If there was a part of you that kind of fell for the Demon Lord from Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms or if you enjoyed the brief glimpses of KO from Love 020, then King’s Woman (Starring Zhang Bin Bin) might put you in your happy place. Kdrama Jen jumped down the Chinese drama rabbit hole and is ready to share first impressions of this currently airing Chinese drama.
It’s too early to tell if this sweeping historical drama will balance the political intrigue with romantic tension, but so far I am definitely invested. Here are my first impressions. These are the actual phrases that popped into my head as I watched, so they are kind of stream-of-consciousness, but hopefully they will intrigue you enough to check it out for yourself.
1. “Zhang Bin Bin is swoontastic!”
The entire drama is beautiful and a visual feast, but I am finding Zhang Bin Bin as the Qin King to be absolutely breathtaking. It’s like he was born to wear that royal regalia, although he is equally stunning in full military garb and his “incognito clothes.” So, to be honest, he just draws my eye throughout every episode. I predict he will be in for some heartache and brooding too, so we will get to see his pain-filled eyes in this drama like we did in Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms. It’s not that I wish anything bad on him, but some actors are just perfect for those eye acting scenes, and I have always found Zhang Bin Bin is very good at breaking my heart or bringing the heat with just a look. I seriously think I would watch this drama just to stare at him. Sad, but oh so true. Luckily, there are other reasons to watch!
2. “Hey, the mischievous fox girl is back!”
So, there is no magic or shapeshifting, but Dilraba Dilmurat (she was the little fox cousin in Peach Blossoms) plays Gong Sun Li, the granddaughter of impressive swordsman Gong Sun Yu. Assumed to be in possession of a secret sword fighting book, lots of baddies want to find her, so she dresses as a man to avoid detection. (I was certainly not convinced. I had no idea she was supposed to be a male until it was explicitly stated.) I have always enjoyed Dilraba Dilmurat, partly because she doesn’t have that flower-like traditional Chinese beauty. She is of Uyghur descent, one of the 55 recognized ethnic minorities in China. I like that she brings a bit of diversity to the screen.
3. “Wow. I want a swooshy robe like that!”(I did warn you that these were actual things I thought, right?)
Chinese historicals are kind of known for their costumes, but I feel like a little extra attention was given to make the costumes almost like supporting characters in this drama. The King’s robe is just stunning, and he uses it so well as he sweeps across the room, barking orders, and showing no mercy. The armor also seems carefully designed to gleam and even the martial artists have cool looking costumes. I kind of like the fur-collared thing Gong Sun Li is wearing when she is a girl. Really, though, I think I need a robe like the King’s!
4. “Well, I guess a deer head is one way to make a statement.”
So, this is a tiny bit of a spoiler, but I have to give props to the King for his use of venison to get his Mommy’s attention. There is quite a lot of gratuitous blood and blood spurting in general, so be warned if you tend to steer away from depictions of violence. Just as a friendly public service announcement, you might want to avoid the Chinese historical genre completely if you are not able to handle graphic scenes. I find they like to have their leading men and ladies spit up blood at least once, sometimes multiple times.
5. “Hmm… I bet bending backwards like that with a sword coming at you is way harder than it looks”
There is some pretty fancy sword fighting happening right from the beginning. I really enjoy a well-choreographed fight scene. I am always amazed at their quick reflexes and agility. They make it look so easy, right? It would require precision and skill to just use pretend swords, but can you imagine if those were real blades? I am not officially admitting to anything, and I have no idea how I ended up with those bruises on my back, but let’s just say the mere act of leaning backwards as if to avoid an imaginary sword takes timing and perhaps talent. I tried fencing a long time ago, but I quit once I discovered that they don’t really teach you to leap around off rocks, throw the saber like a javelin, and then execute a perfect back flip to retrieve the sword. Anyway…I am enjoying the martial arts and sword fighting scenes, and these will have to do until I can find the sword fighting school of my dreams.
6. “Uh Oh! Conflict is coming!”
There is a romantic backstory that will likely be threaded throughout and we have a very classic conflict brewing. Gong Sun Li has sworn to fight the Qin Dynasty to her death and the Qin King has loved her for years. I won’t include spoilers, but I will say that this budding romance is likely not going to be carefree once identities are revealed. In the midst of it all there is rebellion brewing, so the King has a lot of plates in the air. I like historicals that have plot and intrigue, so I am looking forward to seeing it all unfold. Sometimes, though, these epic-like dramas set during the Warring States Period can spin out of control a bit, so if that happens, please refer to reason #1 to watch!
So, I have opened up my unfiltered thoughts to all of you. I hope my first impressions will tempt you to either watch this drama or invest in your own swooshy robe and/or sword fighting lessons. If you do take my advice (either about watching the drama or the swooshy robe thing) please let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Until next time,
If you want to check out The King’s Woman then you can find the latest subbed episodes on viki HERE!