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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 18

Now this is more like it! Bashing in bad guys, getting justice for the poor—this was what I imagined when I signed on for a Hong Gil-dong drama in the first place. I’m glad the band of Hong brothers have found their true calling, and that this episode also served to help us connect the seemingly disparate storyline threads into a bigger idea with regards to the overarching plot.

 
EPISODE 18 RECAP

Scholar Song holds a small late night meeting with Choongwongoon, Jeong-hak, Mistress Jo, and his spy. Mori, seated at a respectful distance in the back, reports that Gil-dong is looking for his siblings. Jeong-hak and Choongwongoon want to use that information about Gil-dong’s weakness to somehow take him down.

However, Scholar Jo insists that they are pillars of society and must not engage in morally lower acts. He cautions them to wait until the king’s anger passes. Jeong-hak does not agree with Scholar Song because he thinks that Gil-dong is dangerous. It doesn’t help that he’s still fully intent on revenge.

So as he and his mother come out of the meeting, he expresses his opinion to her and implies that he’ll use Choongwongoon as bait. When Mistress Jo tries to protest against this method (perhaps she has a soft spot for the pitiful royal), Jeong-hak spouts inegalitarian Confucian principles about how social hierarchy dictates that women should follow men—and although she is his mother, he is now a grown man, so she should listen to him.

After the meeting when he’s just alone with his spy, Scholar Song throws a spastic tantrum—teeth grinding, paper crushing, and all. He reveals his level of paranoia through his ravings.

With a crazed twisted expression on his face, he rants to his spy that there must be a political mastermind controlling Gil-dong’s band intent on coming between him and the king. In his delusions, he really believes that he would be Yeonsangun’s right-hand man if it weren’t for this imaginary nonentity whose sole goal is to wreck his relationship with the king.

Mori trains in the forest, but between movements, he can’t help but think of Ga-ryung’s spunky attitude toward him. (Aww, emo eyeliner assassin has a crush on the cheerful ordinary girl.) He tries to shake off these intermittent thoughts that keep getting in the way of his concentration and punches a tree forcefully.

But suddenly, the earth turns dark as the tree is split into two, and he remembers the reason his father tried to kill him. During his childhood, he had also displayed the same Mighty Child strength as Gil-dong did, so his father, like Amogae (who did initially try to maim Gil-dong) had feared for the future of his family and attempted to kill him.

Back at the government offices, Jo Jeong-hak, who has now been demoted, asks Deputy Governor (previously Magistrate) Eom to connect him with Gil-dong again. He apologizes, saying that he had made a big mistake the last time by storming out of their meeting.

When they meet at Hwalbin gibang, Gil-dong puts on his friendly merchant face again because Jeong-hak could potentially make a good contact later on. Similarly, Jeong-hak pretends that he’s on Gil-dong’s side, when actually he’s laying out his scheme.

Sneakily, he tells Gil-dong about Choongwongoon’s confiscated property after the whole debacle went down four years ago. During their conversation, Jeong-hak slips in that a girl by the name of Eorini was on the list of slaves owned by Choongwongoon at the time of his arrest. At her name, Gil-dong’s expression turns into one of desperation.

This is all a part of Jeong-hak’s plans, which he already discussed with Choongwongoon. Earlier, Jeong-hak asked whether he wanted revenge on Gil-dong, and when the royal replied in the affirmative, he let him know about his scheme to trap Gil-dong using fake news about his sister.

By provoking Gil-dong into physical violence against Choongwongoon (whose royal status has been restored, although his assets were not returned), they would have grounds to arrest him. Since it’s illegal for anyone of lower social class to lay a hand on those of the upper class, Gil-dong would at least go to jail, where they could torture him and at most, he could die in punishment for his violation of the law.

Choongwongoon, after being reminded of Eorini, remembers something and rifles through a book, and it actually does have Eorini’s name in it. Right then, Gil-dong barges into his hut to demand justice for his sister.

Knowing the potential consequences of this encounter, Segul tries to stop him, but Gil-dong didn’t even seem to listen. So Segul goes back to Hwalbin gibang to find the others so that they can come help with the escalating situation.

Choongwongoon taunts Gil-dong by making up stories about Eorini. He tells Gil-dong about how he tried to rape her, and when she wouldn’t acquiesce, he beat her and eventually caused her death.

In the grips of emotion, Gil-dong’s superhuman strength comes to him again. He reaches over to Choongwongoon and throws him around like a toy. Sensing that he might be in completely over his head, Choongwongoon calls for Mori in a desperate plea.

Beneath the trees, Jo Jeong-hak and a troop of soldiers have been lying in wait for evidence of Gil-dong’s violence against the royal. As soon as they see Gil-dong send Choongwongoon flying in the air, Jeong-hak gives the order to arrest Gil-dong.

Thankfully, the Avengers come right on time to fight off the soldiers, leaving Gil-dong to deal with Choongwongoon. All bruised and bloody, he tells Gil-dong the truth when backed up against a tree and in a choking stranglehold: Eorini is alive and her name was recorded in a book called the Heng-rok.

Mori comes to Choongwongoon’s rescue, and an epic battle between the two Mighty Ones commences. Gil-dong and Mori trade powerful blows and they become locked in a stalemate until Mori summons up the extra strength to throw Gil-dong into a wall.

This blow causes Gil-dong to go unconscious. Mori revels in the fact that his strength has really returned. Choongwongoon calls for him again, so he looks back while the Avengers come to tend to Gil-dong.

The Hong brothers take Gil-dong back, but they immediately have to escape because now Gil-dong is a fugitive (for harming a royal). They explain this all to Ga-ryung, who is worried for her beloved. Watching over his sleeping form, she sings a comforting melody to him.

Gil-dong wakes up in a panic, searching for his sister. Everyone rushes into his room, and they see him looking wild-eyed and half-crying for his lost sister. He tells them what Choongwongoon revealed to him: Eorini may be alive.

At the palace, some of the maids are being trained in the courtly art of dance, with Wolhamae counting the beats and playing her instrument. The ambitious girl (the one who volunteered to serve Nok-soo) has no rhythm and falters frequently, while the doe-eyed girl glides gracefully to the beat. So Wolhamae’s eyes only go to her, and she tells the others to sit down.

Wolhamae asks the girl with a natural flair for dance her name, and she replies that it’s Ok-ran (which, in Korean, sounds very similar to Eorini). Although the other maid is obviously jealous, later they’re seen walking together when the purple ribbon slips again, and they both pick it up together (so we still don’t really know which one is Eorini).

When they were at Choongwongoon’s hut, Soboori took a copy of the Heng-rok. And according to Ilchung, it reveals information about the Sugwidan, a group of nobles who upheld “the important values.”

But reading into it reveals that their methods of upholding values were inflicting a series of cruel, harsh punishments against the weak and powerless. In the back of the book, there’s also a list of servants that includes Eorini’s name.

After hearing this, Gil-dong makes a decision and announces it to the rest. He understands that it could be a girl by the same name, but he still wants to pursue this lead, so he lets his Hong brothers know that they are free to choose what they want to do.

They all tell him that he’s crazy if he thinks he’s doing this alone because Eorini was a sister to all of them, and Gil-dong smiles at their support.

Later, when Gil-dong and Ga-ryung are alone together, he tells her that he can’t take her with him on his journey to find Eorini. She accepts that, but she asks that he marry her before he leaves so that she can wait for him as a wife and not a sister this time.

It’s a small ceremony, but it’s official and very sweet, with Ilchung officiating. Sensitive giant Keutsae ends up crying, while comedically, Yonggae wonders aloud about why they’re all still single. When the Hong brothers tease the newlyweds about how many children they’ll have, Ga-ryung laughs good-humoredly, but Gil-dong breaks out into hiccups.

Later, they’re supposedly alone in their room to consummate their bond, but actually, all the Hong brothers are listening right outside the door to give Gil-dong encouragement and advice about doing the deed. Soboori finally gets them all to leave, and looking up at the moon, he tells his friend Amogae that Gil-dong’s all grown up now.

When he hears that the others have left, Gil-dong tugs Ga-ryung toward him in a swoony move. Half-playfully, half-seriously, he begins by telling her that if she didn’t meet him, she could have married a nice, ordinary man. And she replies that if he hadn’t met her, he’s probably be together with one of the exciting, pretty ladies from the gibang.

But Gil-dong tells her that she’s the prettiest girl he’s ever seen, and that she’ll be in his heart forever from now on. He softly kisses her eyes, her nose, and finally, her lips.

The next morning, Ga-ryung has her hair up in a married woman’s coiffure, and Gil-dong looks over at her with a sense of wonder and pride. But unfortunately, he has to leave on his journey to find Eorini that very day.

The first person on their list from the Heng-rok is a nobleman who boasts of burning out the eyes of his servants who dared to read. Soboori approaches him, pretending to be another member of the exclusive Sugwidan.

Trying to show off, the nobleman opens a room to reveal to Soboori his upgraded methods of torture in person. Three servants are hung up by the wrists, while their knees are bloodied from kneeling on cracked porcelain.

The nobleman reveals to Soboori that he doesn’t know anything about Eorini, and now there’s no reason for the Hong brothers to remain in their disguise, because all they were trying to do was find out leads regarding Gil-dong’s sister.

The Great Elder rises from his bowed position as one of Soboori’s servants and makes the executive decision to punish the nobleman in exactly the same way he punished his own servants. The others gladly follow, because they were also outraged by the abuse this noble enacted on his servants. As a plus, they also release the rice from the noble’s grain stores to distribute to his household servants. Using the rice, they spell Hong, leaving a signature flourish.

Although they watch over the happy peasants with a type of prideful joy, Soboori cautions Gil-dong and tells him not to be rash again. Gil-dong agrees, because he started this not to avenge the wrongs of the lower class, but to find his sister.

But along the way, he just can’t help himself when he sees the injustices. And the Hong brothers, being the good men that they are, can’t help but be pulled along into serving out vigilante justice alongside him.

The next Sugwidan member has a half-brother born from a peasant mother who was always a bother to him. When the half-commoner brother dared to walked in front of the noble, he cut off his heels for his insolence, and the brother still walks with a pronounced limp to this day.

This time, Keutsae poses as a Sugwidan nobleman, but similarly, they find nothing about Eorini and the casual cruelty of this noble prompts the Avengers come to him at night and threaten to cut off his heels as well. Taking this noble’s riches, they give out this money to his overworked servants.

In the forest, the Hong brothers reconvene and talk about how their bowel movements have seemed easier and cleaner despite slogging it, because they’ve been doing good deeds. In the middle of discussing farts and making bathroom jokes, Gil-dong suggests that they split up to track down the rest of the Sugwidan.

The others are slightly alarmed at first, but he reinforces his confidence that they will be able to do separately what they’ve been doing together because they’re all connected as part of the Hong clan.

From Segul to Soboori to Eop-san, we see each of the Avengers approaching Sugwidan members in black masks to question them about Eorini. But mainly they dispense just punishment for their rape, torture, and beatings against those who were their social inferiors and those legally at their mercy, be it slaves, women, etc.

Back at the village, Ga-ryung hears rumors about this mysterious vigilante, the Hong Hero. As she walks through town, she hears that he is: short, tall, young, old, ugly, and handsome, with everyone disagreeing on various accounts. Being the only one who knows the secret, she breaks out in a mischievous, knowing smile before proceeding to go back home where she records those tales in her new storybook called the Hong Chun-ji.

In the inner chambers of the palace, Nok-soo holds Yeonsangun in her lap and tells him of the new rumors of the Hong Hero. People say that maybe he’s not a man, but a spirit. Softly cradling him like a baby, she asks why he hasn’t given the order to catch the thief. Opening his eyes while still lying on her lap, Yeonsangun says that a tiger doesn’t seek out a bear to fight (meaning that they have their own niches that don’t necessarily intersect), so he’s letting his court scholars figure it out.

At the administrative bureau, these men deliberate on how to carry out the king’s orders regarding the Hong Hero. Gil-hyun, who is among them, realizes that the places that the Hong Hero has been appearing are the same ones from his investigations in the field; they’re the locations that other people have been disappearing from.

Scholar Song also hears the rumor about the Hong Hero, and he matches up the locations as well. Looking through his copy of the Heng-rok, he realizes that the Hong Hero is going after each member of the Sugwidan.

 
COMMENTS

All right, I know now that Scholar Song be cray-cray, so what is he going to do with this new information? Will he gather the Sugwidan members and appeal to the king, or try to get to the bottom of this himself? Because so far, he’s taken an indirect, passive approach on things, but the mounting level of his passion and paranoia seems to be innately at odds with the patience he’s displayed so far. I want to know what made him that way—and it better be a good reason too, because he’s way too intelligent to be this gung-ho about Sugwidan without having a legitimately traumatic episode behind his passion.

Prior to this episode, Yeonsangun mentioned that Scholar Song was a member of his father’s inner circle, so I’m assuming that past history must have had a lot to do with it. Perhaps he was like Gil-hyun now, so fervently grateful in his loyalty to the king for giving someone lowly like him an opportunity to rise in the ranks that he compensated by espousing this radical ideology on natural social hierarchy. Or maybe he’s just a sadistic psychopath who feels pleasure when oppressing people while pretending to be their moral guide. Either way, Ahn Nae-sang is an amazing actor, and his manic fit at the beginning episode chilled me to the bone with its emotional intensity.

I’m just hoping that Gil-dong has some backup plan, because it doesn’t look like Scholar Song will be an easy opponent. It may be just me, but unfortunately, I’ve stopped connecting with Gil-dong as a character. He has all the tragic family backstory and motivations that make him a sympathetic hero, but something just isn’t clicking with me emotionally. His actions and decisions seem very automatic and one-sided. All that delicious complexity when Amogae was the main protagonist is gone, and I miss it. Even his relationship with Ga-ryung, who is the closest person to him now, just seems mechanical; she’s providing most of the chemistry, and he’s just taking it, which makes for a lopsided onscreen dynamic.

So can you blame me for dipping my pinky toe in the Mori team’s pool? He wasn’t really on my radar until his scene where he killed Heotaehak and revealed the deep source of his twisted nature and also showed the wide range of his emotions. Because I can understand the reasons for his anger and connect with him on that level, I want to root for him a little, despite knowing that he’s a baddie. But who knows? Perhaps he’ll turn over a new leaf and join Gil-dong’s side in the ultimate battle against Yeonsangun. That would make two Mighty Ones pitted against the king with his vast army of resources, and that would be a battle I’d want to see.

 
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I don't know if it's just me but I fee that Rebel is doing a better job at promoting women empowerment than Strong Woman Do Bong Soon. I like how the Ah Mo Gae Avengers' mantra is on delivering justice. The touch on respecting women not because they are weak (as what SWDBS poses) but be because they are human beings with dignity is selling this for me.

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I agree. In Rebel, women are just regular people - strong, weak, influential, poor, confident. They are just human, even within the confines of a society that tells them women must serve their fathers, husbands and sons. Much like in real life.

Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, on the other hand, raises the question of gender/women empowerment, and then makes light of the subject - by using homosexuality as comic fodder and by giving Do Bong Soon a weak personality despite her physical strength. Do Bong Soon is indulged by Min Hyuk - he's giving her a job, an opportunity to learn, he's teaching her how to control her power, he corrects her mistakes (like when she failed to inform Gook Doo that she ran into the serial kidnapper/rapist on the street). He's the one with the smarts, the looks and the money, she's the pretty but poor and inexperienced one.
Essentially, she is following Min Hyuk's lead - and that portrayal of women does nothing for women empowerment.

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I think the 3 moral rules were strictly observed mostly by noble women.

The focus is mostly on the lower class women who seems to have more freedom than the noble women. They move around freely outside of their home where as the noble women were not allowed to be out in public. When permitted, they have to cover their face with a jangot.

It would be nice if the writer would include Hangul because King Sejong gave women a chance to read and write until Yeonsan banned it.
If women were allowed to write the history of Joseon it would have been much easier to translate.

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The romance part between Gil Dong and Ga Ryung is so raw and sincere I found myself crying. I have never felt this way on any drama before. Wow.

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the song during their first night just accentuates it even more! i really hope that ost is released because i'm still not over it

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That song is EPIC! <3 I loved the way the traditional voice blended with Enya-esque music. I wish I knew who the singer is and it will get released in the soundtrack.

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Iam just confused about one thing, according to Wikipedia, Ga Ryung is a widow before she marries/meets Gil Dong. But now they are already married and i don't remember her being a widow. Will it be a flashback?

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The writer doesn't always follow the synopsis especially in sageuks. The script is not finished before the show airs so anything can change.

Gil Dong is Ga-ryung's only husband. If she was married before her hair would be up in a bun at the nape of her neck like how she is wearing it now.

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I agree with you that Ga-ryung seems to be doing most of the 'work' in the relationship, and I wish the show explicitly showed more connections between Gil-dong's actions and his inner thoughts about Ga-ryung. But still, somehow, I felt quite emotional during their scenes, especially when their single tear(s) were streaming down their faces.... it'd just be stronger if Gil-dong put in some more effort and we could understand more of what Gil-dong was thinking (since he seems to have jumped from thinking of Ga-ryung as a sister figure to a lover??)

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Ga-ryung is straight forward and her motivation is clear from day one. She is more dominant when it comes to the romance because she has been trying and waiting for years for Gil Dong to see her as a woman.

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I agree with tineybeanie about the emotional disconnect from Gil Dong. I think it's because of Yoon Kyun Sang, the actor. He's good but comes across as a little raw, and his portrayal is not as nuanced as Chae Soo Bin's or the actor behind Ah Moe Gae.

I've just accepted Gil Dong as a man with a poker face. Hard to understand.

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The character of Gil Dong honestly confuses me a bit because despite being the lead character, he isn't as relatable as the others haha.
I don't know if this is my YKS bias talking but I think he's doing okay? I really enjoyed seeing the change of his expression from goofy to scheming a couple episodes ago.
I do admit that he lacks some subtlety but I chalk that up to inexperience. He hasn't had a lot of complicated roles (the only one he has is in Pinocchio tbh). I'm new to K-drama actors but I think it's pretty early for him to have gotten a lead role.
I'd like to think the disconnect is partly due to the writing deliberately being opaque with Gil Dong's character. I'm still hoping we get more depth in the future (perhaps after he "dies"?). The story so far has been focusing on so many other things so it's like the plot is what's moving Gil Dong's character, and not vice versa. Maybe that's why they changed the title to Rebel rather than Hong Gil Dong? This story so far is so much about how society worked in that time, Ah Mo Gae (for the first half), the repercussions of Ah Mo Gae's actions, and the Hong family. It's not solely Gil Dong's story so his character has been taking the backseat so far.

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I feel like YKS is as good as his material - in dramas where he's had something to work with (Pinocchio), he's always delivered, but he's not the type of actor who can triumph over a plot turn that essentially gives him very little of his character to show/turns him opaque the way Gil-dong's been these last couple of eps.

Which is why the wedding night scene was vital, because for once it's an insight into Gil-dong the man and not Gil-dong the boss making schemes and giving orders. And YKS nailed it there. I just hope the writers give him more to work with from now on, because Boss Gil-dong mode is in danger of getting a bit one-note.

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That moment when they revealed that Mori seemed like having a huge crush on Ga Ryung and that he is another Mighty Child: it felt like a nuclear bomb just exploded in my mind. I seriously had never imagined that it would coming. I kept asking to myself: "What was that? Why? How? When?"
And then they showed me those epic battle scene between Gil Dong and Mo Ri, those sweet wedding scene, those satisfying feeling when the Hong clan is on their mission.

Are you trying to ruin my sanity, writer-nim?

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Yep. Mind blown. Two Mighty Childs? And gah, his crush on Ga Ryung is unexpected, slightly cute, and very dangerous for my sanity. I'm supposed to root for Gil Dong, not emo eyeliner Mori!

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*Mighty Children! :P

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Two Mighty Children should combine their strengths. I want the baddie Mori to turn to the good side,but seeing him has a crush on Ga Ryung gave me worries! lol.

I don't know who is having more strength than whom, or are both them equally strong. Park Bo Young should cameo as the third Mighty Child ? lmao.

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Mori is more skilled since he's been training all this time.
Gil Dong needs to up his game by going through harsh training with routines such as doing sit-ups while hanging upside down to scoop up water in tiny teacups to fill a bucket at the top of his feet or something to catch up to Mori. Preferably with guidance from Master Hong (Yonggae)

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I have a soft corner for Mori even if he's dangerous and (almost certainly, given that vision of Ga-ryung) delusional.

In another drama, I'd root for this as my twisted wrongness ship, but I'm too into Ga-ryung and Gil-dong for it in this drama.

Also, I love that Ga-ryung is the one being so open about her feelings and desires for Gil-dong, and that she was the one to not only confess her feelings first, but propose! That's not a common dynamic in kdramas, and is one of the things that really saves her arc for me - she's not passive in love.

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You expressed my emotions perfectly!!!

And it was so crazy how the writer sneaked in some foreshadowing with that bit that Mori's dad had tried to kill him when he was young!!! This writer never fails to amaze me :)

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haha, when Mori's soft-focus flashback of Ga-ryung threatening him with a rock turned up, I was cackling my head off - I remember some of us had speculated they might be siblings, but that theory is good and shot now. Also, whoa @TWO mighty children! I know they dropped the hint way back when Mori talked about how his father tried to kill him, but still.

I love the Hong clan being avengers for real, but I hope we get more Gil-dong/Ga-ryung interactions, not least because it serves to ground him as a character in the absence of his family.

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I was right in thinking Gil-dong would be the husband. The description of Ga-ryung wanting to avenge her husband's death threw me off at first but now I'm interested in finding out how she comes to believe Gil-dong is dead and how we end up at the events in the opening scene with her tied to a post.

Mori is turning out to be a pleasant surprise. I thought he was just a pretty face, but the actor is turning in an excellent performance (especially the scenes when his adopted father turned on him; you could see the pain in is eyes).

I didn't notice any disconnect that others did with Gil-dong's relationship with Ga-ryung. But maybe I was just too happy seeing them together to notice anything negative. I've shipped them since day one. I just wish they had a little more time to spend together as a married couple before he had to leave.

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Ga-ryung's face when Gil-dong moved the table out from between them . . . kyaaaa! SO CUTE!!

Gil-dong's smile at her reaction . . . kyaaaa! SO CUTE AGAIN!

They are both so cute together!!!

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So cute indeed ! I just want them to be happy like that.
It's sad that they only said their goodbye to each other (without even a hug..) when it might be her last time seeing him

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At this point, I actually think the official character description for Ga-ryung has gone out of the window and I wouldn't be surprised if the supposed revenge arc doesn't happen at all, since they dawdled so long in establishing feelings between her and Gil-dong in the first place (seriously, what a waste, YKS and CSB have fantastic chemistry - but better late than never).

All I know is that now she's married, the stake scene can't be too far away. Double irony that Mori has a big ol' crush on her, since it looks like he's the one who tied her to the stake in that first scene to begin with.

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re: Gil-dong being the husband, that's also to be expected - when Mori had Ga-ryung at the stake, he told Gil-dong he'd kill 'your woman', so given her hairstyle at the time, I assumed she was either married to Gil-dong or in a relationship with him, if the widow thing was still true.

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Once she followed Gil Dong there was no way she would end up with someone else. It wouldn't have made much sense.

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yeah, that's why I wondered about it right from episode 5 or 6 when she had the very obvious crush on Gil-dong and followed him home. I think we all knew or guessed by then there wasn't going to be any other husband for Ga-ryung.

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I do remember you mentioning it and I think that's why we thought that she might have had a noble background.

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Along with @mysterious, I also didnt notice any disconnect between Gildong and Garyung! If anything, I felt like he was trying to hide his feelings by claiming her as his sister and the problems with Pervert Prince and his missing sister were good distractors to his feelings as well.

I love how this story overlaps with the actual legend! Instead of actually being able to duplicate himself, the legendary Hong Gil Dong is in essence all of the Hong clan avenging the people while trying to find Eorini!

And did anyone else laugh when the Hong clan started their avenger deeds with those masks that cover nothing?? I feel like it was meant to be a cool factor but I couldn't help but laugh teehee

Last but not least, MORI!!! Gah.... if only you weren't on the dark side.... but if you weren't you wouldn't have the Guyliner of Evil either.... so torn but I love him either way! The crush on Garyung was super random but I'm sure it'll be used well by this writer in the future.

Mori, as much as you are the bad guy, I hope you come out of this drama with a happy ending!

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I have so many things to agree on on your post! What you said about the story overlaps with the legend is spot on.

Btw, I don't know if it was just me, but did Mori's emo guyliner of evil disappear after he's beaten Gil Dong? Is that supposed to signify anything? :D

And those masks are ridiculous yet I can't help but think that they fit our Hong Avengers to a T! XD And the montage of them punishing the yangban and helping the poor was a Moment of Awesome.

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- If you had not followed me, you could have met a much greater man and could be living a great life. If you had not meet me, you would not have had such a shabby wedding.
- I would have followed you wherever you went. How could I not follow the great man in the whole world? If you had not met me, you would have fallen for one of the pretty ladies you sold things to.
- Of all the ladies I met, none were as pretty as the one I am looking at.
- If I had not followed you, by now, you would be maried a beautiful woman.
- Ga Ryung ah, from now on, I am you.
More
Even when I am not around, my heart will be filled with only you. I promise.

Truly pretty.

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LOVEDDDD this conversation!!! Also I'm not exactly sure why but the bit where he says "I am you" kind of touched me. Instead of the typical "I am yours and you are mine" there was something a bit deeper? So sad to see them apart so soon though ?

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I don't know whether it was an issue with the literal translation, but I felt that line really meant 'I'm yours' in spirit.

Those two really need to have more skinship, their chemistry is wonderful.

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I think that it was meant to have the "I'm yours" in spirit but I feel like the literal translation "I am you,"was done on purpose by the writer to differentiate this line from the typical kdrama line which I may be reading into too much but hehe that's why I love sageuks!

I have to admit, the lack of skinship is something I always long for in sageuks but when it happens, it makes the moment that much more special, right?? Now that they are apart, I have a feeling we are going to see a lot more looking-off-into-the-distance cuts of both of them longing for each other ?

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Thank you for recapping, tineybeanie!

What does "Hengrok" mean, and what is its significance? Is it a slave register?

And what does "Geoin" mean? According to the KissAsian subtitles, it means "cart," which must be some kind of code. Perhaps it indicates moles or other undercover agents set in place to spy, sabotage, etc.

It was surprising enough to learn that Eunuch Kim Shorty is probably a Mighty Child, but the revelation that Mori is one, also, came completely out of left field. Who woulda thunk it?! So now there are three Mighty Children running around Joseon?!

Jo Jeong-hak finally pulled rank on Mommy Dearest. And she couldn't rebut him. Yay!

As for the revenge he plotted with Choongwongoon, it was sneaky and underhanded -- exactly the kind of low-class behavior that Song Sabu nixed. For someone who normally maintains an almost inscrutable poker face, Gil-dong surely ran full-tilt into their trap.

It was especially satisfying to see Song Sabu blow his top. The guy is thoroughly delusional. What makes him think that the present king will confer with him as an advisor as the late king had done? It cracks me up to see him so utterly convinced that there is a shadowy entity purposely coming between him and the king. It's all in your fevered mind, buck-o.

That scene of Mori bashing the tree and causing it to splinter and collapse reminded me of little HGD splitting the boulder with a rock and embedding a rock in a tree trunk when his mother was knocked down by Horny Uncle. Choongwongoon's henchman is incredibly strong -- even stronger than HGD. I couldn't help but wonder why thinking about feisty Ga-ryung was boosting his strength. Maybe she's a Mighty Child, too. Har. (Does it say anywhere that a Mighty Child cannot be female?)

Is it possible that Gil-dong has had to pull his punches for so long that he's losing his strength? I'm hoping he's just out of practice, or was discombobulated because of the BS that Choongwongoon was telling him about his sister. This is the kind of distraction that can get him killed.

I'm glad Gil-dong and Ga-ryung finally tied the knot.

Gil-hyun has his finger on the pulse of the nation, and has noticed the pattern of locations where the masked man shows up. If only a certain copy of that incriminating evidence of yangbang mistreatment of citizens were to find its way into the chief inspector's hands.

It's nearly 3:30AM on the East Coast and I'm turning into a pumpkin. Time to hit the hay. I'll be back later to continue the discussion.

Oh, and don't take any wooden nickels -- it's April Fool's Day. ;-)

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I think Gil Dong was unabled to defeat Mori because he was still shocked by Eorini's news and the fact that there's someone other than him who also has immense power.

Anyway, did Gil Dong forget about how Mori defeated him on their fight? He didn't even mention it to his hyungs. The only thing that he remember soon after he woke up was Eorini. And the Hongs didn't even ask Gildong about it. After knowing that Gildong has such inhuman power, at least they had to be curious about who was the dangerous person whom abled to beat Gil Dong. Or did I miss something here?

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Was Mori still there when the Avengers came? I had an impression that they didn't know that Mori was there and thought Gil Dong just passed out after using his power. The editing was a bit rushed in those scene, so I didn't get a sense of how much time has passed in between...

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@latteholic,

I got the impression that Choongwongoon called to Mori to get him out of there, and the two of them were gone by the time the rest of the Hongs arrived.

I wouldn't bet the ranch on it, but I don't think much time elapsed between their leaving and the Amogae Avengers' arrival. Their battle with Jeong-hak's detachment of soldiers could not have been very far away if their leader were staking out Choongwongoon's house.

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@keiru,

Those are all good questions and sharp observations.

From the very beginning, we've seen that Gil-dong loses consciousness and his memory when his powers surge (although less often now that he's older). It's not clear to me if the amnesia is only temporary and he later recalls events during berserker mode.

It surprises me that none of the Hongs said anything about HGD's being out cold and the wall knocked down behind him. Given that they'd just come from fighting Jeong-hak's troops, they might not have had time to put two and two together. Maybe this will be addressed in a future flashback?

If HGD doesn't recall that Mori has bested him -- and Eunuch Shorty has too -- he'll be in grave danger, as will the rest of the crew. I still think that he purposely refrained from bracing against Shorty's flying kick in an effort to maintain deniability of his powers.

Which raises another question: How is Shorty going to react to the news that there's a new Mighty Child in town? And how is he going to find out? I can't imagine that he'll be jumping for joy that Choongwongoon has a Mighty Child on his payroll.

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It is said that hendrik

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Ah, my phone error, I haven't finished my comments yet accidentally I hit the submit comment button instead. If only I can erase this comment.

I meant to reply about Hengrok. I don't know anything about hengrok except what've been mentioned in the drama as a book that compile all those horrible example of "moral values" but I predict Geoin is group of all those missing family from Gilhyun investigation scroll since they have synchronized location. What I catch from this episodes is Geoin is a group that against Sugwidan. And the first Sugwidan told the Hongs that Geoin is hiding themselves well. This somehow connected with the case of dead brother in the episode before. If its true, Geoin is all people who have grudge against nobles also royals. And I think they will be the "people" that Gildong stole according to the title. They will be the people behind the gate that Gildong defend together in the first episode.

And another prediction of mine, since Eorini is mentioned as Geoin, maybe, that assistant of Scholar Song is secretly Geoin. He put Eorini into safe and mentioned nothing about her to Scholar Song and Joonghak. He actually become his assistant since Scholar Song probably the highest ranking Sugwidan that need to be watched all the time.

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Your predictions sound very likely! I usually go to one of the websites that has this subbed faster on the day it's released. Just this week I re-watch this on Viki after it's fully subbed and found that translation slightly differ. The translation from Viki makes sense more for the Geoin to be a group of people that are against the nobels/royals.
And it would be interesting as well if the assistant is a Geoin. I've been wondering since the end of episode 17 on why the assistant keeps mum about Eorini. This could be one of the reasons!

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@latteholic,

Watching the Viki subtitles helped with my comprehension, too.

I agree that there are more factions at play than initially met the eye. Now I'm wondering why Eorini was sent to the palace.

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Thanks for your clarifications. After I watched the Viki version, it was easier for me to follow what was happening.

"Haeng-rok" is a generic term for a diary or log book. Gotcha. We don't find out whose it is until Ilchung reads from the title page.

It occurs to me that the Sugwidan are Song Sabu's "banners" who exercise their "teaching responsibilities" to a sadistic degree.

"Geoin" (cart or wheelbarrow, depending on the subtitles) seems to be code. I'm still confused as to how Eorini ended up being listed in the Haeng-rok, as it appears that the porter/boatman/spy who kidnapped her never actually turned her over to Choongwongoon or Song Sabu.

To backtrack a bit, I jumped to the conclusion that the Hongs were already spiriting oppressed people away from bad masters, but that is not the case. When Song Sabu was frothing at the mouth that someone was trying to get in between him and Yeonsangun, he seemed to be attributing political motivation to Gil-dong & Co. Now it makes more sense.

There is at least one more faction working behind the scenes. Song Sabu's close-mouthed spy at the gibang is actually a fifth-columnist / double agent who has infiltrated his organization. Who is he working for? The late Lord Noh's faction at court? Eunuch Kim Shorty (protecting the king)? Another shadowy faction that has been keeping an eye on Amogae's group since they became the big players in Ikhwari? Yet another faction? Whoever they are, they have to have the skills and resources to secretly liberate and relocate a large number of people.

Maybe the spy, like Gil-dong himself, is the boss of the operation. Appearing as a low-level functionary is a great way to hide in plain sight. Hiding Eorini as a maid in the palace under an assumed name looks like a good way to keep her out of Choongwongoon's and Song Sabu's clutches. Until the king goes off the deep end.

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"What does “Hengrok” mean, and what is its significance? Is it a slave register?"

I think it's spelled Haengrok. It's probably some kind of journal or travel log that Joseon people kept during their travels. Same kind of records that envoys would keep. It sounds like it's compiled, published and distributed by certain group of scholars. We only saw Choong-won and Scholar song with copies of the same records.

It's relation to Gil Hyun's travel journal is completely similar but I don't think he wrote it because he would have known that Eorini is still alive or have met her in person.

I could be completely wrong here but this is just my guess.

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Geoin sounds like a specific task performed by a group of people and Eorini was one of them.

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Thanks, Kiara!

I feel at such a disadvantage being unable to read hanja.

The impression I get is that Haeng-rok is a privately-circulated record with an innocuous-sounding title -- kind of like someone's day planner, but for an entire organization. So far we've only seen Choongwongoon's and Song Sabu's copies, so it's not clear to me how the various far-flung Sugwidan come to know about each other's actions. Maybe they each have a copy.

The mysterious term "Geoin" is probably supposed to be code. Has Eorini been planted at court to accomplish a mission, or was she simply being relocated to a place where her pursuers cannot get to her?

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We are always at the mercy of the subbers when it comes to small details. I do appreciate their work and I know that it's not going to be perfect.
Back in the days, The WITHS2 sub squad were the most accurate but sadly they are not around any more.

Thank you for your thoughts. You gave me a lot to think about.

It is obvious that these incidents ended up in the Annals of Joseon (the official history book) so the Haeng-rok (s) was important since the official historiographers were getting their information from it.
Some translations from the Annals were quotes taken straight from news articles so I wonder if the Haeng-rok was some kind of political newspaper or like today's Korea Herald etc.
Crimes, politics and weather reports etc were as newsworthy back then as it is now.
Maybe the reason why it was circulating among the scholars is because they were able to read it. The general public only understood Hangul.

“Geoin” I have no clue. You are probably right here.

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@Kiara,

Thanks for the reminder that we viewers are all indebted to the translators of subtitles. Dealing with antique court language has to be even more difficult than translating medical lingo or legalese. I say this as a trained translator myself. No way would I attempt to translate the German equivalent of Shakespeare into modern English. My hat is off to anyone who takes on the challenges of the art form that is subtitling. -- And yes, I am a huge fan of Written In The Heavens Subbing Squad's work. When watching vintage Kdramas, their subs are the ones I seek out. Their translator's notes are invaluable.

Thanks for mentioning that the incidents were reported in both the Annals of Joseon and the Haeng-rok. The entries sound like items in my local weekly newspaper's column entitled "Police Blotter" -- which contains everything from motor vehicle accidents to burglaries, scams, and drug busts. It's easy to forget that news traveled a lot more slowly back in those days, and that there were far fewer published outlets.

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I think I'll have to agree with you, tinybeanie. I feel more for other characters than Gil Dong and it shouldn't be this way.

For the first time, I imagined what if another actor played Gil Dong when I was watching this episode. I didn't watch the earlier versions of Gil Dong but this kind of robin hood, vigilante heroes should have easily won our hearts.

I like Yoon Kyun Sang but he's overshadowed by many good actors in this drama. Ahn Nae Sang can sometimes be just cruising in his roles(he's so experienced) but he's fantastic here.

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That's what I am thinking too. He is lucky Kim Sang Joong is no longer around, otherwise this show probably will be Amogae's show until the end. I do acknowledge YKS is not that experienced is sageuk yet, it is just that I want to root for him and Gil Dong but I just unable to do so, yet. I am also surprised how much I like Mori lately.

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ET ~

The cast does have a lot of experienced actors, which in turn helps makes the story so enjoyable. It's not a slam on YKS, however, our lead character's acting isn't as finely honed as his cast mates. Still enjoying the show though.

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Storytelling is great but some characters are not well written. The experienced veterans always do more with what they are given. Some actors aren't made for sageuks and some new actors to the genre needs time to break in.

I didn't expect much so I hope it's a good learning experience for our young leads.

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Two Mighty Children!!! That's epic!
I hope the Shaman lady that appeared to Gil Dong will also appear to Mori to warn him about using his super powers for the good otherwise he will die. That way he will be convinced and switch to the good side, joining the Hong Bandits then take down the evil Scholar Song & Co together and have a happy ending. ?

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This episode earned them the highest viewers rating yet. However, at the revelation that Mori is another Mighty Child, one of the top comment in Naver is - that the story has gone to the mountains.

Personally, I feel like Eunuch Kim was too much and then Mori too... isn't it a bit convenient? This is a plot hole in my eye but then again, I am so in love with Rebel that I am going to overlook this. In fact, I am sad that the top comment is a negative one, because I don't want our actors and staff to feel down because of that. I want them to do their best!

Also, the dialogues exchange between the newly weds before the kiss is so sweet and sincere. I love the look of happiness on their faces. The single guys outside are crazy though, I especially did not expect Ilchung to be joining the battle of who get to peek lol.

Unlike some of you, I am totally buying Gil-ryung couple romance. Gil-dong is normally serious but he always spoke softly to Ga-ryung, listen attentively when she talks, lets her do what she wants, prevents him from doing house chores/lifting heavy loads...I think if he still has a feeling for Gong-hwa he would've asked more about this woman Nok-soo upon hearing her name (as he also knows that this woman is a gisaeng) but he did not, so I'm sure he's all Ga-ryung's now :)

P/S: I do think it makes sense that Mori is a Mighty Child actually. That would make it clear why it is Mori vs Gil-dong in that opening scene: both are opponents of the same strength. Otherwise we would have the King vs Gil-dong. I do have an issue with HOW his power is awoken though - just because he fell in love? That's a bit... That's why I think it's a bit convenient.

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I thought it was interesting that his power is awoken by love actually. At first I thought that he's been suppressing it as he lacked love in his childhood. And it takes him to feel love for someone to have that awaken again.
But now when I think of the moments that Gil Dong are in his Mighty Child mode, it usually happens when he's trying to protect someone he loves or when he thought/got affected by someone he loves (Uhrini,Ga Ryung). So love seems to be the trigger to activate the dormant power...

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That might be the case, I agree. It'll be more convincing if he got his power back from trying to protect his father figure Heotaehak more than when he realises he fell for someone on the first sight though....anyway, like I say, I'm willing to eat whatever this writer cook cuz I am still so addicted to this drama :)

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But Ga Ryung is more lovable than Heotaehak.. :D
I'm with you. This is the only drama I'm following right now and I'm enjoying it immensely :D

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That wedding scene is love! I guess that is how you would do a budget DIY wedding in Joseon. I have been watching the BTS and apparently everyone just ad-libbed through the whole scene :D

I think enkeys pointed out that it has been confirmed that Jung Da Bin is Uhrini. But why are we still doing the who is Uhrini game? I guess until the other girl tells us her name and they stop picking up that purple ribbon at the same time. I will continue to prepare myself for any twists the writer will bring [but for real, this is getting dangerously close to the kind of trolling the Answer Me series writer would do].

As for Gil-dong, I guess I'm biased, so I'm still rooting for him. But it's true that he's been kind of one note and dull since he became the leader of the band. I don't know if it's because the writer wants to make his character more serious or mysterious, but we rarely see his thoughts in the open. So it's kinda hard to connect to him. However, I personally think that he was interesting as Footstool and also as the cheeky flirty Gil Dong in the earlier episodes, and he's just puddle of love when he's with Ga Ryung (I swear this ship has consumed my life).

Anyway I'm looking forward to next episodes! Maybe we will finally get the brothers reunion as Gil-hyun sets off to investigate the case of Hong Chum Jin!

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You are right, we are sure Jung Da Bin is playing Uhrini, but this show keeps hinting about some relationship between these two girls. We haven't know the other girl's name yet, right? This girl could be more dangerous, I foresee a possibility she will back stabbing Uhrini later. I hope this drama would tell us more the connection between these two girls, guessing is fun but not so fun if we wait for several weeks for the answer.

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The only explanation I can think of is that like some knets predicted, we are going to have some mistaken identity case in the future. Both the spy (the baddies) and Gil-dong (our Hong clan) knows whoever has the ribbon is Eorini. I hope the baddies got the wrong girl though, although I hope they don't do any bad thing to any of the girls. It'll be too much if Gil-dong has to go through Ga-ryung being taken as hostage AND Eorini on top of that, his cry after waking up in this episode is already too much for me, writer-nim should really have Gil-dong and Eorini meet soon!

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@latteholic - that's it exactly, since Gil-dong became the sole boss and Amogae died, I feel like the show has stuck Gil-dong in the 'boss' box for a bit too long because he hardly gets to have any interactions that aren't centred around work/planning things. If it wasn't for the wedding night scene, he'd have lost me too. But Ga-ryung and Gil-dong's interactions after developing mutual feelings make everything better.

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"Prior to this episode, Yeonsangun mentioned that Scholar Song was a member of his father’s inner circle, so I’m assuming that past history must have had a lot to do with it."

Scholar Song belongs to the Neo Confucian (Sarim faction) group of scholars who were called Seonbi, currently resides in the countryside.
In order to try and understand them we'd go back to Goryeo to Yi Saek and Jeong Mong-ju, some of the first Korean scholars to study Confucianism in Yuan (China). The very group of scholars who were against the establishment of Joseon because they refuse to serve 2 dynasties.

Yi Saek was Jeong Mong-ju and Jeong Do-jeon's teacher. Jeong Do-jeon was seen by his fellow colleagues as the apostate one, the mastermind behind Goryeo's demised and Joseon's establishment.
Jeong Mong-ju was seen as the pillar of loyalty who was killed by Lee Bang-won in order to establish Joseon.
(Those of you who watched SFD or the more historic based "Jeong Do-jeon" should remember this).

The country Seonbi scholars of the Sarim faction, revered scholars like Jeong Mong-ju.
Minister Noh and the powerful Hungu faction were probably descendants of the merit subjects who helped Jeong Do-jeon and Yi Seong-gye established Joseon and later were supporters of King Sejo (Yeonsan's grandfather who usurped the throne from his young nephew). That's why he listened to them and purged the other faction.

The Seonbi scholars: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seonbi
Sounds a lot like Scholar Song except we don't see any deep sympathy for the hardships of the common class.
(Maybe the writer omit it so they seems like the villains here?)
In other sources, they are described as being different from scholar bureaucrats in the capital. Their conflicts with each other led to the First Literati Purge of 1498 by Yeonsangun.
-they mastered Chinese classics
-had idealistic moral
-dedicated to teaching and influencing the youth in the countryside etc.

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Yeonsangun's father King Seongjong brought the Sarim scholars to his court to balance out the Hungu faction who held most of the power.
Most of them held position in the "Office of Special Advisers."

In the drama, Yeonsan granted Scholar Song a favor and mentioned that he was once an adviser to his father. I think the real reason he did it was because he wanted his relative Prince Choong-won to be released from exile.

I guess after serving Yeonsan's father, Scholar Song retired to the countryside and continue teaching.

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Kiara,

Thanks so much for the political background regarding the Hungu and Sarim factions, along with the Seonbi information. It really helps make the unfolding conflict more intelligible.

Although I recently watched SIX FLYING DRAGONS, and am in the midst of viewing TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS, I have to admit that keeping track of all the players and factions is a bit much for my memory. (Old dog, new tricks.) Many thanks for the refresher. I needed it. ;-)

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I forgot to mention that I am re watching this show again with my sister. She's usually very quiet because she's new to kdramas. She made few comments, however, up till ep. 5 which are:
1) She hated the OST 'If spring comes' by An Ye-eun. She said it sounds weird (not sure the music or the voice cuz An Ye-eun has a pretty unique voice).
2) She said Monk Ilchung looks like Kim Jong-kook (Runningman).
3) I asked her to guess Yoon Kyun-sang's age and she said 23. (FYI he's 31 korean age, Chae Soo-bin is 24 korean age)

OTT but I think her observations are cute :3

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YKS looks quite young for his actual age. Previously I thought he was like in the middle of 20s until I know his actual age lol.

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YKS has a baby face, I remember noting it when he was playing Lee Jong-seok's hyung in Pinocchio. You wouldn't think from just looking at them that there's a 7 year age gap between him and Chae Soo-bin.

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I think some of the disconnect between Gil-Dong and the audience (or at least us) is that the heroics should have started by episode 8, not 18. We have also done so little with the 'Mighty Child' powers that they might as well not have even been in it. We are over half-way through the series and Hong Gil-Dong has only JUST started to act like "Hong Gil-Dong".

The director(s) effort to ground Hong Gil-Dong's story in reality has unintentionally robbed it of its charm. For all the silliness of Strongest Chil Wool, within the first two episodes we had our main dressing in his glorious Zorro costume and beating bad guys with his whip. Meanwhile Hong Gil-Dong, the hero of the people, by episode 15 in a 30 episode series is...playing bitch-work to the King. I signed up for a period-piece super-hero story, not a period-piece rendition of the Godfather, starring discount Michael Corleone.

That's not to say I'm in danger of dropping the series; the story is very interesting thus far, excellent use of supporting cast and music, but...at this pace, this could stand to be a good 10 episodes longer. At this rate, Gil-Dong does some things that are vaguely heroic, going through the motions, then suddenly his sister is alive so "TIME TO BE A HERO PROPER WITH 12 EPISODES TO GO! GOT TO HURRY UP AND GET THROUGH THAT SO WE CAN HAVE A CONFRONTATION WITH THE KING!"

For God's sake, Gil-Dong and the King haven't even met or had confrontations yet. This is arguably the most villainous king in Korean history, in a story about a folk-hero who supported the common people; how do you fuck this dynamic up?

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I have to agree with everything you said @gambitfan. I'm happy with the story thus far but I too, am starting to worry that 30 episodes will be enough to cover all...

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*will not be enough*

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+1

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I feel like the disconnect is also partly the lack of Gil-dong connecting on a personal level with any other character in the story (other than Ga-ryung and Mo-ri now) as he steps into the role of the Elder of their clan. Like the wedding night scene with Ga-ryung was the first we were seeing in a while of him speaking as himself and not the Ikhwari clan boss/figurehead. That and threatening Choongwongoon when he lied about Uhrini's death. Meanwhile Gil-hyun doesn't have that but we do see more of the effects of his job and circumstances on him personally.

He needs to find his sibllings, especially Gil-hyun, and quickly.

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Feels like their good deeds was made possible by their discovery that Eorini is still alive thanks to Choong-won.

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I still think this is a great drama and I loved this episode but I see what you're saying about the pacing. The funny thing is that keeping Amogae around to grant the viewer's wishes probably contributed to delay the proper start of Gil Dong's heroics (or maybe the writer had everything planned this way, who knows).

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oops this was supposed to go as a reply to Gambitfan

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for some reason my replies aren't going in the right place, and this is late, but I have to say - I love the wedding scene, and the wedding night scene even more.

@tineybeanie - I know what you mean about feeling like we can't quite connect to Gil-dong, and I feel like that's partly because in the absence of his family, he's stepped into the role of a figurehead and boss, and I feel like that takes over from him as a person, if that makes sense?

Which brings me back to the scenes with Ga-ryung, and especially the wedding night scene - he's not Hong Gil-dong the Great Elder there, he's very much Gil-dong the young man. And I loved that it was handled so tenderly, the buildup to finally having Gil-dong recognise his feelings might have been lacking but Yoon Kyun-sang and Chae Soo-bin's chemistry covers for it because I just want to see them together. (also total swoon moment when he told her he was hers now - nice way of confirming he wasn't just marrying her out of obligation and that he wasn't still in love with absent Gong-hwa).

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Wow, this time I'm late to the party, only to find out that this whole thread is mostly about Yoon Kyun-sang's acting. Hm, I actually came to talk about something else, but Yoon Kyun-sang it shell be then.

Yes Yoon Kyun-sang is not a charismatic actor. Yoon Kyun-sang is a technical actor. He is good at that. He is probably even very good at that. He also improved since his Six Flying Dragons.

But does this character require technical or charismatic acting? - I honestly don't know. It's also difficult to say, because it also depends of the personal preference of each viewer.
What I can say is, that every actor would struggle with this character. A charismatic one would make us let the character feel more like a character even when he is so unclear written like here, but then we would start to think about the character not as the character anymore but as the actor. Even a veteran when faced with this character would have problems to approach it, because Kiara is right, a veteran will make more from the little he is given, but the problem here is not that there is little given, but that there is given to much. It's because to everything the writer has already tried to incorporate in the character and the story he also tried to add the complete character development from the I Ching. And while the original Hong Gil-dong follows the inner way of the I Ching without compromising his character (if the I Ching even is incorporated in Hong Gil-dong. It is assumed that it is, because Heo Gyun was a fan of it, but since Heo Gyun authorship of the Hong Gil-dong story is discussed...), the writer of the drama didn't manage to write that journey so smoothly. He/she is more or less just showing the main points of the journey but doesn't show the way that leads there. So basically we have another Hong Gil-dong every other episode.

I still like the writer and director team. I don't think the writer is bad at all. He/she sadly made a mistake that now costs him/her. If they (writer and director) will make another sageuk again I will surely check it out.

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P.S.: We also lingered to long on the parts where Gil-dong had no dreams and no life goals anymore... I do think that will change in the next episodes because when he finds his place in the world dreams and life goals will come back and we as the audience will have something we can root for him to accomplish.

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@Liina,

I don't know anything about the original author's depiction of Hong Gil-dong, and am intrigued to learn of the character's following the inner way of the I Ching. Fascinating.

What has stuck in the back of my mind is this: After the move to Ikhwari, Gil-dong just wanted to become a peddler, and Amogae was fine with him following that career path. If he had not happened to be back home at the time Heo Tae-hak and his thugs attacked Amogae, I sincerely doubt that Gil-dong would have followed in his father's footsteps. He had already gotten Dad to agree to step down and move to a farming area with him. His dream was to farm in peace and quiet. Maybe that is still his deepest wish in his heart of hearts.

If things had turned out differently, Gil-hyun would have carried on the family business. But since he was missing in action, Gil-dong was it.

After HGD's reunion with Magistrate Eom and his father, he was drawn back into the outlaw life as Amogae's sole surviving heir. He got the band back together, and exacted revenge upon Choongwongoon. I don't consider wreaking vengeance to be a career path. I think it's what had to be done by any self-respecting adult male at that time.

Returning to Amogae's old stomping grounds in Ikhwari was more deference to his father, as was accepting the mantle to lead and watch out for the Hong clan. In his own outlaw way, HGD was a truly filial son, but he was not following his own path in life, and had not been for years and years.

I can't help but wonder if he will ultimately somehow manage to fake his own death, save Ga-ryung, and fade back into the anonymity of the countryside to farm and raise his family in peace. -- But before that happens, the Mighty Child will have to put up his dukes in the pending political upheaval.

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@PakalanaPikake - that's a pretty accurate summing-up of it, and good point that Gil-dong was never the one meant to follow in his father's footsteps/only ended up doing so because Gil-hyun was missing.

At this point their endings are still up in the air - as the first scene showed us, we cannot take it for granted that Gil-dong and Co. will ride off into the sunset, and there's a high chance Ga-ryung will die, or that they'll all die in their last stand against a tyrannical system like the heroes of a certain recent sci-fi movie that also featured a ragtag bunch of literal rebels taking on an evil empire.

I actually enjoy that possible unpredictability, I feel like dramas are more fun when you can't stand at the beginning or midway and guess at their stories all the way to the end.

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@pogo,

Writer-nim has been so adroitly misdirecting our attention that I figure there will be more plot twists in the remaining third of the show.

Call me a wimp, but I'm really not up for a full-blown tragedy. However, I'm not about to abandon ship, either. I'll just have to buckle my seat belt and hope for the best.

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@PakalanaPikake: I'm trying to make you a summarize about some of the discussions and background infos to the Story of Hong Gil-dong. I'm not an expert on it either. But it is a story that really is close to my heart, so I do think I will have one or two infos to share that might be interesting to you. I'm trying to finish it soon so hopefully I will be able to post it in the comment sections of one of the next episodes recaps.

And by the way: thank you for sharing your thoughts about the drama with us. Some of your comments helped me a lot to brings some sense into aspects of it I was confused about.

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Aloha, Liina!

Thank you so much! I look forward to reading any and all background information on HGD you contribute to the recap threads. Understanding the "classic" form of the story makes it possible to appreciate the twists and variations that Writer-nim has been weaving in from the very beginning.

Please know that I deeply appreciate your generosity, and the time and effort it takes to research, organize, and write up the information. -- That applies to all the recappers and Beanies who share their knowledge, passion for history, ability to read hanja, enthusiasm for Kdrama, etc., in these and other threads I've been immersed in while live-watching for the past year or so. I've been blessed to meet so many lovely correspondents. Discussing with you in the recap threads has been as much fun as watching the dramas themselves.

Oh, and you're most welcome! I'm happy to know that my comments have been helpful.

For the record: I was excited to pieces when I first learned that REBEL was in the works. THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK-HYANG was the "sageuk that got me hooked" on Kdramas, and I loved how Writer-nim developed many memorable characters in that show, not to mention plot twists that kept me guessing. I have every reason to expect that she'll continue to do likewise in REBEL.

It occurs to me that I left something out of 19.1.1:

IMHO, the title REBEL doesn't actually refer to the individual Hong Gil-dong so much as to the collective Hong clan with HGD as a figurehead. Later they all use the nom de guerre "Hong Chum Ji." The original rebel was Amogae, whose desperate efforts to save his little son set his criminal enterprises in motion. It is no surprise to me that Amogae dominated the story, and continues to cast a long shadow.

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@Liina - I agree (comment no 20 was meant to be in response to your comment, sorry)

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I have to agree i felt disconnect with HGD after he lost his sister and found his father. I donno but perhaps, YKS acting is not as depth and intense as it should be. I pictured more of young capable actor in saeguk such as Yoo Seoung Ho or Yoon Si Yoon. I have disonnect him more after the 4 years gap when I find the writing is arent clear on his motivation, plans and aims. What did they actually do/aim on that 4 years. I found nothing build except he provide for the King and then come the stories of the mask man without giving us any foundation and proper stories of the mask man just a glimpse of the nobleman tell us what happen. I'm so confused during that one episodes. After his father died, I'm quite lost what direction he is aimed. Revenge? or Protecting the people or building the nation with the king? Since that I become more disconnected. But episode 18 pick up. But still YKS is very lacking. we will see. The most intense and raw emotion is when he lost his sister during the fight and cliff. That was heart-breaking.

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I have to agree on this - Gil-dong needs to feel more like he has a personal stake in delivering justice where the system won't. I feel like since Amogae's death, the writing has had Gil-dong mainly in boss/planning mode, and combined with the decision to make him inscrutable, has led to him closing off a bit (I agree with the assessment that this feels like a difficult character to write as well as to portray, but I really can't see anyone but Yoon Kyun-sang as Gil-dong here. I cant really think of anyone in his age group who actually could get that combination of innocence and seriousness right).

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Imo, the director and Yoon Kyun-sang's acting style actually match very well. I wouldn't have liked to miss that combination for nothing in the world either. There are scenes in that drama that I haven't seen filmed like that with a younger actor for ages! There are also certain things, Yoon Kyun-sang is doing here that I even didn't know were possible to do acting wise. I honestly wasn't all that happy with the casting in the beginning. It was more like an "o.k., at least they didn't cast an idol..." and "at least his personal charms are matching the charakter" (Hm, that is when I still thought they would go for a different type of charakter ;)), but it seems like I'm in the minority here, but his acting in exactly this drama turned me into an admirer.

But this is why I don't really like talking about acting. When does objectivity wane and the bias start? I think it is very hard to check oneself in that regard when it comes to acting. Yoon Kyun-sang's acting here is slightly reserved (not only in the scenes where his character is reserved) and close to stage acting. It is an acting style that suites my personal taste. It feels mor subtle and nuanced to me and I can get easily in to it on an emotional level. But I know that there are people for whom it is difficult to relate to this type of acting, because it doesn't feel real to them and they prefer a more all out emotional acting. So it is not wrong when they say they would connect better to the character if the character would have been played by an actor with another acting style.
I only think it would be wrong to assume that another actor would be able to negate the issues in the writing of the character or that Yoon Kyun-sang would be lacking in acting skills.

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@Liina,

Imo, the director and Yoon Kyun-sang’s acting style actually match very well. I wouldn’t have liked to miss that combination for nothing in the world either. There are scenes in that drama that I haven’t seen filmed like that with a younger actor for ages! There are also certain things, Yoon Kyun-sang is doing here that I even didn’t know were possible to do acting wise.

Now you've gotten me really intrigued. Which scenes do you mean? I've been enjoying YKS's performance, but then again, I'm also partial to understated, nuanced portrayals, especially when it comes to speaking with the eyes. I'll admit that I also enjoy the occasional over-the-top turn as well. ;-)

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I meant the worldless scenes were the tension came from the build up of body tension. Like the scene were Gil-dong meets Yeonsan's Eunuch and realizes that the Eunuch is the peddler from before. Ususally these scenes these days are enhanced through music, sound effects, camera movement, close ups on faces etc. etc.. But these things weren't used here, because it wasn't necessary.
Also the scene were Gil-dong is waiting for the Hyung-nim-deul to come back. There is music, but the music enhances the joy of the meeting. The longing is portrayed by body language, though here it is also helped by how the scene is filmed and by zoom on the face and the longing in the eyes. I really love that scene.

And the other thing I didn't know it was doable, is everything Yoon Kyun-sang is doing with his voice. But I can't really describe that in english. He just can change his voice. Not only the tone but also the voice. I find that really, really fascinating.

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@Liina I know what you mean about the voice. I remember there were some scenes where he sounded like Ahmogae, and there are also some scenes where he sounds very sageuk-like? I can't explain it either as I don't speak Korean and I can only understand the really general gist of the conversation. But after watching tons of sageuk, I kinda can pick all the different access and intonation.

Anyway, I'm here after reading the comments on episode 19 :D

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@Liina, @latteholic,

Yes! Now I know what you mean. I've noted scenes without external audio cues or music -- just body language and facial expression, especially eyes. To me it is refreshing to not be bombarded with musical cues and sound effects. I try to watch raw episodes first so I can tune in to speech intonation, intensity, etc., as well as all of the nonverbal cues -- minus the distraction of subtitles.

I, too, noticed that Yoon Kyun-sang modulates his voice to sound like Amogae, and uses stiffly formal or obsequious tones towards clients -- while speaking in a gently solicitous manner towards Eorini, Gong Hwa, and Ga-ryung. His duet with Gong Hwa while walking in the tea garden knocked my socks off. I hope we get to hear more of his singing.

"Body awareness" classes back in college taught by dancer & choreographer Elizabeth "Betsy" Wetzig of Pennsylvania introduced me to neuromuscular "Coordination Patterns" that opened my eyes to the connection between mental states and movement. Seeing how other people move can elicit changes in one's own emotional state and level of tension. (Ms. Wetzig has a website with a lot of interesting info.)

Over the years I've studied a few modalities that involve moving energy in the body and shifting one's states of consciousness and emotions by changing the way one moves -- even when sitting still. Maybe the non-verbal aspects of acting also register with me because I studied with an Alexander Technique teacher for about a year (owing to scoliosis), and also worked with a Rubenfeld Synergy Method practitioner for an extended spell.

In one memorable Alexander lesson, the teacher lightly placed her hands on my ribcage and moved the ch'i in her own body (embodied the movement) to demonstrate an upward release and elongation of the spine that would help my back. She did not push or move her hands -- but I found my ribcage untwisting slightly and floating effortlessly upward against gravity by what felt like an inch or two -- with no action on my part. It blew my mind.

Every once in a while I encounter an actor whose presence grabs me. I don't mean in a charismatic way -- but more along the lines of embodying emotion in such a way that it radiates from every fiber of their being. The most memorable such scene I've experienced was in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK-HYANG, in which Kuchon (Yoon Tae-young) is giving Jinmu archery pointers while hunting. When he straightened up to draw the bow, it was like an Alexander lesson, and brought tears to my eyes. Stunning.

TOMORROW WITH YOU had long uninterrupted takes that reminded me of the less-hyperactive filming and editing style that used to be characteristic of US and UK public TV costume dramas back in the 60s and 70s. I've come to loathe jump cuts that give my eyes whiplash. I particularly detest the obligatory retina-searing strobes in disco scenes. More reasons to watch sageuks -- along with the absence of PPLs. ;-)

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I have a feeling that Writer-nim might be pulling another fast one when it comes to the alias that Soboori first used when introducing himself to Sugwidan #1. It's transliterated as Hong Chum Ji in the Viki subtitles, I think.

The title of Ga-ryung's new story is "Hong Chun-ji" (per Viki).

As with the name of the gibang, is wordplay involved? My spider sense is tingling. ;-)

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the storybook will be evidence against her husband. What a danger and lack of forward thinking.

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can someone please tell me the name of the song playing as gil dong and ga ryung spend their first night together

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does anyone know what the song is called for the night gildong and garyung get married???

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This is my first time here and I got here because of the lengthy episodes of Rebel. I really like this idea, robin hood style. I became interested in the culture of Korea. This dramabean is really helpful for me who really likes reading before watching. Thank you and I appreciate this because I get to understand more about the episode. I like the acting and expression that they are showing. I am really curious, what is Gil-dong sees Nok-su and the past love revives? What will happen to Ga-ryung? By the way I love the Hong clan the brotherhood is definitely stronger compared to the other brotherhood that I have watched. I will read more!

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I am reading while watching haha, the wedding is really simple and memorable. I think Gil-dong is not showing yet the needed emotion because there is still missing piece. Like does he really moved on already about Nok-su. I think Yoon Kyung Sang is really a good actor, besides, the director will not make it a go if he is not that satisfied with the acting.

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