Fly Dragon: Episode 19
Another opponent comes tumbling down, but our heroes are not done until every villain meets their end. As they gather evidence for their new investigation, they realize how broken the world is and work tirelessly to uncover the truth. Fortunately, their efforts are not in vain as they figure out this new case and manipulate their foes into fighting each other.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Prosecutor Jang slinks out of the room as the fight between Sam-soo and Tae-yong intensifies. Sam-soo accuses his partner of siding with the enemy for his own gains, but Tae-yong tells him that he’s far from the truth. In fact, he forfeited everything—money, career, fame—to beat their enemies… with him.
The sudden confession startles Sam-soo, and he mumbles out his thanks. Despite realizing the lawyer’s intentions, Sam-soo refuses to cast out his doubts and forges ahead with publishing his article pertaining to the backdoor court dealings. Try as he might, Tae-yong’s warnings fall on deaf ears as Sam-soo tells him that the prosecutor is as much a foe as he is an ally.
Irked by his encounter with Yoo-kyung, Legislator Kim calls Prosecutor Jang and orders him to get rid of the three pesky meddlers once and for all. Rather than humor his request, Prosecutor Jang informs him of the documents he procured and asks what he might get in return.
The legislator reminds him that he still holds the mayor’s files, but the prosecutor repeats the old man’s advice: in order to succeed, one must be able to cut their own family. Prosecutor Jang wishes to reach even higher heights, and the legislator grimaces at the hefty demand. They agree to meet in the morning and discuss his plans to run for president.
Bursting into the office, Yoo-kyung tells Tae-yong that their hunch about the legislator was correct, and he gives her an update about what happened during her absence. She voices her reservations about the prosecutor as well, but in the end, she trusts Tae-yong.
At home, Sam-soo stares at his article, and Jin-shil wonders why he is still up at this late hour. Though he acted as if he was against the idea, Sam-soo mulls over the repercussions of his writing, conflicted over his own intuition and Tae-yong’s truth.
Prosecutor Jang calls his junior to his office and asks if he will stick with him until the end. He considers burying the documents, and Prosecutor Yoon supports the idea as long as he benefits from the deal, too. However, siding with the legislator comes with its own problems, so Prosecutor Jang keeps his options open.
While working through the night, Yoo-kyung can’t shake off the troublesome feeling that Prosecutor Jang will betray them again. Tae-yong assures her that the prosecutor and the legislator are at odds, which means Prosecutor Jang will inevitably bring down the head for them.
Sam-soo decides to publish his article, but before he can hit send, Jin-shil stops him. She tells him to not trust Prosecutor Jang but Tae-yong, instead, and it is those words that finally get through to him. Despite being persuaded, he grows jealous at the thought of her siding with Tae-yong, and she scoffs at his clinginess.
At the crack of dawn, Prosecutor Yoon drops by Prosecutor Jang’s office, waiting for his instructions. He asks if they will attack Tae-yong, but Prosecutor Jang does not answer. Moments later, the prosecutor arrives at the legislator’s home and places the documents on his desk. Meanwhile, someone loudly knocks at Tae-yong’s office, but rather than the prosecution, Sam-soo barges into the room with big news.
As the legislator eagerly opens the bundle of documents, Prosecutor Jang presents a search warrant. He tells him that the evidence was too damning and calls the rest of the prosecution into the room. In seconds, a crowd of black-suited men take everything in sight.
Forgoing all decorum, the legislator scrambles to steal back his phone, but Prosecutor Jang intervenes. He orders the older man to mind his manners, and the legislator looks stricken by the demeaning command.
With a smile plastered on his face, Sam-soo dances around the office as he informs the others about the search and seizure. Tae-yong quickly turns on the news, and soon, the whole team is jumping around and cheering. As they watch Prosecutor Jang on the television, Tae-yong brags about his brilliant plan and how the prosecutor follows his every order.
Prosecutor Yoon and his team read through the mountain of evidence they acquired when Prosecutor Jang stops by and tells them to take a break. Once everyone but Prosecutor Yoon leaves, Prosecutor Jang finds the mayor’s file and takes it with him.
The younger prosecutor lets him go, but then chuckles to himself since he made a copy of that file already. As he flips through the mayor’s documents, Prosecutor Jang swings open the door, having never left in the first place. He grabs the duplicate as well and laughs at his junior’s audacity.
In his office, Prosecutor Jang recalls Partner Kim’s advice to keep his father-in-law at a safe distance. He stores the documents in his desk, keeping them safe until the day he needs them.
Before his summons, Justice Jo announces his plans to make a statement, and Tae-yong suggests using this opportunity to make him apologize for his mistakes. Sam-soo and Yoo-kyung support his idea wholeheartedly, and he makes a few calls to set things into motion.
Outside the prosecution, Justice Jo addresses the crowd of reporters, denying all the charges. Tae-yong interrupts his speech and turns everyone’s attention to the defendants of the Samjung retrial. They demand an apology and will not accept the justice’s halfhearted excuses. With too many eyes on him, the justice relents and apologizes.
The team celebrate their win at the office, but Tae-yong tells the group that they still have another task to accomplish. He asks if they recall what Yoo-kyung told them in the beginning and points out that Mayor Kang is behind everything as well.
Sam-soo grows indignant as he remembers the humiliation he went through at the mayor’s hands, and Yoo-kyung agrees that they cannot allow a crook to become president. With this goal in mind, the team eats up before they start their new investigation.
In spite of their big victory, the team looks glum while reading the news about the search and seizure. The public is calling Prosecutor Jang a hero, and Sam-soo questions whether or not Tae-yong empowered their opponent a little too much.
Sharing what he heard from the prosecutor, Tae-yong tells the team that they need to tackle the school foundation which is the mayor’s source of money and power. Sam-soo demands a clear game plan, so Tae-yong explains how they will manipulate the prosecutor’s ambitions once more—in the end, their enemies will bring each other down.
The entire prosecution applauds Prosecutor Jang for his recent feat, but another prosecutor implies that Mayor Kang deserves some credit as well. Prosecutor Jang frowns at the implication, clearly still masked by his father-in-law despite his achievements.
At the technical school, Teacher Heo pushes Seung-taek’s grandma past the gates, and she falls to the ground, unconscious. Teacher Gu rushes to her side and instructs Da-young to call for an ambulance. They inform Sam-soo of the situation as well, and the team drives down to the hospital to meet them.
On the drive over, Tae-yong calms Sam-soo down since they need to remain levelheaded, but at the hospital, their roles are reversed. Grandma tells them that she received 5 million won (approximately $4,500) as compensation for Seung-taek’s death, and Tae-yong blows a gasket after hearing the measly amount.
Relocating to the hall, Teacher Gu tells the others that Grandma went everywhere to figure out her grandson’s death, but no matter where she turned to, they all sent her away. She asks them to help Grandma, and Tae-yong promises to take care of everything. Meanwhile, Sam-soo notices Da-young who must have been frightened and comforts her.
Their initial investigation yields no results about the school which arouses more suspicions from the team. They suspect the foundation for covering up any bad press and head out to uncover the truth.
Tae-yong meets with Grandma at her home, and she tells him that both the school and the company claim that Seung-taek died after sleeping on the streets. She misses him terribly and hearing Tae-yong drink the carton of soy milk reminds her of Seung-taek.
Holding back his tears, Tae-yong looks over the documents Grandma kept and notices that the compensation money came from a different source. He tells her to rest while he investigates from here on out, and Grandma thanks him.
Sam-soo tackles the issue from the students’ side of things, which means treating Da-young and her friends to a meal. The hungry students devour a serving of grilled pork belly each while Sam-soo munches on a pepper and orders them more food.
One by one the students reveal their stories, starting with Da-young. As part of the engineering track, she wanted to go to college, but Teacher Heo berated her for being selfish and not filling the employment quota. After the school forced her to work, she lost her fingers while handling a machine.
The others have similar experiences with the school sending them off to random locations unrelated to their field of study. These companies violated safety guidelines, and the students found themselves sleeping in greenhouses and fixing bridges without proper equipment. After hearing their complaints, Sam-soo asks if they will investigate the school with him, and they eagerly accept.
While the others deal with the technical school, Yoo-kyung looks into the university and targets Mi-young, the legislator’s daughter. She asks if the law professor was hired through nepotism and blames Prosecutor Jang for spreading rumors. Mi-young is indignant at the claim and falls right into Yoo-kyung’s trap.
She sides with Mi-young on the issue and argues that she wasn’t one of the many people who paid for their position. The law professor concurs with Yoo-kyung, and with her guard down, she offers to make a list of all the illegal hires.
Tae-yong drops by the distribution company Seung-taek worked for, but when he asks about the student, the company has no records. Only a manager knows about Seung-taek, and he shows Tae-yong out.
The manager believes the company took responsibility by compensating the grandma 50 million won and does not think the student’s death was work-related. Tae-yong points out that she received one-tenth of the supposed amount, but the manger tells him to contact Teacher Heo about it.
Convening at the office, the team shares their discoveries with each other and put the pieces together. Tae-yong points out that they still lack concrete evidence, and Sam-soo grows frustrated with their situation.
On the news, Prosecutor Jang’s increasing popularity has landed him second in the polls for the presidency. Sam-soo demands Tae-yong to come up with a solution for the problem he caused, and Tae-yong says that they can force the two to fight. Putting a damper to that plan, Yoo-kyung posits the next worst-case scenario: Prosecutor Jang becoming president.
Some unannounced guests halt their conversation, and the team faces the door as Assemblyman Jang Tae-joon and his aide, Yoon Hye-won, enter the room (cameos by Lee Jung-jae and Lee Elijah seemingly reprising their Chief of Staff roles). Tae-joon offers Tae-yong a spot in their party, and Sam-soo walks between the two men to show his disapproval.
Tae-joon didn’t forget about the other half of the duo and invites Sam-soo as well. However, Sam-soo declines the proposition and takes Yoo-kyung outside to let them talk in private. At a convenience store, he wonders aloud if it is time for them to let Tae-yong go. He asks what Yoo-kyung will do after they finish, and she says that they will continue reporting as they always have.
Prosecutor Jang mentions opening up an academic high school to his father-in-law, but Mayor Kang scoffs at his ridiculous idea. He says that technical schools are the lucrative ones and mockingly calls him “presidential candidate.”
Mayor Kang brings the prosecutor to a dinner with company CEOs and thanks those in attendance for their support. One of the more tactless CEOs congratulates Prosecutor Jang on coming second in the polls, but the mayor frowns at the notion of his son-in-law challenging his position.
Putting the prosecutor in his place, Mayor Kang orders him to pour the CEO a drink, and Prosecutor Jang obliges. Afterwards, he steps out of the room and scowls over the belittling treatment since he might become the most powerful man in the nation and deserves better than this.
With Prosecutor Jang growing stronger by the day, Sam-soo frets about their imminent doom, but Tae-yong tells him to focus on the task at hand. While Yoo-kyung meets with Mi-young, the other two head towards the school disguised as parents.
Acting as a neighbor, Tae-yong manages to get hold of a copy of Seung-taek’s employment records and notices the company listed as something else entirely. In the meantime, Sam-soo finds Teacher Gu and obtains evidence of all the money the school has won from manipulating its employment rate (approximately $3.8 million).
In a rush to inform Tae-yong, Sam-soo zooms through the hall and stumbles across Teacher Heo reprimanding Da-young and her friends. He pretends to be a parent of a prospective student and rushes out of the school before he has to explain himself further.
Tae-yong calls the number listed on the document, and a small child answers, asking if it’s their dad. A quick search online gives Tae-yong a different number, but the company listed on Seung-taek’s record is a clothing factory with only female employees. He realizes the entire document is forged and marches back to the school.
Teacher Heo scolds the students for coming back to school, and when they defend themselves, he only yells louder. Tae-yong witnesses the scene and comes to the students’ defense. He calls himself a parent, but Teacher Heo says that their school doesn’t have any bold parents.
Tae-yong keeps up the lie and threatens to report the teacher to the Board of Education for harassing students. That gets Teacher Heo to relent for now, and Tae-yong slips out of the school to rejoin Sam-soo outside.
Having seen everything, Sam-soo chastises the lawyer for nearly blowing their cover, but Tae-yong could not sit by and watch the teacher mistreat his juniors. While they walk to the car, the alarm blares, and the two of them wonder why all the teachers are lining up outside the school.
Chae-eun passes by Tae-yong and Sam-soo as she enters the school, but she isn’t the only one to recognize the other. As soon as Sam-soo spots her, he ducks behind the car and tells Tae-yong that she is the chairperson. They waddle away, and once they drive out of the gates, they sigh in relief.
Tae-yong shows Sam-soo the fabricated employment certificate, and Sam-soo whips out the record of financial awards. Along with these newly attained evidences, they have two people to testify, but Tae-yong wants to convince a couple more individuals in order to guarantee the safety of their current witnesses.
Mi-young hands Yoo-kyung a list of fifty people who were employed through connections, but Yoo-kyung asks for evidence to prove the charges. She says that her word is truth, and if that is not enough, then Yoo-kyung should look for proof at the police station or prosecution.
Remembering Sam-soo as one of her husband’s acquaintances, Chae-eun calls the prosecutor to ask about the smelly man, and Prosecutor Jang tells her that he is a reporter. Her odd question alerts the prosecutor to something wrong, and he realizes that the duo must have been at the school.
Prosecutor Jang calls Sam-soo, and the two of them freak out when they see his name pop up. Sam-soo answers with gusto, but the prosecutor is in no mood for his shenanigans and wishes to speak with Tae-yong.
He asks the lawyer if they are still friends and wonders why they went to the school. When Tae-yong can’t answer, he says that he will figure it out himself. Taking a chance, Tae-yong goads the prosecutor, implying that Sam-soo’s latest article about the school will put him in a tight spot. His bluff seems to work as Prosecutor Jang clenches his teeth and sighs.
Realizing a mole resides in their midst, Chae-eun gathers all the teachers and demands the culprit to step out. She gives them until the count of three and stares at Teacher Gu as she reaches one. Right then, the teacher’s phone rings, and it’s Sam-soo, trying to warn her about their enemies but causing more harm, instead.
Chae-eun approaches Teacher Gu, but before she can confirm her suspicions, Prosecutor Jang arrives at the school. He takes her aside and tells her that Tae-yong and Sam-soo were elsewhere the entire day. Recalling Tae-yong’s warning, Prosecutor Jang asks his wife if something shady is happening at the school, and she smirks at him since he should already know the answer to his question.
Teacher Gu joins the team at Tae-yong’s office that night and is shocked to hear about the school possibly swiping Seung-taek’s money. Tae-yong lists all their findings which include forged employment records, inflated employment rates for award money, and countless illegal hires.
He offers to take all these things to Prosecutor Jang since partnering with him will protect the students and Teacher Gu. While he meets with their potential ally in the morning, the two reporters will gather more evidence while Teacher Gu will continue talking with her colleagues.
Before his meeting, Tae-yong visits the distribution center where Seung-taek worked and catches a few students going home for the night. One student tells him that he’s too exhausted to even stand, and another student falls asleep before Tae-yong can even ask him a question.
Tae-yong gets off at the stop where Seung-taek died and waits for Prosecutor Jang with Seung-taek’s favorite drink. When the prosecutor arrives, Tae-yong asks him about his dream and tells him about the student who passed away.
He shares the evidence they gathered so far and tells the prosecutor to uncover the truth behind the student’s death. Prosecutor Jang chuckles at the request since this means striking down his father-in-law, but Tae-yong beseeches him to become a real prosecutor. Once he achieves that, Tae-yong tells him to enter the political world and strive for greatness.
Out of all the evildoers, I find Prosecutor Jang the most interesting because of his similarity to our heroes. Unlike the rest of his team who grew up with power and money, Prosecutor Jang came from nothing, and as a result, he constantly strives to prove his worth. Everything he does is to further his career and station in life. His goals are no different from Legislator Kim or Mayor Kang, but because of his background, the others view him as inconsequential and naïve. He started off kneeling on the floor, pouring drinks for the rest of the group, but now he stands at the top, dethroning all those who stood in his way. It’s almost poetic how the prosecutor brought down the den of evil alongside Tae-yong and his team, but in the end, the prosecutor’s greed will be his downfall just like the rest of them.
With two of the main villains now disposed of, that only leaves Mayor Kang, Prosecutor Jang, and Partner Kim (I hope he gets his comeuppance as well). I’m glad the show did not cram everything into the last second, but the stakes oddly feel underwhelming now that Legislator Kim is out of the picture. Kim Gab-soo really was the driving force on the antagonist’s side, and the gravitas he brought to the screen elevated the tension even if the actual substance was lacking. In fact, both Justice Jo and Legislator Kim were the truly imposing opponents (thanks, in part, to the actors’ performances), and in comparison, the others lack that menacing aura. I still enjoy the mayor and prosecutor much more as characters than the other villains, but since the more comic relief individuals are the last ones standing, I don’t feel as much danger for our team in spite of their exaggerated worrying. While this was the penultimate episode, it felt like any other episode in the series. It also didn’t help that the team’s plan of action is the exact same as their previous one: use Prosecutor Jang to take down their enemy. At this point, it feels like the creators have finished conveying the message of the story and are reusing plot points in order to take down the final bad guys.
One of my issues with this episode was how the show milked the same points over and over again. We’ve seen poor Seung-taek die at the bus stop multiple times, but the frequent flashbacks do not necessarily add to the story. The show doesn’t highlight a new part to that scene nor is there a different perspective shown depending on which character is thinking about him. It’s simply the same sequence repeated to emphasize the fact that a student died here from overwork. While his death is tragic, the repetition feels like the show is forcing its viewers to feel sad rather than letting these emotions emerge naturally. It bogs down the narrative, and makes the episode feel bloated instead of tightly woven. Besides Seung-taek, the show kept emphasizing the possibility of Prosecutor Jang’s presidency in order to depict him as a real threat and give the show a sense of urgency. However, this goes back to the show’s consistent flaw of telling instead of showing. We are told that he is getting popular and thus, more powerful. However, nothing else has changed. The show doesn’t portray Prosecutor Jang flexing his new powers, and the only time it actually affects the plot is to fuel the antagonism between the prosecutor and Mayor Kang. It becomes another device to portray the prosecutor’s unending greed, so the constant reminder that he might become president feels unnecessary, especially when it is used as a source of distress for our heroes.
Overall, these are minor quibbles in the grand scheme of things. Fly Dragon is still an entertaining watch with a clear message about society and its flaws. The leads continue to be charming for the most part, and the friendship between our lawyer and reporter really is the standout relationship in this show (more so than the romance which was middling at best). Though I think the romance was tacked on to the story instead of integrated, I’m actually fine with how it turned out because it gave Yoo-kyung a much bigger role and room to grow as her own person outside of her connection to Tae-yong. She turned into a capable and dependable reporter which is a much more interesting character trajectory than romantic partner to the lead. With just one more episode left, I hope the villains will receive their dues as well as for the show to deliver a satisfying end for our ragtag team of heroes because after everything they sacrificed, I can’t think of a better trio that deserves it.
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