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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People

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  • Score: 8.7 (scored by 1,314 users)
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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People (2017)

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xXabsintheXx
46 people found this review helpful
May 17, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
After finishing Rebel, it feels a little difficult to organize my thoughts and write a review that truly honors this wonderful drama.

I went into this, not knowing what to expect. There are many sageuks that sound promising but disappoint you utterly. And then there are those who start slow but grow to be one of your dearest gems. Rebel definitely belongs to the latter. (At this point I also have to admit that I still haven't watched Six Flying Dragons. But I will definitely catch up with that one soon.)

Many people know of the story about Hong Gil Dong and there's already another drama addressing this character. But I had no idea. That's why it's even more funny that while I was watching this, it constantly reminded me of Robin Hood. Thanks to my comparison someone told me that it's indeed based on that legend - or rather it's basically the Korean version.

So, why did I like this drama so much?

1. First of all the story combined with its characters. I always have to mention that together because one part doesn't work without the other. I do think the story is pure gold. Well, nothing new, of course, but the way it's written and the way its characters are acting and growing, left me speechless so many times while following every new turn of events.

What I also really loved was that you will never be left in too much agony. Of course, this drama has its sad, its heartbreaking moments, too. But despite their misery, I never felt uncomfortable or frustrated about it. Why? Because every event had its reasoning. It was such a well thought-out net of actions and inevitable consequences that made me unable to be angry at somebody or something. I did hate a bunch of people, but the writing managed to make even those bastards palpable and well-founded.

The best part though was the close follow-up of injustice and justice. You might feel angry at some point but right the next minute you feel relieved and satisfied. It's rewarding (for you and its characters equally).

2. Camera. The way it was shot. Cinematography.
There are so many beautiful scenes, not only of the people but also of landscapes and important scenes that just underline the impression of each and every moment.

3. Love for details.
That's one point I cherish deeply because many dramas don't care about those things. If I find a show that does, it immediately rises alot in my favor. Rebel does those beautiful details. And what I'm talking about are not those things that are pointed out by the camera to be sure the viewers get the meaning. No, I'm talking about those things that are not pointed out and that you only notice if you pay enough attention to the story.

4. Acting.
Magnificent through and through. From leads to supports to guest appearances.
The first one to mention here is Kim Sang Joong. His portrayal of Ah Mo Gae is perfection. You see him loyal, you see him weak, you see him angry, you see him desperate and you see him loving. And! You see him strong and determined, rising from the bottom. He's smart, he knows how to talk to the people and being a leader. KSJ's Ah Mo Gae paves a large path for this drama and is the first step to be sucked into this story and not being able to leave again.

After him, of course, Yoon Gyun Sang who plays Hong Gil Dong. As I said before I haven't watched SFD yet, so I didn't know what his acting is like. But man, this guy can act! It is such a pleasure to see a well written character and an actor who can pull off such a role. Showing the character's different stages, his struggles and growing of mind. What amazed me the most was how he was able to make me believe that Hong Gil Dong is indeed Ah Mo Gae's son. There's this special thing he does with his voice (again one of those details)... The way he starts talking after awhile - like father like son.

Kim Ji Suk. Maybe his best role so far. Playing such a complex character as the king and doing such a stunning job with that task, is definitely something not everybody can manage.

Shim Hee Seop aka Gil Dong's hyung. The hidden treasure and such a surprise. Haven't seen him before but he nailed this performance. Never loved a side character more.

Chae Soo Bin, Lee Ha Nui... Two great actresses playing two completely different yet marvelous women. I don't want to let out any actor/actress, but it would be too boring to list them all. I still have to mention how visible their efforts were and how they added to a more perfect overall picture.

5. The romance.
Slowly, slowly................................. and then deeply satisfying and vigorous.

5. Music.
Isn't it rewarding to watch something interesting and then the music starts and within seconds captures you and never lets you go again? Rebel has such a haunting score and soundtrack. It fits in every scene, strengthens or lessens every respective moment and mood.

If you want to enjoy a well written drama with outstanding actors and characters, you should definitely go for this one. Highly recommended.

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MiraiArtx
18 people found this review helpful
May 17, 2017
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
It's not blood that tells you who your family is. Family is the people who will fight alongside you, care for you even more so than for themselves and will put everything at stake for you. That is what this heart wrenching, sometimes tragic, beautiful drama teaches us. It's a deeply satisfying watch that shows you what loyalty truly is.

The story is deeply moving and will affect you in more ways than you thought possible. It begins while Hong Gil Dong is a child, and moves along through the trials he faces throughout both his childhood and his adult life. The writers really know how to inflict an emotional response on their audience whether it be standing up and cheering for the good guys or ugly sobbing into a blanket. This drama is strongly written, with many impactful and symbolic scenes. It is story of the revolt against the rich that makes you pour (no pun intended) your heart and soul into rooting for Hong Gil Dong and his group of rebels. The bond between the rebels is thicker than even blood, and their loyalty towards one another is without a doubt one of the most intensely heartwarming things I've seen. It begins with backstory that may seem very slow, but if you stick with it, it will make the story that much more powerful later on. That said, I've taken half a point off (9.5/10) because a handful of episodes do have a slower pace, but it definitely did not drag or become uninteresting.

The acting in this drama was phenomenal. This drama made me believe, and I think that's the most crucial part of it. The casting was absolutely perfect. The child actors looked very much like their adult counterparts and had acting abilities that were well beyond their age. Kim Sang Joong gave such a raw performance as Ah Mo Gae and perfectly captured the essence of his character. I had watched Yoon Gyun Sang in multiple other roles, but this role is where he truly shines. I believed in his motives, his emotions, and as another reviewer mentioned, the fact that he is Ah Mo Gae's son. I would also like to mention Kim Ji Suk who did wonderfully as the tyrannical king and brought a lot more substance to this role than any of his previous works.

The music in this drama is very special to me. The OSTs are not the typical kdrama OST, rather the songs sound very traditional. They add so much emotion to the scenes, and truly captured the spirit of the rebels.

The romance, I will talk about as a separate topic. It starts off slow, and the chemistry between them is minimal, but as it progresses it will hit you like an arrow (a reference). It is so intense and pure and overflowing in believability. Not going to lie, their romance has made me shed tears.

It is definitely a drama to rewatch and will remain as one of the most memorable ones. This has been a powerful and emotional journey that will stay with me for a long time. I think it's very underrated, and if you're wondering whether to watch this, I wholeheartedly recommend that you do!

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Ryena11
4 people found this review helpful
Jun 18, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I would say what a beautiful story. The story did move me, not too emotional or dramatic. Every casts carried a wonderful role. The storyline was amazing. I love the problem-solutions scenes.

I love all the leading roles & supporting roles. They have shown an amazing talent.

What I love the most was the relationship between the Hongs family. I would love to have that kind of relationship; how they take care of each other & being a loyal brothers-sisters. A wonderful drama thus I gave a perfect 10.

If you kinda hesitate to watch this. Please DON'T! you would love it. Highly recommended.

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wonhwa
9 people found this review helpful
May 27, 2017
Overall 7.0
Story 6.5
Acting/Cast 8.0
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
Rebel, as its title suggests, seethes with righteous indignation at the Joseon era’s brutal caste system, and it does a better job than most dramas of showing the ways that people internalize and reinforce their own oppression. Caught up in the way things are, characters are often believably slow to grasp the way things could be and to fight back against the structures that constrain them. The show also features a strong ensemble cast, with exceptional performances by Kim Ji Suk as the unstable King Yeonsangun and Honey Lee as Jang Nok Su, and stirring recreations of traditional Korean music and dance. Viewed as a cultural celebration and social manifesto, it’s compelling.

The plot mechanics, on the other hand, are less effective. There are tons of intriguing set-ups that never pay off in meaningful ways, and the story takes an awfully long time to build to anything approaching actual rebellion. It also introduces a supernatural element that’s too literal to be read as symbolic but too underdeveloped to serve as a unifying mythology. It ends up feeling like a distraction from the very real issues that the characters confront – an easy way to get the characters out of trouble (hey look, super powers!) without serving any broader thematic purpose. In the end, the show is solid, but I wish its dramatic revelations were as engaging as its revolutionary ideas.

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Serendipity92x
3 people found this review helpful
May 19, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 7.0
Introduction:

When I heard this drama was first being made I need to be honest but I really didn't care. Why? I've never been the biggest fan of Robin Hood/ Hong Gil Dong. I couldn't even finish the first episode of the Hong Drama's version. It wasn't my cup of tea. Then the drama was finally being aired and again I'm going to be honest I didn't even think to give it a chance. A part of me wanted to because of the leading actor Yoon Gyun Sang. I have quite the crush on the man and I hope with the success this drama brings it will lead him into many future leading roles. Weeks go by and the drama is coming to an end but it wasn't until I watched two videos on YouTube for the leading couple (Gil Dong/Ga Ryeong) and they seriously made me see another side of this drama. A part of me thought it would be Robin Hood type action, stealing from the rich and giving to the poor etc. What I saw was a beautiful romance blossoming and I had to at least try it and see how it goes.

Story:

What I expected from the story was completely different to what the story actually was and it was so much better. I liked how it wasn't just stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. This drama wasn't just about a gang of thieves stealing riches and giving them to the less unfortunate. This was about a group of people who wanted a better world for their nation and fellow citizens. They were tired of people being trampled on because of their social status and when you add in a mad king it makes the story even more interesting. This drama featured a lot of themes and all of the themes blended in perfectly to make an awesome drama. Not only was it action packed but it was funny, heartwarming, heart wrenching, romantic and overall and very memorable story with a fantastic group of characters.

Acting/Cast:

ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC. The people who brought this drama to life did an amazing job casting their characters from major to minor ones. Everybody fit well into the story and there were many occasions I was devastated when somebody died or something bad happened to them. I was emotionally invested into these people's lives and they made me forget my own reality in the 30 hours I watched them on the screen and isn't that what dramas are there for. Yoon Gyun Sang did a tremendous job on being Hong Gil Dong and I will be very surprised if this doesn't open up many exciting opportunities for him. He was able to express a wide variety of emotions that would pull at your heartstrings. He literally showed that he is capable of pulling off many types of roles and I would love to see him be the leading man again in his next work... A melodrama or romantic comedy would be perfect. The last and only time I saw Chae Soo Bin who plays Song Ga Ryeong (Gil-dong's leading lady) was in Love in the Moonlight and I really enjoyed who presence in that drama despite her having affections for the Crown Prince. She was the type of secondary lead character who showed that you don't have to be evil and manipulative when you can't have the man of choosing. She really out shined herself in this drama and I will look forward to her future works. My other mentions goes to the Hong clan and the mad king played by Kim Ji Suk.

Music:

I found the music to be very fitting for the type of drama it was. The songs were very folk like and they belonged in that era. Yeah, we didn't receive a new song by Ali who does perfect songs for historicals but I feel like if a modern voice filled the background of this show the drama would have lost some of it's appeal. There are a few songs I will probably listen to such as the theme song for the leading couple but that's about it.

Re-watch value:

I can't say I'll watch this drama again by myself because their story has been told but if anybody around me becomes interested I would certainly recommend and introduce this drama to them. Unfortunately I doubt that'll ever happen as I'm quite the alien in my community and I don't know anybody who either knows about Asian drama or who cares about them in the slightest. I will however re-watch certain scenes again and again.

Conclusion:

This drama gets full stars from me and it has landed a place on my favourites list and it will forever remain there. I experienced so many emotions during the 30 hours I spent watching this drama and I'm thankful to the people who introduced this drama to me through their videos. If you are like me and you're not a big fan of Robin Hood/activist type stories please search on YouTube for any type of footage to give yourself an idea on the feel of the show and watch a couple of episodes before you make your verdict on the drama. It's only the start of 2017 but a part of me thinks it may be my favourite.

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JahitzaBalaniuk
2 people found this review helpful
Jul 19, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
Ok, I usually kinda enjoy historical dramas, but this one took me by surprise and is now one of my favorites of all times. Maybe it IS my ultimate favorite.
I´m not kidding, it´s amazing.
The plot, the characters, the actors... it´s all incredible. I can't find anything to complain about.
I cried, I laughed and really enjoyed every minute of it.
The history behind the plot is also very rich, and I recommend you to look into it before and after you watch this drama.
Anyway, don´t miss it... the first 7 episodes can be a little slow (even though I like it a lot, is considered as kinde of a prelude), but don´t let this discourage you!
You will find romance, adventure, friendship, mistery, war and an amazing journey.

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Aspa
2 people found this review helpful
Jun 14, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 6.0
Let me start of by saying that historical dramas are NOT my cup of tea. It's a hit or miss for me and most of the times I end up dropping them. Why? Well, its filled with hanboks and same palace locations, except the scenery scenes it can become pretty dull in my eyes. So, I focus more on the story and acting in historical dramas and if that's not enough to captivate me nothing else will. I was glad rebel Hong was one of these exceptions.

Story: The flow of this drama is just perfectly right. Not slow-paced not fast-paced. It's enough to make you sympathize with the characters root for them, understand them, hate them, love them. It allows you to feel all these spectrum of emotions: sad, laugh, getting angry, excited, smile, tear up, cry, make your heart tighten and all with the right speed.

Acting: I will mention a few actors here but almost everyone delivered and made their character feel alive. Yoon Gyun Sang our protagonist, knew him from playing the older brother in pinocchio, I'm happy he got this role he did amazing! I must admit his height made some of the fighting scenes seem a bit awkward : he really seems like a big bear compare to everyone else xD But at the same time I think his height fitted his role perfectly. Kim Ji Suk aka the king, oh man you could just tell from his eyes if he felt disgusted, twisted, betrayed, satisfied and his voice was such a king's voice; deep and trembling. I recognized that he played a funny comical character in 'Another miss oh' after a few episodes that's how good his transforming was. Kim Sang Joong our hero's dad: if you've ever watched a drama casting this actor it's hard to forget his presence or character. He's captivating and roots in your soul in everything that he does simply breathtaking acting abilities. Chae Soo Bin our female protagonist, she was good, her character wasn't that special at the beginning but she made me like her and not find her annoying (I usually find female leads annoying they cry and whine a lot, I'm happy she had a strong vibe and wasn't a weakling). A small mention to the bad old lady, a character whom I despised the moment she appeared on screen. I wanted to get inside my monitor and kill, she made me hate her so much I cant even begin to describe, good job there xD

OST: Havent heard such music before. It felt like traditional korean songs travelling from a thousand years ago. And that's how it should be right? A historical drama needs historical music not sounds that feel out of the ordinary or their surroundings. Meaningful music, it was like this show was created for this music and not the other way around.

This show is not a masterpiece, which drama is? But has a solid story with great actors that will draw you in. Give it a chance^^

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Linky
3 people found this review helpful
May 19, 2017
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.5
If you like historical dramas, this one won't disappoint you. It's well paced, the writing is solid and the story doesn't let you down for 30 episodes. There is a heartwarming romance, rousing action and heroes that you can really route for. It's about family ties and loyalty, camaraderie and standing up to fight for what's right - no matter the cost and no matter how bleak your chances.

Yoon Gyun Sang is really good as the Gil Dong. He is believable as the Mighty Child with superhuman strength that evolves into a rebel, but is equally believable when his character is beaten down and vulnerable. Kim Sang Joong is commanding as Amogae - Gil Dong's father- who lived most his life as a slave but realizes his strength and spirit. Watching him at times gave me goosebumps. I particularly loved the father-son relationship between him and both the adult Gil Dong and the young Gil Dong.

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Diaaszm
1 people found this review helpful
2 days ago
Overall 10
Story 8.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 8.0
I do not even know where to start. I apologize for my English, I'm not fluent.

Rebel is a story about taking the reins of life itself. It begins in an intense way, and shows how a slave tries to break free in order to protect his family. But unfortunately, some things go wrong and the family falls into cycles of suffering. One revenge leads to another, and tragedies continue to happen. Fortunately, this does not leave a difficult story to watch. It is light on many times, intense on others, and all the time we see ourselves being captivated by the characters.

--- Action
The action scenes are very well done, even to almost have supernatural elements. The cinematography is beautiful, but despite that sometimes have such beautiful scenes that disclose the rest of the style of the drama. But that does not count as a negative point at all.

--- Performance
PERFECT. Nothing to complain about the actors. They all played the roles brilliantly. However, I detest the Gil Dong child. But it's just my opinion and how it did not last long, irrelevsi it and I followed the show.
Yoon Gyun Sang demonstrates all his acting power as Gil Dong. He is so innocent and strong at the same time. Your character emanates a warmth and dignified maturity. And because he's so tall and big (the broadest shoulders I've ever seen in my life) he looks like a big bear brother or like I said to my brother, a wardrobe haha. Yoon Gyu Sang seems to have been born for this role (as well as Mo Hyul in Six Flying Dragons.) He simply COMBINES a warrior who fights for a cause! And especially now as Gil Dong, he had a chance to show off a man's strength! Ahaha

I do not consider Ga Ryung as the protagonist. Unlike other fans, I think she existed there just to be Gil Dong's romantic couple. She was not annoying, she was a good character. A strong woman for her time as well as a good wife and cause partner. But that's all. Whether she was there or not, had no strong influence on the plot. But the Importance of it is not for the story, it is for our hero, Gil Dong. If it had not been for Ga Ryung, he probably would have had a solitary existence. His love for her is remarkable. It is perceptible that it is she who allows him to live as a human being as well as a fighter. And that's what makes the novel beautiful. A firm, supportive, strong-willed woman. She also fights her own war later, on the scene with the King. Honestly, a woman strong in many ways and who matured very cruelly.
It simply hurt in me to hear her call for her husband, and Gil Dong call for her. The way the name "Ga Ryung" came from Gil Dong's mouth, seriously, it caused me tears! And how she screamed for "Husband" ... A lot of chemistry! And a beautiful novel! It seemed like everything was going to fall apart!

The king is a character full of conflicts. He has a distorted moral sense and believes that he does the right thing all the time. Unlike the other fans, I did not find him such a brilliant character.

The female light of this show was Lee Honey as Nook So. What was that, gentlemen? What bright woman is that? What a formidable character is this? She definitely shone. Rebel would not be the same without this actress. All that she lived, being an imperfect woman, and also ahead of her time; being a Gisaeng and an "artist," she conquered the power in the only way she could get, and did not regret it to an end. A mature woman, full, feminine, strong, and full of defects. This was Nook So. The villain who was never a real villain. Palms for her! She, unlike Ga Ryung, did not need a man to make her shine any more. Nook So shone so bright that it made the men who were by his side still stronger. This is the presence that the character played by Lee Honey had.
Nook So and Gil Dong were the ones who brought this drama to its zenith. It is interesting to see the form that links with the other.

This was a memorable drama. Although I have the feeling that they have not taken advantage of all the premises they put into the plot, I have nothing to complain about. All very good.

One of the best epic soundtracks, side by side with The Princess Man and Six Flying Dragons. I can not stop listening to the Music and to be touched by remembering excerpts from this drama.

Yoo Gyun Sang, you're an incredible actor and born for epics!
I will rewatch soon !

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Magiere
1 people found this review helpful
12 days ago
Overall 7.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 7.5
Music 7.0
Rewatch Value 1.0
Rebel, thematically, is unique and compelling. It tackles multiple social issues head on, such as the exploitation of the poor, the dangers of moral absolutism, and the ingrained culture of fear. It's as much a commentary on Joseon as it is on modern Korea. All of the actors turn in strong performances, particularly Hwang Seok Jung as the entertainer Wol Ha Mae, Lee Ha Nui as Jang Nok Su, and Kim Ji Suk as Yeon San gun (although there has been criticism of the unusually kind and sympathetic portrayal of the infamous tyrant, which I do agree with).

While the themes and performances are engaging, the actual execution and plot progression are lacking. It felt like there was an intended story arc from Point A to Point C, and key points to be made along the way. But they forgot they had to get to Point B, too. The result is, effectively, a long series of build ups interspersed with "info dumps" of specific scenarios and character insights that sometimes give the drama a very scripted or manufactured feel. The awkward pacing and tone made it difficult to get emotionally invested in and enjoy the show.

Rebel is definitely worth a look, especially for a saguek lover;  but for me, it was a miss.

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Laetitia
1 people found this review helpful
Aug 13, 2017
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
it's reaaly hard to review this one.....

All i can say it's taht after 2 weeks i still have the music in my head ^^

i discovered the lead actor in this drama and now i see him everywhere lol

i think my notes say it all ;)
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Jessica
1 people found this review helpful
Jun 14, 2017
Overall 10
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 9.5
Rebel was right where it needed to be in story and plot, but it absolutely excelled in characters, acting, and OST.
To establish the perspective of this review, I'm a complete sageuk/historical junkie (scarlet heart, orange marmalade, queen inhyuns man, rooftop prince, splash splash love, the moon that embraces the sun, the princess weiyoung(c), saimdang, rebel, nirvana in fire, to name quite a few in my list) and will review this show both standalone and within the context of this genre.
The story isn't especially surprising, but that's what I liked about it. Modern television has been pushed to an almost ridiculous level of pursuing thrill factor that other aspects of shows lose their luster. Rebel isn't overly ambitious in its writing, but that allows it to shine as a whole. Of course, it is indeed gripping and refreshing, but that is due to the attention to detail and fleshed out characters. Rather than seeking originality through complete innovation of this genre, it finds originality in the writer's care for the story rather than pandering to an audience. Weaker points of the story would get into spoilers, but let's just say that there could have been more episodes (surprising because I usually call for less) and that while the antagonists were good, they weren't my favorite.
Now the acting- this was just phenomenal. Kim Sang Joon's Ah Mo Gae is arguably my most favorite portrayal in a historical drama. Ever. His irresistible charm pulls in viewers and his control of emotion makes him like the most human character. I'll cut the character/acting section short because I'll sound repetitive but tldr every character was unique, properly developed, and absolutely charming in their own ways.
The music. Oh my god. I just found out the OST was on spotify and have had it on repeat since. Before we start, I must say that I take OST very seriously- it's just as important as cinematography, casting, everything. Rebel has a distinct and unified sound that matches its story. It ranges from your typical heart-wrenching ballad and love song that every kdrama has, to the intriguing music of the palace. But what really takes the cake is the section of the OST that has the traditional sound more akin to what common people actually sang and still do sing. Fiery tracks like If Spring Comes are what get me excited and even sing along while watching. Definitely 10/10
Overall this drama is absolutely my top sageuk because it deals in complexity with great care. I live for nuance, and most of my favorite media involves ambiguity. No plot spoilers, but I'm going to say that Rebel somehow pulls off complexity without ambiguity and excessive nuance, which made it work as a sageuk really well. Definitely recommend, and I will be posting a spoiler-included review later on my blog!

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