The winner in the ratings game for the newest round of Mon-Tue dramas over at the Big Three, Jackpot boasts of a lush cinematography…and that’s about it. Ok, that was harsh, but coming from the writer of Warrior Baek Dong Soo, I really don’t have much expectations for Show storywise, and I’m not too off after watching the first two episodes.
Sure, it was entertaining with a pretty wild imagination of history, but the writer’s penchant for writing miracles for Those-Who-Should-Not-Die-Yet really had me rolling eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I love quirky out-of-the-world plot lines that require suspension of disbelief when need be, but somehow with this writer it’s just so unbelievable when some chosen characters Just. Don’t. Die.
But I digress. Show builds its background in the first two episodes, re-inventing the story surrounding Choi Bok-soon’s (Yoon Jin Seo) elevation from a palace maid to concubine, incorporating another historical character, Lee In Jwa’s (Jeon Gwang Ryeol) involvement in her elevation. I’m not sure if palace maids are able to leave palace at night, even if she’s just a lowly maid fetching water and doing other menial work, but let’s assume it’s allowed. And how did she actually end up being “won” by her gambler husband Baek Man Geum (Lee Moon Shik)? Why was she even a prize? Perhaps all these are not important to the development of the story. It only serves to tell us she’s had a really bad life and it’d be silly of her not to grasp at the chance of a better life aka being the king’s (Choi Min Soo) woman, when presented with the chance.
So there were some rules she had to follow in order to capture the king’s heart, which she did, and the king also “won” her in a few sets of gambling games with Man Geum. And then she gave birth to a healthy son 6 months after sharing the king’s bed, which set many tongues a-wagging, insisting that it’s not the king’s son but Man Geum’s. It doesn’t help that Jang Hee-bin left a thinly veiled threat to the newborn, which made Bok-soon, or Choi Sook-bin as she’s known in the historical records, ask Kim Yi Soo (Song Jong Ho), the king’s trusted aide who’s also a spy for Lee In Jwa, to help her swap her baby for a dead one, so that her baby can stay alive even if it means to live outside the palace.
That’s when all hell break loose, as everyone starts to track down the newborn, with killing him as the only goal. I don’t really get why even Lee In Jwa wants to kill him, didn’t he get Bok-soon into the palace so that he can make use of her child to get the throne later? But anyway, despite being No. 1 on the hit list AND having his likely biological father Man Geum flinging him over the cliff (WTH?!), Super Baby survives despite all odds. Because his physiognomy says he has the kingly features (or simply because writer-nim says so).
Likely I’ll continue watching for Yeo Jin Goo, but that’s about it. Please don’t kill off people just because and let miracles only happen on the main characters!