Rooftop Prince: Episode 18
So much unintentional comedy in this episode, where you just have to laugh at the disconnect between what was meant and what you actually feel. I guess the alternative would be to get aggravated, but I prefer laughing, even if I wasn’t meant to. After all, it doesn’t matter so much why I’m entertained, as long as I am, right? And really, isn’t that what performance art is all about?
SONG OF THE DAY
Urban Zakapa – “Beautiful Day” [ Download ]
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Having overheard Se-na’s comment and deduced that the dynamic duo (dynamic duds, more like) were behind Grandma’s death, Yi Gak punches Tae-mu. They grapple for a bit, then Yi Gak punches him again. Ah, this drama’s double-smackdown can be so satisfying.
Yi Gak accuses Tae-mu of killing grandma, calling him a liar and murderer (ooh, dangerous words to repeat—they echo Impostor No. 1’s accusation—even if he’s in Tae-yong guise right now). Tae-mu is actually a much better liar when he’s acting in defense of Se-na, and he fights back… only to get a third punch to the face. Yi Gak vows to reveal the crime and make him pay.
Yi Gak returns to the hospital, this time to see the real Tae-yong, who’s still comatose. He apologizes for not being able to protect Grandma in Tae-yong’s stead, thinking, “I have committed a huge sin against you.” He vows to punish Grandma’s killers, then beg for his forgiveness.
I suppose there’s nothing wrong in giving Yi Gak even more motivation to bring down the baddies with Grandma’s death, but for the fact that he has plenty of motivation already. You know, the attempted murder (Tae-yong), the cover-up, the take-over plot, the other attempted murder (Park-ha), and now the new murder? C’mon drama, three episodes left! Focus!
Park-ha meets Yi Gak at their favorite tree, and he offers a few encouraging words about her finding her mother, and noting that the relationship mirrors their Joseon counterparts. Park-ha’s reaction is conflicted, though, since it’s a bittersweet discovery to have made so late, and she cries a little.
Yi Gak steps behind her to embrace her, only to find that his arms go right through Park-ha—he’s fading again. Eek! This is his first experience with the phenomenon, since the first time was with the ducklings, and the second time only Park-ha noticed.
He stares at his translucent body disbelievingly, trembling in horror. When Park-ha turns to face him, he’s back to his solid self and she wonders at his shocked expression. He regains his composure and tells her nothing is wrong, but walks away feeling spooked.
Park-ha catches up to him, and this time he admits that something’s wrong with him—that he couldn’t hold her because he’d faded out. She knows what he means, and asks, “You saw yourself disappearing?”
He’s upset that she didn’t tell him when she saw it, but she says tearily that she couldn’t bring herself to. He reaches out to touch her again, but he hovers over her shoulder, afraid that he might not be able to. When his hand makes contact, he breathes in relief and pulls her to him. They stand there for a long while, holding each other.
They puzzle it out together; Yi Gak supposes this is a precursor to his return to Joseon. It’s a thought that makes Park-ha rueful, and he replies, “I think the reason I came here was to meet you.” His reasoning is simplistic, though sweet: that it’s because the only thing he has done here was to fall for her.
Park-ha reminds him that he has to solve the princess’s murder, but he says, “I want to use my remaining time here for you.” But there’s still Grandma’s death to solve as well, and he sighs at the lack of time.
Yi Gak returns to his ducklings, who report their findings. The police suspect more to the death than a mere accident, and are investigating.
The most pressing goal right now is to find evidence to pin Tae-mu for the crime, and Yi Gak wants to get it before the police, so he can punish Tae-mu himself. Er. That’s admirable and all, but I’m pretty sure the police are perfectly capable of this one—don’t mess with their investigation!
Grandma’s lawyer addresses the family regarding the upcoming will reading, which will leave the entire company to Tae-yong. Talk about a transparent plot device—you gather the family now to tell them to gather again later, so they can hear the reading of the will, which you disclose here anyway? What is even the point, other than to give us a plot conflict to fill out an episode? I’m trying not to roll my eyes here, but the drama’s really starting to lose steam.
The will’s contents are unsurprising, but really, Grandma’s tunnel-vision love for Tae-yong is starting to get annoying. Duh, there’s a reason everyone else is dissatisfied, when you can’t get over your blood-line purity bullshit and only leave an inheritance for the one person who shares your genetic line! Sheesh.
But wait! There’s a provision: That if Tae-yong doesn’t show up for the reading, the company goes to Tae-mu. Ruh-roh. Lordy, Grandma, were you blind, or just stupid? In her defense, the will was drafted while Tae-yong was still missing, and the lawyer points out that the clause is moot since Tae-yong is sitting right here. Oh, so that tidbit served no purpose other than to Give Tae-mu Ideas? Trust me, he doesn’t need any more of those.
Tae-mu and his father leave the reading fuming helplessly. It’s a will, and without a valid reason to protest it, there’s nothing they can do to prevent Tae-yong from taking over.
A reason, you say? Why, that’s nothing a good mastermind can’t invent. Tae-mu lands on his recent fight with Tae-yong, and now those words belatedly sink in: Yi Gak’s accusation that he’s a murderer and a liar. Arg! I knew that would come back to bite him. This tips Tae-mu off that Impostor No. 1 is also Impostor No. 2, and he goes looking for proof of the hunch.
He replays the video taken from the hospital room when Tae-yong “awoke” from his coma, and sees something he missed earlier—the way Yi Gak hid his hand from sight. The couple ring he’s trying to conceal isn’t very visible onscreen, but it’s a suspicious gesture and it gives Tae-mu confirmation that something is up.
A detective comes to Se-na’s door to ask questions regarding Grandma’s death. Gulp.
Tae-mu goes to Grandma’s house, where Tae-yong’s car is parked. Opening it (why do people not lock their car doors?!), he plants a bag of cash and a plane ticket (in Tae-yong’s name) in the armrest compartment.
Yi Gak mulls over the case in his mind, so distracted that Park-ha teases him to get his attention. As they walk down the street, he sees a news report about the helpfulness of car black boxes in accidents. This gives him an idea, since he recalls seeing traces of that accident in front of the house—the same one that Se-na had passed by on her exit from the house.
That gives them a lead, and they canvass various neighborhood auto shops asking about a recent accident. They get multiple nos, but one mechanic recalls doing repairs a couple days ago, and that sends them to talk to the appropriate driver, who confirms that the accident happened in that neighborhood. The only hitch is that the car belongs to a relative who lives quite a distance away, in Gwangju.
That puts them in a good mood, and they plan to head down right away. But on their way home, they’re stopped by a detective—the same one who spoke with Se-na—who asks if he’s the “real Tae-yong” and then orders him brought in on suspicion of Grandma’s death.
Wut? You can arrest people based on a tip now?! ‘Cause I’m pretty sure they can’t have any real proof on Tae-yong, even with that bag of cash. This drama, I SWEAR.
The cop sits Yi Gak down and asks smugly where the real Tae-yong is. He plops the stack of hundred-dollar bills down and accuses him of faking an identity, entering the house, killing Grandma, stealing company money, and preparing to flee to the States. Wow, what deductive powers you have; I suppose if those conclusions aren’t going to jump to you, you go to them. Garrrr, you’re killin’ me here.
Yi Gak insists he’s never seen this cash before and the cop laughs in his face. Tae-mu is called in, and naturally he isn’t going to be his cousin’s alibi, so instead he lies and says he was with Se-na. Convenient, for them to corroborate each other’s stories.
After the cop leaves, Tae-mu tells Yi Gak that it’ll all be over tomorrow, so he can sit here in jail till the will is read, leaving the company to Tae-mu. Twirls evil mustache.
Yi Gak is shut in jail, and he protests that Tae-mu’s the real bad guy. The cop just handcuffs him and threatens to charge him with obstructing justice if he doesn’t shut up.
Tae-mu takes Se-na out for a fancy dinner, telling her to cheer up since everything is almost at its end. She’s a lot more worried than he is, but that makes sense since she was always smarter than him.
Yi Gak sits in jail overnight, and with just one hour till will-reading time, he begs the cops to just let him out for an hour, promising to return. Ha, the only thing that would make these cops less competent is if they complied. It’s too bad Yi Gak couldn’t have a convenient fading spell right now, to let him slip through the bars; for once he could use it to his advantage.
At home, Park-ha catches a glimpse of Yi Gak’s embroidered handkerchief, and this time she notices something they’d all missed: In the bottom corner are initials. Just as Tae-yong’s postcard featured the hangul initials for his name, this set is for Bu-yong’s.
She visits him in jail, finding him dejected at his inability to do anything. She assures him that the baddies won’t get away with it, then takes out the handkerchief to show him what she noticed. He sees that they’re Bu-yong’s initials, and realizes that Hwa-yong lied when she passed it off as her handiwork.
Yi Gak reaches out a hand to the glass as if to touch the embroidery… but it goes right through. Aww, yeah! Hurry, jump! Why are you hesitating? Move!
And then, he disappears right in front of Park-ha’s eyes, fading entirely this time. Yi Gak finds himself rematerializing outside, in the hallway. They’re still in hostile territory with cops all around, so Park-ha grabs his arm and they vamoose out of there.
Once safely outside, Yi Gak takes off running. The family waits nervously with three minutes left on the clock, while the evil ones laugh to themselves. Yi Gak tears inside the building, racing against the clock, while the executor begins the proceedings.
Seeing that Tae-yong is not here, the executor proceeds to the second-case scenario, naming Tae-mu the inheritor. Tae-mu takes the forms to stamp his seal, and just seconds before he puts ink to paper, Yi Gak bursts through the doors.
Tae-mu declares that he’s a phony, but Yi Gak points out that if he’s a phony, he wouldn’t have been able to make the proceedings. (Being in jail and all.) Tae-mu has no rebuttal, and so Tae-yong is named the new CEO after all.
Pyo Taek-soo congratulates him on outwitting their foes, and advises him to kick Tae-mu out of the company right away. Yi Gak asks to be allowed to take care of Tae-mu (“I have an idea”), and asks Taek-soo to take over as administrator of the company, naming him President Pyo.
The ducklings have taken over the task of tracking down that black box, and bring it back to Yi Gak for review. What he sees has him gaping in shock, and he summons Yong-sool with an ominous voice.
Next thing we know, Tae-mu is walking out of the Home & Shopping building, and Yong-sool grabs him from behind and shoves him into a car. The ducklings drag him in to face Yi Gak, who orders him to call Se-na here.
Tae-mu growls, “You think you can get away with this?” Yong-sool literally slaps him upside the head. HA. I love how relatively wimpy this use of force is, and yet it’s perfectly adequate to subdue Tae-mu. See, not everyone needs ice trucks and yachts to do their bidding for them. “Call Hong Se-na here,” Yi Gak commands again.
Cut to: Se-na and Tae-mu, sitting in the hot seat together. HAHA. I don’t think it was supposed to be a funny transition given the dark lighting, ominous voices, and heavy music cues, but the smash cut is hilarious.
They replay the black box footage, and now we get to see it too. It has a clear view of Grandma’s front gate, with Se-na walking out of it clutching the stolen laptop.
Se-na’s already shaking in fear, but she summons her composure to argue that there’s nothing strange about her leaving the house. Yi Gak paints the picture more exactly, saying that she left the house at the very same time that Grandma died.
Tae-mu claims that projected times of death can be off by an hour or two, and tries to leave. Yong-sool sits him right back down. Yi Gak tells them what he wants: They are to mete out their own punishments by resigning their jobs and returning the money they stole (to frame him with). And I go, Whaaaa? That’s your bright idea? C’mon, and here I thought you were gonna get all badass up in this hizzy.
He does tack on the warning that if they don’t, he’ll make them feel the agony of dismemberment. But unless that’s through actual dismemberment, I’m thinking it’s not much of a threat.
He looks particularly at Se-na—who seems closer to the breaking point—as he says this is the last chance he’s giving them, and that they don’t have much time.
Once they’ve left, Se-na anxiously asks Tae-mu what to do. Her face was caught on camera and she’s on the hook—what now? Tae-mu glowers and vows, “I’m going to kill that bastard.” You mean you’ll try. We all know how this goes.
That night, Park-ha huddles outside Yi Gak’s door, asking if he’s sleeping and disappointed when he says he is. He asks what has her so worried that she’d camp out in front of his door, and she says she’s scared he’ll disappear.
So he brings her inside and tucks her into bed right next to him. Aww. They lie down with hands linked, but her concerns aren’t totally relieved. She muses that he’ll still have to return to Joseon and solve the princess’s murder: “That’s what has to happen, isn’t it?”
He turns to face her and says, “Since thinking of having to say goodbye at some unknown point is so painful, I have decided to only think in the moment here, which I spend just with you. I like this moment.” He proposes that they make lots of moments together and tells her to think of something to do tomorrow night.
With that they go to sleep, still holding hands.
The next day, Tae-mu gives Se-na last-minute tips on what must be their new plan. That involves Se-na bringing Tae-yong here to this lake, “by any means necessary.”
Se-na arrives at the rooftop with something to tell Park-ha, attitude meek and head bowed. She affects the demeanor of the self-pitying penitent, saying Park-ha must hate her and apologizing for everything.
Starting to cry, Se-na says she’d like to die; thinking of her wrongs has her so ashamed she can barely hold her head up. Nor can she turn to Mom, or her birth mother, or Park-ha: “Should I just die? If I die, could I be forgiven?”
Admittedly Se-na is pretty convincing; if we didn’t know she was up to no good, I might almost believe her. So Park-ha can’t help feeling sorry for her as well, and softens a bit. When she steps aside, Se-na sees her phone lying on the table and reads the incoming text from “Dummy ♥” that asks if she’s decided where to go tonight. Ughhh. This is just too easy, isn’t it?
Se-na replies as Park-ha, telling him to meet her at the reservoir tonight for some night fishing. He replies that he’ll meet her there, and adds that she should wear the couple tee that he left out for her (which is Chi-san’s, HA).
Se-na hurries out with an excuse (and the phone), then swipes the couple tee for good measure. Park-ha comes running out to flag her down, though she doesn’t seem suspicious as she gets into the car. Instead Park-ha extends an olive branch by offering to buy unni dinner, since she doesn’t want to part ways on such abrupt terms.
Then she sees the reservoir on Se-na’s GPS screen (oh thank goodness), and jumps to the helpful, but mistaken, conclusion that Se-na might be planning to kill herself there. Se-na says she just entered the wrong address, while Park-ha urges her that she can always atone for her wrongs and not to take her life so lightly.
Just then, Park-ah’s ringtone sounds, and it comes from Se-na’s handbag. Se-na cringes, but Park-ha, THE IDIOT, lets her off the hook by saying she has the same song for her ringtone. O RLY? WHAT A COINCIDENCE.
Now Se-na has to answer the phone, and she can’t take it out without Park-ha recognizing it. She sticks a hand inside to quiet the phone, which goes unanswered for Yi Gak, calling from the fishing supply store.
Yong-sool tells Yi Gak that nighttime is dangerous and offers himself as chaperone, which Yi Gak firmly dismisses. No third wheels necessary. I do love Yong-sool’s protective streak, and since it has saved royal ass before I’m thinking it should really not be taken so lightly. Ahem.
While Yi Gak has his romantic date, the boys have plans to go see a baseball game. Unfortunately, Chi-san has left the tickets at home; he’ll have to hurry home to get them.
Se-na drives Park-ha to the restaurant, then excuses herself by saying she’s not hungry. Lol. That’s the best excuse a master liar could think up? She literally strands Park-ha in the street and drives off.
Yi Gak gets to the reservoir first and busily sets up for the date. Park-ha, oblivious to the plans, looks all over the house for her phone and totally doesn’t suspect her sister of a thing. Thankfully, Chi-san arrives to pick up his tickets, and he wonders why she isn’t out on her fishing date.
NOW Park-ha thinks over all of unni’s highly suspicious behaviors, putting together two and two (and two and two—seriously honey, there were a lot of clues).
Yi Gak wonders at Park-ha’s tardiness while she speeds over in a taxi. As he paces by the water, he tries calling her but gets no response again. He assumes she let her battery die, but then worries that maybe she got into an accident, and that has him looking around.
That’s when Se-na appears in the distance and waves to him. In the dark, all he can see is her silhouette, and she playfully turns in the other direction and dashes off. He takes it for a flirty game of Hide N Seek and follows as she leads him right toward Tae-mu, waiting on the other side in his car. Tae-mu revs the engine, readying to drive into Yi Gak. Well, I suppose he’s got a leg up, in that it’s not his first car-related almost-murder; maybe second time’s the charm?
Park-ha’s taxi drops her off and she starts to make her way toward the water. Se-na brings Tae-yong to the appointed spot and hides herself out of view, and Tae-mu starts to drive forward, creeping ahead quietly at first.
Park-ha sees Yi Gak first, then the car approaching behind him. Realizing he’s in danger, she calls out to him. He brightens to see her, but doesn’t see the car coming at him from the other direction. It picks up speed, and Tae-mu guns it.
Yi Gak sees the car at the last moment, just as Park-ha flies at him and shoves him out of harm’s way. Which leaves her right in its path.
Okay, I give up. Rooftop Prince has always been a little sloppy, but here’s where it gets downright stupid. You can only endure so many dumb twists and turns before you throw up your hands and just disengage, right?
The thing is, I’d be more willing to sit through the lameness if it served a purpose I still cared about. Say, the Joseon mystery, or the time-warping. But the company takeover? Whoopdafrickindoo. I don’t know if there’s anybody who still cares about that home shopping channel or who runs it.
In fact, I’m a little conflicted about painting Tae-mu as the bad guy in respect to the takeover—in the murder(s), there’s no question—because I’m pretty sure he’s the only guy who does any work. Seriously. What does it say about your company that the only competent employee is a murderous psychopath? At this point I’m wondering why Tae-mu doesn’t just set up his own company and run that, since he’s got the experience and business acumen. That’s what LinkedIn is for; post that resumé and you’ll have a dozen companies knocking on your door who want to recognize your achievements. I almost wish the CEO were a withholding father figure instead of grandma, because I can see an illegitimate son driven to extremes to win Daddy’s love. Like in Cinderella’s Sister. (Although, yeah, that got tedious too.) But a crusty ol’ grandma who doesn’t care about you or your father? Psh. Whatevs. Move on.
I agree that the show should have been shorter, but I tend to think that of all shows, so that’s not particular to Rooftop Prince. And really, I do think there was enough material to work with to have filled out the 20 episodes with less stupidity. But I’ve always been more interested in the Joseon stuff, and am bummed to realize that basically all that potential is just gonna be stuffed into the first and last episodes. Boo.
As to the drowning mystery? I admit that this was the very first episode that I thought it might be possible that Bu-yong died in the lake because of a botched attempt on someone else’s life. I’d been aware of that speculation, but never saw much to support it. But this lake episode brings it together—and the fact that we’re thematically circling back to the beginning shows that the drama does know what it’s doing, and had its story plotted out well in advance. In that regard you can’t quite blame the live-shoot for coming up with story twists on the fly, since I think there’s enough evidence that a lot of this was planned. It’s just that the execution is so shaky.
The one shining light of hope: We get one new clue. Instead of the princess’s death being an attempt to kill Se-na that killed Bu-yong instead, now we can posit that Yi Gak was the real target, which is a theory I hadn’t really considered. The time-warp fits better in the context of sending him to safety in a moment of mortal peril, which makes a LOT more sense than Fate deciding he needs to solve a murder case. I like that. I wish we had lots more of that.
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 17
- Thing vs. Thing: Time-traveling Heroes
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 16
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 15
- 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