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[Review] Tinted With You

When it comes to Korean dramas, there seems to be a lot of love triangles thrown in the mix. Not that I’ve seen an abundance of k-dramas or anything like that (I’ve only seen a handful of mini series), but when I read the synopsis of many of the full length ones, most include some kind of love triangle which makes me not want to watch them. In Tinted With You, there is indeed a love triangle despite – once again – the synopsis on Viki NOT alluding to it. I think I’m just gonna have to stop reading the synopses on Viki because in my experience, they are rarely accurate.

Anyway, here is a summary in my own words:

Lee Heon is an exiled Crown Prince in the Joseon dynasty who is currently in hiding with his lifelong bodyguard and friend, Guem. He is on the run due to assassins hunting him and trying to kill him due to orders from the King as well as his own mother.

Eun Ho is a high school student in 2021 about to take his final exams so he can graduate, go to college, and major in an art program. One afternoon, while looking around in an art gallery, he sees a painting just like the one in his textbook. Things get strange when the gallery lights start to flicker and a woman appears telling Eun Ho that he needs to complete what he started. Next thing he knows, he has fallen through the painting and he is now in the Joseon dynasty! As if things weren’t bad enough, when he lands in front of Geum and the Crown Prince, he’s held at sword point due to suspicions that he was sent to kill the prince just like all the other assassins.

Guem has devoted his life to protecting Lee Heon due to his position as a guard, but also because he secretly has romantic feelings for him. When Eun Ho lands in their laps and starts spending a lot of time with Lee Heon, he becomes jealous at how quickly the prince warms up to Eun Ho. But they all soon find out that Eun Ho is the only one that can save them all and rewrite history as they know it.

That was probably a really crappy summary, but that’s the best I can do. Moving forward, there will be spoilers! You’ve been warned.

This was another series that suffered from the time constraints, in my opinion. Because of this, many things were confusing for me, such as the whole Crown Prince backstory and how Eun Ho was the only one that could save him and why. How could Eun Ho save the prince without completely changing the future? And who the heck is Eun An?? This was a name that was brought up multiple times and seemed to be an important person judging from the reactions each time this name was mentioned. But I never got an answer. Idk if this was a translation error or just bad script writing. Or maybe I’m just dense, idk.

I felt like this series had too many plot holes and I finished it feeling very unsatisfied. So let’s get into my thoughts.

Characters

Lee Heon is the Crown Prince. He’s super pampered, but he’s kind, soft-spoken, and merciful as he doesn’t like a lot of killing. He is also fearful of his safety while dealing with a lot of internal turmoil at being hunted by members of his own family. I liked Lee Heon enough, I guess. He was kind of bland, honestly. I didn’t dislike him, he was just…bland.

Eun Ho took some getting used to for me. He was supposed to be more of a care-free character who didn’t truly understand the weight of his situation, and who wasn’t afraid to laugh or smile. The reason he took some getting used to is because he whined soooo freakin much! Ugh!

If you watch a lot of Korean TV or have actually lived in Korea like I have, then I am sure you have heard of what is called “the Korean whine”. I find this whine sooo effing annoying and it grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I understand his character was thrown into a wild, life altering situation, but good god. Make. It. Stop.

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Eun Ho and Lee Heon are the couple in this series, but their pairing just felt…weird. Idk, I wasn’t convinced. I didn’t hate it, per se, but I wasn’t sold on their pairing. Eun Ho was the shiny new thing in this rigid dynasty, and he treated Lee Heon like a regular person without a title. I can see how Lee Heon would like this after being pampered all his life and everything he’s been dealing with recently. However, I did not really feel any chemistry between them and I seem to be a minority in feeling that way.

Guem is the super stern and protective bodyguard of Lee Heon. He’s mean and overprotective. However, I did not hate this about his character because with everything he has been enduring with the assassins hunting the prince, and him saving both of their lives over and over and over again, I could understand why he was this way. He was also extremely loyal and self sacrificing. Although I hate love triangles, I found myself wishing that the romance was between him and Lee Heon instead of Lee Heon and Eun Ho.

In my opinion, Guem and Lee Heon had more chemistry on-screen and I believed their secret pining for each other more. There were moments where it seemed like Lee Heon was reciprocating these feelings, only for Eun Ho to make an appearance and all of a sudden Lee Heon is back to liking the new shiny human from the future.

I felt bad for Guem, honestly, and during he and Lee Heon’s hugging scene after he blatantly tells the prince that he can’t live without him, I hated HATED that Lee Heon pushed him away so harshly when Eun Ho burst through the doors, accidentally interrupting them.

Lee Heon. You’re not afraid to be caught kissing a man on top of an open cliff when you are LITERALLY BEING HUNTED, but you’re scared to be seen hugging your bodyguard in a private room?? Okay, sir. Okay.

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Actors

I don’t have much to say about the actors. I don’t know who any of these men are outside of this series and I don’t know what other things they have acted in. I think they did a decent enough job at embodying their characters, but the acting overall could have been much better although the guy who played Guem did the best and pretty much carried the show.

I basically just watched this to pass some time because I was ready to call it quits after the second episode when Eun Ho wouldn’t shut up with all that whining.

Story

The story lacked. Hands down, it lacked. Maybe it would have been better had there been more time in the episodes, but overall, the plot felt a bit convoluted and had some plot holes. We never got a reason for why the prince is being hunted. He was being hunted by the King, yet Guem said the King loved the prince so, who is the King trying to get him killed?? Had it not been for the Viki synopsis giving a little background, this would have remained a mystery to me. Apparently the current King is Lee Heon’s brother. If that’s true, then why are we still calling their father the King? Do you see my confusion??

And later, we find out that someone else was sent to kill Lee Heon and that he was sent by Lee Heon’s own mother. Why?? What’s his relationship with his mother? Why does she want him dead too? Why is this the first and only time she’s even mentioned across this entire series? Why do we only ever see the running feet of the assassins, but never any actual assassins besides the one sent by Lee Heon’s mother? Overall, there never felt like there was truly any sense of urgency because the viewers never actually saw the danger spoken about throughout the series.

He pulls his sword, but we never see anyone. Ever.

Eun Ho is the one that can save the crown prince by completing the painting and taking him back to the future. However, won’t this alter history enough that it can change things in the future? Why is Eun Ho the only one able to do it? Was he chosen randomly or does he have more significance than was let on? Who is the magic lady that appeared in the gallery? Why does she also appear to Guem? He asks her why she cares so much and she gave some non-answer about bad luck and feeling pity for Eun An and whatever else. WHO THE FREAK IS EUN AN??? Were my English subtitles so inaccurate that I missed who this person was? And why did she never actually explain who she was?

So, the magic lady tells Guem what he’s supposed to do in order to also help save the prince. But! How does Guem eventually make it to the future like Eun Ho and Lee Heon have? He was instructed to hide the painting. Did he jump in the painting after hiding it? Why did it take two years for him to find Eun Ho and Lee Heon in the end? Why do I have so many darn questions? Ugh.

This series obviously has time travel, but it also has some weird magical realism, and this is something I just do not like. Not in series, not in movies, not in books. Magical realism just doesn’t gel with me and maybe that’s why I struggled with this series so much…in addition to just not understanding a lot of the things that happened and having far too many questions.

Locations/Scenery

The indoor locations were simple and nothing special: a cafe, a school classroom, a small art gallery. The outdoor scenery was nice though. I like trees and forestry, so to see an old village out in the woods and all the trees and greenery was very nice.

Music

The music wasn’t anything special for the most part, but there were instances where it just did not fit what was happening. It almost seemed like the director and writers wanted to amp up the tension through the music, but when this would happen, it just felt out of place. An example of this is when Lee Heon finds out that the king was going to kill him through poison and he rushes back to Guem and Eun Ho and demands to know if they already knew this. The music just absolutely did not fit this scene and it was perplexing.

Also, how on earth would Guem have known that the King was going to kill Lee Heon with poison? Eun Ho could have known since he came from the future and has read history books, but how would Guem have known? He was running away just like Lee Heon was. And the way Lee Heon found out was also really weird. He stumbled across some villagers reading about it on a sign as if his poisoning had already happened, and I was soooo 👏🏾 freakin 👏🏾 confused. How do the villagers know this? What part of time are we in now? How does Guem know what has already taken place? If he and Lee Heon came back to life for a do-over, why does Guem remember what happened and Lee Heon doesn’t? Guem even blatantly says what happened when the magic lady appears to him. Was that some weird jump in time too??

You guys. I AM SO CONFUSED!

Overall

Overall, I did not enjoy this series, but I seem to be in a small minority that didn’t. Maybe I overthink and analyze things too much, idk. But I do believe all my questions are valid. Whether this was bad writing or a case of being lost in translation, I will never know.

The ending was left open enough that the original story was completed, but it is obvious that there could be a season 2 if the director or writers wanted to make another one. If a season 2 is made, I would be curious only because of Guem since he basically carried the show. But I don’t have faith that he would get the ending that I want. As I stated before, I think the romance should have been between him and Lee Heon.

Rating

I’ll rate this series 2 out of five stars. 1 star for effort. Another star for me actually getting a few chuckles out of it. But overall, I would not rewatch this.

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2 Comments

  • How To Get Your Ex Back After A Breakup

    The love triangle is a troupe I wish would die by fire. It’s hardly ever done right anyway. And one person is always clearly the winner. So what’s the freaking point then?

    I saw some quick clips of this on YouTube but forgot about it. So his own mother wanted him dead too? That must suck.

    • Anais Naiim

      “The love triangle is a trope I wish would die by fire”. I seriously couldn’t have said it better myself. I hate them. But yea, apparently his mother did want him dead because the sole assassin that we ever see in the show said that he was sent by the queen. That would make her Lee Heon’s mother…unless…this was the new queen, the wife of his brother who was apparently the new king?? Idk, none of that was very clear and I was greatly confused as I’m sure you can tell by my post lol.

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