K-Drama Couch: “The Last Empress” Finale, “Touch Your Heart” Sprints Addictive Romance
2019 Korean dramas are shaping to take compelling plot lines along with actors of top caliber.
For Monday-Tuesday slot, the competition is exciting with five TV networks keen to run their entries to the roster of 2019 Korean Dramas. Haechi opened on top of the rating’s race on public networks, while The Crowned Clown consistently secured impressive scores.
Midweek show Liver Or Die held strong as second place The Last Empress ended its reign over the other shows in the same time slot. Will the end of The Last Empress give Liver Or Die first place in the upcoming week?
Meanwhile, Touch Your Heart continued to send giggles and thrills as Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na carried on their light-hearted and feel good romance.
Weekend dramas also set the stage right for a thrilling marathon, starting with wacky Legal High and The Fiery Priest. Romance Is A Bonus Book consistently flows its therapeutic magic about love and career.
Below is the current roster of 2019 Korean Dramas currently airing.
My Lawyer, Mr. Jo 2 (KBS)
The Crowned Clown (tvN)
The Light in Your Eyes (JTBC)
Liver or Die (KBS2)
The Last Empress (SBS)*Finale
Spring Turns To Spring (MBC)
Touch Your Heart (tvN)
Big Issue (SBS)*Premiere
Fiery Priest (SBS)
Legal High (jTBC)
Love in Sadness (MBC) *Premiere
Romance Is A Bonus Book (tvN)
Babel (TV Chosun)
My Only One (KBS)
My Healing Love (MBC)
Read through the highlights of the dramas you might have missed.
*Covers February 18 to March 3, 2019.
*Note: weekend and daily dramas not included in Hellokpop’s weekly roundup coverage
*Note: This K-Drama Couch covered two weeks.
*Disclaimer: Some K-Dramas we really do not cover. We choose our K-Drama battles wisely.
Struggling to find his purpose, Prince Yeoning got cornered to a position set by the Noron faction. Will he finally show what his worth now that he has lost his brother and father?
Villains abound this new SBS series, but I like the balanced exposure of the heroes and adversaries. Wounded hero themed series easily grips since the rooting for happy ending is always fulfilling. With Joseon’s justice system utilized as backdrop and with the interesting blend of characters, Haechi is a period drama you can easily watch.
Moreover, it is laying the framework in building the strength of the hero well. As the problem laden plot gets even more exhausting with the meddling issues raised by the political factions, Prince Yeoning takes charge of the game plan he conceived for a year.
The emotional cuts and prominent thrills gives Haechi a strong chance of being a favorite in the roster 2019 Korean dramas.
On paper, Item is the kind of drama that will stimulate you. But there is something incoherent on how the plot progresses so far. We were introduced to arch rivals Prosecutor Kang Gon and vile chaebol Jo Se Hwan in the premiere. It has since progressed in presenting the magical items collected by the villain that grants him to wield supernatural powers. When Gon’s beloved niece Da In inadvertently picked up a bracelet which can make the bearer incredibly strong, she became a target of Se Hwang. The latter apparently had it on his collection, but someone stole it.
When Da In fell on coma, Gon realized the connection to his niece’ curious mark when he found the bracelet he saw worn by a culprit he was chasing before. Slowly unearthing the puzzle pieces of the unexplained situation he had caught into, Gon became a pawn to Se Hwang’s game of finding all the “items”. The mentioned Room of Wishes is probably the reason why Se Hwang was obsessed on it.
It really beats me how the riveting picture of Item is not raising my blood a bit. *Sigh
There is something wrong in the execution of the peaks and preparatory peaks that, if left not adjusted, would really waste such a compelling premise. Da In’s misfortune would probably connect Gon’s drive to really hunt down the items to secure a wish to be granted; that would be bringing her back to life.
Enduring two more weeks of this series to see if it is just a late bloomer is what I intend to do for now. If the dozing mood persists, I will drop it on this couch, but will still publish a review.
CROWNED CLOWN (tvN)
The Queen and Ha Seon reconcile after he took an arrow shot for her. He is able to come back to court in time to greet the Ming Emperor’s envoy, and also able to delay sending troops to aid the envoy in his bid to war against the border troops. The envoy is not happy and makes a secret deal with Shin Chi Soo and Lord Jin Pyeong. Because of his refusal to send troops, Shin Chi Soo is now even more adamant to dig some dirt to use against the King. He obtains the dagger that King Yi Heon gave Ha Seon and holds Dal Rae hostage.
Ha Seon reveals himself to Shin Chi Soo, but he is able to turn the tables instead. In front of the other ministers, Dal Rae denies Ha Seon as her brother, saying that her brother has been long gone. To prove that Shin Chi Soo committed crimes, Lady Kim is brought in as witness. She reiterates all the things Shin Chi Soo did and he is sentenced to die.
The King punishes Shin Yi Gyum for what he did to Dal Rae, with the crime branded on his face as a reminder. Gab Soo and Dal Rae bid their goodbyes to Ha Seon. Queen Seo Woon finds out that she has been drinking tea that causes infertility. Upon learning it, the King goes to the royal physician and demands the name of the person behind it. The doctor tells him it is the Queen Dowager. Ha Seon confronts her and threatens to depose her instead of the Queen, but she is unfazed.
Ha Seon reinstates Soo Woon’s father and Secretary Lee goes to his place to escort him back to the palace. However, he arrives to find Lord Yoo on the floor, with a dagger to his chest.
The Queen Dowager confesses to have Lord Yoo assassinated, and the King orders her deposition. Lord Shin Chi Soo and Lord Jinpyeong have joined forces to rebel against the King. Secretary Lee is captured and becomes leverage for their troops to gain entry back into the palace. During Secretary Lee’s trial, he gets the chance to stab Lord Jinpyeong and as he clings to life, one of the guards wields his sword against Secretary Lee and he falls to the ground.
THE LIGHT IN YOUR EYES
Hye Ja and her family struggle to accept her changed appearance. It is agonizing for Hye Ja’s parents to see their bright and beautiful daughter to become an elderly woman whose health is declining.
Hye Ja is also struggling with her feelings for Joon Ha. It frustrates her that he doesn’t ask about Hye Ja.
LIVER OR DIE
What’s important about this week is that the family finally knows about Poong Sang’s cancer. Boon Sil is emotional when called to her ex-husband’s hospital bedside. She takes charge immediately and calls the rest of the siblings.
The rest of the family finally find out about Poong Sang. However, Jin Sang and Hwa Sang refuse to cooperate, citing their painful experiences in the past with their older brother. Overhearing them, Poong Sang tells them not to donate at all since he will refuse them anyway.
However, Jin Sang has a change of heart and agrees to be tested. Unfortunately, he is not eligible because of his weight. Meanwhile, Wae Sang left his family and has finally given in to joining the gangster group. No matter how much his family tries to call him, he does not budge. Even Young Pil tried to get in touch with him, but he still refused.
To be honest, it boggles my mind that this drama is getting such high ratings. But then again, no matter how much I struggle through each week, I still find myself drawn to the drama and I can’t seem to let it go. I still want to see Poong Sang through this and finally to get him his happy ending.
THE LAST EMPRESS *FINALE
The Last Empress had me feeling like one of the hobbits on a journey to Mt. Mordor after all the heartbreaking difficulties in the series. Sadly though, I did not get a happy-I’m-back-to-Shire moment, because along the way I lost the passion to root for its happy ending.
Although I laud the main cast for staying true to their characters with conviction, my reproach is mostly on its lengthy duration. Additionally, the stimulating twists were healthy crossing the halfway mark of the series. But when it seemed not going to tone down, the sentiment buildup became too much to handle.
READ: The Last Empress Review
TOUCH YOUR HEART (tvN)
The murder trial of Im Yun Hee is heating up, with the prosecution getting the upper hand. But Kim Jung Rok proves that the suspect is not the person responsible for the crime. After the trial, Joon Kyu invites everyone to a team dinner to celebrate the victory but Jung Rok refuses, claiming he is tired. However, at the end of the day, he asks Yoon Seo to join him for some drinks and she accepts.
Jung Rok and Yoon Seo share a tender moment when he thanks her for worrying about him and that he wishes to do the same for her as well.
The weekend workshop serves as a way to further strengthen Jung Rok and Yoon Seo’s relationship. He finds himself competing for her attention against his colleagues, and finally admits that he is jealous and he wants to be the one to make her happy. The couple finally shares a kiss.
FIERY PRIEST (SBS)
Father Hae Il is doing everything he can to clear Father Kim’s name as the Gudam community leaders try to thwart all his efforts. After punching Detective Koo in the face, Father Kim Hae Il lands himself behind bars. However, he does not stay long as Prosecutor Park arrives and releases him. She warns him not to create disturbances anymore as the case is almost close.
Father Hae Il continues to investigate on his own and he talks to the people who, according to the police reports, are Father Lee’s victims. He speaks to the man who witnessed the older priest’s “act” to embezzle church funds and proves to himself that the man is lying. Then he records his conversation with the woman who claims Father Lee harassed her. Based on their conversation, the woman has never met the priest. He brings the recording to Prosecutor Park, but she dismisses the evidence. To add more frustration, an announcement from one of the church’s leader makes it seem Father Lee is indeed at fault.
He gatecrashes Hwang Cheol Bum’s awarding ceremony, and in front of Gudam leaders, he warns them about him digging for the truth. He is cleaning Father Lee’s room when he discovers a box containing files about the corruption and wrongdoings of the ones in power. His back against the wall, Father Hae Il writes to the Pope to request assistance. The Pope, in return, writes to the President and the investigation is reopened. The police superintendent assigns Detective Koo to partner with Father Kim, but he needs to make sure to mislead the priest during the investigation.
Father Hae Il continues to face challenges as the investigation over the death of Father Kim is officially reopened. He barges into Hwang Cheol Bum’s office to ask him about the missing “witnesses”, and to warn him that if he finds them, he will make sure them to get hurt by his hands.
Tae Rim’s true colors are slowly coming through for Jae In. Thankfully it’s positive. Because of Judge Do, she realizes that Tae Rim isn’t exactly what she thought he was before.
However, thanks to the cases they’ve been handling, Tae Rim is forced to move in temporarily with Jae In and Professor Song. After Jae In was attacked, Gi Seok realizes his feelings for Tae Rim and is torn.
I’m starting to wonder if there will be a love line between Tae Rim and Jae In. Since I wasn’t able to watch the Japanese version of this drama, I am clueless as to what will happen next.
But honestly, it’s really Jin Goo pulling me into the drama with each episode. He’s really that good. Now that we know he has layers beneath all his money mongering, I appreciate his acting more. His role in Legal High is a far cry from what I expected it to be (in a positive way) and I’m totally loving it.
ROMANCE IS A BONUS BOOK
Hitting the poignant romantic turn, Romance Is A Bonus Book signals more brighter days ahead. Finally, the hero threw in his love confession to his favorite noona.
All are well for the two who mutually agreed moving to a romantic level. However, Dan Yi’s recent achievement at work appears to be another heartbreak.
Editor’s Note: Babel will be removed from the K-Drama Couch. Stay tuned to the review after the finale.
The OCN thriller drama was a short but extremely satisfying ride. After the death of his son, Ko Dong Kook persevered to live and to find the culprit. Fast forward to when Woo Hyun’s family also faced a tragedy, the two men worked together to find justice.
Seven episodes were more than enough to tell the story of revenge and justice. As actors, Lee Seo Jin and Sung Dong Il fit the roles to a T. As grieving fathers, they wore their hearts on their sleeves and put on a brave face on their quest for justice.