I’ve made a decision. No, it’s not anything drastic! In fact I think fans of romantic dramas will be quite pleased. This year, I plan to reserve this column just specifically for K-dramas that I’m currently watching it.
Now, you’re probably wondering how did I even get into K-Dramas. It all happened by mistake. When my best-friend urged me to watch my first drama Boys Over Flower, I bet she didn’t know that she was leading me into a rabbit hole she was leading or how deep I’d walk in on my own. I don’t think a day ever goes by without me watching an episode of something K-Drama-like.
I’m in deep, people. Real deep! Like a junkie with his coke! And I’d like to drag you in with me – cause I’m generous like that (kekekeke).
All right – now onto the drama of the month – The Last Empress! This is one of those dramas that Koreans call makjang. What is makjang? If translated literally it means a drama that is extremely sensational and that has an outrageous premise, exaggerated characters and exciting (and often ridiculous) events to heighten viewer emotions beyond their normal bounds.
Where a regular drama may focus on revenge, or rape, or birth secrets, or adultery, a makjangdrama will throw all these plot twists and more into the same story. Every episode is a train-wreck but you can’t stop watching it because it is so overwhelmingly exciting.
That’s exactly what The Last Empress is! A melodrama on crack!
The drama is set in present day South Korea, but under the premise that the country is governed by a constitutional monarch, Emperor Lee Hyuk. I haven’t quite met an antagonist like Lee Hyuk. The man is trash! He has no problems murdering or torturing people if they don’t do what he wants (even the people he claims to love). After a hit and run accident where he kills an old woman, he is more pissed off about the fact that his gold car is dented rather than because of the body he’s hidden in his trunk. When he kills his grandma (who was the only one who truly supported him), he quickly lays the blame on his mother. On the first day of his marriage, he sleeps with his mistress in the same room where his new wife is getting a massage. Like I said – trash!
Interestingly enough, it’s easy to kind of like him because the writers have shown every life event that led him to being the monster that he is, and it’s quite obvious that he was a created monster not one by choice. Worse, they keep playing our emotions by showing us the other sides of Lee Hyuk. His playful side, his funny side, his childish side… Ugh! Most of the time you don’t know whether to hate Hyuk, pity him or ship him with his wife (who he’s already tried to kill too – Of course!).
Now onto the wife, Sunny. When she first married Lee Hyuk, Sunny was genuinely in love with him, not knowing that he’d married her for his own nefarious purposes. Then he tried to kill her! That’s when everything went sideways for Lee Hyuk. For one, Sunny believes in an eye for an eye and refuses to take his shenanigans lying down.
Plus, she refuses to die no matter how many times he and his mother try to take her out. Worse, the more Lee Hyuk gets to know her, the more he’s attracted to her pluckiness. Unfortunately, Sunny thinks of him as a serial killer (which he is).
I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen from here onwards. Does she fall for him too? Is she already half in love with Lee Hyuk’s bodyguard who was always sneakily protecting her from Lee Hyuk when he wasn’t in love with her? Will Lee Hyuk change? Can he change? And do we care?
The makjang goes on!
THE VERDICT: 8/10 for a despicable antagonist who makes me question my morals, a hero who’s dreamy, and a heroine who is as bad ass as they come. Bring on the Makjang!
Tell me what you think about it after you’re done. And if you’ve got a good K-Drama, C-drama or J-Drama that you think I should check out; let me know below.