Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 3 Recap
Here’s a little tidbit from the last episode! If you watch carefully, you will realize that in the close-ups shown of Gaksital when he’s distracting the officers before coming to rescue Dan, the man is not his older brother! When I was first watching the show, I was like-is that Gaksital not the real one and just a distraction? Similarly, the man in the first scene was also different. Is this deliberate or just a mix up?
Episode 2 Recap:
So Kang To begs for another chance and is granted one, although Kimura snickers at him and Kenji objects- Kang To is definitely with Gaksital. Dan tries to ask Gaksital’s name but he doesn’t respond and leaves. Kono reveals the photo to the Kimura duo who are left wide eyed at first but Kimura makes a veiled threat at Kono of the effect, I’m willing to go down but won’t go alone so are you willing to lose all? Kono disregards him at face but when he’s gone, Kono fumes and orders Kang To to definitely capture Gaksital and reveal Kono’s secret.
Kenji goes to see an inmate in prison-the same man who dressed up as Gaksital and attempted to kill Kang To before and tells him Kang To must definitely be killed this time, telling him he will assure his alibi and his alibi will be the whole police station as they will claim he never put a foot outside the prison cell. The guy sneers and asks Kenji how he wants to have Kang To killed. Kenji reports to Dad that if Kang To catches Gaksital, it’ll simply be two birds with one stone. If they both die like that, what can anyone do? He’s just about to say he won’t make any more mistakes when dad turns around-is he sending that idiot again-the one who failed?, calling Sasaki a fool incapable of the task: “Kono’s on to us!” He barks that Kono is a formidable foe, not to be dealt with so lightly. That’s all it takes Kenji to start shivering in his boots and dad continues his tirade. Kenji asks what they must do then. “Connect me with Tokyo headquarters.” Dad barks.
At the Kishokai meeting in Tokyo, a kind of proceeding is underway. A man, part of the club is begging for mercy from Ueno Hideki, the head. The man’s crime: he had reported that independence fighter Lee Sun’s family (Kang To’s family) had been killed years ago and now he begs forgiveness for his mistake. The leader raises his cup of alcohol and the rest follow suit as he tells the underling: “You have until the time we lower our cups to die honorably.” Kishokai will take care of the man’s family. Seppuku is the form of honorable death and the underling complies.
Ueno gets a call from Kimura and tells him to find Lee Sun’s descendants since Gaksital must be connected to him somehow. Kimura and the doctor had had a similar discussion in the last episode. He warns Kimura his life is on the line if the matter isn’t settled soon. Ueno then visits a woman who is prettily dressed-reminds me of a Geisha and tells her it is time for her to go “to that place you so wanted to go, Korea.”. She is Ueno Rie (She calls him Father but the way he holds her is definitely not right) and bows to him, promising to trample on “the land that violated me.”
Dan is in the forest but too weak and injured to even get anywhere. Before long, she simply collapses in the forest. Kang To tears the dorm upside down looking for Dan but misses seeing the dagger again this time. When he can’t find Dan, he asks for the other woman Dong Nyeo, who helped Dan last time. He asks the dorm manager to check the records when he can’t tell her who the woman was. But the record book is empty and Kang To imposes a three month ban on the operations, asking the manager to think hard and fast, maybe he’ll remember something. The manager, cowering and begging for mercy as if in fear, says naught.
Later, the circus master gets a call from the manager who tells him Dan hasn’t returned and Kang To doesn’t know of her affiliation to the Circus but he also can’t help them anymore. After the phone call, everyone learns the latest and curses at Kang To for not leaving them alone and apart from Sun Hwa and Dong Nyeo, no one even worries for Dan. Gye Soon is most loud in her voice against Dan and Dong Nyeo wonders if she was the one who alerted the authorities but Gye Soon denies it. They all decide to start looking for Dan as per the circus master’s command.
Meanwhile, night has fallen and it starts raining. Dan finally awakens and starts heading away again but still cannot walk fast and far without stumbling every two steps. She tells herself to be strong, muttering she’s Damsari’s daughter. She finally comes across Shinji’s school following the sound of music-someone is playing the piano and remembers Shunji telling her he teaches there. Stumbling, she approaches it as the piano’s melody continues. Shunji thinks back to Kenji’s words that he betrayed dad and brother by defending Kang To, even as he plays. Frustrated and dejected, he fists his hands and sits with his head in his hand when the door opens and Dan walks in. He calls her Esther but she collapses just as she barely says, “Please hide me.”
Shunji takes her back with him just as Kang To passes the street too but both do not see each other, too immersed in their own thoughts and worries. When Kang To gets back, Kenji confronts him about showing the picture to Kono. Kenji is his superior and it should have been reported to him first, telling Kang To he has messed with a sleeping lion. Kang To simply smirks in his face and Kenji, angry, clocks him with a fist.
Shunji tends to Dan at his place and she wakes, asking him where they are and requests water. She’s still pale and in pain and explains Kang To used her to try and capture Gaksital. He can’t believe it and tells her Kang To is his friend. She’s up in a jiffy, intending to leave and catches sight of Kang To’s uniform on the wall. He tells her not to leave and he’ll keep her safe but she’s like, how can he even be friends with a person like that? “Ah, I forgot. You’re not a person of Joseon. I forgot! The fact that you were Japanese, I forgot it.” She turns to leave but before she can go, Kang To’s voice sounds on the outside, “Shunji, hyung is back.” She turns back to him in fear.
When Kang To comes in, Shunji asks him not to be so hateful toward his father and brother and heads into the sleeping room where Dan is hiding in the closet. Inside, they discuss the topic of Dan as Shunji notices Dan’s clothes hanging out of the closet and sits in front of it, to try and distract Kang To. Kang To admits catching her would mean catching Gaksital-they both have some kind of close relation. Shunji tries to make excuses, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have a relationship or anything. Kang To tells him her dad is Damsari and catching her would mean catching Damsari and Gaksital-two birds with one stone. Dan watches Kang To from the shutters of the closet as he changes into his uniform. Finally, he realizes Shunji’s strange behavior and asks why he’s stuck to the closet like that, asking, “What? Have you hidden a woman in there?” Ah, if only you knew Kang To!
Shunji denies it but Kang To wants to check it for himself and opens it to see inside. The sight stops him in his tracks. Behind him, Shunji grimaces but surprised at the silence by Kang To, peeks over his shoulder and is stunned himself. Dan is sitting there alright, except, she’s her back to them and has taken off her shirt and let her hair loose, clutching a sheet upfront. In short-she gives the impression of a woman Shunji may have been having fun with before Kang To arrived. Kang To closes the doors without a thought and turns back to Shunji, grinning at him as he fans himself with his hat before leaving with a smile. Shunji sighs with relief once he’s gone. Outside, Kang To is leaving when he realizes he’s forgot something and almost turns back but decides against it, thinking not to disturb Shunji and his lady friend.
Inside, Shunji stands outside the closet for a while before Dan exits, dressed. She thanks him for his help and he wants to treat her to food but she wants to leave, even though it’s dangerous and she might be caught. He asks her if it’s because he’s Kang To’s friend and she turns on him, “Do you even know who that bastard is? It’s because of him that my father was caught, and because of him that Father was given the death penalty. Then he took a souvenir photo next to my father, laughing!” Shunji understands her sentiment and asks her to let him help her just this once. Cue to him driving her back on his cycle as she’s dressed in a Kimono, the bouquet of flowers still in front. Aww, I’d forgotten them! When the cycle stumbles on a rock, she inadvertently holds on to him tighter.
In the forest, Dong Nyeo, Nan Da and Sun Hwa are looking for Dan while the former two are doing nothing but fighting. Nan Da is fed up with the whole search and turns to go back. Just then, Shunji drives up with Dan. First to reach her is Nan Da, who claims he was so so so worried about her, hehe! Dan thanks them all for their help. Sun Hwa watches as Shunji watches Dan with a smile on his face. She drags the other two away with her, leaving Dan and Shunji to say their byes. Dan tells him she will stay here and wait for “Abuji too, and …” He knows she was about to say Young Master. She tells him not to worry about her and leaves. He watches her back as she walks away.
In the Korean market, Kang San is having fun with little kids and people are bustling about their own business. At the police station, Kang To addresses the soldiers, telling them this is the last chance to catch Gaksital and no matter what, they must catch him tonight. As they leave to catch him, a person in a car follows Kang To with Kenji’s minion and his assassin in the back. Kenji watches them leave. At the marketplace, Kang To runs with the children for a race when Kang To and his men arrive. He watches Kang To head to the market with a worried expression. As Kang To addresses the people, he watches from the sidelines, expression growing grim by the minute.
Kang To’s men thrash the market place, beat up the people in their search for Gaksital and Kang San watches it all with tears in his eyes. Later, Kang To kicks one of his men for dragging in an old man. None of them however, are Gaksital. Kang To takes the baton to the man who hurt his brother who curses at him. Kang San cuts in at the last minute, hanging onto Kang To to stop him from hurting the boy anymore, crying out that he’s not a bad person. Soldiers drag the man away and Kang San clings to Kang To, not allowing him to follow the guy as he curses Kang To.
Angered and fuming, Kang To starts beating up his own brother, shouting, ““Just die! Who needs a hyung like you?!” It’s almost as if he’s lost control and Kang San simply takes his beating, lying there on the ground even as his eyes tear up and he whispers, “I’m sorry”. His mother finally arrives at the scene and intervenes, asking how he could beat up his own brother. Kang To: “That stupid idiot is making me go crazy!”
Mom slaps him, and Kang To asks how she can still be so doting on such a son. Isn’t she sick of looking after him? Mom replies: “In this world where it’s so hard to hang on with a sane mind, he’s better off. With you going crazy, it’s a hundred times better to have lost his mind! No matter how hard you try, your roots are Korean.” He bites out that he’s Sato Hiroshi, the name given by the Japanese Empire and mom says they just ought to cut ties now since he can’t have a son like him.
The men drive away with the persons they have captured. Kang To’s latest adventure reaches the ears of his friends at the club. The politician whose wife asked the judge for his release is enjoying his time until his wife leaves to go to the hospital. One of Kang To’s friends is their son. Meanwhile, Kang To puts his plan to capture Gaksital into action. One by one, the men are tortured and he asks them who Gaksital is. The man who beat up his brother mocks him again. Kang San arrives outside calling out for Kang To until he hears the voices from the torture room and hears Kang To torturing the man. His face twists painfully again until Kenji sees him and he starts acting dimwitted again. Kenji orders his men to throw Kang San out. As the man is dragging Kang San out, Kang To exits the torture room. Although he sees his brother being dragged out, he looks away in annoyance. Kang San lies on the ground outside, the sound of the torture ringing in his ears, tearing at his conscience.
Two people bring their son to the hospital to have their son treated but the doctor refuses-the hospital is for Japanese only. When the politician’s wife arrives, the doctor ushers her inside to his office. Now it’s onto seducing the doctor for the politician’s wife. As they go at it inside, the window opens and a man dressed in white walks in. Calmly, he hits the woman in the back with two fingers, causing her to collapse at once. The doctor tries to run away, seeing its Gaksital but Gaksital catches him back and dialing a number, hands the phone to him. It rings at Kang To’s. The man gives the order to Kang To to let all the men he caught go. If he doesn’t, Gaksital will kill him. Kang To, realizing what’s happening, heads out immediately. Kenji watches them leave and signals his right hand man. He follows!
At a distance, soldiers quickly position themselves before they approach the hospital head on. They’ve brought the prisoners. Kang To makes the announcement to let the politician go or they will kill the men. Inside, the office is upturned and the politician’s wife is brought out in a wheelchair by the staff. The terms-let the men go, or Gaksital lets go of the doctor-literally. Yup, you heard it right! Except, he lets go of the doctor, from the roof, hehe! Kenji and Kang To order the release of the men. Before Kang To can address Gaksital, he lets go of the doctor, from the roof. Everyone shouts, expecting a death but a few feet from the ground, his fall breaks and he’s suspended in the air since he’s bound by a rope and can’t hit the ground. Go Gaksital!
Kang To follows as Gaksital runs away, snipers aiming and firing at him. One bullet hits Gaksital in the leg. Both Kang To and Gaksital end up in opposite corners of the same alleys. Gaksital runs away by climbing a roof. Kang To comes into the main street again and looks around. A sniper aims at him from the rooftop. It’s Kenji’s man.
Again, Gaksital saves Kang To in the nick of time and follows the assassin. Kang To runs after both of them. Assassin and Gaksital have a standoff where he literally beats the hell out of the guy before a gun is cocked at him. It’s Kang To behind him, who smirks, “Bingo. Nice to meet you, Gakistal!”
Kang To fires at the stick in Gaksital’s hand and a few more bullets right into the floor beneath and behind his feet. “You say you’re going to save the Korean people? You think you’re some kind of hero?! People like you, infested with patriotism, have to be eradicated.” Kang San entreats in his mind, “Kang To ya, it’s me. It’s Hyung!” Kang To advances on him, saying they have much to talk about, the killings and his connection to Kimura so he should come to the police station quietly. Before he can say anything else, assassin gets up, throwing his dagger towards Kang To.
Gaksital intercedes and comes in the way of the dagger. Assassin reaches for the gun but Kang To fires him in the head. He turns back to Gaksital in shock, “Did you just save me? Why would you? Why?” He cuts off mid sentence and straightens his gun at him again, frantically asking him who he is and to take off his mask. Gaksital, panting for breath and in pain doesn’t respond. Kang To walks forward and moves to yank the mask off Gaksital, shouting, “WHO ARE YOU?”
What an ending! Does he or does he not! This question is gonna be plaguing me all the way till tonight. Technically I know he won’t but the whole wait, and the question of how Gaksital is going to evade it is running through my mind, minute after minute!
Kang To appears so harsh and heartless but in little moments, we see the truth behind his coldness. He’s definitely bad ass but that is why he’s all the more human because that violence was never a part of him from the very beginning. He wasn’t someone who grew up as he is now-no, when he was younger, he was ideological and worshipped his brother, fresh faced and innocent. At that time, his father’s loss didn’t matter much since he had his brother. But now that his brother isn’t the same anymore, he is on his own and he can’t afford to be idealistic. Will it help his family? Will it help him? He sees the answer as no because he’s already put up with so much suffering he cannot bear to lose more to it! After all, it was idealism that killed his father and changed his brother. And now he finds it laughable and ironic that people still stand for that idealism when it has taken all away.
And his lash out at his brother and mother in this episode was cruel yet heartbreaking. He’s trying his best to find Gaksital, not knowing it will pit him against the only ones he has left-his brother. He’s pursuing it relentlessly, not caring for those in path or collateral damage but that’s all the more because he wants to achieve the end goal-heal his brother. It’s his belief that he’s doing it all for his brother when he doesn’t know that on the other end of the coin, it is his brother! To him, Gaksital is the way to find his brother (means to heal his brother to what he once was) yet the irony is that he doesn’t even realize his brother is Gaksital. Unintentionally, he has simply pitted himself against the one person he is trying to protect. And what hurts him above it all is that his own family does not understand his asperations or the reason he’s taking the so called wrong route! It’s heartbreaking already, but it will go beyond that when the truth does get out. And that one moment at the end when he’s asking Gaksital why he saved him, his eyes widen as if struck by an idea and he straightens his gun back up, as if he recognizes the face a little or has an inkling of who may be behind the mask. Putting the pieces together might not be that hard in the end either. He is Lee Kang To, the man hated by everyone on the Joseon end yet Gaksital is a Joseon and protecting Joseons. The only reason such a person would save him would be if he knew Kang To, and loved him.
One of the reasons I like Kang To’s character and portrayal is all the raw emotion and humane depth he shows. He is no noble hero nor does he care for anything beyond his own (him and family). Every time he lashes out at his mother or brother is in frustration because they do not realize his ambition and that everything he does is in fact, for them. Oh his methods are not right, nor are his views-pain to others for self comfort is not right but that is the whole beauty of it. He’s not a black n white character at one extreme or another. He’s like a character layered with so many shades of grey that at times, you love him and want him to succeed, yet at other times you hate him and ruthlessness just as much and wish for him to fail. I am especially anticipating the upcoming scene where he lies down behind his brother and cries, laying out his heart bare, asking his brother to respond. I will comment more on it when it airs! 😉
And here’s a present for Aye Unni and all other Joo Won fans out there! Awesome expressions throughout the episode! 😉