Here we recap and discuss episodes 3 and 4 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
Photo credit to Dramabeans
So now that Jae Ha has made Hang Ah finally break into tears, he’s suddenly confused as to why his words would hurt her so much. He tries to make it up to her by tending to her foot, giving her some of his beauty products, and even pulls out his own damn personal humidifier that he brought all the way from Seoul. I’d roll my eyes at this if not for the fact that I actually believe his character would do something ridiculous like this and if I wasn’t laughing so hard at this scene.
Later, when the entire join team meets, Hang Ah tells the others she resigning because she joined this competition for the wrong reasons. Jae Ha tries to take her side and says if that’s what she wants, they can’t stop her. However, the other members say that they’re all hear for their own reasons as well so that’s no reason to just give up. Kang Seok is the only exception, but he’s the most vocal about her staying on and leading them. Since she has the support of everyone, minus Jae Ha, Hang Ah smiles and decides to stay.
When they get back to their room, Hang Ah half-jokingly decides to ask Jae Ha what she should do to appeal to men. Jae Ha then launches into a rather ridiculous, but completely understandably for him, list of how all guys want a woman with great looks, submissive, aegyo. He even mentions what girlfriday from Dramabeans accurate states as the sexy librarian syndrome of a girl who’s innocent by day and a temptress by night. Hang Ah scoffs at his list and shoots back her own about what girls look for in guys and that all the girls that fawn over Jae Ha are actually laughing at him behind his back. She continues to tear down his image and self-confidence to the point where he finally snaps and challenges her to a competition to see who can run the longest on the treadmills. Hang Ah is sure the soft little prince won’t be able to keep up with her and happily accepts.
One small problem with this little competition: the treadmills are kind of rigged to blow when they stop or the person gets off. Shi Kyung and the other team members are in a room where they’re supposed to be training, but he receives a text from Hang Ah telling him that she and Jae Ha won’t make it due to their little bet. Just then, they hear an explosion in the compound. As soon as they discover the bomb in another treadmill, he full on sprints to the gym where Jae Ha and Hang Ah are running.
With no choice but to keep running while the bomb squad tries to defuse the situation, Hang Ah and Jae Ha do all they can to encourage each other to keep running, including yelling out random compliments like “you’re sexy” and “you have pride!”. Hang Ah, who hurt her ankle earlier stumbles from the pain, but manages to stay on. Jae Ha then says they should sing a song to keep their minds off of the pain they’re in and we have a rousing moment where the entire gym bursts into song. I really liked that this scene cemented the comradery between both North and South team members, and was also amused that somehow an army base just got turned into a musical.
Eventually, the bombs are defused, and both are immediately brought to the infirmary. Jae Ha wakes up first and goes over to Hang Ah to brush the hair from her face. Her soldier instincts kick in though and she immediately wakes up from his touch and slaps his hand away. She then accuses him of planting the bombs in the first place, something that continues as the two of them are brought together for a debriefing. The two bicker back and forth about whose fault it is, climaxing with Hang Ah saying that if it was her, she wouldn’t have bothered with the tiny little bomb that they found and Jae Ha calling HER a bomb. Have I mentioned how much I love well written and executed banter? Because if not, I really do and Seung Gi and Ji Won do a rather amazing job of it in this scene and all scenes prior.
Meanwhile, big brother Jae Kang has heard about the attack is concerned about his brother’s safety. Fortunately, Jae Ha is safe from the bomb, but maybe not from Hang Ah. A more pressing matter has come up, though, and Chief Secretary Eun advises him that they’ve been asked to meet Bong Gu and Club M. Bong Gu greets Jae Kang with some magic tricks, but the King is not amused. The new head of Club M then asks about the bombs that went off in the treadmills and Jae Kang’s immediately on alert. He then gets a call from Chief Secretary Eun who tells him that the US and Chinese governments have decided to inspect the North Korean military base in light of recent events.
Again, we’re forced to listen to an American actor talk slowly in English as American and Chinese soldiers tear up the place looking for more bombs or something. Seung Gi’s English isn’t completely terrible but I still could’ve done without it. As they search Hang Ah’s room, they find the locked case with her underwear in it, but she refuses to open it for obvious reasons. She’s brought to a room where Jae Ha and the US and Chinese officials are waiting and is asked if she’s the one behind the bombs because they caught her crying on the CCTV footage. This leads to a completely ridiculous statement about tears being a woman’s weapons that had even me rolling my eyes at, and I’m a guy.
Jae Ha, however, comes to her rescue and grabs the case and drags her out of the room. As the US and Chinese officials chase after them, Jae Ha loses it and insults them to their faces about disrespecting Korea. The translators are shocked at the Prince’s outburst and he orders them to translate exactly what he said or else. Hang Ah sees him in a new light now and even Shi Kyung seems happy about his Prince’s actions. The American official, who botches the grammar in one of his sentences I might add, then politely asks if they can continue the investigation, but Jae Ha tells them in no uncertain terms to get the hell out. Seriously, if you’re an American actor in a Korean drama, why would you purposely say a sentence wrong when you know what it actually should be? Don’t just memorize what’s on the script and actually correct the damn thing when you say it so it’s not so obvious to those of us who actually can understand you.
News of his brother’s outburst has reached the South Korean palace where Jae Kang is posing for a portrait. At first it seems like he’s about to curse out his brother but instead he burst into laughter about it. Back at his evil hideout, Bong Gu seems concerned that North and South Korea might actually be cooperating with each other and compares the King to a lizard who thinks he’s a dragon.
Because of his new-found popularity after sticking up for the country, Jae Ha is crowing about it while the team is in the middle of a war game. It looks like Jae Ha, Shi Kyung, and Kang Seok versus Hang Ah, Dong Ha, and Young Bae. They all compliment him on it in one way or another and so Jae Ha isn’t taking the game too seriously. He decides to step out into the open to talk to Hang Ah, but she promptly shoots him with a simulated bullet through the heart “killing him”. He looks at the monitor he’s wearing that beeps at him indicating that he’s dead and then stares up at her in disbelief, only to see her stick her tongue out at him. As she zips him up in a body bag, he can can’t quite hear what she’s saying and yells at her for insulting him. However, she’s actually sincerely thanking her for taking her side.
Cue what is hands down my favorite scene of the series thus far. Kang Seok is sitting in front of a TV mesmerized by a broadcast of SNSD’s Genie MV, which is probably my favorite SNSD MV and the look I liked best for them. He’s fighting his own urge to turn it off when the screen goes dark, causing him to sigh in relief. However, the spotlight comes back on and Tiffany says her “DJ, turn it back on” line and we start the process all over again. He’s interrupted by Jae Ha, who upon discovering Kang Seok’s little secret, turns and looks at the direction he just walk towards with the most devious smile on his face. Kang Seok goes to admit his addiction to Hang Ah and curses the fact that he can’t get those legs out of his head and that he likes a girl with a damned American name like Tiffany. I feel you there, brother. There are days when those legs taunt me as well, though I’m fonder of the other girl with an American name. She just solemnly listens to his pains and comforts him as best she can. Rewatching this scene cracks me up way more than it probably should.
While on a conference call with his brother, Jae Kang broaches the prospect of Jae Ha marrying Hang Ah. At first, Jae Ha thinks Jae Kang wanted Hang Ah for himself and is shocked, but is even more so when he finds out the truth. Meanwhile, Hang Ah is getting the same offer from her dad and is an appropriate mix of disbelief and horror. Both reject the idea without hesitation, though Jae Ha does first go through an incredibly entertaining narrative of how their life would be like if Hang Ah moved to South Korea. The only problem is she’ll kill them all in their sleep with her needles of death if she gets mad. I’m pretty much dying of laughter at this point. I also did a double-take as he ends the call with Jae Kang with “sorry, but no matter how much I love her, I can bear to see you die.”
As Hang Ah walks outside after her meeting with dad, she sees some of the other team members having a playful fight in the snow. Shi Kyung catches her eye and she throws a snowball at his head to get his attention. He says she’s pretty strong for a woman, but she immediately starts flirting with him saying she’s just like a flower once you get to know her. Jae Ha, after walking out of his own meeting, gets crazy jealous seeing Hang Ah with Shi Kyung and dumps snow on her head. She’s staring back at him with a mini hat made of snow on her head and playfully mocks him that she must like her a lot if he’s feeling so jealous. Hang Ah then goes back to her snowball fight and leaves Jae Ha stewing. I’m not going to lie; I’m developing a pretty serious crush on Ji Won at this point.
Jae Ha, being the royal ass that he is, decides to reveal Kang Seok’s secret to Shi Kyung, who doesn’t find it amusing. Our spoiled little prince is actually annoyed that Shi Kyung didn’t laugh along with him and decides to take things one step further. It’s Kang Seok’s birthday so the South Korean team has all decided to give him gifts. Though the label says Shi Kyung, Jae Ha’s gift to him is a pink laptop that upon opening immediately starts playing SNSD’s MV of “The Boys” with captions on the bottom to Kang Seok congratulating him on having his eyes opened to a superior culture. My mouth is agape about Jae Ha’s audacity, but at the same time I’m laughing my ass off.
Kang Seok, on the other hand, is not as amused by the prank and knows exactly who’s the real sender of this gift. When Jae Ha later tries to poke the sleeping bear even more by pretending he heard about his SNSD addiction from Shi Kyung, Kang Seok lifts him by the collar and pins him to the wall. This is all captured on the CCTV cameras and all of a sudden officers and soldiers from both North and South Korea enter and out comes the guns pointed at each other. Shi Kyung is in the security room watching all this unfold and calls Jae Ha’s cell phone to tell him of a plan he’s devised to get him out safely.
Next is my favorite scene of this episode. Since Shi Kyung called him, Jae Ha’s phone starts ringing and in the middle of this incredibly tense situation, once again SNSD’s “The Boys” starts blaring out. Once again, I’m dying laughing right now and Jae Ha meekly tells Kang Seok that he’s also a fan, but not of Tiffany of course. I think he should’ve said he’s a fan of Yoona instead just to add yet another reference to the real world, but I can live with that. Shi Kyung starts to say tell his plan, but Jae Ha yells into the phone about SNSD causing an international incident. In his own convoluted way, he’s using humor to calm everyone down and apologize for the situation. He even involves Hang Ah in this, who actually understood his plan, and wittily responds that she likes Brad Pitt instead when Jae Ha asks her if she likes Jang Dong Gun. Eventually, everyone walks out alive and crisis is averted.
Of course the WOC isn’t as forgiving as Kang Seok and isn’t pleased about what happened. Jae Kang sits in the palace reading an official document from them saying that they’re concerned about what happened and is considering rejecting the participation of the joint Korean team. He’s pissed at little bro for ruining what is supposed to be one of his biggest achievements as King and inadvertantly takes it out on his mother who had walked in with a picture of a new bridge candidate for Jae Ha.
Meanwhile, the team, minus Jae Ha of course, is working out in the gym and talking about how for their next test they have to go on a 60 km run in just 8 hours. Hang Ah then goes to find Jae Ha to confront him about his little prank and sees him swimming in the pool. He starts to go on about how it’s important to increase stamina and keep toned rather than just build muscles that just slow people down when Hang Ah kicks him back into the pool. She then smiles at him and decides he should reflect on his actions and proceeds to lock him in the pool overnight.
An alarm then rings through the base and armed soldiers start pouring into the complex. Shi Kyung also receives an urgent call to get Jae Ha out as their been an incident. However, he doesn’t get very far as is captured by North Korean soldiers. Jae Ha is also quickly captured by soldiers who shoot their way into the pool. Meanwhile, Hang Ah is called in by her commander who immediately tells her that a war’s started. Dun dun dun…
I kind of wish they had dragged this out a bit, but we do find out that this is a test that’s been devised by Jae Kang himself as we see him enter the security room to watch what happens on the monitors with the other North and South Korean generals. When Jae Ha is led into the room with Dong Ha and Shi Kyung, he asks what happens and Shi Kyung just turns on the TV which is reporting that South Korea has attacked. Hang Ah and the North Korean members of the team then walk in and offers to escort them out so that they can be transported back to their country. Of course, Jae Ha and the others don’t believe her when they see the guns at their waists. The North Koreans then then pull out their weapon and Hang Ah orders Young Bae to lead Dong Ha out at gunpoint. Jae Ha, however, has no intention of going and sits down in chair, saying that they’ll have to kill him to get him to move. Hang Ah calls his bluff though and threatens to do as much to get him to go. Jae Ha then decides to buy some more time by faking stomach cramps and talks Hang Ah into letting him go to the bathroom.
After several minutes, Hang Ah and Kang Seok decide that they’re taking too long and burst into the bathroom where Jae Ha and Shi Kyung are lying in wait. Shi Kyung manages to disarm Kang Seok, but Jae Hae loses his own fight with Hang Ah. She threatens him once again with the gun, which prompts Jae Ha to launch into a rather stirring speech about patriotic pride. Hang Ah finally gives up and lets Jae Ha have her gun as a sign of good faith and finally all four can let out a sigh of relief. As they’re walking, Hang Ah and Jae Ha bicker with each other once again, but are interrupted when a giant spotlight shines on them just as they walk outside. All four are completely surprised and upon seeing all the guns pointed at him, Jae Ha thinks Hang Ah just said all that to lower his guard and so shoots her in the heart. My mouth drops at this point and I’m thinking to myself what has Jae Ha just done. Jae Ha then points the gun at his own head and Shi Kyung decides he has to shield his Prince at this point and jumps between Jae Ha and the other soldiers and points his own gun at them.
Jae Kang shows himself at this point and is in complete disbelief over what his little brother has done as well. Hang Ah is still in shock herself and a tear falls down her eye as she feels where the bullet should have been. The King tells them that his was their final test. All they had to do was trust each other and everything would’ve been fine. Instead Jae Ha failed them in the worst possible way by shooting Hang Ah. Because of this, he apologizes on his brother’s behalf and decides to disband the team before bowing in front of both North and South Korean generals and soldiers in attendance. When they’re in private, Jae Ha tries to make excuses by saying that it was a war situation and that they’ve been trained all their lives to not trust the North Koreans. Jae Kang passionately says that Jae Ha as a Prince of South Korea still should’ve been better than that and set an example to their citizens about trust. Jae Ha is furious with himself and his brother and so tells him that if he wants him so badly to set an example he’ll go on the crazy 60 km run in 8 hours by himself.
And away we go. Jae Ha doesn’t get very far when he’s stopped by Hang Ah riding up in a motorcycle, looking pretty damn hot even in her full training gear. She points out the different villages and how they’ve been rumored to kill outsiders and says she needs to accompany him or else he’ll never make it. Jae Ha sees her point and allows her to join him. She asks how he actually expects to run the full length, but he turns to her and says he won’t. I knew this was too good to be true. As Hang Ah listens in disbelief, Jae Ha launches into a length explanation for why his brother won’t actually let him run the full thing and will stop them early to protect him once he realizes that Jae Ha is serious about this. A truck pulls up that seems to be proving Jae Ha’s point, but unfortunately for him, they’re just there to give them the final location and to tell the support team that had been trailing them to return to base. Jae Ha looks at them in sheer disbelief as Hang Ah smirks at him and says they should get going.
At some point during the run, the rest of their team catches up to them in a van, Hang Ah is especially glad to see Shi Kyung, which causes the green jealousy monster to emerge again in the form of Jae Ha and he starts yelling at Shi Kyung for purposely resting up first before nobly trying to join them midway to say that they’re going to do this together. He even tries to guilt Shi Kyung into giving him a piggy-back ride. Shi Kyung, however, completely misses all this and thinks the Prince is serious and apologizes for everything. He and the rest of the team will still follow them, but rather than do the run, they’ll be supporting them from the back while riding the truck. Once again, Jae Ha can’t believe what just happened and Hang Ah gets him to start running again.
Later that night, Jae Ha collapses in pain from a leg injury he sustained in his earlier fight with Hang Ah in the bathroom. She pulls out her needles, which makes Jae Ha freak out, but she uses acupuncture to take away his pain. After she does, she smiles at him and asks him what he takes her for. Jae Ha can’t quite make himself apologize for misunderstand and calls her a “Red”, but he does smile apologetically at her and she accepts. The pain does persist as the night continues and though the rest of their team is trying to get them to stop by honking at them. Jae Ha won’t do it and angrily yells at them to go away.
By daybreak, Jae Ha is only walking with the help of a large stick he managed to find somewhere. Hang Ah goes to the river to get him some water, but runs back when Jae Ha stumbles and falls down to the river bank. He’s finally reached his limit and so Hang Ah decides that since they don’t have enough time to make it, they may as well relax and enjoy the weather. She lies down on her back to stare at the sky, and motions for Jae Ha to follow suit. After taking a quick break, though, Jae Ha decides he may as well finish what he started and continues onward. When Jae Ha stumbles, Shi Kyung quickly goes to help him up, but Jae Ha refuses because he thinks Shi Kyung is making fun of him for failing the test. However, we find out that Hang Ah lied to Jae Ha about how much time they had left so that he could get some needed rest. As the episode ends, we see Jae Ha limping towards the finish line with his arm around Hang Ah for support.
The schematics of how Jae Ha ran 60km in 8 hours while injured aside, these two episodes were amazing for me. Jae Ha was the star of both and they really went a long way towards developing his character. You see that yes he is a spoiled brat of a prince, but he does still have pride in his country and takes responsibility for his actions in his own convoluted way. His heart might not necessarily be in the right place all the time, but deep down you can see that he does care.
I’m also loving the moments of comedic relief in this drama. They show up at the randomest times, but they work so well in the overall flow of the story. The fact that you almost don’t expect them really only enhances their value. For example, using Jae Ha’s ringtone to undercut an incredibly tense situation. It was so completely unexpected that you’re laughing at the ridiculousness of it all despite knowing that things were leading up to something completely different.
I mentioned this before, but I really enjoy the banter between Jae Ha and Hang Ah. After watching what passed for dialogue in Dream High 2, Fashion King, and other recent dramas, I found it incredibly refreshing to find 2 leads who actually possess the chemistry and wit to make their back-and-forth sound so natural.