Six Flying Dragons: Episode 31
Bang-won faces one of his biggest and most important decisions yet, and it’s one he must face alone, even if it pits him against everything he once held dear. It’s hard to watch without wanting to just give him a hug, but it’s another great performance feather for Six Flying Dragons to put in its hat. Though it was hardly wanting for stellar acting before, episodes like this are always a welcome bonus.
SONG OF THE DAY
Infinite – “Bad” [ Download ]
EPISODE 31 RECAP
While Bang-won eavesdrops nearby, Jung Do-jeon emphatically explains his proposed system of governing to Jung Mong-joo, adding that the dying nation of Goryeo wouldn’t be able to sustain such a change. Only by creating a new nation can any of these reforms hope to be achieved.
For his new country to exist, Jung Do-jeon adds, the king must have the power only to appoint a prime minister—and he wants Jung Mong-joo to be it. The success or failure of the country would rest on his shoulders, and not Lee Seong-gye’s.
Though it would be near impossible to expect any king of Goryeo to hand over all his power, Jung Do-jeon claims that Lee Seong-gye is one hundred percent willing to take the job. “Please… please become the first prime minister of this new nation,” he begs.
Then, in a surprise move, Jung Do-jeon rises from his chair to kneel at Jung Mong-joo’s feet. “Please,” he asks again. “Please accept this lacking student’s sincerity.” Now the ball is in Poeun’s court. What will he do with it?
After the two part, they have a telepathic conversation as they come to terms with everything that’s just been said. Jung Mong-joo wonders why it has to be him of all people, which Jung Do-jeon answers by saying that he’s gone too far to be considered a true Confucian scholar, and couldn’t dare to take on the job himself.
Bang-won updates Jung Do-jeon on the Ji Cheon-tae/Cho-young situation, and that she’s been taken in for interrogation by Officer Nam. Jung Do-jeon congratulates him on a job well done and puts him in charge of any operations regarding Nameless from here on out, since there’s nothing Bang-won can’t achieve with his resourcefulness.
And though he asks about his talk with Poeun, he deliberately doesn’t mention that he overheard the entire thing. All Jung Do-jeon says is that he poured his heart out to his old friend, so now, they wait.
Yooksan is enraged to find out they’ve been tricked by Bang-won, and now, he’s taken Cho-young from them. Their first priority is to get her back before she can spill vital information, though Yooksan is reticent to report any of this to the higher-ups, considering it was his mistake that caused it.
Gil Sun-mi recognizes what a bad spot this puts them in, and recommends that they try to find a different weapon to stab at the heart of Jung Do-jeon’s movement. Jung Mong-joo just isn’t cutting it anymore.
Even Cho-young is amazed to find out that Bang-won tricked her into revealing her Nameless affiliation using a made-up term, but she’s not about to let an opportunity to sow discord go to waste. With a shrewd smile, she seems about to tell Officer Nam about Bang-won’s eavesdropping.
After hearing from Officer Nam that Cho-young will only speak to him, Bang-won heads out with an overeager Moo-hyul, who’s all too happy to laud Bang-won’s awesomeness. He’s happy to know he picked the right person to protect, and remembering Moo-hyul’s dream brings Bang-won out of his dark reverie.
He turns to Moo-hyul and says that the day he came up with his dream—to make people smile through politics—was the day Gil Tae-mi died. Specifically, it was the day Moo-hyul promised allegiance to him because he saw all the people smiling because of what Bang-won had done.
Moo-hyul lights up to know that Bang-won’s dream came about because of him, before Bang-won continues, “You said that it was your first time seeing the people smile like that, that you knew I was the one who made it happen. Those words made me so happy that I thought I was going to die. Politics that will make people smile and be glad… that became my dream from that moment on.”
Since he says all this in such a dour tone even though the words are uplifting, poor Moo-hyul can’t understand why he’s so down about it. “You can do it. It will happen if you do it,” he says encouragingly. Aww. Best bodyguard/friend ever.
Thinking about Yooksan’s need for “a new sword” in their fight against Jung Do-jeon, Cho-young goes into her conversation with Bang-won with a very clear plan. She knows Bang-won didn’t tell anyone about the conversation he overheard, and uses the contents of it against him.
“General Lee Seong-gye will be confined in a prison called Being King, and his family will be imprisoned there with him,” she says with a smile. Not only that, but the country would be ruled by a prime minister, and not his father.
Jung Mong-joo flashes back to Jung Do-jeon saying the same thing to him, expounding on the idea that the king and his family would be kept in the most secure prison, aka the palace.
At the same time, Cho-young explains this to Bang-won, who returns that it’s an obvious choice to entrust the country to more than just one man. Enacting a checks and balances system is only right. “Still, you don’t like it, do you?” Cho-young fires right back. No matter how great the country is, she knows he won’t like it if it’s a country where he’s powerless.
Then, her voice lowering, she tells him that Nameless isn’t against establishing a new nation. In fact, they’re thinking of supporting Lee Seong-gye as king, and even tried to stop General Choi’s foolhardy war. “We are on the same side,” she explains. Except for one thing, of course: Land reform.
At this, Bang-won laughs. Here he thought Nameless had a great cause, but in the end, they were just trying to hold onto their land? Cho-young still tried to bait him by telling him that he can learn more about their cause. A new country can still be established without such a powerful prime minister and land reform, after all.
But Bang-won’s had enough, and grabs her by her collar to make his point. Outside, Boon-yi pelts him with questions about what Cho-young might’ve said—about Nameless, about her mother, about everything.
Bang-won just stares at her as her words begin to meld together until they can’t be heard at all, replaced by a high-pitched ringing sound. At last, he just says that he needs to sleep.
He tries his best to do just that, but ends up sweating in a fever dream filled with Minister Hong’s predictions that he would fail, and Jung Do-jeon’s harsh words about how he had no place in the new country. That’s what sticks with him now as he worries, “Do I really have no place in that country? Have I lost my way again?”
Jung Mong-joo does some brooding on his own, and mentally thanks Jung Do-jeon for showing him his resolve, since it means he can give up on trying to convince his old friend. He knows there’s no way Jung Do-jeon will give up the country he’s worked so hard to create, and respects that.
“However, I won’t be that new country’s first prime minister,” he adds to himself. “I will be Goryeo’s last subject. If Heaven hasn’t abandoned Goryeo, then I should be able to protect it from you. Even if this country’s luck has run out, as a Confucian scholar, I will face my end with her. I will die before Goryeo comes to an end.”
And so, he visits King Gongyang late that night to talk to him about the land reform, while the same issue gets a heated discussion from Jung Do-jeon’s camp. Jo Joon doesn’t believe the land reform has any hope to pass as long as Lee Saek still has a spot in the dodang, but they can’t impeach him when that was one of Jung Mong-joo’s explicit conditions.
Gongyang is surprised when Jung Mong-joo tells him that they must pass the land reform in order to protect the country, since they need landowners to pay them taxes. In a more surprising move, he advocates that they need to protect Goryeo not from Lee Seong-gye, but from Jung Do-jeon.
They have no hope against Lee Seong-gye’s military might, Jung Mong-joo explains, so his only hope is to drive a rift between Lee and Jung Do-jeon. Since it’s likely that they’ll impeach Lee Saek, Poeun says it’s a sacrifice that must be made. The king has to gain the people’s trust in order to succeed.
Knowing how important Jung Mong-joo is to his cause, Gongyang charges Sa-kwang with protecting Poeun as if she were protecting him. They’ll be sending all communications through her henceforth as well, since Jung Do-jeon’s camp will undoubtedly be watching.
Jung Mong-joo goes to Lee Seong-gye first to tell him that he’s supporting the land reform as well as Lee Saek’s impeachment, but stays mum about joining their cause. He plays the same game with Jung Do-jeon, who gets too distracted by his support for the land reform that he’s happy to give him all the time he needs to decide on New Joseon.
But at least Jung Mong-joo thinks to himself, “I’m sorry, Sambong. For the sake of this ailing country, I need to deceive the world and you.” They both emerge just in time, since Bang-ji was beginning to sniff the air for the presence he felt nearby—which, unknown to him, was Sa-kwang.
Da-kyung is worried for her husband when she finds him the next morning, grim-faced and tying his hair into a sangtu, or the common topknot. She finds it strange that it’s his first time styling his hair this way, though he remarks that it was stranger he hadn’t done so yet. (Traditionally, noblemen would switch to a topknot once they reached manhood/got married.)
Bang-won pays a visit to Jung Do-jeon after news of Lee Saek’s impeachment reaches him, and the elder notes his new ‘do with a smile. Bang-won lays out a daring scheme he’s come up with to destroy Nameless from within by pretending to be swayed by Cho-young’s attempts to bring him to the dark side.
If he leads Nameless to believe he might side with their cause, then he’ll have better access to them. He’ll “fall” for Cho-young’s offer, and make sure they believe him by gathering his own separate private soldiers to make it seem like he’s planning to revolt against Team Joseon. Jung Do-jeon gives him the green light to do it, even though I have a sneaking suspicion that that’s exactly what Bang-won planned on.
He comments on Bang-won’s topknot before he goes, and Bang-won gives him a forced smile in return. Inside, he thinks, “I’m not a child anymore.” Outside, Moo-hyul congratulates him on his ingenious plan.
Lee Saek and Ha Ryun are impeached and arrested, and Jung Mong-joo surprises his followers by not doing a thing about it. In fact, he instructs them all to lay low until the land reform has passed, and to quietly take up any government positions that have the power to advise the king.
Nameless gets news of the impeachments, and realize that they’ve failed in trying to use Jung Mong-joo. They don’t need to report it to their mysterious leader, since he’s coming to them. Dun dun dun.
Having found where Team Joseon is holding Cho-young, Gil Sun-mi goes to free her, only to be beaten to the punch by two masked men. He follows them to a spot in the forest where Bang-won waits by a fire.
When she asks what he’s doing, he tells her that this is his answer to her offer. He opens up about his use of planting trees to represent foes he wanted to defeat, and of chopping them down when the job was done. The first one he ever planted was for Lee In-gyeom, the second for Minister Hong.
He tells her how Minister Hong wanted to make him powerless so he’d have no choice but to join hands with him, and how he almost fell for it. His life would’ve been much different had he taken that hand, but instead he wandered, which is how Jung Do-jeon came in.
“You found your way,” Cho-young notes. “I did,” Bang-won agrees. “Even just thinking of participating in his great cause made my heart feel like exploding. The idea of ending this rotten Goryeo and establishing a new country where people can enjoy life! But… he said I have no place in that country. Then I realized that there is nothing I can do in that country.”
His expression graver than ever, Bang-won adds, “No, from the very beginning in his great cause, I now know there was no place for me.” Coming back to himself a bit, Bang-won tells her that if they so much as think of using him the way they used Hong Ryun to assassinate King Gongmin, they’ll be very, very sorry for it.
Cho-young agrees to his terms, but is stopped before leaving when he asks her if she knows Yeon-hyang. How about Nameless returning her as proof of their alliance? Cho-young is shocked to find out that Yeon-hyang’s children are looking for her, since she didn’t even know they were alive.
Moo-hyul and Young-kyu (the two masked men who freed Cho-young) are practically giddy from watching Bang-won’s fireside chat with her, convinced that their master is the best liar in the world. What they don’t know is that Bang-won wasn’t lying for all of it.
Gil Sun-mi finds Cho-young afterward, having overheard her entire conversation. He gets after her for talking about Yeon-hyang, only for her to return that he was the one who brought two corpses and said her children were dead.
Shrugging, Gil Sun-mi adds that there are a lot of dead boys and girls in Goryeo, and he just took two bodies when he couldn’t find Yeon-hyang’s real children.
He wants to keep the matter closed in order to prevent an internal war with Nameless (apparently one happened in 1378), but Cho-young’s not sure how long it’ll stay that way when Yeon-hyang’s children are actively looking for her.
While Jung Do-jeon tells Boon-yi and Bang-ji that Cho-young’s rescue was a trap set by them, Cho-young faces the Nameless tribunal to explain not only how she lost Hwasadan to Jung Do-jeon’s side, but why she agreed to bring Bang-won in. She’ll have to face their master’s judgement for both counts.
Bang-won meets with his father to tell him he’ll be moving out (that topknot has magic powers), and wonders internally if his father knows what kind of diminished role he’d play in the new country.
When his father warns him not to work while expecting something in return, Bang-won summons up a smile and replies, “Of course that won’t happen. What else could I possibly want?” How about the world?
Daddy Min is in charge of their new lodgings, having given daughter Da-kyung the family’s Gyeongdeok Manor. Before Bang-won thanks him for the gift, he asks for his support—he wants to have his own private band of soldiers that aren’t already his father’s, which is a daunting prospect.
Master Hong, Grandma, Gab-boon, and Boon-yi get to move in with Bang-won and his wife as household servants, and are all thrilled at their new digs. Master Hong’s jaw drops to the ground when Bang-won refers to him as such and calls for him to follow, along with Moo-hyul.
He’s already recruited a small army of soldiers, and asks Master Hong to take over their training. He wants him to make each of those soldiers into another Moo-hyul, so he can have an army of them. (If only!) Master Hong is humbled and honored by the opportunity.
Da-kyung tells Boon-yi that her family will take over funding for her network of marketplace spies, and that she should take orders directly from Bang-won now instead of Jung Do-jeon while he’s working on his plan to fool Nameless. She also gives her some assigned reading.
Bang-won assembling his own private army has the effect he wanted on Nameless, since they begin to wonder whether he really does have other motives (that could benefit them, of course).
And in a morbidly hilarious break, we find Ha Ryun screaming in the torture chamber, only to find out he hasn’t even been tortured yet. Bang-gwa’s confusion is priceless, but any would-be torture is interrupted when Bang-won asks for some privacy with the prisoner.
The news that he’ll be exiled for enthroning the young King Chang is no news to Ha Ryun, who’s been exiled twice before. But what Bang-won says next catches his interest: “Make sure to come back alive again this time. I will be waiting.”
Ha Ryun asks what he means, and Bang-won says that he’ll take him in. With him, he’ll attack two enemies—the cancer that is Nameless, and someone he’s not sure of yet. But he will be when Ha Ryun returns.
That’s all fine and well, Ha Ryun says, but he doesn’t serve anyone who serves another master. And Bang-won serves Jung Do-jeon, doesn’t he? But something in Bang-won’s face tells him that’s not so, and he laughs maniacally. In that case, he cautions Bang-won to lay low until he returns from exile.
Boon-yi heads toward the New Joseon Cave on Bang-won’s request, only to be pelted with snowballs while en route. She knows it’s Bang-won and playfully warns him to stop, but it is on when he emerges from the trees with freshly packed snow in hand. Snowball fight!
Neither of them can help from giggling helplessly as they lob fresh snow at each other, and even Boon-yi isn’t above a bit of trickery to get a good hit in. Eventually they both dissolve into fits of laughter on the ground next to each other, only Bang-won suddenly stops laughing.
A tear slips out of one eye, before his face melts into a mask of sadness as he cries. Boon-yi sits up, wondering what’s wrong with him. He straightens up as much as he can to turn to her, “Now… Now… I’m done playing. I don’t think I can have fun with you like this anymore.”
Oof. I was wondering what got into Bang-won for him to break loose and have a bit of fun, but it should figure that no fun is ever free in dramaland—it’s always the last act of unbridled joy a character gets before embarking on a dark journey. It’s the same as the let’s-be-a-couple-for-one-day trope, and in a way, that last scene was a bit of both.
But that doesn’t lessen its impact in any way, since seeing such a drastic change in Bang-won’s expression hit all the right notes and tugged on all the right heartstrings. It was perfectly played too, and so unexpected that I went from smiling along with them to looking confusedly at the screen, thinking I must’ve missed something important. I knew the snowball fight was uncharacteristic of him, but I wouldn’t have guessed at the internal struggle going on until it actually unfolded moment by painstaking moment.
What makes Bang-won’s inner war so poignant is that he’s fighting it alone, with no one he’s willing to take into his confidence. When he had problems before, he was able to talk them out with Jung Do-jeon or even his father directly, but ever since he overheard that fateful conversation he’s receded into himself. There’s no real knowing when it comes to what he’s planning, but where Bang-won excels as a manipulator is his ability to mix genuine truth in with his lies, lending them a believable authenticity that no one so far has been able to see past.
For instance, his meeting with Cho-young was supposed to be all business and his way of infiltrating Nameless for Team Joseon, but he only managed to convince her by telling her his real feelings. Because he is wavering, and presumably is thinking about turning to the dark side, laying out his soul to her served a dual purpose for him. Although his conversation with Ha Ryun leads me to believe that he’d much rather dismantle Nameless than join it, it’s clear that he’s not just doing it for Jung Do-jeon anymore.
If anything, this episode was about Bang-won putting himself first, even though he may be a bit misguided in that notion. I get why he couldn’t go to Jung Do-jeon with what he’d learned, since there was little chance of convincing him otherwise when it came to kingly powers, and since exposing his thoughts on the matter could potentially put him in a precarious spot within the group’s hierarchy. By fooling both sides, Bang-won’s giving himself time to make a decision while making sure his options are advantageous. Except now, it only matters that things are advantageous to him, and not necessarily advantageous to the cause.
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 30
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 29
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 28
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 27
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 26
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 25
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 24
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 23
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 22
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 21
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 20
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 19
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 18
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 17
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 16
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 15
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 14
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 13
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 12
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 11
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 10
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 9
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 8
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 7
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 6
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 5
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 4
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 3
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 2
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 1