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Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo: Episode 3

The story heats up and there’s a lot more of everything in Episode 3—more blood, more intrigue, more confused feelings, and more all-around action. The intensity gets dialed up a notch, too, with tension built into many of the interactions today. And while I still find my interest mostly in the main three characters, I’m ready now to enjoy branching off with the lesser princes and side relationships too. I know the bromance is fanservice, but isn’t the definition of fanservice that I don’t care about that?

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

Following the assassination attempt at the palace and the chase through the forest, fourth prince Wang So faces off against his half-brother (and eighth prince) Wook, holding Hae Su in a threatening grip—she caused him to miss out on vital information about the assassins, and he’s furious.

Wook keeps his cool and says that Su has nothing to do with this matter. She asks So to believe that she merely lost her way, but he says darkly that he has no reason to, since he doesn’t know her.

Wook slowly drops his sword to the ground, and reasons that they can find proof of Su’s guilt once the soldiers arrive. Until they do, Wook asks So to let her go.

So grudgingly lowers his sword and shoves Su aside, and she hurries to Wook’s side. Wook asks in concern whether she’s okay.

Su stammers that people were killed nearby, and that they were dressed like the dead assassin, wearing similar demon costumes. The princes exchange alarmed looks.

At the palace, Crown Prince Mu is feeling regret, thinking that he shouldn’t have had So take his place in the ceremony. Astronomer Choi tells him that So took this opportunity for himself, so it’s not something Mu should feel guilty about. But Mu replies that using his younger brother’s desperation for his own benefit is a sin. Aw, I like you. You seem nice.

In the forest, So and Wook lead soldiers to the spot where Su saw the assassins die—only, now the area’s empty. So asks suspiciously how dead bodies could have disappeared and demands answers of Su that she doesn’t have, such as who the culprit was. At least Wook finds clues in the surroundings—blood spatters and sword cuts—and he deduces that the same person who mobilized the assassins also killed them.

Now So turns his frustration on Wook for killing their last witness, although Wook holds firm and says he couldn’t let harm come to Su. He suggests taking care of So’s injured arm, but So flings off his hand, shoots a dark glance at Su, and stalks off.

Su slumps to the ground, sapped of energy, and then starts to cry. Wook looks increasingly uncomfortable at her tears, while she sobs that So is always threatening to kill her when all she wanted to do was return what he dropped (the hairpin he’d bought his mother).

Wook offers a meager pat on the shoulder, but Su hilariously yanks him down by the cloak, worrying what will happen to her. Wook finds her cute in that moment and holds her closer, soothingly.

The scheming Queen Sinmyeongsunseong fumes in her bath, thinking of her failed plot to get rid of Crown Prince Mu. She blames So for ruining everything, and tells her son, third prince Yo, that he was supposed to be named crown prince today.

Yo informs his mother that he took care of the loose ends, and that none of the conspirators are alive. The queen says that at least King Taejo won’t be attempting any abdications for the near future; she’ll find some satisfaction in that.

Yo suspects that Astronomer Choi has a hand in this, and possibly has a hidden connection to So. The queen realizes So was indeed learning martial arts, but is puzzled as to how—it’s not something his adopted family, the Kang clan, would have enabled.

The queen declares that they must find out who So has been meeting, and thinks that if Astronomer Choi is involved, so might be the king. Yo says that their spy in Shinju has reported that nobody ever came to see So.

The queen advises Yo to be even more vigilant, so that they can uncover So’s motivations—then they’ll be able to get rid of him, or make him loyal to their side. “Do not forget,” she tells Yo. “Goryeo must belong to my son.” (But So is your son too…)

Back at Wook’s home, So regards the gash in his arm, and flinches when Princess Yeonhwa starts to tend to it, despite his initial protest. She asks when he’ll leave Shinju and come live in the capital like the other princes. Despite the fact that this is exactly what he’s fighting to do at the moment, So replies that he’s not like the others, and that he’s comfortable living his life fighting mountain animals.

Princess Yeonhwa smiles, saying that he’s gotten better at hiding his true feelings. She’s got him there.

Then she leans closer to wipe his face gently, and he tenses. There’s definitely something here, and I get the sense that the interest is greater on her end, though he doesn’t exactly refuse it. (Meanwhile, I have to tell myself, Historical accuracy, blah blah blah, since she’s his half-sister and all. Also the mother of his children! Maybe I’ll pretend there’s a convenient birth secret involved that history never knew about.)

So abruptly stands up, calling an end to their momentary closeness. But he does tell her, “I did wonder what kind of woman you grew up to be.”

Su’s neck cut from the assassin’s sword has Lady Hae newly worried, and she asks why Su went into the forest in the first place. Wook surreptitiously shakes his head at Su, so she just says she lost her way. Wook says that the assassin had been out for Crown Prince Mu’s life, so they should just be glad that Su is safe, and Su agrees wholeheartedly, declaring herself exceedingly lucky. She goes so cutely overboard that Wook can’t hide a smile.

After sending Su off to rest, Lady Hae thanks her husband for his help, apologizing for always adding to his burdens. Wook assures his wife that he’s never thought of Su as a burden, even adding that he finds her delightful.

That wording takes her aback, but he explains that theirs is a serious, heavy household, and people are always telling him of their troubles. “But Su is not like that,” he says. “She struggles to do everything on her own strength, and I find that appearance delightful. I feel like I can breathe. And it makes me look forward to seeing her.”

He seems so pleased that Lady Hae is startled, but all she can do is force a smile and say that she’s thankful that he cares for Su.

On her way back to her room, Su freezes to see So sitting out in the courtyard, then tries to hurry past him. He orders her to stop, then shoots one look at the maid to get her to leave them alone.

Su starts to blabber nervously, insisting that she didn’t see anything else in the woods, and that she already told him everything. So advances on her slowly, grabbing her face and ordering her to remember more.

Wook steps in shoves So’s hand away from Su with difficulty, but as Su falls back, she remembers one more detail: The assassins’ leader was wearing fur.

Instantly, So recalls that Yo had worn fur during the ritual ceremony, and it looks like Wook comes to the same conclusion. So orders her to erase what she saw in the woods, and Wook concurs, for her own safety.

Su excuses herself with a surly look at So, but he stops her departure to warns her not to show herself before him again.

At that, Su faces him and asks, “What did I do wrong?” With growing indignation, she points out that he’s the one who threatened to kill her: “Am I supposed to just do nothing? I should do whatever I can to live, and you’re telling me to die like a dog?”

She calls after him, “Is it a crime to want to live?” So clenches his jaw, but leaves without a word. Su watches him go, then blurts, “That jerk!” Ha.

Wook sees Su to her room and advises her to sleep with the candles lit, in case her ordeal gives her nightmares. She asks after his condition, since he killed someone because of her; she worries that he might suffer post-traumatic stress or nightmares.

Wook is surprised that she’d ask, and tells her that it wouldn’t do for him to struggle after every time this happened. She gapes, asking if he’s killed before, then cuts herself off at hearing the tactless question. He answers anyway, explaining that he was eleven when he first took a life, protecting his mother and sister.

“But I didn’t have nightmares,” he says. “I protected my family with my own hands, which made me happy. I was proud.” Tellingly, he almost struggles to say the words, even as he adds that a prince ought to be able to handle that much.

“But you keep remembering,” Su says. “You can’t forget, so how can the heart be easy? It’s obvious you’re suppressing it.”

He calls that a weight he must endure. Brightening, Su tells him she won’t be clingy, so he needn’t worry—she won’t add to his burden, so he can live a little more lightly. She says cheerfully, “So you don’t have to worry about me! I can take care of myself.”

He laughs that in place of her lost memory, she’s found blustery overconfidence. Wook also tries to sound out the strange word she’d used, asking what “stress” is. Heh, another word slip.

King Taejo discusses the attempted assassination with So, Crown Prince Mu, and his astronomer. The bold act suggests a mighty power, and their next step is to find clues that may lead them to the culprit.

The king asks So after his injury, and it’s rather heartbreaking to see how startled So is at the small show of concern. He replies that it was not serious, and he tended to it.

The king asks why So would take Mu’s place in the ceremony, risking his own life. So answers that fifteen years ago, Mu saved his life—so now, he intends to stay in the city while ferreting out the perpetrator.

The king gives his approval, and instructs Astronomer Choi to inform the Shinju family that So’s return will be delayed. It takes a lot for So to tamp down his happy reaction, but it’s there, just a flicker of it. Yay!

The princes gather again, and talk turns to So’s unexpected martial arts skills. Third prince Yo scoffs that he must have picked it up from battling wild animals, but fourteenth prince Jung thinks that his level of skill indicates proper teaching. Yo counters that So’s adoptive family would never have allowed it when they’re essentially holding him hostage—he’s important politically as a prince, but they’d hardly encourage empowering him when they’d rather have him under their thumb.

Wook asks Yo if he chased any of the culprits last night, watching carefully as Yo replies that he did, but took the wrong path. Both princes are careful with their words as Wook searches for any slips and Yo makes sure he doesn’t make any.

The king happens by and stops to greet his sons, but frowns to see the bruise on tenth prince Eun’s face. When Eun nervously mentions a fight, the king is outraged—who would dare lay a hand on royalty?

The next thing we know, Su is pacing anxiously at home, awaiting the king’s punishment. She alternates between imagining the worst, like getting her limbs cut off, and assuring herself that nothing bad will happen.

Eun comes galloping in, chipper as can be, and announces that his father took one look at his face and ordered the offender flogged. Su narrows her eyes, supposing he left out all mention of his own wrongdoing, and he retorts that he’s not so small-minded as that. He explains how he finagled forgiveness out of the king—by asking how if a girl who hit a prince were to be punished, what happens to the prince who got hit by a girl?

I suppose it’s an effective argument in such patriarchal times, and Eun puffs up in pride at coming up with a solution. Su can only manage a sarcastic thanks and turns to leave.

Eun stops her, intent on saying something else, only to mumble and fidget, suddenly shy. Su registers his nervous posture and stalling and wonders, “Could it be… that he’s fallen for me? You’re the first woman to treat me like this, that sort of thing?”

Eun finally starts to speak, and says exactly those lines: “You’re the first woman to treat me like that.” Su marvels at the longevity of that pick-up line, HA.

Eun adds that it was the first time he was able to fight freely, since everyone always just let him hit them—it was never a proper fight. “It was fun,” he declares. Su wryly tells him to come by when he wants to fight, and he asks excitedly if that means he can visit whenever he wants. She retorts that it’s the least she can do, and he calls after her, “Today’s our first day!” Ha, some things never change.

In the city, thirteenth prince Baek-ah draws scenes of the city from a tavern, then hears a commotion as people run to watch a fight. Not one to miss out, he heads over to get a look.

Baek-ah stands at the edge of the crowd drawing while two men fight, and the younger fighter whirls and kicks with skill, knocking out his older opponent. Aha, it’s Prince Jung, and he roars in victory… just as the two brothers lock eyes.

Jung’s not supposed to be out of the palace in street garb (or fighting, at that) and pesters Baek-ah to let this go, making ineffectual grabs for the sketchbook containing pictures of his fight. He tries bargaining first, and then switches to threats of exposing Baek-ah too.

Baek-ah argues that his trip is approved, then kicks Jung away. Jung fakes grave pain to draw his brother closer, then runs off floating with Baek-ah’s sketchbook.

Baek-ah pays a visit to Lady Hae, and they reminisce on the good old days, having been quite close. Baek-ah says he blames Wook for not giving his wife more of his heart, while Lady Hae chides him for his familiar address (he uses a term meaning noona). He counters that he knew her as noona before she became his sister-in-law.

Baek-ah sees Su across the yard, where she’s practicing her best sageuk speech. Okay, that’s cute. They laugh, and Baek-ah notes how completely Su has changed.

Lady Hae agrees, though she’s pleased with how much more thoughtful Su is lately. Baek-ah balks when Lady Hae says he and Su are similar, but she explains that they’re both free at heart, say unexpected things, like fun things, and hate to lose.

She adds that Baek-ah’s real noona is Su, not herself. He tells her not to say that, his tone turning slightly serious as he adds, “You know how I feel about you.”

So and Crown Prince Mu start their investigation with an examination of the dead assassin corpses. They find something alarming in one mouth and confirm that the rest are the same: The tongues have been cut out.

They can’t imagine who would cut out their own tongue as a show of fealty, and mull over the mystery. Then Astronomer Choi speculates that it’s possible that the assassins hadn’t cut out their tongues for this purpose, but were already lacking them.

Apparently, there are renounced monks who get their tongues cut out for their sin, and as Choi explains this, So envisions Yo carrying it out.

There aren’t people who could harbor so many denounced monks without drawing notice, and Mu orders Astronomer Choi to look into who donated to temples.

The next thing we know, So is charging at Yo and accusing him of being the mastermind. Yo challenges him to show proof, and So reminds him that he killed all his assassins. Yo doesn’t betray much when he’s accused, but when So asks if their mother is behind this, his face freezes and he can’t quite pull off the indifferent act. But So seems to have his answer.

Su finds Lady Hae preparing clothing and goods to be sent along as donations to the village. Wook customarily delivers them on his own, but Su suggests that Lady Hae accompany him and take the opportunity to spend the day with him. Lady Hae has never thought to do so, but Su urges her, and offers to make her up prettily for the occasion.

As Su makes up Lady Hae’s face, she tells her of a “dream” she had where she sold cosmetics. We see that she’s talking of her modern-day life, when she worked for a cosmetics company, and Su explains that she felt important and needed when helping her friend look her best.

But then, her friend went and met her boyfriend behind her back. Su sighs about the betrayal, and how they’d stolen everything from her, and still she couldn’t manage to confront them properly about it.

Lady Hae advises her to quickly forget nightmares like that, and Su muses, “Who knows, maybe it was that side that was the bad dream.” When she finishes, she holds up the mirror, and Lady Hae is astonished at her transformation—her formerly pale, wan face looks blooming and healthy.

It’s a family affair in the village, as Su and Lady Hae join Prince Wook in the alms-giving. Su hands out treats to the children, then chases down a boy who takes one from someone else and scolds him for his behavior. She sees Wook smiling at her and waves, and without thinking he waves back, before catching himself and awkwardly swatting at the air instead. Oh, you.

A bit later, Wook joins Su at the apothecary, surprised at her familiarity with medicinal herbs. She says she’s used them to make soap that brightens and beautifies the skin and offers to make some for his wife.

He receives medicine for Lady Hae, and also a salve for Su’s cut. She does such a poor job at dressing her neck cut that Wook takes over, sitting close and brushing her hair aside.

There’s a loaded moment as they stare at each other, and another when he leans close to dab at her neck. Su grows shy and quiet, sitting there looking like she’s doing her best to contain her feelings.

Lady Hae is weak and asleep by the time they arrive home, and Wook carries her to bed while Su helps settle her in. As they smooth the blankets over her, Wook’s and Su’s hands touch—just briefly, just their pinky fingers, but it makes them freeze in awareness. Su is the first to pull back, and she quickly hurries out.

Wook finishes tucking his wife into bed and watches her sleep, but his gaze turns toward the door, after Su.

Su’s rattled at the touch, and heads to the temple to pray at Lady Hae’s tower of stones. She prays to her mother not to cry over her, because she’s doing well, and then admits, “My heart is wavering. I tell myself I shouldn’t, but… it makes me tremble.”

The next day, So find out that a group of renounced monks are hidden away at a temple hideout, and races there. Mu also makes his way with soldiers in tow, but So arrives way ahead of the rest, finding the temple atop a steep, rocky hillside.

Inside, the rundown place seems abandoned, but we’re given the sensation that there are unseen eyes on him. So closes his eyes and concentrates.

Suddenly, a man flies at him. So reacts swiftly, knocking aside the incoming dagger with his sword, whirling to avoid being impaled by a spear. He quickly cuts down the two men who come at him, but in seconds he’s surrounded by more.

So asks for their leader, and when he gets no response, wonders if there’s nobody here capable of speech. One man grunts and charges him, but So slashes his throat readily, and demands to know who’s in charge.

Then a full-scale swordfight breaks out, and So holds his own easily in a crowd of at least twenty. The scene grows bloodier and bloodier, and So displays remarkable dexterity with both the long sword and short dagger. Definitely not something you just pick up while fighting wolves. So is so brutal and efficient that in no time, the last man falls. Damn, that was like a Tarantino movie.

Bodies litter the ground, with So the last one standing. Suddenly, the doors blow off a nearby building and a monk steps out, bowing to So.

So asks if he is the one responsible here, and the monk replies that these men had their tongues ripped in punishment for their grave sins; he looked after them. So replies, “Then all I have to do is get rid of you.” The monk asks who he’s doing this for, then adds meaningfully, “Does your mother know?”

So smiles dangerously, noting that this is a place of no speech, yet there’s someone here with a lot of words. He raises his sword, hardens his face, and strikes.

The monk deflects his first blow, but So takes him down with a series of quick slashes, and then a blade through the gut. As the man gurgles, So leans in to say, “You’ve lived mooching off the queen, so die for her sake.”

He walks out and staggers away, covered in blood, while the temple burns behind him. When Mu and his soldiers arrive, the building is ablaze. Mu wonders what could have happened and orders his men to retrieve any survivors.

That night, Queen Sinmyeongsunseong awakens in bed as a figure approaches—So, carrying the sword that’s still dripping blood. She shrinks back as he steps forward out of the shadows and smiles.

 
COMMENTS

Okay, so all that blood and killing was a little much, but I don’t suppose I mind because I felt the energy really tick up when So went wild on those monk-assassins. I thought he’d need to keep some alive for questioning (lack of tongues notwithstanding) so I wasn’t expecting full-on slaughter, but it was cool in the way that Tarantino is cool; the deaths are somewhat stylized and mostly there to highlight how badass So is.

Then if that weren’t enough of a statement, we got that sunset moment with So strutting out of there like a mofo, with the temple burning behind him. It was a strong moment, beautifully shot, and had an edge that I really liked. I’m not actually sure I can count on the show to be that dark going forward, since it isn’t that on the whole (plus I just know Episode 4 will disappoint me just because there’s no way he kills his mother and that’s what I really want)—but I’ll take the bits of darkness when I can get ’em.

Character-wise, I was happy with today’s developments, giving us either movement or insight about several different relationships: So and Su, naturally, as well as Su and Wook, but also So and the princess (as unsettling as I find it), and young Baek-ah and his noona dynamic with Lady Hae. I can’t tell yet whether Baek-ah’s feelings are romantic or protective in a brotherly way, or maybe it’s a lot of things mixed up in one, but I’m glad for Lady Hae’s sake that someone clearly loves her and thinks that her husband should pay her more attention.

I agree with that sentiment in the sense that Wook is a decent guy (I hope?) who respects his wife and cares for her, and also because my modern sensibilities are apparently still old-fashioned in their view of monogamy and fidelity. And even if Wook isn’t too conflicted (he appears to be somewhat conflicted), it ought to be a moral dilemma for Su, whose sensibilities are as modern as mine.

Of course, then you have chemistry futzing with everything and confusing the matter, since theirs is fairly sizzling, in a way that conveys more sexual tension than, say, the hero and heroine. (Theirs is the more conventional opposites-attract, love-hate, contentions dynamic—more external fireworks, but much less repression.) Not that either is better than the other; with all these princes hovering around, I’m sure we’re gonna be able to enjoy allllll of the chemistries.

The reception to this drama has been a titch cooler than I’d anticipated, and I don’t think this show is as bad as the worst of its criticism, although perhaps there are grains of truth in there. I find it entertaining and engaging (now that the heavy introductions are out of the way), though admittedly I’m still waiting for something fresh or exciting to come from the story, and I wonder if I’ll be waiting for ages. Perhaps I’ll be better served by not expecting freshness, and being fine with it as a beautifully produced, gorgeously shot version of a show I’ve seen many times before.

One thing I noticed particularly in this episode was that there was a lot of style in action; the director’s flair was on full display, and when it works, it can be exciting and thrilling. However, that didn’t preclude some jumpy narrative cuts, and moments of confusion when I didn’t register that we’d switched scenes, or wasn’t sure if something was a legitimate scene or a flashback/fantasy moment because the scene change had been so abrupt. That can be a directorial flaw but I’d also put it at the writer’s hands, since it’s her job to structure scenes so that the logic flows fluidly. Trust me, I’m paying a heckuva lot of attention to details with multiple rewinds, and if I have trouble figuring out the flow, it’s no longer my problem. Style isn’t solely good or solely bad—too little makes for ugly dramas, and too much can feel empty—but as long as it comes backed up with some meat, I’m all about it. Today it worked well (the previous episodes were a little less successful at matching content to the style, I thought), and I hope the drama keeps it up as we continue.

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very good episode i dont understand the hate this drama is getting because i am so into it.

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Me neither. People want it to fail, because it was hyped as the next best thing. I have seen worse acting in other Korean dramas than this. At first I paused at how less serious this drama has been compared to the original, but by episode 3, I was quite happy with it. Because it's like watching a completely different story.

Before I am accused as an oppalogist, I can attest truthfully that I'm far from being a fan of anyone in the cast..really far..lol.

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I think when you have a negative attitude towards a show then the show needs to be extraordinary to overcome your bias. Similarly if you have a positive outlook, then the show can be average and you will still love it.

Say moonlight - (I'm using it for comparison bec same time, same genre. pls dont kill me)

I know i am in a teeny-tiny minority that did not like the show. it has its warm moments but overall I could not stick to it. If I want to I can detail a long list of things i find wrong with it but if you go to the recap thread, you will be hard pressed to find one criticism.

The whole mood leading up to the show was positive and its a light, breezy show and everyone loves it easily. SC on the other hand was inundated with doubts - comparison with old show, IU, baekhyun, pretty boys are just fanservice, Preproduced UF just tanked etc etc. People tore into it without giving it a chance.

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I agree with you. I didn't want to mention the other drama, for fear its fans will get upset. But that drama's rating is benefiting a lot from the underdog bounce. Some people are going out of their way to praise it, because it wasn't expected to beat SC:R.

I preferred SC:R's first 3 episodes, compared to the premiere of MDBC, which I found underwhelming. At the end of the day, both have their strengths and weaknesses. It's a shame that SC:R did not have a well edited first episode, and ended up leaving a negative impression, on those expecting a grander scale.

If anything I would say the epic trailer for SC:R is what is causing them harm, because it created such a huge hype that they haven't been able to meet. People are expecting the epic scale of a Chinese Historical like Nirvana in Fire or the upcoming Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy, but instead they got a typical Kdrama Saguek.

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tbh I don't think too much about it,
Moonlight deliver their premise easily and executed good, a smooth run and smooth episode, people appreciate that it down to the matter of taste to continue warching or not ,
on the other hand
SC has many technical difficulty that showing what they lacked the most,
the close up shot don't do good with all of the cast, the ost is unfitting, Hae Soo long shocked shot is too many , not to mention that they showcased their prince as childlike too much, and many thing just happen to show their weakness in the 1st watch,

Rather than preconception, I find the viewer just like/prefer a well executed drama that sets their foundation right at the 1st week so they knew what to expect than a promise that the drama will do better the next week.

Just my opinion though since ep 2 have a higher viewer rating which mean people give it a chance after ep 1.

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@Sancheezy

I wasn't speaking about the ratings at all. I have accepted that everything i like is basically going to tank in the ratings.

What i am talking about is the online criticism. And 'criticism' is a mild mild word for what people are writing. No one said that the show is perfect. Name one that is.

But it is an engaging drama. The hate is just vicious. And if you want to look at ratings then - when the word of mouth is so harsh (without reason), less and less people want to check it out later.

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@bipps
but good rating and acceptance also can back up the comment,

the vicious comment for this drama get overboard because not many people care enough for the show to back it up and defended it, even the exo comment actually get good response when the fans replied with acceptance or hijacked the drama comment with more normal comment,
SC drama just didn't grab the viewer and I think it's pretty normal reception for the 1st week,
IU, exo, and other have big fanbase but if they didn't do much, then isn't that mean they also acknowledge the drama shortcoming?

even moonlight get many criticism for kim yoo jong looked and the actor make- up but the viewer of the drama defend it and gave overall good impression on the 1st week, many people actually want reply çurse to happen and want to jump the hateboard but can't because not much to criticize there.

I don't get the idea that certain drama destines to fail because people demanded it to fail and any of that drama don't have the weak link that contribute to their failed reception.
Maybe it's not the people, maybe it's the drama or maybe it's both but the conspiracy theory is too much.

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@bips99- Even the a coordinated hate campaign couldn't have taken down Scarlet Heart if it had actually delivered on its hype and not had some glaring flaws in episode 1 - I enjoy it so far, and even I can admit that.

Let's just be happy that we have a large and passionate pool of commenters to discuss and appreciate the drama with right here, instead of talking about why other dramas have higher ratings. There's plenty to unpack in SH itself without that.

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The hype was all self-generated. It's no one's fault but themselves. I'm pretty sure the publicity team is aware about the public's dislike of IU, that there is a prejudice among actor-dols, that the original is untouchable, etc. And yet... they settled with star-casting, released character stills on a regular basis monthsss before it even premiered. Two weeks before its first airing they were basically releasing material everyday (motion posters, clips, BTS, etc.). There was also a Cosmopolitan cover and the director proclaiming IU as an acting prodigy. And the mediaplay on it being NBC Universal's first ever production in Asia, how it sold for a record-breaking amount in China, its simultaneous showings. Can you really blame the public to get turned-off? Can you really blame the public to expect so much from it? The PR could have been more low-key.

And say what you want about "Moonlight" and it benefiting from its underdog status but KBS did learn their lesson on selling a drama after what happened with Uncontrollably Fond. They let the hype on the casting and the webtoon create buzz on its own. They sold it as a youth sageuk, not the next DOTS, and it worked.

These comments really are bordering on conspiracy and what-not, I even encountered someone in a thread basically saying KBS bought the real-time ratings of "Moonlight". Like, what?! It's just another drama at the end of the day...

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Nowhere I'm talking about conspiracies or even the buying of ratings (did someone really suggest that? crazy)

... I'm talking about the general sentiment leading up to a drama and the way it colors your opinion about it irrespective of the quality of the show. Whether the sentiment is a product of hype or of scandalous actors. All I'm saying that the negativity surrounding the show is harming it disproportionately. The show has its flaws but nowhere is it a terrible/bore/meh! or whatever people are calling it today.

As for the online criticism, i don't know enough about korean entertainment to call it a concentrated campaign but the hate is there and it is completely without any correlation to the actual content of the show

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@Amy

True that there was a lot of media hype, but idk if it was all self-generated considering that it had already captured international interest with the cast, the OST singers, the YG and Universal investment, the selling of episodes to China, etc. Besides, I think what's been interesting about the ratings was that they were low from the beginning, the Pilot itself. Which means people didn't watch it, get turned off by the low quality despite the hype, and reject it. They never even gave it a try. It would have made much more sense if it played out like UF, where there was all the pre-production hype, and the ratings were initially high, but immediately fell as soon as a better show came about.

Besides, again, their distribution model is different. SH has simultaneous airings in various countries, and it's been trending in all those countries. It is, in fact, even trending in Korea, because the most viewed video clips on Naver are currently 50% just SH in the top 20. People are turned off it in comparison to the Chinese adaptation, but it has had a great reception in China and over 300 million views already or something. Of course it would be great to have an amazing domestic reception and they'd care most about the home market, but I don't think this reception actually affects the drama by much. And since they've taken cognizance of the criticisms and are re-editing (although I just don't see how half the editing decisions passed muster the first time, even someone not familiar with film-making can immediately tell what's wrong in the episodes), hopefully it shall do better. It's already improved by leaps and bounds from the 1st to the 3rd episode.

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I don't get the hate either...So far, so good. It ain't anything like the original version~ish ; but it's GOOD DIFFERENT.
Is it because of IU's controversial song Twenty years old something? where she gets the hate from everyone everywhere? Not really sure.. and I also agree on the close-up; super long one shot at one's face! Ughhhh!

All these close ups make me feel like I'm watching sappy daily local dramas... which ugh... stop closing in on people's face all the time! Once is enough!

The one and only close-up that I found most amazingly, emotionally (add every other words that synced with awesome) was Moon Geun Yung's close-up from Cinderella Unni. The scene where she ran away from being taken to her new step-dad's house... the earlier episodes.

This drama though... my eyes hurt...
On the bright side, kang ha neul. On the brighter side, lee jun ki. which... well, brightens up my day...

:D

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@Zoe

"It is, in fact, even trending in Korea, because the most viewed video clips on Naver are currently 50% just SH in the top 20."

Now that's just plain weird because a recent scene in Moonlight had over 700k+ views and it wasn't even listed in the most viewed video clip on Naver despite it having more views than any current (ep3) SH video... Hmmm

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@Alin

Well, I'm not sure about that since it wasn't in the listing and I hardly know how a scene makes the cut (although it would be a bit too far-fetched to imagine that SBS is now buying the media portal, that's a bit like the conspiracy theories Amy was talking about.) It's been replaced by trending cuts from W and Jealousy Incarnate anyway.

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"Moonlight" vids don't come out in the TOP 100 ranking on Naver because its geolocked to Korea only. KBS doesn't make it available overseas because they have KBS World. If you have VPN proxy, you'll see that "Moonlight" is as popular than Scarlet. And internet comments, views and likes are not even a fair assessment of popularity or likability. Because the ajhummas and the ajhussis who make the bulk of the television viewing public don't even care about the internet. The younger generation, fewer and more prone to watching online, are the ones making a fuss on Scarlet on the web.

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@Sandy

Since “Moonlight” is as popular than Scarlet on the internet, I guess it's fair to say that the younger generation who are more prone to watching online are the ones making a similar fuss on Moonlight on the web.

And since internet comments, views and likes are not even a fair assessment of popularity or likability and the ajhummas and the ajhussis who make the bulk of the television viewing public don’t even care about the internet, the notion that "Moonlight' was the underdog was a fallacy.

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I'm so so sick of the internet noises. Make this thread hate free and enjoy the show for what is it. This is just the first week for heaven's sake.

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Being a fan of the show, I would have expected you to comment on the content of its episode rather than analyzing why the other drama gets praise and better ratings... oh, well.

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Again, I used moonlight as a comparison because technically it is a competitor to the show in all respects. And i was commenting on the show as to how the good points of the show are being brushed aside. And the response was to a question someone posted wondering why a good show is getting hated on. So i put forward my theory. It may be wrong but its still my opinion. I'm not sure how you got the idea that I'm dissing your show.

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yeah, but can we avoid talk about other dramas, if possible? I would prefer things not to get as defensive and unpleasant here as they have in the comment threads of certain other drama/s that haven't been well-received.

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I don't get it really. The REAL competitor to SH is its Chinese counterpart itself, but even people everywhere have suggested not comparing between the adaptations.
Moonlight is similar to Moon lovers in genre and time slot, and place of production and that's about it (and maybe the Moon in the title if you'd like to count it in). People are too obsessed with the ratings they've kind of forgotten that Moon Lovers actually share a fundamental substance with C-BBJX: the source material. this element is more significant than any other common elements that it may share with Moonlight. It is from there that the two stories are built and told. No matter how hard you deny it and no matter how far the current story deviates from its source, the essence of the original novel is still there. Even if the historical setting and let's say, the look and acting of the actors, are advisably not brought into discussion, there is still that underlying comparison between the two shows in how the plot is executed and translated on screen, how artfully the story is told, and its emotional and critical impact.
So instead of showing incredulity regarding the other drama's performance, let's focus on Moon Lovers only. If you don't like Moonlight, it's alright. If you hate it, it's alright too, but belittling one to prove how the other is better is not how analysis a drama is done.

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@pogo, I also wish that the commentors avoid talk about other dramas. Unfortunately, the Moonlight fans can't seem to resist coming into the Scarlet threads to keep making comparisons with Scarlet Heart.

Even a simple comment about SH trending on Naver attracts comments from Moonlight fans that their drama has more views that Scarlet etc.

Which makes me kinda sad.

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@Jan - let's not pretend all of us Scarlet Heart fans have clean hands on this score, either - I'm seeing plenty of unnecessary talk from self-confessed SH fans right here about how Moonlight is just fluff propelled by its leads' popularity, or condescending implications about the tastes of the Korean audience.

Yes, comparisons will be drawn since the two dramas are sageuks and competing in the same time slot. But it's perfectly possible to enjoy a drama that doesn't book the #1 ratings spot or isn't received the way we wish it was, even with acknowledged flaws, and still have a positive commenting experience instead of constantly pointing out the (real or perceived) flaws of the competing drama.

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@pogo

Ultimately this is a Scarlet thread, and it is annoying to have to wade through so many off-topic comments about how much better the Moonlight drama is compared with Scarlet. As far as I am concerned, it's perfectly fine for them to say so on their own Moonlight thread. But I come in here to read about Scarlet not Moonlight.

For instance, a feel good comment like people are watching Scarlet vids on Naver could have just stopped there. But instead Moonlight fans have to come in here to to say that in reality, Moonlight vids get more views than Scarlet!?! Wasn't that unnecessary talk too?

And in my personal opinion, you are over-reacting to comments about Moonlight's genre, their leads’ popularity, or the tastes of the Korean audience. There is nothing wrong with liking youth romances, I watched Moorim School all the way to the end. There's nothing wrong with having popular leads, I am one of those in the DB minority who enjoyed Heirs. And there is nothing wrong with the preferences or tastes of the Korean audience, it is not condescending to say that the general audience in Korea or the rest of the world prefer rom-coms.

So let's just stop with the comparisons. All these constantly pointing out the (real or perceived) flaws of Scarlet Heart as compared with the competing drama, is spoiling my enjoyment of Scarlet Heart. Let's just discuss Scarlet on its own merits.

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@Jan - it's my opinion that a simple factual correction about the Moonlight Naver videos shouldn't bother anyone. And bringing up the other drama to talk about how this one is better/that one is just fluff or not as good etc etc, doesn't exactly reflect well on fans of this one.

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@pogo

It was not a factual correction as the comment was simply that SH vids were trending and in the top 10 or 100 or whatever, and it was the truth. The original comment did not even mention Moonlight. But Moonlight fans had to come in & compare and say that Moonlight has more views than Scarlet's.

So yes, it bothered me even though I may not be anyone to you. And I agree that Moonlight fans coming in to talk about how much better Moonlight is does not reflect well on Moonlight fans & vice versa. However, considering that Scarlet Heart is not doing well, to me, this is akin to kicking a dog when it's down.

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@Jan - I think you misunderstood what I said.

To make it very clear, Scarlet Heart fans putting down Moonlight Drawn By Clouds right from the replies to comment #1 does not reflect well on Scarlet Heart fans (of which I am one) at all.

You may continue believing that it's all the Moonlight fans' fault if you wish, but please take a look at the behaviour of both sides here. We don't have to be this way.

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also, if Moonlight did indeed have more views on their videos, there's nothing wrong with people correcting those of us who got the wrong impression from seeing the Naver trending videos page.

There's no need to take it as an insult to SH, if another drama is indeed more popular I don't have issues with knowing that.

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@Pogo

I went back to read again the replies to comment #1, and imo the initial replies were mainly about personal taste, preference, attitude and mindset of the drama viewers. They did not put down the other drama as what you said. There wasn't any comment dissing the other drama, and I think you may have misunderstood the initial commentors.

And I think you forget that my initial comment was that "I also wish that the commentors avoid talk about other dramas. Unfortunately, the Moonlight fans can’t seem to resist coming into the Scarlet threads to keep making comparisons with Scarlet Heart....which makes me sad." My point is the more the other drama fans come in here and make comparison comments, the more comparison comments will be made in response, which may result in not so nice comments being made by both sides.

I never said that I believed that it’s all the Moonlight fans’ fault, so please do not put words in my mouth. And I personally have not "put down" the other drama at all.

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@Pogo (cont'd)

I also do not have any issues knowing that another drama is more popular, after all it is obvious. But the initial comment was simply that SH was trending without any comparisons being made to the other drama. So I find it unnecessary & annoying for the other drama's fans to come in making comparisons saying they got more views or whatever. I find this type of one-upmanship behaviour to be not nice.

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"If I want to I can detail a long list of things i find wrong with it but if you go to the recap thread, you will be hard pressed to find one criticism."

Uhhm! But you're hard pressed on the criticisms toward ML though and it's not as if it's not unfounded!....so....

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@jane and @hye mi

I'm not belittling moonlight at all. AT ALL. Neither i am showing incredulity at its performance nor at its ratings. I did not even venture in the comparison with execution or story telling or general feel.

All I meant with the comparison was that every show has its flaws. But if the general sentiment about it is good, people tend to not focus on them. Whereas when a show starts with a negative atmosphere, every flaw gets highlighted, every thing gets dissected to pieces. And the drama suffers from unnecessary criticism. That was the gist of my post.

I used moonlight to make a point. So i'll apologise if someone feels that it was an attack on the other show. My bad.

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"you will be hard pressed to find one criticism"

This translates to: you'll have a hard time finding criticism (aka there's almost no criticism). It doesn't mean the "fans are getting pressed" expression that's common these days...

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For me i think it just has to do with personal taste. I for one have always preferred dramas with a more darker undertone and a few moments of cuteness here and there so I kinda dropped moonlight after the 1st 2 eps even though i do like the actors there as well but its just abit too cutesy and like warm. But rite now i kinda want something abit more complex and dark which SC kinda fufills but W really does a much btr job so it puts SC at a disadvantage because usually people will enjoy either a more towards the cutesy side or the darker complex side but SC us offering this weird balance which is probrably more of a niche market of sorts.

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ep 3-4 moonlighy show more depth ... and I agree tgat SC falls to the flast category of attempting the prettyness and the thriller

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tbh, i wasnt into either shows but decided to check it out, at the end moonlight grabbed my attention. everything in that drama is on point, acting,directing,writing,ost's, the story flows really nicely and the characters are fully realized along with plenty of fun and interesting dynamics from the eunachs, the price and his father, the bromance, the romance etc its a very well executed drama with a refreshing feel to it. at the end of the day every drama has its pro's and cons but its whether the pro's can outweigh the cons to the point where it doesnt bother people whatsoever and that's why moonlight is getting so much positivity.

shows have the 1st week to make an impression or should i say 1st ep. of course its gonna get compared to the original, when its an adaption of it and when the original is so beloved and a classic

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@bips99: Sorry if I come across as aggressive. The 'you' I used at the end of my post is a general 'you'. I should have used 'we' to make my point clearer.
And I don't mean you're comparing the execution of plots between two Moons. By these, I was actually referring to the 'competition' between K-BBJX and C-BBJX. After all, K-BBJX writer must have written her screenplay with C-BBJX in mind, with a goal to get out of the previous show's shadow. The acting, directing, and editing must have also been done in the same manner. Even LJK said himself that he watched the C-drama to get a gist of the story and its feel, though stopped mid-way to not get too immersed in it. There is always that implicit reference to C-BBJX, even if many insist (and rightly so, in many ways) that this is an adaptation and has nothing to do with the C-drama. However, many details such as the first meeting between the heroine and 4th prince on horseback, the familiar stranger in both present and past, the attempt to return to present time, are taken from the C-drama but not the novel itself. Therefore, much as one hates to deny it, C-BBJX drama is always there, lurking in the background. It is the true competitor of K-BBJX, the one our ML wants to grow out of.

Moonlight happens to be the rival in the rating battle, which doesn't equate to a quality battle. In fact, many Moonlight fans accepted that ML has meatier plot, is based on a pan-Asian successful novel and drama, & has at least two acting powerhouses (LJK&KHN). That at least is as much as admitting to their drama's weaker plot and much less potential for a pan-Asian success. Now as the table has unfathomably turned, some ML fans brought up Moonlight and start criticising its fluffy nature in a rating thread in comparison with ML (and I don't mean you because you're concerned about the atmosphere between the two threads), which sounds like vengeful resentment to me. They're caught up in the media play between the two stations, and somehow are oblivious to the possibility that it is the original C-BBJX that doesn't resonate with the representative Korean audience, and many may not tune in to ML for that reason, plus their withdrawal from previous dramas, and a bunch of other reasons. Fixating on Moonlight in turn results in negative reaction from the other fandom, and then comes war. Which should be the last thing that should happen considering how we're all aware of the nastiness of the media play is. In other words, we're feeding to the trolls.

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However, many details such as the first meeting between the heroine and 4th prince on horseback, the familiar stranger in both present and past, the attempt to return to present time, are taken from the C-drama but not the novel itself.

I'm sorry, but i seem can't find this part that you mentioned when i watched C-BBJX a few years ago, could you tell me in which episode these scene occured??

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+100

I'm just thankful that being an online viewer, I don't have to choose to which show to watch in real time or contribute to the ratings war. I can watch both and fairly criticize both! Muahaha!

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There should be a like button for your analysis, but nope. So you receive my <3!

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@Hye mi. Pls don't apologise. Till I discovered the internet, I didn't even realise I could care about fictional characters and actors so much. And I loved your analysis. There really needs to be a like button to upvote neutral, lofical comments.

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*logical

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IDK, I'm personally loving both shows, but then I was unaware of the hype for either one going in. I think they are both fun and utterly ridiculous.

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@madytres Lol at oppalogist. tbh they really really put you off drama recaps and sometimes even dramas with their obsession.

I suppose that no matter how different, that this is a remake/adaptation and not an original drama has to factor in? People may not be hating on the idea of a different remake but may be lukewarm to actual getting around to watching unless it gets real buzz. Going by a friend of mine who adores C BBJX who is mildly curious abt the K-version but not enough to tune in at the mo.

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I was not very keen to watch the original show. But for some reason I find the k-version easy to watch. I hope it will have a different ending than the original version.

For a period that allows concubines, I am shipping KHN/8th Prince with our girl. LJK/4th Prince is hot but a little bit too intense and all the gory killing is amounting to extreme sadism. Let's see how it goes..

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This sounds weird but I'll defend why the killing is essential to he character.

Horse- In one gesture it it spoke volumes about his level of pain, resolve and grit.

Assassins- in one scene it spoke volumes about the extremes he'd go to, in order to protect his family. Which was poignant in light of how poorly they treat him. If it was exposed that his mother was behind the plot, it's likely that she and all of her children would have been executed. And by defending them he put himself at risk of looking like a co-conspirator.

So the killing is gory. But it's not sadistic. It all has a logic. And oddly enough it informs us some of the character's better qualities: loyalty, resolve, leadership and grit.

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I agree. 200%

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I agree! I do think the character is supposed to be cruel, moreso than your usual rude prince or callous chaebol heir, and I think we were supposed to get that from the horse scene but also the rest of what you've said here rings true too. He's complex, cruel, not likeable, and therefore I hope a more compelling type than the standard fare.

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Thank you for writing this post! Everything I wanted to say to defend Wang So.

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yeah I think he killed everyone to cover for his mother, and ended with him in front of her no doubt hoping for a pat on the head and a good boy from his mother..not going to get it of course, or that my idea on why he turns up in her bedroom. For me they both as crazy as each other, I have no idea how the king could witness what she did all those year ago and not keep her under constant watch, if not arrange a nice accident for her, but instead he seems to let her do as she likes, and build up her own power base, and frankly she would be the first I would think he would suspect to be behind the attempt on the crown prince life..guess we have to put that down to drama plot blindness.

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@Gidget,

I agree with your assessment.

#1 Mu has accompanied his father in battle for a decade or two, and has killed an untold number of opponents.

#8 Wook kills one assassin in the woods (and lord knows how many since the age of 11), and explains to Hae-Soo that defending one's family not only goes with the territory as a man, but is the bare minimum requirement for a prince.

#4 So cleans out a viper's nest of assassins in defense of #1 Mu who saved his life (and to deprive Mom of personnel for further murderous mischief, as well as get rid of the evidence of her involvement -- to spare himself and #14 Jung, who were not involved in her plot).

Given the brutal circumstances of So's life, it's no wonder he's developed into an efficient, shark-like killing machine. He didn't come across as sadistic to me. (Marlon Brando's character in THE MISSOURI BREAKS was a sadist.) So dispatches his foes quickly, often with a single killing stroke. I'd call that pretty humane...

As for killing his horse, it's the 10th-century version of putting sugar in the gas tank... along with a hearty "... and the horse you rode in on!"

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I read the scene of him killing the monks as a testament of how much he is desperate for his mother's affection. He is that desperate. If you look closely, you will notice that he hesitated before killing the first monk, prior to the massacre. This revealed his true feeling and conscience. He did not want to kill those monks, but he had to, in order to gain his mother's affection. I think, he figured that by covering his mother's involvement in the conspiracy, he can make her like him (maybe with underlying blackmail). That's why he went to see his mother immediately after the massacre. Like a child who went up to his mother, expecting praise after a good deed well done.

At this point, he is so desperate for his mother's affection that he would do anything, anything at all to gain the affection. Even if it conflicts with his conscience.

Secondly, in the scene where he questioned 3rd Prince about their mother's involvement in the conspiracy, he looked pained when it was somewhat confirmed that his mother is involved. This showed how much he cared and liked her, despite her rejections. On the other hand, he looked like he does not really like/care about the 3rd Prince (he does not mind the other younger princes, somewhat civil with 8th and respected the Crown Prince). If 3rd Prince is the only one involved in the conspiracy to kill the Crown Prince, So would not have hesitated to turn him over. But in this case his mother (whom he likes very much: the hair pin, the smile as he entered her room, the hope) is at risk too. Hence, So had to go against himself to protect his mother, hoping that she will have to accept him this time around.

As for the horse, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The killing of the horse showed us how much he do not want to return to the Kangs. I think, in this aspect, he is very much like Hee Soo, when she said that she just want to try desperately to live. Wang So wants to live, but living with the Kangs, who attempted to kill him everyday is hard. No matter how strong willed So may be, he can still lose his will to live if he has to fight for his life everyday, day after day. He is getting tired and frustrated of the Kangs schemes on his life that he figured he must escape them (by returning to the Capital) before he lost his will to live.

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All about Expectations and mismatch..

I liked the drama...not knowing abt Bu Bu or chinese original drama, I was drawn in watching ep 1-2.

Infact it's after that that I watched the 6 minute trailer and was blown away with that... Its epic trailer.. and I was left waiting for ep 3 ( note.. the anticipation was much less when I finished ep 2.. when it was just another interesting drama)..

So what truly can pull this up in terms of online negative feedback are the fan groups of the actors involved.
Because, despite rough editing, the issue isn't really about content - the drama is not half bad.

anyways, read that they are launching re-edited versions of ep 1-3 for viewers.

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I wholeheartedly welcome it if they want re-edit the first 3 episodes, especially the first one. In all honesty, the first episode was unimpressive.

I watch both Moonlight and Scarlet. I had low expectation on Moonlight (I did not even plan to watch it when I read the synopsis) when I sampled the first episode, but I was blown away by how nice the drama is presented in the first episode that I decided to follow the drama. On the other hand, I had been waiting for Scarlet to start airing and was very disappointed with how the first episode is presented to us. IU and the younger princes' acting doesn't help either but LJK's strong acting (and Haneul too) kept me cemented to the screen.

I am not bashing Scarlet here nor trying to put Moonlight on pedestal. love both dramas because each have their own strength. It's just that because I know Scarlet can do better. So much potential.

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It's because this is a remake. Many Asian viewers think that the ending is as tragic as the original Chinese Drama Scarlet Heart.

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Ikr? I'm satisfied with both Moonlight Drawn By Clouds and Scarlet Heart. ?? It's such a bless for me to have a dose of sageuks every Mon-Tue ~~ while waiting for W every Wed-Thu.

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Me too.

I still have a little bit complain for both show, but overall... I like them

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Me three!!

I was dissappointed with SH first episode but the second and third episodes more than made up for the first episode.

I like both sageuks and am having a hard time deciding which to watch first on tv. Dilemma, dilemma.

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One was okay, two was good, and three has me addicted.

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Episode 1 was WTF is this? I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So many things threw me off but I kind of have a feel for the show after eps 2 and 3.

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I found the first episode too childish and cartoonish, and I couldn't immerse into the story. Now it seems that everything is on the (broad, in terms of acting skills) shoulders of LJK and KHN...

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Me too! I like everything in this drama. I haven't seen the Cdrama version so all the stroy line is new to me and I like it!

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Haters gonna hate but this drama is good. This is my only second drama of Lee Jun Ki after My Girl, men.... I am impressed. He is very good. It's only the drama's first. I'm sure it's going to rate well.

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I am also watching both this show and Moonlight and enjoying both of them for almost completely different reasons. Moonlight is light and frothy and totally ahistorical, and ML is edgy, dark, with complicated relationships that I think more accurately reflect what it must have been like.
The one thing both shows have in common is that the lead actors are a joy to watch, so talented and able to portray the many sides of their characters with just a slight shading in expression.

I am enjoying LJK more than I have in any other show - for example, the scene where he has his brother cornered and realizes that his mother is behind the assassination attempt - anger, sorrow, disgust, resignation, determination - all flit across his face in a moment.

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I'm enjoying MOONLIGHT much more than SCR. It's just a better in all aspects.

I loved the original Chinese version of Scarlet Heart. The Korean production team knew they were "inspired" by a hugely popular original CDrama and should have used the best of everything to do a Korean version. Sadly, they have not done so.

I think the actors are trying very hard to do the best they can w/what's been given them and how they are being directed. But, the show falls sadly short in story line and production quality. I think the editing makes this progress in a very choppy manner, the acting is either over or under-done. I know EJK can act well, but, so far, in this I'm not getting a continuity of character. His shifts from being a wolf to a puppy dog and back are not believably done, to me.

I hope the whole show smooths out and finds it's pace. I really wish the costumes, sets and cinematography were/are better done.

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Even if the drama didn't go well in Korea, it will be fine internationally as many international people like it.

After finishing this drama, I recommend you try Iljimae. It is the drama that make me really fall into Lee Jun Ki act.

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@Hyades, Thanks for the recommendation. I was actually planning to watch any of his dramas whilst awaiting for the next episode. I am just torn which one to watch first. I really enjoyed The Return of Iljimae by Jung Il Woo. It was really great. I think the first Iljimae maybe as great or even better.

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There's also Scholar Who Walks the Night. It's poorly written, with a weak ending and a dumb heroine, but it's worth watching even if it's just for LJK and Lee Soo Hyun. The villain is so charismatic, smart and SMOKING HOT that you end up rooting for him!

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I agree 100% This ep was great! I couldnt believe an hour had gone by... I want mooooore!!!

I find audiences unpredictable, tbh. Just look at DOTS. It was a terrible drama. The script was horrendous and the plot was boring... and it became a huge hit. Go figure.

Haters will be haters. Critics can criticize to their hearts content. It will not stop me from enjoying this drama or any other drama that tickles me pink :)

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Except for the protagonist's jokes and some beautiful shots of the landscape, DoTS was awful. Unbelievably stupid. The author didn't research ANY of the things she showed and the plot was... well... "Heirs"-level. :-/

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Agree. Dots was boring as hell, I didn't get the hype.
This drama is entertaining, not as bad as ppl said.

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I wish you guys would cut the bullshit. I get that everyone has an "opinion," but I'm so tired of people comparing MDBC to this show. They are different. I would love a reasonable discussion of this show on its own merits, rather than a meaningless debate between the two that is totally based on individual opinions and ratings. For some reason, this reminds me a lot of the SUPER heated controversy and ugly fan drama regarding Answer Me 1994. Everyone is entitled to their own view. Also, from listening to the podcasts, I know how exhausted JB and GF became from that debate; I really don't want that kind of thing to happen again. We all look bad when this type of nasty arguing goes on. PLEASE, let's be rational and civil towards each other. I want dramabeans to continue for a long long time, which means not being pointlessly obnoxious for the site moderators.

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Yes discuss the dang show. We'd get more out of it then this debate over ratings and haters. Go hangout at naver etc if you like things like that.

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To me moonlight love in cloud is like must of the typical korea drama, it is kind of boring because i can predict the end already.
A story of a girl acting and dressing like a boy is like most korean drama such as TO THE BEAUTIFUL YOU, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, COFFEE PRINCE AND SO ON.
But the end will alway be the same, the guy find himself falling in love with the boy(who is disguising herself as a boy) and later found out the truth and falls more in love. The story is already boring to me but i still like SCARLET HEART, maybe because of the story line or the way it has been hyped online, i hope it will be as interesting as THE FLOWER IN PRISON in his upcoming episode

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Can we not compare the two shows? They both have their merits - some people like one, others like the other. However, bringing the other down here just because you don't like it is just petty and immature, especially since there's no way you can tell which direction either one will take. Use this space for discussing Moon Lovers.

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oooooommmmaaaaaaa!!!! >///_<" even though yea thats the original storyline and ya know historical dramas hafta have lotsa drama n tragedies (sad face)

haha really sori i know im emphasising the no-so-great-stuff, but i totes recommend watching this drama!!SOOOOO GOOOD
btw, i didnt even know iu(shes so cute) acted before seeing this drama and even though there aren't so great comments and opinions about it and the whole cast, WATCHITFIRSTbefore u jump to conclusions pls(at least up to episode 4)thx

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I am enjoying the show a lot and am glad they made it.
It has a lot of beautiful scenes and I have watched through all 3 episodes and it is not boring, unlike the other show that I could not make it through the first episode.

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This show was never boring to begin with. A lot people had extremely high expectations about this, so some weren't completely satisfied with the first couple of episodes. I on the other hand, continues to enjoy this trip to Goryeo.

Anyways, this is much more important:

#8 who happens to be married to Lady Hae, likes her cousin, Su.
Su likes #8.
Lady Hae somehow has mixed feelings for #10.
#10 admitted to Lady Hae that he thinks more of her than just a sister.
#10 is close to #14 who also happens to like Su.
#4 is our cold blooded killer hero who kinda hates Su but we know he likes her.
Princess likes #4. Princess does not like Su.
#3 is the evil queen's right hand man to do her evil deeds. #3 hates #4.
Evil queen hates anyone that stands in her way. Period. She's just evil.

Who says Goryeo days are boring??

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You mean #13 (Wang Wook/Baek-ah) likes Lady Hae, #10 is Baekhyun (character name Wang Eun) who likes Su

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Yes! It's #13 not 10. Thanks.

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Life is complicated in Moon Lovers: Scarlet Incest Ryeo, but it is not boring - LOL

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Wipe the rose-colored gloss of time off any royal court of years past, and you'll discover how not boring history is, and how the truth is more interesting, and often stranger, than fiction. English history is a particular interest of mine, and what the royals and nobles got up to...lordy, it puts soaps and K-dramas to shame! I mean, George, Duke of Clarence, brother of Edward IV and Richard III, was drowned in a butt of malmsey (read: a huge ass barrel of wine) for plotting against Edward IV, or because Richard wanted to eliminate competition for the throne b/c George was older than him and, therefore, was ahead of him in the line of succession. *waves hand vaguely in the air* It's late and I forget the exactly whys and wherefores. During the War of the Roses, the crown was going back and forth between the Yorks and Lancasters like a football between opposing teams and trying to keep track of who was on the throne would give you whiplash. Scheming! Plotting! Planning! In Europe, inbreeding so severe, a royal couple who share eleven (out of sixteen) of the same great-grandparents!

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Oh there are 3 episodes now? I thought it just premiered this week.

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They did back-to-back episodes on its premiere

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That's because SBS wanted to premiere with a bang and aired two episodes back-to-back on Monday.

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And now apparently they will be re-airing all three.

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Well, networks usually re-air their dramas. But yeah, at this point, with its ratings, it does look like a desperate attempt to counter the backlash. Oh well, SBS gotta do what its gotta do...

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Oh, even next week? I thought it was just for this week.

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SBS said that Moon Lovers will re-release this Saturday the first 3 episodes with better editing and changes in the ost that made some viewers uncomfortable.

So, next week (and the others) they will release as any other drama, 1 episode on Monday and another on Tuesday.

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I would like to watch the reruns but don't know where to find them... Has anyone seen them yet?

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This threw me off. I was looking forward to this show but there are so many new dramas that I'm watching now that when Moon Lovers decided to do 2 in one day, I felt overwhelmed and gave it up to just reading recaps, since I'm already behind with it.

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Is it just me who finds it hilarious how JB is posting the Moon Lovers recaps and GF is posting the Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds recaps? Somehow it adds to the shows' ratings rivalry even if I'm not watching from SK.

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Javabeans recapped the first two episodes of Moonlight.

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Javabeans must be on her third can of RedBull.

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Why is she even recapping so much? I thought she just had back surgery.

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Really? *goes back to re-read every single word in the recap knowing her extra hardwork*

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Is it just me who finds it hilarious that the Monk Master is the same Monk in Let's Fight, Ghost. AND also the same Monk in Cinderella and the four Knights that talked to Yoon Sung in the temple. Oh this monk sure is busy workin on 3 diff project at the same time tho, in this ep just a cameo but still. HAHA seeing him in 3 diff projects just crack me up. Like when I see his face I was like whaaaaat you again master???

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Yeah I noticed the same thing. The same actor playing the monk in all those dramas. Talk about typecasting! Or is the actor really a monk in real life?

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My mon-tues are moonified! <3 I am so in love with this show but still confused who hye soo will end up with . According to wiki both kang so and wook have wives so where will the actress fit in? I checked it out on wiki because I am finding it harder to understand complex family structure . It feels like everything is interwoven together. Nevertheless I am loving the funny banter between hyesoo and both the male leads.

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It was common in earlier times to have more than one wife, so I am guessing Hye Soo won't have a problem being married to Wook or So, especially as they are Royals and can take many consorts and concubines.

Spoiler alert from the original C-drama/ book below:

[SPOILER] If you're eager to know more, you can read up on the C-drama. :)

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Thanks but I will not kill my suspense just yet. :D
On the other hand since you seem to have read the book or have watched the drama Is there any possibility that hye so goes back to future? and what happened to the spirit of the actual hye so? Is she wandering some where or has she been transported to 21st century? can we have a parallel drama? where we will see a josean era girl trying to fit in this world??!

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I honestly think the original Haesoo died, and Hajin entered her body from the future and lived as her.

In the original book it was a sad ending, the girl dies and does not go back to the 21st century. The author recently released a new epilogue to the novel and it was bitter sweet. If you'd like to know what happens you can let me know lol.

But in the C-drama, the girl goes back to the 21st century and saw 4th prince at an art gallery but he has no memory of her.

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Oh, really? I didn't know the ending of the C-drama was different from the novel. Now I'm curious about the new epilogue. Pls, spoil me!
Thanks in advance.

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@Joy

The epilogue centers around 13th and his lover's (I believe it'll be Seohyun here) daughter and 4th's young son. It takes place several years after Ruoxi/Haesoo died. 13th's daughter drew a painting of RX/HS and offered it to the 4th but he rejected it, she then believed he forgot about her and didn't love her anymore. But one day she saw the 4th alone in RX/HS's old room reading her old calligraphy writings, and looking at her old belongings , it was then she realized the 4th never forgot about RX/HS. Note the 4th also appeared to be very lonely and didn't visit his wives/concubines often after RX/HS passed away. When the 4th was on his death bed, he told his brother he was going to take Ruoxi/HS's hairpin with him to the ground.

That epilogue got me crying :(

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Hi, i'm very much intrested to read the novel. What is the titlte and is it translated to english? I dont read korean nor chinese but i would like to read the novel..now it will be more fun. I can create my own scene in my head with LJK etc while i read the novel...a way to pass time while waiting for the next episode tho?

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@Iluljk

I don't think it's translated into English... I bought the book and read it. Just google Bu Bu Jing Xin new epilogue English translation maybe it'll come up? Not sure, sorry not much help.

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@cherryarrow, Thanks for the epilogue. It's so sad that I'm already tearing. It reminds me of the ending of Hawick Lau's Chronicle of Life where I cried buckets.

@Iluljk

I think only the first few chapters have been translated into English. You can google Bu Bu Jing Xin English translation.

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@cherryarrow @Jan
Thanks for the suggestion..i already read the english translation of the novel..unfortunately it stops at chapter 8.
Now i really get the gist on why there is so much hype over the reffernce of moon lover with the novel..the novel was magnificent..i was hooked. Innitially i was very okay with Moon Lover and does not get why poeple are complaining and keep comparing. But after reading the translated novel, without intention, i feel kinda dissapointed (just a very little tinniest bit) that it does not live up to the grandiose of the original novel plot. But still...i think it was not fair to expect Moon Lover to live up to expectation of the novel..even the most popular hollywood novel adaptation movie still get criticism for not living up to the original..who are we to expect ML to be the same..i think ML have done a well done job in at least ep2-3
But i am agitated now that i've read the first few chapters of the novel but can't continue..i really hope the translator or somehow the translated version to english is available. Momentarily i even consider to learn mandarin..?

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@Jan

Oh yeah, when the book first got released they didn't have that epilogue. The epilogue was released in 2011 I think. When Ruoxi died she believed the 4th resented her, which was so sad because that wasn't true at all. I guess that new epilogue makes the fan feel a little better.

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@Iluljk

I would say Chinese version of Scarlet Heart did a great job adapting the novel. Usually when somebody adapts a book into a movie/drama it's not that great but Scarlet Heart drama I would say matches the book 95%. I can't believe how well the book did lol, it was originally a web novel/fanfiction haha.

I think the K version is doing a great job right now, props to them for finding a similar background to the original series. I saw some teasers before it aired and I kinda already have a feeling which scenes they are. I hope the ending isn't sad...

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I'm to tell tokay with princess running off yo be happy without marrying her half brother under a new identity and Hae Su taking her place. Seems plausible.

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Totally okay. I'm totally okay.

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Yes! I would also be totally ok with that. She could go take a bath then get pulled into the water as the lunar eclipse happen then awake in IU's body in the 21st century. Perfectly cyclical way to get rid of her.

Or, you know, she could join a gang of outlaws and organize them into the most efficient networks of spies ever seen and go fight criminals in the country or something... There are many things she could be doing instead of making googly eyes at her half brother :)

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I'm really disappointed that I can't get into this...there's something that feels really off. It might be the music cues, which feel a little too modern and poppy for a historical drama that's supposed to be Epic and Grand. It might be the absolute zero subtlety in the acting for the younger princes + IU. I'm also kind of frustrated with the way they're taking IU's character - it's like they gave up common sense in exchange for a whole lot of spunk. i can appreciate that if it was organic, but it kind of feels like I'm being manipulated into liking Hye Su since she's the classic trope spunky heroine.

I'll try to stick it out for a couple more weeks because god knows I need something epic and historical. Thanks for the recap Javabeans! It's 3AM for me rn PST and I know you posted this only a little while ago so I hope you get some sleep!!

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I can handle everything else about the music, but I really, really wish that sageuks would stop using songs with English lyrics for OSTs/BGM.

I can even understand using modern music - A Knight's Tale did a great job of melding a medieval setting with a modern rock/pop OST, and it's fine in movies/dramas purposely stylised that way, but the English is a bit too much here.

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for me it's the rap part

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I can see that - it's weird, because I LOVED the use of rap songs as background music in Chuno and Arang (MC Sniper's flow fits perfectly with action scenes) but it's really down to the songs themselves because I do not like it at all here.

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I find it's too fast/early, the early ep seems like fan service with all the shot galore in the opening

just if they used ost like lyn-back in time for the 1st week, it will give more depth,

rap can be added later for the fitted moment

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This article (http://entertain.naver.com/read?oid=109&aid=0003386494) said that EP 1-3 will be re-aired but with re-edited version/ director's version. It also included something about the OST/background music.

The comments of the viewers about the editing (which JB also pointed out in her comments) and the unsuitable/distracting OST must have struck a chord with the production team. This drama is visually appealing and generally the acting's not bad, so I hope it'll get better.

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I hope SBS takes this opportunity to look over the editing of the remaining episodes too, they must be really keen to save this drama.

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I think they'd better be. SH has got major backup from Universal and the reception of the show, in both reviews and viewing counts, may play a role in future deals.
The thing is serious reviews/ feedback are often written in English and international viewers and sponsors have easy access to them too. I'm actually reaaaallllly glad that this wil probably teach whoever is behind all the unfitting music and maybe even the PD that sometimes they need a better approach to promoting their idols and/ or filming for a different genre.

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I don't know if the dealmakers behind this will be actively checking for what the English-speaking audience thinks - we are, after all, a secondary (possibly tertiary) priority in their scheme of things, and idk what weight our views hold for them, if any.

But I hope that they do take the actual criticism on board, and make the best of it.

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That OST sang by IOI was just so bad. Like why does the music production team decide to use that song for this drama!! It's so unsuitable.

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I personally really enjoy the bgm for this drama. Don't know why everyone is so annoyed XD I love it.
Maybe it's the fact that I really don't like the sappy songs they so often like to use in sageuks..

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I think the score itself is lovely - the one that played in the scene where we're first introduced to all the princes in the bath was perfect.

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Caveat: the score itself is lovely, but they really need to be more careful about how and where to use it. I'm not really into the 'this is comical!' music cues. Sometimes a scene needs to be allowed to spin out without the instruments distracting the viewer.

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I agree, the background music can be distracting and unnecessary at sometimes. It's not coherent. It creates a dissonance of what I'm seeing and how I should feel about a scene. The intensity and tempo don't match at times, giving you that off feeling. But there are great scenes in this episode that made me laugh and I don't find acting as disconcerting. I really am enjoying the show as it progresses.

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I think that switching from a beautiful, eerie instrumental piece to a cheesy pop ballad IN THE MIDDLE of the scene of the 4th prince's bath and encounter with the female lead was a really, really bad choice. It ruined the mood.

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Yep, just wanted to give a big applause to Javabeans for making it through this monster premiere, may your typing fingers have a nice rest.

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Yeah, I hope jb takes care of her health (and I mean that sincerely, not in the Shin Sung-rok way)

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I think the real issue since episode 1 is although it is a fantasy drama you want your
Hero to react like real people would do !!! That is how you identify and warm yourself to a character when he is reacting like an human being!!! But hee-soo' s reaction to her throwing in goryo era is just so weird, her lines are so badly-written, I think I know why the drama pd said that iu was this drama genius, because she is unexpectedly warming us to her although hee-soo has no back-bones and her brain has been flushed to the toilet...
I am not even gonna start about the "brothers" baekhyun & ji soo make me cring thanx god for lee jun ki and kim ha neul Who save the day.

There are so much loopholes and this drama has just no depth that there are only three factors making me keep on watching it : iu - junki-haneul...
you know what is the worst ?! It is an already made drama so they had time to think, to film, to cut, to adjust music... They had time to make it brilliant ... And may be that is why the criticism are so harsh against this drama, it has none excuses.

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KHN and LJK's acting is the only reason why I'm stil watching this drama. Too many things just don't make sense, the script is weak and the editing is choppy, with too many and too sudden mood shifts.

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KHN's acting is definitely worth to watch! And geez, he's so damn good in wearing those saeguk costume!

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Yes, to me the weakest portion of this drama is the music and the acting of the young-uns. Ji Soo, in particular, is cringeworthy. I think he has done really well in his modern work, but he looks so self-conscious, and his dialogue is so stilted, that it looked like High School theater out there (well, worse, I've seen some pretty good HS stuff lately). IU cries well but that perpetually surprised look has got to go, and the other two youngsters are also acting like they are over in Moonlight rather than this drama.

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That's a great observation - the young prince scenes looking like they should be in Moonlight rather than this drama. I love both dramas (don't get me wrong!) but there's no denying there's a curious mish-mash of tone in SH. Also agree that the perpetual bug-eyed shocked look is beginning to grate, but otherwise I have no complaints about IU, and anyway she was likely directed to do that.

I'm curious about the hate for IU. I don't follow any actors, it's not my thing, but I just loved her in Dream High, and actually looked her up I was so impressed = out of all of them - with her singing. She seems a multi-talent to me.

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In all honesty, I adore IU as a person and as a musician. I also think she does a good job as an actor, all things considered, but I've noticed (starting with her role in Producers) that there's a limit to what she can tap into emotionally, and I think that's already starting to show here.

It's partially the writer's fault, since you're left feeling like she skipped a large part of emotional development at literally travelling through time, but I also feel like I'm watching IU playing a role on my screen, rather than just Hye Su/Ha Ri on my screen.

There's also the matter of Lee Jun Ki having enveloped his role so well as So, which I feel like is really noticeable as a contrast to IU, since they're technically playing the two main leads. It wasn't as bad in Producers, since her character wasn't coupled off and wasn't a MAIN lead, but here, her weaknesses are really starting to show up.

I don't know. I think the writer and director are as much at fault, if not more, than IU at really getting her character right, but I am also feeling IU might have taken on a role that's a little bit more advanced than she realized.

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It's just that she's being coupled with two actors with a truckload of talent and experience, and you can clearly see the difference...

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@jerboa83 - Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin and Kim Soo-hyun have no shortage of talent and experience themselves, but IU held up beautifully with them in Producer.

But this is a sageuk, and as you said, when she's paired with two actors as adept at the technical aspects as Lee Jun-ki and Kang Haneul, her comparative inexperience really puts her at a disadvantage. Despite that, she still has good chemistry with both so I can live with that - no little-sister vibes here.

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Ji-soo in modern dramas and especially high school dramas is absolute love because he's so good at conveying intensity and vulnerable youth and being a human puppy, but Ji-soo in a sageuk? Just does not work, because it's SO CHEESY.

I mean, he's still adorable but he frequently makes me cringe. Which he never did before. The surprise is that Nam Joo-hyuk is bearable as #13 - him and Ji-soo together in that marketplace worked a lot better than Ji-soo/Baekhyun. Though as you said, the youngsters and especially 10 and 14, feel like they're in a totally different drama from Lee Jun-ki and Kang Haneul.

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I don't get those people who decided to look at this drama negatively because of OST. So i guess they should hire musical scorers than writers when creating a drama? Okay.

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