Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 18 Recap


Wednesday’s here, Finally! A thought we all must’ve shared, hehe!The last time, Dan scoffed at the possibility that Lee Kang To was her Young Master but realizes its truly him when he saves her life from Rie and Kachiyama and ends up hurt himself because of it. Shunji is becoming creepier by the minute and he and Rie are almost always at loggerheads but it’s fun to watch!

This episode contains many poignant moments and underlining meanings behind exchanges and actions. It’s a revolution happening and every revolution needs its heroes and martyrs. But the extent to which one goes for their ideals and dreams is a truly satisfying and moving thing to watch! What makes Gaksital so satisfying is that it explores these very points to make its statement!

Also, I’ve recently started putting in a lot of comments throughout the recap but if you guys find them distracting or would prefer the recap without them, please let me know!

Episode 18 Recap:

The episode begins with Shunji carrying flowers and passing through the hotel corridor, headed for Dan’s room. And I’m like-Huh? Flowers? After the way you hit her so? Gosh, I love to hate you! At first, there’s a silly smile on his face, reminiscent of a puppy in love (that’s your alter ego’s new name, Shunji) but then tones it down. He’s sent out of his reverie when he reaches the room and finds the guards unconscious on the ground. Inside, he finds Dan missing and wakes up his minion, Takeda, asking where Dan is. Takeda tells him a man in a black suit came and attacked them. Shunji confirms its Kachiyama.

Shoving Takeda aside, Shunji heads for the lair of evil where Rie, Kimura Taro and Kachiyama are stewing in silence after Gaksital’s disappearance with Dan. He asks her straight out where Dan is and doesn’t budge even when Dad calls out to him. Whipping out his gun, Shunji points it at Rie, addressing his father-there is someone he wants to protect and he already warned Rie. Even Kachiyama pointing his sword at Shunji doesn’t make him blink.

Why can’t he love a Korean girl, he asks, why must Kishokai interfere with his feelings? Rie snaps at that-love Korean women all he wants but that woman is with Gaksital-protecting that girl is equivalent to protecting Gaksital! “How could I just watch that?” She asks him. Shunji tells her “To catch Gaksital with my own hands, I can’t give up that girl, not even if I die. Do you understand?” and asks where she is. Rie tells him not to worry, Gaksital saved her. That gives Shunji pause and he lowers the gun.

Dan is in the forest at the meeting spot for her and Gaksital when his horse draws up, its rider unconscious. She removes the mask and realizes that Kang To really is Gaksital and he just saved her life. Kang To slowly drifts back to consciousness and finds her crying as she holds the mask in her hand. Heaving himself up, Kang To dismounts from the horse and almost stumbles but Dan steadies him. He’s still weak and they both end up on the ground, her holding his head in her lap.

He opens his eyes and they both look at each other. She’s still crying and he hands her the dagger he gave her. It sparks a series of memories for her-when she first told Kang To, “A bastard like you should die and Gaksital should live!” It makes her tear up even more and he wipes away her tears. Okay, this is making me tear up slightly! This is such a poignant moment I can’t even describe how I feel! She remembers the time she had woken in the hospital after he had shot her and asked her, “Look at me! Look at me closely! Don’t you know me?” Again, the time he’d asked her to reveal everything about Gaksital so she could avoid being tortured.

A look at his wounds brings her back to reality and she tears off a piece from her shirt to tie it over his wound. Uh, the shirt is blue n the piece she’s tying is white. Did I miss something? He winces in pain when she secures it and she looks at him concerned. Then she remembers the time he had told her he was Young and how she’d shouted at him, reminding him of his cruelties and muttered that she thought Young was Gaksital-the man who helped Joseon people and refused to listen to him.

He moves to get up and she helps him, only now noticing the cut on his leg as well. When she moves to cut another piece from her shirt, he stops her. Yup, blue shirt, white bandage-just saying, you know! Finally, he moves in to hug her, a sad smile on his face along with tears. When he draws back, the two look at each for a long moment before he moves in to kiss her.

In the morning at the dorms, spy Gye Soon happily applies her latest acquired creams and lotions and Sun Hwa, sitting nearby asks her where she’s getting all the money to buy this stuff. Spy tells her to stay out of other’s business and Sun Hwa asks her if she’s close with Shunji. Spy Girl’s like, “Aww, you still don’t know? We’re so close!” with special emphasis on the latter word. Just then, Shunji bursts through the door. Impeccable timing, chap! Shunji addresses Sun Hwa straight and asks if she’s heard from Dan. Trembling, Sun Hwa replies she hasn’t. Gye Soon’s like-did she escape again? And then launches into a series of rants against Dan which earn her a slap from Shunji. Ah, now that was satisfying! Shunji, next time you wanna slap someone, slap her, not poor Sun Hwa or Dan! Shunji tells Sun Hwa to let him know if she hears from Dan. A trembling Sun Hwa can only nod as he leaves while Gye Soon mutters evilly, “Oh Mok Dan!”

Meanwhile, Circus Master Jo is telling Nanda and Dong Nyeo that he is going on a bit of a vacation for a while. Before they can delve on it, Shunji bursts in (Is it becoming a habit now?) and wants to talk to him alone, announcing that Dan has disappeared and asks if anyone knows where she is. Since the other two don’t know, they’re sent out. Shunji faces Jo then who asks him if he’s truly going to execute Damsari, arguing that neither Damsari’s comrades, nor Gaksital will appear at that moment. Are they fools, he reasons? That brings a glint of evil in Shunji’s eyes and he smiles-“He won’t be able to ignore the hopes of the Korean people that he’ll swoop in and save Damsari.” He asks Jo to look into Dan’s whereabouts and Jo points out he cant help him anymore-his own comrades don’t trust him anymore and he’s marked for execution. Shunji smiles at him-he’ll be protecting him for the rest of his life and asks him to find out where Dan is.

In his office, Shunji calls up Koiso and orders a meeting to be held. He announces the day after tomorrow as Damsari’s execution and then realizes Kang To is absent. He learns Kang To hasn’t shown up yet and wonders to himself, “Lee Kang To didn’t show up? Oh Mok Dan disappeared?”

Meanwhile at the cottage, Baek is packing a bag when the door opens and Dan comes in supporting Kang To. Baek Gun calls him “Young Master” and he and Dan tend to Kang To’s wounds. Dan watches him worriedly as he grits his teeth and drowns his cries of pain.

Much later, they both sit outside in the open and she opens up to him-the first time she saw him was when her father was sentenced to death because of him, while he smiled and took a photograph. At that time, she really wanted to kill him. then he became the person who captured, tortured her and held her out in the square to be killed and she was frightened of him, more than anything. “That Lee Kang To… The Japanese Police Officer Lee Kang To, how did he end up wearing Gaksital’s mask?

Kang To tells her his story-the man he so crazily wanted to catch was his own hyung. His brother went to get revenge on Kenji for killing their mother and he, knowing nothing of that, fought with Gaksital and in the end, shot him. At first, it was for everything his brother had been doing-revenge against his mother’s and father’s death. Yet, even after he did all that, he found himself unable to take off the mask. “But now, even if I take vengeance on every one of my father’s enemies, I don’t think I’ll be able to take off the mask. There are so many things to be done. Wherever I look, there are too many people in agony.” At that, Dan take his hand in her own (Omo omo, are you wearing matching shirts? Wooohooo!) and promises him “You won’t have to go alone. I’ll follow you to the very end, rooting for you. Whether it’s a thousand fathoms deep or through a fiery pit, I’ll always go with you.” Kang To hugs her. [Gosh, I just love these two!]

Shunji takes Kang To’s guard to task who hilariously, didn’t even realize Kang To was missing until the last moment. Shunji tells the idiot Kang To already realized his presence and Abe comes in to report Kang To can’t be found anywhere-not home, nor Angel Club. After he orders them all out of his office, Shunji fists his hand and tells himself, “Oh Mok Dan’s disappearance and Lee Kang To’s absence don’t matter! Bear it a bit. Two days more, two days more and you’ll catch Gaksital!”

At the cottage, Kang To is sleeping. Dan asks Baek Gun if he’ll be fine. He tells her he’ll definitely wake up soon but she excuses herself to go back to the hotel, asking him to take care of Kang To. The people who tried to kill her know she was rescued by Gaksital. Since Kang To didn’t go to work, they might suspect him of being Gaksital so they must deflect that. Baek Gun tells her Kang To made plans with her comrades to save Damsari so they must be told of the latest events. She promises to go meet them before she returns to Asuka Hotel.

Damsari’s comrades are about to leave when Dan comes to meet them. The woman asks her if she’s escaped but she tells them not to worry about her. The woman tells her they met Gaksital and that he will help them rescue Damsari. Dan tells them Gaksital got injured last night saving her. She didn’t realize until now that he was going to save her father. The woman tells her not to worry and tells her comrade they’ll change plans accordingly. She also says they will kill Kang To but she stops them-they definitely can’t do that. “Do you know who Lee Kang To is?” she tells them.

Shunji sits in his office, contemplating strategies when the phone rings. It’s Rie.

“Didn’t you hear I wanted to see you?”

“Didn’t you hear I couldn’t go because I am busy? I’m hanging up!”

And he hangs up the phone without waiting for an answer. [Haha, these two are definitely good together! I so love how he’s always putting her in place!] Rie stews “You won’t come when I call?” and tells Kachiyama to prepare the car.

And so she arrives at the police station but signals Kachiyama to stay outside. Inside, Shunji is giving a briefing for capturing Gaksital. When she comes up, Shunji tells his officer to show her into his office and joins her later while she stews alone in the meanwhile. She moves to slap him when he finally comes but he stops her. Her dad will be here soon to attend Damsari’s execution, she tells him, and there’d better not be any mistakes in capturing Gaksital. Shunji reminds her he said there will be no mistake. She warns “Next time I ask to see you drop everything and come.” He’s like, “I will try”. She’s dumbfounded-he’ll try? asking why he is so brazen. He returns it with a question-why does he have to bow to her – “Because you’re the Chairman’s daughter?” He tells her to keep one thing in mind-the only reason he is with Kishokai is to capture Gaksital. She points out her father is a lot more greedy than that. She’s midsentence when the phone rings-Dan’s back and Shunji tears out of there, leaving Rie stumped-again! Seriously, I could watch these two at it all day!

Dan is at the hotel room and its hilarious the way the three guns are pointed at her. Shunji comes tearing in and orders everyone out. This time, she addresses him, and it’s evident she’s using him for her own means. She tells him how she was almost killed last night by that woman in the nun’s outfit. Shunji points out he heard that Gaksital saved her. She wonders how he knows that-does he know that woman? He deflects her question with his own-didn’t she run off with Gaksital? She jumps at that-no, while Gaksital was fighting that black suited man, she ran away. He asks where she was then, and she said she was praying at the church.

She tells him Lala seems to be staying in the hotel as well and asks him to let her go to Sun Hwa’s house so that she can be safer there. Shunji asks her, “Why does Gaksital always show up around you?”

“I thought that was strange. That maybe he is the young master I knew as a kid but he never showed me his face and leaves after rescuing me without a word so I was probably mistaken.” At that, Shunji moves in for a hug and although she stiffens, she stays still. Gosh, even I can feel her skin crawling at the touch! But good going girl! Shunji tells her he’s glad she came back. “I will protect you from here on.” Whoever it is, he won’t let them hurt her. She asks again to be let go to Sun Hwa’s house so he takes her there with officers already in place to watch out for her. At Sun Hwa’s, her little brother runs away as soon as he sees Shunji. Shunji asks Sun Hwa if it’s okay to leave Dan here and she agrees. He smiles at Sun Hwa, telling her it’s a favor and in that moment, she seems to remember the old Shunji and mutters, “Don’t worry, teacher” but then realizes her slip and corrects it immediately.

Shunji tells Dan to think of the officers as if they are protecting her, not watching her and that he’ll come again. As he’s leaving, Dan calls out to him, “You said you would stop him from being killed. I can trust those words, right?” He tells her to trust him and leaves. Her smile vanishes once he leaves and expression hardens.

At the cottage, Kang To wakes up. Finding it empty, he hurries to get up, intending to search for Dan but his wounds hurt and he sits there, clutching his arm just as Baek Gun comes back in. Kang To immediately asks about Boon Yi/Dan and Baek Gun tells her she went back to the hotel. “What? You should’ve stopped her!” Baek Gun tells him since Dan disappeared and Kang To didn’t go to work either, Shunji might suspect Kang To of being Gaksital. She went to help him, how could Baek Gun stop her.

But Kang To is also worried about Rie, more so than Shunji. She’s the one who tried to kill Dan and is living in the same hotel. He gets up to go after her but Baek Gun stops him and says Dan already knew that. She went there protecting him; Kang To should respect that. Kang To shares his suspicions that Shunji and Lala are together somehow along with the corrupt judge and Kimura Taro. It holds a high possibility that it is related to the people who betrayed Kang To’s father.

Meanwhile, at Sun Hwa’s place, Sun Hwa prepares a table of food for the guards and sends her brother to call them. And from their mannerisms, it’s certain they’re up to something. So inside the guards go, to enjoy ‘makgeulli’. Dan plans to sneak away while they eat. At the cottage, Kang To is resting when Dan bursts in. He perks up to see her and she asks how he’s feeling.

He asks her if she’s still as Asuka Hotel and she tells him she made Shunji move her to Sun Hwa’s place. He asks her to be careful. She saw it, right? Taro and ‘that woman’ were on the same team and Shunji is definitely part of it. She tells him she met her father’s comrades today and told them he was injured and won’t be able to go to help her father. He’s not happy with that but she persists.

“I would also be happy if Gaksital went to save my father. But if something went wrong, what would her father think, she thought to herself.  If anything bad happens to you while trying to save my father – my father won’t be able to endure it. Because Gaksital must live. Because Gaksital is the light that must shine for the Joseon people who live in darkness. He wouldn’t want that light to go out. You said there were too many people living in agony, that you had so many things to do.”

She asks him not to go to the execution site. “You must not go!” Tears in his eyes, Kang To doesn’t reply and simply hugs her. He’s going to go, isn’t he?

Trouble’s brewing at Sun Hwa’s house because Shunji shows up to find Dan gone. He questions Sun Hwa about her whereabouts but she doesn’t tell. He tries to appeal to her humanity-its because Dan is in danger, there’s someone who wants to kill her! He brought her here because he believed in Sun Hwa. What if something else happened to her? Sun Hwa seems almost bought over and is about to speak when Dan turns up.

Shunji asks where she was and she tells him she went to the church to pray. He argues that he told her the officers weren’t to dog her but to protect her and asks that she take them along the next time. She argues that she can’t pray well with the officers standing outside the door. If he’s so intent on having her watched 24/7, just put her back in a jail cell, she tells him before storing inside. Shunji watches her go. Why do I get the feeling he knows there might be something suspicious in his mind?

The next day at the police station, Kang To is still a no show and Koiso mutters he probably just quit work. Shunji briefs the others on how to go about tomorrow’s execution-in particular, controlling the crowd that would be gathered there. He looks at Kang To’s empty seat with a scowl. The evil suspicious one, you know!

Sun Hwa tells Dan about the circus being closed and everything that happened with circus master Jo. Just then, Shunji shows up and tells her Kang To has disappeared-he didn’t come to work yesterday and today and asks if she knows where he is. Dan’s face is a perfect mask of her old I-hate-Kang To-self and she’s like, “What do you mean? How would I know where that man is?” Shunji points out Kang To said he loved her so he thought maybe he might have contacted her but Dan denies it and tells him to leave if he’s going to talk nonsense. As she moves to leave, Shunji apologizes to her. “I’m sorry. I’m really sorry. I couldn’t help it. I tried everything I could but I couldn’t help. Tomorrow, Damsari will be executed in the square. It would be better if you don’t come out.” A stunned Dan stands reeling as he leaves.

The Count and Countess have lunch with someone who gives them a bribe to put in a good word for them with the governor general. Meanwhile at the club, the club manager is ready to leave and he says he’s too scared to live in Kyungsung anymore after the police took him to the station once. Tasha and the waiter are sad to see him leave. The count’s son is there as well and he says he’s getting the same thoughts-to leave and jokingly asks Tasha if she wants to leave with him. She’s not too impressed with the joke. Someone is about to be executed. Figures, how could someone who is hungry and someone whose stomach is full become one? That retort silences him and she leaves. Although he smiles at it, he is bothered by her words.

Ah, Kishokai returns! At Rie’s lair of evil, the members of Kishokai gather under Chairman Ueno who has finally come around. Rie addresses everyone-tomorrow is Damsari’s execution and with his execution they can end all the rebels’ hopes that rose from the anniversary event. Shunji says that through Damsari’s death-“I will do my best to cut Gaksital’s throat and step on the rebels hope.” Ueno makes a toast to Kishokai and Japan.

Execution day. All preparations go underway and the area is as secure as can be with troops hanging around every nook and corner. Circus Master Jo meanwhile, dons Gaksital’s robes under his outer clothes. Dong Nyeo sees this. His expression is somber, as if heading to certain death. Damsari is brought out from the closet he has been locked into. The man is totally weak and Abe has to help him out. Shunji watches impassively.

Kang To’s gets his wound treated by Baek Gun once more. Tellingly, he is also dressed in white. Damsari is led out onto the field-the lamb ready for slaughter. People watch in the sidelines. Shunji walks behind them, looking around, again and again for a sign of a rescuer.

When Damsari stumbles, Shunji whips him once before the men take him up to the platform where the noose is planted around his neck. Jo watches from the sidelines, tellingly anxious and worried for Damsari. At Sun Hwa’s place, Dan prays. “God! You know my heart. You know what situation this is right now, don’t you? Please save my father. Please protect the comrades and Gaksital who are on their way to rescue my father. You are the only one I have right now! I will entrust those oppressors lives to you.

She realized he was going to go? Gosh, I love them both even more now! They are truly so perfect together! Meanwhile, Kang To dons his white robes and the mask.

Shunji starts declaring the execution of Damsari, listing down all his crimes. Suddenly, Jo runs forward and calling out to Damsari, removes his upper clothes, revealing the whites he’s wearing-“Comrade Damsari! It’s me! I’ll go with you!” Guards overpower him and start beating him. At that, Dong Nyeo rushes forward, revealing her own white hanbok and chaos reigns as police officers start beating the two up. More citizens rush forward with in white and Shunji watches as soldiers beat them up. It’s a sign of defiance to the Japanese by the people and of solidarity with their own causes. It’s like a statement that even if they can’t save Damsari, they can take his place and offer their own lives to the cause! He gives the order to line them all up and shoots Dong Nyeo in the chest, without even batting an eyelash. All the circus folk rush forward to help carry her away. Jo is knocked out by a blow to the back of his head.

All the citizens in white are eventually rounded up and Shunji gives the order to proceed with the execution. Just as Abe and another officer move to remove the plank from beneath Damsari’s feet, sounds of a scuffle come from above n behind. Damsari perks at that. Everyone turns back to see Gaksital on the rooftop behind. He throws down and rope and then jumps down himself. Umm, may I say, that doesn’t look like Kang To.

In one stroke, he rushes to Damsari, knocks out the officers there and cuts the hanging rope. As he runs away then, Shunji fires at him, hitting him in the leg. Ah, he’s carrying a sword. This is definitely not Kang To! Gaksital still limps forward, even as a hundred or so (I didn’t count, hehe) guns are pointing at him. Shunji rushes forward down the platform.

The man turns back to Shunji who is holding a gun to him and yes, it’s not Kang To but one of the comrades. Shunji shoots the comrade in the chest and everyone recoils but the comrade remains standing. He undoes his cloak and reveals bombs strapped to his chest.

[And my favorite music comes] As everyone watches, he lights the wire! Shunji stands there, watching stunned. An explosion rings out and everyone recoils back. The nearest officers are caught in the fire. And it’s total chaos.


My first thought at the explosion-did Shunji jump back by himself again like before? Hehe, can’t help it, the actor is too good I love to hate him here! I don’t think its spoilery but we can all rest assured since that wasn’t Kang To who appeared as Gaksital and blew up the place. The Gaksital who appeared was Damsari’s comrade who was with the woman.

Finally Dan knows the truth! Her ‘Young Master’ Lee Young and Lee Kang To are the same person. I loved the scene in the forest where she realizes it’s truly him and cries with his head in her lap, remembering all the times she’d mistaken him for. It’s so poignant, so charged and so romantic even though Gaksital is injured and bleeding-it’s the point where the two actually face each other and how awesome that there was no need for words between them. To me, that was the best part! Since she was confronted with the truth that Kang To was the Young Master, her initial reaction was disbelief and horror-how could the young boy she liked and was always waiting for turn out to be the monster she hates? However, from that moment on to the moment she’s saved by Gaksital, she’s had plenty of time to think through the matter, even more so when she sits alone in the forest and prays for his safety. At that time, the thought must have passed through her mind a hundred times-Lee Kang To is Gaksital! Lee Kang To is Gaksital?

So by the time he shows up, when she does see his face, she’s shocked that it’s actually true but it passes quickly since she’s had time to get used to the idea and takes it in stride. Focusing on the way she saw him before, she remembers all the times he actually helped her but she misunderstood his intentions since she saw him as Lee Kang To-the ruthless and coldblooded Japanese Police Officer. And I thought her crying meant she was opening herself to the fact that there’s probably more to people than meets the eye-not everything is black n white. What she thought wasn’t right and if she’d continued that way; she’d probably have only turned things even worse for Kang To/Gaksital. And all the while, he was helping her, redeeming himself for his old actions and all the while, loving her.

And I love the way she tricks Shunji and gets him to buy her story. By returning, she took one step but by asking Shunji for protection, it’s like appealing to his vanity-the puppy side that wants her to depend on him and she uses it to her perfect advantage. After all, the way Shunji sees it, Dan is passionate about Gaksital, thinking its her Young Master but her returning to him shows it probably really isn’t her young master because the Dan he knows wouldn’t have left the man. Ah, it’s so satisfying to see Dan play the cards now!

Shunji. My favorite character, 2nd to Kang To, though! 😛 I liked that even though he’d given up suspicion that Kang To was Gaksital, he’s still suspicious enough, and of course, smart enough to think there has to be a connection between Kang To and Dan that he’s unaware of. It’s telling that he may have been bought over with the evidence when it was presented before-hell, he still believes Kang To is not on the same side as Damsari BUT that doesn’t mean he won’t suspect there’s more to it all than meets the eye!

And I love that he’s not cowered over by Rie or the whole Kishokai deal. His one and only concern, like before, is Dan. Even the fact that his own father’s greed stands for Kishokai doesn’t sway him. He doesn’t care for anything except Dan and Gaksital. And as is usual with him, his relentless pursuit for Gaksital isn’t because of Kenji’s death-it’s because of Dan. He creeps me out in his evil mode and it was worst when he told Dan to believe in him when she asks if he’ll truly help her father.

Shunji has really gone and changed a long way-from the man who stopped his friend once, saying,“If you also die, how am I going to live?” he’s totally lost all compassion and feelings-not just for Kang To but overall. He’s not above using people for his own means and deceiving them to his own gain-Circus master Jo, Sun Hwa, Gye Soon. I’ll bet he won’t bat an eyelash shooting Gaksital even if he knew it was Kang To. To him, there’s no turning back at all!

I like Jo’s actions. He’s not totally a coward but he’s not too strong either and he regrets his betrayal to his own comrades. This is true to any and every revolution. Not everyone has nerves of steel and can withstand everything. He’s like the man who’s not quite the traitor at heart but he’s not the man who can be the hero either. Yet he does the only thing he can to show his solidarity to his beliefs and his cause-donning the white and disrupting the execution.

Kang To-it’s the first time he’s voiced his thoughts as Kang To/Gaksital to any person. I said this before too, that I love the childhood love story for the two because with kang To’s character, it makes perfect sense. The cold, calculating and ruthless Lee Kang To of the Japanese police was not someone who would have fallen in love with Oh Mok Dan-a Joseon girl and a rather frequent damsel in distress. To him, it was all about family and that was the reason he became who he was. But meeting Mok Dan again, the girl he liked when he was his former self brings back all the feelings and his conscience that he had buried. Because of her, he faced the person he had become and because it was her, he made the effort to change.

She was a reminder of who he once used to be and how he once used to feel. Now, she is the only person in the world who can understand him-both the old Lee Young and the new Lee Kang To, from compassionate and loving to cold and calculating. She is the person he can share his burdens with and because of whom, he now has a reason to live as well. True, he dons the mask to help the people and repent for his wrongdoings while setting things right but after all is done, at the end of the day he’d have still been alone. With Dan there, he no longer has to face that prospect.

And his words-that he doesn’t think he can take off the mask are just epic and show how much Kang To/Gaksital are no longer separate characters! For him, it may have started as revenge but with time, like hyung, he has started to see the people and their suffering that he had long ignored. While he was once the person who would beat up his own countrymen for the Japanese, he has grown out of that stiff shell and takes on the task of helping the people as an inevitable cause. The way he reacted instantly when witnessing the officers beating up the old man in the market shows his self truly is Joseon, like Damsari pointed out. Beneath all, he’s still a Joseon person and can no longer see his people suffering so much.

With Ueno in town now, we can expect the story to move further in the ‘Kishokai’ angle and the stakes to be raised even higher. Am I the only one who was thankful to God Kachiyama was nowhere to be seen during the execution. Kang To is so not ready to face him just yet! And with Ueno calling the shots so close to home now, we can expect things to go up ten notches. Kang To needs to adapt and learn more to get past Kachiyama’s level of skill if he’s to come out of this whole fight without a scratch, and alive!

About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. nicole lillian

    i just love gaksital and his lover more n more.thanx for detailing for us everthing.

  2. LOL i lost this thread and finally managed to find it again, haha

    Yea you guys are right about Shunji not being the same person he was; i suspect though, it also has to do with the restrictive gender role patriarchal society plays on men, and how this screws up his mind and character. I was once scrolling through the Bridal Mask fanpage on facebook, and I was surprised to see a whole group of passionate Shunji haters. Remember he was once a decent guy, who went out of his way to teach Kangto Kendo, and even got himself beaten up by his father so he could save his nanny? I don’t hate Shunji; I think he should be pitied actually, coz no matter how nasty he gets, he’s also a victim of the strict gender role society places on men. The rigidly defined expectations patriarchal society has on him as a man totally contradict his nature, forcing them into strictly defined hegemonic masculinity. And since men are supposed to bottle their feelings up, some men just reach a point when they explode. Shunji is like that; he is forced to repress who he really is, in order to please his cold, imperialist father and avenge his brother, and as a man, he doesn’t have much emotional support he can turn to, since society assumes that men being the “overprivileged gender”, “don’t need a support system”, and if he speaks about his problems, society would probably just laugh it off because he has a d*ck, and therefore no right to complain about how society oppresses men. So he goes around bottling up his rage and hurt, and jealousy towards Kangto (for Mokdan’s affections), that he just.. Explodes. (e.g. when he shoots the lady from the circus, when he beats up his subordinates, when he tortures Leader Jo)

    “Masculinity is a tightrope that men are forced to walk at the point of a cultural gun. In exchange for infibulating their feminine side, they are granted the illusion of power.”

    (Big Fat Trauma Queen, Female blogger)

  3. new here in your blog..though I’ve already watched this episode, I can’t help myself but to laugh about the “shirt thing”, you totally got me your recap though..nice..nice..=)

  4. Wow we practically have the same thoughts for this episode. lol 🙂

    Hahahah I knew Shunji would be one of your favorites! The male leads are simply amazing with what they do. Christopher Teh’s post above basically encapsulates what I think about Shunji.

    Oh, if you’ve read my past posts, I seemed to criticize Mok Dan a lot. Well she’s finally earning my respect. She’s beginning to act like Na Na of City Hunter. 😀 Can’t wait for the new cast member to add some angst and conflict to this already wonderful drama 😀

    • hehe, yup, Shunji and Kang To are everything in this series and I’m enjoying those two more than anything else! Everything just comes alive because of the male leads ! PKW is amazing as Shunji and JW is awesome as Kang To!

      I agree with Christopher except that Shunji was now a part of the past. Episode 18 shows that he’s totally on the dark side now-he’s not even horrified with himself anymore… More in the reply above!

      Yeah, I’ve read your drama bites and yes, Dan was a little too static and damsel in distress before, not much character to it. Even now she’s not as good as Nana-I just loved her! but she’s coming close to it! I just hope she’s more reactive now and can hold her own!

      • I really hope JW will take on Level 7 Civil Servant tv remake! That’s the only thing that would make me want to watch. More JW in action scenes :O That’s a must!

        Hahahaha, I think I’m too nice to Shunji. I try so hard to see the humanity in him. But yeah he isn’t horrified anymore. I loved the way he defied Rie. I wish he could do the same to his ambitious father.

        Of course she’s not as good as Nana but I really like the change in her. Most of the female leads I’ve been watching have great growth in them. The latest was Gil Da Ran of Big. (But you were right in dropping it, although I don’t regret finishing the drama.)

  5. I really like Shunji. Funnily enough, it’s not Kangto who appeals to me most, but rather; Shunji. Maybe it’s that innocent, puppydog nature of his that i find endearing (i’m straight btw haha), but i duno what it is about Shunji i love! It’s interesting that people compare Shunji to Kurtz from Heart of Darkness – I mean, Kurtz has already fully lost whatever shred of conscience or morality he possesses, and has no plan whatsoever on “reforming” himself. On the other hand, amidst all his ruthlessness and borderline psychopathy, Shunji off and on gets these sudden flashes of sanity. He goes like, “OMG wtf am I doing? This is not ME!” It’s like he’s a really conflicted person; while Kurtz never gets his conscience pricked, Shunji cannot seem to decide whether to:

    A. Uphold his family honor and do his duty for sovereign and country by playing the “Great Game of Imperialism”
    B. Do what his heart tells him to, be a nice, gentle schoolmaster and stay away from politics, even if it brings shame upon his family

    But there are certain points when he gets revolted with what he has become, and after doing something really really evil, he might go, “OH NO, what have i done?! OH NO! This isn’t ME, this isn’t ME! I’m not that kinda guy!”

    • Hmmm, I agreed with you until two episodes ago! 😛 Actually, Shunji isn’t totally dark or without conscience like Kurtz (haven’t seen or heard of him-what is heart of darkness? Just read your description) but now he doesn’t even care about that anymore-he’s buried his conscience and his guilt and he’s doing everything just to get things the way he wants! Now, rather than be horrified with himself, he’s become much easy settling into this new him and using people’s sentiments to his advantage by playing them. He’s shown that twice in this episode-most notably by playing Sun Hwa and her concerns for Dan and her regard for him to his advantage. Sun Hwa’s slip ‘Teacher’ shows that as do Shunji’s smiles.
      Moreover, the moment Dan asks him if he’ll keep his promise-help her dad, Shunji lied without a moment’s hesitation. If it were the old him-it would nag at his conscience and he’d never have been able to make that promise so easily, even if he did promise her, it would have bothered him that he’s become so cold but it doesn’t. And the way he shoots Dong Nyeo, without blinking and even caring that it hit her in the chest-he’s way cold and monstrous than he was afraid he was becoming. Ah, like Sara suggested above, Shunji is now the one everyone runs away from whereas it was Kang To in the beginning!

      And still, he’s half the reason I watch this drama-it’s wonderful to see both his and Kang To’s characters so develop and the story against the two. 😀

      Hope you enjoy the recaps hereon! 🙂

  6. First thing first YAY Kang To got his old hairstyle back.

    Why drama why you have to open with Shunji hmph.

    Into the forest, I just love the scene, no dialogues, its beautiful I dont have enough words to express what I was feeling and the flashback made it more beautiful and painful.

    Sometimes I think that the kiss was unnecessary, hug was enough because she accepted him too quickly easily and calmly not to mention that he was injured and he still kissed her,dude you can barely walk, I mean she hated Lee Kang To and was in denial when he said he is the young master,her feelings changed just like that after knowing that Gaksital is Kang To and the hatred disappeared?
    But then I think that Kang To, Gaksital and young master these three identities are of one person, so she loved Gaksital believing he is her young master who is Kang To then I think I can understand a bit.

    Bitch got bitch slapped BRILLIANTLY PERFECT

    Shunji telling every other person that he would protect them give me the creeps.

    How Kang To told Mok Dan about how he came to wear the mask and what he has done and now he cant take it off was so touching and the scenery was amazingly beautiful and yes I was surprised too that they were wearing matching shirts. (heck why am I wearing peach color at this “crucial” moment, runs to change into blue)

    Did Mok Dan told Kang To’s identity to the comrades,why, dont tell every other person.

    I truly enjoy the interaction between Shunji and Rie.

    Mok Dan playing smart and I hope Shunji truly believes her, play carefully girl and wrap Shunji around your pinky.
    The hug between Shunji and Mok Dan was the most painful thing to watch.

    Shunji look what have you done, Sun Hwa’s little bro ran away when he saw him, deja vu, kids use to run away like that when they saw Kang To.

    Aww Kang To is worried about his love and so is Mok Dan. (what about me? hehe)

    It was sweet how she came to check on him.
    One thing is troubling me more than anything, Mok Dan is calling Kang To Gaksital, Gaksital is the light, Gaksital is the hope and Gaksital should not die, then what about Kang To girl.
    Kang San was Gaksital, he died but Gaksital didnt. OHMYGOD I dont want to think anymore. Ominous signs.

    See I told you the more he says he is going to protect someone, it will not end good.

    I dont think the scene of count and countess with guests was needed unless they play a major role. I know they wanted to annoy me thats why the scene was there.

    Why do I think Tamoa (count’s son) is there for some reason, I mean he will play some major role or they wont show us that he is hurting inside.

    Jo dressing in white and so is Kang To and all the grim faces, yup not a good sign.

    Shunji why you have to whip the poor guy like that.

    All the people wearing white was the most amazing scene and shucks Shunji knows how to shoot now, WHY NOW.

    Yup he is the fake one, the real one uses the flute not a sword and yikes Shunji shoots again and on the target, the fake Gaksital didnt even budged or blinked when he was shot in the chest/shoulder and when he revealed the explosives I thought he was going to show the bullet proof vest, well yeah there was no pain written on his face.

    Epic epic epic ending
    He is so brave, he scarified himself ah no words.

    Weeee we get to hear more of the ending song.

    So the future episodes will be on both days or I have to wait for wednesday.

    Kang To and Mok Dan hugged three times and kissed one time hehe
    Shunji had more screen time in this episode, yeah our hero was injured and sleeping he needed rest, shush do not drool..uh..uh… I mean disturb him.

  7. Thanks! I could not wait to get home to read your recap. As usual, excellent job and spot-on analysis of the characters and the plot. I have some random musings about this episode:
    1) The first scene when Shunji brought flowers! I had the same thought as you… this man is really sick! He slapped MD, imprisoned her, tortured her dad and yet he thought that if he brought some flowers, she would be overjoyed and touched by his gesture? Lol!
    2) Scene where MD tore off part of her shirt/blouse to make it into a bandage… I gave the director benefit of the doubt. Maybe the shirt was expensive, so she did not want to tear it, so she tore an undershirt perhaps (which happened to be white)??? Haha.
    3) The scene where Sun Hwa’s brother ran away when he saw Shunji – that caught my attention. Did you see the look on Shunji’s face? He did not give a damn. During his transitional phase from good to evil, we would have expected to see a look of remorse or guilt on this face if he realised how fearful the boy was of him. But now, the completely metamorphosised Shunji has no qualms at all!
    4) MD has done well to pretend to be nice to Shunji when she got back to the hotel. However, I think she needs to keep up with the acting game if she wants Shunji to continue to be fooled and be less suspicious. Like the part where she scowled at him and told him off after seeing how Shunji was browbeating Sun Hwa. Of course she had good reasons to be cross, but she needs to think of the bigger picture and continue to play ‘nice-ish’.
    5) Most of all, loved the interactions between Kang To and MD this episode… so sweet and poignant.
    6) The fake Gaksital – I read that there were some speculations that it could be one of the nightclub guys who linked up with the Dam Sa Ri’s comrades. Who knows?

    Oh, this is unrelated to this episode, but I found a clip of Kachiyama…. he is human afterall and capable of smiling! He acted like a zombie throughout the drama that I thought he must be a robot! 🙂

    • Thanks KL! I’m always anciously waiting for your, Sara’s n Aye’s comments! 🙂

      hehe, Shunji is doing a very good job of creeping us all out! First you hit her n then you bring her flowers! Imagine the scene in his head-Dan would go all gaga and say, “Thank You Shunji! You’re the best!” Pffffttttt! 😀

      I was blown away by PKW again in this episode. Every time I’d start hating him again, I’d remember how cheerful and dorky he was BTS n then I’d say-oh well! 😀 Guy’s doing a really good job with his character! This drama is already on my list as the best EVER and side by side with The King 2 Hearts! Although in most ways, I feel this surpasses even TK2H!

      Lol, yeah, who knows Dan may be fond of brand names, you know! 😀 I wonder how they made this mistake though! There’s a big difference between white and blue! 😛 Still, it’s the thought that counts, ne? So let’s just forget it happened! 😉

      That scene was AWESOME! Shunji’s face was totally impassive and I bet he hasn’t even realized why the little boy ran away! I’d say it was more like he didn’t even comprehend the boy’s face anymore. It’s like he’s totally cut off from who he once was and how he was. Remember him once saying he hoped no one would get hurt-not Kang To, not the Japanese Army and not the circus people. Yet now, he has no qualms hanging them or shooting them! Shunji’s totally dark side now and even though he believes he’ll take off the uniform and put it all behind him once the whole thing is over, he won’t be able to let go of what he’s become. How on earth will he bring back feelings and his own conscience which is definitely a no show right now?!

      Actually, I think her scowling and shouting at Shunji was well done. Think of how Dan is-Shunji knows she’s a person of her own mind. If she seems too submissive and agreeable, it’s against her character that Shunji understands and it would make him suspicious of her and then he’ll wonder if what she’s saying is the truth about Gaksital and herself. That way, it’ll be easier for him to connect the dots! Evil him has always been smart! :@ But overall, yes, she definitely needs to play nice-ish and even more accommodating to Shunji at times so his vanity can be his downfall in it! Still, let’s see hereon!

      Yup, Kang To-Mok Dan scenes *no words* 🙂

      Hmm, let’s see about fake Gaksital but so far, they’ve shown only two people from the nightclub with Damsari and comrades-Tasha and the waiter and Gaksital was neither. I think he resembled the comrade with the woman most but only next week and episode 19 will tell for sure, hehe! Till then, let’s celebrate Kang To’s still being alive! 😉

      I’ll check out the video in the morning, hopefully! I saw BTS pictures of Kachiyama n yes, he does smile and joke around and it was a nice change to see signs of life in him! 😀

  8. hi, i’m new your blog…gaksital brought me here. this drama is very addicting and i like reading your recap….thanks!

  9. Another wonderful recap dongsaeng!!!! Arigatou for the hard work!!! Awesome episode, my Kang-to looking bloody hot as usual, I wish I was Dan in the kiss scene, LOL!!! In the last 3 episodes I have finally liked Dan, she finally found the her brain…the way she manipulated Shunji was great. I totally agree with you I love to hate Shunji, the actor is incredible handsome acting badass…Can it be next week already? I want more of Kangto!!!

    • Arigatou Aye Chan! N yes, Dan has gotten considerably better in the past few episodes! I love how she’s manipulating Shunji now and he totally buys it because he can’t even fathom that Dan would do that! I just hope her game goes well to the end! 🙂 Gosh, why isn’t it Wednesday already?! 😛 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: