Let me start out by saying this; if you’re going to sample Empire of Gold, I’d skip episode one and go for the juicy, meaty main course, episode two. Episode one is delicious, but episode two is decadent. You can read 10Asia’s short and sweet summary of episode one here. If you laugh in the face of tl;dr’s and have mastered the art of skimming paragraphs, here’s a slightly lengthier recap of episode one. There are a lot of adverbs (I get excessive when I’m excited). You have been warned (lulz).
EMPIRE OF GOLD EPISODE 1 RECAP
In one word, Empire of Gold is intense. It begins in medias res with Jang Tae Joo (Go Soo) stonily listening to the radio while speeding along a highway. Over the radio, we hear a female news presenter’s voice reporting that Congressman Kim Gwang Se will cooperate with investigations by the Seoul prosecutor’s office. He receives a call from Yoon Seol Hee (Jang Shin Young) alerting him that she’s finished showering and that Congressman Kim Gwang Se will be leaving for the Seoul prosecutor’s office shortly. He tersely orders her to delay Congressman Kim by sleeping with him again, ignoring the note of plea in her voice. Seol Hee stays still for a moment gazing at her reflection in the bathroom mirror before walking over to the politician and suggestively dropping her towel.
We cut to the next scene with a close-up of a plate of fruit and a paring knife (Chekhov’s gun, people). Tae Joo has arrived at the politician’s villa and proffers a one-way ticket to Macau, one million USD pocket money, and the papers for a shopping complex valued at two million USD and a luxury department store. Tae Joo wants Congressman Kim to leave the country immediately because he suspects that Congressman Kim plans on handing him over to the Seoul prosecutor’s office. Congressman Kim makes a show of heartily accepting Tae Joo’s offer and pretends to call and order his secretary to cancel his appointment with the prosecutor’s office and burn all incriminating documents. Tae Joo is onto him, however, and immediately calls Secretary Choi himself to check if Congressman Kim had really given those instructions. Tae Joo coolly reacts to Secretary Choi’s negatives and slowly corners Congressman Kim before grasping his throat. He growls, “Did you think you could throw me to the gutter? Listen carefully. What you have, ambition, power, I have too. So when I when my hand waves goodbye, leave.”