As inhibitions lower, the tension rises and that is the jolt that "The King's Face" needed. Characters make definite decision about their courses of action and that brings rivalries to the fore - rivalries make for intrigue and excitement.
The best change was found in Do-chi. He's been wishy-washy for some time now as his conscience and romantic attachment to Ga-hee has made him vacillate. But this episode saw him decide not to hold back when it comes to Ga-hee, and that made him much more dangerous - and much more interesting. He needed it. Frankly, he was boring before this. He plotted and planned to no avail because he lacked real conviction.
The same can be said for Gwanghae in that he has begun to see that he and his father are truly at odds when it comes to their ideas of governance. Gwanghae is bolder in his decision-making and clearer in his perception of his weak father. Yes, he respects his father and wants him protected, but he does not wish to follow in his political footsteps. These choices mirror Gwanghae's historical penchant for keeping peace and working with surrounding nations to do so.
Gwanghae's relationships with those around him is one of the more pleasant aspects of "The King's Face" that I haven't much mentioned. He treated people well and they do the same for him. That behavior is reflected in his diplomatic policies. There is an openness in him that is well-portrayed by Seo In-guk. It's a wonderful challenge for an actor who hasn't had much to work with in regards to the script. But Seo makes palpable connections with those he works with and that makes him effective on screen.
Then we have King Seonjo who is a very useless, petty, self-absorbed man. He, however, is falling in love with Ga-hee and that makes him a useful writing tool as well as a major playing card for Do-chi. It makes him more vulnerable to manipulation and with Ga-hee and Do-chi becoming more determined to execute their goals, King Seonjo is a veritable pawn. Lee Sung-jae is wonderful as he weak, manipulated king and makes him a character to enjoy on screen despite his utter uselessness as a ruler.
Why the show is only now coming to the points that were advertised at the start of "The King's Face" such as the love triangle between the king, Gwanghae, and Do-chi, and, the tension between father in son, I do not know. Writing them into the plot more strongly and much earlier would've benefitted the show. At least it has happened now.
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 19"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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