Gaksital aka Bridal mask Episode 9 Recap

An episode that moves the plot forward  and brings in more stakes-old and new. Damsari is back and so is Gaksital, for all to see. Kang To strengthens his covering persona even more, bringing reality into it and morphing it to his advantage. While before his motto was to live for and with family, now he exhibits the persona of a man who lives in today and delights in it, downplaying his losses with a shrug, or in this case, a reckless smile. Yet step by step, he is coming all the more closer to Gaksital and his old young, idolizing self.

Episode 9 Recap:

So Shunji gets Kenji’s job and becomes senior in rank to Kang To. He pays his respects to Kono who congratulates him while Dad looks nonchalant in the background. Once he walks away, Kono’s face twists into a grimace, none too pleased. Dad warns Shunji not to trust Kang To-he’s Kono’s man and Kono wanted Kang To to have Kenji’s position. Shunji tells Dad he and Kang To are on the same team but Dad cuts him down-Kang To spied on Kimura on Kono’s orders-how can that be the same side?

The police station lines up for their introduction to the new boss and while Abe thinks Shunji and Kang To’s friendship will mean a steady environment around the office, Kang To isn’t too convinced. Shunji takes the hardline at once-the police function for the Japanese Empire and as the man in charge, Shunji will make sure to root out dissenters and rebels-anyone who disrupts public order.

As Shunji speaks, Kang To is drawn into a flashback of old times-when Kang To first met Shunji. Several students are beating up Kang To with wooden Kendo swords-led by Kenji. Kang To takes the beating, begging Kenji to teach him Kendo when Shunji walks in and stops his brother. Shunji asks Kang To to go to a proper dojo if he wishes to learn since this place is only allowed for students. Before he can finish, Kang To grabs onto his leg and pleads once again to be taught. He can’t afford it-his brother was taken by the soldiers and he promises to do anything in return-wash the laundry or do cleaning. If he can get good at Kendo, he can at least take the police test and become an officer!

Shunji is moved and starts teaching Kang To Kendo. In return, Kang To would do odd jobs like driving Shunji to school in a hackney. More than anything else, they become good friends and Shunji would purposely leave a box of lunch in the hackney for Kang To to eat. Kenji watched it all with growing dissatisfaction.

At the police test, both Shunji and Kang To participate, cheering on for each other as they move up in ranks. When they’re pitted against one another in the finals, they both fight for a bit, coming out evenly matched until Kang To hits a direct hit and Shunji goes sprawling. Kenji fumes but Shunji smiles at Kang To. Kang To takes him aside later, asking if he purposely lost because of him but Shunji tells him not to misunderstand-he didn’t want to become a police officer and would rather teach little children.

Back to the present, Shunji finishes with the order to have all rebels and dissents found and arrested. When he dismisses everyone else, he calls Kang To over to his office. Inside, he drops the stern act, lowers the shutters and smiles, asking, “How did I do? Did I overdo it?” A relieved Kang To smiles back at him. Smiling, he mutters about Shunji becoming a police officer overnight from a teacher and correctly guesses it must be for Mok Dan.

Koiso barges in, wanting to know why Dan was released and Kang To answers in Shunji’s stead-how dare he question his superior? Before it becomes a war between Kang To and Koiso, Shunji barks at him to mobilize the unit-he’s not letting Dan or the circus people go. Once Koiso’s gone, Shunji tells Kang To that his father may have let Dan go this once, but it won’t be the same in the future.

At the same time, Dan wrings her hands in speculation over why the police released them-especially her. She believes Gaksital isn’t dead-even Shunji believes that but Boss Jo thinks it might even be because of Damsari’s return. He is coming back so maybe they expect to catch him through her. The man in question arrives at a hotel lobby with his lady friend and sees a note pinned to a bulletin board addressed to his alias-Choi Tae Gun. “Kyungsung Girl’s School. Enter school.” Meanwhile some men move in to the dormitory from where Dan was arrested.

The circus members bicker over their food and wonder how the police found out about them. The suspicion falls on Gye Soon but she plays the injured party and points out it could easily have been Shunji. Boss Jo also points out that Shunji is not that kind of person and they shouldn’t lump him together with the others. Just then, Shunji walks in with the troops, telling everyone they were only released since there was no evidence against them. From now on, they will all be monitored 24/7. Anything wrong and they all die. Even Abe seems surprised at Shunji’s mean manner.

Dan is stunned and follows Shunji out. She remembers his words from last night-he wouldn’t let her surrender and asks if he did this-joined the police because of her? But he cuts her off and bites out that Gaksital killed his brother. She won’t tell him who it is. “Why would I wear this for you? Don’t mistake anything. I put it on to avenge my brother’s killer.” He drives away without even looking back.

At the club, dancing rehearsals continue as Kang To drinks with Tamao. They have a laugh over Shunji finally joining the police force and Tamao comments that he stole Kang To’s promotion. Kang To brushes it off. “What’s the point of promotion? With my mother and brother dead, tomorrow holds no meaning. Just today, this moment—that’s the best.” He says the latter with a smile, completely opposite to the real meaning-without hyung and mom, even today has no meaning for him except for as long as he has revenge but he’s taking the reckless persona again-who cares about anything? His friend agrees-you’re gonna die sooner or later, so just live to the best.

Tamao asks about Lala/Rie and how Kang To knows her and Kang To tells him she’s just someone whose fallen head over heels for him. Club Lady Taska walks over to them, wondering at Kang To drinking around in the daytime. She guesses his new motive for life is probably ‘Que Sera Sera’ and Kang To responds, “Bingo!” with a wink! *Melting*

When he walks out of the club later, the smile dies down and he nods to a man in the corner-Baek Gun in disguise. Grabbing a rickshaw, Baek Gun heads away. The governor general meanwhile is busy admiring his latest bribes-he’s actually sniffing them, when Kono arrives. The governor tells Kono he was trying to get in between Kono and Kimura, winning the latter over as if on his side and took the bribes to play along. Kono points out that Gaksital’s body is yet to be recovered and if the hero popped up again, “What happens to your reputation, hyung?”

So the governor general calls up Kimura who already has his hands full worrying over Bank President Jo. He believes Jo is somewhere carousing around with his gisaengs. The governor general demands there be no more Gaksital incidents but Kimura ekes out that another Gaksital may pop up. The governor cuts him down at that as well and Kimura promises there will be no more Gaksital incidents. Hehe, I’m waiting for that to bite you dearie!

Lo and behold in the city the rickshaw stops and out tumbles a blindfolded man, stripped to his drawers and “retribution for wickedness” written on his chest in red-classic Gaksital words. That makes people perk up and they realize Gaksital must be alive. Abe is at the scene and removes the blindfold. The people begin to recognize him and spy Gaksital on a roof. This time, it’s Kang To as Gaksital. Abe wants to capture Gaksital but the townspeople get in his way and he and Jo are forced to run off. Gaksital throws a dart at Jo but the two get to the police station and take refuge inside. The people only follow him to the gates but are happy at having chased the villain off like that.

Inside the police station, Abe ekes out, “Gaksital” repeatedly as Shunji draws his gun and all officers rush outside. Except there is not much people there except Kang To who is dressing down a guard. Shunji hurries to him, telling him Gaksital has reappeared and asks him if he saw anything but Kang To gasps “Gaksital?” He turns back to the guard and sharply shouts at him, asking if he saw anything. Koiso asks where he’s coming back from and Kang To asks if he has to report his work to him now. Shunji asks for the files on Gaksital, each and every single one.

Kimura and Shunji visits Jo in the hospital where Doctor Oh is also fretting over the happenings-Gaksital was supposed to be dead. Jo relates to Kimura and Shunji that he was kidnapped last night and the next thing he knew, he was in the marketplace. Shunji wants to question Jo but Dad butts in and Kimura turns back to Jo-can he complete his task? Jo determines to do just that but Kimura tells him he’s out. Jo asks for another chance since he’s always worked so faithfully for Kishokai. Shunji: “Kisho…kai?” Rie is presented to the governor general and he drools over her while she notices his interest.

The circus goes on under the watchful eyes of the officers and at the back, Damsari is also standing watching with a smile. All goes same as ever except this time, Dan ends her part with a bridal mask and the people recognize it immediately, cheering on. An angered Koiso cocks guns at Dan. Damsari instinctively rises but his partner holds him back. The troops search out the whole circus but find nothing else of import.

As they’re questioning Dan, three troops walk in, announcing their arrival from army headquarters-assigned to take over watching the circus. These are the same men who recently arrived at the dorm. Koiso looks suspicious but the other troops take matter in to their own hands-the leader kicks Koiso down-telling him they’re here on a mission and he’d better not stand in between. If he so much as opens his mouth and they fail, he’s dead! Koiso salutes fearfully, agreeing to their words.

The leader orders Dan and Jo taken away. They’re brought to a room where Damsari and his accomplice are waiting. Dan and dad have a tearful but happy reunion and his accomplice addresses Jo as “Comrade Jo”. They’re members of the independence army and longtime acquaintances. The pretend officers then introduce themselves and Jo and Damsari meet up.

At the club, Kang To is singing it all out until he walks off stage and is told there’s a visitor for him. It’s Jo. He cries about his ordeal at the hands of Gaksital and fears the reaction of Kimura if things go out of hand. Gaksital stole important ledgers from him, “And if they find their way into Taro’s hands, I’m done for, just like my employees!” Kang To wants to know more and tells Jo to tell him everything from the very beginning. Jo begins to say it out but then loses his nerve and makes his getaway.

That night, he and Baek Gun mull it over. The latter suggests handing the ledgers over to Kono so they can nail Kimura but Kang To hesitates. “I didn’t wear the mask just to make Kono happy.” What he wants to know is the connection between Kimura and his father’s betrayers.

Damsari grieves for his wife’s death and laments not knowing it until now. Dan comforts him and asks to be allowed to help him now. He agrees and asks her to put him into contact with Gaksital, because with his help they have a much better success rate. She promises to try.

Kang To-as Gaksital, rides up the mountains and comes across the spot where Dan has tied the cloth with her name on it. He unties it and holds it with a bitter smile just as he hears her running up. He hides and she arrives to find the cloth gone.

Seeing the cloth gone, she calls out, “Young master, you took it, didn’t you? You’ve recognized me, haven’t you? You know I’m Boon Yi. But why don’t you show me your face? I want to see you. I miss you, young master.” She tears up and Kang To watches her, holding his own tears back. She leaves another message for him. Once she’s gone, he goes over and reads it. “There is someone who wishes to meet you. I will wait here every day until the sun sets.” It brings a smile to his lips. *Meeeelllltiiiinnnnggggg*

Kono calls up a meeting of the officers and declares that the governor general is ready to strip Shunji of his badge for lying about killing Gaksital. He tries to get Kimura to reveal the connection between him and the dead Judge and the symbol (Kishokai). Kimura renews his threat from the last time- if Kono presses the matter, he also puts himself on the line. This time, Kimura doesn’t back down and orders Kang To to arrest him. I’ve got to say, I like Kono a bit.

Both Shunji and Kang To are surprised but Kimura allows himself to be cuffed and led away, stopping Shunji from stepping in.

The count is sick-or acting sick? He whines about being unable to sleep now that Gaksital is back and Dr. Oh concedes being uneasy himself. Shunji arrives to request an urgent meeting with the count, alerting everyone of his father’s arrest. The only person to rein in Kono is the governor general and requests the count’s aid for it. To everyone’s surprise, the countess speaks up to assure Shunji not to worry. Surely his father didn’t go into this without preparation: “The police chief has a hidden card.”

And the hidden card is- Rie? The countess calls her up, saying they need Lala’s help. The governor general blows his top about Gaksital until Rie bursts in, all tears and distress about the arrest of the person “who’s like a father to me.” And come a summons for Kono by the governor general who cuts into him for arresting Kimura. How could he arrest the sitting police chief? Kono feels justified given Gaksital’s return, but he’s peeved that the arrest didn’t prod Kimura into talking about his secret group. The governor confides that there’s this young lady who thinks of Kimura as her father. If Kono lets Kimura free, the governor will get the needed information from her. Lol, really governor?

Kang To sits in the interrogation with Kimura and after a long silence, disposes of the paper in the typewriter and turns to Kimura. “How about chatting on some personal matters? Why do you hate me so much? Is it because I’m Korean?” He tells him that he’s Sato Hiroshi-ever since he became part of the police force, he has never thought of himself as otherwise. Bowing his head, he requests, “Please acknowledge me. I wish to wear the same uniform as you.” Ha! Was that to throw sand in the enemy’s eyes?! And by appearing honest to boot? Kang To says he wants the approval of both Kono and Kimura. Yup, dust it is! Hehe!

Kimura smirks hatefully at that, “Don’t package your ambition for success as loyalty.” He says that if the country to annex Korea hadn’t been Japan but the States, “You would have become a John or a Michael. Whether I live or die, I am Kimura Taro.” Shunji bursts in flinging the bail at Kang To-signed by Kono. He tells Kang To: “Lee Kang To, you handcuffed my father? I won’t forget.

Shunji and Kimura sit for talks and Shunji asks to be let into Kishokai. His father disagrees, he’s young and unready but Shunji persists, “I will join Kishokai and become his (Gaksital’s) target.” He’s outraged at Kono’s conduct and vows to receive his apology. Dad smiles at that. That usually means its time to think, ‘Uh oh!’

At the police station, Shunji addresses his officers-he killed Gaksital and got this position but now that the dead man is back, if there’s anyone who thinks he doesn’t deserve this seat-speak up now. When nobody speaks up, Shunji declares, “I will, at all costs, kill Gaksital with my own hands.”


What poignancy this episode held! There’s so many undercurrents running around beneath the surface of the characters! Kang To is employing the hardcore reckless playboy persona as his mask while Shunji is slowly slowly losing his caring nature in the face of his new circumstances. He’s becoming another right hand man for his father just like Kenji-the only difference is that he isn’t as much a puppeteer as Kenji was.

It was so wonderful seeing the flashback and it shows how much Kang To truly changed and why he and Shunji were besties after all. In the flashback we saw earlier in the episodes and the scene where Kang To cries at hyung’s back, it was made evident that hyung was the brains in the family while Kang To was the younger child, the sheltered brother and the whole family’s dependence and survuval was always Kang San’s job. Even as Kang To worked, did odd jobs, met failure and degradation now and then, he always endured it knowing hyung’s future would be secure if he did so. How heartbreaking it is to see him thrown out into the world at once with hyungs arrest and then having to beg and find his place around. He wasn’t always as ambitious and we see him now, he wasn’t always as heartless-it was just circumstances that made him so. And his answer to Tamao just broke my heart-he tells the truth, there’s not anything in life for him now that hyung and mom are gone but revenge and once that concludes, he’ll be left totally alone. Now he dispels his loneliness by immersing himself in his purpose but once that is done, where will he be left? I love this shot below-there is such innocence in his eyes, such gentleness that is now hidden beneath his stiff exterior!

I can’t wait to see him start going towards Dan. With Hyung and mom gone, she is his only link to his past, to his good and feeling self and I totally want him to show more shades of it! He’ll have to go a long way to change from Lee Kang To to Young Master in her eyes, but I’m hoping it’ll be a wonderful journey since it’ll allow him to get over his mistakes and become a Joseon person once again!

About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on June 29, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I m late, I thought I wont be able to watch or read the recaps but finally I found the time before Wednesday. -phew-

    Its daddy dearest thats changing Shunji, he is making him hate Kang To but guess what I hated Taro the moment I saw him so thanks to him I have started to hate Shunji as well.

    Kang To doesnt like the idea of Shunji becoming a policeman and more over his superior, yeah I hate that too.

    Why, just WHY is there a scene in every episode which is so heart breaking and I watch it like million times and cant get enough of it.
    Kang To was so cute when he was young and he smiled a lot. By the way how did they made them look so young, was it the hair style or the clothes or the makeup and from where did they get it because I need some, I wouldnt mind looking 4-5 years younger as I look older than my age. -sobs in a corner-
    Well, Hello there Kenji, its good that you are dead or else I had to write a paragraph about hating you.
    Love the flashback and wow what a time to think about how their friendship started as its going to end soon.
    and loved the last ounce of bromance when they smiled at each other in the office.

    and yay for Shunji as he himself is pushing Dan away (usually thats what leads do but he wont be a typical second lead how much I say)

    Do I love his smile or feel the pain behind – what to do?- I will enjoy his wink HAHAHA

    Out of all people must it be Abe out there, I dont want to hate him as he is loyal to Kang To.

    KANG TO USES MAGIC theres no way he can change his clothes back and with that perfect hairstyle in that short amount of time – sigh, it takes me longer to just comb my hair-
    at this particular scene I was laughing hard, how Kang To was “acting”.

    and finally Shunji finds about Kishokai

    and AGAIN Kang To changes his hairstyle, yup its the 3rd time in this episode. He is experimenting which hairstyle suits him the best. See I told you I loved his first hairstyle it was the same through out in the first 6 episodes.

    Why he wont show his face to Boon Yi -because you hate him now-
    Boon Yi learning Kang To is Gaksital : YOU…HOW, WHEN a aa aaa (stuttering and stammering starts and add a fainting scene too)

    Kang To smiles = I pause the scene and keep staring

    YAY GO Kono GO

    hehhee the governor will get the information from Lala, right, I will be looking forward to how many secrets he will reveal to her.

    Shunji are you deaf or something it was Kono that ordered Kang To. -but you wont listen to me-

    and damn Shunji joining Kishokai

    When Shunji was saying if anyone thinks he doesnt deserve the position to speak up, I was literally screaming I OBJECT -but as I said he wont listen to me-

    I m glad that you enjoy my comments and THANK YOU for the recaps.

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