Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 4 Recap

Damn, it just gets more and more compelling and nail biting with lots and lots of heartbreak with each episode! The curtain opens a little more on Gaksital aka Kang San, we witness the family love that exists beneath all the harsh words and more of Kang To as the cold wall around him starts to tear down. He looks ever more human in this episode! In this instance, I love that its because of Mok Dan-his first love. More on it in the comments. Onto the recap!

Episode 2 Recap:

Gaksital intercedes and comes in the way of the dagger meant for Kang To. Assassin reaches for the gun but Kang To fires at 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?”

Just as he’s about to take off the mask, there is movement behind him and he crumples, unconscious. The man behind him is Baek Gun who then helps Gaksital aka Kang San get away. He calls him, “Young Master” too. When Abe and the other soldiers arrive, Kang To is on the ground, unconscious. Baek Gun tends to Kang San’s wounds and asks him to tell Kang To the truth but Kang San disagrees. “If I tell him the truth, do you think Kang To will come to my side? If he knows I’m Gaksital, he will definitely catch me and abandon me!” Gosh, that breaks my heart! However cold hearted Kang To is, he won’t turn over his only brother. Yes, he’s relentless in Gaksital’s pursuit, but his loyalty to his family has always been steady and that is the reason he’s done everything. Why don’t you see beneath all the coldness Kang To exhibits-understand him, without the whole Japanese persona and just the man that he is! However cruel to the world-he’d cross oceans to protect his own!

Baek Gun asks him to still consider it but Kang San is opposed to the idea. He thinks of Kang To turning him in as the foregone conclusion and says he doesn’t want to put their mother through the heartbreak of watching one son turn against the other. He also adds: “He’d just be in danger.” Kang San remembers his own torture at the hands of the Japanese and how he had adopted the crazy persona to save himself from it but been plagued by guilt for doing so and yet Baek Gun had come at the right time and saved him from all that, giving him the chance and reason to fight and avenge his father’s death-aiding the independence movement.

Turns out, the Kisokai men had deliberately set up Lee Sun. There were originally seven members who had paired with Lee Sun and Baek Gun, assuring them support in the extraction of King of Joseon, Emperor Gojong from palace confinement. But when they’d arrived, he’d already been dead and Lee Sun and Baek Gun had realized they had been set up. All members who have already died and In the present, as the others worry about not killing Lee Sun that very night-giving rise to Gaksital and the revenge but Kimura snaps at them not to worry and that Kishokai will protect them. Kenji breaks the meeting by coming and telling dad Kono wants to see him. Dad’s like-at this time of the night and Kenji drops the bomb-Sasaki is dead.

Kono takes Kimura to task in the presence of Kenji and Kang To. How could a locked up prisoner escape without anyone’s knowledge and try to kill Kang To again? Kono asks the million dollar question, what connection does Kimura have with the dead men and Gaksital. Kimura gives no answer so Kono tells Kang To to definitely catch Gaksital and that Kimura and Kenji can no longer interfere with his investigation.

At the club, Kang To is enjoying with his friends but his mind is plagued by why Gaksital would step in to save him. He dismisses the thoughts from his mind by singing, except his thoughts are still drawn back to the scene from earlier tonight and he pauses mid song. He pushes the mike aside with a scowl-nothing is making sense to him right now and without a second thought, he heads out immediately. His friend asks what’s wrong.

“If they are Joseon people, from 3-year olds to 80-year olds, you know they all want to kill me, right? But when I was in danger, someone risked his life to save me. Who would that be?”

His friend is like, ‘If it’s not family, why would anyone save you?’ but that clicks in Kang To’s mind and before his friend can say more, he drives off into the night with an urgency.

At home, Kang San is wrapping up all clothes and heading to put them away when Kang To walks in and although Kang San takes on his dimwitted persona, Kang To knows sees the bloodied clothes and stunned, speaks up, “It was you? It was Hyung?” He tries to remove his brother’s trousers to see the wound on his leg but his brother calls out for his mother whose arrival saves him from being discovered.

Kang San then pretends to go into a fit, screaming “Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!” and his mother sends Kang To away, screaming that he’s the reason Kang San always gets beat up by people. Kang To sees the white clothes before he leaves, albeit with a heavy heart- now realizing his hyung also has to take blame for everything he does.

Ueno Rie is travelling by train when a reporter on the train tries to flirt with her. Except she’s already seen him manhandling one of the waiters and silently accepts his offer to play a game of cards. She wins and tells him he must keep his promise. From the back, a man in black watches and he is with Ueno. The man who loses, who manhandled the waiter is forced to give up his suit, which Ueno gives to the waiter. The waiter declines-how could he dare, but Ueno tells him its supposedly a suit worth more than his life so doesn’t he want to wear it? Once Ueno leaves, the man takes the suit back from the waiter and creates a scene outside on the platform were Kenji and his sidekick are there to pick up Ueno.

Except, they do not recognize her and fueled by the reporter arrest Ueno. Ueno refuses to speak at the police station and Kenji, idiot that he is, embarrasses her even further by opening her suitcase in front of everyone, making her belongings fall out. She stops her right hand man from going after Kenji but he gets aggravated at the end when Kenji discovers a musical score with Ueno’s picture on it, goading her to sing, and moves to interfere just as Kimura walks down the stairs, calling out to Kenji to straighten. When he reaches down, he punches Kenji (ah, again), tells him to introduce himself to Ueno’s daughter and tells everyone to get out. Kenji bows as Ueno walks up to his father and slaps him, then steps on Kenji’s hand with her heel, breaking his bones. (Now Yaaaayy!) Then she walks out, calmly as you may please but not before telling Kimura: “I will tell Father that your welcome was outstanding.” As she’s exiting, Kang To is going in and she turns back to look at him while he doesn’t notice her. Her underling also notices her interest.

Inside, Kang To gets the news that his team has been reassigned as a protection duty for some VIP and he fumes-he needs every man he can get on capturing Gaksital. When he takes it up in front of Kenji, the latter sticks a gun in his face. Kang To just laughs at that, walking straight up to the barrel, his forehead touching it. “The thing about Joseon barley is, the more you step on it, the better it grows.” He walks out on a crazed and angry Kenji.

Dan walks the streets dressed as a man to avoid being spotted and recognized. She heads back to the hotel where she stayed, hoping to retrieve her dagger. The manager is asleep on his desk. Kang To drives around town in a hurry. He finally ends up outside the dorm, looking around, as if deciding where to go. He’s about to turn away and leave when he sees the flash of light inside and barges in. Dan hears him coming and heads to her room, reaching for her dagger. He silently surveys the first floor, looking into all the rooms. Dan heads to the window to try and make her exit.

She bars the door and lifts the window but it’s stuck and the sound alerts Kang To. He tries the door but its locked so kicks it down and catches her just as she’s about to jump out the window. She tries to use her dagger against him but he disarms her with one move and holding her against the wall, turns on the light. Hehe, I just knew he was gonna say Bingo. He smirks ‘Bingo’ at seeing her and removes her fake moustache and cap, telling her he was sure she would come back here. He asks her again where Gaksital and she tells him she doesn’t know. The only reason she came was to get the knife.

Kang To laughs at that, holding up the dagger-“You came here for this? Don’t joke-“ but he cuts off his words as soon as his eyes widen at the sight of the dagger in his own hand. He looks up to see her, asking, “Why?” and completes the thought in his head, “is this with you? I gave it to Boon Yi.” He looks at her in shock before removing her hair on the right side of her face to check a mark on her ear.

Seeing the mark there, he draws back in stunned shock, unable to process it. She shoves him aside and he falls to the floor, the dagger falling from his hand. Dan picks it up and makes her exit through the window. Kang To sits on the floor, tears filling his eyes as he flashes back to the moment he had first met Boon Yi/Dan.

They were travelling in the snow when Dan had come in front of their procession in the road asking for help. At that time, both he and Kang San had different names. His father had gotten down to check up on her mother who was sitting still by a tree. He checks her pulse but she is dead. Dan can’t believe it and rushes to her side, entreating her mother to wake up so they can go and find dad. Watching the scene unfold, Kang To rushes forward to his father and asks for permission to take Dan along. That night, as he lit a lantern, Dan suffered from a nightmare and kept calling out ‘mother’. He tends to her and notices her birthmark. From there on, they become good friends, enjoying together and he always takes care of her while she always referred to him as “Young Master!”

The first time she sees his dagger, he takes it back from her hand and tells her it’s the dagger his father specially made for him so he won’t let it out of his sight ever. She’s like-what use is a dagger, you should know how to fight and Kang To proudly tells her his hyung taught him Taekwondo and rushes to demonstrate it against a tree. She smiles at him from behind. Gosh, these two were so happy. As they are travelling, he asks mum to promise they’ll find Dan’s father so that they can live together then. Mum agrees and Dan and Kang To do a pinky promise to live together. At the very moment, their entourage is ambushed.

Their carriage falls on its side while the fight ensues outside. Kang San opens the carriage door and pulls them all out as his father fights on in the distance. Kang To and Dan run away together while Kang San takes mom and runs. Much later, when they are searching for Kang To and Dan, he gives her the dagger and tells her she must live through this. He promises to meet again and asks her to keep the dagger on him, he’ll definitely find her and hugs her one last time as they both cry before running off in the opposite direction and drawing the men away from Dan. He finally stumbles and the bad guy is about to strike him down when his brother strikes him down from behind.

He and his brother are happy to find each other and see mom in the distance. As Kang To turns around to look for Boon and calls her  name, he sees her staring at him as another bad guy approaches her and readies his sword to strike. Not having the heart to watch her die, Kang To closes his eyes as he cries and looks away. As he sits in the dorm now, he remembers all his encounters with the grown up Dan and how he’d treated her and almost had her killed. He whispers as he trembles, “You… You were Boon Yi?”

At the circus, everyone is a frenzy until Dan runs back in. She tells them she saw Kang To in the dorm. The circus master tells her he already got a call from the dorm manager and tells the others he will take care of Kang To since they can’t run away or avoid him forever as he rejects the people’s advice to move away from here for a while. Outside, Gye Sook eavesdrops from outside. Everyone tells the circus master he cannot do it alone and they will all help him.

Shunji sits in the club, brooding and drinking over Dan’s words about how he can be friends with Kang To when Kang To walks up and takes the drink from him, chugging it down. Thereon, he proceeds to drink even as he laughs at himself and turns to Shinji: “The girl I have to kill… the girl I have to capture and use as bait to get Gaksital… What if she were your first love?” He asks Shunji what he would do if he were in his stead. It’s stated hypothetically, but both Kang To and Shunji know Kang To is referring to himself and calling Dan his first love.

He goes on to angrily state “I’m still going to kill her. If it’s to lure Gakistal, I can rip some little bitch to shreds and grind her bones to spread on every mountain, along the entire length and breath of this land!”

Shunji angers up as he hears Kang To’s confession, staring at him as if he were mad. Kang To says he can do it; after all, he’s Kang To, the man who can do anything to achieve his goals. Shunji stands at his words, shocked by Kang To’s coldness. He punches him in the face before walking away. Kang To lies there on the ground, his tears and his laughter mixed with pain.

Kang San stares at their family portrait, calling Kang To’s name as he cries a tear and his mother comes in. He turns to her, his dimwitted self and mom worries about Kang To, how he’s living. Kang San tells her not to worry. Kang To walks up to the house outside, hesitating to go in and finally turns back.

He’s stopped in his tracks by his mother’s voice who is praying inside, for Kang San and Kang To. His eyes tear up as he sees her praying, pain etched over his face. Inside, Kang San lies awake until he hears the door open and then pretends to be asleep. It’s Kang To.

Kang To sits by hyung, asking “Hyung! Did it hurt a lot? If people hit you, tell me. Whoever it is, I’ll kill him.” Kang San pretends to turn over in his sleep and Kang To lays down behind him. He recounts the day dad died and they went running. He had made a promise to Boon that he’d find her, no matter what, as long as she survived. “I thought she died that day. But she’s alive. What do I do? I have to kill her.”

Kang San opens his eyes as Kang To continues: he doesn’t want to live like this, he wants to work a job that makes Mom happy. But Hyung doesn’t know—how hard he worked at jobs that paid nothing so that he could gather money for hyung’s tuiton, hoping once hyung was finished he would turn the situation of the house around. Kang San’s tears fall but he doesn’t let out a sound.

Kang To: “Why does a bastard with no money, no backing, and no learning have to pledge loyalty to those bastards to eat and live in this world?” He can’t think of any way better than this and begs his hyung to say something, to tell him anything. Kang San still feigns sleep as Kang To lays there, clutching his hyung’s back and cries his heart out. Kang San’s hand tightens on his blanket. Gosh, I just love this scene.

In the morning, Kang San brings in a fish which Kang To likes and tells mom Kang To has come and asks her to make it for him-he loves it, doesn’t he? Kang To wakes up from a distubed sleep and Kang San walks in dragging him off to eat even though Kang To tells him he should go to work.

He sits down to eat and mom tells him Kang San brought the fish himself since he likes it. Slowly but silently, mom shoves her bowl of soup towards him when she sees he has finished his own. Kang San cuts up fish and puts it in Kang To’s bowl, watching him with a smile as he eats and giving him his own bowl of soup too. Kang To even feeds Kang San a spoon himself.

Meanwhile, the circus and its people don their masks and costumes with a serious disposition, as if heading out to war. Kang San sees Kang To off with a smile and Kang To smiles at his brother as he waves back at him before leaving.

As he’s walking away, a dagger flies at him, barely missing and having been thrown by a woman with a mask, wearing a hanbok. Gaksital, taking out his gun, follows the person to run into a circus show ahead where another masked person from the roof throws a dart at him, disarming him.

As the circus plays out, a person heads at him with a dagger but he disarms him/her just as another person dives at him with a dagger. Without thinking, he reaches for his gun and fires. The person falls onto the ground as everyone else scrambles away.

His eyes catch sight of the knife the person he shot dropped. As he picks it up, his eyes widen. Turning to the injured person, he quickly removes the mask to see it is indeed Dan under the mask.

She’s unconscious and the bullet hit her in the chest. He stares at her wide eyed before cradling her to his chest, eyes wide, as if trying to hold onto her while she slips away, a tortured expression on his face.



This just gets better and better! After the King 2 Hearts in the last run, this is becoming my favorite drama in this lineup!

First of all, it really hurt to hear Kang San’s view of Kang To and what his supposed reaction would be if he ever found out Kang San was Gaksital. Kang San should have more faith in his brother but I can see where his doubt is coming from. Kang To has spent much time in the service of the Japanese now and he hates freedom fighters-albeit the reason for it all is his own family situation yet Kang San has seen Kang To turn from the caring and idolizing younger boy to a cold hearted and rough man. So now Kang San is of the view that his brother has truly embraced the other side and even if he were to help Gaksital/Kang San, he would only be in more danger. Yet the dangers this arrangement of brother pitted against brother is far worse in my opinion!

And the scene where he comes and cries on his brother’s shoulder-it is truly heartbreaking (I’ve watched and rewatched it over a dozen times!) It’s a nice symbolism of how fragile Kang To really is and how much he hates who he has become yet has no choice but to be that person. And him coming to hyung, lying at his back is as if he is looking at his hyung’s shadow-the man his hyung once was and asking for advice, for a scolding, for any way out of this situation where he wouldn’t have to be any worse than he is now; it’s just heartbreaking. The way he cries into hyung’s shoulder, sobbing and expressions twisted in pain, it was just too sad. There is no one he can go to, no way he can turn; the one person he idolized and looked up to is no longer there-his hyung.

And I love the first love storyline between him and Dan. Why? Because it is so believable and just the perfect catalyst for Kang To. The man that he is now would never be able to sympathize or feel for anyone but Dan reminds him of what he once was, the feelings he once felt and the heart he once possessed. For him, all that had ever mattered was family and BoonYi/Dan. When he thought she was dead, hyung and mom were all he had left. Now that he knows she’s alive and remembers all the bad things he’s done to her-caught her father and almost sent him to death, tortured her so he could capture Gaksital and almost killed her, his long buried conscience is resurfacing and the cold wall he’d built, not caring for anyone’s suffering is slowly but surely crumbling! It’s his past-when he was truly happy and didn’t have so much to worry about that is beginning to haunt him as well as his feelings for Dan-the one’s he’d buried when he’d thought her dead. Now that his heart is feeling for her again, his outburst at Shunji is more like his way of assuring himself he can still hurt her even though he knows it would simply kill him all over again. His expressions as he lies on the ground after Shunji hits him and as he confides in his brother, begging him to tell him, show him any other way are more telling than any words he has said. And the way he holds her close at the end shows how much it  pains him to go through with what he said he could easily do. Dan is the first catalyst that is bringing him back to being humane. He is not as cold hearted as he shows the world. Gaksital’s death, which I suspect is in next week will be the overall turning point.

WARNING: SPECULATION AHEAD: I have this nagging fear that even Gaksital’s death would be heartbreak for us in more ways than one. Probably (I HOPE IT DOESNT HAPPEN) but probably, Kang To will be the one who shoots Gaksital or is the reason for him to die. Gosh, I so hope not! 😦


About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on June 9, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Oh dear!!!! I’m really excited with this drama. Kang To broke my heart in this episode. I’m afraid/eager of what is going to happen next. Excellent recap!!!!

    • Kang To won me over in this episode with the scene with his brother and the end! He’s never seemed more vulnerable than he did in the last scene! I so can’t wait for more, hehe! ^^

  2. This Ueno lady is suspicious, (yeah, like nobody knew) but the way she looked at Kang To, was she recognizing him or was she checking him out (if its latter, lady get in line lol) and yes the slap to Taro’s face and the foot on Kenji’s hand = me like it very much hehehe.
    The heartbreaking scene between the brother’s -now where is that glue I want to put the pieces of my heart together- sniff sniff.
    Ah! more angst is to come.

    • Glue your heart with UHU, its bound to break more in the future! 😦 I cant say if she recognizes him or not but in the preview, she’s speaking ‘Lee Kang To, Lee Kang To- Is this fate?’ Either way, I’m interested in seeing her hereon too!! ^^

  3. Does recapping this really enrich the experience like javabeans said? I’m curious on what you think. We have similar sentiments on this episode. I actually wrote a post about it on my blog.

    (Any one reading beware of spoilers) Anyway, about your speculations I don’t think Kang To will shoot Kang San. He more or less knows it’s his brother already. Assuming Bridal Mask’s place out of guilt won’t make him a good replacement. I know it’s fueled by revenge because of the whole truth, which includes his father’s murder. By only understanding the intention of the revolutionists will you have a reason to fight.

    • Ummm, I dont know what javabeans has said but personally I dont think the experience is enhanced by recapping… Action n the whole sequence of events and all just has its own spirit while being watched which is quite hard to reproduce in words… However, recapping makes for better understanding and insight on the whole thing… So, theres pros and cons either way for it all! 😉

      Lets see what happens n causes Kang Sans death but even if Kang To is responsible, he wont take up Gaksital out of guilt. Its not in his blood to be driven by conscience-as shown by the fact that he knows its Dan and yet steels himself to pursue the matter. Kang Sans death will give him cause to pursue n understand why he was Gaksital and what drove him to it. He’ll understand that and then take up the persona, however it happens! 🙂

  4. Thanks for recap! Excellent episode all round! So much revelations .. about the brothers, their past etc. Both brothers are on the opposite sides from each other, but yet, the motivation for each brother was the same…. it was a sacrifice for the good of the family. Under the circumstances that they found themselves in, they felt they had no choice but to assume their current roles. So many heart-breaking scenes in this episode! And the horror on his face when he discovered that he actually shot Dan (unintentionally fulfilling what he said in drunken stupor)!

    I am intrigued by Ueno… I know she has been sent to handle Gaksital, so we should not like her. But she is just so cool! I loved how she slapped Kimura and stomped on Kenji’s fingers…lol! The sadist in me!

    Akiko, I read somewhere (before the drama started) that Kang San was killed by the Japanese…. so hopefully that synopsis is true and it will not be Kang To.

    • Hehe, yeah, Ueno cuts them down well! She’ll be a nice touch to the drama and Im looking forward to what she’ll be and how she’ll be a part of everything! 🙂

      I actually had this suspicion because of the end scene of the preview… That has me worried that it is probably Kang To’s fault somewhere in the line… If the drama wants to go cruel on Kang To, that would be the harshest way to go… 😦

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