Some aspects of "The King's Face" are strengthening, like the development of King Seonjo. He has finally become a 3-D character who is more than just a face on screen. Until now he has been a puppet character. The same is true for Do-chi who has sat on the backburner for quite some time. Most of the other elements have remained the same.
What "The King's Face" lacks is intrigue. Many shows use similar themes, filming techniques, and character journeys, but this show hasn't found it's angle yet; the particular stance that makes it unique. There is little adventure in the camerawork and even less storytelling. There are closeups that enforce the obvious: Do-chi is planning something evil, or, the king is jealous. It doesn't little to build suspense and isn't very well combined with the music. The music blankets scenes rather than enhancing them.
On a good note, King Seonjo finally shows his true colors: he is a jealous, weak man who makes impulsive decisions and who envies his more capable son, Gwanghae. This jealousy has begun to fuel an honest rivalry between father and son. It is the first time the antagonism between them that was billed during the drama's promotion has come to fruition. Here is where Lee Sung-jae can use his skills, and has. He has turned the king into a pathetic creature who is much more interesting than the blindly barking character he has been for the past fifteen episodes. Lee also brings out the best in Seo In-guk, and the two have an honest-to-goodness on screen rivalry.
Do-chi has come into his own and is less of a pushover character. He has chosen his path and acts on it. His cunning is what makes him interesting. I want more of what's happening internally. That's a blanket comment. The characters' inner turmoil is hard to decipher unless it's spoonfeed with a voiceover or belabored dialogue. At least Do-chi now has a discernible motivation as a villain. His emotions regarding Ga-hee are ambivalent, which shows a lack of follow through, especially since he was so in love with her at the start of the drama. All of Ga-hee's relationships are lukewarm in presentation although in dialogue they are mentioned as intense. It's a disservice to the actor, the character, and the people who have to watch her go through the motions. Perhaps when she transitions into her role as the king's concubine her character will find her legs much like Do-chi and King Seonjo did.
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 16"
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