War Never Changes
Following last week’s double bill of action, Netflix’s latest historical epic My Country: The New Age returns with another action-packed episode. With plenty of sword fighting, tension and bubbling rivalries, My Country does well to keep things exciting while advancing the plot at a decent pace.
We begin with Hee-Jae confronting Sun-Ho over Hwa being sent to the battlefield. As rain lashes down around them, he lies and tells her Hwa decided to go on his own accord. Not long after, Sun-Ho himself prepares for battle.
It’s here we cut to the battlefield as Hwa navigates the endless piles of bodies and staves off attacks from rogue enemies. After smashing someone’s skull in with a rock, he pulls himself out a deep trench and looks upon the carnage in disbelief. Handed a bow, he’s ordered to shoot the enemies before snapping out of his trance and doing his best to fight.
In the aftermath of the big battle, Hwa pleads with the commander to help cure a dying man on the battlefield. After a touching moment between the two, the man passes away. As he looks out upon the heavens and prays to get back to Seo Yeon, Sun-Ho arrives at the battlefield. While they discuss dysentery in the ranks, Hwa heads off on a mission of his own with Chi-Do, where he successfully manages to snipe the enemy commander in his camp. Unfortunately, Chi-Do is injured in the aftermath of the skirmish, prompting Hwa to tend to his wounds. As he does, he notices a black snake tattoo; he was the leader of the Black Snake Unit which belonged to the former Northern Punitive Force.
Back at the camp, Hwa tells them what happened. Despite being told there’s no proof, the soldiers help Hwa carry Chi-Do into a tent and the doctor patches him up. There, he awakens and gives Hwa the General’s armour. Hidden within is a letter bearing a strange, red sigil.
Meanwhile Hee-Jae leaves Ihwaru, but not before finding out Seo Seol has been sick for 10 years. It turns out she’s been holding back her coughs all this time to make sure she isn’t aware of her condition.. As Hee-Jae leaves, revenge comes swift on the battlefield for Hwa, as she takes control of the men and tells them to use long spears to take the horses out. Rallying the men and using a mix of bravery and quick thinking, he manages to take out several enemies, including the enemy general, before being shot in the chest. As he breathes heavily, he looks out and sees the enemies retreat. For now at least, the advance party have been successful in staving off the attack.
In the aftermath of the fighting, Hwa has his wound attended to by the doctor after digging graves for the lost men. After being patched up, he returns to Chi-Do and tells him about the losses they’ve experienced. As an advanced party for the army it was always going to be tough going but he tells Hwa he cannot die, no matter what.
Meanwhile Hee-Jae makes her way to The State Councilor’s Seoul Wife’s estate. As she creeps through the house, the woman holds Hee-Jae up at knife-point before revealing herself as Lady Kang. Hee-Jae offers up her services to protect her until the conquest is over.
On the cliff-edge, Hwa and Sun-Ho exchange notes via a bow and arrow. “How long can you hold out?” Sun-Ho asks, “Until everyone here is dead”, Hwa replies defiantly. With this news, Sun-Ho discusses what to do with the General. With 20 men and Sun-Ho leading them, he’s told to take care of the advanced party while they retreat back.
After crossing the river, they make it into the camp as Sun-Ho watches on from afar. They head in and stab the sleeping soldiers before Chi-Do comes face to face with the General. Warning the other soldiers, they fight back as the two sets of soldiers come to blows. As the episode closes out, Sun-Ho and Hwa crash swords together and come face to face once more.
With an action-packed dose of drama, My Country: The New Age does well to keep things suitably exciting and fast-paced here. Some of the sweeping shots of the battlefield are truly breathtaking too and seeing these aerial vantage points of the chaos really does well to give a sense of scale to the carnage surrounding the soldiers. It’s particularly humbling for Hwa too, who finds himself conflicted on the battlefield and out of his comfort zone in the bleakness of the fighting around him.
While Hee-Jae doesn’t have a whole lot to do in this episode, there’s enough here to make for a thoroughly enjoyable slice of drama nonetheless. Quite what will happen next remains to be seen but for now, My Country continues to deliver the goods.