Film, TV + Theatre

Review: Final episode of ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’


By Ronn Tan

Review: Final episode of ‘The King: Eternal Monarch’
The Korean drama has finally come to an end. Here’s what happened in the last episode

Spoilers ahead

How did 16 episodes go by this quickly? It seemed like it was only yesterday when the first episode of The King: Eternal Monarch premiered on Netflix. The hype over the Korean drama is still fresh in memories and fans had high expectations. After all, it’s Lee Min-ho’s first project in ages and The King: Eternal Monarch is written by legendary writer Kim Eun-suk (Goblin, Secret Garden, and Descendants of the Sun).

Review: Final episode of 'The King: Eternal Monarch' (фото 1)
Photo by SBS

When the series first aired, it got off to an amazing start—showcasing brilliant cinematography, production, and flow. The first episode was fast-paced and exciting. It kept viewers interested and longing for more. We saw the inaugural meeting between Lee Min-ho’s Lee Gon (with the majestic Maximus) and Kim Go-eun’s Jung Tae-eul; and knew immediately that the show’s going to be epic.

Throughout the season, The King: Eternal Monarch encountered a plethora of criticisms—from the unnatural use of product placements to the lacklustre special effects. The acting performances of the cast were also criticised, with the lack of chemistry being one of the major negative points.

Like many, the confusion only increased with every episode. There were too many characters and there isn’t a sense of interconnectivity between them. Not a strong one, at least. However, there was still excitement over Episode 16—to see how the show ends.

Unlike Goblin, The King: Eternal Monarch has a happy ending. Both Lee Gon and Jung Tae-eul ended up together as they travelled through different eras in history. We get to see how different the characters were after the timeline was re-written with the killing of Lee Lim. Yes, he died at the hands of Lee Gon. This meant that the king actually managed to go back in time to solve the problem of problems. This took a really long time but happened within first 10 minutes of the finale.

The final episode is akin to the first episode in terms of action and excitement. Similar to Episode One, the finale was intense. The fight scene with Lee Gon and Jo Yeong at the beginning of the episode could very well be the best moment in the show. From the slow motion to the choreography, one can only wonder why there weren’t more in the past episodes. The good news is that fans were treated to 30 minutes of well-deserved happy scenes in the finale. Well-deserved, indeed.

It’s a rollercoaster ride with happy endings for Kim Kyung-nam’s Kang Sin-jae and Woo Do-hwan’s Jo Yeong (and Eun-sup). Would it be better if both of Woo Do-hwan’s characters reunite in the end? We’ll never know but that will definitely be hilarious. Woo Do-hwan has become a fan favourite and we’ll probably see more of him.

Jung Eun-chae’s character went from being a Prime Minister to a prisoner whereas Luna ended up the less problematic one among the two. Ah, the mysteries of parallel universes and the re-writing of histories.

It was a fun final episode. The show did its best to end things on a high—giving fans what they want; a prolonged romance between the leads. However, the show didn’t have to take 16 episodes to do that and would have benefitted from fewer episodes. Viewers have invested a tremendous amount of time with The King: Eternal Monarch but the series was definitely dragged out a little. Great job to the team for reducing product placement in the final episode. It was also a lot less obvious and audiences would appreciate that they weren’t out of place.

Love prevails and that’s evident from the finale. Love is probably the reason that the characters succeeded in their missions and love is why the episode was well-received. Love literally conquered all in The King: Eternal Monarch.

Now that The King: Eternal Monarch has ended, fans can watch It’s Okay To Not Be Okay and Backstreet Rookie—premiering on 20 June and 19 June respectively. What are your thoughts on the finale? Did you enjoy it or were you expecting more? You can still stream the drama on Netflix.

For the review of Episode One, click here.

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