Gaksital aka Bridal Mask episode 25 Recap
This is a stellar episode-intense and touching. The confrontation finally happens and once again, we see focus on all the characters more than the story. And as always, Gaksital does what it does best-it stuns, it strains your nerves, it breaks your heart and at the end, it still gives you hope… This show is simply DAEBAK!
Episode 25 Recap:
Comrade Ahn and the female comrade are trapped between Rie and Kachiyama but even without weapons-in the case of Ahn, and with just sticks-in the case of the female comrade, their skills are much better than Rie and Kachiyama’s and they easily fight back. Ahn knocks Kachiyama around with a side kick and Rie doesn’t fare much better, getting hit while Gaksital and Kinpei come face to face in the courtyard outside.
The female comrade easily knocks out Rie and smirks (hehe, that was satisfying!) while Ahn takes down Kachiyama, first making the latter lose his sword and then knocking him out in hand to hand combat. Gaksital and Kinpei face off with each other and the fighting begins. This time, Gaksital is much more adept at it, and as if anticipating Kinpei’s attacks, he defends himself against them well, finally landing a blow to Kinpei’s throat.
Both lose their weapons and go hand to hand. Here too, Gaksital is not an equal match for Kinpei but fares much better than before-taking hits but landing many as well. Soon, the other man is left staggering while Gaksital is still sharp-sweating but sharp. With a final hit to the face, Gaksital knocks out Kinpei just as Ahn and the female comrade arrive from inside. The trio make their getaway.
The Count goes to the room where his son is lying dead on the ground, bleeding from his wound. There, he cradles his son in his lap and cries out, calling his name again and again in Korean-Hae Suk as the Countess watches trembling. I kind of feel bad for him. Just then, Shunji arrives and looks inside the room, his eyes widening at seeing Hae Suk dead. For a few moments, his expression flickers with loss and regret as he remembers the last time he met Tamao and held a gun in his face. See, you were much better being human, Shunji!
His eyes tear up and on shaking feet, he makes his way to Ueno’s chambers where his father and Tamao are in attendance along with Rie, Kinpei and Kachiyama. Ueno launches at Shunji immediately-Kishokai was brought such shame with what happened tonight. He roars that he believed in Shunji and this is how Shunji has let him be disappointed. Shunji asks him to believe in him one more time-he made a wrong judgment this time around.
Ueno won’t have any of it-he was the one who couldn’t get Gaksital even when he was right in front of his eyes! That perks Rie’s radar. Shunji returns that he will kill Gaksital with his own hands and Yang Baek and Dong Jin too. Taro offers up a plea to let Shunji go at it again while Yoshio tells him the police will get the matter resolved-that is, catch the rebels. Ueno agrees to give Shunji a last chance. He thanks Ueno and promises to keep his promise.
At Dong Jin’s hideout, Kang To arrives with the money. Dong Jin thanks him for his hard work with another smile, hehe. Song says that all they need now are bombs. Kang To assures Dong Jin he will secure them no matter what. Dong Jin assures him the help of his men and Kang To thanks him but Dong Jin points out that he’s the one who should be thanking Kang To.
At Kyungsung Inn, Dan is hurriedly packing her belongings along with Ahn and the female comrade. They need to make their getaway before Shunji and his wrath hits the place. Dan warns that Jo will be in more danger if she’s missing-they need to take him along but the female comrade assures him that Jo and the circus folk will be in hiding as well. Ahn urges them to hurry, Outside, Shunji and his troops draw up to the inn.
Ahn and fellows are heading towards the door when they hear loud voices. It’s Shunji doling out orders. Dan hurries them into a room just before Shunji bursts upstairs. He finds her room empty and Jo gone as well. A sound from the other room alerts him and he bursts in to find Ahn jumping down. He jumps down after Ahn and follows him but he gets away in a car. Shunji fires after the car but it makes its getaway and Shunji stews.
Kang To is anxiously waiting at his cottage with Baek when Ahn and Dan burst in. He’s ecstatic and relieved to see her and thanks Ahn with emotional eyes. Ahn tells him it wasn’t anything big and heads off to Yang Baek’s. Dan worries when she sees Kang To is heading back to work-Shunji already knows he is Gaksital, she argues. That is news to Baek and Dan confirms that she knew for sure when she went to see Shunji.
By now, Kang To has pieced the puzzle together and knows that Shunji must have found out his identity when he went to rescue Song. He points out that Shunji could have killed him then but he didn’t. Dan remembers when he was in the hospital and wonders if Shunji knew that long. Baek is surprised Shunji knew and pretended not to know but Kang To can see the reason behind his actions-he wants Yang Baek and Dong Jin and until he has a chance to get them through Kang To, he won’t kill Kang To. For now, Kang To will act as if he does not realize Shunji knows everything. She’s worried-do you really have to go that far? He does for the sake of getting weapons, he tells her and assures her he will quit once he has done this one last thing. She asks him to be careful and he smiles at her reassuringly. Awww…
Kang To approaches the police station and enters by climbing over the wall. As he walks in, he takes note of all the guard around the place. In his office, Shunji is contemplating what is happening-Jo and Dan disappearing were not in his books. Is Kang To not planning on showing up? Is that why Dan and Jo disappeared? If he doesn’t show up, there’s no way to catch him, Shunji fumes.
He looks outside his office window and sees Kang To arrive. That sends him into bitter rage and heading out, he punches Kang To without a word, then grabs his collar and demands to know what he was doing last night. Hehe, I love Kang To’s retort-“Do I have to report what I was doing even after I am off duty?” At that, he gets another punch and a few kicks but he’s not about to take them sitting down so he gets up and hits Shunji back, shouting, “Just why are you doing this to me? What have I done wrong?”
Shunji takes more offense at that, kicking and punching him more just as Abe, Koiso and the others arrive and he tells Kang To-Answer like that once more and you die by my hands. Telling the others there’ll be a meeting in five minutes, Shunji heads back to his office with a glare at Kang To. Poor Abe rushes forward to help Kang To up while Koiso smirks. Watching Koiso, poor Abe tears up, wondering what is wrong with everyone these days.
Inside his office, Shunji stares at Kang To through the window, sure that Kang To realizes by now that Shunji knows his identity. “You knew and you still came. Just what are you planning?” Likewise, when Kang To sees Shunji watching him, he mutters to himself in voiceover, “Kimura Shunji, now I have to rob the armory. It would be good if you were tricked just one more time!”
Shunji comes out to the meet, eyeing Kang To as he announces the events of last night. He turns to Kang To-what does he think is Yang Baek and Dong Jin’s real motive? Kang To asks him if he really thinks the decision to bomb the headquarters was a fake. Koiso swears at him over that-Shunji was already duped over that but Kang To continues- who’s to say it won’t happen? There’s nothing wrong with being cautious, is there?
Shunji says that they must find Yang Baek and Dong Jin’s Headquarters and tells everyone that is their target. As he watches Kang To walk away after meeting he wonders to himself-“Knowing very well that I know who you are… The reason you came back in… Was it this? To confuse me with lies and misdirection? Lee Kang To, you think I will be deceived by you again?”
Meanwhile, a truck with Dong Jin’s men drives up to a building and after killing the guards there, put it on fire by hurling hand bombs at it.
Taro has a meeting with his officers and they discuss the recent fires-6 out of 13 registry offices have been burned down and they wonder what the purpose is for these fires. They deduce it is Dong Jin’s men at work here and Yoshio wonders if he and Yang Baek aren’t working together already. Shunji suggests the reason may be the registers. Shunji is sure Dong Jin and Yang Baek are planning something together-Dong Jin was responsible for the flag incident. Taro is worried-they have yet to even glimpse the shadow of either but Shunji says not to worry-he has someone in hand who can lead to the two.
Kang To goes to the tailor shop, on the outlook for a trail but misses seeing Koiso drive up in a car. Kang To meets Yang Baek and Damsari with Ahn and the female comrade. Yang thanks him for his help with the finance issue but he says Ahn and the female were more than helpful to him and proposes a solution for their weapons problem-rob the police station. Since Shunji believes the headquarters will no longer be bombed, he will not be able to anticipate the robbery. Damsari disagrees-it will be dangerous for Kang To.
Kang To plays down his concern-he is already thinking of quitting the police once this job is done. Since Shunji already knows his identity, Kang To cannot drag it out anymore. Yang Baek says he must have suffered a lot while trying to keep his identity hidden. Once Kang To takes off the uniform, Yang Baek says, and gives up his identity as Sato Hiroshi, he can join his comrades. Kang To gives the blueprints for the armory to Ahn and the female comrade and tells them he will call when they move in to rob the armory. All this talk of the one last mission is not good! Kang To ya!!!
As he heads out, Kang To doesn’t see Koiso on his trail. Koiso reports his findings to Shunji who wonders why Kang To would go to the Tailor shop. Time to walk in and find out for yourself-Shunji decides. He goes to the tailors and asks if Kang To really has been coming here. The tailor agrees but Shunji says he doesn’t think Kang To can afford such clothes on his salary and asks which clothes Kang To has been wanting to be made. The tailor makes another excuse that he simply fumbles over designs every time he comes here. Meanwhile, Ahn is coming out from the underground room and hides behind a curtain just in time when he sees Shunji. However, it seems Shunji does realize something is off from the reflection of the mirror he stands in front of. Turning back to the tailor, he tells him he wanted to have the same clothes made as Kang To since Kang To is such a fashionista. The tailor promises to let him know once a decision is made and Shunji leaves with a hard glint in his eyes.
The Count and Countess are being dragged to Ueno’s chambers-her wailing about it, the Count totally stoic. Poor guy! Once inside, the countess pleads innocent to Ueno-she’s the one who collected and brought all the money; how can it be her fault they were robbed? Rie tells her, “Countess. Shut your mouth!” hehe! She gives Kachiyama the nod to reveal the letter they found-the one from Tamao in the room-his suicide note. The countess reads it for the first time and asks the Count if he knew about it.
The Count is still in shock and mutters that all he ever wanted was for his son to be happy and live well so he put everything he had into Kishokai. The Countess isn’t moved-he wasn’t even her real son and he’s bringing her misery even when he’s dead. Ueno tells the two to show their loyalty to Kishokai and just leave (by leave he means die, as shown by Kinpei and Kachiyama drawing their swords). However, that is not what either Count and Countess want so they beg Ueno for mercy.
Rie tells them the amount of money that was stolen and tells them to take responsibility then, presenting a document to be signed. The Count immediately agrees and the Count promises to give them their everything. Once they’ve signed it over, Ueno gives the signal for the two to be killed. As Rie wipes the blood that has streaked her cheek, she isn’t as unmoved as she would like to show and her hand trembles. Ueno watches her and addresses her, “The only thing in this world that you can believe in is power.” She promises to remember that and his face hardens.
That night, Shunji sits in his car and thinks to himself about Deuksu’s words-bomb the headquarters? While he’d initially given up on the idea, suddenly he become keen on it once he realizes that to bomb the headquarters, the rebels would need weapons. He goes to the police station and addresses everyone, telling them he’s sorry everyone had to work hard because of him last night. He says he was deceived by a Korean’s lie that the headquarters would be bombed and turning to Kang To, says he’s sorry.
Ahem ahem, yep, creepy smile’s back in place. He apologizes from stopping Kang To from strangling the man there and then and taking his mother and brother’s revenge. As apology, he tells everyone he’s buying them drinks today.
At the club, everyone seems to be drinking well and enjoying while Kang To and Shunji sit inside the room with Tasha. Hehe, Abe’s so bad at dancing. Tasha doesn’t seem to be in a joyous mood and drinks straight from the bottle. The waiter asks Shunji to stop Tasha from drinking and he takes the bottle from her, asking her if she’s drinking because of Hae Suk. She says she always thought he was too afraid-so how could he gone like that? Kang To furrows his brows-did something happen to Hae Suk?
The waiter tells him the story-Hae Suk shot himself in the head which earns him a glare from Tasha. Kang To turns to Tasha-what happened to Hae Suk? Why is he dead? How? Shunji, seemingly drunk turns to Kang To-didn’t he know? Hae Suk gave over the funds to Gaksital and died. He continues-if he knew things would be like this, he wouldn’t have been so mean to Hae Suk the last time they met. Kang To closes his eyes in pain. Lost another friend!
Shunji: “I knew very well how weak hearted he was! Kang To-ya I am one of those who killed him too.”
A drunk Shunji continues as Tasha puts her head down-he hates himself and now Dan isn’t here either. He doesn’t want to live, he mutters and passes out. Kang To watches the two before stumbling out. Shunji sits up as soon as he is gone. Outside, Kang To sees all officers busy in drinking and appearing drunk. He makes the call to Ahn. Shunji walks out as soon as Kang To leaves. Uh oh, storm’s definitely coming very soon.
Shunji watches him leave and all the officers pretend to call it a day and leave, except Abe who is drunk and passed out. Not drunk at all, all officers head out. Ahn and comrade, along with Dong Jin’s men bring up a truck to the police station. Gaksital knocks out the guards with Ahn’s help and they make the move to the police station. Inside, they easily make their way around, knocking officers down here and there. Gosh, I love how badass these guys are. The female comrade unlocks the armory and heads in, followed by the others.
Outside, Shunji and the officers arrive. Seeing the guards knocked out, they draw weapons and head in. Ahn and Gaksital supply Dong Jin’s men with the weapons by removing the railing on one of the windows. Following the trail of his downed men, Shunji and the others make their way around the police station. Realizing they would be at the armory, Shunji makes a dash for it.
The female comrade picks up that the others are here and Gaksital urges the others to hurry and leave. The others want to leave together but he says they need to get the weapons safe first. Ahn and the female comrade make their getaway but Gaksital gets caught up in the fight as Koiso and the others make their way to the armory. Kang To fights them off and is ready to make his getaway when a gun is cocked to his head-Shunji.
Shunji tells him to remove his mask. Kang To doesn’t move so Shunji repeats the order, getting agitated when Kang To won’t take it off. Finally he takes it off himself. When the other officers rise back and cock their guns at Gaksital, they’re stunned to see Kang To is the man behind the mask. Kang To closes his eyes.
Outside, Deuksu wants to go inside and help Kang To but the female comrade stops him-there is no way to help him now. Awww, is it just me or is really awesome that Deuksu is the one who is most willing to put himself in the line of fire for the sake of his hero Gaksital aka Kang To? Boy, you just made the list of my favorite characters! Ahn agrees, they must leave now. And I love the way Deuksu turns back to the armory, his eyes betraying emotions, almost ready to cry. The truck rolls away.
Kang To is cuffed and led to the interrogation room where he is chained-hands and feet, just like Damsari and the others before him. Koiso sneers at him-he’s Gaksital? Lee Kang To is Gaksital? All this time they looked to catch Gaksital and he was right in front of their noses?! Kang To keeps his gaze on Koiso, unflinching. Taking this chance, Koiso draws the whip and starts whipping Kang To, trying to get him to flinch and lower his gaze but every time, Kang To would just turn his gaze, the same intensity, back to him.
Shunji enters carrying the mask and quietly watches Kang To being whipped.
At Yang Baek’s headquarters, everyone-Damsari, Jo, Dan and Baek are anxiously waiting. Ahn and the female comrade finally arrive. Looking behind them, Dan worriedly asks about Kang To. Ahn tells them there was no way to help him and the female comrade confirms that he was caught. Dan drops her praying rosary in shock and Damsari comforts her. Yang Baek meanwhile also seems to be stunned by the news.
Kang To and Shunji sit face to face and asks if he killed Kenji. Kang To points out Kenji killed his mother-but Shunji already knows that, doesn’t he?
Shunji: “So you killed my hyung? In front of my eyes… the one who beat my hyung to death -you are saying that was you? The friend I liked more than Kenji hyung-at one time the only friend I had… you – you’re saying you are the one who beat my hyung to death?”
Kang To: “Yes that was the only way I could get revenge. If I didn’t I thought I would have gone crazy. My hyung, the one who was like a fool… Kang San hyung- that hyung was Gaksital the one I was so crazy to catch. I wanted to catch Gaksital so I shot and killed my hyung. I didn’t know Kang San hyung came to avenge my mother from your hyung who killed her and while fighting on kenji hyung’s side, I shot and killed my hyung. So because of my hyung, because of Kang San hyung I ended up wearing that mask.”
During the whole exchange, Shunji’s expression goes from angry to stunned disbelief and to shaken. As Kang To’s words echo with him, he looks totally shocked, shaken and broken. Kang To: “Kimura Shunji… Thank you for catching me. Because I have been caught like this, at least I won’t have to kill you with my own hands.” After hearing these words, Shunji stumbles up from his chair, tears falling from his eyes. Without a word, he stumbles out and Kang To watches him leave, his own expression one of pain.
Shunji goes back to his office dazedly and collapses in his chair, remembering Kang To’s ending words. He flashes back to the time he and Kang To had cried together after Kenji and Kang San’s death and for a moment, cries like he once did before. But then, he steels his expression and his eyes now have the same hard, steely glint.
Rie exits her room at the gisaengs house as a gisaeng comes up and tells her a guest has come. Going out, she comes face to face with Dan. Rie’s surprised to see her and Dan tells her she has a request-she’ll do anything Rie asks in return. The tone and words surprise Rie even more and she asks what’s going on. Dan asks her-Please save Lee Kang To. Rie’s stunned-what? Dan begs her-please save him and she’ll do anything Rie wants. Rie’s too stunned by the news and gathers her wits after a moment, telling Dan, “I’m sorry. Please go back! I don’t have that kind of strength anymore.” Dan kneels before her, begging her once more. Rie stares at her, her own eyes tearing up.
At the police station, Taro and Yoshio get updated that Kang To is Gaksital. This isn’t much of a surprise to Taro but Yoshio fumes-how could Gaksital be a person from his precinct? Shunji tells them they caught Kang To when the armory was robbed. Yoshio starts at that too but is cut off by Taro who asks Shunji-is he the one who killed your hyung? Shunji nods and without a word more, Taro leaves. Alarmed, Shunji follows him.
In the interrogation room, Yoshio, Taro and Shunji face Kang To. Taro remembers his dead son’s body as he looks at Kang To and grabbing his face asks if he killed Kenji. Kang To: “Is there anybody who would save the life of his mother’s killer?” Taro punches Shunji-how dare he kill his son and come to work everyday? He orders Kang To put in the nail crate immediately. Shunji asks Taro to be patient-don’t they have to catch Yang Baek and Dong Jin but Taro is beyond care.
Kang To is put in the nail crate and he grits his teeth to keep from shouting out in pain as Taro rocks the crate. Yoshio watches impassively while Shunji stands there, not totally at ease. Here I actually think his conscience is nagging at him. He bends before Kang To-tell them where Yang Baek and Dong Jin are and he’ll make sure the torture stops. Kang To tells them he doesn’t know. Enraged, Taro kicks the crate again and again and finally, Kang To shouts out in pain-a gut wrenching cry!
Later, Kang To is chained and unconscious. Shunji looms over him, calling him “Kang To ya, Kang To ya!” When he gets no response, he douses Kang To with water and faces him again with a smile, asking where Yang Baek and Dong Jin are, in a tone of friendliness, as if they were best buds. Kang To replies, “I don’t know. I don’t know. How many times do I have to tell you I don’t know?” At that, Shunji scowls and tells Kang To that since he doesn’t seem to remember well on his own, they’ve called someone to help him. His men bring in the tailor-cuffed.
Shunji turns to him-where is Yang Baek but the tailor says he doesn’t know. What would a tailor know, he asks? Shunji tells Kang To that if he doesn’t respond, he will start by shooting Park. To make his point, he starts torturing Park by dousing him in the tub. Kang To watches horrified as the man is tortured and entreats Shunji, “Shunji, please don’t do that! Do it to me instead. What crime did he commit?” but Shunji ignores him and continues the torture.
At the tailor’s shop, the female comrade says the place is not safe anymore since Park was also caught and suggests they move but Yang Baek refuses to step one foot out until Kang To comes back. Ahn tells them they’ve decided to rescue Kang To tonight and Song says his comrades-Dong Jin’s men will help as well. Damsari says he will go as well-he knows the place better than anyone else. Female comrade tells him to leave it up to them-it would be dangerous for Damsari. Dan watches worriedly and clutches her rosary tightly.
At night, Ahn, female comrade and Dong Jin’s men knock out the guards and head in. Ahn hurls teargas at the main point-where Koiso and the other officers sit. Meanwhile, Shunji has Koiso put Kang To into the wall closet. As they lock the door on him, Shunji and Kang To watch each other.
Dong Jin’s men and the female comrade make it to the interrogation room. Here too, they hurl in the teargas. While Koiso and the other man in the room go down easily, Shunji fights back. The female comrade grabs the keys and opens the chamber holding Kang To.
Shunji is finally knocked down as the comrade helps Kang To out. As she helps him walk away, he stops and she follows his line of vision to see the mask lying there. Clutching it, she helps him away while Shunji watches, just before being knocked out by Dong Jin’s men. Hearing Shunji’s final cry as he goes unconscious, Kang To turns back to look at him.
How awesome was it to finally witness the confrontation and how much it shook both sides.For so many episodes now, there’s just been a cat and mouse game but no one-not Shunji or Kang To ever thought of what would happen when the truth really did get out and they would have to face off against each other. And to have that shoved at them like this-with the whole truth and feelings thrown in is definitely enough to give them both pause and look back at themselves. What were they and what have they become. Kang To is no longer ruthless or coldhearted and Shunji is no longer the silent, smiling and helpful teacher-they’ve both gone to total opposites and it seems like ages ago that they were best friends and trusted each other so. Yet that confrontation brings back all their memory of it and this is like the moment where they truly realize how much they’ve both lost.
Shunji is so evil I totally get scared of him in some scenes (when he’s threatening Dan or torturing GyeS Soon) but every once in a while, we get a glimpse of the humanity he’s got deep down in him and its enough to like him and make you root for the man-for him to find his salvation and for both of them to survive. The way Shunji tears up after Kang To thanks him-it’s like Shunji breaks down to realize he still held such value in his friends life. It’s like looking at the road behind you and realizing you had something so precious that no matter how many times you mistreated it or threw it away, it’s still right there, waiting for you. And to Shunji-it’s a wake up call. He may have hated Kang To all this while and felt betrayed but his friend didn’t feel any better either, having to live the lie and deceive him.
I dig the fact that Kang To has voiced that which has always been in his heart-something that shows he didn’t lose his humanity or sense of friendship even though he faced the worst in Shunji. The fact that he says thank you to Shunji and especially for the fact that now he no longer has to live with the fear of having to face his friend in battle one day and make that momentous decision speaks volumes about him. He’s devoted to his cause now-helping the people and living as Gaksital and while he may have to do the deed for the sake of his cause, he cannot bring himself to feel nothing about hurting the one friend he had.
But we all know the story will only end with the death of one or either… And reading Gaksital’s initial character and story releases is making me panic even more… I don’t think the story can end if both survive-not if Shunji does not get redeemed but if one has to kill the other, can either live with themselves after doing that?
I was surprised that Dan came to find Rie but was even more so by Rie’s response to her. Rie doesn’t cut her down or shove her off immediately, rather she listens-even if its with a bit of a scowl. And her response to Dan-it wasn’t deliberate or curt-it was moving the way she apologizes and tells her to go back. I already enjoyed Rie’s flinch when the Count and Countess were killed-the way she trembles even as she removes the blood from her cheek says more than anything else that Rie is no longer just power hungry. Previously, she didn’t even blink when she tried to kill Dan but now things are different. Although I would’ve liked to see more of her and her dilemma here, I’m holding out hope that the next three episodes will force her character forward-she needs to make a decision. I hold Kang To’s words in remembrance here-he told her he believes she would choose the right path and I totally totally hope the drama shows her go there. And of course, Kachiyama has to be by her side! 😉