Gaksital aka Bridal Mask Episode 28 [Final] Recap

And here it is. Time to say Goodbye to Gaksital! I don’t wanna! I can’t believe we’ve crossed 28 episodes so fast. The ratings once again passed it’s precedent to end at 22.9 and as always, the episode was packed with all the right elements. It’s like an end that symbolizes another beginning and in the life of Lee Kang To and Gaksital, it was truly befitting! I love the shot above-it depicts the essence of Kang To’s life so well!

Episode 28 Recap:

At the wedding, Jo escorts Dan down the aisle where Kang To is waiting, love and smiles in his eyes while Shunji marches up the hill, an army in tow. At the ceremony, Yang Baek tells them “From here on while living no matter what terrible things happen -with the strength of your burning love -I hope you overcome it.” and tells them to have ten sons and daughters one after the other. That sends everyone into smiles. Here, Dong Jin, Ahn, Jin, Jo and Baek Gun are all there.

Meanwhile, Shunji and his men draw up to their meeting point with the spy. He asks where Lee Kang To is immediately and his spy tells him he is getting married to Oh Mok Dan right now. That sends him into a panic-where? The spy points out the direction. Shunji instructs the army man with him to take his men to the camp and he and some men will be heading to the wedding ceremony.

Off they go their separate ways. At the wedding, Kang To and Dan bow to everyone after the ceremony as Song snaps pictures of them. As they walk back down the aisle, Dan gives her bouquet to Sun Hwa and in the background, Deuksu goes, “Yess!!” hehe, so adorable! At that moment, Shunji walks up in the background, unnoticed by everyone.

Seeing Dan happily smiling at Kang To snaps him into rage again and almost mechanically, he raises his gun-aiming at Kang To. Dan turns and catches sight of him just in time, moving in to hug Kang To and straight into the direction of the bullet. Oh Crap! No! *shock mode*

Everyone snaps at the sound of the gunshot immediately, Kang To belatedly seeing Shunji in the distance and realizing what has just happened. Shunji’s hand, in shock himself, goes limp and Kang To clutches Dan as she pants for breath and falls. Picking her up, he carries her away immediately. Ahn and Jin move to escort Yang Baek away, who is still staring in shock at Kang To and Dan. Seriously! Why!?

Shunji runs forward to chase Kang To as Koiso and his men draw up behind. Gunfire is exchanged and Jo, unable to do anything else, bodily stops Shunji until Shunji shoots him. Yet even then as he falls, he grabs onto his legs, refusing to let him go. Kang To makes his getaway with Dan and Baek Gun. No matter how much Shunji beats Jo, he refuses to let go, until Shunji shoots him again. Jin, defending Yang Baek, Dong Jin and Ahn’s escape route is hit and goes down in front of her comrade’s eyes, who are helpless to help her.

Shunji heads after Kang To, following the blood trail and tells Koiso to follow Yang Baek and the others. Ahead of him, Kang To stumbles while carrying Dan and she asks him to let her down-in semblance of give up on her. He tells her to bear with it for just a while more, calling her Boon Yi but she pleads with him, “It’s too hard on me. Please!” He finally looks at her and she smiles at him weakly, asking him not to cry in a quivering voice-it’s their wedding day!

She apologizes-this happened because of her. “You said you fight because of me… but it became like this because of me… Every day, I wanted to cook a warm meal for you. Every day, I wanted to wear the flower rings. Have strength even though I’m not here. Promise me!” He nods at her, unable to say anything.

Shunji’s still running around, having lost the tail and ends up growling in frustration.

Dan cries and touches Kang To’s face one final time before her eyes close. Kang To unleashes his grief then, crying out like he did over his mother’s dead body, clutching her close. Afar, Shunji hears his cries and heads in that direction. Kang To clutches Dan’s hand, crying as Shunji draws up and sees them like this-the reality finally sinking in for him-he killed Dan.

But his anger takes over and he shouts at Kang To. “Lee Kang To! It’s because of you! It’s because of you, you bastard!” Kang To turns slightly at his voice but doesn’t move. As Shunji moves to shoot Kang To in anger, he is knocked out by Baek Gun. Baek Gun draws up to him, realizes Dan is dead but this is no time to spend in grief and tells Kang To they must move immediately. Kang To carries Dan and they walk away.

At the camp, the army and Dong Jin’s men are battling it out but Dong Jin’s men are more susceptible and unprepared and go down before long. Poor Abe walks amongst the bloodbath, unable to believe it. Just then, Gye Soon’s brother, unconscious on the ground wakes up and not realizing the danger, moves to get up. Lying beside him is one of Dong Jin’s group and he immediately pushes the boy down, jumping over him so he gets shot instead. Realizing what has happened, the boy silently lies there and cries, clutching his hand into a fist.

Shunji awakens and sees the bloody glass where Dan was sitting. Approaching it, he kneels over the ground, tears forming and moves in to touch the place. As he sits there, he starts crying loudly, remembering her last memory, smiling as if she were on top of the world.

At Dong Jin’s mountain camp, Yang Baek and Dong Jin sit together with Ahn. Ahn tells Baek he will take care of burying Ahn and Jo once it is dark at Baek’s request. Baek further asks him to look for Kang To.

Shunji returns to brief Wada, who is waiting expectantly with a smile on his face. He relays the casualties for the enemy, but he’s too distracted by other thoughts and Yoshio corrects a mistake of his. Wada asks if they found the armory weapons. The search is still ongoing through Dong Jin’s headquarters so they’ll probably find them soon-Shunji says. Wada congratulates him at his work but asks why Dong Jin, Yang Baek and Gaksital weren’t caught.

Yoshio speaks up for him, telling Wada not to worry-Shunji will do well in catching them. After all, Gaksital is his father’s killer. Afterwards, Shunji walks back to his office and sits by himself in the dark, ignoring the phone when it rings.

Rie comes to see him at the police station and asks why he hasn’t been answering her calls-she’s been looking for him for so long! She asks him what became of Lee Kang To and Oh Mok Dan after he raided the hideout but his expression and silence makes her worry and  she tells him he need not answer her. But he speaks up. “Oh Mok Dan died. I killed her. I was going to shoot the man who killed my father but she shielded him and died-right after she married Kang To. It was the first time I saw her smiling so happily.”

But then his expression twists, and in angry tones, he continues, “The one who killed Oh Mok Dan was Lee Kang To -not me. The person I was going to kill was Lee Kang To. Just wait and see I will chase him till the end and I will kill him.”

Kang To meanwhile is slumped over Dan’s grave-his hands still covered with her blood, a bouquet of flowers lying nearby and still wearing his wedding clothes and flashes back to her words, “I won’t ever let you go alone-I will follow you till the end and cheer you on. Whether it’s to a thousand fathoms deep ocean or a fiery pit, I will always go with you.” And the time she had told him Gaksital must live for the sake of the Korean people.

Crying silently, he tells himself, “Be strong, Lee Kang To. Have some strength! You said you’d be strong! You promised!” Baek Gun approaches him then. Watching him cry silently, he entreats him, “Young Master! Thinking of Boon Yi who gave her life to save yours, please get up!” He tells him all the men who were to participate in the revolt are dead and that draws Kang To out and he finally raises his head-what? “They all… died!” Baek Gun repeats. The people he saved-they’re all dead? Baek Gun tells him the rivers are flowing with their blood.

Kang To asks about Yang Baek and learns that he is with Dong Jin. Turning to Dan’s grave, he whispers, “Boon Yi, I’ll rise. I’ll have strength!” With that, he gets up.

He goes straight to see Dong Jin and Yang Baek who welcome him back. Kang To tells them he is glad they are safe and Yang Baek thanks him for living, asking about Dan. Kang To tells him “I laid her down in sunny spot.” Yang Baek says they lost many lives today-what a waste. But Dong Jin says, “We have to get our country back for the sake of the blood, shed by our fallen comrades. We can’t let the blood that has been shed be for nothing!

At Ueno’s quarters, he is displeased with Yoshio and Shunji for letting the leaders Yang Baek and Dong Jin get away-they simply cut the tail and not the head but Shunji argues- even though the heads are important, without their men, the leaders can’t have the rebellion they had planned. He says he’s laid another trap-announcing that Dong Jin and his men are dead in the papers to throw his followers into doubt. To negate that, Dong Jin has to come out from hiding and that is when he plans to strike. Ueno isn’t much impressed while Rie listens to it all, not totally at ease.

Yang Baek, Dong Jin, Song and Ahn are dressed up as priests, monks and a rickshaw puller. Kang To tells Yang Baek he would have liked to escort Yang Baek himself but Yang Baek points out his wanted posters are all over the town so it will be dangerous. Besides, they have reported that Gaksital is dead but if any Japanese was to catch sight of him-there would be trouble. Kang To wishes him a safe journey and promises to wait until they may meet again. Yang Baek says they will definitely meet again soon.

As they walk out and away, they stumble onto a student, covered in blood. It’s Gye Soon’s brother. He recognizes Dong Jin immediately and tells him he was one of the students who enlisted as a new recruit. Dong Jin hugs him as he cries and thanks him for staying alive.

Shunji is driving away when he sees a woman walking with hair just like Dan’s and it flashes him back to the moment he shot Kang To and Dan got in the middle. Unable to control his emotions any longer, he parks the car on the side. Ahn is driving Yang Baek by on the street just in front of him but busy with battling his own emotions, Shunji doesn’t see them.

Gye Soon is at the same restaurant where she came with her brother before, but now crying as she reads the fliers detailing Dong Jin and his men’s death-they were the ones his brother went with. That is, until she hears his voice from behind-he’s telling Dong Jin about the restaurant and immediately turns. Both brother and sister have a tearful reunion as he reminds her he promised to come back alive. She smiles at him and he introduces her to Dong Jin.

But she was just reading about Dong Jin’s death and shares the news with them-that means rumors are being spread wrongly. He and Song ask her to spread the word that Dong Jin is alive and she promises to spread it, telling them not to worry.

As Shunji walks back into the office, Koiso and another officer stand fretting over how to approach him. The other finally does and hands him an envelope, telling him they found photos. Oh! The wedding photos! Shunji heads into his office and opens the envelope, drawing out the wedding photos.

They show Kang To and Dan smiling happily with each other and at each other. As he sees photo after photo, Shunji’s tears fall. He finally comes upon a photo of Dan alone and grits his teeth to stop from crying totally. But it’s a futile try since the next picture is of Kang To and Dan again and this time, he totally floods with tears.

Baek Gun comes to tell Kang To that Yang Baek has safely left and asks how long he’ll simply watch Shunji-isn’t it time to give a decision. Kang To says there’s someplace else he has to go first-the enemy who dragged all the Korean students off to war and made the land a prison for its people-the man responsible for Dong Jin’s men’s death.

The man in question, Ueno sits with Rie at the moment, asking her why she came back-she could have run anywhere when Shunji didn’t kill her so why come back? She throws his own words back at him-the only thing one can believe in, in this world is power. She calls him father and says she could never have left him like that. Ueno scoffs, “Father? You loved Gaksital-Lee Kang To, were unable to kill him, and yet you dare to call me father?”

She says the only reason she spared him was because he saved her life five years ago when she was a nobody gisaengs and didn’t know Kang To was Gaksital. That angers Ueno-“You’d trick me to the end?”

Their fate must only have been till here, he says and Kachiyama swallows as he gives the order to Kinpei. Rie sits, choking back her fears and tears and only lets out a breath after she hears the clicking of swords-Kachiyama has drawn his to defend her. Ueno orders Kachiyama to back down but he doesn’t listen. That’s why every hero ought to have a loyal sidekick! Kinpei easily knocks Kachiyama down and is about to strike when the screen door slashes slightly and a dagger flies at him, catching him in his chest.

The door opens and Gaksital walks in, throwing a red tag dagger at the table in front of Ueno. Kinpei moves to defend his master at his command but Kang To throws in another dagger and Kachiyama slashes Kinpei from the back. Awesome! Ueno watches Kinpei fall and shouts out Rie’s name-Oh, so now she’s your daughter again? But she’s too stunned at Kang To’s arrival and doesn’t move. Kang To draws his flute and approaches Ueno, “Your greed to consume the Far East, the Pacific Ocean… has taken my family, and Shunji’s, away from us.”

Ueno simply smirks in response-he only did what was needed for country in war! Kang To tells him “Yours is not a noble history, but a crime that will not fade!” and says he came to deliver justice, knocking him dead with one blow. With a final look at Rie, he leaves.

But she chases him immediately and says she heard about Mok Dan.

“I was always worried about how much your heart would be hurting, but there was nothing I could do. To tell you the truth Shunji is in pain too. Like I saved you couldn’t you accept (forgive) Shunji just once? Even if you kill him your anguish won’t disappear. I don’t want you to have anguish anymore.”

Although he’s emotional at her words, he walks away without a word.

Shunji sits at his father’s memorial and thinks back to Damsari’s words-no matter what they do, it won’t be the end. “Why do you live your life wasting your effort?” The phone rings and nanny tells him there’s a call. It’s Rie. She tells him Gaksital has killed Ueno. But he seems to have been anticipating the news and takes it easily, muttering that Kang To would be coming for him now. She asks him to avoid Kang To-if only for tonight! He muses it’s a perfect chance to catch him-why would he avoid him?

Rie hopes he’s not planning on doing anything foolish but he simply smiles and says she really doesn’t know him. She just sighs and agrees that she’s leaving. When he asks if it’s alone, she smiles at him-if it’s alone, would he stop her from leaving and hold on to her? He tells her to go and live well. She tears up and wishes the same to him before putting the phone down. Shunji opens his drawer and retrieves a gun, loading it to fire n then puts it back.

Kachiyama drives Rie to the roadside and as she alights the car, asks her where she is headed-can’t he take her there? She tells him it is better for them to part here.

Kachiyama: “I will ask one more time. Couldn’t I stay next to your side as a shadow-couldn’t I do that? Couldn’t I?”

Rie: “Kaciyama, living your whole life looking at someone who doesn’t love you is despair. Thank you for everything you did all this time.” She walks away but some distance later, turns back and tells him, “Kachiyama, my name is Chae Hong Joo. Chae Hong Joo.”

Kachiyama smiles as he tells her: “Agasshi, I will remember your name for the rest of my life.”

At the Kimura house, Gaksital enters Taro’s memorial room and takes off his mask, looking at Taro’s picture. Hearing movement, he heads to the opposite room and opens the door-Shunji’s sitting there and pours drinks into their cups when Kang To opens the door. Kang To closes the doors behind him and Shunji finally looks at him eye to eye, “You’ve come!” and gestures to the seat opposite him

Shunji is the first to raise his drink and asks Kang To, “Kang To, can’t we at least have a drink? Since it will be the last anyway.” At that, Kang To raises his cup and drinks. Shunji asks him if he sent Mok Dan off well. Kang To smiles sarcastically at that, “Sent her off… well?” Shunji opens a drawer and takes out a photo, passing it to Kang To.

Looking at it brings emotions surfacing and Kang To closes his eyes briefly. Shunji watches the picture too-it’s the one he had previously clutched and cried and Kang To sees him watching the picture. Shunji mutters, “It was the first time I saw her smile like that. Although she was smiling because of you. If only she was alive!” Kang To points out he must be tormented now since he’d never meant to kill Dan. At least he’d never thought to kill her. Shunji tells him to take the picture-“It’s yours.”

Kang To takes the picture and puts it away. “Now after you killed Oh Mok Dan with your own hands?” Shunji tells him not to be so-he wasn’t even able to see her face closely as he sent her off.

Kang To: “You think I am here because of Oh Mok Dan, that one person? Was Mok Dan the only one who died by your hands?”

He lists down all his comrades who died by Shunji’s hands-Park, the woman who bit her own tongue and died, the comrade who blew himself up at the execution, Yoon, Oh Dong Nyeo, Tailor Park, Jo and even Damsari.

Kang To: “Boon Yi, All those young men of Dong Jin’s,  someone’s sons, husbands, younger siblings, fighters who gathered to get their country back, they all died by your hands. Not killing you back then – I had no idea I would regret it this much.”

Shunji, seemingly weighed down by guilt smiles at his friends last words and mutters that he feels the same, “I know how that feels too. When you killed my father, I didn’t kill you – I regret that.”

Kang To tells him they should see the end now-him and Shunji, won’t it end when only when one of them dies? He asks if Shunji’s prepared and smiling, Shunji nods and says he’s prepared. He tells Kang To to head out to the yard-he’ll be right out. Trusting his words, Kang To rises and heads out.

Shunji opens his drawer and withdraws the gun, slowly raising it to his head. Outside, Kang To slowly walks to the door. Shunji’s face twists into a tearful smile.

Kang To’s walking out when he’s stopped short by the sound of a gunshot and his eyes widen at the realization. He stands there, controlling tears until he hears Shunji’s nanny crying for her young master. At that, he closes his eyes and tears fall. Damn, I’m a weeping mess here! Kang To’s truly all alone now!

He leaves without looking back while Shunji’s nanny clutches him close, weeping over her young Master. Close up to his face shows tears escaped his eyes.

At Dong Jin’s mountain home, preparations are underway. Sun Hwa and her brother paint the Korean flag on fliers while Deuksu, Kang To and Baek Gun carve Gaksital masks out of wood. Deuksu, Sun Hwa and her brother later go around town, distributing the items and giving them info. A little behind her, Gye Soon also happily shares the news that Dong Jin is alive and well. Both meet, happy to see each other!

Dong Jin, Kang To, Song, Baek Gun, Deuksu and Gye Soon’s brother sit as Dong Jin lays out the details of their plan. This time, Kang To is the one who says, “We must definitely succeed!”

Meanwhile, the governor is having a banquet again to celebrate the Korea-Japan union and leads his followers in a round of ‘Banzai’.

Elsewhere, people are marching. It’s Dong Jin’s men-heading straight for the police station. Koiso panics at seeing them, barking out orders at his men but right around the corner, more people emergy-dressed as Gaksital, women and men alike! They start cheering ‘Manseh’ for their country and march forward, without fear.

Koiso and his men stand to defend the police station, guns drawn and pointed at them. But the men still keep going forward, cheering on until finally, Dong Jin’s men shout and move in for battle.

Before Koiso and his men can draw fire though, the police station goes up in flames behind them-bombed and the police scrambles, now totally out of control-not knowing where to go and which way to attack/defend first.

Amongst the crowd, Gaksital is shown walking forward with them, blended in with them but approaching straight on to the end. Surrounded by so many Gaksitals around him, it’s a totally awe-inspiring scene!


What to write? I’m overflowing with emotions and tears right now-not a good combination for my brain to function.

First of all I’ll rant out my frustrations and then get to the parts I loved. I get the reason why they killed Dan but it could’ve been done otherwise too. An ending doesn’t have to be tragic and bittersweet to be memorable. After all Kang To has been through-couldn’t they have given him that little bit of happiness? Showing him live happily with Dan while still being Gaksital would have showed more hope and faith along with the ultimate lesson of fighting for freedom.

Ueno’s death was a disappointment in some ways-it felt too quick and too vague. He’s the leader of Kishokai-the so called organization that’s leading Japan and yet he goes down without a fight? I can understand that Kinpei was downed easily-Kang To had already bested him once and Kachiyama was vying to take him down for the sake of ‘agasshi’. Yet Ueno himself doesn’t go for a sword and looks to Rie for help? Fine that he looked to her for an ally but why did the so called Chairman whom everyone was afraid to death of never defend himself and go down just like that?

The ending was just perfect because it symbolizes that which we all know-it was just another beginning! He’s the one man who gives his people the hope and strength to move forward and fight for themselves and here, watching them all surround him, marching on to their death without a care is simple patriotism but in the best form! Gaksital, you are LOVE!

I liked Dan and Kang To’s farewell to one another. It was an echo of the way his hyung died in his own hands except when hyung died-he was lost, not knowing how to live anymore yet Dan has already given him a purpose and hope for life-even when she is not there. He still has hopes, a cause and a future-the one he’s fighting for not only for himself but for the people suffering around him. As Gaksital, he cannot take that mask off-not until he chases all the Japanese off the soil and frees his country once more.

Dan was the catalyst for him to grow out of Sato Hiroshi and become Lee Kang To once again-the Young Master who was the son of Lee Sun and brother of Lee Kang To! Because of her, he treads down the path of redemption for himself and lives the life his family-especially his mother would have been proud of. By becoming the hope and light for millions, he compensates for the deeds he did as Sato Hiroshi and the wrongs he committed against his people. And Dan was the reason for it all.

Now that she’s no longer a part of his life-he’s lost the person he depended on and the person who shared his burdens but even so she gave him the strength to live on without her and find strength. In this manner, I love how these two were truly suited for each other-they heal each other’s scars and turn to one another in time of need-supporting each other against all the odds. And even though she’s no longer here, knowing she wanted him to go on and would be happy if he did, he cherishes her in his heart and lives the life she helped him build.

Gaksital was never a romantic tale-it promised bittersweet endings and tragedy from the very beginning so I’m not surprised even though I had hoped it would be otherwise, since I had also heard the manga was a happy ending.

Like I said before, you can have a memorable ending without tragedy yet I also feel that this was a perfect ending in itself too. All characters get their ends-befitting for each of them, I’d say (except in Dan’s case-still wish she’d lived!) Rie’s ending pleased me. She really was a person who could not make the decision to sever herself from what she’d grown up with-that power is everything but the way Kachiyama and Kang To free her from that-it forces her to make the decision for herself. And I’m glad that she chose to leave Kachiyama behind. Yes she didn’t love him and if she took him along-she would have ended up depending on him. Leaving him behind and telling him her name symbolizes that she’s truly going back to being Hong Joo-a Korean.

Shunji’s end was brilliant-like a double edged sword. From the moment he saw Dan smiling by Kang To’s side and taking the bullet for him, his mind totally zapped and he had no choice but to face the fact that Rie was right. Dan and Kang To were meant for each other and they should give up. While she does, he goes down the path and the results are something he never even imagined. I think the finality of that moment, seeing her take the bullet makes it sink in for him since he never thought Dan might do that yet she does and it negates everything he thought-that he could make her accept him and live by his side.

And so, throughout the episode he’s faced with the fact time and again that he was wrong. Dan was never meant for him and by continuing down this reckless path, he took away the one thing she always wanted-her happy future with Kang To. That guilt weighing down on him is one reason he cannot live anymore-how is he to live his life now? He wanted to go back to being the old Shunji and he saw Dan as his only chance. Now, he’s left with nothing. How can he face each day even if he does go back to who he was-would that justify everything he has done as Kimura Shunji-the Police Officer and if he doesn’t, how can he lead this life he so desperately hates and continue to be the monster he never wanted to be?

Taking his own life was for two reasons-punishing himself for killing Dan and to spare Kang To the anguish of having to live with the knowledge that he killed his best friend. This was definitely not a cowards way out-rather, he did the strongest thing he could-he eased the burden off of Kang To, whether by intention or not. And I would like to think he did it intentionally because he knew Kang To would never wear off the guilt of having had to kill him. I like that in those last moments, as he drank with Kang To, he watched his past  through his eyes and it gave him a whole new perspective and guilt to weigh him down. It shows that Shunji-no matter what he may have thought of himself, he really was a good person. If only he’d realized it sooner, that he didn’t need Dan to show him the way back, he would have been able to live.

It was a pleasure watching his character-going from one extreme to the other with such contrasts and the way he would approach the edge, sometimes even leap over but then show us a humane side of him and make us pity and symapthise with him rather than hate or fear him. Kudos to Park Ki Woong for such an amazing performance as Shunji. He was totally tailor made for that role and I’m glad we get to see such diversity in him. The character is also a favorite of mine-he’s not a villain that bad just for the sake of bad or because he’s born with it-Shunji showed us such vulnerable moments at times that you doubt he has it in him to be merciless, even when you know he does. I’ve not seen such a complex and well written villain before or at least can’t remember right now if I have but Shunji is totally a forever favorite!

Lee Kang To. The man behind the mask. Gaksital is the story of Lee Kang To-rise of a hero and it truly did him justice. In 28 episodes, we see a bright wide eyed man become disillusioned and become Sato Hiroshi, a man who denounces his roots and simply lives for ambition-but not for personal greed, but rather for his family’s sake. Thereon, the disillusioned and ruthless man becomes a pioneer of hope and light for his people-a man who goes back to his roots and takes up his old identity again-becoming a hero.

And even at the end, when he loses the last person he has kept in his heart, the person who helps him become a better person and who loves and supports him throughout, he still finds the will left in him to live. Because he is someone who truly embraces his cause from his heart. He is someone who feels the pain when his countrymen suffer. To watch the man who inflicted the pain before become someone who protects them from it is just damn gratifying!

And on that path-Kang To loses a lot! He sees his comrades die in front of him-some giving their lives to protect him. His love, Boon Yi dies because of it. And he loses the only true friend he ever had-becoming arch nemesis with each other. As much as Gaksital was Lee Kang To’s story, it was also the story of the friendship and fraught ties between Kang To and Shunji. It’s a friendship that at its best, defied even blood ties to become the best thing that happened to each other but when severed, it pits the two against one another in a fight to death.

I was quite disappointed with Dan’s character throughout the series because most of the time, she was just a passive element but those little times when she did show spark made me crazily root for her-the moment she snubs Shunji and leaves his car and the many moments she stands up against him afterwards. As the daughter of a freedom fighter, it was irritating at times to see her have no sense of defense or how to even adopt disguises but I’ve loved the drama enough to just let this little thing slide and since most of the series I ended up finding reasons to like or root for her anyway, I’ll enjoy her as she is.

One of the things I find most endearing are the characters whom you can root for, despite having hated them throughout the series. Example: Deuksu and Gye Soon. I didn’t hate them per se, but I didn’t like them either and yet at the very end, these two characters gave me the most satisfaction! Watching Deuksu become Kang To’s supporter and friend without regard for the past was heartening. And Gye Soon! Watching the little spy turn to the woman who sends her brother lovingly and smilingly off to fight for independence was the best I could get from her.

Gaksital will truly be dearly missed. It is without a doubt the best Korean drama I have ever seen! It wins out against all the others I previously held in high regard because this has totally blown me away every step and the ending was simply icing on the cake-perfect. It neatly ties everything together and what little mistakes or omissions it did make were easily overlooked. For me, Gaksital was DAEBAK! Kudos to the actors, the whole staff, writer director and all. It was an honor to watch Gaksital and they truly did it so well!

About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on September 7, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Asian Comics, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Manhwas, Potpourri, Recaps, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Mugiraneza Aimable

    I really enjoyed the movie. gaskital was the hero. was that the end?

  2. nicole lillian

    So sad dan passed away but gaksital is da hero at the end of da day.zeros to shunji.

  3. farewell, gaksitaaaal!!

  4. As much I want to write a long comment, I can’t due to my busy schedule. Although I would like to discuss two key deaths you mentioned which are Mok Dan’s and President Ueno’s. I understand why you hoped for a happier ending for both Kang To and Mok Dan, but I had this gut feeling that they would use the hero ending death trope. Thankfully, they didn’t. Instead they used the heroine, which is rarely done in dramas. Anyway, if Mok Dan didn’t die, I don’t think we could have gotten the best open-ended I had the pleasure of watching. Through her death, we see Kang To’s resolve to make sure that their wish for It was only then, he become one with the identity of Gaksital. If I had any qualms to how her death was handled is the lack of development on Kang To’s vulnerability and fragility. Sure, he was crying on the mound but I wish the director placed in tiny touches in to heighten that emotion. (After watching Sword Art Online episode 10, I realized how nice Gaksital would have been if they had explored on that some more)

    As for President Ueno, he was just a mastermind. He never showed any form of physical strength. That and his old age would make him vulnerable to attacks. His power lies in his charisma to push people to his goal. He was rather dependent on them even if he didn’t say so. But of course, he has more pride than he would admit. He can’t go begging Rie because that would be going against what he initially said. It all goes back to his ambition could change everything. Without that, he could have never put up Kishokai together in the first place. I’m also glad they didn’t dwell on President Ueno’s death because there were so much things that needed time to be fleshed out. Either way, when they announce the news, both the Japanese and Joeson people wouldn’t care since his name was hidden from the public’s knowledge in the first place.

  5. I got teary-eyed reading your recap, it brought all the emotions from yesterday episode all over again. Many people hated the ending but for me it was the best resolution for everyone. This drama ride has been a wonderful experience!!! The excellent writing,directing,acting and the O-M-G cliffhangers made Gaksital one of the best korean dramas ever. Thanks for all your hard work in giving us these wonderful recaps…

  6. Just some comments before I leave for my vacation… THANK YOU! Been so great to share the Bridal Mask journey with you and your readers! Agreed wholeheartedly with you it was an excellent drama…. restored my faith in kdramas again after a series of disappointments in recent years! Everyone in it was fab, they really seemed like a great team & worked so well together – cast, crew etc.! Wish they could all get together in the future and work on another drama! The writer should get some kind of award to for such brilliant writing (ok, like you said, we can overlook certain minor flaws… Kangto’s ability to have Gaksital clothes/mask available on demand anywhere & anytime, washing off hair gel in time to appear as Gaksital, horse almost always knew when to appear to save Gaksital, MD not wearing disguises etc.)
    With regards to this last episode, yes, I was in tears too..not just MD’s death… many parts were so poignant e.g. Leader Jo hanging on to Shunji till the very end, Gye Soon’s transformation, Gye Soon’s brother being saved to become one of the new generation freedom fighters… You are right, so much to discuss and yet I do not have the time to do so!
    Agree with you about Shunji being a well-written character, a 4-D villain! This has been a fantastic showcase for PKW’s talents. JW obviously did a great job too as the lead (his crying scenes … not sure how to describe them… really rip your heart out) and will no doubt get a lot of offers after this. I felt that some people have been unfairly critical of JSY on other forums, but I think people tend to forget that she is still young and have had much less acting experience compared to the other leads. Also, the character she was asked to play was meant to be someone who was optimistic, impulsive, rather naive (especially at the beginning) and very different from the other characters like, Kang To, Rie etc., who have a complicated past. HCA – I had not realised she has been acting for quite a few years now and it is great that she is now noticed for her work in ‘Gaksital’… So cute that she and Kang San are now in the new comedy drama together! Then Damsari, Ueno H & Mok Dan are in ‘Five Fingers’! Mini-reunions of sorts! 🙂

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