Moon in the Day: Episodes 5-6
Nineteen reincarnations and 1,500 years later, our lingering spirit may finally learn why the love of his life killed him. However, the woman capable of answering his question still remains in the dark, and it may take a while for her memories to return. In the meantime, our resident ghost will have to wait by her side and tamp down his old feelings lest they waver his resolve.
The reigning question this week for our vengeful ghost is whether Young-hwa remembers her past life unlike the previous eighteen reincarnations. There are hints suggesting that she might, but when Young-hwa, herself, chalks up her memories as wishful dreams, it becomes difficult for Do Ha to parse the details.
In the midst of all this, the kidnappers from before disappear while under police supervision, which puts Min-oh on high alert. He requests Young-hwa to guard his brother around the clock, thus forcing our leads under one roof.
During her first night over, the two of them watch the news about a recently unearthed lotus seed from the Shilla period. It reminds them both of the time Do Ha gave one to Ri-ta as a token to stay strong. She told him that everything rots eventually, but he made a bet with her that the seed would blossom in a thousand years. In the present, Do Ha thinks to himself that he won, and Young-hwa mutters aloud that she lost.
As if there were not enough obstacles in Do Ha’s way, the show makes sure to throw every side character at him to make things difficult. The first of these nuisances is Yi-seul who commences her “in love with Jun-oh” plan. She does everything in her power to get under Young-hwa’s skin, and though she barely registers as a love rival, her presence does make our bodyguard more aware of Do Ha as a man rather than a client.
On a lighter note, Jun-oh’s manager is also a bit of a loose cannon, and while he technically wants to help Do Ha with his mission, the poor fool completely misunderstands the situation. He thinks Do Ha is looking for love and acts as cupid for our couple. Thankfully, Young-hwa is none the wiser and fails to recognize Jun-oh as Do Ha.
However, as the coincidences pile up, even Young-hwa starts to notice the eerie resemblance between past-dream Do Ha and present-day Jun-oh. The two finally address the elephant in the room, and Do Ha asks if she sees him in her dreams. Misunderstanding his intentions, Young-hwa tells him that he simply looks like the lord and nothing more.
Another hurdle appears in Do Ha’s path in the form of the young monk from Young-hwa’s past — the one who gave her the protective artifact as a child. He wants to warn her about the vengeful ghost, but instead of using words, he attacks Do Ha with a talisman to prove his point. Alas, the talisman seems to have no effect, and Young-hwa tosses the monk out for trying to harm Do Ha.
While the monk sighs over his failed attempt, the talisman does, in fact, work, and Do Ha is dispelled from Jun-oh’s body. The effect only lasts for a mere moment but long enough for Young-hwa to see the astral form of Do Ha floating before her eyes. Confused and scared, she tries to discredit what she just witnessed, but then, a memory from her childhood comes back: she has seen Do Ha before.
That night, Young-hwa has another dream about her past. Do Ha’s stepfather framed Ri-ta for stealing from his house, and as punishment, he ordered his men to beat her until she confessed. When Do Ha went to check on her, Ri-ta warned him to stay away since she was just a clumsy assassin trying to take his life – it would be better for him if she died.
Unwilling to let that happen, Do Ha freed Ri-ta, even killing one of his own men in the process. As he took her to safety, she asked why he would go to such lengths to save his enemy, and he reminded her of the promise she made to kill him if he survived. As they shared a tearful goodbye, she vowed to return, and he agreed to wait until that day came.
Back in the present, Young-hwa drowns her worries with alcohol and passes out in a school field. Having been watching her the entire day, Do Ha takes this opportunity to try and kill her, but Young-hwa grabs his arm in her drunken stupor. Waking up, she thinks this is all a dream and addresses him as Do Ha rather than Jun-oh. She grabs his face and tells him to leave, but Do Ha says that he can only go if she lets him. As Young-hwa runs away, a small smile crosses his face, and he puts his plan to end her life on hold.
While they walk home, Young-hwa complains about her dreams and how Do Ha sent her away after telling her to live. He asks if she remembers anything else, but Young-hwa shrugs her shoulders since Ri-ta probably never met Do Ha again after that night. As she continues her rant, Young-hwa trips over herself, and Do Ha catches her by the collar. He pulls her into a hug, but when his heart starts to thump, he pushes her off.
Since Young-hwa called in sick, Min-oh moves in to care for his brother, and his selfless devotion to Jun-oh makes Do Ha wonder why he cares so much for a person with only a month left to live. Min-oh admits that his greatest fear is losing him without getting to say goodbye, so he wants to do everything he can to live without regrets. His words strike a chord with Do Ha, and he decides to trust Min-oh. He hands him the evidence related to Chul-hwan, but unbeknownst to Do Ha, Min-oh has already been looking for the former CEO.
Speaking of Chul-hwan, the other vengeful ghost roaming this world pretends to assist Tae-ju when, in reality, he uses the hapless actor as a pawn in his games. He calls Min-oh’s attorney to meet him, and then springs a trap: orchestrating an accident, Chul-hwan causes the attorney to hit (and kill?) Tae-ju. Looks like this ghost is a lot more bloodthirsty than Do Ha.
Young-hwa distances herself from Do Ha to clear her head, and looks for clues concerning her situation, starting with the strange monk who attacked him. This leads her to a temple where Do Ha also paid a visit earlier. To Do Ha, the head monk advises him that revenge is not always the answer, and to Young-hwa, he tells her that the bracelet protected her from evil spirits. Though the monk seems to know more, he keeps our leads partially in the dark, claiming that it isn’t time yet.
The monk’s words jog Young-hwa’s memories, and she recalls what Do Ha told her when she was drunk: he is borrowing Jun-oh’s body. Still unsure of his meaning, she confronts Do Ha about his confession, so he displays his ghostly powers to convince her. He tells her that he is a 1,500-year-old spirit and needs her to figure out why he died. When she questions his request, he tells her that only she can help him because she was his wife.
The show briefly returns to the past, revealing the moment Do Ha and Ri-ta got married. After the ceremony, he gave her prayer beads made out of lotus seeds to protect her from evil and declared that she shall be his wife forever, even if death tears them apart.
The pacing of the show is really hindering my enjoyment. Some scenes drag on for too long while important emotional beats are rushed. The main issue for me is that the show has too many tertiary plotlines and moving parts without clear motives. Certain characters like Min-oh have potential, but the show underutilizes them. He seems like a caring brother, but he also comes across as a ruthless businessman looking out for his own gain. There’s a duality to his character that the show could explore, but for now, he’s kind of in the background to help move the plot along. Then we have characters like Yi-seul whose only purpose is to create artificial tension. She serves no real purpose to the story, and if all her scenes were cut, I doubt the show would change (in fact, I’d argue that the pacing would improve). The monks are also a bit random, though I hope they’ll be integrated into the story later on, and the cops are ridiculously bad and pointless. I usually love a big cast and a wide-range of characters, but Moon in the Day feels like it bit off more than it could chew.
The show’s charm should be its central love story, but once again, I think the pacing and overall storytelling does a disservice to these two. Do Ha and Ri-ta’s relationship is rushed, and as a result, their attraction feels superficial. The show has done very little to establish an emotional connection between its audience and its characters, so when Do Ha goes above and beyond for Ri-ta, I’m left questioning his motives much like our heroine. I understand that Do Ha thinks she can help him die as a human, but his words and actions don’t match. He claims to want penance but then does nothing to change his behavior. I still don’t understand why he loves Ri-ta to the point of killing people to protect her, and I don’t necessarily understand why Ri-ta seems so interested in him, either. The problem is that the context of their relationship touches on complex topics such as war and trauma, but does nothing to explore them in depth. Hence, I’m left feeling cold when I watch Do Ha and Ri-ta interact, which makes the present-day romance also perplexing.
- Premiere Watch: Moon in the Day
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- News bites: October 17, 2023
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- News bites: October 8, 2023
- First teaser for ENA’s time-slip Moon in the Day
- First look at Moon in the Day with Kim Young-dae, Pyo Ye-jin
- News bites: July 19, 2023
- Kim Young-dae
- Pyo Ye-jin
- Ohn Joo-wan
- Jung Woong-in