Although this episode mainly focused on re-establishing the characters in their new environs, it did so without the clunky awkwardness of most dramas. All characters, major and minor, are in a state of flux due to shifting political situations and tensions. Even those in power must contend with the restrictions of the existing political structures. The beauty of "Empress Qi" is how clearly it depicts such complex ideas while still keeping an air of mystery about how things will happen.
So far, "Empress Qi"'s story has been unfolding at a rapid pace and hasn't stagnated. A general concern of longer dramas is that the story will run out of material and steam during the next forty-two episodes, but with all the historical content available and the creativity of this production team, there is a good chance that it won't. In fact, character development alone will take fifty episodes. The people involved in the story are no where near where they need to be in order to fulfill their historical roles. Ta-hwan, played by lively Ji Chang-wook, is still far too immature to be an effective emperor. He is such a delightful character because he is a mixture of childish antics and wisdom beyond his years. Seung-nyang still hates Tahwan and misunderstands hi intentions. She also hasn't yet become the woman who will lead Yuan and turn from her own country.
The villains in "Empress Qi" are clever and fallible. El Temur is a brilliant man who controls the Yuan court and military, but he is arrogant and old. His controls his hot-headed sons with an iron fist and they are specially sensitive to his wrath. It's an interesting family dynamic to watch, especially when the men interact with Tanisiri, the vain daughter who is just as tyrannical in nature as her father is. She will be an interesting marriage partner for Ta-hwan who is neither as shrewd or as cutthroat as she is, but most definitely needs to learn to be in order to survive.
Seung-nyang, on the other hand, is everything that Tanisiri is and more because of the rough life she has led. One of the meetings I anticipate most is that of Seung-nyang and Tanisiri: battle of alpha females.
After this transition period is over, I'm looking forward to watching all the main players meet again. They will have all undergone difficult individual periods and it will be an interesting dynamic when they come together again.
Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy
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 8"
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