[Discuss Away!] The Forbidden Marriage: Episodes 3-4

I don’t think there was ever any doubt that I wasn’t going to come back and watch the two latest episodes to this drama. I was pleasantly surprised and impressed with how ‘The Forbidden Marriage’ started and I wanted to keep tuning in to see how the drama progressed in its second week. Safe to say, the drama continued to do the things that it did in week one: amp up the comedy and humor, sprinkle in some angst, and remind viewers about the politics that is common in sageuks. So far, so good.

We saw greater relationship development between Lee Heon and So-rang in episodes 3 and 4 and they’re slowly becoming friendlier and friendlier with each other. Lee Heon is now getting so used to So-rang’s company and presence that he’s asking about her schedule and gets bored when she’s not around. So-rang is getting used to being around Lee Heon and sort of being at his service as an acquaintance. But with that being said, the more the drama shows us Lee Heon and So-rang bonding and getting closer to each other, the more it also shows us the love triangle between Lee Heon, So-rang, and Shin-won. The drama can sometimes be a painful watch for me just because of how much I’m not a fan of the love triangle. I get the context behind it as Lee Heon and So-rang have a special relationship and then So-rang and Shin-won have some complicated history with each other. So in that aspect, I understand why the love triangle exists. But at the same time, love triangles feel like such an early to mid 2010’s thing and it’s a trope that I find myself caring less and less about the longer that I watch dramas. I prefer to watch Lee Heon and So-rang than the love triangle which is why I can’t say with full confidence that I enjoy this drama the majority of the time. It doesn’t help that they make the love triangle a little too obvious.

As I was watching episodes 3 and 4, I came to realize how trope-y this drama is. Starting from the love triangle to jealous Lee Heon to even the kiss scenes (which we’ve already gotten 2 so far!), the writing feels a bit outdated in that it feels as if I’m watching something that was written 5-10 years ago. It feels as if I’m watching a drama with tropes and themes that I’ve seen plenty of times before in K-dramaland (which makes sense given that this drama was adapted from a web novel that was published from 2015-2020). But like I mentioned in my initial review of ‘The Forbidden Marriage’, the directing, camerawork, and visuals is what really elevates the drama to make it look and feel better than it actually is. Ideally, you want dramas to be able to do both: balance the writing and the directing. It’s obvious that the strength of ‘The Forbidden Marriage’ is its visuals and the way that it’s directed and edited. There are just some shots and scenes in this drama that is clearly above and beyond many dramas out there and even if I might not enjoy every aspect of this show, I can at least appreciate the work and details the drama puts into its directing and cinematography.

As much as I enjoy this drama, I also know what my limits are and I don’t think I would be patient enough to recap this project. The drama is enjoyable and hilarious and has many great things about it, but it’s also a little too witty and wacky for my taste sometimes. I actually had to pause in the beginning of episode 4 and take a break to go do something else because I couldn’t keep up with the silly antics that the drama was pulling off. I enjoy watching our characters be ridiculous and funny and humorous and wacky. I think it’s great and I think that’s what sets this drama apart from other dramas (especially given that this is a sageuk). I like that I’m laughing so much while I’m watching this show. But at the same time, there are moments where I wish the drama could switch it up just a tad bit. If I had to describe the drama so far, I would say it’s 85% comedy/humor, 10% angst, and 5% politics. If it were up to me, I would divide it to be 60% comedy/humor and 40% angst (and as common as politics are in sageuks, I would eliminate that if I could). I think the drama might get more angsty as it progresses (hopefully it’s not too angsty and melodramatic) and that’s a bridge that we will cross when we get there. But for now, the drama would be so much more enjoyable for me if it were more balanced.

If there was one scene that was the most balanced so far, it’d have to be the drinking game between Lee Heon and So-rang in episode 4. Ironically, this scene was the scene that I took a break from because of how silly it was: So-rang and Lee Heon engaging in a drinking competition to see who’s the tougher one at drinking. They’re drinking and drinking and downing shots of alcohol so you’re pondering all the different ways this scene could end: they could either kiss or confess their feelings or do something completely ridiculous. But this scene was my favorite in the way that it was a funny and silly scene once they decided to take it one step further and play truth or dare. But it was also this act of playing truth or dare that opened up how So-rang and Lee Heon really felt about each other. They got a hint into the other person’s mind. They let down their walls for a few minutes and asked the other an honest question that was eating them up inside.

Lee Heon asked So-rang about her relationship with Shin-won and So-rang questioned if Lee Heon perceived her as her own person or as the Crown Princess. The scene started off humorous and then got angsty and serious and it was also shot so beautifully. The close-ups on So-rang and Lee Heon’s eyes indicated that though their answers to the questions may have been false, the look in their eyes proved otherwise. The eyes never lie. It’s clear the two were lying to each other and not revealing and sharing the honest truth. There’s more to Shin-won and So-rang’s relationship than she let on and Lee Heon is reminded of the Crown Princess through So-rang. This scene is one of my two favorite scenes from the drama so far. It was so well executed on all fronts.

I’m mainly just here for Lee Heon and So-rang and watching the two fall in love, but I know there will be many other things that will happen in the meantime. That includes the search for Lee Heon’s new wife, So-rang being chased after by her stepmother to die, the investigation behind the Crown Princess’s death, and much more. There’s quite a few sub-plots that the drama has going for it so you’ll always be busy and you’ll never feel as if there’s nothing going on. Add all the humor and comedy to it and ‘The Forbidden Marriage’ is always rolling and going. Though not a drama that I’m completely in love with and head over heels over (yet), the drama’s making things work so far primarily due to its beautiful visuals and that’s enough to win me over for now.

Bonus: I created a small little edit for our couple, Lee Heon and So-rang! I thought of the perfect song for them while I watched the first two episodes and then put something together for the two lovebirds. I hope you enjoy the video :]

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