With breathtaking visuals and a dramatic, resonant score, the King’s Face appears to be a winner alright. That is, if you exclude the first five minutes. No seriously, anyone considering watching this drama should seriously keep the first five minutes. Why on earth the producers though that beginning with a spoiler was a good idea is beyond me. Suffice it to say that you’ll actually find the drama more enjoyable if you skip ahead, so I’ll start from what should have been the beginning had some scriptwriter not gotten overly ambitious. (And speaking of overly ambitious there’s a Pirates of the Caribbean rip-off soundtrack at 33:30 into the drama, it’s honestly such a blatant rip, it’s pretty hard to un-hear. Come on! Surely you guys can do better than that!)
We begin with young Prince Sejong being told that his is a face that bodes unrest for the kingdom, should he ascend the throne. The prince is not too happy to hear it and we see a cruel smirk cross his face as he stares at the face reader…who pulls a sword on him? Okay that was fast. The scene abruptly changes as present-day Sejong wakes up from his dream/flashback/whatever it was with a start. He is brought to one of the many (we are told) areas of suffering within Joseon. People aren’t too happy with the king and have no issue with showing it as they consider themselves as good as dead anyway. Sejong puts on a warmhearted face and make promises of opening the granaries and the royal cellars, but arranges for those who insulted him to be killed once out of earshot.