Netflix’s “The King: Eternal Monarch” has
begun its reign over K-drama streaming, with one episode dropping every Friday
and Saturday. Super will devote itself to make sure you’re fully informed about
each episode, so Super’s Ruel S. De Vera and Ruth L. Navarra will recap
and break down every episode for you as soon as it comes out. All rise
Korea: After initially being shocked when Lee Gon pulled her into a hug, Tae-eul pushes him away. “So you were across the universe, you really existed,” Lee Gon tells her. Lee Gon keep trying to tell Tae-eul who he is, and how they’re connected, but she won’t have any of it. “I am the King of the Kingdom of Corea,” he says, and launches into a quick explanation of the show’s premise, including a misunderstanding that there is a Queen instead of a king here because of the “Queen Yuna” billboard. Lee Gon is shocked by Tae-eul’s brusque personality. She takes him to the station for violating the traffic law and for touching an officer’s body.
the station, officers are shocked by Maximus. The forensics team arrives.
Tae-eul interrogates Lee Gon, giving him the name Kim Gae-ddong (“dog poop”) to
annoy him, in the forms since Lee Gon, as a monarch, won’t give his real name.
The questioning does not go well, as Tae-eul simply doesn’t buy anything he’s
saying. Taking his belongings, she even notices his money, 100,000 won bills
which has Lee Gon’s face on them and now she wants to charge him with counterfeiting.
Tae-eul takes his fingerprints forcibly.
Corea: Ok-nam and Prince Buyeong are
discussing the fact that Lee Gon has gone missing. He has been trying to run
away every often, so whenever this happens, Buyeong not only provides an
official medical excuse for Lee Gon’s disappearance and, because he is next in
line, his security clearance is temporarily elevated. The search for Lee Gon
comes to a dead end in the forest because Maximus’ hoofprints and Lee Gon’s
footprints abruptly stop. But Lee Gon’s comment about the “clock or rabbit”
gives Captain Jo an idea. He interrogates the two gangsters caught during the
sculling event. They swear they weren’t there to hurt the king; they were there
running after the woman who have stolen their bosses’ money. She is a petty
criminal name is Luna; she has no home or identity and there is no photo of
her. She is still missing.
Korea: At the precinct, Tae-eul has put
Lee Gon in a holding cell as she awaits the fingerprint results. Now, we meet
this world’s version of Captain Jo, Jo Eun-sup (of course, also Woo Do-hwan),
who works for social services. He’s goofy and the complete opposite of Jo.
After initially thinking Jo had loyally followed him through the crack, Lee Gon
realizes there is no way this is the same Jo. Tae-eul is shocked to find out
there is no record of Lee Gon at all. The forensics girl explains says it is
possible that he was child who was not registered because he went missing 30
years ago when the fingerprints of all children were taken. Tae-eul also learns
that, for some reason, the won bills really look like real money. “Seriously,
who are you,” she asks in exasperation. “You also look better in real life,” he
tells her, adding, “some people don’t exist in both worlds like you and I.” After
tricking him into explaining Einstein’s theory about parallel worlds, she gets
a DNA swab.
Corea: An annoyed prime minister Seo-reyong
is leaving a cabinet meeting. While relaxing, she talks to her aide (Kang
Ki-doong). They discuss the fact that the king ran off again. The aide suggests
maybe the king has a woman. “The woman is here. If the king has to have a
woman, it has to be me. I’m trying to make the whole nation believe that.”
Korea: She decides to release him, while
waiting on the DNA. Eun-sop has apparently talked to him, and Lee Gon is going
to rent a room at the very expensive, Royal Infinity Hotel, which is close to
Tae-eul’s home. Lee Gon is trying to learn as much as he can about her. He goes
to a jewelry store, and it turns out the buttons on his jackets have amazing
diamonds on them; Tae-eul winds up guaranteeing the sale. “It took me 25 years
to meet you,” he says tensderly. “I wish today would be a long day.” But she
has to go as there is a lead regarding the corpse they found in the trunk of a
car last episode. Tae-eul go to the hardware store owned by the dead man to
interview the wife. The dead man owed money to many people and Shin-jae notices
a bunch of crowbars in a corner.
home, Eun-sup is cleaning up. From a framed photograph, we can tell he has a
daughter. He turns on Netflix; he is watching “Busted!” Lee Gon calls him. They
go shopping and Eun-sup is amazed by Lee Gon’s suite at the hotel. Lee Gon sits
down with Eun-sup to catch up with this version. From a childhood photo where
Eun-sup is with his father, Lee Gon confirms this is indeed a parallel world.
An enraged Tae-eul has discovered that Eun-sup told Lee Gon that Tae-eul’s
family had a big lawn, so Lee Gon has brought Maximus to stay in the yard while
he is on this world. We meet Tae-eul’s father, Jeong Do-in (Jeon Bae-su), who
runs a taekwondo school and Myung Na-ri (Kim Yong-ji) who runs a coffee shop on
the premises. When Tae-eul
confronts Lee Gon at the hotel, Lee Gon agrees to feed and groom Maximus. “I
can’t stay here for long, I must return to my own world,” he admits, but adds, “I
like being here like this with you.” He also tells her not to tie her hair as
she looks better with it down. She ties it up.
pathologist has determined the hardware store owner died from blunt force
trauma to the head and that the crowbar could indeed be the murder weapon.
While she is rooting through trash to find the weapon, Lee Gon keeps calling
Tae-eul with different phones to makes observations about this world.
an apparently faraway location, a man is talking to Lee Lim who is painting his
traditional house’s roof beautifully. He is talking about making his own
history. Kyung-moo is once again by his side. There is a close-up of red paint.
a nearby restaurant, a boy in a wheelchair is having a birthday party but is
sad because the three boys invited to the party have played a mean practical
joke on him by gifting him with a soccer ball and then abruptly leave,
high-fiving each other. Lim approaches the heartbroken mother and asks what is
she praying for. He can’t heal the son, but he can make the boys limp. “Would
you like to change your prayer,” he asks her.
a flower shop, we hear a radio report of how three children were hit by a truck
and will never walk again. There is a well-dressed woman in the shop, buying an
expensive bouquet for remembering her dead son’s birthday. It turns out this is
the older Song Jeong-hye (Seo Jung-yeon), the wife of the dead Lee Ho. In a
flashback, we find out that Lim left her alive in exchange for not reporting
how the wheelchair Lim of this world (which was now Lim) had managed to stand
up and kill both her husband and child. Do you want redemption. He asks. She
puts flowers on her son’s grave and we get the shot of the back of a crucifix
as she is walking away.
the station, Tae-eul is questioning a suspect to whom the victim owed money to.
They need to find the weapon, though, and they depart for the night after
reaching a dead end for now.
she gets home, Tae-eul tries to feel Maximus but the horse refuses to eat her
vegetables. She calls up Eun-sup to ask where Lee Gon is. Lee Gon is at the
library, as he has been for the last three days, reading up on Korea’s history.
All the girls at the library are staring at Lee Gon, giving him drinks, and
glaring at Tae-eul. Eun-sup happily leaves when Tae-eul says she will feed and
keep an eye on Lee Gon tonight. An audible groan goes up from the girlswhen the
two leave. Afraid he would be poisoned by the food, he thanks her for everything.
“Thanks to you 25 years ago, I was less lonely,” he says. The two share some
Korean fred chicken, and this is the first time Lee Gon has eaten it; he is
gobsmacked. He explains at what point in time this Korea diverged from
Corea—that Prince Sohyeon survived—but she still doesn’t believe him.
Corea: In a flashback, a young Lee Gon
tells Ok-nam he hasn’t forgotten what happened and shows her Tae-eul’s ID. He
also asks her for the half of the Manpasikjeok , the magic, flute that Lim left
behind. Ok-nam had been hiding it, and now it had been giving to him disguised
as a riding crop. A young Maximus is running in the corral behind them. He says
he heard the sound of a flute, and that was what brought him to the chamber
where his father had been killed by him. Ok-nam says the flute doesn’t make a
sound; he says he can hear it. They agree to keep all this between them.
Korea: Back in the present, Tae-eul
explains she doesn’t believe him at all but is helping him because she feels it
is her duty as a police officer. Lee Gon asks her why does she think he wants
to stay in this world. Lee Gon visits a museum exhibiting artifacts from this
world’s Korean monarchy. We see these are the same portraits of past kings
hanging in his Cheonjongo
palace. As he is looking in the glass, you can see a face looking back.
Corea: Jo is looking his own reflected in
the glass of the building where Lee Gon had stopped running after losing track
of the girl in the bunny hoodie. He sees a person riding a skateboard wearing
that and accosts him. It is a boy who says this is the class uniform and that
they bought it online. The boy recognizes Jo (he is apparently famous) and asks
for a selfie. Jo says no.
Syeung-a (also Kim Yong-ji), who had been taking photos of Jo at the sculling
event is at a coffee house on the phone, being informed she was being
interviewed for a job at the Royal Public Affairs Office. She is flustered when
Captain Jo shows up, asking to see her camera, as she was the sculling event.
He is hoping to see a photo of Luna. He writes down his contacts on a paper
napkin, asking her to send him the photos. When Jo leaves, she kisses the napkin.
Jo talks to Ok-nam saying he has one lead: the mysterious woman.
Korea: In his suite, Lee Gon is mulling
over the fact he has no more money after his shopping spree and profligate
ways: His coat has no more buttons. He goes to Tae-eul’s house to feed Maximus.
He wants a tasted milk tea, but does not have enough money. He sees Na-ri pull
up in a sports car (she has two) and assumes she will give him a tea for free
because they are alike. She doesn’t and he winds up sitting on a bench outside
sipping from a sample cup.
arrives and asks Tae-eul to come down so they can go out with Eun-sup. Jealous,
Lee Gon confronts Shin-jae and asks what to clarify the relationship between
them. Shin-jae takes a photo of Lee Gon, “a mug shot, just in case.” Lee Gon
threatens to behead Shin-jae.
a flashback, we see Tae-eul as a high school student. Tae-eul is berating her
father Do-in for accepting eggs instead of money for tuition, while Do-in berates
Tae-eul for not showing her report card. Tae-eul has had idea. Dressed in a
taekwondo dobok, she sits prettily at her window practicing taekwondo moves. A
group of boys walk by, notice her but walk past, except for one: a young
an impatient Tae-eul, saying she wants double-eyelid surgery, practicing with
children, complains to her father that this plan isn’t working. Then, Shin-jae
walks in. Tae-eul says it works, and gets money before leaving as Shin-jae
stares at her.
Tae-eul comes down, Lee Gon says he wants to go with them, but Tae-eul storms
off without him. She doesn’t get far because she starts feeling guilty,
recalling their conversation over fried chicken. She goes back. He is moping,
asking her how could she leave him by herself. You’re the only person I know in
this world. He explains about the ID card but she talks about how she was only
5 years old when the incident in the palace happened. She makes fun of the date
on the back of the ID, Nov. 11, 2019, which is Leonardo DiCaprio’s birthday. He
says he has no more money. She suggests finding his family. He says he is
single and has come to a decision: “I take you to be my wife, the Queen. You
became the reason why I should stay in this world.”
Ruey: So, there is a lot of talking and
not really much else going on in this episode. It feels like they’re taking
care of a lot of things to get to the other stuff. Also the vast majority of
the episode happens in Korea and we want to see more of Corea. So, they’ve
figured out where to put Maximus so Lee Gon can move around without worrying
about him. We now know where Lee Lim is. We meet Tae-eul’s father (and Na-ri)
and get Tae-eul’s back story—wow, Kim Go-eun still can pass for a high school
student at 28, what a baby face. We even get how she and Shin-jae (who
obviously carries the torch for her) met. I like how they doubled down on the “Queen
Yuna” joke because Lee Gon thought she was a real monarch until his trip to the
library. Consider him caught up and now the series can move forward. I can see
why they needed to do it, but I wish more stuff happened. It just made me want
to get to episode 3 already. Ruthie what did you think of this episode?
Ruthie: Interesting that you found the second episode slower than you expected. Kim Go-eun was expecting such a reaction. In the interview with Super K, she did say that please bear with the first few episodes because it’s going to get more interesting in the future.
Ruey: So, symbolisms: Lee Lim has
literally found the high ground and painting a new history for himself (perhaps
the country) by using the scarlet of blood. The press material referred to Lim
as being the Devil, and in this episode, we finally see why. The show presents
Lim as someone who presents the vulnerable with a terrible bargain—a literal
deal with the devil for your soul. This is literally what happens with the lady
in the restaurant with the kid in the wheelchair. This is even worse with the
Korea Lee Gon’s mother, who has essentially let her family’s killer go free so she
would live and not be under suspicion. There is lots of foreshadowing here that
Lim has created a new image of himself—a peaceful man in a faraway house—but is
a superhuman monster hiding in plain sight. Ruthie what do you think of Lee Lim
as a K-drama villain?
Ruthie: The fact that he’s good-looking, dresses well and is one step ahead of Lee Gon when it comes to controlling the power of the flute makes him scarier. At this moment, I think he is smarter than any of the characters. He understands how things work and how to manipulate them to his advantage. I think he kept Lee Gon’s Korean mom alive for a purpose. This is a potential minefield for future emotional manipulation. There’s also a question of whether there should only be one person per world. Should one die, the powerful one can decide to take over a life the way Lee Lim did.
Ruey: The show likes its mirrors (mirror
worlds, right) and we saw a bit of it last episode, but there are a lot of
mirrors in this one. The show hints at the ability to see between worlds, which
is what Lee Gon and Jo seem to doing in this episode, and what Tae-eul seemed
to be doing when she saw the other version of herself in her car’s rear-view
mirror. I loved the idea of parallel worlds, particularly when shows establish
the rules specific to that iteration. It still sticks to the classic rule where
everyone on one world was actually represented on the other world, albeit their
circumstances and names have changed. This is why Lee Gon couldn’t be
identified in Korea because, though he was born there, he was killed by Lee Lim
and could not be fingerprinted to be included in the system. This is also why
his DNA will probably not be identified. We see that Jo and Eun-sup are the
same person but very different from each other, same with Seung-a and Na-ri. At
the library, Lee Gon identifies where the timelines diverged. It is interesting
that Lee Gon doesn’t understand that the parallel worlds have the same people:
He thinks that some people don’t exist on both world because he assumes that
there is no Lee Gon in Korea and that there is no Tae-eul in Corea. Ruthie,
what else do you think we’re missing about the parallel world idea here?
Ruthie: The Korea-Corea characters are so far off from each other. They mirror each other in appearance but not in fate. Otherwise, Korea’s Lee Gon would be a K-pop idol selling millions of album per minute. That still makes him a king.
Ruey: One note on the acting: I think
the standout in this episode is Woo Do-hwan who manages to do two completely
different versions of the same character: The cool, focused Captain Ri and the
goofy, funny Eun-sup. We will probably see more of this because the show seems
to like having the two versions so different from each other as much as
possible, though we haven’t seen this from Syeung-a and Na-ri since we’ve seen
so little of them yet. The character I’m looking forward on seeing the
alternate version is the Korea version of ambitious Ms. Prime Minister Seo-ryeong.
Ruthie, which alternate character are you most interested in seeing?
Ruthie: I am also excited to see Tae-eul’s frien Kang Shin-jae (Kim Kyung-nam) in Corea. Tae-eul’s Luna looks like a dirty, powerful witch. I wonder if Kyung-nam is a villain in Corea. Are they a couple there? Because obviously, Luna cannot be with Lee Gon.
Ruey: As far as our leads are concerned, Min-ho is doing Min-ho things. I do like the call backs to “Heirs/Inheritors” with the outfits, but also with Kim Eun-sook’s “Goblin” because Min-ho’s thing with how nice the sweater is as well as his expensive tastes are right out of Kim Shin’s playbook. The romance between the two is a slow burn but the show tries to jump it forward a bit with those great lines. I think the best part of the show was its reversal of the “Goblin” moment when Go-eun’s Ji Eun Tak decides to declare to Gong Yoo’s Kim Shin and she is going to be the Goblins bride and marry her. Here, it is Lee Gon, out of the blue, declaring that he will take Tae-eul as his bride to become Queen of Corea. Ruthie, what do you think of Min-ho so far?
Ruthie: Gong Yoo is shookt! Two episodes in and a marriage proposal already. The man is not wasting any time to get the woman he wants. Of course, the offer of marriage sounds crazy. I wish Min-ho had more diamonds in his clothes to afford a life in Korea.
Ruey: Finally, I just wanted to say this
was a great episode for Kim Go-eun. They really fleshed out her character with
the funny Taekwondo flashback and established her Tae-eul is such a very
different character from any she’s played before, both the funniest and
scruffiest. Ruthie, what do you think of Go-eun in this episode?
Ruthie: I thought she was cute when she was doing aegyo in taekwondo uniform to promote her dad’s gym. It’s really effective that whenever she ties her hair she means business. It’s something Lee Gon quickly caught on to. I think Go-eun is effective as Tae-eul and she’s terrifying as Luna. What I wonder though is if there will be more chemistry between the two in the future. Right now, Min-ho has more chemistry with Woo Do-hwan than Go-eun.
back and see us break down episode three on Tuesday. Till then, stay Super.
Follow Super on Facebook.
The post Across the universe: ‘The King’ episode 2 breakdown appeared first on Inquirer Super.