The two dramas that possessed me the past two months and have been sucking up what little spare time I have are finally over. As sad as I am to be at the end this crazy journey, I sighed with huge relief. Hopefully, I can go back to a semi-normal life which will include picking up my photo project and blogging again.
The King 2 Hearts is a drama I almost didn’t watch. Initially described as a black comedy about an arranged marriage between the modern-day South Korean King and a North Korean spy with some political intrigue thrown in, neither the story line or the lead pairing sounded remotely interesting. I liked Ha Ji Won in Secret Garden and I could see her as a tough North Korean spy. But, Lee Seung Gi, who is almost 10 years younger than Ha Ji Won, has a baby face to boot, is her 30-year-old counter-part? The paring didn’t look realistic until I saw the poster stills. Then, I watched the preview and I thought, okay, I’ll buy whatever they are selling for now.
20 episodes later, the King 2 Hearts and Lee Seung Gi has won my heart and soul, but with some caveats.
There were some missteps along the way, some gaping holes here and there. Bong Gu, the villain took too long to become a worthy opponent. Then, he became too all-powerful to be truly realistic. An individual powerful enough to start WWIII? The final resolution of Bong Gu was anti-climatic. The political intrigues and resolutions, too simplistic, again to be believed. And don’t get me started on the mind-blowingly bad acting by foreigners. Hearing Korean actors mangling English words is painful. Guess what, hearing supposed Americans mangle English is torture.
Oh and the death of a beloved character that was unnecessary to move existing story forward, especially happening at episode 19 was surprising from a drama that managed to avoid most drama cliches. Between the shocking death and inclusion of a final story arc of major consequences, the final two episodes were in a word disappointment. It was a case of trying to fit too much too late, resulting in poor execution and glossing over some final points that they shouldn’t have. The final story arc could have and should have happened earlier, developed as part of the final confrontation with Bong Gu. In which case, the death of the beloved character would have made much more narrative sense.
What the King got right though, it got so right. The cast was perfect, aside from the foreign actors. Lee Seung Gi owned his role and basically stole the show with his raw emotions. The music, the OST and the score all added to the overall experience. The pacing was fast with very little treading of the waters. Mostly, the drama created strong and believable characters, from the leads to the side characters who in turn created strong believable relationships.
This drama isn’t about the political intrigue, the villain or even the main OTP or the STP’s romance. If I focused on those points, the drama would be a fail. The drama is really about the making of a king. It is about the various characters in Lee Jae Ha’s lives, family, friends and even the enemy who help him grow as a man and change into a King worthy of ruling his own people. In that the drama was a resounding success. (5/4.5)
For detailed and fantastic recaps that enhance the overall experience, check out Dramabeans and A Koala’s Playground. To view online, check out Viki.com… I helped sub some episodes!!!