Hancinemas Drama Review The King Loves Episodes 7 8

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 1-2

Won (played by Im Si-wan) and Lin (played by Hong Jong-hyun) are brothers. Won is small, impulsive, and reckless. Lin is patient, thoughtful, and tall. For most of the first episode we get into a fairly complicated and beautifully choreographed backstory about how Won and Lin were witness to the tribulations of Eun-san (played by Yoona), a girl who was on the wrong end of a bunch of assassins.

To be honest I wasn't totally that enamored with the first episode of "The King Loves" because while it looked cool, almost all of the action was being initiated by characters who lacked screen presence. The main important establishing storytelling it does is by showing off all those kickin' rad Goryeo era costumes. As is usually the case for Goryeo dramas, all of the characters, even the women, are unusually aggressive, so no poking around with obscure court procedures here.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 3-4

The editing in "The King Loves" is very quickly starting to confuse me. Here I was thinking that we were just going to watch the three main leads deal with the whole bridge situation chronologically then for some bizarre reason the production team keeps jerking us around between events from before the bridge incident and after the bridge incident and other far away stuff that has nothing to do with the bridge incident and it's just, getting really hard to keep the story straight.

This is where I can see that "The King Loves" is clearly adapting itself from a novel, where introducing a large number of characters in an exceedingly complex plot can be done fairly economically. But the sheer level of exposition going on is the kind where I really kind of need a chart in front of me just to keep track of each character's known motivation. Which is harder than it sounds, since a lot of this motivation is for now being kept fairly intentionally vague.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 5-6

So it's not just my imagination- the opening crawl explaining the background of "The King Loves", with the threat of Mongol invasion, coupled with the increasingly aggressive character descriptions, make it pretty clear that even the production team has realized the content of this drama is incredibly dense. Unfortunately background alone doesn't really help explain motivation. That much is a pretty strong stickler, considering the bizarre series of events that closes out episode six.

I mean, don't get me wrong. That particular cliffhanger is well built up to. We're shown all of the relevant foreshadowing ahead of time. The main part that's missing is who contrived the situation that required Lin to use such a painstakingly specific skill in order to "solve" it. And more importantly why. While "The King Loves" may be great at looking dramatic, its urgency is hobbled by how every character action just begs more increrasingly complicated questions.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 7-8

Now that the lead characters have stumbled upon a genuine mystery, all of a sudden the confusion over what role the other characters are supposed to be playing in the story has gotten a lot more palatable. If Prince Won, Prince Lin, and Eun-san don't know what's going on in the conspiracy, why should we? We do know that Song-in is the one instigating this complex series of events. Oddly enough the main characters struggle to make this connection, on account of their being easily distracted.

Well, mostly it's Prince Won who gets easily distracted. In general he kind of comes off like an idiot. Prince Won's bravado would not have been of much help if King Chungnyeol's life has actually been in danger. Also his flirting obsession with Eun-san completely detracts from the investigation. I'm really appreciating the disgusted looks we get from Hong Jong-hyun as Prince Won's smarter, handsomer brother. They're the perfect mix of love and annoyance.

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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "The King Loves" Episodes 11-12

It's a revolving door of favors as "The King Loves" continues to leave me somewhat confused about what the overall actual plot even is. I hadn't even noticed that Eun-san was operating under an assumed identity this whole time, which kind of begs the question of why she was so worried about being caught. After all, the whole point of acting anonymously is to keep from being found by enemies. The flip side being that you also can't be found by friends. Which does seem the stronger weakness, considering how Eun-san and the royal brothers are always bailing each other out of trouble.