"The King's Face" is picking up the pace as it nears the finish line. Intentions do not necessarily lead to desired results because they are thwarted by powerful emotions like jealousy and greed. As the characters settle into their newest roles, they grow bolder and that makes the show a lot more fun.
Ga-hee, in particular, was much more lively than she has ever been. She was active in making decisions and executing them. She engaged in the the active warfare that a woman could at this time: status challenges and controlling the ear of the king. She boldly stands against Lady Kim who has also begun to come out of the woodwork and into her own. The change in both women is incredibly welcome as they've been dull, insipid character up to this point. Lady Kim no longer blindly believes Do-chi. In Ga-hee's case, she is actively striving against the man who use to be her blood brother in arms and in ideology.
The king remains a jealous character, which is currently entertaining enough. It could become old quickly, but it's engaging for now in that it makes him unpredictable and very dangerous to everyone, especially Ga-hee, the object of his affections. Gwanghae's independence incites the king and puts him on a dangerous path towards discovering Do-chi's and Ga-hee's intertwined pasts. In fact, I'm guessing Ga-hee's life may be lost by the time this is through with how much she talks about sacrificing it for Gwanghae and the greater good of Joseon.
Do-chi is a character who I can't pin down. Part of it is the stilted portrayal. I've seen Shin Seong-rok do much better work, but in "The King's Face" he is monotonous when he should be a compelling, torn character who has chosen the wrong path. We see too little of what makes Do-chi tick. We don't see how his twisted way of living causes him mental anxiety when it conflicts with the ideals he grew up with: striving for an equal world with his brethren.
One aspect of the show that has thrown me is the passage of time. It isn't clearly indicated and it should be. It would clarify the behavior of all characters, major and minor. There are many such similar plot elements that are poorly illuminated. At this point in the show's run it matters little, but it is a regret of mine.
I'm not quite sure of this show's endgoal. It doesn't seem to be aiming in one particular direction and therefore it's floundering. Let's see what the last three episodes hold.
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] "The King's Face" Episode 20"
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