Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kingdom of the Winds (eps 15 – 17)

To be fair, no k-drama series swept me off my feet in the first several episodes. Except maybe for “My Name is Kim Sam Soon”; that series picked up the funny ball right away and kept going with it. By the time it got a little more serious, you were in love with the characters and pulling for Sam Soon all the way.

Even my beloved “Thank You” – didn’t capture my heart immediately. It took me four or five episodes before I was aching for these characters. It’s easier though, when you know there is a lovely defined number of episodes. “Thank You” had 16, so thank goodness I was captured by the 4th episode. Jumong had 81 and I don’t think I really enjoyed much of it until episode 22. That’s a tremendous investment of time when you aren’t feeling the love.

Kingdom of the Winds starts to heat up a bit now that we are nearly halfway through.

Episode 15

The love triangle between Muhyul, Yeon, and Dojin is starting to sizzle a bit! Spying our flirty couple stealing a comforting embrace, Dojin feels anger in his loins.

sig You see, while running Black Ops for Buyeo (long story), Muhyul and Dojin bond. bizzaro sigThey consider themselves brothers. You’d almost think they were brothers, our mirror-image dopplegangers look so much alike.

During their last parting, a necklace was touchingly exchanged for weapons blueprints. Up to now, there has been a little push me pull you between Muhyul and Dojin regarding Cardboard Face Yeon. They both love her, but you get the impression that either would give her up for the other.

Times and circumstances change for our boys in black. Dojin has decided to take the path of evil while Muhyul decides to trod the path of the righteous. Caught in between is Cardboard Face. It’s pretty clear to us that she loves Muhyul as a man, and she loves Dojin as a brother, but this is not clear to Dojin. Dojin gots himself a bellyful of wants. He wants his family’s honor to be reinstated. He wants to take his rightful place as the heir to Daeso as King. He wants Yeon by his side as his wife.

Meanwhile Muhyul gets busted by some guys playing the palace machinations game for being a former Black Op of Buyeo. By this time, Yuri knows that Muhyul is his mostly dead son from 20 years ago, he just hasn’t told Muhyul that yet. So when Yuri gets wind that Palace Shenanigans are taking place, he goes stomping off to save his son.

It’s a pretty powerful moment at the end of episode 15, with dramatic kingy music playing. Gave me quite the little thrill. The guy playing Yuri is one of the better actors in this series.

Episode 16

I think it was in this episode, where Muhyul takes on more of a leadership role with Gorguryeo’s soldiery that I realized something about SIG. He just doesn’t do scrappy youngster well. He annoyed me in Jumong (those first 22 episodes), and just bugged me so much in Lobbyist I couldn’t even finish it. Here in KotW, I realized that this was where my ageda came from. SIG has a certain screen presence that doesn’t lend itself well to being doofy and truculent. When he’s King of Gorgureyo, when he’s hot king pirate in Emperor of the Sea – he’s thrilling. Scrappy? Not so much.

So in this episode we get “take charge” Muhyul. He’s training soldiers to be able to defy Buyeo’s Black Ops. He’s strong and tough. He’s intelligent and with purpose. He lights up the screen and you finally feel his charisma again. About effing time.


It was otherwise an unremarkable episode really, though we get some fine screen time with Muhyul and the Bizzaro Muhyul (Dojin) where there is some underlying tension while on the surface they act as brothers. Bizzaro Muhyul makes sure that Muhyul knows how he feels about Yeon and what his expectations are. He wants her for his wife and he does it all very softly and carefully, like we’re all pals here, marking his territory. I like the chemistry between Muhyul and Dojin much much more than I like the chemistry between Cardboard Face and anyone.

These two have started circling one around the other and it’s becoming interesting.

Episode 17

The best episode so far.

Secrets secrets secrets. The secret of Muhyul’s lineage is about to explode. Dojin, who has sided with Palace Machinations and his ilk, has deduced who Muhyul is and conspires to play on the people’s fear by spreading rumors and poisoning the water. Muhyul, rather than swallow the whole “the gods are punishing us all because of the ghost prince” does some fine investigative work in an effort to soothe the populace.

He does so well, that Princess Seryu (his sister but he doesn’t know it yet) asks him to look into the possibility that her mostly dead brother is still alive. He scouts out the tomb where the royal relics are and discovers who he is. In case there is any uncertainty, Yuri follows, unaware that Muhyul is nearby and laments Muhyul’s twisted and black fate.

SIG’s performance here was exquisite. The shock and panic as he puts it all together, the horror at who he is, what his fate is, that he was a real brother to Haemyoung, and that people are already dead because of him hits him hard. I was looking for overacting here, but found myself lost in the character and his anguish.

Muhyul then thinks back through his life and most touching are his moments with Haemyoung, looking at them now with the eyes of understanding. They really were brothers. His brother sincerely loved him, showed him so, wanted to protect him and teach him ~ just wanted to be a big brother. Very moving. I got choky.

I’m now eagerly anticipating future episodes where SIG grows some facial hair. As does his doppleganger, Bizzaro. A good twin and a bad twin. Hot.

bizzaro hair

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