The lovers are at odds, both emotionally and in duty, which is the heart of episode 6. Around them King Seonjo whose inner battle rages between loving his son and the fact that Gwanghae is the biggest threat to his crown; and Do-chi, whose position of power causes him grave heartache.
Gwanghae has lived idly in the eyes of his father and others. He is possessed of a swift mind and a bold constitution, but has not yet used it. His father, King Seonjo, tries to provoke him out of his seeming rut by allowing Gwanghae to prove he wasn't the one who shot his brother at the price of his crown. In his search, Gwangahe discovers it is Ga-hee who tried to shoot him, not his brother, throwing him into turmoil. This is an excellent plight, pitting the lovers against each other despite their emotional tether to each other. But the inordinate amount of time spent of suffering faces and tears is overkill. Gwanghae cries so much that his tears are commonplace rather than impactful. Director Yoon needs a more subtle hand.
Ga-hee is the richest character thus far. She loves the prince, but also hates him because she thinks that he (and his family) killed her parents and left her to die. She joined a cause against the crown, which puts her in a position to take his life despite her personal feelings. While at a distance, she almost brings herself to kill Gwanghae, but once she comes face-to-face with him, she wavers. This internal struggle is good stuff. Jo Yoon-hee is subtly expressive despite the blunt directorial style.
Gwanghae, on the other hand, struggles, but does not have the same impact as Ga-hee. He chooses to forfeit his crown to protect her. This decision doesn't carry the somber weight that Ga-hee's did when she took on the assignment to assassinate him. Gwanghae is fighting his brothers for the crown, but that fight hasn't been given the emotional weight that Ga-hee's has. It should.
As for Do-chi, he is a rich character, thrown into a leadership position that wears on him, but this character and his story fall just short of having an impact. When he cries over a difficult decision he's made, it is awkward, but by no fault of the actor. Do-chi doesn't have enough emotional substance behind him to back the tears he shows on screen. There needs to be a little more insight into his inner workings to draw the viewer to his plight. What is effective about him is his connection with Ga-hee. They are partners in their cause and earnestly care about each other. This is shown on screen so that we, the viewers, may connect with it. The same needs to happen with Do-chi's issues. He can't just have the camera focused on him while he cries. His thoughts need to be highlighted.
"The King's Face" is a mix between fascinating and cheesy. Hopefully as the story progresses it will find a rhythm that will banish th awkwardness.
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 email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King's Face" Episode 6"
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