Maejukheon Painting Contest: Part One
Episode 5 of Lovers of the Red Sky begins with Ha Ram leading Cheon-Ki inside for the painting contest. The crowded marketplace is abuzz with painters and excited scholars, as Cheon-Ki thanks Ha-Ram and prepares for the contest.
All of our painters take their seats as Ha Ram steps up and greets the ministers. Prince Juhyang isn’t exactly pleased to see him though, although he disguises his disdain – as does Ha Ram.
The first task for the contest given includes painting boulders with flying brushstrokes and trees. With the contest used to find the next great painter, there are several different judges overseeing proceedings here. First up is Han Geon, next is his headmaster Choi Won-Ho, and thirdly Si-Saeng. There’s also the Dynasty’s best writer, Gi-Jeong and, of course, Juhyang himself.
The first and second round will be conducted on the same day with the second day used for the third and final round. There will be an evaluation, which includes a simple task of red and blue tiles. Blue means a fail and red means a pass. If a painter gets more red than blue, then they pass.
However, even if the painters fail a round, the higher judge’s all-pass tile allows that person to pass. Remember that, it’ll come in handy later on in the episode!
As Cheon-Ki gets settled in, she learns from the others that there’s mysticism surrounding this contest. That mysticism comes in the form of several fabled painters, each in attendance and wanting to win no matter what.
Cheon-Ki is not going to lose heart and she decides to continue on. The first contest’s theme is going to be decided by Han Geon. He gives them a 2 hour window as the gang are forced to paint. Only, there’s a problem. Cheon-Ki doesn’t understand the theme given it’s hidden within poetry.
Thankfully she’s helped out by one of the other contestants, who interprets it for her and leaves the girl with plenty of visions for her painting going forward.
The two hour window ends and the judges all harshly examine each painting. It’s only the first round and the crowd is whittled down to a small number. Thankfully Young-Wook – the guy who helped Cheon-Ki originally – passes as does our “goblin” and Cheon-Ki herself. In fact, she passes with flying colours.
Well, she would do but for Yangmyung recognizing the brushstrokes from the fraudulent painting in the Painter’s club.
Cheon-Ki stands up though and kneels before the prince, questioning just why she can’t paint. The Prince is incredibly nitpicky and basically fails her for the butterfly – the same butterfly that ends up as her personal mark on all her paintings.
Cheon-Ki speaks up, giving an impassioned plea, before turning and walking away. Just before she does, the other judges band together and decide to overrule him.
Just like that, two butterflies arrive and land on her painting – a sign from the Gods perhaps? Anyway, as they land on the painting Han-Geon decides to use his free pass stick and overrule the prince.
There’s no time for celebrations though as the second round begins. This time it’s a competition over brushstrokes. With 20 competitors left, the competition is really heating up and it begins with each of our contestants giving an impassioned speech about what this means for them. For Cheon-Ki, this is her whole life.
This contest is going to be tough too, with oiled paper, no redoes and only one brush. With all of this in mind, they need to come up with creative ways of painting to get those delicate brushstrokes down.
The theme itself is decided by Ha Ram, who speaks up about peaches in the spring. This strikes a chord for Cheon-Ki who remembers moments from their past together. As Cheon-Ki begins painting, the competition is left wide open.
The Episode Review
Lovers of the Red Sky returns with a solid episode, the first of a two-parter that hones in on painting technique through this competition. Will Cheon-Ki win? It seems doubtful and this early in the runtime it would make more sense for her not to.
However, Prince Yangmyung is clearly onto Cheon-Ki and understands that she’s the infamous forger. Will he sabotage her in the second round?
Either way, there’s a lot of intrigue with this one and it seems both Cheon-Ki and Ha Ram now know who the other is, adding an extra dynamic to the show.
With less demonic talk this time and more of a straightforward historical drama vibe, Lovers of the Red Sky doesn’t lose any of its charm or intrigue, leaving the door wide open for this exciting second part to come.
|Expect A Full Season Write-Up When This Season Concludes!|