Ryeon (played by Jo Hee-bong) is the first villain in "Six Flying Dragons" who we can be sure has long-term staying power. In addition to his colorful exposition in the last episode's cliffhanger, Ryeon effectively manages to spend most of this episode slinking about in the shadows, only revealing enough of his plans to keep the exposition engaging. This gives him quite an advantage over Do-jeon, who acts openly and gives speeches.
The irony is pretty transparent. Up until now this was Do-jeon's big advantage. But victory and the implied power that comes with victory is such that Do-jeon can now be much more easily undermined. There are so many characters in "Six Flying Dragons", all with their own constantly varying motivations, that Do-jeon has achieved little except making himself the biggest target. The power of his allies, the other dragons, is the main thing keeping him alive.
And of course, there's also the matter of all the surviving Goryeo characters. They don't really have anything to fight for anymore- Goryeo is now little more than a title. But even aside from the personal element, these people were fighting for Goryeo because they felt their best interests were served in that direction. You might recall that the Goryeo characters often had trouble agreeing with each other about the right course of action, typically because the leaders came up with lots of very bad ideas.
For me, though, these complex motivations get to be hard to keep track of. I'm always touched much more by the personal character conversations than the rousing speeches. Bang-ji's brief moment with Yeon-hee, for example, is sweet because the question of what everyone is going to do when the fight is really finally over is a good one. At this rate, of course, the fight is never actually going to end. But that's not because "Six Flying Dragons" is a rousing adventure. The drama just really is that complicated.
And at times this can also make "Six Flying Dragons" difficult to watch, precisely because it's so difficult to keep track of all this information. The cliffhanger is shocking less because of the violent element and more because of the introduction of yet another extremely important yet hitherto unknown. Well, maybe not literally as such. Unless we actually see somebody die on screen there's a good chance that they'll be back to influence the action somehow sooner or later.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 23"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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