Jackpot: Episode 10
Just when stuff starts to happen, we get a time skip so that slightly different stuff can happen. There’s good and bad as we gear up for the next phase of our story, as both brothers prepare to take their their enemy from a different angle: his wallet. Before that, they’ll have to wrestle with their personal feelings for the same girl, though Dae-gil seems to have drawn the short straw when it comes to matters of the heart.
SONG OF THE DAY
Postmen – “사랑하고 싶다 (I Want to Love You)” from the OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Though Chae-gun is now facing off against Jin-ki in battle, he still calls him “kid,” the way he used to when he was an officer and Jin-ki was a junior with hopes and dreams. Those dreams are gone now.
But it’s only at Chae-gun’s insistence that Dae-gil finally leaves, though he warns Jin-ki to survive this fight so that the two of them can fight another day.
Injwa gives Hong Mae an all-black outfit, instructing her to meet a dangerous man by the name of YOOK GWISHIN (which literally translates to “Sixth Ghost”), who I can only assume will be important later.
Chae-gun gets the best of Jin-ki during their fight, actually managing to draw blood. But it’s a fight that’ll have to be finished another day, since royal guards are still out in force from the latest assassination attempt.
Prince Yeoning hides Dam-seo away in the mountains, looking slightly perturbed when she murmurs Dae-gil’s name in her unconscious state. He ignores the first rule of hiding in the forest by building a fire, though his concern over Dam-seo only results in her drawing away from him.
“Why are you doing this?” she wonders, before telling him to just leave her alone. When he asks why, she says it’s because they’re enemies, which isn’t an argument Yeoning’s willing to accept.
He pulls her down with a wrist-grab when she tries to leave, insisting that she stay and care for her wounds—besides, a prince of Joseon doesn’t just make a fire for anyone.
The tables turn when she stops him from leaving with a hand on his arm. “Please, stop. Whatever it is, please do not do it.” She gives in when he tells her that he’s just going to find some medicinal herbs for her, though he doesn’t get far before running straight into Dae-gil.
Dae-gil tosses him the string of water jade leaves he’s brought, which is the best medicinal herb for wounds. Yeoning says that Dae-gil can just take them to her himself, prompting Dae-gil to wonder if someone’s pride has been hurt.
Yeoning takes this opportunity to call Dae-gil out for talking informally to him, and even his most formal of tones doesn’t faze Dae-gil, who simply says that the prince is obviously younger than him. At the prince’s sputtering, Dae-gil adds, “You don’t have any friends, do you? This is why you don’t have friends.”
Though Yeoning tries to defend his obvious lack of friends as being due to his high status, Dae-gil only brought it up to offer him his hand in friendship. “I do not need a friend like you,” Yeoning fires back, and Dae-gil just shrugs.
“Take good care of Dam-seo,” Dae-gil says before leaving. “Don’t you think you’re better suited to care for her than I am? Besides, I’m rather busy right now.” Man, they’re really going all-in on this love triangle, aren’t they?
Yeoning crushes up the leaves and applies them to Dam-seo’s wounds, a process which she has to close her eyes for. When she opens them much later, he jokes that it’s been ages since he finished tying the bandages—does she like the feel of his touch that much?
A visibly uncomfortable Dam-seo tells him to stop, which he confesses he’s tried to do hundreds, nay, thousands of times. But he just can’t control his feelings. “Then… why don’t you stop?” she asks bluntly, leading Yeoning to tell her that the only way she’ll stop him is by killing him.
Eyes gleaming with tears, Dam-seo pulls out her dagger and prepares to stab him… but she can’t bring herself to do it. She cries, and Yeoning knows that she, like him, can’t stop either. So he pulls her in to console her, and while I mean in this in the very best of ways, what is wrong with you people?
While he holds her, shedding tears of his own, Dae-gil looks thoroughly crestfallen as he watches from nearby. He leaves before he can see Dam-seo fall asleep in Yeoning’s arms, though the prince stays awake, lying on the ground with his arm still locked around her.
He knows without a doubt (because he looked into it) that Injwa killed Dam-seo’s father, though what he plans to do with that information is anyone’s guess. For now, he just tucks a cloak around Dam-seo, and falls asleep holding her.
Yeoning wakes the next morning to find his spooning buddy gone, a bloodstained note left in her place. “I felt your warmth, but I did not deserve it,” it reads. “Please forget me now. This is my last request.”
The Spooky Twins find Dam-seo limping through the forest, blindfold her, and take her to an abandoned building where none other than the king himself waits for her. He assures her that he doesn’t want to kill her, but asks if she’s ever once opened her eyes (basically, if she’s ever thought for herself).
He explains that this is the very place where he last saw her father alive. “A king does not speak falsely, so take these words to heart: I am not the one who killed your father, Yi-soo. It was none other than the man who raised you, your teacher, Yi Injwa. Disregarding his fate, he died at the hands of a man who has devoted himself to the madness of his own hollow ambitions. Therefore, you should stop being the puppet of such a man. I am telling you to open your eyes.”
Dam-seo’s hands clench into fists as she shakes with horror and rage, her eyes very much open and burning with tears. When we next see her, she’s in the palace, though she makes it a point to conceal her face in order to escape Yeoning’s notice.
Prince Yeoning pays a visit to his ailing father in the palace, falling to his knees as he confesses that he was unable to catch the assassin. His father calls him out on where he was all night, having known exactly who he was with.
But he tells his son not to worry, since the assassin has been dealt with. Yeoning runs at full speed in a flashback(?) to find Dam-seo lying on a table like a corpse, unveiling the sheet covering her to find a brand bearing the “Gwi” (for “ghost”) Hanja character, or as the chyron tells us, it’s Yook Gwishin’s signature brand.
Back in the present, the king tells him that he’s sent a gift to Injwa, and that he can just forget about that Dam-seo girl now. Of course, she’s not dead, though apparently it was Injwa who staged the fake death by having Hong Mae and Yook Gwishin find a Dam-seo Doppelgänger to kill. Really?
Dam-seo returns to Injwa, who shows her the blunt arrow he’s kept since the day Yi-soo shot it at him. “Your father, Yi-soo, chose to die. That was his conviction. It must become yours as well.” Dam-seo’s not buying it, and gives her teacher a formal bow in farewell—she’ll no longer be serving him.
While Injwa breaks the arrow and blames the king for it, Nameless can only apologize to Dam-seo. Instead of saying farewell to her, Jin-ki wordlessly hands her another hand-carved Buddha statue. Only then does Nameless ask Injwa if Dam-seo was what he was willing to sacrifice to kill the king—but since the king lived and Dam-seo’s gone, he’s lost her forever.
“No. Dam-seo will come to know one day that in this world, there are no eternal friends or enemies.” Injwa claims, in his usual Injwa-esque manner.
Recently returned Chief State Councilor Kim Chang-jip congratulates Prince Yeoning on a job well done protecting his father, and offers his support, along with the support of all the other Noron ministers beneath him. Yeoning can’t help but wonder if this is all part of his father’s greater plan.
In response to his former merchant allies turning against him to go to Kim Chang-jip and the Norons, Injwa pays the head of merchant trading a visit to remind him and his cronies that they still owe him.
But the head merchant is much more scared of siding with the ailing crown prince than he is of Injwa, and isn’t cowed by Injwa’s threats. That earns him a stabbing death by Nameless, though Injwa also gets a jab in for his own enjoyment.
The other merchants beg for mercy, but Injwa’s not in the mood to give it. Losing his temper, he asks if there’s anyone else who wants to betray or insult him. Because now’s totally the time to speak up.
Suspecting that the head merchant was killed by Injwa in the gibang, Prince Yeoning and his men head there to investigate. Using his ample wits, he figures that the merchant would’ve been stabbed while leaving, and finds trace amounts of blood near the doorway.
Using state-of-the-art Joseon CSI methods, Yeoning uses a vinegar solution to reveal the extent of the bloodstain. Now he knows what Injwa’s done.
Yeoning goes to his father to tell him of the murder, and his belief that it was committed by none other than Injwa, Crown Prince Yoon’s baduk teacher. (Does he ever show up for that job?) The king is hardly surprised, knowing that this all stemmed from the merchants sensing that the tide of power was turning toward Yeoning, which would explain them jumping over to the Norons.
It becomes clear that something about this troubles King Sukjong, though he won’t say what. Instead, he refuses to give his son permission to investigate a civilian murder case, claiming it unbecoming of his official rank.
Seasons pass, and Dae-gil is now able to slice a flower petal in midair, shoot an arrow through the eye of a nyang, cut down arrows headed straight for him with his eyes closed, and even catch one inches away from his face. He’s one with nature, and he’s ready.
Over dinner, Chae-gun tells Dae-gil that the reason he took him in as his pupil was because he reminded him of someone he used to know. They went through life together after meeting at a young age, and Chae-gun describes the man as a tiger among tigers.
“He must have been a handsome, great man,” Dae-gil jokes, before saying that he’ll become a great tiger like the man Chae-gun’s describing. In order to do that though, he’ll have to leave, and Chae-gun knows it’s time.
With tears in his eyes, Chae-gun sends him off, telling him to eat well and watch his back, much like a father would. Dae-gil gives him a low bow of farewell, claiming that he’ll never forget what he’s done for him and will live his life for him in thanks.
Chae-gun lovingly tsks at him for crying, though he himself sniffs back tears once Dae-gil’s gone. Awww.
Injwa and the shamanistic gibang madam seem to share one thing in common, and that’s their inability to use their powers to discern anything about Dae-gil. His energy is just too strong for them.
Hong Mae’s gathered a bunch of lowlier sorts for Injwa and a purpose as yet unknown to us, and among them is a gambler called HWANGHAE KEJAKDU (Kim Sung-oh, what are you doing here with that broken arm?) who has an uncanny ability to sense cheating through extra-keen hearing. (Since “Hwanghae” is for his hometown, we’ll call him Kejakdu for now.)
The second introduction is to a master swindler named GOLSA, who can even forge the royal seal and a royal inspector’s badge in order to steal rice, which he can claim are taxes owed to the state he doesn’t even work for.
The worst of them all, or so she claims, is the fierce-looking Yook Gwishin. He takes his gambling very seriously, and scares away anyone who would dare accuse him of cheating. Though she still doesn’t know why Injwa wanted her to amass three notorious gambling masters in the first place.
They each seem to recognize Injwa as Scholar Baek Myun, and he gets straight to business: Someone’s been winning too much at all the casinos he’s affiliated with, and he wants to put a stop to him.
Turns out that the problem gambler is none other than Dae-gil, looking like a proper young man of noble birth now. He’s able to beat even the best of cheaters through methods we can only assume involve cheating of some sort, and makes sure to wear the signature white mask Injwa was known for.
He’s been sweeping his way through Joseon, and Injwa figures that it’s only a matter of time before he pays a visit to his casino in the capital. He knows it’s Dae-gil, and tells the three gamblers that Dae-gil is the son of Baek Man-geum, who they all knew.
Wearing the white mask, Dae-gil places an extraordinarily large bet on a game played by gisaengs, one he theoretically can’t rig. He approaches an old man who recognizes him as Scholar Baek Myun, and asks if he’s come to catch him.
Only, that mask-wearer can’t be Dae-gil, since Dae-gil is with the Three Gamblers. Cut to reveal Prince Yeoning as he takes off the mask to reveal himself to the old man, introducing himself as a hunting dog ready to tear out Injwa’s throat.
He used the mask so that he could find the old man, though we still don’t know who the old man is. All we know is that Yeoning needs him to accomplish his goal of crushing all the casinos in the capital, which will eventually lead him to Injwa.
Dae-gil tells the Three Gamblers of his intent to do the same as Yeoning and crush every casino in Hanyang. Injwa takes this opportunity to confront Dae-gil and absently ask if he’s finally become a tiger after all. “Why would a person become a beast? I’m just a human,” Dae-gil replies with a smile.
“From this point on, I’m going to cut off your arms and legs,” he continues in the same tone. “Then, I’ll come for your throat. Shall we make a bet? Whether I can do it or not?”
Well, it’s not like we didn’t know the gambling phase was coming. It does feel like we shifted into it a little suddenly despite the show’s attempts to periodically remind us how important gambling is/will be, and we’re still left with only a rudimentary understanding of why this is all supposed to matter. Which is to say that it’s likely because Injwa owns this casino, and the boys can take their revenge by trying to ruin him financially. Or something.
But between the politics, the love triangle, and now the gambling, the experience of watching feels disjointed, like we’re seeing bits and pieces of one show, only to get thrown into another. What’s even more bizarre is the editing—sometimes it can be nice and fluid, sometimes it can be completely discombobulating—but either way, we’re left with scenes like the one with Prince Yeoning and his father, that just seem to take the idea of continuity as a light suggestion.
The way Yeoning approached the king to confess that he hadn’t yet caught the assassin told us that he had no idea she’d already been captured and killed, yet when the king told him that she was dead, we got a filtered flashback-style sequence with Yeoning running to inspect her body. And then we see him back with his father as if he never left, so either he didn’t, or he did and came back, or I’m just very, very confused.
Generally though, with all the jumps from scene to scene, sometimes with only tertiary characters to guide us through, there lacks a sense of assuredness in story flow from one scene to the next. Some of those scenes can be quite fine on their own, don’t get me wrong, but they’re starting to feel like mix-and-match, where you could just change around the order in which they appear and nothing terrible would happen. Aside from what’s already happening, anyway.
The love triangle, while feeling pushed upon us to the Nth degree, was still adequately sold by Prince Yeoning, though I’m still left scratching my head when it comes to his discovery of Dam-seo’s body. Did he believe it? And for that matter, did the king? Surely not, considering he’d just spoken to her. But then if Injwa was the one who ordered the doppelgänger to be killed, was he planning to protect Dam-seo by making it look like she’d been killed? But how did the king get to use the corpse for his own means? And what difference did it make if Yook Gwishin had killed her? Y’know, I’ll stop here. At least the brotherly interactions are still cute.
- Jackpot: Episode 9
- Jackpot: Episode 8
- Jackpot: Episode 7
- Jackpot: Episode 6
- Jackpot: Episode 5
- Jackpot: Episode 4
- Jackpot: Episode 3
- Jackpot: Episode 2
- Jackpot: Episode 1
- Yeo Jin-gu as a young future king in Jackpot
- Jang Geun-seok as Joseon’s top gambler in Jackpot
- Flipping tables against fate in SBS’s Jackpot
- Hyun-woo added to Jackpot as King Gyeongjong
- Choi Min-soo offered role of King Sukjong in Jackpot