K-Drama Review: The Last Empress. That will make you want to see this drama immediately!
The Last Empress is about a very fictional Republic of Korea which operates under a constitutional monarchy. It follows a musical actress (Jang Na Ra) who marries the emperor (Shin Sung Rok) and becomes involved within the palace power struggle and a mysterious murder. Then there’s a palace bodyguard (Choi Jin Hyuk) who is out for revenge against the emperor.
I knew the previous time that I used to be diving into some serious makjang with The Last Empress. And within a pair of episodes, it absolutely was already every kind of crazy! There was scheming, murder, cover-ups, revenge, seduction, amazing body transformations, and plenty more. and that I was there for all of it! The Last Empress also boasted a star cast that I completely loved with Jang Na Ra, Shin Sung Rok, and Choi Jin Huk.
Jang Na Ra plays the musical actress Oh Sunny. She’s incredibly sweet with a bright personality. She also has had a protracted time crush on the Emperor. So when he suddenly takes an interest in her, it’s sort of a dream come true. Little does she know, the Emperor is hiding many secrets.
This was an incredible role for Jang Na Ra. At first, the character of Sunny is so cheerful and innocent. And Jang Na Ra just fits so nicely therewith. But Sunny is sure a rude awakening when she finds herself within the middle of the palace power struggle.
She then must adapt if she wants to survive. We see her transform into a formidable opponent together with her own plans of serving justice for all of the wrongs she and the people she cared for have suffered. Jang Na Ra was just fantastic!
Shin Sung Rok is that the Emperor Lee Hyuk. He has little concern for those around him and is willing to try to do whatever must be done to take care of his power. In his mind, because he’s the Emperor, he can do no wrong. which even includes murder.
Of course, Shin Sung Rok just embodies roles like this. he’s a joy to look at as he fully immerses himself within the over-the-top villainous role of Lee Hyuk. He’s selfish, dramatic, and barely crazy. He does some seriously terrible things, but there’s a heart buried somewhere underneath. I actually couldn’t imagine anyone else playing this character. Another wonderful performance from Shin Sung Rok!
Choi Jin Hyuk plays Na Wang Shik/Chun Woo Bin. He becomes a palace bodyguard so as to exact revenge upon the Emperor for murdering his mother. He goes through plenty to urge into the palace so slowly works on getting near the Emperor.
This was an honest role for Choi Jin Hyuk. His character doesn’t stand out the maximum amount as Sunny or the Emperor, but he delivers a compelling performance. I also really enjoyed seeing him during a more action-oriented role.
Lee Elijah is Lee Hyuk’s secretary and lover Min Yu Ra. She always contains an attempt to further her agenda by manipulating things to her advantage. She has positioned herself near the Emperor, and he or she will do anything to remain there.
I wasn’t too at home with Lee Elijah as I had only seen her during a supporting role before this. But she was wonderful because the conniving lover who was willing to throw everyone away in order that she could have power.
We even have one more major villain within the variety of Shin Eun Kyung as Lee Hyuk’s mother, Empress Dowager Kang. She too is continually working to higher her position and can do anything to those that get in her way be it by manipulation, torture, or murder. She’s even worse than her son with just about no redeeming qualities.
And Shin Eun Kyung was just wonderful during this role! She went tired and fully embraced the character. She also makes some truly great faces and really just made me laugh such a large amount of times thanks to how over-the-top she was. She’s the type of villain you like to hate.
There’s a bunch of other interesting characters that range from villains to good guys. There’s the lovable Grand Empress Dowager (Park Won Sook), the scheming nanny Kang Hee (Yoon So Yi), Wang Shik’s mentor Byun (Kim Myung Soo), the dramatic and always out-of-the-loop Princess Soo Jin (Lee Hee Jin), Prince Lee Yoon (Oh Seung Yoon) who wants nothing to try to to with the house, and therefore the cutest girl Ah Ri (Oh Ah Rin) who is continually looking to garner the favor of these in power by using her adorable charm and much of flattery (and she was absolutely fantastic!). this can be some group!
The Last Empress Review
The Last Empress definitely isn’t visiting be a drama that’s for everybody. it’s crazy makjang from start to complete. It’s over-the-top and over-dramatic in every way. And there are many convenient plot devices, cliches, and loopholes. But if you only accompany the flow, the craziness is sort of thrilling. this can be the sort of show you simply must roll with and not think too deeply about. Just enjoy the crazy!
The pacing of the drama is swift with one new development after another. There really isn’t any downtime as our characters are constantly managing new trouble and trying to adjust…and make it out alive. Things were so messy and twisted that I used to be always excited to work out what new crazy and angsty goodness was on the brink of head my way!
Oh, and don’t trust anyone within the palace. Practically everyone has an agenda, including some you wouldn’t suspect. With such a lot of villains running around and plotting, I found that there have been over and over where I’d find myself rooting for one villain over another.
That’s always a weird occurrence since they’re out there doing horrible deeds too, but sometimes they were the sole those that could one-up the opposite villain. It’s quite odd to urge excited when someone foils another’s plans then that somebody runs off and immediately does something even as terrible as killing someone! It’s confusing in a very very fun reasonably way.
I loved aiming to experience the mixture of a historical and modern drama within the Last Empress. We get all the intrigue of history in a very modern-day setting. We also get some gorgeous costumes. Shin Sung Rok was looking particularly dapper in his elegant suits and royal robes.
And the ladies were bedecked in some gorgeous hanboks. it absolutely was just really neat how the drama fully embraced being a monarchy by incorporating such a big amount of traditional elements that we are wont to see in an exceedingly historical.
I was also quite surprised by the first transformation of Wang Shik who was originally played by Tae Hang Ho. After tragedy strikes, he then becomes a fit, fighting machine within the type of Choi Jin Hyuk. And he’s out for a few serious revenge!
End of spoiler
There are plenty of interesting relationships at play within the Last Empress. the primary is that of Sunny and Lee Hyuk. At first, she is totally enamored with him so happy to be his wife. But when she sees his true colors, she lands up pitted against him. These two bully-off persistently throughout the drama. I loved the dynamic between them which she fully stood up to Lee Hyuk’s craziness.
Next are Sunny and Wang Shik. For a protracted time, they don’t interact much since he’s just a bodyguard. But circumstances position them on the identical side as they both find themselves with revenge plans against the Emperor.
Then there’s Lee Hyuk and Lee Yoo Ra. These two have a tumultuous relationship that’s now and then quite steamy and at other times very volatile. they’re both involved in some shady happenings together, but they each still have many secrets from one another. which means trust can quickly break down.
Finally, Lee Hyuk and Wang Shik have a fake brotherly form of relationship. Wang Shik is out for revenge and has positioned himself right next to Lee Hyuk. So close that Lee Hyuk trusts him together with his life. But he’s just being played as Wang Shik waits for just the correct moment to form Lee Hyuk buy his crimes. That’s always fun to work out play out!
There’s also kind of a love triangle (sort of but not really, hehe) that develops within the half of the drama with Lee Hyuk, Sunny, and Wang Shik. It adds a nice little bit of comic relief. Of course, Wang Shik was out and away from the higher man within the triangle simply because he was a good guy (SPOILER: Just dump that point he pushed her off a cliff. He really didn’t want to, lol. END OF SPOILER).
But admittedly, there have been times where Lee Hyuk was quite cute in his petty jealousy and attempts to convince Sunny. He does have a heart in spite of appearance, and it does occasionally allow him to act sort of a soul. (SPOILER: After despising Sunny for therefore long, it absolutely was quite interesting to determine him experience a pointy rotate and truly develop feelings for her and need to safeguard her. He was still very controlling, but he did find yourself genuinely caring for her in his own way. END OF SPOILER)
He’s a tortured soul who has had a reasonably difficult life thanks to his absolutely horrible mother. So we do get a window into a number of his pain. If we are able to hardly get past the actual fact that he tends to be a selfish and self-absorbed murderer, he’s really not so bad…lol.
Before I am going into more spoiler territory, I do want to present a heads up to those considering this drama. First, it seemed that there was plenty of confusion on who the most male lead was. Many thought that Choi Jin Hyuk was the most lead and love interest. This was never the case. Shin Sung Rok always had advertising and that’s evident throughout the drama. Choi Jin Hyuk still incorporates a lead role though and is a crucial part of the story. Keep this in mind when stepping into.
The show was also extended by 4 episodes, which altered how events went down. Many, many folks were very unhappy and thought the way things went ruined the drama. If endings really relate to you, you would possibly want to skip this one because you’ll be left very disappointed. I personally was fine with it, with some caveats, but you recognize I’m more in it for the ride as an entire.
Ending spoiler below
Now for the ending. I do know plenty of individuals were pretty upset over how it went because Choi Jin Hyuk had to depart the drama thanks to prior commitments. Of course, i used to be a touch disappointed that Na Wang Shik didn’t get to essentially savor his revenge or have a correct send-off when he died.
But I always thought he wouldn’t make it out alive anyway, so really that’s what softened the blow on behalf of me, and that I think they did the most effective they may with what they’d to figure with. It just would are nice if it had been executed better so it could are more satisfying.
But other than that, I assumed the ending was perfect. The drama was always more the story of Sunny and also the Emperor. And a minimum of within the end, the Emperor did finally have that moment where he decided to differ and do something right for a change.
By taking over the identity of the deceased Na Wang Shik, he was ready to help expose his mother’s evil deeds. Of course, he loses his life within the process, which is pretty sad. it had been a relief for him though as he was able to never return to the palace and just wanted to die. So he got some justice for his own bad deeds furthermore as a touch of redemption which was a fitting end.
And everyone who did wrong, including the Empress Dowager and Kang Hee, got what was coming to them. it had been very satisfying. Sunny was also able to play a significant part therein and was then ready to separate from the palace and leave all of that suffering behind.
She was a powerful and determined woman who never gave up. She was able to right the wrongs and put everything in its place. She was an incredible character. So I used to be very happy with how things bound up.
End of spoilers of “The Last Empress”
The Last Empress is way from being technically perfect, but it had been perfect on behalf of me. It delivered deliciously over-the-top melodrama and angst at an exciting pace that never left me bored thanks to the intrigue and constant plot developments. Sure, plenty of it’s crazy and unrealistic, but so what? That’s why it’s fun! Leaving me completely entertained is all I could ask, and it did that completely. It’s makjang at its finest, and for those that just like the genre, I wholeheartedly recommend it!
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