My Country: The New Age Episode 11 Recap
7th year of the King’s reign, 1398…the first strife of the princes…
Nam Jeon (Ahn Nae Sang) approaches the mystery man. He turns to face Nam Jeon. It’s Seo Hwi! The shock shows on Nam Jeon’s face. Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) states it has been a long time. Nam Jeon states the low born can’t be hidden by fancy clothes. Seo Hwi counters that those of low character can’t be hidden by high ranks. Seo Hwi asks Nam Jeon to work with him. Nam Jeon asks what he wants. Seo Hwi wants a business section of town in exchange for the stolen gold. Nam Jeon counters that isn’t public property. Seo Hwi counters Nam Jeon can make the impossible happen.
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) burns the artist’s rendering of the swordsman that saved the woman and stole the gold. The death squad leader enters and says his father is making a move.
Nam Jeon doesn’t trust Seo Hwi. He counters that the gold should be enough enticement to take the risk. Nam Jeon asks how Seo Hwi is doing with the poison in his body. Recall Nam Jeon poisoned the arrow that his Seo Hwi, 7 years ago. Seo Hwi murmurs he’s used to poison in his body. Nam Jeon aims to hurt and asks Seo Hwi if he’s willing to be responsible for deaths again, just like his sister. Recall Nam Jeon’s men killed Seo Hwi’s sister. Seo Hwi tells Nam Jeon to give him his answer by 10:30 tomorrow. He leaves.
Seo Hwi dismisses his men and walks alone. The poison grips him and he falls to the ground. He sees a man approaching but can’t extract his sword to defend himself. Sun Ho looks at Seo Hwi on the ground and asks why he came back. Seo Hwi is passed out. Sun Ho asks why he’s in such a state.
Disturbing to see Seo Hwi still so weak. The secret part of me hopes Sun Ho will reform but I keep squashing that hope so I’m not disappointed.
Nam Jeon’s man informs him that Seo Hwi is now a businessman. Nam Jeon wonders why he’s returned. Nam Jeon’s man points out the gold is what matters. Nam Jeon needs it to bribe the crown prince onto the throne (and make Nam Jeon the power behind the throne) to replace the ailing King.
Nam Jeon makes the request for the business section of town. The King retorts that Nam Jeon must want the physical path through town to the throne. Nam Jeon claims it will be good for the people of the town. The King grants the request insulting Nam Jeon that he can collect chump change by going into business. Nam Jeon thanks the King for the decision.
That relationship is no longer trusted advisor/advisee!
Seo Hwi wakes to a man telling him the counter venom medicine he’s taking is too harsh on his body. Seo Hwi asks who brought him. He’s told a government official with dead eyes.
Sun Ho’s right-hand man knows the sketch was Seo Hwi. He tells Sun Ho not to make the mistake of helping him again. Sun Ho counters his biggest mistakes were made when he let fear immobilize him. Sun Ho’s man points out the moment Seo Hwi’s sister died, he was abandoned. Sun Ho grabs his man who recommends that Sun Ho deal with it and move on. Sun Ho says Seo Hwi’s return means nothing. It’s his father, the man that killed Seo Yeon, that must suffer in kind. To that, he must let his father win, then take everything away.
Team “Get Nam Jeon” is my team too!
Nam Jeon meets Seo Hwi and agrees to the deal. He hands over the rights to the business section of town. Seo Hwi leaves the gold and leaves. Nam Jeon tells his men to kill Seo Hwi once he’s alone.
If I made a drinking game that required you to drink a shot every time the phrase “kill him” was uttered, would I spend each episode pleasantly buzzed or dead drunk?
Seo Hwi walks alone in town. Nam Jeon’s men surround him. But Seo Hwi knew this would happen and his men appear. Nam Jeon’s men are killed. Seo Hwi tells his men to hide the bodies.
Seo Hwi arrives at Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house, shocking Hwa Wol who hasn’t seen him in years. She tells him to follow to the main hall. Seo Hwi passes Jung Beom, but they don’t speak.
In the main hall, Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) aka Prince Jeongan hold courts with his supporters. Troops will arrive. Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) guarantees information from the palace and no leaks of their plans. Bang Won states they need the catalyst to make this a revolution not just a rebellion. Cue Seo Hwi’s entrance. He declares Nam Jeon and the blood ceremony will offer the moment. He states he’s obtained the rights to the business section of town and that’s where the ammunition and soldiers can be hidden. With a deft flick of a black fan, Bang Won drawls “long time no see”.
Jang Hyuk makes me chuckle with his fan flicking and smirking. Love him!
Flashback…Seo Hwi tells Bang Won that saving him from Nam Jeon’s sword means he must take responsibility for him. He collapses on Bang Won. Hee Jae and Bang Won watch over Seo Hwi as he recovers. Seo Hwi works to recover his archery skills pushing himself. Bang Won tells him to take his time. Seo Hwi vows to destroy not on Nam Jeon but the world he’s made his lifetime’s work to build.
Bang Won tells Seo Hwi that Nam Jeon is anxious. Seo Hwi wants Nam Jeon to suffer. Bang Won notes that Nam Jeon’s vision is a kingdom where the ruler is controlled by the power behind the throne. Bang Won vows to deal with the devil to avert that. Bang Won knows history will declare him blood thirsty. Seo Hwi claims that he doesn’t care about history, the country, or politics, he only wants sweet revenge against Nam Jeon. Bang Won tells Seo Hwi on the day he leaves again, when their work is done, they must share wine and a smile one last time.
As Seo Hwi walks away he passes Jung Beom who tells him to take care. Seo Hwi wishes the same for Jung Beom. The concern is clear in Jung Beom’s eyes.
Seo Hwi clutches his chest and grabs a post to steady himself. He finds blood on his hand. Hee Jae stares at him.
In her quarters, Hee Jae tends Seo Hwi’s wounds. As she sits behind him, her hand steals up his back to his shoulder, Seo Hwi holds her hand. Hee Jae lays her head on his shoulder. She tells him he must do what he must. She only hopes he doesn’t get hurt too badly.
Awk! Tears! Best girlfriend ever. This couple may only ever have snatches of togetherness, but it doesn’t diminish the feelings between them.
Nam Jeon tells his man that after the blood ceremony, he’ll force the King to abdicate the throne and kill all the princes. Shocked his man protests. Nam Jeon declares the ministers and royals are on his side and therefore he’s protected. His man points out that Minister Gang hasn’t joined them. Nam Jeon states he’ll meet with him.
Sun Ho takes matters into his own hands. Minister Gang wakes to find a bloody sword at his throat. Sun Ho orders him to attend the blood ceremony. He threatens him to suggest a quiet life at his uncle the King’s side is preferable to death. The minister agrees to attend. Sun Ho leaves. The minister rushes into the hallway yelling for his men. He’s shocked to find them all dead.
Candlelight on Sun Ho’s face didn’t lessen his resolve. In this, he and Seo Hwi are on the same page.
Sun Ho spends time celebrating at Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house. Once one of the Kisaeng notice Seo Yeon’s partially finished embroidery attached to Sun Ho’s sword, she touches it and flirts. Sun Ho looks at her with disdain and informs her should she touch it again, he’ll kill her.
Drink! I felt his pain.
Nam Jeon stops the party when he storms into the room. The Kisaeng leave them only. Nam Jeon rages at Sun Ho for threatening Minister Gang. Sun Ho counters that it worked, and Minister Gang will attend the blood ceremony. Nam Jeon says Seo Hwi is back and he’s ordered his men to kill him.
Sun Ho smirks that his father is kind to end Seo Hwi’s suffering from the poison. Nam Jeon declares he’s eliminates enemies. He says Sun Ho is next on the enemy list. Sun Ho counters that his father is on his enemy list too.
Seo Hwi finds Sun Ho waiting on the bridge. Sun Ho asks why Seo Hwi didn’t kill his father immediately upon return. He asks what Seo Hwi is plotting. Seo Hwi declares he wants Nam Jeon to die in a painful way. Sun Ho punches Seo Hwi in his chest wound. Seo Hwi falls to his knees. Sun Ho sneers that Seo Hwi can’t get the job done in that condition. He declares he’ll be the one to kill is father so history will label his father as a traitor that deserved to be killed. Seo Hwi stands and yells that he could care less about history. He will die when Nam Jeon dies because that’s all he lives for. He warns Sun Ho not to interfere. He strides away. Sun Ho sighs.
Terrific scene! A common goal but for different reasons.
Seo Hwi, Jung Beom, Mun Bok, and Officer Park set up the business section of town just outside the palace gate. Weapons are stored. Officer Park tells Seo Hwi the next shipment will arrive tomorrow. Jung Beom grabs Mun Bok his sketchbook with a scantily clad woman falls open. They all look at Officer Park, who grunts and walks away. Jung Beom and Mun Bok discuss Officer Park’s lack of carnal interest. Ha!
Seo Hwi asks Mun Bok for the medicine. Mun Bok isn’t happy to deliver it and warns him NOT to take it unless necessary as it is wrecking his intestines. Seo Hwi promises. Officer Park and Jung Beom look on in concern.
They look at the weapons. Seo Hwi vows to destroy Nam Jeon’s world. Officer Park asks THE question, after this is over, will Seo Hwi die? He states Seo Hwi’s father taught him when owing your life to another, to take responsibility for that life, which he’s done for Seo Hwi. Officer Park states Seo Yeon was precious to Seo Hwi and he’s precious to them.
Excellent bit of oratory from Officer Park. Single minded pursuit creates tunnel vision. Seo Hwi isn’t thinking about those that love him.
Officer Park engages the boy that didn’t fare well in his first attempt to get into the army. The same results occur. When two men with tattoos arrive, Officer Park leaves with them.
I am an Officer Park fan. I do NOT want him to die.
Mun Bok stares at the money he has stashed. Hwa Wol complains he likes the money more than anything.
Bang Won’s brother Bang Gan has hired Cheonga as a double agent. Bang Gan decides to infiltrate Bang Won’s home to search it. He declares his goal in life is simple…to strive the political machinations.
Bang Gan finds the rights to the business section of town with Seo Hwi’s name. Bang Won finds him. They “fight” and Bang Won uses the black fan to perfection. Bang Gan brags his sword had 10 training sessions with Seo Geom (Seo Hwi’s father) while Bang Won only had 8. Bang Won smiles at his brother’s one-up attempt.
Bang Won tells Bang Gan that Nam Jeon will attack all the princes after the blood ceremony. Bang Won tells Bang Gan to attend the blood ceremony as the princes’ representative and let Nam Jeon attack. Then Bang Won will have the justification to kill Nam Jeon. Bang Gan retorts that Nam Jeon is only the beginning, their father and the throne might be next. He tells Bang Won to put it in writing that he won’t be killed.
Sun Ho tells his father the blood ceremony is the trigger point. Nam Jeon agrees. Sun Ho points out many will die. Nam Jeon agrees. Sun Ho declares his father wants to rule the country. Nam Jeon agrees. Sacrifices must be made to make his dream come true; Nam Jeon says firmly.
Seo Hwi watches more weapons stored. Bang Gan walks by and tries to recruit Seo Hwi who demurs he’s only a merchant. Bang Gan forces swordplay that proves otherwise. Bang Gan notes this is a great area to hide things. Bang Gan murmurs that swordplay is familiar.
Bang Gan isn’t stupid.
Hwa Wol informs Hee Jae that the minister of defense reneged on his agreement to place her people in key places.
Hee Jae visits the minister and uses her security man to the point of her words with his sword at the minister’s throat. Hee Jae promises that if the minister doesn’t do as she said, he’ll die.
Drink! That was fierce talk from Hee Jae, she meant that!
Nam Jeon holds the blood ceremony. Bang Gan attends to represent he princes. They sign their pledge to support the crown prince in blood.
Doesn’t everyone know who Nam Jeon’s last pledge turned out for his co-conspirators?
Sun Ho informs the King and crown prince that Nam Jeon and the royals had a blood ceremony. The King knows they’ll come gunning from him. Sun Ho says the field is open for Nam Jeon and Bang Won to fight to the death. The King declares fathers don’t kill sons. Sun Ho counters some sons kill fathers. Sun Ho states if Bang Won doesn’t demand retribution for the blood ceremony blood being spilled is inevitable. The King decides to watch and decide based on the next move.
Nam Jeon declares the King’s son from his first wife must die. He’s ready to draw blood.
All the ministers listen to the King demand to know why Nam Jeon had an unauthorized blood ceremony. Nam Jeon demurs that declaring loyalty to the crown prince can’t be wrong. When the King grabs the chair arm, Nam Jeon observes the King doesn’t have the strength to rule alone and asks him to reconsider sharing the throne with the crown prince. The ministers echo the request. The King has Bang Won what he thinks. Bang Won declines to answer. The King realizes bloodshed is the next move. He ends the session. When the King attempts to rise, he feels faint. Bang Won rushes to his father’s side. He stares in loathing at Nam Jeon who doesn’t blink an eye at the glare.
Is that inference of poison?
Bang Won, Bang Gan, Nam Jeon and others hold vigil outside the palace, where the King lays in bed. Nam Jeon claims to be worried about the King. Bang Won states that his relationship with Nam Jeon has evolved from comrades to adversaries to mortal enemies. Nam Jeon retorts they were only aligned for a moment when they shared a common enemy. Bang Won replies that he used to think of Nam Jeon as the King’s dog. Nam Jeon asks Bang Won’s opinion of him now. Bang Won glares at Nam Jeon.
I could watch these two actors go at it all day!
The King thinks about ending moments with the Queen.
Flashback…The ailing Queen points out that the King never considered her nor her sons a priority. She stares at her young sons and declares she can see their future deaths. The King promises that won’t happen. The Queen says the only way to keep that promise is to kill Bang Won and Nam Jeon. When King doesn’t agree, she yells her sons will die because of his foolish belief that he can manage the situation so that all will live. She predicts once her sons are killed, the King will be killed too. She stares at her crying sons and dies.
She was right, but when she aligned with Nam Jeon, she sealed her son’s fates.
The King cries at the memory. He crushes his teacup and demands that crown prince and Nam Jeon be brought to him.
Nam Jeon stares at the throne he covets.
The King tells the crown prince that should he die, his time on the throne will be short because Bang Won and Bang Gan will kill him. The King says letting Nam Jeon control him is the only other option. The crown prince cries he only wants to live. The King declares it is time for Bang Won and Nam Jeon to battle. Sun Ho recommends Nam Jeon deal with Bang Won. The King does not want to watch his son die. Sun Ho vows to handle his father.
Nam Jeon strokes the throne and walks behind the power base he plans to rule from. Nam Jeon murmurs that the King’s need to keep the throne at all costs has created this situation.
Seo Hwi studies a map of the city with locations of various factions of troops.
Nam Jeon declares tonight he’ll kill the princes. His right-hand man worries it is too soon. Nam Jeon replies they have justification and they will strike.
Sun Ho’s right-hand man informs Sun Ho that his father has ordered the princes be killed tonight.
Hee Jae obtains the orders from Nam Jeon to kill the princes. She gives it to Seo Hwi. He responds that the palace guards must be in on it and this will prove treason. Hee Jae tells him to be safe.
Sun Ho informs the King of Nam Jeon’s decision to kill the princes. Putting himself as the priority the King orders himself spirited away to avoid the bloodshed. Sun Ho sighs.
That clearly revealed the King’s true priorities.
Seo Hwi arrives in Nam Jeon’s office, slaps the stolen orders on the table, and declares that the bloodshed won’t occur. Nam Jeon murmurs that Seo Hwi and Bang Won are aligned as he thought. Seo Hwi vows to destroy Nam Jeon’s world. Nam Jeon calmly states he’s survived this long, he won’t be taken down by someone low born. He will win and Seo Hwi will die. Seo Hwi declares this is the beginning. He asks if Nam Jeon wants to know how he can survive. He orders Nam Jeon to do his bidding, become his dog and serve him well. Incensed, Nam Jeon yells he’d never serve Nam Jeon. Seo Hwi leans in and promises the Nam Jeon will now watch Seo Hwi crush him. He leaves.
I have a problem with telling the villain you are gunning with him. It seems foolish even though it creates dramatic scenes. I want Seo Hwi be powerful and win this battle, but Nam Jeon is crafty, wily, and evil.
The King leaves town.
Seo Hwi tells Bang Won that Nam Jeon wants to kill the princes. Tae Ryeon tells Bang Won the King has left town. Bang Won declares the King wants Nam Jeon and Bang Won to fight to the death. He can’t believe his father wants his son to die. He will meet the King. Seo Hwi states the King’s answer wont’ change anything.
Bang Won, Tae Ryeon, and Seo Hwi mount their horses. Tae Ryeon states Nam Jeon’s man is on the roof. Seo Hwi states another is in the trees. He tells them to ride one and let him handle the situation. He shoots the first man but misses in the one in the tree. Seo Hwi chases the man down. It’s the death squad leader. He sneers that Sun Ho should have killed Seo Hwi long ago friendship be dammed. They fight and Seo Hwi goes to his knees. Jung Beom arrives and declares Seo Hwi won’t be injured tonight. Mun Bok arrives and echoes the same. Officer Park arrives and echoes the same. Seo Hwi stands. The four friends stare at their foe who promises they’ll meet again. He flees. The boys chide Seo Hwi that they are a foursome. Seo Hwi tells Mun Bok and Jung Beom to go the palace gates while he and Officer Park catch up with Bang Won.
The music! I like our foursome and do NOT want ANY of them to die. That’s a tall order given the bloodshed quota in historicals.
Sun Ho’s man informs him that King has left, Bang Won is going to see the King and Seo Hwi is with and aligned with Bang Won. Sun Ho remembers Seo Hwi’s vow to take down his father.
Sun Ho rides to the King.
The King is told Bang Won has arrived. He murmurs he must shake things up.
Bang Won claims to be concerned about the King’s health and so he came. The King states Nam Jeon has proven he can’t be trusted. He asks if a subject can reach for the throne. Bang Won asks if he’s only a subject in the King’s eyes. The King asks if he wants the answer from his father or the king. Bang Won wants both. The King states Bang Won was a sword and shield that served the king well, but he was only the fifth or eight sons to a father. The King tells his son that he loathed him for killing Poeun but will praise him for destroying Nam Jeon, which could make Bang Won the crown prince. Bang Won asks his father if he’ll ever stop using him. He points out his father wanted Poeun to die and told him to do the deed. The King counters he never ordered Bang Won to kill, Bang Won made the choice to kill. Bang Won counters that was a choice he’ll never stop regretting.
Bang Won kneels before his father. He rises and promises that all bloodshed from this moment on, began with the King. He tells his father not to regret his choice tonight. He walks away. The King watches his son leave.
Super scene! So quiet, so fraught with Bang Won’s pain and the King’s willingness to use and abuse his son for his own purposes until the end.
Seo Hwi and his men wait for Bang Won.
Bang Won walks the bridge away from his father and to his destiny. Seo Hwi greets him and tells him he did well.
Flashback…Bang Won tells his father all he ever wanted was for his father to tell him he did well. Then he would have known he wasn’t just a subject.
Bang Won gives a strangled laugh knowing he got his wish but from the wrong man. His resolve firms. Bang Won orders the bridge to the King cut off. Bang Won’s men literally cut a gap in the bridge.
The King hears the bridge work.
Bang Won and Seo Hwi stare at each other…destiny is neigh.
This episode was the skirmish before the final battle. Writer Chae Seung Dae and the production team weaved flashbacks again and again that foretold of this moment in history. Nam Jeon can taste the power of the throne and is willing to do anything, kill anyone, to get it. Again and again he blames his victims for his actions. He is EVIL. Ahn Nae Sang has crafted a villain that I loathe and yet don’t hate. Yet I want his elimination, nothing else will do. Team “Get Nam Jeon” is populated with Seo Hwi, Sun Ho, Bang Won and Seo Hwi’s support team. Happy hunting.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) has a single goal…destroy Nam Jeon. Seo Hwi’s body, affected by the poison from Nam Jeon, continues to be his weak spot. While I don’t like his limited strength, it does force him to rely on aide from others. Seo Hwi pretends that he’s in this alone, but he isn’t. Officer Park pointed out that Seo Hwi may think this solo revenge against Nam Jeon but Seo Hwi isn’t alone and cannot ignore those that love him. I wanted to hug Officer Park in that moment. Seo Hwi wants to eschew the love of others while he pursues his single-minded pursuit of Nam Jeon. Not gonna happen Seo Hwi. You are part of a team. While I dislike the “I’m going to get you” moments that heroes tell villains, preferring blindsides, Seo Hwi deserves to tell Nam Jeon to his face that he will personally bring Nam Jeon down. It was a full circle moment when Seo Hwi ordered Nam Jeon to serve him as dog just as Nam Jeon had done in the past. Sweet!
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) wants to kill his father. He and Seo Hwi aren’t working together but they are coming at Nam Jeon from different angles. Sun Ho proved he cares about Seo Hwi when he hit his wound and pointed out he could not defeat his father in a weakened state. Sun Ho proved he cares about Seo Hwi when he destroyed the drawing of the wanted Seo Hwi. That was a full circle moment from the first episode when Seo Hwi and Sun Ho looked at the drawing of the wanted Hee Jae. Sun Ho told the King his options. The King elected to save himself and let Nam Jeon and Bang Won fight to the death. The crown prince was quivering in fear only wanting to save himself. Like father, like son. Meanwhile Sun Ho and Nam Jeon acknowledged their opposite positions. I was fine with Sun Ho telling his father this. He is strong. He is smart. While I know Seo Hwi is smart and strong too, he’s been through so much, and is physically vulnerable, I worry about him. I don’t worry about Sun Ho.
Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) supported Seo Hwi. Hee Jae is the best girlfriend. She’s there for him, waits for him, and works to achieve the goal of taking down Nam Jeon. Hee Jae’s role is important but has less impact than our male leads. While this chaffed me in the beginning, I’m okay with it now. Hee Jae has an important role. Hee Jae isn’t the best strategist and the support role is the best one for her. It was a sweet moment when she tended Seo Hwi in her quarters. Laying her head on his back, clasping hands with Seo Hwi, they both silently acknowledged their love. But it may never come to fruition as Seo Hwi is prepared to die once Nam Jeon is killed. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) suffered more disappointment from his father. My heart went out to Bang Won when his father once again elected to use him and not acknowledge Bang Won’s efforts. The flashback to Bang Won telling his father that only acknowledgement was needed yet withheld was perfectly placed after Seo Hwi’s acknowledgement of Bang Won. Did Bang Won feel Seo Hwi’s father’s support in the same way? Writer Chae is clearly telling us that Bang Won must do what happens next no matter how distasteful. Nam Jeon cannot be allowed to take the country and rule. The enemy must be destroyed at all costs. Shout out to Jang Hyuk for his masterful fan work in this series. I’m betting actors (male and female) are taking note and we’ll see it copied in future historical series.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific. My rating chart is below: