meganbmoore: (hwang jin yi)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
I finished Tree With Deep Roots and while I did think the ending was largely good, the directing really fell apart n the last few episodes. As I was discussing with @dingax‚Äč, it was too frantic and too scattered and choppy, with way too much happening in too many places in too short a period of time. It’s like they got caught up in the nerding out over Hangul and philosophy and a 30+ year long debate (and don’t get me wrong, those were some of the best things about the show, and those part alone are worth watching it for, even if it didn’t have plenty of other things going for it too) and they suddenly realized they only had 4 episodes left to cover about 6-7 episodes worth of material, on top of realizing they forgot some characters and never got around to explaining the motivations of others, and crammed it all in, while also making half the characters literally spend 2 episodes running through the forest. They also must have had Joseon wifi along with racecars and/or teleportation because even for a sageuk with people all in the same general region, people travelled places and delivered information way way too fast.

Part of why it stands out (am I beating a dead horse at this point?) is that the more you watch of it after watching Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People, the harder it is not to see Rebel as a sequel of sorts to Tree, and by about 2/3s through, I was certain there was no way Hwang Jin Young wasn’t at least partly influenced by it in writing Rebel. As much as I love Rebel from start to finish, the first 18 or so episodes of Tree are technically better, it falters in the second half in terms of execution. On the other hand, the final 3rd of Rebel-and in particular, the last 4-5 episodes, were unlike anything I’ve ever seen before in sageuks in all the best ways, and I’ve seen a lot of sageuks in the last 12 or so years.

I do wonder if the writers might just have a problem with endings? The final arc of Queen Seon Deok completely fell apart in some ways, though for completely different reasons.

Speaking of QSD, it’s interesting to look at it and King’s Daughter Soo Baek Hyang (both long and more traditional sageuks focused on women during the three kingdom’s era) and see the groundwork being laid for the respective writers’ next projects-Tree and Rebel. Someone-I forgot who, commented the the that Seolnan spilled in KDSBH was so hot it scalded Amogae a thousand years later in Rebel, which really is a good way to summarized the thematic relationship between the two. Similarly, Deok Man’s decision to give the populace science made Cheomseongdae’s shadow engulf Sejong 800 years later.


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