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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 21

The king reveals his many faces, which paint him as a more erratic and vicious character than the king we previously knew. Though his tragic longing for his mother has evoked sympathy from his loyal followers, his tyrannical tendencies begin to shift sympathies towards our suffering bandits. The Hong Bandit has already managed to steal the people’s hearts, and Yeonsangun better watch out, because Gil-dong is slowly beginning to capture the hearts of those closest to the royal as well.

 
EPISODE 21 RECAP

We’re reminded of the legend of the Mighty Child, a being rumored to become a great force in the nation if he survives to adulthood. The king overhears conversations in the village about the Hong Bandit possibly being the Mighty Child and walks away disturbed by their adoration of the bandit over the king.

Back in the palace, Yeonsangun asks his trusted advisor Eunuch Kim about the strange tales he gathered from roaming outside the palace walls. He used to tell the king about strange creatures, including the Mighty Child. Eunuch Kim assures the king that these are simply myths that the village people made up, but the king wonders about the origin of the Mighty Child legend and why the citizens believe the Hong Bandit is this absurd legend. He seems to suspect that this myth is true.

Going along with the agreed upon plan, Gil-hyun nervously presents a captured bandit, who introduces himself to the king as Hong Gil-dong. The king walks down to get a better look at the infamous bandit and comments on his rumored strength. Up close, he feels a sense of familiarity, and Gil-dong confirms this. He reveals his other identities — a merchant, the servant “Footstool,” the Hong Bandit — and also adds that he is one of the king’s subjects. He announces that he has brought something for the king.

To milk the cliffhanger, we briefly check in with Nok-soo waiting nervously with Wolhamae and our two Eorini palace maids. Back at the trial, Gil-hyun brings forth the item that Gil-dong brought for the king. The king suspiciously picks up the book: It’s a copy of the Hengrok.

The ministers looks through the copies of the Hengrok and object the horrible deeds committed under the name of social order. Gil-hyun tries to influence the ministers by claiming that Gil-dong did them a favor by punishing the horrible people of the Hengrok. Plus, they can’t discount the bandit’s service in defeating the barbarians. The elderly minister agrees.

As Gil-dong is dragged to his cell, he sees his captured hyungnims and promises to get them out. Later, Gil-hyun visits Gil-dong at his cell and delivers the good news about the ministers’ outrage over the Hengrok. But even though the ministers are positively viewing the bandits, it’s possible for Gil-dong to be subject to punishment for fooling the king as “Footstool.” Gil-dong knows this but decides to trust the king to do what’s right, and if that means that he’ll be imprisoned, then so be it. But if the king doesn’t deliver justice, then Gil-dong will not consider the king his king.

He trusts the king that Gil-hyun loyally serves. Taking his brother’s hand, Gil-dong tears up as he says that their father would have been proud.

Gil-hyun reports to the king about the ministers’ praise of the bandits’ defeat of the barbarians and adds that these bandits have also loyally contributed to the palace treasury and storehouse. The king glances at Eunuch Kim, whose silence confirms these contributions. Gil-hyun suggests that the king punish Gil-dong by handing him a sword so that he might die in battle.

The king meets with Gil-dong privately and asks why he risked his life to get here. Gil-dong explains that he was a merchant, then a gangster, then a thief. As a lowly gangster, he needed to risk his life in order to meet the king at the highest and brightest position. He tells the king of the injustices the people face — people getting their heels cut off out of pride, getting beaten to death, being forced to abandon crops. Giving the king the benefit of the doubt, he asks if the king could not see these people in their low dark place because of his high and bright place.

The next day, the king scrutinizes the Hengrok text and seems exasperated by the injustices. Gil-hyun reports the king’s actions to Gil-dong, and they seem hopeful that the king is indeed a just and good ruler.

Yeonsangun meets with Scholar Song and scolds him for creating the Hengrok. Scholar Song presumed that the king would be happy with a record of the brave actions to preserve social order, but the king clucks his tongue at Song. He wanted for Scholar Song provide the elite with lessons of social order rather than allow them to release their anger. Wait, the king approves of the social hierarchy and order? We focus back on the authors of the text (the two “mok” characters), and one reveals itself to be a code for Lee Yung, which is Yeonsangun’s birth name.

The king shows benevolence for Scholar Song’s Hengrok, since it inadvertently helped capture the bandit. Scholar Song collects the Hengrok and smiles proudly.

Gil-hyun meets with Scholar Song, who beams with pride about Gil-hyun’s contributions in capturing the enemy. Scholar Song presents Gil-hyun with a well-deserved copy of the Hengrok and encourages him to record his accomplishments. He says that Gil-hyun achieved a great feat for them, for the Sugwidan, and for the king by capturing Gil-dong, and Gil-hyun silently realizes that he’s in the presence of his enemy.

Even though it’s against the king’s wishes, Scholar Song plans to continue the Hengrok, which is his greatest accomplishment. He hopes to leave a record for the future, so that people of later generations will reference the record as a guiding text.

Nok-soo grounds the ink stone next to the king and asks him about the bandit, masking her worry in her light tone. He tells her that he’s going to kill the bandit, since the lowly thief overstepped his social boundaries by showing worry for the nation and its people. Nok-soo nervously agrees with the king and suggests an alternative to killing the bandit, hoping to save Gil-dong’s life. She suggests that the king take his strength and insists that it will be amusing, like watching a pathetic tiger without its claws.

The king confronts Eunuch Kim about the alcohol sales during prohibition that supported the palace treasury and implicitly accuses Eunuch Kim for dealing with the bandit. The king uses this leverage to order Eunuch Kim to punish Gil-dong with his own hands.

Under this order, Eunuch Kim visits Gil-dong with a suspicious soup. He delivers the soup, which Gil-dong readily takes and eats right away. As he eats, Eunuch Kim admits that while the king is his only family, he’s always liked Gil-dong. Gil-dong finds his compliments uncharacteristic, and suddenly, his hand begins to shake. He realizes that he’s been fed something terrible and looks to Eunuch Kim, who cries and apologizes. Gil-dong drops the bowl and falls limp.

The king summons Choongwongoon, who’s accompanied by Mori. While Choongwongoon thanks the king endlessly, the king is more focused on Mori. He’s been told about Mori’s strength and asks him to prove it by breaking stone with his bare hands. Mori slams his hand on the stone, but nothing happens. The king is disappointed and doesn’t care for excuses, but Mori tries again with an echoing yell and crushes the stone. The king looks shocked and pleased.

Limp Gil-dong is dragged into another cell, and the king enjoys a stroll with Nok-soo to view the weakened bandit. He says that she was right about the satisfaction in debilitating the bandit instead of killing him, but Nok-soo pays no attention to the king. She looks at Gil-dong with shock, her eyes filled with tears. Gil-dong sees a blurry version of Nok-soo with his drowsy eyes, and he barely mouths her name upon recognition.

The king and Nok-soo settle into their seats, and Choongwongoon gives Mori a pep talk in preparation for his fight. Gil-dong sits in his cell, and he thinks back to his sweet interaction with Ga-ryung. He had picked a strawberry for her by throwing a rock, and she insisted on sharing it with a kiss. In his haze, Gil-dong weakly calls out for Ga-ryung. Eunuch Kim enters his cell and tells Gil-dong that the king will let him live if he survives the fight, so he must win.

The crowd gathers around a stadium, and Gil-dong is dragged out as bait. Gil-hyun looks shocked and asks the king about the hunting viewing that they were summoned to watch. The king laughs and confirms that they’re watching a human hunting. Oh shit, it’s a gladiator fight.

The first hunter comes out swinging a bat, and Gil-dong comes to his senses just in time to avoid the blows and defeat the heavy hitter. The next round of hunters are more nimble fighters, and though they get in some quick jabs, Gil-dong is able to conjure up enough strength to knock them down. The crowd cheers, but the king looks disappointed and calls upon the final hunter.

Mori enters the stadium, and the two Mighty Children face each other. The king calls for the bandits to enter the stadium, and he asks the Hong clan bandits if their loyalty lies with him, or with Gil-dong. They don’t answer, and the king smirks that their allegiance will be clear by the end of the fight. He announces that if Gil-dong wins the fight, the Hong bandits will be slaughtered, but if Gil-dong loses, the bandits will be saved. The Hong bandits yell at Gil-dong that he must win, and Gil-dong seethes, “I must live. I want to live.”

Then the fight begins, and at first the two seem evenly matched, making the king wonder how Gil-dong is still so vigorous. Somehow, Gil-dong gathers his strength and land a forceful kick on Mori’s chest that sends him flying. Gil-dong gets up and tells Mori that he has no reason to fight him, but Mori responds that this is why he hates Gil-dong. Mori takes out his knife and inflicts a cut on Gil-dong’s arm. That’s when one of the eunuchs assures the king that Gil-dong will soon be defeated, since any wound will significantly weaken the bandit.

Mori throws Gil-dong and approaches him with his knife. He grabs Gil-dong and thrusts his arm, ready to deliver the fatal slice. Around them, the crowd yells for Mori to kill Gil-dong, but he suddenly remembers when Gil-dong saved him after killing Heotaehak. Mori decides to drop his knife and kneels in front of the king.

The king is about to erupt in rage, but Nok-soo holds him back. She assures him that the people have witnessed the king’s power, so he doesn’t need to kill Gil-dong. Gil-hyun also advises the king against killing Gil-dong, so the king announces that Gil-dong’s broken body will be showcased in front of the palace and that Mori will be imprisoned for disobedience.

The Hong bandits are brought back into their cell and sit in solemn silence. Then Deputy Governor Eom begins to laugh and admits that he was worried for his life in case Gil-dong won the fight. He scolds himself for wishing for Gil-dong’s death, slapping himself in the face. The rest of the bandits sit in silence, sharing the regretful sentiment.

Gil-dong is tied up in front of the palace, and the villagers comment on his broken body. They mourn that the Hong Bandit is not a Mighty Child and that such thing as a Mighty Child must not exist. At the stake, Gil-dong thinks about his fate as told by the shaman and laughs as he remembers her warning that he would break from living with menace.

Disturbed by the king’s atrocious actions, the ministers gather to decide their course of action. Though they are not always in agreement, they concur that they must check the king for his unacceptable human hunt and for the meager poor state of the nation. Overhearing this conversation, Gil-hyun looks hopeful.

At the king’s court, the ministers decry the king’s call for a human hunt and add that their meager storages reflect poorly on the king’s rule. They ask him to halt his hunting endeavors and focus his efforts on state affairs. The king responds that he finds nothing wrong in hunting for a thief, and he accuses the ministers for scorning him. He proposes that they subject the scornful minister to royal interrogation, but he’s met with a cold response.

The ministers tell the king that he must benevolently accept their criticism. The elderly minister implores the king to accept the ministers’ advice and wisdom instead of looking to the palace maids, troupes, and outsiders to guide his decisions.

Scholar Song hears about the ministers’ complaints and finds offense in being called an outsider. But he enjoys the fact that the ministers have finally revealed their true faces. He vows to show the ministers the power of an outsider.

Gil-dong remains tied to the stake, barely alive, and the villagers cry at the sight of their suffering hero. The father Kim Deok-hyung tries to bring water to Gil-dong (calling him “Great Elder”), but the guards drag him away for this offense. Rumor of the captured Hong Bandit spreads through the village, and Ga-ryung stops a man to clarify this rumor. He confirms that the Hong Bandit is tied at the stake in front of the palace, and Ga-ryung rushes home to urgently pack her things, mumbling to herself that she must save her husband.

Back at the palace, Wolhamae orders our two Eorini palace maids to check if the Hong Bandit is still alive. The ambitious Eorini asks why Nok-soo is so interested in a thief, and Nok-soo snaps back he order. The girls check on the Hong Bandit outside, and they presume that his unmoving body indicates that he’s dead. But then he lifts his head, confirming that he’s alive. The ambitious Eorini looks carefully at Gil-dong’s face, feeding into our who’s-who mystery.

Scholar Song introduces Madam Jo to the king and explains that she holds the memory of a letter written by the dethroned queen before her death. She recites: “I was once a person that received the king’s energy and became the prince’s mother. But a concubine’s slander incited caprice from the heavens with no one to acknowledge this wrong. With those left in the palace suffering an unnatural death, who will protect the prince? I will stand up to protect the price against the immoral groups who threaten him. The crown prince must take the throne and protect the nation, so I will find those who seek to hurt the prince and throw them in the flames of hell. When the crown prince takes the throne, those who derided the prince and the queen will receive severe punishment. So I call upon you all for help…”

In tears, the king stops Madam Jo and suspects that she must be lying to him, since she is reciting the letter without its physical form. Madam Jo insists that she’s telling the truth — that her late husband supported the dethroned queen and that the queen did write this letter. She claims that the queen ended her letter with her signature as Baek-dol’s mother, Lady Yoon. The king seems to recognize this.

Outside the palace, the ambitious Eorini brings water to Gil-dong. Doe-eyed Eorini asks her friend why she gave him water, and she says that it’s pitiful to die thirsty without a sip of water. They head back to the palace, and Gil-dong slowly lifts his heavy eyelids to watch the two palace maids walk away. They each turn back consecutively to glance at Gil-dong, and his mind flashes back to the moment he lost his sister.

Back at the palace, the king cries in recognition of his mother’s signature. He says that Baek-dol was the fetal name that his mother gave him.

 
COMMENTS

Plot twist, the king was actually our enemy! But more specifically, he’s clever and evil enough to be the enemy. I’m a bit amazed at the show for keeping me sympathetic toward one of the most violet and tyrannical kings in history, and while I did enjoy the humanity that the show gave Yeonsangun, I am ready to watch some real antagonism unfold from the king. We were given hints here and there about Yeonsangun’s potential for evil, so I don’t find the antagonism extremely surprising. But the show has kept the king’s instigation pretty implicit, which does make the sudden blatant antagonism feel like a character whiplash. It hasn’t been completely clear why he believes in strict social hierarchy and why he lacks empathy for his people.

The show keeps on circling back to his mother’s tragic death, which is often referenced as the cause of his indignation towards the ministers. But the connection between his indignation and his propensity for strict social order isn’t quite clear. I can assume that the king despises the ministers for elevating their status to teach him how to be king, but extending that to all people just seems like misplaced blame. I don’t find the king’s reason to oppress disobedient people really compelling, but it does invoke vigilante justice.

I found the gladiator scene particularly intriguing, not for the fights and tension between the two Mighty Children, but more for the political tension surrounding the king. Having Nok-soo and Gil-hyun as the king’s most trusted and closest advisors was key to Gil-dong’s survival, and I’m looking forward to seeing how much more influence these two will have while roaming in the belly of the beast.

As much as I hate to see Gil-dong suffering, I’m enjoying Gil-dong’s attempt at his version of vigilante justice, since we’re finally learning more about his thoughts and idealism. We’re learning more about the rationale for his actions, which — like with Yeonsangun — has remained pretty opaque throughout the show. The show is populated with so many fun and great characters that I think we may have lost a lot of the character development time to side stories and simple joys provided by the show. Not that I’m particularly against this, since we’ve been blessed with funny and adorable interactions between our characters. Enjoy the sweet memories while they last, everyone. There’s only so many (so few?) left before our characters go off the deep end.

 
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the king is making me insane... can he be more unreasonable??

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Absolutely amazing. I thought the King's gradual descent into tyranny has been chronicled well. From a Prince, to a King always admonitioned by his advisors, to a King in near total control of the his advisors (for fear of their lives) and now to a King who's tyranny is reaching and affecting even the common man.

What I don't get is why this show is dragging out the who-is-Uh Ri Ni question. What's the point? Just tell us, and drag out her meeting with her brothers.

My favourite characters are officially Mo Ri and Gil Hyun, followed by Nok Soo.

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Why do they need 20 eps to reveal what we already know from the history? I've never felt sorry for him because he is well known to be the worst king Joseon ever had. Eventually they'll get tired of trying to fool us and reveal his true colors.

The Eorini question has been freaking annoying. It's obvious that Jung Da-bin is Eorini, the one with the memory loss who doesn't remember crap from her past. If the other girl was Eorini she would remember Gil Dong when she saw him unless they both have no memory of their past which is really stupid.

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I don't think that they wanted to fool us. In the drama Yeonsan gun represents the downfall of the one king + scholarly advisors ruled state. Because of his "weak" dad he is growing into a timocrat, than by abandoning more and more moral rules and letting himself get manipulated the state falls into an oligarchy. From there the people's uprise will follow.

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Fair enough liina. I just didn't think it should've taken this long to show us who/what he was but that was an interesting twist when it comes to Scholar Song nevertheless.
Maybe I'm missing something but I didn't think his dad was weak for trying to balance the political court. Yeonsan is undoing all that and abusing his power in the worse way.

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I had the fear that we would get a totally white washed version of Yeonsan too. I don't think that his father was weak either, but I had the impression that that is what Yeonsan thought of him. I may have interpreted too much in his "I'm not like my dad" statements though.

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Your impression from his point of view makes sense. If his father was strong enough, perhaps his mother would have been alive to raise him. She was the crown prince's mother, that should've saved her from execution but he let his 2 concubines and their supporters decides her fate. Looks like the real Nok-soo's role as his partner in crime is taken by Scholar Song and his followers. Hopefully in the end they'd all share the same fate as the king they manipulated.

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I think it goes back to that first episode where GilDong asked the King: “How did a ruler, who was born from the heavens, become so ignoble?”. With that opening, I was expecting to see some gradual evolution of Yeonsangun into evil tyrannical king. Also I feel like this drama is written to be more of social commentary on class system by birth right, rathen than just a take on classic folk tale or account of history, and so the writer is spending most of his/her time to create all the small details to set the groundwork for that overarching message.

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I did too, I like when the characters have clear motivation and a timeline that makes sense. The problem with the class system here for me is I felt like that Joseon's Confucian ideals is not presented fairly. It's not all about suppressing the common people and women. Joseon was the longest lived dynasty in the entire history of Korea. There has to be some good in it.

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+1 to this.
The timeline makes little sense - they've implied that Gil Hyun was made an official and promoted within a few months, and Gil Dong consolidated his power as 'kunorushin' (? Forgive my zero knowledge of the Korean language) within the same timespan. And four years later, they've met again. But it should be 10 years by my reckoning of time courtesy Wikipedia.

As well as Joseon's Confusion ideals. I'm getting the impress ion that they were all about a hierarchy - nobles over commoners, men over women, legitimate kids over illegitimate. But is that really all?

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To be fair, and this is the impression I got from taking Asian Studies in uni, the brand of Confucianism in Korea was way more dogmatic and strict than in China. I know throughout the drama for me, I see the lip service to Confucianism and the hierarchy in Confucianism, but with none of the reciprocity which is a part of it. For example, yes, someone of a higher social stature than you had to be submitted to, but in exchange for them taking care of you or providing for you. There's a mutuality and an exchange that flows through all relationships. Which is what the mandate of heaven is all about, you receive the right to rule, so long as you take care of those below you. When you don't, those below you have the right to revolt...This was the justification behind the dynasty changes in China.

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I know very little about China and Confucianism so I can't compare. I guess you just helped me kind of see things from the writer's point of view. I kept saying from the beginning that the way Confucianism is presented here is so one sided. How do we know it's values if all we see is nobles, scholars and king abusing their power and status then called themselves The Protectors of Confucianism values. I do get the mandate of heaven and and the relationship between people and their king. It should be a 2 way street. When the heart of the people left their king then he no longer deserves to be king.... (Something like that). Joseon and China used the same justification to overthrow their previous dynasty.
I do see where things are going revolution would be justified. (Thanks for sharing your thoughts).

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@kiara and @cloveredlioness - thanks for this explanation. It sounds like Joseon's Confucian ideals are a lot like patriarchal idea that 'women are supposed to serve/take care of the men in their family and be protected by them in turn'. Which, in practice, only means much room for dominance and abuse, and no agency for women. Reciprocity in name only.

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I'm in the minority to still have the curiousity about Eorini game. After this episode, I become more confused about who is the real Eorini. Is it the Eorini with her Ikhwari song or is it Eorini with the 'water cue'?
Also, I had wished Gil Hyun hadn't been too focused at Gil Dong in the battle arena. Eorini is right in front of him ! If I want to take it realistically, her face shouldn't have changed that much this past few years so unless Gil Hyun has a poor eye sight he should have spotted her right there. But then, you couldn't really focus on anything else when your lil bro is on the verge of death

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So I started to not care anymore. But then when ambitious Eorini gave him water. I suddenly want her to be the Eorini. I don't care what Wiki said. The other Eorini is just too meek to be a Hong. And the more I see of ambitious Eorini, the more I like her.

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I haven't read the info from wiki by myself, I refuse to get the answer from any other source than the drama itself. Show me and then I'll believe you, drama

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I feel the same way. I wonder if it's the writing or the acting? This is the first time I am watching these two young actresses. I read that the meek one is played by a more experience or more known actress?

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Yes, the meek one (Jung Da-bin, 2000'er) is a child actress (active since 2004) while the other one (Lee Soo-min, 2001'er) started as a show host for kids TV and has just ventured into acting (since 2014). Both girls are popular amongst public.

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I don't care what wiki said either. The one that makes the most sense to me is the girl with amnesia and that is why she can't recognized Gil Dong. I don't remember Eroini being a strong girl. She grew up sheltered and protected by her father and two brothers. She didn't experience the hardship her older brothers had to endure at their young age.

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Sure. My point is I just want the tougher Uhrini to be the Uhrini (despite whatever hints the writer is gonna throw at us), because she needs to be at least that tough when she reunite with her brothers and the rest of the Hong gang.

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Every points makes sense and I like that.

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I support 'water cue' Uh Ri Ni.

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At this point, I feel like Eorini's consciousness has been split into the two maybe Eorinis. So both girls are Eorini. And that is despite the whole thing with the actress being revealed on other websites.

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We must merge them together to form their true form of mecha-eorini

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A la Trunks-Goten of course!

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*Oprah Voice* You're Eorini! And you're Eorini! You're BOTH Eorini!

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We've already got two (maybe three) of the Mighty Children running around. Another supernatural element - Uh Ri Ni's split consciousness - is entirely possible.

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@greenfields:

Another supernatural element - Uh Ri Ni's split consciousness - is entirely possible.

I'm beginning to wonder if that split consciousness is her two souls (which comes from Mugyo -- see post 25). We always see them together, never apart. Is that why they were both shown picking up Orabeoni's purple tie?

Another possibility: Maybe neither of them is Eorini. -- Or maybe they're ghosts.

Every time I see them, I wonder what I'm missing. There has to be a reason for showing them repeatedly. But try as I might, I cannot get a handle on what gives with them.

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Appreciate the pointer to post 25 and Mugyo - I had missed it.

It would be truly sad/funny (both?) if neither was Uh Ri Ni! I'd be exasperated beyond belief that they pulled that after dragging on the which-one-is-Uh Ri Ni question.

"Every time I see them, I wonder what I'm missing. There has to be a reason for showing them repeatedly. But try as I might, I cannot get a handle on what gives with them." Me too. Me too.

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@greenfields:

Appreciate the pointer to post 25 and Mugyo - I had missed it.

You're welcome! ;-)

I'm glad you spotted it. I know I've been harping on 4-act structure without conflict for a while. It explains a lot about the seemingly pointless character development for a whole passel of characters, plus the long stretches of non-movement towards that final showdown. I cannot help but see Mugyo time elements all over the place, too. I think Dream Record is also coming into play, and may be related to Gil-dong's losing consciousness, especially as he's had several near-death experiences. Maybe Dream Record has something to do with Eorini, as she's had a near-death experience, too.

I'm beginning to think that my cultural blinders are what is causing me grief with the Eorini Enigma. Usually I'm pretty intuitive and perceptive (INFP/ENFP on the Meyers Briggs), but I feel like I've been staring right at numerous clues and completely not seeing them. Nunchi, my eye!

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I am confused by Mo Ri. I used to like him but now, he's wearing out my patience. Is he clever or dumb? The only one thing he seems determined to do is to be a servant. He should be able to see that his new master will drop him like a hot potato when the situation calls for it, just like what happened with him and Heo Tae Hak.
Although I am thankful that he didn't kill Gil Dong this time, it seems to be just calling it evens since Gil Dong spared his life before.

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I think of Mo Ri as a child in a man's body. He isn't emotionally or mentally mature and reminds of me a lost child searching for his parents.

He is clever seeing as he has managed to survive but also dumb?

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Haha...I think you hit the nail on the head!

I'd have thought he is the perfect candidate to follow Gil Dong since no other master would treat him like a human. Instead, he's now following Prince Chongwongoon like a dog.

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@greenfields:

Mori is an intelligent individual with a hole in his soul -- not unlike the king.

The big difference I see between Mori and Gil-dong is the start they got in life. While Mori's father looked truly torn to be attempting to kill his child, from what we are shown, he has no other family. I'm still half-expecting a flashback showing his nuna (Ga-ryung) being sold off.

Gil-dong has two parents and a hyung who love him -- and he knows it. Even when Amogae was about to smash his hand, the boy knew how much his father loved him, and cried in sympathy with his dad -- not because he was afraid of being hurt. That was one of the most touching scenes of his childhood.

Not only is Gil-dong's family loving, they are honest and honorable people. Amogae only undertook his criminal enterprises when he was forced into it to protect his family. If his lousy master had released him as promised (for years), little Gil-dong would have been safe. And if Madam Jo hadn't been a greedy, conniving harridan, Amogae could have bought his family's freedom.

We don't know much at all about Mori. Maybe we'll get another peek. I hope so, because I don't know what makes him tick. He's had a hard life, and I'd like to see a redemption arc for him. If he'd had the good fortune to cross paths with the Hongs instead of slaver Heo Tak-hae his lot in life would likely have been happier, and he could have learned how to channel his Mighty Child powers constructively.

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I kind of really like the possibility of Ga-ryung being Mori's sister and getting sold off because then you have another parallel between Mori and Gil-dong, the lost sister. And I'm not all that clear about mugyo, but wouldn't that influence why Gil-dong initially associated Ga-ryung so much with Eorini? She's someone else's lost sister. And if Ga-ryung and Eorini end up having powers too...

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Also, to add, since I've since been sort of ruminating this. Gil-dong doesn't associate Ga-ryung with Eorini until he actually loses Eorini. In fact, in their first meeting he's kind of gobsmacked and taken off guard by her. I feel like she's probably the first person in a long while to one up the wicked pedler who's probably used to reading people, pulling the wool over the eyes of people and talking himself out of trouble. He's probably seen a LOT of gisang who want to win favours of certain men and Ga-ryung kind of puts him off his game twice. She catches him literally catching flies and then slaps him off his game lol. She's also the one who starts the plot of Gil-dong the adult story by leading him to Nok-su. And even though it's ambiguous who he was maybe more attracted to at first, Gil-dong touched the cheek which Ga-ryung slapped, and said 'She's attractive.' So I'm inclined to believe he was initially attracted to Ga-ryung. Plus, in his initial meeting with Nok-su, he totally put on his wicked pedler hat and flirted up a storm with her, but he wasn't genuine with her. That comes when Nok-su starts letting her guard down and he sees her vulnerability. His initial line about fate meant nothing until he actually got to know Gong-hwa the person. But by this point, there's that loss of Eorini/Gil-hyun/everyone in Ikhwari and I almost feel like his relationship with Nok-su was spurred on by the intense sadness and loss they both felt. (Even though Gil-dong can't identify why.) They were kindred spirits when they were at the gibang, but they couldn't have a relationship out of it because of the different ways sadness and loss has motivated them and their lives. There's a vengeful, seething side to Nok-su's sadness and loneliness. that makes her selfish and not have faith in people. I mean, she took on the name because of that sadness and she associates herself as that river with all the sadness. Whereas Gil-dong is like the mountain that rises above it and is able to carry on. I felt like Gil-dong chooses justice over vengeance which is a very fine line. Wow that was a meandering thought...But yes, mugyo...Gil-dong recognizing Ga-ryung as a lost sister/sibling after losing his own, but not until then...thus associating her with Eorini. Whoa, more meandering coming...I think Gil-dong uses the association of Ga-ryung with Eorini as a convenient way to waylay his feelings for Ga-ryung for a LOOOONG time. And that seeing so many significant people that he has loved die or get hurt due to the gangster enterprises/thug life of his family is another big reason why he chooses to be a brother rather than a lover orabeoni initially. Like why did his mom die? Because his dad started on the thug life to save him. Why is Eorini/Gil-hyun/dad/all the rest of Ikhwari gone/dead/hurt? The thug life. All in all, he probably felt like everyone I love dies because of me and the thug life that we had to live because of me. I think that's why he...

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(I have discovered the cutoff limit lol) ...decided to be a brother orabeoni after his dad dies because he realizes he does have feelings for Ga-ryung and once again, the thug life put someone he loves/cares about in danger. And why Gil-dong actually likes hearing Ga-ryung's love stories is because he can see a happy version of what their lives could be in another life. Mugyo again?

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He's a Mighty Child - more than capable to be his own boss like Gil-dong is. If he's looking for a father figure, Heotaehak at least treated him better. Choongwongun? He'll never be that father figure he yearns so much. I pity him but at the same time I get why he'll never be in team Gil-dong ever. I foresee him dying in the battle of Mighty Children in episode 1.

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WHATTTT the king was in on it the WHOLE TIME….. I knew he was evil but to find out that he was the other mok character!! I was nervous the whole time GilDong and GilHyun had looks of hope in their eyes… I also love how they are developing GilHyun. I am still on the fence about him as an actor but his character is ON POINT! I don’t know how I would’ve fared seeing my sibling fight with all the high powers deeply desiring his death. He kept his cool and knew that he was more helpful being the insider spy than being outwardly defiant.
Song Scholar’s madness is feeding Yeonsangun’s madness and two evils do not make a right people!! Unlike dramallama I have no sympathy for the king AT ALL.
I know GilDong will survive this and here’s to hoping that thoughts of Eorini and/or GaRyung become his strength to break free!

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I also love the character development of Gilhyun. Even the smartest and calmest person, whether in dramaland or in real life, will lose their composure upon seeing their loved ones tortured like that. But oh boy, Gilhyun was one smart and tough cookie. I hope to be like him if ever faced with a similar situation

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It was so darn intense ! Everyone has delivered a spot on acting skill. I clutched my heart two times harder than before for the whole episode.

When Gil Dong called out Gong Hwa's name weakly, I cried with her. And Gil Hyun, I feel for you the most bro.. I'd like to give 5/5 for Shim Hee Seop's convincing acting

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Could the strawberry scene be a foreshadowing for the arrow scene in episode 1 ? If Gil Dong is able to target everything perfectly, it would be no problem for him to shoot Ga Ryung in the heart area without actually killing her, right ?

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Oh, clever observation ;) I hope it's true

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I hope that's the case....

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thank you for giving me hope! i was just thinking today how much i didn't want garyung to die

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Aah! I forgot all about the shooting. That makes me wonder, what kind of hero kills his own family, his wife? I really really hope that's not Gil dong's arrow.

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It's actually a common theme for a hero. Who will you choose? Your love/family or the people? - Gil-dong has only three options: to just let Ga-ryung hang and do nothing and leave her to the fact that she will probably be broken and humiliated and die; to give up and let the hundreds of people that trusts his leadership die; or to kill her himself. Luckily for the hero's journey it's not so important if she will really die or not but the choice Gil-dong makes. So her chances of survival are not that bad.

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@chouc:

If Gil Dong is able to target everything perfectly, it would be no problem for him to shoot Ga Ryung in the heart area without actually killing her, right ?

That's exactly what I was thinking.

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I always thought that GilDong would be skilled enough to avoid shooting her vital point. But agree, this scene gives me more hope than before.

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I don't think Garyung died. In one of the trailers, there is a scene of her smiling brightly and happily at flowers. She wouldn't be that happy if she didn't reunite with her husband or she met him in the afterlife? Most historical dramas have this 'they reunited in the afterlife and be happy together' thing!

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This drama is SO awesome!!!!!

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I will say one of the most interesting parts about this episode was what the Eunuch Kim said to GilDong, "I really liked you. When I saw you, I was refreshed. You could say, I wanted to be like you, or wanted to live like you." I would've never imagined Eunuch Kim to admire GilDong with their past relationship and trade agreements but it was an interesting facet of Eunuch Kim that made me wonder more about him. He felt he was helpless that he had to choose between his "family" and his "hero". It will be interesting to see how this plays out for both GilDong and Eunuch Kim in the episodes to come.

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Eunuch Kim even shed tears while saying that. Clearly, there will be something more about it in the future episodes

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I misunderstood, when nok su asked king to keep gil dong alive as tiger without claws. And king asked eunuch to do it himself. When eunuch brought the soup, for a moment i thought they were going to castrate gil dong, lol. So his ga ryung scenes made me think he was being sad of not being able to be husband anymore.. opps *ahem*
Went to rewatch the parts to sort out my misunderstanding :p

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I would like ti know thre ending of song please

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Funny fact thing is ahn ye eun wrote this song in yeonsangun's perspective. According to her explaination when she sang it in kpop star 5 audition.

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Thanks for sharing.

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Gosh, THANK YOU! I was looking for it since episode 6!

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I don't know which side to put Mori, iam hoping he'll redeem himself at some point and be on the right side.

The mystery of who is Eorini remains unsolved, i hope it gets solved soon have another heartfelt reunion. I love family reunions

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Yeah, I hope Mori might have a chance to choose Gil Dong's side after he dropped the knife. I feel slightly sorry for him when the King gave order to imprison him. Go and come to the light Mori-ya !

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I'm afraid MoRi sided with the king. I
rewatched episode 1 and he is the leader of the king's troops that held Ga Ryung as a hostage. Unless their is a plot twist waiting there

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I am honestly pissed off with the Eorini guessing game. Until when will they drag it I wonder? I'm getting very tired with the "is she or is she not?" game. Ugh.

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Heh, wiki has the answer if you are interested, went to check it once once ep14 ended and the eorini question came out.

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Lmao I know already but the way show is handling it is pissing me off.

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I am just very glad that Mori still has some conscience in him, thank you for sparing Gil Dong's life!!

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@pakalanapikake @latteholic I'm just continuing our discussion(s) here. I'm starting with the assassins: there are one to two in the story. The first one Taeuk-jae from Gil-dong's childhood/teen years is probably in every version. The second one is an assassin in the palace. He is not in every version. ------------- It also crossed my mind that now that we have multiple Mighty Childs and the Mighty Child is probably most of all a person with leading abilities, we will probably get some female Mighty Child too. After all the drama has made some points about equality... ------------- About Six Flying Dragons: thank you for the link (and also for mentioning the article on the still eating oranges blog)! Much appreciated. I love Jin Yong's novels but have to admit that I never read "Demi Gods..." because I couln'd find a translation. I know only the Chinese drama adaption from Producer Zhang Ji Zhong. SFD is really great when it comes to incorporating topics from political philosophy. But I don't want to wander off topic too much. ------------ About Queen's Daughter Soo Baek Hyang. I had planed to watch it. But wanted to wait for all episodes to be subtitled and then forgot about it... I will probably start watching it after Rebel. I'm not very interested in the upcoming sageuks anyway so I have some time for a 100+ episode drama. ;)

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@liina, that's interesting. Taeuk-jae sounds like Madam Jo and Soo Hak to me, while the assassin in the palace sounds like Choongwongoon/Scholar Song with a little bit of Mori. A little bit of Mori because I'm starting to think that he will join Gil Dong's side eventually. I do hope we get female Mighty Child too!
Btw, King's Daughter Soo Baek Hyang has been on my list for some time. I actually managed to watch it up to episode 25 and enjoyed it a lot. But then I felt like it's going to reach a heartbreaking point soon, so I put it on hold. I'll prolly continue it during a really long break or if I have nothing to watch after Rebel ends :)

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I have the feeling that Mori will probably end up dying a noble idiot's death while saving Ga-ryung. Alternatively he could also end up wandering in the mountains.

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@latteholic:

I like how you parsed out the assassins. Jo family vs. Song/Choongwongoon. Come to think of it, the biggest assassin is on the throne.

I was relieved that Mori started to make his move away from his boss. There's hope for him yet.

Yay, one more for a distaff Mighty Child.

Re: KDSBH. You survived episode 16, right? IMHO, episode 25 is less hairy. And you have to get past it for the show to really get on the road. Hwaiting! Signed, Dyed In The Wool SBH Fan. ;-)

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I prolly got my episode counts wrong. This is the part after both of them grew up and they went to the city to see the "parade" (I hope that's not much of a spoiler). I kinda had a feeling that something bad gonna happen so I put that on hold. I'm a wuss :D

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You're still managing to survive REBEL, so you should do okay with KDSBH. It's worth it. But keep a box of tissues handy just in case. I won't lie. There are some heavy scenes. But there is also lightness and humor and bromance with the brothers-in-arms to balance it out. ;-)

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@PakalanaPikake Yes. I'll pick it up again after Rebel is done. I don't think I can handle having too many feels for more than one drama right now :D
And who knows, if Rebel ends on a happy note then maybe I'd muster the courage to watch the dreaded episodes :)

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@liina, @latteholic:

Okay, so the original Hong Gil-Dong story had assassins. In the drama, Madam Jo has expressed the desire to kill HGD and his family on numerous occasions. Amogae himself could be construed as an assassin analogue when he nearly maimed Gil-dong for throwing the mortar and causing his mother to be switched. There's also Heo Tae-hak before and after his joining forces with Choongwongoon, not to mention the pirates and other rival gangs that Amogae brought in as members of his Ikhwari operation.

Re: multiple Mighty Children. Ah, so you think it's possible to have female Mighty Children, too. Good! I mentioned in the episode 20 recap thread that I think Ga-ryung could be a Mighty Child herself. Just think about the evidence. When Gil-dong first met Gong Hwa and spoke to her in a manner that Ga-ryung did not like, she smacked him, and probably would have kicked his butt around the block if her mistress hadn't told her to stop. (That was back in his "I'm a lover, not a fighter" phase.) The way she went after Mori with a rock when he was snooping around their gate was an interesting scene. She was in protective mode, be it Mighty Child or Mama Bear. I think that was the vibe that was attracting Mori's attention. She was feisty and took the offensive. And I still think that they could be long-lost siblings. Or maybe it's simply one Mighty Child recognizing another.

Re: parallels with SIX FLYING DRAGONS and the Buddhist cosmology therein. I know it was a bit off-topic, but there's a lot of interesting cosmology involved in REBEL as well, especially with regard to Mugyo. In OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN, Do-kyung's premonitions of his death -- and the nebulous sense of the passage of time -- were aspects of Mugyo, according to one of the Beanies in the recap threads. Very insightful and fascinating, and it went a long way to explaining why time moved in such a strange and irritating fashion in that show. I think it's at work in REBEL as well.

Re: pointers to still eating oranges blog. You're most welcome. I've really enjoyed learning about dramatic structures other than the usual 3-act format that is so common in the West. I don't read manga, so was completely unfamiliar with the artform and its structure. Quite a revelation. Kishōtenketsu structure without conflict is different from the standard fare on US TV, and takes some getting used to. Ditto for 4- and 5-act structures. They're just different means of telling a story, and I'm all for variety. ;-)

Re: KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK-HYANG. I think you'll really enjoy Writer-nim's earlier work. I watched it on Hulu with MBC's subtitles, which were good. ;-)

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I guess Gil-dong's two to three wives that he had rescued from being married to the chief monster are not future wives in this drama but multiple erorinis.

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Ooo... that could be it. Esp since he used to think of Eorini when he looked at Garyung.

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Hm, after I watched the episodes again with te backknowledge and ideas I got from you beanies in mind, I realized that Gil-dong is alway reacting when Ok-ran is talking. He reacts to her voice. But I think he doesn't know which of the girls is Eorini, because always when he hears her talking the girls look in the other direction. So I'm now more inclined to think that the other girl will die and she will have the blue band with her. So most likely Gil-dong will find the body of the other girl and think it's Eorini, because she must have been one of the two and is looking more similar. So this whole audience confusion is to make people understand why he doesn't recognize his sister by looks (since her looks have changed since she grew up). He probably will make another decision and not go seeking revenge then. - Just like he will shoot at Ga-ryung instead of giving up the people later while in this episode he choose Ga-ryung and unborn child over his boys (at least in case he did understand what Yeonsan said).

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@liina But does Gil-dong himself know that he had a possible conception dream? I know for myself as a viewer, the whole strawberry kiss sequence was ambiguous on whether it was a dream or whether Gil-dong was thinking back to one of the three days/nights he was married before he left to find Eorini. And dreams and memories/flashbacks seem to be portrayed in the same way with filters. Plus, he was super drugged. However, it would add credibility to why he said he wants to live/has to live when he found out that his living would kill his brothers. Plus, the whole strawberry kiss sequence basically has a multitude of purposes. To show that Ga-ryung is the one he truly loves/thinks about not Nok-soo. Since he'd seen Nok-soo previously to the sequence. To foreshadow his targetting abilities for when he has to shoot her. And as a potential conception dream. It's like the whole who is Eorini guessing game. What is it?

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Funnily I never thought of Ga-ryung but had actually Eorini in mind. We will just have to wait and see. Only 8 more episodes to look forward too! I'm already a little bit sad. :( - I actually think Mo-ris character is really interesting. Because while growing up he was taught a lot of wrong things. But there is the call of the Mighty Child as well that is clashing with his upbringing. He is different than Gil-dong, because Gil-dong knows what the calling is about, but fights it "why me, why don't they just stand up for themselves, why should I take all that on my shoulders". Mo-ri doesn't have a clue what that Mighty Child thing is all about. And he probably doesn't understand himself sometimes. In that way he is more innocent than Gildong. He reminds me of Bok-dong from Angry Mom.

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That brings me back to Six Flying Dragons and Tree With Deep Roots. There will be spoilers. People who haven't seen the dramas please don't read! I think there is still a chance for Mo-ri to end up on Gil-dong's side. Because he is similar to Bang-jis character. He is a victim and he is a destructive element. The king's that failed to become the real king/father weren't able to reach out to Bang-jis character. While the real king (Sejong) was able to reach his hand out to Bang-jis pupil. Bang-jis story was solved through his pupil. (Though part of his story arc is solved in the last episode of Six Flying Dragons. He could move on on his journey because he solved the hindrance, the mother issues). Gil-dong is going to become a real king/father character as well. So he should be able to reach out to a character like Mo-ri as well. - Hahaha, and of course: it was also in "the Assassin"'s character desciption during the casting process... :D

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That scene with Eunuch Kim and Gil Dong is a brilliant tie back to the title and what Scholar Song had warned the king: "the thief Hong is not stealing riches. He is stealing the hearts of the people."

I've never been a fan of sageuks and long dramas but Rebel is just sooo good! If only the rating would reflect it too.

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I'm really loving this drama. It really ticks off all the boxes for me in what I like to watch. There's drama, political intrigue, intriguing plot, awesome characters, action, romance, references/allusions to past works and no cheap relationship drama/love triangle crap that gets dragged on for ages.

I really appreciated learning about the classical Asian narrative structure, kishotenketsu, from the other recap. I mean, it's something that I've definitely been aware of, but never really learned about, despite having studied some Asian literature. (I was like OOOOH! Like in Journey to the West where they meander for aaaaages before they finally get to India for the Buddhist sutras lol. And literally every 250+ episode anime...) But it has given me some more appreciation for some of the Studio Ghibli works that I don't enjoy as much due to a lack of plot/conflict.

I really liked that Gil-dong finally has bangs/some hair to frame his face again. I missed that look. It's too bad the return to that longer look meant he got beat up/hurt a lot. That was the sucky bit.

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Every Hong has a bad hair day except for Ilchung (and Gil Hyun). And that's how they get their long messy hair style back. Personally, I like them (especially Gil Dong) more with their bandit appearance rather than their yangban style..

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Tbh, GilDong's hair gave me a Britney Spears' Hit Me Baby One More Time flashback. Esp with that "middle-part-volume" on the middle section of his hair.
I like their bandit appearance too! I think it's the oversized hanboks that I'm not too fond of. Well fitted clothes is the way to go.

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Oppa yangban style.

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Thank you for the recap, dramallama!

I admit to being faked out by that second "mok" character code in the Haeng-rok. I figured it stood for Choongwongoon, and didn't suspect Yeonsangun because of the way he had earlier told Song Sabu not to expect to get close to him quickly. I know the historical character was a horrible tyrant. I just wasn't expecting this twist. The way he chewed out Song Sabu for leaving a written record of Sugwidan's actions -- not the actions themselves -- was a diabolical touch.

Gil-dong was much more realistic about it. He'd clearly considered the possibility that the king might know about the injustices suffered by his most humble subjects. I felt a tingle of foreshadowing when he told Gil-hyun that if the king did know and yet did nothing to stop the abuse, then he won't consider him his king. Hmmm. Yeonsangun losing the mandate of heaven in the eyes of his most popular subject.

After watching Nok-soo's careful attempts to save Gil-dong, I'm wondering if she will end up being depicted sympathetically the way the king had been earlier. Aside from taking her revenge on the old magistrate, we haven't seen her doing evil stuff. Or has the wool been pulled over our eyes?

Eunuch Kim has a thankless job. He's seen to it that the king has had ample funds flowing in to support his conspicuous consumption, and now Yeonsangun decides to question how he acquired it. It looked like Shorty was sweating bullets, especially when his boss put him to the loyalty test. Dang, the king is truly a sadist. The scene between Shorty and HGD was quite touching, and really made me suspect that the eunuch was a Mighty Child himself -- under very deep cover. I can't forget that flying kick at the gibang.

I was not expecting Mori to spare Gil-dong, but I can understand it. He may not want to admit it, but as a Mighty Child, he's in the same boat with HGD. He's treated badly by his boss and the king, whereas the Hongs share warmth and loyalty even in the most dire circumstances. I think he's realizing he wants a piece of that action.

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I still stand by my opinion that Eunuch Kim is a mighty child as well. Otherwise there's no need for him to say that he envies Gil-dong's way of life? I was not expecting him to grow attached to Gil-dong, though. It is a comforting thought that at least in the palace, we have Nok-soo, Eunuch Kim and Gil-hyun who are on Gil-dong's side. I hope soon Mori will join too, but at the thought of episode 1's opening scene, I don't think this will be the case (cries)

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Since it was revealed a couple episodes ago that Mori has some sort of a thing for Ga-ryung, maybe a crush, I've been thinking maybe he will be involved in some sort of bait and switch scenario with the arrow shooting in Episode 1. Like he stuffs Ga-ryung's shirt with a bladder of blood and a steel plate? *hoping against hope*

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lol Idk why I'm being pessimistic about this, but it seems like both the King and Mori will be jealous of Gil-dong because they can't have Nok-soo and Ga-ryung's hearts.

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@enkeys:

... it seems like both the King and Mori will be jealous of Gil-dong because they can't have Nok-soo and Ga-ryung's hearts.

Better add Nok-soo to the green-eyed list. I think she's going to be less than thrilled to learn that Gil-dong married someone else -- her former maid. Would she still try to save him if she knew? Hmmm.

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omg that King is evvviillllll!!..... well I hope Gil-dong and Gil-hyun find their sister Eorini...

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Is nobody going to talk about the strawberry kiss? Am the happiest wherever they throw us crumbs of Gil Dong Ga Ryung romance. I get it is not a rom-com but this one is special coz my fav 2nd leads got together for their 1st lead role and their chemistry is amazing.

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The director considered jujube first, then pine nut because Yoon Kyun-sang told him Chae Soo-bin hates jujube lol. The scene was so beautiful I cried a bit.

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Dawww, Yoon Kyun Sang was the one who told the director that she hates jujube? *smiling like a doofus*
Anyway, the scene was beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. My twitter friend read one of the naver article that said the strawberry kiss was apparently a conception dream and it sounds legit after I wiki-ed it...

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Urgh, if this drama ends with ga-ryung dying and Mori later bringing her child to Gil-dong I'm going to shoot someone!

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Yeah and that child will be a mighty girl child, thr ancestor of strong women

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Yeah, I don't know anything about Asian dream interpretations but seems knets are predicting that but...if she's conceiving, how is she going to enter jangakwon as a gisaeng?

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Uh.. I hope they won't choose a miscarriage trope caused by deep sadness after Gil Dong's death

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Right? I hope if she does that Nok-su and Wolhamae help her hide her pregnancy.

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I googled too and apparently it means baby girl....awww can we pls bring back the child actor who played baby gil dong....snotty nose and all :)

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@latteholic:

My twitter friend read one of the naver article that said the strawberry kiss was apparently a conception dream and it sounds legit after I wiki-ed it...

Now that's an interesting wrinkle that I didn't pick up on. Granted, it's only the second conception dream I've encountered so far in my Kdrama watching. The first was in OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN when Yeonsangun Kim Ji-suk's character Jin-sang dreamt of a fish, which made his noona ecstatic. ;-)

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Aww Kyun Sang is such a sweetheart! Their romantic scenes alws make me tear up,especially the wedding night,it was done so beautifully. Reallly touching.

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It was better than the first kiss. Maybe it's the beautiful, dreamy setting and they just looked so happy and drunk in love.

Look at the last screencap, aren't they totally adorable?

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This and the next episode were so hard to watch ugh.. :(
I am eagerly waiting for next week episodes for some ray of hope for our heroes. Aja!

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I'm gonna start with a question: is the gladiator-like fight is common in Joseon? From the start of this episode when the Hong brothers smiled at each other, I can foresee that things are going to go horribly wrong. My heart breaks. I'm so worried that Gil-hyun will expose himself because he was practically crying while begging the King to spare Gil-dong's life. Luckily, Jeong-hak does not suspect anything. I also worried that Mori will spot him, as he is the only one who knows Gil-hyun's true identity now. I suspected the last unnamed person in the Heng-rok is the King before, because I knew the surname Lee/Yi have that character, but if he is a sugwidan as well, I wonder why he was very cold towards Song sabu. Lastly, despite the writer confusing us with Eorini's identity, I'm 70% sure that it is Ok-ran (Jung Da-bin) because Gil-dong started having flashback of Eorini when Ok-ran turn around to see him. Why do they need to drag who-is-the-real-Eorini game for 6 episodes now, I have no idea.

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Right? This drama was totally reminding me of Spartacus when Amogae killed Master Jo along with the whole Hong Chum Ji escapade a la "I am Spartacus!", but then they literally entered the arena lol. But then I also forgive things like Joseon highlighter and gradient lips lol. Like when Ga-ryung and Gil-dong made out on the steps I was like 'Whoa...someone channelled their inner Nikkietutorials there!' Highly doubt the moon would reflect that much off her cheek/brow bone lol.

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"I'm gonna start with a question: is the gladiator-like fight is common in Joseon?"
That was more common in Rome so no. It's being used here to demonstrate Yeonsan's cruelty. I'm betting on Mori recognizing Gil Hyun as Gil Dong's brother too. Yes, when they mentioned Yi and tree it took me back to the beginning of Joseon and the beginning of the Yi family's reign so it has to be the king.

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Mori will recognize Gil-hyun --> Gil-hyun sacked from the palace. Hence, he will join Gil-dong (notice how he's back in his scoundrel outfit) back in that scene in episode 1.

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I know, maybe Mori would be the one to blow Gil Hyun's cover.

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@enkeys:

Mori will recognize Gil-hyun --> Gil-hyun sacked from the palace.

Aside from Mori, former magistrate Eom, the Hongs, and (theoretically) Eorini are the only parties who would be able to recognize him -- if their paths cross. To everyone else, he's Park Ha-sung.

Thus far, Mori's path has not crossed with Gil-hyun's, and I hope it stays that way. In fact, I'm hoping that Gil-hyun comes up with a way to resign and leave the palace on his own terms -- after his brother and the rest of the Hongs are safe. Or, he might abscond if HGD pulls off a jailbreak and liberates his gang. Somehow I don't think that Gil-hyun would simply be sacked from his post. He'd be arrested as a gang member, especially if Madam Jo and Sonny Boy get wind of him.

I have to keep reminding myself that Amogae adopted the Hong surname after his return to Ikhwari -- when Gil-hyun was studying for the civil service exams, or maybe after he'd passed them. So all the time that the Hong gang was making news, he had no idea they were his family.

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How did the king find out about mori's strength?

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Choongwongoon told him. Then he broke the mortar in front of the king to prove it (which failed the first time and I was lol-ing at his expression).

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I think Song Sabu's crew told him about it

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Oh, we replied at the same time ^^

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I thought as much..

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Gil dong-ah,.
Fighting!!

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I'm quite impressed by Kim Ji Suk in the scene where Mdm Jo recited his mother's letter.

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He's totally unrecognizable from his role in Oh Hae-young Again. It's amazing. It totally blew my mind when I found out that Mr. Rooftop Party was the king. (I think it was the beard.)

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@cloveredlioness:

He's totally unrecognizable from his role in Oh Hae-young Again. It totally blew my mind when I found out that Mr. Rooftop Party was the king. (I think it was the beard.)

I suspect it's partly the royal Joseon garb. IIRC, CHUNO and one vampire (!) episode of KOREAN GHOST STORIES / HOMETOWN LEGENDS are the only sageuk Kim Ji-suk has been in to date. I think I read somewhere that this is his first serious (as in non-comedic) role, but I've only seen him in PERSONAL TASTE and MAN OF THE VINEYARD in addition to OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN. I was thrilled to learn he'd be playing the infamous tyrant, and have been totally enjoying his performance. If anything, his character in CHUNO was closer to the happy-go-lucky peddler Gil-dong -- when he wasn't hunting escaped slaves, that is.

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Is it just me, or is Gil-hyun being so painfully obvious? Like seriously, how has no one noticed he's team Gil-dong? He might as well wear a giant neon hat

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I keep thinking the exact same thing! I know he'd GD's bro and GH is trying to save him, but the king's not stupid. The king's going to eventually notice how every time he wants GD killed, GH intervenes - and even NS for that matter. I mean, of course they would be horrified watching the king and his multiple cruelties towards GD, but they were both practically in tears trying to convince the king not to kill GD. I was yelling at the screen - HELLO??!!! CAN YOU BE ANY MORE OBVIOUS??!!! (As husband sits on the couch just laughing at me... ?). And that's probably part of the story, I'm guessing - what happens to both of them once the king figures out on whose side they both really are...

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OMG, right? Like that scene in the jail when they're talking about their plan and the freaking GUARD IS RIGHT THERE! RIGHT THERE! WITHIN HEARING DISTANCE! Was he paid off? Will he blab? Seriously.

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If anyone wants to see more of "Mori," the actor was recently in "Bingoo" as male lead. I believe it's available on Viki, but I have not watched it myself...on my to watch list.

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Because of the way in which time flows in REBEL, and many viewers' frustration with the pacing as well as the “Eorini Enigma,” I dug into my Kdrama log to locate past discussion threads on DramaBeans that I think will shed light on the structure and execution of the drama. In combination with liina's recent posts on the novel Hong Gil Dong, I hope they provide insight into cultural factors that international viewers need to take into consideration in order to better understand and enjoy the show.

I am indebted to Beanie Kim Yoonmi for posting on Mugyo (indigenous Korean shamanism, aka Muism) and its incorporation and manifestations in Kdrama. There were several interesting discussions in relation to OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN, in Open Thread as well as the recaps, that were enlightening to me as a foreigner. The role of Dream Record and Nunchi (literally, “eye measurement”) are also discussed.

As I noted in an earlier REBEL recap post, Kim Yoonmi also shared insights into Korean and East Asian storytelling and dramatic conventions that differ markedly from Western ones. One of those hot tips was indeed the pointer to the article on Kishōtenketsu ("The significance of plot without conflict," June 2012) in the still eating oranges blog. I have since found a couple of other articles on that blog that also make for interesting reading: "Plot structure all the way down," June 2013, and "Kishōtenketsu in Mario," February 2014.

The information really helped me understand the way the plot unfolded, as well as character development. I'm hoping that the threads will be useful to other Kdrama lovers.

Open Thread #453: thread 33 Kim Yoonmi June 24th, 2016 at 9:51 AM [Mugyo in MIRROR OF THE WITCH, LUCKY ROMANCE, OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN, OH MY GHOSTESS]

Open Thread #454: thread 30 Kim Yoonmi July 1st, 2016 at 9:16 AM; [Re: Cultural Insights into Oh Hae Young: BEAUTIFUL GONG SHIM; BRING IT ON, GHOST; Mugyo, non-linear and circular time, ghosts, death, physical soul, timeless soul, dreams, animism, nature; Kishōtenketsu (“A lot of the highly hated dramas on dramabeans run this flavor. Warm and Cozy, Big, Another Oh Hae Yeong, all of Kim Eun Seok’s work, etc.”); Dream Record; Nunchi (“The ability to read a situation based on body language, what has been said so far and read the under dialogue, guess future actions based on the given situation and people and then come up with the best resolution... It’s working highly on the viewer’s ability to perceive and intuit. Also why the Hong Sisters (funny ones) are hated in ROK before Big and Kim Eun Sook is loved.”); flashbacks; Han; intuition; perception; initial character introduction / information dump]

OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN episode 16 recap: starting with 2.1.5 Kim Yoonmi June 23rd, 2016 at 3:56 PM [Mugyo, Muism]

OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN episode 17 recap: thread 34 Kim Yoonmi June 29th, 2016 at 4:05 PM [Mugyo (AKA Muism), Dream...

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continued:

OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN episode 17 recap: thread 34 Kim Yoonmi June 29th, 2016 at 4:05 PM [Mugyo (AKA Muism), Dream Record, Kishōtenketsu]

I suspect that some of the biggest hurdles for American viewers is the use of Kishōtenketsu 4-act plot without conflict versus 3-act structure. The former lends itself well to slice-of-life storytelling and detailed character development that might appear excessive or pointless when the viewer is expecting setup, conflict, and resolution to proceed in the logic of three acts.

After re-reading these threads, I am reminded that I not only have to suspend my disbelief, I have to suspend my assumptions about the logic of the story. I have a better handle on why MOON LOVERS and GOBLIN irked me, too.

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The western audience often has problems with Asian detective stories as well. At least with older ones, newer ones are influenced by western detective stories. Western detective stories are "Who has done it" stories and are aprecciated for their plot twists. Older asian detective stories are not interested in who actually did it, but in the way the detective tries to get the culprit and in the culprits reaction to it and how he tries to avoid getting caught, how both of them handle the situation. So you can have a whole detective story without a single twist, where the question "who has done it" and also the deed itself are secondary.

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@liina,

The western audience often has problems with Asian detective stories as well. At least with older ones... Older asian detective stories are not interested in who actually did it, but in the way the detective tries to get the culprit and in the culprits reaction to it and how he tries to avoid getting caught, how both of them handle the situation.

Wow! This sounds like an excellent example of an Asian style of storytelling that could throw Western audiences for a loop.

Speaking as a childhood fan of Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown, and Agatha Christie's sleuths, I'm intrigued to hear of the different emphasis in Asian detective stories. They sound like "howdunits" instead of "whodunits." The latter usually include the how and why as well as the who. If the logic doesn't work, the mystery is a bust.

Could you recommend English translations of one or two of the old-style Asian detective stories that are good examples of what you mean? Or if any have been filmed (with subtitles), that would be cool, too. I'm curious to compare. Thanks! ;-)

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I haven't read old detective stories myself but I read an article from Robert Van Gulik about it.
I witnessed that kind of different expactations to the narration from western viewers from comments to movie critics from Korean detective stories/thrillers again and again; "but the plot twist was very obvious; bad movie" -when the movie itself wasn't about plot twists in any way. From k-dramas "Mawang" comes to my mind.

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Oooh. So like Defendant? We know Cha Min-ho killed Cha Seon-ho, but the story is all about how Park Jung-woo is going to stop Cha Min-ho and how Cha Min-ho reacts to Park Jung-woo attempting to put him behind bars.

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Wah!!!!! I am holding my breath. Well I like Eunuch Kim haha I remember love on the moonlight’s Eunuch Jang- Young Gae here in the Rebel. They are always loyal to the king but I was moved when Eunuch Kim cried while talking to Gil-dong. Then!!! I am really intrigued about Nok-Soo, she really still loves Gil-dong she just wanted to use the king to have power. I think Gil-dong already moved on. Huhu! Ga-ryung! Your pure and innocent love wins! Also, I like Mori, from the first scene I saw him I knew something is in him like I have the feeling that he is there to confuse me whether he is an enemy or an ally. Haha but 80% ally I guess. In regards with the king!!! Haha! Yes of course you are evil, but I like the idea that it was not shown at first. Because it tells us more about the King.

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