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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 4

2015/10/13

The ending of the last episode was gloomy, and the denouement we get here is almost enough to make us consider that maybe Bang-won has gone too far. It's at that point that the perspective more fully shifts to Ttang-sae (played by Yoon Chan-young), the street urchin with more important parentage than he could have possibly guessed. Ttang-sae is given a brief respite from destiny, but then we see what happens to those who don't fight the Goryeo regime as Bang-won did. They get crushed anyway.

Once again "Six Flying Dragons" gets into pretty grim territory. The morose horror is pretty well deserved though. As is made very clear, for the bad guys, there isn't even anything that unusual about the transaction that sets Ttang-sae on the road to vengeance. They do this stuff every day, and care little for such concepts as consent of the governed. Why use diplomacy when force will get the job done?

Writers Kim Yeong-hyeon and Park Sang-yeon are presenting us with a world where power is so blatantly and vilely abused that outright murder is easy enough to justify- on the part of the heroes. Even when he's not on screen Seong-gye's presence is quite palpable. He represents the good man who is willing to do nothing for the sake of honor and loyalty. Bang-won and Ttang-sae represent the frustration of youth in this context, and how they have limits to the indignity they will suffer even as it obviously turns them both toward the dark side.

This all makes one heck of a contrast with the cinematography. The village where Ttang-sae lives is this huge majestic landscape. Before and after tragedy, there's this simple beauty in the background that's hard to ignore. But Ttang-sae can only see it as long as there is something worth living for. Ttang-sae experiences shame and humiliation with little keeping him going except the resolve for vengeance, however much blood that goal will take.

The material in "Six Flying Dragons" is, as always, incredibly dark and borderline horrific. The production team is in no mood to offer us any kind of easy platitudes. This episode represents the close of the prequel aspect of the story, and it's abundantly clear that the purpose of this context is to make our lead characters seem less, well, evil. Even if the real war hasn't started yet, Bang-won and Ttang-sae have already seen too much. For them, there can be no negotiation, and no mercy.

Review by William Schwartz

"Six Flying Dragons" is drected by Sin Kyeong-soo written by Kim Yeong-hyeon, Park Sang-yeon and features Kim Myung-min, Yoo Ah-in, Shin Se-kyung, Byun Yo-han, Yoon Kyun-sang and Chun Ho-jin

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