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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Secret Door" Episode 2

2014/09/27 | Permalink

The battle between the clever King Yeong-jo and his idealist son has  begun in earnest after only one episode of intense setup. Yeong-jo is a wily, crafty old man who years on the throne and innate intelligence have kept him alive against nearly insurmountable odds. Against such a far-sighted man, Lee Seon has a very long a difficult battle ahead of him.

The strange beauty in the on screen relationship between Yeong-jo and Seon is that there is affection between them, and Yeong-jo empathizes with his son . But he also has his own views on monarchical power and on how politics should be handle that greatly differ from Seon's desire to give the people more rights. The semi-friendly relationship is a balance that lasts only as long as Seon remains still against his father's mechanizations. It's also an incredibly juicy relationship to put up on screen, especially with actors Han Suk-kyu and Lee Je-hoon at the helm.

From the start Seon has the odds stacked against him. He is no fool, but those around him who seek to maintain their power are a wily bunch. His relationship with his father is fraught with tension and layers of meaning that will drive this drama as much as the murder mysteries and secret plotting. The investment that Seon puts into everything is something that will tire him out. It is why Yeong-jo pretends to be aloof while keeping a sharp eye on all proceedings. The stark contrast between the two is an incredibly fulfilling character study.

A new character was introduced today, Na Cheol-joo played by the amazing Kim Min-jong. Not much is known about him except he's the leader of a group that opposes the corrupt police officer who is under MInister Kim's thumb. Na is also a friend of spunky Seo Ji-dam (Kim Yoo-jung), the daughter of an illegal book trader, and a gifted writer. Child actress Yoo-jeong is a massive presence on screen and she equals any of the older, more experience, male counterparts. Her penname as a writer is the same name as Sado's historical one and only love, Bingae, who was recorded in the writing of his wife, Princess Hyegyeong. The Bingae in writing was a lady-in-waiting while the drama's Bingae is a fierce, bandit-eluding, literarilly brilliant woman who speaks in banmal (informal language) with men two times her age. She is much cooler.

Another strong female character is Princess Hyegyeong, one of the biggest sources of historical information we have on Prince Sado's behavior and, in this show, a shrewd, cunning woman with a head for politics. She is played by the young, but seasoned actress, Park Eun-bin, who portrays the princess as an ambitious woman with rigid morals and an opponent to be wary of. She is not made an enemy of the currently loveable Lee Seon, but rather is a woman who follows his father's way of thinking: stick with the setup of old, follow the ways set in stone. Her role has thusly been small, but she will be a key player in the degeneration of the prince as she sides with his father.

"Secret Door" has burst from the gates in a frenzy and has not disappointed. It is strong on all fronts, with a powerful cast to lead the way. If it continues like this, it will be one of the biggest shows of 2014.

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"Secret Door" is directed by Kim Hyeong-sik, written by Yoon Seon-joo and features Han Suk-kyu, Lee Je-hoon, Kim Yoo-jung, Eun-bin, Kim Min-jung and Kim Chang-wan.


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