Wow! It’s the first wrap up of the “Watch With Me” series for this drama! (Insert applause!) It was not the first time that I watched a drama as it aired but it is the first time that I updated and shared all it’s details as each episode aired on my blog. It was also a first time that after half the series had aired, I had published an article with what I thought of the series, mid-way with my predictions and all, which we will discuss later in this post.
Now if you want to read any of the other episode recaps and associated posts and reviews – all you need to do is click the link here! Now this post will be kept spoiler free, so if you want to just get a geist of the series before watching it, just read this post and start watching you can read the episode recaps as you watch the series! Now onto the review!
Country of origin : South Korea
Language : Korean
Title : The King – Eternal Monarch
Written by : Kim Sun Sook
Directed by : Baek Sang Hoon, Jung Ji Hyun, Yoo Je Won
Starring : Lee Min Ho, Kim Go Eun, Woo Do Hwan, Kim Kyung Nam, Jung Eun Chae, Lee Jung Jin
Number of seasons : 1
Episodes : 16
Status : Completed
Aired on : SBS TV and Netflix
Broadcast duration : April 17 – June 12 , 2020
Genre : Romance, Fantasy
The story starts in The Kingdom of Corea, where our villian Lee Rim explains the legend of the magical flute Manpasikjeok. Filled with the greed to have it he barges in with his men into a conservatory like place where the King, his brother (who became the king as he was the legitimate heir unlike our villian) is waiting. Lee Rim kills the King and gets the flute and is about to escape when the young Prince, Lee Gon interrupts. The Prince picks up the sword and fumbles with it, but in the struggle the flute is cut in half. Out of the anger, Lee Rim strangles the Prince to kill him, when a stranger all clad in black enters and kills several of the men. Lee Rim takes his half of the flute and makes a run for it . The saviour checks whether the Prince is alive and leaves, but the little Prince gets hold of an ID card, and also has hidden the other half of the flute.
Lee Rim runs into the outskirts of the palace into a bamboo forest where he notices a gate out of nowhere – definitely the power of the flute. He crosses the gate and finds that he is now in The Republic of Korea at the same year. He realizes that all the people in his world is present in this world as well, but under different circumstances. He fins his brother and his family too – but find them poor and struggling. Lee Rim decides to take safety here and kills his brother and son in this world. He however doesn’t kill his brothers wife. He finds that his twin is there as well – a sick and crippled version of him and kills him too. He then bides away his time – to make and execute a proper plan with his newfound powers to get the throne.
Back in Corea, the years have passed and the King but one thing still haunts him – the incidents that happened that day and the identity in the ID card he got – a member of the Seoul Police station called Jeong Tae Ul – just that such a person doesn’t exist. Puzzled to that and experiencing some strange situations one day he decides to go horse riding. He too chances upon the same gate that Lee Rim did and crosses it, with his half of the flute within his horse whip.
He crosses the unfamiliar country of Korea only to be stopped by a police officer – Jeong Tae Ul. Shocked at having found the mystery woman he rushes over and hugs her much to her shock. From this point on we see how Lee Gon the king, traverses the two world, only to eventually understand Lee Rim’s evil plan and work his way to solve it.
Sounds quite simple right? Well the point is it’s not. The initial few episodes were pretty confusing especially when Lee Rim was going around and executing his mastermind plan and with the same people existing with different identities in both the dimensions it was quite confusing but over time we get used to the layout of the series and then go with it, which is why I wouldn’t highlight it as a serious problem.
I guess the strongest point that I would have to make about this series would be that when you build in sci-fi or fantasy like elements in the story in the end when it all comes together it must maje sense and shouldn’t really create any loopholes or doubts in the mind of viewer – that should be how it’s executed. But the thing here is – forget the minute loopholes that comes with it – but there were some good gaps left out in the series as we watched it- I’m not going to mention what because that would be a spoiler and you can read on that in the episode recaps as I highlight it, episode by episode.
The pace of the series was erratic – it was slow at times, and sometimes it jerked up really fast that we end up getting shook. Because of the way in which the series would rush through its most important points – I felt we didn’t get as much screen time as those critical scenes required, which made us feel those loopholes is what I’m assuming.
Coming to the characters – Lee Min Ho and Kim Go Eun played their parts really well – but as a couple I just wasn’t feeling their chemistry as I should. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t one of the best I’ve seen. Also I felt Kim Go Eun’s character which was a bold character from the start turned out to be a crying girlfriend towards the end at times – I just feel sad when they convert some amazing female characters into sad girlfriends and styff to complement the hero’s story . Also her character had some uncanny similarities to that of her character from Goblin – you would know the scenes when you watch it! Aside from the leads I really liked the performance from Woo Do Hwan and Kim Kyung Nam who played the roles of Yeong and Sin Jae respectively. I felt they really shined on screen and were crowd favorites too, so kudos to their efforts!
I would like to appreciate the efforts that went into the sets and production too because constructing two parallel world’s from imagination must not have been that easy. Although some visual elements did receive some heavy criticism, I liked how they set up Korea and Corea together it really felt like two worlds.
Coming to the conclusion – would I recommend this? Well yes, for a light hearted watch which you may need to watch without thinking too much. From what I understood about the ratings, the story complexity, execution did not give it the ratings that it expected although it was a hit over Netflix worldwide. I think it really depends from person to person, I sometimes look into the story a lot which causes me to feel disgruntled when I don’t get some things explained right! But don’t take that as a point to not watch this – it’s still a good entertainer that is worth a light watch when you’re bored! The series was quite hyped being Lee Min Ho’s comeback and although it wasn’t his best, it wasn’t all that bad either. What do you feel about the series? Let me know in the comments below!