01 July 2023

K Drama Review: Show Window: The Queen's House (2021) 4.4 || 4.25

We've been delinquent here (for almost two months!) because...life. But we started watching a new drama last night and hopefully, we'll get our groove back. 

We chanced upon this show by accident. We often see it on TV when we're having our meals and we were intrigued. It also helped that Oppa adores Jeon So Min (Cleaning Up and So I Married an Anti-Fan) as he is a huge Running Man fan. When it seemed like we were catching the same episodes on TV, we finally decided to watch it. And while it was not all highs, the show was good enough to keep us hooked until the end. 


Show Window: The Queen's House tells the story of a seemingly perfect family - the Shins - dad Shin Myung Seob (Lee Sung Jae of Warm and Cozy), an executive in LaReine, the conglomerate owned by his wife's family; mom Han Sun Joo (Song Yoon Ah), heiress to a rich family; eldest daughter Tae Hee (Shin Yi Jun; and youngest son Tae Yong (Park Sang Hoon of The Producers). Neighbors envy Sun Joo because she seems to have it all. That is, until her family's dark secrets are revealed, primarily caused by her husband's mistress, Yoon Mi Ra (Jeon So Min). The show takes us through how things go downhill for Sun Joo and her family and how she fights back fiercely to get back what rightfully belongs to her. 

The Cast

For the most part, Oppa and I disagreed on the quality of the show's cast. He was mostly okay with everyone, while I found most of them lacking? But I know we both agree that Song Yoon Ah was the best actor in the show. She was perfect as Sun Joo - so pretty, elegant, and royal. Without knowing the story, it would have been easy to judge Sun Joo as stupid, with the show describing her as someone who cheered on/enabled her husband's mistress. But once you hear her story, it's easy to sympathize with her, especially since she didn't know that the mistress she was supporting was her husband's. It was so painful to watch because she seemed to genuinely care for Mi Ra. 

I absolutely detested Myung Seob. I'm not sure if I was just influenced by his character, like how can an old and ugly guy like him have two beautiful women fighting over him? He totally did not deserve either one of them. 

I started out indifferent towards Jeon So Min. I felt like she was not a very good fit for Mi Ra, especially during the dramatic parts. She seemed better off quiet and stoic. I guess it didn't help that Song Yoon Ah overpowered her and she couldn't match up to her level in their highly-charged confrontation scenes. Those were really wasted opportunities because instead of getting really angry, you just end up indifferent, or worse, laughing, at how uneven the acting was. And it just gave you more reason to really root for Sun Joo. I'm just glad that towards the latter episodes, So Min redeemed herself. She did so much better from the remind wedding episode onwards.   

And I totally didn't like Sun Joo's neighbors. They were all so annoying. Everything felt so contrived about them - their characters, their storylines, etc. It felt like they were conveniently placed there to move the story forward - like how one neighbor saw Mi Ra asking for a sanitary pad in the Queen's Club, which helped Sun Joo deduce that Mi Ra was no longer pregnant. Other than that, these characters didn't really help the story. 


We were pleasantly surprised that although we've watched bits of the show on TV, there were still a lot of things we didn't know about the story. And despite my issues with the actors, I really appreciated how the drama was compelling. I loved the quick pace and reveals too. 

I liked how the show gave us a reverse story - they started from the end and worked their way from there. And even if we already knew how the show was going to end (somehow), the story still captivated us enough to see it through the end. It was also exciting how the show gradually revealed the ending in the earlier episodes. 

I loved how the show interspersed the scenes between Sun Joo becoming more and more suspicious of her husband and Mi Ra and Myung Seob spending time with Mi Ra. Like when Sun Joo visited Mi Ra's house early in the morning to check if her husband was there. That was a really, really good build up to the moment when Sun Joo finally uncovers the truth. 

Mi Ra was absolutely creepy, stalking Sun Joo. I get that she was doing things on purpose but she was super crazy for pushing her luck and tempting fate so hard. Like how she continued to pretend to be pregnant after her miscarriage. Or how she invited herself to Sun Joo's house to have dinner with the entire family. 

Myung Seob was absolutely vile. Yes, his mother-in-law, Kim Kang Im (Moon Hee Kyung of Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol, The Killer's Shopping List, Hospital Playlist 1 and 2), was overbearing. Yes, he practically lived in his wife's shadow all their married life. But he should have known what he was getting into when he married an heiress. Must he hurt his wife and children too? He was just too ambitious for his own good. And how dare he use the kids to stop Sun Joo from divorcing him. And I totally hated him when he was insisting that women were better off as homemakers and how he always guilt tripped Sun Joo by saying that she was neglecting their home and kids when she tried to work while her mom was sick. 

I appreciated how the show didn't prolong Sun Joo's agony by letting her find out right away that her husband was Mi Ra's man. And I loved how crafty Sun Joo was, especially when she was interrogating Mi Ra about how she met her boyfriend. 

And just when you thought she was gone, Mi Ra makes a come back after she broke up with Myung Seob. This time as the girlfriend of Sun Joo's brother, Han Jung Won (Hwang Chan Sung of Now, We are Breaking Up, So I Married an Anti-Fan, VincenzoWhat's Wrong with Secretary Kim, and Dream High). I liked how Sun Joo loved her brother so much that she was willing to divorce her husband just to save Jung Won from Mi Ra. And how she successfully threatened Mi Ra that she will be trapped forever if she marries Jung Won. 

I enjoyed the corporate power play too. And how Sun Joo almost always beats her husband. 

Towards the end, however, I didn't like how the show was making the people act out of character to fit the drama's narrative. Sun Joo was struggling. She used to be so feisty and she never backed down. But all of a sudden, she couldn't run the company (when she did it so well behind the scenes in the past, asking for favors to make her husband look competent) and she let Myung Seob get away with saying that they should learn to coexist with Mi Ra. Nobody was actively helping her until her daughter and mom found out about Myung Seob's affair. Loved how Tae Hee invited Mi Ra to dinner to humiliate her and highlight how inferior she was compared to Sun Joo. 

Myung Seob, who used to be so concerned about his reputation, was flaunting his affair with Mi Ra, at a very crucial time when he was about to gain control of the company. Sun Joo's mom, who's very keen about everything, was unaware of Myung Seob's dirty tricks. And I was not exactly happy with Sun Joo's ex-boyfriend/friend, psychiatrist Cha Young Hoon (Kim Seung Soo), who didn't look trustworthy at all. When the show started going this way, I was so tempted to drop it. And I only stayed because I've watched a lot of it already and I wanted to find out how it will end. 

I'm glad that things picked up again from the remind wedding episode. Sun Joo was more stable, beating Myung Seob and Mi Ra in their own games. How she planned things carefully to corner everyone. And I loved how Mi Ra finally leveled up her creepiness. We finally had a good match up between Mi Ra and Sun Joo. Even the kids' acting leveled up too. 

With three to four episodes left after the remind wedding, I was concerned that the investigation would take too long and the show would be unnecessarily stretched. But the detours (especially with the ever-changing suspect in stabbing Mi Ra) somehow worked. Although I was quite concerned with how they were treating Tae Yong. It was obvious that he was traumatized with what he witnessed. Then his sister made him confess to a crime he didn't commit in order to save their mom. It was apparent that he needed help and given their resources, I was surprised that mom didn't get him the medical help he needed. 

Surprisingly, the remaining episodes remained interesting. I especially loved how Sun Joo and Mi Ra teamed up, realizing that Myung Seob only loved himself. I liked how they worked together to make Myung Seob think that he can get away with his crimes. I also liked how Sun Joo's mom told Sun Joo right away that Myung Seob was blackmailing her to get LaReine, claiming that Sun Joo was the one who stabbed Mi Ra.

Yes, the final scenes leading to Myung Seob's death were flawed. They did't appear well thought out. Why would Sun Joo leave her phone lying around where Myung Seob can read her messages when she and Mi Ra were plotting against him? Or how convenient it was for Jung Won to leave his phone, which led to Sun Joo to the trap prepared for him. And how Sun Joo, knowing how dangerous her husband was, let him stay at home, have access to the kids, etc. And how she went into an abandoned building by herself, without back up, knowing that her husband must be plotting something bad. And how Sun Joo easily convinced Myung Seob's goons to be on her side. 

Despite these little hiccups, I was still happy with how things turned out (except the murder, of course). Jung Won got LaReine. The kids are studying overseas and hopefully, shielded from the painful things their mom had to go through. Sun Joo's mom was now retired. Young Hoon paying Sun Joo back by counseling Mi Ra. Mi Ra's free to reflect on her misdeeds. Sun Joo was finally and truly free. I loved her breakdown scene where she broke stuff with a golf club then she walked barefoot with bloody feet around their neighborhood because to me, that signified that she was letting go of all the baggage she had to carry and endure by herself that she had to hide from everyone. Sun Joo meeting Mi Ra in the end, with the latter apologizing for everything that happened, was a perfect ending for this show. 

So while the show was not perfect, it's compelling enough to keep you hooked until the end. 

Oppa says...4.4.

Noona says...4.25.