Episode 16 of My Princess puts a period on the fantasy fairy tale of an ordinary girl who discovers that she is a long-lost princess of Korea. All in all – the drama was better than I expected, but not as good as it could have been. Of the three dramas I have recapped, this one leaves the least immediate emotional connection with me. While both M3 and PK drove me crazy with want and frustration, MP just kinda puttered along in the second half, ending with a perfunctory bow on top of this mostly delightful confection.
When all is said and done, MP will be memorable solely for creating the perfect onscreen couple that is Park Hae Young and Lee Seol. I extend that couple goodness one step further to acknowledge that Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee had absolutely amazing chemistry. The best kind there is for any rom-com couple – natural, charming, and fun. I’m glad I watched MP, even if it doesn’t leave much of a lasting impression in the end. Much like a delicious airy bon bon.
Episode 16 Recap:
Seol rides her bike through campus, while the lackeys are running like mad to catch up to her. She arrives at her destination and is immediately mobbed by students. She smiles happily for pictures, and congratulates her lackeys for keeping up with her today. Head lackey asks her if she can please not ride a bike in the future, and why she hasn’t passed her driving test yet.
Seol runs off to class, and lo and behold, her professor is none other than Oh Yoon Joo. The two ladies stare at each other balefully, and Yoon Joo puts the syllabus in front of Seol and makes her pass it out. Yoon Joo tells the class that she expects on time attendance and everyone to do the work properly. Seol asks why Yoon Joo is staring directly at her when she is announcing this to the class.
Yoon Joo tells Seol that she was the student who got an “F” the last time she was in her class, and the students laugh. After class, Seol follows Yoon Joo outside and asks if she is going to keep giving her an “F”? Yoon Joo tells her that she’s not making this personal, Seol is not able to do the work is all, so Seol shouldn’t take her class.
Seol says that Yoon Joo is the best professor at teaching about Korean royal artifacts, and Seol needs to learn in order to run the Hae Young museum. Yoon Joo uses this chance to chide Seol for being the cause of Hae Young working abroad. Seol says that Hae Young isn’t living abroad like his father is doing. The two ladies clearly are never going to see eye to eye, and Seol doesn’t stoop to Yoon Joo’s level with the argument.
The President and the opposition leader are giving blood for a press event again. The opposition leader can’t stand the Princess and her folksy ways, opening the palace up for tours and doing charity work. He thinks the Princess just likes to gain popularity. The President disagrees and tells the opposition leader that he can’t stand him. Heh.
A Japanese tour is visiting the palace, and they get to take a picture with a cardboard cut-out of the princess. Seol is getting dressed like Dae Jang Geum, and her staff comes running in bringing cell phones bearing international calls to wish her a happy birthday. Seol hopes that its Hae Young, but its Prince Harry and another Thai prince calling. Seol is visibly disappointed.
Seol prepares traditional Korean royal fare for a television program, and she changes into a hanbok and plays a traditional Korean instrument for the same program. Suddenly the lights shut down, and her staff comes out and brings her a birthday cake and sing her a birthday song. Seol is smiling broadly and so happy.
Reporters ask her if she got a present from Park Hae Young, and follow up by asking her if she has plans to get her grandfather’s journal back from the British Museum. Seol says that she is doing her best on that front. Seol collapses on the bed in exhaustion, but she wonders if amongst all the gifts she received is a present from Hae Young. She is told he didn’t send anything.
Seol has another driver’s test in the morning, and she fails once again. She goes to visit Grandpa’s grave, and sees that someone else had brought flowers already. She talks to Grandpa about missing Hae Young, who keeps traveling around the world. She knows that Grandpa has given everything, and wonders if maybe he can give her Park Hae Young as well.
Seol gets a call from Jung Woo, finding out about the progress of getting the journal back. Seol continues to practice her driving, and suddenly someone honks at her from behind. She waves the person ahead, and it turns out to be Hae Young, who cuts her off. Seol screams at the bad driver, only to see Hae Young walk out looking SO DAMN FINE and smirking at her.
Seol is alternating between ecstatic and angry, but finally her giddiness wins out and she slowly drives up to him. She tries to open the door to get out but Hae Young uses his body to push it shut over and over again, frustrating her. She rolls down the window, and he asks her why she is driving if she wants to drive like this?
Seol leaps out of the window to hug him, and he smiles so broadly and happily. He orders him not to go anywhere anymore, and he says that he will comply with her orders. They pull back and look at each other again, then resume more hugging and giggling.
Seol and Hae Young are back in his apartment, and Seol has made Korean food for him. He smiles and just looks at her, telling her that he is just happy. She reminds him that they are not going to have a long distance relationship anymore, and he nods. He tastes the food and compliments her on becoming a better cook. She says that she can shoot CFs now, and is all prepared to become a bride.
He says that his princess has turned 27 already, and she replies that people are urging her to get married. He wonders if there is a guy willing to marry her? Seol gets up and goes to the bathroom, and Hae Young takes out a ring to look at it. He gets a call, during which Seol comes out and sees the ring on the table. She is secretly happy, but Hae Young gets called in for a meeting with the President.
The President compliments him on doing well in England, and Hae Young confesses that people had a good opinion of him for agreeing to donate his fortune to the people. The President knows that Hae Young bought a ring, and asks if he is planning to propose. Hae Young says that he is, but the President advises him not to for the sake of not seeming like he is getting his fortune back by marrying the princess.
The President wants Hae Young to go to Washington D.C., saying that he has great potential, and should not simply become the princess’ man. He needs to dream bigger and put aside his personal life for his professional future. Hae Young sits in his apartment thinking about that conversation, and looking at the ring again.
Seol calls Hae Young, and it turns out they are both so busy its hard for them to coordinate their schedules. They make plans to meet the day after tomorrow. Seol tells the lady in waiting that he is probably going to propose and she is all excited and hopping around. Unfortunately, Seol and Hae Young keep having phone conversation and are never able to meet for days on end.
Finally Seol barges into his meeting to see him. He pulls her out and worries that news about her behavior will leak out. They argue about why they can never see each other. Seol is so angry she warns him that if he doesn’t see her now he will never be able to see her again. Hae Young has to go back to the meeting, and Seol runs off telling him that they should break up.
Hae Young goes to the palace to see her, and Seol is pretending to cry inside her room. Hae Young first asks nicely for her to open the door, and finally pounds on the door, threatening to break it down. Seol keeps sobbing about how much she misses him and how this is so hard for her.
Hae Young finds out from the lady in waiting that the princess is likely also stressed about getting her grandfather’s diary back from England. He calls someone in London and asks for a favor. Seol runs into her room and hides under the covers, pretending that she has been crying. Hae Young walks in behind her and announces himself as Diplomat Park Hae Young here on official duty.
He tells her that he can help her get the journal back. Seol gets so excited she throws off the blanket and Hae Young can immediately see that she has been faking it. He tells her that if he can get the journal back, she’ll need to take back what she said about breaking up. He laments needing to use a Korean artifact just to see his girlfriend’s face.
Hae Young tells Seol that the folks in London only want to work with Yoon Joo in returning the journal. Seol goes to meet with Yoon Joo. Both acknowledge they don’t like to meet with each other unless necessary, and Seol asks Yoon Joo to help her get the journal back. She tells Yoon Joo that regardless of whether Yoon Joo hates Seol, she loves artifacts as much as Jung Woo and should want to help Seol.
Seol meets with Jung Woo, thinking that she wasn’t able to convince Yoon Joo to help her. Jung Woo looks outside and tells Seol that perhaps it worked. Yoon Joo comes inside to meet with Seol. Later on, Seol gets a missive that informs her that the journal is being returned to Korea. Seol is so excited. Jung Woo calls Yoon Joo to let her know, but she doesn’t answer his call.
News reports announce that the journal is coming back to Korea. Seol and the palace staff is cleaning the gallery in preparation for the journal coming back. Hae Young arrives, and everyone wisely leaves so they can spend some time together. Hae Young congratulates Seol, and she says that it was all because of him, Park Hae Young oppa.
Seol spontaneously kisses him on the cheeks, and Seol calls out to the staff that the princess is planning to do something to him. She puts her hands on his mouth to silence him. She reminds him that he has something important to discuss with her, and he better do it or else she’ll be a grandmother soon. She tells him to hurry up and give her the ring, which is when Hae Young realizes she knows about the ring.
Hae Young looks serious, while Seol asks whether he gave the ring to someone else. He asks what she’ll do if that was the case, and she gets upset and says that he needs to give her a gift certificate then. He asks her whether she is asking him to get married. She says what is wrong with that, doesn’t he want to? He says that he wishes he could, then his heart would hurt less. They are suddenly interrupted when news arrives that Dan has been found.
Seol gets to see Dan, who apparently has been living in a small apartment somewhere for the last two years. Dan asks Seol if she’s here to rub it in, and Seol asks why she isn’t living better after trying to steal Seol’s entire life. The two girls start to throw pillows and blankets at each other, fighting and tussling on the bed.
Dan hits Seol, and Seol hits right on back, telling Dan that she is done taking shit from Dan her entire life. Finally the girls are tired out, and sit staring at each other. Seol tells Dan to go home to mom, but Dan refuses. She tells Seol to let their mom know that Dan is eating well and living well, and she will return home once she becomes successful. Seol warns her that she’d better become successful and come home! Seol leaves, and Dan cries.
Seol goes home to see her mom, and tells her mom that Dan is fine and doing well, and will be back when she is successful. She tells mom that Dan apologized. Her mom looks really sad, but then asks Seol how Seol is doing? She heard Hae Young is back, so why has he not proposed? She wants Seol to get married when she is still young and pretty, and to live a full life together.
Gun and the lady in waiting meet in the palace. He’s off for a short vacation, and when she plays it cool, he wonders why she’s not asking him more questions. She says that she’s been playing a babysitter for two years, and wants to stop now. She wants to find a guy older and richer rather than wait around for Gun. He starts to get nervous, and finally tells her that he needs to be capable first before he can take care of her. He wants her to wait for him. She happily agrees.
The older lady in waiting meets with Yoon Joo, who asks her to look after Secretary Oh. Yoon Joo goes to see Jung Woo and asks him out on a date. She wants him to hurry up because it’s their last date before she leaves for Egypt. He asks if she decided to go, and she did. He wonders what will happen if he misses her, and she tells him to come visit her in Egypt. He asks if she will smile at him when she sees him, and she says yes with a hug.
Hae Young is packing and he looks at the ring. He makes up his mind and runs off, arriving to see Seol at their fountain in the palace. She’s checking her phone, waiting for his call or text, as usual. She stands up and sees him, happy that he is here. She wonders why he is here this late, and he says that this late is the only time they have to meet.
He tells her that he needs to leave tomorrow again. She wonders why and where to? He sits down and asks her “let’s get married right now”. She lists a bunch of things she still needs to do right now, and he can tell that she isn’t ready to drop everything just for him. He tells her that he wants her so much, if only she knew.
Seol yells at him, being away for two years, coming back only once, and now he wants her to just leave with him. Does she have to give up being a princess just so she can be with him? Why does he require everything to be done his way? She leaves, and he leaves the ring by the fountain. Hae Young sits in his apartment and looks at a picture of them, and Seol walks back to the fountain to pick up the ring.
The next day, Hae Young arrives at the airport, and the entire time in the waiting lounge he is looking around for Seol. He walks through immigration, taking one final look out into the waiting area. The plane takes off, and Hae Young is sitting in his seat. The passenger next to him has a newspaper up shielding her face.
He tries to drink his beverage, when a hand reaches out to stop him. She tells him that since he can’t do anything for her, at least he can give her this drink. He asks why she is here, and she says that wherever he goes, she goes as well. She grabs his arm and tells him that she will follow him forever, he shouldn’t care to leave her again.
He leans down to kiss her, and she totally jumps on him and kisses him out of his mind. That is some major kissing, and they break apart to smile at each other, and then dive right back into kissing. I expect the rest of the passengers will be asking for them to be cordoned off soon, heh.
Thoughts of Mine:
Well….okay, this entire episode made as much sense as me writing a cover letter when I am five sheets to the wind. I’m sure I can craft sentences and insert punctuations, but when read together when sober, there are bound to be gaping logic holes left and right. This episode was, and felt like, clean-up hour, here to tie up all the loose ends. It might have left me scratching my head less if the writer had made even a modicum of an attempt at making some sense. But hey, it’s all good with me.
Let’s start with an ending that tried to use some awesome kissing to hoodwink me. What the hell is going to happen to Seol and Hae Young? I don’t know, do you know? It’s like all episode long he was pursuing his career and she was being a princess, and in the last 2 minutes she decided she was throwing it all to the wind and following him? Huh? So when that plane lands, she’ll marry him and live in Washington D.C. and be Mrs. Park Hae Young, to heck with her princess duties?
If that’s the case, then the drama theoretically feels rather pointless. Or will Hae Young realize how much she is giving up for him, and they go back to Korea where she stays a working princess and he becomes her prince consort? Heck, I have no clue, because the ending was just Hae Young and Seol making out on a plane without any sort of real conclusion that followed plot continuity or drama logic.
Dan was given her obligatory five minute twirl for her audience so we know that the writer didn’t forget her, or that she had been eaten by rabid wolves in the wilderness. Yoon Joo is still bitchy as ever, and she and Jung Woo got an semi-open ending that seems to suit them both just fine. Who am I to complain that a decent human being like Jung Woo ends up with a mentally fraked up insecure basket case.
I heaved a great big sigh of relief now that we’ve reached the end of MP, grateful that the final episode at least tried to retain its effervescent charm. I think writer Jang Young Shil can consider this a promising debut project for her, but she has miles to go before she can be considered a good writer. MP would have fallen completely flat on her face without Song Seung Heon and Kim Tae Hee propping it all up (and a very competent PD who kept the drama brisk and gorgeous to look at).
Like I said before, the rom-com aspect of this drama really was quite well done, but it was unfortunately dragged down by substantive plot and added emotional angst that always felt manufactured and forced. I wished MP could have emulated the charming Love Marriage, which was a rather plot-less drama that nevertheless maintained its breezy and whimsical vibe from beginning to end.
The brain-hurting middle episodes aside (which I shant even critique, it’s like poking a corpse with a stick at this point), I am disappointed that the drama never sincerely discussed or resolved the choice between Seol being a princess or Hae Young being a diplomat, and their intertwined family histories with all the money and country at stake. I know she joined him on the plane, but if I think about it, it all feels so nonsensical and skirting the issue.
Still, what’s done is done, and I like that MP chose to end with cuteness galore, because frankly there wasn’t enough there to have a well-rationalized ending. In my mind, Hae Young and Seol joined the mile high club on that flight, and had a pair of twins in 9 months time. With that, I put MP to rest with a pat on its head and a fond farewell. I’ll remember the good times, Seol and Hae Young, and conveniently forget the bad. It brings me joy and wonder to imagine that the two of you will undoubtedly make the world’s prettiest babies.
P.S. Don’t even start thinking about why that plane had like 7 passengers in one big ole cabin. I’ll pretend it was a major holiday and no one in Korea wanted to fly to the States.