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55

My Country: The New Age: Episode 16 (Final)

After so many years of misunderstandings and betrayals, our heroic friends once again share a common enemy and a common goal. They finally get a chance to repair all of the hurt between them, giving each other the strength to do what must be done. One final betrayal requires a sacrifice to be made, and at last, they discover what’s really worth fighting for.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Bang-won allows Hwi to take Sun-ho from his house, in return for Hwi’s promise to forget everything Bang-won did to him and his father and not to seek revenge. Sun-ho complains weakly that Hwi keeps making it hard for him to die, but Hwi says he’ll keep them both alive.

After they’re gone, Jung Beom goes to Bang-won and asks if he really killed Hwi’s father. Considering the circumstances, he resigns his position as Bang-won’s guard, and Bang-won stops Tae-ryong from killing Jung Beom on the spot. On his way out, Jung Beom decides to take loyal Sung-rok’s body with him.

Sun-ho asks Hwi why he saved him after saying they should go their separate ways. Hwi says their bond is too strong, and that they’re in this mess because they tried to sever it. He half-carries Sun-ho all the way to Ihwaru, where he hovers as Moon-bok patches up Sun-ho’s wounds and eventually announces that he’ll live.

As Hwi watches over Sun-ho, he remembers how Yeon once told him, “Don’t ever lose Sun-ho, no matter what happens. He was the only one that held our hands when everyone else treated us like ghosts.” Hwi promises Yeon again that he will never lose Sun-ho.

He finds Hee-jae and says that he’ll take Sun-ho somewhere else as soon as he wakes up, but she says that Ihwaru is the safest place for him. She tells Hwi that Taejo recently visited all of his father’s old friends, intending to launch a coup against Bang-won.

Meanwhile, Bang-won will probably kill Hwi and Sun-ho once he’s made crown prince, so Hee-jae tells Hwi to leave. Hwi says there’s got to be another way and that he won’t go anywhere without her. They go for a walk through a festively-lit marketplace, and Hee-jae starts to say something about being together on the first snowfall, but she stops herself, as if she knows something.

It begins to rain so they seek shelter under an awning. Hee-jae notes that this is the fourth time it’s rained when they were together, and when Hwi is surprised she remembers that, she teases him that he’s the one who remembers every day they’ve shared.

Hwi kisses her and tells her she was always in his dreams, and that he remembers even the nightmarish times as happy because of her. Pulling Hee-jae close, Hwi says, “You’ll always be my dream, until my last breath.”

As Bang-won contemplates his sword, he remembers the day he and Tae-ryong met. Tae-ryong had been trying to kill him, and as he’d fought to reach him, Bang-won had thought that he wanted Tae-ryong as his man. He says that he felt the same way when he first saw Hwi, though he wonders if Hwi was ever really his.

Tae-ryong warns Bang-won not to waver — Hwi and Sun-ho tried to kill him, so if he lets them live, he’ll be a laughingstock. Bang-won remembers how his father had taunted him about knowing Seo Geom in front of Hwi, and he makes his decision. He says that once he’s confirmed as crown prince, “The bloodbath will begin.”

When Sun-ho wakes, Jung Beom is watching over him. He tells Sun-ho that he gave Sung-rok a proper burial, and Sun-ho holds his friend’s sword and cries.

King Jeongjong approaches Taejo with his plan to adopt Bang-won and make him crown prince. Taejo is furious, but he stamps the proposal with his royal seal, warning King Jeongjong bitterly that there will be dire consequences.

Sun-ho visits Sung-rok’s gravesite and thanks his friend for everything. When Hwi goes looking for Sun-ho later, all he finds is Sung-rok’s sword sitting on top of the stone cairn. Hwi goes to Bang-won and offers to talk to his father’s former men and convince them not to be used by Taejo, believing it’s the only way for himself, Bang-won, and Sun-ho to live.

Bang-won wonders why Hwi isn’t asking why he killed Seo Geom, but Hwi says he promised to forget the past. Ignoring him, Bang-won says he falsely accused Seo Geom of corruption and bribed the deputy leader of the Black Snake Unit to give false testimony, all because he feared Seo Geom.

Hwi bellows at him to stop, shaking with fury. He snarls that he chose not to kill Bang-won in order to protect his loved ones, not because of Bang-won himself. Bang-won tells Hwi, “Then hate and resent me, so that I can kill you.”

Reminding Bang-won to keep his promise (not to hurt his people), Hwi turns to go. Bang-won says that ultimately he failed to make Hwi his, but Hwi fires back that ultimately, Bang-won won’t have anyone’s loyalty. After he’s gone, Bang-won whispers with tears in his eyes, “So I have no choice but to destroy everything?”

Hwi takes Chi-do with him to see his father’s people, and on the way, they’re ambushed by assassins. They’re outnumbered, but luckily Sun-ho shows up to help. They stop to camp for the night, and while Hwi is out looking for food, Chi-do tells Sun-ho that it’s okay to show when he’s in pain, though he’s not talking about physical wounds.

Hwi muses that Hwi has a lot of wonderful people around him, but Chi-do says that to Hwi, Sun-ho is his number one, and that he knows Sun-ho feels the same way about Hwi. He tells Sun-ho that Seo Geom had asked him to take care of his children but he was sent to war the day before Seo Geom died, and that Hwi and Yeon only survived because of Sun-ho.

Hwi returns, joking that Chi-do and Hwi will fall in love if they keep talking like this, hee. As they crack chestnuts, Sun-ho says he doesn’t trust Bang-won, who sees people as swords to be used then discarded when they’re no longer useful. Hwi agrees, but he wants to believe that Bang-won was sincere about building a “country for the abandoned.”

Sun-ho grumbles that Hwi hasn’t changed, he’s still too gullible and trusting. Sun-ho says that Sun-ho hasn’t changed either — he complains, yet he still helps.

Back in town, Tae-ryong asks Bang-won how many they’re to kill. Bang-won sets his blood-soaked fan on fire, and as he watches it slowly burn, he says, “Kill them all. All of them.” Tae-ryong goes to see Cheonga, who’s still locked up and assumes he’s finally going to be disposed of… but instead, Tae-ryong tosses him his weapons.

Chi-do leads Hwi and Sun-ho to a remote village where he’d planned to train kids in swordsmanship, where Seo Geom’s people now stay. Sun-ho notes that it looks more like a fort, and Chi-do tells Sun-ho that he’s observant (Hwi: “He should at least be smart…” LOL). When Chi-do introduces Hwi as Seo Geom’s son, the people gather around him in awe.

Hwi asks Chi-do what exactly his father did, and Chi-do explains that Seo Geom took in the injured and abandoned during the war, and that they gathered and built this village, calling it “Captain Seo’s country.” For the first time since his father died, Hwi holds his head up with pride.

Later, the leaders hold a meeting with Chi-do and Hwi while Sun-ho waits outside. The cutest little girl ever brings Sun-ho a flower, and he looks happy and relaxed for the first time in a long time. But moments later, Sun-ho sees Cheonga charging in leading a phalanx of Bang-won’s men, so he grabs up the little girl and runs for help.

Hwi, Chi-do, and the other men hurry outside to help Sun-ho fight. Cheonga gets his chance to fight with Hwi again, but Hwi injures him badly. Chi-do tells Hwi and Sun-ho to take the women and children and escape, and they obey.

Meanwhile, Hee-jae decides to go with Jung Beom and Moon-bok to meet up with Hwi, sure that Ihwaru will be fine in Hwa-wol’s capable hands. Hwa-wol is hugely pregnant by now and Moon-bok worries about leaving her, and she says that she loves his loyalty and that little Bo-gum will be proud of his daddy when he’s born.

Hwi and Sun-ho lead the women and children through the woods, and after dark, they’re intercepted by more of Bang-won’s troops. Before they even draw their swords, Jung Beom and Moon-bok arrive with more men and slaughter the enemy troops, then they fuss at Hwi for taking so long, ha.

They had stopped to pick up some friends on their way, and awww, it’s the one-eyed guy from the village that took them all in when they first returned from Liaodong. Hwi introduces Sun-ho to him, and when One-eye welcomes Sun-ho as a friend, Sun-ho looks like he’s not sure what to do with such a friendly person, which is both heart-warming and sad.

When they arrive at One-eye’s village, Hee-jae is waiting there. Sun-ho hesitates when he spots her, but his new little friend takes his hand and it gives him courage. Hwi is worried that Hee-jae came here, but she reminds him that his father saved her life, too.

There’s a re-enactment of their first awkward dinner with One-eye when everyone sits around just staring at the food. Hwi places a choice piece of meat on Sun-ho’s rice, and Sun-ho eats, looking touched at how Hwi and his friends have forgiven and included him. Hwi says that he hopes they can do this again next year, so they all decide to share a reunion meal at Ihwaru every year on this date.

After dinner, Hwi and Sun-ho sit outside together, both unable to sleep. Sun-ho confesses that he always thought he had two choices in life — the worst choice, or the second-worst. Now he says he thinks a life like this would have been nice, and that he knowingly ignored that option. Hwi says that in Sun-ho’s position, he’d have only seen the same two bad choices, and he says Sun-ho can live a better life from now on.

He leaves Sun-ho with a smile, but instead of going to bed, he collects his weapons. He finds Hee-jae outside and gives her a bracelet he saw on the day they walked in the market. He says it represents their fate, and Hee-jae sees that he’s wearing an identical bracelet on his wrist. Hwi hugs her and promises to return, and she says tearfully that she’ll wait for him.

Before Hwi gets very far, Sun-ho catches up to him. Sun-ho knows he’s going to confront Bang-won for breaking his promise and sending his men after them. He says that one of them will die, but Hwi counters that the only way for them all to live is for Bang-won to retract his kill order. Sun-ho asks if he’s one of the people Hwi wants to save, and when Hwi says yes, Sun-ho sighs, “Let’s go then. Liaodong is the last place I’m letting you go alone.”

At the palace, Bang-won prepares for his coronation as crown prince. King Jeongjong begs Taejo to attend the ceremony, but Taejo refuses to congratulate Bang-won. Afterward, Bang-won storms into the throne room and angrily throws his headpiece onto the throne.

Hwi and Sun-ho stand in front of the palace gate, planning to storm in when the gate is opened to change the guards. Hwi sighs that all he ever wanted was not to worry about starving: “That’s all I ever wanted. But look how far I’ve come.” Sun-ho asks if he’s scared and Hwi nods, and Sun-ho admits that he’s only a little bit scared.

The gate opens and they charge at the guards, prepared to take them all on… but suddenly Chi-do, Jung Beom, and Moon-bok are right there with them (I’m officially crying). They urge Hwi and Sun-ho to run inside while they hold off the guards, and as the gates close behind them, Chi-do yells, “Come back! Don’t you die!

The two friends fight their way through more guards in the courtyard to get closer to the palace itself. When they reach the steps, Tae-ryong comes out, and Sun-ho tells Hwi to go inside, intending to stand his ground. Hwi looks at Sun-ho for a long, charged moment, then runs inside to find Bang-won.

Sun-ho announces that nobody will get past him. Tae-ryong attacks, and although Sun-ho fights valiantly to protect his friend, eventually a guard darts in and spears him in the belly. Sun-ho continues to fight, but two more guards spear him, and his knees buckle. Oh no…

Tae-ryong puts his sword through Sun-ho’s chest just to make sure he doesn’t survive this time. When he tries to pull his sword out, Sun-ho grabs it, keeping Tae-ryong close to that he can pick up his own sword and stab him through the heart. Tae-ryong topples to the ground, dead.

Inside the palace, Hwi enters the throne room, where Bang-won is waiting for him. Bang-won says that he’d hoped Hwi wouldn’t come, but he also wanted Hwi to witness his coronation as crown prince. Hwi asks why Bang-won didn’t trust him and broke his promise: “I didn’t think you of all people would abandon your people.”

Bang-won says that he must sit on the throne to create a country of the abandoned, and that he’ll endure the sacrifice. Hwi raises his sword to Bang-won’s throat and tells him to revoke his order to kill his people, or he dies right now. Bang-won offers him a trade — Hwi’s life for his people’s freedom.

With no hesitation, Hwi gladly agrees. Bang-won gives him a genuinely fond smile and tells Hwi that he has saved everyone, then officially announces that the order is revoked.

Hwi leaves, and when he sees Sun-ho kneeling in the courtyard, gravely injured, he goes to him and gently tells him that it’s all over. As if he was only waiting to hear those words, Sun-ho collapses into Hwi’s arms, and he gasps that he’s finally paid Hwi back for his life.

He whispers that he only looked too far ahead and too high up, and that when he finally looked behind, he found Hwi and Yeon there. He tells Hwi that he wishes he’d realized sooner that his country was only a step behind him.

Growing weaker, Sun-ho sighs that after a lifetime of sleepless nights, he’ll finally sleep well tonight. Crying, Hwi says, “Yes, you should rest now. I’ll join you soon.” Sun-ho says to take his time, and that he’s happy he’ll be able to face Yeon.

Smiling, Sun-ho tells Hwi, “I missed you so much…” and then he’s gone. Still holding his friend, Hwi looks down at his bracelet, then says to Hee-jae, “You’re going to cry again. I should have made you laugh more.”

In the palace, Bang-won sits on the throne. Tears fill his eyes as he lets loose a pained laugh, then he whispers, “You did well.” He lowers his head in respect, and when he raises it again, his gaze is that of a king.

Hee-jae runs to the palace gates just as they open to let in more guards. She can see Hwi holding Sun-ho’s lifeless body, with an entire team of archers aiming their arrows at his back. Hwi smiles at her, his expression full of love, as the gates close and the archers release their bows.

One year later, Hee-jae, Chi-do, Jung Beom, Moon-bok, Hwa-wol, and new baby Bo-young (awww, they had a girl) gather at a beautiful waterfall for a meal together as they’d promised. Chi-do gives Bo-young some sage advice about asking for food instead of whining, which gets him teased as a forever-single.

He claims he’s dating someone, and Moon-bok jokes that Hwi would have shot him for such a lie, which makes everyone go wistfully quiet for a moment. Hee-jae steps away, and as she thinks about Hwi, she says in voiceover:

“We all have a country we wish to protect. We break, snap, and crumble, but we can’t give up on our nation. It is because that nation is equal to our lives.”

Smiling, she rejoins her friends.

 
COMMENTS

I always knew that My Country wouldn’t end with both Hwi and Sun-ho alive, but I didn’t start to suspect that they both might die until this final episode. But honestly, unless they were willing to let go of their grudges against Bang-won, there was only one way things could end. If either of them had made that choice, this ending would have made me angry, because it would have directly contradicted everything they’ve ever stood for and undermined everything they’ve suffered. But this ending, though tragic and heartbreaking, is the only one that makes sense knowing Hwi and Sun-ho’s commitment to what they believe is right. I even find myself happy for them that they got to go out at the place, time, and manner of their choosing, with Sun-ho protecting Hwi with his death, then Hwi using that opportunity to protect those he loved with his death.

For me, the true love story in My Country: The New Age was always the one between Hwi and Sun-ho. Like Chi-do said, they were each other’s Number One, no matter what happened between them. They fought, they hurt each other (physically and emotionally), they betrayed each other in the worse ways out of necessity, they went years without seeing each other, but whenever a choice had to be made, they chose each other every time. Even though Sun-ho betrayed Hwi over and over again, Hwi never hesitated to go to Sun-ho’s rescue if he needed it, and even when Sun-ho wanted nothing more than to die, he lived just because Hwi asked him to. As sad as it was, it was fitting and right for them to die together, choosing each other, protecting each other, and loving each other until the very end.

I would be criminally remiss if I didn’t mention the absolutely magnificent performances this drama was universally blessed with — from the smaller roles like Sung-rok and Tae-ryong, to our love-to-hate-him villain Lord Nam, to our main trio of Hwi, Sun-ho, and Bang-won, every actor brought their best performance (and yes, I include Hee-jae in this — her character’s issues were in how she was written, not Seolhyun’s acting). I won’t be surprised if several acting awards are handed out for My Country, particularly in the cases of Jang Hyuk and Woo Do-hwan. They both portrayed characters that could easily have become intensely unlikable, but they were able to show moments of vulnerability, sorrow, and regret even when committing the most heinous acts. Yang Se-jong was fantastic as well, imbuing Hwi with a soft vulnerability that he never lost, despite everything he went through. The main quality I took away from Hwi’s personality is that he was a man who loved completely, and once his love was given, it never faded or wavered. Yang Se-jong is great at portraying this gentle sincerity in his characters (which makes me think that it’s a part of who he is in real life), and he couldn’t have been more perfectly cast as Hwi.

The moral of the story is so beautiful — that we all have a country we are willing to risk everything for, and that that “country” is the people we love. There were a lot of other love stories told within the larger story — the love of people for their countrymen, love between friends, romantic love, the love between parent and child. The most painful love story was the one between Bang-won and KT, who loved as much as they hated each other, and never found a way to see eye-to-eye. The brotherly love of Hwi and his loyal friends was sometimes funny but always touching, and it was wonderful to see how they so easily folded Sun-ho into their love, even after everything he’d done. In the end, Hwi and Sun-ho were willing to die for the “country” they loved, and their sacrifice deeply honored the people who loved them in return.

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When I finished this drama, I suddenly had the urge to listen to Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 131. Like the drama, this music is edgy, difficult, and unsettling, and yet it is strangely compelling and satisfying.

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What an amazing journey for all our players,more sad than happy i might say but invested till the end in this characters even if i wanted another ending for our dear leads...I actually wished for all of them to have a taste of living a simple happy life while actually seeing the country Bang Won would create...I was expecting a sad ending as sageuk unofficial rule is quite known for the ones who watched them but it still hit me hard actually seeing the outcome for Sun Ho and Hwi...Life is unfair but oh boy,their lives were a hell for so many years,they truly deserved a happy ending...It was quite depressing seeing their ultimate outcome,they truly didn't deserve it and i doubt it wasn't unavoidable...It was just heartbreaking seeing the last moments of Sun Ho telling Hwi he missed him a lot before dying and that his happiness was so close yet he couldn't see it because he was busy aiming too high to actually see what he had close to him aka him and Yeon(his Country) while Hwi left Hee Jee with a smile as his last memory...In the end,the hardest part was for the living ones left behind,also the ones who would carry one in their hearts their memories...In the end both of them died to save all the others...
It was sooo heartwarming to see Sun Ho like a fish out of the water along Hwi's friends and realizing that maybe he did have other options for another way of life but like Hwi pointed out he just wasn't able to see it based on his background surroundings etc. to actually see it(like a fish locked in his bowl)...
Bang Won ended up all alone like Seo Geom predicted,the price he utterly paid for his throne...
No matter the ending i'm still uterly happy this drama gave us the precious oportunity to have Yang Se Jong and Woo Do Hwan play together in one drama along with the brilliant Jang Hyuk..That is such a rare thing and who knows if we'll ever be able to see them again in another project!!!

Fan Of Doom&Change didn't dissapoint till it's end!!!!

Me wants one of those amazing fans Jang Hyuk mastered with such elegance making it a IT thing!!!

Another think i wanted to mention was the camera,i totally loved the Director's work,sooooo beautiful along with the BGM(Still waiting for the V.A) made this drama quite epic for me visually wise!

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I have an alternate view of Sun-ho saying “I missed you” as he died. He was looking beyond Hwi, so I thought he was saying that to Yeon. 💔

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I’d like to think it was intended for both of them. 💕

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I though the same! He just wanted to see Yeon again, and her death actually has opened his eyes for what he refused to see, trapped in a life he hated.

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Can there be an alternative ending to this tragic, blood-bathed ending? Let us start from the time Hwi took Seon Ho from Bang Won's grasp with the two of them in agreement about forgetting the past. Everyone, my most favorite couple of all, Hwi and Seon Ho, could have a better, more satisfying future. But if for drama's sake, the ending is poignantly painful and beautiful.

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So, I wrote an alternative ending on my fan wall http://www.dramabeans.com/members/hotcocoagirl/activity/940956/

Our immortal otp deserved more than just an evening of happiness...

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Wow @lollypip, thank you for finding the beauty in this ending and making me see the light. Like Hwi, I kept thinking “there must be another way!” and ended up with a look of disbelief on my face. They could have faded into the hills, headed to Jurchen land, jumped off Cliff of Non-Doom or something! Did they have to die? Were they really such a threat just because Hwi’s father was a popular general twenty years ago? (Honestly I think the whole Seo Geom thing could have been handled better).

Yes, it does make sense that our Stabby OTP wouldn’t survive after becoming Bang Won’s enemies, but I did not expect Hwi to die (which is weird since he’s been chasing after death since day 1). What happened to the Black Snake Unit dudes working undercover at the palace? Did Bang Won sniff them out too?

And finally, Bang Won was left all alone in the end, as foretold by the queen and his father, ooof. Like Hwi I was gullible enough to believe that he wanted to create a country for the abandoned, but Sun-ho called him for what he was: a hypocrite. That pathetic ending for Bang Won was totally chilling. Bravo Jang Hyuk! 💔👏🏻

P.S.: Next time I need to stamp something I don’t like I’m gonna stamp it Taejo style. So dramatic. 🙈

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What DID happen to the Black Snake Dudes? Also Hwi and Seon Ho’s immortality?

Jang Hyuk killed it. KILLED it. From his fan wielding to his relationships with his family that left you rooting for him even as you could SEE his manipulative nature, his Bangwon was utterly compelling. His combined despair and joy at the end, once he made it to the throne, made me see a madness and loneliness to him that I think was hidden beneath his machinations all along. I’m going to miss this performance...

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Hwi and Sun Ho's immortality is no match to Bang Won's fan power.

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I too envy the enraged stamping.

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The drama was amazing, the actors were amazing, the music was amazing.
Ugh I actually ended up hating Bang Won. And the scene where Hwi and Sun Ho died was so hard to watch. I actually seem to have nothing more to say.

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Me too, and it hurts to hate a Jang Hyuk character 💔😭😭😭

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Regardless of how history judge Bang Won, I am still his fan... and Jang Hyuk's as well 😍😍😍

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I could not hate Bang-won despite what he did, because Jang Hyuk showed him to be such a conflicted character.

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For me, this drama was a character-driven one and with that in mind, they delivered. The deep, emotional friendship between Hwi & Sun Ho will be the thing I remember and cherish most from this story.

I knew early on that Sun Ho was a tragic character, but I wasn't quite sure about Hwi. It became increasingly clear that he would not survive in this final hour, but my heart wanted to deny this fact.

Their deaths broke my heart. ;_; Their final scene was incredibly sad and painful, but I wasn't angry. I was prepared for Sun Ho to go so I was consoled a little that he was not alone in his last moment. I don't know if either of them could have survived much longer without the other. That's how I'm choosing to believe in them anyway.

On another note, I'm glad they did not end it on an awful cliffhanger. The story left a strong, lasting impact.

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I agree, I don’t think either could have really survived knowing the other was gone. Even Seon Ho with his death wish kept living for Hwi, and, despite his relationship with Hee Jee, I think Seon Ho kept Hwi going as well after Yeon was gone. They were each other’s family.

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Both were each other's air to breath. This bromance will surely be among those SK drama bromances already enshrined in our hearts...

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This drama wasn't a super serious, by the book sageuk, but it still encouraged me to look up various historical figures. I learned a little more about this time period.

It's been a pleasure reading the recaps and comments, thank you everyone! ♥

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Ditto. Especially with the style of this drama, where we had to fill in the blanks ourself, I am glad we had the historical background from more savvy beanies. Thank you, @kiara, @pakalanapikake and @wishfultoki and many more!

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I created an account just to be able to say thank you to @LollyPip and fellow My Country: The New Age fans who made my experience of watching this drama so much fuller and richer! That ending was heart-breaking: Sun-Ho, slowly fading away in Hwi's arms, but finally letting him know how he felt about him and Yeon, the regret...and that he had missed him so much...Hwi trembling and so full of sorrow and love for his friend before meeting his end. THE FEELS. This story has always been about the love and friendship between these two and I think it was Moon-bok who said it best in episode 14 that Hwi and Sun-Ho must have been the sun and moon in their previous lives since their lives and bond are inextricably linked (and somewhat reflected by how Hwi was always in red and Sun-ho in blue).

I actually started watching this series just as a "Oh, that looks interesting..." on Netflix and have now morphed into a full-blown Woo Do-hwan fan. LollyPip hits the nail on the head in observing that in the hands of a lesser actor, Sun-ho could have been a one-dimensional character. But WDH imbues him with such complexity, sympathy, and pathos that Sun-ho was actually my favorite character in the series because you see the conflict in him trying to break free of his father and fate while trying to protect Hwi and Yeon, only to be trapped in a reality that made him a shell of who he really was (the brief happiness that Sun-ho experiences in episode 16 is mirrored by the brief happiness he experienced in episode 1 before everything falls apart). You can almost feel how suffocating it was for him and how in the end, he was so incredibly exhausted but grateful that he at least had a chance to fight for and protect Hwi with his life.

I loved Hwi as well but he was always the emotional rock between the two. Sun-ho was the more sensitive one, the one who lost his way without Hwi whereas Hwi was always going to be this center of warmth that everyone gravitated towards. And yet, he couldn't ever let Sun-ho go as well no matter how "complete" things might have felt with Hee-jae, Chi-do, Jung Beom, and Moon-bok. And when you think about it, it seems as if Sun-ho endured the death of his mom alone but Hwi at least had Yeon and Sun-ho. And I thought about this because I wasn't even sure if Hwi knew that Sun-ho's mom had killed herself (or that his father had ordered it). And don't even get me started on the Hwi/Sun-ho/Bang-won interaction with each other and with their fathers. Bang-won is clearly ruthless in his pursuit for power but I never found myself hating him and it's because of Jang Hyuk's incredibly portrayal of a man willing to throw everything away for the absolute and brutal power needed for change.

Anyways, THANK YOU @Lollypip for your amazing recaps and commentary and thank you to everyone who loved this series and shared your thoughts and feelings as well! I look forward to the amazing actors (go WDH!) and staff of this great series winning...

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The same case with me - my account is also created only to express my gratitude to LollyPop for the beautiful recaps and comments on the drama!

This drama was so full of love - I will remember it for a long time. The love was in each gesture and look of every of the actors (not just the leads), irresistible and deep. Their performance was on unexpectedly high level - since “Chuno” I was not so deeply moved by a SK, and this was a long time ago.

Love is never just a matter of cold politics whereas the establishment of a new dynasty and country is. That is why the ending for me was expected and logical. And beautiful.

I only wish that Hwi and Son Ho had a little bit more time for peace and reconciliation, not just three days...

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I knew it was coming, but it did not hurt any less. Seon ho was just...done, he was done and he was ready to meet his maker and finally relax with Yeon. The writing was on the wall for several episodes that he was not going to live for long. While I was not surprised at Hwi, I thought the poison would have taken him, but once again, he gullibility did. How many times would he hold his hand in the fire that is Bang won before he realized that he is getting burned. Well, it ended with no more. The three people that started together are together and here is hoping finally relaxing and at peace.

And I really think Seon ho was not saying I miss you to Hwi. I think he was looking past Hwi and into the sky, possibly to Yeon, his mother, or both.

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My thoughts on the finale? I wrote a gif story on my wall.

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So cool! Where is Yeon in the 21st century?

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Also my sunshine and angst boys died but they died together, as they should.

I feel worst for Hee Jea, as her and Hwi were acting like a married couple in that they had an established relationship and love for years, but not as in they were somehow still not together, despite loving each other and living in the same place for years off screen? If Hwi’s friend could get married, why not him? There were literal years between events, especially the last time jump where he pretended to no longer be a swordsman! I understand Hee Jae ran Ihwaru, but as the independent female owner, who could/would say anything about her marrying/living with/having children with a former swordsman (though I suppose since he worked for Bang Won that would’ve meant taking a political side). I sort of wish it had ended with her raising their son, as she said the final lines about what “my Country” means.

Yeon and Seon Ho’s relationship was heartbreaking and beautiful, even after her death. They truly loved each other.

I’m so happy none of Hwi’s gang died, I was expecting it, but I’m happy that Hwi protected them as part of “his country.” (Still confused as to what happened to BlackSnake Dudes) (also confused about Hwi’s father’s role)

Overall, this was a beautifully made drama with wonderful actors that made me feel even as the plot made little logic at times. And, at the end of the day, if all my dramas could give me this, i would be one happy Beanie.

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I think Seo Gom’s role would have been clearer if the drama followed the classic recipe of introducing our characters as kids in the first few episodes, and where they lose their parents. I didn’t get the sense that Seo Geom was a powerful figure until suddenly in episode 15 Taejo started talking about revenge (my foot) and the issue of raising troops loyal to Hwi surfaced. Where were they before? Where were the Black Snake dudes during the Liadong Campaign?

However, this is not really a bid deal because I did like being thrown in the middle without the long preambles. “who killed Seo Geom” was also an interesting plot twist. If revealed earlier we would have all condemned Bang Won as a villain much sooner. I’m still not clear why Bang Won had him killed, but I’m still convinced Taejo was behind it and let Bang Won take the fall (like the case of Poeun). Father and son are a real piece of work.

Oh, and I missed Hyungnim in the final episode. He looked like a cat behind bars, grinning sardonically and resigned to life in prison. Bang Won was going to poison him unless he confessed the king was behind his revolt wasn’t he?

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Perhaps this interview with Jang Hyuk might explain the direction and the conclusion that the show took.

"My Country: The New Age" Jang Hyuk Talks About Portraying Lee Bang-won Twice

"I felt like I didn't do enough the first time I played Lee Bang-won", Jang Hyuk said. He didn't have a choice but be an antagonist in the film. He was determined to play that character once again and that's when he got the offer for "My Country: The New Age". "The director asked me to act out a part where Lee Bang-won achieves everything and sits pitifully on the throne".

Jang Hyuk says he tried to create a Lee Bang-won "free from history". "I didn't play the character himself, but I thought of myself as a character in that situation. The director and I focused on how he comes into conflict and deals with the relationship of other characters in each situation, regardless of the chronicles recorded by the winner".

https://www.hancinema.net/interview-my-country-the-new-age-jang-hyuk-talks-about-portraying-lee-bang-won-twice-136363.html

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Overall I am still satisfied with the show despite the tragic ending and some misgivings. For me, its strength still more than outweighs the weakness. It portrayed characters having to deal with life’s choices on loyalty, forgiveness and sacrifice based on one’s beliefs, integrity and principles.

Thank you LollyPip for all the recaps. Your comments on this final episode made me tear up. Thank you to all Beanies who have expressed the same sentiments and thoughts about the show. Thanks to Sageuk Beanies who provided knowledgeable insights and historical background. You’ve all made it a truly enjoyable and unforgettable experience. 🥰

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i loved this sageuk and mostly the 3 male leads -- they carried everything, the bromance, frenemies, the sweet romance, the sad inevitable ending...

it's a keeper to rewatch later.

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A rewatch is inevitable!

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Sun Ho & Hwi is all I need <3

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@lollypip thank you!

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My queen Hui Jae deserved more screentime and a meaningful post-revenge plotline.

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I'm glad the boys found each other in the end. Their ability to come together again despite the pain and betrayals show that they weren't just friends, they were brothers; willing to live and die for each other. That death scene was heartbreaking yet beautiful. They died with their number one by their side.

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thanks for the recaps...you put it so nicely:-)...i really enjoyed watching this show...the OST, plot, acting were all good...i was 100% sure how it would end for Sunho but thought 20% that Hwi may get a longer life but this was not the case...this was sad, one hero tragic, other melancholic hero, but so glad by the end they found their way back to each other...

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Around the middle of the drama I didn't think the writer could pull it all together at the end--but oh, it was a satisfactory ending. (Sad, but it made sense.)

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Do you guys think Seon ho loved yeon as a sister or more in a romantic way? I'm just confused why they had to add all that seonho liking hee-jae stuff at the beginning.

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In the beginning they all were too young. And Sun Ho was in the beginning of his dark journey, as Hee Jee was a memory for the happy romantic days. He thought he is in love, but actually his true love were only Hwi and Yeon. It took him so many years to realize it, especially with the death of Yeon. You can look it from this perspective.

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Not sure if it was in this episode or the previous one, but when Moon-bok wondered if Hwi and Seon-ho were the moon and sun in a past life, it cemented the idea that they are the true OTP of this show.

Immense applause to all the actors involved in ‘My Country’ — despite its flaws, the characters and story managed to captivate until the end. Jang Hyuk was amazing, but special shout-out to the outstanding chemistry between Yang Se-jong and Woo Do-hwan. They managed to create an epic tragedy separate from the tragedy of Bang-won, and most of it transpired through looks. Kudos.

Bias corner: Sigh. I need Woo Do-hwan to lead a slice-of-life drama, a la ‘My Ajusshi’ or ‘Live’, or a pure romcom. I need to see him play a character in love or working through life’s issues without being STABBED and choking back tears and dying in the arms of his beloved. Please, drama gods.

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Mad Dog?

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@lollypip my girl. Thank you so so much for recapping MY COUNTRY <3.
I didn't want to forget your hard work so I'm here to just say 고맙습니다!

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Thank you @lollypip for the recaps. It has been a very delightful experience, this drama, despite its tragic ending.

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Found this final episode reaction and review on Youtube if anyone is interested :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MV2ZXATnSWM

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I just found this show not long ago and it has blown me sway away! Your recaps are also so helpful! This ending was so powerful and emotional.

A stupid question, but could someone explain to me why Hiwi had to die? Was it because he went to threaten the prince and to set an example? Why the trade off? Or was it because he and his people knew too much?

I assume its related to the investigation of BW but I can't put it together

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His execution was an example - nobody could threaten the Crown Prince. The trade off: well, without him as a son of Gereral Seo Gom the army veterans will not have potential leader for a revolt perhaps... The last two episodes were in rush :)

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This sageuk did not disappoint. I’ll be rewatching this first for Jang-Hyuk and close second and third with Do-Hwan and Yang Se-Jong. Gah—the ending was bittersweet. I’m glad they died together. They loved each other— and Yeon as well. I never felt Hee-Jae was able to infiltrate that trio. I don’t think Hwi actually loved her more than the others.

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Okay people who HAVE watched this.
I hope this comment isn't too late.
I want to know if I should binge this show or not.
I've had a couple of people respond to me on the TD:WW thread already, but I'd like more opinions.

I wanted to start it when it started airing, but didn't have the headspace or the time, and I ADORE one of its OSTs and enjoy WDH and Jang Hyuk.
I value good characterization and thematic development over plot, but bad plot still makes me mad. I NEED good characters to enjoy a show though. I also hate stupid deaths for deaths sake because good storytelling is more important and if it doesn't fit the story I'll also get mad.
I don't mind sad, but it does need to be addictive and engaging enough to binge because I don't think I'll watch it otherwise. (yeah call me picky but after this year I'm allowed to be.)

SO! What do you think of the show, and has per my specs, should I try and binge it and get that bean before the year ends, or try and get another bean instead? (like Sly Castle or Nokdu Flower)

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p.s. sp0iler free reviews if poss. ^_^

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Well, this show is driven mainly by the characters, camera and music. The screenplay does not matter sometimes :)

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Uh... Screenplay is screenwriting and screenwriting is like any other writing, except in a format to be put to screen. Writing is at its most simple theme, characters, dialogue, action, plot and setting.
How can the screenplay not matter?

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The screenplay has its flaws. But with these actors it does not matter :)

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Big chunks of character development happen off screen. There was a story going around that this drama was originally 20 episodes, and aired as 16. True or not, a lot happens off screen. Given the span of time covered, some of this is inevitable, but still...

Given the history of this era, the plot is over all predictable. Acting, especially by the older veterans, was wonderful.

Action ranged from wonderful to cartoonish. One beanie coined a new kind of OTP ... due to the nature of the action between the OTP. I wish I had coined it. Oh well.

A few memorable lines.

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Banga Won is my favorite
he is the only reason I watched till the end

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