Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 7 Recap
Kang To’s world crashed down in the last episode and although he gets his revenge, it still leaves him in the middle of nowhere since he’s lost the one source of comfort and joy he had. He fights his own inner demons while the world tries to make sense of Gaksital and wonder if he is alive or not. Kang To gets a little glimpse of Gaksital-who, what, why and how, but cannot find the answers that satisfy him just yet. It’s the beginning of a new journey, plagued by guilt and remorse and he faces the fact that he is now truly left alone. Every episode gets better and better for Gaksital and you are left bleeding your heart out for more!
Episode 7 Recap:
Kang To sits by his brother’s grave after the funeral, staring at the mask. Crying, he turns to his brother’s grave and remembers the time his brother had saved him and the moment when he had shot him. It’s heartbreaking as he cries-how could hyung let his own brother kill him? He should have said something, should have done something. “How am I going to live now? How CAN I live now?” Turning back to the mask with hatred in his eyes, Kang To addresses hyung, “What is this? Was it that important? More than our family? Who appreciates it? Who appreciates it if HYUNG did THAT?” Baek Gun stands at a distance, tearing up at Kang To’s sorrow.
Kang To remembers his mother’s prayers, for him to live like a proper human and there and then, starts beating himself up for being such a bad child to her, finally taking his head in his hands as he cries. Then suddenly, as an idea forms in his mind, his eyes turn vengeful. Panting for breath as he tries to stop his tears, he grabs the mask and stick and rises.
At the police station, Kenji hears the good news and breathes a sigh of relief. But its shortlived bevause in moments, Gaksital – Kang To dressed as Gaksital, attacks. Mercilessly, Gaksital delivers blow after blow until Kenji is blue all over. Somewhere inside the police station, Dan opens her eyes in the interrogation room where she is tied up. Delivering the final blow to his neck, Gaksital snaps his bones. As Kenji spits blood and falls, Shunji walks in.
Taking in the scene, Shunji launches himself at Gaksital, vying for revenge on his brother’s blood. Kang To freezes at the sight of Shunji but fights back. Inside the interrogation room, lights begin dimming. The guard wonders what’s wrong just as a shout sounds from outside, “It’s Gaksital!” He gets up in a panic as Dan smiles. Escaping Shinji’s grasp, Kang To runs away. Shunji throws his sword at Kang To, missing by just a few inches. As Kang To turns back and both frenemies stare at each other, Shunji quizzes his brow, as if realizing Gaksital looks familiar. Kang To runs off and Shunji begins to give chase but is stopped momentarily by his brother’s dead eyes staring at him.
Grabbing Kenji’s gun, Shunji runs off after Gaksital just as troops run in, followed by Kimura. He stops in his tracks as the soldiers file out again. As he watches his son lying dead on the ground, Kimura’s cap falls from his hands. Oh, so you do feel sorrow, eh? He walks a few steps forward and with wide eyes, takes in Kenji’s bloody body.
Outside, Kang To gets away on a horse while Shunji preps a police vehicle to follow. Witnessing it all is Sun Hwa. Inside the interrogation room, the alarm sounds. As the guard heads outside, Dan trips him on her foot and then delivers a blow to his neck. He collapses and she uncuffs herself. Sun Hwa watches a new parade of soldiers take after Gaksital just as she spies Dan around the corner. Taking her hand, she leads her unni away.
In the forest, Gaksital rides away as Shunji follows and fires at him again and again. Poor horse is stretched to his limits! Just when Shunji gains up on Gaksital, he fires a shot which hits Kang To straight in the back. His horse gives way under him, throwing him forward and he goes tumbling down the cliff.
Shunji aims at the water from above to fire but he’s run out of bullets. In the water, Kang To goes deeper and deeper until his mask also finally peels off, his eyes closed. As the soldiers pile up beside Shunji and fire at the water, only the mask is shown as the bullets whizz by it.
Across a field, Dan and Sun Hwa make their getaway until Dan stops midway, turning to look back, as if watching for Gaksital. Kang To lies underwater as the bullets whizz by him and his mask. Sun Hwa drags Dan away. As Kang To sinks deeper, the screen cuts to black.
Until nightfall, soldiers search the embankments and the water for Gaksital’s body. Frustrated by no results is Shunji and he tells Koiso they have to definitely find Gaksital’s body. He decides to go searching in the water himself but Koiso tells him to call it a day today-if anything were to happen to him, Kimura will have his head. Shunji calms down at that but as the other soldiers peel away, he stares into the water.
A shot is shown of Gaksital’s mask hanging half above water. A hand reaches down and picks it up.
Shunji and Koiso race back to the headquarters where Abe is in a frenzy and tells Shunji his brother died before he could even be taken to the hospital. He also chooses that moment to reveal that Mok Dan has escaped. Shunji tells Koiso what is most important at this moment is catching Gaksital-they can use Dan later if other methods do not work well. Koiso asks him to talk to Kimura today as everyone else is scared. Shunji walks in to see Daddy Dearest playing golf. Shunji reports that they followed Gaksital to the cliff and shot him but were unable to find the body yet. Daddy is as nonchalant as ever.
As Shunji is about to leave, his father makes a phone call, telling the person on the other end that Kenji is dead and Shunji followed Gaksital and killed him. He says that’s the way it should be reported in the newspaper. Shunji balks-Gaksital’s death isn’t certain but his father cuts him off-Gaksital is someone who killed a Kimura and Shunji must be the one to take his life. Shunji puts Kenji’s gun on the table and tells Dad he’s the one who shot him and won’t take any further steps since he thinks Gaksital is dead. However, if he’s still alive, he will do anything it takes, working along with Kang To, to bring him to justice.
Shunji then goes to see Kenji’s body. For a few moments, he has to brace himself before approaching the bed and removing the sheet. Once he does, tears spring to his eyes and he cries as he shuts his brother’s eyes. He mumbles sorry again and again- “Even though I knew you were having a hard time with father, I called you a puppet-I’m sorry!” before breaking down and sobbing loud.
At a village house, Dan sits in the early morning, plagued by her memories of Gaksital. Taking her old dusty shoes, she runs off to the place Gaksital always dropped her off. Sun Hwa, worried for her, follows her. “If I came here, I thought I might be able to meet him!” Sun Hwa remembers Shunji chasing after Gaksital but at Dan’s worried expression, she stays silent and only says she saw Gaksital getting safely away. Dan is even more worried since Shunji promised to call her and tell her about Gaksital. That unnerves Sun Hwa and she heads back, unable to tell, yet unable to listen to more. Dan stands there, whispering, “Young Master!”
At that moment, Kang To is in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV and wakes up in pain and with a groggy vision. He catches sight of the Japanese flag on the wall before calling out for Abe. In his dizzy state, he tries to move around but cannot get outside the basic circle since he’s too groggy. Taking off the IV, he heads outside the room, trying to clear his vision. There, he sees doctors and Shunji rolling Kenji’s body away. Shunji approaches him, telling him Gaksital killed Kenji and asking what happened-how could the man Kang To shot still be so strong? Panting for breath and unable to stand any longer, Kang To collapses.
The news of Shunji killing Gaksital spreads like wildfire among the people and they worry over it while the Count sits at home with his Countess and laughs over it, doing a happy dance. Man, your yapping is annoying! Tamao watched as they both do a dance. Circus Master Jo wonders if the news is true and Sun Hwa lets slip that she saw Shunji chasing Gaksital. Jo thinks the news might be true. One of Shunji’s students is there and refuses to believe Gaksital is dead, rushing out. Sun Hwa follows him and Dan turns to Jo-does he think Gaksital is dead? He wants to believe its not true but Dan tells him it can’t be! If Gaksital were dead, they would have included his picture in the papers as well.
Rie is on the phone with Ueno and tells him there’s no proof Gaksital is dead, at least not without the body. He tells her they have to be completely sure of his death and see his corpse to know if he was related to the freedom fighter Lee Sun’s family. She has doubts about that since she says the latest body had no Kishokai sign drawn on it and it wasn’t even related to the Lee Sun case. Ueno tells her to be careful. After her call, she heads to the club and gives every lady a gift. Here, she appears cheery, naïve and dreamy eyed and tells the women there that she has decided to continue performing in Kyungsung instead of returning to Tokyo.
At Kenji’s funeral, Shunji and Dad sit while people file in to pay respects, even Kono comes. Kono expresses sorrow over his death but Kimura is too business minded that even Shunji stares at him in shock. Kono tells him there’s much debate over how a mere schoolteacher was able to corner the man the police never could and advises the corpse be found ASAP!
The police still continue searching the river for Gaksital’s body. From afar, Dan watches the proceedings. Finally, deciding to take matters into her own hands, she dives under again and again, searching around the river bed. Although she finds little else, she finds her dagger lying on the ground. As she picks it and surfaces again, she clutches it to her chest, remembering the moment Young/Kang To had given to her. That reinforces her belief that Gaksital is ‘Young Master’.
Kang To is plagued by nightmares-from his childhood to present day, when he was running away from the baddies after giving Dan the dagger, when he beat up his hyung, shot him, how he killed Kenji, shot Dan and seeing mom dead. He wakes up and is much clear minded this time, seeing the Japanese flag and the IV on his hand. As soon as the door opens, he pretends to be asleep again. Doctor Jo comes in and tsks tsks at him-‘the guy who lost Gaksital is like this while poor Kenji’. Haha, that was hilarious doctor! The other doctor relates that Kang To was brought in by someone who found him in the street and Shunji is the one who identified him. Abe comes in and cries by his bedside. He leaves right after the doctors, wanting to know what is wrong with Kang To and Kang To sits up behind him.
Shunji comes in to find his nursemaid crying as she pats Kenji’s photograph. He sits alone staring at his hyung’s picture later before leaving. On his way out, he hears sounds of crying coming from a room and slightly opens the door to see Dad crying over Kenji’s uniform. It stuns him.
Kang To is sitting in the same restaurant where the men planned to burn his house down. While he sits inside drinking and calls the shop lady, she ignores him, cursing at him and he looks around to see people standing outside the shop, looking at him and smirking. Leaving money for what he ate, he heads out and people steer clear of his way, except the person who burnt down his house. He stumbles as if afraid of being hit by Kang To but Kang To passes by without even noticing him. He walks the street alone, watching children make a train and remembers his brother playing with these kids.
As soon as the children see Kang To, they scramble and run away. Only one kid remains who tells Kang To he isn’t scared of him. “Our leader said you’re not a bad person. But your hyung-our leader, where is he?” Kang To watches him, tears running down his own cheek. Once the kid starts crying, his mother comes and whisks him away in fear. Kang To watches the whole street lined up, staring at him in hostility. Finally, the man who burnt his house picks up a stone and hurls it at Kang To.
That brings Kang To out of his reverie and he shouts out, “Who was it? Which bastard was it? Come out! Who put our house on fire? Come out! Who beat up my hyung?” That reminds him of the time he beat up his own brother right her and he’s stunned for a moment. The people start hurling stones, vegetables and eggs at him, one of the stones hitting him squarely in the head. As blood drips, he stands there, frozen.
Shunji drives through the street on his cycle remembering the two different sides of his father he has seen-playing golf calmly and crying over Kenji’s uniform. He’s brought out of his thoughts when people shout Kang To’s name. He hurries to see the rush, arriving only moments after the guards. Kang To stands there immobile. Shunji goes to his side and Kang To finally collapses. Shunji glares at the people before taking Kang To away.
He drives Kang To away on his bicycle but Kang To says he won’t go to the hospital, saying, “I’m fine. It doesn’t hurt.” Shunji stops his bicycle and addresses him-“What do you mean it doesn’t hurt? I know you’re crying! Do you think I don’t know?” Shunji lets out his pent up frustration and they both cry as he continues. He liked Kang San too, if only they’d caught Gaksital earlier, Kang San, Kenji and Kang To’s mum-his house, if only he were home, everything would have been okay!
He thought his father had no blood and no tears yet he heard his father sobbing. He wonders what he’s going to do if Gaksital is still alive. As he breaks down, Kang To whispers in voiceover, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry, Shunji!” and turns to cry in his shoulder.
That night, Kishokai celebrates while Kimura is the only one not laughing. The manager of the place cuts his brooding short by telling him Rie is outside. He goes out to meet her. She mutters things have come back to their rightful place so soon. She makes a veiled threat regarding a fake frame job of Gaksital and tells Kimura he ought to use this opportunity to teach a lesson against possessing stolen goods.
Simultaneously, soldiers descend upon the village under Abe and start beating up the people. Shunji reaches home and wakes up Kang To. Kang To doesn’t want to go in his house and heads away but Shunji stops him-he’s not thinking something stupid, is he? If he were to die too, what would Shunji do? “Those bastards made my family like that, turned me into a person like this, why the hell would I die?” he says with a slight undercurrent of vengeance. Shunji doesn’t notice the tone and agrees, he’s Lee Kang To. If Gaksital is still alive, Kang To must definitely catch him. Without another word, Kang To walks away.
He trudges to a small cottage and lighting a candle, sees the wall of evidence his brother hung up. One by one, he starts studying them as his brother’s last words ring in his mind. As he turns to leave, he notices the Gaksital armor on the floor. He picks up the mask. Outside, Baek Gun comes up and notices the light burning inside. As he’s about to go in, he sees Kang To walk out with the mask and stick. Kang To leaves without a word and in his wake, Baek Gun bows to him.
Kang To goes to his brother’s grave sometime before dawn and finds Gaksital’s horse feeding there.
In the morning, he stands at the very tree his brother once stood at, in full Gaksital armor and ties his mask. He looks upon the city with a somber expression just as his brother did. Turning, he mounts the horse and rides away.
One by one, Kang To is taking steps towards becoming Gaksital due to his plaguing guilt. For now, it is working as Kang To is viewing things differently-from the eyes of his brother. Although it is guilt driving him-the guilt for having killed his brother, the guilt for having not been there for hyung and mother, things are no longer simple for him. He’s lost his staunch loyalty towards the Japanese-the only reason he was with them was hyung and mum, but now that they are no longer there, he’s slowly opening up to what he’s always closeted before.
The most heartbreaking scene is when Kang To encounters the little boy and then when Shunji drives him away. In a fit of anger, Kang To did go all out and reclaim revenge for mum and in a way hyung too but now that the adrenaline of the moment has dimmed, he’s facing up to the consequences his actions have had-most of all towards Shunji-the best friend he had. While he doesn’t regret killing Kenji-I wouldn’t regret that either, he does realize he’s taken a brother away from Shunji, causing him the pain he himself feels for Kang San. And the moment where Shunji breaks down in the field and they cry with each other is so poignant. Kang To knows he doesn’t deserve to seek comfort with Shunji no matter what the latter may say because he is responsible for Shunji’s pain and yet he is the only person in the whole world who actually knows Kang To and understands him and provided him a shoulder to cry on and a sympathetic listener. It’s a picture of their dynamics-so at contrast with the one we saw at the beginning in the fight. While they are best friends now, soon, they will be enemies vying for each other’s blood-Shunji, I suspect, much more determined than Kang To. I can already envision Shunji’s hatred and retaliation when he realizes Kang To was the one who killed Kenji. I think it is also Kang To’s lingering guilt that doesn’t allow him to seek the comfort of Shunji’s home. His place was the first place Kang To would turn to in the past, yet now he simply turns away because he cannot take kindness and sympathy from the friend he has caused such pain.
Kang To isn’t Gaksital yet. While Gaksital is not really a freedom fighter (Kang San was working against Kishokai and avenging his father’s death) Gaksital is a symbol for the Joseon people since he cares about the people and has saved and helped them at numerous times. Before his family is killed, Kang To had no qualms using violence against any person except those he cared about (mom, hyung and later on, Dan) since it was simply a means to an end for him. Now that being that way has cost him this much, you can see the pain and regret on his face and in the way he stands frozen when confronted by the boy or pelted by the village people. In the past, he’d simply have scorned those people back but now he takes it, knowing he deserves this hatred-a sense that is enhanced due to his guilt. And the way he passes by Baek Gun is another point in showing that now Kang To is changing-one by one. Instead of reporting the man or killing him, he passes him by even though he knows Baek Gun was halfway responsible for his brother being Gaksital. He’s not taken the 180 yet where he abhors violence and avenges it when unjust, but he has begun to see it for the evil it is and started to realize it is not the answer.
He has yet to go the whole mile when he feels for the people or stands for their cause, but slowly slowly he is beginning to see the world with his brother’s eyes and his motivation. Wearing the white doesn’t make him the knight, but perhaps that is the whole point where it progresses ahead! Maybe wearing that white will allow him to look at the world and see the truth out there. Maybe pursuing that motivation will bring the change in him that will make him more human! Maybe it could be the guilt and the responsibility! But either way, it’s a whole journey ahead and I hope it’s worth it all.
Posted on June 21, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged bridal mask recaps, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital recaps, kdrama, Kenji, Kimura, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, Mok Dan, musings, personal, random, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.