TV / Movies
K-Drama Premiere: “100 Days My Prince” Brings A New Royal Couple + A Grand Plot To Watch Out For Everyday
tvN’s 100 Days My Prince makes a grand entrance on its opening week with a new royal couple and a majestic plot – all in one sageuk!
tvN makes the second half of 2018 extra regal as they bring another sageuk to the small screen with 100 Days My Prince.
Premiere Week Rating:
Starring EXO’s D.O. (or Do Kyungsoo, as he is more known with his real name in the acting industry) and Nam Ji Hyun as the next royal couple, the historical romantic comedy is making us root for its more-than-relatable lead characters when it began its run this September.
Pilot Week Recap
100 Days My Prince begins by showing us the reason why Joseon’s crown prince Lee Yool’s heart has turned stone cold. It roots back to the horrendous incident he has witnessed as a child and the heartbreaks he has suffered because of his father’s attempt to covet the throne.
Lee Yool used to live a harmonious life with his mother, and his father who is the brother of Joseon’s current king. He originally has no interest in studying, but after Yoon Yi Seo, the daughter of Joseon’s top general, catches his eye, he motivates himself to start reading and learning.
He establishes a good friendship with Yi Seo, and as childhood sweethearts go, he even promises to marry her someday. However, he witnesses her household being ransacked by the men of a palace official named Kim Cha Eon (Cho Seong Ha) and her family members being attacked during one of his visits. Yi Seo tells him to hide, and he watches on as she takes her father’s side and eventually gets told to run away with her brother to save her life.
Lee Yool sees how Cha Eon ruthlessly kills the general, and he emerges from hiding to command them to stop. Cha Eon takes him to his father (Jo Han Chul), and that’s when he finds out that it is his own father who was behind the attack.
He finds out that his father had plans to covet the throne, which he successfully does. However, Cha Eon told him beforehand that in order to do so, he must leave his current wife – who is Lee Yool’s mom (Choi Ji Na). Timely enough, she had left to visit a temple before the ruckus started, and the young Lee Yool overhears that she had been in an “accident” and will never return.
Sixteen years later, Lee Yool (Do Kyungsoo) has taken on his role as Joseon’s crown prince and is betrothed to Cha Eon’s daughter So Hye (Han So Hee). He shows no love for her though, as his heart still belongs to Yi Seo. He is also devoid of emotions and is excessively stern and unkind – which is why everyone in the palace dislikes him despite his strength, intelligence, and handsomeness.
As Joseon is currently in the middle of a drought, the palace desperately asks Lee Yool to sleep with So Hye, thinking the drought will be brought to an end if the crown prince gets to bear a child. However, Lee Yool refuses to do so and tells officials to marry off all the single people in their 20s in Joseon instead as a decree, even though So Hye practically begs him to sleep with her. He falls in later on due to a pre-existing health condition, but he figures out that he was more or less poisoned and sets out to investigate who’s behind it.
On the other hand, affected by Lee Yool’s decree is Hong Sim (Nam Ji Hyun) – who, by choice, is Joseon’s oldest unmarried woman – as she gets ordered to face marriage within a month due to the crown prince’s decree. However, she refuses and says she has promised to marry a certain Won Deuk, who is yet to come back from the army. What people don’t know is that Won Deuk is non-existent at the moment, and Hong Sim is actually Yi Seo who assumed another identity in order to protect herself.
Remembering her promise to meet with her brother every fifteenth of the month at a bridge near their old residence, Hong Sim sets off despite her adoptive father’s wishes for her not to go. During this trip, she runs into Lee Yool, who recovered and went out of the palace accompanied by his childhood friend Dong Joo (Do Ji Han).
Lee Yool thinks she’s familiar and runs after her, but Hong Sim manages to lose them. She meets a young general named Jung Je Yoon (Kim Sun Ho) while running away from Lee Yool, and he shows an interest in her. Meanwhile, Lee Yool goes back to the palace – only to figure out that So Hye is pregnant even though he has never slept with her ever.
Lee Yool gets sent to a rain ceremony, but he faces an assassination attempt on the way. He barely manages to escape with the help of Dong Joo, who makes the decision to switch their clothing to lure away the assassins. Dong Joo sacrifices himself and falls off a cliff to death, still wearing Lee Yool’s clothing, making the assassins think they killed the crown prince. Meanwhile, Lee Yool gets shot by an arrow in the leg and rolls down the mountain.
His unconscious body is discovered by Hong Sim’s adoptive father in a funny way, who brings him to their house and takes care of him. However, he sets out once he receives news that Hong Sim was getting flogged for disobeying the crown prince’s decree by still being unmarried. Once he gets to the capital, he tells everyone to stop beating Hong Sim – because Won Deuk has returned. Everyone gapes as Lee Yool, who has lost his memories, struts in – as Won Deuk.
Pilot Week Verdict
We are definitely in love with Lee Yool/Won Deuk and Hong Sim’s story already – and it’s only been two episodes since 100 Days My Prince had been released! The drama started off slow and made sure that its lead characters have had established good foundations first before picking up its pace – which is great, because it has allowed us to connect with them more, unlike in some sageuk dramas that commonly rush to the action right away and neglect giving us ties to the main characters.
Getting a glimpse of the two characters as children who shared an innocent bliss as childhood sweethearts touched our hearts – and then ruthlessly broke it as they faced the greatest traumas of their lives. It pained us to watch Lee Yool and Hong Sim go through atrocities they did not deserve – and maybe that’s why we’re already rooting so hard for the two to obtain the happiness they deserve.
Do Kyungsoo and Nam Ji Hyun’s chemistry also hit us right away, especially that scene (SPOILER ALERT!) where Kyungsoo’s character Lee Yool lovingly gazed at Nam Ji Hyun’s Hong Sim as she stood under the cherry blossoms despite her being a complete (or maybe not?) stranger to him.
We can’t wait to see how their story would further develop – and we can’t wait to see our ship to sail soon either. Do Kyungsoo and Nam Ji Hyun also both are portraying their characters really well at this moment – and can we just say that Kyungsoo makes the most naturally intimidating crown prince?
We’d also love to note Han So Hee’s portrayal of her character. We couldn’t help but cringe at how desperate she was to cover her tracks, and we were more than angered at her plots against Lee Yool. We’re also more than ready to hate on her father – who is obviously up to no good and is going to make Lee Yool suffer.
Despite their short appearances in the drama, Choi Ji Na as Lee Yool’s mother and Do Ji Han as Dong Joo managed to make us extremely sad with how their fates unfolded. This says a lot about how the characters were built in 100 Days My Prince, because who would’ve thought we’d feel so much for even the smallest characters?
We can also tell that 100 Days My Prince has a pretty solid plot based on its first two episodes, which seems to be a good balancer of being light and heavy with both the fluffy and tear-jerking scenes. It does a good job at making some details, schemes, and motives obvious, and hiding some identities and plot points to keep the thrill and mystery at the same time.
100 Days My Prince airs on tvN every Monday and Tuesday.