My Princess has the most inconsistent effect on me. When I’m watching the drama, sometimes I’m totally into it, other times I’m zoning out for no good reason. During the lull between episodes, occasionally I’m dying to know what happens next, other times I’m happily going about my business with contentment borne from knowing that what will happen will happen in due course.
After scrounging around my brain for a likely cause, the reason was so very simple. Hae Young and Seol – every time they are onscreen together, every time I think of them, every time I see a spoiler about them, that is when my interest in MP gets revved up again. Otherwise, I think the plot of MP isn’t really tickling my crack drama fancy in the least. Episode 7 of MP was widely spoiled, but it doesn’t mean the delivery didn’t have the same impact.
It did because I was smiling like a loony at the end of the episode. But the more the story delves into Seol’s conflict between clearing her birth father’s name, her worry about her adoptive family, her impending bitch-fight with Yoon Joo, and her unclear future as a princess with respect to Hae Young, the more I worry that the writer is going for manufactured heightened conflict rather than organic and rational plot developments. Only time will tell. For now, episode 7 raises the stakes for almost everyone.
Episode 7 Recap:
Yoon Joo delivers her “I am the top-bitch around here” smack down to Seol, who was caught completely unawares by the viperress in the midst. She stares at Yoon Joo, who is not at all ashamed to be so evil and two-faced. I would be digging a hole to bury myself in if I did what Yoon Joo just did. But then, I am human and have principles and empathy. Yoon Joo clearly does not.
Seol puts on a pink-and-white textured Marc Jacobs designer dress and walks back to the room with the stylist to confer on her wardrobe choices. The stylist says that the princess is so beautiful, doesn’t Hae Young agree? Hae Young sees the dressed-up Seol and takes a long hard look at her, said look clearly noted by Yoon Joo. The stylist discusses options, and Yoon Joo takes this opportunity to throw in a few additional digs at Seol.
Yoon Joo wants to make sure the princess is dressed in a way that does not lend itself to correlate with her former life – as a poor orphaned student struggling to make ends meet. Really Yoon Joo? Unfortunate people who work hard are also your public enemy? The other stylist helpers are clearly in on it, because they make snide tittering remarks about Seol as well.
Yoon Joo puts on her fake face to address the stylist team – they need to craft a princess who will win the election to reinstate the monarchy. A prince would be easier, but unfortunately they have to work with a princess, who has to have a royal image to convince the women voters to support her. Hae Young is not pleased with this line of discussion, regardless of whether he wants Seol to be the princess or not. Seol listens with a visible look of discomfort.
Hae Young and Seol go back to the palace. Seol promises not to be late for tomorrow’s lesson, but Hae Young stops her to discuss what happened today. He reminds her that going forward, there will be more people who want to make her life difficult. She will be even more hurt and in pain, making what happened today seem like a cake walk in retrospect.
He tells her that there will be no one to protect her in or outside of the palace. Seol says that she used to having no one protect her – she’s an orphan, remember? Hae Young is sitting in his room, reading but actually thinking about the fact that Seol is an orphan, and how Yoon Joo used that to attack her image earlier. He sighs, which is when he is informed that the princess seems to have disappeared.
Hae Young immediately hurries out to look for her, but it’s just a feint since Seol is hiding in an antique car in a show room, watching Queen Seon Deok on her cell phone. Seol is watching a scene from the drama where Mishil, the evil power-hungry antagonist to the queen, says “it’s because of you.” Seol practices it using the same forceful delivery – she gestures and yells “it’s because of you! It’s because of you, Park Hae Young! It’s because of you, Oh Yoon Joo! It’s because of you people!”
Hae Young opens the car door and gets into the driver’s seat. He asks Seol “do you want to die?” (which is a frequently used phrase when a person is annoyed with something another person does). Seol stammers out a no, and asks what he is doing here. He pokes her in the forehead and tells her that the reason he is here “it’s because of you!” Harhar, you two, just start doing the Titanic in that car right now and save us 9 more episodes of angst.
He chides her causing an uproar in the palace with her disappearance, and she retorts that she is doing some independent studying is all. Her new idol is Mishil, which leads Hae Young to wonder if Seol wants to learn political plotting and assassination type activities. She says it had to be done, if she wants to survive in the palace where she is surrounded by enemies.
Hae Young says that her most handsome enemy must clearly be him. Seol scoffs at him for mentioning his good looks into this discussion, but he continues the line of thinking and says that he must also be her most hated enemy. Lastly, he must also be the enemy who gives her the most grief (and only enemy she wants to tup in bed – heh, so sez me).
Seol says that one of the three is incorrect, but won’t tell him which one. She tries to leave the car but the door on her side won’t open. She tries to jerk the door open and he reminds her to be gentle with an expensive antique. His door opens just fine, but he refuses to get out so that she can exit that way. Hae Young just can’t stop himself from spending time with Seol.
He repeats his questions again – the most handsome, the most hated, and the most grief – which one is not true of the three? He tells her to answer otherwise she’ll be sleeping here all night. He says that he is definitely the most handsome, so the incorrect answer must be the enemy who she hates the most or who gives her the most grief. She tries to rescind her earlier answer and says that all three answers are correct now, is he satisfied and can he let her out?
Seol wonders why he’s so insistent on knowing the answers – he’s still her enemy in the end. He says that he won’t be able to sleep tonight unless he knows the answer. The ladies come running in at this moment, leading Seol and Hae Young to pretend he is teaching her to drive a car. God, they are so adorable.
Seol goes by Hae Young’s room to deliver warm milk that can help him sleep. She offers it in florid proper language – milk bestowed by the royal princess of Korea. He tells her to stop watching so much sageuks (hee). He wonders what she put in it, and she tells him that it’s because he can’t sleep is all. He sniffs it and asks for a silver spoon (to test for poison), but takes the milk with a smile when she moves to leave with it. The milk has a smiley face written in chocolate on it, and he drinks it with a happy grin.
The President meets with Hae Young, and is told the princess is adapting to palace life. The President asks if Hae Young is taking his pretend tutor position too seriously. What will happen if he ends up losing all his inheritance? I dunno, he’s a diplomat, so perhaps live off of his salary? It’s been known to happen, El Presidento. The President says he will wait and see at the press conference what will happen next.
Yoon Joo introduces herself as the Director of the Royal Foundation, and tells the staff that she will be controlling the purse strings from now on. She gets a daily report from the older lady in waiting. This particular report is that the princess and Hae Young spent time practicing driving until late into the night.
Yoon Joo takes Seol out to a spa to beautify her. Except Seol is given a very painful massage, while Yoon Joo smirks, and reminds Seol not to call her Museum Director anymore, she is now Director of the Royal Group. Can she just call you pinch two-faced bitch, then? Seol wonders if this is revenge, because Yoon Joo saw something last night. Well Seol sweetie, you just raised her hackles even more. Yoon Joo says that she is not interested in anything personal about the princess, last night or any other occasion.
Seol is made-over in a wig revoltingly similar to Yoon Joo’s tranny hairstyle (my apologies to trannies the world over to be lumped with Yoon Joo), who compliments that the hairstyle is so elegant and……excuse me while I barf over here. Seol doesn’t like the hairstyle, correctly stating that she does not want to emulate Yoon Joo’s look. Yes, even cadavers would run away screaming if given Yoon Joo’s look.
Seol gets up and tells Yoon Joo to cut it out, stop treating her like a plaything. Yoon Joo politely asks the hairdressers to step aside, and then switches to banmal and asks Seol what she’s going to do about it. Oh oh oh, face-off time! Yoon Joo tells Seol to just dress up as pretty as possible and use that to ask for support. Seol is chilled at how quickly Yoon Joo turns venomous in her words.
Seol asks why Yoon Joo would accept the position involved with the restoration of the monarchy if she doesn’t want Seol to be a princess? Yoon Joo says that the Royal Foundation has a greater purpose than to restore the monarch – its main purpose is to alleviate the guilt of Grandpa over his transgressions to Seol’s father. Meaning that Yoon Joo will do whatever Grandpa wants at this time, but the minute Grandpa croaks, the royal restoration plans will cease.
Yoon Joo dares Seol to tattle on her to Grandpa. If Grandpa were to know that everyone around him is against his lifelong dreams, surely he’ll live much longer, right? Seol is stunned that Yoon Joo would talk this way about the grandfather of the man she is planning to marry. Yoon Joo is all, like, what, he can’t hear me now, can he?
Yoon Joo walks away and Seol stops her. Yoon Joo turns and gives her this bone-chilling dead-eyed stare, and even Seol shudders at the snake woman standing before her. Seol hilariously says that she’s scared (of Yoon Joo) so she’ll make this real short. Seol says that she plans to live, eat, and sleep in the palace peacefully and without any guilt anymore. She used to feel bad for Hae Young, but after hearing of all the people against her and Grandpa’s dream, she’s not going to feel bad anymore.
Seol’s mom and Dan show up to visit, and Seol is happy to see them. She gives them presents, which is the first time I’ve seen Dan happy. Mom is sad Seol’s adoptive father could be here to see Seol become a princess. Hae Young called the family into the palace to show them a news report that Seol’s adoptive father tried to sell a counterfeit royal artifact and was arrested and got a criminal record that way.
Mom confirms this is all true. Hae Young wanted to tell the family ahead of the press conference, where the adoptive father’s criminal record will be made public. Seol gapes at Hae Young, while Mom is shocked, and Dan is understandably upset. Seol runs after Dan, who accuses Seol for using presents to bribe their consent.
Seol wants to clear her birth father’s name, so she’s willing to sell her adoptive father down the river, right? But she’s not family anymore, she’s a princess now. After the news is released, Dan won’t be able to pass the interview portion of her prosecutorial exam, since she will have a family member with a criminal record. Hhhm, Dan actually has a valid point here.
Seol runs after Hae Young and asks how he can do this to her and her family? He argues that he’s treating her well. He is doing everything in his power to make her a princess, including clearing her birth father’s name. Seol does not want to do it this way at all, by hurting her adoptive family.
Hae Young tells her that she wants too much. He is about to lose his entire inheritance, and here she is, refusing to even lose one thing. Seol retorts that she does want a lot, especially when it comes to her family. Anything that hurts them, she refuses to do. Seol tells him that at the press conference, she will say whatever she wants, and he needs to back off.
Seol sits in front of some vine-grown cherry tomatoes and stares at it. Gun comes by, and picks one for her to eat, telling her that it will make her prettier. Gun eats it which is why he is so handsome. Seol sigh that he has a prince disease as well. Seol gets an idea, and calls Jung Woo into the palace to ask for his help clearing her father’s name.
Jung Woo asks if Seol remembers anything related to the late Queen’s satchel? Seol recollects seeing it when she was a kid, but doesn’t remember what happened to it. She invites Jung Woo to eat lunch with her, but when they walk into the dining room they see Hae Young and Yoon Joo already eating lunch there.
Seol asks Jung Woo to eat lunch in her room, since eating here might make one choke on the food. Hae Young says that it’s not proper for a princess to dine alone with a man in her bedroom. So sayeth the man who walks into said bedroom alone and unannounced all the time. Jung Woo smiles and says they should just dine here then.
Commence awkward steak lunch for four, please! Seol daintily cuts and chews her steak, while Jung Woo smiles and totally is unaffected by Young Joo. And it appears that he’s not faking it, he doesn’t seem to care that she’s around (or not around). Hae Young sneaks looks at Seol, while Yoon Joo peers at Jung Woo smiling at Seol. Hae Young asks Seol what she is doing, cutting the steak like its sashimi.
Seol asks what is wrong with the way she is eating her steak? Jung Woo says there is nothing wrong, but perhaps Seol’s steak is a little too tough. He takes her plate and proceeds to cut her steak for her. Oh you go, Jung Woo! Yoon Joo finally snaps and politely remarks that Professor Nam is so considerate, even doing things that most couples in love are squeamish about doing in public.
Jung Woo snerks back – that is why he is so popular at school. Heh. Even better is that Hae Young hands Jung Woo his plate and asks him to cut it as well. Seol moves it back, and tells Jung Woo that they should have eaten in the room to avoid this situation. Hae Young says that the princess needs to be near a bathroom when she eats meat. Oh Hae Young, being mean didn’t work, now you want to embarrass her as well. You big ole doofus!
Hae Young announces that his toilet got plugged up that day. Seol almost starts using foul language to yell at Hae Young, but stops herself. She says that the toilet was fine that day, she flushed twice to be sure. She gets Yoon Joo to confirm that she also heard the toilet flush. Yoon Joo tells Seol that she needs to take dining etiquette lessons, otherwise she’d be an embarrassment when dining with distinguished guests.
Jung Woo interjects – isn’t the most distinguished guest at this table the princess? Jung Woo says that Director Oh’s words are more inappropriate. Hae Young makes a thinly veiled insult about Jung Woo electing to hang around Seol after she gave up going to Egypt and decided to enter the palace to be a princess, i.e. Jung Woo is a royal-hanger-oner.
Seol defends Jung Woo as treating her the same before and after she became a princess. In fact, he is only here today at the behest of Seol. Hae Young asks what she needs Jung Woo for, and is told that Jung Woo has agreed to help find anyone who knew her father, since he’s an expert in royal studies. Hae Young wonders how Jung Woo can do it, when no one has answered their newspaper ads thus far.
Hae Young presses forward – this matter could have been easily discussed on the phone, so why did Seol bring an outsider like Jung Woo into the palace? Jung Woo smiles and stands up, saying that he did not come to the palace today because Seol asked to see him. He’s here to see Grandpa actually. Even Seol is surprised to hear this.
Grandpa summoned Jung Woo to ask whether he got information from Seol about the satchel. Jung Woo repeats what Seol told him, but wonders why Grandpa doesn’t just ask Seol himself? Grandpa confesses that Seol doesn’t trust him, hence he can’t trust what she tells him. Grandpa asks Jung Woo to find the satchel, and to keep it under wraps since news of the satchel missing will cause problems going forward. Jung Woo asks Grandpa to keep this conversation a secret as well, especially from Yoon Joo.
Jung Woo tells Seol that he’ll be seeing her every day from now on – he’s been appointed a board member of the Royal Foundation. Seol is ecstatic, and Jung Woo is quite cheery about this news as well. Hae Young the Jealous walks by and snarks about why Jung Woo is still here? Hae Young informs Jung Woo that a parking space needs to open up in the parking lot, and even Seol is like “the palace is not a supermarket, why are parking spaces needed.” ROFL. Hae Young tells Seol to come with him for her lessons.
Jung Woo tells Seol to go, and watched her leave as Yoon Joo finds him to talk. You need to run away, Jung Woo, or else you’ll get indigestion. Thankfully Jung Woo heard my subliminal message, because he jauntily walks off. When Yoon Joo asks to talk, he tells her that he has nothing to say to her. He’s been living quite well these days, and ask Yoon Joo to do the same.
Seol is hiding in the antique car, calling her mom to ask how things are at home. She hides when she hears people enter the room, hearing from the voices that its Hae Young and Yoon Joo. Yoon Joo wonders who went into the antique car the other night, and broke the door. Antiques need to be carefully preserved. Hae Young takes the blame and says that it was him.
Yoon Joo thinks that it can only be Seol, since she’s the only one who causes problems in the palace. A kind look crosses Hae Young’s face – he thinks this is the only way for Seol to cope with being in the palace. He says that it must be like for Seol now what it was for the two of them to grow up, all alone in a big house.
Yoon Joo says that Hae Young should save his sympathy and empathy for someone deserving. She tattles on Seol, saying that Seol has no guilt over living as the princess and taking away Hae Young’s birthright. Hae Young’s reaction is not what Yoon Joo wanted, as he is happy with Seol’s decision, because it means he can also feel less guilty towards her.
Hae Young goes outside, and see Seol burning the news clippings about her adoptive father’s criminal record. Seol’s mom packs some food for Dan to bring to Seol. She tells Dan that Seol promised not to talk about their dad at the press conference. Dan gets on the bus, but purposely drops the food at the bus stop. Oh Dan, you are a grade-A bitch, you know that?
Dan goes to see Yoon Joo instead. What’s next is a bitch-on-bitch showdown, and I can’t decide which bitch I want to see win the tussle. Yoon Joo snerks that things must be going well for Dan, since she never called. Dan snerks back that she didn’t think Yoon Joo could do much for her, so why call. Yoon Joo gets that glint in her eye and tells Dan that she has no reason to come here anymore now that the princess is no longer in her family registry.
From now on, she doesn’t want to see Dan visit the palace. Dan tells Yoon Joo that she’s here on another matter. Since Yoon Joo was formerly a museum director, perhaps Yoon Joo has heard of the late Queen’s satchel? Yoon Joo’s eyes light up, and we see the beginning of the bitch coalition formed out of mutual dislike of Seol’s good fortune.
Seol is trying on evening gowns, and Dan peeks at her, clearly eaten by jealousy. Hae Young gets a call from someone who claims to have known Seol’s father. Turns out he called before, and was waylaid by Secretary Oh. Hae Young confronts the Secretary, who tells him that if he finds someone who knew Lee Han, then Hae Young risks losing his own father.
Turns out that Hae Young’s dad had been threatening Seol’s dad, telling him to stay on a remote island and not come to Seoul and be discovered by Grandpa. Hae Young’s dad warns Seol’s dad that if Grandpa were to find him and Seol, then both of their lives are at stake. Ooooh, Hae Young has an evil daddy, and Grandpa is clearly right in disowning his son who’d murder someone to preserve his inheritance.
It also turns out that little Seol and little Hae Young (who is played by Seung Jo’s mini-me brother Eun Jo) had a brief encounter that day when Hae Young’s dad was threatening Seol’s dad. Not exactly a cuddly childhood love story. Adult Hae Young rages at Secretary Oh, asking why he should believe this story now.
Hae Young is so angry because clearly he has a recollection of that meeting, but he insists that he doesn’t remember such an event. He wants to preserve his father’s memory, and refuses to accept that his father threatened Seol’s dad. Hae Young-ahh, please stop screaming, I am having all sorts of bad flashbacks to EoE and Dong Chul screaming for episodes on end. *shudders*
Seol runs after Hae Young, excited that he found someone who knew her dad. She asks to see the person immediately, and Hae Young agrees to take her but warns her that it’s quite far. The car ride is completely devoid a conversation, silent and uncomfortable for both of them. When they arrive, Seol doesn’t appear to remember having lived here.
When they walk up to a house, Seol suddenly sees her father before her, and her childhood self running up to him in the snow. Her eyes fill with years as the memories come flooding back. The old couple shows Seol pictures of her and her dad, who had arrived at this port town without a place to live. They invited him in, and he helped the husband fish.
Seol is happily wandering around the beach with a giddy grin. When asked, she tells Hae Young that she appears to remember more now – this beach was where her dad made her a snowman and carried her around all night. Seol wonders if they can postpone the press conference, if she stays for a week, she’ll likely remember all the details about her childhood.
They go have dinner, and Hae Young remembers to order the largest seafood stew remember how stingy Seol is with sharing the food last time. Seol happily asks for a bottle of soju, since she’s happy to be out of the palace and to remember bits and pieces of her childhood. Seol proceeds to get tipsy on the soju, which Hae Young tries to cut off.
He accuses her of trying to get drunk so that he will have to piggyback her. Well, since you brought it up, Hae Young…. But Seol contends that she has a high alcohol tolerance. Hae Young grouses about how she’s such an embarrassment to him, and she asks him point blank whether he really hates the thought of her being a princess that much. He lists all the silly and embarrassing things she’s done around him since they met. Hae Young cuts Seol’s soju off, but she’s already three sheets to the wind.
She totters outside, and Hae Young ends up piggybacking her because she can’t even stand up by herself. He puts her purse around his neck, and the princess on his back. He warns her that if she pukes on him, he’s going to toss her into the sea. She giggles and promise to stick to his back like glue. And her little girly giggle is the cutest thing ever.
She plays with his shoulder, wondering if he’s got heat pads underneath his jacket since he’s so warm. Her hands move up to his neck, cheek, and finally she covers both his eyes. She compliments him on his long lashes again, and he replies that he hates people with long lashes. She asks if he can give them to her, and he reluctantly admits that hers are quite pretty as well.
Seol gets quite happy with the compliment, and Hae Young has to tell her to stop squirming so much. She starts using sageuk language to yell at him, and then starts humming a tune. She’s such a classic cute drunk. She yells at him to set her down and re-tie her shoelaces for her. He does so while she pouts for him to hurry up.
Hae Young wonders why Seol is not afraid. She’s in a foreign place with a guy, yet she drank and got drunk. Seol says that the person responsible for her in by her side, what is there to be afraid of? Hae Young stares at her with a long hard look, while Seol obliviously smiles at him. He tells her that because of her, he’s going crazy. He tells her that they have to be equal rivals for him to be able to dislike her.
Seol looks at him and confesses that she feels the same way – he’s not someone she dislikes. She uses her purse strap to pull him in and kisses him on the cheek. Hae Young is taken aback, and stares at Seol who smiles happily at him. He touches his cheek, and then tells Seol to forget what he’s about to do.
And Hae Young leans in and kisses Seol. Her eyes widen initially, and then closes as she falls into the kiss.
Thoughts of Mine:
Now that was a lovely lovely kiss. Really wonderfully executed and gorgeously performed. I must say that Kim Tae Hee is truly winning me over with her performance as Seol. During the entire drunk scene, her comedic timing was impeccable, and all her little gestures were perfectly done. I’m not a fan of the drunk kiss, but this wasn’t a drunk kiss since the kisser is clearly so very NOT drunk, i.e. Hae Young.
I don’t think Seol’s is going to wake up and forget what happened. But these two lovebirds have got way too many issues between them that one kiss isn’t going to suddenly make them get together as a couple. I am happy to see some emotional breakthrough between them. Seol for letting her drunken self be less caustic and angry at Hae Young, and confesses that she doesn’t dislike him at all, and rather appreciates what he has done for her. Hae Young for acting on instinct for once, and going in for the kiss because that’s what he wanted to do at that very moment.
Frankly, I have no clue where this drama is headed in terms of the emotional plot points of the OTP. They could get together at the end of the next episode, or at the end of the 15th episode. I’m glad that it looks like the drama isn’t going to make Jung Woo suddenly fall in love with Seol, even though it’s clear he’s let go Yoon Joo. I really love their professor-student friendship, and hate to see it marred by Jung Woo turning into your stock lovelorn second male lead. He’s too cool for that!
In terms of the royal restoration plot – I’m going to be deadly honest here and tell you that I am really bored with it. I don’t know why, but the press conference, dressing the princess, finding a person who knew her dad, Dan and Yoon Joo’s plotting to derail the restoration, none of it interests me and makes me eager to find out what happens next.
Aside from Seol and Hae Young’s emotional journey as a couple, the only other time my interest is engaged is when both of them deal with their own personal family issues. Such as when Hae Young finds out about his daddy being the big bad in this story, and Seol remembering moments with her dad. I’m not saying this drama plot isn’t very good, just that I’m personally not very into it. Conversely, the plot of Dream High is a lot more engaging and intriguing, even if it’s written with broader strokes and less finesse than MP.
However, what I find lacking in the plot proper, I get in spades in the romantic moments and not-so-romantic moments between our squabbling couple. I’m not looking forward to too much Hae Young angst in the upcoming episodes, because watching Song Seung Heon rage and get all shouty really reinforces that he’s bumping up against his acting limitations when he’s required to do heavy-duty emoting. More cocky Hae Young, less ragey Hae Young, please writer-nim.
Seol, on the other hand, is hitting all her scenes out of the park. Kim Tae Hee is owning this role, and her increasingly contentious interactions with Park Ye Jin are all handled with aplomb. Episode 8 looks to be a turning point for Seol in her emotional transformation into a princess, and I am curious as to how she plans to accomplish her own goals when she’s up against everyone around her wanting her to fail.
You know and I know that the easiest solution would be for Seol and Hae Young to fall in love and get married, whereby Hae Young’s gets his inheritance back in a roundabout way. But that’s not the point. The point is for them to work through their conflict, and find a resolution before their emotional breakthrough can happen without any strings attached. For now, they continue to move towards each other in tandem, neither yet ready to figure out what the other person means other than as a reluctant adversary and someone each is unwittingly attracted to.