Final Review: Joseon Survival

Major Spoilers:

  • The actor as the main character Han Jung-rok was changed from Kang Ji-hwan to Seo Ji-suk from Episode 11 onwards.
  • Jung Ga-ik (Lee Jae-yoon) was saved by a monk in Joseon, who was later killed by Ga-ik to take his place as Monk Bo Woo. Monk Bo Woo was later appointed as the national monk by Queen Munjeong.
  • Han Seul-gi (Park Se-wan) entered palace in place of a girl who looked like her as instructed by Jung Nan-jung (Yoon Ji-min). She used the knowledge she learnt during high school to get through the selection of wife for the crown prince, as well as provide advice for King Myeongjong , much to the delight of the King.
  • Ga-ik used his authority to get Lee Hye-jin (Kyung Soo-jin) to work at the royal health clinic. Hye-jin used her knowledge in Western medicine to diagnose that Queen Munjeong had appendicitis and required surgery to remove the inflamed appendix. Prime minister Yoon Won-hyeong (Han Jae-suk) took the chance to get King Myeongjong to step down if he agreed to the surgery. However, King Myeongjong allowed Hye-jin to perform the operation to save his mother. Due to Hye-jin’s hand injury, Hye-jin asked Im Kkeok-jeong (Song Won-seok) to help her to perform the operation under her supervision. Queen Munjeong recovered and Kkeok-jeong was appointed a medical officer at the palace.
  • Jung-rok was appointed as the eunuch as he wanted to stay in the palace with his sister Seul-gi. He was thought highly by King Myeongjong due to his excellent archery skills, and was asked to help the King to against Prime Minister Yoon.
  • The crown prince Sunhoe was later diagnosed with kidney failure, but Hye-jin was not able to treat the crown prince due to lack of medical equipment and facility at that time.
  • After the Seul-gi lookalike girl gave birth, Jung Nan-jeong got her to return to palace and wanted to kill Seul-gi so that no one will find out their secret. Kkeok-jeong saved Seul-gi and decided to become a bandit head and also a Rebel leader to oppose the corrupted officials who made the lives of commoners so difficult.
  • Tojeong Lee Ji-ham could open door for time travelling, which caused the truck to land in Joseon dynasty. He then opened the time travelling door for them to return to present time. However, Ga-ik wanted Hye-jin to stay with him so that he could overthrow the Joseon dynasty and be the new King. Ga-ik tried to stop Hye-jin from leaving, only to be stopped by Kkeok-jeong who shot him. The gang returned to present day, leaving Ga-ik behind.
  • Three years later in Seoul, Seul-gi had already attended university, while occasionally missing KKeok-jung whom she loved. Jung-rok became a guide at the Gyeongbokgung palace. Seul-gi then met a man looking much like Kkeok-jung, who also fell in love with Seul-gi at first sight.

Comments:

I really do not know how to describe this show, as the story was much promising in the beginning, but I feel the fatigue in the plot mid-way even before the Kang Ji-hwan’s scandal. Perhaps due to the drama being planned for 20 episodes, the writer was rather ambitious in having quite many villain characters (at least Jung Ga-ik, Yoon Won-hyeong and Jung Nan-jung), as well as several heroes and heroines (Han Jung-rok, Han Seul-gi, Im Kkeok-jung and Lee Hye-jin), not to mention other supporting characters. Like what Jung Ga-ik mentioned in the drama “Too many cooks spoil the soup”, the writer was not able to properly develop these characters as the plot unfold. In fact, I feel that more emphasis was placed on the romance between Seul-gi and Kkeok-jung rather than Jung-rok and Hye-jin, that I feel it was rather abrupt for Hye-jin to distance herself from Ga-ik and fell in love again with Jung-rok.

Due to the reduction of the drama to only 16 episodes, the plot was also hastily ended without addressing many things mentioned in the opening episode, such as Ga-ik being a serial killer in present day, Kkeok-jung learning archery and war strategy from Jung-rok etc. Kkeok-jung was also written to suddenly decide to take up the role of the bandit’s leader at the last episode after saving Seul-gi from Prime Minister Yoon. There was also nothing much sinister acts from the 3 main villains from history. I am not sorry to say that Jung Nan-jung in this drama does not match her title as one of the vicious women in Joseon.

Although the show initially seemed quite fun as the present day characters trying to fit into the Joseon’s culture, and Seul-gi having much fun to introduce K-pop to the Gisaeng (and also the palace), the character development went downhill mid-way, and the reduction of episodes made the show seemed even more illogical. Seriously, I think the time can be more well-spent on other dramas.

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