Hello everyone. I’m back with more recaps of The Royal Gambler, and I’ve got to say it hasn’t disappointed. Things really start to get interesting in these next two episodes and the outstanding cast continues to deliver. [Be Forewarned: Spoilers Below].
So Lee In Jwa doesn’t get his hand cut off after all (god damn, it was fun to imagine at least). Anyways the shade session is interrupted by Yeoning, who is getting back at In Jwa by setting everyone up in the gambling room to be arrested. Yeoning lets Dae Gil escape though, but unfortunately—and not surprisingly—his primary target, In Jwa, manages to wiggle out of this one too.
Dae Gil leaves the premises with the help of Dam Seo, but his love for her has completely fizzled out. It looks like her partnership with In Jwa is a major turn off and…rightfully so. He calls her a monster before storming off, and Dam Seo’s pretty shook by this sudden turn around—seems she may really like him after all.
Meanwhile, Gramps is wheezing out prayer rites as he worries for his long lost Dae Gil, who’s right there watching him. Dae Gil ‘tsk tsk’s his Gramps before he’s completely bombarded with hugs, kisses and questions. It’s a cute and comedic scene of reunification.
Yeoning’s plans completely flop when In Jwa and the rest of the gamblers are given a pass by higher ups (what a bust). Yeoning looks pretty disheartened. When he looks for the officials, he finds them all the way up In Jwa’s ass engaging in a drinking session. They proceed to chastise Yeoning for making a ‘big mistake’ which really rustles his jimmies. He whips out his sword after they leave, threatening In Jwa, but he is ultimately quieted when In Jwa, looking unfazed, takes his leave.
Yeoning then meets his brother, the Crown Prince, to warn him of In Jwa. Unfortunately for Yeoning, the CP is completely brainwashed. Cue flashback to when In Jwa ‘saved’ the young CP prompting him to offer all he had in return. Basically the CP trusts In Jwa because he believed the bullshit he was served up as a young child (oh dear).
We return to the King’s Weed Hut where he gives another man talk to Yeoning. It seems like the King sees his son’s potential, and plans to use it to his advantage.
Yeoning’s mom, the Queen, knows he’s probably meeting the King and crying about the unfairness of life. She’s then made aware of the name of her son and the fact that he’s been alive all this time.
Gramps teaches Dae Gil more gambling tricks and reminisces about his days as a top gambler. He admits he was not as good as two people: the one who took his eye, and a man named Lee In Jwa. Dae Gil is SHOOK and asks Gramps why he never revealed this earlier. He then packs his bags and sets back out on his mission to become a better fighter than In Jwa.
In Jwa meets with the shaman and they discuss tracking down the so-called best martial artist, named Hwang Jin Ki. He was accused of treason and arrested by the King. He also has a rivalry with our man (an imperial swordsman) Kim Chae Gun.
And that’s exactly who Dae Gil has sought out to be his mentor. At first, Kim Chae Gun is not havin’ it. So Dae Gil leaves to go take care of some business. He’s determined to free the rest of the slaves owned by the Demon. He meets Sul Im and together they talk the slaves into taking a stand and running away. But just as the party’s getting started, The Demon arrives to shut things down.
Dae Gil puts up a nasty fight against the Demon’s men so they can escape. He holds them off long enough for the slaves to get out, but then he really starts to get his ass whooped. Sul Im is the only one who stays and she can’t bare to see Dae Gil gettin’ the crap kicked out of him. But unfortunately, this was a dumb idea, because next thing we know, the Demon’s holding a freshly sharpened scythe to her neck. Dae Gil calls out for help and his prayers are magically answered.
Kim Chae Gun makes his brusk but collected entrance. He’s looking bored, annoyed as fuck, and badass all in one go. It takes him one swift move to kick the crud out of everyone. And then chides Dae Gil, knowing that he had come to him on purpose earlier to get him to show up here. He goes on to say that Dae Gil can’t exterminate people on his own, but Dae Gil remarks that he’s not alone, and that’s when the slaves all come back crashing through the door armed and ready to fight. It’s honestly a brilliant moment.
The slaves successfully fight the demon, and set themselves free one at a time by burning their property papers. Dae Gil and Sul Im say their final goodbyes, and Kim Chae Gun is now moved enough to take on Dae Gil as a pupil. Just as their training begins, the Demon comes back looking quite battered, so Chae Gun ties him up so the female tiger roaming the woods can have a midnight snack later.
Dae Gil is training hard, but he’s still a mess. Kim Chae Gun kicks the training up a notch.
Dam Seo and Bearded Lackey (I still don’t think he has a name) go to free the infamous Hwang Jin Ki (Han Jung Soo). Jin Ki is indebted to In Jwa, and In Jwa plans on using this to his advantage.
A flashback shows a fight between Chae Gun and Jin Ki, where Jin Ki lost. He claims he was too drunk. In Jwa offers him a chance at redemption.
The King chats with Yeoning, offering him the royal heirloom sword. The next day he goes to meet In Jwa. Several people brush past him on his way there.
Dam Seo is confronted with a sad scene where a little girl’s older sister is killed for stealing. She had stolen shoes for her younger sister’s feet because they were poor and the weather was cold. Dam Seo becomes horrified because the dead sister seemed to have gotten the idea after seeing Dam Seo’s shoes when she encountered them earlier.
Yeoning reaches In Jwa’s residence where he confronts him for freeing Jin Ki. In Jwa points out the many tears in Yeoning’s garbs which were a result of the people who brushed by him earlier. Turns out their all In Jwa’s underlings. The two have a sword tussle where Yeoning loses. Dae Gil simultaneously loses a battle to Chae Gun.
Yeoning leaves with his pride battered only to receive another blow from Dam Seo who lectures him for being down in the dumps over this when greater injustices are happening. She references the girl who lost her sister for stealing shoes. Yeoning approaches the child and attempts to offer up all he can as an apology.
Dam Seo asks Yeoning to show her the palace. He agrees but his mother is able to sniff out her true intentions. Seok Bin learns that Dam Seo is the daughter of Yi Soo and that In Jwa has wrongly convinced her that the King is responsible for her father’s death. Dam Seo requests a meeting with the King but Seok Bin warns that it won’t go the way she imagines it and that she won’t be able to breathe once she’s face to face with him.
The Queen calls Yeoning back and instructs him to let Dam Seo see the king at a distance. Once she’s caught a glimpse, Yeoning insists that she meet him face to face, despite the fact that she’s changed her mind and suddenly does not want to see him. We learn that In Jwa instructed her only to view him from a distance.
The King and Dam Seo meet and she lies about her identity, to which Yeoning raises a brow. The King isn’t fooled and creepily makes sure she understands this. Just as Queen Seok Bin predicted, she can barely utter a word let alone draw a breath. After the King intimidates the fuck out of her and takes his leave, Yeoning confronts Dam Seo, assuring her that the King is not who killed her father despite what In Jwa might be telling her.
Dae Gil has improved greatly in his fighting skills. Chae Gun takes Dae Gil into town for some errands where Dae Gil spots a wanted ad for Chae Gun. When the two arrive home, the air is tense, and Chae Gun prompts Dae Gil to say what’s on his mind. Dae Gil questions Chae Gun’s identity, and Chae Gun reveals that he was once a loyal military officer.
Flashback to Jin Ki and Cha Gun. Chae Gun assures Jin Ki that he will be promoted to an officer due to his undeniable skill, but unfortunately this turns out to be false. Palace corruption hinders Jin Ki from getting promoted and this angers Chae Gun, who quit because he couldn’t stand the King’s polluted politics. Back in the present he voices his intention to kill the King.
Back at the palace CP Yoon is struggling to decide how to handle an assassination threat against the King planned for that evening. The King enters the room and discussion claiming there will be no need for emergency measures. He cites Yeoning as his defender and Yeoning doesn’t look thrilled. It seems he might be regretting his earlier statements of wanting to be his father’s sword. King Sukjong presents him with the royal family sword.
Meanwhile Dam Seo is decked out in all black as she prepares to carry out her revenge on the King. Chae Gun readies his own sword as Dae Gil asks what would happen if he tried to stop him from killing the King. Chae Gun simply replies that one of them would die if that were the case.
I’m interested to see where this is going, since right now it just seems like a ton of people want the King dead, and that’s a bit of a potential yawn fest. I’m hoping these next few episodes will clear some things up. Otherwise, I think everything has been very interesting and I must say the drama has been extremely gripping thus far.
Have you watched the Royal Gambler? What did you think? If you haven’t, you can check out the six minute extended preview with english subs here.