Empire of Gold Episode 8 Recap

EmpireofGold_ep8_cover

Since there are literally no recaps anywhere for this drama (I understand, it’s not most people’s cup of tea), and I’ve decided to spare all of you from my incessant and incomprehensible rambling, to try to practice/take on some recapping. I’ve recently gotten pretty good at the screen-capping thing, though I don’t know if there’s much in Empire of Gold people want to see screen-capped other than Go Soo‘s smoldering stare-downs that seem to do more bad than good. (Sorry Go Soo! You’re handsome…just not the best actor.) I decided to start at Episode 8 because it’s a half way compromise between doing an umbrella 1-8 recap (which would probably lead to more EoG rants no one wants and a ton more work) and starting with Episode 9 (zero context for an episode that is all about the previous one).

I also want to ask that you please, please comment, so I can get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t work while I try the active recapping instead of the vague summaries I normally do, or in the case of Empire of Gold, crazy rants. Just FYI, I’ve basically “stolen” the recap format from Dramabeans because it works really well. (Imitation is the greatest form of flattery?) Hopefully they’ll forgive me for that.

Drama Overview:

You can read my first impressions post for a better idea of the tone of the drama, but I’ve written out the “premise of the story” as well as “character summaries.” Just click on the (2) at the bottom of this post to see them. I have to admit though, you’re probably better off watching the show.

Episode 8:

EOG_Ep8_1

Choi Seo-yoon thanks a government official at the home office for supporting Sung Jin’s acquisition of Han-sung Steel (her last gift to her father), giving him an antique vase. In the mean time, Choi Min-jae‘s “secretary”/Sung Jin Director brings Min-jae news that Jang Tae-joo has secured the necessary technology for Sung Jin Construction’s development of Sung Jin Steel. He smirks, thinking about how Seo-yoon has no knowledge of the huge amount of hidden capital that Sung Jin Construction has and how close he is to toppling Seo-yoon.

EOG_Ep8_2

Seo-yoon arrives at Sung Jin Headquarters, and to Min-jae’s surprise, orders that development of Sung Jin Steel be halted immediately. This turn of events throws a wrench in Min-jae and Tae-joo’s plans, leading the two of them to meet up later that night (over a beer) to discuss how to counteract Seo-yoon.

Min-jae apologizes for the fact that Tae-joo’s work had become useless, but the latter would have none of that. Instead, Tae-joo suggests that they take over Han-sung Steel overtly, using the 200 Billion Won they have accumulated over the past three years. Min-jae thinks he’s crazy, but lets Tae-joo do it.

EOG_Ep8_3

The next day at Eden, Yoon Seul-hee and Tae-joo start planning how to accumulate investors into their takeover scheme. While the two begin to find creditors to contact, Tae-joo tells Jo Pil-doo (Note: I call him Pil-joo pretty often, so sorry about that.) to go Singapore to meet with President Kim of Han-sung—who had to flee the country because of his company failing and the risk of his embezzlement money being uncovered.

Seul-hee then randomly starts discussing about the Sung Jin Suites model, Yoon Hee-jung, asking Tae-joo out for a “thank you” dinner…by himself. (Seul-hee, can you be any more obvious about your humongous crush on Tae-joo?) She muses that it’s obviously a date, and that Tae-joo should go since he should probably be getting married soon. In response, Tae-joo remarks:

Do you know when Hitler got married?… In the underground bunker surrounded by the Allied Forces—when there was no more hope left, when he could no longer go forward—he married Eva Braun. They died together a few days later.

Say what? Is he trying to say that he’s Adolf Hitler and she’s Eva Braun???????

And then, right when you think Tae-joo couldn’t get anymore cryptic, he hands Seul-hee an envelope of 100 Million Won as a birthday present—right after telling her to go contact some more investors for their Han-sung takeover.

EOG_Ep8_5Choi Dong-sung is in critical condition at the hospital for his glioblastoma, having only days to live. Evil Stepmother gets nervous from the news, because she needs Dong-sung to be alive for three months in order to finish preparing her stocks to steal the Chairman position from Seo-yoon. The Doctor suggests that “Evil Stepmother,” Han Jeong-hee, contact the rest of the family, but she lies to Seo-yoon and the rest of the family, downplaying Dong-sung’s hospitalization to give herself time. Sung-jae can only look weakly at his mother, conflicted between his loyalty and love for his mother, and the love that Dong-sung and Seo-yoon have given him. Dong-sung, unaware of his wife’s motives, calls her in to ask her to relay to Seo-yoon the existence of some hidden accounts where he has kept a significant sum of money. Evil Stepmom realizes that this could save her evil plan, and keeps the information secret.

Seo-yoon continues to convince Directors to help her takeover Han-sung Steel, and asks (read: demands) her brother to help her in accomplishing that. Won-jae notes that the Directors are reluctant because of growing fears that the Korean economy could collapse due to too much credit, but Seo-yoon dismisses it as a petty worry. On the other side of things, Tae-joo succeeds in getting the bank presidents to join his consortium, and prepares a letter of intent to go against Sung Jin’s.

EOG_Ep8_6

That night, Dong-sung and Sung-jae have a heart to heart, wherein Dong-sung reveals that he knew that Sung-jae wasn’t his son since the beginning, and the fact that he just wanted to raise Sung-jae as well as he could so that Sung-jae’s father would be happy. Sung-jae breaks down, to Dong-sung shock, and confesses of his mother’s malicious intents. While this is happening, at home, Evil Stepmom blocks everyone from visiting Dong-sung.

The following day, Seo-yoon finds out about Eden’s letter of intent and immediately guesses that Min-jae is behind the events. She gets upset at Won-jae for doing a terrible job of keeping watch over the Han-sung Steel takeover, and sends him to talk to Minjae about his plans. Some evil bantering goes on between the two, and by the end, Min-jae has reduced Won-jae to an incompetent fool who is no better than a lapdog for Seo-yoon. Afterwards, Min-jae’s Director/Secretary tries to convince Min-jae to stop Tae-joo but Min-jae just ignores him, telling the Secretary to just let the racehorse do what it wants.

Won-jae gets affected by Min-jae and Seo-yoon’s words and visits his father, drunk and devastated. He begs his father to acknowledge him at least once, while Evil Stepmother freaks out about whether Won-jae will be the means by which Seo-yoon will find out about Evil Stepmother’s real face. Dong-sung, like an idiot, ignores his son’s pleas, and keeps asking for Seo-yoon. His one, short comment on borrowed name accounts falls on deaf ears, and Dong-sung’s chance send the message to Seo-yoon is gone.

Tae-joo, Seul-hee, Min-jae, and Choi Dong-jin go out to dinner. As they eat, Dong-jin randomly mentions that Seul-hee should meet up with an eligible bachelor he knows, President Kim. Tae-joo responds (half-jokingly?) that she can’t because she might become his wife. But he doesn’t stop there, oh no, for he continues on to say that it’s because Director Yoon sees him as a man…and then turns around and asks her if he’s correct about that. (WTH Tae-joo?) What’s more, he asserts that the only person he’ll marry (if he ever gets married) will be Seul-hee, because he knows that she’ll wait forever for him. (Tae-joo, you win for strangest, most male chauvinistic, unromantic confession I have ever seen.) Seul-hee, with a shy smile, just responds that she has no idea how to react to Tae-joo’s words.

However, this dinner takes a serious turn when Dong-jin (with Seo-yoon’s influence) asks Min-jae and Tae-joo to drop their bid for Han-sung Steel and let his brother get the company he built back. Min-jae coldly asks in return why the steel company truly belongs to Dong-sung, when it was Dong-jin who went to Jail for Dong-sung because of corruption charges from the Steel company and brought back the technology from Japan for it. The issue drops.

Tae-joo and Min-jae share a heart to heart afterwards (if Tae-joo has such a thing) about their dissatisfaction with their fathers. Both are embarrassed by them, upset by how naively straightforward they are. The two talk about their painful experiences watching their fathers live with high moral code and an open heart, only to see them reduced to being a servant to throw around. Tae-joo and Min-jae come to the conclusion that while they love their fathers, they’ll never live like them. And with that, they start to move forward on their Han-sung takeover in “all or nothing” fashion.

Screen Shot 2013-08-04 at 2.06.20 PM

The artillery in this figurative war begin to build up and move on both sides, but not before we have another moment between Seul-hee and Tae-joo. As he leaves the office, she tells him that she’ll wait for him, but she’ll never enter the bunker. Tae-joo laughs and assures her that he doesn’t ever plan on going to the bunker. She retorts back that she’s gone too soft. He awkwardly pokes her cheek and with a smirk, counters that she hasn’t gotten soft, she’s surrendered to the man she loves.

(Oh dear lord, I don’t know how much more of this I can handle. Tae-joo is both an utterly awful human being and immensely charming.)

Evil Stepmom knows the end is near for Dong-sung, and changes her ring back to the one she shared with her first husband. Tae-joo sends media fire against Seo-yoon getting President Kim to tell the public that Han-sung was pressured by Sung Jin. Seo-yoon holds her ground, only adding more to the bidding price with the advent of negative press, now at 1.2 Trillion Won. In the evening, Seo-yoon comes home dejected and tired from the media onslaught and familial pressure, and goes to Sung-jae for comfort. When Sung-jae is cold to her, she shares how much she’s worked to care for him and how gifts are all about the timing…and she wishes that she could have gained Han-sung Steel far earlier to give back to her father what he had given to all of them.

And that’s when Sung-jae breaks down and tells Seo-yoon that their father was about to die.

Comments:

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There were a surprising number of heavy, emotional moments in this episode, and they’ve made very clear the real actors in this drama as opposed to those who..are not. The moments between Choi Dong-sung and [insert person here] were extremely powerful, especially those with Han Jeong-hee verbally suffocating the man. It was both heartbreaking and stunning to watch Dong-sung gain and lose hope (just by noticing his facial gestures change) as he lay in bed like a vegetable, trapped by his own body. Park Geun-hyung was absolutely stellar in this episode, and it’s really really sad to think that he has to go very, very soon.

The Won-jae, Min-jae verbal spar was epic as well, and the two actors played off each other so, so, well. Every line from Sohn Hyun-joo had impeccable delivery, especially the section that started with “There was a wind blowing, I had to survive. There wasn’t a wind blowing, I had to survive…” In fact, it was amazing, and I had to watch it three times. Despite not knowing any Korean, the words stung. At times, it felt so real that I honestly became Won-jae, being verbally abused by Min-jae. Incredible.

And then we get to the other three main leads and the acting quality basically jumps off the cliff. Down. Lee Yo-won holds up pretty well, but could loosen herself a bit to avoid coming off dry. Jang Shin-young‘s character is so annoying I can’t even watch her anymore—and it’s not entirely because of the writing. Seul-hee was complex in the beginning, but at this episode she became a lovesick puppy and her facial expressions became more grating than ever. On a similar note, we have Go Soo succeeding at one and only one thing: making his character extremely dislikable. I actually wanted to see as little of Jang Tae-joo as I could. If only he would be satisfied with Eden, would marry Seul-hee and would get on with his life.

In all honesty, this is my big gripe with this story is how useless Eden’s presence is to the underlying story of Empire of Gold. I think we would have had a compelling story without Tae-joo, his family, Seul-hee, and Pil-joo, because there’s already so much going on within the Choi family to make me interested and invested. Yeah, I’m still curious about how those “first ten minutes” came to be, but in the grand scheme of things, I really don’t care anymore. All I want to see is Seo-yoon, Min-jae and Stepmom duke it out from a business level all the way down to a moral level. There’s so much to address just with them that it could easily fill 24 episodes.

Unfortunately though, contemplating “what if”s is not going to change anything.

(SBS) Episode 9 Recap

11 responses to “Empire of Gold Episode 8 Recap

  1. Thanks for the recap. I have been searching mainly for another person’s view point on this drama. I agree that the two main families with evil stepmom thrown in is an interesting power struggle without Tae-Joo although without him Min-Jae wouldn’t be as strong a presence in the mix. Lee Yo-Won does come off as being a bit unemotional but I think her character has so much stacked against her that she must contain her true feelings because except for her secretary she has virtually no one to trust. I am rooting for her and cheer everytime she outwits anybody who is trying to bring her family business down.

    I’m waiting for a spark of romantic chemistry between Tae-Joo & Seo-Yoon. Up till now there has only been business sparing so the personal connection should be coming soon. They both need to let loose and fall in love despite their probable reasoning that their interest in one another is only for business reasons.

    Was also sorry to see the father die but am hoping that her youngest stepbrother will decide to support her in the future. Seo-Yoon deserves to have Somebody by her side since she never asked or wanted to take over the family business but is now dedicated to
    protecting her father’s legacy.

    • Seo-yoon is undoubtedly the one I’m rooting for, and it looks like most of the people watching the drama actively feel the same way. She’s fighting a fight on a level that no one else in this story is, and I commend her for being an intelligent and strong willed person no matter the obstacles in her way.

      As for the relationship between Tae-joo and Seo-yoon, I still ain’t buying it. There is no chemistry between the two (save for a split second in Episode 12) and I really cannot find any reason for her to have a romantic relationship with Tae-joo when he’s obviously in love with Seul-hee. Moreover, Tae-joo and Seo-yoon can never logically have a relationship because their goals in life are mutually exclusive. Tae-joo and Seo-yoon cannot be owners of Sung Jin group at the same time, and I highly doubt Tae-joo will ever let her be the more powerful one, nor do I think Seo-yoon would ever give her father’s company to an outsider. Honestly, Seo-yoon deserves way better than Tae-joo. Sure they may be intellectual equals (which is the only thing allowing me to stomach the possibility of them being together), but their level of maturity and elegance is on opposite sides of the universe. Let Seul-hee have her man; they deserve each other.

  2. [SPOILERS BELOW]

    I am waiting to see episode 12 with english subs but did catch part of the video on youtube. Tae-joo has always protected Seul-hee but I don’t see that as being in love with her. I read that in episode 12….spoiler….Seo-yoon proposes to Tae-joo to protect the business. I see them both as basically decent people who will do whatever they need to, to protect their family and friends. They may be cut throat in business but I think once they get engaged and married they may share a lot of private, personal time where inevitably their vulnerability will reveal itself.

    I like that they are adversaries right now. You may be right that neither of them wants to relinquish the power but remember that Seo-yoon never wanted the job to begin with and traditionally in Korean drama the women leave the business to the men in the family. If she feels that Tae-joo loves her and will protect her father’s business and most importantly that she can TRUST him, she will defer to him.

    • [SPOILERS BELOW]

      Don’t worry, it’s not much of a spoiler because I think we all knew that this would be the case from day one (that wedding was probably closer to being a funeral than a wedding). Tae-joo also refuses to marry Seul-hee, but I think it’s currently a case of “noble idiocy” rather than dislike. In any case, I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree, because I really do think Tae-joo *currently* likes Seul-hee. That may change in the long run, however, since he’s dropped a line or two indicating some liking for Seo-yoon (i.e. he doesn’t completely hate her).

      Seo-yoon may have not wanted the job initially, but it’s become a huge part of her life and identity now. Her job was to hold the company until Myung-hoon (I think that’s his name?) takes the position when he is of age. Giving it to Tae-joo would imply that Myung-hoon will probably not get it, and it’s far more likely that their progeny (were they to have kids) will receive the company. Moreover, Tae-joo is rash and stupid. He’s an intelligent guy who will make lots of money in the short term, but has nada to maintain a company long term the way Seo-yoon does.

      My guilty pleasure of drama tropes has always been adversaries to lovers, but I really want to give Seo-yoon the world after what she’s been through to be filial. She seems so collected and pragmatic that it pains me to see her hitched to a man with the maturity of a teenage boy (read: none). Let’s hope he gains some brains in the last half of the drama, or I may just cry for Seo-yoon. Good thing Go Soo is visually attractive, because I may not have lasted this long otherwise.

      (Btw, It is wonderful talking to you, hopefully you’ll stick around for the upcoming recaps! I’ve been waiting forever to discuss EoG with someone to no avail, until now that is.)

  3. love that you recap this drama even at episode 12..I love Seo Yoon too I want her to win the end and gain love too.I love Lee Yo won this is a very different character totally where she is strong and vulnerable at the same time.I think the younger brother and her relationship is so close and very sad as they are not biological related.Step mom is a very good actress to have stayed as a wife to the man she hated and even taught her son to do all that will be pleasing to the dying dad..I can’t wait for the recaps because it is a very good drama and I don’t like to watch this genre but due to Lee yo won here I am trying to read anything about it..Thank you for recapping, please continue so that I could release my addiction to this drama..I really want to know how it ends..Will Seo Yoon find true love in Tae Joo (because not a bit of spark seen so far) or will she go away and live as what she dreams off..or will she carry on and lead the company or lost it totally..

  4. By accident I found this blog when I look for empire of gold, and I like it. It,s become one of my favo blog beside dramabean :) .
    A nice lay out..( but still need to improve ) and good style writing.

  5. Oh I finally found someone who was recapping. I wanted to read this so much. Thank you for your effort.

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