The King of Dramas: Episode 1 “The War of Empire”

This episode marks the first of hopefully many recapping collaborations that Jules and I have planned in the coming months. The King of Dramas (you can view the episodes here) is an inside look at the world of Korean dramas–the production side–and how it is fraught with deadlines, life-and-death choices, betrayals, rises and falls of careers, etc. 

The series not only gives viewers the nitty gritty of the Korean entertainment industry, but it’s also packed with veteran actors and up-and-coming actors; the sheer line-up of veteran actors alone makes for an already promising series. Let’s hope my expectations become a reality. Personally I’m looking forward to what kind of entrance Choi Si Won makes as this drama’s eye-candy. 😉 Without further ado, I present you with the nutshell of “Episode 1.”

Nutshell:

The episode opens with our main character, Anthony Kim, speaking before a packed audience. He confidently and arrogantly declares that he has the Midas touch, and this Midas touch is exemplified by the “Absolute Ring” he wears to symbolize his infallibility in producing hit after hit.

Unfortunately, near the closing of his lecture, he learns that his writer for his current drama, Elegant Revenge, is suffering from writer’s block while trying to incorporate a box of orange juice into her final episode. What’s at risk is a hefty advertising contract with the orange juice company. Writer Jung finally gives up and refuses to tarnish her final scene with a blatant and inappropriate box of orange juice despite Anthony’s threats to terminate her. With only hours left before broadcast, the writer finishes–without the orange reference–and leaves the job of editing the script to her assistant writer, Lee Go Eun (our heroine), who diligently finishes proofreading and emails it to the filming staff.

Anthony sees the final copy, realizes that the orange reference is conspicuously left out, and rushes over to the writer’s office. Fully aware that Writer Jung is no longer available since she turned off her phone, Anthony spins a tale for Go Eun about how Writer Jung was on her way back to write the revision when she got into an accident. With her hospitalized and unable to rush to the office to finish the revisions, Anthony tells Go Eun that her mentor requested that Go Eun finish the revisions; she has that much faith in her assistant.

Hustled by Anthony into quickly stepping in for her boss and with promises of debuting as a main writer once this crisis is over, Go Eun follows Anthony’s team to the film location, all the while writing scenes for the final episode…with the orange juice reference.

The final episode completes its filming with only one hour to spare. Unfortunately, the helicopter that Anthony requested to fly the tape back to the studio can’t leave Seoul due to weather conditions. Scrambling for an alternative transport, Anthony propositions the quick-service motorcyclist an obscene amount of money if he can delivery the final tape to the studio in under an hour instead of the usual 3 hours it would take to drive there. The delivery man agrees and takes off, but Anthony decides to follow him on another motorcycle, citing that the probability of one man safely arriving at the studio is about 30% while the probability of two men making the delivery rises to about 70%. He grabs Go Eun, who knows the script inside and out for editing purposes, and follows the quick-service driver.

And sure enough, en route, the man skids and crashes his motorcycle. Anthony gives directions to the emergency hotline for an ambulance pick-up and then pulls the bubble-wrapped video tape from the man’s jacket pocket. As he turns away to remount his motorcycle, though, the quick-service man reaches for Anthony’s hand and pulls his “Absolute Ring” off, sending it rolling into the drain by the side of the highway.

Unable to spare the precious time to retrieve his ring, Anthony speeds along to Seoul, barely making it in time for the final airing. With literally seconds left before the first half of the edited film cuts off, Anthony hands the studio the edited version so that the broadcast continues without a hitch.

The drama pulls away from its competitors and grabs the number one ranking, especially when Anthony insisted that Go Eun write an addition 1 minute and some odd seconds more so that their drama ends a minute later than the other two studios’ shows, thus ensuring that the viewers from the other two studios will tune into his show for that last minute.

Everyone congratulates him, and all the while, this scene is juxtaposed with scenes of the medical team trying to revive the quick-service man, who dies just as Elegant Revenge is declared the number one drama.

Later, he goes to pay his respects to the grieving widow, admitting his part in her husband’s death, much to the objections of his right-hand man. However, he tells him that it’s only right that he takes responsibility for everything in connection with his drama and even pays the widow a $100,000 bereavement gift from his personal bank account.

Meanwhile, Go Eun returns home to polish off her script so that she can delivery it to Anthony Kim the next day. But before she begins revising, she leaves a message for Writer Jung, asking after her health and thanking her for her faith in her and this incredible opportunity. Unfortunately, the message doesn’t get recorded, and so Go Eun ends up leaving a truncated message asking Writer Jung to call her since she’s worried about the writer and has something to tell her.

Even more unfortunate for Go Eun is that when she arrives at Anthony’s office, he gives her a cold reception and even lies about his part in her revision of the last scene when Writer Jung storms into his office.

Pretending to know nothing of the revision, Anthony merely grimaces as Writer Jung grabs Go Eun’s hair and threatens her assistant of five years that Go Eun will never ever be able to work in this industry again. She’ll make sure of it.

Go Eun leaves his office in utter humiliation, her hopes of finally becoming a full-fledged author dashed.

Meanwhile, Anthony and his company are hit unexpectedly with a scandal as news article after news article of his part in the delivery man’s death becomes headline news. The culprit? Anthony’s right-hand man, who orchestrated the entire scandal unbeknownst to Anthony.

Frantic to squash the scandal, Anthony makes phone call after phone call to the directors of the various newspapers but to no avail. When he receives a phone call from the chairman of his company, firing him, Anthony retaliates by saying that he’s Anthony; he’s the one responsible for the company’s success. He’ll leave of his own accord; he’ll take with him the writers that he propelled to fame.

Tragically, his right-hand man, on orders from the company’s chairman with promises of promotion, foils Anthony’s attempts to leave with some of the industry’s best writers, and just as Anthony is about to answer the phone call of his most-prized writer, Go Eun walks back into his office with a bucket of orange juice.

Yup, you guessed it. She drenches the man from head to toe in cold, wet orange juice.

Musings:

The first episode starts at a fast pace, giving us a fairly solid profile of the major characters. Anthony is arrogant, hard-working, and extremely driven by money and success while Go Eun is an aspiring writer just waiting for her chance to debut while learning her craft. The other supporting characters provide a solid ensemble cast of characters to provide a hard-as-nails look at the industry.

What I found particularly amusing was the show’s mockery of itself and the entertainment industry in some subtle and not-so-subtle ways. And episode 1 clearly lays out the “good” guys from the “bad” guys.

I’m looking forward to seeing how the writer develops Anthony’s character. We know that the heartless man has some sort of code of ethics; after all, he went to visit the grieving widow, paid his respects, and told her the truth. It’ll be interesting to see what the steep fall from his golden pedestal will do to his character and to his relationship with the assistant writer, whom he treated so badly but whose help he will soon need to regain his position in the industry.

He’s always believed that the world is his for the taking. With this scandal and his most trusted people conspiring against him, he’s going to be given a cold dose of betrayal and the realization that the world is no longer his for the taking. Most telling is the loss of his “Absolute Ring,” which makes me wonder if the show will have him recover that ring in a later episode. Hmmm…probably. LOL. And knowing the way Kdrama shows work, the ring’s reappearance will probably underscore how Anthony doesn’t need a ring anymore to produce hits.

Anyhow, that’s it for episode 1’s nutshell. I know I left out a lot of details, but you get the basic outline of the episode from this post, right? 🙂 Until next time, twinkles!

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Snoopy's Twinkie

Created Musings back in 2010 when viewers were frantically searching for SungKyunKwan Scandal recaps. She currently blogs and comments from the US. You can also find her on FB (@SnoopysTwinkie), twitter (@twinkiedramas), and YouTube (Twinkiedramas).

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