I love that River is deliberate in its delivery. It takes its time, it doesn't rush, nor does it try to exaggerate. I've said it before, but the cinematography and astute directing and editing are unbelievably breathtaking. It makes me want to be teleported to the Goguryeo era.
As expected, it was inevitable that On Dal and Ga Jin's sorrowful truth would be revealed, and in a way, I am glad for it. Sadly, they are forced to come to grips with their twisted fate right as they slowly start to be comfortable with each other. I mean for On Dal to know that the father (King Pyeongwon) of the woman you love with was the one who caused the tragedy that inevitably took your father's life and displaced countless others is no easy thing to come to grips with no matter how much you care. I mean, this person's mere existence is bound to serve as an everyday reminder of those tragic events. In that sense, I was very curious to see how On Dal would handle the situation.
Despite the heavy truth and awkwardness between them, I was delighted to see they could reconcile their past and look to the future. Love does conquer all, as they say. I truly enjoy Ji Soo in this role of On Dal, his slow yet deliberate way of capturing the essence of the character is quite satisfying to watch. But Ga Jin's tenderness and willingness to be vulnerable and open up herself to On Dal ultimately is what I believe won On Dal and me over. Undoubtedly the best I have ever seen from Kim So Hyun to date.
And while I enjoy On Dal, Go Geon's (Lee Ji-hoon) complex yet intricate personality is the one that sweeps me off my feet. The ease by which he can manipulate the King shows he is his father's son (in a good way) and his willingness to toe the line between good and evil. As they say, the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, but right through every human heart. That he was coming back from his princess was as clear as day to me. I will be remiss not to mention how superbly Kim Bup Rae plays the self-tormented King, who, despite having once been the envy of all, lets himself be tricked by the devil -- Go Won Pyo (Lee Hae Young), another great actor. Watch Episode 9 here.