My Country: The New Age Episode 13 Recap
7th year of the King’s reign, 1398…the first strife of the princes…
The King calls Bang Won inhuman. He declares that Bang Won will die alone and hated. He cries over the cradled body of the crown prince (Prince Uian).
The foursome arrives. Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) sees the King crying while cradling the crown prince’s body. He sees Bang Won standing before his father. He sees the carnage. He cries. He turns and walks away. Officer Park motions for Jung Beom and Mun Bok to let Seo Hwi be.
Sun Ho views his father’s body. He sees the carnage.
At the river Seo Hwi looks at the blood on his hands.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) aka Prince Jeongan approaches his father. He tells his father that the tears for his son aren’t real but designed to garner sympathy. The King points out that Bang Won knows nothing about losing a child. Bang Won agrees. None the less, Bang Won knows the only thing his father would truly grieve about is losing his kingdom. Bang Won promises to be there to witness the real grief when his father loses his kingdom.
Bang Won tells Seo Hwi to deal with it. Seo Hwi is shell shocked that so many died so he could have his revenge. Bang Won points out he had to kill his brother and many others to start the revolution. This is the price of pursuing your goal. Bang Won yells that he is alive and will survive. He tells Seo Hwi to rise from the ashes for himself and Bang Won. Seo Hwi only wants to rest his tired mind and body. He grabs his chest and falls to the ground.
Bang Won watches Seo Hwi sleep replaying the doctor’s words that Seo Hwi was taking a harsh medicine so he could function but it shredded his insides.
Bang Won thanks Hee Jae for delaying the King’s path to the palace. She asks him to reward her by letting Seo Hwi go. Bang Won points out that Seo Hwi isn’t his. Hee Jae warns him not to get too close. Bang Won replies emotions can’t be controlled.
Sun Ho’s right-hand man hides him and warns he is being hunted. He stems Sun Ho’s wound. Sun Ho tells him to leave and save himself. Sun Ho’s right-hand man refuses to leave him and implores him to live.
Bang Won talks to his dead mother pleased that finally she has been recognized as Queen. He worries how much more bloodshed must occur before he becomes King.
The King wonders if he should take retribution against Bang Won or grieve.
Bang Won asks about his brother Bang Beon and learns he was arrested. He declares he must take actions during the day.
Bang Won visits his father in the throne room. The King assumes that Bang Won’s next target is Bang Beon. Bang Won confirms this. The King aims his arrow at Bang Won who points out that while killing a brother is a negative, killing a loyal subject is a grave crime. Bang Won opens his arms and tells his father not to hesitate but to kill him. He yells not to hesitate. The King states Bang Won is a monster. Bang Won counters he did what he had to do to survive. The King points to his throne and states everything Bang Won has done is has been rationalized to obtain the throne. Bang Won declares he has the right to covet the throne. The King states a ruler must embrace the weak supporters and jettison the strong. However, Bang Won jettisons the weak and destroys the strong. Therefore, Bang Won isn’t fit to be King. He has a bloodlust. Bang Won yells that the blood will strengthen the throne which will benefit the people of the country. The King declares Bang Won’s blood should have been shed. Bang Won recoils. Then he tells his father that Bang Gan should be made the new crown prince. Once that is done, his father must step down. In addition, his father must admit that he did not follow the rules of primogeniture (a principle of seniority and authority whereby siblings are ranked according to their ages, with the eldest coming first) when he chose Prince Uian to be the crown prince. The King must state that Nam Jeon was the instigator of that choice. Bang Won softly tells his father his kingdom no longer exists. The King shoots the top knot ribbon off Bang Won’s head. He tells his son that the kingdom is still his. They stare at each other. Bang Won walks away.
That was a long scene, very unusual for this series. I wish I could say that was riveting but it was two people talking at each other and not listening. Or perhaps it was simply two points of view without common ground.
Sun Ho’s right-hand man returns to find Sun Ho gone and his armor on the floor.
Sun Ho views his father’s covered body under the banner “Nam Jeon, traitor”.
Tae Ryeon recommends Sun Ho be killed. Bang Won states he must be more selective about who to kill going forward. He recommends waiting and watching.
Sun Ho walks about from his father’s body.
Hee Jae finds Seo Hwi sitting outside. She asks if he remembered the words “don’t let anyone oppress you, it’s the only way to stand”. Seo Hwi confirms his remembers “don’t let anyone intimidate you even if they are stronger, it’s the way to survive”. Hee Jae admits that Seo Hwi’s father told her those words when he saved her from Ganggae. Hee Jae says those words guided her. Seo Hwi asks why she’s just telling him this now. Hee Jae didn’t want Seo Hwi to think her feelings for him were based in past gratitude for his father. Hee Jae says her feelings for Seo Hwi are true and only because of his impact on her life. She asks him to live life without getting hurt. They could live that way together. Seo Hwi hugs her. Hee Jae gives him a paper with the location where Sun Ho is. She knew Seo Hwi would worry about him.
Hmm, Hee Jae wants Seo Hwi to drop the violence and live a peaceful life. Bang Won wants Seo Hwi’s support. What will Seo Hwi choose? Right now, he’s going to find his friend.
Sun Ho knows his father got what he deserved. He recalls his father’s final words to him. “you did well. You did more than enough”. Sun Ho scoffs. He draws his sword. He prepares to kill himself but Seo Hwi grabs the blade of the sword before it can make contact with Sun Ho’s neck. Sun Ho tells Seo Hwi to let go of his sword. Seo Hwi refuses. Sun Ho states Seo Hwi got what he wanted. He asks if Seo Hwi wanted to see him wrecked. Tears spring to Sun Ho’s eyes and he asks why can’t he kill himself if he wants. He doesn’t want to think about Seo Hwi, he doesn’t want to see Seo Hwi, he tells Seo Hwi to go away. Tears fill Seo Hwi’s eyes. He releases Sun Ho’s sword. He tells Sun Ho to live, that’s his final request. Sun Ho looks at his sword. He lowers it.
Seo Hwi goes to a rock in the woods. He thinks about the lives lost. He cracks his sword in two on the rock. He drops the sword. He walks away.
Seo Hwi stares at the covered bodies and the wounded. Mun Bok and Jung Beom tend the wounded and the newly dead. Jung Beom collapses. Officer Park pulls Jung Beom’s shirt back and blood spurts from a hole in his chest. Mun Bok chastises him for not getting medical care. Seo Hwi apologizes to his friends. Jung Beom tells Seo Hwi that he saved their lives and there’s no need to apologize. Seo Hwi says they must honor the dead with a ceremony.
The four friends, burn the names of the dead and wishes them peace in the afterlife. Officer Park states it’s time to teach how to survive. Previously he’s only taught how to kill because he thought that was the way to survive. Officer Park says killing others, kills him. Mun Bok lightens the mood by claiming he’ll make a medicine to stop men from losing hair. Seo Hwi doesn’t want to see others hurt anymore. He wants to see his friends smiles, Hee Jae smile, etc.
The concept “kill to survive” is a key concept of this series.
Sun Ho drinks alone.
Bang Gan envies the fear Bang Won strikes in others and the power his presence emits. Cheonga enters the room. Bang Gan tells Cheonga to do something about his hair, he’s not a shaggy dog. Ha! Cheonga retorts that until he has a child, he must sport the long flowing locks. He asks how long he must spy on Bang Won for Bang Gan. As long as possible is Bang Gan’s reply. He tells Cheonga a child will be in his future. He asks why Cheonga is there. Cheonga reports he’s found Sun Ho. That gets Bang Gan’s attention. He declares it’s his turn to stir things up.
So that’s why Cheonga has the flowing locks.
Bang Gan finds Sun Ho drinking. He asks if Nam Jeon’s funeral went well. Sun Ho stands to leave. Cheonga blocks his father. Bang Gan offers his help. Sun Ho scoffs. Bang Gan offers him revenge against Bang Won, the man that killed his father. Bang Gan says its payback time. Sun Ho isn’t interested. He walks away. Bang Gan sighs.
The palace guards knock Sun Ho down. He’s dragged away. His sword with Seo Yeon’s ribbon is left behind. Someone picks up Sun Ho’s sword.
Bang Won looks at the traitors brought before him. He sends some to military prison. Bang Won orders Sun Ho released. Sun Ho asks why. Bang Won states Sun Ho’s machinations helped his revolution. Sun Ho scoffs at the word revolution. Sun Ho counters that killing siblings are crimes and discriminating against illegitimate children is sinful, not a revolution. Bang Won counters that his actions just saved Sun Ho’s life because Sun Ho isn’t Nam Jeon’s legal son but an illegitimate child. Bang Won says Sun Ho isn’t worth killing. Sun Ho yells Bang Won’s name in anger. Bang Won tells Sun Ho “Live and watch me build my nation”. Bang Won says that’s Sun Ho’s only option.
Sun Ho agrees his world is gone. He vows to take everything from Bang Won. He vows to make Bang Won regret not killing him here and now. Bang Won draws his sword and deftly slices the ropes that bound Sun Ho. Bang Won crouches and tells Sun Ho that regret is an excuse for the week. Sun Ho promises to return and kill Bang Won. He struggles to his feet and leaves.
Good scene. There is a hole without Nam Jeon. But why leave Sun Ho alive? He is a foe not a friend.
The King learns Bang Won has the loyalty of the majority of palace guards. He considers using Sun Ho as a tool but declares he’s no longer strong. He jettisons Sun Ho from his team.
Sun Ho watches the palace gates shut behind him. He sees his right-hand man with his sword. His right-hand man tosses him the sword. He tells Sun Ho that he’s willing to begin again, he has a plan.
Sun Ho listens to his right-hand man’s idea to leverage the disbanded soldiers in a northern city. Sun Ho asks how he can gain control. The right-hand man states he must kill the chief and he’ll kill the deputy, then the soldiers will accept Sun Ho as their new leader. Sun Ho recalls Bang Gan’s suggestion of payback. He states he’ll use Bang Gan to destroy Bang Won. He declares they must ride to the northern city straight away.
Tae Ryeon tells Bang Won his brother Bang Beon was killed while in exile. He asks if the other brothers should be killed. Bang Won sighs, closes his eyes and states before the night is over, they must all die. Tae Ryeon leaves to execute Bang Won’s orders.
The King learns the communication path was compromised and many guards were slain in the business section of town. The King recalls Nam Jeon requesting the rights to the business section of town. He can’t believe that Nam Jeon was manipulated to create a trap for the revolution. He vows revenge on all that fought against him.
The quiet life that Seo Hwi and Hee Jae want…the King will squash that when he finds out their roles in that night.
Seo Hwi finds Bang Won waiting for him. Bang Won drinks heavily. He admits he’s worried that the path he’s taking may not be the right one. He knows many want to kill him. He’s also concerned how history will characterize him. Seo Hwi tells him to hold onto that fear, it will fuel him forward. Bang Won asks if Seo Hwi is leaving. Seo Hwi states he doesn’t want to live this way anymore. He wishes Bang Won success. Seo Hwi stands, bows, and leaves. Bang Won watches a man he trusts leave.
Bang Won summons Jung Beom and asks if its true that he killed his master and ran away. Jung Beom asks if he’s being dismissed. Bang Won hands Jung Beom his slave ownership papers. Bang Won says Jung Beom’s master deserved to die. He suggests Jung Beom burn the slave ownership papers. Jung Beom burns them. Jung Beom thanks him. Bang Won tells Jung Beom that he can leave when he wants, he won’t be greedy and keep those that want to leave by his side. Bang Won walks away.
Nice departing fan shot!
Hee Jae’s security man warns that the King will find out that she blocked the communication path. He advises that she flee. Hee Jae won’t flee and will take whatever comes her way.
Hwa Wol grouses that Mun Bok is late for supper. Jung Beom empties his safe and grabs Hwa Wol’s hand. He takes the money to Hee Jae and asks to purchase Hwa Wol’s contract. He wants his woman to be his woman and not smile at other men. He bows. Hee Jae tells the couple that Hwa Wol isn’t bound by a contract. Mun Bok tries to edge the money back his way. Hee Jae gives Hwa Wol more money and tells the happy couple to buy a house. Smiles all round.
Mun Bok tells Hwa Wol that money means nothing to him. He shares his sister died from the common cold and he didn’t have the money for medicine. He admits that drove his path in life. Hwa Wol asks Mun Bok to remove her heavy headpiece. Mun Bok does so. Hwa Wol places a ring on Mun Bok’s finger and declare they should live together.
Sun Ho struggles with the long ride but perseveres. He right hand man states the chief is an aggressive fighter. Sun Ho could lose an arm in battle. Sun Ho demurs an arm is nothing.
The King orders his new right-hand man to execute his orders and kill all those that opposed him. The troops fan out to do the King’s bidding.
Seo Hwi cooks for his friends. Jung Beom is nervous by the displayed domesticity. Mun Bok flashes his ring. Mun Bok doesn’t notice. Officer Park congratulates Mun Bok. Seo Hwi admits he’d forgotten the simple pleasure of food and friends. He states he doesn’t care about a nation build by those that are abandoned. He only wants to live a simple life with those he loves. But the soldiers arrive. Seo Hwi orders them to run. The bloodbath begins.
Hwa Wol watches the solider head to Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house.
The Kisaeng refuse to leave. The arrows fly and many are hit. Hee Jae orders them to run. The bloodbath begins. Hee Jae says it’s her they want. The soldiers don’t care. They attack Hee Jae’s security man.
Seo Hwi realizes these soldiers were sent by the King. He assumes the soldiers were sent other places too. Hee Jae arrives and yells that Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house is being attacked.
Seo Hwi rides to save the woman he loves.
Hee Jae’s security guard fights until he can’t fight anymore. Hee Jae throws herself in front of him. She’s slashed in the back. She looks behind her and sees Seo Hwi. In a rage, Seo Hwi dispatches the soldiers. He holds Hee Jae and begs her to live.
He’s been in that position twice with the women he loves. I hope Hee Jae lives.
Sun Ho and his right-hand man arrive. They pay to meet with the chief. His right-hand man points out the chief and his right-hand man. Sun Ho gives the word and the bloodbath begins. Sun Ho suffers another wound when the chief’s sword goes into his body. He pulls out the sword and dares anyone else to oppose him.
Nam Jeon’s death leaves a hole this episode struggled to fill. Writer Chae Seung Dae had to revector after the primary villain of the series, Nam Jeon, was killed last episode. That’s a tall order. Nam Jeon was an opponent for every major character in this series. Writer Chae spent 12 episodes, 75% of this series, with Nam Jeon as everyone’s nemesis. To move forward, our 4 core characters established their goals. Bang Won continued his quest to create a nation of the abandoned. Seo Hwi decided a simple life was his goal. Hee Jae’s goal was for Seo Hwi to lead the simple life. Sun Ho decided revenge on Bang Won was his goal.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) was drained after defeating Nam Jeon. Seo Hwi’s body said enough is enough and he collapsed. Bang Won watched over Seo Hwi. I like the relationship between Bang Won and Seo Hwi. Bang Won respects Seo Hwi to choose his own path, though he wants Seo Hwi to walk beside him. Seo Hwi was blunt with Bang Won, he doesn’t care about the nation of the abandoned. Bang Won accepted that and let Seo Hwi walk away. Seo Hwi decided Hee Jae was right, a simple life was what mattered. He got to savor that for only moment. Then the King’s revenge arrived in the form of soldiers. Then Hwa Wol arrived to say Hee Jae was under attack. Seo Hwi arrived just in time to see Hee Jae struck down by the soldiers. As he held Hee Jae in his arms, Seo Hwi hoped this wasn’t a repeat of his sister dying in his arms. I was pleased to see the single-minded pursuit of revenge Seo Hwi disappear and a man wanting to live take his place. Has the King changed that?
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) vowed revenge against Bang Won. Seo Hwi stopped Sun Ho from killing himself and told him to live when Sun Ho told him to take a hike. Bang Won refused to kill Sun Ho and told him to live telling him that he wouldn’t kill Nam Jeon’s illegitimate child. Sun Ho seethed and put a huge target on Bang Won’s back. The King cut Sun Ho lose knowing his former advisor no longer offered what he needed. Adrift, Sun Ho was ready for his right-hand man’s suggestion to gather his own forces. Sun Ho considered Bang Gan’s suggestion that he kill Bang Won and decided it was his new goal. I liked the moment when Sun Ho considered Nam Jeon’s final words to him. Imagine if the man that had drummed “not good enough” into your brain for a lifetime, then said you did well. Yep, that would rattle around in your brain. While part of me didn’t want Sun Ho vow revenge against Bang Won (who did exactly what Sun Ho claimed he wanted to do by killing Nam Jeon), it was inevitable.
Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) paid the price for slowing the King down. Hee Jae asked Seo Hwi to put aside his sword and live a simple life. Shock of shocks, he listened. Hee Jae got a hug. Then the King’s revenge arrived in the form of soldiers. Hee Jae couldn’t let her security man be killed and stepped in front of him. You could argue that was a stupid move because once she was struck down the security man was a goner. And you’d be right. But it also showed Hee Jae’s loyalty and willingness to accept the consequences for her actions. Seo Hwi arrive just in time to see Hee Jae struck down by the soldiers. Hee Jae collapsed in his arms. As Hee Jae is a core character, I don’t believe she’ll die. Hee Jae was incredibly cool when she released Hee Jae from her contract and then released all the remaining Kisaeng.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) wondered if the bloody path was the right one. Bang Won took stock of the body count. He felt he had no option, other than to be the poster child for bloody carnage. And he’s right. Bang Won was forced into this corner by his father and Nam Jeon. Both those men are/were experts at deflecting responsibility for the ripple effects of their actions/goals and blaming the victims in their wake. I wanted to be riveted by the confrontation with the King, but at this point, I find the King tiresome. He won’t alter his path to keep the throne. Bang Won won’t alter his path to achieve the vision of a kingdom of the abandoned. I respected Bang Won’s willingness to let Seo Hwi (and others walk away). It was cool when Bang Won gave Jung Beom his slave papers. But Bang Won’s path has a dark side. He ordered the princes killed. The end justifies the means isn’t the simple equation for Bang Won. He knows his path requires others die but he doesn’t relish their deaths. Bang Won sees value in other’s lives. It is his strength. But allowing Sun Ho to live put a huge target on his back. Why did Bang Won let Sun Ho live?
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My rating chart is below: