One timeskip later Bang-won and Muhyul have finished their China adventure. Aside from that cool-looking facial hair what's changed? Not that much really- the perception gap is mainly on our end. Without Bang-won hanging around ordering the murder of anyone who gets in the way, Do-jeon is having more and more trouble looking sympathetic. He's attacking political enemies less because they're doing anything bad and more out of long term concerns that may end up being self-fulfilling prophecies.
Do-jeon's speech at the end (the one that references "Queen Seon-deok") is very telling in this regard, because while Bang-won may be fulfilling the literal role of Bidam, Do-jeon is the one who's metaphorically misestimating his position because he's been blinded by love. Do-jeon's love is the love of good government, but even so. There are all sorts of factors at play here that Do-jeon hasn't taken into account that don't seem at all obvious until the cliffhanger explicitly spells them out.
Bang-won was able to learn fake humility in China. The act isn't that convincing- only a child would really be taken in by it. Yet contrast that to Do-jeon, who no longer makes any pretense of humility or even basic ethics as long as the greater good is involved. A redemptive story arc is pretty powerful, and even if Bang-won is being manipulative, a properly manipulative person is by definition reasonably competent. Bang-won doesn't need forgeries or faked confessions to get the job done.
And besides that, Muhyul managed to learn actually humility in China, and is much more reflective about what it means to be a loyal vassal warrior. There's lots of foreshadowing this episode, and the worst of it is when Muhyul and Bang-ji have to admit that sooner or later they're probably going to end up fighting each other. The political differences here are too impossible to reconcile. It's going to have to boil down to the last man standing.
"Six Flying Dragons" has gotten into the phase of the story where the political dreams and visions don't really matter anymore. Even if soldiers are the ones who will actually win the conflict, charisma is what gets soldiers to fight. That's the element Bang-won has on his side, and even if we know what Bang-won will be like as King (not that great), it's hard to hate a guy who's being punished by his own people for having apparently pulled off a massive diplomatic cout. Unfortunately for Do-jeon, powers come in many more forms than he could ever have dreamt of.
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.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 43"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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