Here we recap and discuss episodes 18 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
In her attempt to evade capture in China, Hang Ah wanders into a household and asks to make an international call. The couple inside glances nervously at the gunshot wound on her arm, but allow her inside. As the wife pours Hang Ah some tea, she tries to warn her to leave while she still can, but it’s too late and we see that the husband has called the authorities. Hang Ah is brought in for questioning, but they don’t believe that she is who she says she is. At least that’s what it appears like to her. In actuality, the Chinese government knows exactly who she is and tells Bong Gu that they have her. He tells them that they can keep her for now because he wants to save her as a wild card to use to shake up the North/South Korean relationship.
Inside her cell, Hang Ah asks to see a doctor since her arm is hurting. However, the guards tell her that she can see a doctor later when she gets transferred. You would never know that her arm is wounded at all though considering she’s doing vertical pushups and other exercises to pass the time. In the depths of her loneliness, she conjures up and image of Jae Ha warmly placing his hand on her shoulder and smiling warmly. He wraps her in an embrace, but then the image vanishes and she’s all alone again, a lone tear running down her face.
Back in Korea, Secretary Eun decides to go fishing and is surprised when Shi Kyung appears in front of him. As they sit down to talk, Shi Kyung jokes that his dad should’ve started a hobby he was good at. Well, he got over the whole betrayal thing awfully fast. He admits to his dad that he was always intimidated by him and it’s because of this image that he felt so betrayed. When Shi Kyung tells his dad that no matter what happens to him, it’s not his fault, Secretary Eun gets worried and asks what’s wrong. Shi Kyung quickly changes the subject though as they see the pole move, but they end up losing the fish. It’s actually a pretty good father-son moment, but definitely rushed.
Later, Jae Ha is meeting with his legal team as to how to prosecute Bong GU in the ICC. Dong Ha interrupts him yet again and tells him that he thinks Shi Kyung is trying to go to China. We then cut to Shi Kyung asking for days off from the commander of the royal guard, but he’s being denied. Since they won’t let him use his vacation days, Shi Kyung puts a letter of resignation on the table and walks out. Dong Ha is trying to get Shi Kyung to change his mind and tells him that Shi Kyung’s been banned from leaving the country. LOL, that’s some swift action there Jae Ha.
Once he’s told of his ban, Shi Kyung storms into Jae Ha’s office, but is met by a secretary and is told that Jae Ha is holed up in his study and has ordered that nobody go in. From outside the door, Shi Kyung pleads his case, asking if Jae Ha is not allowing him to do this because he’s his friend. No problem then as Shi Kyung says he never thought of Jae Ha as his friend anyway. Hah. He tells Jae Ha to please be strong, but Jae Ha still remains silent. Shi Kyung then drops the formalities and calls out Jae Ha’s name, which provokes a response from Jae Ha. He furiously storms out of his study, and Shi Kyung points out that he’s the one who said they were friends. LOL. As Jae Ha looks at Shi Kyung though, his anger subsides and Shi Kyung promises that he’ll come back.
Now that Jae Ha has agreed to the plan, they spend the night preparing for it. After they finish setting up a code so that they’ll be able to contact each other, Jae Ha asks Shi Kyung to see Jae Shin before he goes. Shi Kyung asks Jae Ha for permission to do whatever he wants with Jae Shin, saying that he wants to meet her not as a royal guard to a princess, but as one person to another. Just this once, he wants to do what his heart desires. Aww. Jae Ha corrects him and says that he should be meeting her as a man to a woman, and then makes a call to have Jae Shin brought out to the garden and to block off access to everyone other than Shi Kyung.
After she is brought to the garden, Jae Shin is confused as to why her maids are taking away her wheelchair. She then sees Shi Kyung standing off to the side, and turns so that she doesn’t have to face him. Err, if you wanted to her as not as a royal guard, maybe you should take the uniform off first. Jae Shin asks if he thinks she’s a monster now because of what happened, but Shi Kyung points out that it was his own dad that gave up the location. He doesn’t blame himself for that and she shouldn’t blame herself for something that Bong Gu did. Because it’s the upright and moral Shi Kyung saying this to her, Jae Shin finally seems to be able to accept this face and breaks down into tears.
He’s clearly gotten more comfortable touching her compared to before, as we see him carrying her through the garden on his back. As he’s walking, Shi Kyung tells Jae Shin that he’ll be gone for a vacation and that he’s giving her homework that she has to complete or else he won’t come back. The first assignment is to tell herself that it’s not her fault 100 times. She has to laugh at least three times a day, make sure to attend all her counseling and rehab sessions, and to practice going out in public. Jae Shin meekly agrees to all of it. As Shi Kyung tells her that she has to sing as well, Jae Shin gives him a quickly peck on the cheek and asks if there’s anything else. In response, Shi Kyung quickly kisses her passionately on the lips. He immediately apologizes afterwards, and quickly pushes her in her wheelchair back to the palace. Afterwards, he’s agonizing about his own boldness in his guardroom and starts to write Jae Shin a letter. LOL.
Secretary Eun is sitting at his fishing spot when he receives a surprise visit from Jae Ha, who tells him about what his son intends to do. Jae Ha admits that he knew how much he needed Shi Kyung to do this, but he had to pretend to resist at first so it didn’t seem like he was a bad person. Secretary Eun says he’s worrying too much though, since if that makes Jae Ha a bad person, what does what Secretary Eun did make him? Jae Ha nods in agreement and offers Secretary Eun his old job back, with a lower pay of course. However, before that, Secretary Eun says that there’s someone that he needs to apologize to first.
We then cut to him apologizing for covering up Jae Kang’s murder to Mom in her indoor garden. She asks him if he was happy when he last saw her son and how he looked when he died. Secretary Eun says that Jae Kang was happy and died with a smile on his face. To Mom, that’s all she can hope for and somewhat accepts his apology.
Back in his office, Jae Ha receives a package with the tablet that Bong Gu gave him in North Korean. The data, of course is unsalvageable. As Jae Ha is recording his diary, he has an epiphany and looks between the camera and the table at which he met with Bong Gu. Later, as Shi Kyung is preparing some more for his mission, Jae Ha tells him that he’s found the evidence. Shi Kyung already heard about it though and tells Jae Ha that he’s ready on his end as well. After he hangs up, Jae Ha’s secretary walks in and tells him that the reporters are ready. Nice, I sense another patented Jae Ha moment full of bluster and craziness.
When he gets to the podium, cameras are going off non-stop as they prepare for his announcement. Bong Gu’s minion tells his boss that his sources say that Jae Ha’s going to talk about Club M, but thinks Jae Ha is bluffing. However, Bong Gu has taken a measure of Jae Ha by now and knows that Jae Ha’s not one to act so rashly. Well, maybe not now, but before… They tune into the announcement and Jae Ha stuns the reporters and everyone watching when he announces that Jae Kang was murdered. The evidence is, of course, the video diary that started recording when Jae Ha casually said the keyword during his conversation with Bong Gu. The reporters in the room immediately recognize who he’s talking to and ask him to confirm. Jae Ha is more than happy to and announces that he will prosecute Bong Gu in the ICC, saying that he’ll make sure Bong Gu answers for what he’s done. In his hideout, Bong Gu knows he’s in a bit of trouble and tells his minion that he’s going into hiding. He also tells him to have Hang Ah transferred immediately.
After leaving his boss, Bong Gu’s right-hand minion is talking to someone on the phone about how Bong Gu’s becoming dangerously uncontrollable. Oh this is so not going to end well for you, guy. He arranges for a hit on Bong Gu, but is surprised to see him standing outside his room. When Mia walks in, his minion knows he’s in trouble and sure enough he gets killed and tossed into the pool. Bong Gu orders Mia to find out all the conspirators in this and to take them all out. As they’re talking, they hear a gunshot ring out and duck for cover.
Of course, it’s Shi Kyung pretending to try to sneak into the compound. Dong Ha came with him as well and was given some final instructions from his captain before they separated. Shi Kyung quickly allows Mia to capture him and he’s brought to Bong Gu. He tells Bong Gu to kill him, which Mia is more than happy to do, but Bong Gu instead just orders that he be held captive for now. Once Dong Ha confirms that Shi Kyung’s been captured, he radios to Jae Ha about Shi Kyung’s success. Soon after Mia brings Shi Kyung inside, she immediately starts the torture on him and we hear a voiceover of Jae Ha telling Shi Kyung that he has to hold out for as long as he can so that Bong Gu will believe he’s been turned.
Over in China, a doctor is finally attending to Hang Ah’s bullet wound, which is miraculously healed and looks like it’ll barely even leave a scar. When he lets his guard down, Hang Ah takes the doctor hostage and demands that he hand over his phone. At the same time, Jae Ha is meeting with Secretary Eun and hears his phone vibrating. I swear if you don’t pick up your phone, someone’s going to get hurt. Fortunately, he does step up from his conversation to answer the phone, even if he doesn’t recognize the number. His eyes go wide when he hears Hang Ah’s voice and she quickly tells him where she’s being held. After he hears gunshots and the call suddenly dropping, he immediately mobilizes Secretary Eun to contact the Chinese government and prepare for an immediate departure.
As Bong Gu’s contact inside the Chinese government is ordering Hang Ah’s transfer, one of his aids tells him that both the North and South Korean governments are requesting that the prison where Hang Ah said she was be blocked off and nobody allowed in or out. Jae Ha gets to the prison as quickly as he can, along with a full complement of North and South Korean troops, and is told by their advance team that nobody has been through the gates since his call to them. That’s efficiency right there. I don’t even care about how they got an advance team to the prison so quickly in the first place.
Inside the prison, the warden tells the guards to quietly bring Hang Ah out just moments before going out to meet with Jae Ha. He tells him that there must be some mistake, but Jae Ha interrupts him and orders all the men he brought with him to search the place. Dong Ha and Young Bae are among those looking for her and they’re frantically running around calling her name. She hears them calling her and tries to make a break for it, but stops when they point a gun to her head. Meanwhile, the warden tells Jae Ha that he can just come back later, but Jae Ha says that he wants to be here to see firsthand what they’ve done to his fiancé. Better hope that your guards don’t use that gun on her or Jae Ha might just have you shot as well. Honestly, I don’t see the point of the gun because really? You’re going to shoot the fiancé of another country’s head of state? No amount of PR can cover up that mess.
Hang Ah seems to realize the emptiness of their threat as well and calls out for Jae Ha as they’re moving her. Before they can gag her, Jae Ha hears her screaming and directs everyone to the building that he heard her in. Meanwhile, the guards are still trying to secretly move Hang Ah without the entire search party seeing her. Out of necessity, I’m assuming because I can’t think of a good reason otherwise, they bring Hang Ah through the central hall of the building and is of course seen by Jae Ha. For good measure, they even stop Hang Ah in the middle of one of the overhead walkways so she can meet eyes with Jae Ha. Despite the fact that they’ve been found out, the Chinese guards are still trying to get Hang Ah out of their before the entire search party comes bearing down on them. Hang Ah manages to make a break for it and one of the guards fires off a shot before anyone can stop him. Oh. Shit. You did not just do that.
After hearing the shot, Jae Ha freezes where he is and thinks the worst. He stares up at her prone body and glazed over eyes and sees her blood dripping down. Jae Ha is beside himself in grief and hesitantly makes his way over to check on her. Fortunately, this drama isn’t mean enough to take Hang Ah away from him after all he’s been through to get her and she’s just been shot in the ankle. Which uh makes no sense since the guard clearly had the gun chest high and had his hand knocked upwards. But hey, Hang Ah’s alive, so I can live with it. Jae Ha’s okay with this as well and tenderly cradles Hang Ah in his arms.
Bong Gu’s found himself a new right-hand minion, which is the guy who bribed Secretary Eun. He tells his boss that China’s been cornered and that they should use Shi Kyung. Speaking of our faithful soldier, you can see he’s been tortured pretty badly by Mia. As soon as Bong Gu sees this, he slaps Mia across the face and immediately orders that Shi Kyung get released.
After Shi Kyung is cleaned up, Bong Gu says that even though his advisors are telling him to have Shi Kyung kill Jae Ha, he doesn’t think that Shi Kyung is capable of doing it. He knows about their plan to have Shi Kyung be a double agent, saying that he can read it all over Shi Kyung’s face. Damn, this is exactly why I didn’t want him to be sent in the first place. Bong Gu even knows that Jae Ha probably tried to stop Shi Kyung at first to make him seem like a good guy. He then asks Shi Kyung to come to his side to help him become a good person like Jae Ha. If there’s anyone that Shi Kyung doesn’t like or thinks is corrupt, he’ll toss them to the side. However, Shi Kyung says that Bong Gu is the worst of them all so he should take himself out first. Damn, as much as I liked that statement, I really hope it doesn’t get Shi Kyung killed. After the meeting, Bong Gu’s new right-hand minion suggests just that, but Bong Gu stops him.
Back in Korea, Hang Ah wakes up and sees her dad waiting at her bedside. She wants him to call Jae Ha for him so that they can stop Bong Gu as soon as they can. As if she summoned him herself, Jae Ha quickly comes in and she pleads with him that they have no time to lose or else they’ll just suffer again. After Jae Ha asks to be alone with her, he tells her not to worry about that and just rest. Hang Ah’s super soldier persona has broken to a certain extent and you see her crying about how evil he is as she cries while being held by Jae Ha.
Afterwards, Bong Gu’s Chinese government contact meets with two decidedly unhappy fellows in Jae Ha and Hang Ah’s dad. Hang Ah’s dad angrily asks if they really think an apology is enough, but Jae Ha stops him. Rather than apologize with words, Jae Ha wants them to either help capture Bong Gu or allow Korea to bring in their own troops to do it. Hang Ah’s dad also threatens to sever the relationship between China and North Korea, saying that they’ll instead form a military alliance with Russia instead. Hah.
Feeling the pressure, Bong Gu’s contact demands that he leave the country immediately. Bong Gu threatens to cause problems for them, but suddenly the Chinese government grows a pair and stands up to Bong Gu. Bong Gu tries to protest their deadline of 3pm the next day, but they cut him off. Hah. Afterwards, Bong Gu pleads with Shi Kyung to help him lure Jae Ha to a certainly location. The torture the went through before is nothing compared to what he’ll put him through next if he doesn’t help him and he gives Shi Kyung until noon to decide.
When Hang Ah is told of Shi Kyung’s decision, she worries about him and asks what Jae Ha plans to do if something happens to him. Jae Ha quietly says that if the worst comes to pass, he’ll just be guilt-ridden for the rest of his life. However, there’s nothing they can do until their troops come in the next day. The only thing they can do is trust in Shi Kyung.
That particular proposition is looking less safe by the minute. We see Shi Kyung strapped to a chair with a dropper full of dripping acid in front of him. Mia tells him that he might be able to take it since he’s a soldier, but she now has permission to go ahead and torture his dad and Jae Shin as well. She slowly moves the dropper towards him and moves it over his arm. As Shi Kyung struggles to get away, he thinks about his loved ones, who Mia also threatens not to kill but to torture endlessly instead. She finally drops the acid on his arm and you hear him scream in agony.
The next day, Jae Ha receives a call from Shi Kyung. With Mia and Bong Gu behind him, Shi Kyung tells Jae Ha that he won over Bong Gu’s trust. Uh oh. Did they really break him?! Jae Ha asks him if he knows Bong Gu’s location and Shi Kyung rattles off a set of coordinates. At first, Jae Ha says that he’s going to go back to Korea with Hang Ah, but Shi Kyung convinces him to come and watch Bong Gu’s capture himself. Uh oh. Danger alarms are going off in my head again. Hang Ah wants to go with Jae Ha as well, but he tells her that she can’t go anywhere with her leg in that condition. He assures her that he’ll be fine since he’s just meeting Shi Kyung and that he’ll see her back in Korea. Really? You don’t say that in dramas!!! Usually means you’re not coming back!!
When Jae Ha gets to the location that Shi Kyung told him about, we see Bong Gu’s men stationed all over the place with assault rifles in hand. Shi Kyung gets Jae Ha to send his guards away to help take with the takeover of Bong Gu’s hideout and goes with him in his car. As they’re driving, Jae Ha tries to talk with Shi Kyung, but he says nothing. Meanwhile, as Hang Ah is driving away, she tells her dad that she wants to turn the car around and check on Jae Ha.
Shi Kyung eventually drives Jae Ha to a secluded rock face near the sea where he’s met by Bong Gu and half a dozen soldiers pointing guns at him. Jae Ha slowly turns to Shi Kyung for an explanation and in a true wtf moment is stunned to see a handgun pointed at his face. Let’s uh, hope that this turns out the same as when this happened in episode 1.
So normally in dramas, I’m usually pretty sure who is and isn’t going to die, but honestly in this one, I don’t think anyone’s truly off limits other than Jae Ha. Although, after that ending, I kind of have my doubts. The million dollar question is of course did Bong Gu really turn Shi Kyung? That was some pretty gruesome torture that he went through, and even the most hardened soldiers can break from it. It’s one thing for him to go through it, but like always, threatening loved ones usually seems to work better. Even though it’s Shi Kyung, our resident pillar of all that is good in the world, there’s that hint of doubt in me that’s driving me crazy wondering if he really did get turned. All I know is, Jae Ha you better have planned for this and have an attack helicopter waiting to just fly up behind Bong Gu or something. You can even have the US WOC team be piloting it for all I care, I just want to know that backup’s on the way.
I really enjoyed what was essentially Shi Kyung and Jae Shin’s first date in the garden. Once again, I can’t help but feel uneasy about him saying that he’ll return if she finishes her homework, but it was still a great scene that was long overdue after all the buildup we’ve had between the two. Even if they’re not the leads, I’m still very much emotionally attached to this couple and damn it I want them to be happy.
For all that this episode did right, the one thing that I felt was off was how quickly Shi Kyung got over the guilt about his dad. I mean, everything that I expected to happen for their reconciliation did happen. It just happened far too quickly for my liking. There are only two episodes left though so I understand the reason for it. I just wished that there was more time to really flesh that out properly like I know this drama is capable of doing.