Monday, April 4, 2016

[DAEBAK REVIEW] The Ahjumma and the New Eel: review, thoughts and impressions of "Daebak" drama Ep.1

In chat mode, with Esther Noloc and Beth Wagner
Guest: Susann McGovern

The wait is finally over, and Daebak drama episodes one and two were aired this past Monday and Tuesday on SBS. Our eels hearts are exploding in emotions! Even though JKS barely appeared in these two episodes, we realize now why he chose this drama. Even with only a few scenes from our Prince, we can see how amazing this drama will be. We are happily waiting for the future episodes when he will flood our computer and TV screens with his presence.
This time we will chat about the main characters and our thoughts and impressions about this first episodes.

Esther: Hi Beth, I will not ask how you are, I can hear your heart through the computer. It sounds very fast, dugun,dugun,dugun,kkk.

Beth: Haha, oh yes, how well you know me Esther! Just these few scenes with him make me wonder how I can survive a whole series, lol.

Esther: Well we have a guest today to chat with us about that. I invited our common friend Susann, from Boca de Raton in Florida USA, because I love all her comments in the groups.

Beth: Hi Susann! Great to see you here, and glad you can join in our chat!

Susann: Hello my darling girls, Esther and Beth. thank you for inviting me. I am driving from doctors office, and will be home in 5 minutes to chat with you both.

Esther: Oh take care,don't chat while driving.

Susann: I am here, I flew.

Esther: I think she really pushed the accelerator all the way to the floor. She didn't want to miss chatting about Daebak drama with us!

Beth: Lol, JKS is a bad influence sometimes.... he likes to speed also kkkkk.

Susann: My heart is racing not from rushing home but from the thought that JKS will be before our eyes very soon. Daebak will be an incredible venture for us looking into Korean history and the phenomenal cast of Korean actors.

Esther: Well then, let's start watching the first episode! It is starting with both kings,the old one and the young one. They are wearing the same clothes like twins, but we were more impressed by one future scene.

Beth: Yes, the kings are wearing the imperial robes that show who they are....but even with all that dazzling gold thread, all I can think is, "JKS JKS JKS JKS.....when????" haha.
Esther: The scene with JKS arrived and caught our attention. Dae Gil(Jang Keun Suk) is playing chess with his teacher in a beautiful cold scene ,with the snow falling.

Susann: Such a cold stark scene with the penetrating glare of teacher and student.
Beth: Ahhh, the serious look in JKS's eyes... eels are already fainting! Wow, they way they stare at each other, talking about the chess game, but really, they are talking about their strategies to take the throne.

Esther: Wow, you noticed too? They mixed their conversation about their plans with their game. So wise of them.
Susann: Yes, Esther the game really helps set the stage for what is to come. I was so captivated by the intensity of the two opposing characters.
Esther: Oh! Dae Gil is so brave! He slammed his hands on the table and challenged his teacher with wide opens hands. I was so startled I even forgot the teacher's name, Susann! 

Susann:  I understand your reaction, Esther! Lee In Jwa is his name.
Beth: Yes, it sounds like he was Dae Gil's mentor at some point, but he is now leading a rebellion against the throne. They don't seem to be too fond of each other anymore though.....
Susann: The electricity crackles between Dae Gil and the rebel leader.
Esther: Ah, Lee In Jwa. Thanks, Susann and Beth. Dae Gil knows his black heart and ulterior motives.
Beth: I think Dae Gil will have a big struggle on his hands, to keep him from usurping the throne.

Susann: Such a fascinating character. Lee In Jwa is a master of manipulation. I cannot wait to see his next move!

Esther: But why do you think he is so obsessed with a throne that doesn't belong to him?
Susann: Lee In Jwa says he wants to free the people of Joseon from the reign of this King, who he finds despicable... but I think he wants total control.
Beth: I agree Susann. Maybe long ago his motives were pure, and he was only concerned for the people, but Dae Gil even sees that now he is corrupted by the thought of all that power.
Susann: Esther do you think he can control his student, Dae Gil?
Esther: Ha, No way! Dae Gil looks very strong and has held on to his kind heart and good values. He is still humble. The people are very important to him, so he will do whatever he can to defend them. Ahh Dae Gil, our hero! And he's not even from Marvel comics, kkk.

Susann: I agree Esther, he is our superhero! Dae Gil will not disappoint. Ohh, when he spread his arms and dared Lee In Jwa to kill him? My blood start racing! Between you, me and Beth, I wanted to race into his outspread arms and protect him Lol!
Esther: Hahaha,we are a dreamers.
Beth: Lee In Jwa will have to fight through an army of eels if he wants to lay a finger on our boy, haha!
Susann: This wonderful historical drama gives us all a chance to dream, cry, laugh and run with Dae Gil to the end!
Beth: Oh my! the swords are really flying now, so close to both Dae Gil and Lee In Jwa!
Susann: The moment I saw Kim Che Gun brandishing his sword, my senses went on high alert. He is the martial arts expert who was Dae Gil's instructor. Now he stands beside him as his right-hand man!

Esther: Whaaa, awesome! Although I don't like violence, the director really made that scene so beautiful. The swords are silent, slicing and diving through the air like birds in the sky. Sooo good.

Susann: I agree Esther, Nan Gun is an incredibly, creative director with an eye for great contrasts. He brings an intensity to the scenes with a simplicity, focusing on the emotions and stories that each character needs to tell, He doesn't distract from the story with sweeping scenes but lets the camera reveal the characters.
Esther: Beth, did you hear that? Is this the same Susann who said she has a bad memory? But she even recalls the director 's name, kkkk. I think the forgetful one here is me.
Beth: I think we have to step up our game and study the characters and actors some more, lol! Lucky for us sis Valerie did such a great job with the history lessons she posted for all of us Eels!
Esther: Ah, now we are meeting Maid Choi. Aishhh poor woman, with a gambling addict for a husband, she has a hard life. Her story broke my heart in pieces.

Susann: The sad life of Choi Suk Bin... born to the lowest class, sold to her husband, Baek Man-Guem. She continues in this desolate life working while her husband gambles everything away even his genealogy.
Beth: Someday she will be the mother of both our hero Dae Gil, and the future King, Prince Yeonjing. But for now, it's really a pitiful life.
Esther: That Baek Man Geum is a real "jewel", ugh. A gambler, a drunkard, a liar, and a thief. Too many bad adjectives for one man!

Susann: Looks like Choi Suk Bin is being rescued by Lee In Jwa, but at the same time is being trapped in his deceitful web.
Esther: Yes, In Jwa is using others to make his path directly to the throne. He doesn't care how it will hurt them. What a bad person! Oh, look, now another character has emerged-- a powerful woman indeed! Hong Mae, the "casino" (gambling house) owner, with her distinctive silver tooth. Ooh la la, Baek Man Geum owes her a lot of money...that's going to be big trouble for him.

Beth: Ahhh, the Joseon version of the Loan Shark.... She is really a tough lady. I am interested to see how she fits into the story. Will she be helpful to our hero in the end or work against him?
Esther: Baek Man Geum doesn't learn his lesson, even after he was beaten by them twice. 

Susann: Yes, I agree with you. Baek Man Geum cannot seem to learn from his beatings. Gambling is his obsession which controls him. He will lose everything. I hope he finds redemption for himself. I am waiting anxiously for next episode!
Esther: Now it looks like Lee In Jwa is cooking up another plot. Oh my gosh,that In Jwa is a real predator! how he can take advantage of Suk Bin like that? He even had her kidnapped so he could get her alone to talk to him.

Beth: Ahh.... just like the chess game, he will sacrifice her without caring. He only wants his goal, the throne. And all the people along the way, he will step on them to get what he wants. I think he wants to put he close to the King, and use her to do his bidding. Such an evil heart, that man!
Esther: Wow, he gave a lot of instructions for Maid Choi, just to get the attention of the King. 

Beth: Did anyone else hold their breath when she looked into the King's eyes? Whew! what a scary moment for her! Oh, now the Queen walked in on the scene, and she doesn't look happy to see her husband staring at a maid.

Esther: The Queen is not a kind one either, but her reasons are more easy to understand. For me as a woman, I am a little sympathetic. She is defending her rights as a wife.

Esther: Ahhh, look at that tricky In Jwa. He gave money to Maid Choi, to convince her to be the King's concubine. She didn't agree at first, but then came back and took it. I don't think I could ever do that, but I understand her situation, nowhere to run.

Susann: Yes, Maid Choi already was having second thoughts about accepting the money from Lee In Jwa, and then returned home only to find that her husband already took the money and gambled it away. She is so devastated! Wow, her husband inadvertently sealed her fate.
Beth: Oh, poor Suk Bin.... the only thing that kept her hopeful for a better life, was the good family name and geneology of her husband. And when he took her money, it looks like he also took the geneology book and sold his family name. Now they really have nothing left!
Esther: The story moves so fast! Now we meet Kim Yi Soo, an excellent archer who is playing in two bands,the Lee In Jwa band and the King Sukjong band. It's a very dangerous way to play, I know he will be out of tune by the end.

Beth: Ha, I love your analogy Esther, and really it's so true. Can't play both sides like that without danger! He really wants to kill the King because of an old vendetta, and he lets In Jwa tell him what to do. Doesn't he know, that In Jwa will not consider his safety at all? Poor Yi Soo.
Susann: You can see in Kim Yi Soo's flashback how he hates the King and blames him for his family's death. He even fantasizes about shooting the King with his arrow, instead of the target.
Beth: Well it seems he is shooting the King with an arrow of another kind now. He is telling him information about the pretty maid Choi Suk Bin, and her gambling husband.
Susann: Yes, Lee In Jwa is using Kim Yi Soo to entice the King to the gambling house! The King wants to make Choi Suk Bin his, and Baek Man Geum wants to win a fortune. They are both being duped because of their own greed.
Beth: Ahhh.... you are right Susann! They are going to tell Baek that he can win a fortune off a "fool" who will arrive at the gambling hall. Wow, In Jwa really uses everybody-- he even used Hong Mae to tell Baek about his big gambling opportunity!

Susann: The backdrop of the gambling house is so fascinating. All those different games. The director draws us into the excitement with a sharpness of quick shots and shows the Joseon obsession with gambling.
Beth: Ha, I think I have some new party games now for my summer barbeques.... betting on fish races and tossed logs!
Esther: Ay,ay,ay, I think Man Geum must be drunk or been living in a cave all these years.... how did he not recognize that the "gambling fool" is actually his own king? And he even believed in Hong Mae!

Susann; Lol, perhaps Man-Geum needs glasses!
Esther: I think so, because just looking at the face of the "big fool", you can see right away that this smart man is no fool.
Susann: Well they say only fools fall in love, and we see how he is foolishly following his heart to win Suk Bin!

Beth: Poor Man Geum, the King is letting him win so many hands, he really thinks his luck has finally changed. I would have pity for such a sad soul, but then...... he loses. And instead of stopping to protect the little amount he could bring home to his wife, he just keeps going. Now he's lost it all again.
Susann: I loved the symbolism of the two jade rings. Man Geum in his final act of desperation offers the wedding rings. The king declines saying they are worthless and slyly suggests if the owner were offered perhaps he would bet. The fall is complete.

Beth: Yep. The little bit of pity I had for him is gone now, because he first he offered to bet Bok Soon's wedding rings, and then worst of all, he offers to bet HER. Ahhhh..... almost makes me cry to think of how heartbroken she would be. This deadbeat......Aishhh....
Esther: It's the final bet, and the King is filling the cups of rice wine...Baek Man Guem guesses the wrong number of cups, so he lost it all. To be honest though, I don 't understood how the King did it! I hope they will explain in the second episode.

Susann: Baek Man Geum never had a chance against all these conniving nobles. Baek needs to board the Ship of Fools!
Beth: I can't believe the episode flew by so fast!

Esther: Nooo, the first episode ended already! Can 't wait for the second one. I have a feeling it will be Daebak. ;-)

Beth: I have a feeling every episode will be 'Daebak', after seeing the quality of this one! Everything about is was perfect!
Susann: I can already "feel the beat" of my heart. Waiting to see Dae Gil again with his compelling gaze! I have been hit, once again, with the Jang Keun Suk effect! Beth, Esther where are the tissues?
Beth: Haha, I think Eels may need to invest a lot of money in tissues for this series...!
Susann: My heart is racing in anticipation of what is yet to come in the next episode! The actors set the pace for an exciting ride! Eels buckle up! Hugs to my beautiful sis, Beth and Esther for a wonderful ride.

Esther: Thanks to you, Susann, for being our guest! We had a great time chatting about this exciting new drama from our dear Prince. See you again soon for Episode 2!

BW and FS


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