Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 19 Recap
Gaksital witnesses the faith and strength of the people as yet another life is lost for the purpose of protecting Gaksital. And for once, our hero lets out his tears and cannot stop himself from expressing his grief. The pain of the people is not foreign to him anymore. Yet how much can one man’s strength alone accomplish? How far can our hero go before he breaks under the guilt and responsibility he bears?
Episode 19 Recap:
Shunji gives the order for the execution and Damsari looks forlorn, accepting his impending death when sounds of a fight come from behind. Lo and behold, the people cheer as Gaksital jumps down the roof and cuts Damsari’s hanging noose, taking soldiers down with him until he is shot in the leg by Shunji. As Gaksital stands in the middle, surrounded by soldiers on every end, Shunji fires another shot to his chest. But the man barely even flinches as he opens his white robes to reveal the bomb vest he has strapped to his chest. As everyone watches in stunned silence, he lights the wire. Within a minute, the bomb explodes and chaos ensues.
Everything turns hazy as soldiers lie on the ground, some dead, some injured. Slowly, Shunji and Koiso get up as Damsari and the local crowd watches the aftermath from a distance. Shunji approaches the bloody and burnt Gaksital, limping. He draws the man’s mask away and his face is only half burnt, protected from burning on the upper half by the mask. He whispers, “It was you?” and is still reeling from it when a voice sounds out- “It’s Gaksital!” Shunji looks up in shock.
People start cheering as Gaksital appears on the building behind. And yet again, the man carries a sword. Is it not Kang To? People start cheering again, the bloodbath forgotten. This time, Gaksital jumps down, slicing the Japanese flag. Shunji gets up to confront the new threat. Ah, it is Kang To. He knocks down soldier after soldier, throwing daggers at them or kicking them down.
Shunji shoots while Gaksital draws more darts/knives from his satchel-yup, he’s got one tied to his leg and ducks the bullets. With one move, he throws darts and downs two soldiers, standing by Shunji. As Shunji keeps on shooting and two more men survive by him, Gaksital does an awesome back flip, drawing the darts and throws them at the two men by his side.
He then jumps off the pavilion, taking a flagpole with him and uses that to fight off the remaining soldiers. As Damsari watches this unfold, gunshots ring out and his comrade in arms-the woman, rushes forward yielding the gun and firing at soldiers. She heads to Damsari and unties him as a Japanese police truck drives up.
It’s driven by Baek Gun. He urges Damsari to get in while Gaksital knocks down Shunji. The truck makes its getaway and everyone scrambles to get out of its way even as Gaksital jumps into the truck. Shunji keeps firing, his bullet landing the fellow comrade, hitting her in the shoulder and causes her to fall off the truck before Damsari and Gaksital can respond.
She’s captured by the police and Shunji screams, “Gaksitaaaaaalllll” in frustration as Gaksital and Damsari ride away, cheered on by the people. Gaksital/Kang To looks at the crowd cheering.
Taro rushes to the hospital with a very worried expression, where injured soldiers are even lined into the corridors as the doctors examine and treat their wounds. He sees the damaged people with wide eyes and finally finds Shunji in a corner. Shunji sits up when Taro comes. The doctor ensures him there is not much damage and not to worry. But Taro’s expression is hardened with anger already. How could Shunji lose Gaksital after showing such resolve in front of the Chairman? Shunji apologizes but says he’s not catching Gaksital for the Chairman. Just then, Konno walks in.
He scolds Shunji for losing not only Gaksital but Damsari as well and instead of quashing the people’s and rebels hopes, he added fire to them. He warns Shunji to be ready to accept his punishment and consequences of the actions-stepping down from power but Shunji tells Konno they’ve caught Damsari’s accomplice and wants to interrogate her. Konno disagrees, he’ll put Kang To in charge of that but Shunji revelas he’s been missing for three days already-there is no one but Shunji here to do the job. Konno agrees-but if he gets no results, he has to leave. Leaving a retort with Taro-whenever you need a job reference, just come find me, Konno leaves with a laugh at Taro’s expense. Daddy glares at Shunji.
Damsari and Gaksital arrive at the tunnel where Gaksital’s horse stands. Damsari hugs Gaksital and thanks him and Baek Gun for their help but laments that his freedom cost Comrade Jang his life and the woman comrade got caught. Kang To: “You suffered a lot. You have to escape safely so Jang’s sacrifice will not to be in vain. I will help the woman escape. Please don’t worry.” (I didn’t catch the woman’s name K) He tells Baek Gun to hurry and take Damsari away and watches them leave.
At home, Dan is still praying when she hears a commotion outside and finds guards stationed everywhere around the house. She asks the head guard what happened and he’s like-are you asking because you don’t know? “Gaksital helped Damsari escape!” That brings a smile to her face and once inside, she prays again, this time thanking the comrades and ‘Young Master’. She heads to the door but stops short and tells herself to be patient now.
A taxi pulls up the police station and Kang To gets out. Yaaayyyy!!! For a few moments, he simply stands outside, breathing heavily and then heads inside. Inside Shunji’s office, Koiso is making a report about the woman comrade when there is a knock on the door and he and Koiso watch stunned as Kang To walks in. He bows to Shunji, “I’m really sorry. Were you hurt a lot?” Koiso fumes at that-he’s missing for three days and now comes back and says sorry? Shunji tells Koiso to leave.
Once he’s gone, Shunji voices the same sentiments although they both converse in friendly tones. Kang To asks if he can’t just leave it be this once but that sends Shunji over the edge-he grabs Kang To’s collar, “Are you kidding me? Do I look that easy? This situation is laughable? Without an excuse you don’t show up and ask me to overlook it?” Kang To tells him he went away to get some air “because I was tormented.”
That rattles Shunji even more-“Tormented? Tormented by what? The guy who puts love first, doesn’t care whether he catches Gaksital or not, what does he have to be tormented about?” Kang To says it’s exactly because of that-he couldn’t stand the disappointment in himself. “But now, I’ve completely given up on that woman.” Shunji punches him-why the change of tune, he asks. Just days ago, he said he loved her and now he’s giving up? “Okay. I’m warning you. Don’t mention Mok Dan’s name again. If that name crosses your lips one more time, you will die by my hands.”
He heads out and Kang To follows. Outside the interrogation room, he asks to be allowed to help in the interrogation but Shunji ignores him, ordering that no one be allowed near. He heads into the interrogation room alone.
Inside, the woman is bruised, bloody and unconscious and Koiso awakens her by dousing her with water. Shunji’s first question-Who is Gaksital. She tells him he should just kill her.
Shunji: “Kill you? What is the reason you want to die for him? If you do that, will the dead Joseon come back to life? Just because you act like this, you think the Japanese empire will be ruined?”
“Even if you destroy Joseon, the country will not die.” She tells Shunji but he and his comrades sneer at her response and Shunji retorts, “You, Damsari, and Gaksital are just terrorists and that’s all.” She flares up and tells him to shut up-don’t let out words so easily, she tells him, they’re fighting for independence. Shunji flares up and draws the hot iron rod, holding it to her chest, straight over her heart and burns her. At first, she tries to hold back her screams but can’t for long. Shunji shouts at her-who is Gaksital? while Koiso looks a little horrified. Outside, Kang To hears the woman’s screams and fists his hand in helpless frustration.
He sits on the steps outside in a frenzy until Shunji walks out and asks Shunji to let him try once-she’s the one last chance they have to capture Gaksital and Damsari. Shunji allows it, although he looks suspicious. When Kang To comes in, the woman is almost unconscious due to the burns all over her body. Damn Shunji! Kang To tells Ishida, the guard standing there to go out but he’s gotten the order from Shunji not to leave. Kang To repeats the order and Ishida leaves.
Kang To approaches the woman who looks up at him, eyes filled with emotions and remembers Dan’s words- “Don’t you know who Kang To is? He’s Gaksital!” She asks him about Damsari and Kang To assures her he is fine. She sighs, glad of it and Kang To assures her he will help her escape, no matter what but for now, she must act as if she were cooperating with the Japanese police. She shakes her head at that. She’s someone who should already be dead and will follow Damsari’s example in not cooperating.
Before Kang To can argue, he hears the door open and moves to a side as Shunji comes up. Shunji asks him why he sent Ishida out. Kang To makes up the excuse that the woman would not want to appear weak or vulnerable in front of the enemy. “Don’t you understand how it feels to not want to be subject to humiliation?” Shunji can’t argue with that logic and turns his attention to the woman, pulling her hair back and threatens to put her in the nail crate, telling her this is her last chance to reveal who Gaksital is. She asks him for a favor.
“There will come a day when you meet Gaksital. That day, tell him how I never gave him up even till the end and died.” Looking back at Kang To as if looking into the distance, she adds, “That I was grateful to him for living as Gaksital, And on that day I so hoped for, the day of this country’s liberation… Will you tell him that?” She sneers at Shunji who retorts that he’ll make her speak the words ‘Mansai’ from her very own lips. She tells him, “You will never know Gaksital’s identity-Because even if I have to die, I will watch with wide-open eyes and protect Gaksital.” With that, she bites her own tongue and dies.
Shunji draws back in surprise while Kang To stares, stunned. Koiso checks and reports the woman is dead. Shunji heads out in a daze and the others follow while Kang To stands rooted to the spot, unable to stop his eyes from tearing up and watching the woman. He approaches her and with tears, uncuffs her from the chains and lays her down on the floor, closing her eyes and unable to stop himself from crying.
Shunji and Koiso walk out where Koiso laments the nature of the Joseon people, blowing themselves up and biting their own tongues to die. Shunji stands rooted to a spot as he remembers the woman’s word that they’ll never know Gaksital’s true identity. With that, he faints and falls down the stairs. Oof, that must’ve hurt.
Sun Hwa comes home crying and tells Dan about Dong Nyeo-she was shot by Shunji and is now dead. Dan asks Sun Hwa to stay home and take care of her brother and heads outside to go to the circus but is stopped by the guards who won’t allow her to go out-it’s against their orders.
Shunji is taken to the hospital while Kang To reports the latest to Konno-the woman bit her own tongue and died. Konno orders Shunji’s arrest. Kang To comes to see Shunji where Dan is also brought. Both freeze after seeing each other for a minute. When the guard with her leaves, they both smile at each other subtly and she approaches the bed, looking at Kang To.
In voiceover, she whispers to him, “Are you alright?” Kang To whispers back, “Don’t worry –you heard right? Your father is safe.” He holds her hand but lets go when he hears Shunji stirring, moments before the latter opens his eyes. Kang To asks Shunji if he’s alright but Shunji just looks at him and Dan. He tries to sit up and Kang To helps him. Kang To goes outside so Dan and Shunji can talk.
He thanks her for coming and she tells him the reason she came is a favor even as she fists her hand. She tells him Dong Nyeo is dead and she wants to go so needs his permission. Shunji grants it and she leaves without another word just as Kang To comes in. He tells Shunji Konno ordered his arrest and tells him he’s not feeling well so they should skip the trip to the jail. Konno’s curious about one thing-who’s the power behind Shunji? Shunji scoffs at that-is he so weak he needs people’s support? Kang To refers to the Kishokai sign and guesses correctly that is the one. Shunji doesn’t reply although his expression says more and tells Kang To to relay a message to Kono- “You don’t need to know!”
Kang To puts the cuffs on Shunji and orders Abe to transfer Shunji to jail cells right now. Shunji removes his drip and tells Kang To, “Watch carefully, what the people who support me will do now.”
Taro goes to see Ueno. Are these guys always sitting like this all day waiting for an audience with someone? He reports the latest-Shunji was arrested. Rie points out if Gaksital were captured Konno would have been history by now and tells her father tells her father that Kono is a thorn in Governor Wada’s side. Wada is worried that Kono will report straight to the prime minister, and that wouldn’t look good for him. Ueno tells his minion-the assassin to step in. He then tells Taro to be prepared to go to work at the Police Station in the morning-as the director. Rie is surprised by that while Taro nods.
Kang To walks Konno out to his car, ranting about the Kimura duo and promises Kang To a promotion-the chief of police. Kang To thanks him and heads inside. Konno goes to his car and finds his driver dead-the assassin guy standing right there. He falls back in surprise and immediately calls Kang To’s name. Kang To draws his gun and approaches the scene but Konno is already dead. He catches sight of the assassin and remembers his fight with him when he saved Rie. Wisely, he withdraws behind the wall.
That night, Ueno goes to dinner with the governor general where Rie is also present. Ueno thanks him for giving them his precious time and gives him a gift-Konno’s bloody uniform. Rie tells the governor general Konno was killed just now and Ueno suggests putting Taro in charge now and crowning Yoshio as the chief of police. The governor general balks-Yoshio is known as a crazy soldier (Damn, could there be any more worse bad guys?) but Ueno dismisses his arguments. He decides to withdraw, telling Rie never to appear in front of him again but Rie reminds him-he’s already taken lots of bribes from them, how does he plan to get out of their debt now? The governor general turns back, horrified at the realization and Ueno raises his cup to a toast.
The next morning, the governor general puts Taro and a newcomer, Murayama Yoshio as police president, Taro’s old job. Guess who’s smirking?
Kang To approaches the cells where Shunji is exercising and thinks back to the recent turn of events-Konno’s death, Taro’s promotion and the new head. He wonders what kind of people are backing Shunji? He opens the locks and lets Shunji out. Walking out, calm as ever, Shunji asks Kang To, “What are you going to do now that you’ve lost your support?” (I’m still not sure about the exact word so I’m going with the translation my mind is giving me, hehe) *creepy Shunji goosebumps*
Meanwhile, the Count and his wife, along with their new acquaintances-the parliamentarians are there to celebrate Taro’s promotion. Taro introduces Yoshi, the new police president to them. Everyone oohs and aahs. When Taro begins to talk about Yoshi’s past, Yoshi makes his excuses and leaves. Taro makes an outraged expression-who dares kill Konno and tells Yoshio to make sure to find the culprit. And he puffs up even more. Ah, greed!
Kang To reads the newspaper about Konno’s death and remembers that Lala has a connection with those people while the blame for Konno’s death is being placed on the Joseon people. Shunji walks out from his office and everyone congratulates him and claps for him-literal in every sense, haha.
Kang To walks forward and asks Shunji to let him be in charge of Konno’s death investigation. Shunji agrees and Kang To vows to him that he’ll catch the guy. Just then, they get news that Yoshio is arriving so everyone lines up outside. They salute him when he arrives and he makes his speech-anyone who opposes the empire is their enemy. “The enemy must be annihilated!”. At the end, he asks Shunji to bring everything about Gaksital and Mok Dan and come to his office.
And time for some Kang To action-the playboy, that is! It’s Asuka Hotel and Kang To walks up to room 501 with a bouquet of red roses. Outside the door, he braces himself once before knocking. Rie welcomes him with a smile and Kang To tells her he came because “I wanted to talk to you”.
Rie: “Do you want tea?”
Kang To: “Alcohol would be better. I feel sad so couldn’t you comfort me a little?”
That startles her a bit but in the happy sense. Still, she asks, “Do I still look like a gisaeng to you?”
Kang To: “I must have been mistaken because I thought you would understand my situation.”
Ooooh lala! No wonder she’s melting! He turns to leave but she stops him, asking what he means. He approaches her again as she pours wine for them. Oooh, touchy touchy! Hehe, somehow I can’t stop giggling! Turning her to face him, he asks, “Why am I so curious about your life?” Referring to her status as gisaeng and a Korean, he says, “Is that story as heartbreaking as the story of Lee Kang To becoming Sato Hiroshi?”
She relates that her foster father is the one who was asking her to drink alcohol that day and the same person who made her a singer. But he asks if her true identity is that of a singer? That gives her pause-what? He tells her how Konno died-the man who was always by his side and the man who killed him was the one who tried to kill Kang To 5 years ago. He goes on-there’s someone pulling strings around here who isn’t afraid of anything and hence, much powerful.
At her expression, he tells her not be worried-he’s not here to catch the criminal-rather, he wants to be a part of it and so he approached Taro but he denied Kang To on the basis that he was a Joseon. At that, he gets up and sits beside her on the arm of her chair. He asks her, “Can’t you help me?” He tells her he’s a greedy man-for promotions, that is. She responds that whether he means it or not, she likes his ambition and he kisses her cheek in response. *Swooooonnn* “I only need to trust you, right?” With those words, he leaves. Her reaction to his kiss is telling.
At Dong Nyeo’s funeral, Koiso and cohorts throw ink over everything white, including the people’s mourning clothes. Dan comes up with Jo and asks them to stop-can’t they at least respect a dead person’s funeral. Koiso smirks in her face-these were higher up orders, even above Shunji’s. Just then, Shunji comes up and asks what’s happening. Koiso tells him it was Yoshio’s order. He asks Koiso to leave and apologizes for the situation like this. Everyone flinches in his presence and draws away. He asks if no one was hurt but everyone draws away-crying in their own grief.
Dan asks to see Shunji and heads outside. Before heading out, Shunji asks Jo if he revealed anything to Dan. Jo scoffs at that-“Why, do you want to hide it? It seems you’ve got some shame left.” I’d say its cause he’s got no shame left! Outside, she tells him not to torment Jo anymore and he makes excuses about how he had to find her so it just happened that way. She tells him she’ll stay by his side just like now but he has to stop bothering Jo and anyone else. He agrees. As she’s walking away, he asks her if she’s heard from her father. She points out he’s got her under 24 hour surveillance and on the execution day, she wasn’t even able to leave Sun Hwa’s house. How on earth does he then figure she heard from her father?
“Even if my father contacted me I won’t move. So that there is nothing you can get from me.” Atta girl! *fist pump*
Kang To meets with Damsari and Baek Gun-as Kang To cum Gaksital. Ah, finally Damsari knows too! He tells them everything he has found out and says he hadn’t realized the extent of the power behind everything. He’d thought there were a group of men who betrayed his father, and that Kimura Taro was somehow supporting them. But that was all. Now he knows there is something even more in the back. Damsari shares the rumors that this must be the same group stirring up the fervor for militarism and war in Japan. Kang To tells him he can avenge his father’s killers but how can he stop the organization alone but Damsari takes his hand and tells him he’s not alone.
“You are not alone. With an imperial officer on our side, it’s like we’ve gained a thousand troops. Whatever happens, endure it and wait for me.” Taking Kang To’s promise, Damsari vows to come back.
Rie confronts Taro-why can’t Lee Kang To become a part of Kishokai. Taro gives the same excuse Kang To predicted he would-that Kang To is a Joseon person. Rie points out that all the Park’s and Lee’s who are in Kishokai are also Joseon’s people. Taro terms them as ‘bullets for Kishokai’ and says Kang To isn’t that easily controlled. Rie tells him she still intends to recommend Kang To for Kishokai to her father.
Yoshio asks Taro why he even kept Kang To close at all-he’s a Joseon after all. Taro asks Yoshio to do something about it and Yoshio replies, “Of course! How can I be on the same boat as a guy who reeks of garlic? Does that make any sense?” Later, Yoshio addresses the officers at the precinct, announcing that he cannot abide an impurity tainting his soldiers. Someone incompetent, who lets Gaksital slip through his fingers, who’s Korean, he muses. “Sato Hiroshi, you’re fired.” Taking Kang To’s gun, he shouts, “Get out of the precinct now!“
Isn’t it just awesome? Ah *contented sigh*
Rie- I love the way Kang To approaches her, playing right into her heartfelt fantasy and her wordings to his actions-that he may not mean it but she’s touched. It shows a whole new layer of Rie’s character; beyond all her scheming ways and loyalty to Kishokai where she holds that naught but power is important, she still has a heart that, like any other girls, flutters when someone pays attention to her. The fact that it is Kang To-the person she kind of likes herself, makes it all the more heartening for her. Except…
Are you mad, Kang To? Don’t you know ‘HELL HATH NO FURY LIKE A WOMAN SCORNED’? And Rie is the kind to take you down the hell herself for deceiving her!! If she turns on him – shudder *heart attack!!* And yet, this brings things to a whole new level of crazy because Kang To is simply walking into the fires of hell-with the devil’s daughter! And what makes this interesting is Rie’s reaction to Kang To-she’s not immune to him and secretly probably even hopes for him to be with her. Her expression after the kiss on the cheek shows that when Kang To pushes the right buttons- Rie does let her guard down and becomes a vulnerable person. And now that she’s supporting him for entry into Kishokai, she’ll be even more indispensable to him while in a manner he will be at her mercy. He’s playing her but he’s also playing himself into her hands.
And yet, I’m not totally sure Rie will turn on Kang To. Her character is this complex person even though she has just one agenda-power and one weakness-her heritage, yet there’s more depth to her thinking and more layers to her than are evident on the surface. A perfect example-the way she reacts to Kang To even though she is the one who first realized Kang To loved Dan. Personally, what I really want for her is to develop beyond the person she is right now. For her to realize there is more to life and more to herself than Rie/Lala and her hatred for her own heritage. That’s a point where she truly does relate to Kang To-he was bitter about his nation and his people and that made him Lee Kang To-the Japanese Police officer every Joseon loathed and cursed. And yet he changed and became Gaksital. It may have taken him guilt to put him back on the right track but whatever the reasons, he saw the world anew and I so hope Rie can find that motivation too. I said this before, when she told Taro to tell Shunji that you only put your life on the line for power, not something ever-changing as love. She should journey down that same path and realize that sometimes, love isn’t ever-changing and no power can make a difference to that. She should be thrown off that high pedestal of hers and given the chance to pick the pieces up-maybe that will make her life more purposeful and like Shunji said, less pitiful.
Dan-finally the damsel in distress didn’t cause much stress by staying put in the moment of chaos, instead of running away into trouble again. She wasn’t in the episode for more than a few minutes but I loved the scene with her and Shunji! The way she acts with him is characteristically Dan-hateful and spiteful of him, and although she tells him she’ll stay by his side, she also tells him exactly how much she hates him in those last words-that she won’t move so he won’t have anything to gain. Her spite couldn’t be any clearer yet Shunji remains the dense-when-he-wants, obsessive evil guy. Still, would it hurt if the girl were not so damsel-ed in distress all the time and a little badass for a change? Even a tiny bit badass?
Kang To-I loved the way he broke down after the woman comrade takes her own life. The way she indirectly thanks him while giving Shunji the set-down marked such a poignant moment-he may be Lee Kang To to everyone else and people amy still curse him, but she knows his true identity and in the wake of that, all his past misdeeds, all his cruelties are forgotten and forgiven-because he lives as Gaksital, because he puts his own life on the line every time and gives the people of Joseon hope and because he helped Damsari escape. Because of the white Kang To dons every time, the terrible blacks that were a part of him are totally cleansed.
Yet for him to witness that death, even though it was the woman’s own choice simply fuels his sense of responsibility and burden even more. Like he told Damsari, he now has to make sure those lives were not lost in vain. And hence he’s taking even larger leaps, entering the enemy’s camp even though it may end up to be a mistake for him-he’s got to be even more careful now not to trip but if he does, it’s ‘out of the frying pan into the fire!’
Posted on August 9, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged best bud, bridal mask episode 19 recap, bridal mask recaps, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital episode 19 recap, gaksital recaps, Kang To, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, misc, miscellaneous, musings, random, random thoughts, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, story, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.