The kiss finally happened and it was less creepy and more satisfying than I anticipated. It was the result of an explosion of emotion based in relief and pent-up desire. While the romance reached an emotional pinnacle, Ji-dwi firmly grasps at his throne, challenging his power-hungry mother for his rightful place.
Ji-dwi's growth as a young man and as a young royal is one of the most interesting storylines in "Hwarang". His love for the open-minded Aro feeds his ideology about what it means to be a leader. His friendship with the other hwarang teaches him about working with others. He also has the drive to improve and do right by his people, which forces him out of hiding and to declare openly against his mother. Aside from these heavy developments, it is also sweet how much he revels in sharing his identity with the woman he loves, Aro.
The other solidly developed character is Ban-ryu, a young nobleman who is torn between his real father, a pandering politician trying to forcibly drag his family up the social ladder, and his step-father, a cruel and power-hungry politician who only uses his step-son for his own gain. Watching this torn young man navigate the desires of his elders and the community he finds within the hwarang is more interesting than the actual main romance.
Seon-woo and Aro have a very tense relationship because they are supposedly siblings and because he lied to her about her real brother - he is dead. The shock and hurt are hard for her to handle. Mix that with her supposedly forbidden romantic feelings for Seon-woo and she's been an emotional mess for a few episodes. Her breakdown at her brother's grave was nicely done, and her confessions to an unconscious Seon-woo led to a very romantic kiss, but despite all this, their relationship isn't the highlight. Perhaps because it's future is so clearly drawn. Also, the chemistry between them wasn't quite there until the kiss. The physical manifestation greatly benefited them.
As for Princess Sook-myung, all I can say is that she's lame. She's a wooden board of a woman with very little else. Please, drama, develop the woman. The other new character, presumably Seon-woo's real dad, makes an appearance and I do think he can add some spice to Seon-woo's storyline. Despite Seon-woo's struggles in the hwarang quarters his story still lacks verve. On top of these two characters, the hwarang all get guides to help them train - an excuse to add more male vitality to an already beautiful cast. Can't complain about eye candy. I just hope they keep the characters and stories identifiable and organized.
This episode was definitely pivotal in the romance, Ji-dwi's position, and in the forward progress of the hwarang. I want to see these boys come together to make changes in a very backwards Silla kingdom.
Written by: Lisa Espinosa AKA Raine from 'Raine's Dichotomy'
Note : due to licensing, videos may not be available in your country
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] "Hwarang" Episode 10"
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