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Jackpot: Episode 1

Jackpot (also known as Daebak) premiered yesterday as SBS’ newest sageuk offering after six months of Six Flying Dragons, and it’s a solid first showing, filled with lush visuals, loads of characters, and no shortage of personal vendettas. It’s certainly a lot at once, but at least it’s a good indicator that we’re dealing with a very full and lively world.

How lively? For starters, I never thought I’d be praising such nicely done crowd scenes (having not known those were a thing), yet here I am, praising some really well done crowd scenes which actually do go a long way toward making the events on screen come to life. I also admit to not knowing what a gambling drama set in Joseon would look like before coming into this, but Jackpot pretty much nails it visually, and promises plenty of fun to go with its high stakes. Count me in.

SONG OF THE DAY

Block B – “잭팟 (Jackpot)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 1 RECAP

“The throne is the apex of power,” a regally dressed woman we’ll meet later says from her spot by the throne. But the king whom we first see sitting in it, KING SUKJONG (Choi Min-soo), disappears.

“There is the one who wants to protect the throne,” her narration continues, as KING YEONGJO (Yeo Jin-gu) materializes in Sukjong’s place.

“Then there is the one who wants to overtake the throne,” she adds, as the man in question, YI INJWA (Jeon Gwang-ryul) overlooks a large-scale battle taking place in the palace. The chyron tells us that this is the year 1728, the year of Injwa’s infamous rebellion against King Yeongjo.

We switch over to meet BAEK DAE-GIL (Jang Geun-seok), as he plays a game of Joseon chess with his teacher, who just so happens to be Yi Injwa. The voiceover introduces Dae-gil as “The one who obstructs the way.” Presumably she means for Yi Injwa.

Their play styles differ when it comes to which pawns to sacrifice in order to gain the other player’s king, with Dae-gil being of the mind that one doesn’t need to sacrifice all their soldiers in order to win.

Injwa, on the other hand, is more than happy to sacrifice his pawns in order to win, though the talk quickly turns from the game to the real-life game Injwa seems to be playing.

Dae-gil knows that Injwa wants the throne, that he’d do anything to get it, which is a charge Injwa doesn’t refute: “The only way to bring change to this corrupt land of Joseon is from the throne.”

“We don’t need a king who dishonors his people,” Dae-gil returns quickly. But Injwa warns him that, should he get in his way, he’ll be merciless in dealing with him. Dae-gil knows that Injwa is the type who’d kill anyone in his way, so he dares him to just kill him now.

Injwa’s right-hand man runs toward Dae-gil with his sword drawn, but is blocked at the last second by Dae-gil’s man. Dae-gil doesn’t even blink as their swords fly inches over his head, his eyes fixed on Injwa’s in a challenging stare.

One of the men’s swords gets cut in half, the tip landing straight in the midst of the board. Injwa grabs the blade with his bare hand (why do they always do that?), and says they’ll meet again in the capital, which is where he’s headed.

Dae-gil, noticeably less intense, sighs that Injwa sure talks like the nobleman he is. “But in this world,” he says as he picks up one of the chess pieces, “the people always win.”

1693, the Joseon capital of Hanyang. The woman who will later be known as CHOI SUKBIN (Yoon Jin-seo, but for now we’ll call her by her birth name, BOK-SOON) finds her errant husband, BAEK MAN-GEUM feeding his gambling addiction in a local gibang, and drags him out to answer for it.

He’s sheepishly apologetic, though it’s clear that this is a conversation they’ve had many times before. He claims to be a nobleman despite his poor state of attire, which likely means he’s gambled away what little fortune they might’ve once had. Even so, he hopes his wife will bless their union with a child, promising that he’ll be able to feed their family.

While on her way home with that night’s dinner, Bok-soon begins to grow suspicious that she’s being followed. She’s right, unfortunately, since the man following her covers her face with a drugged cloth before dragging her into the darkness.

Man-geum, meanwhile, gets manhandled by the gibang guards when he tries to run out without paying his debt. But he’s stopped when the shrewd HONG MAE (Yoon Ji-hye), mistress of the gibang, threatens to kill him if he doesn’t pony up.

She can’t help but laugh when he says he will pay her, her silver tooth gleaming. “How are you going to do that?” she wonders. “Are you going to sell your wife?” A dim lightbulb goes off above Man-geum’s head as he dumbly agrees. Hong Mae, smelling a good deal, gives him one hundred nyang in advance.

Man-geum uses that money to gain entrance to a packed underground gambling casino, Joseon style. His wife, meanwhile, awakes in a storage room owned by none other than Injwa, who’s had his eye on her ever since spotting her at the gibang.

He knows everything about her family situation, but what seems of most interest to him is her current status as a palace maid. He gives her a closed loop of what looks to be hundreds of nyang, making her husband’s sum seem paltry in comparison.

“You won’t have to starve anymore,” he says, adding that this money will free her from all her current worries. We don’t hear what he wants in return, but I’d venture a guess that it’s something only she can do for him as a palace maid.

Man-geum leaves the casino the next morning empty-handed, while his wife locks away the money Injwa gave her. She completes the task he asks of her the next morning, by placing a lotus leaf atop the shoes of the deposed, late Queen Inhyun (who Sukjong deposed then partially reinstated due to the influence of the now-infamous consort Jang Heebin) in a place where King Sukjong will be able to see them on his morning walk.

She catches the intense gaze of King Sukjong himself and falls to the ground in a bow as he stalks toward her. Injwa’s given her very exact instructions on how to meet the king’s gaze and for how long, which she follows to the letter.

King Sukjong examines the lotus leaf before coming to stand in front of Bok-soon to ask why she placed it there. Just as Injwa instructed, she holds the king’s gaze for three breaths at a time, three apparently being the magic number needed in order to capture his heart.

Answering the king’s question, Bok-soon tells him she put the lotus leaf atop the late queen’s shoes because it’s what Queen Inhyun would do on rainy days. They’re interrupted with the arrival of JANG OK-JUNG (Oh Yeon-ah), otherwise known as Jang Heebin (the “heebin” denoting her rank as a royal consort).

After having a likeness of Bok-soon painted for his own enjoyment, King Sukjong is joined by retained KIM YI-SOO (Song Jong-ho) for a bit of royal archery.

Yi-soo tries to convince the king that the praise spoken by the nearby ministers when it comes to his aim is sincere, but the king has no love for them. They want a puppet, not a king, he claims, and so he plans to get rid of them at the soonest and best opportunity. “That is called politics, Yi-soo,” he adds somewhat patronizingly.

But Yi-soo has no love for the king, which stems from losing his family in the past, presumably because of something King Sukjong did. In the present, he turns his bow and arrow on the king, blaming him for all the lives sacrificed in his unworthy name.

King Sukjong, unfazed, simply asks Yi-soo why he hasn’t released the arrow. Yi-soo, shaking in rage, lets it fly… straight into the wooden practice targets. Of course, the entire sequence was only in his mind, though he has to caution himself to hold his rage in until the day the king can be killed.

Flashback to Yi-soo practicing his archery under Injwa’s tutelage for the day he might use those skills against the king. Assuring him that he’d have his revenge on King Sukjong one day, Injwa cautioned him to be patient until then, words that Yi-soo tries to live by now.

King Sukjong addresses Bok-soon by name when he sees her on the palace grounds, adding that he looks forward to seeing her again. Meanwhile, her errant husband finds the money she stowed away. Uh oh.

Bok-soon finds Injwa in the market to ask if he actually thinks the king will invite her, a married woman of low birth, to share his bed. Injwa adds that she’s not technically married when Man-geum won her in a game, but to her, it’s practically the same.

Switching tactics, Injwa asks who she’d prefer if given the choice: her gambling addicted husband, or the king of Joseon? But she still believes in the vow she made to Man-geum, and says she’ll return Injwa’s money. “Don’t go too far,” Injwa calls after her retreating form. “You’ll just end coming back.”

He’s right, since she ends up going back to him after finding out that her husband sold his noble name and gambled away all her money. “What should I do?” she cries, falling to her knees. “I can’t live like this anymore.”

“Become the king’s woman,” Injwa answers. So she does just that, easily capturing the king’s affections even as a palace maid. He’s happy to walk the palace grounds holding her hand, though it makes her so uncomfortable that she pulls it away from him.

When he asks why she’s hesitant to be with him, she falls to her knees and tells him that she has a husband. The king, in return, orders men to look into her family—and, most of all, her husband.

They tell him her sad life story of being sold to Man-geum and basically becoming his glorified, hard-working slave. They also tell him how Man-geum came from a noble family only to gamble away whatever money he once had, and even money he frequently steals from Bok-soon.

Bok-soon, meanwhile, is forced to face the ire of King Sukjong’s current favorite, Jang Heebin. She sends the maid out of the palace with a firm warning, and it’s outside the gates that she’s found by Hong Mae, who’s come to collect her husband’s debt.

Yi-soo, acting under orders from Injwa, baits the king in regards to having something done about Man-geum. In the meantime, Man-geum’s addiction has become so bad that Bok-soon catches him trying to sell their jade wedding rings to feed his habit.

This is the last straw for Bok-soon, who’s heard nothing but empty promises from him since the moment she was given to him. Now, she tosses the jade rings back to him so he can do as he wants with them. Offering him one last formal bow, she leaves him.

Hong Mae waits outside, apparently having made some sort of deal with Bok-soon. She’s taken some sort of custody of Bok-soon, but out of residual fondness for Man-geum, she tells him of a gambler he’s sure to beat if he comes back to her casino.

The gambler she speaks of is none other than King Sukjong in disguise, though if Hong Mae knows that, she certainly doesn’t act like it when he comes to the casino. She sets it up so that Sukjong can play privately against Man-geum, whom she sends into the room with him.

King Sukjong plays cards with Man-geum while Yi-soo hovers nearby, already having told him what he’d need to do in order to bait and hook Man-geum. Turns out, all you need to hook a gambling addict is money, which Sukjong has plenty of.

Yi-soo’s strategy was for King Sukjong to draw Man-geum firmly in by spending loads of money, though it’s hard to see how a man who was willing to sell even his good name wouldn’t be drawn in by even the tiniest amount.

Either way, Man-geum’s eyes go wide when King Sukjong opens his chest of silver bullion, which the king (in disguise!) claims is just money he doesn’t have anything else to do with.

But since he’s terrible at cards, and doesn’t know any of the other games Man-geum mentions, he makes up a game instead. They’ll pour wine and water into similar bottles, and will try to pick which bottle contains the wine. It’s fair, it gives an even fifty-fifty chance, and there’s a boatload of money for whoever wins.

Of course, that means Man-geum has to match the insane amount of money King Sukjong is betting, though by now he’s so sure that his opponent has no skill at gambling that he’s willing to risk it all.

When the two bottles are presented, he picks the one without condensation, naturally assuming that wine would be already acclimated to room temperature. With these winnings, he hopes to finally be able to keep the promise he made to take care of his wife.

The bottle he picks is indeed filled with wine, so Man-geum wins this round. As they play, Bok-soon is led into the casino to meet with Injwa, who asks if she’s made up her mind.

King Sukjong keeps losing to Man-geum, who becomes more and more emboldened with each win. So when the disguised king asks to play one last game—another fifty-fifty chance, this time based on spinning a nyang coin and basically calling the Joseon equivalent of heads or tails before it falls.

Man-geum recognizes the proffered coin as one he’s had great success with in past coin-spinning games, since he knows it’ll land on its back nine times out of ten. So when King Sukjong ups the bet, Man-geum can’t help but match it, sure that he’ll win.

Man-geum calls that the coin will land backs-up, leaving King Sukjong to call fronts-up. It’s Sukjong who sends the coin spinning, and the two men watch intently as its rotation slows until it falls, landing fronts-up. Sukjong wins this round.

But that only serves to make Man-geum want to play another, absolutely positive that his opponent just got lucky. In reality, the coin King Sukjong offered was one Yi-soo gave to him, designed/rigged especially to fall fronts-up.

Man-geum spins the coin this time, though it again falls fronts-up. Even though he’s lost, he decides to play one last round, and bets everything he has left. Hong Mae uses this time to remind Man-geum that his life belongs to her if he loses, since he’ll need to spend the rest of his days paying her back.

Since the coin has fallen fronts-up two times, Man-geum is sure that it can’t do so a third time, so he decides to choose backs-up one more time. But only on the condition that they change coins.

He goes rooting through the pile on the table to find one he’s satisfied with, which leaves King Sukjong with no choice but to acquiesce, otherwise he’d look suspicious. So he sends it spinning, and it lands… fronts-up. Man-geum loses, again.

Left with nothing else to bet, a desperate Man-geum offers his jade wedding rings for one last round. King Sukjong says the rings themselves are of no value, but if he were to offer the woman who came with the rings instead…

After a moment of consideration, Man-geum chases King Sukjong down, yelling, “I will do it! I will bet my wife!” The casino-goers fall into a hush at his proclamation, even as the disguised king turns to make sure of Man-geum’s offer.

Her husband is unaware that his wife is watching this exchange from her spot up above, and tears fill her eyes to hear his offer. But this is exactly the offer King Sukjong was hoping he’d make, so he rises to the challenge, betting five hundred nyang against Man-geum’s wife.

The game he picks is another guessing game—they have one bottle of wine and ten cups, and whoever calls the correct number of cups the bottle will fill, wins.

Man-geum thinks back to how many times his opponent was able to refill his glass earlier, and makes his guess at seven cups. King Sukjong says six, and commences with the pouring.

At the sixth cup, Man-geum holds his breath. King Sukjong turns to pour the bottle over the seventh cup and gets only a few drops, which means his guess was correct. Man-geum has just lost everything.

King Sukjong smiles, and the woman he’s just won does the same.

 
COMMENTS

Well, I have to give King Sukjong credit for going the extra mile to (literally) win a girl, since all fiction ever had embedded in me was the belief that the only thing a king needs to do to get rid of a pesky husband is to either send them off to war or have them killed. So I was expecting something of that sort to happen here, only to be pleasantly surprised that Sukjong planned to free her of her marital vows the honest way. As honest as one can be in a completely rigged and thoroughly dishonest game, anyway.

It didn’t seem like it was Sukjong’s plan to also win over her mind however, since he seemed to have no idea she was watching the game, and certainly didn’t plan for her to be there. Even though this is all part of some greater plan by Injwa, having Bok-soon there seemed to benefit Sukjong more, by proving to her once and for all that her husband was useless. We could claim he was coerced into selling Bok-soon, but the episode’s events made it rather clear that he didn’t need a whole lot of convincing to come to that decision.

Admittedly, I wasn’t all that invested when the con began, perhaps because it seemed a little hard to believe that Injwa was able to play Sukjong’s lust/love just by telling Bok-soon how long to hold his gaze. Because if that’s the only criteria Sukjong needs to go all-in on a girl, then it seems a rather easy one to meet—or would all bets have been off if she’d held his gaze for four breaths (gasp!) instead of three?

Either way, his love at first sight is just something that had to be bought in order to enjoy the rest of the episode, and it became a much easier task when we could get behind Bok-soon and her fight for freedom. Perhaps she’s just stepping into another form of enslavement, but at least she’s using the only agency she has left in the world. Why fault a girl for that when we can fault Joseon’s oppressively patriarchal system instead?

Since the game at the end was rigged, there was a certain amount of suspense missing, even though there may have been a point or two where Sukjong wasn’t completely in control. Otherwise, it all seemed to come very easy for him, helped in no small part by Yi-soo’s manipulations as well as Injwa’s. What Yi-soo stands to gain is clear, the means a bit more ambiguous—he wants a chance to kill the king for revenge, and is simply waiting for that chance. But Injwa seems to be running a long con, and we’re only seeing the beginning of it. Then again, this is a gambling drama, so we better make our peace with God and long cons now, or never.

Overall, there’s plenty to like here, even if there’s not much subtlety in any of the hands being played. Hopefully the overtness is just a necessary byproduct of the initial world-building, and maybe we can get to a point where a character can be introduced without their complete life story right away. Sometimes less is more—but so far, so good.

 
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Thanks for the recap! Is this just a first episode recap or are you continuing this?:)

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Guys, can you read the recap?
Is it just me? But sorry Heads, but your recap doesnt appear in my phone. It just has header, title and tags.

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Wow, just as my comment was posted, its appeared. LoL.
*coveringface*

Thank you for the recap, Heads.
Daebak, fighting !!!

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So should we recommence our old hang out in SFD here? hehehe...I haven't decided whether to watch this one yet, so thanks for the recap, Heads!! It helps me decide!

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Thanks Heads!

I glossed over it just to fangirl over Choi Min Soo's commanding presence and that's about it.

I'd seriously watch it if you are recapping the rest. I don't get this married Dong Yi as Sukjong's woman.

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Lol, the fangirling mode is totally on. I guess you are watching Monster too Kiara, for the sake of Jeong Bo Seok.

I also don't get the married Dong Yi as Sukjong's woman. Looks like DOng Yi's character here will be so unfortunate.

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I know! How can they be messing with our long held fictional sageuk beliefs about Dong Yi in such a manner? I totally love it!:-) Truth be told this version might be a little more believable because nice people rarely if ever make it to the top and honestly if most sageuks have taught us anything, it is that nice women do not get to see their sons sitting on the throne, so this Dong Yi version should be interesting to watch too. I just hope I don't keep comparing this drama to SFD as I am still a little hung over :-) As always Heads thank you so much for the recaps( past and future) they make the viewing so much more interesting.

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Sera I haven't seen Monster yet but I'm hoping to check it out this weekend. Jeong Bo Seok will not be ignored hehe.

I think it'll take an episode or 2 for me to get the fairytale Dong Yi out of my head.
I like the way they met here. The real Dong Yi was more calculated than what we have seen of her in past sageuks. I don't quite see Jang Hee-bin as her usual evil portrayal either so this might be interesting.

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I am looking forward how they will interpret Dong Yi here. :)

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I am recapping the rest!

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Thanks.

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Yay! Thank you..
JGS FIGHTING!!!

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yay! more incentive to watch (in addition to the presence of yeo jingu)

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yay!! Thankyou!!

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Yay! Thanks Heads! Your recaps are awesome!

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That's great! You are my favourite recapper, Heads!

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Yey! You and sageuk are OTP! ♥

Thanks!

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Yay! Thank you <3.

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Thank you for the recaps. I enjoy historicals, but as a white girl from Miami who knows little about Korean history I miss many details with out great recapers like you.

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Same here. I love the epicness (is that word?) of the sageuk but I need a little help keeping all the characters straight. I'm so excited for the recaps.

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I get attracted to this drama after seeing the promo poster of Jang Keun Suk. I have never liked his previous guy liner looks but this one looks very nice! Hope he doesn't disappoint!

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He looks a little chubby and cute....
Hope this goes well for him... (going to military after this)

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Yeah think this chubby look suits him better

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I saw glimpse of this while subbing but my opinions will be so biased since I still can't get over Dragons. I'd rather not say much.

I like Lee Moon Shik's acting but omg his sageuk delivery is just... I barely hear his lines.

Choi Minsoo is just freaking awesome though. I'd probably be scared for my life if I was in a drama with him.

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I feel the same way. SFD is too fresh in my memory I can't help but compare... Fast forwarded through a lot the first two eps but maybe it'll get better with the mains next week.

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Be glad they're not asking him to go full force in saturi... :-P

Nice work Heads!

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Thank you so much for metacap! Hope you don't mind me posting the link here.

http://www.dramatic-eye.com/k-drama/2016-dramas/jackpot/metacap-1/

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It's okay (if it's okay with the DB ladies). Thanks.

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Choi Minsoo is my ahjussi crush...*fangirlmode*

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Hey I claimed him first lol. Jokes aside he is just super awesome in anything I've seen him in (big or small screen).

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Me too! From my first encounter of him in Running Man..

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The first epi was pretty a good start for this drama. Thank God for high rating from SFD which more or less influenced this drama too.

I am actually thinking to watch this or not, but Choi Min-soo and Jeon Gwang-ryul are among the veteran actors that I love. Plus Yoon Jin-seo is here too who I loved in GWSS.(Speaking of GWSS, can we have NGM reunite with her? They have a great chemistry in GWSS).

I am actually don't care much either for Jang Geun Suk & Yeo Jin Gu, yet.

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I was hoping you'd recap the first episode heads, so I'll read it and decide whether to watch it or not! I went through the recap but still can't seem to decide!!

I like all the actors here but I'm just not excited about this drama yet!

Should I watch this?!

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Thanks Heads for the recaps!
I check the first episode yesterday and I find it quite interesting setup. Love how beautiful the visuals are. Glad to see Jang Geun-suk back in dramalad, I missed him!
Lets hope next episodes draws me well to this drama.

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Loved loved the first episode. And that smile she had at the end. All I was thinking is now this woman appreciates cunningness. If only her former husband was just a bit smarter....

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I really liked the first episode! Hopefully the rest can follow suit! I always have a hard time sticking with sageuks, but hopefully this one can be just as captivating through the entire drama!!!

Thanks for recapping!!!

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I like this retelling of the water maid and the King, and so kind of the story to say this is a fictional account of events that involve people I'm familiar with in "Dong Yi". This Sukjong make me very afraid, he seem hard, ruthless and unforgiving. But strangely I like him, he is so commanding and kingly, totally liking him. The story I like because in "Dong Yi" mother and son were outside the palace for a while l like that in this retelling (fantasy) he is a grown man and and from my remembrance of "Dong Yi" Geum was quite brilliant. I enjoyed the interaction of father and son in Dong Yi, and I hope I get to see it in this retelling, but yes the show is worth it, it has a real period feel, bad people are bad, and innocent people are powerless unless they use their wits, and fate favors them, really looking forward to this show, and appreciate the recapping, thanks so much.

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Sukjong is more realistic here. The lovey dovey Sukjong in Dong Yi was so unrealistic.

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Dong Yi is for those who want to watch sageuk but prefer a lot o romance.

That's y I prefer Jang Ok Jung's drama compared to Dong Yi. In JOJ also a lot of romance but I feel like SukJong in JOJ was more believable. However I prefer Jang Her Bin potrayed by Lee Se Yeon more than potrayal by Kim Tae Hee, even KTH is my bias.

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I watched the first episode of Jackpot/Daebak and thoroughly enjoyed it, but I'm not sure how I feel about continuing... I haven't watched any sageuks, only having previously watched the first two eps of Warrior Baek Dong-Soo (which I do want to finish someday). Since I'm watching Descendants of the Sun and Please Come Back, Mister right now, I don't know if I'm ready to add another drama to my list. We shall see...

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I have watched eps 1 and 2. The story is quite different from the rest of saeguk that I've watched. I admire SBS's risk taking to have this kind of script. I like it very much because it challenges the status quo.

Very good casting. Looking forward to upcoming episodes.

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I kept trying to handwave the Complex But Surefire King Seduction Method, but can't help but come back to it all "whaaat. how did that work? It was half Pick-Up Artist, half maybe magic? Did Master Manipulator Dude somehow hypnotize the king? "When you see a leaf covering shoes and she meets your gaze for three breaths, you will fall in love. Also, you will cluck like a chicken during eclipses. For funsies."

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ROFL touché

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I personally felt that this drama lacks a certain punch. There were a number of loop-holes too. Like Heads mentioned," the only criteria Sukjong needs to go all-in on a girl, then it seems a rather easy one to meet—or would all bets have been off if she’d held his gaze for four breaths (gasp!) instead of three?"

And though some of the 'games' were planned, there was a risk that the king would not win the last challenge...or even get there, had the last coin did not face the right way up.

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is it because in the old days, the woman is never supposed to look at the king in the eye. So the fact that she held his gaze for 3 long seconds is daring and therefore attractive?

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Yes. You got it right.
It's not an easy criteria as others thought. A viewer should bring oneself to their "period" to understand that it's very different from today.

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Precisely! Some viewers out there can be a tad too critical on period dramas, series, and movies all because the culture presented is different/"backward"

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It's not even just women. Any subjects lower than the king (whicn is pretty much everyone) can't look him in the eye. But yeah you're right.

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Lol. Was that Lee Bang Gan and his fur in that first scene with Jang Geun Suk? XD

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Lol..

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Just commenting here for... Old time's sake. Still in withdrawals from SFD. Can't believe there's no new episode and recaps to look forward to for this week.

I hope Koreans don't get bored with another Joseon-era drama at this time slot though, after 6 months of Joseon nation-building.

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+1 Kaylie.
I came here to read the comments and see if anyone else missed the dragons 😭.

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I miss SFD and our dragons and that's why I'm not sure about this drama, if I watch it then it'll be just for the sake of watching something because I don't know what to do with my empty Mondays and Tuesdays! but then again it won't feel the same and I'll end up comparing it with SFD and might even end up dropping it!

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You can rewatch SFD again and again if you really miss it. You know where to watch it - you have a month to watch or a week to watch all 50 episodes and do it all over again.

Don't look for six flying dragons in daebak because these two are entirely different.

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Then you should watching something that is not sageuk.
The other two Mon/Tues dramas are good too.
So far my fav is Neighborhood Lawyer. Monster is good too tho.

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I'm actually rewatching SFD to pass my time, sometimes there are scenes that stand out when you watch the second time. I'm still enjoying it a lot.

I don't like to settle for not-so-good dramas, so I'm still reading recaps and deciding what dramas to watch next.

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I think I'd have to do that...the only thing I've started since SFD is finished is Signal, which I love! But it's a very intense drama that I have to get in a right mood for.

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I'm rewatching it too but this time, with my mom. It's amazing how much information I miss even when I watched the episode 2-3 times while it was still airing.

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@nomad I know what you mean about Signal, I watched the first episode and it was really good, but I felt emotionally drained after that. I'm always telling myself I'll get down to watching it but I still haven't found a time for it.

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@earthna haha I'm watching with my mom too! I totally know what you mean.

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First off, I'm glad you'll be recapping, HeadsNo2! The only review I've ever read from you is Cheongdamdong Alice, but I thoroughly enjoyed your use of language, which was easy to understand yet not simple, and your interpretations, which I found straight-to-the-point and intuitive.

That said, I enjoyed your recap of Jackpot this time as well. I don't normally watch Saeguks, especially fusion ones, and given your recap I'm still not sure if I'll watch it, but usually the first two episodes are worldbuilding episodes(especially for dramas with extensive plots) so I'll have to see. However, because my heart isn't fully in the show even if it's wrought with tension(like the way it is with Marriage Contract), I have my doubts.

I gotta admit, I'm mainly watching this for Jang Keun-Suk, whose acting I've liked in the past, so maybe I'll like it more when he's got more presence. So glad he's back on the screen. However, even a good actor is no good with a crappy plot, so I'm glad to see it's intriguing, but again, I have my doubts.

Jackpot introduced the main characters and their roles at the very beginning, which makes me worry that it'll turn out to be one where the main character is pitted against the foe, and this will happen again and again in different settings, with neither gaining much character development. Granted, this is more of an action story where the characters are sacrificed for good plot development, but I guess I'm just worried that the audience will get neither plot nor character development in the end.

Perhaps the safer route it could take would be one of those in which the main character travels a predictable path of success, then failure, then redeemable success, etc. But then this makes the drama all too predictable and similar to thousands of other dramas out there.

And perhaps, I'm predicting too much about a show that's just started its motors. So I'll stop here.

One thing I did notice was the cinematography. Although all dramas are created by good cameras these days, this one had some great, unique scenes(like the snowy one in the beginning) and interesting filming/editing. ESPECIALLY the editing and filming. The details are so vivid and breathtaking. And like HeadsNo2 mentioned, it's got great use of crowd scenes. Jackpot should be watched, if only for these!

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Choi Min Soo is awesome as always but Yoon Jin-seo such a huge turn off for me...
Can somebody do something with her acting, it's bad. Or is it just me who hate her acting?

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I think so - you might be looking for someone in her. I've watched episode 2 and she's good

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I watched ep2 too and she still bad.. And it turn out that it's not just me, Korean viewers think she's suck too..

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1. [+2,625, -252] Please do something about Yoon Jin Seo... She gives me goosebumps because her acting is too crappy

Not just you. Most upvotes comments think that she's bad. Well I haven't watch it so I don't know but I don't like her in Girl Who See Smell.

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kkkk I didn't notice that there's such a comment about her. It's kinda a funny fact as well that a scene with her in it in Episode 2 hit the highest rating record last night at 17.07 % :p. I am forever confused with K-Netz, anyway ;)

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I think there might be a lot of reasons why korean viewers think certain actors/actress are crappy, korean viewers watch them acting speaking their native tongue whereas we watch it through eng subs, maybe they don't like how she delivers her line or they don't feel much from her when she speaks, imo she's mediocre as in not great but not bad either but i can understand if someone thinks she's crappy, now if someone like Gong Hyo Jin or Kim Hye Soo was criticized for their acting then i might judge korean viewers.

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Dare I say I liked her more than anything in the episode? What she did seemed simple & heartfelt to me. Twitchy diva Choi Min-soo could take some lessons from her.

I chose this drama among the 3 competing Mon./Tues. dramas to start watching, but I don't think I'll be staying with it. Too much style over substance & I'm not a fan of the two flower boys. So on to 'Monster.'

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I know we have different taste and preference when it comes to dramas/movies and acting style but really, this girl has nothing on Choi Min Soo when it comes to acting. She should be taking lessons from him imo.

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auchh..Choi Min Soo is at another level of acting. He is sunbae in the industry, and he is way better in which I don't agree CMS should learn from YJS. It should be the other way around.

However I don't get why ppl said Yeon Jin Seo's acting is too crappy. She is better than some overrated actress.

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Wow tah is an interesting take on Choi Min Soo's acting. i have only ever watched him in Warrior Baek Dong Soo but i thought he was amazing.He has this charisma that just compels you to keep watching and that air of menace and authority he has brought to this role so far is great.I would watch a drama just because he is in it. Just my opinion.

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Funny thing I also really liked her bc she felt raw. I don't think she can't act. People just don't like her style.

Yeah for me it's the same. Only chose this bc I need something on mon/tue-saguek-thing - after Six Flying Dragons - but it really isn't that great. The story is even kind of silly. Should have known from that title... After watching Six Flying Dragons this feels like a bad joke.

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To be honest, I don't find her bad at all. Maybe I don't have good eyes, but I do like her acting. After watching her in GWSS, I even watched some of her movies.

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Loving the movie already hope it does well in the ratings.jang geun suk fighting.

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Thanks for the recap! Gosh, am I the only one who think "It's recap party in dramabeans!!!" ^^

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I love the first scene when Baek Dae Gil and Yinjwa played the game together. I almost like seeing a poetic visual one. The snow falling, the cold air, the sound of swords, aaaaahhhh soooo beautiful.

I love how each character being portrayed here. And seemed the main character having their own eye gaze as promoted and highlighted by YJG. Like saying: "look into my eyes and you can see the inside of me"

Thank you for the recap!

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I'm sold. What a solid first episode, and I'm so happy that Jang Geunsuk was able to make me root for him while all he did was just moving his piece and intently staring while sometimes throwing a line or two. He still got game, I hope this will end his pretty boy era cause surely he's got more to offer (and the whole Korea and also us know that).

I didn't expect the background story would be this intense and well made, and the main characters haven't even appeared yet! I'm really curious about who Bok Soon's son would be: Geunsuk or Jingoo.

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Thanks for the recap! looking forward to the next one. I'm hoping so bad that the story will be good!

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Can anyone explain, was In Jwa Revolution real or fiction? It seems that I can't find when I google it.

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It was a real rebellion, but, yes, it is hard to find much information on it other than the date and the fact it happened (at least if your first language is English).

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(Possible Spoiler?)

Right, it did happen and it's hard to find details of the rebellion in English since the annals is not fully translated yet.

If I remember correctly from Lady H's memoirs (which is not an official historical record), the rebellion was carried out by the Soron faction out of fear that their days were numbered with Yeongjo's enthronement 4 years earlier (1724).
Thank goodness it was unsuccessful or Yi San wouldn't have succeeded his grandfather.

I wonder if General Lee Man Yu will make an appearance or maybe he is going by a different name here.

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Correction Park Mun Su.

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I think the event might've been the Shinimsahwa massacre.

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I don't think so because that happened during King Gyeongjong's reign (Sukjong's eldest son with Jang Hee-bin).

This would the Musin Revolt aka Yi Injwa's Rebellion in (1728).

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I did read about it before. King Yeonjo (I think this is Yeo Jin-Goo's role ) mentioned a traitor named Yi In Jwa in the Annals.

Sorry, I can't seem to recall where I've read it. But then, I can probably be wrong too.

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Totally real. Has been portrayed in sageuk a few times.

The only thing is, it wasn't as personal a matter as this show is depicting it. Basically a lot of complicated party strife, and Lee In-Jwa was merely the leader of a concerted effort.

@Kiara Don't know how much people care about this, but I'll probably talk a little bit about the uprising as we get closer to it.

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That would be awesome! Thank you :).

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Watched ep 1 out of curiosity and immediately moved on to ep 2. Now I'm hooked.

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I watched the first two and I enjoyed it... mostly due to Choi Min Soo and Lee Moon Sik. I'm not optimistic about this drama because of the writer, though. Have a feeling that Monster will rise in the ratings later...

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I really enjoyed both episodes and shall continue watching it!

As for Jang Hee-bin, isn't she the Queen at this time rather than a Rotal Consort? I am sure Sukjong addressed her as "chunchun" (sp?).

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Jungjeon (中殿, 중전) = Central Palace = Place where the queen resides.

She was the queen.

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New sageuk! Let's hope it fills in the hole that SFD left behind.

Agreed about the texture: can't quite descriibe how, but the filming is very visually rich, and I'm enjoying that!

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I watched episode 1 because of my love for SFD and sorry to say, I found it quite boring and Choi Min-soo's portrayal of the King is totally off-putting. Sad to say, most of the references in the drama went over my head, due to my ignorance of Joseon history and my lack of understanding what was so wrong with the King that they wanted to get rid of him.

I also couldn't understand what the fuss was about in getting a married woman to be the King's concubine. Why does he even need to play a game with the husband? He's the King, he could snap his fingers and get any woman he wanted and get rid of the husband too.

Depending on how much I like the second episode will either convince me to drop it or keep watching.

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I'm just beginning to study Joseon history and I find it very confusing as well. Coming from a western perspective of primogeniture, a king had one queen and only legitimate sons (or daughters if no sons were born) of the queen could inherit the throne. The eldest son was always the heir apparent to the throne. Kings could and often did have many other children by mistresses (concubines by another name) but there was absolutely no way these children would ever inherit the throne. Saves a lot of confusion! But Joseon's kings always seemed to have had to deal with factions and each of these factions often seemed to have their own candidates, from different mothers, for the throne. It didn't seem to make any difference if the king was competent or not when dethroning him. The important question was "Is he our guy?"

About taking a married woman as his concubine, I think this has something to do with Confucian values of marriage as mirroring the state in that the husband is the head of the household as the king is the head of the nation. It upsets the order of things if a king just takes another man's wife for his own because a husband has authority in his home as the king has authority over the nation. So the tricking of the husband in a game of chance means he gives her up thus making her free for another man to take.

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Ah! Now the King's actions make more sense to me. Thanks for the explanation.

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Thanks for the recap. I've only watched one other sageuk, teh return of iljimae but this one is gripping me from the start. Very solid first and second episodes. Can't wait for YJG next week!!

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완전 대박!! ㅋㅋㅋ No pun intended XD

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I laughed more than I was supposed to...

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Already addicted. Superb team work. Its first time watching saeguk n all bcoz of my dear "ASIA PRINCE JANG KEUN SUK". Love all your dramas, movies, songs. Everytime a new character new hairstyle . How can you do everything so perfect? Love u always. ZIKZIN

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HeadsNo2 - since you and I were basically separated at birth I will follow your recaps ANYWHERE! I love your writing style and insights!

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I did, however, find myself greedy for the appearance of my baby Jin-goo. He is THE star of the future...my opinion for what it's worth!

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*sniffs* They grow up so fast.

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Jang Geun Seok has got a new drama! HE HAS GOT A NEW BETTER DRAMAAAAAAA!!!! <3 <3 <3

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I mainly wanted to watch this for JKS (I have such a weak spot for him since my first ever kdrama was You're Beautiful) but I became hooked. The score is beautiful and the scenery is gorgeous. And that chess scene was intense even though that was the only JKS scene but hey, I'm not complaining.

I'm still relatively new to the world of sageuks since I've only seen Gu Family Book and Gaksital (which both destroyed my heart for various reasons and I do not suggest watching one after the other) and am currently watching Jejoongwon but I'm making more of an effort to watch them because I'm learning more about Korean history, even though most of them blend fact and fiction together but that happens all the time with period pieces.

I had this thought when I was near the end of episode one: This is so going to be up there with Gu Family Book as a heart breaking 2 episode prologue to the actual story.

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I also liked the first episode and looking forward to how the story unfolds. Thanks for the recap.

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