Bang-won is no longer at the point where he can reasonably acquiesce to the orders of Do-jeon and Seong-gye. He's not even at the point where he can pretend to acquiesce to the orders of Do-jeon and Seong-gye. As is laid out right in the beginning, everything about the plan to take down Mong-ju came straight from Bang-won. He can't care if anyone hate him or even tries to kill him if what happens at the bridge is going too far, because Bang-won is out of options.
Compared to what usually happens when Bang-won goes maverick, there's actually quite a bit of genuine contrition this time. Bang-won has always operated under the assumption that the ends justify the means. But Mong-ju doesn't even put up a fight. This man has resigned himself to the whims of fate, and doesn't even appear to acknowledge the fact that theoretically there's a bodyguard who's supposed to be getting him to the palace safely. Mong-ju legitimately does not care, because that's how dedicated the man is to his ideals.
And how about those bodyguards? They've come a really long way for a fight that will be over in minutes, because no matter how good a person is at swordfighting, there's only so much they can do before inevitability takes its course and someone has to either win or lose. It's funny hearing Sa-gwang and Bang-ji described with these big lofty titles when in person, the two struggle in internal monologue with what they're doing. They're just so dispassionate- trying to think in utilitarian terms will somehow make the overall struggle easier.
It really doesn't. Which does explain, I think, a lot of Mong-ju's overall worldview, and his weirdl optimistic faith in broken systems. Killing Do-jeon, while obviously horrible and wrong, does at least have some sense of legitimacy when done under the auspice of a system that requires the approval of multiple people. Whereas who gave Bang-won the right to kill Mong-ju? Any power-hungry psychopath could have done what Bang-won did this episodes, and he knows it.
The fictionalized nature of "Six Flying Dragons" is especially rerlevant here, because in reality we do not know and we can not know whether the real Bang-won had any kind of sympathetic motivation. I suspect this was the ominous hinting we got from Mong-ju regarding the thousand years of Bang-won's evil destiny- a blood stain on his reputation that will never wash out. The bodyguards have it lucky. At least they have the luxury of choosing when to kill.
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 email@example.com. He also has a substack at williamschwartz.substack.com where he discusses the South Korean film industry in broader terms and takes suggestions for future movies to review.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 36"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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