Friday, May 11, 2012

K-Drama Review: Rooftop Prince, Episodes 15-16

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 11-12
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 13-14
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 17-18
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 19-20, Finale

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 15-16

We're at the three-quarters-finished mark of this series because Rooftop Prince is going to be a long runner at 20 episodes. Time-travelling Prince Yi Gak has just seen Park Ha's face obscured behind a cloth, and this makes him realize that she is the reincarnation of a veiled woman named Booyoung, who was his sister-in-law in the Joseon era. Except, I thought he discovered that Park Ha was Booyoung back in episode 6. And again in episode 10.

And The Audience Knew it In Episode 1.

But on the upside, we get to hear more about what Booyoung was actually like. She was a brilliant storyteller and she always kept Yi Gak and the Crown Princess company. Yi Gak says that throughout the years, he probably talked more with Booyung that with the princess, and Booyoung always made him happy. Sweeeet!

Cut to villainess Sena with tears in her eyes, asking Rich Lady Seonjoo if she can call her "mom". Rich Lady Seonjoo knows Sena's lying, but she can't quite reveal this because Sena is one of her missing daughters, just not the right one. Sena's only trying to use Seonjoo, but Seonjoo also knows that she herself doesn't have the highest moral ground to stand on, either.

Abandons Her Kids Like It Ain't No Thing.

Now Seonjoo knows what Sena wants from her--picking Taemu as the future CEO of the shopping company. Seonjoo sees through the deception, though, and casts her vote for Taeyong (Yi Gak) as CEO instead. In retaliation for losing, Taemu does a broadcast from a hospital, showing what he thinks is the vegetative real Taeyong to the board of directors. But Yi Gak has switched himself out for Taeyong again, and he wakes up and freaks Taemu out!

Impersonating Taeyong, Part Deux.

Park Ha is left in a desolate house now, and because Yi Gak is in "deep cover" and can't contact her, she thinks that her boyfriend has disappeared permanently and gone back to the Joseon era. And the other guys are in hiding and can't let her know that Yi Gak is impersonating Taeyong for the second time.

Yi Gak does a really good job of pretending to be Taeyong this time, and is playing him kinda happy-go-lucky with his vocal pitch just a tiny bit higher than normal. Yi Gak also easily slides into the dongseng (little sibling) role, calling Taemu hyung and looking up to him, whereas before they were two alpha males butting heads over every issue.  Serious props go to actor Yoochun for making a distinct difference between Yi Gak as himself and Yi Gak-as-Taeyong. And he wears the most precious glasses, now!

Purely Adorkable.

It breaks Park Ha's heart when she sees what she thinks is Taeyong (but is really still Yi Gak) and he doesn't acknowledge her. Oy, the pain. But Park Ha does discover that it's really Yi Gak, and then they discuss how they'll have to stay apart for a little while, and he kisses her goodbye.

FYI, We Get One Kiss Every 4th Episode. Expect Another in the Finale.

Yi Gak starts putting together clues to help Park Ha find her real mom. But! But but but! Evil Taemu chloroforms Park Ha, puts her in the back of a freezer truck, and then sends a picture of her to Yi Gak as blackmail because Yi Gak has been sending threatening messages to Taemu. Yi Gak goes into a quiet, trembly rage over Park Ha and rushes to save her. Meanwhile our heroine wakes up and starts crying because she's trapped in a very cold place where no one can hear her screams for help.

Things I Loved:

1. All the Couple Stuff. Believe it or not, Park Ha and Yi Gak are just as great as a lovey yet bickering couple as they were as a bickering pair of friends. They still fuss over little details, and they have a boatload of external problems, but they've got insanely cute chemistry together. I loved the date scenes, like when everyone in the rooftop apartment has plans to go see some fireworks, but Yi Gak says he wants to leave the sidekicks behind. They sneak out to the fireworks show, and the sidekicks hunt them down like angry parents locating teenagers out after curfew.

Irrepressible. Irresponsible. Darling.

2. The Funny. The sidekicks are back! We get plenty of scenes with these boys who are an invaluable part of Rooftop Prince. When Yi Gak ditches the boys so he can go on a  date with Park Ha, he leaves them with homework to complete: Manbo is memorizing the phone book, Yongsul tries to read something too complicated for him, and Chisan works on his embroidery, of all things. It's so typical of them.

Our Historical Men, Industriously Employed.

3. Sena and the Water Glass! Park Ha sees Sena calling Seonjoo "mom" and acting all loyal and filial, while Sena ignores her own mom. Park Ha confronts Sena about her nastiness to Mom and throws a glass of water in Sena's face! Sena reaches for the second glass of water, but Park Ha grabs it first and THROWS THAT ONE, TOO! The moment could not be better.

Never Has a Glass of Water Been Thrown at So Deserving a Face.

4. Villains Acting Like Villains. Taemu was a gray villain for a while, then more of a random bumbler, but now he's more imbalanced, paranoid, and outright bad, which is nice for moving the plot along.

Not Too Bright, But Very Willing to Crush Others.


I wish Park Ha would stop getting knocked out/kidnapped/locked into things, but that's an occupational hazard of being a K-drama heroine, I suppose.

Trapped Alone In an Abandoned Freezer Truck? Again?!!!???


Fate: Yi Gak gets a lot of helpful info by actually asking his sidekicks for their opinions about their destiny. Manbo notes that they landed on Park Ha's roof, not Sena's, meaning that fate wanted them to be near one sister rather than the other.

Lovely, and Also Significant.

Timely Music: When we're shown a shot of Sena and Taemu drinking coffee, the shop they're at immediately plays the line "I've been cheated by you since I don't know when" from "Mamma Mia" by ABBA. I guffawed. They've been schemers from day one, and it's coming back to bite them, even in musical form.

Cultural Observances:

Couple rings. Park Ha insists on makin' it all official by getting couple rings for herself and Yi Gak. In America, I've never seen any couple wearing rings unless they were married, but in Korea, dating couples often get matching rings.

Modes of address: When Park Ha calls out for her four guys, she calls Yi Gak Joha or "Your Highness" and the remaining guys are Yongsul-shi, Manbo-shi, and Chisan-ah. I think it's so cute the it's Chisan who gets the complete banmal address, because she treats him like a baby brother even more than the other two.

New words:

Wae irae? is "Why are you being like this?"
Nae irumi is "My name is/was"
Meoriga apeunde is "My head hurts"

Watch it on Dramafever HERE

Episode Evaluations: Yay, things are fun and plot-twisty and cool again! The show is back in black, doing what it does best with the sweet romance, complex plots, and hilarious sidekicks. There are so many truly "wow" reveals in these episodes, and the suspense is back! Yay. *clap clap*

[My new theory: We never saw the dead princess' face in the past. What if that was Booyoung who was poisoned/drowned in the lake, instead of her sister? Then Park Ha is in danger in the present, not Sena.]


  1. Tae Mu has so many freak out moments in these episodes that I almost felt sorry for the guy. Yi Gak impersonating Yong Tae the second time around is a tad too much; and why on earth didn't he use those glasses the moment he began impersonating him?

    One thing has been bothering me, I finally realized what it is: Yi Gak and Park Ha have many of those forced seperations but they don't last long enough to make much of an impact and happen so often one begins to take them for granted. It is a matter of pacing, they can spend days apart but in terms of the running time they end up reuniting at the end of the episode. If it lasted a whole episode it would feel a bit more meaningful.

    Yi Gak confuses me, didn't he realize Tae Mu would probably turn against Park Ha the moment he began confronting him? It is actually odd it took him so long to get to it. Instead of sending off somewhere safe he does nothing even after seeing Tae Mu destroying the rooftop.

    Also, now that grandmother has a reason for being against Park Ha (for sheltering a fake Tae Yong) she seems to have completely forgotten all about her. Why is Tae Mu so hell bent on getting the phone back, all Yi Gak needs to do is copy them to say his laptop.

    And why is Yi Gak so absurdly surprised that Park Ha is in the fabled New York pictures? He knows that at some point Tae Yong met her since he did draw her so why not at the bar; actually how didn't he consider that possibility right away?

    Park Ha's dialogue with Jang lady made me gag. They are not stupid; how don't they consider they are the people they are looking for when it is the actual theme of their conversation?

    In other words, the drama is becoming too extreme while the plot is sliding slowly into absurdity. My bet is the 20 episode format is getting in the way of a tighter production.

    Only now did I notice Chi San has a different honorific than the rest.

    1. ooh, you found like 5 plotholes I missed. I just staryed praying for basic coherence and forcibly kept myself from examining anything too closely. Because, wow. The script really makes the entire cast look not so bright.

      Taemu does seem like he's on the verge of a nervous breakdown a few times. He's going to need so much therapy. :-D

      The 20 episode run messed this show up horribly. There's not a single bit of plot that couldn't have been done in 16 eps. That was my main issue with Goong/Princess Hours--a good show stretched out for waaay longer than its storyline could sustain.

      Chi San-ah is precious!

  2. Kind-of thought of the Booyoung-being-the-one-poisoned from first episode, but guess I've just read too many books/seen too many movies.. o.o And I noticed the ABBA song too, haha - had to laugh out loud.. Love your reviews! It has become kind-of like: "Okay! You have to watch two episodes today so that you can read Tiger Holland's blogpost about them!" Not that I don't enjoy the show, but I just love reading what you've written, ya know? LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FINAL EPISODES! *-*