SPOILERS, Y’ALL, SPOILERS!!
Ok, I’m not surprised. It’s not called the Great Prime Minister Bidam, it’s called the Great Queen Seondeok, and knowing it is historically based, I know how this was probably going to end. But I still have ISSUES!!!
First, I come from the wuxia world, where people don’t have problems messing with actual history. If I was Deokman, I would have taken a page out of The Water Margin, way back when she was Princess Deokman after Cheongmyeong gets shot. I would have gathered Bidam, Yushin and Archeon together, any rogue Hwarang hanging out, and anybody else who was tired of the status quo, and taken it to some impregnable mountain fortress, and told the king: “We out! If the cause is just and righteous, we’ll come and help you out. Good luck with Mishil!” Then I would have told, TOLD Yushin: “Look, I need a general, and you are it. No more doe eyes!” I would have made Bidam my bodyguard, ’cause he’s cute and handy with a sword and good with sneaky stuff, but I don’t really have any romantic interest him, leaving Archeon to be my BOO!!!!!!
But I digress. Back to the show. I’ve been reading around the ‘net how they describe Bidam. He’s on a mad quest for power. He wants to be king. He leads a coup (ok, he does that last bit). First, let’s see what all the fuss is about:
SPOILERS, Y’ALL, SPOILERS!!!
Yes, I continue the slow descent to the end of this kdrama! At first I thought it was because I didn’t want to see the inevitable tragedy that was Bidam. But then the show did the fast forward, you know, where everyone “gets older,” signalled by more “adult” hairstyles for women and goatees for men! And I realized, just because Mishil is gone doesn’t mean that the palace intrigue stops! But there’s something icky about the series now. Gone are the plucky rebel days when Seondeok and her ragtag crew were battling Mishil. Now, everybody’s got an agenda, a plan, a motive and is liable to whack somebody if the need arises.
This is what I’m feeling so far: um, Queen Seondeok is nothing like Princess Seondeok! Queen Seondeok has some hard, high-riding attitude going on! Like she took a page out the Mishil playbook! I have to say, I do like the way she’s pimp-slapping the Bokya around–somebody needs to put them in their place. News alert: you Gaya folk need to get with the program; your country is gone and it’s not coming back. And she actually gets mad at Yushin! You know in the end, he’s her boy, but still.
And as always, there is my beloved Archeon, just hanging out as the Queen’s guard, chillin’ in the cut. I love that man (Lee Seung Hyo)!
I’m going to try to barrel through to the end so I can write the wrap-up entry, because I got some opinions about Bidam as well as about the whole royal thing in general. I think Bidam is getting a bad rap. I don’t think he’s a bad man, I just think he got put in some really BAD circumstances. Could he have responded to them better? Probably. Is he alone in responding to circumstances in a bad way? Not at ALL!
SPOILERS, Y’ALL, SPOILERS!!!!!
I just can’t believe she’s gone. GONE!!! Mishil has left the building! As the series went on, she just kept getting more and more gangster! You know you are bad when your ENEMIES cry when you die. But, we got 12 more episodes to go! How much fun is that going to be?
Let’s explore the departure of The Evil One, shall we? The thing about Mishil is, yes she’s bad, but she’s the kind of villain who thinks she is actually doing something for a cause. So while she did some bad, BAD things, Mishil had an up side. How do we know? Because way back in the day that the show doesn’t show us, she was down with people like Munno. In several of her final speeches, she waxes poetic about her love of Shilla, her lost comrades, how she and the former king basically “built this city.” She’s got loyal followers that don’t include her pathetic husband Sejong, her puppy-love boyfriend Seolwon, and her in-need-of-serious-help relatives. She did surround herself with the best, and they remain loyal, perhaps loyal out of fear, but loyal nonetheless.
Like so many good serialized historical dramas with swords and intrigue, no one is saccarhine-ly sweet good, or dark black heart-of-darkness bad. Can we talk about Munno for a minute? You think he’s all loyal, down for the cause, working to get Deokman as queen. Dude’s got his own agenda, and it don’t include the queen! Can we talk about Chunchu for a minute? I know our righteous side is the forgiving sort, but am I wrong in believing that dude had Munno whacked? You can’t act all innocent now, buddy. And I’ve been fighting it, but hey, I know that Bidam is headed for disaster, but he looks very sexy manly doing it! I can totally see how his behavior is motivated by his failure to work out his abandonment issues coupled with Deokman’s mixed signals when it comes to him and Yushin. I just wonder as I head into the final episodes, how do we go from “yay, we’re number one” to coup #3.
I know I’ve said it before, but Deokman and Yushin work a nerve. Just putting it out there, again. And while I’m at it, Archeon is still my boo. He definitely needs more screen time!!!
Ok, things have been moving fast and furious on the show. When you realize that there are 62 episodes to this thing, you learn to pace yourself. I think I had some Queen Seondeok overload over the break. At any rate, it is still a top quality pursuit. I know I go on and on about Mishil, but when was the last time you saw a smart, conniving woman who was a real villain worthy of your respect AND your disdain? I actually got a little scared when it looked like Mishil was going to give up….but luckily, she comes back even more gangsta than ever.
The royal politics are very intriguing, but I do have some concerns. Like you would think the palace guards who protect the princess would be better fighters. During the coup (oh,I didn’t mention this–there’s a coup, y’all!), they are far too easily dispatched. Then again, there can’t be too many Yushins, Archeons and Bidams rolling around. In case you have forgotten, Archeon is my boy! Lee Seung Hyo is fantastic! He should totally get more air time! I especially like it when he gets his righteous indignation on! I like Bidam (Kim Nam Gil) also, but my spidey sense is telling me that tragedy is waiting for him down the road in this drama, or at least something I won’t be groovy with.
Also in the interim Cheonmyeong’s son shows up, all arrogant and in desperate need of an introduction to a belt. He eventually reconciles himself to the Princess Deokman plan, but it does point to one of the strengths of the show, and the need for the 62 episodes. 62 episodes allows you to develop characters, let them grow and change, even in ways you may not like. It makes villains for more complex and heroes a little less shiny. People have opportunities to make mistakes, I mean BIG mistakes (dude, Munno?) and move on from them. Take for instance Yongchun. I was ready to consign him to the “I wish someone would whack you” category when he opposes Deokman’s quest for the throne, but he totally won me back when he says that he’d slit his own throat before letting Seolwon and his crew arrest him. That was sassy. Forget the fact that he apparently can’t wield a sword to save his life. I like his attitude!