Gaksital aka Bridal mask Episode 12 Recap
Kang To isn’t just Kang To anymore and wearing the mask proves to be more than he can comprehend but today’s episode helps him open his eyes to the price he may unwittingly pay to keep the masked retribution going. He gets a glimpse and pure, selfless loyalty and makes decisions, shaping his own ideals and morals. All the while, Shunji falls deeper and deeper into the abyss and has a gun shoved in his face as consequence for his actions. Rie enters the puzzle to make her mark but Dan isn’t left that behind either. This is simply an episode that brings us more and more conflict, more demons and more decisions. It’s a reversal of dynamics-where episodes ago Shunji had saved Dan from Kang To, Kang To now races to save Dan from definite cruelty and torture at Shunji’s hands. This drama truly walks the lines of grey for each and every character. Onto the recap!
Episode 11 Recap:
Shunji exits the office to come face to face with Gaksital who is carrying the man away after knocking out the guards. Yeah, his Gaksital doesn’t sound even close to as epic as Kang To’s, hehe! He clocks a gun at Gaksital’s back and the man on Gaksital’s shoulder stirs. Taking note of the situation, the man wrings himself free and shoves Gaksital/Kang To out of the way just as Shunji fires. The bullet hits the man straight in his back and Kang To stares at him in shock-the man just gave up his own life to save Kang To’s/Gaksital’s. That’s a face of loyalty Kang To has never experienced before and it stuns him for a moment until he regains his senses and makes a run for it.
Kang To makes his getaway and Shunji follows, firing at him from the distance. Guards join the pursuit. Knocking out more and more guards, Kang To makes his getaway even as Shunji fires at him, again and again. Shunji follows him up to the mezzanine floor where Kang To knocks him out with one blow to the back of his head.
Kang To goes back down to where the man is lying bleeding to his death. Gasping for breath, the man tells him there is someone who wants to meet him and gives him a piece of paper with instructions. Just then, a guard finds Shunji and wakes him up. Shunji heads down to find Gaksital talking to the man and fires at him but misses. The man tells Gaksital to leave and Gaksital runs. Shunji pursues him outside but Gaksital makes a clean getaway as Shunji is left to fume. Hehe, even your shout of frustration isn’t as epic as Kang To’s!
Inside, Shunji finds the man bleeding and on his last breaths . Shunji takes him to the hospital but Doctor Oh shakes his head-the man is a goner. Shunji shouts at him-just one minute, he needs just one minute with the guy. Doctor Oh gives the man an injection which brings him back to consciousness and Shunji barks at him, “Who is it? Who is Gaksital?” The man simply smirks at him in response. Seriously dude, he just took a bullet for the guy, you think he’d tell you who it is? But Shunji goes on even as the man fades into unconsciousness again. Angered and going crazy by the minute, Shunji stabs the man with the injection again and this time when the man comes to consciousness again, he tells Shunji, “You should stop. The dying should be left to die.” Shunji screams as he tries to stab him again but Doctor Oh stops him and the man’s head drops lifelessly to the side, a tear escaping his eye. But Shunji is beyond reason and logic and stabs the man again and again, shouting out in frustration. Ahem, you really just took another step into crazy bad Shunji. Everyone around watches Shunji’s spell in stunned surprise.
Damsari and cohorts are waiting in a park. The others say it is too dangerous to stay anymore and say it would be better to leave for now but Damsari refuses. If only for his comrade Park, Damsari says, he cannot just give up like this. It doesn’t matter if his mission might fail; they must do what they can and keep fighting, even if they’re bound to lose.
Just then, they hear a horse and turn to see Gaksital riding up to them. They are happy to see him but wonder how he knew where to find them. Kang To hands them the paper the man gave him-it’s his identification papers covered in his own blood. They reel at the sight of it and Gaksital doesn’t speak but nods to their unanswered question.
Then Damsari asks Gaksital for his help on their mission. The comrades who attempted explosions before them failed because they had to use homemade bombs. But this time they plan to use the empire’s own weapons against them. The plan is to set off an explosion during the government general’s anniversary celebration in two days, to vent Joseon’s grievances. He asks Gaksital to distract the police force to give them the chance to clean out their armory. Asking for his help, Damsari puts forward his hand. Kang To/Gaksital shakes it and nods at him.
Shunji returns to the police station, feeling more in composed of his self and remembers something as he walks down the corridor. Hurriedly, he heads to the interrogation room and finds an unconscious Kang To sprawled on the ground. He wakes him up and Kang To, after a few moments, stems to attention and asks what happened, did they get Gaksital? Shunji tells him they lost him and asks what happened, muttering something is strange-Gaksital knew the police station very well inside out-he knew exactly where to run and where to hide from him. Kang To expresses frustration at Gaksital but there’s already a different look in his eyes as he looks down.
As they lie together to sleep that night, both are unable to close their eyes. Shunji addresses Kang To. I think I’m going to go crazy this way. Today I… killed someone.” In that dying man’s chest, he stabbed a needle again and again, just to find out the truth about Gaksital, to know who it was. Kang To listens with a pained expression.
Shunji confesses: “I think I’m becoming a monster. If I could just catch Gaksital, I’d immediately take off the uniform and return to the children, like I had planned. That’s why I didn’t even say goodbye to them.” He wore the uniform to save Mok Dan but put a knife to her throat himself. His voice breaking, he confesses, “I don’t know what I might end up doing. Kang To ya, what do I do? What should I do?” Unable to hold back his tears any longer, Shunji turns to his side, stifling his sobs. After one glance at his friend, Kang To turns the other way, his own tears falling. It’s so heartbreaking and so moving. Not everyone’s a monster just yet.
Much later, Kang To sits in the cottage and finally addresses hyung,
“Hyung, Shunji is just like me. When I didn’t know it was you, desperately trying to capture Gaksital—it’s like looking at me in the past. You couldn’t even say anything then, but watched over me; what must you have felt? Hyung, someday Shunji will see Gaksital’s face too, right? Like you, the day will come when I must take off the mask in front of Shunji… No, what if before then, the day will come when I have to kill Shunji first. Hyung, I’m really scared. Last night, a man I don’t know died to save my life. For Lee Kang-to, the Joseon people only gnash their teeth. But to save me… because I wore the Gaksital… to save me… he died… Hyung, will I be able to wear this, like you, till the end?”
Hugging his knees, he sobs, the Gaksital mask lying at his feet, his sobs loud and heart wrenching. Gosh, this is exactly why I love this series so much!
Dan meets Damsari at the hostel and asks her father to take her along with him once their mission here is done. He disagrees, she will be in danger if she is with him but she tells him as long as she’s here, Gaksital is in danger because one way or another-they’ll end up using her as bait. Her leaving here will help him. Damsari’s lady friend agrees and Damsari agrees but tells her it will be a difficult journey.
Uh oh, outside the door, listening to the gossip inside is Gye Sook. Damn, she just has to spoil the day, hasn’t she? She makes a run for it when she hears footsteps coming from inside the room. After checking there is no one outside, Dan gives her father the signal to leave. Her father turns back at the last minute-will she be alright? He tells her not to say goodbye to anyone except Boss Jo, and they plan to meet after the anniversary. She asks him one last time, “Gaksital will help him, right?” and tells her father to be careful.
Once they’re gone, she heads back into her room, the weight of her decision finally sinking in as she remembers the last time she had come face to face with Gaksital. Taking a handkerchief, she tears up and writes another letter to Gaksital on it, thanking him for helping her father and of her decision to leave.
Meanwhile, the governor general’s preparations for the colonization anniversary are in full swing and he has the newspaper owner, Park In Sam, write a whole big piece commending the empire for saving Joseon from its own self. Kono comes tearing in to announce that bank president Jo was killed, and claims Kimura Taro did it. But the governor general takes the news without much surprise and doesn’t care a bit about who killed who and why. Kono fumes at his attitude.
As Kang To walks into the police station, his thoughts wander at the plan with Damsari-to distract the policemen around lunch time, when most of them are already out for lunch. Since Damsari needs the armory, Kang To decides to check it out but is stopped halfway when Gye Sook walks in and he hears her mention Mok Dan to Koiso. Koiso takes her up to reveal her findings to Shunji. She asks for her money first and then reveals that Damsari is planning something with Gaksital and Dan plans to leave Kyungsung to help Gaksital-which raises Shunji’s eyes.
Outside, Kang To paces the office, wondering at what the information is and sees Shunji storming up to his dad’s office. When Gye Sook is leaving, Kang To has an idea. Bingo! He catches Gye Sook in the street and leaning in, offers her more money to make him party to everything she reports to Shunji. Ah, for once we’re putting your bad habits to good use!
Shunji reports to his father-Gaksital and Damsari are planning something together. Kimura is surprised but then mutters they should have thought of this before-Gaksital helped Damsari escape. Shunji tells his father he will use Kang To’s help to capture Damsari. Dad jerks at that-he told him not to trust Kang To but Shunji says he’ll keep his guard up and at the moment, their first priority should be Damsari since he can lead them to Damsari. Dad agrees and then calls Rie to report, asking her to find out exactly what the plan is, though they’ve already pieced together that it’s been timed for the anniversary, which is tomorrow.
Kang To marches into the dorm quarters and looks for Dan. Haha, I love how fast he jerks by the manager who is left staring at his back, hehe! He catches Dan just as she is leaving with her letter to Gaksital. Seeing him, she tries to make a run for it but he catches her and tries to lead her out. She makes a scene, causing every door in the hall to open and the residents-circus workers to peer outside curiously. Haha!
Kang To barks at them to get lost, which they promptly do back into their rooms. Lol, Nanda has to drag Dong Nyeo in. Dan shouts at Kang To-what does he want and he turns to her in a soft entreating voice, “Please! Just stay quiet and follow me!” He leads her into the room she just came out of and closes the door. Hearing the door close, the other doors open and the circus people start clamoring up to eavesdrop on the conversation.
Kang To already guessing that, opens the door a moment later and disperses them all with a swift glare. When he turns back in, Dan tries to attack him again but he easily pins her to the wall, her dagger falling to the ground. He asks her, “You’re leaving Kyungsung? Do you really think you can escape from my grasp?” That stuns her into silence. How did he know-her expression reads. He adds, what is her father doing in town along with Gaksital? Why, is she surprised how he knows? Sticking a spy close to her made it all the more easy. After that, he whispers in voiceover, “You understood my words, right? You understood it?”
With that, he leaves. Aww, he came to warn her of the danger and without breaking character told her about the spy! Kang To yaaaaa!!!!!
Shunji is making the announcement at the office-they must stop Damsari and Gaksital from succeeding in their terrorist attack, announcing that Sato Hiroshi will take charge, except, he notices just then that Kang To is missing and shouts out-where is he? Rie heads to the dorm house and runs into Kang To on his way out. While she notices him and averts her face, he’s too occupied and passes by her without a glance.
Inside, she finds everyone fretting over Dan regarding Kang To’s visit-why must he keep torturing her? Nanda shuts them all up-could it be, Kang To likes Dan? Everyone jumps up in an instant-that doesn’t even make sense. They chase him out just as Rie makes her presence known. Dan greets her warmly, offering her tea. Rie tells her she went back to the police station and heard she was released so she came here to see her. Dan thanks her for her concern. As they have tea, Dan crosses herself but notices the nun does not. Aha! That stems her suspicion. Asking about her convent, Dan asks if Lucia sister is doing well. Rie says ‘Of course’.
Dan thinks to herself, “Sister Lucia died…” Aha, you do know! Smart girl! Rie asks her if she has any prayer requests and Dan perks up, showing great interest and whispers aloud, “They have to succeed…” Rie picks up on that and Dan starts the tale, “Actually…” Girl, you get better and better-she just fed the enemy false information! Damsari’s daughter indeed!
Shunji and Dad wait by the phone for Rie’s call who gives him a coded message, mentioning the hospital and to bring the whole family around at noon. Kimura perks up-is Doctor Oh the target? Rie affirms his doubts and asks them to hurry. He leaves with a satisfied expression after having made the call, thinking she duped Dan well, except Dan looks around from the staircase, having heard the call, her suspicion about Rie confirmed. Hurrying back to her room, Dan packs her suitcase.
Shunji comes down and barks the orders-everyone to the hospital-now! Haha, I’ll be glad when this backfires on you dearie! Finding Kang To there, he asks where he’s been. Kang To says he went to the Angel Club-the man who tried to kill him was dressed as a waiter. Shunji tells him the attack is to be on the hospital and orders everyone to file out. Checking his watch for the time, Kang To follows. Meanwhile, Damsari’s lady friend-Tae Gun’s alleged wife meets with the Countess for their invitations to the event. In response to her compliments, the countess says it’s her patriotic duty to look posh at the event, so that everyone can know how much Joseon has prospered due to the colonization. And she hands over the invitation.
The newspaper workers pile up the newspapers for delivery into a truck when Gaksital comes upon them. Dousing the papers with gasoline, Kang To leaves them there to burn. Then he turns and draws out his stick-off to another fight. Epic!
In his office, Park Insam and his son rally their victory at the paper-they commend each other for the wonderful article. Park brags especially about the governor general’s praise over the article, especially at the part where he used the colonization metaphor about a man with desire and a woman who submits. Ug huh! Eww. Thinking the headline too soft, he proposes to go with “The Downfall of Joseon” next year.
And their insufferable party crashes when a dagger narrowly misses Daddy Park’s face and hits the chair right there. Oh that was satisfying! As both Dad and son scream, Gaksital knocks out the son with a single blow. Daddy Park begs for his life and Gaksital strikes.
The police burst into the hospital room to find the good old doctor Oh enjoying lunch without a care in the world. He barks at them for barging in-what’s the meaning of this? And then Shunji knows he has been duped. Or rather, they all have been. He reports to Daddy Kimura. Meanwhile, Damsari, dressed as a postman enters the armory. Time to steal it away.
He exits the armory with a full bag and is heading away until he runs into Kimura who stops him-he’s going the wrong way to make a delivery but Damsari says he has a package for Lee Kang To that must be hand delivered. Kimura, still suspicious, wants to see the package but just then, an officer runs up to them, announcing Gaksital’s attack on the newspapers. But Kimura turns back on his way out-turning Damsari’s bag upside down and only letters and packages fall out. He orders his men to open the packages. All it contains is dry food. He leaves and Damsari breathes a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, his men are hauling the weapons over the station wall and into the street undetected. Their contact in the police office is helping them.
Kimura charges into Park’s office to find both father and son Park tied back-to-back, each with a newssheet stuffed into their mouths to shut them up. Haha, talk about irony dearie! His eyes widen at the message on the dagger left by Gaksital. He reports to Rie who seethes at having been outsmarted by Dan. Kimura can’t help but get a jab in at her -anyone could be fooled by a little girl once in their lives. She fumes, saying Dan is planning on leaving town tonight.
Dan says her farewell to Boss Jo and promises she’ll definitely come back one day, heartbroken at having to leave without saying goodbye to everyone. He assures her it is better this way and she bows to the ground in thanks to him. He looks at her lovingly before averting his gaze, tears in his eyes too.
Shunji storms into his office. There’s only one way left, he says, capture Mok Dan and use her as bait. Again? He believes making them think her life is in danger will draw out Gaksital and Damsari both. Could you fall any lower? And how long are you going to use the same old trick anyway? Kang To, surprised at Shunji’s suggestion, agrees that it’s the best plan but asks Shunji if he will be okay going that far. His words give him pause for a moment, but then Shunji tells him “To that woman, I’m nothing but a Japanese.” And so he heads off to capture her, giving Kang To other orders.
Dan is stopped in her tracks by Sun Hwa who clings to her, crying at the farewell and begs her not to go. At the same time, Kang To breaks into the dorm, looking for Dan but she’s gone and the manager tells her she left for the circus. After Kang To’s gone, the manager wonders why he’s always coming around to find Dan so much these days. Dan sits with her and promises to return-that’s why she never said goodbye. Sun Hwa asks if this means Shunji might also come back-he never said goodbye to the children either. Dan says nothing but her expression disagrees.
Shunji and his team walk up to them and Dan and Sun Hwa rise. Shunji sees the case and orders her arrested. Realizing that, Dan makes a run for it. Sun Hwa begs Shunji to let Dan go but he slaps her on the face, so hard that she falls to the ground. OMG! Damn you Shunji. And then he heads off after his men to capture her. Sun Hwa sits on the ground, dazed and unbelieving at what’s happened.
Dan stumbles and falls but manages to retain the headway she’s made through the forest. Kang To comes running up to find Sun Hwa on the path. Hurrying to her, he asks what happened. Sun Hwa barely gets out the words that Shunji is here to capture Dan when they hear a gunshot from the forest. It’s Shunji firing at Dan. She manages to hide beneath a brick and make her get away slowly until they catch sight of her again.
This time, Shunji is closest behind her and pursuing her relentlessly, fires at the tree next to her. The shock of it sends her crashing to the ground. He picks her up and is about to lead her away when someone is seen in the background. It’s Gaksital.
He knocks out the soldiers one by one. Dan perks up at seeing him but by the time Shunji reacts, Gaksital is already on them. Shunji fires at him but misses and Kang To knocks the gun out of his hand. Shunji grabs a sword from the ground and the fight is on.
It’s a furious battle and as always, Kang To is on the defense rather than the offense. Dan watches the whole fight, worried and wondering what to do when she spies the gun on the floor. Picking it up, she fires a shot in the air and both Kang To and Shunji freeze mid-fight, turning to look at her.
She glances at Shunji furiously, who seems rather surprised by it. Seriously man? That surprises you? And then she lowers her gun and points it at him. Awesome! He lowers his sword in disbelief just as Dan steps to her side until she is standing with Gaksital. Oh, n Shunji’s eyes tear up, his sword falling out of his now limp hands.
He watches as Gaksital takes Dan’s hands and they run off, his tears now falling full force and he shouts out in frustration. Dan and Kang To ride away on horse back. All the while, Kang To is still somewhat in a state of surprise. Coming out of his anguished state, Shunji spies Dan’s letter to Gaksital on the ground. It doesn’t contain much info-just her thanks for helping her father and a goodbye, asking him (Gaksital) to be well. Shunji crumples it in his hands in ferocious rage. Back to the real we, are we?
Dan and Kang To arrive at an open field and they simply look at each other for a long moment until she marches forward and hugs him tightly. Taken aback, Kang To returns her embrace as she finally begins to tear up and cries. His own expression full of pain mirroring hers, he holds her there for a long while.
Ah, so satisfying an episode!! I loved every moment of Gaksital this week! We get more and more of Kang To’s inner turmoil and conflict and see Shunji tread deeper and deeper into dangerous territory. Seriously speaking, everything he does, especially in this episode simply ensures he is falling hard and all the way down. For some people, love is destructive and Shunji falls in that very category. I’d say its a choice he made himself which has backfired on him in the worst possible way. He wanted to protect Dan and that meant catching Gaksital but he’s gone into dangerous territory where his actions now stem from an obsession to catch and kill Gaksital-the man Dan loves. The way I see it, if he’d probably stayed a bit milder and taken the brainy approach rather than an emotional one, he’d have made a lot more mileage on the path to catch Gaksital without causing the woman he ‘loves’ pain. Maybe if he’d caught Gaksital that way and tortured him or caused his death, Dan would have disliked him for being the man who cause Gaksital’s ruin but right now, when he’s keeping her in the very middle of it all, it gets worse because he’s using his underhanded actions on her, causing her to hate him even more. Seriously, who wouldn’t hate the guy who wanted you whipped until you said the name of the man you loved and wanted to protect?
The sleeping scene today was poignant and touching but it also wedged the wall even more between the two characters-Kang To and Shunji. Shunji knows he is becoming a monster, his obsession is causing him to hurt Dan and the others involved yet he sees no other way and wonders how he’ll survive without losing his mind. But what truly makes him different from Kang To is that unlike Kang To, he tries to justify his actions and blame them on others-like in the last episode where he chastised Dan for not living a simpler life and ‘making’ him like this.
On the other hand, Kang To doesn’t do that-he is horrified by his own actions even when he has no choice but to act as he did and he makes no excuses for his own behavior. Even at the police station when Dan was captured, his first concern was her and protecting her from whatever torture awaited her. He entreated her to say whatever she knew about Gaksital so she could be safe. As Gaksital, it is his place to allow her that but since she doesn’t know that she keeps to her principles and refuses to confide anything. Still, Kang To doesn’t blame her stubbornness or her loyalty for her pain. No, he was the one who whipped her on Shunji’s orders and he is regretful and horrified at his own actions-for having to go that far to protect himself. That shows that little by little, Kang To is uncovering the humanity he long buried underneath his cold exterior when mum and hyung were alive and all he cared about were them. I said this in the last recap and I’ll repeat it again, “He’s not the hardhearted bastard Lee Kang To anymore-he’s Lee Kang To the younger brother of Kang San, he’s Lee Young, the little boy who’d tended to the little girl who’d lost her mother, who’d played with her and had finally given her the promise that he’ll always find her as long as she was alive.”
I suspect the patriot’s death today is the final blow where the meaning of Gaksital finally settles into Kang To’s mind. Before this, he’d never really had to face what Gaksital was to the people. Yes, he saved their deeds and he thanked them but that was nowhere near as loyal and as selfless as the patriots act of pushing him away and taking the bullet meant for him. That moment is when it finally sinks into his mind that for some people, Gaksital is not just a masked rider, he’s their hope, the person they will give up their lives for without a moment’s hesitation. He says it right-as Kang To, people spit at him but as Gaksital-people he does not even know scramble to save his life. It’s like another burden has been added to him under the mask-first, he simply owed it to hyung to continue with the revenge as penance, but now he has another life he must make sure has not been lost in vain.
And Kang To is not just battling demons in the form of his change in principles, he’s now facing the same dilemma hyung once did-how to evade hurting Shunji in this war? And it’s a nice demo of his feelings for his friend. Shunji was probably the only friend Kang To ever had who never looked down on him and rather cheered him on through every battle he ever had to face. Shunji is also the one who lends Kang To a shoulder to cry on when hyung and mum die so in that aspect, Shunji is almost the only connection to a real family that Kang To has left. How can he bring himself to judge, hate or hurt the man who helped him be who he is today?
As I saw the preview of this episode, I was worried if maybe Dan would be too trusting of Rie and unwittingly reveal everything to the enemy but she surprised me with her quick thinking and her fast action. And even better was the fact that she outwits the enemy without letting the enemy realize it! She could have refused to say anything to Rie but that would probably have roused Rie’s suspicion and even more following up or torture for her which could jeopardize the whole operation between Damsari and Gaksital so instead, she gives the enemy a taste of their own medicine. I admit I am not looking forward to Rie’s evilness hereon either! And how adorable are the side characters? I loved Sun Hwa and the dorm manager in this episode. Sun Hwa will probably be able to rise up from the illusion of the nice teacher ‘Shunji’ has always been because of that slap but I love her gall and her loyalty to Dan and the others. She is definitely one a kind best friend one could want! And the dorm managers expression, Ah, Daebak, hehe!
Posted on July 6, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Stories, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged best bud, bridal mask recaps, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital recaps, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, reflections, Relationships, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.