Moonshine: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread
Our bootlegger and stodgy inspector spend some unexpected — but much needed — quality time with one another, but illegal alcohol and an arranged marriage aren’t the only things keeping them apart.
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
Have you ever watched two hours of a drama and thought, “Well, I enjoyed the last ten minutes of that?” That was me this week, which isn’t to say that Moonshine isn’t an entertaining drama, but a part of me is definitely feeling burnt out. It’s a shame, too, because there was some decent character development and quite a few big plot reveals this week.
And yet, I was apathetic. I think a large reason why I’m feeling this way is because the parts of this drama that I’m enjoying — like our cast of female characters — are losing screen time to Ro-seo’s annoying brother and a one-dimensional bad guy whose most noteworthy characteristic is his facial scar.
Even when it was revealed this week that Merchant Shim is Woon-shim’s first love, it felt contrived because his relationship with Woon-shim in the present has never hinted at a familiarity that extended beyond their current business transactions. Perhaps he’s supposed to be a dutiful little henchman who has been hardened over time, but it’s really hard to see him as anything more than a convenient plot device who pops in, causes trouble, and then miraculously escapes.
And how many times is it now that he’s been able to narrowly avoid arrest? I’ve legitimately lost count, and at this point, I don’t know whether to commend Merchant Shim for his wiliness or shame Young for his ineptitude. At some point, Young needs to stop being such a boy scout and just shoot Merchant Shim’s knee with an arrow and be done with it.
Even though all signs point to Merchant Shim being Young’s white whale, maybe Young should step aside and let Ro-seo take care of him. She’s the only one who seems capable of getting shit done. In just this week’s episodes she: saved Young from Merchant Shim, helped Young locate Merchant Shim’s underground bootlegging tunnel, rescued Chun-geum from Merchant Shim’s henchman, paid for Chun-geum’s freedom so she’s no longer a slave, called Woon-shim out for withholding information on Merchant Shim, and — oh, no big deal — pretty much single-handledly masterminded a heist to steal all of Merchant Shim’s money. And to celebrate all her accomplishments, she created a new cocktail with a nice lemony zest!
So, what exactly do the men vying for her attention bring to the table? I don’t often root for the second lead, but in my opinion Pyo is the one most worthy of her strength. I mean, when he showed up with Young to rescue Ro-seo and handed his sword to Young saying, “I’m about to obtain one soon,” I leget swooned a little bit. But on a less superficial level, he understands Ro-seo better. He may have grown up with all the superficial comforts of the palace, but unlike Young, he recognizes that what’s lawful isn’t always ethical or right for the people.
To be fair to Young, he’s starting to learn this, too, now that he’s been hanging out with Ro-seo and Pyo. But what else does Young have to offer besides his moral compass and a bland sense of humor? Hmmm… he can MacGyver a bow and arrow out of random stuff he finds in an underground tunnel. That’s what every woman looks for in a man, right?
Lest we forget, though, they have a childhood connection, and I called it! The tiger in Young’s memory was a metaphor for Ro-seo’s father, who — nicknamed the Tiger of the Southern Mountain — was a guard of the former crown prince. We haven’t been given enough puzzle pieces to see the full picture, but something important — likely tied to the former crown prince’s death — happened that night. Whatever it is, most of the people involved are now dead. Everyone except Young, Merchant Shim, and… (maybe) Shi-heum.
Shi-heum’s attendance that night is unknown, but the other big reveal this week was that he’s the Big Bad backing Merchant Shim and Woon-shim. I can’t say that I’m surprised. Despite his outward loyalty to the King, he — not his sister — has the most to gain from the former crown prince’s death. He’s also proven that he’s self-serving and a master manipulator, and he’s ensuring that the path is clear for Pyo to ascend the throne. The next step in his plan: marry Pyo off to Ae-jin.
Just when Young works up the gumption to give in to his feelings for Ro-seo and call off his wedding, his almost-future-father-in-law saves him the trouble. With his engagement broken, Young is one step closer to embracing a relationship with Ro-seo.
While he can acknowledge that alcohol isn’t inherently evil, he also can’t allow himself to be in a relationship with a bootlegger as long as her business is still illegal. So first he needs to arrest Merchant Shim and then petition the King to legalize alcohol again. Unfortunately, Young’s unwillingness to harm Merchant Shim when he had the chance(s) bites him in the ass, but instead of getting harmless teeth marks on his tooshie, Merchant Shim stabs him in the gut.
I may joke about the circumstances of the stabbing, but I was legitimately moved by the scene and the dramatic irony of knowing Ro-seo is waiting for him as he lay there, dying in the street. Also, even though I’ve sometimes questioned the oversaturated colors of the cinematography — looking at you freakishly pink flower blossoms — the light cast by the nearby lantern in contrast with the shadow of Young’s body was gorgeously tragic. It made me worry — for a moment — that Young might legitimately die.
But if Sang-mok can fall off a cliff, hit every rock on his way down, and still be able to walk away from it, I think Young can survive a little knife in his stomach, don’t you?
- Premiere Watch: Moonshine, The One and Only, The Silent Sea
- Yoo Seung-ho and Hyeri’s love is tested in new promos for When Flowers Bloom, I Think of the Moon
- Rebelling against prohibition in new promos for When Flowers Bloom, I Think of the Moon
- Script reading for KBS’s fusion sageuk When Flowers Bloom, I Think of the Moon
- Byun Woo-seok, Kang Mina joining Yoo Seung-ho and Hyeri in new sageuk