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Fly Dragon: Episode 18

The real mastermind behind all these troubles has finally revealed himself, and he will not stop until our heroes kneel before him and beg for his forgiveness. However, our team will not accept defeat so easily, and so, the fight continues. Even if it means searching the entire country for evidence to bring him down, our ragtag team will forge on in order to see him topple.

 
EPISODE 18 RECAP

Tae-yong freezes when he sees Yoo-kyung approach him and the legislator, but quick on his feet, he comes up with a lie, calling her his intern. He quietly pleads with her to play along and shoves her into his car before the legislator can question them further. As they drive, she asks why he was there, but he wonders the same thing about her.

Meanwhile, Sam-soo discovers Mayor Kang’s face plastered on the school’s electronic bulletin board and curses under his breath at the crazy family. He returns to the mechanic shop where the students are still working and applies his own technical school training to fix a nearby machine. He garners a few onlookers’ praises, but Da-young is not impressed.

She asks why he came back, and Sam-soo tells her that he only acts when he has something to receive or received something himself. In this case, he received a lecture from a high school student and needs to repay her.

Yoo-kyung believes Legislator Kim is the one pulling the strings from the shadows, and Tae-yong does not correct her since he thinks so as well. Since she answered his question, she needs to know why he came out of that house.

Back at the school, Da-young wonders if Sam-soo wants revenge, and he grits his teeth in exasperation. He likes her guts, and as such, he wants her to join him as he chews up this school. Tearing up, she asks if he can do it, and he cheekily replies, “I’m good at everything besides studying.”

Da-young smiles since she is the same and extends her hand. The two of them shake on their new partnership—no going back now!

Tae-yong answers truthfully, explaining how the legislator’s side invited him over to talk about his campaign. Before Yoo-kyung can berate him, he shares his speculations about their enemies targeting him next. He found it strange how persistent the assemblyman’s offer was and realized that it was a lure. Thus, he went to the meeting to find out the identity of their true opponent. Despite all signs pointing to the legislator, neither Yoo-kyung nor Tae-yong have proof to substantiate their claim.

Speaking of whom, the legislator does some investigating of his own and uncovers Tae-yong’s lie. He recognizes Yoo-kyung as the reporter who confronted Justice Jo and formulates a new plan of attack. He destroys all the documents in his office to hide any evidence but keeps the list of Mayor Kang’s assets.

Tae-yong drops Yoo-kyung off at her house as they discuss how to confirm their suspicions about Legislator Kim. Though they are in agreement, Yoo-kyung still worries about Tae-yong’s political aspirations, but he vehemently denies even considering their offer. (Phew, must admit that I was worried for a second.)

A knock on his car window startles Tae-yong, and he looks up in shock at Yoo-kyung’s father. He asks why the older gentleman is here, and her father points out that this is his home. He invites Tae-yong in for tea, and the lawyer graciously accepts the offer.

Prosecutor Jang informs the mayor that he will be running in Jongno and promises to get back his document in the near future. Mayor Kang laughs in glee over their good fortune since he will become president and keep his school.

Chae-eun updates her father on the foundation as well, and Prosecutor Jang gasps when he learns that his father-in-law earns over 1.5 million dollars from hiring teachers (wait, what?!). The mayor scowls at his surprise, and the prosecutor covers up his mistake, lying that he was shocked at how little he makes.

A call from Legislator Kim, however, ruins the prosecutor’s mood as he answers his phone away from his family. The legislator tells him that Yoo-kyung approached him and wants the prosecutor to handle matters. When Prosecutor Jang refuses, the legislator threatens to leak the mayor’s document and suppresses a laugh, knowing full well that his threat has worked.

At her father’s request, Yoo-kyung faxes over a document for him, which sparks an idea in Tae-yong. He remembers the all-in-one printer at the legislator’s house and guesses the legislator would have preferred faxes as well. Yoo-kyung points out that the judges probably replaced their printers already, but Tae-yong is familiar with impossible odds and using his feet.

Sam-soo treats Teacher Gu to a meal and learns more about her story. The other teachers bullied her because she did not pay the director for hiring her (again, what?!), but she cannot fault her colleagues since she was the same in the past. He attempts to raise her spirits, mentioning how she stepped forward now, but Teacher Gu tells him that she had no other choice.

Teacher Gu witnessed another teacher, HEO SUNG-YOON (Lee Jong-hyuk), harassing students in the hallway for not finding work. Teacher Heo singled out one student, Uhm Seung-taek, and bopped him on the head until Da-young spoke out.

Tae-yong calls the students exceptional and offers to buy them some food as well. Unfortunately, his credit card is maxed out, so he resigns to just buying their meal for today. They continue their conversation on their walk, and Sam-soo warns her that she might lose her job if he publishes an article.

She already prepared for that outcome and takes him to a bus stop adorned with flowers and sticky notes. This is where Seung-taek died, and Teacher Gu blames herself for his death.

Flashing back, Chae-eun scolded Teacher Gu for not pushing her students to find work, so when Seung-taek approached her to ask for permission to find a job, she did not stop him. Even though she knew it was because he wanted Teacher Heo to quit harassing him, she took the easy way out.

Teacher Gu explains to Sam-soo that Seung-taek died from overwork and is the eleventh student to pass away from their school in a decade—not including the countless number of students with injuries. She still remembers a poem he wrote about his dream to earn 1.2 million won a month (approximately $1,000). As she recites his poem, we see Seung-taek clutch his heart in pain and fall to the ground at the bus stop.

At school, Teacher Gu sat by herself in the cafeteria since no one would join her except for Da-young. Though she warned her to stay away, Da-young ate with her since she was fed up with hiding, and wanted her teacher to do the same. The school motto was “no work, no food,” but Da-young thought it was time for people like them to change it.

Sam-soo blinks back his tears as he listens, and Teacher Gu says that she wants to protect them while they are still alive. He looks over at the flowers placed on the bench and sighs.

Early the next morning, Sam-soo cleans up the office and frightens Tae-yong when he comes in for work. Sam-soo apologizes for causing a scene the other day, but Tae-yong tells him that he’s the one at fault for speaking carelessly.

When Sam-soo refuses to stop cleaning, Tae-yong senses that he wants something, so Sam-soo sits him down for a favor. He describes the situation at the technical school and begs him to at least give them some legal counsel.

As Sam-soo stares at Tae-yong with pleading eyes, Yoo-kyung enters the room, raring to go. She fills Sam-soo in on the details concerning the shadowy puppet master and mentions Tae-yong’s meeting at the legislator’s house. Sam-soo’s smile disappears as he shoots daggers at the lawyer and screams at him for betraying them.

The two men argue again, and Yoo-kyung jumps in to stop them. She scolds them for bickering at every turn, which finally gets them to quiet down at least. Sam-soo grumbles about Tae-yong refusing his request since the mayor is involved, and Tae-yong perks up at the comment.

Recalling a conversation between Prosecutor Jang and Legislator Kim about the mayor handing over his school, Tae-yong realizes that this case is much bigger than he thought. He doesn’t share his theory with the others quite yet since another emergency blows up: Their opponents have targeted Yoo-kyung’s father and are seizing his lab and house for an investigation on embezzlement and plagiarism.

Legislator Kim calls Tae-yong and informs him that he is the one behind the attack. He orders Tae-yong to bring Yoo-kyung and kneel before him in exchange for stopping the prosecution. Tae-young refuses, but the legislator assumed as much. He asks who he should hit next: Sam-soo’s or Tae-yong’s mom?

Tae-yong plops to the couch feeling defeated, but Yoo-kyung will not let this event derail them. She tells the others about the two companies that supply equipment to the Supreme Court, and since the prosecution never seized any printers, they might still be able to find evidence against the legislator and Justice Jo.

As the team splits up to cover more ground, Tae-yong stops Sam-soo for a private chat. He asks if he really does not understand his true feelings, and Sam-soo poses the same question to the lawyer. He confesses to acting out in order to keep working with him, and Tae-yong tells him that he’ll stay by his side. The two men grow misty-eyed as they reaffirm their partnership and friendship.

After wiping away his tears, Tae-yong calls Prosecutor Jang and demands a meeting. The prosecutor yells at Tae-yong for causing him trouble as well and agrees to see him.

The two reporters visit the suppliers, but Yoo-kyung is the one who ends up at the correct place. As she searches through the room of discarded printers, a worker informs her that the only all-in-one machine was sent to a construction site. She heads down immediately and strikes gold: it’s the justice’s printer!

Prosecutor Jang chastises Tae-yong for charging at the legislator without a plan, but Tae-yong yells back at him for dragging in innocent people. He understands that his and Sam-soo’s families are next, but the prosecutor corrects him, “I’m next!”

He tells Tae-yong that his candidacy is on the line as well as his father-in-law’s school. Since he is a prosecutor, he wants Tae-yong to give him a reason to swing his sword, but Tae-young points out that he buried the truth last time. The prosecutor brushes aside his argument and reminds him that they share the same goal which makes them allies.

Yoo-kyung calls Tae-yong to tell him about the printer, and the lawyer smiles. He looks over at Prosecutor Jang and ridicules him for cowering in fear. He tells the prosecutor to have some faith in him and walks away.

Sam-soo hears about Yoo-kyung’s success and calls Kwi-hyun for a favor. Our resident bald genius feigns a sickness at work and weasels his way out much to his boss’s chagrin.

On his way back, Tae-yong finds Sam-soo at a convenience store and joins him. Grabbing his hand, Tae-yong asks if he was that afraid of him flying away and parodies the famous “He’s mine!” scene from Lovers in Paris.

After expressing his disdain for the joke, Sam-soo shares a bit about his past when he worked at a factory. He remembers the high school students there who told him about their dreams of becoming fulltime employees. Unlike them, Sam-soo was unattached to the job and read instead of eating during lunch. Not long after, he was hired as a reporter and left without a word.

Sam-soo regrets never saying goodbye to those students and advises Tae-yong to avoid his mistakes since he will end up missing him, too. Tae-yong just laughs, and Sam-soo smiles back.

They wait outside for Yoo-kyung and jump around when they see her truck. Once she parks, the two men try lifting the printer, but it is too heavy for them. Kwi-hyun spots them struggling and laughs as he pulls out a drill. He unscrews the back and takes out the hard drive, which is all they need. Hiding their embarrassment, Tae-yong and Yoo-kyung blame Sam-soo and follow Kwi-hyun inside.

Kwi-hyun attempts to access the hard drive but comes across a roadblock. He assures the team that he has it under control—whacking the drive for good measure—and waves them away. Since they cannot help him anyways, the team sits down to discuss what to do with the evidence.

Tae-yong suggests using Prosecutor Jang since the legislator is threatening him as well. Sam-soo is not convinced and asks what they will do if he betrays them again. Tae-yong does not have an answer, but before another fight occurs, they receive a fax. Kwi-hyun gives them a thumbs up, and they rush over to check the document.

Chae-eun grumbles as another visitor enters her office, but her demeanor changes when she recognizes the guest: Kim Mi-young, the daughter of Legislator Kim. The mayor arrives right behind her and watches incredulously as she sits down as his daughter’s desk.

Assuming his son-in-law has everything under control, the mayor confidently calls Prosecutor Jang to rectify this mess. However, the prosecutor tells him that the legislator is threatening them and advises him to humor the daughter for now. In an instant, the mayor plays the part of submissive gopher and orders Chae-eun to bring their esteemed guest a drink.

Documents keep spilling out of their fax machine, and they gape at the various files about themselves, the retrials, and even other judges. Tae-yong answers a call from Prosecutor Jang, and ignoring Sam-soo’s glare, he informs him about their discovery.

Sam-soo vows to stop Tae-yong, but Yoo-kyung intervenes, reminding the others about their plan. She will meet with Legislator Kim as they discussed and instructs Sam-soo to fax over the document when the time comes.

Mi-young wishes to review the upcoming board changes and suggests creating a transition committee to smooth things over. The mayor tells her that it won’t be necessary, but Mi-young is neither dumb nor foolish. She makes it clear that they will form a committee, and the mayor holds his tongue.

Tae-yong drops Yoo-kyung off at the legislator’s house, and she texts Sam-soo to fax over the file in ten minutes. After she leaves, Tae-yong calls Prosecutor Jang and tells him to show off his sword wielding abilities.

The legislator is surprised to see Yoo-kyung by herself, but then really taken aback when she speaks. She mentions all the Korean-Japanese immigrants he framed and calls him a crazy grandpa. He tells her to beg for forgiveness and leave his sight, but Yoo-kyung will do no such thing.

She mentions the victims from the Jeju Island case, and the legislator finally explodes. He claims to have done everything for this country, but Yoo-kyung snaps back, “It’s time you stepped down.”

She asks him a slew of questions, and the more she speaks, the more the legislator’s face pales. She asks if he recognizes the words since they were the same ones he wrote in his apology, and as they perfectly timed, the fax machine whirls.

Yoo-kyung tells the grandpa to check for himself, and the legislator reels when he sees his old letter. It sends him back to his past when he bowed towards the Blue House—his clenched jaw contradicting his obsequious declarations.

She tells him that it’s over, and now, they will run the world. The legislator barely manages to utter a few words as Yoo-kyung marches out his house with her head held high and a smile on her face.

Sam-soo and Tae-yong continue fighting about Prosecutor Jang up until the moment he arrives. Actually, scratch that. They fight even in his presence, and the prosecutor grimaces at Sam-soo’s pigheadedness. He warns Sam-soo that they will all die if they do not work together, but the reporter hears it as a collaboration between the prosecutor and Tae-yong.

When Sam-soo refuses to back down, Tae-yong assures him that they will resolve everything in order, which means handing over the documents to the prosecution first. Prosecutor Jang takes this as his cue to grab the files and leaves the office as things get heated between the duo.

Grabbing each other’s lapels, the two men bellow out their grievances, and both of them ask if they can’t see the truth. Tae-yong wonders if Sam-soo can see his heart and the greed growing inside of him. He wants to succeed just as Sam-soo claims, but pushing aside his own success, he handed over the evidence to catch Justice Jo and Legislator Kim.

 
COMMENTS

The conflict between our leads feels repetitive, and it almost comes across as fake. While watching the last scene, a part of me kept hoping that this was all some elaborate ruse to trick the prosecutor, but as their fight dragged on, it became clear that neither Tae-yong nor Sam-soo have truly cleared the air between them. Sam-soo continues to misunderstand Tae-yong’s intentions, and Tae-yong doesn’t really try to defend himself before things grow out of hand. He should have told Sam-soo about meeting the legislator to find out his identity and made it clear that he has no desire to run for the assembly (basically, he should have told Sam-soo the same things he told Yoo-kyung). The only time he tells Sam-soo that he isn’t running is when the reporter backs him into a corner which comes across as a forced explanation rather than the truth. While I do think Tae-yong could be better at communicating things with Sam-soo, I don’t blame him for all their problems because Sam-soo is equally responsible for them.

If Tae-yong is terrible at discussing things with the team before making big decisions, Sam-soo’s flaw is his low self-esteem. He immediately doubts Tae-yong whenever it comes to issues of loyalty, and it all stems from Sam-soo’s perceptions of himself. He sees Tae-yong as a man with great potential while he is someone who will forever stay on the ground. He fears his partner soaring without him, and as a result, he lashes out unreasonably at times. In some ways, Sam-soo chooses not to believe Tae-yong, which reminds me of Doo-shik from the previous case. Despite all the evidence and experiences that prove Tae-yong can be trusted, Sam-soo still remains hesitant because of his own beliefs about people and himself. It makes more sense to him for someone of Tae-yong’s caliber to side with Prosecutor Jang, and thus, this becomes the truth that he sees.

Part of my exasperation with the constant fighting between Tae-yong and Sam-soo is that I love their bromance so much, but because they are arguing all the time, we get less of them being silly and joking around. I enjoy watching these two buffoons wearing their hearts on their sleeves and teasing each other for crying while wiping away their own tears. They know how to get under each other’s skin, and they relish the cringy moments even if they gag at themselves afterwards. When they are in tune, they open up to each other and let themselves be vulnerable. We see glimpses of their character that goes deeper than the funny facades and righteous personas they put on with everyone else. These two have grown into lifelong friends, but rather than develop their relationship, the show focuses on their tiresome quarrels. This also makes their reconciliation scenes feel disingenuous, or at the very least, our heroes have the memories of goldfish. Moments before, the two of them were crying and laughing, but then we watch them tear each other’s head off for the same reasons they just resolved. I trust the creators to deliver a happy ending for my favorite pair—I just wish they did not have to go in circles to get there.

Ignoring the underlying problems of our duo’s relationship, I find myself siding with Sam-soo on this issue concerning Prosecutor Jang. Like Sam-soo, I don’t trust the prosecutor who is a greedy and sly man. He might share a common enemy with the team, but that does not necessarily mean they are after the same goal. Tae-yong assumes the prosecutor needs to bring down the legislator, but in reality, all the prosecutor needs is to secure his candidacy. That can be better done using the legislator than getting rid of him altogether. For one thing, the prosecutor could make a simple switch with the legislator (his documents for the mayor’s), and his goals are met. To give Tae-yong some credit, he doesn’t know that Prosecutor Jang was willing to part with the school, so from his point of view, it makes sense to team up with the prosecutor for the time being. Hopefully, our lawyer has thought of a backup plan this time, unlike his previous alliance with the prosecutor, because falling for the same trick twice is foolish.

The real highlight of this episode was Yoo-kyung and her confrontation with Legislator Kim. She knew exactly how to handle the haughty old man, and she kept her poise while giving him a verbal beatdown. She accomplished what no one else could do—leaving the mastermind a stammering mess—and exited the scene at the perfect time. She wasn’t there to find pleasure in his demise (though I’m sure she did), and was never cruel towards the legislator even though he never extended the gesture to her. He was a rude grandpa who demanded her to kneel, but Yoo-kyung refused to stoop down to his level. She simply spoke the truth and put him in his place. Also, I loved the fact that Yoo-kyung was the one who got the chance to confront the legislator. The youngest member who’s also a female was the person who dealt the devasting blow, and I am sure it hurt the legislator’s ego. It was also a nice moment of redemption for Yoo-kyung as she got another chance to demonstrate her righteous fury but in a calculated manner with the full support of her team. Though she might not have gotten as much screen time or character growth as the two leads, this scene proved her worth as the rightful third member and indispensable ally.

From the beginning, the creators have been consistent with their antagonists, and Legislator Kim is the prime example. Even his flashbacks inform the audience about his current nature and highlight how much he has not changed. The legislator loves feeling like the most powerful person in the room. However, he wasn’t always at the top, and back in his prosecuting days, he bowed to those in charge and acted submissive. It makes sense why he craves for absolute obedience now because that was how he acted when he was the lackey. He expects the same, which is probably why he demands people to kneel before him. On the other hand, he does not trust anyone because, in the end, he betrayed his leaders when he gained power. The legislator spews on and on about his patriotism and how everything he does is for the country, but it was always about himself. He does not share the same twisted beliefs as the old Head of Intelligence (not to say his ideas aren’t twisted in their own right) because he would not have betrayed them when the new regime formed. The legislator is a deluded old man who truly believes that there is no one better than him to rule the nation. He personifies greed and what happens to people in power when left unchecked. Thus, it was so satisfying to watch Yoo-kyung call him a grandpa, essentially stripping him of his titles and the reverence he adores.

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Student-age Koreans dying from overwork... Kids cramming for the college entrance exam should be dropping like flies.

And if overwork causes death, lets just say I'm well past the dangerous part of my life and am now completely safe :)

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Thanks @lovepark, it's comforting to have someone still on this journey. I agree with you about the fraught bromance. I began to lose track of what the aggro was about, but what you say about Sam-soo's lack of confidence makes sense. He is so manic (as portrayed by both actors), he makes my head spin. Having said that though, he does express my anxieties about giving the evidence to the enemy. It is so counter-intuitive and seems like a huge gamble that they cannot afford to take.

Same with your comments on Yoo-kyung. That did me so much good. As a member of the younger generation, she gave Legislator Kim a perspective on his power that he has never considered. His time as a puppet master is over. I really liked the historical context for all their machinations that shows how the actions of the dictatorships and secret service are very much in living memory, barely two generations away, and there are still people from that time polluting the political space.

The story of the school is almost unbelievable, but clearly a strong part of this story that is based on real events. In each of the cases that our guys take on, the victims of injustice are heartbreaking. The drama has made great efforts to show us that Sam-soo and Tae-yong are deeply flawed individuals who nonetheless cannot help but act against their own personal interests when they see the heart-rending injustices experienced by little people.

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