Rating:
Average user rating 2.4
16

Kolorful Palette: Bridge to kingdom [King’s Face]

With all the new dramas lately it’s nice to see a sageuk hit the lineup, and it even stars Seo In-gook, who is sure to draw in a lot of fans who are usually inclined towards more modern fare. The first two episodes were very solid if a bit cliched, and I can see the story heading in some very interesting places.

For those who don’t know, King’s Face is about Prince Gwanghae and his rise to becoming the 15th Joseon king. As a middle child and son of a concubine with a favored younger brother, that was no simple task, especially when surrounded by conflict between political factions. The twist with this drama is that much of the story is driven by the art of face reading (also known as physiognomy or gwansang). Gwanghae’s father King Seonjo is insecure about having a face is that unsuitable for a king, and he is made even more insecure by the very suitable face of Gwanghae. Seonjo is on the search for a woman with a face that will help balance his own features, and make him a better king.

Initially I was skeptical I would like a story so motivated by face reading, but then I realized that it doesn’t actually matter if I believe the prophecies or not. Whether Seonjo’s face actually indicates that he’ll be a bad king is irrelevant. What matters is that he believes it, and there are historically many people who have been motivated by much less.

Prince Gwanghae is played by Seo In-gook, whom I love, but I admit that I had major reservations about whether or not he could pull this role off. I think he can and theoretically he seems to be doing a good job of it, but my brain is still having a hard time registering that he’s not in high school, especially when he flashes a signature smile or other goofy In-gook expression. I actually wish that he had the facial hair for the entire drama since it’s pretty transformative, and would certainly help with my mental block. Regardless, he’s enjoyable to watch, and his character seems extremely interesting too. I hope they give him the keen political mind that he apparently had historically.

King Seonjo is played by Lee Sung-jae, who is doing a great job of being dislikable without being so deplorable that I can’t stand watching him. I’d probably be messed up too if someone told me as a child that I had the wrong face for my chosen career path. He’s still very devious however and cares about appearing righteous but is rather vindictive and cowardly behind the scenes. As soon as he feels threatened he lashes out, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy you want to get on the wrong side of.

Jo Yoon-hee plays the part of Kim Ga-hee, a woman who goes on to be a concubine for both Seonjo and Gwanghae (talk about complicated). Historically there is quite a bit of speculation about the true dynamic of her relationship with the two men, but she apparently did have a fair bit of influence, and I don’t think it’s unlikely that there was some romantic drama involved (even if it was nothing like the true love I’m sure this drama will portray). Within this drama it’s foretold by a face reader that she will serve two dragons, which is why her father encourages her to cross-dress as a man. I actually quite like Jo Yoon-hee after watching Nine: Nine Time Travels and I’m looking forward to seeing if she can give the needed depth to this role.

There are way too many characters for me to go over here, but I also have to mention Shin Sung-rok as Kim Do-chi because seriously, this guy. Shouldn’t he go take a nap or something? He’s been in back to back dramas as it is, but I was certainly not expecting him to materialize on horseback while simultaneously appearing on Liar Game. Good for him though, all his roles have been completely different, and he’s doing an excellent job of not letting himself be typecast as a psychopath (which I thought he would play forever after You From Another Star). Do-chi is a face reader who strives for equality, and is a member of the Daedonggye. Historically the Daedonggye is an organization of slaves trained in archery and combat, that was formed by Jeong Yeo-rip (who also appears in the show). As far I know Do-chi is entirely fictional, but I like him!

Of course there’s much more to this drama, and I’m hoping that we get to see the twisty-turny political intrigue I hope for with every sageuk (even though it’s almost never pulled off). I’ll warn you right off the bat that the first episode is riddled with cliches. The prince goes into town pretending not to be royalty, the female lead pretends to be a man, and the two of them coincidentally cross paths while also having a childhood history together. There is staring and tripping that even results in awkward skinship, and the man of course doesn’t clue in that the girl is a girl. Thankfully it’s all short-lived though, and everything will have changed by next week. I actually managed to enjoy all the cliches knowing that they wouldn’t last.

This drawing is just nothing more than Prince Gwanghae standing on a bridge and waiting to meet with Ga-hee, but this is why I love sageuks. He’s just idling there basically doing nothing, and it’s still so pretty! This maybe isn’t the prettiest historical drama I’ve seen (there’s some stiff competition) but it’s still plenty picturesque and there are some pretty cool fight scenes too (no wonder Seo In-gook has already been injured twice). The pacing of the first two episodes can be a little jarring at times, but I’m actually glad so much was established so quickly since the story is now perfectly primed for a lot of great stuff to happen (but you’ll have to watch to know the details!).

I’ll finish this up with a completely off-topic question: Is anyone here here watching Mr. Back? I watched the first half of the first episode and it seemed pretty hammy, but I’m thinking it might be worth a second look. Thoughts?

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: ,

16

Required fields are marked *

Very nice picture.

Yes, watching Mr. Back. Although I must say, I'm not sure where the story is going by the end of the 4th episode. The first and maybe second episodes were the strongest, IMO.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well Mr Baek had almost no time before live shooting to put in the normal HQ early episodes you tend to see in Korean Dramas I would guess it would be about the first two in the can before the live shooting had to start. It to be seen if they can keep on going for what another 18? episodes and keep the number one spot for that time slot, or even turn in a good drama. Strong leads though so if the director/writers can keep it together, I have high hopes.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

SIG looks hot with the facial hair! Think he would be sporting the present look to signify his carefree days; but when the drama heats up, he'd have facial hair for the 'grown up look'.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lee Sung-jae and Shin Sung-rok are the only reasons I'm going to try this drama out.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

reason watching this drama for me is bcoz of SIG (my bias perspective lol..) n LSJ..love their bromance.

but after watched the first two ep, im all for it..began to love the story line n etc about this drama. i appreciate every character even the evil one..haha..hoping every character will be well-developed..way to go drama

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I wonder the same abt mr back :D is it worth it? . I was also doubtfull abt king's face but now i think i'm in for it !

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think people are forgetting that the current timeline now with SIG without the facial hair is 1589 that means he's only 14 which is already a stretch (still somehow believable since he looks young) considering he's already 27. So it's understandable that his actions including that goofy smile (who can't resist that?) should still be boyish.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks Fanderay. Your work is so good that Seo In Gook looks more like a photo than a painting. :)

WRT Mr Back, I am trying to watch it. The operating word is 'trying'. It's not so bad that it's deplorable, but the characters have not become truly interesting or likable, even with the talents of Shin Ha Kyung (SHK) and Jang Nara (JNA). I cannot seem to get invested in their characters or any others.

I'm just starting on Episode 6 now, and wondering if Choi Go Bong who is now called Choi Shin Hyung will take this 2nd chance at life to care more for his son, appreciate the lot of the poor and be more considerate towards others. It's been a bit slow in getting there.

At the same time there are a couple of other themes: of CGB finding a way to overturn a dastardly scheme and reclaim what is his, the question of who gets the girl... if she is to be got at all, the issue of whether it should be CGB or his son who is the owner of the fortune. At episode 5+ it is still not clear and it is also not clear what I'd root for, as the show has not made me care much either way yet.

In the end, I guess I'd like for him to have made a real friend of his son, and for his son to have grown up too. However the show has not really got me waiting with bated breath for the next episode. I might watch a bit more to give SHK and JNR a chance, but no promises that I'll stay to the end.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

very nice picture. i love that scene much. i hate to admit, but i really do like the first 2 ep of the king's face..first sageuk drama for me this year.

i didn't watch mr.baek, but i know that the rating for that drama is high.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Of all your paintings posted here, I love this one the best.
I love the different shades of green, the shape and tones of the leaves in the top half versus the bottom half of the frame. The shimmery quality of his silk hanbok is done so well. The 2 purples really complement each other. The gat looks transparent as it should. The red beads of his gat are decorative like cherries on a cake. His face, tho small inside the picture, is also perfectly done to capture his features with a high degree of accuracy.
I imagine this can't be an easy picture to paint and the end result does your years spent in art school justice. Thanks for sharing.

Mr. Back--it weirded me out at first; I also think Shin really has a tendency to overact. But eventually, J Nara's performance draws me in. Like a pervert, I look forward to seeing father and son fight over the same girl. Yes, relatives can be horrible vultures when there is wealth at stake. I know it and don't mind seeing how low they'll sink to get their claws on some $.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Have not started KF but having liked the premise of Mr Back, I watched each episode but must admit that I am on the verge of giving up! Like Growingbeautifully said, the drama does not really make you want to root for anyone and is getting a little tedious to watch. And imo Lee Joon (Mr Back's. Son) appears not to have exit his psycho expressions so well-liked in Gapdong but not quite well-placed here! (My apologies to LJ fans but that is my view!)

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Nice painting Fanderay ! I always love when you paint leaves and sky :D

I haven't started this drama. I don't feel like am in mood for Sageuk but Seo In Gook is tempting me !

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great painting! I don't watch sageuks, but I'm seriously tempted. The plot sounds interesting. And--Seo In-Gook! Shin Sung-Rok! (Who, yes, really must be using time travel to make two shows at once.) They may be able to distract me from the antique clothing styles. Though some of that clothing (and the hats!) can be pretty distracting.

A worthy November experiment: can I train myself to stop noticing the clothes by thinking about Seo In Gook?

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Two dramas where the father and son are interested in the same woman! (King's Face and Mr. Back)

I like King's face so far. The king is a little over the top and makes me wonder if some neurosis was in the Korean royal bloodline. The retainers don't seem to understand how to influence the King though one of their wives or concubines can tell what is really going on. So I'm in.

Mr Back seems to have settled into the drama conflict zone by ep.6. I like Shin Ha Kyun's overacting. I think it's hard to believe he's 35 in this drama. He looks too old. There is a saying that: It's never too late to have a happy childhood. I'm not sure if the son will ever have one, but he may begin to appreciate his dad and visa versa. Definitely add it to your watch list.

I like your painting also.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

After it downloads, it ought to take 30 seconds to put in.
Make optimistic you choose Android or iOS.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

On the flipside, the organized gameplay kind-of
of SimCity BuildIt defeats the goal of SimCity.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *