Ah yes, the Crown Prince. I know there is a protocol to being royalty: no sass to the king, no calling people out in court. But really? We didn’t see this coming? These. People. Are. Out. To. Get. You. One of the more annoying things about the Good Guy royalty in this Kdrama is that the Crown Prince and those around them just can’t seem to fathom the lengths to which the enemies will go to get rid of him. So yes, they set you up. Big time. These fights that include the Crown Prince bring up an interesting, recurrent issue: the fact that there is royalty, and then you suckers who aren’t royalty. Hence the importance of the royal body: don’t touch it, don’t harm it, you better not even look at it too long.
So like many a historical drama, they just drop you right in the middle of the action. This time, we come across the Crown Prince behaving badly, which wouldn’t be so bad, except everyone else around him seems to pay the price for his nationalism. If you’ve spent some time with Korean royalty in Kdramas, you know how they roll. At least he seems to feel bad that he’s getting his top men whacked for his foolishness, but everything he stands up for his principles, somebody else ends up paying the price. One might come away with the idea that it doesn’t pay to be loyal.
One thing that Warrior Baek Dong Soo has going for it is the political intrigue, and who is in the middle of it? Hong Dae Joo. He is working the court officials, the Chinese representative, the ninjas, EVERYONE. He’s got spies everywhere. You now he’s hardcore: he’s willing to make baby soup! One thing you NEED for a successful historical drama is a good villain. Someone willing to go the extra mile. Not some dopey person, but someone who is not only smart, shrewd, but also evil to the core. Otherwise, what’s the point?
One of my favorite loyal guys is Samo. You wouldn’t peg him for a parental unit, but he takes his responsibilities toward Dong Soo seriously. Plus, dude is handy with a blade. He’s a little rough (not nearly as rough as Chun), but in the end, kinda like a teddy bear.
Chun is another matter altogether. He is off the chain. I mean, you must be one heck of a swordsman when you can have a duel while not spilling your hooch! I thought they make him look scruffy for the part, but turns out that’s how Choi Min Soo rolls on the regular! Like all good characters, he’s complex. One minute, he’s your drunk uncle. The next minute, he’s whacking whole villages of potential good guys. Or making you do some crazy final ninja test. Or dropping by the palace to threaten the Crown Prince. But you kinda like him because he’s interesting, and we still haven’t found out his whole backstory yet. I want him to be caught in a moral crises. I’ll be disappointed if he’s just a crazy bad guy.
This drama also has some brothership going for it, at least that’s what it seems to be. Gwang Taek and Chun are a pair, and it’s one of the things I really love about some historical dramas: the interaction between the guys. I was nervous at first because I thought they were really going to go at it but they seem to be good friends. I also was wondering: “Um, aren’t you supposed to be on your way to save someone, Gwang Taek? Do you have time for this?” Clearly their relationship is more than meets the eye.
Of course that would be a woman making it complicated, because there has to be a romantic triangle, rectangle, octagon or something going on. At least Ji isn’t the insipid type. But she doesn’t say much. She seems trapped although it is not really clear why as of yet. On the topic of the ladies in the series, I’m pleased. There are several, and they have skills. While there doesn’t seem to be some Mishil-level shenanigans going on, the Queen is kinda gangster in her own right.
I’m rooting for Jin, because I think she is best with Dong Soo. Under no circumstances should he end up with Ji Sun. She is just cold. I mean I know you have this responsibility and all, but you’ve been stuck up since the beginning. Plus there’s the whole Crown Prince, “You’re my woman” thing. Puts a damper on having a boyfriend. I just hope Dong Soo learns how to let go.
Let’s talk about our hero, shall we? Our titular hero isn’t even born yet in the first couple of episodes, but what is kinda interesting is that when he is born, he is not the perfect hero. He has disabilities, and I find it interesting how the drama handles this. We see him struggle for quite a few episodes. For the most part, he’s a fool and a half. Silly. And he has an (unwarranted) inflated sense of self. Really, that’s not cute. This is called Warrior Baek Dong Soo, right? I find his pining over Ji Sun annoying.
Because of this, Yeo Woon steals your spotlight. I love him! He’s all moody, and silent and conflicted. I want him to be good, but…….Talk about having issues! Can we please start having parenting classes for swordsmen who have families? Yeo Woon is doomed from the start. I know I shouldn’t have hope (I accidentally watched Episode 11–sadness!), but maybe his friendship with Dong Soo will help him? Maybe? I know, it’s long odds, especially when Yeo Woon is a secret ninja. Sigh.