Drama Recaps
The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 20 (Final)
by | March 15, 2012 | 245 Comments

Finally, the finale! The show sure has poured on the speed in the last several episodes. hurtling us toward conclusions and endings, both happy and sad. Whether or not the show’s ratio on that latter point is satisfactory is up to you to decide.

The show bowed out with series high ratings of 42.2%, crushing the (nonexistent) competition. (To be fair, there was basically no competition, with a Drama Special on one rival station and a Salaryman special on the other.)

SONG OF THE DAY

Wheesung – “눈물길” (Tear ducts) from The Moon That Embraces the Sun’s OST.
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FINAL EPISODE RECAP

The brothers face off over their drawn swords, surrounded by rebels. In flashback, we see that Minister Yoon had demanded that Yang-myung be the one to kill the king, in order to convince everybody this wasn’t a trick. Yang-myung had agreed.

Now, Minister Yoon shouts at Yang-myung to finish the deed without hesitation. The brothers stay frozen in place while everybody watches, waiting for him to make his move.

Another flashback takes us to a previous confrontation, when Hwon had given his brother the opportunity to attack him and Yang-myung hadn’t taken it.

Yang-myung’s words had sounded cryptic then, but make sense now: this was a test to determine how Yang-myung would act the next time he challenged Hwon’s life.

Ergo, both brothers know in advance that Yang-myung won’t do it. So do we, for that matter, and the suddenness of Yang-myung’s flip-flop (and subsequent flop-flip?) means that none of this carries the dramatic impact it ought (oh, what could have been). But points for trying.

So now, Yang-myung raises his sword and sounds a battle cry… then whirls and strikes down one of the minister-rebels instead. This gives Hwon the chance to race to safety alongside his brother.

More flashbackery shows us that this was all planned by Hwon, who had predicted that Yang-myung would be approached by the traitors, and given him the instructions to go along with the plot. Everything had been Hwon’s idea, to crush the rebels once and for all, for the safety of the nation and, specifically, Yeon-woo.

Minister Yoon leads the charge to advance anyway, since they’ve got numbers on their side. Until, that is, a surprise contingent of troops swarms in, having waited for their moment to catch the insurgents off-guard. Tide turned.

The king’s troops shut the gates, ensuring that the swift battle be confined in the small courtyard. Hwon orders the “hunt” to begin.

The fight commences, with Woon and Yang-myung joining the fray together. Minister Yoon holds his own and demands the deaths of the king and prince.

Without needing to be told, Bo-kyung already knows that her father and her husband are battling it out. No matter which way the wind blows, she’s doomed; as she walks despondently through the empty palace dragging a white cloth, she knows she is about to be deposed. She thinks sadly, “From the day I first saw you, all I wanted was one thing: your heart.”

She comes to her destination and starts tying the cloth to a tree. She has decided that she will die a queen, still Hwon’s woman, before others strip her of that title. Aw. Suicide can be a storytelling crutch for many a melodramatic finale, but there’s a sad logic to her actions.

One by one, the lesser ministers in the Council of Evil go down. Yang-myung declares that he’s got the roster of traitors: “Take it from me if you can.” No, don’t tempt Fate! I have a bad feeling about this.

Minister Yoon is literally the last man standing, and he sees all his men lying dead around him. Now it’s Hwon’s turn to raise his weapon, and he sends an arrow flying into his leg. It’s not a fatal injury, and Minister Yoon charges the king anyway. Yang-myung cuts him down, delivering the deathblow, and the brothers smile in relief that all is done.

Except no, it’s not quite done. A rebel staggers to his feet behind Yang-myung’s back — ack, you can’t kill him now, when he’s safe! Hwon sees the danger and calls out a warning as the traitor grabs a spear.

Yang-myung sees the threat, who’s gathering his strength to attack… and then turns his back to the rebel. WHAT? You could just walk away, and you’re giving him a clear shot?

He faces the king, who looks at him in dawning horror, and thinks, “Please forgive my foolish choice. The heavens can only contain one sun. Now I will be the cause of no more chaos.”

Yang-myung drops his sword and awaits his fate. Arrrrrghasldkfjaldkjfalkjfas. Hulk angry, keyboard smash.

The spear flies through his abdomen, and Hwon screams, “Hyungnim!”

Nok-young and Jan-shil look up at the sky to see two suns converging. Just in case the metaphor wasn’t clear enough and you spent twenty episodes not getting it. The moment the suns meet, we also see one moon being swallowed up, symbolizing the death of Bo-kyung.

Woon cradles Yang-myung in his last moments while Hwon cries at his side. Yang-myung is smiling to the last, joking with his dying gulps that he’s gotten tired of playing the profligate. He tells Hwon not to cry: “I am fine.” He takes out the book of names and hands them over.

Yang-myung: “Once, I resented you for having everything. And so, I even desired your throne. But my friends and you, my brother, were too precious to me, to take that place from you. Be a strong ruler, and protect this nation’s people alongside her. I will watch over you from that place.”

Yang-myung looks up at the sky, now thinking inwardly that he will meet his father soon — not as king, but as a parent. If he has regrets, it’s for the mother he leaves behind. His last memory is of young Yeon-woo, and then he dies.

Hwon begs his brother to open his eyes, sobbing that it’s a royal order.

Yeon-woo is taken to a house where she will be safe, and steps inside the gate. Who should cross her path but her mother, who recognizes her on sight. Yeon-woo bursts into tears, and confirms that she’s really alive.

They hold each other and sob, which brings Yeom outside to check on his mother. His reaction is more contained, although it’s not a surprise to him because he was prepared for this by Seol.

Yeom has told his mother the gist of Min-hwa’s involvement, and she laments the dilemma of Min-hwa’s wrongdoing with her place in this family, and her unborn child to boot.

Yeon-woo leaves her mother to rest and finds Yeom outside, but he refuses to look at her. She understands that he blames himself, and tells him not to — that so doing would just make her blame herself for staying alive. Oh good lord, you wonder duo of noble idiocy. Then again, I suppose it’s an argument that works, since they’re equals on this front.

Yeom says he’s wronged her horribly, and that everything is his fault. (Which… totally doesn’t compute. Is he blaming himself for being so pretty that Min-hwa couldn’t help but be forced to dark sorcery to have him? That just takes “Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful” to new extremes, yeah?)

Yeon-woo just asks for him to be pleased that she’s here and living, and he hugs her, thanking her for being alive. She thanks him for the same.

At the sound of a visitor, Min-hwa insists she won’t eat, thinking it’s her lady in waiting, only to realize Yeon-woo stands there. Yeon-woo asks if she has decided to die along with her baby, and Min-hwa asks if that’s what Yeon-woo would like; it makes no sense to her that Yeon-woo would want her to live. Yeon-woo concedes that Min-hwa consoled her mother over the years, and has given her brother a child.

If Yeon-woo’s excessively good response is cause for frustration, at least there’s consolation in the fact that she doesn’t sound happy about it. Min-hwa can’t understand it and tells her to fly at her in a rage, or grab her hair, or do something — then, at least she could beg for forgiveness.

Yeon-woo fires back angrily, “Do you need my forgiveness? Fine, I’ll give it.” She says she’ll do it for Yeom and Hwon, who have been hurt by Min-hwa’s actions and have begged her forgiveness and suffered in Min-hwa’s place: “But live. Beg for that forgiveness, and atone for your sin yourself. Not through the king or my brother, but you yourself.”

Well, that’s actually pretty satisfying, as far as conflicted smackdowns go. Chastened, Min-hwa starts to eat and says, “Thank you… for living.” Yeon-woo replies, “Give me a reason to say the same.”

That night, Woon imagines Yang-myung coming to see him, healthy and joking. It’s not a crazy vision; Woon speaks to him as a ghost, asking how it feels on the other side. Yang-myung answers that he likes not having to fake smiles anymore, or pretend to enjoy drinking, or be a danger to the king. Most of all, he can carry a torch for Yeon-woo to his heart’s content.

Woon asks a question he’s often had to answer: “Do you still consider me your friend, even now?” Yang-myung replies, “Of course. All this while, and from now on as well, you are my friend.”

Another body lies silently in the palace: Bo-kyung, who has been discovered and laid in her chamber. There’s a rope burn around her neck and her ladies sob.

Hwon comes to her bedside and closes her eyes, then staggers out of the queen’s quarters with a heavy heart. Yeon-woo meets him in the courtyard and comforts him as he cries.

Hwon presides over his court — with some conspicuously empty seats — and outlines the path to recovery. Fitting punishments will be doled out to the guilty, while the falsely accused will be cleared.

This includes punishment for Princess Min-hwa, who will lose her status and be made a government slave after giving birth. Yeom is culpable by association, and as punishment he will be divorced and “demoted,” taking back his previous status before marrying into royalty. At least silver lining isn’t hard to find there, since the so-called punishment effectively gives back his clipped wings.

Nok-young is given special consideration for saving the princess’s life, and will leave Seongsucheong following the upcoming memorial rites. Jan-shil wants to follow her, but Nok-young tells her to remain behind and watch over Seongsucheong.

Nok-young performs rites for the recently departed, assuring them that she will take them on to the hereafter. She prays for heaven to wash clean the evil from this land, and offers up her own body — an instrument in so many sins — as the sacrificial offering for this last spell. (It sort of makes you wonder at all the grief that would’ve been spared if she just refused to cast the first spell, doesn’t it? I mean, what was to stop her from lying and just saying, “Sorry queenie, that’s not possible”?)

She prays for the remaining sun and moon to see happiness and light, and falls to the ground. Dead.

With order restored, it’s time for another wedding ceremony as Yeon-woo is made the new queen. On their wedding night, Hwon practically twitches in impatience and interrupts the court lady — who’s pouring wine slooooooowly — telling everybody they’re dismissed. Rawr.

The court lady reaches to help him out of his robes, but he rears back and warns her away: “The queen hasn’t even touched this body yet!” He declares that the queen will attend to him (I’m sure she will; waggles eyebrows) and orders them out.

He holds out a hand to Yeon-woo, then pulls her toward himself, sliding her across the floor. That’s a pretty slick move for a virgin king. Then he whirls her to the bedding, landing on top of her, in an echo of that night he discovered her as his sleep-aid amulet. He repeats the same words: “Who are you? What is your true identity?”

Yeon-woo replies, “I am your woman, the mother of this nation, Heo Yeon-woo.”

Fade to black…

…and when we reopen, several years have passed.

At the palace, two young boys run around the courtyard together — cousin princes, from the look of it. Yeon-woo sits with her brother, now wearing the robes of a government official. One son is his, and the other one hers.

She tells Yeom that Min-hwa has been granted a status change, raised from the lowest class to commoner status. The king has deemed her punishment fulfilled and released her from servitude. Yeom looks troubled at the news, but Yeon-woo tells him that if his continued resistance toward Min-hwa is out of lingering regret for Yeon-woo, he can stop feeling guilty. Furthermore, the child needs his mother.

To underscore that point, the prince trips and falls, and Yeon-woo hurries to check that he’s fine. His cousin looks sad (I’m going with sad; it’s hard to tell the acting of kiddos this young) and envious over the example of motherly affection.

The king joins the party and the prince totters off happily with Woon to learn swordfighting. Yeom’s boy says he likes books better than fighting, prompting a comment on apples not falling far from trees.

Hwon says that the prince is a lot like Yang-myung, given his interest in swordsmanship and his fondness for Woon. Yeom replies that you could say the prince resembles Hwon, too, in that.

As Yeom leaves the palace, he asks his son if he misses his mother; it’s something the boy has tried to hide, but Yeon-woo’s words have made Yeom attentive.

A group of shamans happens across their path, and Jan-shil recognizes him, asking if he knows Seol. She explains that Seol asks her the same question every day: “Is he happy? He must be happy, he must.” Yeom looks pensive at the question, thinking it over.

That night, Yeon-woo surprises Hwon with one of his games: She has hidden a gift in this room for him. The word “gift” strikes a chord, though, and he immediately gets up with a nervous gulp and excuses himself. His departure makes his court ladies wonder — he’s usually so insistent on being with the queen that he won’t leave until he’s called away. Could he have finally tired of her? Does he perhaps have another woman hidden away in his quarters?

In his own chamber, he asks if preparations are complete, and sure enough, a woman steps out of his secret room: his gayageum teacher. She’s here to prepare him for a surprise performance on Yeon-woo’s birthday, ha. Hwon boasts that he’s a fast learner and will be a quick study, then hilariously struggles to follow along. I think Hyung-sun’s expression says it all.

Frustrated, he shoves the gayageum away and blames it for sucking. Hyung-sun offers to check the validity of the instrument, then demonstrates his own amazing proficiency on it. He determines that the problem doesn’t lie with the gayageum, rubbing in the fact that he learned by watching the king’s lessons. Haha. Thoroughly schooled, Hwon pouts, “Face the wall.”

Yeom and his son walk hand in hand down the road, not seeing Min-hwa peering around the corner. In tears, she watches her men walking away before continuing on her own way.

To her surprise, she finds Yeom and her son standing in her path. To explain her unwanted presence, she tells him that the king has lifted her slave status, but now she has nowhere to go: “I wanted to see you one last time…”

The boy guesses that she’s his mother, and her spirits lift. Out of respect for Yeom’s feelings, she keeps her distance and promises not to come looking for them anymore. She keeps her head bowed and meekly asks forgiveness for this transgression.

Yeom watches tearily as she turns to leave, and then runs after her. As he back-hugs her, she says that she thought he wouldn’t forgive her. He says he meant not to, if anything as self-punishment: “But now, I want to be happy.” Family hug.

Hilariously, the king steadily practices his musical skills in his spare moments, taking a meeting with a puzzled Hong Kyu-tae (now a minister) while working his air-gayageum. That cracks me up.

Hwon’s preoccupation with his wife’s birthday present leaves Yeon-woo bored and alone, until she’s finally taken to Hidden Moon for the performance.

Hwon awaits with his gayageum and wishes her a happy birthday, then proceeds with a relatively proficient performance that Yeon-woo finds moving. All goes well until Hwon breaks a string, and Yeon-woo hurries to his side to check on his hand… at which point a gayageum continues playing, elsewhere. Omg, did you just pull a Singin’ in the Rain? Is Hyung-sun hidden in some room, rockin’ out?

Thoroughly busted, Yeon-woo levels him with a mock-reproving look, while he looks like an errant schoolboy with his hand in the cookie jar. He asks if she’s disappointed at this weak gift, and she says no, she enjoyed it.

He offers a different gift instead, and she teases, “Will you send flower petals from the rooftop?” He laughs that Hyung-sun’s too old to climb roofs these days. Good thing he has something even better.

Smooch.

And yes, as we pull away, we find Hyung-sun indeed around the corner, playing his little heart out.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

And the juggernaut comes to an end. How’s that for a way to tie up loose ends, nice and neat? Regardless of whether they were tied in logical ways, that is. The point is: they’re tied, all right?

I suppose how you feel about the drama’s finale depends on what you wanted out of it: A return to its heyday of feel-good warmth? A sudden upswing in storytelling skill to do the premise justice? A happy romantic ending for Hwon and Yeon-woo? A happy ending for everyone? Retribution for all the evils perpetrated and a return to “order”?

Some of those things, we got. Others were a pipe dream. It was a pretty bloodthirsty wrap-up with a high body count, especially counting yesterday’s deaths. That’s not surprising given the gravity of crimes and conflicts we’re dealing with, but it does feel a bit like people got killed off because that was the easiest way to tie off that loose end, rather than necessarily working with our story. (And we’ve established that narrative integrity isn’t exactly this drama’s high point.) In that regard, the final body count sort of proves the skewed focus of the drama all along, because Hwon and Yeon-woo are the only ones who get their happy ever after, and the others die.

It proves (lest we forget) that this has always been, first and foremost, a romance drama. In fact, it’s basically only a romance drama. The other stuff — court plots, family strife, struggles with power — are just incidental to the love story. As such, they’re used as story tools, picked up and dropped when convenient, without having a life of their own. That’s a shame, because if any of the characters outside of Hwon and Yeon-woo had purpose beyond their function in Hwon and Yeon-woo’s story, they could have been lovely and interesting.

Nowhere is that more evident than in the character of Yang-myung. I’m deeply dissatisfied with the way he went out, even though I recognize that it makes a lot of sense for him to die. His life would always endanger Hwon’s (although I’ll argue that it’s no reason to kill yourself), so I get his stupidly noble decision to spare his brother more strife. And I was predicting that he probably would sacrifice himself; thus, death in itself isn’t the issue. It’s the fatalistic, offer-myself-up-to-fate way he faced his attacker that drove me a little bit insane.

It’s something of a no-win situation to begin with, because if he’d been taken by surprise, that would’ve been horrible. And yet for him to march into the face of death willingly? Urgggg, I just hate that he gave up, and worse, the drama then had the audacity to tell us he’s happy with this because he can stop pretending to be happy when he’s not. Or, yunno, you could’ve just become an emotionally honest person WHO’S ALIVE. In this case I would have preferred the extremely cliched, unoriginal scenario where he takes the deathblow saving his brother, because at least there it’s a choice that isn’t quite so much like suicide.

But, as we know, Yang-myung isn’t really an autonomous character so much as he is a narrative puppet to the whims of Storyline Hwon and Yeon-woo — so he is easily sacrificed, right? Just as long as we camouflage the death in the trappings of glory and sacrifice. Ugh, stupid moon-sun metaphor.

Another example of a wasted character: Seol. I’ll hand it to the show for knowing how to wring out the pathos of a moment in a purely technical sense, because I found myself crying over her death despite having no particular opinion of her character. In fact, that goes for the entire finale, because this is a drama that has long ceased to have any emotional grip on me, and yet I found the tearful moments appropriately tear-inducing, and was surprised at how much I cried along with the characters. Even though I could really not care much less about them as characters.

I feel like Seol got her heroic death as an afterthought, because what else were they going to do with her? Sure, let’s give her an ending that’s completely out of step with her place in the story, if that means we wring a few extra tears out of the audience. (I say this having wanted for Seol to play more of a role all drama long and being disappointed at her lack of presence or significance.)

Bo-kyung, too, got knocked off because the story needed the queen out of the picture and death was a convenient way to do it. Like Yang-myung, death was the only way to remove her as a threat to our characters, because even if she had been merely deposed, she would always be a threat who might garner support from more rebels. So yes, it makes sense. On the other hand, it feels like a cop-out to just wipe out all our opponents; in that, you’re not really solving problems. You’re just benefiting from happy coincidence. But of all the deaths, I’ll give the drama some credit for giving Bo-kyung a compelling logic for her actions, as her last way of asserting herself in a situation where she had no power. She could at least choose to die the queen, and not a dishonored usurper.

I do have to say the drama drives me batty with its shit-for-brains approach to women characters, though, which has been a problem all the way through. The ending only solidifies the problematic approach to the ladies, who are depicted as pawns or slaves to love. Every single woman has reduced her own identity to its association with a man. That she does so of her own accord makes it more infuriating. You have a queen, a princess, a noblewoman-turned-princess, a (supposedly) badass warrior — and each woman defines herself in relation to a man. I want to scream at them to have a little agency, to be better than that.

Even the smart-as-a-whip Yeon-woo — who as a thirteen-year-old railed against the injustice of the class-based social order — in the end just sat around, willing to leave her fate in the hands of others, until her man stepped in solved the problem, all, There ya go, little lady, I fixed it fer ya.

All that said, I thought the finale was true to the spirit of the show. It wasn’t going to miraculously turn a corner and start making perfect logical sense, but our good guys prevailed (although some in death), and our baddies saw the business end of the pointy stick. The drama was never at the top of the narrative game — or even the acting, or production-quality games, for that matter — but sometimes you have to give props to something that can capture attentions. Regardless of whether it was for the “right” reasons, Moon/Sun had a certain something that had the nation tuning in, eager to see how things ended up for our characters. You can’t quantify that kind of magnetic pull. Or maybe you can, and its name is 42.2%.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

URG. What the frack, drama? WHY DID YANG-MYUNG HAVE TO DIE? It wasn’t even a heroic death, or a strategic one. I thought that if he were fated to die, it’d be motivated by a last big heroic deed to protect his brother. But to just lay down his sword? I get the basic concept (repeated ad nauseum) of there-can’t-be-two-suns-in-the-sky, but it’s kind of moot when you’ve already conquered all the baddies. They’re all defeated. Time to party. Not time to die. You could go live your life as a wanderer and have all the friends you want, or have no friends and tell all your problems to rocks! Whatever! Gah. I’m fine with death if it’s properly motivated, but this was just senseless.

I think my biggest problem with this drama is that all our main characters were entirely reactive, passive characters, always one step behind and reacting to whatever happened to them. It took twenty episodes of build-up to have the king orchestrate one really big coup-reversal, but there was so much more that both he and Yeon-woo could have done to actively change their fates. It just wasn’t a priority for this drama, which consistently drove me crazy.

Overall they took one flimsy premise and then tried to stretch it for twenty episodes, instead of building a complex world with layered characters and trusting that new conflicts would drive the story forward. We basically knew exactly what would happen with the central story from day one, and it never once deviated from that path. I was behind the main couple, but their journey never really gripped me or swept me up in an epic way. And I wanted it to, really.

Perhaps when everything is left to Fate and the players given so little agency, it’s hard to root for them because they just remain in the same place for so long. I actually think the reason everyone praises the childhood portion of this drama compared to the adult years has little to do with the actors, and more to do with the characters. They were young, idealistic, and had wide-open possibilities. They spoke their minds and wanted to change the world. Of course we rooted for them.

But they quickly grew up into dutiful, passive adults who time and again let other people decide how their lives would be. Yang-myung giving up like that was just the nail in the coffin for me. Yes, Hwon turned it around in the end, but it doesn’t make up for the drama hours I spent watching him be a shell of his former spunky prince. Had THAT been the central focus of the drama, it might’ve helped to ground the conflict in something a little meatier than restoring the princess bride to her rightful place.

It was undeniably a very beautiful show to look at, and there were adorable moments of lightness and cute that made the episodes themselves very easy to watch and enjoyable. I had a good time, so I certainly don’t hate the drama or have any horrible grudge against it. I just wanted more from it, because the story had potential to be much more complex. But it chose to stay on the surface, which means I consumed it much like cotton candy – it was sweet and colorful, but disappeared into thin air.

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245 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jen

    Thank you so much! Loved this series!

    • 1.1 Ferrara

      Reading this recaps while listening to the OST… I wish I can learn to play piano so I can use this guy piano score:
      http://youtu.be/q5ASkEJoObQ

      • 1.1.1 Joyce

        this drama was sooo good, it make my life a living hell wen i was unto like episode 6. I was panicking about way was gonna happen :O
        loved this drama :)
        i will always remembr this drama
        it sooo sweet so romantic
        LOVE IS BEAUTIFUL <3

      • 1.1.2 Nancy

        I can! Thanks! I was hoping there was a score out there for this song.

  2. chaostea

    oh no more deaths …

  3. kbap

    Thank you! :)

    • 3.1 kbap

      Super, super disappointed. About a week ago I already WANTED Yang-myung to die. Because there’s no other way, if you think about it, this love story is pretty much about removing those obstacles (Yang-myung, Bo-kyung) for them to be happy. And yet Yang-myung doesn’t get the heroic, epic exit he needs. I’m not saying deserves, because honestly, he doesn’t deserve to die at all. Oh god, and the part where he pretty much offers himself to die? Gosh I really…don’t…wow okay. My last thoughts (or hopefully, but probably not) on Moon/Sun: It’s like those swirly lollipops from Disney. Really pretty, tastes sweet when you start, but you get sick of it and after you’re finally done with it (with a bit on torment trying to finish all that sugar) you realize it wasn’t even worth your dedication and thousands of licks. (and saliva.)

      • 3.1.1 lena

        i am totally with you. after all that initially sugar high, it left a bitter, bitter aftertaste. now i can’t even think about this drama and remember the warm and fuzzy beginnings because they were all erased by such a lame, WTF ending.

        i feel like i should watch The Princess Man again or TWDR just to console myself that yes, there are actually sagueks out there that will live up to its saguek category. aish!

        • 3.1.1.1 Sss

          agreed! Such a lousy ending. Was really crazy about that movie. But in the end :(

          As long as I watch Korean Historical drama nothing is better ending than The Great Queen Seon Deok 😀 ..

          • 3.1.1.1.1 Meg

            I disagree. If we’re gonna talk about THE BEST sageuk, it’s got to be Tree With Deep Roots. :)

          • 3.1.1.1.2 bd

            It’s going to be real difficult to beat TWDR as the best sageuk ever (I’d put “Joseon X-Files” as runner-up even tho it is a fusion sageuk).

      • 3.1.2 M.D.

        Oh, and the scene! What a offense for our intelligence! There were all the king’s men and only one enemy, who hurt, moved super slow. And they all sat and wondered: “Will that one charge against the Prince or not?” I suppose that if we weren’t in lala land – excuse me, drama land – that traitor would have been killed before his hand was up in the air.
        I do understand why one sun had to be gone, but please, don’t insult me with this kind of final disappointment!!

        • 3.1.2.1 jam

          i hate it when yang nyung jusy stood there and un and hwon are just overlooking it,,,at the moment i was thinking-‘duh run for your life stupid’ and for the two whats the use of yhose sword/arrow skills you have they could have prevented it….some loopholes maybe
          on the otherhand it the scene kept me crying because until the end yang myung still makes the sacrifice gosh i can even call him a martyr at that

  4. Han

    XOXOXOXO!!!!!

  5. sora

    thanks sooo much for all the recaps. God bless :)

  6. babylove

    Omg. Been waiting the whole day!!!

  7. biankoy

    Yang-myung!!! I’m still reeling after they killed Seol and now this!! sigh~~ well at least it’s a happy ending, I would go ballistic if they pull out a Queen Seonduk on me.

  8. Crew

    Kim Soo Hyun cries so WELL. ugh he gets me every. single. time. T.T

    • 8.1 Al

      you are so damn right! 😀
      in this drama i realized that kim soo hyun can cry in a lot of different ways. he portrays heart-breaking-crying to light sobbing and trying to suppress the crying really well!

      • 8.1.1 Steph

        i agree to this. His crying always makes me cry as well.

  9. Lizzy

    Im only watching this because of the eunuch, the one who is always by hwon’s side. he is so funny and cute in a troll kind of way.

    • 9.1 Ivoire

      Hi Lizzy,
      I haven’t seen the show, but I would read the comments and recaps from time to time. I loved the comment JB made about his face and the accompanying picture when the king was bad at playing the musical instrument. I literally LOL when I saw his face (priceless) and I LOL for a while. He seems good at acting funny :-)

  10. 10 sootyxsnowpetal

    Thank you for this recap for this happy sappy finale! While I wish things would have ended and been resolved differently (like, maybe Seol and Yang Myung had a happy ending and it wasn’t so wrung up on the Yeon Woo/Hwon happiness), I’m glad it’s at least tied up. That four episode extension might have really helped in getting this drama to have a better plot and paced better.

  11. 11 Hyunleejoon

    Nice!thanks guys from the beginning of the series!

  12. 12 Soua

    The scene that made me cry like a baby.. woon talking to ghost ym. :*(

    How depressing…

    • 12.1 deasy

      yeah, I agree with you, I also crying when I read about the conversation between Yang Myung ghost and woon. it’s very heart breaking…… I don’t know what will happen ifI watch it…
      Yang Myung gun .R.I.P
      In the next live you will be with the women who you love because you already save a country…. xixixixixixixixixixi

  13. 13 MiMi

    So with all the hype surrounding this drama and the yays and nays I’ve heard, I think I’ll start this drama. I’m glad I got to follow the recaps so I have some idea of what’s going on. Thank you! 😀

  14. 14 grayz733

    ahhhhhhhh!!!! OMG what an ending thanks again a million time for the recaps…. you guys and The moon that embraces the sun are EPIC!

  15. 15 panshel

    42.2%, eh? Good for them.

    Yang-myung’s death. x_x Do all sageuks have time jumps in the finale?

  16. 16 Lise

    WILL MISS URI “SEKSHI” KING : (

  17. 17 Alex Louise

    My YM :(

  18. 18 jazzy

    Critics will be critics.Having a drama that would satisfy every single element has always been an issue with me,so I’ve learnt to settle for less.Tho this drama was far from perfect,and had me sent off through the roof several times with the lack of conviction and storytelling.I will have to say,somehow or rather it pulled through all the obvious flaws and still got us watching.

    If there’s one thing I will take from this drama,it would be KSH ,JIW and Kim Min Seo.They had so much potential tho they had a hard time manifesting it due to the script shortfall.

    I hope they choose their future endeavors well !

    • 18.1 ilovemandoo

      “Having a drama that would satisfy every single element has always been an issue with me,so I’ve learnt to settle for less.”

      It’s not like javabeans and girlfriday are expecting each drama to satisfy every single element though. They are expecting the drama to do its best with what it has, and in this case, Moon/Sun had much more potential than it ended up showing.

  19. 19 Garrdan75

    javabeans and girlfriday:

    Thank you both very much for your recaps! Each one is so well-written and thorough…both of you write with such quick wit, snappy verbiage and no-nonsense honesty…so enjoyable to read and absorb.

    I am a fan of your site and hereafter, will be a dedicated reader of your recaps, views, insights and comments.

    Keep writing such good stuff! Sincere Thanks and appreciation,

    Garrdan75

  20. 20 kit

    I was tearing up at the last episode, but that had to do more with the actors themselves than the love I had for the characters. They stuck quite loyally to the novels, which, uh, was their downfall I think. The author basically wrote YA novels focused on romance and bromance. The historical background was more of an excuse than anything else, and I think that’s why this drama failed to be as compelling as SKKS. There were too many things at stake, things that a proper historical drama (with better writers) could have weaved through to make it more interesting but, well.

    It says a lot that I skipped through most of the penultimate episode and didn’t even feel such a loss with Seol because I knew she was going to go, as per the novel, but we never had any chance to empathise with her character. Minus the really aggravating voice overs. At least she was pretty?

    Don’t even get me started on Yeon Woo. She berated the future king at the age of six, had the wisdom strength courage and love. She even showed a bit of ingeniousness in her deduction of the guard when we first saw her as Wol. WHERE DID ALL OF THAT GO. I actually think the actress did a decent job with her character. She was written limp, c’mon, there wasn’t much else she could do. When she faced Bokyung for the first time, there was a steeliness in her eyes that I loved. She was good with Minwha as well at the end. But they were all AFTER events had happened.

    Good thing she loves the King enough to be shut up in the palace all day tbh sigh.

    I think this drama had some of the cutest scenes in all of kdramaland … but the rest of it was so flat. Ugh.

    Want to go trot off and watch SKKS bromance for a bit now to wipe the bitter edge off sigh. Wait no it’s going to make me feel worse, after Yoochun’s father passing away and all of them in a really hard position.

    ojsdfoijsdofijsdofjsodfijosdijfosijdf.

    Thank you for the recaps though, always the highlight of my day :’)

    • 20.1 kit

      And I’ve always loved Jung Il Woo but I don’t think his acting chops were as /great amazing wonderful/ as people kept praising it to be.

      Kim Soo Hyun deserves all the awards. I think he’s the first character in a kdrama that doesn’t make me feel even the slightest bit impatient when he cries, and that’s saying something.

      • 20.1.1 camelia

        totally agree with you. whenever he cries I feel like dying inside

      • 20.1.2 lalalola

        Jung Il Woo acting was amazing. Honestly I thought he could have been a better king. Kim Soo Hyun’s character only knew how to cry.

        • 20.1.2.1 mommyD

          imo, both ksh and jiw are overrated… overacting all over the place. no subtlety in their acting at all

          • 20.1.2.1.1 AnotherFan

            I beg to differ, about KSH :-) I didn’t think much of him before either but he completely changed my mind after this series. The camera loves him and I am not (just) talking about the looks here – he was channeling all kinds of emotions and subtleties through his facial and body movements, definitely not exaggerated but very effective… And he’s still young in his acting years so there’s so much potential there in this kid…

  21. 21 tarianant

    Lost interest many episodes ago, can’t remember.
    So I thought I won’t care how they gonna end this one. I’m just stick around for the prettiness of JIW and KSH.
    Then they gave me THAT! I literally raised my hand to the screen when that spear…fgjhgkjfhgfkjgjhgfdsdfg

    Need to erase the image Yang-myung.covered.in.blood
    must rewatch Chwa warmly covered with pororo blanket ASAP.

    Thanks Javabeans and Girlfriday.

    • 21.1 M.D.

      100% agreement! I think Il Woo could deliver a more difficult role, and at least they could make him die a more honorable death or at least not to ruin the visuals for us. That last “from afterlife” part doesn’t wipe the bloody scene out of my mind!!

    • 21.2 wannstar

      lol, fbrs pororo blanket

  22. 22 stars4u

    It’s going to be hard saying goodbye to this drama…
    I think the main reason would be how the casts chemistry worked really well that you could even see it off camera. It’s nice to know that the actors are having fun shooting for the drama that it shows while watching the drama…

    Woon and Yang-Myung’s exchange are always my favorite…

    They didn’t forget the fun things the drama had when it first started… Hyung-sun is still there…

  23. 23 shl

    Well, there’s resolution. I can’t say I’m disappointed with the ending, because the storyline disappointed all the way throughout (apart from the childhood episodes), and at least the ending ties up the loose ends, like you said. Thanks for the recaps!

  24. 24 FunnyBunny

    Meh. That’s pretty much my entire reaction to this drama now. It wasn’t outright horrible-although there were some deaths/plot holes that I have issue with. Yet, at the same time it wasn’t totally amazing either. The sad part is, it started out pretty good and then lost steam right after we finished with the kids. But whaddya gonna do?
    Well Moon/Sun, we’re finished with you. NEXT!

  25. 25 coffeevamprie

    Despite the hiccups or because of them, I loved and enjoyed every movement and melody of this drama. As you say, this is for better or worst a romantic fantasy saguek drama. Thank you for the recap and this drama showed me what an actor KSH is. I scrapped Dream High at first episode and never bothered with DH2 until KSH. I actually went back and saw Dream High just for KSH. Thank you for the introduction and the father/servant/friend relationship between Hwon and Hyugsun.

    • 25.1 AnotherFan

      I also have to say for me, KSH is the only reason for the 20+ hours of my life on this drama.

      • 25.1.1 JayKemz

        Preach, preacher up in here. Ha!

  26. 26 21

    I did not expect so many people to die in this episode and was hoping for a trial that would reveal all the sins the evil minister and his minions had done. Just killing them off (the grandmother as well) seems too easy. All the characters seems too passive and some of the deaths are not needed. I know this was based off a book and now I really want to read it to see how far off this drama is. Even though Hwon and Yeon-woo got their happy ending but at what cost? *sigh* I guess I expected a lot than what they deliver. I guess I had a good time watching this show and its time to say good-bye! Thankyou for the excellent recaps as always!

  27. 27 Fiercediva

    Yeah, count me in as STILL po’ed at the YM WTFery. I was screaming at the screen “Dude! You couldn’t just go on a long trip to foreign lands or something?” And how strong was that wounded guy supposed to be to throw the spear with the kind of force to skewer our Jung Il Woobie like that priest in The Omen? I CAN’T EVEN. But awesome acting from JIW with what he had to work with, and extra special kudos considering that his finger was really badly cut during the shoot and he carried on like the trooper he is despite the accident.

  28. 28 omo

    Thank goodness this series is over. I checked out 12 episodes ago. Anyway, I’ve enjoyed reading the recaps and thank you both for staying with it. I think I’ll just watch the last 2 episodes for my drama closure.

  29. 29 Salie

    thank you for the recap! :)

  30. 30 vegaspink

    I like the series but mostly for Kim Soo Hyun and the teenagers… I felt that too many character “disappeared” in terms of their personality. Bokyoung was one and Yeom was another.. And i felt so disappointed in Yeon Woo, especially at the end. She did nothing but hide and give forgiveness. I loved her as a kid and her personality then and i thought it will get better when gets back her memories but it didn’t.

  31. 31 Rovi

    Oh thank god, I’ve been checking the site for the recap, and voila, just after I read LDW’s to-be-MC for SH…

    Anyways, for my take…

    Now I understand why I saw a site saying that the viewers were a bit rushed up on ep.19, and I guess since it’s becaue there were talks of extending up to ep.24, but with the recent ruckus of the labor union strike, I guess they just stuck with 20. But production still shooted for at least 4 more, I think? That’s my view…

    The characters I feel most sorry for were, in order, Yoon Bo-gyeong & Princess Minhwa.

    Bo-gyeong because from the start, her father had already regarded her as a political pawn, kinda like the way Catherine de’Medicis was. Yet she was aware she had high chances of being wedded off to the king she had loved obsessively like a curse. And for 8 years, despite her being in control as the master of Gyotaejeon (the Queen Consort’s quarters in Gyeongbokgung) and as Mother of the Nation, she never felt truly loved; she never had Hwon’s heart to begin with, and her character was a reminder of what it meants to be used for others, yet could never fully gain what your heart wishes for. And her Korean description from the novel was 달을 꿈꾸는 거울 “The Mirror that dreams to be the Moon”, another sad description of her fate which was gleaned from episode 3.

    Princess Minhwa has been a quirky girl to woman, yes, but unerneath all that was her desire for Yeom. She was willing to do anything, even act as witness to the first curse, just so she can have Yeom. And for 8 years she bore the guilt of having Yeon-woo, then Minister Heo die. And yet, even after the KIng exposed her sins, she’s still cinging to her husband. Now that’s where my affection for her died. Her selfishness just brought her her current state of slave-to-commoner.

    Seol, I felt pity for. While we fans felt that her death was kind of a cheat for us, her fate was kinda apt; a slave in an unrequited love with a yangban/seonbi. She had to die in the arms of the man she loved ever since he gave her her name, and she never get to say the love she held for the other man before her last breath. Yet, her devotions runs on, after death, wanting him to be happy. Perhaps the dead truly knows what life has in store for us. And Minhwa should feel thankful to her. Her name was pretty apt: Seol, the “Snow(flake)”. And her Korean description from the novel was 불꽃을 품은 눈 “The Snow(flake) that embraces the Flame”, another premonition to her fate, and just one of the many oxymoronic descriptions of the chracters.

    And it was with such pleasure that we see Yeon-woo finally wearing the phoenix hairpin (봉잠) embracing the red sun. Even though its name is “해를 품은 달”, there is no moon there, apart from the pearl in the phoenix’s head. But I guess it’s just that it remains. The Queen Consort in symbolic art was represented by both the white moon and the phoenix, just as the King was the red sun and the dragon.

    That said, even though there were a ot of problems, I’m satisfied that this drama brought a smile over our faces. TMTETS, 감사드립니다, & 안녕~…

    ————————————————–

    On a side note, even though we’re awaiting Rooftop Prince that much, I can’t help but feel a bit sad, since our Time-Travelling Prince Yoochuns father just passed away at the 14th, and unfortunately, JYJ was just coming back from Peru. Yoohwan was the one who received the news.

    (What’s with father’s dying all of a sudden? This February it was Kim Junsu (2PM)’s father. Who’s next???

    • 31.1 Bluefyre

      Love everything about your comment :)
      And about the Park brothers’ loss.

      *sigh*

      I totally empathize with them. And both of them in the middle of dramas too! I’m just glad they have each other and their very close friends and families.

      I’m just glad both of their dramas adjusted the schedule so they can have a little time to themselves.

      • 31.1.1 Rovi

        너무 감사합니다~…!

        Yeah…can’t help but feel a bit letdown, what with our anticipation of dramas… *sigh*

  32. 32 DarknessEyes

    Totally agreed with Girlfriday. I feel like most of this show really lacked substance. I was thoroughly disappointed with the ending, and kind of this show too. A lot of people liked it, but somehow I just didnt see why it was so great. Was it a good drama? Definitely. It had its cute and funny moments, but also it’s major failures, like Yang-Myung’s death.
    so, if i was going to rate this drama, i’d give it a 3.9/5

  33. 33 shedevil777

    I have to say your after thoughts comments were spot on,I was really wondering if people were watching the same drama I was. No depth, the acting( I am sorry uber TMETS fans) kind of sucked but like you said it was an enjoyable watch and disappeared from your memory the minute you finished. All that was left was empty calories . Thanks so much for your very insightful yet always amusing recaps. Even when the episode is subbed I read your blogs because I find them so entertaining

  34. 34 nuri

    Oh, I checked out (emotionally) this dramas at episode11 or so. I was so fond to the beginning that when it started getting so slow, I was so disappointed. The thing with something you have high expectation with is, it can crushed you so hard.

    It is an easy ending. The one thing that I was curious is how they played out Seol-Yeom-MinHwa love triangle. I have several possible scenario and disappointed again because Seol died. Cruel.

    I know Hwon n YeonWoo will be together, I don’t have to care anymore, just watching for the handsome Kim Soo Hyun.

  35. 35 Jennyforthewin

    I love it no matter what. The flaws and all.

    I’m glad I came into this drama with an open mind and lack of expectation. I see the ratings but it doesn’t affect whether or not I’m going to watch it. Yeah some of the characters sucked but I watched as it is and what is portrayed and i thoroughly enjoyed it. Beautifully tragic.

    Thanks so much for the recaps, im looking forward to another wonderful drama to follow. :)

  36. 36 cv

    Thanks JB and GF for the recaps on this drama. :)

    It was a good drama with a happy ending but it could have been sooo much better. IF only the writing was better, more life to the characters and a few more twist, would have been awsome. Oh well…

    onto the the next drama. LOL

  37. 37 Brenda

    Thank you guys so much for recapping this drama!!

    I’ll admit that I’m one of those people who jump with glee every Wednesday and Thursday because I know this drama will be on. Ironic, because I think it was extremely overrated. The plot was bland and the characters were pretty much underdeveloped. I think the only reason why most of us can say we love this drama is because the casting was done well. KSH and JIW did fantastic jobs as the love-lorn king and emotionally wounded prince. If it weren’t for KSH and JIW’s charima onscreen, I don’t think the ratings could’ve exploded so much.

    For a drama all about the romance, there was a lot of bloodshed involved. So many lives were sacrificed (mainly those of our good guys) when they didn’t have to be.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t feel anything when Seol died. I was just like, “okay . . . that was rather unnecessary.”
    I think that if they had developed her character more and cemented her bond to Yeom, then I wouldn’t have felt so stoic about her death.

    On another note, as much as I hate Min Hwa, I’m glad they punished her this way. It would’ve been unfair to have her executed since it would’ve impacted her son and punishing her child just wouldn’t have been fair.

    The only death I agreed with was Bo Kyung’s. There was no place for her within the palace or her own family. I doubt Hwon would’ve executed her even if she did know about Yeon Woo’s death since he sort of understood her feelings. I am disappointed that they didn’t develop her character more. We got one episode of her being active and the other times we saw her, she was either screaming her head off or crying out of frustration.

    I think all the characters had SO much potential but were ignored for the sake of the romance which is quite a pity since this drama could’ve been something great.
    I understand this was mainly a romance drama, but that doesn’t mean romance is the only aspect of the story.

    Ahh, What could’ve been. . .
    That’s probably the sentiment on the majority of the minds who enjoyed the beginning and expected something more from this drama.

  38. 38 lena

    Whew. So glad that was over. Looking forward to KSH and JIW’s new projects. Hopefully they can pair KSH with an actress around his age who can actually act and have crackling chemistry with him. That is all.

    And thank you, JB and GF. Your recaps are certainly so much better than the actual show. Thank you so much for all your hard work! 😀

  39. 39 via

    The final is exactly the same like the novel, that Yang Myung is dead and Bo Kyung too.. So I have no complain about the drama, beside he love Yeon wo with all his life and if he live, he probably can’t stand looking at the King and Yeon wo together, might as well as he die, even Jan Shil can’t do anything about it, he can’t love anyone anymore because he already give it to Yeon weo, pathetic but that just it.

  40. 40 funnypanda

    I may be wrong but this is what I got from Yang-myung’s death. I think he decided to die not only because he wanted to prevent other’s from using him to hurt his brother, but also to keep himself from that temptation. True the baddies died, but there always other baddies to rebel. These were the more prominent ones. Humans are greedy by nature, nothing guarantees that he would’t truly joined the dark side, which was a point made in episode 19. You could see his hesitation, even though it was clear that he would do the right thing “this time around”. But what about next time? Furthermore, I think that also guaranteed Hwon from living in constant fear of a “coup d’etat”. That’s how good people become bad; when they succumb to paranoia, which quite frankly is possible given how they stopped being closed at a very young age.
    And between I love you girls!! Your recaps bring me joy.

    • 40.1 cindy

      They showed us even if MY wanted to he couldn’t join the dark side.

      lol this is no excuse.

      MY just wanted to stop suffering, he was always selfish and even in his death he was selfish….

      Always thinking in himself, never in others. If he did, he wouldn’t die at all.

      People that commit suicide are weak and selfish

      • 40.1.1 Pitch

        “People that commit suicide are weak and selfish”

        Please refrain from talking about things you don´t understand.

  41. 41 someone

    thanks for the recap
    finale episode is not satisfying , why did they kill off YM in a total senseless way like that is a big mystery to me ? maybe the writer was feeling under the weather with all the labour union strike going on ?
    the story totally went downhill in the middle part , it was so exciting n fun during the first half of the show , after that i dont know what happened ?
    they could have done so much more but didnt , n the actors totally have the ability to be even more amazing if the plot didnt fail us
    but doesnt matter , at the end of the day it was still a good show compares to a lot of dramas out there , n KSH has the best crying ability ever !!!!

  42. 42 Bluefyre

    Well…the drama gave me KSH and JIW like I wanted plus the kids were great, but if only *sigh*

    LOL.

    Couldn’t agree with you more, GF & JB. Kudos to you both for sticking with it to the end though. Thank you so much! :)

  43. 43 Jo

    This drama was not very good in my opinion. The story was everywhere, characters were hardly developed, YANGMYUNG WAS ITS ONLY RETRIBUTION annnddd then he dies.
    seriously, what the frack?

    I’m going to go what Tree with Deep Roots and The Princess’ Man again to remind myself what a “good sageuk” means. . .

    • 43.1 dea

      I totally agree with you. The first 6 episodes were beautiful, the child characters were developed quite well and then bang; the child grew up & the storyline kept circling around Hwon & YW. There were so many wasted characters – sigh…

      Tree with Deep Roots is still my number 1 sageuk drama.

  44. 44 melonhead

    “Who are you, what is your true identity?”

    “I am your woman…”

    *screams in frustration.

    SERIOUSLY???? That’s not cool, girl, NOT COOL.

  45. 45 Yeng

    I was expecting a real happy ending, and Idont really think the ending is a happy ending because many people are sacrified for hwon and yeowoo’s romance. I do cheer for their love, but it really seems that people only live to shape Hwon and yeowoo’s relationship. It would be better to see that other character has found their place such as yang myung should live and find another girl like the shaman girl he saved. And even thought I hate BK, I was hoping that she would realize her wrong and confront with yeowoo. In the end BK still wants to have the statue as the queen, and that means she is still the same person she has always been. It seems that nothing has changed except we have all the second leads die. And that is telling me that the second leads are eyesore and have to die in order to allow the yeowoo and hwon to have happiness. LIke the sky only can fit one moon and one sun….and that is just sad

  46. 46 toritorisan

    I knew that YM had to die, but hoped for it not to happen. He was my favorite character and probably my favorite actor in the series. I think since their were 20 episodes, the drama wrote itself into a corner and had no other way to go except to kill off all the characters in order to get YW and the king together. Also, I couldn’t get completely into the storyline because I thought HGI performance wasn’t as strong and up to par as the rest of the main cast.

    All in all, I thought this drama was okay, but felt that it could have been better if the characters could have developed more.

  47. 47 fangirl98

    Thank you so much for recapping Moon/Sun!

    Finally we’ve come to episode 20. I wish I were more emotionally invested. I was cheering for the Hwon & Yeon Woo, so let’s just say I got the ending I wanted for them…and leave it at that.

  48. 48 h0ns

    Thank you for the recap…
    due to its lacking that can be easily pointed.. I find myself entertained by watching the moon embracing the sun…
    truthfully last episodes wrapped up in a rushed but still enjoyable to watch.. i think many of us wish that the story would be told in different way.. more complex.. more character developing.. and more of the lovey dovey *my opinion* :p due to all the condition I think this finale was best choice in this time.. 😀
    Love The Moon That Embraces The Sun.. it is a UNFORGETABLE drama… guess won’t ne able to see that kind of King for quite a long time.. King which makes me giggiling, crying, and amazed by his act…

  49. 49 Ani

    I still think Seol’s death was the most disappointing one since I’ve rooted for her since day one. She had my full support when she begged Yeonwoo’s dad not to sell her, and when she promised Yeom she’d watch over Yeonwoo, and especially when she came to Yeonwoo’s grave bruised and scratched up clutching flowers to say goodbye to her mistress, her friend, and her sister. This was the Seol I wanted to see more of. I wanted to see more Seol kicking butts and showing the world what for. Seol could’ve even had a loveline with Woon for goodness sake!!!! Perhaps I can be thankful she died a warriors death, but that doesn’t make me anymore happier. No death bothers me more than hers did, not even Yangmyung’s death. Heh. I wonder if this drama would’ve fared better plotwise if it was condensed to 16 or 18 episodes. Maybe things would’ve happened faster.

  50. 50 ava

    The ending is so-so. Nevertheless I did enjoy this series. Thanks Javabeans and Girlfriday!

  51. 51 jomo

    Thank you for recapping, it should have been the best show ever, but…

    Your analysis is right on, though and the ratings are due to the pretty boys, not the story.
    It would be totally unfair to blame the whole passivity feeling we get from the show on one actress, HGI, but that is exactly what I am going to do.
    I can’t help but wonder where the writers would have taken the story if our leading lady was interesting, sensual, quick-thinking, and we had any chemistry between the leads.
    I always thought that HAI was mothering KSH – not because of the age difference, either. She kept him at arm’s length emotionally (OK mixed metaphor), and they just didn’t snap, crackly and pop.

    I am so glad it is over. Let the Rooftop Prince begin!

    • 51.1 sally_b

      Jomo…I think I love you.
      (platonic & non-squicky, ofcourse)

      …there was ZERO snap. crackle. or pop.

      and instead of the usual *back hug inducing pregnancy* (tho’we did get one of those)

      ..with the LEADS—we get (after 20 episodes)a semi-toss down on the floor with the Joseon version of “Say my name.”
      …’cause the King wasn’t really asking who she was, but rather — who she belonged to. That’s not all bad…but it’s not th’Hotness one would expect from a *Love for the Ages*.

      or a Love that launched dozens of absurdly crafted death scenes.
      (shakes head in 2nd hand embarrassment)

      How hard would have been for YangMyung to take ONE step to the left? The spear-dude had been wobbling in the same spot for …like 5 minutes…right? 😉

      ahhhhhhh…sigh of relief. it’s ended.

      **Special mention for Best Supporting Eunuch Role ever! Can we get a spin-off of just the guys…

      or at least a Calendar —►Men of the Palace. December could be Hyung Sun with a snowman.

      Woon-ah could be April…because there are showers then. (cough…don’t really know where I’m going with this) cough *

      • 51.1.1 bluebear

        xDDD You’re so funny!!!

    • 51.2 mommyD

      unfair to blame the lack of chemistry on HGI alone. the lack of chemistry is 2-way. if hgi kept ksh at an emotional distance, the same can be said of ksh. in all his scenes where he crying and shouting he exhausted himself out to the point of overacting, but with his scenes with hgi i can feel an emotional disconnection from him.

      • 51.2.1 sally_b

        Hi there….we are, of course, each entitled to our own perception…no problem there.

        I would like to say though …re:”he exhausted himself out to the point of overacting”

        If he did over-exhaust himself I’d say it was from having to *carry* the burden of a much less talented peer.

        My overall opinion is that the lead couple was a complete Miscast. That simple…there was no fire between them in a story that is pretty much about everyone else dying horribly so that they could be together. And that’s a pity…for both cast and viewers. :(

  52. 52 sita

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS DRAMA!!! 😀

  53. 53 ck1Oz

    Thank you for the recap.
    Thank you for the snarky comments about those moments.

    Thank you for your final thoughts. Been in a blue funk but subscribing to the saying ‘if you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything’ My nice thing – the costumes were really nice for this drama. Plus I like the whole look of the ending scene.

    So, thank you once again for the recap. I am going to try to get rid of my frustration now by watching something upbeat. That or an eyewash. This, coming from someone who doesn’t even consider herself a JIW fan.

  54. 54 Pepper

    XOXOXOXO!!!
    Thanks a Million for all the recaps!!
    I will miss all the characters in this drama, ‘to each his own”, LOVE this drama all the way !! what flaws???

    Everything makes sense in the end, it’s short and sweet too not like other long korean historical dramas. I am happy with the ending.

    Kim Soo Hyun withdrawal starts NOW!! just can’t get enough of this guy. I don’t think Rooftop Prince can top The moon that embraces the sun, I’m a fan but there you go…

    Another Thank You!!

    • 54.1 omo

      ” I don’t think Rooftop Prince can top The moon that embraces the sun, I’m a fan but there you go…”

      Probably not, but Rooftop Prince will be loads more fun. Hey, I’m a big fan of “more fun”.

      • 54.1.1 cindy

        And HJM can act better than HGI TOO

  55. 55 vdiddy

    All of the Koreans I talked with about this show had nothing but good to say. In fact, the drama found its way into one of my Korean lessons, with my teacher using the wait for the last to episodes caused by the strike to illustrate 학수고대 (to wait on tiptoe with anticipation). Ha.

    Me, I stopped watching a while ago because if I’m going to devote time to a sageuk, it’s got to be top notch. But continued to follow the recaps here to see what happened. And I have to agree with jb and some others, I hated the way they used Seol and the ending they gave her. She was my favorite character back when I was watching and I thought she would be different from typical female sageuk characters. As for the rest of it, I don’t disagree with one word of the wrap-up commentary.

  56. 56 Uymna

    Dang, there is gratuitous death that serves no purpose. Oh Yang-myung…heartbroken..

  57. 57 frosty_spice

    Thank you GF and JB for recapping this series… I have decided to skip the part where YM dies and fast-forward to Hwon learning how to play the gayageum, which was so HILARIOUS…

    The ending will stay that way with me, which got me hooked on this series btw, those cute, funny and tender moments. This is not the first kdrama with all the wtfckery and a declining slope for its plot. This is not even the first kdrama who doesn’t deserve the high ratings even. But I agree that it has something that some us may not have figured out that kept us tuned in, or somehow have that love-hate relationship with the drama despite its flaws…

    Thank you, it has been a ride somehow worthwhile… =)

  58. 58 E-kun

    I’m just not that into it….. the ending that is! It was total BS that Yang Myung had to die– like that! This character had all potential of being something kinda great but alas, I feel bad that it was wasted on Lee Min Ho (who set the character up beautifully for Jung Il Woo) and Jung Il Woo (who is great at being that emo character that is more than meets the eye).

    I also say who in the F cared if Hwon and Yeo Woo ended up together?! (Put you pitch forks away until I finish) I mean honestly; the amount of death that had to transpire for these two to actually be together was quite disgusting and off setting. The fact that we went in circles with the same theme for a good 6 episodes was a total nightmare.I understand the show was about how these two were destined to love and be together but honestly if Hwon would have died with a broken heart and then she realized who she was after that… I might have been able to really buy into their love story.

    And Finally beside Yang Myung being a totally wasted character let me count the rest: Yeom, Woon, Bo Kyung (the queen), and Seol. Had we used those 6 useless episodes of hamster wheel running to really dive more into these character I would have at least felt satisfied even if they had all died in the end. What was the point of making these characters so significant as children if we weren’t going to do anything with them as adults?!

    Now that I have filtered my frustrations on what I hated, I can give this overall conclusion: I don’t feel like I had wasted my time completely. There were some really good moments in the show and it did keep me hanging on until the last drop. But this totally could have been executed in 16 episodes– had they had an extension I would have stop watching after the children were gone. Them is the cookie crumbles….

    • 58.1 Jomo

      I also say who in the F cared if Hwon and Yeo Woo ended up together?! (Put you pitch forks away until I finish) I mean honestly; the amount of death that had to transpire for these two to actually be together was quite disgusting and off setting.

      LOL!
      Too bad they didn’t make this interesting and have YW and H be the evil scheming anti-heroes.

    • 58.2 keke

      “I also say who in the F cared if Hwon and Yeo Woo ended up together?! (Put you pitch forks away until I finish) I mean honestly; the amount of death that had to transpire for these two to actually be together was quite disgusting and off setting.”

      I felt the exact same way. By the time everyone was killed off I sat there thinking, “What the hell? So not worth it.”

  59. 59 jae

    thanks for recaping TMETS JB & GF! ^^
    the story, the ending and acting is so so but the actor’s outfit is so beautiful espesially the queen. HGI is the most beautiful queen in saeguk drama I’ve ever seen! and sometime i can see resemblance of KYJ (young YW) in her ^^

    • 59.1 jae

      but JIW acting on YM last breath scene is superb though! ^^

  60. 60 mastille

    I stopped watching at 10 and have been reading along because of my love for JIW. Tried watching the beginning of this finale along with the recaps…

    “Ergo, both brothers know in advance that Yang-myung won’t do it. So do we, for that matter, and the suddenness of Yang-myung’s flip-flop (and subsequent flop-flip?) means that none of this carries the dramatic impact it ought (oh, what could have been). But points for trying.”

    I lol-ed very loudly at that. Then I kept reading and got to

    “Except no, it’s not quite done. A rebel staggers to his feet behind Yang-myung’s back — ack, you can’t kill him now, when he’s safe! Hwon sees the danger and calls out a warning as the traitor grabs a spear.”

    So I caught up with that in my stream, and when that last remaining guy stood up, even before anyone had turned around, the music was all DUN DUN DUN… I mean I can’t even, that obvious music manipulation made me gag even before the rest. YM turns to see him, and then looks away. Wow, the last time I’ve seen something unfold so stupidly was on that home video my high school classmates made in three hours for Japanese… actually, never mind, I may never have seen anything as something as stupid as this.

    “Yang-myung drops his sword and awaits his fate. Arrrrrghasldkfjaldkjfalkjfas. Hulk angry, keyboard smash.”

    For real. WHAT THE…?

    Yeah well that’s all I could stand watching.

    I think the problem with this show (one of many) is that the side characters are more interesting than the main characters. Who wants to follow the nobleman’s daughter when you have the servant that teaches herself martial arts, cause she thinks it’s cool, and secretly watches her crush practice his swordfighting skills? When you have Bo-kyung’s two sides, that evil one that led to her punishing Seol and who I just wanted to see turn into a self-absorbed, backstabbingly evil character that the heroes find their way around and eventually steal the glory from, and that side of her that just wanted the king’s love, recognition in the court, and not just jealous but hurt and vulnerable at being ignored and pushed aside at the very beginning? When you have Yang Myung, the adventuring hero, with freedom and family issues and a sadness about him, unfortunately after all the potential simplified to one girl, all the time? Even Yeom could have been utilized more, as his own character.

    This show really should have focused on the characters and the nature of the conspiracy theory, not just its results. I honestly didn’t care about the romance when they were kids either. Yeom and Seol and Yang Myung should have teamed up and tried to save Yeon Woo, or stopped whatever big plan the conspirators had besides just getting the throne (kicking out peasant storeowners that weren’t their friends in some ‘guild’ or equivalent or whatever, taking more psychics in as slaves…) The best stories spit right in fate’s face.

  61. 61 bashful

    Thanks very much JB and GF for recapping this drama. 😀
    I’ve always enjoyed your episode summaries and insightful analyses.

    Thanks JB for your awesome observation on how all the female characters were depicted as dependent on the male characters. I wonder if that depiction is due to the time in “history” when the story of this drama was set. Aside from greed-for-power, what else could have been used to define the identity of a female character during this time? I agree though that those female characterizations could have been more creative, which brings me to GF’s equally awesome point on how the adult characters in this drama became stagnant. In the episode where Wol/Yeon-woo remembered who she really was and told the Minister that the girl will not cry anymore, I thought we would see a dramatic change in Wol/Yeon-woo’s character in the following episode(s). I thought she’d go “Kill Bill” mode, which would have been exciting and more interesting to watch…Denied… :(
    Still, it’s okay because I had fun following this drama through your recaps. Thanks again! 😀

    Now looking forward to “Rooftop Prince”. 😀

  62. 62 adette

    hm. if i ever want to rewatch this drama itll only be the child actor episodes. i loved child everyone so much<3

    and it will never stop bothering me how adult yeom looks like he could be adult everyone else's dad -____-

  63. 63 kiongna

    Well, all said and done, I enjoyed this drama :)

    I felt Yeon Woo’s character became somewhat tepid in adulthood, with small flashes here and there of young Yeon Woo – *shrugs* kenchana ^^

    My friend reminded me on how very adorable and cute Hyung-Sun the eunuch was always made us both laugh so much with all his expressions etc. – yes!!! YAYYYY for Hyung-Sun, he sure lit up EVERY scene that had him in it ^^ What a character – one of my fav. characters in the drama LOL

    I am a sucker for “happily every after” although I wish Yang Myung didn’t die aigooo

    Yeah not much depth in drama and all that, but seriously – I don’t mind!!! Sometimes when things get too “depth-ful” and complex clever, with their many twist and turns – my brain needs to go on overdrive to compute and digest – quite tiring – pwhhahahah – ahhh so I’m such a simple person ^^

    Dun mind cotton candy stuff once in a while, it’s good for my simple soul – recharge!

    Dear Javabeans and Girlfriday – i so enjoy your writing, your wit and humour, and thoughts ^^ AJA AJA hwaitin’!

  64. 64 Stephanie

    I haven’t been this disappointed in a drama in a WHILE.
    No amount of eyecandy can make up for …that!
    Had I been here just for the love story, the first 18 episodes would not have made up for that rushed fishtale ending, nor this like, 3 seconds marriage scene crap in the last 2
    … And since I am not here just for the love story, eyecandy DEFINITELY does not make up for this I-know-you-are-not-really-rebelling-against-the-king,-but-were-we-just-to-kill-the-bad-guys-in-their-sleep-we-would-make-the-good-guys-not-pristinely-unidimentionally-good-anymore-so-lets-make-this-long,-stupid-and-painful-instead blurb with Yang Myeong “plotline”… nor about how I wanted to bang Yeon-woo’s adult character’s head against a wall everytime she opened her mouth for being so submissive and stupid,… nor for the way the king’s character acting stopped being touching five episodes ago (I think Kim Soohyun disappointed me a bit,… sigh, I don’t know why – but after episode 16, was it the dialogues, the very short scenes at the end, the skinny plotline, or his acting? that made it all so fake).
    I understand that order and everything that falls back into place according to the standard confuscianism yadi-yada was the point no.1 of this drama…, but to me, that does not excuse pushing for this idea over having a story with rational characters that act according to human nature (i.e., NOT: killing yourself in front of the brother you are supposed to “love”, like an idiot over some girl after you saved the nation; or carrying a crush on a guy for life you never ever see (Seol… or crying over the suicide or your brother and wife and exactly 3 seconds after, getting a new one??? (the King)).
    The weak plotline over realistic characters made this story feel fake and oversimplistic. And as so, whatever other underlying messages were not passed in a subtile fashion enough. As Girlfriday pointed out, unilateral characters ( female character’s stupidity and submission to all men around them – brother, husband, father – for exemple) made the sexist message of the show highlighted in a rather ugly way (a lot of Kdramas tend to do that, but at least they tend to add some components to the show that make so I shrug it off as a cultural asset lost in translation).

    I hope you never ever play unilateral characters again, Kim Soohyun, Jung Il-woo and Han Ga-in. What a waste of talent.

    Anyways.

    I really, really can’t wait for the Hong Sisters’ comeback.

    • 64.1 E-kun

      I laughed all the way through your comment because everything was so true!!! I had very similar thoughts!

      E.

  65. 65 izuyam

    I got bored half way through this drama that even my love for KSH wasn’t enough to make me spend my precious time to keep watching but I keep coming here just for the fun and enjoyment of reading your recap. Yeon Woo and HGI were both disappointing and I could never relate to Yang Myung..

    • 65.1 Lora

      I love KSH in My Love From the Stars, and I thought I would love this because he’s in it, but I’m finding it soooo dull. And now hearing how many of the “good guys” die before it’s all over has made me consider quitting it at episode 8.

  66. 66 katrina

    TQ so much for the recaps – I enjoyed the drama and feel the actors/actresses young and old played their parts beautifully..

    Esp. to note, bravo to the young ones and wish them all the best in their future movies/drama.

    As Malaysians we get a peep into your past cultures and practices – simply amazing –

  67. 67 alind

    it makes me hate them ( hwon-yeon wo) … and i love yan myung – yeom&min hwa

  68. 68 mina

    I have given up on this drama half way through, maybe I’ll give it a try during my spring break. Luckily i got Salaryman to fill up the void this drama left me feeling.

  69. 69 Aly

    Somehow the feeling of the ending reminds me of City Hunter. The beginning of both dramas were awesome! Amazing! Witty! But then it began to get worse and worse and you just tune in in the end to know how it’s ending.

  70. 70 Combray

    THANK YOU for mentioning the woman problem in this drama. It’s so frustrating that Min-hwa has to face comeuppance for wanting Yeom so much she stops at nothing to get it, while her brother does the same thing and everything falls so easily for him. And as far as I understand, she wasn’t actually at fault for Yeon-woo’s “death,” right? Queen Grandma just made her believe she was at fault? I guess her part in it is that she kept it quiet for 8 years but tbh it’s understandable.
    I find it problematic that she has to suffer for wanting happiness. I suppose that’s why, in the end, her reunion with Yeom is the one that made me tear up, the one that makes me happiest because she faced the consequences and survived it, no matter how humiliating it was. Hwon and Yeon-woo are sweet and I love Kim Soo-hyun but I found their ending too neat.

    Bo-kyung frustrates me too, although I’m glad she went on her own terms. I do wish she had gone and warned Hwon about the plot though (she was about to, before she caught him with Yeon-woo), even if Hwon probably knew about it, but it would’ve given her agency and a chance to break out of her “pawn” status. But, well, this is a Korean drama, and the women never have agency, especially the second lead. Nope, you have to be humiliated or die or believe that your punishment was all for the better in order to give the main couple their happy ending.

    • 70.1 kdramalover

      They used her virgin greed to marry Yeom to perform the witchcraft, other way the spell could not be so powerful.

  71. 71 glitzmadrb

    I also found the ending disappointing. At first, I can’t quite pinpoint why I find it disappointing, but after reading girlfriday’s and javabean’s comments I realize that it’s because I expected more from the story. It has a lot of potential, but it ended safely.
    Nevertheless, I think it is a good show and it is worth the watch. Looking forward to other great dramas like the Moon/Sun! :)

  72. 72 KDrama Fan

    Thanks JB and GF for the recaps.

    I didn’t think I was invested in TMTETS. It was a little too angsty for me and we lost one of my favorite characters in Seol among other things but I found myself sniffing and having to wipe away tears at the death of YM.

    All because of Il Woo and that killer smile.

    Would love to see a warrior chick who kicks a*se but still has a feminine side (ie. is well-rounded off the battle field) as the main character in a historical Korean drama. The nearest think I can think of is Ha Ji-won in Damo. Anybody know of any?

    • 72.1 Meg

      LOL moon sun angsty? this drama is pretty lame for a sageuk. watch ‘ma wang’. now that’s angsty.

      • 72.1.1 KDrama Fan

        I have a very low angst threshold Meg.

  73. 73 JW

    WTF!!! Are you kidding me??? NO!#?%

    All this was going through my mind while reading this recap.

    This drama started with a bang but ended with a thud. There was so much potential that wasn’t realized.

    The finale was such a blood bath, but the one person that should have been including in the body count was Princess Min-hwa (IMO). She annoyed me from beginning to end. I wanted her to jump off a cliff and repent for her sins. But noooo, she gets a happy ending while Yang-myung ,my favorite character, basically commits suicide. He should have lived and continued his wandering ways. Sigh.

    Also, I liked Hwon and Yeo-woo more when they were kids. As adults, their relationship really bothered me. All the bad stuff happened to Yeo-woo. She made all the sacrifices while Hwon sat around moping or yelling.

    I’m glad I checked out of this series half way through. If I had watched the whole thing, I’d probably be more pissed off.

    What a HUGE disappointment!!!!

  74. 74 charmel

    thank you so much to the beautiful drama the moon that embraces the sun this is great! congratulation!

  75. 75 Suzi Q

    I agree with you whole heartily regarding Yeon Woo’s character. She was so smart as a child, but grew up to be a boring, brainless person. She has been reading and hiding too long in the room behind the King instead of voicing and doing something about all of the injustice she and her family suffered. She doesn’t do anything.
    The last episode was too rushed where everyone got wacked.I can’t believed they killed off Yang Myung that way.Was everyone frozen and couldn’t move?Hwon had a bow and arrow when he shot the minister in the leg. Couldn’t he shoot the rebel with the spear? Where is super dude Woon? Why did Yang Myung just lay down his sword and let someone else commit his suicide? Even Bo Kung went out with a wimper instead of a big bang. After everybody got killed, I thought the ending was too light hearted.Totally unhappy with the stupid ending with Min hwa and Yeom.She is forgiven because her son needs a mother. She is the most selfish brat. Who needs her for a mom to teach him her awful behaviors? This drama started out so promising.Loved the OST, costumes, cinemaphotography, but the ending was terribly written.Alot to look at , but not much content.What a waste.

  76. 76 Hope

    This show is like a warm cup of coffee had on a breezy day, you sit on a bench and sip on it, feeling all the contentment and before you realize the coffee is gone leaving you kinda bereft.

  77. 77 Gayle

    TQ GF AND JB

    Chuno, I agreed with the tragic ending,
    but for this drama just a small issue in administration of the

    palace – the rightful queen to be, result with many dead bodies around the palace just for the king to live happily everafter with his wife,and later bore him a son !
    that’s all folks, crap drama of the year 2012 !

  78. 78 kdramalover

    Thank you for your recaps – they helped me a lot to understand the drama.

    But dear commentators I disagree with some of your sayings. It’s a sageuk so there are some rules -.

    My comments:
    1. – When you lose your goal to live – your perennial love, you want to die – a lot of suicides are in newspapers because of this. Therefore Yang-myung’s suicide it’s normal because he lost the woman he loved all his life to his brother and BTW she had never had feelings other than friendship for him. He had to do this only after eliminating all the potential threatening the other person he loved – his brother.
    2. – Hwon as a young king with his grandmother and uncle being so greedy for power – with no trustful & powerful people to help him, had no chance other than creating situations to unveil their wrongdoings – because he needs strong proofs and his brother was the only one who could help him – as he did.
    3.- Yeon-Woo – after “revival” she has no power – it’s just a shaman who got just obey the orders. I guess that her lost memory last for to many episodes, otherwise we could have more funny things (more kisses…) – unfortunately that’s not possible in kdramas – (what do you say about a change?). Other way she could use her position as shaman to manipulate a lot of things but in kdramas the “good” women never plot.
    4.- Seol – she could never be ever happy because the maximum of her hopes could be the slave of the man she loves – therefore I agree with @Rovi. It’s unlikely a noble fall in love with a slave. The plot Seol – Woon-Yeom could be more developed in a longer story, but that’s sageuk.
    5.- Bo-gyeong it’s a character that could be more developed. I was expected more wrong doings behind her innocent smile. Her suicide it’s the most suitable for the story.
    6.- I was hoping for more verbal confrontations between Minister Yoon and Hwon – that could be the salt&pepper of this drama. It was some but not enough for my taste.
    7.- I was very disappointed when Princess Min-hwa became pregnant. I hoped that they never finalize their wedding. With actual ending you could say if you are very greedy and apt to do no matter what you finally obtain what you wanted and your are forgiven for what you did. I disagree with it because thus eliminate the sense of justice, including the divine one. Usually after obtaining the thing you fought too much you don’t need it anymore. But the writers considered that a child need a mother. Couldn’t be an other one?
    8.- Because I don’t like to suffer when watching a movie or reading a book I enjoyed this drama a lot and I consider it one of my favorite, along with Coffee Shop, Return of Iljimae and some of Lie to Me’s episodes. I liked a lot Yi San, Jumong, The Kingdom of the Winds or Dong Yi but I prefer the Happy Ending like in fairy tales.
    9. – The acting was amazing taking into account that I understood the plot without subtitles and before reading dramabeans’recap – usually, first I watched the raw episode, second after reading recap and third with eng. subtitle. I guess that this drama is a milestone for Kim Soo Hyun career. He played absolutely fabulous. Also, Jung Il Woo acting was extremely powerful even he had less scenes than KSH. I would prefer a less stiff actress or younger than HGI someone with whom the main younger actors could be more comfortable with (due to the K culture), because HGI is married and cannot play around with men not even in a movie. HGI did what she could do, deh it was not something out of ordinary. I would like she could have some chemistry with KHS that tried to look at her with eyes full of love but her response was negative – everything it’s happening in the last minutes of the ending episode. In the last kissing scene she was laughing – you can see her smiling if you pay attention. I hate only when she opened her eyes to much – but I guess that’s just something Asian. Also, I didn’t like the grandmother actress – she was overacting and she always had the same expression – the same big stupid round eyes. I liked the Minister Yoon – Kim Eung-Soo acting a lot, for me he was perfect in his role. Last, but not least Eunuch Hyung-Sun – Jeong Eun-Pyo brings the needed comic touch. He played genial and I guess the actor enjoyed a lot his character and this drama. Concerning the other actors – except for kids- their performance was a correct one without anything else – no sparkling, no faults – just plain.
    10.- As a conclusion for me it was a very good romance drama with a touch a comedy and a little bit tragedy, well written (unfortunately I’m unable to understand the pranks, just the plot) and well directed. I fully agree with the ratings that I consider fabulous when the other successful dramas’ rating merely reached less than 20%.

    Thank you dramabeans for your effort.

  79. 79 bjharm

    hmmm get the idea that the tv compnay couldnt care less how people ended up feeling by the end of the drama, all they had in mind was magic mark of a 40+ veiwer rating. Sometime I think we forget that these Tv show are made for one reason, to make money…:-).

  80. 80 topper

    The ending seems to give opportunities for the king to cry as much as possible. Is this the ending for the novel too? I like Kim Soo Hyun and his acting, but when he cries he looks like a kid.

    The beginning with the young actors were the best part of this drama for me. Everything slowly goes downhill from there on. The side casts never got much character development, dedicating too much screen time for lovey dovey stuff by the main pair that bores me.

    • 80.1 katniss

      THIS IS SOOOOO TRUE! i totally agree with you. the older cast did not do justice to the great acting and unity of the younger cast. except for the actress who played SEOL. totally love her..

      • 80.1.1 sherry

        I thought Yoon Seung Ah’s acting was horrible in this drama. Her crying scenes were a torture to get through. What is with her face with she tries to cry, and I swear, there’s no tears. Her sageuk speech was really bad as well.

  81. 81 rindeera

    I will miss this drama…………….

  82. 82 katniss

    i have always adored the character of seol. how she protected yeon-woo, how she loved yeom even from afar. it was really stupid to hope that seol and yeom can be together in the end. nevertheless, i am happy that seol died a meaningful death. in fact, her death is the only meaningful one. she died to protect the man she loves. and the last scene of yeom and seol?! aaarrrgghh! tear jerker!! it is silly of me to think that maybe yeom actually loved seol but was bound of his duties as a husband to min-hwa and a father to their son. how i wish seol and yeom can be together..

    maybe in another lifetime :'(

  83. 83 shen

    Dear Javabeans,

    You’re a superty-duperty awesome writer. I think this recap, literary craft-wise, is my favorite.

  84. 84 sara

    i’m really really disappointed.i still don’t get why YM should die.why everything was against him since the beginning.he was so nice still his father threw him out,the girl didn’t love him and even his mother forced him to give up most of the times then he died at the end.it’s just so unfair.i hate when the writers do this.

  85. 85 sinflower

    I’ll miss u Kim soo hyun oppa !!

  86. 86 Gemini

    Yo! Let’s chill out guys, though the ending kinda annoyed me… Though, I’m going to miss the Hwon-HS-Woon trio…

    http://serenity4fr.wordpress.com/2012/03/16/photos-bts-the-moon-that-embraces-the-sun-episode-20/

    The 7th pic makes me teary-eyed… I guess there’s one good thing about this drama… the geniune friendship formed when the cameras were not rolling…

  87. 87 Alona

    THANKS jb and gf !

    What ? my prediction was correct, YM went on a suicidal mission like I wrote earlier.

    Ahem ! bloody friday ! A LOT OF RED VEGGIE COLORING TO USE !

    Go green MBC !. Drama really SUCKS !

  88. 88 pozi

    Thanks for recaps, I drop the drama midway, finally it ended, people had different opinions, I thought the only plot in the story was black magic and the writer overused the witchcraft all the way.

  89. 89 Anime1234

    Javabeans wrote in the first episode recap:

    Ahri: “You think I am the only one who saw, don’t you? You think it will end if you just get rid of me, don’t you? You’re wrong, you villain — Heaven’s Moon was watching you. That man’s blood is not the only thing that soaked into your blade that night. The moonlight of that night seeped inside, too. Wait and see! One day your wicked deeds will be revealed under the moonlight! One day that moonlight will cut your own lifeline!”

    I was expecting Wol to denounce Minister Yoon as cutting his life line in politics. Instead we get Yang Myung literally cutting his life with a sword. What does Yang Myung’s name mean?

  90. 90 far away

    I’m not reading it. I’m not. I’m not.
    I’m saving it for tomorrow morning on my way to work.

    I just want to thank you JB & GF for the recaps. I loved this drama because of your recaps, even though I don’t think it is a VERY good one. BUT it’s your writing style that made decide to go with it and wait for these recaps every Thursday & Friday morning (on my time zone) .

    Thank you so much :)

  91. 91 lucertola

    Thank you for recapping Moon/Sun!!
    I was disappointed that Seol and Yang myung had to die. I’d prefer them getting a different conclusion. I was also disappointed in the fact that the adult Yeon woo didn’t play more important role in the whole story line and that Hwon was so mighty to be able to resolve each problem without intellectual help of others. Said this, I really enjoyed Moon/Sun.

  92. 92 kellie

    “I do have to say the drama drives me batty with its shit-for-brains approach to women characters. . . Every single woman has reduced her own identity to its association with a man.” Thanks for that! I remain a sageuk fan but I can’t tell you how many segments involving suffering, love-smitten heroines I’ve fast-forwarded thru, snarling all the time. (“Yes, I have art talent, I lead a merchant group, I’m a future queen, but I’ll gladly throw it all under the bus for HIM.”) Currently watching Yi San — may the gods give Song-yeon warts.

    • 92.1 cindy

      omg, you are watching Yi san where did you DL it? Looking for it like crazy!

  93. 93 Jaykah

    As much as I am VERY happy for our OTP, I can’t get over the fact that Seol, Yang Myung AND Nok Young had to die and to top it off Min Hwa got Yeom after all? So damn stupid.. I get the logic of it all sure but doesn’t mean can just accept it easily!

  94. 94 John

    Javabeans & Girlfriday,

    Thank you for this recap and this blog,

    It’s over. It had a lot of potential. *Sigh*

    “I could of had class. I could have been a contender. I could of been somebody, instead of a bum,
    which is what I am”

    ~ Terry Malloy from On the Waterfront

    That’s how I feel about this drama. It had the potential of being stellar and it did have bright moments but the overall product was under developed

    I did cry at a few scenes at the end. Maybe it was because the cat woke me up at 2:30 for the second night in a row.

    I didn’t read the book and don’t know if it followed the book or not and don’t care either way.

    It was supposed to be a drama, on that level it failed. Writers and directors, need 20 lashes for failing to maintain tension and excitement. Also, failing in developing characters in a useful and timely manner.

    When Seol was saving Yeom, I’d appreciated it if she could have professed her love for him, out loud while she was fighting, angry, that she couldn’t openly love him.

  95. 95 fafa

    Okay for the ending, I feel sad to read+play the song that Prince Yang Myung die :”'(
    Little prince & his cousin is so cute ^_^
    second hero always have a bad ending >_< eventhough i love the king but watch Yang Myung die is so hearbreaking +he cannot get Yeon Woo love
    btw, this drama has finish so my head will not sick to think what will happen after this…

    Thank you for the recap : )

  96. 96 Ace

    “Every single woman has reduced her own identity to its association with a man. That she does so of her own accord makes it more infuriating. You have a queen, a princess, a noblewoman-turned-princess, a (supposedly) badass warrior — and each woman defines herself in relation to a man.”

    I’m expecting the writers involved in this drama were mostly male because of the weak female characters. I’m gonna be pissed off if females wrote this. And I’m not even a feminist. But seriously, the female characters are really off-putting. Like something I’d read off a Harlequin/Mills&Boon romance in the 70’s or 80’s. And then you also get Yang-myung who can’t let go of a woman that he was happy to die too. Man. This drama’s epic. Epic fail.

  97. 97 Thu

    i am so sad for Yang Myung’s death. i wish he was still aive. i cheer up for Hwon and Yeon Woo. they are a lovely couple. I hope Gan In sister will succeed in next time. i like Ij Woo. i desire one day he comes to Vietnam and smile at me I will be happy and conformed.

  98. 98 Thu

    thank Dramabeans for giving me a forgetable time with the moon embraces the sun. Every Wed and Thursday i had waited to see the recap. It’s difficult to say how do i feel very grateful. Do still exist and develop

  99. 99 Kim Yoonmi

    I think the main issue with this drama was the pacing. If they had cut short the whole amnesia stuff and put a bit more towards the betrayal /last chapter, this drama probably would have been better, but instead they wasted at least 5 episodes on what could have been a good basis for the finale.

    Though the acting on Wol could have also improved… but at least I can read the book online… the plotting is better.

  100. 100 rhia

    The last two episodes in a nutshell: everybody being bowling pins struck down one by one by one. If you’re not wanted in the story anymore–BAM! Down you go. Tsk. Disappointing, really.

    Thanks for recapping this, though!!

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