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K-Drama Couch: “Sky Castle” Finale Gets Highest Viewership Ratings Record As “The Crowned Clown” & “A Promise To The Gods” Set Their Own

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It had been a record-setting final week for Sky Castle as it ended with the highest cable viewership rating record to date.

As one series ended on a high note, a few others are slowly getting their own fair share of the audience’s attention in the parade of 2019 Korean Dramas.

The Crowned Clown also just achieved its highest rating with 9.5% on episode 8, inching closely to the 10% mark. Meanwhile, A Promise to the Gods continues to tug at the emotions and remains as the most-watched in its time slot.

Below are the 2019 Korean dramas that are currently airing.

MON-TUE

My Lawyer Mr. Jo 2 (KBS2)

My Strange Hero (SBS)

The Crowned Clown (tvN)

Clean With Passion For Now (jTBC)

 

WED-THURS

Liver or Die (KBS2)

The Last Empress (SBS)

Spring Turns To Spring (MBC)

FRI-SAT

Sky Castle (jTBC) *Finale

SATURDAY/SAT-SUN

A Promise to the Gods (MBC)

Fates and Furies (SBS)

Romance Is A Bonus Book (tvN)

 Babel (TV Chosun)

2019 Korean Dramas

Respective TV Networks

A lot of things are happening on the rest of the dramas which our team is covering, so read through as we go through with you the highlights of each story.

*Covers January 28 to February 3, 2019.
*Note: weekend and daily dramas not included in Hellokpop’s weekly roundup coverage

MON-TUE

My Strange Hero (SBS)

My Strange Hero’s finale will be on February 4.

The Crowned Clown (tvN)

The Crowned Clown

Photos from tvN Facebook Page

Unaware that King Yi Heon manages to escape, Ha Seon gets shocked upon his return. The King has been briefed of all the things that happened during his absence and he is mad at Ha Seon and Royal Secretary Lee. He beats up Ha Seon and orders Secretary Lee’s arrest. The Royal Guard, much to his surprise, learns of Ha Seon and Secretary Lee’s scheme and feels betrayed. He sets out to follow the King’s command and searches for the Royal Secretary. Meanwhile, the Secretary has also been told of the King’s escape and he goes immediately back to the palace.

Yi Heon tests Secretary Lee’s loyalty as he orders him to kill Ha Seon in front of him. Secretary Lee reasons out that he was not in his right mind and he only wants to protect him and the throne, but Yi Heon refuses to listen. He accepts the King’s challenge and wields the sword against Ha Seon, purposely wounding his arm. The King is appeased and orders the Royal Guard to take Ha Seon away and make sure that he dies a slow death. Ha Seon reminds the Guard that to spare him as he just saved his life, but the Guard, still reeling from discovering the truth, pushes Ha Seon to the whole in the ground.

The King goes to see Shin Chi Soo and convinces him that he never loses his trust in him. He orders his immediate return to the Royal court and to resume all his duties. Shin Chi Soo agrees. Secretary Lee explains to the Guard that he did what he did as the King is losing his sanity and he only wants him to recover. The Guard soon realizes that the King is unhinged and as he goes back to the place he dumped Ha Seon, he unintentionally aids in pulling him up. The King collapses and Secretary Lee contacts the monk to have Yi Heon once again.

Ha Seon is back playing the King’s role and much to Shin Chi Soo’s annoyance, he overturns the previous decision regarding Shin Chi Soo’s choices for government posts. He assigns the son in an island and has had the other appointees arrested for embezzlement and corruption charges. On Yi Heon’s birthday, Secretary Lee visits him in a cave far from the palace. He tells the Secretary that he will punish all those who betray him once he gets back to the palace. Secretary Lee says he needs to gain his strength and once he does, they will go back together. He tells Yi Heon they will go to the beach and he will pour him a drink.

At the beach, both men talk about the ideal world they want to build and experience. Yi Heon tells him there are times he wishes Secretary Lee is his father because he remains loyal and the only person who truly understands him. He accepts and drinks the wine, but within moments, he vomits blood. Secretary Lee cries as Yi Heon slowly succumbs to the poison and dies.

*Mid Series Thoughts

It is no wonder The Crowned Clown is receiving its own share of viewers’ attention as it keeps getting better each week. The King’s unpredictability, given that there are two people assuming the role, keeps each character on their toes (well those who don’t know). It is now getting more apparent that Ha Seon is a better choice to rule despite not being born a royal. His ideals are simple yet more favorable for the people. Secretary Lee has made decisions, good and bad, for the sake of the throne. It came to a time he turns his back to his friends just to protect the crown, however, that decision did not achieve his desired result. He now realizes they need a more drastic measure to ensure the protection of the crown and its subjects.

Of course, it is not going to be easy as forces within the palace are out to make sure they get the power. The plot thickens as the Queen Dowager has a plan of her own to depose the King and Shin Chi Soo now knows a clown who resembles the King.

Clean With Passion For Now (jTBC)

Clean With Passion For Now’s finale was on February 4.

Read More: K-Drama Review: “Clean With Passion For Now” Proves Healing Is Possible If Given Enough Time

WED-THURS

Liver or Die (KBS2)

PS is still caught between his siblings. Honestly, I don’t know how I can keep up with the problems Hwa Sang and Jin Sang cause for Poong Sang. They are constantly getting themselves in trouble. At the expense of his own family, Poong Sang has to bail them out every single time. Boon Sil is a saint for putting up with his family even though she is clearly frustrated already.

Hwa Sang is the most frustrating character in the drama. Recently, her past with her ex-husband was revealed. However, all I am getting from her is her whining and comparing herself to her twin sister. Her insecurity and jealousy over her twin sister Jung Sang is all she could talk about. It’s always the reason why she acts up and it is getting tiresome.

Because of Poong Sang’s neglect, Joong Yi is starting to act up. She gets caught stealing at a convenience store. Poong Sang easily blames Joong Yi, which frustrates his daughter because he doesn’t trust her. Boong Sil is adamant in saying that her daughter isn’t guilty. Finally, they see the CCTV footage and Joong Yi is not at fault at all.

The Last Empress (SBS)

The Last Empress

(SBS)

Uncovering the mysterious death of former Empress, So Hyun made the heroes and villains of The Last Empress work overtime to protect their own vested interest.

Woo Bin escapes the left-and-right attempts to reveal his identity as Min Yu Ra reunites to the former security chief locked by Lee Hyuk, who turned out to be the father of her son.

Just as Sunny and Crown Prince retrieve the information they need to unveil Empress So Hyun’s murderer, the latter was attacked, leaving a clue that points to the Emperor.

Seo Kang Hee appears to be the last villainess baton player intent to make a showdown with Oh Sunny.

Amidst the chaotic progress of the side stories, I can’t help except to acknowledge how the big cast is winning me over with their portrayals of the crazily written plot of the series.

Spring Turns To Spring (MBC)

Spring Turns to Spring

Images from MBC

Bo Mi and Lee Bom exchange bodies once again, this time when Bo Mi is out drunk, and Lee Bom is taking a bath. Lee Bom pokes Hyeong Suk’s eyes so he will not see her transformation. Meanwhile, Lee Bom drops a hair dryer in the tub to cause a blackout and gets out of Lee Bom’s house. Both women meet and decide to take each other’s place. Lee Bom is unable to enter Bo Mi’s house, so she spends the night outside. Bo Mi wakes up early and uses a doctor’s appointment as an excuse, so her friend prepares the family breakfast.

The two go and see a doctor as Bom Sam follows them. In the hospital Bom Sam sees them swap back to their original bodies and the test results show both are healthy.

Bom Il is torturing himself about the side effects and because of the knowledge that Bo Mi drank the drug. He goes out to search for her but stops as he sees suspicious people. Bo Mi sees Bom Sam and they chase after him. Bom Sam is back at his place only to find Bom Il is not there, he searches for him but soon finds himself face to face with Bo Mi and Lee Bom. The CIA apprehends the three and asks them about the formula. However, an agent spots Bom Il so the group goes after him. Bom Sam explains that Bom Il created a drug that could switch bodies, and that both of them drank it.

Lee Bom anchors the 9PM news but suddenly sneezes, she switches back to her original self as well as Bo Mi. She rushes to the studio while Lee Bom gets out the emergency exit and Hyeong Suk chase after her. He spends the night in the hospital when a small potted plant falls on his head. He temporarily loses his memory, but back at the studio, he looks at the CCTV footage of that night. Bo Mi loses her job because of the walkout. Lee Bom accepts her boyfriend’s proposal on her behalf. Assemblyman Park, on seeing the ring on her finger, is suspicious so he invites Hyeong Seok for lunch. At the same time, Lee Bom meets with Bo Mi’s future in-laws and spouts her knowledge about food and wine. In return, she gets a scroll containing the branded wedding gifts she needs to procure.

Bo Mi collapses and wakes up at the hospital. There she and Lee Bom’s husband learn that she has a brain tumor. Lee Bom, on the other hand, sees Bom Sam and she realizes they have not exchanged bodies for three days. She screams as it slowly dawns on her that she may be trapped in Bo Mi’s body forever.

FRI-SAT

Sky Castle (jTBC) *Finale

Beautiful on its own right, Sky Castle was not something spectacular that ever graced K-Drama land to be honest. If we mull over the lessons from its fictional world perspective, all those family dramas are honestly sad realities, which can make the viewers retrospect. If someone asks me what the drama is about, my eyes won’t twinkle describing it and I will just really stick to saying that it’s about the extreme measures rich families do to get the university and profession of their choice for their children. Just one plain sentence like that.

Amidst the impressive ratings this drama got, I was just a casual watcher. The hollow conflict, which was transformed to a big issue with web of lies and side stories adorning it, did not leave an encouraging note for me.

But I am not denying the efficient way of how the broken characters breathe life to the story. That’s what I feel on its fictional narrative treatment.

READ: K-Drama Review: “Sky Castle” Uprears Habit-Forming Following Owing To Excellent Cast & Shocking Plot Twists

SATURDAY/SAT-SUN

A Promise to the Gods (MBC)

A Promise to the Gods

Images from MBC

Ji Young and Jae Wook meet, and he wants her not to fulfill her promise to Na Kyung and to see Hyeon Woo and Joon Seo. He tells her he will do everything in her power to make sure she does not need to do that. Ji Young insists on meeting Na Kyung’s condition as she thinks it is a demand from his father. Jae Wook talks to his father and asks him to pretend he does not know about Na Kyung’s scheme. The older man is fuming but agrees with Jae Wook.

Meanwhile, in an effort to convince Joon Seo to help Hyeon Woo, Jae Wook tells his younger son their true relationship. Joon Seo cries but eventually accepts the fact. Together with Na Kyung, he visits Hyeon Woo and reveals he already knows they are true brothers. He says he wants to donate and that Hyeon Woo can pay him back for it later when he recovers.

Jae Wook’s father visits his grandson and cries when Hyeon Woo tells him he wants to live. Desperate and touched by Hyeon Woo’s words, he speaks with Na Kyung and agrees to her terms. He tells Jae Wook of his decision and asks him to restore Na Kyung to her position. He also tasks him to draw up the documents to make everything legal. His father wants Jae Wook to add a stipulation that she will get what she wants if Joon Seo saves Hyeon Woo.  However, if she uses Joon Seo again as leverage against the family, the agreement is void.

Ji Young and Min Ho receive the news that Joon Seo is only a 50% match. Although it is possible to do the transplant, there is a side effect. Ji Young becomes hesitant as they weigh the risk, but she is still considering it. While contemplating about it, they receive the good news that the hospital is able to reach the original candidate donor. This donor is 100% match and very much willing to donate. However, Na Kyung overhears their conversation and panics when she realizes Joon Seo is no longer the donor. She talks to the doctor and somehow sees the document containing the information. Soon after, the donor backs out. They proceed with the operation, but Hyeon Woo reacts violently to the transplant.

Fates and Furies (SBS)

In Joon is out of jail and is scheming to take down his stepmother and his half-brother. However, he is letting his anger and emotions get in the way. Hae Ra has been working in Gold Shoes for the last two years.

Although the story is developing well, the character development is still lacking for me. For example, the lack of communication between Hae Ra and In Joon is frustrating. How easy it is to pin this all on Hae Ra, for wanting to gain revenge on In Joon. But her anger stemmed basically from evidence that was mostly made up. During their last confrontation, Hae Ra was reluctant to admit how she felt about In Joon. Now that she is in the position, she has more power to be able to bring down the stepmother and half-brother of In Joon.

Tae Oh is someone I also want to get to know more of. It is so frustrating that we have barely scratched the surface on his character. There can still be more than what can be done from his angle, but he is basically just being used as a pawn by Soo Hyun and the mysterious woman who initially approached him.

Romance Is A Bonus Book (tvN)

Romance is a Bonus Book

Smoothly gliding to reveal its story, Romance Is A Bonus Book is a treasure trove of insightful messages about love, life and career so far. It has also combined the lightness of the romantic comedy genre and the emotions of a melodrama.

READ RECAPS: Premiere, Ep 3, Ep 4 

 Babel (TV Chosun)

Min Ho is murdered at 2am. His wife is also in the same room. Min Ho refuses to give her the divorce she wants and then tries to rape his wife. She is the main suspect. It is now up to Woo Hyuk to prove that she is not guilty. The problem is that they have been having an affair and he is the perfect alibi.

Babel continues its streak in giving suspense and mystery. As we settle in and enjoy the show, the tangles are weaved intricately and it is up to the writers to unravel them slowly. The momentum is building as the stories start to twist and turn. The story goes back to when they first met so the viewers can understand how they started. I like how they revealed their affair. It wasn’t obvious at first, but they have had a deep connection even before she got married.

 

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