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Fly Dragon: Episode 14

Conflict is rife in our team as greed and pride threaten to tear our lawyer and reporter apart. Coupled with their client’s betrayal, everything that they built up seems to crumble before their eyes, and no matter what they say, it all sounds like lies and excuses to their client. However, giving up was never an option for our tenacious lawyer who will not stop until the trial ends.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Tae-yong informs Sang-man of the bad news, and the retired detective offers to meet Doo-shik in his stead. Overhearing the call, Yoo-kyung wonders why Doo-shik would fire him without warning and asks if Sam-soo knows about this situation. In response, he directs her attention to the shredded contract.

Doo-shik meets with Partner Kim who offers his legal services as well as some financial assistance. The bald-faced liar claims to have always been on Doo-shik’s side even when he was the chief prosecutor, but the truth is far from it.

When Sang-man enters, he finds the odd ensemble of characters and is disgusted to his core. He warns Doo-shik that this is a failed union where he is bound to die, but Partner Kim has the audacity to blame Sang-man for creating this predicament in the first place. Despite Sang-man’s pleas, Doo-shik avoids looking at him and leaves with his new group.

Sang-man reports back to Tae-yong, and the news about Partner Kim entering the foray raises flags. These series of events seem too peculiar for the group to chalk up as coincidental, so Tae-yong maps out their current enemy lineup to piece together this new puzzle.

Partner Kim treats Doo-shik and Boss Kim to a meal, continuing his guise as the caring attorney. When Doo-shik excuses himself from the table, the friendly demeanors drop, and Boss Kim asks about his commission.

After the meal, Partner Kim informs Justice Jo of his progress. He asks how long he has to work with a lowly gangster, and the justice tells him that it will end soon. Making a quick call to the judges in charge, Justice Jo makes it clear that he wants the retrial finished quickly, and points out that the knife submitted as evidence has no fingerprints.

Tae-yong lists the four institutions currently fighting against them, and at the top is the secret mastermind linking everything together. Their brainstorming session takes a break when Attorney Hwang calls, notifying them of their retrial update. Much like the last case, the courts have set a date sooner than expected.

With no time to lose, Tae-yong goes down to meet Doo-shik in person while Yoo-kyung attempts to bring Sam-soo back to the team. She offers to meet Sam-soo who’s down by the sea, but he yells at her to leave him alone.

Sam-soo eats ramyun at a convenience store, and the part-timer hands him some free rice balls. When he looks up, he recognizes the young lady: it is Myung-hee from the case about the daughter who murdered her father.

Though it is past due, Sam-soo apologizes for using her diary without her consent, but Myung-hee seems to have forgiven him since she thanks him, instead. He feels awkward hearing her gratitude and tells her that he does not deserve it since he was just doing his job.

When she does not understand, he explains how he won awards and money from her story and describes himself as not a good person. Myung-hee points out that Sam-soo was the only one who took interest in her and hands him a bottle of water to pay back for his help. Now they are officially even.

The real culprit of the Osung case, Lee Jae-sung, helps out the elderly as a civil servant just like he did before the news broke out. Detective Bae (one of the original officers who framed Doo-shik for the crime) watches him from a distance and then calls out his name.

When Jae-sung reacts, the detective apologizes for using his old name when he has a new one and advises him to forget about his past. He tells Jae-sung that his fingerprints were not on the knife, but the information does not faze him. The detective laughs at his brazen attitude, but Jae-sung blames the police for making him this way.

Detective Bae informs Chief Ahn (the lead officer in the original case) that Jae-sung shows no remorse and will not be confessing any time soon. The news is bittersweet as Chief Ahn looks at a photo of their old team and wonders why their youngest, Detective Bong, committed suicide over a case where even the culprit feels no guilt.

On the beach, Sam-soo chuckles at the photo he took with Tae-yong right at this spot, but as soon as Yoo-kyung sits next to him, he wipes away his smile. She takes off the hiking shoes he bought her during their first story together and shoves it into his face to get a good whiff. She asks if he came back to his senses, and he takes off his own shoe to pay her back.

Tae-yong arrives at the construction site where Doo-shik is working with his crew, and without exchanging a single word, he takes off his jacket and helps out. When they sit down for a break, Tae-yong confesses to Doo-shik that it is a struggle to help out the poor. The only thing keeping him going is the thought that he is doing what is good, but he realized too late that it made him arrogant.

Tae-yong admits that he did want to get famous off of Doo-shik’s case and apologizes for it. He asks if he can represent him again and warns Doo-shik that he should not trust Partner Kim. Doo-shik tells him that every single person who offered to help him ended up using him instead. Tae-yong says that he understands, but Doo-shik shouts at him since he is not done talking.

Continuing his tirade, Doo-shik explains how the police, judges, and even Assemblyman Tak took advantage of him for their own gain. Tae-yong asks him to trust him this time, but Doo-shik tells him that he does not trust anyone.

Doo-shik’s wife walks in on their conversation and shakingly asks if Tae-yong is not his attorney any more. Before Doo-shik is forced to answer, Tae-yong gets up and assures them that Doo-shik will be fine without him as long as he remains vocal like today.

Yoo-kyung brought a gift for Sam-soo and hands him the contract she and Tae-yong pieced back together. She then takes out his second present and returns the news clippings about his mom’s case. After she saw that, she realized why he was so invested in Doo-shik’s case, but Sam-soo brushes it off, claiming that he’s just a pervert like she always said.

Tae-yong drinks alone to wash away his sorrows until Attorney Hwang joins him. Pouring him a drink, she tells him that after she met him, she realized that she had lived her life coasting on her titles whereas he showed the world what a real lawyer is with his life. Tae-yong says that he only got this far by using the weak, but she thinks that is much cooler than her colleagues who only live off of their egos.

When Tae-yong asks her why she joined their team, she gives him a simple answer: because they are cool. He scoffs at the comment, but she truly means it. Seeing the two of them with nothing going against people who have everything looked sexy to her.

At a different restaurant, Sam-soo asks Yoo-kyung why she works with him, and she tells them that it is because of the shoes. When he does not believe her, she recalls the first time they came here and received apples from Myung-hee’s grandmother. She still remembers the taste and how the grandmother thanked them.

Yoo-kyung asks why he works with her, and he tells her that it is because she cries. He believes only those who can empathize can write good articles. Yoo-kyung smiles at his answer and asks him to join their team again. As they clink glasses, Sam-soo groans since he just remembered Myung-hee’s gifts, which means he is indebted again.

Meanwhile, Doo-shik walks down the street and sighs as he recalls his fight with his wife. She could not believe he would turn his back on the people who helped them, but he told her that they could not afford to be worried about others when they might starve to death. With one mention of their son, his wife dropped the topic.

Carrying fried chicken, Doo-shik ends up at his mom’s restaurant where she also sleeps. She chuckles at the gift since he got caught up in the mess because of this, and once he was in jail, she could not eat chicken without feeling overwhelming guilt. She wonders why those powerful people acted so terribly to them back then and is glad things are better for them now.

Before he leaves, Doo-shik tells her that his case is going well and promises to buy her a real house in the near future. Once Doo-shik is gone, Mom looks at her surroundings and cries. As for Doo-shik, he remembers Sam-soo and Tae-yong but steels himself since he firmly decided to jump ships.

Legislator Kim praises Justice Jo for his latest work and invites him over to meet in person next time. Outside the justice’s office, Prosecutor Jang knocks, and when no one answers, he walks in. The unannounced visit irks Justice Jo who scolds the prosecutor for his late reports.

Prosecutor Jang asks when they should call in Sam-soo, but the justice wants to wait since a media frenzy would only give the other side more ammo. The prosecutor voices his disgruntlement with the decision, but Justice Jo will not budge on the matter.

The justice notices the prosecutor’s eyes scanning his desk, but by the time he hides the document about the Osung retrial, Prosecutor Jang already read the title. As soon as he leaves, the prosecutor smirks, fully aware of the judges meddling.

Justice Jo meets with Legislator Kim, and the older gentleman applauds him for how quickly he handled the situation. He asks if it would be alright for them to bury the Osung retrial, and Justice Jo assures him that people are busy and will soon forget.

Mayor Kang and Assemblyman Tak arrive at Legislator Kim’s estate as well, but the mayor leaves behind the junior assemblyman since he is not ready for the big leagues. Once inside, Mayor Kang hands over the list of candidates which also includes Tae-yong.

The legislator advises him to use Tae-yong as a last resort and tells him to take advantage of the situation in regards to Prosecutor Jang. As usual, the mayor talks too much, but at least this time, he catches on quickly and shuts up.

While Yoo-kyung does more research on Justice Jo’s rulings, Tae-yong continues working on Doo-shik’s case just in case. He wonders if she heard anything from Sam-soo, and she calls them both petty for not reaching out to each other when they clearly want to.

Since the article funding was terminated, Kwi-hyun offers Sam-soo a new job writing about the products they are selling on their site. Sam-soo grumbles at first, but once he hears about the money, the reporter takes the next bus to investigate. Contrary to his expectations, getting a story about the product turns out to be quite difficult as Sam-soo fails to connect with the farmers who scoff at his colorful language.

With the retrial date approaching, Doo-shik calls Partner Kim to ask about any preparations, but Partner Kim tells him to do nothing and hangs up. His wife watches him with concern, but Doo-shik remains quiet despite the worry etched on his face.

Meanwhile, Partner Kim holds a private meeting with Prosecutor Jang who informs him about the justice’s document. The older attorney advises the prosecutor to avoid leaving behind a paper trail and tells him to keep this a secret from the mayor as well.

Yoo-kyung finds a possible lead while looking into the justice and tells Tae-yong that she will not be able to attend the retrial. After hanging up, Tae-yong wonders if Sam-soo will show up and decides to text him first since he is older. However, he cannot bring himself to send it and angrily says that he will forgive the traitor if he comes to the courthouse.

Still at the farm, Sam-soo receives an alarm about the upcoming retrial and thinks back to Tae-yong and the team. As the junior, he makes up his mind to text first, but like Tae-yong, he backs out at the last second.

When the date arrives, Tae-yong looks around the courtroom for Sam-soo, but his old partner is not there. To make matters worse, Doo-shik ignores Tae-yong and only bows to Sang-man before approaching the stand. However, as soon as the retrial commences, Sam-soo slips into the back of the room.

It becomes clear to everyone in attendance that this whole trial is a farce as the prosecution requests a reschedule since they did not have time to look over the case files. Partner Kim agrees to the change, but before the court is dismissed, Judge Choi has a few clarification questions for Doo-shik.

Judge Choi asks why he made a false confession, and Doo-shik struggles to speak up in front of the judge. When he manages to answer the question, the judge is skeptical since confessing could have meant the death penalty.

He then asks if the prosecution beat him up and wonders why he did not tell the truth in court at the very least. Doo-shik corrects him since he did profess his innocence then, and Judge Choi apologizes for the blunder since he did not have time to review the case files, either.

After that sad excuse for a trial, Tae-yong confronts Partner Kim in the hallway, and the whole team attacks him for not properly defending his client. Sang-man accuses him of releasing Jae-sung all those years ago, and Doo-shik looks stricken.

Tae-yong turns to Doo-shik and berates him for being so quiet in the courtroom. He asks him the same questions the judge posed, and this time, Doo-shik does not stumble over his words. Tae-yong tells him to answer the questions like that inside, but Doo-shik says that no one will listen. Exasperated, Tae-yong yells back, “Hey, I’m here! We’re here!”

Tae-yong’s words stun Doo-shik, and he looks at the faces he foolishly abandoned before running away. However, right behind him is Sam-soo, and the two of them lock eyes for a brief moment.

After Doo-shik leaves, Sam-soo and Tae-yong see each for the first time since their fight, but neither say a word to the other. Later that day, Sam-soo loiters around Doo-shik’s place and bumps into Tae-yong. While they bicker like old times, Doo-shik arrives and wonders why they are here.

Tae-young asks Doo-shik to work with him again, and bows, promising to be humbler. He leaves Doo-shik to think about it, but from behind, he motions to Sam-soo to take out their client for drinks. On the same wavelengths, Sam-soo mouths to him that he understands.

Sam-soo treats Doo-shik to beef and offers him a piece of advice. Rather than keep close someone who buys beef, he should keep close the person who buys him mackerel. Unlike with beef, a person who buys you fish is giving you their heart.

Of course, Sam-soo is talking about Tae-yong as he remembers the first time he met the lawyer and flipped fish in his office. He tells Doo-shik to go back to Tae-yong, and Doo-shik smiles since Sam-soo is buying him beef right now. Sam-soo points out that he should trust Tae-yong, and not him. Heh.

With sales not doing well, Sam-soo tells Kwi-hyun that he is quitting because this job is too embarrassing. Before he goes, the farmer hands him a bag of carrots, and Sam-soo stands outside the lawyer’s office with his gift.

He wavers for a while about what to do, but with nowhere else to go, he walks into Tae-yong’s office with his tail between his legs. They mock each other as soon as they meet, and Tae-yong asks why he came back. Sam-soo uses the carrots as an excuse for his reappearance, and Tae-yong plays along, joking that he would have snapped Sam-soo’s legs if he didn’t come today.

Tae-yong’s eyes suddenly widen, and he stops what he was doing to point towards the door. Doo-shik sheepishly greets them, explaining that he was late because of traffic. With a smile, Tae-yong throws him a carrot, happy to have him back on the team.

 
COMMENTS

Having Tae-yong and Sam-soo apart for the majority of this episode made me appreciate how much I enjoy the duo when they are fighting together. While Sam-soo disappearing to the countryside for another Kwi-hyun related side hustle felt a bit repetitive, I enjoyed the pay-off at the end. The two leads’ relationship has really grown over these last couple of months, and though they might deny it, they resemble each other a lot. Both of them are prideful and stubborn, but they are also thoughtful and empathetic. At times, they clash because of their differing goals, but at the end of the day, they want the same thing: to fight for those who cannot.

At first, our lawyer and reporter were only in it for the money, but as the show progressed, it became clear that these retrials became something more for them. This was not an overnight realization or even a smooth transition. The show made it clear that both characters struggled with this decision, and while our heroes are quite admirable, the message is not about two selfless saints fighting for justice. Instead, they are human beings with flaws. They want money, fame, and adoration like everyone else. However, they are able to do these amazing feats because they embrace their weaknesses. This gradual character growth highlights how this is not just a story about two amazing people making history, but the journey of a high school graduate lawyer and dirt-poor reporter learning from these retrials and truly becoming applaudable people.

Though our heroes fight, we know that they will reconcile because they are good people. This is also what sets them apart from the villains who work together not out of loyalty but for their own gain. Signs of unrest within the group was hinted at since the beginning, but in this episode, the backstabbing was set into motion in earnest. Mayor Kang prepares to use his son-in-law for his own purposes, and at the same time, Prosecutor Jang is ready to blackmail the group and his father-in-law at a moment’s notice. It might have been impossible for Tae-yong and his team to bring down the den of evil by themselves, but now that their opponents might be tearing themselves apart from the inside, a victory for the heroes seems more feasible.

The courtroom scene for Doo-shik’s second retrial was almost hilarious if not for the horrific fact that this case and these people actually existed. Though the drama does take creative liberties, I always wonder how much of these events and characters are true to life since this is not a second-hand account. Regardless, that scene reiterated just how much the legal system fails its vulnerable population. The judges, prosecution, and even the attorneys are so removed from the people they serve and fail to understand basic human emotions. As Doo-shik said, those who have never been beat keep telling him that he should not have falsely confessed. They assume no person would lie under those circumstances, and it really shows how privileged and unaware these people are.

At the same time, it also shows why Tae-yong’s background is such an advantage. People like Assemblyman Tak might call it a concept, but it is much more than that. Attorney Hwang noticed this quality in the duo, which was why she joined them. Despite her impressive credentials, she joined hands with two nobodies because they had something she did not have. Because Tae-yong and Sam-soo come from humble roots, they are able to connect with their clients and see things from a different perspective than those in power. However, Prosecutor Jang demonstrates how a poor background does not necessarily mean everyone turns out like Tae-yong and Sam-soo. The world is diverse, and as much as there are evil people running amok, there are still good people out there fighting as well.

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Thank you so much for this recap and commentary @lovepark. I'm exactly at this point too, "Though the drama does take creative liberties, I always wonder how much of these events and characters are true to life since this is not a second-hand account." I'm sure the representations of character are pretty close and that makes their flaws and their character progression so detailed. It was an interesting episode overall as the group split apart, and then all rediscovered their motivations, perhaps even appreciated them in a new way. As a story of heroes, it is becoming highly qualified and even nuanced. Tae-yong and Sam-soo are not simple, easily understood characters, although as Attorney Hwang has told them, they are naïve and that's their strength. I like too the dignity afforded Doo-shik, as is afforded the other people caught up in the injustices of the justice system.

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