Sunday, 18 March 2012


And so, the finale aired on Thursday night in Korea, peaking pretty much at 52% (rounded number) viewership which could pretty much reflect its success and popularity.
In reality this is partial, merely because it is the final episode where the rebellion took place, countless deaths occurred and we get to see Hwon and YeonWoo together at long last.
Events that would grab any viewers attention, not necessarily in a good way.

Subjectively speaking, I felt that NokYoung, Seol and YangMyung's death was unnecessary.
Sure NokYoung was a bitch who irritated me for keeping YeonWoo away from Hwon for most of the episodes, but thinking again she was like a caring mother who only wanted what's best for her 'spiritual daughter'. In the end she spilled the beans and wished YeonWoo and Hwon for a happy future. Must she really die? She didn't really have any sort of ill intention.
Seol, gurl, you should've just grabbed Yeom's hand and ran with him. If the assassins caught up, then you fight to the death. She was the Heo family's gem, the guardian, don't just kill her off! She was also like a sister to JanShil, a very much needed sister. Besides, what took Woon so long to fucking arrive?! If only had arrived earlier...jeez Woon.
And YangMyung. Oh boy...that death was just...I can't. Ok YangMyung wanted to die because he thought it was the only way, as if he was fated to, as if his death would help everyone. Right, I understand. But when that guy stood up and was ready to spear a member of the royal fucking family how can the guards just stand there and watch? Why the fuck aren't they tackling that bastard down and protecting YangMyung from death and unnecessary depression for everyone? JFC.

Now, objectively speaking, I suppose NokYoung, Seol and YangMyung's death was necessary...just like BoKyung, Great Queen Dowager and the evil Minister and his goons.
NokYoung offered her life to secure Hwon and YeonWoo's, as well as the nation's, happiness and safety, if NokYoung remained alive wouldn't she have to keep suffering in pain by warding off future evil curses from the royal family? That's a real pain in the ass. Besides, in the dialogue it was mentioned that she may have to be beheaded anyway, she might as well end her life usefully than unusefully.
Seol would've just lived a pointless life if she carried on living. JanShil didn't necessarily need her, everyone must learn to become independent, besides, Seol isn't a Shaman, she can't always be by JanShil's side. Seol clearly can't stay by Yeom's side knowing that he has a child with MinHwa, it would hurt her.
YangMyung needed to disappear off the scene merely because he would've carried on living a horrible life if he were to stay alive. To YangMyung, YeonWoo was his world, letting his younger brother have her means he has no reason to live anymore. Sure he could always find other girls out there to cling onto, but come on, YeonWoo had been in his mind even after her supposed 'death'. Clearly this guy could live on for the rest of his life clinging onto YeonWoo within his mind - clearly an unhealthy lifestyle. Walking on the same land knowing that his brother has his beloved would hurt him emotionally, it's unlikely that he would be able to cure himself of his heartache. So, in a crude way, he might as well end his life seeing as he is able to move on in this current life. That spear to the torso was his only opportunity to die with dignity. Hey, maybe YangMyung told the guards to just let him die. Who knows.

Also, another thing. Although I was overjoyed that Hwon and YeonWoo were finally together without any bothersome and scheming individuals in the background, and HyungSun was still alive rocking it out on the gayageum right before the credits rolled, it irked me that a number of lives were lost just so that Hwon and YeonWoo could find happiness.
Sure, it was fate, it was God's 'will' as the shamans said, bloodshed be the consequence of having the moon and sun near each other thanks to fate's forceful push. But really now, we the viewers just witnessed the death of our carefree and loveable YangMyung, a good majority of us wept because of that. It felt like YangMyung's death was just pushed to the side as if saying "yeah, YangMyung was unnecessary, Hwon and YeonWoo are definitely happier without him, he needed to die." I understand that it's not exactly practical to have Hwon and YeonWoo continuously mourning over YangMyung's death even when years have passed.
But the ending could have been handled and written more appropriately. Like say, we see Queen YeonWoo overseeing the West Infirmary's developments and Hwon decided to come over and visit, they hold hands and BAM! Ending. We're left with the impression that they're now happily together and ruling the nation well without over exaggerating the lovey-dovey-ness between Hwon and YeonWoo, they've pretty much been flirting with each other in the last few episodes anyway, that's enough. And also it would show that they're also fulfilling YangMyung's wish for them to treat the nation well, thus showing respect. Sure they mentioned in the end that YeonWoo was helping the West Infirmary, but we don't see it, it is only a momentary mention, an add-on. A short spark to respect YangMyung. Forgotten when we move over to the gayageum part.
This isn't an entirely objective criticism, but I honestly believe that the ending wasn't perfect. It was okay, it will do, but it didn't leave me entirely satisfied.

Comparatively, City Hunter also left me somewhat unsatisfied because personally it felt like I was left on a cliffhanger due to the open ending!! It may have been an open ending with nothing conclusive, but it was a positive open ending that suggested that the two are pretty much likely going to be together. Open endings tend to be safer than closed endings, it doesn't enrage the audience as much as they have no reason to be enraged, the ending is left for the audience to interpret.
TMTETS was a closed ending, it was definitive, meaning that the ending must be well thought out, if done badly it could leave viewers dissatisfied. Although I have no evidence that a majority of viewers were dissatisfied I personally felt that the ending could have been better to maintain the 'feel' of the series. The actual ending felt more like an add-on, a special episode, a doujinshi. Something that could have occurred within or outside the series, not the end.

Nevertheless, episode 20 made me shed tears multiple times for a good half of the episode. It was emotionally moving.
As for the series overall the kids, Kim SooHyun and Jung IlWoo done a great job. Ha GaIn was so-so, not awful, but okay, there could have been a bit more emotion and expression in her acting to polish it all off, she just needs a bit of a push. A second series is uncessary unless there is more material to cover from the book that occurs after this series, or if someone took interest in producing a drama about both prince's future which I doubt would be any different or interesting compared to the first series.

In sum, I recommend this drama, it's now one of my favourites. Not #1. Then again, I don't really know what drama is my #1.

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