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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 10

2017/02/28 | 414 views | Permalink

Recent victories notwithstanding Gil-dong and Amogae remain fairly well depressed by the apparent destruction of their entire family. The brief moments where we're reminded that they're having trouble moving on from the pain work a lot better than the full on episodes dedicated to this topic. It's really just a matter of the full facts finally sinking in. Amogae is completely broken down. With his wife, Amogae could at least console himself with the survival of their children. Now he barely even has that.

Elsewhere the tribulations with King Yeonsangun have finally developed into a mildly engaging subplot. It is, unfortunately, a rather more trite subplot than I was expecting. In stark contrast to his vicious attitude in the first episode, it's now clear that, as is usually the case for Korean royalty in visual fiction, King Yeonsangun is being portrayed sympathetically. Yes, eventually he will do horrible evil things, but for now King Yeonsangun is a well-intentioned man being led astray by ministers.

As disappointments go I consider this political one to be among the milder ones in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People". By the numbers as the portrayal may be, it is at least compelling in the way this genre standard usually is. Beyond that making King Yeonsangun temporarily sympathetic also helps to make Nok-soo's own alignment more credible. Nok-soo knows that Gil-dong is in deep trouble, and isn't helping, but in her heart at least, Nok-soo's long term goals match up with Gil-dong's.

Gil-dong's scheme goes mostly as expected. There's unfortunately not much to say about it just yet, because we're still waiting for the big payoff. There are indeed minor pay-offs, and I continue to find it gratifying how Gil-dong's band of goons continues to look like, well, a band of goons. It really does help to sell how, on the visual spectrum of good and evil Gil-dong's dudes are on the wrong side.

This is as it should be. Handsome people find it easier to work within the system. It's already fairly clear that for all his more noble attributes King Yeonsangun is extremely susceptible to flattery and this is almost certainly what's going to do in him. Lee Honey's big traditional scene, while extremely short, does serve to indicate that for all his big picture concerns, King Yeongsangun is not a man with any kind of useful experience in the real world he so badly wants to do right by. More importantly he doesn't understand politics either.

Review by William Schwartz

"Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is directed by Jin Chang-gyoo (진창규), Kim Jin-man, written by Hwang Jin-yeong and features Kim Sang-joong, Yoon Kyun-sang, Kim Ji-suk, Lee Honey and Chae Soo-bin.

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