The Moon that Embraces the Sun Episode 11 Recap

I’ve pretty much confirmed that my love for The Moon that Embraces the Sun has waned (har har, moon joke). It was a steady and somewhat slow downward slide where lackluster acting, a plodding pace, and some wretchedly bad character and narrative development slowly sucked away my affection. I might switch to baby recaps soon, because I just don’t care about any of the characters anymore. Not even the OTP, who continue to circle each other. I do feel something for Yang Myung, who has become such a victim in this drama it’s not even funny. How much can a person’s life suck? I don’t know, but this drama sure as heck looks like it wants to release even more woe on him.

I wish the writer could remember that the characters are foremost human beings, with other emotions and interested outside of singlemindedly pursuing one objective. I feel like the entire drama rests on Yeon Woo – how she affects people, is she dead or not, what she represents, etc. – and that is not compelling enough in anyway to raise this story above the pedestrian. Kim Soo Hyun continues to sell Hwon like his entire entertainment career rests on nailing this performance, so I rest the laurels for this drama’s insane ratings on his shoulders. He’s what keeps me coming back.

Episode 11 recap:

Yang Myung grabs Wol and asks if she remembers him (from the town, not from their youth)? The guards immediately descend and try to drag Yang Myung away until he reveals his identity. Too bad Nok Young shows up and orders Wol taken to the King as she blocks Yang Myung from pursuing. Nok Young tries to convince Yang Myung to give up and leave. Wol is just a shaman acting like a charm, a piece of paper no less. Yang Myung feels like his life is just like a piece of paper. If the gods decree he can’t pursue her, he doesn’t care because this is his life. Nok Young finally stalls him with the age old excuse that he’s putting Wol’s life in jeopardy. Woon sees this scene.

Once Wol enter Hwon’s chambers and sits down, Hwon starts interrogating her with a rapid fire series of questions about her past. Wol can’t answer any of it because she has no memory of her past. She explains that when the spirit descends on a shaman, the memories leave so the shaman can cut ties with her former life. Hwon wants to break the seal so that she can remember her past. He asks if her past life includes any memory of him. Wol can only cry, begging him to stop pressing her any further. She doesn’t have the answer he seeks, because she is not the person he is looking for. She doesn’t know how much they look alike, but he needs to ask that person. Hwon finally stops his inquisition.

Nok Young tears into a crying Jang Shil, clearly knowing immediately how Yang Myung found Wol. While Jang Shil begs forgiveness, Nok Young has her cast out of the Royal Astrology Office. Jang Shil cries that her orabeoni is so sad, all she wants is to give him one thing. Everything is given to the King, she wants to give him but one thing. Yang Myung walks home, asking if Wol met the King first (again), and if she intends to stay by his side?

Jang Shil suddenly stops crying and stands up. She faces Nok Young and says “Mother, what do you mean by this? Why should I live my life for someone else?” We see Yang Myung visiting his mother who is praying at the temple. She is praying for the King, which immediately touches Yang Myung’s touchy nerve. He asks why she can’t say his name first for once, for once can’t she do something because she wants to as opposed to because she ought to. Yang Myung cries as he announces that from now on, he will not live for anyone else. He will cry, smile, steal her away, do whatever he wants. We see Jang Shil has been possessed by Yang Myung and is saying the same words he’s speaking to his mother right now.

It’s then that Wol returns. Jang Shil immediately grabs her and begs her to run away with her (meaning Yang Myung). He has always been thinking of her. If it was him, she would not have become like this. Before Jang Shil can say anymore, Nok Young grabs her and manages to dispel the possession. Jang Shil regains her senses and is promptly tossed out. Nok Young decrees that she will use the spirit’s punishment on anyone who dares to allow Jang Shil back. Despite Wol’s begging, Nok Young refuses to relent. Seol calms Wol down, reminding her that this has happened before and Jang Shil will eventually be allowed back.

Wol goes to see Nok Young and announces that she wants to leave the Royal Astrology Office. Not as a threat because Jang Shil got tossed out, but because she realizes that perhaps she isn’t suited to be here. Nok Young may be right and there is nothing Wol can do for him (Hwon). Her presence doesn’t take away his ills, but instead has created turmoil and confusion for him. The person he needs isn’t her. Wol’s departure is what is good for Hwon.

Hwon has spent the entire night analyzing the letters, despite Hyung Sun and Woon worrying about him. Hwon re-reads Yeon Woo’s letter about how her father is bringing medicine and soon she will no be able to see Hwon again. Team Hwon realizes Yeon Woo may have been predicting her own death. Hwon comes to the conclusion that the death of the Crown Princess was perhaps not simply a death by illness. Hwon asks Woon if Yeom might know something, but Woon explains that Yeom was sent away during that period so he can’t know anything. Hwon realizes that asking Yeom now would just trigger more pain for him.

Hwon sends Yeom away on a vacation. Mom reminds Yeom to comfort the Princess before he leaves. She’s right, as Princess Minhwa is already sobbing and sniffling in her room about her husband leaving her side. Yeom enters and Minhwa begs him to take her with him. He reminds her that the distance is far and travel will be hard on her. He tells her to wait for him to return. Minhwa sudden realizes that her behavior must be unbearable for him. Or the fact that he can’t become an important person because he married her. Yeom says none of that is true. She saved his family after they lost Yeom Woo, and she brought laughter back into the family. For that he is forever grateful. Minhwa wants him to promise to return, she will wait her for him to return because she believes in him. Yeom wipes away her tears as she lets out a wan smile.

Yoon Dae Hyung and his cronies are discussing Yeom’s vacation, wondering the purpose behind his trip. They suspect Hwon is starting to assemble his people, which includes Yeom. They decide to tame a bit of Hwon’s excess energy (in governing the country). At court, they beg Hwon to summon Yeom back. As the husband to the princess, he is not allowed to participate in politics. Hwon gives the excuse that he’s sending Yeom on vacation. They ministers suggest sending Yeom to another place, one less dangerous and filled with rebels who could capture him and create problems. Hwon makes a snarky remark that he can hear people saying that the King is but a puppet of his court. Afterwards, Hwon thinks to himself that the ministers not only broke the wings of Yeom, now they are using his safety as a warning to Hwon.

Hwon takes his team and runs to the records department, where he proceeds to behave like an angry overlord demanding to know where all the citizen missives are. During Hwon’s outburst, he attracts everyone’s attention and allows Woon to slip away and find the records from the time of Yeon Woo’s death. Even Hyung Sun gets in on the act, as he takes the records books smuggled out by Woon. Once Hyung Sun signals to Hwon that the books are in hand, Hwon leaves as if nothing happened.

Hwon reads the official record books which continue to sell the same crock of bullshit that Yeon Woo got sick and died. Looking back, the timing and suddenness of the illness is so suspicious. If she had gotten sick before the selection, she would not simply not been part of it. Because she got sick afterwards, she got kicked out of the Palace and her entire family suffered.

Bo Kyung’s spy reports that she overheard Hwon talking to the shaman about how she looks like someone. But the shaman repeated that she doesn’t know how much she looks like her, but she is not her. Bo Kyung rushes off to get some more answers. As she walks past the Hidden Moon Residence, she suddenly hears a woman weeping and the winds suddenly pick up. It’s eerie as all out. Bo Kyung continues on her way and arrives at Queen Yoon’s residence, only to be told that the Head of the Royal Astrology Office is inside meeting with the Queen.

Queen Yoon is pleased that everything has worked so well and wants to greatly reward the shaman. Nok Young suggests that they remove the illness absorbing shaman since the King is all well now. Her presence might interfere with the marriage consummation. Nok Young suggests placing a different seal in the King’s quarters, one that aids in marriage consummation. Queen Yoon buys her story and tells Nok Young to go ahead and do it.

As Nok Young leaves, Bo Kyung waylays her armed with her usual placid plastic smile. Bo Kyung thanks Nok Young for curing the King, especially in the use of the shaman amulet. Bo Kyung cuts to the chase and asks if the shaman looks like the deceased Heo Yeon Woo. The King, who dislikes women, readily accepted the shaman. There must be a reason for that. Nok Young says the shaman looks like an ordinary girl. When Bo Kyung asks to meet her, Nok Young points out that Bo Kyung has been hearing voices for some time because she is filled with anxiety. Nok Young assures Bo Kyung that the shaman is leaving the Palace soon and the marriage consummation has been moved up. Bo Kyung is pleased to hear this and appears to be appeased for now.

Nok Young has planned for Wol and Seol to leave the Palace tomorrow. Wol goes to pack when a letter from Jang Shil is delivered. In it, Jang Shil reveals that she is happy and well taken care of, by none other than Yang Myung. He’s her idol, a hero who is a man among men. She’s safe and staying at an inn, but she needs Wol to bring some clothes to her. As Wol is packing up Jang Shil’s belongings, she comes across the hair pin in the shape of the moon embracing the sun. Wol doesn’t recognize it and packs it away for Jang Shil.

Hwon continues his sleuthing, realizing that his father likely suspected something as well. Woon notes that the doctor who treated Yeon Woo is dead, Yeon Woo’s father is dead, everyone is dead except the personal servant who assisted the late King. Hyung Sun comes running in to deliver a snowman to Hwon, wondering why his sire suddenly wants a snowman. Of course it’s a ruse. Hyung Sun walks inside with the snowman to find Hwon gone. He pouts and then screams Hwon’s name. Hwon rubs his ears because he can hear Hyung Sun’s screeching from the town.

Hwon and Woon want to meet with the former servant but is told the man is away traveling. Hwon can see the man’s shoes and loudly announces that the truth will come out regardless of how hard he tries conceal it. The man should rest up because tomorrow he will be called into the Palace.Β Hwon suggest to Woon that the man was likely told to keep the secret at the behest of the late King. Yeon Woo’s death was not a simply death, and Hwon suspects his father may have left clues. If it was not a simple death and she was murdered, and his father kept silent about it even though he knew, there must be a good reason for that. For now, Hwon wants to enjoy this outing since there is nothing else they can do at this time.

Yang Myung sits and watching Jang Shil eat. He encourages her to return to the Royal Astrology Office but she’s reluctant. She worries that she’ll get tortured when she returns. Yang Myung wonders why such a cowardly girl would risk everything to help him.

Jang Shil explains that he was the first person who helped her. She doesn’t even remember her parents, but she’s never forgotten his face. Yang Myung reveals that there is someone he can’t forget either. Jang Shil is curious and asks about that person. Yang Myung describes Yeon Woo as a very intelligent and beautiful person. She brings him comfort, she also brings him pain, but she is someone who makes him happy. Jang Shil sighs, muttering that she called Wol here for nothing. Yang Myung realizes that Wol is on her way there right now, thanks to Jang Shil the little cupid.

Wol walks through town and when she passes the paper seller, she hears voices from her past. The same thing keeps happening as she continues to walk through town, including flashbacks from her life in the Palace. Wol suddenly stumbles and almost falls but a man’s hand steadies her. She looks up and sees Hwon. They stand there just staring at each other, with him propping her up.

Hwon and Wol walk side-by-side in awkward silence until Hwon asks why she’s out. He suddenly realizes that they both discussed their reasons for being out already. Hwon changes the subject and asks why she is out instead of resting. He teases that perhaps this is why he’s been feeling tired and sore lately, because his shaman amulet is not well rested. Wol takes him seriously and worriedly asks if he’s alright, leaving Hwon having to explain that he was just kidding. Wol, a sense of humor she does not have. Wol tries to excuse herself to finish her errand. Hwon wants to stop her but he sees the minister coming towards them. Woon comes running to confirm the coterie of evil ministers are all nearby, urging Hwon to leave now before he’s recognized.

Wol keeps walking and runs into one minister chiding a child for dirtying his silk robe. The child begs forgiveness but the minister wants him dragged home as a slave. Wol steps up and asks the child be released since running into people in a crowded town is quite common. The minister doesn’t see anything wrong with getting compensation for his expensive robe getting dirty. Wol lectures the minister on abusing his wealth and authority, which leaves her to become a target of his wrath. Before Wol can be dragged off, Hwon runs up and extricates her from the situation.

Hwon and Wol run away hand in hand, bumping into Yoon Dae Hyung along the way. He notices Hwon and wonders why the King is here. Once they are safe, Hwon lectures Wol on doing something foolish. What if she were dragged off to the authorities, she might lose her life. Wol says she was only doing what is right, and gives Hwon advice. Hwon concedes that what she says is true, but suddenly Wol’s attention is captured by the puppet show going on. A man runs up to offer them the best seat in the house to watch the story of a warrior and his lost love.

Hwon is dragged up to the front and Yeon Woo follows. When the man wants payment, and Hwon just stands there because he is not carrying anything money, Wol smiles and pays for the two of them. Hwon looks uncomfortable and goes to sit down. Wol sits down next to him. Hwon promises to pay her back. The puppet turns out to be the story of Hwon and Yeon Woo. Wol watches intently while Hwon is clearly bored since it’s his life story. He ends up stretching and shifting, which annoys the people behind him because he keeps blocking their view.

Hwon turns to yell at them, asking if they know who he is! But he stops himself and turns back to watch the rest of the show. Hwon sees how interested Wol is in the show and asks if she likes such low class entertainment. Wol answers that she is very interested. Hwon just stares at her intently while she watches the show. Yang Myung is waiting and waiting for Wol and finally decides to head out to look for her while Jang Shil nods off. He covers her first with a jacket. Awwww, these two are cute together.

Wol continues to watch the show while Hwon continues to watch Wol. She quietly asks him if he sees the person (he is looking for)? Hwon says he didn’t see her, explaining that the person he wants to see is dead. Wol stares at Hwon, finally understanding why Hwon is so obsessed with her. Hwon takes responsibility for what happened, it was because he couldn’t and didn’t protect there. There is so much he wants to say to her that he never got to say. All he could do was send the child away.

Since he heard that shamans can communicate with spirits, Hwon asks Wol to pass a message to that person. Hwon looks at Wol and says “I really, really like her.” Hwon and Wol sit there and stare at each other. Hwon lets out a small smile. The camera pulls back and we see Yang Myung standing there staring at this scene. His eyes are red rimmed as he turns around.

Thoughts of Mine:

This episode was actually not bad, and did move the story forward in a huge way by having Hwon start investigating Yeon Woo’s death. But sadly I’ve emotionally checked out. It’s like breaking up with an ex with the age old “I just don’t have feelings for you anymore” after the relationship short of peters out over time with a series of small but steady mishaps. I think this drama has all the makings of being great, but it’s so far below reaching that possibility I’ve grown weary of waiting for it to rock. But within the parameters of what it does have, I continue to find choice morsels to satisfy me. I used to think that only Kim Soo Hyun and Kim Min Seo were rocking their roles (with Jung Il Woo inconsistent but getting more and more into character), but this episode little Jang Shil delivered big time. What a talented young actress, with eyes that sparkled with any emotion required and expressions that are pitch perfect. She’s got a bright future, this one.

I enjoyed the Jang Shil-Yang Myung scenes immensely, outside of any romantic subtext. I like how she worships him, he definitely needs someone to make him number 1 as opposed to forever number 2. I really wished the drama had Yeon Woo have feelings for both brothers and then choose Hwon., because the love triangle is such a uneven three legged stool that I can’t really cheer for Yang Myung (despite pitying him) because Yeon Woo never liked him and it’s clear Wol doesn’t either. The lack of a divided emotional hook renders the love triangle so forced, keeping Yang Myung pointlessly pining after Yeon Woo and now Wol. if he wants to start living his life for himself, as he so announced to his mom, then I suggest he stop living in the past and start moving forward, namely find himself a nice girl and try a reciprocated relationship out for a chance.

I loved all the Bo Kyung scenes in this episode, despite still loathing her, because Kim Min Seo just brings her to life. Her face registered every subtle emotional turn, and she was brilliant when she plastered on that fake smile in front of Nok Young. It’s actually a smile that looks fake, which is just awesome acting. Can’t wait for her to get her dues and see how she falls apart. Hwon was amazing in this episode as well, so strategic and unrelenting. I’m totally loving his personality, despite being seriously full of himself sometimes. His relationship with Hyung Sun continues to tickle my happy bone, and even Woon was less wooden than usual. Yeom and Minhwa continue to be the useless subplot that I roll my eyes at whenever they show up, because the two have zero chemistry and their story is wafer thin. I wish I could just enjoy this pretty drama without noticing its flaws, but alas I appear not to possess an off switch in my brain once my emotions stubbornly refuse to engage.


The Moon that Embraces the Sun Episode 11 Recap — 21 Comments

  1. Heh. I swear this was me yesterday, telling friends that I’ve officially moved on from this drama. And yet…one lopsided smile from KSH after he said “I really, really liked her”, and I’m smitten yet again. This time it definitely stings because I still have so many gripes about the story and the execution but alas, that KSH is just too much to resist.

    Anyways, I am rooting for Team Jang Shil-Yang Myung. Whether as a romantic couple or as kindred spirits, I’ll take it. She is awesome. And my crazy idea is somehow Yeon Woo’s spirit will possess Jang Shil’s and she will have a confrontation with Hwon. In that scene, YW can then tell Hwon (again) not to blame himself for what happened to her and confess that she likes him too. They can then cry in each other’s shoulders…or more. Haha. If this is the only way that Hwon can let go of Yeon Woo and stop being confused, then yes I need it. And also because I am confident that the actress playing Jang Shil can handle this type of heavy scene and match KSH. Obviously this is just my wishful thinking. But really, how awesome would it be if we can finally see someone respond to KSH’s fire? πŸ˜‰

    • Ah, I like your thinking! Especially responding to KSH’s fire! Yes, this is what we need, I’m tired of watching him pouring his heart out to Wol (aka Wall), and all I get was her big eyes or motionless eyes that I can’t read what she’s feeling… I need more.
      I can’t help but kept thinking that the lack of spark for the OTP is because HGI is married and hence more reserved? Not too sure if this is logical…

  2. I am totally with you here ; Kim Soo Hyun is the only reason why I still watch the show . I agree that some actresses do the job but the flaw is indeed the story . This production is for tired people : the drama flows and you are not bothered in anyway by it : you can go sleep at ease afterwards . Koreans overwork : that’s why they enjoy this drama .

  3. I have to admit that I don’t feel like “care”/interest in the story anymore. It has many potentials to be great in the first place, but then everything just gradually fades away with the development of the story. What are the reasons? Bad writing, so-so acting (of course except for KSH, JIW and Huyng-Sun, haha)… Or maybe the reason is that I just hate all the insertion of “fate” in almost everything in this drama. So I’m with you about the baby recap, simply the drama (now) isn’t worth your time for the whole recap.

  4. my frustrations….thus I stand in front of you there seems to be an ocean between us….I wish to see the stars but your brightness engulfs my visions….should I prefer to comfort myself with another light softer and more gentle….so I can be friends with the stars again… πŸ™‚ in a daze with Jung Il woo it’s his turn to shine right….

  5. the story is getting a bit better but still dragging when it comes to character development. so funny how could the evil father in law could recognized the King right away without even looking closely at him??? there’s no doubt this father in law minister is all abt evilness…..hoping that Jang Shil would bring the hair pin to the King so she could tell the world that the Shaman is indeed the same YW they are looking and longing for.
    I felt bad for HGI coz the writer could have made her role more appealing even having memory loss well i guessed as a Shaman she has to be unemotional most of the time.
    Jang Shil acting was really good i hope she would have the courage to go to the King and reveal all the things she know and show the hairpin as well, wonder how the King would react to that. like most of you, I only keep watching this moon sun drama bec of KHS acting…other than that the whole drama is not that bad but not that good either…at least we can not say it sucks that would be sad….let’s pray that the writer have better ideas to enhance all the character’s role…for me the book looks well written than the TV drama, ive read chapters 1 to chapter 6 via blueelectric ground and so far I am glued to it and excited to read what chapter 7 and beyond contain….
    Ms. K thank you so much again for taking time to recap this episode. can’t wait to read the next one before watching it….more power and God bless you more too!!! keep writing please…

    • ”as a Shaman she has to be unemotional most of the time”

      Well, it is still HGI’s bad acting because NK and Jang Shil are also shamans but you can see so much emotion through their eyes. . .

      • yup but actually being of character as what is expected thus remain a conflict….it is being human aside from being a shaman that brings contradictions….it was her fate it was her desitny to be a shaman (having the gift of visions) but everything else lays on decisions where no human being is exmpted from making (thus to embrace her fate)….thus a king or any human alive that may have a title would experience the same thing the pursuit of happiness and love….

      • They made Wol a stupid girl now – she was so bright and educated before, where is that girl now? even if she lost her memory, she still had the will to read and learn, the will to discover things.
        Not only this, But the actress is bad too (sorry, I keep repeating my self over and over and it became frustrating) HGI can not play any emotion (she had only one moment of good acting – when the king made that declaration of love for YW at the theater). She was watching the play like watching a white wall (even my 5 years old girl can act better). Can they switch now the actress with someone better, please!!!!!!!

  6. Thank you koala for doing recap, especially when you mentioned that you’re very busy lately.

    I feel the same away about this episode. It’s finally moving somewhere, but i’m not so emotionally invested any. KSH is the only thing keep me coming back. Bo Kyung and Yang Mung character has such potential, but the ship has sailed. It’s such a waste of character development. Everyone say YangMung is pitiful, but I don’t find myself really care for his character anymore. His one-sided love is so lop-sided i cant even consider it’s a love triangle. I’m more interest in BoKyung character simply because Kim Min Seo is such a fireball. I love every minute that she’s on screen.
    The actress playing JangShil really shined in this episode. She actually was in Dream High 1 as well with Kim Soo Hyun as one of the student.

  7. same here XD missing the child characters so bad i’m rewatching ep 1- 6 over and over. janshil / ym and hwon / hs dynamics are the only reason i’m not dropping this dramaa

  8. Miss K, need your recap for ep 12! Want to know if your thoughts badly on this as I do enjoy this ep the most (since the adults came in). LH-BK last scene was awesome, I was actually hoping the next ep will capture their kiss! It’s the first time I wish the OTP was another pair… the scene was on fire and it feels that the story could be twisted where they could be madly in love with each other…

  9. Yeah, I don’t get the Yeom and Minhwa pairing either. Zero chemistry. Neither actors work. They are the weakest link. I wish Wol would appear more alive though … to justify why one would be so enamoured with her. She appears rather ‘flavorless’. So Koala, you are right the drama does ride on Kim Soo Hyun’s shoulders. And he’s doing a fine job nailing his character down to the flick of an eyebrow!

  10. Love your writing! I enjoy your honest blatant truth and comments tremandously. I think Im starting to feel tired about hoping that this drama will get better too or rather be worthy of such high ratings. Truth is, the actors and writing just hasnt come together. I cant feel the depth of the character, the flow of the drama. Its really such a pity when they could really have done so much more.
    As great as KHS is, that alone is not going to be enough to satisfy the viewers much longer.

  11. Hello Miss K, this is my first time commenting on your blog. I personally think that, the major problem with this drama is its screenplay. It is so slow, with little things happened in every episode. I mean, it’s been 5 episodes since the adult actors have been introduced, but it seems like they were doing nothing other than outpouring some useless emotion again and again. Whether you realized it or not, the story is pretty much carried forward by other supporting characters (e.g great queen dowager, head shaman, jang shil etc). I can’t help but comparing this drama with The Princess’ Man. Both were touted as an epic love story, where the couples must fight all the obstacles to be together. While the latter was succeed in doing so, this drama is busy dealing with their character’s past and sadness. Too much screen time on this weeping and crying will bored me to death. They should balance all this elements and drive the story forward.

  12. @daniela: LoL! luv ur comment..they truely made Wol into a stupid one..sometime we wonder how come the director cannot see the difference skill of her with others cast..did she bribe for the role? :))

  13. plus i can see why miss K doesn’t recap anymore..there are lots of scenes on ep 11 and 12 that supposed to make us hold the breath but just missing away cause KSH doesn’t get any appropriate reply..poor him,one of us should replace HGI πŸ˜›

  14. For those who thinks HGI as the amnesiaic Wol is emotionless in the past 11 episodes and you will finally realise why she has to act so blank all the time! She thought all these memory flashes are her ‘psychic power’, not her own memory flashes… But when she’s forced to confront herself in the very room where she was cursed, she’s totally let go all the pent up emotions boiling inside her all the previous episodes …check out soompi forum,
    All the HGI haters were all cheering HGI’s hysteric performance as return of the Queen!

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