River Where the Moon Rises is probably the drama that's gained the most momentum and improvement as it heads to its last chapter. The credit, of course, goes to really good scriptwriting but more so to our lead and supporting cast, who've done an amazing job each at their respective roles.
That said, though, can we talk about Kim So Hyun; her acting throughout the drama has been astounding, especially in recent episodes. I mean, she's excellent, and I almost wish the story didn't have a romance angle because it almost takes away her performance as Pyeonggang the warrior. I love how her partnership with her father and, of course, On Dal. His bloody sacrifice for the sake of the woman he loves is something to be revered. At the same time, it's the show the Princess' puts out and the engineering of it all, bringing the might Go Pyo Won down to his knees and pulling the rug right from under him was awing to watch. As they say, victory is reserved for those willing to pay its price.
From the onset of this drama, I've admired On Dal's persistence, courage, dedication, and love for the Princess, but I found myself wishing he'd picked up the sword not just to fight the battles he would rather the Princess didn't take but for himself. That when he decided the bloody path, he was resolute in it and understood the price that came with it. That he truly believed in the cause, he picked because with choices come consequences come responsibility as they say when one makes a choice they also choose the consequence. But even with that, I admired in him the persistence despite the bloody choices he's had to make to protect not just the woman he loves but his country. On Dal arriving right on time to save Goguryeo and the Princess from Go Pyo Won's tentacles and his father was one of the better moments of this drama.
I keep saying this, but how decisive and kingly was King Pyeongwon; truly admirable in how he's been able to exert his power since his daughter's return. I love that she didn't give up on him nor let his weakness against Go Pyo Won's manipulation and power cloud her judgment of him as a father but also as the King. The length she's gone to not only protect her family but Goguryeo, and to try and fulfill her mother's dream of outing corruption and to unite the three kingdoms is praiseworthy. I saw in him the King history recorded -- courageous, and for the people.
In Go Pyo Won and General Go, I realized their downward spiral when they decided the world and everybody in it owed them everything and everyone. The moment they decided to sacrifice their humanity for their greed, they lost the ability to see that leaders become great not because of their power but their ability to empower others. The Princess standing tall against General Go was probably one of the best scenes of episode 15.
On the other hand, Mo Yong completely failed to understand that she cannot build up her love by destroying others, or maybe she knew all along didn't care as long as she had General Go by her side. I've always known he would be her downfall. He’s been cunning, obsessive, and dangerous, and it’s apparent she liked that about him because she’s the same way. I guess, in a way, they fit each other perfectly. As they say, one cannot move mountains by whispering to them. I think what I love most about this drama is the story's and characters' progression and the characters and how they unfolded from the Princess to On Dal to General Go, Mo Yong, the Queen Consort, and even Go Pyo Won. Watch Episodes 15 & 16 here.