Drama: The King: Eternal Monarch (더킹:영원의 군주)
Release Date: April 17 – June 12, 2020
Runtime: Friday & Saturday 22:00
Imagine there are two kinds of Korea in a parallel universe: One is the Kingdom of Corea and the other is the Republic of Korea. One day Lee Gon, the king, was able to cross the universe to the Republic and meets Jung Tae Eul, police detective. Can their relationship even survive?
Lee Min Ho – Lee Gon
Kim Go Eun – Jung Tae Eul / Luna
Lee Jung Jin – Lee Rim
Woo Do Hwan – Jo Yeong / Eun Seop
Kim Kyung Nam – Kang Shin Jae
Jung Eun Chae – Koo Seo Ryeong
I had high hopes for this drama because it’s Lee Minho’s comeback drama and the premise of a parallel universe sounds so interesting! However, i was also wary of this drama because I don’t really love Kim Eun Seok’s dramas. They are always grand and visually pleasing with stellar cast, but i usually find them boring or lacking chemistry between the leads.
So did I like this drama? Hm, I have mixed feelings after watching this. I think for the most part, I was fine with the show, it made me look forward to it every week, but it wasn’t as spectacular so i hoped it would be. I think it’s the execution that failed.
First off, it took a long time to set up the 2 universe, and all throughout the drama, i would get confused if we were in Republic or in Kingdom. With the double characters that look the same, i dont know if they have jumped from one side to the other and back. The plot of Lee Rim swapping the characters were so interesting but we never got the reason for the swap, and he was never really able to utilize them so i felt like he just wasted his time building his team/army all these years, coz in the end, the fight was just between him and Lee Gon, and the minions and the swapped characters weren’t important to the overall story. I thought the only swapped characters that Lee Rim did that made impact were Shinjae and his mom.
As the story builds on the eventual battle between Lee Rim and Lee Gon, the writer decided to bring the romance piece early on in the story (i guess so we can focus on Lee Rim/Lee Gon in the latter part), but the problem is it came too early and too fast. They met in Republic, with Tae Eul mostly ignoring Lee Gon and telling him to get lost. They didn’t even had any serious conversations about themselves other than Lee Gon keep staring at her and telling her he has looked for her for years. Then Lee Gon went back to Kingdom, Tae Eul starting missing him, and the minute he came back to Republic, Tae Eul was already almost in love. Like what?? Lee Gon brings her to Kingdom, he kisses her with no warning or permission (and it was’t heart melting) and Tae Eul was okay with it and they’re now together and dating. What the heck! They still dont talk much. The next week they part and meet again, Tae Eul was sobbing so hard, you’d think they had one big love and it was life or death.
I dont know. I could never get into their romance because there was no build up, there was no reason why they fell in love other than, they have to because it’s part of the story. But i think with the proper viewing lens, which is, accepting that they are together even if it doesnt make sense, helped me somehow appreciate the second half of the episodes. i wasn’t as touched or invested in their relationship though, i admit Lee Gon’s grand gestures like announcing to everyone she is the future queen, and all their cutesy time travelling dates were cute!
The tricky parts in creating a whole new universe like parallel universe is trying to ensure the rules make sense and doesn’t get too unbelievable as the story moves forward. In The King’s case, aside from parallel universe, which was complicated already, they further included time travel into the rules and it got messy.
The first half was so boring, introducing the 2 worlds and the double characters that the real story and action only started around episode 12 when Lee Gon finally met Lee Rim on New Year’s Day. and with only 4 episodes left, there wasn’t enough time to lay out all the rules and answer all the burning questions from the previous episodes.
The good thing with this show is that it left a lot of curious clues along the way that me, my cousin and friends had a fun time trying to solve the puzzle and think of the possible scenarios. But while the drama answered most of them, some were left with the viewer’s minds. If you’re fussy about this, you will probably be really disappointed with the story because there are several scenes and rules that didn’t make sense from a bigger picture. However, I took the story as it is and just followed the logic (just like i did with W or MoTA) so I was happy with the overall way the show wrapped up the story. I still think they could have extended 2 more episodes to fully answer the rest of the questions.
Another revelation about this show is discovering Woo Do Hwan! I’ve never watched his dramas before, and at first i didn’t like Jo Yeong – i prefered Eun Seop who was so cute and charming! That he can create two distinct but equally memorable characters is amazing! Esp since it’s his last drama prior to enlistment. I’m looking forward to see him back in a few years!
I also thought that Lee Minho’s acting became more mature compared to his previous dramas. I just hope he takes on more challenging roles, other than the usual roles he does. He can do more than just the arrogant rich guy who seem cold but is actually nice! And he continues to have such magnetic presence on screen! Just his beautiful face on tv is enough to watch The King, despite its flaws.
Kim Go Eun is so-so for me, i didn’t like her in Goblin but she was okay here. She knows how to cry, but sometimes her cry doesn’t feel natural or she over-cries. Or maybe because i wasn’t too invested in their relationship so i couldn’t feel the intensity of her feelings for Lee Gon.
Overall, this drama was quite ambitious but faltered along the way. Good thing they were able to save this show by wrapping up the story quite nicely in the end.