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Fly Dragon: Episode 17

Our retrial expert lawyer feels powerless in front of a new obstacle and turns to some objectionable allies for help. His decision ostracizes himself from his regular teammates who decide that enough is enough, and they go their separate ways. As the dream team breaks up, all the members begin investigating their own cases, but no matter how far they stray, all signs point them back to each other and the big bad manipulating everything from the shadows.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

Tae-yong chuckles at Justice Jo before scampering out of the room and sings his mocking song for all to hear. The justice fumes while watching the debasing video of himself but drops his phone in horror when Legislator Kim calls. He quickly recovers and answers the phone, only to hear a single command: come here, now.

In the office, Sam-soo (now played by Jung Woo-sung) mumbles to himself, and Yoo-kyung wonders why he seems so different. When Tae-yong returns, he comments on Sam-soo’s good looks and sudden growth spurt. Pfft, I guess this is one way to address the switch.

Getting back on topic, Tae-yong tells them to publish Judge Heo’s documents, and the team erupts into cheers. Tae-yong and Sam-soo dance around the room while Yoo-kyung uploads the next article onto their site.

While our heroes celebrate their win, Legislator Kim frowns in his living room while Mayor Kang watches the video of Justice Jo for the nth time. When the justice arrives, the legislator greets the star of the hour and asks how it felt playing king.

He orders the justice to step down, and Justice Jo drops to his knees, begging for another chance. The legislator makes a quick call to the president, and at once, the justice realizes that his time is over—even the most powerful person in the country defers to this old man’s will.

Mayor Kang catches on to the legislator’s foul mood and kneels besides Justice Jo. With all his company cowering before him, Legislator Kim dismisses the justice one last time.

Unlike the rest of the evildoers, Prosecutor Jang laughs at the current situation, unaware of the higherups talking about his fate at this very moment. Legislator Kim has decided for the prosecutor to run in his hometown and entrusts Partner Kim to handle the board member changes for the mayor’s school.

The mayor expresses his apprehension over the request since losing the school feels like losing his soul. Before he can continue, he receives a call from Prosecutor Jang, and their attention turns to the latest article by Tae-yong’s team. The legislator immediately calls Justice Jo and gives him clear instructions since he can’t be trusted to think on his own.

Tae-yong holds a press conference and accuses Justice Jo of violating the constitution by overseeing the retrials. At the same time, the judges destroy any incriminating evidence on hand and wonder how the document was leaked. Right then, Judge Heo ambles in late, and though he feigns ignorance, everyone knows that he did it.

Utilizing this once-in-a-lifetime chance, Prosecutor Jang teams up with Prosecutor Yoon to start a revolution and wreak havoc on the Supreme Court. He already got the boss’s approval, so all they need now is the original document for a search warrant.

Mayor Kim leaves the legislator’s place in a hurry after a tip from Prosecutor Jang, and Partner Kim cryptically comments on how smart his son-in-law is. Away from prying eyes, the mayor meets with Prosecutor Jang and worries about his own safety. The prosecutor assures him that they would never attack the next future president, and the mayor sends him a finger heart to show his love.

Putting his plan into motion, Prosecutor Jang calls Sam-soo, but today, he wants to speak with Tae-yong. He cuts a deal with the lawyer, asking for the original document, and understandably, the two reporters oppose the idea. However, with the courts denying the credibility of their evidence, Tae-yong stands by his decision to use the prosecutor’s greed for their own advantage.

Prosecutor Jang walks into the office with his usual bravado and ignores the scathing remarks from the reporters. He only has eyes for Tae-yong, and the lawyer hands over the files despite his team’s protests. He calls the prosecutor their hunting dog, but Prosecutor Jang scoffs at his comment as he heads out the door.

To calm his nerves, the mayor drops by the school, and his daughter, Chae-eun, has the staff line up at the door to greet him… at the wrong place. With a quick phone call, she remedies the problem, but the damage is done—which means a guard has lost his job over this little fumble.

Prosecutor Yoon barges into Prosecutor Jang’s office to whine about the courts denying them a warrant, but the latter saw this coming. He derides his junior for being slow-witted and explains to him that this is all for show.

Sam-soo and Yoo-kyung yell at Tae-yong for making big decisions alone but their argument is interrupted by Prosecutor Jang’s press conference. He acts as the righteous prosecutor aiming to fix the judges’ mistakes, and his stunt works beautifully as the public praises him.

Tae-yong tells Sam-soo that this is why they need power and asks if he was really oblivious of this inevitable ending. Sam-soo stares at him—the hurt clearly evident in his eyes—and thanks him for his honesty. He packs up his things and leaves Tae-yong with some parting words: “The ones who made you the hero are Yoo-kyung and I.”

Legislator Kim calls Prosecutor Jang to strike a compromise, and the prosecutor asks for Jongno as well as a chance to attack the court. In exchange, he offers the legislator the mayor’s school.

Mayor Kang swings around a bat at the high school, and the principal gets on all fours, believing the mayor wants to hit him. The mayor laughs at his misunderstanding and asks for a ball person, instead. The principal gratefully leaves and grabs the nearest student to accompany the mayor.

While the student, Jeon Da-young, tosses the mayor some balls, he notices that she is missing a few fingers. She shrugs at his observation since most of the students have injuries. He brushes it off as commonplace when people work, and she furrows her brow at his comment.

Tae-yong tries to persuade Yoo-kyung again, telling her that now is the prosecutor’s time. However, his words insult her, and Yoo-kyung reminds him that it is not his place to decide when her job is done.

He eats dinner alone that night, and Attorney Hwang calls him to congratulate him on his latest trick. She supports his decision to use the prosecutors and tells him to stay strong until the end. Meanwhile, Yoo-kyung thinks back to her argument with Tae-yong and looks uncertain about their situation.

Prosecutor Yoon marches into Justice Jo’s office and flourishes his search warrant. As the prosecutors grab everything in sight, the justice barely bats an eyelash since moments before Legislator Kim called to warn him about the upcoming “perfunctory” search. The prosecutors, as well, know that their act is futile, yet they take as many boxes as they can for the press.

Sam-soo watches the coverage of the case from home and grits his teeth. Jin-shil wonders why he is lazing around instead of working but drops the topic when she sees his cranky expression. He doesn’t even notice her leave as he grumbles about Tae-yong and his foolish partnership with the conniving prosecutor.

Moving on to his next project, Sam-soo takes out the envelope he received from the teacher and, to put it mildly, it’s a shit show. The school has banned teachers from dating and becoming pregnant, not to mention the rampant bullying among the staff and the manipulation of employment rates and grades. On top of all that, the director (aka, Mayor Kang) makes students his ball boys and girls.

Yoo-kyung also watches the news about the prosecutors failing to find evidence against the courts, but their incompetence gives her an idea. Remembering Justice Jo’s past verdicts, she calls Sam-soo to run her idea by him and invites him out to meet their old boss.

Prosecutor Jang orders Prosecutor Yoon to keep up with the pretenses, but their little show does not fool Tae-yong. The lawyer calls Prosecutor Jang to criticize him, but the prosecutor blames Sam-soo for giving the judges ample time to wipe their tracks. He tells Tae-yong that their alliance isn’t over since they still have a common enemy to bring down.

While Tae-yong mulls over his words, Assemblyman Tak bursts into the room and formally extends an invitation to the lawyer. He excitedly tells him that the top wants to see him, and this meeting piques Tae-yong’s interest—especially after the prosecutor’s allusion to another big bad.

Sam-soo and Yoo-kyung return to their old workplace where the other reporters greet them with open arms. CEO Moon also seems to tolerate their presence but not enough to help them out. Even though he knows where to find the person they are searching for, CEO Moon wishes them luck and sends them out.

The two reporters complain about the petty CEO, but he isn’t the only one who knows the whereabouts of the previous Head of Intelligence. Chief Shin hands them an address, and the two of them smile at their lucky break.

Though Yoo-kyung asks Sam-soo to accompany her, he turns down the offer since this is her investigation. She wonders what he will do in the meantime, and Sam-soo brandishes the envelope about the school.

Sam-soo goes to the school to meet with Teacher Gu Hye-young, but the guard stops him at the gate. He assumes Sam-soo is the plumber they hired, but Teacher Gu rushes up to them and calls him a parent. Once out of earshot, she tells him that outsiders are not permitted on school grounds.

Yoo-kyung finds the place written down and enters a strange office called the National Future Research Institute. As she makes her way inside, she hears a slow clap coming from an open door and cautiously approaches the old man.

Tae-yong arrives at the meeting place where Assemblyman Tak waits for him, and for the first time, he stands face-to-face with Legislator Kim.

The man in front of Yoo-kyung is the old Head of Intelligence, Jung Dae-man, and he applauds her for finding him so quickly. He heard from CEO Moon that he would have visitors and is willing to answer her questions.

She slides him the files on the Jeju case, and Mr. Jung instantly recognizes them as Kim Hyung-choon’s work. Back in 1985, during the Fifth Republic, when Legislator Kim was merely a lowly prosecutor, he swore loyalty to the reigning party and staged a witch-hunt against Korean-Japanese immigrants.

Mr. Jung remembers how Legislator Kim and Justice Jo were the perfect duo, framing the immigrants for espionage. Yoo-kyung looks at the old man with disgust since he was the one in charge at the time, but Mr. Jung has no regrets since sacrifices were needed to make their country strong.

She asks why Legislator Kim hides in the shadows, and Mr. Jung tells her that it was to instill fear. He hands her the legislator’s book, but his real gift is nestled inside the pages: an apology letter by the legislator that contains his vow of allegiance.

Yoo-kyung tries calling Tae-yong, but the lawyer is too busy at his meeting to answer her. Besides Tae-yong, Judge Choi is also in attendance as a potential candidate, and joining the group last is Prosecutor Jang.

Tae-yong asks the prosecutor if the “last person” is here, but Prosecutor Jang snickers at his direct question. He derides the lawyer for using the retrials to climb up the social ladder and asks if the fight is over. He acts disappointed by Tae-yong’s apparent submission, but the lawyer ignores his taunts.

Teacher Gu gives Sam-soo a tour of the place and learns that he went to a technical high school as well. He wonders why the students are still working this late, and Da-young answers his question as she joins them: they work until ten and only get two breaks for the entire year. He notices her missing fingers, and she scowls at his inquiring stare.

Legislator Kim hosts a tea party for his guests and tells them about his intentions to relinquish his power to the new generation. He assigns the judge and prosecutor districts in Seoul, which leaves Tae-yong with an outer province city. To the legislator’s disgruntlement, Tae-yong says that his competency far exceeds that of his placement.

Yoo-kyung finds her way to the legislator’s house and pretends to be an overly-enthused law student to avoid suspicion. The convenience store worker believes her act and points her in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Sam-soo listens to the teacher and student’s stories. They explain how the school manipulates employment rates for government funds and sends unwilling students out to work even if it leads to injuries like Da-young’s hand.

Back at the legislator’s meeting, Judge Choi excuses himself to use the restroom, and Tae-yong quickly follows after him. In the hall, he notices the printer, but Judge Choi cautions him against it. He realizes that things are shady but thinks they can change everything together once they join the Assembly. Heeding his warning, Tae-yong rejoins the group and cheers along with the rest of them.

As Sam-soo ends his interview, he tells Teacher Gu and Da-young not to get their hopes up. He says that they do not have a surefire anecdote to garner public outcry, but Da-young reads between the lines and calls him a hypocrite. Reporters like him think a cheating scandal at a prestigious school will rock the world yet a student losing an arm at a technical school barely catches their attention.

She argues how only their deaths become newsworthy, but Sam-soo yells at her for blaming him about something out of his control. Da-young refuses to give him the easy way out and bites back, “The world isn’t interested because you people aren’t interested.”

Her criticism startles him, and Sam-soo looks around the room at the other students who silently judge him, too. Holding back his tears, he stomps out of the school, but as he passes the gates, he turns right back around.

While striding through the hall, Sam-soo passes a group and recognizes the woman leading the pack as Prosecutor Jang’s wife. He watches the principal scold the staff as soon as she leaves, but then his eyes grow wide as he sees something else.

Legislator Kim sends everyone off one by one until Tae-yong is the last person remaining. Standing beside the legislator, Tae-yong looks down the street and gapes as Yoo-kyung returns the same dumbfounded stare. Her eyes dart back between Tae-young and Legislator Kim—the man she loves and the enemy they promised to bring down.

At the school, Sam-soo points at the electronic bulletin board with Chae-eun’s face on it. However, what surprises him isn’t her, but the person who pops up next: Mayor Kang. Sam-soo gawks at the image as the pieces slowly come together.

 
COMMENTS

My initial assumptions about the school case were wrong since I thought Sam-soo and Tae-yong’s surprised response was because they knew the connection to Mayor Kang. Granted, I’m still a little dubious about Sam-soo not knowing the mayor was a director since he was tasked with writing his autobiography—and clearly, the mayor does not keep his presence at the school a secret. Nevertheless, the current direction of the school case seems like another fascinating commentary on society, but this time, the arrows are pointed at the media rather than the legal system. When Sam-soo first read about the school, I was aghast at what clearly appeared to be a violation of human rights, but the truly horrifying aspect of this case was Sam-soo’s response. Though he sees the wrongdoings, he has no motivation to seek out a story because it lacks a certain punch. Apparently, sexist contracts, inhumane working conditions, and the degradation of students are not enough to spark an uproar.

Like Da-young, I was disappointed with Sam-soo and his assessment of the situation. For a reporter who was able to make the world pay attention to a no-name high school student who accidently killed her abusive father, you would think he would jump at the chance to unearth the seedy underbelly of the oft overlooked aspect of the educational system. There is so much to unpack here, yet maybe his lackluster response is exactly the reason why these problems have festered underneath the surface for so long. No one cares about the laborers and working class. Only their death can force people to see to their plight, but even then, the changes are rarely everlasting. Da-young’s criticisms were on the mark, and from Sam-soo’s emotional outburst, he knew it as well. I am glad that he went back to correct his mistake before realizing the tie to Mayor Kang since it signals to the viewers that Sam-soo is not solely taking on the case to bring down the mayor. He started this investigation to save some kids, and as luck would have it, he stumbled upon a huge scoop. After all this time, it seems like Sam-soo will have his revenge on the mayor after all.

While Sam-soo begins his new journey, Tae-yong also finds himself at a crossroads. The show made it clear that Tae-yong always craved attention and, consequentially, power. However, as the story progressed, his ambitions changed as the retrials not only transformed his clients’ lives but his as well. I truly believe Tae-yong wants to better the world, and I trust Judge Choi’s declaration to catch the tiger with him. On the other hand, I find both their dreams naïve and their resolutions overconfident. They think accepting their enemies’ help will not taint their morals, but by siding with Legislator Kim, they have already forfeited their dignity. As the saying goes, “the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

Something else the episode addresses is Tae-yong’s tendency to make unilateral decisions. Whether consciously or not, Tae-yong views himself as the hero of the tale, and as a result, he occasionally forgets about other people’s opinions—particularly, Sam-soo. Most of the time, he gives credit where credit is due, making public statements that direct his thanks at the people who helped him win the retrials (i.e., Chul-kyu and Sang-man). Yet when it comes to Sam-soo, Tae-yong acts almost authoritarian. He ignored the reporters protests about trusting Prosecutor Jang, and in the end, they were right about his decision. Furthermore, he sees Sam-soo’s reactions as childish, interpreting his departure as another sullen retreat to the mountains. Tae-yong is too wrapped up in his own world that he fails to see things from Sam-soo’s perspective, but knowing our good-natured lawyer, I am confident that he will come around in the end. Hopefully, he will apologize in earnest to his partner this time because these two work better as a duo than apart.

This episode also marked the actor swap for Sam-soo’s character. Due to Bae Sung-woo’s DUI, he was dropped from the show, and Jung Woo-sung stepped in to take responsibility for one of his agency’s talents. While the sudden change was jarring at first (even though I was fully prepared to see Jung on the screen), it only took a few scenes for me to stop actively thinking about the actor and see him as Sam-soo. Filling in a role this late into a series is a daunting task for any person because the audience has grown accustomed to the character. To Jung Woo-sung’s credit, he did a splendid job capturing Sam-soo’s essence without reducing it down to a caricature. He isn’t necessarily mimicking the previous performance, but he still expresses the same mannerisms and timing that feels very much in-character. Though I would have never imagined Sam-soo with Jung Woo-sung’s stunning good looks, I am pleasantly surprised with this portrayal and am glad the show decided to keep the character rather than write him out.

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Each time the team goes separate ways, while I am assured they'll comeback together, the reason for each fallout has been TaeYong's unilateral decisions. Of course he's not a ceremonial figurehead, not neither are his team mates ceremonial. They put in equal efforts according to their roles as reporters and lawyer. I hope this is the last fallout he causes cause I really feel bad for our reporter duo.
Power is required to fight power buh I hope he does not lose himself(not his character), but his right and integrity that makes his fights worthy cause just as you said in your comment, that's a naive strategy and their known righteousness will multiply the repercussions manifold.
The legislator Kim in 1970-80 is way different from the current one. If he dined with the devil then in the spirit of patriotism, is that what he still is?

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