My Country: The New Age Episode 12 Recap
7th year of the King’s reign, 1398…the first strife of the princes…
The King is told Bang Won has arrived. He murmurs he must shake things up.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) aka Prince Jeongan asks his father if he’s only a subject in his 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 of 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.
Bang Won walks the bridge away from his father and to his destiny. Seo Hwi greets him and tells him he did well. Bang Won gives a strangled laugh knowing his desire for acknowledgement came from a man that wasn’t his father. 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 share at each other. He declares the connection to the King is literally severed. He asks what their relationship is. Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) admits that eliminating Nam Jeon is his only objective.
Bang Won addresses his men “Listen to me. We were born separately, lived separately and have separate reasons to be here. But we were all abandoned. You must survive!” Bang Won looks at Seo Hwi and states survival is his order. Seo Hwi tells Bang Won he must survive as well. They head to the palace.
The King is informed Bang Won literally cut a gap in the bridge. The King murmurs that Bang Won has set his sights on changing the country, not only eliminating Nam Jeon. He declares they must return to the palace.
A watcher blows a whistle as the King passes. Noticing, the King order his men to pick up the pace.
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) and his right-hand man arrive at the severed bridge. Sun Ho realizes his father isn’t Bang Won’s only target. He knows this is a revolution. He wants both his father and Bang Won to die fighting. He can’t handle it if one adversary dominates the other.
Nam Jeon (Ahn Nae Sang) learns the routes to the palace have been cutoff. He recalls Seo Hwi’s promise to destroy him. He realizes Bang Won has set his sights on changing the country. His stops his right-hand man from informing the King. He declares he will issue the royal order to counter this first move. He orders the princes to be told that the King is critically ill. His right-hand man protests faking a royal order. Nam Jeon counters that his job is to facilitate the crown prince’s orders and with the King gone, the crown prince is the acting King. He orders the elite unit mobilized so he can personally greet the princes with them.
Bang Won’s brother Bang Gan and his men join Bang Won and his men. He says this feels like going into the lions’ den. Bang Won states tonight Nam Jeon and the King die. Bang Gan laughs and asks who else will die. Bang Won responds that it could be Bang Gan, so he best not turn his back. Bang Gan states they are brothers from the same mother and Bang Won can trust him. He claims he trusts Bang Won and therefore Bang Won should trust him. Bang Won says nothing.
Bang Gan asks Seo Hwi what’s next. Seo Hwi states they are waiting for Nam Jeon’s move so they aren’t the first to strike and can claim Nam Jeon was the instigator. Bang Gan counters attack and sneak attack as the basics of war. Seo Hwi asks Bang Won for his flag so he can fight under it. Bang Won agrees.
Sun Ho bursts into his father’s office demanding to know if the order to summon the princes was truly issued. Nam Jeon confirms this stating the princes will die upon arrival. Nam Jeon sneers that his plan has ruined anything Sun Ho wanted. He encourages his son to either fight with him or kill him. Sun Ho puts his sword to his father’s throat and orders him not to do anything else or he will kill him.
Threats, glorious threats, but do they mean anything? Nam Jeon isn’t going to stop now, and Sun Ho knows this.
Nam Jeon tells his right-hand man to divide the troops, half at the gate and the others with him. If Bang Won won’t come inside to die, they pursue and kill him outside.
Sun Ho tells the troops to kill anyone regardless of rank.
Bang Won and Bang Gan are unsure when they find the gates unguarded. Do they go in as ordered or stay outside and face treason? Bang Won states the eldest should go first. Bang Gan quips that the stronger brother should go first. Seeing Bang Won’s non reaction, Bang Gan sighs and enters the gates.
Four guards meet Bang Gan and tell him to disarm. Bang Gan counters they have weapons. The guards tell him to disarm or die. Bang Gan smiles broadly. Who is going to kill me? The guards confirm they will. Lighting fast Bang Gan dispatches all four guards. When he sees Sun Ho and his guards striding towards him, he hurries back to Bang Won. He tells his brother he’s done for the night and leaves.
Sun Ho and his guards face off with Bang Won, Officer Park, and his men. Bang Won asks if Sun Ho is there to kill him. Sun Ho counters he’s there to escort him. Sun Ho asks if Bang Won is afraid. Bang Won retorts they are all afraid at this moment. Bang Won asks Officer Park if it is correct that the black snake unit never lost. Officer Park confirms this. Bang Won asks if there are members in the guards. Officer Park commands the black snake members to fight. They attack the other guards. Sun Ho stares at Bang Won who unsheathes his sword.
Shout out to the black snakes!
In the coolest macho way, Bang Won fights Sun Ho.
Must break in and shower love on Jang Hyuk for doing his own stunts/fighting AND coming off completely bad ass.
Sun Ho tells Bang Won that he cannot become king because he will kill countless people. Bang Won counters a king has to be willing to sacrifice. Sun Ho declares Bang Won will abandon Seo Hwi. He asks how Bang Won is different from his father. Bang Won purrs he never deserts his supporters. When all the guards but Sun Ho and his right-hand man are killed, Bang Won tells them to return inside the palace. As the gates close, Bang Won tells Sun Ho to relay a message to his father. Bang Won yells that Nam Jeon issued a fake royal order to kill the princes. He vows to kill the traitors that support this.
Bang Won is a 10 on the bad ass scale!
Sun Ho tells his right-hand man because Bang Won arrived as summoned, they can’t say his disobeyed the royal order. Sun Ho sighs now they are traitors. Sun Ho states Bang Won now has the mandate to take the throne.
Well said young apprentice.
The black snake guards leave to join the others fighting. Officer Park tells Bang Won he’ll go to help Seo Hwi. Bang Won agrees.
Sun Ho armors himself. His right-hand man reports Nam Jeon dispatched the troops. Sun Ho reels with his father’s move. He sighs.
I can’t believe he believed his father wouldn’t do exactly this.
Nam Jeon orders his troops to kill Bang Won and their men. They chorus their agreement.
Hee Jae reads a note stating the King is returning to the palace. Her spy states the bridge gap forced the King into a four-hour detour. She orders her spy to continue to watch the King. Hee Jae declares she’ll tell Seo Hwi the news.
Seo Hwi, Mun Bok and Jung Beom wait for the palace gates to open. Hee Jae, Hwa Wol and the security man arrive. Hee Jae gives Seo Hwi the note and tells him the King is returning.
One on one Hee Jae tells Seo Hwi that only the King can mobilize his troops. She warns Seo Hwi that if he doesn’t succeed before the King arrives, he’ll pay. Seo Hwi tells her not to deliver notes in person again. Hee Jae states she’s glad she got to see and turns to leave. Seo Hwi grabs her wrist and promises to return. Hee Jae promises to wait.
Frankly I’m glad Seo Hwi plans to survive. Hee Jae was cool enough to walk away, Seo Hwi was cool enough to stop her.
Mun Bok rails for Hwa Wol for coming in person. He gives her the key to his safe and states to open it, read the note, should he die. Hwa Wol doesn’t like the sound of that. She protests he loves money. Mun Bok declares he loves her. She smiles. He smiles. She gives him the key and tells him to stop by in the morning for breakfast. She leaves.
Hee Jae declares everyone but herself and the security man must leave Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house.
Seo Hwi holds Bang Won’s flag as he waits for battle. He tells Mun Bok and Jung Beom to go Bang Won. Mun Bok yells that he’s not doing this for Bang Won, he’s doing this for Seo Hwi, so he will survive. Jung Beom’s silent assent is obvious.
Cheonga declares they should all leave because the gates won’t open, and they’ll be killed for treason. He orders the men to follow him. No one moves. Cheonga is taken aback. He orders them again. No one moves. Seo Hwi yells that he orders Bang Won’s men and if Cheonga doesn’t like it, he can die.
That was bad ass!
The gates open. Seo Hwi orders the men into position.
The troops enter the business section of town. Seo Hwi stands alone with Bang Won’s flag. They order Seo Hwi to step aside. Seo Hwi orders the men to attack. Nam Jeon watches the fight from the palace. He sees Seo Hwi fighting. He sees the troops are well matched. He orders his right-hand man to get the archers. The right-hand man points out the archers can’t distinguish who is who. Nam Jeon yells that doesn’t matter and to get the archers.
Cheonga attacks Seo Hwi and declares he’s waited for this moment. But their fight is interrupted by the archers. Seo Hwi yells to his men to watch out (wouldn’t take cover be a better order?). Jung Beom is hit, Mun Bok stands in front of Jung Beom and takes an arrow. Seo Hwi yells in horror. They drag Mun Bok to the side. Seo Hwi stands and stares at Nam Jeon. He orders Jung Beom to get Mun Bok to safety and he’ll follow after tending the injured. Jung Beom agrees and takes Mun Bok with him. Seo Hwi aims his arrow at Nam Jeon but it misses. Nam Jeon doesn’t wait for the next one and leaves. Seo Hwi yells his frustration. The archers shoot. Nam Jeon tells his man it’s time to switch locations. Seo Hwi helps the injured.
While Nam Jeon gave Seo Hwi the kill shot opportunity, he knew Seo Hwi was in a weakened state after fighting. It is frustrating to know Seo Hwi’s abilities can be deemed insufficient whenever Writer Chae wants, but it adds unpredictability to the story.
Mun Bok appears to lose consciousness as Jung Beom gallops to get help. Jung Beom stops and pulls his friend from the horse. He begs his friend not to die. He touches Mun Bok’s chest and realizes the breast armor is thick. Mun Bok opens his eyes and smiles. He teases that Jung Beom is crying. Jung Beom hugs him fiercely in relief. Mun Bok protests the hug is too tight.
The King orders his troops gathered and Bang Won captured. Anyone that disobeys the royal command gets beheaded.
Hee Jae tells her security man they must stop the troops from gathering. He points out the danger. She points out there a no other options.
Sun Ho and his right-hand man survey the carnage in front of the palace gates. Sun Ho states they must hang in there until the King returns.
The King and his men run into a wall of wood that becomes engulfed in flames. The King decides to what for it to burn out. He orders the culprit identified. He states Bang Won may be saved by this delay. Hee Jae watches the burning wall from the opposite side.
Don’t know how she managed that but well done.
Seo Hwi and his men ride to join Bang Won.
Nice night cinematography!
Sun Ho and his men gather the remaining palace troops. He instructs everyone where to go and what to do to prepare for a potential attack. Sun Ho believes if they can survive until dawn when the King is projected to arrive, they might survive.
Sun Ho looks in on his father and his cronies. Father and son lock eyes.
And we hit the first scene of this series….
Bang Won’s men stand at the ready. Bang Won’s back is to us. Bang Won learns where Nam Jeon and his cronies are. Tae Ryeon asks what their next move is. Bang Won declares they will wait until they know what happened with Seo Hwi and his men. Bang Gan feels it foolish that wait. Bang Won points out that Seo Hwi may be dead or may have fled. Bang Won firmly states that Seo Hwi will come. Sure enough, out of the blue mist, Seo Hwi rides bearing Bang Won’s flag. Mun Bok and Jung Beom smile.
Seo Hwi strides to Bang Won. He apologizes for being late. Bang Won assigns Seo Hwi the task of taking out the spot where Nam Jeon, his cronies, and his troops wait. The watch word is sanseong.
Tae Ryeon takes out those guarding the gate. Bang Won’s rush through the gate. Bang Won tells his opponents, those that fight against him will die. Everyone puts down their weapons. Bang Won strides forward and declares his controls the army and any that oppose him will die. Bang Won orders Tae Ryeon to tell the minister of rites to come. Bang Won states anyone that does not follow his instructions will die. Bang Won yells that anyone that stands against him will die. He asks if anyone dare. Bang Gan locks eyes with his brother and remains silent.
If I were doing the drinking game at every “you will die/I will kill you”, I’d be dead drunk.
Jang Hyuk is masterful in these scenes. He commands respect. He is superb.
Seo Hwi, Officer Park, Jung Beom and Mun Bok lead the other part of Bang Won’s troops to their moment of destiny. Seo Hwi orders them to surround the building. They ram the door and enter. Sun Ho’s archers appear and hit the initial wave. Seo Hwi, Officer Park, Jung Beom and Mun Bok enter and dispatch the archers.
Love our foursome’s teamwork.
Nam Jeon and his cronies listen to the battle. Nam Jeon orders a round of drinks.
Hey, he’s got his own drinking game!
And we hit the first scene of this series….
Seo Hwi et al stride through the courtyard. Sun Ho and his men wait for them.
Seo Hwi and Sun Ho stare at each other. Seo Hwi tells Sun Ho to step aside. Sun Ho tells Seo Hwi he won’t get any further than this. Seo Hwi drops his bow and draws his sword. Sun Ho declares his father will not die by Seo Hwi’s sword. If he dies tonight he’ll be remembered as a loyal subject that tried to save the country. Sun Ho states his father must die with people loathing him and calling him a traitor. Seo Hwi declares he loathes Sun Ho’s father enough for the entire country. Seo Hwi states he will kill Nam Jeon and kill himself tonight. Then Sun Ho can follow his trail of blood. Sun Ho looks at Seo Yeon’s embroidery on his sword. Sun Ho declares Seo Hwi’s blood on top of every terrible thing he has done is too much. Sun Ho draws his sword. He asks how Seo Hwi can be so cruel. Seo Hwi declares it is time to stop talking.
Seo Hwi and his men attack.
Seo Hwi and Sun Ho come face to face. The moment has come. In a beautiful stylized leap, Seo Hwi descends upon Sun Ho and they fight. Seo Hwi draws blood. Sun Ho draws blood.
Officer Park and the death squad leader come face to face. The death squad leader states he knows that Officer Park is the black snake leader. Officer Park states he knows the other man will die soon. Officer Park is right.
Nam Jeon drinks and murmurs tonight is his time to die. He stands to meet his fate. He wishes his cronies a good evening.
Seo Hwi and Sun Ho fight and fight. They draw blood multiple times. Finally Seo Hwi plunges his sword into Sun Ho’s lower torso. Sun Ho falls to his knees. He tells Seo Hwi that his sword felt loving. Sun Ho slumps to the ground. Seo Hwi stares at his friend. Nam Jeon appears. Seo Hwi stares at his enemy.
Nam Jeon steps forward and looks at his son gasping for breath on the ground. He looks at the carnage around him. Nam Jeon admits that Seo Hwi was right. His world has been crushed as promised. He picks up Sun Ho’s sword. He tells Seo Hwi that he controls his destiny. He challenges Seo Hwi to kill him. If he doesn’t he’ll continue and rebuild his power.
Seo Hwi admits he knew Nam Jeon won’t apologize for his heinous actions against his family. But how can Nam Jeon be proud of them? Nam Jeon retorts nothing or no one mattered in the pursuit of building his world. His single-minded pursuit of his goal is worth being proud of.
Nam Jeon and Seo Hwi fight. Seo Hwi gets Nam Jeon to the ground with his sword at Nam Jeon’s throat. Bang Won walks up. Nam Jeon drops his sword, ready to die. Seo Hwi hesitates. He looks at Sun Ho. He looks at Bang Won. He looks at Nam Jeon. Realizing that Seo Hwi is struggling to kill him and wanting to die, Nam Jeon taunts that he won’t lie that he’s sorry. He tells Seo Hwi to kill him.
Seo Hwi raises his sword to strike the death blow. Sun Ho watches his father wait to die. Bang Won steps in front of Seo Hwi and slices Nam Jeon. He falls to his side. Sun Ho sees his father go down. Bang Won states there’s no need to live with the guilt of killing his friend’s father. He knows that guilt from killing Poeum and wouldn’t wish it on Seo Hwi. Bang Won and his men leave.
Nam Jeon rolls and reach out to his son. Sun Ho and his father lock eyes. Nam Jeon tells Sun Ho the words he should have said years ago…you did well. You did more than enough. Nam Jeon dies.
Awk! Tears! That was moving. While Nam Jeon deserved much more than he got, he did care about Sun Ho in his own way. But he never let his son see it. How utterly sad and wasteful.
Seo Hwi helps Sun Ho sit up. He presses against Seo Hwi’s wound. They look at each other. Officer Park, Mun Bok, and Jung Beom arrive. Officer Park sees Nam Jeon is dead.
Meanwhile, in the aftermath of killing the cronies, Bang Won stands bloodied but intact.
Bang Won finds Seo Hwi and Sun Ho. He tells Seo Hwi to stay by his friend’s side. Tae Ryeon states the King has arrived. Bang Won declares the palace is their next stop. They leave.
Officer Park, Jung Beom, and Mun Bok tell Seo Hwi they must leave too, and that Sun Ho will survive the wound. Seo Hwi starts to walk away then turns and looks at Sun Ho and his father. Finally, he leaves.
Our foursome trudge to the palace.
LOVE they are exhausted and emotionally drained. This was a hard night.
The crown prince learns his father will arrive shortly. He declares he’s going to join his father. He’s warned it is too dangerous. The King is safe ground and the crown prince leaves to reach him.
The King orders his men to pick up the pace.
As the crown prince exits the gate he surveys the carnage in front of him. His guards turn on him and kill him. He falls to the ground.
The King arrives. He sees the crown prince on the ground. He rushes to his son and pulls him into his lap. He mourns his son.
Bang Won steps to his father. The King asks if Bang Won killed the crown prince. Bang Won replies the King killed him. The King is confused. Bang Won explains that the King’s greed to keep the throne for himself, pit his children against each other and enjoy watching, ends here. The King calls Bang Won inhuman. He declares that Bang Won will die alone and hated.
The foursome arrives. Seo Hwi sees the King crying while cradling the crown prince’s body. He sees Bang Won standing before his father. He sees the carnage.
Sun Ho views his father’s body. He sees the carnage.
Bang Won and Seo Hwi lock eyes.
The final battle was riveting. Writer Chae Seung Dae and the production team conceived and created a tight, taunt, visually perfect episode. My recap is loaded with inline comments that I will strive not to repeat. My top-level reactions – Nam Jeon and the King were/are terrible fathers that placed their own needs above everyone and used their children to do the dirty work. Their form of love created sons that desperately wanted love and acceptance but were denied again and again by their user fathers. Ever death in this series can be traced to Nam Jeon and the King. Bang Won was right, they were all abandoned.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) reached his goal…destroy Nam Jeon. Seo Hwi’s body didn’t fail him at the critical moments. He fought Sun Ho without his weakened body betraying him. As he went to strike Nam Jeon, Bang Won stepped in and did the deed. But let’s be clear, Seo Hwi hesitated in that moment. Seo Hwi’s friendship for Sun Ho and humanity stopped his sword from swinging with ease. Granted Seo Hwi was ready to die this episode even though he had friends and the love of a good woman. His path was simple…kill Nam Jeon and himself. It didn’t happen and I’m glad.
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) wanted his father to die a traitor. But Seo Hwi would not be stopped. Nam Jeon was ready to meet his fate. He was ready for death. Nam Jeon explained himself perfectly, nothing he did was unacceptable as he pursued his goal. Collateral damage was unavoidable and meant nothing. And yet as Nam Jeon lay dying he reached out to Sun Ho and praised his son’s efforts and abilities. That got me. Nam Jeon was a terrible man but Ahn Nae Sang never made me hate him. I loathed him but I didn’t hate him. Quite a feat. The other point is that Sun Ho clearly showed his love and support for Seo Hwi. When Sun Ho looked at Seo Yeon’s embroidery on his sword and declared Seo Hwi’s blood on top of every terrible thing he had done was too much, his humanity was evident. The bravado was stripped away. My hats off to Woo Do Hwan’s portrayal of this son that pursued his father’s approval and fought for his place while using and abusing his best friend.
Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) slowed the King down. Hee Jae is the best girlfriend. She told Seo Hwi to be safe after reporting status. She was ready to walk away. But he couldn’t let the woman he loved go without touching her and telling her he’d return to her. How Seo Hwi was going to do that and live by his words that he would die after Nam Jeon died, I don’t know. Bottom line, Seo Hwi wanted to live and be with Hee Jae. They deserve a moment of happiness. Will they get it?
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) ruled this episode. Jang Hyuk was riveting this episode. The depth of pain in Bang Won at his father’s disregard, the determination that this moment was his destiny, his faith in Seo Hwi, striking the final blow to Nam Jeon to save Seo Hwi from killing his friend’s father…it was utterly captivating. Writer Chae gave the words, every actor gave their best, but Jang Hyuk was the cream that rose to the top. I shake my head at the King’s questioning why the crown prince’s death was his fault. Bang Won is right. The King created this mess. At least Nam Jeon openly admitted what he was doing. The King’s personal denial of the ripple effects of his actions was ridiculous. So where do we stand? Bang Won is poised to take the throne. Will he kill his father to do it?
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as excellent. My rating chart is below: