After yesterday’s exciting opening chapter, The King: Eternal Monarch slows down this time around, adding extra comedy and romance into the fold while allowing the characters to grow into their roles. With less time jumping and a lot more back and forth between Tae-Eul and Lee-Gon, this Korean drama slows its pace down in favour of adding extra depth to proceedings.
Episode 2 of The King: Eternal Monarch begins with Tae-Eul questioning Lee Gon over his greeting and requesting his ID card. Instead, he tells her he’s the King of Corea and admits that he believes he’s come from a parallel universe. He asks to see Queen Yara but instead, she arrests him and brings Maximus to the outside of the station where the other officers marvel at his beauty.
When Tae-Eul searches through his belongings, she finds a lot of material related to the Kingdom Of Corea that causes her to seize it for investigation. After taking his fingerprints, Lee Gon curses his luck as he’s put behind bars. However, Jo Yeong happens to be working in the station there and Lee Gon watches in surprise as he realizes this isn’t the same Yeong that he knows, backing up his theory of this being a parallel universe.
The fingerprint results come back and Tae-Eul learns that no one in the database matches the prints. Deciding to go one step further, she instead takes a swab from inside his mouth. Lee Gon is smart though, realizing that there’s no record of him in the files here and goes on to talk to her again about the parallel worlds.
Trying in vain to distract her with his dashing looks, Tae-Eul eventually realizes this line of questioning is futile and she releases him, joining Lee-Gon as he heads to the jewelers and sells one of his diamonds. It’s worth a lot too and as the night draws on, he decides to get a hotel room while Tae-Eul gets back to work.
Back in Corea, Ok-Nam worries for Lee-Gon as Captain Jo searches for clues over where the King may have gone. With CCTV’s not helping and Lee-Gon’s footprints stopping in the middle of the forest, Jo contemplates just what this means. Captain Jo remembers what Lee Gon told him about the rabbit and watch, deciding to start using this as a clue to fuel his investigation. He speaks to Seung-A and tries to piece together the fragments of what’s going on before presenting this back to Ok-Nam.
In the Republic, Lee Gon settles in to his hotel while Tae-Eul gets to work, bombarded with messages from Lee Gon surrounding this new world. When he finally subsides, retreating to the library to read up on what’s happened in this timeline’s Korea, Tae-Eul meets him and the two discuss the differences over a plate of chicken – chicken that Lee-Gon is not used to trying.
After a brief flashback involving the flute, Lee Gon pushes Tae-Eul to admit the reasons she’s helping him given how vehemently she refuses to believe in his story. Meanwhile, we cut back and see the moments that took place with Song Jung-Hye after Lee Lim killed her son Ji-Hun on the back of her laughter. Following this segment, we see a more sombre, poignant Jung-Hye haunted by the ghosts of the past.
Tae-Eul meanwhile contemplates Lee-Gon’s final words surrounding a reason for him being in this world and it’s enough to pique her interest and head back to see him. The ID card that Lee-Gon has, the one he acquired 25 years ago, was issued to her on the 11th November 2019. He’s waiting around until that time to figure out what significance (if any) this may have.
While he waits, Lee-Gon makes a big decision and decides to make Tae-Eun his Queen and wife. As she looks at him, she shakes her head and mutters how crazy he is as he stares deeply into her eyes, where the episode ends.
With plenty of character development and some nice back and forth between the two leads, The King:Eternal Monarch takes the time to build up the budding romance between our two main characters. It works well for the most part too, with plenty of funny jokes and memorable moments dotted throughout. Although this humour is welcome and there’s a few nicely shot segments of dialogue, there isn’t an awful lot of plot development this time around.
One little Easter Egg worth mentioning though comes from the Republic Of Korea’s Captain Jo turning on the TV and cheekily watching Busted after the familiar Netflix logo ping. It’s a small moment but it’s enough to really set this in real time and offer K-drama fans a bit of an Easter Egg.
As The King: Eternal Monarch starts to slow down and settle into a more consistent rhythm, it’ll be interesting to see what direction this takes next but given the preview we receive for next week’s episode, it seems likely now that time travel may actually be a contributing factor here after all.