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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 16

I can feel it, we’re on the cusp of something big—the events of this episode had me experiencing chilling déjà vu moments that reminded me of the beginning of Amogae’s downfall, except on a much larger scale. We’re no longer in the small backwater town of Ikhwari now that our heroes are running the black market trade in the capital city of Hanyang. And some major social change is about to go down that will change how all the people in Joseon feel about their government and their king, which will have a fundamental impact on their lives.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Four years later, Eorini walks in a row of palace maids, but which one is she? There are two girls that the camera focuses on, both looking intelligent and at the right age to be Gil-dong’s baby sister.

Gil-dong oversees his beautiful property as Ilchung asks if he’s ready for their reunion day with all the other Hong brothers. Soboori, Yonggae, Keutsae, Eop-san, and Segul all arrive in various states of luxurious dress, looking happy to see each other. After they enter the gate, they greet Gil-dong with half-cheeky, half-respectful bows as “The Great Elder.” When Ga-ryung comes out from a side door, they say hello to her with fondness.

Yeonsangun feeds his golden eagle scraps of meat as he listens to a man’s thanks—it’s Scholar Song, who has come to bow to the king for interceding on behalf of Choongwongoon. It seems that Yeonsangun has released Choongwongoon from his state of house arrest and shunned exile. The former royal is outside, not a part of this conversation but in front of the palace gates, bowing four times for forgiveness with a completely changed aura in his eyes.

Inside, Yeonsangun warns Scholar Song that although his father may have relied upon the scholar, he is not the same, and he subtly hints that it may take some effort to come into his inner circle. Mori stands by Choongwongoon’s side as he completes his bows.

Later, when Scholar Song and Choongwongoon talk, the former royal profusely thanks the scholar for being his salvation. Then they talk about his future plans now that he has been released. Scholar Song tells Choongwongoon that it is the fervor of young men, especially young noblemen, that is the most powerful thing in Joseon.

He knows that Choongwongoon still burns with anger toward the peasants who framed him and got him into this state. So, Scholar Song goes on to say that even without planning his revenge, Choongwongoon can achieve it just by wielding that power.

Starting the next day, Choongwongoon and Scholar Song begin their campaign to influence the country’s youth. Scholar Song preaches in the streets to commoners and noblemen alike about how there is a natural hierarchy that must be followed: between child and parent, and between peasants and noblemen. If this hierarchy is breached, then chaos will reign, because order has been disrupted. Mistress Jo looks engrossed in his teachings as he continues to spout his passionate ravings about how the order of the world will collapse if they do not adhere to a strict hierarchy.

Back at Bandit HQ, after they finish a meal together, everyone gives Ga-ryung storybooks as gifts. As a return present, she says she’ll tell them one of her stories, but all the Amogae Avengers try to stop her, wincing as she goes to retrieve her storybook despite their protests. And once she begins reading, everyone at the feast table falls fast asleep except for Gil-dong. She’s reading a typical love story, and he smiles at her, completely enthralled, while Soboori watches their cute dynamic from the corner of his eye and smiles.

Ilchung brings the case of Kang Tae-sung to Gil-dong’s attention, since the man is a scholar from a middling noble family. He loves his half-brother who was born to another mother, a concubine/gisaeng. The brother was bullied in school because of his lesser social stature and became paralyzed because of the other people’s cruel violence against him.

So Kang Tae-sung piggybacks his brother every day to school, and he requests that Gil-dong get revenge on behalf of his brother at their meeting. After paying proper respect to “The Great Elder,” Kang Tae-sung is granted his wish when Gil-dong orders Keutsae to take care of it.

Later, when Kang Tae-sung and his brother are about to be heckled by bully scholars again, Keutsae, who has been watching, follows the bullies and beats them up.

Kang Tae-sung presents a box full of silver to Gil-dong as thanks, but Gil-dong refuses. With an expression of intense anger, Gil-dong says that he hates people like Kang Tae-sung more than the people that beat his brother up because he isn’t man enough to do anything but complain and cry himself.

Soboori approaches Gil-dong about a marriage offer that has come in for Ga-ryung. Although he doesn’t seem too pleased, he agrees to see the suitor, and when he views the man from afar, Ilchung comments that the man is very handsome, with a straight nose, clear skin, and tall stature. To top it all off, he is rumored to be a hard worker. Gil-dong nitpicks every detail, saying that the nose is too big, he has clearer skin, and to be called tall, the suitor must be at least his height. With a knowing click of the tongue, Ilchung remarks that at this rate, Ga-ryung will never get married.

But Gil-dong eventually does go to Ga-ryung to ask whether she wants to meet with the man who has asked for her hand. Trying to discern his inner feelings about her, Ga-ryung tells Gil-dong that she’ll do whatever he says—if he wants her to meet him she will, and if he doesn’t want her to, she won’t.

For a moment, she has a crestfallen expression when he says that she should meet with the suitor, but she soon recovers and agrees. Gil-dong accepts her decision, and the next day, Ga-ryung is set up with this unknown man.

She waits at a table full of food for the man who has asked for her hand, but he doesn’t come. Impatiently, Gil-dong watches in the background, but Soboori reports to Gil-dong that the man has taken back his offer because there’s a rumor going around in the streets that Ga-ryung is already betrothed.

A flashback shows that this was all a part of Ga-ryung’s plans to get Gil-dong jealous. She originally asked Soboori to bring this man into the equation, and she was also the one who spread the rumors. Soboori promised to do as she said as long as she wouldn’t read him any of her stories anymore, ha.

When Ilchung finds out that Ga-ryung was the source of the rumors herself, he tells Gil-dong, who is completely taken aback. Gil-dong confronts Ga-ryung, and she says that it’s true that she does have someone she likes. She’s known him for a long time, but he doesn’t return her affections.

Of course, Gil-dong is surprised, because he’s still probably under the impression that she harbored a crush on him. So when she tells him that she wants to introduce her soon-to-be lover to Gil-dong, he doesn’t look to pleased by the prospect.

Grumbling, Gil-dong stands with Ga-ryung in the courtyard gazebo awaiting this mysterious man, who is the object of her affections. With a wide smile, Ga-ryung starts describing her love, a merchant who uses his money for good, who is also handsome beyond belief, with soulful eyes that make her flutter.

Not able to take any more, Gil-dong cuts her off by saying that the suitor is late. Then she tells him that the man is already here, and Gil-dong looks around. She confesses directly to him that the man she loves is none other than Gil-dong. Although his memory flashes back to how she shook up his feelings back when she waited for him while all the others (including Nok-soo) left, he tells her that she isn’t a woman to him and leaves her there with a crestfallen expression.

Shedding tears, Ga-ryung packs all of her things as she recalls all of the times Gil-dong treated her like his sister, Eorini. Ilchung tries to stop her from leaving, but Gil-dong just tells him to let her go. She doesn’t get too far before she has to make a stop to cry her eyes out.

Gil-dong finds her sitting alone in a courtyard and asks her again if she likes him. He tells her that he is a thug, and that she should live better than a thug’s woman. Ga-ryung replies that she could love him better than Nok-soo, but that he probably doesn’t want her because she’s an ordinary girl.

Hopelessly, she turns around to leave, and Gil-dong grabs her in a passionate kiss. Afterwards, he tells her that he’s trapped in a dilemma because he doesn’t want to hurt her, so he doesn’t know what to do.

Looking up at him with a growing happiness as she realizes that he returns her feelings, Ga-ryung promises to stay by Gil-dong’s side. They proceed to engage in one of the hottest make out sessions in sageuk drama history.

Meanwhile, Nok-soo is painting her flowers while Yeonsangun sits behind her, watching her beautiful form. She tells him that some young palace servants ignore the musical troupe members because they are from the gisaeng class. Yeonsangun promises that he will assign her some servants right away, and she thanks him with bright and flirtatious eyes.

He asks if that will earn him her heart, and she tells him truthfully that she won’t give him her heart, because that’s the only way to keep him intrigued. He laughs at her audacity, but it’s a cold truth that lends a sharpness to Nok-soo’s bold seduction.

As she’s inspecting her new servants, one of the palace maids (who’s maybe Eorini?) steps forward and volunteers her services to Nok-soo willingly while the others stay back because they were born to a higher class than gisaengs.

The girl shows her mercenary side by telling her peers that she wants to serve Nok-soo well because Nok-soo serves the king. And if she becomes valuable to Nok-soo, she’ll probably also gain some of the favors that Nok-soo is given by the king. The other girl (who may also be Eorini) states that she is afraid of palace politics.

Gil-hyun is out in disguise and approaches some other people who are talking about the disappearance of a man and his family. Wondering what would cause such an interesting case, he asks whether it could have been the district magistrate who did it, and they emphatically reply no, because their magistrate is a kind man.

Having heard this, Gil-hyun decides to visit this magistrate to get to the bottom of this matter, but he’s stopped at the door by government guards. Once he shows his ID proving that he’s an undercover high-ranking investigator, he’s ushered in immediately.

Gil-hyun pursues the case further by following up with the magistrate, who tells him that the disappeared man, Chun-bong, had earlier made an appeal to the justice system regarding the death of his brother, Chun-sam. He had died while engaging in illegal forced labor for a minister who had distant ties to the royal family.

After getting into an altercation with the nobleman regarding the court dispute, Chun-bong disappeared, and after investigating, the magistrate had deduced that Chun-bong had died by the minister’s hand. The strange part about it was the fact that Chun-bong’s entire family also somehow disappeared without a word.

Gil-dong and Ga-ryung walk several rounds of the courtyard after their midnight kissing session. After the first couple back-and-forth circles, Gil-dong looks impatient to go back to their respective rooms and sleep, while Ga-ryung doesn’t want the night to end.

She tells him that there’s something she’s always wanted to do once she had a significant other: sleep together while only holding hands. She looks up at Gil-dong and asks if he wants to sleep with her. His eyes nearly bulge out of his head, and he begins hiccuping. (Keke, what naughty thoughts are going on in that head, Gil-dong?).

When they settle in for the night, Ga-ryung lies with her head on his arm and proceeds to go to sleep after a few moments of flirting. But poor Gil-dong looks extremely uncomfortable because her head is cutting off his circulation.

At first, he tries to adjust his position, but when he sees her face next to his, he stops to just stare at his beloved. Smiling, he wonders aloud, “How can you sleep at a time like this?”

On their first day together, Ga-ryung stares unashamedly at Gil-dong as he goes about his business. Then, out of the blue, she suddenly says that they probably have to get married now, because they’ve seen all of each other.

Of course, Gil-dong’s mind goes straight to the gutter, and he chokes a little before asking what she means. Ga-ryung innocently replies that because they’ve already held hands and kissed, they have to get married now—there’s no choice. Realizing that that’s what she meant, he smiles in agreement to her impromptu and inadvertent proposal.

Back on the streets, Choongwongoon has amassed a large following through his pious chantings. Every day, he has sat outside the justice department saying that chaos happens when the natural order is not followed and that a fight between a nobleman and a peasant should not be so lightly dismissed.

The case between Keutsae and the scholars who were bullying Kang Tae-sung’s brother is reopened as a result, so Gil-dong and company must deliberate on what to do. Magistrate Eom tries to resolve it by himself, but a senior officer tells him that it’s out of his hands and is all up to the new deputy governor, who happens to be Jo Jeong-hak.

When Magistrate Eom goes to Jeong-hak to persuade him to let the case go because it’s already been closed, the new deputy governor remembers what his mentor told him in a flashback. Comparing Jeong-hak to Park Ha-sung, Scholar Song had told him that he should try to gain more favor with the king just like his good friend Park Ha-sung, who rose in the ranks quickly.

He tells Jeong-hak that the best way to earn that favor is to do what Yeonsangun cannot do as a king in the palace: protect the natural hierarchy on the streets. Remembering this, Jeong-hak does not take Keutsae’s case lightly, and so the cheerful giant is imprisoned and taken in for questioning.

Gil-dong and Ilchung visit Keutsae in his cell, but the man is eating chicken happily with an optimistic outlook, since he has faith in Gil-dong. But he does show a glimmer of worry when he tells Gil-dong that for the first time, he wants to see his mother, who he’s never really thought or spoken of before.

This prompts Gil-dong to quickly arrange a meeting with Jo Jeong-hak. He doesn’t even look at Ga-ryung, who greets him worriedly when he comes back home. Later, at the meeting, Jeong-hak catches on that this is a bribe attempt, and he leaves the meeting place abruptly after reprimanding Magistrate Eom for his insolence.

Undeterred, Gil-dong just finds the next person up the power ladder and threatens the official by saying that he’ll release all the records of his alcohol purchases during the prohibition period if he won’t help. So when Jo Jeong-hak has just given the order to punish Keutsae for tussling with someone of the noble class, his superior officer (who Gil-dong threatened) comes to stop him immediately. He reprimands Jeong-hak for not focusing on more important cases in the city just because a group of protestors complained about social order.

Outside, Choongwongoon congratulates his flock for their accomplishments, since their passion for social order has led to Keutsae’s arrest. But just then, Magistrate Eom laughs (knowing that Keutsae has just been released) from behind him. Choongwongoon tears up a little with rage.

As he is being released, the Hong brothers greet Keutsae with a warm welcome, and it’s an atmosphere of success. Gil-dong watches with a smile that seems to show that he still feels uneasy about the situation, which is when Choongwongoon suddenly calls him “Footstool” from behind, with Mori at his side.

 
COMMENTS

Yess! It was cheesy and perhaps a bit unoriginal, but I loved the lead-up to Gil-dong and Ga-ryung’s first kiss. It was exactly like a condensed version of a K-drama rom-com all done in half a show. It had the love triangle, requisite cute jealousy moments, and the noble idiot arc with a bonus innocent bed scene toward the end. I can see already that this relationship isn’t going to be the smoothest one, especially because Gil-dong seems to put Ga-ryung almost last on his list of priorities, but I definitely enjoyed it while it was sweet and light.

On the other hand, Yeonsangun’s fascination with Nok-soo seems to have increased exponentially since the last couple episodes. Perhaps she’s appealing to him because he’s surrounded by yes-men, and she’s probably the only one who will speak the truth with him. But a lot of it probably has to do with the chase: He just wants her because she’s unobtainable. Now that he’s gained almost total power through his reign of fear and surveillance, he’s obsessed with conquering and taking the one thing he can’t seem to gain—her heart.

I know we’re past the background setting stage, but I do wish we could go more in-depth into each of the character’s stories a bit more. I want to learn more about Nok-soo’s opinions on the social system; obviously, her rise to power is inextricably linked with Yeonsangun, but she does have a different perspective because she was born a commoner. Perhaps because she’s insulated within the palace and hasn’t seen how his policies affect the common citizen more than the privileged nobles, she doesn’t realize what she’s been unwittingly promoting by helping Yeonsangun. Or it could be that she does know through her gossip-gathering outings, but she doesn’t care as long as her power is insured.

More disturbing than Yeonsangun’s own development is Scholar Song and Choongwongoon’s alliance. The changes that have come over the king were almost to be expected, because absolute power corrupts absolutely. However, Scholar Song’s strange notions on a pre-ordained natural hierarchy are fueling and giving credence to the king’s absolute power. He thrives on a cult-like energy amongst his listeners, who follow like mindless sheep, bleating that chant. As someone born into the royal class, Choongwongoon was inculcated with that notion, but how did Scholar Song come to this amount of dedication toward that belief? It just doesn’t make sense, and I have an inkling that it may be tied with the death of the dethroned queen (Yeonsangun’s mother), but for the time being, we don’t know.

I’m glad that Gil-hyun got out of the palace, even though it looks like he’s still serving the king loyally, because now that he’s more often on incognito journeys, it looks like Scholar Song’s influence has been moderated somewhat due to his distance from all that crazy.

However, I can’t believe that he still hasn’t run into Eorini yet. The palace can’t be that big, and there can’t be that many maids, can there? After four years, you would think that a brother and sister would have crossed paths at least once and recognized each other. In my experience of dramaworld, I’m pretty sure Eorini is the nice girl, played by actress Jung Da-bin, but Rebel isn’t shaping up to be the typical sageuk, so who knows. It could be that ambitious social climber, and perhaps in the future, whenever she actually ends up meeting with her brothers, we’ll get to see how her shaken life path changed her perceptions of power, strength, and survival.

 
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It would be a really good twist if Eorini was the ambitious social ladder climber but she's probably the one played by Jung Da Bin.

*sigh* Please give me what I want this one time Rebel.

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I just hope that they won't make Gil Hyun or Gil Dong unable to identify the adult version of Eorini when they meet just because she looks totally different

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She doesn't seems to like being in the palace which makes sense for a young innocent girl. Everyone belongs to the king. He can sleep with any of them if he desires so it's time for an older actress to take over.
Jung Da-bin has been in sageuks before and even have chemistry with her much older male lead.
(I'm not suggesting anything between her and the king. I'd hope she'd be spared and most likely since this is a prime time sageuk on a public channel).

Some may welcome it if they are ambitious enough to climb the ladder. Gaining the king's favor is the best way to do it.

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I'm guessing Jung Da-bin is playing the grown up Eorini based on her personality. The other one seems sassy and straight forward like Nok-soo.
Flattering is a talent that goes hand in hand with ambitious women who wants the climb the social ladder in the palace.

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But young Eorini was the one who was besotted with Nok-soo. Remember, she stopped to peek into the room full of gisaengs and was staring at Nok-soo? Unless something happened between then and now, it looks like Eorini is the ambitious girl, based on what she said.

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That makes sense crazyahjummafan. Thanks for bring it up.

I picture Eorini as an innocent country bumpkin girl who would find the capital and the palace fascinating and frightening at the same time.
I'm not sure admiring Nok-soo's beauty would make her sassy and ambitious.

The other girl who was complaining about being higher rank than Nok-soo because she grew up in the capital as a commoner seems more ambitious and cunning like Nok-soo to me. She knows how to kiss butt and used flattery like a grown up.
I think that's why Nok-soo made the comment "you are young but you can talk."

I may be totally off and wrong here and Eorini could be the ambitious one like you said.

She could either be dramatized from being separated from her family and whatever happened to her in that shed she was held at all these years or she could still be that sweet and innocent girl that we know from her early years.

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I also guess the sassier girl is Eorini. I remember how she said all the Ikhwari boys should compete for her hand in marriage and when one boy said "But I don't want to marry you," she was like ?"how is that even possible?"

I think one thing that didn't come across very well is the fact that these young girls are moosooris 무수리 (lowliest palace servants) and not 나인 (court maids/ladies). The palace servants would do laundry and other lowly chores for the palace staff including the court maids while the court maids would belong to a specific department with assigned tasks. For example, Daejanggeum (Jewel in the Palace) was a court lady belonging to the King's kitchen while Dong-Yi (King Youngjo's mother) was a palace servant doing sundry laundry and fetching water. Palace ladies usually came from at least the commoner background whereas moosooris were lowborns. Palace ladies were all King's women who could potentially catch his interest and become his concubine whereas moosooris did not even stay inside the palace after work.

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@ O_o
I'm liking that our guess is different and I'm ok with being the one in the wrong lol. I was just hoping she'd be different from Nok-soo.

Lost in translation :).
I didn't think to go into detail with each servants and their specific duties. Some of them were married and live outside the palace right? The moosooris like the Dong Yi in "Jackpot."

Interesting to see Nok-soo turn these lowly girls into court maids. Maybe Eorini we'd have a better chance running into her brother if he returns to the palace.

If Jung Da-bin isn't playing Eorini than who is she portraying here? She is more of an established child actor to be playing a less than minor character imo.

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@1.2.1.1.1 Kiara, @1.2.1.1 crazyahjummafan, @1.2.1.1.2 O_o,

Thanks for sharing all your musings re: the identity of older Eorini. I'd forgotten how forward she was with the boys in Ikhwari. The outspoken young woman more strongly resembles little Eorini facially, IMHO.

Thanks also for the discussion of palace staff. I recall that in KDSBH, Seol-nan and auntie soup lady, who went to work in the palace kitchen, were both "live out ladies," and thus were eligible to marry, IIRC.

I know it's a different dynasty, but are moosooris 무수리 (lowliest palace servants) the same rank that Hae Su was busted down to in MOON LOVERS -- when she basically became a washer woman doing the laundry?

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@Kiara

Your guess is as good as mine. ? Jung Da Bin might be playing adult Eorini since she seems to be the better and more experienced actress of the two. It's just that the impression I got of her bratty, choke-brother-in-sleep childhood was that she was quite cheeky. I think JDB may be playing another major palace gisaeng role who later suffer at the hands of Yeonsan and Nok Soo.

One of the amazing things about this drama is that the writer majored in Korean history and knows the Annals of Joseon Dynasty inside out. The extracts in Chinese letters frequently appearing vertically on the screen are directly from the Annals and the names of many of the secondary and tertiary characters of this drama actually do appear in the Annals: Jeokseonah, Saegeol, Wolhamae etc.

@PakalanaPikake

I did not watch Goryeo Scarlet Heart so I don't know how IU was portrayed. But unlike Joseon, Goryeo did not leave behind well-documented historical records like the Joseon Annals. Supposedly they were all lost in war and fire. So it's very hard to say what kind of social structure they had.

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@ PakalanaPikake

The exciting thing about this drama is that we learn a lot from each other and every point of view makes sense. I can't complain about the writing. She/he is giving us a lot of food for thoughts. I like writers who don't treat their audience like idiots. Dramas doesn't always have to be empty entertainment.

It was pretty confusing with Scarlet heart because it was an adaptation of a Chinese drama.
As far as IU's position in Scarlet Heart goes I think the duties of the servants in the palace might have been different since it was a very young dynasty. I don't know if they had specific names given to each department yet.
It was Taejo's order I believe for her to be demoted to a servant and where she should serve.

I think the king was less involved with duties of the palace maids and servants' in the Joseon era. It was more structured and the queen oversees most of it I believe.

Thanks for bringing this up. I find Goryeo era more interesting even with the lack of historical documents.
(This is just my own opinion and I'm not very good at explaining it sorry).

@O_o

Whoa that's why there is so much history in this drama. I kept saying that the writer did her/his homework because everything makes sense and I get to yell out names and incidents that I'm familiar with when they are mentioned in the drama lol.

Thank you!!

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I think the ambitious social climber is Eorini and Jung Da Bin is Gil Hyun's OTP hahahaha

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I'm still watching this. And liking it. But this week's episodes weren't as moving. (Is that the word I want?) Before, I felt like, "what? Has it been an hour?" when the drama ended. Now, I look at the clock to see where I am in the show. I'm not going to drop it. But it's not as good (at least in my opinion) as it was.

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Example: I know his brother's the smart one, but sheesh. Can't you see that Ga-ryung's had it BAD for you for years? Are you that surprised to see that she doesn't want to marry somebody else? (We took too many episodes for him to realize this. I know he's still hung up on Nok-soo--or whatever name she's going by now--but to not notice that Ga-ryung loves you.)

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Gil Dong knows that Ga Ryung likes him but he doesnt know how he feels about her yet. Also he has more priority.

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It did make more sense to me when I realized this episode that there really is an age gap between Gil-dong and Ga-ryung. The other episodes I presumed that Ga-ryung and Gil-dong are close in age and the reason he saw his sister in her was because the situations they found themselves in reminded him of his sister, but she really must have been closer to Eorinies age and more a child than a woman. From that perspective it is quite natural that he took her orabeoni as a brother orabeaoni and not as a relationship orabeoni.

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He is also a thug and in his own words "what king of girl would like to be married into a family of thugs?"
He probably thinks that she she deserves better or much safer marrying a normal citizen with no criminal records.

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@Liina,

That makes a lot of sense. Great observation about the difference in their ages.

The passage of time in this show has me confused. IIRC, Eorini was turning 13 the year that Choongwongoon sicced Heo Tae-hak on Amogae & Co. (after a 12-year time-jump in Ikhwari). Now that we've had the 4-year time jump, Eorini would be about 17 or maybe 18.

Ga-ryung is probably a little older, hence twentyish. Compared to Gong Hwa, who was 30 when Gil-dong met her the second time (hence now 34), Ga-ryung would look very young.

Was Gil-dong about 7-8 when Eorini was born, or closer to 9-10? That would make him about 19-22 when Ikhwari was attacked. Toss in a year of searching for his family, recuperating at the gibang, and returning to his mother's grave with Ga-ryung, plus the 4-year jump, and that would make him about 24-27. (Gil-hyun is 2-3 years older than him.)

Did I miss any time jumps?

I got the distinct impression that Gil-dong had another memory slip when he went into berserker mode when Amogae's funeral procession was attacked. He repeatedly called Ga-ryung by Eorini's name. That may be another factor in his big brother mentality.

When Shorty asked Gil-dong about Gong Hwa in episode 15(?), and then told him there was no one by that name at court, that felt like a turning point at which our hero was going to start letting go of hopes of finding her. I truly think Gil-dong only had eyes for Gong-Hwa -- just like Dad only had eyes for Mom.

I totally buy Gil-dong's dilemma regarding Ga-ryung throwing in her lot with his thuggish self.

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I think Gil-hyun is at least 4 years older than Gil-dong. No 2-3 yr old child can carry his baby brother like Gil-hyun did, unless he's the Mighty child?

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@2.1.2.2.1 crazyahjummafan,

Thanks for pointing that out. I didn't remember Gil-hyun carried Gil-dong.

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I think the writer is fudging the timeline a lot, but this drama started with the winter of 1505, the last year of Yeonsan's reign and about 6-9 months before he was kicked out. He became the king in 1494 and even though the writer made it look like the Literati Purge of 1498 took place soon after his reign began, actually it took place in the fifth year of his reign. Now the drama says 4 more years passed, which would put us in 1502. However, there was a significant event happening with Hong Gil Dong in 1500 and I don't think the writer will skip it, especially when that is the only Annals of Joseon Dynasty mention of HGD one can find in real history. And there is the Second Literati Purge of 1504 that will set the stage for Yeonsan's dethronement and lead up to the two men's face-off scene we started with. So I think we are around the 1500 mark right now, about 6-7 years after the Hong siblings were separated and before that historical event of 1500.

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@2.1.2.2.3 O_o,

Thank you so much for the clarification! I was beginning to think I wasn't paying enough attention to the timeline, which is apparently made out of elastic.

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Well, I'm with you here. It's at the halfway mark and they should know their audience by now. Fan service works well with the younger audience (maybe). It was a bit too long for my liking but that's just me.

I think I'm getting a bit impatient. Part of me just want the king to be freaking bad already even Nok-soo. Gil Hyun seems to be using his authority to help the injustice caused by the yangbang which I want to see more of.
I'm not sure I find Gil Dong's character interesting at the moment.. He isn't doing much as far as stealing the people when he is so over his head.

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You speak my mind Kiara. I was thinking what made me started to lost interest with this drama especially with latest episodes. Yes fan service doesn't working with me either. Waiting too long for their romance to begin made me lost my patience and just skipped it.

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Commenting late but yup.. I've been getting impatient too. I'd just like for the story to get to The Story now. Enough of setting the stage.

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Yes I don't want to give up so hopefully next week this drama will be moving faster. They seriously need it in order to maintain the current viewers and rating, if cannot get higher.

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The story is actually moving on the historical front but we are not seeing it.
I think the director should have done more with the historical events that are being mentioned already because it changes the political situation. The king's power is growing and he is already on this cruel and violent path of a tyrant.

The First Literati Purge of 1498 (mentioned in earlier episodes) should have been a big deal. Kim Il-son and two other Sarim officials' limbs were pulled apart by oxes and Kim Jong-jik who criticized King Sejo in writings was dug up from the grave and beheaded to serve as a warning to the rest of the officials.
Two of the most cruel way to execute high treason criminals in that era was quartering and beheading. On top of that, many of the Sarim scholars were exiled weakening the 3 offices that keeps the king's authority in check.

Meanwhile Gil Dong and his thugs are still playing payback, cat and mouse with the corrupt royals without any clear purpose of where they are heading.

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@2.2.1.1.2 Kiara,

The story is actually moving on the historical front but we are not seeing it.
I think the director should have done more with the historical events that are being mentioned already because it changes the political situation. The king’s power is growing and he is already on this cruel and violent path of a tyrant.

I seem to recall seeing a couple of heads with banners hanging high up near the palace gate in a recent episode. But they were hard to see if you weren't expecting them. (Or was that in a different show I'm watching?!)

We only saw a couple of guys dragged out of the meeting hall. None of the standard torture or execution scenes followed, so we really did not get a sense of the political repercussions. So far, we've just seen Yeonsangun reading the riot act to the nobles and ministers, and a couple of interludes with Nok-soo during which he came across to me as rational and in control of himself.

On top of that, many of the Sarim scholars were exiled weakening the 3 offices that keeps the king’s authority in check.

We should have seen more prisoners being hauled off in oxcarts, while Gil-hyun listens to the comments of the crowd.

Gil-hyun works in the Office of the Inspector General, one of those Samsa offices. It's a good thing he works in the field -- unless being away from the action leaves him out of the loop. Is he in danger of being blindsided? Or is he still in Yeonsangun's favor for the time being?

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I seem to recall seeing a couple of heads with banners hanging high up near the palace gate in a recent episode. But they were hard to see if you weren’t expecting them. (Or was that in a different show I’m watching?!)

@PakalanaPikake - I remember that too. I think that was towards the end of episode 14 / beginning of episode 15. The heads were blurred out though, so maybe it's difficult to catch on the glimpse. I also remember the scene where The King ordered the grave of Kim Jong-jik to be opened and the head cut off the corpse.

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^ *fancy html quote FAIL >.<

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Yeay, Mary to the rescue! Thank youuu <3

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@2.2.1.1.4 latteholic,

Thanks for the reality check. I'm not the only one who saw severed heads in REBEL. -- I just began watching TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS, which starts out with a Bang-won, so to speak. ;-)

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In short, my complain is that what we see and feel does not match the writing. That's why it doesn't feel like it's moving at least to me.

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I gleefully laughed my head off when I realized that the tale Ga-ryung is telling at dinner -- which all the Hongs entreated her to refrain from inflicting on them -- is the story arc of Su Baek-hyang's parents. Yep -- Writer-nim is goofing on her previous drama. What's even better is that the actress who plays Madam Jo portrayed one of the widows in the neighborhood. But for a tragic turn of events, her character nearly became SBH's mother-in-law. And I'm almost positive that the house Amogae was hiding out in had been SBH's childhood home.

It's even better when Soboori drives a hard bargain when he agrees to help Ga-ryung dodge the meeting with her potential suitor. He looks really pained. I guess the poor guy isn't a vulture for culture.

Interestingly, Gil-dong seems to be the only Hong willing to listen to her composition -- and immune to its somnolent effects. Har. Her young female listeners, on the other hand, are gaga over it. (It really is a lovely and significant part of SBH's back story.) The nice twist is that whereas in the earlier story it was SBH's stepfather who patiently waited until her mother came around, it is Ga-ryung who bides her time until Gil-dong comes to his senses.

Now off to read the recap. ;-)

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YES @PakalanaPikake! I didn't notice it the first time, but when I watched the other scene where Ga Ryung asked all her friends to spread the rumor about her being bethrothed to someone else and she mentioned about the widows, then I finally realized that she's reading the KDSBH. This writer is so witty. Heh.
On the other hand, I stopped watching KDSBH at episode 24/25 for now because I could feel something bad is going to happen soon. But I'll definitely picked it up later when I get less busy :)

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Another reason to watch KDSBH. It will have to go on my Easter-watching list!

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The only thing I wonder is how Eorini role will be. She must be important role thats why they change the actress. But to be honest, the younger one is still fine.

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I have a feeling that the other girl will probably get the piece of fabric from Gil Dong's clothes and Nook-soo will mistaken her as Gil Dong's sister as I think she has been keeping the other piece of fabric with her. Just my guess.

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That's my guess too. Othersiwe I dont think why this drama showed us these two girls at the same time and didnt tell us which one os Eorini.

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Well, historically Yeonsangun turned the palace into his personal harem with Nok-soo's help. She was pretty smart, known more for her brain than her beauty. I don't think she was as beautiful as Jang Hee-bin. She was probably average according to the standard of those days.

I don't think Nok-soo wants those palace maid to be her servants. I think she wants to groom them to serve the king.
She is not going to give him her heart because she is still holding a candle for Gi Dong and because she knows that she'd be used and discarded unless she becomes a royal consort.

It's uncomfortable to think of the young Eorini in this kind of place and situation.

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Interesting that you would mention the beauty of Jang Hee bin vs Noksoo. It's a topic of conversation amongst korean viewers of Rebel too. Their opinion are the same as yours, since Jang Hee bin's beauty was even mentioned in the Annals, they said she probably is very beautiful (for Joseon standard) whereas (this is not in the Annals) Noksoo has a baby face for someone who has a child (they liken her to IU who looks younger than her age).

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That is exciting to hear. I'm pretty slow at learning Korean :(. I wish I was able to read their discussion and what they (Korean viewers) thinks of the show.

Thanks for sharing, I like it that we do have some thoughts in common. I like the comparison of Nok-soo to IU's look. I remember reading about Nok-soo and that she was in her late 20s or early 30s but still looked young like a teen ager.

Women's influence (good or bad) in those days is pretty fascinating. Fighting the social norm and having their names placed in history. If they weren't restricted and suppressed I think they'd used their talents more for good than evil.
Nok-soo contributed to the downfall of Yeonsangun and King Sukjong changed the law forbidding concubines from becoming queen because of Jang Hee-bin.

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"They proceed to engage in one of the hottest make out sessions in sageuk drama history." haha! I laughed when i saw this part. Gildong was so adorable when he was being shy and flustered Or jealous! Perhaps gilhyun never saw eirini before because he was away from the palace as a undercover inspector. Am I the only one who thinks the mercenary palace maid IOoks kind of like the Young eorini? I'm putting my money on her as eorini. Did yeosangun never got angry at Noksu before for refusing him? The (impending) downfall of the Hong gang felt reminiscent of Amogae's downfall. But I'm glad for it because I can't wait to see Gildong becoming the rebel!

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I can see Gil-dong's fear. Being the sister of a thug is one thing because he could marry her off to a respectable man and get her out of that life. But being a thug's woman keeps her in that life, hence his hesitation.

The description of Ga-ryung's character said that she would want revenge against the king for killing her husband. I always assumed that meant she would marry someone else. But what if Gil-dong is the husband and they get separated and she is led to believe he is dead. That would be pretty interesting, and heartbreaking.

I loved Gil-dong's smile while Ga-ryung was reading. He's got it bad. They are so cute together, it kills me. I just want to them to be happy forever, but that's not gonna happen. I can see the storm coming and I am worried for our lovable bandits.

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Totally agree with you! the widow part threw me off a bunch but it seems like GaRyung has a lot more heartbreak in store for her than I previously thought. Hopefully we'll get some more lovey dovey scenes before the storm comes!

I will also admit, I was a bit sad that GaRyung was a bit too naiive for my taste. She sees that GilDong is not necessarily the best of persons in his gangster elder role but chooses to ignore it perhaps because she is blinded by love? I can't wait to see a stronger female character build up in her with the forthcoming heartaches... Growth hurts GaRyung... especially in sageuks... sighs

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I am still enjoying this immensely and really feel like it's building up to something. I just hope that something comes soon for the sake of other viewers and ratings. I'm content with the pacing.

I am happy with the mini rom-com arc in this episode. Seeing Gil Dong jealous of himself was fun and apparently necessary for him to finally accept that he loves Ga-Ryung now. I thought he needed a clear break with his past love of Nok Soo, but I guess enough time has passed now

Gil-Hyun, I love you but I confess I couldn't really follow the disappearing family case or why it was important. I really tried, especially since nothing happens in vain in this drama. Too many names of new people all of a sudden, without the faces to go with them.

And on that ending: Mori sliding into view from behind Prince Pervert was very cool. He is now wearing the eyeliner of evil, but doesn't look all that healthy. I feel sorry for him and understand his reasons to go against Gil Dong, who isn't exactly the good merchant that Ga Ryung thinks.

Finally: 'They proceed to engage in one of the hottest make out sessions in sageuk drama history.' LOL. I still think Empress Ki ranks first in that regard.

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Mori looks like a walking dead it's scary

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Apparently, that's how you do evil in sageuk: intense eyeliner.

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HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAAHAHA. This.

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LOL!! In that case, I guess Mori isn't too evil just yet. His eyeliner isn't as dark yet. Wait for eeeettt!!! :P

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@latteholic,

For full-on evil (as well as guaranteed survival should he fall off the Cliff of Doom), Mori's guyliner has to look like Wang Yo's. He could use a makeover by Hae Su while he's at it. His color is terrible. It looks like Roadrunner dropped an Acme brand anvil on him. ;-)

@WishfulToki,

Seeing Gil Dong jealous of himself was fun and apparently necessary for him to finally accept that he loves Ga-Ryung now.

I was going bonkers trying to remember which show had a guy getting jealously bent out of shape over his lady friend's description of the guy she likes. It is LEGEND OF THE BLUE SEA. What a riot.

Gil-Hyun, I love you but I confess I couldn’t really follow the disappearing family case or why it was important. I really tried, especially since nothing happens in vain in this drama. Too many names of new people all of a sudden, without the faces to go with them.

We have yet to see how the case is handled when Gil-hyun reports it to the king. It serves as a parallel to the case against Keutsae's beating up a scholar, but this time, a yangban breached the holy hierarchy by forcing a commoner to cut wood for him (i.e., usurped the state's right to levy workers for public projects).

The disappearing family case is important because yangban can do whatever they want to commoners, who have no recourse. As long as they listen to their jade balls click and think moral thoughts, they can get away with murder. This may be the case that causes Gil-hyun to resign, or at the very least question everything Song Sabu has attempted to brainwash him with.

I'm afraid there literally will be no faces to go with the names of the missing family. They were probably killed. Or maybe sold as slaves headed for a foreign land.

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Mori has become my favourite character in this drama. Something about him that I like.

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@ Sera: Me too. Can't help but like the tragic, handsome, bad boy in my dramas. ;)

@Pakalana: Ah, thanks for explaining the case of the disappearing family to me. And lol, I also had LOBSTER deja vu watching Gil Gyun jealous of himself. :D

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*Gil Dong! Where have I left my brain?

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@WishfulToki,

You're most welcome. ;-)

However, that's just my opinion, and there may be other interpretations that are equally valid. That was what occurred to me in the middle of the night on the East Coast.

Aside: I thoroughly enjoyed LMH turning into a green-eyed monster at the thought of a rival. And the look on his face when he realized he was jealous of himself. Har.

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Thanks for the recap, tineybeanie!

I, too, felt many rumbles of foreboding during this episode. As if Choonwongoon's release from exile were not bad enough, he's now a confirmed disciple of Song Sabu. The look in the scholar's eyes makes me very uneasy as he passionately expounds upon the the social order -- and his listeners lap it up unquestioningly.

I'm curious to know whether any of our hanja-reading Beanies noticed the 2-character title of the book Choongwongoon is reading from as he sits in the street. Is he reading from the Analects of Confucius?

In the scene with Song Sabu, Madam Jo, and Young Master Jo, I was creeped out by the way the teacher twisted the subject of Gil-hyun's exam essay. Although he claimed it was about maintaining hierarchy, I distinctly recall that it was about loyalty. -- I did not like how he badgered the younger man, either. He told him he had to have his own identity, but then repeatedly rejected Jo's answers to his questions if he did not agree with them. So much for open-minded debate.

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The kiss ! Now that's what you called as a kiss, Yoon kyun Sang Oppa.. your first on-screen kisses with Ha Ji Won weren't count because I had only seen your back head or HJW's head, I didn't even know whether their lips touched or not. That felt very much like a fake kiss. But this time, wow.. I didn't expect that you could kiss a girl like that..

They gave me lots of fluffy and swoon-worthy scenes because they only have angsty story left for me in future episodes, didn't they? Turns out I'm not ready to watch the tragedy unfolds T.T

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Yes to all the fluff! I am going to go back to this episode when things got too angsty in the future...

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This might be a bit of a rant, and I don’t even know if it belongs on this recap or not, but this episode was the one that drew out the thought from me!

I keep noticing the same pattern of formula of romance in dramas for our main couples, especially sagueks. While it is not surprising that men tend to be more developed character in k-dramas (thanks patriarchy), I feel there is a complete lack of imagination in crafting the strong women that help these men (even though by now we really need some more women-centered dramas - women tearing down women doesn’t count). In this drama, Rebel, Ga-ryung is an innocent young girl. In Inspiring Generation, the main love interest, Ok-ryun, is a naive young girl, obsessed with her hero. In Gaksital, our main girl, Mok Dan, is young and chaste, obsessed with our hero. In Joseon Gunman, our main girl Soo-in is naive, chaste, and completely in love with the hero. I don’t know how many more drama’s I have to name, but they follow the same pattern. What bothers me even more is that in every single one of those dramas there is always a second lady who is seen more as “damaged” or “scarred” is attracted to our hero, and our hero is usually attracted to her a bit, but she will NEVER prevail over our young, chaste, innocent girl. In Rebel, we have Nok-soo, in Inspiring Gen. we have Kaya, in Gaksital we have Rie, in Jose Gunman we have Hye-won.

I don’t want to bash on any naive, chaste girls out there. You are totally a legitimate romantic partner who deserves a happy ending. But if you keep seeing these girls’ love win over the love of a more “storied” woman what kind of message does that tell girls watching these dramas? If you’ve been scarred from love or had a difficult life, you’re essentially “damaged goods”? All of these second women have had to sacrifice, forcibly or voluntarily, their chastity or innocence to survive. I just want a drama where these women get to shine and achieve the love they want! I’m reminded of how much I loved the drama Hogu’s Love where UEE played a girl who get her happy ending even though she wasn’t chaste or innocent.

Furthermore, I just completely find it ridiculous that those poor naive girls always win their man by waiting it out. These girls wait years for their man to notice them. What kind of a message is that sending to girl as well? If he doesn’t love you now, just wait 5 years! Don’t bother finding someone that can treat you better! When are we going to see a saguek where the man waits years for his lady love to notice him (have I not seen these dramas? tell me!)

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t enjoy these tropes play out, but who can’t appreciate diversity in storytelling? I just want all girls, not just cute and innocent ones (which I am absolutely not) to see a characters like them find love. And for men who aren’t natural leaders or alpha’s to see characters like them find love!

Also, why do all of these stories have dead or missing sisters?

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I think your rant is totally legitimate and relevant to this recap.

I would say that we need to consider two things: character development and historical context. We are still half-way through the drama so don't know how Ga Ryung become that feisty woman tied at the stake. I remember her first encounter with Gil Dong was a big ol' slap and after all she is the one who confessed first, and worked as a servant for gisaengs. So already I think she's a bolder variant of the chaste heroine. As to why she waited, I understood that she knew Gil Dong was still in love with Nok Soo, whom she thinks is better, more beautiful and more interesting. Also, she didn't really have somewhere else to go right? It's all very well for us to say 'goodbye dude, I'm tired of waiting and am moving on to a new life and a new place', but it's not much of an option in patriarchal Joseon. Of course nobody forced Ga Ryung to stay with the Hongs...but I digress.

For a sageuk where the man waits years, I am reminded of Empress Ki. Not only did baby-faced emperor wait for a long time, he also knew she loved another. Also Chuno, in a heart-breaking way.

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I agree with Toki here...Ga Ryung may look so innocent. She has to be, of course...surrounded with very protective oraboenis and innocent story books, she must have no idea of racy stuff. But she's not at all weak. This is a woman who isn't afraid to show her feelings even years before she blatantly says it. Like she said, she waits for Gil Dong while everyone else left. That in and out of itself, is a statement of her personality. This woman was sold when she was young by her own father. I was actually worried when she packed her things to leave Gil Dong. Because at that time, where could she go? What could she do? Becoming a gisaeng? It's not like she could study and then become a scholar. Not because she has no capability of that, but in Joseon's time?

Having said that, you should try watching Six Flying Dragons. I loveeee how the females are portrayed in that drama! From the heroine to the not so heroine. Awesome! Women kicking out butts left and right.

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Those are great points to consider in the context of saguek drama! Thank you!

Historical context is very important.

I just hope in the greater context of saguek dramas someday we get a chance to see some more atypical heroines! (but I definitely view drama's in a different context as an international viewer, than those actually in korea)

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@10 the-basketcase,

When are we going to see a saguek where the man waits years for his lady love to notice him (have I not seen these dramas? tell me!)

Check out THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SOO BAEK-HYANG, if you want to meet a young woman who becomes a resourceful and kickass spy, a Three Kingdoms era Mata Hari. And her mentor is a female spy who delivered the kingdom of Baekje to Gogoryeo. -- Oh yeah, and it's her step-dad who waits years for her mom to notice him. The way in which she signals her acceptance is poetic -- and his response is deeply touching.

HWAJUNG / SPLENDID POLITICS has a heroine who works in sulfur mines and arsenals making gunpowder.

@10.1.1 nomad,

She has to be, of course…surrounded with very protective oraboenis and innocent story books, she must have no idea of racy stuff.

That's because the "etchings" are reserved for the paying guests. Har. Although I do wonder how she could have worked as a maid in who knows how many gibangs and not gotten at least a hint. ;-)

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Also in kdrama, not just the women that wait for years on out. Turns out the men do the same thing. I guess I'm just not that loyal. There ARE other male or female species who are just as good looking, kind, and understanding...it must be a cultural thing or something. Like waiting for hoursss for a promise to meet in a place. Yup, I value my time much more than that.

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I agree with your points. That's why in kdrama, especially sageuk, I will be rooting for other characters more especially the second female lead. I dislike the heroine's character that always love the hero unconditionally, too kind etc. I don't know what will happen in this drama i. e to Garyung but hopefully that's not the case. If based on the writer's past drama, the female characters are badass and have more to offer. But that drama is female centric drama.

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This wasn't a problem in the glory days of real sageuks because they were based mostly on the history. There were many strong women in sageuks even if some of them were well known villains according to the Confucian scholars who wrote the history.

Nok-soo existed in history, there is quite a bit written about her so the writer already have something to work with. Ga-ryung is a fictional character, she is the writer's creation. It's probably much more challenging to insert her and the Hongs into a world that existed in history and well known among the Korean viewers.

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After seeing that last scene, I am predicting it is the beginning of the end for the Hong clan which leads towards them being brutally beaten and then arising out of the fire to fight against to "natural social order" which includes the king who will get worse. This I have stated at soompi, so we are going to have to suffer for a while, in addition it is a shift towards Gil Dong's true purpose as the Mighty child as per shaman and Amogae's wish. From episode 1 we are made aware of this but at this stage it is not seen as yet only with this upcoming loss then the transformation will occur.

This Ga Ryung being a widow who later becomes a concubine to take revenge against the king. The only person I can link her actions to is Gil Dong's "death", she is not going stay still its not in her nature to do so. This could also lead to Gil Hyun's decision to abandon his role as Park Hasun and become Hong Gil Hyun. As for Eorini, I hope its the quiet girl & not the ambitious arrogant one.

The reason for Gil Hyun and others who enter the palace not to see or recognize Eorini is because (i) the palace is huge place with lots of persons over 200 they are not going to move around in the same circle especially when the purpose is job related its getting from point A to point B (ii) Gil Hyun under his new job rarely goes to the palace, he just sends in his reports and do his job so its even less so (iii) Eorini's appearance & may be name has changed its not like they are going to ask about her past and what if she does not remember much.

Watching and listening to the garbage being spouted by Madam Jo, Choong Won & Scholar Song (sanctimonious trio) makes one realize that the Joseon of the past gave the so called nobles complete immunity & control/rule over the commoner. As they could do anything they want to them and not be reprimanded in any way for it, yet if a commoner responds he/she is severely punished. The commoner had to pay the nobles a lot of money even they don't have it to just exist. It also explains nobles extreme arrogance and entitlement mentality as they look on the regular man as a toy to play. abuse, dispose of and if they like it put it aside to play with on another day. Many of these nobles so called moral fiber was lacking as no matter what they did they are perfect/right while the ones below are always wrong. It explains Choong Won's psyche as he thought what he did was in his right as a pillar of the nation and Amogae's response was wrong. Since I do not know Confucius, I wonder if all this was what he meant for people in how to live their lives? May be not, but the extreme double standard and classism was a major issue then (still is) which created the problems & hence Gil Dong's new mission after all of that mess to become the thief of the people. We know that the Hong clan is capable of doing that. Just expect this arc to go for around 6-8 episodes (30 episode drama).

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I guess they need to be scattered and regrouped again till they get it right. Do they exist for revenge, climb the social ladder or stand with the poor, the slaves and the common people?

I can't really fault these hardcore Confucian scholars if that's what they were taught to uphold. I kind of understand some of their point of view and what they are preaching to a point but it's so one sided in their favor and they freaking know it but they think that that's how it should be.
If a nobleman tries to be kind to a lower class citizen he would be called out like he is committing a great sin.

Scholar Song and Madam Jo are quite the pair. I'm still convinced that they are somehow related. They are too much alike in almost every way.
They are such great actors too it's hard not to be impressed.

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@Kiara,

If a nobleman tries to be kind to a lower class citizen he would be called out like he is committing a great sin.

Not only called out. Harassed and/or beaten up, like the sickly half-brother who was crippled.

Honestly, Song Sabu's ideology is poisonous, divisive, and polaraizing. And just plain inhumane.

Scholar Song and Madam Jo are quite the pair. I’m still convinced that they are somehow related. They are too much alike in almost every way.
They are such great actors too it’s hard not to be impressed.

Maybe she is his sister after all, and addresses him by his scholarly title instead of as a relative.

Ahn Nae-Sang and Seo Yi-Sook are turning in terrific performances. You can really see in their eyes that they are true believers. It was painful to me to watch how Song Sabu relentlessly manipulated and belittled Jo Jeong-hak. Absolutely dreadful.

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Ahn Nae-Sang and Seo Yi-Sook are so good!

Ahn effortlessly conveys a lot. Seeing him bow to the king and Yeonsangun granting him a favor takes me back to King Sejo and how he got rid of all of King Sejong's scholars. Yeonsangun's father brought the Confucian (Sarim) scholars back to balance his court and Song must have been one of the first group of scholars to served his father.

Having Gil Hyun serve both Scholar Song and Minister Noh was a great idea. It shows how different their views are in how to uphold and govern the nation. (Noble officials vs Scholar officials).

We often say that they are blind in their loyalty to the king but I think they are not blind it's just that regardless of what kind of king they have, it is their duty and responsibility to support and even revere him as their king. If he fail they fail too. That's how they keep the order I guess until the king becomes Chaos himself and needs to be removed.

I think Song takes the Confucian ideals to a different level or maybe it's just his own strict interpretation. He probably think that Jo Jeong-hak is naive and weak and not a future strong pillar of the nation because he feels some kind of compassion for the people.

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@chasen8888

"Ga Ryung being a widow who later becomes a concubine to take revenge against the king."

She is going to be a concubine? You mean the King's concubine?

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As per extract from soompi -

Chae Soo-bin (Ga Ryung) has been cast as a young widow 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. Other sites have something similar as Ga Ryung's character portrayal.

However, from watching the drama so far the synopsis has since been tweaked- so I am going by the possibility that Ga Ryung does become a widow with Gil Dong as the spouse and with his "death" and the downfall of the Hong clan results in her going for vengeance against the king at all costs. Ga Ryung has that ability as she is familiar with the kisaengs etc. so her determination will become no joke.

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I think Nok-soo will rule the harem. It'd be interesting to see if they are still in good terms. The former gisaeng and her servant who ended up with her lover lol. So complicated.

I'm not so sure about Ga-ryung becoming Yeonsangun's concubine. That's being married to the guy who is supposed to have killed her husband. Does she need to go that far?

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Oof...yeah, with this episode, that husband could be Gil Dong.

Then shit happens and Gil Dong becomes the altruistic thief.

I hope there is no amnesia in the mix.

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I'm not emotionally connected with the drama but the story is sure well-woven and intriguing...I wonder why...

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One thing that intrigued me in this episode is the case that Gil-Hyun was investigating - about a slave that got killed by the minister. I wonder if it will have any implications to what happen in Hanyang right now. It would be great to see this storyline weaved together with the main storyline.

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The specifics of the case are different, but it reminds me of Gil-hyun's mother dying as a result of Horny Uncle's attack that triggered premature labor.

Perhaps once word gets out about how the poor woodcutter and his relatives were abused and murdered by the minister, the public opinion of the little people will come to the fore. According to Song Sabu, the greatest power lies in the opinion of noblemen. Well, sooner or later, the people who are trampled by those same yangban will get fed up at the lack of reciprocity in the social hierarchy, and go on the rampage in a good old-fashioned peasant rebellion. Armed with their sickles, they'll raise hell, and be slaughtered in droves by the king's professional soldiers. This must be where Hong Gil-dong comes in.

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Yes. That could be one of the triggers for the revolt and where Gil Dong and the gang can come in. And I hope that this will also cause Gil Hyun to take off the Song Sabu's brainwashing helmet for good.

At this point I still wonder when Gil Dong will start developing empathy for these trampled commoners. I was a bit surprised about what he said in this episode to the scholar who asked for his help. He seems to dislike weak people who cannot stand up for themselves. But he is supposed to be the hero for these people later on. I guess something must have happened in the future that will also change his view.

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1) While listening to Song Sabu's demagoguery, I was excited when he got to the part about the breakdown of the hierarchy leading to chaos and confusion. "Hong" (noisy) immediately came to mind.

2) Dang! I just recalled that reunion scene around the table. It's an octagonal table, not a round one. Even so, there's an egalitarian aspect to sitting around such a table instead of at a long, rectangular one. Song Sabu would have a fit -- especially if he saw Ga-ryung eating at the same table with the guys.

3) I don't understand how Song Sabu's preaching fits into the bigger picture of Yeonsangun's power grab, if at all.

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This was actually pointed out by some people over on kissasian but if you watch closely, when Ga Ryung leans over the table to receive her presents, Gil Dong gently holds the ribbon of her clothes so it doesn't get into the food on the table. I don't know if that was scripted or not but that small gesture really showed how close (and caring) their relationship is, be it as the characters they're playing or as actors. So sweet <3

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I realized it the second time I watched it. Somehow my comment about this scene couldn't be posted

That scene looked un-scripted, it might be just Yoon Kyun Sang's reflex to take care of his co-star *swoon*

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seri 17 - dst

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