The Mini-Series, Volume 3
The South Korean television series Dae Jang Geum, which is also known as The Great Jang Geum and Jewel In The Palace, is a historical Korean drama (K-drama) based on the real life events of a historical figure from the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty. This figure was the first woman in Korean history to become the King's personal physician. Set in the 16th century, Dae Jang Geum follows the trials of Suh Jang-Geum, a sweet and brilliant woman who strives to restore her family's honor. This series has been released on DVD in the United States in three volumes, which each have eighteen episodes (there are a total of fifty-four episodes). This review covers the third volume. For additional information, refer to DVD Talk's reviews of volume 1, volume 2, and
In the close of the second volume, Jang-Geum had returned to the palace as a royal physician and found the Choi family firmly in power. Lady Choi took over Lady Park's position as the Head Lady of the Court. Filling Lady Choi's old position as the Highest Lady of the Royal Kitchen is Keum-Young. The third volume of Dae Jang Geum focuses on two major plotlines. The first deals with scandal, Jang-Geum, and the Choi family. With Jang-Geum having returned to the palace, the Choi's do what they can to remove her from the palace. The storyline takes many twists and ends with the Choi's downfall. In the second part, the focus is on Jang-Geum and her rise a physician, becoming the first female physician to treat the king.
When Jang-Geum returns to the palace, she finds out she has many enemies, both old and new. The Choi's are determined to see her ruination. At first, this storyline starts off in a common fashion to the previous volumes. However, the situation is spiced up when jealous lady physician Yuel-Yee joins forces with the Choi's. She plays a similar role to previous villains and manipulates various situations to make Jang-Geum look like a bad person. However, what makes Yuel-Yee a strong addition to the storyline is that she does not stop with Jang-Geum and even goes after the Choi's!
The Choi family's political power diminishes this season and their alliances take a turn for the worse. Sir Oh joins with the former Head Lady Park and Yuel-Yee. They plot against the Choi family, which leads to their downfall. Similar to the fate of Lady Han and Jang-Geum, Lady Choi and Keum-Young are accused of poisoning the king when he gets very sick. The physicians claim it could not have been caused by their treatment and must be the food. The case worsens for the Choi's when a poisonous ingredient is found in the royal kitchen. This story is very enticing and has a lot more to it.
In the second half of this volume, Jang-Geum becomes the center of a potential political scandal. The king decides to make her his personal royal physician after she repeatedly proved her value. The situation is troubling because a woman has never held the position before. The king's subordinates react poorly and plot ways to convince him to change his mind. The events lead to Jeung-Ho being banished from the palace by his fellow officials for supporting the order.
Throughout the third volume, there are additional plotlines that play key roles in the development of the big picture. Lady Lee, Jang-Geum's childhood friend who was favored by the king and turned into a royal concubine, becomes pregnant with the king's baby. The pregnancy ties into the Choi family and Yuel-Yee plot against Jang-Geum. There are also plots dealing with massive healthcare scares when a plague infects a neighboring village and small pox hit the royal family. Jang-Geum and Jeung-Ho's relationship becomes an important part of the story in this volume. Their loves grows stronger and ties into a love triangle with the king!
Overall, the third volume of Dae Jang Geum is a solid experience and compliments the previous two volumes well. The storylines offer content that is similar to the past volumes, but the material is spiced up with more deceit and plot twists. It makes for a very compelling story. In the end, you will not want to miss out on the conclusion of this wondrous tale.
This release is given in 1.33:1 ratio full frame color. The picture quality is very good, providing a clear and clean picture with minor color distortions and compression artifacts. Both dark and bright colors are generally represented well.
The audio track supplied is in Korean 2.0 Dolby digital stereo sound. The dialogue comes off a little flat and some of the soft spoken actors/actresses are a bit hard to hear. But the track is generally audible for most characters. The music sounds great; it is dynamic and vibrant.
For non-spoken language options, there are subtitles in English and Chinese. The English subtitles have a few grammatical errors and odd word usages, but for the most part they provided dialogue that was very easy to follow.
The sixth disc has a photo gallery.
Dae Jang Geum is a Korean television drama that has been released in the United States in three volumes. The mini-series has a total of fifty-four episodes. This review covered the third volume, which details the rise of Jang-Geum as a royal physician, the downfall of her enemies, and her blossoming love affair. The drama features high quality writing and great performances from the lead and supporting characters. Of all the K-dramas I have seen, this one was the most powerful and engrossing. Those who enjoy enveloping and powerful dramas, with complex characters and plot twists will appreciate this awe-inspiring drama. This third and final volume intensifies the content of the previous two volumes and produces a tremendous experience.