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Empress Ki

by dwemanager
Empress KI

Empress Ki is a fictional depiction of Empress Ki, a Goryeo-born woman, who eventually finds herself in the highest position at the Yuan court. In the drama, Ki Seungyang, proves herself capable of anything, as she fights for vengeance, justice and ultimately, her happiness in an oppressive and conflicting era.

Starring: Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, Ji Chang Wook

Genre: Historical, Romance

Review:

Empress Ki is yet again another drama that I had started during the time it was airing but never followed through to the end. I think a large part of this is because it is a 50 episode drama and I found I couldn’t wait every week for 2 new episodes. My patience was being tested and, admittedly, I failed to pass the test. Now that all 50 episodes are available on Netflix, it made the viewing experience so much better. The fact that I finished watching the entire drama over 4 nights says a lot about how engrossing Empress Ki is – at least for the first 40 episodes.

Produced by Doorwayent

True to any sageuk (Korean historical drama), Empress Ki is an epic rollercoaster ride, that depicts the ever struggling political landscape of the time period and the power conflicts that occur within the palace. To put a little more context to this drama, as I think it is important, and makes it the viewing experience a lot more understandable and interesting – Empress Ki lived during the Later Three Kingdoms period, having been born in Goryeo. At the time, Goryeo had already been invaded by Mongols and the custom introduced was to send Goryeo ladies to Yuan to serve as concubines to the Mongol emperor. The drama remains fairly accurate in regards to the era and political landscape depiction. However, the timeline and overall story offers viewers a much more dramatised retelling of Empress Ki’s life.

Disregarding historical accuracy and judging this as just a drama amongst other historical dramas, for me, Empress Ki was one of the better historical dramas I have seen. It has been awhile since I’ve watched a sageuk and one with more than 20 episodes, and it made me realise how much I missed watching something in this genre. There was everything I wanted to see from a sageuk. The background story behind Seungyang made me grow attached to her quickly and root for her to win. It’s hard not to like her as a hero with her badass attitude and ability to outsmart her oppositions. As soon as you start the drama you know that she becomes Empress Ki, but the desire to know how she rises from such a difficult childhood is what kept me watching through the first 10 episodes. From there, the remaining important characters also grew on me and I kept watching to see, not only whether Seungyang was bound for a happily ever after, but also what was to happen to them. The drama contains a number of conflicts and plot twists that kept me on my toes, and the fight between the good and the bad drew me in emotionally. It’s never easy to sit back and watch these kind of historical dramas because those who are bad, are really bad, that you want to watch to the end to see if justice is finally served for their evil deeds.
I basically flew through the first 40 episodes due to being so invested in Seungyang’s storyline and the conflicts within the palace.

However, after episode 40, I found the drama started to drag on. I felt like we had reached the resolution required for the entire series and would have been content with the drama ending then. Instead, Empress Ki kept playing out the political and power struggles, specifically within the palace between the same people. I grew rather frustrated seeing the storyline go in circles, as it gave me an uneasy feeling about the future of Seungyang and the Emperor of Yuan – the two characters in the drama who I really cared about. Sometimes dramas want to do too much and it does become too much to endure. Still I did, skipping through some scenes, which honestly didn’t affect my understanding of the plot. Despite thinking the last 10 episodes weren’t totally necessary, I did really enjoy the last episode and the way the drama ended. It left me feeling somewhat fulfilled and was the only episode that made me cry. Maybe that’s why I felt satisfied upon completion.

However, after episode 40, I found the drama started to drag on. I felt like we had reached the resolution required for the entire series and would have been content with the drama ending then. Instead, Empress Ki kept playing out the political and power struggles, specifically within the palace between the same people. I grew rather frustrated seeing the storyline go in circles, as it gave me an uneasy feeling about the future of Seungyang and the Emperor of Yuan – the two characters in the drama who I really cared about. Sometimes dramas want to do too much and it does become too much to endure. Still I did, skipping through some scenes, which honestly didn’t affect my understanding of the plot. Despite thinking the last 10 episodes weren’t totally necessary, I did really enjoy the last episode and the way the drama ended. It left me feeling somewhat fulfilled and was the only episode that made me cry. Maybe that’s why I felt satisfied upon completion.

I do think that Empress Ki was still worth the watch for the 40 episodes that I thoroughly enjoyed. A large part of this was how exceptionally well the actors played their characters. I loved the different sides of Empress Ki that Ha Ji Won portrayed, from a kick ass fighter to an intelligent and somewhat cunning concubine. She was an absolute vision when she became a concubine as well. I also grew to love Ji Chang Wook pretty quickly through this, maybe not so much for his character alone, but more so for his acting abilities.

If you are an avid sageuk fan and have not seem this yet, add it to your list. You’re bound to find yourself also rooting for Seungyang and appreciating her story as well as her growth. If you’re not huge on political plots and prefer romance based historical dramas, there is a strong romance focus but might not be enough to override the political aspect for your viewing.