Here we recap and discuss episodes 19 of The King 2 Hearts. Caution, spoilers below. Don’t read if you don’t want to know what happens.
Back at the palace, Jae Shin is faithfully completing the homework the Shi Kyung gave her and has come to wish one of staff members a happy birthday. Of course, right at this moment, Shi Kyung has a gun to her brother’s head. Jae Ha slowly walks to the throne-chair that Bong Gu has prepared for him, his eyes constantly on Shi Kyung. As soon as he sits down, Bong Gu demands that Jae Ha withdraw his lawsuit against him, break up with Hang Ah, and abdicate as King. If not, he’ll have Shi Kyung kill him and South Korea will be in danger. He has 10 minutes to decide.
Meanwhile, Hang Ah is on her way back to Korea when she tells her Dad that she wants to turn the car around because she’s worried about Jae Ha. Her dad assures him that he’ll be fine, but Hang Ah then reveals she had a secret plan with Jae Ha. That plan better involve snipers and a strike team.
Back at the cliff, Bong Gu asks Jae Ha what he’s going to do, and even gloats about how he managed to turn Shi Kyung. They’re the same anyway since Bong Gu bought Shi Kyung’s loyalty with money and Jae Ha got Shi Kyung’s loyalty just because he’s king. Jae Ha then turns to Shi Kyung to ask if he really did betray him. Shi Kyung, with his gun still pointed at Jae Ha tells him this:
“Of course there were temping moments: when you said you’d abdicate and when you said that you could never send me here. But those were the only times. You always blamed others, but never game up. Even when faced with 99% odds against you, you always looked and found that 1% possibility. I’m not faithful to you because you’re a king. I’m faithful because you never gave up even in times of despair.”
You, sir, give the best speeches, Shi Kyung. He then whirls around and points his gun at Bong Gu, which uh leaves him outgunned like 8 to 1. That number doesn’t last long though as reinforcements arrive in the form of a strike team led by Dong Ha and Young Bae. I knew you had a plan, Jae Ha. You uh probably could’ve called them in earlier before guns were drawn and everything, but hey where the fun in that right? We also see Hang Ah setting up high above them with a sniper rifle as additional insurance. I was hoping she was aiming at Bong Gu through her scope, but alas she’s only focused on Mia.
We flashback to when Shi Kyung first called Jae Ha and find out that his first words to Jae Ha was actually their code to tell him Bong Gu’s location. They enter his phrase into the computer and it decodes it into a set of coordinates. Uh, sure okay. Now that the tables are turned, Jae Ha tells Bong Gu that his choice is him. Shi Kyung tells for the bad guys to drop their guns and they all quickly comply except for Mia. She slowly puts starts to put her gun down, but then quickly aims for Jae Ha. Hang Ah and Shi Kyung both take her out simultaneously and the other strike team members open fire and take out all the other guards.
Now that he’s all by himself now, Bong Gu listens to Shi Kyung’s request to put his hands behind his head. A lawyer or something from the ICC investigations department steps forward and reads Bong Gu his rights while one of his buddies slaps a pair of cuffs on him. As soon as everyone’s all smiles and has let down their guard. Bong Gu pulls a tiny handgun he had in his sleeve and shoots Shi Kyung in the chest. Wait, what? No. No no no no no. You stupid drama, how dare you do this?! Everyone’s too shocked to call a medic and just stand there wasting precious time staring at Bong Gu. Jae Ha’s the first to call for the medic, which I don’t know why they didn’t have one already there with them anyway. Rather than worry about himself, Shi Kyung tells Jae Ha not to blame himself for this. Even with blood spilling out of his mouth, all Shi Kyung is concerned about is the fact that they got Bong Gu and tells Jae Ha to never give up in the future. This is not happening. This has to be a dream.
As Jae Ha cradles Shi Kyung in his arms, he’s crying and tells Shi Kyung not to die, but things aren’t looking good at this point. We then have a flashback montage of moments with him and Jae Shin, as well as see her singing her song to the palace staff for the birthday party. Well shit, I guess he’s not making it now if they’re doing the happy flashback thing… By the way, where’s the damn medic?! And why are you not putting pressure on the wound anymore Jae Ha?!
Later, Hang Ah has taken it upon herself to personally inform Jae Shin of Shi Kyung’s death. Jae Shin doesn’t believe her though, saying that Shi Kyung told her that he was going on vacation and that he’s not the kind of person who’s capable of lying. However, the truth sets in once Hang Ah hand Jae Shin his dog tags. She immediately breaks into tears and wail that he promised to come back if she did her homework. Hang Ah breaks into tears as well and goes over to comfort her in her arms.
At the guard room, Secretary Eun is mourning his son’s death by staring at his name plate. He stands up and bows when Jae Ha enters the room, and Jae Ha says that the two of them are probably thinking that Shi Kyung’s death is their own fault and that he died because of them. However, as King, Jae Ha can’t afford to dwell on such matters and neither can Secretary Eun. He might not be Shi Kyung, but Jae Ha would like it if Secretary Eun would think of him as his son now and he’ll treat him like his own father. I understand the sentiment behind that, but it still seems wrong to me…
On the day of Shi Kyung’s funeral, Secretary Eun is the first to lay a flower on the tomb of his son and Jae Ha also places a medal of honor there as well. Dong Ha reminds Jae Ha that he still has Shi Kyung on the no fly-list and asks him to lift the ban so that his spirit can return to them. I’m personally tearing up at this point myself, and Jae Ha orders that Shi Kyung be allowed to come back.
Over at the ICC, Bong Gu’s being interviewed by the chief prosecutor about whether Jae Ha entrapped Bong Gu during his confession and if he really attempted to kill Jae Kang and his wife. Bong Gu ignores the question though and says simply that through this experience he’s realized that emotions are worthless. After the interview, the chief prosecutor is met by Club M’s lawyers with a request for bail. Are you serious? You fools better not let out someone who has a freaking private jet out on bail. He’s the definitely of a flight risk. Jae Ha isn’t happy about this either when he finds out.
Back in South Korea, Hang Ah is doing some volunteer work when she gets a call from mom. She brags that she’s pretty good at it now and that she should just get some rest. Right as she hangs up, she gets another call and grins broadly when she sees it’s Jae Ha. He jokingly demands to know if she was talking to another man on the phone, and she wistfully tells him that she wishes that she did. Jae Ha tells her that they’ve picked a date for the wedding, and Hang Ah jokes that it might not be a bad thing to never get married. They’re scheduled to take photos for the wedding, but he wants her to come early so they can have a date. Hang Ah wonders if they’ll actually be able to have a normal date, but happily agrees to it. You two are in awfully good spirits considering Shi Kyung died so you guys can have this happy reunion.
When Jae Ha returns to the palace, Secretary Eun tells him that the other countries are starting to apply financial pressure on South Korea and that the director of the US National Security Council wants to speak with him. Despite trying to hide his face in the dark office, we see that the idiot who played the American general at the WOC is pulling double duty as the Security Council director. News flash, people: putting glasses on someone doesn’t make them a different person, despite what DC comics wants us to believe with Clark Kent. At any rate, he tells Jae Ha he’s preparing to have over 200 politicians sign a request to have Bong Gu released by bail and that arresting him is an international tragedy. Dramatic much? If Jae ha doesn’t help them with the bail request, South Korea will undergo heavier economic sanctions.
After his call with the “director”, Jae Ha meets with his economic advisors who tell him that they’ll start seeing the consequences of the sanctions within half a year. One of them brings up the bail request, and Secretary Eun is adamant about him not being released on bail or else he’ll flee the country and hide out somewhere. Hang Ah is happily walking through the halls and is surprised to overhear Jae Ha cancelling the appointment for the wedding photos on his phone. She turns around is even more surprised to see her dad walking towards her.
They go talk elsewhere and he tells her that China is refusing aid to North Korea now. Even the food aid that they need to feed their citizens has been cut off. Hang Ah is curious and tells her dad that they can’t let Bong Gu get away with this and that they need to join hands with South Korea to get through this. Her dad tells her though that this is a South Korean problem and tells Hang Ah to just be a good wife for now. LOL. She tells him though that it’s her wifely duty to support Jae Ha though.
Later, Hang Ah sees Jae Ha working and tells him that she’s going to go with a North Korean delegation to support him at the ICC. He’s shocked at this, and forbids her from doing so, even as she’s trying to plead her case. Until Bong Gu starts his trial, he wants her to stay by his side because he doesn’t want anything to happen to her again. This doesn’t sit well with Hang Ah and asks him if she’s supposed to just cower in fear in the palace for the rest of her life. When Jae Ha says yes to this, Hang Ah storms out of the room without another word.
That night, Hang Ah is muttering to herself about how she’s the one in prison even though they captured Bong Gu. The chief staffer lady then comes into her room and tells her that Hang Ah needs to go back to one of the places that she volunteered at earlier. Er…suspicious much? Hang Ah questions it as well, but she’s told that one of the elders is sick and asking to see her. Jae Ha has even already given her permission to go. Uh…trap? Did she seriously get paid off too?!
It’s not alleviating my suspicions either when Hang Ah is dropped off next to a fountain somewhere and the car drives off and leaves her alone. Fortunately, this is all Jae Ha’s doing and not, Bong Gu’s. He sets off some fireworks and reveals himself by turning on the lights, earning him a scoff from Hang Ah at the cheesiness of it all. She jokingly asks if Jae Ha’s the elder she was told about and pretends to be scared about what’s going to happen to them if Bong Gu shows up. Jae Ha assures her that he’s blocked off the area, but Hang Ah doesn’t like this since nobody else is around. He apologizes for not being able to hold hands or go for a walk like a normal couple, as well as for always yelling and getting angry at her. Even though he said that he’d make her happy, all he’s done is bring her misfortune with the whole kidnapping and imprisonment thing. Hang Ah accepts his apology and gives him a hug.
We now see Jae Ha dragging and unwilling Hang Ah towards a roller coaster. She’s worried about the safety of the ride, but by the time they return it’s Hang Ah yelling out excitedly while Jae Ha sits with eyes glazed over. She wants to go again, but Jae ha stumbles out before they start it up again. Hah. They then go on a tram ride to see the animals while feeding each other snacks. As sit down on a park bench to talk, Hang Ah asks him if they’re on the same journey and to think of her as a partner walking hand in hand with him. Jae Ha knows what’s coming next and asks if she really has to go. He sighs and asks him to pretend like he’s Bong Gu and asks what she’s going to do if they meet. Within seconds, Hang Ah has him pinned and his hand at his throat. She introduces herself and threatens to kill him for what he’s done to Jae Ha and he gives up and says he’ll do whatever she wants. Hang Ah lets him go and tells him that she’ll come back safely. Uh, we’ve heard that one before…
When Hang Ah gets to the ICC, she starts to present her case with the Chief Prosecutor, but he rudely interrupts her and tells her to keep it short. He tells her that Bong Gu’s been released on bail 20 minutes ago at the discretion of their chief of justice. Really? Really, you’re letting him out on bail? Hang Ah asks for the reason and is told that it was for “health reasons”. Health reasons my ass. Put him in a room with Hang Ah for 15 minutes and she’ll show you what “health reasons” really look like. The chief prosecutor tells them that the weight behind Bong Gu’s petition was too great and stands up to leave, but Hang Ah stops him and demands to know why he can’t even give them 5 minutes of his time even though they flew 14 hours to get there. He shrugs her off though, saying he’s busy and has no time to deal with North Korea.
As Hang Ah and the North Koreans are walking out, she laments the fact at how week they are politically and run into Bong Gu. She says that he doesn’t seem all that sick to her, and Bong Gu glibly replies that the influential world leaders must know how much his heart must have heart while in captivity. Bong Gu then asks about their wedding preparations and tells her that he’s going to do all he can to interrupt them.
We cut back to the palace and see Jae Ha asking the US Security Council director if the US has really decided to bomb North Korea. Orly? He tells him no, but it’s something that’s been coming up a lot lately. Jae Ha then triggers the recording device in his office, but the director saw Bong Gu’s confession and isn’t falling for that trick again. Despite Jae Ha’s attempts to get him to admit to the attack, the directory is purposefully vague and says that they’re not in the policy of revealing their military movements to outsiders. Seeing that the meeting is going nowhere, Jae Ha stands up to shake the man’s hand and tells him that if the US attacks North Korea, they’re no longer allowed in South Korea. Considering Korea is the US army’s main foothold in Asia and boasts the second largest forces level, that’s kind of a big deal. The security council director knows this as well and the smile on his face just drops.
We cut back to Bong Gu telling Hang Ah that she should’ve just gotten stayed out of this fight, but she looks at him and says that he seems scared. She tells him that the most important thing for an assassin is to never reveal their emotions in their eyes. Bong Gu laughs at her though and says that he’s sending Jae Ha an email as a wedding present. He says that it’ll probably be hard for both North and South Korea to survive when they’re at war and gleefully points out that Hang Ah’s eyes moved as well at his declaration.
When Hang Ah gets back to the palace, she joins a meeting with Secretary Eun and Jae Ha. They don’t like the proposal that the Americans gave them regarding the war plans, and Hang Ah suggests that they should hold off on the wedding plans if this is causing them trouble. Secretary Eun says that it’s not their fault though and it’s just a psychological attack. He tells Jae Ha that they have two options: listen to Bong Gu’s request and hand over the country to him or try to think of a way to avoid the war. If he was a citizen, what would he want his king to do? This convinces Jae Ha to make the call and he immediately decides to embark on a trip to visit 20 different nations with Hang Ah to boost their political image.
At the palace, Dong Ha gives Jae Shin Shi Kyung’s personal security box from the royal bank. Shi Kyung told him if anything happened to him, he should give it to her. Dong Ha lists off the first few digits to the password and fumbles around to find the rest of it, but Jae Shin doesn’t need it as the password is her birthday. Aww. She opens the safe and finds a VCR tape of all things. LOL. Jae Shin looks confused and Dong Ha brings her to the guard room, which is the only place in the palace that has a tape player. As he’s putting the tape in, Dong Ha’s muttering about how it’s just like Shi Kyung to do something like this on such outdated technology. He was promoted to Shi Kyung’s position so he got the office and was about to throw out the VCR too. Dong Ha then bows and leaves her alone to watch it.
Jae Shin is hesitant to play it at first but slowly turns it on. We then see Shi Kyung staring in the camera, wondering if it’s actually recording. He clears his throat and says that he meant to write her a letter, but he’s bad at it so he decided to do this instead. We then flashback and see Shi Kyung pull the camera out of his closet and start reading the instructions on how to operate it. LOL. Shi Kyung apologizes for the kiss and says he thought that she’d get sick of him since he’s so dull and boring. However, despite trying to keep his feelings from her, he decided he couldn’t do it anymore.
We then pan out and see a glowing Shi Kyung sitting at the desk in front of Jae Shin rather than being on the screen. Very nice effect, by the way. He tells her that he fell in love with her on first sight and that he thought a lot about wanting to be someone that she’d like. Even though he knew he wasn’t a good match for her, he built up the courage to try to become someone who was. He starts to say if something happens to him, but stops himself and says it’s not like he’s going to die there. Sigh…if only you knew… Jae Shin starts sobbing after hearing him say that and he tells her that he’ll return as a better man and has even brought along a book of jokes to start developing a sense of humor. Shi Kyung then straightens up and says he’ll return as a better person and tell her he loves her in person. As his final act on the camera, he gives her a salute. Whoever thought of this idea deserves a medal or something.
Now that he’s back at home relaxing, Bong Gu watches news coverage of Jae Ha and Hang Ah’s trip. He asks his minion if Jae Ha has responded to his email yet. His minion says no and tells Bong Gu that the US government is having difficulty making an issue out of the North Korean attacks to allow them to go to war. Since North and South Korea aren’t at war anymore they don’t have an excuse. Bong Gu’s solution? Give them an excuse and we cut to a new report of a North Korean terror attack in Michigan that led to 40 casualties. As soon as he finds out, the US security council director calls the White House and asks how long they’re going to tolerate this. If you’re going to war because 40 people died, boy you do not know your history.
Cut to Dong Ha bringing a table to Jae Ha with a broadcast of the US releasing an official statement that they’re seriously considering a severe response to the “grave and unfortunate” terror attack and are prepared to solve this by any means necessary. After hearing this, Jae Ha decides to cut his little trip short and return to Korea. I’ll address the ludicrousness of this later. Meanwhile, the North Koreans are trying to confirm the reports since they’re pretty sure that they didn’t do it. Hang Ah’s dad goes to meet with the Prime Minister and tells him that there’s a reason that China’s cut off their aid. The Prime Minister gets mad at him for trying to start peaceful relations with South Korea and blames him for this situation they’re in now. Uh, okay… Hang Ah’s dad tells him that they forged that relationship precisely for times like this and that they should ask the South to find out for them if the US actually intends to bomb them since they’re a US ally. The more they sit around and just deny the attack, the more suspicious it’ll look. They can’t possibly fight the US, so they should just ask the South to be a mediator for them.
Meanwhile, the South Korean Prime Minister receives a call from the commander of the ROK-US combined forces and is asked to raise the alert level to Defcon 3, signifying that they are expecting war to break out. We cut to back to North Korea and the Prime Minister is telling Hang Ah’s dad that he contacted South Korean and was told that this was just a political move from the terrorist attack. They then hear on the news that because of the move to Defcon 3, control over Korean forces has been transferred from the Korean government to the US military. As such, they have increased their troop deployment there and are starting to prepare for a counter attack. Oops. The Prime Minister points this out to Hang Ah’s dad that this is the result of 3 years of talks with the South and okays an announcement. Oh this can’t be good.
Sure enough, we cut to the royal guards watching a news report out of North Korea saying that they’re going to turn Seoul to a sea of fire if they’re attacked by the US. The commander of the royal guard comes out of his office and asks them to have Dong Ha contact him. He tells Dong Ha about the news and tells him to just open orders. Uh oh, not liking this either.
Dong Ha then goes to Hang Ah and Jae Ha and tells them that Hang Ah’s dad wants to see her alone. For now though, Jae Ha should just go back to the palace first. I don’t like this, damn it. Also, why are they all of a sudden on a boat if they just got back from their worldwide trip, which required a plane? At any rate, Hang Ah watches Jae Ha disembarks and calls out happily to her dad. She sees the serious look on his face though and knows that something’s wrong. As she’s being driven away, Hang Ah notices that they’re not going to where they’re saying they’re going and ask him to explain, but he stays silent.
When Jae Ha gets back to the palace and realizes that something’s up when he’s met by the military brass. Dong Ha then explains to him about the Defcon level being raised and that North Korea has announced that they will attack Seoul. At the same time, Hang Ah is told by her dad about North Korea’s threat to bomb Seoul and that he begged the South Korean Ministry of Unification to allow her to return safely. The guards then start dragging Hang Ah kicking and screaming towards the border as she calls out for Jae Ha, who is demanding that Dong Ha tell him what’s happened to Hang Ah.
Wow, you’re really gonna make them win a war to be together huh. I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything else from this drama. I’m definitely holding a grudge for killing Shi Kyung off though. Even if I kind of expected it from when he first proposed this plan, I still can’t believe they did it. How can you do this to Jae Shin? After all she’s been through, you’re going to take him away from her as well? I can appreciate the timing of it too as I had let my guard down as well. Right when you think everything’s going to be okay, bam. Tragedy strikes. Also, why the hell did they let Bong Gu out on bail? That completely trivialized Shi Kyung’s sacrifice and completely killed a lot of the emotional impact from it. And where was the mourning for Shi Kyung? Jae Shin and Hang Ah were both absent from the funeral and you barely see anyone crying about him other than Jae Shin. For such an important character, you’d think they’d at least show some respect to him.
I absolutely loved the scene where Jae Shin is watching Shi Kyung’s video letter. The impact of having him come to life by showing his image at the table instead of on the screen really sucked you into the emotion of the scene. If this drama has a particular strength, it’s definitely its ability to really build up a scene and utilize both music and cinematography to maximize its impact. Except for uh, Shi Kyung’s death of course.
My one biggest issue with this episode was that stupid declaration that they’re going to war over a “terror attack” that killed 40 people. To me, this completely disrespects what it means to go to war and the horror of it. Let’s quickly review what it took for the US to enter into armed combat the last few times. In World War 1, it took Germany sinking several merchant ships, along with the Zimmerman Telegram that basically told us the Mexico was about to declare war on us. In World War II, granted we were already enforcing the embargo on Japan at the time, but we didn’t go into active combat until Pearl Harbor. In the Korean War, we only went in with orders from the UN Security Council. Even with the recent war in Afghanistan and Iraq, it took the most devastating terror attack in history on US soil for us to go in. Every time US deaths led to military involvement, I guarantee it took more than 40 deaths to do so. I’m sure they have been more than a few attacks by foreign terrorists that broke this stupid 40 death threshold and we didn’t go to war for it. Even with the recent atrocities in Syria, the UN still can’t decide on the best course of action. So yes, going to war over 40 deaths in my opinion is stupid.