keeping fit to look good for her date tomorrow, and Yi Gak grimaces. He asks if she’d really marry the guy if she likes him, and she answers that people have been known to marry within a month in some cases. He forces himself to say evenly that he hopes she meets a nice guy. She chirps that she’ll go to bed praying for that, and he sucks furiously at his yogurt, crumpling it in his hand.
The boys are waiting around the next day when she heads out for her date all dressed to impress. Yi Gak takes in her blazer and jeans, then asks pointedly if she’s heading to the grocery store. Hehe.
She’s alarmed (“Does it look like I’m going grocery shopping?”) and he feigns surprise: “You weren’t? Then are you planning to go on your date looking like that?” He tells her that he can’t have her humiliated, and the other boys all chime in to express their disapproval.
Shopping montage! Adorably, Yong-sool claps enthusiastically at every outfit, while Yi Gak plays the Richard Gere role by shaking his head in dissatisfaction.
Finally she earns everyone’s approval, and Yi Gak buys all the clothes she tried on, overriding her protest that she just needs one dress—she can’t go into it expecting only one date. He tells the sales clerk, “Remember her face. If she comes back asking for a refund, refuse her.”
Then it’s time for shoes and hair. Man, I hope she was planning to be five hours early for her date, with all the montages we’re getting.
She meets her date (a cameo by Song Jae-hee), who works in a Moon/Sun reference by giving his nickname as Heo Yeom, a reference to his white face.
The date is proceeding well, but just a few tables over, a trio of glaring faces casts a pall over her mood.
I love that Yi Gak is too above it all to snoop in person, but he’s definitely not above sitting at home by his phone, awaiting updates from his spies. Chi-san’s message: “He’s tall and handsome. He’s jjang!”
Then comes the report that he called Park-ha pretty and drooled over her. They’re going to the movies for Round 2!
Yi Gak fumes, then texts Park-ha, “Time to feed the fish! Come home immediately.” Hehe. Such a silly reason, but I’m presuming she reads this as code for I need to see you. So Park-ha excuses herself, telling him she had a great time but has to leave.
Yi Gak looks mighty pleased with himself as he drives along, enjoying the wind blowing in his hair, checking himself out in the rearview mirror. Pull back to reveal: Him sitting in a car being towed. Bwahaha! I knew he couldn’t have learned to drive that quickly.
That’s his reason for calling her: She’ll have to teach him how to drive. They start in an empty lot, and a cartoon inchworm illustrates just how speedily he’s moving.
The lesson leads to a scene familiar to anyone who’s ever tried to teach someone to drive: Park-ha grits her teeth and fights her impatience, while Yi Gak snaps at her while dealing with his overloaded senses. She growls at him to turn on his blinker, and he sets the windshield wipers in motion. He covers defensively, “I couldn’t see through the front. I did that on purpose.”
She complains, leading him to bark, “Were you able to drive from birth, huh?!” She retorts smugly, “Getting angry won’t help you drive.” Haha.
Backward parking proves a challenge, and after a dozen failed attempts, he finally declares he won’t learn after all and gets out of the car. Park-ha takes over and shows him how it’s done, to his amazement and ire. He huffs, “If this were the Joseon era, do you think you’d be able to ride a horse for the first time?!”
Park-ha taunts, “Horse? Isn’t that the thing that you climb onto, plant your butt down, and it goes on its own? You yell ‘Iya!’ and it goes, and ‘Whoa!’ and it stops!”
….challenge accepted! Next thing we know, Park-ha is seated on a horse, hands trembling. He throws her words back at her and slaps the horse forward, freaking her out. Then he climbs behind her, grabs the reins, and takes them out for a stroll.
As they ride, he asks how her date went, and she answers that the guy was nice and treated her super-well, not bossing her around like somebody.
He asks what kind of man she likes: tall or short? (“Tall is good.”) Long hair or short? (“Short looks better.”) What kind of eyes? (“Not too big, not too small.”) Nose? Mouth? It’s at this point that she gets uncomfortable, though he orders her to answer all his questions.
Tae-mu waits at the concert hall for a long while, standing in the lobby as the show begins. Se-na finds him at closing time just as he’s about ready to give up hope and asks why he didn’t leave. He replies that he risked all for her, so he would’ve stayed all night.
They go out to eat, and Tae-mu ignores a call from his father, telling her that this is the first time he’s defied Dad. Dad may feel his betrayal so keenly that he’d disown him: “I put everything on the line for you.” She can’t help being moved, but asks what he’d do if she betrayed him anyway. He answers, “Then I lose everything.”
She’s unnerved, telling him it scares her. He says, “I won’t let you run away.” Coming from our drama’s angel of almost-death, I’d say you should be scared.
The next day, Grandma calls Park-ha in to ask how the home is working out, and where she and Tae-yong disappeared to the night of the housewarming. She doesn’t love the idea of Tae-yong living there, but she’d agreed because he’s trying to recover his memory. Then she asks pointedly if anything else is going on—are they dating?
Park-ha assures her that’s not the case and shares the story of how she came to meet Tae-yong. It’s mostly the truth of how he barged into her home, with key parts edited out, like the whole time-traveling bit. Grandma accepts her explanation, but says that one must always be careful in matters between men and women. She’s essentially telling her to back off, in a polite way.
Yi Gak asks Se-na whether she knows how to play squash, requesting instruction. They make plans to start tomorrow.
In the interim, he gets Man-bo to teach him squash moves via cell phone game. Man-bo gets called away by the cafe pager (to claim their drinks), and explains that he has to go right away because the only way to turn off the vibrating is to return it to the caller. Yi Gak lights up at the realization that such a device exists whereby you can call somebody, and they have to respond to you or be harassed all day by the buzzy thing.
This he slips into Park-ha’s work apron, manning the remote control with dictatorial glee. She tries to do her job and ignore it, but the buzzing is incessant. Hiding it doesn’t help, nor does wrapping it in bubble wrap.
Finally she storms into his office, and Yi Gak marvels at its efficacy. He shuts the off button and instructs, “You can go now. I was just trying to see if it worked.” LOL.
Grandma asks Se-na to deliver Tae-yong’s old sketchbook to him, which contains a drawing of lotus flowers in a pond, with a butterfly. She hopes that the sketches will prompt his memories.
Se-na arrives to an empty home and flips through the sketches, most of them drawn in New York. The initials on the bottom catch her attention—those are the same as on the postcard drawing of Park-ha, hanging in Park-ha’s room. Hm, so does that mean the man with the lost memory was involved with her before?
Park-ha comes home to find Se-na in her room, smirking that she’s discovered her secret: “How long have you known Yong Tae-yong? You knew he was the chairwoman’s from the start. You faked the nice act to take care of the amnesiac, aiming for a big reward.”
Park-ha scoffs, calling her delusional and ordering her out. Se-na holds up the postcard, telling her it was her mistake to display the drawing in plain sight, since it’s clear Tae-yong drew it.
Park-ha sees the sketchbook with shock, trying to make sense of it. Just then, Grandma’s voice cuts in, demanding to see her. She’s heard Se-na’s accusations and demands to see the postcard, which Se-na hands over.
She explains that the postcard came to her two years ago in New York, but she didn’t know who sent it. Grandma accuses her of faking everything and slaps her fiercely, calling her wicked.
Oh, Granny. And here I was trying to like you, if only for the fact that you’re on Team Yi Gak and Taek-soo, which means you must ultimately be a decent person. But right now you’re playing the part of harpy mother-in-law, which is a role (and a real-life personality type) I have little patience for. I know she’s reacting to the suspicious circumstances, and I suppose she feels like she’s caught a scheming gold-digger. But it doesn’t help that just prior to that, she’s basically telling Park-ha to back off her grandson ’cause she’s not good enough, whereas she’s happy to approve of the duplicitous, actual gold-digger Se-na.
I think it’s also a case where the actress automatically inspires a wicked-stepmother vibe, so it’s easy to see her as abrasive, rather than acting out of love for her grandson. Whereas if you’d put someone like Kim Ja-ok in that role, or Dal-ja’s/Han-gyul’s granny, I would’ve been more willing to understand, since they’re awesome in everything.
I’m curious about what Park-ha found in her history book, and wonder if there’s a way to make sense of the time-jump and history without too many logic holes. I’d wondered before why they didn’t consult the history books to give them clues in the modern day, but figured that it may have not offered that much insight, since as we know, history is written by the victors. If Yi Gak never became king, it’s also feasible that the average citizen wouldn’t know much about him, since I presume you’d learn about your kings, but not necessarily delve into their family lives if they didn’t do anything in their lives that was retroactively deemed historically important.
Still, there must be enough of a shocker to merit that look of dismay on Park-ha’s face when she reads it. Perhaps history was rewritten after Yi Gak’s disappearance to look at him unfavorably. Or it could be that in this modern timeline, Yi Gak has not yet figured out the key to the mystery—therefore, the past remains unchanged from its tragic state. It’s a bit of a mind-trip, but it makes sense that once Yi Gak figures out the mystery and how to rectify the injustice, the future can literally change the past, if he then returns to his lifetime. But that’s a big if, and only time will tell.
I loved the jealousy in this episode, and almost as much as the Yi Gak reaction, I found Yong-sool’s reaction hilarious and endearing. Aw, fierce warrior puppy has a crush. Yi Gak still seems a step or two away from recognizing his feelings for what they are, but his connection with Park-ha has progressed far enough that he feels more for her than, say, Se-na. He may still feel like he should pursue a connection with Se-na because of the reincarnation puzzle, but at that point it goes from a personal liking for her to an obligation to understand the truth.
One down, two more to go! Gets the coffee brewing for the double-header to come…