River Where the Moon Rises: Episodes 5-6 Open Thread
It’s time for our princess-in-hiding to decide who she truly wants to be. With multiple identities and a lot of secrets to hide, will she renounce her royal blood? Will she leave her assassin ways behind? Will she stay in Ghost Valley forever — and if she wants to, will that even be possible?
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
Before we dive into our episodes this week, there’s a larger real-life scandal going on with Ji-soo that will likely have a big impact on our drama going forward — not to mention his career (basically over). We’ll make decisions on further coverage of this drama accordingly, but right now, you can read more about the school violence scandal here (brace yourself).
Back in the world of Goguryeo, our princess’s true identity becomes known to Dal, and it creates a rift between the two. We spend much of Episode 5 lingering on the complicated emotions that their shared past brings up. Dal understands that it’s not Pyeonggang’s fault, but still feels the weight of the tragedy that was heaped on his tribe, and his father, because of her family.
Similarly, our princess feels guilt and responsibility towards the people of the Sunno tribe/Ghost Valley — and Dal in particular. This part of the story is brimming with tragic strife (with a capital T), and I enjoyed the tension between them: the pull of friendship, loyalty, and maybe even love, mixed with the complex way their families’ pasts impact their present.
By the time the two reach an understanding, Pyeonggang also commits to staying in Ghost Valley. She’s turned in her weapons, donned a pretty dress, and is quickly becoming a useful member of the village, doing everything from digging wells with Dal, to helping him hunt. The promise of a happy and simple life (maybe even as a wedded couple!) hangs in the air… but Pyeonggang’s fate is too great for this to be the end of her journey. Also, she has far too many weaknesses — or in order words, people that she cares deeply about.
Indeed, Pyeonggang’s assassin friends (a little too kind-hearted for assassins) not only unwittingly compromise her Ghost Valley hideout, but her adoptive father’s personal safety. Then, they get themselves caught on a mission to take out Gogucha, and are set to be beheaded in the town square.
It’s a testament to Pyeonggang’s character, and a theme of the drama, that she’s willing to compromise her safety for those that she cares about. And so, while her friends are saved, she’s soon forced to identify herself as the princess, and lands in the court (which is probably more dangerous than any assassin’s lair.)
But, there’s a certain someone also in the court that’s looking out for her, and that’s her childhood friend Geon (now General Go). By far, his was the most interesting and intricate storyline this week, and I am enjoying his character more and more by the minute.
We saw Geon try to play both sides and protect the princess’s identity from his father. He hatches a deal with Mo-yong (another super interesting and complex character) to fake the death of Pyeonggang. Geon only wants to keep her safe, but Mo-yong is there to win the favor of Gogucha. Everyone’s motives are so complicated, and there’s so much intrigue between their characters, their tribes, and their fathers — so good!
Unfortunately for Geon, his plot fails when the princess’s court lady (who seems a little slow on the uptake) neglects to play along and fake Pyeonggang’s death. Damn, you can see Geon dying inside when he realizes the plan was all for naught. What a great scene.
Geon’s father is so evil and wily that he soon confronts his son on the truth and how Geon has been playing both sides while trying to protect Pyeonggang (personally I think he knew all along). He mocks Geon’s long-standing affection for the princess, and it doesn’t take a crystal ball to see that this relationship is going to get dark and dire very soon — in a delicious and dramatic sort of way, that is. Both actors are really selling it here, and Lee Ji-hoon in particular is so, so good at pulling off all these layers.
Though the story we’re watching is about “the princess and the fool,” I have to admit that right now I’m more interested in the story of “the princess and the general.” It’s a more complex and layered relationship between Pyeonggang and Geon, and I’m excited to see how it plays out.
While my heart is veering towards this second lead storyline quite outside of my control (it’s just so good), who knows… maybe it will work out for the best. If the production is forced to make some quick storytelling pivots in response to the real-life and real-time scandal, maybe there’s a way the story can still stand. It’s all up in the air at the time of writing this, so we’ll have to see the decisions that are made, and how the story is impacted.
Update: The production has issued a preliminary statement that Ji-soo is removed from the drama, effective immediately, and the role of On Dal will be re-cast.
- Premiere Watch: River Where the Moon Rises, Hello? It’s Me!, Sisyphus
- Ji-soo becomes Kim So-hyun’s general in new teaser for River Where the Moon Rises
- New poster and stills for KBS sageuk River Where the Moon Rises
- Kim So-hyun battles for Goguryeo in new teaser for River Where the Moon Rises
- Kim So-hyun, Ji-soo play princess and the fool in upcoming KBS drama
- Kang Haneul and Kim So-hyun confirmed for new sageuk drama