Season

1
91

River Where the Moon Rises: Episodes 1-2 Open Thread

What a treat! KBS’s new Goguryeo sageuk is epic, emotional, and gives us a really strong sense of the drama to come. It’s also beautiful to look at, not only being really well-shot, but featuring gorgeous landscapes, sets, and scenery (in other words, it’s super easy to get lost in this world). In our premiere, we meet our warrior princess, learn about her tragic past, and meet all of the players that will become a crucial part of our present day story.

 
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP

With tons of drama behind us already, this weecap is going to be a quick pass through all the delicious backstory, followed by a whole lot of praise for the cast and acting, which seems pretty near perfect right now. Just warning you.

We open with our warrior princess YEOM GA-JIN (Kim So-hyun) in an epic battle, fighting like the best of them. If not better. She’s looking for ON DAL (Ji-soo), and they have a tragic reunion on the battlefield. I worry about dramas that start off at their most dramatic point — it’s like a warning shot to our hearts — so we’ll just have to stick this in our pockets for later, because there’s a lot of story to come before we circle back to this point.

Most of Episode 1 features our heroine as a young girl (played wonderfully by Heo Jung-eun of Start-Up fame, most recently). She’s PYEONGGANG, the princess of Goguryeo, and she’s the spitting image of her mother, QUEEN YEON (also played by Kim So-hyun), who is pretty amazing. While the totally feckless king lets the kingdom be manhandled by the evil tribal leaders, the queen is the only one with the wit and bravery to protect Goguryeo.

The king is weak, and because he’s weak, he’s easily manipulated — we see this again and again in our drama, but never so strongly as in the plot that sets up our backstory. Evil ringleader GENERAL GO WON-PYO (Lee Hae-young) crafts some evidence and suggests to the king that his young and lovely queen is betraying him with her lover from the past, now a monk. Rather than believe his queen, he allows General Go to set a terrible plan in motion.

This evil plan catches the queen unawares while she’s busy on a mission, surveying the kingdom, visiting the (good) tribal leaders, and secretly asking for protection from the Sunno tribe. The leader of this tribe is GENERAL ON HYEOB (Kang Haneul).

From the first second we meet him, we realize he’s a strong, principled warrior through and through. His son is the innocent and slightly foolhardy On Dal, and we see Dal’s father guiding him and building his character. An important sword is broken and buried, which feels a bit like a metaphor for Dal’s future legacy…

Alas, we don’t have long to relish the awesomeness of General On and Queen Yeon for long. They’re quickly outplayed by General Go’s nefarious plot, and it all turns to heartbreak, mayhem, and sacrifice too quickly. The queen is shot dead on the spot with an arrow in her chest, General On is also shot while heroically protecting her, and the village is torn apart. The only true survivors of this scene are Pyeonggang and Dal — his father instructed him to take the princess safely to the monastery of the Jello tribe. (Ironically, this is the same place where her true father is said to be.)

When the princess gets there, though, it’s no secret haven, and there’s no secret Jedi training from her monk father (which is where I thought they were heading). Instead, the place is ablaze, the king is murdering everyone in sight, and a mysterious figure soon whisks this traumatized, horrified girl to safety.

This entire section of the story is so damn riveting, I’m almost sorry to leave it in the past. It’s so heroic and epic and sad and wonderful. I need a moment.

In Episode 2, we catch up with everyone in the present. Eight years after the above tragedy, Princess Pyeonggang has no memory of her past. She lives in a rural village with an old man who’s become her father, and works on a team of assassins. She’s known as Yeom Ga-jin, and she’s not only extremely well-trained, but clearly haunted by the past that she can’t remember.

Interestingly, the man who has trained and controls this team of assassins seems to know more about Ga-jin than he lets on. He also has some beef against the king of Goguryeo, and sends Ga-jin to the court on an extravagant assassination mission. Though she’s unsuccessful, the experience is a clear turning point in her story (it’s also soooo beautifully shot).

Though Ga-jin’s cover is good, she doesn’t know she carries around a major Achilles heel wherever she goes: she’s the spitting image of her mother. Ga-jin doesn’t realize it yet, but everyone in the court that sees her does — namely the king (who’s psychologically tormented at this point), and the nanny/handmaid who cared for her as a child.

However, seeing these familiar places and faces also affects Ga-jin, and memories come back to her faster than ever, though she doesn’t know quite what to make of them yet. At the close of our premiere, Ga-jin begins to realize that something is off — her adoptive father has admitted that he only took her in, there’s a secret necklace that proves her identity (given to her by her mother eight years prior), and everything she thought she knew begins to shift under her feet.

Additionally, we have her reunion with Dal — though neither of them realize it’s a reunion at this point. They meet coincidentally in the woods, and then again when Dal saves her when she’s fleeing the palace.

Dal is living in isolation in the woods, under the guise of caring for a blind “mother,” and he’s very much the light-hearted Dal we saw in the past. However, we also understand that his facade hides the tragedy of his father and his tribe. It also carries his father’s last words to him: “There should be no resentment in your life. Live simple, like a fool, and in peace.”

Ga-jin and Dal thrown together are quite cute, and the lightness and hints of romance between them will be important as our story continues. But above all, I love the setup that both of these characters have a tragic, gorgeous, tightly-woven past. The story is loudly hinting that they’ll live to fill the shoes of their parents, and I can’t wait for more episodes!

But before we tie up this weecap, a word (literally) on the cast: golden. Kim So-hyun is awesome in every layer of this multifaceted role, whether it’s the brave and austere Queen Yeon, or her daughter, fierce in battle, or caught in the confusion of her current circumstances. I’ve never met a Kim So-hyun I liked so much as I like her here.

Another great preference that stood out as Kang Haneul — he’s always great, but the gravitas here as General On was so jaw-droppingly good. I hope we get more flashbacks. Or something.

Finally, I really like the casting of Ji-soo. I’m a big fan, but I’m also the first to admit his acting has a bit of cheesiness to it. Sometimes it’s not my favorite (My First First Love), but here, it’s absolutely put to the best use. Ji-soo’s On Dal is a bit of an oaf, from his appearance to his mannerisms, but it’s not at all flat, and there’s enough going on with Dal that I’m already looking forward to his journey from “fool” to general.

We’ll get into the other characters in and around the palace next week (like the promising character played by Lee Ji-hoon), but for now, I’ll just keep saying what a great premiere this was. And how I’m already waiting for Monday.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , ,

91

Required fields are marked *

i've always tried to figure out what about Jisoo's acting felt off to me and now i know that it's the cheesiness in the way he portrays his characters but like @missvictrix pointed out, it just works so well here. because who better to play a lovable idiot than Jisoo.

The opening episode felt grand and i'm in awe with the high budget looking cinematography used for this drama. Kim so Hyun was barely recognisable in the opening sequence and Kang Ha Neul made me squee in delight in what is sadly only a special appearance. I very much like that this is a female centric drama with KSH at the forefront and i hope to see what she brings to the table as a tough assassin.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

ya I felt the same about his acting so that's why i normally will not watch anything he's in. haha

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, it's high budget, and I realized the Shrine set is somewhat recycled from Arthdal Chronicles (That Union Palace the head of Arthdal Union lives).

Other then that, I have not much to say. Surely the opening scene is touching, and both Jisoo (I can't get him out from his Moon Lovers prince role) and Kim So-hyun (her mother character is intentionally looks like her character in Goblin. Kang Ha-neul is a great presences in the drama, which I enjoy, though (Maybe even better then he playing On Dal, as news originally reported, with Son Yejin. He only decline that role due to schedule conflict).

Sorry, doesn't mean to be a bad comment to the show, everything else is great. I just need time to get into the story.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’m gonna be honest with you, the only reason I started this is because it is set in Gorguryeo; that is the single most appealing factor about this show for me, followed by hanging out with the Sageuk Gang on recaps/ots, so I’m not gonna pretend this was the strongest Sageuk pilot episode- because… it wasn’t.

However I did finally get engaged with the story in the very last minutes of EP 1, which yay!
...
Only for it to lose me again in episode 2 because I just found the directing to be really frakking awkward and difficult to connect to.
Talk about frustrating.
I will expand upon that in a bit.

It IS otherwise though, really refreshing, even just on the eyes, to watch something NOT set in Joseon, and I will totally not be stealing some of KSH's outfits for my own writing inspiration, not at all.

13
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

Also I can totally tell I'm probably gonna be the odd one out in being frustrated at this show so early on but … meh what's new.

6
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Truth be told, I am not in love either. I hesitate to go into the details, but I did not like the tone of the second part that much. But I feel that way about a lot of dramas, especially with so-called comedic or comical parts. I like humor done in a particular way. Without sounding too nitpicky, I also wasn't too convinced with Ga-jin's sword fighting.

That being said, I did like the first part a lot. At this point, I will continue to see how things go.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh please don't hesitate to go into details OR to nitpick sword fighting.
It's not like I held back down below lmao.
I am glad I'm not alone with the weird tone of the second part, and I too did not find the scenes I think were INTENDED to be comical, that comical.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't think I have your energy to go into the details; I might also have to re-watch (which I won't, lol) the second part to remember specific moments.

As for the sword fighting--I hope that my words aren't taken the wrong way:

I know that Ga-jin has been training for years, but the moves seemed a bit sloppy (I felt like she left herself wide open at certain points). Even if she were really skilled, I still don't know that she could compete with the sheer strength of a well-trained fighter wearing more protective clothing (I don't recall Ga-jin's character wearing any kind of protective gear). She would not be on par with her opponent from a purely physical standpoint. I feel that she would rely more on technique and moving in such a way as to tire out her opponent. I sometimes wish we could actually see some muscle definition on our actresses--especially if they are playing characters who can fight with weapons or who have been physically training. Just some realistic muscle definition--nothing too crazy.

I also wasn't convinced by her "assassin" companions. It was meant to be a humorous moment--that whole "kill him or seduce him" scene--but it was just too silly for me. It seemed out of place. Not to be too dramatic, but I am assuming these people have been killing machines, trained from an early age. I just couldn't see them being "cute." It was meant to be a funny moment, but this is a case where I just wasn't feeling it. Hopefully no one throws virtual tomatoes at me now.

4

I'm on fangirling mode for the rest of it and that depends on Lee Ji-hoon 😂.
I love Kim So-hyun but she already have enough fans praising her to high heaven.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’m not loving it at all, it feels very choppy and confusing. I find myself saying repeatedly to the screen in ep 2, “yeah because THAT would really happen (not)” and “what is happening here?”
The interruptions of the super-swoony music keep taking me out of the story, and also I wonder practical things like, how did they get to this pond? Why does he have a whole satellite operation set up here? Was it that easy to have pots and a kitchen far away from your house? I suppose it was 🤷🏻‍♀️
But I marvel at the perfection of JiSoo’s complexion, so I will be here at least for a while.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had no idea what was happening for the first 20 minutes? of the first episode? To be fair to the show though, I did completely forget the synopsis of the drama before starting, so that at least is on me.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Had a similar reaction to the first two episodes. Loved the fast moving plot and actions from the first and initially taken aback by the slower pace and strange editing choices of the second. On second rewatch the slower pace felt better but it needs to even out by next week with better editing. A great premier week nonetheless.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well, Goguryeo was the main reason for me too. The 3 kingdom era has always been the most interesting to me and personal favorite. The written history doesn't provide much which leaves a lot of room for creativity.
While the cinematography was something to write home about, the set, costumes and more is lacking of Goguryeo's reputation.

Goguryeo was the most powerful of the 3 and was about ten times bigger than Baekje and Silla combined. That would be all of North Korea, half of South Korea and more towards China.
Recreating Goguryeo is very expensive even for a 20 eps. "Sword and Blade" ran out of budget midway. "The Legend" went bankrupt and some of the actors haven't been paid yet. "Ja Mung Go" was cut to 39 episodes instead of 50.
This is partly why we don't have a lot of 3 kingdom era sageuks lately. The further back they go the more costly it gets (Hi Arthdal).

I had my expectation low with this writer and I'm already feeling sorry for the cast. The dialogues is like a collection from other sageuks. You kind of know what the characters would say before the words come out of their mouth. "You are my country" next line insert name of country (Joseon, Goryeo, Silla etc) take your pick.

I'm hoping this will be like "Shine or Go Crazy." It didn't try to epic. It was simple and coherent.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hi @kiara, long time no see.

Talking about Arthdal, I have a post on my wall just happened to be about River and that drama, do take a look (I also have a link on my next comment).

I guess, the only thing good for a drama recycling other dramas' plot is good for the Earth, I guess. I feel the same pain with you.

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Good to run into you here @imperialtitus.

Thanks for sharing! I'll check it out :).

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am giving the show one more week to try, @sicarius. But to be honest, the show is like recycled from quite a lot of other dramas, I am especially off when I see that shrine in Ep.2 (I took screenshots from both dramas and made a comparison on my own wall, please enjoy: https://www.dramabeans.com/members/imperialtitus/activity/1204959/ ).

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh I thought I recognised it... and it was from Trashdal, mmhmm...

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

What an amazing start. KSH looked so badass and mature in the opening scene. It reminded me of the war sequence in goblin. And what a way to start the drama on a cliffhanger. I loved the pace and background of the premiere. The grand storytelling and the intense premiere week. KHN was awesome even with his cameo role. How I wish we get more glimpses of him... I am neutral about Ji Soo's acting..like not so bad but not excellent too. I am hooked and I hope the series maintain its pace and intense story telling in the future episodes too.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, Kang Ha Neul blew me away with what little screen time he had.

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

So awful that he had to allow himself to be executed as a traitor to save his ppl. Somehow, ppl seem to survive arrows quite well except the queen.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked the cinematography and some of the cast (ok, mostly just the FL), but overall I was disappointed. Moving all the standard Joseon/sageuk tropes back to Goguryeo soesn't make them fresh.

I blame the writer & PD. FWIW, I've started 3 of the PD's shows and dropped them all early. I've only dropped one of the writer's past shows and finshed 3, but one of those was the mystic-brain-fetus-infested Dr Jin, and that's even worse than a drop. These are not good signs.

8
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Tbf we had apprehensions about the PD and writer going in didn't we? I mean I know I did.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, I remember Beanies mentioning the writer and director. I will say that Tamna is one of my favorite dramas (I sometimes wonder what that drama would have been like f it were made with the same quality of later K-dramas). And as for the writer--I saw Dr. Jin on the list....

:O

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I hear you with Joseon tropes and even the set and the atmosphere feels like a Joseon sageuk.

This is not the first Goguryeo sageuk for this PD so I was expecting a little more from him than the writer.

"Mystic-brain-fetus-infested Dr Jin" Haha good times.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't know if it's just me but I got a whole Game of Thrones vibe in the scene where the queen and the princess trvel to the borders and most of the scenes including General On's village (the village kinda felt like winterfell).

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This has all the FEELS and the big budget and badass KSH helps!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

What a Premier! It was like Hollywood blockbuster 😁Perfect casting. Amazing pictures, strong story telling! Excited for coming episodes too.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'll see next week if I drop it or keep on watching. I didn't like the first episodes at all. What a bummer.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Rambly rantish expansion of my above comment incoming that you don’t have to read, that might piss people off that don’t know me (it’s happened before *finger hearts*), and make others role their eyes that I have this much to say at just one week in. I’m not apologising though; you can just scroll if you don’t care. 😉

(numbered just cos my brain was formatting it that way not for any particular reason)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. @lordcobol I joked on your wall about the Amnesia trope at least being somewhat original, however the more I think about it the more I’m like “I take it back: Assassin Cults wiping their asset's memories is not at all original. What with that and the shaky cam fight scenes you'd think this was the Bourne Identity (2002).”
2. The plot here is not that bad honestly. It’s not super original in that I’m pretty sure the basics of it are the plot of half a dozen YAF books, but it’s somewhat interesting if you’re into that kind of thing and it absolutely can be done well.
(And make no mistake, I love assassins. Especially female assassins. My db handle literally means assassin Latin. My profile pic is my OC who is, a female assassin.)
We have a multi faction kingdom with inner tensions. We have a queen murdered through manipulation, and a lost princess who wishes to rule her country one day and the son of a fallen general. The latter two are now both in hiding. Cool! Great.
Then the princess is mindwiped and raised by some kind of organisation (--I’m just calling it an Assassin Cult it’s what I do) that is completely opposed to her country and anyone OF her country, and systematically KILLING anyone of the Gorguryeo elite. Spicy. Maybe. Don’t really know yet, we’ve spent like no time developing it.
Whilst I kind of hate amnesia tropes at the best of times, this could become a really interesting conflict point down the line. Actually, it STILL could, depending on how next week goes.
So what is my problem here then, specifically in relation to episode 2.
3. ….
4. sigh
5. I don’t know how to explain why I felt the execution of so many scenes were off without just sounding like a mean old Grinch who is hating this for no reason
6. I promise I am not hating this for no reason. I just really felt a huge detachment from most of the scenes in episode 2, despite the plot being interesting enough, and the end of 1 hooking me. And I know what they were TRYING to achieve but it just frakking went everywhere all over the place.
7. I know that it was implied the Assassin’s tracked her and found Dal’s hiding place and disguised themselves as villages to find Ga Jin and they could do this cos they were assassins so why did that whole event feel like it had idk what the word is… why did it feel so- so shallow? Like it had nothing behind it?
The fellow assassins haven’t really been established as characters yet for one.
I have no sense of...

6
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

...scope either.
What I mean by this is as much as some of the shots were gorgeous and cinematic, for me anyway it still felt like people moving through set pieces and locations, rather than actual *settings*. Where is the mountain hut of Dal in relation to everything else? How close is it to the temple and to any village, including the village of ghosts? Where is the assassin’s base? Why did the terrain change so much in Ga Jin’s escape from the temple on the mountain top? I know it could’ve realistically – but it felt choppy, like locations stitched together, and not like a seamless area. I don’t know where I am or where anyone else is and I have no scope of this world. This was not helped, imo, by the incessant use of a single mid chest shot for most of the conversations in episode 2 and the enclosed locations of the forests.
This was obviously NOT an issue for everyone though, because missvictrix said for herself at least, it was super easy to get lost in this world.
It’s easy for me to get lost in it too, but the other meaning of that phrase. The more literal one.
I just can’t help but feel there are better examples of shows, films etc that have developed their setting better, so that I feel WHERE I AM, and it’s not just bits stitched together- and it doesn’t even have to be obvious, you know? Makota Shinkai’s movies for example, whilst some of their stories leave much to be desired, has an exemplary grasp on showing SPACE, without having to give you an entire tour of Tokyo. And they’re animated.
(This kind of comes back to an idea I’m quite passionate about that is the ability for a medium to make me forget I’m watching a constructed piece of media. (which if you know absolutely anything about me at all, you will know how rare that is for me- even the things I like, I tend to see the pieces of it, the bones if you will))
Anyway back to the show.
8. I know also that they were TRYING to establish Ga Jin being attracted to Dal’s domestic life and Dal trying to connect with Ga Jin despite clearly knowing her profession, but the pacing and structure of those scenes was really off-putting, and imo directed awkwardly.
So she wears the clothes he gives her, where is she going, she meets her friends! Out of nowhere! (See above) they have a conversation; his traps have been destroyed! Oh it was just the other assassins (why was it the other assassins?) he finds her again and they head back but… she falls in his trap??? (see below) and then they go to the pool that he emerged from when he fell off the Cliff of Doom (don’t tell me that didn’t look exactly the same. Also looks like the Zombie Pool in Kingdom… okay, moving on)- why does he take her here though? To cook some quail … uh ok… they’re awkward and it’s supposed to be cute and I WANT IT TO BE CUTE but mostly I’m just confused, there is some connection made here (you could sell herbs miss), she goes back to his place again, which we have no idea the distance to because...

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had a major peeve about this drama settings too.

5 mins into Ep 1 and I get the strange feeling that I am watching a Chinese ancient drama, and not a very good one at that.
First, why are there so much bling and gold in the palace/costumes/hair ? I don't profess to be an expert, but I don't recall ancient Korea being so rich and oppulent.
Then, there are those quick shots of the palace, implying a huge throne room, and the room Ga Jin was in, a quick shot implying it was at least 3 stories high.
Even the mountain temple Ga Jin escapes seems straight out from any Chinese wuxia drama.

Overall, the setting is surreal, the cinematography is good at some places, but again it is inconsistent and ends up feeling fake.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can answer some of this.
1. Actually... the bling is accurate.
This is Three Kingdoms era Korea, specifically Goguryeo. There was a LOT of fancy jewelry in 3 Kingdoms Korea, especially gold. If you look up any of the surviving crowns from the period, you will see that this opulence is not out of place (if anything, they could've gone more all out for it). I know far less about Gorguryeo, but! I know Silla, another of the 3 kingdoms, especially United Silla, was rich af. This is set late 6th century I believe, which is just before United Silla became a thing, and not too long before the height of the Silla Dynasty, so the wealth is not out of place.

2. Not really sure what you mean about the palace architecture- like what your point is that is--- but having a great interesting in Ancient Korean buildings, and without getting into a full on history lesson about the similarities and differences between ancient Chinese and Korean palaces; I don't believe any 3 Kingdoms palaces remain standing today, but I believe most Korean throne rooms are 2 stories, and going off the shots in episode 4- the one they're using here is 2 also, or at least it is intended to be- not unusual for Korean palaces at all.

The mountain temple is a set from another drama they're repurposing, it's not even historical. (ironic because there is at least one 3 Kingdoms temple still standing. It is from slightly later than our time period here, and rebuilt sure, but some of it is original.)

Despite these facts, I actually agree that the cinematography is inconsistent and feels fake though. Most of the buildings are sets they're making do with because as Kiara said below, 3 Kingdoms era is expensive. Alas. I have yet to watch a proper Wuxia so I can't really comment on how this feels in comparison... let's just say I wish 3 Kingdoms sageuks WEREN'T so expensive to make, and there was more sets and costumes from the period more readily available-- maybe then things like this might feel more polished idk.
I did like some of the sets in the latest episodes better though.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

...again, scope, stays the night one more time, and then decides to leave-leave this time, in the morning.
And THEN!

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

9. Oh wait I forgot the bit where aPPARENTLY these assassins are super chill about Not Killing him, however their character hasn’t really been established (as previously mentioned) so I don’t know whether to find this comedic, or nitpick these assassins for being bad assassins. (oh that reminds me of another issue-*)
10. Anyway the next day, she leaves, that’s fine, tHEN assassin friend shows up---
11. Okay so remember the whole amnesia plot?
12. How we’ve been like barely introduced to it and let it do anything with the plot apart from show us she has headaches, and memory flashes and takes ancient drugs?
13. But we know a few things right- she’s raised by an older man, she wants to leave, she has nightmares and headaches and always has. Seemingly, her “memories” have been plaguing her for some time now. I mean I ASSUME they have but really who knows. There haven’t been any repercussions of her memory flashes up until this point though because… well the drama starts now.
14. Okay so it’s the morning after (lol_), she’s leaving, she didn’t kill him, she meets her assassin-friend-who-is-not-a-very-good-assassin in the woods on her way.
15. and then before you can say boo to a goose, before you can process the effect losing her memories even HAD ON HER, the other assassin is already revealing to her that “Actually you’re an orphan and Chief lied to you your whole life blah blah blah” but IT’S NOT EVEN PLAYED that SERIOUSLY!!!! The entire thing is filmed in close mid chest up shots, it’s in the day time, I don’t know where we are because there’s no scope to this set remember, there is no atmosphere whatsoever, the delivery is *extremely* mundane for this kind of scene, the dialogue honestly awkward still, why is it awkward, I am feeling NOTHING BTW (no emotional connection to what is going on because I’ve had 1.5 hrs to process your stupid amnesia trope) and it’s the most weirdly directed and executed reveal scene ever.
Was I not SUPPOSED to care about her finding out that she’s adopted? Is that not a big deal? Maybe it’s not since you spent so LITTLE time with her as Ga Jin only (aka Ga Jin not knowing any of this), maybe you deliberately directed the scene like this because no, it Doesn’t MATTER and we need to move ON already because we need to get the plot moving and her memories back. Okay fine… in which case … why even have the amnesia trope in the beginning? </strikethrough)
16. If I had a scene that pulled me right out of the entire show (that has only been airing for one week), it was this scene.
17. I just don’t understand the directing choices surrounding her amnesia, the assassins, this reveal, or in this episode in particular. I think I know like WHAT they THOUGHT they were doing, but I don’t know WHY they did it like THAT.
18. I just. Why.
19. So basically, that was most of the episode for me. “What is happening. Oh THAT’s what I think is happening… why the f is it happening like this.”-- What is flow...

8
reply

Required fields are marked *

... and what is editing -_-
20. More issues: remember what I said about assassins being bad assassins? *
21. Sigh
22. Why am I like this
23. Okay one- She’;s clearly shown to be competent (but with a conscience) so … why didn’t she kill the king at the ceremony again? I didn’t see her have any great piercing flashback at the Opportune Moment TM. I didn’t see her obscured from her path to him till like the END of the smoke bomb fight… so why-… oh wait plot sic, plot has to happen, king can’t die yet cos amnesia plot *Stares into the void*-----
24. Two: In episode two, she trips TWICE around Dal, tripping and falling willy nilly like she isn’t a super ninja assassin- … is this like supposed to be a… m-metaphor in some way…? because otherwise it just makes her look like a shit assassin. Especially since the first time she was almost caught in not one but two of his traps she got out of them just fine… (wow the euphemisms almost write themselves don’t they… ....) Like cool it’s funny that she’s haha falling for him haha literally, get it, already but holy shit I think I prefer consistency. Especially with assassins. Especially in episode 2.
25. What else do I have to be annoying about
26. Uhhhhm
27. I can’t help but thinking, and I know that I personally am guilty of just making every second protagonist in my own throw away stories royalty because it’s just fun sometimes, and I’m a romantic (with both a capital and lowercase R), but I also know sometimes it’s just not what a story needs, and so I can’t help but think this, this RIGHT HERE is a story that would REALLY benefit from the story not revolving around central ancient Korean politics and royalty. Because I think I MIGHT find Ga Jin the assassin more interesting than the Crown Princess…
28. And following on from that, I also don’t know why they decided to START the entire 20 episode show with the main male lead (probably) dying. Feels like maybe you should lead UP to that and then it will have more emotional payoff and impact?
29. No? just me? … kay
30. In summary: this story actually has a kind of interesting set up plot that I totally wish I had cared more about during the entirety of its pilot execution, but didn’t.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I will actually still be continuing this show, (shocking? maybe hahaha) at least for another one or two weeks, because we are only at episode 2, and there’s every possibility it will get better, and the tone and pace will find itself (like a young adult on an OE). I don’t really have any hopes or expectations tbvh- the crew made me cautious prior to starting- and as I said earlier, I really only started this because it’s set in Gorguryeo, because I just really frakking love Three Kingdoms Era Korea okay and we don’t get enough of it. So we’ll just see how it goes. Ahhhhhh. *disappears and goes to cry over 6th century Korean jewellery*

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I am slow and muddle headed 😂. I need a couple more episodes to get my thoughts together.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

As always, your rant and rambling is a treat to read. I guess I kind of gloss over all the odd feelings and slight disappointment that I felt while watching this. I was out of the drama world for more than half a year, and I consciously lowering my expectation a lot for this drama. (Maybe a bit too much??) Given that my last standard for a good sageuk is Nokdu Flower, I think it's pretty much a requirement or I won't be able to watch any of the sageuk offerings this year.

Well, at least the plot is moving fast enough not to make the drama felt draggy. And I'll hang on for the interesting second leads if nothing else if everything came apart later on. (Though I really really hope it's not.)

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

And now DB is going to eat the rest of my comment isn't it... rest if that that THING coming soon folks lmao...

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm not fully on board for this one.

I'm not sure about some choices like KSH as the Queen. She looked so young to have 2 kids and then it was weird that people didn't react to the daughter later, like On Dal. But KSH looked stunning in those outfits.

KNH looks so goos as charismatic character, I needed him more! It was too short.

I wasn't expecting the amnesia in this story. I wonder why the ex-general monk saved her, hide her memories and made her an assassin with a fake father. It's not really a nice life.

On Dal looks as the typical fool, I'm curious about his change as a charismatic general. It will be interesting to watch.

The editing was messy but I guess they had a lot of the story to tell in 2 episodes.

6
19
reply

Required fields are marked *

I, for some reason, completely missed the memo that KHN was a cameo, and now I am sad about that.

7
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Me too. He was the first to receive the role and I could totally see him as the fool becoming the charismatic general. I can't with Ji Soo, only the first part of the role...

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

He was the highlight of this episode for me. Less is more and I don't mean the length of his performance but his acting.

Kang Ha-neul has covered every sageuk era beside Prehistoric/Gojoseon.
I still remember when we used to complain about him playing 2nd lead for so long. Now I'm so glad that his career is where it should be.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

He was the only reason I watched Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo until the end.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I found it weird that On Dal didnt recognize her sooner. But the nanny knew so I guess there is that.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't trust this fool On Dal.
He probably recognized her but doesn't say anything.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Considering he's only PLAYING the fool...

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

It wasn't the ex general monk who saved her. It was the head leader of the Cheon Ju Bang who kidnapped her and wiped her memories. The ex general monk was in a different temple at the time.

3
11
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh really? Because the one who saved her didn't have a mustache, the one who wiped her memories was the Leader of Cheonjubang for sure.

0
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmmm maybe it was just a random assassin minion then? I could be wrong but I really don't think ex general monk (Wolgwang) would be involved cause from what I know Wolgwang exists in the novel this is adapted from but this whole assassin thing is added by drama writer. And Wolgwang seems like a righteous general just like On Hyeob so I don't think he'd get involved in this type of thing.

1
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't think the monk is involved. The assassins guild are probably in cahoots with the Gye-ryu tribe.

There are 5 tribes right? I hope there is more than just 2 sides.
Goguryeo was built on merchant's wealth. Salt being the biggest money maker.

This king is getting stripped of all his power. Giving up control over trades and losing the queen and her allies.

2

Idk why I can't reply to @kiara but yes I think Pyeonggang will probably have to fight against 2 major tribes at least. Gyeru with Go Won Pyo and also the tribe that Hae Mo Yong (2nd FL) belongs to. And possibly against King too if she'll end up holding him against her mom's death.

1

If the assassins are in cahoots with The Gye-Ryu tribe, why they didn't kill the princess or gave her to Go Won-Pyo?

I'm not sure to understand what happened this night. Doo Joong-Seo knows her identity or not? If he erased her memories, we can think he knew and it's why he did but sending near the King where everybody could associate her to her mother was not the best plan...

0

@mungbean
(I like your name btw. It reminds me of "Nokdu Flower ❤️").

I find it interesting that King Pyeongwon is not being portrayed in a favorable way.
Is it the same in the novel?

It looks like the old king stole Wolgwang's woman while he was sent to the border to fight the Gokturks.
Kind of like the story of King David and Bathsheba.
I'm hoping Wolgwang is Pyeonggang's real father.

1

@kurama
I'm just guessing since there are 3 tribes in the capital and they seems to be connected to this salt monopoly.
The other two (good guys) are guarding the border.

I think it's a better plan to use her to kill the king and keep their hands clean.

1

@kiara I understand why they used an assassin extern to their tribe, but using the King's daughter doesn't sound smart.

I think it's better she's the King's daughter. It means the Queen didn't betray the King like he thought (he can't justify his actions) and that Ga Jin has the right to be on the throne, legitimately.

0

@kurama

From the baddies point of view, they'd be killing 2 birds with one stone and they won't be held accountable for it.
A military minded tactic but we know it won't work because our heroine's memory is coming back.

1

@kiara

Hehehe thanks! It's cause of the other Nokdu though 😂 I loved Tale of Nokdu. Nokdu Flower is on the list tho...just need to find time to tackle longer dramas lol.

Tbh I'm not sure. So far the only thing I've read was that the way the novel adapted the crybaby part was that King PyeongWon noticed that Princess Pyeonggang was really really smart so he started rumors that she was a crybaby in fear that Go Won Pyo will target her. I'll let you know if I come across any more info though.

1

@mungbean

LOL I figured it would be one or the other. It's heavy but very well written. It's kind of rare to find a well written sageuk these days.

Thank you!
I like the novel's interpretation of the crying princess in the folktale.
Please do share more :).

2

I want to like this so much but I am not feeling it yet.

Things I like
* KSH look gorgeous and love the outfits especially when she portrayed herself as the Queen
* love the big budget feel and beautiful cinematography
* KHN's cameo is a definite highlight
* the concubine's hair ornaments and outfits are pretty as well
* Ji Soo showing up as the loveable oaf, On Dal.

Did not like
* despite the queen regalia, KSH still look so young to play a mother with two kids. It lacked the extra oomph to make it believable.
* not a fan of the palace politics and there were a lot to cover in the first two episodes
* amnesia trope - boooo! Absolutely hated it.
* the scenes were a bit all over the place with the flashbacks and what not.

I will give this two more episodes to see if this will be for me.

4
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

She was 15 when she got married and had her child within the year. With the math she is at most 27 which is very young so understandable. Her voice delivery between the 2 roles was very effective.

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

KSH is young and she still has a lot of opportunities to be better. In time, she can play older characters with nuances and delivery that can make it more believable.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked it. A lot. I have not much to say right now, but I’m counting the days for episodes 3 and 4, I want all the bling blings the Queens are wearing and I hope my heart won’t be too broken by Lee Ji Hoon being an evil character (though he promised young princess he would always be by the King’s side *sighs*).

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

We are the same. Everytime I saw the outfits I wondered why Korean actresses wear those bland black or white dresses on the red carpet when they can wear these gorgeous Goryeo dresses. KSH was serving all of the LOOKS.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't think he is going to be an evil character, at least I am hoping so. After Dinner Mate, he needs a positive role to keep him on my radar

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Good start with KSH as Queen and Princess and her acting versatility. Chemistry on point and casting Golden as mentioned.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I enjoyed the opening episodes! Was nice to see our leads back together again after Page Turner. I’m not super familiar with korean fairy tales, but even I’ve heard of this one. That being said, I don’t know all the particulars so it’ll still be mostly new to me.

The one thing that stuck out to me was the fight scenes were pretty chopped up. Cuts upon cuts, and it jumped around a lot more than I’d like. Kind of reminded me of a less shaky (though not by much) Bourne Identity but the choreography wasn’t as interesting. Though the Queen’s fight was actually pretty well done in comparison. I’m here for the chemistry though, and so far that’s working for me. Also, I’m not a big fan of the skip ahead to start the series, only to have to catch up. My Country, Kingmaker, and a bunch more did this as well and I’d rather be along for the ride the whole way instead.

Kim So-Hyun looking fierce and badass though, I’m dialed in and I’ll be watching the rest for sure. It didn’t blow me away on every level but it’s a good time.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I expected the skip ahead cause it's the same director as Kingmaker.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

First thing first! Why does Goguryeo feel so BADASS?!? Joseon can't hold sh*t in front of Goryeo awesomeness!!
And why is Jisoo-Sohyun couple so perfect? They're so adorable together that I'm in love with the aspect of them falling in love!
On the story front, this was a very strong opening week. From storytelling to acting, everything is near perfection. The characters are gravitating and the world feels alive, while the action sequences were damn stylish and the cinematography was just *chef's kiss💋*!
P.S. I'm confused about Pyeonggang's lineage. Is the monk really her father?
Oh and why do I have a feeling that General Ohn (KHN) isn't dead?? He did get a slice to his neck but....ok hear me out:
One of the monk said that the former-general was away to some hills to meditate but didn't we see a monk (probably HIM) looking at the queen's cavalry from afar? Now what if..he saw General Go's army on his way and went back to Sunno village sensing danger and somehow saved General Ohn?? Too far fetched? OK!

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I liked it. Kim So Hyun is fabulous as a badass fighter. JI soo and KSH have great chemistry and you can tell they are having fun.

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This show is so BEAUTIFUL to look at it really puts most other sageuks (aside from Mr. Queen but even that feels budget compared to this) to shame. I like that they started with the end of the legend and I am a SUCKER for himbo/ambitious gf pairing. Jisoo is perfect for the role and as much as they stretched the believability factor with Sohyun playing the princess and the queen, I got what they were going for and the casting has been really spot on.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have strong mixed feelings about this one: loved Kim So-Hyun, but Ji Soo wasn't working for me; his acting felt forced, very much like acting and not like the actions of a character.
Like the brisk pace, but am not crazy about the amnesia.
I do appreciate that the backstory was portrayed as tragic, but not melodramatic. Made it feel more realistic.

5
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

One thing was dumb, tough: Pyeonggang (as mentioned in the weecap) looks exactly like her mother. And she just walks into the palace up to her old maid, completely undisguised, and is like: "I brought this to you". And the maid is like: "Oh, yeah, put it over there. Cool, there is nothing weird about this new servant girl that looks exactly like the late queen." And then Pyeonggang rearranges the sword and drawer like she used to do when she was a child and THEN the maid is like: "Wow, it's the princess!" And I was like: "What, THAT gave her away?"
Also On Dal saw the queen for a good while and he could have recognised Pyeonggang. But maybe it was too long ago for someone he knew for only an hour or so.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

yes that was a bit confusing at first.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, that bothered me too, only the King recognized her. I guess the idea is no one notices the servants, but it was still bizarre.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Finished the first ep.

As promised with dear mugy and toki, I completed the first ep with a tired heart. Perhaps sageuks really are not for me. I found the flow of the show wasn’t that smooth, and KSH couldn’t convince me that she was the Queen. According to one of the above comments, she is very young like 27 years old; but even that I think the palace isn’t a safe place to live she should have had that harshness or toughness in her eyes. Perhaps that was the thing that didn’t make it work for me.

Another thing is that I almost giggled when I saw the village. I suddenly thought of a hobbit village in the LotR and I couldn’t really focus on the story.

When I saw the monk, correct me if I’m wrong, I remember his character in Start-Up and ended up almost laughing again.

I love costume though. The costumes are all beautiful and KHN is also beautiful. I like Ji Soo though. He looks kind.

*abandons the ship* 🚢

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i just love all of it-----ALL of it! yes @missvictrix i have to take a minute to step out of their world. also THAT is how i feel about Jisoo's acting @seoul_searcher you put it perfectly. Jisoo is great here! no words needed for Kim Soo-hyun. and Kang Hanuel. here is hoping for the greatness to continue til the end!

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I like two main leads, good acting, gorgeous high budget looking, etc, but at least to me, nothing new story wise.
I feel like I have seen this drama before already, which is not a good sign. I need something...like I can feel something new and unknown to keep watching.
If Lee Ji-hoon is also a nice/smart/honest/moral guy who is willing to help Ga-jin and Ondal, that would be sort of new in dramaland, I guess.
But probably he will be like Kim Byeong-in in Mr.Queen or like Jae-Hyeok in Dinner mate...? I hope not.

Since Joseon Exorcist will start next month, I can't handle two Sageuk dramas at the same time and there are so many other dramas I want to watch (Beyond Evil, Times and Vincenzo), I guess I'm going to drop this for now and come back later...

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

My wife is loving this show- it is really all that we hoped for.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have mixed feeling about the premier. The first episode was fast paced and it covered backstory but we did not get enough time with the characters.
I could not find connection with the Queen or the good general. It was just going through sequence of events without evoking any emotions.
It had some head scratching moments.
1. If you are a king who is getting blackmailed by some leader, why would you trust him and order him to kill your own queen? If he is so easily manipulated how did he become king in first place?
2. How the princess fails to inform her mother about the conversion she overheard? He is their common enemy. I could chalk this up for her young age but she is portrayed as strong and observant.
3.The amnesia plot
4.On Dal’s nanny blinding herself- what was the point? Emotional blackmail? How did she survive in time when people died because of infections and fevers?
5.Princess’s nanny not recognizing her- bad lighting/darkness?

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ooph #2 bothered me so much. I mostly ranted about episode 2 above so skipped the bits that frustrated me in ep 1, but ughhhh why show her knowing all the secret passage ways and hiding and eavesdropping only to do NOTHING with that?? And exactly- she's portrayed as strong and observant and ambitious, she knows her mother has enemies- why would she not tell her sooner?
I guess it just ties into the plot like it could be interesting but the execution and the pacing and decisions made to get there are just... wtf.
#4. Yeah. Emotional blackmail. That's it.

8
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Even Mr Oblivious here noticed that the princess didn’t tell her mother critical intelligence. Made absolutely no sense.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well,this premiere was really fast paced seeting the mood for the story to come...

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm having a good time with it. It's fun to watch, even if I was a little confused first time round. The costuming and accessories are lovely, and there's some good cast chemistry. I'm onboard for the ride.

I got just a tad overly invested in the last drama I watched, so this feels like a welcome and refreshing change of pace. I find it generally takes me a good 3-4 episodes to get into a sageuk, and I'm looking forward to Monday!

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Kim So-Hyun: What roles should I play?

Writer-nim: Yes.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The first episode felt really epic. Loved seeing Kim So Hyun in so many different looks. And Kang Haneul was amazing. <3

Second episode was a bit lighter with grown up On Dal in the picture and his cute meeting with Ga Jin. The casting is pretty perfect. Ji Soo has that effortless goofy charm. I bet he is hiding his smarts.

Pleasantly surprised that Lee Ji Hoon's character wasn't immediately evil from the start. He had a mind of his own before his father gave him orders.

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Personally, I liked the first two episodes so thank you for this recap because it helped refreshed my mind and prepare myself for the upcoming episode 3.

Tbh, I usually avoid reading reviews and critics because there are instances where not all people would really like a certain work but surprisingly it works for me. So I only believe in personal preference and taste. So far, I’m liking it hoping this pacing will continue and story will go more depth.

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you @missvictrix for the wee cap. I am an easy marker what can I say.
I enjoyed the first two episodes of RIVER WHERE THE MOON RISES.
It is early days and I am still trying to remember who is who and with 5 tribes that will be a challenge.
Let me just say a couple of things:
1. As a prep I recently watched PAGE TURNER (2016) and for me it is obvious in RIVER that Kim So-hyun and Ji Soo are very comfortable together;
2. Kang Ha-nuel was terrific playing a part probably 20 years olde in rl.
I thought that Seo Dong-hyun gave a fine performance as young On Dal. I remember SDH from BEAUTIFUL WORLD (2019).

3
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

So it's gonna be one of those dramas. Kang Ha Neul was great and it would have been great if he played the lead. Ji Soo fits the oaf but it's hard to take him seriously, especially when he becomes the great generals, the writers will turn him into

1
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm catching up to this drama and your weecap is perfect. 👍🏼👍🏼

This is probably one of the only handful dramas that made me deaperately wanted the backstory to continue just a little bit more. Just one more eps of the awesomeness of Kang Ha-neul and Kim So-hyun as the brave queen, and the innocence that still surrounded Dal and Pyeonggyang. But their adult self is equally awesome, so I guess I'm okay with this wistful thinking of more.

I agree with you on the acting of both Kim So-hyun and Ji-soo. I'm always a fan of her, but this is the most complex and winsome set of characters she has played so far. Her transformation and the gamut of complicated feelings she went through in this 2 hours journey was simply delicious to watch. I'm also glad to know that I have no problem with Ji-soo's potrayal of Dal. While he has a lot of potential, his acting didn't always click well with me, so this is a very pleasant surpise.

I can't wait for more.
*staring contentedly at all the beauty that is this drama*

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *