By Beth Wagner and Esther Noloc.
Guest: Eme Zikzin
Collaboration by : kittehkat
It is Tuesday, Daebak day! The 6th episode has ended and I ran to this chat to share my sorrows with my eels sisters Beth and Eme.
ESTHER: Hello to both of you,how do you feel ?
EME: I'm in shock!! This episode is insane, how much ignominy!!
ESTHER: Hello to both of you,how do you feel ?
EME: I'm in shock!! This episode is insane, how much ignominy!!
BETH: I am so nervous for this one….. I know we’ve all seen the previews, with the poisonous snake…. I might be the one hiding behind a pillow this time!
ESTHER: After watching episode 5 i ended like that, I really had to prepare my heart for episode 6.
ESTHER: Hong Mae found Dae Gil unconscious at the edge of the river. Oh my lord, why did it have to be her? She slapped his face few times and tadaa, he woke up, but….. lost his memory. That woman has greed written all over her face. She sold him as a slave! Shame on you Hong Mae.
EME: Oh noooo, it’s her that found him? That means nothing but pain for Dae Gil. You’re right, Esther, she must have “money” written on her forehead! Oh I’m so worried for Dae Gil… he will be suffering!
BETH: Can you believe that woman?? She tried to get 10 nyang for him, but settled for only 5! Our Dae Gil… sold for only a pitiful 5 nyang. But the way she told the salt mine owner to work him until he was broken-- she is also getting revenge on him.
ESTHER: Yep, Dae Gil has a new owner now, the evil man who runs the salt mines, and works his slaves to death. At least he brings a doctor to patch up Dae Gil. Oh! Our boy just coughed, and out came the coin that In Jwa shoved down his throat! The doctor took it at first as payment for his services, but then the girl beside him snatched it for herself. Her name is Seol Im. I like her! Very innocent and looks like the girl from next door.
EME: Aww, I love Seol Im, she is a light for Daegil between so much darkness. My desperate Dae Gil, must not have even one healthy bone, it’s so sad.
BETH: Yes, he really needed someone to be kind! I wonder what the future holds for Seol Im..... maybe love triangle.....?? Maybe Dae Gil will have to decide between her and his first puppy love crush (after all, Dam Seo did just let him get stabbed and fall off a cliff without much protest!)
ESTHER: Dae-gil woke up, but he really must have amnesia from his fall of the cliff. He doesn’t even know who he is or where he is. He will need more time to recuperate from his broken bones and injuries! Ohh, our poor boy even has to use a cane to support himself too.
EME: It hurts the heart, the long history of human beings believing that they have the right to own another human. I have to say though, the scenery here is really magnificent! The wide shots that show the whole field of salt, and then show the grieved face Dae Gil are just wonderful!
BETH: He looks so vulnerable here! Between his physical injuries, and his memory gone, the scared and unsure look in his eyes is really making this eel want to give him a big hug!!
ESTHER: Beth,the cute girl, Seol Im,helped him in his recovery, but wait...is she….. an eel?? The way she is staring at him, haha! He is in bad shape, but she still can’t even stop herself from saying he is handsome-- just like us eels, Kkk. Seol Im even fed him a meal… just like eels always want to send food trucks to JKS during the drama filming, LOL. I hope Dam Seo will think the same way one day.
EME: Now he will see the heartbreaking truth of how the poor of Joseon live. As far as Seol Im, I knew I loved this girl, she can see he is stunningly handsome no matter what. DDG Dae Gil! You know, that shot of him sliding his feet into those humble rope shoes touched me very much. The director used the symbolism of the shoes again, and this time it is the birth of a new man--Dae Gil. A prince wearing the shoes of poverty... as a leader it will give him just cause and purpose in life.
BETH: The thing I keep thinking about is when he got amnesia. My first reaction was…. “Oh….great....amnesia. Why do they always have to throw that into dramas?” Because usually amnesia is used as a cheat-- a reset, or way to stall, so the writers can get a few more episodes out, without having to come up with new material. They just make the person remember why they loved someone all over again. But this might just be the best use of amnesia as a plot that I've ever seen! It gave a reset, yes, but only because it allowed him a fresh look at the world around himself, without the preconceived ideas he had, without grief clouding his judgment. It gave him an open heart to see what is wrong with the world, before reality and memories set back in.
ESTHER: Yes,agree in that. Everybody at the salt field is just working to death…. Seol Im warned Dae Gil about their owner, called “the Demon” because he is so cruel to his slaves. He will even kill them if they try to escape. And they can never pay back their debt to get away either… just trapped until they die. So sad. He doesn’t even let Dae Gil heal properly… already pushing him to work when he still needs a crutch!
BETH: Yes, the Demon even kicked away his crutch. Our poor boy!
ESTHER: Ahh, The demon, what a creep! He told Dae Gil that his name is “Half-wit” and that he owes 45 nyang if he wants his freedom, More than he can ever pay back in the salt fields. Such a thief, that man, charging so much more than he paid! Haha, he didn’t know Dae Gil can read-- he showed him the slave contract, and our boy read his real name on there!
EME: The Demon really lives up to his nickname, inventing the debt to enslave Dae Gil.
BETH: They want him to sign the contract with his thumbprint, but our strong boy refuses… uh oh…. Eels, prepare yourselves, this will probably hurt…….
ESTHER: Dae-gil might not remember his life, but he is still brave! He challenged the demon, and got himself rolled up in a mat and beaten hard with a big stick. Oh not again! And his poor wrist, still healing, they stepped on it and broke it again, so they could force his thumb into the red ink and onto the paper. I almost broke my computer to make it stop lol!! Had to remind myself again, he is just acting!
EME: I could barely watch this scene… It’s so hard. Beth, I think you should tell this part also lol
BETH: Haha, OK, I’m here if you guys need me…. I can do this…. Deep breaths….. It’s not real, it’s not real, it’s not real…. LOL
ESTHER: Aww, poor Dae Gil, his broken body is not ready to work, but they sent him into the woods to cut down trees. At least he saw the good relationship between all the slaves as they help each other with what little they have to give. It’s a good lesson for him to see this. Seol Im brought him another rice ball. Eels think he deserves a feast after all this!
EME: Yes, despite how painful it is and all his own suffering, Dae Gil still keeps kindness in his heart. He was really touched watching the other slaves sharing their food with grandfather.
BETH: Ahh, another scene where we can read our Prince’s emotions just in his eyes. Really such a gift he has, to communicate so much without saying a word.
ESTHER: Aha,very expressive. Dae gil noticed Seol Im’s necklace too-- a bent one nyang piece. She admits it was his, but lies a little kkkkk. She said they are friends and he gave it to her.
Ahh, the Demon is at it again. A slave tried to escape, so now he will be executed. Seol Im held Dae Gil back when he tried to go stop it. After the slave died, Dae Gil broke free and went up to confront the Demon.
EME: Dae Gil has such a defiant look in his eyes. The Demon will surely want to break him of that.... I was prepared for more beatings, but looks like this time it's going to be.... starvation??! Nooo!
BETH: Considering how much I love to see our boy eat, this will be the worst episode for me…. Beatings are bad enough, but DON'T starve my boy LOL!!
ESTHER: Maybe Seol Im will sneak him some food, kkkk. Oh now Prince Yeoning is curious, why did his mother give the creepy Shaman woman the birth date of his dead brother? She made some excuse that she wanted to know what the baby would be like now if he lived, but the Prince smelled something fishy. He won’t let that go so quickly.
EME: Hmmmm, wonder how Yeoning will react when he finds out, his brother is alive, and he is none other than Dae Gil?
BETH: Yes, I’m dying to know!! Will it be teamwork, or will it be rivalry… or a mix of both, even?
Esther:.Yeoning was taken to see his father, who suddenly looks very sick and is having a herbal therapy. The King didn’t beat around the bush this time. Just asked him directly, “Do you want to become king?” He figured out that it was Yeoning’s mother who told him to act like a playboy in order to keep the other nobles from seeing his as a threat… but he denied it.
BETH: I noticed the King coughing before, but this is the first time it struck me, he is ill, and he is trying to set things in order for when he dies…. Trying to make sure that the strongest son succeeds him.
ESTHER: Wise move from him.The king is still being very direct. He just asked Yeoning if he will take over as his successor if he were to abdicate the throne. Even though it rightfully should go to the Crown Prince, we all know the big reason why the King isn’t so keen on that-- In Jwa’s influence over the crown prince
EME: I don’t know if I said it already, but I love the character of the king! This scene is majestic, awe-inspiring, the king knows that it’s not the heir to the throne who deserves it, but it is his younger brother who is the Tiger. Only he has the cunning and strength to be a King. Of course, that puts Yeoning in a terribly sticky situation.
BETH: Yes, he’s got trouble either way he chooses… so he might as well follow his heart.
ESTHER: King Sukjong told the ministers he will abdicate, and those phonies all started to cry and beg. Crocodile tears, if you ask me. But his mind is made up. He wants to be at peace, and give the crown to his son
EME: I love the attitude of the king, always challenging. This is another great performance, ministers make all their show of kneeling to mourn, but I agree, Esther, how many are really sincere?
BETH: I’m betting that behind their protests, they are all madly thinking and plotting how to use this situation to their own advantages. Jerks, lol.
ESTHER:. Sukjong left the ministers, still thinking about Yeoning’s answer to his question. Yeoning actually gave a pretty smart answer! He said that he preferred to hold a sword than wear a crown, so that he could use it against corrupt politicians who exploit the people. Wow, Yeoning, your father must be proud-- you are starting to be mature now!
EME: I agree with the king when he says it is easier to be a king than to take that sword. certainly doing justice is much more complicated. Yeoning is clever and brave and at the same time he is already both merciless and kind.
BETH: Yes he is clearly the better choice for king than his older brother who doesn't seem to be a deep thinker at all. If this was the way the brothers truly were in real life, no wonder the King threw his favor to the concubine's son!
ESTHER: Hmmm, the crown prince just went to see the king, and is hiding that he is quite sick. And I mean, really sick because he was coughing blood, that’s not a good sign!
EME: Clearly he has very little hope of sitting on the throne, here's another duality, he cries asking his father not to abdicate but in turn conceals who is seriously ill because he knows that could cost the throne.
BETH: Yet he still must want the throne enough for himself that he is trying to cover up his illness. I'm glad he can't last long though... between his unthinking mind and his blind allegience to In Jwa, this brother is just trouble! Actually, I'm kind of laughing to think that In Jwa doesn't know yet... he placed his bet on a lame horse.
ESTHER: The brother of crown prince, Prince Yeoning, knows his brother is sick and is worried for him, but Lady Choi tells him to mind his own business. She is still concerned he will put himself in danger. But he said he will protect his brother, aww, so sweet of him!
EME: Yeoning has a good heart and certainly his brother is not prepared to support the weight of the crown. Hearing his brother's not-so-insightful thoughts, perhaps it will make Yeoning reconsider his place on the throne.
BETH: Yes seems to be an internal struggle now between Yeoning's desire to be a loyal brother, and his need to see justice .
ESTHER:.Dae-gil has his first encounter with KIM CHAE-GUN (Ahn Gil-kang)! He is the man that the shaman pointed out as being help to improve Dae-gil’s fate, so that's a good encounter. He need to be prepared if he wants revenge, and hopefully this man will help him.
EME: Dae Gil is not alone, when the student is ready the master arrives.
BETH: Oh please say that our dear Gae Ddong/ Dae Gil's luck is finally changing, with this chance meeting!
ESTHER: They didn't speak, but Chae Gun sent a sign to Dae Gil that a snake was in a tree near Dae Gil. OMO!! This is it! Our Dae Gil grabbed the live snake and started to eat it, ripping off the snake skin with his teeth! Awww, aghhh, his lips, his teeth, raw snake meat so disgusting.......ok, in order to stop feeling grossed out I used my imagination again and transformed the snake in this spicy pork sausage.
EME: LOL Mom Esther hahahahaaha I should have thought of that when I watched the scene for the first time! The funny thing is, unlike the scenes where he is wounded and I couldn't bear to look, here I could not take my eyes off him! I was in shock but could not stop looking, hahaha. I really couldn't separate Dae Gil from Jang Keun Suk, one second suffered by DG and the other, JKS's suffering, and my feeling of pride for his dedicated acting. Also here the director returns to play with the symbols, the snake represents the vital power that comes to Daegil, even anticipates the victory over his enemies, to rip off the snake skin, he is also molting his own skin, in a kind of ritual of rebirth .
BETH: Wow Eme, that is so insightful! I especially like the molting of the skin comparison, because, this really is another pivotal point for Dae Gil, both in his own sense of survival, and in his meeting with Chae Gun.
ESTHER:. The Demon, Ahgwi, went to the female slave dormitory that night. Oh!! THat man, I though he was already bad enough but this is so low. He is trying to rip off Seol Im’s clothes to rape her. Now he's a sexual predator too! But oh yesss, our hero Dae Gil came running at the sound of her screams! He saved her from another suffering in her life.
EME: Here we go again ... ignominy and Dae Gil... they will surely do him in when they catch up with him after this!
BETH: They really will both be in so much trouble if they are caught, because first they stopped the Demon from doing as he pleased, and now they are running away-- didn't the Demon kill the last slave who tried that?? Oh dear, I hope they get away and don't look back....
ESTHER:.Well Dae Gil grabbed Seol Im's hand and practically drags her into the nearby forest. I guess he's hoping the Ahgwi’s men won't follow them because of the tigers known to roam the woods. Whaaa, another test for our boy? Fight with a tiger? Aishhh! And now Seol Im says she’d rather go back to her master and take her chances. Is she crazy? Brave Dae Gil refused to let her go, but she gave him his nyang back and told him to go on without her. Ahh, she is really crazy.... would rather go back to the rapist, and give up the opportunity to be with gorgeous, smart, brave Dae Gil in the dark forest with the romantic moon and the sky for a roof??! But Dae Gil said, "we live together or die together" awww, this man really is Daebak. He might still have amnesia, but his soul is the same-- a very good friend and a kind person. Man Geum did a good job in raising him, after all.
EME: LOL it’s true mom Esther! She is not in her right mind to return to Ahgwi and miss the opportunity to be with our DDG Dae Gil! No two tigers would ever be enough to take me out of that forest with Dae Gil!! XD
BETH: Hahahaha!! Isn't it the truth! Every eel will battle 1000 tigers to get to be in a dark forest alone with our boy LOL.
ESTHER: Oh my! Now they hear the sound of growling and see the tiger running toward them! Dae Gil is more full of bravery than anyone I've ever seen....he will put his life in danger again and just told her to run away first. Oh noooo! He is staying to deal with the tiger, but it's not like he has a sword-- he intends to fight off a tiger with only a STICK?! Oh my God.
EME: Our brave Dae Gil copes with anything we already know, his heart is as big as his courage.
BETH: I can't tell if he is so brave because he knows he is a lucky person, or if he's so brave because he just doesn't think too far ahead, kkkkk.
ESTHER:.Hey,Dae giiiiil,the tiger is coming! WOW! The tiger leapt at our boy, but suddenly it was cut down in mid air by the man from the forest! My heart stopped for a second in that scene. Dae Gil could hardly believe his own eyes that a tiger could die by one slice of a sword. Chae Gun got Dae Gil to see reason at least. He told him there was another threat in the mountains, so he should just take his chances and go back to the Demon.
EME: I am filled with emotion when I see Chae Gun appears, this character is very charismatic as well, and our Daegil again is saved at the last minute.
BETH: Ahhh, a case of "the demon you know is better than the demon you don't know" I guess Dae Gil will go back to the Demon Ahgwi, and take his chances, and protect Seol Im. As for Chae Gun, he seemed impressed that our Dae Gil was brave enough (or stupid enough?) to think he could beat a tiger with just a stick LOL!
ESTHER: Seol-im ran back to the salt fields and brought the slave owners to where Dae Gil was. I guess she is doing her best to protect him, but really, she is only giving them the chance to kill Dae Gil if the tiger didn't already do the job. They were all surprised though, to see Dae Gil sitting, stunned, on the ground, with a dead tiger. Of course Chae Gun was long gone already. Oh no, here it comes... they are rolling him up in the mat again to savagely beat him for running away. Seol Im can only cry... But one of JKS's eels changed the scene and turned it into Dae Gil in a sushi roll of rice. So I blocked the torture and am thinking of this one instead.
EME: hahahahahahahahahaaaaa My favorite food is sushi, this is wonderful transformation of this hard to watch scene!
BETH: Esther, I like the way you think!! I might just get through a few more of these difficult episodes like this kkkk
ESTHER: Ahgwi just did something incredibly repulsive guys... He threw our poor Dea Gil into the outhouse latrine and defecated on him! AISSHHHH! THis man is in a serious competition with In Jwa for who can be more evil! They shoved the nyang back into Dae Gil's mouth and hit him on the head, but all it did was being back a flood of memories at last. Dae Gil spat out the coin and the scenes flashed by him of all the moments that coin has returned to him, protected him, and always found its way back to him. Only one tear fell down his filthy cheek, but a lot more are still flowing down my face.
EME: This scene is so painful and so extraordinarily convincing, tear and pain attached to the strength and determination of his spirit are clearly reflected in his eyes, it is impressive, but my heart hurts.
BETH: Yes, my head and heart are aching for Dae Gil. All at once, I don't want him to remember anything because it will only bring back the emotional pain of what has happened to him. But in the end I know he must accept this in order to move forward. Oh that tear though.... just wanted to hug him! OK, first, wash him from head to toe, and THEN hug him.
ESTHER: Even defecating on him wasn't enough for the Demon, so he had his men bury him out in the mud flats, up to his neck, and leave him to die. Ohhh, so this is where that last scene from episode 5 fits. We didn't know at that time, the unknown man who came and helped him eat the little crab, is Chae Gun.
EME Kim Chae Gum is an angel put in the way of Daegil by his father. It's as though he continues to care for him, and it's such a touching scene as Dae Gil imagines the form of Chae Gun to be the smiling face of his dead father, Man Geum.
ESTHER: Ahgwi’s thugs brought Dae Gil back from the mud flat after all. I guess they want to play around torturing him now, because they decided to just break his arms and legs next. But our boy is a quick thinker, especially now that he has his memory back. He proposed to play Tujon (card game) in Hanyang and make them a lot of money to pay back his debt. He showed off to them with some tricks he learned from his expert gambler father, Man Geun.
EME: Finally came the sly look I was hoping to see, the calculated strategy of Daegil, he already knows that his battle is not waged only with courage.
BETH: ohhh I am DEAD with this look... determination, a little cockiness, and... those eyes!!!
ESTHER: Ahgwi accepted Dae-gil's offer. He could see right away the high skills that Dae Gil has, so they told him to clean up, and then they will go to the gambling houses of Hanyang. Of course, Seol Im barges right in on his bath time, without even apologizing.
EME: ahem, ahem! Peely thoughts here…
BETH: Seol Im is definitely an eel, or PEEL! She probably ran over , hearing that he was having a bath... probably disappointed he was already done kkkk. At least we all got another look at his bare, long, lean arms .......
ESTHER:. Dae Gil asked about Seol Im's past and how she ended up there... she responded by opening up the top of her hanbok! ehemmmm! couch cough, what is she DOING? Ohhhh, kkkk, false alarm, it wasn't what I thought. My traitor mind lollll. She only opened her top to show him the deep scar on her chest... that's a relief lol. Oh, turns out her father was a gambler who bet her away and then died. Oh noo, it's just like Dae Gil's mother too. So sad.
EME:The issue of gambling in Joseon was really serious, in fact kings Yeongjo and Jeongjo, they regularly banned gambling and kept having to ban new forms of gambling too. In the end it was mostly ineffective, but they at least wanted to cure society of the serious social problems caused by these forms of gambling. Betting on women, for example, seemed to be the norm in that time.
BETH: Oh our kind sweet boy is really moved by her story. I think he won't soon forget this girl with the big heart and the troubled past. I wonder.... will Dam Seo with her privilege and her blind alliegence to In Jwa continue to hold his fancy, or will Seol Im take hold of his heart? Wait, does this mean we now have a love rectangle instead of a triangle?? oh dear!
ESTHER: Hong Mae is alerted to a new arrival in her casino, Ahgwi and Dae-gil. Even though he made a deal with her not to bring Dae Gil back, Ahgwi says she broke the agreement by not coming back to pay for him. So now, he will sell Dae Gil back to her for 500 nyang, or she can play a round of Tujeon with Dae Gil. She imagines that Dae Gil can't remember anything still, so she decides to play the round. Ahh she is a gambler deep in her heart too... but of Hong Mae, hahaha bad move, babe!
EME: Well I'm just relieved to see my Dae GIl, bathed and cute, and in another position. Now we can begin to see that he truly is cunning and capable, even if he is still a baby tiger, we can see him growing.
BETH: Yes gone for good is the silly lightheartedness of Gae Ddong. Now we will watch our baby tiger grow into one who can challenge In Jwa at last.
ESTHER: Weee,Dae-gil played with most of Hong Mae's thugs and beat each one of them. Then he went up against Hong Mae herself and was beating her when who should walk in but that snake in the grass, In Jwa! Hahaha, Hong Mae trying to hide Dae Gil from being seen. In Jwa will know what she did! In Jwa, even though he knew from the shaman that Dae Gil was alive, still seemed surprised to see him looking so well and playing cards even. Dam Seo just looked at him with big eyes. Dae Gil pretended to still have amnesia (well maybe there are still a few things he doesn't totally remember) so he made a big show, grabbing In Jwa by the robes and saying "you know me? what do you know? tell me!"
EME:It gives me a lot of laughter to see Hong Mae trying to hide what can not be hidden XD
BETH: Like trying to hide the sun behind a finger, LOL. I did like Dae Gil's quick thinking to continue playing the amnesia card for now!
ESTHER: Dae Gil offers a bet on the Tujeon game, knowing that In Jwa can never turn down a bet. After a round, Dae-gil just went ahead and revealed that he had most of his memories back. Grabbing his clothes again, he demanded the reason In Jwa killed his father, but of course that awful man won't give him a straight answer. When he won the hand, I was so surprised! I thought for sure Dae Gil would win it! But now Dae Gil claimed that In Jwa cheated, and if that's true, it will cost that terrible man his hand.
EME:Finally In Jwa is on the hot seat, as they pull a card out of his sleeve!
BETH: Yes, after Dae Gil dropped it in there one of the times he grabbed him by the robes hahaha! I love that our boy is starting to outsmart the foxes! He has a ways to go, but we can see now that he has the ability and the determination to succeed.
ESTHER: Ha, I was laughing too, when that thug checked In Jwa's sleeves and found the hidden card. Yessss! a taste of his own medicine. Even In Jwa is surprised that Dae Gil showed this much cunning already. Well, Hong Mae's rules are that they remove the hand of cheaters, so In Jwa, what will you do now? You are in deep trouble lol.
EME: I love seeing the face of In Jwa, for once he can't believe what is happening. He really underestimated our Dae Gil. I'm so happy! Fighting, Dae Gil!!
EME: Well, looks like we have to wait til next week to find out if In Jwa gets to keep that hand.
Esther and Beth thank you for this beautiful opportunity, It has been an honor for this Venezuelan Eel to be in this conversation.Thanks so much for your help too, Kat. Hugs everyone!
ESTHER: Thanks Eme for being here with us for these two episodes, you were very helpful and really loved hearing your thoughts about the deep meanings of the script.
BETH: Yes, thanks to everyone! These were difficult for us, because not only were we all quite sick and very busy in our lives this time, but also these were the most difficult episodes to watch I think! Let's hope the beatings are over now!
ESTHER: Well,we hope the next episodes will be less painful to us. Until the next time.