Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 21 Recap
Sorry for the delay folks! ^^ The episode recap and comments are up! Enjoy another chilling and unnerving hour of Gaksital and Lee Kang To’s life! Every moment of this journey is so damn worth it!
Episode 21 Recap:
The episode opens as Shunji’s nanny bids her granddaughter farewell. Are you going to make me tear up at the first scene? She assures grandmother she will come back safe and tells her not to worry. *sniff sniff*Grandma tries to giver her some spending money but she tells grandma to keep it for herself and buy something to eat. Boarding the truck that is here to take her along with other girls, she excitedly waves her grandmother goodbye. Grandma watches her leave and waves at her with teary eyes. Grandma shouts out to her, “Come back safe! Come back safe!” n it’s totally breaking my heart.
As Sun Hwa’s truck is making its way through the woods, Rie is anxious at the meeting point, waiting for the trucks to pour in. One truck rolls in and she orders for the names to be referenced to make sure everyone was brought out.
But trouble’s brewing in the woods beyond (thankfully!) since Gaksital has come to the rescue of the women being ignorantly or forcibly taken away. He beats down the men in truck behind truck while some run away in fear of him. However, the sound of the shot alerts Rie and company. Sun Hwa saves Gaksital from being shot by biting down the arm of the soldier trying to shoot and tells the other women where they were really being taken and urges them to run. As Gaksital knocks out the last person remaining aka the man responsible for recruiting the women under false pretenses, a shot rings out and a tree is hit near his head. Turning to the source, he finds himself face to face with Rie who is aiming straight at him now.
Looking straight at him, she whispers to herself, “Please! Don’t make me regret letting you live!” And again, I can’t help but say Awww! She still doesn’t want to kill him or she never would have missed that first shot! Gaksital and she simply stand there for many moments until she starts approaching him-the gun still pointing at him. He shows no reaction until she is a few feet away from him and then realizes something because she can’t bring herself to shoot him and the pained expression on her face says it all. He whispers to himself, “You… know who I really am, right?” At the same moment, she whispers a question, “Why did it have to be you? Of all people, why you? Why?” *I’m tearing up again!*
The frightful girls in the truck slowly raise their heads to see but Rie is still standing there unable to fire even as she tries to bring herself to, her tears escaping now. Finally, she simply lowers the gun. At that, Sun Hwa encourages the other girls to make run for it now. The commotion catches Rie’s attention and she raises the gun again, intent on stopping the girls from running away but with one swift motion of his hand, Kang To sends her into a state of unconsciousness, holding her in an almost hug. I love the expression on his face too- he understands her well enough to know she won’t have let those women go and he had to stop her but even a little hurting her like this doesn’t sit right with him. It mirrors so well with what he says to her later in this episode-that she weighs on his heart/mind. he may not love her, but she is still someone he can relate to!
Back at the meeting point, Rie’s entourage is getting restless at the continued silence. They wonder if something went wrong but one of the officers orders the truck to move ahead. NOOOOO!!! As it rides away, the granddaughter smiles happily in anticipation. NOOO NOOOOOO NOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Meanwhile, Shunji has the bandage on his arm changed when Abe rushes in asking Shunji to return to the station immediately. Yoshio demanded it. Shunji wonders if something has happened and Abe tells him how Gaksital appeared and foiled the attempt to transport the comfort women. Damn, I’m hating even having to write that term! Of course, Shunji’s senses immediately turn baddie!
At the police station, Yoshio is laying into his officers for failing and asks Kang To what he was doing. Kang To tells him Yoshio told him to clean up so he was doing that. That earns Kang To a brutal kick-didn’t he know everyone was supposed to go work in the operation? Kang To says he didn’t know and of course, speaking up gets him another kick that makes him fall on the floor.
Just then, Koiso walks back in, all dressed up nice and shiny thanks to his new status, followed by Shunji and Abe and Yoshio asks Koiso if he ordered Kang To but Koiso denies it-Yoshio said there were to be no men spared from the operation-how could Koiso disobey that? Although Koiso presents that as a reason, it is clear he is lying. Phew! At least Kang To has an alibi that way! Seems Koiso did it to make sure Kang To was punished. That earns him a beating from Yoshio-for lying, while Koiso grins and Shunji watches. Yoshio warns his men if they lose Gaksital once more, they should be ready to stripped of their badges.
As soon as he’s gone, Abe moves to help Kang To, still calling him by his old title which earns him a slap to the back of his head by Koiso. Turning to Shunji, Koiso asks if he’d like an ice coffee and Shunji agrees. Koiso orders Kang To to get it. Kang To turns back with a smile and asks if it should be sweet. That makes Shunji frown-something’s not right but he replies-yeah, sweet with loads of ice. Poor Kang To has to suck up to Koiso and the others just so he can stay at the Police Station and keep his word to Damsari but the always alert Shunji knows something’s amiss. Limping, he walks away and Shunji turns to gape at him in surprise.
Sun Hwa and the girls make it back to the dorm where everyone but Gye Soon sympathizes with them and Dan says how great that Gaksital saved them. Yet the danger isn’t over yet since the officers can probably march back in anytime to grab the girls and Dan points out that there are more articles running around about recruiting girls under the guise of cooks for the army. They decide they want to take action against that but Gye Soon is afraid-what if they get caught and Dan suggests putting out fliers.
Rie is stewing in her room but more so at herself than anyone else. She shatters her mirror in frustration and anger, berating herself, “What are you going to do? What do you intend to do? After coming this much, why couldn’t you shoot? Why? Why?” She sees the flowers he gave her on the wall and throws them down, shouting at herself, “He doesn’t even love you. Because of him, is it ok if you die? Is it if everything is taken from you? Come to your senses, Ueno Rie! Come to your senses!” Yet even as she stands there, her expression is pained as if she still can’t bring herself to her senses.
Kang To brings Shunji his tea who asks him how things are going with Rie. Kang To talks to him, respectfully, as per the difference in their ranks now and Shunji smiles at that, telling him to be easy and they both sit for a chat. Shunji comments Rie and he seem to have a special relationship but Kang To tells him it isn’t so. In his head, Shunji mutters to himself even as he smiles at Kang To, “You don’t have that kind of a relationship? And yet she is trying to help you get into Kishokai? Huh!” Kang To scoffs at Shunji’s suggestion that Rie could fall in love with a Joseon person and points out that Shunji doesn’t know her that much it seems. Telling Shunji to call him if he has any work for him, Kang To leaves. Shunji watches him go with his evil eyes. Just then, the phone rings.
Rie and Shunji meet on the way to see Ueno in the corridor. Shunji points out she’s the one who kept going on and on about how she would catch Gaksital so how did she lose him. She tells him she’s nothing to say when he tells her he’ll come find her at the hotel later. He stops her-as a police officer, he’ll be coming to ask her how she lost Gaksital, what happened and why? Kachiyama watches from behind.
Inside, they meet Chairman Ueno along with Yoshio and Taro. Rie addresses her father-she’s made a mistake and deserves to die. Ueno is not satisfied-what are they going to do if it happens again? Yoshio assures him they’ll catch Gaksital but Ueno cuts him off. “Ueno Rie will the one to catch Gaksital!” Rie’s eyes widen and Kachiyama looks at her sideways, seemingly aware that she is probably hiding something. But he doesn’t give off the evil vibe like Shunji. Rie agrees, she will catch Gaksital herself.
Jo gives Dan a letter from her father where he mentions bringing her ‘grandfather’ for a visit. That gives her pause-grandfather? He tells her the word grandfather is a code word and actually means “Teacher Yang Baek” and tells her Damsari is bringing Yang Baek. At the same moment, Ueno breaks the news to his party. Rie, Taro and Yoshio point out that coming here would be suicide for Yang Baek but Shunji tells them he won’t be killed so easily-they need to find out why and what brings him to Joseon. Ueno smiles-that’s exactly what he needs to know and tells Shunji to find it out. Once he does, kill the man.
Tasha gets a letter from Damsari, announcing the same about bringing Yang Baek and asks her to let others know. Tomoe grabs her letter and teases her about it, reading the first few lines but Tasha slaps him and grabs the letter back. That stuns him. She tells the waiter she’s going out and with a glare at Tomoe, leaves. She goes to meet some people who are making Joseon flags. It turns out a reporter is one of them and she entrusts the letter to him.
At the Police Station, Shunji gives a presentation to all the high profile officers and the governor general about Yang Baek and his fellow accomplices-one of which is Damsari. No one seems really interested in the whole presentation until Shunji adds that he’s coming to Joseon. That sends the governor general in a panic-why would he be coming here? Taro mutters it might be to bomb some places again but the governor general still can’t believe it-if he comes and they catch him, he’s as good as dead-why come? Shunji points out that whatever is bringing him here, it must be worth losing his life over.
Dan asks Jo why Yang Baek is coming and Jo says the same-it must be something important. He asks who Damsari mentioned in his letter when he asked Dan to inform ‘that person’ of their impending arrival. Dan smiles fondly at those words, as if suddenly in a happy mood with Kang To in her mind and tells Jo not to worry-it is someone who has helped her and her father and whom they are thankful to. However, when she calls up Kang To, it is answered by Koiso since the desk now belongs to him. Dan hears him on the other end and hangs up. Kang To witnesses the exchange and realizing it must have been Dan, heads out.
Outside, Kachiyama draws up to him-Lala wants to see him. When Kang To arrives, Rie turns to face him, their previous encounter still fresh in her mind and asks him in her usual gruff manner, “Bringing me roses and asking me the favor of getting you admitted into Kishokai-what was that? Did you want to break up Kishokai? Does it look like an organization you can take that lightly? Aren’t you the lee Kang To who wanted to rise to high positions not so long ago? Like me you lost your family to Joseons? So why? Because of people like that- why would you… Does it make sense? How could you do that? I don’t want to kill you with my own hands. I don’t know what happened for you to make such a foolish choice, but stop right now. If you just quit what you are doing, I will carry this secret to my grave alone.” By the end, her voice is a plea and shakes slightly.
Kang To listens to her with stoic silence and a solemn expression, only his eyes betraying emotion. At the end, he simply smiles slightly and tells her, “Even if I die, I can’t stop.” That breaks her and tears fall freely now. In a shaking voice, she asks, “Are you a fool? It’s alright if you die? You said if the same situation as 5 years ago happened again, that you would rescue me. Even when you knew I tried to kill the girl you love, you didn’t kill me! Wasn’t that because I’m in your heart, even if just a little?” Kang To tears up as well and tells her, “My heart is bothered because of you. Because it seemed like you saw me, who’d chased so desperately after success and power, every day like that you’d weigh on my heart!”
He advises her, “Whether you’re doing this because it’s what you truly want, or perhaps it’s what your adoptive father wants, and you’re living as his puppet on a string—think it over carefully. One day, I believe you will make the choice to live the right way.” By now, Rie simply looks at him, her lips quivering. As he turns to leave, she calls out for him to stop, “If you leave this room now, you’re destined to die.” Without a word, he walks out and Rie cries. Kachiyama watches him leave.
Dan, Sun Hwa and Nanda are preparing fliers to post into the streets. Finally done, Dan wants to go with Sun Hwa but Sun Hwa tells her to take it easy-she’s still injured. Nanda offers to go with her and Dan advises them both to be careful. Hiding their fliers, they turn to the door. As soon as Dan opens it, Shunji is about to step in.
Dan turns to the two behind her and with a smile, tells them she will be late so they should go ahead. They scramble to leave. Shunji finally turns his attention to her and notices her bruised face. Immediately, he frets-is she hurt? But she blows him off-what does he want? He asks for tea and she serves it to him but doesn’t sit until he asks her to and that too, with a scowl. Okay, I totally loved the following exchange and so definitely wanted to include it ALL! Once again I say, go girl! ^^
Shunji: “You got a call, right?”
Dan: “What are you talking about?”
Shunji (smiles as I cringe): “Your father, Damsari!”
Dan: “My dad… so you haven’t caught him yet!”
Shunji (smiles wider…shudders): “You didn’t hear from him yet? Not at all?”
Dan smirks (Atta girl!!): “Seeing you are like this means my father is still safe.”
Shunji smirks as he leans forward, evil mode totally on: “You’ll be able to meet your father soon! When he comes this time will he make it so that Gaksital and Yang meet? Gaksital and your father Damsari worked together during the anniversary event so aren’t you curious what will happen when Yang and Gaksital hold hands?” By the end, he is totally evil and makes my soul cringe!
Outside Kang To arrives. Don’t open that door! Thankfully, he hears Dan shouting, “Get out if you’ve said all you came to say!” and leans in to listen.
Shunji: “Are you still mad at me?”
Dan: “Leave now.”
Shunji: “I was so angry with you I couldn’t talk to! You said you were mistaken that he was the young master you missed, but he wasn’t so that means Gaksital is someone you don’t know. So why are you so grateful to him and good to him? Ah, because he’s the hope for Joseons? That one reason?”
Dan: “Yes! Even though he has nothing to do with me he’s the person who still put his life on the line and saved my father twice. And the guy I thought was my friend and believed in played with my father’s life. Do you need more explanations?”
Shunji (while he has the nerve to look guilty): “I couldn’t help that.” Oh really?
Dan: “Because you lifted the restriction to have me guarded, you think I don’t know how the ahjumma who treated me like her real daughter died on the execution day? Don’t you know how hard it is being civil to you right now?”
With that, Shunji leaves and Dan collapses in her seat. Outside the door, Shunji stills for a moment, pricked by his conscience but walks away. Kang To watches him go before going to meet Dan who instantly runs up to hug him with a smile. Kang To looks at her face and worries too-did something happen? She just thanks him for saving the girls who were being taken away. Kang To persists in knowing how she got injured and she tells it was because she tried to stop the officers from taking Sun Hwa and the others.
Kang To: “Next time, don’t fight! Here on, things might get more serious so I don’t know what I will do either.”
At that, Dan tells him he won’t be alone anymore-her father is coming back with Yang Baek soon! That gives him pause but in a moment, his face lights up happiness-is it true? Although his enthusiasm is dulled knowing how dangerous it will be. Dan agrees-even Shunji knows Yang Baek is coming. Kang To correctly guesses Kishokai must be the reason he knows and she worries if they’ll be fine. Taking her hands into his, he assures her with a smile, “Don’t worry. With my strength, with my own hands, I’ll help those two!” They both smile at each other.
Outside, Shunji reaches his car and dejectedly drives away, still unable to shake the horrible feeling he’s getting. However, just a few feet away he stops and remembers Dan’s accusing words about Dong Nyeo. Sighing, he tells himself, “I didn’t know! If I knew she had such a relationship with you, I wouldn’t have killed her!” Still reeling in those words, he catches sight of Kang To exiting the dorm. Uh oh! Evil mode totally back on! Shunji stews once again and drives away. Kang To, why you no use the back door?
Kachiyama approaches Rie and asks her if she knows who Gaksital is and how is she going to kill him since she doesn’t? Clearly he’s worried about her when he points out time can’t be wasted once Ueno has given the order but she’s too frazzled already and yells at him to get out. With a sigh, he leaves. Since she’s facing away from the door, she doesn’t realize he leaves and Shunji arrives and still yells at him to get out as if it were Kachiyama. Shunji asks her about the events of the day they were to move the comfort women. How could she have lost Gaksital?
Rie: “That, you’ve also lost him many times so you should know well!”
He retorts at her to tell him the whole thing-beginning to end and repeats his question.She tells him she heard gunshots and went to the site but the girls were already gone and Gaksital had long left too. He scoffs at that, not believing her-if he’d left already, she should have returned immediately. He pointedly asks her if she is hiding something-for the person who swore to catch Gaksital, she is acting so oddly? She tells him to concentrate on getting Yang Baek-she’ll focus on Gaksital. But he cuts her off-does she know Kang To is Gaksital? She tells him if he really thinks that, then just go back to the precinct right now and shoot Kang To.
Shunji: “You think I want to catch the Japanese Police Officer Lee Kang To? I want to catch the Gaksital Lee Kang To. You had better not be lying!” With those words, he leaves.
And meeting of the crazy people of governor general with the Count, his wife and their new friends while Taro sits passively on the side. Mention of Yang Baek arises and the Count and his wife panic-if the people of Joseon learned about it, there would be more uprisings. Taro tells them not to worry-the people will never know and even if he does come, he won’t be successful. The governor general tries to lighten the mood with a toast.
Meanwhile in an in city train, the reporter is travelling with a box. Fire-man boards the train and the reporter gives him a nod. At the next stop, he and his accomplice get off and he takes the man’s box with him. The men in the market pass on something to the people telling them to open it at home. Meanwhile, Sun Hwa and friends distribute the fliers and urge people not to follow. Fire-man passes her the same thing and tells her to return since its dangerous outside, promising to distribute the remaining fliers.
The next day a man is being brought home in glory and marched through the streets while the people wave the Japanese flag. Our group from last night take out their Joseon flags and start waving it about, cheering the athlete on. Seems he is a Joseon but is forced to wear the flag. Throwing off the flowers he was wearing, he tears off the Japanese flag and joins the crowd in their cheers “Mansai!” Soldiers, outnumbered, stand in the sidelines.
Reading about it in the newspaper the next day, Taro orders his arrest and tells Shunji not to go easy on the athlete only because he has won three times. After learning that the newspaper sponsoring the boxer is the Joseon Joongang Ilbo, the trio realizes it was premeditated and that couldn’t have happened without secret meetings between the citizens so Taro gives the order to have the newspapermen areested as well. In a follow-up meeting between Taro, Shunji and Park, Shunji reports his findings after having questioned the arrested men that their leader is someone named Dong Jin. Kimura recognizes that name as one on a government blacklist, but he disappeared three months ago. While he frets about the situation, Park tells him not to worry and shares a plan with him that makes him smile.
Meanwhile, a couple arrive in Kyungsung and two servants carry their bags-one of them is Damsari. After seeing the couple off, the two men head off separately. The governor general is having a fitting done for him when the couple arrives and the husband nods imperceptibly to the tailor. He excuses himself from the governor general and heads to assist the people.
Dan, Tasha and Jo sit in a room where a large Korean flag hangs. Suddenly the door opens and the couple walks in, guided by the tailor. Soon after, Damsari and the man with him walk in. After they take off their hats, Dan immediately moves in for a hug. The man beside her father smiles and Damsari introduces Dan to him. Jo and the others immediately go forward and meet the man, glad of his arrival.
A boy is passing out fliers on the street, muttering something about a misunderstanding. In it is written that the rumors about women being sent off as sex slaves under the guise of nurses is wrong and that even Dong Jin has declared support for sending women as nurses. That of course, is a lie and seeing the paper, Kang To crumbles it up angrily.
At his office, Park is laughing over his ingenious scheme-now that they’ve let out the lies, Gaksital should reveal himself by trying to come out. Taro commends him on this strategy and as they laugh over it, a dagger flies past Park’s face and he shouts into the phone “Gaksital!” Gaksital walks forward, stepping onto the newspaper and the pamphlets that were being distributed into the streets. Park drops the phone in a frenzy and tries to make a run for it. On the other end, Taro calls up Shunji immediately.
Shunji heads out and asks where Kang To is but Abe says he didn’t come in for work yet. Shunji takes that in stride and tells Koiso to take the men and head to Kyungsung Ilbo-the newspaper house. Shunji watches them go and stays behind. Gaksital follows Park and lists out his crimes-sullying the name of a freedom fighter, selling off his nation’s young girls, deceiving his countrymen and ending with, “I’m here to punish your evil deeds!” Park holds out his name slate as defense but Gaksital cuts it into two with one hit of his stick. Raising his flute one last time, he delivers a final blow to Park.
Kang To heads back to the police station and arrives in, straightening his uniform and drying his sweat. He enters inside stealthily and heads down to find Shunji sitting there in wait for him. Kang To stops in his tracks-surprise evident on his face as Shunji gets up and faces him with an almost smirk on his face.
This is one too many misses for Kang To to get out of and I’m afraid that sooner, rather than later, things will spiral out of control for him and he won’t be able to find an excuse or an escape that easily! That said, how awesome is Shunji-totally evil and totally ruthless. There’s not even a speck of his older self left here. Remember the moment he returned after chasing Gaksital the first time (when Gaksital killed his hyung) he came to see his father and told him that he only gave chase because he couldn’t help it in that moment when he saw his hyung dead in front of him and that he wasn’t cut out for police work and yet, here he is, doing that very thing he vowed not to do and proving to be the worst adversary Kang To aka Gaksital can have! It doesn’t hurt that he’s totally without a conscience when it comes to these matters and the fact that Kang To was once his best friend is something that doesn’t hold even the slightest of importance. It’s like that time and that closeness between the two never even existed!
Ueno Rie- she is so one of my favorite characters and I totally LOVE LOVE LOVE the angst this drama is putting her character through. Now, she has to question her own beliefs and her own wants- like she tells herself, she’s risen this far and done so ruthlessly but why can’t she take that one more step which will bring her to what she has always thought she wanted? She asked Shunji once-aren’t you doing this for the power and he in turn called her out on it-a pitiful woman. Those words struck her because deny as she might, they were true and no matter how much she tried to tell herself it wasn’t so, there were times when she just had to face it. Having tried to kill Dan and then again watching Kang To not react to her because of it has her confused and that is the moment when she realizes that when Kang To told her he would save her, he probably meant it.
Hence all the questions when she confronts him today! They are everything she cannot ever imagine herself doing and cannot see the wisdom he has in taking what she calls ‘that foolish choice’. She and he are similar in many ways-they both lost their identities and their heritage so she cannot understand his need and want to serve that identity and that heritage for the people who once shunned him! Yet his response and his quiet belief unnerves her and she can no longer convince herself she has made the perfect and the right choices. It’s now time for her descent down the path of redemption and the chance for her to reclaim her own self-she’s not Ueno Rie, she’s not Lala and she’s not a gisaeng nor a singer. Those were all choices she made in the past but now, she has to either reclaim herself as Hong Joo or give up the man she clearly loves and continue down the lonely path of Ueno Rie. And it’s most telling that while cannot bring herself to go back to Hong Joo yet, she cannot ever give up the man she loves, even though he clearly doesn’t love her back.
Posted on August 16, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Asian Comics, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Manhwas, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged bridal mask recaps, Dan, diary, Drama, entertainment, friends, Gaksital, gaksital recaps, kdrama, Korean drama, life, love, miscellaneous, musings, personal, random, random thoughts, recaps, reflections, Relationships, Romance, Shunji, stories, thoughts, Writers Resources, writing. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.