Political tides are changing in the Yuan palace and the star crossed couple is on the cusp of being reunited because of it. The fun of "Empress Qi" now rests solely with the action and the continued beauty of the show (the scenery, the costumes). Character growth has stagnated. Ta-hwan and Tanisiri are the most interesting characters because they are the most flawed and struggle against themselves and the odds to persevere.
First we have Ta-hwan who's love for Seung-nyang drives him and keeping him fighting for his own strength. Everything he learns about her changes him and forces him to reckon with himself. While I'm not a fan of living and dying by love, the fact that Ta-hwan changes for the better because of it is wonderful. Seung-nyang, on the other hand, is running on revenge and is pretty one-dimensional. She smirks like a villain would and is a bit too obvious as her revenge is carried out, also like a villain would be. Perhaps this foreshadows how she historically turns her back on Goryeo and becomes The Iron Empress. Perhaps it's just bad writing. Ha Ji-won is deep when the script allows her to be, but most of the time Seung-nyang feels like a stone, revenge-filled beauty with no variation of emotion. Her child hasn't been mentioned once by her, or even alluded to. Those allusions are important. She only mentioned the deaths that drive her revenge one time, and it was a masterful scene. "Empress Qi" needs more of that.
Wang Yoo and Seung-nyang are set up to meet again soon, and while that will be exciting, I'm still angry about Wang Yoo's extended, rather pointless, jaunt in Goryeo. It could've been so much more than it was. Instead, it seems like he was sent to Goryeo just so Seung-nyang could have the opportunity to infiltrate the Yuan palace. Wang Yoo's mission to undermine El Temur's financial source and his interactions with Batolu, the female Turkish leader, have been overly simplistic and barely engaging.
El Temur, the long-standing bad guy and power in the Yuan court, has finally been forced to give in to the dowager empress and relinquish a huge playing card. He needs to lose something huge in order to be believable as a character and this is the first big advantage he has lost. It infuriates him (and it turn pleases me!) to lose some footing in court and with the provincial governors. Hopefully, it will make him a bit more desperate. The attempt on his life barely stopped his evil plans. Watching a beloved child fail will probably do it.
Episode thirty was pre-empted by the Olympics, but it and episode thirty-one are scheduled to air on time.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
Follow on Twitter @raine0211
Journalist, drama lover, and foodie, Lisa enjoys exploring Korea, speaking the language, and soaking in all that dramaland has to offer. Her Korean husband laughs that she knows more than he ever will about dramas and K-pop. Lisa Espinosa can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Empress Qi" Episode 29"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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