Uncle Samsik – Season 1 Episode 14 Recap & Review

Kang Seongmin

Uncle Samsik Episode 14 brings us to Samsik’s HQ where Kang is blaming Samsik for everything while San defends him. Samsik tries to calm them both, refocusing on the problem – Ki-chul and the solution – martial law. Separately, San scolds Samsik for playing to Kang wondering when they’ll get rid of him. Samsik claims they’re still on plan and that he always speaks from the heart but they part abruptly.

As the newspaper publishes stories about the break in democracy, Hanmin pushes a reluctant Choi to move ahead. While San prepares his Democratic team to protest the ballot stealing at the National Assembly, once again donning his ‘defender of democracy’ hat.

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Hyun-seok approaches Choi to reinforce what Hanmin has been saying, depending on what happens with the UN investigation and protests, they really could lose their chance. But Choi is resolute that the coup is meaningless without justification. It’s different than when they’re at war.

One-to-one, Samsik promises Kang that he’ll get rid of Ki-chul and any other enemies, promising they’ll survive. Still waiting for Choi, Hanmin and Soo-il agree that they need to move forward and together approach Jang to mobilize troops. They wish to move now and tell Choi later. Jang agrees to mobilize but not yet strike.

As citizens demand justice for violating the constitution with San among those leading the charge, police set up barriers and are given the order to block the protests with permission to fire. Military troops are gathered, awaiting Choi’s go-ahead.

Even San’s young niece Jina joins the crowds, sticking with her neighbor – one of the lead protesters. Truckloads of men with sticks enter the crowd, hitting everyone. The protesters gain one of the trucks, hauling Jina on board and moving toward the National Assembly building.

Meanwhile, San and Wooseok lead protests in front of the National Assembly, pushing police aside. As the streets fill with shouting citizens, Samsik stands outside watching them go by. And Minkyu calls the president to declare martial law.

Kang speaks to representatives about the UN report, agreeing that it’s correct and was completely dictated by the Ministry of the Home Office. When Choi hears martial law has been enacted, he calls for retreat but Hanmin advises moving ahead while they still can. However, Jang confirms the retreat as they can’t win and Hanmin can barely hold it together, seeing his chance fade.

Ki-chul talks of the National Assembly, that they should discuss the Korea-US economic agreement. When Rachel suggests there may be opposing public opinion, Ki-chul is clear that that does not affect him.

As protestors get louder and more adamant, San spots Yeojin in the crowd, even Jina. While Samsik pushes through the throng to get to Taemin who claims he must do this as someone else sets a bomb. As men push the bomb-wielding cart toward the Assembly building, it explodes on Minkyu and the police start firing into the crowd. Kang  escapes shooters by killing one with a rock.

At the sounds of explosions, Samsik runs toward it but Taemin heads off into the alleys. At the hotel, Han-soo sits among the smoke bombs waiting for people to evacuate Ki-chul’s office. Finally finding the signed Alliance document, he’s shot. And still in an alley, Kang beats his attacker to death while hiding from others. It’s a battle as people shoot everywhere, with Taemin still searching for Kang. Samsik rescues a tattered Kang who apologizes for not taking better care of him throughout their acquaintance.

Out in the street, police hold a rifle toward Yeojin who’s covering Jina. Spotting it, San jumps in, grabbing the gun and ensuring the rest to hold their fire. All scatter as the military tanks begin rolling in. And General Choi stops in front of San but not before giving orders for the military to prioritize civilian safety.

Trying to help Kang get away, Samsik hustles him toward a car. But Taemin waits outside, shooting Samsik accidentally as he goes after Kang. As Taemin kills Kang, the military comes around the corner and fires multiple rounds into Taemin.

In the confessional, Samsik notes what a harsh, lonely place the world is, that he’s been tossed aside for his mistakes. While San talks of plans and promises left behind once so many people came out into the streets.


Episode Review

Now that violent protest/counter-protest has taken everyone by the throat, both San and Samsik talk separately of loneliness, Samsik cast aside for his mistakes and San seeing a greater power in the multitudes. Where they used to be aligned in their pursuits, both acted instinctively in the moment, protecting the person in front of them. Samsik rescuing Kang and San shielding Yeojin and Jina. While the episode starts with Samsik wedged between Kang and San, it looks like, as San says, when the waves crashed in, plans changed.

Notably, all the guys who become the interrogators are involved in this coup, not only on the team but pushing Choi to move forward with the coup. Yet it’s Hanmin and presumably Choi who later take the fall. Perhaps that’s why Hanmin is executed in such a way, left in an unmarked grave – closing the loop on the guy who knows everyone’s piece.

It’s quite an emotional episode as innocents are shot, bombed and attacked in the streets for demanding democracy – something the country has supposedly already won. There’s a really nice piece of cinematography mid-episode that picks up periodically through to the end, showing the crowded sometimes smoke-filled streets and the scale of discontent. It’s woven into black-and-white footage that’s quite possibly historical records of the event in 1960. With this in mind, I’m not sure I’m ready for the next and final two episodes. Are you?


Who’s your favorite pawn in Uncle Samsik? At this point, it could be anyone. Let us know in the comments below. 

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