How I made these synopses spoiler-free
I assumed that you will be reading these recaps and watching the videos chronologically.
(1) I narrated the main actions in each episode without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.
(2) At the beginning of each synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table some of the major twists and turns of the previous episode. But because you have already watched the video of the previous episode, they aren’t spoilers anymore.
(I used this same structure in my recaps of “Six Flying Dragons,” Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, The King’s Doctor,” “A Jewel in the Palace, and The Flower in Prison.”)
Episode 1: The Mighty Child
The drama opens with scenes of King Yeongsan confronting Hong Gil Dong, and Hong Gil Dong’s fortress surrounded by enemy forces, with his woman Ga Ryung held captive and tied to a pole.
Gil Dong is the second son of Ah Mo Gae and Geum Ok, who are both slaves of Lord Jo, a cruel noble. As Gil Dong grows up, Ah Mo Gae notices his great strength. Afraid that Gil Dong might be the prophesied Mighty Child, he plans to raise enough money to buy his family’s freedom.
Episode 2: Alliances
|Episode 1 recap:|
Ah Mo Gae tells Gil Dong that if the Mighty Child cannot restrain himself, he and all his family will die. From then on, Gil Dong hides his strength. But due to an incident with the nasty young master, Gil Dong’s mother is whipped because of him.
Ah Mo Gae is tricked by a group of robbers, but through ingenuity, he’s able to get his rightful share from what the robbers stole.
Ah Mo Gae returns home with lots of good things for his family and silk for Lord Jo’s wife. His master allows him to move to a better house and to become a merchant.
Gil Dong’s mother becomes pregnant, and Ah Mo Gae decides to join the group of robbers that tried to trick him.
For political gain, Lord Jo secretly joins forces with people supporting the deposed Queen.
Lord Jo and his wife become suspicious that Ah Mo Gae is hiding money and other goods from them. They connive with Lord Jo’s uncle to get all of Ah Mo Gae’s hidden wealth.
Episode 3: The tiger
Ah Mo Gae’s alibi fails as Lord Jo’s wife charges him with murder.
Several witnesses come forward to testify on Ah Mo Gae’s behalf, but he’s still tortured.
Lord Jo’s wife begins thinking that Gil Dong is the Mighty Child.
Episode 4: Starting over
|Episode 3 recap:|
Gil Dong somehow survives his encounter with the tiger.
Ah Mo Gae uses the deposed Queen’s letter to pressure Lord Jo’s wife into dropping the murder charge against him.
Ah Mo Gae soon becomes the leader of a ragtag band, and they begin manufacturing Joseon’s black linen and selling them covertly on the high seas to Ming traders.
Ah Mo Gae and his group are able to get past the Joseon coast guard, but they’re caught later on by smugglers.
Episode 5: The magic peddler
Gil Dong travels all over Joseon as a peddler and has become famous for making women’s dreams come true. In one of his travels, he meets Gong Hwa (a gisaeng) and her servant Ga Ryung.
Ah Mo Gae’s authority is challenged by Heo Tae Hak, a notorious thug who’s involved in selling slaves.
Gil Dong begs his father to leave with him and start a new life.
Ah Mo Gae is summoned by a member of the Royal family.
Episode 6: Musa Gil Dong!
|Episode 5 recap:|
Gil Dong becomes infatuated with Gong Hwa, an ambitious gisaeng who wants to make the King fall in love with her. He gets slapped by her servant, Ga Ryung, when he tells Gong Hwa to forget the King and be with him instead.
Ah Mo Gae refuses to be involved with Heo Tae Hak and his business of selling slaves. In the ensuing fight between their groups, Gil Dong couldn’t do anything because he has lost his strength.
Gil Dong begs his father to leave his illegal activities so that they can start anew as farmers. Ah Mo Gae agrees, but then, Prince Choong Won orders him to find and bring back a runaway female slave.
Ah Mo Gae and his men find the runaway slave.
Prince Choong Won learns that Ah Mo Gae was a slave who killed his master years ago. He then pressures all the local government officials to turn their backs on Ah Mo Gae.
Prince Choong Won sends thugs to kill Gil Dong and Gil Hyeon. He also wants their 13-year old sister Uh Ri Ni captured and brought to him.
Episode 7: Memories
Gil Dong and his sister Uh Ri Ni survive the fall from the cliff, but they get separated later on. Meanwhile, Gil Hyeon stumbles upon a mysterious hut in the forest.
Gil Dong ends up losing his memory at a gisaeng house where he meets again Gong Hwa (the ambitious gisaeng) and her servant Ga Ryung.
Gil Dong recovers from his wounds. He begins working for Gong Hwa to earn his keep; he also tries to find out who shot him and who he really is.
A traveling peddler tells Gong Hwa about the Mighty Child.
Episode 8: The gathering
|Episode 7 recap:|
A romance blossoms between Gil Dong and Gong Hwa, as Gil Dong wins her heart by praising her artistry and empathizing with her sad past that includes an unwanted son. But Ga Ryung also begins to have romantic feelings for Gil Dong.
From what the peddler tells Gong Hwa about the Mighty Child, she begins thinking that Gil Dong could be the Mighty Child.
Uh Ri Ni is captured by a mysterious man, while Gil Hyeon finds a dead man and a book inside the hut.
Gil Dong meets some hunters who can possibly tell him where he came from.
Yeonsan becomes King of Joseon.
Gil Dong regains his memories and starts looking for his sister Uh Ri Ni. Meanwhile, his brother Gil Hyeon acquires a new identity.
Thinking that Gil Dong isn’t coming back, Gong Hwa leaves the gisaeng house.
While searching for his sister, Gil Dong meets the magistrate who betrayed his father.
Episode 9: Choices
Master Song Do-hwan thinks that Gil Hyeon is a nobleman-scholar preparing for the civil service exams. He takes Gil Hyeon to his academy and tells him that he can study there for free.
Despite some setbacks, Gil Dong and his men begin carrying out their plans against Prince Choong Won by targeting his thug Heo Tae Hak.
Ga Ryung volunteers to help Gil Dong.
At the Palace, the ministers object to King Yeonsan’s plan, while Gong Hwa continues hoping to attract the King’s attention.
Episode 10: Crossroads
Ah Mo Gae pleads with Gil Dong to reconsider his plans.
Gil Dong persuades Heo Tae Hak to betray Prince Choong Won and come over to his side. Later, Heo Tae Hak arranges for Gil Dong and his men to go with Prince Choong Won who’s on his way to Hanyang to see King Yeonsan.
Gil Hyeon faces a dilemma, whether to take the state exams or to go back home to Ikwha-ri.
More groups oppose King Yeonsan’s plan to hold a Buddhist ritual for his late father.
Gong Hwa challenges the King’s Head Eunuch.
Episode 11: The King’s rage
Gong Hwa pleases the King with her dance.
Gil Hyeon and Jeong Hak (Lord Jo’s son) take the civil service exams, and the topic chosen by the King surprises them both.
Gil Dong wants to put up a gisaeng house as a means of collecting information. But he and his men don’t have the money, and his father has always been against gisaeng houses.
Gil Dong and his men plan to set up Prince Choong Won by spreading rumors that will completely turn the King against him.
Episode 12: The King’s grandfather and the eulogy of treason
|Episode 11 recap:|
Gong Hwa (who has changed her name to Nok Su) finds out that it’s difficult to keep the King’s interest.
Gil Hyeon and Jeong Hak pass the civil service exams, and their first duty is to record the proceedings in the King’s meeting with the ministers.
The magistrate provides the money to start the gisaeng house, and Gil Dong and his men begin gathering information about Prince Choong Won and his associates.
Gil Dong and his men spread rumors that Prince Choong Won is taking money from the Royal coffers. But to their disappointment, the King doesn’t punish Prince Choong Won.
Ah Mo Gae tells Gil Dong and the others that they must find a way to enrage the King.
King Yeonsan orders Nok Su (formerly known as Gong Hwa) to do something for him in secret, and she asks for a prize in return.
Disappointed that King Yeonsan did not punish Prince Choong Won as they expected, Gil Dong and his men change their plans.
King Yeonsan orders Gil Hyeon and the court historians to look through the records for evidence that he can use against the ministers.
Episode 13: Changing of the guard
|Episode 12 recap:|
Impressed by Nok Su’s fearless honesty, King Yeonsan orders her to find out what rumors about him are circulating outside the Palace. Nok Su asks, in return, that she be allowed to see someone.
King Yeonsan finds out about the scandalous rumors against his grandfather King Sejo.
Despite intrigues and opposition, Gil Hyeon finds out the treacherous meaning of an elegy written in one of the historical records. King Yeonsan then orders the arrest and interrogation of the meddling ministers.
Gil Dong convinces a scholar who’s about to be arrested to implicate Prince Choong Won in the rumors against King Sejo.
King Yeonsan orders the arrest of Prince Choong Won but allows only the ministers to attend the trial. But since Gil Hyeon is responsible for finding the eulogy of treason, the Royal Historian says that he can attend the trial.
Prince Choong Won calls Gil Dong as his witness, but at the trial, the Head Eunuch recognizes him.
Episode 14: Farewell to Ikwha-ri
Heo Tae Hak plans to double cross Gil Dong and get the silver mine for himself.
King Yeonsan rewards Gil Hyeon (aka Park Ha Sung), Nok Su (formerly known as Gong Hwa), and the others who helped him defend his grandfather’s honor.
Gil Dong wants to gain King Yeonsan’s support.
Episode 15: Gil Dong and the Head Eunuch
|Episode 14 recap:|
On his way to visit his wife’s grave site, Ah Mo Gae dies. Heo Tae Hak and his men attack the funeral procession, but Gil Dong uses his powers to overcome them. Later, Heo Tae Hak is killed by his adoptive son Mo Ri.
Gil Hyeon is appointed to a higher rank, and Nok Su finally gets her revenge against the government official who abused her and her mother 17 years ago.
Gil Dong gives the silver mine to King Yeonsan, and in return, he and his men are appointed as government craftsmen in Hanyang.
Uh Ri Ni enters the Palace as an apprentice court lady.
The King’s appetite for luxurious things and feasts grows. As the Head Eunuch scrambles to get the money to satisfy the King, he inadvertently meets Gil Dong. He and Gil Dong strike a deal that will benefit both the King and Gil Dong’s businesses.
Gil Hyeon, who has become a traveling Secret Inspector, reports to the King what’s truly happening among the people.
A mysterious woman confronts Gil Dong about the consequences of his choices and actions.
Episode 16: The marriage proposal
Four years later …
The academy owner pleads with the King to end Prince Choong Won’s exile.
Uh Ri Ni is now a young servant in the Palace, while Gil Hyeon continues as an itinerant Secret Inspector.
Gil Dong and his men are prosperous businessmen, and his stature among the people in Hanyang increases. On the other hand, Ga Ryung has become a writer of romance books.
Ga Ryung receives a marriage proposal, and Gil Dong agrees to check the guy out.
Episode 17: The revelations
Prince Choong Won has been freed from exile, and with Mo Ri at his side, he confronts Gil Dong and his men.
Master Song (the academy’s owner) and Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak begin investigating “thieves” who are targeting noblemen.
Gil Dong devises a plan to let the King know how absurd and unjust the laws are.
Episode 18: Hong Chum Ji
|Episode 17 recap:|
Master Song warns Prince Choong Won to stay away from Gil Dong so as not to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
Gil Hyeon realizes that his friend Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak is none other than the young master whose parents oppressed his parents and Gil Dong.
Old man Kim Deok Hyung is tortured but refuses to implicate Gil Dong and his men.
Gil Hyeon convinces the King to correct the injustices brought about by the laws. The King demotes Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak and frees old man Kim Deok Hyung.
When Jo Jeong Hak learns from his mother that his father was killed by Ah Mo Gae, he vows revenge against Gil Dong.
In desperation, Jo Jeong Hak joins forces with Prince Choong Won in order to implicate Gil Dong.
Gil Dong confronts Prince Choong Won, but Mo Ri, Jo Jeong Hak, and the policemen are watching nearby.
Episode 19: The band of brothers versus the foreign intruders
Masquerading as Hong Chum Ji, Gil Dong and his men continue to track down the members of Sigwadon (a cruel group of noblemen).
But Governor Jo, Mo Ri, and soldiers from the capital begin hunting down Hong Chum Ji.
Despite the famine and people's sufferings, King Yeonsan continues his lavish lifestyle.
Episode 20: Gil Dong and Gil Hyeon
Gil Dong and his men are cornered at the local Finance Office by the royal forces.
Later, on the King’s order, Governor Jo replaces Park Ha Sung (aka Gil Hyeon) as the new Police Magistrate. He immediately puts up checkpoints and plasters wanted posters against Gil Dong and his men all over the capital.
Episode 21: Mighty Child vs. Mighty Child
During his interrogation, Gil Dong gives to King Yeonsan his copy of the “Hengrok” (a book listing the members of the Sugwidan and their acts against the slaves, commoners, and illegitimate sons).
Gil Hyeon and Nok Su appeal to the King on Gil Dong’s behalf.
King Yeonsan decides to show in a public display that Gil Dong’s powers as a Mighty Child are nothing.
Episode 22: Prey for the hunter
King Yeonsan mocks Gil Dong’s powers as a Mighty Child by leaving him tied to the post for everyone in the capital to see.
Nok Su plans to keep Gil Dong alive, while Gil Hyeon messes with the King’s mind. Meanwhile, Ga Ryung plans to enter the palace and seek revenge against the King.
King Yeonsan begins taking his revenge against all those responsible for his mother’s death, beginning with his father's royal concubines.
Episode 23; The walls in people’s hearts
When Gil Dong fully regains his strength, he breaks his men out of prison.
King Yeonsan assigns Park Ha Sung (aka Gil Hyeon) to lead soldiers in recapturing Gil Dong and his men.
Ga Ryung begins carrying out her plan to kill the King.
Gil Hyeon finds out that Uh Ri Ni is in the Palace.
Episode 24: Ga Ryung and Uh Ri Ni
Despite Gil Dong’s impassioned plea, the men and women in the cave are too afraid to fight King Yeonsan.
As Ga Ryung gains the King’s favor, she makes new friends and new enemies. She also begins thinking that she has finally found Uh Ri Ni, Gil Dong’s little sister.
The terrified ministers seek the help of Master Song. Later, the King plans a grand ceremony where the ministers will pledge their allegiance to him.
Episode 25: Uh Ri Ni
While Gil Dong and his men attack King Yeonsan and the ministers, his new followers free the prisoners. Ga Ryung takes Ok Ran (the young court attendant), and they also escape.
All by himself. King Yeonsan pursues Gil Dong.
King Yeonsan begins to doubt Nok Su’s loyalty to him. Later, he kicks out of the Palace Nok Su’s young attendant Sang Hwa (the one who’s carrying the other half of the blue cloth that Gil Dong has).
Police Magistrate Jo finally finds out who Park Ha Sung really is.
Episode 26: Uprising
Gil Dong, Gil Hyeon, and their men try to make Sang Hwa remember that she’s Uh Ri Ni.
Ga Ryung finally gets her chance to kill the King.
Numerous villages begin rebelling against King Yeonsan. To set an example for all of Joseon, King Yeonsan orders that all the people in Hyangjumok Village be killed.
Episode 27: The siege
King Yeonsan finds out who Ga Ryung really is.
The royal forces storm the walls surrounding Hyangjumok Village.
Episode 28: Gil Dong’s dilemma
|Episode 27 recap:|
Ga Ryung tries to bite off King Yeonsan’s ear.
King Yeonsan goes to Hyangjumok Village and uses Ga Ryung as a hostage to force Gil Dong to surrender.
More forces arrive for King Yeonsan and increase the pressure on Hyangjumok Village.
With the village beginning to run out of food supplies, Gil Dong faces a dilemma on what to do with Ga Ryung.
Episode 29: Revolution
|Episode 28 recap:|
Gil Dong shoots Ga Ryung with an arrow to chest, and she barely survives.
The warriors from Sugwidan betray Prince Choong Won and take Gil Dong’s side. King Yeonsan is forced to escape.
After King Yeonsan retreats from Hyangjumok, the ministers advise him to let the soldiers and horses rest and recuperate before attacking again.
Mo Ri is found hiding in the forest.
Master Song asks Prince Pyung Sung to negotiate with Gil Dong and his men.
Episode 30: Finale
|Master Song of Sugwidan|
|Master Jo’s wife and son|
|The King’s eunuch|
|Royal Concubine Nok Su|
|Gil Dong and Ga Ryung|
Lessons in photography from “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People”
|From Episode 1: aerial perspective,|
quality and direction of light
|From Episode 2: aerial perspective, rule of thirds|
|From Episode 4: low angle shot|
|From Episode 4: shooting against the light|
|From Episode 6: silhouette|
|From Episode 6: high angle shot, natural frame,|
patterns, diagonal lines
|From Episode 7: low angle shot|
|From Episode 7: shallow depth of field, bokeh,|
|From Episode 7: out-of-focus partial frame|
|From Episode 7: natural frame|
|From Episode 7: foreground blur as natural frame|
|From Episode 7: conveying depth through foreground|
and background bur; partial frame
|From Episode 7: shallow depth of field, background blur|
|From Episode 8: low angle shot, background blur|
|From Episode 8: shallow depth of field, background blur|
|From Episode 8: rack focus (focus in, focus out)|
|From Episode 11: natural frame|
|From Episode 11: shallow depth of field, focus on the eyes|
|From Episode 12: lines of direction, shooting groups|
|From Episode 12: conveying depth through overlapping forms,|
lines of direction
|From Episode 13: natural frames, shallow depth of field|