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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 9

The revenge plot begins, with Gil-dong making small but steady steps forward to get back on those who hurt his family. He begins to adopt his father’s role and carry on his legacy by protecting his people and paying his enemies back. He may not be as ruthless as Amogae (yet), but he has the heart and now the strength to actively resist anyone who seeks their destruction.

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

The mysterious scholar leads Gil-hyun into a court of students all furiously studying Confucian text. Gil-hyun remembers the time in his youth when he loved to read but was punished for his unfitting intelligence as a slave. As Gil-hyun looks around in awe, the mysterious scholar explains that all these students are studying for the upcoming civil service exam.

He then turns to Gil-hyun and asks who he is (in reference to his family ancestry). Gil-hyun quickly thinks back to the information he gathered at the deceased man’s home in the woods. He repeats the family credentials listed in the man’s will as his own, and then the scholar asks about his parents. Gil-hyun is saved by an interruption by a fellow student, who calls the scholar “Teacher” — we’ll call the scholar TEACHER SONG now. Teacher Song introduces Gil-hyun to the student.

The friendly student walks with Gil-hyun and asks if he also met Teacher Song in front of the stationary stand. It seems Teacher Song frequently picks up new students in this manner, and we learn that he does so because this house is a place for scholar-hopefuls whose fathers have passed away early, like him, or who lack the money, background, and social standing to pursue this path.

The student suggests that Gil-hyun join them, since people like themselves need to stick together to succeed. But Gil-hyun claims that he does not plan on taking the civil service examination and that he merely visited the scholars’ hall because he was curious about what it looked like. Unfazed by the rejection, the student insists that Gil-hyun study with them, saying that he feels like he’s known Gil-hyun like an old friend. The music cue at “old friend” gets my spidey senses tingling…

We revisit the Choongwongoon residence, where Madam Jo thanks Choongwongoon before she leaves to support her son, who’s taking the civil service exam soon. She seems to have some regret about not completely obliterating Amogae’s followers and warns him about Gil-dong. Quoting her own son, she claims with urgency: “He’s strong. He’s a beast.”

Choongwongoon laughs in response. He knows that eliminating all of Amogae’s followers will take time, since Amogae ruled as the Ikhwari Elder for over ten years. With Amogae’s death, he claims that the root of their enemies has been destroyed, so the rest will follow. He assures Madam Jo that Gil-dong died, since no beast could possibly survive the fall from that cliff. He laughs at her overrated fear, but she seems to sense something ominous.

As Madam Jo leaves, Choongwongoon offers her the best brushes he could find as a gift for her son. She thanks her savior, calling him the nation’s pillar. He responds humbly, that he’s merely preserving social order. Behind him, Heotaehak scoffs that he’s spewing out bullshit. Wary of the consequences, Heotaehak’s son stands between Choongwongoon and his father as a buffer, but fortunately, it doesn’t seem like Choongwongoon heard the comment.

As Heotaehak walks around with Amogae’s prayer beads, we jump back to the new Bandit HQ, where Gil-dong explains the plan. He says that the first thing that Heotaehak took — upon Amogae’s defeat — were the prayer beads, which symbolize social power. He reminds his team about Amogae’s vow during the blood brothers ceremony to protect his family, friends, and even their dog. Gil-dong says they must live up to their reputation as gangsters and seek revenge.

That night, Yonggae gets up and quietly leaves the house while the rest of the gang sleeps. As he walks away, he’s followed by Segul. They’ve decided that they can’t follow Gil-dong’s crazy plan. Segul seems ready to head off, but a remorseful Yonggae lingers to give Amogae a formal farewell bow from outside.

Before they can leave for good, Gil-dong comes outside to ask if they’re really leaving. Turns out, the rest of the gang wasn’t asleep, and they listen in. Yonggae apologizes to a tearful Gil-dong and says that he’s scared of Choongwongoon. They leave, and Gil-dong cries outside while Amogae listens from his room somberly.

The next morning, the gang’s quiet breakfast table is interrupted by Magistrate Eom, who starts blabbing away at how no one saw him come to the house. He asks about Yonggae and Segul, which only intensifies the tension in the room. Keutsae slams his bowl on the table and mutters about the traitors.

Ga-ryung feeds Amogae in his room, and he ushers her to eat. She claims to have eaten already and continues to feed him as she talks about Gil-dong’s ridiculous requests for her to stop cooking and cleaning. She asks incredulously as to what else a woman should be doing other than cooking and cleaning (ah, internalized gender roles, there you are). Amogae smiles at her, and she freezes in surprise at the first smile she’s seen from him. She lets slip her comment that Gil-dong must be handsome like his father before she can hold her tongue, and that makes Amogae smile a little wider.

In the next room, Magistrate Eom shakes his head at the two runaways, but demands to know how Gil-dong plans on capturing Heotaehak. Everyone’s in a bad mood, and Il-chung pointedly asks why Magistrate Eom continues to visit the house. Didn’t he cause this whole tragedy? Isn’t he the reason why Gil-hyun and Eorini are lost? Taking the hint, Magistrate Eom stands up to leave and never come back. Before he exits the room, he says that he was the happiest when he lived with all of them, though he admits that he knows that he’s at fault.

Magistrate Eom struggles to take charge in his own office, since his secretary knows that he’s nothing without Amogae to back his power. As he continues to nag his secretary, he spots his undergarment robe hanging outside, splattered with blood. He tells his secretary that no one has survived Amogae’s wrath after such a sign. The secretary insists that Amogae is dead, but Magistrate Eom claims that Amogae’s gang is still alive. He continues to overact and fan the fire for the secretary to take action.

And the secretary does. He takes the bloody robe to Heotaehak and tells him of the curse. Heotaehak doesn’t believe it, and just then, they’re interrupted by an urgent message about Magistrate Eom.

They follow a bloody trail into his office, where they find a small box on the desk. Heotaehak’s son opens it to find a severed tongue supposedly belonging to Magistrate Eom. Heotaehak opens a letter that explains that they cut the magistrate’s tongue for his sins against Amogae.

We return to Bandit HQ, where we see Magistrate Eom sitting among the gang, now forced into hiding. He didn’t leave them, after all. In a quick flashback, we see Gil-dong following an upset Magistrate Eom outside. He asked if Heotaehak trusts that Magistrate Eom betrayed Amogae, since that fact alone would be enough.

With the ball rolling, the rest of the gang wonders what they’re going to do. Soboori worries that they only have three pairs of fists against their enemies, and Gil-dong claims that he’s able to fight as the fourth addition. They’re not convinced, and Keutsae reveals that he actually lost to Gil-dong on purpose in their previous arm-wrestling match. Gil-dong challenges Keutsae to another match and asks to be included as a fighter if he wins.

Keutsae and Gil-dong have an arm-wrestling rematch, and Gil-dong looks more at ease than ever. Amogae and Ga-ryung come outside as the match begins, and they watch Keutsae struggle more and more as Gil-dong holds his position. Eventually, Gil-dong slams his arm down and defeats the all-powerful Keutsae. Everyone looks alarmed, and Amogae looks at his son curiously.

Inside his room, Amogae stares forward intensely, enough to stop Ga-ryung from feeding him chestnuts. She eats them herself and talks to him (but mostly to herself) about Gil-dong’s strength. He continues to look forward intensely while Ga-ryung continues to cover her lips with black ash from the chestnuts.

Finally accepted as a useful body in this fight, Gil-dong says that they’ll slowly torture Heotaehak. They adopt a form of guerilla warfare, just to be a little extra petty and sneaky. They leave snakes in Heotaehak’s bed, dig a fatally deep hole along Heotaehak’s path, poison his food, and throw a knife at his house as a morning greeting. They’re all little things, but they definitely torture Heotaehak to the brink of insanity.

Choongwongoon addresses the rumors about the threats from Amogae’s followers, but Heotaehak denies them. Choonwongon calls Heotaehak boring, stupid, and pathetic, and reminds him that he’ll be invited by the king to move to Hanyang soon. If these rebels disrupt their move, Heotaehak will be severely punished.

He dismisses Heoetaehak, but asks his son to stay in the room. Choongwongoon asks the son for his name (finally!), and we learn that it’s MORI. He’s not Heotaehak’s real son, but he was an adopted nomad. He initially asked to become a slave so that he could eat, but Heotaehak offered to teach him his art. After his introduction, Mori follows Heotaehak outside and assures him that they’ll find the rebels, but Heotaehak isn’t too convinced.

Ilchung returns from his village trip and reports back on the heightened tension between Heotaehak and Choongwongoon. Gil-dong plans to steal the prayer beads next to elevate the threat, since Heotaehak sleeps with the beads at his bedside. Ilchung says that there’s a way to do this via the women Heotaehak recruits to please Choongwongoon. They would need a trustworthy person on their side…

From the corner of the room, Ga-ryung volunteers. She offers to help, and the rest of the gang agrees that she would be the most trustworthy person, since she’s already on their side. Keutsae worries about the consequences if the plan goes awry, and at that, Gil-dong refuses to let Ga-ryung help. He tells her to go home, but she says that she has no home to return to.

Outside, Ga-ryung confidently says that she can do well. Gil-dong coldly says that he won’t care if things go awry and she dies. Ouch, that hurts, but Ga-ryung doesn’t make it too obvious. He tells her that she must steal the prayer beads and one of Heotaehak’s undergarment robes without being caught. She’ll have someone to help her, but she must pretend that she doesn’t know the helper.

The friendly student at the scholars’ house comes out with a smile. He sees a familiar face waiting for him and calls out to his mother. She turns around, and omo — it’s Madam Jo. She calls her son’s name, SOO-HAK, with gifts in hand.

Gil-hyun wanders around the halls, watching students study and practice their writing. He sits down at one of the tables with a brush in hand and overhears a conversation about getting selected into the court. The students claim that the current king specifically wants a Buddhist ceremony (one that requires a food offering for a lonely spirit). The students don’t seem to understand the king’s reasons.

Neither do the court officials, as they express disapproval at the king’s insistence on the ritual, since it conflicts with the former king’s laws and progress based on Confucian ideals (which is considered the modern form of government in Joseon). They state that a dutiful son will not change his father’s laws for three years after his death. Going against these rules would make King Yeonsangun disloyal.

Yeonsangun finds the criticisms hurtful and tells his court that he is settling into his role. He simply wants to send off his mother with the Buddhist ceremony, but the officials have consistently refused to allow this. They collectively express their deep disapproval of the ritual, but one official defends the king’s actions, sympathizing with his sorrow for his mother’s death years ago.

But another official argues that this sympathizing official is simply flattering the king, and they go on to shame the sycophantic official. As the officials continue to argue, Yeonsangun observes these arguments and thinks back to his father’s last words about the bickering officials who claim their side is more virtuous than their weaker opponents. His father told his son to remember the Confucian texts and follow their path, as it is the only safe way.

In the palace, the gisaeng troupe chatters about the rumors surrounding the mysterious king, and Nok-soo listens in. Wolhaemae stops the gossiping by playing her instrument and urging others to join in the fun. They play their music until one of their own rushes in warning about someone from the palace entering. It’s Eunuch Kim and another advisor, and they choose three women to perform at the palace. Nok-soo is not included in the selection, and she looks up at Eunuch Kim, wondering if he’s the reason.

Nok-soo follows Eunuch Kim outside and tells him that she sensed that he wasn’t a simple mat merchant. He responds that he expected much more of her as well, but he seems to have reservations about her relationship with Gil-dong. Nok-soo claims that it’s all in the past and that all gisaengs have one person they hold dear. She claims that there are even some gisaengs with children (though she doesn’t reveal that she does), so she tries to persuade Eunuch Kim that her past admiration of Gil-dong shouldn’t impede her.

Eunuch Kim agrees, but he tells her that she shouldn’t consider directly serving (marrying) the king. Nok-soo isn’t discouraged by his warning and slyly says she has no control over the king’s decision. Her ambitions and will all depend on the king, she says with a smile.

Back at Choongwongoon’s house, Mori scans through the lines of slave-hopefuls — where Ga-ryung is planted — and selects a few to join the house. He initially picks Ga-ryung, but he spots a scar on her neck and turns her away. She protests that he promised to feed her, but she’s dragged away from the house. She escapes by biting the man’s arm — her specialty — and runs away.

She’s dragged away by another man, who quickly ushers her under the house. He covers her with hay bundles and quickly orders her to stay there until dark. Then, she will see a servant girl delivering water to Heotaehak. The man diverts attention away from Ga-ryung’s hiding spot, effectively leaving her on her own.

Gil-dong walks through the village market with a worried look towards the house, and we transition into nighttime. Ga-ryung sneaks out of her hiding spot and scurries over to watch the guards in front of Heotaehak’s room. She hides behind a bush as Mori walks past, and she intercepts the platter from the servant girl with her effective lies.

She quietly enters Heotaehak’s room, tiptoeing to keep her presence unknown. She sits down by the sleeping Heotaehak and waves her hand in front of his face. He doesn’t respond, so she goes forward with the plan. She remembers the gang saying that Heotaehak keeps his prayer beads above his head, so she opens the box placed there. She doesn’t find anything, but Heotaehak shuffles in his sleep and reveals the prayer beads wrapped around his right wrist.

Ga-ryung quietly hops over to the other side of the sleeping Heotaehak and carefully reaches for the beads. She slowly shifts the beads off his hand, when suddenly he sits up, yelling, “Choongwongoon!” Oh my god, my heart. He slumps back onto the floor and back into sleep, and Ga-ryung looks relieved as she proudly holds the prayer beads in her hands.

Gil-dong waits just outside the house, and he spots Ga-ryung peeping her head over the manor’s wall. He runs toward her and motions her to hop over. She looks around and carefully climbs onto the wall, and as she carefully inches her way down, she slips and falls down toward Gil-dong. He rushes to catch her fall, and they’re both shocked by the fall and their following proximity. Still holding onto him tightly, she looks up and smiles. “You’re my orabeoni now,” she says, and he smiles back.

Heotaehak wakes up from his deep slumber and notices his empty right hand. He jerks up with widened eyes and immediately goes through his clothing. He can’t find his undergarment robe and yells for Mori, who rushes in. They go outside and find his white robe, covered in blood and hanging from a tree. Heotaehak is completely shaken.

Ilchung reports to Gil-dong that Heotaehak has fired his whole team out of distrust. When he reassembles his team, they’ll make sure to include a few of their people to destroy Heotaehak from within. Amogae limps out of his room with the help of Soboori, and he sees Gil-dong with the prayer beads in his hands. He looks at his son with deep longing eyes as we get a glimpse of the past, from Amogae’s murder to Gil-dong’s resolve to get revenge. We hear Gil-dong’s plea as we watch this montage:

Gil-dong: “There are people in the world that refuse to watch people like us live like humans. It is not because these people are bad people — it’s because we are not human in their eyes. Is that their fault? It’s our fault. When they tell us that we’re not human and we acquiesce to say ‘Yes, we’re not human,’ they treat us like we’re not human. Instead of humans, shall we live as monsters?”

Gil-dong covers his sleeping father with the blanket and leaves to execute his revenge. When he leaves the room, Amogae opens his eyes, still deep in thought and unable to sleep in the wake of the revenge talk.

The four Amogae Avengers prepare to leave the house under the watch of Magistrate Eom and Ga-ryung, who looks worriedly at Gil-dong. Magistrate Eom jokingly worries about old Soboori, who’s long past his prime, and it’s only a half-joke because they are undeniably older now. As they leave, Ga-ryung tells Gil-dong that they better be home by the next morning. She’ll have seven bowls of rice prepared.

That night, Heotaehak struggles to fall asleep, tossing and jerking upright with anxiety. He urgently yells for Mori and sighs in relief when his trusted follower arrives promptly. Then suddenly, they hear someone enter through the gates. It’s an unknown injured man covered in blood. Mori tells his minions to guard the house and runs outside to site of the commotion. Then the “injured” man looks up and smiles. It’s Gil-dong in disguise.

Outside, Soboori, Ilchung, and Keutsae fight off their enemies, still pretty swift for their age. At the sight of Mori and more troops, they run away. Mori senses something off and orders half of his troops back to the house.

Our three avengers face their opponents and wonder why there are so many to fight off. Soboori prepares himself to return to his prime fighting days, as do Ilchung and Keutsae. But before they can begin, one of their opponents gets beaten and thrown toward them. Behind the crowd, Eop-san announces his arrival and beats his way toward his hyungs. Eop-san says he’ll save his story for later, and the four of them jump right into the fight, now with some necessary young blood on their side.

When Mori returns to the home, he finds all of his guards beaten and thrown onto the roof. He sees the door to Heotaehak’s room broken open, and sees a figure flying over the roof. It’s Gil-dong kidnapping Heotaehak, and Mori runs after them.

The next morning, Heotaehak wakes up tied to a wooden pillar. Four shadowed figures mock him and wonder how they should bury him, which only makes him squirm even more. A masked Gil-dong enters and pulls down his mask, which the music makes into a more epic and exciting scene. He greets their captive, saying that it’s been a while since they’ve last met.

At the palace, Eunuch Kim apologizes to Yeonsangun about their troupe, which seems to lack the talent to please the king. Yeonsangun doesn’t seem too bothered, as he’s still conflicted by his father’s advice on how to rule. He seems tired of the persistent Buddhist ceremony disapproval from the officials and knows that the officials are trying to tame him to their liking.

Eunuch Kim reminds him that his father rose to the throne at the early age of thirteen and tells him not to be discouraged. Yeonsangun nods and says that his father became a flag before asking if a person can live as a flag.

We flash back to the king’s deathbed, where the king told his son that Joseon is a Confucian state and must remain that way. He advised his son to point out the wrongs if someone suggests otherwise so that he can become the highest and most virtuous flag (we see that he was referencing the symbolism of a flag).

Wolhamae goes outside to find Nok-soo, who’s staring blankly at nothing. She says that she thought Nok-soo would flourish inside the temple, but she had no idea that the mat merchant would be the obstacle. She curses the merchant, who watched Nok-soo’s whole relationship with Gil-dong, and then curses Gil-dong for stumbling into their gibang, of all places.

Gil-dong approaches captive Heotaehak and puts a knife at his throat. He slices the ropes tying Heotaehak’s hands and lets him free, because he claims he can capture him anytime he wants. Gil-dong dares him to test them and advises him to pray for good fortune — to not get bitten by a snake, fall into a hole, or eat poisoned food. This proves to Heotaehak that those past incidents were not accidents, and he shrinks smaller in fear.

Gil-dong gives him the option to continue living in fear, or to help them capture Choongwongoon. Heotaehak initially refuses, but Gil-dong knows that he’s treated like a dog in that house. He berates Heotaehak for killing his father, only to become a dog for it. Gil-dong offers him a spot on the Amogae brotherhood. Amogae’s people are not treated like dogs and always repay what they’ve suffered, he adds. If Heotaehak joins them, then Amogae’s people will avenge the people who’ve made him suffer. So is he in?

Mori searches for Heotaehak through the night, and he sees someone walking towards them in the distance. It’s Heotaehak, but he doesn’t acknowledge Mori and continues to walk forward.

It’s the day of Choongwongoon’s big move, and Gil-dong is disguised as a servant. He nods at Heotaehak, who seems to have accepted the offer into the brotherhood. Choongwongoon exits the gates and walks down to his horse, where Gil-dong happily gets on his knees for the royal family member to use him as a mounting block. Choongwongoon looks pleased and tells Heotaehak that he’s trained the servants well.

While Gil-dong kneels, his innocent smile slowly drops and forms into a sly smile, one ready for revenge.

 
COMMENTS

I’m loving this show more and more with every episode. Each episode feels like a step in the right direction with tone, character development, plot, and crescendoing epicness. I can sense the revolution coming, and although that revolution is still at a low rumble, it’s enough to get me excited for what’s to come. We get sprinkles in short bursts of the blooming rebel in Gil-dong, and I’m hyped. Overall, this show does a great job in distributing moments of comedy, anxiety, and chills — it keeps me entertained and engaged throughout.

I appreciate the transition we’re getting from Amogae to Gil-dong, as we see how the son mirrors the father. I’m glad that the show decided to keep Amogae around, even though he seemingly serves no purpose at this time. At this point, he serves more as a symbol (a flag, if you will) of the resistance that seeks to prove that there’s a human existence in people who are expected to serve as dogs. It’s a universal desire, to be treated like a human, and I find that call to action very compelling. It’s dark and murky to become monsters in order to achieve that human acknowledgement, but this direction makes the journey much more interesting. Justice is great, but vigilante justice is sweet.

The short clips of the king interwoven with Gil-dong’s revenge plot is a nice juxtaposition. The father-son dynamic is drastically different in this royal family, and I find the conflict that Yeonsangun faces a little more complex, in that it’s not a universally understood issue. The history is probably the biggest obstacle to understanding the tension between the officials and the king, and I can’t say that I’m well versed with this history. During early Joseon, there was a conflict with the shift of the Buddhist-centered state to a government based on Confucian ideals. There seems to be a fundamental clash of the two schools of thought, and while they may overlap in some ways, the divide in the court at the time seems to be more political than philosophical. But all the history aside, I do see some similarities in Yeonsangun’s struggle as the symbol of power. I do think that Gil-dong will face that struggle later down the road, and I’ll be interested to see how that manifests.

Until then, I’m going to take the crumbs as they come, especially with this Gil-dong/Ga-ryung development. I almost had a heart attack when she snuck into Heotaehak’s room to steal those prayer beads (thank god he’s a heavy sleeper). I knew she had to get out of there alive, since it’s too soon for her to be sacrificed at the stake (it’ll always be too soon), but it still made me extremely nervous seeing her navigate that hell hole of a place. But I forgot all of it when I saw how adorable Ga-ryung was in finally getting approval from Gil-dong to be her orabeoni. Girl’s gotta do what she gotta to get her orabeoni.

 
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Your entire last paragraph, dramallama... that was me, too! I watched through my fingers even though I knew there’s no way she would be killed so early in the series. But it was all worth it, their moment together. I ❤️ Yoon Kyun-sang!

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Me three! I'm so timid. I went in and did the dishes, only watching bits because I was.just.so.scared! Then I had to go back and rewatch it, (cursing myself for being such a baby.)

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They made a good decision casting Yoon Kyung-sang <3

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So true! I haven't seen him in anything before this and he's such a revelation. He's equally at ease playing Gil-dong the intense avenger and Gil-dong the mischievous puppy. Such a charmer!

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They really did. I love when actors get people talking about them based on small roles (like he did in Pinocchio), it shows they really have something special going on.

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Well, I'm glad Ji Sung and Namgung Min declined. I prefer Yoon Kyung-sang for this role.

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Yes I am glad the other two declined and chose different role instead. I love Ji Sung and NGM more than YKS, but they dont suit sageuk that much. Glad all these three actors are doing great in their respective drama.

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Oh you're right! each one of those three who were offered this role thier dramas are doing well in ratings, happy for thim.

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Honey lee.... she is drop-dead gorgeous. <3

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Yes, it was such a breath taking scene. Her eyes, the alluring smile, she looked so pretty and charming

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I don't know how to describe it exactly but she has this certain glow to her in this series. It's entrancing.

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And talented. She is doing what we expected her to do and more. She is a show stealer in sageuks with this kind of role.

I'm glad that the writer and director are taking advantage of her talents. She is well trained in traditional music, dance and she well educated etc. She has all the skills of a real life gisaeng.

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Agree. She can keep doing similar role in the future and I will continue to be amazed by her. An actress with beauty + brain + talent.

I hope she will get award this year. I was sad when she was robbed during SBS Drama Award last year, not to mention not even nominated for her stellar perfomance in Shine or Go Crazy during MBC Drama Award. I know these awards go for popularity more, but somehow still feeling unfair. Talents deserve recognition too.

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Same feels.

A breakthrough role. And recognition for her talents. Both long overdue.

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Those awards are all about ratings - but thankfully, Rebel's picking up (ep 10 scored 12.5), so hopefully we will see some awards recognition for her at the end of the year!

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The fact that she lost to the like of Seo Hyun made me even disappointed though.

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I love her in this. I never thought that rap and gayageum would go together but I ended up liking it a lot. She is also very beautiful in it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMPoq_QYxkw

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Master Ureuk should have been her teacher in this drama instead of being wasted in that show that shall not be named.

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Wow! That is terrific. Thanks for the link. ;-)

I never thought I'd like rap at all -- until I heard MC Sniper in the OSTs for CHUNO and FAITH. It amazed me how well it fit with those fusion sagueks.

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Thanks for sharing! That sounds epik (yeah, pun intended).

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I've always loved that performance! What struck me was how well the instrument was suited to accompanying a contemporary song. And how captivating the physicality of her performance was. It was like watching a dance.

Hopefully they'll write a fusion song for her to perform. I'd love to see them do something similar to what they did with the music in Queen In Hyun's man. Using traditional instruments to play a modern tune.

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@PakalanaPikake

MC Sniper in fusion sageuks is pretty awesome. He did "Mask Dance" for Arang and Lee Jun-ki did his fan of power fight scene to it. One of my favorite.

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Lol I forgot Master Ureuk did not exist in Joseon.

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Right! "Mask Dance" is one of my faves, too. That fight scene in ARANG was terrific. In fact, I've been reminded of it when monk Ichul goes into action with his fan -- especially during the showdown in the street between Amogae's gang and Heo Tae-hak's goons. ;-)

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This is one of my faves! Such a wonderful performance. :) Yes, I hope she gets to do another hiphop/gayageum collab. If not for Rebel, then for something else sometime in the very near future. I remember Honey saying in an old interview that she wants to combine classical korean music with hiphop so this would be so much win.

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Love this too.

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Wow, this is so awesome this is so AWESOME!! Wow wow Wow!!!!

What amazing performance, and look how comfortable and at ease she is with her deft and and quick fingers! Beautiful! I knew I liked Epik High for reason!

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@Kiara. But where is Master Ureuk? He disappeared from that drama that shall not be named. He may well have time-travelled to Joseon or the future for all we know.

And omg, MC Sniper in Faith and Chuno are among my favourite osts. :)

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@WishfulToki

I'm ticked off that that a historical figure like Master Ureuk was underused.
Honey Lee would make Urek proud. What a gift.

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She's absolutely breathtaking, and even more so in the white robes she's had since Gong-hwa entered the palace.

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Those white robes make her look like a glowing white goddess or an angel in human form.

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my bias of CSB aside, i'm really loving ga ryung and i'm interested in her past as well especially how she got that scar on her neck. she always seems so happy but i can still see something much more serious in her and i'm excited to find out more about her

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I like Ga Ryung's character too and would like to find out more about her background. There is a spoiler about her on the wikipedia page on this drama, but I am not sure if it's right. In any case, she seems cheerful but also very, very tough.

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is it about the fact that garyung's going to become a *spoiler* widow because i dont feel like that's going to happen anymore. i mean she like's gil dong now and i can't imagine her liking anyone else, marrying that person, then him getting killed off in the span of the next 20 episodes with other storylines going on, unless this all happened in the past, but it doesn't feel like it

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As a previous commenter said before, there is 10 years span until the arrow shooting scene (I hope the writer don't sweep this under the rug later) which is why Ga Ryung can have her own arc aside being a lovesick puppy.

Based on my experience, a happy-go-lucky character in sageuk means two things : a) get killed off early or b) dramatic tragedy ahead that will turn him/her into a jaded character

That aside, I'm looooving CSB right now, she is such a great and versatile actress. I'm currently building a tent of Team Ga Ryung side. Let the shipping wars begin!

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oh wow 10 years, i'm loving the pacing of this drama so far so let's hope they dont pull a moon lovers with the time jump, but phew i'm glad they're still going with it because as much as it is tragic and i definitely dont want to see garyung suffer, it'll be an interesting arc and awesome to see CSB portray

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I'm so happy this is a 30 episode drama! There's lots of territory to cover.

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I wouldn't mind a 50 eps drama with this writer but 30 is perfect.

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You know although it will be so much heartbreaks, but it will be so epic especially in sageuk. I want Ga Ryung to have her own arc rather than just love interest, CSB is a good actress and it will be a waste. I actually dont care if Ga Ryung played by someone who is poor in acting, to just play the love interest. But for CSB i really hope her character will be more.

Actually the fact that she will become a widow is not a spoiler, it was described from the beginning.

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yeah, of all the main characters Ga-ryung is the one we know the least about, and we've also been given the impression there's not much to know about her - wrong, as this episode shows!

But what we do know, makes sense. Like the fact that she internalised ideas about gender roles (very believable, for a pre-modern Joseon girl working in a gibang) but can stand up for herself when it counts. That's quite a contrast to the usual breed of fusion sageuk heroine who is just a 21st century girl in a hanbok, and will fight with the hero all day but then freeze up and turn useless otherwise.

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"who will fight with the hero all day" " freeze up and turn useless when it counts"

I hate to be a sore spot but as always, see Lee Yu Bi's character in SWWTN and even Hae Soo in Moon Lovers( she had better justification for being helpless but the writer was just so terrible about it that she appeared a clueless, naive little girl that will give Sansa Stark a run for her money).

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@Flightey Gazelles - I was thinking more of Hwarang lol. Or any of those dime-a-dozen "I'm a tough cross-dressing heroine!" dramas

At least with SWWTN and SH, the heroines weren't fighter types to begin with, though in both cases they're written to be practically too stupid to live.

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I agree. I'd like to know more about her past like the other main characters. I don't feel the same connection with her character yet.

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I'm loving her in here too. She's adorable. That aside, I'm dying to know her backstory.
And I wish I never read her character description because now I can't help but keep thinking that something really tragic must have happened midway for her to be the revenge-driven widow.

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I'm guessing the widow theory is out, even with 20 episodes left I don't think there's really a way to credibly have Ga-ryung fall out of her crush on Gil-dong, fall in love with and marry someone else, and then become a vengeful widow and fall in love with Gil-dong all over again.

We haven't even scratched the surface with her yet, but that scar at least answers the question of why a girl who looks like her was working as a maid and not a gisaeng.

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It really got my attention when Ga-ryung said she doesn't have a home to return to. And it got Gil-dong's attention, too. If Song Sabu is her father (or maybe grandpa or uncle?), I wonder what calamity befell her family.

That scar on her neck looks nasty. Given her cheerful disposition, she doesn't come across as someone who was sold into slavery and whose tattoo was later eradicated. I think it's more likely to be a burn, possibly from a house fire.

Re: widowhood

Is it possible that Ga-ryung was betrothed at a young age and the guy died before the wedding? Hmmm, but then she'd wear her hair differently?

re: pogo's musings

I don’t think there’s really a way to credibly have Ga-ryung fall out of her crush on Gil-dong, fall in love with and marry someone else, and then become a vengeful widow and fall in love with Gil-dong all over again.

It occurs to me that Gil-dong might have to fake his death yet again, and if she weren't privy to it, she might grieve and then get on with her life.

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They've been very stingy with backstory or development for Ga-ryung, so the reveal of the scar and her lack of a home definitely did make me sit up for a bit - I wonder if her ending up at the gibang is as straightforward as it initially seemed? But I didn't think there was a birth secret or anything.

The one thing we know for sure is that between now and the stake, she gets married - because of the change in her hairstyle. And she also stops using banmal around Gil-dong? With her and the king, I'm really wondering how they got from Point A to Point B.

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Re: widowhood.
Also, I think it's said in her character description that Yeonsangun kills her husband. So if show is still staying true to the synopsis, then this will still happen sometime soon.

Since you mentioned about Gil-dong faking his death. Now I'm starting to think what if she was widowed by Gil-dong. If her husband is killed by the King, then he must be either someone who works in the palace or someone who goes against the king. It's a crazy idea, but one of the ways where I can fit everything with the remaining 20 episodes :D

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If Ga-ryung marries a scholar, he might get wiped out in one of the literati purges. It seems to me that this is a distinct possibility if she is indeed related to Song Sabu.

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That crossed my mind a few times. Hopefully the husband is not Soo-hak.

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Happy to see Eop-san! They DO need some young blood. But I was hoping that Yong-gae and Segul would appear too. Really hope they return to the gang! And that Mori would join the too. But I can't shake the feeling that he's Choongwongoon"s man now.

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They'd come back eventually. They are part of the blood brothers and it's realistic in a way for some of them to have doubts. They've seen how the royals/yangban and the powerful can easily destroy them.
It's a big commitment to put their lives on the line because what they are doing is against the law. Once they are caught they are dead.

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**potentially spoiler**

I think the general who asked Gil Dong to open the gate and put Ga Ryung on the stake in the opening scene of episode 1 was Mori, the bearded version. But I might be wrong.

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yeah, it totally looks like him with facial hair.

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i recognised him straight away even with the facial hair, yeah it is him

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Oh wow, I hadn't noticed that. Mori seems to be leaning towards pervert prince's side, so it's likely he will become a dangerous opponent for Gil Dong.

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About Mo-ri, I rather like how this drama is giving attention to even background characters - and I like how we're getting the sense that even our antagonists are so often the way they are because of circumstances and not inherent evilness or something.

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Where's Eorini??? I hope the next episode tells us something about her.

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I know right! Two weeks so far without any hint about her whereabout. Sometimes I wish that I watch this after it's finished airing...

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yeah, it's been months but who's got her?!

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I had the feeling that Soo-hak was the smiling scholar....but he seems so different from his younger self. Spoilt and arrogant. Maybe being poor has something to do with it.

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He is very different. I guess losing his father and a life of luxury with servants treating him like a prince can be humbling. Time away from his mother probably helps.

I wonder if he'll end up being Gil-hyun's friend before they discover that their families were bitter enemies.

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yeah, his child self was a brat but his older self seems to have mellowed. But his mother is the real danger.

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As a mother she is very protective and suspicious of those around him which is understandable since she is a widow and she is raising her son by herself. She does want the best for him and passing the state exam is a big deal for his future.

On the other hand I just can't bring myself to sympathize with her loss. She has an appetite for vengeance when it comes to Amogae's family, even before her husband was killed.
She is like poison to her child and she'd probably destroy them both.

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@Kiara,

On the other hand I just can’t bring myself to sympathize with her loss. She has an appetite for vengeance when it comes to Amogae’s family, even before her husband was killed.

I don't sympathize with her, either. Her own greed is ultimately what got her husband killed. And I agree that her obsession with revenge cannot end well for her or her son.

It wouldn't surprise me if Ga-ryung marries her relative's student, Soo-hak. Perish the thought of her having Madam Jo for a mother-in-law. I think I just made myself terminally depressed. Can you imagine how thrilled Madam J would be when she finds out Ga-ryung used to be a maid in a gibang? (Although she might change her tune when she finds out Ga-ryung was maid to the king's concubine back in the day.)

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Yep we are thinking about the same thing when it comes to Ga-ryung.

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"Perish the thought of her having Madam Jo as her Mother In Law"!!

Truer words have never been spoken.

*sprays salt*

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The comment about a girl's gotta do.... reminds me of something I forgot to post back in episode 5: when Nok-soo wanted to know how to capture a man's heart, all she really needed to do was look up Honey Lee's performance on Yoo Hee Yeol's Sketchbook episode 299. Skip past the halfway point (at about 53 minutes excluding commercials)

http://dramacool.es/sketchbook-of-youheeyeul-episode-299.html

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Lord C,

Thanks for that link! No only does Honey Lee sing and shake that thing, she plays a gayageum duet, too. Simply wonderful!

FYI, the air date of the episode is 12/18/2015. I found it with Spanish subtitles, which is of little help to me. Starting in late May, 2016, the shows have English subtitles. They are listed by date rather than episode number.

http://www.ondemandkorea.com/sketchbook-of-youheeyeul-e299.html

Sad to say, the show is being cancelled after seven years. Now that I know it exists, I'll have to take a gander. I recognize quite a few guests' names from OSTs.

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This is OOT, but this is the first time I read about Yoo Hee Yeul's Sketchbook being cancelled. I don't follow it regularly, but I love watching clips from that show. This is sad.

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I have so much love for this guesting. <3 It's a Honey Lee showcase in a little over 18 minutes! Her solo, the impromptu dance, the gayageum-playing, and the duet. And contrary to her usual roles where she comes across as cold/chic/reserved, her easy-going personality is evident here. Much like how she usually is on Get It Beauty and other interviews.

Now if someone knows where I could find English subs for this, that would be perfect. I have searched high and low but never got to find one.

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She is multi talented, pretty and smart. A girl crush.. Speaks good English too. What not to love about her?

Now I want to see her in King of Masked Singer.

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She was Miss. Korea right!!

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Yes you are right.

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Girl crush material indeed. Are there other English forums/msg boards where we can properly indulge in fangirl mode? I see none at soompi. :( even the Rebel thread is pretty lonely.

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Rebel is quite underrated imo, I rarely see most ppl talk about this drama. Probably because no hallyu stars and no idols.

I think the only most talked show at the moment is Strong Woman. Most of high rated drama at the moment are less buzz - Defendant, Rebel, Voice. Chief Kim is slightly better but still not that much buzz I believe.

So maybe the popular opinion which say Knetz always watch drama because of popular stars, is finally proven wrong?

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It gets better and better! Keep rising Rebel! Yoon,Kyun Sang is very good, Amogae still very charismatic, Nok Soo is so beautiful and intriguing, and the King inner turmoil and battle of wits against his officials are hooking! Ga Ryung an bandit team so cute. The music so good, the chemistry between the leads, sizzling! Can't wait for more!

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Yeonsangun was a capable king in the beginning of his reign.
I'm glad he didn't start off as a complete nut case like he was portrayed in some dramas/film before.
I love what the writer is doing with his character. I'm so in with the politics too because it's far from boring.

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Yeonsangun is coming across as an artistic, sensitive, and sympathetic character. Kim Ji-suk is doing a great job at conveying how vulnerable and oppressed he feels at court. In his own way, he is attempting to stand up against the status quo, whereas his father did the safe thing and went with the Neo-Confucian flow. The name-calling by the ministers and scholars itself comes across as petty and childish. I'm guessing that's the whole point.

I'm also wondering if Choongwongoon’s baleful influence is what eventually prompts Yeonsangun to turn kinky. I can see how the loss of his only supporter from his lonesome days as the young Crown Prince (aside from Eunuch Kim) could send him over the edge in the future. In that case, Gil-dong will be touching off a power keg when he bumps off Choongwongoon. I think GD and Yeonsangun actually have a lot more in common than they realize (i.e., Neo-Confucian hypocrisy has caused both of them much suffering).

Madam Jo's fawning over Choongwongoon as a pillar of society is nauseating. Then again, she does not know just how much of a sick-o he is in his private life. I never thought I'd find myself agreeing with Heo Tae-hak, but I do in this instance.

Eunuch Kim Ja Won is very subtle in the way he suggests that the tail is wagging the dog. He is sly as a fox. I love how he basically tells Yeonsangun "Illegitimi non carborundum."

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I'm so glad someone brought Yeonsangun up because I'm completely fascinated with his struggle. Often in sageuks I was confused by how helpless kings seemed against the ranting of nobles and scholars going CHONAAAAA. It doesn't seem to be only about Buddhism vs. Confucianism (of which I admit I know little about) but about power. Petty is the right word. I look forward to learning more about the king.

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@WishfulToki,

CHONAAAAA

ROFLMAO. I hear you loud and clear. The kvetching just kills me. ;-)

It always comes down to power. Family lineages, land and the money to be squeezed from the people inhabiting it, private armies, social standing, influence with the bigwigs -- some things never change.

Just thinking back to SIX FLYING DRAGONS, I recall how much social and temporal power was associated with control of land and the economic power that sprang from it. Land reform was supposed to give commoners a shot at subsistence farming -- while depriving powerful clans of the economic bases that enabled them to challenge the royal family. Doing away with private armies was another move to curb their power. The civil service examinations were designed to overcome nepotism, bribery, and political patronage while improving the quality and qualifications of government officials.

Think back to MOON LOVERS and all the wheeling and dealing (and political marriages!) Taejo Wang Geon had to do to make alliances with powerful families and factions. Some of them would rather have sided with hostile foreign powers. It seems to me that being king wasn't all it was cracked up to be -- as 4th Prince Wang So learned to his dismay.

REBEL is giving us plenty of grist for the mill.

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Sorry about the italics. That's what I get for posting when pooped out. ;-)

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Honey Lee is perfect. Her eyes are amazing. I dont think anyone can play gisaeng more perfect than her.

There are two girls lead. Both of them are equally likeable and amazing. Which is very rare in dramaland. CSB is so cute. She look at YKS with all the love in the world. Honey Lee is so attractive, she knows how to flirt with any of her actions, pageant and classical really help.

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This is expected from writer of King's Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. Both of female leads from that drama also awesome in their own role and I knew the writer will surely write both female leads' character equally interesting, not only based on looks.

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This is precisely why I'm tuning in. Writer-nim knows how to develop engaging, relatable characters. Even the minor characters in KDSBH were nicely drawn and memorable. Plus she knows how to weave a plot with lots of heart, especially where underdogs are concerned.

I've been happy to see several of the actors from KDSBH in REBEL, too: Seo Yi-Sook (Madam Jo), Kim Byung-Ok (Magistrate Eom), and Ahn Suk-Hwan (First Vice-Premier No). Kim Roe-ha, who played one of SBH's brothers-in-arms, is currently appearing as a baddie in VOICE.

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Yes same goes to me. KDSBH was among female centric sageuk that I really love. I still confused when some ppl reluctant to watch it simply because the female leads are not beautiful (i dont know what not beautiful with Seo Hyun Jin and Seo Woo though, they are very talented actressess). Glad to see same faces from KDSBH in this drama too.

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One of these days (preferably after I finish writing up my thesis), I will watch KDSBH. The number of episodes is the only thing that stop me from start watching.

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I hope you will have time to watch it. Actually even the number episodes are long, but for daily drama each episode has lesser minutes than normal drama. If normal drama has around 60 minutes for one episode, daily drama normally has around 30-35 minutes each episode. That's why I dont really have much problem to follow daily drama, and MBC previously had some good sageuk in their daily slot. Not to mention get to watch it everyday. hehe.

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I truly hope Writer-nim continues to raise the bar for character development across the team. Secondary leads and supporting players usually get shafted in favor of furthering story arcs and character beats for the main leads/couple. I am thankful that so far, Writer-nim and PD-nim are exerting time and care in adding layers and giving our actors the legroom to inhabit complex personas.

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I love that we seem to have actual character trajectories for everyone, both protagonists and antagonists.

It was an absolutely genius idea to have that huge flash-forward scene at the start, because it raises so many questions now that we're in the thick of the story - I think we have a pretty clear idea of how Gil-dong goes from happy-go-lucky peddler to leader of the outlaw brigade, but there are so many other things to wonder:

- how does the king go from a put-upon but seeminly well-meaning new ruler, to someone as petulant and pathetic as we saw in his confrontation with Gil-dong?
- how do the Ikhwari Avengers end up confronting, not Choongwongoon, but the royal army?!
- how does Ga-ryung go from sweet chirpy girl with a crush that Gil-dong literally sees as a little sister, to someone whose swearing to never see him again can actually affect Gil-dong to the point where he'd rather shoot her dead than carry out that threat?

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@10.1.1.2.1 pogo,

It was an absolutely genius idea to have that huge flash-forward scene at the start, because it raises so many questions now that we’re in the thick of the story

This is exactly what Writer-nim did in the opening scene of KDSBH, and it had me on the edge of my seat trying to figure out what was really going on for the first half of the show. I was totally sucked into the plot in the first minute or two. Absolutely daebak! And the cinematography was gorgeous.

I must also point out that Writer-nim has a magnificent knack for misdirection and plot twists that is every bit as wonderful as her gift for creating memorably realistic characters with meaningful stories.

how does Ga-ryung go from sweet chirpy girl with a crush that Gil-dong literally sees as a little sister, to someone whose swearing to never see him again can actually affect Gil-dong to the point where he’d rather shoot her dead than carry out that threat?

I just rewatched the scene a bunch of time with the Viki subtitles.

I suspect we're going to find out that Ga-ryung is a tough-minded realist. She's only stating the obvious. She knows that she's a dead duck anyway, and that Mo-ri will kill her whether or not Gil-dong surrenders. And if he does surrender, Gil-dong himself will be killed ("You will never see me again" [in this lifetime?].)

She may be implying that she will see him in the next life, since she's blindfolded and literally cannot see him now. I think she's telling him to go ahead and shoot her cleanly and quickly to spare her the cruelty of beheading -- and to deprive his enemies of leverage while he continues the fight.

We may well come to see that they had an understanding about just such an eventuality.

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Honey Lee is perfect as a gisaeng, she should play Hwan Jin Yi if there is another drama again about her.

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She was also perfect as Queen Daemok. She stole that show from the lead actress.

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Exactly.

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She's absolutely regal here, and def. more so than the king.

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I love even the smallest moment between Gil Dong and Ga Ryung. It's so sweet of her to almost sacrificing her own life only to have Gil Dong as her orabeoni :)

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Anyone can shed light of what's the meaning of him being her orabeoni? Like, she is one of the gang now? Or she is his gf now? Coz orabeoni is the joseon version of oppa right,

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I too hope that by orabeoni she means THAT special orabeoni. But it seems like Gil Dong only treat her as a little sister, because almost everytime when he sees her, Eorini comes to his mind..

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Thanks for the speedy recap and commentary, dramallama!

Those doggone beads remind me of a cat's bell. The things click when the wearer walks. Are they for belling the yangban so commoners can step aside for nobles coming up behind them -- or run for their lives? Is the sound a subtle sonic clue so folks don't keel over in a dead faint if the wearer sneaks up behind them? Maybe they're purely decorative. I'm also wondering if Madam Jo gave hers to Song Sabu in gratitude for educating her son.

Another thing has been bothering me. We don't know Madam Jo's own surname. Jo is her late husband's name. Is she perhaps related to Song Sabu? Heaven help Gil-hyun if she's actually a genuine member of the Park clan. It would figure, wouldn't it?!

Just as Gil-dong's strength has been returning (yay to his winning that arm wrestling rematch!), so has Amogae's physical health -- and more importantly, the glint in his eye. He's looking much more lively and mentally engaged in the past few episodes, and is talking a bit more.

I totally enjoyed the Amogae Avengers' psy-ops missions against Heo Tae-hak.

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Joseon women weren't required to change their last name when they get married even the queen. Their last name identify which clan they come from.
Take Nok-soo for example. She was known as Lady Jang Nok-soo even after she was married because her father is from the Jang clan. Only the children carries their father's family name.

Master Jo's wife should have been called by her maiden name. Madam Song perhaps if she is really related to Scholar Song.

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"Not required" makes it sound like they could but did not have to. But as you point out, they never did nor do even today. Most keep the family names they were born with (paternal) for the rest of their lives, even though I have seen a handful with both their parents' family names hiphenated. But such activist feminists are very rare. So there is no such thing as "maiden names" in Korea.

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I'm so glad you are still watching. It's good to have a Korean in this thread.
I get it but I don't always use the right words to describe it. ("Engrish" is my 3rd language lol)
That maiden name reference *sigh*. I thought of using "her given name" or "her family name" but I ended up with maiden name because she is married. I'm such a foreigner lol. (Thanks for pointing that out :).

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Yes, still watching. This and Strong Woman Bongsoon and Voice are my shows at the moment.

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I wish I have time for more. I love Jang Hyuk but will have to marathon it later.
Hope to see him in a good sageuk too.

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@O_o and Kiara,

Thanks for the surname discussion. I'm always acutely aware that it can be tricky figuring out female characters' identities, especially if they are only described as so-and-so's wife or mother and there's no mention of surname.

I'm American. When I married, I did not change my name, my thinking being that I'd already known myself by that identity for more than thirty years. There is no law requiring name change upon marriage in the state where I live, although there may have been one back in the bad old days. I guess my hubby is like Amogae: to him it makes zero sense for women to go through the hassle of changing their names when they marry. My surname is a lot more kickass than his anyway. ;-)

Picky technical point: The given name is the first name only, not the whole name, and (usually) not a nickname (e.g., John, not Jack), but it depends on how the birth was registered. A middle name is optional, and in the UK, some folks have more than one.

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@PakalanaPikake

Interesting, thanks for sharing.

Oh yea and thank you for explaining the given name. I somehow thought that it would be her full name, first and last.

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dramallama~

Thank you for the recap.

Really enjoying the show. It goes by so fast. Funny thing, I've seen two arm wrestling matches this week, one in Rebel and one in SWDBS, lol.

I'm glad that Magistrate Eom really wasn't "out" of the gang. The entire cast is doing a wonderful job. I can't praise the writer, Hwang Jin-Young, enough. Excellent work.

I will have to find time to watch KDSBH.

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KDSBH is good but you going to have to keep in mind that this was a saguek daily as such you have to be prepared that this is a 108 episodes of 35 mins drama. Check your usual sites and if possible download it as it will make the watching easier.

I am addicted to this show and what I like the most is the balance of the story itself so you are never bored and am interested in all the characters major and minor.

I am also glad that Magistrate Eom was not kept out of the gang. Gil Dong's team is being formed with Ga Ryung as the new blood. I also sort of understand how her thinking in terms of gender roles is different from Gil Dong's it is how she was raised and also by being living at the kibang so its going to take a couple of episodes for her to change that perspective, the longer she is around Gil Dong & crew that will change.

As for the scar I doubt its real, the purpose of Ga Ryung is to be there temporarily do the task and not get selected to go to Choong Won. So it worked out that way in the Bandit's favor which is toying with Heo Tak. The crew as well as the father are seeing the growth/new Gil Dong so it is taking time to adjust to it. However they were right telling Heo Tak that he should not have picked a fight with him. The implication is that Gil Dong could possibly be worse trouble than Amogae, this will be proven in future episodes.

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KDSBH had it's frustrating moments in terms of plot advancement and there were moments I was tempted to skip over entire episodes because of extended noble idiocy. However the story was great and all the characters got my attention a the viewer.

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@Redbutterflys,

Pleased to meet a fellow KDSBH fan. ;-)

KDSBH had it’s frustrating moments in terms of plot advancement and there were moments I was tempted to skip over entire episodes because of extended noble idiocy.

I'll be the first to admit that KDSBH was not perfect, and that at times the plot advancement -- or lack of it -- was quite frustrating. There were the requisite wrangles among factions at court, and dastardly dealings by the impostor. But there were also many ethereally beautiful scenes scattered thither and yon, gorgeous topography, and comic interludes that still make me chuckle. Plus great sword fights, battle scenes, and graceful dances. And a whole lot of heart.

In all fairness, I have to point out that twelve episodes out of 120 were chopped late in the show's run when the Sochi Winter Olympic Games pre-empted two weeks' worth of airtime and screwed up the trajectory and timing somewhat. It was especially maddening to go from five episodes a week to one or two, particularly with the finale approaching. Those of us on the SBH forum at Soompi collectively went bonkers.

Noble idiocy was a hot topic of discussion. But in my book, it wasn't so much a matter of Seol-nan's being a noble idiot as a Big Sis who was filial, responsible, protective, honest to a fault, doggedly determined, and capable of deep and abiding love and loyalty. And self-sacrificing, just like her father. As an eldest sister myself, I recognized only too well where she was coming from with regard to watching out for her kid sister. ;-)

I got complacent and didn't pay close attention to the recaps at the start of each episode until I suddenly realized that what had been shown the previous day was different -- sometimes significantly so. That's when I realized Writer-nim's adroitness with misdirection and plot twists. Even with the tail-chasing interludes, I was never tempted to fast forward, lest I miss something important. Tiny details mattered.

The ending could have been more satisfying, but was in keeping with the temperaments and personalities of the main characters. The overall vibe was dignified and quietly evocative. Poetic even.

I figure that Writer-nim cut her teeth on 108 episodes of KDSBH, so plotting and timing 30 episodes of REBEL ought to be much more manageable. A third of the way into it, I'm pleased with how the story is unfolding -- and the characters who populate it.

Hats off to the cast and crew of REBEL, who are freezing their butts off to bring us a memorable drama -- just as KDSBH's cast and crew did. ;-)

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HONEY LEE!!! my goddess
that capture of her omg
she is so perfect, so beautiful
for the recent 2 episodes, her scenes have the most views on naver.. just because of her alluring beauty <3

hopefully she gets more lead roles in the future, i want to see her in roles where she's reserved and has a tough shell but deep inside, she's very vulnerable !! she's just so captivating

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Honey Lee has the capability to steal the scene with her aura and charm. Glad that her scenes have the most views. She deserved it.

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By the way 2nd March is Honey Lee's birthday.
Here is her IG if you want to follow and wish her :)

https://www.instagram.com/honey_lee32/

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During his conversation with Heo Tae-hak, Gil-dong repeatedly refers to "our leader," but never names him. It reminds me of the Dread Pirate Roberts in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Or maybe Spartacus.

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Thank you so much for the recaps and for providing a place for us to fangirl over this gem of a drama. Much appreciated.

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ditto

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I will continue fangirl mode in OT this coming Friday. LOL. But mostly at the moment fangirling Honey Lee. But the drama is very great. I cannot be grateful enough finally I am watching a great sageuk again.

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Not that I am a die hard fan of hers or anything but her portrayal of Princess Yeon Hwa on Shine or Go Crazy was simply beautiful. I couldn't help but compare the version of Yeonhwa in Scarlet to hers in Shine and weep she outshone the other actress by miles.

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@Redbutterflys. I agree. I liked Scarlet Heart, but seeing that Yeon Hwa after Honey Lee in Shine or Go Crazy made Scarlet Heart look like a high school play with students dressed up in Goryeo robes.

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Shine or Go Crazy followed the novel so it was pretty simple and Honey Lee shined in it.
Kang Han-na wasn't happy with the way Yeonhwa/Daemok was written in Scarlet. She felt that she had no clear direction. I think she had a talk with the writer a few times.
I thought she did a great job for what she was given.
If the role was switched, I don't think Honey Lee would have done any better.

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Oh I agree. Kang Ha-na did a great job with what she had. Honey Lee would probably have been miscast because she looks older (maybe she could have played the role of the Evil Queen, now that's a thought).

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I'm gonna throw some love at Kim Jisuk's way. I am looking forward to him turning into a villain because I have never seen him play a villain before (please be good) but right now his voice, expression, body language are all perfect. He really embodies the vulnerable and depressed King very well.

I don't think Amogae is looking at his beads that Gil-dong finally retrieved from Heo Taehak with longing though. I think it is more...surprised, and then impressed, and finally marvel...at Gil-dong's strength (physical and mental) to lead Amogae's Avengers to achieve their goals one by one.

I just love everyone's expression in this drama. One of my favourite is also Kim Jisuk's expression when Eunuch Kim first met him after his father's death. That face he makes when he hugs Eunuch Kim who tells him that he is now the owner of Joseon - the expression exactly and perfectly told us how afraid he is of this new huge responsibility and the absolute resolution to carry out this huge burden with success, in his own way instead of following the previous King's way.

I am still dying to know what Eop-san has been doing all this while though. Where were he and how did he know that Amogae's Avengers is grouping up again?

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I've only seen Kim Ji Suk in slightly spineless loser roles like in Personal Taste or adorable ones like in Sassy Go Go so I'm looking forward to his villainous turn.

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The first role I saw him in was as one of Dae-gil's slave hunter bros in CHUNO, the youngest one who was very popular with the ladies. He's a hoot -- and a badass in fights. ;-)

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Oh yes, Eop-san promised to tell us later what happened. I'm curious. That just summarises my whole impression of this show: it makes me curious to know more, and wish I could marathon it.

Guess who is going to binge-rewatch this drama in a few months?

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I just wanted to say how glad I am that Amogae is sticking around (even if that means he'll die even more tragically later). He reminds me of the old teacher-mentor figure in dramas like Jumong, which had my first drama love Hae Mo Su (who wasn't even good-looking, but if orabeoni has mad fighting and shooting skills I'm a goner). Of course, he didn't end well *sob*

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So far I've only gotten through the first episode of JUMONG because I know that Hae Mo Su's goose is already cooked, and I'm not up for another BRAVEHEART finale at this time.

Even so, the drama is niggling at me to get back to it. ;-)

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Well the main character is Jumong, but Hae Mo Sul has quite an important and unexpected role. I won't spoil it for you, but I think you'd find his story arc interesting.

For my part I really want to watch KDSBH. Now that I've read here that episodes are short I might take the plunge. :)

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Oh man, I think I'm the only one who definitely doesn't want Gil-dong to end up with Ga-rung. I kinda have to cringe through her scenes (not gonna lie, might even fast forward in the future).

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