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Jackpot: Episode 5

This episode can best be described as a test of endurance, in which every conceivable method is used to maim and/or kill a hero who simply cannot die. And I cannot, for the life of me, understand why it takes so long for them to relay that message.

But in order to find out that our hero is immortal, his enemies will have to break every bone in his body, use him for long-range target practice, and test how his otherwise soft, squishy flesh stands up to sharp daggers, fast arrows, and jagged, bottomless cliffs. So get ready, because this is going to hurt.

SONG OF THE DAY

Park Wan-kyu – “시간이 멈추면 (Time Stops)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 5 RECAP

When Dae-gil finally wakes, Eyepatch dejectedly tells him that it’s much too late for him to save his father. Poor Dae-gil can only grip the edge of the boat and cry for the father he’s lost.

Meanwhile, Dam-seo decides that she wants real answers from Injwa over why he killed Man-geum, and strangely threatens to kill herself by holding a sword to her own neck should he not answer.

Injwa gives his usual vague replies about Man-geum having lived on borrowed time for twenty years, but that’s not enough for Dam-seo this time. Ignoring warnings from her Nameless buddy, Dam-seo readies to slit her own throat, only to be stopped when Injwa reaches out to grab the blade with his bare hand.

At least the threat works in getting Injwa to spill the beans on Dae-gil, as he admits to Dam-seo that he’s the king’s child by way of Lady Choi and can be used as their hidden card against the king and Prince Yeoning.

Even so, she can’t accept the murder of the innocent Man-geum, which only infuriates Injwa. Her softheartedness is going to get both of them in trouble, he claims, when she couldn’t bring herself to kill Man-geum or even to hold a sword to his neck, and not her own.

Dam-seo sinks to her knees, crying that she’s lived this long on hatred alone. “Am I still lacking? What is your great cause? What is it you believe in?” she wonders miserably, only for Injwa to kneel before her and hold her cheek. “Dam-seo, you are my daughter,” he says. “You are my life, and you are my everything. That is my cause, and that is what I believe in.”

After an exhausting night spent grieving, Dae-gil swears revenge on the people who killed his father, even though he doesn’t know who did it or why. But he’s going to find out, whether Eyepatch helps him or not.

A disguised Prince Yeoning comes back to Hong Mae’s casino, much to the proprietress’ dismay—since she always ends up losing money to him, she really wishes he just wouldn’t come back. But since Yeoning is doing nothing wrong, she can’t exactly stop him from entering her establishment either.

While it becomes clear that Yeoning comes to the casino disguised as an errant gambler in order to find out where all the money is going, a crazed Dae-gil becomes the center of attention when he threatens Hong Mae to tell him who killed his father.

It takes some threatening and prodding, but she agrees to take him to wherever this “Scholar Baek Myun” is if only to save her own skin, and Dae-gil can’t hide his surprise when she leads him straight to Injwa’s house.

Recognizing Injwa from their encounter at the casino, Dae-gil demands to know why he killed his father, only for Injwa to reply that any reason he gives now won’t be enough to bring Man-geum back from the dead. So why bother, is his philosophy.

The fact that he’s had Man-geum interred isn’t enough to change Dae-gil’s mind either, so Injwa just tells him to come back to take his revenge when he has enough power to do so. He’ll be waiting.

As much as Dam-seo doesn’t want to, it’s her job as bodyguard to give Dae-gil a sound beating for threatening Injwa. She even gives him a sword he can use to take revenge if he’s able, which of course, he isn’t. He’s so woefully inept that Dam-seo seems to pity him for his inability to even get close enough to touch her.

In the end, it’s Hong Mae who ends up knocking Dae-gil unconscious out of rage—he got the best of her, and she’s ready to kill and/or seriously maim him for it. She’s stopped by Prince Yeoning, who orders his man to take care of Dae-gil.

Since he’s already at Injwa’s house, Yeoning stops in for a terse chat with him, and makes it clear that he holds no fondness for him in the process. As for Dam-seo, who he’s seen play a gambler by day and a gisaeng by night, Injwa merely says that she’s a gisaeng who teaches well-to-do ladies archery, and that she’s also his pupil.

Yeoning aptly guesses that her talents are such that she could easily get into the palace, and wonders whether she’s with Injwa because she too harbors a grudge against the king. Injwa acts offended that he’d even suggest such a thing, but Yeoning knows his family was exterminated during an event called the Gapsul Hwanguk in 1694. (It was basically a purge of whoever still supported the deposed Queen Inhyun, which Injwa’s family must have been guilty of.)

Having failed in his attempts to provoke Injwa into revealing his true nature, he returns to the doctor tending a severely injured (but still technically fine) Dae-gil. He bids the doctor to not reveal his identity when Dae-gil regains consciousness, preferring his helping hand to remain unknown.

Prince Yeoning and Crown Prince Yoon meet with their father the king, and seemingly raise the ailing monarch’s ire when Yeoning asks to be given some responsibility over the Sahoenbu, or inspector general’s office, which was considered a great amount of power. (The Office of Inspector General was one of the Three Offices that governed Joseon, the other two being the Office of Censors and the Office of Special Advisors.)

King Sukjong reminds his sons of the story he’s told them many times before, of the monster with one hundred ears and one thousand eyes that controlled whether it would rain or not. The people of the fictional tale grew fearful of the monster despite the benefit it bestowed on them, and eventually angered it so much that it swallowed all of them up.

The king’s question, then, is what his sons would do with such a monster—would they kill it and risk drought and famine, or let it live and risk having the beast lose its temper again?

Crown Prince Yoon replies that he’d calm the monster and send it far away to live in peace, while Yeoning replies that the monster isn’t one that could be killed or appeased. And he’d know, because “That very monster is none other than… you, Father.”

For whatever reason, this risky answer impresses King Sukjong, who bestows upon Yeoning a high-ranking position in the Office of Inspector General, just like he wanted.

Of course, that’s not what his mother wanted at all, since gaining an important position is exactly the opposite of what she advised her son to do. Yeoning knows that she wanted him to lay low and make everyone think he was just a wanton playboy, but he just couldn’t take it anymore.

Besides, he argues, what did he gain from all those years spent doing nothing? Now that he’s actually gained something from his own effort, he doesn’t want to hear what his mother has to say anymore. “I have grown up,” he tells her. “I am an adult now. As for the path I must take, I will find it on my own.”

Lady Choi barely misses Dae-gil, who’s up and out of the royal doctor’s office before she can find out who her son brought there. He only sees her back as she walks away, more preoccupied with finding the grave where Injwa had his father buried.

After he’s had time to grieve, Dae-gil serves Eyepatch an uncharacteristically lavish meal, which the world-weary elder instantly recognizes as a Last Meal, given by someone ready to die. If that’s the case, he won’t eat a single bite of it.

Dae-gil doesn’t deny the fact, and gives his grandfather a deep and formal bow. He thanks him for caring for him all these years, but claims he can’t ignore the pain in his chest any longer. His heart hurts so much from the injustice of it all that he can’t even breathe, and he knows his pain will only cease if either he or Injwa dies.

Eyepatch knows there’s nothing he can do to stop him, so Dae-gil takes a bow and quiver full of arrows to storm Injwa’s house single-handedly. His hand shakes as he pulls an arrow taut and aims for Injwa, and the scholar gives him an easy target by telling Dam-seo and Nameless to stand down.

If Dae-gil can shoot him, there’s nothing to stop him, so Injwa prepares for the blow. Dae-gil fires the arrow and misses, finding himself in an awkward position as the man he intends to shoot gives him advice on how to actually shoot him.

Dae-gil’s anger drives him forward, and he lets the next arrow fly. It glances Injwa’s cheek, enough to draw a tiny line of blood, but still misses its target. Still, Injwa is impressed by Dae-gil’s gumption, and gives him one last chance to kill him.

He can’t very well miss at such a short distance, so to keep things interesting, Injwa says that Dae-gil has to put his life on the line as well. “What if I do?” Dae-gil challenges, causing Injwa to toss a baduk piece up in the air and catch it with a sleight of hand, enough so that Dae-gil will have to guess as to which hand holds the stone.

But when Dae-gil doesn’t want to play his silly game, Injwa rewards him by breaking a good number of his bones. Dae-gil still doesn’t give up and comes roaring back at him, only for Injwa to break whatever still hasn’t been broken.

“You should have just taken the chance,” Injwa says in his usual dispassionate way. Dae-gil responds by spitting in his face, which nets him another smackdown. Still, he tries to raise the bow and arrow to fire at Injwa, who tries to make him aware of how woefully inadequate he is by telling Dae-gil of all the things he had already accomplished when he was his age.

Again, Dae-gil couldn’t care less, and wants only to kill him. Injwa sends him sprawling to the ground with a punch to the Adam’s apple, allowing his own rage at his own dead family to come out in the process. He even stabs Dae-gil with his own arrow in an effort to keep him down.

Dae-gil doesn’t heed Injwa’s warning to leave now or risk losing both his legs, and says from his place in the dirt, “Is there a reason you won’t kill me? Whether it is you or I, one of us will die today.” He rushes at Injwa, unwilling to bow down to him, and Injwa makes good on his threat by throwing him back down onto the ground and breaking one of his ankles.

But Dae-gil, whose only unbroken bone has to be his jawbone, still declares his determination to kill Injwa no matter what the cost to his body may be. If Injwa wants to stop him, he’ll have to kill him. That’s his only option.

Injwa decides to grant his request by tying him to a tree. He points out that this isn’t the first time they’ve been in this position, and wonders if Dae-gil’s lucky streak from back when he was an infant will save him now…

…Moments before he shoots him with an arrow. (Yes, really.) Nameless approaches Dae-gil and pulls the arrow out, only to find that he’s still alive—the one nyang his father gave him acted as a pocket protector to save him from the point of the arrow.

Injwa can’t help but laugh at how ridiculous this all is, and shoves the nyang that saved Dae-gil’s life down his throat to choke him. Okay, seriously now, it’s time to stop. Just stop already.

But Injwa doesn’t, and takes things into a realm of ridiculousness hitherto unexplored when he basically says, “Your luck has saved you so far, but will it save you from this bottomless cliff?” Cut to reveal the bottomless cliff they’re on. This is officially the worst magic show ever.

Laughing once more, Dae-gil points out that it can’t be fun for Injwa to keep hurting someone who’s so powerless to stop him. Instead, he offers to spice things up by making a bet. There’s no question that he’ll die if he falls off the cliff with his multiple broken bones and stab wounds, but if he should survive, Injwa must grant him one wish.

His wish would be for Injwa to kneel down at his father’s grave and apologize, in which case, he would forgive him. Injwa accepts only on the condition that—and the following is absolutely, 100% true—he gets to stab Dae-gil BEFORE throwing him off the cliff.

Dam-seo tells Dae-gil to just beg for his life already, but Dae-gil doesn’t need to: “I will come back alive.” Injwa seems to agree, even as he plunges his dagger into Dae-gil’s gut. He claims he’ll wait for Dae-gil to return with the power he needs to defeat him.

And with that, Dae-gil stumbles backward over the edge of the cliff. Dam-seo runs forward as if to save him, but it’s too late. All she finds of him are his straw shoes, which she holds close to her heart as she cries. At least she leaves the shoes for Eyepatch, so he can grieve over his lost grandson.

Injwa calls Dam-seo in to tell her not to worry—Dae-gil is probably still alive. “You broke his arms and legs and stabbed him in the chest,” she says humorlessly. But Injwa merely replies that Dae-gil can’t die without his permission, so she has no reason to feel guilty.

Fast forward. A cloaked figure wearing comedy and tragedy masks simultaneously breaks into Hong Mae’s casino. He encounters Dam-seo in the dark, who recognizes him despite his disguise as Prince Yeoning. Apparently, she expected to find him there.

As for the money and ledgers he’s looking for, none are to be found, which leads him to ask where Dam-seo’s smuggled all those funds. She doesn’t answer and instead reports back to Injwa, who decides to retaliate against Yeoning by sending Dam-seo into the palace with the gibang madam who also doubles as a shaman.

Lady Choi specifically requested to see the madam in the hopes that she could tell her about the person born on the date she gives her. Is he still alive? She must be asking about Dae-gil.

While the madam does her thing, Dam-seo sneaks through the palace on Injwa’s instructions, with the intent of stealing one of Yeoning’s ledgers. “Have you found what you’re looking for?” comes a voice from the entrance, startling her from her work.

It’s Prince Yeoning, who marvels at how the tables have turned—now she’s the one getting caught sneaking around like a rat. Dam-seo demurs, trying to claim that she’s only in the palace to visit Lady Choi, but Yeoning takes one step forward for every step she takes back. He’s not buying it.

“You should stop while you still can,” he warns. “Stop risking your life on a whim and just live an ordinary life.” He says that while he can’t ever be free, she can, though she can’t abandon her convictions. Whatever those may be, he claims, they’ll end up harming her in the end.

They’re forced to hide when his guard comes looking for him, and if Dam-seo thinks holding his hand is too intimate, she’s definitely not ready for Yeoning to all but wrap his arms around her in an attempt to hide the two of them from further scrutiny.

They share a Moment that way, stuck together in slow motion until the guard takes his leave. Once he’s gone she’s swift to push Yeoning away, slapping him for the indecency of it all. She’s forced to cover his mouth when he threatens to call the guard back if she’s so ungrateful, which makes them square.

Besides, he claims with a good once-over, “You aren’t even my type.” He distracts his own guard for her before grabbing her by the hand to lead her back to his mother’s quarters. She pulls her hand away, and an unfazed Yeoning hands over the ledger she’d been hoping to steal.

“We’ll need to know more about each other,” he says of his magnanimous gesture. “We’ll need to know what we both want, and what our goals are. And… what we both like,” he says this last bit while leaning in close enough to make Dam-seo uncomfortable.

Injwa asks the madam about the reading she gave Lady Choi, finding out from her that Dae-gil is, in fact, alive and still very much fated to be king. When he asks her to read Dae-gil’s future, she rolls her eyes back into her head, and sees the shadow of a mysterious man.

It’s enough for her to declare that Dae-gil will be greeted with favorable climes in the form of an imperial swordsman—the best in Joseon, as a matter of fact. That swordsman finds Dae-gil buried up to his chin in mud, looks into his eyes, and asks, “Who are you?”

“Shall we make a bet?” Dae-gil asks. “On whether or not I will live or die?” He can’t help but laugh, already sure of the answer.

 
COMMENTS

I’m not sure whether Jackpot should be very thankful it has a skilled director, or whether the director is part of the problem. Honestly, I lost most of my ability to take this show seriously by the third or fourth immediate injury, even though the warning signs were there. Dae-gil getting stabbed in the chest as an infant? Warning. Man-geum throwing Baby Dae-gil off a cliff? Red flag.

Dae-gil getting subsequently beaten, stabbed, and tortured multiple times in the relatively short span of a few episodes? Relatively normal for sageuk, actually. What isn’t is an overextended twenty minutes of a snuff film without the snuff, because there is just no world in which all Dae-gil’s tortures and trials could be considered remotely necessary. Even a Greek tragedy would tell this show to go easier on the maiming, which succeeded at different points in making me uncomfortable, sympathetic, really uncomfortable, somewhat hysterical, and finally, just plain confused.

It’s not that the torture was so real it was difficult to watch, or that there are any circumstances in which torture should make for easier viewing. We can save the talk on necessary grotesquery for a show that actually warrants that kind of in-depth discussion, but Jackpot is not that show. Nor could the sequences in which Dae-gil gets most of his bones broken before he gets used as target practice be described only as torture—I’m mostly just saying that because of how the experience felt on this side of the screen. It’s safer to say that whatever it was, it was a lot of it.

So while it’s true that Dae-gil could’ve stopped what was happening to him had he just stopped attacking Injwa, at the point where he’s dragging his broken body across the ground using only his chin, then they’ve pretty much established that he’s not going to give up so easily. But that’s a point that had already been made by the second broken bone, which is where the confusion came in. It was made when Dae-gil was stabbed as a baby, but if we weren’t so sure, it was at the very least reinforced when Hong Mae last stabbed him.

At that point, how necessary was it to see Dae-gil getting his wrists broken? Or to see him stabbed by an arrow? Or to see him have his ankle broken before being tied to a tree so he could be shot at by another arrow? Even if we were to accept that one nyang could save him from a possibly fatal stab wound, why would they make that pocket protector moot by inflicting a much more terrible stab wound afterward? And for what?

Had Injwa not stuffed that coin down Dae-gil’s throat to choke him or made the suggestion that he give Dae-gil an extra stab wound for the road, I maybe could’ve bought that he was just testing the limits of Dae-gil’s immortality. But if he knew that Dae-gil couldn’t be killed by the time he shot that second arrow (and that’s if we’re saying he didn’t know by then, which he darn well did) then he didn’t need to keep hurting him to prove that point, unless he had a really, really good in-character reason to do so.

But he didn’t, and there wasn’t. And if Dae-gil’s injuries were turned into a drinking game, too many people would end up dead, which effectively takes away any possibility we’d have to squeeze some merriment out of today’s episode. Which leaves Jackpot with just one option: Be better. Just be better.

 
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The scriptwriter for this series did mention that Dae-gil goes through so much pain and torture and that it's surprising that any actor would want to play this part.

Ironically, Jang Geuk Suk actually play this part well even though this is pure torture. I have to applaud him for his acting and persistence in fulfilling his actor's duty.

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Be better.. Show Just be better.

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I am beginning to think the writer is a sadist.

And, who did the casting? The main female lead (Lim Ji-Yeon) acting leaves much to be desired.

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I've been dancing around the edges of whether this drama is worth watching after making it through only half of the first episode -then stopping. After reading all the recaps up to now and waiting for everyone to rave about something other than how pretty the scenes are...I'm going to hold off watching it until the end. There's something off about it...the something I can't describe, so no thank you for now. All of you Beanies, please convince me it's worth it!

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I feel the same. I was really looking forward to this drama, for JGS and LJY, but every time I try to watch an episode, I can't finish it and would rather just wait and come here to read the recaps. Then I think I'll try the next episode but after 20 minutes can't watch it anymore. I think it's because it is not emotionally investing. We get Injwa is evil and so is the King and the young people are in the process of finding their paths/selves, but I am not feeling for any of them. It feels like it is very much for show right now rather than grabbing our attention and emotions. And all those bets are getting old. Must there be another bet?! It is tiring and takes away from the characters. It's like they want the thrill of who will win, but there is no build up to excitement, will it be heads or tails? Will the arrow reach its mark? I just can't get into it. I just don't care, can we move on with the story, must we stop to think about the coin or rock?! Maybe Injwa is just not threatening or interesting enough, I think he is the weak element of the show but everything is centered around him. So far the only character I could feel for is Man Geum and he is no longer there now. Even Eyepatch seems to be in the background...I too hope the show will get better. Else I will be content just reading the recaps! Thank you Heads!

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I finished all first 4 episodes but I still think something is off with this show. This recap on ep 5 makes me wonder if I shld save my time on other stuff instead. Pure torture just for torture is so sadistically pointless.

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I don't think King Sukjong is meant to be evil. He was brilliant and they have established that.

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Wow JKS really suffered a lot in this episode, poor guy

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I can not stand the constant abuse of the hero just to emphasize that he can not be killed.
I couldn't even finish watching this episode.

Damn it show. I was rooting for you!

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I left (maybe for a while) the show last week. Will catch up if things get better. Don't know what turn me off.

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But I have to give credits to Jang Geuk-suk -he is really giving his all here in these eye-rolling storylines. And Choi Min-soo is still amazing.

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Yes, credit to Jang Geuk-suk. Sometimes I feel like he is being tortured with his character. He is earnestly trying to make every scene believable.

Choi Min Soo will be amazing till the end. He is just that kind of actor. He is worth sticking around for. I love his Sukjong, he is pretty realistic.

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The addition of Kim Roe-Ha in this episode was a surprise. This drama is not lacking in acting powers. They might save this show.

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I watch just to see the actor bring Sukjong to life so brilliantly.

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Choi Min-soo is dreamy. He is such a powerhouse. He could have been King Sukjong in a previous time.

I like this drama. I will keep on watching it.

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Thank-you Kiara abuse was the word i was looking for,lots of pointless abuse!

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Well, I like the show a lot. The main actors are pretty good in the roles, and I love the fact that the story is told from an unsual perspective: Keddong's whole life is based on luck (or probability/statistics) and not so much of fate. He lives for the bets, life is a series of opportunities that you take, you risk, you win and lose. In turbulent times, the stakes are in the highest point, and that's Jackpot.

Also, yes there is torture not at the point of gore or snuff (and for the record: torure wasn't uncommon un the past, no matter what the culture was, and this is minimal compared to the things they did in those times) I find the comments about the whole suffering/injury/torture/etc were an exaggeration.

Not to mention the irony: people complaining about the same thing: In A the hero gets hurts in one he suffers but lives anyway; in B the hero gets severely injured then 2 minutes later he's practically jumping as if nothing happened, but in B it's amazing!!1!!

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Ditched this drama and stay with my neighborhood PSY ahjussi.. That drama deserve the high ratings they received and I can clearly see why this drama dropped their ratings.

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it's understandable, really... 'Daebak' isn't something you can watch without rolling your eyes or thinking hard about what the writer-nim wants to convey kkkk...

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ups clicking too fast. i mean: 'Daebak' is indeed a bit more difficult to digest. i have to watch three times and then i get the points. but i have been enjoying it so far... won't switch channel yet until it's finished.

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Jackpot didn't hit the jackpot with the actresses. I was having hard times watching Yoon Jin-Seo crappy acting and Lim Ji-Yeon didn't do good job either.

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I concur that Lim Ji-Yeon needs some acting lessons. She is my one turn off in this fine drama.

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Lim Ji-yeon is sorely miscast in this drama, her acting skills are not up to par, she may as well be wallpaper.

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Same. I have been reading the recaps and comments tho to see if it's safe to start my marathon but hmmm.. looks like there's a reason the ratings have started to decrease. I had high hopes after 6FD.

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Honestly I'm not taking anything that is happening in this drama seriously. The screenwriters are really redefining the term "overkill" to a ridiculous extent. All you can do is laugh about it at this point.
It's 6 episodes in and I'm like: "Ok ok I get it. He's lucky. He can't die. We've established that."
I think the writers needed a way to release some stress so they created their own invincible scapegoat. But hey, if that works...

The only thing that really keeps me watching and that interest me in the drama is Yeo Jingoo and his character's story. I really wished the drama would focus on him instead. It's this really weird contrast with the serious and typical sageuk drama with Jingoo at the palace and the crazy melodramatic circus act/experiment with JGS's Gaedong/Daegil outside the palace.

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Isn't ironic that Daegil is supposed to be blessed with incredible luck (to the point of immortality) but in reality, all that luck brought him was for him to become the test subject of some sadistic experiments...

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"... at the point where he’s dragging his broken body across the ground using only his chin..." Seriously cackled at this. Really enjoyed the recap and all the insight given, especially for the scene with the King and his two princes.

I'm having fun with this show. Since I've learned to keep my hopes pretty even with sageuk dramas of late, I see only a few setbacks with Jackpot and it's nothing to do with the acting, writing or directing. But of course, I do agree that it could and should be better. We'd wish that for any drama really!

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What I'm still trying to wrap my head around is how the heck meeting an imperial bodyguard means your luck has improved because if history and dramas have taught us anything it's that having the best bodyguard/swordsman means everyone from Nameless to Gilbon to Gil Tae mi to Gil Sun mi to Sa Kwang to Jung Ki Joon to Gae pa yi to Pyung will still be coming for your head and your master swordsman's. Heck they will even bring reinforcement so they can be certain you stay dead when they coming calling for you. Methinks having a royal bodyguard is not as cracked up as they would have us believe. Unless it's Moo Hyul with a bit of tortured Lee Ban Ji. Even then, it still depends on your luck ?.
Ha. Luck. See what you're doing there Jackpot. I see ya ?

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+10000000000000

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Dae-gil - he takes a lickin' and just keeps tickin' ~

That last scene, did he fall into quick sand or did the river dry up and there he was at the bottom up to his chin? HeadsNo2 is right, we got the point way before the never-ending tortures never ended.

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you'll find the answer in ep 6 :D. i was totally confused at first but then... ok. ahahaha...

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For the love of JKS, please be better, show!

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this episode is to be honest very difficult to watch due to the never-ending torture lol... as a fan of JKS, I can't really see myself him being beaten up like that even though the extremely difficult scenes he had to do by himself only made me admire him more as an actor who's not afraid to get out of his 'pretty boy' zone. after I finish watching episode 6, everything seems a bit clearer. therefore, i'm waiting for your next recap, Heads! don't give up on it yet!

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OK, just saw the 6th, and JKS is pulling a Leo di Caprio. O.O

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IK, right?

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The story will develop soon, Dae Gil has to walk a long path to become a warrior, protector and even a politician.
Those (unnessesarry) tortures show what he had to suffer because of the injustice in the world he lives and that this world must be changed!

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I wouldn't normally choose a historical drama that has a main theme of gambling and is loaded with brutality. But as a fan of Jang Kuen Suk, I knew he had accepted a role that was a major shift from his pretty boy image. Watching him in this drama I am very impressed with his acting ability and his willingness to assume a new acting identity playing a difficult part. I think there are also many talented actors and actresses in Daebak and I enjoy the costuming and scenes with rural country and historical architecture. Even though it is difficult to watch some scenes, I will honor the cast and continue watching. It seems people are too harsh in their critique. I feel this drama should receive higher ratings. In the end I'm sure the takeaway will be much more meaningful than attractive make getting the girl. Looking forward to seeing where the writing and directing takes the viewers!

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I know it seem the torture are 'overkill' but I think they want to establish how strong willed / unbending Daegil is as a person but at the moment it look like "pighead" because of the way he was brought up. In time this "pighead" will make him great if he got more knowledge and skill from a right person.

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Loved Yeo jin Goo's acting. Very realistic and he is not overacting too... perfect.

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Yeo Jin Goo is a pretty amazing young actor. I think his character is perfect for his age so I'm glad he took the role.

We are familiar with Yeoning the old king from other sageuks so it's good to see him in his early years. I find his relationship with his parents interesting. He wants to prove that he is a worthy son but had to also heed his mother's advice.

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Regardless of everyone's criticisms - JKS is an excellent actor. The script is outside the norm. I'm glad that this drama is something different.

Do well JKS! I'm glad you did this in-between your hectic masteral/doctoral studies.

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Cant see sukkie taking so much pain? But again mindblowing acting. I am loving this drama a lot.

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I love historical drama, and I loved both drama by this scriptwriter. And till now I'm really loving Daebak! His script have always something more... and for Daebak, a super skilled cast and direction... and music... wow... And the theme of the game and bet... In past time, it was something almost common, as much as tortures and violence. Good, really good. And really, Jang Keun Suk performance is so impressive!WOW!

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Personally after eps 5 and 6 I'm finding myself liking this drama more and more. There is just something about JKS's character that is growing on me. I must say that I find it ironic that everyone keeps saying how lucky he is. He has been thrown twice from a high place into water, shot with an arrow twice, stabbed with a knife AND an arrow, had almost every limb broken, and has been beaten to a pulp at every opportunity. How lucky is that? BUT Dae Gil keeps coming back for more.

It reminds me of King Arthur's fight with the Black Knight from Monty Python's Holy Grail. The Black Knight gets his arms and legs cut off and still insists he can fight. In case you haven't seen it, here is a portion of the scene.

King Arthur: [after Arthur's cut off both of the Black Knight's arms] Look, you stupid bastard, you've got no arms left!
Black Knight: Yes I have.
King Arthur: Look!
Black Knight: It's just a flesh wound.

[the Black Knight continues to threaten Arthur despite getting both his arms and one of his legs cut off]
Black Knight: Right, I'll do you for that!
King Arthur: You'll what?
Black Knight: Come here!
King Arthur: What are you gonna do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I'm invincible!
King Arthur: ...You're a loony.

Dae Gil is kind of like that.

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The truest reference ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

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Lmao! Thanks for the much needed laugh!

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I totally agree!! Watching this brought that memorable scene from Monty Python!!! I was beginning to wonder if this drama was doing a weird tribute to that movie.

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I feel like we have two different dramas going on: on the one hand there's the traditional palace intrigue show, and on the other, a mash up of every possible tragedy that can befall a hero. I'd rather they had gone the complete fiction route instead of giving us another version of some historic events that have been better presented on other dramas. At the moment I don't know where we are headed. But I have to say that watching the king in action is always the better part of the show.

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That's fusion sageuks for ya. They seems to go overboard with the fictional characters but the real historical figures seems to remain intact.

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I really like this drama. It's unique, entertaining, the direction is stunning, and the main characters are developing nicely. Is it classic material? Certainly not, as the script is a bit disjointed.

But I find that the series gets more interesting as it goes along and it's got something about it (besides stellar acting and direction) that keeps me riveted plus a main character that I can't help but root for. I'm also not bothered by those "gross" scenes because they ultimately serve a purpose.

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I'd like to think that Injwa was probably not only testing Dae Gil mortality but also scapegoating his anger towards the King or Sukbin to Dae Gil (since his right hand basically died because of saving baby Dae Gil).

But indeed something was off from this drama. Maybe its slow progress??

Anyway, I cringed so much on Dae Gil torturs on ep 5&6. Not so much of a fan of Jang Geun Suk, but I guess I need to give him some applauds.

Yeon Jing Goooooo I hope this drama would be trully daebak. Just wanted to keep watching him on beautiful costumes which I won't be able to if I couldn't handle the story anymore.

Choi Min Soo is awesome!

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I can understand why so many are tired of the ongoing torture scenes, but I think they're missing part of the thesis of this story. Namely, that young Gae-Ddong has to undergo a huge transformation. In-jwa alludes to that point in telling him to come back when he's become a tiger. For Gae-Ddong to become a fully grown tiger, rather than remain the innocent, naive, happy-go-lucky, country-boy, he has to undergo severe trauma, and both the PD & writer know that the audience won't accept that kind of transition without its being shown graphically. Furthermore, I suspect it's inherent in k-dramas to be repetitive, almost to the point of boring. At least with Daebak, there's a solid point in the repetitive tortures: to turn Gae-Ddong into the Dae-Gil we meet at the very beginning of Ep 1. In most tragedies, from Greek to Shakespeare, that kind of transformation usually takes many long years. However, in Daebak, it must occur in a short amount of time for the sake of the rest of the story. The characters and plot cannot take years of waiting until Gae-Ddong becomes wiser and thus harder to the ways of his world. He must become Dae-Gil rapidly.

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Dae-gil's epitaph:

Here Lies Dae-gil
Gone But Never Forgotten
Who Died of Natural Causes
At the Ripe Old Age of 1001
His Most Amazing Feat
They Cut Off His Head
He Grew A New One Instead

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OK, I loooove Dae Gil, but this made me chuckle.

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May I add, too, that I'm enjoying the almost non-stop action. The never quite knowing what is going to happen next. In most k-dramas, after the first couple of episodes, the story begins to lag as the characters think and overthink what they should do and inevitably they do nothing over and over again, losing opportunity after opportunity, until luck somehow finds them to resolve the conflict in their favor. In Daebak, that overthink doesn't occur. You're led from one action packed scene to next, always wondering what is going to happen next. Personally, I like that aspect of this k-drama. And with each torture scene, we see young Gae-Ddong growing mentally tougher. Ah, but I'm almost getting ahead of myself since I've seen Ep 6 wherein Dae-Gil fully emerges.

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Yes, his transformation begins in episode 6. They really didn't have much time - so the extreme torture does have a point. We do see the character becoming stronger, and by the end of episode 6, it's utterly believable. Of course, he still has major challenges ahead of him.

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Dae-gil proves his true strength through all the trials he endured, although he is beaten, starved and mentally abused. His body broken but the spirit of who he is remains untouched. Thank you to the cast, especially Jang Keun Suk, for believable and stirring portrayal of "Daebak" characters.

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This is not an easy episode to be understood. I my self needs to re-watch about 5 times to see why the hell In Jwa torturing Daegil like almost too much. I guess the torture scene of Daegil is not only emphasizing the character of him, it also shows the flaw of In Jwa. You know that at the first episode he holds the swords until his hand was bleeding, as well as when he hold Dam Seo to kill her self? A villain that a bit too sadist including with him self; and it seemed he is blind psychologically to see that.

But then, everything in this drama made me curious more and more. Especially to see how they will make the villain - In Jwa showed more flaws. Because I could only a really small ones until this time. I m also curious to see how Daegil will grow since it is such early episodes for him having so many tortures like that. So be it, Daebak team! I ll definitely will continue to watch! :)

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my heart bursts with pride when reading these comments, I just hope that the rating to rise up! and that his talented the commitment and sufferings are not wasted!

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am surprised at some hate or unsatisfied comments everywhere O.o I mean give the shaw some time till it can start seriously ! I mean its a historical story and it takes a bit longer till the real plot show and take its strong way in affecting us ..Jang keun suk is making a great job there and every expression or line he say appears so real to me ..its like he is becoming Dae gil episode after the other ..and besides, the ratings are really good so I think this show will get more and more interesting ..I hope fans will give it more love :)

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Oh ya, by the way, Heads.. Thank you for mentioning some remark I could not find the explanation in the drama. The historical notes you made, the document term in Korean, and the official category in Joseon kingdom. So I understand the meaning, Yeoning asked for having access more into the inspection document and what is mean for him to be the officer there.

I ll be so happy to read more on your recap! :)

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I love this drama! I'm enjoying it way more then DoS! JKS is slaying it!

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I thought other people finds this drama interesting. Read several comments, turned out they aren't. I too have watched 3 of the episodes and half of the 4th, then stopped. I cant stand jang geun suk got himself abused over and over again, like dude pls, is the writer psychopath, and find it surprising why would jang geun suk accepted the role, and even acted it out sooo well. After reading ep 4 and 5's recaps, i think i'll stop watching this. I'll just stick to recaps. Although i love janggeunsuk's acting so much, i just cant stand it anymore.

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