Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 20 Recap
How can the stakes go any higher-it’s the question I ask myself every episode-Gaksital is THAT good-yet the drama manages to up itself every episode and leaves me stunned in its wake! I am so glad of this drama-it punches all the right buttons, delivers the best and promises even more. No wonder every sane thought of mine these days just goes ‘Gaksitaaaaaaalllllll!’ When the going’s so good, who needs anything else?
Episode 20 Recap:
The episode opens at the precinct. Yoshio goes into his full hateful speech about not wanting to impugn his precinct, pointedly at a ‘Joseon’ and finally orders Kang To out of the precinct-ordering Shunji to lead him out. When Yoshio turns around, Kang To stops him-Yoshio can’t fire him for being a Korean. He tells Yoshio to take back his order since he won’t step out even a foot. That angers Yoshio who starts beating him up while everyone watches. Shunji and Abe seem bothered, while Koiso smirks. Lol, if I didn’t remember him from the BTS, I’d be totally hating him right now, hehe!
Yoshio finally draws his gun and tells Kang To he should have left when he was told to. This time, Shunji steps in and asks Yoshio to calm down and tells him he’ll take responsibility so he orders his men to throw Kang To out. As he’s being dragged out, Kang To still calls for Yoshio to reconsider but to no avail. Once he’s gone, Yoshio mutters Taro’s words were true about Kang To not being easy to manipulate and tells Shunji not to let him even close to the police station.
When Kang To’s thrown out, Koiso comes to tell him not to come to the police station again and orders the guards not to let him in again. Chuckling, he heads back in. Kang To’s worried and storms back in to ask Shunji to block the order but Shunji ignores him and heads into his office. Kang To is thrown back out as Abe cries for him. Awww, somebody give Abe a hug please!
Shunji sits in his office when Koiso walks in and can’t contain his happiness about having gotten rid of Kang To. Shunji remains passive and Koiso confides in him now-Kenji killed Kang To’s mother. Shunji’s like-What and why? Koiso lays out the story-he thought Kang San was Gaksital so he confronted them but it was a mistake and it just happened that way. Thankfully, Joseon people set fire to Kang To’s house so no one was wiser about the deed. Shunji shouts at him-why the heck didn’t he tell that to him before and Koiso tells him its because Shunji and Kang To were friends and he doesn’t know about it either.
Shunji wonders, does Kang To really not know and Koiso mutters, “Of course he doesn’t. With that temper of his, would he have left it alone? He’d have stormed in here and killed Kenji twelve times over.” That sparks Shunji to the day his hyung died and wonders if that was actually Kang To. What if Kang To knew the truth and was hiding it? He orders Koiso to finds and bring Kang To back. When they go outside, Kang To is already gone. Kosio wonders what the rush is but Shunji deflects and just orders that he be found NOW.
Kang To goes to see Rie and she’s surprised to see him and wonders what happened to his face. He tells her he was fired by the new chief and asks her to use her influence to get Taro to take back that order. Rie is quick to fish out the reason-it must’ve been her announcement to have Kang To admitted to Kishokai that moved Taro to this decision and scowls-is he going against her? Kang To tells her, “Do you know the reason I was fired? Because I am a Joseon person!” He spits out the words.
She tells him not to worry and that she’s about to tell the Chairman to induct him into Kishokai as well. Kang To whispers the name to himself-Kishokai is the organization? And tells her he was kicked off the police force-does he stand a chance at Kishokai? Rie smiles at that-where’s his infamous ambition now? (As in, giving up already?) and he smiles back-his ambition is there alright and she tells him that is exactly what the Chairman wants. He asks what the chairman is like. She tells him he’s someone who values effort more than talent. Kang To expresses the wish to meet him soon and thanks her. Damn, I feel sorry for Rie at times like this and really don’t like the fact that Kang To has to use her even though both aren’t at fault here. It’s a bad turn of circumstances that puts them both on opposite ends!
Kang To sees Rie off and she tells him where to find her. Kachiyama doesn’t look too pleased with the whole exchange while Rie reminds me of a cheery naïve girl. Ah, why am I feeling so sorry for her?
Shunji relays the latest news to Daddy Kimura who also wonders at the events and if it was Kang To who killed Kenji. Shunji says its possible but it may also be that Kang To doesn’t know. Daddy points out that if he does know and is pretending he doesn’t, that means his chances of being Gaksital are increased. That is why Shunji asks Dad to make Yoshio take back his decision-they can’t afford to let Kang To go just yet. Just then, Daddy Kimura gets a call. It’s summons for him and Yoshio to go and see Ueno.
There, Rie confronts Taro about firing Kang To after she said she wanted him introduced into Kishokai. Taro tells them both its because there’s a suspicion that Kang To is Gaksital. Rie flares at that-didn’t Shunji himself already ascertain that Kang To wasn’t Gaksital? And is it just me or there’s a personal edge to her voice? Yoshio argues that whatever the case, he cannot accept a Joseon in his precinct. Rie turns to entreat her father regarding Kang To but Ueno ignores her and tells the other two- “Let’s pretend the Sato Hiroshi matter never happened.” Rie stares at him, stunned and wanting to say more but holds back. Ueno gives the other two men new orders-recruit girls to send to the army as comfort women.
Rie goes to see Shunji next who tells her to stop coming to the police station every time she feels like it. She tells him she came for a favor and wants his help. She tells him she wants to bring Kang To into Kishokai but her father has changed his mind now and it won’t happen as she wanted. Shunji scoffs, why does she want Kang To to become a member of Kishokai-he was already fired from the police station. Her response-it’s a waste to throw him away-isn’t Kang To Shunji’s friend? And does he still think Lee Kang To is Gaksital? Shunji says fine, let it waste but Lee Kang To can’t be brought in and tells her he was new evidence that suggests Kang To might be Gaksital after all. She asks what that evidence is but he tells her she need not know-he’s the one who’ll catch him. She points out she wants Gaksital dead as well. “What happens if I catch him first?” With those words, she leaves.
Baek Gun cleans Kang To’s wounds again and tells him to just quit the force now but Kang To reminds him of Damsari’s words about having someone in the police force being beneficial to their cause. He’ll stay there till the end and tells him Lala is helping him get into Kishokai. Baek Gun wants to know what Kang To will accomplish by going into Kishokai and Kang To says he has to go into that organization and start by taking out their leader. He tells Baek Gun not to worry and leaves for his meeting with Rie.
Rie goes over Shunji’s words and finally figures a way to get to Kang To and know once and for all. She asks Kachiyama which arm he hit Gaksital on-the right leg and arm. She meets with Kang To that night and slips a sleeping draught into his drink. She tells him she can’t help him just yet and tells her to wait a little while more. He says it’s a pity and asks her if Ueno is the Chairman and wants to know how she got into Kishokai. She asks him, “Are you curious about me or are you curious about Kishokai?” He tells her, “Both.”
She asks him if he’s really curious about her-the person he couldn’t even remember. “Because in your heart right now there is only Oh Mok Dan. I’m the woman who, at the age of 9 when I lost my parents, I walked in with my own feet to become a gisaeng. I can know what a man is thinking by the look in his eye. I know you approached me to become a member of Kishokai so don’t lie and say you are curious and want to know more about me.”
His reply touches me just as much, “Since I made you say those things, I really am the bad guy. But it’s true that I was curious about your life. When I saw you wear mourning clothes and crying in front of the Japanese, I was really curious how you became Lala. Living as Sato Hiroshi now, if the same thing happened like 5 years ago I would save you again no matter whether you are Lala or a young gisaeng.”
And you know those are exactly the words that touch her heart because it brings tears to her eyes and there’s so much hope and fear etched on her face-can she and should she believe those words? In this moment, I really think these two are really being honest with one another although they’re afraid to believe each other.
Rie proposes a toast for Sato Hiroshi and they drink. Soon after, Rie wayches as Kang To falls down, unconscious. She goes to his side and mutters, “If you are Gaksital, then you’ve seen me try to kill the woman you love. If the situation were the same as five years ago, you would definitely save me? That obvious lie, why do I want to believe it?” She removes his coat and checks his right arm, sees the bandage and draws back in stunned horror. For many moments, she simply sits there, staring at him and trying to calm herself. Finally putting his sleeve right, she heads out.
Outside, she leans against the rail by the pond and tells herself, “Ueno Rie, come to your senses. You saw that Lee Kang To is Gaksital. You can’t help him or go easy on him anymore. What are you hesitating for?”
She calls out to Kachiyama and gives him the order to bringthe gisaengs Masoko. Once he’s gone, her face falls back into stunned disbelief and she stands there for a long moment, still not in control of her emotions.
At the police station, Wada is in meeting with Taro, Yoshio and the others. He tells them the latest turn in the war is going badly, and that the biggest problem for the Japanese army isn’t the attacks, but venereal disease and asks the others what they should do. Taro suggests sending girls to the army. Wada warns that no one may know of this so Yoshio says they’ll simply choose young but poor girls and make sure it doesn’t come back to them. And they clap to their decision. Ugh. I feel sick.
At the circus, two new folk come to meet the circus people and show them a newspaper telling them they are recruiting young girls to accompany them to China as nurses and how their house and everything will be paid for. Gye Soon’s eyes widen with greed. Ugh, this is that group looking for girls to send to the army, right? Greedy Gye Soon would probably be eager to go but even she doesn’t deserve that bad! Dan smells something fishy and Jo tells them no one from the circus wishes to go but they insist the people at least write down their names on the paper so they may get some money but Dan and Jo throw them out. Still, the women inside seem to favor the idea. Please no!
Kang To wakes up in a bed and Masako attends to him. He asks her what happened last night and she tells him Lala told her to take care of him after she left when he fell asleep. That rings in his mind-he remembers drinking that one shot only and losing consciousness after. Without a word, he leaves.
Rie sits in her room, drinking her morning tea-or is it coffee. Kachiyama tells her about the time Kang To had followed him and points out Kang To approached her to use her. Rie tells him she knows that already and that he shouldn’t worry. Just then, the door knocks-it’s Kang To. She ignores it. “Lala you are inside right? Open the door Lala.Lala! Lala! Are you not inside? I have something to say so I came. Lala.” She calls up Shunji and tells him Kang To is here and asks him to get rid of him. After the phone call, she stands stoically on the side, her expression showing she is still troubled.
Shunji pulls up just as Kang To is leaving the hotel and tells Kang To he’s been looking for him all over. Telling him they’re late for work, he asks Kang To to go with him. Meanwhile, Jo and Dan discuss the Chinese nurse offer and realize something is off-the money being offered is too much and too sweet a deal-why would they offer untrained people that much when even men don’t make that much money? Dan decides to look into it.
Kang To changes into his uniform at the station and Abe asks him how he’s feeling. Kang To notices the strange looks he’s being given by the others around. Just then, his phone rings. It’s Dan. She tells him about the people who came and ask if they can believe in them. He tells her he’ll look into it and asks where she is. She tells him she’s at the circus and he promises to get back to her.
Yoshio comes down and tells the officers they have to help recruit and transfer the girls who are to become comfort women for the army. The rebels musn’t know about their plan-at this, both Yoshio and Shunji turn to look at Kang To and then Yoshio gives Koiso a promotion-Kang To’s post while demoting Lee Kang To. Hehe, while all the others congratulate Koiso on his promotion, Abe scowls at him and looks at Kang To like a puppy sad for his master! Awww, I so wanna pinch his cheeks!
After the meeting is over, Shunji calls Kang To to his office. There, he plays the caring friend card again, telling Kang To Yoshio is just such a person which is why Shunji ignored him yesterday. His father was also opposed to firing him but Yoshio persisted so they pulled strings from above to have him reinstated and tells Kang To to stay steady, he’ll get him back his old position soon. He tells Kang To to start using the room he gave the key for-when he couldn’t find Kang To yesterday, he was quite worried. So you say! Kang To agrees and thanks Shunji. Just then, the phone rings. Shunji picks up and says, “Esther?” At that, Kang To gets up to leave but Shunji stops him. Whatever Dan says, Shunji agrees to go see her immediately and asks Kang To to drive him there.
On the ride there, Kang To and Shunji are lost in their own train of thoughts.
“You demoted me so that you could keep me next to you. What are you planning? Are you starting to suspect me again?”
“Lee Kang To if you really are Gaksital, just wait and see -I will make you take off that mask!”
At the circus, women are signing over their names when Shunji and Kang To walk by and Kang To seems to suspect something. They arrive inside to see guns pointed at the circus folk. Shunji demands to know what’s happening and learns the circus wanted to perform. Dan argues-how the hell do they think circus people make a living if not by performing? Shunji gives the order to his men to back off and tells the circus people they will no longer be under observation and may do what they want. He asks to speak to Dan alone.
When she passes by Kang To, he whispers to her, “Don’t let them go and hold onto them! They aren’t going to become nurses-they will be used as comfort women for the army.” Dan nods while her eyes widen in horror. Outside, Shunji suddenly hugs her, Kang To watching from a distance and tells her he’s letting her be free now but in return, she has to give him a little of her heart. Kang To averts his gaze but doesn’t move and Shunji looks at him while he speaks. Dan tries to free herself and Kang To stands rooted to her spot, closing his eyes to try to control his emotions. Shunji adds, looking straight at Kang To, “Do you have anything you are hiding from me? If you are hiding something from me I will find out what that is and crush it!”
He then lets her go and calls out to Kang To, all the while looking straight at him, sparing her only a glance and tells him they’re leaving. As Kang To follows, for a moment, he stops by Dan and holds her hand, his expression tortured. Dan sheds a tear as she watches him leave.
On the way back, Shunji watches Kang To and asks him-“Kang To, I will definitely catch Gaksital who killed my hyung. But you? Why are you not catching the culprit who killed your mother and hyung? If it were me, I would have done that first leaving everything else! Ah, didn’t you tell me that you couldn’t die leaving behind those who did that to your family and made you like that? But you aren’t even looking for the guy who killed your hyung and mother?” His first sentence draws up Kang To’s guard. At the end, Kang To suddenly brakes the car and gets out, heading to Shunji’s end.
He drags Shunji out and asks him, “You know something, don’t you? The person who killed my mum and hyung, you know who it is, don’t you? Tell me! I said TELL ME!” Shunji remains impassive and shrugs his hands off at the end, “If I knew I would have told you right away- would I just be like standing here like this. Sorry for bringing up something painful for you. Let’s go.” He says that without meaning a word and Kang To realizes it. He thinks to himself, “Kimura Shunji, you even found out your hyung killed my mother? Fine, let’s see this through!”
Rie is giving her foster father a leg massage when he mentions that his minion remembers Kang To as the guy who rescued her five years ago. Rie argues that was not the reason she recommended him although her hands still for a moment in their task and she looks worried. Ueno tells her to be in charge of the transport of the comfort women and she agrees, promising to do her best.
The Countess, Count and their new friends are having another lunch together. They tell the couple it’ll be a great opportunity for their students to go abroad and study so the couple agree to send as many as they can. Ooof.
A girl sits with her grandmother and tells her of the wonderful opportunity she’s being given and how only the smartest students were selected! My heart is breaking! She’s so young and innocent! Her grandmother worries about sending her but just then a car pulls up. And Taro walks out. OH! That granny is Shunji’s nanny! both women bow to Taro and granny tells Taro about his daughter’s selection and asks if she should send her. Taro looks back at the girl-she’s young and so naive-can’t be more than a teenager and tells Granny with a smile, “Don’t worry and send her!” OMG! You’re such a &*(#&^@%@! You cold, heartless monster!
Meanwhile, Dan makes arrangement for the girls who signed up to be taken to safety but before they can make a move, police officers dressed in plain clothes come to pick up the girls. Jo and Dan try to stand guard and stop them-they were recruited under falsehood and its the same as kidnapping but the officers couldn’t care less for their plight and start dragging them out. Sun Hwa, who’s trying to protect her friends is also dragged out. One of the officers pulls a gun and Jo and Dan to keep them passive.
However, as soon as they make a move out of the room, Dan and Jo tear after them and start hitting the men taking the girls. Still, they’re outmatched in strength and soon, Jo and Dan are on the floor, being beaten while the girls are forced away. The officer mutters that he would’ve killed her already if not for Shunji.
At the same time, nanny’s granddaughter waves her grandmother goodbye cheerfully as she is led away in a truck with other women, unaware of what’s really going to be her fate. In the forest, Kachiyama, Rie and the woman recruiter wait anxiously for the trucks to start arriving. One arrives and Rie tells the woman to crosscheck with the names.
Sun Hwa and her friends worry as their truck rides down the road, heading for the convening point. The drivers catch sight of something in the distance. It’s Gaksital! Yaaaayyyyyyy!!!! The girls in the back look around to see what’s happening as Gaksital knocks down one man after the other, beating them down until the remaining turn tail and run away.
Another truck barrels down the road and this time, Gaksital jumps down on the roof of the very first car. Woohoo! It’s the truck carrying Sun Hwa and she and her friends cheer to see Gaksital. As usual, Gaksital knocks the officers down, one by one. When one of them tries to shoot Gaksital as he stands in the truck, Sun Hwa bites down on his arm as another dumps her suitcase on him. Hehe! Some of the men run away while the sound of a gunshot alerts Rie and the others to possible trouble down the road. Sun Hwa tells the other girls where they’re really headed to and urges them to run.
Gaksital turns back to see the guy recruiter who was sitting in the front car, now scrambling to get away. He blocks the man’s path and delivers blow after blow to him without mercy and a final hit to his neck, sending him sprawling on the ground.
A gunshot sounds and the tree near Gaksital is hit. He turns around to see a gun cocked at him- by Rie. As they both stand facing each other, she whispers to herself: “Please, don’t make me regret letting you live.”
Damn, what now? Rie knows. She knows. She KNOWS! Is it just me or is there really a storm brewing? And not just because of Rie, but because of Shunji and the fact that he’s ever the more ready to pounce on Kang To and I’m sure he’s laying out another trap.
This drama really takes cliffhanger endings to a whole new level and most of the episodes left you at the end begging for MORE! Gaksital is taking everything by storm and although there’s just four weeks left now, it feels like eternity!
I loved Rie throughout the episode-even when she agrees to oversee the transport for the women. It gives us just one more layer of her character and shows her in even more depth. Look at her, she’s the woman who lost her family at age 9 and then, making her own decisions, she became a gisaeng. From thereon, she’s only learnt to hate her heritage-the Joseon country and its people and all she ever does now is in the name of power. For her, that power means security and she needs that security like we all need oxygen. Except, what she doesn’t realize is that already, she’s changing, even if she denies it to herself. Kang To is not just another guy in her life whom she has disregarded her feelings for now that she knows he’s Gaksital. No, she has a personal connection to him which she can’t cut off no matter how hard she tries. Example, she already told Shunji that love is ever changing and made her point by trying to kill Dan yet when push came to shove and she found out kang To’s real identity as Gaksital, she was unable to mete out the same judgement and against her usual principles, she let him live. Her words to Shunji were telling-she wants Gaksital dead because he is a hurdle to her end goal- the goal is Kishokai’s and as part of it, she believes in it more than anyone, never hesitating to put all on the line. And yet, when she learns about him, she cannot bring herself to say the secret out loud or let anyone else know what she found.
She may hate Gaksital, but she has feelings for Kang To and those feelings are what bring out the human in her that she’s buried under her ambition. What she doesn’t realize while sending all those girls to their doom is that she’s simply creating more Rie’s-women who will come back bruised and broken. And what I really want is for her to realize that. It will take her one step forward in becoming Hong Joo, and not the gisaeng or the singer Lala.
I loved the interaction between Kang To and Rie just before they share that drink and personally, I believe Kang To was truly being honest with her. Like Rie pointed out, he watched her try to kill the woman he loves but Kang To sees Rie beyond the facade she’s put up for everyone-he sees the girl who cried in front of the Japanese and who stood up to her oath of not wanting to drink on the day of her parent’s anniversary. He sees a mirror of himself in her-they were both Korean and yet circumstances changed them both so they hated their own roots and defied their own people. Yet he’s learnt his lesson the hard way-losing family, everything he had and the fear of losing Boon Yi too. At that moment, when he tells her he would still save her, he means it because he realizes that no matter how she carries herself or tries to convince herself, she is in need of a guiding hand and that gesture of his may become just that. Kang To brings out the best in her and I hope she learns to see herself and love herself for that!
The way the whole game is on between Shunji and Kang To is totally nervewrecking and a delight to watch because they are both now treading on thin ice, trying to outsmart one another and knowing that the other is trying to do just that! Once misstep from either will send that man tumbling down to icy water, or the fires of hell and the other stands victor. And both are determined to win the game. And of course, we stand by Kang To, hehe!
And I cant even relate how sick I felt at the whole ‘comfort women’ thing! Yes, its a truth that usually happens in war but its so inhuman and unfeeling! How can one be so heartless as to deliberately send someone to such hell?! Gosh!
The scene where Kang To holds Dan’s hand for a moment before he leaves was just beautiful! I’ve no other words for it! The way he stays that one moment to reassure her and remind her he is by her side-Ah, *Swoon!!* I so so so want a happy ending for these two!
SPOILER SPECULATION: Alright, anyone wanna bet on how Kang To is going to escape this time? I think that maybe our latest character, the woman who is Rie’s counterpart will probably appear! After all, she is supposed to appear in the 21st episode and what better moment to make your mark then when the hero is in distress and need of saving? My reasons: Kang To definitely needs help getting out of this one, in whatever shape it might be and who better to help him than another freedom fighter? The freedom fighters may have gotten wind of the whole operation and may have been planning their own rescue for the girls!
I may be wrong, but hey, it’s good food for thought until Wednesday, or the next preview comes up!
Posted on August 10, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Asian Comics, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Manhwas, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged best bud, bridal mask recaps, Dan, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital recaps, Kang, Kang To, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, random thoughts, recaps, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.