Final episode: The Ahjumma and the new eel series:Review, thoughts and impressions of Daebak drama final episode in chat mode.
By Esther Noloc and Beth Wagner
Guests: Liana Yus and Mr. Cruise
Collages: Saranya GS Eel
Introduction: Wow! I can't believe this is the final episode of Daebak! We have passed more than three months watching. After today, we will miss the drama a lot, but we need a good rest because this drama was intense.
LIANA: Hi Esther!Hi Beth! It’s great to chat with you again and with Beth for the first time. Ehem…Esther,Beth can Mr. Cruise join us? By the way, Mr. Cruise is my husband. I used to be crazy about Tom Cruise so I call him that. Makes me feel like I’m married to Tom Cruise, hehehe. Ooppss! JKS would be jealous! I’m supposed to look at him only, but I cannot change it to Mr. Jang. It’s a complicated story Esther. My hubby is here while I’m chatting with you, so he wants to give his thoughts too. Can we add him in the chat? I’ll be typing on his behalf.
ESTHER: Oh,wow! Of course Liana! When you told me he was watching the drama with you I felt very excited and thought of having him for this review! I’ve always wanted to know what a man thinks about the drama, but I never imagined he would want to join us for real.
MR CRUISE : Hi girls! My pleasure to chat with you. I hope you won’t mind.
BETH: Hi everyone! So glad I could join at the very end once more, and I am happy so many eels had fun taking turns chatting for the 24 episodes! I can’t wait to see this final one although I can hardly believe it’s already the last one…. Excited but a little sad lol!
ESTHER: Hi and welcome Mr.Cruise.I am glad you like our Suk acting.
LIANA: After they successfully arrest In Jwa, Dae Gil limps in pain toward the king. He bows and then passes out. Grandpa and Seol Im rush over to aid him.
MR CRUISE: How come the king is stone faced watching Dae Gil faint? He might die of those injuries. I thought they’re brothers.
LIANA : Sorry Esther, Beth my hubby is very biased toward Dae Gil. Can you explain please?
ESTHER: Mr.Cruise, yes I have to admit that the Yeoning looked very cold there, but I think he has no choice. He is the king and has to act strong even if he is dying inside. Also only few people know they are brothers. It would be a scandal if the ministers or the people know. It's better to leave things like that. I think Dae Gil understands his position.
BETH: Yes, and they had some differences here and there, but in the end they are brothers, so I hope Yeoning is at least worried on the inside!
ESTHER: Liana,look at him in that bed.
LIANA : Pssst! Esther, so bad of me! I know he’s in pain but I find him so sensual and provocative. I almost fell off my chair watching this on my laptop!
MR CRUISE: Ehemmm!! Dear what did you whisper to Esther?
LIANA: Nothing dear just poor Dae Gil being in pain...my heart goes out to him.
BETH: Yes yes, nothing to worry about ;-)
ESTHER: Hahaha! Oh my God Liana! I was thinking now your hubby will read our thoughts and he will not be mad at us for praising Suk, and Beth and I will be shy about it. Kkk.
LIANA: Esther, Beth,keep it to yourself! I’m only going to show Mr Cruise my censored version! Kkkk. He’s not computer savvy. I know it’s so bad of me, but it’s to keep my marriage in a hot mood all the time! Anyway he feels safe because JKS is far away!
ESTHER: Hahaha, good point Liana! What a relief to know we can write freely! Mr.Cruise will only read the “good girl” comments! Well I felt very guilty when Dae Gil was lying there in bed with a lot of pain and the acupuncture needles! I didn't cry or feel sad for him, because I was like an idiot staring at him! He looks so manly!
BETH: LOL same here Esther…. Kkkk Usually I am so worried when he seems in pain…. But he just looks too good here!
LIANA: I actually wish the king would visit him privately to see to his recovery. That would be a nice touch. Put a bit of soul in King Yeongjo.
Mr.Cruise: Yeoning changed to Yeongjo and the character changed so much. But 4 years have already passed and they did not meet during those 4 years. Anyhow, I knew our hero would be up and around very fast. Dae Gil is a strong character with a strong will.
ESTHER: Oh he stood up already, but too fast and barely can walk. Ah, always thinking of others first, he went to see the people. His grandpa is so sweet with him. Oops! Seol Im scolded him for being there! Good, she has to take care of him to gain points with us, JKS eels. He gained points with the people too,right?
LIANA: Grandpa and Seol Im are so relieved to see Dae Gil well and looking better. See Esther? The people are cheering for him! They love him and have witnessed that he is willing to gamble his life to save them. He’s the people's hero! He’s my hero too besides Mr Cruise! Kkkk.
MR CRUISE: Thanks dear. I think he makes a better king in the present day but maybe in the olden days people needed to be afraid of a king.
ESTHER: The king is talking with Mil Poong Goon. He is trembling and accepts his fault, saying sorry to the king and asking that his life be spared. The king spares him because he promised to Dae Gil he would. But he can't go to the capital again. See Mr. Cruise? The king is not a bad person and loves and respects his brother. Look the people cheered the king too!
MR CRUISE: OK Ms. Esther. Now that I see this, I do agree he respects his brother. As for love, I will wait before I give my verdict. He is not as wise as our Dae Gil. Dae Gil has this special trust in people. He always sees the positive side of people and he never places blame on them.
LIANA: Mm hmm…biased as usual! Mil Poong Goon did not realize In Jwa had his own selfish ambition. King Yeongjo thinks he should lose his head, but he is safe. As you said Esther, the king already promised Dae Gil he would spare Mil Poong Goon’s life for his cooperation in saving the lives of the people and turning against In Jwa.
ESTHER: Well In Jwa will be punished at least. I hope he doesn‘t escape again! He is walking in his jail clothes and surrounded by a rope. Now it’s the ministers who are cheering the king! He thanks them for helping him when he was absent. He hasn’t decided what to do with In Jwa yet. We can tell the king has an idea of what to do with him, right?
LIANA: They took In Jwa back to Hanyang for his punishment. This is the first time I’ve seen him with an uneasy look. No more arrogance in his shabby jail clothes!
Mr CRUISE: For what he did, he deserves to be punished. But there are still lots of ‘rats’ in the palace. If the king wants to reign successfully he has to flush all of them out. Maybe he will be using In Jwa as bait.
ESTHER: Yes, Dae Gil and his family have returned to their village and Yoon Hwa and Hong Mae were in a...library? Hong Mae changed the gambling house to that? Kkk, wow! Everybody has an opportunity to change and be a better person. Hmm, Grandpa found Hong Mae much prettier than before. Yes, when you are a good person you can shine. Wedding bells soon? Kkk. Oh Liana, you noticed? Dae Gil looks more handsome now and Man Geun is very happy with the other cities victories. Aww, a smile! Dae Gil smiled again!
LIANA: Hahaha Esther! I still cannot get used to his facial hair. He does look handsome, especially when he smiles. Esther it’s not his village, it’s the capital Hanyang. Remember he still has his house in Hanyang, kkkk. His dad informs him that his plan worked excellently without a hitch. Both Park and Jeong are no more...no more???
BETH: I really don’t much care for facial hair…. But yet again JKS makes me rethink what I like or don’t like lol! I still like him smooth-shaven… but he always manages to make me think he’s beautiful, no matter what style!
ESTHER: Oh, I am always lost in names and places, so both of you can correct me! Back at the palace, the boxes placed in front of the ministers were opened. Wow! Two heads! One from the rebel Jeong Hee and the other from Park Pil Hyun! The ministers are in shock and me too! Man Geum told Dae Gil how they caught them. The ministers are in a panic for their lives now and even are thinking to save In Jwa! No way! Don't you dare to do that! They made a secret deal with In Jwa and that is exactly the question that the king is asking In Jwa now. In Jwa called the king a beast. His reasons?
LIANA: So that’s what happen to both of them! They lost their heads for their crime. The ministers not only panic, it scares the crap out of them! They are wondering why the king keeps In Jwa alive.
Mr.Cruise: See? I told you earlier the king wants to use In Jwa as bait for those ‘rats’. The king looked so cool when he sent the ‘gifts’ to those deceitful ministers.
ESTHER: Wow! The king was very strong and graphic with In Jwa! I know he deserved it, but it’s difficult for me to see Yeoning like that. In Jwa compared Yeoning with his father, but I think he is worse because King Sukjong used his wisdom with his teaching so you can‘t hate him.
LIANA: Esther King Sukjong was a beast, only they did not show too much of his beastly actions in this drama. In 4 years of absence from Hanyang and the palace, In Jwa did not realize the king changed so much.
MR CRUISE: Part of the change is because of In Jwa too...what In Jwa made him go through. He’s not like Dae Gil. King Yeongjo keeps all of his pain in his heart to be dealt with later. Dae Gil has a pure heart in the first place, so he always thinks there is good in people. The king grew up in the deceitful world of the palace while Dae Gil used to live a protected life.
BETH: Really insightful, Mr. Cruise! And I definitely agree… In his twisted way, this is why In Jwa kept pushing to make Dae Gil a king I think. Dae Gil’s pure heart would have made him a much loved king…. But unfortunately, In Jwa was also obsessed with power, and thought he could turn them all into his puppets. He wanted to hold all the real power himself in the end, instead of just seeing a good king on the throne like he wanted when he was young.
ESTHER: Dae Gil went to talk with the king. He does not agree with him about In Jwa’s execution because if he dies, how will the king punish the ministers? But Yeoning is unstoppable now. You can see the sadness in Dae Gil’s eyes. Dae Gil talked with his master who said it is the path that the king must take and that Dae Gil would not understand unless he were seated on the throne. But even Mr. Cruise has noticed that the king is too much now. Dae Gil would never be like that, even if he was seated on the throne. Look, Chae Gun received a message. From whom?
LIANA: Dae Gil wishes he could get his brother back. Yeoning-gun is unrecognizable to him now. Chae Gun is very wise in the life of kings and the palace. He knows once you become king you definitely have to have nerves of steel and a heart of stone.
MR CRUISE: I, as an ordinary citizen, wouldn’t wish to be in that period of time. If you’re royalty or noble you have lots of privilege. But as an ordinary citizen you’re dead meat. Dae Gil tried to change as much as he could, but the king wants to stick to the law of the day. In politics there are no everlasting friends and no permanent enemies. The king is a very good politician.
LIANA: We have to think like that if we watch sageuk drama, you too modern dear. Politicians are always scheming and a are cunning people. Hmm, I wonder if are you giving him a compliment or otherwise?
ESTHER: Aww, I was was waiting for that moment! The encounter of Kim Chae Gun and Jin ki. Lol, I always called him Jun Ki, but noticed in the last episode that is Jin Ki kkk. No embrace or “I am sorry” between them, but at least the issues were clarified. Dae Gil was curious and waited for his master outside to know what happened with Jin Ki. See Mr.Cruise? Dae Gil wants his old brother back! He is asking Chae Gun when he will back to his normal self.
LIANA: Jin Ki still committed a crime, even if he is changed now. He saved Dae Gil too with his action, but as an ordinary citizen and a former military officer his punishment would be severe. He wants to die as a dignified soldier so he chose to die by Chae Gun’s sword. I knew Chae Gun had a generous heart...he felt responsible for Jin Ki. He stabbed him, but it was a non fatal wound. He wants Jin Ki to spend the rest of his life reflecting on his wrongdoing. Hmm...poor Dae Gil still misses his ‘old’ brother. I’m sorry but you cannot turn back time Dae Gil.
MR CRUISE: I’m surprised that Chae Gun is Mr Softy. If the king knows about this he won’t like it. I notice Dae Gil wants him to go easy with Jin Ki. Is he following Dae Gil’s order? Maybe subconsciously he thinks Dae Gil is the real king.
LIANA : Hahaha! You still cannot get the idea of Dae Gil as king from your head dear? Jin Ki is emotional too. I saw his eyes were brimming with tears.
ESTHER: Oh no! One of the ministers visited In Jwa with a man to kill him! A guard stopped him. In Jwa was furious and felt betrayed by the ministers. Now Dae Gil is speaking with the king again, he wants he see In jwa and be done with him! In Jwa was looking greedily at the throne when they passed near it. He is really obsessed over that, hahaha! You heard In Jwa’s only regrets in his life? Choosing Dae Gil to be his king. Dae Gil never asked for that.
MR CRUISE: See Ms. Esther? The king’s trap is working! Caught red handed. The king is very cunning indeed.
LIANA: Please give the king credit dear. It is a good plan and now he knows who those deceitful ministers are. Aaahhhh….In Jwa is really obsessed with the throne! Crazily obsessed until his last breath!
ESTHER: I like the fact that he didn't kill In Jwa too quickly. I agree he needs to suffer while paying for all his bad acts. They are going to “draw and quarter” him! One beast tied to each limb by a rope. As the beasts are made to walk away from In Jwa, the rope begins to pull his limbs from his body! Of course In Jwa screams from the pain. Poor Dae Gil felt bad and returned to the king to give back the sword. Wow! Now that is a man. Dae Gil called him his friend and and brother and finally I saw emotion in the king. Dae Gil wants to be a regular person, but King Yeongjo asked him to stay in a place where could be found. Those words remind me of the You Are Beautiful drama again, Liana. Do you recall that scene as well?
LIANA: In Jwa tried to use Dae Gil to die a fast death, but Dae Gil won’t have it. Dae Gil is right, In Jwa’s sins against the people are not easily forgiven. In the end he dies a painful death. Lucky for us they did not show the detail of the scene. I see Dae Gil almost stop breathing during the execution. I guess that’s why the gives his sword back. He cannot tolerate the brutal way of life in the palace. Dae Gil wants to live a normal, simple life outside the palace. Yes Esther! I am reminded him and Go Mi Nam. In his heart he want his brother to be near him, he will miss his brother very much. See dear the to see the king love Dae Gil after all.
MR CRUISE: OK OK…the king loves his brother, but he’s rude to make his older brother kneel before him! Dae Gil advises the king to be wise and think of the people when making his decisions. It’s good advice. Still think Dae Gil makes a better king.
LIANA : Aigoo…I give up! Dae Gil is the best! I know, I know.
BETH: Haha I am with Mr. Cruise! Long Live King Dae Gil!!
ESTHER: Hahaha Liana, your hubby is a hidden male eel, but I know he will never admit that, so I will not intervene in your sweet fights about the king and Dae Gil, kkk.
LIANA : Psst…Esther you’re right he won’t admit it! He’s worse than us! He looks only at Jang Keun Suk…ehemm I mean Dae Gil. All those hypocrite ministers decide they’ve gotten rid of their problem now that In Jwa is dead...but not for long! They still have a nagging feeling, and then Hwang Go Yeomeon brings news from the dead and it’s not a good news at all. Esther, Beth finally I found out lady shaman real name…hehehe!
ESTHER: Hahaha! Me too! I always called her the shaman.She gave them a document, proof of their bad actions and told them she can tell about their deal with In Jwa. One of the ministers went to talk with the Dowager Queen. In the palace, a maid served dinner to the king, but he noticed she was new and told her to taste the food and she tries to run! Oh, she confessed! After that four men came with swords to kill him, but his guard saved him! So sad that he can’t trust in the people that work for him.
MR CRUISE: I’m not an eel. I only like this drama and the character Dae Gil OK?
BETH: Sure sure…. We all believe you ;-)
LIANA: See Esther? He won’t admit it. By the way dear, you’re also watching Beethoven Virus (which is your favorite), YAB, MMM...even though you complain the female lead is not pretty enough! Actually all the female leads are not good enough for him! You watch Baby and Me and YMP too. You don’t want to watch Itaewon Murder because he’s the crook in there. What more can I say?
ESTHER: Oh sorry ,Mr. Cruise. I understand now very well, You are only a JKS drama follower, not a male eel.
MR CRUISE: Can we stop now and continue with Dae Gil’s story? Sorry about that Ms. Esther. Actually, Madam Shaman brought a letter from In Jwa with proof of their pledge with him before the rebellion started. Their dirty little secret! If they try to get rid of her, she has copies for her safeguard. Very smart lady.
LIANA: In Jwa still hunted them even though he was already dead. This pushes the Soron Ministers to make their move to save their precious heads. While Minister Kim Il-soo goes to see the Queen Dowager, the other goes to release Moo Myung. The Queen Dowager has nothing to lose she will go all the way and Moo Myung will follow as instructed. They put their scheme in motion.
LIANA: The king suspects something is not right, the court lady who served his food is not the usual one. Yeah, you better taste the food again lady! She looks antsy when the king forces her to taste again, then she immediately drops to her knees. I thought she was going to confess but instead she ran out so fast.
MR CRUISE: You should never believe anybody in the palace, unless they are people who are close and trusted.
ESTHER: Oh nooo! Haeng, the son of the king was eating with another maid and felt sick. He fell dead to the floor which means the palace is infested with traitors! Poor Yeoning! The only person he had in the palace who really loved him and his only son is dead! He forgot his position and cried a lot. An innocent life gone for the minister's’ ambition. All were arrested and punished.
LIANA: His son is very precious to him. The king and his future heir’s life are always in danger. The court lady instantly swallows poison. She sacrificed herself rather than expose her queen, her conviction is so strong. Heartbreaking to see Yeongjo lose another one of his loved ones. Logical action is to arrest and interrogate those soron ministers. The king now knows the Dowager Queen is involved.
MR CRUISE: That is not interrogation, that’s torture to the max! But I understand the king’s feelings at this moment. Now I grasp why Dae Gil doesn’t want to stay in the palace. It’s full of people who are deceitful and revengeful...their hearts so full of hate that it doesn’t matter whether their revenge includes an innocent child .
ESTHER: The king went to talk with the Queen Dowager, and even pointed the sword at her. But then told the guards that take her out of the palace. Exile, the same path of the other queen, the wife of his dead father. Wow the shaman took her own life! Now Yeoning asks for the records that the history man wrote and removes all mention of Yi In Jwa. He tells the guards that take the ministers families too. Another injustice, the families shouldn’t have to pay for the ministers’ actions, but royalty is like that.
LIANA: He wants to forget all the tribulation that In Jwa created but it will include Dae Gil’s contribution to the kingdom of Joseon too. In Jwa’s name should not be in history for the future generation to worship or follow like the forbidden book which is one of the causes for the rebellion.
MR CRUISE: The king now realizes his action against his older brother the previous king is the reason he lost his son. The Dowager Queen wants him to feel what she felt the night King Gyeongjong die.
ESTHER: Dae Gil got the sad news his nephew is dead. The first thing his master says is, “you don't need to get involved.” Yeah...right. Let's wait and see. While the king was eating he asked about the people’s feelings about his son’s death. The people are sad about it, but oh my God, the people talk more of Dae Gil than the king! That hurts, and the king feels the pressure from the ministers who have advised him to arrest Dae Gil and execute him! No way! They are out of control! Yeoning recalled a lot of his moments with Dae Gil, realizing that even when he is acting selfish he loves him.The best thing to do now? King Yeongjo, go speak with Dae Gil please.
LIANA: Esther, actually Chae Gun asked Dae Gil not to get involved because he had already left the palace. I know Dae Gil is sad for the king and the innocent people. He knows Yeoning, his friend and brother, is different from Yeongjo. The Yeoning he knew is not like this. He was a stuck up prince, but a lovable person behind that facade. Time for Dae Gil to go back to his peaceful village.
MR CRUISE: See dear Ms Esther? I told you that Dae Gil makes a better king! Looks like most of the people agree with me! Anyway people change according to their circumstances and position. They just cannot help it. I agree it’s best for Dae Gil to get on with his life and follow his chosen path.
ESTHER: Another encounter of the third kind. The king went to talk with the Dae Gil and told him, “I came to kill you.” I like Dae Gil's response. Go ahead and stab me, because I can't control the people feelings. Waaa, he is so wise! Oh please, Yeoning, don't lie. You know you are interested in how he is! Just look at the question you asked, “how is your life?” I want to answer you Yeoning. He is happier than you and has a family. Yes, you are the king, but you are alone.
LIANA: Cool answer and so confident his little brother loves him. He knows his little brother already lost so many of the people who cared for him. He won’t ever want to be deprived of his elder brother’s unconditional love. At the end, the king leaves Dae Gil’s village with fond memories of their happy moments. Both wish they could get them back.
MR CRUISE: I think Dae Gil understands what he has to do for his brother so that the king won’t feel any threat in his reign. He has to go far away...disappear and be somebody else. Hope that the king will become as wise as Dae Gil. I still think Dae Gil should be king.
LIANA: A wedding day is coming soon. Seol Im cannot contain her happiness but the groom disappeared! He’s nowhere to be found, just like the runaway bride. I cannot believe my eyes! Such a change in Hong Mae’s personality! I thought I want to ship Grandpa and Hong Mae, but Grandpa informs her they are leaving to a far off place…the ship is sinking fast. It’s a good place, Grandpa assures her. Maybe there is a secret pact between Dae Gil and the king? Dae Gil is always protecting his little brother. Aaaa…Chae Gun tried so hard to turn his son into an excellent student. Looks like he is having a hard time. He still remembers Dae Gil fondly and is very proud of his former student.
ESTHER: At least Dae Gil will be married to Seol Im. I am happy even though I will not achieve my dream of going to his wedding.Yes, Hong Mae is living proof that the people can change.A far away place for Dae Gil and his family? I don't think so. The king needs him and I am sure they will continue to see each other. The part with the master and his son was very funny! I think no one will be like Dae Gil was, learning with him. Dae Gil became very skilled .
LIANA: Huhuhu…Esther we’ve come to the end. I’m going to miss Dae Gil sooooo much! At the end, Dae Gil and the king meet secretly on top of the hill overlooking Hanyang. They are at peace and understand each other. Dae Gil looks super handsome even with his facial hair that I still cannot get use to it!
ESTHER: Yes, the end that we didn't want to come is here. It’s not the one that I expected, but the historical dramas are like that. Very different. Not a happy ending between a man and a woman, but between two brothers who have different circumstances and different paths...united by loyalty and love.
BETH: Ahhhh…. Crying now! It’s really making me happy though… they did NOT kill off Dae Gil! My first fear when I heard the writer of this is….. OH NO! He always kills off the lead at the end… I thought it would be another JKS drama where I can’t watch the last 2 episodes KKK. Now I am at peace like Dae Gil and Yeoning… I can watch this drama over and over…. Really it has been an amazing journey with Gae Ddong growing into Dae Gil. JKS has done an amazing job!
MR CRUISE: This is the first time they look on equal footing, but for me Dae Gil looks more like a king than his brother. Wish the end were different. Thanks Ms Esther for a lovely discussion. I will watch it again and again, but I will always wish Dae Gil is the king.
ESTHER: Hahaha! Maybe there is another version or some deleted scenes .
BETH: Mr. Cruise, I will watch that “Dae Gil is King” alternate ending with you anytime haha! Esther, thank you for inviting me to join this project, although I couldn’t participate in every episode as I planned, it was a fun time talking about the episodes together!
LIANA: Esther thanks so much for inviting me! I’ve had a great time and wish there were more episodes, but our Jang Keun Suk is a very busy man! I do hope he will do another drama before his military service. I’ll watch this a few times...the first time I watch, I always spend my time staring at his face! He so handsome and I still cannot get used to the facial hair until the end.
ESTHER: It was a pleasure to have you and your hubby, Mr. Cruise, here! I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks very much to both of you, and to you Beth!
Until the next JKS drama.