So at the end of the last episode, I expected it to be a fakeout, and it was—Seol rides her bike to school two years after the vote, but then is immediately followed by her security team, running to keep up with her. When her main bodyguard catches up to her, he huffs and puffs that she still can’t manage to get her driver’s license in two years. Well, perhaps you could at least get bikes for your security team, to ride alongside you?
A crowd gathers to take photos of the princess, but this seems to be a common sighting, as Seol rides to school every day, intent on finishing grad school. It’s good to be a princess with goals.
She heads to class, where she’s met with her professor of archaeology for her final term: Yoon-ju? Aw, geez, really? Would it have killed you to take a class with Jung-woo, for our sakes? Or is he too busy being your cultural ambassador and whatnot?
Thankfully they’re still antagonistic towards each other, Yoon-ju making a point of announcing to the class that she doesn’t abide people who think they can get away with not coming to class. She smugly addresses Seol that she’ll just get another F if she thinks she’s exempt.
Seol chases Yoon-ju after class to ask if she’s going to fail her again out of personal ill will, but Yoon-ju just claims that Seol’s F last semester wasn’t due to her absences, but her performance. Seol tries to play nice because this is the last class she needs to pass before getting her degree, and even acknowledges that though she doesn’t like it, Yoon-ju is the one who knows the Hae-young Museum best.
She explains that she’d like to do a good job maintaining the museum, for its namesake. That just raises Yoon-ju’s ire, as she notes that Seol must be trying to appease her guilty conscience, since she’s chased Hae-young out of the country and made him live just like his father.
Seol disagrees—he’s choosing a life of purpose as a diplomat, and that’s admirable. So, one thing’s clear: Hae-young has spent the last two years abroad, probably in an effort to stabilize the monarchy and let Seol begin her reign without scandal, in regards to both Daehan’s money and their romantic relationship.
One of the things Seol has done as the princess is open the palace to the public, and we see groups of tourists snapping away photos, and in the main hall, they’re greeted by a cardboard cutout of Seol. HAHAHA.
As Seol gets ready in a traditional hanbok, her aides come to her with birthday phone calls from princes: one from Prince Harry, and another from Prince…Nichkhun. Ha. Her face falls, really wanting a call from a diplomat rather than a prince.
She goes in front of the cameras on a stage, in what seems to be a regular gig. She presents different parts of Korean culture, like traditional foods, and even plays a gayageum. So pretty.
The lights go out in the middle of the shoot, and the staff presents her with a birthday cake. Darn. I seriously had my hopes up for a romantic gesture by Hae-young. Too soon?
On her way out, reporters surround her, but she’s now become a pro at the press-walk-and-talk, ignoring and answering the right questions. She’s thrown by one comment asking if Hae-young has cut ties with the monarchy, and then when asked about recovering her grandfather’s lost journal (recently found abroad), she says she’s working on it.
Back at the palace, she’s greeted with a mountain of presents from her fans, and she lights up, as she asks, “Which of these do you think it is?” … “The one from Park Hae-young?”
Um…awkward…none of them are from him. She doesn’t believe it at first, thinking he’s prepared some extra special surprise then, but this time, it’s the truth. No present from Hae-young.
She stews for a while, staring at her phone, and then finally announces that she’s going to call him, “Because I’m cool!!” Hahaha. The way she shouts that is hilariously unconvincing.
She calls, totally put out by the fact that she has to call HIM on HER birthday…only he doesn’t answer. Cue princess outburst. “Is he…cheating? Aaaaargh! He’s cheating with some busty leggy blonde, I know it!” LOL.
The next day she takes her driving test again for the millionth time, and fails like always. I do love that she’s so flawed, and consistently so. She goes to visit Grandpa’s ashes, and finds that someone else has left flowers already. One guess who.
She tells Grandpa that Hae-young is abroad, and she knows he must miss his grandson; she does too. She says that he’s always away, and sometimes it even confuses her—is it for his job, or because of her?
Seol: So that’s why I’m asking. I know you always give me everything, without holding anything back, and I know it’s shameless of me to ask for more…but…couldn’t you give me Park Hae-young?
AW. I love that she’s the one asking for HIS hand. God, I LOVE that.
She gets an update from Jung-woo on her grandfather’s journal, and they vow to keep trying to get it back. Meanwhile, she goes driving again to practice, determined to beat that test.
She drives along like a little grandma, fine until somebody drives up behind her, honking. Yay! Reunion on the racetrack! She gestures at the driver to go around her (in the totally empty driving course, mind you) and she doesn’t put two and two together, so he goes around her and races to a stop up ahead.
Seol grumbles at the crazy driver to herself, ready to give him a piece of her mind…until she sees him get out of the car. It’s Hae-young, in all his shining glory, doing his best imitation of a car CF.
Her jaw drops open as she realizes that it’s him, and he just smiles at her, shaking his head. She inches closer, so slowly it nearly kills me, and manages to get so close to his car that she sandwiches him in.
I love the pairing of her little pink car and his manly black car, parked side by side when they reunite. It’s adorable, and probably a car commercial’s subliminal advertising, but I’m totally buying into it. Gah.
She’s parked so damn close that she can’t actually manage to get out of the car to meet him, and he doesn’t help matters by slamming the door in her face like a little kid. He totally neeener-neeners at her, though they’re technically both trapped.
She finally puts her window down and asks if he’s back for good, and she yells that she was worried. He says ditto—he read an article saying she failed her driving test yet another time. He reminds her that he said if she was going to drive like this, not to drive at all. Heh. Am in agreement there.
She decides she’s had enough…and leaps out of the window into his arms. So. Cute. Even Hae-young dies of cuteness, and hugs her with the biggest smile. Seol: “You can’t go anywhere anymore! Got it?”
He laughs and agrees to stay put, and they hug like a basket of kittens under a rainbow.
She makes him dinner at his apartment, and he basks in the happiness. Not one to skip over the important things, Seol asks why he didn’t send her a birthday present. Hae-young throws her the line that she taught him when they first met: “I didn’t want mine mixing in with everyone else’s.” Cheeky.
He’s impressed with her improved cooking skills, and she boasts that everyone’s calling her Lee-Jang-Geum now. She adds the not-so-subtle hint that it makes her ripe for marrying, and he just muses that someone would have to take her.
She goes to the bathroom in a huff, and he takes the opportunity to take out her birthday present—big fat diamond the size of Mars. He smiles at it, quite pleased with himself (what’s new) and gets interrupted by a phone call.
While he’s on the phone, Seol comes out of the bathroom, and sees the giant ring sitting out in front of him. Her reaction is priceless.
When she comes out, he puts it away hastily, and says he has to go meet the President. She just smiles to herself, pleased to know what’s in store. Oh, honey. Any writer will tell you—if you’ve seen the ring but he hasn’t given it to you, that means you’ve got a bout of angst up ahead before you can call it yours.
Sure enough, Hae-young goes to meet the President, who basically tells him not to marry the princess. He says that the country has barely found a way to harmoniously live with the monarchy, and Hae-young’s move to marry her will put the entire monarchy (and all those who supported it) into scandal.
Anyone else think that this would’ve made a much better conflict than the preceding fifteen episodes? That could’ve been cut short and the conflicts after establishing the monarchy would’ve been SO much more interesting. Whatevs. Too late now.
The President offers up a position in Washington, with the added push that Hae-young should pursue his ambition, rather than have his title become “the princess’ husband.” At home, he takes out the ring and weighs the big decision.
Over the phone, he tells her that he has something important to tell her, and they make plans for the day after. Seol squeals in delight knowing what the important thing is, and swoons wondering how he’ll propose.
But the following days are met with a big round of phone tag, as both their packed schedules keep pushing their date further and further. Seol’s finally had enough of the runaround, and storms over to Hae-young’s office like an angry girlfriend.
…Except she doesn’t really have the luxury of being the angry girlfriend when their relationship is so public, which he tries to get into her head, but she’s too upset to hear him. See, this is what happens when you see the ring first, and your expectations make your head go all haywire.
She lays into him for not making the time because he doesn’t want to see her, reminding him that he told her to be the princess, and basically railroads him into a breakup, just because he won’t leave his meeting RIGHT NOW. Hahaha. She very dramatically breaks up with him, but the whole thing’s hilarious because we know she’s just acting out.
He comes to the palace later to try and coax her back, but he’s met with a locked door and sounds of Seol wailing in heartbreak. Only it’s all an act, to set him straight. HA. He sighs and tries to get her to open the door, but she stands her ground, quite pleased with her own performance.
He waits it out, and tells her lady in waiting to give her the message that he’s really sorry. She says that it’s unlikely Seol will see him (since she’s coaching her to stay firm), and tells him that she must be doubly stressed because of trying to recover her grandfather’s journal.
Hae-young makes a phone call to a contact in England and gets a plan in motion to recover it, and then comes to see Seol with the news. She runs and hides under the covers, making crying noises and insisting that she doesn’t want to see him anymore.
He tells her that he’s here on official business, not as her boyfriend, and tells her that he might be able to get the journal back. She immediately throws the covers off and beams, clearly, not having cried AT ALL today. Hahaha.
She’s caught red-handed, but breezes past it in her princessy way, with a hair toss and a smile. Hae-young can’t help but just roll his eyes and smile back. He tells her that if he can recover the journal, then she has to take back the breakup. She says casually that people who break up can get back together. He muses that he’s got to make diplomatic phone calls to see his girlfriend’s face, and she just says, yeah duh—I’m a princess. Touché.
But there’s just one hiccup: the British Museum only wants to deal with Yoon-ju, since they have a long-standing relationship and they can trust her. So Seol goes to see her, putting aside her distaste to ask Yoon-ju for the favor. Yoon-ju is as icy as ever, scoffing that she must really think little of her, to assume that she’d help Seol do anything.
Seol admits truthfully that she’ll never forget what Yoon-ju said and did to her, nor will she ever forgive her, but she acknowledges Yoon-ju’s unparalleled skills career-wise. “I know that even if you hate me, you love history, just like Nam Jung-woo.”
Back at the palace, Seol tells Jung-woo that she thinks she failed, despite being pretty sure that her cool I-acknowledge-your-awesomeness approach would work. Jung-woo thinks it might have worked, and sure enough, in comes Yoon-ju.
Some time later, they get a letter announcing the return of the journal, and Seol jumps up and down in excitement, while Jung-woo smiles to himself, proud of Yoon-ju. (Grumble, grumble. Bitter grumble.)
Hae-young comes to congratulate her, and when the staff leaves them alone (throwing hearts, no less) Seol thanks “Hae-young-ee…oppa,” and plants a kiss on his cheek. He calls out to the staff that Seol is taking advantage of him, and she covers his mouth in a panic.
He teases her for being Ero-Seol and wonders what she’ll do to him if he does shut up. OH, you two. She finally just asks when he’s going to say his “very important thing,” and tired of going in circles, she just sticks her hand out and asks for the ring. Ha.
He’s taken aback, not only because he’s surprised she knows, but because he’s clearly still weighing the decision. She picks up on his hesitance, and worry starts to cloud her face. “Is it not mine? Is it for someone else?” Haha. I love this running gag of her always assuming he’s got other girls, when he’s never given any indication of being that guy. Not that I wouldn’t make the same assumption, with a boyfriend who looks like THAT. Just sayin’.
She tells him if it’s for someone else, to at least hand over the receipt…so she can get a rebate. Heh. Nice callback. He finally answers, “So what if it is?” She actually does start to worry, asking, “Did you stop liking me?!” Ha. What are you even supposed to do in the face of that kind of sincerity?
He sighs that he wished that were the case. “Then my heart would hurt less.” But before he can explain (not that he was going to, knowing him), they’re interrupted with news that her sister Dan’s been found.
Seol heads over to find her sister living in a tiny studio, with nothing to her name. She shouts that if she was going to do all that to betray her sister, she should be living it up. The shouting match turns into throwing things, and eventually they’re hitting and screaming, which is actually strangely touching, since they’re fighting like real sisters.
They get it all out of their systems, finally sitting side by side calmly. Seol tells her to come back home, and Dan says she can’t…not like this. She swears that she’ll get her life together and succeed—even more than Seol—and only then will she return. Seol: “Fine! You’d better succeed! Just you try and come back without succeeding!” Aw, it’s the only way she can show her love, and once she leaves, Dan cries.
I don’t like Dan or wish her well, but because she’s Seol’s sister, I do like her resolution. She’s family, so she can’t just be left dangling, but their resolution is both realistic and in character. Now Yoon-ju, I’d rather see scrubbing porta-potties for a day job, but Show doesn’t seem to want to do that.
Seol goes to see Mom to lie for Dan (for Mom’s benefit mostly), and tells her that Dan’s doing well, and will come see her once she’s settled into her new job. Mom asks if Hae-young is back and why he hasn’t come to the house, and when she says he’s busy, Mom just tells her wisely not to waste her youth, and to date other men.
In the same token, Seol’s right-hand-maiden makes her peace with Gunnie, content to break it off with the kid to play with men her own age, who don’t, say, spend two years circling first base, for instance.
Gunnie’s shocked at this turn from his noona, and in an outburst, cries, “YA! …I mean…noona…” Aw, he lurves her! He admits to not being a total idiot about things, and tells her that she’s of the age where if he takes things further, he’s got to be in the position to take responsibility for her (ie. marriage). So he waited. So she’d better not go anywhere! Cute. Adorably old-fashioned and totally unrealistic, Show, but cute.
Yoon-ju gets ready to leave for Egypt, and goes to see Jung-woo for one last date. He wonders what he’ll do if he wants to see her, and she tells him that he can come visit. Jung-woo: “If I do, will you greet me with a smile?” and she does, and they grin at each other like idiots. Gah, I’m annoyed that she gets Jung-woo, but the moment is kind of cute, which is also annoying.
Hae-young packs a bag, and then takes out the ring again for more pondering. He finally takes it and heads to the palace. He finds Seol out by the fountain, and tells her that he has to leave again…tomorrow.
Her face falls, and she asks where, how long. He looks at her intently, and then asks her to marry him. Right now.
Taken aback, she asks if it has to be right this second. She starts murmuring to herself about all her engagements scheduled for tomorrow, and wonders if they can’t do it later. He gets mad that she’s pushing it off, which is totally unfair when you’re the one springing ultimatums, mister, and Seol calls him out on it.
Hae-young: If you knew how much I want you right now, you can’t say that to me.
Seol: Are you the only one who wants this? What about me? For two years, I have to wonder if I’m going to even see you once a year, and then all of a sudden you want to run away, so I’m supposed quit being a princess and go with you? Why is it always what you want?
Hae-young: Even when you weren’t a princess, we were never easy.
Seol: Looks like we’re going to have to be a little more difficult.
She walks off, and he leaves the ring there, and goes.
They each mull over their choices that night, with heavy hearts. The next morning Hae-young goes to the airport, and looks around about a million times before dragging himself to the gate.
He gets on the plane and takes a glass of wine, but when he goes to drink it, a blinged-out hand stops him. It’s Seol, chastising him in her sageuk speak for not relinquishing a glass of wine to her highness.
He asks how she came, and she just says with a smile, “Because Park Hae-young wanted it. And because I wanted it.” She clasps his arm and declares that he can’t go anywhere—she’ll chase him to the ends of the earth.
She practically squeals at the thought that they’ll have thirteen straight hours of nonstop date time, and asks what he wants to do.
Um, one guess.
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