"Empress Qi" is going strong and that strength is due to the show's ability to draw interest. It puts each character through innumerable highs and lows each week and keeps the action rolling. Whether or not this action follows a logical progression is dependent on the situation. Sometimes situations are contrived for the shock factor rather than to logically fit into the story, but they are all eventually integrated into the overall texture.
This episode addressed a few issues that have been on the backburner, which amped up the excitement level. There was genuine romantic conflict between the four romantic leads. El Temur shows more hidden cards and becomes an even larger obstacle for Ta-hwan, Seung-nyang and Wang Yoo. And, of our main leads, Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang are showing enormous amounts of growth.
First, the romance has become more prominent after being neglected for political maneuvers. Tension between Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang has been growing and while their romantic relationship remains unclear, Ta-hwan's love for Seung-nyang tinges all of their interactions with a romantic edge. His slowly growing backbone is earning her respect and it's becoming clear how their relationship now truly has a political and romantic future. Add in Wang Yoo as an observer and the mix gets thick with tension. He must force himself not to care, as must Seung-nyang. Their relationship now has a huge thorn of misunderstanding wedged deeply in it causing pain. Their severed romance also is beautiful, sad way to show how drawn they are to each other despite the fact that they feel pulled towards different paths. Then there is Tanisiri, who, as always, is the loose cannon of the fouresome. Her jealousy makes the romantic foursome a very dangerous web. Her interest in the romantic game has upped the ante.
Tanisiri is also a cunning opponent for Seung-nyang because she uses her jealousy to fuel her ambitions that are fulfilled by her own cunning and siphoning her father's enormous power. Unlike Seung-nyang who has very little with which to do battle, Tanisiri has genuine political power. It's surprising Seung-nyang has gotten as far as she has on wits alone and, and a tad unrealistic. Although she has support in the dowager empress and Bayan, she is a consort from Goryeo while Tanisiri is an empress and from a prestigious Mongolian clan.
Then there is El Temur the ever powerful. He is powerful because he is ruthless and the two combined make him terrifying. He is a mighty opponent for the good guys, but he is also a little wearisome for the viewer. Watching him beat down Ta-hwan again and again begins to whittle away any hope and patience I may have left despite the fact that the political tug-of-war is a surefire way to create interest. There needs to be some substantial payoff for all of the emotional whiplash the show gives me.
One of the strongest points made this episode is that a political leader needs people to lead. El Temur may have financial power that allows him to rule with an iron first, but using that money in backhanded ways has lost him loyal people. Those people are now turning to the strengthening Ta-hwan. It is those connections that will win Ta-hwan the loyalty of his people and give him strength. I'm looking forward to watching his growth, and with him, watching Seung-nyang achieve her bitter revenge.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Empress Qi" Episode 32"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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