Rooftop Prince: Episode 15
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode, which brought a well-balanced mix of plot movement, cuteness, romantic development, mystery solving, and secret unveiling. Balance isn’t always this drama’s forte, but this episode does a solid job of upping the stakes and intensifying the plot at a point where a lot of dramas start to flag and slow down, which I feared might happen here. Instead, we get tons of forward advancement. Yay!
SONG OF THE DAY
Go Go Boys – “황홀경” (Rapture) [ Download ]
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Yi Gak makes the final reincarnation connection: Bu-yong is Park-ha. He makes the mental connection just as he also recognizes her physically, with the clothesline mimicking Bu-yong’s mask.
He tells Park-ha what this means: that she was Bu-yong, and that Bu-yong is the princess’s sister. Yi Gak confirms that she was also in his Joseon life, which is something they both take in happily. He says it feels like reuniting with an old friend, and tells her they were quite close in his world.
She asks what she was like then, and he says that she was quiet and followed him around at a distance. Ha. She came to live at the palace with her sister while both were still young, and would convey interesting stories from the outside world: “Even if those were the same stories the eunuchs or court ladies told me, it was always more interesting when Bu-yong told them.”
He explains his fondness for telling puzzles, but how Bu-yong would always figure them out. (He speaks of Bu-yong as though she’s the same person as Park-ha, saying “you did this,” rather than “Bu-yong did this,” which I find an interesting detail.) Now he realizes, “Now that I think of it, I spent more time talking with you than I did with the princess. My mood was always great when I talked with you.”
But he can’t resist the chance to tease, saying pointedly that she was therefore quite different then—you know, all smart and accomplished. Hehe.
In any case, they’re both pleased about this; Park-ha particularly enjoys knowing she was part of his life back then, too. Aw, there’s something sweet about that, knowing that she’s rather displaced in this lifetime, without a place to belong to.
They’ve made evening plans to see a fireworks show, and Park-ha mentions making five boxed dinners. Yi Gak points to her, then himself: “Let’s just go, the two of us.” So cute.
Time for her to tease, so she plays coy and sends him following her around, pestering her for a reply. He even makes this hilarious whiny noise, accompanied by shoulder-waggle-hip-shake. It’s a full-body pout.
Inside, they trade telling looks and faces the ducklings. Yi Gak makes the excuse that he’s tired and heading for bed. When Chi-san asks about the fireworks show, Park-ha thinks fast for an excuse, landing on an eye condition that makes it impossible for her to see sparkly things.
The boys shoot her suspicious/grumpy looks, but she goes around flicking off the lights (“Ah, my eyes!”) and urges them all to bed early. Ha. They pout in confusion.
Se-na meets with CEO Jang Sun-joo, who goes along with her lie that she’s her (younger) daughter. Jang Sun-joo is still trying to figure out how to react, and therefore her responses are reserved and a little confused. On one hand, she gets to spend time with her (elder) daughter. On the other hand, she knows Se-na is faking this relationship and doesn’t understand why.
Se-na plays the part convincingly, with tears and feigned vulnerability, even asking, “Can I call you Mom?” She takes out the ring she’d been given on the last trip and says she felt a kind of connection between them at the time.
Jang Sun-joo calls her by her birth name, In-joo, and explains that the name came from a mix of her parents’ (In-chul, Sun-joo). Se-na says that Dad told her the story many times—and that’s the first real misstep. Jang Sun-joo thinks despairingly that the story’s fake.
Se-na escorts her to her hotel suite, and casts an appraising eye around, thinking that it’s too ridiculous for all this luxury to be related to Park-ha. She thinks to herself, “I’m going to take everything from Park-ha.”
Park-ha and Yi Gak sneak out of the house to go on their date. Holding hands, they head to the waterside for the show, and they’re literally frolicking through the park. Cute.
They enjoy the spectacle of lights, oohing over the firework show, not even seeing that Yi Gak is starting to fade from sight, right where he sits. One moment he’s solid, the next he’s just a transparent outline. Every time Park-ha looks at him, though, he comes back to normal.
Park-ha had told the boys to read a book instead of watching television, so now they sit at home, each with a different book in hand. And what have they chosen? Man-bo busily memorizes the phone book, Yong-soo struggles with Restructuring General Knowledge, and Chi-san… embroiders.
They’re all wondering why they have to do this, but do it anyway. Ha, I love disgruntled-but-obedient ducklings.
Man-bo finishes his memorization, thanks to his photographic memory, and goes have the prince test him on his knowledge. You are such a teacher’s pet. The boys stand before the unresponsive lumpy bedspread awaiting a response, and when they get none, they discover the pillow decoy. Three hundred years of progress, and still the same hooky tactics.
And so it is that Yi Gak and Park-ha find three pissed-off minions awaiting them as they start the walk home. Glowering. Judging.
They drop hands and shoot panicked looks at each other. Then Yi Gak turns, takes her hand again, and starts running. Or should I say power-walking, with full-on butt-wiggle. The ducklings literally waddle after them. What, can you not one-up the prince, even when you’re trying to punish him?
Eventually things settle down, and Yi Gak tells his boys about the Bu-yong connection. They’re amazed, and it makes them all feel even more like they’ve known each other for a long time, even if they’d never met Bu-yong. They toast to the occasion.
Jang Sun-joo broods, wondering why Se-na and Tae-mu are lying to her. Considering that there was a positive DNA match, she deduces that they must know who the real daughter is.
Yi Gak also broods, pacing the rooftop as he thinks, followed by the ducklings, ha. He’s been thinking all night, and they’re tired, urging him to bed before the sun rises. Chi-san rambles, “This thing called thinking, just as you think more the more you think of it, the best thinking can be to not think of it.”
But Yi Gak is puzzling over something that doesn’t logically work out in his head. He had believed the princess possessed hidden virtues, but in this world that isn’t the case. Now Chi-san shares the rumor about Hwa-yong burning her sister’s face in order to be chosen as his bride, and Yi Gak exclaims in shock, “Why are you only telling me now?!”
He muses that if the story is true, then the two incarnations do have something in common after all. Now the story starts to makes sense. He moves on to the next trip-up: the nature of the sisterly relationship. Hwa-yong and Bu-yong were biological sisters, but in this world they’re stepsisters, unrelated by blood. He invites his men to share any and all concerns they have, to get everything out on the table.
Chi-san offers the curious discrepancy of Yi Gak marrying one sister in Joseon, but falling in love with a different one here. Man-bo wonders why they fell into Park-ha’s home when they time-leaped. (And Yong-sool… nods off? Hee.)
Yi Gak picks up that line of reasoning, saying that they came here to uncover the truth behind the princess’s poisoning (from the doctored persimmon). So why did they not jump to Se-na’s home instead? He’s certain there’s something more to do with Park-ha.
Yi Gak and Park-ha go out to lunch with Jang Sun-joo, where the latter thanks the former for putting her up at their home when she fell ill last time. She also thanks Park-ha for her thoughtfulness and comments on what a good daughter she is to her mother.
Jang Sun-joo asks why she isn’t working right now, which sparks off another mild bicker-fest between the lovebirds: Park-ha says pointedly that she quit her job out in the countryside thanks to somebody, and that somebody retorts that that’s why he is taking her in and feeding her, and she points out, “Yeah, while working me like a slave!”
On the upside, this job situation provides the perfect opportunity for Park-ha to act as secretary while CEO Jang is in Korea. Over coffee at the hotel, Yi Gak gives the woman some pointers in having Park-ha for a secretary—like how she’s a rough driver and how she’s a little slow on the uptake, so she’ll have to speak in short sentences. HAHA. Plus, when she gets hungry, she also gets violent.
Jang Sun-joo watches the teasing with enjoyment, and even joins in. When Park-ha mutters that they’ll deal with this at home, she asks innocently, “Park-ha, are you angry right now? Are you hungry?” Cute.
The con artists are in full swing, with Se-na brushing up on things to do together and Tae-mu advising her to find as many commonalities with CEO Jang as she can. They arrive at the hotel, but stop short to witness the cozy scene unfolding with The Enemies. They duck away and leave before they’re seen, fuming impotently about Park-ha’s proximity to the CEO, which puts them (and their dreams of riches) in peril.
Se-na’s the more panicked one, even accusing Tae-mu of slacking off on his whole promise to get rid of Park-ha. Tae-mu plays it cooler, instructing Se-na to call Park-ha and find out what the situation is first.
Se-na asks if she’s free to do something for her, but Park-ha answers that she’ll be busy for the immediate future, acting as assistant for a visitor from abroad. That’s enough information for Se-na to fill in the blanks, and it is NOT good news.
Next, Jang Sun-joo answers a call from Tae-mu canceling her meeting with Se-na, citing a car accident. This doesn’t appear to surprise her, as though she’d been awaiting some kind of move from the impostors. When Park-ha and Yi Gak get up to leave, she tests out her suspicions by asking whether Park-ha knows anybody among her unni’s friends named Park In-joo. Sure enough, Park-ha doesn’t know the name.
Se-na drops by her hotel room later that evening and apologizes for missing their date earlier. She’s feeling good enough about the con to broach the topic of Tae-mu, calling him a really good person who facilitated their reunion: “Shouldn’t we repay him somehow?” Bingo, motive revealed.
Jang Sun-joo asks what she has in mind. Se-na asks her to vote for Tae-mu as the new CEO at tomorrow’s shareholder meeting. Jang Sun-joo nods and says that if her daughter wants it, she’ll have to comply. Se-na returns to Tae-mu in great spirits, and he’s equally elated at the news.
Park-ha has breakfast with her mother the next day, and explains that she’ll be acting as secretary for “Auntie Sun-joo.” (In this case she’s using Aunt because she’s Mom’s friend, not as an indication of biology—goodness knows we don’t need more family complications in this drama!)
Auntie Sun-joo is, at the moment, eating breakfast with Se-na, who uses the opportunity to drop Tae-mu’s name a couple more times. Jang Sun-joo asks if there’s anything else she wants, using her name In-joo just as Park-ha arrives to being her assisting duties. So she also overhears Se-na’s response, calling her “Mom.”
Jang Sun-joo heads to her room to change, leaving Se-na at the table… and Park-ha glaring daggers at her sister, calling her insane. Se-na blanches, knowing she’s well and caught, though she puts up her usual bristly defenses to argue that it’s none of her business.
Park-ha can’t believe she’d do this to her mother, going around calling someone else Mom while their mother spent all morning making Se-na’s favorite foods for the breakfast she didn’t show up to eat. Se-na fumes, “Are you lecturing me?” Park-ha flings a cup of water in her face (yay!) and tells her to wake up: “How are you going to live comfortably while hammering a nail into Mom’s heart?”
Se-na reaches for her water to return the favor, but a furious Park-ha beats her to it… and throws another glass in her face. Yaaaay!
Park-ha bites out, “Even if you pull a nail out, it leaves a scar behind. If you’re so ashamed of your mother, then don’t be her daughter. I’LL do that.”
Jang Sun-joo gives Park-ha an envelope to deliver to the shareholders’ meeting for the big vote for new CEO. Going around the boardroom, the votes are cast, stalling at 4 versus 4. There’s one absence, but Park-ha bursts in to deliver the absentee vote. The baddies exult, knowing they’re gonna win this one… which is what happens when you count your chickens. Because she has voted for Tae-yong.
Grandma and Taek-soo applaud, elated, and Tae-mu wonders what went wrong.
It’s a question being answered for Se-na, who asks Jang Sun-joo (rather accusingly, really) why she switched her vote. Her mother tells her plainly that she knows she’s not In-joo: “Did you think you could make such a big lie and get away with it?”
Se-na reels. Jang Sun-joo tells her to leave, unwilling to talk of the matter further.
Tae-mu deals with a disappointed parent as well, though his is much screechier. His father slaps him and screams in frustration.
Park-ha walks Yi Gak out of the meeting, worried about him being promoted when he’s already got so much else to worry about. He answers that he will fulfill duties as Tae-yong as well as solve his own mystery, and that Tae-yong’s death is part of that.
Park-ha finishes her secretarial errands, with Yi Gak tagging along, and stops at a street vendor for wish-granting rings. He scoffs that they’re a crock (the vendor shoots him a dirty look), but she sticks rings on their fingers—she’ll buy his, so he has to buy hers.
Yi Gak disapproves and starts to take it off, but she says that dating couples wear matching rings, and he relents.
Park-ha closes her eyes and makes her wish, but this time when she looks over at Yi Gak, she catches him mid-fade. He has no idea anything’s amiss and keeps smiling at her, but she looks at him in alarm as he fades in and out right before her eyes.
When he comes back, she grabs him tight, scared and relieved, afraid to let go.
That night, the three sidekicks sneak into the company office with flashlights, intent on finding out why Tae-mu has left for Chicago. To their shock, they’re not the only ones in the office: sitting behind the desk is a suspicious Pyo Taek-soo.
He sits down all four Joseon travelers and asks for the truth. Yi Gak admits that he’s not Tae-yong, and Taek-soo says he knew he was an impostor from the moment he heard that the real Tae-yong was still alive. He’s essentially a vegetable, living but with no consciousness.
He says he didn’t reveal the truth because even if he’s a fake, he needed him to fight Tae-mu. In fact, they both need each other now, and that’s why he tips them off to Tae-mu’s reason for going to Chicago: to bring Tae-yong home.
When Tae-mu lands in Seoul, Tae-yong is transferred from the plane to an ambulance. The sidekicks stake out that ambulance from the curbside and follow when Tae-mu climbs in, doggedly sticking close despite the ambulance’s erratic weaving. It’s a good thing you’ve got Agent Yong-sool at the wheel.
A truck blocks their view, though, allowing the ambulance to slip off to a side road and lose them. Man-bo and Chi-san complain so whinily that Yong-sool has enough of them and locks them out of the car. HA. He even makes them jog after the car for a while before stopping, and warns, “Don’t drive with your mouths anymore.”
The ambulance arrives at a hospital and Tae-yong is wheeled inside. The problem for the minions is that while Man-bo got the license plate, they don’t know where to go about tracking down that ambulance.
So Yong-sool has an idea—and drives straight into a roadblock, giving them minor whiplash. Guess they’ll have to call the police and report a hit and run by that ambulance.
Oooh, looky who just got smart!
Tae-mu calls his father to request an emergency board meeting be called for this afternoon. The agenda: dismissal of the new CEO.
Park-ha takes a leisurely walk through a neighborhood, smiling at the sights, like the schoolyard chalk murals. Yi Gak follows at a fixed distance behind her, taking care to stay out of her sight, enjoying her enjoyment of the day.
She sits down to listen to a street performance, and he calls to tell her he’s running a little late to meet her. She assures him she’s still on her way too, so no worries. Watching her as he answers, he says, “If you get there before me, eat some ice cream while waiting for me.”
She starts looking around suspiciously for him while he gets a call from Pyo Taek-soo, and the news sends him running. Park-ha is left wondering where he went, though she sees the jacket he’d set down and forgotten to take, with his special handkerchief in the pocket.
Tae-mu and his father swing into action. While Dad takes care of the meeting, Tae-mu heads to the hospital to take care of Tae-yong.
With Yi Gak rushing through traffic to make the meeting, Park-ha’s call goes unanswered. And now she remembers that peculiarity from the other day, when he faded from sight like a ghost. Could he…?
Yi Gak screeches into a parking garage and pulls up in front of two hospital employees… who are Yong-sool and Chi-san in disguise. Ha, is Chi-san really dressed as a woman? Well, I guess that IS his specialty.
They usher him in, and Man-bo gives them a warning call when Tae-mu arrives. Unfortunately he loses his tail on Tae-mu when he’s mistaken for a real doctor, and has to dash off to try to find him again.
Tae-mu arrives on Tae-yong’s floor with his camera crew in tow, just as the two accomplices wheel Tae-yong’s gurney out of the room and down the hall. They pull the blanket over his face as they pass by, and breathe a sigh of relief when Tae-mu doesn’t catch on to the patient they’re stealing.
Then Man-bo intercepts Tae-mu in front of the door to stall him, and that gets Tae-mu’s suspicions firing. He bursts into the room—and finds everything normal, with Tae-yong (Yi Gak, as we know) lying in bed, catatonic as ever.
Meanwhile, the shareholders file into the boardroom to begin the emergency meeting. Uncle puts for the proposal to dismiss Tae-yong, directing their attention to the video screen for their proof.
Broadcast there is Tae-mu, reporting from the hospital room, who charges that the current Tae-yong is a con man. The real Tae-yong is here, in the room with him.
The camera pans over to show the hospital bed, which causes a stir among the executives. Tae-mu explains that Tae-yong has virtually no chance of recovery, but he would have wanted his hyung to reveal this scam on his behalf.
This is the point at which Yi Gak stirs, sitting up in bed. Eek, even though I know exactly what’s going on, the visual effect is eerily like something out of a horror movie. He croaks, “Tae-mu hyung.”
Tae-mu recognizes that voice with a start, and turns slowly in astonishment. Dun dun dun!
Not gonna lie, I had worried whether this drama had enough plot left in it to carry us to twenty episodes without some major slowdowns and running around in circles. I was holding out hope that there would be one last twist to propel us down the final stretch, but I wasn’t confident there would be. So I’m entirely relieved—and encouraged—at how much story was crammed into this episode, and how things flew by.
I still think the editing and post-production is a little rough around the edges, which is definitely the live shoot system showing its seams—some transitions are strange, and sometimes sequences are oddly strung together. But I don’t really mind those editing quibbles when there’s so much advancement zooming us right along, because I’m caught up in the developments.
Yi Gak impersonating Tae-yong (er, again, that is) is one of those brilliantly simple schemes that ought to make the villains sweat for real. Hopefully by this point Yi Gak will have learned enough to be able to make the impersonation more fluid, rather than relying on the amnesia excuse. And this last-minute plan, so desperately cobbled together, surely has a lot of pitfalls—like where the others are going to live if not the rooftop. Everyone assumes that Impersonator #1 has fled, so they won’t be confused when they can’t find him.
Then there was the Se-na reveal, on top of the Park-ha smackdown (yay!), and the mysterious flickering travelers. Not to mention the ever-present mystery of the princess’s murder and the time-travel mechanism. Lots of stuff to carry us through the end.
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 14
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 13
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 12
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 11
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 10
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 9
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 8
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 7
- The untold love story: Rooftop Fashion King
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 6
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 5
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 4
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 3
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 2
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 1