K-Drama Premiere: “Nokdu Flower” Blooms Emotional Historical Drama On Its First Outing
That was some serious emotionally draining kickoff week for Nokdu Flower.
Right as the curtains opened, Nokdu Flower burst to a saddening drama drawn in the backdrop of Donghak Peasant movement.
Premiere Week Rating:
Clearly setting its direction, the nobles versus peasants trajectory paraded the heroes, villains and hero-villains, who will bring colors to its narrative.
Various kinds of bravery, filial love and finding purpose appear to be lessons to be unveiled as the series progresses. Unexpected bends and conspiracies, as always, would be a staple frosting for period drama productions. The same case that will happen for Nokdu Flower.
Premiere Week Recap
In the town of Gobu in Jeolla province, the corrupt government officials get doses of their own cruel medicines. Jeon Bong Joon leads a peasant army to an uprising by rounding up the abusive nobilities and government officials. Baek Ga, the father to sons Baek Yi Hyun (Yoon Shi Yoon) and Baek Yi Kang (Jo Jung Suk), escapes through the help of the latter when the riot ensues.
However, Yi Kang gets trapped in the headquarter of the movement, losing his hand in the process when Bong Joon crippled it with a knife stab. Yi Hyun who is supposed to take the state exam to become a government official return to Gobu. In the nick of time, he saves his father just when Donghak group arrived at the place where he was hiding.
Gaining the upper hand, Bong Joon is eager to extend the movement, ultimately wanting to reach Hanyang. But his old master disagrees to his vision, so he relents and halts the rebellion. Surviving a near-death experience, Baek Ga returns to Gobu with son Yi Hyun. He spots Yi Kang, who greets him as his master. But he corrects him to call him “father”.
Premiere Week Afterthoughts
Intensely engaging, Nokdu Flower threads on a premise often featured in historical dramas. Sometimes in passing, at other times it is featured as a story arc. The struggle of slaves and commoners is not as grandiose compared to series featuring the Joseon monarchy. Nevertheless, it is with that bare yet genuine framework that will make the storyline relatable.
Yoon Shi Yoon and Jo Jung Suk already immersed to their characters as brothers separated by the social rank system. Although, fond at each other, their sentiments stream to the biting reality of the difference in the privilege they receive.
Yi Kang, who has a slave mother, gets to be his father’s executioner of dirty deeds. While Yi Hyun, who is of pure noble blood, forces his way to accomplish Baek Ga’s dream of having a government minister son.
Spicing up the piercing plot is Song Ja In, portrayed by Han Ye Ri. Representing the merchants’ camp, she has created connections to Baek brothers and the leader of the peasant rebels.
Ahead of Nokdu Flower seems to be mutiny’s ups and downs for the main players. Anyhow, even with its solid and gripping premiere that introduced its characters, the bait thrown for the audience needs more strengthening. Relying on an underdog themed story requires remarkable heroes. No one wants to see a series that will beat up the slaves for the most part of the narrative. Hence, this will be the challenge to be tackled by the production team.
If you have a penchant for historical dramas, this drama will be a good addition to have a better grasp of how Joseon society’s middle and slave groups work.
Nokdu Flower airs on SBS every Friday and Saturday.
ABOUT THE WRITER
abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.
Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.