Six Flying Dragons: Episode 33
There’s a new unholy alliance brewing, and it’s one that threatens to tear everything that Jung Do-jeon is or ever was away from him. Even Bang-won finds himself grudgingly admitting his once-revered teacher’s importance to their cause lest pesky outsiders come in and ruin everything, so for now, it’s time to put his ulterior motives aside and pitch in to help. Little does he know the kind of resistance he has yet to face from his family—but like most things in Dragons, that’s a problem for another episode.
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EPISODE 33 RECAP
After the record burning, Moo-hyul proclaims the virtues of Jung Do-jeon to Bang-won, though he picks up on his master’s reticence in agreeing. That’s when he finally notes that Bang-won’s been acting different ever since his meeting with Cho-young, and wonders whether that topknot may be doing weird things to his brain.
“Of course I have changed,” Bang-won thinks, but doesn’t say. “I feel alone. I didn’t know this would be so lonely.” The “this” he’s talking about being the path against Jung Do-jeon’s view of their new nation.
Likewise, Jung Mong-joo finds himself thinking, “I didn’t know this would be so painful,” while reminiscing about how he always protected Jung Do-jeon in the past. Now, it’s different.
Though he’s being carted off to jail in ropes, Jung Do-jeon is in a jovial mood, knowing that burning all the taxation records will force a quick land reform based off the research Jo Joon collected. It’s a win-win for everyone but former land owners.
While Lee Seong-gye is in a much more somber mood about recent events, Boon-yi cautions her people not to be too disappointed if they didn’t receive the amount of land they wanted—Jung Do-jeon said this reform was only the beginning, after all.
To her surprise though, none of them are upset in the slightest, and are all just happy to be able to return to their hometown at last. But Boon-yi senses something as she walks away that wipes the smile off her face, just as Gab-boon steers two inquiring monks from Biguk Temple away from Bang-won (and therefore Boon-yi and Bang-ji’s) house.
Now we see what stopped Boon-yi so suddenly: her mother, Yeon-hyang. At first Boon-yi just backs away from her, but then she lets her mother advance toward her. “Are you Nameless?” is the first question she asks of her mother, who can only ask how she found out.
That tells Boon-yi that it’s true, and Yeon-hyang confirms it reluctantly. “Is that why you abandoned us?” Boon-yi asks, only for her mother to confirm it again. Tears well up in Boon-yi’s eyes as she asks whether her mother even looked for them, to which she matter-of-factly answers that she didn’t. She didn’t want to.
Boon-yi can’t understand why her mother would admit such a thing so plainly, vainly hoping that Nameless used them to threaten her mother into joining them. Adding that her brother can save her, Boon-yi finally says, “This isn’t you.”
But Yeon-hyang replies flatly that Boon-yi only knew her for a few years of her life, when she was living as another person. This is who she always was, and the only reason she’s approaching Boon-yi is to tell her and her brother to stop looking for her.
“I have my own path, and I’m doing well,” Yeon-hyang says, to Boon-yi’s anger. Is her path to go against her own children? Is her path so precious to her that she had to abandon them? In one word, yes. In more words, Yeon-hyang likens her dedication to Boon-yi’s dedication to Jung Do-jeon, but with one key difference.
She won’t be able to talk to her daughter again, so the only advice she can give is for her to live only for herself. Boon-yi asks why her mother doesn’t do the same when she lives for Nameless, though Yeon-hyang claims it’s because Nameless took her in when she was an orphan and gave her power and hope.
“Jung Do-jeon gave you hope, but he will give you nothing in the end,” Yeon-hyang adds emphatically. “But Nameless gave me true power. The power to control the world. I am Nameless. Living for Nameless means living for myself.”
After explaining her cultist credo, Yeon-hyang just warns her daughter against looking for her before leaving her. She thinks it’ll be safer for Boon-yi that way. And Boon-yi doesn’t have the heart to tell her brother yet.
Bang-won begins to suspect that Biguk Temple also works for Nameless when he finds out they sent thugs to look for Yeon-hyang’s children, he comes upon Boon-yi returning from her botched family reunion.
Though both of them should be happy today, neither of them can muster up a smile due to their inner struggles. Bang-won can only hope to himself that Boon-yi will side with him in the coming trials, just like he’d once asked her to do when he had to gag her just to get her to listen.
His wife finally puts her frustration with her husband’s inaction into words, asking him if he has no ambition while reminding him that the only person unequivocally on his side is her. (Feelings not included.) Reminded of how desperately he wants someone on his side, he decides to include her on his plans, but gives her no choice in the matter: “You must side with me. You have no choice.”
Then he tells her the whole story of how he deceived everyone into thinking he was just out to root Nameless out, when his true purpose was to build up his own power without arousing Jung Do-jeon’s suspicion.
He tells her about how the new country would belong more to Jung Do-jeon and Jung Mong-joo than to his own father, which means it’s essential for him to use Biguk Temple as an intel source, since Jung Do-jeon has Hwasadan’s resources under his belt now.
But he primarily plans to use Biguk’s ties to Nameless against them, and plays dumb about their connection when he pays Jukryong in gold to bring him any information he can about King Gongyang, Jung Mong-joo, and Jung Do-jeon’s movements. He’s counting on Jukryong taking this back to Yooksan, which he does.
The long-forgotten Shin-jeok returns with information presumably related to the country’s Buddhist Temples, since that’s what Jung Do-jeon, Officer Nam, and Jo Joon bring up at the next assembly. The land survey can’t be completed properly with the way nobles have been circumventing the system by donating their land to Buddhist temples, they claim.
Over one-third of the country’s land belongs to those temples, which Jung Do-jeon argues has made those temples corrupt. He and Jo Joon propose a temple reform, which would lessen the monstrous amounts of people who work for said temples, and would even free the thousands of slaves working for them.
Jung Do-jeon even proposes that they try to discourage men from taking up the habit, in order to bring the total number of monks down from fifty to ten thousand. But, more importantly, he seeks to abolish the tradition where a king would bring in a monk as an advisor, which sends the assembly into an uproar.
Eldest son Bang-woo believes Jung Do-jeon is trying to get rid of Buddhism entirely, though he also believes his father has nooo intention of ever rising to the throne. On the other end of the spectrum, the sinister ministers are unsurprisingly upset at having their lands taken, and plan to do something about it.
The fact that most of the country follows Buddhism would be a problem for anyone else, but not Jung Do-jeon, who sees Buddhism as something that must be purged from the national consciousness. To him, it’s just an archaic belief system that prevents the people from seeking more logical answers.
Bang-won listens in, though he has thoughts of his own he doesn’t share. He knows Jung Do-jeon is feeling confident with Jung Mong-joo on his side (or so he thinks), but he’ll have a tougher time convincing his father, whose Buddhist beliefs run deep.
The Buddhist debate Jung Do-jeon has started makes its way to Sungkyunkwawn, splitting its student body between those who support him and those who don’t. This is exactly what Nameless predicted would happen, as Jung Mong-joo turns to Lee Seong-gye in the hopes that he might put a stop to Jung Do-jeon.
So Lee Seong-gye brings his worries about eliminating Buddhism as a Buddhist to Jung Do-jeon, who assures him that his goal is not to erase the country of Buddhism. For one, that would be an impossible task.
He’s just suggesting changes to the corrupt temple structure, and even though he wants a Confucian nation, Buddhism will still exist within it. Lee Seong-gye seems persuaded by this, though he also seems persuaded by most anything anyone says these days.
While Jung Mong-joo recruits the sinister ministers to his side with promises of government posts and land, Lee Seong-gye confides his inner struggle to Bang-won. At first, Bang-won advises him to just follow whatever Jung Do-jeon and Jung Mong-joo want—which is why it comes as a surprise to him that Poeun is against what Jung Do-jeon is trying to do.
One of the sinister ministers, (former) Minister Han, makes a bad judgment call when he tries to bribe Bang-woo’s favor for when his father becomes king, and gets killed for it.
Bang-woo gets taken to the state tribunal for murder, which is where his father finds him. The first question Bang-woo asks of his father is whether he plans to become king, only to become enraged when his father asks as a reply, “Would you be against it?”
Yes, yes he would. He couldn’t be any more against it, as he lays out the betrayals the Lee family has been guilty of in the past as reason for him to be all the more steadfast. He refuses to be another traitor, whether it’s to Goryeo or Yuan, and vows that if he’s made Crown Prince under his father’s new rule, he’ll just hand the royal court back to Goryeo when he becomes king.
His words resonate with his father, who refuses to listen to Jung Do-jeon’s attempts to convince him back toward the path they started on. He sees himself as unfit to be king if he’s supposed to look past the people and his family’s criticism when he can’t do that, so he sends Jung Do-jeon away.
Now that the tide is turning, Nameless starts to rethink whether they can use Jung Mong-joo as a sword against Jung Do-jeon after all. Clearly, Jung Mong-joo is thinking the same when it comes to his old friend, though at least he has the grace to be torn about opposing him.
Gil Sun-mi approaches his old teacher, Master Hong, in the hopes that he might’ve found a weakness in the Goksan Swordsmanship technique while he was a servant in the Cheok household.
With all the severity he can muster, Master Hong tells him honestly what he should do if he ever encounters Sa-kwang: run away. There is no weakness to the Goksan method, and even Gil Sun-mi is no match for it.
Jukryong is able to inform Bang-won that his father is holding a secret meeting with Jung Mong-joo and a disguised King Gongyang as it’s happening, but with an added caveat that Poeun plans to impeach Jung Do-jeon. That last part may or may not be true, because it’s what Yooksan wanted him to pass on.
In the meeting itself, King Gongyang reassures Lee Seong-gye that he’ll gladly support the reform he wants, but only if he slows things down a little when it comes to Jung Do-jeon and Buddhism.
Jung Mong-joo backs him up, and seemingly manages to convince Lee Seong-gye that forcing Jung Do-jeon to take a break from politics will be the best thing for him in the long run. Whereas pushing the reform he wants now will make sure his political career is short-lived.
Bang-won tries to figure out why he’s so upset by the impeachment news when he was planning to oust Jung Do-jeon himself if he had to. But now he realizes that if Poeun gets what he wants and wins, his father won’t stand a chance against him.
Speaking of, Yooksan approaches Jung Mong-joo on Nameless’ behalf, introducing himself as the man who sent him to the New Joseon Cave in the first place. They were counting on him to oppose Jung Do-jeon and defend Goryeo, and now it seems like he is.
He also vaguely refers to Poeun sending men to the town of Danyang for a secret purpose we’re not apprised of, though presumably it has something to do with Jung Do-jeon. Regardless, Jung Mong-joo flatly refuses Nameless’ offer, claiming that he and Jung Do-jeon’s views align on everything but the creation of a new nation.
Bang-won decides to go to Jung Do-jeon with what he’s learned about Jung Mong-joo, only to be taken aback when his teacher has already guessed that Poeun might try to impeach him. He’s not worried that it’ll actually happen though, since Jung Mong-joo would need justification for it, and he’s committed no crime that can be used against him.
…Or so he thought. After a night of agonizing, Jung Mong-joo calls forth an officer named PARK CHAN-HYUN to formally call for the impeachment of Jung Do-jeon. As to the charges, he unfurls a scroll and reads that Jung Do-jeon is low-born.
The effect on Jung Do-jeon is immediate, as we jump back into the past to find out that he was getting picked on by the other boys at Sungkyunkwan for being cheonchul, or born of a concubine. He confided the truth to Poeun, claiming that he only heard that his grandmother was the daughter of a slave.
Even then, Jung Mong-joo had warned him against letting such a terrible secret out, which is why Jung Do-jeon is so taken aback in the present. Of all the things he accounted for, he never expected his most trusted friend to use something so private against him.
The reason Jung Mong-joo sent people to Danyang was so that they’d have evidence that his grandmother was born of a slave there, and as further damning proof that Jung Do-jeon’s been deceiving the dodang as to his true class level.
They’ve even retrieved the family’s biography (on his mother’s side) as proof, which is what causes Jung Do-jeon to slide off his seat in complete and total desolation. A tear runs down his cheek as Jung Mong-joo asks him, point-blank, whether he ever confessed his family’s true history to him at Sungkyunkwan.
He knows that Jung Do-jeon can’t say he hasn’t, and is counting on him not to. The look Jung Do-jeon gives him is that of a lost child, so utterly and completely beaten that he can’t make a single sound of protest. It really is painful to watch.
Bang-won sprints toward the assembly hall after he hears, only to see Jung Do-jeon carted off in restraints. He looks toward Jung Mong-joo standing in the doorway, and a terrible rage fills him.
You get ‘im, Bang-won! I know I’m going to regret saying this later when everything comes to a head, but right now, a fresh serving of Bang-won’s revenge seems like just the thing Jung Mong-joo needs. Never mind, I already regret saying it—something about wishing for a revered historical figure’s demise, even hundreds of years after the fact, still feels so wrong somehow. Like I’m just asking for the ghost of Jung Mong-joo to haunt me in my sleep, in which case, I’d probably redirect him to the show’s writer.
But that’s what artistic license is for, and this take on the struggle for land reform is one that came as a welcome surprise. Unwelcome in the sense that they made him cry, but welcome in the sense that it’s a move we couldn’t easily anticipate. What’s interesting is that it was a move Nameless could anticipate, since Yooksan knew Jung Mong-joo was all but theirs when he sent people to Danyang. That means that he must’ve known there was some secret to be found about Jung Do-jeon’s lineage, and if so, why would Nameless hesitate to use it?
Unless, of course, the blow would fall harder if it came from Jung Mong-joo, which is where all that talk of using him as a sword comes in. But it seems like Nameless didn’t know this was a possible outcome until Jung Mong-joo sent people to Danyang, which means that without him, they would’ve been up a creek without a paddle when it came to besting Jung Do-jeon. Still, it’s poor form for Poeun, and the fact that he sincerely struggled with the decision doesn’t make it any easier.
And Jung Do-jeon’s face really said it all as to what a sucker punch Jung Mong-joo’s betrayal was, not only because it was a secret confided in the past, but because Jung Do-jeon had been doing everything by the rules when it came to Poeun. He heeded no one’s advice but his own when he set out to trust his friend, and worked on winning him over one painstaking word at a time. The fact that he’s been trying so hard to do right by him is what makes the betrayal hit all the harder.
So as far as I’m concerned, all bets are off when it comes to Jung Mong-joo. You can’t keep playing fair when your opponent plays dirty, even if that opponent is your oldest and most trusted (former) friend. Nobody puts Jung Do-jeon in a corner.
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 32
- Six Flying Dragons: Episode 31
- 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