Sunday, June 12, 2016

[DAEBAK REVIEW] The ahjumma and the new eel series: Review, thoughts and impressions of Daebak drama episode 20

In chat mode.
By Esther Noloc and Sheryl Acierto
Editor: Val Kaye Taozen


Four episodes left to the conclusion of Daebak, and it is even more intense now - a lot of twists and changes occur. We will miss this drama a lot, but our journey will continue until the end.

ESTHERBeth will be back soon. My guest again is still Sheryl Acierto. Hi Sheryl.

SHERYL: Hi there, Mom! Oh, I missed Beth again. Anyway, come back soon, Sis. Yes, there are 4 more episodes left to go before this drama ends. We will surely miss Baek Dae Gil! This episode is like a fast forward for me because the scenes jump to one and the other, not providing the time you need to analyze and dissect what had happened in between the two consecutive scene. (my point of view)

ESTHER: Aha. One king died and a new one crowned. The ceremony declaring Crown Prince Yi Yoon the new king begins the episode. A lot of officials are there in their best traditional clothes, screaming “Long Live the King!” I think they don‘t know this king is very sick too. A red carpet, bouquets of flowers and flags are included in the decorations. Dae Gil arrives late with Chae Gun and looks on from the entrance. I wonder if they were invited...well, at least they are part of the palace guards now. By the way, Sheryl, I think Dae Gil looks better than the King in his guard uniform and that elegant hat.

SHERYL: And the Crown Prince officially declared as the “20th King of Joseon”. Mom, I noticed that the ceremony was only attended by government officials and some people in the palace. It is like a private ceremony. Well, I don't know if the crowning ceremony of the king is as simple as this in the past, or is it because the new King is not famous or weak? Dae Gil is unpredictable. I cannot tell if he sincerely welcomes his Hyung as the new King. Hmmnn.. Chae Gun and Dae Gil are on duty, Mom. They have work, that is why they cannot attend the ceremony, otherwise both would be expelled or terminated due to neglecting their duty. Hahaha...I am glad master Chae Gun is sticking with Dae Gil. He is safe. Yeah, of course, Mom! There is no doubt, Baek Dae Gil is far better looking. He looks handsomely authoritative in his costume. The new King is good looking too in his kingly attire, but because he is sick, he looks pale.

ESTHER: But he has a bad attitude, so that's made him ugly in my eyes. Oh, Dae Gil left the ceremony to go talk with the rebel Jeon in jail. What is more important than this ceremony? Does Jeong have evidence to catch In Jwa? Yes, that is what Dae Gil asks for: the evidence. But Jeong becomes rude to him, even though Dae Gil says that it can save his life. Wait...Yeoning left the ceremony too, or is it finished already? Because he came to see the rebel too.

SHERYL: Mom, do you remember the blood oath Jeon made with Lee In Jwa? That is more important than anything right now. Dae Gil wants to take the oath from him. He talks and attacks him psychologically, and it is effective because rebel Jeong gets angry. The oath between Jeong and In Jwa is a substantial piece of evidence, pointing to Yi In Jwa’s direct relationship with the rebels. A treasonable act and punishable of execution. In the last episode, Yeoning is still doubtful of his hyung, he might have noticed the presence of Dae Gil during the ceremony and followed him.

ESTHER: Look at the new King. He sits on his throne, and In Jwa is there, of course. The King recalls the promise In Jwa made to him when he was a kid, to always protect him. But the most important thing he recalls was the one he promise to In Jwa: he offered him his throne.

SHERYL: Yes. But you know, he didn’t mention that his promise to In Jwa was made when he was young, he brought up Yi In Jwa’s reply to him instead. Hahaha…. The King is somehow wise too…kkkk…. Looking back to this scene, the young prince said that he would give the throne to In Jwa if he will protect him. In reply, In Jwa said he would only accept his heart. In Jwa’s calm face is even more terrifying. I am confident that he will strike sometime soon. Do you think so, Mom?

ESTHER: Of course, Sheryl. Look,Yeoning and Dae Gil are shooting arrows, but I didn't see if they hit or miss. I was looking at Dae Gil’s front hair band. Yeoning looks good, but you know, Dae Gil’s eyebrows and eyes look perfect with that band. What they are talking about? Ahh,Yeoning wants to make a bet. If Dae Gil misses the bull’s eye, he has to tell Yeoning his true feelings about whether he wants the throne or not. I think he missed on purpose because he didn't follow his master's instructions to shoot correctly. He wants to say it all to Yeoning, who is acting like a kid. Dae Gil has the big brother burden now and has to protect Yeoning, not only because of that burden but also because he really loves Yeoning and cares for him.They have a great conversation. Oh, Sheryl, I love when Dae Gil talks fast. I rewatched that part again and again with my eyes closed, so couldn't read the translation. Please talk about their conversation.

SHERYL: Mom, Dae Gil’s pretty face can make us eels disturbed and lose it. Hahaha…. Well, archery is one of the famous hobbies and sports of nobles and royals during Joseon era. It is comparable to golf nowadays. The two brothers are having a talk while shooting arrows. They make a bet, that if Dae Gil wins, Yeoning will buy him a drink and grant him a wish. But if he loses, he must tell Yeoning everything he wants to know, especially his feelings and thoughts about the throne. Yeoning is confident he will win because he is good in archery and has trained since he was a young boy, but his hyung is more skillful, thanks to his master Chae Gun. And this skill enables Dae Gil to win.

ESTHER: So Daegil won the bet? I saw many arrows that hit the target, and I got confused there. Ah, I’m caught up now. He wanted to win because he wants Yeoning to grant his wish.  Sheryl, of course, being a student of the nation’s best warrior gives Dae Gil an advantage.

SHERYL: You might have missed the dialogue between them, Mom. Dae Gil said he decided to win because he wants Yeoning to acknowledge his wish. Baek Dae Gil pleaded with Yeoning to trust him, not because of anything else but because of his sake (Yeoning’s) only. But doubtful and suspicious Yeoning didn't accept his plea. Daegil left his younger brother with heavy heart. Mom, I am getting my crazy conjectures. I am thinking that Dae Gil will become a sacrificial lamb or ladder in order for Yeoning to ascend to the throne. Are you thinking the same way or of another conclusion?


ESTHER: I am afraid of that if he dies, I will be very mad with the writer. I feel sorry for Dae Gil. His brother is really difficult to reach out to since their parents died. After talking with Yeoning, Dae Gil is worried, and who you think comes to the rescue? Tadaa! Chae Gun again. He consoles Dae Gil, who desperately seeks a way to catch In Jwa. In Jwa, though, is hunting for the blood contract he made with Jeong. He sends Moo Myung to search the rebel’s house in the mountains because he knows he will be fried like a chicken if someone finds that contract before he does. Of course, they don’t find it. Jeong is not that stupid to leave that contract there. It is his life saver as he said clearly to In Jwa before when he went to visit Jeong in prison.

SHERYL: But Dae Gil understood his dongsaeng (younger brother), Mom. Yeoning has a lot to lose if he does not act wisely and carefully. There are many crocodiles out there, ready and waiting to eat him if he makes a mistake and falls. Our Dae Gil really loves his brother. He can handle his own pain but cannot tolerate watching his brother suffer. He worries about him because there is nobody else around to look out for him. The only solution is to catch and get rid of the fundamental source of their tribulation, Yi In Jwa. Dae Gil and In Jwa, both are looking for the blood oath. May the smartest man win. Yes, it is Jeong’s and In Jwa’s lifeline. That is why In Jwa holds on to him. If the oath is revealed, both will be cornered. As long as the oath is with Jeong , he remains safe because In Jwa will definitely find a way to protect him (at least until he finds the oath).

ESTHER: Sheryl, look at the cool way for Dae Gil and his “father” to communicate: have a beggar ask for money. He recalls his father told him when he sees a certain beggar, he has to give the half coin. And he did, the lady has the other half. Now she can recognise him and take a message for Man Geum.


SHERYL: A safe way of communicating, a beggar channel and a half coin are quite unique. But the way Dae Gil openly tosses his letter is unsafe! Hahaha! Okay! Fine, so the letter is delivered to Man Geum safely. To get rid of any evidence of treason relating to Dae Gil, he burns it after reading it. Man Geum instructs his people to keep an eye on and follow In Jwa. As expected, clever Yi In Jwa figures out that the oath is kept by Hong Mae. He goes to get it but fails. He gives Hong Mae until the next day to had it over. Through Man Geum’s man, that information is delivered to Dae Gil.

ESTHER: While Lee In Jwa proudly and freely walks about the palace, (he is annoying!) he thinks he is the king there. He meets Dae Gil and Yeoning along the way - haha - and says Dae Gil‘s clothes look good on him. So we eels are not the only ones who noticed that? In Jwa warns him saying, ”enjoy while you can.” He adds that Dae Gil will be the king soon and pats Dae Gil’s shoulder. In Jwa, you don't get it yet? Dae Gil doesn’t want to be a king. How many times he must he say it? By the way, Yeoning sees the interaction between them and gets mad. He passes by without talking or looking at Dae Gil.

SHERYL: The King summons Daegil to congratulate him for arresting Jeong. Or it might be that Dae Gil went to him directly to discuss delaying Jeong’s execution because he believes that while Jeong is locked up, eventually In Jwa will disclose his real intentions. After that scene, In Jwa comes into picture. He discusses with the king the appointment of Yeoning as crown prince. And after talking to the king, he informs the Noron ministers regarding the appointment of Yeoning. Of course, the ministers are suspicious. Their opinions are divided, too. But they decide to take this opportunity to raise up Yeoning’s stature. And so the the appointment is approved by the king. The weight of influence In Jwa has on the King is incredible. The King might not understand why he has to appoint his successor few days after his crowning, but he still follows his teacher, even if against it’s his will. (I don’t know what to think about the King’s behaviour. Is he an idiot or what? I don’t think he is playing the game in favor of himself. He’s still falling for In Jwa’s manipulation, after all these years. Doesn’t he notice that? Seriously?)

ESTHER: He is very weak and permits In Jwa to control him with lies. At the same time, in Hong Mae’s gambling house, as per In Jwa’s command, Moo Myung arrives to take the oath by any and all necessary means. Even if he has to kill Hong Mae, and, anyway, she is no longer an alley. Moo Myung tries to kill Hong Mae, but her sidekicks sacrifice their lives to save her. But before Hong Mae gets killed, thankfully Dae Gil comes to the rescue.

SHERYL: Mom, it was all planned. In fact, Dae Gil came first to talk to Hong Mae. In order to save Hong Mae from the hands of In Jwa, they made a plan in which Hong Mae would burn the “oath” which would be witnessed by “Yi In Jwa” (or Moo Myung, in this case). So, it happens just as they planned. Hong Mae is safe. Now the blood oath between the two evil men falls into the hands of our hero, Baek Dae Gil.

ESTHER: Sheryl, what do you think now that Yeoning became the successor to the crown? I feel uneasy about it.

SHERYL: I feel nervous too. Obviously, In Jwa has started carrying out his age old plan. The ministers are not happy about Yeoning’s investiture, but at least, to the Noron group, they moved up. And Yeoning, too, appears nervous about his ascension. Hmnn…. By the way, Yeo Jin Goo is very handsome in his princely costume. Cool.... Hihihi! Do you agree, Mom? Do not grill me please. Hahaha


ESTHER: Hahaha, I will not, but if Sukkie reads this, he will. Look, our handsome boy is on his way to his father.

SHERYL: Oh! Sorry, Sukkie, my eyes became blurry just for a while! Do not grill me please! Hahaha. Hmnn...since he successfully completed his task, Mom, (to get the blood oath) Daegil visits his father, Man Geum, for the first time. He’s amazed by the kind of neighbourhood he sees. A quiet place, and decent people. Surprisingly, he is famous among the people. He receives a warm welcome and priceless respect from them. You know what, if I were one of the people in that era, I would choose that neighbourhood to live in for the rest of my life.

ESTHER: And where is the babbly man, the foolishly looking Man Geum? He looks so serious and respectful now. He turns out to be the leader of the peddlers in all of the eight cities. He tells Dae Gil that his fate is to lead the people. Man Geum secretly discloses to Dae Gil his knowledge about Park Pil Hyun, a silent partner of Yi In Jwa and that he will get him.

SHERYL: Mom, Man Geum might have realized his role to Dae Gil, and that is why he stabilized his life and changed his character. He leads the people to create one community, and this might harm our Dae Gil, because the people in a community which is not registered in the census are considered rebels. Unless they are paying taxes. On the other hand, some of the Noron Ministers are getting greedy. They want Yeoning to become regent for the throne...which is because they clearly see the king is unhealthy. But their leader opposes the idea. He discusses it with Yeoning. He tells Yeoning not to worry. He will not allow the move to occur because it is still too early. And when the time comes, he will definitely sit in the throne, mentioning his promise to Yeoning’s mother, Lady Sukbin, that he will protect Yeoning until the end.


ESTHER: Dae Gil visits Yeoning during the night to congratulate him. Yeoning concedes his trust in Daegil. Now the good relationship between the two brothers is restored. I am happy, Sheryl.

SHERYL: Yes, Mom. Yeoning grants Daegil’s wish to trust him because Daegil clarified his stand about the throne. I agree with Daegil. Helping is not only through sitting in the throne; he can still do it in whatever position he has. Daegil is really a deep person. I will surely miss Dae Gil’s words of wisdom. Now that everything is cleared up for Daegil, Yeoning deeply thinks about the path his own path….

ESTHER: Oh, I am touched. Daegil promises his mother that he will protect his brother. So sweet. Oops! Some of the Noron ministers are secretly pursuing the application for the Regency. This is a dangerous action. This is trap of Yi In Jwa’s. As expected, the King is extremely mad!

SHERYL: OMG! It is a bait from Yi In Jwa!. The Norons are in danger, including the Crown Prince! Yeoning goes to the King, and they talk about regency. The king suspects Yeoning is behind all these matters. He angrily asks why Yeoning requested the regency, why not just take the throne from his hands instead? Yeoning calmly tells him the truth, that he had no knowledge of  the regency or successor petitions. But he defends the Norons, saying they did nothing wrong. And because of this, the King takes it as declaration of war for the throne. Now the palace is in chaos!

ESTHER: And there is In Jwa, waiting and anticipating that one of the brothers will get hurt. He creates a story so that the brothers will fight each other. The nerve!. When Moo Myung asks him about his plan for Baek Dae Gil, I was alarmed! Sheryl, what does he mean about “In slaying a group if you don’t don’t focus on one at a time, you’ll get backstabbed. So focus one at time” ?

SHERYL: Mom! I am surprised too! Does he plan to kill Dae Gil at the end? Oh! I think pushing him onto the throne is just an act! He is using Dae Gil to divert the focus of his plan, so that the people will not think otherwise. I am thinking about his secret partner, Park Pil Hyun. What is his relationship with this man? Does he plan to push this guy to a kingly position instead of Dae Gil? I am suspicious now!


ESTHER: Hong Mae personally delivers the blood oath of In Jwa and rebel Jeong to Daegil. And few moments later, Chae Gun arrives and discusses what is happening in the palace, that the Noron side, including Crown Prince Yeoning, are in trouble. He advises Daegil to reveal the blood oath as soon as possible. On the other hand, Yi In Jwa meets the Soron division, telling them to strike the Noron at once. He paid a traitor from the Noron contingent to side with him, by bearing false witness against the Norons. What a bad guy, Sheryl!

Sheryl: Yes, Mom, this guy falsely accuses his co-members of treason. You know even up to this day, traitors like this person are everywhere. They don't mind hurting others as long as they can satisfy their greed. What I feared earlier is happening now. Because of the rapacity of some Noron members, everybody, including the prime minister and Yeoning, are in danger.

ESTHER: As planned, the act begins. A shadow suddenly appears, drawing his sword when the King wakes up at night. And then in the morning, someone puts a poison in the King’s meal. A common plot, but severe impact on the King. As expected, an investigation takes place, and the conclusion is somebody wants to kill the king. Meanwhile, Dae Gil is on his way to deliver the blood oath to the king, but he is already too late. No one can go near the king.

SHERYL: Greediness never results in goodness. It always harms us. As In Jwa said, strike them at once. He uses the “Sam Geub Soo” (3 ways to kill the king) technique to strike the Norons. First, the shadow armed with sword appears in front of the king during the night; second, is the poison in his meal; the third, and the most dangerous, a rumor. Somebody will spread the rumor about the king being sick. And the King will point his fingers only at Yeoning and his allies as the manipulators. My blood pressure rose because of that traitor and thick-faced Yi In Jwa! Also, those corrupt ministers!

ESTHER: I calmed myself, Sheryl! I am affected too. Yeah, right, greed is the root of all evil! Though the situation in the palace appears tumultuous, the Noron camp doesn't have a tangible plan to ease the situation. They don't have any idea that they can be massively struck soon. Ah, they are too trustful. There is a snake crawling in their yard; yet, they don't notice it.

SHERYL: In fact, snakes are everywhere, Mom! Hehehe…. Since Dae Gil didn't make it to the king, he went to prime minister Kim Chang Jib to discuss the situation. Dae Gil says they must catch In Jwa (with the solid proof he had in his hands, but he doesn't mention it to the minister). He’s worried about the palace, particularly the Crown Prince. But Kim Chang Jib doesn't like the idea of Dae Gil becoming involved in the issue, because it will only worsen the situation. However, he promises Dae Gil to protect Yeoning.

ESTHER: This is the day! The day where Yi In Jwa plays out his final round against the Norons. The Soron leader, together with the Noron traitor, go to the king and deliver the wrong report. And so the King is very upset. He commands the arrest of the entire group of Norons who allegedly conspired in treason.

SHERYL: The king becomes so extraordinarily angry, to the point that he can kill. He goes directly to his brother, Yeoning. Dae Gil, who happens to be on duty and still in the palace, sees the King with the sword in his hand going to Yeoning’s residence. He attempts to follow, but Yi  In Jwa stops him and orders his arrest using the King’s order. Thankfully, Chae Gun comes to rescue. He whispers for Dae Gil to follow the King.

ESTHER: Sheryl, this is the one you worried about. The brothers are fighting each other now. The King interrogates Yeoning about the alleged plot of kicking him off the throne. But the surprised and frightened Yeoning doesn't know how to act. The King starts to strike with his sword, but Daegil arrives in time to stop him. Now, the three brothers are there fighting because of the throne. I doubt I will survive this scene..

SHERYL: Oh! The King’s anger accelerates to the breaking point, such that he cannot even hold it! So scary, Mom!  That scene is indeed breathtaking! Does anyone think one of the brothers will die? Let us look forward to the next episode...



1 comment:

  1. Daebak: the best! Great actor: Jang Geun Suk! Dae Gil : perfect!!!!


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