Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 11 to 15
Well, as we continue with Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011), the fix is in and, with the assistance of Queen Jungsoon (Keum Dan-Bi), Crown Prince Sado (Oh Man-Seok) gets caught in web of deceit suggesting treasonous behaviour including wearing the wrong robes. It’s the seventh claw in the shoulder design that’s the clincher. Strange the Prince was so innocent in accepting the new clothes. You would think this kind of detail would jump out at someone in this status-ridden culture. Anyway, he’s now stripped of his rank and sent to jail while Baek Dong-Soo (Ji Chang-Wook) and Yeo Woon (Yoo Seung-Ho) escort Yoo Ji-Sun (Shin Hyun-Bin) out of the place only to confront what’s left of In (Park Cheol-Min). This time the incompetent assassins manage to take Hook Sa-Mo (Park Jun Gyu) by surprise and seriously wound him. Fortunately, Kim Kwang-Taek (Jeon Kwang-Leol) arrives and chases the black-masked baddies away. He takes them to the secret hideout of Hwang Jin-Gi (Sung Ji-Ru) for medical treatment. This gives Hwang Jin-Joo (Yoon So-Yi) the chance to get into the jealousy game with Yoo Ji-Sun — they can’t both be destined to wed Baek Dong-Soo. Later Yeo Woon does his assassin thing and pretends kills three of the newly trained guards. It’s a tough life for him. Saving Baek Dong-Soo one minute and “killing” his fellow guards the next.
So now he’s out in the open, Yeo Woon betrays everyone in a long-drawn out sequence of events leading to the death of the Crown Prince at the hands of Chun (Choi Min-Su). Yoo Ji-Sun is also wounded and carried off by Chun. This leaves our hero devastated, walking around drunk and generally showing a lack of interest in continuing life — a younger version of Chun, really, but lacking the ability to fight without falling down. I suppose this clears all the dead wood out of the way. We’ve got the two “heroes” seeing each other for what they are. The Crown Prince’s son is now a target as the Noron Queen plots with Hong Dae-Joo (Lee Won-Jong) to install her father as the next king (finally, I understand the point of the palace plotting), and there’s a mess of mushy romantic issues to resolve. Hwang Jin-Joo has worked out Ji (Yun Ji-Min) is her mother (which is remarkable because they both look the same age) but, so far, Kim Kwang-Taek’s contribution is not acknowledged. If he’s later confirmed as the Daddy, it will be interesting to see how he decides to pull the several rabbits out of the hat and reconcile everyone’s relationships.
To boost the sales of tissues, the script gets all weepy as first Hwang Jin-Joo is reconciled with her mother and then pulls the self-pitying Baek Dong-Soo out of his terminal decline. The boy still doesn’t have a lick of sense and can’t fight his way out of a paper bag, but he’s finally got wind of Yoo Ji-Sun’s survival (that damn map tattooed on her back still has the Chinese all fired up). So now he’s pitching himself into battle again without any thought of how he can escape. In the meantime, In is plotting to discredit Chun and leap into the leadership of Hoksa Chorong. This leads into a complicated stand-off on the jetty where the Qing ambassador is trying to leave the country with Yoo Ji-Sun. This tests everyone’s loyalty. There’s the now mandatory fight to a draw between Baek Dong-Soo and Yeo Woon, and then our hero breaks the standoff by burning the tattoo on Yoo Ji-Sun’s back with a flaming brand so no-one gets the benefit. This is remarkable because the flames destroy the tattoo without damaging her clothing in any meaningful way. In endless speeches, he now declaims anyone can change their destiny if they have the will. All they have to do is set fire to themselves or others as the case requires.
So now we get into a realignment. The Sky Lord Chun and his bottle of booze that, magically, never needs replenishing, takes off to test his skills against the best of the rest around Korea leaving Yeo Woon in charge. Kim Kwang-Taek leads the now sober and completely boring Baek Dong-Soo off into the mountains so they can produce the definitive form of martial arts. Yoo Ji-Sun starts a merchant trading group with the help of Hwang Jin-Joo, Hwang Jin-Gi and his bandits (now reformed as apprentice traders). And what’s left of the original military trainees enter the civil service examinations, pass and enter the palace where they can covertly protect the heir. Three years pass in the blink of a scriptwriter’s eye and Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) is looking like an increasingly leaky ship that will sink before arriving in port. The real problem lies in the unappealing nature of the primary characters. Ji Chang-Wook starts off as the superficial braggart with no skills and we’re now to see him as reformed and instantly likeable. Yoo Seung-Ho is doing is best but the script is not allowing him to be obviously good or bad. It’s impossible to root for him to be good if he really is good from the outset. Jeon Kwang-Leol is the epitome of cool and never says anything unless it’s absolutely necessary. He does smile wistfully but that’s not enough. Yoon So-Yi has the best part as the tomboy with a crush on our hero and Shin Hyun-Bin has never smiled, walking around as if death can’t come quickly enough to release her from this burden.
For reviews of the other episodes, see:
Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 1 to 5
Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 6 to 10
Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 16 to 20
Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 21 to 25
Warrior Baek Dong Soo or Musa Baek Dong Soo (2011) episodes 26 to end