My first stab at recapping was
god awful terrible because I had a difficult time understanding the word “brevity,” and it made for both an unimpressive reading experience and a marathon writing experience that sucked. In retrospect, going through the process of recapping makes me appreciate recappers all around the world who write recaps on a regular basis and are able to hit all the important points in a drama in an engaging way. Sometimes it’s hard to choose when to expand on something and when not to, and working on a traditional recap was a good way to find out how to simplify things and think about what parts of a show are important and what aren’t. Sure, I didn’t do the best job on it— frankly, it’s totally embarrassing in certain sections—but I still feel like I gained a lot from the experience.
Now that I think about it, Empire of Gold is meant to be recapped. The golden trifecta of a good drama is halfway there, and thankfully it’s that half of the trifecta that is featured in a recap. Decent directing and excellent writing compose the good side, and then you get to the massive hole of suck when it comes to the acting. The number of times I’ve wanted to throw rocks at my screen for bad acting is far too many for a drama as gripping as this one is written. Really, it’s alarming. I’ve always thought that if the writing pulled through that I could sit through nearly anything, but Empire of Gold has finally made me question whether I can do it. The more I watch people like Go Soo and Jang Shin-young (honestly, the next time I hear “smile” I might puke) sledgehammer their way through, the less I want to stick to the show. UGH, but why is the writing so freaking good???
Unfortunately for us however, Episode 9 happens to be a lull in the fast moving plot line, which kind of makes the experience of reading the story not so great. Well, I’m giving it a shot anyway. Let me know how I do!
After finding out that her father was in critical condition from Sung-jae, Seo-yoon darts to the hospital to see her father. She finds him in his deathbed, croaking “Omma, omma” and detached from the world, as though he was dead already. In fact, he was dead already; Jeong-hee (or as I like to call her, “Evil Stepmother”) had killed him with her poisoned words. Seo-yoon watches her father fade from the world, tears streaming down her face, just barely able to utter out repeated promises to take care of her (step)mother (unbeknownst to the fact that his words were really a warning from her father).
Surprisingly, in Choi Dong-sung’s last moments, he thinks not of the havoc his wife was going to unleash upon the Choi family or even of Seo-yoon, but of the people he felt that he did the most wrong to: his oldest son, and his brother. They were two people in his life who cared about him and wanted nothing more than familial love, yet they were only gifted with the cold shoulder. With those last thoughts and one last desperate gasp, the patriarch of the family leaves the earth and Seo-yoon is totally alone for the first time in her life.
Life moves on at Sung Jin Group, and Seo-yoon starts work the next day with fulfilling the funeral rites for her father. She determines that Sung Jin Group must use this time to push forward, and the backdoor dealings do not stop for a second. Meanwhile, Tae-joo and Min-jae are pushing ahead on their own plans to acquire Han-sung Steel, with Min-jae returning form the U.S. the next day with the foreign currency they need.
The Choi family has a meeting before the beginning of the funeral mourning period, where Seo-yoon reveals to the family that their father’s funeral will be a state funeral headed by an ex-Prime Minister and herself, as the head of the Group. Won-jae is furious that Seo-yoon has stripped him of every duty he had as a first born son; even the funeral rites for his father. As a result, he stands up to Seo-yoon and demands a family funeral. Most of the family agrees with it until Sung-jae brings up the fact that a state funeral will help bring a name to Choi Dong-sung that he is deserving of, during a time when Sung Jin Group and the Choi family has been under fire from the media. The family is quiet until Uncle Dong-jin agrees with Sung-jae that he wants a state funeral to respect the achievements of his brother, and make the world know of his greatness the way he always knew him. They decide to make it as State funeral.
But in the Empire of Gold, plans rarely work out the way you want them to, and there’s probably more than one person who’s trying to sabotage you. Four of the main directors from Sung Jin Group come to pay respects to the deceased Chairman and are asked by Evil Stepmom, Jung-hee, to transfer the false-name stocks in Sung Jin Cement over to her. They agree to do so after checking with Seo-yoon, who inadvertently gives her approval.
Tae-joo also stops by to visit Won-jae, trying to convince him to change the State funeral to a family one. Since Won-jae is basically gullible walking on two feet, he agrees to work with Tae-joo and Min-jae to get Han-sung Steel as well as announce a family funeral before Seo-yoon can release news of the State funeral. Tae-joo also makes a pleasant visit to Seo-yoon, which basically amounts him to rubbing dirt on her face like a five-year-old kid, and her warning him to stay away from Won-jae and telling him that she’ll in put all of Sung Jin Group’s assets to get Han-sung Steel.
Won-jae meanwhile, starts aligning the family with him. Dong-hui and Jung-yoon decide the smartest thing to do is to play both sides, Dong-hui with Won-jae and Jung-yoon with Seo-yoon. To start their “grand scheme” two go to Seo-yoon and spill the fact that Won-jae is making another run for Chairman, and throws Eun-jung under the bus as well. Seo-yoon, in response, decides to exile Won-jae and Eun-jung to Europe. This causes Eun-jung to move away from Seo-yoon and her father (Director Park), and reaffirms her agreement to help Won-jae to become Chairman—after which she’ll divorce him.
The next morning, Seo-yoon is shocked to find out that Won-jae, Min-jae, and Tae-joo have made a press release stating that Choi Dong-sung will have a family funeral, with Won-jae as head mourner. Backed into a corner, she reluctantly agrees to the arrangements. The funeral is carried out three days later, with Won-jae at the lead.
Well, that was a boring episode! However, in the grand narrative, Episode 9 is a major set up for the events to come, so I don’t actually mind that this episode wasn’t as thrilling as the others.
Acting-wise, things are bland as ever with the loss of Park Geun-hyung, and watching this episode is actually a mourning period for us as viewers as well, because the heavy weight actors are fading into the distance. Dong-jin and Min-jae had very little presence in the show, and not much was meaningful. The other trio of lead characters are basically the same as usual, meh, but I think I’m able to palate Lee Yo-won more and more as we go on. Her acting style matches the demeanor of her character (especially in this episode—looking dead is absolutely perfect) so it’s not as offensive.
I also promise that this is the last time I’ll talk about bad acting. I’m tired of it, and you’re probably tired of it too. Good thing the narrative kicks up a couple of notches in the next few episodes, so I won’t be stuck here like I am now…failing to come up with interesting things to talk about.