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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 27

Now that there’s only one more family member to rescue from behind enemy lines, we know that the impending reunion between our married couple will be heartbreaking (if the first episode was any indication), so it’s time to start bracing ourselves. Unfortunately for our hero, despite the people rallying to his side, they’re still the underdogs in the fight against Yeonsangun’s violence-driven control of the nation.

 
EPISODE 27 RECAP

The people shout as they come to save Gil-dong and the rest of his men from the royal forces, “We’ll come to your rescue this time, General.” With an expression mixed with gratefulness and awe at the miraculous salvation, they begin fighting again with a reinvigorated fervor, and soon the royal army turns back to retreat with their tails tucked between their legs.

When the general comes to report his crushing defeat against the rebel army, Yeonsangun sits in his throne room clearly upset at this new development. His courtiers cower while his general delivers the disappointing news, and when the king hears that it’s Gil-dong leading the rebel army, he becomes infuriated.

After the end of the battle, despite their victory, many have been injured and some have even lost their lives, including the man that Gil-dong once personally encouraged (who later led the rescue efforts that saved the rebel army). Gil-dong and the Hong band stand in front of the graves of the fallen, and he resolves: “I will never forget you.”

Back at the cave, people are being treated for their injuries, including some of the more experienced members of the Hong brotherhood. Eorini sees Yonggae being bandaged up, and tears come to her eyes as she first witnesses the tolls of battle on the closest thing to an uncle-like figure in her life. She reaches out to hold his hand, and despite the pain, he grits his teeth, smiles, and welcomes her back.

Alone, Gil-dong ponders words that Yeonsangun said to him in prison regarding violence and how to control the citizenry. While he’s lost in deep thought, Gil-hyun comes up to him, and when he sees his brother, Gil-dong playfully says that he’s fallen a long way from being a close advisor to the king to the nation’s most wanted traitor.

Gil-hyun replies that it’s just his luck for having such a rascal for a little brother, and then Eorini joins them. She covers Gil-dong’s eyes with her hands, and it’s an instant deja vu moment back to the days when life was simpler at Ikhwari, under Amogae’s protective presence.

It’s been such a long time since this familiar action, and it makes Gil-dong emotional, but he replies as he always does and asks if it’s Ugly Girl (“Motnani” is an affectionate term that connotes ugliness) who’s covering his eyes. Soon, the rest of the original Amogae Avengers show up, and together they all call up to Amogae to thank him for reuniting their family.

At the palace, the king meets with Scholar Song only to tell him not to come into his royal presence for the time being (as he’s still annoyed by the Park Ha-sung/Gil-hyun revelation). He assigns Choongwongoon to be his temporary replacement as the head of the Sugwidan.

After they leave the king, Scholar Song expresses his discontent at Choongwongoon’s uppity behavior against him, but there doesn’t seem to be any remnant of loyalty in that quarter. Choongwongoon just coldly tells the scholar that he seems to be forgetting his place and forgetting the fact that Choongwongoon was born a royal, implying that this role reversal should have been the original relationship dynamic all along.

When Choongwongoon gathers the Sugwidan members in a meeting, he pushes his own agenda to isolate and expel Scholar Song from the organization. To his fellow Sugwidan members, he tells them that Scholar Song is no longer in favor because of his mistake with Park Ha-sung, adding that they need to find Gil-dong in order to regain the king’s favor and stay safe under the bloody tyrant’s reign.

In Hyangjumok, some young students post up flyers that spread ideas protesting the king’s unjust actions. However, they’re caught by soldiers who chase after them. One young man manages to get back home, and his mother reprimands her son, telling him not to engage in any activities that are against the king, no matter how unfair his actions may seem. He quickly makes his excuses to go hide further inside the house, but soon the soldiers barge in and forcefully take him away to the mother’s great distress.

Tracking down the other students, soldiers raid anywhere that seems to be a hiding place. One young woman makes the mistake of glancing to the large jar containing one of the young men who posted the flyers. He’s immediately taken, tied up, and the group of women who hid him are also dragged along. When people try to free them, they’re beaten and even killed by the soldiers in broad daylight on public streets.

Meanwhile, Gil-dong and his crew are still back at their lair discussing how to best go about the situation, which looks dire because of the king’s endless troops and resources. Then, Yonggae explains his own personal story, saying that his one goal in life was not to die like his own father, a poor thief hanged for his crimes.

He says that he enjoyed living the high life of a rich merchant when they were in Ikhwari as well as Hanyang, but he knew that they had turned a blind eye to the citizens, and so he says they have a duty to go to Hyangjumok and rescue them. Yonggae continues by saying that he doesn’t see this rescue as being an optional endeavor—he’s doing this in order to repay a long-time debt. His speech puts the entire situation in a different perspective for Gil-dong an the rest of the Hong brothers.

Finally sparking on an idea, Gil-dong approaches one of the women, whose eyes become wide at the fact that the general is speaking with little ol’ her. He tells her his plan, and although she looks a little starstruck at first, she quickly gets the gist and helps implement it.

His plan is to use the women to smuggle their weapons into Hyangjumok so that they can conquer from the inside out. Hyangjumok’s version of the TSA is not gender-equal since they only give men the full pat-down, which means that the women are able to hide the swords and knives in their skirts.

Eorini, wanting to do her part for the rebel effort, joins the women and pads several weapons in her underskirt, although Uncle Soboori protests. He tries to persuade her from it, thinking it’s too dangerous, and he even tries to get Gil-dong and Gil-hyun to help him. However, they just laugh, having given up, and say that she’ll still do what she wants to because that stubborn side of her, inherited from Amogae, exists in all of them.

In the magistrate’s courtyard, citizens and students alike have been rounded up and beaten. They kneel in front of the soldiers who begin an unfair investigation to find out the “truth.” They ask who’s behind the spread of the rebellious propaganda, and when a woman refuses to name any names, she’s immediately slashed down by the guard behind her.

Seeing her being killed right in front of their eyes, the people rally to stop the soldiers, but without weapons, they’re all ruthlessly cut down. And just as they’re about to lose all hope, Gil-dong strides in with the Hong brothers to the rescue. As Gil-dong makes the king’s soldiers retreat, he tells them to send this message to the king: “Hyangjumok doesn’t need soldiers that kill its citizens.”

Gil-dong and crew fight and defeat the soldiers, but at the end of the takeover, it almost seems like an empty victory because they’re standing in a sea of dead bodies. Although the citizens call for others to come out now that the battle is finished, no one else appears because half are lying dead at their feet.

Later, the bodies are organized in rows, some covered in white shrouds, others still just bloody. The mother who nagged at her son not to go against the king finds her beloved son in the midst of the still corpses and weeps her heart out.

When Yeonsangun hears that his soldiers in Hyangjumok have also been defeated by Gil-dong, he laughs at the absurdity. But it’s definitely not a joking-ha-ha-type laughter; it’s an angry chuckle that promises revenge. When Jeong-hak offers his life in return for his failure to capture Gil-dong, Yeonsangun is very tempted to kill him. But someone calls him, bringing him to his senses and preventing him from doing so. Instead, the king says to Jeong-hak that he’s only alive through the grace of his mother’s initial good deed of telling Yeonsangun about the deposed queen.

Jeong-hak tells Yeonsangun that he will willingly die for him on the battlefield by confronting Gil-dong. The king asks him whether he has an army willing to die for him like Park Ha Sung/Gil-hyun does, but Jeong-hak replies in the negative, giving an alternative answer that pleases the king.

Jeong-hak says that while he may not have an army loyal to himself, he does have an army that’s only loyal to the king. So, he’s dispatched to confront Gil-dong at Hyangjumok, and Mistress Jo tells Jeong-hak not to come back until he’s killed Gil-dong, otherwise he’d be dishonoring her and his late father. An immense force lead by Jeong-hak and Mori then heads to Hyangjumok.

People gather in Hyangjumok to debate their situation: A speaker stands up and asks the crowd whether they think they’re really committing treason by complaining about being forced to pay exorbitant taxes, having their land taken away, and their daughters forced into the king’s harem. Surely, these are reasonable complaints that don’t pass the boundary to treachery. But another man rebuts with the practical argument: The people of Hyangjumok are helpless—they have no way to fight against the relentless influx of royal troops.

The mother who lost her son through this past incursion then rises and tells the people that her biggest regret is letting her son learn to read, because that’s where he got the ideas of becoming an honorable man. When he saw the injustices being perpetrated by the king, she adds, he became motivated to do something about it, and was thus killed for his actions. In a powerful statement, Segul adds on that they aren’t choosing to pick a fight—they’re just fighting in order to not be killed.

Jeong-hak arrives at Hyangjumok with a formidable battalion of soldiers behind him, and he shouts for a parlay before they actually begin battle. Gil-dong and Gil-hyun descend from the gate to face Jeong-hak and Mori. The scene is absolutely delicious in a meta sense, because the four-way meeting is shown like a mirrored image of foils: We see the two scholars, one slave-born and one noble-born with Gil-hyun against Jeong-hak and the two Mighty Children—one choosing the right path and one choosing the wrong one with Gil-dong against Mori.

Despite Jeong-hak wanting to lord over the fact that Gil-dong and Gil-hyun were once his father’s slaves, Gil-hyun just smirks because he knows now that social birth is not an indicator of potential, especially since he (as Park Ha-sung) was able to rise much higher than Jeong-hak when they still worked together for the king. Needless to say, the discussion doesn’t end well, and the battle begins.

Meanwhile, the king is at the palace playing catch-me with his musical troupe girls. Nok-soo and Ga-ryung watch from the side, not participating in the jarringly playful festivities. For the first time, they have a real discussion about Gil-dong, the man both of them love.

From Ga-ryung, Nok-soo learns that Gil-dong did come back for her, and that he pined for her for a long time. However, Ga-ryung won him over because she patiently waited for him. Still perhaps a little insecure about Gil-dong’s love for her, Ga-ryung says some hurtful things to Nok-soo, saying that perhaps she was the main reason that Ga-ryung ended up with Gil-dong. When she’s back alone in her room, Ga-ryung confesses aloud that she’s jealous of Gil-dong’s powerful and passionate past love for Nok-soo.

In Hyangjumok, there’s an air of hopefulness despite all the recent tragedy, and the people gather to help each other for the communal good. Ilchung brings up the need for medical supplies, and everyone pitches in ideas about how to procure them. Because they’re scarce on herbs, they organize groups to go gather them. Because they’re low on food, they decide to share amongst each other.

But the king’s soldiers have destroyed all the roads that lead to Hyangjumok and have spread false rumors about how all the people there are liars and thieves. So unfortunately, the rest of the Joseon people don’t know about their plight and can’t/won’t come to their rescue.

In the palace gardens, Nok-soo and Ga-ryung have another discussion where Nok-soo comments to Ga-ryung that love is a passing fancy, but this just makes Ga-ryung angry. Having witnessed the deepness of Gil-dong’s longing for her, and having painfully experienced the one-sided love of one who loves another, Ga-ryung can’t understand how Nok-soo can be so cavalier about her time with Gil-dong.

The jealousy bug strikes again, and Ga-ryung pointedly retorts that it must be so, because Yeonsangun has stopped visiting Nok-soo’s chambers. This remark tips Nok-soo into a highly dangerous mood, and she lashes out, asking whether Ga-ryung would be equally as impertinent if her life were put on the line. She replies that she stopped being afraid of death when Gil-dong died.

Nok-soo resolves to meet the king again, despite his direct orders not to come near him for the time being. She explains to Wolhamae that the king doesn’t actually want her dead because if he did, he would have executed her already. And while she can withstand insults about her character and her person, she hates being told her choices were wrong, which is essentially what Ga-ryung said by implying that not waiting for Gil-dong was a mistake.

When the king is walking down the hallway, Nok-soo kneels in front of him and begs his forgiveness, confessing her previous relationship with Gil-dong. He grabs her in a stranglehold, but she looks straight into his eyes, promises him that she knows another way to catch the thief, and asks if he’ll trust her when Gil-dong is caught. He looks furious, but the scene cuts to Ga-ryung being taken away, so it looks like Yeonsangun decided to listen to Nok-soo after all.

Ga-ryung is dragged in front of the king, who demands for her to reveal everything. She says that she’ll tell him the absolute truth, but requests that he come nearer to her. Once he’s a few inches from her, she goes toward him as if she is going to whisper in his ear, and he leans in.

However, instead of telling him anything, she bites down on his ear so fiercely that blood is drawn. He stumbles back in shock, and she lets out a crazed laugh about how he is the beast that killed her husband, which causes Yeonsangun to become angry again. In a moment of fury, he wants to chop off her head, but Nok-soo reminds him that they need to use Ga-ryung effectively, and in order to do that, they need to keep her alive.

Nok-soo visits Ga-ryung in prison, and she finally lets Ga-ryung know that Gil-dong is alive. She tells her that she’s fine no matter how the scenario turns out—it’s a win-win situation for her, because if Gil-dong loves Ga-ryung, he’ll lose the battle, and if Gil-dong sacrifices Ga-ryung for the battle, then it’s a validation that Ga-ryung isn’t as important to him as perhaps Nok-soo once was. Ga-ryung is completely dazed by the news that her husband is alive, but once she realizes the implications of that, she calls out futilely to Nok-soo.

However, the meeting took more of a toll on Nok-soo than she let on to Ga-ryung, because her eyes are watery when she comes out. Wolhamae asks why she’s crying, and Nok-soo doesn’t answer, but it’s like she is mourning the last vestiges of her humanity that she’s given up by betraying both Ga-ryung and Gil-dong.

Outside, a soldier keeps repeating for Hyangjumok to surrender, and in order to drown out his cries, the people begin to sing. Soon, everyone joins in, including commoner soldiers from the king’s army. Through song, the people gain courage to move to their assigned tasks, whether it be standing at arms or evacuating the weak and infirm.

An epic battle ensues with arrows, cannons, and spears all thrown in the midst. Gil-dong is at the front and defends the wall by shouting orders to the archers. When a battering ram comes close, jugs of flammable alcohol and fiery arrows are shot down, and the soldiers scream below. But they keep coming closer to scale the wall with ladders while continuing to fight on ground. While there are massive casualties on both sides, at the end of the day, Gil-dong is successful in protecting the wall.

Yeonsangun is disappointed to learn that Hyangjumok has not fallen, and decides that if he wants a job done right, he has to do it himself. He announces that he will be going on a people-hunting expedition to Hyangjumok, and he expects a large retinue of entertainers as well as troops from every province to support him.

Back at Hyangjumok, Jeong-hak blows up at Mori for not being able to open up the gate doors when he’s notified of Yeonsangun’s arrival. The king says he’s brought a present that will make Jeong-hak’s task easier—and to Mori’s surprise, when he peers into the darkened cage, he sees Ga-ryung gagged and cuffed.

Later, she’s tied up in the prisoner’s tent to the central pole, and he goes to free her of her bindings to give her some breathing room. But as soon as she’s taken off the pole, she tries to commit suicide by ramming her body toward a pitchfork and slamming her head against any hard surface she can find. Taken aback, Mori stops her, and between tears, she explains the situation. She asks him to kill her because she needs to die without Gil-dong knowing so that he won’t be faced with an unsolvable dilemma.

Gil-dong walks the ramparts, looking over the hurt men and surveying the scene. But he’s also tired, so he sits down and dozes off in a moment of fatigue, and he dreams of Ga-ryung.

In his dream they’re in a field, and she holds flowers to his nose while gazing up at him lovingly. She tells him: “I’m coming to see you soon, but don’t be surprised at what state you find me in. You have to promise to do as I say.”

Before he can respond properly to her, he wakes up. She’s gone, and it’s Eorini holding flowers in her place. His sister vaguely mentions that she remembers an unni at the palace (referring to Ga-ryung) who had been kind to her. It’s a foreshadowing of what’s to come, because in that moment, Keutsae tells Gil-dong that he needs to come quickly.

When he gets to the central outer gate, Gil-dong sees his wife again: Ga-ryung has been blindfolded and strung up to a post facing the Hyangjumok. She screams to him: “If you stop because of me, I’ll never see you again!”

He shouts her name, and it’s the first real confirmation that she has that he’s alive. It’s a bittersweet moment as she feels simultaneous joy at finding him again and despair at their current situation. They shout and cry in deep longing and sorrow for each other while Yeonsangun watches with great relish at the scene unfolding, eagerly anticipating his enemy’s anguish.

 
COMMENTS

From the beginning, we knew that it would come to this, but I didn’t really think the writers would carry it through without providing at least a small escape route. I care for Ga-ryung and Nok-soo’s arc so much more than this Yeonsangun—Gil-dong business, which has been dragging out forever. However, I did think that the whole jealousy issue that occurred in their two conversations together wasn’t done with the subtle touch that their previous scenes together had displayed. For a long time, I thought that Nok-soo’s main motivation was surviving the long game, but after this episode, I’m starting to be confused as to what her real reasons for her actions are.

Logically, her offering Ga-ryung to Yeonsangun as bait for Gil-dong doesn’t make sense because it seems like she still holds Gil-dong in affection, and this could get him killed. Did that remaining affection die when Ga-ryung announced that he had married her? Perhaps jealousy propelled her as well, but from the way she phrased it to Wolhamae, it seemed more like she can’t stand the idea that she could be wrong, and that’s making her commit these atrocities. As for Ga-ryung, she has grown from one of the side-fringe characters to one of the main emotional centers of the drama, so I really don’t want her to die. (I’m crossing my fingers that maybe Mori will come to the rescue and they’ll ride off into the sunset together after Gil-dong dies in mortal combat with Yeonsangun.)

Does anyone feel like they were somehow unknowingly and gradually transitioned from a must-watch sageuk to a slightly less captivating but still interesting one? Perhaps it’s the length of the run time, but Rebel feels like it was initially an innovative drama with powerful characters that somehow got smushed together with a spinoff version with most of the same characters but not the same level of awesomeness in the latter half.

Speaking of which, most of the time Amogae’s storyline played out, his primary motivator was the manifestation of Gil-dong’s supernatural power. Even up to the point that Gil-dong and Eorini are captured and he loses his memory, Gil-dong displayed immense potential for physical destruction. However, in this episode, his Mighty Child strength is written off like it’s only slightly better than a normal strongman. What happened to my green-eyed Gil-dong hulk-beast? At the beginning, they kind of explored themes of identity when Gil-dong didn’t want to use his powers and suppressed them unconsciously because he didn’t want to be viewed as a beast. Those topics were highly interesting to me because it brings up questions about individuality and acceptance, which is highly applicable to even today’s society. But nope, they were never touched upon again after Gil-dong’s transformation into the “Great Elder.” Plus, are we never going to figure out what happened to the tiger in the forest? We only have three episodes left, and I’m still waiting.

All in all, it may be that the drama bit off more than it could chew. It tried to incorporate all these supernatural themes while also having a huge secondary cast with lots of screen time, which decreased the amount of time spent developing the main characters’ own stories. So what we’ve ended up with is a couple characters with complex motivations, and very many that we’re familiar with and feel are acquaintances, but to whom we have no vested interest in learning more about. But I must admit most of my near-tears moments have happened while watching the citizenry rise up and use their individually meager but collectively great might to work together with our hero to accomplish a greater goal. For instance, that scene where one woman began singing, and everyone from the Hong brothers to the shamaness to the youngest children began chiming along in a haunting melody—that was pure gold.

 
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This drama is not perfect and no matter how much I love it I have to admit it. But man, those two episodes every week just make my days n I look forward to the new adventure of team gil dong. It s gonna be so weird not to hurry back home to watch it when it ends u.u That said, finally they were reunited, I think it was abt time n I m really curious as how it s gonna unravel?

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Chae Soobin totally shined in this episode, especially in the ear- biting scene. I think I saw flashes of her evil character in Sassy Go Go.

also, #SaveGaryung2k17

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Her and Honey Lee were just gunning for all the awards in this episode lol. Seriously, like the layers to both their performances, the varied takes on their jealousy of each other was great. But I think the difference is that Ga-ryung is jealous of the past...that Gil-dong came for Nok-soo and not her, but her actions against Nok-soo come from a place of defending her husband's character who Nok-soo degrades by talking about their time in a cavalier way and Gil-dong's love as a passing fancy when in fact, Gil-dong took aaaages to let her go and refused to let himself have feelings for Ga-ryung for ages and acknowledge his own feelings. He didn't want to betray his feelings for Nok-soo.

Whereas Nok-soo was motivated by survival, her position at court, her life, and lifestyle...as well as jealousy over Ga-ryung having everything she wants/wanted, position, security and power...and the life she could have had with Gil-dong...if only she had trust and faith in him like Ga-ryung did. Because the difference between these two at the core, is Ga-ryung's faith and trust in others. It's why Ga-ryung nurtures and Nok-soo destroys.

Ga-ryung sees the good in others and is able to help them without expecting anything in return, whether it be love from Gil-dong or help/protection from Ok-ran. Nok-soo doesn't see the good in others, it's why she destroys when someone gets in the way of what she expected/wants in life. It's also why she fits in with Yeonsangun.

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It's exactly as you said - Nok-soo held on to the idea of her perfect love with Gil-dong for so long that even if she logically knows he may be married/moved on from her, she can't tolerate the idea of anything that explodes that fantasy of her being the most significant relationship in Gil-dong's life.

Which is exactly what Ga-ryung does, not only by being Gil-dong's wife, but pointing out that Nok-soo's love couldn't have been so deep after all, if she chose to not believe his promise and leave, and then Gil-dong married her, Nok-soo's former gibang maid.

I knew Nok-soo had fully crossed over to the dark side last week after she chose to keep the fact of Gil-dong's survival to herself even after knowing Ga-ryung was his wife. But even then, she chose to keep Ga-ryung's connection to Gil-dong a secret, until Ga-ryung dared to question her choices and the love in question from her end.

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Yes. She can't stand to be the fault or the reason why the relationship with Gil-dong didn't work out. Or that the relationship wasn't as meaningful as she thinks it is. Because honestly, Gil-dong was surprised to see her when he was in jail, but he wasn't like 'My one true love! Here to see me again!' It was a sort of resigned...this situation is messed up kind of thing. We basically see that Gil-dong kept his promise to Ga-ryung...that his heart would only be filled with her and it is.

And Nok-soo kept that truth from Ga-ryung for a LOOONG time until it benefited her to tell her the truth.

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Also, Nok-soo also can't stand the idea that she isn't the most significant relationship in Gil-dong's life anymore - she may well have been able to accept the idea that Gil-dong would marry after she left him, but she can't stomach the idea that his marriage wouldn't be just settling for whoever was there to fill her (Nok-soo's) absence, or that the woman he married might be more important to him than she was.

And the idea that it's Ga-ryung, of all people.... sure, she's jealous at first, but it isn't until Ga-ryung actively questions her choices (and Ga-ryung's very presence in the palace says enough about how important Gil-dong was to her/what kind of relationship they must have had) that she gives her up to the king. Of course, the jealousy made her do bad things from Day 1 - she may have kept quiet after Ga-ryung's first assassination attempt, but the minute she failed to tell her that Gil-dong was alive, it was evident which path she was going down.

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@pogo1she's just like Yeonsangun who holds onto Nok-soo like a toy and doesn't want her with anyone else.

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@cloveredlioness - I think there's one essential difference between her and Yeonsangun though - her actions take a major emotional toll on her (which is why she's in tears after leaving Ga-ryung). Yeonsangun's emotional range simply wouldn't stretch that far.

Also, it's ironic that Nok-soo is doing this to hurt two out of the only three people who genuinely cared for her (the third being Wolhamae, and Wolhamae is in no danger of ever displacing her from/ usurping what Nok-soo feels is her rightful place in anything)

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I know my girl can bring the crazy when she needs to, but this went above and beyond Sassy Go Go though she does play characters driven by trauma/sadness in both. It rather amuses me that this is the second drama in which she's been an antagonist to Kim Ji-suk's character, only this time they switched sides so he's the horrible one and she's the nice one.

Also that post-ear-biting speech was incredible, I could fully believe she and her blood-smeared mouth were going to haunt the king's nightmares for a long time.

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Omg what an awesome episode! I love love that scene when they all started singing! That was soo beautifully done. And I also hope Mori becomes good, maybe he has a plan? I want that non sop and the king to be gone!

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I really hope Moro has a plan. Please be good Mori! Maybe he has a secret bullet-proof, or in this case, arrow-proof vest. ? lol

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OH yes! Arrow proof vest! Hope so!??

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Yes, that's what I'm hoping for too! Or else why would Ga-ryung tell Gildong that he has to do what she says in order that they see each other again?
I have hopes for Mori....please be good for Ga-ryung's sake!

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Nok soo*

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Thanks for the recap, tineybeanie! Yes, I agree with you that the show is becoming slightly less captivating! I wanna see Gil-dong's Mighty Child powers again! With that power, he sure can beat the King's army!

I personally don't fancy the people singing scene, thought it was quite long (yes, this is coming from someone who doesn't like musicals...hehe). Thought I saw even some of the King's soldiers were singing along! If I were them, I'll just start attacking, why wait until the song is finished? Maybe the song mesmerized them, huh?

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In real life, we cut off our friends in the middle of a conversation. In reel life, we let our enemies finish their mother of all speeches before we stab them.

Also, do you ever wonder why a group of thugs have to wait their turn to take down the one and only good guy? They seldom attack him all at once, do they? In this aspect, zombies are better.

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lol this is true. And it ranges across fiction, from Star Wars to kdramas.

At least in this case, I think I understand why the soldiers didn't rush in right away - they were officially delivering the orders to surrender, so it was a kind of parley state since they didn't yet have orders to attack. Hence they get to let the villagers of Hyangjumok finish their song before rushing in.

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Yes, much less captivating. I'm only here because I've invested too many hours to quit this close to the end.

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I'm of a different opinion. I like the drama better and better. Only problem i have is the Mighty Child issue. There were so many instances where I was waiting for Gil-dong to use his magical powers, the way he did in a much earlier ep...just by shouting, the soldiers had all fallen down, and how he managed to fight them off with just stalks of grass. Perhaps, the writers wanted to level the playing ground.

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To be fair, Gil-dong those previous times was fighting off bands of thugs by the dozen, not an entire army of possibly thousands.

And using his powers at full berserker capacity like he did to save Eorini or Ga-ryung at Amogae's funeral, is something he can't do for long periods of time, he always ends up wiped out after and is still vulnerable to injury - with Eorini, he took down maybe the first few dozen but when there were more, he ended up overwhelmed and took three arrows to the back and nearly died. I doubt he wants that now, especially since he's facing an entire army. He doesn't have the physical strength to fight that many people.

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is it going to be a tragic ending? chae soo bin is so wonderful in this role, and the scene with their screaming exchanges was super heartbreaking...

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I'm more invested in Nok-soo Character than others since she such a well act and mysterious character. I miss her old day when she happily singing and madly in love with Gil Dong

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I just care about her ending in this drama, I know historically what her ending was but I am curious how the writer will make her ending in this drama.

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Wow that ending scene was so powerful! I loved everything about it. Cha Soo Bin is killing it in this role!

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Totally! When she bit the king's ear! That was so brave of her!

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Omg yes! I actually thought she was going to spit on him lol...biting him is good too.

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Chae Soo Bin. She's a gem.That ear-biting scene is applaudable. She fearlessly and fierce fully threatened the King that she'll visit him even in his dreams with bloods on her pale face running down her mouth to her white dress. So creepy and believable..

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I know! And I hope the King is haunted by that image for the rest of his life!

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Not what people usually mean when they talk about nibbling on someone's ear :)

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Ga-ryung vs. Yeonsangun was better than Tyson vs. Holyfield. That's what I thought, but yes, your thought is accurate too.

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Chae Soo Bin is the MVP of today episode!

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On Nok Soo- I didn't think that she would ever betray Gil dong. I thought that whatever's happens she would always side with him...at least by pretending to be on the same side as the King anyway.
So when I saw her jealousy toward Ga ryung, I was actually surprised and dare I say, disappointed in her. I get that she wanted power...but I didn't expect her to stoop so low as to use Ga ryung's love for Gil dong against him. It's like she's saying, 'If I can't have him, then you can't either'. When deep down she is probably furious with herself because she didn't wait for Gil dong when Ga ryung did. I think the fact that someone did her job just tipped her over to the baddies side. Can she be redeemed? Will she be redeemed? Do I want her to be redeemed?

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*whatever happens

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I agree with you. I definitely don't want her to be redeemed. She's horrible!

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She's there to watch Gil Dong make the worst decision of his life. I don't think there's any redemption ?

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Nok Soo's chance for redemption flew off the window the moment she kept the fact that Gil Dong has survived from Ga Ryung.

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I don't want to see her redemption. Nok Soo, in my opinion, was far gone before this episode, and I feel a redemption arc would be ill-contrived considering her fate historically.

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I'm not at all surprised Nok-soo is jealous, or that she's acting on it - she's shown herself to be ruthless in the past, in the interest of survival or payback to those who wronged her/those she feels wronged her. Also there's a difference between what she did after Gil-dong's torture and what she's doing now.

Back when Gil-dong was captured, she didn't yet know he was married, and could ignore that possibility to help him because she still felt he was 'hers'. And Nok-soo's been very possessive of his memory for years.

But when Ga-ryung comes along and reveals not only that she's Gil-dong's wife, but that she's pretty much hellbent on her last acts in the world being avenging Gil-dong's (she thinks) death, there goes Nok-soo's lovely fantasy she's held on to for all these years, that Gil-dong's heart was hers alone or that she dominated his memory the way he did hers. And her trying to laugh that off results in Ga-ryung actually getting offended on her husband's behalf and pointing out how Nok-soo is responsible for her choices that led to not her, but Ga-ryung (who made a different choice) getting married to Gil-dong. And Nok-soo has been ruthless to anyone she thinks makes her look stupid (Ok-ran with the skirt incident) or wrong about something. Ga-ryung - her former maid, no less - dared to point it out - and I'm not surprised at all that Nok-soo lashed out at this by selling her out to the king, even if she'd kept quiet before about Ga-ryung being Gil-dong's wife.

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Nok-soo has shown her capability for vengeance, ruthlessness and pettiness for a long time in this drama. It's not surprising at all she would flip. Her favour with the king lead to a minister who abused her getting punished, her punishment of Ok-ran was OTT and used to keep others in their place. Her survival is all that matters to her and if you get in the way, you're gone. And it doesn't matter what feelings she may have had for you.

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She thinks Gil-dong betrayed her first by marrying someone else and shattering her perfect image of their love. It sticks at her that Ga-ryung speaks the truth...that she was the one who ended their relationship by not believing Gil-dong's words.

Plus, when it comes down to it, Nok-soo values herself and survival above all else. That's why she kept the secret that Gil-dong was alive for so long. She was figuring out how she could best leverage it. Yes, there was the possibility for her to still save Ga-ryung. But she was just waiting to decide which side she should flip. Honestly, I think she knew immediately how she would use that info and was just waiting for justification for her actions. Ga-ryung gave her that by pointing out she could have had a life with Gil-dong but she chose differently. Ga-ryung also pointed out the stupidity of her choice in seeking out to be with a man whose whims rule him and whose violence controls everyone when she could have been with Gil-dong.

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Isn't the ending scene a bit different to what was shown in the first episode though? I remember Mori having a beard then, but he doesn't have it here. And there was no Jeong-hak or Yeonsangun in the initial scene. Inconsistency or a deliberate move?

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Maybe they didn't show Jeong-hak and Yeonsangun on purpose. But I agree with you. Mori definitely had a beard. And I think he was also standing next to where Ga ryung was tied to the post. He was the one who yelled for Gil dong to open the gates.
Literally just went to watch the first few minutes of the first episode lol.

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Thank you for confirming and saving my trouble ?

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Hahaha no worries. I was curious so I wanted to see for myself:)

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You don't know how many times I've watched that scene and yet, I have no recollection of Mori's beard ?

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I'll never forget Mori's beard in Ep1 because that's the reason why I didn't recognize him as the guard beside Ga Ryung. Until a beanie mentioned it in the earlier recap which makes me rewatched Ep1 again memorizing every part of that flashforward scene. There are some other inconsistencies aside from the beard but that's not my concern right now. I'm keep on thinking different possible plan for Mori or Gil Dong to save Ga Ryung. Or it could also be Ga Ryung planned something with Mo Ri. Hence, Gil Dong's daydream of Ga Ryung saying he should do whatever she says is a premonition. I'll declare war against the writer if Ga Ryung dies.

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Yes, I felt that way about that dream too. Why would she say Gil dong should do whatever she says? Doesn't that mean she has something up her sleeves?
*fingers crossed that it's a plan with Mori*

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Here we are, holding on to anything we could. Or should I say hoping big for Mori's important redemption ?

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tbh i'm not gonna question the absence of mori's beard in episode 27 bc i don't want it either lol

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You don't want him to have the beard? haha

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yup hahaha it makes him look kind of old

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Hahaha.

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I noticed that too. Even the location of the fight seems to be different. Usually I'd be criticizing the inconsistencies in a drama but I don't mind it so much here because with that Ga-ryung and Mori scene, I have hope that the writer will change that first scene. Maybe Gil-dong will still shoot his wife but I believe Mori will save her. Please...Mori!!

Anyway, the writer already changed who played Eorini earlier from Jung Da-bin to Lee Soo-min so if they change the storyline again it's kinda expected this time too, right?

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Was it originally planned Jung Da Bin as Eorini? and changed their mind halfway to Lee So Min? I'm surprised. I thought it was the writer's way of misdirecting the viewers.

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There's news about Jung Da-bin's casting as Eorini, it was stated in the Naver Rebel drama page as well.

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I don't think the writer changed it, isn't wiki page can be changed by anyone? Maybe someone made assumption that JDB is the more popular actress so he/she thought JDB was Eorini.

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That's what I thought too - that the casting of Jung Da-bin was assumed to be as older Eorini, since it's taken for granted that a totally unknown actress like Lee Soo-min wouldn't be cast in a prominent role like this when there was a more famous actress also in the cast. And of course the troll production team didn't bother to fix that mistake.

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I had thought this from episode one and maybe it’s just hopeful thinking but I am even more convinced now that somehow Gil Dong shot Ga Ryung strategically avoiding vital organs, to make it look like it was in the heart. If they think he killed her by the arrow through the heart, they can’t use her as bait and that gets her out of the battle. And then maybe Mori or someone else can get her down after. Remember the first dream HGD had of Ga Ryung with the strawberries? I think that scene was a foreshadow of HGD having to use his ability to shoot precisely without missing his target.

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OHSHITOHSHIOHSHITOHSHITEBLOODYSHITE. Mori I believe, is not that far gone in the evilness department. So there's still hope? Besides, the way Jeong-hak dismissed his assignment since he's a commoner and not a noble would leave Mori with something to gripe with when it comes to betraying Jeong-hak. Hopefully, for once Gil-dong uses his brain here, I dunno how. It frustrates me no end, that despite being the hero for the people, it is Gil-dong who somehow ends up getting rescued one way or another.

So Nok-soo did betray Ga-ryung. WHY NOK-SOO WHY???? I was hoping she would have told Ga-ryung that Gil-dong was alive, made a way for Ga-ryung to get out of the palace, no questions asked, and, when Yeonsangun finds out, in rage and retaliation for her brazenness have Ga-ryung captured and thus we end up in this scene. But apparently, that's moot already. Ack. I was still holding on to Nok-soo's sense of humanity. I dunno. History tells us that the end for Yeonsangun and Nok-soo is not that pretty. Will they make it so that Nok-soo's end is actually fitting when the time comes? So far, I can't seem to give her character that ending that history has told us, because she's not that far gone in the evilness department either. (Yes, I still love her as a character!)

No questions asked, Ga-ryung is the queen here. Looking back, I reckon Gil-dong was a wee bit of an arse before (not minding Ga-ryung and all).

I dunno how to feel about this, emotion-wise we all want a happy ending for our main characters but story-wise a happy ending would seem to contrived at this point. Ack.

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I'm holding on to the hope that Mo ri will have planned something with Ga ryung when he untied her. Although she tried to kill herself so she couldn't be bait, I think Mori felt pity for her?

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I dunno how. It frustrates me no end, that despite being the hero for the people, it is Gil-dong who somehow ends up getting rescued one way or another.

Yes, this is happening more often than I like. I'm not saying a hero does not need help or saving at times but come on, this is a rebellion and people are dying like flies.

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The body count is indeed quite high in this show.

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I low key want a happy contrived ending though. lol. Also I'm hoping that if the writer decided to open the drama with that stake scene that she must have some twists up her sleeves, right?

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Yes, keeping fingers crossed in some awesome twist or something. :)

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I can see why people start finding this less captivating, I do feel that the story has some weird pacing. Drawn out on some parts and kind of rushed on the other parts. HOWEVER, I'm amazed at how the writer managed to create such rich characters and tight plots that it makes me want to go back and watch the entire show all over again [and I will do that if it ends on a happy note]. Not to see something that I might have missed, but to see something again and realize that I'm seeing something on an entirely different level than I thought I was before.

Honestly when I started watching this I was only planning to watch it casually, but somewhere in the middle, the story and the characters just grabbed me by the collar and refused to let go, so now I just decided to let it consume my soul instead...

Anyway, back to the episode. My girl GaRyung was so badass this episode, I kept rewatching that scene where she bit YiYung's ear. And Cha Soo Bin totally nailed that stake scene (that wasn't pun intended, but oh well), I was all teary eyed by the end when I watched their sad reunion, and when I realized that I have to wait ONE WHOLE WEEK for next episode.

The arch in this episode kind of reminds me of Gwangju Uprising. I think @liina brought up this point in last recap. First, the students protest, the massacre, and then how the army blocked all routes and communications leading into and out of the village. I just hope that it won't follow the same tragic end :(

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Btw, I loved the fact that Ahn Ye Eun had a cameo this episode as one of the villagers during that singing scene! :D

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Yes ! Ga Ryung and Yeonsangun ! That was so intense, you could have stopped my heart right there girl..

(And there's no preview ! Rebel's crew is trolling us to the max !)

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Ditto the ear part! I knew it was hopeless but at least she did some damage to the king before she was taken down.

I absolutely love the character study and the plot in the beginning. However, I also expect the tension between Gil Dong and the King to up notches and it never did, except for the ending in this episode.

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yeah, Ga-ryung took my breath away - not something I could ever have predicted if I'd just seen her in early episodes, but my god does Chae Soo-bin do intensity and emotion well. This storyline has been a blessing for her, even if we all spent weeks hankering for a reunion (and then got it..... like THAT).

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Though, I was a little bit wrong. I thought on Kwangju, because of how Yeonsan formulated all his words regarding that town Kwangjumok (by the way @kiara: is that in the annals?), I didn't assume that they would really go all Kwangju. So I assumed, that they hinted on it, with the death of the nice guy. --- But dramawise I was a little bit early.
That whole episode 27 was a very detailed description of the happenings in Kwangju. All you said: The sealing of the roads, the massacre at the students; also how the people organized themselves, the part with the people searching for the dead bodies of family members in the places the dead were brought in, the people on-behind the gate - like the people behind the walls of busses.
The Kwangju uprising had a huge impact on the democratic movement. It brought different groups that were not in contact before together. And it became something that was important to the before not so agitated middle class as well. Before the protesters had been mostly workers and intellectuals, after the protesters came from all classes.

Military men lost trust in the politicians too. They were just used in that incident as well. This is why with singing the song they are portrayed as victims of the politics that led to Kwangju as well.
The USA weren't less backing up the regime after that too. Probably they were saving face because their role in that incident had become object of discussion?

Koreans just love Les Miserables, the musical... :)

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I found this episode quite hard to watch! :(
- Though Ga-ryung! What a great scene! I watched it three times... ;)

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Oh that scene is still one of my favorites, even though I knew it was going to happen as I saw some BTS stills before the drama. Watching it unfold on the screen was still satisfying. Gah, now only 4 days left until next episode...

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If the cast of Rebel don't win at the MBC drama awards this year (and they should, they're MBC's highes-rated weekday drama of the year so far), it's a farce.

And yeah, it is a great scene. I love how Ga-ryung goes from broken to straight-up scary in a flash, that's what really makes it. She may be caught and condemned but the girl will damn well go down fighting.

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Yes. And the scenes where it all happened kind of felt 'modern' to me. Especially the scene where the mother was looking for her son and found him there (that scene kind of getting me emotional though, even though I just met these characters literally 5 minutes before) and when the people had a town meeting. It probably reminded me of some of the scenes from May 18...

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@liina
I haven't seen this episode yet. Just reading comments.
If I recall correctly Yeonsan's only order that involved killing scholars (Sarim) was the first literati purge in 1498.

This scene being based on the Kwangju uprising makes more sense. Scholars and commoners are involved etc.

It's safe to say that "Spring Of Ilkhwari" is Rebel's revolutionary song. It's about empowering the people to stand up and fight against injustice, persecution etc.
Just like "Do you hear the people sing?" from Les Miserable and Jeong Do-jeon's Mu-Yi-Yi-Ya from SFD.

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Ah, thank you! :)

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I love this episode so much!
I love when Eorini cried for the Hong gang.
I love that Gil-Hyun always hold Eorini hands.
I love Gil-Hyun smirks when he face Jeong-gak.
I love the last scene, Chae Soo-bin wrecked my heart with her cried ?

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Yeah, I have lots of favorite scenes from this episode too..

Badass Hong brothers vs Jeong Hak & Mori. Burn him with your clever words Gil Hyun, burn~~

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Ha, I loved Gil-hyun facing Jeong-hak too! - That was so satisfying!

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Hong clan reunion under the tree, it was so beautiful I'm scared that it might be their last time together in full squad (well, Ga Ryung wasn't there so it wasn't really a complete Hong family)

LOL at Mori's expression when the King's soldiers were starting to sing along the rebel.. you just can't resist the temptation to join in and singing the "heheii yaa hohoii yaa" part just like me.. (well, hello there Ahn Ye Eun ! So that's why she posted some pictures in her instagram account with Rebel's casts, how lucky she is ^^)

Gil Dong-aah~~ how much is it that you miss Ga Ryung?? Another dream, another flower sign (what flower is it btw?). And what is it with him sweating and feeling too weak? I'm starting to feel worried..

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Love the Hong clan reunion scene too! I hope they will never ever be apart again!

Ga Ryung has met all of them except Gil Hyun, right? Gil Hyun has definitely seen her when he went to her house with Deputy Governor Eom but he didn't want to meet her.

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Yeah, he saw her from a distance (didn't see her face clearly, I think - she was praying) and decided to hold off meeting her until he could see Gil-dong.

But Gil-dong doesn't seem to have actually told his siblings he got married, since he thinks Ga-ryung left because she thought he died. The entire time Eorini was speaking about the palace unni, I was just hoping she'd say Ga-ryung's name so Gil-dong could finaly get a clue where she was and why she'd gone, but she was cut off too soon!

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It was another painful missed connection for this drama lol.

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Ga Ryung in the closing scene saved this episode for me and hoping against hope, she'd better survive somehow.

Thank you @tineybeanie. You encapsulate the thoughts and my feelings about this show perfectly.

I think I felt more roused by Amogae than I ever have been by Gil Dong. Even though he was just a leader of outlaws, there was something more electrifying and inspiring about Amogae. When he died, I thought it would be Gil Dong's turn to shine but he never live up to my expectation despite certain significant events like his 'resurrection'. I can't pin point if it's the story, execution or acting.

While it was good to see that there were people who were willing to die to save Gil Dong and the cause, it was also frustrating to see Gil Dong, who has extraordinary powers, unable to save his people in crucial times like this. I know he was once called out for not living to the true calling of his powers. However, surely the rebellion is the best time to use his strength?

I am equally confused by Nok Soo and Ga Ryung. For the former, I had to ask myself if this was the woman who risked her life to save Gil Dong not too long ago. Why would she be so enraged to know that Gil Dong is married? Did she really expect him to wait forever for her? Her bigger issue probably lies in the fact that it is Ga Ryung who is now Gil Dong's wife. I can understand the jealousy but is it so terrible that she now has to kill both Gil Dong and Ga Ryung? Neither has even betrayed her. If the tipping point was that she cannot stand being wrong, then I've lost all respect for this character. I haven't been blaming her for not sticking her neck out to do the right thing and indulging the king. Now, looking at her dressed up like some female warrior standing by the king's side makes me angry.

As for Ga Ryung, I cannot understand why she has to jeopardize her mission. Although we know that Gil Dong is alive, she doesn't. So Ga Ryung should still be very focused on killing the king. She should also know by now that if she should be weary of Nok Soo, not goad her further. Insecurities or jealousies aside, she should have been planning another attack on the king or had she given up already?

If Gil Dong is going to win the coup, they had better step up the scale of the rebellion. I guess this may have to do with the filming budget but it's kind of a stretch to imagine such a small scale or unsophisticated methods would topple a regime. I can't remember how other dramas do it or has this always been an issue?

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I think the rebellion itself would not topple the regime, but instead it would be like a butterfly effect that would inspire others who suffered under the king's oppression to do something about it. They also introduced one of the officials in this episode who would be involved in the coup against the king. I guess the final stretch would try to build into the final coup by tying all the little plot threads together

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Nok-soo is a person who will choose her own survival over anything. Ga-ryung is a threat to her position and has taken everything she has ever wanted away from her. Her love for Gil-dong and her position in Yeonsangun's court. Nok-soo has shown she values this by threatening death to any of the gisaengs in the palace who rise without her approval. Moreover, she has no trust or faith in people as a result of her upbringing, so it's no surprise that her solution to solving her problems is just to destroy/kill people. Plus, she holds her relationship with Gil-dong on a pedestal as a perfect love. Ga-ryung ruins that just with her presence. Yes, part of it is jealousy, but Ga-ryung also destroys the carefully crafted image she has of herself just by existing.

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Plus, the idea that any love of Nok Soo's being inferior to any one else's love of the same person is a thought I feel Nok Soo abhors. Even though she knows with Yi Yung that she's not his only "love," her level of importance and authority makes her "love" more supreme to others. I feel Nok Soo also felt this way with Gil Dong; I don't see it so much that she thought he wouldn't marry or settle down after several years. Rather, I feel like Nok Soo must still see her relationship as the most superior of his interactions. Therefore, when she finds out that Ga-ryung married Gil-dong and that their relationship was built out of a great love for one another, she reacts out of a sense of lost authority/supremacy. Similarly, in her interactions with Yi Yung, she does the same. She punishes those who intend to impugn her dignity/authority/superiority, even if unintentionally. Then Ga-ryung in some ways takes her place as the supreme object in Yi Yung's eyes, and it stings Nok Soo because she's been in that position for a long time.

While Honey Lee has done a fantastic job with Nok Soo's character, I personally never liked Nok Soo as much as I did Ga-ryung. I've always sensed that if, given the circumstances, Nok Soo needed to increase her power/authority/supremacy, she would do so in a heartbeat.

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Notice how she said "HE is the only one who cherishes me above anyone else" instead of "He is the one I CHERISHES most"? (If the translation in kissasian is correct) Like, she was very sure that Gil-dong love her and her only so when Ga-ryung said they're married I think it must've hurt her pride.

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Same. Ga-ryung has me from the slap lol.

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She's Consort Jang...above any and all of the other gisaengs...She's not going to let anyone else get the same position as her. No way. That's why she punished Ok-ran and indirectly Ga-ryung for stepping on her skirt.

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I've said this before, but I feel like in this drama, it actually works to have Gil-dong not be a particularly magnetic or charismatic presence, because the rebellion he inspires isn't based on people being drawn to his personality. He has the loyalty of the Hongvengers/his family, and that is believable - and it's their collective deeds as Hong Chum-ji and the reports of Gil-dong's strength, not Gil-dong's personality, that inspire people to take a stand against the system.

Like the shaman said, people were following Gil-dong into hiding/battle not because of anything else but the fact that he'd shown them that it was possible to fight authority, on however small a scale, and win. It was the winning that brings people on-side and gets them ready to risk their lives for the next possible win, which makes a lot of sense to me given how Gil-dong is written.

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The scene between Ga Ryung and Mo Ri. Pheew.. at this point, Gil Ryung shipper should be alarmed. I admit that they have such a weird (and intriguing) chemistry right there..

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I am firmly in team Gil-ryung ??

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I think the chemistry was Ga-ryung's desperation. I honestly don't think there's anyone else besides Gil-dong for her. In fact, both of them have made pretty clear they're it for each other.

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@cloveredlioness - seriously, I could FEEL the moment when Ga-ryung heard Gil-dong's voice and realised he was alive after all.

What's even more incredible about that scene is that her eyes are covered and half her face is under a blindfold and she still manages to gut me anyway.

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Right? Up until that moment she had no actual, real evidence that he was alive. And she hears his voice and it just CRUSHES her. She doesn't want Gil-dong have to choose between her and the people and she would rather die than have Gil-dong be forced to make such a horrible choice.

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They have better chemistry that I wanted to see between Gil Dong and Ga Ryung. Maybe I just prefer something intense rather than lovey dovey moments.

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That moment in Episode 15 where he gently cusps her face and says he loves how bright and strong she is with a lump in his throat KILLS ME though. (Poor Garyung, that's all she had to keep her going for four years, and then only because she turned the wheels herself.)

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THAT SCENE! I thought something would happen after that, but then I saw the preview and GaRyung was going to leave, and I was like wth. So I decided to watch ep 16 live the next day... lol

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omg now that you've mentioned that scene I just realized that maybe the reason why Gil-dong kept Ga-ryung waiting for so long was because he didn't want to face her half-heartedly?
Like, he's been keeping Nok-su in his heart for all that time so he had to wait until he could fully get over his feelings for Nok-su, because facing Ga-ryung's feelings for him while still keeping Nok-su in his heart would feel like he's being insincere with Ga-ryung (and he totally knows how strongly she feels for him I mean who wouldn't??)

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@nico8 I think Gil-dong's choice to stay away from her and their feelings for each other for so long had more to do with Gil-dong fearing for her safety while being associated with him than anything else. Up until Episode 20, everyone he has ever loved in his family had died, save Amogae, because of the thug life. His mom's death had a profound effect on him. He thinks it's his fault. Ga-ryung gets threatened by Mori in episode 14 because of him...so from that point, he just goes 'Nope, gotta back off and keep her safe.'

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It doesn't get more intense than that very first flash-forward at the stake, though!

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I'm on board Gil Ryung ship but I didn't expect Mo Ri and Ga Ryung's chemistry over those simple gestures. There's nothing romantic but rather more desperate but I don't know why I replayed that scene for 3 times. I already noticed the potential ship in earlier episode when Mo Ri was following Ga Ryung then she noticed him and threatened him using a stone. I giggled to Mo Ri's intimidated, smitten and in awe look.

I assume Mo Ri's crush to Ga Ryung and Mo Ri not being fullbevil is
a build up to lead us to the scene when Mo Ri will choosen to side with the rebels and save Ga Ryung. I believe in you Mo Ri. Save our precious Ga Ryung.

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Gil-Ryung ship has consumed my life, so I was surprised that even I felt the chemistry there. I think it's a combination of GaRyung's desperation and Mori being genuinely worried for her.
I'm not alarmed though, since it's pretty set in the stone that GilRyung is the only ship for this show :D Fingers crossed that Mori will stop hanging out with bad kids.

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They do have great chemistry, but the Gil-ryung ship is IT for me, no one else stood a chance after that first stake scene in the ep 1 flash-forward - not Nok-soo, not Mo-ri, no one.

The level of intensity and heartbreak in that scene.... Gil-dong had a whole crowd of Hongvengers around him, but that scene really played out just between him and Ga-ryung. I was sold on them after that, even when it didn't look very promising at first because she was a fluffy bunny and he fell for Nok-soo first.

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I know right? I shipped them from that first scene together. And it looked DIRE up until episode 16 since we got nothing more than crumbs until Gil-dong came to his senses. All we had to cling onto was reading between lines and seeing all of Gil-dong's actions where it's just impossible for him to deny her anything. And Ga-ryung was the only one sailing our ship for the longest time lol. But I think I knew they would be together because that first scene just doesn't have the same impact if they aren't in love. Plus, she is the character that first introduces Gil-dong in the series, is in the first scene with Gil-dong first episode...and also is the first character to meet him as an adult and start the plot of the story then. It's literally the author shouting 'SHE IS IMPORTANT TO HIM! PAY ATTENTION!'

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I know, right?! When the very first words we see adult Gil-dong speak are her name, I think that's a pretty obvious indication she's important to him.

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Yeah, I'm on Team Gil-Ryung all~~ the way too. This couple had been crawling up into the top list of my most favorite k-drama couple of all time

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Now that's a cliffhanger.

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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO THAT ENDING SCENE NOOOOOOO

But Ga-ryung....wow. She blew my mind in every way this ep. Chae Soo-bin delivered so hard, it's amazing. And that ear-biting scene gave me chills, I actually believed she'd make good on her threat to come back as a ghost and haunt him to death. (which makes Nok-soo's reveal that Gil-dong was alive even more heartbreaking *sigh*)

Off to work now, will be back in about 12 hours to comment more!

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“How dare this girl, who used to follow me around and looked up to me, try to rise above/outdo me. Ga-ryung has stolen my pure/first love and now she’s trying to take away my power [by killing the king or by stealing his favors]. I can’t lose both of them… not to her.” That’s what I perceive as Nok-soo’s motivation now.

The first episode showed us that this was going to happen, but the circumstances getting there were sadder than I anticipated, especially with Ga-ryung. She isn’t part of the Hong family reunion. She’s still insecure about Gil-dong and Nok-soo’s history. Her ‘friend’ betrays her. She understands what Yeonsangun and Nok-soo have planned for her. And her reunion with Gil-dong is bittersweet. Plus, we know that arrow is coming. The ray of hope? MORI!

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THIS! She is also a woman who knows CLEARLY the power of position for survival and how quickly it can be taken away. Look at her mom and the magistrate. Ga-ryung is a direct threat to her position. The king is interested in her and knows about her former relationship to Gil-dong. If she doesn't get rid of Ga-ryung, she will not be able to survive.

Plus, Ga-ryung has what she wanted. Her choice to be with Yeonsangun is hollow. But she didn't trust Gil-dong. Ga-ryung just being there is throwing in her face everything she could have had, the life and person she could have been. Ga-ryung just being at the palace invalidates her decision. So she needs to destroy Ga-ryung to prove she was right.

And the point you made about the positions...that's part of it too. She's absorbed the tea around Yeonsangun and Song Sabu.

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Nok-soo always has this evil side to her, which she admits in the earlier episode to Gil-dong. Gil-dong is the only one who see past that evil side and begins to heal her slowly. However, the moment she chose the King over Gil-dong, I knew she will have to come back to her former evil self. That tears she shed after she told Ga-ryung that Gil-dong is alive struck me as the last tear she will shed - she's now fully embracing her dark side. It's so sad, both Yeonsangun and Nok-soo are evil, but I can't help symphatizing at the same time. I don't think I've ever feel for villains as strongly like this in other dramas before.

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@kiara
Do you know if that incident with the babies in one of the former episodes is something that's in the records?
The breaking out the prisopners relates to Im Kkeok-jeong. Though he never freed prisoners of the palace grounds. (At least I wouldn't have heard of it.)
That would probably be a mix up. Hong Gil-dong never broke out prisoners from anywhere. Neither the fictional one (o.k., he himself broke out, but that's not the same) nor the real one. So a mix up of Im Kkeok-jeong, the fictional robbing of Hamgyeong and fictional Gil-dong's "visit" to the palace? - Though the fictional robbing of Hamgyeong could relate to a not so fictional act of one of the real robbers?

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Perhaps a reason why Gil-dong doesn't go FULL HULK is because he faints and forgets things pretty much right after which in a war and prolonged battle situation isn't exactly useful or effective. There's people depending on him to lead and yes, he can delegate tasks...but how effective is winning a war going to be when your general maxes out all his power and leaves you to the wolves? Until there's a way for him to un-nerf his powers, I don't think it'll be possible for him to go crazy with his powers.

I find the contrasting opinions about the drama interesting because while my fanaticism probably started when things really started to happen in Episode 18, it always had me even with Gil-dong became the main protagonist and I never felt a disconnect with the characters or their motivations. I mean, Episode 12 was boring for me and I felt that towards the middle it maybe was dragging, but I've been with it all the time. It just ticks all the boxes off for me.

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I don't think it's a good thing for him to just jump down to the soldiers below. Like you said, the people need him to lead. I feel so sorry the women have to join in as well...

Regarding his super power, it doesn't seem like he is using them much. Is this some kind of Mighty Child rule as well? In this case, he started to see himself as equal to the people, so he started to use them less?

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Perhaps...I also wonder if the mighty child power comes with an expiry date...Like you can only use it so much until the powers are just gone. Eorini said he's looking sweaty...but if your wife/significant other just gave you a goodbye/see you in another life via dream, I'd probably get sweaty too lol.

And now that Gil-dong has channeled his energy into other people and empowered them to stand up for themselves...perhaps he's transferred his powers from physical strength to that of being able to inspire and lead others. Perhaps that's his true super power and the super strength is just window dressing.

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And he also wants to empower others to help themselves...Swooping down and unilaterally taking care of things won't do that. He's teaching people how to fish, not giving them fish.

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That's a good point! Since GilDong himself realized the after effect of going full on Mighty Child blast of rage, he decided to control that. Reminds me of going Super Saiyan 3 where you can only use it at the right time and make sure that you really obliterate your enemies, otherwise everyone else would be toasted since they depend on you.

That made me question Mori's power though, since he also went on full Mighty Child mode, but he never passed out or lose his memory after using it.

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I've seen lots of comments in Naver begging the writers and Mori to help Ga-ryung and I can't help agreeing. Please!!!

We need to see Ga-ryung getting jealous again, this time, really saying it to Gil-dong "Seobang, I'm jealous!" So that we can get a scene of Gil-dong being all cute to make it up to his wife. It's been too long since we get a cute scene.

I cried when Eorini joins her brothers under the tree, like finally, they're complete again. I'm just so happy but I wish they have their dad by their side too.

I spotted Ahn Ye-eun as well! She's visited the filming site before, finally they made her an extra lol. "Ikhwari's Spring" by Kim Sang-joong fits that scene very well I had goosebumps.

I just have so much to comment actually, since I think this is one of the best episode ever but I am just not so eloquent so I'm just going to give my thumbs up! :)

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Woop. So much to say lol. I think I need to start do a full random thoughts of the Nok-soo vs. Ga-ryung in this episode lol.

Well, Nok-soo is officially DEAD to me. Like, I HATE her as a character. She deserves every punishment that will come to her…and I’m sure she’ll be even worse. Even KNOWING ahead of time that the story would turn this way, that she would betray Ga-ryung, I was not prepared for how much I would DESPISE her actions. It’s a credit to the writing and also made worse by the fact that we saw how she got here. We had sympathy for her. We liked her and cared about her. So her betrayal just hurts worse. I’m going to love hating her and watching her get punished.

Honey Lee was AMAZEBALLS. She plays the role so well. She has this crazed look in her eyes. We get to see all of Nok-soo’s jealousies and insecurities that lead her to make such a horrible, monstrous decision to betray not only Ga-ryung, but the only man she’s ever loved…the only person who’s ever shown care for her. She fully knows that she’s destroying herself and willingly putting herself on that ship to spite others and for her own survival…as well as vanity/pride. If she’s going down, she’s taking everyone down with her. She wants to be the one who made the right decision. Well, there’s going to be a cost to that.

Jealousy is dangerous because it destroys the self-worth and image you have in yourself...so Nok-soo sees in Ga-ryung the destruction of not only her position for survival (she knows how fleeting it is given her own mother), but also a destruction of who she is as a person. So she has no choice but to destroy Ga-ryung in order to preserve who she is.

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@O_o: I'm very sorry that I misunderstood you the other day. I thought you wanted to say, the tale would be of unimportance to the drama (silly me!). Since that came together with something else it gave me quite a fright! - I'm glad that I didn't bore all of you beanies to death! :) -
Thanks for the feedback! - And thanks to the others as well!

Apropos "thanks": Thank you @tineybeanie and thank you @dramallama for providing us with the recaps! You are doing such a great job for us! :)

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Somehow having gone through 26 episodes of this series, this moment is even sadder than in episode 1. Probably because we know these characters now, are invested in them and we know who they are to each other…and the situation is just worse…Yeonsangun is even there to gloat! Plus their reactions to seeing each other is worse than in episode 1. Episode 1, Gil-dong was pained…now he’s literally heartbroken…and Ga-ryung when she realizes her husband is actually alive…that moment killed me. They do that whole painful exchange of calling to each other. And now I’m pretty sure Ga-ryung means ‘you will never see me again’ in a sayoUnara way (see you in the next life), not sayonara (see you again). Shall we ready the phone stacking CF and Girlfriend MV? Lol…I’ve still got hope in OTP though.

WHAT ARE THOSE VISIONS!? SERIOUSLY! WHAT ARE THEY!? Ga-ryung has a full on conversation with Gil-dong that deals with what will happen to her literally in 10 minutes. How is this happening? Does she have powers? Is she a mighty child? Is she astral projecting? That scene was so freaking sad and bittersweet. Dream Ga-ryung KNOWS she’s gonna die. Holy crap. I hate to think of it this way, but it does feel like a goodbye…but let us have them actually have a scene together, dammit. What were those flowers? (Azaleas?) Because we must analyze! (Based on the BTS video, they brought in those flowers specifically. They were potted/unpotted and just plopped there… SO THEY HAVE MEANING!) Lol. (Further research-Azaleas also symbolize the home in Asia. The saying xiang shu means 'home bush' but more like...xiang means your hometown/place of origin, while shu is tree. I searched google translate and the meaning was 'township'. So home.

Ga-ryung biting the king’s ear was AMAZING! Like, holy crap. She WENT there! She even indignantly announced to EVERYONE whose wife she was. And she even gave Yeonsangun a tongue lashing. DAYUM GIRL! That scene reminded me a LOT of when Heo Tae Hak got his ear cut off. And I also find it interesting that in Korean when you ask ‘Are you crazy/insane?’ it literally means ‘Are you a crazy dog?’ because Ga-ryung certainly looked like a dog with that blood. I love that she comes in all ready to be meek, weak and kowtow, but she tricks the king and just GOES FOR IT. Damn. I don’t think Nok-soo even expected that crazy from her lol. It’s also heavily symbolic that she makes this false king lower himself to her to hurt him. Go true queen, go! I LOVE that she’s able to stand up for all the people to the king.

I know it might seem like she's throwing all her plans to the wind...but I don't think Ga-ryung had another play, nor another chance to strike and she knew it. She's been caught and no amount of talking is going to get her out of the situation. Her best bet is going to be jail...so she goes for a symbolic gesture at court. She's going to earn supporters this way who will perhaps save her later on.

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I wrote something about the flowers and visions when I wrote down the Story of Princess Pali, the Korean folklore tale about the girl, that gots thrown away by her parents and had to do laundry and farming for the heavenly grandmothers of laundry and farming (I can't help and see wolhamae as wolhalmae too...). Pali has a connection to Miaoshan and Guanyin. It's in the comments of last episode somewhere under the comments of number 55. I think the Miaoshan part has some heavy spoiler for episode 28 though. But since I think you know Miaoshan princess already, you wouldn't mind them.

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I love that story in regards to Ga-ryung, because it would turn Gil-dong in the "grumpy man" with whom Pali decides she had to live after doing laundry for the heavenly laundry grandmother. The grumpy man doesn't really want her to stay with him and it needs years till he figures out that Pali is a girl. They get married then and have lots of children... :)
Pali eventually gets reunited with her siblings. I'd wish that for Ga-ryung as well!

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That's SOOO Gil-dong. And his initial distrust and resentment of Ga-ryung, then utter refusal to acknowledge his feelings for her.

I also like the idea that Miaoshan creates a paradise wherever she is with the flowers. I think that's the point of Gil-dong's vision this time. Home and paradise is where Ga-ryung is for him.

And also how Miaoshan had three requirements for marriage...and those requirements are literally everything Ga-ryung did for Gil-dong...eased the suffering of his aged father, eased the suffering of his injuries/his father's injuries and eased the suffering of his father's death.

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Oh, I didn't know that about Miaoshan's marriage requirements. This is good to know and very fitting!

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Didn't know about Miaoshan...read on Wiki...I like it. Very Ga-ryung. Miaoshan's story is that of 香山 or fragrant mountain. Hyangjumok or rather the gate Gil-dong et al is guarding is called the 香州城 which means fragrant city/castle. Just gonna leave that there...lol.

You could also say that the whole Miaoshan story leads credence to my belief that Ga-ryung may have lied about her origins...that she may be a runaway forced to marry a douche.

Hoping for good things with Gil-ryung lol. C'mon mountain spirits!

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I don't think she lied about her identity. She literally tells the story of Princess Pali's background - who got thrown out, because there were too much children (girls) already and she was just another girl -. I think it's like Gil-dong who is merged in the drama with parts from the Mighty Child (the korean folklore), parts from Hong Gil-dong (the historical/fictional person), parts from Sun Wukong (the taoist immortal to that person). Ga-ryung is a merging from princess Pali (the korean folklore), Miaoshan (the historical/fictional person) and Guanyin (the taoist godess to that person).

It's funny how Nok-soo became in that episode the mother who sold their children out to both of them. She told Yeonsan the weakness of Gildong while he held her grapped at the collar (like the Mighty Child's mother) and she passively looks on while the King orders Ga-ryung to die (like Pali's mother did, when the King/father grapped Pali from her arms and threw her in the sea).

Pali is the one who walks between the realms (also the realms of life and death). Miaoshan is the one who sets the realm of death in bloom. Guanyin is the one who appears to the distressed and the ones on the verge of death.
The weird scene, when Ga-ryung appeared to Gil-dong and then turned into the shaman, was there, because it was a death of old life, beginning of new life scene. Pali (the future mother of shamans), Miaoshan, Guanyin they are all associated with death and new life.

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Ah, so that means in combination with Ga-ryung, that Hyangjumok is the Hong Gil-dong Universe realm of the dead. :)
- I don't know if that's a good or bad thing so. Since tale Gil-dong has this backstory of pretending his lair to be the underworld and to be King of the underworld... (that would be good for us then!)
- On the other hand his hideout is inspired from Im Kkeok-jeong's (that wouldn't be good for us at all --- sadly all that soldiers and big confrontation is all Im Kkeok-jeong...)

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I'm dying to know if our investigation of the allusions/references/history and tropes behind the story will pay off for Ga-ryung to be alive lol.

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That moment in the flash-forward was what sold me on Gil-dong and Ga-ryung as a couple, and revisiting it, it's still incredible and even more dramatic than this version.

And what really did it for me was the actors - they got a whole army behind him and her but it really felt like they were the only ones in the scene. That look in Yoon Kyun-sang's eyes as he's aiming.... I don't know if I can call it pained, that seems a bit of an understatement for someone who's looking like he'd rather die than do what he's doing just then.

Also:

WHAT ARE THOSE VISIONS!? SERIOUSLY! WHAT ARE THEY!? Ga-ryung has a full on conversation with Gil-dong that deals with what will happen to her literally in 10 minutes. How is this happening? Does she have powers? Is she a mighty child? Is she astral projecting?

I think prophetic dreams are an actual thing in this universe, remember Amogae showing up at Gil-hyun's study the day he died? I'm taking Ga-ryung's appearing to Gil-dong in the same vein.

(will be back later to comment, I have not let out enough Ga-ryung love!)

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Gil-dong's dreams are crazy! But the consistent thing is that he always dreams about Ga-ryung...Since dreams reflect our subconscious, that girl is always on his mind lol. He wasn't kidding when he said she'd be the only thing in his heart.

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It could be that Amogae appearing in Gil-hyun's room was possible because of the 49 days of transition.

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That would make more sense since it was kind of very ghostlike...Plus, Amogae could have been a mighty child...so maybe a power remnant?

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Just thoughts.

Despite seemingly popular opinion, I think that Gil Dong himself and his powers don't necessarily need to have that wow factor that viewers seem to want (truthfully I'd like it to but ya know). Sure, Gil Dong has extraordinary powers, but they weren't ever super strong. Sure, he could throw several men around and blow people away, but time and time again they were small groups of soldiers/thugs. An entire army of trained soldiers? I don't think so.
And in that retrospect, I think Gil Dong standing out as a character and his powers aren't what this story needed to be extravagant. As the shaman said, being a mighty child is not about strength. As the legend goes, the mighty child has the strength to overturn the country. But it wasn't about himself and his heroics. It was the strength that stands for the people of this oppressed, neglected country ruled by a narcissistic tyrant with a crazy inferiority complex. Gil Dong's strength does not need to blow over an entire invasion of troops, but his name, the ideals and what the Hong family's actions throughout this story; the way that it represents the people of the nation are what will drive home the well-deserved justice against Yeonsangun and his myriad wrongdoings.
In my opinion this drama was never about Gil-Dong's own heroic journey to rise with the people through the classic "ah this nation is wrong, let's stop it" against Yeonsangun. Gil Dong's not perfect; for the former half of this drama he was a thug, using his powers not for the benefit of any of the people he is helping now. Yet, as time went on, as he witnessed everything occurring before his eyes, he found that path through the help of so many. The Hong family, the shaman, Ga Ryung, even minor characters all played a part in developing the titular character and the whole plot. Thus, whilst having some flaws with a few unexplained things or seemingly confusing events/pacing, etc. I'm willing to ignore it simply because of how remarkable it is seeing these characters grow from what they were, no matter how minor their roles or how weak the story may seem.
Maybe I'm biased, but this drama had everything for me. Plot, music, romance, character development, political turmoil, justice, suspense. This drama bit more than it could chew, maybe, but it's been damn delicious.

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This is when I loooove the existence of thumbs up button. I couldn't expressing my thought very well with my limited english. You speak my mind. Thank you, thank you so much :)

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Maybe I'm biased, but this drama had everything for me. Plot, music, romance, character development, political turmoil, justice, suspense. This drama bit more than it could chew, maybe, but it's been damn delicious.

THIS! And all of your other points as well. Honestly I dropped all of the other dramas that I was watching, except for this because it gives me everything that I want from a show and more. Maybe that's why I was never disconnected with any of the characters from this show because imagine all the extra time I had from not watching other dramas that I can use to over-analyze all of these fictional characters' motivations and develop non-fictional attachments to them. lol.

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That Hong Family Reunion. OMG. Why you give me all these emotions? But you know who was missing? Gil-dong’s WIFE. So sad. They even redid the scene from episode 5. Only now it gives me extra emotions…Sooo cute. And I also LOVE the brotherly relationship with Gil-dong and Gil-hyun. We don’t really get much of it in the series since they spend the better part of 20 episodes apart.

Speaking of the brothers, that DUO BRO BURN of Jeong-hak was AMAZING. Kelso literally needed to show up just to shout ‘BURN!’ I love how Jeong-hak tries to take down both brothers by saying how they used to be his servants but Gil-dong just points out that he was never hot shit to begin with. He was just a coward with power who lacked the mental acuity of his inferiors. I also love how Gil-hyun makes the point that he was never an innovator, he always just rode Gil-hyun's coattails...because he really is hamstrung by his worldview and ideology to Song Sabu's 'Confucianism'.

That song was some Les Mis realness lol. I kinda loved it. I guess that means Yong-gae is Valjean since his dad was killed for stealing food? I think the soldiers that are loyal to the king are also showing their split loyalties by singing.

Wildcards to save Ga-ryung: Mori, Ok-ran, Eorini, Wolhamae, Song Sabu.

Mori: He and Ga-ryung made a plan while he talked to her after her attempted suicide. He is going to redeem himself and be a proper mighty child. As Gil-dong says, he keeps on being Team!Baddie, but without the baddie conviction and I think Gil-dong will earn his respect, if he hasn't already grudgingly earned it or his feelings for Ga-ryung will be the impetus.

Ok-ran: She's in the area and can repay the debt owed to Ga-ryung...or...

Eorini: Connects with Suwigdan as double agent to somehow cause a kerfuffle to save Ga-ryung...(Has to be careful of Nok-soo who knows her identity)

Song Sabu: See above. Gets to save Ga-ryung as part of some sort of power play in an indirect way.

Wolhamae: Connects with Ok-ran and Eorini to save Ga-ryung.

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Yes! Here is hoping Mori will somehow lend a hand to her safety. That scene inside the tent won't be for nothing (hopefully).

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YESSSSSSS @the Hong Bros delivering a whole oilfield full of BURN to Jeong-hak, that scene was delicious on so many levels.

Not least because of Gil-hyun making a third degree burn out of Jeong-hak's attempt to put down his slave origins, a lot like Gil-dong doing the same thing to Yeonsangun last week. I love that both brothers get to tell an a-hole superior (who could, in different circumstances, have been their friend) that their noble/royal ancestry is useless because guess what, you still suck (Gil-dong to Yeonsangun) and I'm still better than you even if I was born a slave (Gil-hyun to Jeong-hak).

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Basically, it gives me absolute life to see both brothers claiming their humble origins with such pride in the face of people attempting to put them down - I didn't realise how significant it was that Gil-dong shot down any rumours of noble origin right in the ep 1 flash-forward and stated flat-out that his father was a slave. And it's doubly gratifying in Gil-hyun's case because he had to spend so long under an assumed identity, so seeing him reclaim it so boldly the very first time he comes face to face with Jeong-hak after outing himself gives me ridiculous amounts of joy.

Also, on an entirely superficial note: Gil-hyun smirking at Jeong-hak had me reaching for my smelling salts, I was trying really hard not to swoon because damn is that expression LETHAL.

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I'm in danger too @pogo, each time I see that dimple I have to clutch my heart.

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YESSSS I'm not alone!

I adore Yoon Kyun-sang to death but Gil-hyun was the real dark horse here. I swear every time he smiles I have the vapours, while every time Yoon Kyun-sang smiles I just want to pet him like a puppy and send him off to adorable Ga-ryung.

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I am so gone for this cast it's not even funny.

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They had chose perfect actor (in terms of acting skill AND) who has cute dimple just like Yoon Kyun Sang ^^

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