Pre-Recap Thoughts: The inevitable has happened…and I’m still in shock. Although the rational/creative side of my brain understands the reasoning behind the timing, the emotionally attached part of me is sending some dark thoughts to the creators of this show. More unexpected revelations, a sister’s turnaround from the dark side, Tae Moo’s wickedness stopped, and a wedding…sort of…makes this episode one that leaves the viewers gasping for air and bracing for the finale. If only time did stop as Park Ha had wished….
Recap: The episode picks up from the cliffhanger of episode 18 as Park Ha races to the lake and Yi Gak chases after “Park Ha,” muttering to himself that her playfulness is a bit extreme tonight.
When Park Ha sees Tae Moo’s car accelerating towards Yi Gak, she shoves him aside and gets catapulted into the lake as the car hits her instead.
Echoing the previous scene when Yi Gak discovers his “princess” face-down in the water, he can barely move or say anything. Ugh…the horror of revisiting that same crippling fear/shock.
His mind registers the similarities between the two scenes even as his body remains frozen. Uh-oh…I have a bad feeling about this parallel scene.
Finally breaking free from his shock, he races into the lake and turns Park Ha over to find her bleeding and unconscious. Head traumas are not a good sign…so heartbreaking to see him in such pain as he cradles her body in his arms. While he cries for help, Tae Moo picks up Se Na, who observed all this from her hiding spot, and drives away from the scene of the crime.
Thankfully, the next scene shows Park Ha being wheeled through a hospital for an emergency surgery.
And in her unconscious state, she dreams of an idyllic moment with Yi Gak by their tree and wishes for time to simply stop for them. If only….
Meanwhile, Se Na is at one of the company’s vacation homes with Tae Moo and worries about Park Ha’s health.
When she expresses her concern, Tae Moo apathetically says what’s done is done. There’s no point in their worrying about it. He then leaves her to make plans for them to leave for China that night.
It’s while Tae Moo is away that Yi Gak phones Se Na and takes her to see Park Ha, who needs a liver transplant. Apparently, the collision with the car and the subsequent fall into the lake severely damaged her liver.
Visibly shaken by the sight of her sister’s unconscious body, Se Na denies any ability to help, saying that she and Park Ha aren’t related. Yi Gak reminds her that he knows of their blood relationship.
Taking her outside, he then tells her that Park Ha didn’t go to the police but rather raced to the lake alone…because she didn’t want to get Se Na, her sister, in trouble with the law. Yi Gak tries to tell her of reincarnation and how she and Park Ha were sisters in a past life, but Se Na doesn’t buy it…until Yi Gak tries to grab her wrist and his hand starts to fade. He asks that she help him break this cycle of hate and evil that has followed the sisters from the Joseon era.
Leaving Se Na to mull over what he’s said, he leaves the incriminating evidence he had against Se Na and Tae Moo on a nearby table, saying that those are meaningless now. All that matters is that Park Ha lives.
Se Na aimlessly wanders the streets, thinking of all that she’s done to Park Ha…
…and collapses on the sidewalk, overcome with guilt and remorse. Hmm…perhaps there’s hope for her after all.
When she returns, she tells Tae Moo that she went to visit Park Ha and that she’s the only one who can save her sister who is in dire need of a liver transplant. Unfortunately, her revelation about Park Ha’s critical health only gives Tae Moo another evil idea, one that he does not share with Se Na.
Back at the hospital, our Joseon F4 learn that Park Ha’s health has taken a turn for the worse and that she needs that transplant immediately–the sooner the better.
Just then, Tae Moo calls and offers Yi Gak a trade: part of Se Na’s liver for Park Ha in exchange for Yi Gak signing over everything to Tae Moo. Quickly preparing the necessary documents, Yi Gak meets him and asks Tae Moo to verify that everything is in order.
Although Tae Moo is untrustworthy, he knows that he can trust Yi Gak and declines taking the time to look at the documents. He tells Yi Gak to be at the hospital in time for the transplant surgery, and he’ll make sure to get Se Na there at the specified time. Uh-oh…I don’t like the look on his face. 😛
And just as we suspected, Tae Moo rushes Se Na into his car on the pretext that they need to hurry if they want to make it to the hospital in time…
…only to tell her–once she’s helpless to leave his car–that he has no intentions of taking her to the hospital. He’s got everything they need to restart their life: money, something he reminds Se Na that she highly values. And when Yi Gak calls from the hospital, frantically wondering where she is, Tae Moo forbids her to answer his phone call.
Realizing that something is amiss, Yi Gak mobilizes his loyal minions and commands them to locate Se Na. They learn of the company’s vacation home and rush there…only to find that the liver donor has already left the house.
Thankfully, Se Na’s good conscience urges her to do something, and she stealthily calls Yi Gak and asks Tae Moo where exactly they are going and when the boat leaves. Their plans? Leave by boat and then catch a plane into China. Their boat leaves at 7PM. Realizing that she’s giving him their location as well as trying to buy him some time by suggesting to Tae Moo that she needs to go shopping for some items before they leave, Yi Gak races to the harbor.
Once they arrive at the harbor, Tae Moo excitedly shows Se Na the boat and their new start in life, but Se Na draws back, insistent on returning to the hospital now that she’s no longer held hostage in his car.
When Yi Gak arrives on the scene, Tae Moo looks at Se Na in horror and asks if she told Yi Gak their plans. Slapping him hard against the face in an attempt to stop him on his road of destruction, Se Na tells him to get a hold of himself and gets into Yi Gak’s car with every intention of driving to the hospital.
Unfortunately, Se Na can’t seem to drive, not when Tae Moo is frantically begging her to not give up on their dreams as Yi Gak restrains him. Thankfully, the loyal minions arrive and safely escort Se Na back to the hospital in their car, leaving Yi Gak alone to deal with Tae Moo. *Heavy sigh* Why didn’t Yong Sul stay behind and help Yi Gak take care of Tae Moo? I know…it’s a battle that needs to be fought between these two men and these two men only…but still….
With Se Na gone now, Tae Moo attempts to at least save himself by rushing for the boat, but Yi Gak keeps him from catching the boat.
And so the fight between these two enemies continue with Tae Moo hiding…
…and ultimately beating Yi Gak into the proverbial last stand. As Tae Moo prepares to deliver a death blow to Yi Gak with a wooden plank, Yi Gak asks Tae Moo why he tried to kill Tae Yong. At this question, Tae Moo comments that he’ll really have to kill Yi Gak if he tells him the reason. Then without missing a beat, he explains to Yi Gak how Tae Yong and he got into a fight on that boat and how Tae Yong fell over. When he did, Tae Moo admits that he just didn’t want to save his cousin. Just. Didn’t. Want. To. So he left his cousin there in the ocean to die.
And with the admission made, Tae Moo is prevented from killing Yi Gak by the appearance of police cars, led by none other than our detective in charge of investigating grandmother’s untimely death.
When Tae Moo demands to know what evidence the police have against him, Yi Gak takes out his hidden recorder and tells the detective that Tae Moo’s admission of guilt has been recorded. Yes! I knew our prince would be able to outsmart Tae Moo.
Back at the hospital, Se Na waits to be rolled into surgery and reaches over to hold Park Ha’s hand…finally bridging the gap that separated them as sisters and ending the vicious cycle that followed them from the Joseon era.
And in demonstration of her remorse and new determination to live a better life, Se Na sheds a tear and enters the OR (operating room).
When Park Ha awakes from surgery, Yi Gak is at her bedside. Not concerned for herself, she asks after Yi Gak and how he’s doing after that car accident. He affectionately calls her “mungchoongyi” (her endearment for him) and confesses to her that he wasn’t alive while she was sick. From now on, he’ll do anything for her. Aw…
At this promise, she sticks out her pinky finger and teaches him how the modern Koreans make promises…
…”stamp” and all. She threatens that she’ll kill him if he doesn’t keep his promise. Heh. Looks like the ordeal of car accident and surgery hasn’t dimmed her spunky personality. 🙂
Yi Gak then goes to Taek Soo, who thanks him for pretending to be Tae Yong for the grandmother’s sake. As the two men shake hands and Taek Soo fully assumes the running of the company until the real Tae Yong awakes, Taek Soo tells Yi Gak, “To us, you were the real Yong Tae Yong.”
Meanwhile, Se Na visits and apologizes to Park Ha, who thanks Se Na for saving her. Se Na tells Park Ha that she is on her way to turn herself into the police and wishes Park Ha well and to stay healthy.
As her sister turns to leave, Park Ha calls her back and tells her, “I’ll be waiting for you.”
With a potentially “bright” future as genuinely loving sisters now possible, Se Na flashes Park Ha a tearful smile and leaves.
Waiting for Se Na outside of Park Ha’s hospital room are her two mothers who remind her that no matter what she’s done, they’ll still love and be there for her. Aw…they then embrace her in a group hug before Se Na goes alone to the police station to take responsibility for her crimes. She doesn’t want her mothers there to see her when she does; she wants to at least spare them of that.
With Park Ha now safely on the mend back to health and their return to the Joseon era imminent, the boys brainstorm for a way to make the parting easier on Park Ha. Their solution? Buy Park Ha a business so that she’ll have a source of income on which to live after they leave. After all, they reason, it’s the least they can do after all that she’s done for them. And it’s so adorable how Yong Sul keeps saying, “That’s what I mean” each time his buddies offer a great solution. LOL
And so the plan gets set into motion:
Yong Sul acts as an extra in a sa geuk show that catapults him overnight as the newest sensation in the acting world…
Chi San plays the ga ya geum and earns critical acclaim for his musical skills…
And Man Bo…he writes a screenplay that nets him the first prize in a competition.
Yong Sul even gets interviewed…and learns how to smile…or not. LOL
The Joseon F4 (minus Yi Gak) collectively make enough money to buy Park Ha a store (called Park Ha’s Sweet Sweet Juice) in cash, no less, and work diligently to ready the store for Park Ha as a present the day she is discharged. Music here is awesome…I’m so tempted to buy the OST. LOL
When the happy day arrives and they pick Park Ha up from the hospital, the boys bicker in the backseat about the lack of elbow room while Park Ha and Yi Gak smile…very much like a family with the parents enjoying the playful bickering of their children in the backseat…
…until Chi San abruptly disappears! And he was happily eating his hamburger! They enter the tunnel a happy family and emerge from it with one “child” missing. (Jules: “bad tunnel!”)
Realizing what’s happened to Chi San and what may soon happen to each of the remaining Joseon F4, they rush home with Man Bo and Yong Sul planning exactly what they’re going to need to pack. Yi Gak and Park Ha remain numb with shock, and Yi Gak finally yells at his men to quiet down. Yong Sul remarks that Chi San has even disappeared from their “family” portrait. Uh-oh, this means that Park Ha will have absolutely no pictures to remind her of her boys once they return to their time.
Later that night, Park Ha goes to their tree and thinks about what the next few days might be like.
Realizing that only the present matters, she sends a cute text message asking Yi Gak to join her at their special tree.
And when he arrives, she tells him that he can only answer, “yes.” Then calling him Yi Gak shi, which shocks Yi Gak because she’s always called him prince or dummy, Park Ha asks, “Do you like me?” Answer? “Yes.” Heh…”I like you, too.” His comment? “Yes.” Aw…
Then gathering up her courage, she asks, “Will you marry me?”
Answer? Not a yes…Instead, he takes her to her new shop.
He tells her, “This is my answer!” and yells at her, asking her why she would want to create painful memories for herself by marrying him when she doesn’t know how long he’ll be around.
She asks if every couple marries with the firm knowledge that both husband and wife are going to live together until they’re old and gray. For her, even one day of marriage is enough. She never asked them to provide her with a store to keep her “happy” after they’ve gone.
She storms off and leaves him wondering where he went wrong. (Jules: “Uh, with that shirt for a start…”) LOL, Jules, your comments crack me up and keep me entertained while I recap. 😉
The next day, Park Ha works herself into a frenzy…
…and the two remaining minions look on in worry that she’s creating work to keep herself busy. They comment that it’s not good for her health, especially so soon after everything that’s happened. They “lecture” their prince on making their Park Ha sad because of their imminent return to Joseon and ask if he’s done something to upset her.
As Yi Gak reflects upon Park Ha’s comments from the night before, he realizes that she’s got a point and returns to tell her so: “I’ll do what you want!” When Park Ha mutters that he doesn’t even know what she wants, he calls her a mungchoongyi and tells her that he’ll marry her.
Naturally, Park Ha is overjoyed…as is Jules and Snoopy’s Twinkie. LOL
In the midst of wedding preparations, Yi Gak takes Park Ha to his palace and tells her that they are walking the very places that he walked when he was in Joseon, perhaps reminding her to think of him walking on these grounds after he disappears.
Then pulling her in for a kiss, Yi Gak kisses her, completely ignoring the people around them.
Taking her to a private spot, he digs by one of the wooden pillars and gives her a jade ring that he had buried as a child…300 years ago!…as a wedding gift. Aw….
Thrilled, Park Ha quickly threads it through her necklace chain and asks him to put it on her.
He does so, and then the two rush to meet Man Bo and Yong Sul who have worked their magic in procuring a wedding hall for their upcoming wedding. Despite the beauty of the hall, Park Ha tells the boys that she had somewhere else in mind.
As the four enter the elevator, lights flash…
…and leaves only Park Ha and Yi Gak alone. Man Bo and Yong Sul have disappeared! Their ever-present backpacks and all!
Realizing what this means, Yi Gak and Park Ha lace their hands tightly together and stand dumbfounded for a few seconds as the elevator door opens and closes and opens again. In an attempt to fight fate, the two do everything with their hands tightly laced together…as if to ward off Yi Gak’s inevitable return to his time.
As they lie in bed, hands still entwined, Yi Gak calls her mungchoongyi while Park Ha protests that that is her word for him. He can’t just use her word. Then in moment fraught with tenderness and sorrow for what is to come, Yi Gak gently says, “Thank you.”
Park Ha asks him to not say that. He then say, “I’m sorry you.” She again asks him to not say that.
He then says, “I love you.” She asks him to repeat it. “I love you.” Again, she asks him to say it. “I love you.”
With tears in her eyes, she hugs him and falls asleep with her arms fully circling his waist. Aw…it’s as if she’s willing him to not disappear.
The next morning, Park Ha presents Yi Gak with her wedding gift for him, and even though he protests that he doesn’t need one, she insists that he always wear it close to his heart.
She says that he gave her a wedding gift with which to remember him, so it’s only fair that she give him one to remember her.
Then in a scene reminiscent of exchanging wedding rings, Park Ha clasps the necklace around Yi Gak’s neck and reminds him to never take it off and keep it close to his heart. *Sniffles*
Then with no other attendants but themselves, Park Ha and Yi Gak walk down the aisle…on their rooftop, the place where they first met.
And as they promise to love each other and gaze lovingly into each other’s eyes…
…Park Ha into Yi Gak’s…
…Yi Gak into Park Ha’s…
…they kiss, sealing their vows to one another.
And not a second too soon, for as soon as they part from their kiss, Yi Gak slowly starts to fade, and the two can only look at each other in complete understanding of what’s happening, helpless to do anything to stop Yi Gak from returning to his own time.
Park Ha stares into the empty space that Yi Gak just occupied only a few seconds ago and asks herself why she didn’t say “goodbye” or ask him to tell her that he loved her a few more times.
The episode pans out with Park Ha all alone on the rooftop, having experienced only one second of wedded bliss. *Heavy sigh*
Post-Recap Thoughts: We knew that the separation was coming, but the anticipation and the fulfillment of that expectation are two completely different things. Oh, Park Ha…my heart breaks for you. But you did say that you would be content with whatever time fate allowed you with Yi Gak. Who knew that it would only be a few seconds?
What I appreciated about this episode–now that my brain is once again functional to appreciate the timing–is that it allows us the entire final episode in which to wrap up loose ends. Since I started watching Rooftop Prince about halfway into the show, I’m curious to see how the F4’s lives in the Joseon era match up with their time in the modern era. And there’s that all-important mystery to still unravel. I’m quite curious to see just what Yi Gak has learned that justifies his return to his own time period. *Heavy sigh* No more Park Ha, though.
As shocking as Yi Gak’s disappearance was in the final scene of this episode, it was completely expected, given that Chi San disappeared only to be followed by Man Bo and Yong Sul. I, for one, am glad that the show had the decency to prepare its viewers for the inevitable separation. And having him disappear after the wedding ceremony gives us at least a brief satisfaction that Park Ha and Yi Gak–not Bu Yong or Tae Yong–were able to marry each other, no matter how brief their “marriage” was. And how fitting was it that they would end exactly in the place where they started? Full circle!
I could go on and on about this episode, but I think I’ll save it for after I recap episode 20 when Jules and I draft a “Final Thoughts” post for this series. Until episode 20 then, I bid you a good weekend!