I think I am falling in love with My Princess. It knows its strengths and executes it fluidly and simply. It appears that the viewers in Korea feel the same way, as MP handily beat Sign this week and also passed 20% in ratings. When you watch a solidly constructed rom-com, the effortless way it elicits all the reactions from the viewer makes it so painful to recollect other rom-coms with as much potential but just blew it. Sigh, MP is the balm that I need to get over how much M3 screwed over my darling Jang Geun Seok and Moon Geun Young, but it’s also a bittersweet pill to swallow (because I wish my darling couple could have had a better drama as well).
Episode 3 of MP continues building the story from the breezy set-up of the first two episodes without sacrificing the humor and a solid progression of character development. I really adore the friendship/grudging alliance between Hae Young and Seol, lending their interactions all the nutty shenanigans that keep happening, as well as a frisson of romantic awareness that neither is cognizant of yet. I’m so onboard the OTP ship in this drama, and am actually looking forward to both actors tackling the dramatic moments sure to come. Yes, neither can do it well, but I’m getting so engaged with the story that I’m game and eager to see the angst. For now, it’s all charming and goofy fun times, with some introspective moments here and there.
Episode 3 Recap:
Seol is writhing in pain in the bedroom, unable to control her grumbling stomach pains any longer. She runs out of the bedroom, oblivious to the stares of Hae Young and Yoon Joo. Once in the bathroom, she yells out an apology to Hae Young about being unable to hold it in much longer, and asking whether Yoon Joo left yet?
When Seol comes out of the bathroom, she sees Yoon Joo standing at the door, and Seol stammers out her surprise at seeing Yoon Joo still in the apartment since Seol thought she heard the door open. Hae Young tells her to head inside for a moment. Yoon Joo says hello to Seol, who tries to patch over the awkward situation, as does Hae Young.
Yoon Joo tells him that she didn’t misunderstand anything, and that she never knew he had this side to him. Yoon Joo finds this side of him rather cute. Lady, sarcasm doesn’t become you. Yoon Joo leaves, and both Hae Young and Seol are unsure of how to explain the situation. Hae Young sighs, but Seol says that Yoon Joo’s reaction is so cool and collected, and gives her a thumbs up.
Hae Young asks whether Seol is feeling better now, and she smiles shyly at him. I am loving these two more by the second. I swear, the more I watch, the more I am certain that Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee were born to do rom-coms.
Yoon Joo leaves Hae Young’s apartment, and heads straight for Jung Woo’s place, where she has a key and let herself in. She immediately embraces him, announcing that she’s in a terrible mood and needs some comfort. Bitch, using my McHottie Professor for comfort sex! I now officially hate you!
The next morning, Jung Woo brings Yoon Joo some coffee in bed, and I wish he’d spill it all over her. She gets a call, and answers it with shock in her voice. Hae Young is rushing out of a building, and we see Grandpa give a press conference where he pledges to give away the Daehan Group fortune to the citizens of Korea if they voted to reinstate the monarchy.
Seol is not answering her phone, and Hae Young finds her in the university cafeteria, and he is not in a good mood. He yells at her for not picking up her phone, and drags her outside to talk with her. Too bad the media descends right at that moment to interview Hae Young, the Daehan Group heir, on his thoughts regarding his grandfather’s declaration.
Hae Young has no choice but to shove Seol under his winter coat, and shield her from the media getting wind of her existence. He pulls her scarf over her face, and the two of them book it, running outside and away from the media, who chase after them.
Jung Woo and all the other students see the commotion. Hae Young shoves Seol into his car, and turns around the placate the media. Turns out he’s familiar and chummy with them, since he’s been in the spotlight from childhood onward as the Daehan Group heir. They want to know why he came to this university, and who the girl is? He tries to deflect, but a shrewd reporter slices through the crowd and asks the pertinent question – is the girl in the car the princess?
Seol gets a call from her girlfriend, and denies that she got a boyfriend secretly. She’s a one-man woman, and her heart belongs to Professor Nam Jung Woo! When Seol hears that Jung Woo was headed in her direction, she opens the car window only to have Hae Young’s elbow push her head back into the car. Hae Young tells the media that the girl in the car is his woman, an innocent who doesn’t know his true identity. He asks the media to leave her alone, and gets in the car and drives off. Jung Woo hears this entire declaration.
Hae Young takes Seol to his family’s plush hotel, and asks the doorman to block the reporters from entering. Seol is reluctant to go with him, but has no choice. Hae Young takes Seol up to the suite to talk, but she hesitates and shoots him a look like he’s some lecher, which he finds an insult to his dignity. She retorts that he brought it on himself by dragging her here. When he grabs her to go inside, she pushes him off and punches him in the face accidentally. I know this is so very trite and silly, but damn if these two are cute and darling in their every interaction.
Hae Young goes and dabs at his bleeding lip, and wonders what kind of girl Seol is to go smacking people. She says that she naturally smacks drunkards when she sees them, and raises her hand to demonstrate. Hae Young jerks backwards, and she laughs at his totally cute side, ducking at such small and insignificant gestures from a girl. Hae Young grumbles that he wasn’t ducking, she just caught him off guard is all. Seriously? So. Fucking. Cute. Is. These. Two!
Seol compliments Hae Young on his deft move, grabbing her in one swift gesture and shoving her under his coat. She wonders if he’s done this often, and he confesses that it was the only thing he could do at that time to protect her. If her picture got taken, she would be hounded by the press. Seol compares Hae Young to Paris Hilton, and he’s insulted since his upbringing and background is way classier than that! Plus, she’s just one granddaughter to a hotel owner, but he’s the sole heir to the entire Daehan Group!
Seol wonders if Hae Young has any siblings? Hae Young says that it was always just him, and he’s been surrounded by media, kidnappers, and hanger-ongers all his life, all wanting something from him. But now, his grandfather suddenly doesn’t want to give a single penny to him, how can he not be upset? Seol smiles at him, and pats him on the head. She says that he’s certainly had it tough. When she was a kid, she used to get upset if her sister got an extra piece of sausage, so she understands what it’s like to be disappointed.
Hae Young smiles at her silly analogy, and turns on the TV to see the first reports of Seol. The news reports that Seol is Hae Young’s fiancee, and she is upset that he doesn’t dispel that incorrect rumor. But she’s not terribly turned out since the news reports don’t capture her face. Internet searches show that “the embraced girl” is the top search, and she is suddenly the subject of everyone’s interest.
Seol asks Hae Young to call the news outlets and have them remove the report. Hae Young says that if he could do that, he would have removed all reports about himself years ago. Seol wonders why he can’t, since chaebols can do everything! Hae Young sighs, he’s not a chaebol, he’s just the grandson of a chaebol. Seol asks grandpa to help, and Hae Young tells her that the only way he’d help is if she agreed to be the princess.
Seol quickly agrees, because she’ll just renege after the pictures get taken down. Hae Young tells her that a person needs to honor promises, and she reminds him that he’d much rather she not be the princess, since he’d lose his inheritance. She tells him she can’t be the princess because her dad is surely coming back to get her soon. Oh poor sweet stubborn Seol!
She tells Hae Young that she’s tired, and retires to a bedroom to rest, sinking down next to the bed to contemplate her situation. Yoon Joo stands before grandpa and hears about his grand deathbed wish to restore the monarchy, which is close to coming true now that he has found the princess. Yoon Joo confronts her father afterwards, and asks why he keeps deferring to grandpa, even at the expense of his own wife and daughter’s suffering? She yells at her father that he should have left ten years ago when he said he would, and that she will not live like he did.
Yoon Joo goes to meet with the tenacious reporter dogging Hae Young. The President meets with a group of politicians, none of whom are happy with his royal restoration plan.
Yoon Joo goes to see Hae Young, and runs into Seol who just woke up and walked outside wrapped in a blanket. Commence three-way mild awkwardness, but Seol is cheerful and welcomes Yoon Joo.
Hae Young goes to speak with Yoon Joo privately, and she chastises him for letting her hear about his fiancee on TV. Even though they were never madly in love, they were on the path to getting married. Yoon Joo tells Hae Young that he hurt her self-respect. Boo hoo, cry me a river, lady! Better yet, jump into the river because now I can’t stand you! Kudos to Park Ye Jin for playing so winningly yet another annoying self-absorbed beeyotch of a second female lead I love to hate.
Seol is eavesdropping outside, and is startled when Hae Young opens the door suddenly because he knew she was listening. He reintroduces Yoon Joo as the woman he is going to married, to the delight of Seol (since this means her Jung Woo professor is single for good), and Seol wishes her a lifetime of happiness together. Hae Young asks her to write down everything she wants, and he will make it come true for her. He is happy to send her abroad to study as she wishes, or anywhere she wants to go. Yoon Joo pipes up that she will do everything in her power for Seol as well.
Seol says fine, she’ll leave if Hae Young gives her his entire fortune. He’s not amused and tells her to stop messing around, and not to piss him off. But Seol is pissed her, and just sits back and crosses her arms. Hae Young gets a phone call to bring Seol with him, and she’s reluctant to go along until Hae Young informs her that they are going to see her father. Only then can things be resolved between them.
At the helipad, Seol sees the helicopter and flashes back to a childhood memory of her father and herself, at a construction site, and a helicopter landed in front on them.
Current day Seol has tears in her eyes from the memory of her father, but she is excited nonetheless, thinking that she will see her father soon. The helicopter takes off, with the media below outraged that their prey boarded a helicopter to escape their scrutiny. Inside the helicopter, Hae Young and Seol sit in silence, looking at each other, but more deep in their own thoughts.
They arrive at a mountain top, and Hae Young takes Seol to meet with grandpa. Seol tells grandpa that she remembers grandpa taking a helicopter to meet with her father at a construction site when she was just a kid. She asks to see her father. They go to a grave sight, where her father is buried. Seol refuses to believe this is her father’s grave, and that her father is dead. She tries to leave, but Hae Young stops her, saying that he and his grandfather have been coming to this grave for 20 years and he doesn’t know why. His grandfather will only reveal the truth to Seol, and Hae Young wants to know the truth.
Turns out that grandpa found Seol’s dad and tried to persuade him to be the crown prince and help him restore the monarchy. But her dad refused, and ran away from grandpa. In the ensuing flight, her died was struck by a car and died in an accident. Little Seol is lost in the streets, thereby becoming an orphan.
Seol listens to the story, and gets up the leave. Grandpa asks her to bow to her father, and she refuses. She says that she will never forgive him, and will never do anything that will make him happy. She leaves, my heart goes out to poor orphaned Seol and poor misguided grandpa.
Seol sits at a bus station and sulks, while Hae Young comes to find her. She refuses his water, while he tells her to stop hating grandpa, since that’s only going to make her life difficult. He’s such a decent dude, my heart simply keels over when I see my Heon oppa playing such an awesome character. He tells her that the only way to get back at grandpa is to ruin his monarchy dreams once and for all. She scoffs that this method would benefit Hae Young the most, since he’d get to keep his inheritance.
Hae Young doesn’t deny it, and Seol agrees, upon one condition. Hae Young goes to the Secretary to ask for a picture of Seol’s father. Secretary tells Hae Young that he understands how bad he must feel, losing his inheritance. Hae Young is matter-of-fact, knowing that Secretary will support grandpa no matter what. Seol goes to school and heads to the professor’s office where she works.
She’s confront by her friend and the assistant professor, and both sigh over how handsome Seol’s boyfriend is. When Seol tells them that she is intending to take a leave of absence, both assume that she’s planning to get married. She denies it, and they wonder if Seol took money and agreed to leave instead. They yell at her for caving so easily, and she denies that she did.
Yoon Joo comes to see Seol, and offers her a packet of information about studying abroad. Yoon Joo is so solicitous to Seol now. Seol confronts Yoon Joo about her relationship with Jung Woo, and Yoon Joo dismisses it as rumors. Yoon Joo tells Seol that she wants to take over Hae Young’s worries, which includes how to handle the Seol situation.
When Seol is walking away, Jung Woo comes up to her. He asks her whether she is really getting married, and Seol quickly denies it, and confesses that she likes someone else. Jung Woo says that he knows, and then asks whether Seol is the princess. She asks how he knows, and Jung Woo realizes that his guess was correct. Seol asks him to keep it a secret.
Jung Woo drives Seol home, and Hae Young pulls up outside her house right at that moment. Hae Young is dismissive of Jung Woo, and pointedly asks why a male professor would drive a female student home in broad daylight? The two boys them get into a posturing session right there. Jung Woo asks whether Hae Young only drives ladies home at night then? Jung Woo then wonders why Hae Young isn’t more worried about his situation, since the entire nation is aware that he is about to lose his inheritance.
Hae Young is about to answer when he sees Seol’s bitchy sister in the distance, tailed by the nosy reporter. He grabs Seol and they quickly get into the car, and Seol yells for Jung Woo to hurry and leave as well. Seol’s sister finds out that Seol is the fiancee of the grandson of the Daehan group, and she denies she is Seol’s family. Seol is outside her family guesthouse, and worried about her sister being hounded by the press.
Hae Young sits in the car, and hasn’t gotten over one subject matter yet. He tells Seol that she shouldn’t be taking rides from guys, especially since such a messy society they live in. Especially guys who look like Jung Woo, they are not to be trusted. LOL, because Seol’s mom pops up in that moment that remarks that Hae Young doesn’t look like he should be trusted either!
Mom asks who the guy is, and Seol asks if mom has watched the news lately. Mom replies that she always turns off the TV after her daily drama ends, to which Seol replies that Hae Young is just a passerby ahjusshi. Way to deflate this man’s ego, Seol. Mom can tell Seol’s making shit up, saying that it sure looks like Seol just got dropped off from a date. She asks whether Hae Young is planning to get out of the car in the face of an elder, and the ever polite and genteel Hae Young immediately gets out and gives his courtesies to Seol’s mom, all while shooting “what is the mess you are getting me into” looks at Seol.
Mom inspects the car, and gets all giddy when Hae Young tells her that he owns the car, and in fact bought it outright for cash. The go inside for some tea, during which Hae Young finds out exactly how much Seol overcharged him during his first stay at the guest house (like upwards of three times the cost). Mom accidentally assumes that Hae Young’s father works for Daehan Group.
Mom tries to dig more into Hae Young’s background, but stops when Seol protests the twenty-one questions. Mom tells Hae Young to go rest in Seol’s room for a bit while she makes dinner. Mom hilariously shoves the both of them into the room, telling Hae Young to “relax, OK?” and now we know where Seol gets her random English usage habit from.
Hae Young grabs Seol’s photo album and attempts to look through it, eliciting Seol to tussle with him to grab it back. Both end up flailing on the bed, which is the exact moment that Mom comes in. Both adorably pop right back up, especially Hae Young being all prim and proper and pretending he wasn’t just caught in bed with Seol by Seol’s mother.
Mom leaves again, and Seol yells at Hae Young for grabbing the photo album and causing this misunderstanding. Hae Young pulls out the picture of Seol’s dad, explaining that he just wanted to give her this. She wonders if he’s that desperate to get rid of her that he’d come all the way to see her just to give her the picture as soon as possible. Hae Young sighs in exasperation – he just wanted Seol to see her father as soon as possible. Oh baby, you are so perfect of man.
Seol asks Hae Young when she should leave. He sighs, and says as soon as possible. Seol writes a farewell letter to her mom. She tells her mom that she’s off the Egypt for three years, but her letter is both so earnest and so heartfelt. I adore Seol from the tops of her head to the tips of her toes.
At the airport, she writes a wish list of things she wants to buy her mom and sister from the duty-free store. Hae Young says that she doesn’t have time to buy it, but takes the list from her and promises to buy the same things from the best department store in Korea and deliver it to the guest house.
Hae Young walks a hesitant Seol to the gate, and she hands her passport and ticket over only to be notified that Lee Seol is not allowed to leave the country, and that her passport is being confiscated.
Like you thought the little lady would leave. Then we’d have no story to tell. And by the looks Hae Young and Seol are shooting each other, they’d already be missing each other a teensy weensy bit if she left. Who else is around for each to bicker with?
Thoughts of Mine:
This section of the recap will be rather brief for the next few recaps, since I’ve given you all my first impressions last week, and the story hasn’t developed substantively to the point where I have any meaningful analysis. I think this drama is very well cast, and the chemistry is all there. I just hope the story remains robust enough (even within its flimsy rom-com origins) to carry the drama until the very end.
MP is so easy to watch. No joke, I’m never bored, and rarely find myself thinking too hard or not hard enough about what I am watching. What I mean is – this drama is really meant to be enjoyed as a viewer. You don’t feel the urge to psycho-analyze it, nor feel the need to check your brain at the door to enjoy it. It’s got a nice balance, and works effortless to engage the viewer.
This is the first time I feel like neither Kim Tae Hee nor Song Seung Heon are overreaching in their performances. Usually I feel like its laborious on both their parts to act out a role, I can see their brains working to perform. Here, both are quite comfortable in their roles, especially the comedic moments between them which are both charming and so much fun to watch.