Here we recap and discuss episodes 12 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
After hearing about Sang Ryul’s plan, Hang Ah’s dad immediately goes to tell the prime minister. We then cut to Jae Ha who is met by a group of North Korean soldiers who say they will take over security detail for the king at this point since they’re usually in charge of guarding foreign dignitaries. Shi Kyung and the rest of Jae Ha’s bodyguards beg to differ. We then go back to see the prime minister isn’t convinced that Sang Ryul would actually do anything to harm Jae Ha. As he’s talking though, the prime minister mentions the place where Sang Ryul’s plan is to take place…which Hang Ha’s dad did not mention. Oops. He immediately notices this and asks how the prime minister knew the location.
Meanwhile, both North and South Korean soldiers are still arguing when Jae Ha interrupts them and asks what the lead soldier’s rank is. When he finds out he’s a low ranking foot soldier, Jae Ha completely ignores him and walks by. We cut back to Hang Ah’s dad accusing the prime minister of knowing Jae Ha’s life was in danger, but using him as bait to catch Sang Ryul in the act. That’s some expensive bait you’re using. Fortunately, Hang Ah’s dad convinces the prime minister to act and they immediately go after Sang Ryul, his family, and anyone loyal to him. However, Sang Ryul caught wind of this already and is already in the wind. He calls the soldier who tried to take over Jae Ha’s protection earlier and tells them they need to up the schedule for their plan.
Hang Ah’s dad has retreated back to his office to coordinate the search for Sang Ryul. When Hang Ah comes in, he pretends like nothing is wrong, but Hang Ah isn’t fooled. She knows that they failed to capture him and begs him to send Jae Ha back to South before anything happens. Hang Ah’s dad says he knows and he’ll send him back tomorrow after Jae Ha finishes filming some PR stuff for them. Her concern for his wellbeing is written all over her face and tries to argue with him, but he tells her not to get involved in this and calls in some female soldiers to place Hang Ah under house arrest.
Meanwhile, Jae Ha is going to his next schedule and Shi Kyung is concerned about security because the amusement park is a pretty big open area. The Northern officers tell him though not to worry as they’ve hosted other foreign dignitaries there without problems. We then cut back to Hang Ah, who has the same concerns as Shi Kyung when she’s told where Jae Ha is going. Her guards tell her that they’re the best in the world so why is she underestimating them? The propaganda is strong in this one. As Hang Ah goes to her room to rest, her guards ask her if they can take a look at the creams that Jae Ha brought her. Hang Ah says they can even keep it and we see both female guards gushing over the skincare products. Now that she’s finally alone to think, Hang Ah talks to her reflection in the mirror to try to convince herself not to get involved, but I think we all know that’s an argument she won’t win.
Back at the amusement park, Jae Ha and his security detail are riding the Viking with some North Korean citizens, but nobody’s saying anything. Jae Ha decides start yelling in excitement and nudges Shi Kyung to join him, which he does however reluctantly. Soon, everyone joins in and starts having fun. As he gets off the ride, he notices a news crew filming him and he takes the time to wink into the camera and tell Secretary Eun that he’s got this. As Hang Ah’s dad checks on security, we see Sang Ryul’s forces begin their plan. Sang Ryul’s men burst into the control room and threaten the employees there at gunpoint to tell them Jae Ha’s schedule. Man, can’t anybody do security right in this world?
We then cut back to Hang Ah cleaning her room to make herself feel better. She walks out and asks her guards if they want lunch, and one of them tells her that she found a box underneath with Jae Ha’s seal on it with a note saying that he made it. We then have a brief flashback of Jae Ha looking at directions he printed out over the internet and starting his chemistry experiment to make her skincare products. He even uses official papers to handwrite a 3 step plan to improve her skin condition. She pulls out the first bottle and it’s labeled “I’m sorry”. Hang Ah then pulls out the second bottle labeled “thank you” and we see Jae Ha ask himself if he needs to do all this even though he’s a king. He then looks at his phone and we see that he’s changed the background to Hang Ah dressed up in robes. Jae Ha tells himself that of course you should you bastard and says he loves her. That’s the label of his third bottle, which Hang Ah can only stare at as she’s overcome by her feelings. Damn fine job there, Jae Ha. Never doubt you for a second.
Out in the living room, Hang Ah’s guards are busy dividing up the other creams that were in the box. Hang Ah calls them over to each and quickly pins out against the table with her body and the other against the wall with her foot. She then pulls out the gun from the one bent over the table and aims it at the one pinned with her foot. Welcome back, Special Forces officer Kim Hang Ah. She tells them that she’d rather not have to tie them up, but is willing to let them stay free as long as they stay quiet inside the house. She puts on her uniform and calls someone on the phone to ask if they’re up for some realistic military training. I smell a WOC team reunion incoming; too bad they left Dong Ha back in South Korea.
Jae Ha’s led to the carousel and complains about having to ride this of all things. He then sees the park’s cat mascot, which is Tom from “Tom and Jerry”, but Shi Kyung tells him that in North Korea it’s aired as “Foolish Cat and Witty Mouse.” Whatever it is, Jae Ha doesn’t care much for it and tells the North Korean official that this will be his last ride. He then notices Shi Kyung hesitating and asks why he’s not riding it with him. Shi Kyung looks at him and says the ride looks safe enough for him to go alone. LOL, I feel you there Shi Kyung, but I have a bad feeling about this. Jae Ha mutters “stress…” under his breath and is joined on the ride by the Tom mascot and some other citizens.
The ride starts up normally and Jae Ha waves at the camera as he passes by it. As soon as Jae Ha gets out of sight of Shi Kyung and his bodyguards, the ride powers down and just like Bong Gu says from his villa of evil: “Okay, show time!” The citizens all draw guns and the Tom mascot takes off its head to reveal Sang Ryul’s soldier minion. He leads Jae Ha back into view, and Shi Kyung and all the other guards draw their guns as well. More of Sang Ryul’s men show up and we see bombs strapped to their chests, which are equipped with dead-man switches as Sang Ryul’s minion is more than happy to show by shooting one of his own men and causing an explosion.
Shi Kyung and the others have no choice and are forced to drop their guns and retreat back. Once they’re far enough away, the leader calls the news camera forward and starts reciting speech he prepared beforehand about how Jae Ha has insulted their country. Bong Gu is apparently able to contact him via the headset he’s wearing and asks to have him point the camera towards Jae Ha. Back at the palace, Secretary Eun tries to tell his minions to make sure Mom doesn’t find out, but he barely gets the words out of his mouth when she storms in and demands to know what’s happening. He tries to feign ignorance of the situation, which, you know, might’ve worked IF THE BROADCAST WASN’T PLAYING RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM. I swear, the man can’t do anything right.
Meanwhile, Bong Gu is tired of listening to the North Korean soldier ramble on and tells him to get to the point and show Jae Ha his video. He pulls out a tablet, a Samsung Galaxy by the looks of it, and gives it to Jae Ha to watch. In the video, Bong Gu tells Jae Ha that he’s behind all this and even though he told them not to kill him, he can’t guarantee that since the North Koreans are all lunatics.
We then cut to Hang Ah running through the amusement park, asking someone on her walkie-talkie if he’s ready. We then cut to the other person and, no surprise there, it’s Kang Seok. I was a tad surprised though at the RPG he’s just carrying around, but with him I find it oddly appropriate. We also see that Young Bae has set himself up with a sniper rife in the Ferris wheel. Hang Ah gets to high ground and scopes out the place with binoculars to assess the situation.
Jae Ha has had enough of the situation and, in true Jae Ha fashion, drops the tablet and asks to speak to Bong Gu through the guy’s headset. The guy wearing the mascot costume pulls out a gun and points it at Jae Ha, but he jokes about him popping things out of his stomach like he’s Doraemon. LOL, I swear Jae Ha has the best one-liners in this series. He then turns to the news camera and talks straight at Bong Gu:
“Ya, Kim Bong Gu. If you’re going to get over your inferiority complex, do it right. What is this? Are you advertising to the entire world what a fool you are? You can’t even show yourself so you send a video letter? What is this, Section TV? Are you shooting We Got Married? I don’t love you. Please stop obsessing over me, and get some exercise. It’s really the best thing for a complex. Or go read a book. Work on cultivating your inner self. You overly self-conscious inferiority-complex-riddled ass!”
Bong Gu completely loses it and yells for them to blow up Jae Ha. An explosion does go off, but it’s Kang Seok announcing his arrival into the park’s command center with his RPG. He then starts swinging the thing around like it’s a quarterstaff and takes out three men before getting the carousel started up again. This throws Sang Ryul’s men into confusion, which Young Bae uses to sniper the lead minion’s arm to make him drop the remote detonator. He then takes out two more guys that fortunately did not have bombs strapped to their chests. Shi Kyung and the other bodyguards rush forward to get their guns back, but Jae Ha still has a gun point to his head. Cut to Hang Ah, who runs up and leaps on top of the carousel. She’s spotted by Shi Kyung and her Dad, as well as the news crew who immediately start filming her, much to the surprise of Secretary Eun and Mom.
Next we see Kang Seok, who apparently ran really fast or was really close, hurling smoke grenades onto the carousel to hide Hang Ah’s entrance. She flips down to the bottom and looks badass as she immediately takes out three guys. Shi Kyung finally makes his move and takes out another one himself. The lead minion goes for the detonator, but Hang Ah steps on his hand right before he reaches it and kicks it away. She then steps on the arm that Young Bae shot and sticks her barrel of her gun down his throat. Shi Kyung and the others arrive to pull her off him and she walks away without even saying a word to Jae Ha.
We see her get into the truck she drove in on, but Jae Ha’s car drives up in front of her and he steps out and looks at her. She coldly looks and him, revs her truck’s engine, and drives straight at him. Of course, she can’t bring herself to do anything rash and stops the car before hitting him. Personally, I would’ve gone closer for a more dramatic effect, but minor details. She then gets out of the car and the two face each other as cherry blossoms rain down like snow on them.
In another classic Jae Ha moment, he starts off his apology to her by asking if she likes him or Shi Kyung. LOL. She glares at him and says she doesn’t know about that, but there is someone that she hates. Oh she hates him now; her affection meter definitely has gone up since they last met. Jae Ha reminds her that he holds grudges and is going to take revenge on her for saying that. He then tells her that as punishment, he’s going to shower her with kisses every morning. He’s going to follow her around like a stalker, buy her everything she wants, and only look at her…as revenge. Jae Ha then says he’ll never make her cry again, which of course he breaks a second later as Hang Ah starts tearing up. She’s trying desperately to hide how moved she is by his little speech, but Jae Ha steps forward and wipes her tears away, saying that he’ll make her the world’s happiest queen and that he’ll love only her until the day she dies. He then finishes it by going down on one knee and asking her “Can you handle all that? My queen?” TKO, game over, Jae Ha wins, Love Fatality. Hang Ah’s completely hooked at this point, but has to get in the last word by saying that South Korean men are all sweet-talkers. Jae Ha just smiles up at her and then stands up to wrap her in a hug.
Meanwhile, Sang Ryul is hiding out and demanding a passport, $1 million, and a Swiss villa from Bong Gu or else he’ll reveal Club M’s involvement in this little scheme. Secretary Eun’s British friend from before agrees to his demands and after getting the go-a-head from Bong Gu’s right-hand man, makes a call. We cut back to Sang Ryul’s men spotting a car and they confirm that it’s the one that they were told about would come for them. However, as soon as they step outside, shots ring out and immediately take out Sang Ryul’s guard. He tries to escape out the back but is caught by Hang Ah’s dad. Sang Ryul puts his own gun to his head, but Hang Ah’s dad calls his bluff and says he doesn’t have the guts to do it.
As soon as Sang Ryul is captured, Bong Gu’s right-hand man gives Hang Ah’s dad a call saying that he tipped them off to Sang Ryul’s location as a token of appreciation. Hang Ah’s dad doesn’t give a shit what he’s saying though and hangs up on him without saying a word. Bong Gu is not happy about his minion’s failure and as his female assassin chokes his right-hand man, he threatens to inject him with the same thing he used to kill his father. He’s feeling merciful, however, and Bong Gu decides to give him one last chance.
Back at the palace, Dong Ha is watching a news report saying that the North Korean WOC team helped in Jae Ha’s rescue and grumbles about being left out on the fun. LOL, I love the humor in this series. We then see the North Korean broadcasting an apology, as well as Secretary Eun releasing the palace’s official statement that the name Kim Bong Gu isn’t a person, but a symbolic name that Jae Ha made up to encompass everyone who opposed Korean reunification. None of the press are really fooled though and ask if he’s actually talking about Club M’s president.
Afterwards, Jae Ha gives Secretary Eun a call and asks if they were able to recover the footage from the tablet he broke so he can use it as evidence. Secretary Eun says that even if they did recover the footage, they have no leverage against Bong Gu since they have no power. Damn, I actually agree with the old fool for a change. Jae Ha asks him how long he has to wait to get his revenge for killing Jae Kang and injuring Jae Shin, but Secretary Eun says he’s still scared of Club M and that’s why he didn’t outright name them in his speech to Bong Gu earlier.
Jae Ha now prepares to leave by train and is given a bouquet of flowers by a North Korean child. As he’s talking to the prime minister, Jae Ha mentions Bong Gu’s name to gauge his reaction and tells him that they should both get stronger when he sees that the prime minister does in fact know what Club M really is. Inside the train, Hang Ah is calling to say goodbye to her dad. He pretends to be mad at her and says that she always just does what she wants anyway without his permission. Jae Ha boards the train and takes the phone from her to tell him that that they’ll be back after Chuesok. Hang Ah’s dad tells him not to bother since Jae Ha always causes an international incident when he visits. However, he does smile after Jae Ha says goodbye.
As they reach Seoul, Jae Ha notices that Hang Ah still seems down. She admits to him that she’s still scared of how the South Koreans will react to her, and Jae Ha just smiles at her and holds her hand as if to say everything will work out. He proudly brings her back to her room to find his mom and Secretary Eun waiting for them. Mom quickly goes over to Hang Ah and starts doting on her and thanks for saving Jae Ha. She then leads Hang Ah to the next room, which is filled with gifts from the citizens as their thanks for saving the king. Once again, security fails and neglected to screen the items and Hang Ah does find a note telling her to die, but Mom quickly grabs it away and says she’ll write the person her own letter to try to change his opinion of Hang Ah. She doesn’t really care though and is just glad to be back and to be welcomed back by the citizens.
Jae Ha decides to leave Hang Ah alone with his mom, and Secretary Eun has to be a Debbie-downer and tells Jae Ha there’s nothing special about getting presents from the people. Jae Ha is in no mood to listen to him though, and comments that the got only about half of that when his dad was dying. Secretary Eun says he’s just trying to make sure Jae Ha doesn’t get his hopes up, and Jae Ha says he’s just like his son and makes his mood drop whenever he’s starting to feel good. He tells Secretary Eun that he knows it’s just the beginning, but he’ll do his best to gain the power that they talked about before, causing Secretary Eun to actually smile proudly at him. It kills me a bit knowing how much faith Jae Ha and Shi Kyung place in this fool, but I guess the man does make a good point sometimes about their lack of power. I am reminded of the old saying about how even stopped clocks are right sometimes though.
Meanwhile, Shi Kyung is already busy gathering intel on Club M. The person on the other end of the phone asks him about Jae Shin and we hear a voiceover of the man saying that they need definite proof as Shi Kyung decides to pay her a visit. Jae Shin looks up from playing cards with her friends and waves at him to join them. Shi Kyung asks if this is all she’s been doing while he’s been gone, and Jae Shin just smiles at him and says they’re not even gambling, just having fun. That’s precisely Shi Kyung’s point though and he asks if she even bothered to go try to get treatment and regain her memory. Her smile disappears and she dismisses her maids so they can be alone.
She tells him that she did go through her therapy and that she’s just playing because she had some spare time. This isn’t enough for Shi Kyung though and he accuses her of purposely trying not to remember. Jae Shin is hurt by his accusation and even more so when he says she’s just milking her paralysis for sympathy points. Shi Kyung continues to say that it’s fine if she doesn’t want to remember, but she can’t just run from it forever. He wants her to return to the bold person that she used to be before. Aww, he does still care. Jae Shin doesn’t want to hear the tough love speech and requests that anyone other than Shi Kyung be assigned as her personal guard. As she hangs up, she just looks up at him with hurt in her eyes and calls him a frustrating jerk.
Shi Kyung was apparently really hurt by that last comment and is dwelling on it even as he meets with Jae Ha to discuss what to do next about Club M. He thinks back to all the times that she called him frustrating or boring and is so absorbed in his thoughts that he barely hears Jae Ha calling his name. He looks up at Jae Ha with puppy dog eyes and asks him if he’s really that frustrating, which Jae Ha confirms with a wry smile. Shi Kyung sighs and confirms what Jae Ha was asking him about a woman that’s related to Bong Gu. He also says that the North Koreans know that Club M was behind the attack on Jae Ha but they’re not going to do anything because they know that if they do, Bong Gu will pressure China to stop their financial support.
Jae Ha decides to fill in Hang Ah on everything he knows about Club M. Jae Ha explains just how far Bong Gu’s reach is with his vast amount of money and that even though he wants to stop him; they’re just too small a country to deal with the pressure that he can bring down on him by influencing the world powers. Jae Ha then looks up at her and asks if she thinks they can actually go through with the WOC and the marriage. Hang Ah sees Jae Ha in a new light now and decides to cheer him up by jokingly asking if this is Jae Ha’s way of saying he doesn’t want to marry her anymore. Jae Ha thinks she’s serious and says of course he does, it’s just going to be a long and hard journey. She stands up in feigned anger and says that if he cancels it again that it’ll be the third time he’s done this to her. Jae Ha tries to say that he’ll marry her immediately if that’s what she wants, but Hang Ah refuses, saying that given everything that Bong Gu’s done to them and his family, if Jae Ha can’t take care of Bong Gu first, he’s not a man and she’s not marrying him. LOL. Jae Ha is so taken aback by this that it’s all he can do to get out that he’ll do well and that he’ll get Bong Gu. This couple was seriously made for each other.
After she leaves Jae Ha, Hang Ah calls her dad and asks for any information he has on Bong Gu. Her dad complains about her waking him up in the middle of the night for this and asks how she found out. She asks what kind of person could make Jae Ha, who doesn’t seems afraid of even nuclear war, cower like this and says she’s going to go kill the person who’s doing this to “her man”. U-Go, girl. Her dad tells her to calm down and he’s already looking into it, but Hang Ah wants him to do something about it now. She then tries to get Bong Gu’s location from her dad, lying that she needs it as part of Jae Ha’s plan.
Later, Jae Ha and Shi Kyung are at a club where they’ve tracked down the woman they talked about earlier with connections to Bong Gu. Jae Ha starts heading in, but quickly turns around and tells Shi Kyung that he’s doing this for their plan. The only girl he loves is Hang Ah, and he needs Shi Kyung to back him up if Hang Ah ever finds out about this. LOL, going with the seducing the girlfriend for info plan, huh. Shi Kyung shows more restraint than I would at this point and gives Jae Ha the barest hint of a smile and nods. The woman asks him who he is since she apparently rented out the place tonight, but Jae Ha says so did he, which clearly intrigues her. Yeah, I’m pretty sure Hang Ah would probably still kill you even with Shi Kyung backing your story.
Meanwhile, Bong Gu receives a package from Jae Ha at his villa. He’s surprised that Jae Ha would know about this place and opens it to find a box that’s voice password protected like the files of the former king. Jae Ha also includes a letter saying that Bong Gu shouldn’t bother trying to open it because he’ll regret it. He also gives him a hint to the password that it’s something that Jae Ha has but Bong Gu does. It’s an incredibly obvious ploy, but plays directly to Bong Gu’s personality and he becomes obsessed with figuring it out. He even tries to have it forcibly opened, but is told that there’s an explosive inside that’ll detonate if they try to tamper with it, so he’s back to square one.
As Bong Gu is desperately trying word after word, Jae Ha and Hang Ah prepare for their first public appearance since the whole fiasco before. As they reach their destination, Jae Ha asks Hang Ah if she’s ready and holds her hand after she nods at him. They share a look with each other and Jae Ha leads her onto the red carpet and up the stairs, with Dong Ha and Shi Kyung and other soldiers saluting at the ready. We then cut back to Bong Gu who has an epiphany and figures out the password: people. Jae Ha and Hang Ah reach the top of the stairs and after gazing at each other, turn and face the reporters that have gathered.
Wow, what an episode. This one had everything that makes this drama as compelling as it is. You have the random bursts of humor to undercut the tension, while keeping everyone in character. There’s the clever and witty banter between characters that’s almost the defining hallmark of the series, at least for me. The pace at which the story developed was well executed, and of course you have another of Jae Ha’s crazy schemes somehow working out in the end.
Speaking of which, Jae Ha should actually thank Bong Gu for pulling that little kidnapping thing on him because it benefitted him a great deal. Without it, it’s possible Hang Ah throws away his gift without ever finding her real gift underneath or even worse, finds it after he leaves. The hand-made lotions were a nice touch, but not enough to have her come running back to him. The lotions only truly worked because it made her drop her defense enough for him to give his little revenge speech to her and really go in for the finishing blow. Under the soft moonlight, with cherry blossoms all around, the atmosphere around them still heated from before, Jae Ha couldn’t have made a better environment even if he planned it himself. It was almost like a drama; oh wait…
Jae Ha’s reactions to all of Bong Gu’s planning though, and even his gift were terrific. He knows exactly the kind of person that Bong Gu is and does the exact opposite of what he wants every time. Bong Gu might think he has to play down to Jae Ha’s level, but Jae Ha is a fast learner and Bong Gu’s about to be outclassed unless he steps up his evil game. It also kills me a little bit not knowing what’s in the box yet, but what’s a good drama without some good and proper cliffhangers?
I also liked how they’re developing the relationship between North and South to setup their future reunification. Thus far, Bong Gu’s only been taking shots at Jae Ha, but his latest stunt,along with the treadmill bombs from their training period, has brought the North directly into the conflict. Jae Ha, being pretty much only a ceremonial king, lacks the power and autonomy to much on his own whereas the North has no such limitations. Yes, they are dependant on countries like China for financial support, but that’s where Jae Ha can help him. Jae Ha’s position gives him more global political influence than anyone in the North. He can be the face of their alliance and go out to make them allies, while the North actually goes out and does the ass kicking. Of course, this is all symbolized by Jae Kang’s vision of a joint Korean WOC team and his insistance on a political marriage between North and South by Jae Ha and Hang Ah. That they actually like each other is a bonus.
It’s nice to see how much Jae Ha has progressed from the beginning. At first he was a spoiled brat who only wanted nothing to do with the throne, but with prodding from Jae Kang, Shi Kyung, Hang Ah and many others, you see him growing into his role as king. I also loved how Hang Ah played him into focusing his efforts into finding Bong Gu and giving him a reason not to feel sorry for himself. It was exactly the best way to motivate him without hurting his pride or self-confidence.