I managed to squeeze in some time to watch the first two episodes of Empress Ki amid my busy schedule of school projects that seems endless. I had no intentions of watching this drama, that is, until Ji Chang Wook signed on to be the second lead. So I’ll make this clear that I’m watching this show solely because of him, so whatever I say about this show is probably biased towards him, because I can’t help it! Haha.
I was expecting this show to be a flop right from the start because of all the controversy surrounding it, so I was surprised that it debuted with quite decent ratings. The visuals in this show are really stunning, with lavish, colourful costumes plus CGI-enhanced backdrops. The wedding scene in the opening also set up the conflict pretty well and the show has some lovely instrumental songs that remind me of the movie “The King and the Clown”.
The story so far is very fast-paced, a little too fast for my liking in fact. Although I’m glad that they did away with the usual lengthy childhood part of the story, I wish they would slow down a bit. I mean, hey, Ha Ji Won’s character went from bandit to soldier all within one episode! My brain, unfortunately, can’t process at a speed fast enough to keep up with all the illegal salt trade dealings either. I think the lightning-fast speed at which the story is progressing is also making me feel detached from the show and its characters. I don’t know, but I feel that a slower pacing will help in bringing out more subtle details in characterisation. Now, I don’t feel anything for the characters yet. I also fear that the current pacing of the show will affect the quality of the show, because I’m pretty sure the pacing will slow down in later episodes, and the change will be all too noticeable.
Maybe I’m being biased, but I’m most interested to see how Ji Chang Wook’s character will change as the show progresses. It’s very obvious that his character is a multi-layered one; one who is actually smart but acts dumb, but he is also not strong enough yet to survive on his own. I’m really interested to see what kind of relationship he will have with Ha Ji Won’s character later. I know they are not the main couple, but I’m going down with this ship! And now, if you would allow me to shower some praise on Ji Chang Wook please; I was really impressed with his acting here as his childish demeanour as a persimmon-obsessed prince in episode 2 was in stark contrast to his commanding aura as the Emperor in the opening. I look forward to more surprises from this guy!