After a hype and long wait Lee Min Ho starrer The King: Eternal Monarch is airing from April 17, 2020. With the telecasting of the fifth episode, the ratings have not gone up, leaving the fans concerned. Even though watching Lee Min Ho as Emperor Lee Gon is always a treat to watch and Kim Go Eun too is fierce with her role of detective and grand scenes, still the drama is finding it difficult to increase its ratings.
The fifth episode has recorded 8.6 ratings (nationwide) and 9.3 percent ratings in Seoul, which is a dip when compared to the first episode that had recorded 11.4 percent and 12.9 percent viewership, respectively.
The King: Eternal Monarch is a story of love between two people from parallel worlds. The story is written by Kim Eun-sook, who has given hit series like Descendants of the Sun, The Heirs (starring Lee Min Ho), Goblin (starring Kim Go Eun), Mr Sunshine etc. The series is being directed by Baek Sang-Hoon.
With the name of the writer, director and cast the expectations were high about The King: Eternal Monarch. Though the drama is not disappointing, it feels like some elements are missing that could have drawn more audience. Listed here are three important (possible) reasons for the development rather lack of development.
1) Development of plot
The plot of the parallel world has always raised the interest of the Korean audience and grabbed their attention. This science-fiction too started off with 11.8 percent rating, which is quite good for opening. The first episode introduced the characters and both the worlds. Though switch between the two worlds was quite confusing in the beginning, slowly from next episode it became clear. But the main problem was the development of the plot and lack of secrets or mysteries that could keep the audience hooked to the screens.
Beside Emperor Lee Gon developing feelings for Jeong Tae-Eul, trying to win her heart when she continues to refuse to believe him and his theory of the parallel world was dragged for four episodes. Though the introduction of the villain was spot on, the plot around him has not developed much yet, and he still doesn't seem to be a person with a plan that could pose a big danger. Be it in terms of politics (Emperor Lee Gon's kingdom) or bringing Prime Minister Koo Seo Ryung, Confusions of Jo Yeong (Woo Do Hwan) it is not compelling yet.
There is a lack of smooth transition between the two parallel worlds. With the fifth episode, a third dimension is also shown, which comes without any prelude, all of a sudden, making the audience confused. The plot or relevance of this third dimension doesn't fit well in the time frame of the already introduced elements. Instead of creating an atmosphere of surprise, it makes people wonder if the scene relayed by mistake.
Probably with the coming episodes, this confusion will be cleared and the element will prove to be an important part in making the drama interesting.
3) Forced scenes
It looks like Emperor Lee Gon's feelings for Jeong Tae-Eul are reciprocated as she is always seen pushing him away. Even though she enters the Palace, she doesn't look anything like she likes Lee Gon. In such a situation, the kiss scene in episode 5, felt sudden and king of forced, without building the emotions of the two characters.
Lee Gon as an emperor is still shown as the one who has to carry out responsibilities like giving speeches, opening a sports event etc. His face as a decision making personality is probably yet to be revealed. The fact that he is intimidated by the prime minister who barges in disadvantageous situations makes it look like the prime minister is more powerful than the emperor, making Lee Gon's character look weak.
Will there be stronger scenes that logically build the main characters to make a stronger appeal to the audience, only time can tell. The sixth episode of The King: Eternal Monarch will be aired today (May 2) at SBS and on online platform Netflix (for the global audience).