HanCinema Review: Jackpot Episode 2

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Jackpot is once again the highest rated of the new shows at 12.2% for episode 2. From the outside, the drama is all glitz and glitter: beautiful choreography, stunning naturescapes, keen camera storytelling. But its insides are messier: jumpy character sketches, repetitive themes, and illogical schemes. These may work themselves out with time as many introductory episodes can lack clarity in the rush to introduce the drama.

This drama is going the way of most sageuk, or historical dramas, in that it is focusing on the backstory of the main characters before it delivers the handsome leads in their fullest glory##. We may not see Jang Geun-seok and Yeo Jin-goo for another episode or two yet. But we are getting a lot of Lee Moon-sik as the pathetic Baek Man-geum. Man-geum is not a likeable character in the least. He’s a grovelling, erratic, and disgusting human being. Played by any other actor, it would be impossible to empathize with him. Luckily, they casted Lee who brings out the best in this repulsive man and who managed to make me feel sorry for him at certain points. Gambling is indeed an illness, but it doesn’t make throwing one’s baby over a waterfall any less horrifying.

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