So apparently...Moley was Gil-dong's true rival this entire time? That's the main revelation which surprised me here. It does admittedly explain things like why Moley's outfit is just a black version of what Gil-dong is always wearing, and Gil-dong does need someone to stand up to him the feats of strength department. All the same, Moley was just a random side character who really didn't seem all that important. Until this episode I don't think I noticed he even had a backstory.
Eorini is of far more obvious significance. Even though we don't really see her this time Gil-dong having a rather important conversation about what actually happened to her is enough to finally make him snap and go start his revolution. I feel a bit ambivalent about Eorini being the impetus that gets the storyline running. As the eat-the-rich montage notes, nobles have been doing horrible things irrespective of Eorini's fate.
More than that we already know that Gil-dong's assumptions are in error, and that the violent response provoked in him was a massive miscalculation by the bad guys. Which kind of begs the question- when Gil-dong finds out that Eorini is alive and well, does that mean the revolution is over? Really I'm still kind of surprised that Gil-dong's own band of thieves didn't have a powerful enough information network to figure this stuff out on their own.
The spectacle is nonetheless pretty great. I especially liked the musical cues that play during the eat-the-rich montage, as well as those goofy little masks that don't actually hide anything. It's all a great callback to earlier points made about consent of the governed- how there's very little the nobles can actually do immediately against a serious revolution, since it takes time for the army to show up and protect them. There is, sadly, not quite as much death as I was hoping for.
Is that morbid? Maybe so, but given King Yeonsangun's reputation for excessively violent orders I was kind of expecting "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" to be pretty grisly from the beginning. It's still kind of weird that far from being villainous at all King Yeonsangun is mostly just a lonely lovestruck guy who comforts himself in Nok-soo's embrace, not really paying much attention to what happens to Gil-dong at all. His likely indifference to the fate of various nobles has long since become a selling point.
Review by William Schwartz
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Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 18"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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