OH MY GOSH! I am so addicted to this drama it is not even funny. The Bromance, the mystery, the political intrigue. There is so much chemistry it is flying off the screen and making my heart pitter patter like crazy. And, as we all know, I am incapable of keeping my latest obsessions to myself so I dragged my kbestie Kdrama Jen into the obsession with me…as well as this post. So join us as we discuss why you should call in sick to work and binge watch this brilliant Chinese drama.
#5 Strong Female Characters
Kmuse: One of the issues I have with a lot of Korean Sugeuks is the inconsistent writing when it comes to female characters. Most often they start off with a strong narrative and then get relegated to the back seat for the political issues revolving around men. That, or they are firmly placed in the damsel in distress box and only get to look pretty or cry. It drives me batty. So when it comes to female nobles I look to Chinese dramas for that fix. The Chinese culture, historically, provided women with a lot more opportunities to be involved in politics which allows them to really let their metaphorical claws out in the political arena.
So not only do we have stronger written characters in general but Secret of the Three Kingdoms ups the ante and allows the women to be equal in moving the political intrigue. I am loving the Empress and her loyalty to duty to the Han dynasty. From the start, she makes the hard decisions to force her late husband’s wishes through. Regardless of anyone else’s feelings or interests. Not to mention her chemistry with everyone is off the charts. Watching her emotional walls crumble is fascinating.
Kdrama Jen: I love that the women are not just beautiful, but they are strong and smart. The Empress is a savvy political strategist with a deep sense of loyalty. She has learned to harden her heart in order to take on her many responsibilities. There are also many other strong women featured in this drama. They have layers and depth that are truly instrumental in moving the plot to the next level.
#4 The Bad Guys Are Brilliant Politicians
Kmuse: There is something so tedious about having a bad guy who is nothing more than a rich dude who thinks he should be in charge. Where are the layers? Where is the intelligence? Why would I actually even care if they are in the drama? While we do have a lot of rich bad guys who are politicking, I love that they actually have the tactical minds to justify their rise to power.
Kdrama Jen: I love smart bad guys. I love it even more when I can see they are not truly evil, just working against “our” side. The intrigue and reverse-reverse psychology is a bit mind-boggling, but is keeping me intellectually engaged. I can’t watch this drama when I am too tired or I miss a subtle action that signals something huge. This is not typical political scheming with a bunch of old guys sitting around the table plotting and planning. It feels like so much of that is taking place in the characters’ heads, so we are left with scenes that show brilliant politicians making decisions and using deduction to figure out their next moves.
#3 Can We See Some Hidden Sexual Tension Here?
Kdrama Jen: I am not sure it is hidden. I was fanning myself a bit every time the Empress slowly put out a candle. There is so much anticipation! I love that our new Emperor is clearly inexperienced with women, so he is just putty in the hands of the Empress.
Kmuse: Ha. Yup, his sexual attraction towards the Empress is pretty obvious. While I love that they have so much chemistry, I am thankful that he just doesn’t jump into a relationship with her right away. He is aware that she is using his sexual interest for her own gain and he isn’t going to fall into her arms. No matter how much he wants to get rid of his virginity.
#2 The Script
Kmuse: Not since Nirvana in Fire have I been so invested in a storyline. The mix of intriguing politics, romance, and bromance have me hooked. Add in the fact that it is all smartly compiled and written and I am officially in drama love.
Kdrama Jen: Just when I think they wrote themselves into a corner, one of the earlier story threads suddenly gets pulled and we discover one side or the other was even smarter than we thought. I also love the bromance, but that might be my Elvis Han love spilling forth.
#1 Bromance is the new OTP
Kdrama Jen: The knowing looks and playful smirks could easily be between two lovers, but instead they are between our male leads, and so the bromance is taking center stage for me. Elvis Han is perfect in this role. I think I need to write a whole post dedicated to all the reasons he deserves the full fangirl treatment.
Kmuse: I have been saying since around episode 3 that these two are by far more romantic than any other character. They bring the phrase co-dependent to a whole new level. Sure it is nice to see some Empress/Ping smooching but I would give that up for these two being angsty and bromantic any day.
There you have it. The five reasons we think you should join us in watching Secret of the Three Kingdoms ASAP. Let us know your favorite part of the drama in the comments and check out our Chinese First Impressions & Reviews for more great Cdrama recommendations.
Til next time,
Kmuse & Kdrama Jen
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi