Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 3
by | June 6, 2012 | 73 Comments

This one’s a nail-biter. I don’t know if my heart can take all this excitement.

Gaksital is turning to be a dense, rich story, which is a lot of fun to unravel and delve into. Recapping actually enhances the experience on this one, because there are SO MANY characters and relationships that I don’t think I’d catch everything if I weren’t trying diligently to keep everyone straight. Not that I think it’s necessary to know everyone’s names and titles perfectly well just yet; we’re still moving the pieces into place to begin the “real story.”

That phrase is something we read an annoying lot of in media headlines—The story begins now!—which just makes me think, How about the story begins at the beginning? But in this drama’s case, it’s almost like we’re in the prologue stages, and it’s to the show’s credit that it doesn’t feel like a bumbling, extended introduction. Instead, it makes me eager to see the gears moving, anticipating the tidal waves of change to come. ‘Cause right now I love to hate Kang-to (such an interesting, layered character), but I’d really just love to love him.


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Gaksital thwarts Kang-to’s trap to catch him using Mok Dan as bait, and rescues her from the firing squad. Kang-to almost gives himself a hernia screaming in rage, “Gaksitaaaaaal!” (Fyi, Mok Dan is sometimes called Dan; in case it’s confusing, they’re the same person.)

Either we’re dealing with a rotating cast of Gaksitals or this drama isn’t taking care to obscure its stunt doubles, because to date there have been at least three distinct faces under that mask—but no matter because the big reveal confirmed what I’m pretty sure we all suspected: Gaksital is big bro Kang-san, not such a fool after all.

The tables turn on Kang-to at the police station, since it’s Kimura & Son’s turn to smirk at his failure. Even his boss, Director Kono, voices suspicion about this failed capture. Kang-to pleads for another chance and gets it, to which Kenji bursts out, “Why do you trust him and not me? He’s a Korean! He’s on the same side as Gaksital!” To the Kimuras, their Japanese-ness automatically trumps talent, which is exactly why Kono doesn’t trust their judgment.

Kono holds up the photo that shows Chief Kimura and corrupt Judge Choi (now dead) posing together, and asks for an explanation. In the photo, the men wear matching dogi uniforms bearing the same character Gaksital used (carved into the judge’s chest and the banner at “patriot” Lee Gong’s funeral). This indicates a link between Gaksital’s targets; hence the suspicion.

Chief Kimura replies with a veiled warning, turning it around on Director Kono—will he be able to put his sterling career and reputation on the line? The message has to be part bluff, but it’s effective: I’m good to go, but are you prepared to lose everything?

Chief Kimura ends the meeting and leaves. The instant the door closes, Kono growls, “He dares threaten me!” He tells Kang-to that he must apprehend Gaksital, in order to root out Kimura’s corruption.

Kenji visits his henchman Sasaki in jail, ordering, “Kill him, no matter what.” Sasaki worries that since he tried to kill Kang-to once, he’d surely be Suspect No. 1 in a repeat attempt. Kenji assures him with a gleam in his eye, “What are you worried about? Your alibi is secure. After you were caught for attempting to kill Lee Kang-to, you never once stepped outside this cell.”

Kenji reports to his father about giving the order to kill both Kang-to and Gaksital. To which Chief Kimura scoffs, calling Sasaki a fool incapable of the task: “Kono’s on to us!” He reminds his son that Kono a formidable foe, not to be dealt with so lightly.

Kenji asks nervously, “Then what should I do?” Chief Kimura instructs, “Connect me with Tokyo headquarters.”

It says something about the actor’s performance that I actually feel for Kenji when he’s in his scenes with Daddy the Coldhearted, because he’s so clearly desperate for approval and love, and you can see him tremble before him. And then he’s hateful and brutal with others and you hate him again. (Kudos to Park Joo-hyung, a relative newbie who’s been making an impression with this role.)

At Kishokai’s headquarters, a formal proceeding is under way: A subordinate begs for mercy before Kishokai’s chairman, Ueno Hideki, referencing how “it” has been 13 years, and that “that Korean” Kwon Soo-jung has been disposed of. (Kwon Soo-jung is the other name of dead Judge Choi—a secret name Gaksital knew—whom we know was affiliated with Kishokai.)

The issue at hand: This underling reported that independence fighter Lee Sun’s family had been killed years ago (Kang-to’s family), and now he begs forgiveness for his mistake. Demonstrating his unbending ways, Chairman Ueno raises his sake cup—the rest of the room lifts theirs in a toast—and tells the underling, “You have until the time we lower our cups to die honorably.” Kishokai will take care of the man’s family.

Underling thanks the chairman, then takes the blade in front of him. Seppuku is the honorable way, and he complies. The members drink.

In comes a call from Chief Kimura, who apologizes for his inability to catch Gaksital. Chairman Ueno orders him to track down Lee Sun’s dependents, because Gaksital must be connected to him.

Kimura requests assistance, because Kono has grown suspicious. Chief Ueno warns him to make sure no more of their members in Korea fall prey to Gaksital, because they need every man they’ve got. If they lose any more, Kimura’s life is on the line.

Ueno goes home to a beautifully dressed young woman and tells her that the time has finally arrived for her to go “to that place you so wanted to go, Korea.” It’s Ueno Rie (Han Chae-ah), who calls him Father, which makes his inappropriately close hold on her particularly squicky (even if there’s no blood tie).

Rie bows before him and promises to thoroughly trample “the land that violated me.”

In the forest, Mok Dan trudges on alone after Gaksital’s departure. Weak from her injuries, she collapses on the ground and falls unconscious.

Resuming the manhunt, Kang-to and his officers storm into the motel where he’d previously cornered Mok Dan and the circus couple, only today all the rooms are empty. He demands a look in the record book, only to find it empty. It’s a violation, probably done to protect his guests, so Kang-to plays hardball and imposes a three-month ban on operations.

The owner begs for mercy, saying he’ll starve, and Kang-to tells him to think real hard about those guests. Maybe he’ll remember something about them.

Circus boss Jo worries about his members, and answers a call from the motel owner. He was a blubbering coward in front of Kang-to, but now he’s cool and calm as he reports that the cops aren’t aware of Mok Dan’s affiliation with Far East Circus. But this is as far as he can go; he can’t continue to help. Circus boss Jo thanks him.

The circus family pours into boss Jo’s office to ask worriedly if the show still goes on tonight. They’re of split opinion: Ringmaster Shin Nan-da (heh) argues that Kang-to could get them any minute now and wants to flee, but motherly Dong-nyeo counters that if they run out of town, they’re leaving Mok Dan behind.

Jealous circus girl Kye-soon snipes that Mok Dan doesn’t need the help with Gaksital swooping in to save her, and her petty attitude makes Dong-nyeo suspicious: Did she report Mok Dan to the police? We know that she did, but she stutters a defense and the boss steps in and instructs everyone to form a search party.

Sun-hwa, Mok Dan’s friend, figures she’ll be in the woods, since that’s where Gaksital dropped Mok Dan off the first time.

Mok Dan wakes up in a downpour and stumbles on in the dark. She fights her fears with the reminder that she’s Damsari’s daughter, and continues until she hears organ music in the distance. She spots a building down the hillside, and remembers an offhand comment Shunji had said, how he teaches children and plays the organ for them.

Sure enough, Shunji’s inside, playing as he remembers his brother’s accusation that he betrayed Kenji and Dad by defending Kang-to. In walks Mok Dan (whom he still calls Esther), and he rushes to help her. She’s shivering and bloody, and barely has the strength to plead, “Hide me,” before collapsing.

Shunji rushes her to town in his carriage, in a scene that echoes his flashback of rushing his beloved nanny for help when he was a child. His carriage passes Kang-to’s sidecar in the road, both men too intent on their goals to notice the other.

Kang-to arrives at the station, where Kenji jumps down his throat for taking that photo to Kono—Kenji’s his immediate superior, so he should have been consulted. He grabs Kang-to by the jacket, growling that Kang-to messed with a sleeping lion.

Kang-to smirks, not giving Kenji the satisfaction of being afraid, or concerned. Kenij punches him in the mouth for his arrogance.

Shunji takes Mok Dan home and tends to her wounds. When she stirs awake, he asks what happened. She tells him Kang-to is using her to catch Gaksital, and that shocks him. He calls Kang-to a friend, which in turn shocks her and makes her bolt upright, intent on leaving. Then she spies the police uniform hanging nearby bearing Kang-to’s nametag: “You live with him?”

Shunji says this is the safest place from Kang-to, because he’s fixated on catching Gaksital and won’t come home till he does. She’s not comforted by that, her words growing hard as she demands to know how he could be friends with someone like him: “Ah, I forgot. You’re Japanese.”

Ouuuch. It’s a blanket dismissal, and unfair, given that his own love of Korea has created a rift between him and his family. But you could argue that she’s seen enough to be wary; men like Shunji are the rare exception.

Just then, a servant calls out that “hyungnim” has come home. Yikes! Now Shunji does look worried, and he stutters when Kang-to arrives, trying to act normal. Kang-to greets him with a weary smile from his long day, wondering how Shunji could be related to his father. Shunji asks Kang-to to remember their relationship, and thus refrain from hating Dad or Kenji too much.

Kang-to promises, and adds that when “the truth comes out” he’ll alert Shunji first, before even Director Kono. He means the corruption he suspects them of perpetrating, though it goes over Shunji’s head.

Shunji’s on edge as Kang-to enters the bedroom, moving to cover a strip of Mok Dan’s shirt caught in the closet doors. Kang-to sighs about losing her again, that girl who must have a strong connection to Gaksital for him to have saved her three times. Plus, she’s Damsari’s daughter: “If I just catch that bitch, I can get Damsari and Gaksital both.”

Kang-to wonders why Shunji’s standing so suspiciously in front of the closet, teasing, “You got a woman inside?” Shunji protests, but Kang-to clocks his nervous reaction and insists on taking a look, pushing past to open the doors.

His expression changes at what he sees… but it’s not Mok Dan’s face. Nope, it’s her naked back, turned to him like a lover hiding mid-tryst. Ha, smart, smart girl. At least that’s something Kang-to can respect, and he closes the doors quietly. Then laughs at his friend, whispering, “I’m going.” HA.

Mok Dan dresses and thanks Shunji, eager to be off. He asks if it’s because he’s Kang-to’s friend, which makes her ask incredulously, “Do you even know who that bastard is? It’s because of him that my father was caught, and because of him that Father was given the death penalty. Then he took a souvenir photo next to my father, laughing!”

Shunji gives in, but asks her to let him help. He dresses her in a kimono and gives her a ride on his bicycle.

The circus search party scours the woods, all while Shin Nan-da and Dong-nyeo bicker—he refuses to help, and she sneers at his lack of loyalty. It’s here that Shunji delivers Mok Dan, and of course Shin Nan-da is the first to change his tune and welcome her back, shouting, “Dan-ah!”

They get a cursory introduction to Shunji, but Sun-hwa hurriedly escorts the elders away. I wonder if it’s because they’d react to his Japanese identity, or maybe she wants to give them privacy.

Shunji is relieved to hear Mok Dan isn’t planning to leave the city; she won’t because it’s where her father will find her.

The next day, Kang-to assembles his men and tells them that this is their last chance to catch Gaksital. It’s literally a small army that mobilizes, and Kenji watches from the sidelines. Two of Kenji’s henchman tail Kang-to’s unit, so I presume this is Chief Kimura’s plan in action.

Kang-san is back to acting the village idiot and plays games with children. He sees his brother arriving with his officers in tow, and he sighs as if knowing more trouble is afoot.

Kang-to addresses the assembled crowd: “Gaksital is among you. Surrender on the count of three.” Tension mounts as he counts, and it seems like the rebellious young man who beat up Kang-san in Episode 1 now sends him a look—hm, is he with Kang-san, then? Naturally nobody steps forward, so Kang-to orders his men to overturn everything to find him.

Chaos breaks out as the officers grab residents, beating resisters and destroying the marketplace. It’s vicious, and there’s no mercy for the old or weak. Kang-san watches with mournful eyes, and when it’s over, all the men huddle on their knees while Kang-to looks for a resemblance to Gaksital. You couldn’t look without all the beating? Yeesh.

None of them is the right man, so Kang-to orders them to continue. This time he joins in on the beating, wailing on the guy who beat his brother. He’s well on his way to losing control, but Kang-san comes up begging him to stop, crying that he’s not a bad person. The guy is dragged off swearing at Kang-to, which enrages him more, and Kang-san grabs him around the leg to keep him from going after the man.

Kang-to’s so far gone in his rage that he beats his brother, throwing him off and screaming, “Just die! Who needs someone like you?!” He kicks him in the stomach, yelling at him to drop dead, and his brother just takes it. Oof. It’s hard to watch.

It’s Mom who runs in and shoves Kang-to back, asking how he could do this to his brother. Kang-to growls, “That stupid idiot is making me go crazy!” Mom delivers a much-deserved slap, and Kang-to asks how she can still be so doting on such a son. Isn’t she sick of looking after him?

Mom fumes, “In this world where it’s so hard to hang on with a sane mind, he’s better off. With you going crazy, it’s a hundred times better to have lost his mind!”

Mom tells him, “No matter how hard you try, your roots are Korean.” He fires back, “I am Sato Hiroshi! Not that damned Lee Kang-to!”—he uses the Japanese name he was given by the Empire (as all Koreans were forced to take on Japanese names).

Mom can’t take this anymore and says they ought to cut ties now. She can’t abide a son like him.

With all the men rounded up in trucks, Kang-to leaves. The news reaches the ears of Kang-to’s posse at the Angel Club, where they sit around gambling with cards. Their association to Kang-to should be enough to tell us of their political inclinations, but this conversation also tells us that they’re a hedonistic, pro-Japan group, even though some (if not all) of them are Korean by birth.

Take, for instance, careless card-playing Minami Tamao. He was born Lee Hae-seok but uses his Japanese name, and says that Gaksital is giving his father headaches. His mother, on the other hand, is cuckolding him left and right, which everyone knows but his father.

The transition suggests that his parents are the frivolous beings we visit next, at the mansion of count Lee Shi-yong (Ahn Seok-hwan). He’s the man whose sexy wife Hwa-kyung bribed the judge in a previous episode, and both he and the countess are flighty and ridiculous, played a little too over-the-top to be taken seriously.

The arrested villagers are unloaded at the station, and Kang-to orders rifles and snipers prepared. He’s forming a plan similar to the one that used Mok Dan as bait, but on a grander scale. Then, it’s on to the torture.

Kang-to drops in on the young rebel and tells him to ‘fess up about Gaksital’s identity. The rebel sneers, “I know who it is.” Laughing, he says that if Kang-to goes to the village marketplace, he’ll find a number of “Lees, Kims, and Parks” who are trampled on by Japanese dogs: “They’re all Gaksital.”

Aha! If he’s telling the truth and not just goading Kang-to, then there IS more than one masked vigilante. But the man’s laughing answer makes Kang-to fume, assuming he’s taunting him.

Kang-san comes into the police station, yelling his brother’s name in his idiot’s voice. He finds the interrogation room where Kang-to beats the young man, screaming, “Where the hell is that son of a bitch Gaksital?!” Kang-san listens to the pounding with a heavy heart, but when Kenji spots him, he resumes the dumb pose and babbles salutes to the emperor.

Kang-to emerges from the room and big bro perks up. But Kang-to ignores him, letting another officer drag him away and throw him outside. Kang-san lies there, the sound of tortured citizens ringing in his ears, tearing at his conscience.

At the hospital of the Government General of Korea, two parents beg the hospital director to help their son, who has been beaten unconscious. Director Oh informs them that this hospital is only for the Japanese and turns his attention to a new arrival: the glamorous countess Hwa-kyung.

She’s here for anxiety prescriptions for her husband—such a headache does that Gaksital provoke—and is ushered in past the desperate parents, who are left to sob outside.

Director Oh alternately kisses the countess’s ass and ogles it, only too happy to provide her with the sleeping aids she requests. They flirt, then commence makeout session on the couch—so this IS the adulterous mother of Kang-to’s friend Tamao.

Meanwhile, a figure dressed in white creeps in through the window and approaches from behind. One hit to a pressure point knocks the countess out immediately, and Director Oh gapes at the masked Gaksital, here to mete out justice. He charges Director Oh with wielding medicine as power, denying his countrymen care. How dare he call himself a doctor!

Gaksital chokes Director Oh with his cane and holds the phone to his face. The call goes through to Kang-to at the police station, and Director Oh gasps for him to release all the prisoners—otherwise he and the countess, who are being held hostage, will be killed.

The call cuts out and Kang-to orders sidekick Abe and his men to follow. Kenji nods to his henchman; it’s go time.

The police contingent travels en masse to the hospital. Per the conditions, they’ve brought along the prisoners, who are lined up in the hospital courtyard. Kang-to addresses Gaksital inside, ordering him to release the director and countess in exchange for the men.

The countess is released first, shaking in her trauma. Asked about Gaksital, she points a trembling hand up to the roof, where Gaksital dangles Director Oh over the ledge. Kenji orders the men freed immediately because they need to save the director—can’t risk the Kishokai connection, I’m sure—and they do.

Kang-to yells up to Gaksital that it’s time to let the director go, and so he does. Right over the edge of the hospital. Everyone screams in horror as the body plummets to the ground… and yanks to a halt, being tied to a long rope that stops the death drop.

They cut the director loose, and Kang-to fires at Gaksital, who runs along the rooftop. The police snipers have moved into place and fire as well, one bullet catching Gaksital in the leg. He runs on, just managing to clamber into hiding when Kang-to spots him and chases.

Kang-to loses the trail and moves through the empty streets, looking for a sign. And this gives our other sniper—Kenji’s hit man—the opportunity to get Kang-to in his sights. He aims, reading to fire.

From behind, Gaksital sends his whip hurtling at the rifle, diverting its shot and sparing Kang-to.

Kang-to looks up to see Gaksital chasing the sniper. They jump from roof to roof and down to the ground, where they engage in hand-to-hand combat, masked killer in black, masked avenger in white. Even shot, Gaksital is in full control of the fight and knocks the sniper out.

And then hears a gun being cocked, pointed at his head. OH NO.

Kang-to stands there, triumphant. He shoots the cane out of Gaksital’s hand, then the ground around him, demonstrating his accuracy as he calls him a slippery bastard: “You say you’re going to save the Korean people? You think you’re some kind of hero?! People like you, infested with patriotism, have to be eradicated.”

All the while, Kang-san stands there, thinking, “Kang-to-ya, it’s me. Your brother.”

Behind him, the felled sniper rouses and reaches for his knife. Ack! My nails aren’t going to last to the end of this scene, I swear. Kang-to turns his attention to asking Gaksital questions, like why he killed Judge Choi, and what his relationship is to Chief Kimura.

He suggests they go together quietly, just as Kang-san catches wind of movement behind him. He whirls, and the dagger aimed for Kang-to flies into his chest. NOOOO!

Kang-to shoots the sniper, then asks shakingly, “Did you just save me? Why would you do that?” Raising his gun, he demands to know who he is.

And he grabs the mask to tear off Gaksital’s face.


Ack! Will he take off the mask? Does he actually already have a suspicion? There’s a moment before Kang-to raises his gun that last time that makes me think he’s struck with recognition, so even if Kang-san finagles an escape (and hey, that’s perfectly within his powers), I’m pretty sure Kang-to’s cottoned on to the possibility.

I LOVE the idea of what’s to come. As we know, Kang-to’s doggedness in aligning himself with the Empire mostly stems from his desire to fix his hyung. It’s one of those rip-your-heart-out ironies that the very motivation driving him is also the thing that pits them against each other. Like the Gift of the Magi, the twisted murderous version.

Although the issue of the Japanese occupation and Korea’s independence movement seems rife with… shall we say, dangers sparked by nationalistic pride, I actually find myself pleased and intrigued by what this drama is doing. It seems likely to speculate that Gaksital won’t be one of those Hallyu exports hoping to score big in Japan, but at the same time, it doesn’t take a propagandist, anti-Japan stance, either. So far, we’ve got good guys and bad guys on both sides of the nationalistic divide, and even though Mok Dan accuses Shunji of being aligned with the bad guys because he’s Japanese, I think the drama makes it pretty clear that she’s saying that and not, say, the show at large. She’s also the daughter of the independence movement general, so her perspective definitely occupies one extreme.

So instead of painting people with a wide brush, putting them on one side or another, Gaksital has drawn a number of its characters as complex beings with split loyalties to both sides. Or on sides that conflict with matters of their birth. Shunji, of course, as well as Rie. We haven’t gotten to know her yet, but I don’t think it’s a huge spoiler (it was in her character blurb) to say that she’s a Korean orphan harboring a grudge against the mother country that betrayed her, now working as a Japanese spy.

And, of course, there’s Kang-to, with the biggest identity crisis of them all. He just doesn’t know it yet. So excited to see where this goes, I’m just about bouncing in my seat.


73 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kbap

    Thank you for the recap! 🙂

  2. aoiaheen

    There wasn’t a single scene where I wasn’t either squeeing in delight or biting my nails.

    But Kangto is such a BAD guy! The way he hits those guys. i cringed. Because I can’t stand police brutality. There is nothing good i can see in this.

    Joo Won makes a really good bad guy. I wish he redeems himself soon, because right now, i hate him.

    But ofcourse i love the drama.

    • 2.1 houstontwin

      Yes Kang-to is so, so Bad! How could we ever forgive him when people have been tortured and died because of him. He’s a war criminal. Even if the series “redeems” him, I am sure that they will kill him off in the end so that he can pay the ultimate price for his misdeeds. It is kind of great having such a twisted, messed up guy as a hero. It gives him a very long road back to being human.

      • 2.1.1 MEalways

        Sometimes, living carrying your sin is the utmost punishing than death.

        I am glad ‘The Man from the Equator’ replaced by ‘Gaksital’. Both are so intense, both are full of layers, and both main character are ‘brother’ in 2D1N…. Uh, oh, yes!

        If you see how ‘The Man from the Equator’ ended, you know what I mean by living is harder than death. Note that Jang Il lost his sanity before he decided to end his life.

  3. Arhazivory


    Oh my word. I can’t say the title normally, no matter how hard I try…even my mind screams it. I just read your first comments JB and I’m glad to know the show is still going good. I’ll read the recap after I watch it. 😀 Thanks.

    One for the road: GAKSITAAAAAAAAAAL~!!!!

    • 3.1 noonajumma


    • 3.2 JustJen

      Yeah, me too. Every time, GAKSITAAAAAAAAL~!

    • 3.3 kbap

      Oh my god, same here! GAKSITAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL! complete with Joo-won’s mini temper tantrum. 🙂 My friends think I’m crazy because I keep saying the title weirdly 😛

      • 3.3.1 Arhazivory

        lol. Glad I’m not alone. I can’t even type it normally. The ‘A’ key is suffering under the pressure of GAKSITAAAAAAAAAAAL!!

  4. The Real CZ

    Great choice in using Dynamic Duo’s In The Line of Fire. It was my favorite song from their 6th album.

    Anyway, back to Gaksital, this episode was badass yet again.

  5. noonajumma


    I totally forgot that I was watching a recorded episode online. I couldn’t pause it to go to the bathroom. It was definitely a nail biter. How amazing are JW and SHJ?!

  6. -K

    Oh how I love a good sidecar!

  7. Lizzie

    Kang To is a violent guy.

    Not matter if he is in the bad side now, or in the good side later, he’ll still be this bad guy.

    I bet he would beat up a kid if he had to!

    And he beats his own brother and all.

    It’ll be hard for me to like him as the hero.

    I keeo wanting to his brother to die just to see he regret his words over and over again, I won’t feel bad for Kang To, I’ll be happy with the suffering that is coming to him.

    • 7.1 Rashell

      OMO…I sort of feel this too, and then I feel bad because the brother is such a good guy. And Kang To is the H. But he’s so awful right now. I really do think part of me will rejoice in his pain. He’s inflicted so much on others.

    • 7.2 houstontwin

      I think I’ll feel very sad when his brother dies. After all, he is a loving brother and a true hero. I guess the drama makes a saint just so that kang to and the audience grieve when he’s gone.

  8. Nanuki

    Between Gaksital and QIHM, my fingers have been reduced to stubs. So. Nervewracking.

  9. crazedlu

    GAAAAHH! love this show! can’t wait for tomorrow and for when he turns. hope the transition is done splendidly.

  10. 10 aramint

    hey, I’m happy that the recaps keep popping up, thank you so much..but are you guys recappers getting enough rest? Take good care, ya! ^.^

  11. 11 CD

    Thanks JB.

    Oooo, so love the screencaps. Too much Joo Won 🙂

    Man, he’s evil. If I don’t watch his aegyo in 1N2D and his gentle side in Ojakgyo Brothers… I will not like him here. Heh.

  12. 12 July

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who noticed the differences in Gaksital’s appearance. I was so confused at times. Although it would be a cool idea to have more than one Gaksital running around, I think it’s just stunt doubles we are seeing. Anyways…..

    I LOVED the last ten minutes with Gaksital running from rooftop to rooftop. The visuals were spectacular, but that’s probably because I love anything that has a Sin City/comicbook vibe that’s done right.

    I love Kang-san and I’m already sad that in order for our hero to redeem himself Kang-san must go. 🙁

    • 12.1 red

      I know it inevitable…but previews show that he gets to at least talk to his brother (I hope) after he finds out…and boy thats going to be one hell of a conversation and from what I’ve seen from Joo Won and the actor playing Kang San, they have what it takes to deliver that.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Mok Dan get whipped by Kang To and his men, so then she couldn’t have healed completely that she has a completely scarless back???

      Every episode is packed with wonderful moments that it feels like we’ve progressed so much and seen so much…but its still one episode. Can’t wait for tomorrow!!

    • 12.2 red

      I know its inevitable…but previews show that he gets to at least talk to his brother (I hope) after he finds out…and boy thats going to be one hell of a conversation and from what I’ve seen from Joo Won and the actor playing Kang San, they have what it takes to deliver that.

      Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Mok Dan get whipped by Kang To and his men, so then she couldn’t have healed completely that she has a completely scarless back???

      Every episode is packed with wonderful moments that it feels like we’ve progressed so much and seen so much…but its still one episode. Can’t wait for tomorrow!!

      • 12.2.1 c_gunawan541

        I know right? Even though I love Dan and all but her bare back raises this question… like I thought she was whipped and bloody with all the wounds? But then I rationalized it myself, she was whipped from the front… hahahaha

        Oh well, asides from those mistakes that we can see the stunt double, the blood errors, I’m still enjoying this drama and I love this episode, so intense!

        I’m hating on KT when he tortured the people, ARRGGHHH KT just stooped so low when he hit his brother. I hope he’ll suffer more in the future for redemption before getting forgiveness.

      • 12.2.2 July

        I thought the same exact thing, but like c_gunawan541 said I just figured maybe she only got whipped from the front?

        I too think the actors portraying KT and KS are great so I know they’ll deliver an emotionally charged scene when the truth is revealed.

  13. 13 21

    So many good dramas to watch but there isn’t enough time!! Thanks for the recap! I am really keen to actually watch this show as it looks quite different from all the other ones that I have seen!

  14. 14 stars4u

    I couldn’t take watching Kang-to beating up Kang-san! I wanted to stop him myself!

    The actor playing the count and the actress playing the countess are both on another drama, Big and A Gentleman’s Dignity, respectively.

    • 14.1 July

      Wait… is she the rich wife whose husband is always cheating on her in A Gentleman’s Dignity? How ironic.

    • 14.2 Mr Bloo

      It’s always interesting to see some of the supporting actors appearing on different dramas at the same time.

      On a side note, its ‘Geum Ja’ and ‘Sang Hoon’, playing the mom and dad of different sons and on opposite side to boot. ‘Sang Hoon’ gone all evil. Wonder if ‘Hyun Soo’s mom and dad’ will have a scene together?

  15. 15 Noelle


    Off to read.

  16. 16 Anonymous

    Ahah. So that’s his name… Park Joo-hyung.

    I like the chemistry between Lee Kang-to and Kimura Kenji.

  17. 17 kelinci biru

    Between this and Queen In Hyun’s Man finale tonight, how a girl supposed to sit and wait?

    Internet connection, you better NOT mess with me tonight!

  18. 18 Mas

    Joo Won so evil here in the beginning of Gaksital. The suspense and heartbreaks will continue tonight.

    Guys, have you seen his newest coffee CFs with Uee. Swoon.



    • 18.1 N

      Double swoon…

  19. 19 April

    I am really anticipating when I will be able to actually, wholeheartedly fall in love with Kang-to. He’s such an interesting character now that I almost can’t imagine what it’ll be like when he’s likeable as well…

    So excited!

  20. 20 red

    omg kang To’s scene bashing up his brother…man thats a whole new side of Joo Won’s acting!!

    Has anyone else realised he always plays detective/policemen apart from Baker King that is

    Thanks for the recap..continuing to love this drama, I just want to know what happens next!!

  21. 21 hi-there

    why do i feel like every episode is kinda the same thing? :/ there’s the capture, the gaksital saving, the using the bait, the chasing, the older bro saving the younger bro, etc… LOL

    i still like it, but it just feels so repetitive. XD and its only the 3rd episode! hopefully it’ll change T___T

    • 21.1 hi-there

      okay well i finally got to the ending. XD yeah, i think tomorrow’s episode is gonna get mighty interesting now. yay! 😀

    • 21.2 pepperandice

      i guess its their way of keeping the action going strong while also introducing alot of the characters inclinations and relationships, i actually dont notice much that its a repetition till you said it, its done really well and not in a action sequence for action sequence sake kind of way (at least not other than the court scene, my god that was horrifically boring, a thousand slow motion cuts do not an action sequence make…), its establishing how good this gaksital is and how more and more desperately the police are trying to catch him, which makes sense for the ‘repetition’ of whats going on, but beyond that the characters themselves are speeding along nicely, like shunji meeting the girl, kangto moving out and beating up his brother, abandoning his mother, finding out about the secret society, finding out about the other korean/jap girl

  22. 22 anna

    JFC, Kang-to’s redemption better be freaking good because he’s such an asshole right now. I wanna slap his face off. Seriously.

  23. 23 Stardust

    Thank you so much! I am anxiously waiting for a subbed version… I realise that QIHM is the only show so far that cuts exciting parts for commercial breaks, and almost always ends on a sweet, or sad note… without cliffhangers…mostly…. Gaksital on the other hand…. forces me to be hanging on the edge of my seat… Good stuff!!
    Thank you so much for recap javabeans! ♥

  24. 24 Rashell

    This drama is hard to watch. I want to love Kang To, but he’s such a bastard. I guess we’re supposed to feel that way right now, and that it will make his change that much more meaningful. But man, he’s a hateful character at this point.

    I love Shunji, of course, he’s so sweet. I’m just hoping that I can get passed this part of the drama and still feel some degree of affection for the H once he starts on his different path. It does help that I adore Joo Won. That may be the only thing that saves this H for me.

    But I’m invested in the drama itself. This a something I know very little about historically, so I find it facinating.

  25. 25 ladida

    Kang To is such an asshole but Joo Won is so hot…
    Dilemma. :/

    • 25.1 Shapi

      Yes. But it will be great to see how the show turns him around to be the hero of the era after spending quite a few episodes in budiling him up to be one of the badest ass in the bad-barometre. Would it be as convincing as the Saul to Paul transformation? We shall see.

      On a side note, I am glad that Joo Won had to pass up the offer to play yangming due to the ojqb extension only to land him on this leading role, which allows him a good stretch in his acting skill. I just can’t imagine him choosing to disguise his suicide as self-sacrifice at the end of the show which is totally un-called for, and mean to his loved ones.

      • 25.1.1 ladida

        Joo Won is a great actor, and so far he is the only reason I’m continuing to watch the show. Kang To is a selfish, narrow minded, imperialist dirtbag and right now all I want is for Mok Dan to kick his ass, team up with his brother (who I have problems with, too; I mean, why is he pretending to be mentally disabled? Why put his family through that, especially since the way the story is setting it up is that it’s his disability that pushed Kang To over the edge and into the arms of Japanese police bureaucracy and cruelty. It’s kind of disgusting that the straw that broke the camel’s back is a lie.) and get the Japanese the hell out of there. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because when it comes to film depictions of fighting imperialists/expansionists I always think of Casablanca and the whole “look beyond yourself and your own suffering” mentality. Not necessarily “fight for the greater good” because we all know the “greater good” can be fabricated and used to subsume ethics and is usually used to justify an “ends justify the means” standpoint, but more like fight against what is clearly the greater evil.

        Joo Won has this ability to show unbridled rage, which is frightening, because the way he screams and kicks and whips fellow Koreans in the show (so far) makes him more of an enemy than any of the Japanese! What I loved about his character in OB was that he also had a lot of rage, but he kept it in check, and it only boiled over at specific moments, when it was triggered. But this character’s anger is just always there, on the surface. And to me it seems that it blinds him to the suffering of others. I feel that he’s more angry than hurt, and he’s fueled by that anger.

        What I’m particularly interested to see in his transformation is how he’s going to cope with having the might of the Japanese military and police behind him to fighting alone. How is he going to fare when he doesn’t have all those resources at hand? Is he going to be the one to bring all the fractured arms of the resistance together? When folks find out he’s Kang To (which they will, if the show has any narrative cognizance) will they still be loyal to him, or will they be so repulsed by his previous actions (which is totally understandable) that they’ll turn against him? When he becomes Gaksital will he be made to see how he personally has made people suffer and how he directly and knowingly helped the Japanese subjugate these people, and will he be made to answer for it? Like, is Mok Dan going to make him remember that he TORTURED her???

        • ladida

          Oh, I forgot to mention: when Kang To is angry it’s actually scary, but when Kenji is angry it’s comedic. Which is why I said Kang To is more of a threat to the resistance than the Japanese are right now. Kenji is so ineffectual that he’s besides the point, but Kang To just destroys everything in his path.

  26. 26 sparkskey

    This is like a Saul to Paul transformation, if I may use a bible reference. From persecuting others to being the persecuted and spearheading the cause after going through a major turning point. Can’t wait for more!

    • 26.1 SS

      Bingo! sparkskey, I love your analogy

  27. 27 daniela

    This drama is on my to watch list, because I need it all subbed. If other dramas are easier to understand and I don’t really need to understand every word, this one is tougher and has to many details. Also, once I start watching it, I need to have all of it available for a marathon.

    • 27.1 yammy

      you mentioned that you would want to marathon this, but I just wanted to mention that there’s a really good english subtitles on viki. they are really fast; the whole episode is subbed by the end of the day the episode comes out.

      • 27.1.1 daniela

        Thanks, but on viki BM is not available in my country,as so many new drama. And I like this show to watch it in one piece.

        • yammy

          yikes! i don’t know that would happen with viki. i must be thankful that i can see it where i am. i’m pretty sure that there would be multiple subbed episodes by the time the drama’s all done, though.

        • pepperandice

          you have no idea how long iv been plagued by that, heed my advice and download tor browser(this is NOT an ad, please read on), its easy and complicated at the same time, the simplest explanation that i had explained to me was that our computers use IP adresses, something you probably know, to ‘log on’ onto sites wherever you go, which tells the site what country you are in, which is how these ‘country’ things are set, but you can use what is called a ‘proxy’, which means using an IP of a different country to enter the site, this is legal and theres some addons in firefox to do this, i used foxyproxy for awhile which is awesomeballs but heard its not as safe as tor browser, supposed to be the best

          go here for instructions, its a coupla steps but itll mean you can watch ANYTHING from pretty much any country as far as iv been using it anyway, you can just google it and youll know im not bullshiting you


          its explained for bbc iplayer but works for any other country setting really, just read through the whole thing properly

          • J

            wow! Thanks for the tip. This shall be useful when I can no longer bear waiting for other source of sub. For now I’ll stick with what I have – the level of addiction for BM has begun to reach feverish level and I need to contain myself. Nooooooo (but Yes! at the same time, this drama makes me bipolar omg).

            OTOH, watching epi 3 was PAINFUL to say the least. In the scene where KT beat the crap out of the citizen and his HYUNG(!), I swear Joo Won’s eyes were filled with genuine devilish rage it’s too scary. Kudos to the prod team and the actor for not holding back the portrayal of an angry, ambitious character such as KT. But with all the darkness, it only makes me desperate for more! Such a bipolarizing show I tell ya.

  28. 28 L-V

    ready for 4th episode…^^

  29. 29 ck1Oz

    That scene where he kicks Kang. San.That hurts.Even if he becomes the hero that was still unforgivable .

    • 29.1 red

      yes unforgivable, but I’m sure we will see him pay for it.

      I guess to even stomach being a police officer and the tasks they have to complete, theres a bit of humanity they would have to leave behind. I know I sound like I am trying to justify it, but from the flashbacks Kang To adored his brother so his attitudes and behaviour is from him becoming a dog of the military.

      but yup for now he needs to go to an anger management clinic

  30. 30 Felix

    Episode 3 is mind blowing. I did not expect Kang To will do that to his own brother. Episode 4 preview looks so epic. Looking forward it. GAKSITAAAAAAAAAAAAAL~! Fighting.

  31. 31 yammy

    thank you for the wonderful recaps!

    There are small details that weren’t mentioned in the recaps though. i don’t know how important these details are, and i may just be completely speculating.

    anyways, first detail is that when Dan tells Shunji that she will be staying at kyesung, she said ” I’l be waiting for my dad TOO here” as in, she implicitly mentions that she is still waiting for the “young master” who gave her the sword. i also think Shunji picked that up, but i m not sure about that.

    Second detail is that the countess implicitly states that she was to kill the count when she mentions to the doctor that she wants sleep medicine for him. the count asked countess in the earlier scene with him and the countess to not to get sleep medicine cuz he’s afraid that he will die while he’s under them. That add’s the countess’s nefariousness, doesn’t it?

    The third detail is that Kang-to’s mother in the market scene says “Let’s end it. end it (family ties) I can’t let (in) a Japanese son in the Lee Family, so end it!” I’m speculating that it’s a big deal that Kang-to/Kang-san’s surnames are Lee (since the last korean royal family were Lees, although, there are many different Lees families in korea, so it may not be anything).

    Lastly, Kang-to screams at his mom at the market scene, “do you like “hyung so much?” Does that show Kang-to is also desperate for his mother’s approval like Kenji does from his father?

    oh and is Kang-to older than Shunji? He calls himself “hyung-nim” when he comes to Shunji’s place, but he maybe just be joking around… but does anyone know the relative age of the characters?

    • 31.1 ladida

      Hmm…”Do you like hyung so much?” He does seem to be jealous of his brother, doesn’t he? And not just jealous, but jealous that his brother still gets so much love even though he’s (seemingly) disabled now. Like, it’s the fact that his mother still loves him and isn’t angry at him for being tortured into his current situation that makes Kang To so jealous and angry. He wants his mother to have the same reaction to his brother that he has, which is a mixtures of disgust, betrayal, and pity. This makes me think that what’s really getting at Kang To is shame. Shame that his family has fallen from the position they used to occupy (active revolutionaries) and shame that his brother is disabled. Which just makes me dislike him even more than his alliance with the imperialists.

  32. 32 1lostbear

    Why is this show so awesome?? I love how they paint Kang-to as multi-layered. Kind of like Equator Man, where sometimes we were with Sun-woo and then sometimes, we weren’t. I think it’s also a lot more realistic. Because I’m so beyong believing people are just good or bad. Everyone has a bit of both.

    I also love the cliff-hanger at the end. I just want Kang-to to know that it’s Kang-san is Gaksital already! How damaged who he be after that?

    It’s also nice to see such a smart heroine. So sick of seeing these blubbering idiots acting all damsel in distress-y. Closet scene: PRICELESS!

    I’m impressed with 2012 drama-wise so far. So many good ones. Now if only my summer break would get here so I can devote my time fully to watching them.

  33. 33 Mary

    Omfg this serie is soooooo good I can’t wait for todays episode omg omg omg

  34. 34 MsScorpion

    I haven’t been this excited about a show since city hunter.
    Yes there have been many that I liked and loved but the excitement was never this high this soon in a show

    • 34.1 MsScorpion

      Also Kang-San got hit in the arm not the chest, I saw it the first time, but then when i read the recap I re-checked and made sure the dagger was to his arm.

  35. 35 crazedlu

    Oh My GOSHHHHH! i just have to squeal after watching ep 4 until the recaps are uuuuppp!

  36. 36 reglest

    Absolutely feels the same like JB, number of character make me confused, but this drama just reminds me with chinese historical drama, when many characters involved, and each person affecting another.

    Recaps feel so intense, more intense than the 1st episode, hopefully I can enjoy this ride fully until the end^^

  37. 37 beggar1015

    This drama has gotten me interested in learning more about this time in world history my high school class didn’t bother to cover. I’d like to learn more about the Japanese occupation of Korea. Does anyone know of a good book they could recommend?

    • 37.1 ecs

      I know of one, but it’s fiction, sort of a novel/memoir. It’s called ‘Lost Names’ by Richard Kim. It’s based on the author’s childhood in Korea in the 30’s and 40s.


    City Hunter…move over. BRIDAL MASK!!!

  39. 39 J

    A tiny mini detail that eludes this wonderful recap:

    When KT came to visit Shunji, he freakin’ took his shirt off!

    I guess all the insanity and darkness in the ep totally clouds that little joyful treat the drama gave us kkkk~

    Anyway, he was only topless like a mili-second or so but boy did I squeaaaaal xD And then shortly we get the leading lady ALSO topless (or implied, lol). I guess Dan got the idea to took off her clothes from peeking at KT. Random, I know.

  40. 40 panshel

    This show is a heart attack waiting to happen… When Kang To was beating that guy senseless, I swear I saw signs of psychosis in his eyes. He literally was not going to stop until the guy was dead. Then kicking his own hyung screaming “Die!”?! Kang To was teetering on the edge of insanity, and he seriously made me want to vomit. x_x Though I don’t understand the Sato Hiroshi thing when he obviously goes by Lee Kang To at the station… o_O

    WTF is wrong with the count?! Why does he act like a friggin’ two-year-old?! He was excruciating to watch. >_< Gaksital should have killed Director Oh at the hospital. What was the point of sparing his life when he has to come back and kill him again? Mok Dan taking off her shirt in the closet was so clever.

    Thanks for the recap, javabeans!

  41. 41 needlight

    this is so exciting!!! thanks for the recap! 🙂

  42. 42 dee

    ji won is so good playing kang ta… can’t wait to see hs next action

  43. 43 ariha

    waaaaaaaa!!!!i just watch 2 episodes in kbs…and i am loving ittt!!!joo won looks very very very bad!!!but he reminds me of bidam of QSH…and the actress in this drama???i love them!!not some damsel in distress…kyaaaa!!

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