Saturday, June 16, 2018

“The Duo” synopsis by episode (Eps. 1-32, no spoilers)

“The Duo” is a 2011 South Korean historical drama series, starring Chun Jung-myung, Lee Sang-yoon, Han Ji-hye and Seo Hyun-jin. It aired on MBC from February 7 to May 24, 2011.

“The Duo” received solid ratings, averaging 13.0 percent on Total National Multimedia Statistics (TNmS) chart and 16.7 percent Ratings on AGB Nielsen Media Research (AGB) poll, coming in first in its primetime slot several times during its run. (Wikipedia)

From Thundie’s Prattle:

This show is Quality. Quality writing (Kim Woon Myung), quality directing (Im Tae Woo, Kim Geun Hong), quality sets, quality acting, quality editing, quality soundtrack… OK, I think I’ve made my point.

... while is Duo is profound and intelligent, it’s not art-house high-brow or self-conscious. You know how you can watch a highly-acclaimed art movie and be thinking “I’m sure I’m supposed to be deeply impressed. But I’m SO BORED.” Duo is not like that. It is very watchable. It has a gripping story and a zippy pace. And it is often extremely funny. Not funny by way of ridiculously unrealistic embarrassing situations, exaggerated facial expressions or arch meta jokes. But genuinely funny.

The Duo is pleasingly and intelligently grounded in real lives. But not dull old lives, mind you.

Instead, interesting, breathing lives. Sageuk can get carried away with period, scale and costume, indulging in expansive gestures (and much shouting) that lose their grip on reality. But The Duo is different, somehow. It is subtle and humane. It doesn’t shout at the viewer. It speaks companionably.

Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; 31; 32; Lessons in photography from “The Duo”

How I wrote these synopses with no spoilers

1. I assumed that you will be reading these synopses and watching the videos chronologically.

2. I narrated the main actions in each episode, without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.

3. At the beginning of each synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table a summary of the major twists and turns of the previous episode. But because you have already watched the video of the previous episode, they aren’t spoilers anymore.

(I used this same structure in my synopses/recaps of “A Tree With Deep Roots,” “The Princess’s Man,” “The Flower in Prison,” “Saimdang, Light’s Diary,” “The Moon That Embraces The Sun,” “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds,” “Jumong,” “Dong Yi,” “Rebel: Thief Who Stole People,” “Yi San,” “Jejoongwon,” “Six Flying Dragons,” The King’s Doctor,” and “A Jewel in the Palace.”)

Episode 1

On a rainy night, the wife of nobleman Kim Jin-Sa dies while giving birth. That same night, the runaway slaves Seo-dol and the pregnant Mak-soon seek refuge in a camp of beggars that’s ruled by Jang Kkot-ji; Mak-soon also gives birth that night.

Needing to feed his newly-born son, Kim Jin-Sa orders his steward to find a wet nurse. The steward goes to the beggars camp and forcibly takes Mak-soon with him.

Kim Jin-sa later orders his steward not to allow Mak-soon to return to the beggars camp and to keep her permanently as the wet nurse.

The slave hunter who has been chasing after Seo-dol and Mak-soon meets Kkot-ji and offers him 200 nyang to bring Mak-soon to him, dead or alive.

Episode 2

Episode 1 recap:

Kim Jin-sa pays off Kkot-ji not to say anything about Mak-soon to the slave hunter.

Despite the good food and fair treatment by nobleman Kim Jin-sa, Mak-soon continues to long for her own son. When Seo-dol secretly goes to Kim Jin-sa's house with her son, she decides to swap her son with Kim Jin-sa’s son.
Fifteen years later ...

Kim Jin-sa’s son Gwi-dong (who’s actually Mak-soon’s son) grows up as a headstrong young man who’s always getting into trouble. Skipping school, he goes to the mountain to hunt and to learn how to use guns. He has also become infatuated with Dong-nyeo, the daughter of Teacher Sung, his Confucian-classics teacher.

Meanwhile, Chun-doong (who’s actually Kim Jin-sa’s son) grows up as a beggar who’s well-liked by people in the market. Kkot-ji’s first wife and Seo-dol have helped each other raising him, with Seo-dol always encouraging him to read and study.

Worried that their secret might be found out, Seo-dol has repeatedly asked Mak-soon to leave now that her son is a young master who's about to take the civil service exams.

Due to Kim Jin-sa’s influence, his brother-in-law becomes the county magistrate.

Chun-doong finds out from Kkot-ji and his second wife (Do Gab’s mother) that the wet nurse in Kim Jin-sa’s house is his mother. He goes there, but Kim Jin-sa and his servant catch him sneaking around the house.

Episode 3

Episode 2 recap:

Kim Jin-sa wants Gwi-dong to become a Confucian scholar and government official, but Gwi-dong wants to become a military officer.

Mak-soon realizes that the young man who was caught by Kim Jin-sa and his servant is the real son of Kim Jin-sa.

Because of Kim Jin-sa’s false testimony, Teacher Sung was removed from his government office, and her uncle was exiled.

Gwi-dong and his friend arrive late in school; sneaking into the back gate, Gwi-dong sees Chun-doong listening in to the class and writing on the ground.
Chun-doong runs away from the school when Gwi-dong accuses him of stealing a book.

The young man who stole the chickens goes to Kim Jin-sa’s house, bringing with him the horse that Gwi-dong asked for.

On the mountain, Gwi-dong continues to learn how to use guns with Dal-yi, Hunter Kang’s daughter. Later, as they return to the village, they see Gwi-dong’s hunting teacher being arrested by the police.

At his secret forest hut, Chun-doong happily reads the book that Seo-dol gave to him. When he reads a passage that he can’t understand, he goes to the house of Teacher Sung and begs on his knees, asking for help in understanding the passage.

Kim Jin-sa’s wife scolds Mak-soon for having spoiled Gwi-dong. Meanwhile, in the school, Gwi-dong asks Dal-yi to give the embroidered shoes to Dong-nyeo.

Hunter Kang arranges a secret meeting between Teacher Kang and two disgruntled scholars who want him to submit a petition on their behalf.

Gwi-dong leaves the school at night after failing to meet Teacher Kang. Unknown to him and despite her fears, Dong-nyeo follows him as he walks back to his forest hut.

Episode 4

Episode 3 recap:

Gwi-dong orders the policemen to leave; later, he promises Hunter Kang and the others that he will talk to his uncle, the county magistrate, about the problem.

Impressed by Gwi-dong’s talent for poetry, Teacher kang decides to accept him as a student.

Dong-nyeo rejects the embroidered shoes, and Dal-yi cries her heart out, having thought that Gwi-dong was interested in her.

Gwi-dong goes to the river to meet Mak-soon whom he believes is his real mother.
Mak-soon runs away from the river, but Chun-doong follows her back to Kim Jin-sa’s house.

Kim Jin-sa sends Mak-soon and another servant to bring cotton and rice for the school; later, she and Kim Jin-sa agree on sending Mak-soon away from their household.

Teacher Sung confronts Kim Jin-sa about the abuses being committed by his brother-in-law, the county magistrate. Later, conflict arises between Hunter Kang, Teacher Sung, and the Confucian scholars.

Gwi-dong learns from the chicken thief and his friends about the haunted forest hut. He dares his classmates to go to the hut at night and catch the ghost; later, he visits Dal-yi to borrow her gun.

But Dong-nyeo finds out about Gwi-dong’s plan, and she rushes to the hut to warn Chun-doong.

Episode 5

Episode 4 recap:

Teacher Sung finds out from Kim Jin-sa that his group is bring spied upon; in anger, Hunter Kang quits the group and vows that commoners like him will rise up and fight for justice.

Chun-doong and Dong-nyeo work together to scare off Gwi-dong and his friends.

Chun-doong returns the shoes that Do-gab stole from Gwi-dong’s half-sister, but Kkot-ji finds out about it and begins to beat him up. Hunter Kang and Dal-yi arrive and rescue Chun-doong.

Lessons in photography from “The Duo”

Shallow depth of field, selective or differential focusing
Background blur, compressed perspective
High angle shot, Rule of Odds
Lines of direction
Natural frame, background blur
Reflection, shape
Silhouette, Rule of Thirds
Conveying depth through overlapping forms
High angle shot, direction of light

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