Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 4
by | June 7, 2012 | 173 Comments

One major connection is made, and another thwarted. One hero laments what he’s done to his family for his country, while the other laments what he’s done to his countrymen for his family. It’s such a gripping, heartbreaking irony at the center of it all.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Gaksital beats down the assassin who’s after Kang-to, only to have Little Bro show up just in time to corner him at gunpoint. He thinks to himself, “It’s me, Kang-to, your brother,” but says nothing, even as Kang-to prepares to arrest him.

But the hitman stirs awake and launches his knife at Kang-to… and Gaksital sees it just in time to step in its path. Kang-to shoots the hitman and stares intently at Gaksital, “Did you just… save me? Who are you?”

He reaches for the mask…

But a dark figure swoops down from behind, knocking Kang-to unconscious. Damnit! I don’t even know if I’m upset or relieved! It’s Baek Gun, here to help Gaksital, whom he calls “Young master.”

They leave Kang-to lying in the street, unconscious.

The title card tells us that Baek Gun was their father’s right-hand warrior-slash-bodyguard (in Joseon pre-occupation, the Lee family was of noble birth). He tends to Kang-san’s bullet wound and suggests that maybe it’s time to tell Little Master (Kang-to) the truth about Gaksital and their father’s wrongful death.

But Kang-san says no: “Do you think that if he found out, Kang-to would take my side? If he knew I was Gaksital, he’d put me away.” Aw, Hyung, you’re killing me right now. I know he’s far gone, but you’re just as wrong to keep him from the truth. You’re assuming that it’s a foregone conclusion, but you never gave him an ounce of faith!

Baek Gun thinks that it’s possible Kang-to will come around and take their side if he knew the truth. Yes! Or how about we let him decide? But Kang-san is sure that he won’t, and doesn’t want to put Mom through the trauma of watching one son lock the other away.

He says that even in the off chance that Kang-to were to side with them, what could he possibly do to help? “He’d just be in danger.” As opposed to the danger he’s in right now? BAH.

Baek Gun apologizes for the burden he gave to Kang-san (Ah, so he’s M. I wonder if the burden he speaks of is the truth about his father, or actually the Gaksital mask/persona.) Kang-san disagrees that it’s a burden—Baek Gun saved him and gave him purpose.

Flashback to Kang-san, tied up and tortured for his connection to the independence army. He had adopted the village idiot persona in jail as a mode of survival, and had been burdened with guilt by the fact that he was doing so to save himself because he couldn’t take the torture.

But Baek Gun was the one who helped him turn that into a cover, and gave him a reason to fight—to avenge his father’s death and aid the independence movement.

Back in the present, he says they have to hurry with their mission before Kang-to catches on. The corrupt doctor spoke about Dad—it’s only a matter of time before they make the connection and find out that Kang-san is Gaksital.

Then he turns around to face his Wall of Baddies (it’s like Google Maps: The Plot Version) filled with clippings of the members of secret society Kishokai and their numerous crimes (for which they are publicly lauded, natch).

Kishokai meets, now five members remaining of the original seven. Why is it always the Council of Five? Pretty boys come in fours, bad guys come in fives. The doctor tells them they are Gaksital’s target—they who betrayed Lee Sun. Oh, innnnnnteresting.

Flashback to 13 years ago (1919), when Lee Sun had met with the members of Kishokai, as they pledged allegiance to one another and the plan to extract Emperor Gojong from palace confiment.

Lee Sun and Baek Gun arrived that night with other soldiers to escort the king, and upon arrival, discovered that he had been killed, and they had been betrayed.

[Gojong went from being the king of Joseon to the first emperor of the Korean Empire, only to be forced to abdicate by the Japanese and confined to a palace. His sudden death sparked the independence movement to go full force.]

Back in the present, the members of Kishokai lament not killing Lee Sun that night, like they were supposed to. Kimura just gets angry at them for worrying, and barks that Kishokai will guard their lives.

Kenji bursts in to announce (while sweating bullets) that Director Kono is looking for Dad, because… um… the hitman they sent after Kang-to is dead. Whoops.

Kono throws a fit at Kimura—how could this man have gotten free to take another shot at killing Kang-to? And what connection does Kimura have to the men who died, and Gaksital? Kimura gives no answers, and Kono tells them not to interfere with Kang-to’s investigation anymore.

Kang-to tries to relax at the club with his buddies, but thoughts keep drifting back to his confrontation with Gaksital. Why did he jump in front of that knife? He shakes the thought loose and heads out to the stage.

Another dance? Oh phew, this time he sings a song. (It’s at least a tick below the dancing on the cheese-o-meter.) He sings a song about what kind of oppa he is, but midway through the song, his thoughts drift back to the moment Gaksital saved him.

Everyone in the crowd pauses, as he shakes the thought loose again, and stalks out.

Aaaaah, I love it—the noir step-into-a-puddle-reflecting-the-sign-above shot. The 30s movie touches (like the one-street set) Make. My. Day.

He gets onto his motorcycle to drive away when his friend Tamao comes running out. He tells Kang-to to enjoy the action-movie spectacle and ride it out—he’ll catch Gaksital.

Kang-to asks, calling him by his Korean name, “If they are Joseon people, from 3-year olds to 80-year olds, you know they all want to kill me, right? But when I was in danger, someone risked his life to save me. Who would that be?”

Tamao scoffs, “If it’s not family, why would anyone save YOU?” But Kang-to isn’t laughing. “Family…?” It hits him. He races home.

At the same time, Kang-san is hurriedly wrapping up his bloody clothes to get rid of. But before he can take one step out of the room, Kang-to comes charging in. Ohgodohgodohgod. He looks down at the bloody clothes, “Is it Hyung? Was it Hyung?!”

He scrambles to get a look at Kang-san’s leg to see if he has a bullet wound. Kang-san tells him to stop, that he’s scared, and calls out to Mom, screaming at the top of his lungs.

Mom comes charging in just in time to pull Kang-to away. And then Kang-san starts seizing on the ground, saying over and over, “Don’t hit me! Don’t hit me!” Oof, I know he’s faking it, but it still hurts because of what Kang-to did to him.

Mom asks if Kang-to’s happy, seeing what he did to his hyung. She screams that Kang-san gets attacked and beaten up every time Kang-to wrongs Joseon people.

Kang-to steps back. He didn’t know that Hyung was bearing the brunt of his people’s hate. He looks at the bloody clothes in his hands with a pained look and stumbles out. Kang-san barely contains his sobs.

A train carries Rie into town. An assy reporter from the Kyung-sung Ilbo decides to hit on her, (I’m thinking he’s probably Newspaper Honcho’s son, since news is the Park family’s domain) and her… bodyguard? Valet? Pocket Samurai? Katsuyama Jun side-eyes the exchange from another table.

On his way to her table, the reporter runs into a waiter and then blames him for ruining a suit that’s worth more than the waiter’s life. Rie quietly accepts his offer to play poker to pass the time, only she wipes the floor with them on bluff after bluff.

She wins everything, and then reminds the reporter that they had a deal. Cut to: naked reporter, and Rie walking out with his suit. She stops to call the waiter over and gives him the suit that supposedly costs more than his life. “Don’t you want to wear it?” Man, I love this character.

She exits the station and walks up to Kenji and his lackey, holding up a sign for her name. But before she can tell them who she is, Reporter Guy runs after her (while still putting on clothes, heh) and grabs her by the wrist.

He thinks it convenient that Kenji is standing right there, and tells him to arrest this woman for illegal gambling. Kenji brushes him off in annoyance, saying he’s here to meet someone, but Newspaper Man counters with the headline in tomorrow’s press: Police officer blatantly ignores crime.

Kenji hilariously turns on a dime and tells his minion to arrest her. Jun takes a step forward (he seems like someone who kills a man in two seconds when mobilized) but Rie puts a hand up to stop him.

They get taken to the station and questioned, but she remains silent. Kenji saunters over, and I’m just dying from the embarrassment to come. Please, dig your grave deep and wide.

He peers at them like common criminals, and empties one of her suitcases. Jun takes another step forward, itching to get slicey, but Rie again stops him with one hand raised.

Kenji digs through the belongings to find an album with Rie’s face on it. He asks if she’s a singer, and then taunts her to sing them a song. All the officers laugh and smile lecherously as Kenji pokes at her face with the album. Jun is half a second from ripping his head off…

But suddenly Chief Kimura calls out for Kenji to stop, and storms in with a punch to his son’s face. Dayum. He bows at the waist apologetically. Kenji doesn’t understand what the hell is going on, so Dad has to spell it out for him: this is Ueno Rie, daughter of Ueno Hideki, aka God.

Kenji gasps, kneeling instantly with his forehead to the ground. Dad apologizes again, and Rie steps forward. Without a word, she SLAPS Kimura across the face. Damn. And Chief Kimura can do nothing but bow again.

Rie: “I will tell Father that your welcome was outstanding.” And then she stops to crush Kenji’s fingers under her heel before walking out. So awesome.

She walks out of the station just as Kang-to is walking in, and they pass each other in This Is Important slow motion.

She either recognizes him, or she likes what she sees. Don’t blame ya. Jun follows behind her and clocks her reaction.

Kang-to finds out that his unit has been reassigned to protection duty for some VIP and he fumes—he needs everyone on Gaksital’s case. Kenji comes in and he takes issue with the reassignment.

But Kenji’s so riled up from his encounter with Rie that he just sticks a pistol in Kang-to’s face (with his bandaged hand, ha). Kang-to laughs and just walks right up to it, sticking his forehead at the barrel.

Kang-to: “The thing about Joseon barley is, the more you step on it, the better it grows.” Oooh, is that some nationalistic pride creeping out? Of Kang-to?

Mok Dan walks down the street at night, dressed as a man. She keeps out of sight and sneaks into the motel where she was staying. Probably to find that knife.

Kang-to drives angrily and aimlessly for a while, and finds himself outside that motel. He stops for a moment just to get some air and turns to go, but then something catches his eye. Oh no. It’s Mok Dan’s flashlight, moving through the dark halls.

He takes off running inside. Luckily he scares the motel manager awake loudly enough for her to hear someone come in. She scrambles to hide while he pushes past the manager with his gun drawn, creeping down the hall. Seriously, why so creepy?

She finds her knife where she left it, and opens the same window she jumped out of last time. But it catches with a clang and he bursts through the door. She finally gets it open and squeezes through… but he grabs her and yanks her back in. ACK!

She takes out her knife and swings at him but he disarms her quickly. When he slams her up against a wall and turns on the lights, he’s the one with the knife in his hand.

He holds her down with one arm and yanks her disguise off with the other, smirking with his trademark, “Bingo.” He knew she’d come back here, and asks where Gaksital is.

She says she doesn’t know, and swears she just came back for her knife. “This knife?” He scoffs, putting it up to her face. But that’s when he sees it. His face changes and he looks up at her. “Why….”

He finishes the rest in his head, “…do you have this? I gave this to Boon-yi…”

He lifts up her hair to check her right ear. He sees a little bump—it sends him reeling. She doesn’t lose her moment to escape, and pushes him away, taking back the knife before jumping out the window.

He just collapses in a heap, eyes welling up with tears.

Flashback to 13 years ago. Lee Sun and Baek Gun lead their family across the Amrok River into China. Boon runs out into their path, begging them to save her. She takes them to her mother, but by the time they get to her, she’s already dead.

Kang-to watches all this from the wagon, and the chyron tells us his name was Lee Young then. Lordy. WHY DOES EVERYONE HAVE TEN THOUSAND NAMES? Okay, it’s fine. I’ll get over it.

Kang-to runs up to Dad to say that they can’t leave these people behind, and so that’s how Boon/Dan came to meet him, and call him “young master.” He tends to her wounds (how he sees that little bump above her ear) and they spend a month together on the road, sharing their food, playing together in the snow.

She sees the knife that Kang-to carries and he tells her not to touch it—his father made it for him, and he’s never to let it out of his sight. She tells him a knife is useless if you can’t fight, but he says he can—his hyung taught him how.

Mom finds them adorable and agrees to Kang-to’s request that they find Boon’s father and all live together. He and Boon pinky swear to it.

Just then, the now-deceased Judge Choi had ambushed them with an army of mercenaries. They chase them off the mountain road and into an open field, where they knock out one man after another.

The wagon goes toppling over. While Dad and Baek Gun fight, Kang-san rushes to get Kang-to, Boon, and Mother out safely. Mom tells the little ones to run first, so Kang-to takes off holding Boon’s hand.

They hide but the mercenaries are closing in. Kang-to makes a decision, and gives Boon his knife, promising that they’ll find each other someday. He just asks her to stay alive. She cries, asking where he’s going, and he turns back to hug her one last time.

And then he goes running out into the killers’ path to draw them away from her. Aw. Little Kang-to was so heroic!

But his little legs can only carry him so far before he trips and falls, and the guy with the crazy scary blade catches up to him in no time. He readies his sword… Kang-to closes his eyes…

…and then the sound of sword through flesh. He opens his eyes to see the man fall and Hyung standing behind him with a shocked look on his face. (Kang-san’s name back then was Lee In.)

Kang-to goes running into Hyung’s arms, and they run to Mom, calling out for them. But Kang-to screams for them to turn back for Boon. He looks back and sees her standing there… as another assassin swings his sword right at her head.

He closes his eyes in terror.

Oh, so he thought she was dead all this time? Back in the present, Kang-to sits there trembling as he starts to piece it all together, now recalling every moment with Mok Dan in horror. “You… you were Boon-yi…”

Mok Dan comes back to the circus safely, and the troop breathes a sigh of relief. They argue that they can’t keep slipping through Lee Kang-to’s fingers, and ask Boss Jo to move the circus out of town. But he refuses to go anywhere, saying that there’s a reason they have to be here. Mok Dan lights up in gratitude, knowing it’s because he’s in league with her father.

He says that he’ll go face Kang-to alone, and Mok Dan says she’ll help. Soon the rest are all agreeing to pitch in. Kye-soon the circus turncoat spies on them with an evil grin.

Shunji drinks alone at the club, thinking over Mok Dan’s hate-filled words, asking how he could be friends with, well, the devil himself as far as she’s concerned.

Kang-to saunters in and steals the beer right out of Shunji’s hand. (He’s already second-guessing your friendship and you’re stealing the man’s liquor?) He drinks it and another, clearly still rattled but trying to cover it up in his usual way.

He starts to unload on Shunji. “The girl I have to kill… the girl I have to capture and use as bait to get Gaksital…” He looks up at Shunji, “What if she were your first love?” Oh, I love the twistiness of the line. He means it as a hypothetical question, as in, she’s MY first love, only he’s asking it like, what would you do if she were YOUR first love?

Only… she’s both.

Kang-to asks what he’d do, and then with grim determination says, “I’m still going to kill her.” *gasp* Kang-to!

“If it’s to lure Gakistal, I can rip some little bitch to shreds and grind her bones to spread on every mountain, along the entire length and breath of this land!”

He screams furiously that he can do it, that he’s Lee Kang-to, as if convincing himself that this is who he is.

Shunji gets up, horrified, and throws Kang-to to the ground with one punch. He contains himself and tells him to go home. Aw, home-home, as in don’t come to my home? Kang-to just lies there on the floor, fury turning into a laugh that scares me.

He walks home later, and turns back at the front door with a deep sigh. But then he hears his mother’s voice out in the yard, praying for Kang-san to get better, and then for Kang-to to grow up and mature, and live like a person.

She asks that the punishment for all his sins be cast onto her. It brings tears to his eyes, and mine.

Kang-san lies awake, and then pretends to be asleep when Kang-to comes in. He sits by Hyung and asks sweetly if he’s badly hurt, wondering who it was that beat up his hyung, because he’s gonna kill him. It’s so adorably childish of him. Why can’t you be this nice when he’s awake?

He lies down next to him with a hand on Hyung’s shoulder. He talks to him as if he’s listening, but only because he thinks Kang-san is asleep.

He asks if he remembers that day when Dad was killed and they went running. He had made a promise to Boon to just stay alive and he’d find her, no matter what. “I thought she died that day. But she’s alive. What do I do? I have to kill her.”

Kang-san listens with his back turned, as Kang-to admits, “I don’t want to live this way either.” He says he wants to work a job that makes Mom happy. But Hyung doesn’t know—how hard he worked at jobs that paid nothing.

He couldn’t even make enough to feed three mouths, and slaved away to pay for Hyung’s tuition, thinking that if he could just graduate from university, he could change their family’s situation.

As he says this, Kang-to’s tears start to fall sideways down his face, and Kang-san cries the same way. It’s heartbreaking. Crying, he asks:

Kang-to: Why does a bastard with no money, no backing, and no learning have to pledge loyalty to those bastards to eat and live in this world?

He clutches Hyung’s shoulder, crying, “I don’t know. I don’t know a better way than this one. Hyung. Hyung! Say something, Hyung!” Oof, I can’t stop the tears. Kang-san barely manages to stay silent as his tears come pouring out.

Kang-to breaks down sobbing and buries his head in Hyung’s back, as he cries himself to sleep. Could you BE any more heartbreaking?

Mom wakes up in the morning to find Kang-san skipping home with Kang-to’s favorite fish because he came home last night. Mom lights up, and Kang-san goes running into the kitchen, so excited because he bought a fat one. I know it’s fake, but I still love the idiot version so much.

Kang-to wakes up from a fitful sleep (I’d argue you’re incapable of sleeping well, Torture Boy) and Kang-san comes running in to say that Mom has made a delicious breakfast. Kang-to says he has to work, but Hyung drags him out anyway.

They sit in silence at first, Kang-san busily picking the meat off the fish to put in Kang-to’s bowl. He tells Hyung to stop, but Mom tells him Kang-san went to the market at daybreak, just to get Kang-to’s favorite fish.

Without a word, Kang-to starts eating heartily, knowing it’ll make Hyung happy. Mom sees that he’s finished his soup and pushes hers over silently. He finishes hers. Kang-san gives him his bowl too with a huge smile, and Kang-to takes that too.

Kang-san beams, so happy to find some way to express his love. He insists on only picking at the bones of the fish, and Kang-to feeds him a mouthful. Awwwwww. I luff this family breakfast scene. You people are killing me.

While the Lee family eats, the circus family dons masks and costumes with resolute faces, as if preparing for battle. Oh, I don’t like this. I know there are many of you, but you are circus folk, not warriors.

Kang-san sees Kang-to off and they wave goodbye to each other for the day. But Kang-to barely gets twenty feet from his house before a dagger comes flying at his head. Whoa, you have seriously spidey reflexes there. He leans back just enough to avoid being stabbed in the face.

He looks up at the dagger-thrower, a masked person wearing a hanbok. He gives chase all the way into the center of town, where a group is putting on a show for a crowd. He scans the masks and finds the one he’s been chasing.

He raises his gun. Someone shoots a slingshot to knock the gun out of his hand and Boss Jo in the big green mask tries to overpower Kang-to. But he easily fights him off and reaches for his gun…

Just as the dagger-thrower leaps into the air with a knife in hand…

He shoots. Straight through the chest.

He looks down to see who it is, and finds Mok Dan’s knife on the ground. He picks it up, terrified, and then peels the mask from her face.

It’s her. She’s unconscious. He holds her close, realizing what he’s done.

 
COMMENTS

Man, talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is what happens when you keep saying things you don’t mean! And by the by, how many dramas am I going to recap where the hero shoots the heroine in the heart? Let’s not turn that into a regular thing, okay dramaland? Yeesh. As if the torture weren’t bad enough.

The everybody-is-everybody’s-first-love thing is really annoyingly just THERE, so we have to deal with it, since it’s now been confirmed. The first love thing I could do without, but I really like that Kang-to was the first to find out the Boon connection, because I want her to keep hating him. Is that wrong? It’s just, it makes for such a good conflict if say, Lois Lane were to hate Clark Kent’s guts and want to kill him, while being in love with Superman. Right? Better. Well, that’s if Kang-to ever turns his life around, because right now, things are still looking grim in heroville.

In all honesty, I could watch the current dynamic play out for an entire drama because it’s such good conflict between the brothers, and we get such a layered set of clashing beliefs and motivations behind everything. I love and hate them both for what they’re doing, to each other AND society at large.

It’s interesting that despite the onslaught of names and faces, when you strip it all down, the baddie plot is really just City Hunter all over again. There’s a Council of Five, the same guy is the President in one and the Chief of Police in the other, and it all begins with one massive betrayal, as they plot against one of their own. I’m fine with it mechanically, since I loved what City Hunter did in its episodic baddie-of-the-week takedowns. I just wish it wasn’t such a carbon copy.

I’m already so excited for Rie and Kang-to to meet. All they did was pass each other by, but I have a feeling this is the pairing I’m going to care about, despite knowing it’s doomed. I just love both characters so much, and hers is a backstory I’m dying to know. She’s such an intriguing character.

And I know he’s hateful, but I already love Kang-to. I can’t help it. He’s just trying to feed his family! Gah, no, that doesn’t justify what he’s doing, but when he asks his brother to find him a better way, it just makes me die inside, thinking about what he’s convinced himself of, just to live with what he’s done as he sells his soul for his family. I can see how it might be easier to just let go, tell yourself you’re the bad guy, and turn off your conscience rather than fight to justify everything or let yourself feel. But just when you think he’s turned it off completely, he turns out to still be a little kid who cries on his hyung’s shoulder when he thinks no one is looking. How can you not love him? It’s impossible! See, it’s not my fault!

 
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173 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Elana

    Ohnoes!

  2. -K

    Great episode, loved the flashback tie-ins and such.

  3. missjb

    Whahhhhh How much I loved this show? This show really I what I hope for city hunter to pull it off… They did better here..!

    Though I really wish they will find another plot that doesn’t follow city hunteresque too much..

    • 3.1 kk

      well to be fair, the bridal mask’s comic came out before city hunter’s comic…so yeah

      • 3.1.1 Noonajumma

        Yeah, and also, the City Hunter comic is totally different from the K-drama version. Gasital’s somewhat different from the original source, but not as much as City Hunter; the basic gist of it is the same. It’s been a couple of decades since I read City Hunter, but I remember is being very dark and having lots of, er…adult matters.

  4. JustJen

    Maybe this is just me, but the hero is giving me the shits this episode. I think because I know eventually we’re supposed to love him, whereas right now I just really want to love to hate him. I’m also struggling with Joo Won as an actor- he’s always so shouty. I think I’d feel differently about this character in the hands of another actor.

    • 4.1 JustJen

      Which is not to say I’m not loving this drama- I have high hopes for the hero, but he annoyed me so much this episode! He still has so much work to do to overcome the gross things he’s already done, and one tiny scene with tears doesn’t cut it yo.

      • 4.1.1 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

        He annoyed you this episode?! Boy, I thought the market scene would have gotten everyone! Take your pick which one!! I’m waiting to see how the writers do the turn-around!

    • 4.2 SS

      first, I admit I am a die-hard Joo Won fan so I think it clouds my judgement at times. But you pose a question that intrigues me. Which actor do you have in mind that might have better played this character .

      It seems K was supposed to be older so the casting people looking for someone around age 30. I know that this role was originally offered to Jang Hyuk who declined(thank goodness cuz now I cannot imagine JH hugging and crying into SHJ’ back in last night’s scene). Later, they decide to choose someone younger instead. During the press conference, it was revealed they had difficulty casting K, they tried the Hallyu stars who declined apparently fearful of backlash in Japan where they usually do their promotions.

      I wondered which 25 year old(thereabout) could do this role justice? I know my own answer but I am honest about hearing others’ views cos I think I am still newbie in kdrama and am limited to works only by Lee Min Ho, Jang Geun Suk, Lee Seung Gi, Jung II Woo, Song Joong Ki, Park Yu Chun in this age group. Maybe Kim Soo Hyun? as I have yet to see his work.

      • 4.2.1 CD

        “I cannot imagine JH hugging and crying into SHJ’ back in last night’s scene)…”

        LOL. ROFL.

        I know its still early to say this… But, I want to Joo Won in a new drama already. Make it lighter this time. It’s so tormenting to watch his tormented soul. I bet, he will get a lot of stress with this drama… But, I’m glad that he can overcome his stress in 1N2D.

      • 4.2.2 missjb

        I really do think Jo Woon’s potrayal for Kan To’s character is bit lacking.. particularly when he is screaming… But other than that I like his potrayal.

        • 4.2.2.1 SS

          yes, I agree he still has room for improvement especially when he screams. Although, I think that’s the way the tyrants of those times lord over the people. For example, Kimura Kenji shouts too but Joo Won’s theatre background proves to be his undoing here. His shout becomes a scream.

          Going back to my question, it’s not that I think Joo Won is the perfect fit. Some roles are such that you can easily think of a couple of actors to fill the shoes. Some however are much more difficult or as time goes, the actor does such a good job that he totally owns the character. So while we are still in early days, it’s a good poser as to which young actor can possibly better play Kang To.

      • 4.2.3 mnd.8

        Hmm… I don’t know which actor to pick. Its a tough role for any actor to play especially the screaming part… Phew. We surely need some skill to scream. Maybe, he overdoing it here and there. But, it’s still okay.. for now!

      • 4.2.4 JustJen

        SS- honestly I didn’t have anyone in particular in mind. It’s highly possible some of my frustration with the character (I want to see glimpses of the good man he can be- and when we’re shown some I’m like, “that’s not enough!”- I’m in a hard ass mood today) has spilled over onto Joo Won, the actor. In which case you can argue that is proof positive he’s doing a good job.

        Disclaimer- I didn’t have too many issues with Joo Won before this episode, but I’m pms-ing right now and sometimes I type before I think. He’s not a perfect actor for me yet, but in general I do think he’s doing well.

      • 4.2.5 Alysanne

        I am a newbie to KDramas, too. As far as the other actors I’ve watched who are in Joo Won’s age range goes, though, I can’t immediately think of someone who can portray all the layers of Kang-to’s personality. There are some who can do the vulnerable and romantic part really well (Kim Soo-hyun) but who may not be able to pull off the more sadistic/violent/angry part.

        Joo Won seems a good fit because he’s convincing both when he’s vulnerable and when he’s violent. And he’s athletic, so he can also do the action scenes well. And he can sing and dance, which seems to be what Kang-to likes to do to unwind. ;P I agree, though, that he can get rather “shouty.” I’m thinking that the director could’ve made him tone it down a little unless that’s what the director was hoping for?

        Anyway, this is just my personal take on it. I defer to those who have seen the performances of more actors than I have. ;)

        • 4.2.5.1 rottenpot

          very well said! :D

        • 4.2.5.2 anais

          Kim Soo Hyun unable to pull off sadistic? Nah, he’d be fantastic at it. You obviously didn’t see Father’s House. Or the kids’ part of Giant. Kim Soo Hyun would have been great at this. The only thing is he’s not tall enough. He still seems like a kid to me, whereas Joowon’s height lends him credibility as a mid-late 20 year old.

          • 4.2.5.2.1 anais

            That said, I’m fine with Joo won here. He has this ability to make the most loathsome character compelling. I managed to finish Baker King only because he made his character was so fascinating.

          • 4.2.5.2.2 Alysanne

            Nope, I haven’t seen him in those. Like I said, new to KDramas. :) I did see some angst and anger from him in Will It Snow and TMTETS. I think he can pull it off well, but he has a different “look” compared to Joo-won, who’s entire look seems very apt for the period. And yeah, KSH looks too young. :D

      • 4.2.6 yuna

        How about LSG as K ?! Sorry, I’m still suffering from the incurable TK2H-virus… :)

        • 4.2.6.1 SS

          yes, I did try to imagine but somehow I just can’t conjure the image of LSG with an evil sneer on his face. I can imagine him to be cold and mean but more in a schoolboy or noble idiot way. It’s not his lack of ability but just that LSG has such a cute puppy look.

          • 4.2.6.1.1 anon

            LSG rocked the evil sneer during his first face-off with BG (he was quite manic here as well) and then with the North Korean PM in TK2H. That drama is responsible for blossoming SG into a fine actor wherein he effectively portrayed the gamut of emotions JH was going through.

        • 4.2.6.2 reglest

          @Yuna:
          Oh yes! I can imagine LSG as K too, still not cured fully of TK2H but him as Jae Ha make me can imagine him plays K too

          Don’t mistake me, I love Ju Won too, he had played this kind of role in Baker King, and I can see him improved during the years :)

          • 4.2.6.2.1 mtoh

            Note; not into this drama, just little post!
            When I see all comments recently I really think hearties were blessed with LSG…
            That all, thanks folks.

      • 4.2.7 Pitch

        I´m not a Joo Won fan (never seen him in anything), but for me he is doing fine here. I already love/hate Kang-to, so what more could I want?

      • 4.2.8 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

        After seeing Joo Won in Baker King, I think he was a good choice! He was also a character you had a hard time liking in that drama!

    • 4.3 shikyungfaith

      I am surprised that people are criticizing Joo Won’s acting. The scene when he was crying to his hyung to help him oof. That scene alone reminded me Joo-won’s ability to emote those gut-wrenching emotions with such ease. He has this dynamic acting ability to bring the complexity, and layers of his character to life. He did it in Baker King, and Ojakgyo Brothers, and now in this. He has an ability to humanize a villainous hero, into someone you want to hate, but can’t. Yes, people are complaining with the shouting, but I think that’s part of his character, and I’m sure when he becomes Gaksital, the screaming will stop. Honestly, I think the shouting can even tie in with the story line, it just further proves that his obsession with Gaksital has driven him into borderline insanity.

      • 4.3.1 red

        I agree with you completely…Joo Won is doing a marvelous job…but yes its thoes emotional beats which he shines in, and which in my opinion speaks volumes of his talent.

      • 4.3.2 Arhazivory

        I have no problems at aall with his delivery. I think he is doing well also. His ‘shouty’ character is how it was written. He’s not the one who determines the mannerisms of the character. And really, its not like he goes around shouting everything. He’s chasing a criminal and is always frustrated so naturally we’ll see that frustration being verbalized.

        • 4.3.2.1 JustJen

          Just to clarify since I didn’t explain, it wasn’t that his character shouts too much, I meant that he seemed to rely on shoutiness as a shortcut to some emotions- it just seems sometimes when he’s shouting that he’s trying too hard to “act”. I’ll reiterate though that I still think Joo Won is doing a good job overall, I was just moody yesterday.

      • 4.3.3 Noala

        I totally agree with you too. I don’t see what’s wrong with the shouting at all. If anything, I think it shows another part of his personality/character and how he’s always angry with the world (ha). If I were running around chasing criminals I wouldn’t be doing it quietly – I’d be full of adrenaline, wagging my arms around like a lunatic and screaming at the top of my lungs. I’ve heard that that’s what the police are supposed to do, because it intimidates people too. All in all though, I’m really happy with his acting though I hope I’m only a tad bit biased ^^

        I did have some issues with the main girl’s acting at times though. Sometimes she’s great but other times she’s a little off. Since she’s relatively new I guess it’s still ok.

      • 4.3.4 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

        Have not seen Ojakgyo Brothers yet but he was very good in Baker King

    • 4.4 anna

      It seems to be norm, isn’t it? A male lead can be so hateful, but when he shows his vulnerable side, everyone would be all, aw, he’s just a little kid. So misunderstood and tortured.. still doesn’t justify all the shit he’d done though or the people that he’d hurt. NO! I will not be sway. Kang-to has a long way to go before he become a ‘hero’ in my book. Tears will not do.

      • 4.4.1 July

        Lol. I know what you mean. Although, I have to admit I have been swayed a bit. Still I hope the writers make his transformation believable. I can understand he has misguided beliefs, yet when it comes down to it how many of us wouldn’t turn to the *dark side* to survive, but there are some moments that he seems too corrupt. When he tortures others he seems to enjoy it. So while I can understand joining the Japanese army, I can’t when he hurts so many people willing to sacrifice them just to catch one man.

        The scene with his brother helped show his vulnerable side a bit and helped us understand where he is coming from, but I want to seem him regret even more what he has done.

  5. N

    i love thisss!!
    how can it get any better??!!

  6. kbap

    Thank you so so much for the recaps!

  7. missjb

    I love the fact that our hero is so multi-faced and layer. This is the type of hero I’m looking for an action/thriller genre. Because it will gives different vibes for usual hero for action genre in general. One minute we hate him, the next minute we pitied him. How sucked it can be to be his position?
    I don’ want to justify his action, but man… I can understand why he choose that path…

    I can’t wait to see the next episode!

    • 7.1 starmink

      ^^ agree!

      I’m sold on this drama! <3

    • 7.2 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

      After the scene with Kang-San in prison, I can understand too; his desperation! Eating and smearing feces on the wall; that scene will haunt me for the rest of my drama watching days. Gross!

  8. lordj

    just reading your recaps make me teary eyed. *sniff*
    thanks alot!

  9. Arhazivory

    lol…City Hunter carbon copy. If you hadn’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have noticed the similarities although I wouldn’t go as far as to say ‘carbon copy’. I was also instantly drawn to CH, and I do get the same kind of excited feeling with GAKSITAAAAAAAL.

    I really was hoping he’d find out in this episode (before I go off on vacation) but it seems we’ll have to wait a bit longer. Still loving the character development and I’m glad he’s starting to feel some level of torment. Our hero has to be tortured, right? Normally they’re tortured heroes because of their own feelings of inconsistencies but I like that his ‘torture’ will be because he really was a terrible guy. This is one case where I’ll easily buy into him saying ‘How can I forgive myself?’ because even I feel like he shouldn’t be forgiven.

  10. 10 ultramarineblue

    OMG tears POURED down my face in the scene with Kang-to and Kang San ;_; it was so touching and I think it really pulled me over to Kang-to’s side. He is just an innocent, uneducated kid who lost everything and was baited by the lure of instant money by working for the Japanese police. Using his strength is all he’s ever known.

    The one thing I’m still concerned about is how in the world Dan is going to forgive Kang-to after he’s done so much to her. It really is a mystery that I would like to see solved and i just hope this drama will resolve it efficiently.

    I’m also put off by Rie. I kind of dont want her near Kang-to LOL.

    Anyway, thanks for another great recap!!!

    • 10.1 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

      Yeah, can’t wait for the Rie story development! She came there with a purpose! Was Kang-To her purpose? That was a serious stare she gave him

  11. 11 Anonymous

    Gosh, yes.. why so many names. But, I think I got it… Lee Kang To and Lee Kang San put up a new names and identity from those people who betrayed their father.

    I didn’t watch City Hunter *hides*. I’m not a fan of Lee Min Ho *hides again*. But, will try to catch it later.. Hehe.

  12. 12 Fabi

    Totally in love with him too… *sigh*

  13. 13 lin

    Like you gf, I love Rie (so badass) and I’m already interested in the Rie/Kang-to pairing(and yes we are doomed). The first fateful love stuff been there and done that too many times (seriously, how many people truly meet their one true love at 10 or less, stay hung up on them for years, and are fatefully reunited and live happily ever after?) . Hero/villain(?) with similar motives and traits….needs to happen now. Thanks for the awesome per usual recap.

  14. 14 whimsyful

    Yeah…I could do without the whole love-square to come. I mean, I love all four main characters already (well, I don’t love Kang-to yet but I find him interesting and I’m invested in his development), but it’s so contrived! Then again, pretty much any pairing from these four would be doomed.

    Loved Han Chae-ah in Hero, and liked her pretty much instantly here. And those are some gorgeous clothes.

  15. 15 pigtookie

    yes, i laughed when the leader of the Big Five was the same leader from the Big Five of City Hunter. The pieces, they are a’clickin.

    but i cried hard this episode, starting from Mom’s prayers to their sweet family breakfast. this episode really got to me, though I agree, I could do without a few cliches. The way they all freely use their deadly weapons keeps me on edge, like King 2 Hearts didn’t do that enough, but what can I say, it wouldn’t be like this time period with these players without the risky guns.

  16. 16 crazedlu

    loved this ep! i know, i know. i could do without the fated first love bit, but i’m liking the direction they’re headed in so far, since, as you said, we’re stuck with it. i’m still nervous about hating it later, but i do like that he figured it out first too, so she’s not that annoying girl lead, watching her love from afar with longing before sacrificing herself to see him turn good. puke.

    thank goodness i’ve never seen one of those dramas where the hero shoots the heroine in the chest. because i actually like that he shot her. haha.

    as for the city hunter conflict resemblance, ugh, yeah. i see it too. but i hated city hunter, so meh. we’ll see how this one turns out.

    joo wooooonn.

  17. 17 cv

    Thanks for the recap. :)

    I hope she’s not dead. yikes!

  18. 18 Rashell

    This drama is soo good. And I agree that Kang To is still somehow lovable. There are just enough moments where you see him reflect on what he’s become that I still see a way for him to become the H. But man, when he admitted that he’d still kill Mok Dan, even knowing who she was. And then he shot her. That kind of broke my heart.

    • 18.1 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

      “But man, when he admitted that he’d still kill Mok Dan, even knowing who she was.” that was tough!

      • 18.1.1 SS

        Actually in that nightclub scene where he said he will still kill Mok Dan, he was trying to convince himself that he is the ‘old’ Kang To who will stop at nothing to achieve what he wants. Except that it’s so obvious he cannot do it, i mean just looked at his reaction in the last scene when he realised who he shot and hugged her. Cut her into pieces and strew them over the country? Hah! I bet he is the one who will be torn into pieces in the upcoming episodes because he will do all he can to protect her and save her while she will still hate him to the core since he cannot reveal his identity as the new Gaksital.

        • 18.1.1.1 MsB

          See, I think he realized who it was. I think the shock was that he actually pulled the trigger.

          • 18.1.1.1.1 SS

            Not sure if I understand you correctly. Do you mean that he knew the Mask figure was Mok Dan, aim the gun and was shocked at himself that he actually pulled the trigger? Or that we should be shocked that he pulled the trigger despite knowing it was Mok Dan?

            If it’s the first. then that’s an interesting take although I cannot fathom how he could possibly realised who it was. She was wearing a Mask and her hanbok didn’t have a name tag sewn on it unlike his white starched uniform. But it might be possible he is suffering from a trigger finger condition given the badass he is.

            If it’s the latter, then we should conclude there is no hope in KT or the drama as there is no fun watching either a central character or a show that is irredeemable.

            In any case, our wait for the answer and agony ends in less than 24 hours.

            GaksitAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!!!!!

  19. 19 anabella

    There are only two things will do if you’re frustrated, either you will scream to death or cry like a river. Ok one more thing or you will jump off the bridge.

    Anyway, i really love Kangto & Kangsan a lot. Their crying scene was just……..sooo heartbreaking.

    Love this drama more than CH by now.

  20. 20 MaryMz

    OMFG I can not believe he shot her! wednesday can’t come fast enough omg omg omg

  21. 21 Porcelain Heart

    I’m already depressed for the inevitable gloom and doom, and blooody heart-wrenching hits to come. :(

    I’m drawn into the story but I don’t know if I can take another melo – destructive drama on me. King 2 Hearts already wrung my tears out until dry ones were coming out. </3

    To watch or not to watch…

    • 21.1 red

      I know what you mean…..I still haven’t watched the last episodes of K2H, I don’t think I can take it…I’m leaving that one for after my exams lol

      • 21.1.1 reglest

        I’m sorry for talking it here, but you should watch TK2H epi 20 as package with epi 19, that’s the cure though…

        And yes..I suspect they’ll kill the Hyung anyways (from the poster, it’s K who hold the gaksital in his back)

  22. 22 Faye

    I love to hate Lee Kang To, but I also understand him…I am confused! Can’t wait for next episode.

  23. 23 delaney

    Thanks for the recap!

    Now that you’ve mentioned the similarity with CH, why don’t you make this your next Thing vs. Thing? :D

  24. 24 stars4u

    Those scenes with Kang-to together with his family is seriously tearing my heart into pieces! Kang-to, why can’t you be just as nice on some days?

    watching Kang-to being mean to his mom reminded me when Joo-won called his mom on his first episode of 1N2D with all the aegyo.

  25. 25 Cait

    I am like 99.9% positive that the song Joo Won sings is a twist on Sunny Hill’s Bad Boy. I recognized the tune almost immediately.

  26. 26 leahleahleah

    When he shot her, I was like, DAMN. ITS K2H “SHOOTING THE GIRL I LOVE” all over again. But this time is worse: It was a LIVE BULLET! Guy will sure have some major regrets later.
    Watched the episode already, but it’s never complete without reading your recaps! Thanks, jb and gf! (:

    • 26.1 missjb

      and he shot her in her vital area.. How can she will live? Since it’s korean drama… nothing is possible though lol

    • 26.2 heartie7

      and they have to do it on ep.4 like k2h as well. >.
      but k2h has more impact than this to be honest…. didn’t saw that coming whereas over here ….. it felt lacking. ???
      and everything is CHesque all over again….. well, it’s still early will see how it goes.

  27. 27 tokki

    juwon, why do you make me cry like this. like seriously. why. when kangto and kangsan were in the bedroom and freaking kangto started having his breakdown and you see that he’s just lost in the world. his hyung was his guidance and now that he’s “gone”, kangto just wants to support his family and this is the only way he thinks he can do it. it kills me..
    please let me see more childish kangto, he’s so cute it kinda makes me wanna replay it over and over again. like the way he said he’d kill the guy that hurt his hyung. just tell him youre gaksital!!
    but okay, dan, idk how he’s gonna turn things around. like i know what’s gonna happen but how’s he gonna change her judgement towards him. i. need. to. know.
    i want happy kangto, childish kangto. cause angry kangto is freaking amazing but dang it, i love his cuteness.

  28. 28 Mymymai

    Next week cannot come soon enough!

  29. 29 Emily J

    De-lurking for the first time to say thank you, girlfriday, for pointing out the structural revenge comparison between City Hunter and Bridal Mask. I was thinking the exact same thing as the flashbacks unfolded. And how incredibly heartbreaking is the brother detective vs. brother vigillante plotline? I cried while reading your recap, and I had already seen the episode! If/when the writers kill off Kang-san, I will cry buckets, as much as when King 2 Hearts killed off the first king. Can’t wait for episode 5!

  30. 30 munited

    I wonder if the revenge against the 5 guys storyline was in Bridal Mask comic book from the 70′s.

    • 30.1 SS

      Ooooh that’s a good one. If it is, then CH is the carbon copy and not Gaksital!

    • 30.2 crazedlu

      that’s what i was thinking. i mean, aren’t both city hunter and gaksital from comics? if they are, the storylines from the dramas aren’t really copying, it’s just a matter of timing on the dramas’ parts. it’s all about delivery then.

      hated city hunter. *cough

      • 30.2.1 red

        me too, there was something about CH which left me cold *runs and hides

      • 30.2.2 reglest

        Well, sorry to say, but Lee Min Ho’s City Hunter isn’t real city hunter, I mean not that one based on the manga.
        I just confused why the producer forced the story to be entitled city hunter all the way and insist it based on the manga, because it’s way way much different.

        As Gaksital, anyone know where I can read it?

  31. 31 danni

    I love Kang-to too, even though he’s so screwed up. Or maybe it’s because he’s so screwed up. Gah, I’m not even going to try to justify it, I just like psycho anti-heroes. It’s better than cold chaebols with a secret heart of gold.

    Rie is SO AWESOME. I’m on the Kang-to/Mok Dan train (because it’s so messed up) but I’m really interested in how she’ll interact with Kang-to.

    “In all honesty, I could watch the current dynamic play out for an entire drama because it’s such good conflict between the brothers, and we get such a layered set of clashing beliefs and motivations behind everything.”

    MTE. I thought it would be draggy since we have to wait for Kang-to to become Gaksital, but now I’m seriously dreading when Kang-to finds out the truth.

    Thanks for the recap, as always!

    • 31.1 trixicopper

      A girl after my own heart! What IS it about dark anti-heroes? I don’t know or even care. I just LOVE them! :)

      So far this drama is pushing all my buttons in a GOOD way. I have my fingers crossed that it will continue! Can’t wait for MOAR! Though just in case we have a real angst-a-palooza on our hands, I’m already stocking up on tissues.

      Thank you as always for another awesome recap GF!

    • 31.2 missjb

      Same here…. Glad I’m not the only one who LOOOOVE dark anti-heroes for action / thriller genre… I don’t know, maybe it just bring a different vibes. I just like when I see the hero not always doing a good thing, but also makes a poor choices. He is human after all..

  32. 32 Brenda

    Thanks so much for the recaps!!

    Now that Queen In Hyun’s Man is over, this show is quickly becoming one of my must-watches every week.

    I really love Kang-to. Even if he is sinning in the eyes of everyone around him, he’s only doing what he’s doing to survive.
    I can’t wait for next week =D

  33. 33 thom

    my comment this follow I WILL TALK ABOUT the “ CHARACTER” NOT ABOUT “ACTOR”

    The part that Baek Gun said with Kang-san to reveal the truth that he is gaksital
    But Kang-san says no: “Do you think that if he found out, Kang-to would take my side? If he knew I was Gaksital, he’d put me away.”

    Oh girlfriday I’m absolutely agree with you these

    >>>>Aw, Hyung, you’re killing me right now. I know he’s far gone, but you’re just as wrong to keep him from the truth. You’re assuming that it’s a foregone conclusion, but you never gave him an ounce of faith …… and how about we let him decide? <<<

    My thought when I watched gaksital ep1-ep4 I think this all the time

    why why the writer couldn’t made kang-san reveal the truth to Kang-to that he is gaksital so I can hate Kang-to at full heart If he do evil thing even he knew the truth.
    But Kang-san let Kang-to do a jerk thing like shoot gaksital several times. How bad thing happen if Kang-to shoot streght right target to gaksital ha. How can he go on if he kill kang-san with own hand coz he doesn’t knew it U.

  34. 34 nikhapi

    This gonna be my favorite drama this year. I just hope it won’t turn draggy in the midle like City Hunter. I think what set this apart from City Hunter is the legitimacy of the whole events which City Hunter failed to deliver. So I’m actually loving this so far..

    And the scene when Kang-to cried at his hyung breaks my heart! It’s so real that I can sympathies with Kang-to and how Kang-san is holding back his tears make me break down to tears as well. Ah this drama is making me cry and I did cry at episode 1 actually, I cried each time the brothers interact with one another. I’m so anticipating when Kang-to finally will know that his hyung is the gaksital.

    And the whole set up in 30′s so beautiful! It’s like a fresh of breath for a kdrama addict like me! As for the character Kang-to, tbh I can’t imagine ANYONE other than Joo Won playing this role. Though he exaggerates at times, it didn’t bother me coz I think his character should really be like that!

    • 34.1 anabella

      To you nikhapi & SS, your comments gives me a clear sense. Love that.

    • 34.2 July

      Yes, while watching the drama I’m constantly thinking: Wow, what a beautiful time period to portray. I love the costumes and the set pieces.

      I hadn’t known there were other lined up for Kang-to’s role until a few other people mentioned, but I can’t imagine anyone else playing this role either. That scene where he reveals his fears while thinking Kang-san is sleeping was heartbreaking. I just really love how three-dimensional some of these characters are.

  35. 35 Devin

    I really tried connecting with city hunter, but emotionally, it just wasn’t there for me. This, however, is serving up to be the kind of heart destroying drama I hoped it would be. I’m feeling for the characters, and that is vital for a true experience and appreciation for a story. It just pulsates off the screen, cinematically, lyrically, and earnestly. I’m mesmerized. Thanks for the recap girlfriday!

    • 35.1 red

      I love this comment!! I agree completely

    • 35.2 J

      Agreed! Something about CH just didn’t click with me, even though I tried so hard to like it. Woah, and I thought I was the lone person in the world who didn’t like CH!

  36. 36 Ilona

    I liked how they forced him to sing in his EVERY kdrama! But i love him singing!

    • 36.1 Arhazivory

      lol…true. Even if its a few lines, it seems like we have to hear him sing. So cute.

    • 36.2 Alysanne

      And they do this to him in 1N2D too. ;p

  37. 37 Yamapisukii

    I actually really LOVE Joo Won’s acting and take on this role. it matches perfectly, plus now that I’ve seen what the guy can do, I can’t imagine any other actor playing the psychotically-warped Kang To. lol I wanna see how the romance is gonna play out, with Rie in the mix now. *sigh* Wed. seems so far away at this moment. lmao

    I also hated CH it was so AUGH. Gaksital, in my opinion, is much better. GO JOO WON, GO!!. btw, thanks for the recap!

  38. 38 Oyabun

    Sometimes, Kang To really reminds me of Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange

    • 38.1 Recovering from QIHM aka MsB

      Especially the speakeasy type scenes!

  39. 39 anna

    Sorry, still hateful. I don’t think I can get over what he did to his hyung. I just.. ugh, that scene was just so hard to watch. Did he even freaking apologize for what he did?

  40. 40 reglest

    GF, I’m sorry you should recap another scene of ‘Hero-shoot-the-heroine-in-the-heart’ but you do the best job, without you I (read WE) might not understand what’s that mean is.

    This drama kills me…along side with many character, and first-love-of-first-love, OK! I’m sorry if I’m being cynical, but can’t we avoid that, please? I guess that Dan will be the reason Shunji turn his back to Kang To in later story, over jealousy? Betrayal? Which turn into noble idiocy? I hope it’s not, please not, Shunji is one interesting character in this drama. But I Can’t help this drama was made from manhwa, as if revolution story had not strong enough for conflict?

    Aside those things, I’m so in love with Kang To’s family. Gaaah~ can’t help that I’m a sucker for family romance(or family love?), at first, the characters is one dimensional, but with their family’s love, they become layered! L.O.V.E IT!

    I’m waiting for the time Kang To realize who is His Hyung and backed him off, while doing spy-thingy-inside the governance (City hunter enough?-in good way-), or maybe he’ll be the Gaksital (because the poster seem so to me), but I’m praying for the first, not the later, can’t accept another death of lovable Hyung, and his brother step in to his shoe!

    So far, I love this drama (aside from confusing character relationship), but I’m ready for: GAKSITALLLLL!!!

    • 40.1 reglest

      And I love Rie’s character already! This Girl definitely has GUT!!

      And..oh..thank you GF!!^^

  41. 41 ck1Oz

    I hate Kang To.
    Then I feel so bad for him when he was crying about working for a pittance, okay less than pittance just to pay for his hyung’s education.

    Goodness, family dynamics in Korean dramas just kills me each time.

  42. 42 queencircles

    I love this show. I’m addicted. I think juwon is doing a great job actually.

    A lot of people are talking about CH here, and I fricken loved CH so I too laughed a bit at the council of five reference. But this show seems layered with so many different characters, both good and bad, that I think it won’t feel like a carbon copy as we continue forward. And the setup of the main character is so different that I find it hard to really compare at this point..

    This show is really pulling at my heartstrings, And even though kang to is a baddy right now, I still love him. he’s such a sad, vulnerable cutie pie.

  43. 43 mel.e

    I love the setting of this drama. It’s something rare. I’ve seen tons of Sageuk drama. But, dramas in the 30s is so rare. So, for me it’s interesting enough.

    Plus, I love all the actor and actresses. They might not be well known enough , but their acting abilities that keep me invested.

  44. 44 dramaJOOO*

    I get the City Hunter reference, but Gaksital feels different to me. I think it’s because the “REVENGE!!!” motif holds less prominence here.

    Also, Lee Minho’s character was more of a puppet in City Hunter (towards the beginning at least). His respect/belief in his father motivates his obedience, whereas here Kang-to is conflicted in his beliefs because in his screwed up world there is no fine line between what is wrong and what is right.

    What I love about Gaksital is that it throws us into teary-salt-watery-nail-biting waters. It is distinct from City Hunter because we are rooting for both good and evil, and are able to understand the conflict in the motivation of our “hero’s” actions. All the while, the anticipation is stroke-inducing. (When the intensity really starts a-going, I freeze deer-in-headlights style.)

    (Granted, during City Hunter in a way we may have been rooting for both good and evil. But there was a fine line because no matter what, we’d be rooting for Lee Minho. We are entirely convinced he MUST be the protagonist/good guy in all this. (DUH. just look.at.him. YUM.))

    Finally, to end my essay– LOVE the noir. It’s rainbows and unicorns to me eyes~

    • 44.1 July

      Nicely put. City Hunter didn’t even cross my mind while watching this drama. I hadn’t noticed the similarities, although now I do see them since they have been pointed out. However, while there are some similarities there are differences and you pointed them out very well.

  45. 45 sweetspring

    what have I done to deserve 2 amazing K-dramas, one starting when the other one ends??? both dramas feature tones of nationalistic pride, a hero who teases with signs of brilliant madness, a love story where the hero shoots his girl but ends up risking his own life to protect her, a heart-tugging hyung-dongsaeng pairing & just awesome production levels, from the acting to the sets & costumes.
    I loved the 2 maknaes of 1n2d wayyy before in their previous dramas and now seeing them giving it 110%… it tears me up when I think of who I’ll be rooting for when award season comes up…
    If every K-drama was like this maybe it won’t be such an addiction but these 2 dramas are really stand-out gems. I lub both, I lub their heroes too. When the earlier drama finished it left such a void & now I’m terrified of the empty shell of an addict I’ll be when this one ends :( but till then its Gaktisaaaalllll all the way baby!!!

    • 45.1 reglest

      Yaiy! Another 1n2dholic here!
      And..is it safe to call you hearties? Yep, both of the maknae is doing well :)

  46. 46 Maru

    Right now I’m asking myself if I can watch this drama live! I AM DYING HERE!!!! My heart will not tolerate this for almost two and a half months.

    Also, I’m confused right now. Which one is the female lead?! They made a BIG deal out of Rie and Kang-To first encounter leaving me in this state.

    Keeps getting better and better! Hope it stays the same!

  47. 47 rose

    “She either recognizes him, or she likes what she sees. Don’t blame ya. ”

    Hell yeah Girlfriday! I’m glad that now Kang To met Boon a.k.a Dan, so that spy Rie can’t enter his heart. Or, can she? She’s gonna be dangerously seductive. Be strong Kang To :-)

    Done watching yesterday’s episode. LOL at Kenji at the police station. Slap from Dad. Crushing fingers from Rie. HAHA. I love the sarcastic Kenji.

    Now, I want to see Shunji transformation. The goody Shunji turning into cold-hearted Shunji. Awesome.

    Admiring Joo Won acting. He is good.

  48. 48 L-V

    woooaa..Joo Won…you made me cry..T.T

  49. 49 Felix

    Episode 4 so heartbreaking. Many scenes moved my heart. Although Kang San got beaten by Joseon people he still protect them. Salute you, Kang San.

    One thing. I want the song played at scene Kang To try distract bad guy from hurting Boon Yi and cliffhanger ending. I love that song. The title and who’s the singer.

    Thanks. Just yesterday watch Entertainment Weekly about this drama. So DAEBAK.

  50. 50 geeth

    GaWW! Super-Exciting!

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