The King 2 Hearts feels like two steps forward and one step back. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but in the realistic context of how romance blossoms not necessarily in a linear fashion. Jae Ha and Hang Ah are very VERY different people, both in personality and cultural background. It’d be a stretch to imagine them marrying each other even if they were both docile easygoing people, and they are the opposite of that. I enjoy every interaction between them, even the ones when Jae Ha is being such a jerkwad I want to knee him in the groin. What gets me is how she pierces through all his pretensions and delusions, forcing him to acknowledge the uncomfortable reality that he cares about her. While the kiss at the end of the episode was lovely, it was the magnificent running hug scene in the middle of the episode that left me breathless.
Episode 6 recap:
Jae Ha is roundly and publicly humiliated by Hang Ah’s written talk-to-the-hand response to his grand wooing. His pride is injured more than his heart, and he vents his frustration out on a heart-shaped pink donut, driving a fork into the poor innocent fried dough. Dong Ha worries what will happen if Hang Ah is still this way come the press conference in a few days time. He encourages Jae Ha to cajole her some more so that she will agree to the story that they were in love but decided to split up because of the political situation.
Jae Ha agrees that this is the result, but he cares more about the journey. He is the Prince of South Korea, and hes being tormented and embarrassed by a North Korean woman. She didnt just insult his manly pride, she insulted his national pride. He will not grovel and beg her to work with him. He doesnt just want to dump her now, he wants her to fully fall in love with him. He wants her to never be able to marry another man because shell carry Jae Ha in her heart. Shell be so sad, missing him her entire life. And on her deathbed, hell tell her I never loved you. Oh Jae Ha, you are such a jerk.
Jae Ha asks Dong Ha what he thinks about this diabolical plan? Is it too cruel? Jae Ha points out what Hang Ah just did to him! Dong Ha says fine, but points out that this plan requires Hang Ah to fall in love with him. And Hang Ah has already stated she has no feelings for Jae Ha, plus he has only three days left. He consults with Dong Ha on what his next steps ought to be. I love how Dong Ha is like his wing man, but not really completely on his side.
Jae Ha calls Shi Kyung, who is having dinner with his dad Secretary Eun. Jae Ha demands to know how Shi Kyung seduced Hang Ah. Of course Shi Kyung answers that he never seduced Hang Ah, to which Jae Ha retorts that its clear Shi Kyung wont tell the truth, and then hangs up on him. Secretary Eun wants Shi Kyung to retake the civil exams, he cant follow behind Prince Jae Ha his entire life as as a lackey. Shi Kyung says the military career suits him better, he doesnt have his fathers brains.
Shi Kyung excuses himself to pick up an errant Princess Jae Shin. He grabs the check, and when he dad tells him to leave it, Shi Kyung smiles and says he is earning money now and can treat his dad. Shi Kyung heads to pick up the Princess with only two other guards in tow. Apparently the Princess has already slipped away and is currently singing at a rock club while wearing a blond wig. They dont recognize the princess, who toys with Shi Kyung, leading him to accost her thinking shes stolen the Princesss phone.
After the Princess changes out of her blond rocker uniform and back into her princessy attire, she goes to properly greet her security detail. When the guards are saluting her, she walks over to Shi Kyung and touches his chest, ordering him to maintain his salut. She digs up his badge and finds out his name is Eun Shi Kyung. She is upset that they tracked her here despite her orders that she was going to go home by herself. Plus she doesnt like how they judged her on her attire. Shi Kyung replies that the Princess isnt all that classy herself. Oooh, nice way to make a first impression, Shi Kyung.
The next morning, Hang Ah shows up for breakfast and this time Jae Ha complies with her wishes and leaves her to breakfast alone. Kang Seok is happy that the Prince knows his place and now Hang Ah can enjoy her breakfast in peace. Hang Ah eats but she can’t help but look around. When someone walks by, she stands up quickly, obviously thinking it’s Jae Ha. When she realizes it’s not him, she sits down dejectedly.
The Queen Mother is serving food at the countryside and has to deal with the citizens who are upset at the prospect that Prince Jae Ha will marry a Northerner. Jae Kang meets with Jae Shin and hands her a paltry allowance, but she pouts and gets more spending money. Jae Kang chides her for coming home and immediately running off to Hongdae to sing. Jae Shin points out that their mom is more worried right now about getting a Northern woman as her second daughter-in-law.
Secretary Eun informs King Jae Kang at Bong Goo and his Club M henchmen are at the South Korean airport and are asking to meet with the President. Secretary Eun is sent to tell the madman that the King is busy running the country and cannot find time to meet at the last minute. Plus Club M is engaged in activities against the interests of South Korea, so Bong Goo will be prohibited from entering South Korea until March of next year. Bong Goo is not pleased to be treated this way, telling Secretary Eun that the King must be wishing to experience his magic, therefore he will comply.
Dong Ha goes to see Hang Ah, who is happy to see a fellow Team WOC member, and Dong Ha is happy to see her as well. Dong Ha brings up the Prince but Hang Ah quickly says she didnt come to ask him about the Prince. But since he brought it up, how is Jae Ha doing? Dong Ha says Jae Ha is not doing well, he seems to be in shock because of Hang Ah.
Hang Ah goes to Jae Ha’s room and peers at his silhouette against the window. Kang Seok finds Hang Ah, noting that Jae Ha sure sleeps early since the light just turned off. Hang Ah wonders why hes here, since there is a SNSD special on TV right now. Kang Seok stammers that hes quit that, but then quickly excuses himself, and we see him running off to go watch TV.
Turns out it’s just Dong Ha pretending to be Jae Ha. Dong Ha peers out the window and then radios Jae Ha, telling him that Hang Ah is headed in his direction. As Hang Ah walks, she suddenly hears the sounds of a piano playing. She walks over and sees Jae Ha playing the piano in the courtyard. LOL, he’s such a douchebag at these romantic gestures, except….it really is romantic and hard to resist.
Hang Ah slowly walks over, only to quickly turn around and pretend to be looking elsewhere when he notices her. He gets up to leave, per her instructions that she doesn’t want to see him. She asks what he was playing? He says “Ave Maria”, but she doesn’t think that was it. He suggests her Northern upbringing means she lacks knowledge of classical music, which she dispels. Hang Ah insists that what he was playing could not have been Ave Maria.
Jae Ha sits back down and explains that earlier he was playing the prelude to “Ave Maria”. Jae Ha starts to play again, inviting Hang Ah to come sit down next to him. Hang Ah walks over and sits down next to him. Jae Ha starts to play again and her face lights up when she realizes it is indeed “Ave Maria”. She accompanies him on the piano.
They play together, a rare moment of companionship between them. Every time Jae Ha puts on a show, it’s clear when he’s facing Hang Ah, he actually genuinely feels something which he tries to mentally explain away as playacting. He stops playing ands slowly leans for a kiss, only to pull back at the last minute. He wishes her good night and walks away. Hang Ah looks shaken.
Hang Ah sits in her room and listens to “Ave Maria” on her computer. She gets a call from her dad but she ignores it. Later that night, she lays in bed, unable to sleep.
Dong Ha hears from Jae Ha that their plan is working, the maid who delivered breakfast to Hang Ah reports that Hang Ah appeared to be zoned out. Jae Ha is all smug and hands a blinged-out USB drive to Dong Ha, telling him to hand it to Hang Ah. In order to get Hang Ah to fall in love with Jae Ha for eternity, he needs to up the ante and make it like a fairytale drama love story.
When Hang Ah gets the USB drive, she plugs it into the TV and pushes play. Out pops a slide show of pictures of her, followed by pictures of Hang Ah with Jae Ha. She knows this is totally cheesy and likely a ploy, but she can’t help but smile, remembering her time with Jae Ha at WOC training.
Later that night, it’s snowing outside and Hang Ah goes to close her door. She sees Jae Ha walking outside her residence. After staring for a few moments, Hang Ah turns and runs out of her room. Jae Ha looks back and is pleased that he’s gotten his point across. But then he looks stunned when he sees Hang Ah running towards him.
She runs to him and throws her arms around him. He is clearly affected as he embraces her back. As I think back, this is the first time Jae Ha has ever gotten the hint that Hang Ah has feelings for him, since usually they bicker and he thinks she likes Shi Kyung. Both of them look very moved by this moment.
Jae Ha lays on the sofa zoning out. Dong Ha comes to talk with him, wanting to congratulate him on succeeding in his mission to make Hang Ah fall for him. The maids all saw Hang Ah run out barefoot last night to hug Jae Ha in the snow, swooning over how romantic that scene looked. But Jae Ha doesn’t look pleased at all. Dong Ha wonders whats next? Jae Ha asks if this might be too cruel. Oh, you think, Jae Ha?
Hang Ah has never been in love her entire life. Dong Ha suggests that Jae Ha switch to the kinder version of his plan, and just tell Hang Ah that he never loved her. Jae Ha makes excuses that Hang Ah is still a girl. Dong Ha wonders if Jae Ha wants to go through with it and marry Hang Ah then? Jae Ha says no way, hes still young and she was once trained to kill him. Jae Ha puts his head in his hands, asking what to do? If he cant marry her, maybe she can be his lover then? Dong Ha asks if the Prince likes Hang Ah? Jae Ha quickly retorts that he cant possibly like a girl like Hang Ah. Even Dong Ha looks at him disbelievingly. Jae Ha decides to just do it.
Jae Ha goes to Hang Ahs room and she lets him in with a smile. They sit down and she asks him what is going on? He wants them to enjoy the rest of their time together, and then announce at the press conference that they broke up. Hang Ah says shell do it, and by that she means that she will marry him. Jae Ha tries to talk her out of it, but Hang Ah says they have feelings for each other. Despite the North-South political situation, if their hearts are one, they have nothing to fear.
Jae Ha tries to explain that people cant just live on feelings alone, but Hang Ah grabs his hand and says that people can do anything they set their mind to. She tells Jae Ha to believe in his feelings. Together they is nothing they cant overcome. To be with Jae Ha, she is willing to walk through fire. Jae Ha shakes her hand off and stands up, yelling that he cant do this. Hang Ah stares at him in shock.
Jae Ha blows up at her, once again reverting into his tendency to say mean things when he’s feeling flustered and things are out of his control. Jae Ha says this was all just an act to get her to fall in love with him. Cant she tell? He wanted to part amicably and leave Hang Ah, who has never been in love before, with good memories of a fantasy love. How could she take it seriously? Hang Ah starts to cry, asking if it was all just a figment of her imagination? Jae Ha confirms that it was all just acting, such as the piano playing. Her hug was quite passionate though, but its her own fault for being so innocent and gullible that she would fall for all this.
Hang Ah cries as Jae Ha tells her that it was all just acting to him. Oh god, I want to slap him upside the head with a fry pan. Hang Ah cries, so vulnerable and devastated. Jae Ha stops outside the door and considers going back, but stops himself.
On the plane back to Seoul, Jae Ha sits alone in first class. He asks the flight attendant where Hang Ah is, and is told that she is sitting in the back of the plane. He gets out of his seat and cranes his neck to look towards the back of the plane. He calls her an idiot for being so easy to fool. No, youre the idiot for not acknowledging your feelings, Jae Ha. Hang Ah quietly sits in the back of the empty plane and looks out the window.
At the press conference for the Prince and the North Korean girl he loves, Jae Ha and Hang Ah are dressed to the nines and waiting behind the door to be introduced. Jae Ha tells Hang Ah not to speak during the press conference, the MC will talk and take care of everything. The story is that they are in love but cannot overcome the political situation so have decided to separate. The King and Hang Ah’s dad are told that the engagement will be called off. Jae Ha sees that Hang Ah continues to ignore him. He notes that she must dislike him a lot right now, so she should just keep that awkward expression on her face during the press conference.
Everyone is watching this press conference. After they are seated, Hang Ah asks to speak first when a reporter asks about their love story. She turns to look at the shocked Jae Ha, before announcing that she is in love with Prince Jae Ha. She is willing to be engaged to him. The King is stunned while Hang Ah’s dad rushes to place a phone call to the King. Jae Ha can only stare at Hang Ah, who looks at him without blinking.
Jae Ha is asked by reporters for his response and he has no choice but to answer. Dong Ha is watching with Shi Kyung, and Dong Ha thinks Jae Ha will decline the engagement based on his personality. Instead Jae Ha reads a poem and uses that as his answer.
Jae Ha and Jae Shin are watching the news analysis of the press conference. The news caster is trying to analyze the poem to see if Jae Ha rejected or accepted the engagement? Jae Ha asks Jae Shin to go talk with Hang Ah. Sweet Hang Ah is on the phone with her daddy, who wants to know what the heck happened since she was intending to decline the engagement. Hang Ah lies that Jae Ha is treating her very well so she gave him her heart, but she is crying and cant hide it from her dad. She hangs up when she hears someone knocking.
Turns out the visitor is Jae Shin and Hang Ah is happy to meet her. Hang Ah’s super awesome daddy paces in worry after this sudden change in plans. Jae Shin admits to her Hang Ah unni that she is here because of her Jae Ha oppa. She wants to know if anything happened in Jeju between them? Secretary Eun gets a call that Hang Ah’s dad is coming down immediately and is quite upset.
Jae Ha goes to see Hang Ah, but her room is empty while Jae Shin sits there with her arms crossed acting all upset. Jae Ha sits down and Jae Shin lights into her oppa for playing such a horrible joke on Hang Ah. But Jae Shin knows her oppa is a lazy sort of guy, he wont go into all that trouble to play act unless hes got some unresolved feelings of his own. Jae Shin tells him that Hang Ah unni is quite upset still and has been crying.
Jae Ha says that Hang Ahs face needs to be skinnier so crying is good. Jae Shin threatens to hit her oppa for saying such mean things. Finally Jae Ha admits that its all because of Eun Shi Kyung, who Jae Shin knows as the guy who picked her up. Jae Ha asks if Shi Kyung has also tried to seduce Jae Shin, to which she says no. Jae Ha says that Hang Ah is all giggly and flirty with Shi Kyung. Jae Shin doesnt think there is anything wrong with a girl being giggly with a guy.
Jae Ha says its wrong, its wrong because Hang Ah is a killer warrior and she cant be all giggly with anyone. Plus she was roommates with Jae Ha, the Prince of South Korea, but she preferred Shi Kyung. How could Hang Ah have such bad taste? God, this boy is so jealous its funny. Plus Hang Ah refused to come meet Jae Ha, but one call from Shi Kyung and she came running. Hang Ah makes him feel like hes got a screw loose in his brain. Jae Ha flashes back to their snow hug. Jae Shin smiles, asking her oppa if he likes Hang Ah unni that much?
Jae Shin opens the closet doors to unveil Hang Ah, who was leaning down to better eavesdrop on the conversation. Awesome Jae Shin swans out of the room, leaving her oppa and unni to sort out their complicated feelings for each other. Jae Ha and Hang Ah awkwardly sit across from each other. Hang Ah breaks the silence by saying she understands that feelings can be complicated, whether its because hes South Korean or because hes a man. So why doesnt Jae Ha just say itlike her or not like her?
Jae Ha replies honestly, for the first time, quietly asking what if he does like her? What can he do about it if that were the case, its not as simple as two people being together. There are political ramifications beyond his control. Just like Hang Ah called him once, he is trash, always thinking only about himself and finding an easy way out. Hang Ah replies that no trash would ever concede he is trash. Jae Ha says that hes always looking for a way to get himself out of situations, its better if he branded himself a piece of trash.
Jae Kang is told by Secretary Eun that Jae Ha is still considering the engagement. He wants to go talk with Jae Ha, but stops when hes told that Hang Ahs dad is coming down right now.
Hang Ah teases that she does want to marry into the Southern royal family and change her fate in life. Plus there is a part of her that wants revenge, but she wont put her life on the line for revenge. Hang Ah smiles and says the engagement is off and they can follow the original script. Jae Ha is taken aback, asking how a girl can handle a broken engagement, and what if she cant ever get married. Hang Ah says she will just go study abroad and find a guy overseas, maybe a rich Arabian king. Jae Ha asks about the WOC and Hang Ah says shell hand it off to another officer.
Hang Ah stands up and holds out her hand for a peaceful parting handshake, asking to end their farcical engagement on a happy note. She says that she was happy during this time, and shell preserve this memory. She wants to end things with Jae Ha on a cool note, while Jae Ha hesitates and doesnt take her hand. Jae Ha says that in the South, there is another ceremony for saying farewell.
Hang Ah and Jae Ha happily drink together. Hang Ah likes this farewell drinking ceremony. When the alcohol runs out, she goes to the fridge to get more, thrilled with so much booze stashed inside. She takes some and sits down right in front of the fridge to start drinking, and Jae Ha joins her. The King goes to meet with Hang Ahs dad, who demands to know where Prince Jae Ha is right now.
Prince Jae Ha is currently hanging with a drunken Hang Ah, who is nodding off. He points to his shoulder, telling her to rest on it. She refuses to fall for that trick again, saying hes going to pretend to kiss her. Jae Ha laughs, saying it was she who kissed him first, in her dreams. Hang Ah says it doesnt count since its a dream. Plus she had that dream because she knew his feelings for her. Jae Ha grabs her head and asks her what she wants, does she want him to kiss her?
Hang Ah touches her lips, saying her lips are brand new, but his has kissed hundred of times before. Jae Ha stares at her, and then grabs her closer to him. OMO, I swear I flushed down to the tips of my toes. Big brother and daddy are currently marching to find Jae Ha.
Jae Ha tells Hang Ah that the Middle Eastern culture allows the men to have many wives. He knows Hang Ah will never stand for that. Dude, just marry her yourself instead of warning her off other men. Hang Ah glibly responds that shell get rid of the other wives. Jae Ha leans in closer and brings up Jang Dong Geun, asking if Hang Ah no longer wants him? Hang Ah softly replies that hes another womans husband already as she tenses herself for the oncoming kiss.
Jae Ha says that since no one is suitable, so who can marry Hang Ah? Hang Ah says anyone is fine as long as its not Jae Ha. He leans in and weve got ourselves a sexy, beautiful kiss.
King Jae Kang barges into Jae Has room and gapes at the kissing couple on the floor in front of the fridge. He quickly turns around. Hang Ahs dad follows in behind Jae Kang and also sees a dude kissing his beloved daughter.
Jae Ha and Hang Ah break apart and both of them quickly stand up, touching their lips adorably like errant children caught in a compromising position.
Thoughts of Mine:
Oh shit. Im done for. This is no way Im going to be anything less than a half-functioning zombie for the next 7 weeks until this drama ends. How could the writers of that crapola Beethoven Virus be writing this amazing drama? My mind, it boggles at this incongruity. Every time I think I know what to expect, TK2H throws me for a loop. This drama perfectly balances the personal (a very palpable love story) with the political (the North-South cultural and political divide), but then does so with a cast of normal and functional characters (aside from the villain). I cant get over just how AWESOME all the family members are. We have Hang Ahs devoted daddy, who rushes down to South Korea the moment he hears his daughter trying to hide tear tears over the phone. We have super maknae younger sister Jae Shin, who knows her oppa so well shes able to cut through his defensive and immature bullshit and get him to come clean with Hang Ah. And never forget wonderful Jae Kang, who tries to balance being a good King to a country and a caring brother.
Every time the drama takes Jae Ha to the extreme, it brings him right back by the way Hang Ah reacts. She never acts the victim, despite her honest tears, because she is able to counter Jae Has tactics with her own one-two punch. And in that way, she renders him even more defenseless in front of her, until he finally confesses that he does like her. Jae Has confession was followed by his very valid point that his feelings doesnt matter in this situation, its never going to work between then anyway. And that was all Hang Ah wanted to hear, that this wasnt some sort of vile game he concocted, but the actions of a spoiled and scared man trying to maintain control over his runaway feelings. That she can forgive and understand, because shes a compassionate person. Shes not going to make Jae Ha marry her, and her ease at letting him go only makes him even more loathe to let her walk away. They are like the most devastatingly fascinating drama couple Ive seen in quite some time.
I love how there are no lame secondary characters whose schmoopy unrequited feelings for either of the two leads waste screen time better spent on something else. The Princess and Shi Kyung are adorable together, and I cant wait to watch them fall for each other. Not every drama needs a love triangle to create the tension, there is plenty of that between Jae Ha and Hang Ah already without needing the manufacture artificial obstacles. I knew these two would never be able to keep their hands off each other, and this episode was so perfect on the shippy scenes that were the result of Jae Has manipulation of the situation but stemmed from honest feelings from them both.
The kiss at the end felt so appropriate, so necessary, so important in taking them past their lingering defenses. Its clear Jae Ha isnt going to just let Hang Ah walk out of his life like that, even if he cant seem to grasp what it fully means to keep her by his side. If Jae Ha wasnt the Prince and there werent so many dangers lurking out there against the royal family, I can just imagine how happy Hang Ah would be to join that family, with a wonderful older brother like Jae Kang and an affectionate and understanding younger sister like Jae Shin. I want to keep our OTP safe from the evil madman, but I can only hope the story maintains their personalities so that when they fall completely in love with each other, they can indeed be as Hang Ah dreamed could happen, two hearts united as one to face all obstacles.