Although a few plot devices were reused this episode, it was one of the strongest thus far. It used death in a strong way so that the death was poignantly felt and also an impetus for change and resolve. Like I mentioned last review, the hwarang and Aro are growing into their places in this tumultuous society and it was never clearer than in this episode. As you read on, there are a few plot spoilers! You have been warned!
Brooding was the filler in this episode. Ji-dwi contemplated his next steps as the hidden King Jinheung of Silla before finally making his grand entrance against all odds. It was a good step for him, especially since two other young men are vying for the throne: Ban-ryu and Seon-woo, both to protect the ones they love. Seon-woo brooded over whether or not he should become king and the fact that his father is the queen's brother. We know that his mother was deceased Wonhwa Joon-jeong, which will surely be made known to him. He had to be royal and that twist was not a surprise. It would've been nice had he been a commoner, but that wouldn't fit with the rather fantastical take of "Hwarang". Han-seong, played by BTS' V, also brooded, but in his cheerful way. He escaped responsibility his entire life and decides to take charge of his destiny rather than let his grandfather control him, and through him his brother. This leads to his death, which was, while very sad and moving, also poetic. He chose to save Seon-woo, the friend and role model who bolstered him. It was death on his terms, which was a perfect ending for a young man who finally felt good about the choices he has made. His loss inspires the hwarang to band together, to refuse to lose another brother, and to fight the corruption that caused Han-seong's death in the first place. Pretty powerful step forward for these young men. However, I will mourn the loss of V's cheerfulness amongst a cast of brooding characters.
Aro has her own troubles that she must face on her own. She is made into a wonhwa, a notoriously dangerous position. Along with Princess Sook-myeong she will lead the hwarang, a position that leaves her and the hwarang at the mercy of the queen. She promises to fight for her life and not become an expendable chess piece. It is the first time in a long time that we've seen her step up. At the end of the episode she takes an arrow for Seon-woo (like he did for her). It's a repeat of an earlier scene, but in this case, Aro finally stepped up - just like Han-seong. I'm sure she won't die, at least not yet. The leading lady still has two episodes to grace with her presence.
A character I'm wondering about is Minister Yeong-shil. He manipulates and manipulates and still feels like a paltry bad guy. He was the backing that eventually caused Han-seong's death. He caused the deaths of hundreds of people by withholding medicine. Despite all of this present malice he still doesn't 'feel' like a present evil and this is because he's poorly developed. He's literally just a one-track bad guy with little else to him. Those around him have much more substance. A good villain makes a show, and he just really has little to give besides sparking the good guys to action.
We have two more episodes to go of our beautiful hwarang warriors and their trusty Aro. What do you all think will happen?
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Note : due to licensing, videos may not be available in your country
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] "Hwarang" Episode 18"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
[Hot Takes from the Noonas] Korean netizens react to Kim Min-hee controversy
Kim Min-hee's recent win of the best actress award at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival ,...More
Subscribe to HanCinema Pure to remove ads from the website (not for episode and movie videos) for US$0.99 monthly or US$7.99 yearly (you can cancel anytime). The first step is to be a member, please click here : Sign up, then a subscribe button will show up.