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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 8

After the emotional roller coaster ride of the last episode, this one was all about getting Gil-dong back on track on his hero’s journey. Like father, like son—Gil-dong’s motivation to protect his siblings strongly resembles Amogae’s own when he first became the “Great Ikhwari Elder” that it makes me worry as I think about the dangerous path ahead. However, despite all the seemingly insurmountable obstacles to reuniting their once-happy family, there’s definitely an undercurrent of hope that things are starting to look up for our underdog Mighty Child.

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Nok-soo goes to find the mat merchant in the early morning to discuss his suspicions about Gil-dong, but he’s on his way somewhere else while wearing white garb. He tells her that the world has flipped upside down because the sky has fallen, and it’s unclear whether he’s addressing the king’s death or the appearance of the Mighty Child.

But in his last words, he warns her that Gil-dong is not the Chosen One. It looks like she wants to question him further, but he speeds away.

It turns out the mat merchant is actually EUNUCH KIM (Park Soo-young), the most trusted advisor of the Crown Prince. When he’s announced into Yeonsangun’s chambers, the prince-turned-king welcomes him with open arms and proceeds to weep in his embrace.

As the eunuch comforts his royal charge, saying that he’s now the owner of all the earth, Yeonsangun’s expression turns inscrutable. Perhaps the burden of such responsibility suddenly weighs heavily on the young new ruler.

The gisaeng watch as people cry on the streets, proclaiming their grief that the king has passed. Ga-ryung wonders aloud to Wolhamae because she thought the king (who was believed to be a divine being) wasn’t supposed to die. Wolhamae recalls that this is a natural occurrence because when she was young, she remembers that the previous king’s father died.

Ga-ryung then spots Gil-dong, currently walking around in a daze, and she tries to find out what’s wrong. He asks her about when he first came to the gibang, and she tells him that he looked like a crazy person with the arrows sticking out of his back and a purple ribbon tied around his wrist.

Immediately, he seizes on the existence of the purple ribbon, because he now remembers that was his last connection to Eorini. When Ga-ryung tells him that Nok-soo has it, he goes to search for it in her room and finds it tucked away in the small jewelry box she keeps. He cries as he thinks of his lost sister, who could now be Choongwongoon’s sex slave for all he knows. Determined to find his family again, Gil-dong packs his bags and prepares to leave.

His lover Nok-soo comes in while he’s packing, and she confesses that she didn’t give the ribbon to him because she thought he would leave her. He lets her know gently that he isn’t upset with her.

He can only blame himself for falling under her spell and forgetting about his dire situation, he says. He still loves her, but he has to go to find his family. When she looks up at him tearfully, he promises to come back for her, and grasps her hand tightly.

Although his parting with Nok-soo is bittersweet, at least he says his goodbye to her. To Ga-ryung, he doesn’t even spare a glance, and she curses at him for his indifference as he strides away into the distance.

Gil-dong searches everywhere for any sign of Eorini. High and low, far and wide, he asks everyone he can if they’ve seen a little girl with a purple ribbon tied around her wrist. He even goes back to Ikhwari, but he discovers that it’s no longer the place he remembers from his childhood. Conditions have deteriorated to the point that the once-bustling market streets are now empty, with only a few ailing citizens here and there.

Somehow, he finds Eop-san’s half-paralyzed father, and they have a heartfelt reunion. As they eat together, Eop-san’s father tells him about the aftermath of what happened after Amogae’s arrest—how the entire town of Ikhwari fell as Choongwongoon’s soldiers proceeded to persecute the rest of the townspeople who had shady backgrounds.

Eop-san’s father recounts how he had to threaten his son with his own life in order to get Eop-san to leave without him, because he didn’t want to be a burden. He also tells Gil-dong about Amogae, who was rumored to have died under cruel torture and then thrown into the sea to defray costs of an actual burial.

After hearing this news about his father, Gil-dong goes to his mother’s grave with only a jug of wine. He collapses in front of the burial mound, cries sorrowfully, and asks whether everyone is up in heaven with her. Pouring out his grief in front of her, he vows to bring their family back together in front of her, dead or alive.

A while after Gil-dong has left, Magistrate Eom, also in mourning whites, ambles up the long mountain, grumbling that this is a fool’s errand and that he’ll probably find no one there this time too. But when he discovers the empty jug of wine that Gil-dong left behind, he’s shocked to learn that someone has come by.

Wolhamae presses Nok-soo to join the new king’s personal troupe, urging her to remember her lofty ambitions of making the king her man before she met Gil-dong. She blames him for Nok-soo’s complacency now, but Nok-soo just continues ignoring the steady stream of nagging while adjusting her ceremonial fan.

We learn from Wolhamae that Gil-dong has already been gone for several months without sending a single message, but Nok-soo says she’ll wait. Suddenly, Ga-ryung rushes in with disturbing news: A fellow gisaeng has been stabbed in the eye by a regular client of hers who became jealous that she’d find another man.

The apprentice gisaeng are crowded around in the stabbed girl’s room, wailing in distress as they see what could potentially be in store in their own futures. After a while, Nok-soo screams for them to stop their wretched crying, because she knows that no one will save them. When one young gisaeng apprentice says she wants to see her mother, Nok-soo coldly reminds her that her mother sold her into prostitution, and leaves the room.

However, when she’s back in her own chambers, we see that Nok-soo is not as unfeeling as she seems. Her entire body wracks with sobs as she despairs for the fates of girls like her, and she makes the resolution to enter Yeonsangun’s palace.

So when Gil-dong returns from his journey, he only finds empty rooms in the gibang and one lone person: Ga-ryung. She tells him that the others left for the palace a while ago, that she was the only one who waited for him until the end, never giving up hope. He doesn’t respond, but it’s clear from his expression that he wanted someone else (ahem Nok-soo ahem) to be waiting for him.

Ga-ryung follows him, and at first he thinks it’s because she needs money. But she smiles up at him brightly and asks if he’s running from the law as she offers to help him. She tells him she’d be a good cover story as his sister, and she even promises to address him formally as “Orabeoni” (old word for “oppa” with similar connotations). Annoyed now, he turns back to shake her off, but he is reminded of Eorini and can’t seem to bring himself to reject her.

Despite not being a willing travel companion, Gil-dong is a gentleman in all circumstances. Even though he would have been fine with sleeping in the communal public room of the inn, he shows his consideration for Ga-ryung by arranging for a private room instead, because she might be uncomfortable sleeping with a bunch of strange men.

She gets excited for a moment, her heart fluttering because it’s her first time spending a night with a man. But when they get in, he falls asleep straight away in a dead snore, much to her disappointment. She seems miffed, but then she goes to watch over his sleeping face with an adorably infatuated fascination.

When he wakes up, Gil-dong is surprised to see her face so close to his. Her hand is tightly grasped around his sleeve, and he gently puts it back as he goes outside to look at the stars. In the lonely night, Gil-dong hums to himself, reflecting on his time with the enchanting Nok-soo. He remembers her beauty, their deep connection, and his dreams of a future with her.

Meanwhile, Nok-soo is in the palace thinking of him as well, singing the sad song about the blue river while the other girls around her chitter excitedly about the king’s impending visit. Even Wolhamae has entered the palace with (far-fetched) hopes that she’ll be able to entice the king.

Yeonsangun enters with the Eunuch Kim behind him, but Nok-soo doesn’t seem too surprised by his presence. The musicians start playing, and the girls who have been assembled to be part of Yeonsangun’s musical troupe begin to sing a beautiful song in unison.

The new king closes his eyes and carefully listens to the pitch and tone of their melody. Nok-soo takes this time to carefully look at the man she once wanted, never taking her eyes off his concentrated expression.

She adds her voice to the others, singing in tune with them, but when Yeonsangun opens his eyes, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the level of their musicality. He says that they’re not good enough to perform yet, and he stands up and leaves in disappointment while Nok-soo still has a look of curiosity in her eyes.

Gil-dong buys large quantities of food from open mart stalls, while Ga-ryung continues to trail him like a puppy following her master. She helps him choose the best quality fruit and produce. It’s the Joseon version of adorable couple grocery shopping.

When she asks what he’s planning on doing with all that food, jokingly asking him if he’s setting up for a death anniversary, it turns out she was right. The scene cuts to Gil-dong, who is again at his mother’s grave, but this time with a feast full of funeral food as an apology offering for last time, when he only came with a jug of wine.

The ever-helpful Ga-ryung shows him how to set up the table correctly, and gives him space to talk to his dead loved one. But he tells his mother that she is not the girl he told her about earlier. (Aww, poor Ga-ryung.)

Then, Magistrate Eom shows up on the burial hill, and Gil-dong is (rightly) furious to see him. He grabs the traitorous magistrate by the collar and tells him, “I promised myself I’d kill you if I ever saw you again. Die! You die, I die. Let’s die together!”

Magistrate Eom can barely breathe from Gil-dong’s stranglehold, but he rasps out one name: “Amogae.” He lets Gil-dong know that his father is still alive, and shocked, the younger man falls back. He leads Gil-dong to a small peasant hut in the middle of nowhere, and tells him that it’s where his father is.

Gil-dong hesitates at door, almost not believing that his father will be on the other side. When he finally opens it, he sees Amogae, who is much changed from his former “Great Ikhwari Elder” self.

His hair and beard are unkempt, and whereas before, when his eyes were always sharp-looking and decisive, a glazed look has settled over them. His leg juts out at an awkward angle, but I don’t know if Gil-dong processes all of this, because he just bursts into tears in front of his father like a little boy again. Amogae recognizes and embraces his son without a word, and they have a moment of heartfelt family reunion.

Gil-dong’s brother, on the other hand, is far away, having taken on the task that was given to him by the scholar’s will. Gil-hyun wears noblemen’s clothes and marvels at himself. He passes by a poster that announces the dates for the civil service exam, but when other fellow noblemen scholars gathered in front of the poster ask if he’s going to take this one, he abruptly turns away, saying that he’d never do such a thing.

However, while he’s walking, he looks wistfully at the brushes and ink stones being sold by a street merchant. He always did have a dream of becoming a government scholar, but his birth status prevented him from pursuing that career. He tells himself that he’s being ridiculous to begin thinking of it again, but he meets someone on the streets (Ahn Nae-sang), and this stranger asks whether he needs money to take the test, implying that he would be willing to pay for it.

Mistress Jo follows Heotaehak and his son, telling them again to search for Gil-dong’s body. It seems like she’s been pestering them for a while, because Heotaehak doesn’t even listen as she tries to tell them that Gil-dong is not a typical human, and that they can’t be sure that he’s dead until they find his body.

While Heotaehak’s son seems to be more willing to listen to her, ultimately, he also brushes her concerns aside. She is turned away by him gently, but her expression shows that she’s still unsatisfied.

Later that night after reuniting with his father, Gil-dong conferences with Magistrate Eom, who apologizes profusely to him for what he did to his family. He says that he doesn’t deserve forgiveness, but he did his best in putting his life on the line to make sure that at least Amogae came out alive without anyone knowing any better.

Inside, Ga-ryung makes herself useful by finding rice and cooking porridge for Amogae, who looks like he hasn’t eaten in days. When Gil-dong sees her spoon-feeding his ailing father, he snaps at her, perhaps thinking that she’s overstepping her bounds. He shoos her out, and when she leaves, Amogae asks Gil-dong what happened to the rest of their family. Gil-dong lies to his father, telling him that Gil-hyun and Eorini are doing well somewhere safe, and that as soon as Amogae gets better, he’ll take him to them.

But it’s clear that Amogae hasn’t lost all his marbles yet, because he doesn’t believe Gil-dong. Magistrate Eom tells Gil-dong he’ll find a way for Amogae and him to live together quietly and peacefully like he originally wanted to. This time though, it’s Gil-dong who doesn’t listen.

He wants to bring Soboori and the rest of the gang back together and seek revenge against the people who tore his family apart. Magistrate Eom warns him that those gangsters were self-serving and all fled at the news of Amogae’s death. (Does he not realize the irony of his statement? He was the one who caused the situation that made them flee in the first place!)

Keutsae has been working as a farm day laborer, and Soboori as the neighborhood crackpot fortune-telling face reader. But he’s absolute rubbish at this particular career path—thinking that his client is an old maid waiting for love, he predicts that she will find a successful husband who just passed his civil servant exam, but it ends up that she’s already married with four kids.

So when Gil-dong shows up, Soboori is ecstatic to see him, and is even more excited when he hears the news that Amogae is alive. He wants to go immediately to see his old friend, but Gil-dong says they need to round up the rest of the gang. Keutsae is taking a dump in the forest when they find him. They wave hello, and he lunges toward them to grab them in a hug. But seeing his hand still dirty from wiping his bottom, they flee as he tries to embrace them with his poop-covered hand.

The next man they go find is Ilchung, the gambling monk, who is at it the tables again, but definitely with less joie de vivre than before. When he hears his friends’ voices loudly from next room, he bursts the door open, and his face makes a wide grin when he sees them make a half-irreverential Buddha sign at him in greeting.

Segul, when they grab him, is drunk-reminiscing about the good ole days in Ikhwari, when he ran freely like he owned the world. Gil-dong and company come to carry him off and make excuses to Segul’s drinking buddies, saying that their master often makes meaningless unrealistic comments when he’s inebriated.

Yonggae has become a mover, and as soon as he sees the others, he turns his back and starts crying (because secretly, he’s the most emotional of all of them). He asks what took them so long, and still crying, he hugs Gil-dong, who pats his back fondly.

At Amogae’s hut, Ga-ryung fills the silence with background chatter, but he isn’t really listening because his heart is with Gil-dong, who has gone to find his Ikhwari friends. Magistrate Eom seems to be fed up with her jabber though.

When the gang arrives, they all sink to their knees in front of their Great Ikhwari Elder, who has become a decrepit old man. Together, they all cry with grateful joyous tears, and Soboori is the first to embrace Amogae in a tight hug. Gil-dong watches the reunion with an approving look.

When they see Magistrate Eom, however, their attitude turns menacing. They run after the sly magistrate, wanting to kill him. He begs Gil-dong to stop them, but that plea falls on deaf ears.

A couple beatings later, Magistrate Eom sits bruised all over in the gangster circle as they share food and drinks, reveling in meeting each other again. Ga-ryung brings out some snacks, and they’re all curious about her relationship with Gil-dong.

Of course, they suspect that the two young people are a couple, despite Gil-dong’s vehement protests. Ga-ryung plays along with them, implying that she followed Gil-dong because they’re on more-than-friendly terms, and calls him the familiar “Orabeoni” (which can mean brother, but also honey in some situations).

Delighted by their teasing of her and Gil-dong, she says that she’ll bring them more food and drink. Gil-dong follows her to the kitchen, and she stutters in front of him to explain that she only went along with the others’ jokes because it is half-true (she did follow him), but he’s not upset because of that.

He asks why she’s serving them food, and she replies that obviously it’s because she’s the only woman around to do the hostess’ duties. With a stern expression, Gil-dong tells her that just because she’s a woman doesn’t mean that she needs to serve them. (Yay, a hero espousing modern feminist principles, making us like him more!) He then tells her they’ll get their own food and drinks, so she should not serve them.

In Heotaehak’s life, it seems like Choongwongoon has stayed a close ally, but the royal is as psychopathic as ever. He engages in unpredictable rages with Heotaehak and his son, who act abjectly servile in front of him.

When Heotaehak and his son bring up the topic of a loan he asked for Choongwongoon to help him out with, the royal kicks him in the chest, saying that he’s their superior and not their dog, so they should not expect things from him. He expresses that he’s still angry that they didn’t deliver Eorini alive to him. (So if she’s not with Choongwongoon, where is she?)

Back at temporary Bandit HQ, Gil-dong has gathered the rest of the gang in a midnight meeting with Amogae secretly listening in from the outside. Gil-dong lets it be known he wants justice to be served to Choongwongoon, not in the middle of the night like Yonggae suggests, but publicly, so that everyone learns what a corrupt decayed individual the royal is.

Gil-dong makes a bow to his bandit hyungs and asks for their help on his mission. He appeals to their loyalty and all the hard work they put into building Ikhwari, which turned into nothing once Choongwongoon got his way. He tells them that although he did have dreams of becoming a farmer because he hated his father’s thug life, he now thinks differently. He vows to live as a thug if that means he can take Choongwongoon down. He says he is willing to give up his humanity, if that’s what it takes, and that he’ll become a monster to get his revenge.

At the end of his impassioned speech, Ilchung laughs, and the atmosphere goes from heavy to light, because he tells the others that this is just like the time when Amogae first reached out to them to create their brotherhood. And together, the gang laughs and reminisces about their first meeting that ended in a comic fistfight.

They agree to help Gil-dong—it’s not even a question. Gil-dong outlines his plan to first get to Heotaehak and his son, and then to use them to trap Choongwongoon.

Later that night, as Gil-dong turns over hot coals in their little room, Amogae asks him whether he’s serious about his plans to take revenge. When his son confirms his determination to go after the formidable Choongwongoon, the corner of Amogae’s lips tilt upward as he says: “You’re crazy,” and Gil-dong smiles back at the half-compliment.

 
COMMENTS

Woot woot! The Amogae Avengers are back together and ready to pulverize some royal tushie. Despite not much plot action happening in this episode, it was definitely a good start in setting up the future relationships amongst Gil-dong, his loyal crew, his to-be-sweetheart Ga-ryung, and his faraway tragic love Nok-soo. I love how it looks like Gil-dong is becoming a mini-giant version of his father, who is such a badass character. True, I don’t agree with many of Amogae’s actions (including murder, lying, bribery, etc.), but the motivation behind them and the intelligence with which he executed them really kept me on the edge of my seat in the first few episodes of Rebel. So of course, I’m grateful that the man is alive for now, but it does lead to the question: What’s his purpose now?

He has already imparted all his ideals regarding equality and justice to his children, and he’s set up a support network for Gil-dong to use in his revolution, so I’m guessing his character has survived this ordeal to die a more tragic death that will urge Gil-dong to take drastic action. This brings me to discuss Gil-hyun and Eorini: I think we’ll see more of her story soon, and since she’s not with Choongwongoon, my worry for her has decreased significantly (although that darkened box she’s in doesn’t look too good). I’m curious to see how Ahn Nae-sang’s character will shape Gil-hyun’s future, and whether he’ll become a government goody two shoes who ends up clashing with his brother.

Unlike Gil-dong, I’ve always gotten the impression that Gil-hyun believed in the absoluteness of the absurd social caste system that relegated their family into slavehood from birth. He always seemed like a rule follower, which I guess is paradoxical given his initial chosen profession as the heir to a gangster empire, but he never really challenged anyone or anything in his sphere, which is completely opposite from Gil-dong, who just pursued what he wanted and what he believed from the get-go in despite of opposition from his father and others. If Gil-hyun starts down this new path, I wonder how their brotherly bond will fare, especially if Gil-hyun does end up siding with Yeonsangun.

Speaking of Yeonsangun, I don’t get super evil vibes from him yet, so I wonder what’s going to change that will cause him to become the major antagonist of this story. His father has already died, but he doesn’t seem like he’ll be going on any crazy bloody purges anytime soon as stated in history books, and the psychopathic tendencies of his royal cousin Choongwongoon haven’t shown up in him yet, either. At this point, he’s just a somber handsome young king, and I can see how Nok-soo could be tempted by him, especially during Gil-dong’s absence.

Mostly though, I’m impatient to see more of Gil-dong’s tiger strength. I was promised a Mighty Child, and so far, I’ve gotten lots of scenes of a tiny peanut kid with mega-strength and only two seconds of an adult Gil-dong displaying those awesome powers. Will physical strength actually be important in this story, which seems to be much more about political and social power? Let’s hope that Gil-dong will be cunning as well as strong enough to outwit and crush this system that oppresses and affects all the citizens, from the lowliest slaves to the highest paid gisaengs.

 
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she curses at him for his indifference as he strides away into the distance

Subs in the version I saw: "I hope your feet rot off."

Be careful - if you make him angry he might tie you to a post and shoot arrows at you :)

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See, that moment is why I can't quite be happy for them.
If he loves her back, she gets shot and that scene takes on a doubly tragic context.
If he doesn't love her back, I have to cope with watching her be so damn adorable and him pining for Nok-soo and then still getting shot being fiercely loyal (as always) to a man who regards her purely as a great friend.
Damned if she does, damned if she don't.

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Lord C,

So it was Ga-ryung who put the athlete's foot whammy on him?!

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I was reminded if that line in Arirang, when they say their beloved won't walk ten li until their feet hurt (the song uses the same word that I believe Garyung yelled, 발병, which would literally mean a sickness of the feet). I wonder if it was a common expression?

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Thanks, tineybeanie, for your recap and commentary.

I've been noticing that the Crown Prince seems like a sad but otherwise rather normal person. There's no hint of psychopathy as yet. I have a feeling that what will eventually send him over the edge is the impending vengeance that Gil-dong plans to wreak on Choongwongoon. The loss of the only person who supported him -- aside from Eunuch Kim -- will send him over the edge.

The return of Gil-dong's memory ultimately costs him his relationship with Gong Hwa -- but results in his learning that his father is still alive -- as are his Ikhwari buddies. I was overjoyed when he succeeded on tracking them down. He got the band back together, mended fences with the triple-crossing Sato Eom, and is hatching a plot to strike back at Choongwongoon's henchman Heotaehak and son Mori. I can't wait to see how he's aiming to fix their wagons.

I rewatched a couple of episodes, and to my chagrin realized that Madam Jo's pair of spherical ornaments that I took for jade was actually closer to cerulean blue. I still have no idea what the danged things are. ;-)

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Oops! How did this end up here?!

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I agree with your comment on the crown prince. It's normal for him to be sad,lonely and vulnerable. He just lost his father and he is stepping into a role with heavy responsibilities and very little support.
His mother was killed when he was a child and his father hardly paid attention to him. I wonder if his love and passion for the art is helping him cope with all that disappointments that he is expected to suppress.

I don't even know what those ornaments are called but I'm thinking that it's the male version of norigae for the noble ladies.
The color is deep green which is a jadeite type of jade, the most valuable in that era.

Can we say that Song might be a wealthy scholar/noble? The fact that he asked a stranger like Gil-hyun if he needs money to take the test kind of implied that he must be.

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Buahahahaha! Nice one

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Thanks for the recap! I'm just loving this show in every way. My only beef - I can't help wondering what Gil Dong looks like without his shirt. He wears too many clothes; he looks kind of stuffed into them. It makes me wonder what's underneath lol!

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well they are filming in winter

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Nok-soo screams for them to stop their wretched crying, because she knows that no one will save them

Subs in the version I saw: "If you sit and cry, will someone come and rescue you? No one will come."

Why do I think Gil-dong might come and do some rescuing?

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Nope, Nok-soo will take action. That is why she is entering the palace.

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Yeah, she is definitely not a woman to sit idly by. I can totally see how she will end up where she does at the end. She wants real power to make changes and I have a feeling she will sacrifice a lot in order to get it.

It's sad but understandable that she wasn't willing to wait around for a man who may or may not return to her. Poor Gil-dong, you were too late buddy - she went off to make her fortunes elsewhere.

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The incident with Yong-shim (the gisaeng who was stabbed in the eye) was the last straw.
Wolhamae sounds like Nok-soo's mother based on some of the subtitles. "I did not try to sell you to better my own life".

Grand Prince Je-an (mentioned in this episode) was Nok-soon's former master, a royalty with the power to get her inside the palace.
I have no doubt that she'd get her revenge but I'm afraid that having access to much power could also turn her into a monster.

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Re: Wolhamae
I caught that too. Do you think the subs are accurate and she really is Gonghwa's mother?

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@Pandadoo

Unfortunately I'm not sure if it's accurate. She doesn't come right out and say "I'm your mother". I'm just guessing.

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Nah, Wolhamae's certainly not Gong Hwa's mother. She's the head gisaeng of the establishment that Gong Hwa is currently part of, since Gong Hwa travels from place to place to avoid her ex-husband. When she said "Don't cry, I wasn't trying to sell you off to better my life" she was referring to her earlier offer for Gong Hwa to meet Prince Je-an and gain membership to his establishment, which serves the king. Gong Hwa initially declined because she was still hoping that Gil-dong will come back, but after the eye stabbing incident, she quickly changed her mind.

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@Kiara, @UmbrellaMan, @Pandadoo, @m3lon4,

Thanks for sorting out that post-stabbing scene at the gibang. I'd wondered if Wolhamae might be Gong Hwa's mother, too. But what struck me most forcefully was the younger woman's resolve to take matters into her own hands.

The following scene in which Wolhamae says that she'd hoped Gong Hwa and Gil-dong would marry and have a happy life together, and what a cute couple they made, really got me. That was the official Kiss of Death (later reinforced by Gil-dong's dream at the inn).

The passing reference to Grand Prince Je-an threw me, especially in relation to the later scene with the singing. At first I didn't recognize Eunuch Kim awaiting the arrival of the Crown Prince. That was Eunuch Kim, right? Or was it the troupe's patron, Grand Prince Je-an? I'm now having a bad case of gat-itis.

My mind is still boggled that Shorty the Mat Salesman is actually the Crown Prince's top advisor. Now that we know his true identity, I can't help but wonder if he's privy to Gong Hwa's romantic relationship with Gil-dong.

I'm also still wondering what he had asked Gil-dong after spying on him in the bath, and his test subject's reply. What was it about Gil-dong's response that made Shorty tell Gong Hwa that the big guy is not the stuff of legend (even as that is exactly what he turns out to be or we wouldn't be watching this drama)?

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@PakalanaPikake

I could be wrong but we do have reasons to suspect that Wolhamae might be her mother. She was hoping that Gong Hwa (Nok-soo) and Gil-dong would marry and have a happy life together. "I wasn't going to sell you to better my life" is something a mother would say.

It wasn't uncommon for the lower class parents to sell their children because of their poverty and this was a turbulent time for the poor peasants in history. One of the young gisaeng in training was sold by her mother for only (3 small measure of barley according to the sub).
I also don't think Wolhamae can sell the girls in the gibang. Most of them were government slaves. She is a gisaeng herself, she doesn't own these girls or have the right to sell them.

Historically, Nok-soo was a servant at Grand Prince Je-an's household. She was married and have her son before she became a gisaeng so it is possible that Prince Je-an is also her former master in this drama.
It wouldn't be a problem for him to grant her a favor or the king if he wishes to have all of Joseon's beauties in his palace.
I highly doubt a royalty like Prince Je-an would have any kind of this establishment. They exist to entertain people like him and government officials.

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@3.1.1.1.5 Kiara,

Thank you for the additional background on Nok Soo and Grand Prince Je-an.

I was aware that children were often sold for various reasons back then, not the least of which is getting rid of one more mouth to feed.

The possibility that Wolhamae really is Gong Hwa's mother makes even more sense now. I like it. At times I'm ready to tear my hair out because of the subtlety, implied off-screen events, and references to characters who never appear in person. Thanks for helping me keep score. ;-)

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@PakalanaPikake

You are doing the same for me so thank you :).

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Oh My Gosh! Rebel has finally hit its stride in episodes 7 and 8 and I have officially fallen in love with it. FINALLY! The long wait since Six Flying Dragons is over. I’ve been longing for a seriously epic Sageuk to show up again. There is something magical about this production. I had my doubts in the first two episodes but now I’m saying “Wow” every few minutes and episode 8 added tears and goosebumps to my wows. I’m in. 1,000% in.

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Same here. Scarlet Heart and Hwarang were promising but did not do well for me. This drama is amazing...the actors, how the story is written and the beautiful setting.

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Speaking of Six FLying Dragons, I vaguely remember something that Jung Do-jeon said about the 3 types of people who exist during chaotic times/turbulent times, which pretty much apply to the current state of this drama.
1. the victim
2. the rider
3. the fighter

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A very good point. Having just watched 6FD, I recall that as well. The rider is the opportunist who

http://www.dramabeans.com/2015/11/six-flying-dragons-episode-10/

As for Bang-won’s “chaotic times” excuse, Jung Do-jeon says that among the three types of people that exist during chaotic times (the victim, the fighter, and the one who just goes along with it), Bang-won would be the latter. He’s caught the political bug, only he’s allowed his to tell him what to do, and soon he’ll be nothing more than a bug. How is he any different from those who take advantage of chaos by raping and pillaging?

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Oops. Posted prematurely.

@Kiara,

An excerpt from HeadsNo2's recap of 6FD, episode 10.

A very good point. Having just watched 6FD, I recall that as well. The rider is the opportunist who has his/her own vested interests and agenda, while making hay off the status quo as well as the chaos. These are the types (like arms dealers and munitions makers) who make a killing, literally and figuratively, while playing all sides against the middle.

One of the dangers to the rider is intoxication with power. The mirage-like power Amogae enjoyed in Ikhwari rested on the inequities of the social order. He and his colleagues were outside the law; they did nothing to change it. The law and its corrupters still stand.

As you pointed out in 3.1.1.1, Gong Hwa / Nok Soo may become a rider herself in order to take revenge, but doing so could well eat her alive and turn her into a monster. Which really twists the knife as I think back on Gil-dong assuring her that she was not a monster with regard to her cold-hearted treatment of her son -- because she still had the capacity to cry. From the look in her eyes, she's now beyond tears, and turning into her own version of Madam Jo.

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Well put, the intoxication with power is what we are worried about. There are all kinds of rebels in this drama. The king is no exception.
I think Amogae have learnt it the hard way but at least it's not to the point of no return for him. It's Gong Hwa / Nok-soo that I'm currently worried worried about. She might get her revenge and more.

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This. And track record shows that people who decide to go to that point of no return usually don't find any other redeemable way of getting back, apart from a self-sacrificial death. IF they're lucky. There are no guarantees after all.

Look at us getting worked up and worried about Gong-hwa/Nok-soo's fate when we do have a rough idea of how things are gonna shape up. I can't help it though. Lol.

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@Pandadoo

Lol ikr? I don't remember the last time I got invested in a drama to the point of getting all worked up over the fate of a character.

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I also don't think that any of these characters are born fighters which gives them room to grow.
Some will remain victims for the rest of their lives. Some will be forced through their circumstances to become riders and some riders will become fighters.

I almost question Gil-dong's decision to abandon his earlier plan to be a farmer but he now realized that nothing will change by doing that.

I love that one quote that says "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything."

(There is so much that is worth discussing in this drama that we won't have the time for it.
I think some parts are also lost in translation to us foreigners :(. If only we have a Korean scholar with us or history buff like Mr X).

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@Kiara,

(There is so much that is worth discussing in this drama that we won’t have the time for it.
I think some parts are also lost in translation to us foreigners :(. If only we have a Korean scholar with us or history buff like Mr X).

I totally agree! There's a lot of grist for the mill. And heaven knows how much more that has slipped through the translation cracks.

You reminded me of another apropos quote: "If you don't want to be treated like a doormat, get up off the floor." I could hear it in the back of my mind as Gong Hwa read the other gisaengs the riot act, and while Gil-dong was discussing his plan to take revenge on Choongwongoon and his henchmen Heotaehak and son Mori.

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There is so much history in this show and it's being incorporated perfectly to fit the fictional story of our hero's journey. It feels authentic from the strong presence of historical figures like Nok-soo and Yeonsangun, that would only escalate from here on.
The social and political situation during that era is well presented. Our main players motives are in place.

Love the quote PakalanaPikake! That applies to all.

Let's go Rebel... First stop at Choongwongoon's door step. One down and many more to go.
(I can't hardly wait for tomorrow).

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The smile between father and son at the End of the Episode made me give a loud hurrah.

Amogae: you are crazy(grins)

hahaha...bring it on Gildong Family. Let's show those wicked people who's Boss.

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I was so glad to see that subtle little grin playing at the corners of Amogae's mouth, and the rekindled light flickering in his eyes.

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What about Eop-san? Will he emerge as part of the team too?

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I believe so. Lee Myung-Hoon is playing the adult Eobsan.

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We've seen him during the village party scene with everyone singing. I guess he's currently on the run since Ikhwari was dissolved and his dad forced him to leave by himself. I hope he will join the team soon; he shared a connection with Gil-dong since childhood, being the one that stood up for his mum, so I'm expecting bromance between the two. The actor who plays him is pretty cute too, so that's a bonus :)

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Why do I get the feeling that Eorini was in the hand of the gangster without ear's son?

Maybe he grew pity on her since he saw what kind of animal the sleazy prince is.

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I have the same prediction, but what if they eventually fell in love and got married or something. Eorini would be stuck between two loved ones who are mortal enemies. It would make a great, albeit tragic story, and be real source of angst for Gil-dong. Do I want this? May be.

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This would add depth to Nari's dear dongsaeng Chiyeol- oops, wrong show. All kidding aside, that would be a v nice twist to Heo Taehak's son. And maybe, just maybe, ensure our Eorini's survival odds in RHGD.

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That's an interesting idea. But I don't know if I would want that.
If Gil-hyung is supposedly going to be a minister loyal to the king, and Eorini in love with gangster's son, poor Gil-dong will be torn in more than 2 ways!

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*Gil-hyeon. Oops!

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Whoever came up behind Eorini as she dug through the ice was wearing light-colored leggings, whereas Heotaehak's son's clothing is dark.

My first thought was Shorty, and eventually I saw his leggings were off-white or buff, like the trim around the neck of his tan robe.

She didn't look horrified, so whoever it was probably didn't look like one of their pursuers.

I'm still wondering why whoever grabbed her didn't try to take her back to her brother -- assuming that he/she is a decent human being. Given Shorty's secret, I could see why he might keep her in hiding, especially if he's already heard scuttlebutt about Gil-dong while reconnoitering in mufti.

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Ahn Nae-sang, where have we seen those green beads (that hung from his belt) before? They made a point to focus on them, and I feel like we saw them previously, but can't remember where. Anyone know? It's seems like an important clue for something.

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Mistress Jo had them, I thought.

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I wonder what the connection is then?

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Yes, that's I thought the minute I saw the beads.
Oh dear, I hope he's not in cahoots with her - and eventually make Gil-hyung turn against his family. Only Gil-dong knows for sure that their father murdered their master. I wonder how Gil-hyung will feel if he knows the truth?

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They look like jade spheres, about 1 inch in diameter.

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I saw those too. I think they might be family heirlooms. Maybe Ahn Nae Sung and Lady Vengeance are siblings. If I wasn't mistaken, Ahn Nae Sung's character thought GH was a broke nobleman. If he's like the Lady or Choongwongoon, that would appeal to his sense of charity.

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Ahn Nae Sang was born to play scholars. It just seems like a foregone conclusion, see Ahn Nae Sang, Saeguk and why of course, his Saebu-nim( don't know if that's correct).

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I love him to pieces. He can portray any type of characters well but king and scholar are my favorites.

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I LOVE when he played the king in Conspiracy in the Court. He was wonderful there. At that point, I hadn't seen him in much else other than High Kick 3 (where his character is pretty immature and annoying tbh) at that point, and was completely amazed by his transformation.

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He was excellent as the king in "Conspiracy in the Court." That's when I decided to follow his work like a puppy lol.
He was also the king in "Maids", "Moon Embracing the Sun", "My Princess" cameo as king Soon-jong ( our current king's father), the film "Forbidden Quest" and that's all I can remember.

One of my biggest joy in watching sageuks is getting to know a lot of talented veteran actors in their finest.

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Thanks for the recap!
Loved that they got the Thieving band back together. I didn't expect to be so emotional about it.

The singing! The singing! Wasn't it awesome? I had no idea what it all meant, but the feeling was so different from anything I have heard in dramas. All those voices. I felt transported back in time.

I love GD's moments of steely determination. We don't get to see it often, but when he tells us he is going to take care of the evil cousin, I believe him, and cannot wait for it.

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I love the song that they sang to the king. I'll call it "Flower Power" for now lol. Love the lyrics too.

A Peony flower is the king of all flowers
A sunflower is very loyal
A lotus flower is a nobleman
An apricot flower is like me
A chrysanthemum is a scholar in hiding
A plum blossom is a penniless scholar
(from the subtitle)

I like how camera focus on the king and his loyal adviser when they were singing the first 2 lines.

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@Kiara,

LOL at "Flower Power" song. Give the singers crowns of daisies for the total hippie chick look.

OnDemandKorea's subtitles gave a couple of different twists, so I transcribed them for comparison:

Peonies are the king of all flowers,
Sunflowers are ever so loyal,
Lotus flowers are honorable,
And I am an apricot flower,
Chrysanthemum are for consecutive days,
Apricot flowers are desperation.

In researching those mysterious jade spheres hanging from Madam Jo's hanbok cord, I came across a nifty Korean Outreach Kit for teachers published by the University of Oregon's Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art.

https://jsma.uoregon.edu/sites/jsma1.uoregon.edu/files/PDF/Korean%20Outreach%20Kit.pdf

No dice as to the significance of the jade ball ornaments, but there's quite of bit of interesting information on tigers as well as the symbolism of flowers. For example:

Four Noble Plants:

Apricot Tree*: Purity, Integrity, Longevity
"The apricot tree blooms in early spring, delivering a clean fragrance and gracious feature, making it known for purity and integrity. Its characteristics to survive and bloom during cold weather were compared with the upper class of humans. Although it looks dead during the winter, it blooms the next spring, making it a symbol for longevity."

Orchid: Good Nature...

Chrysanthemum: Elegance, High Fidelity
"A Chinese poet, Tao Yuanming, deserted his official post and returned to his hometown when the king was replaced during a revolt. After that time he lived by raising pine trees and chrysanthemum."

Bamboo: Elegance, Fidelity, Expelling Ghosts and Bad Luck

* Prunus mume, translated as plum or apricot in English.

Other Plants:

Peony: Beauty, Prosperity, Happiness
"During the Tang era in China, it symbolized beauty, prosperity, and happiness. In the Song era, it acquired nicknames of 'wealth flower' and 'prince of all flowers.'..."

Lotus: Prosperity, Reproduction
"... Even though it grows in muddy and dirty water, its beauty is not tarnished. The characteristics of lotus flowers were compared with the honest poverty of a man of virtue and aloofness in both Buddhist and Confucian teachings..."

Pine Tree: Longevity
"Pine trees were renowned for 3 characteristics: integrity, unworldliness, and longevity. However, the pine tree has been most popular as a representative object of longevity with other symbols, especially cranes, deer, and rocks."

The comments on pine trees conjures up the cairns sheltered by the Windblown Pine atop Mount Jiri.

I recall that in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK-HYANG, the queen bestowed a gift of perfumed sunflower oil as a lesson in loyalty.

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Thank you for that <3.

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You're welcome! ;-)

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Thanks for the recap. I enjoy this saguek so much that I try to promote it as much as possible at whatever forum it is found. This episode indicates the turning point for key characters – the birth of the rebel Gil Dong is tops, Gil Hyeon will now be a government official – but I am not sure if it is a good or bad thing.

It’s good if the Avengers including Gil Dong has someone on the inside who is of great help to them, that he tries not to forget where he comes from especially his father’s teachings and tries to find Eorini. Gil Hyeon knowing of his learning abilities and life experiences is a good thing when used in a positive manner. It’s bad when he just wants to forget who he really is and live according to the dead man’s will which I am curious about or go with the flow – what or who will Gil Hyeon be?

I hope all is well with Eorini as she has been under tragic circumstances emotionally etc. and that she does not blame her family no matter what. Eorini’s future is uncertain, all we do know is that she is alive. The old lady is right to fear Amogae’s family as the children especially Gil Dong are unique considering how they were raised but she caused that circumstance herself so if she dies by episode 12, I along with many of you will be celebrating loudly. One would have thought up to episode 7 that it would have been Gil Hyeon to take over his father’s will & not Gil Dong but I also find it ironic that the father’s long-time dream for his sons will actually come through in a different way. Amogae wanted Gil Hyeon to become a government state official which seems what will happen in future episodes especially after meeting his benefactor; Gil Dong as the mighty child will become a general and he will but for the people of the country fighting against government & its related corruption/evil elements which includes the psychopathic Prince, evil King.

When one thinks about it in terms of personalities Gil Dong is the one that resembles his father the most, while to me Gil Hyeon is like his mother somewhat. The final scene between father and son holds significance in that I notice the positioning of both Gil Dong and his father in the room. Gil Dong’s position to me seems like a tiger in waiting preparing for attack while the father is like the old tiger king looking down at his protégée.

After episode 6 and Gil Dong’s subsequent recovery his strength seems to be hidden, I am curious to know when will it return or is he going to undergo some military training first before it is applied.

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I sure will be popping (cheap) wine when mistress Jo kicks the bucket (basket?)!

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It seems like Gil Dong and Gil-hyun chose their own path and they did. But, currently, it's looking more like they'd end up fulfilling their father's wishes unexpectedly lol. That smile on Amogae's face at the end. Father knows best.

Gil-hyun obviously is heading down the scholarly route. I'm guessing he is going to be a government official of the sarim political faction from the countryside.
One of the young scholar said that if they pass the exam they'd get an important position right away.
I don't think Gil-hyun will forget who he is that easy. The sarim scholars and officials were on the opposite side of the current king. That would put him on the same side as his brother and he would be in a position to help them. (That is my hope).

Gil Dong was for the people so I'm trying to look for that in his plan. How is he going to get there from here? I'm pretty satisfied when he said "that in their (yangban aka rats) eyes they are not human and it's their fault because they agree and succumb to it."
They are kind of borrowing it from the real life rebel behind Gil Dong's character which I really like because it's realistic. That's what they fought for, their rights to live like human beings.

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*waves at chasen8888*

It's so good to see an old buddy from the Su Baek-Hyang forum at Soompi. ;-)

I eagerly anticipated Writer-nim's follow-up to SBH, and am very happy with the way the story is unfolding. The finely-crafted characters call to mind some of the earlier ones -- but in no way do I mean to imply that they've been recycled. There are parallels, but what is most striking to me is the depth and quality of the emotions they convey -- and evoke in me as a watcher. The cast is terrific, and includes several veterans of SBH.

It appears that Amogae's boys will be taking up some form or other of the professions he envisioned for them, but I expect that as low-borns their career paths will be unusual. I'm waiting with bated breath to learn what deceased Scholar Park's last will and testament stipulated, and the role that Scholar Song will play in Gil-hyun's career advancement. I'm also wondering when his path will cross Young Master Jo's.

It will be interesting to see how Gil-dong turns into an accomplished archer, presumably with other martial skills. I cannot imagine him sticking solely to Big Bad Wolf methods ("I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house down"). As for developing his latent leadership potential, his empathy and the listening skills he employs as a salesman will stand him in good stead.

I can see how similar Gil-dong's temperament is to his father's, even as he is put off by Amogae's disreputable career. Amogae's enlightened attitude towards women also rubbed off on the son.

The final scene between father and son holds significance in that I notice the positioning of both Gil Dong and his father in the room. Gil Dong’s position to me seems like a tiger in waiting preparing for attack while the father is like the old tiger king looking down at his protégée.

Amogae does look like a papa tiger contentedly gazing down at his grown-up cub. For me, the phrase that instantly came to mind for the son visiting the "godfather" recuperating in seclusion is "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." ;-)

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I totally agree re: Amogae's attitude to women having rubbed off on his sons - when he scolds Ga-ryung for her reasoning behind serving food and drinks just because she's the only woman around, it instantly put me in mind of Amogae and his refusal to treat his wife as inferior.

But it works on both levels, because Gil-dong is offended on both levels - firstly, because he doesn't buy Ga-ryung's logic, and secondly because he doesn't want her putting herself in the place of his girlfriend. While it makes absolute sense that Ga-ryung would take the 'because I'm a woman' tack - she was a maid in a gisaeng establishment, after all, so it makes sense she absorbed some ideas re: gender roles and expectations.

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"..and secondly because he doesn't want her putting herself in the place of his girlfriend"

Yes and yes. This scene follows the hilarity of Ga-ryung misrepresenting herself (both through allusions and omissions) that there is something more between her and Gil-dong. While that scene was enjoyable to watch, i can't help wondering about where Ga-ryung is truly coming from.

We've seen her be protective of Gong-hwa and admiring of her talent and beauty. Her being outspoken and cheeky with Gong-hwa is telling that their relationship isn't as formal too. But there are also times when she seems to be competing for Gil-dong's attention. She witnessed the Gil-dong/Gong-hwa moment after the peeping tom kerfuffle but just how aware is she of her unni's private affairs? Do men usually come and go that Gil-dong is somehow fair game? Does she not know that this is serious enough for Gong-hwa to decide to wait for his return?

Chae Soobin is cute as a button, the bickerings are adorable and Gil-dong/Ga-ryung are endgame so forgive me if it's just me with all these thoughts. Haha.

Can't wait for Ga-ryung's backstory! I need to understand why she isn't undergoing training (despite her wanting to join), why she can apparently decide to stay behind, and the logistics of her being alone at the gibang (safety, food, etc) for an unforeseeable amount of time. And yes, if her father is who we think it is.

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We started from Gil Dong's childhood , when he was around 7 to 8 years old , his mother died and woth Ahmogae , they left the place and came to Ikhwari. When Eorini was around two years old , makes gil Dong somewhere around 11 the story took a 12 year leap. Now at 23 he loses his family again and according to this episode has been away for months searching for them. So he is somewhere around 24.
In Ep 1 when the entrance of King and Nok Soo was shown , it was written 11 years of the king's reign. By now I think we are in the 1st year , So now in the remaining 22 episodes , they have to show 10 years worth a story. Thats something. So Eorini will grow up by the end ...... ,and well I cant think anymore.

P.S. Nevermind this rustic timeline post. I was just trying to sort through it.

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This is interesting. My wild guess will be the three siblings will have their own path and cross each other.

Gil Dong will be thief who stole the people.

Gil Hyun will be some kind of police officer and chase his own brother, gaksital style.

Eorini, if she was under Heotaehak's son captive, I guess she will grow up at that side and be her brother's enemy as well.

God, 22 more episodes, what did I just sign up for?

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But Gil Hyun was at GD side at the fortress at ep 1

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Exactly, 22 more episodes..........

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Well, if we can survive SFD 50 eps With never a dull moment, if RHgd is anywhere close, 22 eps more is nothing. Lol

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Honey Lee was so awesome in this awesome. It makes me half wish that she's the end game instead. But then Chae so bin's character is adorable, too!
And we're only 8 episodes in but I already cried during the reunion scene between the boys.
Despite the 30 episodes, I'm really loving this drama.

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Me too. Their scene in white, GD dream, was so lovely and bittersweet as well as their short lived romance that I wish she is the endgame. Ga Ryung can hv Gil Hyun instead, lol.

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Personally, I'm just enjoying watching both romances unfold. I love him with both, but I think I'll be ready for him and Ga-ryung when the time comes. The bond he's formed with Honey Lee is wonderful, but his antics with Ga-ryung are still my favorite and I'm excited for their relationship to develop when the time is right.

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Me too. Happy to follow either lovelines. Drama, you have me, take me!

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IKR, lol,Ga Ryung is wonderful char in her own merit, and both lovelines are abound to be bittersweet

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yeah, I think this is the first time I've ever rooted for both female lead love lines. And all props to Honey Lee and Chae Soo-bin for that!

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It seems surreal to come across a drama that, so early in the episodes, already has us rooting for both female leads this time around. Love it!

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This is the first time that I am actually cheering on the second female lead. Its so common to have second male lead stealing our hearts (hello Gong Taekwang!) but not so much with female leads. Honey Lee seems perfect for her role.

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Right?! Having my heart stolen by second leads is not new to me so it's not a surprise that Honey Lee is running away with mine. Haha!

Not to say that I'm not finding the Gil-dong/Ga-ryung scenes squee-worthy because they are adorably cute. Like bunnies and all fluffy things OTPs are made of! Gil-dong/Gong-hwa, on the other hand and at this point, evoke poignant yearning feels. Like tugs on my heartstrings, and I just want them to be happy.

But we're just on 8/30 eps (and on live shoot!) and it's making me scared on how consistent the show will be till the end. We have all kinds of failboat dramas that started out great and ended up belly up from wasted potential and opportunities. Oh show (and drama gods), please continue letting us have complex characters and riveting second leads throughout this run.

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I'm singing Honey Lee's praises as well. She made Gong Hwa strong yet vulnerable and just owned the role. With GD, she'll be the one who got away, but I expect there'll be plenty of longing from both sides. CSB is doing a great job with Ga-ryung too, I can't fault her, and I'm just enjoying her cute bickering with GD now.

Willing to light incense and join the prayer circle for a great run all the way to the end. If they can just consistently maintain this quality, I seriously won't complain.

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Joining the prayer circle with you. I have a bundle of incense sticks to go around. :)

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maybe i haven't been concentrating but does anyone know what happened to the bratty little kid from the past? i think he was nobleman jo's wife. also has adult eob-san appeared yet because i keep hearing mention of him but i dont remember seeing him yet

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correction:i think he was nobleman jo’s wife's son

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I think we'll find out soon. This is a 30 eps drama so there is plenty of time.

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You mean Soo-hak? He's mentioned but hasn't made an appearance yet, although I think he will soon, naturally under the worst circumstances. Kid can't possibly turn up well with that mother by his side, and his father's genes. Evil is the only way to go.

Eobsan was shown in the Ikhwari village party scene, can't remember which episode, but it was when everyone was happily singing, before they were attacked. He had long hair, styled kinda like Johnny Depp from Pirates of the Caribbean?

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I checked again and it was episode 5, Eob-san was shown with a maroon bandana on his head, and he was defending Gil-dong when he won the arm-wrestling match and people thought his opponent let him win.

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thank you so much! i always felt like he already showed up and saw that they had an actor for him as well but i never knew if i ever saw him

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The adult actor for Nobleman Jo's son has already been casted. He will probably also play a big role in this story later on.

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The scene where Gong-hwa chastised all the other girls for their helpless snivelling. And her breaking down in private thereafter.

It feels to me that her anger/pity/frustration weren't just directed at the girls but also a self-flagellation and wake-up call for herself. Following the prior conversation with Wolhamae that we saw, Gong-hwa appears to have put her revenge on hold and was indeed waiting for Gil-dong's promised return. Was she not in a way waiting for someone to "save" her from the monster that she has pegged herself to be? (And the bigger monster she can become once she begins her journey to the throne?)

As much as Gil-dong "forgot" about his quest during the period they spent together, it also felt like a prelude to a new chapter for Gong-hwa. When they first met, Gong-hwa was pretty determined in her goal of gaining power through the king. Then during their fated reunion, Gil-dong managed to melt her defenses with his affection and acceptance. Perhaps she dared to dream of a new chapter in her life where she can start to heal and weave new rhythms to replace the vengeful tune she is stuck on.

But alas, shit hit the fan and the stark reality hit her even harder. She is no damsel after all. Oh my heart hurts.

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+10000000000

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+1000

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Now I am reminded of Amogae-Noksoo parallels that I've read some episodes back.

Both Rebels in their own way who dare defy the norms of the society they've been born in. Both strategic thinkers who are willing to go the dark way and risk themselves and wait even longer for execution to be possible.

Amogae is fortunate to have had that strong family love (and happy memories in between the tragedies) to draw strength from. From the backstory we've been shown so far, there seems to be none for Gong-hwa. I can only imagine how she has come to be this way, broken and unable to care for her own son.

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I now understand why NokSoo is GilDong’s first love and not one that lasts. As much I love Lee Honey, NokSoo’s character has a more selfish and ambitious vibe (not that that’s bad). And her ambition and selfishness comes to light with the absence of GilDong. She already had thoughts of going into the palace, but the situation just sealed the deal. NokSoo wanted GilDong to initially stay and even kept the piece of cloth away from GilDong (that’s a nono in my book even if it is Honey) to keep GilDong to herself. I would even go as far as to say that as much as she’s shared her struggles with GilDong I’m not certain she was even curious of GiDong’s struggles especially knowing that something may have happened to his family. GaRyung on the other hand is definitely the romantic. It may come off as playing the “normal female role” especially in this era, but she’s really putting in 100% into loving GilDong without expecting anything in return. Initially I thought that GaRyung was a servant but since she’s been able to wait for GilDong by herself, there seems to be more to her background. Someone had mentioned that she may be of nobility, and if so, the actions show more of a stark contrast to NokSoo. All in all I think this is such an awesome set up for the lovelines and we have so much to look forward to too. And NokSoo’s trajectory is so understandable and kind of bada** as well.

But seriously… GilDong is in the wrong for not giving her any notice of him before reappearing over 2 months later after he said he would come back… but… goddammit woman! I’ve seen people in sageuks longing and waiting for their beloved for years!!! So impatient!!! In sageuk timing, 2 months can be the time it takes for someone to walk over mountains one way!! You could’ve waited for one more month!! GAH!

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" I've seen people in Saeguks longing and waiting for their beloved for years"

Just as Moon Lovers and its unrivalled time skips.

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hahah i thought the same thing but i think it was inline with her character, i think she was only temporarily infatuated by gilding but when someone (the king) came along that can benefit her more she jumped at the chance, to me i just find that interesting rather than me being angry at her for it.

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I think NokSoo's love/infatuation with GilDong is more than just temporary but her ambition is definitely going to overpower that relationship with GilDong for sure. No doubt she is an interesting character though and I love Honey Lee's portrayal of her too. I can't hate her but I can't love her but I definitely admire her :)

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Yes, Gong-hwa's darkness certainly provides a foil to Ga-ryung's lighthearted and unabashed affection for Gil-dong. Her initial fascination seemed to be a mix of attraction to Gil-dong and a curiousity about him being the fabled Mighty Child. All those scenes with Shorty indicate something a bit deeper than just passing curiousity.

I wish she could've waited a little longer too, but unlike us, she doesn't have the omniscient viewer lens that we do. Given her line of work, she must've thought herself foolish for falling for such a charmer. To me, Gong-hwa is a woman with a mission and the eye-stabbing incident was a stark reminder that she does not have the luxury to sit around and wait while the vicious cycle rages on around them.

Which reminds me that Gong-hwa and Ga-ryung are at different points in their lives. While Ga-ryung is probably experiencing the first blush of sweet young love, Gong-hwa's been to hell and back and I don't think her innocence has ever been hers to explore.

I'm not sure how the "recruitment" process works for gisaengs to enter the palace. Like if there's a specific season for it (with the ascendency of the new king) that lends an urgency to the timing or if Wolhamae just wanted Gong-hwa to move on from waiting on Gil-dong to return.

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Love this ?

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That eunuch!! I forget people should have beards in this era!! This Eunuch has something up his sleeve! Gah so many questions!!!

Oh and one of my favorite lines of this episode:
“It’s not because they are evil that this happened to us but because they don’t see us as humans… it is because we consider ourselves not humans and therefore they do not treat us like humans”

So many thoughts with this quote about fighting status quo and societal norms especially in terms of status. If you want something to change, you need to change first. I love this :)

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Makes you think about slavery in the real world, how it was able to last for so long and how people where able to justify the inhumane acts.

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Whoa. The many reincarnations of Amogae. Lol ? is this the fifth? First one before gil dong's strength was revealed. Second was after and he was trying to make a living to free his family. Third was when his wife died. Fourth as Ikwari elder, and this is the fifth. Wonder how that pans out. This drama is killing me softly. Killing me slowly inside. It's so good. It's a pity though that Moo Hyul's nana got reincarnated as his enemy. PS in the preview in the first episode was Gil Dong with Gil Hyun in the scene where he was about to shoot Ga Ryung with an arrow?

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Yep, there was definitely a shot of Gilhyun (with Eopsan on the other side) when Gildong was about to shoot Garyung, in the first episode.

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Amogae could give Jang Geun Seok's character in Jackpot a run for his money on highest character survival!

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YASSS, Amogae Team is reunited at long last! Can't wait for more badassery! Two episodes a week isn't near enough, especially for a 30-episode epic sageuk...
Garyung is adorable. I can definitely see how Gildong will have his heart stolen by her (since the promotional material states that she'll become his lover), not to mention how he basically defended 21st century feminist principles lol. Looking forward to how their loveline will progress.
Noksoo, on the other hand, is fascinating. I'm loving the ambition, impatience and no-damsel-in-distress-self she's been showing us (which is funny because she seems a lot calmer than Garyung but then Garyung was the one who stayed waiting for Gildong, who didn't even love her back lmao). I'm can't wait to see how her relationship with the King will unfold.
Which brings us to the King. I can see how his backstory will affect his life choices, how his loneliness will turn him into the bloody tyrant he's remembered as. Since Noksoo will probably become the one person he trusts and who understands him, I can also see how that would give her great power. I'm definitely looking forward to his development (and to Kim Jisuk as well).
And Amogae! I'm glad the writer saved his life after all, when I was already loosing all hope. That little smirk when he called Gildong crazy! Kim Sangjoong rocks! Seems like Gildong will follow his father's footsteps, which means more badassery (which is what I signed up for in the first place haha).
I'm intrigued by what will become of Gilhyun though. Seems like he'll become a scholar or something, which falls in line with what his father had planned for him. And Ahn Naesang! His on-screen presence is no joke. Can't wait to learn more about his character (I'm on-board with that theory that he might be Garyung's father haha).
All the awesomeness makes the wait even more painful though (whyyy show whyyy).

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Just a thought. Methinks Gil Hyun's gonna take the exam and becomes an official. So yeah he will uphold the law yada yada and that will create conflict with his brother. Also, as far as I've read about Yeonsangun the start of his reign was pretty much okay. But we know what happened later, so I reckon Gil Hyun will see what is happening and becomes disillusioned at some point then will go and act like a sort of double agent for Gil Dong's merry band in their quest for justice since he will have an inside knowledge of the government. Information like who is the official that is corrupt or beats his slaves for small mistakes etc.

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The thought of Gil-hyun as a double agent sounds exciting. Here is hoping :).
The scholars at the countryside were a pain in Yeonsangun's rear so hopefully Gil-hyun would be a part of this group.

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Gil Dong's serious expression when he had the meeting with the gang. Those eyes.. those eyes that had made me fell in love with him as Ki Jae Myung in Pinocchio..

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All people thinking that Gilhyun will be in the opposite faction against Gildong, while myself thinking that this will be the perfect opportunity for Gilhyun to help Gildong and planning revenge from upper position (officials) while Gildong strike from bottom (civilian rebellion).
This will be fit if we don't forget who Yeonsanggun is, he is known as the most ruthless and worst king in Joseon history. Because his anger to government officials who advises his father to kill her mother...
(SPOILER)

...he will kill and execute many officials if he even slightest suspicious they are against his mother before as revenge. I think that how Ahn Naesang role come into play. If we followed the history, Jang Noksu too will become villain, she will be the one who influence Yeonsanggun to reform Sunkyungkwan to become Gisaeng parlor. Maybe her anger to those nobleman and officials will fuel her motivations to turns the King against officials.

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I think both brothers will clash each other at first, Gil Dong was a threat to the nation after all.

Maybe after couple sessions of talk no jutsu, Gil Hyun will join hands with his brother to oppose the tyrant king.

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I.loved.this.episode!!!!!!

Probably as much as any single episode I've watched in the past 5 years of watching (and becoming addicted to) Korean Dramas.

It seemed like it was 15 minutes long. (Was it shorter than normal? When it was over I thought, "No! It can't be done yet. I just started watching!"

Great show. Great characters. Great acting. Great directing. Fascinating story. I am SO hoping that it stays good. If it does, it will be a favorite. But I've been suckered in before by good dramas that spiraled into poo. But enough negativity.

This was an EXCELLENT episode.

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Yup, I have been re-watching ep 7&8 almost everyday while waiting for next week ep, and the more I watched it, the more questions I had in mind. It almost feels like I live for Monday to come.

The romance
The bromance
The villain
The bonding between family and the loyal friends (I have never thought that a reunion of ex-gangster members could be so touching)

Everything in this drama works brilliantly ! :D

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For some reason, I felt the beginning of this episode was Gong Hwa's dream. If not, why would she suddenly appear with a hairdo that is not her normal gisaeng style and have this off-the-wall conversation with the eunuch/mat peddler?

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Could it be that she doesn't want to be seen as a gisaeng when she leaves the gibang alone?

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'Do you think if you sit and cry someone will come rescue you?' Preach Noksoo. I wish Ah Ro could hear you.

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LMAO, you just reminded me that i have to go watch the last 2 episodes of Hwarang

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Late but I just want to say how much I love this episode, and all our protagonists in it.

Even the king doesn't seem to be a psychopath yet, and I think there's something interesting there - even in the scene in ep 1 where he was demanding to know Gil-dong's ancestry, he seemed more petulant and pathetic than anything else.

That first scene (the early flashback) was a pretty genius move, because now I'm more intrigued than ever to see how the king, Gil-dong and Ga-ryung go from what they are now to what we see in that. Whether it's the king going from loneliness and inadequacy issues to all-out controlling and possibly psychopathic, or Gil-dong going from being charmed by Ga-ryung's sass to irritated by her, to utter devastation when her life is threatened and he has to be the one to shoot her.

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Speaking of the King, I'm currently midway watching Oh Hae Young where Kim Jiseok's sidesick antics are giving me the lulz. I'm so gonna have a whiplash with his Yeonsangun.

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Best episode for me. The story is amazing and the cast rocks.. ?❤

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