Days after this drama would surely be uncomfortable
Yi Yul (EXO DO /Do Kyung-soo) wasn’t supposed to be the crown prince. His family was content with their simple life out of the palace. But greedy elders need to use a royal blood to fulfill their desirous plan. They planned a coup to replace the King and Yi Yul’s life turned to be an uncomfortable one. He had to stay in the lonely confines of the palace. The once playful and cheerful kid grew up as the stoic and cold crown prince (which confusingly is popular with modern-day fangirls). Anyway, the introduction of this series was really melodramatic that I didn’t expect the middle arc will have a 180-degree-turn in terms of atmosphere.
From the regal and pompous crown prince, Yi Yul suddenly became the poor and still-a-bit-haughty Na Won-deuk. His naiveté due to his amnesia resulted in a lot of “is-he-a-pabo?” comical antics, which were really different from the atmosphere set by the introductory episodes.
I’ve already seen a lot of funny scenes involving a Joseon-royal-pretending -to-be-a-commoner in the past (hi Moonlight Drawn By Clouds Crown Prince!!!) but the hilarity of Won-deuk’s scenes was due to his innocence of his past. He didn’t have any idea who he was but he still acted like a noble man in plain clothes. His love for silk and pearl cabinet was supposed to be a hint of his past lifestyle but everyone around him thought he was just naïve and dumb. I think the 100 days of Won-deuk stayed true to its romantic-comedy theme. The fake-relationship plot was really executed well.
The other half of this adorable fake Joseon couple is the street-smart Yoon Yi-seo/Hong Shim (Nam Ji-hyun). I’ve fallen in love with her after her very real talk about marriage and her relatable complaints about being single (haha). But she totally got me when she stood up for her friends and family. She may have some damsel-in-distress moments but she knew how to rescue herself and her man.
The they-already-met-when-they-we’re-young plot has been overused in K-drama universe (so much so that I expected Nam Da-reum to be in every flashback scenes of a series, lol). Surprisingly though, I didn’t find the character’s childhood scenes annoying. The first reason was probably because of these adorable child stars who played the young version of the main characters. But I think it was mainly because of the melancholic touch it gave to the series. These two characters could have had a simple uncomplicated love story but due to some power-hungry people, they had to suffer in their new lives.
Speaking of vicious people, the supposed-to-be blissful 100 days of amnesiac Won-deuk has been surrounded by a lot of politicking by those who want to grab the coveted Crown Prince title. The King (Jo Han-chul) was in between two fighting forces in Hanyang – the #TeamYasQueen and the #TeamViceforLife (I’m sorry I couldn’t think of a better hashtag for ambitious Vice Premier Kim, haha). Queen Park (Oh Yeon-ah), who has a second wife syndrome, definitely wanted Crown Prince Yi Yul to die but she was just all talk. She trusted her fate to some talisman and well, not-so-bright men who brought up not-so-smart plans.
The Queen was the obvious villain in the eyes of people but the seemingly gallant Vice Premier Kim Cha-eon (Cho Seong-ha) was the true demon. He has a ten-year plan (yes, believe it or not, he said it in one of the episodes) to grab the seat of power in the kingdom. Just like any other long-term plans, some deviations came up and he had to look for some alternative plans that could give him the same result. Vice Premier Kim’s infamous scheming really deserves a slow-clap-standing-ovation combo. He was really one of those antagonists this year that used some smart trickery for his evil plans.
I didn’t have a second lead syndrome in this series (solid TeamWonDeuk all the way) but Jung Jae-yoon (Kim Seon-ho) deserves a spotlight. Just like our female lead, this scholar is a street-smart man who won the trust of the Crown Prince. And even though he fell for the same woman, I knew Yi Yul really respect him for who he is. Unlike the judgmental palace people who shooed him as the son of the concubine, Yi Yul treated him well because of his loyalty and intelligence. I could have wanted more from their bromance but well, it would probably be too uncomfortable for the Crown Prince.
Another character, or should I say characters, that deserves an appreciation paragraph is the people of Songjoo. Hong Shim’s stepfather Yoon (Jung Hae-kyun), KKeutnyeo (Lee Min-ji), her husband Goo-dol (Kim Ki-doo), Officer Park Bok-eun (Lee Joon-hyuk), and even the loanshark Ma-chil (Jung Soo-kyo) were the best neighbors you can ever wish for. They were there whenever Hong-shim and Won-deuk needed some solid support group during trying times. They’re the best bunch of village people so far this year.
The conclusion of this drama was very fitting. Won-deuk and Hong-shim spent some time away from each other to heal wounds incurred by their past. It would have felt a bit forced if their happily-ever-after started immediately after those tragedies they’ve experienced.
The only thing that I probably didn’t like is the death of Moo-yeon / Yoon Seok-ha (Kim Jae-young). I was rooting for her and Crown Princess Kim So-hye (Han So-hee) to live a peaceful life. Moo-yeon sacrificed a lot for his sister and So-hye was his only source of happiness. I pity the crown princess as she became his father’s pawn. She was not as greedy as other crown princesses. She only wanted someone to love her for who she is. Their love story was more tragic than the main characters.
Maknae’s Series Verdict
100 Days My Prince used a cliché plot and give it a Joseon twist. It used a lot of tried and tested K-drama formulas that worked in a contemporary setting. Some of the politickings may have felt a bit like filler scenes for the episodes but I truly enjoyed watching the amnesiac prince live the life of a peasant. The chemistry of everyone, not just DO and Nam Ji-hyun, was really apparent. They made what could have been some trite slapstick sequences into genuinely funny scenes. This series may or may be forgotten after 100 days but it really solidifies the spot of the main cast, especially DO, in K-dramaland.
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