Mr. Queen (2020) Review
The Joseon Dynasty is one of the most dominant and longest figures in the history of Korea. Their reign, which lasted more than five centuries, has been marked by colorful reforms and bloody conflicts. However, you cannot deny that there might not be Korea today without its significant history.
Mr. Queen is a dramatization of a period in the Joseon Dynasty but combined with a lot of humor that will surely make you laugh.
The story of Mr. Queen has two sides: the modern-day period and the Joseon era.
We follow Jang Bong-hwan, an overly arrogant and boastful head chef at the Blue House. He is a known womanizer. One day, his life gets entangled with a Chinese delegate after the food he served was sabotaged by his rivals. He was chased by the media for questioning but decided to run away and hide because of embarrassment. After having a near-death experience when he jumped on a balcony, his mind and soul were transported to Queen Cheorin of the Joseon Dynasty.
Meanwhile, the reigning monarch, King Cheoljong, is kind and easygoing. Despite being Joseon's figurehead, his authority always relies on Queen Sunwon's decisions. Jang Bong-Hwan, stuck in Queen Cheorin's body, must find his way to return to the modern world before getting trapped forever in Joseon.
Mr. Queen's colorful characters make this Korean drama more fun and exciting.
Queen Cheorin - played by Shin Hye-sun. For most of the series, Jang Bong-hwan is in her body, but we see some flashbacks about her story. Her servants greatly love her queen-like figure. She tries to win Queen Suwon by cooking meals for her. She and King Cheoljong have a complicated past, which is why, in the first few episodes of the series, it is mentioned that she tried to commit suicide. She also doesn't get along with Jo Hwa-jin, the Royal Noble Consort who loves King Cheoljoing. Because of Bong-hwan's cooking skills, she always buts heads with the head chef. Her cousin and childhood friend, Kim Byeong-in, wants to protect her and free her from being royalty.
King Cheoljong - played by Kim Jung-hyun. During the first few episodes, his political decisions are handled by Queen Sunwon. He spends most of his free time reading lewd books. He always buts heads with Queen Chorin but grows to understand her more. He keeps a journal of the new phrases he learns from her. However, the King has a dark past and is determined to change the Joseon Dynasty, free from corrupt officials and power-hungry associates.
Queen Sunwon - played by Bae Jong-ok. She is the Queen Dowager of the Andong Kim clan. She is arrogant and overly addictive to maintain her youthful appearance. Queen Cheorin won her approval by cooking delicious dishes that she mentioned would enhance her beauty and keep her young. She views King Cheoljong as a puppet that she can control so corrupt officials can roam free without getting arrested.
Jo Hwa-jin - played by Seol In-ah. She is also known as Royal Noble Consort Ui. She is a childhood friend of King Cheoljong and is in love with him. At first, she didn't like Queen Cheorin and tried everything to overthrow her. She is also an excellent archer. Despite her criminal personality during the first few episodes, we see more of her soft sides later.
Queen Sinjeong - played by Jo Yeon-hee. She is the Royal Queen Dowager of the Pungyang Jo clan, where Jo Hwa-jin belongs. She dislikes Queen Sunwoon and wants to overthrow her. She is an avid believer in witchcraft and curses. She once threatened the royal palace because of her beliefs.
Like how the characters were purposely designed to fit their personalities, Mr. Queen thrives in establishing the story premise with on-point humor. I promise you will be laughing from start to finish.
The side characters like the royal cook, Queen Cheorin's servants, and King Cheoljong's royal guards are fun. They have their character moments and small arcs. I like Queen Chorin's top servant, Lady Choi, as a character, especially when she develops feelings for the royal cook. She also goes outside of the royal palace from time to time to release stress by shouting in the bamboo forest and buying explicit items.
Mr. Queen lets you fall in love and appreciate its story. It's very straightforward with a few twists, but everyone can enjoy it. Even though some characters depicted were based on their real-life counterparts, I do like they added a funny twist to lighten the mood. We all know Korea has some of the darkest histories, so it's good that this one is lighter.
A good 4 out of 5 stars.