Friday, March 16, 2012

The Moon That Embraces the Sun Series Finale

OMG, there is so much I can say about the ending of The Moon That Embraces the Sun. I was on an emotional roller-coaster, going from sadness to WTF to everything in between, all within 60 minutes.

The end of episode 19 had my heart pulling in all directions! With the two brothers standing back-to-back as the rebels ran in broke my heart! It's just how they should be; standing together, watching each other's back, as Hwon adores his hyungnim and Yang-Myung always looks out for him. But back to reality, there's that whole high-treason thing that makes it so sad. I just keep hoping that Yang will be like, "just kidding!!!" and everything will be okay.

Brother against brother against bff?!? NOOOO! DON'T DO IT! Minister Kim yells repeatedly at Yang to kill Hwon. Yang screams and... turns on the traitors! Oh, thank goodness. It is a double plot, after all. I like that it was revealed in flashback here, but I don't like that the high-treason plot didn't even get brought up until the end of Episode 18. It would've been nice if there was a 5 or 6 episode build up with all this secret plotting going on. It would've made Yang's betrayal to the ministers and the relief of the audience all the more satisfying. It does make me feel better that it was all Hwon's idea; that contrary to what was portrayed, he wasn't sitting idly by. It shows that he's a better king than his father was by not letting the ministers or relatives walk all over him.

King Hwon, Prince Yang, and Woon run to safety, and, for some reason, it cracks me up when the king's secret service appears out of nowhere and shocks the rebel ministers. Did you really think the ruler of the entire country didn't have tight security? Their "oh sh!t" faces are priceless.

Epic battle ensues. It's about time! Aside from renegade ninja attacks, there hasn't been all that much action in Moon/Sun, even though there was so much potential for it! Minister Kim is the only one left standing at the end (Impressive. He wasn't all talk after all.) and the brothers team up to cut him down--literally. But right when this show starts getting cool, Hwon screams out, "Hyungnim!"

Turns out one random injured rebel soldier has enough energy and power to throw a giant spear at Prince Yang. And what does everyone do about it? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Are you kidding me?! Everyone in the King's Army is out of arrows? All of them have broken their swords? They all forgot how to fist fight? And Yang couldn't move 3 steps to the left?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! WHY!!!!!!! I am so devastated and annoyed all at the same time! Laying in Woon's lap, Yang gives his death speech telling his *ahemlamecough* reasoning for dying, but I still wanted Yang to live past the battle. Or at least not die so willingly!
King Hwon: I just commanded you to bring that list. I didn't command you to die!
I agree with you there, Hwon. I can't believe that he just stood there and waited to be killed. And even Woon is brought to tears! That's it, where's my tissue box?

Meanwhile, everyone else pretty much dies. Queen Bo-Kyung, Seol (ep. 19), Grandma/Queen Han (ep. 19), and Nok-Young. Most I don't care about because I wasn't particularly invested in them, as their characterizations made them pretty annoying. I was pissed about Seol, though, as I wanted her to prove to Yeom that she could protect him with her kick-butt fighting skills despite the fact that she's a woman. But of course not. She doesn't even get to verbally proclaim her love. Fail.

But guess who doesn't die? Princess Minhwa! Look, either make a court where everyone receives justice and punishment (the more interesting option) or just kill everyone off completely. Why only go part of the way? And then she gets her happily ever after! WHY! Just because she had a kid? Now I'm not saying that a child shouldn't be with his mother, but really? Why does Minhwa end up with Yeom anyway? I'm so not buying their love story, as Yeom treated Minhwa as a little sister all the way up until she announced her pregnancy. He only slept with her because he felt bad for her (and the guilt trip from his mom). And the reconciliation only came about for the sake of their son. Ugh!

I'm not particularly pleased with Yeon-Woo's character, either. Yeah, I was pulling for her and Hwon the whole way, but Yeon-Woo as an adult is awful. She was better off being Wol because at least she was headstrong when she thought she was a shaman. But once she remembered who she was, she became this passive, useless character. I thought she was hiding her identity so she could do some stealth butt-kicking with the help of Hwon and his loyalists. But no, she sits in Hwon's closet all day and does nothing. I understand that women's rights/freedom/independence is a relatively new concept in the time of human existence, but this is ridiculous. She was a strong, idealistic child, a strong, fearless shaman, but a weak, idle woman? How is this proving that you're still worthy of becoming the mother of the nation?

To lighten the mood, we get a couple scenes with Hyung-Sun. I don't get the "it's been an honor" speech from ep. 19 since he obviously lives. Anyway, we see Hwon practicing his instrument as a surprise for Queen Yeon-Woo's birthday. Of course, he sucks, and tosses it to the side. Hyung-Sun picks it up and promptly rocks out, saying he learned by just observing Hwon's lessons. Hyung-Sun smiles. Hwon tells him to face the wall. LOL. At the end, Hwon plays for Yeon-Woo outside of the Hidden Moon Building, but breaks a string. But wait... is the instrument playing on its own? Oh no, that's just Hyung-Sun playing in the shadows covering up for His Majesty's royal lack of talent. Jokingly, Yeon-Woo asks if flower petals are going to fall to the sky. Hwon says Hyun-Sun is too old to climb up on roofs now. Hilarious, since the King probably thought about having him do just that! Oblivious to the fact that Hwon got discovered as a fraud, Hyun-Sun happily continues playing in the background. I'm glad that there was at least one character in Moon/Sun that didn't make me mad at some point.

Is The Moon that Embraces the Sun a show that I'm going to watch again and again? Probably not. Did I enjoy it despite all the frustration? Yes. There was something about it that kept pulling me in, and it wasn't just the hot male actors. There's a reason that I sat up at 4 am to watch the English subtitled release of Moon/Sun finale the day after it aired (And it was only 90% subbed! I figured out the rest based on context clues, the acting, and what few Korean words I recognize). If you're looking for something to watch, choose this, and don't feel guilty by skipping a couple of the filler episodes in the middle!

Sources/Credits: 1 2 3 4 


  1. I feel the same way, its just so disappointing. The storytelling was bad! If it weren't for certain *amusing* character interactions, actor performances and pretty visual style...I wouldn't have stuck to this drama.

    There was so much potential to the story (even if its simple and we all know what's going to happen) but the story decided to stick with the romance and left it shallow. *sigh*

    SKK scandal had a pretty simple story as well but it played well the politics with the romance. Each character even the minor ones were stable.

    So many awesome character in TMETS wasted~ :(

    1. Agreed. I only stuck with it because there were so many directions they could have gone with the drama, and I kept hoping that it would get better. The way it happened, I think the series would've been better at 16 episodes instead of 20.