By Bryan Tan
This review, which contains some spoilers, covers episodes 7-8 of Royal Secret Agent, which is currently available on iQiyi.
In the latest two episodes of Royal Secret Agent, Song Yi Gyeom (Kim Myung Soo) is finally reunited with his estranged younger brother Yi Beom (Lee Tae Hwan) after many years, who he presumed lost after supposedly attempting to elope with Yi Gyeom’s former girlfriend.
The reunion was bittersweet to say the least, and it was tense and awkward. Yi Gyeom and Hong Da In (Kwon Na Ra) have a funny moment where she empathises with his situation and gives him a hand massage. The royal agent tries to cosy up with her by pretending to have sore shoulders, and is promptly scolded for being too feisty. Their chemistry is just too cute!
The local magistrate (Yang Hyun Min) is shown bullying the local populace (this is becoming a trend, isn’t it?) and demanding that the debts owed to a late nobleman be transferred and paid to his government. Yi Gyeom and his entourage investigate the deceased nobleman’s abandoned house for clues but end up hilariously side-tracked by food that they discover in the house.
They discover a witness in the house who tells them about a ledger that the deceased nobleman had kept, detailing the bribes paid by him to senior officials. The trio reason that the ledger must be kept in the gambling house formerly owned by him, and proceed to infiltrate the establishment.
Another corrupt official taken down
The magistrate is lured into the deceased nobleman’s house by Yi Gyeom and is shown the horse requisition medallion, the emblem of the royal secret agent. He is cornered and inadvertently confesses his crimes to the witness, who did not actually witness anything at all. Kinda dumb of him, huh?
The magistrate is apprehended and carted off back to the capital, Hanyang, by royal guard Choi Do Gwan (Shin Ji Hoon), who has so far proven himself a very reliable partner and bodyguard, showing up to protect the trio in their most dire need.
Yi Gyeom and company camp by a river on their way to Jeolla province, their next destination, which I presume predictably contains another corrupt, whiny magistrate and a powerless, brow-beaten populace.
Yi Gyeom, like the strong manly man he is, proudly catches some fish for their little high tea, but screams like a little girl when Da In spots a nearby snake. She tries to spear the snake with a pointed stick, but fails and promptly falls into the muscular chest of the screaming girl, I mean, Yi Gyeom.
They shelter for a night at an herbalist’s house and run an errand for her, taking some herbs to a cousin who lives in Jeolla province. There, they find the unfortunate cousin already dead; tied up and raped cruelly, one among a string of similar cases, according to the (surprise!) corrupt local magistrate.
Royal Secret Agent has done incredibly well so far, boasting above average ratings on KBS network which have soared to a new high in the last few episodes. The chemistry between Myung Soo, Na Ra and Yi Kyung makes for great giggles and uproarious laughs, yet director Kim Jung Min manages to balance it out with the deadpan seriousness of period dramas, without too much of the pomp and ceremony that usually accompany such dramas.
The plot flows seamlessly and is easy to follow, and the characters show much emotional development as the series progresses, reminiscent of predecessors like Rooftop Prince (2012) and Sungkyungkwan Scandal (2010). Can’t wait for what will happen next!
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