The murder mystery is heavily under way as it creates layers of depth in the characters and in the plot that is fraught with tension. Father is pitted against son; Noron against Soron; truth against lies. Power warps even the most upright of men. Seon and Ji-dam fight it, but those with power will do anything to keep it, which allows manipulation and treachery to run rampant and foster deceit in nearly everyone.
For now, Seon remains relatively unswayed by the temptation of power. Although he has grown up in the tense atmosphere of the palace, he has not been as exposed to politics as he is now. His pure intentions hold no ground against the massive amounts of corruption that back the two major political parties, the Norons and the Sorons, as well as his father. The politicians and the king intend to cut him down, and with his youthful earnestness, Seon is playing directly into their hands.
It's an interesting angle to take on Lee Seon who, according to history, becomes quite a fearsome person before his early death. "Secret Door" seems as though it will construct a fictional catalyst to send Seon down the dark path that leads to his demise. He currently is almost childlike in how he goes about things, believing in the pure intentions of his friends and the fact that truth should prevail. In that way he and young Ji-dam are very similar. To satisfy her need for justice, she pursues a very dangerous murder investigation. She is reckless, but loveable because of her spirit and her intelligence - and Kim Yoo-jung's lively portrayal of her.
The politicians became more interesting in this episode if only because the sinister Noron leader, Kim Taek, showed fallibility and a dangerous temper. Seemingly upright Soron minister Park Moon-soo used dirty methods to achieve a pure goal. These people don't just scheme, they are human and relatable in that humanity, if not very likeable. Part of that same political game is the king himself. Once manipulated by Kim, he now is older, wiser, and saturated with the power he's acquired over the past thirty years as king. That makes him a good opponent of Kim's and a wily old man to boot. Unfortunately it makes him a horrible father as he uses the political mechanizations to teach Seon lessons and render him impotent enough to keep the king's seat of power secure.
The scoring of the background music has so much depth. This drama relies less on repeated popular songs to create a mood than on music more crafted like music in film - music that follows the action of the scenes it accompanies.
The world of "Secret Door" is steeped in corruption that will not leave any person untouched. It is engaging, fast-paced, well-developed and a creative take on well-known Korean history. Lee Je-hoon is winning as the young prince. I am looking forward to watching him take on Sado's decline throughout the show because he will make it absolutely heartbreaking - which is exactly how it should be.
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] "Secret Door" Episode 3"
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