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Lovers of the Red Sky -- Episodes 3 & 4: Ha Ram, Chun Ki and the Royal Court

What a magical opening to episode three. The spiritual battle between the righteous and demonic forces was mystical to watch. I was transfixed. I admired every detail put into its making, especially the enchanting introduction of the fairy-like guardian spirit Ho Ryeong, protector of Inwang Mountain, in her tigress form the most.

This episode got me interested in Halmoni Samsin. I googled her up, and according to Korean mythology, she's the triple goddess of childbirth and fate (three goddesses), who appear collectively as three grandmothers, protectors of children from birth. That said, I like the spin the drama puts on mythology, but more how majestically grand they've made the Samsin appear in this drama.

The Grand Prince's connection to Royal Shaman Mi Soo bothers me. And what bothers me more is the Shaman keeps pushing him into believing that Ha Ram is his way to the throne. Ever since we encountered Prince Yangmyeong (Gong Myung) and Prince Joohyang in the second episode, I've wondered if Yangmyeong would be different from his cruel and overly ambitious older brother. The little the drama showed of him alluded to that. Still, seeing him now, I can appreciate the difference where the Grand Prince is overbearing, dark, and greedy. Yangmyeong is free-spirited, easy-going, and optimistic, with a penchant for getting into trouble. I adore him and contemplate his friendship with Ha Ram and connection with Hong Chun Gi through their mutual love for art may inevitably get him caught up in the middle of their stormy fate.

I am in awe at the makers of this drama. I mean, I like Ha Ram and Chun Ki a lot, but Halmoni, with her occult golden power coupled with Ho Ryeong's bright fairy-like presence, stole the episode for me. But what I like even more is how intertwined the goodness in Chun Ki is with the evil trapped in Ha Ram. It's like she keeps the evil in check, while also being the only one that can trigger its release. Their chemistry on screen is a wonder to watch, as are Ha Ram's beautiful red eyes; they are so vivid that I keep forgetting he's blind. And now that Ha Ram has found Chun Ki, I am curious to see how things go for him both as Ha Ram and as Il Wol Sung.

I can't stop thinking about what King Yeongjeong said in that Ma Wong cannot be killed, he can only be sealed. But since Grand Prince Juhyang unleashed Ma Wang, who is now trapped in Ha Ram, it means the only way to get rid of it is to seal it. And the only way to seal it is to have a talented artist draw a life-like portrait of the possessed person, as Chun Ki's father had done. But since Chun Ki's father no longer has that talent, I assume it will fall on Chun Ki to do so, but at what cost, I wonder.

There’s much foreshadowing in these first two weeks of this drama, especially in how Samsin tells the Ma Wong she’ll restrict his power by giving Chun Ki Ha Ram’s sight for the time being. It's probably to create a balance, foretelling that everything will be returned to its place. This means once Chun Ki fulfills her duty of sealing Ma Wong in the monarch's portrait, she will go blind. I can only imagine the effect that will have on her, let alone Ha Ram. It makes me wonder if he can afford to let himself fall in love with the girl whose sight he’ll take; the conflict of it all.

I like the pace of this drama, events seem to move fast. I anticipated it would take at least a few more episodes before Ha Ram figured out who Chun Kin, and not only that, he probably already figured out she has his eyes, noticing how he knows she was blind when they met 19 years ago, and probably has his eye. I don't think he knows for sure, but I am sure he suspects it. I love their interactions now that they've met. I especially liked their meeting in the beautiful garden with red/pink shadow of the sun and autumn leaves everywhere -- I will continue to say this, the cinematography and colors are striking in this drama. I also loved Chun Ki's interactions with Prince Yangmyeong. I could visualize him falling for her for the first time, he laid eyes on her. I couldn't help but feel sorry for him, since it's obvious Chun Ki has completely and utterly fallen for Ha Ram. Watch episodes 3 & 4 here.



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