This episode dispelled the sense of fatigue I felt while watchin the past few episodes. It focused on the real love story of the drama, that between father and son, and helped to strengthen the pulse of "Secret Door".
The central conflict came back to the one established early on: differing ideas on how Joseon should be ruled. King Yeongjo has worked thirty years to develop Joseon as a prosperous, but class segregated society. Preserving the classes means preserving the royal family, which is something all nobility support. Seon wants to make people equal, even if that means that the royal family will be abolished, an idea unpopular with all nobility including his wife, Princess Hyegyeong. She has supported him from the beginning, but finally said she cannot support him in this. It may be the start of a major break between them. It most definitely moved her to be more active in swaying the happenings of the palace. It was good to see such a wonderful character back in the game.
Ji-dam is a pawn. I have nothing more to say about her.
Cheol-joo, on the other hand, the man who is supposed to be allied with Ji-dam and yet has had very little connection with her for several episodes, is more interesting. He has an agenda that he is finally acting on rather than sitting around. It makes him a more potent character and more fun to watch. Drama should be entertaining as well as have something, anything, to say.
The heart of the episode was the king and his son. Despite the fact that his son is dangerous to his political agenda and even his crown, the king cannot depose the son he loves so much. The same holds true for Seon. To achieve his political ends, getting rid of his father would be easiest, but he loves his father. It's such a poignant conflict because it is multilayered and ripples out to affect the palace, the nation. The strain on both men is seen in them whether or not they are together. Lee Je-hoon and Han Suk-kyu have an amazing on-screen chemistry as well, as though they were truly father and son.
There are two weeks left and the prince's demise grows closer. I'm sad thinking about it because I have grown fond of Seon over the past twenty episodes, which means a job well-done on the production team's part. What I really want to see is how his life, and death, affects the other characters - especially King Yeongjo. I'll have to wait four episodes to see.
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] "Secret Door" Episode 20"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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