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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 17

2015/02/08 | Permalink

This episode of "The King's Face" vacillated between good and boring. The scenes that showed antagonism between the main characters had impact while the more romantic scenes were exceedingly dull.

Romance between Gwanghae and Ga-hee has been nothing more than longing stares and soulful ballads. There is little to show a romantic connection between them so this episode had to flashback to their one, stale kiss in order to spice up their chemistry. When Gwanghae discovers that Ga-hee has become his father's concubine, the scene is so anticlimactic that it was humorous. It lacked the gravity that it should've had because there was no real romantic buildup and the anticipation that preceded her ultimate decision was drawn out for far too long. When Gwanghae passed out from the shock, it seemed like overkill - to put it mildly, it was ridiculous.

What is interesting about Ga-hee's decision to become the king's concubine is that it puts her at direct odds with Do-chi. They have opposite goals: he wishes to destroy Gwanghae; she wishes to help him to the throne. But they both made similar journeys along difficult paths to come to the inside of the palace. They began as friends and ended up as enemies. I want to see how their former relationship colors their new one. That would add much needed depth to their storylines.

King Seonjo has, as of late, been making more appearances, showing that he is a coward and letting other people take on his responsibilities for him. Pitting this weak king against Gwanghae's magnetic personality is one of the inherent literary beauties of the story. What makes the king strong is those around him; what makes Gwanghae strong is his spirit. The juxtaposition of the two family members and enemies is something the show seems to be using. The king allows Do-chi to do his dirty work; the prince does his work himself. Involving Ga-hee as the king's concubine may change the dynamic between father and son; it should, but the writing in this show hasn't been strong enough or consistent enough for me to expect it.

Do-chi and Gwanghae's rivalry is a good one. They have loaded conversations that grow into action. The scenes between them are purposeful and engaging. On the other hand, there are strange, disjointed scenes that depict what Gwanghae's men are doing in Manchuria. These don't have much impact at all. In fact, it would've been better to narrate them than to spend the time and money filming them.

With Ga-hee in the palace, "The King's Face" enters its third stage. I've lost hope that the quality will improve. I can only hope that the import of the original story is able to carry it through.

Written by: Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'

"The King's Face" is directed by Cha Yeong-hoon and Yoon Seong-sik, written by Lee Hyang-hee and Yoon Soo-jeong, and features Seo In-guk, Jo Yoon-hee, Lee Sung-jae, and Shin Sung-rok.


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