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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 33-34


So Prince Won has finally done what he should have done at least a dozen episodes ago, and started talking about his feelings straightforwardly since San is too obtuse to pick up on hints. Well, no, that's not true. San knows exactly what Prince Won wants, she just chooses to react in a way that makes it difficult for Prince Won to tell if she's being coy, nobly idiotic, or sincerely rejecting him. Unfortunately that trend continues here.

But let's look away from the main love for a moment. What's Song-in been up to? Why, he's been poisoning King Chungnyeol of course, using Moo-bi's position as handmaiden to insure that King Chungnyeol does not get suspicious. While this has always been the implication, there's been so little focus on Song-in's motivation I never really thought about this plot point that much until it was stated explicitly here.

Which is actually pretty nuts, when you think about it. There's been a huge conspiracy going on to permanently enfeeble the rightful King and what are our main three characters doing? Pining over each other as they fall into tragic danger, failing to realize that the only reason any of them are ever in danger in the first place is because of Song-in's machinations. A single serious conversation where they all compared notes would at minimum get them moving in the right direction.

Miscommunication can be effective drama if wielded properly. King Chungnyeol and Chzhuan Muvan Khou, for example, have understandable reasons for refusing to cooperate as they pursue clearly defined motives they believe to be mutually exclusive, even though in actuality they are not. It's why Chuzan Muyvan Khou's big scene has so much dramatic power. Chzhuan Muvan Khou has finally become aware of how the petty hatred between her and King Chungnyeol has imperiled all of Goryeo, and there's nothing she can do to fix it.

I can't envision any of three leads having a dramatic scene that good, because they all lack compelling flaws. They do have the shared flaw of being bad communicators, but this flaw is nearly indistinguishable from simple bad writing. Besides that, Prince Won's overtures to San seem vaguely creepy, when the only reason the situation has gotten to that point in the first place is because San and Prince Lin have been refusing to tell him what's going on for no good reason. I mean, sheesh, of course he's suspicious of Prince Lin's motives at this point!

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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