True to its debut, Moon continues to run along in the vein of “same-same-but-different”, wrt its predecessor, Scarlet. Moon takes certain critical scenes, such as Soo and Wook’s iconic stroll in a snowy garden, Soo in a rowing boat with So, Soo entering the palace as a handmaiden, etc, but repackages them to fit its new storyline. In doing so, Moon also weaves in all-familiar kdrama and kpop elements into the narrative.
First off, there’s a stronger romance in Moon than Scarlet. Not to say the original lacks romance, but Scarlet also has a strong Misaeng–ish storyline to it. There’s Ruoxi, who enters the palace (similar to a huge MNC) as a rookie and uses her wits and networking skills to earn her place as a top dog. While Soo also enters the palace, her entrance is fairly dramatic. Unlike Ruoxi, who had to worked as a court lady cos it is the culture then, Soo’s position is more like a punishment for evading a royal marriage to the King. The prelude to Soo’s employment, where all the princes (except 3rd Prince) worked together to help her escape…it’s pure kdrama’s rom-com trope. The usual bunch-of-chaebols-fall-for-Candy ploy (think Cinderella and the Four Knights).
And very fittingly, Soo — the modern Korean lady with a fetish for all things skincare — employs her beauty skills to create the first BB cream for So. Plus all those handmade au natural soaps for the royal family. A nod to kpop culture with its strong emphasis on skincare and makeup (most of which also tend to hark on its “natural ingredients”). (i dunno why, but i find the BB cream scene on So extremely funny)
So yes, Moon is definitely cherry picking scenes from Scarlet — it’s not reproducing its entire narrative, but taking what fits instead.
Oh, before I forget: I wanna rant about the snowy scene where Soo’s cousin, Mdm Hae, supposedly died. I remembered she died on Wook’s shoulders in…winter? So did they bury her a season later? Cos her funeral has blooming trees and lush greenery. I wondered how they preserve her body. Or she didn’t die? But juz fainted on his back and died a season later? (ok, it’s OCD me again. but the continuity in the 2 scenes does have a problem)