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[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 18

2017/03/28 | 616 views | Permalink

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

"Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is directed by Jin Chang-gyoo, 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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