Episode 4 of Big Bet starts with Moo-sik showing up at the student rally, which happens to be an Assembly of the Student Council regarding unification of the Korean Peninsula. Now, Moo-sik isn’t actually giving a speech (like we initially thought!) but instead serving as a bodyguard for the president of the NCSR. We watches from the stage as this guy gives an impassioned speech. However, in the crowd happen to be several detectives posing as activists.
To escape the activists, Moo-sik decides to join the military. Unfortunately, his criminal record prevents him from being able to go. As a result, he’s taken out by force. He’s certainly not able to join the marine corps. However, he’s watched by a shady guy with sunglasses called Mr Kim. The guy has a small office in Namsan, and his job is actually to recruit trainees. Moo-sik is offered to join the Intelligence Team but he needs to get his fitness levels up. Naturally, this comes from a difficult boot camp but Moo-sik is determined to prove himself.
Out of 76 applicants, only 4 make the cut – including our very own Moo-sik himself. Kim shows up at an inn to let the guys know, who happen to be surrounded by empty bottles in an inn. When he shows up, he sees the mess and gives them a few minutes to join. However, their job as Intelligence agents actually includes crossing the border and heading into North Korea and back again. It’s incredibly dangerous work.
Back in 2001, we cut to Manila where Mr Min brags about Moo-sik’s exploits. He’s still working alongside Moo-sik and the pair are doing well with the casino. Sang-gu is there too, while Sangchul rings Moo-sik to let him know about a guy called Tae-seok, who happens to be one of his buddies. He asks Moo-sik to look after him, but when the guy gives him a prickly reception, he’s forced to swallow his pride when he realizes Moo-sik is actually on his side. Tae-seok used to run a brothel but now he’s down in Manila needing to hide out, just like Moo-sik.
In the morning, Tae-seok introduces himself properly, heading into Moo-sik’s office. It doesn’t take long before Moo-sik brings out 10k to help. Tae-seok is grateful but he actually wants to work at the casino. Moo-sik agrees to think about it.
When Mr Min comes back into the office, looking downhearted, we soon learn why. It turns out Min has been screwed over by the Chinese fusion restaurant. Mr Woo (the owner) asked for 50,000 dollars but when Min refused, he threatened to hurt him, prompting Moo-sik’s partner to drop to his knees and beg. What a mess.
Moo-sik shows up to see Mr Woo, telling him to stop messing about with his partner. Sun-gil happens to be in league with him but Moo-sik is adamant that this is the hill he’s prepared to die on. Given Mr Min helped him when he was down and out, Moo-sik eventually buys out his freedom by downing a whole bottle of alcohol. Since then, not a single person touches Mr Min, having earned their respect.
However, this house of cards is going to come toppling down soon but before it does, we jump to 2010 as Moo-sik and the others are absolutely balling it. Having made 70 billion won in just a decade, they also manage to entangle themselves into politics too, rubbing shoulders with all the big players in the Philippines. Apparently they do this through “rolling”. This is a term for non-negotiable chips, specifically through wagering money at casino tables.
Moo-sik’s operation is clever, with a steady trickle of money coming into the casino through these chips and comp cards too. As a result, they end up with lots of customers and these comp cards in abundance too. Moo-sik is in desperate need to get rid of these, given they expire soon, so of course he decides to spins or the Chief of Staff Carlos’s meetings at an expensive breakfast, sponsored by Moo-sik himself. What begins as a simple encounter soon turns to some of the most important meetings in the country.
Moo-sik makes a name for himself and he’s eventually brought to Big Boss Daniel, a man known as the Kingmaker, given he decides who the next president is going to be. Everyone in the industry knows about him, as he’s basically the El Chapo of the casino world.
Caliz in 2010 sees Moo-sik show up at Mr Woo’s casino. He’s not doing well. In fact, he’s 7 million pesos in debt and many of his agents have actually defected. He has until the end of the month to hand over his money, otherwise they’re going to take over. Tae-seok isn’t exactly happy with this, while the others share his concerns given Woo is well-known to be bit of a psychopath, especially toward his staff.
While Moo-sik mulls this over, he ends up meeting an influential guy called Jo Yungi. He happens to work at the Korean embassy. However, the meeting is quickly cut short when the Koreans end up sending over a Wanted posted, with Moo-sik charged with assault. Now, this happens to be as a result of Moo-sik’s crap collecting days, with one of the men reporting him for assault. Moo-sik ran as he had a bad feeling about this.
Meanwhile, change is afoot as the Filipino government changes at the same time as Mr Min managing to convince the son of the construction company owner to build a hotel in Caliz. This coincides with Mr Woo not paying back his debt interest, allowing them all to up and move to Caliz from Manila.
Five years later and Jung-pal has won the heart of a woman called So-jung, someone who happens to be a host. During his dinner, Mr Min rings and asks him to put the bid in for the Bolton, which is their new project.
The Episode Review
This week’s episode of Big Bet slows down a little as we see Moo-sik winning over all the politicians and using these soon-to-expire comp cards to win political favours. The guy has always had a knack for hustling and this episode only exemplifies that. In terms of plot development, beyond Moo-sik working his way through the casino, we haven’t seen a whole lot from the other supporting characters. That’s a bit of a shame, especially given Sang-gu had some good lines in the previous episode.
Despte that though, there’s enough to like here and understanding more about Moo-sik’s history is a nice way of contextualizing just what’s built up to him being captured.
The ending is a bit anticlimactic though, if we’re being nitpicky, but despite that there’s plenty to enjoy.