Moonlight, Murder, and Mystery: “Moon In The Day” Is A Bodyguard Romance That Flips The Script
Kim Young Dae is back! It’s always a delight to see him, and after his last electric outing in “The Forbidden Marriage,” he’s donning sageuk wear again as a Silla-era noble. Joining him is the lovely Pyo Ye Jin in a drama that takes the bodyguard trope and flips it on its head with ghosts, murder, and angst a plenty. Here’s everything we loved about the premiere episodes of “Moon in the Day” and why you should absolutely check it it out!
Warning: spoilers for episodes 1-2 below.
1. Do Ha and Ri Ta’s doomed love story
There’s something magical about two souls who’ve already crossed paths and fallen in love once, doing so again. It feels like love can be inevitable between the same people no matter the time and place. But the story that starts it all doesn’t go well for Do Ha (Kim Young Dae). A young Silla-era general, he was crucial to the capture and murder of traitor Gaya nation’s general, ending a war that had lasted between their people for some time. After defeating the general, Do Ha has the general’s wife and daughter rounded up and publicly hung. To him, it’s all part of war. He takes no joy in any of it. But that’s not how Han Ri Ta (Pyo Ye Jin) sees it.
She’s the dead general’s daughter, and her mother and maid gave their lives so that she can survive. She sees Do Ha execute them and vows revenge. She’s quick about taking it too. We see her show up in his bedroom at night ready to plunge a sword into his chest. Only, he’s awake. He sensed her coming. He wounds her but sees her face. And this Silla war hero suddenly just stops and stares at her. He doesn’t hurt her. In fact, he keeps her alive and offers her a choice. Death or servitude, with a chance to kill him again at any time. She chooses the latter. It’s glorious because there’s no subterfuge. He knows who she is from the start and wants her anyway. We glimpse scenes that allude to Ri Ta and Do Ha in each other’s life, growing inexorably drawn to each other. So much so, that at the end when Ri Ta kills him, Do Ha never saw it coming.
What’s worse, she takes her own life right afterwards, and that’s when Do Ha’s curse begins. Locked to Ri Ta, he’s doomed to watch her reincarnate over and over and over, and he watches each of those lives play out while being unable to cross over to the other side himself.
2. Do Ha becoming Jun Oh
And that takes us to the present. Kang Young Hwa (Pyo Ye Jin) is Ri Ta’s current incarnation and the first to actually look like her. She’s a firefighter renowned for saving many lives and never having lost anyone in her care. That fame gets her on a commercial with top star Han Jun Oh (Kim Young Dae). If I had a dollar for every time Kim Young Dae has played a petulant top star, I’d have two dollars—which isn’t much, but the coincidence is uncanny. Jun Oh is an idol-turned-actor who’s head over heels for his noona actress girlfriend Jung Yi Seul (Jung Shin Hye), who couldn’t care less about him. He’s spoiled, selfish, and thrives off attention but has a childlike sweetness to him that Yi Seul steps all over on. And he also has incurable heart cancer. Yikes.
Young Hwa meets Jun Oh and is repulsed by how little respect he has for others. Yet, when Jun Oh has a medical episode at the wheel of his car and drives it into the ocean, she jumps right in to save him, nearly at the cost of her life. And that’s when something strange happens. When the ghost of Do Ha (who’s always at her side) sees her dying, he somehow gives her air and saves her life. Both Young Hwa and Jun Oh are transported to the hospital where Jun Oh passes away. And hours later, he wakes right up. But he isn’t Jun Oh anymore. Do Ha’s ghost saw a chance and took it. A ghost that’s about 1,500 years old has just become one of Korea’s most famous men. And he has only one thing on his mind: murder.
3. Kang Young Hwa
Kim Young Dae is killing it as usual between stoic, hard Do Ha and bratty Jun Oh, but Pyo Ye Jin is just as impressive. There’s a fire to her eyes as Ri Ta melded with the stoicism required of women at that time. Young Hwa has that same fire but less tempered. She doesn’t have to hold herself back the way Ri Ta did and lives life with gusto. She’s well-liked and respected by her coworkers, fair to everyone around her, and gives credit where it’s due, and that’s gotten her far in life. Then Jun Oh shows up.
Young Hwa has no idea that this is Do Ha in Jun Oh’s body (henceforth, he’ll be referred to as Jun Oh while he’s in Jun Oh’s body to avoid confusion). All she knows is that the actor whose life she saved is fixated on her. He shows up in her hospital room and outside her home. He brings her to his new drama press conference and praises her in front of everyone. He waits for her in dark rooms and suddenly begs her to become his bodyguard. She’s unaffected by Jun Oh’s stardom and just wants a quiet life. She’s just been accepted for a very prestigious transfer to Antarctica, a long-held goal of hers, and she doesn’t want Jun Oh ruining things. He dares her to make a wager with him. If she wins, she can leave for Antartica, but if he does, she’ll be his bodyguard. Young Hwa accepts, but we’ll see the results of that wager next week.
4. The tangled web that stands in the present
There’s quite the tangle of mystical shenanigans here because Jun Oh and Young Hwa are on completely different pages at present. Young Hwa seems to remember parts of her life as Ri Ta. She’s used to drawing ghost Do Ha following her as a child, this strange man in a purple hanbok. That resulted in her father taking her to a monastery where a young monk Hae In (Shin Yu Ro) gifted her with a protective talisman that prevents spirits from harming her. Young Hwa’s father is also dead, and there’s likely some mystery associated with that. But regardless of the talisman, Young Hwa continues to dream of her life as Ri Ta, but she forgets the dreams once awake. To her, reincarnation and ghosts are just fairytales.
On the other hand, that’s Do Ha’s entire existence. He just wants to cross to the other side, but something has been tying him to her for hundreds of years, and the only conclusion he’s arrived at is that he must kill her in order to break free. The best part is that Do Ha isn’t toxic! He doesn’t seem to hate or resent Young Hwa/Ri Ta. He just wants to end his suffering. It’s also a bit of a “no one kills you but me” situation. But is his time numbered in this life as well? The bruises on Jun Oh’s body fade when Do Ha enters it, but apparently the heart cancer is still there. Does that mean that Do Ha is still doomed to die? No!
That face should be illegal.
There’s a few side characters that will undoubtedly be pertinent as we go on. There’s Jun Oh’s somewhat shady brother and entertainment CEO Han Min Oh (On Joo Wan), who seems to have done something sketchy to the previous CEO Seok Chul Hwan (Jung Woong In) to get the job. And there’s the psychotic Goo Tae Joo (Jung Heon), who nurses a grudge against Jun Oh for stealing his lead role. But all of that pales in comparison to the rich tragic backstory underpinning this show and the rollercoaster we’re stepping on. Is a happy ending in the cards for our lovers this time on? Fingers crossed!
Check out the drama below!
Hey Soompiers! Have you seen the premiere episodes of “Moon in the Day”? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
Shalini_A is a long time Asian-drama addict. When not watching dramas, she fangirls over Ji Sung, and spins thrillers set in increasingly fantastic worlds. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram, and feel free to ask her anything!
Currently Watching: “My Dearest,” “Moon in the Day,” “Daily Dose of Sunshine,” “The Killing Vote,” “Song of the Bandits,” and “Twinkling Watermelon.”
Looking Forward to: “Gyeongseong Creature,” “Ask The Stars,” “Queen of Tears,” “Vigilante,” and Ji Sung’s next drama.