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Jackpot: Episode 24 (Final)

Oh, what could have been and wasn’t. Or what wasn’t, and should have been. But really, with Jackpot it’s a lot of what was, and definitely shouldn’t have been. But like every show must do, this one comes to an end. Of sorts. It’s actually not that bad in the grand scheme of things—it hits most of the points it needs to, introduces a lot it doesn’t, but at least it stays (mostly) sane. And that’s saying something after a ride like this.

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After Injwa has successfully been arrested, a still-wounded Dae-gil shuffles over to the king, bows, and then promptly passes out. Seol-im and Grandpa rush to his aid as King Yeongjo looks on unblinkingly.

It seems like it’s King Yeongjo who flashes back to the moment Dae-gil rode out in front of the riflemen only to get shot in the process, but it’s actually a nightmare Dae-gil has while recuperating, along with flashbacks of his gamble with Injwa.

He wakes and heads outside, where Seol-im and Grandpa tend to the former rebels. They all cheer for their savior Dae-gil, hailing him as a hero of the people. Though they acknowledge that it was the king’s order that freed them from suffering any repercussions, it’s Dae-gil who gets all the credit.

Mil Poong-goon drops to his knees in apology when confronted by King Yeongjo over his traitorous actions, and claims that while he joined the revolt for the people, he didn’t realize that Injwa was only in it for greed.

King Yeongjo muses that Mil Poong-goon should be beheaded for his crimes, but since he helped them by turning against Injwa (and because Yeongjo made a promise to Dae-gil), he’ll be allowed to live. But he’ll have to live in exile, and never show his face in the capital again.

The king is hailed as the victor, and consults with the court to hear their opinions on what should be done about Injwa. The ministers who were formerly in cahoots with Injwa suggest execution, but look nervous when King Yeongjo orders two mysterious boxes brought in.

Dae-gil returns to the capital to find Yeon-hwa and Hong Mae, who’s now part of their little family. (Aw, yay.) He finds his father there too, who assures him with his signature grin that their plan worked flawlessly—Park Pil-hyun and Traitor Jeong are no more.

Back in court, the two nervous Injwa supporters open the boxes at their feet, and recoil in horror. Inside are the heads of Park Pil-hyun and Traitor Jeong. I love how the king casually asks them their thoughts on his “gifts,” seemingly enjoying this little bit of revenge.

Dae-gil finds out simultaneously from his father that both Traitor Jeong and Park Pil-hyun were killed and subsequently beheaded. All the leaders of the revolt are dead, Man-geum adds, which leaves Injwa with nothing. (The chyron tells us that Traitor Jeong marched on Yeongnam before being caught and beheaded, and that Park Pil-hyun of Honam failed in his plans, was arrested for raising an army, and also beheaded.)

Or not, since Injwa’s Soron supporters wonder what to do about Injwa, and how best they can secure their own futures—do they cast him aside, or restore him to power? And why is the king keeping him alive?

King Yeongjo answers that question when he’s face-to-face with Injwa, and orders him to write down all the names of the government officials who conspired with him. Injwa sees no benefit in helping him when he’s going to die anyway, so Yeongjo offers a deal: if he does as he’s told, he’ll allow him an easy, private death. If not, he’ll have him drawn and quartered publicly.

Injwa chuckles that King Yeongjo’s become the monster now, though Yeongjo chooses to take that as a compliment—his father was known as the monster with one hundred eyes and one thousand ears, and becoming like him is what he’s always wanted. He leaves a dagger with Injwa and tells him that he has until tomorrow morning to make his decision. (Er, why wouldn’t he just kill himself and give nothing up at that point?)

Dae-gil, restored to his official position, warns the king against letting Injwa die so easily—what if they don’t get the names of the corrupt ministers from him? King Yeongjo isn’t worried about them, but wonders if Dae-gil is. Even if they were to rise up against him again, he would just strike the rebels down.

He gives Dae-gil a lesson in politics while he’s at it, adding that there’s no such thing as a one-strike-kills-all in politics. If he cuts the tree but leaves the roots in tact, he can use those to his advantage, which he plans on doing tonight by revealing Injwa’s location and waiting to see which treasonous ministers come to his aid.

Dae-gil doesn’t understand the king, and Chae-gun tries to explain that Dae-gil will never understand the inner conflicts a king faces unless he were to sit on that throne himself. Chae-gun receives a message from Jin-ki requesting a meeting, but before he goes, Dae-gil tells him that Jin-ki managed to change his stripes in the end by turning against Injwa.

While the Sorons decide to take action now that Injwa’s location has been revealed (just as King Yeongjo predicted), Chae-gun heads to the meeting place Jin-ki set. Jin-ki is still determined to fight and defeat Chae-gun, so they draw swords and do battle.

But once again, Chae-gun seems to be getting the best of his former junior, leading Jin-ki to smilingly admit defeat. He’s repentant for his crimes with Injwa, and knows that trying to kill him doesn’t wash his sins away. With tears in his eyes, Jin-ki says that he came to Chae-gun to pay for his crimes, since it would only be right if Chae-gun would be the one to kill him.

He lunges half-heartedly at Chae-gun, who stabs him non-fatally in the side. “Why… why did you not kill me?” Jin-ki wonders in shock. Chae-gun replies that there are two people in his life he needs to atone to—his wife, who’s lived like a widow because of him (and probably so, since this is the first we’ve heard of her), and Jin-ki.

“Use the rest of your life to reflect on your wrongdoings,” Chae-gun says, his way of making a deal for Jin-ki’s life. Jin-ki understands, and thanks his friend and one-time senior with grateful tears brimming in his eyes.

That night, Dae-gil asks Chae-gun whether the king might ever be able to return to the person he once was. Chae-gun basically tells him not to hold his breath—life is about making choices and bearing the burden of those choices.

Soron minister Jo Il-soo is able to pay a visit to Injwa as though he’s just dropping in on a neighbor, only he’s not there for a cup of sugar—he’s brought an assassin to kill Injwa. But of course, before the assassin can strike, he’s knocked down by King Yeongjo’s bodyguard, who then takes him to the king.

Remembering Chae-gun’s words about how he’ll never understand the king’s plight without sitting in his throne, Dae-gil meets with the king, who instructs him to watch and confirm that Injwa’s upcoming execution goes smoothly.

Dae-gil leads the way to take Injwa to meet his maker the next morning, but gives Injwa a chance to say his piece first. Injwa just says that he has no regrets except for choosing Dae-gil, which was the biggest mistake he ever made.

“Yi Injwa, you’re full of contradictions,” Dae-gil marvels. “Your words and actions don’t line up.” Injwa: “It is not I who is full of contradictions. It is the world that’s full of them.” This conversation pretty much sums up the entire show. We can literally just end it here.

Injwa tries to get Dae-gil to end his life by cutting him down with his sword, but Dae-gil says it won’t be so easy. He has to face the people, which means tying his arms and legs to four cows in the public square. He’s to be drawn and quartered. But first, an empty speech:

“A man who has raised the people up in this nation of prosperity and military defense, in a nation where one need not suffer for his identity, in a nation where I’ve built the people to be masters of this land… under what justification must a man like myself die? Wait and see. I, Yi Injwa, will one day… one day!… be known as a necessary figure who will be better known a hundred, no, a thousand times over than any of you beings of this corrupt nation!”

The drumbeats sound, the steers led forward. Injwa screams as his arms and legs are slowly pulled in all directions. “I, Yi Injwa, will not die!” he roars. And then he dies.

Dae-gil returns to the king to hand over the sword King Sukjong once gave him. He explains that the sword was given to him so that he could protect the people, but most of all, so that he could protect King Yeongjo, who he describes as both his friend and brother.

Only now, Dae-gil wants nothing more than to live a normal life outside the palace. He cautions the king to use wisdom in all things going forward, and to keep the tide of fickle public opinion in mind when making his decisions. “I hope you will become a good and wise king that all will remember,” Dae-gil adds.

King Yeongjo acts cool on the outside, when he really wants to ask Dae-gil, “Are you really leaving?” But in the end, all he asks is that Dae-gil stay someplace where he can find him, should the need ever arise.

Now that Injwa is dead, the Sorons think that their biggest hurdle has been surmounted… until Madam Jeong makes a reappearance with proof of the deal they made with Injwa. Should they fail to honor it, she’ll tell the king their dirty secret, and has failsafes in place should they try to kill her, too.

So Minister Kim Il-soo goes to Queen Dowager Seonui to ask her to make a potentially dangerous decision, while another minister goes to free Nameless from prison. Presumably, the decision has something to do with the new court lady they install to serve the king’s meals.

King Yeongjo catches on immediately, and orders the planted court maid to taste his food again. Knowing it contains poison, she drops to the floor to plead for mercy, but runs away before she can tell him who ordered him to do it.

Just then, Nameless and a small group of other guards come in to the king’s room, swords drawn. King Yeongjo’s loyal bodyguard is left alone to face off against all of them, and performs admirably… until Nameless mortally wounds him.

Nameless claims that this is all for Injwa, and as he readies to bring his sword down on King Yeongjo, he’s stabbed instead by the king’s two spooky eunuchs.

The king rises to check on his faithful bodyguard, who can only gurgle an apology through the blood in his mouth before dying. Nameless isn’t dead yet either, and tells the king that he’ll live the rest of his life alone, and he’ll die alone.

When he says that, the king immediately thinks of his son, Crown Prince Hyojang, who’s currently eating a meal served by his court lady. We get an ominous shot of Queen Dowager Seonui as well as Minister Jo Il-soo, but by the time King Yeongjo makes it to his young son’s room, he’s already dead.

One of the spooky eunuchs tries to stop the court lady from poisoning herself, but is too late. (I feel like I’ll miss these two the most, and I have no idea why.) King Yeongjo’s legs give way as he registers what’s happened, and it’s heartbreaking to see him crawl to his son, take his small hand in his, and cry.

In retaliation, Minister Jo Il-soo and the other Soron leaders are arrested and interrogated the proper Joseon way. King Yeongjo personally oversees their torture, demanding to know which of them was behind the poisoning. He suspects the court lady who poisoned herself worked under the queen dowager, and claims that if they confirm the truth of that, he’ll let them live.

Minister Jo Il-soo shakily admits that he has seen that court lady around the queen dowager’s quarters, leading King Yeongjo to the conclusion that the queen dowager was behind all this. He can only ask them why they did what they did—did they honestly think the queen dowager would be able to save them? The torture is resumed under the king’s orders, and for good measure, he orders that even the most distant relatives of the ministers be gathered up and punished.

Madam Jeong kills herself before the king’s guards can reach her, but it’s the king himself who bursts into Queen Dowager Seonui’s quarters with a sword in hand. When he asks why she killed his son, the queen dowager answers that it’s payment for the pain of losing her husband. (She blames Yeongjo for his death.)

King Yeongjo wants very badly to kill her, but drops his sword and orders that she be exiled instead. If she ever steps outside her place of exile, then all bets are off.

Despite the strict laws governing the neutrality of the historiographers who were at that time compiling what would become the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, King Yeongjo overrules their authority and personally burns all records of Yi Injwa and the rebellion. He wants no trace left behind that Injwa ever even existed.

Chae-gun has to again caution Dae-gil against taking action when it comes to the families of the Soron traitors being arrested, and tells him not to concern himself with political affairs any longer. Dae-gil doesn’t know the pain of losing a child, he adds, so he can’t do anything for the king.

King Yeongjo eats a sad, lonely meal, and thinks about how Nameless cursed him to a life of loneliness. But he also thinks about how he’s not in a position to be sad, so he holds his sadness in and instead asks the spooky twins to update him on the nation’s affairs. All’s quiet, they say, except for one thing…

Cut to random citizens lauding Dae-gil, who’s become like a superhero to the people, and who they now think should be king. They’ve heard the rumor that Dae-gil is actually the king’s son, so why not?

The new ministers in King Yeongjo’s court call on the king to have Dae-gil arrested, and so the king orders the arrest and execution of Dae-gil. When the ministers start shuffling around nervously in response, he deadpans, “What. Is that not what you wanted.” (Is he punking them right now? I can’t tell.)

Flash back to all the happy memories King Yeongjo and Dae-gil shared, as the king arrives in disguise at Dae-gil’s village to meet with his brother. “I have come to kill you today,” Yeongjo tells him, before adding that there’s been talk of a man acting like a king when there’s already a king on the throne.

Dae-gil just sighs that the king can stab him if he likes—he can’t control the people’s feelings. (Translation: “I’m sorry I’m so popular!”) But the king wants him to say how he really feels, and whether he truly feels like a king.

With a shrug, Dae-gil admits that he doesn’t know. Maybe things would be different if King Yeongjo wasn’t his little brother, but Dae-gil knows that those same people who want him to be king now would be unhappy if he actually stole the throne away from Yeongjo.

They like him now because he’s one of them, and that’s how things should remain. “You should have more confidence as a ruler,” Dae-gil adds, which seems to cool the tension between them.

“What will you do now?” King Yeongjo asks, not as a king, but as his brother. “I am but one of many citizens of this land,” Dae-gil replies with a sigh, as if he needed to sound more like a tool. He says he’ll live simply, maybe play tujeon once in a while, but otherwise, he’ll just live.

King Yeongjo smiles to see this side of Dae-gil, the side he remembers. “I miss those times,” he says, and Dae-gil echoes the sentiment. “Will those times ever return? The times when we laughed, and gambled… times like that,” Yeongjo muses. Dae-gil doesn’t have an answer.

Chae-gun respectfully resigns from his post due to old age, leaving King Yeongjo to sigh that the throne has become an even lonelier place for him now.

Back in Dae-gil’s village, there’s good times to be had for all. Grandpa and Man-geum can’t help but wonder where Dae-gil’s gone off to—he’s supposed to get married to Seol-im tomorrow. Man-geum promises to find his errant son and drag him to the altar in time.

Hong Mae and Yeon-hwa come to the village bearing gifts and tidings for Dae-gil’s wedding, but Grandpa says they have no need of all those things when they’ll be leaving to a far-off place soon. They don’t say where, or why, only that they can’t keep living there for whatever reason.

Despite his age, Chae-gun is still as sharp as ever, and takes particular pride in besting his own (very, very grown) son at archery. His son asks if his father has any pupils who managed to live through his training, and Chae-gun mentions Dae-gil.

“He became a great tiger,” Chae-gun says of his former pupil. He was trusted by the king and beloved by the people, he adds, though he doesn’t answer any more of his son’s questions. He just chastises him like a father and smiles instead.

We find Dae-gil meeting King Yeongjo (in disguise) at the top of a hill overlooking the capital city of Hanyang—…

 
COMMENTS

That’s it. The camera pans around them, they say nothing, end of show. Maybe they were trying to go for poignancy there, but at that point, it would’ve been nice for them to share at least one word so we’d know what the meeting was about. Instead, we got two characters overlooking a pretty vista just because, and it ended up being a scene for the sake of it. An unfinished one, at that.

But leave it to Jackpot to be vague until the bitter end, I suppose. It could be worse (it could be Sword and Flower, though I guess that’s a pretty low bar), but it always gets me when a finale fails to do the one job it has to do. There is a certain amount of fun in leaving certain threads up to the imagination, since everything doesn’t need to be tied up into a bow, but I don’t understand why the show would go out of its way to introduce new plot threads only to leave them unresolved. It had nothing but time to resolve all the things when it resolved its central conflict in the first ten minutes.

For instance, what was the point of having Dae-gil & Co. plan this uber secretive move for equally secretive reasons? Why even introduce the idea that Dae-gil’s absent a day before his wedding without offering even a hint of resolution? If the point was just to have a fanservice ending where Dae-gil ends up married to a girl he barely interacted with during the second half of the series, then it would’ve been more practical for them to have been married during the time skip, wouldn’t it? It’s not that it’s such a big deal that we don’t know whether he was going to show up to his own wedding—it’s mostly just bizarre that it got thrown into the mix like it was supposed to mean something, only it didn’t have the time to mean much of anything.

All told though, I’m half-surprised, half-thankful that the show didn’t do something even crazier with its last moments, since it didn’t exactly have a track record for making the most logical choices. But because Jackpot operated on its own internal logic, which it refused to let us in on and negated regularly, it was nearly impossible to watch with any sort of investment. I always felt like an outsider looking in, because while there’s mystery, and there’s intrigue, there’s also just not knowing why anyone does any of the things they do. Having that constant worry, the why-is-this-happening kind, really does act as an impediment to the overall enjoyment of a show, and I just don’t buy the argument that there’s a level of brain cells needed to enjoy entertainment, like the height requirement on a roller coaster ride. In the end, it comes down to what worked versus what didn’t, and there was honestly a confusing mix of both here.

Even if we overlooked every single gap in logic, the story we’d be left with still wouldn’t be a very engaging one, and I think most of that fault lies with how ambiguous Dae-gil turned out to be. Out of all the characters presented, King Yeongjo was the only one who seemed to get something resembling an arc, even if I really couldn’t get a read on him threatening to kill Dae-gil for being too popular during that one scene. If it was that he actually believed Dae-gil was a threat and did mean to kill him, then I’d be sorely disappointed in him. If it was that he was just looking for an excuse to see Dae-gil and didn’t believe all the nonsense, then it’d all be okay. Suffice to say, Yeongjo’s got one hell of a poker face.

Luckily for Yeongjo, we were constantly getting glimpses of what was going on inside his head, and knew the kind of internal wars he was waging without Chae-gun having to constantly spell it out to a sometimes alarmingly clueless Dae-gil. Yeongjo was someone, even if that someone changed dramatically over the course of one series. The problem with Dae-gil was that he didn’t feel like anybody, and the show did him a grand disservice by trying to make him into everybody. He was so much better off when he was an invincible youth and errant gambler, because he wore his heart on his sleeve and knew what he wanted. But somewhere in there, Dae-gil 3.0 emerged, a Dae-gil that was so by the people and for the people that he had nothing to call his own—not even a personality.

Which isn’t to say anything about Jang Geun-seok’s performance, which was admirable despite his character coming from a black hole of a script where action and consequence went to die. In the end, that’s really what ruined the experience more than anything else: the idea that consequence is selective and based on the whims of the script. Not fate, not characters, not the world they live in—a character only faced the consequences of their actions when it was convenient for them to do so. Or maybe comeuppances were decided by coin tosses and we’ll never know.

On the bright side, the performances were strong enough to elevate the material—it’s just a shame that the material didn’t do more with them. Yeo Jin-gu was a particular standout, and, like Choi Min-soo, frequently seemed to be adding more to the role than what was on the page. Jang Geun-seok’s smooth velvet voice belongs forever in sageuk, and Ahn Gil-kang is one of those actors that makes anything that comes out of his mouth sound like perfect sense. Or, as Injwa would put it, “It’s not that the script is full of contradictions, it’s the world that’s full of them.”

R.I.P. Injwa. Rest in pieces.

 
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Such a Disappointing drama!!

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The story was disappointing and nonsensical but what wasn't a disappointment was the quality of the actors and their acting skills in spite of the ludicrous storyline. Writers that do fictional accounts of history should at least try to stick to reality and respect the viewer. However, they had the finest cast of actors and I spent most of my viewing time watching the actors - trying not to be distracted by the script. Comparing this to dramas with incompetent actors casts i major roles because of idol status. The ending didn't bother me - loneliness could have been a good theme from the beginning if they had developed it properly. AT the end - only the vieweer was lonely and questioning - why 24 hours of their time.

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I skipped ep. 22 and 23. And 18 to 21, was a blur, I watched it while playing criminal case,so...
Yeo Jin Go was pretty stellar here given the role he got, his character got more grit. Baek Dae Gil 3.0 was a complete surprise if not disappointing, coz I thoight this show would end where the first scene started, with the bad ass Baek Dae Gil who looks like the mature version of the Hong Gil Dong prince, played by Jang Geun Suk, of course circa 2008.
But I watched this for the love of Jang Geun Suk and he is mighty fine himself. And thank you for mentioning his smooth velvet voice, he was doing some monologues in this finale and I had to close my eyes to listen, it is calm and cool, doesn't matter if I don't understand what he was saying, it is the tone that resonates for me.
This was a good show to showcase what Jang Geun Suk can do and his dedication for his craft, but I think enough with the sageuk if you can't play a prince, just a prince.
I hope he will do a romcom next, I don't want him in a melodrama either. Romcom will be best, maybe next year? Or late this year, just one more before he goes to the military. I was gonna say maybe he should cut his hair short, but maybe let's see you one last time with that long hair.

Jang Geun Suk, it's been a struggle since 2015, tax evasion case which was blown out of proportion, like some crazy conspiracy to bring you down. But your fans will always be here to support you, so enough with the crazy outfits on your concert. get serious and choose your next project well.

Now, let me listen to that monologue again before I go to sleep.

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I loved the drama! I agree that it was not as enticing as some (eg Queen Seondeok), but i was glad it wasn't cause i didn't want to cry another sea for such a bitter ending.

I was still sad to see the brothers so LONELY especially the king. Moreover, i found it quite vicious of the writer (or producer or whoever else it may be) to thwart them into so much loss all at once. I mean, a mother dead today, little brother in a week time and three days before the father's death, a few weeks before the Noron ministers, climaxed by big brother's death within a few months time (seriously? ???) That's one too many deaths in too little time.

What happened to dae gil? When we first met him he was quite the romantic and friendly (and chatterbox) type........how could he turn to be such a douchbag?

Quick question, did Yeoning even know the name of his queen wife? Why did it look like they hardly ever met? Any more children for them?

All in all, at least they got rid of Yi In jwa.

P.s
The action director of this series should learn from queen seondeok's director on how to make the martial fights more real......that was the most unconvincing bit of the drama. And how Bae Dae Gil healed from broken bones in a few days. The only person that ever got sick was the poor king Sukjong.

Despite it all though, i didn't hate watching it. And i loved the king and could tolerate the rest.

Poor Kim Chae Gun's wife.

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Yeoning and his wife were really close in real life. He was married to her since he was 8 and she was 10. but the drama didn't show their relationship at all. they only showed her when Yeoning became the king. Little prince Hyojang who was shown in this drama was born to a concubine. The queen did not have any children

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Dae-gil meeting King Yeongjo (in disguise) at the top of a hill overlooking the capital city of Hanyang... and both said:
You've been punked!! *throws mini heart*

The end.

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YAAAAY! IT'S OVERRRRRR!

I know that's childish but I have been irrationally angry that this show took up a valuable timeslot for so long. Like Injwa, it deserved to die much, much, much earlier than it actually did.

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I totally agree! I have been waiting for this show to finish so that the new and fresh summer dramas can start. I have no idea why the writers thought this drama should be 24 episodes.

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Thank you HeadsNo2 for recapping this drama. The reading is definitely more enjoyable than the watching.

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I am glad I dropped this drama after JGS continuous torture in the earlier episodes.

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The show is over but it will be unfair if all casts are not be credited with their great performance despite of very poor and mess script.

And..... Happy ending for Dae Gil and Seol Im.

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Thank you Heads for sticking till the end. No matter how much I loved YJG and JGS as well as our beloved King CMS, I didn't have the same love for the show. I can't stand my the show's logic. Maybe someday I will try to pickup from last episode I left.
"RIP Injwa. Rest in Pieces." well said

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Aww I can't believe it's already over. I feel the loneliness from the eyes expression from Yeongjo. The icy coldness look being a ruler on the throne is surreal.

Hats off to the brave bodyguard Sang gil who protected the King to the end. Not to forget Kim Chae Gun....

And as much as I'd love the 2 brothers to give each other warm encouraging messages (but it will never happen)...aww i just wanna hug them. Yeo Jingoo gave us an very impressive King Yeongjo. Love his acting!

Come to think of it, the '2 spooky eunuch twins' are cool! They don't seem to age at all- Haha!. Were they there during Sukjong's era?

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The twin eunuchs were there before Sukjong died. It may seems like a long time but it has been just 8yrs since he died so I don't think it's a big deal.

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Wow heads kudos to you for keeping up with the drama ..I dropped it way back at ep 10 I just could not bring myself to watch it

Very legit question
What happened to the lead actress in this? I don't see her in any of the screen caps ? ?

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Very legit question. Officially, she killed herself to save Injwa because script. Unofficially, public opinion wasn't on her side, and the show slowly phased her out in response to it.

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Thanks ..I could not be happier that I dropped it ..

What a mess of a drama ..shame... poor JGS nothing seems to be on his side lately ..

Wow that was such a dramatic step,that's really odd, it happened in a kdrama ..kill the main female lead.. Sucks

Bummer ....
My heart goes out to all of you who stuck there till the end

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Not to be mean, but I actually forgot she was in it. As small as screentime Seol Im and Yeaonhwa got, I remembered them better.

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When the PD made an excuse that 'Dam Seo's death is not in vain', I was like: oh seriously?

It's so in vain that eventually nobody remembers her existence... both the brothers who were supposed to love her and the viewers like us. Nobody cared enough to mention about her anymore in the last episodes. Dae Gil, who was cutely determined to make her his bride when he was still the down-to-earth Gae Ddong, is even marrying the second lead female who was initially set to be 'the most sought gisaeng in Busan' by the writer. Oh well... nothing is sure enough in K-drama land alrite :).

Anyway, I'm done with the what-could-have-been as the drama already ended. I'm glad, though, that they did not give a ridiculous twisted ending :)

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Same. What a weird thing to do. As much as I was intrigued about her character, at the same time I was also really glad they killed her off, too -- she became simply a pain to watch. Zero connection, zero impact. Shame they didn't find a better solution.

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I was done with her by episode 8 and that's being generous. Her scenes with Yeoning proved that Yeo Jin-Goo can have chemistry with a rock.
Park Eun-Bin or Nam Ji-Hyun (1995) would've done more with this role.

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Yeah lol Jin goo can have chemistry even with a rock! that's talent

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Heads ~

The casting was wrong, wrong, wrong. Whomever cast that actress should be exiled from the industry, they obviously don't have a clue.

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This is rare in dramaland, even lead actress is scripted to be die, it will happen in the last episode. But here she died few episodes back.

The loveline is forgotten.. nO One recall about her sacrifice.

Anyway since I was team DaeGil-SeolIm, I am glad SeolIm not the one who died.

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The supposedly female lead is obviously not the highlight of this show. She didn't leave much impression and died way too early.

Honestly, if it's not because of Yeo Jin-gu and Choi Min-soo, I wouldn't last to the end too.

There's something about Dae-gil that I couldn't connect, he really has no personality and that's very sad considering that he's the main lead. I was really hoping that the two brothers could have something more going on at the last scene.. oh well.

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At least it didn't go all Warrior Baek Dong Soo on us and have a final episode that had WTF written all over it. Instead it sort of whimpered to an end.

The show was full of plot holes you could drive a tank through. Not to mention that the only way to make sure someone was actually dead was quarter them or behead them.

Or, as my Mom said - well at least it wasn't a 50 episode series...

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"R.I.P. Injwa. Rest in pieces." :D

Thanks for the recaps and the laughs, Heads!

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That was freaking hilarious!!!

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So many gems in this recap, and this series. Here's hoping that Heads' next drama will be awesome!

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-“What will you do now?” King Yeongjo asks, not as a king, but as his brother. “I am but one of many citizens of this land,” Dae-gil replies with a sigh, as if he needed to sound more like a tool.- Literally what I have been thinking since Dae Gil started his for the people rap. I mean, it's your brother dude. He is asking out of legit curiosity!! Just answer the question.

I liked Seol-im so I am glad she got what she wanted (Dae Gil) but he annoyed me to no end so I low-key thinks she can do wayyyyyyy better!

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Thank you for the recaps, HeadsNo2! It can't be easy to see it through when a show falls off the rails so badly.

I kept watching and reading the recaps despite myself. Yet again I said, "This is the last time I'll ever finish a show that runs off the rails again." (Until next time, of course.)

I wasn't thrilled with the premise of the gambling being the focal point to begin with, yet stuck it out because there are some solid actors in the show and they did seem to have some notions that could work with the theme.

I was even less thrilled when they dropped just about any gambling in the show completely until that last spin as if to say, "Oh yeah, the gambling bit--need to get that in there somewhere," as well as the vague reference in conversations between the brothers. Yes, it can be said that Injwa's gamble on using Dae Gil as his cause or catalyst or whatever was a failure, but they simply failed to keep an undercurrent theme of a life gamble well thought out or workable.

Show! You had potential despite a main theme I wasn't thrilled about. You could have been a contender! *sighs and files it away under the "not worth a rewatch" folder*

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Loved the drama despite the flaws. It was interesting and kept me intrigued to keep watching. Came to see this drama because of Yeo jin goo and wow like always he did an outstanding job playing how Yeoning became king Yeongjo. Felt so bad about Yeongjo's fate. How he was destined to be lonely king (he was quite unlucky when it comes to his children even in real life) but in this drama at least he has his brother. Loved how they looked over their country Joseon from the top of the mountain. One will protect it as the king and the other will do what he can as a citizen. It also showed bond between the brothers. And I'd like to believe that king yeongjo kept meeting dae gil from time to time when he sneaked out of the palace to listen to his people. In the last scenes he did not come to kill dae gil but because he missed him. And wish if seol im and dae gil had some romantic lines lol. I thought they are just friends.. ? what the hell dae gil was doing all those years looking at seol im? his little brother even had a kid. ?

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I mean it showed Seol Im has feelings for dae gil but from dae gils side there wasn't any sparks. He even ran off the day before his marriage to see his brother when there must've been a lot to do with the wedding preparation lol poor Seol im ??

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Did you catch the connection in the end to Warrior Baek Dong Soo?
I think Kim Chae-gun's son is actually Kim Kwang-Taek aka the Sword Saint in Warrior Baek.

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The one played by the same actor as In-jwa? :OOOO

Plot twist: Chae-gun and In-jwa had a baby!

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No Kiara I watched only some tiny parts of that drama

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Kings don't have friends, only subjects and enemies. Reality hits him hard when he was watching people close to him die and left his side.

I love the last scene too. Both of them looking over the capital city. They did it, they protected the throne from the largest rebellion of the century.

Romantic love was a rare luxury back then. People marry for convenience, survival and for political reasons for the upper class.

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Yeah... Seol Im has been tagging along for years, it's just so predictable to have Dae Gil married her out of convenience in the end. I always have the impression that Seol Im's love to Dae Gil is one-sided until the very end, though JKS as Dae Gil had tried to give his warm look to Seol Im in the last two episodes as a subtle hint of 'affection' towards the girl character. Gae Ddong/ Dae Gil seems to be more longing for Dam Seo back then, but again Dam Seo is the 'damned' Seo... such a pity.

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Congratulations on finishing the recaps, Heads! You've worked so hard! Hoping that your next drama would be awesome.

I stopped watching early on but check on recaps every now and then. I had to check this one to see if Injwa finally dies. “I, Yi Injwa, will not die!” he roars. And then he dies. Thank you.

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“I, YiInjwa, will not die!” he roars. And then he dies.I don't know why but this made me laugh. kind of disappointing drama.but not that bad I manage to follow it until their end.i hope this is not jgs last drama before military I need to see him in something funny.

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Good actors, but the plot was really a drag. The plot was interesting in the beginning, but then Injwa got let lose so many times it got tiring and boring. I don't know how many times JGS said "Injwa" over and over throughout this drama. I kept wondering if he was ever going to die. Finally, he got his just reward for being the villain. "Rest in Pieces".....
Also, at the end, Baek Dae Gi was suppose to end up marrying Seol Im. Duh...Didn't see that coming. They didn't have any romantic scenes or any chemistry together and they threw that in at the end. Don't make any sense.

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Ah, the end is here... Where do I begin? I have so many thoughts all over I don't know where to start. So I'll just put them up in points.

1. One of the best (if not the best) thing(s) I like about this drama? Park Wan Kyu's 'If Time Stops'. *Such* a good song & perfectly embodies the emotion of the show. I loved it every time the drama ends with this OST.

2. Daegil & Yeoning's relationship is the core of the story & I enjoyed their dynamics (bromance, to be more precise). Two brothers sharing the same royal blood but contrastingly different circumstances growing up. Fate had them reunited but only to further highlight the different journeys & paths they needed to take in life, whilst still binding them two together. Unlike the recapper, I actually really loved the ending scene. I thought it was perfect & served much more than just 'fan service'. To me it signified their choice to continue their relationship in spite of the different paths they were taking. Daegil was about to get married (an important milestone in life) & leave to a different city, and Yeongjo I'm sure was having kingly problems as per usual (ha) -- and whilst everyone else thought they had their final goodbye -- nope, they kept in touch (albeit secretly?). I'd like to think they had many more meetings after that, and Daegil became one of the main reasons why Yeongjo was able stay sane/level-headed & became a king who cared greatly for the poeple. (He had it in him, but Daegil's ideals kept him in check whenever it started wavering). They exchanged meaningful glances & overlooked the Joseon they were trying to protect so much. We have all come to understand them enough that spoken words were no longer necessary at that point. Ah, my boys!

3. This drama generally depicts the lives of kings (and their people) pretty well. (TBH sometimes I felt like it would be a very good supplementary DVD for a school history textbook -- only of course it's 'faction'). From the preview it seemed like the conflicts introduced in this last ep. were not helping to tie things up for the finale, but it really just showed how there's never gonna be an end for a king. There are always constant threats & conflicts; and so they will continue to live their life in fear & danger.

4. I'm convinced the twin eunuchs were vampires. They must be! Because how else?! LOL. I will miss them too, they were iconic.

5. I'm glad they tied things up pretty well. For a while I thought they had forgotten about the Che-gun & Jin-ki story. Kim Che-gun had a son -- a Daegil in the making? That's nice. Also, I think he *had* mentioned having a wife in a previous ep., so this wasn't the first we've heard of her (right?). It's too bad Yeoning's loyal bodyguard had to die (I thought Yeon-hwa & him would be a good match!). I'm so used to Hongmae being Injwa's ally, so seeing her become 'nice' is odd.

Woah, TLDR! I'll stop for now.

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Agreed! U basicallysaid the same thing about Dae gil Yeoning relationship in my comment above. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks like that..! I also loved the last scene. To me it was most beautiful and most meaningful.. words did not need to describe it. Just wish dae gil had more character development like Yeoning's was. Maybe the writer got a bit stuck since dae gil is fictional and Yeoning was real. I mean it's easy to write Yeoning and it seemed he added some qualities Yeoning originally had to dae gil. But still he could not built a convincing hero. There are heros in dramas with whom we feel so connected with we feel their happiness sadness and pain. We just wish for them to succeed and when they finally do we are all cheering nd being happy (I had that feeling when watching dae Jang geum) . But when dae gil saved people I felt nothing to be honest. I felt more connected with Yeoning not because jin goo is my favorite but Yeoning seemed more human when they were trying to show dae gil as some God of peace or something.

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You basically said* sorry about the typo

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Hehe, right..!?? ? When the last scene played my heart melted like ice cream. I felt like I was Choi Sukbin watching over my two boys finding home in one another.

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And those were the good points. ?? The things I didn't like -- I think I've exhausted myself enough *many* times before to even mention them again & again here. We all know.

It's too bad, they created such an interesting universe & premise but failed to execute the plotlines well. They had all the potential. At least they managed to end it well, so yeah. I take it as it is. Because what else can you do?

BUT, props where props are due. 'Jackpot' managed to entice me with the richness of Joseon history. I never thought I would learn so much about it; this being my first saeguk and all. (Which is why I said it felt like I'm watching a supplementary DVD for a 'history' textbook).

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I agree with all of your points.. :) This is the first historical/sageuk drama I've watched, I must say it wasn't bad as a first.. It had me for the OST esp. the rock ballad by Park Wan Kyu, the cinematography and CG effects, the outstanding performances of almost all the actors (JKS really did well, looking at Daegil I can't see JKS at all).
The brothers relationship is really the main point of the show. I don't care even if there's no love/romance line in here, for me it's really unnecessary, but glad that Seol Im ended up with Daegil. :)
And the spooky eunuchs, yes, they are absolutely vampires!! Haha.. They were the ones who stabbed baby Daegil in ep. 2, but look at them in the last episode.. No signs of aging!!

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I've always been in love with Park Wan Kyu's ost. To name a few One Day Of Love (Princess Man), Wind Breeze (Empress Ki), A Day (Guam Heo Jun), Help Me Love (Glass Shoes), Always (Goddess of Marriage)......

I have so many thoughts too but you all seems to cover most of it. In the end this was beautiful show with flaws but it wasn't a complete mindless entertainment.

I've seen many sageuks of this era and this one stood out with the amazing portrayal of King Sukjong and the early years of King Yeongjo.

I was hoping Jackpot would be as thrilling and intriguing as "Conspiracy in the Court" and "Eight Days" which you might enjoy as much as I do if you haven't seen it yet.
It'll take you deeper into the politics. I came away with a different view of King Yeongjo and why he had to sacrifice his son (Sado) to save his grandson (Yisan) who later became one of the best king in Joseon history.

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Thanks for the hilarious recaps, Heads!

Potty dramas heading your way:

Beanpot
Crackpot
Crockpot

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Thanks for 12 weeks of recaps, Heads.

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I'm going to miss this talented cast :(. I've never regret following my favorite actors because I know that I will enjoy their performance even if the drama is not up to my expectation or on par with their talents.

Choi Min-Soo and Yeo Jin-Goo never fail to impress me. Best performance I've seen in a sageuk in a long time. They completely owned their character. Whoever is going to play King Sukjong and the younger Yeongjo in the future will need to take notes from these two.

Jeon Kwang-Leol has immense talents and experience and this Injwa should have been one of the best sageuk villains if Jeon was given more to work with imo. He had the most screentime and should've been well developed with clear goals and strategies worthy of his background.

Jang Geun-Seok <3. I've never seen him put all of himself into a role like this before. He went through hell in the beginning only to be a negotiator in the end? What the heck show.

The only weak casting was the leading lady but she didn't deserve to be killed off like that. It must have been hard for her to keep up with the great talents around her. She looks uncomfortable most of the time and out of her element.

I'd love to see these actors work together again in the future. They sure made this show worth watching.

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I saw the Injwa actor for the first time watching Jumong and I thought he was great. I was so glad to see him here again along with CMS

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Jeon Kwang-Leol has been in many sageuks. Heo Joon (1999) is the highest rating sageuk in history and he was the lead actor. Loved him in Jumong too.

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Loved him in warrior Baek Dong Soo,especially the scene where he beat up the hero with the wooden identity tag it was so funny.

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It's a real treat to watch him and Choi Min-Soo play opposite roles of each other. Love the Sword Saint too. He is all kinds of awesome lol.

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This show lost it's mind about half-way through. But the acting was solid. I absolutely love Yeo Jin-gu. How does he look so much more mature and older in the later episodes? It's not like he actually aged, they just gave him facial hair, but he does seem older! Maybe it's just because YJG has such a commanding presence. He can seem like a cute, mischievous little boy sometimes and such a handsome, manly king at other times. Love him.

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Thank you so much for the recaps!! I like the drama as well. It's a mediocre drama. Not too good and not too bad but that's just because of the script not because of the actors or the director. There are other dramas which are famous just because of the pretty flower boys not because that drama had a meaning (cough.. *boys over flowers* cough) lol jackpot is actually way better than those. When chae gun said to dae gil you know nothing about losing a child I was like what Jin goo knows about losing a child? He is a kid himself but he portrait that part of being a father so well I felt his pain. Hope now people will not try to make him a dad in every drama he is going to be in lol.

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It's a wrap! pheeeewwwww... finally! Thanks heaps for the recaps & thoughts, Heads! and also the comments by the frequent visitors here... I think I'll miss reading your comments and discussing the plots we all love and hate lol...

As for the final episode... it's actually quite predictable. I agree with Heads that Dae Gil- Seol Im's marriage is for the sake of 'fan service' or giving a notion of an obvious 'happy ending' regardless of the very little- if any- romance between the two. It's such a pity because JKS is somebody you would like to see doing the romance stuffs hehe... I love how affectionate his previous characters could be in terms of romance, but anyway... not his fault, he's been doing an excellent job portraying Gae Ddong/ Dae Gil despite the vague characterization given. Moreover, Yeoning/ Yeongjo is still my favourite character, kudos to Yeo Jin Goo's brilliant performance!

I still have a bitter disappointment of Dam Seo and what could have been made out of her supposed-to-be strong female character... but anyway, nothing could be done about it anymore lol. I hope writer-nim can do a better job next time if he's about to write another sageuk!

Last but not least... finally seeing Yi In Jwa's death! ahahaha... that's the only closure I need to see.

Jackpot: no need to force yourself to understand the logic! hahaha... it's worth watching for the historical insights and the cinematography... and also for the decent acting of the actors. it's such a treat to see JKS in a different role and YJG cannot be more awesome!

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I didn't watch this drama, I wanted to but after reading the comments on the first couple of episodes I decided not to do so. But I kept going through the recaps and looking at the screen-caps just because!

“I, Yi Injwa, will not die!” he roars. And then he dies.

I can't stop laughing!

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I am proud of myself for keeping up to this drama till the end. It reached to a point where I want to stop because the immortality of In Jwa annoys me. But for the sake of my love and loyalty to Jang Keun Suk, I survived. Just a bit disappointed because the return of JKS does not make any impact because the drama was not that good as expected. But I can say that the improved a lot in this project. I want to see him one more time before going to military. Anyways congrats to all the actos and staff and Jackpot. I will miss my Jang Keun Suk badly :(

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Me too, I endured till the end because of Jang Keun Suk.. <3
Really hoping his next acting project will be a hit in terms of storyline and execution.. He needs
to do one before his military service.

Congrats to all the casts and crew of Daebak!! They looked happy though, from what I've seen from pics and videos of their wrap up party..

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I tried to read this recap in respect for the recapper, but I failed. Such a beautiful cast. Sigh. Thanks for persevering.

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Much ado about Baek Dae Gil in the beginning episodes, and then it just hacks and coughs and fizzles on and on. This is one hollow series, to me. Headsno2 done a good job of pointing where it fails. If i had to do the same, I can't diagnose head nor tail of this weird ambitious story that went nowhere amazing.

"Rest in pieces" made me cackle. Oh, your wit!

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I only continued watching because I wanted to see Injwa's death.

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When in jwa said he will not die he said a truth. His allies were still alive and they took the revenge for him. They brought poison and assassins to Yeongjo and took away the most precious thing Yeongjo had, his son. It's heartbreaking to see that since Yeongjo adored his son. He always kept hyojang by his side. And his death made a lasting effect on Yeongjo.

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Saw it coming. They weren't going to let crown prince Hyojang die in peace. All members of the royal family must suffer dramatic deaths lol.

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..Oh, what could have been and wasn’t. Or what wasn’t, and should have been..

The opening reminded me of Faith's recap few years ago. Wish it could be done differently, wonderfully. But, oh well...

Thank you for recapping this drama, Heads, and keep me coming back to feed my curiosity of the ending and to read your insight since I didn't watch it. I admire your tenacity, skilled writing and dry humor that able to make the not so entertaining drama into entertaining recaps that were fun to read and follow. Three cheers for you!

See you in another drama, Heads! And, thanks again!

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i read comments from other sites too and there's a whole lot who actually love this drama too :) well i like it too :)

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Sometimes it depends on the reviews or recaps. When it's neutral you'll get all kinds of interesting thoughts. When it's done by a history buff, it's all kind of amazing. When it's done by someone who knows the industry inside out with extended knowledge of Korean history then it'll leave you speechless.

There is always drama behind the drama and this one is no exception. If you look at the producers, and people behind the drama like investors you can kind of see how they also affect what goes on in the drama. They probably had something to do with the leading lady's early departure. We can blame the writer and director but it's not always their decision.

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I kind of imagine what might have been going on in the background.

Investor A calls in and say ...hey my "monie" I'm worried. What is the deal with the rating? Do something about it.

Investor B...dude do something about this certain actor. The viewers are complaining.

Investor C...I'm so disappointed with this story. You've got 2 producers there from SFD. DO something to save the ratings. Producer A goes to writer Kwon,...... dude lets just connect historical dots from here on. It works all the time, trust me.

Investor D...that's it. It came 3rd in it's in final episode? Lose my number SBS okkaaay?

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You are so funny, Kiara. I cant stop laughing reading your imaginary convo between investors LOL

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I think the internal logic of this drama is soooo strong, and less of emotional touch to engage with the viewers. I try to understand this drama using my mind only and I can understand well. But when it come to emotional question as simple as,
Viewer A: 'how do you feel about this drama?'
Me : 'Well... ummm... well...but I love all the cast because they give this drama such magnet pole, you know? JGS, YJG, Choi Min Soo, actor who play Yi In Jwa, Kim Cha Geun, Baek Man Geum, the grandpa, Hong Mae, etc.etc'
Viewer A: 'Oke, so how do you feel?'
Me : 'I think its good'
Viewer A: 'HOW-DO-YOU-FEEL?'
Me : take a deep breath, '...bizarre...'

But still, standing applause for the main casts! Despite of all flaws, they all deserve appreciation.

And Heads, you too deserve appreciation for your patience recapping this drama till the last episode. So thank you so much!

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Yeo jin goo and choi min soo made this drama worth watching with their strong personalities and exceptional acting talent! I'd love to see jin goo as a hero in another historical drama. he's got the looks and talent for it! and he kind of stole the show from JGS. specially from the middle part to the end of the drama. at the beginning they were at the same position. Overall it was a good drama. it was complicated but the relationship between the two brothers was (even with the ups and downs) showed beautifully.

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Just learned the actor who played Yeonings ( Yeo Jin Goo) younger brother Yeongrung is a year older than Jin goo! I though he is like 15! but gee how jin goo looks so manly! :O

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I couldn't finish the drama. Couldn't bring myself to make sense out of nonsense. It's too convoluted and the actors deserve a better plot. Oh well. I'm glad that Seol-im got her happy ending at least.

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There were several time during the drama where I thought the writer had lost it. But, in binge watching the entire drama, I discovered that many of the so-called holes were in fact filled earlier and those scenes which had been so criticized were necessary for later scene and plot developments. As for Dae-gil 3.0, I rather liked him. Unlike his brother who learned the necessities of power and politics, Dae-gil learned, from his daily interaction with ordinary people, compassion and caring. As he told Chae-gun way back in the salt flat revolt, he wasn't alone in taking action against those who their power to kill and maim those less fortunate. And call me a romantic, but I rather liked that Dae-gil finally decided to marry Seol-im (rather than just having her tag along with him) and the scene of the two brothers on the hill. The fact that they didn't speak doesn't bother me because the looks on their faces say it all. They finally have learned to trust, love and have faith in each other. There's nothing for them say. Just being next to each other is enough. Oh, and by the way, about Dae-gil's leaving the village? The hero always rides off into the sunset, doesn't he?

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Such a confusing, muddled mess. No wonder I kept falling asleep! I would awake to wonder what had happened, rewind and find myself still wondering. What a waste!

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I enjoyed the earlier episodes a lot more. They were fun and I loved seeing the friendship between the brothers developed. I feel cheated that we didn't get to see the Prince call Dae Gil 'Hyungnim.' I just wanted to hear it once! Honestly over all I enjoyed the drama. The cinematography was breath taking, all the actors were outstanding. Special mention to Jang Keun Suk for those crazy survival scenes, also I loved when he was the adorable village bumpkin and was quite sad when he because so serious, that's part of growing up I guess. This is the first time I've seen Yeo Jin Goo in something and I was impressed, he has a commanding presence which worked well for a Prince/King character. Overall it was fun, sure the plot got convoluted and there were many holes but if you watch without over analyzing the plot and just taking things at face value it's a very fun watch. Seriously though the cinematography was beautiful with bright vibrant colors and of course the beautiful faces lol. Also side note, thank god they killed of Dam Seo that character was so boring, even when she died she had the same facial expression, I'm going to blame the writers and the actress for the failure of that character. Dae Gil became a hero, Yeoning became a lonely King (seriously was killing everyone he loved necessary, my heart wept for him) and Eyepatch Grandpa is still hilarious.

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prince Yeoning/King Yeongjo made this drama interesting. Found a hero in king Yeongjo where luck was not always by his side but pulled through everything like a true hero even after all the heartbreaking things that he had to went through. Cried for him when he lost his parents, brother's trust and his own son. Yeo Jin Goo is just too awesome for words! waiting for a new drama of his!

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I wish they could have shown Grand Queen Dowager Inwon giving lessons or supporting Yeonjong’s rule. I was even waiting for the white wolf scenario where the Grand Queen Dowager protected him. I know that Yeongjo was suspected that he killed his Geongyo, but i believe, Geonyo trusts Yeongjo and cares for him until the end, the only way to save his brother is for him to die and so he eats the poisoned shirmp anyway, that frees him from pain and suffering of his sickness and the pain and suffering his brother is going through because of him.

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Great drama series. I was hook in it just like when I watched Empress Ki

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Finally finished! If you read this @headsno2, wherever you are, please accept my gratitude for these incredibly witty and hilarious recaps. Your comments made me sit through it to the end. JACKPOT had some great camera-work, gorgeous sets and costumes, and the acting was overall great, but the writing left much to be desired. I guess we can't win them all!

And thank you for this: “I, Yi Injwa, will not die!” he roars. And then he dies."

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