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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 17

For a while, our bandits were simple men who protected their own, but as rumors begin to spread, they end up becoming greater protectors of the people. As they build a reputation, the enemy becomes clearer. We learn more about their agenda and the process that transformed the weak and vengeful into powerful enemies, and those same enemies may end up giving our Avengers a run for their money.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

“Footstool,” calls Choongwongoon, and Gil-dong turns around to find his enemy regrettably alive and well. Behind Choongwongoon, Mori steps into view, and we see in a flashback that he vowed to make Gil-dong regret keeping him alive.

The bandits are shocked and disgusted at the sight of Choongwongoon, who claims that he’s a new person now. Keeping his composure, Choongwongoon calmly threatens to change Gil-dong into a new person as well. As he leaves, Gil-dong greets Mori, who gives him a sinister smile before following his new master.

Ga-ryung awaits Gil-dong’s return and wanders outside her home in anticipation. Mori trails her, and just as he follows her into a neighboring home, she comes out carrying a rock, ready to fight as she demands to know why he’s following her. She recognizes him as Heotaehak’s former minion, and she warns him not to touch her orabeoni. He doesn’t take her seriously, though he finds her attitude to be quite unusual. She has more fighting words, but she drops them and the rock when she sees Gil-dong arriving with his entourage.

She follows them into the house, but they ignore her and solemnly walk into the room. Eop-san explains that they have something important to discuss but doesn’t disclose any details, so no one hears her when she shares that she just saw Mori.

Ilchung reports that Choongwongoon had been released from exile about half a year ago and has been roaming from village to village assuming the role of a scholar. We see Choongwongoon educating the villagers about the duty of scholars to educate the people. He’s viewed as an upright scholar by the people, but Gil-dong knows better as he laughs and says that people don’t change easily.

That night, Gil-dong and Segul locate Choongwongoon’s home, and they’re surprised to see that the former royal now lives in very humble home. Gil-dong announces his entrance and tries to provoke Choongwongoon by giving him taffy (eating “yeot” symbolizes a big fat middle finger), but the man has changed. Choongwongoon keeps his cool and vows to see Gil-dong kneel in front of him. Gil-dong disparages his words and leaves, pulling Choongwongoon’s wrapped temper at the seams.

After the meeting with Choongwongoon, the bandits are relieved to hear that the former royal doesn’t seem to know about Gil-dong’s involvement to get revenge for the people. Soboori warns everyone to watch their mouths and tells Ilchung to be more selective with the pleas they accept. But Gil-dong is more curious about Choongwongoon’s transformation. He presumes that he couldn’t have done it on his own, so someone must be behind him.

Choongwongoon asks Scholar Song to meet with Gil-dong to witness the wickedness for himself. Taking the suggestion, Scholar Song walks through the village marketplace and purposely bumps his shoulder with Gil-dong, who immediately apologizes to the scholar. Scholar Song gives him a long look before going on this way, but he sends a spy to observe Gil-dong during his gibang job. He comes up empty, and Scholar Song is convinced that Gil-dong is just an innocent gibang worker.

Choongwongoon insists that there’s more to Gil-dong, but Scholar Song reminds him that he’s a respected scholar with an honorable reputation now. If he starts to make accusations that he was framed, he’ll be perceived as a corrupt royal once more. Scholar Song asks him to be patient and help him with an important issue, and he will return the favor. Choongwongoon asks what the important issue is, and Scholar Song responds: “There’s a big thief in our nation.”

Scholar Song tells Jeong-hak about the big thief, who’s rumored to severely injure anyone he meets. In tracking down this thief, Scholar Song has found that all the people associated with the thief have been interrogated about a murder case. He warns Jeong-hak that these thieves aren’t your typical gangsters and may have a grander scheme against Joseon. He challenges his student to make his teacher proud.

Jeong-hak starts his investigation with the interrogated nobles. With Scholar Song listening secretly behind the bookshelf, Jeong-hak asks each suspect about their encounter with a thief. They all describe the thief differently: one was big, one was small, and one had very angry eyes, sharp enough to pierce someone. For further investigation, Jeong-hak brings in a villager and asks about the rumors surrounding this mysterious thief, and the villager explains that by asking for the “Great Elder,” one can resolve unfair treatment that the nation can’t even solve.

One of the elderly interrogated nobles, Kim Deok-hyung, returns to the gibang and insists on meeting Gil-dong. He warns Gil-dong about the reinvestigation by the judge and promises to keep the secret of the Great Elder. He thanks Gil-dong profusely for resolving his daughter’s murder, which was committed by his son-in-law. He says that he’s come to meet the Great Elder one last time and claims that he will feel no regret if he dies now.

At night, Gil-dong dreams about his father and the shaman, who both warn him about his menacing fate. He wakes up in cold sweat, since these dreams seem to forewarn him about something.

Gil-dong decides that he’ll save Kim Deok-hyung from jail, but Soboori and Ilchung seem reluctant. He reminds them that they have connections with the king, and he plans on creating a headpiece gift for Nok-soo, who he’s heard is favored by the king.

Gil-hyun returns from his travels outside the palace and brings with him grim news about the sudden disappearances of entire families. But before he can show the king a map of the disappeared families, Nok-soo enters the king’s quarters. The king tells Gil-hyun to rest from his travels, turning his attention to Nok-soo instead.

As Gil-hyun looks over the maps of the disappeared families, he’s called over by Jeong-hak, who tells him about the troubles with the thief. He explains how there have been unresolved murder cases about a man killing his wife, with the man being released without punishment. Gil-hyun finds a problem with those morals, but Jeong-hak doesn’t find an issue with them. He’s more troubled that these laws differ from village to village and claims that a man punishing his wife is moral by his standards.

Before Gil-hyun can argue, Jeong-hak spots his mother from afar. She turns around and calls out to him as Soo-hak, and suddenly, Gil-hyun realizes who he’s befriended. He recognizes Madam Jo and Soo-hak’s names, and the childhood memories begin to return.

In his room, Jeong-hak belittles the elderly man, Kim Deok-hyung, and compares him to the slaves in his childhood. He criticizes them for not knowing their place, and Gil-hyun can no longer take the disgusting elitism in the room. He runs out and begins to throw up, thinking back to all the painful memories of his family.

Meanwhile, Gil-dong approves of the headpiece for Nok-soo and continues to think about methods to release Kim Deok-hyung, who claimed in the trial that he injured his son-in-law for killing his daughter. But because of his age, no one is likely to believe those claims.

Ga-ryung interrupts his thoughts and worriedly mentions rumors about the man who supposedly killed his wife. At first, Gil-dong assumes that Ga-ryung wants him to stay out of the case, but she unexpectedly asks him to get involved and help the wife’s father. From what she’s heard, the husband spread untrue rumors about the wife’s jealousy and adultery to justify his murder. That gives Gil-dong an idea, and he thanks Ga-ryung before discussing his plans with the clan.

Gil-dong reasons that they cannot verify the accusations about adultery with the dead wife, but they have a similar case they can connect this with: the late dethroned queen, who was also the king’s mother. Gil-dong says that if they can properly frame this case as one mirroring the dethroned queen’s death, then they can evoke sympathy from the king.

When Gil-dong delivers the headpiece to Eunuch Kim, he asks for a favor. So in the evening, the king is escorted to the gibang to supposedly listen to the beautiful voice of a musician. But that’s not all he hears: In the next room, Yonggae, Ilchung, and Segul read from a script about the woman who was killed by her husband.

They compare this murder to the murder of the dethroned queen in graphic detail, which effectively enrages the king. They go on to announce their assumption that a murder of a wife by the husband is justified by the former king’s actions. Brimming with anger, the king barges into the room only to leave in silent rage.

Eunuch Kim stays behind to confront Gil-dong about this unacceptable conversation about the queen. He begins the conversation with a flying kick (woah), and he expresses his discontent with the manipulative conversation. Gil-dong explains that the conversation about the dethroned queen was a vehicle to show how unjust the laws are. Even a lowly person like him can see that a husband murdering his wife is a punishable deed, and he trusts that the king knows this as well.

The palace maids clean the musician troupe’s room, and one of the palace maids says that she hopes to make a lot of money to help her mother. The other maid admits that she’s an orphan, and so we’ve identified older Eorini (Jung Da-bin). The palace maid friend picks up Wolhamae’s instrument and begins to strum it, but she’s soon scolded by Wolhamae for playing the instrument without permission. Nok-soo looks unconcerned, and she even asks the ladies if they want to learn.

Wolhamae’s scolding is cut short by Eunuch Kim, who requests her comical story services to uplift the king’s mood. But she must avoid the word “mother,” since the king is mourning and yearning for his mother.

The king does get a few laughs out of Wolhamae’s comical taboo story game, and she later reveals to Nok-soo that she was nervous about her performance. She explains that the king’s dampened moods are because of his mother, and Nok-soo enters the room to attempt to console him.

Nok-soo is gentle with the fragile king and begins by pouring him a cup of alcohol. She begins to sing, but her song has everything to do with longing for one’s mother. He turns to her as she sings the sorrowful song, and he begins to tear up.

They look at each other with sad eyes as she finishes her song, and the kings tells her that he will no longer wait for her heart. He pulls her into an impassioned kiss, and the night fades to black.

The next morning, the king asks the ministers about the case of the man murdering his wife. The minsters claim that in accordance with the law, death that results from a man’s punishment for his adulterous wife is legal. Another minister adds that scholars have also agreed that this deed is right.

Choongwongoon also lectures in the village that a woman must follow her father before she is married, her husband when she is married, and then her son when her husband dies. As he continues to draw crowds, Scholar Song talks to another scholar and identifies Choongwongoon as his biggest hope. He seems determined to show the king who really establishes the law of the nation.

Back at the palace, Yeonsangun asks if there are any other opinions on the case, and Gil-hyun voices his stance. He says that there is no way to verify the wife’s adultery after she dies, so it is unfair to make such accusations to justify a deed. He pleads for the king to reveal the true reason for the wife’s death so that these murders do not continue.

Yeonsangun orders for the father, Kim Deok-hyung, to be released, and also for the husband to be interrogated again for his crimes. He also orders the dismissal of Jeong-hak from his position as a judge, and the ministers agree to the order.

As Choongwongoon continues to proclaim his beliefs to the villagers, a group of ministers from the palace urgently pass by to relay the order. Jeong-hak is currently punishing the father Kim Deok-hyung with beatings when the ministers arrive with the order to release Kim Deok-hyung and to recapture the husband for a thorough interrogation about the murder of his wife. Jeong-hak is then dismissed from his position, and Magistrate Eom is subsequently promoted to the role of the judge.

Kim Deok-hyung is released from the interrogation, and Gil-dong waits at the entrance to greet the innocent man. Kim Deok-hyung bows to Gil-dong in gratitude, and he returns the bow with a warm smile. Magistrate Eom, now Judge Eom, tells the dismissed Jeong-hak that he intends to stop all investigations into the thieves. When Jeong-hak objects, Judge Eom kicks him as a means of petty payback.

Judge Eom runs to the gibang bearing the good news of his promotion and asks to see Gil-dong. Unfortunately, Scholar Song’s spy also witnesses this good news and reports it. Scholar Song is now convinced that Gil-dong is the Great Elder who is behind all the “theft” in the village.

Jeong-hak expresses his regret for his inability to prove his worth to Scholar Song, but he refuses to continue investigating the thieves. After he storms out, Scholar Song asks Madam Jo to repeat her story in relation to Gil-dong. She claims that Gil-dong is the bane of her existence, and he adds that he’s the thief that Jeong-hak gave up on investigating. He provokes her by asking if Jeong-hak has no intention to avenge his father’s death.

Madam Jo demands that her son follow Scholar Song’s orders. He refuses, so she erupts with anger and tells him the truth about his father’s death. She wanted to keep this a secret out of embarrassment, but she reveals to Jeong-hak that his father died in the hands of their slave, Amogae. And she reveals that Amogae’s son, Gil-dong, is the wretched thief that Jeong-hak was chasing.

Shocked at this information, Jeong-hak runs out of the room and writhes with anger, remembering his childhood enemy. He falls to his knees and begins to yell in indignation. That night, he watches Gil-dong at the Hwalbin gibang from afar. Before he leaves, he overhears Soboori and Keutsae talking about Gil-dong ignoring Eorini’s memorial day.

Following his mother’s wishes and his now-vengeful spirit, Jeong-hak formally thanks Choongwongoon for avenging his father’s death and promises to drag Gil-dong to face the mercy of Choongwongoon. Outside, Jeong-hak confides with Mori about Gil-dong, and he learns that his sister’s death is his greatest regret.

The assembled crew visits Scholar Song, and Jeong-hak proposes an alternative method to capturing Gil-dong, since they will not be able to influence the court with Judge Eom in power. He states that Gil-dong’s greatest regret is losing his sister, Eorini. That sparks a memory for Scholar Song’s spy, and we see that he had captured and saved her. In a quick flashback, young Eorini tells the spy: “My name is Eorini. Please help me meet my orabeoni.”

 
COMMENTS

I found this episode illuminating, in that it revealed who our real enemies are. The king is not quite our enemy (or at least not yet), since he’s actually just a puppet playing to the whims of those who manipulate him. Our real enemies are those who know how to influence the people and king with their power, which this episode identified as Scholar Song & Co. With our enemies now assembled, I’m curious to know what exactly Scholar Song has planned. He seems to be intricately planning something that Gil-dong does unintentionally, by influencing the people with his power. But the motivations for his actions are still opaque, and I wonder if he is conducting his own version of revenge through his assembly of vengeful humans. He seems to want more than Choongwongoon and Madam Jo, so I want more backstory on him. Who the hell is he?

I do love all the plotting and scheming, which I think brings this show to life. It enriches the historical and political setting with hijinks and intrigue, and I thoroughly enjoyed how our bandits manipulated the king’s sympathy to get their intended result. The juxtaposition of the bandit’s comical performance next door to the king’s legitimate indignation was a wonderfully crafted scene, and scenes like these continue to prove how cheeky and clever this show actually is. Sometimes, it’s like two dramas happening simultaneously, with the king ever so serious and our bandits ever so frantic as they juggle their multiple identities.

We’re getting warmer to the inevitable reveal of Nok-soo’s identity, and I’m not too worried about our ex-couple as I am about the king’s response. He does seem very attracted but also attached to Nok-soo, and after this episode’s beautiful and sorrowful serenade by Nok-soo, he’s a goner. But outside of her love life, I want Nok-soo to be her own person and mentor our palace maids into becoming strong women. We’ve seen how Eorini admired Nok-soo from afar, and I hope that Nok-soo takes the ladies under her wing.

Speaking of Eorini, what an interesting reveal at the end. I had almost forgotten about the mystery behind Eorini’s survival, but I’m more intrigued to know why she was saved than how she was saved. I’d like a greater reason for her existence, since she’s been used as more of a plot device thus far. She’s Gil-dong’s one regret, one motivator, and his Achilles heel. She’s really compelling as bait for Gil-dong, but I wish I could see her more as a person, since she’s made it this far alive. Simply revealing which palace maid was Eorini is not enough for me. I can only hope that she’s as fierce and strong as Ga-ryung, who can fend off mortal enemies with her colorful hanbok and a pointy rock.

 
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Nok Soo and King moment was beautifully made in my opinion. And for some strange reason, I find Ga Ryung and Mori are quite cute in their short scene. lol. I didn't really care about this actor in Jealousy Incarnate, but he somehow becomes hotter here.

Rating also has increased from last week's epi - epi 17 -13.8, epi 18
-13.9. Not so different with Whisper pilot episodes.

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Yas ! I'm happy for their rating too.. they deserve it so much ! :D

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Ga Ryung and Mori … I found that quite intriguing, especially since he is the one to put her on that spike in the opening scenes of the series. I foresee some extremely emotional developments for those two, especially Mori. For some reason, I find his fascination with her much more out in the open than I ever did Gil Dong's.

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"For some reason, I find his fascination with her much more out in the open than I ever did Gil Dong’s."

Agree. And for some reason, I failed to find the romance chemistry between Gildong and Garyung so far. I do think they are cute together, but I feel like they are forced to become romantic pair when they are more like brother and sister. heee

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Well I kind of understand the brother sister thing from Gil Dong's point of view. I mean he has always treated her like a sister because he sees Eorini in her.
Ga-ryung has always been upfront with her intention even when she calls him orabeoni. That doesn't mean she regards him as a brother but out of respect because he was older.

I'm not big on fluffy romance in sageuk so I hope they both get with it so we can move on from here to the meat of the story.

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That scene between Ga Ryung and Mo Ri had me laughed. Ga Ryung is more than capable to be a thug's wife. She could protect herself and her lover if she wants it

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I find myself shipping Nok Soo and the King for some reason... and even though i'm loving gil dong and ga ryung i too found the scene with Mori cute although the inevitable will happen and i'm going to hate Mori for it

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I don't find the scene with Mori and Ga-ryung cute (it was scary and creepy imo especially when you think back to ep 1) but I do find myself unconsciously swooning at his smile though! Twice! When Gil-dong greeted him in the beginning of the episode, and during the scene with Ga-ryung. I'm so vain, I know but he's honestly quite good looking!

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Mori is a bad boy that you want to love hee. I just discovered this boy had 2 episodes MBC drama this year too
asianwiki.com/Binggoo.

Going to watch it.

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Ditto on Mori being rugged and swoony. Hee.

Though I must admit I liked him already back in Jealousy Incarnate. I'm glad that he's been given more to do in Rebel.

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I can't believe that Mori is a 90 liner irl

Anyway, the actor playing Jeong Hak looks a little bit like Jo Jeong Suk. idk, maybe it's his eyes

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I didn't realized that he is in Jealousy. I searched for him before but I can't find his name.

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I thought I was the only one who was somewhat shipping the King and Noksoo. Their dynamics are really intriguing and they clearly have the chemistry, not to mention solid performances by Kim Jiseok and Honey Lee and excellent writing from Hwang Jinyoung, so I'm definitely looking forward to them.

I didn't find Mori and Garyung's scene cute, I thought it was rather funny (and somewhat creepy how he was following her), especially with Garyung unexpectedly holding that rock and threatening Mori to leave her orabeoni alone lmao. You'd expect Mori to kidnap or chase her and her being all fearful, but she wasn't even scared at all. Girl has spunk.

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Nok-soo and Gil Dong's relationship happened pretty quickly but still lingers because there was no closer. I think Nok-soo will always love Gil Dong more than the king.
Her motive for winning his favor is more for personal revenge on those yangban whom she despised.

While Eunuch Kim forbids Wolhamae from mentioning the word mother, Nok-soo comforted the depress king with a song about a child longing for his mother.

Historically Nok-soo treated him like a baby and I think that's why he was drawn to her. She wasn't the only woman he slept with and she encouraged and groomed "many" women to serve him in his bedchamber. She even helped with his affairs with the officials's wives.
I think their relationship will be nothing more than that of convenience, like friends with benefits but that's based on history. This writer might have more sympathy for this tyrant king than I do.

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@Sera The Ms Temper,

Yes, that scene with Yeonsangun and Nok-soo was truly lovely. The music in the scene and the performance at the gibang was wonderful.

Kim Ji-suk is doing a fine job portraying the king as a sympathetic and vulnerable personality with occasional flashes of steeliness. On the other hand, I couldn't help but wonder why Yeonsangun even met with Song Sabu a couple of episodes ago. The man had been an advisor to his father -- and from what I've seen so far, he seems to be the chief architect of the "banners" of Confucianism the late king told him of on his deathbed.

Re: Ga-ryung vs. Mori, I was nervous as a cat watching that scene play out. His interest in her might hark back to their earlier lives. Is it possible that they might be related? She came from a large family and was sold off. Could he have been one of her younger siblings? Far-fetched, I know. But the old "blood calling to blood" trope might be in play.

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I'm loving Kim Jiseok's portrayal of Yeonsangun. He makes me feel sympathetic for him, even though I'm aware of whatever evil things he's going to do in the future. I love his chemistry and scenes with Honey Lee as well. They make one fine power couple lmao (even though we all know they'll go down the dark path later on). In fact, all four leads are doing a great job and are extremely well-cast.

On the other hand, that Garyung-Mori sibling theory is interesting, but would bring a whole new level of tragedy. Honestly, as much as I'm probably going to hate Mori for what he's going to do, imagine him intentionally causing the death of his sister, after being abandoned and nearly killed by his actual father and killing his so-called 'father'. And then Garyung being killed by her brother out of all people! I really can't decide whether I want it or not.

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If it turns out that Ga-ryung and Mori are related, that might give him incentive to reconsider his options and change sides. Just a possible avenue for redemption. I'm looking for a loophole for a tragic character. ;-)

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Pakalana, though maybe far-fetched that would be interesting... and tragic in itself because it does seem like Mori had a lot to do with Ga Ryung ending up at a stake (I loved how she said 'not today!' with her pointy rock, just when I thought we might have a damsel in distress moment). It's fine too if they are simply two people whose father's didn't care one bit about them. I'd also like to find a loophole to rescue Mori... after we wipe off the eyeliner. :)

Also, we were wrong about Shorty rescuing Eurini! Dang it, now we have a spy to consider. Or is he a double spy?

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@1.5.1.1.1 WishfulToki,

Yep, we sure barked up the wrong tree re: Eorini. LOL.

At this point, I don't know what to think. Song Sabu was practically twirling his moustache and hinting that he's got some Big Plan up his sleeve, but I can't imagine how that would involve planting Eorini in the housekeeping department in the palace. She doesn't seem to be acting as a spy -- unless we're not being shown her reporting or meeting with a handler. Pfft. For the nonce, I'm going with my new and improved theory that she was simply picked up and sold as a slave, and eventually ended up at the palace.

As for Ga-ryung and Mori, maybe I'd better let my overactive imagination take a rest. I'm getting carried away. ;-)

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Anyone watch the previous Hong Gil Dong? What is the different between these two?

Rebel is no 1 for the timeslot, as it deserve to be. I think it will be neck to neck from now on.

Everything is beautiful. Everyone is perfectly cast. Chae Soo Bin and Yoon Kyun Sang has found the roles that they shine well. They sure both gonna get award.

Mori is a rookie actor, just debut last year.

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The other Hong Gil-dong is very different in content. It stayed more to the folk-tale. A good watch too.

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If you are talking about the 2008 Version from the Hong Sisters (it wasn't the first korean drama based on the story of Hong Gil-dong) then it focuses on different ascpects of the tale. The written story is highly influenced from the chinese classics, the character Hong Gil-dong resembles the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) from the Journey to the West. I don't know how familiar you are with this character. But even in the west you might at least know another Sun Wukong brother which would be Son Goku from Dragonball. Like Sun Wukong Hong Gil-dong studies some Taoist books, mainly the Book Of Changes and that's where he gets his powers from. So Hong Gil-dong is basically a Wuxia Tale.

The 2017 Version removed the Wuxia stuff from the story and implemented the aegi jangsu story instead. The Hong Sisters left it as a Wuxia story. They even highlighted it with using other parts from famous Wuxia stories.
They also left the Yangban Bastard son (in the original tale Gil-dong was the son of a minister and a slave girl) while in the 2017 version Gil-dong is a full slave.

I'm not quite sure any more but I also think that Gil-dong's brother was probably more antagonistic in the Hong Sister's Version (and I think they used his other name: In-hyeong - he is either Gil-hyeon or In-hyeong depending on which old handwritten or printed version that still exists one uses). There is no Eorini in the novel nor in the Hong Sister's drama. Ironically the 2017 feels more close to the novel regarding the family feelings - they provide the emotional part of the novel - even though the whole family setup itself is changed. That's probably because in the Hong Sister's drama there is much focus on the romance and not much focus on the family. I wouldn't recommend to watch it because of the romance though. It was nice the first episodes but in the later episodes the girl somehow looses her identity and only gets pushed from one main lead to the other and back again. The main girl is whole fictional in the 2008 Hong Gil-dong, while Ga-ryung is characterwise based on the half-sentence that describes Gil-dong's main wive in the novel (he has two to through, depending on the version).

The Hong Gil-dong character in the Hong Sister's Version is a much brighter character. Honestly the Gil-dong here is probably the darkest Gil-dong I have ever seen. Even darker than Lee Je-hoon in Phantom detective. However again I think the 2017 Gil-dong version somehow is quite close to the novel Gil-dong and probably the most thought through. If only the writer would stop to explain us Gil-dong's thinking process like a feeled 100 episodes later... At least he/she explains it later but the in between can be quite frustrating!

The 2017 incorporates more history than the Hong Sister's Version.

I'm guessing here, but I also think for a variety of reasons that this Version will have another ending than the Hong Sister Version.

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Two to three wives... - not two to trough...

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Two to three wives? I guess that's why the writer gave him that Casanova vibe in the beginning :D

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To make it short, one could say:

The Hong Sister's Version is trying to tell the Hong Gil-dong story in an entertaining, romantic-comedy fusion version.

The 2017 would be a reinterpretation of the story with the thoughts: how would the Hong Gil-dong story have been written if the author wouldn't have had to make certain adjustments due to the fear of getting accused for treason. Plus how can one implement the contemporary political situation in the story.

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It feels like the original novel by scholar Heo Gyun whose real intention for writing Hong Gil Dong was to criticize the flaws in Joseon society. There is a lot of detail examples in this drama of how absurd and unfair the laws are etc.

It reminds me of the incident with scholar Kim Jong-jik's daring criticism of King Sejo by using Chinese history as a metaphor.

Not all of the scholars in those days were like Scholar Song who is a brilliant strategist and loyal to his country in his own mind but can't or refuse to see the flaws in the system.

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Agree on the writer making Gil Dong's character motivation a bit opaque on purpose. Since I don't quite know what he's thinking, some of the things that he did in the show can come across as a bit abrupt. For example, we didn't know exactly if his feelings for Ga Ryung was platonic or not. The writer tease us with some hints, but then he's always in denial mode. So I can see why some people couldn't quite buy the romance. He reminds me of Trash Oppa from Reply 1994. If you're not on that ship already, it's probably going to be hard to buy the romance. lol.

However, I read somewhere (and I wish I remember where so I can credit the commenter) that their story is a parallel Ah Mo Gae and his wife story, but the other way around. I think Ah Mo Gae said at one point that he used to pursued his wife but she always brushed him off. Then one time when he decided to leave, his wife finally realized her feelings and asked him to stay. Which reminds me of episode 16. :D

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Agree, that intended concealment of Gildong's thoughts is intriguing but frustrating to no end. I guess writer-nim does that to make his actions more unpredictable, you only understand him when he's already acted, especially with Garyung and the whole righteous bandit thing.
Now that I look back, there were several hints about his romance with Garyung, except they were too subtle and hard to read. Especially that mysterious smile after she told him she didn't want to be part of the Hong family. In my opinion, the main reasons for him not accepting Garyung's feelings were Noksoo (which ended with him letting her go) and him being a thug, which lost his effect after she nearly left and he ended up recognizing and accepting his feelings. That parallel with Ahmogae and his wife is a clever observation and, if done on purpose, quite clever on the writer's part as well.
Tbh I agree the romance might be hard to buy. Idk about the bandit thing (it made things a lot more interesting in eps17 and 18), but at least let us know what's on the damn boy's heart once in a while. In that sense, the king's fascination for Noksoo, Mori's attraction towards Garyung and Garyung's own feelings for Gildong were much more open and obvious for us viewers.

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I never had a problem with Gil-dong - Ga-ryung relationship in the first place. The realtionships seemed to me a rather realistic one. In real life there exists different types of love too and when you are lucky you will experience more than one in a life time. The Gil-dong Nok-soo Relationship was the passionate summer romance one. One you can really fall into and one that really fills your whole world because your mind is free from other things. The Gil-dong Ga-ryung relationship is a calmly love that build up itself with time and will get more strong and flavoury as time passes. Like stew. Or vine. Or kimchi. :)

The Amogae parallel is an interesting thought!

I had only realised that in both new relationships of Gil-dong and Nok-soo the dynamics have changed to the complete opposite. In the Gil-dong Nok-soo relationship Gil-dong was the stronger, more active and more giving one and Nok-soo was the weaker, passive part. In a way he was her knight in shining armor. In the Nok-soo Yeonsan relationship Nok-soo definitely holds the reins. It suits her more. :) - In the Gil-dong Ga-ryung relationship Ga-ryung is the more active and giving one but she is also the stronger one. At the moment Ga-ryung is like Gil-dongs safety buoy. He would have quite a hard time if left without her.

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Me too. I never had a problem with their relationship.Sure the lovey-dovey scene on episode 16 felt a little abrupt (just because it was done like in half of the episode...) but I find them so adorable together. I guess it's because I always see them as the end game so I'm all down for the romance part.

I liked your comment about the dynamics between the couple. So now both women are the stronger one in the relationship :D. Well, he hiccuped whenever she said something unexpected, and this is the guy who is supposedly go against the king and the nobels. :D

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honestly, ep 16 did feel a touch abrupt on the feelings front but Yoon Kyun-sang and Chae Soo-bin's chemistry sold me on it. I definitely do not have a problem with these two - I do wish we got a little more of her, because I know CSB can kill it, but I love what we do have.

I'd like to think that that isn't the end of it, since he's made it clear to her he doesn't want her to go, but at the same time she still believes he'd prefer Nok-soo (or Gong-hwa, as Ga-ryung calls her) to her and he hasn't told her otherwise. I'm hoping we get some more development around that when he and Nok-soo inevitably meet.

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And that's the few benefits of being a commoner or slave. They have a better chance of marrying for love than the noblewomen who were much more restricted and were expected to follow the Confucian moral standards (the samchong chido).

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Liina made the comparison perfectly. I didn't even finish it.
There are also other versions of tv series, films and theatre production of Hong Gil Dong out there.

I got a kick out of watching the 1986 North Korean movie version. Hong Gil Dong vs Japanese ninjas (pirates in history) lol.
It ended well so I wouldn't mind if they go this route. It's too cruel to kill him twice in one drama.

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Haha. Sounds fun. I envy you! :)

I'm all for the happy end! And you are right: it's comforting that we already know that he will survive his death at least once!
If they won't give this a happy end, I will probably ponder for weeks over the question, why they didn't make an Im Kkeokjeong drama in the first place.

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Yes Im Kkeokjeong (my personal favorite) had to have such ending. Hong Gil Dong doesn't need to. I'd like to think that there is a reason why the writer left his relationship with Nok-soo open. Maybe she'd be his savior. They can't end this drama with the event in 1500 even though it seems like we've passed it already.

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I'm getting bad vibes from Mori in his scene with Garyung here. I loved her spunk there, defending her orabeoni wielding a rock, but I have a feeling I'm not the only one who admired her gumption...

In the beginning, I thought Jeonghak/Soohak was reformed from his past self, but now I see that he's still a bad egg. I can see that playing out with Choongwongoon as well, who claims to be a "new man" now. Hmm, fat chance.

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I just don't understand Mori's reasoning. A man lets you live, and lets you find out what a horrible master/foster father you had, and instead of vowing to serve him, you want to kill him?

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Yeah, I don't get that either. Maybe he feels that he's being used by Gil Dong to kill his terrible boss or maybe he just doesn't like him. I do hope he'll join our band though. I need a twist for that opening scene in episode 1. Heh.

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Sadly enough, the only twist I can think of is Garyung somehow surviving that arrow wound, because the scene was so emotional that I doubt there was any manipulation. I feel really bad for Mori, but I have little hope for his redemption. However, I can understand why Mori doesn't like Gildong and doesn't want to join our band. Through Gildong, he realized how the 'father' he served for so many years didn't care for him at all and he probably dislikes the fact that he was used to kill his 'father', as you said (not to mention how his 'father' was humiliated by Amogae and used by Gildong). I don't agree with his revenge, but I kinda get it.

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Mori was happy. He finally found someone he could regard as, if not necessarily call, father. That was hugely important to him regarding his own deep-seated daddy issues. Then along comes Gil Dong, who not only manipulates your "father's" entire organization to his own ends, but then reveals to Mori that his "father" never really cared for him at all, and would drop Mori like a bad habit if it was ever advantageous to do so.

THEN, because Mori killed his bad boss, their entire gang consider Mori Public Enemy Number 1, and flocked to Gil Dong, essentially increasing Gil Dong's territory and power in the underworld. As far as Mori is concerned, Gil Dong didn't help him; he hurt him in the worst possible way, by destroying the only family he could remember and leaving him with nothing, not even the means to create a comeback.

So yeah, Mori would rather eat shit then serve Gil Dong. The man ruined his happy life by letting him know the truth.

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Exactly! that was a pretty cruel and dirty trick by Gil Dong.

On the hand, Mori would probably do the same to Gil Dong with no remorse.

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*other*

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Lmao, loved that last sentence!

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Hv to say I really, really enjoy Rebel this ep and do not mind the lack of romance or plot hole. I love the intricate, subtle mind games the two gangs are playing, and yes, the king is not a threat at least till now, and that makes the show more interesting. Love Yoon Kyun Sang, and Chae Soo Bin char adorable and getting stronger too, albeit I still have wistful wondering, what if the second eunuch told Gil Dong earlier about Nok Soo, and Nok Soo about Gil Dong. I wanna clear resolveee...lol, which wud never happen, at least not in this story. They moved on coz they didn't think will ever meet each other again, and that leave me unsatisfied, lol.

However, I love the avengers Hong and worry about them the same time, and i love Gil Hyun moral compass is still intact; his true loyalty stays with moral codes, not blindly to the King. I like how he keeps on helping the avengers scheme without realizing it, proving their similar wavelength. Lol. Can't wait for him to meet his dongsaeng again, and yes to Nok Soo being a strong person inside the palace and inspire Eorini.

It is interesting that from this point, at ep 17, I still can't really see where this story will end. Happy ending? Sad ending? Open ending? For who? Till when?

Gonna sit back and enjoy the rest ep eagerly.

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Right up to now, I have to say that I feel sorry for the King and find him reasonable, though easily manipulated. It seems as if Choongwongoon, Scholar Song and Mistress Jo are much worse than him.

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The King is painted as a tragic character. His negative aspects are basically him being manipulated and irresponsible, but, other than that, he isn't as bad as the Evil Yangban Trio, because, deep inside, he isn't a rotten person as of yet. He will, later on, become the bloodthirsty tyrant we all know and don't love, but we can see he wasn't like that from the start (though he is shown as being quite flawed as a king). The Evil Yangban Trio, on the other hand, have their morals all messed up from day one. Choongwongun raped and killed many young girls, Madam Jo caused the downfall of a family and cosplayed as the victim and Scholar Song is triggering the tragedy by supporting these kinds of vermin because of his ridiculous and fanatical ideologies about hierarchy and whatnot. They are the true baddies, because they are ruining minds and people (namely Jeonghak and later on the King) with the nonsense they are spouting.

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That's what I feel, too - in another life, he and Gil-dong could well have had a mutual friendship and respect, but in many ways, the King is still stuck at his mother's unjust death. He's self-indulgent and childish, and emotionally such a wreck that I'm not at all surprised he's this easily manipulated - but it's easy to see how, with the right people around him, he could have gone a different way, and that's what makes me sympathise with him even as I hate Mistress Jo, Choongwongoon and Song Sabu.

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Eunuch Kim's enabling has not served the king well, either -- but I honestly don't know what he could have done differently. I do not doubt his sincere desire to make the king happy, although I can't help but wonder what else Shorty might be up to.

Yeonsangun's own father treated him so badly that it's no wonder he grew up to be a basket case. When I stop to think about it, Gil-dong and his siblings were much better off than the the king. Their parents truly loved and cared for them, and they knew it. Amogae risked his life repeatedly to ensure Gil-dong's survival. And while he had dreams for his boys' futures, he did not force either of them to follow those paths. He allowed Gil-dong to pursue his mercantile activities, and later actively (if unsuccessfully) discouraged him from engaging in a life of thuggery.

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The 1498 literati purge mentioned by the writer in earlier episodes is supposed to be bloody and brutal but it doesn't come across that way which I think the director could've done a better job with it beside blurring a few halloweenish heads.
That should've been enough to shock his court into submission.

Yeonsan should've been on his way to be being a bloody tyrant by now so I'm reluctant to feel sorry for him despite what we see on screen.

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I thought we did get a good sense of the king being dangerously unstable and capricious, but this episode took him right back to mommy issues, which makes sense but does seem a step back in the characterisation.

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While everyone was being charmed by Mori, I found myself loving Gilhyun instead this episode. I was kinda worried about him clashing with Gildong (though that scene at the stake with the brothers side by side had mee hoping), but, through this episode, I can see that won't be happening. I was really satisfied when he got fed up with Jeonghak and Madam Jo's disgusting elitism and contemptuous attitude against his family, and stood up for his beliefs (we can even see how he mentioned Jeonghak as having unjustly punished Kim Deokhyung). Hopefully, he will keep on holding onto his moral compass and never forget his roots, in spite of his family's 'deaths', and keep on fighting alongside Gildong by doing his part in the palace (though he doesn't know it yet). And also, now that he returned, please, for goodness' sake, let the poor dude meet his sister at once. Even if he doesn't recognize her, she should recognize him at least.

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I am loving him too! I love the fact that he is his father's son. And he is the only one who stood up for his beliefs in that court.

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As am I. Actually Gil Hyun is really leaving an impression here. After Ga Ryeung and Nok Soo ('the women'), I actually like his character best.

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@latteholic,

You're right. Amogae would be very happy that his elder son grew up to become not only a scholar, but an upright and foursquare public servant.

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Gilhyun and Gildong truly are Amogae's sons. I was so impressed and moved during the scenes where he stood up for his beliefs that I literally started celebrating out loud. I'm glad Amogae's plans for his son actually worked out, and for the best, Gilhyun is truly fit to be a scholar. Daddy knows best.

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Not to mention how amazing Sim Hee-Seop's acting is, especially when he realized the truth about Soohak!

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I was so scared he'd give himself away! But omg, his face when he sees Mistress Jo and realises who his friend Jeong-hak is..... that was stellar acting.

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I nearly cheered when he stepped out and stuck up for the dead wife's rights - of course, this is personal for him since his own mother's name was besmirched after her death in almost the same way, but it's also a matter of principle for him.

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There's a nice parallel between Gil-hyun and Choongwongoon. They both live in humble abodes, but in my book, Gil-hyun is the real deal. He's not out in public proselytizing the way Choongwongoon is trying to pass for a bona fide scholar. He actually uses his brain cells to reason and to analyze the practical application of morality. Song Sabu & Co. emphasize rote learning, and come off like the leaders of a cult. The Stepford Scholars?

My sense, too, is that it's more likely that Eorini will recognize Gil-hyun rather than the other way around. Keeping my fingers crossed for that fateful reunion. I just hope it doesn't blow his cover against frenemy Jo Soo-hak.

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That's a clever observation! While both live humbly, Choongwongun does it insincerely and keeps on showing off his fake 'scholar virtues' (*throw up ala Gilhyun*), Gilhyun is truly humble and honest, and works discreetly and dilligently, out of sincerity (not to mention how Gilhyun is the only one who's doing some good out of the two). I can only feel glad Gilhyun is now away from fanatical Song Sabu and his good-for-nothing influence. He is a much better officer without Song's nonsensical ideologies, because he values the so-called 'lowly' people, having shared their hardships. Now that he found out who Jo Soohak and his horrible mother are, he can now be freed from all the Bad Influence of Doom and hopefully reunite with his very much alive sibs and the Amogae Avengers.

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I think we (especially me) don't understand enough of what these scholars have mastered or their core values and belief system to judge them fairly. I don't have a clue what is written in the "The Doctrine of the Mean" or what the Teaching of Mencius is all about but they do and they act accordingly.

Confucianism is not a religion like Buddhism so when they say heaven I don't think they meant the same heaven that you and I are thinking of.
Maybe we don't have the same definition of the word moral.

Subs are different with what Choongwon is preaching about so I'm lost in translation. The mentioned of deities doesn't make sense because Confucianism is not like Christianity where they believe in God or maybe it meant something else.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that scholar Song and Co do have a belief system that we might not understand so maybe we should give them the benefit of doubt that what they stand for has it's own values.

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@4.2.2.1.1 Kiara,

I think we (especially me) don’t understand enough of what these scholars have mastered or their core values and belief system to judge them fairly. I don’t have a clue what is written in the “The Doctrine of the Mean” or what the Teaching of Mencius is all about but they do and they act accordingly.

When Choongwongoon first sat down in the street with his mat and opened a book, I wondered what the hanja title was. Thanks for mentioning a couple of titles of Confucian texts, which I researched online. I came across a series of complete translations by retired Professor Robert Eno of Indiana University that he prepared for his students. I found his introductions to the overall translation and the individual works therein interesting and illuminating, and at times dryly humorous -- a winning combination, IMHO. I even recognized some of the phrasing that appeared in scenes in REBEL, and appreciate having some context for it now.

The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean: Translation, Commentary, and Notes (2016)
http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ep374/Daxue-Zhongyong_(Eno-2016).pdf

He also offers Mencius: Translation, Commentary, and Notes (2016); The Analects of Confucius: An Online Teaching Translation (2015), and assorted materials for Chinese history, philosophy, and survey courses that include background information on Confucianism and its competitors, Daoism and Mohism. They can be downloaded free of charge here:

http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ep374/Resources.html

I've read a bunch of Professor Enos' documents, and enjoyed doing so. Among other things I learned from reading his translation of The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean is that there is an analog of The Golden Rule called the "Dao of the carpenter's square." Aha! So there's supposed to be reciprocity after all -- but Madam Jo ignores that aspect of Confucianism. That's one of the things that's been bothering me.

The document entitled "The Confucian School" gives a nice overview of the major philosophical features, along with background on the sage himself. You might find it a worthwhile read. It's only 11 pages, but it contains a lot of interesting information -- a crash course in Confucian thought, if you will. ;-)

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Oops! The first link is broken. Maybe that wacky filename containing parentheses is what causes the extension to drop.

The Great Learning & The Doctrine of the Mean: Translation, Commentary, and Notes (2016)
http://www.indiana.edu/%7Ep374/Daxue-Zhongyong_(Eno-2016) dot pdf

You can definitely access the above pdf file from the second link in my earlier post. Or click on the grey oval marked Additional Translations and Other Materials to be found on the imprint page (overleaf of the title page) of the author's documents.

I want to add that Professor Enos' glossaries are excellent. Now I understand why there is a post called "Minister of Rites."

Those who recall the story of the man who dreamt he was a butterfly in ARANG AND THE MAGISTRATE might enjoy reading Professor Enos' translation of Zhuangzi: The Inner Chapters, 2.20: The butterfly dream, page 23. The link is listed under OTHER COMPLETE TRANSLATIONS on his Early China Resources / TRANSLATIONS AND COURSE MATERIALS page.

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Gil-hyun and Gil-dong unknowingly working together to destroy Choongwongoon (shame they didn't get him executed!) is one of my favourite things in the entire series. They're truly bros <3

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Yes, I love the inadvertent collaborations between our Gil Bros! First, with them destroying Choongwongun, and then the whole dead wife thing, it's amazing how, even though they both think the other is dead and are separated, they still manage to work together, and with the same objectives in mind!

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I've always believed that Gil Hyun will not change despite earning the king's favor. He's Amogae's boy and they have gone through hell for him to ever forget his upbringing and the injustices they've suffered.
His position as the chief inspector is no joke. He has a voice in the king's court.

Eventually he'd be found out and impersonating a noble has it's penalty. Hopefully by then he'd already reunite with his siblings.

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Same here, I never for a second believed Gil-hyun had turned his back on what his family meant to him, even if he believed they were dead.

I'm slightly reassured by the fact that he's present beside Gil-dong in the stake-and-arrow scene of ep 1, otherwise I'd be completely terrified he'd die for impersonating a noble. I'm still not sure our heroes will survive though - this isn't a fluff sageuk so anyone could die.

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I'm kind of uncomfortable calling these scholars blindly following the king. They are Confucian scholars who are well versed in Confucian doctrines which involves the 3 commandments and the very first one states... "The subject must serve the ruler." It doesn't say but only if he is a great king or if the subject like him etc.

I don't care much for Confucianism because I'm too lazy to study it because I find it difficult to understand but some of their code of ethics can be straightforward.

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There's a lot of plot progressions in this episode.
The revelations:
1) That Gil-dong finds out Choongwongun is back in town, cosplaying as a respectable noble. I'm glad he doesn't buy any of that (unlike his gang). Yeah, Choongwongun, you can eat all of that yeot!
2) Song Sabu finds out that Gil-dong is the Great Elder.
3) Gil-hyun finally finds out that Jeong-hak is his ex Young Master (fist pump!).
4) Noksoo finally accepts Yeonsangun (actually we still don't know if she's moved on from Gil-dong yet).
5) Jeong-hak finds out who actually killed his father and turns his family bankrupt, and he is now finally firmly in Team Baddies.
6) Eorini is actually saved by Song Sabu's spy.

But the question is:
1) Is Eunuch Kim a Mighty Child as well? That flying kick didn't look ordinary, especially because Gil-dong was knocked down by it. Unless Gil-dong did not see that coming and so he was not in his 'Mighty Child' mode. Also, it would explain why Eunuch Kim travelled to look for extraordinary beings previously.
2) Why was Eorini saved? If the one who saved Eorini is Song sabu's spy, does Song sabu knows her? How did she get into the palace?

I also wanna add that:
1) Yonggae gave me great laugh when the King barges into their room. He totally froze except his shaking hand lol
2) Magistrate Eom (now Deputy Governor Eom, I guess?) giving that satisfying kick to Jeong-hak (Eom Jachi manse!)

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I am kind of sad that Jeong-hak is in the team baddies now. As he genuinely cared for Gil-hyn (of course he also thought he was a noble), I was hoping that he would develop a different conscience from his mother/father.

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I love the shin kicking by magistrate Eom too, lol, soo petty!

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@enkeys,

Great questions!

1) Is Eunuch Kim a Mighty Child as well?

I was as floored as Gil-dong by Shorty's flying kick. It never occurred to me that he might be conducting his own research to see if there were others of his kind. I had just assumed he was on a mission for the king. I never imagined that a Mighty Child could have found a way to live by working for the king. He certainly has super powers for subtlety.

2) Why was Eorini saved? If the one who saved Eorini is Song sabu’s spy, does Song sabu knows her? How did she get into the palace?

I don't know if she was saved so much as kidnapped. She tells the guy her name and asks for her brother. It's not clear whether the guy was working for Song Sabu at that time. At last we got a good look at the location. It seems to be a warehouse, so he may be a trader or in the freight delivery field. My suspicion is that he stumbled across a lost kid and sold her as a slave to make a quick nyang.

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I was rather annoyed at Magistrate Eom for blasting out his good fortune. Gibang or not, there are ears, and to do that is dangerous. Frankly, though Gil-dong is clever, I feel that he doesn't quite get how dangerous a game he's playing. I felt that he should have been more secretive about his identity when helping out the family of the murdered victims. Wear a mask of something while investigating their cases!
But it was clever of the team to have different people confront the murderers!

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I agree. I guess he's not careful enough because he thinks he's got the King backing him up. But I'm just here thinking "No, please don't provoke him" when he went to tell Choongwongun to eat the yeots lol it's so satisfying but kinda scary when he's confronting all these nobles...

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YES! I like Magistrate Eom, but I was annoyed by that as well. I thought the "Old Elder" title was supposed to be a code word or something. But he came from the gate shouting that for EVERYONE to hear. I know he's way too hyped about being promoted, but he needs to chill..

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*"Great Elder" not "Old Elder". lol.

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I actually am wondering if Gil-dong's manipulation of the king, by using his mothers death, is the tipping point for the king turning crazy tyrannical. Like if his mothers supposed wrongful death wasn't brought up he wouldn't have thought any more of it, but now that it's in the forefront of his mind he will begin his plans to seek satisfaction etc. It's interesting to think that Gil-dong may have unintentionally created the monster he must eventually face.

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Hey, I agree with you. However, it remains to be seen where this will go: I feel that the ministers/nobles are not really interested in the exiled Queen, they all thought it's legal to exile a jealous Queen. So naturally, this will include Song & Co as well.

If we're not lucky and Mdm Jo still has that letter supporting the former Queen, she might obtain the King's trust. If we're lucky, the King might turn on him and his gang, when the King finds out that Song & Co has been preaching about the very opposite of what he's trying to do, which is to bring honour back to the former Queen.

So, ironically, the King will kill Song & Co, leaving Gil-dong with only the King to be dealt with. I somehow think this is possible, because the writer love to do this kinds of thing: Song sabu ironically taking care of Gil-hyun, the King ironically exiling his own blood Choongwongun, etc. I love the plot so much, all this manipulations and ironies...I feel like it's all very clever and intricate.

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@ enkeys,

If we’re not lucky and Mdm Jo still has that letter supporting the former Queen, she might obtain the King’s trust.

In episode 12, as her son left for the palace, Madam Jo said, "If only I still had the letter from the Deposed Queen, how great would that have been."

At least that's one weapon that's been removed from her arsenal. On the other hand, she's just turned Soo-hak into a heat-seeking missile who's out for Gil-dong's blood.

As for the letter itself, will it pop up at some time in the future? I can't bring myself to rule anything out in this show. If don't see it with my own eyes, I don't believe it. Writer-nim is just too darned good at creative misdirection. LOL.

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Yeah I knew she lost the letter but then like you said, I'll never believe it unless we get to see it by ourselves. I too believe that this writer can present us with some kind of twist later on.

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@PakalanaPikake

I think you were actually right about her losing the letter. Amogae probably outsmart her and had it destroyed.

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Thanks for the recap, dramallama!

Truth to tell, I was almost afraid to watch this episode after last week's cliffhanger. Instead of revenge, we got more juicy revelations -- and more questions.

Who the heck is Song Sabu?! And did you see that he had Horny Uncle with him in two scenes?! Do I detect delayed retribution ahead for the old goat? I hope so! Gil-hyun, fix his wagon!

It is interesting to me how Madam Jo has politicized Amogae's and Gil-dong's actions against her husband and Choongwongoon, which were purely personal revenge. She only sees events in the context of politics, and is totally blind to any other motivation. By that whack-o logic, her greed for Amogae's wealth was practically patriotic as it was keeping upstart servants in their rightful place. Since she knew that it was illegal to steal the property of servants, she used her husband's Horny Uncle to incite Amogae to strike out, and plotted to blame everything on Amogae's wife. But she picked the wrong innocent woman -- whose case parallels not only that of the elderly nobleman's murdered daughter, but Yeonsangun's mother's case as well.

Gil-hyun remembers only too well how his mother's good name was dragged through the mud by Horny Uncle. His call for justice for the murdered woman resonates with Yeonsangun. Based on how all the ministers, as well as many Confucian scholars, are clamoring to uphold the murderer's right to kill his wife, I expect this to become a flashpoint for Literati Purge 2.0.

Where did Madam Jo get her strange notions that Amogae's and Gil-dong's motivations were political? From Song Sabu, (and Horny Uncle?). Song Sabu is increasingly coming across as a megalomaniac. Hearing his pedophile rapist acolyte Choonwongoon piously braying about morality nearly had me upchucking like Gil-hyun when he recognized Madam Jo.

Although Jo Soo-hak is still an elitist jerk deep down, I felt bad for him when Mommy Dearest angrily revealed the truth of his father's death. (As a good Confucian widow, isn't she supposed to be obeying her son instead of browbeating him? And she conveniently left out her own greedy role in provoking Amogae. Grrr.)

I've been concerned all along that Song Sabu knows about Gil-hyun's assumed identity. Now that he knows how desperately Gil-dong was looking for his siblings, will he start searching for Gil-hyun as well as Eorini?

I was truly dismayed when Deputy Governor Eom went running off to the gibang hollering for Great Elder at the top of his lungs. Way to blow Gil-dong's cover when he's hiding in plain sight, bucko. And much as I enjoyed seeing him repaying his former boss' shin-kicking with interest, I cringed. Don't antagonize him. It will be hell to pay when the worm turns.

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How the heck did this end up here? -- I hate it when this happens. Should have been a new item.

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Ugh, Madam Jo pisses me off the most. Purposefully omitting her own greediness and the way she caused the death of an innocent woman and tarnished her name, the way she destroyed a family, and then ruining her son and messing up his mind for her own petty revenge... The worst part is that she thinks everything she's doing is justified and morally correct. The way she claims she's doing this for the Nation is repulsing, those are the exact same people that ruin a freaking nation you godforsaken woman! Jesus, don't even mention Choongwongun preaching about morality, and then Song Sabu claiming he is the pillar of the nation! Clearly for him, the poor people who are treated unjustly and the young girls who were raped and killed by him don't have any worth.

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Seo Yi-Sook deserves a Daesang for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Madam Jo. She it absolutely terrific.

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@PakalanaPikake
Yep, she really does. She's so good, that she makes me pissed off and impressed at the same time, lmao. I can't imagine anyone else in that crazy role. Her scene with Amogae at the prison was seriously intense.

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That's just it - the only injustice she, Song Sabu, and her son see is the murder of Master Jo by Amogae. Never mind their treatment of Amogae and his family or what led to the killing in the first place. Or the girls Choongwongoon raped and murdered - those are nothing to her, only noble lives matter.

@PakalanaPikake - I do agree that Seo Yi-sook is phenomenal though, she's amazing at playing characters who make you want to wring their necks. (here and in Solomon's Perjury)

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yeah, I mean we do find out Soo-hak is still a brainwashed classist a-hole parroting his mother's lines of thought, but I did feel bad for a moment that he was so gutted (though with the way he is, I doubt he'd accept his father and mother had done anything wrong in stealing Amogae's property and setting it up so they could seize it).

I really wanted to kick Magistrate Eom (now Governor Eom, I suppose?) hard for running around bellowing Gil-dong's callsign all over the damn gibang. He got Amogae beaten almost to death, now he's going to get Gil-dong in hot water too.

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Come to think of it, Magistrate Eom really brings both good and bad thing to Amogae's family. Although he rescued Amogae from Master Jo, he is the one who insist on Amogae meeting Choongwongun and then when things go wrong, he even betrayed Amogae. Although he saved Amogae later, now he goes around yelling for Great Elder in public and why oh why did he has to bring Jeong-hak to Gil-dong again when he doesn't even see eye to eye with Jeong-hak? Ugh.

On the other hand, what happens to him after he meet Amogae so far? From secretary he becomes a Magistrate and now he's the Deputy Governor. He seems to only go up the rank.

It kinda makes me bitter that he is a yangban that can bail out whenever he wants to but slaves like Amogae can't. However, it's true that he saved Amogae's life afterall, and is the only yangban truly on the Hongs' side without them needing to bribe him all the time so...I can't really hate him. I just hope he thinks about his actions sometimes and realise that he should really be loyal to the Hongs for what they did for him.

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Is Magistrate/Governor Eom considered a yangban now? I'm curious because when we first met him, he was still a secretary and that will make him a jungin. But I read that one can reach a yangban status by getting government post, and I wonder if that's the case with him?

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@enkeys

Maybe another reason why the ministers/nobles are not really interested in the exiled Queen (Yeonsan's mother) is because some of them were involved in the petition to execute her and her supporters.

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@UmbrellaMan,

You bring up some very good points, especially in regard to the straw that breaks the camel's back. Perhaps Gil-dong is the one who ignites the match. But many other parties -- in particular the late king and the Confucian scholars -- have been piling up the tinder for decades before HGD got involved. I suspect that Yeonsangun's own jealousy and insecurity over Nok-soo will bring matters to a head.

What really strikes me is how much Gil-dong has in common with Yeonsangun with regard to yangban-inflicted mother wounds. I'd like to think that, in different circumstances, they would have commiserated over a couple of beers.

The whole play-within-a-drama scene reminded me of Gong-gil's tableau in THE KING AND THE CLOWN that touched off the powder keg. But in that case, the rumors of the deposed queen's demise came as a shocking revelation to Yeonsangun that sent him over the edge.

In REBEL, the king comes across to me as artistic, rational, sensitive, and depressive. He's not a kick-out-the-jams, devil-may-care type. It will be interesting to see the form his meltdown takes and how it unfolds.

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This weeks episodes were so freaking good! Can't wait for the episode 18 recap

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Thanks for the recap and comments, dramallama!!

Against better judgement (lol), I find myself shipping Noksoo and the King at this point. I'm gonna hold off a bit given that we're still halfway through. I'm scared how their future villainy will turn them into toxic characters.

I love that there was a slow burn build-up to their relationship. First, it was just the music and the artistry. And then the spying. And of course, the chase! But whereas before it was probably a combination of artistic appreciation, passing curiousity and general amusement for him, now we actually see Yeonsangun lighting up at seeing Noksoo.

The seduction was not an overt one but now that I think of it, Noksoo came at him from all the main points that mattered: though music, his political insecurities, and his mother issues. At the onset, it looked like a very long shot for Noksoo to ever gain the King's heart. In retrospect, however, to me it was the poor guy who didn't stand a chance against her charms.

For the meantime though and on the shallow end, let me enjoy how beautiful they look together. Kim Jiseok and Honey Lee are quite the pair. It's like they just flip a switch and the tension rises. From sorrowful gazes to flirtatious banter and back to tearful eyes, they have sold me on this tragic ship of theirs.

Now I want behind the scenes videos of these two. They are both funny in real life so I'm really hoping MBC releases some. There are too few pictures/videos from the B Team.

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I really love the women of Rebel but it feels like we see far too little of them. Especially Ga-ryung.

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I think (hope) that we're going to get more of Garyung after Gildong 'dies' (the widow arc), with her whole 'avenge Gildong' plan. According to the main homepage, Garyung is actually entering the palace (and befriending Okran a.k.a older Eorini), so maybe this would be part of her plan to have her revenge against the King. And, as we can see in the stake scene, Garyung seems to have changed quite a bit.

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I wonder if that will ever come to fruition, the widow/revenge arc, I mean. I called it really early on that Ga-ryung didn't look like a likely candidate, since it was actually Nok-soo/former Gong-hwa who fit that bill.

And with just 12 episodes left, I doubt we're going to see this happen. Which I feel a little sad about, since Chae Soo-bin would kill it - heck she already does a fantastic job of a character whom I'd find cloying and insipid in the hands of a less skilled actress.

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Chae Soobin is extremely well-cast, she shines in this role and, in turn, makes Garyung shine. They couldn't have found a more fitting actress. Not to mention her amazing chemistry with Yoon Kyunsang, which is probably the main reason why I was aboard this ship from day one.

It does sadden me how she's given so little to do, as she's very talented and perfectly capable of pulling off heavier and more emotional scenes. However, I trust writer-nim and her ability to write great female characters, and I'm still hoping for a Garyung-centric plotline.

Even without the whole widow arc, Garyung does definitely change, as evidenced in the stake scene. If you watch/read some of the interviews, both Chae Soobin and the producers have mentioned that Garyung starts off as an adorable and lovely character, but she ends up changing and developing. It is mentioned in the official homepage that she eventually enters the palace, so I'm almost certain that what we've been shown isn't all there is to Garyung.

The fact that Garyung appears to be the character with least substance (compared to righteous bandit Gildong, tragic King and vengeful Noksoo, or even supporting characters like Gilhyun and Mori), will only contribute to make things more intriguing later on.

So, I say we enjoy the light and happy moments, along with Garyung's adorableness, while they last, and wait for the greater development. I'm sure that with Hwang Jinyoung's quality writing and Chae Soobin's excellent acting, Garyung's own story is in good hands.

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@pogo

Too short indeed. I've been clipping Noksoo scenes for IG posts the past few episodes and it's so sad that a few cuts will suffice to round up the screentime for the entire episode.

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Meanwhile, I had wanted to shout to my screen at little Eorini. That's so dangerous, kid ! Never ever tell your name to a stranger ! Aaargh~ why??

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IKR! But on the other hand I was thinking that the spy saved her and adopted her as his daughter. And so she wasn't really the orphan girl,but the sassy one. I feel that we are still playing the Which One is Uhrini game (at least that's the impression I got even after watching the next episode).

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And that was meant to be a reply for @10 keiru!

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Oh it could be ! I too still hope that Eorini is the sassy girl, because I can't really connect with the idea of having Jung Da Bin as Eorini for a very superficial reason

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Imo, the sassy girl resembles little Uhrini more. And so I keep thinking that she's Uhrini. heh.

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Btw, I really love the fact that Gil Hyun (and to some extend Nok-soo) keep helping Gil Dong unintentionally. I love how he maintains the right principles of moral code despite whatever garbage Song Sabu tried to brainwashed him with. Ahmogae would be so proud of him.

Also, Sim Hee-Seop's acting when he found out about Jeong-Hak's true identity was on point! My heart just broke with him during that scene.

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No, the adult Eorini is really Jung Da-bin. It's in the show's official Naver page. I still couldn't buy it too, because the show's been kinda teasing us with both girls' identities but the sassy girl did mention that she has a mother, so if Eorini really has been adopted, she would've said father instead. Unless that guy has a wife.

I still can't get why the guy kidnaps her in the first place though. If he is a good person, he'd return her to her brother right away, the moment they met at the river(?) back then but since she's now at the palace, I can just assume that the guy has another motive, but certainly not a good one.

P/S: k-nets predicted that the sassy girl (btw, her name is Sang-hwa) will soon pretend that she's Gil-dong's sister which I think is a fair prediction, since they're close and Sang-hwa knows about the ribbon.

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Ah okay - now that's confirmed.

I was guessing she got adopted because the spy never said anything to Song Sabu about Uhrini. I don't know if that's because he's trying to protect her or he only remembered that he met her at one point and didn't want to brought it up.

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Yeah! So Jeong Da Bin plays grown-up Eorini. She grew up an angel.

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Tbh I'm kinda glad Eorini isn't the sassy girl because she sounds very ambitious and brazen, and while that might be a good thing storywise, I don't want Gildong to suffer anymore. He already has a lot of things to deal with (and will probably have more later on), just let him have his sweet, innocent little sister. Besides, although Jung Dabin doesn't really look like the younger Eorini, I can definitely picture her as Yoon Kyunsang's dearest younger sister.

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I personally never understood the confusion over who was Eorini. The camera focused on Child-rini close to the railing, did the pan back, a few adults walked by so you knew it was a time-skip, then we focus on a young pretty woman with a center shot, and get a close up ON HER. That's film-making 101 for, "This is the important character you should care about!"

I suppose the quick shot to the other girl to show she will also be of some importance is the source of the confusion, but c'mon now; it's a modern seguk. When in doubt, choose the prettier one.

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Lol @gambifan, I wasn't expecting that last sentence!

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LOL. Although beauty is in the eyes of beholder, but here it is quite obvious which on is prettier. heee

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Or choose the more well known and experienced actress.

A country pumpkin like Eorini is not going to out sass the girls from the capital.
She was the princess of Ikhwari but not in the capital.

This writer is good at making you second guess yourself so I do understand some of the confusion.

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"Or choose the more well known and experienced actress."

This is true.

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I find the sassy girl prettier though..

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Regarding the case of the missing family of the two commoners who were killed by the yangban:

I assumed that they were disposed of by the perpetrators to get rid of potential witnesses. But apparently that is not necessarily the case. Gil-hyun has gone through the records and made a map of cases of missing persons, and they are evenly scattered all over the country -- just as the Hong Clan has operations in all eight provinces. I think HGD has been running something like a witness protection program. The Hong Clan has apparently been operating as the extrajudicial "court of last resort" in much the same way that mafiosi used to maintain order and settle scores in their neighborhoods.

By relocating people who have been victimized by nobles, HGD & Co. have indeed been "stealing the people" from unscrupulous masters and the clutches of officials who treat all yangban as above the law. Song Sabu and Madam Jo erroneously ascribe political motivation where there is none. These people just want to live like humans, not animals, but the law is an idiot. Because the law is imperfect, there is no way they will ever get a fair hearing -- or justice. They have to rely on the champion of the people for that.

This harks back to Dae-gil's selective freeing of slaves in CHUNO.

The more I think about it, the more "Great Elder" sounds like "Dread Pirate Roberts" in THE PRINCESS BRIDE. Each provincial office of Reviving Beauty has its own boss, presumably all righting wrongs for the people.

When Gil-dong heard about the king's admiration for court musician Nok-soo, I can only wonder whether he recognized her name. Maybe she'll have to show up on a spy mission at the gibang.

Hair ornaments played a pivotal role in Writer-nim's earlier show THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK-HYANG as forms of identification and expressions of love and acceptance of love. It would be very ironic if the king gives the hairpin HGD commissioned to Nok-soo and she actually wears it.

Re: Shorty's flying kick. I suspect that Gil-dong was a lot more floored than he let on. But he already knows that Shorty has suspected him of being a Mighty Child, and I think he tried to avoid tipping his hand. I was stunned that Shorty had it in him.

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That's what I thought too - the Hongs seem to have become a parallel authority of sorts, which isn't unexpected considering the system.

Song Sabu and Madam Jo, or rather their delusional Confucian zealotry, are the real villains here. They're fundamentalists at heart, and the sad thing is that they're taking the younger generation with them too (Gil-hyun only escaping the brainwashing influence because of the influence of his early life/birth family). The King on the other hand, is capricious, selfish and easily manipulated, but at the same time it's hard not to feel sympathy for him - even if he's right on track to become the murderous tyrant he was in history.

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@pogo,

"Fundamentalist" is exactly the term I've had in mind for Song Sabu & Co. And you're right on the money in pointing out that their "teaching" activities are corrupting the younger generation. I shudder to think of the damage they're doing.

As for Gil-hyun, his saving grace is not only his family of origin and early life with them. It was his good fortune to meet Lord Noh, who brought him to his senses regarding the true nature of loyalty and service to the nation. Thank heavens there was someone of sufficient stature to counter Song Sabu's malign influence.

Lord Noh also nominated Gil-hyun for his position as an undercover inspector, which has been a necessary, if at times grim, continuing education for him. It has certainly made him a far better public servant than he would have been otherwise.

Jo Soo-hak, on the other hand, sought a fast career track so he could provide for Mommy Dearest. He's definitely a member of the "rubber stamp" / "don't rock the boat" school of civil service.

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On Song Sabu & Co., I really want to know what his 'grand plan' is... it's not, it couldn't be, controlling the king, or installing a puppet king who would obey the scholars? The more I see of him the worse he seems to, despite his white robes.

If the Hongs are running this sort of counter-judicial system, I was surprised that this random guy described it in so much detail to Young Jo. You'd think the common people would keep that kind of info hidden from the authorities right?

Gil Hyun is such a great character. I wish we'd see more of him. Even when he excuses himself saying 'I don't feel well' it really is because he doesn't feel well. That was some powerful puking in disgust.

Finally, who'd believe it that the most action we've seen in a few episodes comes from SHORTY doing a flykick?

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I think Lord Noh came along just when Gil-hyun needed him, because I certainly don't think Gil-hyun saw the purge coming.

And it was good to have a reminder that principles aren't about choosing a side or about blind loyalty.

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I'm really enjoying all the plotting and scheming myself, especially now that former Soo-hak has revealed his classist a-hole self and found out about Gil-dong.

But our biggest wildcard right now is the fact that Gil-hyun is still out there and no one's caught on to it yet. I loved the way the brothers unconsciously acted in concert (Gil-dong in full skulduggery mode, Gil-hyun in full and legal earnestness) to bring down Choongwongoon a few weeks ago. And now that Gil-dong's been rumbled and has some powerful enemies, it's actually comforting to know that Gil-hyun is, for now, safe.

I never thought for a moment that he'd turned his back on his family or gone over to the dark side, but he (not unreasonably) assumes they're dead and that he's all alone - I can't wait for the siblings to find each other!

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I too never thought Gilhyun would go over the dark side. After all he's been through with his family, I doubt he'd ever turn their back on them (especially with that scene at the stake, when he was there with Gildong). But I did fear that Gilhyun might receive some unpleasant influence from Song Sabu (at some point, he kinda did), but I'm glad he's now free from Song's fanatical ideology and became his own person. He's now following his principles and standing up for his beliefs, using his new influential position for good, which is an extremely positive thing for the people, due to his upbringing. I'm glad that he's safe (for now) and that no one from the baddies' side particularly cares about his presence. However, my heart still breaks for him, because he thinks that all of his family is dead and that he's all alone. My sentiment for him was particularly poignant when he found out the ugly truth about his supposed friend, and became even more lonely. For poor Gilhyun's sake, I hope he finds his family soon.

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yeah, I was nervous for Gil-hyun when we didn't know what Song Sabu's game was, but he seems to have taken the good parts of the teaching and discarded the bad, and his belief in his principles has served him very well.

Also the big flash-forward tells us he survived, but I doubt everyone in the gang makes it - I was actually sad to see no sign of Soboori :(

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Yes, Gilhyun only took the useful and good things he learned from Song Sabu, and all the garbage Song's been trying to feed him has been discarded. And Song Sabu claiming Gilhyun was his creation. As if! He's only helped a principled man like Gilhyun gain an influential position, which will definitely thwart his plans of keeping his fanatical and nonsensical ideologies afloat. Take that, Song Sabu!

Awe, no, Soboori ajae :( I actually think he might be still alive but not present there because he's already old (over 50) and, by the time the whole stake scene pans out, he'll be even older. It wouldn't make sense for him to go straight out to combat at that age. So, I'm left hoping he doesn't get killed off or, if he dies, it would at least be in a peaceful way, like Amogae, and not at the hands of Evil Yangban Trio.

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@someone,

Yeah, it's the old "tabula rasa" BS -- as if Gil-hyun sprang full-blown from the head of Song Sabu. The arrogance is nauseating.

It also really peeved me when Song Sabu used Gil-hyun's achievements to rattle Soo-hak's cage. He really knows how to manipulate his students with jealousy. Yet another example of those good ole Confucian values? Keep on thinking your moral thoughts, you old coot.

As for Soboori, I figure he's getting up there in age, and hopefully is keeping the home fires burning at a safe house in the boondocks. Deputy Governator Eom is no spring chicken, either.

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I do wish that he didn't give up so easily in looking for his siblings and not just take the words of a couple of passerby. He didn't even try to confirm anything especially now that he is in a position with resources to find out what really happen or even find his father's people.
Even if he couldn't find them, at least he tried.

Scholar Song is in for a rude awakening when he figures out that his precious pillar of the country is none other than Amogae's son. That the one messing up his plans is actually his own student.

SO much to look forward to.

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To be fair, he may not know how to do it without rousing suspicion, and unlike Gil-dong he's all alone with not a single person who knows his secret.

I'm really looking forward to how Gil-hyun's going to come back to his family. I get that he may not run into Uhrini in a palace where the genders seem fairly segregatedbut I need the siblings to be united.

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He's been roaming the country by himself. No one would have been suspicious or dare question him but I do get your point.

The writer is making it a bit difficult for the siblings to meet on purpose with the name changes. I hope they don't keep them apart till the last few episodes.

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@Kiara,

I, too, was kind of surprised that Gil-hyun apparently did not do more to find out what happened to his family. On the other hand, Gil-dong is the one who had traveled the country for years, whereas his elder brother was a homebody. I imagine he was even more shaken than Gil-dong by the loss of home and family.

It's not clear to me how long he was wandering before he came across deceased scholar Park's house in the mountains, or how soon thereafter his path crossed with Song Sabu's. Once he commenced his studies, he wouldn't have opportunity to seek out news -- and it would have been weird for him to search for a bunch of thugs. He needed to avoid bringing unwanted attention to his bogus identity.

You are so right about the pending revelation of Inspector Park's true identity. I can't wait to see Song Sabu and Madam Jo's thunderstruck realization giving way to apoplexy. Hehehe.

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I think both brothers just took word of mouth for granted. If I were Gil-Dong I would have interrogated Eop-San on where he got The Shoe of Doom . Eop-San hinted there was a story but we never heard it.

Of course, the show doesn't always reveal things immediately. For example, showing that conversation between Mori and Gil Dong now, where Mori said 'you will regret not killing me', clearly showed a more manipulative and negative Gil Dong than we've seen so far (though I did have problems with the way he maneuvered Mori to kill Heo Tae Hak in the first place). Gil Dong if definitely walking a fine line for a hero, as even his dreams warn him. His boldness in rousing up the king's anger about his mother's death could have terrible consequences... I almost couldn't breathe during when the trio were acting out that conversation. Shorty was right to kick Gil Dong about this.

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His post as a chief inspector gives him unlimited power inside and outside of the capital. There is no place in Joseon that would deny him entry and there is no government documents that he can not access except the annals.
I think he left before the time jump so he has been away for around 4yrs at the least.

I'm just saying that if I were him I'd take a look into my family too. How they died or the possibility that they might have survived.
If Choongwon was able to figure out that Eorini is still alive from the Haengrok or whatever record it's called then he would've possibly found her too.

It's not important because it's not the time for them to be reunited and yes I agree, he was busy doing his job and keeping his identity hidden.

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