I feel slightly guilty for having stopped recapping Hwajung, but at the same time I don’t really. It was a heavy historical and the knowledge of what happens to Gwanghae in real life just depressed my viewing of it. But there are a few reasons why I stopped.
1. The cinematography and lighting style really bothered me
There was a “soap opera” effect on the last few episodes I had seen that really started to bother me. Everything looked too real, too smooth, and too flat. The lighting felt harsher and everything seemed too crisp. It’s hard to see in still frames, but while watching, I thought I was viewing a soap opera. It’s quite visible in some of the palace scenes involving the officials.
2. The constant doubting of Gwanghae
There’s only so much I can take before I get really pissed at all the characters for doubting Gwanghae so much. It gets tiring when there’s no one really rooting for or supporting the king, and his only confidants are people with dubious motives as well (Kim Gae Shi and Lee Yi Cheom).
3. Cha Seung Won does not stay on for the entirety of the drama
It’s similar to what happened in Queen Seon Duk where Go Hyun Jung does not stay on for the entire drama. Go Hyun Jung was one of the remarkable parts of that historical drama, and she was the villain. For me, Cha Seung Won was the best part of Hwajung and it’s disheartening to know that he doesn’t stay for the entire series. I get that Gwanghae doesn’t really rule for very long, and you need something to fill 50-episodes. But it’s sad that all 50-episodes don’t go to him.
Well, it just means Cha Seung Won is now free to do other dramas while Kim Jae Won takes his place.
4. Couldn’t care less about everyone else.
Lee Yeon Hee is really the sole driving force of this drama now as she’s the one who’s been around from beginning (or almost beginning) to the end, so she has a huge burden to carry. Unfortunately she’s not a great draw for me in this drama. That’s not to say she’s a terrible actress; I enjoyed her plenty in Miss Korea. But that means I enjoyed her in a contemporary drama, not in a historical.
Seo Kang Joon is also not that interesting to watch, as his character was too naive for me to believe. And Han Joo Wan? Bless his soul for being a second male lead again in a love triangle but I didn’t have high hopes in enjoying his character’s trajectory considering he’s the son of the main conspirator against the king.
Now I understand that I stopped quite early, and that characters are supposed to grow and change. That stopping 28% of the way in a drama is not enough of a chance. But either I continue watching this somewhat depressing drama (since I’m all about Cha Seung Won) or I spend my time on happier shows.
So, I’m sorry I won’t be continuing these recaps. But I will tend my focus elsewhere (like perhaps finishing the long ago Queen Seon Duk recaps that I had started, have most episodes written up, but still missing a few episode summaries and lots of pictures).