Rating:
Average user rating 4.5
87

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 1

An epic iteration of our classic hero begins! The tale of Hong Gil-dong never gets old, and Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People is the most recent proof that this story endures the test of time and multiple adaptations. It seems that this timeless story was timed perfectly in our current context of unrest, and maybe this story may provide some hope for life to imitate art. Our hero isn’t the spotlight of our origin story yet, though we’re promised a great, strong, and (hopefully a little) odd person to be the rebel for our people. It’s the tale of the devoted father today, and he’s the one who makes me anticipate our hero even more.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A bloody hand reaches for a handful of grass as we listen to the father asking his young son, “Have you heard of a Mighty Child?” The son hasn’t, so the father explains in a voiceover: “Strong as a bear, swift as a snake, able to recover with one night’s rest no matter the injury — that child was fated to become the greatest general of the land.”

The bloody hand belongs to the son, HONG GIL-DONG (Yoon Kyun-sang), except he’s older in this introduction. He single-handedly fights off his opponents with superhuman strength and blows them away with his breath. He effectively fights off swords with stalks of wheat, as the father continues in voiceover: A Mighty Child cannot hold in his own strength, and when he cannot suppress his own power, everyone dies. The Mighty Child, his mother, father, and brother all die.

We see a fast montage of all the players in this story as the young son asks who kills them all. The father answers, “The king.”

Winter, 1505, eleven years under King Yeonsangun’s rule. A woman hums a tune with her eyes closed as she gets pampered by a bath. This is JANG NOK-SOO (Honey Lee), a concubine to the king. Unaware to Nok-soo, King Yeonsangun (Kim Ji-suk) enters the room and dries her hair. When he makes his presence known, Nok-soo smiles slyly but then opens her eyes in alarm at the mention of Hong Gil-dong. Supposedly, she knew Gil-dong before she entered the palace, he says.

We skip to a standoff in a battle, where Gil-dong’s opponents threaten to kill their captive if he doesn’t open the doors. The captive is SONG GA-RYUNG (Chae Soo-bin), and she’s tied to a pole and blindfolded. She yells that if he turns back because of her, she’ll never see him again. Tears in his eyes, Gil-dong pulls his bow back and aims in her direction. He shoots his arrow, and an arrow (we don’t know if it’s Gil-dong’s arrow) pierces Ga-ryung’s chest, slowly staining her hanbok with blood.

King Yeonsangun meets Gil-dong on horseback and demands answers. Is he the descendant of a Goryeo king? A resentful child of a concubine? What on earth is he? Smirking, Gil-dong denies the king’s theories and responds, “I am simply the son of my father. My father, Amogae.”

Yeonsangun refuses to believe that Gil-dong was born from such an unworthy person, so Gil-dong asks in response, “How did a ruler, who was born from the heavens, become so ignoble?” Yeonsangun takes offense, and it seems that Gil-dong has won this battle.

We begin at the origin, and we hear Gil-dong’s voiceover as we follow footsteps at a house: “Father. Born the son of a chamberlain and grown to be a chamberlain. He lived and died as Amogae doing all the lowly work. How can I forget his cries for me? ‘Gil-dong! Gil-dong!'”

As a woman cleans dishes, a man surprises her in the reflection of the plate. She claims that she was so surprised her baby could have dropped (a common phrase to express surprise), and he jokes that she must be suggesting that they make another child. This is HONG AMOGAE (Kim Sang-joong) and his wife, GEUM-OK (Shin Eun-jung).

She tells him about a baby who died recently and the rumors that the baby was a Mighty Child because it had already developed shoulder blade bones. Amogae doesn’t believe her and jokes that he would abandon a Mighty Child if it were his.

They’re interrupted by their older son, who brings his crying baby brother to his mother. As she feeds him, she asks Amogae to name the child, and he seems to be stubbornly insistent on a name that she doesn’t approve of. She can only breastfeed him for a moment while her older son keeps watch before she’s summoned to breastfeed the noble family’s child.

Amogae is left alone with the baby, and he checks the child’s back for any sign of early should blade bone growth. He’s relieved when he finds nothing, and he tells the baby that his name is Gil-dong. He assures the baby and himself that he won’t settle for the simpler names. He lifts the baby up and calls his name twice: “Gil-dong! Gil-dong!”

The male servants are gathered in front of their nobleman for the announcement of which servant will be freed, and Amogae looks disappointed when he isn’t chosen. After all the servants leave, he stays to ask the nobleman about their promise. Year after year, the nobleman promised Amogae’s release, but he simply argues that it’s not his time yet.

Later that night, Amogae expresses his wishes to live independently outside this noble’s household, but Geum-ok is wary of the expensive tributary payments necessary to live outside. She seems content with their humble life, since their children can be well fed. Baby Gil-dong nudges a metal tool, and we transition later into his childhood.

Young Gil-dong holds the same tool and fiddles with it until his older brother summons him outside. He throws the tool on the ground, and we see that he’s been able to fold the metal over. The brothers and the other servant children are ordered to find flat rocks to make a wall, and they run to the mountains for their search. In the family’s room, Amogae finds the bent-over tool and looks at it strangely.

As the boys hike up the hill, Gil-dong’s brother, GIL-HYUN, complains about the weight of the rocks. He rests against a tree, wishing that someone would carry the rocks home for him. Gil-dong looks at the satchel curiously with a finger up his nose (before eating the booger), and when Gil-hyun wakes up, neither the satchel nor Gil-dong are there.

Gil-hyun runs through the town shouting Gil-dong’s name and finally finds him in front of their master’s house. He finds the rock and asks who carried this home. Before Gil-dong can claim responsibility, Gil-hyun assumes that an older friend carried it home for him and thanks the confused friend.

Gil-dong finds his mother cleaning clay pots and asks her to make scorched rice, since the other kids are having it. She placatingly tells Gil-dong that she’ll make the rice and tells him to go play with other kids. But Gil-dong just stays there and sticks his finger up his nose again, while his mother leaves to ask for help in moving the heavy fermenting pot.

When she returns with Amogae, she’s alarmed to find that the pot is no longer there. They hear Gil-dong chanting nearby and follow his voice to find him as well as the pot. He smiles innocently at his mother and asks for the scorched rice.

As the family eats, Gil-hyun mentions how his older friend helped carry the rocks home today. Gil-dong claims that it could have been him, but no one takes him seriously. Gil-dong doesn’t seem to mind and happily shoves spoonfuls of rice into his mouth. Amogae sees this and adds more rice to his younger son’s bowl.

The servant children and the young master venture out to town to watch a traveling theater troupe, where a trio boasts of their strength by breaking pieces of wood with their bodies. Watching this, Gil-dong claims that he could do the same, and challenges the entertainers.

Back at the house, the boys’ mother tells Amogae that the boys went to the show and cute Gil-dong claimed that he could challenge the rumored superhuman strength of the troupe. Amogae laughs at the idea, but his worry and suspicion motivates him to check on Gil-dong.

At the show, the young master announces Gil-dong’s challenge to the crowd, and though Gil-hyun tries to hold his brother back, Gil-dong takes the stage. He insults the trio on their weak act and bad breath, provoking the leader to give the child the impossible deed of breaking real wood (as opposed to the trick wood they’ve been using). Gil-dong takes on the challenge, his face tightening as he pushes all this strength into breaking the wood. The wood begins to crack and splinter, shocking the crowd.

Amogae arrives and rushes to the stage to stop his son. He grabs the piece of wood as the crowd begins to murmur about the Mighty Child. To cover up his son’s impossible act, Amogae picks up the other pieces of trick wood and reveals that the wood had already been broken. He proves to the crowd that anyone could break compromised pieces of wood, and the crowd immediately vacates the space. The leader of the troupe knows the truth, but she flees the scene without a fight.

As they all walk home, the young master complains that his feet hurt, so Amogae gives him a piggyback ride. The young master sticks his tongue out and grabs Amogae’s hair, which makes Gil-dong boil with anger. Amogae tells Gil-hyun to discipline his brother, but the warning does little to simmer Gil-dong’s anger down.

That night, Amogae sits deep in thought, and his wife asks what he’s thinking about. He shares that he was a very strong child in his youth, to the point that people felt threatened by his extreme strength. Although he is still known for his strength now, he does not know how he lost his strength. He wonders if it disappeared because he discouraged his own strength, persuading himself that it was wrong. He tells his wife to look after Gil-dong carefully, since he has a tendency to lose his temper. She doesn’t seem as worried, but notes the sense of urgency in Amogae’s request.

The next day, Gil-dong’s mother Geum-ok watches her son sweeping the ground, with the young master throwing twigs at him from behind. She doesn’t think too much of it and gets on her way. The young master accuses Gil-dong of lying and challenges him to break another piece of wood. Gil-dong shakes his head in refusal, so the young master meanly threatens to kick out his whole family.

As she walks away, Geum-ok thinks back to Amogae’s request and hesitantly turns back to check on her son. Gil-dong refuses to follow the young master’s order, so the young master walks away rambling about how his father correctly warned him about how low-borns lie about everything. Gil-dong’s anger reaches its tipping point, and he kicks the large stone mortar. It flies toward the young master — shocking both children — but Geum-ok arrives just in time to push the young master out of harm’s way.

The mistress of the home rushes out to the young master’s cries and slaps Geum-ok across the face for hurting her son. Geum-ok claims that she was saving the young master from the flying mortar, but the mistress doesn’t believe that the mortar could have flown across the yard. Geum-ok looks to Gil-dong, but she can’t articulate an explanation.

The mistress reminds Geum-ok that she would be punished for any harm done to her son, and she orders Geum-ok to get up from her knees to receive punishment. The mistress hits Geum-ok’s calves with branches as Gil-dong watches, tied helplessly to a pole. Amogae tries to appease the young master and requests forgiveness for Gil-dong, but the young master doesn’t budge.

Out of options, Amogae grabs a piece of wood in one hand and Gil-dong in the other. He tells the mistress that he will teach Gil-dong proper manners today, and drags the boy out into the hills. Amogae holds Gil-dong’s wrist on a log and lifts his bat to crush his son’s hand. He tries to swing his bat, but he can’t bring himself to hurt his son. Amogae’s eyes soften and tear up, and Gil-dong hugs in father in tears.

Amogae carries his son down the hill and asks why he didn’t avoid the bat. Gil-dong says he trusted that his father couldn’t hurt him and only cried because he was sad. He saw tears in his father’s eyes, and that made him sad, he says. Amogae looks touched and pauses for a moment before continuing in their way.

Geum-ok gently touches her tender calves, and at the sight of the mortar, she thinks back to Gil-dong’s shocking strength. Amogae goes to the master and makes a deal to be released from his servitude. He promises to take some old dried pollack that’s about to go bad and return with ten times the worth of the goods. If he is unable to fulfill his promise, Amogae agrees to let Gil-dong be traded away.

Amogae takes Gil-dong out for food and lets his curious son try some of the makgulli he so enjoys. Gil-dong makes a face indicative of his disapproval, giving Amogae something to laugh about. Amogae tells his son that he has a story to tell before he leaves for his long trip. He tells the story of a Mighty Child. A couple wanted to have a child, so they prayed to Samshin (the goddess of birth) for three hundred days. They were able to have the child, but that child was a Mighty Child. “Strong as a bear, swift as a snake, able to recover with one night’s rest no matter the injury — that child was fated to become the greatest general of the land.”

Gil-dong assumes that this must have been great for the child, but Amogae shakes his head and explains. Although a Mighty Child is great for powerful people, prodigies are fatal for lowly people because they must suppress their power. If the lowly Mighty Child cannot resist his own power, everyone will die: his father, mother, brother, and himself. Gil-dong asks who kills everyone, and his father says that the king does.

Amogae then asks what the Mighty Child should do for everyone to live. Gil-dong stares at his father blankly, so Amogae gives him the answer by putting his finger to his lips. “You cannot tell anyone. No matter how resentful you feel or the suffering you endure, you can never use your strength. Understand?” Gil-dong nods.

Unable to sleep on this last night, Geum-ok asks how Amogae plans to fulfill his part of the deal and wonders how she’ll live if something happens on his journey. He pulls her closer, and she expresses regret for holding onto him. She regrets that she should have let him go, but Amogae says that he’s become a person thanks to her. He tells her to be strong and remember his warning, and he vows to become a different person for the family.

Geum-ok prepares food for the road, and Amogae tries to leave in a light mood. As he walks through the fields, he hears his sons calling out for him. They yell for him at the top of the hill, and Gil-dong asks that he bring back treats on his way back. He turns to get on his way, but Gil-dong longingly yells for his father once more to return home quickly. Amogae promises to bring treats for his sons, and motions them to head home. Gil-hyun bows and Gil-dong waves as their father treks onward.

Amogae reaches the city of Kaesong and marvels at the lively markets. He attempts to sell his old dried pollack to vendors and on the streets, but to no avail. Taking a break, Amogae waits for his food and hears the sounds of a pursuit coming his way. The runaway passes by in slow motion, and Amogae decides to kick a chair to trip the pursuers. Runaway looks back and points at Amogae before quickly running away.

As Amogae tries to sell his pollack on a corner without much success, a group of men surround him. He looks up and meets eyes with Runaway. They go for drinks, and Runaway looks surprised by Amogae’s drinking capacity. He asks why Amogae decided to help him, and Amogae just says that it was his choice. Amogae finishes the pot of makgulli and prepares to continue on his journey, but Runaway tries to return the favor by pointing out that he won’t make money by selling almost-rotting dried pollack.

That night, Runaway, who we will later know to be SOBOORI (Park Joon-kyu), brings Amogae to the front of a gisaeng house and explains that all the high officials are in there, which means that they have… great food (ha). Amogae doesn’t see the point, so Soboori tells his buddy YONGGAE (Lee Joon-hyuk) to list off all the delicacies.

After naming all the fish, meats, sweets, and alcohol, Yonggae has made his point about the expensive food, and Soboori tells Amogae that they need him to sneak into the house the next day with a gisaeng friend and hide in the storage room. Their faces are too familiar now, but Amogae can avoid suspicion. They encourage him with a thumbs up.

The next morning, Amogae enters the gisaeng house carrying goods, and the gisaeng friend motions Amogae to enter the storage room as she distracts the inventory official. The storage room is then locked up for the day, leaving Amogae safely inside. Amogae marvels at the high class food and takes the freedom of trying some of it for himself.

That night, Runaway Soboori and his bandit team roll up with their cart and knock on the window to the storage room. Soboori orders Amogae to pass the food through the window, and once they’ve got everything, he convinces Amogae that the gisaeng friend will come save him the next morning. The bandits abandon Amogae in the storage room and snicker at their dumb fall guy.

Amogae belatedly realizes the scam and tries to open the storage window, but it’s been blocked by the thieves. He laughs at his own stupidity before spotting some tools along the storage room walls. The wheels begin to turn.

The inventory official finds the storage room empty the next morning, and the security guards run inside. They hear the aching voice of a man, and they find Amogae looking beaten up on the ground as he cries out in pain. The doctor checks Amogae’s “injuries” and determines that he’s broken some bones. Amogae describes the thief as a man with a mole on his left side of his nose, and the likeness is then distributed throughout the city.

Buddy Yonggae urgently runs to Soboori and shows him only half of the drawing he meant to show, so he brings Soboori to the source. Soboori finds his face on wanted posters, and unluckily runs into guards looking for him. They take a good look at his face and then the drawing, and ultimately decide to take him in. Soboori doesn’t resist his capture, and Yonggae feigns ignorance.

At the gisaeng house, Soboori stands in line with more suspects, all with moles on their faces. He then makes eye contact with Amogae, who gives him a knowing stare. As each suspect is let free, Yonggae watches with anxiety and motions Soboori to eat his mole. And he does — as he pretends to sneeze, he picks off his mole and pops it right into his mouth.

Amogae stops the investigation and limps towards a now mole-less Soboori. He makes an accusation to the officials, “This man is definitely… definitely not the one.” Soboori looks shocked, and the officials demand another search. Ha, he just played them.

Yonggae celebrates with drinks, but Soboori doesn’t seem to enjoy the celebration. While emptying his bladder on the street, a knife comes at his neck. It’s Amogae, and he’s asking for his share of the deal.

Soboori agrees to let Amogae take the goods, though Yonggae protests this decision. Before Amogae leaves, Soboori asks why he let him free, and Amogae gives the same answer: It was his choice. Amogae limps out and turns around to invite Soboori to where he lives, since he could be of use there. Amogae mockingly gives them a thumbs up and heads home.

Gil-dong waits on the top of the hill, hoping for his father to return home. The reunion seems close enough, as we see Amogae climbing the hill and walking through the fields. He takes out rice cakes from his bags and says happily, “Gil-hyun, Gil-dong — Father is coming.”

 
COMMENTS

I thought this was a great introduction to our hero and his origins, especially in giving us the context of Hong Gil-dong’s upbringing in this story. It was a very simple setup of good versus bad and rich versus poor, and it felt really innocent in a good way. Especially given the intensity of the introduction scene, I like the contrast that the childhood story provided. Hong Gil-dong is going to be a super strong and powerful force for the people, but let’s allow him to be a kid and enjoy the simplicity of childhood first. I do hope this undertone of innocence and oddity survives the childhood phase and continues into adult Hong Gil-dong, because I think Yoon Kyun-sang would carry that well, especially after seeing him in Six Flying Dragons.

Speaking of, this first episode was a little stingy with the Yoon Kyun-sang (I was hopeful but accepting of his absence), but I found myself really enjoying the child actor playing Hong Gil-dong. He was adorable in every way, and honestly, he looks vaguely similar to Yoon Kyun-sang (dimples!), enough to make this upcoming transition believable. Again, the portrayal of Hong Gil-dong was pretty simple, straightforward, and almost comical in the discovery of the super-strength abilities, but the simplicity works to the story’s favor, especially since we’re just beginning.

The explanation for the superhuman physical strength was a bit more complex than my initial translation to “mighty child,” but “young superhuman strength” or “baby super power” or “super-strength prodigy” seemed a little long-winded for the point. “Mighty Child” was the best translation from the literal translation of “Baby Strong One.” This is one of the unfortunate translation deficits in converting an idea held within a word into a phrase in English, because there is no meaningful direct translation. (And note that this translation may change with more context in future episodes.)

Kim Sang-joong is truly the father of all fathers, and it makes me wonder if it’s his ability to choose really good father roles or whether he just turns ordinary father roles into something greater. I think it may be the latter, but it could be the combination of a great character and the great actor in portraying multiple sides of the character in this one episode. He’s simultaneously gentle and tough, with an obvious love for his family. He’s a pushover — which makes sense, given his status as a servant — but he grows out of that with resilience and quick wit. This episode belonged to him, and I think he deserves the central story arc until little Gil-dong matures enough to take over.

Every story of Hong Gil-dong has its own tweaks and emphasis, and I enjoyed how this first impression emphasized family and managed to make it an easy watch. The challenges Gil-dong experienced were not placed solely on his shoulders but shared with his family. In many ways, I can see this dynamic extending into Hong Gil-dong’s future team of bandits and also influencing his rebellion for the people. That short introduction of the battle and rebellion had me really excited, and I hope that we really get to see more of the people than the politics. In a way, this drama seems fitting for a time when politics takes priority over the people — hopefully, we’ll see an epic reversal as a form of catharsis for us all.

RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , , ,

87

Required fields are marked *

Moooosaaa Moohyul! Heee still couldn't erase that image off of him! Esp during the first few scenes.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I thought I'd watch this while ironing clothes, well, after Yoon Kyun Sang disappeared and the story focused on the young Gil Dong, hmm, this is kinda good. So I made myself comfortable and watched ep 1 and 2. Good tactic to draw viewers in with the back story first coz well, I don't really warm up to Yoon Kyun Sang that easy. I don't really think much of him as an actor but I saw him one time in this show and learned that he's got two adorable cats and those cats are all over him, so he must be a good person. Maybe I just didn't like his character in Time We were Not in Love and I dropped Doctors after 1 ep. I don't think I've ever seen this Ahjussi Kim Sang Joong so I searched wiki for his other kdramas, usually melodrams or cameos in popular ones, I don't remember him then I saw Bad Guy, oh my, so that was him! I was scared of that Ahjussi as Oh Gu Tak, here he is everything a model Joseon father should be, how empathic. In that scene alone where he was suppose to beat Gil Dong's hand with the wood pestle thing, that was deeply moving. I hope he'll still be with Gil Dong as an adult coz it's a shame to waste the talent of a gifted actor on just a two episode intro, right?!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Right back at you Kim Sang-joong <3.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Super excited about this one after Ep 1. ^^

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The first episodes are good. The little kid is good. The mom and dad are wonderful.

The only negative thing is they show chae soo bin will be shot .

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Seems like MBC strength is sageuk. And they will have 3 sageuk this year

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

We had enough with Kim So-hyun being shot in Goblin and showing it in about 8,000 flashbacks. Hope they don't flashback their own arrow scene (or anything else) that many times.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is that a challenge I hear??

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I really loved the first 2 episodes. This is the first time a drama has made me feel something since Scarlet Heart, I hope it stays this good!

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had utterly no expectations going into this drama. I just watched it while eating dinner just to check it out. But I ended up being very pleasantly surprised. It's great so far.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was eating while watching. This until the little one had a Joseon Subway to get the strength to carry the rocks for his brother.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks dramallama for the recap,

Not watching this yet but been following it as rebel is rather trendy on naver now, if I’m not mistaken.

10% on the 2nd episode against the rating magnet which is Defendant is definitely nothing to sniff at.

Anyway, love Honey Lee mane of glory even though it seemed a little bit overdone. Anyway, is mane of glory can be applied in her case?

1
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sorry. * .. recap.

.. Rebel .. .

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

yeah, 10% while they're still in the childhood portion of the drama (and literally doubling the ratings of the drama just before them) is quite a good job!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haven't seen it yet. Just wanted to drop in to see what the response was. Seems encouraging. :)

Chae Soo Bin is my new favorite actress, so I'm looking forward to watching this.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Another drama, another journey.
Well, it sure left a good first impression on me.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Kim Sang-joong is truly the father of all fathers..."
So true!

OK yet to start this drama because god it will be long journey (30 episodes). I will wait for few more episodes before start. I will surely watch this. As expected, MBC's strength is on sageuk drama. Most of my favourite sageuk comes from MBC.

2nd episode already reached two digits. Well done. I want these two drama to do well, side by side.

0
14
reply

Required fields are marked *

I meant Rebel and Defendant.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is a 30 episode drama???!

Holy cow I didn't realize that. Suddenly, I'm less enthusiastic about this show.

There's just no good reason to have that many episodes in my book. Why say in 30 or 50 episodes what you could say in 16 or 20? I know it's big with sageuks and weekend dramas, but sheesh...

It's like the people making these 30+ hour dramathons never took the old adage less is more seriously. They laughed and carried on like every production is War and Peace. ;)

0
12
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes it is 30 episodes. But sageuk usually works well with long episodes, even during the golden time of sagaeuk, even reached more than 50 episodes. I think it is wose for story telling, plot and character development as well. Of course not something like youthful / romance sageuk like Moon Lovers, Moonlights etc because 20 episodes already more than enough for this type.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i must be the only one who is so happy it's 30 episodes

0
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

No. I'm with you. Let's be happy together! ^^

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

:D

0

No. I am happy too. It is just that for long drama i usually wait for several episodes before start 😉

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

As long as it's done well, 30 episodes are fine by me. Writer-nim's previous drama, THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG, ran for 108 episodes of roughly half an hour, five days a week, and was great fun. It had comedy, tragedy, political intrigue, skullduggery... a kickass heroine, and another great drama dad. With that kind of track record, I've been looking forward to Writer-nim's next outing, and it's finallyarrived.

*jumps up and down with glee*

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I third this, I like that this is a 30-episoder!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Well... I don't mind long episodes if it's a sageuk. Usually sageuk has so many characters in it and the story is quite complex so it needs long episodes to develop them properly. Unless you don't mind to miss so many things because they happen offscreen, just like what happened in Moon Lovers Scarlet Heart: Ryeo.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

i only would be upset if the story drags out plotlines but i have faith it won't be the case with rebel, i mean there's so much story to explore

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Okay so I've gathered that I'm perhaps in the minority in regard to the length.

Most comments (read: all) seem supportive of the decision to have 30 episodes.

After thinking about it, I guess I have little experience with this type of sageuk (I don't have the attention span honestly haha). I've only ever watched, as @Sera The Ms Temper put it, youth/romance sageuks, like The Princess' Man, MDBC and SHR.

So I take your point about it being necessary to properly tell all the characters' stories. :)

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Honestly, most kdramas don't need 20 or even 16 episodes, given their tendency to collapse into filler midway - but longform sageuks are something of an exception, they actually tend to benefit from the increased episode count and attention to detail.

0

@pogo

"Honestly, most kdramas don’t need 20 or even 16 episodes, given their tendency to collapse into filler midway [...]"

---

I actually agree with you. My personal sweet-spot for regular kdramas is 12 or 13 episodes. That gives enough length to feel like you've taken a proper journey, but yet it's limited enough that it tends to minimize filler and drawn out plotlines.

0

Thanks for the recap! Glad you were also enthusiastic. My criteria for a good show is a simple one. Does this episode make me look forward to the next one? Big yes. Now off to watch episode 2!

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Aloha, Barbrey!

HONG GIL-DONG, THE HERO was great! Thanks for your hot tip! What a romp...

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

oh hey, Barbrey!

It's nice to see old friends from that other sageuk drama's comment threads on here, and I have a feeling the ride on this one is not going to be as bumpy as last time.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

After despairing over Hwarang's descent into narrative chaos, I turned to this show and episode 1 and 2 filled my sweet spot for sageuk. Kim Sang-joong had me in tears already, and I had a sense of Chuno deja vu. I think I'll stick around.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Not to forget the direction is by kill me heal me director. This is going to be a worthy seaguk. I wish MBC hire him for ysh and ksh ruler too.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

IT WAS SO GOOD.

i loved the second episode even better, the only negative like the earlier comment said was that chae soo bin get's shot.

someone please tell me she can survive that wound...

0
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm really hoping she doesn't actually die but hey, they showed us their hand this early and it certainly worked!

It may be premature and helped along by the excellent score but I actually think Yoon Kyun-sang and Chae Soo-bin are going to have great chemistry here, even if they have only that snippet of a scene together so far and she doesn't even get to look at him (because blindfolded).

0
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. They are actually one of the better pairings for me this year and I can't wait to see the beginnings of their romance.

In the meantime, his parents are pretty damn cute. Seldom do I feel the romantic chemistry between kdrama parents because so much of the focus is put on familial love, but they still act like teenagers in love and it's adorable. It makes me even sadder when I think of the inevitable tragedies I expect them to face to help build Hong Gil Dong's backstory.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

They've both got the talent (YKS's face through that tied-at-the-stake scene, talk about holding up well to close-ups) and they vibe well, I can't wait to get to their story even though it's going to mean the end of the (so far) excellent and moving childhood portion.

I love Gil-dong's parents too, it's really sweet to see how much trust and affection there is between them, and they've already succeeded in gutting me in just the first week. I love how well-rounded their relationship feels, both as a couple and as parents to their children.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ugh, I just watched episode 2 and my heart is in shreds. Tried to protect it, but I couldn't because... Kim Sang-joooong. I need the next recap so I can vent my feelings. It's been a while since a drama has made me feel this way.

0

@Chandler - I'm in danger of spamming the comments here but oh yeah, episode 2 ruined me too. The next recap is basically just going to be filled with the commenting equivalent of me sobbing.

0

yes, i also feel like they have really good chemistry mainly from the fact that they've worked with each other in a music video and cf so they're familiar with each other.

i'm so excited for this pairing but am also loving the childhood portion of the story so much

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's funny but I don't think the familiarity is the key, I can think of more than one couple who've worked together before and then done a drama and still had no chemistry. YKS and CSB aren't one of those, they had the spark even in that music video. And I hope this drama makes use of it!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

smol gil dong is a tiny badass

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. I love little Gil dong. He is so cute

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Finally, a new drama who got me at the first few minutes. Already hooked!

I loved the little kid so much!

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, he's good. But I keep wanting to call him Kal-El.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

LMAO same his powers remind of superman so much

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Musa Moo-hyul is baaack! ♥♥♥

Oh, I love the pilot episode. It seemed pretty solid. I got a good feeling about this show.

I kept feeling sad for no reason every time I saw Ahbuji though. He's gonna die soon isn't he? Every loving good parents in K-Dramaland always dies tragically T_T.

I know we can eliminate truck of doom from the possibility since this drama is a sageuk, but still... every single little thing around Amogae seemed fishy and threatening.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I know we can eliminate truck of doom from the possibility since this drama is a sageuk, but still… every single little thing around Amogae seemed fishy and threatening.

We're pretty much limited to the Galloping Horse of Doom, the Sageuk Cliff of Doom, the Evil Yangban of Doom, Corrupt Ministers of Doom, Insane Tyrant of Doom, famine, war, pestilence, and bandits. Did I miss anything? ;-)

Nobleman Jo and his nasty wife give me the creeps, and are the main dangers to Dad. He and all the other servants are in their clutches, with very limited options to leave.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

well, there is the Stake and Arrow of Doom

I love how invested I am in this drama already, it takes just one look at Ahmogae to really root for him and his family to be able to live with dignity, but tragedy is the route of this story so I'm quite ready to cry too.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, right. Silly me. I forgot using the citizenry for target practice.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Or blackmailing your citizenry into doing that to their fellow citizens for you.

0

I love the pilot episode! Just notice this is also the writer of King's Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. Now off to download the next ep...

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm watching REBEL precisely because it's by the writer of SU BAEK HYANG... my gateway sageuk. ;-)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

1st thing 1st..The Kids!!!
Baby Gil-hyun looks like baby Junghan (Seventeen)
Baby 'young master' looks like baby Jinyoung (B1A4)
And our baby Gildongie is just ♡♡...why are his expressions so funny but yet so satisfying??!! I Crackef so hard when he was breaking the log..those expressions were top class!!
2nd..I was too kinda sad for not getting our 'hyung'-oppa on screen but the kids are just so fun to watch that I'd be sad to let them go now..

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for recapping, dramallama!

I appreciate your comments on the show's "Mighty Child" imagery. I wasn't sure if it comes from Korean folklore or what. Now that I think of it, I'm getting a few twinges of YOUNG HERCULES, the prequel spinoff of HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS. I have a vague recollection that there were a few flashbacks to Herc's infancy in the original series, which was great bromantic fun with Kevin Sorbo and Michael Hurst.

REBEL looks promising indeed, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first two episodes. It's good to see Kim Ji-Suk in a sageuk again, this time as a villain.

I totally concur regarding Kim Sang-Joong's fatherly vibe. He's got an honorable, dignified presence. It seems that Daddy-O might have been a Mighty Child himself. Here's hoping he and Mom can help little Gil-dong channel all that strength and energy constructively.

I'm pleased to see a bunch of good, solid veteran actors in the supporting cast. Kim Byung-Ok (minor nobleman Eomjachi) and Seo Yi-Sook (Nobleman Jo's horrid wife) were both in Writer-nim's previous drama, THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG -- an MBC production.

Nobleman Jo (Son Jong-Hak) is currently moonlighting as a police officer in VOICE.

Just realized that Hong Gil-dong and his mom crossed paths in an earlier lifetime when she was a fiery villainess in red and he was a member of Woodalchi in FAITH. LOL. Then it dawned on me that Dad's food-burglar buddy was the baduk-playing King of Hell in ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE. Har!

I finished watching the 2008 fusion sageuk HONG GIL-DONG, THE HERO just before this episode aired. It was a blast, with a very different vibe from this production. I needed a touch of anachronistic lunacy after the finales of GOBLIN and BLUE SEA, and it filled the bill. Kang Ji-Hwan was terrific in the title role. ;-)

0
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm really enjoying Kim Ji-suk in villain mode and I think I'll like Chae Soo-bin too, I love how this is a total 180 from their roles in Sassy Go Go. And I didn't know Soobori was our King of Hell, no wonder he looked familiar!

I like that this isn't a fantasy sageuk but still draws in some ways on fantasy tropes.

0
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lee Joon-Hyuk (Soboori) also played Eunuch Jang in MOONLIGHT DRAWN BY CLOUDS, a baddie in PUCK!, and had roles in the films FATAL INTUITION, LOVE FICTION, SUNNY (2011), WONDERFUL NIGHTMARE, and MASQUERADE. -- Those are the productions I've seen.

I keep track of the cast for just about everything I watch by opening a tab with the AsianWiki mugshots. It's very handy, especially for sageuks with large casts. It also helps me remember actors I've liked so I can watch other performances. It's like playing Six Degrees of Separation with my Kdrama addiction. ;-)

As for Kim Ji-suk, he was great in CHUNO. (I haven't seen SASSY GO GO.) This role will be a big switcheroo from Jin-sang in OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN, that's for sure. It'll be interesting to see how he spins it in comparison with Jung Jin-Young's performance in THE KING AND THE CLOWN, which had some touchingly vulnerable interludes in the full-bore homicidal mania. -- I'd first seen JJY in LAND OF THE WIND, and he was so regal in that drama that King Yeonsan came as quite a shock.

I'm about due for a non-fantasy sageuk right about now, and am enjoying watching REBEL unfold.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's been years since I watched a non-fantasy sageuk (never finished SFD) but what hooked me to this one is the cast and writer - I really hope it lives up to what I want it to be.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

The actor playing Soboori was Eunuch Jang in MDBC? Wow-- he's versatile! Thanks for that info!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

The actor playing YONGGAE played the Eunuch

Soboori is played by Park Jung Gyu - King of Hell in Arang and the Magistrate.

0

I thought the superkid trope officially made this drama a fantasy sageuk, no?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Serious (natural) physical strength isn't necessarily an auto-fantasy thing, so I'm sticking to classifying this as non-fantasy for now.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

looking forward to this because i'm a big Kyunsangie fan but hell, the young Gil Dong took my heart away and ran with it! amazing kid!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

FINALLY! I'm so looking forward to having a new drama to actually want to follow through its run, and this one delivered.

ia that this week was a bit stingy with the Yoon Kyun-sang, but from the little we did get, it looks like he wears the role well - this might just be made for him. And OOOF @the reveal that what he was aiming at was his lover tied to a stake! Now I can't wait to see the adult portions, mainly because of how well YKS sells the utter devastation and resolve of that scene.

Kim Sang-joong is really perfect casting, though, as are the child actors. Heck even if the focus wasn't to be turned over to Gil-dong later, I'd totally keep watching if this was his story, because he just has this presence like no one else.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Also, the background score is excellent - great instrumentals there, and period-appropriate too (I really hope they keep it up and don't start relying on loud obnoxious ballads at key moments in later episodes like most kdramas do).

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I noticed the orchestral music, too. Very nice. Between that and those distant mountain vistas, I felt like I was watching a movie.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

yeah, there were some gorgeous shots in there (including the one of Chae Soo-bin tied up, even though I really hope she had a thermal under her hanbok because it looks COLD)

MBC really pushed out the boat on this one's production values, it looks and sounds beautiful and they're not half-assing anything (except possibly the CG, which I hope they rely less on as Gil-song becomes an adult)

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

chae soo bin was only wearing the hanbok and it was -9 degrees celsius, i feel so bad for her because apparently it was so cold she barely could say her lines properly :(

0

Wait, can I ask something?
Is it only 1 episode recap? Dramabeans won't be recapping it until the end?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's been added to the 'In Progress' thumbnails of shows being recapped at the bottom of the page, so it looks like we'll get a full recap!

(thank you, db! <333)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dramallama ~

Thank you for the recap. What a nice surprise. Yay for the writer , the story has a nice flow to it, I was immediately drawn in. Good cast. 30 episodes should be fine, if it were 50, I'd be concerned regarding quality.

Looking forward to episode 2.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

good drama
excellent acting
cute little actors

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great recap, dramallama!
Was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the drama so far and what a great way to end it with Ahn Ye Eun's Mansae! I'd been wondering what was going on with her. Does anyone know if she signed with Antenna?

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks-- I knew I was familiar with that voice, but I couldn't place it. No, I don't know who she signed with-- maybe we'll found out soon in an ep from the current season.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

It took me a moment too, until the chorus, to register who it was but a voice like hers is rather unforgettable!:) The funny thing is I really had been thinking about her this week and hoping all that talent wasn't going to brushed aside so I was shocked (and really happy) when I realized it was her!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Posted before I said * I hope we do find out. I'd looked her up online earlier and couldn't find much info. So maybe this will spotlight her.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Also, this part:

In a way, this drama seems fitting for a time when politics takes priority over the people

I think it's also fitting for a time when people have been out protesting in such massive numbers against the failings of the figures who govern them. The resistance is real!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Also I can't believe this made its way even over to db, but these are not normal times and we - right here- are a global audience consuming art made by people of colour. It's only fair to acknowledge that (and hats off, dramallama!)

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, dramallama! This is off to a great start, and I'm so happy to be embarking on this journey with wonderful companions from Beanieland.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I had zero expectations coming in and I enjoyed the 1st episode! I love the back story with dad (Kim Sang-joong!) and baby Gil Dong, that was well executed and am attached now to their story. And bonus Lee Joon hyuk! And they won't let Chae Soo-bin die this early, right?

I think I'll hold off a few more episodes before diving back in, but so far I like what I see. I'm also trying to finish SFD, and it seems I'm perpetually stuck at episode 28-29 at the moment. So I'm hoping I wrap that up before I get cognitive dissonance wit Moo-hyul and Gil Dong.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

SFD was my first drama and so that may be why I have a soft spot for it, but it was mindblowing with the acting, plot, political schemes, fight scenes, and soundtrack. It probably set some unrealistically high expectations for dramas I've tried to watch since (dropped Scarlet Heart and Goblin), but I recommend sticking with it! It's 50 episodes and there are some slow parts, but it's totally worth it in the end!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

They had me at the opening scene, daebak! It looks epic already. Great production. Im just hoping they dont do too much flashbacks/slomo like goblin. The cast, wow, great job casting. It has amazing casts all around. The leads usually got second roles, glad they finally got the lead cause they deserve this chance. And the kids, so cute and the young gild dong, omooo.. His expression not only cute, he can do his sad scene really well too. Im so impressed. Now, lets hope the writing will be good till the end.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh yesssss! I love, love, love it! Those child actors are gems. They played their character very well. The child actor playing Gil Dong is so adorable. I've watched the 2nd ep. Can't wait for the next ep!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Interesting story

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *