My Country: The New Age: Episode 15
As we close in on the end of our story, I thought I couldn’t be surprised any more, but I was wrong. A shocking secret is revealed that changes everything, including our friends-turned-enemies’ relationship. There’s no telling now how all this will end, but one this is certain – it won’t be easy to watch.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Sun-ho stops Hwi on his way to the ambush site that Bang-won set up for Bang-gan, and he surprises Hwi by running him through with his sword. Sun-ho sneers that he’s not grateful to Hwi or Bang-won for sparing his life, but that he’s returning the favor.
He tells Hwi that he wanted to change the world, but he was only used for his sword then disposed of, so instead he’ll destroy their world by killing Bang-won, Bang-gan, the current king, and the former king. He warns Hwi not to interfere, making it clear that this is the last thing he can do for him. He leaves with his Jurchens, and Hwi gasps, “But I… can save you.”
Moon-bok and Chi-do worry when Hwi is late showing up to the ambush site. Meanwhile, Sung-rok reports that the ambush site has changed, so Sun-ho changes his plans, too — he’ll wipe out Bang-won’s soldiers while they wait, then strike at Bang-won.
The ambush soldiers are taken by surprise by the Jurchens, and during the fight, Moon-bok is injured badly. Chi-do goes to his rescue, and despite the shock of seeing Sun-ho alive and fighting, he manages to get Moon-bok to safety.
Bang-won sets out for a day of “hunting,” aware that Bang-gan is preparing a counter-strike. Bang-gan intercepts him, and Bang-won notes that he’s got a lot of soldiers with him for a mere hunt. Bang-gan grins that he might need them to catch a tiger, and Bang-won laughs like that’s the funniest thing ever.
Hwi shows up as Chi-do and Moon-bok are escaping, and he picks off the Jurchens who were chasing them. Moon-bok is badly hurt, and he wails that he can’t die because he’s going to be a dad, awww. Hwi leaves Chi-do to take care of Moon-bok while he goes to get the royal guards, and Chi-do calls after him, asking if he’s trying to save Bang-won, or Sun-ho. Hwi just says he’ll save them both.
As they ride together, Bang-gan brings up Seo Geom, who was their swordsmanship teacher. He asks Bang-won if Hwi is truly Seo Geom’s son, but Bang-won changes the subject, wondering why there are dead Jurchens everywhere when they should all be up north.
Suddenly, Bang-gan draws his sword and swings, but Bang-won is ready for him. He dives off his horse as his own army faces off with Bang-gan’s, but he yells for them not to act first. Bang-gan claims that he’s doing this to protect their other brothers from Bang-won, and Bang-won asks if he’ll be safe if Bang-gan ascends the throne. Bang-gan says honestly that Bang-won will be the first on the chopping block, so Bang-won picks up his sword.
As the brothers and their armies fight, Sun-ho shows up with his Jurchens, and Bang-gan realizes that he’s been tricked by Sun-ho just in time to defend himself. Sun-ho goes for Bang-won, thanking him sarcastically for giving him a reason to live, but he’s taken aback when Bang-won says that he spared him because they’re so alike, and because he’s Hwi’s friend.
Ungrateful, Sun-ho attacks again, and he manages to slice open Bang-won’s arm. Bang-won says that Sun-ho will never beat him because he only looks at Bang-won, while Bang-won looks at the big picture. Right on cue, Hwi arrives with the rest of the soldiers, shocking Sun-ho that he’s still able to fight.
The battle continues, and before long, Bang-won deals Sun-ho a serious injury to the chest. Sung-rok fights his way to Sun-ho and puts him on a horse, and when Bang-won notices Hwi watching them worriedly, he orders him after them. When Hwi catches up, Sung-rok is prepared to fight him, but Hwi only tells him of a secret place he can take Sun-ho to patch him up.
Bang-won’s forces overpower Bang-gan’s, but Bang-gan only laughs when Bang-won orders him marched barefoot through the streets. Hwi returns and tells Bang-won that he lost Sun-ho and Sung-rok, though Bang-won suspects he purposely let them go. He says that Sun-ho will be back for him, and that he’ll kill Sun-ho when he does.
He asks Hwi what he’ll do when that happens. Without hesitating, Hwi says he’ll protect his friend, and Bang-won sighs, “Then I will slay you as well.”
At the palace, former king Taejo meets with his old captains to discuss Seo Geom. He says that Seo Geom was more loyal than any of them, and that he never believed he embezzled military rations, but the previous king did and he couldn’t save his friend.
One general points out that Taejo took Lord Nam under his wing even though he was responsible for framing Seo Geom. But Taejo says it wasn’t Lord Nam, which is why he’s speaking with them now – he’s ready to avenge Seo Geom’s death.
After the meeting, Taejo runs into Hee-jae outside, who reveals cheekily that she knows all about his plans to gather his former warriors and take down Bang-won. She informs him that Bang-gan’s coup failed, and warns him not to follow through with his plan or he’ll be dethroned as a former king, and stripped of his titles.
Hwi worriedly checks on Moon-bok, but thankfully he’s already on the mend, simultaneously consoling Hwa-wol and antagonizing Jung Beom, hee. Next he talks to Hee-jae, who tells him about her conversation with Taejo. Hwi apologizes that he can’t do anything to prevent her from getting involved, but he asks her to tell him whenever she goes somewhere so he can protect her from danger.
He travels to the hideout where Sung-rok took Sun-ho, bringing medicine for Sun-ho’s wound. His own injuries catch up to him, so he’s still there when Sun-ho wakes. Sun-ho tells him to rest or his wounds will open, and Hwi quips, “I can’t believe the one who stabbed me is saying that…” HAHA.
Sun-ho asks if Hwi is still suffering from the venom, and Hwi admits that it’s with him for good. He asks if Sun-ho will keep fighting, but Sun-ho just sighs to ask his sword. Hwi thanks Sun-ho for protecting him and returns the missing half of Yeon’s ribbon, adding, “And I’m sorry I was so absorbed in my own anger that I couldn’t see your pain.” Sun-ho just silently chokes back his tears.
Taejo returns to the palace and Bang-gan is imprisoned, and Bang-won wonders whether Taejo will choose his seal or his son. As for Cheonga, who’s also been beaten and imprisoned for helping Bang-gan, Bang-won says that he’ll come in useful one day.
In the morning, Hwi leaves while Sun-ho is still sleeping. He asks Sung-rok to keep Sun-ho away from Bang-won or he’s dead, but Sung-rok says that the least valuable thing Sun-ho owns is his life. He says he can’t stop Sun-ho, but Hwi states that he will.
Chi-do tells his remaining Black Snakes that their former deputy leader is still alive, holing up in prostitution houses because he’s an addict. He helped frame Seo Geom by giving false testimony, so Chi-do tells his men to find the “wire puller” (the person who instigated the framing) and kill them.
Bang-won visits Bang-gan in prison and tells him that the only way he’ll survive is by answering a question – who ordered him to stage a coup? Bang-gan laughs uproariously that it was their father, and Bang-won tells him that he just saved his own life.
Hwi asks to speak with Taejo to tell him that his path ends here. Taejo retorts that that’s up to him, and he chuckles that Hwi is gutsy like his father. He surprises Hwi by telling him that his father was Bang-won’s swordsmanship teacher, while Bang-won remains stone-faced.
In private, Bang-won confronts Taejo about being behind Bang-gan’s attempted coup. Taejo asks wearily what he wants, so Bang-won tells him to formally abdicate. Taejo says that King Jeongjong recommends Bang-won as the crown prince and that he will approve it.
However, he adds that he will also pardon Seo Geom, and have him remembered as a respected general who took his own life from being falsely charged. Bang-won looks like he’s silently boiling over, and Taejo knows it.
When Bang-won rejoins Hwi, Hwi asks why he never told him that he studied under his father. He intuits that the reason has something to do with his father’s death, but Bang-won says they’ll talk later.
Sun-ho goes to the palace to help Hwi break into the royal records, looking for information regarding his father’s death. Hwi tells him not to get involved, but Sun-ho says he’s doing this for Yeon and sits down to pore through the records with him.
He asks about Hwi’s wounds, so Hwi shows him his secret — Moon-bok’s numbing medicine. He says that Sun-ho is always beside him whenever he’s in pain, but he says it with a sweet, forgiving smile.
Hwi is asleep on the table when Sun-ho comes across the right documents. He reads that the main witness was Deputy Leader Kim Do-soo of the Black Snake Unit, and he tears out the relevant page.
He follows Chi-do, who’s caught Kim Do-soo and is on his way to question/torture him. Do-soo tries to claim he didn’t know who ordered him to frame Seo Geom and gets stabbed in the leg, and when Chi-do goes to stab him again, he screams that it was Bang-won. WHAT?? Overhearing this, Sun-ho flies in and demands to know if it’s true.
Bang-won thinks about the rest of his conversation with Taejo. Of course, he already knows who framed Seo Geom, and he’d said that he won’t stand by and watch Bang-won commit yet another crime by taking the throne. Bang-won knows that Taejo never shows all his cards, and he wonders why he did it this time.
Meanwhile, Sun-ho seethes with fury that Bang-won had Hwi’s father killed, then used Hwi and let him take the blame for Bang-won’s crimes. Chi-do doesn’t want Hwi to learn of this, worried he’ll confront Bang-won and get killed, and Sun-ho agrees, “Hwi will never know. I’ll end it before he learns the truth.” Chi-do says that Hwi would want Sun-ho to live more than he’d want revenge, but Sun-ho just asks him to watch over Hwi.
Chi-do deals with his own demons… when Seo Geom was in prison, Chi-do had tried to help him escape. Seo Geom had refused to go, saying that it would make his children fugitives for life, and he’d asked Chi-do to look after them.
Hwi dresses as a guard to speak to Taejo again, to warn him not to try and play him and Bang-won against each other. He asks straight out who is responsible for his father’s death, and Taejo tells him honestly that it was Bang-won.
Bang-won had also visited Seo Geom in prison and urged him to abandon the corrupt king and help him build a new world. But Seo Geom had been stubbornly loyal, pointing out that Bang-won was more corrupt in framing him, as was his father who was using his son to kill him. Bang-won had asked how Seo Geom could say he lived by a code when he’d failed to protect his own children.
When Sung-rok shows up to help Sun-ho storm Bang-won’s base, Sun-ho tells him to get lost. But Sung-rok says it’s his choice, and that being by Sun-ho’s side hasn’t been too bad.
Sun-ho says this is the only way to prevent Bang-won from killing Hwi, and that he wants to be able to look Yeon in the eyes when he sees her again. He removes her ribbon from his sword hilt and tucks it close to his heart.
After dark, Sun-ho bursts into Bang-won’s home screaming his name. He fights viciously, but a guard slices his chest open again and he goes to his knees. Sung-rok protects Sun-ho, but he’s also outnumbered, and he’s stabbed through several times.
He falls right in front of Sun-ho, and Tae-ryong shoves his sword through Sung-rok’s chest, to Sun-ho’s horror. Sung-rok falls dead, leaving Sun-ho sobbing in shock. Tae-ryong moves to strike Sun-ho, and Jung Beom prepares to defend Sun-ho, but Bang-won’s voice bellows for them all to stop.
Sun-ho struggles to his feet, but when he raises his sword at Bang-won, he collapses again. Bang-won calmly asks why Sun-ho is here to kill him and not Hwi, and Sun-ho gasps that he wanted people to laugh at Bang-won for being killed by a concubine’s son.
Bang-won says he’ll be laughed at simply because Sun-ho got this far, so Sun-ho will be punished. Sun-ho asks who will punish Bang-won for his sins, like framing a general and killing his own brothers. He sobs as he asks who will punish Bang-won for trying to kill Hwi, and Bang-won answers, “I… I will not kill Hwi.”
Sun-ho doesn’t believe him and laughs darkly, but Bang-won says he’ll endure the taunts and own up to his sins. Hanging his head, Sun-ho throws off his sword and tells Bang-won to kill him. Bang-won raises his sword to grant Sun-ho’s request, but as his sword comes down, an arrow strikes the blade and stops it.
Bang-won tells his men to let Hwi in, as Sun-ho curses to see him here then passes out. Bang-won reminds Hwi that he said he’d kill him if he tries to save Sun-ho, but Hwi takes aim at him and invites Bang-won to try and kill him like he killed his father.
He says he’ll forget everything Bang-won did to him and his father if he lets Sun-ho go: “He is my dearest friend. Let me save him.” Oof. He adds that Bang-won is dead if he doesn’t agree, and that their alliance ends now.
Bang-won considers, then he takes his sword from Sun-ho’s throat and tells Hwi this is a reward for his contribution. Hwi helps Sun-ho to his feet (Sun-ho: “Why are you making it so hard to die?” Hwi: “I will keep you alive with all my might.”) and leads him to safety — for now.
Allow me to offer My Country a very impressed slow-clap for actually surprising me at this late point in the show. I was shocked by the reveal that Bang-won was responsible for framing Seo Geom (more on that later), but mostly I’m surprised and pleased by the twist that will have Hwi and Sun-ho fighting on the same side again. I said in the previous recap that all I wanted was for the former friends to get a chance to tell each other that they still love each other before one of them dies, and I got that and so much more. Of course, now I’m even more worried about how things will end, because we know that everyone who goes up against Bang-won ends up dead. I don’t want to see Sun-ho and Hwi both fall victim to Bang-won’s determination to rule the country, but I’m very scared that that’s where we’re heading now.
I know that Bang-won isn’t someone who should ever be trusted, and I’d suspected he knew more about Seo Geom’s death than he was telling Hwi, but I never expected him to be the one behind everything. I suppose it makes sense — Seo Geom was too loyal to the old regime, and commanded enough soldiers that he would have been a serious threat to Taejo’s revolution if he’d been allowed to live. I also understand now why Bang-won always gets very quiet whenever someone mentions Seo Geom. Most of all, it explains why Bang-won told Hwi, after killing Lord Nam, that he didn’t want Hwi to suffer the guilt of having killed a friend’s father like he suffers — Bang-won was talking about the guilt he feels for killing Hwi’s father.
I don’t think that any of this sits easily with Bang-won, in fact. I’ve always thought that Bang-won seemed kind of sad whenever he talks to Hwi, and I’d noticed that he usually changes the subject when Seo Geom is mentioned, I just never expected him to be the one who was responsible for framing him. I don’t understand whether Bang-won purposely used Hwi (and if so, why), or if he just took advantage of the weapon that was dropped into his lap, since Hwi approached him first. I’d like to give Bang-won the benefit of the doubt just a little, that he didn’t intend to use Hwi like he did, because he does seem conflicted. But Bang-won is a strategic genius, and he saw that the son was as talented as the father, and since Hwi seemed determined to join up with him it would have been stupid to refuse.
I am glad that Hwi and Sun-ho have finally reconciled, and I’m excited to see them fighting against Bang-won in the final episode, but I’m also pretty scared. I’ve managed not to get spoiled even though I’m writing this a bit late, but this drama has telegraphed almost from the beginning that the new country doesn’t have room for both Hwi and Sun-ho to live happily. They’re too principled and too hotheaded to let go of the injustices done to them, and I don’t blame them for that — they live in a world where you either fight, or you die. I’ve felt for a while now that Sun-ho won’t survive once Bang-won becomes king, but now Hwi has a damn good reason for fighting Bang-won himself. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m afraid they’ll both meet their ends soon… but at least there would be solace in the fact that they repaired their differences and went together in the end.
- Premiere Watch: Tale of Nokdu, Extraordinary You, My Country: The New Age
- Jang Hyuk explores humanistic side of bloodthirsty prince in My Country
- Yang Se-jong, Woo Do-hwan, Seolhyun prepare for a new world in character stills for JTBC sageuk My Country
- Woo Do-hwan, Seolhyun character teasers for Goryeo drama My Country
- Warrior Yang Se-jong to protect his loved ones in My Country
- Jang Hyuk, Seolhyun join JTBC sageuk My Country
- Woo Do-hwan to join Yang Se-jong in JTBC’s sageuk, My Country