I love alternate history stories wherever I can find them. The Last Empress has been uneven in some aspects of plot but is overall fascinating, especially because of the history of the real Korean Empire (the Yi family against the Chinese, the Japanese, the Russians, and the world).
A strong-willed never say die Empress with her cohort of tough lady warriors did exist. A foppish, weak, frustrated, yet romantic Crown Prince turned Emperor did exist. The multi-layered plots to overthrow and resist being overthrown, the double and triple agents, the bizarre assassinations . . . all existed.
Korean viewers undoubtedly are eating this up like a big pot of budae jigae since all the characters have to do is even vaguely remind them of the real historical figures in order to evoke a lot of emotion. The period of the Korean Empire was intense to say the least.
It would be great to learn how the screenwriters for The Last Empress were able to create such a convoluted story of intrigue and death, of persistence and hope. All the characters, all the plot lines, all the odd people and actions that suddenly make sense ten episodes later . . . how did they come up with all those elements and keep track of them?
I also want to know why they mashed up a thriller with a rom-com. Oh Sunny’s family and their encounters with the Imperial Family ARE funny, and they probably would have fit the lighthearted story line better if Oh Sunny’s imperial hubs was not a murder, a philanderer, and a general sociopath.
And Princess So Jin’s cringeworthy obsession with Na Wang Shik/Chun Woo Bin . . . very funny but so out of place in the grand scheme of things.
And Oh Sunny morphing from a really clueless ditz into a hard, scheming match for the Empress Dowager . . . kind of hard to believe.
But overall . . . riveting!