Tale of Nokdu
Historical, Romantic Comedy, Suspense
Set in the Joseon dynasty, the series is about a man who disguises as a woman to enter a mysterious women-only village; and a young woman who does not want to become a kisaeng.
This is a historical romance where the story is based in the joseon period in Korea.
The plot follows Nok Du, who's family is one day ambushed in an attack. While everyone makes it out alive, Nok Du manages to injure one of the assassins and follows her into a village for widows. This is a women's only village and Nok-Du gets kicked out. While plotting a scheme on how to re-enter the village, he comes across a couple on the run. They lend him an idea for helping them runaway safely, and soon we have Nok Du disguising himself and taking the identity of a women. He enters the village in the farce of a widow.
The most fun part of this drama is watching a man act as a woman. And I swear, this actor really pulls it off! He's pretty enough to make it work and his female impersonation voice is good. I was laughing out loud at so many scenes. Definitely fun. Until now I've seen plenty of kdramas where the girl disguises herself as a guy but this is the first where the guy disguises as a girl. Refreshing plot indeed!
Everything about this drama was smooth sailing (for about halfway). I was glued to the screen and couldn't stop watching. There's humor, romance and an underlying mystery.
Coming back to the plot - Adjacent to the widows village is a gisaeng house. This is where Nok du meets Dong Joo, a gisaeng under training (and our romantic lead). They are forced to share a room together and slowly grow to care for each other.
Another highlight of this drama was that they do not drag the reveal; Within a couple of episodes, Dong Joo realises that Nok Du is a man in disguise. (However nobody else in the village knows that, obviously.)
As I mentioned this drama also has some serious suspense : there's a group of female assassins who attacked Nok du's family - why? Who's their leader? The first episode shows a scene where Nok du's mother reveals with her dying breath that he's adopted - So who's his real family? In the village we spot Dong Joo plotting the Kings murder - Why??? Who's her family?
These questions create a good air of suspense that carries this drama....for about halfway.
As secrets are revealed and the story gets more exciting by the second...it slowly begins to drag. And then it just gets downright boring towards the end. Oh, not like everything isn't sorted because there's definitely a happy ending where good reigns over evil but the journey to that got boring real soon.
The romance dwindled, lost its passion and the plot just simply....dragged.
I was disappointed with certain scenes. It's like the plot builds up and you're waiting for the big reveal but then that reveal doesn't pack the punch and suddenly you're all fissed out like a deflated balloon.
Or maybe I had these complaints because I saw all the episodes continuously without a break (I was bored and jobless at that time).
Where this drama is in no means a blockbuster, it is definitely worth a one time watch. And if you indeed drop it midway you'll still be satisfied with what you've seen.
It's a fun series with suspense, drama and romance set in the joseon period. Do give it a whirl!
Meet the cast
Jang Dong-yoon as Jeon Nok-du
Jung Joon-ho as King Gwanghae
Kim So-hyun as Dong Dong-joo
Lee Seung-joon as Jung Yoon-jeo, Nok-du and Hwang-tae's father.
Kang Tae-oh as Prince Neungyang / Cha Yool-moo
Song Geon-hee as Jeon Hwang-tae, Nok-du's older brother