The King: Eternal Monarch Korean Drama Review

The King: Eternal Monarch is about parallel worlds with one being the Empire of Korea and the other the Republic of Korea. The emperor (Lee Min Ho) of the Korean Empire teams up with a detective (Kim Go Eun) from the Republic of Korea to try and stop an evil man from gaining control of the kingdom and causing havoc in both worlds.

Lee Min Ho plays the emperor of Korea, Lee Gon. He was thrust into power when he was a child after his father was murdered during an attempted coup. Those events have haunted him as well as piqued his curiosity surrounding a mysterious person who saved him during that time.

Kim Go Eun is Jang Tae Eul who is a detective. Her reality gets shaken up when Lee Gon suddenly appears and she discovers he’s from a parallel world. As she works to help him stop a traitor from his world, she begins to fall in love.

Next is Woo Do Hwan in dual roles as Jo Young, the stoic right hand man and close friend of the king as well as the good-natured Jo Eun Sub in the Republic of Korea.

Then there is Kang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) as a conflicted man who works with Tae Eul. Next up we have Yi Rim (Lee Jung Jin), the man from the Korean Empire who attempted the coup and still seeks to gain power by traveling between the worlds.

Goo Seo Ryung (Jung Eung Chae) is the Prime Minister in the Korean Empire. Finally, Head Court Lady Noh Ok Nam (Kim Young Ok) is always looking out for Lee Gon and has his best interests at heart. And I love this talented lady so much! This was a fantastic role for her.

The latest drama from hit writer Kim Eun Sook is The King: Eternal Monarch. As usual, there was a lot of anticipation for this one. I usually fare well with her dramas, and luckily, that was the case here.

The opening episode was strong with a good hook as we were introduced to the back story that sets everything in motion. The next few episodes move into more set up as we learn an interesting story of parallel worlds with one being the Korean Empire and the other the Republic of Korea. A bit of a mystery and a struggle for power is also introduced.

Then there’s the romance. Of course, love between worlds has the makings of a grand story. Lee Gon and Jang Tae Eul have a fun banter in the beginning that nicely progresses into a very dedicated and powerful relationship.

Lee Gon is very regal with a matter-of-fact type personality. He’s kind but blunt and doesn’t hesitate to say what’s on his mind. I found this to me a mix of charming and bland. I definitely liked it when he relaxed a bit more and had fun. He never becomes super engaging, but I liked him more as the drama progressed because of how much he had to overcome and what a honorable and dedicated man he was.

Jang Tae Eul is also very straight forward. She’s a solid character with a bit of roughness around the edges. I enjoyed seeing her soften some as she grew closer to Lee Gon while also maintaining her strength and never-give-up attitude.

Their personalities actually makes their relationship grow more easily. Honesty will do that for you. There are plenty of little sweet moments between them too. Most of the big romance comes later from all of the dramatic events that get in their way as well as grand reunions between the pair.

This duo has to face some epic challenges in their relationship. They have to protect their worlds, their loved ones, and themselves. It’s hard to balance everything out, and much heartbreak befalls this couple. Their love is strong though, and it carries them through an incredibly difficult journey.

We also get a bit of a bromance here between Lee Gon and his right hand man Jo Young. Gon was more playful while Young was completely serious. It made their relationship fun to see. These two also completely trusted each other which was a great thing.

And be prepared for a serious villain here with Yi Rim (Lee Jung Jin). There’s not much to him other than the fact that we wants the throne, and he will stop at nothing to get it. He mostly works behind the scenes moving the pieces of his plans into place and appearing at key moments. He’s not the most thrilling of villains, but he does his thing and causes plenty of trouble for everyone.

There are a few things to be aware of concerning this drama. First, it really takes some paying attention to catch everything. Some parts of the story were a bit confusing because of how the information was presented. There are several times you may be left feeling a bit perplexed as to exactly why things happened a certain way.

This drama also has plot loopholes galore. Mixing in parallel worlds and time travel just opens things up for all sorts of problems. I think the show tried to do a bit too much as a whole. There were so many characters and plot lines mixed in with some iffy rules as to how the worlds worked. The story is grand, but in a very messy sort of way. I think this is definitely a case that you just have to role with it or you may end up very frustrated with how things play out.

I most enjoyed the latter third of the drama where everything really ramps up. The stakes become even higher with Lee Gon and Jang Tae Eul trying to save their worlds and constantly having to avoid death. It gets quite dramatic in a fun way. I’m all for epic goodness, so it was just my kind of thing!

So in the end, I had the exact same experience I do with all of Kim Eun Sook’s dramas. I always love the grand plots and world building with interesting stories to explore. I tend to find the humor on the dry side which is not my favorite, and the characters are very matter-of-fact at times. The finer details are a little rocky too.

The grand stories and high stakes romances tend to outweigh those things for me though. So with an interesting story, a big romance, a good writer, and solid production, The King: Eternal Monarch was a very entertaining watch.

My Rating: 7.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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15 Responses to The King: Eternal Monarch Korean Drama Review

  1. kissingsun says:

    To be brutally honest I lost interest in the main couple fairly early on but kept on watching for Woo Do Hwan. IMO he stole the show, absolutely brilliant in both his roles. I just felt something was lacking, maybe it was the plot holes I dont know. Definitely not going to be a rewatch for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kay says:

      You’re not alone as I’ve seen a lot of people had a similar experience to you with the romance. This drama definitely has a lot lacking, including lots of plot holes. Luckily, a lot of the other elements worked for me to make up for that. Hope you have better luck with your next drama πŸ™‚

      Like

  2. Snow Flower says:

    To me this drama was like many beautiful pieces of a puzzle that did not click quite right. Watching it was still an enjoyable experience. I think that a rewatch may help clarify some details, but I also think it may reveal more plot holes. My favorite characters were Shin Jae and Court Lady Noh. Woo Do Hwan in a dual role was also a treat!
    I liked this drama better than Goblin, but I think it never reached the glory of Mr. Sunshine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      That’s a really good way to describe this drama. All of the pieces were definitely there, but they didn’t quite fit together. Like you, I still enjoyed it despite that though. And I absolutely loved Court Lady Noh! She was my favorite character, and I loved every time she was on screen πŸ™‚

      And by the way, looks like Woo Do Hwan’s enlistment has been just confirmed, and he will be going in early July. So no new dramas from him for awhile 😦

      Like

  3. Snow Flower says:

    Well, looks like both Yang Se Jong and Woo Do Hwan will be out of dramaland for a while. On the upside, Kim Soo Hyun is back!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate says:

    I enjoyed this one but always find time travel confusing and this was no different. The cast was so good and the grand story was interesting but like you said, it seemed to be trying to do too much in the time allotted. Might have been better to have a few more episodes to flesh out some of the stories and give the characters some more depth. The villain was particularly one dimensional and I could have used some more of the twins hassling Jo Young πŸ™‚ The leads were good but lacked some intangible something to make this work like it did in Goblin. All in all I enjoyed LMH’s return to dramaland and look forward to his next project!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You summed up the drama well Kate πŸ™‚ They definitely tried to do too much and could have used fewer stories/characters or more episodes to flesh things out. The villain was also particularly uninteresting in this drama. Despite the shortcomings, I did really enjoy seeing Lee Min Ho back in a nice romance that had a grand story that was mostly engaging. I’m excited to see what he does next too πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. Fred says:

    I knew you would give it a low rating. But I still hoped that would not be the case. I was hoping this would be a drama I can watch. Oh well. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Haha, well, 7.5 isn’t really low. Just a nice, enjoyable drama. But I know you were hoping more for the epic, amazing kind of drama with the really high rating. It’s definitely a bit different from what’s out there though, which is a plus, but your mileage may vary as to just how much you would like it, hehe πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. D says:

    Hi Kay – thanks for the review. I was reluctant to start this one and was literally waiting for your review. I have never been a fan of this writer’s dramas such as Mr Sunshine and Goblin. But after reading your review though, I’m intrigued and so I will pick it up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You’re very welcome πŸ™‚ Well, this drama definitely has a lot of similarities in style and structure to Kim Eun Sook’s other dramas. It’s the stories themselves that I usually find unique. So maybe if the story itself interests you, that may be enough to make up for what you disliked about her other dramas. If anything this is the kind of drama that leaves plenty talk about whether one likes it not, lol. Best of luck with it! πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Pingback: Korean Drama Update for June 2020 | Kdrama Kisses

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