Monday, August 16, 2010

Queen Seon Deok - Final Review Part 2: Why MBC Can Totally Shove It

All right!!  Hope everyone had a great, great weekend because I certainly did.  Had lots and lots of sleep, finished my paperback, finally watched Inglorious Basterds on HBO (Nein! Nein! Nein!), and wrapped-up some unfinished chores around the house.  It's amazing how much a complete night's sleep can invigorate you.  If people would just get enough sleep, there would be probably less wars.  I think the reason why most world leaders feel antipathy against one another is because their sleep-deprived brains is making them nuke their neighbors.  See, I'm also not as infuriated today as I was last week when I was writing the first part of my final review of Queen Seon Deok.  Looking back, yeah, I guess I was a bit mean to MBC and QSD.   Hence, I'll try to be less biased and more optimistic this time. :-)

Ahem.  Anyway, where did we leave off?  Oh yeah, when we last left Deokman and Co., the princess has been crowned the new queen; and Silla is in such a merry, optimistic, sha-la-la state.  And Chun Chu is still as adorable as ever! :-)   

The new queen decides to forgive the Legion of Doom and simply forget  the fact that they have tried to kill her a gazillion times -- all in the name of peace and reconciliation.  Oof, those bad decisions are going to smack you right into the noggin', Deokman.  Just wait and see.  Moreover, she gives Smirky the authority to  watch over them, figuring that since he is Mishil's son, he'll be able to control their actions.  For instance, Bidam could now tell Lord Misaeng that the giant fan that the latter keeps carrying around is making him look gay.  Wait, hold that thought...  Now, it's Smirky who's carrying the fan.  LMAO!  This is hilarious!

Ten years pass and everyone "matures" -- at least all the males do, as they are now seen sporting beards and mustaches which takes a couple of episodes getting used to.  On the other hand, Deokman looks like she hasn't aged a bit.  True, her wardrobe colors have been revamped from the fruity, princess-y kind to those of regal hues (i.e. burgundy, royal blue, emerald, gold, etc.), but she's still as fresh and as pretty as when we encountered her 41 episodes ago.  Wow!  Has it really been  that long?  

Yushin, who has now grown through the ranks of the military as a general; returns to the capital -- victorious from his latest battle with the Baekje.  Wolya nonchalantly remarks about Yushin's rising popularity and casually insinuates how the timing is just oh-so perfect for a marriage between the queen and the general.  Oh, snap! :-) Apparently, this hasn't been the only time Wolya has been dropping hints of a royal matrimony.  We have heard him tell Yushin before, just after they became allies, that the only time the Gaya would be completely free is when our guy marries the princess.  Hee hee!  Is it just me or is Wolya starting to sound like Yushin's annoying little brother?  He just wouldn't stop pestering the general about nuptials and stuff.  I'm betting their conversations would usually run like this:

First day:
Wolya:  "You have to marry the Queen!"
Yushin:  "Wolya, my answer is no."

The next day:
Wolya:  "Yushin, please marry the Queen, for our people's sake."
Yushin:  "How many times do I need to tell you?  I will not."

Third day:
Wolya:  "Err, Yushin.  I don't think it would be too much of a bother if you and the Queen could join in conjugal ties.  I mean, you know... think about it."
Yushin (exasperated):  "For the love of God, Wolya!  Just quit it!"

After a couple of minutes:
Wolya:  "Umm, could you tell me again why you can't marry her?"

Fast forward a decade or so, and he's still holding on to that dream of a Yushin-Deokman Wedding of the Century!!!  LOL!  You're not the only one, Wolya. :-)

Nonetheless; Yushin; as he has done multiple times before; rebukes Wolya -- telling him that he does not desire the throne (Amen! Power corrupts, people!) and essentially telling us that though he has been in love with Deokman since... hmm, FOREVER; his duty for the queen and the country remains his topmost responsibility.  WORD!! Ah, such nobility!  Yep, Wolya; though the prospect of a royal marriage between Yushin and Deokman is certainly enticing, we all know that Yushin is way better than that.     

Meanwhile back at the palace, Smirky becomes the commish and forms his own Strike Team.  Unbeknownst to the queen, Bidam uses a variety of Guantanamo-like unethical methods straight from the Jack Bauer School of Interrogation (motto: coercion + tortureto maintain peace and justice.  See, I told you power corrupts.  Wolya, who has now gotten weary badgering Yushin; secretly resurrects the Gaya Restoration Movement whom the Strike Team conveniently discovers.  This angers Deokman so much that in order to appease her and spare the Gaya from retribution, Yushin turns himself in and accepts any punishment in their stead.  Augh, I've lost count of how many times Yushin has sacrificed himself in order to save other people's butts.  Anyway, as Smirky's power and influence grow within the palace, Yushin finds himself further embroiled because of Wolya's actions.  The noisy nobles, led by Smirky, persuade the queen to execute Yushin.  However, under the guise of an exile, she orders him on a super-secret ninja mission to infiltrate the Baekja camp instead.  What the... Deokman, are you trying to get him killed????? Yushin, of course, dutifully obeys his orders.  He discovers the enemy's plan for a Blitzkrieg attack on one of Silla's fortresses; almost gets killed by an arrow; gets captured by the Bidam-backed army; and it's double whammy as he goes back to jail once again -- out of the frying pan and into the fire.  (I'm running out of idioms to describe Yushin's predicaments.)  The general, ever unmindful of his plight and personal safety, tries to convince the court of the enemy's scheme.  But sadly, his words fall on deaf ears.  Hard-headed, stupid morons!  Finally, just as Yushin predicts; the enemy attacks and seizes the fortress!  Hahaha!!  Now everyone has got eggs on their faces!! You gotta listen to Yushin, guys.  He and Chun Chu are the only ones using their brains in these last few episodes.   Everyone else needs a lobotomy.  

The kingdom scrambles to prepare for the war and Lord Soelwon was forced out of his retirement by Smirky to lead Yushin's army.  Oh crap, here comes the end of Solweon.  Thanks a lot, Bidam!  Before departing, Seolwon goes to Mishil's shrine and vows to win the battle so that Smirky can marry the queen.  Umm, Earth to Soelwon, why do you need to fight in Bidam's stead?  Why not let Bidam haul his lazy bum off his lazy chair and allow him to prove his crazy-scary "love" for Deokman in the battlefield rather than just make moon eyes at her?  Why does he need you as his proxy, huh?  Huh?  Huh?  This whole thing is super-ridiculous.  Really. 

Finally, Soelwon says goodbye to Mishil and then whispers, "Seju... I miss you."  Ah, this is terribly sad.

As expected, Solweon loses his final battle and Bojong watches forlornly as his father breathes his last breath.  I blame all this to you, Smirky -- you and your good-for-nothing plans.  Solweon's defeat becomes the last straw for Deokman.  She defies the nobles (about time!), re-establishes her alliance with the Gaya, reinstates Yushin's position in the military, and gives him back his army.  True to form, the wise general sees through the enemy's ruse and crafts an ingenious strategy to trounce the Baekja.  A massive, blood and thunder battle then ensues.  Here goes the CGI fireballs!  

In the meantime; while all this heavy onslaught is going on and people's lives are being perished; Smirky and the Queen take the time out to have slow-mo walks around the palace, hold hands, oogle at each other, re-experience their sappy flashbacks, and have their disgustingly romantic moments that would make people puke.  Oi!!! There's a war going on here!!!  Oh well, let them have those moments.  This "thing" or whatever it is, isn't going to last anyway.  Bleh!  

Finally, after days of bloody havoc, the Baekja caves in.  Yushin and his army return triumphantly to the palace just in time for the Queen to announce her marriage to Bidam.  What the frag???  Awesome timing, your lordship -- way to completely steal someone's thunder.  

Just as I've written in my previous post; this is completely gratuitous, reckless, idiotic, moronic, and out of character!!!  Where is the Deokman who would not allow her emotions  influence her principles?  Where is the Deokman who refuses to let feelings affect her judgement?  Where is the Deokman who vowed never to marry and never to let any man control her?  Did MBC change writers?  Because this is a 360-degree change of Deokman's personality!  It's like some alien life form took over her body.  I repeat, this is not the logical, rational, steadfast, Deokman that I know!!! 

Of course, everyone is totally shocked by this unexpected news, including Smirky.  The dumbstruck look on his face is priceless. :-)  Aw, shucks.  I feel sorry for Kim Yushin.  This must have been a real hurt locker for him.  The plaintive expression he gives to Deokman is heartbreaking.  Nonetheless, he mans up, congratulates the queen, and then apologizes for not being the "one" who can provide the console and solace she needs.  J'aime beaucoup, Uhm Tae Woong!  :-)

Chun Chu, on the other hand, is absolutely hurt and betrayed.  And with good reason.  Bidam is the son of the woman who wiped out his entire family!  That is beyond forgiveness!  Chun Chu also proceeds to caution Deokman -- telling her that beneath Smirky's romantic facade is a traitor who will not stop at anything to seize the throne.  It might look like real wuv or something, but underneath that "sincere" exterior lurks a constant hunger for power that will never be satiated.  Ergo, Bidam can never be trusted.  Great insight, Chun Chu.  :-)  Nevertheless, we're not sure if Chun Chu's advice hits home because the next thing I know, Deokman is giving Bidam the preciousssss. 

Take care of the preciousssss....
My precioussssss.......
Meanwhile, back at the Legion of Doom's Headquarters; Lord Misaeng et. al. begin to suspect that Bidam has gone all softie.  Thus, he might abandon his plans of  becoming dictator-king.  This does not sit well with them so they device all kinds of schemes to unleash Smirky's evil nature.  Torn between his wuv for Deokman and his lust for power, plus all his insecurities stemming from the fact that the queen will never trust him as much as she trusts Yushin; Smirky just totally loses it and succumbs to the dark side.  (Insert John William's Imperial March here.)  And like Mishil before him, Bidam stages a coup d'etat.  

Similarly, like King Jinyeong; the stress and betrayal is too much for Deokman; and she begins to suffer from a variety of illnesses.  Hmm... Obvious recycled plots and recycled score.  The writers are completely running out of ideas.  See, this is why MBC should have stopped at episode 51!

The queen assembles the army for her final (personal) war against Bidam and his co-conspirators.  She also orders Alcheon to join the army and gives him Smirky's post (chief of nobles) as the latter has just been unceremoniously booted out from his office.  With two brave and seasoned Hwarang Lords leading the battle, Yushin and Alcheon are able to annihilate Bidam's army easily and the Legion of Doom runs away with their tails between their legs.  Except for Bidam, of course.  He storms the palace the very next day and delivers one of the best, kickass, fight sequences in television history.  Indeed, combat is now no longer restricted to physics as we see Bidam fly through the air; run up the backs of the royal guards; and swiftly deflect multiple sabers, shields, ropes, and arrows.  I know, i know.  This is heavily exaggerated but what the heck?  I'm enjoying Smirky's final bow before he swims with the fishes.  More popcorn, please! 

Bidam's swordplay is angry, fast, and furious.  Yushin even tries to get him to surrender peacefully but Smirky scoffs and challenges him for a duel.  Ahahaha!  Bring it on!!  But instead of fighting, he runs past through a bewildered Yushin.  (What?  Come back, Bidam!  Don't ruin this epic moment!)  He inches closer and closer towards the queen until he comes face-to-face with Alcheon.  Alcheon tries to hold him back but Smirky is persistent.  Finally, Yushin draws his sword and in one final blow, kills Bidam.  He collapses to the ground, lifeless.

Farewell, my sweet bastard.
I must admit I'm a bit touched when Smirky died.  But see, you brought this on yourself, Bidam.  I would never, ever be able to forgive you for conspiring against Yushin and attempting to spearhead his execution.  So, you can rot in hell for all I care.  Say hello to Saddam for me.      

The queen stands up and acknowledges that the insurrection has been subjugated.   And now that Silla is one in power, mind, and spirit; they could at last begin to work on their goal of re-unifying the Three Kingdoms. 

Whoops!  Camera guy, you all right?  Oh, I see... artsy drama effect.

Three days pass since Smirky's assault and Deokman's inevitable death is quickly becoming obvious.  She requests for Yushin to accompany her outside the palace so she'll be able to see the majesty of  Silla one last time.  Ah, Deokman's final conversation with Yushin is so painful yet so beautiful and intimate.  It's making me cry in buckets.

"I came into contact with many people -- some of them protected me; others became fierce rivals of mine; and others even loved me.  Many came and went but the one who has always remained by my side is you, Lord Yushin.  We walked along that ardous path together.  And it was only possible because of you...  It is to you whom I can entrust this nation and all its aspirations with full confidence and peace of heart."

Flash forward years later and an aged; battle-scarred; still-fighting-the-good-fight Yushin visits the tomb of Queen Seon Deok.  He greets an elderly Alcheon who is paying his respects as well.  The two friends talk about Yushin's latest battle subjugating the last of the Baekja resistance.  Alcheon then cheerfully informs the queen that with this latest victory,  their dream of a united kingdom is close at hand.  Yushin concurs and his thoughts quickly drift away as he reminisce his final moments with his beloved Queen.

"Lord Yushin... We once tried to escape, didn't we?  Remember?  Shall we do it now?"

And then Deokman dies.  Oh, Yushin, please stop crying...  Sniff.

I mourn for the Queen and I shed tears for Yushin's loss.  :-( 

Here, At The End of All Things
On a happy note, I'm glad that on her final moments, the Queen chooses to be with Yushin -- faithful friend and lifelong companion.  As she enters into a dream-like state, Deokman even asks Yushin to run away with her, just as he had asked her many, many years ago.  Truly, "All things come full circle."

Thank you Queen Seon Deok.  Thanks, MBC.  It has been such a great and wonderful journey "growing up" with Deokman and Yushin as well -- experiencing love and loss; defeat and triumph; pain and joy.  Forgive me for my nitpicks, especially on those last episodes.  I do that because I care about you guys and I would like the show to be the brilliant masterpiece it deserves to be.  So yeah, kamsahamnida!  Love and peace! :-)

This is how I would like to remember Deokman -- a bumbling but intrepid trainee in those days of yore; free from the chains and burden of royal responsibility, with her gallant captain; Kim Yushin, forever at her side.

To lighten the mood, here are some playful pics of one of my favorite TV couples :  Uhm Tae Woong and Lee Yo-Won.  It's amusing that despite all the heavy drama, somber mood, and overall seriousness of Queen Seon Deok; the actors can be really goofy, silly, and can have lots of super-happy fun time in the set.  They're so cute!  Enjoy!

Once again, a million thanks to my drama buddies -- mysoju, dramafever, dramatomy, dramabeans, and youtube.  :-)  -fin-


  1. now I know how you've been spending your summer -- glued in front of the TV. Haha! k-dramas are really addicting!

  2. Hmm... That's strange. I don't remember having any of these multiple double spaces while writing this post. Whatever happened to Blogger? Aww, sorry guys.

  3. Hi Plucky! There's a link posted on Yudeok Army: Philippines (a Facebook Fan Page devoted to Yushin and Deokman), which I'm sure you'll find interesting. Here's the link:

  4. Whoa, thanks anonymous! Very insightful (and sad) article. For all of you readers, here's the transcript:(Thanks Blogger Perlita and Yudeok: Philippines.)

    Queen Seon Deok and Kim Yushin: A Tragic Love

    "How could love so deep and true be ever withheld from the one your truly love?

    Such is the tragic love story of Queen Seondeok and Kim Yushin who both let their "noble" cause of unifying the three (3) Kingdoms by extracting Lady Misil (Mishil) from the seat of power and restoring it back to the Royal Family, come in between of their once in a lifetime opportunity to find that elusive one true love.

    What is power without love to nurture it?
    What is success without the happiness in achieving it?
    A life lived but unshared with the one you truly love is a life not fully lived.

    While to live for others is a noble cause, to live for oneself is equally a noble cause. For one cannot give to others something that is wanting in his own life.

    In the final episode, the dying Queen Seondeok made known to Kim Yushin, the identity of the lady in her dreams - herself, giving advice to her younger self. That in her quest for the throne, she will lose her true love and it will be painful from thereon. Of all the things she said, the most touching were the words..."I seem to have everything...but in truth... I've got nothing."

    She let go of the chance to live life with Kim Yushin at the first instance her identity was known. Despite Kim Yushin's firm resolve to live a new life with her, away from Shilla, choosing her over Princess Cheonmyeong, she decided to go back to Shilla. Kim Yushin devotedly followed her and staked everything to achieve her goal.

    The second chance to finally have Kim Yushin would have been choosing him over Bidam to be her husband when the Gaya descendant disbanded their restoration movement, finally vanishing the issue of Kim Yushin gaining the throne for Gaya' sake.

    She let go of this too!

    In the end, she died alone and lonely...presumably having second thoughts if not regrets in the choices she made and the two chances she wasted. But then again, the nobility in spirit far outweighed her mortal inclinations.

    Not everyone is priviliged to be Queen. It beckons only the most extraordinary of mortals."

    Ah, this tugs my heartstrings.

  5. aish sorry but I am a certified Bideok :p
    though I see Yushin really loves his Deokman and that he's so faithful to her, I think they're just equal when deokman announced her engagement to Bidam, coz remember Yushin also married other woman and once he became so weak he almost cling or surrender to Mishil's embrace. At least Bidam until the very end is solid for Deokman only. heheh just my thought :D
    Anyway very nice review! I enjoyed reading it! I LOLed at the my precious part ! xD

  6. Hey!! I'm just a random reader, but I really feel how you feel about this drama as I read your reviews though I haven't finished watching it yet. I really wished Yudeok ended up together and that there could be more of them - there's just not enough!! If I were Deokman, I'ld definitely have chosen to run away with yushin much earlier on, to be rid of any royal status / burden, which put an invisible but unbreakable barrier btwn them.. (but then there wouldn't be any story right! Xp) anyway, thank you so much for your reviews and I'm glad to hear someone with so much similar thoughts about then drama as I do:)

  7. awesome post! im rolling on the floor teary-eyed bcz i can't stop laughing...wat a great combination of excellent views & unique, extremely funny pick.up lines..i nver laughed my ass off so hard before..until now im stil laughing at "my precious, smirky & super-secret ninja mission...LOL
    i really hate 2 see d change of deokman's character in d last few episodes..letting good chances pass by & foolishly making wrong decisions..i agree dat mbc shud hav stopped at episode 51..d succeeding episodes r quite boring & irritating bcz of smirky...ewwwwwwwwwwwww i really hate him! really really hate dat eccentric bidam..deokman is foolish fr choosing him...yushin is d man! yudeok forever!!!!!!!!!

  8. I love yushin and deokman...

  9. Hello from Indonesia. Love your post! .Yea, I'm Yushin-Deokman shipper too!. :).

    My fave is episode 48 when Yushin reminisce his conversation with's when Deokman decides to return to the palace and counter Mi Sil. Yushin said no subject would send his leader to face their death, and no man would send the woman he loves either..He never stops feeling for her, he just stop letting it show. :'-).

    And Wolya,..this good-looking guy, yes, I like his idea to unite the Queen and Yushin in a marriage, regardless his intention, hahaha. When Yushin refused, Wolya believes it's Yushin's love for the Queen that gives him Idea to unite Gaya & Silla without dreaming to be the ruler (eps 55). He got the point! Yushin can never stop his feelings right??? Oh, Wolya, you're YuDeok shipper in disguise :)))

  10. hey! what's happened to you?