While the last episode of "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" was noticeably laggard when it came to obvious action or plot movement, I was still caught rather off guard by just how little happens this episode. Yes, at the end we get the smoke bombs and Gil-dong's full team decked out in masks prepared to do something obviously really cool. But until we get to that point, everyone just keeps talking in circles and endlessly rearranging pieces on the board.
First I thought, OK, now that we've done the backstory when Gil-dong was a kid, the revolution will start. Then it was, OK, now that Amogae's smuggling operation has collapsed and presumably killed two of his children, the revolution will start. Then it was, OK, now that the noble is in jail, the revolution will start. Then it was, OK, now that Gil-dong is attacking nobles, the revolution will start. Then it was, OK, once Gil-dong is in jail, the revolution will start. Then it was, OK, now that there's a war on babies, the revolution will start.
Only just now, after all of that, is the revolution actually starting. And while the masks and the smoke bombs are the main clue, the obvious secondary clue is that there are only six episodes left so the production team is pretty clearly out of time to keep stalling us with these endless subplots. Maybe I'm just being picky but when the title of your drama is "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People", I'm kind of expecting rebllion to be the main focus.
Instead what we got was exposition about King Yeonsangun's mental state. Which is fairly interesting in its own right. Kim Ji-suk is really good in the role. On one level, the guy knows he's crazy. That's why King Yeonsangun has so much trouble responding to actual threats. He can't identify them. All King Yeonsangun is terrorize people and punish the ones who blink, who aren't typically the ones who need to be punished anyway.
Really, in general "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is fairly well made. The characters are well-fleshed out with pretty clear motivations, and the background has been effectively established. It's the action and the pacing where the drama falters. In all honesty I could easily see someone, say someone more patient than me, being able to enjoy the story for what it is. But as a critic, I pretty much have to note that this drama is not as advertised.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" Episode 24"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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