Friday, June 24, 2016

“Six Flying Dragons” synopsis by episode (Eps. 1-50, no spoilers) and theme-based recaps

Warrior Moo-hyul! (fight scenes)

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How I wrote these synopses with no spoilers

1. I assumed that you will be reading these recaps and watching the videos chronologically.

2. I narrated the main actions in each episode without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.

3. At the beginning of each synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table some of the major twists and turns of the previous episode. But because you have already watched the video of the previous episode, they aren’t spoilers anymore.

(I used this same structure in my synopses of “A Tree With Deep Roots” (aka “Deep Rooted Tree”), “The Flower in Prison,” “The King’s Doctor,” and “A Jewel in the Palace.”)

Episode 1: War clouds, secrets, and betrayals

General Yi Seong-gye captures a spy who tried to pass on to someone in his camp in Hamju a letter with a mysterious symbol stamped on it. As he and his men suspect Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom of having sent the spy, he receives a royal order asking him to report to Gaegyeong, Goryeo’s capital. While preparing to leave with his officers, he allows his youngest son Bang-won to travel ahead of them to Gaegyeong.

War threatens to engulf Goryeo’s citizens as the ministers led by Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom and Baek Yoon want to form an alliance between Goryeo and Yuan against the Ming Dynasty.

The other ministers belonging to the “Sadaebu” want to avoid war, and so they have petitioned the King to appoint Yi Seong-gye to the “Dodang” (Goryeo’s legislative assembly). But the eccentric scholar Jeong Do-jeon (aka “Sambong”) doubts if Yi Seong-gye can make a difference, even if he’s highly-respected by the scholars and the people.

Boon-yi and her brother Ddang-sae are in Gaegyeong looking for their mother who has been kidnapped. To survive, Boon Yi and her brother have joined a group of street children in begging for or stealing whatever they can. Later, Boon-yi sees and then targets the brightly-dressed and wide-eyed Bang-won who’s gawking at all the goods in the market. Ddang-sae, meanwhile, follows one of Bang-won’s bodyguards into an alley.

As Yi Seong-gye and his officers arrive in the capital, Gil Tae-mi (Joseon’s most famous swordsman) meets them at the city gate; Lee In-gyeom, meanwhile, receives a secret letter stamped with a mysterious symbol.

While chasing Bang-won’s bodyguard, Boon-yi, Ddang-sae, Gap-boon, and Bang-won himself end up in Dohwa Mansion, the house of Lee In-gyeom.

Episode 2: The Jangpyeong Gate incident

Episode 1 recap:

Lee In-gyeom forces Yi Seong-gye to decline his appointment as government minister by threatening to reveal how he betrayed and killed his closest friend Jo So Saeng.

As Yi Seong-gye bows in submission to Lee In-gyeom, his son Bang-won watches in disbelief and dismay.

Bang-won confronts Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom; later, he defies his father and runs away from home. Meanwhile, Boon-yi and her brother Ddang-sae escape from Dohwa Mansion.

Lee In-gyeom and Gil Tae-mi remember how the person or persons behind the mysterious symbol also helped them years ago when the previous King was murdered by his trusted bodyguard.

Jeong Do-jeon (aka “Sambong”) organizes some scholars and Sungkyungkwan students to protest at Jangpyeong Gate against the Yuan emissary. But Lee In-gyeom creates confusion and mistrust among the scholars-ministers by appointing one of them as the official greeter of the Yuan emissary.

While in hiding, Ddang-sae overhears Jeong Do-jeon tell Hong In-bang how to end Goryeo’s corrupt government. But he gets caught later on and is locked up by one of Jeong Do-jeon’s men.

Boon-yi rushes to her band of beggars for help in rescuing Ddang-sae. The band’s leader, however, refuses to do anything and instead tells her to seek help from Bang-won.

Episode 3: Sungkyungkwan

Episode 2 recap:

Bang-won and Boon-yi rescue Jeong Do-jeon. Later, a riot breaks out at Jangpyeong Gate when Jeong Do-jeon and the scholars vow to kill any Yuan emissary who dares to come to Goryeo.
Jeong De-jeon is arrested and then tortured by Gil Tae-mi. His friends try to save him by petitioning the King.

Jeong Do-jeon meets Boon-yi and Ddang-sae along the road. The kids want to know if he knows their mother — the song that their mother used to sing to them is the very same song that he and the other scholars sang at Jangpyeong Gate. Jeong Do-jeon tells them who their mother could really be.

Boon-yi decides to go back home to their village in case their mother went back there, while Ddang-sae continues searching in Gaegyeong.

After witnessing the heroic acts of Jeong Do-jeon and the other Confucian scholars at Jangpyeong Gate, Bang-won decides to study at Sungkyungkwan (Goryeo’s most prominent Confucian academy). Chaos erupts, however, on Bang-won’s first day at Sungkyungkwan. Later, after failing to catch up with Boon-yi, he begins planting trees to represent those who have done an injustice to him, his family, or his friends. Cutting down a tree means that he has dealt with an injustice.

Bang-won joins Scholar Heo Kang and several other students in a group that secretly discusses the banned teachings of Mencius. But other students led by Gil Yoo (son of Gil Tae-mi) find out what they’re doing and begin harassing them. Things become even worse when Gil Yoo’s friends catch one member of Bang-won’s group; using a small knife, they brand him on the forehead.

Bang-won, however, finds hope upon learning that Hong In-bang has come back to teach at Sungkyungkwan. (Along with Jeong Do-jeon, Hong In-bang is one of the heroes of Jangpyeong Gate.)

Scholar Heo Kang leads Bang-won and the other group members in fighting back by accusing Gil Yoo and his friends of crimes against the students. When Gil Tae-mi defends his son, Minister Baek-yoon assigns Hong In-bang to investigate the matter.

Later on, however, Scholar Heo Kang is accused of murder.

Episode 4: Crossroads

Episode 3 recap:

With the deaths of the Lee brothers, Bang-won cuts down several trees that he has planted.

To his disappointment, Bang-won learns that Hong In-bang has sold out his ideals and has become a corrupt official.
Ddang-sae runs into danger as he follows up a lead about his mother, but Gil Seon-mi (twin brother of Gil Tae-mi) rescues him. While Ddang-sae questions him about his mother Yeon-hyang, Gil Seon-mi senses another warrior nearby. It’s Master Jang Sam-bong, who has earlier confonted Gil Tae-mi as he searches for the man who killed his disciple.

Meanwhile, Moo-hyul (the eldest in a very large family) begins learning how to become a swordsman in order to help feed his younger siblings.

Ddang-sae decides to go back to Boon-yi in their village in Yangkwang-do; there, he begins spending happy days with Yeon-hee, a beautiful and kind girl who has become interested in him.

But dark clouds hang over them as Japanese pirates have reached farther into Joseon territory up to Yangkwang-do, and the government is paralyzed to do anything to help the people. To make matters worse, Hong In-bang proposes a solution that makes the government officials lust after the people’s lands.

Episode 5: New Joseon

Episode 4 recap:

Gil Seon-mi (twin brother of Gil Tae-mi) entrusts Ddang-sae to martial arts master Jang Sam-bong.

One of Hong In-bang’s men rapes Yeon-hee, with Ddang-sae watching helplessly.

Six years later …

From a rooftop in Sungkyungkwan, Bang-won sees Ddang-sae assassinate Minister Baek Yoon and his bodyguard. Later, he follows Ddang-sae to a cave on a mountain overlooking Gaegyeong.
Chaos erupts among the government ministers over Baek Yoon’s assassination. To help calm things down, Lee In-gyeom appoints Hong In-bang as Baek Yoon’s replacement. Hong In-bang promptly gathers support for himself from the other government ministers.

Bang-won has discovered in the cave a map and documents referring to a country to be called “New Joseon.” Amazed by what he has read, he wants to know who the author is, and so, he begins searching for the swordsman/assassin known only to the common folks as the “Viper.”

Moo-hyul tries to save a damsel in distress and, with a wooden sword, gets into a fight with street thugs armed with real swords and led by an expert swordsman who was once a Royal Guard.

Boon-yi, now a young woman, leads a group of villagers from Yiseo County in secretly cultivating some wasteland. After three years of backbreaking labor, they’re now ready for their first harvest.

Episode 6: Biguk Temple and the secret code

Episode 5 recap:

Bang-won, his bodyguard, and Moo-hyul rescue some villagers captured by men posing as Japanese pirates. Among the captured villagers is Boon-yi, but she and Bang-won don’t recognize each other.

In despair over the villagers who died, Boon-yi burns down the government storage containing the grains confiscated from her and the villagers. Having lost her way, she decides to start looking for Jeong Do-jeon.

Boon-yi rejects Bang-won’s offer of help and decides to go look for Jeong Do-jeon. In the cave, she says goodbye to the surviving villagers, but they refuse to let her go saying that they have nothing to eat on the mountain. Just then, Bang-won arrives, and the villagers stare at his silk clothes and gold ornament.

Bang-won catches up with Boon-yi later on, and just like when they were kids, they end up fighting on the ground. But they still don’t recognize each other from their childhood days.

When people’s sufferings become worse after Hong In-bang replaced Baek Yoon, Ddang-sae and Gap-boon decide to look for Jeong Do-jeon. Meanwhile, Moo-hyul says goodbye to his martial arts master and, from his grandmother’s advice, begins to hunt down the “Viper” so that he can earn a reputation that will help him get into the military.

While Boon-yi is at the market stall owned by Jeong Do-jeon’s contact man, monks capture her and take her to Biguk Temple. There, Jukryong (master of Biguk Temple) threatens her to decode a message that the monks found in the stall.

Bang-won and his bodyguard disguise themselves as monks and enter the temple. At the temple, Bang-won flashes back to his days in Sungkyungkwan when Hong In-Bang was trying to break his spirit.

Unknown to Bang-won, Ddang-sae and Moo-hyul have also come to the temple.

Spoiler alert: Video below shows Ddang-sae fighting the Biguk Temple monks. (After clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab. The video doesn’t have English sub, but the superb fight scenes do not need any sub.)

Episode 7: The Border Stabilization Plan

Episode 6 recap:

Bang-won and Boon-yi are able to decode the secret message using Jeong Do-jeon’s wooden toy soldiers.

Boon-yi asks Moo-hyul to go with her to Hamju where Bang-won’s father, General Yi Seong-gye, has set up his headquarters.
Bang-won goes back to the cave and studies all the documents that he finds there. But later, his bodyguard insists that they must inform his brother Bang-woo that General Yi Seong-gye’s camp has been infiltrated by a secret organization.

In Hamju, Boon-yi and Moo-hyul are accepted into Yi Seong-gye’s camp and assigned to do menial work.

A document called “Border Stabilization Plan” circulates among the soldiers and causes great concern when it reaches Yi Seong-gye and his staff.

The officer assigned to investigate who wrote the plan turns out to be a former student in Sungkyungkwan. As part of his investigation, he orders several soldiers to arrest Boon-yi in the middle of the night.

Jukryong surprises Cho-young (leader of the spy house Hwasadan) when he comes to buy information about the secret organization that attacked Biguk Temple.

As Hong In-bang, Gil Tae-mi, and their new allies continue to oppose General Choi Young, Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom considers using Yi Seong-gye to his advantage. Finding out that a Western astrologer is in Dowha Mansion, he goes to consult her.

Bang-won arranges a meeting between his father and the author of the Border Stabilization Plan in an isolated tomb on a mountain. But as Bang-won arrives at the tomb, monks from Biguk Temple attack him.

Episode 8: Moment of decision

Episode 7 recap:

Bang-won is captured by monks from Biguk Temple, but Moo-hyul saves him.

Yi Seong-gye and his men accuse Boon-yi of being a spy. When they threaten to kill her, Jeong Do-jeon reveals himself to Yi Seong-gye.
Jeong Do-jeon tells Yi Seong-gye about his plans to establish a new country to replace Goryeo. But Yi Seong-gye refuses to have anything to do with these plans.

Overhearing his father and Jeong Do-jeon’s discussion at the forest, Bang-won is shocked that Jeong Do-jeon’s plan is so different from what he thought it would be. Later, he confronts his father about his fear of taking responsibility and of betraying someone.

When Boon-yi catches him taking matters into his own hands, Bang-won binds and gags her. Later, with Boon-yi beside him, Bang-won thinks out loud about his hopes and dreams, doubts and frustrations.

Jeong Do-jeon hurriedly leaves Hamju for Gaegyeong.

As he continues to be pressured to share political power, Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom tells General Choi Young that he will use Yi Seong-gye against Hong In-bang and his allies. But General Choi blows up in anger over his plan.

When Hong In-bang finds out that Lee In-gyeom has been consulting a Western astrologer, he orders Jukryong and his monks to kidnap the astrologer.

Episode 9: Heaven’s rain

Episode 8 recap:

Bang-won takes matters into his own hands and stamps the Border Stabilization Plan with his father’s seal. He then tells Officer Lee Shin-jeok that Jeong Do-jeon must leave Hamju at once and present the plan to the government ministers.

Boon-yi finally recognizes Bang-won as the boy she met in Gaegyeong several years ago.

Jeong Do-jeon wants to use Hong In-bang to get the Border Stabilization Plan passed by the assembly.

Lee In-gyeom is misled by a fake astrologer who’s secretly working for Jeong Do-jeon. The astrologer turns out to be Yeon-hee — Boon-yi and Ddang-sae’s childhood friend.

While helping Jeong Do-jeon realize his goal of bringing down Goryeo, Yeon-hee also works as the top spy for Cho-young’s Hwasadan.

Jeong Do-jeon gets in touch with the villagers whom Boon-yi left in the cave. After some misunderstanding, he later sends them to General Choi’s house.

On his way to the assembly, Hong In-bang remembers Jeong Do-jeon’s words that Yi Seong-gye will support him against General Choi and Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom if he helps pass the Border Stabilization Plan. But during the assembly, fierce debates break out between those who support the plan and those who oppose it. Hong In-bang begins thinking that the plan will never be passed.

Despite trying to please Lee In-gyeom, Hong In-bang continues to be pressured by General Choi. He decides to send Jukryong (master of Biguk Temple) to Hamju to find out if Yi Seong-gye is really willing to support him.

Jeong Do-jeon heightens the intrigues by asking Yeon-hee to hire a master storyteller to spread the rumor that Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi killed Baek Yoon. Lee In-gyeom takes this opportunity to force Gil Tae-mi into betraying Hong In-bang.

In Hamju, confusion breaks out when Yi Seong-gye finds out that Bang-won sealed and gave the Border Stabilization Plan to Jeong Do-jeon. He immediately sends his second eldest son Bang-gwa to Gaegyeong and orders Officer Lee Shin-jeok to arrest Jukryong and Bang-won.

Ddang-sae finds out what Hong In-bang’s men did to Boon-yi and the villagers from Yiseo County; in anger and despair, he goes to the cave and leaves a letter for Jeong Do-jeon, vowing that he will kill all of the corrupt government ministers.

Episode 10: Confessions and betrayals

Episode 9 recap:

Ddang-sae (aka “Yi Bang-ji”) and Yeon-hee meet each other again.

Together with Boon-yi and Moo-hyul, Bang-won escapes from Hamju to stop his brother from withdrawing the Border Stabilization Plan.

Thinking that Lee In-gyeom sent the assassin, Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi double cross him and vote to approve the plan. (After clicking the “Play” button of the video below, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab. The video doesn’t have English sub, but the fight scenes do not need any sub.)

To Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom’s shock, the assembly approves the Border Stabilization Plan. But Jung Mong-joo questions General Choi Young why Hong In-bang and his allies suddenly switched sides.

Lee In-gyeom vents his anger on Cho-young (head of Hwasadan) on the wrong information that she gave him. But Cho-young says that the assassination attempt against Hong In-bang changed everything.

Yeon-hee finds the letter that Ddang-sae left in the cave and gives it to Jeong Do-jeon, who becomes even more perplexed as to who the assassin could be.

In Hamju, Yi Seong-gye finds out that the assembly has approved the Border Stabilization Plan.

Bang-won brings Boon-yi and Moo-hyul to his brother Bang-woo who leads their father’s private army in Gaegyeong.

Bang-won goes to the cave to wait for Jeong Do-jeon; unknown to him, Ddang-sae is also there.

Lee In-gyeom finds out from Cho-young that, right after the assassination attempt, Hong In-bang met with Bang-won. Lee In-gyeom also gets the news that Hobaldo and the Jurchens have attacked the northeastern region defended by Yi Seong-gye’s army.

Episode 11: The dilemma

Episode 10 recap:

Jeong Do-jeon meets Bang-won and Ddang-sae in the cave.

Ddang-sae confirms what Bang-won said — that he killed Baek Yoon. He adds that he did so according to Jeong Do-jeon’s instructions. But Jeong Do-jeon doesn’t know him or understand his motivations.

Bang-won confesses that he alone sealed the Border Stabilization Plan. Jeong Do-jeon berates him, saying that kind of rash behavior led to Goryeo to its current rotten state. He rejects Bang-won’s offer to become part of his cause of establishing Joseon.

Later on, Yeon-hee finds out that the Viper is none other than Ddang-sae, her childhood friend.

Jeong Do-jeon remembers how the kids whom he was taking care of all died in the cave.

Note: Video below on Ddang-sae singing “Mu-yi-yi-ya” contains at the 2:41 mark some spoiler scenes for later episodes. (This song was sung by Jeong Do-jeon and the defiant scholars, at a much faster pace, in Episode 2.)

Lee In-gyeom fights back against Hong In-bang, Gil Tae-mi,and Yi Seong-gye.

Bang-gwa arrives in Gaegyeong and tells Bang-woo of their father’s decision to withdraw the Border Stabilization Plan. Through Officer Lee Shin-jeok, Jeong Do-jeon also finds out about Yi Seong-gye’s decision.

As Bang-won pleads with his brothers not to withdraw the Border Stabilization Plan, soldiers from the State Tribunal arrive to arrest him.

Lee In-gyeom begins thinking that someone is in the shadows directing Hong In-bang’s actions.

Jeong Do-jeon faces a dilemma on what to do with Bang-won: Yeon-hee wants to sacrifice him for the sake of their cause, but Officer Lee Shin-jeok wants to rescue him.

Bang-woo mobilizes his father’s army in Gaegyeong and then rushes to Hamju. Boon-yi, on the other hand, musters her courage to seek help from Hong In-bang. But at the gate of Hong In-bang’s house, she meets the man who killed her fellow villagers from Yiseo County.

As the State Tribunal begins torturing Bang-won, Lee In-gyeom forges a letter that will seal the doom of Hong In-bang, Gil Tae-mi, Bang-won, and Yi Seong-gye.

Episode 12: The confrontation

Episode 11 recap:

Bang-woo (Yi Seong-gye’s eldest son) decides unilaterally not to submit the letter withdrawing the Border Stabilization Plan; he then convinces his father to mobilize their army to rescue Bang-won.

Jeong Do-jeon orders Yeon-hee to switch the letter forged by Lee In-gyeom with the letter that Ddang-sae left in the cave. The unsigned letter will make it appear that Bang-won plotted with his father to assassinate Baek Yoon.
With Yi Seong-gye and his army’s victory over the Jurchens, the ministers become afraid to challenge him about the letter found in Bang-won’s room. But State Tribunal Officer Nam Eun (nicknamed “Dumbhead”) insists that he will continue interrogating Bang-won.

Prime Minister Lee In-gyeom suspects that the shadow behind Hong In-bang switched the letter.

Bang-woo captures Yaksan, the thief who planted the letter in Bang-won’s room, and turns him over to the State Tribunal and Officer Nam Eun for investigation. As Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi rush to the State Tribunal, they find Lee In-gyeom conferring with Officer Nam Eun.

To counteract Lee In-gyeom’s move, Gil Tae-mi tells Hong In-bang and Jukryong that they must identify and capture the mysterious assassin who killed Baek Yoon.

As Moo-hyul and his family move into the compound of Yi Seong-gye’s private army in Gaegyeong, Boon-yi delivers a secret message for Jeong Do-jeon.

Jeong Do-jeon goes to the market and befriends Gap-boon, but Ddang-sae sees him. At the cave, Yeon-hee questions him about why he decided to save Bang-won.

Lee In-gyeom thinks that Yi Seong-gye will be forced to negotiate with him in order to save Bang-won; he pressures Officer Nam Eun to continue torturing Bang-won until he reveals who the shadow is behind Hong In-bang.

As Lee In-gyeom confers with another minister in Dowha Mansion, Yi Seong-gye suddenly arrives and demands that Bang-won be released the next day.

Episode 13: The world of politics

Episode 12 recap:

The State Tribunal officer interrogating Bang-won turns out to be Jeong Do-jeon’s faithful comrade.

Knowing that Yi Seong-gye has come to Gaegyeong without his army, Lee In-gyeom plans to ask the assembly to arrest and interrogate him. But he’s surprised when Yi Seong-gye appears in the assembly dressed as a government minister.
With Jeong Do-jeon as his adviser, Yi Seong-gye decides to enter politics in order to protect his family.

When Yak San (the thief who planted the letter in Bang-won’s room) turns up alive and is about to confess everything, Hong In-bang pressures Lee In-gyeom to resign as Prime Minister.

As Bang-won recuperates from his injuries, he starts wooing Boon-yi. But Boon-yi is bothered by her past and the difference in their status.

Yi Seong-gye unilaterally breaks off the alliance that Jeong Do-jeon has been working on between him and Hong In-bang. Later, Jeong Do-jeon proposes to Yi Seong-gye an alliance with the powerful but non-political Haedong Gap clan of nobles headed by Lord Min Jae. But Hong In-bang also decides to get the clan over to his side.

As the Biguk Temple monks continue to search for the assassin who killed Baek Yoon and attacked Hong In-bang, they spot Ddang-sae and Gap-boon, who are on their way to leave Gaegyeong to start a new life somewhere else. The monks chase them; with Ddang-sae unable to fight, Gap-boon tells him to hide in Hwasadan.

Episode 14: Choices and decisions

Episode 13 recap:

Bang-won finally learns that Boon-yi is the spunky girl he met in Gaegyeong several years ago. But when he expresses his affections for her later on, Boon-yi rejects him.

Ddang-sae is hunted down by the Biguk Temple monks. He hides in Hwasadan — a gisaeng house that’s actually a front for Cho-young’s spying business. There, he learns that Yeon-hee is a spy and a double agent.
Yeon-hee rebukes Ddang-sae, saying that he has no right to tell her how to live her life when he is the cold-blooded assassin known as the Viper.

Jeong Do-jeon asks Jung Mong-joo to help get the Haedong Gap clan of nobles to support Yi Seong-gye. But Hong In-bang takes the decisive move to turn the Haedong Gap clan over to his side and sends Cho-young of Hwasadan to Lord Min Jae’s house.

Jeong Do-jeon and Yi Seong-gye are stunned by Hong In-bang’s move. After some hard thinking, however, Bang-won proposes to them a radical solution. (But Boon-yi’s ambivalent reaction to his proposed solution just makes him more frustrated with her.)

Mocked for being clueless without Jeong Do-jeon and after finding out what Bang-won did, Hong In-bang orders Jukryong to hire the best assassin that he can find.

After Yeon-hee leaves Hwasadan at night, she’s kidnapped by several masked men.

Moo-hyul reports to Bang-won that a mysterious, mean-looking man was looking for Boon-yi the night before. Bang-won orders Moo-hyul to bring his sword, and they go to confront the man.

Episode 15: The numbers game

Episode 14 recap:

Hong In-bang shrewdly proposes a marriage between his son and Min Da-kyung, the only daughter of Min Jae, leader of the Haedong Gap clan.

But Bang-won boldly and directly offers to marry Da-kyung, and she accepts for political reasons.

Bang-won and Boon-yi confess their love for each other.

Rebuffed, Hong In-bang orders Jukryong to send an assassin against Jeong Do-jeon.

Meanwhile, Ddang-sae has learned from Yeon-hee that his sister Boon-yi is a dedicated follower of Jeong Do-jeon.

Ddang-sae pleads with Jeong Do-jeon to let go of Yeon-hee and Boon-yi. He warns Jeong Do-jeon that if he doesn’t, he will kill him.
Yeon-hee has recognized the assassin and warns Bang-won and Moo-hyul of the danger facing Jeong Do-jeon. Yi Seong-gye musters his men and goes to the rescue himself. Boon-yi also runs to warn Jeong Do-jeon. But the assassin reaches Jeong Do-jeon first.

Outraged over having been mocked and played all this time, Gil Tae-mi threatens Jeong Do-jeon and challenges Yi Seong-gye to a fight to the death.

With Boon-yi watching from the sidelines, Bang-won marries Da-kyung in simple ceremonies.

As Gil Tae-mi is traveling on his litter on the street at night, he sees the “Viper” walking along; he takes his sword and engages the “Viper” in a fight.

Hong In-bang begins confiscating lands belonging to Elder Jo, a member of the Haedong Gap clan. Jeong Do-jeon concludes that Hong In-bang has gotten drunk with power and begins convincing the government ministers to impeach Hong In-bang.

Episode 16: The treasonous plot

Episode 15 recap:

Ddang-sae and Moo-hyul help each other in fighting the assassins sent against Jeong Do-jeon.

Boon-yi finally meets her long-lost brother Ddang-sae and her childhood friend Yeon-hee.

Yi Seong-gye renames Ddang-sae as “Yi Bang-ji” and appoints him as Jeong Do-jeon’s bodyguard.

Despite their children’s marriage, Min Jae of the Haedong Gap clan refuses to help Yi Seong-gye.

Before the assembly can vote on the impeachment, Hong In-bang proclaims that Elder Jo is involved in a treasonous plot.
Despite the flimsy evidence that Hong In-bang presents, the assembly orders Elder Jo’s arrest and interrogation.

Hong In-bang then threatens all the Haedong Gap clan members that if they do not sign a document naming Yi Seong-gye as the mastermind of the treasonous plot, he will destroy them all.

As Yi Seong-gye’s sons and officers learn how to use gunpowder, the leaders of the Haedong Gap clan begin arriving at their designated meeting place. But their meeting has been infiltrated by a Biguk Temple monk disguised as a guard and is also being watched by a Hwasadan spy.

Boon-yi scolds Bang-won into using his marriage to Da-kyung to fight against Hong In-bang and to prevent the Haedong Gap clan from betraying his father. Bang-won thus bargains with Da-kyung — if she tells him where the clan’s meeting is being held, he will reveal to her his family’s biggest secret.

Bang-won assures his father and Jeong Do-jeon that he will buy them time to carry out their strategy against Hong In-bang. Together with Moo-hyul, Young-kyu, and other men, he barges into the meeting of the Haedong Gap clan leaders and threatens to kill them all.

Episode 17: Attack and counterattack

Episode 16 recap:

In their 700-year history, the Haedong Gap clan has never been threatened the way Hong In-bang is threatening them. They’re about to sign the document implicating Yi Seong-gye when Bang-won and his men barge into the meeting place.

Bang-won puts a box of gunpowder in the middle of the meeting place and then lights the fuse. He tells the clan members that they have been cowards throughout their history. He threatens them that if they do not sign a petition charging Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi with their crimes against the people, everyone in the meeting place will die when the gunpowder explodes.
Based on the petition signed by the Haedong Gap clan, the King orders General Choi Young to arrest Lee In-gyeom, Hong In-bang, and Gil Tae-mi.

Jeong Do-jeon reminds Yi Seong-gye’s sons and officers to use caution against Gil Tae-mi and to always wait for overwhelming numbers before attacking him.

Through her network of informants, Boon-yi monitors Hong In-bang’s and Gil Tae-mi’s movements and locations.

Jukryong of Biguk Temple and Cho-young of Hwasadan are both torn by indecision on who to support in the unfolding conflict. Meanwhile, Lee In-gyeom secretly calls to Dohwa Mansion his top henchmen, including General Jo. He gives them instructions on how to survive the impending change in government.

Hong In-bang doesn’t give up easily and deceives the State Tribunal into attacking Yi Seong-gye’s compound. Later, he takes the soldiers to march towards the palace. But General Choi Young confronts him along the way.

As Yi Seong-gye and his men lock down Lee In-gyeom in Dowha Mansion, Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi disappear.

Episode 18: The choice

Episode 17 recap:

Hong In-bang is caught as he tries to escape on a smuggling boat.

Gil Tae-mi kills dozens of soldiers before he is cornered in the marketplace. But no soldier dares to come near him. Bang-ji arrives and challenges Gil Tae-mi to a duel.

Bang-ji v. Gil Tae-mi (Ep. 18 full fight)
Bang-ji and Gil Tae-mi battle each other in an epic swordfight.

Jeong Do-jeon visits Hong In-bang before his execution. At the execution grounds, Boon-yi sees in the crowd the man who killed her fellow villagers and who betrayed Hong In-bang.

As Bang-won prepares to cut down one of the trees that he planted years ago, Hong In-bang’s words of accusation about his true motivations fill his mind. Later, Boon-yi comes by with some snacks. but as they talk about what Jeong Do-jeon said earlier in the cave, Da-kyung arrives.

Yeon-hee tells Jeong Do-jeong that Bang-ji is now a risk and must no longer be his personal bodyguard.

When Moo-hyul says that he also wants to be best swordsman in the country, Bang-ji tells him that he doesn’t have the right personality.

Yi Seong-gye wants Lee In-gyeom to be executed and his lands confiscated. Agreeing with him is Jung Mong-joo (a government minister and long-time friend of Jeong Do-jeon).

On the other hand, Jeong Do-jeon wants Lee In-gyeom to be exiled rather than executed. He tells Yi Seong-gye that they need Lee In-gyeom’s allies in the assembly for their coming fight with General Choi Young.

While in prison at the State Tribunal, Jukryong receives a letter with a mysterious symbol stamped on it.

Episode 19: The Ming Empire’s demand

Episode 18 recap:

Based on his conversation with Hong In-bang at the State Tribunal, Jeong Do-jeon conceptualizes three offices that will serve as checks and balances.

Jukryong gives to General Choi Young his journal detailing all the spying activities he did for Hong In-bang and other government officials.

General Choi Young now believes Lee In-gyeom’s warning. He confronts Yi Seong-gye, demanding that he abandon Jeong Do-jeon or else …
King Woo (32nd king of Goryeo) approves General Choi’s proposal for Lee In-gyeom’s punishment, to the dismay of Yi Seong-gye and Jung Mong-joo.

Lee In-gyeom remains defiant as he speaks to Yi Seong-gye on his way to exile. As he’s being led away, he finds inside the cage cart a letter stamped with a mysterious symbol.

As King Woo terrorizes the court musicians, he reminds General Choi Young that he himself has killed over a thousand people affiliated with Hong In-bang and Gil Tae-mi. On his knees, General Choi Young pleads with King Woo to reestablish his royal power over government affairs.

Jeong Do-jeon tells Bang-won that Goryeo has not seen a leader as dangerous as General Choi Young.

Yi Seong-gye’s second wife comes back to Gaegyeong with their two sons and begins to assert her authority over Da-kyung.

Boon-yi mobilizes her followers from all over Gaegyeong as she, Bang-won, and Moo-hyul investigate a strange incident in Hong In-bang’s residence.

The Ming Empire sends a letter to the Goryeo assembly demanding that Goryeo return the northeastern region. Uproar erupts in the assembly, but General Choi Young does nothing and instead, says that he will go on a hunting trip with the King and a reluctant Yi Seong-gye.

To find out what General Choi Young is planning, Jeong Do-jeon visits Cho-young in Hwasadan. But as Yeon-hee and Bang-ji are searching for Hwasadan’s records, Cho-young comes back to her office and finds them there.

Episode 20: The two horses

Episode 19 recap:

Bang-won, Boon-yi, and Moo-hyul find out that the gold taken from Hong In-bang’s residence has been used to buy ox horns — the best material for bows. The horns are now stored secretly in Biguk Temple.

The King and General Choi tell Yi Seong-gye that they want him to lead Goryeo’s army of 50,000 men in conquering Liaodong.
Despite fierce opposition from the ministers and scholars, the King and General Choi stubbornly push through their plan of conquering Liaodong.

With the lives of 50,000 conscripted Goryeo soldiers at stake, Jeong Do-jeon agrees with Bang-won that the only solution is an uprising. Bang-won secretly mobilizes his brothers and his father’s private soldiers, and Jeong Do-jeon assigns them specific tasks and locations.

As predicted by Yi Syeong-gye, the Liaodong expedition meets numerous difficulties — the failed river crossing, food shortages, and rampant disease. When more and more soldiers desert their posts, the government inspector who was sent by General Choi Young threatens to kill all the deserters.

Episode 21: Wihwado Retreat

Episode 20 recap:

Yi Seong-gye rejects the uprising planned by Jeong Do-jeon; a white horse gallops through the places where Bang-won, his brothers, and their men have been waiting.

Despite the problems, the King repeatedly orders Yi Seong-gye to push through to Liaodong. General Choi Young has also taken hostage Yi Seong-gye’s sons, his wife and small children, Da-kyung, and their household staff, including Boon-yi.

When the government inspector threatens to execute the deserters, Yi Seong-gye orders him to be arrested and then proclaims that he will withdraw the army.
General Jo, the other commanding general of the Goryeo army, agrees to withdraw the army if Yi Seong-gye accepts his condition.

Boon-yi suggests to Da-kyung and Lady Kang a way by which they can let Bang-won know where they’re being held captive.

General Choi Young learns that the government inspector has been arrested; he urgently requests permission from King Woo to go and personally lead the Goryeo army.

Lee Ji Ran orders Moo-hyul and Young-kyu to rush back to the capital and save Yi Seong-gye’s family at any cost.

When King Woo learns about the withdrawal, he orders General Choi Young to move Yi Seong-gye’s family to a more secure location and to kill Bang-woo and Bang-gwa.

Jeong Do-jeon finds out that Yi Seong-gye’s family, Moo-hyul’s grandmother, Master Hong, and Boon-yi have been taken to Dohwa Mansion. Bang-ji wants to immediately rescue them, but Gap-boon warns him that Dohwa Mansion is now guarded by hundreds of soldiers.

General Choi Young warns Yi Seong-gye that if his army marches into the capital, he will execute his family and hang their heads on the Palace walls.

Episode 22: The song

Episode 21 recap:

Boon-yi finds the secret passageway by observing how the wind blows the candle she has lit; Bang-won, on the other hand, threatens Cho-young (head of Hwasadan) to reveal where the passageway is.

Bang-won and Bang-ji rescue the hostages; Moo-hyul also rescues Bang-won’s brothers who have been locked up in a different location and are about to be executed.
The combined armies of Yi Seong-gye and General Jo attack the capital, with Bang-won and Boon-yi doing their share to topple King Woo and General Choi Young.

Yi Seong-gye and General Jo discuss the distribution of official positions in the new government; they also agree that the well-liked Prince Jungchang should be the next King.

Jeong Do-jeon tells Yi Seong-gye and Ban-won that it’s now time to implement the reformation that he has been planning. On the other hand, Jung Mong-joo rallies the remaining members of the Sadaebu by asking Minister-Scholar Lee Saek to lead them.

Later on, a song first sung by children in the marketplace spreads throughout the people in the capital. The song agitates the government ministers and General Jo because it prophesies that Yi Seong-gye will become King. Jeong Do-jeon worries that the people will see Yi Seong-gye as a usurper and turn against him. Bang-won, Boon-yi, Gap-boon, and Bang-ji start investigating who’s responsible for spreading the song.

An unseen hand places General Jo, Minister-Scholar Lee Saek, and the Queen Mother together at night in an isolated Buddhist temple. Based on a mysterious letter, they decide on who will become the next King.

Episode 23: The reformation

Episode 22 recap:

Lee In–gyeom died 15 days ago, and it’s his nephew Ha Ryun who has been spreading the song among the children. He also manipulates General Jo, Minister Lee Saek, and Queen Jung into naming the 7-year old Crown Prince as the new King — contrary to General Jo’s agreement with Yi Seong-gye.
Conflict arises when, despite Lee Syeong-gye’s objections, General Jo, Minister Lee Saek, and the Queen Mother manipulate the young King Chang to reinstate Lee In-gyeom. Later, General Jo meets Ha Ryun.

Jeong Do-jeon finds out that it’s Ha Ryun who has been manipulating things, and he warns Ha Ryun to stop. Lord Min also finds out about Ha Ryun’s involvement, and Min Da-kyung goes to Biguk Temple to meet Jukryong.

Jeong Do-jeon visits a scholar named Jo Joon (“Woojae”) and tries to convince him to share his comprehensive research on land ownership in Goryeo. Rejected, Jeong Do-jeon orders Boon-yi’s men to kidnap Jo Joon.

Ha Ryun finds out about Jeong Do-jeon’s grand plan of land distribution, and he warns General Jo, Minister Lee Saek, and the other ministers about it. Later, with the money given by the ministers, he hires 20 Hwasadan warriors to steal Jo Joon’s research.

Episode 24: The land reform plan

Episode 23 recap:

Ha Ryun hires Cho-young’s female warriors to steal the research.

While Bang-ji and Moo-hyul are fighting the thugs, they are suddenly attacked by Gil Seon-mi.

Bang-won runs off with the research, but he is captured by Cho-young’s warriors. They take him to a hut where he meets Ha Ryun.
While Bang-ji and Moo-hyul are fighting off Gil Seon-mi, Ha-ryun tries to mess with Bang-won’s mind. Later, Boon-yi rescues Bang-won.

Gil Seon-mi goes to Biguk Temple, while Ha Ryun reports to General Jo that he failed to steal Jo Joon’s research.

Boon-yi is overjoyed with the prospect of owning a piece of land in her childhood village and becoming farmers with Bang-ji. But Moo-hyul chides her for not including Yeon-hee in her plans. Later, when Boon-yi apologizes to her and asks if she wants to go back to their village, Yeon-hee wonders aloud if she can truly go back.

Ha Ryun pleads with Minister Lee Saek that he needs to cooperate with General Jo in opposing the land reform plan. But Jeong Do-jeon presents a way of implementing the plan that divides the ministers into opposing factions.

General Jo firmly opposes the land reform plan, and, on Ha Ryun’s suggestion, he mobilizes his army to fight against Yi Syeong-gye.

As General Jo’s servant goes to alert the army, Yeon-hee follows him. To her shock, she recognizes the servant as the man who raped her years ago.

Episode 25: Brothers-in-arms (Warrior Moo-hyul!)

Episode 24 recap:

Gil Seon-mi finds out that Bang-ji and Boon-yi are the children of the former court lady Yeon-hyang.

General Jo mobilizes his army to pressure Yi Seong-gye into backing off with the land reform plan.

Yeon-hee meets on the street the man who raped her when she was a child, and Moo-hyul learns by chance about the sordid event that has scarred Yeon-hee and Bang-ji’s lives.

General Jo invites Yi Seong-gye, his sons, and officers to a banquet in Dohwa Mansion. But his real plan is to kill Yi Seong-gye and everyone with him.
In Dohwa Mansion, assassins wait in secret rooms for the order to kill Yi Syeong-gye and his men. Bang-ji, meanwhile, recognizes someone from the past, but Moo-hyul stops him from following the man.

Disappointed that the land reform plan has been put on hold, Bang-won has refused to go with his father to Dohwa Mansion. Instead, he spends the time with Boon-yi and her followers.

Jung Mong-joo meets Ha Ryun on the street, and Ha Ryun challenges him by saying that Jeong Do-jeon wants to establish a new dynasty with Yi Syeong-gye as king.

At the cave, Jo Joon expresses to Jeong Do-jeon his utter disappointment that the original land reform plan has been set aside. While they’re arguing, Officer Nam Eun arrives and tells Jeong Do-jeon that Ha Ryun wants to meet him.

In Hwasadan, Cho-young learns that General Jo’s men were seen putting on armor, and Yeon-hee volunteers to immediately find out what’s happening. Meanwhile, in Biguk Temple, Gil Seon-mi receives orders through an old woman.

At the banquet, Moo-hyul and Young-kyu eat, drink, and tease each other, but they nonetheless behave properly because Officer Nam Eun had ordered them not to cause any problem. But Moo-hyul soon notices that Bang-ji has become extremely agitated.

General Jo orders one of his men to drug the cinnamon wine that will be served to Yi Syeong-gye and his men. But before he can give the signal for the attack, Moo-hyul overturns a table and starts a fight.

Spoiler alert: Video below shows Moo-hyul fighting numerous assassins. (After clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab. The video doesn’t have English sub, but the terrific fight scenes do not need any sub. And besides, the only real “dialogue” is when Moo-hyul shouts “Musa Moo-hyul” or in English, “Warrior Moo-hyul!”)

Episode 26: The unseen hand

Episode 25 recap:

Jeong Do-jeon realizes the danger facing Yi Seong-gye at Dohwa Mansion, and he hurriedly tells Bang-won to mobilize their soldiers.

Bang-ji and Moo-hyul recognize one of General Jo’s men as Yeon-hee’s rapist.

A savage fight erupts all over Dohwa Mansion. Despite being outnumbered, Yi Seong-gye and his men force General Jo to surrender. But at the very end, someone — acting on orders by a mysterious Leader — tries to assassinate Yi Seong-gye.

Yeon-hee kills the man who raped her. (After clicking the “Play” button for the video below, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab. The video doesn’t have English sub, but the actions speak for themselves.)

While General Jo is being led away from Dohwa Mansion, someone tries to assassinate Yi Seong-gye.

Officer Nam Eun and Bang-gwa interrogate General Jo at the State Tribunal. Meanwhile, as Bang-ji recovers from his wounds, Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-won asks Moo-hyul why he started the fight in Dohwa Mansion.

Yi Seong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon realize that, for political reasons, they can’t execute General Jo. With Minister Jung Mong-joo (Jeong Do-jeon’s long-time friend) acting as mediator, they bargain and counter-bargain with Minister Lee Saek and his allies in the assembly. For starters, Lee Saek wants to reinstate the former King.

Like Jo Joon, Bang-won questions Jeong Do-jeon on why they shouldn’t now use force to push through with the original land reform plan. But Jeong Do-jeon explains that they must abide with Confucian ideals because they will later need the help of Jung Mong-joo and his followers.

When Bang-won reports what he and Boon-yi report found out about the assassin, Jeong Do-jeon realizes that a highly-secret organization could have sent the assassin. He orders everyone to quickly find out more about this organization and the people behind it.

But the organization has already made its “most fatal counterattack” against Jeong Do-jeon and his plans for establishing Joseon.

Episode 27: Nameless

Episode 26 recap:

Jeong Do-jeon agrees with Minister Lee Saek’s proposal that an official government survey be done for the land reform program. Lee Saek thinks that with intentional delays, the survey will take at least five years to complete, and former King Woo, once reinstated, can cancel the survey. But Jeong Do-jeon knows that with Jo Joon’s research as basis, the survey will only take two years.

Bang-won at first thinks that Ha Ryun sent the assassin. But when they examine the assassin’s tattoo, Ha Ryun says that it symbolizes the organization that had secretly helped Lee In-gyeom.

Jeong Do-jeon calls this organization “Nameless” and associates it with King Gonming, Princess Noguk, and Yeon-hyang (Boon-yi and Bang-ji’s mother).
The “most fatal counterattack” from the Nameless organization (“Moomyung”) turns out to be Minister Jung Mong-joo (“Poeun”). As he stares at the cave wall with the map of New Joseon, he asks Jeong Do-jeon in disbelief,”What’s all this?”

Jeong Do-jeon regards Jung Mong-joo as the most important person in his plans of creating the new nation of Joseon strictly under the principles of Neo-Confucianism. But awestruck as Jung Mong-joo is with Jeong Do-jeon’s planned reforms, he wants these reforms to be used in re-establishing Goryeo.

Now that Jung Mong-joo knows everything about their plans, conflict arises between Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-won on how to deal with him.

Crisis erupts when the survey for the land reform plan suffers a shocking delay. Jeong Do-jeon believes that the Nameless group is behind the delay. Refusing to back down, he asks Yi Syeong-gye to present a petition to the young King Chang. Yi Syeong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon then send out their men the next day, but Minister Lee Saek, his allies, Jukryong, and Gil Seon-mi all find out about it.

After Bang-won confronts him on the street, Jung Mong-joo visits Prince Jungchang, the man whom Yi Syeong-gye and General Jo had originally chosen to be the next king.

Fighting breaks out on the mountain as Gil Seon-mi and his bodyguards follow the men whom Jeong Do-jeon sent out.

Episode 28: Breaking the ash flower’s stem

Episode 27 recap:

Gil Seon-mi falls for Jeong Do-jeon’s trap, and while he escapes, Bang-ji and Yeon-hee follow him to a Buddhist temple. There, Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-ji see a cloaked woman escorting an elderly woman. The cloaked woman turns out to be Yeon-hyang (Bang-ji and Boon-yi’s mother).
Jeong Do-jeon orders Officer Nam Eun and the State Tribunal soldiers to search the temple for Gil Seon-mi and Yeon-hyang. Later after Bang-ji tells her that he saw their mother in the temple, Boon-yi reveals something that she has never told Bang-ji about their mother.

Prime Minister Lee Saek and the other ministers who oppose the land reform plan use the murders of the three officials as an excuse to indefinitely delay the survey. But when they boycott the next assembly, Jo Joon explodes in anger and threatens to expose their corruption.

Put on the spot during the assembly, Jeong Do-jeon assures Jung Mong-joo that he will abide by his promise. But this only increases the conflict between Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-won.

The Nameless organization (“Moomyung”) manipulates deposed King Woo into sending a royal gift to Yi Seong-gye.

Bang-ji and Yeon-hee return to the temple to see if they can find out something. Meanwhile, on Jeong Do-jeon’s order, Bang-won, Officer Nam Eun, and Bang-gwa stage an operation involving the Nameless warrior whom they captured. To Moo-hyul’s surprise, Boon-yi doesn’t want to join the operation, but later on, she ends up right at the center of things.

Episode 29: The royal gift

Episode 28 recap:

Bang-won allows the Nameless warrior/prisoner to escape so that they can follow him. But the prisoner gets slashed by an assassin who proves too good for Moo-hyul to handle. Before the prisoner dies, he tells Boon-yi, “One must break the ash flower’s stem before it blooms.”

Boon-yi is then threatened by the assassin, but quick-wittedly, she recites the phrase that she heard from her mother when she was a child. The assassin replies and then backs down, thinking that Boon-yi is also a Nameless member.
Bang-won deciphers the expression “One must break the ash flower’s stem before it blooms” as an assassination attempt against his father.

When the ministers begin talking about stripping deposed King Woo of his title and dethroning the young King Chang, Jung Mong-joo tries again to persuade Prince Jungchang to become King. Later, he tells Yi Syeong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon that Prince Jungchang is the most qualified to become the next King. But Jeong Do-jeon questions his true allegiance, whether it’s to Goryeo or to Nameless (“Moomyung”).

Young-kyu spots at Prince Jungchang’s residence Baek Geun-soo, the man who betrayed him and Bang-won many years ago in Gaegyeong. After finding out about it, Bang-won later hires two men to kidnap Baek Geun-soo; he also urges Jeong Do-jeon to help his father to take the throne by force.

Bang-ji continues to practice catching with the flat side of his sword a small bowl of water that he throws up into the air. But Master Hong says that it can’t be done without spilling the water; then, he suddenly realizes that the one who killed the three government officials could be none other than the famous warrior, Cheok Sa-kwang of Goksan.

At the morgue, Officer Nam Eun and Bang-woo also think that the man who attacked Yi Syeong-gye is Cheok Sa-kwang. Later, their men find Cheok Sa-kwang on the mountain; as they surround him, Master Hong arrives with Bang-ji and Moo-hyul.

Prince Jungchang escapes from his residence with his gisaeng-bride Yoon-rang so that he cannot be pressured into becoming the new king. But on the mountain, Nameless catches up with him and Yoon-rang, and he’s shot with a poisoned dart.

Episode 30: The Five-Point Plan

Episode 29 recap:

The royal gift for Yi Seong-gye turns out to be a Goksan assassin who fights off Bang-ji and Moo-hyul. Although wounded, the assassin is able to escape to the mountain. (After clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab. The video doesn’t have English sub, but the superb fight scenes do not need any sub.)

Prince Jungchang is shot with a poisoned dart and then pressured by Yooksan (a high-ranking Nameless member) to become the next King. When the cup containing the antidote is accidentally thrown up into the air, the gisaeng-bride Yoon-rang grabs a sword and catches the cup, un-spilled, with the flat side of her sword. When Bang-won’s men attack, she flings the cup up into the air, kills the men, and in one fluid motion, catches the cup again with her sword — something that Bang-ji has never been able to perfect.

Yoon-rang reveals to Prince Jungchang that she is really Cheok Sa-kwang, the last heir to the Goksan Swordsmanship Method. She persuades him to take the antidote and become King. She promises to protect him with her life.

Prince Jungchang takes the antidote, and Cheok Sa-kwang (“Yoon-rang”) tells him her story. At that same time on the mountain, Master Hong tells everyone about the Cheok family’s history.

Yook-san (the Nameless official) and Jukryong find the dead bodies of Baek Geun-soo, Prince Jungchang’s servant, and the two men whom Bang-won hired. Jukryong recognizes from how they were slashed that the killer used Goksan swordsmanship.

Boon-yi confesses to Bang-won that her mother Yeon-hyang is a member of Nameless. Later, based on his talk with Ha Ryun, Bang-won gets an idea on how to lure Nameless out of the shadows.

As Jeong Do-jeon tries to calm down Jo Joon and Officer Nam Eun who have become angry and impatient over the missed opportunities, Bang-won hears him speak of the “Five-Point Plan” that he will present to Jung Mong-joo. But Bang-woo and Lee Ji Ran arrive and hear Jo Joon and Officer Nam Eun speak of making Yi Syeong-gye the next king. They burst into the room, and an argument breaks out.

With Yi Seong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon’s approval, Prince Jungchang becomes King Gongyang, with Cheok Sa-kwang staying by him as his bodyguard.

In Dohwa Mansion, Yi Seong-gye hosts a banquet for his sons, Ji Ran, Jeong Do-jeon, Bang-ji, and Moo-hyul. Over wine, they talk about their dreams and plans after they have established Joseon.

When Bang-won’s letter reaches Yook-san, Gil Seon-mi, Jukryong, and Cho-young, they begin to think that there’s a spy in their organization. Cho-young becomes suspicious that Yeon-hee is the spy and then lays a trap for her.

Episode 31: The turning point

Episode 30 recap:

With Yi Seong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon’s approval, Prince Jungchang becomes King Gongyang.

Cho-young, head of Hwasadan, is also Ji Chon-tae, a Nameless member.

Yooksan and Cho-young fall for Bang-won’s trap. After saving Yeon-hee, Bang-won catches Cho-young secretly listening to Jeong Do-jeon and Jung Mong-joo’s discussion of Jeong Do-jeon’s Five-Point Plan.
As Bang-won secretly listens from the other room, Jeong Do-jeon pleads with Jung Mong-joo to help him establish Joseon. He promises Jung Mong-joo that he will have the most important responsibility in the new nation. But Bang-won is shocked to hear Jeong Do-jeon say that the King’s family and relatives will have no power in Joseon.

Held in a secluded place, Cho-young tries to sow discord, first with Officer Nam Eun and then by reminding Bang-won that he will be powerless once Joseon is established.

After agonizing over Jeong Do-jeon’s offer to him, Jung Mong-joo talks to King Gongyang about impeaching Minister Lee Saek and continuing the land reform plan.

Bang-won tells Jeong Do-jeon that he will fool Nameless by making it appear that he’s breaking off ties with him. He then moves out of his father’s estate into a residence that’s provided by his father-in-law and begins forming his private army.

Boon-yi, Gap Boon, Master Hong, and Moo-hyul’s grandmother all move into Bang-won’s new residence. But to Boon-yi’s surprise, Min Da-kyung tells her that she must from then on cut her ties with Jeong Do-jeon and follow Bang-won’s orders only.

Episode 32: What is politics?

Episode 31 recap:

Cho-young falls for the fake rescue and Bang-won’s sincerity in breaking off with Jeong Do-jeon. After meeting Gil Seon-mi who pleads with her not say anything about Yeon-hyang’s children, she then reports the break-off to Nameless.

On the eve of Ha Ryun’s exile, Bang-won visits him at the State Tribunal; he tells Ha Ryun to serve him later on.

Jung Mong-joo vows to defend Goryeo with his life; he tells King Gongyang that he will quietly work to break the union between Yi Syeong-gye and Jeong Do-jeon. King Gongyang asks Cheok Sa-kwang to protect Jung Mong-joo from now on and to act as the emissary between them.

King Gongyang agrees with Jung Mong-joo about approving the land reform plan and exiling Minister Lee Saek.

Bang-won and Boon-yi share some tender moments as things are about to change drastically for them.

Later on, Bang-won meets with the Nameless representatives — the old woman, her female escort, and two men. They trade questions about Nameless’s history, about Jeong Do-jeon’s Five-Point Plan, etc. Then Bang-won asks a question that, later on, divides the members of Nameless.

After a meeting of the top leaders of Nameless, Yook-san finds out who the emissary is between King Gongyang and Jung Mong-joo. He orders Jukryong and his monks to capture her.

The land reform survey has been corrupted by the nobles who stand to gain more lands, leaving almost nothing for Goryeo’s common people. Jeong Do-jeon faces a dilemma on what to do, and he asks some people whom he values for their opinion.

The ministers who have been exiled use the death of General Choi Young to agitate the people in the market against Jeong Do-jeon and the land reform plan.

Jeong Do-jeon asks Boon-yi to immediately assemble her people at the Office of Taxation and to bring carts and torches with them.

Episode 33: The Buddhist temples

Episode 32 recap:

Yeon-hyang (Boon-yi and Bang-ji’s mother) is the leader of Nameless. She is shocked to learn from Bang-won that her children are still alive and are looking for her.

Cheok Sa-kwang easily beats off Jukryong and his monks.

Jeong Do-jeon asks Boon-yi’s people to gather all of Goryeo’s tax records and land titles from the Office of Taxation. He urges the crowd that had gathered to set fire to the records and titles. Now, Goryeo can start over with a clean slate, with no one owning anything.

As the people burn up all of Goryeo’s tax records and land titles, Jung Mong-joo watches silently in the background and vows to stop Jeong Do-jeon. Later, he sends his men to Danyang, Jeong Do-jeon’s hometown.

While two monks from Biguk Temple investigate who Yeon-hyang’s children could be, Boon-yi gathers in the forest all of her followers. But someone is watching her from the shadows.

Bang-won reveals to Min Da-kyung his plans, and later, he visits Jukryong in Biguk Temple.

Jeong Do-jeon is imprisoned but released shortly after. With all the land registers burned up, the assembly has no choice but to use Jo Joons research as the basis for the survey.

The nobles, however, find a way out of the land reform plan by “donating” their lands to corrupt Buddhist temples. Jeong Do-jeon therefore proposes sweeping laws against these Buddhist temples and the practice of Buddhism. But his proposals are opposed by everyone — King Gongyang, Jung Mung-joo, the ministers, Bang-woo, and even Yi Seong-gye.

Bang-won finds out through his father about the growing rift between Jung Mong-joo and Jeong Do-jeon. As they’re talking, however, Young-kyu rushes in to tell them that Bang-woo has killed one of the exiled ministers.

After arranging a secret meeting with Yi Syeong-gye, Jung Mung-joo decides that he must stop Jeong Do-jeon once and for all by exposing his past.

Episode 34: The two palanquins

Episode 33 recap:

Boon-yi finally meets her mother Yeon-hyang, leader of Nameless. Yeon-hyang tells Boon-yi that she and Bang-ji must stop looking for her or else their lives will be at risk.

Bang-woo is arrested for killing a former government official who said that his father will become King. He tells his father that he will reject being Crown Prince or King.

King Gonyang tells Yi Seong-gye that he will support the reforms only if Jeong Do-jeong slows down on his plans against Buddhism.

Jung Mong-joo impeaches Jeong Do-jeon on the ground that he hid from the assembly his status as lowborn. Jeong Do-jeon is arrested and taken away.
Bang-won watches in anger as Jeong Do-jeon is arrested and led to the State Tribunal prison. Later, Jung Mong-joo pressures King Gongyang to exile Jeong Do-jeon before Yi Syeong-gye returns to the capital.

While his father is absent from the capital, Bang-won becomes responsible for rallying everyone to save Jeong Do-jeon. But Jung Mong-joo sneaks Jeong Do-jeon out of the State Tribunal.

King Gongyang approves Jung Mong-joo’s plan of reinstating Prime Minister Lee Saek and the other exiled ministers.

After he finds out that Jeong Do-jeon has been impeached and exiled, Yi Syeong-gye takes his sword and threatens Jung Mong-joo. Later, he resigns as Goryeo’s military commander and leaves the capital. But he orders Bang-gwa to mobilize his army once he gives the order.

Nameless (“Moomyung”) decides to support Jung Mong-joo; Yeon-hyang orders Gil Seon-mi to kill Yi Syeong-gye.

Jung Mong-joo finds out what happened to Yi Syeong-gye, and he hurriedly gets King Gongyang’s authority to arrest all of Jeong Do-jeon’s followers and to dismiss Bang-gwa from the State Tribunal.

When King Gongyang wavers in his decision to execute Jeong Do-jeon and his followers, Cheok Sa-kwang volunteers to go and kill Yi Syeong-gye.

Episode 35: The longest night

Episode 34 recap:

On a hunting trip, Yi Seong-gye is threatened by Gil Seon-mi; he is critically injured as he falls off his horse while dodging an arrow shot by a lurking minister.

Sa-kwang and Jung Mong-joo’s men attack the two palanquins. But unknown to them, Bang-won has escaped with his father on a different route.
While Jeong Do-jeon and his followers are being transferred from their places of exile back to the capital, Bang-won and his father are able to find refuge in a scholar’s house. But the scholar turns out to be Jung Mong-joo’s follower.

Cheok Sa-kwang warns Moo-hyul to stay away from Jung Mong-joo, or else she will have to kill him. Later, Moo-hyul seeks Master Hong’s advice on any weakness of Goksan swordsmanship.

Yi Seong-gye meets Jung Mong-joo and tries to convince him of the need for establishing Joseon. But Jung Mong-joo refuses to betray Goryeo and doesn’t apologize for any of his actions.

Jung Mong-joo tells King Gonyang that he will take full responsibility for executing Jeong Do-jeon, Officer Nam Eun, Jo Joon, and Lee Shin Jeok. The executions are then set for the next morning.

Episode 36: The bridge

Episode 35 recap:

Bang-won manages to convince the scholar of his father’s righteous cause and Lee Saek’s failures. The scholar later on helps them get back to the capital.

Despite his father’s order, Bang-won takes with him Bang-ji, Young-kyu, and several other men to kill Jung Mong-joo.

While Bang-ji and Sa-kwang are fighting to the death on the mountain, Bang-won confronts Jung Mong-joo at the bridge. When Jung Mong-joo refuses to change his mind about Goryeo, Bang-won orders Young-kyu to kill him.

Except for Boon-yi and Da-kyung, everyone else blames Bang-won. The Sungkyungkwan scholars incite the people and petition the King to execute Bang-won. Government officials start resigning en masse in protest against Jung Mong-joo’s murder.

With the people’s sentiments turning against them, Jeong Do-jeon proposes to Yi Seong-gye a radical solution.

Episode 37: Changing the sky

Episode 36 recap:

Moo-hyul joins Bang-ji’s fight against Sa-kwang. Charging head-on, he falls over a cliff with Sa-kwang (see the 2:57 mark of the video below).

Enraged, Yi Seong-gye reprimands Bang-won for killing Jung Mong-joo, and Jeong Do-jeon says that Bang-won no longer has a place in establishing Joseon.

Jeong Do-jeon blames himself for Jung Mong-joo’s death and questions Confucianism’s validity.

But later on, Jeong Do-jeon proposes to Yi Seong-gye that they petition the King to proclaim Jung Mong-joo as a traitor and to hang his head on the Palace walls.

With Jung Mong-joo dead and Sa-kwang missing, King Gongyang gives in to Jeong Do-jeon and Yi Seong-gye’s demand; he declares Jung Mong-joo a traitor and orders his head to be displayed on a pole outside the city gates.

After collapsing on the street, Jeong Do-jeon goes to an inn to eat something. With Bang-ji guarding outside, he goes to a room, but unknown to him, Yeon-hyang is in the next room.

Later on, Yi Seong-gye becomes King Taejo, the first King of Joseon. But government services are crippled with Jung Mong-joo’s followers having resigned en masse.

King Taejo immediately uses one of Jeong Do-jeon’s reforms — the civil service examinations that aim to select people for government positions based on merit, not on class or influence.

Affected by what Yeon-hyang said, Jeong Do-jeon orders Yeon-hee to study all the historical records from the Silla Empire that could shed light on Nameless (“Moomyung”). Yeon-hee takes the opportunity to try reconciling Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-won.

When hundreds of scholars begin disappearing from the capital, the rumors begin spreading that they will unite with the remnants of the Goryeo royal family.

Episode 38: The Crown Prince

Episode 37 recap:

King Gonyang is deposed, ending the Goryeo dynasty; Cheok Sa-Kwang returns to his side, after having promised Moo-hyul that she will not take revenge for Jung Moo-joo’s death.

The reform fails when all the scholars from Sungkyungkwan and other schools boycott the exam. Meanwhile, some 300 to 400 scholars have resigned and put up their own village outside the capital. With more people arriving at the village, Jeong Do-jeong allows Bang-won to talk to and try to persuade the scholars to return. But Bang-won orders his men to burn down the village.
After burning down the village, Bang-won orders Moo-hyul and Young-kyu to arrest and lock up the remaining scholars.

Conflict arises between Boon-yi and Yeon-hee when Hwasadan warriors beat up one of Boon-yi’s men who was watching a Buddhist temple that’s affiliated with Nameless. Yeon-hee advises Boon-yi to disband her group.

King Taejo’s eldest son Bang-woo refuses to be the Crown Prince, putting the royal succession in crisis. All of King Taejo’s sons are now eligible to be the Crown Prince, with various people and parties — Jeong Do-jeon, Jo Joon, the Min family, the Queen — advocating for their respective choice.

In a meeting of the top leaders of Nameless, Yeon-hyang declares war on Jeong Do-jeon, saying that his plans of regulating private merchants threatens the group’s existence. Having lost Hwasadan, she also activates a new intelligence-gathering group.

Bothered by what Yeon-hee said, Boon-yi confronts Bang-won about how he has changed. But Bang-won challenges her back, saying that she herself has changed. Later, based on Boon-yi’s report, Bang-won storms into Biguk Temple and threatens to kill Jukryong.

Episode 39: Alliances

Episode 38 recap:

Bang-won orders the food supply cut off, and soon, the starving scholars give up and resentfully return to their posts.

Moo-hyul and Young-kyu discuss the morality of their recent acts.

A Buddhist monk (who turns out to be part of Nameless) warns Queen Sindeok that her son Bang-seok will die at an early age if he doesn’t become the Crown Prince.

Bang-won finds out that Nameless manipulated the choice for Bang-seok as Crown Prince. But Yeon-hyang assures Bang-won that their larger plan is for him to seize power later on.

Jeong Do-jeon tells King Taejo that he will support Bang-seok as Crown Prince only if he’s appointed as military commander with full power and authority.
As they leave Biguk Temple, Moo-hyul asks Bang-won if he’s really joining forces with Nameless. When Young-kyu sees that a Hwasadan spy is following them, Bang-won orders Moo-hyul to kill the spy.

At the next assembly, King Taejo appoints his youngest son Bang-seok as Crown Prince and Jeong Do-jeon as the overall military commander and the Crown Prince’s tutor. He also approves the posting all over the capital of the list of people who contributed to the founding of Joseon.

Moo-hyul and Young-kyu are also appointed to government positions.

Yeon-hee urges Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-ji to ask Boon-yi to disband her group. Later, Boon-yi goes to see Bang-won to tell him about her decision. But as they’re arguing and Bang-won professes his love for her, Min Da-kyung overhears them.

Hotheaded as usual, Jo Joon urges Jeong Do-jeon to execute deposed King Gongyang and all members of the Goryeo royal family.

Yook-san and Cho-young begin preparing the Mansang Merchant Group in Kyangge as the new intelligence group of Nameless.

To the surprise of all the ministers, King Taejo orders Jeong Do-jeon to go to the northern region and inspect its defenses. Despite Boon-yi’s hesitation, Min Da-kyung orders her to send some of her men to follow and spy on Jeong Do-jeon.

Episode 40: The two envelopes

Episode 39 recap:

When Moo-hyul hesitates, Young-kyu kills the spy.

Bang-won’s name is excluded from the government posters crediting all those responsible for establishing Joseon.

Boon-yi tells Bang-won that she chooses Jeong Do-jeon. Bang-won pleads with her, and Da-kyung tells Bang-won that he must take Boon-yi as his concubine.

Jeong Do-jeon disguises himself as a merchant to contact the Jurchen chiefs. While on the mission, he meets Yooksan.
Jeong Do-jeon suspects that the Mansang Merchant Group is part of Nameless; he orders the Kyangge magistrate to arrest all the merchants. He sends the red envelope to Yeon-hee through a Hwasadan spy, but the envelope gets stolen.

After Prince Hwean (“Bang-gan”) and Lord Min bring Bang-won to him, King Taejo asks Bang-won pointblank if he’s working with Nameless.

In the palace, Young-kyu overhears Lee Shin Jeok arguing with Officer Nam Eun about how Jeong Do-jeon has bypassed the State Tribunal in favor of Hwasadan. He reports it immediately to Bang-won.

At the cave, Boon-yi confronts Jeong Do-jeon and Bang-won; she wants no more killings and wants to leave with her followers.

Lee Shin Jeok swears his allegiance to Bang-won, but Bang-won rejects him. saying that he is Jeong Do-jeon’s spy. Meanwhile, Yeon-hee finds out where Cho-young is hiding, and Jeong Do-jeon sends his men to arrest her.

Episode 41: Cho-young

Episode 40 recap:

A Nameless agent kills Seon-dol (Boon-yi’s follower), but Seon-dol has already passed on the red envelope to somebody else.

The red envelope ends up in Boon-yi’s hands. After grieving over Seon-dol, she meets Bang-won and Jeong Do-jeon in the cave.

After a tense verbal confrontation with Bang-won, Jeong Do-jeon offers to settle Boon-yi and her followers in Banchon, the village of servants for Sungkyungkwan.

Bang-won gets caught in a trap with Shin-jeok and Cho-young (former head of Hwasadan). Arresting him are Jeong Do-jeon and King Taejo himself.
While Lee Shin-jeok and Cho-young are being tortured, Bang-won pleads his innocence with King Taejo.

Jeong Do-jeon, Officer Nam Eun, and Yeon-hee launch an operation to capture the leaders of Nameless, to implicate Bang-won, and to deal with deposed King Gongyang and the remnants of the Goryeo royal family.

Through a Hwasadan spy leading the way, Bang-ji, Officer Nam Eun, and soldiers follow in the woods a Nameless warrior who’s carrying Cho-young’s letter. Later, while searching on his own, Bang-ji stumbles upon a cave.

With the intercession of Lee Ji Ran, Bang-won finally gets King Taejo’s permission to interrogate Cho-young.

As King Taejo agonizes over what to do with Bang-won, Officer Nam Eun and Jo Joon inform him of a crisis with the Ming Dynasty.

Episode 42: The Hidden Root

Episode 41 recap:

Gil Seon-mi kills the Hwasadan spy, and Yooksan escapes. Inside the cave, Bang-ji finally meets his mother Yeon-hyang. She tells Bang-ji that if he and Boon-yi continue to serve Jeong Do-jeon, then he must kill her someday.

At the State Tribunal prison, Lee Shin Jeok strangles Cho-young to death.

Bang-won agrees to go to the Ming capital, but at the border, he’s arrested along with Ha Ryun, Master Hong, and Moo-hyul.
Zhu Di (4th son of Ming Emperor Hongwu) arrests Bang-won and the Joseon entourage; when his bodyguards threaten Bang-won, Moo-hyul goes to Bang-won’s defense. Later on, to save their lives, Moo-hyul engages one of Zhu Di’s men in a gladiator combat.

King Taejo orders the execution of deposed King Gonyang and the remnants of the Goryeo royal family.

After the capital is moved from Gaegyeong to Hanyang, Jeong Do-jeon establishes the office of historiographers who begin to compile “The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty.”

Boon-yi and her group have begun to lead comfortable lives in Banchon, as they serve the students and teachers of Sungkyungkwan and continue their intelligence-gathering work. But their peaceful days are disturbed when someone from Banchon beats a Sungkyungkwan teacher and steals the document that Jeong Do-jeon asked to be transcribed.

A State Tribunal officer and his men threaten Boon-yi and try to force their way into Banchon to arrest the culprit; Gil Seon-mi also goes to Banchon.

Later on, Boon-yi stumbles upon a secret, late-night gathering of Confucian scholars and Sungkyunkwan students, with Jeong Do-jeon urging them to become the foundation of Joseon.

Episode 43: Bang-won’s move

Episode 42 recap:

Moo-hyul wins the gladiator match against Zu Dhi’s warrior. With Yeon-hyang’s help, Bang-won and his party are allowed to pass through Liaodong. But Moo-hyul must be left behind to serve as Zhu Di’s bodyguard. Bang-won tells Moo-hyul that, with Master Hong’s help, he must become the best swordsman in Zhu Di’s army.

After King Gongyang is strangled to death, Cheok Sa-kwang takes his children and hides in Banchon.

Jeong Do-jeon establishes “The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty.”

Boon-yi refuses to allow government officials and soldiers to search Banchon for the Nameless spy. (The spy is later on killed by Gil Seon-mi.)

Jeong Do-jeon and other Confucian scholars establish the “Hidden Root.”

Bang-won goes back to Joseon after his Ming exile. As he and his entourage enter the capital’s gate, he’s met by Lord Min and Min Da-kyung, with Boon-yi watching from afar.

King Taejo has approved Jeong Do-jeon’s reform of banning private armies and establishing a unified Joseon army. But some government officials and nobles, including Lee Ji Ran, Young-kyu, and King Taejo’s sons, refuse to disband their private armies.

Moo-hyul spends some happy time with his grandmother, Master Hong, Gap Boon, Bang-ji, and Boon-yi. But later on that night, he is shocked to see Cheok Sa-kwang in Banchon.

After visiting with Young-kyu the secret storage place in Banchon, Bang-won runs into Boon-yi.

Minister Lee Chan Soo (the scholar whom Bang-won humiliated in Doomondong village) accuses Bang-won of misrepresenting himself to Ming as Joseon’s Crown Prince. Those who went with him like Ha Ryun, Master Hong, and Moo-hyul are arrested and tortured.

King Taejo and Queen Sindok rush to Crown Prince Bang-seok’s quarters upon learning that Bang-won has entered the palace with Young-kyu, who’s carrying a hidden weapon.

Episode 44: Jeong Do-jeon’s counter-move

Episode 43 recap: Bang-won visits Boon-yi in Banchon and gives her an ornate Ming hair pin.

Moo-hyul sees Sa-kwang in Banchon; she pleads with him not to disclose her identity.

To save Ha-Ryun, Master Hong, and Moo-hyul, Bang-won prostrates himself in front of the Crown Prince Bang-seok’s Palace. Bang-seok rushes to him and pleads with King Taejo to release Bang-won’s men.

At the next assembly, a letter from Ming is read before King Taejo and the ministers. Ming demands that Jeong Do-jeon be sent there to answer for his crime of insulting the Emperor.
Bang-won, Min Da-kyung, and Lord Min prepare their people and the resources for the coming fight with Jeong Do-jeon. They get the support of the scholar who has won over to his side the disciples of the late Prime Minister Lee Saek. They also get admitted into Sungkyungkwan the scholar who helped Bang-won and his father hide from Cheok Sa-kwang and Jung Mong-joo’s men.

Government ministers and Confucian scholars are divided on whether to send Jeong Do-jeon to Ming. But Bang-won, through Ha Ryun and the Sungkyungkwan scholars, increases the pressure on Jeong Do-jeon.

Jeong Do-jeon tells Bang-won not to be too sure of himself since he hasn’t made his own move yet. That remark begins to torment Bang-won; later, he asks Boon-yi about the contents of the red envelope that she gave to Jeong Do-jeon.

In Queen Sindok’s dying moments, she pleads with Bang-won to protect Crown Prince Bang-seok.

In Banchon, Cheok Sa-kwang tries to get into the secret storage room, but Moo-hyul chances upon her.

As King Taejo leaves the Palace and Jeong Do-jeon disappears, Bang-won meets with the leaders of Nameless.

Episode 45: The gifts

Episode 44 recap:

Bang-won and Ha Ryun can’t believe that Jeong Do-jeon is seriously thinking about planning an expedition to conquer Liaodong. They think that he will just use the expedition to push through with his military reforms.

King Taejo and Jeong Do-jeon secretly meet at the old assembly hall in Gaegyeong. Jeong Do-jeon says that the circumstances of the Ming royal family favor the Liaodong expedition.

At that same time, Bang-won meets with the Nameless leaders who tell him that Jeong Do-jeon’s Liaodong expedition must be stopped at all costs.
King Taejo approves Jeong Do-jeon’s plans for a new Liaodong expedition, which will effectively dismantle all the private armies and solidify Joseon’s unified army. As the whole nation prepares for war, Jo Joon pleads with King Taejo and Jeong Do-jeon to learn from the mistakes of King Woo and General Cho-young.

A distracted Bang-won visits the palace and gives an ink stone to Crown Prince Bang-seok and herbal medicines to Jeong Do-jeon.

Young-kyu assigns to Moo-hyul and Master Hong the task of secretly gathering more weapons and placing them in the secret storage room.

When King Taejo’s sons and other nobles who have private armies boycott the grand military training, King Taejo vows to punish them all. Later on, he orders his sons, Lee Ji Ran, and their military officers to attend a formal ceremony.

As Young-kyu inspects the secret storage room, he sees a young boy (King Gongyang’s son) playing there. Hesitating at first, he raises his sword to kill the boy.

Episode 46: The preparations

Episode 45 recap:

As King Taejo’s sons, Ji Ran, and their military officers are put on the spot and pledge their allegiance, soldiers raid their houses and confiscate their weapons. Their private soldiers are mustered into Joseon’s unified army.

Cheok Sa-kwang kills Young-kyu, but King Gongyang’s son also dies.

Bang-won reveals to Moo-hyul that, years ago, he killed several of his classmates in Sungkyungkwan. He says that now, he must kill Crown Prince Bang-seok and Jeong Do-jeon.
Bang-won uses the 49-day mourning period for Young-kyu to plan his moves and to organize his forces.

Boon-yi discovers the weapons hidden in Banchon, and she confronts Bang-won during Young-kyu’s wake. But Bang-won tells her that she’s free to report to Jeong Do-jeon about the weapons that she found.

Moo-hyul and Master Hong are moving the weapons out of the storage room when Moo-hyul’s grandmother chances upon them. She makes Moo-hyul promise that he will not fight Bang-ji and to leave with her if things get worse. Later, one of Boon-yi’s men becomes suspicious of the cart where Moo-hyul and Master Hong have placed some of the weapons.

Yeon-hee gives Bang-ji a suit of armor that he can use, while he gives her, in return, the necklace that Moo-hyul’s grandmother gave to him.

Through Ha Ryun’s strategy, Bang-won’s forces secretly arrive in the capital. Bang-won then orders Moo-hyul and Jukryong to get Bang-ji away from Jeong Do-jeon by using Yeon-hee.

Episode 47: First strife

Episode 46 recap:

Bang-won wants to kill Jeong Do-jeon, Officer Nam Eun, and Crown Prince Bang-seok’s father-in-law before the Liaodong expedition begins.

As the curfew bell tolls, Bang-won and his men start moving out.
Gap-boon and the scribe overhear from Boon-yi’s conversation with Moo-hyul’s grandmother that Bang-won and his men are moving that night. They run to warn Bang-ji and Jeong Do-jeon.

Bang-ji catches up with Yeon-hee who’s being held hostage by Jukryong, Jo Mal-saeng, and the monks. Yeon-hee tells Bang-ji to leave her and rescue Jeong Do-jeon. But Bang-ji hesitates and drops his sword.

Bang-won, his brothers Bang-gan and Bang-gwa, and their combined forces attack Officer Nam’s vacation house and the Military Affairs Office. Later, some of their forces surround the Palace.

Cheok Sa-kwang finds the massacre in Officer Nam Eun’s vacation house. Meanwhile, Boon-yi rushes to Hwasadan to find Yeon-hee, but there, she meets Jukryong.

While Bang-won and his men are able to kill most of their targets, they can’t find Officer Nam Eun and Jeong Do-jeon.

Episode 48: Revenge

Episode 47 recap:

Yeon-hee sacrifices herself so that Bang-ji can rescue Jeong Do-jeon.

King Taejo finds out about the attacks but is too weak physically to do anything.

Jeong Do-jeon and Officer Nam Eum escape into Sungkyungkwan. Officer Nam Eum later on escapes, but Jeong Do-jeon calmly stays behind to face Bang-won and his men.

With Boon-yi watching, Bang-won kills Jeong Do-jeon.

When Moo-hyul tells Bang-ji that it was his idea to use Yeon-hee to lure him away from Jeong Do-jeon, Bang-ji attacks him more ferociously.

Bang-won and his forces attack the Palace. He then confronts a confused and crying Crown Prince Bang-seok.

Despite his physical condition, King Taejo gets up from his bed and, with his sword, threatens to kill Bang-won.

On the run, Officer Nam Eun tells Lee Shin-jeok to earn Bang-won’s trust by killing him. Meanwhile, Bang-ji is ambushed by soldiers at the place where Jeong Do-jeon’s body has been dumped.

After Bang-won gives him the authority to enter Banchon, Lee Shin-jeok orders his men to beat up Gap Boon.

Note: Video below of the sword fight between Bang-ji and Moo-hyul has some spoiler scenes starting at the 1:38 mark on how the fight will end.

Episode 49: The banquet

Episode 48 recap:

Bang-won executes his brother Crown Prince Bang-seok, with Moo-hyul watching in disbelief.

King Taejo tries to kill Bang-won, but Lee Ji Ran stops him. Later on, he abdicates, and Bang-gwa becomes King.

Contrary to Jeong Do-jeon’s last wish, Bang-ji vows revenge against Bang-won. On the other hand, Bang-won tells Ha Ryun that he will destroy Nameless.
Bang-won plans to wipe out Nameless by first eliminating its three bases and then by going after its leaders.

Bang-gwa (now King Jeongjong) is confronted by his brother Bang-gan for doing everything that Bang-won wants. Bang-gan decides to take matters into his own hands.

Vowing revenge, Cheok Sa-kwang finds out about Biguk Temple’s connection with Nameless.

Gap Boon and other residents of Banchon are arrested and tortured at the State Tribunal. Boon-yi asks Moo-hyul for help, but he can’t provide any. Guilt-ridden, Moo-hyul tells Bang-won that he can no longer serve him.

In desperation, Boon-yi pleads with Bang-won, saying that she’s willing to become his concubine if he will save her people.

When Yeon-hyang and Yooksan confirm that Bang-won will continue Jeong Do-jeon’s reforms, they start planning to kill him.

Episode 50: The finale (with spoilers)

Episode 49 recap:

Moo-hyul tells Bang-won that he can no longer serve him. Bang-won allows him to leave.

Boon-yi pleads with Bang-won and says that she’s willing to become his concubine if he will save her people. Bang-won doubts her sincerity; later on, he orders Lee Shin-jeok to set Boon-yi’s people free.

At the banquet, Yeon-hyang plans to poison Bang-won, with Bang-ji and dozens of Nameless warriors lurking nearby. But Boon-yi arrives to warn Bang-won. As they’re trying to escape, a fight breaks out between Bang-won’s men and the Nameless warriors. Bang-ji arrives to kill Bang-won, but Sa-kwang appears also, intent on kiling Yooksan and Yeon-hyang. Bang-ji turns to defend his mother.

Gil Seon-mi catches up with the fleeing Bang-won and Boon-yi. But Moo-hyul comes to their rescue.

After killing Gil Seon-mi, Moo-hyul joins Bang-ji in fighting and killing Sa-kwang.

Yeon-hyang orders Jukryong to lie low and wait for further orders. She and Bang-ji leave for Ming.

Years later ...

Bang-won (now King Taejong) and Da-kyung (Queen Wongyeong) have three children, the youngest of whom is Li Do.

When King Taejong orders all of Li Do’s books be burned, Li Do pleads with him. Echoing Boon-yi’s words, Li Do says, “As long as I live, I must be doing something.” When asked what politics is all about, Li Do says it’s all about distribution — who to get from and who to give to. These words shock King Taejong because they’re what Jeong Do-jeon said a long time ago.

King Taejong finds Moo-hyul and asks him to become Li Do’s bodyguard. Moo-hyul, later on, asks King Taejong if he wants to visit Boon-yi.

At the island, Boon-yi and her people practice communal farming, following the equal land distribution system that Jeong Do-jeon started. When she meets King Taejong, she says that she’s happy with her life.

Many years later, an old and silver-haired Boon-yi goes to the capital. She meets some people who are trying to teach children how to read and write using the 28 characters that King Sejong (Li Do) has created. She remembers what Jeong Do-jeon said about “Minbon” — if people learn how to read and write, they will truly become the root of the nation.

Boon-yi finds the forgotten grave where Jeong Do-jeon is buried. As she looks at the paper containing the 28 characters, she dies there peacefully.

Theme-based recaps by text, graphics, and videos

These theme-based recaps are meant for people who have already seen “Six Flying Dragons” but would like watch again certain scenes or episodes. For example, Bang-won gave Boon-yi two gifts — a pair of shoes (after they escaped from Hamju) and an ornate hair pin (after his Ming exile). For the romantics among you, I have embedded two videos below that show the scenes involving these two gifts.

Also, I have posted several graphics in this post relating to what some of the characters said about politics, government, the people, etc.

Overview/summary of “Six Flying Dragons” (8 minutes, no English sub)

Bang-won: from idealism to ambition

Bang-won and Moo-hyul bromance (with focus on gladiator fight in Ep. 42 but with flashbacks to scenes from other episodes)

Bang-won’s gifts to Boon-yi (shoes and hair pin)

Mark: from .28 onwards

Marks: from start to .06; .28; .34; 1:24; 1:37; 2:33

Mark: from 1:36 to 2:13

For Moo-hyul and Cheok Sa-kwang shippers

“Mu-yi-yi-ya” various versions

Ep. 2 Jeong Do-jeon and the defiant scholars sing

Korean male choir version
(as sung in Ep. 2)

Lyrics video

Byun Yo-han version

Historical backgrounders on “Six Flying Dragons” and other information

Historical characters among the six dragons: Yi Seong-gye, Jeong Do-jeon, and Bang-won

Fictional characters among the six dragons: Boon-yi, Moo-hyul, and Lee Bang-ji

Fictional characters based on historical characters: Gil Tae-mi (fictional) based on Yim Gyeon-Mi (historical); Hong In-bang (fictional) based on Yeom Heung-bang (historical); Lee In-gyeom (fictional) based on Yi In-Im (historical).

Other historical characters: Young-kyu (Bang-won’s bodyguard who killed Jung Mong-joo); Nam Eun (Jeong Do-jeon’s aide); Ha Ryun; Jung Mong-joo

References: Asianwiki and Bodashiri
1. “Why people are so fascinated by Jeong Do-jeon” interview by Korea Joongang Daily with Choi Sang-yong (emeritus professor at Korea University and Korean ambassador to Japan 2000-2002)


“Jeong was pretty much the architect behind the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), helping Yi Seong-gye (1335-1408) build the new dynasty and become its first ruler, King Taejo. However, Jeong died just six years after the foundation of Joseon, killed by Yi Bang-won (1367-1422), the son of King Taejo, in a political struggle.

“As is usually the case, history is written by the winners — and Jeong was not one of them, which is why, until now, the public and academics weren’t interested in Jeong.”

2. Related dramas:

“Deep Rooted Tree” (aka “Tree with Deep Roots” (2011)

“Jeong Do-jeon” (2014)

3. Historical backgrounders on “Six Flying Dragons” from Bodashiri

Episode 01: General Yi Seong-Gye’s family history; Jo So-Saeng is not his sworn brother; The political situation in 1375

Episode 02: Jung Do-Jeon’s song “Mu-Yi-Yi-Ya” Lyrics; The Work of Mencius; Jung Do-Jeon’s exile (1375)

Episode 03: King Gongmin and Princess Noguk; Mencius’ view on politics

Episode 04: Hong In-Bang’s “War sale”

Six answers from the SFD production team (up to ep. 4): Are they real historical figures?; What is ‘Zantgar’?; Piglets breast-fed by human milk, Is it real?; The meaning of the farce prepared by Yi In-Gyeom; Jung Do-Jeon’s song; Hong Ryun vs. Gil Tae-Mi

Episode 07: The Border Stabilization Plan (August 1383); Ancient Asian Horoscope

Episode 09: Goryeo’s two meanings; General Choi Young’s accusation against Hong In-Bang’s servant (1388)

Episode 10: Sima Wi and Zhuge Liang; Haedong Gapjok #1; The tragedy of 4 war heroes in the Red Turban invasion (January 1362); The rebellion of Heungwangsa temple (March 1363)

Episode 11: The Invasion of Hobaldo (1383)

Episode 12: Yi Seong-Gye’s siege; Nam Eun (1354-1398)

Episode 13-14: Bang-Won’s north Korean dialect; Commoners’ names - Boon-Yi and Tang-Sae; Lady Min / Queen Wongyung (1365-1420); Haedong Gapjok #2; Yi clan’s status; The courtesy in aristocratic marriage / Saju

Episode 15-16: Aristocratic names: Tang-Sae vs. Yi Bang-Ji; Yi Ji-Ran (1331-1402); Jo Ban’s rebellion (January 1388); The similarity between Hong In-Bang and Yi Bang-Won; Gunpowder in Korea / Choi Mu-Seon (1325-1395); Dynastic revolution; Mongol invasions of Korea (1231-1259)

Episode 17-18: Dodang Triumvirate - Yi In-Gyeom, Gil Tae-Mi, Hong In-Bang, Baek Yoon; The various names referring to Korea; Mokja will get the new nation; Gil Tae-Mi and the Rebellion of Heungwangsa temple (1363); Jo Min-Soo (?-1390) with Yi In-Gyeom; Mencius and Human nature; Jung Do-Jeon’s check and balance system: Samsa

Episode 19: King U of Goryeo (1365-1389); The conquest of the Liaodong peninsula (April 1388); Lady Gang / Queen Shindeok (?-1396); Rhino’s horn and composite bow

Episode 20: Choi Young (1316-1388); Tai Gong Wang (11th century BC), the angler; The meaning of “Nation” in Confucian ideology

Episode 20 Fact Check: “A white horse vs. a black horse” part is a fiction; Bang-Won and Bang-Ji were not drafted. Why?; Did Choi Young really take Yi Seong-Gye’s family hostage?; How accurate are the descriptions of Wihwa island retreat in ep. 20?; Why couldn’t Choi Young stop Yi Seong-Gye’s military coup?

Episode 21-22: Yi Seong-Gye’s character in the real history; Was his coup accidental? or premeditated?; The Seige of Gaegyung (June, 1388); Yi Bang-Won’s whereabout during the battle; General Jo Min-Soo’s choice; A children’s song to frame Yi Seong-Gye; Ha Ryun (1347-1416)

“Ha Ryun” in the history

Episode 23-24: The Red Banquet, is it true?; Ha Ryun : A Face Reader (physiognomist); Yi Sook-Beon (1373-1440); The Land Reforms #1; Jung Do-Jeon’s idea); Yi Saek’s idea; Jo Joon’s idea

Goryeo’s Land System

Episode 25-26: The bloody banquet at Dohwa mansion; Jo Min-Soo (?-1390); The social status of palace maid; Nameless, the secret organization / Buddhism; Poeun Jung Mong-Joo (1337-1392)

Episode 27: King Gongyang (1345-1394 / Reign: 1389-1392); Traitor Kim Yong (?-1363) / Joseon-era interpretation; How to appoint the government officials: Goryeo vs. Joseon

Episode 28: Kim Jeo’s rebellion (November, 1389)

Episode 29-30: Cheok Sa-Gwang; Cheok Joon-Gyeong (?-1144) - Cheok Sa-Gwang’s ancestor Pye-Ga-Ip-Jin; “Depose the fake and enthrone the authentic”; Gyu-Mok-Hwa-Sa; The flower called "Gye” will die.” Maeng-Do-Chil-Yak A meaningless phrase; Their dreams at the banquet / Yi Ji-Ran, Jo Young-Gyu, Jung Do-Jeon, Yi Bang-Woo; Classic of Changes / Book of Changes / Joo-Yeok; Jumping techniques : Chool-sang-sool vs. Chool-ha-sool; Tree with Deep Roots reference “If a king is a flower, its root is a minister.”

Episode 31-32: Topknot; “Never call my name.” / Pen names / Sambong; Jung Do-Jeon’s Constitutional Monarchy; Gyeongdeokgung Palace - Bang-Won’s new residence; Yacha - Moo-Hyul’s new nickname; The Land Reforms #2; The history of Nameless / Bidam and Yeomjong in “Queen Seondeok”

Starting with Bidam? “Nameless” in SFD Universe

Episode 33-34: The Expulsion of Buddhism - Bulssi Japbyeon (‘Buddha’s Nonsense’); Jung Do-Jeon’s Family Tree; The impeachment of Jung Do-Jeon (September, 1391); Goryeo‘s Slave System / King Taejong’s slave law; Yi Seong-Gye’s injury (March-April, 1392)

King Taejong (Yi Bang-Won) and Buddhism

Episode 35-36: Jo Mal-Saeng (1370-1447); Jung Mong-Joo (1338-1392); The Murder on Seonjuk Bridge (April, 1392); Ep. 36 Fact Check

Yi Bang-Won’s poem vs. Jung Mong-Joo’s poem: Yi Bang-Won’s Hayeoga (What if song); Jung Mong-Joo’s Dansimga (single-hearted devotion song)

Episode 37-38: The establishment of Joseon (July 17, 1392); Dumoon-dong village; Hwang Hee (1363-1452); The Crown prince issue / Joseon’s royal family (August, 1392)

Ep. 37-38 Q and A: Who is the Queen Dowager (Lady Ahn)? Why they petitioned to her?; Why do the princes get other names instead of their real names?’ Why didn’t Yi Seong-Gye pass the throne to Yi Bang-Won?; King Taejong’s abdication; What is the Hwado Gaekbang?; Who is Cheon-Ji-Bi?; King Taejo’s daughters; King Taejo’s sons - Yi Bang Ui, Yi Bang Gan

Episode 39-40: The list of founding contributors; The relationships between King Taejo and Jung Do-Jeon; The secret treaty with Jurchens; Banchon village; Boon-Yi‘s future in Tree with Deep Roots?; Bang-Won in the next episode? / Yongle Emperor

Episode 41-42: The Annals of the Joseon Dynasty; The Massacre of Wang Clan (April, 1394); The diplomatic tension between Joseon and Ming China (1394); Yi Bang-Won was sent to Ming China (June, 1394); Yi Bang-Won’s meeting with Zhu Di; Zhu Di, aka Youngle Emperor (reign 1402-1424)

Episode 43-44: Was Yi Bang-Won mistaken as the Crown Prince in Ming China?; Jo Young-Gyu (?-1395); Gwon Geun (1352-1409); Jung Do-Gwang and Maeng-Soon; Jung Do-Jeon’s Military Reforms (1396); Why did the Ming Emperor get angry? (1395-1397); Jung Do-Jeon’s Liaodong expedition; Jo Joon (1346-1405); Weapons in Banchon?; How many children does Bang-Won have by this point in time?

SFD Civil War match-up

 Episode 45-46: King Gongmin, and Sambong’s Constitutional Monarchy; Jo Young-Gyu’s death; The First Strife of Princes (August 26, 1398) - Part. 1; The Participants in the First Strife of Princes – Princes; The Participants in the First Strife of Princes - Lieges- Ha Ryun, Yi Sook-Beon, Min Brothers, Yi Geo-Yi, Yi Cheon-Woo, Park Po, Jo Mal-Saeng; Woo Hak-Joo; Minbon (“The people are the roots of the nation”); Other Tree with Deep Roots (TWDR) references; Yeon-Hee = Sambong’s woman?; How did Jung Gi-Joon get to know Yi Bang-Ji?; Why did Milbon (Hidden roots) turn nasty?

Episode 47-48: The First Strife of Princes - Part 2. History distortion; Jung Do-Jeon’s death (August 26, 1398); Jung Do-Jeon (1342-1398); King Jeongjong (1357-1419 / reign: 1398-1400); The First Strife of Princes - Part 3. Victims - Crown Prince Yi Bang-Seok (1382-1398) - Yi Bang-Beon (1381-1398) - Yi Je (1365-1398) - Nam Eun (1354-1398)

Episode 49-50: Baek Dal-Won (?-?); The Second Strife of Princes (January, 1400); The collapse of Min Clan and Queen Wongyeong (1365-1420); King Sejong the Great (1397-1450); Jung Do-Jeon’s grave; Tsushima Expedition (1419)

4. Behind the scenes

Byun Yo-han aka “Lee Bang-ji” or “Ddaeng-sae” in sword fighting practice; after clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab (no English sub).

Fans love“Cheok Sa-kwang” because she’s the only female who can challenge Bang-ji, Moo-hyul, or Jukryong in a sword fight.
(It would have been a lot of fun if she had fought Gil Tae-mi!) The video below shows the stunt double in action; after clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab (no English sub).

Promising action star — video below shows the actress who plays Hwasadan’s chief warrior; after clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on Youtube” for the video to open in a new tab (no English sub).

Lessons in photography from “Six Flying Dragons”

Partial frame, warm and cool colors, line of direction

Conveying depth through selective or differential focusing and overlapping forms

High angle shot, aerial perspective, strong vertical lines, rule of thirds

Rule of thirds, aerial perspective

Local frame. line of direction

Low angle point of view, shooting against the sun

Natural frame, foreground blur

Rule of thirds, out-of-focus highlights,
bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas in a photograph)

Sidelighting, foreground and background blur

Reflections, rule of thirds


Low angle point of view, Dutch tilt (Dutch angle)

Bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas in a photograph)

Differential or selective focusing, shallow depth of field, natural frame

Line of direction, natural frame, focus on the eyes


Silhouette, natural frame, rule of thirds

Quality and direction of light, light and shadow

Warrior Moo-hyul! (natural frame)

Conveying depth through selective or differential focusing
Shallow depth of field, line of direction
Low angle shot (low angle point of view)
Low key lighting, foreground and background blur
Sidelighting, bokeh
Shallow depth of field, background blur, line of direction

Line of direction

Bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas of a photograph)

High angle shot, Dutch tilt or Dutch angle
Keystoning, low angle shot
Shooting odd-numbered groups is easier
Low angle shot (low angle point of view)
Low angle shot (low angle point of view)
Natural frame
Natural frame
Multiple natural frames
Off-center emphasis, shallow depth of field
Natural frame (out-of-focus, partial, foreground)
Partial frame (side of the frame)
Scale, linear perspective)
High-contrast lighting, sidelighting, focus on the eyes
Symmetry, patterns, high angle shot

Dutch tilt or Dutch angle
Establishing shot, symmetry,patterns, low angle shot, keystoning
Natural frame, focal point of interest
Focal point of interest, scale, patterns,  symmetry
High angle shot
Leading lines, linear perspective
Local frame, line of direction, shallow depth of field
Low angle shot, foreground (out-of-focus-frame)
Low key lighting, chiaroscoru (interplay of light and shadow)
Low angle shot, natural frame, Dutch tilt or angle
Natural frame, shadows
Low angle shot, symmetry, patterns
Symmetry, quality and direction of light
Shooting against the light, color temperature, partial frame
bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas in a photograph)
Shooting against the light, bokeh (aesthetic quality
of blurred areas in a photograph)

Aerial perspective, foreground element
Low angle shot (low angle point of view)
Low angle shot (low angle point of view)
Symmetry, shooting odd-numbered groups is easier
Bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas in a photograph)
Cool colors
Establishing shot
Establishing shot
Out-of-focus elements as foreground frame
Leading line, low angle shot
Out-of-focus elements as foreground frame
Red is a dominant color
Selective or differential focusing
Shooting odd-numbered groups is easier
Symmetry, high angle shot
Warm and cool colors

Center the dominant eye, out-of-focus highlights, bokeh
(aesthetic quality of the blurred areas of a photograph)
Shooting against the light, out-of-focus highlights, bokeh
(aesthetic quality of the blurred areas of a photograph)