Uncle Samsik – Season 1 Episode 15 Recap & Review

Rice Cake

Uncle Samsik Episode 15 and the US news reports tumultuous activity in South Korea. Ki-chul’s Federation meets, realizing they’ll have to face indictment in accordance with the Punishment of Corruption Act. And their fixer Samsik is still in the hospital.

Seoul, May 2, 1960, at the National Assembly and Woo-seok tries to insert both the Reconstruction Bureau and National Defense into the plans. In the bickering over seats, Woo-seok’s solution is to get rid of the Reconstruction Bureau.

Now out of the hospital, Samsik returns to his HQ, recalling final moments with Kang and Taemin’s justice. Samsik visits Ki-chul who asks him to take care of the Punishment of Corruption Act. And two former colleagues visit San, pleased to hear the Reconstruction Bureau will soon be in place and San in charge.

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Referring to the April 19th Revolution, US news reports both aid and a return to normalcy in South Korea. Ministerial roles will be shared between both parties with a focus on economic development. In the report, the Reconstruction Bureau has been tabled for a later date. The priority is with National Defense and its new civilian leader.

As a reporter, Yeojin approaches Woo-seok who claims Reconstruction is still under discussion, to be sorted out later. She poses that it’s because of the civilian Defense role and factions fighting over cabinet seats, he swatting her questions aside. When she finally asks about coup rumors, Woo-seok scurries away.

Given a gun, Captain Park Wonil flashes back to being questioned by General Hong about the Workers Party Directive #29 – the one about spies. He prepares to ‘go out with honor.’

At the newspaper, they continue working on election scandal stories and Yeojin takes on coverage of the Punishment of Corruption Act. When San confronts Woo-seok about the Reconstruction Bureau he tells him he’ll get him elected as Assemblyman of Dongdaemun. But that’s not what San’s interested in, losing his cool as he reminds him of the citizens who lost their lives for democracy. He further declines the offer of an assemblyman role.

At Samsik’s, San waits for him to discuss the demolished Reconstruction Bureau. Samsik tries to cheer him up noting that this current government won’t last long and that they can restart by taking over the Federation and building a better Korea.

In another report the new government reduces the size of the military to cut back on costs but this worries the US government as it decreases combat capabilities. The reports suggest that such defunding could lead to a coup.

Captain Soo-il reports to Ki-chul having met with military leaders. Soo-il, also an Albright awardee, recommends the Second Infantry Commander. San and Hyun-seok meet with General Choi also thinking about leadership but disagreeing on names. San doesn’t believe the Second Infantry Commander has the clout but Hyun-seok disagrees. Hyun-seok’s second choice is Soo-il, whom San recalls is the son of a CEO subsidiary of Ki-chul’s inherited company.

Samsik goes through the Federation’s finances and donations to government parties. Then he goes into uncle mode when his former tail asks him to officiate at his marriage to Samsik’s employee. He’s not impressed that guy doesn’t even have a job so he gives him a stack of cash. Afterwards, Samsik meets Woo-seok quickly departing after a veiled threat about a new makgeolli (rice wine).

At the Assembly, Woo-seok amends the Punishment of Corruption Act so that it goes from convicting 50,000 people to no one. Chuckling their way through the amendments that set them free, the Federation praises Samsik for making it so. He closes by inviting them all to an event to unveil the revised Act.

Soo-il and Hyun-seok plan to approach the Second Military Commander. While San visits Rachel to update her on the May 16th event, a great time to talk about Korea-US economic policy. She hedges but he asks her to create a meeting with the President so San can explain it in detail, on her behalf of course.

Afterwards, San and Samsik meet Jang and Hanmin to update them on the Punishment of Corruption Act event on May 16th. Jang is nervous but they convince him of a plan where San will meet the President during the event. General Choi will report a coup with a series of military exercises led by General Hong Youngki, the watchdog. Hong is assigned to question the 89th Division. But what about the US? When the US military calls the President, Choi will step in to confirm the 15th Division will handle it.

Together they plan a series of manoeuvres on several fronts with San blocking Choi and the President from leaving. Samsik suddenly suspects Jang but then wins him over with his plan to nobble the Federation using a new amendment to the Act. Additionally, Samsik has an escape plan should anything go wrong on the 16th. As they close, Jang gives San a gun, suggesting suicide if things don’t go as planned.

At the investigation bunker, Jang tells Samsik the Federation is willing to spare San’s life but that they believe a civilian involved in a coup is dangerous. Jang pronounces San lucky.


Episode Review

Ah, a coup, what a novel idea. For a change. While the government and the military is in a mess figuring out the way forward, what better time than to step in with a ‘better’ plan and completely take over? As citizens continue to protest an absence of democracy and a new government divides the spoils, there’s enough uncertainty to take action now and justify it later.

Canny Samsik is the first to realize things aren’t adding up in their current plan and that there’s a rat among them. Hardly surprising as they’ve all been backstabbing, threatening and lording over each other since the beginning. Of course, there’s bound to be an opportunity to get one over on someone else. And with a coup, one wants to be on the winning side. But what’s the winning side? Still to be seen. Is Samsik right or paranoid?


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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