Under the Queen’s Umbrella Ep 1-2 Review: Kim Hye Soo is desperate to save her grandiose mess
With her children not being able to stand ground, Kim Hye Soo resorts to panicking in this historical drama with a presentable cast. Under the Queen’s Umbrella shows probability of becoming yet another detailed mockery of the education system, brilliantly executed over its saeguk storyline.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella is the latest saeguk to hit K-dramaland and we are here for it! Having premiered to an audience thirsty for a good show, it boasts a widespread cast, as is the norm with most Korean historical dramas.
Kim Hye Soo plays Queen Im Hwa Ryeong, one desperate to keep her position on the vulturous palace ground. Knowing her fame in the acting industry, she has carried her tag of being one of the most talented actors once again in this drama. High off of the fame of the legal drama Juvenile Justice, she has aimed to show yet another side of herself with this role.
Kim Hae Sook, known for her warm-hearted presence in most cases, returns as the cold-hearted Queen Dowager. Having acted in popular dramas and movies, being dubbed as the ‘national mother’ she has made prominent appearances in the ‘Hospital Playlist’ series, among others. In this drama is the successful mother of the current King and the wife of the last one, she carries the fame of being a concubine who was able to turn her son into the King.
Choi Won Young is the King, Yi Ho, who unlike many shown in similar shows, appears to be a kindhearted and benevolent one, looking out for the betterment of his nation.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella is the story set in the palace where there is cutthroat competition even within half-relatives. The Queen consort has her hands full with five sons, one of whom is the Crown Prince, played by Bae In Hyuk. Her other four are notorious for not being the best among the rest even after being the Grand Princes which causes her constant worry and brings her through many stressful encounters. Her only hope is Grand Prince Gye Seong, played by Yoo Seon Ho, who is smart and quick-willed. On the other hand, multiple concubines take charge as these women look for their chance to make their own sons excel. It is more of a competition between the mothers than between the Grand Princes and the Princes from the concubines. There is friction between the Queen and the Queen Dowager as well as they go head to head multiple times, trying to come out on top as the dictator of the matters inside the palace.
SF9 member Chani takes the role of one of the Princes, Prince Ui Seong who is clever and finds himself to be deserving of the Crown Prince spot instead of the current one. His jealousy takes the best of him as he insults the Queen and her sons. Banking on his skills is his mother, Royal Consort Gwi In Hwang, played by Ok Ja Yeon. She has devised plans to make her own son the greatest of them all, and worthy of the title, should it befall him. Chani has previously starred in notable roles in ‘Signal’ as well as the famed ‘SKY Castle’ and the idol drama ‘Imitation’, while also marching on in movies and in special appearances. His current acting shows promise.
Kim Min Ki is the son of Royal Consort So Yong Tae, played by Kim Ga Eun. He is exceptionally clever and offers deep advice as well as a modern perspective into many happenings. His mother is the former maid of the Queen and wishes to maintain a formidable relationship with her, while also seeking the best possible education for her son. Kim Min Ki has previously acted in popular shows including ‘True Beauty’, ‘Racket Boys’ and ‘Adult Trainee’ and displays a unique character with potential of keen development.
Under the Queen’s Umbrella is built upon the age-old tussle between Asian mothers who pursue the highest and most prestigious form of education possible for their children. The greed to have them be in the presence of scholarly teachers, as well as fellow students who can bestow some crucial knowledge, is much similar to what is seen in today’s world. Though mostly serious and demanding, Under the Queen’s Umbrella can be considered almost a parody in the way that it banishes parents of children who were ‘unsuccessful’ to get the right education for their child.
It is interesting enough to make us return for the next week as we await further palace politics and the mind games unfurl.
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