Pre-Recap Thoughts: I’ll be honest with you: With my current schedule, I missed episodes 2 and 3 and wasn’t really sure if I would continue recapping K2H as I had originally planned. You know the old adage, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Well, that was what was starting to happen with this drama.
Episode 4 changed all that! I had a bit of “free” time last night and decided to watch the most current episode–that would be episode 4–while exercising (too much information? LOL) and was simply blown away by both the writing and the acting. Am I glad that I saw it!
Yup, I’m now officially on board with my mini-recaps for the duration of the series.
And here’s a surprising revelation I had while watching last night’s episode: I’m now a Lee Seung Gi fan.
How did this happen? How have I become one of his many legion of noona fans? LOL. Yeah, let’s just say our little Lee Seung Gi of 2004 (the year he debuted) is no longer a teenager. This drama, my first Lee Seung Gi series, really showcases how much he’s grown, both in stature and in his acting abilities. Wow is all I can say as this drama ricochets from the serious to the light like one of those North Korean/South Korean bullets.
Oh, as for episodes 2 and 3, I’ll mini-recap those as soon as I get a chance to watch them. 🙂
Episode 4 opens with Jae Ha showing Shi Kyung a video of SNSD (Girls’ Generation) and telling him all about Kang Seok’s obsession with this group. He even shows Shi Kyung a slip of paper he found tucked underneath the computer keyboard, listing all of the broadcast times of SNSD. Expecting Shi Kyung to join him in his mirth, Jae Ha is subdued when Shi Kyung respectfully replaces the slip of paper under the keyboard and asks Jae Ha to not tease the soldier; Kang Seok is probably tormented by his obsession with SNSD. Aw…such a sensitive man. No wonder Hang Ah thinks so highly of him.
Completely put off by this, Jae Ha decides that he’s still going to have his fun teasing Kang Seok. In honor of Kang Seok’s birthday, Jae Ha prepares a gift of a pink (!) laptop…and writes that it’s from Shi Kyung. Touched by Shi Kyung’s expensive gift, Kang Seok opens the birthday message to find a crass message subtitled onto a SNSD music video, declaring aloud Kang Seok’s obsession with the group. Uh-oh, diplomatic crisis?
When Jae Ha hears that Kang Seok didn’t react in violence–beat Shi Kyung and thereby “bond” with him more–he shifts to Plan B. Motioning Kang Seok to sit down later in the day, Jae Ha proceeds to discuss Shi Kyung’s SNSD gift with him…to completely unexpected results.
Kang Seok knows that the gift is from Jae Ha and not Shi Kyung. Only two people know of his “obsession,” Hang Ah and Jae Ha. He asks menacingly as he pushes Jae Ha roughly against the wall, “Which of the two would do something like this?” Ummm…not Hang Ah.
This tense situation escalates when the military brass get wind of the conflict and troops file into the room, pistols cocked and ready to shoot. As the tension becomes palpable, Shi Kyung calls Jae Ha on the cell phone from the video control room that is taping the situation. LOL…It’s completely unexpected when Jae Ha’s SNSD ringtone sounds off loudly in the silence! The very thing that sparked this conflict in the first place. LOL
Jae Ha slowly answers the phone, and Shi Kyung advises him to duck onto the floor when the sprinklers go off. Realizing the import of the consequences, Jae Ha surprises everyone by yelling, “Are you crazy?” Then pretending as though Shi Kyung was telling him to take full responsiblity for the incident, Jae Ha refuses and even includes Hang Ah by getting her to mention that she likes Brad Pitt. LOL. He, however, offers to apology to Kang Seok for disregarding their cultural values and traditions and teasing him.
Unfortunately, the UN hears of this minor diplomatic issue and notifies King Jae Kang of its concern. It suggests that the WOC reconsider the involvement of North and South Korea. Incensed by Jae Ha’s immaturity that could potentially destroy what he and his father have dreamed of and worked so hard towards, Jae Kang briefly takes his frustrations out on his mother, berating her for enabling Jae Ha’s immature antics. She should have taught him to be a responsible member of the royal family. Umm…you, too, king. 🙁 He, of course, apologizes to his mother, but the damage is done. He’s attacked her mothering skills, even though he himself helped enable the irresponsible behaviors of his younger brother. *sigh*
In an attempt to salvage the situation, Jae Kang, unbeknownst to the WOC North/South Korean team, arranges for a mock situation to show that the North and South can participate together in harmony and brotherhood. The mock situation? The team will learn that the North and South have declared war and that Hang Ah’s team is to “escort” them to safety. The South Korean team members just need to show cooperation and trust. The North Korean members will lead them safely across the border. Hang Ah is told by her superior that she has 20 minutes to safely escort the prince and his two soldiers out of the compound.
With timing ticking, Hang Ah quietly and secretly tries to convince the three men to leave quietly with her, but when they budge and suspect that their North Korean team members are merely going to hand them over to the North Korean government in Pyongyang, Hang Ah pulls out her gun. She pleads with them to please follow her out of the compound before it’s too late.
With tension once again mounting, Jae Ha maneuvers to use the bathroom–his shaking hands while washing a telling sign of his anxiety–and he and Shi Kyung strategize on what to do. Creating a diversion in the bathroom to cause Hang Ah and Kang Seok to force their way inside, Jae Ah faces off with Hang Ah while Shi Kyung aims Kang Seok’s pistol to Kang Seok’s head.
With time running out and Hang Ah desperate to get him and the other members to safety, she surrenders her pistol to Jae Ha. “Will this convince you then? Surprised, Jae Ha is now convinced of her sincerity that she’s not trying to turn him over to Pyongyang.
However, as they leave the compound, they are surrounded by troops because the officials have decided to call a halt/end to the mock situation. Misunderstanding the situation and thinking that he’s been betrayed by Hang Ah, Jae Ha wheels around, expresses his disgust at her betrayal and shoots…
…right at her heart. Dang…the look of shock on her face…to be “killed” by someone she trusts and was starting to think about romantically.
Then he levels the gun to his head, prepared to shoot himself rather than be taken alive…and that’s when he sees the stunned face of his brother, King Jae Kang, in the midst of the bright lights and ominous guns.
While Hang Ah recuperates in her bedroom from the trauma of being “shot,” (such a heart-wrenching scene when she fingers her chest where the bullet would have hit) the rest of the soldiers are lined up in an assembly as King Jae Kang takes full responsibility for what’s just transpired. He explains that in his greatest desire to show the world that the North and South can live in harmony, he insisted on including his younger brother, a member of the royal family, as part of the team. Who better could he trust to show the world this harmony than his own brother, yet that same brother is now the one who rashly demonstrated the difficulties of such a union. He announces his decision to withdraw his initial request for both the North and South to participate as one team on the WOC. Bowing low in humility, he apologizes to the entire assembly, which bows in return…everyone except Jae Ha, that is, who stoically processes everything in mute anger.
Later in room with just his brother, Jae Ha asks why Jae Kang took responsibility while at the same time implying that Jae Ha was to blame. In a series of rapid-fire exchanges between the two brothers that reflect their intensity (and incredible writing and acting), Jae Kang eventually utters what he had hoped for his younger brother: “You are royalty! You should have risen above it!” High expectations…to be expected to rise above all the suspicions and fears each Korean has been told about the other since birth and think rationally under such duress.
Hurt and angry, Jae Ha throws down an ultimatum before stomping out of the room: He’ll run the 60 km (37.3 miles) race as originally planned in the 8 hours so that the WOC joint team termination order can be canceled.
As he gears up and starts to jog the first of the long 60 km, Hang Ah joins him. Wow…what a woman to still join him after such a betrayal…he shot her. She’s impressed by his efforts, but that is quickly transformed to disbelief as Jae Ha outlines his plan. He only plans on running about 2 km because the officials will see that he’s running in the cold and snow and beg the king to rescind his termination order. The king will “save face” and Jae Ha will “save” the day. And just as he predicted, a car pulls up to then, and Jae Ha pretends that he’s running hard. LOL.
Unfortunately for him and his machinations, the soldier relays the message of good luck; the officials have decided to grant him his request. LOL Ah, the look on Jae Ha’s face…priceless!
When the other four members of the team come to join him, Jae Ha tries to guilt Shi Kyung into giving him a piggy back ride for the trip, but again, his schemes backfire, and the four soldiers agree to not help Jae Ha and merely support him…by following behind him in the van. LOL…This is taking “I’ve got your back covered” to new heights. LOL
Jae Ha grimaces and then plods along on that long, long 60-km run with trusty Hang Ah by his side. 🙂
His trust in her is tested and refined when she stops him to take a look at his now-bleeding leg, which he had injured in the bathroom scuffle by jamming it on the door hinge. Freaking out that she’s thinking to poison him with her acupuncture needles/first-aid kit, he is surprised to realize that she was only trying to help alleviate his pain. With that dawning epiphany, he sees Hang Ah as someone other than “a Red.”
Meanwhile, King Jae Kang sits rigidly in his seat, refusing any suggestions of rest, hoping that his faith in his younger brother is justified. Aw…you can totally see the big brother’s hopes and prayers for his younger brother to pull through on the ultimatum and prove his worth.
As the moonlight turns to the dim rays of daylight, Jae Ha stumbles and gives into a temper tantum: “I can’t! I can’t! I can’t!” Repeatedly, he cries this phrase while Hang Ah watches by his side, helpless but knowing that he needs to overcome this on his own. And knowing in her wisdom that he needs to rest–both physically and emotionally–she plunks down by his side and tells him to enjoy the rare, beautiful weather. They only have 25 minutes left to reach the destination, and they’ll never make it. She offers him a handkerchief (for his tears? LOL) and then lies down on the sand, inviting him to do the same. Aw…such a peaceful, poignant moment, especially after he apologizes for having shot her. He confesses that he felt an emptiness in his heart, too, when he pulled that trigger and realized what he had done.
After a few minutes of rest, though, Jae Ha picks himself up. At her quizzical look, he replies that he still has a destination to reach…He’s royalty, after all. It doesn’t matter if he’ll arrive there late. Aw…I love that Jae Ha is growing and showing that he’s so much more than that irresponsible playboy he pretends to be.
As he slowly trudges toward the finish line, he stumbles and Shi Kyung rushes to help him up. Refusing his hand and asking if Shi Kyung is taunting him for failing to reach the destination in the required 8 hours, Shi Kyung tells him with confusion in his voice that the test isn’t over. Jae Ha still has at least 5 minutes left to reach the destination. And that’s when Hang Ah admits that she told him earlier that he only had 25 minutes because she thought he needed the rest. LOL. She’s so sweet.
Calling her “Red” in endearment now, the two walk towards the “finish line” with Jae Ha’s arm slung over Hang Ah’s shoulder.
And the king? He stoically rejoices from his vigil when he hears that his younger brother is near the finish line. Looks like little brother Jae Ha is a good royal after all. 😉
Post-Recap Thoughts: I thought episode 1 was solidly executed, but episode 4 has now sold me on the awesomeness of this series. Truly….
Please make sure to watch this episode because the seamless zig-zagging of intense to light will have you amazed. Watching how Jae Ha diffuses what could potentially become an international crisis between the two countries gives me hope for him as a royal, not to mention a decent human being…Let’s just simply brush aside the fact that he initiated the potentially dangerous conflict with his immaturity in the first place. LOL
I’m loving–really loving–the chemistry between Jae Ha and Hang Ah and how the two are negotiating the difficulties of cultural prejudices as well as personal prejudices. I can’t wait for ep. 5 next week when Jae Hae announces in a press conference that he loves Hang Ah…Ack!!!! 🙂 I am surprised that the series is moving so quickly. Yikes!
Anyhow, I would highly recommend this series if you haven’t started watching it yet. The writing and the execution of the writing into viewable drama is something awesome to behold. Recapping this episode from memory and thereby reliving it again is definitely a stellar way to start off my weekend! 🙂 This would so be a drama worthy of being called a “Marathon Drama.” LOL
On that note, I bid you a great weekend, everyone!