After much anticipation, Lee Ji Ah graces the screen with her new show “Queen of Divorce.” This Wednesday-Thursday JTBC drama offers a fast-paced and witty revenge story. With a strong cast of supporting actors and Kang Ki Young as the main lead for the first time ever, “Queen of Divorce” seems like the perfect way to kick off your year.
Here are some thoughts on the drama’s premiere episodes:
Warning: contains spoilers for episodes 1-2.
LOVED: a strong female lead
“Queen of Divorce” is undoubtedly a K-drama featuring a strong female lead. The first episode begins with Sara Kim (Lee Ji Ah) descending from the ceiling into a house shrouded in darkness. She is dressed as a stereotypical fighter in an action movie and effortlessly takes down the antagonist, her client’s husband, who has kidnapped the client’s son. Despite the clichéd attire in her introductory scene, Sara is not your cold-hearted, stereotypical female lead. Not only is she physically strong and capable of handling bad spouses, but she is also emotionally strong and compassionate.
We learn about Sara’s compassionate nature in the first episode, set two years before the present time. As a divorce lawyer working at Cha Yul Law Firm, Sara is assigned to Kim Tae Hyuk’s case—an abusive husband who shows no concern for his wife or son. Despite everything, Sara’s mother-in-law and chairwoman of Cha Yul Law Firm, Cha Hee Won (Na Young Hee), assigns the case to her. Initially, Sara tries to secure Tae Hyuk’s son’s custody, but upon realizing the man’s evil nature, she ends up providing crucial information to Tae Hyuk’s wife Son Jang Mi (Kim Sun Young), helping her win the case.
Further insight into Sara’s compassionate nature is revealed in episode 2, where she saves her potential client’s daughter Jang Soo Ji, who is on the verge of ending her life. In that specific scene, we witness how she converses with high school student Soo Ji and helps her understand how the world would be incomplete without her.
LOVED: Kang Ki Young and his diverse acting
Whether it is Jung Myung Seok, the world’s favorite boss from “Extraordinary Attorney Woo,” Hwang Pil Gwang, an evil gangster demon from “Uncanny Counter,” or Park Yoo Sik, the funny and kind subordinate from “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim,” Kang Ki Young has always brought life to every K-drama he has been in with his supportive characters. However, for the first time in his entire career, he is going to play the main lead, and I could not be more excited for him.
From his introductory scene, you can tell Kang Ki Young is the perfect candidate for the sassy yet morally right prosecutor Dong Ki Joon. Furthermore, as the story progresses, we get to learn more about Sara and Ki Joon’s past love life. Kang Ki Young’s wide acting range proves he has everything that one needs to be the romantic main lead. Those few short romantic scenes in episode 2 were enough to make viewers sympathize with Ki Joon, and it’ll be exciting to see what Kang Ki Young brings to the table next.
LOVED: Solution – a team of exes
When you hear the phrase “Solution: A Divorce Settlement Company,” the first thought that might come to your head might be that this establishment is a law firm specializing in divorce settlements. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. This small team consists of an ex-divorce lawyer, ex-prosecutor, ex-hacker, and an ex-detective, AKA people who were let go from their previous jobs for one reason or another. And now this team of “exes” helps people with bad spouses by getting them a good divorce deal and sometimes revenge. Another great member of this team is the CEO of the company, Son Jang Mi, a woman who Sara helped in the past. In K-drama terms, Solution is the “Taxi Driver” of divorce settlements.
HATED: Sara’s stupid decision of giving Cha Hee Won her personal name stamp
This week we learned that in the past Sara had given her dojang (Korean name stamp) to her mother-in-law. Unknowingly to Sara, Hee Won, her now ex-mother-in-law, ended up using the name stamp to sign her son and Sara’s divorce papers. Sara was well aware that Hee Won hates her to the extent of not letting Sara call her mother. Wouldn’t you think that someone who is a lawyer would know not to give their personal dojang to someone else, let alone a person who hates her?
However, one can easily argue that the reason why Sara gave her dojang to Hee Won shows how desperate Sara was for her approval. Still, the entire situation came out looking like a cheap plot catalyst, lazy writing, and slightly unrealistic.
LOVED: hybrid narrative – standalone episodes and overarching plot = more plot
No matter how great the cast or the plot is, if the show is filled with filler scenes, it’s the quickest way to bore the viewer. That’s why the hybrid narrative of “Queen of Divorce” is so great. We are just two episodes in, but by the look of it, every episode is going to have a standalone story where Solution will help a new client with their divorce case. Meanwhile, the overarching story of the show revolves around Sara getting revenge on her ex-husband No Yul Sung (Oh Min Seok) and her ex-mother-in-law Cha Hee Won and getting custody of her only son.
This hybrid narrative promises that each episode is going to be filled with so much plot that you might not even be able to blink while watching the show to prevent losing any story.
Check out “Queen of Divorce”:
What did you think of the premiere week’s episodes of “Queen of Divorce”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Javeria is a binge-watching specialist who loves devouring entire K-dramas in one sitting. Good screenwriting, beautiful cinematography, and a lack of clichés are the way to her heart. As a music fanatic, she listens to multiple artists across different genres but believes no one can top the self-producing idol group SEVENTEEN. You can talk to her on Instagram @javeriayousufs.
Currently watching: “Queen of Divorce”
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