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Korean Drama Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart Ryeo Finale Episode 20 Recap and Complete Review

Posted on November 01 2016

 Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 20 Finale

Oh my goodness. Can you believe we’re at the end?! Ready or not, here we go! And yes, prepare yourself with a box (or several boxes) of tissues. Trust me, you'll need them.

 

Episode 20 Finale Recap

Haesoo arrives to where Jung is, who gently greets her. She recalls her memories with So the night of her birthday, but ends up taking Jung’s outreached hand. He leads her to his house where Jung reveals So forbade them to hold a proper wedding. However, being the sweetie he is, Jung prepared something for her! He tells her not to worry – he only wanted to get her out of the Palace and that despite being married, he will only consider them as friends. She laughs, saying she is not worried about that and he tells her the house she is staying at is close his primary residence, so she can come by whenever she wants! Aw, Jung.

Jung suddenly hands her back So’s hairpin, thanking her for saying “I want it.” Overwhelmed, Haesoo takes the hairpin and Jung leaves. She opens the box he prepared and inside are all of her and So's re-written poems. She holds back her tears.

Sometime later, Haesoo draws So on stones as Jung practices his swordsmanship. He’s irritated and Haesoo cheers him up by complimenting him. When she hands him the handkerchief, Jung senses someone is watching the house and has her pat his sweat for him. He tells her he asked the Palace doctor to come by and the two retreat back into his home. It's revealed that Jung's hunch about someone watching was right: someone’s watching them behind the walls.

The doctor realizes Haesoo is pregnant and Jung is surprised at this, quickly realizing Haesoo is carrying So's child. The doctor cautions her and stresses the risk of her pregnancy as she already is suffering from heart palpitations and deteriorating health. However, Haesoo insists on keeping the baby. She declares that as long as the baby is safe, she doesn't care. Jung orders the doctor to keep this a secret and the doctor agrees to aid Haesoo.

Back at the Palace, So is infuriated at his spy's reports as it paints a picture of Jung and Haesoo acting like they are truly married. “Baekah said their marriage was only a formality!” He shouts to Ji Mong. “However, look at this! ‘The 14th Prince’s wife watched him practice his martial arts for a long time. They hold hands and care for one another.’” Ji Mong tries to calm him down by explaining Haesoo’s nurturing personality.

Day after day, Haesoo continues to sketch So’s portraits on stones, but suddenly suffers from chest pain. Jung is horrified at her condition and tells her the wind can harm her baby. He carries the weakened and pained Haesoo back inside the house. Nearby, So watches. He looks pained at her suffering, but feels utterly defeated.

Jung nurses Haesoo's weakening body and it’s revealed the two share two separate beds. Haesoo tells him not to worry and Jung contemplates the both of them aging as a lot of time has passed. They reminisce back to when they met and the precious memories of back then.

Outside, So is still spying and overhears him talking about his “body” as the light shuts off. He swallows his distress and leaves. Back at the Palace, So angrily announces he no longer wants or needs to hear updates concerning Jung and Haesoo ever again. Oh gosh, anyone else in heartbreak over this?! My heartstrings!

So recalls an image of Haesoo, who voices over, "Finally, we’re the only two left here. You and I, we are the only ones left. I do not need to worry about a thing. I can love you all I want." The two practice their calligraphy together.

Back at Jung’s residence, Haesoo continues to draw So and the Princes. Just like him, she imagines So besides her. This is so heartbreaking… She finds herself smiling to no one besides her. WHY IS THIS SO SAD?!

Six Months Later

A baby wails! Jung waits impatiently outside the bedroom and a midwife comes out with the baby. She announces that Haesoo's daughter is healthy and oh so pretty. Jung orders her to announce the baby is a stillborn and instructs her to take her to the wetnurse. She agrees and takes the baby away. However, Haesoo grows weaker.

Jung tells Haesoo to not worry about the baby – she’s healthy and he got her the best wetnurse in the area. She says it’s a relief and he takes her hand, telling her to worry about herself, not the baby. He tells her to get healthy and tears fall from her eyes. She hands him a letter and asks her for a favor: to send her letter to the King.

Jung asks if she wants to show the King her baby, but she shakes her head. She only wants to see him. Although reluctant, Jung agrees and tells a messenger to send the letter. Upon realizing her writing is identical to the King's, he switches out the envelope to avoid suspicion to others. 

Haesoo cradles her baby in her arms. However, a headache strikes her. She shakes it off. Ultimately, her health rapidly deteriorates. Jung is completely helpless, as is the doctor.

The messenger delivers Haesoo's letter to the King, but it is from the 14th Prince Jung as he changed the envelope. Seeing Jung's writing, So doesn’t realize it contains Haesoo's letters. “He isn’t getting tired of sending the letters,” So scoffs as he sees Jung’s handwriting. He tosses the letter aside, saying it's probably full of resentment towards him. The messenger presses him to read it, but So brushes it off.

“Is he not here yet?” Haesoo weakly asks Jung. Jung nods sadly. “I have sent so many,” Haesoo says. “Does he hate me that much?” She’s pale and deathly, “Please send someone there. If you send him my message, he will come.”

“I did, but…” Jung starts, but he sees her fallen expression. “Yes, I forgot. I will send someone.” He tries to cheer her up by bringing the most famous musicians from Songak. They sit outside and listen to the music accompanied by peonies. Jung instructs them to play a song...

“There was a Court Lady the King loved. This is the song they say made him fall in love with her,” The musician starts to say. At this, Haesoo's curiosity piques and she says she’d love to hear it. The musician starts to sing and it’s the song she sang to Eun on his birthday! Haesoo finally looks happy as she listens to the music, recalling memories of Eun’s birthday where she sang to all the Princes way back then. THE TEARS!

“Long ago,” Haesoo starts, visibly weakening. “You promised that you would treat my life as if it were your life… Do you remember that?” Jung can only look at her in silence. “My daughter… in my place… I need you to protect her. You cannot let her go to the Palace.” Jung swallows his pain and asks why she is saying such things. “He will not come,” Haesoo admits defeat. Jung cradles her against him, “Soo, in your next time, you’ll remember me, won’t you?” However, Haesoo tells him she is going to forget him and forget everything.

“Even in my dreams, all of you…” Haesoo whispers. She passes away. Jung clutches her body against him, silently crying. OH MY GOD. I admit it, I'm crying. This drama has its flaws, but Haesoo’s death so depressing. Great acting by IU and Jisoo here.

At the Palace, So is horrified at the news of So’s death. “Soo… would not hate me this much,” So dreads in agony. Ji Mong tells him Haesoo has been sending him letters; hasn’t he read them? So suddenly comes to the realization that the letters from Jung are actually from her. He quickly rips open the letters he tossed aside:

“Life is like a dream. Right and wrong. Love and hate. They all get buried with the passing of time and leave quietly with no trace. Are you still angry over love and holding resentment? The opposite of love was not hate. It was to throw someone away. I left you with hate instead of love. I wondered to myself if I had not left you to rest in comfort. I am constantly worried. I still love you. When you threw everything away to stand by my side in the rain, when you threw your body in the way of a flying arrow to protect me. I can never forget you now. I long for you. I also miss you. However, I cannot go to you. I have grown weary of the heartlessness of a kind man. I hope we can meet again one day in the garden. I wait for you to come every day.”

So tears up, horrified. He finally realizes Haesoo has always loved him. He crumbles the letter and sobs in complete devastation. Joonki is absolutely amazing in this scene. So races to Jung’s residence on horseback.

Baekah visits Jung, who is in grieving as he looks at Haesoo's stone drawings and stares at the jar containing her ashes. He hands Baekah Haesoo's letter when, suddenly, So runs in screaming for Haesoo. His completely disillusioned, telling her to stop playing around and to come out. Baekah tries to calm him as he screams for him. He sees the jar in Jung’s hand and completely breaks.

“What have you been doing this entire time. Don’t pretend to be sad now,” Jung bitterly tells him. So grabs him and tells him he made things this way as his name was written on the envelopes. He explains he didn’t know Haesoo’s letter were inside the entire time. Upon realizing this, Jung tells him he only switched the envelopes because Haesoo's handwriting was so similar to his. Regardless, Jung tells him he should have known Haesoo was dying: “I know you had someone keeping an eye on this house!”

Baekah explains for So that So stopped the spying and reports since it looked like they were getting along so well. So sobs, completely broken as he clutches the jar. Jung is speechless and Baekah cries. So cradles the jar, whispering “Soo… let’s go, let’s go.” Jung attempts to stop him from leaving with her remains as she is his wife. So tells him she may be dead, but she’s his person. Baekah stops Jung, telling him he should know who Haesoo wants to be with. Defeated, Jung stand down and So leaves with the jar. Baekah tells Jung that if he truly considered Haesoo a friend, then to not fight with the King any longer.

In tears, Jung takes out something (Can someone explain what he took out? Did I miss something during my binge?) and starts to sob. “You didn’t actually… how foolish of you.” Baekah hugs him.

With the jar, So goes to the lake he and Haesoo used to frequent. There, he recalls their past memories.

Sometime later, Won is given poison. He asks if he’s being told to kill himself when Baekah comes and hands him Chaeryung’s letter per Haesoo's will.

Won reads Chaeryung’s letter: "I know the end is coming. I am just someone who couldn’t stop loving once I started. I am a foolish person like that." Upon realizing Chaeryung's unconditional love for him, he calls her a stupid girl and questions why she didn’t hate him despite all he did to her. He falls to his knees in regret.

Yeonhwa asks So why he can't go see their son, Prince Ju, even once, despite it being his birthday. He coldly tells her it’s enough for Yeonhwa to visit him. Yeonhwa tells him Ju is afraid of him as So treats his son like he is his competition and brings up the fact that he has already gotten rid of his nephews. She tells him he should at least trust Ju.

“Both you and that child. I know very well you both will come after me someday," So tells her. Yeonhwa bitterly asks if he only remembers Haesoo. So ignores her and Yeonhwa continues, “Haesoo was the only one who spoke of all people being equal. You are emancipating those taken into slavery because you can’t forget her. Do you think I wouldn’t know?”

“Suppose I am,” So tells her. “However, even if you do know, will anything change?” Yeonhwa scoffs bitterly. She tells him she understands why Haesoo left him.

At the lake, a little girl bumps into So. Oh my goodness, is this is daughter?! SHE IS SO DARN CUTE! She does the same thing Haesoo did when she bumped into So in the earlier episodes – making a dramatic hurt gesture with her hand. So recalls this memory as he sees the little girl’s reaction. He smiles and tells her she bumped into him. He kneels down and asks who she is as he caresses her face. He looks at her face intensely when Jung comes running over. The little girl runs to him, calling him “Daddy!”

Jung awkwardly greets the So. “You are not supposed to leave Chungju, yet you come to the Palace?” So sternly says to Jung. Jung instantly apologizes, saying it’s the anniversary of Haesoo’s death. He nervously admits he lost his mind for a moment and this won’t happen again. So asks if the little girl is his child and Jung says yes.

“Your family asked permission for you to marry and I recall consenting to it,” So says. “However, your child is very grown.” He asks Jung how old his daughter is.

Jung avoids answering and asks why he is bothering him with his child. He takes the little girl and attempts to leave, but So orders him to leave the girl when he sees her hairpin – it’s the hairpin he gifted Haesoo.

Jung falls to his knees and says he cannot do so. “For this child, she asked that she does not live in the Palace. It is so scary and lonely. She said she did not what to leave her here. That is all Haesoo worried about until the moment she died.”

At this, So nods, overwhelmed. He looks at the little girl. Suddenly, So releases Jung from his exile and tells him he would like it if he came to the Palace every now and then. Jung looks at him in shock as the little girl watches on, clueless. So walks away and Jung embraces the girl.

Wook tells his mother, Hwangbo, that he doesn’t understand why she insists on taking the children to the Palace. Hwangbo tells him she spoke to the King about Prince Ju’s birthday – he needs friends to play with! It was difficult, but she managed to get permission. She tells him to pack up their belongings and to explain to his wife. “I…” Wook starts. “Do not want them in the Palace. Once I die, I’m sure the children will be released from exile.”

Hwangbo sternly tells him that his children must become comfortable in the Palace, “I will make your son Chi into a King.” [Note: Chi becomes Goryeo’s 6th King, Seongjong]

Wook looks tired and defeated.

Baekah sees a little girl, who tells him to be quiet or else her father will notice! He asks if she’s Wook’s daughter and introduces himself as her 13th Uncle. She tells him she looks like a wandering musician and introduces herself as Boksoon! At this, Baekah recalls the moment Woohee introduced herself as Boksoon. He notices Boksoon's talisman and instantly asks if it’s the zhen mu shou talisman and where she got it. She tells him she doesn’t know as she’s always had it – it's her favorite thing!

Baekah is overwhelmed with emotions as he recalls their moment at Damiwon Palace the night before she kills herself. Woohee took off her talisman then.

Wook suddenly comes by, coughing. Is he sick? It’s revealed that Baekah still has no plans to marry and he spends all his time in the fields. Wook tells him the King has spent his time reading the Essentials of Government in the Zhenguan Reign and is wielding his sword now, freeing slaves and restoring them to their former status which, in turn, is taking power away from the noble class families. “It is So. I am curious to see what kind of King he will become,” Wook notes. “I wonder… perhaps, Goryeo has the most powerful king in its history.”

Baekah says he had to give up that much, as well. Wook smiles and nodes, but breaks out in coughs. “Lately, there are faces I can’t stop thinking about.” Baekah asks if he still misses Haesoo. Wook smiles, saying he doesn’t know. “I was always giving my heart,” Wook starts. “But I was always making mistakes. I only realized that now.” Oh, this old and wise Wook finally realizes his wrongdoings! He suddenly recalls Lady Hae, his first wife. Oh, aw... anyone else find this scene incredibly powerful?

So sends Ji Mong off, asking if he wants to leave that badly. Ji Mong says yes, as he can’t help but to think of him. So says he promised him otherwise; he said he was not anyone’s person, but the King’s. Ji Mong says his King was one person – he was a brother and friend to him; he was a monarch.

“In regards to Lady Haesoo, I don’t think she was from this world,” Ji Mong starts. “When you think back on things, there are many instances you realize it. You need to forget her. If you long for a person you cannot reach, you’ll end up like me.” Ha, Ji Mong is making a cute gesture here! He bows and leaves.

Alas, the last person on So’s side leaves. Ji Mong thinks back to when all the Princes got along at his library as he leaves the Palace for good.

Suddenly, the sky darkens behind So. He turns around, looking up at the sky. It’s an eclipse! The one from the beginning! He recalls the day he arrived at Songak on horseback and all his memories of Haesoo.

In modern time, Haesoo (actually Hajin) suddenly wakes up in her bedroom and wipes the tears off her face. “Why am I like this again?” She asks as she wipes the tears from her face. “Seriously, who is he that I’m like this?”

Hajin is working at her vendor stand at a Goryeo Era Makeup Culture event. In the background, a man lectures about Goryeo's influence on make up and bath products.

At her stand, Hajin tells her co-worker she’s been having the same dream for almost one year and describes a man with a scar on his face. Her coworker tells her it’s because she came back from death as she nearly drowned, passed out and then woke up from a coma a year later. Haesoo says she’s totally fine now, but sighs, “I don’t know why when I dream about him I end up crying so much.”

She overhears the man talking about Goryeo’s influence on make-up. LOL! It’s modern Ji Mong!

Later, modern Ji Mong approaches her stand and tells her ‘Go’ (referencing her nametag Go Hajin) was ‘Hae’ in the Goryeo era. She tells him she happens to be selling makeup from the Goryeo era and how it’s a fun coincidence. He tells her there are no such things as coincidences; only that things return to their original place. Hajin looks confused and Ji Mong notes the fragrance of roses. Hajin explains a lot of their products have rose oil, especially a specific serum! She holds it up – it’s made with Bulgarian rose oil. Oh, I see that reference!

As she’s explaining, she suddenly hears Baekah’s voice asking if she used the Bulgarian rose oil (remember the gift he got her for her birthday?). Hajin is disoriented for a second and Ji Mong asks if she’s alright. She brushes it off, although visibly shaken. She quickly introduces a BB cream and says men uses it these days. Suddenly, she gets a memory reel of So. She drops the BB cream and Ji Mong says she should take a rest. Her co-worker rushes over and tells her she should go home. Hajin leaves.

Hajin passes a Goryeo Era Paintings exhibition and stares at the a specific painting - it’s the assassination attempt on Crown Prince Mu. She hears the commotion in her head of what happened back then. She continues through the exhibition and slowly matches the paintings to her memories – the Rain Ritual, So, etc.

“It wasn’t a dream” Haesoo realizes. She starts recalling her “dream” in detail, remembering the Princes and the following events. Tears swell in her eyes. Memories of Wook resurface as she looks at the paintings of the same events that has happened. She suddenly sees So’s portrait and recalls So’s words for her: "I decided I would never let you go."

Hajin is completely overwhelmed and reads his biography. It states his name was So and he emancipated the slaves taken in war. Gwangjong was a good and wise King. Extensive purse. Hajin remembers thinking that he will now no longer be remembered in history as a bloody monarch as she will help him. She turns and sees a last painting. It’s Gwangjong at the Palace, alone. This scene is so beautifully executed.

“I’m sorry,” Hajin chokes out as she looks at the lonesome painting. “I’m sorry for leaving you alone.” She realizes he died alone and sobs as she continues to mutter out apologies.

Back in Goryeo time, Baekah tells So that their 8th brother has passed away. So closes his eyes and Baekah says he will leave again. He tells him to be well and leaves. So stands at the Palace alone, mirroring the painting Hajin just saw in modern time.

So looks at the empty Palace. “Fleeting life,” He remarks. He thinks back to a memory with Haesoo where he tells her that the late King Taejo’s last words were that life is fleeting; it is all short and in vain. "He said that life is so short. But I think that he was wrong. You and I are together like this, so how could it be in vain?” So asks Haesoo.

The two reach the lake and she stares out at it. He tells her he feels nervous whenever she has such an expression; it's like she is going to leave him and he asks what she is afraid of. “It’s just… I feel anxious everyday while I live here,” Haesoo starts.” Every step that I take, I feel like I must be cautious like I’m walking on ice. Sometimes, I feel like I cannot breathe.”

“Even though you have me, you still feel that way?” So asks. She smiles at him, “If we had met in another world and at another time, I was thinking how great that would have been. If only that could be… I wouldn’t fear anything. I could freely, truly, I could freely love you all I wanted.” OH MY GOD. PLEASE.

Back in Goryeo time, So covers his scar with his hand as he recalls that moment.

"If we are not from the same world, I will find you," So thinks to himself in a voice over. “My… Soo.”

 

Episode 20 Finale & Complete Series Review

Wow, this series is basically a tragedy for everyone and Misunderstanding 101. Okay, I need a Part 2 (or at least an after credits scene) where So and Haesoo/Hajin meet each other again in the modern life. Why were we robbed of a reunion scene between them in modern time?! Please, please, please. I can’t believe we didn’t get that reunion because I was so sure it would happen, especially since So says he will find her. I mean, the finale episode was filled with heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak, so c’mon, give up one happy ending scene of the two of them in modern time! I’m also a bit disappointed So never found out that Jung’s daughter is actually his and Haesoo’s daughter. I want to know her name, too!

Despite all the qualms this drama has (the pacing, especially, and the wishy-washiness of the characters’ personalities), I did enjoy this episode as a finale. I liked how it showed the aftermath of all the remaining Princes although I am wondering why it took so long for Won to die… although I’m assuming he dies off screen after reading Chaeryung’s letter.

The scene where Jung, So and Baekah came to the realization that their pettiness caused So to not read Haesoo's letters was agonizing. You can see the sudden realization in all the characters and it was heart wrenching. 

I must credit Joonki’s acting in the scene he realizes he’s been tossing away Haesoo’s letters the entire time. The amount of heartbreak and anguish and devastated realization in his expression was phenomenal! You can really feel his pain and horror. Haesoo’s death scene was so incredibly depressing, but I am glad Jung was with her as she passed. I’m pretty happy Jung got half a happy ending as he did marry her and is raising her daughter. So even lifts his exile! I found it extremely humbling of him to tell her not to worry as he will consider her as a friend despite his own feelings. Of course, with Baekah’s encouragement, he also knows Haesoo will choose So time and time again.

I already talked about my dissatisfaction with the pacing and certain characters reactions to events in my EP19 review, so I won’t be repeating it here. All I can say is that the last several episodes felt incredibly rushed. Since the beginning half was so slow, I definitely felt like the writers/directors could have definitely paced the story a lot better. Granted, this was a HUGE ensemble cast and there were so many schemes upon schemes upon schemes with Princes have varying intentions/motives and only 20 episodes to squeeze everything in (including backstories, side character stories, four King reigns and multiple time skips)! I did get frustrated between EP16 onward due to the pacing and lack of development, but all in all, I did enjoy the ride! I loved IU and Joonki as a pairing! They are so cute together.

However, if I knew the original Scarlet Heart was a tragedy, I probably wouldn’t have watched it (I hate tragedies!). Ultimately, I still feel like we should have gotten a reunion scene between Haesoo/Hajin and So in the modern world since I'm a sucker for happy endings.. although I am sure that’s what So’s last voice over implied. I know we got a cute So and Haesoo piggyback scene, but I wish that they inserted a reunion scene there instead of that. LET ME SEE THEM TOGETHER IN THE “NEXT” LIFE.

I would love to hear your thoughts on the series as well! Did you like it? Hate it? Discuss! 

Oh! One last thing I must mention and credit Moon Lovers for: I absolutely LOVED the OST for this drama! I would actually recommend this drama just for the music. All the songs were utterly amazing!

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6 comments

  • StarberryKoko.com: November 18, 2016

    @Tara & @Hartley_Geri: Woo, that makes complete sense now that you two mention it. I’m SO GLAD Wang So found out about his daughter. Him lifting Jung’s exile makes a lot more sense now as opposed to being somewhat random. Totally agree that there needs to be a season 2 or AT LEAST a “special” episode where they reunite in the “future!”

  • Hartley_geri: November 18, 2016

    Yes, I completely agree with you Tara. At first encounter, there was really a connection bet. him and the child and could see Soo in her. So was doubtful that it’s Jung’s daughter as the child seemed to be very grown to be his. So realized that it’s his daughter when he saw the hairpin that he gave to Soo and asked him to leave the child. But since, Jung explained that it’s Haesoo’s last wish to not allow the child to live in the palace (which was also an affirmation that it’s really So’s child with Soo) he seemed relieved and ordered the release of Jung from his exile so they could visit the palace and see his daughter. HaeSoo may be dead but atleast he knew for the fact that they have a daughter (a fruit of their love) and can see her. Atleast he’d be happy seeing his daughter in the palace and that’s quite a relief for me, too. :) I really love this drama though, the ending left us hanging. I’m still rooting they’d give us atleast one special episode where Wang So and Haesoo reunites in the future. wee!

  • Tara: November 06, 2016

    And I don’t know why my smiley face in the first sentence showed up as a question mark so just ignore that haha.

  • Tara: November 06, 2016

    I’ve really enjoyed all your reviews on this show. ? But in the end I’m pretty sure that So realized “Jung’s daughter” is his. When he first meets the child it seems like he was kind of curious and felt some weird sort of connection to her, but especially when he saw Haesoo’s hairpin in her hair and remembered that the little girl would be too big to be Jung’s child (with his new wife), he seemed to put two and two together and realized that she had to be his. That’s why he told Jung to leave the child there. But because of Jung telling him Haesoo’s last wish for the child not to live in the palace, he instead releases Jung from his exile so he can see his daughter sometimes and be in her life even if it is only a little bit. It still kind of sucks but at least he does know. I really hope they give this drama a season 2, which I’m not sure will really happen or not. So I’ll probably just be left with bad/sad memories everytime I think of this drama’s ending lol.

  • StarberryKoko: November 02, 2016

    @Janice: AH! Thank you for clarifying that for me! :)

  • janice: November 01, 2016

    Jung is holding the hairpin that Haesoo was wearing a while back. He had taken it from her for some reason or she dropped it, I forgot.
    It was the same hairpin that he let SeonDeok borrow when they were trying to move the rocks out of the way to use the bath cave escape.

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