Aiee~ this drama is doing things to me that i couldn’t form coherence sentences to discuss what happened besides squeeing, and squeeing, and more squeeing. So much so that Moonlight has been my sure-fire mood booster at the start of the week 🙂
If you’re watching the series, you’ll agree that there’s probably no better word to accurately describe the highlights of episode 7 to 10 than *SQUEE~*. This obviously applies to the realm of romance, which has undergone tremendous development in these two weeks. Not only has Yeong been in the know of Ra-on’s true gender and name, we’ve also heard three equally sweet and swoon-worthy confessions. It’s no easy feat to have back-to-back confessions and make subsequent ones sound as heartfelt as the first one and not cheesy or repetitive, but Moonlight and Park Bo-gum managed to deliver them very, very well. It’s unreal!
I’m also happy that we skipped the potential angsty period following the discovery. Instead, we skimmed through Yeong’s myriad of emotions in the same beat. Have i mentioned how on point Park Bo-gum’s micro expressions are? That said, the lovey-dovey new-couple made me tense at times, fearing somebody would witness their intimacy, especially when we’ve given wide shots of the scenes, as if i’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. They said the palace has too many eyes and ears after all…
Romance may the main focus yet isn’t the sole focus. Other subplots are given enough allusion and attention, and we’ve seen great progress in the more important matters. For example, i was thoroughly pleased with how they handled Eunuch Ma, the second person busting Ra-on. Despite Yoon-sung’s threat, he could still let it slip in the future, so it’s nice that Ra-on was able to win his favor by resolving his mini love story with Wol-hee, the princess’ lady-in-waiting, through a super bittersweet puppet show. The same goes for the case with the mute little princess. The takeaway was nice though the outcome felt rather formulaic.
It’s also safe to say everyone’s role in the power struggles has been clearly defined by now. To put it simply: Yeong is coming from the palace, Yoon-sung from the Kim clan, and Byung-yeon (Yeong’s bodyguard played by Kwak Dong-yeon) the Rebel group. Despite their backgrounds, they don’t always agree or side with their faction’s takes on things. When outright confrontation doesn’t work, they move behind everyone’s backs. So far, majority of the boys’ stances are based on Ra-on’s best interest. That definitely adds to the aww-factor, but as the schemes are coming to a head, with the same girl at the center of it all, it’ll be interesting to see what decision/plan they’ll come up with, separately or together, in that regard, AND where Ra-on will stand.
From the get-go, the prominent secret potentially leading up to conflict is Ra-on’s gender. It has put her in a pinch in several occasions, but as expected the bigger secret is the one pertaining to her lineage: that she’s the daughter of Hong Gyeong-nae, the Rebel’s leader driving the reform movement 10 years prior, which ended up claiming Yeong’s mother’s life. The uprising and ultimately late-queen’s death inflicted a deep trauma on both the king and Yeong that Ra-on’s identity ought not be an easily glossed over issue. Nevertheless, the event scarred her too; that’s the reason she’s forced to live as a boy since young, and that’s the last time she saw her mother.
Honestly, i don’t understand the Rebel’s resolution on finding the lost child, a female in male-dominated society of Joseon, before staging another rebellion. If anything, the reveal will only add another point to Ra-on’s offense list after entering the palace under a different persona, violating the law and fooling everyone. The consequences could be ugly, and her life could really be at stake once the truth comes to light.
Fortunately, her whereabouts and identity were first discovered by those who claim to protect her, but i guess it will only be a matter of time till the other parties catch up on the news. Byung-yeon was the first on the loop, yet decided to keep it from both the underground group and the crown prince for Ra-on’s sake. She doesn’t even know her father’s name, why drag her into the power struggles? The Rebel, however, was quick to sniff the info out, probably due to the new leader’s sharpness, who’s able to put two and two together after only three details: Ra-on’s age, her separation from her mother during the riot, and her familiarity with a certain flower… who turned out to be (surprise surprise!) the king’s head eunuch, Eunuch Han.
Moonlight is pretty low on twists that this one serves as a shocking one. Well, i did find it odd that he didn’t share his suspicions about Ra-on’s history to the king, yet totally didn’t expect it to be him, of all people. (I was thinking Gyeong-nae could still be alive somewhere) I mean, as a head eunuch, shouldn’t he keep his master company at all times? How does he have the time to spearhead the group’s regroup and movement? Maybe eunuchs have a lot more free time than i thought. This reveal also explains their knowledge of the palace’s situation as well as how weak the king is.
At this point, i’m already disliking him more than the antagonists, say Premier Kim or the queen, but i’m still wary of his reaction to the news: the possibility of him being betrayed by someone closest to him, someone he trusts, someone who should be loyal to him, when he’s already this antsy about the palace/country’s affairs. But again, i’m so vexed with his ineptitude and impetuousness. It’s frustrating to watch him listen to Premier Kim more than his own successor, when the latter has shown his capability of one-upping his oppositions on more than one occasion. Why agreed to appoint him as an interim king if you’re unwilling to consider his suggestions?
While i’m still not sure if Yeong has officially assumed his position as a regent due to the above instances, i’ve been quite wary of what the title could mean to him. As far as i know, at least in period dramas, no man can become a king without a queen. I’ve wondered if that’s the role Chae Soo-bin’s character would fill. It’s affirmed when Jo Ha-yeon was shown to be attracted to Yeong almost immediately, but then she’s paired off with Yoon-sung in an arranged marriage to strengthen the Kims’ political power (which she turned down), before her father was officially asked by the king to be his in-law (which she readily accepted).
Despite seeing it coming, i can’t like it. Yes, i’m well aware that the drama is set in the period which allows noblemen to have more than one woman/wife, but is it too much to want Yeong to marry one woman only — Ra-on in this case — regardless of the real historical figure his character is based on? Can’t he refuse this forced political union? Or do something, work his way around it, and offend as few people as possible in the end? I felt cheated when fantasy dramas follow history a bit too closely (i’m looking at you, Mirror of the Witch) i wish the same ‘mistake’ would not happen here. Don’t let me down, Yeong…