With only two episodes left in the series, K-drama fans are anticipating how Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo will conclude. The internationally popular period drama produced by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) is less than a week away from its finale. This fact has caused it to experience a major increase in viewership not only from loyal international fans who have made Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo an international success, but domestically in South Korea. With Moonlight Drawn by Clouds concluding about two weeks ago, Koreans are now turning to Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo for their period drama fix.
The proof is in the numbers as the viewership ratings for the latest episodes for Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, as provided by TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea, show the K-drama has not only achieved double-digit viewership for the first time since the second episode with the 17th episode, but that the 18th episode earned the highest viewership ever for the series so far. For TNmS Media Korea, they recorded 10.7 percent for the nation and 10.6 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area. For AGB Nielsen Korea, they recorded 10.1 percent for the nation and 11.2 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area.
Despite the sudden popularity Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is experiencing, many of its loyal viewers are wondering if the series will finish well. According to many of them, it seems a lot is happening very late in the series and they fear a “rush job” might happen even though it is a pre-produced series. It is possible the reason why everything is happening late in the series is a setup for a possible second season.
It must be stressed that traditionally in K-dramas, second seasons of any K-drama are very rare. The primary reason why second seasons are being pushed more this year than any other year pertaining to K-dramas are all the new fans, specifically from Descendants of the Sun, who assume Korean, or any Asian drama for that matter, follow the same multi-season format of American or European dramas. On the other hand, certain K-dramas do get second seasons as long as there is a valid reason for it such as if the K-drama itself was made to be two or more seasons long prior to airing.
In the case of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (also known as Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and Scarlet Heart: Goryeo), the most viable reason why it would have a second season is because it is based off the C-drama Scarlet Heart. By all accounts, Scarlet Heart and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo are practically the same except the former utilizes Chinese history while the latter utilizes Korean history.
Even the plot is identical. In Scarlet Heart, Zhang Xiao (Cecilia Liu) is a 21st century Chinese woman who is transported to the Qing Dynasty as Ma Er’tai Ruoxi after an accident. There she lives in the Royal Palace and becomes friends with the princes but falls in love with the fourth prince, Yinzhen (Nicky Wu). In Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, Go Ha Jin (IU) is a 21st century Korean woman who is transported to the Goryeo Dynasty as Hae Soo after an accident. There she lives in the Royal Palace and becomes friends with the princes, but falls in love with the fourth prince, Wang So (Lee Joon Gi).
Given that both Scarlet Heart and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo are very similar, it is probable their endings are similar too. [WARNING: Spoilers Ahead!] In the finale for Scarlet Heart, Ma Er’tai Ruoxi cannot take the stress of living in the Royal Palace and escapes thanks to Prince Yinti. Though free from the palace, she still loves Yinzhen who is now known as the Yongzheng Emperor. Eventually, her health fades and she passes away. At that moment, Zhang Xiao wakes up from a coma she experienced from the accident she suffered, the one viewers observed in the first episode. Xiao researches the Qing Dynasty wondering if everything she experienced was real or a dream. After coming across a drawing in a museum of the Royal Family, in which she is also present, Xiao realizes she was there. Suddenly, a man appears right near her who looks like Yinzhen. The series then ends on a cliffhanger as Xiao stares with tears in her eyes as the man looking like Yinzhen walks away.
The ending of Scarlet Heart actually led up to a second season titled Scarlet Heart 2, the continuation of Zhang Xiao, who was Ma Er’tai Ruoxi in the Qing Dynasty, and her love for the Yinzhen who has been reincarnated through his descendant Yin Zheng.
Right now, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is setting itself up for such an ending. Hao Soo wants to leave the Royal Palace because of how Wang So, who is now known as King Gwangjong of Goryeo, has become ruthless. She may find a way out through the 14th Prince Wang Jung. It is also known that Hae Soo’s health is suffering. If things fall into place, we’ll see Hae Soo pass away than wake up as Go Ha Jin in the 21st century again. And if Ha Jin happens to go to a Korean museum showcasing history, especially the Goryeo Dynasty, we might have the setup for a second season if a man looking like Wang So appears.
Please understand that a second season of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo is not confirmed. The aforementioned is speculation at the moment. However, if SBS is truly trying to follow the source material, the first season of C-drama Scarlet Heart, K-drama fans of Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo can look forward to a second season sometime in the future.
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart: Ryeo airs on Mondays and Tuesdays at 11 p.m. KST on SBS. For those who do not have access to the channel, it can be watched for free, with ads, exclusively on DramaFever. Take note that the latest two episodes will be exclusive to premium members for one week.
As for the original C-Drama Scarlet Heart, it can be viewed for free, with ads, on both DramaFever and Viki depending on where you live. As for the second season, it is only available at the moment on Viki.
[Featured Image by Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]