My Country: The New Age: Episode 7
Until now, the former friends have worked in a sort of uneasy truce, intent on achieving the same goal. But when one of them sees the chance for personal gain, he takes it, possibly breaking their alliance for good. At this point, it seems unlikely that these two will ever settle their differences.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Just as Bang-won is about to kill Hwi, Sun-ho shows up. Bang-won is curious enough to let Sun-ho talk to Hwi, and Sun-ho asks Hwi who ordered him to kill Grand General Jung. He promises to save Hwi’s life if he points to the person right now, but Hwi just gives a tiny shake of his head.
Sun-ho holds his sword to Hwi’s neck and whispers that this is the only way he can save him. But Hwi grabs the blade with his bare hand and growls, “Who are you to talk of killing me or keeping me safe?” He stands and declares that he’ll save his own life.
With a sarcastic slow-clap, Bang-won asks Sun-ho if he can handle the consequences of this. Sun-ho fires back that Bang-won will be the one facing consequences, then he leaves. Hwi sits down hard and tells Bang-won to kill him, or if he’s going to keep him alive, to get him some water. HA, this guy’s cheek.
Fortunately, this was Sun-ho’s plan — if Hwi has pointed out Bang-won, he’d have been killed on the spot. Sung-rok is angry that Sun-ho took such a risk, and he accuses Sun-ho of letting his personal feelings get involved. Sun-ho ignores that and tells Sung-rok to stick to the plan.
Hwi gets his water, though Bang-won is still suspicious that he’s not as innocent as he seems, so he tells Tae-ryong to round up whoever Hwi is working with. He says to Hwi that the majority of his men are vicious, but that he needs someone who can devise plans and read others’ moves.
He asks why Hwi approached him, so Hwi says that he wanted to change his life, and he thought Bang-won could lead him to a better one. He tells Bang-won that all the weapons in his arsenal are broken, and asks what Bang-won thinks will happen if the Office of the Inspector General (where Sun-ho works) seizes them.
Tae-ryong thinks it’s a trap, but Bang-won decides to take a look, and brings Hwi along. They get there just as Sun-ho and his men arrive at the arsenal, and Sun-ho informs Bang-won that owning a private arsenal is treason, with punishment being immediate execution.
Sun-ho goes to open the doors himself, and Bang-won stops the impending battle with a flick of his fan (I love that fan!) when the arsenal turns out to be a completely empty room. The only weapon is a lone sword stuck point-down into a table, and from the look on Sun-ho’s face, this was not part of the plan.
Stepping up beside Sun-ho, Bang-won gives him credit for his bravery, but he says that there will be consequences for this. Sun-ho turns to glare angrily at Hwi before leaving. Bang-won takes the one sword and slams it into a wooden post, and the tip breaks off, proving that the suddenly very cocky Hwi was telling the truth.
Jang Beom and Moon-bok have relocated the weapons to the Office of the Inspector General, claiming that Bang-won voluntarily surrendered them to prove his loyalty to King Taejo. Hwi tells Bang-won that they were useless anyway, and Bang-won figures out that by dumping the useless weapons, Hwi helped Bang-won regain the king’s trust and made Sun-ho appear guilty of making false accusations.
Hwi nods proudly, and Bang-won wonders out loud what to do with him. They head to Ihwaru, where Hee-jae makes it clear to Bang-won that Hwi is unwelcome after he killed Grand General Jung there, but Bang-won assures her that they’re only there to relax.
Hwi takes advantage of the good food and drink, and Bang-won asks what makes him so tough. Hwi just says that nobody ever died from eating too much, and he jokes that maybe they’ll become friends after Bang-won beat him up.
As a hunter, Bang-won asks how Hwi would catch a tiger. Hwi says you have to corner it, distract it with dogs, immobilize it with an arrow then pierce its throat with a spear. Bang-won says he’ll use that same method, and Hwi gets a bad feeling.
He follows Bang-won to the courtyard where Chi-do, Jang Beom, and Moon-bok are sitting surrounded by Bang-won’s men, and he loses his confident veneer. He begs Bang-won to let his friends go, but he ends up thrown down with them.
Bang-won announces that he’s in charge now, and that lying will cost their lives. He asks who sent them, but instead of talking, Hwi and his friends all jump up as one and fight until they’ve each gotten hold of a weapon.
With a bow aimed at Bang-won, Hwi says that they were with the advance troop at Liaodong. He tells Bang-won that the blood they shed for their country is now used against them, and that he wanted to see the country they dreamed of at Bang-won’s side.
Bang-won walks closer until Hwi’s arrow is almost touching his chest, and he whispers that Hwi’s words just saved his life. Both sides lower their weapons and Bang-won tells Hwi to come to his home for his answer. Hwi turns to look at Hee-jae once Bang-won is gone, then passes out cold.
Tae-ryong asks why Bang-won spared Hwi and his friends, so he explains that they devised a plan, overcame his men, and even took down an inspector. He watches as Hwi is carried to a room, and he orders Tae-ryong to learn the story behind all this.
Hee-jae tearfully nurses Hwi’s wounds as he writhes in pain. Nearby, Jang Beom and Chi-do chide Moon-bok for taking too many of those numbing pills after seeing Bang-won, ha. He’s recovering, but he pretends to still be paralyzed when Hwa-wol comes in.
He tries to talk her into getting the antidote out of his clothes, only to get a bowl of water to the face. LOL, busted. But Hwa-wol does admit that the medicine her gave her helped her wound, making Moon-bok happy again.
When Hwi eventually regains consciousness, he finds Hee-jae asleep beside him. He resists the urge to touch her, and she opens her eyes. She tells him not to disappear because she doesn’t want to lose him again: “There are so many things I never got to do with you.”
Hwi says that he remembers everything about the days they spent together, even the rain when he left. He admits that he played those memories over and over in his head, but he couldn’t stop missing her. He leans over to kiss Hee-jae’s forehead, but she’s already asleep.
He tries to leave and runs into Lady Seo, who asks if he’s rekindling his association with Hee-jae. He says it’s already started, and she tells him that she can’t cut the ties between them, but that she won’t forgive him if Hee-jae gets hurt because of him.
Hee-jae wakes up alone later, and Lady Seo tells her firmly to keep her distance from Hwi. Hee-jae argues that she’ll keep trying to get close to Hwi, as well as find the information from her mother that Hwi’s father protected. Lady Seo tells her that the information went to someone who needs it more than she does, because they’re trying to save a life, while Hee-jae is trying to get revenge.
Hwi goes to Sun-ho to explain that he’s only following Sun-ho’s orders to earn Bang-won’s trust. Sun-ho says that he’ll lose his rank and maybe his life because Hwi deviated from their plan, but Hwi says that Sun-ho’s survival is up to him, like his was in Liaodong.
Sun-ho hits him and says that if Liaodong was hell for Hwi, every day of his life has been hell with the mockery and contempt he’s had to endure to get where he is. He warns Hwi that if he gets in the way, he’ll kill him without mercy, because it’s him.
As he leaves, Sun-ho murmurs, “I regret that I tried to save you. I truly mean that.” Hwi whispers where Sun-ho can’t hear, “Survive. I truly meant that.”
King Taejo is inundated with petitions to interrogate and execute Sun-ho, as well as having Lord Nam removed from his position for using his son to persecute royal family members. Instead, he only demotes Sun-ho and orders the Ministry of Law Enforcement to investigate the matter. The ministers loudly object, but King Taejo shuts them down.
In private, King Taejo tells Lord Nam that he didn’t strip him of his title because he needs him to fight against Bang-won. He tells Lord Nam to disband all private armies before Bang-won makes himself crown prince. Lord Nam runs smack into Bang-won on his way out of the throne room, and Bang-won insults him for letting Sun-ho take the fall for his mistakes.
He reminds Lord Nam that he once said this is his father’s country now, and his. Lord Nam growls that it’s not a king’s country, it’s the subjects’ country. He tells Bang-won that he’ll never be king, but Bang-won smirks that Lord Nam can watch him become king from his grave.
Sun-ho sends someone to tell Yeon that he won’t be home and to have her pack some clothes for him. He’s arrested and brutally tortured for the names of any co-conspirators, but he insists that there were none.
Hwi watches Sun-ho’s home for a glimpse of Yeon, and when he sees her, awww, she’s finally grown into the shoes he bought her years ago. She wants to take clothes to Sun-ho herself, but Lord Nam scares her by growling that Sun-ho isn’t even her brother and that she’s the reason he can’t come home.
He forbids Yeon to do anything but breathe from now on, then orders her locked up in a shed. She struggles, falling and hitting her head, reminding Hwi of the night he was taken away and Yeon suffered the injury that cost her memory.
As Lord Nam is being carried through town, Hwi stands in the road, blocking his way. Lord Nam blames Hwi for what’s happened to Sun-ho, but Hwi says it was the only way to get close to Bang-won. Lord Nam tells Hwi that Bang-won must be killed by one of his own men to keep suspicion off himself, so he warns Hwi not to move until he receives a command.
Hwi asks Lord Nam about his promise to take care of Yeon like his own child. Lord Nam asks if Hwi is keeping his promise to obey his every order, and they both know full well that the answer to both questions is “no.” That night, Hwi receives another note on the special paper.
Lady Seo and Hee-jae visit Queen Sindeok, offering her information they’ve gathered at Ihwaru in exchange for confirmation regarding border trade plans. Queen Sindeok asks why she would need rumors repeated by drunks, so Lady Seo proves her knowledge by listing medical information that only the royal physician would know.
When Lady Seo says that she knows what the queen really wants, Queen Sindeok dismisses Hee-jae. Lady Seo gives her a note and tells her to use the information when she most needs it. Queen Sindeok tells Lady Seo that this could get her killed, but Lady Seo replies that it will save Hee-jae.
As they leave, Lady Seo asks Hee-jae what she learned tonight. Hee-jae says that you should know your opponent’s weakness but not corner them, and let them think they’ve won. Hee-jae formally requests a team of private investigators, and Lady Seo grants it.
After Lady Seo leaves in her palanquin, Hee-jae is joined by Gyeol and a group of men. She tells them to dig up whatever they can without tipping off Hwi, or their investigation will end.
Bang-won receives confirmation that Hwi and his friends were indeed in the advance party at Liaodong. The next day, the four turn up at Bang-won’s house as instructed, and Hwi grins when he sees Cheonga up and about. Cheonga says that he has to live so he can rip Hwi apart one day. Hwi taunts that he’s no match for someone who can’t see an arrow coming straight at them (ha!), and Cheonga grabs Tae-ryong’s sword and tries to kill Hwi right there, but Tae-ryong stops him.
Bang-won asks Hwi to be his weapon, but first to dig two graves — one for himself, and one for Bang-won. He says that Hwi’s life must be on the line in order to change the world, but Hwi says he already died in Liaodong. Bang-won mentions the facts that Chi-do once lead a subjugation, Moon-bok is a mortician pretending to be a doctor, and Jang Beom is a former slave who killed his master, letting them know that he knows all their secrets.
He has Hwi follow him alone and shows him the bridge where he killed Po-eun (aka Jung Mong-ju) who served the last Goryeo king and refused to switch loyalties. He says that nobody wanted to go down in history as the evil that killed a loyal servant, but that Po-eun had to die in order to establish the new country.
He kneels at the spot where Po-eun died and says that this is where his family was saved and the nation began, but where he was abandoned. He tells Hwi that with this blood so fresh on his hands, he can’t afford more that will paint him as pure evil.
He says that Hwi reports only to him from now on. Hwi says that the king has to die for Bang-won to take the throne, and if that scares him, he may as well beg Bang-seok for mercy or pretend to be insane. Bang-won just tells Hwi that if any of that blood splatters in his direction, he’ll kill Hwi and his friends. Hwi says he wouldn’t be here if that scared him.
Later in his hideout, Hwi makes several of the red-shafted arrows that Bang-won is known for. He finds a spot overlooking the castle grounds, where King Taejo and Bang-won are practicing archery and arguing over Po-eun’s death, and he shoots an arrow into the king’s target.
Curious, King Taejo shoots another arrow, and the one that joins it in the target this time has a note attached. The note simply lists a date — November 23, 1380. King Taejo orders Lord Nam brought to him, and reminds him that the date on the note is the date that several assassins who planned to kill him were discovered and executed by Lord Nam.
Lord Nam had told King Taejo that they were the only ones who knew of it, but King Taejo snaps that that’s apparently untrue. Bang-won says that King Taejo is the only archer skilled enough to hit a target at that distance, but Lord Nam perks up, aware of one more who could make the shot. Bang-won adds that someone is trying to frame him, and says that King Taejo must kill whoever is responsible.
Lord Nam goes to free Sun-ho, saying that someone is trying to get him killed. He says that they’ll destroy the whole family, and their only chance is to fight them together. Unlocking Sun-ho’s cell, he continues that if it’s Bang-won, they have to kill him.
All Sun-ho can think about is his mother, whom he’d begged to run away with him when he first went to live as Lord Nam’s son. Instead, she had urged him to work hard and become a man of power, and create a country that allows a decent life even for lowly slaves.
Meanwhile, Yeon has escaped from the shed and run away, leaving one shoe behind. She’s turned away at the Office of the Inspector General, after being told the truth of what happened to Sun-ho. She somehow makes her way to her and Hwi’s old house, and when she sees the corner of the table where she hit her head, still stained with her blood, some of her memories come flooding back.
Hwi is at Lord Nam’s home, posting a notice on the front door, when he finds Yeon’s discarded shoe. He frantically searches for her, and he finds her crying and clutching her head at their old home. Terrified and confused, Yeon warns him to stay away, and Hwi yells at her never to tell anyone she came here, especially Lord Nam.
She nods and runs off without her shoe, so Hwi follows her. Yeon runs into Sun-ho, who takes in her torn hands and disheveled appearance and asks if his father did this to her. Hwi sees them together and keeps his distance.
They arrive home at the same time as Lord Nam, who is stunned by the notice Hwi put on his door. It states that Yi Seong-gye, now King Taejo, rebelled against the then-current regime and conspired an uprising. Its writers had vowed to eliminate Yi Seong-gye as a traitor to Goryeo.
It’s copied directly from an old correspondence between Lord Nam and the three men he executed for attempting to assassinate King Taejo, signed on November 23, 1380. Lord Nam had killed the others and taken the letters from their bodies, but one of them hadn’t had his letter on his person. The man had groaned that Lord Nam would die for this betrayal before Lord Nam finished him off.
Sun-ho sees the notice and asks if it’s true that his father made a pact to kill Yi Seong-gye. Lord Nam turns to him and gasps, “He’s involved.”
Oooo, things are getting really interesting. Apparently Lord Nam conspired to kill Yi Seong-gye twelve years ago, but something changed, and instead he killed his co-conspirators and spun it that he discovered a plot and saved Yi Seong-gye’s life. I just love how this show weaves historical facts around these characters and brings life to the events of the past, which is saying a lot because history has never been a passion of mine. But in this case (and it happened with Haechi as well), I’m enjoying how the drama is inspiring me to learn more about how Korea was founded.
So far I’ve been able to follow the details of the plot in My Country pretty easily, which is something I generally struggle with when recapping sageuks. The arsenal scheme has managed to confuse me, though — mostly the part where Bang-won’s weapons were so shoddily made. I understand why Hwi “stole” them and turned them in to make Bang-won appear loyal to the king, because at this point it benefits Bang-won to continue his ruse of loyalty. By making the move ahead of time, Hwi proved that he’s both smart enough to predict Bang-won’s actions, and able to act in his best interests, in an attempt to gain a trusted position with Bang-won. But I still don’t see why the weapons were badly made in the first place.
The only character who really confuses me is Hee-jae — I have no earthly clue what that girl is up to. So, her mother died to deliver some information which is somehow still relevant. Hee-jae wants it in order to get revenge on whoever ordered her mother killed, and she’s been gathering intel for Lady Seo for years to “buy” the information from her. She’s long since earned it (four years ago, she was only nine pieces of information away from earning it), and is only now asking for it for some reason, but Lady Seo gave it to someone else, and at that point, I’m lost. As for this border trade deal and whatever Hee-jae is investigating that she doesn’t want Hwi to know about… it’s a complete mystery to me. I’ve just given up on understanding what Hee-jae is doing for now, because it’s the only part of the plot that makes no sense at all to me.
At least now we know why Sun-ho is so determined to become someone with respect and influence, to the exclusion of all else — his mother. She’s the one who told him to grow up and change things if he wanted them changed, and although he couldn’t improve her life, he desperately wants to grant the only request she ever made of him. I wish we’d known this sooner, because I think I would have cut Sun-ho a lot of slack for it. I couldn’t understand why he would want to impress a father he hates and who openly hates him, but I can sympathize with a young boy who just wants to make a better life for people like his beloved mother.
I’m not surprised that Hwi and Sun-ho have finally reached the point where their former friendship is well and truly broken. It’s been ruined for a long time, but they were still working together for a common goal, and that required at least a minimum level of trust. I was surprised that it was Hwi who went off-script and betrayed Sun-ho first, but when I think it about it, it makes sense. Sun-ho is trying to build himself a life of respectability and status, but Hwi is literally trying to survive, and he’s the one taking the true risks out there. He could be killed at any moment, and while Sun-ho is also playing a dangerous game, he’s not putting himself in the line of fire repeatedly. I don’t blame Hwi for doing what he needs to do to gain himself the strongest ally possible, and if that ally just happens to be the man he was supposed to kill… well, it’s better than dying. A friendship that dissolved long ago is the least of his concerns.
- 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