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 15-16
Rooftop Prince--Episodes 17-18
Contains Spoilers for Episodes 19-20
Our time-travelling romantic comedy is finally ending, so let's settle down for a long look at the Rooftop Prince finale!
Park Ha is hit by Taemu's car and knocked into a lake. Taemu and Sena flee the crime scene, natch. Yi Gak can't process the accident for a few moments, because it reminds him of his wife's death in the Joseon era. He's moaning and weeping like a little child, just on the verge of being deranged.
Park Ha has a liver injury from the car accident and she needs a transplant from Sena. Yi Gak finally tells Sena about the reincarnation and how she and Park Ha used to be sisters in the Joseon era, too: "You are the only person who can save Park Ha now. You can break this evil cycle". Yi Gak gives up the evidence he was holding against Sena and Taemu, and says he doesn't need retribution anymore, he just needs Park Ha alive. (That's just you, Prince--I'm still plenty ready for retribution!) Sena painfully recalls every rotten thing she's ever done to Park Ha, and there are a lot of them.
Never Going to Win the "Big Sister of the Year" Award.
But Taemu's not above using Park Ha's tragic accident (which he caused) for his own gain. He wants all of Yi Gak's shares in the shopping company in exchange for the use of Sena's liver. (What-what the whatting what? Grr.) But it's a double-cross, and Taemu takes the company shares and flees with Sena, heading for a boat that will take them overseas. Fortunately, Sena double-double crosses him and lets Yi Gak know where they're going.
Cue a big showdown fight by the wharf. The Joseon sidekicks drive Sena to the hospital where she prepares for the surgery, and Taemu and Yi Gak have a bloody fistfight that somehow does not result in one of them being punched into the water. People being punched into large bodies of water is almost a motif for this show.
Taemu gets caught by the police, but he's not really punished the way we'd like. He's going to prison on all kinds of major charges, but it still seems like his end is lacking something. Police finding a bad guy and taking him to jail just seems so anticlimactic after all Taemu has put everyone through.
Park Ha's surgery goes well, and Sena holds her unconscious hand, for once acting like the unnie (big sister) that she ought to be. I didn't really want Sena to get redeemed, but it's kind of sweet even if her change of heart seemed to come right out of nowhere. Sena's going to have to go to jail too, but her sister, birth mom, and adopted mom all forgive her because she saved Park Ha.
Okay, That's a Decent Ending. I'll Take it.
Now that Park Ha's life is no longer in danger, the Joseon guys have to think about her finances. The three boys all start part-time jobs which result in them getting piles of money in just a few days. Yongsul becomes a skilled extra in Joseon historical dramas (love the meta!), Chisan plays traditional instruments as a street musician, and super genius Manbo writes a romance ebook called "Joseon Scandal".
I Would So Read That.
They buy Park Ha a new vegetable store and fix it up. Yi Gak tells her it's so she can go on with her life after they're gone. Park Ha doesn't want to plan for her future, though. She wants to marry Yi Gak right now, so she can have the memory of being married to him before he goes. She proposes and he says no, because he thinks it will hurt her in the long run. He finally does agree to the marriage, because their time together is running out; Chisan disappears and goes back to Joseon, and then Manbo and Yongsul vanish as well.
Park Ha and Yi Gak spend the rest of the day holding hands, even while they eat. They don't want to miss a single second together. The next morning, they go out on their rose-festooned rooftop and say their vows to each other, alone.
Possibly the Best K-Drama Wedding Ever.
Then he begins to disappear. Park Ha says a few last tear-filled words to her new husband, and then he's gone forever.
Doggone it, I need some tissues. Kleenex break!
And as if the writers of Rooftop Prince knew that we needed a break from all that harshness, Episode 20 begins with Yi Gak landing in a barnyard in the past, staring down a flustered rooster.
And With That, All Tears Have Dried.
Next thing he knows, he runs into Chisan, followed by Manbo and Yongsul, who have brought extra historical garb for their pals. And it turns out that a massive plot has been going down in Joseon, perpetrated by none other than...historical Taemu!
With a New and Improved Villain Beard.
Turns out, only one night has passed in Joseon, though the guys spent months in the modern world. It's like a Narnia time-warp.
Flashback to the day before (actually months before) when Yi Gak went to visit Booyoung, Park Ha's Joseon double and posed this riddle to her: "What dies while still living and what lives while still dying?" Booyoung didn't know the answer, but she did know that some plot was afoot. The Crown Princess was acting suspicious, and the king's older half-brother (Taemu!) was lurking around Booyoung's house.
The Crown Princess tried to poison Yi Gak's food, but Booyoung ate the whole plate of poisoned food to save the prince from his fate. Booyoung goes outside to sit by a lake and die, still thinking about the prince that she loves. As a last request, she asks the Crown Princess to trade out clothes with her so that Booyoung can "drown" in the lake and no one will find out about the attempted poisoning.
It was Booyoung's sacrificial and wrongful death that started this whole chain of time-travelling. It was like the universe itself couldn't stand for the Prince and Booyoung's story to end this way, so it arranged for the wildest series of events, just so that Yi Gak could know the truth and could come to love at least one version of Booyoung.
A major swordfight ensues between Historical Taemu's fighters and the king's guard. The good guys win. Yi Gak sentences Historical Taemu and everyone else involved in the plot to execution by beheading, while the Crown Princess and her mother are sentenced to exile on a deserted island. Now, that's more like it! Yi Gak writes a letter to Park Ha and leaves it in a secret hiding spot for her to find in the future. Present-day Park Ha finds the letter and thinks of his sweet words as she runs her juice store. And then...
...a familiar face walks inside.
Looky Who Just Woke Up Out of His Coma!
It's Taeyong, the present-day version of Yi Gak. But she doesn't even look up at him as he orders his juice! Never mind. I have a feeling he'll come back. In Joseon, a running gag comes around full circle as Chisan, Manbo, and Yongsul open a popular restaurant serving omurice. The three guys still go to eat with Yi Gak, and they all secretly wear their brightly-colored tracksuits under their historical garb. Too cute. Yi Gak tears up while eating the omurice and thinking of Park Ha.
In the present, Taeyong leaves a note for Park Ha to meet up with him. But then when she meets him, he turns into Yi Gak, complete with his kingly robes. We end there. I'm confused as anything, but whatever. They're together at last!
Things I Loved:
1. Meaningful Loss. When we start losing beloved characters to the inexplicable time-warp, it hurts to see them go. Chisan disappears first, and it's like a death-knell for everyone else. They know that they could disappear at any time, and the audience is left to wonder who will be departing next, and when. It makes for great dramatic tension, so bravo!
Five Seconds Ago, This Elevator Contained 4 People.
2. The Emotions. I love this show for making me sad, I really do. It's a testament to how great a couple Yi Gak and Park Ha are, that even in the midst of some very silly and overblown corporate plots, we had a hero and heroine we could bond with, admire, and miss.
3. Joseon! It's so cool to be back in the past. The plots and schemes are more interesting when there's a kingdom at stake instead of a shopping company.
And The Robes Are Awesomer.
1. Nice, Neat Villain Tie-Ups. The baddies in the past are punished properly, but I didn't want the villain subplot in the present to just be settled the way it was. I want the villains to be dealt with in an extreme fashion, and to get an end that involved poetic justice!
I Had Hoped For a Keelhauling Or Tar-and-Feathering.
2. Park Ha's Injury. It was dealt with pretty quickly and it did allow for one villain redemption, but Park Ha's hospitalization felt kind of redundant. I was afraid they would put her in a room next to Taeyong and they'd be stuck in his-and-hers matching comas.
So Many Injuries in This Show.
Always Repay Kindness: The Joseon guys work to repay Park Ha for all the trouble she's had in rescuing them. Sena also decides to repay Park Ha for her sweetness. I find it interesting that past-Sena was not redeemable and present-Sena's repentance and redemption is partly to pay for what the Crown Princess did to Booyoung.
Home is Where the Heart Is: Park Ha has a chance to get married in a really nice wedding hall, but instead she opts to tie the knot in the place that means the most to her--the rooftop apartment.
A Small Home Wedding With No Frills.
Reincarnation: Booyoung explains that the lotus flower (which can be called "Booyoung" or "Park Ha") is the symbol of reincarnation. It's also her answer to the Prince's riddle, "What dies while still living and what lives while still dying?" Booyoung may die, but Park Ha is still alive.
Watch it HERE on DramaFever.
Episode Evaluations: Not gonna lie, the end of episode 19 made me cry like a baby. Rooftop Prince makes you feel all the feelings! And Episode 20 was mostly exciting and mostly satisfying.
While this show may have flounced and floundered a lot in its 20-episode run, and it certainly seemed unsure of when to emphasize its own best points, it still managed to be a sweet, crazy love story that could be both touching and entertaining. I think the pacing and logic were all over the place, but ultimately I'm glad I watched Rooftop Prince. The solid acting, colorful humor, and believable depiction of true love were worth tuning in for.
This is Tiger Holland, signing out and looking up recipes for omurice.