Pre-Recap Thoughts: Jae Ha shows without a doubt in this episode that his strength comes from the people around him. No matter how strong he may be, what propels him to greatness–or the promise of greatness–are the people who surround him. Despite whatever highs and lows he may have had with each of them, they sustain his very being and help define him as a man and ultimately as a reigning monarch. Nowhere is that more clearly demonstrated than in his desperate loneliness, fear, and impotence once those loved ones are stripped from him.
Recap: The episode resumes with Jae Ha and Hang Ah’s engagement celebration. Secretary Eun finally gets fed up with being Club M’s puppet and refuses to comply with them anymore. He doesn’t care if everyone in the world knows of his complicity; he’ll make sure that everyone knows of Club M‘s wickedness.
As Jae Ha and Hang Ah wrap up their celebration with a romantic kiss for their adoring public, Secretary Eun prepares his resignation, one in which he chronicles every single one of his actions–knowing and unknowing–against the crown. However, before he can tender his resignation, Jae Ha receives an email from Club M and learns mere minutes before Secretary Eun personally submits his resignation.
In disbelief, Jae Ha receives confirmation from Secretary Eun of his part in the former king and queen’s deaths, Hang Ah being told false information about Jae Ha, Jae Shin’s emotional breakdown in her first public appearance after the accident due to the change of music, etc. Reeling from betrayal, Jae Ha fires him yet still promises that he’ll let Secretary Eun tell Shi Kyung himself, a promise that Jae Ha keeps.
As Jae Ha deals with the repercussions of Secretary Eun’s betrayal and dismissal, Hang Ah wisely forces Jae Ha to take a moment to regroup. Curling up in a fetal position with his head on Hang Ah’s lap, he whispers that he doesn’t trust anyone except Hang Ah now. 🙁 I’m glad that Jae Ha’s the type of person to share his concerns with Hang Ah, whom he views as his equal and co-monarch already.
Shi Kyung, learning of his father’s sudden dismissal after having served the royal family through three kings, asks Jae Ha to explain why his father was fired. When Jae Ha nonchalantly claims Secretary Eun’s old age and his own finicky personality, Shi Kyung admits that he wants to hit Jae Ha but also knows that the monarch he serves has a good reason for his decision. He vows to stay by Jae Ha’s side until he learns exactly why his father was terminated.
Jae Shin, on the other hand, calls Shi Kyung to her room and ends up listening to him unwittingly serenade her with her “First Love” song. At his continued aloofness with her, she asks him if he really doesn’t like her; she’s already confessed her love for him and is working hard to be the type of woman he can be proud to call his own. Not answering her question, he merely tells her that she doesn’t love him but instead finds him fascinating…because they are so different from each other; he tells her that she’ll soon grow tired of him. Aw…Shi Kyung doesn’t want to get hurt. Jae Shin tries to convince him that she truly loves him, but he persists on thinking that she’s merely playing with him. He asks that she not toy with him. Hurting from his unfounded accusation, Jae Shin then asks if it’s because she’s a cripple. He answers no. She then asks how he was able to remember the melody and lyrics to a song he’s only heard once. Is he such a musical genius? His simple answer is that he committed it to memory…because his princess sang it. As both realize the import of his words, Shi Kyung takes his leave of the princess.
Meanwhile, Hang Ah and the queen mother share a quiet moment together as they prepare for their volunteer service/trip to Somalia. En route to Somalia, Hang Ah learns of her future mother-in-law’s work with the less fortunate and resolves to work hard so as to be a credit to not only Korea but to her royal family. The queen mother, in turn, learns of how Hang Ah’s mother died of tuberculosis. (Incidentally, Hang Ah’s comment about penicillin is sadly misinformed. Penicillin does not cure TB, that vicious respiratory disease.)
As the two women get diverted to another hotel due to a terror attack on their originally planned accommodations, Hang Ah and the queen mother are kidnapped by that psycho assassin.
Once kidnapped, Hang Ah and the queen mother deal with their kidnappers as best as they can. Hang Ah urges the queen mother to eat so that she can have the strength to escape or plan something since the palace is probably frantic with worry. They have to make sure they have the strength to do something. As for the queen mother, when John Meyer (aka psychotic Bong Gu, which to me sometimes sounds like bang gu, the Korean word for fart…more fitting, no?) meets with her and sickenly toys with her, she courageously pushes aside her fear and pummels him with her fists, screaming at him for his murder of her son and daughter-in-law, Jae Shin’s crippling accident, and her Hang Ah’s miscarriage. She tells him with the dignity that proclaims her royalty–even without the title–that he should be on his knees begging her forgiveness, which still wouldn’t be enough to compensate for his heinous actions. Woohoo~Go mom! She’s so much stronger than Jae Ha gives her credit.
Learning of the kidnapping, Jae Ha frantically tries to contact Club M/John Meyer, who blatantly uses excuse after excuse to ignore his phone calls. At the end of his wits, Jae Ha calls Secretary Eun, who advises Jae Ha, even though Jae Ha doesn’t utter a single word on the phone, to utilize the full force of his diplomatic connections to force John Meyer to meet with him. Despite Secretary Eun’s betrayal, Jae Ha seeking his counsel during his desperate moment still shows his willingness to try to trust Secretary Eun. I’m hoping for a reinstatement of the man in the future…once Jae Ha takes the time to deal with his “human” feelings.
Of course, when Meyer finally agrees to meet Jae Ha, he toys with him and scoffs at Jae Ha’s suggestion of delaying his wedding to Hang Ah. Meyer isn’t concerned with the trivial relationship of one man and one woman. He’s after a bigger prize: Jae Ha’s abdication of the throne.
As Jae Ha struggles with his conflicted heart for his country as a king and for his family as a man, Shi Kyung tries to advise him, telling him that that’s exactly what Meyer wants–Jae Ha to abdicate. Unfortunately, Jae Ha is metaphorically on his knees and decides to abdicate. His reason? What will the throne mean when the very people he cares about are killed because of it? He didn’t even want to be king in the first place.
Meanwhile, the queen mother prepares herself for Bon-Bon’s torture while Hang Ah is forced to watch through a television monitor. Fearing for her future mother-in-law’s safety and thinking strategically, she succumbs to Club M’s demand that she try to convince Jae Ha to abdicate. She agrees…but asks that they allow her to do so face-to-face. That will be so much more effective in convincing him. Ha! She’s got something up her sleeve. I LOVE that she’s not daunted; she’s definitely a trained soldier–grace under fire, baby! 😉
Post-Recap Thoughts: In an effort to take the very thing that Jae Ha treasures and makes him strong, Meyer not only shows his immaturity/craziness but also clearly shows how much he envies Jae Ha. Like a kid bully who forcefully takes away the prized possession of a kid he envies, he sets out to take the very thing that Jae Ha holds dear: his people. First Secretary Eun…and now Hang Ah and his mother. What Meyer doesn’t realize is that those very people who surround Jae Ha won’t let him. Despite Jae Ha’s living nightmare, those “people” Jae Ha has but that Meyer lacks will keep Jae Ha strong…even as he weighs the duties of a king and the duties of a son and fiance/husband.
By birth and circumstance, Jae Ha is forced to have 2 hearts: one for country and one for family. My suspicion is that rather than those two hearts fighting each other for supremacy of his affections, they will only strengthen his love for both country and family. Jae Kang, in the previous episode, had Jae Ha and Hang Ah vow before all of Korea that they will stand united in their fight against whatever and whoever opposes Korea. Um yeah, Meyer leads that list of “whatever” opposes Korea. I won’t even dignify his character with a “whoever.”
I’m looking forward to next week’s episode in anticipation of how Hang Ah will propel her man to greatness and kick some Meyer butt. Seriously, in a hand-to-hand combat situation, she would wipe the floor with Meyer…Hmm…that’s a thought. 🙂 I hope the writers fit a fighting scene somewhere in the remaining four episodes. I’ll take either Hang Ah or Jae Ha beating some sense into Meyer. Oops, I didn’t just write that. I am not advocating violence. *in tiny whisper* Just justice. 😉
Thank goodness, Jae Ha had the foresight to fall in love with such a smartloyalpatrioticcourageousetc. woman. What a queen she’ll make, and what a king he shall be as she always supports and challenges him to live up to his potential!