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Gaksital: Episode 17

Oh. My. Goooooood.

There’s only one episode this week (and next week, thanks to the Oleeeempics), but thankfully there is plenty of awesome in this episode. There’s even—dare I say it?—awesome enough for TWO. I know! I’m still shaking from all the nerves.

The only question is: How will we make it to next week?!

SONG OF THE DAY

Lena Park – “손해 (損害)” (Damage) [ Download ]

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EPISODE 17 RECAP

Kang-to shocks Damsari by shooting his own officer to protect him, which is single-handedly the most satisfying thing about the previous episode. Huzzah! It’s awesome, although the independence comrades don’t see it and view Kang-to as the enemy.

Damsari stops his comrade from shooting Kang-to, but the comrade gets shot in turn by Shunji’s men. It’s chaos as both parties open fire on each other, magically losing the sharp shooting skills of just moments before (heh, I am amused at the convenience of everybody’s aiming prowess). The comrades escape into the woods, but the handcuffed Damsari is slower. Kang-to sizes up the situation and knocks him down with a blow to the neck just in time for Shunji to see.

Ack! And also, phew! I totally understand why this is a smart move on his part but wife-comrade witnesses this too, which makes it nerve-racking. That’s just going to fuel their anti-Kang-to hate even more. It’s good angst and I do love it, but my nails are not benefiting from all this biting.

Shunji eyes Kang-to suspiciously, but his explanation makes sense; Kang-to explains being caught by surprise and sighs that he would’ve been in deep trouble if Shunji hadn’t arrived in time.

Shunji orders Damsari taken back to the police station, but Kang-to balks—standing orders are to transfer him to the prison. Shunji tells him not to let his love for the rebel’s daughter cloud his judgment, but Kang-to throws those words back at him: Don’t cross that line. Director Kono ordered the transfer.

I love the tension this produces, because they’re both operating on ulterior motives that happen to be at odds. Shunji tries to pull rank on Kang-to, but Kang-to’s invoking police procedure to pull rank over Shunji.

They return to the station, where Shunji orders Koiso to keep Kang-to away from Damsari. He leans in close to whisper an addendum, which we don’t get to hear, but it has to do with Mok Dan.

Kang-to reports to Kono, saying that the rebels appear to still have much of their stolen firepower (a fact Kono hasn’t been apprised of till now). Therefore, he argues, it’s especially dangerous to proceed with Damsari’s public execution; the rebels are bound to attempt a rescue, and the public will be in danger from all that firepower.

Kono is shocked: “Public execution?” Aha! Kono spits rage as he calls Shunji in and slaps him across the face for defying his orders: he explicitly denied a public execution. He strips the stars from Shunji’s jacket and orders Kang-to to toss him in jail: He’s under arrest.

Damn. Things just took a turn.

But Shunji seems strangely confident and orders Kang-to to butt out. Did you just pull rank over the guy who outranks you? Shunji refuses to move one step until Kono agrees to the public execution.

Kang-to cuffs Shunji and starts to lead him away. But the phone rings—uh-oh, this can’t be good.

And indeed it isn’t: Governor Wada orders Kono to go forth with the execution. Looks like Kishokai was a little slow getting its political ducks in a row, but they’re there now. So while Kono argues that the public execution is a bad political move, Wada remains firm.

Kang-to looks at Shunji with budding suspicion: How could someone of his rank order around the police director? Ah, and now the distrust runs both ways. He wonders, “Who in the world could be standing behind Shunji?”

The cuffs come off, and Shunji thanks Kono for agreeing to the execution. Can a bow be sarcastic? It sure looks it.

For what it’s worth, Wada thinks Kono’s right to oppose the execution, but he’s never been one to let conscience and logic trump his more prominent traits of greed and cowardice. Especially not with Lala in the room with him, batting her eyelashes and pouting.

Shunji calls Kang-to in and asks directly why he rushed Damsari’s transfer. He admits that the ambush and attack was proof that Kang-to isn’t working in league with Damsari—and yet, the timing was so uncanny with the rebels attempting rescue at the most opportune moment.

Kang-to says he overheard Shunji proposing the public execution, and agreed with Kono’s stance. The empire is already dealing with a disgruntled Korean populace—mishandling the case of such a famous and symbolic man could trigger a much bigger revolution.

Asked if that’s the only reason, Kang-to adds that he couldn’t stand to have Mok Dan witness her father being killed in front of everyone. And despite the governor’s desire to hasten Damsari’s demise, they both know that Damsari has to be tried for the anniversary stunt—they can’t just kill him now arguing that he’d be dead at some point.

Shunji argues differently: Damsari is the “rat poison” that can wipe out everything in one dose—Gaksital and the rampant rumors sweeping the populace.

Kang-to drops by the jail, but notices something amiss and races out as Shunji gets the confirmation call that his instructions have been carried out.

Kang-to can’t find Shunji but deduces that he had Mok Dan removed. First he defies Kono, and now this? “When did Kimura Shunji become so powerful?” Again he wonders at Shunji’s backing, and thinks back to the anniversary party, and the hotel. There was that mysterious swordsman in Room 501: Katsuyama.

Kang-to calls the hotel, but nobody picks up in Room 501. He heads out to check for himself, and picks up the notice of his secret follower Ishida.

Shunji arrives at a hotel room, not noticing that his entry has been seen by Katsuyama. Inside the room is Mok Dan, and he has the nerve to ask how she’s doing, using the name Esther. It’s discordant with how far he’s crossed over to the dark side since he knew her as that name, and she spits in his face. It’s pretty satisfying.

Except… then Shunji tells her of the plans to execute Damsari upon arrival at the prison, so he’s relieved he was able to bring him back—you know, despite Kang-to messing up things by hurrying the transfer. Oh no. You. Didn’t. Are you really spinning yourself into the hero here? Ahhhh, you wily bastard!

She’s stunned. He says in his faux-gentle way, “Surely you didn’t believe Kang-to when he said he was in love with you?” He says that Kono and Kang-to want too much information from Damsari that she’s not safe in jail, nor is her father. Moving her here, he says, is the only thing he could do to help her and her father. Therefore, he entreats her not to escape and to stay here: “That will help your father. I’ll do my best to block the execution. Please, trust me.”

Arg arg arg! I am simultaneously disgusted and impressed with Shunji, and it’s messing with my head!

Mok Dan isn’t so easily swayed, thankfully, and she spits out that she can’t trust him—not when it was people wearing the same uniform who dragged off her mother, jailed both parents, beat them night and day, and dangled her in a well taunting her parents.

She calls them beasts in uniform, and Shunji looks horrified as he tells her earnestly, “Esther, I wore this uniform for you, to protect you, to save you.” She snatches her hands out of his, shaking in rage, but he starts to break down.

Shunji: “You know too, that Gaksital killed my brother. If I catch him, I could take off my uniform right away. I want to take it off! Taking it off immediately and teaching children—that’s how I truly want to live. Please. There’s nothing that I expect from you anymore—after I saw you agreeing to go into that box of nails, I even decided not to ask you who Gaksital is. I just… I want you to be safe, to be by me. Is even that much impossible?”

Well, god and damn. Now I DO believe Shunji’s sincerity, and it’s effing with my head even more. It’s at once both awesome and awful. Mok Dan says disbelievingly that even at this moment her father is in the hands of torturers—how can he tell her to sit tight in safety? She screams, “Am I your toy?!”

It’s not the reaction Shunji wants, and his face contorts in rage. The nice-guy protector turns into the petulant captor as he jumps to his feet and delivers a stunning slap to her face. Dayum. He calls for his subordinate and orders Mok Dan cuffed.

Rie calls Shunji in and tells him coldly that the governor is particularly concerned of another explosion at Damsari’s execution. Reminding him of his repeated failures to catch Gaksital, she warns him to be successful this time.

Business over, Rie sighs, “Shall we talk about personal matters now?” She has not been pleased to hear of Shunji’s hidden hostage situation and declares that since his plan failed, “I must get a return on the fish I caught.” He retorts that she shouldn’t be so quick to declare failure—that plan she thought he set to trap Gaksital was meant to catch Kang-to.

Rie scoffs, “Did you get any proof that Lee Kang-to is Gaksital?” Shunji replies, “Even just by proving he was not Gaksital, that trap had value.” Oh, where’s the irony fairy to drop irony anvils when you really need it?

Rie wants the girl returned to her, because Shunji still has feelings for her. Calling him blinded by love, she says she has to step in and “help” him out.

Shunji steps in close and warns that if Rie lays a hand on Mok Dan, “You die by my hand.”

This line of questioning takes an interesting turn as they drop to banmal:

Rie: “You’d ruin this grand scheme because of one pathetic Korean girl?”
Shunji: “Grand scheme? Ah, that plan to conquer the Far East and the Pacific? Is that what you’re fighting for?”
Rie: “Isn’t that what you’re putting your life on the line for?”
Shunji: “What a pitiful woman you are.”

Dayum. It’s an intense exchange, with both of them digging behind the other’s facades, questioning motivations and getting under each other’s skin. I love these two characters on their own, but when you put them together there’s such meeting of rich conflict.

Shunji leaves Rie feeling rattled; tears fill her eyes and she loses some of that haughty self-confidence. Interesting.

Kang-to arrives at the hotel to see Shunji leaving it. Too bad he doesn’t notice Ishida following him here as well; Kang-to beelines straight for Room 501. Before he decides what to do there, the door starts to open and he ducks for cover, seeing Rie leaving with bodyguard in tow. What the heck? This sure doesn’t fit into the Lala cover story.

Recalling their first encounter at the club when she kissed him, Kang-to realizes that she approached him with ulterior motive in mind.

Mok Dan sits cuffed in her room, and seizes a moment of distraction to knock down her captor and dart outside the room. She manages a brief evasion from the two guards, but they corner her quickly and draw their guns.

It’s Kang-to who calls the men to halt, and you just know Mok Dan has to be partly relieved and partly pissed off as hell to see him here. He sends her back into the room, leaving her captor waiting outside by saying he almost lost her. At least this gives Ishida nothing incriminating to report, although now they know Kang-to knows about the girl. His call informs Shunji of the development.

Mok Dan glowers at Kang-to for hastening her father’s execution, calling herself crazy for getting her hopes up when he said he’d help Damsari escape. She asks how he can use a person’s desire to live against them, when he’s Korean just like the rest.

Kang-to stares at her with these tortured eyes, saying, “I… thought you had died.” Gasp! Are you… going to reveal yourself?!

“If I’d thought there was even the slightest chance you were alive… I would have recognized you sooner. Boon-ah. Don’t you know me?”

Omo omo omo.

Mok Dan’s eyes widen. He continues, “That knife… the Young who gave you that knife… Don’t you recognize me?” Omg.

A flashback fills us in on their childhood meeting, and how much the knife meant to him, and the time he’d lost it and she’d made herself sick searching in the cold to return it to him. And then, the fateful day when they were ambushed, he’d left the knife with her, and seen her being cut down by their attacker.

They sit there staring at each other, Mok Dan trying to take this in. She’s having a hard time processing, understandably—where, how, do the personas fit?

Mok Dan: “Lee Kang-to… the Lee Kang-to who made my father receive the death penalty is the young master? The imperial policeman who captures independence fighters… is the young master I’d waited for so dearly? The Lee Kang-to who imprisoned and tortured me to catch Gaksital? The Lee Kang-to who tried to kill me in the square is the young master who promised to find me, if I just stayed alive?”

Well, when you put it like that, it just sounds bad. Her reaction is far from pleased; she wonders how this could possibly be. It’s a lie, it has to be. “How could Young Master turn into a person like you?” Oh, that hurts my heart. It’s worse because it’s all true.

She says, “I thought Young Master was Gaksital, the Gaksital who saves Joseon people.”

He tries to explain, but she flinches away and screams at him to leave. He tells her earnestly, “I know now, down to my bones, how wrongly I’ve lived.”

Shunji runs to the door, but stops short as Mok Dan yells, “I told you to leave!” I’m dearly hoping Shunji can only hear the shouting, because Kang-to begs quietly, “Boon-ah, please believe me. I really did try to help your father escape. There’s no time. Please, tell me where I can meet your comrades.”

But she just yells again for him to leave, and this time Shunji enters to enforce that demand. With no choice, Kang-to gets up and walks out.

Ahhhhhh, that scene was so good.

Governor Wada calls in his cronies—which include the count, the newspaperman, and politicians—for an advisory meeting to discuss ways to make the Joseon people fall in line.

They talk as though there’s a magic pill or spell that can be invoked to make all Joseon minds turn into Japanese ones, and propose that the first step is to outlaw the speaking of Korean and instate Japanese as the national language. Also, if anyone supports Damsari or Gaksital, they should be shot on the spot.

The count has been advised by the countess to think of their upward mobility, and to do what he can to secure himself a position of power. So he leaps up and proposes that they subject Damsari to a public execution, and gets others on his bandwagon. You’d think the governor would be happy to have this plan backed, but he argues that it’s inappropriate.

His advisors declare that it’s necessary to deal with the rebels, and they urge him to agree. He allows that since his council is so emphatic, for the sake of public order and as a warning to others, he will consent. Hm, so was Wada just playing hard to get, to make himself the Good Cop? Maybe he’s not a complete idiot after all.

Damsari’s back to the torture dungeon, where Kang-to finds him despite orders that he’s not to enter the room. He releases Damsari from his chains and sits him down.

Thinking of the ambush, Damsari tells Kang-to that he saw him saving the life of the comrade who was trying to kill him. Despite the fact that he serves under the Japanese, he’s Korean too, Damsari notes.

Kang-to informs Damsari of his public execution in four days, and that he’d promised Boon-yi he would help Damsari escape. (Tellingly he calls Damsari “Teacher,” a sign of respect.) But he fears this is too much for him to do alone, and asks for information on where to meet his comrades.

Damsari points out that his comrades would hardly believe him, but Kang-to says he’ll deal with that. During the ambush one of Damsari’s men died: “I want to rescue you, to ensure that life was not taken in vain.”

Damsari just tells him not to make risky, unlikely plans: “I can’t see any more young people dying to save me.” Kang-to says insistently, “They are not just dying for nothing. As you told me, I am breaking eggs against boulders, aren’t I?”

In their hideaway, Damsari’s team brainstorms for ways to rescue him. It’s looking discouraging, but they have an unexpected visitor: Gaksital, who gets an immediate embrace from the young comrade whose face lights up in hope. At least now Gaksital can have a voice, since nobody’s around to recognize Kang-to! (Because really, how well can you formulate a complex secret mission through head-nods and soulful stares?)

Rie fumes as she takes Chief Kimura to task for Shunji’s lingering soft spot for Mok Dan. Kimura protests, saying that that can’t be true; Shunji’s been on the ball lately. Rie isn’t having it: “I will kill that girl.”

Kimura agrees and gets up to leave. But she stops him: “You have to see her being killed first, don’t you?” Oh, you meant NOW. Yeesh. Now we know why she wanted that fish back so badly.

For that purpose, Katsuyama brings an unconscious Mok Dan out of her room, having already knocked out her police guards. It’s a short distance from the hotel to Rie’s room at the gisaeng establishment… but any distance can be intercepted, no? Kang-to pulls up to the hotel, sees Mok Dan being driven away, and follows.

Katsuyama enters with Mok Dan, who comes to groggily. She recognizes Rie, who still addresses her sarcastically as “Sister.”

Rie tells Kimura to report back to Shunji: “You don’t stake your life on something as ever-changing as love, but power.” Then she gives Katsuyama the order: “Kill her.”

Katsuyama raises his sword. Mok Dan closes her eyes. And flying in through the paper walls… is a dagger that lodges in Katsuyama’s arm.

Gaksital bursts through the wall next—seriously, where are you changing your clothes?—and knocks Katsuyama down with a series of hard blows to the head. But Kimura wasn’t a samurai for nothing, and he draws his sword too. En garde.

It’s a quick swordfight that ends with Kang-to knocking Kimura out, but then Rie takes her turn, charging after the fugitives. Katsuyama revives and pursues as well: it’s two swords, one cane, and a damsel in distress.

Rie and Katsuyama stop the fugitives on the bridge, and after a brief halt in action, Kang-to leaps into the air. The men splash into the water, and the ladies have their own one-on-one battle on the bridge.

At least Mok Dan is better at holding her own against one opponent, despite her lack of weapon, and manages to dodge the sword. But she gets knocked down and Kang-to leaps back up to help her… and finds that they’re sandwiched between the baddies with blades.

Kang-to barrels through and gets slashed on the arm to match the slice in his leg, but pushes Mok Dan toward freedom. He waves her away, indicating that she should run, and resumes his fighting stance. Bleeding, he holds them at bay while Mok Dan stands there paralyzed, which I understand even though I’m screaming at her TO RUN ALREADY.

Kang-to knocks Rie down with a blow to the neck, but gets knocked to the ground by Katsuyama. He’s sprawled on the ground as the sword prepares to swing down, and Mok Dan thinks fast (finally!). She flings her/Young’s dagger at Katsuyama, who uses his swing to deflect it.

Kang-to growls at her, “Run away!” He musters up a reserve of strength and launches himself in the air, his blow sending Katsuyama diving into the pond. Oh phew. But all the blood!

Kang-to retrieves Mok Dan’s dagger and escapes, just as Rie gains consciousness and sees his white figure dashing off.

Mok Dan runs into the forest to her message tree, and prays. She waits there for a good long while hoping for a sign of Gaksital, until finally she hears his horse approaching. It trudges toward her slowly, bearing an unconscious rider.

Mok Dan approaches in tears, registering Gaksital’s bloodied, weakened state and whitened face… and removes the mask. Oh. My. God.

It’s Kang-to’s face, of course, pale and stricken. Slowly he comes to his senses and opens his eyes, and looks up into her shocked face. Kaboooom. Mind. Blown.

 
COMMENTS

Sooooo good.

I’ve said this before and as long as the drama continues it, I’ll continue to praise it: Gaksital doesn’t hold back. It doesn’t pull its punches, and it delivers what we want, usually when we want. At times it was a half-step slower than I wanted, but at other, more important times it’s been much sooner than expected, which is awesome.

Because while I was dying for Mok Dan to figure out the dual identity, I wasn’t actually expecting she would. Not with eleven episodes left! As long as she didn’t find out as the cliffhanger to the second-to-last episode, I was willing to go with a prolonged period of ignorance on her part. Especially if that gave us lots of deliciously angsty scenes like the one in the hotel where she’s spewing anger and hate at Kang-to.

Speaking of which, I absolutely loved her reaction to finding out that Kang-to was her Young Master. I’ve always thought she has been incredibly idealistic, not just about the independence and her principles (which is commendable) but also about Gaksital and Young Master. Even when it was Kang-san behind the mask, she romanticized him beyond his actual self; what she didn’t know about him (and that’s almost everything), she filled in with assumptions and hopes fueled by her own ideological passions. Just as she has demonized Kang-to beyond all reality. I understood it, but I love so much more that she has her own moment of harsh reality.

Admittedly, Kang-to hasn’t perhaps deserved to be cut much slack given his past, but Damsari is wise enough to see something behind his reputation and his past actions, even after Kang-to was the one who caught him and locked him up.

No such gray in-between areas for Mok Dan, who sees the world in stark contrasts. Shunji goes from friend to foe overnight, and Kang-to… well, I appreciate that this revelation shakes up her worldview. It doesn’t fit into her understanding of life, the cosmos, the universe—so maybe this is the start of a new facet of Mok Dan, too. One that’s just a little more world-wise, perhaps, with a little more understanding.

I say this all while finding nothing really wrong with her character—she’s admirably loyal and unbending in her integrity, so it’s not that she needs to lose that. But I find her perspective naive and young, and in this world of complex relationships and twisted loyalties, I welcome a bit more dimension.

Furthermore, I love how this plays out on Kang-to’s side as well, and that Mok Dan had that reaction to him before realizing who he is. The world puts him on that Gaksital pedestal and assumes he’s a noble, sacrificing hero, the stuff of fairy tales or comic books. Then the very same world hurls curses at him and calls him less than human for kowtowing to the overlords, lumping him in with the obsequies of the Count and Countess, only after personal gain.

Thus it was important, I think, for Mok Dan to connect the two opposing halves of his persona and challenge him on it—it’s not how Kang-to can do the things he does, but more to the point, how did sweet Young become morally corrupt and vicious? I can’t wait to see how Mok Dan handles this revelation; she didn’t accept his explanation that he knows he’s lived wrongly, but perhaps this is the proof—the only possible kind—that he’s doing what he can to do penance.

While we’re talking about dimension… how’s Shunji fer ya? I was growling at my screen for the first part of this episode because his two-faced ways were elevating my blood pressure, but as a drama character I have to say I LOVE him. I love to hate him, too, but it’s not a linear path of: Shunji evil —> I wish a pox on him.

Shunji’s descent into the dark side is one of the more realistic, complex paths I’ve seen recently in dramas, or perhaps ever. Usually you see a character struggle a bit to hold on to his goodness, then reach a point of no return and then say the hell with it, after which point he’s just eeeevil. Whereas Shunji, I find incredibly realistic. He doesn’t switch on an evil button in his brain and then conform to the expectations of that archetype. He’s constantly swinging back and forth, sometimes tapping into that earlier sweetness, then letting rage overwhelm his reason as he lashes out, Kimura-style.

Shunji fucks with my brain, but in a good way (narratively speaking), because I never quite know where he stands. And it’s not that you can’t read him, because I did believe his speech about wanting to go back to his teacher self and living a simple life. And I fully believe that he went into the police with only good intentions. So it’s not that I don’t think he’s being honest; it’s that his honesty swings wildly from extreme to extreme as he tries to reconcile all his warring desires.

For instance, Shunji wants to be the hero, and I believe his motivations are sincere. But he’s not noble enough to actually be the hero—he wants his grand gestures to be appreciated, he wants recognition. That’s why he alternately helps Mok Dan and punishes her: He needs her to praise him as he thinks he deserves to be praised, and can’t stand when she doesn’t then respond that way. When she calls him on his crap. It’s a selfish sort of helping hand, where he’s doing it more for his own gratification than for the help it actually does the other person.

Last but not least, I found Rie’s reaction to the confrontation with Shunji particularly telling this episode. They called each other on the excuses they’ve been making for their behavior, but Shunji pokes at the idea that she’s actually harboring a different motivation. Sure, she can spout off about the glory of the empire and the future of Japan’s domination, but pshhhhhh. He cuts right to the heart: What really makes you tick?

This ties into something I only caught onto in this episode. Maybe I’m slow or didn’t pick up on clues before, or maybe this is the first time it bubbled over—when Rie denounces Mok Dan repeatedly, she goes overboard to such an extent that it seemed like there was self-loathing mixed in. Till this point I assumed that she merely held the Korean girl in scorn, plus there’s the jealousy in knowing Kang-to’s in love with her. I don’t think Rie’s attachment to Kang-to (which interestingly is also mixed, love and hate) is that deep, but I could buy that she found it annoying that the pesky girl won his affections without even trying, when Rie had been thinking of him for the last five years.

But Rie’s cutdowns of Mok Dan’s pathetic, lowly, Joseon existence hint at her own insecurity complex. Which, as we know, are rooted in her fears of losing her identity after working so hard to reinvent herself. She hates Joseon for what it did to her parents, but she also fears it for being the dead weight to drag her down with it.

So much good stuff this week.

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I love this drama! Thanks for the recap!

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I. love. this. episode.
I watched two minutes of it on my phone in the middle of class in school, the very end, and then i gasped out loud it was embarassing!

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I know!

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Now that is a serious addiction! You probably shouldn't bring your phone into class.

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How will I wait till next week?!!!!!

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I KNOWWWW--BEST EPISODE EVA. Korean netizens are complaining about the cliffhanger too! 각각시시시탈탈탈탈탈!!! 어떡해!?!?

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I don't understand all the love for this drama. I've honestly tried my best to enjoy this show but it hasn't hooked me at all and I'm not buying it. It's a big shame since I LOVED City Hunter. What mainly frustrates me is all the first loves going around. I HATE first loves storyline. Not only is there one, but all of them love the main leads for that one sole reason (young master->Boonyi, Boonyi->young master/gaksital, Shunji->Esther, Rie->Kangto). I'm not buying any of their love stories and find it ridiculous. This is because for instance, Kangto only started to like Mok Dan just because she was that little child girl and that's when he automatically liked her, when before, he hated her guts. I don't find their love real or strong. Secondly, I hate how no one can capture Ga [Read more]

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I just want to address the childhood love issue...When I first started watching kdramas, I totally didn't get the 1st love theme which appeared in at least 1/2 of the dramas that I've watched. You just have to accept it as a dramatic conceit and move on. Now, I just take the first love stuff for granted, like chaebols, and middle aged mothers who slap and scream at their adult children.

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Great points.

Episodes 1-6 were tightly knit without plot holes. The pace was brisk, dramatic materials were fresh and spell-binding, and scenes of the childhood (of either Shunji, Lee Gang To or Mok Dan) added taste, class & depth to the drama, in the scale of Dr. Zhivago.

However, once Lee Gang To put on the Gaksital mask, the drama just fell apart from inside out. Lee Gang To as Gaksital just does not work. I cannot understand why. I am still debating whether it has something to do with Ju Won, the actor, who is good looking but surprisingly lacks charisma to carry the show forward. (On Shunji front, we know that Park Gi Woong has no such problem. With each episode, he blossoms ever more.)

Then came Episode 17.

The most memorable scene in this episode was the [Read more]

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There is a sub-issue involving class between Mokdan and Rie as well as Mokdan and Lee Gang To.

Mokdan is a daughter of a serf. Thus, neither Booni nor Damsari has a legal name. Rie, on the other hand, is a descendant of a high-class Korean family. Ditto for Lee Gang To.

Young Lee Gang To begged his family to save Booni, who had been left motherless on the roadside, from near-certain starvation and death. But nothing indicates that this was done out of boy-girl attraction. More likely, it was because Lee Gang To was already imbued with sense of charity towards lower class, i.e., noblisse oblige. Later, Booni risks her life trying to retrieve her young master's precious dagger. But this, too, might be more properly explained by her loyalty towards her newly-adopted masters.
[Read more]

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Excellent insight regarding the love triangle. Like most commenters here, I think Mok Dan character needs some more internal complexities for us to relate to her. And Boon-Yi and Kang To's relationship just seems so static.

I know conventionally we should root for the hero, but I just can't bring myself to root for Kang-To for some reasons. His character development just seems so choopy. It doesn't have complexities and selfish struggles that I can identify with. I really enjoy watching Shunji gradually descending into evil. There's always an air of mystery, of not exactly sure what he's planning on doing. I can watch Shunji all day :D

I really hope Mook Dan is Shunji's savior. I'm a romantic at heart :P

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You said it perfectly. I find the bad guys way more interesting and easier to relate to than the good guys.

And Mok Dan is annoying.

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Did you realize whether Kangto's mad, sad, glad, or worried, he's always so freaking HOT?!!

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doesn't everybody

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Ohmyfgawd. I was screaming throughout that last fight sequence.. such a nail biter!! That scene was probably one of the best if not prettiest fighting scenes. With that water splashing all over?! Hotdayum. Oh Mok Dan, you couldn’t escape earlier when kang-to told you to?! Sometimes you need to think smarter&be more badass and not get in the way. I remember how she said in earlier episodes where she mentioned Shunji is one she can easily manipulate to get on her side. Remember that, mok dan?The dudes head over heels for you. It’d be nice if she trapped shunji in a kickass plan instead of vice versa all the time.

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Hmmm.. Yeah, I also wonder what happens to her plan?!

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That's been bugging me also. She needs to be more badass!

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hmm. i was also wondering about that. i think the writer can't find any flirty ways of her =).

Anyway, this episode is purely Daebak! Thanks for the recaps JB =)

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Agree with the fight scene in the water. The slow-mo effect plus the film score for that scene was perfect. My heart is still pounding from the excitement! So. awesome!

And someone needs to train Mok Dan officially how to fight so she doesn't get her ass whooped by Lala anymore. Mok Dan, you gotta fight dirty now. Spare me the balletic moves and start fighting for real. Come on, your daddy's Dam Sa Ri! Let's see some headbutts and flying kicks!

Gah. I love this episode!

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Mok Dan is just lucky enough to survive from Lala..
But I'm sure the writers aren't gonna neglect Mok Dan of course.. I'm sure later on Mok Dan will undergo some changes too.. like fight better or maybe becoming smarter.. Everyone had changed already.. Shunji.. Kang To... Mok Dan's era will come~ pfft... :P

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I agree that water fight scene was epic. Whoa....This episode messed up my mind big time.

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I was screaming too! As a person that love action first; romance second, this was masterfully done!!

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OMG the drama didn't end with Kangto -Shunji face-off. whoop whoop :D

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Yeah for no guns being pointed at KT/Gaksital!!

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YEAH!! My thoughts EXACTLY lol lol... and it ends with BoonYi/Mok Dan too! LOL I love everything about this ep... and is so afraid of Dr Shunji and Mr Hyde... er... haha He is so earnest I am not sure if he has gone crazy or now has split personalities. How can you strike the woman you love? No matter what?

Kang to coming clean to Mok Dan is refreshingly fast. I was afraid of a long drawn out angsty thing and our poor boy needs all the help he can get.

Lastly, may I just point out what an awesome horse Gaksital has? It comes with its very own GPS. I suppose he whispered in its ear : Tree... and it trots there by itself lol... also...where was the horse? How does it know when to show up? Does it graze somewhere until activated? hahaha...silly questions....

Now I wait for next we [Read more]

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I thought that costume changes and horse appearances were already defined as Kang-To's magic power hahaha Well, I'm not complaining, Gaksital had to appear then and there, by the time he went to get his horse, it'll be to late, from the narrative time point of view... so... I'll just suspend logic on this one and enjoy bad-ass Gaksital on my screen:)

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Oh, the magic is the horse! He always knows where to go!!

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After I wrote my rant I scrolled down to the sea of text below and found that people have aptly dubbed Horsital kekekeke

I went googling and apparently horses have an excellent sound of hearing... Maybe Gaksital has some kind of dog/horse whistle which he can blow on and summon his Horsital! HAHAHA Look at us trying to fill the small plot holes...

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MsB, I've been thinking, Gaksital couldnt have gone anywhere without his horse! And he never gets any credit! LOL

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You know you're obsessed with Gaksital when you keep refreshing dramabeans to see what she says despite having seen the episode TWICE.

How is Mok Dan's poor brain going to handle the fact that the person she loathed the most is also the person she loves the most? I can see her brain cells exploding already.

And it's only 4 more days till Dam Sari's execution! Will Kang To recover fast enough to come to the rescue, or will the rebels, for once, do the heavy lifting for him?

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You know dramabeans is also obsessed when the recap is up the same day as the episode!! :-D

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And such a dilemma this is because I want to know so badly yet I'd rather watch it first before I read. So while I keep refreshing the site for the subbed episode, this recap keeps popping up in my brain begging me to read it!

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I know. OMGGGG. Gakistallll, you're ruining me. How long will it take for another drama to pass the bar you've raised for me? *sighs*

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She knows! She finally knows! And I have to wait for one whole week for the next episode?!! >.<

Honestly, prior to this episode, I wanted to see MokDan to at least sympathize with Kang To first before finding out his other identities because first it's nice to see someone accepting him as Kang To (granted, with his past he prolly doesnt deserve it, but I just thought that he should get some kind of encouragement as Kang To) and second because I believe that she will be able to love Young Master/Gaksital wholly, for better and worse (better is Gaksital/Young Master and worse is Lee Kang To). But with how the secrets are now pouring out, I wonder how this will shake her ideology since she puts Gaksital on this really high pedestal, untouched by any flaws/imperfections. She exp [Read more]

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I also thought that the scene where KT as Gaksital saves Mok Dan right before she sliced into cubes by Katsuyama (bodyguard) mirrored the scene where KT saved Rie when she was mourning. Except now Rie is the one in power and making the commands and also on the other side culture-wise. And I'm wondering if Mok Dan represents a younger more idealistic Rie which also rubs at her insecurities.

I also keep wondering about what happened to Mok Dan in the field. Did she get slashed and survived or did someone save her just in time? Or was this explained and idr?

Shunji is like a creepy, pyscho serial killer who blames his victims for the way he is. He's scarier than all of the Kimuras and he also has better aim (he killed a guy in this episode). Bad combo!

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I'm not sure what happened to her in the field, since it was kimda vague. but I think someone saved her from getting slashed, I think it was one of the servants (need to check back on the episode)
And yes thanks for bringing up the point of how the scene also mirrors the scene where Rie almost got slashed. I think Mok Dan resembles Rie in that both are standing strong by their convictions. However, Rie's motive is more on trying to be a filial daughter rather than patriotic. And she hates the independence movement because she believes that they tricked her dad into funding them, but then got him killed.

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I think the reason is working so hard to keep her Japaense persona is because President Ueno has been a father figure to her. It gave her security and identity at a time when she was confused, lost, and angry.

And her situation is similar to early Kang To who only saw the independence movement to be pointless and unable to help families/ people in need in addition to being the reason his father (and later his brother) died.

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Japanese*

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Agree. And I also think that Rie prolly doesn't want to be treated as powerless second-class citizen (just like she's been forced to serve the Japanese guests at the Gisaeng) and that's why she hates being a Joseon citizen. Power then becomes the most important thing for her given that she is puzzled in this episode at how indifferent Shunji is in attaining power over Joseon and how Kang To would put his job (which she refers as high position for Joseon citizen) at risk to save Mok Dan in previous episode. And she is thirsty of power because she doesn't want anyone to look down at her anymore. So I feel that her reason for turning into Japan's side is rather selfish. While Kang To, even if he was thirsty for power too, it was actually fueled by his motivation to protect his mom and brother [Read more]

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Previous flashback showed how someone killed the man about to kill her. Don't remember the episode but it was shown. It might have been Baek Gun; not sure.

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You just made me think of something. Kang To's shoeshine ahjussi - sorry, don't know what his character's name is. Anyway, in this present he has only one hand. In the flashbacks in Manchuria he had the hand. What if this is how he lost the limb, by saving Boon Yi? What if he's the one who got her to the convent where she became Esther? (Has it been explained yet how she became Esther?)

Just a thought.

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You know what? I never realized that the shoeshine ahjussi is MISSING his left hand until you mention it! Seriously, am hitting the back of my head now for overlooking that big detail. Thanks, @beggar1015!
And yes, the shoeshine ahjussi could be the one that saved little Mok Dan back in the field, at the cost of his hand...

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Hmmmm, well, Boon-Yi ended up at the hospital place where Shunji met her as Esther. There's a scene where she's begging to the man who's in charge of the hospital, begging him to save Shunji's Grandmother and mentions that he was able to save her so I guess someone passed by a while later and took her to a hospital :D

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I'm inclined to think what happened to Mok Dan in the field is she used that knife young master gave her.

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I was also wondering about the trailing policeman's incompetence. But then I figured out he probably only works 9-5,so no it all makes sense :D

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LOL-that's the funniest justification! :D
But then again, he's only incompetent during pivotal moments..

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maybe he reported back to shunji and all that will play out next week.

ahhhhh.....ONE WEEK!!!

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Maybe he's another inside man, working for the Freedom Fighters.

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@Maya

"And apparently Taro is as bad in wielding sword as he is in shooting. Just a couple of hits from Gaksital and he fainted? Blahhh…"

HAHAHA. You said it. He's totally useless in a fight. And he even posed like a badass katana-wielding samurai. I now believe that, whether it's guns or swords, your weapons are just props. Epic fail, Chief.

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Kang To hit Taro at pressure points. He obviously learned a lot from Baek Gun! btw, where is Baek Gun? He is just not utilized enough!

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I know right!?! I was like where the fck is him? He should be trailing Kang-to the way he sis with Kang-san. So they should know someone is spying on him. ARGH.

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I'm very impressed, I didn't see those parallels between their childhood and the present.

As you seemed to imply when discussing the fight scene. Mok Dan seems somewhat inept. I wonder if the actress feels uncomfortable with martial arts.

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According to JW in an interview, they would do some of their martial arts training together. He was praising her for how much she had improved, especially since when she first started, she couldn't do as much as a handstand.

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I watched it last night without subs and I was on the vergew of fainting, but I felt I couldnt cause I would miss some plot poinbt. so it was like holding myself by the hair with eyes taped "must....keep....going....arrrggghhh!"
That fight was epic. especially cause it looked like multiple mirrors, one behind another.
Joo Won´s acting was amazing and the sequence of past events was heartbreaking.
remember, Kang To is not just the person she hates once, loves once - she hates him for being a traitor, for arresting his father, and before, for chasing Gaksital, before he became one. And she loves him two times - as young master, as Gaksital., We need a third for that to be even, and a fourth reason to outbalance the hatred...

at least I am going to a folk music festival so it is no [Read more]

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Yay for Gaksital. This episode soothed my previous drama woes (ahem, I think you know who you are, Other Drama). It makes me reluctantly hate the Olympics because there's only one episode this week and how can you leave me on that mask-unvieling moment?!

And I don't understand what's with all the Mok Dan bashing (at least in the viki comments). I think she's a strong character who has clear ideals that she sticks to. I only find it annoying when she keeps getting used at pawn piece, in and out of jail, susceptible to wrist grabbing (and not even the mildly affectionate kind). She doesn't have the kind of power and status that Rie has to move around people to her pleasing. So comparisons aren't that fair. I'm not saying she's the perfect heroine but she's not as bad as some people are co [Read more]

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Agreed with the whole "wishing" for her death.
Seriously shes not THAT bad. Sometimes, i wished she was more smart(that would get her out of alot of trouble), and give us viewers more badassery heroines, but i blame the character writing for the fact that she was always used as a pawn. I felt like it was a cycle @_@
But one thing i always admired about Mok Dan was how strongly she stood her ground, always. You can't wish for death for a person like that. Just cruel.
i read the Viki comments too, and im just like tough crowd.

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I don't understand it either. I mean, I read one comment saying Mok Dan need to eat all the words she said to Kang To in the episode. People, cut her some slack, the dude did torture her AND try to kill her twice!!!

She only knows that Kang To. Now she is gonna start to see the Kang To we (the viewers) know... let's see how she takes it and the development. If I was her, it would be dificult to register everything that she just discovered.

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@ maru

"I don’t understand it either. I mean, I read one comment saying Mok Dan need to eat all the words she said to Kang To in the episode. People, cut her some slack, the dude did torture her AND try to kill her twice!!!"

Some people are really harsh with their comments. They need to look at it from Mok Dan's point of view and not us as the viewers. We see Kang to doing all his heroic stuffs but for Mok Dan, she only sees him as the Harbinger of Death and Mayhem.

Now how can I survive just one episode this week with that kind of ending? It's not the Box of nails but it's still torture.

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If I was Mok Dan, I'd have harsher words and a few kicks for him too.

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That's true, seriously people, don't hate Mok Dan so much. Hate the writer. Swear at her/him all you wish. And she's not a bad actress.

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Yeah, the viki comments were just whacko this episode. I normally don't mind them, but I had to turn them off because I thought they were bordering on inappropriate/hateful/demeaning.

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Agreed! I don't understand why there is so much Mok Dan bashing. I've seen it both in viki (so you watch it there too!!) but also in any other website that has reviews/info/news on Gaksital, and even on videos of OSTs,etc. Mok Dan really hasn't had the life that makes for a more complex character. She was orphaned young by her parents (younger than any other characters, including Rie, I believe), she lived with the missionary doctors before she was part of a circus. How can she have the same complex layers as the other three characters who had more drastic/severe(for the lack of better word) lives?

Also, Mok Dan can be reflection of how we/general mass see heroes/anti-heroes that the other characters are. How many of us can honestly deny that we don't have a world view that is black-an [Read more]

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i'm hoping that now Mok Dan knows kang-to is gaksital(although it'd be alot to take in), that she'd accept it, move on, and become his girlfriday. ;)

I thought the praying at the end was consistent with her character, so i dont know what people are talking about. lol. She woulda been on the path to being a nun if not for the independence movement.

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"She woulda been on the path to being a nun if not for the independence movement."AHAHAH LOL That is so true!

Now that comment has fueled a speculation to an end of the drama: Kangto/Gaksital dies at the arms of Shunji, killed by the mortal wound inflicted by Shunji. Mok Dan spurns the offer from Shunji to live him (since she learned to love Kangto by then) and goes and joins a convent where she prays and helps the other independence fighters (historically, religious figures, esp Christians supported the Korean independence movement).

Oh gaksital this is what you make me do instead of getting excited for Olympics. Thank goddness 1n2d is schedule to air as usual even with Olympics. I need more Joowon!! <3

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Here's what I want:

Shunji dies in what turns out to be his first and only moment of true selflessness, saving his buddy Kang-To and the girl they both love.

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We all know that secrets won't last forever. So now MD was the first one to find out. I think Shunji or Rie will be next, though I would like it to be Rie more to find out that KT is the Gaksital because I want to see her reactions, to follow either Korea or Japan. Eeeeeee!

Shunji WILL eventually find out because like I said, secrets won't last forever. I bet he's gonna be furious!! Another sad and maybe gory ending I s'pose. Maybe both Shunji and KT will die...but who will be the next Gaksital? Probably Mok Dan... Or Shunji if he's still alive... I'm not saying that KT will definitely be dead, I'm just saying my opinions.

Oh and Baek Gun. He's practically useless, well he was MUCH more useful when Kang San was the Gaksital (Yunno, knocking KT down every time). And now, all he does a [Read more]

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I wonder what will happen after she'd figured out? Run away and ignore him until the next few episodes where (i bet) she'll start softening up to him?

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Well said about Mok Dan. I agree with the consensus that she's not complex, but not every character has to be. Kang-to, Shunji, and Rie provide enough complexity for me. Like you said, Mok Dan is a reflection of the audience. If there's any character that I can connect with, it is Mok Dan because there is right and wrong for her. I hope that most, if not all, of Gaksital's audience can distinguish between right and wrong like her. And those complex characters are there to mess with her world views as well as ours.

And on a shallow note, yes, Joo Won is too cute! I still can't believe maknae Joo Won on 1N2D plays Gaksital. Where does that intensity come from, dude?

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Man. he's one of those actors that has that raw talent.
i remember JB and GF commenting on the difference of acting as a learned technique and it just coming naturally to you.
I feel like joo won has that.. which is why i was immediately captivated by him when i first saw him act.
There's just that immediate connect with his character.

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This is the first drama I've seen him in. It took me a while to warm up to Joo Won for some reason. While I was captivated by his talent and intensity while watching the first few episodes of Gaksital, thinking that no one else could play Lee Kang-to, he didn't stick with me. And then like a bus--BAM--some episodes later, I'm a bit obsessed with him. It's befuddling to me, but I welcome it.

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YES about Joo Won! He's just so Brilliant as an actor. I loved him in Ojjakyo Brothers and more so here in Gaksital. I'm just amazed that he could play the characters from both ends of the good/bad spectrum so convincingly.

I, too, can't still believe Joo Won of 1n2d plays Gaksital. O.o The mysteries of the universe . . .

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Not complex is an understatement. The character's outstanding trait is to stand out in the open so danger can spot her and stare like a deer transfixed by the headlights of a car, dating all the way back to when she was a child hiding in the grass.

She and Shunji are funny to watch. They just are. I like it.
Hating on them is part of the fun and excitement of the show to me. I am glad they are totally weird.

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"Or can it be that, can I dare to suggest, everyone is hating on Mok Dan/the actress because she gets the love of our beloved Kangto/Joo won? (I KNOW I AM!! Joo won is suuuuuccch a cutie <3)"

mirrored my thoughts exactly! =DDDD

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Yeah, the comments were coming out of left field against Mok Dan! Without a weapon, I thought she was doing well. I still contend it was her moment, ep 17!

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I can tell you one of the main reason: many of those commenters are girls that like Joo won, and thus like Kangto, so they will automatically hate the person that Kangto likes, and hate on her even more since she hates Kangto, conveniently forgetting that Kangto totally deserved all the hate by the way he treated her. Happens with a lot of dramas where the guy is famous and cute. There's also the "Kangto is trying to do things to help her, why is Mok Dan so stupid that she can't see that and cut him some slack"? They conveniently forget that viewers see "everything" and saw what Kangto has done, while Mok Dan doesn't any of it. So I would not even try to read any of those comments at all or reply to them. Fangirls can be very stubborn and vicious. Stick with more "reliable" and 'sane [Read more]

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THIS!

I agree with what you had written. I couldn't write it better than this.. ^^

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I also agree. I like her but how many times has she been caught and either let go, rescued or escaped? 4 or 5 or more?

I call it "catch and release". I blame the writers for being lazy.

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I completely agree with each and every person who has replied to your comment. I thought I was the only one who really sympathized with Mok Dan.

I rewatched ep 17 today on Viki and my goodness the comments that were spewed towards Mok Dan really just were inappropriate and unecessary. I understand that people are entitled to their opinions, but this... it's just way to cruel.

We as viewers, have the advantage of seeing each and every side of the characters, whereas the characters themselves obviously don't.

Mok Dan not being able to believe that Kang-To IS her beloved young master, was superbly realistic. She's only seen ONE side of him, and that's the evil freedom fighter eater that he WAS, the one he used to be.

And all those commentators that kept saying "Omg just believe [Read more]

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Great episode!!!
But the wait is killing me!!!
This episode zoomed by, leaving me wanting for moooorreee!!

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so so so good. cant wait another week!!

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Despite the fact that some people don’t like Mok Dan, you’d be in denial to say she doesn’t have stellar acting. Both scenes with shunji&kang-to this episode I felt the anguish in her voice. Great performance, for a newcomer.
And Kang-to, your eyes are like pearls in the ocean.
Shunji, you creep me out as you always do, but keep up the good work. I hate how he’s so clever, but I guess that’s needed for plot development.

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Agreed! (I feel like I'm returning the comment, haha :)

Everyone acting was super great in this episode. I could totally see the mix of emotions in her (Mok Dan) eyes when KT told her he was Young Master.

Joo Won continues to be great. Park Ki Woong is doing a convincing creepy, crazy person. And yes, Gaksital needs a competent and clever opponent so it's even more satisfying when he escapes their traps and give them a taste of their own medicine.

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i think Jin Se Yeon's acting in this episode was the best so far ! Hooray for her :) Keep it up girl!

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Even when everyone totally hates Shunji's character, you gotta admit he's an awesome actor, yes? But Joo Won is WAY better, and I am NOT saying that just because I like him.

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I'm still a little ambivalent about the actress playing Mok Dan but she's certainly getting quite good. I'm not sure if she's perfectly casted for the role, though. But I'm not complaining. Can't wait for her reaction on discovering Gaksital's identity.

I do love Rie - so kickass! and how i wish Katsuyama is on the side of good so he and Gaksital can be besties. What? He can't have a sidekick? I can totally picture the bromance.

And of all the villains i've ever watched in a drama, Shunji is the best. There are villains that I wish to the heavens that the Express Train to Hell come for them stat. But not Shunji. He's one villain i don't think I'll ever hate. (I hope i didn't speak too soon.)

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Shunji=*chills running down my spine* What's more evil than a pretty face and a smile while stabbing you in the back! That is in essence Shunji! Taro said it best! He has exceeded Kenji!

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I must agree. I'm not sure whether I believe the sincerity of Shunji's rant to Mok Dan. He always says that but his actions say otherwise.
Shunji isn't just dipping into evil, he's going in head first.
and I miss their bromance. I think they still want to be friends but their work says otherwise...

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Kenji was all "Imma beat you up if you get in my way." But Shunji's all "Imma plan, strategize, and do anything to kill Gaksital. AND beat you up if you get in my way, mark those words." Shunji exceeded MORE than Kenji.

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AHHHH <3

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and whats more: with Rie and Shunji, I forget it aint real, and go all: Plan to conquer Far East? Oh shit. Better call someone. Call NATO. they are very intense and overwheming

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haha i don't NATO was made yet and the League of Nations was basically useless lol

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I have a feeling Rie will end up with Shunji. I strongly doubt either will die. Probably turn into good guys, or run away and surrender. I dunno. It would be terribly awkward if they died.

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This drama is not good for my heart or my nails. :)
But I love it anyways, and I think I'm obsessed. I CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT EPISODE!!!
Thanks for the recap! :)

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Now I have to wait for a week to know what happened after this? T T

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"Gaksital bursts through the wall next—seriously, where are you changing your clothes?—and knocks Katsuyama down with a serious of hard blows to the head."

Yes, I'm also wondering where he hides his clothes and mask (and hair gel/gel remover) coz it's definitely not under that tight western suit....

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there weren´t as shy those days....

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You're worried about where he's hiding his suit? How about his horse? I'm starting to think that maybe his car turns into a horse. That happens all the time in manhwas after all ... :P

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I was totally worried about how he was going to get his car back.

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Maybe Baek Gun will drive it back. I like my car turning into a horse theory though. :P

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Lmao @ the horse comment

I've come to calling the horse, Horsital! Because it just changes into it's mask and comes when it's needed. It's like KT just beams a mental Horsital message and it's there on command.

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Horsital! LOL. It's psychic too. Always know where Kang To is.

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@ MeeisLee

LOL @ Horsital! ^_^ Heeheehee.

@Elizabeth Tai

And also knows how to find Mok Dan after knowing where Kang To is.

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Love..love... this horsie theory..... I think Gaksital horse its something like the "Kid" car in "Knight Rider" series who always can track his owner "Michael" or can be called just in a few minutes with a call from Michael's watch. I'll bet it's the radar was put on the Gaksital iron steel... which can beep with just one press button.... :) And for changing costume.. well... I only can say... that's because he is Gaksital that he can change clothes like Superman...

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Horsital! I love it!

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I am so laughing at your comment about the horse and calling it Horsital. Most American westerns have the horse hero...save them from burning buildings pull them up after they have fallen over a cliff, come running by when the cowboy needs to jump on their back from a building. Come on a whistle or just magically appear. The horses are famous and have names. Thanks to you this horse is famous too...long live Horsital and his master Gaksital

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Your comment made me laugh out loud! Long live Horsital! :-)

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"I’ve come to calling the horse, Horsital! Because it just changes into it’s mask and comes when it’s needed."

BEST EVER! hahaha

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ROFLROFL

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LOL @ the horse transformer comment!
But yes, would anyone notice his car parked outside the pavilion?

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Btw, Gaksital and his trusty horse kinda remind me of Black Kamen Rider and Battle Hopper - and just reminds me at how old I am now... :D

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hah

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OMG lol seriously what happens if Gaksital is in the middle of changing, and a police officer spots him? "It's Gaksital!"
"Oh wait, let's just pretend we never saw that...let's go, Koiso..."

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lol, the clothes changing thing was the first thought I woke up to this morning, ha ha

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don't think too much about it (changing clothes and hiding mask), we never see SPIDERMAN changing his costume right?? ^^
So, never mind for me.

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You are right! Space? Kiddin Who?

Nothing Comes Between Kangto and Pants

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One week. We have to wait ONE WEEK. Thank God I'm gonna try and distract myself tomorrow and go to the movies to see Batman!!!

But I don't think that will be enough. I missing tomorrow's episode already!!!

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haha. im watching batman tomorrow too, which will hopefully make up for gaksital's lost episode.

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May the Gotham City Knight and Nolan blow our minds with an awesome movie so we don't feel the loss of Gaksital.

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Mok Dan finding out both of Kang-to's secret/real identities. And on the week where we get just one episode. Askjdassdjasda. Shunji is scaring the crap out of me, but at the same time, I feel bad for the poor guy who just wants to be loved and live simply. But no, he still freaks me out plenty. :))

Way to keep us satisfied and begging for more at the same time. Well played, show.

Thanks for the recap! :)

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Shunji turns out to be the worst kind of evil man - the one who's just too weak to be anything else. Because sometimes he's good, so you keep hoping you can count on him. He thinks he WANTS to do the right thing. But he's a monster wearing a mask, and his TRUE nature is the ugly one. He's only good when it doesn't cost him anything.

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gosh the invasion and the occupation are just like the Soviet occupation in Estonia. Forbid their language, torture, execute andbuy out. force to cooperate, make them all the same. Almost feels like the russians copy-pasted it like they did with everything.

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Another amazing episode! On a side note, poor Kang To... he has gotten so cut up and everything! So many wounds!! How does he even walk xD

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And how is he going to explain this absence?!

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Thanks for the recap!

Great episode, Gaksital's been kicking ass this whole past month. I held my breath too many times during this episode. If this episode's cliffhanger was THIS good, I can only imagine that 18's cliffhanger (if it was supposed to air Thursday) will kill me. Why, Olympics, why??????

I agree that Shunji is just an interesting character, the best villain I would say I've encountered in dramaland precisely for what you've said about him, javabeans. And he creeps me out like no one else. It's a different kind of creepy I've ever felt about fictional characters all over.

Also, I really liked the camerawork in this episode. Interesting angles and shots. I'm ashamed to say I never really noticed the camerawork until this episode.

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Oooo yes this was a good episode. I don't know how I'm going to survive a whole week without my Gaksital fix. Loved the revelations about Young=Kangto and Gaksital=Kangto.

I was also particularly interested in the gisaeng fight scene where the camera does an almost-slow-motion shot of Gaksital holding the cane back up to fight and juxtapose that with shots of Lala's/Rie's reaction. Something about that slow-mo makes me think/hope that Lala-Rie might plant the seed of suspicion that Gaksital may be Kangto (because to me that part of the scene mirrors Lala's/Rie's memory of Kangto saving her in their first encounter).

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ooh. good eye.
perhaps there may be something there?

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Oh my God!!! How can I last a week with a cliffhanger like that???

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God, I love love love how often this show surprises me. It's such a pleasure to watch.

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This drama just keeps stepping up it's game. I loved the conversation between Mok Dan and Shunji as well as the one between her and Kang To. Really Shunji and Kang To are two of the most complex drama characters ever and they are on exactly opposite paths. Such a great juxtaposition to see the good guy go bad while the bad guy goes good. I loved your assessment that Shunji wants to be the hero and get the girl. But that's his reason for being the hero. And that is exactly why he can't be one. His conflict is compelling to watch.

And now it will be interesting for Mok Dan to have a conflict to deal with as well. I've felt that her character needed to have more depth to match everyone else who seem to have so many different facets to them. Will she just accept Kang To as Gaksital [Read more]

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It's a stellar episode, but I couldn't help but notice a few plot boo boos like that time when he turned to Mok Dan to tell her to run away, and Rie and Jun were so nice to wait for him to finish :P Or how lax security at the police station is because Kang To could still sneak into the torture chamber to see Dam Sari.

And where does he stash his horse? Please, someone tell me cos it's bugging me haha...

The thing is, with Kang To down and out for a while (I assume that his wounds will not magically heal, but this is kdramaland so maybe he'll be right as rain in a day) so is he gonna explain his absense to Shunji and how is he going to help rescue Damsari in 3 days??

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i remember reading one of the viki comments about how japanese samurais believed in an honor system in fighting in which killing someone who has their back to them is dishonorable. don't know if that's what they meant to portray or what.
someone mentioned in the previous comments that his horse is horsital -- another version of him. Comes flying in whenever he's needed! haha.
Kang-to needs to be a bit better in deceiving shunji esp. since he just got out of that hot mess he ended up in, but i have hope! And yes, this is k-dramaland so his heals shall be healed by next episode, just a guess ;)

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his wounds shall be healed*

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The samurai explanation makes sense ... I guess it'll be a great dishonour to attack a person's back. Ah, noble, wicked Jun.

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Hello, maknae. Good point on the samurai honor system. I wish that honor would also rub off on ex-chief Kimura. But i shouldn't hope too much. With his fighting skills, or lack thereof, I'm suspecting he's a faux samurai.

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Gosh i missed being called maknae!
It's so good to see some hearties in here. :)

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I try to make sense of these plot boo boos, as you call them, too:

1. Mok Dan was frozen in place, wanting to make sure Gaksital would be okay, which I would totally be doing as well (I don't think she was in the way at all)

2. Maybe Rie and Jun have enough goodwill and integrity to face their opponents head on?

3. I think this drama has proven from the getgo how incompetent the Jong Ro police are.

4. The horse is magic.

I hope that helped! Honestly, when a drama is this good, I forgive it for its momentary lapses in logic.

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