My Hero! I knew you’d swoop in to save the day. It’s bromance and brothers and tough love, in an episode filled with harsh truths for everyone. Just when you think things couldn’t get any worse, they do, and that’s just the tip of the Iceberg of Doom.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Jae-ha storms in to tell his staff that Hang-ah will be returning to North Korea. Mom and Jae-shin get word and scramble to go see her, but they’re told that Secretary Eun is taking care of it. No! Not Cruella de Eun!
He tells Hang-ah that North Korea has sent the order for her to return, and she says she was going to stick it out, but if Jae-ha has turned his back on her, then…
It does put a damper on the whole I-will-forsake-my-country-for-love if the love feels unrequited. I say feels because I don’t think it’s one-sided, but if you’re going to let your princess bride get extradited because she hurt your feelings, well, then your feelings don’t count.
Secretary Eun asks if she knows what the position means – not her love for Jae-ha, but what it means to be queen. He tells her that if she really wants it, he’ll help her get there. Well what’s this now? Suddenly you’re her fairy godmother?
Perhaps it’s sincere, or perhaps he knew that when he posed it as such, she wouldn’t stay to serve her ambition. She says that she’s a simple girl who wanted to live happily in a simple marriage—the position, the pressure, the people, the foreign country—they all scare her. And now that the king has turned away… (her voice trails off). All this solidifies the fact that the only reason she was ever here was for love, not that this is a surprise to anyone.
Jae-ha walks through the new memorial hall built in Jae-kang’s honor, lingering on the pictures of hyung. The prime minister is at his side, and he gets the report that Hang-ah is headed back North, and asks gingerly if he broke the engagement.
Jae-ha counters that they were never engaged, but when the prime minister suggests adding an official South Korean extradition order for her (to save face with the North), Jae-ha shoots him down with a glare.
He moves down the wall of pictures, and stops at the one of Hang-ah, smiling back at him.
She prepares to leave the palace, and Jae-shin meets her at the front door. Hang-ah tells her that she said something to Jae-ha once, that there’s nothing people can’t do, if their hearts are in it. “But it turns out that’s not true.” Aw, her broken spirit is the saddest loss of all.
Jae-shin tells her that it’s because it’s people—nothing can ever be done perfectly. “Please come back. When North-South relations are better. Please come back.” But Hang-ah has no intention of ever returning: “I’m sorry.”
She rides away, and the queen mother watches somberly from her window.
Jae-ha sighs to see engagement banners being stripped from buildings, and returns to the palace with heavy steps. He goes to see Mom, who’s silently burning up with rage, though on the outside she’s calmly tending to her plants, as always.
He opens his mouth to ask if Hang-ah left okay, and Mom hurls the rag in her hand right at him. Heh. Gotta love Mom. Though I would’ve gone with the potted plant for better hulksmash effect.
She demands to know what the hell happened, and he turns away to say that Mom was right all along, about how you should never show your weaknesses to anyone. She practically mocks him, asking if Hang-ah hurt his poor wittle feelings. I love that for this conversation, she has reverted back to banmal, clearly talking to him as her childish son, not the king.
She tells him that his father used to have to pee in a bedpan, and once she joked about it and he flipped out, telling her to get botox for her wrinkly face and that this is why royals shouldn’t marry commoners. Eeesh.
Jae-ha says this is different, but Mom cuts him off, “People are like that. They’re so childish that once you start countering every word, there is no end or limit in sight. Weaknesses? Secrets? You start seeing them as ways to inflict pain and grab them at any chance. You forget WHY you were fighting in the first place, and can only think of how you can inflict the most pain, scar the deepest.”
Gee, sound like anyone you know?
She says that the one line you do not cross is “Let’s break up.” There’s no going back from that. She says that if it was Hang-ah who crossed that line, then fine, she can’t forgive her either. But if it was Jae-ha…
He starts to give an excuse and she literally rolls her eyes to realize he was the one who said it first. “You really are trash!” OH. Damn. Mom doesn’t mince words, that’s for sure. And how much do I love that the smackdown is so immediate, and comes from her?
He looks back at her with a pained expression, and her eyes grow even bigger to realize that was the phrase Hang-ah must’ve said to piss him off. Her expression kills me, as if his girlfriend stole his favorite Mr. Bear so he pulled her pigtails and came to tattle on her.
Mom: “The whole WORLD knows you’re trash!” Pwahahaha. Her perspective is making their argument seem so silly. She says “trash” over and over and over, saying that he’s worse than trash from leftover food that leaks a trail of soup wherever it goes, and he’s like, “Mooooo~m!”
She’s on fire, screaming at him now, wondering how bad it must’ve gotten for Hang-ah to have even said those things. Didn’t he see what she said at the hearing? He looks back at her blankly and asks what she said. Another eyeroll. She tells him to watch for himself.
Oh, I sense a massive tsunami of regret headed this way…
He sits down in his room and watches the rest of the hearing, which he skipped out on the first time to go yell at the prime minister. When they ask Hang-ah about what she considers her national identity to be, she had answered more obliquely, about her relationship with the king.
She says that they fight a lot. And in the beginning, he even told her she wasn’t a woman in his eyes. She says she must have a taste for what they in the South call “bad boys.” Girl, that’s an international affliction.
But she continues to say that they bicker and they butt heads, but they’ve deepened their affection for each other as well, and now she thinks she can guess what crazy thing he’ll say next, and sometimes she even looks forward to what new tantrum he’ll throw. Ha. And aw.
She says that her heart races. And though sometimes her feelings get hurt, and sometimes she feels like she likes him more so that hurts her pride, “But, so what? Just the fact that he’s there, makes me very happy.”
He watches with tears in his eyes. Those had better be tears of oh-shit-I-fucked-it-up-real-good, otherwise you don’t get to cry.
While all this is happening, Hang-ah arrives at the crossing point, and then the royal aide tells her that she needs to leave all her princess wear behind. Augh, it’s not heartbreaking enough to send her away, but you’re making her strip off every last remnant of clothing?
She sits quietly alone in a room, and begins to de-cinderellafy, piece by piece.
She finally gets ready to cross back over the border, wearing the same hanbok she wore when she arrived. Dad is waiting for her on the other side, and once she rounds the corner out of view, she collapses on his shoulder in the most sorrowful wails.
Oof these tears are heartbreaking. It’s her first real chance to break down, now that she can lean on Dad.
As she cries, we hear the rest of her answer at the hearing in voiceover: “My identity? You’re asking who I really am? I’m just a woman who kept a man deep in her heart.”
Jae-ha sits in his office, mindlessly trying to crack hyung’s password, this time with a string of all the foods he can think of. Really? You think Jae-kang’s password might be “hamburger”? Jae-shin comes by with her pet parrot, who calls him “Comrade Lee Jae-ha” on sight. Ha. Did the bird spend time with Hang-ah?
He snaps at her to get rid of the bird, and she just smiles to know it ruffled his feathers. Now that she’s up to speed on what really happened, she lays into him for being so petty and unpredictable, “So different from someone, who was always the same.” Ouch, I know he screwed up, but comparing him to Big Oppa is mean.
He growls back at her that she’s right—he IS trash, and he knows it’s all his fault. He says he secretly hoped someone would stop him, but both North and South rushed her away at a moment’s notice. “I want to argue that I was swayed, but I know it’s my fault.”
But he asks what he’s supposed to do about it. She reminds him that he’s the king. He scoffs that the king might as well be a barking dog, since clearly all that blustering he did got him nowhere, and the truth about the North and the assassination stayed buried. “What strength does this country’s king have?”
He says that even if he brought Hang-ah back, the situation is exactly the same as before. What he has to do is find who’s responsible first. He sits back down at the computer, saying that makes this priority number one.
Well at least he’s thinking of what he needs to do to bring her back. But Jae-shin cries foul, “And when will that be? Will you bring unni back when she’s a grandma?!” And while we’re at it, would it kill you to at least clear up how you feel about her before you go crusading for the truth?
He fixates on the password all night long, until he’s lying on the floor like a carcass. I sort of enjoy the rhythm of the phrase-beep-rejection-from-password-lady over and over. It’s the perfect metaphor for his state of being, and also his bullheaded one-track mind.
It doesn’t help matters that his day gets filled with a meaningless exercise in publicity, shooting reaction shots for a soccer match that has yet to occur. This cracks me up, and now I’m curious if anything public figures do is real.
Jae-ha barely sleepwalks through the thing, but then something the director says triggers a memory—of a specific moment in a world cup match that he watched with hyung.
Yay, flashback! The brothers were kicking and screaming and flailing around in front of the tv, watching the game with their matching red shirts like a couple of regular guys.
Jae-ha had been his usual pessimistic self, but hyung was always the optimistic one, saying that their team would recover. He cheered at the top of his lungs – you know the one, the sing-song, “Repub-lic of Kor-ea!” Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap!
Suddenly he stands up, jerked back to reality. He goes straight to his computer to try that as the password. He chants, “Repub-lic of Kor-ea!” Nope. But then it occurs to him to try it again, this time the whole cheer, complete with clapping.
Presto! Open sesame. He beams, and then in the same breath, he sighs at hyung’s insistence on adding the friggin’ clap-clapping. So uncool.
He clicks on the first recording (I LOVE that we get more of Lee Sung-min this way) and Jae-kang addresses their father with a shaky voice, saying he didn’t know he’d have to sit in this seat so soon. Aw, I hope it helps him to see that hyung was just as scared when he started.
He sits back and watches a few entries, a drunk and happy one from the day that he entered the WOC, wishing that Dad was around to see it. In another he’s sad and defeated, from the time that Jae-ha had screwed things up in training.
He lets off some steam about Little Bro, and how he caused an international incident over a girl group, and Jae-ha clicks quickly to the next entry. Aw, is it like you’re still getting yelled at?
But in the next one he’s cheering with his fists in the air, that Jae-ha came through and completed the 60km course, calling him dependable. Aw, the smile on both brothers’ faces!
Jae-kang beams and teeters towards the camera (how hilarious is it that he’s almost always drunk in these?) and says all that’s left now is to find Jae-ha a wife, and shows Dad the finalists’ pictures.
He says Hang-ah is his first choice, but guesses that it’ll be hard to make that happen, and Jae-ha watches the moment with a bittersweet smile.
But then his ears perk up at the first mention in the recordings of Club M. Jae-kang brings them up in reference to the difficult union between Jae-ha and Hang-ah, saying that “Club M won’t be happy.”
He finds another where hyung is asking father what he’s supposed to do when someone is standing in the way of what he set out to accomplish, and talks about the bombing, and Bong-gu’s outright threats that he’s the true king.
“I think he’d kill me.” And then shaking, “I can’t… be scared… right?”
Jae-ha flashes back to his encounter with Bong-gu/John Meyer, the warnings from Hang-ah’s father, and he grows horrified to see his hyung trembling in fear. Yay for cracked passwords and forward plot movement.
Secretary Eun enters a secure library of records, where he finds Jae-ha camped out and knee-deep in research. Gotta love a prince who does his homework. Jae-ha rattles off deals with Club M and asks for confirmation of what he’s already figured out—that they’re an international conglomerate that makes money by lobbying and making backdoor deals, and in particular (as most arms dealers do) gains via warfare and strife, say that between North and South Korea, for instance.
Jae-ha asks about John Meyer, and the likelihood that he’s responsible for Jae-kang’s murder. Secretary Eun can’t hide his startled reaction, but answers truthfully that there’s a chance. Jae-ha asks to see him, but Secretary Eun quickly adds that it’s just as likely that anyone else could be responsible.
But Jae-ha ignores him and asks about his personality, reading descriptions in the press calling him a 21st century Gollum (ha) and a magician. He asks about that, and Secretary Eun confirms that it’s literal—he likes to perform magic tricks.
Jae-ha mulls it over, and concludes that he’s got an exhibitionist complex, like he’s profiling him. Okay, that’s hot. Can you be this smart every day?
He thinks back to the meeting, and then looks down at his pen. And then it comes back—the memory of the pen stabbing, the writing on the window. It dawns on him that they are one and the same guy, and Jae-ha looks up, a smile slowly spreading across his face.
I love that moment, like yeah, I got you now. He tells Secretary Eun to call him here, promising not to do anything stupid. The old man does not like where this is headed.
Bong-gu jumps for joy at the news that Jae-ha asked to see him, guessing that he’s finally remembered the pen stabbing. The man is literally giddy. He realizes that his heart is racing, and concludes, “I must be in love with him!” Ha.
He arrives the next day via helicopter, and Secretary Eun launches into this long explanation of why he needs to sit in on this meeting for national security and blah blah, and Jae-ha’s like, yeah whatever.
Bong-gu arrives and greets Secretary Eun with a big “HA!” but he just rushes right past him, and listens in on the meeting via security feed. Bong-gu stops on his way to peek in on Jae-shin, giving her a creepy-ass wave.
He walks in to meet Jae-ha all puffed up with expectation, only Jae-ha greets him with a smile. He asks if there’s a chance that Club M is responsible for Jae-kang’s murder, citing all the reasons why they’re the most logical culprits (because they have the most to gain), but then answering his own question with, “But you just run a tiny little resort, right?”
Bong-gu: “It’s not… tiny.” HA. Jae-ha laughs that they’re all the same, and continues on this hilarious fake-nice commentary about all the accusations against Club M, like it’s ridiculous that he’d have that kind of power.
He reads a description of him as an Al Capone, looks Bong-gu up and down, and chuckles. It’s awesome. He feigns concern for his little business and suggests that he take care of every last tiny venture while he can.
Bong-gu: “I took care of Anmyundo myself.” Oh shit. The air turns to ice. He leans forward, “Your hyung… I said, I’ll take care of him, you son of a bitch.” Jae-ha freezes.
Bong-gu: “Did you like it? Were you exhilarated when I fell for your provocation?” Jae-ha’s eyes widen in terror. He says he fell for it knowingly, why? “Because the puppet king of a tiny country is no match for someone as great as me.” Eeep!
He says that sure, the WOC, the North-South marriage scheme, they were annoyances, but that’s not the reason he killed Jae-kang. He proceeds to explain very calmly that he killed Jae-kang because he dared to ban his entry into the country. Whoa.
“You know he went without knowing anything, right? Like a fool.” Okay, you have finally succeeded in creeping me out in a sufficiently threatening manner.
Jae-ha can barely hold in his horror and fear. His hands tremble, as Bong-gu laughs in his face. Secretary Eun makes a mad dash toward the room.
And then… Jae-ha laughs. Oh NICE. “Are you high?” Ha. Way to pull it together. He coos that one oughtn’t tell such lies.
Bong-gu laughs at first, telling him to stop blustering. But Jae-ha holds his ground, saying that he must be mad at him or something, for not remembering him from before. He says he can’t remember any stabbing, but he does vaguely remember someone writing something…
Bong-gu totally gets reeled in, nodding as he urges Jae-ha to recall. He helps him along, saying it was a frosted window. Jae-ha mimics the motion with his finger, “I… am… Tom? Jane? No, that’s not it…” Hahahaha.
Bong-gu actually mouths king, and Jae-ha continues, “But your name is John, right? Or no… It’s Bong-gu. That’s your Korean name, right? Kim. Bong. Gu.” It’s the perfect way to cut him down to size, because you can read it on his face, how he hates that common, nobody name.
Jae-ha laughs, “That’s right, it was: I am Bong-gu!” Bong-gu SCREEEEAMS just as Secretary Eun barges in, and Jae-ha coolly gets up to say that he’ll definitely remember him from now on, “Kim Bong-gu-sshi.” So. Awesome. He leaves Bong-gu fuming impotently.
But the second he reaches his inner office, Jae-ha grabs the phone and calls Shi-kyung trembling, “In the lobby, you’ll find a whack job. Catch that bastard. Right now. Capture him immediately and cut his throat. Or TEAR HIS LIMBS APART UNTIL HE DIES!” Oh shit. That terrified me.
Shi-kyung and Dong-ha go tearing into the lobby and find Bong-gu being dragged away to his helicopter, screaming at the top of his lungs that they’re all dead. Aaaaaaaa my heart won’t stop pounding.
Secretary Eun calls Shi-kyung to tell him to stay out of it and do nothing. Jae-ha says he heard him admit it—that he killed Jae-kang. He asks Secretary Eun to bear witness to that fact. But the old man reminds him that he is the king.
Jae-ha, still shaking: “Who says I’m not? The person he killed was a king too—the king of the Republic of Korea.”
Secretary Eun asks if he’s going to run off on a personal vendetta, when he has no strength to do anything. He lays out the obvious consequences of attacking Club M with nothing but a confession.
It’s heartbreaking the way he looks up at Secretary Eun with those entreating eyes, wanting to catch his brother’s killer, while the man tells him why that’s not within his power to do. He even adds that they took contributions from Club M, though unwittingly. LIAR. Well, yunno, liar about most things, so that’s relative, but dude, you totally knew when you took that money!
Secretary Eun: “There is no justice in this world. Only power. Money.” Urg. Jae-kang is rolling over in his grave, old man. Damn.
Shi-kyung comes by looking for them, and overhears this next part: Jae-ha asks if they’re supposed to do nothing then, and Secretary Eun says the only road to true revenge is to follow through on the things that Jae-kang started that pissed off Club M in the first place: the WOC and the North-South marriage.
But that’s all water under the bridge now. Secretary Eun says that when he’s prepared to actually do something real, he knows where to find him. Shi-kyung is waiting outside the door, and asks Dad what Club M is.
Dad marches into his office without another word, and calls to upgrade security clearance three levels higher for royal archives, just enough that Shi-kyung has access to nothing. Wow, with him standing right there?
Shi-kyung just barrels right through, asking if Club M is responsible for the king’s murder. But Dad barks back, calling him by rank, and tells him to follow orders like a good little soldier.
Shi-kyung fires back that Dad is the one who told him that a good soldier does more than just blindly follow orders (it’s like he can’t compute how a person could say one thing and do another), and Dad says he’s the one who didn’t want to be more because he “didn’t have the ability to.”
Shi-kyung: “Is that why you’re disregarding the king? Because he lacks ability? The king just has different methods than you, father.” Dad says he’s seen Jae-ha grow up and knows exactly what he’s made of.
But Shi-kyung is just as sure that Jae-ha is made of tougher stuff, because he trained with him, and has seen his character. I love that he’s defending him so vehemently.
Dad doesn’t budge, belittling Shi-kyung for thinking he knows anything of true danger, or real character. He says he’s seeing what he wants to believe, because he’s always been that way—trust someone, trust them to the end. Yes, one would call that loyal. You should look it up.
This time Shi-kyung doesn’t back down, and argues that Dad’s the same—once he makes a judgment, he believes it till the end. I’m so glad someone said it, but it breaks my heart that it had to be your upright son.
He leaves Dad with a bow and finds Jae-ha in the memorial hall, looking up at hyung’s portrait. Jae-ha wonders to himself in voiceover, “Hyung, do I really have no ability?”
Shi-kyung watches him from afar, and Jae-ha asks if he’s here to tell him that he’s pathetic too, like a father-son combo pack. But Shi-kyung just approaches solemnly, and says with conviction:
Shi-kyung: You don’t need to be swayed by the words of others. Believe in yourself. You are already strong. The king that I’ve seen is very sensitive, and hates sincerity. But he knows the real world only too well, and has deep scars, which keeps him from leaping out ahead. So he wears a mask of laughter. I’m asking you to take off that mask now. Though you have complexes and people perceive you as weak, your highness is, to me, the most powerful king in the world. Please be fearless, your majesty.
He clicks his heels at attention, and bows at the waist. Proper chills, Eun Shi-kyung. You give me goosebumps.
Jae-ha stands there in shock, moved, but not sure how to react, and he slowly turns back toward hyung’s portrait to speak, as if addressing the sincerity directly is impossible for him. “Hyung, why’s he like this? I think he’s lost his mind.”
But Shi-kyung doesn’t move. He stands there, staring right at Jae-ha’s back, as if to say I’m not going to let you joke this away.
Meanwhile Secretary Eun begins to document what he knows about Jae-kang’s death, and writes an account of his meeting with the lobbyist that ended in his coincidental suggestion of Anmyundo as a place to vacation. But apparently the man has a conscience somewhere in there (a teeny, tiny, itty bitty kernel of one) because he goes back and erases “coincidentally.” Oh, YOU THINK?
Bong-gu calls, furious that his mole is being so useless and not keeping his king in line. He calls Eun Kyu-tae out on his delusions of sincerity and honor, laughing that actually, he’s much more useful with that one percent sincerity that keeps him thinking he’s on the side of right. It’s disturbing when the madman makes sense.
Jae-ha pours Shi-kyung a drink in the greenhouse, and Shi-kyung just sits there, not knowing what to do. Jae-ha tells him to drink comfortably, looking down in embarrassment… “Let’s be friends.”
SQUEE. Please invent a secret handshake. Please invent a secret handshake. I always knew you were meant to be BFFs!
He reaches out his glass to cheers, only that’s when Shi-kyung pulls his away, to turn and drink like a subordinate is supposed to. Aw. Jae-ha scoffs that he’s frustrating, just like he always used to say about hyung.
Shi-kyung asks right away about Club M, and Jae-ha tells him to begin investigating them down to every last detail. He says their code word for it will be: Bong-gu. Hee. Code word.
Shi-kyung asks him to be a little understanding of his father, and to his credit, Jae-ha needs no convincing on the matter. He smiles and says that Secretary Eun is super old-school, but he’s been serving this nation’s monarchs for thirty years. He knows that ajusshi is loyal and a pure-hearted person.
Now I’m heartbroken for the BOTH of you, who have faith in the old man. For now Shi-kyung smiles in gratitude. Jae-ha asks, “What should I do about Hang-ah?”
Apparently they try to call, but her father refuses to answer. He goes to meet her outside, where she’s returning from a walk with the bastard who fake-proposed to her. She complains of a stomachache, deciding it must be cramps, babbling on about how she’s a little late. Oh noes.
Dad drives her home, sweet-talking her into dating the guy, and she snaps that he’s just trying to hurry and marry her off because of what people think. He doesn’t deny that it looks bad, but tells her that there was no official engagement, so to just think of her sojourn to the South as a blip and nothing more. She starts to say that she’ll just… but trails off.
Shi-kyung is busy investigating Club M when Dong-ha calls with an emergency. Jae-shin is at the hospital for a checkup, but word got out and the exits are lined with reporters.
She grabs the phone and barks at Shi-kyung to get his ass down here and sneak her out undetected right this instant. He races down there, and deploys two teams of decoys, and then he and Dong-ha drive her out in an ambulance.
Meanwhile Hang-ah’s condition worsens, and she can barely stand from the pain. She falls the ground just trying to take some painkillers, and calls Dad in a panic.
Jae-shin’s ambulance picks up a tail, and they end up in a blocked intersection because of an accident up ahead. Dong-ha and Shi-kyung get out to try and clear the road, and Shi-kyung promises the nervous Jae-shin that he’ll be right back.
But once she’s alone, someone comes up behind the ambulance. Jae-shin turns back, and there’s the assassin, looking in the window right back at her.
The doctor comes out to tell Hang-ah’s father that they tried, but they’re sorry, they couldn’t save the baby. His jaw drops, “Baby?” Oof. She lost it before she even knew?
Jae-ha massages Mom’s shoulders as they watch a drama, and she asks if he knows why the man onscreen ended up handicapped. “It’s because he abandoned his wife.” Ha. Is that going to be her answer for everything?
But Secretary Eun interrupts to change the channel. And there it is, breaking international news: Hang-ah’s miscarriage, and King Lee Jae-ha’s irresponsibility as the father.
Mom turns back, confused, “Baby? But you had separate rooms.” Jae-ha stares in shock as the news finally sinks in.
There’s nothing worse than that—finding out you were pregnant the day you lose the baby? AUGH. And the fact that they’re apart when it happens? Is there even a way to recover from that? Wow, I know I said this show pulls no punches before, but this is hardcore. It really is rock bottom at the halfway point. I feel gutted.
Once Hang-ah really did leave to go back to the North, it did occur to me that they might use a pregnancy to reconnect them (which I dreaded), but losing the baby this way, alone, I did not expect. And then the immediate public backlash? I mean, how do you ever shed the entire world thinking you’re the bastard who abandoned your fiancée and your child? I know he didn’t know, but there’s no leniency of public opinion on that.
And just when he met his first real challenge as king, and began to believe in something. It seriously filled my heart when Shi-kyung pledged his loyalty to Jae-ha, not simply out of duty or honor, but a deep belief in his character. The only thing that could ever break through Jae-ha’s incessant jokey façade is someone like Shi-kyung, who is so earnest that all that stuff just goes right over his head. It’s like they’re made for each other.
What really moves me is that every character has a hand in shaping Jae-ha into a king. It’s the it-takes-a-village mentality, like a community project to turn a boy into a man, only on a much grander scale. More like it takes a country to make a king. And it’s not just one incident, or one relationship that flips a switch. He grows inch by inch, one tough love speech at a time, whether it’s a smackdown from Mom or a heartfelt pledge from a soldier who believes in him with every fiber of his being.
Even at his best, Jae-ha will never believe in himself as much as Shi-kyung does, but that’s why he’s needed, and why a leader is only as strong as his most faithful soldier. I just love their relationship So. Much. I miss Jae-ha’s brotherly affection with Jae-kang, but his bromance with Shi-kyung is a nice substitute, especially because he is cut from that same mold as hyung. It drives Jae-ha crazy but it’s what he ultimately needs in his life.
Though this episode spent very little time with the couple, I liked the ramping up of villain conflict (he’s SO much more interesting when you put him in a room with Jae-ha), and the crucial development of Jae-ha as a leader. I know there’s only going up from here, but damn, little did I know rock bottom could be so low. Hold me.