KDrama Review: The King: Eternal Monarch (Episode 4 - First & Second Rewatch Insights)

May 07, 2020

Things are getting better now! I'm so excited to break down this episode piece by piece! 😁

First-Watch Review:
So, we are getting more clues now on how these two parallel worlds work. It seems like time stops whenever someone crosses over one world to another, and only people who have the ability to open the portal continues their flow of time, witnessing how the world stops for a few seconds. As far as we know, only two people have the capability to do this. At this point, only one person has learned of this pattern. He is not the person we are rooting for, unfortunately. Also, it seems like there are places that look exactly the same in both worlds like that library (which I bet would become another tourist attraction for fans of this drama 😆).

Meanwhile, we get a closer glimpse of the challenges that the Prime Minister (in the king's world) is facing. I find it so triggering that those other politicians are throwing such sexist remarks to the PM. I hate them all. Please please Ms. PM, please prove them all wrong! 😠 I'm getting the vibe though that this woman is one of the main antagonists of this drama (well there were already a lot of obvious hints actually), but I would just want for her to be able to stand up for herself. I think I have reserved a soft spot for her especially after the previous episode revealed her humble roots of living a simple life in the past.

Since this is a star-studded drama, it's pretty expected already for that it will have several product placements throughout the episodes. I just find it really amusing how creative the production team can be in strategically placing the ads in the scenes. They're so subtle and not in a distracting way which is something that I really really like in Kdramas.

I'm just getting confused now with some of the characters. So there's this girl who is Jung Tae-eul's friend who runs The Alley cafe, and then the same girl with same face exists in the parallel universe who gets hired as a "publicist writer" of some sort by the king's grandmother. So yeah, I'm having some challenges on tracing which character is which and in which world. There was even a woman introduced who I am assuming to be that evil uncle's wife because of the way she felt frustrated with the fact that he is not aging (of which I am still puzzled myself). By the way, I just realized that this guy shows uncanny similarities with Song Joong Ki's facial features. Now I know why I find his face so familiar. They have the same vibe in some angles.

So let's go now to the super kilig details of this episode. We see Jung Tae-eul getting more and more curious about the king, who has gone missing, claiming he returned to his world again. Because of some series of events, Jung Tae-eul loses her ID and then applies to get a replacement. Well guess what, we now see the connection between the ID that Lee Minho possesses since he was young, versus this new ID that Jung Tae-eul just acquired. And now this brings me to this theory on how this drama's story would unfold. Do you know Studio Ghibli's Howl's Moving Castle? Do you know the reason why Howl was searching for Sophie all his life? This is exactly how I'm seeing the connection between the king and Jung Tae-eul. I am 98% confident of this theory. 🤓

Jung Tae-eul's travel to the other world was so thrilling. From the moment she saw Lee Minho again, to the way he assisted her to ride Maximus (the white horse), to the journey to the bamboo tree forest, up until the meeting with the guards... I am just holding my breath the whole time. I'm so kilig! 😍 I am so moved with how Lee Minho commanded the situation and led the girl he liked into his world. *sigh*

Episode Rating: ★★★★☆
As much as I liked the ending of the episode, I don't want to give this one full marks, not yet. I know this drama can still give me more, so I am reserving that five stars for the rest of the episodes. 😉

Second-Watch Review:
  • JY and JE suddenly had this split-second connection, wherein the doppelganger felt the other person's senses and they became momentarily confused because JY was supposed to hold a coffee mug, but it felt cold, meanwhile JE was about to hold the milk tea cup, but instead felt that it was hot. As of this writing, we are now in the last episode and I think this scene was still not being explained.
  • LG says "Every moment of my life is history here in the kingdom of Corea, and I want that to last forever." LL also said something about rewriting history, and I think both of them are using their own metaphor, with history as the theme, with regards to their true aspirations in life.
  • Lady Noh says to the king "What will I do if you travel so far away?". Oh madam, if you only knew how far he'll travel (well apparently she knew from the start, huh?).
  • LG purposely placed the book inside the jacket pocket so that Lady Noh would be able to find it (book goes to bedroom, the rest of the things to the study). Later on it was revealed that this move was intentional and the book was a gift to Lady Noh.
  • During the general's (?) father's funeral, who is that guy that was focused for a few seconds behind JY? Was it just an artistic camera pan? Am I just over analyzing everything? 
  • Isn't this the funeral wherein LL was spotted in the CCTV? Is this connected with my observation above? With LL, you'll never really know who he'll end up recruiting to his gang.
  • I initially thought the church where the funeral was being held is the Myeongdong Cathedral. Well it did look similar, but it's a different church (I think it was located in Busan).
  • Why did LG have flashbacks about his neck injury after attending the funeral? I am writing this with only one episode left to air. I just thought of this theory -- it's very noticeable that LG's neck injury is at his right side when clearly on the night of the treason LL cut his neck on his left side. Maybe this is related to the rewriting of timeline that would occur as LG travels back for the second time. When LG sees LL strike his young self with the flute (or another object assuming the flute remains whole) at his left side, this will be his realization that this is the timeline that he should keep. You know what, with this drama, possible theories could be endless!
  • I really love the attention details of this drama. During the scene when JTE and LG were in the library, there was this one shot wherein JTE and LG were being shown facing each other. On the second floor, a lady is walking from JTE's side to LG's side... but then as she continued walking across, she did not appear on the other side of the library at LG's side. It's a subtle detail that shows that JTE and LG are in the same library but in different worlds.
  • I have noticed that identity is such a recurring theme in the drama. Notice how the mood of a scene changes when someone presents their ID to the people around them? This scenario is mostly shown whenever the police team has an entrapment operation or they are interrogating someone. It's also a powerful symbolism because well it was all because of an ID that LG had the connection with JTE, which instigated their love story.
  • When LL arrived to RoK, he adjusted his golden pocket clock to an hour forward. This is a subtle detail of the time difference that happens inside the portal.
  • With regards to the recording of the news that JTE found on the 2G phone, I had this theory that the worlds of RoK and KoC are running in a different time with each other. The news recording mentioned about Professor Lee Jong-In attending a conference abroad. In KoC, he was indeed in a conference. But the 2G phone has been discovered for weeks, so I thought there was also a time difference between the two worlds. Well we've reached episode 15, and apparently this is not a correct assumption (yes I was just overthinking every little detail of this drama).

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