The final episode of SBS saeguk drama, “King and I” ended with Kim Cheo Sun (Oh Man Suk) being stabbed to death by Yeonsangun (Jung Tae Woo) after his repeated pleas for him to stop his despotic rule fell on deaf ears. The finale sees Yeonsangun being deposed by his officials and exiled to live the rest of his life.
Since beginning showing on 27th August, the ardous journey of catching the drama in the ensuing seven months hasn’t been without drama itself off the set. The beginning was interesting as it introduces to us how the eunuchs start from young from their castration process, their procedures to get into court, etc. We also got to see their working lifestyles in the palace in detail. In addition the children playing the young Seongjong, Queen Yoon and Kim Cheo Sun was really outstanding and contributed to the early success.
Despite being focused on the work of eunuchs in the palace and being popular initially, it soon suffered and fell behind due to its languid story and competition from MBC “Yi San”. Some characters came and disappeared while the reasoning behind some of their actions is vague to say the least. Lines were rehashed occasionally while stories like the Er Woo Dong one was boring and cliched.
The ratings never really picked up from that until towards the end when Jung Tae Woo came into the picture as despotic ruler Yeonsangun where the ratings picked up and ended respectably.
Oh Man Suk as Kim Cheo Seon
He was really good in his role but the good nature of his character makes you want to slap him to wake him up especially regarding Kim Ja Won.
Goo Hye Sun as Yoon So Hwa
One reason why I watched this was for her. She did well in her role too but she had more sad than happy scenes in this drama.
Ko Joo Won as King Seongjong
Was really really awful in the beginning and middle and only improved towards the end after getting into his role. His character was really awfully written, depicted as a king who was always held back by his ministers and his mother, Queen Insu. One big reason why he had no choice but to sentence his loved one, Queen Yoon to death.
Jun Kwang Ryul as Jo Chi Kyeom (head of the eunuchs)
He was awesome in Jumong as the King and equally the same here. He is almost like a king himself as he is always one step ahead of everyone and doesn’t fear anyone at all. Impressive legacy of serving 7 Kings in his time and only towards the end do I realise that he is actually doing everything for the sake of the royal family and society instead of his own ambitions.
Jun In Hwa as Queen Dowager Insu (Seongjong’s mother)
Hated her character although everything she did was because of her love for Seongjong. Deeply conservative and doesn’t like Queen Yoon one bit.
Jun Hye Bin as Seol Young (Chi Kyeom’s adoptive sister)
An evil character whose ambition was to takeover the palace which was ridiculous. She was very manipulative and it’s just as well she died so easily at Han Soo’s hands.
Ahn Jae Mo as Jung Han Soo
The main evil character who does almost everything bad in the drama from young until his death. He was really good in his role as well.
Lee Jin as Jung Hyun
Did a decent job despite having lines that repeated itself and her character was too optimistic when everything seem gloomy. One of the few characters still standing at the end.
Han Jung Soo as Do Geum Pyo (eunuch)
The bodyguard of Jo Chi Kyeom who is near superhuman and loyal to him 101%. Again, the only way to defeat such people seems to be by shooting arrows at him as he dies in the end by that.
Jung Tae Woo as Yeon San Geun
The despotic ruler of the Chosun Dynasty and he really excelled at his role making the last final bit of the drama just a little bit more interesting. Scary when he got all hyper.
Kang Jae as Kim Ja Won
The replacement for Jung Han Su character. Despite his lofty ambition to control the palace, he remained loyal to Yeonsangun up till his death.
– Eunuch Castration Process
– Eunuch Training
– Jo Chi Kyeom leading the protests against King Yejong
– Cheo Sun castrating himself
– Cheo Sun leading protests against the council of old eunuchs
– Queen Yoon drinking poison and dying
– Yeonsangun despotic rule (he’s just charismatic in every scene he appears in)
Okay Kimchi: Sometimes good sometimes bad. Okay drama. 3.5/5 stars.