SBS’s new drama, “The Last Empress” broadcasted on Wednesdays and Thursdays, presents a unique and highly promising premise. In this drama, we can find that political intrigue of a historical drama set in a modern era. Which was so lacking in the demanding and competitive world of K-Dramas.
The plot alone is enough to take the drama into consideration. But that’s not all because “The Last Empress” also has a powerful cast of actors, from Choi Jin Hyuk, Jang Na Ra, Shin Sung Rok, to Shin Eun Gyung and Park Won Sook. Of course with these elements, it was a drama that was destined to dominate the ratings, the love of fans and fortunately, since its release it has not disappointed. But now let’s talk about what we’ve been able to see in these first episodes and what understanding we have of this drama.
“The Last Empress” premiered on November 21, achieving in its first four episodes to be shocking, intriguing, dark, sensual and unexpectedly funny at the same time. It also presented a rapid development of events leading us into an unbalancing race, yet allowing the viewer to follow the thread of the plot very easily, making this drama highly addictive.
So far in these first chapters, the characters that stand out and dominate this drama are the Empress widow (Shin Eun Kyung), the woman who directs and manipulates the Imperial Family at will. In these first chapters we could see her, ordering secret murders without contemplation, slapping and abusing her subordinates without caring about anything, and finally she demonstrated that she is capable of anything to dominate her son, watching him through an extensive network of spy cameras installed in the monarch’s room and blackmailing him in a vile way so that he could get rid of Min Yoo Ra, his personal assistant.
On the other hand, there is Emperor Lee Hyuk (Shin Sung Rok) who is far from causing pity for having a witch as his mother, as he is an arrogant and ruthless emperor. He is self-centered and uses people as he sees fit. Then there is Min Yoo Ra the personal assistant of the Emperor, she seems to be in love with the emperor or at least she pretends it in a very convincing way, actually, it is not very clear if she wants him or just wants to become the most powerful woman in the nation. The narcissism that she distills compares only to that of Lee Hyuk himself, both have no qualms about throwing people away if that means protecting themselves.
This couple has somehow become the center of the plot since, in all the scenes that they are together transcendental events happen. The participation of the two in the hit and run, when Lee Hyuk accidentally hits a woman with his car, who was the adoptive mother of Min Yoo Ra and this minutes before she had tried to kill her shows the nature of these two characters.
This couple offers a sinister chemistry given the despicable morality they have and whose desires for each other have reached the limit in the last scene of the last episode broadcast, where they are both having a sensual scene in the very same room of Oh Sunny the current Empress. No doubt this is a devilishly addictive couple and one of the elements to follow during this drama.
To these three characters, we must add Na Wang Sik (Tae Hang Ho), the son of the victim on the run, this man knows that the Emperor is behind the death of his mother and is determined to avenge her. I must admit that when I noticed that this would be the character that Choi Jin Hyuk would later play, I didn’t consider it the best choice, but the good thing is that the long-awaited Choi Jin Hyuk has already appeared, with action scenes that demonstrate the commitment and versatility of this great actor. Let’s hope to see more of his character in the continuation of the drama and how he develops his insatiable thirst for revenge.
And between so much malice and revenge, fortunately for the balance of “The Last Empress” Oh Sunny (Jang Nara) appears, a musical actress who, in line with her name, animates and relaxes the atmosphere. This character brings the touch of a comedy that is always very well accepted; Oh Sunny’s comic scenes are so unexpected and natural that they are not exaggerated and annoying, giving her perfect pure air according to the story amidst so much darkness and opportunism of the drama.
However Oh Sunny is the least convincing character so far that offers the drama, largely because of how it is written, seems to be the typical clumsy heroine, brave and frustratingly useless. a fact that torments me no doubt. Hopefully, in the course of “The Last Empress“, they will make better use of her, injecting her with temperament and courage, so that she will have the ability to help destroy this powerful family now in the palace, as the synopsis of the drama suggests.
Jang Nara is an excellent actress and obviously has the ability to add these elements and elevate them to new levels of excitement in scenes that warrant it. I’m also very anxious to see how her relationship with Na Wang Sik will follow and how he will chemistry with Choi Jin Hyuk.
The truth is that “The Last Empress” has placed a great banquet on the table in the episodes that have been broadcasted, delivering a style where darkness and light live together and will soon begin to fight. Hopefully, the drama will exploit the alternative society in a modern constitutional Monarchical Korea, in which the story is set and not just stay in the palace. Deepen in the politics and society of this alternative universe! and show us the darkness behind the royal family!