Oh oh oh, I can’t breathe. To think that the last few episodes, with bombs and selection draws and engagement on the line stakes, was actually a breather before the shit really hit the fan. This episode left me flailing on the floor gasping “no, no, noooooo” all the while watching Jae Ha pretty much take an emotional train to hell. But I know he has a return ticket, despite things looking grim on all fronts. Lee Seung Gi brung it again (not that I ever doubted he was already firing on all cylinders) as Jae Ha is once again pushed into the corner, this time with the lives of his Hang Ah and his mom on the line. That Bong Goo may be a pig, but he’s pretty much a pig the size of King Kong. Which just means Jae Ha needs a bigger rocket launcher to take him out in the end. The King 2 Hearts continues to be so good it gives me goosebumps.
Episode 16 recap:
Secretary Eun excuses himself from the engagement ceremony to go take call from Club M. Dude, not turning your phone off was rude to begin with, but walking out makes you even ruder. But being rude is the least of your worries, I guess. Talk to my hand, grandpa. Bong Goo’s right hand man says Club M wants Jae Ha to abdicate. This time Secretary Eun tells them that he’s not playing along with their games anymore, and he’s not changing his mind even if they threaten to reveal everything to the King.
Hang Ah and Jae Ha toast each other, but Hang Ah’s wine glass shatters during the toast. Not the best omen, I must say. The serving ladies quickly come out to clean up, and Jae Ha smiles as he tells Hang Ah it’s okay.
The engaged couple do a walk to greet their guests, all of whom are chanting for them to kiss. Jae Ha’s smirk returns while Hang Ah looks slightly embarrassed, but she needn’t worry, because her man just pulls her in for a kiss to please their audience. Hang Ah’s dad and the Queen Mom smile and shake their heads at the youngsters PDA.
Hang Ah and Jae Ha break apart and wave at their guests as balloon are released into the air, marking an end to their engagement ceremony that went off without a hitch.
Secretary Eun calls Shi Kyung out and asks where Jae Ha is, and is told that Jae Ha and Hang Ah are spending some time together. Secretary Eun asks his son how the investigation is going into the mole in the Palace involved with leaking the Amyungdo location. Shi Kyung admits its stalled but he’s getting back on it now that the engagement is completed.
Secretary Eun starts typing up what appears to be his confession letter. He goes to the hall of royal portraits and apologizes to Jae Kang, getting on his knees to bow, telling his majesty to never forgive him.
Hang Ah and Jae Ha are getting a couples facial and discussing upcoming royal activities. Hang Ah and the Queen Mother are scheduled to go overseas for a volunteer function. Jae Ha pouts, wanting them to stay in Korea and do something local. Hang Ah teases that they should go to North Korea and do a charitable function, since they are engaged, the North is their family as well.
Jae Ha and Hang Ah walk into his office and he goes straight for his computer. Hang Ah tells him not to read the emails from Club M, but Jae Ha says that ignoring those ten emails doesn’t mean things will be fine. Hang Ah leaves to let him do it alone.
Jae Ha opens the first email and it thanks Secretary Eun for his help. Each successive email contains voice recordings of Secretary Eun’s conversations with Club M, all of which Jae Ha listens to and looks more and more stunned and devastated.
When Secretary Eun comes in, Jae Ha asks him about his 30 years of service, following Jae Ha’s father, and how his brother and now Jae Ha trusted Secretary Eun. Jae Ha screams at Secretary Eun, asking how he could do all this? Jae Ha screams at Secretary Eun, calling him a traitor. Truer words have never been spoken. Secretary Eun gets on his knees and bows.
Secretary Eun asks Jae Ha to please not let Shi Kyung know what happened, he’ll tell Shi Kyung himself. Jae Ha orders Secretary Eun to take a holiday, since he is old now and has worked thirty years with barely any rest.
Jae Ha talks with the Queen Mother and Jae Shin about Secretary Eun’s dismissal. His mother wants him to be more forgiving, saying whatever Secretary Eun did, he must be feeling terrible and reflecting on it. Jae Ha asks if he’s being told to let it go? His brother died, Jae Shin is paralyzed, all of this is hard for him to deal with since he’s still just a human people and needs some more time.
Shi Kyung hears about his father’s dismissal and goes to ask Jae Ha why, but Jae Ha cannot explain without revealing the truth.
Jae Ha is reading documents and Hang Ah tells him to get some rest. He can’t since he has five meetings tomorrow and he needs to finish reading all of these documents. Hang Ah points out that he’s so stressed and distracted, he’s not even absorbing what he’s reading.
Hang Ah points to her lap and tells Jae Ha to rest for a minute. Jae Ha lays his head down on Hang Ah’s lap and then holds her hand. Hang Ah asks if he’s scared. Jae Ha admits he’s scared. Other than his family and Hang Ah, he’s scared of everything and everyone else. He feels like there is no one else he can trust.
Shi Kyung looks at his father’s packed up belongings in his office and calls him, but Secretary Eun does not answer the phone. Bong Goo is informed that Jae Ha got rid of Secretary Eun. Bong Goo is watching the video Jae Ha sent to him. He asks if everything is underway and is told that their plan is in progress.
Hang Ah and the Queen Mother are on a plane headed overseas for a charitable function. The serving lady brings over documents to read, and a box that the Queen Mother wants to personally hand to Hang Ah. The box contains a beautiful handbag, which has been passed on from Queen to Queen. Hang Ah is quite touched and thanks the Queen Mother.
Hang Ah asks if she needs to use this since they are going to do volunteer work. The Queen Mother says they represent the royal family and need to always be classy and refined. That is also their duty. Hang Ah asks if she can do this, and the Queen Mother assures her that she can.
Jae Shin is with her psychiatrist who asks what Jae Shin did last week. Jae Shin read some psych books, and asks if what she has is a mental illness. Because Jae Shin couldn’t handle what happened to her, therefore she wiped it out of her memories. Jae Shin asks if she can get her memories back? The doctor says not yet, if its not done right, it might cause Jae Shin to fall into abject fear. Lady, that’s why she’s paying you money to treat her! Stop trying to pass the buck, imma revoking your license.
Jae Shin sits in her room and purposely listens to the classical score which triggers her fear. She can’t handle it so stops in the middle. Shi Kyung walks in and asks if she called him? She asks how Secretary Eun is doing? Shi Kyung explains his dad is fine and likely went to a resort home to get away. Jae Shin asks him not to hate her brother for what he did because there might be other reasons behind it. Shi Kyung says he understands.
Jae Shin happily tells him that she is undergoing treatment and should get her memories back soon. He asks if she doesn’t sing anymore? Her memories are important, but she also needs to recover her own interests and passion. Jae Shin plays the piano for Shi Kyung and he starts to sing the same song she once sang for him. She then takes him over to Jae Ha’s room since he has the best stereo system in the Palace.
In Jae Ha’s room, Jae Shin hands Shi Kyung a microphone but he refuses and wants to leave. Jae Shin asks if he really dislikes her that much? She’s already confessed her feelings and is trying very hard, so isn’t he being a bit cruel towards her? Shi Kyung thinks Jae Shin is just curious about him and ultimately they don’t belong in the same world. He doesn’t want to become her toy.
Jae Shin shoots that down and then asks if he doesn’t like her because she’s a cripple? He says no. Jae Shin asks how Shi Kyung remembers the song she sang for him once? Is he a music genius? Shi Kyung admits he remembers because she sang it.
Hang Ah and the Queen Mother are sitting in their hotel room. Their serving lady apologizes for them staying at this hotel. Apparently their original hotel just had a bomb threat. It appears their itinerary for tomorrow will be cancelled as well and they will be returning to Korea. After the serving lady leaves the room, she gets into the elevator and notices a hotel worker with an odd tattoo on the back of her neck. We see that it is Bon Bon.
The Queen Mother looks at pictures of malnourished kids and notes that the village they were to have visited are filled with such children. The discuss one child who was saved, but his mother died of TB. Hang Ah reveals that her mother died of TB, because they could not afford rice. After that, Hang Ah went to Pyongyeong.
The Queen Mother asks what Hang Ah’s mother did and finds out she was an interpreter and would read stories to Hang Ah at night. The Queen Mother reveals that Jae Kang’s wife called her “mom”, and in South Korea if the daughter-in-law has a good relationship with her mother-in-law, she can call her mom. The Queen Mother tells Hang Ah to call her mom.
Bon Bon and her cohorts arrive at the hotel and proceed to take out all the royal guards. What did I say about their complete and utter uselessness. Bon Bon pretends to be delivering room service but the Queen Mother doesn’t open the door. Instead she goes to call to make sure there is supposed to be a delivery. The room phone is dead and she goes to get her cell phone, which is when she turns around to see Bon Bon standing in the room already with a gun.
One of the royal guards manages to push the fire alarm button which goes off and alerts everyone. Hang Ah walks out of the bathroom to see Bon Bon holding the Queen Mother hostage with a gun to head. Bon Bon asks if Hang Ah wants to go quietly with them, or go as a corpse.
Jae Ha is stunned when he’s told that his mother and Hang Ah are both missing and the guards have been taken out. He tells Shi Kyung to inform the Prime Minister but keep this news from leaking out. He asks if the perpetrator is Kim Bong Goo?
Jae Ha tries to call his Hang Ah, and we see Bon Bon has Hang Ah’s cell phone and hangs up on Jae Ha. Bon Bon pays off her cohorts and then shoots them. Why bother. Hang Ah and the Queen Mother are herded into a small airplane.
Jae Ha and the Prime Minister are given a report on the kidnapping. The security cameras caught two men from the hotel who are likely involved, and both ended up dead shortly thereafter. In that African country, there is a civil war going on so Hang Ah and the Queen Mother could have been kidnapped for ransom. The security cameras caught the shadow of another person.
Bon Bon leads Hang Ah and the Queen Mother under a tunnel and into the Club M headquarters. Hang Ah keeps a tight grip on the Queen Mother to support her.
Jae Ha meets with Shi Kyung, who says the serving lady noticed a hotel worker with a weird tattoo on her neck. The woman they detained who worked for Bong Goo also has weird tattoos on her body. It’s likely Kim Bong Goo is behind this kidnapping. Jae Ha thinks back to his last meeting with Bong Goo and what he threatened.
Bong Goo is informed that King Jae Ha has been trying to reach him through various channels. Food is brought out for the hostages and Hang Ah eats. When the Queen Mother expresses worry that it might be poisoned, Hang Ah calmly explains that if they wanted to kill them, they would have already done it. She tells the Queen Mother to eat as well to keep her energy so they can escape. Hang Ah says they have to do something, they cannot just sit here knowing that the royal family must be in chaos right now.
The Queen Mother says they are being guarded but Hang Ah is confident she can lure them away. The Queen Mother trusts Hang Ah can do it since she’s a soldier, but as an old woman, she cannot even attempt it.
Bong Goo and Bon Bon walk into the room. He greets both highnesses and then shoots the breeze, saying he’s only seen their pictures and is pleased to meet them in person for the first time. Hang Ah stands up and extends her hand for a shake, asking if he’s Kim Bong Goo. Bong Goo stares at her but doesn’t take her hand. Bong Goo walks over to the Queen Mother and asks to have tea with her. Hang Ah says no, but Bon Bon drags her out, leaving the Queen Mother alone with Bong Goo.
Jae Ha is meeting with Hang Ah’s dad and they discuss whether the kidnapping really was done by Club M. Hang Ah’s dad suggests they need to consider other terrorist organizations as well.
Jae Ha asks Shi Kyung if there is still no way to establish contact with Club M, and is told that all methods have been attempted but they refuse contact. Jae Ha is frantic, saying contact must be established and he’s willing to do anything. His mother…she won’t be able to endure this.
Bong Goo sits down across from the Queen Mother and asks if he can call her mom, since she reminds him of his own mother. He asks if she hates him? She must, because he would hate himself if he was her. Bong Goo asks for sympathy, saying he’s a sad person. His father abandoned him when he was a child, and his mother ignored him and went off to open a bar. They placed him in a royal family establish school for him to raise himself.
Bong Goo thinks the Queen Mother would understand, since she does a lot of volunteering and sees these poor parentless children. Now Bong Goo is tired and wants to stop. He asks the Queen Mother nicely if the royal family can just abdicate. Buh? He compliments the Queen Mother on being so classy, as opposed to his own mother, who was trash.
The Queen Mother gets upset, chiding him for calling his own mother trash. The Queen Mother rips into him, saying that she’s met plenty of poor children when she volunteered, and not everyone turned out rotten like Bong Goo. There are plenty of kids who rose above their circumstances.
She is Jae Kang’s mother, and he killed her son. He should be on the ground kneeling in abject apology to her, how dare he continue to patronize the royal family. She tells him to kill her, but there is no way her children would let him get away with it. The Queen Mother awesomely starting hitting Bong Goo over and over, and Bong Goo just stands there and looks all taken aback. You kick the crap out of him, granny!
Secretary Eun checks his phone and sees a text from Shi Kyung telling him to answer his calls because the Queen Mother and Hang Ah have been kidnapped for over a day now and there has been no communication with them.
Jae Ha wants to reach Club M himself, but Shi Kyung reminds him that this is what they want. Club M wants to disrupt them and cause confusion, so they cannot lose their focus and control. Jae Ha stops himself and gives Shi Kyung ten minutes to reach Club M.
Secretary Eun gets a call from Jae Ha and answers it. Secretary Eun advises Jae Ha on how to reach Club M by going through the US and China. Bong Goo is told that South Korea is using diplomatic measures to reach out to China and the US for help, and both counties are expressing a negative reaction to Club M. Bong Goo agrees to meet with Jae Ha.
Jae Ha, with Shi Kyung in tow, walk into a Chinese pavilion to meet Bong Goo, which leads me to think they are meeting in China. Shi Kyung is prevented from entering so Jae Ha goes alone. Bong Goo sees Jae Ha and is immediately very polite, asking how he’s doing lately? He’s heard Jae Ha has been trying to reach him lately, and he apologizes for being too busy to meet with him.
Jae Ha asks what Bong Goo wants? He asks Bong Goo to release the ladies, he knows Bong Goo doesn’t want a money ransom. Bong Goo plays coy and stupid, acting surprised that the Queen Mother and Hang Ah have been kidnapped. He offers to help look for them. Bong Goo asks if the wedding date has been postponed? Jae Ha says yes, and despite the North having objections, Hang Ah will understand.
Bong Goo says there is a misunderstanding if Jae Ha thinks he kidnapped the ladies. But if he did kidnap them, does Jae Ha think he was aiming to disrupt the wedding or destroy Jae Ha’s love life? That’s nothing. What he would want is for Jae Ha to abdicate, for the entire royal family to give up their position. Then they can go live in a tropical island free and happy of any worries.
What would Jae Ha do when the life of his family and his loved one is at risk? Would politics and his country matter in comparison? Bong Goo ends the discussion by saying he has to leave now, he’s busy with other matters. Bong Goo leaves and walks past Shi Kyung on his way out, both of them staring at each other for an extra moment. Shi Kyung runs inside to see Jae Ha standing there in a daze.
On the drive back, Shi Kyung can see Jae Ha deep in thought in the back seat, so he asks tentatively if he can find out what Bong Goo said? Jae Ha doesn’t answer.
Jae Ha splashes water on his face and then stares into the mirror. He walks into his room and sees Hang Ah sitting on his bed waiting for him. His face lights up as he asks why she’s here? Hang Ah walks up to him as he asks if this is a dream?
Hang Ah puts her hands on Jae Ha’s cheek and he grabs them, before grabbing her for a hug. His eyes are filled with unshed tears.
After they pull apart, Jae Ha asks why Hang Ah has a weird expression? Hang Ah tells Jae Ha not to forget to exercise, and not to let any sadness destroy him. One day this will all pass. Jae Ha asks why she is saying this? Jae Ha starts to cry. The Queen Mother walks in and calls for Hang Ah, who nods and then walks towards her. Jae Ha grabs her hand but she leaves with the Queen Mother. He stands there alone calling out for Hang Ah and his mom.
Jae Ha wakes up from this dream, finding himself sitting in his office. Shi Kyung walks in, asking if Jae Ha is alright?
Hang Ah sits and waits. Bong Goo’s right hand man walks in and Hang Ah demands to know how the Queen Mother is? The TV is turned on and we see Bon Bon playing with torture instruments as she cuts the Queen Mother’s hand. Hang Ah is told that Jae Ha hesitated on accepting Club M’s offer, so they need her to persuade him as the fiancée. The guy warns Hang Ah that Bon Bon isn’t all that skilled, and might unintentionally hurt someone.
Shi Kyung tells Jae Ha that he can’t do it, it’ll fall into their trap. Jae Ha points out that Jae Kang’s death and his kidnapping attempt in North Korea was carried out by Club M without anyone stopping them. What if Hang Ah and the Queen Mother is really killed this time? Jae Ha is standing at the edge of a steep cliff and surviving on taking one breath at a time. He’s about to collapse and can’t endure this any longer.
They want to kill his mother and his Hang Ah! He never wanted to be King, and now his mother and Hang Ah’s life is at risk, why should he still be the King. Jae Ha cries so hard as he says all this, and OMG I’m crying with him. Even Shi Kyung’s eyes are red. Jae Ha apologizes, but he wants to live an easier life than this. Jae Ha says that he’s not that strong. Oh baby, you are, you are that strong. HUGS.
Hang Ah watches as Bon Bon keeps tormenting the Queen Mother, such as dropping a bottle of acid on the ground. Hang Ah agrees to persuade Jae Ha and Bon Bon is called off. When asked to make a video, Hang Ah says she wants to tell this to Jae Ha in person. If they want her to persuade him, it’s more effective if they do it face-to-face.
Thoughts of Mine:
I knew that once the WOC was done that Bong Goo would be back to wreak his havoc. If he can’t hurt Jae Ha, scare Jae Ha, and mentally torment Jae Ha, then he’s going to go for broke and bring down the entire system of constitutional monarchy in South Korea. This man makes up his own rules as he goes along, escalating each time Jae Ha doesn’t play his games. I understand that the royal family can’t hide in the safety of the Palace just because a mad man is around. That would be living according to Bong Goo’s dictates, and they don’t have the luxury of maintain safety by avoidance. I do wish the royal guards were sacked en masse and some scary looking mercenaries were hired to guard the royal family, because this makes the FOURTH time Bong Goo has breached the royal security force and done something to a royal.
How much did I love this episode? I can’t even count the ways. Secretary Eun’s malfeasance and incompetence and shiftiness is finally revealed. Yay! Boo for him getting sent out to pasture, but I supposed it’s because ultimately Jae Ha might still need him to combat Club M. I get that, even if I think he got off easy. Yay for Jae Shin and Shi Kyung spending quality time together and talking about their issues – his hang up about whether he even dares to like her back, and her worry that he is put off by her leg injury. The singing was back and it was awesome, but I’m more pleased with how their relationship and interaction continues to proceed at such a sincere and measured pace.
I can’t believe the drama would put our wonderful Queen Mother in jeopardy (there is usually a rule about old people, babies, and dogs being spared), but I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that Hang Ah, butt kicking fearless in combat Hang Ah, is by her side. But then lo and behold, we discover the Queen Mother is no wilting flower at all, and her verbal (and later physical) smack down of Bong Goo was EPIC. It was stupid to rile him up, but she really let him know what a pathetic weeny he was. This was especially awesome considering she earlier asked Jae Ha to let it go, but faced with the man who arranged for her Jae Kang’s death, she was heartbreakingly powerful in her rage.
I saved the best for last, and that is of course Lee Seung Gi’s performance as Jae Ha in this episode. It was stunning, it was gutwrenching, it was so raw and powerful I actually had to take a break to keep watching the scene when he broke down in front of Shi Kyung. From the moment he learned about Secretary Eun’s wrongdoings, he was sliding down a slippery slope of emotional insecurity. Once his beloved Hang Ah and his mother were kidnapped, I felt like someone held a knife to his throat and every moment thereafter Jae Ha was living his life in a precipice. So Bong Goo wants Jae Ha to abdicate? He’s definitely got the two most important people in Jae Ha’s life in his hands and its not crazy to believe Jae Ha will accede to this demand.
I felt like the episode was intended to test Jae Ha, to put him in the same position Hang Ah was in when he asked her to push the trigger button. Jae Ha is going to have to trust his Hang Ah can get her and the Queen Mother out of the bind, and it’s a blind faith because they can’t communicate with each other. I can see Jae Ha’s agony like I saw in Hang Ah, that there is trust but even greater than that is the fear of even one thing going wrong which means losing the other person forever. What’s awesome about the OTP is that they are strong and capable alone, and together make each other stronger. But because they love each other so, the fear of losing the other person is what Bong Goo is exploiting to hit them where it hurts.