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The King’s Affection Review 2021 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew
Inside the royal palace, a dark and stormy night can be heard. So can pain and screaming. Birth! It’s a prince! BUT WAIT — there’s more! A princess as well! And it’s a tragedy. The king, who should be a proud grandfather, declares the girl “an abomination.” She befouls the prince by merely existing. Wow — what a superstitious AND grossly sexist time we find ourselves in! Grim Grandpa Shitbird orders the newborn girl to be killed, along with pretty much everyone who knows she exists. The king’s assassins descend upon the Royal Maternity Directorate, and upon besting what appears to be the Royal Maternity Directorate’s armed security force — because why wouldn’t the Royal Maternity Directorate have an armed security force, for instances just like this — they begin the wholesale slaughter of nurses and maids and doctors and passersby and everyone who had the misfortune of looking at a small, helpless, endlessly adorable newborn child.
But. When the lead assassin arrives, he’s informed that the girl is already dead. She stopped breathing, her mother insists. And there lies the baby, lifeless. The assassin departs and what we knew to be true was absolutely so — SHE LIVES. They pull a needle from the girl’s neck, and she begins breathing again. How does THAT work, one must wonder? Nevermind, just be glad she isn’t dead! The child is secreted away, never to be seen again, GALLOP GALLOP goes the horse, CHOIR CHOIR goes the soundtrack. She will live out her life with a bunch of nuns or something probably, which is most likely better than being dead.
A decade passes. Young Lee Hwi is the royal prince. He’s so royal, he has his own eunuch servant. He’s royal AF. He’s very good at soccer and has great affection for his tutor, who’s apparently enough of a freethinker that he’s considered a traitor and dragged off — the guy probably thinks murdering newborn babies because of superstitious beliefs is totally barbaric, or something dumb like that. We meet Dam-i, one of the court maids; the camera takes great pains to show us the scar on her neck, which must be just a passing detail, not at all of any importance. Destiny, played by a screenwriter or three, puts Lee Hwi and Dam-i in each other’s eyeline. The prince is shocked by how similar they look. the prince’s mother totally overreacts to his claim that another youngster looks so much like him. NO BIG DEAL, YOU ARE NEVER TO SEE HER AGAIN, she tells her child in a manner that isn’t at all suspicious.
A light bulb goes on. He summons Dam-i to his quarters. They trade garments so he can pass himself off as a lowly servant girl and visit his imprisoned tutor; meanwhile, she will pose as the prince. This scenario would officially be labeled “hijinks” in a comedy, but this isn’t a comedy, it’s very, very serious. Meanwhile, Dam-i meets a nice boy and they fall into a pond together, a story that they’ll surely tell their grandchildren. Lee Hwi’s mother MUST get a look at this girl, because she has to confirm what we already know: Dam-i is just some rando who coincidentally is the spitting image of her son. NO! She’s actually the long-lost missing twin. Aha — you KNEW that scar was important! But jerkass male authority figures figure it out and order the girl killed. And you know what happens when that happens — Lee Hwi’s decision to swap roles again for a few is rather untimely and he ends up eating an assassin’s arrow while Dam-i sits in his quarters, wearing his hat. TO BE CONTINUED!
From the Royal Maternity Directorate to the House of Eunuchs (no, really, it actually exists in the story, and it sounds like a terrible place to visit and no one would ever want to live there), The King’s Affection spares no expense to deliver a sweeping epic. A sweeping epic that could use a tighter edit in its 69-minute debut episode, what with its propensity to draw out scenes to the limits of our interest, but hey, at least the sets are worth ogling, right? Curiously, we have yet to see series star Park Eun-bin play the adult Dam-i/Lee Hwi, or Rowoon as her love interest, which tells us that promoters are letting the opening act play too long a set while we somewhat impatiently wait for the headliner to take the stage.
Tonally, TKA mostly tickles the fringe of soap operas and occasionally veers into ubermelodrama as characters navigate labyrinthine cultural formalism and some serious life-or-death stuff in this good-ol’-switcheroo gender-swap plot. Despite a reasonably flamboyant execution-by-beheading scene, the show isn’t quite crazy enough — at least not yet — to make us wonder if we accidentally swallowed some Tide Pods, which is maybe a good thing, although a little OTT zaniness might liven the proceedings a bit. There are times when the plot is pleasingly fleet of foot, and moments that feel interminable, e.g., the fall-in-the-pond sequence with Dam-i and her soon-to-be probable beau, when the show plants the seed for its pending love story. In a nutshell: A sometimes amusing mixed bag so far, but it has 19 more episodes to even itself out.