The episode in which princey takes a bubble bath. I’m pretty sure other stuff happens. Does other stuff happen?
EPISODE 5 RECAP
The training term for the WOC has come to a close, and the officers celebrate with a big banquet on the base. It’s a little like yearbook signing at the end of a school year, as the team starts to exchange addresses and gifts between North and South.
Dong-ha approaches Kang-seok with a gift (Is he getting his attention with a butt-pat?) and unravels a big poster of… the SNSD girls. Ha. Pressing your luck there, aren’t ya? Remember the pop-idol-induced near international crisis not too long ago?
Kang-seok starts to protest, but Dong-ha says it’s the only piece of paper he could find to write down his address (Awwww) and so Mr. Grumpypants gets to save face and still keep his poster.
Shi-kyung gives Young-bae his shaving kit, and Young-bae nearly bursts into tears right there. Aw, I love sweet country bumpkin Young-bae. He in turn gives Shi-kyung a basket of fruit that you can’t get south of the border.
Then he really does start to cry, and Shi-kyung reminds him that they’ll see each other for the actual competition in no time. He decides they have to take a picture, and grabs Dong-ha and Kang-seok as well.
And then he silently offers his hat to Shi-kyung, wanting to trade hats for the picture. Why so cute? The four boys minus Hang-ah and Jae-ha take a group photo.
Hang-ah finally arrives and scans the room. I love her devilish smile when she thinks she’s found Jae-ha. She slaps him on the back, only it’s Shi-kyung who turns around and sends her whirling in mortification.
He tells her that the prince has already left, but hands her a present that Jae-ha left for her. She goes from disappointed to swoony in an instant at the sight of one of Jae-ha’s lotions, and opens it up to use on the spot.
But when she tries, she finds it totally empty. Hahahahaha. Evil prankster till the end. She snaps and curses his name at the top of her lungs, right in the middle of the banquet.
Cut to Jae-ha living it up in the streets of Seoul, feeling that all is right with the world now that he’s behind the wheel of his convertible. It turns out he’s not totally free though, since he’s simply driving alongside his brother’s car behind a secret service escort. Heh.
He sees a billboard for a female bodybuilder and jokes that Kim Hang-ah is here, but then his smile fades with the reminder. Oh, YOU MISS HER.
Back at the base, Hang-ah slowly packs up her things, and stares for a while at Jae-ha’s chair like he’s still there. She sits in it with her feet up the way he always used to, and laugh-sighs that this is how it’s supposed to be. It kind of kills me how long she lingers there in that empty room.
At the palace, the pair of royal brothers stand there silently like misbehaving children, waiting for Mom to scold them. Jae-ha mumbles at hyung, wondering what version of the story he told Mom for her to give him the cold shoulder, and Mom snaps, wondering what on earth Jae-ha did up there that made sweet Jae-kang yell at her. This family is so cute.
Jae-ha sees an opportunity and pulls out all the stops—aegyo at Mom, chastising Jae-kang by talking down to him (which only gets him in more trouble, natch), and milking his leg injury for sympathy points.
The injured puppy routine is just enough to do the trick—as soon as Mom starts talking to him, he ditches the crutch. Ha. Jae-kang responds with a stealthy slap upside his head, behind Mom’s back. I love how childish they are.
She tells them that Jae-shin will be here next week, and Jae-ha turns to hyung, wondering if they should go old-school and play a round of koong-koong-ta over a national treasure. Suddenly Jae-kang gets all serious, “Do you not remember?! National Treasure number 367! You said that was yours and then it broke and Dad had to…” Hee.
Jae-ha sighs, “I was KIDDING.” He calls him frustrating, and then turns to him, requesting a favor: “There’s someone I want to bring into the palace. Someone a lot like you—idealistic, and frustrating.”
Cut to: Shi-kyung reporting for duty as a royal guard. Nice. Jae-ha comes in to greet him personally, and the totally earnest Shi-kyung just thanks him for the promotion, not understanding just how hellish his life is about to be.
Case in point—first order of business is to have him personally guard the prince’s inner chamber. Apparently, Jae-ha’s idea of “guard” is to give him a leg massage while he sips wine? Jae-ha: “No, higher.”
Pwahahahahahaha. I just spit out my coffee. Is this going to a kinky place? Because rawr!
But no, he stops it before bromance turns to romance, and tells Shi-kyung that this is all training. He finally lets out everything he’s been holding against him—holding a gun to his head when they met, his sickeningly earnest speeches, and leaving him to run the 60km course alone.
That last one finally sinks in with Shi-kyung and he can’t help but smile to himself, barely suppressing a laugh. And then Jae-ha adds the kicker, “Do you like Kim Hang-ah that much?” Shi-kyung stares, confused, and Jae-ha mocks, “Did you have to play in the snow like that? In front of me? Laughing ho-ho, ha-ha?”
Even Shi-kyung can see right through him, and smiles. Jae-ha says he’s going to raise him (Like a puppy?) so he can know in an instant what the prince wants at all times. Right, because mind-reading butler seems like a great use for a trained military professional.
Hang-ah’s father tells her that she’s still in the running for The Bachelor: South Korean Prince, and she doesn’t put up a fuss this time. In her room, she takes out the empty container of lotion from Jae-ha like it’s a treasure, which makes me really sad for her. But I do love that totally vulnerable, sixteen-year-old side of her too.
Meanwhile Jae-kang goes over the bachelorette list again, and this time he crosses Hang-ah’s name off with a sigh. He interrupts Princey’s bubble bath (I’ll pause a moment to let that sink in) and tells him that Mission: Marry Red is still on.
Jae-ha stands up (WHOA) and puts up a fight that he can’t, he won’t, never never never. Jae-kang insists that his feelings are most important, so Jae-ha obliges, “My feelings? I hate hyung!” Really, all he needs is a rubber ducky to go with the tantrum and the bubble bath for a complete set.
Jae-kang: “Even if they’re pretty?” Hahaha, you can literally see the blink-blink-pause as Jae-ha considers changing his mind, but then counters that he says that, but he’ll go on the blind date and Kim Hang-ah will be there.
Jae-kang’s surprised at the mention of her, and says she’s off the list. Jae-ha sits back, “R-really?” Aw, he’s disappointed. Jae-kang gapes, wondering if he feels differently about it now, but Jae-ha guffaws that that would be CRAZY, and covers up by agreeing to go on the blind dates.
He insists he’s going to just show up, take a look, and cut loose if he doesn’t like what he sees, and Jae-kang has to insist he at least exchange words with them, for etiquette’s sake. Jae-ha agrees, since he’s the Prince of Manners, and blusters that Hang-ah has been ousted, blowing bubbles away like he’s shooing her out of his life.
Secretary Eun lets Hang-ah’s father know that she was kicked off Bachelorette Island, and he has to come home to deliver the blow while she’s got her face covered in cucumbers to look prettier. Oof.
There’s a really great sequence where we just watch her play a mindless game of minesweeper, as the disappointing conversation happens in voiceover. As Dad delivers the final blow, she clicks a square and bombs explode all over the screen.
She angrily digs the lotion out and throws it in the trash, and wills herself not to cry, which of course makes her cry. She wipes away her tears, mad at herself for shedding tears over that fool.
Jae-ha goes on the blind dates as promised, but tellingly spends the whole time talking about Hang-ah.
Meanwhile she’s reassigned to the South Korean news desk watch, which doesn’t seem like a bad gig—she just sits watching Big Bang and High Kick, though she does have to endure tabloid stories about Jae-ha going on dates with other women.
Just then, news breaks that the prince will be marrying a special forces soldier from North Korea—and pictures of Hang-ah flash across the screen. Oh. Crap. It’s not the king’s doing, because he’s as floored as everyone else.
It doesn’t even seem to be the villain’s handiwork either, because Bong-gu laughs to hear that Jae-ha will marry an agent once trained to kill him. He sends a flashy diamond ring to the palace with his congratulations.
The news turns everything upside down, and the palace floods with reporters, and protesters gather in demonstrations and violent outbursts against reunification. Jae-ha flips out, of course, and Hang-ah runs to her father, where she’s told to lay low, because this is South Korea’s problem and they’re not going to get their hands dirty.
Jae-kang is advised to hold his ground and not make any excuses, but that’s exactly what he’s prepared to do. Jae-ha bursts in to argue that he can’t—the noise will die down like any other scandal.
But Jae-kang says this is bigger than that—it’s a North/South problem, ie. a political one, not a marriage scandal. (It’s being protested as a marriage between countries, military powers, etc., which is technically what Jae-kang was angling for to begin with, hence his crisis of conscience now that it’s all been leaked without the fancy packaging.)
But Jae-ha worries if hyung shows his hand and tells the world the truth, that they’ll turn on him. What will he do then? Jae-kang resolves to just resign then, because if that’s what the people want, it’s what he’ll have to do. Aw, say it ain’t so, King.
Jae-ha bursts into his room, furious that his brother is willing to stand down so easily, and asks Shi-kyung what he thinks. But of course Shi-kyung is as idealistic and earnest as Jae-kang, so he sides with hyung. That just raises Jae-ha’s hackles more, and then he finally gets an idea. “When is that announcement going to be made?”
The king prepares for his royal press announcement. But just when you think Jae-ha is going to steal his thunder by walking in on hyung’s speech, he one-ups him by interrupting a national soccer match. Haha, always gotta be one better.
He takes to the podium as the breaking news hits all stations live. Jae-kang, Mom, even Hang-ah all watch, glued to the screen.
Jae-ha: Yes, it’s true that Kim Hang-ah is a special forces agent. When we first met, she even threatened to kill me. But… it seems that the one thing that is unknowable in this world is a person’s heart. I loved Kim Hang-ah.
That’s why I asked the king for permission to marry her, and the king accepted my request. I only thought of my own heart, but not the people’s. I’m sorry. But the king is not to blame—only my heart, that loved a woman trained to kill me. So if you’re going to curse someone, curse and spit on me, and throw stones at my heart, that loved an enemy.
The thing is, the speech and his attendant show of emotion is ridiculously fake and over-the-top, because you can see how he’s putting on an act to gain favor, and yet we know that he’s technically saying things that aren’t so ridiculous (just that he would never admit to himself).
He’s saving hyung’s ass which is admirable, but laying it on thick which is funny, and then capturing Hang-ah’s heart which is equally sweet and mean. I’m just worried because he’s doing this as a political move, while she might see it as a romantic gesture.
The international press is full of stories of the prince’s Romeo and Juliet love story across the 38th parallel, which you have to admit, is a pretty damn shrewd move, from the so-called hapless prince. Bong-gu is furious at the turn of good press, and decides to re-route his plane of evil to Korea.
Jae-kang calls him out for lying to the people, but Jae-ha doesn’t see a problem with that—the throne was at stake. And by throne, he means the chance that he’d have to sit in it, if hyung got ousted. Obviously doublespeak for protecting hyung but insisting it was for himself. “I totally didn’t do this for you!” Uh-huh.
Jae-kang asks when they should schedule the sangyeonrae (a meeting between two families to seal the marriage deal), and Jae-ha’s jaw drops. You mean I still have to marry her? Um… you’re the doofus who declared your undying enemy love in a soccer stadium. What’d you think would happen?
Jae-kang swears that all he has to do is date her, and if it goes well, they can marry, and if not, then fine. Besides, he’s pretty sure that she put up a huge fight when her father first presented the idea. But Jae-ha counters, “She. Likes. Me.”
He says her eyes get all sparkly when she looks at him (and you’re not the one seeing sparkles where there aren’t any?) and says he’s handsome, stylish, intelligent—”Who WOULDN’T like me?” Jae-kang rolls his eyes.
He can’t resist the add-on: “I’m also cute.” Jae-kang: “You know, a man at your age calling himself cute is an affront.” Jae-kang: “NO! I AM cute!” Pffft.
He figures what with her feelings and his public declaration, she’s already got her bags packed. Turns out he’s wrong though (always satisfying), because she’s standing before a council and refusing to go.
She says that she’s been fooled by Jae-ha more than once, and she can tell just by the look in his eyes that he was lying. Nice. Her father agrees with her, vehemently arguing that she can’t be forced into a political marriage. Only when he goes that far, she seems disappointed.
They hear the response in the South, and Jae-ha scoffs that she’s just playing hard to get, and asks for the phone. “When she hears my voice, she’ll come running.” Oh, suddenly now you want her there, huh?
Only Secretary Eun awkwardly has to tell him that she has refused all contact and said no to the proposal. Jae-ha: “She… doesn’t… like me? WHY?” I love that Jae-kang is totally enjoying his brother’s little downfall, because he says with great pleasure that he’s now declared his love publicly, and will be rejected just as publicly. Jae-ha crumples in shame.
Hang-ah returns to her station and replays Jae-ha’s speech, playing the moment he said that he loved her, over and over. Dad comes to see her and discovers her mid-replay.
He takes her out to dinner and tries to make her feel better by saying that men are always saying things they don’t mean, but then she takes that and runs with it, deciding that she’ll have to give princey a piece of her mind in person, because simply rejecting him isn’t enough of a put-down. Uh-huh.
Dad adorably just sighs, like it’s a lost cause. Aw, I love that everyone’s family is so sweet on this show. Yay for good parents and brothers in dramaland.
Secretary Eun asks his son Shi-kyung to try and call Hang-ah on the prince’s behalf, since he knows her personally. So he does, and she’s already made up her mind of course, so she says she’ll come for the sangyeonrae.
Shi-kyung delivers the news to Jae-ha, who hilariously fixates on one detail: “YOU called, and she said yes?” Ha. He asks what Shi-kyung said to her, and he relays the totally innocuous greeting, “It’s been a long time.”
Jae-ha scoffs that he declared his undying love in front of the world and she didn’t move a muscle, but Shi-kyung said “It’s been a long time” and she agreed? “If you had said you missed her, she might’ve already left the country!” I love how pissy he is over this minor detail.
He picks up the phone and barks into it that Shi-kyung can’t make it to the sangyeonrae, for personal reasons, as he eyes him suspiciously. Hee.
Hang-ah’s father escorts her to the 38th parallel (wearing a mod hanbok dress that I love), as we hear their father-daughter plan in voiceover, that she’s showing up just to turn them down. The queen is waiting to greet her on the other side, along with the press.
It’s a pretty cool image, just watching her walk toward the line, and then cross it, with one very symbolic step.
The queen greets her with a handshake and they walk together. Jae-kang and Mom watch on television, but Mom is displeased with the whole setup, and takes issue with the fact that Hang-ah doesn’t seem to smile ever.
Jae-ha watches from his plane, on his way to meet her. I love that he stuck to his petty word, and Dong-ha has replaced Shi-kyung for the trip. Jae-ha asks if he’s ever been rejected before—say she kept saying she liked you, and then you finally opened your heart and professed your love, only BAM, she rejects you.
Dong-ha asks if Hang-ah did that to him, but he says no—”That’s what I’m going to do to her.” And then he hatches a plan. Your plans never go well!
Hang-ah arrives at a secluded villa, where the four-day meeting will take place, away from prying eyes. Wait, are you trapping them in a house together? Awww yeah.
She’s given a ten-person stylist team, and meets Jae-ha for tea looking adorable. She braces herself before going in, repeating her mantra that she’s here to squash him like a bug, and refuses to even look him in the eye.
While that’s going on, Dong-ha finds Kang-seok outside on the grounds, and they have a happy reunion as guards, though now on opposing teams. Kang-seok asks why Jae-ha is acting so serious, and Dong-ha says gravely, “Because it’s love.” Pffft.
Jae-ha attempts to be cute via heart-shaped doughnut, but gets rejected flatly (he looks so ridiculous holding it out to her with no reaction), and she starts to take him to task for using love as some line, referring to his big public speech.
He starts to play it up that it was no lie, and that “love” isn’t something he can even bring himself to say when he’s alone with someone. He pauses for dramatic effect. But then she cuts in, “Is that why you shot me?”
Oooh, damn. I love how she turns it around on him. “Because you loved me too much?”
He seems to be earnest for just one moment, as he sighs, wondering how she could know all his complicated emotions in that instant. Yeaaah, I’m sure you were really conflicted and all, but imma argue that girl with virtual bullet in heart trumps complicated trigger-finger emotions any day of the week.
He lets it go at that, and tells her they should eat dinner together, for appearance’s sake. And then he strategically leaves his cell phone on the table.
She doesn’t take the bait at first, just handing it to Kang-seok to return to him, but Kang-seok is all aflutter with the gossip he heard from Dong-ha, and then confirms it when he finds Jae-ha’s cell phone plastered with pictures of her. Don’t fall for it!
But she totally falls for it, and Jae-ha walks back in to snatch it from their hands to make it seem like he’s been exposed. He frets that it was all too obvious, wondering who would fall for that, and then sends her a text for good measure, apologizing for the cell phone picture and saying that this is how she’s always appeared in his thoughts.
Sneaky dastardly trick works, and she is so adorable, posing like the picture despite herself. But one call from Dad reminds her of the line she is not to cross.
Jae-ha prepares for dinner, with giant wall-sized photos, an orchestra, balloons—it basically looks like a valentine’s store threw up on him. He’s frenzied trying to make everything perfect, which is funny, ’cause you sure are invested in every last detail of a plan to propose and then say, Psyche!
Hang-ah is announced, and he stands at the end of long row of people, bouquet in hand. He decides at the last minute getting on one knee is better, and he hides his face. Confetti poppers go flying, music plays, and then he looks up…
…to see an angry Kang-seok looking down at him, covered in party favors. He’s here to deliver a message from Hang-ah:
“I have no feelings whatsoever for comrade Lee Jae-ha. I will not go through with the engagement. I would like the spend the rest of this trip alone.” It’s awesomely extra-ego-deflating to hear the words delivered by Kang-seok.
He turns to go, as everyone gapes awkwardly, and Jae-ha stands there frozen in shock, until he finally buries his head in shame. Score one for Comrade Kim Hang-ah.
Their game of cat and mouse crossed with Battleship just tickles me to no end. It’s so clever to turn what’s really just a simple hot-and-cold push-and-pull between a man and woman into a massive international debacle, with such crazy skewed stakes. What they’re really doing is just playing it cool and wanting to know how the other feels, only it’s through generals and kings and international press circuits instead of locker notes and three-way calls. I love the political conceit because it’s so distant from the I-totally-don’t-like-you-but-do-you-like-me game, that when they’re conflated it’s hysterical.
I also just love a drama with subtext, where characters don’t say exactly what they mean like drama robots. Real people don’t say what they really mean—we hide, we turn phrases, we bluster. It’s in deciphering the tiny moments where truth sneaks in among all the lies that’s interesting, and when we’re given those insights like a character’s vulnerable moment alone, it feels that much more important and revealing.
I’m pretty sure pride will continue to be their downfall, but I also love that it’s kind of morphed now into their beard. As long as they can rationalize everything as a way to seduce and destroy, they pretty much play the dating game while hiding behind their beards. Yunno, metaphor-beards, not the hairy ones. I’m just happy that they’ve both got game, because just when you think Jae-ha has the upper hand, Hang-ah turns the tables, every time. That’s the thing about egos—the more hot air they’re filled with, the easier they are to deflate.
Here, one for the road. Don’t say I never gave ya nuthin’.
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 4
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 3
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 2
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 1
- The King 2 Hearts’s poster and trailer
- Stills from the set of King 2 Hearts
- The King gets name change, begins script reads
- Ha Ji-won and Lee Seung-gi confirm The King
- Lee Seung-gi to play Ha Ji-won’s King?