Another week, another pair of episodes of Moonlight Drawn By Clouds. We’re nearing the 4 episode mark, historically the important, “Is it a keeper” placeholder. The writing and acting settle in, and we move from the LOOK AT US first episodes. So I guess from here we decide. Do we like it? Will we stick with it? Can Park Bo Gum get any more adorable?
You know, important questions….
Stephanie: So Leila, Episodes 3&4, how’d they go for you? Are you feeling it?
Leila: I am. Nothing has turned me off so far. I actually think the pacing was pretty good through the two episodes, and we started getting clarifying details to the characters and big plot points. The big one for me was where does the Prince fall on the scale of spoiled or crafty? What I saw in the episodes was that he’s even smarter than I originally gave him credit for.
Stephanie: I was concerned when episode 3 first started, as I just wasn’t connecting with the show. It felt like they were leaning so much on “Ohhh, isn’t he pretty” and them trying to be witty and self-aware, that, while it was cute, it was so over the top that it stopped me from sinking within the drama, within the world. We couldn’t get past the Prince’s glossy veneer. But, as the episode went on, they finally settled into the storytelling and these characters are really beginning to shine. I’m starting to be won over.
Leila: I think sometimes that these shows are better binged. The writers and directors create this story all as a whole, and forget that we’ve had a week between and have disconnected. I was with you when you expressed concern about emotional depth when we first hopped back in, and I was glad that they finally started peeling back that veneer you’re talking about.
My other concern was how long we were going to do the “Ra On doesn’t know he’s the Prince”. Seriously… that stopped being cute about halfway through episode 3.
Stephanie: I was a little shocked when we realized, after that bit where he rescues her from the Princess, that Ra On didn’t know who he was. You’ve spent all that time with him, verbally sparring, and you don’t even have an inkling as to who the voice might belong to? Ummm…. Yeah. Right. At least the show has set up that she’s not the smartest crayon in the pack, otherwise I REALLY would have had a problem with it.
Leila: I think the reveal was handled pretty well. That can make or break these hidden identity storylines for me. I liked that he wanted to hold on to the way she treated him as a friend, and that as things started to get serious around the palace he says to himself, “She’s going to find out soon anyway” and mans-up. The way he steps out from behind the bookcase, and she see him and thinks he’s kidding? Thats kind of an old joke – but it was well acted. I was actually a little surprised and pleased.
Stephanie: I also really like: 1) the fact that he had a real reason not to tell her who he was, besides the fact he enjoys his little trickeries. Him enjoying someone being real to him, and knowing the moment she knows who he is that will change, putting him back inside his own little bubble, it’s a sad realization. You realize that the smart-assery can be kind of a defense mechanism. Hiding his true self lest it be held against him, or just even to have something for himself. 2) I like that once he realized it was time he manned-up, he did what he needed to do and told her who he was. From there he can try and get back the friendship, but I think it shows a maturity he likes to hide.
Leila: Yes. I hadn’t thought about it exactly like that, but you nailed it. So often, the reasons for hiding in dramas are pretty lame and overblown. This was very understandable. And yes, when he realized the game was up? It was like a switch had flipped across the whole drama – you could even see it in his face – the more mature Prince had finally settled in.
Were you surprised by his collaboration with the King?
Stephanie: One of the things that had irritated me in the episode, before it did the switch you mentioned, was the fact that he totally disregarded what the King had had to say. Your father comes to you, obviously troubled, says he’s hearing things, asks for help, and you’re all “See-ya, wouldn’t want to be-ya!” Granted, yes, we as viewers got to witness his father’s for-real break down, and maybe the Prince didn’t know the extent of it. Then there’s the fact that we don’t know the King/Crown Prince’s history — the Crown Prince’s tipping point. But to me, in that scene, I thought it showed that behind his snark laid a pretty terrible person. I’m glad to be wrong.
Leila: Yeah! I was all “WTH?” about that. This is a character consistency I have a problem with in the show. I mean, the Prince has been really kind and gentle to a lot of people who did things he could have justifiably been a jerk about. But then we see him throwing people out of rooms, and blowing off his father’s very real cry for help (which had to have been hard to have confess to his son). Is he a nice guy, or is he a jerk? Pick a direction, Mr. Script-Writer. Also, is he *allowed* to say “Sorry, no. I don’t want to?” about becoming Regent? I didn’t think that was an option.
Could they have assumed people were spying on them? Later on we see some of that scene seemed to be part of a set-up, if I’m interpreting it right. That whole scheme with the King and Prince confused me a little. When did they plan it? Do you think the King was also in on the trap set for the Minister, or was that all the Prince?
Stephanie: Well, I think the confusion may be in the term Regent. I don’t think he’s asking him to step in and become King. I think he’s asking him to be his steward? To essentially rule in his place, but without the fun title. This, he would need to agree to. The actual Kingship? Yeah, I don’t think you can shrug that off. (Why the King can’t just say I don’t want to be king anymore, or the son can’t officially say, “yeah, not it.”) As for the scheme? I see them coming up with the scheme after they had the fight about the mother, after Prince turned him down straight off. But all the stuff before it? Yeah, I think that’s real. And I think the Crown Prince is about to learn just how little real power the King actually has.
Leila: I am glad we got the side story with the letters between the King and the Other Queen. I now know what is going on with the two Queens and the Prince. I was surprised it wasn’t Ra On who figured out the invisible ink (though she claimed credit for it, did you notice?). The letters were an interesting way to show the palace politics, and tell us an emotional story to explain why the King had gotten so lily-livered.
Stephanie: LAUGH, yeah, I noticed that too, her taking credit for his friend find. She is so dumb I was half expecting her to set the thing of fire. The King is pretty much stuck no matter which way he goes. After the freak out with the Prince, when he explained just what the consequences of him speaking out against the ruling factions, I can see why he’s terrified to do anything at all. Damned if you don’t, damned x2000 if you do. I’m hoping the Crown Prince can get in there and show them what’s what, but I don’t think that could realistically be the case.
Leila: It seems like the whole cabinet of ministers, and a lot of the eunuchs, are on the evil Prime Minister’s side. The Prince would have to have a pretty bloody housecleaning to fix all of it. I am pleased to note that my lovely, wonderful, smart, and talented, second-lead, Yoon Sung (Jinyoung), appears to be working for the Forces of Good. I was annoyed when we got Yoon Sung for approximately 30 seconds in the 3rd episode, but he got to do some interesting things in the 4th. We see him appearing to resist his father’s plotting (while also appearing to be a good son). He makes it clear he knows Ra On is a girl, and doesn’t try to push her – that was a nice scene with the dress. And then the “rescue,” such as it is, at the very end of ep 4.
Stephanie: I remember your Jinyoung pout! I like to think that he’s a good character that, if given the opportunity, he’d join right back up with his friends again. Of course, probably not once they realize they’ll both be chasing after the same girl — like this friendship needed another impediment.
Leila: It’s only episode 4 and I’m already weeping internally about how doomed Ra On and her relationship with either of them is. I hope that maybe her role will be to bring the two (or 3) back together? I do feel pretty bad for the Prince at this juncture because he doesn’t realize she’s a girl and he’s way behind in the race for her affections. Except, she doesn’t look at Yoon Sung the way she looked at the Prince while he was sleeping. I admit, he looked pretty amazing.
Stephanie: I see a Little Mermaid thing going on here and I’m going to be pretty cranky when it happens. You know, he falls in love (on the sheer basis of she’s pretty and reminds him of his mom — although other dramas have given us less to go on) with the dancing girl, while ignoring the person who stands right next to him. I can’t wait for some interaction between Yoon Sung and the Prince, Yoon Sung digging at him about the ‘boy’.
Leila: Oh! I hadn’t thought of that angle! That would make me cranky too. I hope it comes out quickly that it was Ra On. He did squint at her with furrowed brow at one point like he was wondering where he’d seen her, and I thought they’d clear that up quickly. This plot point actually makes me annoyed. I don’t know how he didn’t recognize her immediately. She looks EXACTLY the same. And yes, I can see Yoon Sung poking at the Prince, though he’s been pretty mild to the Prince so far, and the Prince has been a little bit bitchy back. I’m looking forward to that backstory.
Stephanie: Going back to fairy tales, it’s like Cinderella. HOW DOES HE NOT RECOGNIZE HER??? Yes, she was wearing a fancy dress, but it’s not like he hadn’t spent the whole freaking night staring at her. At least here she was wearing a face scarf, but I would expect better of our trickster of a Crown Prince. Although it just makes me giggle — you think YOU have a secret, just you wait…
Leila: Oh man… When he finds out? I’m expecting epicly hurt and angry. But I guess it depends on how they develop the “the Prince is in love with his eunuch” story. That was in the plot description, right? I thought we’d get shades of Coffee Prince. Am I remembering correctly that he got a little handsy with her again in one of these two episodes? So far, no looks of love though. Just amusement, and some affection.
Stephanie: I have to say, I do love their relationship and I hope that they are able to get back to ‘friends’ before their relationship is even more messed up with the love and attraction thing. They were just cute together, and the Prince can use someone who treats him like the irritating person he is. As we can tell, this show is going to be high on court intrigue, but I hope it saves some brain power towards being about the relationship between these two. I’ll also say, as the show got more centered, I can see the chemistry between the two! They no longer seem like such an odd pairing. Whew.
Leila: Heh. Irritating. They do have more chemistry than I first thought as well. I hope they focus a little more on the relationships between the various people, not just Ra On and the Prince. I feel like they whole plot point of the King being afraid to make a move because it hurts the people he loves, was a big lead in to the themes of the show. I also hope that’s the focus because I suspect I am not smart enough to keep up with all these court machinations. Sageuks are confusing!
Stephanie: So. Shall we continue watching?
Leila: Yes! I’m still curious where this is going and I’m enjoying the characters. If it keeps treading the same trope-y path after a few more episodes, we can consider bailing. But right now? I’m still in. You?
Stephanie: You’re in, I’m in. Especially if Park Bo Gum is still in….