Rating:
Average user rating 4.5
60

Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 2

Setting the stage ahead for Gil-dong’s rebellion against the corrupt social system, this episode delves further into his beginnings and shows where he gots his sense of equality and justice. As always, Kim Sang-joong puts on a powerful performance as Amogae, a slave whose love for his family is both the reason for his greatest joy and deepest despair. After two weeks of relative drama-less living, I’m personally excited by this new series, which looks like it’s shaping up to become a great sageuk.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

Gil-dong and Gil-hyun wait for their father to arrive. Remembering his father’s last words before he left, Gil-dong hides his strength, even pretending his brother that he struggles with light wood loads. When the young master is studying, Gil-hyun is called to assist with creating ink, and Gil-dong is sent to bring water.

Over the young master’s shoulder, Gil-hyun watches him write his letters and lets out a quiet sigh when he incorrectly draws a character. The Master, who has been closely overseeing his son’s studies, catches Gil-hyun’s sigh and demands to know if Gil-hyun knows what his son wrote incorrectly. When Gil-hyun points out the misspelled character, the Master becomes furious that the son of a slave is smarter than his own and punishes Gil-hyun from overstepping his boundaries. Gil-dong watches this injustice happen to his older brother with tears in his eyes.

Later that night, their mother prays for their father to come home safely. Gil-hyun and Gil-dong lay awake as they hear their mother’s sincere prayers.

The young master gathers the young children of the household’s slaves and announces the upcoming rock-throwing match against the neighboring town’s team. He commands them to practice throwing accurately at the straw dummies before them, but a fellow hyung tempts Gil-hyun into throwing a rock in the young master’s direction, and says if they’re asked, they can claim their aim went astray.

Gil-dong picks up a stone and aims it at the young master, but at the last moment, he puts it down because of his father’s warning about the Mighty Child. Gil-hyun, thinking that his brother isn’t athletic, dissuades him from trying.

Finally, the hyung manages to hit the young master, who immediately starts bawling on the ground. His father is punished for his child’s actions by the household mistress. The three youngsters watch from afar, but are unconcerned, because they’ve all had experiences being disciplined. Instead, they compare what foods they like to think of while listening to the mistress’s scoldings.

When they arrive in front of their home, the two boys are overjoyed to see that their father has come back. Gil-dong sings throughout the entire village that his father has come home. When his mother sees her husband for the first time, it’s clear that she’s glad to see him despite her attempts at a nonchalant greeting. When she sees him taking the bandages off his travel-worn feet, she hurries to bring hot water for him to soak them in.

After saying all his greetings, Amogae takes Gil-dong aside to ask him if he’s kept the promise to hide his strength, and Gil-dong replies brightly that of course he has.

When Amogae brings the spoils of his travels back to his master and the mistress, they’re initially disappointed, because he’s shown that his profit was only two rolls of cotton. However, when Amogae takes out a roll of white silk and pushes it toward the mistress, her eyes light up with greedy delight, and the master smiles approvingly. He asks how Amogae obtained this rich cloth, and the slave replies that he sold his master’s pollack for cotton, which he sold in the north for fur, which he traded to the Chinese for silk.

Catching on that his slave might be a natural at trading, the master wonders aloud if Amogae could sell the rest of his fish for a similar profit, but Amogae claims that the season for fur is over, and he can’t guarantee anything. But he also slyly adds that he met some traveling merchants who were showing him how to trade, and that he thinks if he were to tag along with them, he could bring even more money to his master. At that suggestion, the master gives him permission to travel indefinitely, but the mistress reminds Amogae that he must come running if his master ever calls for him. Head bowed, Amogae thanks them profusely.

As Amogae brings in more goods from his travels, his position in the household is elevated to a favored slave. He provides his family with a new home to his wife’s delight, Gil-hyun with the books he craves, and Gil-dong with white rice (a sign of wealthy social stature), which he’s never eaten before. When they all gather for dinner, Amogae shows his forward-thinking opinions on equality by setting Geum-ok’s bowl next to his on the table. Normally, it would be customary for her to eat from the floor because of her lower status as a female.

When they’re about to go to bed, Amogae attempts to make love to his wife, but she stops him by revealing that she thinks she is pregnant. Ecstatic at the news, Amogae says they should visit the doctor the first thing in the morning, but she doesn’t think it’s necessary, because slaves don’t usually bring their wives to the doctor to consult on pregnancy. However, Amogae is insistent that from now on, he will enjoy all the perks noblemen have by using his newfound wealth.

The children eavesdrop outside as their parents rejoice in the news of the upcoming birth after the doctor’s visit. Gil-dong is confused by the turn of phrase: “The child stood up” (meaning that a woman was pregnant), and asks his brother Gil-hyun what it means. Then when Gil-dong asks how people become pregnant, his brother turns red and says that he doesn’t need to know.

Soboori visits the Amogae house, and sees Gil-dong, who ignores his greeting. Seeing Amogae’s beautiful wife, Soboori says he understands why Amogae wouldn’t even glance around in the brothels full of beautiful gisaeng. Amogae tells him to cut to the chase, and Soboori relates to him that their next job is to steal rice from a stingy landlord, though he warns him that it might be dangerous.

However, Amogae says that he’s not in a position to quibble, and that because of Gil-dong, he needs to free his family from slavery as soon as possible. The next morning, Geum-ok is sad to see him leave so soon, but she dutifully packs him a lunch for his long journey.

Soboori, Amogae, and Yonggae bribe the guards to ignore their breaking and entering, and clearly these thieving ventures are profitable, because later we see Gil-dong sharing sweets with his friends, telling them that if they want more, they should tell their fathers to become merchants.

While having a solo lunch, Amogae overhears a couple noblemen discussing the current political atmosphere. It seems that the dethroned queen is marshaling her political forces after her second son died unnaturally (implying that perhaps poisoning was involved) in infancy. They debate the merits of flocking to the dethroned queen’s side versus sticking by the current queen, because the crown prince is the biological son of the dethroned queen.

Late at night, the master and his wife look over the account books, which show that they’re still two hundred nyang (Joseon money unit) short of their goal. They think about selling more possessions, but the mistress nags to her husband that he should not have gotten involved with the dethroned queen’s movement. In his defense, he says that it’s a long-term investment for their son’s future.

Holding a letter written in the dethroned queen’s own hand, he explains to his wife that by the time his son reaches adulthood, the crown prince could become king and his mother would be naturally reinstated as the dowager. Therefore, this insurance is for that later time, when his son can reap its benefits.

In the palace, the young prince asks his retinue why he can’t call his father his father, and why his family doesn’t live together. The eunuchs try to explain to him that because he is the prince, he can’t have a normal childhood, and then he asks what happened to his baby brother, and why he died. The servants just bow their heads because they don’t know if they should tell their child prince about the lethal intrigues going on that led to his mother’s dethronement.

Amogae comes home again after another of his travels and presents more gifts for his family. Almost immediately, he lies down and falls asleep. When Geum-ok unpacks his belongings, she discovers a hidden corner full of silver taels. Initially she’s shocked, but when she catches her husband stealing away at dawn to hide the box of silver in a camouflaged hole in their backyard, she aids him with the heavy covering. He asks why she doesn’t ask him where the money came from, but she just tells him to be careful and not to hurt anyone.

The next day, Amogae encounters a crying woman, and learns from his friend that the master is selling slaves to earn more money in order to buy a title. Believing that this could be his chance to buy his freedom, he asks Soboori to find someone who will be willing to buy him and his family.

He is introduced to Secretary Eom, who is an impoverished official working in the district magistrate’s department and makes money from government bribes. He agrees to buy Amogae, and despite the master’s tricks to lead the man away from his prized merchant slave, they’ve already planned the entire encounter: In return for Amogae’s loyalty and a commission fee, Secretary Eom will buy and free Amogae, and thereby free himself from a life of flattering ungrateful magistrates for bribe money.

When the master receives the promissory check from Secretary Eom, who bought Amogae and his family for an exorbitant amount, he’s ecstatic. But the mistress is suspicious of where the money came from. They are unable to find out from their sources in the ginseng brothels, but a sneaky slave tells them that Amogae and his family have been enjoying a rich lifestyle, and that he’s even been teaching his son to write and eating white rice at each meal, which does not befit his lowly status.

They get the inkling that Amogae has a hidden trove of wealth he’s gathered from his journeys and scheme to get it from him. Although he is Amogae’s master, he cannot take his possessions outright. But if Amogae harms the master or his family, he is entitled to Amogae’s life, and the mistress contends that he will probably be more willing to part with his wealth than his life. So the couple conspire to bring in their sleazy uncle with a notoriously roving eye.

The neighborhood hyung, Gil-hyun, and Gil-dong practice throwing rocks at a tree for their upcoming match against the neighboring town. Gil-dong is surprised when he can’t summon his strength, and determines that maybe by telling himself that he shouldn’t and that he wouldn’t, he has suppressed his strength for good.

At the market, Geum-ok shops for some trinkets. The sleazy uncle spots her and starts following her around, having taken a liking to her beautiful appearance. At one point, he even spits in her face to show her that she’s a slave that should always listen to the whims of a nobleman.

He trails her on her way home and confronts her again by telling her not to block his path. It’s another excuse for him to talk to her, and being the skeezeball he is, he thinks she’s trying to seduce him. She holds in her anger, thinking of Amogae’s words to not cause trouble before their transfer to their new owner is complete.

However, the sleazy nobleman takes it a step too far when he lunges to embrace her, and she falls to the ground on her pregnant belly in an attempt to escape him. Her two sons, who were nearby, see this unwanted encounter unfold. Gil-hyun runs to his mother and glares at the nobleman, but it’s Gil-dong who shouts for him to leave. Suddenly, the world turns dark as Gil-dong gathers his strength and hurls a rock at the man pestering his mother. In an incredible feat, he crushes the boulder behind the nobleman just by throwing pebbles.

Amogae gets there just in time to shake his son from his angry trance. The nobleman calls for the police to arrest the youngster, but Amogae claims that he was the one who threw the rock at the nobleman. Geum-ok, finally realizing that Gil-dong is in danger for being a Mighty Child, also provides testimony that it was her husband and not her son who injured the nobleman.

In front of the magistrate, Amogae learns that the skeezeball nobleman is actually his master’s uncle, and that he can ask for Amogae’s death as punishment. When he goes to his master to plead for his life, his master brings out all the wealth that Amogae accumulated in that camouflaged hole in his backyard. When he asks what this is, Amogae thinks inside that it’s everything that he was trying to save for his children, but outwardly, he replies it belongs to the master now.

Meanwhile, Geum-ok is in early labor, brought on by the trauma from her fall earlier. His third child is a girl, and although Amogae wasn’t able to witness her birth, he is happy to be able to see his family again. In the kitchen, he cooks seaweed soup for his wife, and when Gil-dong comes in to apologize for succumbing to his temper, Amogae tells his son that it was he who threw the rock, not Gil-dong. Confused but accepting, Gil-dong says nothing.

Amogae rocks his baby girl back and forth, but Geum-ok struggles to tell him that she’s dying from the complications of an early labor. By the time Amogae realizes she’s bleeding out, it’s too late, and she asks him to stay with her until her last breath. She thanks him for a wonderful life together, and her last words to him are not to scold Gil-dong too much.

Although the children realize that their mother is dead, Amogae takes her body out alone to bury her on the mountainside. On her burial mound, in his grief, Amogae slaps himself for not protecting her while surrounded by his bandit friends. He learns from Soboori that his wife’s death was indirectly caused by his master’s greed, and so he takes a scythe to his master’s bedchamber. When Gil-dong realizes that his father isn’t sleeping beside them, he goes out to find him.

The master wakes to Amoage’s deadly gaze, and he immediately realizes the danger that his slave presents. Amogae lists his master’s sins, and asks whether his greed was worth the death of his son’s loyal nursemaid (Geum-ok) who fed more of her breast to his son over her own. The master calls Amogae’s name, begging for mercy, but Amogae lets out a humorless laugh, saying that naming him after nothing doesn’t mean that he isn’t worth anything.

Then, he tells his master that it’s his time to die, and takes the scythe to his throat. Outside, Gil-dong watches the shadow of his father killing the master and witnesses the scene of his father coming out covered in spatters of blood.

 
COMMENTS

After one learns that one’s father is a murderer, what does one do? I’m curious to find out how this revelation will affect Gil-dong’s childhood and shape his subsequent ideas on the value of a person’s life. Does he accept that killing may be a necessary evil, and does that factor into his decision to shoot an arrow through his lover Ga-ryung’s heart? Does Little Gil-dong realize that his show of strength was related to his mother’s death, and if so, does that change his temperament so that he learns to control his rage?

So many questions, but this episode actually answered many others that I had from the premiere. For instance, I had been wondering what could make Amogae, a devoted slave, turn his back on his master and change his family’s status. Before the drama aired, I read his character description and thought he might be portrayed as a greedy social climber, but I’m much more sympathetic to him now that I know his motivation is his need to protect his family. Both his sons seem to have inherited different characteristics of his; Gil-ryun exhibits the quick-learning mind that Amogae has also shown in his thieving escapades, and Gil-dong has the strength that Amogae remembers he once had in childhood. Will their sister be more like Amogae or like calm Geum-ok, who was so accepting and understanding of her husband’s illicit activities?

Despite my impatience to see Yoon Kyun-sang on the screen, his child actor counterpart is adorable as Little Gil-dong. That gap-toothed smile and those cute dimples melt me inside every time. The lovable rascal with an ever-hungry appetite is definitely a character after my own heart (or rather, my stomach). Physically, I can see the similarities between Little Gil-dong and Yoon Kyun-sang, but I don’t know if they’ll project the same aura. After watching the older actor in The Time I’ve Loved You and Pinocchio, I’ve developed this image of him in my mind as a cold, charismatic gentleman. Although watching him in Three Meals a Day: Fishing Village Season 3 changed this impression somewhat, I don’t know if he’ll fit the grown-up version of the cheeky brave Hong Gil-dong I have in mind after the child actor’s portrayal.

As for the storyline, I love how the writers chose to focus on equality instead of just the unbalanced social caste system. When Amogae respected his wife’s dignity during their family dinner by lifting her bowl to the table, it showed where Gil-dong would receive his ideas on gender and class equality. On the other hand, Prince Yeonsangun doesn’t look like he’ll get the best childhood experience despite his privileged position. I wonder whether the current queen killed his brother, and whether he’ll have to grow up in fear that he’ll be the next to be poisoned, and if that paranoia will lead to his later violent rages. At this point, he’s a foil to Gil-dong, emphasizing the point that the writers are driving home: background is important because it forms your perspective on life, but it doesn’t make you happy.

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , , ,

60

Required fields are marked *

lil gil dong is adorable, i agree! the similarity with Yoon Kyung Sang is great, even the adorkableness aspect... i disliked his role in The Time I Loved You, but really liked his role in Seven Flying Dragons, he was goofy and badass at different times...

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

yay, finally the recap! I've been itching to talk about this episode, and now I can do it at last!

I'm guilty of sometimes wanting to fast-forward through childhood portions of dramas and just cut to the chase, but the story of Gil-dong's childhood is a fully-formed one in its own right, albeit with Amogae as the lead (and Kim Sang-joong is majestic, as always, even if he's playing a slave). I loved the relationship between Gil-dong's parents, and it was heartbreaking to see the end of Geum-ok this episode. It also lends the story a different tone to actually see Amogae's love for his wife and sons, and how broken it leaves him when she dies.

also, re: that initial shot of Gil-dong and Ga-ryung at the stake - it's a pretty gutsy decision to basically tell your audience within the first five minutes of your drama that your hero is going to shoot his lover through the heart. And ye, even if we know what happened, I'm still insanely interested in seeing how they got to that point.

0
16
reply

Required fields are marked *

I also love Gil Dong as a kid, and was equally touched by the parents' story.

There is a basic moral question here, which I love and always leaves me torn: do the ends justify the means? I can't condone the fact that Ahmogae was stealing, but I so wanted him to buy his and his family's freedom. He didn't really have another way of making money since his master refused to free him and made it very difficult (I mean, how could he expect to get 10 rolls of cotton for some rotten-looking fish?) I profoundly detest the greedy wife and have the impression that even if Amogae had procured money by honest means she would have found a way to take it from him.

In colonial Spanish America slaves could formally present a complaint if their masters weren't treating them well. In fact I once came across a document in an archive with a pertinent story: a slave called Melchor was complaining that his master refused to sell him to another guy! Manumission was also pretty common in Roman times, and ensured that former slaves remained connected to their master's household as 'clients', often taking the names of their masters. Sorry for the historical digression, but did Joseon slaves have no legal protection at all? If freed, did they break all ties with former masters?

Re: stake scene. In a way it reminds me of Chinese historical dramas that have a sort of 1-minute summary of the show at the beginning of each episode. It's like a game for me to identify when scenes are shown and how they got to that point. Sometimes it's not what it seems.

As long as we don't see it in flashbacks every episode (Goblin, looking at you), I think it's a very intriguing way to draw us in.

0
13
reply

Required fields are marked *

I can't find it in my heart to hold it against people when they break the law out of desperation, or because of systemic injustice. And slavery counts as a pretty good example of both, Amogae's plotting/stealing his way to freedom actually makes me like him more as a character.

also, I didn't know that about slavery in the Spanish empire! That's rather unusual, though of course the rights of slaves are never at an advantage. Not sure about the status of Joseon slaves though - my impression was very few got freed.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I agree. It's completely a case where, if I were the judge, I'd show mercy towards Amogae's stealing. However, now he's killed his master, which is a more serious crime. Legally things do not bode well for him.

Of course slavery is a completely inhuman activity that degrades humans to the level of property, but what I've learnt by studying history in the Atlantic world is that, precisely because they are considered valuable commodities, it was not in the interests of their masters to have them die off of hunger or overwork. The example I gave from Spanish America is from an area where slaves were scarce and were used as household servants (not as plantation slaves like in Brazil), which might explain why they were treated a bit better.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't know if I even blame Amogae for that murder, considering the circumstances - I suppose under the legal system he's in, the real outrage would be that a slave dared to lay hands on his master, because from what I've seen in other sageuks, killing people for revenge is pretty common among the yangban class. It's just not an option for their slaves.

0

I'm with Pogo in this case...It's really really difficult for me to blame Amogae for what he's done. Yes he killed his master, but at the same time his master tried to rape his pregnant wife (and would have if not for Gil Dong) and subsequently caused for her death. The justice system at the time would've also dissolved his master for any wrong doing. So yeah...

North American slavery was inhuman through and through...though I think there was some legal protection. What did that cover? Not sure...but I think protecting one's family isn't one of them.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@nomad - if he were a yangban seeking revenge for an injustice on his family (e.g. Joseon Gunman), we wouldn't even be pondering the question of whether Amogae was right to seek revenge.

When there's no recourse within the system, it's not hard to see why people go outside it, whether it's killing your unjust master or going to protests against the government.

0

"There is a basic moral question here, which I love and always leaves me torn: do the ends justify the means? I can’t condone the fact that Ahmogae was stealing, but I so wanted him to buy his and his family’s freedom".

These upper class yangbans and landowners are so rich and untouchable because of their high status. They make the law to protect themselves while they exploit and steal from the lower class peasants.
For example, the peasants/servants had to pay taxes to their masters and on top of that there is another tribute tax that is being imposed on them.
When these so called masters pay tribute to the states the money and goods are being charged and paid for by the poor servants who has very little and nothing to begin with. Then there is grain loans etc etc that the show might explore later.

When the peasants steal from them the law punished them severely. This is pretty messed up.

There is no moral on both sides but I do sympathized with the poor peasants. They have no voice, the law, the government are clearly not on their side.
Where and who should they turn to for justice?

0
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

They make the law to protect themselves while they exploit and steal from the lower class peasants.

It's surprising how applicable that sentence is, even today. Tax breaks/tax evasion galore for the rich, while the goods common people consume are taxed i.e. money comes out of the pockets of regular people, including the poorest and most vulnerable.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

*sourly smiling at Pogo's last sentence. How sadly true that is!

0

@Kiara,

I've finally gotten around to watching SIX FLYING DRAGONS, and just finished episode 22. I've been reading all the recaps, and appreciate your comments and historical asides, which are most illuminating. ;-)

With regard to the severely unbalanced and unjust system in which Gil-dong and his family live, I am strongly reminded of Gil Tae Mi's farewell speech in the midst of his final swordfight [transcribed from episode 18]:

"What did I do that was so wrong? ...
Of course I'd trample on the weak. Would I trample on the powerful?
Of course I'd steal from the weak. Would I steal from the powerful?
Since the beginning of time, the weak have always been trampled on by the powerful.
A thousand years ago, and even a thousand years from now, the weak will be stolen from by the powerful.
The only truth in the world is the powerful wrecks the weak. The powerful plunders the weak. This is the only truth that doesn't change! So let's hurry up and finish this."

These upper class yangbans and landowners are so rich and untouchable because of their high status. They make the law to protect themselves while they exploit and steal from the lower class peasants.

Same s***, different dynasty... different country... different legal system.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which sounds like a good thing, has been heinously misapplied.

What recourse do commoners have when the very law itself is unjust? Where I live, the people rose up and fired their boss, a.k.a. King George III, in 1776. But long before that, jurors in the trial of printer John Peter Zenger in 1735 judged not only the facts of the case, but the applicable law itself, and acquitted the defendant accused of libeling a corrupt colonial governor. The right of jury nullification was every bit as important as the better-known freedom of the press, because it provided an avenue of redress of morally repugnant or improperly applied laws. Sadly but unsurprisingly, only a few states nowadays mandate that jurors have the right “to judge the application of the law in relationship to the facts in controversy.”

New Hampshire Passes Jury Nullification Law
http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/constitution/item/11934-new-hampshire-passes-jury-nullification-law

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@PakalanaPikake

I did a lot of fangirling at SFD over Kim Myung Min and Warrior Moo Hyul lol. I watched TWDR before so I was already in love with Moo Hyul's character thanks to Jo Jin-Woong. I couldn't help but cheer for Yoon Gyun-Sang too. I loved it when he channel the older Moo Hyul's strength and undying loyalty to his king.
He had great chemistry with Han Ye-Ri. If only was she wasn't devoted to someone else in the show.

Believe it or not the unbalance of wealth and power is directly related to the land distribution that was shown in SFD.
After Joseon was created King Taejo's merit subjects were rewarded with land. On top of that they also received rank land from the government and the same problem that happened in Goryeo started again. Even King Sejo dished out land rewards for those who helped him usurped the throne from his young nephew.
The poor peasants' burdens increases and it was so bad that most abandoned their villages and chose a life of wandering because it was too much for them to handle. That led to stealing and plundering etc in order to survive. It didn't take long for them to group up and raised hell wherever they go.

It sad to see history keeps repeating itself :(. Thank you for sharing.

0

@2.1.2.2.1 Kiara,

Believe it or not the unbalance of wealth and power is directly related to the land distribution that was shown in SFD.
After Joseon was created King Taejo’s merit subjects were rewarded with land. On top of that they also received rank land from the government and the same problem that happened in Goryeo started again.

I've gotten to episode 26 of SFD and the land reform wheeling and dealing. Lather, rinse, repeat comes as no surprise. Even with the best of intentions as the motivation behind land reform, in an agrarian economy, land is the most valuable "currency" of all. Even if rank and meritorious service to the nation were not acknowledged with grants of land, there would always be land issues.

As with so many people living paycheck to paycheck nowadays, subsistence farmers since the dawn of time have always been one drought, one early frost, one flood, one cloud of locusts away from famine... which is where the money lenders come in, and land changes hands. The same holds true in the present day with homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments -- or their property taxes or town water and sewer bills.

There are other considerations in addition to land ownership: the farmers who get wiped out by the shenanigans of commodities traders screwing around with the markets. And don't get me started on the huge number of American family farms that were bankrupted and subsumed into large-scale corporate farming conglomerates in the past 30-40 years as a result of the cozy relationship between government policymakers and agribusiness. -- My in-law's family farm was one that was lost in that debacle. In the immortal words of former US Department of Agriculture Secretary Earl Butz: "Get big or get out" [of farming]. Google that phrase and you'll get an eyeful of what farmers were up against.

In the long run, some things haven't changed much since Goryeo. :-(

0

Oops! The italics should have been only on the first paragraph as quotation from Kiara's post 2.1.2.2.1.

0

Thanks for the background on manumission in Rome and Spanish America. It casts an interesting sidelight on Amogae's plight, where the game was rigged against those at the bottom of the heap.

I, too, found it disgusting that Lord Jo and his vile missus were so greedy as to actually think that anyone would be able to turn an enormous profit selling nearly spoiled food one step removed from garbage. On the other hand, I can only sympathize with Amogae's desperation to get Gil-dong out of a living situation that would prove fatal to him.

After letting the episode marinate in the back of my mind, I realize that that Dad's story of the Mighty Child is more than just a cautionary tale: it's foreshadowing of Mom's death and Dad's imminent demise, and there's not even a king involved yet (except as a personification of the law).

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i was initially excited for this drama because of YKS and CSB and when i heard there would be a childhood portion i remember thinking i'm not going to be interested with that, but wow am i really enjoying it so far. i can see how the childhood portion is a great set up for adult gil dong and i never found it boring. kim sang joong and the little boy are doing a great job that i almost don't want to say goodbye.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I know, I don't want to say goodbye to this stretch of the story either, it's a strong start if I've ever seen one. MBC needs to thank Kim Sang-joong for holding the fort so well!

Yoon Kyun-sang and Chae Soo-bin are my main draws to this project too, their casting was the reason I checked this out at all (it's a step in the right direction, to be casting talented newbies instead of going with people who don't have the skills). And they've both had some unexpected breakouts from bit roles, I can't wait to see them in full-length lead roles.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Aside from the occasional revenge murder, I guess/hope this show will be mostly about popular uprising / peasant revolt. And the modern equivalent of those is pretty much the mass demonstrations recently calling for the removal of the president. I talking about the ones in Seoul, if you were wondering. So I guess there will be lots of opportunities for them to draw parallels between then and now (?). No idea how far they might want to go down that path, but as far as I'm concerned they are welcome to beat us over the head with it every week.

0
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lord C,

I was wondering myself if Amogae's name could also be rendered as "Anonymous," in reference to the hacktivist movement.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think Amogae's name is closer to 'anyone' or 'whoever', but I like the Anonymous parallel.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, pogo!

The subtitles I read rendered the meaning as "nameless," so I went with the obvious. ;-)

"Whoever" is probably pronounced with the intonation of "whatever" for full effect.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

@PakalanaPikake - that's exactly how I read it too, like Amogae was so unimportant that he wasn't even given a proper name (with the added connotation that apparently slaves' children's names were subject to their master's approval).

It's a neat way to set this Hong Gil-dong story apart and drive home that he really does come from ordinary people instead of the yangban father of previous iterations.

0

The little Gil Dong is amazinggggggggggggggggggggg.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

he's just way tooo cute to be resisted OMG look at his cheeks and his teeth I can't stop smiling.
by the way is the brother gil hyun just the same person as the kid in master sun and beautiful mind? he looks familiar

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes -- and reincarnated Eun-Oh in ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

agreed he is so adorable!!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yoon Kyun Sang, you hv to thank your two cats for this lead role. Why? Well, bcause of them we changed our perception of you.hee.

0
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

The PD admitted he cast YKS based off 3 Meals A Day, so this is closer to the truth than we could have thought lol.

0
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm surprised they didn't cast him because of Six Flying Dragons. That's when my perception of him changed. I still need to get back to watching 3 Meals a Day sometime soon.

0
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I still need to get back to watching 3 Meals a Day sometime soon.

Me, too. 3MAD is strangely relaxing to watch.

Before I started watching SIX FLYING DRAGONS this week, I'd only seen YKS in the fishing village and FAITH. I'm enjoying his performance here.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

@PakalanaPikake @Chandler - have you guys seen him in Pinocchio?

That's the drama that first brought him to public attention, and I could see why - he wasn't even the second lead but was thisclose to stealing the show, his character arc was easily the best part of it.

When someone makes that much out of a bit part, you can't help but pay attention. Same with Chae Soo-bin in Spy.

0

@5.1.1.1.1 pogo,

No, actually I haven't seen PINOCCHIO. The title is kind of weird and off-putting to me. However, I quickly read the DB episode 1 recap, and it sounds like an interesting show that might send my blood pressure sky-high. (Recovering high school and college journalist here.) The reporter's yellow journalism is highly reminiscent of that depicted in 1975 German film DIE VERLORENE EHRE DER KATHARINA BLUM (THE LOST HONOR OF KATHARINE BLUM) back in the days of the Baader-Meinhof Gang and the terrorist Red Army Faction.

he wasn’t even the second lead but was this close to stealing the show, his character arc was easily the best part of it.

That gets my attention. Plus, I just took a gander at AsianWiki and see a lot of good actors in the cast. Will add it to the To-Watch list. Thanks for the hot tip! ;-)

0

same here, i first saw YKS in pinocchio (which was one of the first dramas i watched) and couldn't believe he was the same person in six flying dragons, i feel like his role in Rebel could be similar to Moo hyul if they keep the young persona of gil dong in him even when he's grown up because moo hyul was similar in that regard where he was a total puppy and at the same time a fierce warrior

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I have a feeling they will do that - child Gil-dong is a carefree little fellow, and I expect adult Gil-dong to have some of that too.

But imo YKS really kills it hardest when he has to portray anguish, and that scene at the stake at the start of the first ep definitely has me sitting up.

0

@pogo you're so right about YKS being great at portraying anguish, the way he said "ga ryung.." in the first episode, i still can't unhear it, i could feel the history between them (even though we weren't shown how they came to know each other) with the amount of emotion that was in that one word

0

gil dong eating rice was the highlight

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks, tineybeanie, for recapping! I especially appreciated your pointing out the significance of Dad's picking Mom's food up off the floor and placing it on the table so they could eat together.

I've watched enough sageuks to really loathe mercilessly avaricious and rank-conscious yangban women like Nobleman Jo's wife. Seo Yi-Sook is terrific as the evil brains behind her greedy, social-climbing, but ultimately spineless husband (Son Jong-Hak). Her plan is utterly diabolical, and all I can think is that she's even more deserving of an interview with a reaping hook than her husband was.

I'm enjoying the performances by the child actors. Lee Ro-Woon as little Gil-dong effectively embodies the pint-sized Samson who has been reining in his enormous strength at Dad's behest -- until he understandably loses it. I was tickled to realize that Lee Do-Hyun (Gil-hyun) played the reincarnated Eun-Oh in ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE, a role which totally cracked me up, and was also in BEAUTIFUL MIND.

Although Young Master Soohak (Kim Ye-Joon) initially came across as an entitled little twit, I was startled to feel empathy for him when he cringed in fear during his lesson. Poor kid just isn't a very good student. (Or maybe his father is a crappy teacher?) So of course the solution is to beat Gil-hyun who can read and write better than Young Master.

I'm wondering if the kids will eventually end up hitting the road with Soboori. If they don't run away, I'd expect them to be marked for death by Jo's widow.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

"I’ve watched enough sageuks to really loathe mercilessly avaricious and rank-conscious yangban women like Nobleman Jo’s wife. Seo Yi-Sook is terrific as the evil brains behind her greedy, social-climbing, but ultimately spineless husband (Son Jong-Hak). Her plan is utterly diabolical, and all I can think is that she’s even more deserving of an interview with a reaping hook than her husband was."

So true she did deserve a taste of that hook, however it probably never occurred to anyone in a society that followed Confucianism religiously that a woman could come up with such a diabolical plot.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

i just dont get it why the early episodes of sageuk dramas are so frustating. I keep smiling but end up crying why so sad. maybe I'm just having a weak heart.
can't wait for lee hanui's role here

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Really enjoying this sageuk. What a surprise. Keep it up, writer-nim.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thanks for the recap, tineybeanie ! Can't wait for next episode to come :)

"In the palace, the young prince asks his retinue why he can’t call his father his father, and why his family doesn’t live together."
I laughed when I watched this scene. Why did it feel like little Yeonsangun stole Hong Gil Dong's words?

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It really did! I wonder if this is their way of playing around with the Hong Gil-dong legend, I rather like it.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow finally a real sageuk with actors who can do sageuk properly. I guess we get one every 2 to 3yrs. Thank you MBC for not going the fantasy route!

I have to admit that I was afraid to start watching "Rebel" since every single sageuk that came out last year has been so disappointing.

This feels true to this time period and the "extreme" heavy burden and hardship that peasants had to endure, imposed on them by the ruling yangban, rich landowners as their masters etc.

I'm glad that Amogae took care of Master Jo so this won't end up being about revenge for Gil Dong and his siblings.

Glad to see a lot of familiar veteran actors here. Can't wait to see the rest, especially Ahn Nae-Sang.

0
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

There were only 4 sageuk last year: Moon Lovers, Moonlight, Jackpot, Mirror of the Witch.

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

There was also Flower in Prison.... all of them disappointing in different ways.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Moon Lovers
Moonlight
Jackpot
Mirror of the Witch
Flowers in Prison
Hwarang
Jang Yeong Sil
Imjin War 1592 (on watch list)

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

lol I forgot Hwarang is a 2016 drama.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

@Kiara,

Wow finally a real sageuk with actors who can do sageuk properly.

Glad to see a lot of familiar veteran actors here. Can’t wait to see the rest, especially Ahn Nae-Sang.

You're reading my mind! ;-)

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love Ahn Nae-Sang as much as I love chocolate lol. Fantastic actor!
Son Jong-Hak has that mafia boss feel to him when he plays villain roles.
Kim Sang-Joong was one of the main draw for me.

I like the mixed of heavyweight veteran actors with younger main leads who aren't big names yet.
Yoon Gyun-Sang pretty much fit the physical description of the legendary Gil Dong and the real life rebel Im Kkeok Jung.

0
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I first saw Kim Saang-Joong In Jing Bi Rok and I was awed by his performance. This made me reach back in time to watch Eight Days, Assassination Attempts against King Jeongjo and I still thought he was brilliant.

He has made this childhood years interesting rather than some pointless tragedy laden time for me to fast forward through as I wait for the good parts.

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Some veteran actors kind of slow down as they get older because they have nothing to prove but Kim Sang-Joong seems to get better with age. Either that or he lucks out with good roles.

Love him in Eight Days. Great sageuk, I almost missed it being on cable. CGV of all channel.
Eight Days and Conspiracy in the Court are two of my favorites back to back in 2007.

Conspiracy in the Court is by far KBS's best pre-produced drama. Their current pre-produced sageuks makes me want to cry a river. It's so bad in comparison to the late 2000s.

1

Ughhhh I super loved the last two episodes! Everything so far has been on point, and like many others I'm excited to see the characters grown up.

Also I still can't get over Ga Ryung's scene getting shot...I want to know what happened!!!

The only problem is that I'm gonna have to go into live watching hell for the next few monthsl hahahha *cries* and uni is starting soon omgsh

0
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

same! there are tons of dramas i was excited for but am not watching because of school, but this was the only one which i was super super excited for and the fact that it did not disappoint is making me anticipate for next monday so much more!

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same here, I was trying to temper my expectations because I wasn't sure they'd actually go all-out for a drama with newbie leads, but boy did it live up to them!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think director Kim is inspired by the original. They weren't afraid to show the ending from the beginning for the opening scene. It was dark and bloody inspiring.
If it seems a bit extreme it's because it took place during a dark time in history. That one poster of Yoon Gyun-Sang's whole face covered in blood shows what to expect from this story.

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hmm, I actually didn't really like the kid parts, maybe it feel to 'hercules' or fantasy to my taste. Though I like the slave/merchant father's scene, I feel like I know the drill of tragic backstory sageuk already.

Now wishing YKS to appear already, in the meantime I'm currently watching the Tree With Deep Roots. I can't stop grinning at the kids scenes, they're really cute.

And I just realized that Jang Hyuk has been playing the same crazy eyed characters (with variation on the crazy) in sageuk dramas for many times!

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

yey for recaps! this is the first among the new dramas to come out this year that actually drew me in. lil gil dong is so good, he makes me fear what's coming to them. T_T

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Having first seen Yoon Kyun-sang play Deok-Man in "Faith" so well, I hope to see as warm-hearted character.

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Ginseng brothels??

0
0
reply

Required fields are marked *