Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 7
by | June 20, 2012 | 82 Comments

If everything came crumbling down in the previous episode, now it’s time for our characters to sort through the rubble and try to make sense of the pieces. It’s an episode that is rather light on the Kang-to focus, because it’s time for everyone else to try to figure out who Gaksital is, what his agenda is, and whether he’s even still of this world.

But while Kang-to is something of a passive figure in the episode, there’s a nice mirroring of his conflict (internalized and fought within himself) with everyone else’s (externalized, with literal manhunts to track down the hero-villain): Just as the world is wondering Who is Gaksital?, the only person who knows the answer to that question is asking that same thing, but on an existential level.


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After Kang-to’s Worst Day Ever, he kneels by the twin graves of Mom and hyung, sobbing for Kang-san to speak to him. He cries, “How am I supposed to live now? How?!”

His grief takes him to fury as he sees Gaksital’s mask and cane lying nearby, and he demands, “Was that so important? More than our family?” Oof, and yes, a valid question, one that I’ve been wondering myself. Kang-to beats himself on the chest and screams.

His anger at Kang-san for taking up the hero’s role is felt by Baek Gun, watching nearby, who knows that he was the one to burden Kang-san.

Next thing we know, Kang-to is bursting into the police station dressed as Gaksital, beating Kenji to a pulp. Mok Dan is tied up in the interrogation room, but as we now know, he’s not here for her. Kang-to lands the gruesome deathblow just as Shunji arrives to see his brother gurgle his last and fall.

Shunji grabs a sword and launches himself at Kang-to, who has no weapon. After a short fight, Kang-to launches himself to the second story and makes his getaway. Shunji grabs his brother’s gun and pursues.

The police station fills with cries of “It’s Gaksital!” Mok Dan hears it and smiles. Chief Kimura, on the other hand, runs into the room to see his son lying on the ground, which might make me feel sorry for him if he weren’t totally evil.

Shunji runs out just as Kang-to gallops away on horseback, and he takes a shot that misses. Shunji jumps onto a police motorcycle and drives off after him.

Mok Dan manages to kick down her jailer and frees herself from her handcuffs. With the entire station in chaos, she slips out of the building and is grabbed by Sun-hwa, who sees her outside and hurries her away to safety.

The horse-motorcycle chase continues into the woods, making me seriously worry for the safety of that poor horse. Don’t shoot it! Luckily, Shunji’s much worse with a gun than he is with the sword, and the pursuit goes on a while, up the mountain road.

Except… I spoke too soon. A bullet lands and the horse falls, downing its rider. Kang-to falls down a steep incline, flying into the air and landing in the river far below.

He lands hard in the water, unconscious and unmoving. Up above, Shunji looks for a sign of life, but the water is still. He’s joined by the rest of the police squad, who raise their guns on the order to shoot.

As bullets zoom by Kang-to’s body in the water, Mok Dan pauses in her getaway, like she senses something amiss. Sun-hwa grabs her and keeps her moving. Kang-to keeps sinking.

The police scour the ravine for Gaksital’s body, sending a diver into the water. Nothing.

Kenji’s subordinate Koiso tries to suggest calling the search quits, but fuming Shunji growls that they must find the body. He refuses to go back empty-handed and charges into the water himself.

Koiso stops him, telling him that anybody who falls from that height would die; that’s where the Afterlife Boulder gets its nickname. He urges Shunji to go home tonight and resume the search in daylight. As the officers are ordered to retreat, a hand picks up the white Gaksital mask from the water.

At the station, hapless Abe has to break even more bad news to cap off an already crappy day: Um, about that prisoner… that Mok Dan girl… She… escaped. It’s actually pretty amusing, poor sidekick. Koiso promises to recapture her, but Shunji says that confirming whether Gaksital is dead or alive is the higher priority.

Shunji reports on his pursuit of Gaksital to his father, who is calmly practicing golf putts like nothing has happened. Although they have yet to recover the body, the fall itself is good enough for Dad, who immediately puts in a call to the paper announcing that that Shunji killed Gaksital. He thinks nothing of using the occasion to bolster his own glory, calling the accomplishment the fruits of Kenji’s self-sacrifice and Shunji’s bravery.

Shunji protests at the premature announcement, but Chief Kimura declares that Gaksital has damaged their family name: “Even if he were alive, he would have to die by your hand.”

Shunji isn’t convinced, but vows that even in the off chance that Gaksital is still alive, he will do his utmost to help Officer Lee Kang-to in capturing him. Ooh. Conflict.

Shunji goes to the hospital to see his brother’s body, trembling as he sobs over the corpse. He cries, “Hyung, I’m sorry. Even though I knew what a hard time you had with Father, I called you a puppet. I’m sorry!”

In the morning, Mok Dan huddles in Sun-hwa’s house, thinking back to the times Gaksital saved her. Worried for his safety, she runs out into the woods where he’d taken her last time, hoping for a sign of him. By now she’s almost certain that Gaksital is “young master,” aka the boy from her childhood, aka Young, aka Kang-to. (Why does everyone have a zillion identities?) Especially since that explains why he keeps saving her (aside from the fact, perhaps, that Gaksital is simply a good hero who saves people).

Sun-hwa reminds her that Gaksital escaped from the station, saying he’ll be fine. She leaves out the part about Shunji chasing him with gun blazing, perhaps to spare Mok Dan the worry. Meanwhile, Mok Dan is anxious to get in touch with Shunji, who’d promised that he’d find out whether Gaksital was alive or dead.

As for Kang-to: He wakes up in a hospital bed, hooked up to an IV. He staggers to his feet, bleary-eyed and dizzy, and makes his way into the hallway. In his fuzzy vision, he sees Kenji’s body being wheeled down the hall toward him.

Shunji comes up to him worriedly, assuming that he was also attacked by Gaksital. He’s confused and upset, wondering how the Gaksital who was shot by Kang-to could reappear so healthy and able. Kang-to finally loses his fight to stay conscious and collapses.

The newspaper announces Gaksital’s death, painting him as a monster who has finally met his end. The citizens are aggrieved (“This rotten world! Who can we believe in now?”), but Count Lee and his countess are overwhelmed with glee. They dance in celebration.

The circus contingent is shocked, not least because they hadn’t known Shunji was the police chief’s son. Now Sun-hwa admits she saw Shunji chasing Gaksital yesterday, though she’d hoped she was wrong. Ever loyal to her crush, Sun-hwa argues that of course Shunji fought back because Gaksital killed his brother. Sun-hwa’s younger brother is equally devoted, refusing to believe their beloved teacher could do it. Little Bro storms off to confirm it with him directly.

Boss Jo concedes that the article seems “not entirely lies”; they’re wary of newspapers, but this report has the ring of truth. Mok Dan clings to her hope, however: He’s not dead, he can’t be! If he were truly killed, the papers would have triumphantly printed photos of his dead face and revealed his identity. True enough.

Rie comes to the same conclusion, reporting to her father that Gaksital’s death cannot be confirmed without his corpse. They must also reveal his identity and see if he is related to freedom fighter Lee Sun’s family. She has doubts, because Gaksital’s latest victim was unrelated to the Lee Sun murder incident, and furthermore, he didn’t leave the Kishokai mark on Kenji’s body.

Chairman Ueno tells Rie to consider all possibilities, and directs her first to figure out why the Kyungsung police have been unable to capture him. She asks for his explanation, and he replies that it’s because the Korean people have united in spirit to cheer Gaksital on.

Rie says that now she understands why Gaksital mustn’t be allowed to continue as the people’s hero. Chairman Ueno advises her to be careful of the people banding together; divide and conquer is the smart strategy.

Rie heads to the Angel Club, where she presents proprietress Tasha and the other girls with expensive gifts. Her persona here—as singer Lala—is friendly and bright as she explains that instead of returning to Tokyo as planned, she’s decided to continue performing in Kyungsung. She asks Tasha if she might have a chance at performing here, and Tasha is sufficiently flattered to tell her she can make it work.

Rie thanks her profusely. The Angel Clubbers welcome “Lala unni” into their midst, and the girls get to rehearsing.

At Kenji’s funeral, Police Director Kono pays his respects to Kimura pere and Shunji. The mood is tense as always, and Kono remarks that it’s a shame such a terrible event should occur just after Kimura took over the Gaksital case. Just as I’m thinking, Dude, SO not the time to say I told you so, Chief Kimura replies that he’ll console himself with Gaksital’s death. Even for a cold-hearted villain, I’m thinking that glass is a little too full; your son just died!

Kono makes a veiled barb, saying that there’s a lot of talk about how a mere schoolteacher managed to capture the man that the police couldn’t. He advises Kimura to find the corpse asap.

Back to the river it is. Koiso heads the search party, and from a distance, Mok Dan observes.

She finds a spot away from the police search crew and starts diving. She spies her own dagger on the riverbed and retrieves it. Ooh, that’s a great connection; now she believes more than ever that Gaksital is her first love. Which… yes, he is, but the truth of the matter is completely upside-down and backwards from the romanticized version she’s playing in her head.

Mok Dan clutches the dagger, relieved to have one mystery solved: “I guessed right. The young master was Gaksital.”

Kang-to is haunted by nightmares—or are they not nightmares if the scenes are all true? He dreams of beating his brother, of shooting him, of killing Kenji, shooting Mok Dan, seeing Mom dead… When you put it like that, it’s a wonder he survived Episode 6 at all.

Kang-to awakens to find himself hooked back up to his IV. He feigns sleep at the entry of Dr. Oh, who is told that Kang-to was found in the street by a gentleman, who brought him here. If not for Shunji, they wouldn’t have known his identity.

Dr. Oh clucks, “With Gaksital’s pursuer lying here like this, no wonder Kenji died.” Maybe now’s not the time to exult in the irony, but I love how perfect Kang-to’s alibi is, because everyone knows how much he hates Gaksital.

Abe bursts in, crying in relief to have found his boss. Aw. He’s a dolt, but he’s also a big squishy teddy bear, and maybe one of the few people in the world who cares about Kang-to.

Shunji sits with his nanny, who cries at Kenji’s memorial altar. Kenji was an ass to her, which Shunji reminds her to try to urge her to stop crying, but nanny has infinite understanding for the boy who tried so hard to win his father’s love.

As Shunji walks down the hallway, he hears soft sounds of crying coming from a room, and slides open the door to see his father sobbing at his desk.

It’s a sight that surprises him, and I admit to being relieved at some sign of humanity from Chief Kimura. So is Shunji, we can surmise; he’d seemed shocked and offended at his father’s lack of emotion before, and at least now there’s proof that the father did care for his son.

At the circus, Shin Nan-da sets up a memorial offering to Gaksital. But instead of offering simple prayers to the deceased, he treats it like a mini-shrine and prays as though Gaksital is a god, asking for guidance and fortune for the circus. Haha, why is that so funny?

Dong-nyun takes offense, overturning the table and insisting that there’s no proof that Gaksital is dead.

Having left the hospital, Kang-to drinks alone at a restaurant, where he attracts a small crowd of derisive citizens, who shoot him dirty looks. The bystanders scatter when he gets up and leaves, but there’s one man—the one he beat up once, for beating up his brother—who thinks Kang-to’s about to attack him and braces for his fury.

But Kang-to just walks on silently. He spots a group of children singing a song and skipping through the marketplace, which reminds him of how his brother once led the happy crew.

The kids recognize him and scatter in fear—all but one little boy who stands his ground and tells him, “I’m not scared of you. Our leader said you’re not a bad person. But your hyung, our leader—where is he?” The little boy starts to cry, and a tear rolls down Kang-to’s face too.

But his presence brings tension, and another crowd gathers in the marketplace, shooting him hateful stares. The young rebel throws a rock that hits Kang-to in the torso, and at that Kang-to challenges his attackers to come out and face him—the ones who burned his house down, who beat up his brother. Only, that reminds him that he belongs to that latter group too.

Another man throws another rock, and this one hits Kang-to in the head. That gets the whole village going, and soon he’s being pelted with vegetables, eggs, shoes. Kang-to stands there, in pain, just taking it.

Shunji bicycles through the street, thinking of his father’s grief, when he hears about Kang-to being attacked. He runs to his friend’s side and supports him just as policemen arrive to put a stop to the scene. Shunji glares fiercely at the crowd, and helps Kang-to stagger away.

Shunji hurriedly bikes away with Kang-to seated behind him, urging him to the hospital right away. Kang-to says weakly that he’s fine, that he doesn’t hurt, but Shunji fires back, “You aren’t hurt? You’re crying right now—did you think I wouldn’t know?”

Shunji apologizes for being preoccupied with his brother’s funeral to go see Kang-to, and cries that he really liked Kang-san, too.

Shunji: “If only Gaksital were captured sooner, that wouldn’t have happend to my brother, your mother and Kang-san hyung. If only you were at home instead of chasing him! How could Koreans have done such a thing?” Now both friends are crying, and Shunji asks what he’s supposed to do now.

Kang-to cries into Shunji’s back and thinks to himself, “I’m sorry.”

A celebration unfolds at a gibang, where our council of five frolic with gisaengs and make merry. Chief Kimura is informed that a woman has come to see him, and finds Rie waiting in her car.

Rie informs him that the money Gaksital stole has been “scattered throughout the market.” And yet, despite knowing that it’s stolen property, not one person has reported it. Rie suggests that Chief Kimura take this opportunity to teach a lesson, that possessing stolen goods is a serious crime.

Kimura musters some outrage to say, “How dare he steal Kishokai’s money and throw it at the marketplace?” He offers to pay the villain back for messing with them.

That night, police officers descend on the marketplace and begin beating up the citizens.

Shunji arrives at home and wakes Kang-to, who has fallen asleep during the ride. He urges him inside, but Kang-to starts to leave immediately. He’s got no home to return to, Shunji points out—but perhaps his chaotic, grief-stricken mind isn’t up to receiving Shunji’s kindness right now. Or maybe it’s his guilt over killing Shunji’s brother that can’t handle being here.

Shunji asks fearfully what he’s intending to do, worried Kang-to might act rashly: “If something happened to you too, how am I supposed to live?”

At that, Kang-to stops and levels him with an intense stare, saying fiercely, “After those bastards did that to my family, and to me, why the hell would I die?”

Shunji tells him encouragingly that yes, he’s the tough Lee Kang-to who never let it get to him even when his own people cursed him: “So if Gaksital is alive, then you get him. Got it?”

Kang-to turns away and walks off silently. He arrives at a house and enters, only to stop short at the Serial Killer Wall lining the room—this is where his brother plotted his movements, and the newspaper clippings feature Gaksital’s targets.

The articles laud the villains for their service to society, which we know is a bunch of propagandistic crap. Chief Kimura, embezzling bank president Jo, the count, the hospital director… All here, all researched carefully in great detail. Kang-to recalls his brother’s last words to him, about wanting to “take care of everything” without burdening Kang-to. The story’s starting to come together…

In the room, he finds Gaksital’s mask and cane—ah, so Baek Gun was the one who retrieved it from the river—and leaves carrying them. Baek Gun arrives at the house just as Kang-to steps out of it, but the men pass each other without a word. Walking on, Kang-to arrives at his brother’s gravesite, and is greeted by a surprise: Gaksital’s horse, grazing there.

So now it’s Kang-to who dons the mask, dressed in white, and takes up the mantle of hero.


Oof, my favorite thing about this episode was the setting up of future conflict between Shunji and Kang-to. I’m not sure Kang-to’s sorry for killing Kenji and I don’t know that I could read that from his reactions, but he is sorry for what that does to Shunji; the scene where they cry together was particularly touching.

While I’m not the biggest fan of the multiple first-love conflicts, if we must have it, I appreciate that at least those enhance the story. Mok Dan loves Young and Gaksital and hates Kang-to; I can only imagine the huge mindfuck that’ll accompany her realization that they’re all the same. But one Gaksital killed the other. And as far as she’s concerned, Shunji has two strikes against him for being friends with Kang-to and for supposedly killing Gaksital. Which is just deliciously ironic when you consider who everyone is underneath their secret identities.

As for the Gaksital transformation: So Kang-to sees the wall of weird and starts to see what his brother was doing, which seems to be the trigger for him taking on the Gaksital guise—for real, this time, not as a mask for wrathful vengeance. At least, I’m presuming he’s on the same page as his brother’s mission, but you never can be too sure; with Kang-to, it’s hard to tell what his motivation might be because he’s such a loose cannon.

I love that the drama’s doing that with his character, even if it makes him difficult to like sometimes, or at least approve of. We often say we embrace darkness, but there’s a line between dark hero and irredeemable anti-hero, isn’t there? I hope this drama addresses that darkness more, rather than glossing over the transition from smirking violent Kang-to into Shining White Knight Gaksital v.2.0; they can’t expect us to accept him as hero now just because he’s wearing the outfit.

Because as much as I appreciate Kang-to’s humanity and complexity as a character, I’m not buying his transformation—not yet, not if this is it. You can’t just beat him up a bit and give him a few crying scenes and expect the character change to be complete, because the distance that must be traveled to get Kang-to from Episode 1 to hero-dom is so vast. If he’s the same guy, only with a new target, that’s not enough for me. He needs to change from the inside out, stamp out that impulse that turns to violence first, that hurts the ones he loves (and I don’t even mean all the shooting).

To wit: Even when he shot his brother, he smirked triumphantly; it was only after he saw who he’d shot that he had any remorse. That suggests that he only feels regret because this was someone he loved. I want that to change. I want Kang-to to become the kind of person who cares about people outside his immediate circle, who cares about people as a concept and an ideal, not just about specific individuals. If he’s going to buoy the Joseon spirit and fight for their independence, he has to traverse the gulf that separated his ideology from that of his entire family—the one that put the movement above all else. I actually hope he doesn’t go all the way there, but he has to start seeing the people as one united spirit. The very thing Rie is determined to prevent.

So in that sense, I don’t see Kang-to as ready to be a hero. Although, I see how the drama could really win me over if they took the approach of him becoming Gaksital as a form of penance, rather than as the path to heroism. If donning hero’s gear became the process for change, and not the end result, then I’m onboard that train.


82 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kewbie

    Thanks for the recap!

  2. cherrie

    Been waiting for this episode recaps..
    Thank you, JB ! Off to read !

  3. lordj

    Thanks for the recap! Off to read.

  4. -K

    I wish it wasn’t such an obvious era designed interpretation of the 1930’s. In 10 years this drama will look very indicative on the 2010’s with the asymmetrical hair and tight pants. Can’t have everything I guess.

    • 4.1 Minji

      I was just thinking about that when I watched the episode today…Kang-To’s suit was just too modern-looking for the 1930s setting of the drama

      • 4.1.1 jyyjc

        I thought so too. Also some pieces of Rie’s clothes and her shoes.

        • JoAnne

          yes, it doesn’t seem very historically accurate in the hair styles or western-style clothing (can’t speak to the Korean or Japanese clothing), but overall the fusion makes for a very stylish/stylized look that I find appealing.

    • 4.2 Will work for soju

      Asymmetrical haircuts and skinny pants going out of style for Korean men? Like that will ever happen.

  5. aoiaheen

    OMG the bicycle scene with the friend-soon-to-be-enemies! My heart it broke into a million pieces.

    • 5.1 July

      This drama has surprised from how well written it is. That scene with both of them crying had me teary-eyed. I knew they would become rivals due to Mok Dan, but I didn’t expect anything like this. Kenji’s death was unexpected, and to have it done by Kang To’s hands was devastating to watch when I thought of the implications that it would cause. Revenge is a never ending circle and this drama displays that concept magnificently.

  6. kookicookie

    After seven episodes of this drama…all I’ve really seen is a creepy mask that reminds me of the Saw 2 character…I wanted to root for this drama but I just can’t seem to. :c

    • 6.1 nyn

      It kind of does actually, now that you point it out– that is the basis of its appeal…err..No.. not really.*haha! The half-mask may not be flattering on both the Kang Brothers but there’s probably a significance as to why the mask is designed that way. Anyone knows?

  7. Maya

    Sometimes I wish Gaksital can use that magical time skip used in Dr Jin to heal all of the griefs, but it’s just a pipe dream since this episode still put me through the emotional wringer (It’s good that I watch this drama all by myself so I can cry to my heart’s content!).
    The scene at the market where he got stuffs thrown at him is heartbreaking. I guess in a way it shows that he finally realized how his actions towards these people  in the past finally brings him to this point, and him not fighting back means that he knows that he somewhat deserves it. At least he’s getting there, gaksital-transformation-wise.
    And that bicycle scene was really touching too. The way Kang To cried on Shunji’s back reminded me of the scene where he cried on his hyung’s back the night he found out that Mok Dan is Bong Yi. But here, he’s the one who quietly apologizing to Kenji. I really wish that they could keep their friendship intact until the end…. But drama… must you interrupt my weeping session with the scene of that bank director running rampant half-nekkid?! Such an atmosphere-killer!

    Btw, while watching that scene of Shunji chasing Kang To, I couldn’t help but think: if only Kang To were as determined as Shunji is, he could’ve caught Gaksital earlier… right? And … I hope that horse Kang To rode during the chase didn’t really break its head!

    • 7.1 Arhazivory

      His brother was better at escaping.

      And U’m sure the horse is fine.

  8. bee

    thanks so much!! was waiting all night to read this 🙂

  9. queencircles

    I think shunji is way better as a badass. I hate when his hair looks all perfect..with that stupid part. I saw how attractive he is in this ep lol.

    Anyway, I’m loving this show. Gaaaksitaaaaalll!

  10. 10 jacek

    I loved this episode.

  11. 11 ladida

    Such a good episode.

    Thanks for the recap!

    • 11.1 ladida

      “I want Kang-to to become the kind of person who cares about people outside his immediate circle, who cares about people as a concept and an ideal, not just about specific individuals.” Perfect. Lovely, lovely recap. Agree with all the comments, especially about remorse. There are certain emotions Kang To feels, like anger and despair, but he never feels remorse, and I want him to feel those, too. And I’m really glad that (so far) the love story isn’t *so* hackneyed as to be one where it’s the “love of the right woman” that changes him. Thanks again!

      • 11.1.1 bluemoon

        Yes, that description is perfect. Javabeans, you’re beautiful at writing. I love it.

  12. 12 nonski

    thanks for the recaps jb!

  13. 13 ally bell

    I really like that we start the series with the hero as the villain.Because I want to see him change and transform.
    I want to get to the next level, and I hope we get there quickly…Kang to becoming the very thing he despised and looked down on.And i don’t really like the thought that the older brother was just avenging his fathers death…I don’t want Gaksital to be just a way for revenge…the Gaksital should be more then that…It should be about fight for the common people for those unable to fight for themselves.It should be about pragmatism and fighting for your country and the freedom of your people.

  14. 14 crazedlu

    what you said about kangto’s turn is what’s been on my mind all day.

    i don’t mind the quickie, one episode transformation into gaksital, but that all depends on tomorrow’s episode. even though we’ve gotten glimpses of the nice-sweet-kangto-who-could’ve-been in the flashbacks and through his interactions with shunji before everything blew up in episode 6, it’s not believable that he would change right away. he has SO much to work on inside of himself before he REALLY gets to that point. like you said, i want him to care. to go beyond his brother.

    thankfully, i think he’ll be fighting himself for a little while longer. at least i hope so. he’s still got that death glare in the preview, so let’s hope. heh.

  15. 15 April

    My only problem with this show is Mok Dan’s role in the story… As in, she doesn’t really have one? She’s just sort of been getting caught and then escaping the whole time. I hope they give her something to do.

    • 15.1 ladida

      I kind of see her as the face of the resistance. She’s the one who threw the rock during the funeral march in the first episode and the one who’s tried to kill Kang To. Hoepfully we’ll get more of that.

    • 15.2 diorama

      Agree. She’s been going around in circles the whole time – much like the drama so far, in fact. I hope the plot steps it up and the villains stop being so goofy.

  16. 16 queencircles

    Also, the count really fucking annoys me. I hope he dies, like, next episode.

  17. 17 kelinci biru

    Thank you Javabeans. I’m not sure I can digest everything by watching it once. But reading your recaps once do wonder. I understand the plots and characters and after reading your comment, I agree so much.. That violent character get redemption in one episode is too good to be true/ to believe.

    Anyway, I just read this post “Six Degrees of Separation” by Thundie. There (3 years ago) you said you were a Maven who blogs. Now, I’m not sure, I think you and Girlfriday is on your way (if you’re not there yet) on Guruhood. *raise a cup of soju*

  18. 18 SS

    I guess you cannot please everyone where hair is concerned.

    In episode 8, Kangto is going to sport a ‘shanghai’ look with his fringe swept back. I think that’s more in line with the era than his current asymmetrical hair. But I am sure there are viewers who love his old hairdo as it made him so boyishly handsome, era appropriate be damned.

    What I am not liking is the hair he sports when he was overlooking the hill, donning the mask. He and Shunji may be on opposite side now but they share the same stylist? This new Gaksital hairdo almost reminds me of those old kungfu shows of the 70s except that they weren’t so neat and that slight wave of the fringe border, so current. Gosh, I need that shampoo too, I never had such smooth and manageable hair.

    But fitting pants? Bring them on, I want MOAR. After suffering Joowon in that shapeless, thick white pyjamas, surely we deserve a look at that beautiful ****? It would be a total waste if they take that away too.

    • 18.1 Maya

      Noooo! Not the side bangs! I love the side bangs…

  19. 19 chichiri

    To be fair, neither did Kang-san don the mask because he “cares about people outside his immediate circle, who cares about people as a concept and an ideal, not just about specific individuals”. He was out to avenge his father – bouying the Joseon spirit and independence was just how it was perceived, or probably was just coincidental.

    In that sense, i think it would be unfair to ask of Kang-to to carry that burden of Joseon freedom-fighting right off the bat. Like Kang-san before him, I completely understand and am fully satisfied that he begins his path to heroism for selfish reasons. From what I think the story is going, it would be the journey to hero-dom, to that changed heart, that would be the bigger picture. He may don the mask from here on out, but deep inside we know that he isn’t worthy of wearing it and the adoration it inspires – not yet.

    This one’s gonna be a slow burn. It would be the ideals and beliefs, not to mention the people, that he’ll encounter on his quest that will turn him around, slowly but surely; ideals that he so rejected because of his family. So that in the end, he would not only be worthy of wearing the mask but also worthy of absolution from his crimes.
    He’s gonna be half-Batman, half-Ironman.

    And then I… I’ll be one satisfied momma. 🙂

    • 19.1 mchall

      I totally agree with you. Even though Kang-san used the Gaksital identity to avenge his father, I think at some point he started caring about the Joseon people.
      I think Kang-to is still out for revenge at this point, and as I understood for what he said to Shunji (“After those bastards did that to my family, and to me, why the hell would I die?”) he is more decided than ever; maybe this is not the out-of-control type of revenge he was pursuing when he fought Kenji, but a more thought out one. And hopefully while carrying off his revenge he will be able to find motivation to help and care for the common people (as Kang-san did), which will be quite difficult since everybody hates him when he is not wearing the mask.

  20. 20 stars4u

    The ending of this episode was so satisfying.

  21. 21 L-V

    “As bullets zoom by Kang-to’s body in the water, Mok Dan pauses in her getaway, like she senses something amiss”
    I love this part…^^

  22. 22 Cass

    Baek Gun alone is not enough to convince Kang To. I saw some BTS photos and Mok Damsari, Mok Dan’s dad will return to Korea from his hiding in China.

    He’s still in not at ‘friendly’ stage with Baek Gun and still in pain.

    Kang To and Shunji scene is killing me.

  23. 23 nikhapi

    Last night episode makes me confused. So he’ll be standing on the same boat with the joseon people fighting for them and continue chasing those “guys”? Or he’ll just do the latter? Coz right now, I think he hates those people who burned his house? Omo.. I want to see tonight’s episode…

  24. 24 Lulla

    I agree with javabeans! I understand if kang to becomes a bridal mask to avenge his father, or for his guilty feeling after killing his hyung..BUT I haven’t see his compassion towards other people. He’s not a hero, yet.. He’s just beginning to understand his mistakes and trying to fix them, but he hasn’t got that ‘heroic character’ that kang san has (even city hunter LMH has that rigtheous-help-the -poor kinda character). Anyway, that’s one thing I like about this show : a hero who’s..well..not a hero. . yet. Just like mom’s prayer : may Kang To becomes more mature. Our current hero’s character is still young, rash and selfish..but he has many good seeds in him. I think I’m gonna enjoy his character development along the show.

    Anyway, I also love the bromance between kang to and shunji..better than the love story. It hurts me to imagine what’ll happen when shunji found out who killed his brother :(. On a side note, I’m still interesting to see how the love stories between those 4 main characters will be.

    Looking forward for the next episodes!

  25. 25 Frances

    i pity shunji…what will happen to him if he finds the truth about his bff….oh my….bromance gone bad….i am looking forward to it…

  26. 26 21

    Even though this drama is too dark or intense for my liking I really enjoy reading the recaps because it’s just so different from all the other dramas that I tend to gravitate towards! I am really excited to see how the upgraded Gaksital will save his people and get his first love to fell for him!!! Thanks for the recap!!

  27. 27 SS

    The first thought that came to my mind when they show Kangto lying with the drip attached was “Wow, this Baek Gun’s A&E unit is something huh? It even looks like a hospital” except he was really in the hospital.

    I mean when Kang San was Gaksital, he must have been hurt many a times and Baek Gun has like a little trauma unit in his cottage besides that Serial Killer Wall. I even suspended my reasoning when it came to bullet wounds cos in kdramas, they love showing heros tweezing out bullets like stray eyebrow hairs.

    But I still got to give it to Baek Gun, it must have been a near impossible task carrying the 1.85m tall Kangto from the forest/cliff to the hospital.

    I am sure K will receive more injuries as he goes about eradicating his enemies. It will be too much of a coincidence for Kangto to keep popping up at the hospital every time Gaksital is injured. I think more A&E units need to be set up and of course, we are never short of ladies who can nurse him back to health, not necessarily the one in uniform.

  28. 28 Brenda

    Ahh, this is what I’ve been waiting for. For Kang-To to realize why his brother was fighting so hard. He may not be a hero yet, but he sure is working his way there.
    I think it’ll be interesting if and when Kang-to realizes the worth of his people. It might be harder since he was always on opposite sides with them from the very beginning. Now his real journey will begin.
    I am really looking forward to if and when Shunji turns to the dark side, which will probably be in full swing when he loses Mok Dan. Although, it might scare me more than I think it will since the bromance between Shunji and Kang-to is such a strong bond. They are the only two people who really understand each other right now, however, that’ll probably change if Shunji finds out Kang-to killed his brother because Kenji killed Kang-to’s mother…

  29. 29 Ivoire

    Thank you so much for the recap!

  30. 30 comradeS

    That scene when Kang-to is crying on the bike with Shinji just killed me. I still feel slightly scarred from the last episode, and that scene finally had me crying.

    I’m excited to see what comes.

  31. 31 Arhazivory

    That scene with Kang To crying on Shunji’s back was so beautifully shot and wonderfully epic. Everythingin his tears showed how sorry he felt towards Shinji, certainly not for killing his brother.

    It was a great episode. As one person commented and I agree, Kang San didn’t don the white robe for the justice of the people either although…Kang San definitely was a better person. Right now Kang To isn’t hero material yet and he’ll probably find some way to screw over the arsonists, if he ever finds out who they are. I hope that as he transitions into hero, its a believable transformation. SO far, I am extremely satisfied – whether revenge or heroism, I’m just glad to see him wearing that mask.

    Looking forward to the sexy hairstyle that will begin with the next episode. Hehe~

  32. 32 Stardust

    Lee kangto, the policeman sworn to capture Gaksital, becomes Gaksital… Man if this isn’t a more perfect cover I dunno wad is…but it could also have the peter Parker problem… That he can’t be in the same place at the same time… Thanks for the recap jb =)

  33. 33 Miss rain ENgineer :P

    Oh my the recaps r here …Thannnks alot JB you rule xD i’ll be off to read 😛

  34. 34 YL

    So much pain, hatred and grief in two episodes… It’s hard to take. Once you’re absorbed in the drama it’s difficult to pull yourself out emotionally.

    Kangto may be far from the hero as of now – he’s blinded by sorrow and rage from the death of his loved ones, and taking on the form of Gaksital is motivated mostly by the thought of revenge. But he seems to understand more now – why hyung sacrificed a normal life to live like a fool; why he chose to be Gaksital and risk his life, day after day, for a better life for the Joseon people.

    Shunji and Kangto share such a close relationship that I hate to see them turn against each other. There’s no turning back once Shunji finds out. And what about Mok Dan? To discover that your first love – the boy who so lovingly cared for you and had risked his life to protect you – is no other than the man who delighted in her suffering, had only wanted the capture of Gaksital, to the extent of using her as bait –
    What then? I can only imagine her horror, the state of denial she’s be in – “You’re not Young Master. He was the kindest, most warm-hearted person I ever knew. You’re nothing but a monster.”

    On we go. Looking forward to Kangto’s development as Gaksital in future episodes. I’ll be with the characters every step of the way. (And learn to handle the dark material too)

  35. 35 trixicopper

    I think I’m gonna really enjoy watching the process of KT becoming the hero that he can be.

    I do have a couple of requests for the show:

    1. Please make the Count the first target in our evolving heroes revenge. He is so beyond annoying. He makes me grind my teeth. If his purpose is comic relief he is failing miserably.

    2. Sun-hwa is another character I wouldn’t mind seeing less of.

    3. Gaksital’s horse needs a name. Zorro’s horse had a name. The Lone Ranger’s horse had a name. And those horses weren’t even badass enough to wear a mask!

    • 35.1 tosin

      LOL I totally agree with your requests!! That count is soooo annoying.

  36. 36 Antic

    Huh, I really liked the direction this episode took; with violence being perpetrated and loss felt on all sides. Wasn’t Kang-san’s primary goal as Bridal Mask – particularly with regard to Kishokai – avenging his father? I think it’d be pretty intriguing if the mask (and the persona) comes to represent the destructiveness of self-perpetuating revenge, rather than heroism. I think I’d even be pretty pleased if Kang-to never becomes properly heroic – gotta say, I haven’t really had any problems enjoying watching his character, even when he does horrible things.

    • 36.1 ladida

      LOVE your idea of self perpetuating revenge. During this episode all I kept thinking was violence begets violence. Every time Kang To kills or hurts someone it has horrible repercussions for him and the people who care about him. And the mask itself, as an object, is so creepy. It reminds me of the one ring from LOTR and how it had it’s own agenda.

      • 36.1.1 Antic

        Even Shunji and and the Korean citizens are implicated (does the main arsonist guy have a name?) – eventually someone has to choose to end it. An interesting ending might be for to Kang-to to renounce the Bridal Mask identity, and try and put it to rest.

        Funnily enough, watching the original trailer and not knowing what the show was really supposed to be about, I initially thought that there actually *was* supposed to be some kind of supernatural component to the bridal mask, and that the mask had coerced Kang-to into donning it against his will.

        • booboo

          Wow, thank you for pointing this out. I’ve been cracking my head thinking that there must be something wrong with the mask.

          If this is the direction it’s going to take, I definitely won’t mind riding along. And if getting rid of Gaksital means having to sacrifice Kang-to, I’m all for it.

          • Sadie

            The mask is kindda creepy. I want to know its origin, I hope the drama will show us… Like in the Gaksital preview, they show glimpe of how it was carved…

            Just for information, in Entertainment Weekly KBS, they show us that there are two mask, one for Kang San and one for Kang To.. Its because Shin Hyun Jun’s nose is longer than Joo Won. Keke.

  37. 37 tosin

    Omdays thank you Soo much for the recap!!
    Really want kang to to tell shunji that he is Gaksital…so he will stop hating Gaksital aka kang to so much. But then I guess shunji will figure out that kangto was the one who killed his brother.

  38. 38 Sabah

    As always, thank you for your insights.

  39. 39 Yuhotarubi

    this is such a GREAT DRAMA,
    I just started watching it yesterday and I was really happy that I gave it a chance.
    there’s one thing I’m afraid of though, I’m afraid this drama will have the same end as a japenese anime I watched before called * code geass * since they both have certain similarities and even though the end of that anime was the perfect end for it, it can be the same end as gaksital.

    oh thnx for the recap Javabeans ^_______^

    • 39.1 simon

      NO WAY! plz no CG redux. Leloooooouuuuuuch-samaaaaa T-T *bwaaaaaaaa*

      No. GKT is going to have a happy ending. With KT and MD and Shunji and Rie all frolicking happy in da sun. Yes. Naysayers and realists: be gone!

    • 39.2 simon

      NO WAY! plz no CG redux. Leloooooouuuuuuch-samaaaaa T-T *bwaaaaaaaa*

      No. GKT is going to have a happy ending. With KT and MD and Shunji and Rie all frolicking happily in da sun. Yes. Naysayers and realists: be gone!

  40. 40 MONKEY

    hey. i really appreciate the insightful-ness of this recap and review. You made some really great observations and it’s bringing out more of the drama than what I actually saw. thanks! <3

  41. 41 namcha

    This could end badly but I’ll stay for the ride. It’s such a good melodrama.

  42. 42 JoAnne

    Thank you for the recap! I’m with you on your hopes for the series. I had just ASSUMED that he would take up the mask as a way to honor his brother and make up for killing hiim and that it would be within the actions of Gaksital that the man, himself, would change. I didn’t even consider that this was his overnight miraculous transformation from Japanese Lap Dog to Hero of Joseon. I really hope that’s not it. That’s a much more boring story.

  43. 43 dany

    I don’t really like Gaksital’s outfit, maybe this is a superficial remark, but in City Hunter, Lee min ho’s black clothes were quite cool. Other than that, I have no other objections. 🙂
    thank you so much for the recap!

  44. 44 Mikunda

    It is beginning to look more and more like a very olden-days movie I watched as a kid, called The Black Tulip. It was starring one of the top French actors, Alain Dellon: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058692/

    So I am guessing the writers are either inspired by this movie, unless that movie wasn’t an homage to an older movie in the first place.

    I hope our lead doesn’t die in the end to be replaced by another successor. I cannot take another Hon Gil Dong ending. Cried too much after that one.

    Other than that I am loving this drama! Can’t wait for the new episodes each week!

    • 44.1 Mikunda

      Ah, my bad. The black tulip was written by Alexander Duma. That explains it.

  45. 45 bb

    To be honest, i cant stand Mok Dan face! And i dunno why!

    • 45.1 Chanel

      omg…me too=))) I just feel like FF thru her scenes everytime…it’s her bad acting…she always has the half-smile look on her face even in sad scenes, it’s really annoying to me!!! Other than that I love the story and the actings of the lead actors.

      • 45.1.1 Lilith

        I think we watch a different drama, because I never saw her half-smiles in sad scenes. ôo I like her acting. It’s better than that of many other (& older) actresses. (For example Han Hyo Joo’s. Don’t get me wrong, I love HHJ. But she can’t act to save her life. I still ask myself how I managed to finish Dong Yi with her deer caught in the headlights expressions. xD)

        I can’t stand Rie. Han Chae-ah is trying to hard to be sexy. I hate how she does everything slow in order to portray ‘elegance’. I always have the urge to facepalm when I see her scenes. >__>

        • Amirah

          i love her face! she can act 🙂 i really hope the writer can make her character interesting though.. like fighting again with joowon 😛 and i agree about Rie. I cringe when i saw her acting ughhh

  46. 46 crazedlu

    i like mok dan’s face.

  47. 47 beggar1015

    Whoever is doing the “blood” on this show needs to be replaced. Whenever any character is injured it just looks like they’ve got raspberry jam smeared on them.

    Also, because I was curious myself about Gakistal’s strange weapon, I did some surfing. I don’t think it is a cane as it’s an iron flute, which is an actual weapon. If you look closely at it (like when it and the mask were on the ground next to the graves) you can see the finger holes along the side.

    Lastly – Horsey! It hit the ground so hard and we never did see it get back up. Seriously, I’m worried about the stunt horse.

    • 47.1 dany

      the horse, yes, did the the poor animal break its neck??

  48. 48 dewaanifordrama

    LOVED your commentary. Couldn’t agree more!!!

  49. 49 itunscrewstheotherway

    LOVED IT. Thank you!

  50. 50 lemonysnicket

    i have a burning desire to know something and i’m not sure anyone is going to reply but HOW did that dagger end up at the bottom of the riverbed?!! maybe i’m just not focusing on the drama hard enough (did MD pass it to gaksital at some point or something) but if she did i entirely missed that part. last i remember seeing it was when KT and MD were in the inn…. but she left with it, didn’t she?

    • 50.1 analeeze

      That’s what I was wondering too! I’ve been meaning to rewatch the episodes, but I am certain she left Kang To with the knife on the night Kang To found out that she’s Boon Yi.

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