The Empire: Episode 1 (Initially Impressions)
JTBC’s legal melodrama The Empire premiered more than the weekend and it is complete of political scheming, ruin to come, and sumptuous chaebol breakfasts. I cannot say I enjoyed the episode a great deal, but that is much less for the reason that it was poorly carried out, and much more for the reason that it feels like a plot I’ve observed a hundred instances currently.
Editor’s note: If there is enough interest, drama coverage will continue with weekly hangouts.
EPISODE 1 Initially IMPRESSIONS
Ahead of we meet our heroine, we meet her husband NA GEUN-WOO (Ahn Jae-wook). He’s clearly a man of energy who commands respect — SNU grad, passed the bar exam in his 20s, was a judge, a lawyer, and now is a law professor who appears to love becoming treated as a godlike figure. We 1st meet him at his book concert, exactly where he is surrounded by adoring fans and the press, but the very same motif continues into the classroom — and everywhere he goes, genuinely. I do not like him a single bit.
But he appears like the great “national husband”? Our heroine HAN HYE-RYUL (Kim Sun-ah) comes property to their beautiful residence saying how tired she is and carrying on about the lovely dinner he cooked for her. They’re fairly cute and playful collectively and it is all incredibly nice… till the camera pans to widen the scene and we see that there’s a film crew shooting them. Yep, their incredibly personal chaebol reality system. Barf!
The show has carried out wonders for Geun-woo’s recognition and in spite of not becoming a politician he’s #1 in recognition for the subsequent presidential race. Yeah, no. We’re shown in much more detail than vital that he’s obtaining an affair with a different lady — and that lady turns out to be a student in his class who has him wrapped about her finger. I’m entirely acquiring A Couple’s Globe vibes right here, and that does not make any of this bode properly.
Fortunately our heroine is much more likeable. Hye-ryul — or as she’s much more usually known as, Prosecutor Han — is a actual force to be reckoned with. She’s just as strong and respected as her husband, but in contrast she appears to have some integrity behind her. When the drama opens, she’s deep in an investigation of a chaebol group that her family members is in-lawed to. The reaction is either fury (her sister who married into the family members in query) or respect (most absolutely everyone else, impressed that she does not let “family” get in the way of justice).
My favored scene of the 1st episode was Hye-ryul out for drinks with a entire ton of prosecutors. Just after dealing with the taunts of a colleague (who claims she’s only fearless in her job for the reason that her family’s energy can defend her), she subsequently outdrinks him. And by that I imply mixing somaek in a giant bowl worthy of bibimbap and downing the entire factor in a single shot. Her colleague is dragged out barely conscious, and Hye-ryul stays behind for much more drinks, and an oath about truth and justice that she has the newbies repeat soon after her. It is clear she implies every single word she says, and it is clear they respect her for it.
But we cannot have such a strong, collected, and upright heroine with no throwing her some troubles — this is a drama soon after all – so there’s a terrible scene exactly where she practically finds her husband and his college student floozy HONG NAN-HEE (Joo Se-bin) obtaining sex in a restroom for the duration of the intermission of a super fancy orchestra efficiency. Uh, thanks, JTBC?
This is in all probability my least favored factor about the story — not just the low cost affair, but the way the college student is so clearly manipulating Geun-woo, and so clearly going to burn his life down about him. He calls her his muse she says she can be his shield, or his demon. Guess which a single it’ll be by the finish of this drama? And to additional squickify issues, Nan-hee appears to be friendly with and/or in the very same class as Geun-woo and Hye-ryul’s son and his girlfriend.
Speaking of Hye-ryul’s family members — it is substantial and confusing and they all reside in the very same palace-like dwelling. But for all the ridiculous wealth that they reside in, they appear to be kinda regular? At least Hye-ryul and her mother (Lee Mi-sook) so far. In a different good scene, we see the two functioning away collectively late at evening on Hye-ryul’s case. In a different drama, they would be squirreled away at the kitchen table in The Empire, they’re sitting at a gigantic banquet table that would have produced King Arthur proud.
With out a great deal action — but tons of character introductions and political/energy setups which are as well boring to drill into right here — the 1st episode feels each overwhelming and underwhelming at the very same time. There’s hope, although, by way of our other supporting characters. REPORTER YOON EUN-MI (Im Se-mi) appears to have an in with the police and some secret information and facts that she drops to close the 1st episode. Geun-woo may well be #1 in the recognition race for candidacy, but there’s a different individual who’s speeding up behind him at an alarming speed: Hye-ryul.
It is meant to be a mic drop moment, and I guess perhaps it can be, if we get much more insight on Hye-ryul and how a great deal she genuinely knows, plans, and intends to do. But suitable now there’s not adequate of the plot in motion to genuinely say irrespective of whether it’ll be satisfying to see Hye-ryul go soon after her husband and his scandal — or what ever other chaos waits about the bend.
If I’m going to watch a story of energy struggles and vindication, properly, there has to be some actual emotion there in order for us to get behind it. Ideal now I’m not confident if Hye-ryul even genuinely cares about her “perfect” husband, so will his scandal genuinely break her? What does she want in addition to to do her job properly? I assume I require a small much more emotional connection to these characters — any of them — if I’m going to comply with them about for the complete drama, be concerned about the collapse of the eponymous “empire,” and root for the fantastic guys’ good results. Or in the case of Geun-woo, for his swift defenestration.
- Premiere Watch: The Empire, The Golden Spoon, 1 Dollar Lawyer
- The rise and fall of an Empire in JTBC’s upcoming melodrama
- Kim Sun-ah schemes to create her personal Empire of Law
- News bites: September 1, 2022
- News bites: August 24, 2022