[summary] The Incarnation of Money – Episode 1

What a good pilot episode! I might be biased to say this but the first episode turns out to be better than what I expected. The team behind the drama is the same one who did History of the Salaryman and Giant, so I have high hopes for this one. Not to mention the promising cast, with some of them that I really adore.

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I’m not sure whether I can be consistent with this, but I’ll try my best. All for my love for this drama!


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A large sum of money and other valuable items were  found buried by some workers at a site and Prosecutor Lee Cha-don (Kang Ji-hwan) is the one in charge for the case. He receives a call from a man who will tell him his real name. The money belongs to someone named Lee Kang-seok and the man is sure that Lee Cha-don is the missing Lee Kang-seok. We went back to the year 1997, where the teenage Lee Kang-seok (Park Ji-bin) was the Young Master of the Lee household. His father, Chairman Lee Jung-man (Joo Hyun), was on his way home from US and he’s happy to see a news article featuring the new star Eun Bi-ryung (Oh Yoon-ah). The woman was having fun with Ji Se-kwang (Park Sang-min) without knowing that Chairman Lee was returning to Korea on that day.

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Kang-seok went to the airport to escort his father home but Chairman Lee was more interested to go somewhere than going back home. Kang-seok knew that the necklace his father bought was meant for his mistress although the family’s lawyer Attorney Hwang Jang-shik (Jung Eun-pyo) tried to deny it. His mother, Madam Park was also aware about the relationship but chose to do nothing because of him. Chairman Lee arrived at Bi-ryung’s place only to witness her in the bath tub together with Se-kwang. He was about to attack them with his golf club but cancelled his intention. He then invited her to a party at his house. Later, Se-kwang caught a paparazzi taking pictures of Bi-ryung and managed to snatch the camera.

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Chairman Lee asked Attorney Hwang about escaping a murder accusation while he’s testing out his rifle. He’s confident to be able to do so with his money. Se-kwang developed the film from the paparazzi’s camera and realized that Chairman Lee dropped by earlier. Suddenly, Chairman Lee called to invite him to his birthday party, lying that he’s still in the US. He also received a call shortly after that,confirming that the chairman had returned home and planning to kill him.

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The preparation was made for the party and at the same time, the chairman was busy making his plan to kill both Bi-ryung and Se-kwang at the same time. Attorney Hwang suggested him to do so when the fireworks were to be shot at 9 PM. Kang-seok’s mother brought in the herbal tonic and Chairman Lee complained about having to take it on his birthday but Attorney Hwang persuaded him into drinking it. The guests started pouring in and Kang-seok greeted Se-kwang happily. Bi-ryung arrived and Chairman Lee praised her for looking all pretty while teasing her about secretly dating behind him. He introduced her to Se-kwang as Attorney Hwang looked uncomfortable and worried. Madam Park greeted Bi-ryung but the young woman kept poking on her wound, showing off her relationship with the chairman. Kang-seok witnessed it as his mother tried to make herself calm by taking tranquilizers.

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Kang-seok walked into the hall while Chairman Lee was delivering his speech and saw Bi-ryung reaching for Se-kwang’s hand under the table. He approached her, asking her for an autograph before squirting the pen’s ink to her. Kang-seok then pulled the pearl necklace his father gave her,sending Bi-ryung on the floor trying to gather the expensive pearls. He warned her, threatening to return the torment she gave his mother. Before he left, Kang-seok flipped the table cloth with all the dishes onto her, concluding his little warning.

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Bi-ryung stayed in the study with the chairman after changing her dirty clothes and he’s waiting for the clock to struck nine. People was getting ready to see the fireworks outside and Kang-seok was about to approach Se-kwang when Attorney Hwang went to Se-kwang, whispering something to him. Se-kwang then went inside but Kang-seok didn’t suspect a thing.

Se-kwang went to meet the chairman and Bi-ryung was about to leave when the chairman told her to stay. He talked about taking care of both of them before reaching for his rifle. He aimed it at them, asking why they betrayed him after spending his money. Chairman Lee pulled the trigger as the fireworks had started outside. However, the rifle didn’t fire anything and Se-kwang brought out the cartridges from his pocket.  The chairman raised the rifle to hit him but he suddenly stopped and fell on the floor.

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Kang-seok asked Attorney Hwang about his father and Bi-ryung’s whereabouts and knew that they were together. Se-kwang didn’t even try to help Chairman Lee who’s gasping for air and reminded him about his father who exchanged his life for money. He told him that Madam Park would be accused of murdering him and his son won’t get a penny from his immense wealth.  It turned out that Se-kwang mixed in something with the herbal medicine and the person responsible for removing the cartridges was Attorney Hwang. Bi-ryung was about to leave the room but seeing Kang-seok approaching the room, Se-kwang jumped out from the balcony and she acted like the chairman suddenly collapsed on his own. Kang-seok entered the room, followed by Se-kwang. Se-kwang thought that the chairman was dead, but he’s still alive. Cue horror expressions stuck on Bi-ryung and Se-kwang’s faces.

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Chairman Lee was brought to the hospital and he’s still alive, although in comatose. Se-kwang, Bi-ryung, and Attorney Hwang were busy calculating their moves and worrying that the chairman might survive, causing their plan to forge his will to flop. Se-kwang went to the hospital and he was about to remove the ventilator; luckily Kang-seok was there and he cancelled his intention of doing so. They soon received the news that Madam Park was brought to the police station as a suspect. Se-kwang got to know that the case would be under Prosecutor Kwon Jae-kyu (Lee Ki-young).

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The news made it into the newspaper and Kang-seok was pissed off when his friend called him a murderer’s son. He recalled about his father telling him not to study, but to use those people who study as his underlings. He went to the hospital and got to know that the chairman’s brain had already died. Attorney Hwang went to meet Madam Park and told her about the change in the chairman’s will: Eun Bi-ryung would get a building after he die. She told him to change it and vowed to kill the chairman with her own hands if she’s found not guilty this time. Her words were recorded and Se-kwang wanted to use it to frame her as the chairman’s murderer after this, but for now, he’s going to save Madam Park.

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The reporters came to Chairman Lee’s house and they were welcomed with a bucket of water splashed onto them by Kang-seok. He warned them not to come again and went in, but he overheard them talking about Bi-ryung’s secret lover. He wanted to ask them about it but they ran away.

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 The trial was carried out with Se-kwang becoming Madam Park’s defense lawyer. After interrupting the court several times with his flu, he managed to prove her not guilty, putting the blame on the chairman’s own medicine. Kang-seok was amazed with him and raised to give him a round of applause, followed by other people. The judge arrived at the conclusion for the trial and announced the final verdict…


Ah, great. The first episode presents itself in a fast but smooth manner and before I realize it, the episode has already ended. It sets up the plot nicely and no doubt that this is going to be a revenge drama, especially for Kang-seok.

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While we only get a glimpse of the adult Lee Cha-don/Lee Kang-seok’s character in this episode, I like the way Park Ji-bin acted out the younger version of  him. Playful but matured in his own way, I can see the similarities between the young and the grown up Kang-seok, although they will be separated by a fragment of lost memory. Right now, I can imagine the transition happening smoothly and it looks like we will see it in the next episode. It’s such a short moment but Park Ji-bin, I’ll be looking forward to you in other shows!

Back to Kang-seok and his family, his life is so going to be complicated after this. Surrounded by money, he’s lucky but not that lucky, with all the things happening because of the people betraying his father, left and right. He’s such a smart boy and it won’t be long until he found out that his father’s most trusted people were the one who caused his death. That won’t be pretty at all, but I’m looking forward to his revenge. Revenge is delicious, especially when it’s associated with money. Yum.

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I don’t really expect to like our dear villain but here I am, admiring how brilliant and calculative he is. Yay for a smart villain, but nay for how sneaky he is! To have someone like Se-kwang around would be a pure nightmare, because his moves aren’t easy to be read. Hate him but I like his intelligence and wit. He certainly have a lot of cards under his sleeves, but we’ll see how long he’ll be able to be the king of the game. We’ll see.

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The one who called Cha-don earlier in the episode was Attorney Hwang and I never thought that he’d be one of the bad guys. I was hoping to see him being the one who would assist Cha-don later but my hope was crushed. Why Hyung-seon, why?? But still, it’s early to tell which side he’s in, either being loyal to Se-kwang or trying to atone for his mistakes of betraying Cha-don’s father. I’m wondering, how did he survived in front of the chairman with his habit of wrinkling his nose each time he’s lying? That must be hard for him.

Overall, this episode makes me fall for the drama and I cannot wait for the next episodes to come. Sometimes I regret watching it so early because it will be excruciating to wait for the new episodes. If only I’m patient enough to wait for several episodes and marathoning it in one go…oh, forget it. You should start watching The Incarnation of Money if you’re a fan of History of the Salaryman and Giant, although the tone is more similar with the latter than the former. I only watched the former but I really enjoyed this one. The loud music at the end reminds me of Five Fingers but it’s a different drama, after all.

4 thoughts on “[summary] The Incarnation of Money – Episode 1

  1. Hmm…I don’t think I’ll watch Incarnation of Money now. I am still trying to finish History of Salarymen and that one appeals to me more. The hair of our main leads is kinda scaring me off from this one. But at least I like the team behind the drama and I trust that the show is better than it looks. Still, I think I’ll first see how the audiences react to it before testing it out myself.

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