The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 17
These brothers, they kill me. Half the time they make me cry, and half the time I just want to lock them in their rooms for a timeout. There are some major developments in this episode in the romance department, which means that it’s time for princes and kings to work out their issues. Let’s just say it doesn’t go well, ’cause tears get shed, and not just mine.
EPISODE 17 RECAP
After dropping off medical supplies and confirming some suspicions of his own, Yang-myung bids Wol a goodnight. Suddenly he turns to her, “You’re not going to disappear suddenly tomorrow, are you?” Hey, legitimate question where you’re concerned.
But she reminds him that she’s a criminal (meaning she can’t go elsewhere if she wanted to). He smiles, remembering himself, “That’s right. You’re a criminal. A shaman. You’re Wol.” It kills me how much he doesn’t want her to be Yeon-woo.
But something in that relief-and-recognition gives Wol pause as she watches him go.
Yang-myung makes his way down the road, empty save for three men walking by, dressed plainly but carrying swords. As they pass, Yang-myung whirls around and stops in his tracks, feeling death in the air. (It’s not supernatural, his feeling – just that niggling intuition that screams: assassins!)
Wol stands alone in the courtyard, and from the shadows someone calls out, “Yeon-woo-ya.” Eep! It’s Hwon!
He slowly emerges from the shadows, calling her name. Not believing it at first, she asks if he’s a hallucination, but he promises that he isn’t. “I’m sorry that I only recognized you now. Yeon-woo-ya,” calling himself an idiot. It would be wrong to argue with the king. Idiot it is.
She breaks down in tears and he pulls her into an embrace.
A few yards away, Yang-myung watches, crushed. Aw, Puppyyyyyyyyy!
He turns to go and comes upon Woon standing guard on the bridge just outside. But there’s no time for angry reunions just now, because Woon motions at him to shush, as the three assassins arrive behind him. That must’ve been some shortcut you took, Yang-myung.
The men draw swords and attack, and Woon handles them without breaking a sweat. But it means the king is unguarded… He takes off running, and Yang-myung grabs one of the men’s swords and follows.
Sure enough, Hwon and Yeon-woo are backing away slowly from a group of black-clad assassins. One lunges forward… as Woon swoops in to fight him off. They surround him, and then Yang-myung runs in to join the fight, which worries me because you’re not Iljimae anymore.
He kills one, but then gets stabbed by another. Hwon: “Hyungnim!” He quickly trades places with Yang-myung, taking his sword. They stop to look at each other, nodding silently. At that, Yang-myung grabs Yeon-woo’s hand and they take off running.
A fresh crop of assassins comes at them, and they fight to buy Yang-myung and Yeon-woo time. Woon suggests they find her and go into hiding, but she’s nowhere to be found.
An assassin reports to Minister Yoon that they were unsuccessful in their mission because Hwon, Woon, and even Yang-myung were there. So she was the target after all. He orders them to find her, and to also kill Nok-young quietly.
But Hwon is already one step ahead where Nok-young is concerned, having ordered her to go into hiding until the time came to reveal the truth. As she, Jan-shil, and Seol run away from the palace that night, Seol breaks off on her own, and Nok-young notes that it’s obvious where she’s headed, but that she’ll return like she always does.
Hwon scours Yang-myung’s house, finding it empty. Even you would have to agree that he’d be dumb to bring her here. But Hwon returns to the palace furious and wondering if his brother is to be trusted. Really?
By the time they reach their destination, Yang-myung can barely stand. It’s the temple where his mom lives, and she runs up, shocked to see him this way. He calls out to her, “Mother…” and collapses.
As Yeon-woo helps her carry an unconscious Yang-myung inside, Mom recognizes her on sight. As they dress his wounds, she asks directly if she is Minister Heo’s daughter. She answers truthfully. At that, Mom cries, asking Yang-myung why he’s chosen such a painful love. You and me both, Mom. You and me both.
Outside Mom tells her that Yang-myung came to her once and said that he could lay down everything—his name, his position—but he could not lay down his love for one girl. She guesses that he must’ve wanted her to see the woman he loved.
In the distance, Woon appears. So he found them after all. Only… when he returns to the palace, he LIES and tells Hwon he didn’t find them. Huh. Curiouser and curiouser. But didn’t we already establish that Hwon knows if you’re lying?
At request, Woon follows the king to his bath, where Hwon orders everyone outside except for Woon and Hyung-sun. He asks for Woon’s sword. He draws it, and suddenly holds it up to Woon’s throat. Whoa.
The room goes silent. Hwon: “Take off your clothes.” Uhhhh… Hyung-sun crosses his hands over his chest. Pffft.
Hwon says it’s no fun to play pranks on Woon when he doesn’t even flinch at a sword, putting Hyung-sun’s mind at ease. He then orders Woon to take a bath, because he’s prepared it for him. Woon says he can’t, but Hwon won’t let him defy orders.
“Defying the king’s orders is disloyalty… And shaking the relationship between the king and his brother… is treason.” Damn. Woon closes his eyes, knowing he’s been caught red-handed.
Hwon orders him to take a bath, and tells Hyung-sun to cut him with his own sword if he comes out any sooner than ordered. Ha.
Hwon says that though he can’t give Woon any higher honors, he cherishes him more than any other (aw) but adds for him not to be in pain, because Hwon can feel it too.
Yang-myung wakes up the next morning and rushes out, breathing a huge sigh of relief when he sees Yeon-woo sitting with his mother. He admits thinking she’d be gone, but she says she waited.
As they walk, she asks how long he’s known—was it because of the haewooseok? He says it’d be weirder if that didn’t tip him off, since he’s the one who named the worry-listening rock, and told no one else its name. She asks why he pretended not to know then.
Yang-myung: Because I didn’t want to know. If I could, I wanted to pretend till the end. You, coming back from the dead—at times it made me so happy I couldn’t stand it. But then on the other side, I knew that the moment I acknowledged it, everything would float away like a mirage.
Errrrf. Why do you break my heaaaaart? He tells her that waking up every morning with purpose, having a place to go, people who needed him, and seeing her… “It made me so happy.”
She says she was happy too, that he was her light when she couldn’t face the world. She calls him “Yang-myung-gun,” like she used to when they were kids, and tells him that he made it so she could lay down her burdens for a while and smile and laugh.
“When I was Wol, and when I was Heo Yeon-woo, I was always grateful. And… always sorry. But I can’t give you the answer you seek.” *Craaa~ack* There goes that final piece of his heart. She tells him to be free and happy, and turns to go.
He stops her, and without turning around to face her, he asks, “In the last life, I was that child’s person. In this life… can you not stay by my side?” Waaaah.
She turns to face him, but Hwon’s voice calls out to answer for her, “No, it cannot be.” He steps in to pull her away and tells Woon to escort her. He turns to Yang-myung: “Do you know what you’ve just done? Running away with the king’s woman is treason.”
Aw, really? Why do you always default to orders and laws? This is why your relationship with your brother sucks! She already CHOSE you.
Hwon tosses him a sword. Oh crap. Oh no. No no no no no!
Yang-myung asks what he’s doing, and Hwon says his crime is one he could present to the assembly. Or, Yang-myung could use this opportunity right now to slit the king’s throat and take the throne. He draws his sword.
Yang-myung’s eyes sting with tears, but he draws his sword as well. Hwon charges. Bollocks.
WHAT ARE YOU TWO DOING?
They fight, as we flash back to their youth, play-fighting with wooden swords. And just like back then, Yang-myung wins the present fight, as we cut back to him holding his sword at Hwon’s throat.
Hwon yells at him to do it. “Do you think rising to the throne means you can hold everything in your hand?” Yang-myung: “At least sitting on the throne means I won’t be charged with treason.”
Hwon: “Then do it!” He’s either got balls of steel or he knows his brother won’t do it, because he doesn’t even blink. Yang-myung, on the other hand, trembles as his eyes fill with tears.
Hwon screams, “Why are you hesitating? Slit my throat!” But he can’t do it, of course, and swings the sword away, turning his back.
Hwon: “You are the one who wasted the opportunity today. Don’t seek another.” Yang-myung turns back angrily. Goddamn, you guys are killing me.
Hwon returns to the palace and enters his room, speaking to Yeon-woo who is hidden from view. He asks worriedly if he brought her here against her will. She in turn asks if he plans to let her go then.
“My heart already belongs to your majesty. What has you so nervous?” He asks if he can open the door, and she tells him to do as he pleases. The screen gets pulled back and a hidden door opens to reveal Yeon-woo dressed in beautiful clothes. Aw, I love that Hwon just basically reverts to being a teenager around her. It’s so cute.
He asks her to come closer, and closer, and finally he can’t take it and grabs her in a hug. Everyone averts their eyes, and she reminds him they’re not alone. He looks back awkwardly at Hyung-sun, who gives them the cutest smile, as he orders everyone out and shuffles out behind them.
He hugs her tight, saying her name over and over to make sure it’s true. I’m happy for your reunion but I sure hope you know what you’re doing, exposing her to danger inside the palace and all.
The next morning he can barely hide his beaming smile, though he balks at Hyung-sun for doing the same. Heh. Must keep up appearances.
He runs into Minister Yoon, who coos in fake concern over the king’s recent brush with death. Hwon says it’s a curious thing that he even knows about it, since the only people who knew were him, and the assassins. Ha. Yoon says it’s his job to concern himself with the king’s well-being.
Hwon mentions that the next military training session is coming up, and asks Minister Yoon to teach him his famed sword skills. Minister Yoon says it’s not really a secret skill, so much as the refusal to stop what he’s started, if he’s raised his sword with the intention to kill. Hwon thanks him for the helpful tip.
He tries to concentrate on his work, but he can’t contain himself, with Yeon-woo so close in the next room. Suddenly we’re in a roommate rom-com up in here.
He asks what she’s doing. Reading of course, and he whines that she was reading earlier too. “Is that book really that interesting?” She answers absent-mindedly, “Yes, it is.” He sighs in exasperation, tossing his scrolls aside. Hee.
Suddenly he lights up with an idea. Yeon-woo looks up from her book to find Hwon standing in her room, desk in hand. HAHAHAHA. Why so cute?
He awkwardly sits down right across from her, and tries to look nonchalant as he goes about his business. He grumps that she thinks more of that book than of him, asking if she knows how difficult it was for him to “protect his innocence” for eight years—what effort and physical strength it took. Pffft.
She asks if it takes strength to guard purity and he snaps that she doesn’t know how much exercise it takes to fight a young man’s boiling blood. Rawr. She counters that it’s actually a lie, since he clearly had the hots for Wol. HA.
He guffaws that it is SO not true. Are you two seriously fighting over this? It cracks me up. Hwon: “That was… wait… but that was you.” I take it back what I ever said about you two being smart.
He breaks into laughter at the idea that she’s jealous of herself, and she pouts and tells him to go back to his work, covering her face with a book. But he just moves his desk aside (why is that hot?) and pulls her book down.
He leans in close, “You being jealous of yourself is pretty funny, but me falling for you twice is not exactly normal either.” Yeah, THAT we’ve firmly established hun.
And then he startles her with a kiss.
I don’t know what’s cuter, the kiss or the fact that he goes right back to work like it didn’t happen.
Bad news though: Queen Grandma finds out that Yeon-woo is alive. Minister Yoon guesses that Hwon has hidden both Nok-young and Yeon-woo, because they’ve disappeared since the night Hwon discovered the truth.
Grandma wonders if that means he’ll bury what he knows, but Minister Yoon thinks it’s more likely he hasn’t found out the full truth, or that he’s waiting for the right time to strike. Either way, they have to find Yeon-woo and Nok-young first, and get rid of them.
They figure with the only two witnesses to the crime dead, the truth will stay buried forever. And then we get a pair of weird-ass zooms into their faces, like we need help to know that these are the baddies, circa 1930.
Grandma decides to pay a surprise visit to the king, and thinking quickly, Hyung-sun calls out to him to announce her presence extra loud and extra long. But she bursts in before he’s done, and Hwon freezes, standing in the middle of his room with his desk in his arms.
She looks at him strangely, so he starts lifting the desk like a weight, as he tells her it’s exercise. HA.
Grandma cuts right to the chase and reminds Hwon that she did him a favor in sparing Wol’s life, and now she’s come to collect on that. She asks him to give her Nok-young and Wol. Both sides play dumb as to why, but all he can do is agree to do as she asks. He simply asks for some time to find them, assuring her that they will meet. To himself he thinks that it will be a meeting of victims, witnesses, and the guilty.
She also tells him to stop digging around concerning the “incident” eight years ago, warning him that the reason they covered it up was to protect the king and his people. He asks which people, and she just tells him to ask himself who is most precious to him.
Yeon-woo overhears all this, and understands an implication that Hwon doesn’t—Princes Min-hwa’s involvement, which puts her brother Yeom at risk.
Yeom reads late into the night, remembering Hong Kyu-tae’s investigation and thinking of Yeon-woo. He looks up at the night sky and hears a noise, so he calls out and rounds the corner to find Seol spying on him.
She tells him who she is, still calling him “young master,” and he tells her she needn’t call him that anymore. To herself she thinks, “But you’re still the master of my heart. Like the day you gave me my name: Seol.”
He asks how she’s doing and she says she found a new master who treats her well, but when Mom appears, she slips away undetected. Mom tells him that it’s been days since they went to Father’s grave and Min-hwa’s been sick ever since. She plans to take her into the palace to see the doctor.
Both Hwon and Yeon-woo stay up late each lost in thought, and he apologizes that she had to spend the day locked up in a secret closet. Yeon-woo: “But it’s next to you. If it’s by your side, even if it were hell rather than a closet, I wouldn’t refuse.”
They go for a walk and he asks why she didn’t tell him she had recovered her memory the last time they met here at the Hidden Moon Building. She says she couldn’t because he now has the queen by his side, a fact they both seem to have conveniently forgotten until now.
Bo-kyung stirs awake screaming hysterically after another nightmare, convinced that the crying from the Hidden Moon has stopped because Yeon-woo is somewhere in the palace.
She cries that her father get rid of her at once, but then stops herself, remembering that she can’t show weakness in front of Daddy. Trembling in fits, she finally decides to call for the spy she used once before.
Yeon-woo knows what coming back from the dead means in upsetting the king’s world, so how could she just return? Hwon blames himself for what happened to her, and they go back and forth blaming themselves.
The fact that he didn’t forget her for eight years is enough for her, and she adds that even if he forgets her for the rest of his years, she vowed that she’d go on remembering and missing him enough for the both of them.
He tells her he’ll never forget, and vows to punish every person who ever caused her pain, and put everything back in its rightful place. But she surprises him: “Bury the past with the past.”
She urges him to let it go, not because she doesn’t trust him, but because she’s afraid that the truth will hurt him more. She says that it’s enough for her to have been near him, and she doesn’t seek any more than that.
Hwon: You like being in that place where the light of the sun doesn’t reach?
Yeon-woo: The sun is nearby. I don’t need another light.
Smiling, he takes her by the hand into the royal assembly room, to show her the king’s throne. He tells her that she taught him what was wrong with politics the first day they met, and she sheepishly says she was just a child.
He quotes his teacher, her brother’s words, about seeing with a child’s eyes, and tells her that he often stopped to wonder what his teacher or Yeon-woo would advise. He points out the artwork behind the throne, picturing the moon and the sun.
He says as a young prince he requested that a hairpiece be made of the moon embracing the sun, “So that it would represent my proposal, when I asked if you would be my moon.”
He takes it out of his sleeve as he tells her that he had two made—one he gave to her, and the other, he had planned to give on the day she became his queen, here in this place.
He takes the other out, saying that he asked her things to be brought here from Hwalinseo, and puts the pair in her hands. She starts to cry.
Hwon: “Only now, the two become one.”
He wipes the tears from her eyes, and kisses her.
I like that Hwon is more proactive now, because leaving Yeon-woo to go be a noble idiot AGAIN would just about make me give up on them altogether. Not that she’s not going to try, obviously. I just hope that he’ll give her a fight, and not give up in his quest to right the wrongs. It annoys me that she’s trusting Grandma’s words at face value. I know it’s because of Min-hwa, but you don’t think that maybe, just maybe the evil lady used her to cover her own tracks? I know Min-hwa’s not innocent, but there’s got to be a way around that failsafe.
At this point I’m honestly more concerned about the brother relationship and whether it’ll ever get back on track, because what the hell with the swordfighting over a girl? GAH. I just wanted to knock their heads together and ground them for a week. And I don’t even know who’s stupider. It annoys me that they can each be so loving to Yeon-woo and then be such asshats to each other. I say this with love, of course, because they both break my heart, but seriously, the fighting and misunderstanding of brotherly concern needs to stop.
The episodes themselves have been getting better and this one had great drama and romance, but overall the series is headed to a really predictable place, which has been its problem from the get-go. That is, we’re operating on the very obvious trajectory of Big Lie to… wait for it… Big Lie Gets Revealed. That’s pretty much it. It’s kind of confounding how little this plot is based on, on a large scale. The micro movements are of course where the drama has its strengths, but I find that when I step back and look at the big picture, it leaves a lot to be desired. It’s like the opposite of a Monet. Pretty up close; just don’t stand too far back.
We’re at a good place since the last episode (especially since I thought we’d spend more time putting obstacles in the way rather than letting the lovers be together). But the problem for me is that Yeon-woo’s just traded one prison for another—she just doesn’t see it. That closet room is no different from the prison she was in before, maybe worse. I’m happy for the cute romantic moments, but what she gives up to have them hurts more. It’s why I have a hard time being fully on Hwon’s side, because yes he loves her, but that love has cost her everything. Please, do something big to make her faith in you worth something, because if she just continues to suffer for loving you, I’m going to kick you in the royal nuts.
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 16
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 15
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 14
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 13
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 12
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 11
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 10
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 9
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 8
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 7
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 6
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 5
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 4
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 3
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 2
- The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 1