In chat mode…
by Esther Noloc and Beth Wagner
Introduction: It is Monday again, and that means the third episode of Daebak (The Royal Gambler) was broadcast today! All of Jang Keun Suk's eels were extra excited, because of the fact he was in more scenes today. So, Beth here we are for chatting about our favorite drama.
Esther: Beth, our guest for today’s episode is our friend Mamacri, you met her in person when she went to JKS concert in Japan, right?
Beth: Yes! We laughed for a whole week straight.... I hope we can make it through this review lol!
Esther: Welcome Mamacri!
Mamacri: Hi Esther, thanks for this opportunity to chat with you and Beth about our dream-man's latest drama, Daebak. Hi Beth, long time no see…we had so good time in Tokyo... it seems such a long time ago…but really only 5 months ago! Since then our Asia Prince has given us so many things to enjoy.
Esther: Beth and Mamacri, this is a “must-wait” episode for us because JKS will appear, but not until about 40 minutes into the episode. Even so, the first part was interesting too and told us the rest of Dae Gil's background, so we understand him in the future.
Beth: Yes, even though we are antsy to see him, the writer and director do a great job of making it so interesting. Still on the edge of my seat, even without our AP in the scene yet!
Esther: Ahh, first scene picks up where episode two left off. In Jwa is threatening to shoot arrows at the baby and poor Lady Choi is drawing cards to bet for her baby's life. Man Geum showed up to defend his ex-wife and the baby from In Jwa's Machiavellian actions. Awww, what a good man, he now calls the baby his son.
Mamacri: Yes, after grandpa slapped some sense into Man Geum he got his senses back, realizing he could not let the baby die…now he finally went to find his son. He just barged in amidst the very emotional fight of a mother against In Jwa for the life of baby Dae Gil.
Beth: I'm happy if he redeems himself this way. He spent his whole life messing everything up for himself and his family. I hope he really does step up and become a good man. Baby Dae Gil needs him, that's for sure!
Mamacri: Gambler that he is, Man Geum declares bravely that he will pick the last card for Lady Choi. If he wins In Jwa can never touch his son again. But oh!! that devilish In Jwa is also a gambler (he does love to make everything a bet!), so he ups the stakes to make it worth changing the bet. Now he has doubled the target-- he tied Lady Choi together with the baby to a big tree…such an awful scheming man.
Esther: He even made fun of Man Geum, talking about the importance of that arrow used by the barbarians in the past, like it was a privilege to use it with a human target.
Mamacri: Man Geum started to pick the cards, but for the first time he remembered that these guys don't play fair! He's really using his brains finally…lol.
Beth: Aishhhh..... just when we thought he finally has those cheaters figured out.... He actually pulled the right card-- not from the ones laid out on the table, but from the pile of cards next to it! And then In Jwa just shot the arrow anyway. I can't believe how he cheats!
Mamacri: Yep, just when we think he was able to win this time…he found himself at the losing end again. Gambling is like mega management…you have to pay attention to all details surrounding you…can’t trust anyone with high stakes are on the line like that. Oh, such a heart-stopping moment…even though we know Daegil can’t be killed, I could hardly watch!
Esther: Whaaa, thank God! The arrow barely missed Lady Choi and the baby. In Jwa is a great archer, so he was impressed by the failure too. Now that Man Geum considers the baby as his own son, it added to the atmosphere. And maybe his positive thinking helped them-- positivity helps a lot when you are in serious problems.
Beth: Ohh, did you see, In Jwa’s bow cracked slightly just as the arrow flew, otherwise he would have killed them! Waaaa…. Positive thinking, or Dae Gil’s luck… either way it is impressive!
Mamacri: Some time ago I was listening to an interview. A man was being asked if he was afraid of something bad happening to him, because he was doing/saying things that went against some powerful people. He said NO…Knowing what he did, he felt he was put here to do certain things, and he wouldn’t be taken away from this earth until the job he came to do was over. This is also the case with Daegil. For him to reach his goal, all circumstances will bow and make way for him.
Beth: Wow, that’s such a powerful idea, Mamacri! And I think you are exactly right, how it matches with Dae Gil’s story.
Esther: Ladies, look! Yesss, Lady Choi is finally stronger now, she won 't follow In Jwa orders anymore after he took advantage-- cheating and trying to kill them.
Mamacri: In Jwa is a user and an abuser…don’t know if he was already like that before the things happened to his family but he will manipulate just to have control over everything. And then to make things clear and rub it in, he will tell you to your face, just to make you feel degraded. This time, when Lady Choi stood up for herself, he said, “ I already threw you away.” Wow.
Esther: Oh that package of pregnancy stabilizing medicine, so weird! Can In Jwa read the future or what?
Beth: His parting “gift” is pregnancy stabilizing medicine?? I can hardly wait to see where this ends up… He doesn’t do anything without a reason.
Esther: Man Geum told Lady Choi how he named the baby…oh my God, LOL. He choose Gae Ddong! Means… Dog Poop! What a shame for that poor child. Let’s hope he will at least take good care of him.
Mamacri: Such a name he gave that baby! Maybe as a nickname, but as his actual name…so sorry for that kid, LOL ! Glad that Man Geum did grow up overnight and come to his senses, though. Eyepatch grandpa is very happy with that, too. He understood from the start, that this is a very special baby who needs to be taken care of.
Beth: I heard that in old Joseon culture (and some others too), they give little babies horrible names at first, just like Gae Ddong! In those days, so many babies died, I guess they thought evil spirits were responsible? To throw the evil spirits off the trail, they would give the baby a bad name to confuse the spirits, haha! That way they’d think… “hmmmm that baby looks pretty good, but ‘dog poop’? No thanks!” LOL. So maybe Man Geum is very smart, to give our little Prince such a funny bad name!!
Esther: Well after she talked to Man Geum, Lady Choi returned fast to the palace, because it’s against the law for a concubine to go out so late at night. Who you think was waiting for her? Yes, that one, the evil queen! And for what? To accuse her of having a lover outside the palace. Oh it’s so wrong!! Lady Choi is very loyal woman, even with Man Geum, she stuck with him until he gambled her away!
Beth: Wow, she is so jealous and vindictive, that Queen Jang! She’s so evil, I don’t even like it that her last name is the same as our dear AP, haha! But oh well, it’s history lol. I can’t believe how eager she is to punish Lady Choi. She really seems to relish it.
Mamacri: Court life was not for the fainthearted, that’s for sure. The Queen saw her opportunity to get rid of her rival for the Kings affection, and she took it. That clay pot she imprisons her in-- reminds me of the rice chest King Jeonjo will put his son in later in history!
Esther: The queen punished Lady Choi without even having any proof! She put her in that clay pot, even with it raining. What a repulsive act, she will pay for sure.
Beth: Ha! The King just found out what has happened…. He has daggers in his eyes now for the Queen. Lucky for Lady Choi, he found her when he did. She looks almost dead as they drag her out of the pot and get her into bed. OMO! Lady Choi’s maid just gave the excuse for her being out late….the pregnancy medicines. The Queen looks furious!
Mamacri: Aishhhh…the queen burned her fingers really bad with this action…The royal doctor, just said that Lady Choi is pregnant with the King’s child! She will be in trouble, while her rival gets even more admiration and love of the King. Ha ha, that is quite the opposite of what the queen was out for. Must have been a bitter pill for her to swallow!
Beth: Yes, in a way, you almost feel bad for her…. If she wasn’t so cruel about it, you could really have pity for her position.
Esther: In Jwa received the news that Lady Choi is pregnant….umm, is he psychic? Or did he somehow know she was pregnant? How on earth would he know??
Mamacri: That was pure a stroke of luck…for both him and Lady Choi. And can I just say…that informant is one scary lady…
Beth: She is like the female version of In Jwa! She seems to know everything about everyone too. Ha, maybe those two should just get married, have a family, and leave everyone else alone LOL.
Esther: Ohhhh, surprise, surprise. The king called Lady Choi to his study, and told her that he knows alllll about Man Geum, the baby and In Jwa was supporting her. He warned her to quit following In Jwa.
Mamacri: The king is an absolute ruler. He makes it his business to know everything!!! He really is that 1000 eyed and 1000 eared monster that In Jwa mentioned. I think In Jwa wishes HE was that monster. He sure seems to be trying hard to be the same way.
Beth: Yep… In Jwa really seems to barely remember the reasons for his revenge against the King. He just wants to have that kind of power. He lost sight of the forest for the trees.
Esther: Umm, girls…the Queen just invited Lady Choi to play a game, but I’m a little worried. See who her guest is?? That scary informant lady of In Jwa’s.
Beth: Uh oh… this is gonna be trouble…. Wonder what she has up her sleeve in this card game?
Mamacri: Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies even closer! The queen is out to get Lady Choi and she is poking her everyway she can. Lady Choi is smart though. She keeps quiet, because she knows she has an understanding with the king.
Beth: Yikes!! That informant lady is some kind of fortune teller who reads the future! She rolled back her eyes and saw Lady Choi with a son on the throne… and now she is whispering it to the Queen. Ohhhh…. If looks could kill, the Queen is not happy about that.
Esther: Aishhh, now the Queen caught the gambling fever too. She bet that if Lady Choi wins, then they will be friends. But if Lady Choi loses, they will be enemies, and she will use all the rumors about Man Geum and the baby against her….Ahh I don 't want to live in that palace, ever! The walls can talk, kkk.
Beth: Once again the gambling theme is played—I really like how this is woven into the fabric of every scene. Like every action we take in life is a bet, succeed or fail. Really love this writing!
Mamacri: The Queen is really enjoying the thought how she will end Lady Choi’s life. Ugh, she’s so pleased with herself! Like everything was already set up…
Esther: Oh noo! The Queen sent guards, and Man Geum was arrested with the baby in his arms! Ohhh I’m so worried for them-- the guards have tied up him in the courtyard of the palace, and now the Queen and her brother are torturing him.
Beth: They want him to admit that he is Lady Choi’s secret husband/ lover and that the baby is the supposedly dead prince. Oh, Man Geum, please be strong!!
Mamacri: Poor Man Geum he was really such easy target…but he was so brave. He knew very well this baby and his mother would die if he didn’t protect them. He underwent all that torture in such a noble way! Boy, that sister and brother pair really are something, but I guess it was like that in those days at court. You needed people to back you up, or you would be ruined quickly. Thanks to our Valerie who wrote her very informative blog, we also know she is from the Soron faction…so tensions between Noron and Soron are probably feeding into her actions.
Esther: Tadaaa! The king showed up, and he is very angry-- he warned her not to do things without proof! The Queen presented her theories to him, but he won’t believe her without any proof, after what she did last time. She brought out the nurses who delivered the dead prince, but they looked confused and said it wasn't him. Awww, now what you will do Queen? Shame on you!
Mamacri: Just in time!!!!! The king is really not amused for this disobedience…and yet the queen failed to read his body language and just went on and on with her accusations…just sealing her own fate…. But Beth and Esther…. did you hear??? The midwives said little prince Yeong soo had a MOLE on his chest…waiting to see that mole on the big prince’s chest J
Beth: OOHH I volunteer to be on MOLE PATROL!! lolllll
Esther: The queen got so mad that her plan fell apart. She made a threatening move toward Lady Choi, but the king stops her…. well I don 't like domestic violence, but for some reason my lips wanted to smile, lol!
Mamacri: OMGGGGGGG sisters, the hairgrabbing!! Whahahahaha…hilarious!!!
I was shocked at first but after that I laughed so hard. Imagine your very large husband grabs you by your hair (which looks like a handle, btw) and drags you like a ragdoll in front of the whole court to throw you out…Aigoooo such shame…but she brought it on herself by continue to attack Lady Choi after the king said it was NOT his child. She is so full of fear and rage, she really was acting blind and deaf to the King’s warnings. Now even the ministers are telling the King he must not let her disobedience go unpunished—he must make an example of her. Don’t you think in real life, there must have been a huge bloodshed when he deposed her.
Beth: If only she could have taken the rivalry with Lady Choi with dignity and grace… She had a chance to turn her rival into her great ally, if she had only treated her with kindness. Who knows, Lady Choi might have even supported the oldest Prince’s rise to the throne. But instead, the Queen was vicious and cruel. She was bent on destroying her rival, not making her rival into her ally. I almost pity her, because she isn’t actually wrong about the baby, but since she couldn’t just “get along”, she brought this misery all on herself.
Esther: Ohhh, poor Man Geum limped all the way home. They really beat him hard. And wouldn’t you know, the luck of our baby Gae Ddong is holding again! When Man Geum arrived home, the woman he and Eyepatch hired to breastfeed the baby was screaming so loud—Only then, Man Geum noticed that the baby in his arms wasn't Gae Ddong … it was the breastfeeding woman’s baby! She had Gae Ddong safe at home this whole time.
Beth: Oohhhh! So that’s why the midwives and the King thought the Queen was crazy. The baby they saw really wasn’t the dead prince at all! Wow, Gae Ddong’s luck is pretty great!
Mamacri: I don’t know if Man Guem did it on purpose, or if it was really just an accident, but either way, that saved Gae Ddong’s life! Oh, but hahahahaha….the way that woman went crazy against Eyepatch grandpa, that woman really lost it… and poor Man Geum, it was clearly NOT his day. He was tortured, had to lie to the King and Queen, got saved by the King, limped home, and then got slapped in the face by breastfeeding mom hahahaha. The look on his face was priceless. Well, he went through hell to save his son and it made him a new man…now he has a purpose in life, to protect this baby.
Esther: I can't believe this… The Queen is being deposed, but before leaving, she stops to tell her son to destroy anyone who stands in his way. How can she say that to him? She is passing more hate and trouble on to her child.
Mamacri: Such a “lovable” mother she is to say such thing to a young child… especially to such a young child… guess love has nothing to do with it. She probably jst wants someone else to have her revenge for her.
Beth: She thinks she is helping him be strong, but I think it’s bad advice. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar. I think it’s better to turn enemies into allies. When you make an ally, you gain a new army of supporters. When you kill an enemy, you face a new army of enemies. Look at In Jwa, and Yi Soo and Dam Seo….. all these people only after the King because he killed their families.
Esther: The young prince of the exiled queen was so scared after the separation of his mother, he hid in his room nder a blanket, poor kid. Ugh, that In Jwa! Now what is he p to, coming into the Prince’s room? He gave him a bag of black and white game pieces, and told him to pick one. A black one means the Prince will die miserably. A white one means he will live happily on the throne. Gosh, more gambling, and this time with a poor little scared kid! The little Prince picked white, and he’s so relieved. In Jwa offered him his support and protection….hmmmmm. That smells fishy to me. Of course, now In Jwa wants something in return, and this young boy is so grateful for protection, he just offered to give In Jwa the throne. Jackpot, his main goal.
Beth: Ugh, the smirk on In Jwa’s face as he says “Oh noo… the throne is yours….” What a manipulating jerk!
Mamacri: I just wondered…where did he come from all of a sudden? I didn’t expect In Jwa to be able to freely walk into the prince’s private room. I’m surprised there wouldn’t be guards to bar his way inside the palace like that! And now, this poor scared little boy being hit on by this calculating man…making that boy promise him anything…even the throne.. the little Prince must have been really scared left all alone by his mother.
Beth: I wondered that too, maybe they will explain how he got in? Or maybe he just has so many informants and paid off so many people, he can really just go wherever he wants.
Esther: Wow, speaking of paying people off, In Hwa is very rich! Did you see all those chests full of silver ingots?? He paid off all the nobles to support the young prince. Then when he went out to the courtyard, that scary informant lady complimented his ability to plan things ahead. He just laughed and threw the bag of game pieces in the air…. And we see it only had white stones inside. Then how he said, “you think that’s all I planned? I planned much farther than that…” oh, you can practically hear him thinking: “King In Jwa sounds good!”
Beth: Ohhh just chills when he said that. This man really is so treacherous. I mean he might be a genius, but so sad how he bends it to such a selfish purpose.
Mamacri: Ohh ho… so did he plan all that too? Just to get to the young prince, and make himself into his most trusted ally, he figured out how to use Lady Choi to get the Queen’s jealousy going, and get her exiled… Now I wonder what he will do with the Prince’s trust? In Jwa sure got himself an extra investment for the future …those noblemen. He sure is loaded…wonder how he made his fortune to be spending it like that!
Esther: Awww, twenty years later: I can't breathe… the big moment… our Suk is here at last!! Gae Ddong is grown up and living with his "dad" Man Geum and Eyepatch Nam (he calls him grandpa) in a remote village. Ohh, he is soo sweet, such an innocent country boy-- wait....not that innocent…he’s reminding me of someone’s behavior, right Beth and Mamacri?
Beth: Haha… our dear JKS does always seem to infuse his roles with a little touch of his own personality, doesn’t he?? Aww Gae Ddong reminds me of those moments when our AP seems so sweet and dear and innocent… and then in the next moment he is a little adorable brat, hahaha!
Mamacri: Aigoooo…the long awaited moment! You’re right Esther, and the Gae Ddong is also just like Man Geum—freespirited, innocent, irresponsible, immature and born into gambling. I guess he had no choice growing up like that, with those two gamblers raising him hahaha. They seem to live life from moment to moment, day by day, and that day they failed to win money in the cockfight and ended up eating their “chicken” investment hahahah…that Gae Ddongyi can eat like a lion!
Beth: Aigoooooooooooo….. our good eater……. Sorry, I have to just take a moment to enjoy watching our Prince eat……. It’s my special weak spot hahaha.
Esther: Oh look, they received a flyer about a big card tournament coming up in Hanyang! Gae Ddong is just desperate to go, look how he begs his dad, saying he should get to go to the big city because “ I am a man born with two balls!” Lol he means that he is a real man and grown up already, if I am not mistaken? Hehehe, I am innocent in that sort of thing, (blushing) eheemm.
Mamacri: Whahahaha …a man born with 2 balls whahahahaha IT is the truth!
Beth: I can't even..... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.....I'm dead over here...HAHAHA.
Esther: Now we see In Jwa, after all these years. He’s watching a sword fight practice of his protégé, the grown-up Dam Seo. Wowww, beautiful girl, but a bit cold. Maybe all her suffering for her missed dad and In Jwa’s teachings of pure hatred have made her like that.
Mamacri: Poor little Dam Seo going up nurtured in hate…That In Jwa had a long life expectation…planning things for such long time
Beth: Well it looks like he is still working on his long game, because he and Hong Mae are still allies, and he got her to advertise the card game in every remote village in the country. They cast a wide net to find their golden fish, Dae Gil…….
Esther: Seems like Man Geum has been promising Gae Ddong all these years that he will get a wife and a noble title when he is 20. Well, now that he’s 20, our Gae Ddong’s patience is up, lol. He is asking when he can have those things, and when he can to go to Hanyang too…but Man Geum said it’s too expensive. They don’t have the 100 nyang it would take to get there.
Mamacri: Man Geum should know better than to say such a thing…Now it’s a challenge Gae Ddong will take, to find 100 nyang. Nature won’t be stopped…hormones will soar and won’t be discouraged…
Beth: Awww, he’s so excited! All he has to do is get his hands on 100 nyang, and he can have everything he wants! Off he goes…. What do you think, to the gambling house? How will he get it?
Esther: Noo, Gae Ddong steals money from a group of bandits! They are chasing after him, but luckily he, Man Geum and Eyepatch all escape, and rent a boat to Hanyang.
Mamacri: Gae Ddong is like a loose cannon….he just goes when fired! Unrestrained… straight to the target! Hahahaha LOL his impatience to get to Hanyang even led him to fall into the cold water when he tried to take over and paddle the boat faster.
Beth: Ahh how nice, this director makes every scene so gorgeous…. The way they cut from Lady Choi looking at the barn swallow nesting at the palace, and then following the swallow as it flies away, with her saying that a treasured visitor is near.
Esther: Gae Ddong made it! On a bluff overlooking Hanyang, our boy is yelling to the world and grinning that he is finally there.
Mamacri: Wow…beautiful how things come together. There will surely be a lot of pain, tears, hate and despair before it’s all over…but there is also love. Lady Choi (who is raised up to a high level now, judging by her hairpiece) probably never stopped thinking of the son she had to give up. Wonder if she senses that he is near?
Esther: Back at the old gambling house now, and after 20 years, it is still around and Hong Mae is still running it! Looks like some smart gambler cleaned them out before, and since he just came back, she runs out to the main floor to watch him. He’s got a reputation as a drunk and a playboy too, and from his clothes, he is clearly a nobleman. What Hong Mae and the other patrons don’t realize, is that this young gambler is the prince-- the second son of Lady Choi, and Gae Ddong’s brother. Just like his father, gambling in disguise!
Mamacri: Such a man won’t go unnoticed…first the cleaning out of the gambling table…rich, young and good looking…it smells like trouble!!
Beth: Does he WANT to get noticed? Because yes, who could miss him? With the way peole seem to plan ahead in this drama, I am wondering, is he really just a rich, bored playboy? Or is there something behind this? I guess we will see!
Esther: After Gae Ddong sees Hanyang , he is even more excited to try his luck gambling. He told his dad to give him money use, but hahahaha! His dad only gave him ONE nyang! Awww, but our optimistic boy was only sad for a second, now he is smiling again—he’s certain he will win a lot of money. He has a good attitude—never give up!
Beth: Oh this character is just so endearing! JKS is playing him so well! I really love how he can portray such wide eyed innocence, mixed with youthful bravado. Gosh…. Times like this I wonder how the whole world isn’t an eel…. I mean, just look at our boy!
Mamacri: Love JKS’s acting here…playing the simpleton isn’t easy, but he’s perfect—unrestrained, uncomplicated and straightforward. Gae Ddong who is not used to having a lot is happy with the little things he gets and is very optimistic… really like a big child. He loves his father and grandpa to the ends of the earth.
Esther: It’s so bittersweet…Man Geum took them back to the house he still owns, the one where he used to live with Lady Choi when she was only a maid in the palace. He still has so many happy memories about them together, and he told Gae Ddong that his mother lived there.
Mamacri: Man Guem loved her so much…even though he lost her himself, sweet memories came flooding in while he was telling Gae Ddong about his beautiful mother… but since Gae Ddong has no memories of her, he leaves his father to his memories and the house, and goes wandering the streets of Hanyang instead. By the way… Love the connection here-- Hanyang and his university, hehehe.
Esther: While Man Geum cleans the house, Gae Ddong is walking around town looking for the best place to spend his nyang and make his fortune. Oh, such a beautiful woman on that horse, and she is wearing a mysterious veil too… she passed slowly in front of him and zaap! He felt in love instantly! Awww, how romantic.
Beth: Ahhh, he is so dumbstruck by her, he just fell over and sat in the dirt staring. Her name isn’t Ariyoshi Risa is it? Kkkkkkkkkk
Mamacri: I loved that scene…the opposite of the prince on the white horse!
That is love at first sight, isn’t it. Gae Ddong got hit hard by cupid’s arrow. Love that face… sisters, don’t you just want to cup his face in your hands and smother it with kisses…??
That is love at first sight, isn’t it. Gae Ddong got hit hard by cupid’s arrow. Love that face… sisters, don’t you just want to cup his face in your hands and smother it with kisses…??
Beth: Sigh….. what? I’m sorry, I got lost in someone’s pretty eyes there for a minute…..haha.
Esther: Well the fourth episode of Daebak will very interesting indeed! I want to know how Gae Ddong deals with his new feelings, unknown for him up to now. Looking forward to it! See you girls there, we will have fun, I think watching this next one!