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Jackpot: Episode 23

With a revolt in full swing, our two brothers are left on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to solving it. The choices come down to killing everyone or killing no one, and you can probably guess which brother takes which stance—and while it shouldn’t be so simple, it really, really is. If nothing else, no one will be able to say Dae-gil isn’t heroic enough, just like no one can say Injwa isn’t villainous enough—they’re both extremes at all times, and Jackpot makes sure we know it.

 
EPISODE 23 RECAP

Dae-gil tells Injwa to just give up this whole rebellion thing now that his provisions have been burned, his horses have been taken, and his men are down with diarrhea. (All of this thanks to Dae-gil’s efforts, of course.)

Predictably, Injwa has no such plans, and introduces kingly hopeful Mil Poong-goon instead. Unimpressed, Dae-gil warns Injwa and the small army gathered behind him of the army the king’s amassing to take them down—an army Injwa already knows about due to having a spy in the palace.

Even with the amount of men Dae-gil’s put out of commission, Injwa still has over a hundred thousand men ready to back him up. He’s going to take this fight all the way, despite Dae-gil’s threat that it won’t be long before everyone sees the kind of person Injwa really is. “I will stop you,” Dae-gil vows, before bravely riding away.

While Injwa orders his army forward without the men taken down with illness, Dae-gil’s people treat the sick in order to bring them over to their side. (Though I wonder how happy they’d be to learn they’re getting the cure from the same people who gave them the poison in the first place.)

Dae-gil sends messages via homing pigeons to Yeon-hwa, who delivers them to King Yeongjo’s right-hand man in turn. Afterward, he promises all the concerned rebels that there’ll be no repercussions for them for participating in the rebellion—the king himself said so.

But when Seol-im asks him if the king actually said so, Dae-gil looks a bit shifty. Uh oh.

Dae-gil’s message gets delivered to King Yeongjo, offering a glimmer of hope for the concerned king—he’s cut down Injwa’s forces by half, but that doesn’t mean they can rest easy. Even with only half his forces, Injwa can still overtake the king’s army, and eventually the capital.

In order to stop that from happening, King Yeongjo plans to go to Anseong himself, unable to sit idly by while Injwa gets closer and closer. What he doesn’t know is that Dae-gil has a plan to stop the rebel forces before they can even reach Anseong, banking on the unfed army to stop at a smaller village before reaching the pivotal city.

Dae-gil receives a heartening message from Chae-gun, saying that he’s found Traitor Jeong, and will make sure that no innocent people get harmed in the process of taking him down.

Back in the capital, Yeon-hwa updates new ally Hong Mae on the three-part plan Dae-gil’s already initiated with the first step, which was to take the rebels’ provisions and their horses. The next step will be to retake Cheongju Fortress from the rebels, and will spread the rumor that Injwa’s rebellion has failed in order to deter more rebels from joining his cause.

Since the truth is unverifiable, they spread the lie that Injwa’s forces were defeated at Anseong, despite the fact that no battle has yet taken place there. The rumors are enough to dissuade some would-be traitors, leading to a confrontation between Injwa’s right-hand man Park Pil-hyun and a government official who backs out on their deal.

But when news arrives that King Yeongjo’s taking the army to Anseong ahead of schedule, Dae-gil resolves to go there himself in order to stop him. Meanwhile, Injwa proves to be the worst motivational speaker ever as he tries to rally his starving and unwilling troops into action by telling them to just dig deep. They do, but only to find edible roots.

Left with no other choice but to try feeding his men, Injwa and a small contingent raid the nearest village for supplies, which is exactly what Dae-gil was counting on. The small band of villagers rebel against having their stores taken, only for Injwa to order that they all be locked up and burned.

Jin-ki has a moral objection to this, but Injwa says it’s all in service to their great plan. He sets the storehouse on fire with the villagers locked inside, having to stop Jin-ki from saving them with a generic: “This is for the good of our cause!” Wait, aren’t you in this cause for The People? Like the people you just burned alive? Who buys you?

King Yeongjo gets updated on Dae-gil’s progress against Injwa, and remembers how Dae-gil laid his plan to defeat Injwa to him. He’s completed the first two parts of the plan (cutting Injwa’s forces in half and starting malicious rumors), but we don’t hear the third part.

When Mil Poong-goon raises his objections to Injwa sacking a village, Injwa again uses a vague “I did what I had to do” excuse, not bothering to elaborate. Mil Poong-goon shows him the wagon of pilfered food, which has gone untouched by the men, who couldn’t bring themselves to eat stolen provisions.

Injwa still stands by what he’s done as being necessary, though Mil Poong-goon no longer wants to be a part of his cause—he’s in this for the people, and Injwa clearly isn’t. Injwa doesn’t help his own cause by ruthlessly killing one of the men responsible for telling Mil Poong-goon about the whole sacking-and-burning thing, only to then turn to the wannabe king and say, “Please trust me.”

Jin-ki follows Injwa’s instructions to bury the man he killed, and leaves Mil Poong-goon at the gravesite. Mil Poong-goon apologizes to the dead man, and then… goes on with the rebellion anyway? (*throws hands up*)

Dae-gil finally reaches the fortress in Anseong where King Yeongjo has taken his men to confront him over reneging on their agreement—he was supposed to give him five days to catch Injwa before bringing the army in.

In an even tone, King Yeongjo informs him that today is the fifth day, and while he acknowledges Dae-gil’s accomplishments in slowing Injwa down, it’s time for him and his army to bring a real end to Injwa. Dae-gil tries to appeal to the king’s sympathy, reminding him that those people with Injwa are still his people, and he has a responsibility to protect them.

King Yeongjo replies by saying that those people have deserted him, which isn’t enough for Dae-gil—he managed to get half of Injwa’s troops to desert him without using force. He has faith in the people, he claims, and if Yeongjo would only rekindle his own faith, they could work together to bring about a bloodless end to the revolt.

While that’s all well and good to King Yeongjo, the truth is that they can’t risk losing Anseong to the rebels, since there’d be no stopping them from taking the capital after that. Now, both their theories will be put to the test, since Injwa and his men arrive at the fortress gates.

King Yeongjo orders that all the rebels be killed, but Dae-gil won’t let this go without a fight. “They are your people!” he yells. “They are traitors!” Yeongjo fires back. Their fight escalates to the point where Dae-gil declares that he can no longer keep the promise he made to the late King Sukjong to protect Yeongjo.

Drawing his sword, Dae-gil launches at the king, only to be stopped by his bodyguard. King Yeongjo reacts unblinkingly as Dae-gil fights off the bodyguard, ready to face off against the other military officers at the king’s side. But then those two officers suddenly turn their swords on him—they’re the “hidden cards” Injwa told Jin-ki about, which he secured through his ties with Queen Dowager Seonui.

Injwa laughs maniacally as a white flag is flown over the fortress walls, a signal to him that his plan succeeded and the king is dead. The gates are opened and his army advances through without resistance… and then the gates are closed.

Injwa’s left in shock as the king’s archers return to their posts, all aiming for him. King Yeongjo appears atop the gates with Dae-gil as proof that Injwa’s plan backfired, causing him and Jin-ki to bravely run away.

Mil Poong-goon is left with the troops within the fortress, and in a turnabout, tells them that they’re all free now. He tells them that Injwa didn’t have a great cause after all, and was only looking to serve his own greed and ambition.

A flashback tells us that Mil Poong-goon has been in cahoots with Dae-gil since Injwa killed that last man in cold blood, and we discover that turning Mil Poong-goon against Injwa was the third and most essential part of Dae-gil’s plan.

His attempt on the king’s life is also explained as a tactic necessary to draw out the traitors in his midst, and to use them to lure Injwa’s forces in by waving the symbolic white flag.

King Yeongjo makes good on his promise to forgive those rebels who stormed the fortress if they put down their weapons. They all do, and bow down in allegiance to the king. Mil Poong-goon also bows to him, causing Yeongjo to remark that Dae-gil’s saved the people again. But from this point forward, he’ll take care of things.

We’re back to the same argument between King Yeongjo and Dae-gil over what to do with the hundred thousand advancing soldiers, with Yeongjo wanting to use military force to stop them and Dae-gil seeking a more diplomatic solution. At least he gives Dae-gil until tonight to come up with a way to stop Park Pil-hyun and Traitor Jeong’s troops, but this is his last chance.

King Yeongjo reminds Dae-gil that they can’t avoid sacrifice on this one, and that he’ll plead for the people’s forgiveness once he’s put an end to the revolt. He’ll do everything he can to make it up to the people and risk being called a tyrant in the process, he adds, but he has to protect them first.

Even though Injwa only has about eight thousand men left, and even though none of them are trained soldiers, he’s prepared to sacrifice all of them for what he believes in. They seem to be drawing a parallel between Injwa and King Yeongjo by cutting back and forth between the both of them being obstinate and unyielding.

Injwa knew that the king would come with his soldiers that evening, and his prediction comes true as the king orders his soldiers to attack the frightened men guarding Injwa’s camp. Jin-ki joins the fray, killing soldiers left and right, but then Dae-gil comes riding up to demand that the king stop now.

He points out that Injwa’s men are just being used as human shields, but King Yeongjo says they’re all traitors, and must be killed. He has his riflemen aim right for the line of men, and somehow Dae-gil thinks it’s a good idea to… take one for the people?

Dae-gil rides toward the camp as the riflemen fire, getting shot in the back along with scores of Injwa’s men. He struggles to his feet to see the carnage in front of him, and calls for Injwa’s men to lay down their arms. What cause is it that they think they’re fighting for?

Injwa repeats his line about necessary sacrifices, which somehow rallies his men to keep up the line. King Yeongjo prepares his men to fire again, only for Dae-gil to spread out his arms as he looks to the rifleman, in a futile attempt to block the line of men with his body.

He’s soon joined by Seol-im, Grandpa, and a contingent of the rebels they turned, all locking their arms in solidarity. King Yeongjo immediately calls for his men to stand down, flashing back to the promise Dae-gil made to prove that the rebels aren’t just rebels that need to be killed in order to be properly dealt with.

Apparently this demonstration is his way of proving that point, since King Yeongjo puts a stop to the attack. Dae-gil, bleeding from his gunshot wounds, stumbles over to Injwa to tell him he’s finished. But he has a choice to make, and that choice will decide the fate of the men standing beside him.

Injwa claims that he’s ready to die along with all his men, only to be stopped when Dae-gil says he’ll join him. Without Mil Poong-goon, he knows Injwa has no viable path to the throne, so he needs him. If Injwa can prove to him that his cause is just, Dae-gil promises to join hands with him. (This has to all be part of his plan, right?)

Rather than having Injwa actually prove himself, since that’d mean he’d have to explain himself, Dae-gil offers to leave it up to fate. He proffers the bent-up coin that Injwa once gave him, the same one that ended up saving his life.

“This coin will decide our fate, and the fate of Joseon,” Dae-gil says. “Let’s bet it all on one round.” Injwa laughs, but agrees. Dae-gil sets the rules: if Injwa wins, Dae-gil will give up fighting him. And if Dae-gil wins, Injwa will give up his great cause.

Dae-gil sets the coin spinning on the table, but covers it with a cup before either of them can see it fall. Injwa calls the front side of the coin, and Dae-gil chooses the back. Injwa wonders if fate will choose him or Dae-gil, only for Dae-gil to remark that he never makes a bet he’s not sure he’ll win.

He lifts the cup, revealing the back side of the coin face up. Despite there being a fifty-fifty chance, Injwa seems very surprised he lost, and unsurprisingly declares that he has no intention of keeping his side of the bargain. Why would he need to, when one hundred thousand men are on their way to him right now?

That’s when Dae-gil informs him that Park Pil-hyun and Traitor Jeong won’t be coming to his aid. We see Park Pil-hyun and his men come up against a ditch they can’t cross (seemingly created by Man-geum), as well as Chae-gun finding Traitor Jeong, who runs from him.

While realization dawns on Injwa, Dae-gil describes what happened to Traitor Jeong and Park Pil-hyun, the former of whom was caught by Chae-gun, and the latter of whom was given over to the authorities by Man-geum. Dae-gil tells Injwa that there is no help coming for him.

Injwa orders his men to do something, but they all stand down. Even Jin-ki turns his sword against Injwa, and accuses him of lying—he was supposed to crown a king for the people, but in the end, he couldn’t even feed them and used them as human shields.

Jin-ki admits that he’s been conflicted as of late, but now his choices come down to killing Injwa himself, or dying with him. He’s chosen to kill his former master, but just as he prepares to swing his sword down on Injwa’s neck, Dae-gil cries, “No!” NO.

“His life belongs to the people,” Dae-gil says. “Now is not the time.”

King Yeongjo’s soldiers move in to peacefully disarm the people and arrest Injwa. “It’s over now, Yi Injwa,” Dae-gil adds, and Injwa just growls his name in return. Again.

 
COMMENTS

Yes, let’s delay Injwa’s demise, because that’s never backfired spectacularly before. Let’s give him over to the people, because he’s never orchestrated an escape from the middle of a public square before. Or a prison. Or an execution platform. More time for Injwa has always yielded positive results!

There’s a certain amount of comfort in knowing that Injwa’s fate will be decided one way or the other with the finale, though I’m curious as to what new conflict Jackpot might try picking up to fill its final hour if the whole revolt issue has already been sorted out. As long as they don’t suddenly turn Dae-gil into a revolutionary after the throne, whatever it is can’t be so bad, right? Right.

The thought that it might all come down to the two brothers worries me a little, since they’ve gone from being two characters to being two sides of an argument as of late. I found it actively difficult to understand Dae-gil as the episode wore on, despite his viewpoint being relatively simple: save ALL the people. Theoretically, that should be heroic, and in most ways it is—but at the point where Dae-gil’s taking bullets for The People (in as general a sense as possible) and protecting rebels indiscriminately simply by virtue of them being The People, he started to feel less like a person and more like a misguided idea.

Because, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what Dae-gil thought would happen if King Yeongjo did as he wanted and just let The People get what they wanted, which was to see him dead. It seemed like Dae-gil was much less concerned with stopping the revolt than he was about stopping King Yeongjo from doing anything about it, which leaves me confused as to whose good he thought he was working for. It feels like they were trying to paint King Yeongjo as being rigid and unyielding, but I got the exact opposite impression: King Yeongjo seemed to be the only one willing to compromise for peace while Dae-gil chased unrealistic—but idealistically nice-sounding—goals.

It’s easy to make a blanket decision like Dae-gil did, so maybe that’s why I empathized more with the tough decisions King Yeongjo was having to make, and the consequences he was prepared to take on. I believed him fully when he said he’d do nothing but repent once the rebellion was stopped, because he wasn’t being unreasonable in wanting to stop Injwa’s massive army before it could reach the capital. It wasn’t even that unreasonable for him to want to kill the people out to kill him, and I’d like to think that the reason he gave Dae-gil chance after chance was because he didn’t want to end up killing his own people.

But at the point where he had an entire army bearing down on him, what decision would Dae-gil have wanted King Yeongjo to make instead? What would’ve happened if Dae-gil couldn’t win The People over using only his charm? Those are questions I would’ve liked to see answered, if only because Dae-gil was able to accomplish everything he set out to do relatively easily (again). Granted, he got shot, but that’s a drop in the bucket compared to all the things that haven’t managed to kill him. Yet.

 
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This show is purely ridiculous.

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RIDICULOUS. Absolutely RIDICULOUS.

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One episode's time is enough for Injwa to find his own doppleganger, swap himself out of prison and gather up another army for rebellion. Haven't they learn anything?

May be this villian will never die and there will be a sequel Jackpot 2 - Return of the Jackass!

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Don't worry. Someone get me a sword and a plane ticket to Korea and I'll take care of Injwa. If I can't get him the drama's writer will be mincemeat.

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Jackpot 2: Return of the Jackass

Injwa is thrown into a cauldron of boiling oil. A powerful bolt of lightning strikes the cauldron, breaking it in half. Injwa crawls out painfully, fried to a crisp, but miraculously alive. Injwa creates a special jackass bodysuit to hide his horrific disfigurement. He moves about freely as a jackass, braying "Hee haw!" occasionally in the presence of villagers to throw off suspicion, and plots his next move...

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Though they tried to paint Yeongjo as bad i actually liked him. he seemed like a true king and did what any any king would do in such a situation. What king will sit and watch while some rebels are coming to get him and his kingdom. Beak Dae Gil was able to convince people but it seemed sheer luck. And stopping just in jwa did not end the rebel, the next episode showed that. anyway enjoyed the show it was beautiful to look at with two good looking men as the leads ;) the scenery, costumes, music and actors all were good. just the story had some flaws. it was till watchable though. and that scene King Yeongjo rode on horse back to anseong in slow motion.. :D wow i really liked that scene. Yeo jin goo looked so manly and fierce i actually forgot that he is still a teenager! daebak!

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I enjoyed this episode. I don't think they are trying to paint Yeongjo as bad. Being a king in that era is no fairytale. There has been several attempts on his life and it has to be really hard for him to trust anyone, even those who are close to him.
It's sad that they couldn't live as brothers openly like England's royal family today (Will and Harry). Politics were different back then. Kill or be killed.

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Not totally bad as a tyrant. but they want to make dae Gil shine which is totally understandable as he is the main lead. dae gil is the one who saves the people while the king was merciless.. that's the idea they wanted to give. Among the rebellions there are bad people and innocent people too. but how can we differentiate them in a middle of a war? The somewhat 'innocent people' has also committed a crime by joining in to a rebel in the first place. and they didn't give any strong reason to people to rebel. and shouldn't injwa (that mastermind) have had trained and brain washed the people at least for an year? most of them looked like farmers who hardly can hold a sword. and how he thought they can beat a royal army? and in jwa had no archers? Yeongjo's archers could have easily shot down all of them. it's all because they kind of wanted to paint Yeongjo as killing innocent villagers (who rebelled of course :P ) without using his mind to find other ways to stop it. But i think as a king he cannot sit and think of ways to end the revolt without shedding a single drop of blood while a whole army is coming to get him. It's just because the plot is somewhat messy not the actors. when they finally started to make dae gil look like a real hero there was not enough episodes to make that happen. so it all went in a rush and ended in a rush too.. and all the whole worrier training he got in the beginning became useless too. there isn't a memorable moment where he actually used those skills

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But with all that i love the drama! :D that's why it's dae bak i think ;)

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Hard to explain but true lol. More like love and hate at times for me.

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@ Kiara I feel you! :D

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I understand pretty much everything that you are saying and I wish that Dae Gil had more development so it doesn't feel like they had to tone down Yeoning to make Dae Gil shine.

It's been a joying watching Yeo Jin-goo's transition from boy to man in the same drama. He is truly gifted.

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True that one thing this show did ok was YJG's transition (well, it could've been better like Lee Bang-won if writer tried a little harder).
But in general this show is mess. One consistency this show has is absurdity, me think.

bty I love Seol-im and Hong-mae.

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*joy*

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I would say that has more to do with Yeo Jin-goo than what he is given. He is amazing for his age and he has matured a lot.

Jackpot has it's flaws but I find the story intriguing at times when I'm not too hung up on the hero and villain cheating death repetitively.

Perhaps there is something there that I don't quite understand between gambling and actual history being weaved into one. Sometimes I think I get it and sometimes I think I'm just halfway there.

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This show is crazy, but I want to know what happens! The plot makes no sense. I can't help but watch it. Injwa, our villain is the badass star because he never dies. The brothers are giving us their best in acting though. I must be crazy too!

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Lee In Jwa seems to have 9 lives...he retaliates and never dies. What the...? What a pity the 2 brothers come from same parents but eventually both will lead different lifestyle later on due to status.

It's hard not to cast Yeo Jin Goo in this matured role as he has nailed the character so well beyond his age. No wonder he's the 'noona killer', he's definitely scored one from my end. LOL!

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Yeongjo has a crap ton to deal with as king and Dae Gil really irks me sometimes. And while his ideals are admirable, they can also be unrealistic. I feel like he never even attempts to look at it from both sides. It has to be his way! Typical older brother.

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I found the rebellion pretty interesting. I thought it was good enough for a small scale 24 eps sageuk.
They made an effort to follow some of the actual events through Dae Gil's eyes. He could see that the people were confused and their hearts were not in it and if he can just persuade them they'll easily desert Injwa.
(According to rebels' testimonies, they were forced and threatened to join the rebellion without much explanation from the rebel leaders). This leads to confusions and the end result of the rebellion.

I do hope that Injwa will get the maximum punishment that anyone could get in Joseon. A quick death by the sword or poison won't cut it.

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I don't know about anyone else, but I'd watch a whole episode of In Jwa tortured and dying. (Just to get rid of him.)

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Why can't Yeo Jingoo be older than me? The fact that he's sooo much younger than I am made it hard to swoon for him, yknow.

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I may have missed some nuance because I'm only following the show through recaps here, but how was Dae-Gil able to negotiate with Injwa and do basically everything else after he was shot in the back?

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Those two shots in the back must have felt like two mosquito bites to dae gil after going through all the sufferings in the beginning of the drama lol. for a moment i though OMG they are gonna kill dae gil in this episode (You know dying for people like a hero kind of thing) when he was shot in the back and blood spilled out of him! but then he was talking and betting with in jwa like nothing happened. *Spoiler* he got healed earlier than one man would too in the next episode. Dae gil is immortal! :) the drama had a nice ending though!

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and kudos to yeo jin goo! With that kingly glare, matured look, deep voice and commanding nature that boy can play any Joseon king and i will definitely watch. i easily got used to the beard too it looked real on him. I'm happy that he's quite different. kind of dark skinned, deep voiced, sporty and manly with a whole lot of acting talent. I'm glad he's a handsome 'stone boy' instead of a pretty flower boy. A breath of fresh air to the kdramaland where all the actors looks just the same. i hope he stays that way and just focus on improving his acting skills further. he's already a veteran anyway with a lot of potential of becoming a even greater actor in the future

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Aaaah everytime he appeared on the screen wearing the king robe I was like: cheonnnaaaaaaaa kkkk. Hard to believe such a charisma comes from somebody that young!

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Should I watch this drama?
Is it worth it to sacrifice my weekend for 24 episode?
Any idea?

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Sometimes logic gets thrown to the wind but just for the pleasure of watching the actors who are all pretty awesome,bringing a crazy script to life ,I would recommend it. So if you really have some free time that you will not lament about later then it is worth the binge.

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I guess Daegil try to reminds us that he is after all the miraculous baby that survived being stabbed, thrown down the cliff & drown huh? Being shot is nothing~ I get it Daegil, even if you was shot, you still the hero that saves his people~
*dramatic eye rolls*
I mean, we already at ep 23 already, can someone, anyone, please just.kill Injwa so we can move on and finish the story please? Why show, why?
Can you at least throw us a bone after what we been through?

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in all most all dramas the villain dies in the last episode so.. just wait :)

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You don't have to wait anyway it's already out with English subs :D Yeah dae gils immortality is reallyunrealistic. maybe they should have made him have just one shot on the shoulder instead of two on the back. :/

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Yeongjo was the best thing about this drama. Both Dae Gil and In Jwa became caricatures, though the actors are really very talented. Dam Seo, Seol-Im, Chae Gun, Cutter and nearly everyone else (except Hong Mae) were sorely under-developed. Yeongjo's development was steady, interesting and realistic and he made the most human choices (whether good or bad). I don't think he changed suddenly. It was implicated from early and throughout the drama that he was insecure and secretly wanted the throne. He also lost everyone who ever meant anything to him (except Dae Gil). The actor playing Yeongjo was so riveting, he embodied the character so fully and effortlessly - he should win an award just for that performance, and I hope to see more of him soon.

Despite its plethora of issues, I did find the drama very entertaining (always looked forward to the next episode).

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Totally agreeing with you!

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Yeo jin goo who played Yeongjo will be 19 years old this august . He is a teen power house when it comes to acting. he never disappointed me with his acting in any drama that he was in. Just love this boy!

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The only other drama I ever saw him in is The Moon Embracing the Sun - he was in that drama for only a few episodes but he left a huge impression on me.

And I forgot to mention in my first post that besides Yeongjo, the character of the Crown Prince (later King Gyeongjong) was also very well developed.

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Yeo Jin-goo has been amazing since his first project, a film called "Sad Movie" and he was only 8yrs old. He's got raw talents and he keeps setting the bar high for himself. He is going to be among the best of Chungmuro when he gets older.
I'm glad that he is still at the age where he can still do dramas because eventually he will be headlining films and we won't get to see much of him in Dramaland.

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I recommend 'Hwayi- a monster boy' to you if you are in to action movies. It's more than an action movie with lot of conflicts of emotions and twists actually. Many people gets killed by jin goos hands so there's a lot of blood everywhere too. but i loved the movie and jin goo won many awards for his flawless acting. He was like 16 when he played it. Even "Orange Marmalade" despite the low ratings was good to me. My friends liked it too very much, we were sad as it didn't get more ratings. In Giant, Missing You and Iljimae that he acted as a child actor (childhood part of the main character), I just watched his parts lol Even though he got a small role he always acted the best he could. i have a lot of admiration for him because of that. While other actors who are at his age are still doing childhood roles Jin goo got the chance to step into more older and mature roles because of his looks and mature presence. He's quite cute and funny too in real life :)

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I loved Jin Goo in 'Potato Star' too! He was so funny and cute in that one. again playing a 24 year old character when he was just 16. and he had a cute romance in that drama too with a noona by 7 years lol. Jin goo can pull off romantic roles too. Even with Dam Seo at least sparks were flying from his side in front of such an unresponsive woman lol. i liked Yeoning/DamSeo pairing than Dae Gil/Damseo pairing. Even with seol Im dae gil didn't have much romance. It seemed like Dae gil just cares for Seol Im as a friend when Seol Im has a crush on him. It's sad when the main leads character and the main villain's character is not well developed. Because it's just ruins a drama. But because of the amazing acting and directing Jackpot was able to shine even though sometimes ratings fell. and i heard it ended winning the 3rd place in the ratings (it started taking the first place in the first episode)

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Thanks for the recommendations lovekdramas and Kiara. Sad Movie and Hwayi sound more up my alley so I will be checking those out. Agreed lovekdramas, the acting and directing really stole the spotlight in Jackpot.

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Oh the could have beens! Still I won't write off the entire show...Yeo Jin Goo and Choi Min Soo were amazing, brilliant and definitely made the show worth watching. Did you notice how Yeo Jin Goo became mini Choi Min Soo at the end??? Down to the steely glare and speech pattern. That boy is going to be an actor for the ages. Well, he already is.

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Yeah i was thinking the same! like father like son! He truly gave the scary vibe that king Sukjong used to give. Even In Jwa commented on that in the last episode! sorry spoiler! :D

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OMG YESSS, all the 'could-have-beens'! Too many.

Great actors, super awesome cinematography (the beautiful slow-mo scene they shot for episode 3(?) when Mangeum was shot by Injwa at the lake whilst pushing the boat was the first scene I watched on TV & got me interested in the first place); but poor writing at so many points along the story. I always wonder what the writer originally had in plan & how the storyline could have been, had any interferences not been present that required him to make a change (Damseo & how she could have fit into the story is the biggest, most obvious blackhole). Hmmh.

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Thanks for the recap, Heads! One more episode to go and we're done! I have to say I agree to most sentiments here about the plot and character development. I originally came for JKS and was totally into the first episode... until it got a bit crazier in the middle. Dam Seo's failed characterization and her damned death *rumour has it, it's due to the 'popular demand' instead of the plot sake, sigh* hit me the most lol... How could you just give up on your main character like that... but oh well, it's K-drama anyway. I really enjoy watching the acting of most actors and gotta say that I now have a very high interest in Yeo Jin Goo, too! That boy is surely a potential future successful actor! I hope he will stay an actor and not end up becoming an overrated hallyu star just like some other popular young actors nowadays. As for JKS, I hope he will continue getting a role that flatters his acting skill... This Jackpot may have missed the target this time but still it has been something ridiculously intriguing that keeps us wanting to see what comes next... Hehe...

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Oh gosh, Jackpot. Can you be juuust a bit more realistic, though? This episode was supposed to be the climax of the war, not a humanity documentary. Daegil's strategy, ideals & good faith in people is all nice and dandy, but can we not make it seem too unrealistically naïve? Yeoning/Yeongjo (he is forever sweet ol' Yeoning to me!) was more logical given the situation. Don't get me wrong I am all in for Daegil's strategies too (because his + Yeoning's = proven winning combo), but I just wished they'd execute it better (I was really looking forward to the Mushin rebellion). I'm glad Yeoning trusted his hyung all throughout, but they also made him seem too passive for the most part of this episode. The war scenes had a lot of odd moments & pauses (the sudden gambling, throwing oneself into the middle of a battlefield, bad guys suddenly realising they're in the wrong etc -- all because the plot now requires them to do so). But then again plot execution has always been the major issue with this drama, so I guess I'll...let it slide? Because I've seen the last episode and really liked it (phew!). This episode though -- could have been better.

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EEK! I am itching to leave/read comments about the last episode though.

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i feel you too lol! Hope to see the recap on ep 24 soon! Thanks heads for recapping!

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Everytime when dae gil was like "Cheonaa it's your people" i was like then you cannot kill in jwa too, as he also happens to be one of the people.

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I want to share my friend's thought on Jackpot, she more eloquent than me in term of writing.
"1- The reason In Jwa believed would come to his side was because of the Shaman's seeing him as having a face like In Jwa's. In Jwa interpreted that to mean Gae Dong would be a rebel too - he just needed the right incentive. Because of his own psychological defects, he refused to believe he could not win Dae Gil over, even after Dae Gil had proved over and over again that he rejected In Jwa.
2- When anything goes wrong with In Jwa's plans or someone dies, it's always the King's fault. Whenever, he causes harm or death to someone, he says it's their fate; thus, he's not responsible. He never takes responsibility for this actions. Nothing is ever his fault. He seems incapable of introspection.
3- He rarely lies but he does manipulate the truth to his advantage. It's as if he spent so many years in rhetorical debate that he can anticipate an opponent's arguments and have a ready response before they even utter the first word.
4- While the gambling episodes and even Dae Gail's earlier episodes in which he's maimed and starved so much seem disconnected to the latter episodes, they're not. It's unfortunate that the series was cut as it was; nevertheless, what seems like abrupt changes in Dae Gil's behavior and his life style are actually a progression of his continuing education through his own personal experiences at or near the bottom of the Joseon social statra. And as he learns, he realizes his belief in ethical and moral standards and human values seem to have no place in his Joseon. He empathizes with those who have lost so much and been victims of the political class, including In Jwa who sees them as nothing more than pawns on a chess board...and hardly worthy of consideration.
5 - Thus far, at the end of episode 22, only a few people appear capable of change: In Jwa who denies his own decades old warped desire for revenge; Moo Myong who continues to follow In Jwa for reasons that are indiscernible; and Hwang Jin Ki who, decidedly, lacks reasons powers. Oh, and Jeong who's apparent vengeance against the Yi kings goes back centuries...or maybe like many of his other allies to the Sukjong's great purge. Nevertheless, their Great Cause is not for the paeksaeng (the people) as they claim but for themselves and their family statures - their class."

....continue

cr: fb kaye taozen https://www.facebook.com/kayetaozin/posts/242598409453611

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Continue from above ......

"6 - What appears like sudden changes from Gae Dong, the innocent even naive young man, to Dae Gil, the hardened gambler, to Dae Gil, the humanist, are not a sudden changes. Rather, his changing personality exists as a slow progression throughout the series as he witnesses the harm and evils perpetrated upon the people who have no money or defense against the harm that keeps being thrown at them. Little by little, from one episode to another, Dae Gil's eyes are opened, just as Yeoning's are. But both choose different paths to achieve a similar result. While Yeoning chooses to the throne and it's imperial force to enforce change, Dae Gil chooses to work at the bottom of the social spectrum to improve the lives of ordinary people.
I've yet to finish binge watching the entire series, but my impression thus far in my binge watching of the series has changed remarkably, not because I'm a fan of JKS or because I love suspenseful mysteries or thought the series seemed too disconnected at certain points and didn't flow well or for any other reason. I now see it as much more connected throughout with a complex story line that individual episodes cannot adequately convey.
After wondering at a few places seemingly disconnected places in the story and plot what was going on in the writer's mind, I finally get what he was thinking and why he wrote the script as he did. I give him multiple kudos for writing such a complex psychological and political drama. If JKS and the other major cast members read the script, basically as we've seen it, it's no wonder they chose to be part of it. Where I in any of their shoes, I too would have been excited to perform in this drama."

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really well-written thought... though I still have the impression that in the end the scripts have just so many unresolved 'holes' that I can't seem to find any excuses to try to digest it in my very own logic. there were seemingly brilliant ideas thrown and never got followed up because there are just too many to grasp and take care of.

Ah anyway...

It just could've been better in terms of the plot, methinks :). If only the drama was pre-produced and the writer-nim had enough time to develop his story and characters... I believe it would hit the jackpot :)

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I just gave up on this drama. At least it wasn't nightwatchmen bad.

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