Queen: Love and War
Genre: Historical, Romance, Drama, Fantasy, Political
Origin: South Korea
Air-date: December 14, 2019 to February 9, 2020
Starring: Jin Se Yeon as Kang Eun Bo/Kang Eun Gi, Kim Min Kyu as Lee Kyung, Lee Yeol Eum as Jo Young Ji, Do Sang Woo as Lee Jae Hwa, Lee Si Eon as Wal, Kim Bum Jin as Han Mo
Well… Idk guys, I think Korean dramas have a problem, or maybe it’s me that has the problem… Why is the second half of the dramas usually so draggy, dull, predictable, and messy? I wanted to like this drama a lot more, but I just couldn’t. All the skinship and kisses cannot make up for a thin, predictable storyline filled with plot holes and quite frankly, unlikable characters.
When I started this drama, I didn’t know much about it. All I knew was that I wanted to throw shade at the main actress. I ended up continuing the drama because the first few episodes were quite interesting. I love selection type dramas—I had never seen an historical drama utilize guns in this fashion and I was into the idea of this woman seducing the king to become queen and get revenge. Soon after, it was very clear that this was not going to be the case at all. Instead we had a very average romance focused historical drama with some political threads and a few fantastical elements. The main issue with the plot for me is how predictable it was. They had the chance to explore something different and make it enjoyable, but instead it was just a long line of cliches associated with historical dramas. I was upset that his dreams were basically just a deux ex machina for whenever she needed saving. Whatever.
A great deal of this story is driven by the characters’ love and obsessions. When it came to chemistry, I suppose they were okay? I have said previously in other reviews that chemistry is entirely subjective, I personally didn’t really buy into much of the chemistry between any of our cast members. It felt like it was a lot of tell verses show. I felt like I was constantly being told of different characters feelings towards each other. I don’t think at any point in this drama did I feel like this was organic in anyway. I dislike insta-love, but I am very tolerant of that trope in historical dramas, however this one was just lacking a little. I just didn’t understand how quickly these characters fell for each other.
I think that the reason I find the main romance to be somewhat lacking and inorganic is because I could not get into our male lead’s acting. I am sure he is probably good outside of this role, but there was something about his acting here that was just not doing it for me. I didn’t like his posture or his diction. I also didn’t like his character. I recall during my first impression that I said that I didn’t mind Se Yeon’s acting and liked her in historical dramas—I confess that I did find her to be a bit monotonous in this role, but granted so was the script. Her character was also very inconsistent and dwindled down to unrecognizable by the end of the drama. Yeol Eum’s acting was also a it dry at times, but it seems like it was just her character tbh. I am just so over the way dramas portray the other love interests. I feel a rant post coming soon. I do believe that our second male lead did a good job at switching between the different faces of his personality and may have actually been the strongest of the cast in this aspect. Was second male lead batshit though? Yes he was.
As for the soundtrack, I enjoyed it quite a lot. There were a lot of deep cut ballads and I also really loved the opening sequence of the drama so much. It reminded me a lot of Chinese dramas and their opening and endings. I think this is why I wanted so desperately to like this drama. I also think this was why I kept watching because I had equated so much of it to being similar to the Chinese historicals that I was craving.
This drama overall had its good moments, okay moments and bad moments. The first half really did have an interesting concept that it was working with, but you can certainly feel the obvious shift. I wouldn’t say that this drama was overwhelmingly or underwhelming. It was just whelming. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one way or the other.
Rewatch Value: 5/10
Fave Song: Come – Kihyun