My Country: The New Age Episode 14 Recap
7th year of the King’s reign, 1398…the first strife of the princes…
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) and his right-hand man arrive. They pay to meet with the chief. His right-hand man points out the chief and his deputy. Sun Ho gives the word and the fight begins. The chief and the deputy are killed. 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.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) rides to save the woman he loves thanks to Hee Jae’s alert that Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house was being attacked by the King’s consolidated army. Hee Jae’s security guard fights until he can’t fight anymore. Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) 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.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) aka Prince Jeongan is altered by Tae Ryeon that the King has taken part of the consolidated army out of the palace. Bang Won isn’t happy to learn that the chief guard defected. But the King is still in residence.
Bang Won storms into the King’s chambers and demands the King revoke the mission the army is executing. The King refuses. He declares “tonight everyone will die”. Bang Won declares his father is under house arrest. The King laughs stating the more he’s persecuted the more the people will hate him. Bang Won goes to his knees and tells his father this will ensure that the people will forget him. Now the King will become an old man. Bang Won stares, glares, and leaves.
With Hee Jae across his horse Seo Hwi rides trying to escape the pursing consolidated army. Officer Park cuts in and gives them breathing room with a different path. Officer Park orders Seo Hwi to take Hee Jae to a mountain village, he’ll handle the army. Even though Officer Park shoots his opponents he doesn’t wish them dead.
Seo Hwi tends Hee Jae. She wakes and wants to return. She cries knowing those in Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house have likely been killed.
Seo Hwi and Hee Jae makes their way on foot through the woods. The consolidated army follows. Seo Hwi shoots all his arrows and bravely fights but 20 on 1 is too much. As the army leader raises his sword to kill Seo Hwi a voice rings out ordering him to stop. Its Bang Won! He declares that the army will not survive. Bang Won tells them to run, beg for mercy or fight, matters not because they will die. Tae Ryeon and Officer Park are also there. The three of them charge and dispatch the army. Officer Park tells Seo Hwi he fought bravely. Seo Hwi thanks Officer Park for getting Bang Won. Hee Jae sighs with relief.
Seo Hwi walks to the woman he loves and smiles. She smiles back.
Seo Hwi walks to the man that saved him not only that night but so many times. Seo Hwi tells Bang Won that his vision of a kingdom of the abandoned seemed to grand when he only wanted to live a simple life. But he can’t allow those he love to be killed. He vows to protect them; they are his nation. He asks Bang Won what he thinks. Bang Won says protecting people like Seo Hwi is the kingdom he will build. Bang Won dismounts and walks to Seo Hwi who walks to Bang Won. Seo Hwi vows to make Bang Won king. Seo Hwi warns that if Bang Won tosses him aside after taking the throne, he’ll kill him. Tears fill Hee Jae’s eyes.
Terrific scene! Seo Hwi pledges himself to Bang Won. This is exactly what Bang Won needed. Bang Won let Seo Hwi walk away and hoped he’d come back to his side. This exemplifies the saying “If you love something set it free. If it comes back it’s yours. If not, it was never meant to be.”
Sun Ho realizes the soldiers in a northern city might not pledge allegiance even though the chief and deputy have been killed. He holds up his sword (gift from the King) and declares “you were abandoned by the owner of this sword, just like me. I will use the King to kill Bang Won. He strikes his sword against the chief’s breaking it. He steps into the soldiers and asks if they will join him in revenge. He grabs his sword and promises a fight to the death is their other option. One man steps forward and asks if Sun Ho will keep them after they’ve killed Bang Won. Sun Ho won’t make that promise. The man replies that denial just saved his life, because confirmation would have been a lie. The soldiers lower their weapons. They thank Sun Ho for rescuing him from a brutal chief.
The soldiers recognized that Sun Ho offered a better deal than their former leader. Sun Ho projected an air of command. But oh, how different Sun Ho sees his men than Bang Won does.
Sun Ho thinks of Seo Hwi imploring him to live while he drinks. His right-hand man warns that getting drunk might get him killed in his sleep. Sun Ho pushes a glass to him which is pushed back. Sun Ho explains he’ll gain the King’s confidence once again and leverage Bang Gan to trap Bang Won. Then he’ll kill Bang Won.
The doctor tends Hee Jae. As he leaves Seo Hwi thanks him. The doctor retorts that Bang Won is the one he should thank.
Mun Bok pumps the doctor about pressure points.
Mun Bok tends Hee Jae’s security man with Hwa Wol watching. He wants the security man to live so Hee Jae and Hwa Wol can rest easy. Hwa Wol comments that the security man has been by their side since he was 12. Mun Bok declares that makes him family. Hwa Wol kisses Mun Bok’s cheek. That puts a smile on his father. The security man stirs.
Hee Jae stirs and opens her eyes. She asks about member of the house. Unfortunately, not everyone lived. She sobs in Seo Hwi’s arms. Hee Jae says she failed to protect her people and has failed Seo Seol. Hee Jae declares her quest for revenge doomed them.
The consequences of blind revenge is another theme in this series.
The King makes Prince Yeongan the crown prince. Bang Won tells his brother to not to be intimidated by the King. The King counters that Bang Won is the one that intimidates and kills his brothers. Bang Won counters that greed from the top created this mess. The King counters that the throne can be gained with the sword but can’t be kept with the sword. The King tells Bang Won he’ll end everything. Astutely Prince Yeongan states he’s only warming the seat. Bang Won stares and glares at his father.
Another good scene between this two!
Bang Gan learns his father wants to see him in private. Bang Gan laughs and says his father won’t let Bang Won walk over him, now he’ll be used against Bang Won.
This is one dysfunctional family.
The King wants to know why Bang Gan sided with Bang Won. Bang Gan apologies and states he did what he had to do to survive. The King asks Bang Gan’s intentions. Bang Gan says when two strong animals fight, another animal waits for it to end because direct involvement would lead to its death. The King asks if Bang Gan isn’t on Bang Won’s side. Bang Gan counters he’s not on the King’s side either. The King points out that Bang Won would kill him after becoming king. Bang Gan counters that Bang Won wouldn’t kill his blood brother from the same mother. The King counters exile might be his reward. The King tells Bang Gan this is his moment to determine his path. He points out if Prince Yeongan where eliminated the next crown prince would be Bang Gan. The King states this is sufficient reason to eliminate Bang Won.
A primary lie the King tells is “I can’t kill my son”. Yet the King tells others to kill his sons, but later claims that person made that choice of their own free will. The King uses his power to order without ordering and disavows responsibility.
Bang Gan tells himself to buck up, he doesn’t have to make the big move yet.
Hee Jae cries as she surveys the damage to Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house. Those she ordered to flee have returned and Hee Jae isn’t happy. She’s told they are family. Hee Jae accept the gift.
Seo Hwi waits for Bang Won outside the palace gate where so many died. Bang Won approaches and asks if he’s ready. Seo Hwi confirms this.
Bang Won and Seo Hwi stride through the courtyard. Bang Gan watches and chuckles that Bang Won is acting like he’s King.
Bang Won and Seo Hwi arrive outside the King’s quarter. The King demands to know why they are here. Seo Hwi kneels before the King. Bang Won claims he’s brought someone to protect the him. The King recognizes Seo Hwi who says that the King helped pave the path the led him here. The King counters this wasn’t what he had in mind. Seo Hwi agrees, this isn’t what he had in mind either. Seo Hwi tells his story, losing the exam due to bribery, being forced into the army, being one of the abandoned advanced force, and losing everything. Seo Hwi asks the King if they were abandoned because they weren’t worthy or should never have been born. The King refuses to apologize the paths that were blocked. Seo Hwi points out the King blocked the paths. Seo Hwi doesn’t want the King’s apology, instead he will make Bang Won his king. With tears in his eyes, Seo Hwi promises the King will regret abandoning them. The King states Bang Won won’t be a future force and neither will Seo Hwi. He promises to block their paths. He returns inside.
Love Seo Hwi’s direct confrontation of the King who once again disavows responsivity for his choices.
Bang Won and Seo Hwi walk away. Bang Won tells Seo Hwi that emotion will never defeat the King’s beliefs. Seo Hwi replies he only wanted the King to confirm his beliefs. Now paths that can’t be united must be severed. Bang Won says they’ll start with the King. Seo Hwi says they’ll end with Bang Gan. Bang Won says this will be called the rebellion of Bang Gan.
Loving Bang Won and Seo Hwi unified front.
2 years later…9th year of the King’s reign, 1400…the second strife of the princes…
Mun Bok and Hwa Wol are expecting their first child.
Prince Yeongan is now King. Bang Won yells at him for letting their father control the throne. Bang Gan points outs their father is the reason why they are all here. Bang Gan asks if a decision on who the next crown prince will be made soon. He points out that he’s older than Bang Won. He tells Bang Won that makes him the next in line per primogeniture (a principle of seniority and authority whereby siblings are ranked according to their ages, with the eldest coming first), which he knows his brother believes in. Bang Won asks if Bang Gan still have his written promise. Recall in episode 11 in exchange for his brother attending the blood ceremony Bang Won put it in writing that Bang Gan would not be killed. Bang Gan assures his brother he has it and treasures it. Bang Won notes it is only valid once. Bang Gan grins and says the promise gives him 2 lives while Bang Won only has one. Now Bang Won laughs and walks away.
The King is still banging his drum that the throne can’t be taken by sword.
He crucifies his son for the same behaviors he himself used to gain the throne.
The security man tells Hee Jae that the King is under house arrest. Hee Jae knows the King will escape and she vows to block him.
Bang Gan tells Cheonga that Seo Hwi is the bigger thorn in his side.
Seo Hwi is partying at Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house and drunk. Bang Gan watches him. Mun Bok watches Bang Gan watching Seo Hwi.
Bang Gan intercepts Seo Hwi on the way home. Bang Gan shakes his head at Seo Hwi’s state. He states he once wanted Seo Hwi and Sun Ho. Now Seo Hwi is a drunk and Seo Hwi’s friend Sun Ho is nowhere to be found. Seo Hwi retorts that Sun Ho is no longer his friend. Bang Gan points out that Seo Hwi serves the man that killed Sun Ho’s father. Bang Gan guesses that Seo Hwi doesn’t even care about Sun Ho anymore. Seo Hwi smiles and bows. Bang Gan walks away.
Seo Hwi reveals that he’s not really drunk. He grabs his sword and meets Jung Beom, Mun Bok, and Officer Park. He tells them Bang Gan believed him. They promise to keep watching Bang Gan. Seo Hwi says it’s time for his next dance with his sword.
The music…I’ve missed it!
Cheonga tells Bang Gan that Bang Won is closely guarded and doesn’t train his army often. Cheonga notes that Bang Won always hunts for their mother’s memorial ceremony. Bang Gan wonders if that is an opportunity or trap.
Seo Hwi catches Cheonga leaving Bang Won’s. They fight. Seo Hwi tells Cheonga his days of spying on Bang Won are over.
Sun Ho recalls Bang Won killing his father and the words about his illegitimate status. His right-hand man gives him a note. Sun Ho tells his men it’s time to move out.
Bang Won, Seo Hwi, and Hee Jae plan for the expected ambush. Bang Won states Seo Hwi could be a crucial component. Bang Won expects Bang Gan to meet with the King. He knows the meeting will happen because killing him will be the topic.
Seo Hwi wonders where Sun Ho is. No one knows. He looks at where Sun Ho used to live and murmurs, he must have been lonely.
Sun Ho and his men arrive making the point with their swords. One the black snake men spies Sun Ho. The guards as what Sun Ho wants. Sun Ho declares he wants to meet with Bang Gan.
Mun Bok and Jung Beom stage a mock fight to draw the guards from the weapons repository away so Officer Park can slip in. Officer Park sees the stash. When he exits, he signals to his friends they can stop fight. Unfortunately play fighting becomes real. Officer Park shakes his head and walks away. Later he chastises them to make up. Officer Park breaks the tension by suggesting a pretty name for Mun Bok’s unborn child. Seo Hwi arrives and Officer Park confirms that the weapons repository is full. Seo Hwi believes Bang Gan will engage Bang Won.
I enjoy snatches of happiness.
Bang Won drinks while he practices archery. The results are as expected. Bang Gan arrives. He tells Bang Won that he’s going hunting for food for their mother’s memorial ceremony. Bang Gan says he may bring his own soldiers. He asks Bang Won’s permission. Bang Won accidentally shoots at Bang Gan’s top knot.
Bang Gan tells his men to move the weapons to the hunting field.
Bang Gan’s men load the weapons from the repository. DG and his men arrive. A fight ensues.
Bang Gan is notified that his weapons were stolen and the leader wants to meet with him.
Bang Gan arrives to meet the mystery leader. His 4 men are killed and he must enter alone. Sun Ho’s right-hand man holds out his hand from Bang Gan’s sword. Bang Gan tosses it to the ground. Sun Ho’s right-hand man picks it up and open the door for Bang Gan to go through. The mystery leader is Sun Ho. Bang Gan asks why he’s there. Sun Ho says he’s there to kill Bang Won. Bang Gan asks about his weapons and men. Sun Ho smiles and says that Bang Gan will belong to him. He tells Bang Gan that he is his path to survival. Bang Gan asks what happens if he refuses. Sun Ho replies refusal equals death by him or his brother. Bang Gan asks if he accepts will Bang Won die and he’ll survive. Sun Ho confirms this. Bang Gan grabs Sun Ho’s right-hand man sword and they spar. Bang Gan cuts a part of Seo Yeon’s embroidery from Sun Ho’s sword. When each other’s blades are poised at the other’s neck, Bang Gan declares when Bang Won is dead, he’ll become king. He asks if Sun Ho will still want to control him. Sun Ho replies he won’t care as long as Bang Won is destroyed like he was. Then he’ll kill Bang Won. Bang Gan smiles and agrees. He asks what the plan is. Sun Ho reports on Bang Won’s plans to allow Bang Gan to rise up, then strike him and his father. Bang Gan realizes the drunk antics of Bang Won and Seo Hwi were ploys. Sun Ho tells Bang Gan to go hunt and Sun Ho will be there to handle Bang Won’s ambush troops. Sun Ho states he must have an audience with the former King.
Disguised as a guard, Sun Ho meets with the former King. He guarantees he’ll kill Bang Won if the King makes removes the current King and puts Bang Gan as King. The former King tells Sun Ho the tyrant (Bang Won) must die. Sun Ho bows his concurrence.
The former King remembers Bang Won’s words that he’d become forgotten once he left the throne. The former King tells his right-hand man it’s time for action. He will collect his soldiers and make a move.
Seo Hwi informs Bang Won that Bang Gan is aligning with the northern soldiers. He recommends changing the ambush location. They agree on a new location. Hee Jae says she’ll watch it unfold.
Seo Hwi tells Hee Jae to only watch. He doesn’t want to see her hurt again. He promises to get the job done. Hee Jae states she only cares about protecting Ihwaru’s Kisaeng house.
Officer Park tells Seo Hwi that the north soldiers are at a bordello. Seo Hwi gets an inkling.
Seo Hwi and Officer Park arrive at the bordello. It is empty. Seo Hwi finds the embroidery with Sun Ho’s name on the ground. Bang Gan cut it off the sword in the sparring with Sun Ho. He knows his friend is back. Officer Park spies a black snake member he thought was dead. He gives chase but the man gets away. Seo Hwi catches up. Officer Park doesn’t tell him about the “dead” black snake member.
Keeping secrets is never wise. Was anyone else worried for a moment Officer Park would be attacked as he stood there alone?
Sun Ho stares at Seo Yeon’s embroidery on his sword. His right-hand man reports Seo Hwi arrived at the bordello. He states Seo Hwi is Bang Won’s primary. He asks if Sun Ho will let him live or will he kill him.
Seo Hwi stares at Seo Yeon’s embroidery with Sun Ho’s name. Bang Won watches Seo Hwi and asks Tae Ryeon if Seo Hwi went to the bordello. Tae Ryeon confirms this. Bang Won wants to know what happened.
The day of the hunt arrives. Bang Gan tells his men to kill the winged animals and he’ll take down the tiger.
Bang Won tells Seo Hwi it is obvious that something is weighing on his mind. He points out he’s prepared to kill his family, that’s how focused he is today. Seo Hwi vows to make it happen today. Bang Won tells him he’ll meet him at the ambush location later.
Seo Hwi rides to the ambush location. Sun Ho stands in the middle of the path. Seo Hwi stops and walks to Sun Ho. They stare. Sun Ho states that Bang Won doesn’t deserve to live in his world. Sun Ho draws his sword, stabs Seo Hwi in the side, and declares Seo Hwi doesn’t deserve to live either. Sun Ho pulls out his sword. Seo Hwi stares at his former friend.
Everyone vies for the throne. Writer Chae Seung Dae was back on track with an episode full of chess moves by all the players. Bang Gan and Bang Won circle the throne. Their father decides to make a move. Sun Ho returns and vows to kill Seo Hwi and Bang Won. He plunges his sword into Seo Hwi. I don’t think there was love in that thrust. Recall in episode 12 after Seo Hwi plunged his sword in Sun Ho, he told Seo Hwi that his sword felt loving.
Seo Hwi (Yang Se Jong) aligns with Bang Won. Seo Hwi desire to live the simple life vanished when the King attacked him and more importantly Hee Jae. On the verge of death, Bang Won arrived and saved him. This isn’t the first time Bang Won has saved Seo Hwi. And so Seo Hwi pledged his loyalty to Bang Won. I especially enjoyed Seo Hwi’s confrontation with the King. He clearly stated that the King used and tossed aside the advanced force. The King didn’t care because he didn’t see them as people but merely pawns. The King is bugging me big time. He uses, he abuses, he orders people killed but he won’t accept responsibility. He’s a different kind of evil than Nam Jeon was.
Nam Sun Ho (Woo Do Hwan) vowed revenge against Bang Won and Seo Hwi. I get it, he wants revenge against the person that killed his father (even though he claimed to want to kill his father). That put the target on Bang Won’s back. We’ve seen moments when Sun Ho has cared for Seo Hwi and protected him. But his steely mask is back on and Sun Ho was ready to kill Seo Hwi and Bang Won. He struck the first blow when he plunged his sword into Seo Hwi. Now both Sun Ho and Seo Hwi have injured each other in similar spots and ways. Sun Ho’s audience with the King made the King decide he had to make move and he ended his house arrest.
Han Hee Jae (Kim Seol Hyun) survived. Hee Jae was upset when she saw her house tossed. But her employees wouldn’t take get out for an answer and returned. Family comes in all forms in this world and shared blood is not necessary.
Lee Bang Won (Jang Hyuk) should put a target on the front and back of him. Bang Won wins the “man I want to kill” popularity contest. What amazes me is how long Bang Won has waited to take the throne. We jumped 2 years forward and Bang Won was still waiting. He’s strategic. But with 2 episodes to go, the gloves will come off and the final struggle for the throne will occur. Even though Bang Won has haters, I respect his leadership, loyalty and ability to see value in others. Will his nation of the abandoned come to fruition? I’m a broken record, but Jang Hyuk slays every scene he is in. He is the glue of the second half of this series.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific. My rating chart is below: