Gonghwa (played by Lee Honey) is a royal consort, although she spends most of this episode gallavanting around with Gil-dong. The only royalist plot developments happen near the end. Gonghwa is also the presumed love interest to Gil-dong, although Ga-ryeong (played by Chae Soo-bin) also makes a play for his affections, mostly by snickering in the background. Ga-ryeong is the presumed true love interest, although to date Gonghwa has been much more helpful when it comes to Gil-dong's actual goals.
Which remain...poorly defined. The brief flurry of action in the opener ends up being subsumed with the larger plot of Gil-dong's amnesia. I had to take a deep breath just now writing that sentence "Rebel; Thief Who Stole the People" really is just getting embarrassing to watch. I can't quite recall the last time a drama promised an exciting swashbuckling story centered around a legendary hero and then went to such ridiculous efforts to not have any action scenes.
For a sense of perspective, I'm pretty sure Yoon Kyun-sang had more action scenes as Muhyul in his initial appearance in "Six Flying Dragons" than he has had this entire time in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People". Also bear in mind that Muhyul wasn't really a leading role, so it only impresses me more in retrospect that wwe got such a good idea of what Muhyul was all about so quickly. Whatever issues "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" is having, they're not Yoon Kyun-sang's fault.
"Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" also suffers in comparison with its female characters. Gonghwa and Ga-ryeong are all right, I guess, but see, "Six Flying Dragons" had Boon-yi, a woman who from her very first appearance had very strong opinions and personal will when it came to social justice. For her, men were an afterthought. Gonghwa and Ga-ryeong are the other way around, although in their defense, neither have a very clear idea what the plot in "Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People" actually is.
And neither do I. About the only thing keeping me going at this point is that writer Hwang Jin-yeong has to get to the story eventually. She can't just have the characters endlessly circle around forever. What happened to Amogae anyway? I mean yeah we do find out at the end but what was he doing up until that point? Did we really skip an entire potentially exciting plot just to watch Gil-dong go play with girls?
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 7"
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