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Moonshine: Episodes 3-4 Open Thread

Things get dangerous for our entrepreneurial bootlegger as it becomes harder to hide her identity, but our investigator is the least of her worries. Bigger threats are looming, and if she and her business are going to survive, she will need to learn who she’s up against.

 
EPISODES 3-4 WEECAP

Last we saw our lady bootlegger, Young had captured her and was about to expose her identity, but the slightly romantic moment is ruined when her brother’s creditor — and part-time prohibition enforcer — GYE SANG-MOK (Hong Ahn-pyo) runs onto the scene and gives Ro-seo the opportunity to slip away.

Young chases her through the woods, but just as he grabs her, he falls through the ground and lands in a secret storage bunker full of alcohol belonging to MERCHANT SHIM (Moon Yoo-kang). Merchant Shim is not happy that his 100 crocks of liquor have been confiscated and poured down the river, so he beats up Sang-mok.

Ro-seo isn’t happy either. All her hard earned profits fell through the hole with Young, so she’s determined to kick him out. But before she can, Sang-mok shows up to assert his manhood and take his anger out on someone weaker than him. He demands full payment or Ro-seo’s body in exchange for the debt.

Young retreats indoors, comically disappearing as though he’s a coward, but returns with his bow. Reciting a law that gives Ro-seo legal grounds to kill in defense of her home, he hands her his bow, shows her how to hold it, and together they scare Sang-mok away. Later that night, as Ro-seo watches him wash his face in sexy slow-mo, the Joseon equivalent to Marvin Gaye plays in her head, and she reconsiders the usefulness of having an inspector living with her.

Chun-geum is nervous that Young is still around, but Ro-seo assures her friend that it’s better to keep their enemies close. It has nothing to do with his attractive face. She swears! Chun-geum is dubious, but she’s on board with Ro-seo’s plan to sell their last crock of liquor during the festival celebrating Buddha’s birthday. Unfortunately, their plan is overheard by WOON-SHIM ( Park Ah-in) a gisaeng who is in bed — figuratively but maybe literally — with Merchant Shim, but she keeps the information to herself.

Meanwhile, Young continues to investigate the mobile cart bootlegger, but before he can see the composite sketch of Pyo, who eyewitnesses placed at the scene of the cart, his superior officer eats the sketch. In search of more clues, Young returns to the underground bunker, where he encounters a mysterious man and chases him through the woods, but once again, Young loses his captive.

The night of the festival, Ro-seo orders Chun-geum to deliver a sample of their liquor to Woon-shim in hopes that she will resell it to her customers at Giringak, but Chun-geum’s message gets relayed to one of Sang-mok’s men instead because Woon-shim is performing at a party hosted by Chief State Councilor YEON JO-MOON ( Jang Gwang). He is celebrating his granddaughter QUEEN YEON’s (Byun Seo-yoon) pregnancy. Shi-heum shows up uninvited, and the two men exchange insults thinly veiled in metaphor.

At the festival, Pyo is itching to ditch his guards, so when he sees Young and So-yoo, he tries to start a fight with Young and cause a distraction. Young doesn’t fall for it, but So-yoo, who is oblivious to Pyo’s real identity, is overly defensive of Young and the commotion provides Pyo with an opportunity to run away. As Pyo flees, he bumps into HAN AE-JIN (Kang Mina), a kleptomaniac noble lady who is determined to marry someone handsome. She’s immediately smitten with Pyo’s face and charm, but before she can learn his name, he runs off and finds Ro-seo, who escorts Pyo to her secret distillery.

Young spots his mystery man in the crowd and chases after him. He mistakenly assumes the man has hidden in the abandoned apothecary, and bangs on the door. Ro-seo answers and lies that she was inside with her lover, but as Young stares at her, trying to determine whether she’s being truthful or not, he recognizes her eyes and realizes she’s the bootlegger he’s been hunting. He forces his way inside, but Pyo knocks him unconscious.

When Young wakes up, he’s tied to a pillar. Young acts as the angel on Ro-seo’s shoulder and encourages her to follow the law while staring at her with disapproving eyes, but Pyo hands Ro-seo a cup of liquor and devilishly offers to pay for whatever she drinks. Money wins, and she chugs her drink.

Sang-mok and his men bust through the door with Chun-geum as their captive. Pyo puts up a good solo fight, but his guards show up and even the numbers. Young, who is still tied to the pillar, begins having flashbacks to a similar battle, but he shakes off his PTSD when Ro-seo frees him.

Sang-mok tries to stab Ro-seo, but Young grabs the blade of the knife to protect her. He’s unable to fend off Sang-mok, so Ro-seo smashes a crock over Sang-mok’s head and knocks him unconscious. They flee together, and Ro-seo helps clean the wound on his hand by the river. Young lectures her on following the law, but he softens a little bit when she explains she began brewing alcohol out of desperation.

The flashbacks return, and he falls into the river. Ro-seo carries him home and takes care of him through the night. He’s embarrassed when he wakes up holding her hand, but he’s later distraught when he imagines her being executed for selling alcohol to the crown prince.

While Ro-seo searches for Chun-geum, she and Young overhear Merchant Shim’s men hunting for Sang-mok, who knows Ro-seo’s identity as a bootlegger. Young begins looking for Sang-mok, and So-yoo’s intel suggests that he was seen with gisaengs from Giringak the night he disappeared.

As So-yoo cautions him to not to investigate Giringak because it’s protected by dignitaries who go there to illegally drink, the grandson of the Left State Councilor drunkenly stumbles out of the gisaeng house and picks a fight with Young. Remembering how Ro-seo pointed out the hypocrisy of the laws and those enforcing them, Young arrests him, but the Left State Councilor makes a deal with Shi-heum and resigns from his position in order to free his grandson.

Young is jaded by his own hypocrisy and Pyo’s willingness to murder those who witnessed him breaking prohibition laws, so he writes a petition to the king, resigning from his position and exposing Pyo’s illegal activites. Unfortunately, the petition sets up the king and Shi-heum to “punish” Young by reappointing him as Pyo’s teacher.

Meanwhile, Chun-geum finds Ro-seo and reveals that she’s been holding Sang-mok captive. They torture him, refusing to let him pee until he divulges Merchant Shim’s plan to monopolize the bootlegging business in Hanyang, but once they have the information, they’re not sure what to do with him.

Chun-geum believes they should kill him with a poisonous mushroom, but Ro-seo gives him the option to live if he promises to forgive her family’s debt. Chun-geum doesn’t trust Sang-mok and insists that they should feed him the poisoned porridge. As they argue, Young shows up and inadvertently provides Sang-mok with the opportunity to escape.

Ro-seo chases after him, but he stumbles and slides over the edge of a cliff. She grabs his hand to prevent him from falling, but she loses her grip on the tree she was using to anchor herself.  As she and Sang-mok begin to fall to their deaths, Young grabs her hand, and the episode ends with a literal cliffhanger.

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I was pretty happy with this week's episodes. That was some rapid plot progress! I'm so glad they didn't drag out the disguise too long since it would have been ridiculous for Young to continue to be oblivious of criminal activities right under his nose.

Tonally the show is still a little all over the place. Like the whole thing with Gye Sang-mok and whether he should be killed - felt like they were going for a dark comedy feel but it didn't work.

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Really enjoyed these episodes. I think Hyeri is doing a good job portraying someone desperate to rise out of her difficult situation by any means necessary, including breaking laws, putting her life on the line and even contemplating murder to hush someone up. I agree with @miso that the writers are still all over the place with the tone: is it a romantic comedy--or--a dark comedy?

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I have watched these episodes twice but your recap is equally interesting. Love you humors. You should be a drama writer somedays.

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What a fitting punishment to Young. It amazed me by how far he went to throw his weight against the Prince, and that the weight actually caused the desired effect Pyo taunted.
P.S. I thought Chief Royal Secretaries are clean people.

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That punishment had me ROFL. "Please kill me instead Jeonha!" sounded sincere for once.

Your P.S. is also funny heh. I won't be surprised if Chief Royal Secretary is the real Villain of this drama. I'm surprised though that he said he was born a government slave.. how in the world did he go from the lowest class to the top?

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Yes, for once it was sincere.

I have no doubt he is the true villain of the series. The first Chief Royal Secretary villain. I pray he becomes a good precedent.
About the class, it amazed me as well. What seems plausible to allow him make such a climb is if he's allied himself with royalty very early in his age, or he served the country in a grand way, hence a magnanimous gesture by the royal house.

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Have you seen THE CROWNED CLOWN? The Chief Royal Secretary is an interesting character.

Hmm we might have to look into that class issue. I don't recall government slaves who became high-ranking ministers. But there's some backstory for sure... a war was mentioned at one point, and that the current king came to power with a coup. I'm guessing Secretary and the other old guys orchestrated that coup, but it's all guesswork. Things are hard to figure out when a drama isn't set during the reign of an actual historical king.

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Yes. Recaps only. And i remember the CRS was kinda sketchy.
About the class, he's from the Lee clan, so most likely back story is that his family went under into slavery but he happened to have a means to climb back into the spotlight. And since he's originally of the Lee clan, the climb can't be totally questioned.

Well, since its not an actual historical king, I am now expecting a flexible story.

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ಠ_ಠ Interesting is one word for it...

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I thought of you when I wrote that @sicarius. ;)

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ಠ_ಠ

(But also Toki! Hi! You're watching this but... skipped Red Sleeve? haha I thought about starting this but had no energy after all the sageuks I tried in 2021)

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