Wednesday, April 6, 2016

[DAEBAK REVIEW] The Ahjumma and the New Eel: review, thoughts and impressions of "Daebak" drama Ep.2

In chat mode with Esther Noloc and Beth Wagner
Guest: Susann Mc Govern.

Introduction: It is Tuesday, and the second episode was aired today. We were excited to watch, even knowing that Jang Keun Suk was not in this episode. That is loyalty, but it's not much of a sacrifice, because the drama has a great plot and the whole cast is excellent-- not just our JKS! They gave us a ride on a big and fast roller coaster of emotions while we wait patiently for JKS to appear.

Esther: Beth and Susann, the second episode is over, and we are back to chat with our thoughts and impressions about it.

Beth:You know, I thought since JKS wasn't in the episode, that it would feel slow or less interesting, but boy was I wrong! Wow, so much exciting action, and really heartwrenching scenes! Our Prince chose such a good drama.... I'm so happy!

Esther: Let me tell you both, I was on the edge of my seat the whole time! Especially when the wine bottle was empty after just 6 cups. Man Geum broke the bottle and fell to the floor he was so upset, and the king just said, "Your wife is mine". Wow, what a scene.

Susann:The set-up of both the King and Man Geum was a stroke of genius by Lee In Jwa. Esther, you're right, when the King utters those words, "your wife is mine", chills ran down my spine.

Esther: It was even worse, because Choi Suk Bin was in the second floor observing it all.

Beth: That just broke my heart, seeing the tears glistening in her eyes. She must have felt so insignificant.

Susann: I felt Suk Bin's complete devastation as a woman. She was sold to her husband and now she is tossed away again, on a game of chance.

Esther: Hong Mae is now walking over to the table, and she sees the miserable loser, Man Geum on the floor. She won too, a little vengance for her.

Beth: Haha, yes even though Man Geum still owes her money, she probably feels a little payback, to see him defeated like that.

Susann: Hong Mae has lost all respect for a man with no self-respect. He is a fool rushing forward like that. He proved he hasn't any respect for himself or for his beautiful wife.

Beth: It's true Susann. Even as a viewer, I sometimes feel a sense of pity for this poor broken wreck of a man, but then he goes and does such horrible things, like betting away his wife, that I can't find sympathy for him anymore. He will be an interesting character to watch-- will he redeem himself at some point? Or just continue to fall?

Esther: Whaa, the king went to see his gambling prize. Maid Choi has already been put inside the palanquin, and he stands out in the rain to peek inside at her.

Beth: She must be terrified! Didn't the Queen tell her to never dream of coming to the palace in a palanquin? Maid Choi must be scared to death of what that Queen will do to her.

Susann: The King is happy to satisfy his own desires. But, Esther, I wonder how long will his infatuation last?
Beth: I wonder that too, Susann..... If he is like most powerful men, probably not long.
Esther: Baek Man Guem is beaten again, worse than ever this time! He's already so miserable, and now Lee In Jwa is making him feel worse. He told Man Geum how he was tricked. The whole thing was a set-up, and the big fool was really the king.

Beth: Wow, he really rubbed salt in the wound, didn't he!
Susann: Why is Lee In Jwa so sadistic? Baek Man Geum already suffered defeat and a horrendous beating. But it's not enough for It is not enough for Lee In Jwa! He must reveal the whole ruse, just to see him hurt even more.

Esther: Oh! Baek actually dared to go to the palace! He's pounding on the doors outside, and I can just imagine the King's thought's are “We are on our honeymoon tonight! Don't interrupt us now,its too late. You already lost her in a bet!"
Susann: My thought about Baek Man Geum is that “fools rush in where wise men dare not go" Honestly, if his wife Choi was so necessary to his life, how can he even consider using her as a bet? This man operates beyond reality.
Beth: I agree Susann, he really is foolish, going to the palace like that. The writer really understands the gambling mind I guess-- always certain they can win again, if they just have one more chance. So sad!
Susann: This next scene really stands out in my mind. The King strides purposely towards maid Choi's room and says "You are mine" and "You are the King's woman". The visual impact with his robes billowing behind him with her waiting silently, and the impact of the double doors closing behind the King! Their fates are sealed.

Beth: Yes, Man Geum is totally defeated now, it seems. His wife is taken by another man.
Esther: But look, even after all his punishments, he still hasn't learned his lesson! You might think after all that, he wouldn't bet again. Wrong! He did it, made another bet with the King, this time about the weather.

Beth: Aishhhh..... this guy must really believe he can outsmart people, but every time, he is the one getting played! I'm really cringing now, waiting to see how he fails at this bet too.
Susann : Looks like Man Geum paid attention to how the koi fish were swimming and the way the bugs were running, and saw the dark clouds. He knew for certain that it would rain, but he never once thought that with an opponent like the King, he would never be allowed to win.

Beth: He has no sense of strategy, and it is his downfall each time. He thinks everyone plays by the rules, but none of these big players do.
Esther: He won! The rain was falling and he screamed in happiness, lying flat on his back in the rain with a big grin. But then in the rain his former wife came to him. She will not return to him, and will stay with her new, better life with the king. Owwwww, that must really hurt man Geum.

Beth: Ahhh.... again I have a moment of feeling sorry for Man Geum, but then I think, he did it to himself! He even knew it, when he started talking again about how he bet on her, and he stopped after seeing the hard look in her eyes.
Susann: It boggles the mind that this inept gambler would think his wife would return to a life of abject poverty.
Esther: Now it is six month later,and Suk Bin gave birth to a beautiful baby prince, but the rumors starting to fly,because the baby was premature, humm, is the father the king or Man Geum? Shall we bet?

Beth: Wow, it really could go either way! The gossiping ladies in the court are saying the baby is too healthy to be really the King's son. But all I can see is how much that baby looks like real baby Suk kkkkkk . I'm turning to mush inside at that cute cute baby!

Esther: The queen said to Choi Suk Bin that the baby will not survive. Do you think it was a threat? And now the king has doubts too, so Suk Bin secretly sent the baby to Man Geum. Oh nooo,is she crazy,what if he makes a bet with the baby too?

Susann: Choi does what she must to save her baby. I felt her terror and trepidation.
Beth: I think she felt sure the Queen would have the baby killed, if it survived being born premature. She had no choice but to send her baby away. Can you imagine having to find another dead baby, and pretend it's yours, just to keep your child safe??

Beth: Too bad the only person she can send it to is that awful gambler Man Geum! And she used Kim Yi Soo to do it.... even though she knows he is In Jwa's right hand man. Oh no, I really sense disaster for this baby!

Esther: Oh look, In Jwa's darker intentions have emerged. He wants the baby as his own pawn, Man Geum dead, and the King dead or dethroned, or both.

Susann: Lee In Jwa might have had good intentions as a rebel at one time, but now he is the consummate manipulator. Oh he is really greedy for power, isn't he!
Beth: It's so true, Susann. In Jwa will step on everyone, even a baby it seems, to get what he wants. And he still thinks he is doing it for everyone else's good-- that is the sad and dangerous part.
Esther: Man Geum has just been drinking and gambling more since he lost his wife. When Kim Yi Soo brought the baby, he was so happy! He is thinking he is the father, and is being so tender with the baby.
Beth: Ahhh, see how they keep making Baek Man Geum go back and forth between good and bad! In one minute you feel like “oh, he's nice to the baby, maybe he isn't such a bad guy, and being a father will change him for the better”.... but in the next minute, he will do something stupid and awful. I just know he will find a way to screw this up too....
Esther: Oh those scary twin assassins from the King are following Man Geum and the baby! And now another one-- who is the other sent by In Jwa? What do they have planned?

Susann:The King's twin eunuch assassins are deflected from killing Choi's baby by Yi Soo's expert archery. He really is a hero, trying to save the baby. Lee In Jwa's henchman is supposed to take the baby and kill Man Geum, and now he is fighting off the twin assassins.

Esther: Noooo, one of those scary twins hurt the baby with an arrow or knife or something! So cruel! We almost died when the baby stopped crying and was silent for a while. Such a relief when the twins left and the baby started to cried again.

Susann: Those assassins wounded the baby, so close to his tiny heart, and then fled like cowards. But this child had a future to fulfill!

Beth: Whew!! I was so worried when that baby stopped crying, but like Susann says this baby has a special fate, so no mere knife wound can change it.

Esther: The other assassin, the one sent by In Jwa, took pity on Man Geum and let him escape with the baby.

Beth: I wonder how long that will last, because In Jwa is no fool, he will know that Man Geum is still alive.....

Esther: Oh look,the lone assasin with the bow and arrow was Yi Soo! He is still trying to save the baby. Ahhh what a good man.

Beth: That's a relief to know he really is on the baby's side! Suk Bin must have really triggered his fatherly sympathies.

Esther: But now those terrible twins have found the fabric from his robes, that snagged on a tree. They didn't even care that he has a little daughter, they just took him away and tied him up. The king is so mad that Yi Soo betrayed him, he even shoved the piece of fabric in his mouth.

Beth: Oh, I'm so worried for him! The King is really angry, and telling him to confess who he is working for. Oh no.... if he does or doesn't, either way he is a dead man.....

Esther: Gosh, he is too young to die! And he even has a little daughter. Can't the King have some mercy for him after all these years serving him? A king with no heart at all. But I guess in that era, traitors were too dangerous to let live. Ahhh... I will miss him, the only good man so far....

Beth: Yes, until our Prince appears again, Yi Soo was the only good-hearted man.

Esther: In Jwa and Yi Soo are walking in a bamboo forest, like the place they used to practice archery.

Beth: They have to kill or be killed now, they both have no choice. Oh, poor Yi Soo. With his good heart, and In Jwa's cold heart, I fear that we know which one will fall.

Susann: Their dueling arrows battle, set in a copse of bamboos really reminded me of a ballet. The director created such a gorgeous visual! All that circular, fluid motion.

Esther: Eels' minds think alike, because i saw a ballet opera too, kkk

Susann: I couldn't help but hold my breath as each man took a turn at death. The end came swiftly and with a painful truth to In Jwa.

Esther: Very sad that that after all those years of Yi Soo and In Jwa working together, it had to end like that. Now with Yi Soo dead, his little daughter who loved him so much is an orphan. So young to be an orphan, but I know her feelings, because my own father died when i was 5 years old and then my stepfather died too. It is very painful indeed.

Beth: Oh Esther, so you really can empathize with poor little Dam Seo.

Susann: The other sadness for me is that Lee In Jwa misread and and completely misunderstood the heart of Kim Yi Soo and his loyalty.

Beth: yes, In Jwa thought he was with him for the rebellion. But Kim Yi Soo was in it for revenge, and out of love for his own daughter. In Jwa doesn't seem to understand those feelings. Only when he killed Yi Soo and realized that Yi Soo never really tried to kill him did he feel a twinge of regret.

Susann: "Do not forget, Do not forgive, One who is less than a beast, is the King of this nation." Wow, such strong words to tell a little girls. Lee In Jwa is instilling his own hate and revenge into the heart of Kim Yi Soo's daughter, Dam Seo .

Esther: Oh my God, this little innocent girl, how can he already be pushing her to seek revenge on King Sukjong? He is saying the King killed her father!

Beth: Yes, he is conveniently leaving out the part where HIS arrow is the one that pierced Yi Soo's heart. Wow. Such a cold, calculating man. Manipulating the grief of a little child for his own purpose.

Susann: Now look what treachery Lee In Jwa is planning. He told Suk Bin to come to the pavillion at the West Gate and tossed the two jade rings at her. The same ones she had put around her baby's neck. Now she knows, her baby is no longer safe, and neither is she.

Beth: How her heart must have ached to see those rings again. She thought the baby would be hidden away with Man Geum, but In Jwa has his nose in everything, so of course he knew where to find the baby, right away.

Susann:That fool Man Geum! He just continues on his path of gambling and drinking without even thinking to feed the baby. Nam Dokkebi finally comes to aid of our baby Prince, by finding a wet nurse to feed him. He tells Man Geum it is not too late to straighten up and be a good man and a good father. Hope he will listen.

Esther: I hope so too, for our Prince's sake. Who is Nam Dokkebi? Will he be important later do you think?

Beth: Haha, I just keep calling him “Eyepatch Guy”. I'm glad Susann knew his name lol. But there are a lot of names already in this drama, so if I slip and just call him Eyepatch Guy, I hope that's OK !

Esther: Eyepatch Nam sounds goods too. By the way, this is the first historical drama that I memorized the names very fast.

Susann: Nam Dokkebi (Eyepatch Guy, for Beth, haha) says the baby has a noble face. Of course he does, he is our Prince! But oh, Man Geum, what a name to give such a noble looking baby-- Gae Ddong (dog poo)!!

Esther: Ouch.... what a nickname!
Beth: Man Geum still doesn't believe this baby has anything special going for him. But Eyepatch Guy could see it with one look.

Susann: Dokkebi threw his fortune telling die, and it said “Dae Gil”, meaning Big Fortune!

Beth: Man Geum doesn't even believe that, but look now, Eyepatch has thrown two dice, and they both land the same, with Dae Gil! He's never seen it happen before either.

Esther: Wow, what a jump, from “dog poop” to “Big Fortune”! The second one sounds better, and smells better too.

Susann: Oh that hopeless man, Man Geum has run away with baby. Between the dice and the noble face, he suddenly realized it is the King's child, not his own.

Beth: Oh no! What on earth is he planning to do, running to the edge of that cliff??

Susann: He seems like he has gone mad-- Omo... he just tossed the baby off the waterfall?!

Esther: Mad and jealous too, and that made him blind.

Susann: Man Geum was actually happy at first that he killed the King's child, but then he realizes that he has actually killed a person, and feels overwhelmed. At least he has a heart, unlike In Jwa.

Beth:He has a heart, but not a brain. Oh our poor baby Prince, thrown over a waterfall. I don't know how he could survive! Cry...cry....
Susann: Dae Gil seems to have a fate that can't be changed! His little cry came up over the roar of the waterfall-- Eyepatch was down below, and he rescued little Dae Gil. He yells at Man Geum, and that coward just ran away.

Beth: Ha, now you are calling him Eyepatch too, kkkk

Esther: Whaaaaa, I just knew he would survive. “He has more lives than a cat” is a popular saying on my island, when your life is in danger but you survive all the time, just like Dae Gil.
Susann: When will this poor baby get a break? Hong Mae has now intercepted Eyepatch Dokebbi, and she took Dae Gil as collateral for Man Geum's debt!

Esther: Agghhhh, that woman makes me feel sick. No heart at all.

Beth: wow, first this baby is premature, then he gets switched out for a dead one, then he gets a knife wound to the chest, then Man Geum practically starves him out of stupidity, then he is thrown off a waterfall, and now, he is collateral for a gambling debt. That is one strong fate, to survive all that! I can't imagine it getting worse.... it can't possibly get worse, can it?

Esther: No mercy for him coming anytime in the near future, I fear!

Susann: Well at least Dokebbi (Eyepatch) is following Hong Mae, since Man Geum is sulking and refuses to.

Esther: Yes! Run Eyepatch Nam, RUN!

Beth: I'm glad another good-hearted person has appeared in the baby's life. He certainly can use some help!

Susann: Lee In Jwa isn't easily impressed, but even he is marveling at the child's noble face and great luck. But he now says he will test Dae Gil's fate once more.

Beth: Oh brother, this poor baby is either the luckiest ever or the unluckiest-- I can't decide yet,haha!

Susann: The Pavillon makes a beautiful backdrop for this emotionally intense scene. Choi Suk Bin and Lee In Jwa are facing off , with the baby's fate tied to yet another game of chance. Omg, she must draw card number 10, out of the 5 cards on the table, or In Jwa will shoot an arrow at the baby.

Esther: Ohh, what a heartbreaking scene! I'm in a cold sweat with worry.... each arrow shot makes me feel pins and needles in my own skin!

Susann: She's chosen two wrong cards already! This suspense is awful! In Jwa keeps shooting his arrows so close to the baby!

Beth: Ohhh..... why isn't Eyepatch running to the rescue again? He is out there, just looking at them from the woods! I can barely watch!

Esther: Maybe he will go find help for them.

Susann: Baek Man Geum is still in his house, drinking again. I think the guilt is getting to him. The music is building the tension, and making my heart race! Man Geum finally showing signs of courage and strength, and runs to find In Jwa and the baby. I hope he will do the right thing.

Beth: Me too. He has done the wrong thing so many times. He could really redeem himself here....

Esther: He can be our hero for 15 minutes!

Susann: Well he has waited until the last possible moment, but just before poor Suk Bin drew the last card, Baek Man Geum showed up!

Esther: At least he is finally doing something good with his life.

Susann: I like how strongly he stood up for Suk Bin and the Baby, confronting Lee In Jwa. He to In Jwa leave the baby alone forever, if he draws the right card for Suk Bin. Whatever the outcome is, I wonder if Lee In Jwa can even be trusted?

Beth: Well, of course, he is betting again! But.... I just hope unlucky Man Geum will finally have luck turn his direction!
Susann: I am captivated with Daebak! Episode 3 come quickly!

Beth: How can we wait until Monday??? Oh this series is so good, I am so happy our Prince chose this one!

Esther: Me too, ohhhh this wait is killing us! I am counting the days until Monday, to watch episode 3 of Daebak... Until then, thank you Susann for chatting with us, we really had fun! Our guest for next week will be Mamacri Chan. Can't wait to see our Prince again in episode 3!


  1. Because of posts like this I surf the internet and when I found you, the time I felt I was wasting, just turned my thoughts around and now I am thinking I invested my time in something really interesting.

  2. It's fun that you've written this as if you're writing and posting as you're watching the show. Your opinions about each character are evolving as the story moves forward, just as mine are. I thought that I'd just be biding time watching until JKS appeared, but these characters are so beautifully presented and the story is so full of twists and turns (most of them heartbreaking) that I'm constantly finding my heart in my throat. It's also nice to know that I'm not the only one having difficulty with all of the names ;). Thanks for taking the time to create and share these conversations with us :)

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Thank you for sharing with us, Cri!