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Posted by eric_r_wirsing AKP STAFF Tuesday, August 30, 2016

[Drama Review] 'Scarlet Heart: Ryeo' - Episode 1

Baekhyun, IU, Lee Jun Ki, Kang Ha Neul

You probably know the story by now -- a modern-day woman, Ha Jin, drowns. She comes to in the Goryeo Era and apparently time jumps into the body of Lady Hae Soo (who conveniently looks like her). She meets a dizzying array of people, but the most important ones are...

Chae Ryung -- Hae Soo's handmaiden and confidante.

Prince Wang So -- Fourth in line for the throne, scarred and violent. The people fear him. Is given the task of finding an assassin who has designs on the first prince's life.

Prince Wook -- Even-tempered, thoughtful. Plans on watching over Hae Soo because she's his wife's cousin. Has a sick wife that he cares for.

Princess Yeon Hwa -- the mean girl. Hates Hae Soo.

There are seven other princes, too. They haven't been characterized that well, but some are jokers while others are more serious.

A big plot hole for me is the language barrier. In the Goryeo Era, they would be speaking Middle Korean, which was tonal -- pitch determines meaning, like modern Chinese. Likely the language has evolved enough so that a modern speaker would have a lot of trouble understanding and being understood. You go back that far in English, for example, and it would be a completely different language. She does use modern expressions which confuse people, but it feels like they ignored realism here.

At times, it feels a bit cheesy, like you're supposed to remember it's a TV show. I don't want to feel like it's a show, I want to be immersed. Prince So's presence gives it a darker tone, and my favorite scenes are the ones with him. Appropriate, since he's the male lead.

Frankly, I'm looking for it to get better. It's not bad, and I want to find out what happens next, but there are enough modern tropes that it's hard to take seriously. It is packed, though. Another episode or two should give me a better idea of how it's going. This installment was all setup. The trailers for episode 2 look exciting -- looking forward to seeing that one.




  1. Baekhyun
  2. IU
  3. Lee Jun Ki
  4. Kang Ha Neul
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Kim Sae Ron
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