Monday, April 30, 2012

K-Drama Review: Rooftop Prince, Episodes 11-12

Read Episode reviews for:

Rooftop Prince--Episodes 1-2
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 3-4
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 5-6
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 7-8
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 9-10
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 13-14
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 15-16
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 17-18
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 19-20, Finale

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 11-12

In the previous episode, Park Ha confessed to Yi Gak via text message that she likes/loves him. But he evades the "I like you" issue entirely by saying that she broke his phone and he can't read the text she sent. Is he sparing her feelings because he can't return them? I think so. He's backed into a corner and trying to do the honorable thing.

Side Note: Gosh, Her Hair is Looking Nice, Lately. 

But after a good long time of avoiding each other and not saying anything significant, Yi Gak asks Park Ha directly, "Is it true that you like me?" When she tears up and doesn't answer, he says in the kindest way possible, "Don't like me". Because he's got a mystery to solve and a kingdom to return to. Yi Gak starts putting together the mystery of his double Taeyong's disappearance (essentially solving his own murder!). Yi Gak confronts villain Taemu with a ton of condemning evidence, then Taemu vows to squash Yi Gak completely.

I Killed You Once; I Can Do it Again!

Soon, Park Ha confronts Yi Gak about his sweet treatment of her--if she's not supposed to like him, why does he keep showing such courtesy to her? And why is she not allowed to like him, anyway? He can do whatever he wants, so why can't she like who she wants? Touche, milady.

So Yi Gak lays it all out on the table--he had a wife in the Joseon era. Park Ha says she knows, and she even knows it was a version of Sena. He explains to her that his princess died, and he has to avenge her death. And wow, until now I didn't realize that Yi Gak feels he has to actually marry Sena in order to solve the murder. If they marry, he figures someone will try to kill her, history will repeat itself, he'll solve his own wife's murder, and he'll be transported back in time. Uhhh...

Sometimes His Logic Doesn't Work Very Well.

Three minutes later, Sena and Yi Gak spontaneously agree to marry. Doggone, but that girl moves fast. Meanwhile, Park Ha gets trapped in a warehouse fire and Yi Gak runs to her rescue. He looks after Park Ha while she's recovering, makes her some medicine, and even even tucks her into bed in a motherly fashion.Yi Gak is finally asking himself, of all the rooftops in Seoul, why did I land on Park Ha's? He realizes he has totally upset her neat, calm life and he apologizes for the trouble. Oh Prince, you've come such a long way, to recognize your own shortcomings!

But Yi Gak's running out to save Park Ha resulted in him losing an important business contract, and CEO Grandma is furious. Yi Gak keeps Park Ha away from the rooftop apartment while Grandma fumes and waits for them, but he makes up excuses for the two of them to stay out together much longer than is necessary. Yi Gak turns "avoiding Grandma" into a marathon date with Park Ha, which ends with staying in the community room at a jimjilbang sauna overnight.

Gyah, Jimjilbang Uniforms Are So Cute.

More corporate plotting goes on with Taemu trying to sabotage Yi Gak, and Taemu figuring out Sena and Park Ha's connections to each other. But the most significant event in episode 12 happens when Park Ha leaves town for a day to search for a new job. Yi Gak goes a little crazy, looking for her. Then he sits on the roof all night, balefully staring into the distance. When she gets back, he's terribly angry. Why does she do this to him? He was worried sick and he felt like his heart was breaking. And now he has figured out why: "I like you." Then we get the first real kiss of the show!

Because That CPR Thing Totally Didn't Count.

Things I Loved:

1. The Rescue. It looks nice and dramatic, but it's also very touching. Yi Gak simply cannot keep himself from saving Park Ha, and he'll risk his own safety to do so. And in general, I just can't resist a good rescue scene, no matter who's being rescued.

This Could Only Be Cooler if An Explosion Went Off Behind Them.

2. The Banter. The wit from our main couple is superb. At a restaurant, Park Ha teases Yi Gak, saying she thought he was genuinely crazy when he first arrived. Yi Gak fires back that he was shocked at her rude, crude speech. But she's got more ammunition--how about that time he got a paper cut and treated it like a life-threatening wound? He briefly retaliates but then compliments her, admitting that she has good points and she was very pretty when she went on her blind date. She caves and says that when he cut off his scraggly Joseon hair, he did look a bit handsome.

I Think Everyone Was Glad to See That Hair Go.


1.  The Phone That Wouldn't Die. Taeyong's old cellphone has resurfaced AGAIN, the one with pictures of Taeyong and Taemu on the day of his (probable) death. It's a good thing to have around because it puts Yi Gak on the right trail of thinking that Taemu caused Taeyong's disappearance. But the cellphone was introduced around episode four, then was lost, recovered, switched hands and was lost again. It just feels like an overused prop at this point.

2. Not Enough Sidekicks. We're focused on the romantic and corporate plots right now, but I surely missed the Joseon sidekicks and their adorableness.


Homesickness: This is a big one, because it motivates Yi Gak to get serious with the investigating, in order to get his boys back home where they belong. Chisan has an appendicitis attack and gets a minor surgery, but poor baby Chisan thought he was going to die here in the present, away from his mother. *sniffle* He needs to go home!

You Must Be Good At All Times to Be Considered Good: Sena is commended for helping Chisan quickly with his appendicitis attack, and while she did help him out, it's hard to be proud of her for tending to Chisan's crisis when she wouldn't rush to her own mother's aid when Mom was hit by a car in front of her own eyes. If you're selective about the people you're willing to help, you are no hero.

Fate: Yi Gak says Park Ha and Taeyong were fated to meet, and they only missed each other because of Taeyong's death. Maybe one day he'll discover that he (in the past) and Booyoung were fated to be together, only her older sister burned her face and ruined her chances of marriage. He might also ask himself why he and Park Ha are continuously coming to each other's rescue...

Endearing, Cozy Fate at Work.

Cultural Observances:

New words:

Bbali kaja is "hurry, let's go"
Eommani-jib is "mother's house"
Ijen is "now"
Ee-wol is "February" though it literally means "2nd month"
Pigonhada is "I'm tired"
Ara is "I know"
Anida is "It's nothing"

Episode Evaluations: Episode 11 was deadly dull and sad, but Episode 12 was full of nearly nonstop Yi Gak/Park Ha, so it was wonderful. And now most of our puzzle pieces are falling into place and our main cast (both heroes and villains) knows about 75% of each other's secrets, so we're inching toward full plot resolution.


  1. Eeep. I need episode 13 NOW! JIGEUM!!

    1. I gotta know how they're going to handle their feelings after this big event! And whether Sena is going to backstab the Prince with that corporate takeover thing! The wait, it hurts...

  2. "Yi Gak is finally asking himself, of all the rooftops in Seoul, why did I land on Park Ha's?" Hehehe

    I love *watching* K-Drama vicariously through you.

    1. Yay! I'm glad you're "watching," too. This madness is too good to not be shared.

  3. A few things bothered me in these episodes, apart from the horrible reappearing phone of doom.
    Why did Man Bo and then the other fellows scramble for the keys when the warehouse was burning when they could have at least tried to smash the padlock?
    The whole thing with grandmother having a fit over the contract fallout could have easily been explained if only our prince told her the reason why he ditched the meeting. Instead it is up to the useless uncle fellow to say so and no one pays much attention to him anyway.
    The kiss was rather awkward and did not at all look real. No one smashes lips together like that. To add insult to injury it was badly edited, too.

    I like the ironies that are developing: Chi San pines to return to his era after a surgery when he would have been deader than dead had he been in Joseon when ill; Tae Mu's plan of having Se Na pass for the president's daughter is doubly ironic given that she *is* the president's daughter.

    I am actually starting to like Tae Mu. He may be evil in more ways than one but he does love Se Na even though she lied to hin about her origins and betrayed him horribly. It is not particularly bright of him to stand by her side as he does but it elevates him from pure evil corporate snake status.

    I don't follow Yi Gak's logic. How marrying Se Na will take them all back to Joseon is beyond me. Maybe it is Joseon logic and in those days such thinking made perfect sense but I find it rather baffling.

    1. The corporate drama still feels like it's just there to give us "stakes". If Yi Gak saves Park Ha, he'll lose an important shopping contract, oh noes! I really don't know why this is supposed to have any emotional leverage with the audience.

      K-drama kisses often look more like acciedental face collisions than real kisses, sadly.

      Yi Gak's logic for marrying Sena doesn't compute on any level for me. I like your explanation of Joseon logic--that's the only way I can justify half of what Yi Gak does!

      Are you trying out any of the current dramas? The only ones I've stuck with are Big and A Gentleman's Diginty.

    2. Corporate drama is huge in Asian fiction. Many times it rings rather hollow. I even know of a K-drama that has corporate scheming as its main thrust, Midas. There is only thing I like about the coporate angle on Rooftop Prince and that is that we know what the company actually does. More often than not the companies are vaguely defined as 'high finance' with a lot talk about 'merges' and who knows whatnot. I get the feeling the people behind the scripts have no actual idea of how such a company works or even what it does.

      I know what you mean about the kisses, they are awkward but not in a cute way either. Just very uncomfortable looking and made worse by slow motion. It's right there with the car accidents

      I normally don't watch K-drama when it's airing, I like waiting a while before picking up a series. At the moment I am catching up on Shut Up Flower Boy Band, Lord of Study and Fashion King. I think I'll give Big a go, since it features Dream High's Suzy.

    3. Those other corporate stories sound like my creative writing in college--not really knowing the details of many professions, so just being as vague and yet as dramatic as possible!

      I used to wait and try the fully complete shows, but now I put myself through the suspense of waiting every week for new eps. I LOVED Shut Up Flower Boy Band. It's definitely in my top 10 favorite K-dramas. Suzy is great in Big--I'm such a fan of hers, now.