The Japanese have come and all the plot preparing comes together in a pointed effort to escape the wrath of the invasion. Constitutions are hardened against the horrors of war and Gwanghae is left as the de facto leader of Hanyang, Joseon's capital, as his father flees to save his own life. It is a test for everyone that shows their true colors.
Gwanghae is left by King Seonjo to protect the palace and the people. He has very little time to think or brood, which is good. This show tends to wallow in long, overwrought camera shots and emotive music. While there was some brooding, Gwanghae mostly was forced to act and show his cleverness. It is what this show needed. In fact, the dire circumstances of war forced the writers to bring out each character's true colors. King Seonjo is proven a coward while Gwanghae is proven clever and brave. Ga-hee fights her fate and decides to help evacuate people rather than succumb to a wise face reader's vision of her future. Her choice to make something of her path to destiny is what frees her from that destiny.
There was a light shone on Do-chi, the intelligent, brave, and ambitious leader of the rebel faction. His ambition is what helps him, but also ultimately hurts him. He wishes for equality between the noble and the common, and fancies himself to be the one who will next sit on the throne. His backstory, while good motivation, was horribly portrayed in a way I can only describe as cheesy. It distanced me further from Do-chi rather than help me to understand him. He's a great character in that his goals are noble, but the driving force behind them is a dangerous obsession with revenge. He even alienates the rebels he leads with his tunnel-visioned thirst for killing the king that allows for no deviance, not even to help save the people he always speaks of saving. He's a tragic and lost man, which is good stuffs in television. His written execution leaves something to be desired.
I hate to say this, but I've noticed that Seo In-guk's acting has become more stilted as the drama passes. He's normally such a natural actor who is easy to empathize with, but the more the drama's writing quality lowers, the harder it is to be convinced by Seo. It isn't just him, but the cast as a whole. It is like they speak, but do not feel the words that pass their lips. Mostly, "The King's Face" lacks impact. It's like watching Joseon history pass by whilst riding a train rather than feeling like one is completely immersed in it.
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 13 "
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