Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 2 Recap
It just gets better and better!! Add in a hero who is not at all heroic and so much the villain, a heroine who knows how to and does fight her own battles, family love above all else and there is nothing left wanting!
Episode 2 Recap:
Like we saw before, the Gaksital behind Kang To is not the real deal. We see the real one on a rooftop behind and he throws a dart at the fake Gaksital, knocking the gun out of his hand. Kang To uses that opportunity to turn back and fight. Having lost advantage and control, fake Gaksital runs off. Kang To gives pursuit, but loses him. Fake Gaksital reports to Kenji: the assassination was disrupted because Gaksital intervened. The assassin wonders, why would Gaksital protect Kang To? That gets Kenji’s mind rolling and he’s like, “Ah, that’s why he has risen so well in ranks.” Yeah, I’m sure it had nothing to do with his skill and ambition. But a villain seems dimwitted if he can’t even recognize that bit! Kenji looks practically stewing all the time! 😛
Anyway, elsewhere there is a meeting being held where Chief Kimura is presiding. They belong to the organization “Kishokai” and are nervous now-two of their members are dead while Gaksital still remains at large. Kimura says nothing while the others fret and his son comes in, reporting the events of the night. Dad tells son to do as he wants and once he’s gone, he finally addresses his fellows, telling them not to worry-they took thirty years to rise so far, how could they fall so easily?
Kang To is still looking around for Gaksital but finds nothing. Finally, he notices the gun in his hand and examines it closely. It is a high priced gun and of a particular make. That gives him pause but before he can well on it more, Kenji shows up with a battalion of officers and has Kang To arrested. When Kang To resists, he shoots the gun out of his hand and Kang To is taken back to station. And for once, Kenji is smirking.
(Ah, I just love the opening with Gaksital!)
In an interrogation room, Kenji proceeds to beat Kang To, first with his fists and then with a baton. Kang To screams at him, is he crazy? He’s a police officer but Kenji just smirks, asking how long he’d hoped to fool them all. When Kang To spits blood, he finally lets go and reads out his charges: Conspiring with Damsari and Gaksital. He says the three must be quite a trio. He muses Kang To could never actually catch Damsari. Kang To laughs at that-telling him if he was going to do a show, he should’ve done it properly! Gaksital attacked him with a gun-something the real Gaksital would never do and besides, the gun was specifically licensed to police officers. An angry Kenji proceeds to beat him again.
Dan gets a letter from her father-brought to her by the circus master Jo and chaos breaks in the circus when one of the women-the woman from the opening scene- claims her chamber pot has gone missing. No one believes it was actually stolen, until Sun Hwa is shown carrying the pot down a hall and brings it to Shunji. Seems she has a crush on him and ‘donates’ to his charity project. Hehe. Unfortunately, it’s only after she’s gone that Shunji notices there is something in the pot and opening it, finds Dan’s knife. He recognizes it immediately. He’d seen Dan with it countless times.
Dan rereads her father’s letter and smiles until she realizes her knife is missing. Sun Hwa walks in and Dan asks if she saw it. Watching Dan panic, she offers to buy her a newer and better one. She runs out just as Shunji is driving towards them, looking for Sun Hwa. Dan gives chase when Sun Hwa rides away with Shunji but she shouts after her, “Give my knife back! If I have it we can meet! I need it to find the young master!” Those words bring Shunji to an immediate stop and he turns back to look at Dan.
A flashback to when he was young shows us his nanny had been ill and his brother had thrown out her luggage. A worried Shunji races her to the hospital immediately where he met Dan. There, her name was Esther. Shunji overhears Esther begging the doctor to save his nanny’s life, offering to work her entire life to repay him but he refuses. Shunji thanks her for saving his nanny but she tells him to wake up-if she’s left like this, she might die, they need money for the surgery. She tells him to stop crying and find a way for her to live. Hence Shunji had sneaked into his father’s room and stolen his samurai sword, selling it for the money needed for the surgery. While Esther nurses Nanny back to health, Shunji’s father bursts into the hospital room, beating him up. Next, he’s the one in a hospital bed with stitches and a cast, where she had spent time nursing him back.
In present day, he asks Dan why she didn’t go to America with the doctor and Dan says its because there is a person she must definitely meet. He guesses it’s the person who gave her the knife-he noticed from the way she always clutched it close to her. When he asks who it is though, he gets no response. Meanwhile, Kang To is being whipped while Kenji watches on.
At home, Mom and Kang San prepare for Dad’s memorial and mom sighs, Kang To forgot the day. Kang San offers to find him and bring him-he’d be at Shunji’s place. He promises to bring him so Dad can see Kang To too. Then he runs off happily, telling mom he’ll be back soon. Shunji meanwhile, dresses up to go to the circus when Kang San wades in, looking for Kang To. Shunji muses he must be at the hospital and Kang San worries, he should bring little brother home with him today-it’s their father’s memorial and mum’s waiting for him. Shunji curses at Kang To for forgetting the day and promises to go find Kang To and bring him home.
Watching Shunji dressed up, Kang San asks, “You look pretty. Are you going to meet a girl? That girl… is her butt big?” Shunji tells him to hurry home and Kang San says, “I miss uri Kang To a lot! I didn’t see him yesterday and before that either… But… that girl… is her chest big too?” Shunji laughs as he escorts Kang San out. Kang To meanwhile, lies in a jail cell, beaten and weak. His partner Abe comes up and Kang To scrambles to talk to him, asking him to release him. Abe stands up for him when Kenji’s sidekick walks up and Kenji’s sidekick starts beating Abe up. Kang To screams at him to stop and watches his partner being dragged away.
Shunji heads out on his cycle with a bouquet of flowers and reaches the police station just as Abe is thrown out. He asks what is going on. Inside, Kang To sits in his cell, quiet and contemplative. Kenji reads him his charges from the other end, smirking but Kang To simply smiles in return. He asks if he should show Kenji something interesting. He gets up in Kenji’s face, asking what close relation the judge and Kimura had that they wore the same clothes and even had a picture taken together, putting his hand in his pocket as if holding the picture.
Kenji shouts at his minion to go in and get the picture and Kang To mocks him-is he afraid to come and get it himself? That gets Kenji riled up who heads inside, puts a gun to Kang To’s face and asks for the picture. In a moment, Kang To beats up Kenji, taking the gun from him and holds him at its pointed end. By the time his minion returns with help, Kenji is a hostage. Shunji walks in to find armed soldiers heading up. Kang To moves everyone behind and they arrive at the main room. Soldiers and Shunji arrive right behind.
Shunji stands between his hostage brother, Kang To and the soldiers, introducing himself and asking them to lower their arms. Kang To balks when he asks the same of him, telling him this is the only way to clear his name. When one of the soldiers tries to shoot Kang To, Shunji helps him deflect the bullet by hitting the soldier. Kang To escapes by jumping off the window. It’s the second story! When Kenji tries to shoot him from the window, Shunji fights off his brother. Once Kang To’s gone, Kenji punches his brother. Shunji insists Kang To is a patriot and asks if dad knows what Kenji is doing but then adds himself, “Of course, you would never act without his orders. Because you are Father’s puppet!”
Kenji calls up Dad and tells him Kang To escaped with Shunji’s help. While Shunji stares in shock, Kenji asks Dad what to do with Kang To and holds out the receiver so Shunji can hear the answer, “Kill him.” He sends his men to catch and kill Kang To and puts Shunji in cuffs for helping him escape. Dad meanwhile, meets Byung Joon who worries that their organization might not be so secret after all. He names a man Lee Sun but that was thirteen years ago and Kimura points out that Justice Choi killed Lee Sun. Flashback shows the encounter in which Lee Sun had been killed. Byung Joon points out-what if someone survived that and knows of them?
At Kang To’s house, someone leaps onto the roof as his mother sets up the memorial table. As his mother steps away for a while, the man leaps down and bows down on the ground, paying respect to dead dad. The man’s name is Baek Gun. By the time mom returns, he is gone. Police chief Kono gets a call from Kimura saying Kang To is in cahoots with Gaksital and they have garnered proof. Kono fumes as Kimura tells him they’ll present the evidence tomorrow morning. Have you forgotten your men are out to kill him? Or is that part of the package? There’s not much for Kono to do and Kimura smirks at that too, but as soon as Kono puts the phone down, Kang To bursts in, bloodied and panting. Later, Kimura walks up to Kono’s office and braces himself before going in where Kenji and Kang To are both present-Kang To back in his uniform.
Kono laughs as he studies the evidence, finally asking, is that it? Kimura on the other hand challenges Kang To for being patriotic to a nation that made his brother that way. Kang To lays it out-it wasn’t Gaksital who attacked him citing the police gun and Kimura announces they have already caught the suspect and bring him in. He claims to have attacked Kang To because of personal differences but testifies that he saw it with his own eyes-the real Gaksital saved Kang To. When Kimura relates that he put his own son in jail for aiding Kang To’s escape, Kono laughs “Do you have a son like that? Must be fun. I’d like to meet him.”
Shunji is called out and Kono asks why he helped Kang To. After a glance at his father and brother he says Kang To is someone who is called a traitor and turncoat by his own people because of his stark loyalty to this regime. How can a person like that be in cahoots with Gaksital? “If Lee Kang To were to be killed by the national police simply because he is of Joseon descent, who would be loyal to such a government from that point on?” Kenji sneers at his response while Kono claps, saying it’s a surprise Kimura has such a respectable son. Tsk, tsk!
Kono says he’ll simply let Gaksital’s capture speak for itself. Kang To says he’ll use whatever means necessary to capture Gaksital and Kono allows it. Next, posters of Dan are posted all around the city. One woman, named Gye Soon sees the flyers, her eyes widening at the reward and recognizes Mok Dan. Dan meanwhile is convincing Sun hwa she has no relationship with Shunji and swears to it. Sun Hwa asks her if she’s never actually seen Gaksital’s face. Dan tells her he always just leaves her after he saved her. Kang To meanwhile has spread the posters hoping to catch Dan. He muses the man who saved her twice will appear again to save her if they use her as bait. Dan thinks back to all her encounters with Gaksital and smiles to herself. Gye Soon calls up Kang To.
He heads over to the dorms where Dan is staying. Dong Nyun tries to mislead him but he spots Dan and although she tries to run, jumping out the window and hopping roof to roof, jumping onto the ground. As she gets up, guns cock at her from every side. Kang To smirks to have caught her. Shunji meanwhile, drinks to himself, brooding over Kenji’s words.
At the police station, Dan is bloodied and tortured when Kang To walks in. She refuses to speak of either Gaksital and Damsari. Kang To says its not an issue-Gaksital won’t sit still since she’s here, he’ll definitely come for her. Dan realizes the true deal-she’s being used as bait and spits in his face again, shooting daggers at him. He smirks for a minute before grabbing her throat and leaning forward. “Why? Are you afraid? Because Gaksital might get caught? Are you two in love?” he asks her, his voice menacing and mean but somehow trembling. Noting her reaction, he smirks, “Bingo!” His men carry her out and he orders Abe to prepare well.
Walking her as a prisoner through town, he takes her to the town square, snipers on the buildings nearby, speaking out her crimes in a loud voice for all to hear. Kang San appears in the crowd. Looking at the distraction, he heads back. Within moments, Gaksital comes on a rooftop, hitting the sniper and from there, throwing darts at the others. Just as Kang To orders his men to get ready to shoot her, he looks up, noticing his snipers are missing. One of them comes tumbling down the roof. Before he can react, Gaksital jumps down and they all run after him. Abe covers Dan while the others hurry to catch Gaksital. As the police chase him, Gaksital hides behind a wall.
While the soldiers go aside to find Gaksital, he appears from behind, taking Dan and driving away. Kang To gives chase but Gaksital gets away and Kang To ends up shouting in frustration. Gaksital unties Dan but this time, she stops him from leaving by thanking him and asking why he’s always helping her. When he still turns to go, she takes his arm and tells him her name and asks for his. He says nothing and pulls his arm away yet his fingers linger, touching hers for a moment before he rides away, arriving at a tree.
Kang To gets ripped for allowing Gaksital to escape while Kimura and son watch. This time, even Kono asks if he isn’t in cahoots with Gaksital. Kang To denies it, asking for one more chance, saying he will definitely catch Gaksital by his own hand.
Gaksital removes the mask from his face… It’s Kang San with a solemn expression.
It truly gets better and better! The most refreshing thing about Gaksital is that it isn’t the same tortured hero story where our hero may be on the bad side but is a softie who can’t stand violence and who wants to do well by all! Here, out hero cares nothing about being the hero in everyone’s eyes. There’s no majority he needs to feel for, no greater good cause he believes in-his own world has been thrown into chaos in the name of greater good-he’s lost his father and almost lost his brother to the nationalist movement. It’s not saying you shouldn’t be patriotic and serve your country-that’s like one of the natural emotions a person can have, patriotism and nationalism since they both correspond to freedom but ever man reacts differently to sorrow and suffering. While some may use that to make sure they strive down the same path in a harder fashion so as to not incur the same loss and tragedy, others, like Kang To may be hardened and choose to take the other way. Same is for him and Joseon. He can’t serve a country or a people he feels no connection to or which does not even give him the basic necessity for survival even though his father and brother laid their all for it. And hence he serves Imperialism since it gives him the chance to rise higher and beyond what he may have gotten in Joseon.And once he does begin to change his tune and move to serve Joseon, it would be a good change to witness-how a faithless man can start believing in his country, in his fellow men and see beyond realism into ideology.
And, he’s someone who goes to any and every length to get what he wants as long as he thinks its right. For example, Dan’s capture and torture which was meant to capture Gaksital. He is the man who cares naught for others pains. Let’s see how he wakes to realize others pains matter as much as his own. And how he will find out Gaksital’s true identity and realize the truth behind his own brother’s dimwitted facade. Today, all that matters to him is family and for family he will do anything and everything so what will happen and how will he change when he realizes the person he pursues as the enemy is the same person he is willing to go any lengths for. This drama raises all those questions with expert subtlety and it will be a treat to watch their answers unfold.
As for Kang San and Dan-She loves her ‘Young Master’ and hates Kang To and it will be interesting to see how she reacts when she relates the two? From the extended trailer, I think it would be safe to assume Kang To will figure her identity out first but what emotions will that give rise to? Will it bring back his old persona-the person who had been kind to her and promised to find her or the man who simply cares naught and will hence ignore it? When Kang To undertakes the Gaksital persona, I’m sure he’ll atone well and enough for his sins at present, but it is refreshing to see this anti-hero side of his since it makes his transformation even more epic and meaningful!
Posted on June 2, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged bridal mask, bridal mask recaps, diary, Drama, entertainment, Esther, friends, Gaksital, Kang, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, recaps, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.