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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Goddess of Fire Jeongi" Episode 9

"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" continues to plod along as it has been: predictably and with very little excitement. This episode centers around another ceramic piece. Not only does every plot point hinge upon it, but the political welfare of Joseon hinges upon it as well. It's wearisome and this lack of complexity in the story and the characters drags the drama down. There is no novelty, no fresh twist. All stories in books and scripts are based on variations of a basic few. What makes them different is the presentation and "Goddess Of Fire Jeongi"'s presentation is nothing new: A foreign threat issues a pottery challenge and Joseon must comply. Along the way, Jung is determined to do the right thing and help out. She gets thrown together with Gwanghae who subsequently discovers that she is a girl. Sounds like every other cross-dressing drama out there.

Gwanghae and Jung


The strongest aspect of this episode, and the drama in general, is the acting and the chemistry between the actors. Moon Geun-yeong, Kim Beom, and Lee Sang-yoon carry the show. They are convincing and strong without being overpowering. Lee Sang-yoon was particularly strong. This was the first time his character, Prince Gwanghae, was allowed to shine by taking initiative rather than merely react to his brother's idiocy. Gwanghae became a character with impetus, which gave Lee Sang-yoon more to work with; he did it well and imbued the character with depth it previously lacked.

Moon Geun-yeong is doing a stellar job as Jung, the stalwart and righteous heroine. She brings life to an otherwise inane character. Jung is too good and kind of a human being to be believable. It's downright laughable, in fact. And yet, Moon Geun-yeong makes me empathize with Jung and her foolhardy single mindedness. She's always been a strong, self-possessed actress and the drama is lucky to have her. A less skilled actress would lead Jung into decidedly boring territory.

Kang-chun and Jung

That's the rub with this show. Everything is mundane. It takes good actors to give the fifty-five minutes of airtime some pizzazz. Take this episode's major conflict: the Ming Empire, which holds power over Joseon, threatens Joseon with dire consequences if it can't replicate a teacup. A TEACUP. It might as well threaten to lose an army of rabid raccoons on the capital because that would be more interesting. Instead we have the king and everyone below him in a frenzy to fashion this little green cup. While the dictate does allow for some wonderful art to be shown, the production team really doesn't take advantage of the artistic opportunities they've been given. They have the characters drivel some pottery mumbo jumbo and show very little of the actual ceramic creation process.

Going into this show I really thought I'd see a lot of how Jung-yi and Prince Gwanghae helped to shape Joseon's politics with their illicit affair and the ceramics she created as a valuable currency. I want to see her battle against sexism in the ceramics trade. I want to see how she was one in a puzzle of political pieces that fit into Gwanghae's ascension and possession of the throne.

Written by Raine from Raine's Dichotomy

"Goddess Of Fire Jeongi" is directed by Park Seong-sook and written by Kwon Soon-gyoo and features Moon Geun-yeong, Lee Sang-yoon, Kim Beom and Park Gun-hyung.
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