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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 31-32


Following their escape from various royalist forces, Prince Lin and San have a romantic walk along the riverbank. I found this scene was distinctive less for its intended purpose and more because the subject of San's father come up. I was hopeful that maybe San would describe some of his personality traits, so that would humanize him and make me care more about how he died. Instead, all San talks about is how her father owned huge tracts of land.

That was worth a chuckle. Elsewhere the plot is muddled as usual, where Prince Won has to speculate about what all the other named characters are doing since no one tells him anything. Honestly, I've never gotten the impression that Prince Won would be mad at discovering that Prince Lin is San's love interest now. Disappointed, obviously, but Prince Won made a conscious decision to marry Princess Dan when he could have had San instead, so it's not like he has any grounds to complain.

Speaking of which, yes, Princess Dan is still Prince Won's...fiancé? Did they actually get married yet? That sounds like something I would have remembered seeing, but then, I don't remember ever seeing King Chungnyeol get that head injury either. The tendency of characters to just disappear once they've served some important story purpose is one of the worse structural points in "The King Loves". Big plot decisions are important as much for the character reactions as they are for the character actions.

And poor Prince Won doesn't even get to do that much, since he's so consumed with the paperwork of running the kingdom in his father's stead. Bizarrely, having the acting power of the head of state does not appear to have given Prince Won any kind of power to assist Prince Lin or San. Song-in and Chzhuan Muvan Khou just continue to do whatever they want with no apparent fear of repercussions. Why aren't there ever any consequences in this drama?

Like, remember how it was a really big deal how the Mongols needed tributes? Did they ever actually get those tributes or do they just not care anymore or what? Not that any of this matters anyway. The only real potentially interesting point we're moving toward is how Prince Won and then Prince Lin will end up being crowned, and I rather expect "The King Loves" is just going to blaze right over that part.

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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