I watched this episode of The King 2 Hearts alternatively fist pumping the air and then doing the Snoopy dance of joy from time to time. So satisfying, the most delicious meal after a long hard day’s work, followed by a tall icy brew of perfection. Once again the story barrels full steam ahead, with an assassination attempt, a rescue, a train ride, the return of Hang Ah and Jae Ha bickering via insults and shut doors (but all in good fun), Shi Kyung pushing Jae Shin to regain her memory, and the arrival of a proper and hard-earned proposal. I’m not going to say that Jae Ha did any one thing (or all the things he did added together) for Hang Ah that earned her back. A relationship is ultimately between two people, and she chose to give him another chance and it’s up to him to prove he’s turned the corner and firmly stay there so he can keep her. I love watching him love her, I love watching her protect him, and I can’t wait to watch them unite into the Royal Dynamic Duo and hang Bong Goo with his own rope.
Episode 12 recap:
Hang Ah’s dad tells the North Korean prime minister about the rogue North Korean commander’s plot to assassinate Jae Ha, which places Jae Ha in immediate danger. Hang Ah’s dad explains that the commander is working with an outside party to create a situation to keep North-South tensions high so that the North Korean army maintains its power. The prime minister refuses to believe it, saying it must be a joke and the commander wouldn’t dare do something like this. The prime minister lets slip a detail which reveals to Hang Ah’s dad that the guy already knows since he has been also keeping tabs on the commander. Hang Ah’s dad tells the prime minister not to let this happen just so he can get rid of the commander, because if something goes wrong, the life of the South Korean King is at stake,
The North Korean soldiers walk into the restaurant and announce that they are now in charge of protecting the King, but Shi Kyung and the royal bodyguards step up and prevent that from happening. Jae Ha gets out of this situation by insulting the guy and walking away. Soldiers are dispatched to capture the rogue North Korean commander and his troops, but they have all gone MIA and have set their plan in motion now that they know their own government is out to stop them. The commander claims that they are doing this for the glory of their country.
Hang Ah’s dad is busy ordering troops to capture the rogue soliders. Hang Ah goes to ask her dad what is going on and finds out that the rogue soliders are on the loose. Hang Ah tells her dad to quickly send Jae Ha back to South Korea right now before something happens to him. Her dad says he will send Jae Ha back tomorrow but Hang Ah says it will be too late. Hang Ah’s dad can’t stop tonight’s photo op event which is already scheduled and will be with other foreign dignitaries, but will send Jae Ha away first thing in the morning. When Hang Ah tries to argue, Hang Ah’s dad tells her to go home, and he calls in two female soldiers to keep an eye on her.
Hang Ah chit chats with the two female soldiers tasked with keeping her in the house. She asks if the soldiers can secure an area as large as an amusement park which is where Jae Ha is going today. The soldiers are confident their comrades will keep the King safe, but tell Hang Ah to forget the guy who has hurt her and showed up with only skin care products as a gift. They ask about the skin care products the King supposedly gave Hang Ah, who tells them to go ahead and use it. Hang Ah goes to her room and talks to herself in the mirror, telling herself to forget this since it doesn’t concern her.
Jae Ha’s itinerary for the day is to visit an amusement park in North Korea. He is followed by the media recording this visit,. Hang Ah’s dad also joins to accompany him, though in truth it’s to keep him safe. On a Viking ship ride, Jae Ha and his guards sit on one side while the North Korean people sit on the other. To break the ice, Jae Ha tells Shi Kyung and the rest of the guards to raise their hands and scream out loud. Jae Ha is really hamming it up, even directly addressing Secretary Eun via the camera with a cheeky wink. We see that his every move is kept under surveillance by the rogue North Korean soldiers.
Hang Ah cleans her room to keep herself busy. The female soldiers hand Hang Ah another box inside the present containing the skin care products Jae Ha gave her. She opens this new present up and sees a note on top, which is handwritten by Jae Ha describing how he handmade these skin care products for her, a woman that needed to get used to a foreign household, deal with a useless man, and suffered a miscarriage.
She picks up a bottle and sees that it’s labeled “I’m sorry.” Another is labeled “Thank you” and the final one read “I love you.” We see Jae Ha getting tired when mixing the skin care products, but he opens his cell phone which has a picture of Hang Ah in her royal hanbok as his background and tells himself that he needs to continue because he’s such a bad guy. I have to say the gesture is quite romantic, and definitely the perfect present for Hang Ah.
The two female North Korean soldiers are oohing over the skin care products Jae Ha gave Hang Ah when she calls them over. It’s a ruse and Hang Ah easily subdues them. She informs them that she is going out and will be locking them in the house, so they need to be quiet. Hang Ah gets dressed in her North Korean military uniform and then places a call. She asks into the phone “Want to have a live training session?” Oooh, Team WOC activate!
Jae Ha is brought over to a carousel ride by a mascot acting as a guide. He tries to drag a reluctant Shi Kyung to ride beside him. Shi Kyung refuses so Jae Ha goes on by himself. A few North Korean folks follow him on to ride alongside, all for the photo op, of course.
Suddenly all the lights go off, and Bong Goo claps his hand as he’s watching this on TV and happily calls out “Show time!” The mascot is revealed to be the North Korean officer who works for the evil commander. He has brought other assassins (disguised as regular North Korean folk) and they manage to point a gun to Jae Ha’s head. A few of them are rigged with explosives and tells everyone else to back away and drops their guns or else they will all die. A bunch of other assassins leap out and point guns at the royal bodyguards.
To show they mean business, one of the lackey assassins wearing a bomb is shot by how own leader causing his bomb to go off, indicating this is not just an empty threat. The assassin orders that the cameras to focus on him as he takes out a letter to read from it. The letter starts off by saying that South Korea used the ruse of reuinification to lure an innocent North Korean girl…….
Bong Goo cuts off the speech and tells the assassin to have the camera be trained on Lee Jae Ha so that he can see Jae Ha trembling in fear. Bong Goo gets annoyed with the assassin’s long winded speech and tells him to shut his trap and then orders the video he recorded be handed to Jae Ha, who watches it silently. The Queen Mother is with Secretary Eun and they are watching this on live broadcast. Bong Goo is all excited thinking of how scared Jae Ha is going to be.
Hang Ah is running through the amusement park and talks into her walkie talkie, asking if everything is prepared. We see the North Korean WOC team has reassembled, with Kang Seok carrying a rocket launcher as he walks somewhere, while Yong Bae is on a high ferris wheel car preparing his sniper rifle. I miss these guys, sniffles. So happy to see them back together to save their WOC comrades.
Jae Ha finishes watching Bong Goo’s video but doesn’t act scared. He asks for the assassin’s head piece so he can talk directly with Bong Goo. When the assassin pulls out another gun instead, Jae Ha hilariously asks if he’s Doraemon otherwise how come he keeps pulling out more things from his pocket. Jae Ha speaks into the camera to address Bong Goo, telling Bong Goo to deal with his own insecurity. Who is he doing this, showcasing to the world what a loser he is by hiding in the corner and watching on TV. Does he think he’s filming Section TV or We Got Married? Jae Ha doesn’t love Bong Goo, so Bong Goo needs to give up now. Maybe he can find a new hobby, like exercising or reading. Bong Goo screams for Jae Ha to be killed immediately.
Kang Seok has subdued all the rogue soldiers in the control room of the amusement park and orders the electricity back on. Yong Bae first shoots the bomb-wearing leader in the arm so he falls over and drops his trigger, and then he shoots the other assassins holding the bodyguards hostage. Which is when Hang Ah arrives and she expertly leaps onto the top of the now-spinning carousel.
The cameras capture her face clearly so everyone watching knows that she is there attempting to rescue Jae Ha. Bong Goo is stunned and asks if that chick is Kim Hang Ah?
Hang Ah manages to swing into the carousel and starts to beat up the assassins. At the same time, Kang Seok tosses smoke bombs into the carousel. Jae Ha watches Hang Ah calmly and efficiently kick some ass. Hang Ah then captures the bomb leader as well.
After the assassins are subdued and Shi Kyung leads the bodyguards over to make sure Jae Ha is fine, Hang Ah leaves the scene without talking to or looking at Jae Ha. She walks down a cherry blossom lane and gets into her jeep to leave, which is when Jae Ha’s car blocks her path and he gets out. She revs her engine a few times to scare him, and then actually drives her jeep towards him. Jae Ha never flinches or move out of the way, and of course Hang Ah brakes right before she hits him.
Hang Ah gets out of her jeep and asks him what he wants. Jae Ha starts by teasing Hang Ah, asking if she thinks he’s better or Eun Shi Kyung is better? Hang Ah isn’t sure, but she’s sure that there is someone whose guts she hates. Jae Ha asks if that person is Lee Jae Ha? He tells Hang Ah that he’s someone who holds a grudge, so what she just said, he will seek revenge on her for saying that.
Jae Ha’s revenge goes like this. He will kiss her every morning. He will only have eyes for her. He will never let her cry again. He will be like a stalker following her every minute. He will buy her whatever she wants. He will do everything in his power to make her the happiest Queen in the entire world. Hang Ah starts to cry and Jae Ha wipes away her tears. And she will be the only woman he loves until he dies. OMG, I can’t believe he is using this line in reverse of his stupid plot with Dong Ha to make her love him until she dies. I approve!
Hang Ah keeps crying as Jae Ha gets down on one knee and proposes by calling her “Your majesty the Queen”. He tells her that he is officially proposing to her.
Hang Ah’s response is that the South Korean royal family keeps saying whatever they want, but she doesn’t reject his proposal. Jae Ha pulls her in for a hug.
The evil North Korean commander is furious that his plan has gone awry. He threatens to expose Club M unless they get him out of here. Hang Ah’s dad arrives with soldiers to capture him. Hang Ah’s dad tells the commander to go ahead and kill himself if he has the guts to commit suicide. Afterwards, Club M calls Hang Ah’s dad and snerks that they ought to get a reward for directing him to this traitor and promises to keep maintaining the peace in the Korean peninsula. Hang Ah’s dad hangs up on the call. Bong Goo is pissed at his right hand man and has Bon Bon subdue him and threatens to off him, but in the end lets him go.
Some of the royal guards watch a news report about what happened in North Korea and how Team WOC saved the day, and poor Dong Ha is all like “What, I can’t believe they left me out of this.” The North releases a media report apologizing for not being able to keep the South Korean King safe. Secretary Eun holds a press conference for why Jae Ha addressed a Kim Bong Goo on camera, explaining that Kim Bong Goo is a code name the King uses for North-South reunification. Oh, awesome excuse dude. Secretary Eun apologizes to all the Kim Bong Goos in the country for getting their name dragged into this.
Jae Ha speaks with Secretary Eun, who confirms that this situation has been managed for now. Secretary Eun chastises Jae Ha for being so rash. Secretary Eun tells Jae Ha the truth that everyone knows Kim Bong Goo is the John Mayer of Club M. They simply can’t take him out because he’s so powerful and has such strong ties with so many countries. Jae Ha refuses to let it go since the person killed Jae Kang and hurt his sister. Secretary Eun points out that Jae Ha is in fact afraid, otherwise why didn’t he just come out and announce on CNN last night that Kim Bong Goo is Club M and assassinated the King and is trying to kill him now. Jae Ha has no answer to that.
Jae Ha walks into a train station where North Koreans have gathered to send him off. He accepts a bouquet of flowers from a little girl dressed in a pretty hanbok. When he faces the North Korean prime minister, the latter apologizes to Jae Ha for what happened, Jae Ha asks him if he knows the name Kim Bong Goo. His reaction is telling so Jae Ha confirms that Bong Goo is also a threat to North Korea, and Jae Ha says they need to get stronger together to face this enemy. The two leaders shake hands.
Jae Ha walks into the train compartment and sees Hang Ah on the phone. Hang Ah’s dad tells her to go, its not like she’ll change her mind if he says no. Jae Ha confirms that she’s speaking with her dad, so he grabs the phone from her. He calls Hang Ah’s dad “father-in-law” and promises to bring Hang Ah back for a visit during Chuseok. Hang Ah’s dad says no need, every time Jae Ha comes to North Korean he causes a mess for him to clean up. LOL, so true. Jae Ha says he has to set a good example and visit his in-laws so he promises to be back.
Jae Ha notes that Hang Ah doesn’t look pleased, and teases that his mom has prepared seaweed soup to welcome her. Hang Ah confesses that she’s still scared about how the South Korean people view her. Jae Ha grabs her hand to reassure her.
Jae Ha holds Hang Ah’s hand as they walk into her old room where the Queen Mother is waiting to welcome her back. The Queen Mother coos over Hang Ah, saying how sorry she is and wondering how much she must’ve suffered. She pulls Hang Ah over to show her all the presents the South Korean people have sent over for her. She tells Hang Ah to drink the seaweed soup and get her health back. We see one of the notes attached to a present says “Death to Kim Hang Ah.” Oof. The Queen Mother grabs that away but Hang Ah bravely says she will try to convince them to accept her.
Jae Ha talks with Secretary Eun, who confirms that Hang Ah saving Jae Ha has succeeded in changing public perception of Hang Ah for only about half the citizens. Jae Ha doesn’t want to discuss this right now since they just got back. Secretary Eun doesn’t want Jae Ha to get his hopes up, and Jae Ha says he hasn’t. He wants to work hard from now on to gain the people’s approval. Secretary Eun gives a small smile.
Shi Kyung continues with his investigation into Club M, and is told that since the Princess was the only potential eyewitness, they need her to regain her lost memory of that day. Shi Kyung goes to see Jae Shin, and is annoyed when he finds her playing cards with her serving ladies. He curtly asks if all she did was play while he was away. She confirms that she went in for therapy every morning, and now she’s enjoying some fun, what is wrong with that?
Shi Kyung pushes Jae Shin to regain her memories rather then keep avoiding that trauma. Of course this upsets Jae Shin greatly. She points out memories can’t come back just like that. Jae Shin can’t sleep, can’t go out, always feeling threatened. Shi Kyung asks if she’s looking for sympathy? She shouldn’t expect people to care about her if she’s given up on herself. He tells her to be stronger and return to the Princess she used to be. Jae Shin places a call and immediately asks that her guard to be changed to anyone other than Eun Shi Kyung.
Jae Ha is reading reports on Bong Goo and finds out that his girlfriend is named Dara and is often in South Korea. Shi Kyung is totally lost in thought about how the Princess thinks he’s clueless. Jae Ha tries to discuss Club M with Shi Kyung, who suddenly asks if he really is such a clueless and stodgy person? Jae Ha says Shi Kyung surely isn’t the most perceptive bulb in the room. Shi Kyung confirms that Club M revealed the location of the rogue North Korean commander so that they could get rid of that weak link.
Jae Ha and Hang Ah are sitting in her room discussing what happening in North Korea, which Jae Ha says the North has confirmed was the handiwork of Kim Bong Goo. But the North has decided to cover it up and take responsibility. Hang Ah wonders how one man can dare to do all this? Jae Ha explains that Bong Goo is wealthy beyond belief, orchestrating the production that aims to prove that might is power. Other countries want North and South Korea to remain at odds so neither can get stronger. They really are so small in the scale of things.
Jae Ha quietly wonders if they can pull it off, the joint WOC team and the North-South alliance marriage? Jae Ha’s fear and doubt upsets Hang Ah, who looks upset to see Jae Ha this way. She awesomely changes the subject and acts upset over what he just said. She stands up and asks if Jae Ha doesn’t want to marry her now because it’s so difficult? If he backs out again, it will be the third time! Ahahaha, OMG, it will indeed.
Jae Ha quickly assures her that he does want to marry her. Jae Ha grabs her hand and says he’ll get married, and asks if she wants to get married next month. Hang Ah plays a tough love card and asks Jae Ha if he wants to concede defeat to someone who killed a family member and caused Hang Ah’s miscarriage?
Hang Ah retorts that they need to first deal with that mad man first. And if Jae Ha can’t deal with that Bong Goo or Yong Goo or whatever that dude’s name is, then he’s not a real man so why should she marry him. Hang Ah goes into her bedroom and shuts the door on Jae Ha, promising she’ll dump him if that happens. Instead of getting mad at the insult, Jae Ha promises he’ll ground Bong Goo under his feet.
Hang Ah calls her dad and confirms that he knows everything, about Club M and Kim Bong Goo. She’s furious that such a bastard has turned her man Jae Ha into being afraid. Her Jae Ha, the guy who used to be able to sleep through an atomic bomb blast, he’s now shaking with fear. She’s so angry that she wants to go choke that bastard right now if she could. Hang Ah’s dad assures her that he’s already digging more into it. Hang Ah wants him to stop investigating and start doing something. She wants that guy’s location from her dad and she won’t tell him what she’s planning on their side. After hanging up, Hang Ah’s dad wonders when the South became “her side”.
Jae Ha has Shi Kyung arrange a special meeting. It looks like Jae Ha is planning to meet with Bong Goo’s girlfriend and get information that way. He assures Shi Kyung that this is all just an act, and that he only loves his Hang Ah. So if Hang Ah found out about this, Shi Kyung has to cover for him as his witness. Shi Kyung gives him a smile and Jae Ha pats him on the shoulder before walking in. Ah, Jae Ha going undercover as pimping boy toy.
Jae Ha walks into an empty club and sits down at a table next to Bong Goo’s girlfriend, who asks why he’s here since she rented out this place all to herself tonight. Jae Ha smiles at her and says he did the same thing.
Bong Goo’s right hand man tells Bong Goo that they have received a package from the King of South Korea. Bong Goo is taken aback, wondering how Jae Ha got his location. The package comes with a letter from Jae Ha, telling Bong Goo that he will need to figure out a way to open the package if he’s curious what’s inside. Jae Ha gives Bong Goo one hint “It’s something I have but you don’t.” Jae Ha then ends with the warning that Bong Goo shouldn’t open the package, otherwise he’ll regret it.
Jae Ha tells Secretary Eun that he’s decided something and he needs Secretary Eun’s help. He’s decided to do it with Hang Ah by his side. Jae Ha and Hang Ah are headed to a memorial concert for King Jae Kang, which marks Hang Ah’s first public appearance. Jae Ha is dressed in his formal red Kingly attire, while Hang Ah is in a classy off-the-shoulder little black dress with a matching black hat perched smartly on her head. She looks nervous but when Jae Ha asks if she’s ready, she confirms she is. He reaches over to hold her hand to reassure her,
The motorcade pulls up and Jae Ha and Hang Ah get out of the car. Shi Kyung and Dong Ha are there with the rest of the royal guards, lining both sides of the red carpet walk way leading up the stairs. Jae Ha reaches over to hold Hang Ah’s hand (changing from the formal hold to a tightly clasp intimate hand hold), and together they walk up the stairs.
On the top of the stairs, they turn around and look at each other, before facing the media as the cameras go off.
Bong Goo guesses and guesses at the password in a series of fails. At one point he gets so pissed he throws the box aside. He orders the box hacked open and is told its rigged to go off unless its opened properly with the password. Bong Goo finally guesses the password and opens the package. The password is “people”, as in, Jae Ha has the heart of his people but Bong Goo has no one. Ouch, for once I love how Jae Ha’s ability to always throw the most cutting hurtful words at people comes in handy.
Thoughts of Mine:
I’m seriously wondering who I need to thank for the existence of TK2H. I still think the writing has flashes of brilliance, mostly solid gutsy fare, and some shockingly dreadful duds that almost all involve English dialogue scenes and some clunky action fare. But PD Lee really deserves such kudos for keep the action taunt and the cameras always moving fluidly. He’s not the PD who started his career with the revolutionary Damo for nothing, and he also singlehandedly kept Fashion 70s treading water despite its soggy script. Whenever the cake threatens to collapse, he knows exactly what to do to keep it rising. He’s really the unsung hero of this drama thus far, because in the hands of a PD who does reaction shot after reaction shot, or does track shots with gusto, TK2H would be way cheesier and less fun.
With that said, episode 12 was the long awaited reunion between Hang Ah and Jae Ha, and it was well done even with the requisite Jae Ha type of swoony cheesy romanticism mixed with his brand of sincerity. I appreciate that Hang Ah hasn’t completely moved past everything that happened to her in South Korea, with Jae Ha and with how the people turned on her. But the assassination attempt on Jae Ha’s life was the sort of danger that would force her to confront her feelings. She may be reluctant to go back to him, but she can’t deny that she still loves him and would mobilize to rescue him. To me, that’s way more meaningful than empty words of love and forgiveness. Jae Ha knows this as well, and he’s doing the right thing by constantly reassuring Hang Ah by all the hand holding and smiles, but also giving her space to be sad or lash out when she needs to.
I think its safe to say that Jae Ha and Hang Ah will always be the kind of couple that fight by jabbing at each other’s weak spots. But now they know the limit, and they know its all secured by a genuine love for each other. The last time they fought after a misunderstanding, Hang Ah was insecure because she didn’t know how Jae Ha really felt about her, and Jae Ha still placed his own pride above consideration for Hang Ah’s feelings. I’m pleased to see how they have grown and matured, but still retain their fiery personalities and direct way of talking to each other.
Hang Ah’s dad continues to roll in the awesome, both as a politician and as a father. He did everything right in keeping Jae Ha safe while keeping his daughter from further heartache. And in the end when Hang Ah chose to go back with Jae Ha, he accepted it and continues to only be a source of emotional support. It’s telling that the writers have really made the effort not to paint the North Koreans poorly or write the South Koreans as perfect, but instead let characters breath and feel genuine regardless of which side they are from. It was sweet to see the Queen Mother so nervously and happily welcoming Hang Ah back. It really is a shame Jae Kang is gone and the royal family just feels so incomplete still.
Shi Kyung and Jae Shin continue to be all sorts of adorable, but as usual prickly Jae Shin didn’t take too kindly to Shi Kyung pushing her to regain her memory. It was pretty cute for Shi Kyung to turn to Jae Ha and ask for advice on whether he really is such a stick-in-the-mud. I think the North Korea trip definitely brought these two close together. At this point, Jae Ha is no longer waiting for Bong Goo to make the next move and he’s going to proactively bait the crazy bear. I’ve said before that Jae Ha is better suited to deal with Bong Goo than Jae Kang was. Jae Kang was honorable whereas Jae Ha has no qualms about playing dirty. How he charmed Bong Goo’s location out of his girlfriend was brilliant (though I was not happy he had to play that card, wait til Hang Ah finds out). For now, I think this drama has officially entered into the 2 Hearts phase as the King and his future Queen finally move ahead towards facing external obstacles rather than internally generated misunderstandings.