River Where The Moon Rises – K-Drama Episode 2 Recap & Review

Tribal Games

Episode 2 of River Where The Moon Rises begins with Dal and Pyong Gang reunited once more after all these years. After letting the bandits go, Dal helps patch up Pyong Gang and heads off alone.

Only, he’s not alone for long, as he heads back to an outpost where his blind Mother throws some water on him. She smells blood too, although Dal is quick to reassure her that this is deer blood and they’re in no danger.

Meanwhile, Pyong Gang heads into town where she overhears the townsfolk mumbling and bemoaning the ruthless King and how poorly he’s running the country. As day turns to night, Go Won-Pyo boasts with his advisors about the King and how the five tribes have turned away from him. The King, as we soon see, is extremely paranoid and even more so now that the Queen is gone.

Pyong Gang learns all this as part of her plan, as she’s handed a map of the shrine by the Chief to carry out her mission. That evening she heads into the palace and claims she’s been sent by the Clown Prince. There, she catches a glimpse of Gong Son, who was with her in the palace all those years ago.

As Pyong Yang fondly moves the sword and straightens the banner, Gong-Son realizes that this is the Princess and hurries off to try and find her. Pyong Gang evades her though, still wrestling with the fractured memories she holds.

Elsewhere, Dal heads to Mount Songhak where the King arrives, drunk. He meets Go Geon, the Lord of Songhak Fortress, who bows to the King. The ceremony gets underway but one of the shaman dancers happens to be Pyong Gang herself, who tries to bide her time and strike.

However, Go Gun notices a letter hidden on the stairwell claiming that one of the Shaman is going to strike the King. Sensing something afoul, he investigates the tent and notices one of the girls tied up. He hurries off, feeding this back to his Father and imploring him to cancel the ceremony. His Father does no such thing though, as we cut across to the King with his eyes shut tight.

Mourning the loss of the Queen, he suddenly stops the ceremony and continues to drink, stumbling into the middle of this arena. He locks eyes with Pyong Gang, who stares daggers through him. He seems to recognizes her, prompting Pyong Gang to drop her cover and fight her way through to safety.

She charges through the woods, sliding, scrambling, straining to get away. Dizzy from the obvious adrenaline rush, she slips and finds herself clinging to a rope for dear life on the edge of a large rock face. Dal suddenly shows up and saves the Princess from her ordeal, thwarting the threat of the guards with Pyong Gang’s help. Only, she’s shot in the back with a stray arrow, forcing Dal to take her away.

Unfortunately news of this reaches Doo Joong-Seo too, who realizes the Princess has been unsuccessful in her endeavour. He commands his subordinates to find her before anyone from the Gyeru Tribe does. Between those from Cheonjubang and the Gyeru Tribe, evasion falls on the heavy shoulders of Dal who takes the Princess to his tent to recover. There, she constantly whispers “Mother” in her half-conscious state.

Meanwhile, the King continues to lose control, seeing hallucinations and forcing the girls at the ceremony to fight each other.

Pyong Gang eventually recovers and wakes up, knocking Dal to the ground when he heads in to check on her. Eventually she sits ready to eat, introducing herself as Ga Jin. Given On Dal’s Mother is blind, she asks a lot of questions about who Pyong Gang really is.

Pyong Gang eventually heads out into the woods, where she runs into two of her fellow comrades. Tara San and Tara Jin find her alive and request she head back to the tribe. It turns out Tara Jin has messed up all the traps outside Dal’s place but finds herself taken aback when Pyong Gang refuses to kill Dal. Despite it being their rule, she claims his life is too precious.

Pyong Gang heads off alone, contemplating whether to kill Dal and honour her tribe’s code or not. Eventually she decides against it, partly thanks to a botched trap she tries to hit him with, as the two eventually sit and eat together. While they do, Pyong Gang asks outright how his Mother lost her sight, which brings back painful memories of the past.

It’s here we cut back in time and see Dal’s final conversation with his Father. Imprisoned in a cell, he had a simple wish for Dal – live a peaceful and quiet life.

Dal and the rest of the townsfolk were then forced to watch their General’s throat slit. Dal looked set to walk away until Lady Sa screamed from across the camp, telling him not to go. Taking two smoldering branches from the fire, she plunged both sticks into her eyes, claiming that Dal needs to look after her as he can’t leave his blind Mother behind.

While Dal allows the Princess to stay for the time being, Go Gun is tasked with tracking down and finding the assassin. If he does so, he’ll be granted a special place within the political ranks.

In the morning, Tara Jin comes back to Dal’s house and lets her know what’s going on. Yeum-Deuk has specifically told her not to come back and has also tasked her with finding her real parents. The Chief originally tasked Yeum-Deuk to look after and raise the girl like her own, which Pyong Gang wasn’t aware of. As Dal heads back to camp, Tara Jin shoves her into Dal, as the two fall on the ground together.


The Episode Review

River Where The Moon Rises slows down for its follow-up chapter, as we start to get to know Pyong-Gang and Dal a bit more. With the Princess hit with the dreaded bout of amnesia, the botched attempt to kill the King has painted a massive target on her back.

This certainly looks to be problematic going forward, as the truth about the Princess comes out at the end, at least in fragments anyway. The characters are all pretty good so far, as Dal really slots into that charismatic male lead perfectly. There’s an energy to most of his scenes that helps Pyong Gang feed off and it’ll be interesting to see how these two develop over time.

With less of the epic-ness from the first episode, the usual exposition-heavy follow-up does well to set the scene for this drama to grow into. This definitely looks like an intriguing Monday/Tuesday period drama to sink your teeth into!

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  • Episode Rating
3.5

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