Here we recap and discuss episodes 15 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
We rewind a bit to when the American team leader first called Jae Ha and tells him to surrender. After the call, Jae Ha calls the South Korean general and asks if there are any other ways to win other than what they’ve been told already. He’s given a few options: have the other team surrender, kill every member of the other team, have the opposing team rebel against their leader, or destroy the command post and communications room. The only restriction is that they can’t cause an injury to the other team that will take more than 4 weeks to heal. Of the choices, Jae Ha has chosen the last. The other team members are skeptical of Jae Ha’s plan but they have no other real option so they are forced to go along with it. They ask him how he intends to create a bombs and Jae Ha says he only needs a cellphone and a spark plug.
We now fast forward to Jae Ha sneaking into the enemy command center. As he’s setting up his bomb, we hear a voiceover of him saying how the Korean military is unique in that because of the mandatory enlistment, you get people from all sorts of different backgrounds. While Jae Ha was bored in the military, he learned all sorts of nifty things from the people under him, and this apparently is one of them. We then cut to Kang Seok still playing decoy with the two soldiers that went to check on the Korean base. They see he has the boat motor so they are forced to go after him. As they’re chasing him, Kang Seok manages to take one out of the action with a land mine. Not a real one, of course, but the standard issue WOC ones that just simulate a real one.
Back at the American base, Jae Ha has setup the first bomb and radios to Dong Ha to create a distraction so he can sneak into the supply room where Young Bae is being guarded by one of the Americans. The American shows Young Bae a lighter that Dong Ha threw earlier and asked if it was a message to him. When Young Bae yells out Dong Ha’s name, the latter immediately throws in a smoke grenade and Young Bae trips up the officer inside so Dong Ha can storm in. They are able to capture the American soldier, But Young Bae is taken out during the fight. The other Americans hear the gunfire and come out to investigate, but are immediately fired upon by Hang Ah and Shi Kyung’s replacement. Hang Ah is able to take out one and injure the right arm of another, but Shi Kyung’s replacement was “killed”.
Later, the surviving Korean team members, minus Kang Seok, are strategizing in the supply room with their hostage. Jae Ha is busy setting up his bomb in there when Dong Ha suggests that they just kill the hostage and storm the command post with the three of them since the Americans are outnumbered. Or they can leave Jae Ha to guard while the two of them attack. Hang Ah objects to the plan, saying that if anything happens to them, there’s no way Jae Ha can survive on his own. This causes Jae Ha to stop what he’s doing to blink at Hang Ah as if to say “really? still don’t trust me?”. Hang Ah just smiles at him and tells him to continue what he was doing. Meanwhile, Kang Seok has reached the outer boundaries of the allowed area and climbs up a barbed wire fence, which of course makes him a stationary target for the remaining American soldier chasing him and he’s taken out. He’s done his job, though, and the American is out of the game for all intents and purposes.
Twenty minutes before the 8pm deadline, Jae Ha tells Hang Ah to start their plan. She objects since they haven’t planted their bomb in the command post yet as the two Americans are hiding out in there. Jae Ha, however, is confident that he’ll be able to do it within the time frame as long as Hang Ah is able to draw them out. Hang Ah calls the American team leader on his cellphone and tells him to put on the funny little earpiece that, because it’s a drama, is apparently a universal translator. He then looks outside and Hang Ah is leading the hostage out into the open. She wants to negotiate and throws down her own weapon as a sign of good faith. At first the other American officer objects since it doesn’t benefit them in anyway, but the American team leader says they have nothing to lose either since they’ll win on points from having both keys anyway.
When the American team leader comes out, he asks Hang Ah what they did with the boat. Hang Ah tells them that they sunk it since there’s no rules regarding that. Jae Ha then whispers for her to blow the communications center, but Hang Ah hesitates because Jae Ha still hasn’t setup the bomb in the command post yet. However, she eventually complies with his request and dials the bomb on her own cellphone. Before it goes off, Jae Ha sneaks into the command center and tells the American inside to get away from the wall closest to the bomb. Of course, the American soldier doesn’t listen and is hit by from behind by a door that got blown off its hinges. Jae Ha quickly goes to check on him and sighs in relief when he finds a pulse. He also takes the two keys that the soldier had around his neck.
Outside, the American team leader is incredulous that they’d do this and thinks they’re breaking the rules by sneaking in live bombs. Hang Ah says that they haven’t broken the rules and are just using some of the combustible gas. Meanwhile, inside the command post, Jae Ha discovers that his communications unit was damaged in the explosion and then quickly goes to work setting up the last bomb.
When the American team leader asks why they’re going this far for a game, Hang Ah says it’s not just a game for her. Her engagement is on the line, as is the reputation of the royal family. She then launches into an impassioned speech about how North and South were separated in an instant and if he’s experienced the same kind of destruction that would pit family members against other family members. Well…there was that whole American Civil war thing that did technically last longer than the Korean War. At any rate, it’s never been a game to them. She then tells him that he should be more worried about his supply room and blows that up as well. Before she blows up the headquarters, Hang Ah gives them one last chance to surrender. However, the American team leader tells her to just do it since, as Americans, they’ll never surrender. At least they got that part right. He pretends not to care about his own teammate as a way to mess with Hang Ah’s head, but says he won’t mind if Jae Ha is killed in action. He then calls her bluff, saying they either they set the charges or they didn’t so it’s out of his hands now. She tries to contact Jae Ha, but of course can’t reach him.
Hang Ah then thinks about the last conversation she had with Jae Ha where he tells her to make absolutely sure the deadline doesn’t pass. Inside the command post, Jae Hae is frantically still trying to finish setting up his homemade bomb. We then hear him telling Hang Ah that this plan depends on their teamwork and that it’ll fail if they don’t trust each other. At this point, Jae Ha has finished and is now trying to drag the unconscious American out. The American team leader sees Hang Ah preparing to set off the last charge, and says that Jae Ha will die in the explosion if she does. As Hang Ah hesitates, she remembers Jae Ha telling her to trust him and that they’ll go back together to get engaged. If she really loves, she’ll set off the charge so they can win. With just seconds left before the deadline, Hang Ah says she loves Jae Ha and sets off the bomb.
She’s not quite sure that he actually made it out alive though and immediately runs to the command post and calls for him at the top of her lungs. As she’s frantically running around, she hears Jae Ha’s voice telling her that she’s too loud. She looks to the side and Jae Ha grins at her and asks if someone died. Hang Ah slowly walks over to him and starts bawling as soon as she wraps her arms around him. Jae Ha jokes that she really didn’t believe in him up until the end and then shares a smile with Dong Ha. It seems only fair that Dong Ha would be there at this moment to see what is basically the end to the convoluted seduction plan that Jae Ha discussed with him on Jeju Island.
Meanwhile, Mom and Jae Shin are being told by Secretary Eun about Jae Ha’s tactics. Apparently some of the WOC member nations have taken offense to them and are discussing what to do next. It doesn’t matter to Mom though as she just wants them back since they did as they said and got pass the first round. She then asks about Club M and is told that the situation has been resolved. Jae Shin, however disagrees saying that they just apologized and let Mia Taylor go. Mom tries to stop her, but Jae Shin continues and says that they’re the one who started this fight. In the end, though, Mom does get Jae Shin to apologize for being rude to an elder. Jae Shin also finds out about Shi Kyung going to apologize on her behalf as well.
Speaking of Shi Kyung, he’s out for a run and can’t help but think about what’s happened the last few days with Club M and Jae Shin. He’s so absorbed in his thoughts that he trips over a traffic cone. This finally makes him reach his breaking point and he yells out in anger and frustration. Meanwhile, Jae Shin is watching him as he kneels on the ground and actually sheds a tear.
To cheer him up, she decides to call for him. Jae Shin tells him that she’ll start her treatment again so that she can get her memory back. Shi Kyung surprises her though, and says she doesn’t have to if it’s too hard. She asks him if he’s giving up on her and now it’s Shi Kyung’s turn to be surprised, but he manages to say no. She then confesses her feelings for the “world’s most dull and boring man”. LOL. Shi Kyung is having a full on deer-in-headlights moment and eventually stutters out that Jae Shin is going through a lot lately and is feeling weak right now. She admits this, but says that she’s always wanted him by her side and feels like acting childish and wants to joke around when she’s with him. Now that she’s finally realized that she likes him, Jae Shin doesn’t want Shi Kyung to give up on her and says that she’ll become a brave woman that that will be a good match for him. Personally, I thought Shi Kyung’s confession was better, but still not too shabby Jae Shin.
Back on the island, both American and Korean teams have been hanging out for three days while waiting for the WOC committee to make their decision. In the spirit of cooperation, Hang Ah takes some of the meat that they’ve cooked to give to the Americans, amidst the objections of her teammates, of course. At first they refuse the offer, but after three days of eating just field rations, cooked meat is smelling pretty damn good right about now. In exchange, they offer the Korean team some cookies and gum for desert. One of the American team members then throws some ointment at Kang Seok’s head, which he at first takes offense to, but eventually mutters out “thank you” in English.
We now go back to Korea and see Shi Kyung panicking about something Jae Shin’s just done. He doesn’t even wait to finish listening to what his dad was saying and sprints out the door. Apparently, she’s gone to the peace conference where Bong Gu is making a speech about how he doesn’t think that the North and South Koreans are ready for reunification yet. After he’s done, it’s Jae Shin’s turn and she wheels herself on stage. She apologizes for what happened to her at the banquet and glares at Bong Gu. When Shi Kyung, who decided that he could spare the time to change into a suit first instead of the guard uniform he was wearing, gets to the conference, he gets there in time to hear Jae Shin talk about how peace is something that people slowly work towards. She then pulls a page out of FDR’s playbook and shows off that she can now stand up on her own. It’s only 10 minutes for now, but she’s keep working on it and eventually will get better at it. Just like she’s doing, the North and South can work towards peace with the other countries helping them along as their “crutches”. Meanwhile, Mom is watching her daughter proudly from the palace.
The American general is still being a prick and whining about the Korean tactics. The South Korean general then pulls out the rule book and says they followed it to the letter. He also points out that their own West Point Academy emphasizes creativity, and this is definitely creative. When the Chinese general asks why they tried to climb over the gate, the North Korean general says that they never actually crossed over so no fault there either. Eventually, the WOC chairman has enough of the arguing and puts it up to a vote.
No surprise here, they ruled in favor of the Korean team, by a single vote apparently, and we see them getting on the boat. Rather than let them wait for the next boat to come, Jae Ha goes to the American team and invites them to come with them. Once again, Hang Ah acts as the friendship catalyst and offers to exchange her patch with the American team leader’s. While everything is exchanging and having fun, Kang Seok rolls his eyes at them and asks if they can just get going already. He’s then offered an exchange as well and grudgingly does so. We then hear a voiceover that tells us that while the Korean team did beat Russia in the second round, they lost to Egypt in the semi-final round. Hah, guess it’s a good thing they didn’t get them in the first round like they wanted.
At the final ceremony for the WOC, we see them celebrating with the other teams as Jae Ha is giving an interview to a foreign news crew, saying that they must’ve lost from their overconfidence. We then see Hang Ah being interviewed and she’s asked about her engagement. She’s unsure what to say and looks around for Jae Ha and he quickly shows up and confirms that they are officially getting engaged. Kang Seok then shows up with champagne glasses in hand they start to celebrate again. Meanwhile, Bong Gu is watching the broadcast of this and asks his minion when they’re set to return. Upon being told that they’re coming back tomorrow, he asks for his phone.
Back at the palace, Shi Kyung is talking to his fellow guards when he receives a call from Bong Gu, who introduces himself as the “rotten cookie”. Hah, still hung up on that are we? Shi Kyung quickly tells the other guards to leave and then asks how Bong Gu got his number. Bong Gu ignores the question and asks him once again why he likes Jae Ha even though the two of them are not that different. Shi Kyung doesn’t even bother to let him finish and immediately hangs up on him. He starts to save Bong Gu’s number as “rotten cookies” but Bong Gu calls again and asks if he really trusts his father since blind faith is poisonous. Dun dun dun…
As he’s flying home, Jae Ha gets a call from Secretary Eun that Bong Gu wants to meet him. Hang Ah advises against it, but Jae Ha insists. After he finishes talking to Jae ha, Secretary Eun turns to Shi Kyung and asks what Bong Gu talked to him about. He’s relieved when Shi Kyung says it was nothing, but still thinks about Bong Gu’s threat of revealing everything to his son. At the same time, Shi Kyung turns to look at his father and thinks about what Bong Gu told him about blind faith.
When Jae Ha and Bong Gu meet, the latter congratulate Jae Ha on how he did at the WOC. He then suggests that they stop their fighting since it’s tiring for both of them. Wait, what? Bong Gu says to pretend that he’s the one at fault and just part ways. Jae Ha objections, of course, saying that it doesn’t quite seem fair for him to pretend to be sorry given that he killed someone. Bong Gu knows Jae Ha’s upset, but he’s upset too because he’s lost $100 billion because of all this. However, he’s willing to eat this loss and let bygones be bygones. He tells Jae Ha that through this experience he’s realizes just how alike they are and that’s probably why he was so obsessed with him in the first place. He even shot his woman like Jae Ha did, except he’s one step above because he used real bullets.
Jae Ha does admit that they’re similar, but the difference is that he actually feels shame and still has a conscience. He tells Bong Gu that he doesn’t follow any code and does exactly what he wants, just like pigs and dogs. Oh no, Jae Ha you are definitely going to regret that. Bong Gu asks if Jae Ha’s really going to keep up the fight, but Jae Ha says that he’s just going to ignore him because if he continues dealing with Bong Gu he’ll become like a pig or dog like him. Bong Gu says in that case, Jae Ha’s engine will get ruined and congratulates Jae Ha on his engagement. Jae Ha finally realizes what he’s just done, and asks if he’s really going to ruin the ceremony. Bong Gu laughs and then becomes dead serious again and says that he should just enjoy it while he can.
The day of the ceremony, the royal guard is out in force as they search everyone that enters the palace for the ceremony. Dong Ha is posted at the entrance while Shi Kyung is roaming around. As the parents, Hang Ah’s dad sits next to Mom up on stage. Kang Seok and Young Bae are giving front row seats as well and they show up in full uniform. LOL. The only person missing is Jae Shin who is busy going through physical therapy. She tells herself that no matter what, she’ll definitely be there for the wedding. Meanwhile, Bong Gu is playing with tarot cards, saying that each one represents Jae Ha’s people.
Back at the ceremony, Kang Seok and Young Bae stand up and start clapping, but Jae Ha motions for them to stop for now. When Hang Ah shows up on stage, though, everyone else starts cheering. Seems a bit presumptuous to wear the white, but it’s just an engagement ceremony after all. Besides, she looks really pretty so I’m okay with it. We then hear a familiar voice ring out and announce the start of the engagement vows. Everyone looks behind the happy couple and up on the screen we see a video of Jae Kang. Apparently he recording this to practice for the real thing and so they’re going to use this as a tribute to Jae Kang. I know this is a bit forced, but man does it still pack quite the emotional impact. Jae Ha smiles gratefully at Secretary Eun, who apparently found the tape, but just as Jae Kang is about to talk, Secretary Eun gets a call from Club M and excuses himself.
On screen, we see Jae Kang recite what are basically marriage vows to Jae Ha and Hang Ah, of course pausing, at the proper times to allow them time to respond. He even smiles at them. After the standard vows, he has one additional request for them. He asks them to promise to strive to achieve a war-free Korea and to join their strengths together in the unfortunate case that war does break out.
As Jae Ha and Hang Ah turn to face each other, we cut back to Bong Gu and his tarot cards. He’s extremely happy that the first card he’s picked is the Queen of Swords, and the second card is the King of Swords. Um, grats? We then cut back to Jae Ha and Hang Ah promise video Jae Kang that they will as he smiles down at them. Jae Ha and Hang Ah hold each other’s hand and then turn to face the crowd.
I understand why the WOC committee was so pissy about Jae Ha’s tactics, but at the same time, really? It’s a freakin war game and you’re complaining about tactics that are well within the rules of the tournament? Why bother putting in that rule about no injures that take more than 4 weeks to heal at all then? Why not just say don’t cause any injures at all if you’re worried about someone chipping a nail? Why are you going to put in a rule about destroying the enemy command center to win if you don’t want people to use it?
I loved the use of Jae Kang’s video for the engagement ceremony. Like I said, yes it was a tad forced, but it makes so much sense to have that there. It’s only fair that Jae Kang get to oversee their engagement as that and the WOC were his babies. Those were to be the crowning achievements of his reign and having him there to see them to completion, even if not physically, made for a moving scene. Not that he needed it, but it’s also a good reminder to Jae Ha exactly what Bong Gu’s taken from him. Despite their differences, he wants to do his big brother proud and avenge him.
I also enjoyed the few scenes that Jae Shin and Shi Kyung had together. Because of her accident, a lot of the maturity that she had before has been lost. Mom and Jae Ha will of course baby her, which is why it’s up to Shi Kyung to give her the tough love she needs to regain her former vivacity. Even though Jae Ha wanted Jae Shin to be regent, I can’t help but feel that Hang Ah talked him into that as a necessity. Though so far it’s just been Jae Shin leaning on Shi Kyung, soon enough it seems like it’s going to be the other way around soon when Shi Kyung eventually has to deal with his father’s betrayal. Just like she had nobody else to turn to, he’s in the same situation. He’s not going to open up to Jae Ha, that’s for sure, and Hang Ah’s not exactly an option either.
Though the episode ended on a bit of a happy note, it’s definitely not going to last. Though I understand Jae Ha’s reluctance to not forgive Bong Gu, you can see he crossed a line with Bong Gu with the dog and pig metaphor. Hopefully, Jae Ha doesn’t pay too big a price to realize his misstep there.