Update: ⬆️ The image above was released on the Tuesday with the caption asking us to tune in and find out about Baek Won Hoi and Byung Yeon. The preview for episode 14 also shows a scene Chief Eunuch ordering Baek Won Hoi readying for action, but it was omitted in the actual airing. I don’t think Baek Won Hoi’s scene will be omitted next episode, but I hope the above scene find its way back into the story somewhere. I’m starting to speculate these are the clues that Byung Yeon has ousted his secret and Baek Won Hoi, that’s how Seja found Ra On end of episode 14. Whilst the baddies are plotting to catch Seja conspiring with Ra On—the traitor’s daughter—Baek Won Hoi deploys for a rescue/protection mission. I am smelling the framework of the novel in play, just the way is executed is changed…
Inasmuch as I love Moonlight Drawn by Clouds’s superb direction, creativity and cinematography, this week’s episodes come off weak as the plot drags on with no real and new development. Seja has not made any breakthrough impressing the viewers since episode 4 or 6 against the villains; Baek Won Hoi’s motif is STILL unknown; and he is still suspecting Byung Yeon. OMG, just freaking asks Byung Yeon already. Dap dap hae! The only thing that’s finally settled is the royal marriage, in which, a horror to my own version of happy ending.
Not everything is bad in this week’s episodes. To name a few: I love the bromance between Yoon Sung and Seja. They sort of made-up before they get all defensive due to Ra On, but the initial sentiment and atmosphere was a nice sight. I also enjoy the angst brought out by the OTP’s separation. That frozen in place scene was fan-ta-bulous. However, the angst didn’t last quite enough for my liking, especially for Seja’s part in episode 14, which is a bummer; it could have been a teensy bit longer before the tortured birds reunite (Edit: and do not misunderstand I want this angst to drag past more than one episode).
I get the feeling the script is brewing up something ‘big’, in hope to finish it with a loud bang for the finale, but this makes current episodes stale with no interesting or dramatic happenings i.e. The tension builds up, but it sort of fell flat when it led to nowhere in that episode, and can’t even be used as an ending cliffhanger. My mind is also puzzled as to how Seja is going to explain to Ra On next week. Is he gonna go: “Oh by the way, during the time you dumped me, I decided to punish you (and myself) by marrying Jo Ha Yeon. But now that you are back in my life, is it okay I still marry her because her clan will give me more power. Don’t worry, I did make it clear I will never give her my heart; it was all business.”
Excuse the sarcasm. It’s just that the story felt somewhat disjointed, and I’m not sure how to convince myself with what’s shown so far, and I need to let this cooped up frustration out. Based on this week’s episodes alone, it leaves me dissatisfied not knowing how Seja comes to the decision of joining hands with Ha Yeon. He was strongly against it before, not just for Ra On, also because he did not want to create Andong Kim clan v2.0.
With a modern mindset I disagree with the marriage; however, I can understand why during that era and in Seja’s shoes, the deal was the best offer. I will share the whys in the book, so that we have a better understanding (at least from the original’s standpoint).
A little bit introduction about Jo Ha Yeon first. She accepts the sad fate that being born as a woman in this era means being married off, and stuck in a cage serving this man forever. After learning more about Seja from Ra On, she decided that if she had to become someone’s wife, she would rather be Seja’s, because she likes Seja’s dream of the new Joseon.
After Seja was made Regent, he forces obedience onto the Andong Kim clan and their supporters by employing tradition, court rituals and/or etiquettes. His tactic caught them all off-guard, and they could not find any cracks in the system to defy Seja. His plan would work perfectly if he hadn’t fall for Ra On. Unfortunately, it is tradition and part of court rituals that the ruler is to marry and produce an heir. Hence, if Seja breaks this tradition, he creates a crack in the system he worked very hard to uphold. To make matter worse, the Queen Dowager was personally forcing it on him. To refuse or delay further brings no benefit to his ruling, because he would be criticized for not setting an example; attacked for disobeying the elderly and being unfilial. It’s like freaking big crime back in those days. Therefore, it makes sense he took the offer when Ha Yeon so conveniently dangles it in front of him.
Seja isn’t ruling his court with tradition and court rituals, is he? Also, he is still seen struggling to control the ministers. We watch him decline the royal marriage and this issue drag on for several episodes, just when we thought that’s not going to happen, it suddenly gets fast-forwarded and the deal was made off-screen. However, what is the push for this decision politically (or emotionally)?—we don’t quite know for certain. Apart from gaining support from the Jo clan; I can’t think of other justifiable reason(s) like the ones in the novel, and drama version Ha Yeon’s offer is unconvincing and weak—because she expects Seja to one day love her back.
I sincerely wish more will be explained next week, because we don’t want a good quality drama such as this to deteriorate in any aspects, especially the storylines. The drama was so close to perfection, and now it already isn’t, but I don’t want it worsen when we have 4 episodes left. So here I pray: Prove me wrong so that I can hit myself in the head for jumping the gun and doubt the scriptwriters. Amen.