KDrama Review: The King: Eternal Monarch (Episode 2 - First & Second Rewatch Insights)

May 02, 2020

First-Watch Review:
After their dramatic meeting in the first episode, a series of confrontations happen for the second episode. Jung Tae-eul performs her duty as a cop and interrogates this handsome alien that suddenly appeared in the city of Seoul. Unfotunately, the king is highly distracted with adoration and happiness because he has finally met the woman he was heavily attached with for the last 25 years of his life.

While the king sure is in cloud nine, our heroine is just losing her mind with every statement that she gets from the king. The fact that he declares himself king and doesn't possess any ID is freaking her out. Plus, the items that she confiscates from him are all just mind-blogging. Why is this guy's face printed on a bill? Well we can't blame how Jung Tae-eul is taking these all in, but she tries to work it out logically. She sends out his fingerprints and the bill note to the forensics team to get the identity of this man (through their records) and to check if that money is counterfeit.

As they wait for the results, Jung Tae-eul decides to keep an eye on Lee Minho's character. Through the help of the precious gems attached to his coat, the king manages to exchange them with Korean money and then gets himself a room in a very expensive hotel. The king continues to linger around Jung Tae-eul as he's full of curiosity of what kind of woman she is. Then at the end of the episode, he tells Jung Tae-eul he wants to make her queen of his kingdom in the parallel universe.

Episode Rating: ★★☆☆☆
😭 I'm sorry again Lee Minho, I just didn't get this episode. His obsession with Jung Tae-eul felt so unnatural. And what was that proposal about? Anyway, this episode is still entertaining as it is. I found it amusing because it's just the second episode, but there are already several product placements throughout the show -- there's Netflix (which was so meta) and The Alley, that milk tea place in Alpha Land in Makati that I got to try with my friends. Also, can I just say how beautiful Kim Go-eun is? Her skin is just so flawless. I couldn't believe her character jokingly said she should have gotten that double-eyelid surgery to make her more beautiful. Having double eyelids is a huge standard of beauty in South Korea. I guess Kim Go-eun is just already so confident about herself physically that's why she didn't have her eyes done. It's just so 대박 that her character really said that!

Well let's see how the other episodes would do for this drama (huhu please don't let me down, please).

[EDIT: 05/27/2020] Second-Watch Review (with Latest Episode Released: EP12)

Additional Observations/Theories/Commentaries:
  • Lee Gon is a keen observer. JTE indeed has a mannerism of tying up her hair into a ponytail whenever she is confronted with a stressful situation.
  • Gyeong-Ran, the forensics girl in the Seoul Police station, has always had some air time since the start. Even for brief scenes, she's always had a part. I wonder if she has some bigger role in the future.
  • When JTE confiscated KoC money from Lee Gon, how could she not notice that his face is actually on the bill notes?
  • The two gangsters who were caught in the boat-rowing event that caused a commotion told the police that they were chasing this woman named Luna who has no identity and no home. A few scenes later, Gyeong-Ran tells JTE that she didn't find a match for Lee Gon's finger prints. It's hard to believe, but it seems like he is a person without an identity.
  • The use of CCTV footage to get some evidences on some crime has been a recurring theme even early on. We have one puzzle about a CCTV footage that Lee Gon sees in his laptop that's dated in the future. Will CCTV footages have a relevant role in the series?
  • When Jo Eun-Sup meets Lee Gon for the first time, he calls him King Arthur (because he owned Maximus, a white horse).
  • Lee Gon continues to study and compare this parallel world from his own. He contemplates that not all things are the same in that world because of his fingerprint results. But there's something off here. We saw that JTE had a fingerprint match in KoC because the police there was able to tell Lee Gon about Luna's criminal records. Meanwhile, Luna in a later episode, was able to access JTE's phone using her fingerprint.
  • I think the scene wherein Lee Gon was explaining to JTE the Einstein's theory that led to the proof of the existence of a parallel was so brilliant -- that looping desktop wallpaper nailed that effect of confusion and cluelessness in JTE's eyes. I super loved it. It's a very clever use of the available props in the scene.
  • We see the first appearance of PM Koo's cabinet member who has a very mysterious aura. He is just referred as the PM's advisor. He is the one who provides photos of those people that PM Koo wanted to blackmail, right? And then recall that Lee Lim was also always looking at photos of his target doppelgangers, and also gives them to his recruits to study their counterparts before they move to the other world. I am 100% this is PM Koo's connection with Lee Lim.
  • Lee Gon tells JTE "After 25 years, I finally met you. I hope today is a long day." On a later episode, JTE says this same statement to Lee Gon (as they walked along the open fields). I think it is also a metaphor of the fact that there would be a time that time will stop for as long as a day, and Lee Gon will be stuck inside that "long day".
  • Clues about Lee Lim's recruits having two phones have been dropped here, stated by the wife while she was testifying to the police for her husband's murder.
  • Lee Lim is seen painting an old palace. He told the monk: "This palace has hundreds of history in it. Painting it like this makes me feel like I am covering its history, with my own version of history." (quoting him non-verbatim here). That sounds like a metaphor of what his true goal is.
  • Who is the mom with the son on the wheelchair? Was it Lee Gon's mother? Was that child Lee Lim himself? So did he travel back in time? When Lee Lim arrived, there were no more people inside the restaurant. Was that the same woman whom he saw laughing while washing the dishes? Because that woman is clearly the counterpart of Lee Gon's mother in RoC. Then we see fast forward to the present, an older mother buys flowers for his dead son, because it was his birthday. I'm still confused on this part.
  • Lee Gon further studies the history of RoK and compares it with that of KoC. The book he was reading was on the part about the Korean war. This felt like a foreshadowing of Lady Court Noh's question in the end of EP12. He also further explains that the two worlds had the same history, but it forked during the reign of Prince Seojin(?). I can't remember which is which, but he said that in the other world, he passed away early, but in the parallel world he was able to reign for until a certain time. What happened then that made the timeline of the two worlds split during that time?
  •  So child Lee Gon heard the flute, that's why he went to that place in the palace and witnessed the murder of his father. I wonder why the flute had that effect on him. So far, the flute was only heard when the keeper of a part of the flute is near a portal.
  • The black bunny jacket is a class uniform.
  • Lee Lim was present in the boat rowing contest, based on the photos that Myung Seung-A took during the event.
  • Lee Gon's facial expression was so funny when he looked longingly on the milk tea on KJS' hands.
  • During Lee Gon's and KJS' first meeting, Lee Gon suddenly pulled KJS' hoodie over his head. When KJS asked what that was about, Lee Gon said "Just in case you are my savior. I wished you weren't and you aren't."

JTE - Jung Tae Eul
KJS - Kang Shin Jae
RoK - Republic of Korea
KoC - Kingdom of Corea

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