We’re entering the final stretch of My Princess, and boy am I glad. I am ready to finish up this drama (and this recap series) and move on. Every episode of MP since episode 8, I’ve found myself genuinely enjoying isolated scenes, but not really connecting with the totality each episode. Frankly, the delightful moments are getting fewer and fewer, and the aggravation growing more and more. MP episode 11 continues in the same vein, making me sad that the writer could not muster up some genuine humanistic conflict.
Yoon Joo and Dan are horrible antagonists – one-dimensional, shrill, and caricatures. Where’s the depth? Where’s the subtlety? Where’s the frisson of compassion they should elicit for being so damaged they cannot help but lash out against Seol and her good luck in life? Honestly, Seol becoming an over-night princess has about 101 different roadblocks for her (and her love story with Hae Young). Why the writer chooses to focuse on the “Yoon Joo and Dan are selfish skinny-ass cows who hate Seol” angle really baffles me, because it’s so middling.
AHHHHH, I want to see Seol fail then succeed at princess diplomacy, learn political pitfalls the hard way, balance falling in love with shielding her personal life from public scrutiny, seeking balance between her new world and the old one she left behind, convincing the public that it’s a positive step for Korea to restore the monarchy, and so on and so forth.
Yoon Joo and Dan are sucking ALL the energy out of the drama, like a pair of genetically engineered mega-leeches. Their presence has even made me unable to fully bask in the continued Hae Young-Seol awesome, because in any given scene I’m worried either one of them will pop up any second like the boogeyman and freak me out. I think it’s too late for the drama to veer away from this plot point, so I guess I’ll just have to roll with the punches.
Episode 11 Recap:
The episode starts off with that age old question – do you have to be a princess, or can you just live as my woman? I’m sure every woman has been asked to make that choice before, right? Seol’s eyes fill with tears, and she asks Hae Young why he is throwing a rhetorical (and Solomon’s) question at her? Regardless of how she answers, it’s only going to make things more painful that it already is right now.
Well, yeah, painful – but one choice gets you in bed with Park Hae Young (sometime down the line), so that would be the choice I’m throwing my vote behind. Seol continues, telling Hae Young that she knows that because of her, Hae Young has given up a lot and made powerful enemies. Seol cannot answer his question right now, because she has not yet figured out how SHE will protect this Park Hae Young who has done so much for her.
Damn, girl, you are winning major points with me, and with her guy as well. You is so awesome, I wub you Seol! Seol says that she would die before answering the question at this time. They look at each other, and Hae Young gently grasps Seol’s two arms, and says that he sure taught the princess well. He concedes that she gave the perfect answer to a terrible question.
He leans in to hug her tight, telling her not to forget this moment. It’ll be much harder for Seol to forget this moment if you kiss her senseless, Hae Young. Better yet, the bed is right behind her! Use it. Really, I mean it.
Stupid, ugly (inside-and-out) Yoon Joo walks by to witness the hug and feel even emptier than she already did. Boo hoo. Not. Yoon Joo goes to see Jung Woo, opening his door and walking right in. She really has no shame or boundaries, does she? She asks whether the satchel is authentic? Jung Woo tells her the authenticity of the satchel has nothing to do with her, and he will handle it. Jung Woo, the princess-thing has nothing to do with Yoon Joo, and yet she’s thrown herself right in the middle of the fray. I don’t think your logic would fly with this demon-witch.
Jung Woo stands up and asks whether Yoon Joo hopes the satchel is real or fake? He wishes it were real, because it’s his dream to present this important historical artifact to the world. Except, due to the existence of people who wish to exploit history, now he sometimes wishes the satchel were fake. Yoon Joo realizes that the satchel indeed must be real.
Yoon Joo honestly tells Jung Woo that she has nefarious intention with respect to the satchel. Jung Woo asks whether she hopes Lee Dan can become the princess because she had the satchel? Yoon Joo says that she needs to think of another even worse plan since Jung Woo is already figured out this possibility. She leaves, and I throw some salt over Jung Woo’s shoulder to ward off the evil presence that was just in his house. Away, evil spirit, and never return!
The next morning, Seol runs and grabs all the newpapers, which have her photo-opt with the President and the orphans plastered all over the front pages. Gun comes to bring her some breakfast since he heard she didn’t eat last night. Seol is so distracted, but she eats and vows to study as hard as she did in her senior year of high school. She wants to be able to handle all the matters that arise.
Hae Young is getting raked over the coals by the President, who is seething and pissed that Hae Young publicly stabbed him in the back. He’s surprised that Hae Young suddenly had a change of heart, and thinks that the presidency can co-exist. The President orders him out of the palace, and vows to remove a royal family that does not abide by the President’s wishes.
Yoon Joo meets with Dan, and they ask each other what they want? Dan says that she wants whatever Yoon Joo wants. Yoon Joo acknowledge that Dan has some serious guts to demand so much, but agrees to install Dan as the princess. When Dan asks if the ballot measure passes, whether she will really become the princess, Yoon Joo laughs in her face.
She tells Dan that if she got rid of one princess, why would she allow Dan to remain as another princess. Dan will only be a temporary princess to stop the ballot measure from passing. Once it’s over, Dan will leave the country. I cannot wait for these two to turn on each other and rip each other to shreds. And save me the hassle.
Dan goes to see Seol, to check out her room. She is such a vile human being with her covetous nature. Dan reads a letter from an orphan thanking Seol for giving them all hope as orphans. Dan scoffs at the letter, telling Seol that her orphan background is an embarrassment she wants to conceal. Dan accuses Seol of using her orphan background to gain sympathy. She leaves, but not before telling Seol that the next time she sees her, she hopes that Seol is not in bedroom.
Dan meets with Jung Woo, who tells her that he doesn’t want to know that she will use the satchel as a means to hurt Seol. I do love how much he genuinely cares about Seol’s welfare, without any personal ulterior motives.
Seol goes to the gallery, tries to sneak away when she sees Hae Young standing by the antique car. He calls out to her, and she accuses him of not following the schedule she set for when each can use the car. For Hae Young, Seol merely made an announcement, but he never agreed to abide by it. Seol wants to make it clear, who is Tom (the chasing cat) and who is Jerry (the pursued mouse) between them.
Hae Young smiles and says that he is Tom, he was the one looking for her. Seol puts her hands over her ears and says that she doesn’t want to hear what he has to say. She thinks that he wants to say something like – please forget what happened yesterday. He says that he wants her to stay near him for the entire day. He tells her to come to the dining room so they can have lunch together.
Seol wonders what has gotten into Hae Young? She peers at him, and thinks to herself that P-kun is probably giving her one more day with him before asking her to file it all away. The phone rings and its Seol’s friend, but she pretends that its Jung Woo calling. Her friend asks her to come to the department store where she works.
Seol tries to leave, but Hae Young blocks her path. The phone rings again and Seol rushes out pretending that its urgent. At the department store, Seol confesses that she has a crush, but doesn’t explain that its on Hae Young and no longer on Jung Woo. She tells her friend that her heart hurts a lot, and its not like before where she happily nursed a crush.
Which is when P-kun comes walking by the department store luggage rack. Seol scrambles to hide, and shoves herself into a suitcase. Hae Young walks up to the friend, who asks him where Seol is. Hae Young smirks and says that Seol is reading a book in a spacious room, since she is so mature and calm. He then buys the suitcase that Seol is hiding in. Bwahahaha, they are too cute together!
The friend tries to dissuade him, but he says that he fell in love with that suitcase at first sight. Hae Young pulls the suitcase to the corner of the department store, and Seol unzips it and gets out. He tells her to endure it for a bit longer since she’s endured it for so long, and tries to push her back into the suitcase.
Seol says that just like Kim Soo Roo and Jumong, who were born from an egg based on legend, she’s been reborn as well. Seol really really loves her sageuks, doesn’t she? She tells Hae Young that she doesn’t want to see him today, and tell tells her that he didn’t come to see her, he came to buy a suitcase. He sighs, worrying that Seol is embarrassing him again. Whatever, Hae Young, you know you love it. He walks away and Seol yells at him to come back and get her out of this suitcase!
They walk around Seoul, and she complains that she wants to spend more time with her friend since she’s out of the palace. He tells her to announce it to the world how hard it is to be a princess. She wonders why he cares, and he says that he wants to see her become a powerful person as soon as possible.
Hae Young tells her to listen, he’s going to give her some lessons today outdoors. Seol puts her hand over her ears and chants loudly, drowning out his voice, and telling him she won’t listen. Hae Young just stares at her, and then grabs her hand. He starts his lesson: (1) do not let anyone grab her hands, (2) do not just get into anyone’s car, (3) do not let anyone piggyback her, (4) don’t go drinking with anyone, and then get drunk, (5) don’t accept anyone’s confession of love for her. What is this, Mr. Diplomat? Are these professional codes of conduct, or are you reminding the girl you love in a roundabout way to not accept another man’s attention?
Seol looks moved, and he asks if she remembers it all. She asks him to say it all again, and then to test her on it in the future. He says that the next thing is a live demonstration. He takes her to the Korean palace where they first met, where she pretended to be a princess for tourist pictures. The walk over to see another girl dressed as a princess taking pictures with tourists.
Seol moves to take a picture with the fake princess. Hae Young goes up to the fake princess, and says that Princess Lee Seol wants to take a picture. The new fake princess asks for payment upfront. The two princesses take a picture together. Seol is recognized by other tourists as the real princess, and everyone swarms them to take pictures.
Hae Young just smiles and lets Seol handle the situation. She addresses the crowd, and tells her not to post the pictures on the internet. She then asks the fake princess to take a break, and she happily poses with all the tourists. It’s an adorable way to tie back the first scene of the drama, especially when Hae Young walks up to her and tells her that it’s his turn. He waited in line like everyone else.
They proceed to take the world’s cutest couple pictures together. Afterwards, they go back to the palace, and Seol looks at all the pictures she took today. Hae Young reminds her that she’s the real princess now, and there will be people before her that she will need to face. Seol asks Hae Young whether something is wrong?
He says that Jung Woo is looking for her, and called him since Seol turned her phone off. Jung Woo mentioned finding a royal artifact, and needs to see Seol right away. Hae Young notes that Jung Woo is a very diligent person. He tells Seol to go, but she’s hesitant since she can tell something is a little off with Hae Young. She agrees, and moves to grab all the pictures from the table as she heads out.
Hae Young stops her, grabbing her hand tightly and taking the picture. He keeps his hand on hers, and they look at the picture together. It shows them making a V-sign, and Seol grabs his hand and shows him how to properly make the V-sign. He asks to keep the picture, and she happily gives it to him. Seol leaves, and poor Hae Young’s face falls. He looks at the picture quietly.
Seol finds out that Dan brought the satchel to Jung Woo to authenticate. He tells her the satchel is genuine, but that means Seol’s identity could be suspect. Jung Woo wants to go to the orphanage again to get more information. At the orphanage, Jung Woo tries to get the nun to explain about Lee Dan’s background.
The nun says that the orphans always make up stories about their make-believe parents. Seol talked about her imaginary dad and uncle, while Dan talked about her imaginary mom. Seol doesn’t know why she would remember an ahjusshi as well as her dad.
Hae Young looks at a picture of his dad, and the picture he just took with Seol. He voiceovers that today probably seems very long for Seol, but it feels so short for him. He leaves an envelope on the bed for Seol. Seol comes back to the palace with Jung Woo, and she wonders who the “ahjusshi” could be? Before they can discuss any further, Yoon Joo comes up to Seol and announces that Hae Young has left the palace. No, more like he was kicked out of the palace because of Seol.
Yoon Joo is angry that Hae Young protected someone as stupid as Seol and opposed the President. Now Seol hasn’t just taken his money and family, she has also taken away his position. Seol runs off, and Yoon Joo warns Jung Woo not to keep coddling Seol. She tells Jung Woo that everything she wanted, so badly that she could discard Jung Woo to try and obtain it, it’s all fallen into Seol’s lap. Yes, we know you are an envious hag, Yoon Joo, no need to keep reminding us.
Jung Woo gets a text from Hae Young, asking to meet in one hour. Seol runs around the palace but cannot find Hae Young. She calls but he doesn’t pick up his phone. She finds the envelope he left for her, and in it is a receipt confirming donation of all the money in her bank account. He left a post-it note on the receipt, which states that Park Hae Young has completed his first task as requested by the Princess. Seol reads it and starts to sob. She sees a text from Hae Young, which reminds her that there are two gifts he left.
She looks around and sees her mom in her room. She runs and hugs her mom, both of them crying. Her mom apologizes for hurting Seol, and tells her that Hae Young told her to come take care of Seol, who would surely be sad and crying. Awwww, he’s such a keeper, that Hae Young.
Hae Young is meeting with Jung Woo, and he sees all the missed calls from Seol. He asks Jung Woo to please take care of Seol. Jung Woo is wondering if Hae Young is asking him to take care of Seol. To which Hae Young replies “yes, is there something wrong with that?”
Hae Young meets with his sunbae, who gives him information about his father, who currently resides in New York and is prohibited from returning to Korea. Hae Young then tenders his resignation to his boss. Yoon Joo meets with the smarmy reporter, and hands him the report about the real satchel belonging to Lee Dan.
Seol keeps calling Hae Young the next morning while she hides in the antique car. A lady in waiting brings Seol’s new tutor by, and her face falls as she realizes that Hae Young really is not coming back. Seol rushes out, calling someone to get Hae Young’s current location. He’s currently at the airport, getting ready to board a plane (with his new suitcase).
Seol runs through the airport looking for Hae Young. She finds him in line getting ready to go inspections. He steps away and talks with her. She calls him a bad guy, with giant tears in her eyes. She asks how he could leave without telling her. Why go so far away? Is he coming back soon? He tells her he doesn’t know.
She yells that a real teacher would tell her that he is leaving, and where he is going. She asks if it’s a short trip, and he says that he doesn’t know.. Suddenly the lackeys come running up to them, and hands the phone to Hae Young.
It’s Yoon Joo on the line, and she tells Hae Young that he owes her another favor (after the one where she pretended to take his hand so that he could continue to protect Seol). Something big has happened with respect to the princess, and they are both needed in the palace right now. Yoon Joo looks at the satchel with her typical piranha face.
Everyone is sitting in the palace living room, and Yoon Joo arrives to drop the news that Lee Dan owns the real satchel, which has been authenticated. Seol doesn’t remember the satchel when Grandpa asks about it. Dan arrives and announces that the satchel was her sole inheritance as an orphan.
Dan makes up a story that she and her father were chased by people, and then when he died, she went to an orphanage and told the story to Seol. Seol asks her why Dan is making this up right now? Yoon Joo says they need to stop and reconsider. Grandpa asks Dan if she remembers him? Dan repeats the helicopter story, whereas Seol says that she was the one at the construction site. Seol baby, you better start opening you eyes and seeing that your adopted sister is a horrible human being and stop making excuses for her.
Dan tells Seol that the reason her dad had to run was because someone was threatening him. Seol does not know this, and asks who that person was. Dan says to ask Park Hae Young. God, Yoon Joo just spoon fed all these lies to Dan, and it roils my stomach so bad. I HATE this plot development. The lady in waiting comes in to announce that this news is spreading fast outside.
Seol’s mom hears this news, and tries to call Dan. The mom looks distressed. Hae Young confronts Dan and asks how she knows about his father. Dan says that she knows because she experienced it personally. Grandpa yells at Secretary Oh about the mess that is going on. Grandpa suspects this is all created by Hae Young (but the Secretary likely knows Yoon Joo has a hand in it).
Hae Young asks Dan whether she is the real princess? She says that she never insisted she was a real princess, she only wanted to tell the truth about things in her memory. Dan says that she is against the royal restoration. Grandpa calls Hae Young to accuse him of creating this situation. Oh Grandpa, you are such a heartless bastard.
Hae Young is heartbroken to know that his own grandfather thinks so low of him. He confesses that he did it, asking if this makes Grandpa feel better? Hae Young walks out. Yoon Joo watches as Hae Young endures more accusations and berating from his grandfather, all because of her machinations.
Jung Woo confronts Yoon Joo, who tells him, with tears in her eyes, that she is waiting for a miracle to happen. She wants a miracle that will make Grandpa collapse before the royal restoration vote. Jung Woo grabs her for a hug, asking her to please stop. She says, with shock and then a tear that falls, that she does not want to stop.
As much as I hate Yoon Joo, I love how Jung Woo hugged her at that moment, when the words that just came out of her mouth were so very evil. I love how he tries using kindness and compassion towards her, to convince her not to do more harm. Too bad his words fell on deaf ears. Yoon Joo is too far gone to rein herself back in at this point.
Seol confronts Dan, and asks her what is going on with Park Hae Young? Yoon Joo comes in and offers to tell her. She says “like Romeo and Juliet – falling in love with the son of the man who caused you and your father to be chased, you are just that pathetic of a princess.”
Yoon Joo gloats over telling this to Seol, which is when Hae Young walks in. Awww, where is Jung Woo to make this another classic four-way staredown?
Thoughts of Mine:
So. Frustrating. Really, my frustration level is through the roof, and I’m not even all that invested in MP anymore. I’m running out of ways to voice my frustration with Yoon Joo and Dan’s behavior (and their perception of themselves and their needs vis-à-vis the world). Sadly, I’m also running out of ways to insult them, but I promise to consult my dictionary and bring on some great zingers in future episodes.
First off – Seol’s answer, nay, her entire response, to Hae Young’s heartfelt entreaty for her to live just as his woman was brilliant. It was so perfect even the perfect Mr. Diplomat has no choice but to concede that her answer was everything that she felt and could say to him at that very moment. I wasn’t expecting Seol to say yes and for them to elope, but I’m glad the moment was not played for laughs or curtailed by a Yoon Joo-generated distraction.
I also loved Hae Young and Seol’s “date” at the Korean palace tourist spot, and how he followed her to the department store and bought himself a suitcase with a princess inside. I also just realized that Hae Young and Seol now own matching couples suitcases, his in silver, hers in red. They can go to Egypt for their honeymoon! I continue to find Kim Tae Hee and Song Seung Heon perfect for their roles, and emoting just right for whatever scene calls for smiles or tears. They are also close to entering the pantheon of perfectly paired K-drama couples.
The relationship of Seol and Hae Young has reached what I call the “open hand” phase. Each knows they like one another, but how that will progress still depends on what cards they will be dealt next. The game is not over, and the answers are still murky. To be honest, I think this rom-com really could have not a single plot device related to Dan or Yoon Joo, and still be a compelling story.
Seol still represents the loss of Hae Young’s lifelong identity as the heir of the Daehan Group. His father still had a hand in causing her childhood misery (and maybe even inadvertently being the cause of her dad’s death). She still can’t date him without the public’s approval once she becomes the princess. I feel like we’re getting our quality viewing experience curtailed by the Demonic Duo’s machinations, while failing to address and resolve a myriad of other, more substantive and realistic, issues.
If I were a drama watching bear, I’d be growling my displeasure right about now. I don’t know about you, but my problems with MP are not stemming from any attempt to be overly critical of the drama. I turn my brain off to watch it and savor the cute that is Seol and Hae Young, and I feel like Yoon Joo and Dan sneak up and then crack me over the head with their pointless self-absorption. How can either of them ever justify their actions? Or am I suppose to believe they are sociopaths? And if they are sociopaths, why hasn’t ANYONE ELSE in this drama called them to task?
Jung Woo and Hae Young should be outing Yoon Joo to Grandpa. Seol and her mom should finally see Dan for the viper that she is and deal with her as she ought to be dealt with. And yet, both of them are running the shows in ways that stretch my credulity, even with my brain turned off. Sigh, someday I will buy MP if someone creates a Hae Young+Seol DVD cut. Until then, I’m weeping for what this drama could have been in the second half, but has thus far failed to live up to.