Historical Korean dramas are a dime a dozen. As such, it truly takes a special show to stand out in this sea of content. Thankfully, “The King’s Affection” does so successfully. Created by Ki Min-soo and Hong Seok-gu, the show has a unique plot that will immediately capture your attention. During the Joseon period, the Crown Princess gives birth to twins- a boy and a girl. But trouble begins because the King thinks that no one will take a prince who shared a womb with a girl seriously.
So he orders the princess and everyone involved in delivering the children to be killed off. The Crown Princess isn’t on board with that plan. So she and some of her co-conspirators send the girl off to a temple. Since the princess gets found by the wall, she’s named Dam-i while the Prince is named Lee-Hwi. For a few years, all goes well, but problems begin when the two children find out that they look exactly the same. So the Prince orders her to take his place so that he can visit his captured tutor.
All goes well for some time, but not for long. The existence of the girl is eventually revealed and she is killed off. But when she was killed, it was actually Prince Lee Hwi who was disguised as her. With the Prince now dead, the Crown Princess convinces Dam-i to impersonate the Prince. But she doesn’t tell her that she’s the actual Princess of the Kingdom. If this rollercoaster ride of a summary didn’t convince you to give the show a chance, then nothing will. This is because the show remains melodramatic and topsy-turvy throughout its 20-episode run. However, the plot is immensely engaging and will keep you hooked throughout.
The characters are well-written and the constant threat of Dam-i getting found out is a delicious knife that the show knows how to handle to create tension in the plot. The vast cast of characters are also well fleshed out and has their own intriguing stories that will have you wondering who they are loyal to. However, with each episode often going over an hour, the show lags sometimes. Some scenes are stretched out unnecessarily just to hit the runtime quota and that drags a fantastic showdown. Another thing that often disrupts the plot is the unnecessary romance.
While it’s understandable why they needed to insert a romance, (just to pad the runtime and stretch out the plot to 20 episodes), at times it will get on your nerves. This is especially when the romantic scenes undercut a pivotal and tense moment. It’s a shame too because the show would have been a spectacle to watch without the additional romance baggage. But it’s a testament to the caliber of the actors who still keep the show engaging throughout even when you feel like rolling your eyes at the corny romantic moments.
Overall, “The King’s Affection” does require a time commitment and the show will test your patience because of its overly bloated plot. But the central conflict of the show is so engrossing that it’s simply impossible to not keep watching. Give it a try if you are yearning for the old days when swords and honor ruled the world
Final Score – [7/10]
Reviewed by - Ishita Chatterjee
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Publisher at Midgard Times
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