Episode two had a lighthearted vibe, which was totally fun to watch. The first episode was all about exposition, which was fine, but now we get to see our characters interact with each other and get to know their personalities better. I know this rom-com of an episode most likely means there’s conflict in the future, but it was a nice break before we get into more angsty territory. Let’s goooooo!
Again we see Prince Hwon staring at the floating red parasol. He hopes this means he’ll get to see Yeon Woo again. His minders think the parasol is possessed by a spirit, and are totally freaked out by it.
Yeon Woo, still recovering from the shock of finding out Prince Hwon’s true identity, hears a noise and investigates. She finds a note under a rock - a little present left by Yang Myung. The note says that Yeon Woo seems worried, and that the rock is specially designed to listen to her problems and absorb them, allowing her to sleep peacefully. The note also says that this is a gift from his travels, and although there is no name, Yeon Woo knows the gift is from Yang Myung. She apparently knows all about Yang Myung’s habit of lurking in the dark outside people’s homes, and has told him to stop. Maybe he leaves presents to make up for the creepiness of lurking in the dark? Just like Santa!
Yeon Woo’s brother Yeom is practicing sword fighting with his friend Woon. Seol is watching in secret from behind a low wall. Seol appears to be rooting for Yeom (looks like someone has a crush!), but she’s also very interested in learning fighting skills. Woon calls Yeom “Young Master,” and Yeom reminds Woon that he’s told him many times not to call him that. Yeom mentions that he misses Yang Myung, and just then we see Yang Myung hop over the wall, clearly proud of his sneaky, master-of-the-night moves. He envelops Yeom in a hug, and tries to do the same to Woon, but his attempt is thwarted. Yang Myung ends up with both friends in his arms, and the bromance meter goes off the charts.
Yang Myung explains that he was so late in arriving because he had to go see a very special lady. Yeom quickly realizes that Yang Myung is talking about his sister, and asks if Yang Myung has been climbing the walls of her house again. So Yang Myung’s late night creep-fests are common knowledge. For some reason the fact that everyone knows about it takes the weirdo-stalker aspect away for me. Feel free to creep away under the cover of night, Yang Myung! I won’t stop you!
Yeom, however, wants Yang Myung’s night watchman routine to come to an end. Even Yeon Woo has asked him to stop, and Yeom has told him time and time again that it’s not a good idea. Yang Myung takes it in stride – he barely hears the nagging anymore – and changes the subject to… presents! He’s brought back presents for his two besties, and just like Yeon Woo before them, they get rocks. Yang Myung says that these are good luck rocks, and his friends must carry them at all times. Woon replies, deadpan, that the rocks are a little too large to carry around all the time. Yang Myung, who we’re learning is never deterred from anything, pulls out a smaller, travel-size rock for Woon to carry.
Yang Myung’s merriness subsides for a moment when he asks his friends if, now that they’ve passed the civil service exam, they’re going to be the Crown Prince’s men. The two friends look away awkwardly, but Yang Myung breaks the silence by laughing loudly and encouraging them to drink more. As we all know, the cure for any awkward situation is to just drink more.
The King reviews a list of potential teachers for Prince Hwon. Hwon already knows the list – the Queen Dowager did just as he expected – and is able to rattle off the names as his aide reads them. The Prince says it doesn’t matter who his teacher is, they’re all the same and he’ll just torture them until they leave. Apparently this is the Prince’s MO, as we see some ladies of the court gossiping about how long they think the new tutor will last.
Yeom walks past the maidens and sends them into a tizzy. As he heads towards the classroom, one of the women faints at the sight of his dashing good looks. Yeom introduces himself to Hwon as his new tutor and bows to him. Yeom, who radiates beams of beauty, impresses even Prince Hwon. While the boys meet each other, Yeon Woo finds out from her mother that Yeom is now the Prince’s literature teacher. She wonders if the Hwon will figure out that she and Yeom are siblings, and upon realizing that it doesn’t take a genius to put those pieces together, smiles to herself.
Hwon’s jaw hits the floor when he sees how young Yeom is. Being 17, Yeom must have some powerful backing to have such a prestigious position. Hwon is assuming Yeom is under the thumb of Minister Yoon, but Yeom looks confused and has no idea what Hwon is alluding to.
The Queen Dowager finds out about Yeom’s new position and is furious with Minister Yoon for letting Yeom become a tutor to the Prince. Yeom isn’t under their power, and therefore could be dangerous. Minister Yoon insists that Yeom is so young and inexperienced; he won’t last long with Hwon The Tutor Torturer.
Prince Hwon is a huffy mess and paces his room, upset that a 17-year-old pretty boy is his new teacher. His aide comes in and gives him the scoop on his new tutor. Yeom was a hotshot back in Sungkyunkwan, where his rays of light stunned everyone from his fellow students, to women, to the angry men who want to fight Yeom for charming all the women. Hwon is even more enraged to hear about Yeom’s all-around wonderfulness, and makes his aide go stand in the corner. So angsty, that Prince Hwon!
Later that night, Yeon Woo and Yeom meet up to do a little book learnin’. (Yeom’s late night teaching must be why Yeon Woo is so educated and such an avid reader.) Yeon Woo asks why her brother looks so stressed, and asks if it’s because of a problem with the Prince. Yeom says that the Prince has some kind of beef with him, but he doesn’t know how to solve the problem and get the Prince to accept him. Yeon Woo assumes that the Prince is hating on Yeom because he realized Yeom’s relation to Yeon Woo. Yeom asks if she knows a way to get the Prince to accept him as his tutor.
The next day in class, Hwon sits and reads, pouting like a little baby. Yeom patiently sits across from him, not saying anything. Some time goes by, and Yeom announces that the lesson is over for today. Hwon accuses Yeom of being a bad teacher, who is clearly unprepared. Yeom counters that the Prince doesn’t seem prepared to learn.
Before Yeom leaves, he tempts Hwon with a riddle. (Yeon Woo must have given him the head’s up about Hwon’s love of mind-benders.) Yeom asks what can make the world light in a moment, and dark in another moment? The deal is that if Hwon can solve the riddle, Yeom will resign as his tutor, and if Hwon cannot solve the riddle, he has to show up to class willing to learn. Hwon scoffs and says the riddle is too easy, and that their next meeting will be their last.
The Prince is a little cheater, and he gathers up all the books in the palace to try and find the answer. His little sister Min Hwa sees the stacks of books being brought to the Prince’s chambers, and investigates. The Prince pores over his books while his aide is still banished to the corner. Once Min Hwa finds out the Prince must solve a riddle, she begs to know what it is (these royal kids and their love of riddles!). The aide gives in and tells Min Hwa the riddle, and after thinking for a minute she answers, “Eyelids!” and does a completely unnecessary, but amusing, demonstration. Hwon accuses her of thinking too simply and shoos her away.
The next day, Hwon announces that he has the answer: A monarch’s politics. The decisions of a King can give his subjects a good or bad (light or dark) quality of life. The King, Hwon’s aide, and the ministers are outside, listening to the Prince’s answer. Yeom answers that Hwon is incorrect. The correct answer is… eyelids! Ha ha. The Prince is upset that such a simple (in his mind, childish) answer could be the right one. Yeom asks if the Prince doesn’t think the answer is a good one, does that make the question wrong.
Yeom explains that yes, and answer is childish, and that’s the point. Through a child’s eyes, everything in the world has an equal chance of being light or dark, right or wrong. It’s all open to interpretation. Yeom advises the Prince to adopt a child’s perspective, free of arrogance and prejudice. These two traits have clouded the Prince’s mind, and will hinder his learning. Looks like Yeom is going to teach the Prince more than just literature. This teacher-student relationship is about to turn into Joseon Dead Poet’s Society.
Prince Hwon gets up in a huff and calls to his aide outside. Just when we think Hwon is going to throw a fit and get Yeom fired, he tells the aide to get some study snacks for them. He wants to sit with his teacher and have a discussion. Oh captain, my captain!
The King is still outside eavesdropping. After hearing Hwon accept his teacher, the King smiles and says the Prince may have finally found a proper teacher. Minister Yoon does not look so pleased.
Min Hwa hears about her brother’s lesson and laughs like a madwoman, pleased to hear her brother’s finally been put in his place. She runs to the classroom, eager to see the face of the man who challenged the Prince and won. Min Hwa also wants to brag about being the one who answered the riddle correctly. She sees Yeom and is so awed by him she turns away and hides her face.
Prince Hwon and Yeom go to have their discussion over tea and snacks. Hwon inquires as to whether Yeom was prepared to quit if Hwon had gotten the right answer to the riddle. Yeom says that he was – he’s a man of his word. Hwon then asks how Yeom came up with the idea of a riddle in the first place.
Yeom admits that it was his sister’s idea. She told him that he could either teach the Prince to get by in his lessons without caring, or he could take a risk and try to get the Prince to change his attitude, and turn him into a true student. Yeon Woo explains that the Prince is a sensible person, and he wil eventually see Yeom’s loyalty and appreciate him. The Prince is intrigued, and asks Yeom’s sisters age (she’s 13). Yeom reaches for a piece of taffy, but Hwon snatches it out of his hand and says that these treats are for his teacher, who in this case is actually Yeom’s sister. He has his aide wrap up the taffy for Yeom to give to Hwon’s “hidden teacher.” Aw.
Hwon wonders aloud how a 13-year-old girl could be so knowledgeable, and his aide responds that it makes sense for a sister of Yeom to be smart. After all, Yeom was one of the top scorers on the literature exam just a few days ago. Hwon stops in his tracks, remembering his encounter with Yeon Woo. He puts the pieces together and grins, realizing that Yeon Woo is Yeom’s younger sister.
Yeom gives the taffy to Yeon Woo, explaining that it is a gift from the Prince to his teacher. Yeon Woo says that if that’s the case, then the present if for Yeom. Yeom admits that he told the Prince that she was the one that inspired his lesson. Yeon Woo blushes at the thought of the Prince recognizing her, and takes the taffy out into the courtyard.
There she imagines Prince Hwon next to her, and asks him if he really is the Prince. He asks what she thinks, and she replies that she wishes he weren’t the Prince. He just smiles and encourages her to eat the candy. He asks if she’s solved his riddle yet and she asks him what it means, but he disappears. But hey, at least she still has a big box of candy.
Minister Yoon sits drinking with his cohorts. The men are worried that Minister Heo is gaining approval with the King, especially after the impressive lesson from Yeom. Minister Yoon says not to worry – his position of power isn’t threatened yet.
Minister Yoon stumbles home drunk and runs into his daughter, Bo Kyung. He asks her if she’d like to see the palace. She can even live there if she wants, he adds. So Minister Yoon is willing to pawn off his own daughter to gain power (as the father of the queen he’d have all the power he could dream of). Yeesh.
Yeon Woo goes into town with her servant Seol to buy some colorful paper. Yeon Woo wants to write a formal apology, but Seol wonders why she’s putting in so much effort and buying expensive paper – it’s not like she’s writing an apology to the Queen. Ha! Yeon Woo explains that it’s an apology on behalf of her brother, since she’d hate for him to get in trouble because of her actions.
Seol hears the siren song of a blacksmith hammering away and runs off. She’s running so excitedly she runs right into Bo Kyung, and the two fall over. Bo Kyung’s servant makes a big deal over the incident, but Bo Kyung simply accepts Seol’s apology and sends her on her way.
Seol adoringly watches the blacksmiths work, asking if they’re not making swords today. Funny how someone could be so adorable about being obsessed with sword fighting. Bo Kyung and her maid continue shopping, when the servant discovers her coin purse is missing. She assumes Seol stole it in the earlier kerfuffle, and runs off to get it back. Just as the servant leaves, Bo Kyung finds the coin purse on the ground – the maid simply dropped it. Bo Kyung picks up the purse with a devilish smile on her face.
Bo Kyung’s servant smacks Seol across the face, knocking her down. She continues to yell at her loudly in the middle of the street, drawing a lot of attention. Bo Kyung arrives and Seol begs her to believe that she’s not a thief. Bo Kyung kneels down and whispers in Seol’s ear, “Prove it.” Looks like Bo Kyung takes after her slime ball father.
Yeon Woo is still browsing at the paper store when Yang Myung shows up behind her. Yang Myung sneaks up on people in daylight, as well as the middle of the night! He’s an equal opportunity lurker. He offers to help her pick out the perfect paper for the King. When she says that it’s not for the king, Yang Myung says that if it’s for the Crown Prince instead, he’s the perfect one to ask, since he’s the Prince’s hyung. Yang Myung is still talking as Yeon Woo walks out.
As Yeon Woo walks outside, it starts to rain. She begins to run for cover when Yang Myung arrives and holds his sleeve over her head. He leads her to a greenhouse to dry off and wait for the rain to pass. Yeon Woo is excited to see the greenhouse, something she’s only read about in books, and asks if it’s Yang Myung’s. He lies (badly) that it’s a friend’s – a man who has money, but no real future, so he used his considerable means to build the greenhouse. Yeon Woo remembers her conversation with the Crown Prince when he spoke about how his brother has limited opportunities in life.
Yang Myung shows Yeon Woo some chrysanthemums, the King’s favorite, and tells her to give the King these flowers instead of a written apology. Yeon Woo asks what kind of person the King is, and Yang Myung gives the appropriate answer: He’s a kind man who cares a great deal for his subjects. But while Yang Myung says this, he remembers his childhood when he was treated badly by the King while Hwon was treated, well, like a prince.
Yeon Woo asks Yang Myung if he’s going to go to the palace, since there might be someone waiting for him. As she says this, she thinks of Hwon, and how he was ready to climb over the palace walls to meet his hyung. Yang Myung asks who could be waiting for him, and Yeon Woo starts to say that the Prince is waiting for him, but then catches herself and says that the Prince, the King, and lots of people will be waiting. Yeon Woo insists that they’re all very busy and probably don’t miss him. Yeon Woo exclaims, “He does miss you!” Yang Myung smiles and says now Yeon Woo should understand why he climbed over her wall to see her. Oh Yang Myung, you sly charmer.
Yeon Woo says the two scenarios are totally different, as Yang Myung leans in closer and closer and asks just how they are different. Finally, Yeon Woo can’t take it anymore and looks away, stumbling over her words as she says either way, shouldn’t he be getting to the palace? Yang Myung laughs his playboy laugh and says it’s been a long time since they’ve talked like this, then flicks her on the forehead, telling her to mind her own business.
Seol is getting the snot beat out of her by Bo Kyung’s servant, while Bo Kyung watches casually from the side. She says under her breath that this is what Seol gets for running into her and getting her favorite dress dirty. Seol’s beating continues as the servant asks whom Seol works for, but Seol refuses to answer.
Yeon Woo and Yang Myung go looking for Seol (Finally! Did they really not notice she’d been missing for like, an hour? I guess they were blinded by love.) and get the scoop from the blacksmith. Yeon Woo rushes to save Seol from her beating.
Yeon Woo is shocked that Seol is receiving the beating of a lifetime for what she’s sure was a misunderstanding. Bo Kyung comes down from her perch and scolds her servant for hurting Seol. One of the male servants nearby says that she told them to beat Seol nearly to death, but Bo Kyung’s maidservant quickly covers it up by apologizing to Bo Kyung for her mistake. I get the feeling this sort of thing happens a lot.
Yeon Woo offers to compensate Bo Kyung for the amount that was stolen, but Bo Kyung says that because both of them had their property damaged, they can call it even. She adds that it’s just so hard to find a good slave these days, and Yeon Woo should sell Seol before her thieving ways become a big problem. Yeon Woo is horrified to hear Seol referred to as her property, and tells Bo Kyung that Seol is not a slave, but her companion and a member of her family. No matter how much money Bo Myung lost, how can it compare to the pain Seol had to endure today? Bo Kyung is basically dumbstruck by this, and her jaw drops to the floor (Careful! Don’t want to get it dirty!). Yeon Woo takes Seol under her arm and escorts her home.
Yeom shows up to his lesson with Hwon bearing a present from his sister. It’s the box that the taffy came in, but Yeon Woo has filled it with dirt and planted a mystery seed in it. When Hwon asks Yeom what kind of plant it is, Yeom responds that he’ll have to let it grow to find out. Yeom begins the lesson, but Hwon interrupts him, eagerly wanting to know more about his sister. Yeom tells Hwon that his sister is a great scholar, and that the two of them read together every night. Hwon is totally floored at this, and says that his little sister only knows two words of Chinese, and is a real whiner.
Just then, Princess Min Hwa bursts in the room, sobbing like a maniac. She says that she hates her brother because he’s been talking smack about her in front of Yeom. She runs over to Yeom, grabs him on either side of his face, and insists that she’s not as dumb as Hwon makes her out to be.
Yeom is caught off guard, and for a second just stares at Min Hwa. He then asks her to stop crying before she ruins her pretty face. Ruh roh. “You (sob) think (gasp) I’m (sniffle) pretty?” Min Hwa asks. I think, looking back, we’ll remember this time as the moment Min Hwa’s crush turned into a full-blown obsession.
Hwon opens his letter from Yeon Woo that came with the plant, and it’s completely gorgeous. Not only did Yeon Woo use fancy paper, but there are dried flowers making a border around the words. Yeon Woo has transcribed a poem:
A monk living in the mountains
Desired the moonlight
When he saw it floating in the water
So he filled his water bottle
But at the temple he realized
If you tip the bottle and pour out the water
The moonlight disappears
Yeon Woo adds that she foolishly tried to bottle the moonlight, but you can’t have the moon just because you want it. She asks that he forget what happened at the Silver Moon Building, and that she’s reflecting on her wrongdoings.
Hwon smiles, as this is proof she solved the riddle he gave her earlier. He wonders why she’s asking that he forget her. He looks over at the plant and thinks, “How could I forget you?” (My heart? Warmed.)
Min Hwa runs to the King and begs to be allowed to learn to read and write – more specifically, learn to read and write from Yeom. The King says that he will allow her to have reading and writing lessons, but not from Yeom. Min Hwa runs away sobbing.
Later, the King sits with his advisors thinking about who should oversee Min Hwa’s education. Minister Yoon suggests his daughter Bo Kyung. The King agrees, and adds that Minister Heo’s daughter, Yeon Woo, should also be chosen. Something tells me the lesson plans of these two teachers will be wildly different.
Minister Heo asks Yeon Woo if she would be willing to become the Princess’ teacher. Yeon Woo give a half-hearted yes. Her father isn’t too keen on the idea either – he’s worried that the palace is a tricky place where a person with original ideas can get in trouble. Now that both Yeom and Yeon Woo are working in the palace, he’s even more worried for them. His wife tells him he’s worried over nothing, but Minister Heo has inside knowledge of the palace, and he knows that nothing happens there that isn’t calculated. His wife is still unworried, and tells him that there is someone who pledged to keep Yeon Woo safe.
Nok Young stands at Ah Ri’s grave, and asks her who the person she’s supposed to protect is. It’s pretty hard to defend someone with your life if you don’t know who that person is and how to find them.
The Queen is apologizing to the Queen Dowager for her daughter’s outbursts. The Queen Dowager believes that having Yeon Woo and Bo Kyung as her teachers will help the Princess mature. She asks to meet the new teachers in person. After all, one of them could be the Crown Prince’s future wife.
Nok Young arrives at the palace with a league of shamans surrounding her sedan chair. She gets out, and next to her Yeon Woo exits her own sedan. Nok Young looks over at her and sees a vision – she is the one Nok Young should look out for. Bo Kyung leaves her own sedan and Nok Young has another vision. She gasps and says, “Two moons!”
A few thoughts…
Okay. How cute are Yang Myung and Yeon Woo together? In the inevitable love triangle of Yang Myung, Yeon Woo, and Hwon, I’m team Yang Myung/Yeon Woo all the way. I can only imagine how my crush on Yang Myung will grow exponentially bigger once he transforms, through the magic of television, into Jung Il Woo. But then again, I love the nerd love Hwon and Yeon Woo have going on. And now Bo Kyung is added in the mix, making this a love… rhombus? Anyway, for now I’m rooting for Yang Myung, even if he is the second male lead and by the rules of kdrama can’t get the girl.
I totally fell for Yeon Woo in the first episode. She’s so awesome. A girl thirsty for knowledge and convinced that all people should be treated equally – in a time when neither idea is popular. She’s a little radical, and I can’t wait to see her keep stirring things up. Especially now that she’s tutoring Min Hwa alongside Bo Kyung, who might be a psychopath. I thought her dad was going to be the bad guy, but she’s WAY worse, in my opinion.
I’m also loving the relationship between Hwon and Yeom. It’ll be interesting to see where their story goes, once Hwon stops asking about Yeon Woo and let’s Yeom teach him something. Maybe Hwon will get to join the bromance Yeom, Woo, and Yang Myung have going on. And how great are those three? I like that they’re each from different social classes, and while they do observe their class differences, they’re still total besties. You get the feeling they’d do anything for each other.
Overall, this episode made me feel more invested in the show. It was the perfect episode to just sit back and enjoy. I’m a rom-com girl at heart, and I loved the sweet moments we got in this episode. I am SO ready for the romance to start. Bring on the love rhombus!
What do you think of Moon that Embraces the Sun? Comment below! For more recaps, click here!