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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 10

The first parts of Gil-dong’s revenge plan are set into motion, and slowly I can start to see the big picture of how events will lead up to the final showdown against Yeonsangun. My heart goes out to the faltering king even as I’m rooting for the hero to prevail, because most of the events that pit them against each other seem to be a tragic result of social inequality and inevitable differences in their childhoods rather than a true hatred of each other. Had they been born in a different era, I think they could have even been friends, so the realization that class differences can create such a divide is even more devastating.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Gil-dong gives Heotaehak a choice: live the rest of his life as Choongwongoon’s hunting dog, or join the Amogae Avengers. At first, Heotaehak doesn’t see the benefits of joining Gil-dong’s crew, but then Gil-dong points out that he would no longer be living as a beast, but treated as an actual human being. He offers to give Heotaehak a share of the profit once they take their silver mine back from Choongwongoon. Knowing that Choongwongoon would never give him the same type of deal, Heotaehak seems to reconsider Gil-dong’s offer.

Ga-ryung pats down Gil-dong, checking to see if he’s sustained any injuries from their Heotaehak-kidnapping raid, and she asks him if he’s all right while the other bandit hyungs smile on approvingly. Meanwhile, Eop-san is making his greetings to the Ikhwari Great Elder. He presents Amogae with a pink flower shoe; it’s the one that Gil-dong brought as a travel present for Eorini all those months ago. Eop-san tells Amogae that someone was found dead with the shoe tightly clutched to her chest, and he suspects that it might have been Eorini. Amogae takes the shoe gently, but tells Eop-san not to tell Gil-dong. Although Eop-san protests because Gil-dong has been looking everywhere for them, Amogae insists that it’s family business.

Later, Gil-dong announces his strengthened resolution to find his siblings while Eop-san looks away shiftily. Ga-ryung then brings a huge basket of snacks that Gil-dong wants to take away, because he’s already told her not to cook for them. However, she insists that she’s not serving them; the food is for her to eat.

She asks for some rice wine while confessing that she doesn’t normally drink, but wants some to warm up because of the cold weather. So Gil-dong, trying to be considerate, pours her a half bowl, but when he stops pouring, she looks at him expectantly to continue. The others tell him to give her a full bowl, and she downs it like a well-seasoned drinker.

Perhaps it’s just kid-sister affection, but Gil-dong smiles as he warms up a hot stone for her to sleep on. Ga-ryung has already passed out like a ton of bricks, so he and Soboori take her to her room. Soboori tells Gil-dong that he thinks Ga-ryung really likes him, and Gil-dong replies that it’s not like that. But when Soboori leaves the room first, Gil-dong takes out the warmed stone he hid in his back pocket and places it by Ga-ryung’s side. On his way out of the room, she kicks him, and it reminds him of the time Eorini came to sleep with him and Gil-hyun because she was afraid of the dark and ended up kicking both of them nonstop in her dream state.

The memory sends him into a spiral of emotional pain, and he rushes outside for a breath of air. Amogae, who has also been wracking with silent sobs after hearing Eop-san’s upsetting news about Eorini, hears Gil-dong outside and follows him to the forest.

He sees Gil-dong splitting a tree with his bare fist, and when his son howls, it seems like the heavens answer back, because a gust of wind blows that makes Amogae stumble back. He looks awed to see that Gil-dong’s powers have returned to him again. He approaches the now-spent Gil-dong with a welcoming look and says: “Your strength has returned.”

Thinking of his son’s future, Amogae tells Gil-dong to forget about everything and just focus on himself. He tells him not to walk to same path as him, because while he was able to gain power and fear, he never gained respectability because of his illegal deeds. Knowing that Gil-dong’s returned strength has made it possible, Amogae says that he wants the brightest possible future for his son as a great general of this nation. Crying, Gil-dong replies to his father that he cannot just ignore the injustices that their family has suffered, adding that he wouldn’t be able to do anything without first taking revenge.

Scholar Song speaks with Gil-hyun, who has introduced himself as Park Ha-sung, the grandson of Park Won-il, the dead nobleman he found. At first, he asks a question about Gil-hyun’s past, but almost sensing that anything out of Gil-hyun’s mouth would be a lie, he stops himself by telling Gil-hyun that he won’t pry.

The scholar reveals that he knew Gil-hyun’s supposed grandfather and the circumstances that lead to his family’s self-imposed exile into the mountains. He just asks that Gil-hyun consider taking the national civil service exam, but Gil-hyun replies that he has no thoughts of doing so. Although Scholar Song tries to persuade him and tells him that the door is always open, Gil-hyun just makes his final bow and leaves.

Gil-hyun heads toward Ikhwari, but on his way, he runs into some travelers who tell him the news that the Great Ikhwari Elder was flogged to death and that the town has been dying since then. Gil-hyun falls into a daze as he continues to the place where he spent his formative years. But on the far outskirts of town, he sees that Ikhwari is no longer the thriving place he remembers and makes a decision. He returns to Scholar Song and announces to him that he would like to take the national state exam. He asks if he’d even be worthy to take it, but Scholar Song just says that he recognizes the desperation in Gil-hyun’s eyes.

Gil-dong approaches Heotaehak in a midnight meeting and asks if his mind is made up yet. He reassures Heotaehak that a share of the silver mine will be his once they get it back. When Heotaehak agrees, Gil-dong tells him that the next stage of their plan is to return the “kidnapped” Magistrate Eom.

To do this, the Amogae Avengers stage a fake hostage situation with Magistrate Eom all tied up. When Heotaehak shows up with Mori and a group of his men, it’s almost too easy to take back the fearful magistrate.

Magistrate Eom puts on quite the performance in front of Choongwongoon, praising Heotaehak to heaven and back for his rescue. It seems like that good will goes a long way, because later, when Heotaehak conferences with Gil-dong, he expresses that Choongwongoon looks like he trusts him again. He tells Gil-dong about the royal’s impending trip to the capital to meet with the king, and Gil-dong orders him to use him and his men as part of Choongwongoon’s retinue.

Mistress Jo feeds grilled meat to her son, Soo-hak, and catches up with him on his school’s latest gossip: a new kid (Park Ha-sung/Gil-hyun) has joined them. When Mistress Jo hears that the young scholar’s family was involved in a political scandal that resulted in their exile, she cautions Soo-hak not to become too friendly with the newcomer. Fearing that the relationship would be detrimental toward Soo-hak’s own future with the king, Mistress Jo commands her son not to disobey, despite his insistence that he feels a connection with Park Ha-sung.

I guess he’s not as much of a mama’s boy as he seems, because later, scenes show him introducing himself warmly to Park Ha-sung/Gil-hyun. But Soo-hak goes by a different name now: JO JEONG-HAK. He tells Gil-hyun briefly that he did go through a name change in his childhood after his father died because his mother wanted to change his fortune, and Gil-hyun doesn’t recognize the name as his former master’s son. (Whoa, double hidden identities. Oh my!) Scholar Song watches the budding friendship with interested eyes. It’s also revealed that the questions for the national exam will be directly given by the king.

Then we cut to Yeonsangun, who still seems to be plagued by his disobedient court. Outside the palace, a full protest is in session to argue against the Buddhist prayer ceremony that he wanted to hold for his deceased mother, the dethroned queen. Yeonsangun expresses his frustrations to Eunuch Kim, saying that all these nobles are only using Confucianism as a front, and that it’s just a meaningless pretense for gaining political power.

Before his daily courtly session, Yeonsangun hesitates at the door because he’s still not confident about his abilities to stay true to himself and oppose the scholar nobles until the end, but Eunuch Kim persuades him to go in. Although he showed anxiety before, it’s so refreshing to see Yeonsangun finally take charge of his own destiny and deliver a devastatingly charismatic takedown to his unruly nobles.

He tells them that he may be a disobedient son, but if they also don’t obey his words, they are being disobedient to the current king. Half-menacingly, he adds that perhaps they don’t recognize him as the lawful king, which would be grounds for treason. In this single declaration, Yeonsangun pits himself against many of the Confucian scholars, and on the spot, all the nobles agree with him.

As soon as he walks out, Yeonsangun strides with a happy bounce in his step, finally thinking that he’s found his groove. He tells Eunuch Kim that maybe he does have what it takes to become a great ruler like his father. But his relief is short-lived, because the minor nobles have gathered in a strike against him in the palace courtyards. They chant their great disapproval at his authoritarian declarations, denouncing his actions because they aren’t what a sage king would do, and Yeonsangun’s temper and annoyance level rises.

When Heotaehak begins to prepare for Choongwongoon’s journey to the capital, he tells Mori to stay out of it and just guard the silver mines. Although Mori looks like he wants to protest, he doesn’t say anything.

Gil-dong and the others begin their in-disguise mission to infiltrate Choongwongoon’s traveling party. Ilchung, speaking of his old days at the temple where he would paint all day, starts applying their disguises, adding a fake mole here, a mustache there, and a wig for good measure. At the end of all of it, Gil-dong looks like a rough-hewn but clean-cut laborer, and Ga-ryung’s eyes keep straying toward him, although she also applauds the others for their transformations. Before he leaves, Gil-dong speaks with Amogae, who tells him the truth about the entire complicated situation surrounding Master Jo’s death and Choongwongoon’s involvement with Mistress Jo.

The following morning, they set out to be part of Choongwongoon’s retinue with Gil-dong as a the lead horse’s groom. When Ga-ryung calls Gil-dong “orabeoni” in a last greeting, he actually acknowledges her. Well it’s about time, after ignoring her for the past three episodes! Meanwhile, Yonggae and Segul uneasily watch their past colleagues-in-crime from behind the trees. (What do you know, they didn’t leave after all…)

When Choongwongoon steps out of his manse and into the streets, Gil-dong even kneels first to serve as the footstool for the royal to get on top of his horse. At this lowly gesture, Choongwongoon compliments Heotaehak for training the help well, while the other Amogae Avengers watch the scene unfold with gritted teeth. But Gil-dong’s expression is satisfied as he views receiving Choongwongoon’s good opinion as the next step in his revenge.

However, their ruse is almost discovered when a past customer of Gil-dong the Merchant comes along, asking him to visit her again and help her with her fertility issues. She’s on the verge of saying his name with Choongwongoon looking on suspiciously when Yonggae and Segul burst in on the scene and carry her away, loudly claiming that their mistress took her husband’s leaving too hard and become mad in the process. Like that, the royal’s suspicions are allayed, and Gil-dong breathes a sigh of relief.

At the palace, the king is yet again being troubled by his wayward nobles, who continue to demonstrate loudly and relentlessly in front of the gates as they ask for him to follow the way of Confucius and interrogate a nobleman called Lord Noh. A disheartened Yeonsangun tells Eunuch Kim that he thinks the other nobles don’t see him as the rightful king because he is the son of the dethroned queen. Despondently, he asks that Eunuch Kim gather a large bouquet of chrysanthemums (presumably to lay upon her burial mound).

Eunuch Kim promises that he’ll bring the best and most beautiful flowers to his king. On his way out, he encounters Nok-soo, who expresses her disappointment in him because she thought he favored her when she was in the gibang. The eunuch replies that he doesn’t think she, as a woman in love with another man, deserves someone like the king. She, in turn, makes a bet with him that she will leave the palace if she is unable to tempt the king and give him a measure of comfort during this difficult time of his transitioning reign.

Back with Gil-dong and company, Yonggae and Segul show up, finally to rejoin the gang. At first, they stare and tsk at the two weak-hearted friends’ temporary betrayal, but when Yonggae and Segul reveal that they’ve been following them the entire time and that they’ve missed them terribly, they meld into a giant group hug.

Choongwongoon awaits his audience with the king with increasing impatience and resorts to bribing an official to gain entry. The Amogae Avengers wait outside for Choongwongoon to come out, debating whether the king eats, sleeps, and poops like a real person. Gil-dong thinks the king is just a man, but the others disagree, telling Gil-dong that he’s being naive.

When Choongwongoon finally gains his private interview with the king, he bows lowly and almost crawls into the room in a showy display of servility. Choongwongoon begins his greetings to the king by saying that he’s been a bad subject to have lived so far from the king for so long. It’s his ploy to get reinstated into the capital after being exiled by the former king, Yeonsangun’s father.

Despite their fond remembrances of Yeonsangun’s childhood when Choongwongoon would visit often, the king traps his uncle into staying in exile with words. Ooh, I did not expect that. And when Choongwongoon realizes that Yeonsangun doesn’t want him to stay, his expression turns into one of inner fury. He leaves the palace in a depressed mood, but just as he crosses the threshold, a messenger from the king calls him back. Receiving and reading the king’s letter, Choongwongoon weeps with joy because it reads: “I will never forget you, Choongwongoon, for being a source of support in my childhood. However, right now, I am facing much opposition from the courtly officials who wish to seek any fault they can find. So I regret not being able to keep you by my side at this moment.”

Choongwongoon celebrates receiving the king’s favor at a gibang later that night with Heotaehak. The royal recognizes Gil-dong when he comes in with a large jug of wine as the person who knelt for him earlier that day, and so he nicknames him “foot stool.”

They all drink heavily together and pass out from too much imbibing. Gil-dong is the first to wake up, and he’s tempted to bash Choongwongoon’s head in with the wine jug. But remembering what his father told him about the court trial that left him a cripple, Gil-dong decides to continue to uphold his promise to enact public revenge on Choongwongoon.

During his talk with his father, Amogae had revealed that Choongwongoon had prevailed successfully because he had Mistress Jo by his side. In addition, he cautioned Gil-dong that once he murders someone, he can never go back to the person he was before, and that stays Gil-don’g hands from crashing the jug on Choongwongoon’s smug sleeping face.

The Amogae Avengers are waiting outside eagerly when Gil-dong comes out, and they ask why he didn’t kill Choongwongoon while he had the chance. Gil-dong says that he doesn’t want to give Choongwongoon such an easy death; he wants him to suffer for his crimes. The next step in Gil-dong’s plan is to find all of their past contacts in the capital city and see if those people are willing to stand by Amogae’s side. One by one, they track down different scholars, merchants, and guards who were indebted to Amogae back in the day.

They interview one guard in particular who knows everything about the inner workings of the palace, with Keutsae and Yonggae sitting right next to him threateningly. Gil-dong tells the guard to think carefully before deciding his next move, because the king and Choongwongoon are far away while Amogae’s band is near. In a private setting, he asks the guard to give him more details on one illustrious personage in the palace, and when he guard asks who, he replies, “The king.”

Scholar Song gives his last words of advice to Gil-hyun before he leaves for the capital to take the national civil service exam. He tells him to forget all the book learning and just focus on capturing the king’s heart.

The man in question, Yeonsangun, is alone in his bedchambers and still looking troubled over his problems when a delicately socked foot enters his room.

It’s Nok-soo, in a white mourning ceremonial Buddhist gown. She’s been allowed into the king’s presence by Eunuch Kim, who seems to have taken on her bet. Nok-soo dances a solemn but elegant and beautiful solo performance for the king, and he shows a pleased smile in response.

 
COMMENTS

The king is enchanted. I am enchanted. Everyone should watch this scene so they can be enchanted by the alluring Nok-soo. Honey Lee is killing it in this role as the divisive femme fatale with a tragic past. I love every scene where she dances or sings, and I definitely think multiple re-watches are often necessary to appreciate the beauty of her subtle movements. As a non-Buddhist myself, I’m not quite sure how having a ceremony to honor the dead would go against Confucian principles, but I’m sure that staging that private mourning dance for Yeonsangun has earned Nok-soo at least a million brownie points in his books.

Is it bad to say that I want Yeonsangun to be successful in stamping out the meddling nobles? Of course I understand that a good ruler should govern by the wishes of his people, but I wholeheartedly agree with him that these people of his seem to be engaging in a gridlock just for gridlock’s sake, not to preserve any loyalty to a particular philosophy as they pretend to be. Clearly, I can see that his disappointment and inferiority complex is leading him down a dark hole where he’ll become blinded to the truth and blame people that don’t deserve it. But for now, he’s such a sympathetic character who’s just weak because of the circumstances of his upbringing. Especially with Gil-hyun about to enter the palace and meet Yeonsangun, I wonder how their relationship will play out, and whether when Gil-hyun reunites with Gil-dong, it’ll be with them on opposing sides.

It’s interesting to see how the brothers’ reactions to their fathers’ deaths differed so drastically. Gil-dong vowed revenge and death, determined to find his siblings until the end. However, Gil-hyun suffered the requisite emotional pain of learning his parent’s death, but then he immediately went back to Scholar Song to pursue his dreams. He didn’t even try to find Eorini or Gil-dong and just assumed that they were dead based on the passing words of random travelers. I’m not ready to write off Gil-hyun as a selfish brother, but now I don’t know whether he’ll end up choosing the right side once he realizes that his family is alive.

Meanwhile, I’m adoring this puppy-love vibe between Gil-dong and Ga-ryung. They both obviously care for each other, perhaps not to the same extent, but they definitely have a connection. She’s such a spunky sidekick to his badass hero, but one who still brings out his protective side. I’m not sure what will tip Gil-dong over the edge from brotherly affection to romantic desire, but hopefully, something will get through his thick skull soon. Actually, let me take that back—I want a resolution to his and Nok-soo’s relationship before any Gil-dong/Ga-ryung progress happens, because it seems like they’re still yearning for each other in their own separate silent ways despite their parting, and because I wouldn’t want him to be a cheater (although she technically did it first).

Gil-dong didn’t look like he thinks of Nok-soo as often as he did in previous episodes, but of course there’s a lot on his mind, including his multi-step revenge plan. Speaking of which, when Yonggae pointed out that Gil-dong was even more ruthless than his father, I was taken aback. Amogae has committed murder, for goodness sakes—what can be more ruthless than that? But, looking from Yonggae’s standpoint, he does have a good argument to make, because Amogae never turned away his brothers even if they betrayed or ran away from him (i.e. the Amogae Avengers and Magistrate Eom when they came back), but Gil-dong didn’t hesitate to order them to cut ties with any disloyal members.

It’s one of the ways that the show manages to display the stark contrast between Gil-dong and Yeonsangun. While Gil-dong cherishes his many relationships, he knows what true friendship and loyalty is and what is not. However, Yeonsangun, who has grown up with a severe lack of love in his life, can’t distinguish the difference between groveling to a future prince and real affection. So when Choongwongoon came to him, he pretended nonchalance at first—but secretly, Yeonsangun has been so thirsty for love that he will take it anywhere he can get it, even if it’s from the psychopath uncle his father hated. I wish there could be a happy ending where Yeonsangun and Gil-dong come to understand each other over multiple jugs of wine and join forces and overhaul the corrupt social system. But any glance at history tells us that this can only end badly, so I hope that Gil-dong’s revolution changes something for the Joseon people by giving them the dream of equality.

 
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I think the title of this post is wrong

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Yes it is wrong.. ^^

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lol i didn't realise! but thank you tineybeanie for an awesome recap

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I'm just curious, so what was the original title of this post that was wrong?

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It was 'Rebel: Thief of the People'

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Yes, Im enchanted too! And the last scene of the three leads spot on expression put side by side, sends chills over my spine. So good!

The subtlety of music used and its poignancy IMO adds so much nuance to his drama.

Gil dong and Ga Ryung cute connection I can't help but feeling something pivotal will befall them to tip Gil dong's scale, and maybe he learns about Nok Soo's place in the palace for him to bitterly cut his yearnings for her?

The similarity between the rebel and the king adds the bittersweet wistful thinking of, "if only....," but unluckily, Yeonsangun support system will seemingly lead him to his downfall to evil path.

And yes, can't help but being curious about what will happen when Amogae family reunited.

But till then, I'll enjoy Nok Soo's mesmerizing scene, Gil Dong's smiles, and bandit revenge plan to the max.

Rebel soars!

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You're so right about the music in this drama! It's perfect every time. My very favorite is always that great ending theme when the credits play!

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I thought the first part had too much crying & moping and demonstrating that they really don't have enough material for 30 episodes without inserting a lot of filler. Almost dropped it before they got things moving again.

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Agree. I think it's been slowing down and screaming "filler" since the first half dozen episodes. Right after I commented on how good their pacing was too. Too much emoting and flashbacking, not enough plot advancement.

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I actually like the pace because I' trying to catch up. There is wealth of information of the history, culture and traditions that is being incorporated into the story. It's exciting!

I find the life of the glamorous gisaengs interesting. Their role in preserving their tradition and culture through art, music, dance etc is significance. At the same time they were at the bottom of the caste system as slaves (sexual slaves) which they can't escape even if they marry into the royal family (very rare) or have children with noblemen.

I thought it was interesting that just because the king's women were supposed to be of noble birth and untouched (virgins) doesn't necessarily mean that he can't have a slave who was already married with a child for a wife.
Yeonsangun's court will get more interesting with Gong-hwa/Nok-soo at his side.

Then there is slavery, religion, economy,politics etc etc. I've only glossed over but it's so worth looking into because it makes this show much more than just a story about a rebel with some kind of unique physical strength.

I love this writer. He/She is always leaving some kind of food for thought after every episodes.

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Honey Lee whoaaaaaa... she's amazing!
Amogae avengers hahahaha good one.

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Its quite strange to go back and read

Chae Soo-bin has been cast as a young widower who was rescued by Hong Gil-dong. She grows up into a young woman filled with revenge in her heart, and she dreams of the day when she can lure the king into bed and stab him to avenge the death of her husband.

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While I'm not sure how the widow element is going to play out (will Gil Dong be the dead husband or not), I'm pretty sure CSB is going to become a gisaeng at one point. She took some photos for the drama in gisaeng clothing, and CSB mentioned on "Thinking About Oppa" that we may see her play the gayageum in the drama (she mentioned that she knows how to play it a little)

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I also want to add that I think there's supposed to be something special about Ga-ryung.. Wolhamae didn't seem sincere when she said Ga-ryung couldn't be a gisaeng because she's ugly. The real reason may be out of protection? but then I have a hard time figuring out why they left Ga-ryung alone lol

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Yes she prefaced that remark by saying 'you're not allowed', then seemed to be covering up a gaffe with the 'too ugly' remark. Also wonder if she wasn't so much left behind as refused to go with them. Waiting for Gil Dong perhaps. Whatever, I like her, she's totally up for the adventure of it all. So her antecedents might or might not be a plot point but I don't care right now. She's totally Maid Marian to Gil Dong's Robin Hood, and here's hoping her feminist love interest persuades her of her worth over and above cooking and cleaning.

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yeah, antecedents or not, I love her.

Which is strange because on paper, she's exactly the type of heroine who'd come off bland next to vulnerable scheming survivor Gong-hwa/future Nok-soo. But thanks to Chae Soo-bin, she's adorable and engaging - even if Gil-dong literally sees her as his own little sister for now.

I rather like that she's not the standard-model "enlightened and rebellious' heroine we're used to seeing in sageuks. I doubt the drama will leave her as is, since the stake scene indicates a pretty dramatic change in her, and the fact that Amogae and Gil-dong both have rather feminist beliefs for their time means we may well see some development from that.

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@pogo, yes I agree with you. I thought the whole you don't have to cook and clean was a good announcement of her future trajectory as an equal and essential member of the gang but who knows? And I was wondering why she wasn't irritating me more as the infatuated I'll do anything girl, but I was remembering the slap, and the actress's bright little face, and I just like her. She's well cast.

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Oh, and if she's got a birth secret, chances are she's a hidden royal, so not taking her to the palace would make sense. I almost hope they don't go here. Too much Hwarang.

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She has a scar on her neck - maybe that's the reason Wolhalmae said she was "ugly". I'm very interested to know the story behind the scar. Is she already a widow at this point? But she wears her hair like an unwed girl (if I'm not mistaken), a widow would wear her hair up? I'm not sure. We haven't heard her back story yet. Soooooo interesting!! I'm excited to find out more.

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Ha, I didn't refresh the page to see that you wrote this first. Whoops XD

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I wonder though if she just pretends to be a gisaeng to aid Gil Dong in his schemes?

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Probably to get into the palace.

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I'm just wondering how she's even going to get to that point.

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Yep my thought too.

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I kind of like it that we don't have a clue lol.

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That was quite a horrific-looking scar on her shoulder -- that'll be significant at some point. And she's outright bragged about being an excellent liar.

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Could the scar be the result of burning out a slave mark? I've seen that in dramas before (Chuno). Sorry if this has already been asked before.

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Oh, interesting. I did think it looked like a burn mark of some kind.

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Great possibility.

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I think the scar is not real, more like make up put on her by the monk who is an artist, he did it for the other guys, so it is possible. Remember Ga Ryung's objective was to stay on Heo Tak's property not selected to go to Choong Won's property. If she was selected she could not get the beads or piece of Heo Tak's clothes. The insider was suppose to help her which he did by hiding her, giving her information as to the servants movements when she is to come out etc. Thus she was able to help Gil Dong and crew in toying with Heo Tak.

The reason for this conclusion is that we never saw that scar until that episode after that it was no longer there

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I thought it was fake too. Their goal was to get her inside but not selected with the other girls. It would be obvious that she stole the beads because she would be the only one missing.

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rebel reached 12.5% for this episode mansae! i'm so happy for everyone behind this production and hope the ratings continue to rise. I read an article where it said that they went to so many different areas in Korea to capture the beautiful scenery on screen. And one of the things i love best about Rebel is the cinematography and pretty landscapes.

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Me too! So glad the ratings are going up. A quality show through and through. It should be over 20 in my opinion, but then I'm always surprised by the ratings and what Koreans like versus what I like.

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ikr it deserves more ratings but given that it's going against defendants +22% ratings i'll take what i can get, atleast it's not doing terribly and every weeks rise in ratings keeps me satisfied

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The rating itself show Koreans like and give attention to this drama. If not, this drama will just go under 10%. These days getting more than 10% is actually a big deal and this drama having possibility to go higher if it is consistently doing great. Strangely, all good and high rated drama these days, I love all of them . From Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim, Defendant, Rebel and Chief Kim - all deserve the good rating. Maybe it is time for us not to belittle Koreans' preference.

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I don't like the implication that I was belittling Korean preferences by saying that they don't always match mine. Maybe it is time for us not to belittle other commenters by jumping to conclusions about their intentions.

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I was not only referring to you, sorry if I was offended you. That was not my intention. When I mentioned we, i mean all / most of us including me myself.

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@sera the miss temper. All good. I'm well aware that as a subtitle reader I will often miss nuances of word play, acting, speech, idiom etc that Koreans will catch, so have never judged I knew better than them. But from my positioning, Rebel should be the blockbuster hit of the last year, far ahead of others I did not understand the attraction to (from my limited, subtitle-reading perspective). It's the only kdrama aside from Healer I have ever recommended to my male friends and relatives, and they're all loving it.

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I wonder if the person Gil Hyun is impersonating was one of the protesters against the king's mom from being deposed. Only because the king is known historically for executing those involved in deposing her and promoting those who sided with her. That letter Lady Jo had in support could be valuable to her now. And if Gil Hyun's alter ego's grandfather sided with her as well, then both the Jo family and Gil Hyun might be up for rapid promotion.

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I am more concerned about the political entanglements Gil Hyun is getting into than Gil Dong's revenge for the moment. Awesome storytelling, like spinning a spider's web.

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Yeah, I really hope this show is as smart as I think it's going to be, judging from the first third so far.

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@tineybeanie Many thanks for your recap! :)

The Enchanted. Now that's a good one. How very apt indeed! That performance was a powerfully riveting scene, almost hypnotic in its dream-like quality.

To be so boldly aggressive in putting everything on the line on her only chance and then choosing to come across as contrastingly mournful, cajoling and vulnerable during the actual dance. Damn. Nok-soo's got so much game.

And the look on Yeonsangun's face during the entire scene. I'm really looking forward to seeing the dynamics between Honey Lee and Kim Jisuk.

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Can't wait to see the dynamics between Nok Soo and the King. Indeed, girl's got game!!

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She was magnificent, so much feeling expressed with just her body language and face. Honey Lee is amazing, it's like sageuk is her natural home and this one has the good sense to really let the full range of her talents out to play.

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I have enjoyed watching Yoon Kyun-sang every time - Pinnochio, Six Flying Dragons. Yet I can't help thinking that Yoon Kyun-sang is not as charismatic as some other Korean actors e.g. Lee Jong-suk or Yoo Ah In (the leads in two dramas above), who simply draw you in.

Don't get me wrong - I love him here. I find him believable, a real person with real feelings fighting a real system. This 'lack' of charisma is working to create its own charm.

Haha dunno know if my words make any sense. >_<

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I got what you meant. He is great actor and in fact, better than Lee Jong Suk, but he is probably less charismatic or maybe lack of on screen charms. I dont know. So far I prefer him in sageuk, SFD made me interested with him and here this drama. When I saw him for the first time in Time We're Not In Love or whatever it is called, with Ha Ji Won, I was like who is this actor. He looks too young and definitely didnt catch my eyes that time.

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I would consider TTWWIL as one of those dramas that shouldn't be named. Yoon Kyun Sang was having noona romance with HJW but I cringed everytime they were together on screen. I could sense that he wasn't ready for the role. But here though, YKS has such a sizzling chemistry with both of his lead females. Noona romance or young puppy love, he wins them all. I think it's a good example for the quote: "experiences are the best teacher". GI would consider TTWWIL as one of those dramas that shouldn't be named. Yoon Kyun Sang was having noona romance with HJW but I cringed everytime they were together on screen. I could sense that he wasn't ready for the role. But here though, YKS has such a sizzling chemistry with both of his lead females, noona romance or young puppy love, he wins them all. I think it's a good example for the quote: "experiences are the best teacher" :)

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What's wrong with my phone? -_- my comment is a mess and the other one was being posted twice. I guess I need to sleep now..

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lol, I got what you are saying. I don't think TWWNIL is ever a good example.

I'm finding him winning here.

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I haven't seen Time We were not in love, and now I guess I never will. ^^ despite my love for Ha Ji Won.
@sera, keiru, flighty gazelles - your comments helped me pinpoint what I was feeling. Yoon Kyun Sang doesn't command the screen like many other actors, but fits in like other characters. Which is how people are in real life. Part of the bigger picture, and not really larger than the picture itself.

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I feel the same. It doesn't help that the actor playing Ah Mo Gae just oozes charisma and interest, so Yoon Kyun-sang pales a bit in comparison. But I do feel after an initial probation period in which I had to adjust to him, he's been inhabiting the role better and better and is acquitting himself well. It's a problem when I don't find the male lead particularly attractive or charismatic but he's definitely growing on me just as other male leads have done in the past.

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I feel like he works best as a surprise package sneaking up from behind, rather than as the kind of full-on hero who'd have to lead from the front from Day 1.

That was the case in Pinocchio (his chemistry with Lee Jong-seok still blows my mind) and it works here too, which started off with Gil-dong being a charming rascal, but wet behind the ears compared to his much more commanding father.

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Absolutely. I love that he's started out as a 'charming rascal'. He is indeed starting to inhabit his role better and better each episode.

'It’s a problem when I don’t find the male lead particularly attractive or charismatic but he’s definitely growing on me just as other male leads have done in the past.'
In all likelihood, this will be the case. After all, I first saw the super popular Lee Min Ho in City Hunter, and only came to like him by the end of the series.

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Why Gil Dong went easy with Heotaehak though? Isn't he as bad as the other one?

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Maybe because he chose the lesser of two evils? In his opinion, in order to take down one evil, he needs another evil's help. So he chose the lesser one to achieve what he wants for now.

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Instead of killing his enemies he tries to win them over first and use them to fight corruptions. He doesn't think that people are evil, even the high and mighty yangban.

I guess it goes with the title of the show. Stealing people over to his side is one of his specialties.

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Yep, though I hope he's principled enough to bar the thug leader from stealing people to be slaves in the future. That was the first thing I thought of when he was making that deal.

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Amogae wanted Gil-Dong to be a general, and I was reminded that the best generals in history were those like Alexander the Great who didn't conquer by destroying cities but basically intimidating them (yes, sometimes killing them), and getting the authorities to submit to him by offering perks, like the possibility to stay on as authorities.

So it's very clever of Gil-Dong to get Heotaehak to collaborate by basically offering him what he wanted anyway. Heotaehak loses none of his own thug authority, and he is getting 50% of silver revenue, so he sees himself as a partner. Genius. I hope it lasts.

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"As a non-Buddhist myself, I’m not quite sure how having a ceremony to honor the dead would go against Confucian principles.."

Goryeo was overthrown by Confucian scholars using Buddhism as a justification for the corruptions that led to it's downfall. Confucian became the official state ideals of Joseon replacing Buddhism (Goryeo's state religion).
King Taejo was a devout Buddhism till the day he died so most were still devoted to their religion despite the change.

I think it's being used here by these Confucian scholars to undermine the king authority. Buddhism is considered an old religion and it shouldn't have anything to do with state affairs and matters regarding the royal family.

They are doing a good job setting up a time bomb that would explode in their face later. They shouldn't be messing with a king who wants to honor his mother especially when some of them had something to do with her death.

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It is good to see you around Kiara whenever there is sageuk drama, because you have much knowledge on Korean history. You are like our History Teacher ?

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I'm just fan like yourself Sera :).

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As an addendum, Confucianists dislike Buddhism because they believed it focuses too much on the metaphysical and the denying of reality (Emptiness), rather than dealing with the physical and "true" morality (Principle). There were also several more nuanced reasons, which you can dissect to your heart's content in this little ditty: http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-JOCP/chien.htm

That Neo-Confucianism devolved into anti-science rhetoric numbly repeating ancient texts all to maintain a socially enforced caste system for its own sake (thus proving the 'Emptiness' of their 'Principle') is the delicious irony of history.

As you might guess, not the biggest fan of Confucianism, here.

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That's interesting. I've always wondered about the seemingly oppressive Joseon Confucian state and wondered why it was still adhered to.

So it wasn't always to the advantage of the high ranking corrupt officials.
Goes to show you that man can twist anything that's supposed to be for good to suit his evil, selfish desires.

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I'm so not a fan of Confucianism either especially in this era. Maybe I watch too many Joseon sageuks but it feels like it wasn't practiced as it was intended. Where is the unity and order they have been preaching about?

The caste system only serves those at the top and the poor peasants don't have much chance in hell to advance. If they try to make life better for themselves they are called traitors and they deserve to be killed.
Look at Amogae's family. He is a 5th or 6th generation slave I think. It would've continued with his children if he didn't kill his master and break the law.

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@gambitfan3000,

Thanks for the philosophical insights into the Confucians' and Neo-Confucians' beefs with Buddhism. The irony is indeed delicious, even as the social fallout is horrid. Talk about unintended consequences. Heaven preserve us from well-meaning philosophers and idealists.

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When I saw what you quoted in the recap, I was looking for your comment @kiara, at the comment section. I knew you'd be able to explain it so much better than my haphazard little knowledge on Korean history. Thanks, Kiara!

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You are too kind. I'm learning along with you :).

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Howdy Kiara! Thanks for the clarification.

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Hi Barbrey! Glad you are here :).

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It was called the "Revere Confucianism and Persecute Buddhism" policy and it was implemented throughout Joseon period. That's why Buddhist temples built during the Joseon era are usually located deep in mountains, away from easy access of people, while the ones built pre-Joseon times were usually in town centers.

However, traditions die out hard, especially during the ancient, pre-internet era when new ideas and news travelled relatively slowly. People living in boondocks would sometimes learn that the previous kingdom collapsed and a new dynasty began only several decades after the fact. Buddhism was the state religion for almost a millennium by the time Joseon was founded. So you will find many early Joseon royal family members (as well as people in general) who were devout Buddhists. King Sejo (yes, the one who killed his nephew for the throne) and his wife (i.e. Yeonsangun's great grandparents) were dedicated Buddhists (especially when Sejo neared his death and was haunted by the ghost of King Danjong's mother). And their daughter-in-law and Yeonsangun's grandmother, Queen Dowager Insoo was also a devout Buddhist, which explains why she would want a Buddhist ritual to comfort the dead for her dead son, King Seongjong.

Current Korean culture is really an intricate fusion of its own animism, shamanism, Daoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and more recently the Western influences.

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Thanks for the background, O_o.

I had suspected that people's personal beliefs were likely at odds with the official policies. I'd also gotten the impression that the lower classes were more likely to have remained Buddhist as opposed to the intelligentsia. I can see where it would be particularly problematic for members of the royal family to be practicing Buddhists at that time.

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Speaking of ritual and funeral, it has been a couple of episodes now since the late king passed away and the palace is still in mourning.
How long does mourning period last for? I don't remember if it's a year or 3yrs for the king or maybe there is no set time?

I'm kind a off on the timeline and it's making me grumpy.

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Thanks, Kiara, for historical insights.

I think it’s being used here by these Confucian scholars to undermine the king authority. [snip]

They are doing a good job setting up a time bomb that would explode in their face later. They shouldn’t be messing with a king who wants to honor his mother especially when some of them had something to do with her death.

The downside of being flags. They must have missed the memo re: the nail that sticks up gets hammered down. Never in their wildest dreams nightmares would they have imagined Yeonsangun's successfully standing up to them.

I just got an image of a red flag waving at a bull. Not a good move, but hubris tends to make people stupid. In this case, a bunch of hubristic lemmings waving red flags.

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I would have gone mad too if I have to listen to those officials every single day.

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listening to them makes me suddenly sympathetic to the Queen of Hearts going "Off with their heads!"

I mean, it would be SO TEMPTING to just shut them up. Which is why we don't have ruling monarchies in most places anymore.

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I thought Soo Hak would have grown up as a spoiled brat, but seeing him as a nice and smiling scholar now, it might be hard to hate him. Especially when he would likely become Gil Hyun's close friend.

I was practically replaying the opening scene when Ga Ryung was 'interrogating' Gil Dong. They're sooo cute !

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LOL he was a spoiled rich son on Laurel Tree Tailor , looks like here he will be a good guy. I want these two to become good friend.

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I am torn between wanting them to be friends and knowing that it will be a source of heartbreak later on. I don't trust his smile for now (not with that mother hovering around) but I'll give him a chance.

And seriously: Madam Jo has the best spidey sense in the universe. How can she always have an intuition of what's up?! The women in this story are all very smart, it's amazing.

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I am excited to see Gil Dong become more of a badass warrior. Also I just really need to know where the little sister is and what she is up to. I have high hopes the 3 siblings will meet again.

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Oh, hello.. it has been a long time since the last time I saw your nickname ;)

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Oh, hello.. it has been a long time since the last time I saw your 'name' ;)

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tineybeanie ~

Thanks for the recap. Really enjoying the show.

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The scene with Mistress Jo and her son was absolutely chilling to me. Because she was a perfectly rational, sane, and loving human being with her son, asking how is days are going, if he's giving his teacher any sass, and he should take some of her food to his friends. Even when she tells him to stay away from Gil-Hyun, it's not out of any malice or classicism, but concern that her son would be dragged into a political fight that could get him killed.

Nothing like the absolute vengeful, half-mad monster we saw up until now. It only reinforces Gil-Dong's earlier point, "They don't see us as human beings."

This show is being absolutely masterful at walking the fine line between being too subtle in their story-telling and too-blatant, even as they include sageuk cliches for their own sake (falling from a cliff, amnesia, etc.)

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+1

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I have to run but I couldn't not say how much I loved this episode, and this week's episodes in general. I like that even our villains get layers, and the king's getting written off as evil from the start just because - I was surprised by just how much I could identify with his frustration and how much I wanted the noble crowd to just shut their yaps already and let him have the damn ceremony.

(seriously, there are very few things more lethal than a sympathetic villain - see also: Shylock, Loki)

But I really hope we get some light shed on what's happened to Uhrini! It's been heaven knows how many months in-show, and she's not been seen all week.

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(also, may all the gods bless the absence of screechy kpop ballads at inopportune moments - I want to find the music editor of this drama and bow to them, this is someone who knows their stuff!)

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LOKI! I sympathised with him so much in Thor, then in Avengers they destroyed his complexity I think... I stopped watching Marvel films after that.

By the way, I feel that Amogae's Avengers are ironically the least developed characters. I don't feel I know them as people, except Soboori and the 'emotional' one (what was his name?). Their identity is mainly collective, with some individual agency. In that respect, it was interesting to see two of them walk away from Gil Dong's crazy Operation Rosary at first. They don't just blindly follow Gil Dong.

And yes, I'm very sympathetic towards the king now. Personally, I would have thrown a couple of them in prison to contemplate their lack of respect, but then I'd be labeled a tyrant right? I lack the diplomatic skills to wriggle out of this impasse.

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hehe, I liked poor woobie daddy-issues Loki in Thor, but I did enjoy his full-on (metaphorical) moustache-twirling and cackling in The Avengers too. I won't be mad if they take that route for the king too.

I agree that the Amogae Avengers are mostly rather 'single character trope'-y at the moment, but it's not something that I really notice as a storytelling or character flaw. And like you said, two of them did choose to leave and then come back, I think they're expanded on just enough to accommodate the larger story.

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I'm liking the balance too. The magistrate and So Buri have been well-developed. The others are very distinctive from each other very much like Robin Hood's gang. Little John (the big guy) Friar Tuck (the monk), Will Scarlet (the gambler), Maid Marian (the main girl), etc. A formula that works. I find myself wondering about their back stories but not really needing to see them.

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@Barbrey - exactly, I wonder but I'm also fine with the story not concentrating on them - they're distinctive in their own right and not nonentities, but they still take second place to the core characters and a couple of choice secondary ones.

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Preach it, pogo! The jarring Kpop frustrated me no end in MOON LOVERS. Yet the epic spaghetti western fight scene music works like a charm for me in REBEL.

I just came across this live performance, and love it:

An Ye Eun, dreamlike written song 'If Spring Is Coming' 안예은 - 봄이 온다면 《KPOP STAR 5》K팝스타5 EP19
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uR2Vg8WHH1k

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The music has just the right vibes - I really, REALLY hope this drama becomes a bigger hit, if only to start influencing sageuk drama producers to finally ditch the damn kpop as background music.

(I'm still getting full-body cringe at the memory of that horrible English rap in Scarlet Heart)

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You and me girl. Always on the go during the week. I'm so glad the weekend is here so I can sit down and watch the last two episodes.

Much love to writer nim. Enjoying both heros and villains.

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yeah, I'm really grateful the recappers give us time between the episode and the recap to catch our breath.

Fingers crossed it stays this good, I'm already on tenterhooks with the things that look like they're about to go down.

also, quick note - isn't nobleman Noh (the one the nobles are trying to get the king to interrogate) the one who expressed support for the king's Buddhist ceremony idea last episode?

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@pogo
Yes, that's him, the one who's standing closer to the King.

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Seriously, now I feel bad for him too.

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@16.2.1 pogo,

also, quick note – isn’t nobleman Noh (the one the nobles are trying to get the king to interrogate) the one who expressed support for the king’s Buddhist ceremony idea last episode?

Nobleman Noh (and the man just beyond him, as seen from the throne) did speak up for the Buddhist ceremony. The poor guy was like a lightning rod, what with the way everyone started calling for him to be interrogated. I presume they do not mean a polite tête–à–tête over tea and crumpets.

I've gotten the impression that an earlier No(h) was involved in the brouhaha at court that caused Scholar Park to head for the hills with his son and daughter-in-law. I think came up in the conversation between Song Sabu and Gil-hyun, who is now masquerading as Park's grandson.

At least that's what I think is happening. It's tough to "follow the bouncing ball," especially when the subtitles can vary so much.

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oh yeah, "interrogation" in Joseon-speak definitely meant torture, Nobleman Noh has every reason to look terrified because it's literally only the king's stubbornness keeping him out of a cell right now.

I missed the part about the earlier Noh having been involved in the incident that led to the Parks' departure - there's so much stuff happening.

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Thanks, tineybeanie, for another great recap and commentary.

As I suspected, Gon Hwa / Nok Soo danced a Buddhist ceremony for the dead, and it was beautiful. I got the distinct impression that she was propitiating spirits. I was also reminded of dances by mudangs that I've seen in other shows.

I was thrilled to bits when Gil-dong responded when Ga-ryung called out "Orabeoni." He's thawing out a bit, even if it's because she fills the niche left by Eorini and her sleepy flailing.

Did anyone else have the strange sensation that they were watching an episode of THREE MEALS A DAY when Gil-dong was pulling the heated stone out of the fire with a couple of pieces of fire wood?! Har!

As someone noted earlier, the music is terrific and apropos. I love the instrumental interludes. I'm even happier about the times there's no music at all, when the action unfolds just like real life does -- with ambient noise only, and minus music cues.

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About the THREE MEALS A DAY reference, yes, I expected Gil Dong to ask one of his Hyungs, at any moment, "Hyung, what should I do next? Light up the fire? Warm up the stone?"
LOL. That was such an oddly quiet, mundane yet addicting show.

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LOL. That was such an oddly quiet, mundane yet addicting show.

You got that right! I found it strangely relaxing and mesmerizing. Eric's voice is very soothing. His manner of working is meditative, or at least that's how I felt while watching him. Plus the kitties were world-champion snoozers and beguilers. I don't even like seafood, but nonetheless enjoyed watching tempting dishes emerge from the sea and garden. Chopping wood and carrying water -- for couch potatoes. ;-)

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Re: Three Meals a Day flashbacks

That will be me! I was about to press the pause button when I notice his hair and thought to myself, "Oh, I'm still watching Rebel, I didn't accidentally played a Three Meals A Day video in the middle of it, silly me!"?

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I'm enjoying the music a lot. Who would've know that a little Spaghetti Western-ish here and there can be effective and not out of place.

This is what Joseon Gunman should've done lol.

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*thought* not know

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well, we can't get Ennio Morricone for kdramas ;) but this is the closest we get, and it's still fantastic.

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Ennio Morricone! Yes please. I wasn't even born during during the height of his career but my mother was a big fan of his and Clint Eastwood.
My favorite was the theme song for "The Good the Bad and the Ugly." It's probably the most popular one?

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Same here, I was born decades after the Sergio Leone films but my parents had a tape of his scores (ugh I feel so old now).

The Good The Bad and the Ugly is his most iconic theme but my personal favourite is For A Few Dollars More.

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I'm old enough to remember Hugo Montenegro's 1968 cover version being a big hit on the Billboard charts. I think I still have the 45 floating around somewhere. ;-)

Actually, I prefer Montenegro's version because it has more oomph, but maybe it's just because it's the first rendition I heard. I don't think I've watched the whole movie, but recently I did see the clip of the battle scene with Ennio Morricone's original score. YouTube is an amazing repository. ;-)

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I feel like this production has a really good handle on the way they want the story to sound, and the relative restraint of the musical cues and soundtrack is helping a lot.

I'm also loving the use of traditional instruments and music in this drama - it's far too rare considering the sheer number of sageuk dramas getting produced. The only drama in which I can remember seeing a gayageum before this was Goong, and that was ten years ago and not even a sageuk!

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Great comment. Could not agree more about the score. That ending song really caught my attention - just a perfect kind of Western genre Magnificent Seven type sound - the gang is coming to fight the bad guys - mixed with pathos and traditional Korean instrumentation.

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I just said the same thing (almost) before I read your comment :).

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I just want to add that Gil-dong clutching his heart outside the house, overwhelmed with emotions when he is reminded of Eorini is so devastating to look at :( Hope he finds Eorini soon!

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I don't know if anyone else here is watching SAIMDANG, but I'm still tuning in and enjoying it. Lovely cinematography, plus what appears to be a command performance by the Cliff of Non-Doom that includes its stage right profile (the one we never seem to see).

It finally occurred to me to look up painter Lee Gyeom's royal relative because he's beginning to make me nervous. Dang, he's King Joongjong -- half-brother and successor to Yeonsangun. I'm not in a position to judge the quality of Wikipedia's entries on him and the politics of his time. Just want to mention that after reading them, I now have a better handle on all the CHONAAAAA'ing at court in REBEL. I also spotted a couple of surnames that made me sit up and take notice. Yikes to what appears to be coming down the pike for Gil-dong and company.

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Well, that is cool and uncommon - two dramas airing at the same time with slightly overlapping historical timelines. I would watch Saimdang (if I had time) just to fill in on the politics behind all the CHONAAAing in Rebel. :)

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Soooo tempted to go to Wikipedia and spoil myself now. But no, I can do this, I will not see how the real history when off and what is coming at Gil-dong and gang...

Speaking of spoilers, Wikipedia is listing Wolhaemae as Yeonsangun's concubine too. Curious if this is the Wolhaemae we know? Anybody?

Out of the currently airing drama, I'm watching sageuk only (mon-tue Rebel, wed-thu Saimdang). Both dramas are my crack now. I wait for them impatiently lol. So sometime I watch them raw.

P/S: It's Cheon-ha 전하

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@enkeys,

Speaking of spoilers, Wikipedia is listing Wolhaemae as Yeonsangun’s concubine too. Curious if this is the Wolhaemae we know? Anybody?

I just looked, and she was listed under "Others" -- but I didn't see her referenced as a concubine. She looks kind of old to crank out an heir, but maybe Yeonsangun is really into making beautiful music together.

I did see Song Il-kook listed as the Chief Eunuch, which has me anticipating his arrival on the scene.

Thanks for the pronunciation tip re: Cheon-ha 전하 . It makes more sense after seeing the Korean syllables. ;-)

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I am still watching Saimdang- great cinematography, story getting more interesting and Lee Young Ae is the main draw, her face and acting is still so good

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Also re: Gil-hyun, I don't think it's fair to compare him with Gil-dong - unlike Gil-dong, he's entirely alone in the world right now, since he has good reason to think his father, brother and sister are all dead (seriously, what are the odds of anyone surviving torture/a fall from a cliff), and that their village is destroyed.

But based on that first flashback, he does return to Gil-dong's side at some point, so I don't think Gil-hyun is really turning his back on his roots, just making the most of what he has.

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Yeah, I think deep inside, Gil-hyun has always dreamed to be a scholar. I don't think it's simply the chance he got when he met the old noble who died in the mountains though. I think he is trying, in his own way, to punish the nobles too, by gaining power. In contrast, Gil-dong is doing it by being a thug. Gil-hyun's inside information from the government will surely help Gil-dong and the gang later on when they face off the King's army.

Speaking of that, I re-watched episode 1 again and noticed that the army which Mori is leading seems to be HUGE so I think by this time, Choongwongun has already made Mori his person (when he calls him separately before, without Heo Taehak). With Heo Taehak joining hands with Gil-dong now, I'm feeling kinda nervous. We know how Mori is quick with his senses, so him being left out from the assignment of accompanying Choongwongun must've triggered his danger signal somehow. I sure hope he's not hiding somewhere to harm our gang from behind!

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@pogo, @enkeys,

I thought it was interesting that Gil-hyun went most of the way to Ikhwari, and then turned back, as if he couldn't bear to see the aftermath of his family's downfall. Gil-dong, on the other hand, seemed compelled to return home, like a salmon returning to its spawning grounds. And he made sure to visit Mom's grave. I think it says something about their different temperaments, and how Gil-dong is changing.

We don't see much of Gil-hyun after he discovered the dead scholar's house. It's reasonable to assume he may have still been hoping in his heart that the others survived. Alas, those hopes were dashed to bits when he met the traders on the road. Given the news, he may have thought it dangerous to enter Ikhwari, especially with Heo Tae-hak running the show.

I also agree that Gil-hyun aspired to be a scholar, but was realist enough to know that the deck would still be stacked against him even if he passed the civil service exams with flying colors. Having the gift of a new identity fall in his lap could change all that, especially with someone like Song Sabu supporting him. I think it took the shock of realizing that his family had really been wiped out for him to embrace his new identity and turn over a new leaf.

As for the huge army outside the gate, I noticed that, too. Massive.

I'd been suspicious when Choongwongun spoke privately with Mo-ri. He trusts Heo Tae-hak as far as he can throw him. It looks as if the big boss is co-opting HTH's first mate -- who will end up becoming a general of sorts in his own right, and a foil for Gil-dong.

As for Choongwongun, it was interesting to me that his brother, the late king, had banished him to the boondocks. He must have really been a piece of work back in the day -- and apparently still is.

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kinda hoping gildong ends up with noksoo

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