Home > TV and anime > Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes five to eight

Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes five to eight

Now that we’ve rolled into the “present” after the flashback, everyone is adult, but I find my expectations slightly defeated. I was expecting Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) to turn into one of these romantic dramas with love blossoming between Kang Chae Yoon (Jang Hyuk) and So-Yi (Shin Se Kyung) and complications coming from an involved third party. In these Korean dramas, this is usually the King who wants to make the court lady his concubine. He’s the only one with the power to stand in the way of true love. But somewhat unexpectedly, this is turning into a murder mystery wrapped around real world events. For those of you not up on Korean history, King Sejong (Han Suk Kyu) is considered to be one of the country’s greatest rulers. Despite the inevitable problems in trying to control the emerging nation, he not only contrived to survive for thirty-two years, making significant contributions to the development of the military, but is also credited with fostering a general advancement of knowledge. Think of it as a period when knowledge and understanding were encouraged to flower (a word of great significance I shall return to later). Perhaps his longest lasting contribution was the development of Hangul. This is now Korea’s alphabet but, when he took over the reins of power, the script was largely Chinese (the Hanja forms). This made reading difficult to master and so scholarship was limited to the upper class families who had the time to develop the necessary skills. The new script was a dramatic gesture of democratisation. The Hangul form could be mastered quickly by anyone of moderate intelligence and it broke the nobility’s monopoly on learning.

Jang Hyuk being the action hero

When King Taejong (Baek Yun-Shik) is shown dying, we get one of these wonderful moments of anachronism as his last breath carries the hope that, for all his faults, he will be remembered for making his son the king. Fortunately, King Sejong rejects the corruption of absolute power and embraces a non-violent approach to rulership. These deaths we now see represent a direct attack on the King’s attempt to undermine the power of the scholars. It’s led by a secret organisation called MilBon. It sees itself as the roots of a great tree, sunk into the rich soil of Korean culture and learning. Through scholarship, each new generation of officials is educated and trained to rise through the administration. The highest flowering “official” is the King and, if the King does not stay true to the needs and wants of the roots, support will be cut off and the flower will wither. The secret organisation therefore burrows deep so that it will always survive.

Han Suk Kyu playing King Sejong with great sensitivity

So here we have Kang Chae Yoon arriving in the Palace just as MilBon is launching an attack on the King. Because of her eidetic memory, So-Yi is an integral part of the language development team. For her, nothing has to be written down. She is a walking compendium. What makes the series so fascinating is that, early on, Moo Hyool (Jo Jin Woong) realises who Kang Chae Yoon is and vividly remembers the threat he made as a child to kill the King. His immediate instinct is to quietly kill him but the King takes a contrarian approach, putting his nemesis in charge of the investigation of the murders. This is fascinating. Because the King has taken a solemn oath not to kill, he would rather involve his enemy in his grand design to update the alphabet. Yet, for now, he’s taken the decision not to tell either Kang Chae Yoon or So-Yi of their childhood identities. This leads to Kang Chae Yoon suspecting So-Yi but, slowly, he’s coming to see she’s working for the king on a secret project. Indeed, he’s making good progress in uncovering the plot and has already had two brushes with the assassin, Yoon Pyung (Lee Soo-Hyuk). The wire work for their chases and fights is of a good standard for television.

Shin Se Kyung slowly emerging into the light

If I have a criticism, it’s of myself. This is a large cast and it’s taking me a while to sort out exactly who everyone is. There are a range of different clans and factions, and I’ve been finding it a bit challenging to decide which side everyone is on. It’s good to see Jo Mal-Saeng (Lee Jae-Yong — the go-to guy for senior government officials of equivocal loyalty) gradually inching into sight in opposition to Lee Shin-Juck (Ahn Seok-Hwan). Two young scholars, Sung Sam-Moon (Hyun Woo) and Park Peng-Neyon (Kim Ki-Bum) are also actively involving themselves. While we have a loyal military comrade Cho-Tak (Kim Ki-Bang) providing extra muscle and timely advice when our hero needs it.

I’m hooked on this series. Both the King and Kang Chae Yoon are independently moving closer to their objectives. At this intermediate point in the series, Han Suk Kyu has had the better role with some very nicely constructed emotional scenes as he tries to master his frustrations and not give into violence when his plans are threatened. He sees the temptation to use his power in violent suppression of this treason as a kind of poison building up in his body. But Jang Hyuk is slowly coming out of his shell and you can see the wheels in his brain starting to turn. Now I have the characters more clearly established in my mind, Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) is shaping up really well.

For other reviews of this series, see:
Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — the first four episodes
Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes nine to twelve
Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes thirteen to sixteen
Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes seventeen to twenty
Tree With Deep Roots or Deep Rooted Tree or Bboori Gipeun Namoo (2011) — episodes twenty-one to end.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: