Rooftop Prince: Episode 19
It’s a surprisingly moving episode, one that I didn’t expect given the dumbness of last week. But when you take away the tired corporate plots, resolve the villain conflict, and remove them from the picture, what’s left? Turns out it’s all the good stuff that made me enjoy the show so much in the first place. When we get to focus on relationships that matter to us, the result can be unexpectedly poignant. WHO KNEW.
SONG OF THE DAY
Infinite – “눈물만” (Only tears) [ Download ]
EPISODE 19 RECAP
So we’re at the lake, where Tae-mu botches another murder attempt. (Take a shot! What do you mean, this isn’t a drinking game yet? It should be, except we’d all be trashed by now.)
Our four main players are all present as Park-ha shoves Yi Gak out of the car’s oncoming path. Tae-mu slams into her instead, sending her shooting into the air and splashing into the lake. Damn, are you really going to kill her off, just to make the reincarnation cycle complete?
Tae-mu peels out and picks up Se-na, both of them reeling from this unexpected turn of events. Yi Gak sees Park-ha floating in the water and is struck with deja vu, his reaction now mirroring his reaction to losing his wife in his Joseon life. Damn, sucks to be him. Tae-yong escapes all this emotional turmoil (granted, he IS a vegetable), while Yi Gak has to live out the grief twice? Dude’s having a real bad month.
Yi Gak jumps into the water and cradles her limp body, crying out in denial that this can’t be. But she’s unresponsive and sporting a large head wound (though I think it would’ve been cooler if the show had made her wound resemble Bu-yong’s burn scar).
As she’s rushed to the hospital, Yi Gak flashes back to a sweet moment between them under their special tree, when they’d been sitting there enjoying each other’s company and she’d said, “I wish time could stop like this.” In the flashback, Park-ha closes her eyes in sleep, an ominous sign…
The conspirators take themselves to an out-of-the-way house for the meantime. Se-na is wracked with guilt, while Tae-mu is a lot less troubled. She asks, “Park-ha wouldn’t have died, would she?” but Tae-mu tells her coldly that what’s done is done; there’s no use thinking useless thoughts.
Tae-mu’s plan is to hide out here until he can secure passage for them on a boat going abroad. He intends to leave as soon as he can find an exit route.
Se-na picks up a call from Yi Gak (making sure Tae-mu doesn’t see), and asks anxiously after Park-ha. He tells her to meet him, and she comes to the hospital where Park-ha lies unconscious, hooked up to a respirator. The sight rattles Se-na badly; she’s well on her way to cracking, but she tries to leave quickly before she breaks.
Yi Gak clocks her reaction and presses her, saying that Park-ha will die soon if left like this. The impact of the car injured her liver badly, and now she needs a transplant. He asks her to save Park-ha’s life, reminding her that she’s her sister.
She tries to deny it, but he doesn’t buy it. He brings up the topic of reincarnation, explaining that they were sisters in a past life as well. But when she starts to leave and he grabs for her arm, it passes right through—he’s fading again.
At least in this case, it provides some proof of his claim—it’s strange enough to back up his explanation of the parallel lives. He tells Se-na that the reason Park-ha didn’t call the police yesterday was to save both Yi Gak and Se-na: “Because you are her sister.”
He uses all these arguments to appeal to her to save her sister, saying that they have to sever the bond of badness that connects them, both now and in their past lives. He hands over the evidence implicating Se-na in her crimes—the apartment keycard, the phone memory card—telling her he doesn’t need them anymore: “Just save Park-ha.”
This shakes Se-na badly, till she’s sobbing in the street. When she returns to her safehouse, Tae-mu’s pacing impatiently for her, but she tells him firmly that she won’t go with him. Park-ha’s lying in the hospital, “And I’m the only one who can save her.”
Yi Gak and the ducklings race to the hospital responding to the doctor’s urgent news, and despair to hear that Park-ha has taken a turn for the worse. It’s then that he gets a call from Tae-mu, who uses Se-na as his bargaining chip: If they want that life-saving transplant surgery, then Yi Gak is to hand over the inheritance and disappear.
The two men meet to make the hand-off. Tae-mu takes the documents and tells Yi Gak that Se-na will be at the hospital at the appointed hour.
But as Se-na notes in the car ride, Tae-mu heads in a different direction, reneging on the deal. Now that they have all the company’s assets, they can live abroad comfortably… which makes no sense to me since you’d still be acting like a fugitive. Why not just stay at home and enjoy all your luxury here?
Se-na argues that they should honor their end of the bargain, but Tae-mu says that he got the money, and that’ll make her happy. He says that there are other people at the hospital who can save Park-ha, and when Se-na’s phone rings with a call from “Yong Tae-yong,” he warns her not to answer. Reluctantly, she rejects the call.
Man-bo reports that he’s found the location of a vacation house in Tae-mu’s father’s name, so they head down immediately. They’re too late to catch the runaways, but they do find the right house and see that it hasn’t been long since the house was vacated.
Se-na fidgets nervously as Tae-mu drives, hiding her cell phone in her purse. She calls Yi Gak, who eagerly answers and hears Se-na asking leading questions of Tae-mu, to convey their plan. That gives Yi Gak the destination (China) and time of departure (7 pm), and he immediately starts heading for the harbor.
The villains arrive, and Tae-mu points out their getaway boat. Se-na pulls free of him and declares that she’s not going, just as Yi Gak comes screeching up to the pier. Tae-mu shakes her, asking why she alerted him to their plans, but Se-na slaps him and yells at him to come to his senses.
The men grapple on the dock, and oh boy, somebody’s gonna die, aren’t they?
This gives Se-na the chance to run to Yi Gak’s car and lock herself in while Tae-mu shouts for her. The ducklings come screeching up in their car, and Yi Gak shouts at them to take Se-na to the hospital for the surgery. She hops from one car to the other, and off they go, leaving the cousin-killers still fighting.
Tae-mu’s getaway vessel decides that it’s waited long enough and starts pulling out of the harbor, leaving him to literally miss the boat. Tae-mu runs off as if in pursuit, and this gives him the chance to hide as Yi Gak chases him. Tae-mu attacks from behind wielding a stick, and who do you think you are, Equator Man?
Yi Gak goes down and braces for a blow, but asks why he killed Tae-yong. Tae-mu warns that if he tells him, Yi Gak has gotta die, and starts his Scooby Doo moment of revealing his whole nefarious plot instead of just killing the guy when he has the chance. Tae-mu explains the fight on the boat and how after his cousin hit the water, he found that he didn’t want to save him, that he must have always wanted him gone.
Exposition done, Tae-mu goes in for the deathblow, but his foot gets caught in the debris littering the pier, and he misses. Yi Gak takes advantage and fights back, though he gets hit a couple more times. And then, police sirens sound, sending Tae-mu skittering like a cockroach when the lights flick on.
Sadly for him, he runs right into the path of the police car and finds himself trapped. See, you shoulda just killed him and escaped when you had your shot. Lordy, he’s so terrible at being a criminal that I actually want to help him do it better.
Tae-mu finds himself surrounded and read his rights. He scoffs to hear he’s being arrested and demands evidence. Yi Gak produces a voice recorder from his pocket, which has oh-so-fortunately escaped destruction in Tae-mu’s rage fit. He hands it over to the cop, and Tae-mu is brought to his knees.
In the hospital, the sisters are wheeled in together on side-by-side gurneys, and for once Se-na looks at Park-ha with fondness, taking her hand.
The next thing we know, Park-ha’s eyes are fluttering open as she lies in a VIP hospital room, with Yi Gak hovering at her bedside. Her first words are, “Are you okay, Highness?”
In relief, he calls her a fool for worrying about him and warns her never to do something like this again. He promises, “From now on I’ll do anything for you.”
Park-ha holds out her hand, pinky outstretched, ready to seal that with a pinky-swear.
Yi Gak makes Pyo Taek-soo president of the company and asks him to take care of it till Tae-yong wakes up. Taek-soo thanks him for acting the part of Tae-yong to protect the company, and says, “To us, you were the real Tae-yong.”
Se-na visits Park-ha in the hospital, genuinely contrite, and the sisterly bond is awkward but on the mend. Park-ha thanks her for saving her life, and Se-na confesses that she’s on her way to the police station. Taking Park-ha’s hand in hers, she tells her to be healthy.
Park-ha is back to calling her unni, and says, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Both of Se-na’s mothers see her off, telling her that they’re on her side and will accept her with open arms, no matter what she did. Mom says that she’s atoned for her sins by saving Park-ha’s life, and assures her she’ll be fine. Se-na breaks down into tears, and they hug her.
The ducklings know that the end of their time here is approaching, but want to do something to repay Park-ha for her kindness. They’re ready to take up part-time jobs to help with the hospital fee, and what if Yi Gak sets up a store for her?
The next day, off they go to a drama shoot—sageuk, naturally. They’re dressed as random extras, and when one of the swordfighting actors keeps messing up, Yong-sool offers himself for the task. He’s so impressive that he earns quite a lot of buzz as an overnight sensation for his drama, which is literally titled Two Duos. Hee.
Chi-san pulls in some cash through street-performing. On the gayageum, ha, which earns him buzz as a “comet of the classical music world.”
And Man-bo… writes a script titled Joseon Scandal. HAHA. That, of course, is also a smash hit in an open competition and wins the 300 million won prize.
The boys hand over their huge stacks of cash to Yi Gak, who in turn uses it to buy a store. Since logic and reality has never been this drama’s strong point, I’m going with “This is adorable” rather than “This is absurd and nonsensical.” Yes, it is all those things, but I’ve long missed the boys’ camaraderie and the drama’s cheeky sense of humor, so like Se-na’s sin-forgiving mothers, I welcome these back with open arms.
It also has a nicely circular tie-in to when she first met the boys and provided more obstacles than assistance in her fruit and vegetable shop. But it’s not the same, because the new business has got Yi Gak’s own stamp on it: Park-ha’s Sweet Juice. Fruit for her, sweet sugary drinks for him.
They welcome her back from the hospital and drive home in Yi Gak’s SUV, with the boys bickering in the back about being cramped and in each other’s space. But then something strange happens: Chi-san literally disappears, leaving only four people in the car.
They worry that he time-leaped completely unprepared, dressed in modern wear and with no warning. They rush home panicking, and Man-bo urges the prince to change into his Joseon clothing immediately. Yong-sool spots the rooftop family photo and notices that Chi-san is now missing from it.
It’s a bittersweet moment for all, but especially for Park-ha, who will soon be abandoned. She gets an idea, and in a mini-commercial, she opens up her phone and clicks through a few nifty features, capturing an image and sending Yi Gak an invitation to join her here. Because why text when you can advertise all the cool functions of the Galaxy Note, with its stylus and photo-capture and -editing capabilities?
He gets the message and opens his own Galaxy Note smartphone, finding her personalized e-card invitation, replete with video message telling him to hurry.
Commercial over. Yi Gak finds Park-ha and they send each other cute bashful looks for a while before she finally speaks, telling him all he needs to do is to say “Uh-huh” to everything she says.
The questions: “You like me, don’t you?” He smiles, and makes the appropriate Uh-huh response. “I like you too.” More smiles, another Uh-huh. “…marry me.”
What?! I didn’t see that coming, but props to her for beating him to the proposal. It surprises him so much that he stares in silence, smile fading into seriousness, while she babbles on about what a proposal is.
Then Yi Gak takes her by the hand and leads her to her store. Going inside and turning on the lights, he tells her that this is his reply: “You must live on here, and I must leave. You will have to lead your own life.” He presents her with the store, which makes her retort that she didn’t ask him for this. But he reminds her that Chi-san has gone, and he might be right behind him.
She cuts him off: “That’s why I’m saying to marry. Let’s do as others do—do you think people marry thinking they’ll live together a hundred, two hundred years? I’ll be happy with even one day.” He tries to reason with her logically, but she says she doesn’t want to live in fear of that sad ending, paralyzed into doing nothing. And if their fate is to have things cut short midway through? Then that’s nothing they can control.
He asks, “Why are you trying to make such painful memories?” Park-ha returns, “Why is that pain? I want to make memories of being married to you. If I marry, I want it to be with you.”
He argues that he wants her to live well after he’s gone, comfortable and secure. She fires back that feeding the body while starving the heart is pointless. The surviving part is something she can handle on her own—it’s the marriage part she needs him for.
He tells her not to be stubborn. Fighting tears, she walks out.
In the ensuing days, the remaining boys worry over Park-ha, who spends all her days working. Man-bo kneels before the prince to mitigate the challenging question he asks—whether Yi Gak is upsetting Park-ha because of his impending Joseon time-warp. Yong-sool joins him in kneeling, adding that such behavior is unbecoming of a man.
So Yi Gak goes to his thinking tree to reconsider Park-ha’s request, and comes to some kind of conclusion. But when he races back to the rooftop to confront Park-ha, his words are angry as he demands, “Do you feel better for worrying me sick? Fine, do as you want! If that’s what you want, then I’ll do it!”
Not exactly romantic words of proposal, and she mutters, “What I want? You don’t even know what that is.”
She’s not getting it, so he calls her a dummy and clarifies, “I’m saying, let’s do as you want and marry.”
Once those words sink in, she throws her arms around him, and he swings her around in a happy circle.
Date time. He takes her to the palace grounds, giving her a tour from his perspective, noting that it hasn’t changed in all these years. She grumps that they should be busy with wedding preparations, and he amends, “There is one thing that has changed—you. In Joseon, you were not so noisy.” Hehe.
She pouts, but he adds that she was beautiful both then and now, pulling her in for a peck on the lips. Then he ducks around a building and crouches down under the foundation, feeling around for something amidst the rocks lodged there.
He finds what he’s looking for, and holds out his hand, revealing a jade button of the type that was worn on the head. He explains hiding it there in his youth, and gives it to her as a wedding gift.
She threads it through her necklace to wear the button around her neck, and he refastens the clasp for her. Now, he declares it’s time to go to the wedding hall.
Adorably, the boys trail behind them singing the Wedding March like little children. They’re proud of the selection, but she adds that she’d like to marry someplace else, actually.
With that, they head out in the elevator, which takes them down to the ground level… or it tries to, except that the lights start to flicker. And when they flicker back on, two ducklings are gone. Eek!
On the upside, the boys have been preparing for their return and have insisted on carrying around backpacks full of supplies for the time-skip. On the downside, they’re gone!
Yi Gak and Park-ha are thoroughly spooked and clasp hands tightly, afraid of losing each other. They keep those fingers intertwined all day, eating dinner with their other hands, preferring the inconvenience to the fear of the alternative.
They lie in bed at night still holding hands, hoping everything worked out well for their boys. He tells her Thank you, though it’s in the past tense as though it’s already over, as if to say, “I was thankful for everything.” Park-ha tells him not to say things like that, but he adds, “I was sorry.” She tells him again not to say that, so he adds, “I love you.”
She asks him to repeat it, and goes to bed clutching his chest.
Then it’s wedding day, and Park-ha presents Yi Gak with a gift of her own. It’s a gold disk on a chain, matching her jade pendant. He promises to always wear it near his heart, and then they head outside to their rooftop, which they’ve decorated for the ceremony.
It’s not a legal ceremony so much as it’s a symbolic one, so they have no other guests. They trade their vows, promising to love and respect each other forever.
They kiss, and it seems as though their matching necklaces react… or maybe it’s the changing sensation they both feel, because when they break the kiss, they stare at each other in dismay.
He’s already fading, right before her eyes. He gives her a reassuring nod, and she fights her tears as she nods back. He lifts a hand to her face, as though to wipe her tears away, and then he’s gone.
She sobs, “A-are you gone? Can you hear me?” But he’s really gone.
She berates herself for not thinking faster, not saying more: “I sh-should have said goodbye. I should have said take care…”
Oof, I wasn’t expecting to really care about the way this series ends other than wanting to satisfy my curiosity about the plot, but this episode sure brought out some nice emotional beats. Once you clear away all that corporate mumbo-jumbo, there really is a heart to the show, and it’s too bad it’s been neglected in favor of all that inheritance-murder-impostor business.
The show has had an unfortunate habit of spending lots of time on tedious points, then dropping them unceremoniously. Remember when Yi Gak was gonna marry Se-na, and when Grandma was intent on making Tae-yong CEO, and when Se-na tried to kill her sister, and when there was a mystery to solve about someone dying in a pond? Some stories were resolved in the most cursory fashions, while others just faded away.
To take a glass-half-full approach to that issue, at least we dropped a lot of troublesome plotlines in this episode and picked up others that actually had resonance. I’m a lot more willing to let plot logic slide (er, lack of logic, I mean) when what we get in exchange is finally some movement on the emotional front.
There’s also Se-na’s “redemption”—or at least path to rehabilitation, because I don’t think giving up part of your liver to save your sister quite cancels out the part where you abandoned her, or took out a hit on her life.
This drama does the typical drama thing with the eleventh-hour villain turnaround, whereby we’re supposed to allow the change of heart to negate the prior wrongs, and I never think that’s entirely effective. On the other hand, I do think Jung Yumi has played Se-na with a little more range of emotion than we get from this usual stock type, so I do buy her remorse at the end, and turning yourself in for crimes is a lot more than many a person would do.
I did like the way the show depicts the ducklings’ departures, one by one, and the way this instills a sense of growing panic with our time-crossed lovers. You feel that unease in a palpable way, thinking he might disappear at any moment, and it’s an effective way to get us invested in their decision to marry. It’s a bittersweet sentiment, to want to marry the person you love even knowing they’re about to leave you, because there’s value into taking that step, of making that vow.
Now it’s up to the finale to wrap things up and give us some sort of resolution. And given that these two have pledged to love each other forever, time and space be damned, I sure as heck am not going to be satisfied with reincarnation-duplicates. You hear me, Fate? *Shakes fist threateningly.* I won’t demand a Happily Ever After for these two, but c’mon, some Happy For the Time Being would be nice.
- Rooftop Prince: Episode 18
- 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