Sunday, February 12, 2017

“Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People” spoiler-free synopsis by episode (Ep. 1-16)



Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; How I made these synopses spoiler-free; Lessons in photography from “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People”

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


Episode 2 recap:

Hoping to provoke Ah Mo Gae, Lord Jo and his wife ask an uncle to create a scandal with Ah Mo Gae’s wife. Gil Dong comes to his mother’s rescue, but when the soldiers arrive, Ah Mo Gae takes all the blame. Later on, he surrenders to Lord Jo all the wealth that he has accumulated.

Gil Dong’s mother gives birth to a baby girl but dies soon after.

Ah Mo Gae kills Lord Jo, with Gil Dong witnessing everything.

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 and his sons settle down in Ikhwa-ri, a place where runaway slaves, drifters, and ruffians have gathered.

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


Episode 4 recap:

With Ah Mo Gae’s help, Eomjachi (the magistrate’s secretary) catches the smuggling group’s leader. He is promoted as the District Magistrate and helps protect Ah Mo Gae’s businesses from corrupt government officials.

Having become prosperous, Ah Mo Gae dreams of making his eldest son Gil Hyeon into a government official and Gil Dong into a military officer. But his sons have different dreams for their lives.

Ah Mo Gae reminds Gil Dong that he is the prophesied Mighty Child, but Gil Dong has been traumatized by everything that has happened. He wants to become a peddler, traveling throughout the nation.

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


Episode 6 recap:

Ah Mo Gae and his men release the runaway slave and fake her death. But through Heo Tae Hak, Prince Choong Won learns what really happened. He frames Ah Mo Gae for the slave’s death.

Prince Choong Won also learns from Lord Jo’s wife that Ah Mo Gae was a slave who killed a nobleman.

The District Magistrate betrays Ah Mo Gae and his men.

Gil Dong is beaten up and stabbed by thugs, but when he sees his sister being dragged off, he regains the strength that he had lost. He kills the thugs, but when more thugs come after them, he and his sister fall off a cliff.


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


Episode 8 recap:

Gil Dong learns that his father is alive but severely injured. He starts looking for and gathering his father’s men; he urges them to reclaim their territory and seek revenge against Prince Choong Won and his thugs.

While still pining for Gil Dong, Gong Hwa goes to the Palace to serve King Yeonsan. Meanwhile, the lovestruck Ga Ryung starts following Gil Dong wherever he goes.

Gil Hyeon dresses up as a scholar and thinks about taking the civil service exams.


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


Episode 9 recap:

At the academy, Gil Hyeon takes the identity of the man whom he found dead in the hut. He also meets a scholar whom he doesn’t recognize is Lord Jo’s son (the young master who bullied him and Gil Dong when they were just kids).

Two of Gil Dong’s men abandon him, but Gil Dong and the rest target Heo Tae Hak in several ways. Ga Ryung also volunteers to help get back the Buddhist rosary that Heo Tae Hak took from Ah Mo Gae.

Terrified, Heo Te Hak turns against Prince Choong Won and delivers him to Gil Dong and his men.

At the Palace, the ministers object to King Yeonsan’s plan to hold a Buddhist ritual for his late father. Meanwhile, Gong Hwa continues to be ignored by the King’s eunuch.


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


Episode 10 recap:

Ah Mo Gae tries but fails to convince Gil Dong to abandon his plans for revenge against Prince Choong Won.

Gil Dong orders the magistrate to go back and serve Prince Choong Won. Later, Gil Dong and his men disguise themselves as porters and accompany Prince Choong Won to Hanyang. Gil Dong gets the chance to kill Prince Choong Won but stops himself.

King Yeonsan tells Prince Choong Won to wait for the right time to be called back to Hanyang. He also pushes back against the ministers, exiling some of them, but soon, the minor officials join the scholars in protesting his plan to hold a Buddhist ritual.

Gil Hyeon learns that Ikwha-ri is in shambles, his father flogged to death, and his siblings nowhere to be found. He decides to study at the academy and take the state exams. He becomes friends with Jo Jeong Hak (whom he doesn’t recognize as the young master who bullied him when they were kids).

Gong Hwa dares the Head Eunuch that if she can’t please King Yeonsan, she will leave the Palace. Later, she’s allowed to entertain King Yeonsan.


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


Episode 13 recap:

Prince Choong Won is flogged severely and later on, exiled by King Yeonsan.

Lord Jo’s wife appeals to the owner of the academy to help Prince Choong Won by going after Ah Mo Gae and his men.

Ah Mo Gae and his men return to Ikwhari to regain control of the silver mine. Later on, he transfers leadership to Gil Dong.

A shaman tells Ah Mo Gae that Gil Dong will die if he continues to misuse his powers.


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


Episode 15 recap:

Gil Dong promises the Head Eunuch that he will provide the money for the King as long as the Head Eunuch protects him and his businesses. With the advance knowledge of the King’s liquor ban, Gil Dong and his men make lots of money.

Gil Hyeon reports to the King how the noblemen are getting around the liquor ban, but the King’s actions hurt the common people, rather than the noblemen.

The academy’s owner teaches Prince Choong Won on how to get out of exile by becoming valuable to the King.

The shaman whom Ah Mo Gae consulted appears in Hanyang and warns Gil Dong that if he doesn’t stop misusing his powers as the Mighty Child, he will die. But instead of heeding the shaman’s words, Gil Dong further enlarges his businesses.


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


Episode 16 recap:

King Yeonsan ends Prince Choong Won’s exile. With the academy owner’s help, Prince Choong Won begins to turn the public sentiment against Gil Dong and his men.

Uh Ri Ni is one of the young servants chosen to serve Nok Su and the other royal entertainers.

Lord Jo’s son (now a junior governor) orders the arrest of one of Gil Dong’s men for hitting a nobleman.

Ga Ryung fakes a marriage proposal to make Gil Dong jealous. Finally, Gil Dong finally confesses his love for her.


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,
background blur

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