Stage & Screen

Big Bet, Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2: The Sprawling Crime Saga Returns

Choi Minsik's charismatically complex Korean casino boss is back on our screens once more.
From the Season 2 poster for Big Bet. Courtesy of Disney / Hulu.
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Big Bet, Season 2, Episodes 1 & 2: The Sprawling Crime Saga Returns

For those uninitiated in the world of Big Bet, the Disney+ South Korean drama series follows the character of Cha Moosik, a man who rises to become a casino kingpin in The Philippines but who finds himself stuck in a rather sticky situation when he is accused of a murder he did not commit. Season 2 of the show picks up exactly where Season 1 left off, and watchers of the show are recommended to check out the first season before diving right into Season 2.

The opening two episodes draw the audience back into the world of Big Bet in style, with a flashy action sequence in the casino at the end of Episode 1 that is a riot to watch, whilst the various bits of dialogue between the Korean, English and Tagalog speaking characters are compelling and keeps the episode ticking over nicely. It stands as an effective reintroduction into the world o with all the cast putting on superb performances.

Darker moments help to underline the gangster and criminal underworld level stakes that have been a cornerstone of Big Bet since the very beginning, and a particularly hairy moment involving Heo Sungtae's Seo Taeseok in episode two is one of the best examples of good old fashioned revenge to the highest degree. The balance between suspense and dark humour remain as tight in Season 2 as in the pervious season, as is the set and location detail that shows elements of life and culture in The Philippines.

Many elements that made the first season of Big Bet so likeable still remain, but the show's trump card is still the charismatic performance of Choi Minsik as Moosik. Is he the hero of this story? Or the villain? Or simply a good old anti-hero? He plays every moment with such conviction that even in his most mundane moments the character remains fascinating to watch. Actor Son Sukku continues to be a scene stealer, lending much sympathy to his character of the tortured cop Oh Seunghoon, constantly trapped between his own misgivings, his desire to do good though he has very little resources, and the restrictions that being in a foreign land place on him.

Fans of the show will enjoy its return, and for audiences who love the works of Scorsese and many other creators of that ilk, Big Bet might be right down their alley. With Season 1 being only eight episodes long, new watchers can catch up to Season 2 with ease. The show was initially planned as a two season series, so it remains to be seen how the enigmatic Cha Mu-sik's story finally plays out.

Big Bet is streaming on Hulu (new episodes every Wednesday) and Disney+ now.
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