Gaksital aka Bridal mask Episode 14 Recap
The ride just got even steeper cause there’s only a step left for Shunji’s suspicions to turn to certainty and for him to realize who Gakistal, and Kang To, really are. Kang To tries to piece his own defense together and keep his secret safe but it seems some efforts can only work so far, especially when the opponent is someone who is equal if not better than you. And things go from nail biting to nerve wrecking as everything moves forward and Kang To even adopts his Gaksital persona, while still as Kang To. It shows just how far he has come and how Gaksital and Kang To are not separate personae for him any longer.
Episode 14 Recap:
When Damsari retrieves his weapon, Shunji pounces and beats the man bloody while Kang To simply stares from afar, unable to do anything to help the man. As soon as the celebration goes underway again, Gaksital attacks. He knocks down Kimura and slashes the commemoration banner down just as Shunji runs back in.
Gaksital has taken his father at the point of a sword but Shunji still cocks his gun at them and when his father tells him “Shoot. Don’t worry about me. Shoot.” He does. He really does take the Kimura legacy a whole notch forward and down.
The bullet hits the podium just inches from Kang To’s arm. Kang To seems surprised Shunji shoots but that’s just the beginning of the fight. Shunji inches forward now, his gun at level. But Kang To does the same as he inches forward and presses the sword closer to Taro. Oh, I like that! Yet Shunji never stops and finally addresses his father-he must catch that guy today. You literally mean at any price? That is your father in the line of fire boy!
Kimura is as ambitious and ready to throw away his life for the greater good and he closes his eyes-giving Shunji the permission to go ahead. Kang To takes advantage of that moment and jerks Taro forward, sending him stumbling against Shunji who lowers his gun to catch and support Dad. Kang To wheels by the two, knocking out the gun in Shunji’s hand and beating the two down. Rie, now angry, gives Takayama the go ahead to engage Gaksital.
Takayama’s first strike connects with Kang To’s arm and cuts him deeply but after that, Kang To holds his own against the man. Meanwhile, Shunji reclaims his gun and holds it up, aiming to fire. Jerking his aim left and right, he finally takes a shot. Damn!
Damsari’s accomplice meanwhile stands in a powder room, still unable to calm her emotions when she hears the gunshot and assumes the worst. Looking at her pouch, she makes a decision and wipes away her tears. Meanwhile, Kang To and Takayama have stilled in response to the shot and Shunji orders Takayama away, pointing his gun at Kang To. Rie gives Takayama the signal to move. Everyone watches as his men close up on Kang To.
Kang To sweats since there is no visible escape route. Meanwhile outside, someone stands near the electric cables! Oh, it’s Baek Gun. Yaaayyyy!!! Taking a shear, he cuts through the wires. One by one, the city buildings lose electricity and finally, so does the police academy. While everyone else panics and loses control for a moment, Kang To knocks Takayama aside and makes his getaway. Okay, I love it when the hero has a team! Before Shunji or anyone else can react, Kang To makes his getaway. As soon as he propels the door open and runs away, Damsari’s accomplice, having come back at the same time, hurls in a grenade, the door closing back in by momentum. Shunji belatedly catches sight of her but jumps out of harm’s way in time.
Dan hears the explosion outside. Her and the comrades congratulate one another. She smiles and prays.
As the woman is now making her getaway, she’s not yet safe since soldiers are lurking around. As soon as the soldiers turn sideways, Gaksital also heads to an exit, clutching his bloodied and cut arm. Except, in the hall, his getaway is cut short by Takayama. Gaksital tries to knock out Takayama but the latter soon overcomes Gaksital by hitting him over his cut arm again. While he seems to emerge the winner and has Gaksital at his knees, their fight is witnessed by Damsari’s accomplice nearby.
She stabs the Takayama from afar with a dagger pin she used to bind her hair. Gaksital takes that distraction to knock down Takayama completely. Damsari’s cohort and Gaksital make their getaway.
Outside however, Dan and her friends are getting worried and even more so when they see trucks passing by carrying her father, bloody and beaten. The other comrades take this as a sign to leave not just as Damsari’s cohort and Gaksital walk up. She apologizes to Dan for coming alone. Dan can barely respond and the cohort tells her she was able to get away because of Gaksital.
Dan thanks him before noticing the wound on his arm and asks if he’s alright but he dashes away without a response. As they turn to leave, she looks in the direction he disappeared. When they’re leaving, Kang To watches them go.
As Kang To changes back into his uniform, he applies a temporary bandage over his wound. Then, taking the Gaksital cane, he starts beating himself up.
At the police academy, the lights finally flicker back on to reveal the dead people from the blast and the commotion of Gaksital. Kimura looks around anxiously-of course for Shunji. He finds Kang To slumped on the ground amidst other soldiers and turns away immediately, leaving another injured man as well and finds Shunji at a side. He rushes to his son’s side. Shunji’s first words, “Gaksital?” Without a word, he struts off to follow Gaksital.
Kang To watches him leave as he pushes himself up. Shunji marches past dead men on the ground-soldiers, without a single glance their way. In the hall, he shouts out in frustration again, “Gaksitaaaaallll!” Seriously, take those vocal lessons from Kang To. When an officer comes up to report that he seems to have gotten away already, Shunji starts crazily beating him up, shouting wildly. Kang To rushes out to see him like this.
The officer he beats up finally collapses and Kang To rushes to Shunji’s side. Abe begs Kang To to make Shunji stop. Kang To entreats Shunji to stop, using his title but Shunji’s still rambling on-how many times does this make?! Kang To finally forcibly holds Shunji back to make him stop. In an effort to free himself, Shunji inadvertently hits Kang To’s arm-right where his sword cut is. Kang To reels back in pain. All the other soldiers watch Shunji with horror and Kang To steps forward again, holding back Shunji and barking orders at the men to take the soldier away. They rush to obey without a moment’s hesitation.
Shunji pants his frustration away while Kang To notices his hand is already bloody from the wound being opened again by Shunji’s hit. He tells Shunji he’ll head back to the office first. They need to find out more about Gaksital being alive and what the relationship between Damsari and Gaksital is. Shunji nods and tells him to go. As he turns to go, Shunji stops him.
Kang To turns back, holding his bloody hand out of view. Shunji narrows his eyes and asks about the woman with Damsari. Kang To apologizes-she had already gotten away. Shunji asks him, “Sato Hiroshi, how could you not recognize Damsari?” Kang To apologizes again-the Count and Countess said they were close friends. Shunji buys that but tells Kang To, “You didn’t forget your words that you’ll take responsibility for this, did you?” Kang To says he won’t. Shunji heads back inside and Kang To hurries out.
Inside the hall, they tend to the injured and search around the premises. Kono looks around for the governor general who has gone missing. Haha, the Count and Countess come out from under the table they had hidden. Kono orders the governor general be founf immediately, expecting the worst to have happened. Just then, a table cloth moves and from under the table, the governor general crawls out. Haha! Everyone looks stunned while Rie looks disgusted at the governor general’s shameful state. The count has a hard time suppressing his laughter. So do I pal, so do I! The Countess pinches him so it seems he’s crying.
Rie leaves just as Shunji walks back in and she passes him with a smirk in his direction. Yeah, its bad time ahead for the Kimura’s. At the police academy the next morning, Kono and Kimura are in attendance with other superior officers to a meeting with Kimura and they all apologize for the commotion yesterday. Kono reports there are eight dead people as damage. The governor general is furious-is he that easy? Is he laughable? He asks who was in charge yesterday and Kono tells him it was Taro. The furious governor general turns on Taro-didn’t he say Gaksital wouldn’t appear again? He flicks water in the man’s face and orders him dismissed from the post of Chief of Police. Kono is happy at the outcome. Yeah, well, you did get to throw out your enemy.
News of Gaksital bombing the anniversary event is featured in the newspapers though the papers lie that all went smoothly.
In his office, Kono takes down Kimura’s badges and medals with a smirk. Shunji stares in shock at his father being removed while Taro has no expression. Shunji speaks up-he’s the one who should take responsibility but his father stops him-it’s the governor general’s order. Taro salutes Kono and leaves. Kono tells Shunji he must work hard with Sato Hiroshi to find Gaksital and catch him. Shunji doesn’t respond to the order until Kono calls him again, and even then gives a half hearted response. Kang To looks at him from the side.
Taro packs up his table and uniform under Shunji’s watch and they both leave then. All soldiers and officers stand in line as farewell. Taro passes by Kang To with his usual glare and Shunji also glances at him passively. At home, Shunji kneels before his father, telling him he will definitely catch Gaksital and serve his father again. Taro points out Kang To let Damsari through at the party-does he still need to watch Kang To? Shunji says he suspected the same but Damsari came as a close aide of the Count and Countess and fooled even him (Shunji) so he will have to start investigating there first. His father doesn’t like his answer but Shunji says he’ll start that way.
At the Count’s place, the Count is still in a frenzy and annoying with his nasal voice. His wife isn’t impressed by his outbursts and both of them immediately cling to Kang To when he is announced and brought in. He tells them he came since he thought they must be worried. Kang To tells them Kimura was suspended for the incident and tells them it might be suspected that they-the Count and Countess helped Damsari. They cry foul-they are also victims and were completely fooled.
Kang To tells them not to worry, he will protect the two of them. Ah, way to win them over. As a favor, he needs them to keep it a secret that he helped them-aka gave them the security details. They are totally bought over and agree to help.
Shunji comes to see the Countess just then. Kang To is worried about that but the Countess orders him to be kept in the drawing room, hence avoiding a meet between Kang To and him. Haha, I love how they’re helping him! She cozies up to Kang To, asking him if that’s enough for him to slip away unnoticed and Kang To thanks her for her help with one of his wonderful smiles. The Countess walks out to meet Shunji and cries out foul-they were also fooled and acts the perfect distressed mistress. Shunji asks for Damsari’s cohort’s name but isn’t able to learn much more. Suffice to say, the Countess knows what game she plays and she plays it well.
Koiso meanwhile is distressed at having to beat the truth out of Damsari. It’s not the beating part that has him at edge but the fact that the man won’t speak at all. Kang To hears his rant against ‘Joseon people’. Shunji walks in just then and agrees to Koiso’s suggestion for torture for Damsari-putting him in the box of nails. Kang To argues-Damsari is too valuable for that but Shunji calls Kang To to his office. Once there, Kang To argues against the torture but Shunji cuts him off calling him Lee Kang To-shouldn’t Kang To ask about his father first? Kang To apologizes for his shortsightedness.
Shunji remembers his father’s words and asks Kang To where he was when the armory was being cleared out? Shunji smiles and tells him it’s no big deal, he’s just curious. Kang To gives him an answer that appeases Shunji seemingly though he tells Kang To to report to him hereon. Then he leans forward and tells Kang To to take responsibility for his actions and get the truth out of Damsari-who is Gaksital and where is he? Kang To agrees-they also need the name of the woman with him, contacts and all. Shunji adds he should watch so that he learns a thing or two and he says it with the worst deceptive smile ever. Damn, Shunji is getting badder!
Shunji and Kang To head in to the torture room and Kang To steels himself, closing his eyes momentarily as he is plagued by a remembrance of Dan that night-she had thanked him. He’s feeling guilty already! As Shunji heads down the stairs to the torture room, Kang To pauses for a moment before following. There, Kang To shouts out orders to Abe. He has Damsari released and put on a chair before telling them to leave, leaving just him and Shunji in the room with Damsari.
He approaches Damsari as Shunji watches and jerks his head back, taking in his wounds and condition. Damsari greets him as if they were old friends and then chastises Kang To for not replying likewise. Kang To then takes a seat opposite him and retorts, “Manners? You should live like a person. Even animals take care of their young.”
He says that while Damsari has been running around for the independence movement, his daughter has been chased and captured and tortured to within an inch of her life—is that how a father should live?
All the while, Shunji watches him with suspecting eyes. “My brother was captured because of the movement and he lived and died an idiot. So what. Does anyone recognize that? It’s all in vain! Futile nonsense!” Oooh. I love this because it’s earnest, just twisted for a dark purpose.
But Damsari asks if he should just let the people who want to take him and his daughter as slaves do what they want, just to save her right now. Isn’t doing so becoming an animal that submits before those very men?
He looks Kang-to in the eye and asks how he could be the very thing he should be fighting. It shakes him to his core. Tears pool in his eyes and Damsari says full of regret for Kang-to like he’s a lost child, “My heart stings and my bones break!”
Kang To cannot keep his emotions under wraps much longer and tears sting his eyes while his face twists in a painful expression at having to do this. He snaps to attention when he hears Shunji move as Shunji now approaches Damsari, angered at his words and confronts him.
As Shunji holds Damsari’s head back, fuming at being called a foregin bastard as he remembers the moment Dan had told him, “To me, you are just a Japanese now” and mutters, “The daughter and father are totally alike!” in spite. He turns to Kang To and tells him-no more need for words, torture time! Kang To argues-the man could die but Shunji pays him no heed. When he gives the order to Abe and the others, Kang To speaks up again-Shunji said he’ll leave it upto Kang To, didn’t he?! He tells him they can’t do it. “Definitely not!” Kang To tells him with a finality in his voice.
Shunji smirks at that-what, is Kang To on that man’s side? That sparks Damsari’s attention and he turns to look at Shunji. Shunji reminds Kang To he said he was a Japanese ‘down to my very bones’. He says they ought to put it to test-“Should we test that? Put Damsari inside! With your own hands.” Kang To sees the torture block, his disgust evident in his eyes as he looks back at Damsari. Damsari closes his eyes. Shunji retorts-so he is a Joseon person after all.
Kang To grabs Shunji by the collar and angrily snaps at him, “You BASTARD!” Shunji is surprised and confused by the outburst. “Are you crazy? Have you lost your mind? We finally catch him and you want to kill him?! Are you going to catch Gaksital or not?!” he continues, “You said you wanted to learn from me. If you don’t know anything then sit still! Shut your mouth!!” And I do a small happy dance at that! Kang To turns back at Abe and the other “Aren’t you going out?” he shouts at them. They don’t need another reminded and scram.
Once they’re gone, Kang To turns back to Shunji and apologizes for his behavior. “Can’t you please believe in me?” he asks Shunji who is still in a state of shock. “I said I’ll handle it!” Kang To tells him. Shunji turns to leave and turns back to see Kang To kick Damsari violently so he’s thrown off his chair. With that, Shunji leaves and Kang To’s expression shows the pain and guilt he’s feeling. Unseen by all, a tear falls from his eyes.
At the circus, Circus Master Jo is pacing around worried when Dan and Damsari’s comrades walk in. She tells him her father was captured. They agree that freeing Damsari is their first priority and wonder how to go about it. Dan perks up, saying they’ll have to use Shunji. “I have a plan.”
Shunji meanwhile broods in his office as he contemplates Kang To’s outburst. Koiso bursts in-wasn’t he in charge? Why’d he put Lee Kang To on it? Shunji shouts-don’t they have to find Gaksital first? They decide to investigate the incident with the imperial army, and why they set Dan and Jo free after taking them. Meanwhile Sun Hwa is out for a walk with her younger brother when Shunji and Koiso pull up. Her brother hurries to go to Shunji even though she tries to stop him. Shunji doesn’t even spare him a glance and as Koiso drives away with him, Sun Hwa’s younger brother asks her, “That was Teacher, right? Right? It was him, right?” Gosh, Shunji you bastard! You broke the little boy’s heart! Sun Hwa has nothing to say to it and simply hugs her brother while they both cry-her, silently while he sobs loudly. She tells him finally that Shunji isn’t someone they can know anymore.
At the circus, Jo tells the rest of the people and asks if it is okay to delay their pa for the month a bit. While Nanda doesn’t agree, Dong Nyeo and the others agree all at once. Gye Soon the great, gosh how I hate her, says she’s not comfortable with it since she’s got some sort or dire situation. Jo tells the rest to let him know if they’re facing a similar situation so he can help them. Just then, Shunji and Koiso walk in. He respectfully asks Jo to come with them but then threatens him all the same. The others worry for him but he tells them he’ll definitely be back.
At the interrogation room, Kang To has lit a fire in the stand where heating irons are placed for torture. Damsari tells him to hurry up and get it over with. Kang To addresses him, “There’s something I wanted to ask my hyung, but he died before I could ask it. If my hyung… and you…,” It is telling how he speaks in formal tones, respectfully. He adds in voiceover, “and I…” and then continues, “live this way, will the world change? They say that the Japanese empire won’t stop at Joseon, and that it’ll swallow Manchu, and China. Isn’t it throwing an egg against a stone?” Damsari watches him silently. Finally he answers-such a day will definitely come.
Damsari: It may appear reckless. One layer of an egg’s shell, cast against a stone will surely break. But no matter how strong a stone, it is dead. And no matter how weak an egg, it is alive. When time passes a stone will crumble into dirt. But someday there is a chick who will hatch from that egg and walk upon that dirt. The day will come when the Japanese empire’s murderous tyranny and oppression cannot defeat that egg.
Just then, Shunji and Koiso walk in with Jo before Kang To can respond. Kang To asks why Jo is here and Shunji asks if he was able to find out anything. Kang To reminds him “You know very well he’s not a man who opens his mouth easily!” Shunji turns to him- “I’m in a hurry!” He wants to bring his father back soon. He faces Damsari himself then as Jo watches and asks who Gaksital is and where he is. Damsari says he doesn’t know-he never even met the man. Shunji scoffs at that-he doesn’t know?
“You don’t know? Shall I grab your daughter and throw her in that box before your eyes and give it spin?” Shunji retorts. He orders Kang To to lock up Damsari in a cell and go rest while ho tortures Dan’s location out of Jo. Jo smiles at Damsari reassuringly. Koiso walks in the cell they’re keeping Damsari and chains his feet. Kang To argues with him and demands the keys but Koiso smirk in response, Shunji will be holding on to them! Kang To watches Damsari and sighs in frustration.
In the interrogation room, Shunji turns on Jo and a scared Jo mutters again and again-“Didn’t I say I don’t know! I don’t know!” Shunji is totally heartless as he proceeds to torture Jo in the torture cell with a rather frustrated and angry expression. At the end, he asks again, where is Mok Dan?
Next thing we see Shunji walking down the stairs and two of his men holding up Jo behind them, escorting him out. Shunji turns to him with a smile and thanks him for his help. No, please no! Tell me didn’t break! Jo looks horrified with himself and Shunji orders him to be taken to the hospital.
Kang To watches from a corner. When Shunji walks up to him, Kang To asks if he was able to find out something, Shunji lies through his teeth, “No, it was a waste of time.”
Kang To heads straight for Damsari’s cell and opening it up, goes inside and asks him worriedly-where is Mok Dan?
Damsari looks at him but doesn’t reply. Kang To asks again but Damsari remains silent. Behind them, Shunji just walks up to the cells and sees Kang To asking for Dan’s whereabouts-she could get caught, where is she? Damsari tells him there’s no reason he can understand for Kang To to be worried about Dan. Kang To grabs his shoulder, “Your daughter is in danger. Boon Yi… Boon Yi is in danger!”
Shunji comes to attention at that as he remembers the letter he found in the forest where Dan had signed her name as Boon Yi. Noooooo! He looks back to see Kang To pleading through tears, “Please! PLEASE!”
OMG, is this it? Is this how Shunji will put the pieces together? Gosh, I hope not! I can still see Kang To wriggling his way out of this one but we all know Shunji suspects him too much to let another lie totally deceive him! But what a cliffhanger! Shunji will put the pieces together soon enough but is it going to be sooner-we’ll be left wondering that for a whole week now! Why isn’t it Wednesday already?! Already Shunji knows Dan’s name is Boon Yi and there are only two other people who would know that name-‘Young Master’ and ‘Gaksital’. Remembering Kang To’s outburst from Episode 4, where Kang To asks Shunji what he would do if Dan were his first love, Shunji might put it together and realize Kang To wasn’t talking about Shunji but himself! And that would mean, Kang To=Young Master=Gaksital!
I think I’ve said this in every recap in the past two weeks-Shunji is turning more and more into a monster. So I won’t go into it in much detail today but every event speaks for itself-the shootout where he fires even though he might hit his father, where he starts beating that officer senseless after Gaksital escapes, where he wants to use extreme measures on Dan, how he ignores Sun Hwa’s younger brother, where he takes in Master Jo from the circus and tortures him till he bleeds and has no strength left-here is a man who doesn’t care about the collateral damage he rigs when in pursuit of something. And what Shunji doesn’t realize probably is that while he speaks out about getting revenge for hyung, this is more a revenge out of spite for Dan who clearly chose Gaksital/Kang To over him. He is losing himself and unlike what he thinks, when this over, he cannot simply give up his uniform and go back to teaching little kids. By the time this is over, he will have become a replica of Lee Kang To-the man Joseon hates and spits at. He will have become the hateful ‘Japanese’ who the Koreans will never again accept. He was once the Japanese whom the Joseon people liked and listened to but the future is as bleak as his past was bright!
Kang To, Kang To, Kang To! The whole series revolves around his journey and as his antithesis-Shunji! I love the dynamics that plays between these two each and every time they are on screen because both of them are equally matched and they both dance around the same issue-Gaksital, each of them with their own sets of beliefs and suspicions. While Kang To’s main purpose and effort was to keep Shunji away to save him from the same agony and fate he faced when he confronted Gaksital-his hyung, I can see it changing slightly in face of the new and completely driven Shunji who wants the man dead-at any price. Knowing his self now, Kang To would probably still want to absolve Shunji of any situation where he may feel guilt for Gaksital if he ever were to discover it were Kang To but by now, we are all seeing the little hints that to Shunji, that guilt will probably be non-existent in the face of that tragedy. Shunji may be many things, but compassionate he is no longer. When he does discover it is Kang To, his hatred will simply grow more and I suspect he will not care for Kang To’s reason in killing Kenji. To him, Dan is the bigger catalyst, remember? And the fact that she chose him, while not even realizing it was Kang To will make him go even crazier.
And we get more of Kang To’s dilemma- what is it like to be on this path? A righteous hero. But what is a righteous hero and what is it that makes the whole quest worth it? The question he asks Damsari made my day. He asks it plainly-what does living like this bring? He’s living the life and he’s doing what his conscience is propelling him to do-help Damsari, ruin the commemoration party, take down Jo and return the land deeds the Joseon people had been cheated of. He helps Damsari because of Dan and Jo was taken down because of his wrong deeds yet then again, his persona is responsible for the current pain of Damsari, circus master Jo and if caught-Dan. Will living like this really pay off? Will the world someday truly change for the better? Will the Joseon be the better people someday?
I love the he gets the guidance from Damsari-the man he once almost put to death and the man who literally gives it all up for his cause. And what i like even more is that Damsari doesn’t scoff or belittle his words-he answers as truthfully and honestly as he can-as Joseon. And it is endearing to see Kang To turning to Damsari and asking him the one thing that has plagued him since his brother’s death and who better to answer it than a man who is also walking that same path?
The difference between Kang To and Shunji is evident in another aspect as well. However heartless Kang To once was, when he did recognize Dan/Boon Yi and Shunji’s affiliation with her, he stayed in the shadows and even asked Shunji if he had the courage to protect her till the end. But then his question to Shunji stands as well-does Shunji really love Dan? And in the last few encounters between the three, I think Kang To has recognized how and if Shunji loves Dan.
For Shunji, loving Dan means that when she rejects him he takes it all out by going out and taking away the one thing she holds dear to her-Gaksital, using her father and any other resource near her and even herself. Whereas Kang To cannot do that, not even in the name of protecting his own identity as Gaksital. The scene where he closes his eyes as he remembers Dan’s words kills me. If Dan knew his real identity and the fact that he saved her and her father, she would not hold it against him that he tortured her father yet he cannot use that as an excuse to his behavior. His conscience is far from accepting it as justifiable and he has yet to accept or understand the concept of ‘brotherhood’ that the independence fighters’ share-to hold each others’ secrets above life.
Another thing at the beginning of the episode shows us that Kang To is as human as any other person-he may be the better man amongst the soldiers and officers around so he’s always one step ahead when he fights them but Takayama is a whole different level of skilled fighter and the fact that he gains the upper hand on Gaksital means there is much Gaksital has yet to learn and acquire to become better. That is one fight where yous see Gaksital worry and sweat as he tries to maintain his own.
Posted on July 13, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged best bud, bridal mask recaps, Damsari, Dan, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital recaps, Kang, kdrama, Kimura, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, story, Takayama, Takayama Gifu, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.