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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 3-4


The editing in "The King Loves" is very quickly starting to confuse me. Here I was thinking that we were just going to watch the three main leads deal with the whole bridge situation chronologically then for some bizarre reason the production team keeps jerking us around between events from before the bridge incident and after the bridge incident and other far away stuff that has nothing to do with the bridge incident and it's just getting really hard to keep the story straight.

This is where I can see that "The King Loves" is clearly adapting itself from a novel, where introducing a large number of characters in an exceedingly complex plot can be done fairly economically. But the sheer level of exposition going on is the kind where I really kind of need a chart in front of me just to keep track of each character's known motivation. Which is harder than it sounds, since a lot of this motivation is for now being kept fairly intentionally vague.

The only part of the "The King Loves" that I consistently understand is the relationship between the main three leads. I actually really like Prince Won a lot more than I was expecting. Strictly speaking the guy's a little creep. He abuses his royal authority to try and stalk Eun-san, and isn't really the best at keeping up appearances with his dad either. Incidentally, King Chunyeol (played by Jung Bo-suk) is mean and strict, although that may be more the Goryeo setting than his actual personality talking.

He is also at the center of the royal conspiracy which, again, I don't particularly understand or care about because it only has the most tangential relevance to anything the leads in "The King Loves" are up to. Mind, it also helps that the motivations of the leads are so simple it's easy to identify with whatever their current objectives are. Eun-san is thirsty, so she looks for water. Eun-san is hungry, so she buys food.

It's a bit jarring how we have simple stuff like that on one side of the transition, then on the other side there's Song-in (played by Oh Min-suk) and Moo-bi (played by Choo Soo-hyun) flirting, making out, then fading to implied sex as I'm still left wondering, wait, who are these people again? Why are they important? Hopefully, eventually, I'll figure that out once they start directly interacting with the leads.

Review by William Schwartz

"The King Loves" is directed by Kim Sang-hyeob, written by Airborne, Song Ji-na and features Im Si-wan, Yoona, Hong Jong-hyun, Kim Jung-wook, Jae Ho and Ki Do-hoon.

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