Will Contain Spoilers...
Will Contain Spoilers...
This was one of the KDramas I was glad I didn't start until AFTER it had finished airing. The cliffhangers were good enough that being forced to wait a week must have been pure torture. This was my first historical drama and with one or two minor exceptions, the Kdrama itself was perfect. It had great actors who played characters who were easy to understand. Much like Secret Garden, this KDrama blended the fantasy and reality very well.
The Kdrama tells a story of the Choi Young, who is a famous swordsman in Goryeo (pre-Korea era) whose life has begun to lack purpose. While accompanying the King and Queen of Goryeo back to their palace, Choi Young and his soldiers (the Wul Dal Chi) are attacked and the Queen is gravely injured. The King orders Choi Young to travel to a place called "Heaven's Gate" where there is a doorway between worlds. Choi Young is to cross over and bring the mythical Great Doctor back in order to save the Queen. Well, what they perceive as "Heaven" is actually modern times Korea and by happenstance the "Great Doctor" is actually Yoo Eun Soo, a female plastic surgeon who wants nothing more than to just live a quiet life of solitude and wealthiness. Well, life is never as we expect it to be and she is forced to go back in time. Needless to say, she becomes the focal point of the story as enemies plot against each other for her skills as a healer--and of course, because she's from "Heaven". We'll just say she's a rare commodity! All the while, Choi Young, who feels honor bound to protect her in order to get her back to "Heaven", slowly starts to develop feelings--which are definitely reciprocated!
|And when someone who looks like Lee Min Ho,|
who happens to be carrying a sword,
says "It seems you have to go with me"
This drama is attention grabbing from the first episode. Unlike some dramas where it takes a bit to get to the actual plot line, this Kdrama gives you a gist of what's going on the first half of the first episode and immediately jumps into the story by the end of it.
Although this Kdrama is more serious than comical, the writers allowed for some comedic relief which saved it from potentially being very dry. The result is a Kdrama with suspense, action and heart.
This was my first Kdrama which starred Lee Min Ho and I'm quite glad it was. Not that his other roles have ever disappointed me, but I was saved from seeing his more type-casted roles which seem to be emotionally damaged young men with terrible coping methods. Not that Choi Young isn't emotionally damaged, in fact, this character might even be the most emotionally damaged of them all but with the added historical content, more was required from his character than his previous roles. Choi Young is a very reserved young captain in charge of some of the best fighters in Goryeo. As you can imagine, that title comes with a pretty heavy burden but despite the constant flow of power struggles. Political power struggle isn't the only thing Choi Young must battle but the constant inner doubt he has that he can keep his word to Eun Soo which, if he allows it, can cripple him. Yet Choi Young finds solace in the steady calm that seems to emanate from Eun Soo. Oh! And did I mention he can create electricity with his mind?? Oh yeah...it just got more interesting, didn't it? ;)
Eun Soo, I thought, was quite annoying in the beginning. Justifiably, going into the past where you are surrounded by swordsman, horses and diseases, it would be a little hard to get used too right away but she was a little too slow on the uptake. However, as the Kdrama progresses, you can't help but fall in love with her lovable character. She possess a strength that continuously surprises Choi Young--among others--that belies her playful nature in the beginning. One of the things I loved about her was that she is smart! She can play innocent and unknowing but then strikes when she needs to and molds several potentially dangerous situations to her favor. She also isn't the kind of female lead that wastes time on "Woe is Me", although at first she seems like it. Watching her grow as a character was fulfilling. Of course, she wouldn't have lasted long if it wasn't for the continuous help from her in-house warrior. I particularly like her character because she brings our otherwise lifelessly stoic male lead to life and if anyone has seen Lee Min Ho's tender and sweet smiles, then you'll know just how special this woman is to our Choi Young.
This is one of my favorite pictures for the drama because it clearly displays the personalities of our male and female lead with only a stance:
For me, what made this Kdrama great was the growth of all of the characters. The story doesn't just tell the love between Choi Young and Eun Soo, but the growth of the King and Queen, the members of Wu Dal Chi and the nation itself. Sometimes with Kdramas, towards the middle or end of the drama, certain plot lines--frontage roads is what I like to call them--become less important and therefore you care less and less about them but that isn't the case with this Kdrama. Not very many scenes (if any, depending on your opinion) are unimportant and have no purpose.
This lead couple share many sweet moments and long glances at each other but they both have one fault...they doubt each other's abilities more often than not--which can be taken two ways: a lack of trust or a need to protect one another. I choose to think of it as a need to protect one another and I find their small fights for domination cute and funny at the same time.
|Obviously, he won this round...|
So I've mentioned the royal family and the leads but I want to take time out to discuss some of the villians...or rather just two of them, really. There's the Fire Lady, Hwa Soo In, and Silver Hair, Cheon Eum Ja. These two characters, along with the lead bad guy Ki Cheol, are pseudo-siblings but that is a title they use to describe themselves to people outside of their close-knit group of villians.
What I think is intriguing about these two is that at some point in the Kdrama they vaguely express their love for each other. Don't worry, nothing I say is a spoiler--Now we never fully get their story but by the end of the Kdrama, you definitely know these two were romantically involved and their mutual love and trust in each other shine through. Obviously she has the power to control fire but his power is a little more...subtle but possibly more damaging. He controls the power of sound...and he uses it with effective efficiency. Plus his hair is just cool.
If you have never given historical Kdramas a try, I suggest watching this one first. Yes, it is historical, but it's different than most historical's because the politics are on smaller scale so it's easier to understand than some of the period dramas out there. The characters are easy to like, including each of the villians, and you can't help but get drawn in. I have utter confidence in this Kdrama because my sister--who is anti-anything Korean--thoroughly enjoyed this Kdrama. If you've seen it or are watching it, please feel free to leave your favorite scenes in the comment box below.
Just remember, with any Kdrama you watch, keep an open mind and give it a try.
Feel free to leave comments in the comment section below and let me know you felt about the Kdrama! Kamsahamnida! (Thank you!)
**Now, although I happen to prefer tormented love and plot twists--as many as can realistically happen within a drama--there were some opinions on the interwebs that Eun Soo's character tends to be put in danger more times than was needed for the sake of the story progression. I didn't see problem with it and in fact, I tend to encourage it because that's what makes it exciting (to me) but seeing as I like to be fair. I'm just making sure to warn possible viewers.