War has made "The King"s Face" much more interesting. The characters in this seem more like cardboard cutouts than people. They have goals and go through the motions, but rarely do we see the motivating through processes or emotions behind the action. Crown Prince Gwanghae"s story is riveting in its natural form and that gives this story more weight than the fictionalized plot.
The life is leaving "The King"s Face" despite the intrigue of war and the heroics of Gwanghae. Guest actors who portray the Ming and the Japanese present caricatures of real people. They are merely evil to be evil rather than believing in their cause, or even in their actions. King Seonjo is merely a jealous man who throws tantrums because we cannot see the insecure though processes behind his actions. The show occasionally throws the viewers a pittance in the form of a voice over, but it isn"t enough. It is also a waste of Lee Sung-jae who I am quite bored of in this role. It is not only Lee, but all of the main cast. They seem to struggle to be convincing, which reflects more on the production than their acting. The cast as a whole boasts and expansive, high quality body of work that has not seemed to help them in making this drama hit home.
The war itself is clever portrayed using maps and voiceovers so that the gist of what is happening is conveyed without overloading the viewer with information. What would"ve enhanced this is if a few battle scenes were shown and Gwanghae could be seen in his element as a leader. It happened twice this episode, but the timing of the scenes appearances was not strong. Neither was Gwanghae"s involvement. Everyone mentions that he is a brilliant leader, but rarely do we see him conferring, or battling, or mulling over strategies. Just as we never see Do-chi struggle with his demons, his ambition, his choice to leave the Daedong Society and enact his revenge alone. He"s a wasted character who is no longer tragic because of how he is so badly written.
Then there is Ga-hee, the supposed love interest of three men, and who gets very little romantic screen time. Romantic tension is negligible and, like Do-chi"s personal situation, the tragedy of the star-crossed romance between Ga-hee and Gwanghae is lost.
What will save this show from being completely mundane is the forward motion of war and how it ravages the people of Joseon, and those who are responsible for the welfare of the people.
"The King's Face" is directed by Cha Yeong-hoon and Yoon Seong-sik, written by Lee Hyang-hee and Yoon Soo-jeong, and features Seo In-guk, Jo Yoon-hee, Lee Seong-jae, and Sin Seong-rok.
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