K-Drama Review: “Nokdu Flower” Depicts A Harrowing Yet Dream Picture Of Creating A Flourishing Nation
Narrating an emotional story about the struggles of the commoners to achieve equality, Nokdu Flower hits the right chords
Based on real historical events, Nokdu Flower is about the Donghak uprising against the corrupt officials in the 19th century.
The journey with Nokdu Flower is a very emotional one as it unveils the struggles of the common people, their battles for their rights to equality and the various aspects that influences human actions.
Title: Nokdu Flower
Theme: Historical, Political
Length: 48 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 26 April 2019 to 13 July 2019
Main Leads: Jo Jung Suk, Yoon Shi Yoon, Han Ye Ri
Highlights: Realistic Portrayal And Strong Characters, Emotional And Heartfelt Moments
Related Dramas: Six Flying Dragons, Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People
Quick Plot Roundup
Set during the Donghak Peasant Revolution which took place from 1894-1895, Nokdu Flower discloses the story of two half-brothers. While one is the illegitimate son, the other is the cherished one. The series shows how they end up fighting on the opposite sides of thE rebellion due to their personal circumstances.
Baek Yi Kang (Jo Jung Suk) is the first son of the District Magistrate of Gobu. Due to being born out of wedlock and his mother’s low social class, people look down on Baek Yi Kang and do not refer to him by his name but as “That Man”.
Song Ja In (Han Ye Ri) is the daughter of the chief who is also a merchant. Initially, she started out with her aim to make huge profits but later on, she provides support to the Donghak warriors.
Yi Kang’s younger half-brother, Baek Yi Hyun (Yoon Shi Yoon), unlike his half-brother is loved and respected. He is also set to become a government official. He loves his older brother and treats him a lot of respect.
Realistic Portrayal And Strong Characters
Lots of familiar faces known for their acting are part of the cast for this drama thus enhancing the quality of the narrative. Needless to say, all the characters irrespective of their roles and contributions to the story made a deep impression. What stood out were the strong female characters. Each of them had their purpose and they work on it themselves rather than depending on anybody else. Here is a dive on to some of the characters:
General Nokdu/ Jeon Bong Joon
A charismatic leader, Jeon Bong Joon also known as General Nokdu, is someone who is very inspirational. He had a dream for the world of Injukcheon, a nation where equality exists and he persistently fought for that dream. With his leadership, he managed to bring all the people together irrespective of their societal classes. The actor Choi Moo Sung has captured all the intricate details of the actual General Nokdu.
Baek Yi Kang
Baek Yi Kang is a character who one proceeds to fall in love with easily. This has also to do with Jo Jung Suk’s brilliant acting that Baek Yi Kang just grows on the audience. Also his character development is immensely incredible. In the beginning his actions were questionable but after he finds a family in the Donghak warriors, he pleads his loyalty to Jeon Bong Joon and fights for Injukcheon till the end.
Baek Yi Hyun
Though evil, Baek Yi Hyun was an interesting character. He did not started out as an evil but the manipulation by his father and disparity caused from social ranks led to him getting on the wrong path. His journey from Baek Yi Hyun to Ogre and then from Ogre to Oni was because he actually believed that by doing so, he could change things for the better only to be proved wrong.
Song Ja In
Song Ja In was remarkably characterized. Being a merchant, she has the wits yet at the same she had a conscience too. She did not let her father dictate on what to do rather she followed own heart when she realized that her profits were at the expense of her own people and later proceeded to help the Donghak soldiers as well.
Myung Shim’s character too, has a progressive growth throughout the story. She was a girl who was naively in love, but then she grew out of that phase, understood the situation and did what she believed to be right. She stood up for what she thought was right, expressed her views fearlessly and was empathetic towards the Donghak soldiers.
Beo Dul’s friendship with Baek Yi Kang was endearing. She did not let her one-sided feelings for Yi Kang take over her rather she was supportive of Yi Kang and Ja In. She was content enough on being acknowledged as Yi Kang’s trustworthy comrade. A fighter that she was, she fought bravely till the end.
Emotional And Heartfelt Moments
There were many emotional moments throughout the drama. The love that the Donghak followers have for their motherland and the the lengths they are willing to go to protect their nation was extremely tear-jerking.
The moment where Baek Yi Kang along with Hae Seung and Beo Dul raises the banner of Injuekcheon when General Nokdu and some of his followers were taken in as prisoners assuring them that they will keep fighting on their stead till the end felt very encouraging and hopeful.
That historic moment where irrespective of classes, all the people joined forces to fight against the Japanese was very patriotic. And the speech when Baek Yi Kang gives when the soldiers were dispirited was really touching. That moment where he says in spite of losing the battle he will keep fighting till the end because he does not want to live a society that treats them unequally was one of the strongest points of the drama.
It was disheartening to see many people dying and the torturous cruelty that was enforced on them. The scene where Song Ja In was crying her heart out when her long-time comrade and friend Choi Deok Ki was shot to dead by the Japanese soldiers expresses the terrible anguish she felt on the loss of someone close to her.
The journey with Nokdu Flower is mixed with various emotions as the story uncovers about people and their simple aspirations. What is admirable about this drama is the message of equality not just across different classes of people but across genders. The women in the drama were the key drivers in the story, had their own voice and took steps for their own actions.
The cinematography in the drama is brilliant as it perfectly captures the different historical sequences. One of the most beautiful sequences in the drama is when a picture of General Nokdu is captured which then transitions to the actual picture that was taken in history. Also, the battle scenes that panned out are realistic and it entails all the cause and effects of every action.
There are various saddening moments and incidents and it feels much more upsetting that all of these occurred in reality. It is really unimaginable how the people of Joseon suffered through all the cruelty. The merciless killings of the innocent people was really painful to watch.
Overall, the drama is very good watch and it is packed with history, excellent acting, and various human emotions.
Image Credit: SBS Network