The King: Eternal Monarch – Full Season 1 Review

Season 1

Episode Guide

Episode 1 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 2 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 3 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 4 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 5 -| Review Score – 3/5
Episode 6 -| Review Score – 3.5/5
Episode 7 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 8 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 9 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 10 -| Review Score – 5/5
Episode 11 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 12 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 13 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 14 -| Review Score – 4/5
Episode 15 -| Review Score – 4.5/5
Episode 16 -| Review Score – 4.5/5


Shows involving time travel are always tricky to pull off correctly. From plot holes and convoluted lore to stories rife for contrivances and confusion, The King: Eternal Monarch begins with a fair amount of confusion before righting itself and becoming something wholly engrossing and highly enjoyable. Between parallel worlds and a love story anchoring everything together, this hugely popular Korean drama is helped by a returning Lee Min-Ho who fronts this sci-fi series and helps add a lot of charisma.

The story itself revolves around two parallel worlds; the Republic of Korea as we know it and the Kingdom of Corea. In Corea, the King is killed by his Uncle, Lee Lim, while his son Lee Gon faces certain death at his hands. Thankfully, a mysterious cloaked figure approaches and saves him from his fate, fighting through the guards and forcing this man to flee. The only remnant left behind is an ID card for a woman named Tae-Eul.

From here, we cut forward in time as we follow a grown Lee Gon, sporting a scar from his Uncle’s attack and leading the Kingdom of Corea. When he discovers a portal leading to another world, and two ends of a flute that cause this to happen, what follows is a portal-hopping journey between both worlds in a bid to save time itself from collapsing. With Lee Lim alive and formulating a plot to change the world, the story soon complicates matters by the inclusion of both versions of the same character from Korea and Corea, sometimes switching sides or meeting their alter-selves.

All of this builds up to the climactic fight to change destiny while establishing some time travel lore along the way. Only, this does change and bend to suit the plot more toward the end. Without giving too much away, the ideas presented during the series hint that what happened in the past will always happen; a cyclical series of events that are impossible to change. Only, this isn’t the case and fate does change toward the end as our characters set out to right the wrongs and change the course of history. 

Anchoring all of this together is the love story between Tae-Eul and Lee Gon. The duo begin with a pretty frosty reception and not much chemistry but as the season progresses, they do grow into their roles and have a lot more affection together. The rare instances of comedy are well-implemented and the series does a good job capturing this during opportune moments. Ultimately it’s the supporting cast that really shine here though and all the actors do an excellent job portraying two alternate versions of themselves. Woo Do-Hwan portrays the cool-headed King’s guard Jo-Young and the wacky Eun-Sup wonderfully and the scenes they share together are excellent.

Stylistically, the series does have trouble from time to time distinguishing between the two different worlds and the editing does the show no favours when deciphering whether we’re in Corea or Korea. Thankfully, most of the action does take place within the Palace in Corea so it’s not too much of an issue but it is worth bearing in mind.

The soundtrack is decent too and the different themes capture the emotions felt throughout the series nicely (we’ve reviewed that separately so won’t go into too much detail here.) Visually, the show does well to add some light special effects and some of the dissolving and time freezing are naturally implemented into the show.

The King: Eternal Monarch is a wonderful Korean drama that perfectly portrays its love story centre stage while adding enough twists and turns along the way to make for a highly enjoyable watch. As a binge-watch however, Eternal Monarch does feel like it may be quite a heavy one to plough through in one go – especially given the 75 minute run-time for each episode. As a show to digest and take your time with, this is well worth watching. It may not be the best K-drama of the year, but it is certainly a challenger for that throne and definitely a must-watch for 2020.


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  • Verdict - 8.5/10

27 thoughts on “The King: Eternal Monarch – Full Season 1 Review”

  1. I’m leaving this review before I’ve finished the series but the plot is very thrilling & definitely keeps you on the edge of your seat. But what keeps going through my mind is why the king loves the female lead so much? She’s basically rude to him almost all the time, never even thanks him when he saves her life, she’s slovenly and never once has her hair brushed that I’ve seen yet & im on episode 12, and honestly the Prime Minister is so much better looking. Had they switched roles, it would be much more believable that he just loves her unconditionally due to her extreme beauty but this actress is just barely “attractive”. But the story is very compelling

  2. Interesting drama, however most viewers should secretly admit watching it for Lee Min Ho – if it was a different actor it is certain the reviews would have been lower..probabky because the chemistry between leads was missing the difference between amazing and nice. For comparison, watch him in Faith, and you will get my meaning.

  3. I enjoyed watching this KDrama. The characters grow and change. All of them showed deep emotions, and understanding of their unique situations and contributed to the unfold of the plot. The settings were beautiful to watch. The set decorations and their distinct features was definitely a treat to our eyes. The plot kept balancing reality, fiction, and science fiction. That kept my interest from start to finish.
    I did not find the plot confusion al all because as the story unfolds the characters shared their discoveries, views and intentions clearly.
    The cinematography and editing were a a big plus to this show where every scene was so beautiful filmed and put together seemlesly.
    I highly recommend this show! Thanks Netflix.

  4. Hi, Emily, earlier, the PM told her mom she should answer “mackerel” when asked what she had for dinner. When the mom gave another answer, it meant she was the doppelganger of the PM’s mom.

  5. This is the best kdrama ever! Classy, intelligent, top-notch acting with swoon-worthy romance. I hope there’s a Season 2 where Lee Gon will grant Lady Noh her wish of a Royal Ancestral Line.

  6. The recorded video on 2022 of Luna is a sign from the God (in shape of the boy) to remind that when the two worlds go their right paths, it will be like that.

  7. I loved this series and think that the entire cast did an excellent job with a difficult premise (parallel worlds, time travel, etc.). I especially enjoyed watching LMH and KGE playing the most unlikely but lovable couple. I felt that they carried the series. I was convinced of their growing affection for each other and thought that their chemistry was off the charts. I hope they are paired together again.

  8. This story line jumps a lot. I get confused and had to re-watch previous episodes. Still , the plot is great and engaging. Chemistry between LMH and KGE , I simply don’t see it. Banters and jokes between them are cute though. I do see these individual actor and actress can do stand alone projects. They sure can do drama.

  9. The show is amazing and I am hoping that there will be season 2 for monarch king lee min ho is an excellent actor I love his action he is good at it I started watching Korean movie since I watch his movies boys and the flowers I amsearhing more mo of his movies and i am looking forward some more of his movies He is very handsome actor

  10. Why did the prime minister go berserk when her mother didnt answer the code? I dont quite get this.

  11. They lived happily ever after but leave no heir to the throne. If you follow Korean historic dramas, the king needs an heir. The Cousin who was exiled was killed in the second err third jump back. Also they focused on people who really don’t matter in the end, like the pregnant woman. And how did he save Jo Yeong if he died in the gun battle?

  12. Loved it, the ending was nice, more modern than the marriage thing which rarely works! Ideal , in my opinion! Acting was superb, madly in love with Lee Minho! Korean men are dreamy!!!!

  13. Absolutely my favourite since moon embracing the sun and descendants of the sun. Mingo couple had us looking forward to happily ever after – which delivered but in an unconventional way, a low for those of us who believe in disney’s endings. The supporting cast shine in their own right. My favourite being Lady Nob and Jangmi

  14. TKEM is just only evolves with both two parallel worlds,so much confusion,though,and you really need to focus on your watching,but for as long as it’s our Lee Min Ho,this Kdrama is still the best ever,kodus to all the actors and to everyone….you all did a very good job…May God bless you more …always keep it up👍👍👏👏🙏❤️

  15. Loved it and wished it showed them marry and go back and forth through time to help people and work together …❤❤❤

  16. The best thing about this drama is of course leemin Ho. He shines so bright all the time and totally gorgeous. It’s worth watching. Loved it…visuals are top of the world. Lovely starcast. Total package. Better than guardian. 💗

  17. I loved lee minho’s acting and happy to have him back from army. Their pair is perfect and the way lee gon rides on maximus everytime stole my heart. I loved the entire drama. It’s ofcourse one of the best dramas of 2020.

  18. I love the drama The King eternal monarch and all the actor has done great work and as always Lee Minho is all time best .

  19. TKEM drama yang bagus, dengan kualitas aktor Dan aktris yang bagus pula. Terutama Kim go eun, memerankan dua karakter berbeda. Kim go eun mempunyai tatapan Mata yang sangat menakjubkan Dan mempesona. Ketika dia berperan antagonist matanya tajam Dan dingin. Ketika person protagonist tatapan matanya teduh Dan bersinar. Awesome girl

  20. A very complcated drama, not my cup of tea. I stop watching until episode 5 then watch ending. Not good, its just my opinion no offense meant.

  21. I regretted that it comes to an end .i am in tears. Wish i could meet them one day❤❤❤❤. Keep up the good work you guys are great and awesome actors . 👋👋👋

  22. I really enjoyed wathing this k-drama…Lee Min Ho is one of my favorite korean actor..he is good looking too.

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