I love a drama that lets its secondary characters shine, proving once again that a king is only as strong as the people who stand behind him. With sidekicks this good, who needs heroes?
SONG OF THE DAY
King 2 Hearts OST – Hyun Seong (Boyfriend) – “오직 너만을” (Only You) [ Download ]
EPISODE 14 RECAP
At the WOC, Jae-ha draws the USA ball and everyone cheers around them, as the team shoots nervous glances around the room. At the palace’s banquet to kick off the peace conference, Bong-gu’s minion peels off the label on the ball in his hand: “USA.” They chuckle, as evil villains are wont to do.
Secretary Eun flashes back to his conversation with Bong-gu, when he threatened to tell his upright son that his father is cavorting with the villain. Secretary Eun freaks out and counters that he’ll spill the beans about everything, which makes me think you don’t understand what you’re saying. You’re going to stop him from outing a secret alliance by… outing a secret alliance?
In any case, the banquet hall is filled with tension from both sides, as Jae-shin takes a deep breath and comes out onto the stage. The orchestra cues up and starts to play… Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries,” aka Jae-shin’s trauma-trigger. Eek.
She starts to tremble, and Mom looks over at Secretary Eun, asking why the music selection was changed at the last minute. Oh please don’t tell me you changed it. Aaaand, of course he did. AUGH. Ajusshi!
Flashback to the reason for Bong-gu’s threats—a simple song request for the orchestra. Now Secretary Eun shoots him a look, and Bong-gu makes a huh-face at him innocently. I’m sorry, but Bong-gu’s face, plus this music… anyone else hearing “Kill the waabbit, kill the waaabbit, kill the waaabbit”?
Jae-shin pulls herself together and approaches the mic anyway, which is exactly when Bon Bon the Butcher enters the room, right past Shi-kyung, and pops a chocolate in her mouth.
Jae-shin freezes and turns her chair around to get off the stage, but in her haste she hits something and falls right out of the chair. Flashbulbs go off. The guards scramble to block the view, and in the commotion, the assassin strolls right out.
Or so she thinks, until Shi-kyung follows his suspicious instincts and stops her before she gets to the door. Thank goodness for you.
Jae-shin’s fall ends up on the front page and the prime minister calls Jae-ha to tell him about it. He also adds that they have to let the U.S. win the WOC—they are important allies, and they can’t go around beating them in war games when they depend on American military support.
Jae-ha finds that ridiculous, besides which, the bigger problem is that they CAN’T beat them, even though they desperately need to. That’s enough to appease the prime minister’s fears for now.
Hang-ah marches up to Jae-ha and grabs his ring hand, asking what it’s made of. She and Dong-ha deduce right away that the USA ball was magnet-filled, citing a similar case in the World Cup.
She’s like, whadja wear that stupid ring for, anyway? Right? Stupid need for bling. But he says it’s the king’s ring, as in, must be worn for all official king business. Really? Then how come we haven’t seen it before? Just admit it went with your outfit.
He snaps back that SHE’s the one who said to just grab the first one he caught. She thwacks him in the chest, yeah, but if something felt off, you should have tossed it away! I love their adorable bickering. But it’s spilled milk anyway, so they decide to start strategizing, and look around for Kang-seok.
He’s busy sitting on the toilet, making faces. But he happens to overhear an unfortunate conversation, between two American team members and an Israeli soldier, who tells the Americans that they’re lucky to be matched against such an easy team, since Korea’s a war-torn country that has no chance of winning.
But by the time Kang-seok comes out all peeved, the guy who badmouthed North Korea for being aligned with Iran and made snide remarks about the Japanese occupation is gone, leaving the Americans to shoulder the awkward misunderstanding.
They try to clear the air, but Kang-seok is so riled up that he takes a friendly gesture as provocation (though I don’t know where in the States a pat on the back of the head is a way to greet a stranger), and he attacks. Oh no.
Cut to: Kang-seok getting bitchslapped by Hang-ah. Dayum. She rails into him for being so stupid as to raise a fist, and when he defends his reasoning, she just gets more livid, kicking and punching him as she yells that he’s risking everything for his pride.
She rips the Korean peninsula patch right off his uniform and tells him to get out. Aw, you can see it now, the regret on Kang-seok’s face, but it’s too late, and Hang-ah screams that he’s disgraced his country, and points at the door, shaking in anger.
Jae-ha comes out and stands between them, calmly telling her to stop. He says that he’ll handle it, and she apologizes for Kang-seok’s behavior. Jae-ha tells everyone else to leave the room so he can talk to Kang-seok alone.
Meanwhile the Americans kick up a fuss with the WOC officials and ask Korea to be banned from what was supposed to be a friendship game, which they turned into a brawl.
Jae-ha sits with Kang-seok for a while, and says that he knows what Hang-ah is like, and she’s under so much pressure. Kang-seok says it’s okay, but Jae-ha prods—yeah, but truthfully didn’t it piss you off to be hit like that, without her listening to your side?
He has to prod a couple of times and Kang-seok finally does agree that the hitting was kinda sucky. As soon as he admits it, Jae-ha asks how he thinks the American soldiers feel then. They were just going to the bathroom and got struck by lightning, out of nowhere. Ha, so smart.
Jae-ha suggests that they apologize, and says that if Kang-seok doesn’t feel up to it, he’ll do it himself. Even Kang-seok doesn’t think it’s right for the king to be apologizing, but Jae-ha says too much is on the line—the monarchy, their countries’ peaceful coexistence.
“Hang-ah and I would have to be split apart. We wouldn’t be able to see each other for the rest of our lives.” Kang-seok looks over at him, struck by what is probably the first display of sincerity he’s ever seen from Jae-ha.
The team minus Kang-seok lines up face-to-face with the U.S. team, as the WOC declares that Team Korea will get ten points deducted for their misconduct. Well that sounds fair. But the American general is hungry to turn this into some international incident, and decides he wants a formal apology from Jae-ha, as king.
The Korean general tries to stop him, but Jae-ha is willing to comply, whatever it takes to get them back in the competition. So he addresses them as the king and begins the apology, biting down on his words…
And then Kang-seok storms into the room to interrupt. He bows at the waist and offers his deep regrets and asks that they forgive him just this once. The American soldiers in turn apologize and bow.
The only one who’s still upset is their general, but the U.S. team leader declares that it’s enough for them, and puts out his hand to shake Jae-ha’s, and then they all hold hands and sing kumbaya. Okay, maybe not, but it’s just as cheestastic.
Shi-kyung is busy interrogating the suspicious girl whose pockets turn up a recorder and a bag of chocolates. He says that they’re drugs.
What? You mean those are funny chocolates? Uh… wouldn’t that make an assassin kinda lazy? Or even maybe forgetful of who her target is? Dude, I totally came here to kill someone… I think… Ooh pretty lights!
She thinks they ought to check, and eats one, and then has an orgasm. This is the strangest interrogation ever. Don’t you people have handcuffs?
He reaches for the recorder and she slams her hand down on top of his, and leans in close. She tells him that there are endless ways to kill a person, and says that recent work involved a sunset and a fireplace. Clearly not afraid of getting caught for her crimes.
She says that she’s working on a new idea—death by fear, panic, and calls herself an artist. What sells it is Shi-kyung’s reaction, because he takes her at face value and thinks back to Jae-shin’s reactions both tonight and back in the ambulance. Finally, someone making connections! He orders them to cuff her. You sure did take your time with that.
He asks Jae-shin to ID her photograph, and says that the woman has been in country three times, and the dates conspicuously match up with Jae-kang’s killing, the ambulance incident, and now tonight’s appearance. Excellent. This is why you’re on the case, smartypants.
Though she can’t remember anything from the night of Jae-kang’s murder, she does remember the ambulance and tonight. He shows her the photo. It instantly strikes fear and she nods. That’s the one.
She asks if he has enough to detain a foreign national, and says that she’s not ready yet to testify in an official capacity. What? Okay, I was sympathetic to all your fears up till now despite the princessy behavior, but you won’t testify to try and catch the person who might be responsible for killing your brother? Seriously? He says he won’t push her to do so.
Shi-kyung returns to his office to find Dad lurking around in the dark. He demands to know why he’s being a cowboy and holding foreigners without proof. Shi-kyung tells him that she’s an agent of Club M, the people behind the king’s murder.
Dad flips out and tells him to back off, and Shi-kyung just pushes back, “Father, what are you afraid of?” This, actually, as is written all over his face. He grabs the phone and orders that Shi-kyung be reassigned outside the palace at once.
Way to show your hand, Dad. Now he won’t suspect you AT ALL.
But Shi-kyung just whips out his top-level clearance card, given directly by the king. It supercedes Dad’s orders, so he’s going to continue with this investigation and Dad can’t stop him. Niiiiiice.
Bong-gu takes a leisurely bubble bath and delights in everything proceeding according to plan—the WOC (which he insists they allow to be played fairly, since there’s no chance in hell Korea’s winning) and his assassin’s “capture.”
Meanwhile Team Korea takes a boat to a deserted island, where the games will take place. Jae-ha braces himself, repeating over and over that they can do this. Hang-ah agrees. And then he breaks down and whines, “Aaaaah, it’s the U.S.! What are we going to do?” Hee.
The rules of the game are simple: both teams get dropped off on the island, and each team is given one set of keys. The only way off the island is one raft boat, requiring two keys to unlock. They have to get the other team’s key and get off the island to win. In the case that neither team gets to the boat in time, they’re scored on a point system.
They pack their gear, which each person gets to choose among their supplies, as long as it’s under the total weight limit. So… no rocket launcher for Kang-seok? Boo. Jae-ha and Hang-ah put their peninsula patches on each other with smiles, and they arrive on the island.
Each general, North and South, leads his team in a different cheer, and Jae-ha laughs that maybe they ought to work on reunification on the go-team cheer front. Heh.
Shi-kyung gets briefed on Mia (thank goodness, she has a real name), who goes by “Bon Bon” in Club M. She’s British SAS-trained, and yes her chocolates contain drugs, but they’re laced with something they can’t even identify.
The prime minister calls Secretary Eun in a panic—Club M is holding a press conference. Oh no! Not A! Press! Conference! Sigh. Shi-kyung watches as Bong-gu’s minion demands their agent’s release, and Dad storms in to give him a big I-told-you-so.
It’s a friggin’ dude in front of cameras, not a sign of the apocalypse! But Dad insists he release the prisoner at once and apologize to Club M, because the palace’s dignity is at stake. I really think you ought to worry about your own dignity, sir.
The upshot is that Club M has the means to cause a giant ruckus over something like this, and it’s essentially bait that gives them cause to throw their weight around (and what Bong-gu wants).
Dad tells Shi-kyung to fix it, and lick the bottom of their boots if he has to. Great advice for your son, there. Lick the terrorists’ boots! For dignity! It’s seriously killing me how much you’re destroying your son’s devoted pillar of fatherly trust.
Secretary Eun personally bows in apology to Bong-gu, and then Shi-kyung comes in with Mia in tow. Bong-gu yells at him for mistreating someone he considers his own daughter, and Mia turns to whisper in Shi-kyung’s ear that Jae-shin begged for her life like a coward “that night.”
She asks if he’s slept with her yet, and coos that maybe he hasn’t because she’s crippled. Shi-kyung balls his hand into a fist, quaking in anger. Bong-gu thinks to himself, “Hit her! That’s it! Hit her!” And we see a camera trained right at them, hidden from view.
But thankfully Shi-kyung doesn’t fall for her bait, and tells Bong-gu that he regrets his actions, but maybe next time he comes to the palace, he ought to bring a more appropriate bodyguard.
He calls her insane, and names the incident that got her kicked out of British special forces. She glares and says that shooting was an accident. Shi-kyung: “Oh really? Then what about your mother’s death?” She snaps and screeeeeeams at the top of her lungs that she’ll kill him, as she gets hauled away.
Bong-gu watches all this with a keen eye, suddenly very interested in the tin soldier with balls of steel. He asks his name, and perks up to hear it. He turns to Secretary Eun: “Son?” Shi-kyung looks over at Dad curiously.
Bong-gu puts his arm around Shi-kyung and leads him to the next room, where he calls him sharp, and wonders why he’s wasting his time following Jae-ha around. “Why? Because he might spill a few leftover crumbs from his cookies? But he has no strength. Come to me. I’ll give you some. I have lots of cookies.”
Ha. Creepy Cookie Monster is weird but kind of awesome. You’re trying to buy the ONE person who can never be bought. Silly man, what’s a bot gonna do with cookies anyway? Shi-kyung turns to him without changing his expression, “I’m sorry. I don’t eat rotten cookies.” *GASP* So. Badass. Aaaaaah! I love it!
Bong-gu walks away with a grin, but it continues to bother him. He flashes back to Jae-ha’s video letter and his declaration that he has people who believe in him. Bong-gu mutters bitterly that it must be nice. I love that Jae-ha is STILL taunting him remotely, via Shi-kyung. It’s so awesome.
Back on War Games Island, the team discusses strategy. Jae-ha: “Let’s copy the key!” Hahaha. I will admit, that’s the first thing I would say. His team lets out a collective sigh. What, are they going to whittle a copy, out of aluminum?
He’s like, fine, we can just swim back! Hang-ah: “We took a boat for three hours to get here.” Jae-ha: “Did we?” Pffft. He adds that there’s a way around the kill sensor that they’re wearing, since there’s a digital reset.
Everyone gapes, and Hang-ah’s the first to call him out for his cowardice, saying that they have to win fair and square. Jae-ha’s like, what’s not fair in war? Was Yi Sun-shin unfair because he built turtle ships in secret? Ha. Well when you put it that way…
She counters that cheating is different in this case, and he’s the king. But Jae-ha’s got too much on the line to worry about ethics, and reminds her that they have to WIN to be engaged. He takes her hand.
But she turns to him, resolute, and pulls away: “I’m sorry, but I won’t be engaged that way. I want a man I can respect. I’ll only get engaged if you win fair and square.” Jae-ha asks, pained, “Respect? Then what am I? A coward?”
She looks away. So does Kang-seok. Dong-ha averts his eyes. Damn, there’s your answer. He steps away as Hang-ah and the rest of the team plan their next move.
But the Americans have been descending on their bunker this whole time, and they reach the perimeter. They shoot a putty camera at the window and watch. Inside, the team asks who should carry the key.
Jae-ha tosses it on the table, still pouting that he doesn’t want the responsibility since he’s a pathetic coward, and asks “Northern team leader” for the easiest assignment. She turns to him, “Are you going to be this pissy the whole time?” HA.
He says it’s his strategy, and suggests games to determine the key-bearer. They finally play rock-paper-scissors, and Young-bae loses. He doesn’t want the responsibility, but Jae-ha just pats him on the head and says the dumbest-looking one should carry it so they’ll never suspect. Ha. Don’t be mean to Young-bae!
The problem is, the Team U.S. sees this whole exchange, so they know exactly who to gun down for the key. Team Korea splits up into three pairs, with Jae-ha and Hang-ah fighting over who gets to drive the ATV. (“I’m still the man!” Well if you have to say it like that, I dunno…) They head out in different directions, leaving Young-bae and Dong-ha at the base. Noooo!
As soon as they’re alone (and Dong-ha sits on the toilet), they get ambushed. Young-bae scrambles and hides under a desk, but eventually gets discovered, and with no other choice, he pulls the key out… and swallows it. Whoa. Hardcore.
Team Korea reassembles in the aftermath—no Young-bae and no key. They technically haven’t lost yet, since the Americans have to get the key out of their prisoner, which they can’t do if they “kill” him. Young-bae screams at them to go ahead and try to get the key, and yells, “But guess what? I’M CONSTIPATED!” Hahahahahahaha.
He tells them they can wait all day, but he’s not going to be pooping on their watch, and then the Americans have a debate about the best way to make him defecate, which I swear, I’m not making up.
Apparently they think the characters need to be racist to make us root against them (lame), and so they launch into theories about how Asians must be structured differently because their eyes are different. (Cringe, cringe.) And also, what the hell does that have to do with intestines?
Anyway, it makes them sound like idiots, which I guess is the point (thanks, oh-so-subtle writing), and then one of them takes out a swiss army blade and Young-bae freaks out. They hold him down and open his shirt, and he screams.
But they’re not psychos, and they tell him to calm down—they’re just going to give him an enema. Ew. Ew. Ew. Don’t you guys have laxatives or something?
Hang-ah discovers the camera and then Jae-ha answers a call from the other team, telling them to give up. They say they’ll have the key in a few hours, so there’s no use. That finally angers Jae-ha enough to light a fire under his ass.
Speaking of asses, the key is out. Aw, poor Young-bae. Ow. Ow.
The U.S. team heads to the shore like it’s in the bag, only when they get there, the boat is nowhere to be found. Score one for Team Korea. Elsewhere, Hang-ah and Not-Shi-kyung come ashore with scuba gear.
The Americans split up, and Kang-seok baits two of them, drawing their fire. Dong-ha and Jae-ha sneak into the U.S. team’s bunker and while Dong-ha keeps an eye on Young-bae, Jae-ha gets to work building something out of a lightbulb and his cell phone. Are you making real bombs? Is that kosher?
As Hang-ah rides through the woods, we hear Jae-ha tell her in voiceover that this mission needs teamwork, and it’ll never work if they don’t trust each other. “Trust me. And I’ll trust you.”
Well, not the most suspenseful ending that could have come out of that scenario (you couldn’t give us a nice mission-fail cliffhanger?) and not the most eventful episode given the amount of story we usually get crammed into an hour. But I like the return to the WOC team and all the personalities pitted against each other, and I love that Jae-ha has an arc even within the games. He’s the guy who’s going to go for broke, rules be damned, which makes him a cheating coward at the outset (a nice callback to the whiny prince of yore), but he’s the one to come up with the crazy twisted plan when push comes to shove.
While other people are straight-shooters, Jae-ha comes at everything sideways, which is a great source of conflict for the couple, and also gives him the best chance of turning the tables on the game. I liked their war ethics debate, because it’s literally love and war compounded into one scenario—what’s fair, what’s right, and how do you walk away with both the win and the girl? Jae-ha thinks all he has to do is win to get both, but Hang-ah makes it clear that he has to win with her respect intact, otherwise, it’s moot.
And that’s a relationship I can root for, because she’s forcing him to be a better man. (I love that the second Hang-ah confirms his love, she constantly uses herself as the carrot—I won’t marry you unless you beat Bong-gu, and I won’t marry you if you cheat to win.) The war games are just a metaphor, but it’s an extension of what kind of king he’ll be—will he be the kind of leader to win at all costs, even without honor? Or will he live up to her challenge to be fair and honorable and still succeed? It’s counter to his instincts, but that’s why she makes him a better person by challenging him. She’s uncompromising in the same way that Shi-kyung is, and while the rest of the team might have turned a blind eye and let him have his way, she doesn’t let him get away with anything.
There are actually a lot of parallels between Hang-ah and Shi-kyung, especially now that they serve such similar functions for the pair of royal siblings. Take Jae-shin, for instance, who gets handled with kid gloves by her family, but gets taken to task by both Shi-kyung and Hang-ah in crucial ways, with no leeway for her self-pity. Without them forcing her to face her fears head-on, she might never be on the road to recovery. And that uncompromising stance is the perfect antidote to Jae-ha and Jae-shin’s entitled upbringing. Like Jae-ha learned from his first love, all everyone sees is their titles. But someone like Hang-ah doesn’t give a rat’s ass what your title is, but she DOES care if you’re going to be a cheating weasel. How kickass is a heroine who can say, Be a man I can respect, or else I walk away?
I actually found myself wondering what Shi-kyung would have said during the all’s-fair-in-love-and-war debate, but mostly I can only picture him gasping at Jae-ha’s suggestion to cheat, all quivering lip and pouty, “Jeo-haaaaa!” Perhaps it’s better that he wasn’t there. At first it did make me sad that he wouldn’t be in on the team reunion, but when we got our first Shi-kyung/Bong-gu scene, I realized how much more he’s doing as the lone good guy, left to deal with all the baddies. It tickles me to no end that Bong-gu immediately saw his value, and made him an offer to join the dark side, only to be slapped in the face by his loyalty to Jae-ha. *FIST PUMP* I will savor that moment for a long time to come. I always knew you had it in you, Earnest.
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 13
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 12
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 11
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 10
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 9
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 8
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 7
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 6
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 5
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 4
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 3
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 2
- The King 2 Hearts: Episode 1