The Divine Painter
Episode 2 of Lovers of the Red Sky begins with King Sungjo haunted by Ma Wang’s presence, hidden within Ha-Ram. This is, of course, unknown to our King right now but the presence of the demonic entity is enough to unnerve him nevertheless.
After the events of the previous chapter, we then cut forward 19 years later during the 28th year of King Sungjo’s reign. Cheon-Ki has her sight and she’s absolutely making the most of it, creating gorgeous paintings that inspire and surprise many.
By comparison, Ha Ram’s blindness has become a crux, with him forced to don a cane. Still, that doesn’t sway his kind demeanor – and certainly hasn’t changed his dashing looks. He’s known as Warden Ha now although some believe him to be a water monster, with some casting suspicious glances his way. It turns out that fateful night of the blinding, Ha-Ram’s Father was killed while Ha-Ram himself was taken away. He’s determined to get his revenge on those who have wronged him.
Cheon-Ki works as a Saehwa, and she’s made quite the impression around town. She’s also very gifted at copying other artists, including the talented Park Yi, which is put to work for Jung Shwen-Nae and the morally questionable Baekyu Painters Society.
After creating a really beautiful painting, imitating its style, Cheon-Ki decides to try and sell her painting – and who better than the resident rich man Il Wol-Seong. He wears a mask to cover his face, or so legend goes, although it’s clear this guy is actually Ha-Ram in disguise.
Cheon-Ki’s role as an imitator painter is only a means to an end for something much more desperate. Eun-Ho’s condition continues to deteriorate, with him struggling to recognize Cheon-Ki’s face now that she’s older. He’s also struggling with his paintings too. Unfortunately, Cheon-Ki soon finds out that all the work she’s been doing has been for nothing.She’s been conned with fake medicine all this time.
At the palace, our Head Shaman is still alive too. Given the rains that prevented a big rebellion, the King spared her life but told her to exile. Instead, the shaman finds the jealous Crown Prince, who just so happens to be the Grand Prince now. He’s pretty impatient, but she promises something big will befall the dynasty soon.
Could it be the upcoming painting gathering? It certainly seems that way as Hyungnim announces he’ll be there. A run-in with Il Wol Seong (which is of course Ha-Ram’s alias) reveals that he is the mask-wielder. However, as he heads back to his room, Cheon-Ki comes rushing in a blind panic, determined to get revenge on those who have wronged her.
Cheon-Ki immediately calls in the authorities and has Jung Shwen-Nae arrested for plagiarism. When Ha-Ram finds out, he decides to have the place shut down so further investigation can be conducted.
As fate would have it, Cheon-Ki ends up hiding inside Ha-Ram’s palanquin. In doing so, both seem to gain their memories back of the other, given the amnesia they’re both suffering from. When Shwen-Nae is released from custody and goes searching for Cheon-Ki, Ha-Ram covers for him and manages to save the woman’s life. However, the red eyes are what spook Shwen-Nae and force him to refrain from continuing his interrogation.
As the palanquin tips, Cheon-Ki falls into Ha-Ram and the reds of his eyes seem to fade a little. However, it hits him with a nasty headache, as his butterfly tattoo seems to dissolve.
With Cheon-Ki kicked out in the woods and forced to walk back to town alone, Ha-Ram loses control as black smoke wisps up from his body. This appears to manifest itself into a strange demon. Seeking out Cheon-Ki, the demon of Ma Wang speaks up and decides to go after her eyes.
The Episode Review
Lovers of the Red Sky returns with a slower chapter but one that works to deepen the world-building, allow the supporting characters more run-time and even add some humour into the fold too.
These brief moments of levity help to offset some of the more dramatic and tense sequences, especially seeing Ha Ram transform at the end of this episode. It’s clear now that Cheon-Ki is the key to all of this but it could well be a case of Ha-Ram and Cheon-Ki working together (or even falling in love!) to break this curse and stop the monster from having its wicked way.
So far though, this has been an intriguing original and the ending certainly sets things up for a dramatic follow-up week to come.
This blend of fantasy and historical drama certainly works well and the visuals are fantastic at times. The scenes involving Cheon-Ki painting early on, with small bursts of colour slowly seeping into the paper and accompanying black and white dancing scene, works so well to match the style of this series. Hopefully we’ll get more moments like this.
Overall, this looks like a promising series and certainly one to keep an eye on over the weeks!
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|