First Episode Review: THE CROWNED CLOWN

As promised, here is my review for the first episode of The Crowned Clown. 

My Expectation: Going into this drama, I definitely expect intense scenes and well-planned execution of the proposed plot. I believe I can trust the chosen actors to deliver an intriguing drama from start to finish. Plus I love historical dramas, so I sincerely hope that this does not turn out to be a letdown.

Review: As expected from the stunning young actor, Yeo Jin-Goo. He really impressed me with his portrayal of two completely different characters. I have followed him for a long time as a child actor and I know that he is going to become an even bigger star as he grows. The very first scene of episode one showcases the death of the previous king and to me, this was a super intense way to start the drama and that immediately solidified my approval of the show. screenshot (29)screenshot (25)From the dialogue during this scene, I could predict the troubles that were about to come and I knew that the little prince’s life was in danger. At this point, I honestly had no strong feelings concerning Lee Hun’s character but as I watched to the end of episode one, I discovered that our king was quite bloody. He seemed too confident in his ability to manipulate others for his benefit without having any setbacks and he also refuses to listen to people that are actually looking out for him. In conclusion, he is a weak and muddled King. I mean, do not kill someone, if you cannot deal with the guilt and consequences, period. Anyways, throughout episode one, we get introduced to many characters and I love the balance between the new actors and veteran actors for this drama. This gives me great hope for future episodes to come. Here are few of the notable characters:

Yeo Jin-Goo – Ha Sun(the clown) / Lee Hun (the King): Like I mentioned, the actor does a good job in portraying the bloodiness of the King and the naiveness of the clown. It will definitely be hard for the clown to be a perfect imposter of the King right from the start but I have a feeling that at the very end, it will be hard for anyone to point out who the real King is.

Lee Se-Young – Yoo So-Woon (the Queen): So far the queen seems like a calm and reasonable person. She is fully aware of what she desires and does not settle for less. I like that she is able to see through the petty tactics of the royal concubine and also stand up to the King.

Kim Sang-Kyung – Lee Kyu (King’s trusted aide): He’s trustworthy and always has the King’s best interest at heart but I predict that at a certain point, he might switch sides and support the clown fully because the King seems like a letdown so far.

Kwon Hae-Hyo – Shin Chi-Soo (War Minister): A very dangerous individual. At first, I thought he was controlling the King but then I realized that the King actually used him as a weapon to get rid of his competition. But the fact remains that a well-sharpened knife can hurt its owner, if not used carefully. Because of the king’s recklessness in pushing power towards the wrong person, we the viewers now have to be frustrated by such an annoying character and the king himself now has to escape the palace in order to stay alive.

Min Ji-A – Court Lady Kim: Honestly, I have concluded that she is a spy. I do not know who she works for yet but I have a strong gut feeling that she has a purpose for being placed so close to the King. There is a scene where she hands him a pipe to smoke and right after that scene, we cut right to the King’s bedroom and we can see that he deals with hallucinations. So I just assumed at this point that the guilt from all his bloody deeds are catching up to him and he might also be getting drugged.

Shin Soo-Yun – Dal-Rae (Ha Sun’s sister): She is part of the performance crew and also a little sister to Ha Sun (the clown). I know she will be a major factor to him taking his position as the King’s replacement more seriously and this has been proved in episode 2. Since I am just doing a first episode review, I will not spoil the future episodes for anyone.

– Seo Yoo-A – Sunhwadang (King’s concubine): She is definitely a sly one but does not seem too smart about her plots. She is the niece of the War Minister and of course, aspires to be queen by conceiving an heir to the throne. The scene where she gets to spend the night with the King and tries to blame the queen for the charms that were given to her by uncle was really intense but also funny. I honestly did not know if to laugh at her failure or be angry about the way the king treated her.

– Jang Young-Nam – the King’s mother: Honestly she is the most justified villain I have seen in a long time. She lost her son and wants revenge, quite simple. But I do not think that she was completely a saint even before losing her child. There is definitely a back story to this mess and I am looking forward to it.

Most Memorable Scenes from this Episode :

#1 –Little Prince’s Death

screenshot-34.pngI honestly did not expect his death. I know that he was accused of treason but I did not expect our King to go through with the killing. When he decided to send him away, I had some hope that he was actually protecting his little brother but I was left disappointed. It was a shocking scene for me and it broke my heart to see the little prince dead.

#2 –Killing Of Assassins

screenshot (55)The King is attacked by assassins but he manages to escape and the assassins are captured by his guards. Now in the midst of the ongoing questioning, the king gets agitated and decides to kill one of the assassins. His facial expressions at this point completely gave me chills. I was lost for words and the only conclusion that I could come to was that he was psychotic. Clearly, it looks to me like he was enjoying the slaughter of another human being and that is very scary. I honestly do not know how the writer plans to redeem this character and that is if there is even a plan for such a development.

#3 –First Shown Interaction between King and Queen

screenshot (82)I found this scene very interesting because it represented to me a glimmer of hope for a change in the King’s personality. I can tell that he sincerely cares about the feelings of the queen but because of all his other bloody and violent actions, the queen has refused to have any form of intimacy with him. This also shows that she’s a woman with her own values and opinions even though she always seems calm and collected. I predict that the upcoming relationship between the queen and the clown will be the wake-up call for our wonderful King to act more appropriately.

#4 –The King and The Clownscreenshot (102)

screenshot (101)A well-executed scene for the first meeting of Lee Hun and Ha Sun. I just simply loved the way it played out, starting with the king getting closer to see for himself, to the transferring of ropes and the perfect imitation of command by the clown. The writer and director showcased great skills in setting the mood with the use of dim lighting. Once again a big thumbs up to Yeo Jin-Goo for a phenomenal performance. I honestly look forward to seeing more great works from him.

Overall, the first episode definitely met my expectations. I got the intensity I desired and I was immediately pulled into the world of these characters. The cinematography was perfect for me, I really enjoyed the simplicity because it fitted well to the story. Also, the background instrumentals for each scene was well placed. So far the chemistry between all the characters seems natural and kudos to all the actors for that. I also watched episode two and I like that it started out with some comedy as compared to the intense first scene from the previous episode. It was a nice strategy to relax the watchers and make the show more inviting because life cannot always be heavy, there should be some light moments. I have not been able to keep up with all the released episodes because of school but I will do so by this coming weekend. So if you were looking forward to the show as well and have some opinions on the story so far, please share those opinions with me. I need some discussion partners to keep me going.

My rating for the first episode is 10/10. I will continue watching and see how things turn out, so stay tuned.

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