Uncle Samsik – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Win Over

Uncle Samsik Episode 3 opens on a 16-year-old Samsik as he and his father are beaten. Later, He’s sent back to gain revenge with the promise of all the red bean buns he can eat.

Back at the interrogation bunker, Captain Jeong Han-min is taken away, just as in Episode 1. Captain Lee Sooil interrogates him roughly. Beaten, Han-min describes meeting Samsik on Nov 30, 1959, while drinking with General Jang and colleagues. Angry over missing a promotion, he drinks too much, spouting anger and anti-government sentiment.

Outside, Samsik offers him a light, noting his fire, although he already knows all about Han-min. They agree politics poisoned the military and it must be cleansed. Choi Min-kyu’s guys dominate the military, but CIC Head Hong, the most corrupt of them all, could be a help before they dispose of him.

To Captain Lee, Han-min implicates Samsik in re-selling US Army supplies. Samsik promises him a huge promotion as he reveals Hong’s weakness – fear of all the enemies he’s created.

But with Jang, Hong claims he didn’t frame anyone, they were all thieves. Jang convinces him to align with a blind eye for  30% cut, adding another string to Samsik’s bow. Han-min picks up the story, noting Samsik likes to work in this convoluted way, always with more than one objective in mind.

He recounts how they started the deal with the US military, reselling their expired goods and worn-down tires on the black market. The cash flowed in and everyone got their cut, including Hong. Samsik isn’t like the rest of us, he notes. Captain Lee digs further on how others were recruited and Han-min’s place in it.

He describes how Samik got involved with Kim Kwangmin, CEO of Sanae Corporation, and another Albright scholar. Kim asked San for help with an application – a Samsik set-up to give him a reason to meet. It leads Kim into Samsik’s organization including association with the Federation. But of course, the ultimate goal was luring San, who soon discovered Kim’s problem magically solved.

San picks up the story, noting that even while in the Audit Bureau he didn’t give up his plan yet continued to feel hopeless about achieving it. Stumbling home drunk, he speaks to his father who’s too unwell to respond. He blames him for sending his brother out to beg for food during an air raid and getting him killed while his pregnant wife waited at home.

The next day, San walks in the neighborhood, watched by Samsik’s people who report his every move. When he heads to the Innovation Party office that evening, he’s tracked again. As he rests with Yeojin for a moment, the Seodaemun Gang throws Molotov cocktails through the window, driving everyone outside the building. Ready in the street below, the gang comes at them with sticks.

Yeojin is thrown and as San tries to help her, he spots Choo’s – her Dad’s – car pulling up to the building. But instead of coming to help, his car backs away from the fray. San sits beside Yeojin in the hospital going over it in his head. While by radio, all the parties listen to hear that President Rhee will run again.

Back at home, San listens to the phone ring and people celebrating in the streets. But to the investigator, he recalls comparing his father’s failed parenthood to that of Choo Intae, who he’d seen as a replacement father figure. In the past, San finally picks up the call – it’s Samsik, of course. Who says they can make San’s plan happen with concessions, but guaranteeing power. After the call, Samsik heads to meet Hong.


The Episode Review

So Samsik’s life of crime begins, killing for red bean bread and revenge. It seems he’s had a pretty rough life to form the man he is. But no amount of hardship can create someone with as much ambition and all-out game as Samsik. He possesses that drive and tactical mindset all within himself.

As the interrogating officers share reports with each other and their detainees, more is revealed about Samsik’s extreme networking and ability to instantly assess a person’s leanings and potential to move his entire chess board forward. It’s fascinating how he spots four simultaneous moves ahead, to assemble their team by creating just the right problem to lure someone along, then solving it instantly, gaining solid support. Best multi-layered marketing program ever.

So, while Samsik’s drive was created from anger, San’s is from despair. We learn a bit of his backstory too and about his family’s tough times. It’s clear he’s seeking support but also guidance. And in that moment when Choo’s car backs away, you can see San’s heart break. How could he leave his party members – his daughter – to fight alone? How can San now follow him, let alone join him as part of the party? Even with San’s new heartache, it’s clear the job of ‘father’ is still open. And Samik – who’s created the problem – is there to solve that one too.


What’s your favorite piece of Uncle Samsik? Let us know in the comments below. 

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