“Hwajung” (“Splendid Politics”) Episodes 17 & 18

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Episodes 17 and 18 of Hwajung (aka Splendid Politics) deliver the pay-off we’ve awaited since early in the series. The Queen Mother’s arrest forces the princess to reveal her identity. After last week’s episodes, which occasionally got bogged down in MIBTIR (Men in Beards Talking in Rooms), it was a good change of pace. The … Read more

“Hwajung” Episodes 13 to 16: The Eye of Mercy

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Even if you’re not watching Hwajung, there’s one thing about it you should know: Han Joo-Wan is one to watch. In the role of Kang In-Woo, he hasn’t had as many scenes as first lead Seo Kang-Joon, who plays Joo-Won. But every time he appears on screen, he shows new sides to this character. Episodes 13 … Read more

“Hwajung” Episodes 11 & 12: “But I Touched Her Hand!”

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Joo-Won is horrified to discover Hwa-Yi is a girl. He can be so tough and resourceful sometimes, but offend his propriety and he’s got no idea what to do. It’s hard to say what bothers him more, the fact that Hwa-Yi has lied to him, or the fact that Joo-Won has accidentally spent time with … Read more

“Hwajung” (“Splendid Politics”) Episodes 9 & 10: Escape from Edo

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This week, the adult actors have settled into their roles and look more assured. Episode 9 starts slow, setting up the action to come, but when things get going, Hwajung delivers some dynamite scenes. At the end of episode 10, I was desperate for what’s next. I’m surprised at how quickly things are unfolding—the princess has grown … Read more

“Hwajung” (“Splendid Politics”) Episodes 7 & 8

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Whenever men with beards appear in Hwajung (a.k.a. Splendid Politics), I feel like the serial killer in Girl who Sees Smells. The murderous Chef Kwon can’t recognize faces because of a neurological problem—what’s my excuse? All I can say is that to my eyes, the men in beards are almost identical. It’s week four and I’m finally able to … Read more

“Hwajung” (“Splendid Politics”) Episodes 5 & 6

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Darn you, Joseon-era fashion! I know clothing in the past wasn’t supposed to reflect your individuality. Back in the day, clothes were supposed to identify your class and rank. The more you looked like everyone else, the better. But although it’s historically accurate to put every government minister in the exact same wispy beard, red robe and … Read more