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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Jing Bi-rok" Episode 35

2015/06/13 | 401 views | Permalink

King Seonjo once again has to have everything told to him, rather than being able to see it himself. This is a worthwhile fact to note. Aside from the occasional publicity tour even today world leaders only ever really see what their immediate subordinates want them to see. While King Seonjo knows by now that not everything he's told should necessarily be believed or trusted, at the same time, there's only so much he can do with limited information.

The Japanese, by contrast, know exactly what's going on- and of course they're just regrouping for the next attack. There's some interesting symbolism here with regards to Hideyoshi's personal life, too. Consider that the Korean campaign started going badly about the time his son died, and now that Hideyoshi is about to get a new heir, so too has his energy improved and the Japanese characters in general are just feeling much more bullish about the next round of the campaign.

You'd think after what happened with the Chinese intervention he'd be more cautious- but why? Consider this- Syngman Rhee threatened to restart the Korean War multiple times in an attempt to extract concessions from his American allies. That sounds completely nuts from a rational perspective. Yet for a leader who doesn't actually have to deal with the devastation firsthand, the potential benefits of a successful campaign outweigh the negatives, making it possible for the same petty conflicts to restart again and again.

As far as problems go on the ground, Seong-ryong is rather dejected to discover that he can run into Chinese troops abusing the local population for supplies just by wandering around randomly. And even if Seong-ryong is able to solve the problems he sees personally these issues still go on elsewhere. The nationality of any given army really isn't all that important considering that all armies need supplies and are likely to just grab them from whosoever happens to be closest.

Or they just literally grab whosoever is closest. The brief subplot considering the kidnapping of royal princes comes to an end here, with the usual expected anticlimax. Even being literal royalty isn't much of an advantage at a time like this. Technically speaking Korea only needs one crown prince, and the little kid who's always identified as "sixth son" constantly reinforces the fact that everything seems expendable these days. Another episode of "Jing Bi-rok", another reminder of the unpleasant reality of war. More of the usual, really.

Review by William Schwartz

"Jing Bi-rok" is directed by Kim Sang-hwi and Kim Yeong-jo, written by Jeong Hyung-soo and Jeong Ji-yeon and features Kim Sang-joong, Kim Tae-woo, Im Dong-jin, Kim Hye-eun, Lee Kwang-ki and Lee Kwang-ki.

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