first impression of empress ki…otp off to a promising start

It’s weird how much I love Ha Ji Won in sageuks – because I really don’t fancy her contemporary projects. Apologies Secret Garden and King 2 Hearts fans! Watching the first episode of Empress Ki is testament that she is one of those few actresses who can really rock the ancient era with panache. Joo Jin Mo wears sageuk like a second skin so no worries on that front either – especially unshaven and garbed head-to-toe in royal attire.

I adored the first five minutes of the drama, which opened with the Yuan emperor asking the Goryeo emperor whether he still loved his soon-to- be-empress. And later, it shows Empress Ki marrying the Yuan emperor, with her Goryeo emperor lover watching painfully from afar. Their gazes lock and oooopmh…the lovely play of emotions brimming just below surface of HJW and JJM is just so tantalisingly perfect.

It is amusing to see JJM play a crown prince at his age while HJW cross-dresses, looking like a very pretty young boy. It’s really cool how she alters her voice to sound convincingly like a brash male hothead. The drama went along at a nice pace and I do like how the OTP meet for the first time and their subsequent interactions. JJM is just so ruggedly manly to the bone so watching him onscreen is such a treat. Really. He’s like my 30+ version of Lee Min Ho.

I guess episode 2 will see her meeting the contender for her heart, the future Yuan emperor a.k.a Ji Chang Wook. I suspect there will be quite a number of viewers that will ship HJW-JCW together, but my heart’s with HJW-JJM’s tragic love tale. I won’t say the first episode swept me away – it didn’t. There are the standard night market dates and political machinations around, with a corrupt high-ranking official determined to bring down the king. Directing was fine, so was the writing. But the episode did do enough to cement my decision to follow the drama, which didn’t take much since the casting of JJM and HJW is enough to make me a happy camper. And if that’s not enough, the supporting cast is made up of a whole slew of sageuk veterans who can boost the overall delivery of the drama.