Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 8 Recap
Kang To plunges even deeper into revenge and becomes an even worse bastard than he was before. Everyone knows he is the infamous Lee Kang To, the man who hates the Joseon and has staunch loyalty for the Japanese; he simply goes one step further into that persona and creates the perfect antithesis of Gaksital and his alibi. Afterall, who would suspect the man who would shoot and beat up his own countrymen without even a hint of remorse. Perfect improvisation!
Episode 8 Recap:
The episode opens with Kang To shaving his face with a determined look in his and preparing for the day. This time, he rips off the name tag on his uniform and changes it to ‘Sato Hiroshi’-the name he was given by the Japanese Empire. He walks over to the office, a new persona indeed.
When he reports to Kono, he reports as Sato Hiroshi. Kono laughs at his introduction and invites him to take a seat. Kono asks about his family’s funeral and asks if he believes Gaksital is dead. He personally feels Kimura was too quick in his declaration. Kang To replies, “Gaksital didn’t die. Keep watching. He will definitely appear soon!” Kono agrees, telling Kang To, no-he corrects himself, Sato Hiroshi must be the one to catch him. He promises him Kenji’s position.
He arrives at the police station and heads inside to find regular Korean citizens being questioned regarding Gaksital-they are in posession of the money Gaksital stole so are being charged as accomplices. Koiso sneers at him but ignoring him, Kang To launches at the man who burnt down his house and kicks him before grabbing his collar and asks, “It was you, wasn’t it? You put fire to our house, no? The murderer who killed my mother?”
Kang To turns back to him asking if he didn’t hear about his mother and brother’s death-why isn’t that being investigated? Koiso tells him no one cares about two ‘Koreans’ who died. Kang To punches him before taking a gun to Koiso’s head and tells him, “Be warned. I’m not Lee Kang To but Sato Hiroshi”. It wasn’t just two Koreans who were killed-it was the family of a Japanese officer! Whoa, what a way to make your anti Korean position and staunch loyalty to the Japanese so clear to all! The man who burned down his house trembles in his boots. Kang To turns back and points his gun at the man. “How much Korean blood I will get on my hands… Shall I start with you?” Kang To asks the man. Abe interjects and asks him to calm down. Koiso goads him to go ahead and shoot so Kang To shoots at the wall behind him. So awesomely bad ass! From the balcony above, Kimura watches him.
Kang To is called to Kimura’s office and before entering, seems to brace himself for a moment. Inside, he catches a white badook piece thrown at him. Kimura is sitting at his table with the game open in front of him. Kimura “You can catch a badook stone flying at you, but you lost a bullet-wounded Gaksital?” Kang To relates that there was another man there that day which is why Kang To lost him. He paints Gaksital as an organization with more than one man acting as the infamous hero. That sends Kimura into mild panic and he calls in Koiso who agrees there was another man present that day since he saw Baek Gun that night too.
So now Kang To presents the theory that Gaksital is not working alone. Go Kang To! Kimura barks at Koiso to get Gaksital’s location out of ‘that girl’ but Koiso reports she got away and that Shunji stopped them from pursuing her. Kang To cuts him off, why would Shunji stop them from pursuing the girl? Kang To tells Kimura he’s the only one who can go against Shunji and asks for tracking the girl’s responsibility be given to him. Kimura barks the order at him and tells Koiso to free the rest of the Koreans. An interesting thing to note is that now, every time Kang To salutes or agrees to an order, he says ‘Hai’ (Yes) in Japanese.
Shunji plays the piano in class and the students sing while he seems distracted. Midway performance, Sun Hwa’s younger brother stands up and asks Shunji, “Teacher didn’t kill Gaksital, right?” Instead of replying, Shunji barks out orders at them but the children do not flinch. Finally Shunji loses his temper and ends up hitting the boy on his hand with a cane. Seeing the boy cry brings him out of his angered reverie and he leaves the class. As he walks away, we cut to see Dan standing outside.
Shunji sits outside on a bench where Dan approaches him. He’s hesitant to meet her gaze. She’s brought him lunch that Sun Hwa gave, knowing he must be worried and wouldn’t have eaten well. She heads off to leave when Shunji asks her why she won’t ask him anything-she came because she was curious about Gaksital, no? He tells her to be angry. Dan agrees, she came because she was curious but she knows what a hard time he is having-he is a simple teacher to small kids and tells him to be strong and have faith. As she’s walking away, he stops her with a back hug.
He tells her Gaksital might still be alive. That allows Dan to breathe a sigh of relief. He shot him, yes, but he doesn’t know if he died or not. Kang To watches the scene from afar. She tells Shunji not to worry about her anymore but to live well and heads off, going to the spot where Gaksital/Kang San always dropped her off. Clutching her dagger, she keeps looking at the sky.
At the club, Kang To is drinking alone and not in a good mood. Rie approaches him and asks him if he remembers her. He grabs her closer and asks her, “You like this Oppa?” Yaay, he doesn’t remember her! Haha, I’ve no idea why but that thought makes me happy. She moves in to kiss him as everyone in the club watches and then whispers her stage name ‘Lala’ in his ear, “Don’t forget.” When she does walk away, her mood is much soured.
At the tree, Dan takes a piece of cloth and writes her name ‘Boon Yi’ on it with her blood, leaving it tied to a branch for Gaksital. In a train ride elsewhere, the Count and his wife are travelling somewhere. A few tables away from them in disguise is Damsari. A man barges into their carriage with a bomb and hijacks it, warning them he’ll blow up. He wants to cross the border illegally and takes interest in the count who appears totally fearful, taking a seat at their table, talking to the Count.
Just then, soldiers walk in, asking people to put their identifications onto the table. Everyone complies. The bomber hides his bomb and the Count pretends the bomber is his son but gives himself away at the last moment. Damsari trips the bomber as he tries to flee after having lit the bomb and throws the bomb outside just before it bursts. Everyone turns to him in gratitude and he introduces himself as “Choi Tae Gun”. Needless to say, a perfect friendship is formed between the Count/Countess and Tae Gun. As they stand outside on the road at their final stop, the hijacker and the soldiers pass by them and secretly smile at Damsari/Tae Gun. Ah, a setup! Hehe, more fun coming up it seems!
Kang To sits in a market reading the newspaper at leisure and having his boot polished-by Baek Gun. Hehe, to any passer by, there is nothing suspicious in that scene which makes it all the more awesome! Baek Gun instructs Kang To that his first order of business should be to clean up the frame job-Kang San would never have killed innocent employees. Kang To: “Bingo! I knew it wasn’t Gaksital!” Ah, first time I literally loved hearing that Bingo! Kang To heads off and goes to meet the reporter ‘Park’. Park presents him a number of pictures from the crime scene.
Doctor Oh rushes to the aid of another one of Kishokai’s member-the corrupt bank manager Jo who is choking on his own golden tooth. While they talk about an upcoming crisis-the Joseon market will soon be going bankrupt, the proprietress of the place seems interested in their chitchat. Kimura stands outside the place and calls for the Bank President, warning him against letting out their secrets but the President swears he is keeping things mum. Yeah, like you did a minute ago.
Kang To is waiting on a bridge for something. When a hackney comes up with a woman in it, he smiles and joins her for the ride. It’s the woman who was with the corrupt bank director. It takes him little effort to ‘romance’ all the secrets out of her. Pffft.
He reports to Kono-the money went from the bank to Gaksital to the market people and now it is back in Kimura’s hands. Kang To’s plan is to watch the money since once Kimura decides to make a move with it, it’ll be easy to apprehend him red handed. Kono commends his work and calls up the governor general, asking to meet, telling him he’s found Kenji’s replacement.
Rie meets with Kimura and suggests that Kishokai would like to see little bro step into older bro’s shoes. Literally. That means they want Shunji to take the place of Kenji. She promises to get whatever approval is necessary but comments that Shunji’s loyalties may not be so staunch. Daddy Kimura swears by his son’s blood as a Kimura but Rie continues-the man who lives among the Joseon people, teaches them, and is in love with a Joseon woman, will he pledge loyalty to them? Kimura’s eyes widen at the last part and she clocks his surprise. She adds that Kishokai has collected the funds to erect a statue in the governor general’s honor, so “You will soon have what you want.”
Kimura storms into his office, followed by Kang To and asks about any progress on Dan’s capture. Kimura asks Kang To what relationship Shunji and Dan have. Kang To remains silent at first but then tells him it is the girl Shunji met when he took his nanny to the hospital when he was young. Kimura remembers her and tells Kang To to leave. Kimura sits alone as he remembers the time Shunji had stolen his sword and sold it to pay the hospital bills for the nanny.
Shunji stands in his room, looking at the masks on his stand and remembers Dan’s words, throwing one of them down in frustration. When it doesn’t break, he stomps on it until it is pieces. Kang To walks in to see it like that. He tells him his dad knows the relationship between him and Dan and he, Kang To, has the order to search for her. He declares he’s going to live more tenaciously than ever before—if they tell him to kill, he’ll kill, and if they tell him to die, he’ll die. He tells Shunji “This is the last of my friendship with you.” and turns to leave. Gosh, is this his way of goading Shunji to protect Dan?
Shunji catches him in the hallway, asking how he could do that. “She is the woman Shunji likes so I cannot catch her! Should I report that?” Kang To asks him. Shunji asks if there is no other way to finding Gaksital. Just then the door opens and Kimura walks in, hearing his son’s last admission-if there was no way to find Gaksital but her. Kang To points out Gaksital killed his brother. If it isn’t Kang To, someone else will find her and kill her. He asks Shunji if he has the confidence to protect her to the very end.
“Even if Mok Dan were the one who killed Hyung, I cannot give her up!”
Kang To turns to walk away at that and Shunji turns back to see his father standing there. Kimura takes a gun to Shunji but fires at the headboard just inches away. He tells the man behind him-from now on, Shunji is not a Kimura.
Kang To presents the photographs from the reporter to the corrupt bank president. He tells him it wasn’t Gaksital and he shouldn’t believe just anyone. The other man leaves in a huff. Outside however, Kang To’s words seem to catch up to him as he remembers the events from that day: his employees were robbed, and then they contacted him. He had called Kimura, who ordered them to stay put while officers were sent to the scene. And then they were killed. Having an idea, he rushes away and Kang To, calmly as you may please, watches him go before turning in the other direction.
The corrupt President goes back to his bank, looking around to make sure no one is following him. Except, in the shadows stands Gaksital. Inside, the Bank President opens a suitcase and extracting his money and treasures from a safe, stuffs them in the box. As he turns to go, Gaksital is there to greet him. A dagger with a tag flies into the wall beside him. Before Gaksital can turn on him however, they are intercepted by his men. As he fights the men, the bank president makes his getaway.
Its too soon to call it safe yet as Gaksital follows the man on horseback as he makes his getaway. Yup, it’s the signature Gaksital horse and Kang To overcomes them in a tunnel. Knocking out his driver, Gaksital raises his arm to strike the bank President.
At the police station, Abe walks in wondering where Kang To is. Koiso sees Gye Soon who has come to ask for the money Kenji promised her. Koiso asks her where Dan is. She returns to the circus just in time for performance and as the circus performance is ongoing, troops start pouring in and arrest everyone, including Dong Nyeo and Nanda. Gye Soon, what a traitor! Shunji is on his way home when he passes by Sun Hwa’s house and sees her brother running in, crying to Dan, telling her about the arrest. Dan heads out and Shunji tries to deter her from going to the police station. If she goes now, she’ll die.
“To that kid, Sun Hwa is both mother and father. How can I let that be taken away?”
He says he won’t let her go but she won’t listen and tells him its the end of their friendship for her-doesn’t he know how different they are? With that, she walks away, leaving him stunned.
Koiso waits while Dong Nyeo asks why they have been arrested. Except for Gye Soon, all are worried. He asks them where Dan is but no one speaks up. Gye Soon points to Nanda in the back. Koiso turns his attention to him. Nanda points to Sun Hwa but not too expertly. Koiso grabs her collar and demands to know where Mok Dan is. Sun Hwa remains silent even as she trembles and cries fearfully. Now that’s loyalty!
And in walks Dan. Since she’s turning herself in, she demands that everyone else be let go. Koiso tasks Abe to ring up Kimura who tells them good work and that he will himself interrogate her. Now that cannot be good! As Kimura prepares to go to the police station, Shunji walks in and kneels before his father. He promises to follow his father, live well by the Kimura name but his father is enraged-does he care so much for the woman who is the enemy? He barks at him to leave and never come back. Shunji speaks up, “I know it now. I knew only after Hyung died. That I am, to the bone, Japanese.” He bows his head further and promises to wear the uniform proudly, just as Father and Kenji did. He’ll do all that and more but he has one request.
“Just let that girl go, just this once. The moment I put on the uniform, I will erase all memory of her.”
Abe and Koiso come to tell everyone they are free to go. They are so stunned for a moment they don’t know how to react. Dan tells everyone not to worry about her and leave but Koiso tells them all to get lost now. As the members are leaving, Kang To is arriving and Abe tells him about the circus people as they scatter away. Kang To is shocked to hear Dan has been captured and worriedly heads inside muttering a curse but just as he reaches the steps, Dan, Dong Nyeo and Master Jo are coming out.
She is angry to see him and he turns his gaze away at first so she approaches him and ask why they’ve let her go-is it because Gaksital is dead so he no longer needs the bait? The other two try to drag her away but she comes back and asks him . Kang To warns her to leave, “If you come here one more time, you will die by my hands!” She tells him “A bastard like you should be dead and Gaksital should be alive!” and leaves.
Once they’re gone, Kang To asks Abe why she was let go and learns that Kimura ordered it.
Kono readies the certificate for Kang To’s promotion but then hears that Shunji will be taking Kenji’s place and heads to see the Governor General who is with the Kishokai group, minus the bank president. By the time Kono bursts in, they have already bribed the governor general and bought his loyalty with gifts of gold so even when Kono protests, the governor general orders him thrown back out. Kimura smirks. And so Shunji is inducted into the police force.
Kang To is not too happy about it but salutes him as his superior officer nonetheless.
Kang To definitely takes it up ten notches in this episode and I love the predatory look on his face throughout! He’s no hero although he donned white through this episode. The white is simply the front that hides the persona behind the facade of hatred for Joseon and its people and also the Japanese. He’s like a lone person who stands in the middle of both entities, unable to go to any one side since his hatred for both is equally charring. What I like most of all is that all that is gradually going to change-the more he works as Gaksital because of his guilt, the more he is going to be thrown back onto the path of a real person-a human, just as his hyung and mother would have wanted him to be.
At the moment, Kang To is simply Gaksital because of his guilt-to pay back the bastards that made his family that way. He is the one who shot his own brother, yes but there was a reason hyung took on the Gaksital mask and by pursuing that vendetta in hyung’s place, Kang To can ease his own guilt as well as make sure hyung’s legacy was not dead. In Shakespearean terms, he’s simply out to get his own pound of flesh, blood or no blood which is why he walks this path but it seems that this path will be the reason why Kang To will change and become Gaksital in true spirit rather than just to satisfy his revenge or ease his guilt. Walking this path, he will not simply be Kang To-he will have hyung’s and his father’s legacy beside him and maybe they will help him understand the ideology and principles they sacrificed their lives for. While he questions the importance of the mask now, “What is this? Was it so important? MORE THAN FAMILY?”, as he walks this path, he will see the need and the importance of Gaksital with his own eyes and then understand why sometimes principles are more important and foremost compared to anything else.
And how much do I love that he doesn’t simply go 180 after everything sinks in for him; rather, he takes the whole other route around taking advantage of everyone else’s views and impressions. Everyone knows Lee Kang To hates the Joseon people and is loyal to the Japanese, so instead of completely backtracking and letting any cracks and weaknesses visible in his cover, he goes one step further and reinforces everyone’s belief about how cold hearted he is so that if and when he does perform an act-any act of kindness or good, it would simply be appalling to even consider him. he creates the perfect antithesis in himself and a perfect cover. For example, he cares for Dan-hence he didn’t even care to pursue her in this episode when he saw her but was about to rush in when he heard of her arrest. Yet, when he was faced with her and the realization that she has been let go, he doesn’t even show any relief to her face, rather having her hate him and maintain her distance to keep her out of the loop.
Shunji has made a monumentous turn in this episode where he makes a decision instead of remaining passive. What simply began as an on chance chase of gaksital has tured back on him and caused him to take matters in his own hands. His decision to join the forces inevitably pits him against Kang To/Gaksital. Now more than ever, they become molded for the roles of hero and villain. It is heartbreaking to see both friends pitted against one another but it is the inevitable crux of the whole story. And I have the sinking feeling that this is the first of many decisions that Shunji will make which will not bode well for Gaksital or the bromance and friendship between him and Kang To. He may have made the decision to save Dan now, but it will have more far reaching consequences than that.
For now, Kang To is simply a man without a future, a purpose, a destination. Gaksital’s journey will bring him all three, along with peace with himself so he can let go of his guilt. Needless to say, I am blown away by the drama, it’s cast, the story, the music and at most times, the brilliant, brilliant scenes!
And another round of fan service for Aye Unni and all other Joo Won fans out there loving Kang To! 😉
Posted on June 22, 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, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, reflections, Relationships, Romance, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.