Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 14
by | July 12, 2012 | 188 Comments

AAAAAAH! SO. GOOD. This episode takes tense to a new level. If you’re a nail-biter, stay away. They’ll be down to the quick halfway through, and then you’ll have to gnaw off your fingers just to keep watching. Save yourself! This secret identity stuff is not for the faint of heart.


Gaksital raids the colonization anniversary gala, cutting down the banner like the badass that he is. Kimura thinks now is a good time to start target practice, managing to kill half a dozen cops and civilians before being taken hostage by his own sword.

There’s something so perfectly satisfying about that image. Let’s bask in it for a spell.

But no time to waste, as dutiful son Shunji comes tearing into the room wearing his imma-catch-Gaksital pants today. He trains his gun on the target, at Dad’s own urging to do what is necessary, without concern for him. Well, once a samurai…

Shunji shoots, but purposely goes wide. I think. Or bad shooting runs in the Kimura family. Gaksital raises his sword right to the back of Kimura’s neck… and then uses him as a battering ram to knock Shunji down.

He gives each a good thwack with his cane and goes flying through another round of cops. This time he looks like he might get away, so Rie gives a nod to Katstuyama Jun. Oh noes. This guy seems hardcore.

Gaksital almost gets to the door, when Katsuyama takes one swing with his blade, drawing blood from Gaksital’s arm.

ACK! I knew this would be bad! What’s more is, this guy fights without once changing his expression, like this is zero effort, and he might as well be slicing tomatoes.

Gaksital manages to block the next moves, and then Shunji gets up and raises his gun. We just stay close-up on him, as his gun moves left, right, left, right. And then he shoots.

The shot rings through the entire building, where Damsari’s cover-wife comrade jolts at the sound. It shakes her out of her grief, and she wipes away her tears with a determined look.

Back in the banquet hall, both men stop the swordfight as Shunji comes dangerously close with his gun. This time there’s no hostage in the way, and Gaksital is surrounded. This is not good. How’s he going to get out of this?

At Rie’s nod, Katsuyama backs off again. Shunji creeps closer with a self-satisfied look on his face. It looks like it’s in the bag…

But elsewhere Baek Gun is sitting atop a pole of power lines, and he cuts them, one by one. The entire city goes dark. Handy to have an Alfred with impeccable timing.

Lights out means Advantage: Gaksital, and he slips away, leaving Shunji in the dark. Hur, hur.

And just as the double doors swing closed in his wake, Damsari’s accomplice throws an explosive into the room, and the doors close behind it.

Shunji barely has time to jump out of the way, as the bomb explodes.

Mok Dan and the others hear the explosion from the getaway car and cheer.

The bomber stumbles out in her heels, her nerves rattled raw. Lady! Why do you not have a getaway outfit under that dress? That’s not what Sydney Bristow would do!

Officers run down the hall and Gaksital hides long enough to get past them… only to meet Katsuyama down the hall. He attacks, and Gaksital grips his cane with his bloody hand. I really really wish you’d start carrying a sword or something, because that cane isn’t instilling a lot of confidence right now.

It’s the most tense we’ve ever seen him – covered in sweat, bracing himself for a deadly fight. Gaksital gets in a blow, but Katsuyama uses his wound against him. He gets the upper hand pretty damn fast.

But Lady Bomber sees the fight from down the hall, and takes a pin out of her hair. Is it a dagger? Oh hell yeah.

She throws it right into Katsuyama’s chest, and it’s just enough of a distraction for Gaksital to deliver a blow that sends him to the ground. Phew. They run out.

Mok Dan and the others hide when police trucks drive past, and they see Damsari, alive but captured. Gaksital and Lady Bomber run up to meet them, and Mok Dan hugs her in relief. She apologizes for not being able to escape with her father.

Mok Dan thanks Gaksital for his help, and then notices his bloody arm. She asks if he’s hurt, if he’s okay, and that’s his cue to take off running. Aw, you couldn’t have let the girl tend to your wound? He watches her go from the shadows.

Once safely out of sight, Kang-to takes off the mask and ties a bandage around his arm, wincing from the pain. He pulls on his uniform, which can’t be good—it’s as white as white can be, and that bandage isn’t going to hide the blood for long.

And just when you think you’ll pass out from watching him nearly pass out from the pain, he picks up Gaksital’s cane and HITS HIMSELF with it. Good god, Fight Club, stop turning my stomach into knots with your self-inflicted pain!

The lights go up in the banquet hall and everyone starts to stir. Kimura wakes up and suddenly starts searching the room with a manic look in his eyes. Oh no, you’re searching for Kang-to, aren’t you?

He goes through the bloodied officers lying on the ground, one by one. The tension mounts… he gets through them all… but then finds one more slumped over.

It’s Kang-to, wounded and bloody. OHTHANKGOD. I dunno how he got there in time, but that was genius. And now I’m not so worried if his bloody arm shows, because they’re all covered in blood.

Shunji stirs awake just a few feet away and asks after Gaksital. He takes off running and finds the hallway littered with bloody officers.

One runs up to report that Gaksital likely got away, and Shunji screeeeeeeams and lets loose his fury on the poor messenger. He kicks him to a bloody pulp, in an eerie reflection of Kang-to’s outburst at his hyung in the marketplace.

Kang-to runs up to try and hold him back, but Shunji elbows him (right in his arm, gah) and continues to kick the guy half to death. Kang-to holds him back and tells the others to take the guy away.

But he looks down at his hand, now dripping with blood. Oh shit. Now I’m back to worrying. How are you gonna cover that up?

He thinks quickly and tells Shunji that he’ll head to the station to question Damsari. Shunji tells him to go, but then calls out for him to stop. Aaaah! Kang-to turns back, barely hiding his bloody hand from view.

Shunji walks closer, eyeing him up and down suspiciously. Are we going to let my heart take a breather, or just barrel through and hope I don’t die? Kang-to balls up his hand into a fist, as the blood keeps dripping.

Shunji: “How could you not recognize Damsari?” Kang-to apologizes and gives the excuse that the Count’s insistence that they were besties had him fooled. Well it’s the same thing that fooled Shunji, so he can’t argue with that.

He asks about the accomplice, but she was never found. He reminds Kang-to that he said he would take responsibility, and Kang-to says he will. That’s enough for Shunji for now, and he lets Kang-to leave. Whew.

The rest of the survivors in the banquet hall start to survey the damage. Kono is the first to realize that Governor Wada is missing, and everyone starts searching for him frantically. He finally peeks out from under a table like a little mouse, and Rie rolls her eyes.

She watches as Shunji runs back inside, and smiles to herself.

In the aftermath, Kono reports to the governor general that eight people were killed. Yeah how many of those were killed by a reckless aim-challenged Kimura, and not the bomb?

The governor reams the men for their oversight and asks who was in charge of security. Kono has no qualms chirping, “Kimura Taro!” Kimura bows at the waist, “Kill me!” Wada agrees heartily that he’ll be dead, and announces his dismissal as the chief of police with a glass of water thrown in his face.

News spreads of Gaksital bombing the anniversary event, though the papers lie that all went smoothly.

Kono calls Kimura, Shunji, and Kang-to into his office and strips Kimura of his stars for everyone to see. Shunji protests that it’s his fault that Damsari got through security, but Dad tells him to carry on with his job because it’s up to him now.

Kono doesn’t take care to hide his feelings, practically skipping as he sends Kimura packing with his tail between his legs. Shunji’s anger flares, but he can do nothing, and Kono tells him to report directly to him now.

Kimura packs up his desk and Shunji follows him out silently. He pauses in front of Kang-to on his way out. At home, he tells Shunji that there’s no way Damsari would have gotten past Kang-to if he’s blameless, but Shunji says even he was fooled by the count’s insistence. He plans to investigate that connection first.

Kang-to beats him to the punch and goes to see the count and countess. They’re frazzled and look to Kang-to like he’s their savior, clinging to either arm like little kids. He assures them that he’ll help keep them safe, and asks that they not tell anyone about it, to insure their absolute safety. Smart play.

So when Shunji shows up at the house, the countess has him sent to another room and sidles up to Kang-to, asking if that’s enough for him to slip out undetected. He turns on the charm and smiles. Heh. Boy knows how to play the ladies.

The countess cries to Shunji that she was totally fooled by Choi Tae-gon and his wife, and melodramatically offers up her chest for him to just kill her now. She grabs his leg and cries, smiling to herself for her winning performance.

Koiso comes out of the torture room to change his bloody shirt, complaining that Damsari is so inconsiderate of his torturer’s efforts by not saying a word. Kang-to’s eyes widen with alarm at the sight of Koiso’s shirt, and then tries to intervene when he hears that their next move is to put him in the “box of nails.” Uh… that sounds bad.

Kang-to tries to argue that he has too much valuable information for that, but Shunji approves it and asks to speak to Kang-to alone.

He argues that Kang-to should’ve asked about his father first, and Kang-to apologizes for being short-sighted. Shunji thinks back to Dad’s warnings about Kang-to’s suspicious movements, and decides to ask directly: where was he when the armory was being cleaned out?

It’s direct enough that Kang-to scoffs outwardly at the implication. But Shunji smiles and says it’s just out of curiosity is all. Kang-to doesn’t hide feeling offended but appeases Shunji’s suspicions, and he asks Kang-to to report his comings and goings from now on.

Shunji decides to put his loyalty to the test and asks him to take over questioning Damsari, since Koiso is an amateur. Kang-to says he’ll get Damsari to talk, and give up his accomplice and Gaksital too.

Shunji is pleased to have his professional on the case, and then adds that he’ll have to watch so he can learn a thing or two. Oh no. Am I gonna make it through this episode alive?

They walk down the hall together and Kang-to takes a deep, shaky breath before going inside. The image in his mind: Mok Dan thanking Gaksital with tears in her eyes.

Eek! It’s the box of nails! Kang-to-ya, not the box of nails!

Shunji takes a seat to watch the show, and Kang-to saunters in leisurely. He really does scare me in the torture room.

He orders Damsari to be freed from his chains and sat in a chair. When he lifts up his head, Damsari smiles, greeting Kang-to like an old friend. He chastises him for not greeting him back, calling him ill-mannered like the Japanese.

Kang-to sits in a chair opposite him and scoffs, “Manners? You should live like a person. Even animals take care of their young.”

He says that while Damsari has been running around for the independence movement, his daughter has been chased and captured and tortured to within an inch of her life—is that how a father should live?

Kang-to: “My brother was captured because of the movement and he lived and died an idiot. So what. Does anyone recognize that? It’s all in vain! Futile nonsense!” Oooh. I love this because it’s earnest, just twisted for a dark purpose.

But Damsari asks if he should just let the people who want to take him and his daughter as slaves do what they want, just to save her right now. Isn’t doing so becoming an animal that submits before those very men?

He looks Kang-to in the eye and asks how he could be the very thing he should be fighting. It shakes him to his core. Tears pool in his eyes and Damsari says full of regret for Kang-to like he’s a lost child, “My heart stings and my bones break!”

It’s Shunji who reacts first, offended at being called a foreign bastard. It brings up the searing memory of Mok Dan calling him nothing but a Japanese, a foreigner, to her now.

He grabs Damsari and shouts that father and daughter are the same, no matter how good he is to them. Well, that’s projecting a little. You may have been good to Mok Dan, but I’m pretty sure Damsari doesn’t feel your betrayal.

Shunji says they’re done talking to him, and orders that he be put in the box. Not the box! Kang-to gets up to protest – he’ll die in there. Kang-to argues that he was entrusted with this interrogation. He stands his ground to say it’s never going to happen.

But that just gets Shunji even more riled up. “Are you on this guy’s side? Sato Hiroshi, you said you were Japanese down to your bones. Should we test that? Put Damsari inside! With your own hands.”


Kang-to looks away, fraught with the choice before him. He looks at the Box of Nails, lined with daggers, its floor seeped in blood. Damsari closes his eyes and braces for death.

Shunji sneers that perhaps in the end he can’t help being Korean. Kang-to grabs Shunji by the collar and growls, “YOU SON OF A BITCH…” Oh dayum.

“Are you crazy? Have you gone mad?! We finally catch him and you want to kill him?! Are you going to catch Gaksital or not?! You said you wanted to learn from me. If you don’t know anything then sit still! Shut your mouth!”

He roars into Shunji’s face, and it’s convincing enough that he backs down. I think my heart is permanently lodged in my throat.

Kang-to gathers himself and apologizes, and asks for Shunji to please just trust him and he’ll get Damsari to talk. Shunji leaves him to it, and Kang-to finally breathes a sigh of relief.

Shunji turns back with one last lingering look, still not quite sure of where he stands. Kang-to kicks Damsari down and Shunji finally walks out.

Mok Dan and the others meet with circus boss Jo and they agree that freeing Damsari is their first priority. They wonder how and Mok Dan says they’ll have to use Shunji. “I have a plan.” Ooh, I like devious Mok Dan.

Shunji sits in his office, contemplating Kang-to’s outburst at him. Koiso complains about being taken off torture duty, but Shunji yells that capturing Gaksital has to come first. They decide to investigate the incident with the imperial army, and why they set Mok Dan and Boss Jo free after taking them.

They head up the mountain road where Sun-hwa is walking her brother to school because he keeps ditching class to avoid the new teacher who hits them. The little boy lights up to see Shunji headed their way and runs up, “Teacher! Teacher!”

But Shunji just stares blankly ahead, not even looking at the boy, and Koiso yells at him to move out of the way. He cries as he watches his beloved teacher go, asking his noona if that was really him. Aw. Sun-hwa cries as she hugs him and says that Shunji isn’t someone they can know anymore.

Boss Jo asks his circus troop if he can be a little late with their salaries this month (because Team Independence needs emergency funds, which he keeps to himself). But they’re interrupted by Shunji, who asks Jo to come quietly down to the station.

He’s got that threatening leer down now, and Jo complies, assuring the troop that everything is okay.

Back at Torture Town, Kang-to stands over a fire. Are those… hot pokers? Remember the part where you weren’t going to let Damsari get stabbed to death? What happened to that plan?

He sits down for another chat, and Damsari hilariously sighs impatiently for him to begin the torture already, because the waiting is actually more torturous. Gallows humor. I like this guy. Kang-to just sits back in his chair.

Kang-to: There’s something I wanted to ask my hyung, but he died before I could ask it. If my hyung… and you… [thinks to himself: “and I…”] live this way, will the world change? They say that the Japanese empire won’t stop at Joseon, and that it’ll swallow Manchu, and China. Isn’t it throwing an egg against a stone?

Damsari: It may appear reckless. One layer of an egg’s shell, cast against a stone will surely break. But no matter how strong a stone, it is dead. And no matter how weak an egg, it is alive. When time passes a stone will crumble into dirt. But someday there is a chick who will hatch from that egg and walk upon that dirt. The day will come when the Japanese empire’s murderous tyranny and oppression cannot defeat that egg.

Proper chills.

But before Kang-to can respond, the door bursts open and Shunji drags Boss Jo inside. Jo and Damsari both look at each other in alarm. Shunji asks if Kang-to has succeeded, and growls that he’s in a hurry to bring his father back.

He pushes Kang-to aside and gets in Damsari’s face to ask who Gaksital is. “You don’t know? Shall I grab your daughter and throw her in that box before your eyes and give it spin?” Holy crap, Shunji!

He can tell from Damari’s face that this is the way to get him to talk, and tells Kang-to to lock Damsari in a cell for a break, while he tortures Jo until he gives up Mok Dan’s location. Jo just gives Damsari a reassuring smile.

Kang-to watches as Koiso locks Damsari up good and tight, even cuffing his ankle to the floor inside the jail cell. He asks for the keys but Koiso dangles them like a treat in front of a dog and says that Shunji will be holding onto them. Oy, there’s no gaksitaling this jailbird under these conditions, is there?

Shunji takes his time with Jo, circling his prey and rattling his nerves. Jo swears he doesn’t know, which just makes Shunji smirk.

Next thing we know, Jo is locked in the Box of Nails, as Shunji rocks it back and forth with his leg, like he’s bored. Jo screams from the pain, and even Koiso winces.

Once the blood is pouring out of the box in a stream, Shunji asks again where Mok Dan is. Jo raises his head to speak…

And then we cut to Jo being carried out, as Shunji smiles and thanks him for his cooperation. Nooo!

Kang-to watches and asks Shunji if he found anything out. But he lies like a lying liar: “No, it was a waste of time.”

Kang-to marches into Damsari’s cell and asks where Mok Dan is. Kang-to’s concern rings in his voice, and it confuses the hell out of Damsari. He doesn’t understand why he would be worried for Mok Dan’s safety.

But what neither of them sees is that Shunji has walked up behind them. He hears as Kang-to pleads, “Your daughter is in danger. Boon-yi… Boon-yi is in danger!”


Shunji immediately flashes back to Mok Dan’s letter to Gaksital, signed “Boon-yi.”

He looks back to see Kang-to pleading through tears, “Please! PLEASE!”


Okay, this is one serious vat of crap Kang-to just stepped in. How is he going to explain that he knows Mok Dan’s real name, the one that only Gaksital and her beloved Young Master know? That’s just one dot too many for Shunji to ignore – he may have defended Kang-to in front of his father and believed he was doing those things to protect Shunji from having to go evil on the woman he supposedly loves, but this? All signs point to Kang-to = Young Master = Gaksital. Aaaack, I’m freaking out all over again!

I’m so excited that this show is keeping its intensity and going for broke. It terrifies me that Shunji has stepped up his game, but it’s so great for the story to give Kang-to a well-matched adversary who keeps him in danger at all times. With a secret identity always teetering on the brink of discovery, it keeps everything charged with such fantastic tension. I can’t believe he’s risking it all to ask Damsari where Mok Dan is, and it would have been enough for Damsari to suspect him as the hero, but when Shunji showed up my heart leapt out of my chest. It would probably do better to just stay away until this show is over.

I love, LOVE that Kang-to finally asks Damsari if what they’re doing will ever make a difference. Because even as Gaksital, he’s never believed that one man can change the world. That’s just not who he is. I’m so thankful that the show is giving me signs that Kang-to didn’t run off and have a lobotomy before putting on the mask, and that he still questions his hyung’s choices, now more than ever. I can believe that he put on the mask out of guilt, or even shame at what he’d become, and that he’s doing penance this way. But he still has a very small view of what he needs to do – everything is immediate and reactionary (like punishing the bank or newspaper men), or driven by his love for Mok Dan, not necessarily The Cause.

It’s important that he even has someone like Damsari to ask, and it really got me in the heart when Damsari treated Kang-to like a lost brother who took a wrong turn in life, not as a black-and-white enemy. His version of that quintessentially Korean egg-rock metaphor was so moving. It’s a fist-in-the-air, hand-to-the-heart kind of a speech, and not only did Kang-to need to hear it, but I needed to hear it from Damsari, because Kang-to isn’t wrong about what he’s sacrificed for the independence. The feeling that Kang-to is being filled with purpose in a new way is so thrilling, and so exactly where I want my hero-to-be, to be.


188 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. queencircles

    1. I’m still swooning over Damsari. Solid ajusshi crush.
    2. Katsuyama Jun is Bad.Ass. I was real nervous for Kang-to when they were fighting.
    3. Excuse my language, but did anyone else spend this episode, like, ‘shit shit shit. fuck! fuck fuck! shit shit shit.’ lol cause that’s like all I did. I was so nervous!!!
    4. Shunji the torturer was making me so so sad.
    5. Great fricking episode! Gaksitaaaalll!!!!

    • 1.1 dduk

      OMG I thought I was the only one having the Damsari ahjusshi crush LAWLLLL!

      I was watching this at work and at one point screamed…. not the best thing to do… GAKSITALLLL what are you doing to meeeee?!!?

      • 1.1.1 Rashell

        I’ve had a crush on the actor who plays Damasari since Family’s Honor. He’s totally my ajusshi crush.

        • f1yh1gh10

          uhuh! i wish i could freeze him until i become an ajumma and then i’d just chase him!

          but until then, i’ll chase our lovable bug-aphobic/beautiful singer/AMAZING actor JOO WON!!!! <3

          gaksital is having me on the end of my seat constantly. i accidently screamed at the end and i didn't realize i did, so when people looked at me weird, i was like ….what..none of you are watching gaksital?


          • queencircles

            Haha you look at them weird, like, what’s wrong with YOU, that you don’t watch Gaksital?? Lol

        • Msb

          Loved him in Family Honor!

    • 1.2 KRush

      ME TOO! I thought I was the only one. I always say, “AHHH, it’s the hottie uncle!!!” <3 Ajusshi crush indeed!

      I was also VERY excited when Katsuyama Jun finally went up to bat, because you know that's a match right there. HE COULD LOSE!!!

      I am with you on everything you said, actually. I clapped my hands over my own mouth when I saw even girlfriday decided to leave in her own "oh fucK!". It was that kind of episode!!!

      • 1.2.1 omg.

        LOL i scream cuss words at the TV every time i watch this drama 🙂 I think the neighbors are tired of hearing “OH CRAP GET THE FUCK OUTTA THERE” every Wednesday and Thursday.

        • KRush

          Yeah, everyone in earshot is starting to actually know what’s going on just from not being able to shut me out screaming at various characters. Ha! There’s a whole lot of “ARE YOU OKAY??? Oh, wait, it’s just her dramas..”

          The other day I was all WHHHAA? when my dad goes, “So did Kang to get caught as Gaksital?”

          He’s not even watching it! 😀

      • 1.2.2 Maya

        During that fight, i just kept thinking that Kang To should get a longer weapon! It’ll be an advantage for the opponent with a samurai sword since the opponent can attack him from longer range.

        • Eed

          As Gaksital is Joseon hero, he will not use Japanese Sumurai Sword i guess 🙂

          • Maya

            I’m not saying he should use samurai sword, just make that bamboo thingy longer so that it could protect him better.. 😀

    • 1.3 Awe

      queen, dduk and anyone else crushing on DamSaRi:

      i first met him in Bachelor’s Vegetable Store AND i claimed “ajusshi dibs” then. leave him to me, girls. he’s mine all mine.

      just saying.

      • 1.3.1 queencircles

        I will let you have him. As long as I can swoon and just shout at the screen ‘why are you so fine, ?!!?!’ I’m good. lol

      • 1.3.2 Rashell

        Watch Family’s Honor. You get double your pleasure. Adorable Ajusshi and Park Shi Hoo besides. Seriously a great family drama.

        • Kakashi

          where’s Park Shi Hoo anyway?? get back to Dramaland, PSH!

          • Rashell

            I KNOW! Maybe after all the torture in The Princess’ Man he needed a longer break.

      • 1.3.3 bishbash

        watch Queen Seon Duk and The Chaser. he’s in there too 🙂

      • 1.3.4 dduk

        Uhhh okkkk you can have him…… i’ll just take joo won TRORLRLLLOLOLOLLLL~!

      • 1.3.5 linda macy

        he is wonderful in The Great Queen Seondeok

      • 1.3.6 Arhazivory

        I was totally crushing on him in Royal Family. Why is he so hot?

    • 1.4 pigtookie

      Number 3 is exactly what I did this episode, hopping mad on my chair.

      Damsari is indeed very good looking. 🙂

      • 1.4.1 queencircles

        I know. I said that exact sentence like 8 times. lol I was freaking out!

      • 1.4.2 Ivoire

        Hi, I hope it is OK to ask: what is number 3? I am just curious… Thank you!

        • queencircles

          just means the third bullet point of my first comment lol… nothing weird. Means she cussed like a sailor the whole episode like I did 😉

          • Ivoire

            Ah, thanks!

    • 1.5 danni

      Definitely did Number 3. Gaksital is not good for my nerves

    • 1.6 Sho

      He was actually someone really noticable in Queen Seon Deok with Go Hyun Jung.

      I honestly think he plays his roles really well

    • 1.7 Msb

      Yup! Cussed a lot! Have to watch again so I can cuss some more!

    • 1.8 meecheellee

      Shunji the torturer… oh boy, it was a 180degree turn from his “schoolteacher” persona. It still gives me the chills. And by just watching this episode, I think I set my high record of cussing in one hour. Man.

      It was all, “Shit. No, don’t fucking do that. Shit. Shit. Shit. Damn. I told you not to. FUCKING BE CAREFUL. Calm the fuck down. Okay. Chill. Shit. What are you fucking doing. Fuck. Fuck. Dammit. NOOO! What the fuck. No. No. Nonononononono. What the hell. Damn. Dammit. FUCK, WHAT IN THE HEAVENS ARE YOU DOING. SHIT. NO FUCKING WAY. Wait. WHAT? NO!! Damn. Damn. Dammit. SHITTTTTTT. I TOLD YOU NOT TO SHOW FUCKING CONCERN FOR MOK DAN IN THE DAMN POLICE STATION. I FUCKING TOLD YOU NOT TO. THE FUCKED UP TEACHER-TURNED SCARY MURDEROUS EX-BFF POLICE SHUNJI IS RIGHT FUCKING BEHIND YOU.”

      But, alas. My pleas were unheeded. Not that they were heard or anything. Okay, maybe my neighbor was giving me strange looks this morning. But hey, I’m not the one to judge.

      Gakistal, I never knew how well I could swear until now. Puahahaha.

      • 1.8.1 DarknessEyes

        “The fucked up teacher turned scary murderous ex-BFF police Shunji is right fucking behind you.”

        i gotta say meecheellee, that deserves some applause.

    • 1.9 Nika

      Damsari is soooo fine….. really like him

  2. kbap

    Oh my goood, this is one great episode. Thank you so muuch for the recap, I swear I was biting my on my nails HARD while watching this, saying “oh crap” about every two seconds. 🙂

  3. KRush

    SNAP! I was soooo excited!!!

    Thank you!!! <3

  4. Stardust

    YAAAAY the recap is heeeere!! I was so anxious I watched the RAW last night! understood less than one tenth of it lol but its SOOOOO exciting!! Poor Kang to! The sword wound will be how Boon Yi recognise him! aaaah!! My tiny wish is not for the show to end the way the Hong gil dong way… T.T omg too much for my heart!

    • 4.1 Stardust

      oh I forgot to say Kang to has to be a better actor ( not Joo won, Kang to the char) becos the pain in his eyes is making everyone else suspicious! But that would make him crazy i suppose… Is anyone else totally digusted by the change in Shunji… so the girl doesn’t like you.. but to become a monster in a few episodes after? O. M. G… Chilling performance by Park Ki Woong….

      • 4.1.1 flowers give me allergies

        I agree with you. Shunji makes me mad >:(

        • Birthday Girl

          I HATE SHUNJI

          • beggar1015

            Oh how I hate him now. Shunji is going totally insane. Just seeing your brother murdered isn’t enough to make someone go this bat-shit crazy. Shunji must have had several screws loose before all this and was able to hide it. Seeing him torture poor sweet Boss Jo in that nail box – the scene continues to haunt me.

            There’s no way Shunji will ever be able to redeem himself in my eyes. Never.

          • DarknessEyes

            yeah, I hate Shunji too. But then again I remember the Shunji that cried with Kangto while riding a bicycle, and somehow, I can’t hate him completely. Though I gotta say, that part with Boss Jo……. *shivers*

      • 4.1.2 Maya

        Haha. Your sentence about how Kang To should be a better actor reminds me of Tae Mu’s reaction in Rooftop Prince. If people around them bothered to look at them closely in any crucial moment, they would definitely know what’s up. 😀
        And I do think that Shunji’s transformation is not solely caused by Mok Dan. It’s fueled by her, but his obsession for catching Gaksital who killed his brother, disgracing his family, got his dad fired, and steals his first love plays a major part. And that obsession is eating him up from the inside.

        • Stardust

          ditto about Tae Mu!! LOL LOL yes i suppose alot happened to Shunji in such a short time… but his wish of going back to teach little kiddies? Ain’t going happen. XD

        • meecheellee

          Puahaha. Ikr? Tae Mu=WORST. VILLAIN. EVER.

          His expressions?

          They were like a big huge red light flashing, “Hey, I’m nervous over here when you talk about that stuff! Yoohoo! I look like the person that committed the crime! Heeellooo?! I look sorta shifty and suspicious over here! Maaybe you should come and confront me about it! Not that I would tell you the truth, but I’m such a bad liar already!”

          Made me sorta want to actually HELP him be a better villian. Poor Tae Mu. Then again, you weren’t trying very hard were you? 😛

      • 4.1.3 missjb

        I believe is not mainly because of mok dan he can be this way. It’s his father’s influenced that makes shunji become like this i believe… since his father thinks shunji has to responsible after Kenji’s Death. And look his reaction after seeing his father cries because of Kenji’s death broke his heart. His monster awaken because of this. Mok dan just make the monster in him become worse.

      • 4.1.4 Annie

        Yes, it’s really disappointing actually to see the total change. I hope we see some shades of grey soon.

  5. Dominique

    Comparing before and after, I like what Shunji has become in this episode – icy fire. But I do not like a bit what Lee Gang To has become – a neutered dog, who even stammers on occasion. I want the old badass Lee Gang To back.

    • 5.1 missjb

      i like it! It sure take time to make him as confidence before the his family’s tragedy….. But he will sure go there i believe

    • 5.2 Maya

      I think he stammers because he has way too many things in his head at the mo (esp his entanglement with Damsari right now). He used to have only one thing in his head: catch the criminals, hence the badassness. He’s lucky he only stammers, some people might go crazy :D. I think once he grabs hold of the situation, he will go back to the badass Lee Kang To.

      • 5.2.1 missjb

        same here..
        I hope there will be some event that makes him be more bad ass.

      • 5.2.2 queencircles

        I mean if it was me, I’d be like, oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit!!!!! Do I feel like he’s handling it pretty well.

    • 5.3 queencircles

      I mean…he’s waaaaaay hotter now.

      but yeah. I like the transformation. It just makes me sad. I’m shouting at the screen, like nooo Shunji!!!!. But ultimately, the transformation is great.

    • 5.4 Dominique

      Is meekness (helplessness, idiot savant, etc.) equal to virtue?

      Most Korean dramas seem to think so, as manifested by virtuous but ultimately slow-witted, passive and self-destructive heroines who litter the Korean drama landscape. I would like to learn someday where Korean dramas contracted this particular dramatic virus. Probably the French cinema, which does not sell well in America for obvious, irreconcilable differences between Anglo and French dramatic philosophies.

      It is a complete downer for me, unfortunately. In Episode 14, all the hot ones are also villains – ex. Shunji and Rie. Lee Gang To used to be one until Episode 6. But a mute, meek, slow-thinking hero is of no use for me. He is not hot any longer.

      There really is no reason why Lee Gang To in current incarnation cannot pull off double lives as well as Superman or Spiderman does. All it does is to showcase inadequacy of Lee Gang To’s character as visualized by the drama’s production team. It must be catering to common denominator by lowering Lee Gang To’s dramatic standards to what is familiar to viewers.

      It is enough to make me yearn for return of the original Gaksital, i.e., his dead brother, who wore his mask with far more finesse and focus, albeit without sexiness.

  6. Maya

    Whoa! Shunji really gave me the chills in this episode, especially that scene where he indifferently rocks the nail cage with Leader Jo inside. He has gone way too far on the dark side. 
    However, I kinda suspect that this is all part of Mok Dan’s plan. Since she was going to use Shunji to free her father. Maybe she’s going to set up a trap for the police and lure them out from the police station?

    And finally a scene to enlighten Kang To on his (or rather his brother’s?) cause. How important it is and is it worth risking everything you love? And of course, whether a small group of people can make a difference against the national enemy? I like how he put Damsari in his brother’s position to understand the ideologies that they both share.

    His version of that quintessentially Korean egg-rock metaphor was so moving. It’s a fist-in-the-air, hand-to-the-heart kind of a speech, and not only did Kang-to need to hear it, but I needed to hear it from Damsari

    You took the words out of my mouth, GF.

    At this point, I don’t think that Kang To’s actions in the previous and this episode are propelled by revenge anymore. Since he’s not out to get the members anymore. I guess he is starting to sympathize with the cause (esp after that episode where Damsari’s man literally took the bullet for him), although some portions of it might still be spurred by his feelings towards Mok Dan.

    Anw, yes! the cliffhanger where Shunji overhears Kang To mentioning Mok Dan’s name (Boon Yi) was nail biting. I didn’t expect the writer to let one cat (a big fat one) out of the bag this early in the game. Surely Shunji can put the two and two together -without having to draw a chart like his brother- and confirm his suspicion of Kang To. But I like it, since it will keep Kang To on his toes at the risk of having his cover blown and it sure will bring the tension in the show up a notch. I wonder how he will get out from this sticky situation. Maybe by telling Shunji that it was part of his strategy to have Damsari rattle off information on Mok Dan and that he found out her real name during one of his solo investigations? Hmmm..

    • 6.1 Dominique

      I hope you are right.

      But can the drama please get us to such promised lands a little faster and with far fewer awkwardly-acted but painfully-long scenes that ultimately do not matter much?

      That scene where Shunji passes by Sun Wha and her little brother – couldn’t the boy act with a little more basic acting skills?

      I begin to think that the greater merit of this drama lies in its balanced/neutral portrayal of Japanese colonials as well as their POV. While the egg-rock analogy left me stone-cold (it is simply illogical), the curt outburst from Shunji – you ingrates! – actually made perfect sense. In the last episode, when the Governor proposed a toast, he listed education among three things that Japan had done for Korea, with which I must agree. (Josun had no educational system for the masses to speak of, and South Korea merely continued it after liberation.) Viewers in America know how Hollywood portrays Nazis. I think Gaksital team is way ahead on the curve on this one.

      • 6.1.1 JH

        I’m no history expert, but I do think “education for the mass,” or a prototype of it did exist in the late 19th, early 20th century Daehan Empire, albeit in an unorthodox form.

        You should know that Josun (Daehan Empire’s old name) was primarily a Confucian country. Education was a primary concern of Josun people. Hence, numerous private schools called Seodang (meaning book place) existed, and children of all age (even illiterate adults) were strongly encouraged to attend these schools.

        Also, by early 20th century, Emperor GoJong started to open public modern schools. Examples of such schools are Ewha, Yonsei, Sookmyung, and Paichai university. I myself have graduated from Dongduk woman’s highschool, which has some 100 years of history.

        So I think it is unfair to say that education for the mass was nonexistent in Josun, or that Josun was uninterested in educating its people. Its opportunity to develop any kind of system was snapped in the bud due to the controversial 1914 Korea-Japan annexation.

        As for your empathizing with SJ’s words “you ingrates!,” I think it comes from a POV that Japan has modernized, industrialized Korea, and benefited its people in many ways.

        While it is true that Japan had industrialized Korea (for war efforts primarily), it did it primarily for its own benefit, and education was not an exception to that.

        Living example are my grandparents. Both of my maternal and paternal grandparents had Japanese names, and could read and speak basic Japanese because Japanese was the only language taught in public schools. (the use of Korean was strictly forbidden)

        These first hand witnesses (and many senior citizens in Korea) testify that back at those days, attending public school was compulsory and loathsome. They loathed going to school (not because dog ate thier homework) because teachers would inflict corporal punishment on children who would speak in Korean, and report their behavior to the authorities. Then, the police would make a routine visit to their homes… (I know this sounds unbelievable, but these are true stories among many.In the 1940s, some school teachers collected girls to send as “comfort women” to the battlefields)

        Education, like many other devices the Japanese Empire employed, was used to break the spirits of Koreans, and to raise their children as docile “secondary” citizens to the Japanese Empire.

        I think in this aspect, the Japanese Empire did share a lot in common with the Nazis; in viewing an entire race of people as a sort of unequal “subhumans,” and educating them as such.

        • Dominique

          I see your points. And I agree with many of them.

          I do, however, think that, to Korea, Imperial Japan was more like British Empire than Nazi Germany. Like Imperial Japan, British Empire built roads, transplanted its justice system (such as courts, common law, and assumption of innocence until proven guilty) and instituted mandatory public education for all (not just for upper caste) in its colonies all over the world.

          Like Koreans living under the Japanese rule who actually admired Japanese ways and actively assisted their colonial masters (many of whom were never publicly shamed after liberation and some of whom still hide safely in the closet of even this year’s aspirants for the office of South Korean President), many Indians also felt ambivalent towards their British masters. See, for example, Passage to India.

          The only difference between Imperial Japan and British Empire appears to be the degree of brutality and self-serving motivations with which each dealt with its unruly colonies. For sure, eradication of Korean race was never the goal of Imperial Japan, whereas eradication of all “inferior” races from its occupied lands was the sole purpose of Nazi Germany.

          I also note that the universities you mention were initiated by missionaries rather than Daehan Empire. Missionaries, too, had their own self-interests in the good deeds they did perform. Again, the difference between missionaries and Imperial Japan is the matter of degree.

          In not hesitating to air POV of Japanese occupiers in this drama, no matter how offensive or oppressive it may seem today, the drama of Gaksital seems a class above its predecessors.

          • JH

            I agree to disagree that Imperial Japan only differed in its degree of brutality in acheiving its goals from missionaries.

            For me, their motives and intents were vastly different. If the worst of the missionaries could be called as frauds, the worst of the Japanese were extorters, armed robbers, and later on, premeditated mass murderers (they instigated war, used political prisoners like Damsari as “maruta”), and rapists (contrary to some Japanese’ beliefs, state action was involved in the business of comfort women. Some women were drafted by the local police, or sometimes, public school teachers would compile a list of “volunteers” without obtaining the girls/parents’ consent).

            It is true that some missionaries had self-serving goals involving Korea; (1) to convert as many Koreans into christians as possible; and (2) to solicit emperor Gojong to make him “open doors” and trade with their respective countries.

            However, some of these missionaries were decent people who selflessly, and anonymously served the Korean people. Even in these days, many Koreans honor their names and legacies.

            I cannot say the same for the Japanese. You imply that Koreans in general (?) admired Japanese and actively assisted their masters.

            In truth, only a few were active assistants, and they were called by the derogatory term “chinillpa” even during the Japanese occupancy. Most Koreans passively submitted to Japanese reign out of fear, not out of admiration. And after liberation, many of these active chinillpas were publically shamed and quickly ousted from public offices.

            The only reason why some of these chinilpas were reinstated to their positions was because of the cold war situation. Think about Germany’s situation, how general Patton was critisized for hiring former members of the Nazi party to quickly rebuild/rearm Germany against the Soviette union.

            Similar to that situation, the allies who liberated S. Korea were not hestistant in rehiring chinilpas as far as they worked hard and efficiently. On the other hand, the Russian occupied N.Koreans imprisoned/executed all of their chinilpas for acts of treason.

            Until now, it is one of the deepest regrets of the Korean people that we have failed to carry out due justice on those people.

          • JH

            Also, most of the schools I have mentioned in my previous post were founded under “imperial order.”

            Gojong was deeply interested in promoting public (modern) education, hence the royal family heavily funded such schools. (Paichai school was built under the emperor’s direct order, Yonsei and Ewha under the emperor’s request, and Sookmyong was built by one of the emperor’s concubines).

            Dongduck (1880), by the way, was one the earliest modern private institutes in Korea’s history. It was funded by private individuals, and its founder was Hakbong Yi Suk Gu, also a distant relative of the royal family.

            Also, I must disagree that eradication of Korean race was never the goal of Imperial Japan. For me, (1) forcing Koreans to use foreign names and abandon their ancestor’s, (2) imposing criminal sanctions on the use of Korean language in public places, (3) prohibiting lecturing Korean history in public schools, or teach a distorted version of it, (4) brainwashing people to become “loyal subjects of the Empire” constitute eradication of a race.

            Ways of eradicating a race is not only limited to brute force and physical means. Mental coercion (a/k/a brainwashing) can be an equally strong and powerful mean, since people without their own history and language has no identity, and people without identity ceases to exist as a distinct race.

      • 6.1.2 Dominique

        It is without a doubt a very painful chapter in Korean history. Nonevertheless, I think it is good to have a continuing dialogue about it – I don’t mean necessarily in this forum (excuse us, JB) but anywhere people who care about such things meet in person or online. I do believe that, as always, things were never in one shade but rather nuanced in multiple hues.

        What do you think is the chance that the drama will visit the hot-button issue of Comfort Women? Since the end date of the drama (08/30) falls after the Day of National Shame, I think it more likely than not that the drama will go there. There is a new twist to the ongoing controversy of Comfort Women involving a Japanese tourist in Seoul last month and his observation that no one in the world is more engaged in prostitution than South Koreans today.

        We can agree to disagree on this but, in my mind, eradication of a race (called genocide in criminal law) is not on par with obliteration of a civilization (or identity or language). Murder is final and one-sided, whereas it is as much up to the oppressed as it is up to the opporessors whether a civilization or language or identity does ultimately disappear. Thus, attempt to obliterate a civilization is more like a test of wills: some (ex. Jews) pass with flying colors, others (those whom no one remembers today) simply fail.

        Also, although I did comment on universities (which really catered to elite Koreans born of noble births), my focus was more on mandatory public educational system for all, such as elementary schools.

        Prior to annexation, there may have been a few private elementary schools set up and run by missionaries, but they were primarily for children of upper caste. Once Imperial Japan opened elementary schools for all children (including children of lower caste) in every town of Korea, taking the place of the good missionaries you mentioned, a number of ordinary Japanese people stepped up and came over to Korea in order to bring literacy to all Korean children, as Shunji initially set out to do and as many Weterners continue to do today.

        These Japanese teachers, too, were subject to harsh and unforgiving Japanese colonial rules (designed to naturalize Koreans into Japanese, like you said), which worsened as the occupation neared its end, with whicn they did not always agree. In fact, on the day after Emperor Hirohito’s unconditional capitulation to General McArthur, they suddenly became stateless in Korea and was forced to return to Japan in a hurry, breaking many children’s heart.

        Like Shunji in the beginning of the drama, many of these Japanese teachers (not all, because some were really bad) tried to protect and insulate the children under their charge from the brutal aspects of Japanese rules, at times at great cost of personal sacrifice. It is this obscure, unpublicized and unsung part of the colonial history that brought me to compare Imperial Japan to British Empire.

        Making comparisons is not the same as equating Imperial Japan to missionaries or British Empire.

        • MeeisLee

          Well, I was reading through and I saw the mention of “comfort women” and it reminded that I saw some brewing controversy over a Korean comfort women memorial in a borough on New Jersey on the news in NYC. So, it seems like it would make sense to post a related article here in case anyone else was interested:


          *And if you’re wondering why a comfort women memorial is in Palisades Park of all places, it might have to do with the population being mostly Korean (I forget the exact percentage but it was about 50%).

          It’s quite interesting to see how relations b/w the two countries are still prevalent and strong today. I do not know much on either country’s history or their relationship (and I thank Gaksital for allowing me to learn a bit of history along the way) and I was going to say something else but now I forgot :/.

          • namcha

            Imperial Japan was really biting off more than it could chew during this time. They also occupied Thailand and parts of SE Asia during WW2. They wanted to control all of Asia it seems.

        • JH

          First, we do not consider August 15th a day of national shame. It is our national holiday and independence day, on which we celebrate liberation from the Japanese occupancy.

          Secondly, I am doubtful that the writers will visit the issue of comfort women in this drama. The drama Gaksital is based on cartoonist Huh Young Man’s “Gaksital,” which was popular in the 80s, and there were no comfort women in manhwa Gaksital.

          Interestingly, there was not even our Mok Dan character in the manhwa Gaksital. Mr. Huh later confessed the reason why he didn’t include a female hero in Gaksital is because he had difficulty in drawing female figures (lol).

          As for the controversy involving the Japanese tourist (whom by the way was an avid member of some radical Japanese right wing movement) you mentioned, his action of planting a stake with nationalist remarks beside a bronze figurine of a comfort woman in Seoul did offend many, as well as his biased remarks on Korea’s prevalence of prostitution.

          But I do not think that Gaksital’s writers will throw in a story line merely to appease public uproar (which subsided quickly), or that Koreans will be appeased by it.

          Many fans are willing for a HEA for Gangto (though I personally think not likely…)

          • Maya

            I’m one who wishes for a HEA ending for Kang To, but given the story at hand, I think a tragic or bittersweet ending with nuances similar to Hong Gil Dong would fit it more..

          • rearwindow

            Thank you for your comments. They’re extremely informative and very interesting.

          • Ivoire

            Thank you to all who have contributed to the conversation above and to the person who also mentioned the article about the Comfort Women’s monument in NJ. I found all of it to be stimulating and informative. Conversations like these are some of the reasons why I like this site.

          • Dominique

            Thank you for your very timely reference to the original manga. I was beginning to wonder if the current lull in drama may be attributable to the fact that, with Episode 6, the drama’s production team depleted what they could extract from the original manga materials.

            The Day of National Shame to which I referred is August 29, not August 15. I have noticed that South Korea no longer makes a big deal of this date, while it continues to celebrate the Day of Liberation, which is August 15 that you mention.

            The Wikipedia has the following:

            The Japan–Korea Treaty of 1910, also known as the Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty, was made by representatives of the Empire of Japan and the Korean Empire in 1910. Negotiations were concluded on August 20, 1910. The document was signed on August 22, 1910. The treaty was proclaimed to the public (and became effective) on August 29, officially starting the period of Japanese rule in Korea.

            Yes, on second thoughts, it seems unlikely that the drama will reach for the issue of Comfort Women. At present, the drama is taking place in 1931 (or 1932, I am not completely sure). The Pacific War is many years away, and the need for Comfort Women will not arise until then. Thus, unless the drama encompasses period overlapping with the Pacific War, the issue of Comfort Women may simply be inapplicable.

    • 6.2 tapioca pearl

      Mok Dan = Boon-yi ——— Gaksital = Young Master

      ? Lee Kang-to/Sato Hiroshi ?

    • 6.3 tapioca pearl

      It’s okay, I’ve provided Shunji with a chart:

      Mok Dan = Boon-yi ——— Gaksital = Young Master
      \\ //
      \\ //
      ? Lee Kang-to/Sato Hiroshi ?
      ? ? ? ?

      Boy, it makes a difference when you see it all laid out.

  7. crazedlu

    heart ran a marathon today!

    squirmed during the watch, after the watch, during the rewatch, and then again.

    can’t believe they took us here, but boy am i glad.


    so nervous for next week, but i’m confident they’ll take us somewhere good.

    until then, i’ll try to rest my heart.

    thanks for the recaps, jb and gf. ~

  8. missjb

    finally we got it clear why Kang To take gaksital’s roles, as expected, the main reason is his guilt towards his hyung. He still far way to go become the real hero, but I believe he will go there. I love the way writers create this character. He easily will become one of my memorable character list if the writers keep developing his character more depth and believable.

  9. Jennifer

    What’s gonna happen now?! Shunji better not get anyone in more trouble.
    He is a very very very mean person.
    Screw him 🙁 Why did he have to turn so mean 🙁
    Also I never knew Mok Dan had pierced ears. Just a random thought of mine.

    • 9.1 Awe

      Rie does too—so lol.

      • 9.1.1 Jennifer

        Yeah I saw Rie put pearl earrings on at Episode 4 or so 🙂 But I never knew Mokdan had earrings until this episode

  10. 10 21

    How amazing is this show? The intensity is so overwhelming but oh so satisfying! I really wonder how will KT get out of this one! Shunji is too smart not to connect all the dots!!

    • 10.1 tapioca pearl

      I know. All episode long, I kept saying to Kang-to, “Just tell somebody who you are!” for his sake and my heart’s sake. But I really don’t want his cover blown just yet. Not this early.

  11. 11 정남

    I kind of can’t wait until Shunji dies, they’ve wrote him into such a magnificent bastard I really hope that he gets offed in the end.

    • 11.1 SMILE :)

      YESH I AGREE!!!!

    • 11.2 Awe

      LOL. any other time i’d be questioning my values—but excited over shunji’s death deserves a song:

      waiting for shunji to die HA HA
      by the flute pipe of GAKSITAL
      HA HA

      ok–maybe not

  12. 12 Star

    i think i’m really considering staying away from this show until it’s over… not necessarily to find out the end result but just so i can watch it all at once. waiting week by week is really gonna kill me ><"

    • 12.1 tapioca pearl

      When I realized that it would be done at the end of August, I almost fainted.

  13. 13 Rashell

    This SHOW!! It just kills me. I can hardly watch and yet I can’t look away. And it definitely figured out the cliffhanger this episode. I’m dying for next week.

    Damasari’s speech was AWESOME. And you could see Kang To taking it in which was beautiful. He still only understands the moment, but it was nice to see him get the view of someone who sees the bigger picture.

    Shunji is killing me. I can’t believe the love I had for the gentle man he used to be. And I can’t believe the hatred I feel for the man he’s become. It’s actually painful.

    And such a great juxtoposition to see Kang To making the opposite journey. From character I despised to Hero that I love. I didn’t think the drama could do that in the beginning when he was so awful.

    Thanks so much for the re-cap. I always love reading what you guys think. And how much did I love the Alias reference. I used to LOVE that show. Seasons 1 and 2 were some of the best TV ever.

    • 13.1 JH

      Damsari’s eloquent speech is a quote from “Honbul,” written by author Choi Myung Hee. Choi died in 1998 and her work is loved by many.

      • 13.1.1 Farpavilions

        JH, do you have a translation of the quote or is it pretty much the same as in Damsari’s speech?

        I first encountered the metaphor in Haruki Murakami’s ballsy Jerusalem Prize speech and couldn’t get it out of my mind:

        “Between a high, solid wall and an egg that breaks against it, I will always stand on the side of the egg.”

        Yes, no matter how right the wall may be and how wrong the egg, I will stand with the egg. Someone else will have to decide what is right and what is wrong; perhaps time or history will decide. If there were a novelist who, for whatever reason, wrote works standing with the wall, of what value would such works be?

        What is the meaning of this metaphor? In some cases, it is all too simple and clear. Bombers and tanks and rockets and white phosphorus shells are that high, solid wall. The eggs are the unarmed civilians who are crushed and burned and shot by them.

        This is not all, though. It carries a deeper meaning. Think of it this way. Each of us is, more or less, an egg. Each of us is a unique, irreplaceable soul enclosed in a fragile shell. This is true of me, and it is true of each of you. And each of us, to a greater or lesser degree, is confronting a high, solid wall. The wall has a name: it is “the System.” The System is supposed to protect us, but sometimes it takes on a life of its own, and then it begins to kill us and cause us to kill others — coldly, efficiently, systematically.

        From http://www.salon.com/writer/haruki_murakami/

        Too bad Shunji turned from egg to brick…. what a terrifyingly good performance.

        • Mrs Scheduler

          I love Haruki Murakami too! But never heard of that speech before. Thanks for the info! 😀

        • Awe

          really nice post—thanks so much.

          and true dat about shunji—reminds me of a miuta:

          frightening is the ability to turn from a human into a beast in a single moment

      • 13.1.2 Rashell

        Wow thanks for letting me know. I’ll have to look into that because it truly was a beautiful metaphor.

  14. 14 TheJu

    Ah! What a perfect episode! I wish it was next Wednesday!!!!

  15. 15 Crayons

    omg this episode was full of torture o.O
    but this is awesome. Can’t wait to see what happens after all this!

  16. 16 HAI.

    I hope Boss Jo didn’t spill the beans! PLEASE give him false information :/

    • 16.1 Sonia

      it’s okay. do not forget Mok Dan told leader Jo, “We can use Shunji. I had a plan.”
      so, even if leader Jo spilled whatever the information is, I think it’s part of the plan.
      Let’s just hope it’s really a false information that he gave to Shunji just so Shunji could’ve been trapped.

      • 16.1.1 Dita

        Totally agree,, 🙂

  17. 17 Airyn

    Okay, writers, we’re on a roll now, so please do not use Mok Dan As Bait next episode, ‘kay? ‘Kay.

  18. 18 VictoriaS

    this show is killing me, and shuji is freaking scaring me, i cried when he was torturing that pour man! whats worse, thinking back to how he was in the beginning, its so much more frightening, it makes you think, given the right circumstances anyone can become that evil

    i hope they find out about kang to soon, so i can give my heart a rest, its too nerve racking!

    • 18.1 KK

      I think there was a really really short flaskback last week were Shunji was still a teacher with his bike and it basically broke my heart remebering his kindness ;____;

  19. 19 trixicopper

    Quite the gene pool that Kimura family has. Someone needs to call the pool guy!

    Thanks GF! 🙂

    • 19.1 Awe

      LOL—whatever brand of chlorine they are using…i recommend a switch immediately.

    • 19.2 Airyn

      Poll guy will just pee in the pool. LOL.

      On second thought…

  20. 20 JenJen

    Shunji’s transformation to bad guy is so chilling that I must commend Park KiWoong for his performance.

    I’m nervous for KangTo’s cover up for this doozy of poop he’s steping in.

    • 20.1 Jennifer

      I agree!! Shunji scares me…
      And I kind of wish the identity of Gaksital (Kang To) will be revealed already so then I’ll stop saying, “WHAT IF THEY FIND OUT?!” every time.

  21. 21 MeeisLee

    Eeekkkk, yayayaya. I think this is the first time I’ve watched an on-going episode so quickly after it has aired. I’m loving Gaksitallllllll (a scream for effect, ofc).

  22. 22 Arhazivory

    *still reeling* That was such a tense episode. I….i can’t even put in words how much of an impact I felt from start to end. I …I….

    *falls over*

    • 22.1 Awe


  23. 23 tapioca pearl

    I think bad shooting runs throughout the whole police department. Way back in the beginning, Lee Kang-to couldn’t shoot for shit when he was chasing Gaksital. Or maybe Gaksital is just naturally gifted with bullet-evasiveness.

    Anyway, Lee Kang-to is fast becoming my favorite k-drama hero (the current holder is Park Kyu) for his complexities and struggles (and hotness, not gonna lie) alone. And this drama is fast becoming one of my favorites. I dig everything about it. Capital Scandal is one of my favorites, so it’s no wonder why I love Gaksital so much.

    • 23.1 Maya

      Team Park Kyu!! 😀

      • 23.1.1 tapioca pearl

        I really love the character of Park Kyu, but Lee Kang-to is in a more intriguing story (to me) and that is partly why I’m loving his character just a bit more. When I was watching Tamna Island (which I enjoyed), I watched for Park Kyu and Park Kyu alone. With Gaksital, I’m gaga for everything.

        Oh my god, the most brilliant thing would be a teaming of Gaksital and Park Kyu (he fought Japanese smugglers or something, right?)! There’d have to be some time travel, though, and I suppose we’re all ready to let that go.

        Okay, tangent over. It’s midnight here.

    • 23.2 Ivoire

      Hi Tapioca Pearl, who is Park Kyu? Thanks! (Note: I haven’t watched every episode of Gaksital if he is a character here)

      • 23.2.1 tapioca pearl

        He’s the awesome character from Tamna Island (2009) played by the equally awesome Im Joo Hwan (I patiently wait for his return from the military). It’s an enjoyable watch. I recommend it.

        • queencircles

          Did you watch What’s up? He was excellent in that show. It was pretty great in general. That might hold you over while you wait if you haven’t seen it. 🙂 d

          • tapioca pearl

            I keep meaning to. I started to when it came out but it seemed like it stopped being subbed, so I just didn’t pick it up. I plan on watching it this weekend. I do love cable dramas though because they’re shorter and easier to get through.

  24. 24 Awe

    good recap, thanks. feeling your pain about the heart in throat, pulse racing, turrettes outbreaks, eyeballs popping and spine tingling. this show is good for anyone wanting a heart attack.

    long about episode 8, my neighbors were banging on the door to inquire if i was ‘ok’. imagine their concern over hearing me scream, “no! no! not again!” or “gasitaaaaal” “that’s right, kick him in the balls”.

    and now at epis 14, the whole fam damily neighborhood convenes in my living room to watch this drama. this episode took 3 hours to watch due to pee breaks, replay requests and utter chaos outbreaks.

    to the writers, directors and actors: thumbs up enjoyable

    to the tv station making us wait another week: middle finger, dudes.

  25. 25 frances

    you got me at sydney bristow! lol!

    • 25.1 Rashell

      You can never go wrong with an Alias reference.

  26. 26 ajj

    THIS DRAMA IS SO EPIC..They deserve an Emmy..

  27. 27 Ivoire

    Thank you so much for the recap, Girlfriday!

  28. 28 ck1Oz

    Far out it’s only ep 14.The most tense episodes where the stakes are higher haven’t even been shown. Even the recap is stressing me out.

  29. 29 f1yh1gh10

    i NEVER bite my nails.
    and today i did.
    i didn’t even do that when nana fell off the ridge in city hunter, or when yoonsung and his dad were lying on the ground in the last episode.
    not even when in secret garden, joo won carried key lime away into the rain, and not when woongie was waiting for miho in my girlfriend is a gumiho to arrive in front of him.
    anyways. THIS EPISODE WAS HELLA CRAZY. and i loved every moment of it. i didn’t even skip any little conversation parts, cuz i was so into EVERY stinkin part of the episode. <3

    • 29.1 BBD-Lite

      Old comment but “key lime”?! Hahahaha! Her name was Gil Ra Im lol.

      But I’m with you…past few episodes I was thinking it’s getting a bit repetitive but omfg this episode was so nerve-racking! I want to go back to repetitive, please I can’t watch any more torture scenes…

  30. 30 bishbash

    i wonder how they’re going to carry on for the next 14 episodes when the cat is let out of the bag so fast. hmm.

    n we thought City Hunter was epic, but Gaksital totally pwns it hands down!!


    • 30.1 Rashell

      Gaksital has more action, but City Hunter had more heart. I feel for the H in both. But with Shunji being such a complete bastard, the bad daddy in City Hunter was a much more relatable villain. Yeah, he was doing bad things, but you understood his desire for revenge. And the romantic angle in City Hunter is leaps and bounds above the romance in Gaksital at this point. I wish they’d get moving on that.

      • 30.1.1 bishbash

        totally agree with you about CH’s bad daddy. he wasn’t even all that bad; the only “bad” thing he did was to make use of pretty boy (can’t remember the name for LHM’s chatacter) for revenge.

        Shunji is those guys whom girls should avoid at all cost, even though he can be really sweet and nice. i felt the change in Shunji was really pretty abrupt, although one can always argue that he’s jealous/loyal to his father/wants to avenge his brother’s death. the cruelty is totally uncalled for though.

      • 30.1.2 red

        Really? I actually feel like gakistal has more heart, mainly because it delivers it in an organic way. City Hunter for me was a bit contrived in that it felt like they were handing it to us saying here feel something.

        But just my opinion.

  31. 31 stars4u

    This show will be the end of me. The show had me screaming and pulling my hair and we’re just on the half way mark.

    I love the exchange between Kang-to and Damsari. Now Kang-to gets to understand more as to why his hyung chose the path that he took and somewhat answer same questions that he is asking of himself.
    Shunji… is so scary! Indeed, best friends no more. Sad.

    I wonder how Kang-to would fidn his way out this time. And I’m getting more curious about Rie/Lala.

  32. 32 Boopie

    I actually rolled my eyes at all of “Dominique”‘s negative, whiney comments. Get that stick out of your ass.

    First of all, the kid is like, 8. Stop being anal over his “lack of acting skills”. He’s done pretty fucking amazing for a tiny ass kid, and I VERY much doubt you can do a fraction of how he acts hen you were his age.

    And if you must know, Japan’s “education” was primarily about how great their country is, and what they had “supposedly” done for Korea. National anthems, patriotical shit, etc.

    Stop whining, it’s getting people annoyed.

    • 32.1 girlfriday

      Actually, you’re the one attacking another commenter. Critiquing the drama is fair play. Yelling at each other is not.

      Keep it civil, folks.

      • 32.1.1 queencircles

        I drank wine while watching the show… but I feel it’s appropriate to say… I love you.

        You are a great recapper. and any comment you make, I will love. lol

        • girlfriday

          Two things that are always appropriate: wine and love.

          Gaksitaaaal! ♥

          • queencircles

            ♥ to both you and jb. Gaksitaaaaaal!!!!

  33. 33 danni

    Damn Shunji, just when I thought you couldn’t get any crazier, you do something more insane than you did last episode. Seriously, even the crazy shit Kang-to pulled pales in comparison to Shunji. Shunji was freaking me out before, but it wasn’t till he tortured Leader Jo and then gave that creepy smile to Kang-to after letting Leader Jo go that I got chills, he’s crossed into a whole other level of evil.

    Damsari’s speech practically had me cheering. Totally understand why he has such loyal comrades now, he’s pretty inspirational.

    AUGH, this cliffhanger is killing me! Another week! But I need to know how Kang-to will talk his way out of this one, if he can. *Sigh* Well, it will probably be better for my heart anyway.

    Thanks for the recap gf!

  34. 34 anon9

    I wonder if Kang-to will use an excuse later if the writers aren’t really intending for Shunji to find out this quickly, but then again we have reached the halfway point so I guess anything is game. IF this is the case… how he will cover up the Boon-yi part, dunno. But maybe he explains later that he was trying to trick Damsari by putting up an emotional act to find out where Mok Dan is so he can help to capture her, but obviously he wants to know where she is so he can keep her safe.

    If it does end up being that Shunji now knows…well all I can say is, it’s gonna be an interesting ride from here on out!

    And man am I curious what will happen between Mok Dan and Kang-to. Can’t tell at all which route they will go- her finding out later about KT=Gaksital, her falling for KT first, etc.

    • 34.1 Roxy

      It would be cool if Mok Dan fell for Kang To before she finds out he’s Gaksital and fell for who he is. Although, I do wonder how that’s gonna work out since she pretty much hates him. Maybe Damsari will tell her how Kang To seemed worried about her?

      Either way (her finding out he’s Gaksital or falling for Kang To first), both is fine. Just as long as they get the romance going.

      Writers, at least throw me a bone here!

      • 34.1.1 L-V

        If Mok Dan fell for Kang To first, doesn’t it mean she is a playgirl?? hehe… since she fell for two people..

        hah…I can’t wait for next week…><

  35. 35 Lily

    O M G.
    When I was reading the recap, I was like pointing my middle finger at the pictures of Rie’s bodyguard and Shunji and Kimura Taro, and when I was trying to read a book a while after I practically ripped off the pages, I was so freaking mad at those evil bitches!!!!!!! I hope they get rid of the box of nails or something, because that seriously scared the SHIT out of me!!!!!!! It was torturing Boss Jo AND me…and I hope Gaksital’s identity isn’t discovered, or I just hope that Shunji freaking farts in his own face and dies or something, because that guy deserves ETERNAL PUNSIHMENT!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a douchebag! I liked Shunji in ep. 1-5, the nice schoolteacher, but he’s turning into some crappy monster!!!!!!! AACCCKKK! Anyway I LOVE Gaksital!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!! 😛

    • 35.1 Lily

      And Kang-to is running out of decent excuses!! Pretty soon he’s gonna get his cover blown…good or bad, I have no idea 🙁 *Scratches head and frowns*

      • 35.1.1 bishbash

        i’m guessing he can admit that he found out mok dan is boon yi, but he need not admit he is Gaksital, no?

        mok dan is the one who keeps assuming that Gaksital is THE young master she is looking for, but it doesn’t mean that Kang-to, being THE young master, is Gaksital, no?

    • 35.2 Roxy

      “farts in his own face and dies” LMAO that cracked me up.

  36. 36 Mdee

    Epic. Awesome episode.

    I pick Joo Won to win the Daesang at KBS Drama Awards 2012. Errrr is it too early to ask? Hehe 🙂

    • 36.1 bluemoon

      Sometimes they shared the Daesang too right? If that’s the case, my wish pick would be both Joo Won and Park Ki Woog for Daesang. It doesn’t hurt to dream haha

      • 36.1.1 SS

        Is it too early to start crying?

        I want Joowon to win every award there ever is. And it would be awesome if he wins it with PKW. I know they literally worked their butt off(ahem, although Joowon kept his rather well) for this show. And the results are awesome, just daebak for us viewers.

  37. 37 rawr89

    wait, is the Countess the scary rich wife in Gentleman’s Dignity?

    • 37.1 jyyjc

      Yes that’s her.

    • 37.2 kdfan

      don’t you think the countess is not what she seems to be with the way she shielded Kangto from Shunji. I have a feeling she is working for the Joseon side..

      • 37.2.1 trixicopper

        So I’m not the only one who has wondered about her. I’ve thought that there was something up with her since the beginning.

        • J

          Took the word out of my mouth! time and again the countess drops teensie weensie hint that she’s more than just a vapid socialite. I hope later on there’s a grand plot twist where she’s actually connected with gaksital or something.

        • beggar1015

          Since the beginning of the show I’ve been wondering just what the point of the Count and Countess in the story was, besides comedy relief. I would be more than happy if it did turn out she was somehow involved in the rebellion, as J alluded to.

      • 37.2.2 nore

        She was with the judge when Gaksital killied him.

        She was also with the Doctor when Gaksital held him hostage.

  38. 38 rica

    OMG!!!!!! i have no clue of where this drama is heading. I love the fact that this drama keep surprising us with every episode. Thank you Girlfriday. You guys are doing amazing job with this drama.

  39. 39 Brenda

    I LOVED this episode. I love the continuously rising conflict that Kang-to has to face because of his double life.
    And now, his lives are crossing each other too closely that he’ll have no choice but to choose one or the other soon!!!

  40. 40 jyyjc

    OMG. I was on the edge of my seat throughout this entire episode. I was like “omg isn’t there a part where I can relax here!?!?”

  41. 41 lenrasoon

    the most tense episode ever of this drama.

    thanks for the recaps GF.

  42. 42 Isi

    *passes out from over-exertion of brain cells in viewing this episode*

    • 42.1 Awe

      ROFL!! :))

      *uses bamboo stethescope on Isi* “She’s aliiiive”

      writes prescription for glass o’wine prior to viewing next epis.

  43. 43 bluemoon

    Bowing down to the Rock-and-Egg speech. It was awesome.

    Lee Kang To, our hero, is slowly discovering that there is a bigger reason to fight for, and Shunji, once the nice guy, is slowly becoming the monster we once feared that our hero will become. I still have hope that Shunji, at the end, will somehow help Lee Kang To. I like to believe their friendship is still solid till the end even with all these hills to climb and strings being broken.

    It’s a bumpy ride ahead and I hope everyone comes out at the end alright.

  44. 44 Miss rain ENgineer :P

    Shhhhhuuunji u need to be beaten up like the way u do to others
    God i hate to see those torturing scanes >_<
    I can't believe that he was a kids teacher 🙁

  45. 45 Link

    OMONA THIS EPISODE WAS SOOOO —–shivers.goosebumps.—–terrific, thrilling, [insert epic adj. here]

    I was literally screaming at every scream/yell/sword fight and biting my nails whenever Shunji was looking at Kang to with The Suspicious Eye and holding onto myself for dear Gaksital’s life when they surrounded him. Thank God for Baek Gun. And that Comrade lady is just too awesome.

    What really got to me this episode was Dam Sa Ri’s metaphor with the egg and the boulder. I needed to hear that, too. But what KILLED me this episode was seeing that freakin’ monster Shunji ROCK that nail cage back and forth and not even blink an eye at Jo’s pain. THAT BLOOOOOD!! I really hope we never have to see that cage again. T-T And his smile afterwards, knowing what he’s done, THAT CREEPY SMILE…. omg great actor right there, even though I hate you, you’re a good actor and I respect that.

    And now I wonder where the writers will take it from here. We haven’t heard much from the Kishokai and the Big Four (now) so I hope we’ll get more mysterious meetings later on.

    I’ve been on dramabeans for like a year now but this is the first time I’ve said so much about a drama. Guess I just REALLY LOVE THIS EPISODE <33333

    Thank you for the recaps gf and javabeans! And thank you for the wonderful script, writers. And the gripping action scenes. And the awesome directing. Just… never give me a changing shirt scene of Goiso ever again. PLEASE. My EYES!!

  46. 46 ricky

    The dialogue between kang-to and damsari impressed me so much. Knowing kang-to is so unsure of himself just adds so much to his character. Finally we get an insight into his thoughts, even if it’s just a glimpse. This was an exciting episode. Thanks for the recap!

    ps. Han chae ah and jin se yun are so attractive!

    • 46.1 Stardust

      I guess my brain is just too darn logical… during the touching speech, all I can think of is… : egg broken… what chick?? lol I suppose he means OTHER eggs… the part about the rock being dead is a nice touch though…. Speaking of which, may I commend the actor for making Goiso so utterly despicable I am really enjoying hating him, and picturing how satisfying it would be for Gaksital to punch him a new one… ahem…

  47. 47 lia

    I just wonder that it would be too early for shunji to found out kang to is gaksital…. there’s 14 more episodes for god sake. If Kangto’s cover was blown up in ep 15 then the drama could not be called gaksital anymore… because the man behind the mask is already known. The writers should found (they better be… ^_^ *crossfinger*) a clever excuse for kangto to save his life as gaksital. But why the hell only very few scenes of mokdan and kangto… huhuhu….. I need more romance on this show to balance out heart pumping scenes everytime I watch this show. Please writers-shi… help me with more romance… Ineed to see kangto smiles for just a second…For the first time in my life I become worried of kangto… how he is gonna live his life with shunji always in his tail… this show cracks me up! Gaksital fighting!!!

    • 47.1 ddduuuhhh

      You stole the words out of my mind lia. ugh i hate when gaksital is to busy running for his life that he doesn’t kiss mok dan!!! ugh we need a make out scene! please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  48. 48 Kakashi

    I’m SO going to marathon the whole of Gaksital over the summer … after AGD ends and before Faith and Arang and the Magistrate start …

  49. 49 Jasmine Gan

    HA! actually, sydney bristow normally just fights and runs and does whatever she does in her dress after balls or what not. yet she can fight just like she does in her suit. hahaha. love the reference tho! got me laughing out loud. like literally.

  50. 50 PinkSleeves


    Just…. wow.

    He’s like a whole different human being! It’s so twisted and dark…. I LOVE IT xD!!!

    Am I the only one who oddly finds him much more attractive then before? No? Just me going insane?

    What is this show doing to me! T.T

    But I have to say his acting skills…. he just killed it!!! He portrayed the character so awesomely, that my favorite parts of the show became any interactions between Kang-to and Shunji… and of course Gaksital flying kick of justice!

    In the beginning Shunji changed to a new level, but now it’s like he’s playing a different game. I just can’t take any more epicness from his change in character v.v

    And Kang-to…. I love you and all, but seriously whenever your in trouble I start to grab my laptop screen and shake it while screaming, “DON’T JUST STAND THERE! RUN LIKE THE WIND!”

    This is how you know a show is good. When you start screaming to yourself, and start falling in love with characters when they torture people.

    I cannot believe I just said that.

    • 50.1 queencircles

      That’s what I’ve been saying!! You’re not the only one. He’s definitely more attractive. A lot has to do with that godawful haircut he had before and the sexy cut he has now….

      He was also kind of milquetoast and boring before. He’s got a lot more depth and screen time so he’s more attractive because of that too

      • 50.1.1 Arhazivory

        Yeah. Bad Shunji is hotter than dorky Shunji any day of the week.

        • rearwindow

          LOL, not me. I’ll take dorky Shunji any day of the week over bad Shunji. I guess I don’t go for evil guys, lol. Teaching children in a little school on top of a hill while practicing swordplay for fun in his free time? Be still my heart. Torturing the woman he “loves” by beating her to a bloody pulp? Not so much.

          • Arhazivory

            lol. I wouldn’t go for him either but he just ‘looks’ hotter than the dorky version. ^^

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