5 Romantic Moments Where On Dal Proved He’s No Fool In Episodes 9-10 Of “River Where The Moon Rises”

Our favourite sageuk is back and better than ever as On Dal (Na In Woo) returns in full force with charm, charisma, and enough puppy-eyes to make us swoon. We take a break from palace machinations this week as Pyeonggang (Kim So Hyun) returns to Ghost Village with her new husband. However, this time, she isn’t running away from who she is but preparing for the future, for saving her country, and for keeping the man she loves alive while she does it.

Our main couple had plenty of time together this week for romance, kisses, and sword-training, all of which will undoubtedly become harder to find time for as stakes grow higher and Pyeonggang starts to form her own army. The greatest growth this week came from On Dal, who starts to realize just how dangerous the world is, and how difficult it will be for him and the woman he loves to find happiness in it. But that won’t stop him from trying!

Warning: spoilers for episodes 9-10 below.

1. Saving Pyeonggang from an unwanted marriage

Perhaps it was due to all the footage cut from episodes 7-8, but this move felt like it came out of nowhere. Sweet, kind Dal who never wished to spill blood suddenly hiding a dagger up his sleeve to assassinate Go Won Pyo (Lee Hae Young)? How?

However, Na In Woo sold it! He’s found his footing with this role and brings out a maturity and duality to On Dal. It’s brilliantly done and it would have been great to see this version from the very beginning! On Dal’s previous iteration felt like a lovesick schoolboy, a straight up himbo. However, now, he feels three-dimensional: manly, impetuous, and reckless, but also sweet and goofy. Na In Woo makes clear that On Dal is not 100 percent sunshine and rainbows and is more than capable of darker emotions, but he still doesn’t know enough about the world to fear it fully. Compared to Pyeonggang, he lived a sheltered life and retains a sweet sense of innocence. But On Dal starts to realize just how dangerous this can be. One example of how Na In Woo pulls this off is when On Dal prepares for the assassination attempt.

At first, he looks determined and a little cruel. But the moment he’s brought in front of King Pyeongwon (Kim Bup Rae) and the entire court, he realizes just how much is at stake, and his eyes immediately turn scared and innocent. It’s telling that he loves Pyeonggang enough to go as far as to kill for her. This is same Dal who was telling her to put down her sword and life a normal life as an herb-gatherer!

But On Dal is realizing that his life of peace was just an illusion, that living as a fool only made him blind to the dangers of this world. His presence saved Pyeonggang from an unwanted marriage (that much is certain because she had no other way out). However, if Go Won Pyo or Go Geon (Lee Ji Hoon) had seen that dagger up his sleeve, On Dal would have been immediately arrested and killed for attempted murder. It’s a shock to him, especially when Pyeonggang is publicly slapped in front of the court and sent away.

On Dal starts to realize that being protected from the world only made it more dangerous for him to navigate it because he lacks the street smarts and cunning necessary to survive. This is made all the more evident when Go Geon comes chasing after Pyeonggang before they depart for Ghost Village.

2. Defeating sword master Go Geon

This man needs a lead role, look at that smile!

Episode 10 shows Go Geon swiftly avoiding every one of Crown Prince Won’s (Park Sang Hoon) attempted blows. He was Pyeonggang’s sword master and made it all the way to general, so this man definitely knows what he’s doing. Yet, On Dal who’s never taken up sword training his entire life manages to wallop Go Geon enough to seriously concuss him. Perhaps On Dal would have been screwed if this wasn’t hand-to-hand combat and Go Geon had used a sword, but the fact remains that his raw untrained potential beat out a Goguryeo general and that’s something to be proud of. Plus, as the behind the scenes shows, both actors didn’t use stunt doubles for the fight scene, which makes it all the more impressive (starts at 7:04).