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'Splendid Politics' Dethrones 'Heard It From The Grapevine' By It's Second Episode

BY Julie Jones | Apr 15, 2015 12:53 PM EDT

Splendid Politics

"Splendid Politics," also known as "Hwajung," rose to first place in the ratings by its second episode. The opening episode already rated in the double digits and by the second, the 50-episode historical drama had reached 11.8 percent.

That pushed the comedy "Heard It Through The Grapevine" into second place although the competition is still strong.  "Heard It Through The Grapevine" was only behind the new contender by 0.1 percent, which left it at 11.7 percent.

The third place contender, the vampire drama "Blood" rose slightly in the ratings, from 3.8 to 4.4 percent, but that still does not make it serious competition for either of the frontrunners.

Before "Splendid Politics" aired, some netizens questioned whether the drama would attract enough interest because it covered a historical period that k-dramas covered so many times before. And it focused on the historical figure of "Prince Gwanghae" whom so many actors had portrayed in different ways. The prince is mostly played as a villain who murdered his kin but also occasionally as a victim of his circumstances.

The first episodes demonstrated the approach that Cha Seung Won previously said he would take, to portray Prince Gwanghae as a thoughtful prince, who did not start out as a monster, but was prompted by fear and resentment to rewrite history.

"It would be too burdensome for me if I focused too much on making the character different from how other actors portrayed him before," said Cha Seung Won at the drama's press conference. "Many focus on charismatic features when they try to describe Gwanghae. But I personally want him to be seen as someone who has some deeper thoughts inside rather than trying to work his absolute power."

Prince Gwanghae was the son of King Seongjo and a concubine. He rose to power and became king, only to ultimately be deposed. He killed his half-brother Prince Yeong Chang and exiled his half-sister Princess Jung Myong along with her mother Queen Inmok. Even in her exile, the princess remains a threat and that's the plot of "Splendid Politics."

"Heard It Through The Grapevine" still presents some serious competition for "Splendid Politics." And either drama could win top ratings next week. The comedy's plot has veered in some unexpected directions, which seem to be heading toward the fall of the pretentious Han family. An almost affair could lead to a scandal and that might remove the family from their self-erected pedestal. But whether this development will be good for the young couple played by Go Ah Seung and Lee Joon, remains to be seen.

Who will win the ratings war next week? Stay tuned.

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