Here we recap and discuss episodes 8 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
Most photo credit to Dramabeans
As Jae Ha gets back to the palace, pauses look up at the palace criers announcing the death of his brother. He thinks back to his last conversation with Jae Kang and wells up in tears. Other memories of the two of them together come back to him and it’s all he can do to keep from straight up bawling. Meanwhile, Hang Ah is talking to her dad, but cuts him off and says she has to go. When she runs into Jae Ha, she calls him Highness, but he tells her not to call him that. We then see him walking down the corridor in full uniform with soldiers on either side of him bowing in respect. He walks into his brother’s old office, but instead of their dad’s picture, it’s now between replaced with one of Jae Kang.
Later, Secretary Eun tells him the first thing he has to do is record an audio diary. Apparently it’s a tradition of theirs to talk about their day in front of the portrait of the former king. First though, he has to set keywords. The computer asks him for his start keyword, which Jae Ha records as “You happy?” as he angrily stares up at his brother’s portrait. It then asks him for the ending password and Jae Ha, who’s not really registering what the computer is saying, says “what’re you looking at?” I know this is supposed to be a serious scene, but damned if I wasn’t laughing at how appropriate those keywords are for Jae Ha to talk to Jae Kang.
Now that he’s done, Jae Ha calls Secretary Eun back in and asks him what he has to do next. He points him in the direction of the mountain of files that need to be reviewed since Jae Kang went on vacation and starts to pitch a fit. Secretary Eun puts him in his place and Jae Ha prepares himself for an all-nighter, confident that he’ll be able to do all this by the morning because of his 187 IQ. Meanwhile, Secretary Eun receives a call that the Minister of Defense wants to go over the investigation of Jae Kang’s death. He’s told that they died of carbon monoxide poisoning and suddenly he has a surprised look on his face as he thinks back to him leaking Jae Kang’s location. Really? Just now you realize the idiocy of what you did? You do not deserve to make that face. As if to confirm his suspicions, he receives a text from Club M with a picture of the villa and text saying thanks for the help.
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Mom is taking care of her daughter in the hospital bed. As she’s talking to the nurse we see Jae Shin’s eyes start to flutter open. We then cut back to the palace and see that Jae Ha really does seem on top of all the files he said he was going to read and talking to his staff about them. When Shi Kyung comes in and tells him that Jae Shin is awake, they immediately leave to go to her side. She remembers calling Jae Ha and Shi Kyung and even going shopping, but she can’t remember anything else that happened that day. Jae Shin starts to panic and reaches for her phone, only to discover that she can’t move her legs.
We then see Secretary Eun in his everyday clothes rocking himself by the fire. Good, you should just stay there because you’re clearly lost the mental capacity to advise the king. Unfortunately Jae Ha doesn’t think this way and calls him in to talk about the report on Jae Kang’s death. He questions whether it’s an accident at all given Jae Shin’s accident on the same day and Secretary Eun admits that it’s his fault. Just as you think he’s going to redeem himself, he says it’s his fault because he didn’t check the house more carefully. You rat bastard, I hope Jae Ha throws you out of the palace on your ass. Jae Ha, however, thinks Secretary Eun is trying to take the blame because he doesn’t want to waste the time to try to mold him into a proper king. When Secretary Eun says it’s both those reasons, Jae Ha punishes him by saying that he’s too busy to kick him out now and he will have to help Jae Ha as he gets through this. As Secretary Eun leaves Jae Ha’s office, he gets a call from Bong Gu who has guessed pretty much exactly what Secretary Eun has done so far. Secretary Eun tries to say that he can’t be bribed, but Bong Gu says he pretty much was by receiving an album worth $50 million. Ugh, for once I’m actually on Bong Gu’s side.
Meanwhile, Hang Ah is busy working in the garden. The staff assigned to watch her tell her that Mom said for her to do nothing, but Hang Ah points out that she measured and the garden is within the 500 meter limit from her room. I love this girl. Jae Ha happens to run across her and stops in for a visit. After excusing all the staff, he smiles and tells Hang Ah that she’s best suited for this kind of work. Hang Ah gets mad at him since this is the first thing he’s said to her in a while and the two banter like old times for a bit. She then asks him how he’s doing and Jae Ha says he’s actually more worried about his mom. He then asks Hang Ah to go to the hospital to help with Jae Shin, which Hang Ah was also about to suggest herself.
We then cut to the hospital where we see Jae Shin being taken care of by her mom. She sneaks a comp from the dresser nearby and stabs her legs with the pointed end. Mom finally notices it and is shocked by what her daughter just did and the lack of expression in her face as she’s doing it. Jae Shin looks like she’s lost her mind and tells her mom that it’s fascinating and feels just like stabbing rubber. Mom eventually has to leave for another engagement. She leaves Shi Kyung in charge of her security, but Jae Shin yells for her to send Shi Kyung away when she overhears this. She then bumps into Hang Ah, who at first says she wanted to visit Jae Shin, but stays there under the pretense of catching a cold.
Inside her room, Jae-Shin smells something weird and starts to panic as soon as she looks under her covers to see she’s just pooped in bed. She sees the box of tissues and it takes all her strength to crawl towards it, but despite her best efforts, she can’t reach them and falls to the ground. Shi Kyung and her security detail hear her fall, but she screams at them that she’ll kill herself if anyone comes in. Hang Ah overhears what’s happened and barges in despite Shi Kyung’s attempt to stop her, saying that nobody who’s actually committed to killing themself announces it like that. As soon as she walks in, Hang Ah quickly sizes up the situation and locks the door behind her. She throws the sheets in the bathroom and runs a bath for Jae Shin, throwing her in clothes and all. Jae Shin fights her the whole way, but Hang Ah eventually calms her down. The doctors outside ask if she’s okay, and Hang Ah suggests she answer them or else they’ll come in and see the “poopy princess”. Yeah, I really love this girl.
When Mom comes back, a locksmith has finally been able to unlock the door, and she walks in to see Hang Ah carefully spreading lotion with Jae Shin giving her directions for which is body cream and which is foot cream. Hang Ah isn’t sure what to say, but Jae Shin tells her mom what happened and that Hang Ah helped her through it. She mentions that they still can’t get the smell out of the sheets, but Hang Ah has it covered and says she spilled coffee on them. Hah. Mom isn’t quite sure what to make of this scene, but we see that this last act finally let her completely accept Hang Ah and she teaches her an old family recipe in the hospital’s kitchen.
Later, Jae Ha has joined them in the hospital for a family dinner. Mom tells her son that Hang Ah made it and at first his eyes light up and he sounds excited…but then says he’s definitely not going to eat it then and hands it to Jae Shin. LOL. Turns out to be a smart move as Jae Shin tries it and says it’s good, but way too salty. Mom then hands the plate back to a smirking Jae Ha, who asks if she really expects him to eat it. She glares at him and so he reluctantly tries it as Hang Ah smiles at him. The saltiness is too much for him too and he asks if they can have meat, but Mom says that they can’t during the mourning period. Fortunately, they are allowed to even eat though as Jae Kang changed the customs after having completely fasted for three days when their father died.
The room grows awkward at the mention of Jae Kang, but it’s Mom of all people that lifts the mood by saying that she’s sorry that Jae Kang got his uptightness from her. Both of her kids laugh and Jae Ha includes Hang Ah in their conversation by saying his mom really is a little petty like she said at their last dinner. After dinner, they head back to the palace and Mom finally allows herself to truly mourn her son and cries while calling out his name. At her hospital room, Jae Shin looks at a picture of her brother in her phone and cries as well.
It’s now time for the funeral and Jae Ha is once again dress in his full royal attire as he oversees the funeral procession of Jae Kang and his wife. Hang Ah mourns them by herself in her room and thinks back to him telling her that she’ll be his shield and to their last conversation. At the funeral, an emotional slideshow of pictures of Jae Kang play and brings the entire audience to tears. Jae Ha is still tearing up by himself in his office later when Hang Ah comes in to console him. She tells him to let it all out in front of her because keeping his emotions bottled in isn’t healthy for him. Jae Ha doesn’t want to hear this from her though and says she’s crossed a line to say this.
This leads to easily my favorite scene of the entire drama. Hang Ah has gotten permission from Secretary Eun to “borrow” Jae ha for three hours and prepared his favorite food for him: sausages. I would’ve gone with donuts, but I don’t think that pairs well with the red wine she’s also prepared for him. As she waits, Hang Ah watches an episode of ‘High Kick 3’ to learn some aegyo from Hwang Jung Eum’s cameo appearance, but almost vomits from how over-the-top it is. She also practices calling him “oppa” like he told her way back while they were training for the WOC. However, Jae Ha comes in and now it’s show time. She tells him in a cutesy voice that she wants him to rest a bit and points at the sausages saying she got permission for it. Hang Ah then calls him “oppa” but trails off halfway and looks like a part of her died inside from the embarrassment. This girl, I swear just keeps getting more and more likeable.
The scene gets even better as Jae Ha blinks his eyes in disbelief and questions whether he heard her correctly. He says it’s embarrassing to hear it come from her since it’s the same age, and Hang Ah has the cutest embarrassed expression on her face as she realizes what she’s just done. Jae Ha then bursts out laughing and asks if she practiced saying that, and Hang Ah recovers to say that she didn’t and is just expressing her real feelings for him. This leads her to reference her ‘Secret Garden’ drama and say a modified line of “to me, this person is Kim Tae Hee and Jeon Do Yeon” by replacing them with their North Korean equivalents. Jae Ha calls her out on this, and busts a gut laughing. He begs her to do one more for him and Hang Ah reluctantly agrees on the condition that he not laugh. Yeah that’s one promise I guarantee you’re not going to be able to keep. Hang Ah then turns on her radio and T-ara’s “Bo Peep Bo Peep’ starts playing. As she’s adorably dancing to it, Jae Ha tries his best not to laugh, but it’s a losing battle. In his defense, he lasted longer than I did. He teases her about the oversized paws she’s wearing and says that he’s more suited to a song like the Rocky theme song.
Now that he’s enjoyed Hang Ah’s little dinner show, Jae Ha lies down on her bed and says he’s sleeping here tonight. Hang Ah tries to say he has to go work, but then says she’ll just wake him after a nap. Jae Ha has other ideas though and pulls her into bed. Hang Ah says that even in the North they still respect traditions and tries to get up, but Jae Ha lures her into bed by pretending that her skin still seems dry to him. She completely falls for it and sits back down to look at a mirror, which allows Jae Ha to tenderly brush his hand across her face. They then start talking about Jae Kang and Hang Ah shows him the text that Jae Kang sent to both of them the day he died, the same one that Jae Ha deleted. It’s a picture of Jae Kang and his wife smiling, and Jae Ha scoffs at how childish his brother was. Jae Ha then says he just hung up on him and finally breaks down into tears. Hang Ah sits back down and holds him to her chest and lets him cry his heart out. We then see Hang Ah wearing her nightie looking at a shirtless Jae Ha sleeping next to her. Doesn’t take a genius to see what happened here.
The next day, Secretary Eun barges into Hang Ah’s room and sees her sitting on the couch waiting for him. Rather than let Jae Ha take the blame for not going back to work, she says it’s her fault and that she wanted him to stay. We then see Secretary Eun receive a call from Bong Gu, saying that he’s going to be landing in Korea soon and to not kick him out like he did last time under Jae Kang’s orders. Later, he advises Jae Ha to meet with Bong Gu. I swear this guy is doing all he can for us not to like him. When Bong Gu meets with Jae Ha he mentions that it’s an honor to meet him again, but Jae Ha doesn’t remember him as being the person who stabbed him with the pen those many years ago.
In case it’s not evident, I really hate Chief Secretary Eun. How do you not know that revealing the location of your king will be an issue? That’s the whole point of keeping the damn thing a secret. I would rather prefer him be a mole for Club M rather than the wishy-washy old man who annoyingly keeps claiming he can’t be bribed even though we all know otherwise. At least if he was mole, we can gives more screen time to Shi Kyung as he has to deal with his loyalty to king and country and loyalty to family. With Jae Shin at his side, of course.
Speaking of Jae Shin, I love the development of a sisterly connection between her and Hang Ah. They made it so natural too how they pushed them together without compromising Jae Shin’s pride or Hang Ah’s innate desire to help. There was no convoluted event that made them bond, it was something completely ordinary and yet compelling at the same time.
I also really enjoyed the pace at which Jae Ha is being developed to be the next king. You see the huge responsibility dumped on him and him dealing with in his own unique way. You also see him slowly but surely taking on responsibility that he’s not used to but still being the same immature brat that we’re used to seeing from him. I also enjoyed the growing connection between him and Hang Ah. It makes sense that she’s the only one he can open up to since she’ really the only one who doesn’t see him as a king. To her, he’s still the man she fell in love with and vice versa. I’m a tad surprised they actually slept together, but it’s rather realistic given the circumstances so no complaints here. Am I tad bit jealous? Possibly… Never thought I’d ever say this but I have a mad crush on a woman 6 years older than me.