The King: Eternal Monarch Stays Low in Ratings for Episode 13 at 5.6%, 7.7% But Finally Rises in Narrative Cohesion and Plot Momentum

I’ve been quarantine baking for two months and finally decided to tackle the Mount Everest that is sourdough bread, complete with raising my own starter (lil’ EJ is his name). My first loaf was an unmitigated disaster, looked good with the crust but was a hard solid glop inside. It didn’t rise *cries*. So much experience goes into the crown jewel of baking bread and I don’t mind the failures and flops because it goes into making the next one better until I succeed one day. The rise is what I equate to a drama storyline coming together, the right speed and the layers are all so important. The King: Eternal Monarch has been like unrisen dough for 12 episodes and finally in the 13th it’s like a phoenix rising (sorta) and for that I am truly grateful.

Whatever story Kim Eun Sook had in her mind that was terribly conveyed so far with poor directing, bad chemistry, limited acting, and intrusive PPL finally reared its cute head. The time travel element is just as important as the parallel worlds as both Lee Gon and baddie uncle Lee Rim are responsible and participated in setting things in notion 30 years ago. I’m guessing things are coming to a head where Lee Gon needs to force a reset even if it means losing Tae Eul because their love won’t have happened or she doesn’t remember him. I’M SO GOOD WITH THAT! The romance has been the weakest of weak links in this drama and episode 13 had the least amount of it and the most amount of actual plot progression. I’m finally hooked.

I feel like the drama is going towards a Back to the Future 2 trajectory. We learn the hero and the baddie go back in time and set forth their previous selves motions and will therefore need this new time line to go back yet again and reset to before all the events took place, namely the killing of Daddy King and the splintering of the flute.

It will likely mean Gon and Tae Eul as we know them probably won’t end up together but their selves in the new time line and perhaps even in both parallel worlds we see will end up together. Maybe Luna was orphaned by Lee Rim’s killing spree otherwise she would grow up like Tae Eul and fall in love with Gon. And Ji Hoon would not be killed and Shin Jae won’t be in ROK so Tae Eul would be with Ji Hoon.

The events as we have seen it need to be reset because what Lee Rim is doing is splintering the balance between the worlds, hence the lightning scars on people whose dopplegangers have died and who have traveled between worlds. I hate the idea that so many people agree to help Lee Rim to go to the other world, kill their own counterparts, and take over their lives. The PM doing is so casually is such a cheap conceit in turning her character fully evil.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Gon and Tae Eul have been lovers in prior lives and prior lifetimes, or maybe as their own ancestors, ala Legend of the Blue Sea. A lot more context and background however cheesy or trite would have made this OTP actually make sense. With only 3 episodes left and so much to explain and wrap up, I hope the drama doesn’t waste more time on maudlin moments and PPL and just charge full speed ahead.


The King: Eternal Monarch Stays Low in Ratings for Episode 13 at 5.6%, 7.7% But Finally Rises in Narrative Cohesion and Plot Momentum — 72 Comments

    • I agree, or at least priority should have been given to the central conflict, and mysteries; and the romance should have taken a back seat. But it seemed that the PD didn’t know what genre he wanted to convey, so he tried everything and ended up with a huge mess.

      • yeah agree.
        dunno if the pd didnt know what genre he wanted or he intentionly mixed genres all together so the drama has the taste of every genre in it – which it didnt end up to a good combination sadly.
        its comforting to hear the drama is doing better in final episodes.

    • Not really. I guess it’s the storyline & directing, as long as romance is only on the side. Highlight should be on LMH versatility as an actor

      • Three meals was 11.4%. Can you imagine the ratings for TKEM if it was shown on Friday night? Definitely below 5% as Friday’s are its weakest days. So good call bySBS.

  1. Yep. Episode 13 was really good. Tied up everything neatly and ended on a high note. Wish the drama had been this way from the start. But better late than never, I guess. On another note, showing only one episode this week was the right move, it gave them enough time to edit the episode properly.

    • I agree if they had this kind of pacing and direction from the beginning and not letting us guess what Lee Gon or Lee Lim was thinking or having forced the romance that is rather far fetched on us since Ep 1 unless he was already in love with her by then and have met her before which would be entirely confusing. Out of topic, I tried the brown sugar creme brûlée’ at the Alley, its actually quite good just a tad sweet. ?

  2. I really enjoyed this episode and thought this should have been the way right from the start. I honestly think the concept of this drama and the style of narration is a bit too ambitious for a green PD to handle. It’s such a shame for the drama to take 2/3 of its run to reach this height, because had the stars all aligned this could have been a great one for me to watch over and over again.

  3. I wonder how JCW’s drama will perform after TKEM’s run. KYJ fans always comment that it will be the most successful drama of this year (even greater than TWOM, lol!). I know the PD is good but we cannot expect that it will perform like Fiery Priest considering both leads are not ratings magnet in Korea.

    • It will do mediocre rating. If it’s good, it will do Suspicious Partners. If not, Melting Me Softly.

      Fans, in general, are mildly delusional. Be honest here, no other drama is gonna beat TWOM in ratings.

  4. Okay, I’m going to be the debbie downer of the comment section because everyone above seems to like episode 13. For me episode 13 was very bland and lacks thrills.

    It gave so many reveals but it was predictable. From episode 1 you can already tell the only actor build that matches the ninja hero is Yee Gon.

    Granny Noh being from ROK is a waste of scenes. It does nothing to propel the story.

    Prime minister is just pathetic. She’s the typical mean second female lead.

    Luna kissing Shin Jae…Why? What’s the point?

    Yee Rim, I still don’t understand why he is doing all this? For glory and for power? That’s his main purpose?

    So many unnecessary secondary characters like that pregnant woman. She add nothing to the story.

    What gripes me the most is that Yee Gon took a long time to finally realize that Luna was masquerading as Tae Eul. That’s true love there hahah It’s mental because Eun Seop little sister was able to recognize her brother immediately.

    I felt like plot didn’t move much at all in this episode.

  5. The editing was way better. They started the episode with the last scene of the precedent episode for once. Not by a complete different scene that makes the viewer completely lost.

    I’m ok with a love story but a better one. Shin Jae- Tae Eul relationship is way better written and the actors have a better chemistry. I have no idea why TE fell for Lee Gon, his “I’m a King” attitude is tiring.

    I’m not sure that I like the travel time part because it looks like Lee Gon will interfere a lot in the past, even in TE’s life. It kinda reminds me a Japanese drama where the guy went to the past and changed some events. It changed the FL’s memories about her best friend too.

    • @Sayaris

      I agree – According to the plot, Shin Jae- Tae Eul’s love relationship would have made a lot more sense. But that’s water under the bridge at this point. Hoping the last three episodes keep up the momentum. It might have been a different viewing experience if I had marathoned this drama instead of following each episode as it was released. I may have either dropped it in the first few episodes, or liked it a lot more. I’m ambivalent to the drama, but I still want to finish what I started. ?

      • I agree, it’s way too late now. But what I meant it’s that a good love story would have been possible in this story. But they messed up.

  6. Yeah and Tae Eul knew her doppelgänger had infiltrated her life but didn’t bother to tell her boyfriend, to protect him? How do you gloss Over that too?
    Why would the story reduce a Prime Minister of a very important nation to a simpering crush bunny boiler, like really?
    EPISODE 13 was kinda redundant

    • KES is not off the hook herself. actually Im wondering if other A-listers continue to have the previous desire to work with her after this drama haha.
      she needs to cause major changes in her writing style for her next project.

      from what I see now, the project is relaying on LMH fandom. KES gonna owe LMH fans for not letting this drama get even lower numbers than what its getting now,, and defend the project with whatever explaination/excuses they have toward the negative feedback or the hate drama is getting thro SNS.
      just imagine if the ML was a less famous actor with a smaller fandom..

      • KES will be hugely affected, although LMH and his FL will not suffer a great deal as they have tonns of fans out there, supporting their dramas. KES will need to change her scripts to change with the times and korean audiences.

      • yeah I hope KES and Leads learn and then move on from this project.
        I want them to bounce back and entertain us with better written and directed projects.

    • You make sense. It is so sad how a one drama will taint someone’s reputation. Hoping the very best for KES. I know it will be very hard for her to bring back her glory after the disaster that is TKEM.

      • Well to bring back her glory ,she will need her ghost writers back which contributed a lot in her previous hits.

    • KES fails in this drama. Writing is so poor, and execution is a mess. She should restart from the basics, or maybe it’s time for retirement.

      • ? yes, retirement! She should have worked on Heirs 2 instead. ??

  7. I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole show here in the USA. It’s entertaining and I love most of the characters. Yes, some details would help explain some of the story points. But overall I think it’s a good show.

    • This is the best drama so far for this year, its interesting to create a story full of plotting and i’m getting more curious for the next eps. Am i the only one thinking that this story kind of same as the vampire diaries which is full of surprises in each eps

    • Haters and critics are working too hard to ensure this drama a flop but in reality its currently the most watched show in the world. Its even no 1 in korean Netflix. I think people just prefer not to watch it on tv. That’s all.

    • It is a good fantasy romance drama. Not meant for everybody nrvetheless it’s delightful to watch.
      Haters will always hate. Let them be.

  8. The editing, directing and plot finally improved. Skipping a day made a huge impact.

    Hopefully, with “ONLY” 3 remaining episodes they can tie all the lose ends properly. I felt that previous episodes were wasted with poor execution… If only they did this much earlier, maybe they can saved the ratings more. I doubt that they can even reached 10% for the final episode when the viewers already lost interest.

    • I’ve seen the works of that screenwriter and I honestly think she’s an amazing screenwriter and even this show will not change that fact. I’ve rewatched the shows she wrote more than other dramas I’m not a fan of hers so this is just my opinion regarding the shows that I love and that she wrote. If TKEM was delivered how she intended it to be then this show might even be one epic show. After a few episodes I watched it with less expectations and I enjoyed it more. It could be better but I think at this point I’m just thankful for the relief it gave me every weekend from all the anxiety in the even crazier reality and world we live in. So Kudos to the cast and team, bring the good and positive things with you and grow from it and come back with even better acting and script and drama. For them to do their best till the end, deserves a round of applause.

      • From what I understand she had a team of talented co-writers on those past dramas who have mostly become independent. So it seems in the past KES didn’t do all the heavy lifting, she had a story to tell and her team helped her tell it, however we mostly only heard KES name. I wonder if that’s why her writers left.

        Now we see the results. I’m sure she has a new team but it seems they haven’t gelled with her yet, and now I wonder about her successes in the past, how much depended on those writers and not KES?

  9. The King Eternal Monarch is more than Awesome! The script is perfect. The reason it appears dragged out is to be blamed on Netflix spacing being way to long between episodes! If you watch the episodes closer together it plays out beautifully… shame on those who critize the actors performances as they are perfection at its highest!

  10. It’s really sad that the first drama that Lee Min Ho oppa released after his military services is getting low ratings. Every time that there’s a new episode, I wished that the ratings will go up but it didn’t. I’ve been reading a lot of stories and I encountered some stories that was hard to understand the plot but this drama, Yes it is hard to understand first but when I focused on the how the story flow, I understand it step by step. I wished that the other people who this will appreciate it also and other people watch this so that the ratings will go up. Skl.

  11. this is first time fantasy drama is so illogical that even after watching so many episodes its makes no sense and doesnt fit into fantasy romance as both concepts r nil in dis show. its like a long cf with no chemistry. no one knows which direction its going

  12. Lowest-rated Saturday episode of TKEM so far. It failed to benefit from the crash in the ratings of Knowing Bros after the Mr. Trot boys’ guesting stint ended (6.1% last Saturday, from 14.7% the previous week).

    • I wish they could re-do the whole thing. Tighter story line, better directing and editing. It has the hallmarks of a great drama but too riddled with glaring flaws.

  13. I actually liked it because I spent a whole day binge watching the entire 13 episodes, watching it in this fashion made it flow a lot better and you could actually see the growing romance and intrigue as you try to link the characters together, I tried to do it week by week but I could not keep it straight, but when I binge watched it, it flowed quite nicely, so now I will wait until the remaining 4 or 5 episodes air then I will watch the entire thing and be content?

  14. It may not be as successful initial feat of LMH after military discharged, I would say its afterall quality made drama. I think he needs to chose carefully for his next drama/movie to regain his superstardom status back on track. Why not get away from stereotype character he used to portrayed, try experimental this time!

  15. It is a flat bread to start with and probably was meant to be that way. Rising is not a possibility. Must look at it that way to enjoy it as it is. Let LMH do another project. I will always be his fan. Enough flat bread for me. I want a perfectly baked cake. This is like his initiation after coming out from military. A drama that i will remember to be like the tofu they give to persons coming out of prison. Bland, mushy, less appealing, but a must. LMH returns to the world of drama and he will do better in the years to come.

  16. This is a masterpiece and the ratings are not that important because most young viewers watch this drama on the Netflix around the world.

  17. TKEM is no doubt a great show. If you’re not being biased and focus on the storyline rather than the romance you’ll see that it has more to offer than just the romance. LMH and KGE have great chemistry I really didn’t expect them to spend half of the show trying to tell us how much he loves her(that’s high school love please they’re adults) I feel most Korean audience are just used to romantic shows in which the ML and FL spend the whole show portraying their love so this concept seems weird to them. KES was obviously trying to keep the viewers in suspense that’s why she released the facts in episode 13. I really don’t think SBS ratings matter much because TKEM is doing well overseas and on Netflix(even South Korea’s Netflix) and from flixpatrol’s data TKEM is always among the top 10 shows in the world(the only Kdrama in the top10 list each day)

    • Its no 1 in many countries including mine ie Malaysia, also among top 10 in South American Countries where people dont really watch KD.

  18. This was definitely the best episode so far. The storytelling was a lot more cohesive and it connected a lot of important plot points, and did it in a way that sucked me in and made it interesting. What I wish would happen at this point is for Luna to join up with Tae Eul and for them to work together to bring down Evil Uncle. Give Luna a warmer life and help out her counterpart. Probably not the way the plot is going, though…

    Question, so what are the parameters for getting the lightning scar? People whose counterparts in the other world are dead, okay… but what about Shin Jae? He’s from Corea and his counterpart in Korea is dead. Yet he doesn’t have that lightning problem as far as we know.

  19. This Drama Was So İMAZİNG İ Dont Care What Korean People Says About That Coz King İs King And Lee Min Ho İs King Of Kdrama And No One Can Be Replace Lee Min Ho In K_Drama. İn My Country İran ?? Lee Min Ho İs So So Popular Than Other Stars. So Respect To Him And Know That He Has Many Millions Fans In World. #thekingeternalmonarch ??^_^

  20. I am enjoying the whole twist and trill. I’m gonna sit tight and see it till the end even in my confusion and a little bit of disappointment. I’m a big fan of Lee Min-ho.

  21. I’m actually enjoying this drama though I admit why it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. My criticism towards it however would be for its writing rather than the acting. I think the actors are actually doing a terrific job with the rather lacklustre storyline developed for them.

    I’m actually quite disappointed that KGE and WDH’s characters have been relegated to simply being a love interest and a loyal bodyguard with no arch developed for them other than that it’s their “destiny”. I think KGE and WDH are superb actors but they don’t really have much to work on with how insignificant their characters have become in the story. However I’m happy that they ate least get to show their acting through the dual characters they potray. At this point , Sin Jae and the Lee Lim’s characters seem more relevant to the story than JY & JTE which is odd since JTE & JY are supposedly the two people closest and dearest to Lee Gon.


  22. I agree that things need to be put back to order,aka restoring the balance.The only way to do it ,as koala said ,is if Lee Gon time travels to the past and stops Lee Lim before he gets his hands on the flute.This will restore the balance and bring radical changes to the story.

    But one thing I think will always be the same ,no matter the circumstances.Lee Gon and Tae Eul will meet and fall in love with each other ,time and time again.Fate is a constant subject in the drama.Their paths are guided by it and the outcome will always be the same.Time can not defeat fate and fate can not defeat time.Lee Gon will always find her,one way or the other and she will always wait for him.Even if the same faces exist in both worlds ,they will be guided to each other by fate.Lee Gon will never fall for Luna nor Tae Eul for Ji Hun.At least that’s how I understood it,especially after the court lady’s confession.The portal was opened before Lee Gon and Lee Lim ,when the flute was whole.And it didn’t seem to cause imbalance.It was lady Noh’s fate to end up living in the palace and be close to the orphan king.She guides ,loves and protects him ,like only a mother would.

    If the circumstances change after reset ,I’m 100% convinced Lee Gon will end up meeting Tae Eul.I would be damn surprised if he didn’t ,after the way they bring up ‘fate’ all the time in the drama.

  23. One of the best Korean drama! EXCELLENT!
    LeeGon -Lee Min Ho is at his BEST! Handsome and excellent acting! Also love Tae-Eul , her looks and very candid & natural acting. Whatever is the scriptwriter is doing ! You are doing such a great job with the plot! Keeps me awake watching until dawn. Everything about the story , the acting, the cinematography, the costumes are excellent !
    Kudos and Salute to the director ,all the cast and crews . Most of all Lee min Ho and Kim-Tae Eul

  24. I like this unique KDrama about parallel worlds,with people who are so different emotionally but physically same. I think the paths to the 2 worlds will close, because it causes time-gaps. I only recently discovered KDrama on Netflix, but now I am watching all the shows. I think the ratings will I improve as show picks up the pace.

  25. TKEM is a delightful fantasy romance with a mixture of mystery and action that got me really hooked. Its my fave KD apart from CLOY.

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