Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 18
by | August 1, 2012 | 228 Comments

*Stops the withdrawal shakes* Is it finally Wednesday again?

This episode reached a series high rating, 18.0%. It must be noted that its drama competition, Ghost, pre-empted its episode for the Olympics, but I like to think that there was a little something else responsible for the jump, namely the squee-inducing cliffhanger at the end of last week’s Episode 17.

Speaking of which, that cliffhanger was kind of a doozy, wasn’t it? But part of me believes that if we hadn’t had the Olympics pre-emption, the show might not have worked quite so hard to have such a juicy ending, so I will take that as consolation for the wait.

On the flipside of that coin, I was pretty worried that 18 wouldn’t live up to the cliffhanger, that they spent all their dramatic firepower and would disappoint in the aftermath. But I think it’s safe to say that Episode 18 has plenty of firepower of its own.

All right, let’s get this show on the road.


Herz Analog (solo musician Heo Sung-joon), with So Soo-bin – “살고있어” (I’m Alive)
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We open on Shunji—augh! But what about Mok Dan? What about Gaksitaaaaaaal?

Shunji walks to Mok Dan’s hotel room, a basket of flowers in his hand and a spring in his step. Now that’s dissonant and creepy, how happy he is to be romancing his beloved/prisoner.

Instead, he finds his men knocked out and freaks out, which makes me wonder how he’ll react to find out Rie went over his head and intended to kill Mok Dan. And by wonder I mean anticipate with way too much glee to be appropriate.

Shunji hears about the tall, mustachioed man in a black suit, which rings a bell. He bursts in on a meeting between Rie, bodyguard, and Chief Kimura, and can we take a moment to appreciate the very grimness of their mood? Three failures, sitting there in silence, not even able to trickle-down their rage to anyone else because they’re all equally at fault.

Shunji pulls a gun on Rie, not even flinching when Katsuyama holds a sword to his neck. He growls at his father while glaring at Rie, “Father, everybody wants to protect something. I clearly warned that woman not to mess with mine. Why is it wrong to love a Joseon woman? Why is Kishokai interfering in my emotions?!”

Rie tells him he can have whatever Joseon woman he wants, but Mok Dan happens to be linked with Gaksital, and therefore protecting her means protecting Gaksital. See? It’s simple math, says the transitive property.

Shunji: “To catch Gaksital with my own hands, I can’t give up that girl, not even if I die. Do you understand?”

Rie tells him not to worry since his girl is bound to be safe—Gaksital took her away.

Annnnnnd we’re back to the forest. Eeeeeeeee!

Mok Dan takes off Gaksital’s mask and reels to see Kang-to’s face. In tears, she’s practically hyperventilating from the shock as Kang-to stirs and painfully dismounts, falling into her arms.

He collapses on the ground, head cradled in Mok Dan’s arms, and despite the fact that he’s sliced up and half-dead and she’s completely distraught, it’s an incredibly romantic moment. It’s the sign of a great reveal, when you’re so with the characters emotionally that you get swept up along with them.

Kang-to hands her the dagger he retrieved for her. The knife makes Mok Dan flash back to the time she told him he should have died and Gaksital lived. That breaks the dam and the guilt pours over her in waves now.

She sobs, remembering all the curses she hurled at him, the times he asked her to recognize him and she’d told him to die already. He cradles her face in his hand, wiping her tears away.

Mok Dan registers his arm wound and rips a bandage from a strip of her shirt. She wraps his arm, then sees the gash in his leg as well.

But when she reaches for a second strip of shirt, Kang-to stops her and pulls her in for an embrace instead. He cradles her to his chest, then after a moment he pulls back for a kiss.

Sun-hwa wonders how the rat Kye-soon is coming up with all the money to buy fancy cosmetics. Finally somebody cottons on. Sun-hwa asks if Kye-soon’s really friends with Shunji, and Kye-soon says smugly, “Of course, we’re so close.”

As if on cue, Shunji bursts into the room, beelining for Sun-hwa, and asks after Mok Dan. Kye-soon smirks that they should just chain her down, and Shunji slaps her across the face. Whoa. What’s worst is how easily he does it, then turns back to Sun-hwa like it’s no big deal; he’s definitely easing into that evil skin. Promising that he’d never hurt Mok Dan, he asks Sun-hwa to come with him with any news.

Circus boss Jo decides to disband the circus, keeping his reasoning vague about wanting to rest and go traveling. Shunji bursts into his room next and dismisses Dong-nyun and Shin Nan-da so he can talk to Boss Jo alone, which, given their history, makes me nervous. It makes Boss Jo nervous too, as Shunji tells him to pass along news of Damsari’s public execution to his independence pals.

Boss Jo says that they’ll know it’s a trap, but Shunji’s no dummy—he expects Gaksital to know it’s a trap but show up anyway: “He won’t be able to ignore the hopes of the Korean people that he’ll swoop in and save Damsari.”

Shunji orders Boss Jo to look into news of Mok Dan. Jo refuses to cooperate, adding that he’s persona non grata with his former comrades—they’ve marked him for execution in return for his betrayal.

Shunji smiles chillingly, “Who said you were to be executed? I’ll protect you for the rest of your life.” Shivers. Somehow Shunji’s promises of protection aren’t so comforting.

He calls a meeting of all his officers to prep Damsari’s execution tomorrow, and notices Kang-to’s empty seat. His thoughts whirl upon hearing Kang-to didn’t come to work this morning: “Lee Kang-to didn’t show up? Even though Mok Dan disappeared?”

Speaking of whom, Mok Dan assists Kang-to into Gaksital’s secluded hut, and Baek Gun treats his wounds. Afterward, the reunited lovers sit outside as Mok Dan confesses how she felt the first time she saw Kang-to, when her father was sentenced to death. (Now that he’s cleaned up, I notice Joo-won’s sporting a sharp new haircut, although surely it’s not too obvious to ask: Is anybody going to notice that Kang-to and Gaksital simultaneously got new ‘dos?)

Mok Dan asks how imperial policeman Kang-to, whom she found more frightening than the Grim Reaper itself, could have come to wear the bridal mask. We flash back to the fatal night as he narrates it: How Gaksital had been his brother, who’d been fighting Kenji to avenge his mother’s death. And how he had entered the fray and shot his own hyung, not knowing that.

At first, he admits he wore the mask to finish the mission his brother hadn’t been able to complete, to avenge their mother’s and father’s deaths.

Kang-to: “But now, even if I take vengeance on every one of my father’s enemies, I don’t think I’ll be able to take off the mask. There are so many things to be done. Wherever I look, there are too many people in agony.”

She takes his hand and vows, “You won’t have to go alone. I’ll follow you to the very end, rooting for you. Whether it’s a thousand fathoms deep or through a fiery pit, I’ll always go with you.” It’s a beautiful promise, although I worry that it may become all too literal.

Shunji takes out his ire on Ishida and his lax idea of 24-Hour Kang-to Watch. “He’s caught on! An idiot like you is supposedly competent?” His officers report that Kang-to wasn’t seen at home or at the club last night, and Shunji tries to convince himself that Kang-to’s absence has nothing to do with Mok Dan’s. And who were you just calling idiot?

Still, he tells himself to wait it out—in two days he’ll be able to get Gaksital for good.

While Kang-to sleeps, Mok Dan tells Baek Gun she’s heading back to the hotel. Er, what now? She has a thought process, though: Since Gaksital was seen saving her last night, Kang-to’s absence will cast suspicion on him. She needs to deflect some of that.

Baek Gun tells her of Kang-to’s plan to rescue Damsari, and asks her to let the comrades know that he’s injured and may not be able to carry through the mission.

Mok Dan finds the remaining comrades at their hideout and alerts them to Gaksital’s condition. Her teammates decide to modify their plan and assure her they’ll succeed, if only for the sake of their fallen comrade shot down by Shunji.

The male comrade vows that after Damsari is rescued, he will make sure to fulfill their lost comrade’s mission to eliminate Lee Kang-to. Mok Dan blurts, “You mustn’t! Do you know who Lee Kang-to is?”

In his office, Shunji role-plays execution day with a map and tokens labeled with the main parties, noting where to station his men. Rie calls him in a fit; he’s ignored her summons. He replies that he’s busy and hangs up on her, leaving her fuming in disbelief.

So Rie storms into the police station and interrupts a strategy session. Shunji keeps her waiting for an hour, sauntering in when she’s at the end of her patience. He blocks her slap easily and tells her to get to the point.

The point: Chairman Ueno will be arriving. Point the second: They’d better not fail, because if something happens to interrupt Damsari’s demise they lose their chance to remove Kono, who so adamantly opposed the execution.

Rie orders him to come running the next time she summons him, and he humors her with an “I’ll try.” She can’t believe he has the nerve to treat her this way. Shunji: “And am I supposed to be submissive? Ah, because you’re the chairman’s daughter? Remember this—I joined Kishokai to catch Gaksital, not because I share your ambition.”

She tosses back that Shunji’s father, however, sure is chock-full of ambition. It’d be a shame for him to block Daddy’s path. He stops smiling at that, and she notes, “So that shut you up. This is what power is—”

The phone interrupts her triumphant speech (ha), and Shunji hears Mok Dan has returned.

Sure enough, she’s back in her hotel room, hilariously sitting at the end of several gun barrels. They’re taking no chances this time.

Mok Dan has prepared an explanation, starting with the truth of being captured and almost killed by Lala. But Shunji already knows this and Lala as well, and she thinks quickly to cobble together a believable story: She escaped after Gaksital intervened, but fled alone while he was fighting the other man. She spent the night praying at the church.

Mok Dan plays to Shunji’s protector wishes, acting like she’s afraid Lala will come after her again. Smart of her to frame her flight as an escape from Lala, but not necessarily from Shunji.

Shunji asks, “Why does Gaksital always show up around you?” She answers that she wondered the same thing; it’s why she thought he was the Young Master from her childhood. However, she now thinks she was mistaken, given Gaksital’s aloof treatment of her whenever they meet.

Mok Dan’s not objectively a great liar, but she seems to say all the right things. Shunji approaches, getting way too close while her skin crawls. I’m assuming. He holds her close, and Mok Don does all she can not to recoil. Heck, I’m trying not to recoil here, even as I know this is a good sign for her sake.

He says she made the right choice, promising to protect her from here on out: “It’s because of you that I wore this uniform. I won’t let anything, anyone, hurt you.” I hope he’s including himself in that.

Now he’s feeling adequately appeased to agree to let her spend her captivity at Sun-hwa’s house. She’s still under watch, but at least now she’s among friends. Mok Dan reminds him of his promise to block her father’s execution—he’ll honor that, won’t he? Shunji nods, “Yes. Trust in me.”

Kang-to finally wakes, and tries to bolt out of bed when he registers the empty cabin. Hearing that Mok Dan (whom he’s now calling Boon-yi) returned to the hotel, he argues that Baek Gun should have stopped her—she’s gone back to the lion’s den.

Kang-to knows enough now to suspect that Shunji and Lala are involved in something together, along with Chief Kimura and the corrupt judge. And that means they have something to do with the people who betrayed Kang-to’s father.

That night, Sun-hwa offers the guards food and makgulli, and they’re happy to partake, giving Mok Dan the opportunity to slip away unseen. She hurries back to the cabin and checks in on Kang-to, assuring him that Shunji doesn’t seem suspicious of her story.

She tells him of the comrades’ amended plan excluding him from Damsari’s rescue. He fears that they have no chance of success without him, but Mok Dan replies that her father would be devastated if Gaksital came to harm rescuing him:

Mok Dan: “Because Gaksital must live. Because Gaksital is the light that must shine for the Joseon people who live in darkness. He wouldn’t want that light to go out. You said there were too many people living in agony, that you had so many things to do. Don’t go to the execution. You mustn’t go.”

He holds her close, but there’s this look in his eye… He’s gonna go, isn’t it?

Back at Sun-hwa’s two nervous guards try not to quake in their boots in front of Shunji, who’s angry to have another missing Mok Dan situation. Ha. Is this a drinking game yet? Shunji asks Sun-hwa where Mok Dan went, trying to keep a lid on his temper as he says he’s worried about her safety, not intending to harm.

The return of nice(ish), caring Shunji seems to weaken Sun-hwa’s resolve (which frankly makes Shunji all the more devious, since he realizes this) and she starts to stutter a response. Thankfully, Mok Dan reappears just then, saying she went to the church to pray.

Shunji argues that the guards are there to protect her, not monitor her (yunno—potayto, potahto) and that she should take them with her. She fires back that she can’t pray freely with guards hovering: “If you intend to have me monitored 24 hours a day, you may as well lock me up again in jail.” Don’t tempt him! Although, admittedly, her unapologetic, unguilty demeanor does at least deflect his suspicion.

Kang-to is absent from work the next day too, which Shunji notes as he debriefs his men. Among the precautions is a banning of spectators wearing white at the execution.

Shunji finds Kang-to’s absence strange enough that he asks Mok Dan about it. She has her usual Why the hell would I know or care about that bastard? response, and he says he asked on the off-chance that the guy who professed to love her tried to contact her.

Shunji tries to soften his bad news by saying, “I’m sorry—really sorry. I had no choice. I did everything I could, but I couldn’t avoid it. Tomorrow, Damsari will be executed in public at Kyungsung Station.”

The count and countess rub elbows with more powerful people, chuckling agreement with the couple who call Damsari a public menace. This can only be setup for a future conflict; otherwise, it’s not really relevant to this episode at hand.

They’re in charge of an educational foundation, and ask the count to put in a good word with the governor general. They slide over a fat envelope to grease the wheels, which the count is happy to take. Why are rich people motivated by more money? You’d think it would be the one thing they’re immune to, having so very much of it.

At the Angel Club, Madam Tasha accepts her manager’s decision to quit Kyungsung to go back home. He was spooked by his trip to jail, and now with a public execution on the horizon, he’s ready to live a simpler life on a fishing boat. He has an emotional parting with a waiter buddy and bids them all goodbye.

Watching with Tasha is Tamao, who grows more interesting by the day. They’re both affected by the manager’s departure, but Tamao covers his unease with jokes, suggesting the two of them run away together. Tasha just sees his cheeky grin, though, and disapproves of his carefree reaction: “But I suppose a hungry person and one who’s full can hardly unite as one.”

Tamao tries to shake off her scorn, but it rattles him.

The Kyungsung contingent of Kishokai assembles, led by Chief Kimura, and welcomes Chairman Ueno. Rie, Shunji, and the count are among the attendees. The Kimuras vow to capture Gaksital at tomorrow’s big event.

Finally, the day arrives.

The courtyard of the police station is stationed with guards, with citizens lining the sidewalk and a hangman’s noose placed front and center.

In his room, circus boss Jo dresses… in a white hanbok? What are you planning to do with that? Dong-nyun sees him and wonders at it.

Damsari is removed from the tiny box-like cell he’s been locked in, just large enough to fit his body, like a coffin. Damn. There’s a reason people don’t eat veal.

Kang-to, meanwhile, treats his injured arm again, dressed in white. Of course he’s going. He can’t not go, can he?

The dead man walking is escorted to the courtyard while Shunji keeps his eyes peeled for any sign of Gaksital. Damsari falls in his weakened state, and Shunji whips him, to the crowd’s horror. It’s almost like he’s trying to provoke Gaksital’s appearance by being extra-cruel today.

Mok Dan prays at home, asking God to save her father, and to protect her comrades and Gaksital. Now God is her final hope…

…or so she thinks. Kang-to dons his white Gaksital outfit, readying for battle.

Then to the gallows.

Shunji announces Damsari’s crimes and death sentence. All the while, boss Jo fumes, and when the final order is given, he bursts free of the crowd and past the first line of guards. He tears off his coat and yells, “Comrade Damsari! It’s me! I’ll go with you!”

Oh, that brings a tear to my eye. He gets kicked for his trouble and beaten by police, and that sight gets the crowd rumbling. Infuriated, Dong-nyun takes off her overcoat, revealing that she’s also wearing white underneath. Aw, crap, now I’m just gonna be a blubbering mess, aren’t I?

Initially I’d wondered if Boss Jo’s choice of white was specifically a nod to Gaksital, but now this takes on other added meanings. It’s white for death, as in preparing oneself for the shroud. But more importantly, it’s white for defiance, because of the rule prohibiting the color.

And it’s white for solidarity. All around, citizens are tearing off their outer layers, revealing that a whole contingent of them are wearing white underneath. They charge the police officers, most of them getting beaten but fighting back nonethleless.

Shunji instructs his men to try to restore order, but it’s chaos. He pulls out his gun and fires a shot—straight into Dong-hyun’s heart. Goddamn. Shunji finally learned to shoot, and makes Dong-nyun his first martyr. How is Mok Dan going to react when she hears you killed her mother-figure?

Boss Jo and the circus troupe race to her side. Shin Nan-da carries her on his back to presumably get medical attention, but frankly that blood is not looking good.

Some time later, the white-clad insurgents have been subdued and are lined up in the courtyard, kneeling before the gallows. Damsari looks out at them with a rueful smile—that look of appreciation just breaks my heart.

Shunji orders the execution. The police officers move… and from behind them comes a whoosh! Drop. Drop.

“It’s Gaksital!”

Gaksital stands on the roof of the building and drops over the edge, one hand holding a rope tied to the rooftop. He drops to the stage and cuts the noose before anyone can interfere, knocking down cops left and right.

He takes a leap into the courtyard, and Shunji shoots… and hits him in the leg, GAH! He really has been practicing.

Limping, Gaksital gets up and finds himself encircled by at least 20 officers. All pointing their guns at him. God. Damn.

But then he turns to face Shunji, and it’s… not Kang-to’s face?!

He doesn’t even flinch as Shunji shoots him again, in the shoulder this time. With almost a sneer, Notsital unwraps his tunic and reveals a string of explosives tied to his torso.

OH SHIT. Is this the comrades’ backup plan, sans Gaksital? A suicide bomber mission sacrificing themselves? It’s awesome and it kills me. There’s just so much heart in these people, and thus so much heartbreak.

Comrade Notsital lights the fuse. Everyone gapes in horror.

He explodes. BOOM.


ANOTHER WEEK? *Resumes withdrawal shakes.* See, that’s the problem with addiction: just when you’ve got it out of your system, another hit takes you right back.

Let’s talk about Shunji first, because he had quite a lot of screentime today, more than Kang-to. I’m seeing less and less of his feelings warring with themselves in a sincere way, but I’m enjoying the way he’s playing them in seeming conflicted, for the sake of appealing to Mok Dan, or Sun-hwa. Basically he’s losing his connection to compassion and arguably his humanity, but he’s becoming much better at figuring out how to fake it believably. Which is just devious. When he holds Mok Dan close and she tries not to recoil—I was just about shrinking back in my seat in repulsion. Park Ki-woong has gotten well into character and done a really credible job making me believe him, and it’s great.

That said, I love that it’s Shunji’s vanity that fools him in this episode, which makes me gloat a little at his expense for believing Mok Dan’s cover story. He wants to believe Mok Dan prefers him to Gaksital’s company, and thus she returned to him for protection in the end rather than escaping with him. And despite her steadfast faith in Gaksital all series long, he’s so eager to believe that her connection to the hero is misguided that he buys her (frankly flimsy) explanation of Oh well, I thought it was that guy I loved, but it’s not. Oops. It’s satisfying.

You’d think an episode this light on Kang-to and Gaksital would be disappointing, but on the contrary, it’s pretty epic, and on a grander scale. We’ve been building to this point where Kang-to comes to reconcile his personal revenge with justice at large. Now he gives voice to that dilemma, and he seems to be willing to shoulder that burden—or perhaps more accurately, he doesn’t see it as a choice but an inevitability. In the face of what he can do to fight the injustices he sees, there’s no question of turning away.

If it’s surprising that his hero turn comes in such a quiet, small moment, I think it really works on a macro level, because just as Kang-to makes that realization about himself personally, we see it directly play out in the final scene. I freaking loved when everybody took off their coats and revealed that they were wearing white underneath. Not directly in support of Gaksital, per se, but as a bold act of defiance standing up for what Gaksital fights for. Which is them.

So they fight right back, even though it’s frankly an unwinnable battle in the courtyard. But the odds don’t matter, and that’s what makes it so moving, that they didn’t organize this big, complex revolt and synchronize their actions to buoy a specific goal. What matters is the spirit of the act, and the solidarity. Gah, that whole sequence had me in tears, from Boss Jo’s cry of comradeship with Damsari to every last commoner who joined in.

Already Gaksital has become more than himself. He’s irrevocably become part of the fighting spirit, whether it’s as the literal masked man engaging in combat, or the ideals he represents. It’s why the comrade in the end is able to mobilize the same response in the people although he’s not technically THE Gaksital. Although I… have no idea what to expect of the reaction to his self-sacrifice. Will everyone pat themselves on the back for finally destroying Gaksital? Or… uh… is the action literally too explosive to frame in a happy, propagandistic way?

(As an aside: I love the inadvertent conflict that Episodes 17 and 18 dropped in Kang-to’s lap, although I’m not necessarily convinced it was meant to be that deep—that Gaksital is put into direct conflict of choosing to save Mok Dan or Damsari. His rescue of the girl directly impeded his ability to save the father, which was a nice way to depict a clash we knew had to be coming at some point.)

To bring it back to our main characters, will it ease the heat off of Kang-to? One thing I loved about Mok Dan’s discovery, aside from the obvious (smoochies!), is that now Kang-to has a confidante. Aside from being able to unburden his worries with somebody who’s completely on the same page as he is, WE have a reason for them to talk out their inner thoughts more, when before we had to make do with tortured silences and longing looks. Narratively, it’s a nice development.


228 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. jennifer

    OMG! Thanks for the recap!

    • 1.1 ilikemangos

      Holy. Crap.
      That ending pretty much BLEW up everyone’s mind.

    • 1.2 Awe

      thanks, javabeans, for recap.

      i must say, this drama’s reveal (de-masking kang-to) really wrenched my heart. and that horse…love love love this drama.

  2. Maidenelle

    Thank you!

  3. Ivoire

    Thank You!

    • 3.1 Ivoire

      I am loving how Shunji is getting really good at manipulating (and faking his compassion) people, trying to make them believe that he cares. He is going deeper and deeper to the darker side and PKW is doing an awesome job portraying Shunji.
      I also LOVE his face when he is (Shunji) doubting someone, trying to read them (LKT and MDR and Sun-wha to an extent). PKW has a very expressive face and body language, and he uses both well.

      Someone on Viki said that “Horsital” (the horse) was the best hero in BM, and I thought that was funny, but probably true as well. That horse always seems to know when to show up and when to quietly gallop away (like at the beginning of this episode).

      I will be back later to comment more, I have a little story I would like to share. Happy reading and happy commenting, fellow commenters!

      • 3.1.1 Maya

        Hi Ivoire,
        Talking about Shunji, and I think I’ve said this a lot before, but him being nice is definitely creepier from me. Even during that opening scene where he’s bringing flowers for Mok Dan.
        And talking about horsital, did you see that it actually looked the other way during the kiss scene? 😀

        • KimLuvv

          I saw that too!! When Kang To and Mok Dan hugged, the horse moved away and let them have their privacy SO CUTE ^.^

          • Ivoire

            I would LOVE to see the BTS of that scene, how and when they had horsital move away :-), and how it was orchestrated and timed and practiced…

          • Penguin

            Seriously? Let me watch that again…

        • tosin

          OMD the horse has finally been named :), horsital such a cute name 😀

          • Ivoire

            Hi Tosin, what does OMD stand for? Is it “O My Dear?” just curious…

      • 3.1.2 Ivoire

        Hi Maya:-),

        I left a question for you at your post. Shunji being nice (because he is manipulating and believing that he can win MDR over) is what makes it fun, even if it’s creepier. It adds a twist to the story and makes Shunji a more interesting character to watch, don’t you think? I also think that it allows PKW to showcase his acting range and he rises to the challenges that are before him. I buy every emotion he is portraying, I actually liked him (as an actor) in this drama more than I did Joo Won until this week’s episode.
        The fact that Shunji believes that he could convince MDR that he loves her, shows us how twisted his mind is and how twisted his mind works. Because really, why would she believe you? You have put her dad in prison and made him suffer and you tortured the director of the circus. Why should she believe you again? But it is good to see Shunji try to convince MDR that he loves her. As I said earlier, Shunji is going deeper into the dark side and I think he thinks he is in control (of his emotions and of everything else).

        I LOVE horsital!!!! Just noticed today that he has his own gear that he wears, awww… cute!!! (I joined the BM bandwagon late, so there are many things I hadn’t noticed yet). Horsital looked away during the kiss scene? How considerate of him 🙂

        • Maya

          Yes, I like PKW’s portrayal of Shunji too. There’s this episode where he actually incorporated Kenji’s trademarked smirk when he almost caught Gaksital, and I thought that was genius. And I think I know why I find him being nice to Mok Dan creepier – because the idea of anyone would believe that he really loves her is absurd at this point, he might loved her in the past, but I think he is just obsessed with her right now because she is the reason he has to put on the uniform and I think that he still believe that that reason still has some power over her. But yes, if someone can send a shiver down my spine just by his presence on screen, that is a pretty good acting.

          And I’m definitely gonna ask Santa for a horsital this Christmas… 😀

          Btw, question answered! 🙂

          • Ivoire

            “Btw, question answered! :)”, yes I saw, thank you!

            2–“but I think he is just obsessed with her right now because she is the reason he has to put on the uniform and I think that he still believe that that reason still has some power over her.” I didn’t understand this very well, can you explain more, please? And what do you mean by this: ” that reason still has some power over her.”? I definitely didn’t understand that.

            Let me know if you get a horsital for Christmas. What will you do with it? Do you know how to ride a horse :-)?

          • Maya

            So, the reason Shunji actually dons the uniform was to protect Mok Dan. It was his desperate measure to save Mok Dan from the prison/torture. Hence, I feel like he still believes that Mok Dan should be touched by his action (and this is what I meant by having that power over her), he’s been saying that over and over again every time he tries to show Mok Dan his nice side: “I put the uniform for you” Sort of a reminder of his good deeds to her. I hope that answered your question, Ivoire. Just let me know if you want me to elaborate more. 🙂

            I’ll let you know if I got a Horsital. Now I just need to get on the good list 😉
            And I can’t ride a horse, but then horsital can just stay quiet in the corner of my room being all cute…

          • Ivoire

            Hi Maya,

            You explained yourself well, and now I understand better what you meant. Thank you!

            Speaking of Horsital, you are so cute!!!! Keeping Horsital in your room, really???? Have you seen how big he is??? Do you live alone? I am asking because if you happen to live with other people, what would they think, when they hear “neh, neh, neh *trying to imitate the sounds of a horse* coming out of your room? I also think that it might not be fair to not let Horsital roam outside and experiencing some freedom. You have seen how much he enjoys being outside with Gaksital, righ? And you would want to keep him inside :-(?
            No, Horsital should be taking you on horse rides and go in the corner if and when you happened to be kissed :-)…

      • 3.1.3 yaya

        Ivoire, and here I am thinking that im the only one that loves Shunji. We love the same man, aren’t we?:D

        Well of course we dont support evilness and devilness in any type of story and drama, but the way PKW potrays that in Shunji is so effin’ believable and fantastic, it makes me anticipate his scene much more.

        And yes, the way he roll his eyes right after he speaks is so refreshing. We don’t always get that in any villain that we saw in other K Dramas, don’t we?

        Im glad that Horsital is brown in colour, i mean most hero would used black colour animal, maybe to show how heroic they are? Black is cool, black is dashing..U get what i mean?

        Orite, enough said. We support Kimura Shunji all the way..and Gaksital too.. muah..muah..

      • 3.1.4 yaya

        gIvoire, and here I am thinking that im the only one that loves Shunji. We love the same man, aren’t we?:D

        Well of course we dont support evilness and devilness in any type of story and drama, but the way PKW potrays that in Shunji is so effin’ believable and fantastic, it makes me anticipate his scene much more.

        And yes, the way he roll his eyes right after he speaks is so refreshing. We don’t always get that in any villain that we saw in other K Dramas, don’t we?

        Im glad that Horsital is brown in colour, i mean most hero would used black colour animal, maybe to show how heroic they are? Black is cool, black is dashing..U et what i mean?

        Orite, enough said. We support Kimura Shunji all the way..and Gaksital too.. muah..muah..

        • redfox

          if Horsital was black, he´d be Toronado! (Zorro´s horse. another one of my favorite heroes in a mask. Gaksital is quite similar actually)

          • yaya


            That’s what i thought when i saw Horsital. Zorro’s horse came flashing in my mind. Using black horse would make them quite similar, dont U think? so brown horsital is equally great as black..

            yay, i definitely cant wait for ep 19. ..it would be a long week.

          • linda macy

            I actually picked Horsital and Gaksital as my hero’s of Bridal Mask. I have aways been a big fan of animal stars and Horsital is no exception. That is one smart horse…he brought Gaksital home and politely looked away during the kissing scene…unlike the rest of us who were enjoying every moment of this love scene. Guess Horsital gets the manners award. lovin this series

          • Ivoire

            @ Linda Macy, loved all you said, so well said! Especially this:
            “That is one smart horse…he brought Gaksital home and politely looked away during the kissing scene…unlike the rest of us who were enjoying every moment of this love scene. Guess Horsital gets the manners award.”

            I smiled as I read this and I love that little detail, that Horsital has manners and that he “politely” went away (on the side) and looked away while, as you put it, the rest of us were more interested in watching that very affectionate scene :-).

  4. Lily

    Oooh. That ending. Too bad that episode 19’s going to be aired next week, thanks to the Olympics :/
    And that Gaksital who blew up wasn’t Kang-To, right? Right? It better not be, because then I… then I don’t really know. But I just hope it wasn’t really him.

    • 4.1 Maya

      I’m sure it’s not him, the face is different, and he’s using sword instead of iron flute.. 🙂

      • 4.1.1 redfox

        and the cue music is different as well.

    • 4.2 milkmustache

      I don’t think it’s him. The face was really different, imo.

    • 4.3 Penguin

      It was so not him…Kangto doesn’t have a double chin, or blows himself up physco-ly!

      • 4.3.1 Rabbits Will Kill Us All

        Oh thank god.

      • 4.3.2 Penguin

        You could see all that fatty stuff when he lit the explosives. 😛

    • 4.4 redfox

      Kang-To doesn´t have a double chin, c´mon.

      exciting episode
      Shunji is becoming an unbelievable monster. To shoot an innocent woman in front of people and his own collegues? Even the police has some basic principles. It is indifferent to Shunji now. He has become a brutal psychopath. Devious as you said. And it is a double.thrill the actor is such a baby-face.
      Call me crazy, but the japanese assassin guy is hawt. I want him to ditch swordmanship, become a cabaret performer and sing “Girls, girls, girls!” wearing chest-bearing lycra.
      At first I was like, wtf how can Boon-yi accept Kang-To/ Gaksital so easily and just let him huggy-kissy when she was hating Kang-To a moment ago. I was thinking the denial would be longer. But I guess she knows the weight of a double identity and can understand the reasons, and everything that seemed out of character with Kang-To and confused her makes sense now.
      It is really great the guy has a supporter in her, cause his mind would explode if he did not have anyone to confide with

      • 4.4.1 MsGB

        I so agree with everything thing you just said. I mean if the most slimiest dude on the force (aka Goiso) turn around and looks at you crazy because of something you just did, you know you just pole vaulted over a line you shouldn’t have crossed. How exactly did he think he would be able to go back and teach kids after that even if he did catch Gaksital?

        I also thought MD easily accepted KT but maybe learning that he was the young master first eased her into the transition of finding out he is Gaksital. Like what did he go through to make the sweet ym into the hardened KT and that KT into Gaksital. I’m glad she did though cause if she would have gave KT a hard time after he got sliced up for her, I would’ve had to slice her up………….so basically a win-win for everybody!

    • 4.5 womangos

      If that was Kang To, what are the writers going to write about for the next 10 episodes? lol

      • 4.5.1 Hanna

        agreed on that. It can be anyone from the manager to the freedom fighters, but of course not Kang To. Simple logic there.

    • 4.6 Locturne

      He looked like Tamao 0_0 I hope it’s not him, with his connections, he could make an awesome double-agent!

    • 4.7 JoAnne

      I’m pretty certain it was the count’s son. I’ve been waiting for him to do something for 3,4 episodes now. Ever since Koiso laid the truth on him about just being another Joseon person.

      • 4.7.1 Jellybeaniebaby

        Woah! Hadn’t considered that. But more likely it’s comrade because he had the stolen dynamite.

      • 4.7.2 Heidi

        interesting idea but i don’t think its him, it must be someone from the comrades. Well, I bet there is a bigger “boom” for the count’s son when he will finally take Gaksital’s site and I’m certain that if it comes we will see his face 🙂

      • 4.7.3 JoAnne

        You’re probably right…after I read the later comments and saw the suggestion about the comrade I thought that was pretty likely. So I guess I’m still waiting for the count’s son to do something big.

  5. monkeyface

    Thanks! 😀

  6. lordj

    Its finally here!!! my regular dose of Gaksital. Thanks!!!

  7. Maya

    Thanks for the recap JB!

    Yeay! Episode 18 is here! Feels like ages to get into this episode. 

    Anyway, starting with the bad news first, and I think I’ll definitely be the minority here. The supposedly big revelation was a bathos for me. It feels too rushed how Mok Dan can come to term with Kang To as Gaksital, without a slight hint of confusion (CMIIW, but I didn’t feel or see that she was confused at all, and I don’t think  it was the acting, but how the scene is written). And adding to that, a kiss scene while Kang To is covered in blood was awkward to watch. It’s picturesque, sweet and all, but I feel like it’s purely fanservice. A hug would be enough to symbolize Mok Dan’s acceptance (which still feels too rushed for me). However, I’ve noticed that Mok Dan has been referring Kang To as Gaksital throughout the episode, like how she encouraged him not to show up during the execution day because the people cannot afford to lose Gaksital, since GAKSITAL is the beacon of hope for Joseon, and how she prayed for the comrades’ and GAKSITAL’s safety (not Kang To) before the execution. So I don’t really know what’s going on in her mind, but I feel like she hasn’t accept him completely,  and instead she accepts him because he is Gaksital and Young Master. I think this is the only way I can wrapped my mind around her acceptance of Kang To.

    Despite the (personal) let down, the ending was bomb though! (Pun intended! :D) The scene when Damsari walks towards his execution post, the helpless/disturbed looks from the bystanders, but I was particularly moved by that scene when Leader Jo, the circus woman, and the Joseon people show their supports for Damsari by coming out in their white outfits, and the look on Damsari eyes to show his gratitude towards them. It was riveting. Then the final Ka-BOOM. I don’t think Shunji would buy it though, I think he’ll figure out that he’s a fake Gaksital since he wasn’t using an iron flute.

    Btw, I can’t believe they’ve been locking Damsari up in that small cabinet! I’m a bit claustrophobic, so that scene was disturbing for me. And… I like how the incompetence of the officer who is trailing Kang To was briefly mentioned here. He went home because he heard Kang To snoring?! Ha! And Tamao’s character is getting interesting. I hope he’ll stir something big in the future, otherwise his character would just be redundant.

    Don’t know what to expect next week, but I’m glad that we’re back to 2 episodes per week! 🙂

    • 7.1 Ruru

      Actually I agree with Maya that Mok Dan’s acceptance of Kang To is too fast. Narratively, it would be more satisfying and logical if she wallows longer in more guilt and remorse (I mean, how many times did she try to stab the dude with the dagger he gave her?) while poor Kang To recovers from his severe blood loss. It feels a bit discordant that last ep she was still screaming at him after he revealed he was the young master and now it’s hugs and kisses? Sorry but it would be more delicious angst for her to suffer a bit more before the happy acceptance which we’ve been waiting for. At this rate we’re gonna have Gaksital babies 2 eps later~

      • 7.1.1 Ivoire

        Hi Ruru, I LOLed at this: “At this rate we’re gonna have Gaksital babies 2 eps later~” so funny and yet so… possible, maybe? I mean, LKT kept hunging MDR in this episode when she was around, didn’t he? 🙂

        • Maya

          They even shared a “bed scene” in this episode.. 😀

          • Ivoire

            Really??? When, where?? (I haven’t seen the WHOLE episode yet, it wasn’t fully subbed when I watched so I skipped scenes). Are you talking about when LKT was laying down on MDR’s lap in the 1st 10mns of the episode? I am very curious now…

          • Maya

            It was that scene where Mok Dan sneaked out to see how Kang To is doing. The very first screencap. 🙂

          • Ivoire

            Ok, I see what you mean. I did see that scene and yeah, technically, it was a “bed scene” since they were on a bed :-). Well, it was a scene (in a drama) on a bed right? Hence, “Bed scene,” I get it :-).
            LKT has hugged MDR 3 times alone in this episode, is he trying to make up for lost times? :-).I did appreciate the hug scenes, however. They looked heartfelt and Joo Won is a good hugger and so is the actress who plays MDR, when it is her time to hug (I think I remember a scene earlier when Gaksital hugged her, and she didn’t hug back, maybe she wasn’t supposed to?).

            I like how you look at things and how you analyze them. Keep them coming :-)!

          • Penguin

            HAHAHAHAHA…Did you see when Mok Dan came over to him, she stroked his leg?!! They’re getting CLOSE!

      • 7.1.2 Rashell

        I don’t know why but I thought it was funny that you wanted MD to wallow more in guilt and remorse for her treatment of Kang To. Ummmm….he SHOT her. And that was only one of the rotten things he did TO her. I think it’s really more amazing that she can forgive him so fast simply because he is her young master and now is Gaksital. Sorry but early Kang To was no prince to MD.

        • JoAnne

          That crossed my mind. It’s not so much that she should feel guilty for what she says to HIM as she should still be trying to reconcile what HE did to HER.

          But I don’t really care. Maybe she just loved Young Master enough that she could forgive him anything, and …I mean really. Now she’s got a superhero boyfriend.

          I’d probably give him some lee way too.

        • Awe

          good point, rashell.

          imho, i think the writers strung us out a tad bit too long on the reveal…but WOW what a reveal. and i’m kewl with both of them quickly letting their guard down. this was a very tender episode until….freedom fighter blowing himself up.

    • 7.2 JenJen

      Glad I’m not the only one who found the “big revelation” to be too rushed.
      As it is in ep. 18, the scene had Kangto/Gaksital simply dismount the horse then conveniently fall into Mok Dan’s lap before Mok Dan essentially reconciled that Kangto=Gaksital=Youngie. With a revelation that big I expected her (in her shock) to first address the wounds then get Kangto/Gaksital to his hut then have that sitting-in-the-grass-and-reveal-how-Kangto-became-Gaksital scene THEN share smootchies. At least in that way there would have been a time gap for Mok Dan to come to terms with the revelation. I can’t imagine that, in the minute in which Kangto dismounted and fell into Mok Dan’s lap plus the 2nd minute where her memories come flooding back, Mok Dan was able to flip the switch on her overwhelming loathing of Kangto.

    • 7.3 Ivoire

      Hello Maya, what does CMIIW stand for, please?

      • 7.3.1 Maya

        Hi Ivoire – it’s Correct Me If I’m Wrong

        • Ivoire

          Ah Ok, thanks for the info!

    • 7.4 Maya

      @Ruru & JeJen, I think that what also made me feel that the acceptance which leads to kiss scene too rushed is because I’ve been building the expectation at how Mok Dan would react for the whole week and to have her comes to term that fast was a let down. I want to see some internal conflicts first, and as been stated some angsts, at least a little more build up before we finally come to the kiss scene, because that would make the kiss more worth it

      • 7.4.1 Penguin

        It’s like, Kangto got off the horse, falls in Mok Dan’s arms, she lays him down, cries, gets up, he hugs her, he kisses her. All in like the first ten minutes of the episode.

        • Penguin

          PS. Mok Dan should’ve been more careful. You never know when he’s gonna say, “Uh, sorry, I’m not really Gaksital. I just did this because I like you.” Then gallop away on his horse. Wait for an explanaition, girl! (Although we obviously know that never would have happened, unless the writer was drunk while writing ep. 18.)

    • 7.5 Steph

      I totally agree! That’s exactly what I was thinking. I wanted more angst and confusion in Mok Dan learning the truth about Kang To’s identity and wanted her acceptance of him to come a little more…not reluctantly but in a more full sense. But I guess as javabeans said, it is a good push for narration.

    • 7.6 york

      Thank YOU for mentioning this. I am enjoying the show but many a times I find that I’m not as emotionally invested as I’d like to be (show loses me). Don’t care much for the OTP since MD hasn’t been written thoroughly.

      I’m enjoying the show for the thrills, seldom the shock factor, and PKW’s Shunji. How far will this drama push Shunji to become maniacal monster is interesting. The concluding scene showed exactly just that.

    • 7.7 twentyonebuds

      I agree.. I wasn’t able to fully get behind the couple because it didn’t feel organic, I mean she didn’t have to reject him completely even, I wouldn’t minded her acceptance if she’d become his cautious friend first. But regardless I like how we’re kind of moving on to broader aspects of the plot like Kang to starting to get a hint of who Kishokai is and Rara and Shunji and Tamao’s own lines are great to watch! I’ve pretty much lost all hope for SHunji.. but maybe the other two will come around? And i’m hoping that at some point Kang To will stop wearing the mask and fight all the same. How awesome would it be if he did it voiuntarily and wasn’t stripped of it! Maybe then Mok dan will pray for Kang To and not Gaksital…

    • 7.8 QQ

      Exactly how I feel. We can blame the Olympics for that. But I guess the situation forces her to accept him now. I mean, he’s bleeding for God’s sake and it’s from saving her life. She can’t exactly leave him just to tend to her inner conflicts. That’s not her character. (The kiss scene is still unnecessary)

      I’m still hoping about your theory to be right though. That the person’s she’s seeing right now is Gaksital, not Kang To.

      On another note: at least Mok Dan’s right about Gaksital being her Young Master.

      • 7.8.1 QQ

        (Currently watching ep 18)

        Regarding the kiss scene: Maybe he’s showing his thanks to Mok Dan because now there’s another person who knows he’s Gaksital, and he feels less burdened?
        If that’s so, then I’m waiting for my turn. Where’s my smoochies? Hahaha.

        • Awe


          we all want more, MOAR!

  8. Dominique

    Greetings from South Korea! What a treat to watch Gaksital here in real time as it airs? In HD and surround sound, no less? And so many beautiful men on the streets and beaches of, well, everywhere. Girls, I am in heaven.

    Is there any doubt that girls are the future of Korea? Not in my mind. Many of them are busy winning gold medals for Korea in London. Please don’t hate me for saying this, but all the fawning over Park Tae Hwan by the Korean news media, who did not win a single gold, made me sick. As a swimmer, he is not all that great, dear media. Look elsewhere for the real goods, like the women archers and women handball team, just to name a couple!

    Episode 18, you have made my long wait completely worthwhile. Welcome back from living dead, Gaksital the drama! (I know I will have to wait longer for Gaksital the hero to return from limbo, if ever. But I will take whatever I can get, one at a time.) What a great episode to complement Episode 1!

    Episode 1 had everything I can possibly want in a drama: (i) Lee Gang To the dream protagonist, (ii) Gaksital the antagonist non pareil, who we now know was Lee Gang To’s brother, (iii) Mokdan the love interest full of can-do spirit and fast footwork, and (iv) Kenji the villain, all of whom heralding, amidst a funeral march, a criminal trial and a mock public execution to boot, a drama of Shakespearean proportion to come. I was giddy with anticipation and excitement.

    Episodes 2-6 delivered. And I was willing to forgive Episodes 7-8 as necessary interlude for the drama to engineer a shift from its original Gaksital (the hero, not the drama) to his successor as well as a shift from Shunji the do-gooder to Shunji the Lucifer. But, as each of Episodes 9-16 aired, the drama sank deeper and deeper into mediocrity and simply became boring.

    Then came Episode 18, which, too, has everything for me: (i) action (even Mokdan was quick on her feet and intelligent for once); (ii) acting (Park Gi Woong, you are beyond mesmerizing); (iii) noble cause and means (no, not by Lee Gang To or any of the Korean freedom fighters, but righteous indignation from unarmed, common street people of Chosun who were unskilled in any martial arts, culminating in martyrdom by a lowliest circus woman – women rock!); (iv) education (Was it how Ewha University began?); and (v) best cliff hanger (how clever is it that the freedom fighters decided to send a fake suicide-bomber Gaksital to blow up the Japanese executioners?).

    Interestingly, Episode 18 worked precisely because Lee Gang To (or Ju Won, I am still debating which) was near-completely absent from it. What a great contrast to Episode 1, in which Lee Gang To was the energizer bunny! Oh, while I am glowing, I forbid the manufactured romance between Mokdan and Lee Gang To to ruin it. I will worry about it tomorrow.

    I know a Korean drama knows more than one way to disappoint me, but unlike all the duds that I disowned lately (like Big and I do I do), I know I will keep coming back to Gaksital the drama.

    Many of you responded to my terrorism comment regarding Episode 16. Sorry guys, due to my heavy traveling schedule, I could not return to Javabeans’ blog until a few days ago. But when I did, I was truly enlightened and enthused by many of them. I do stand by my earlier position that Damsari and his comrades remind me of modern-day jihadists. Indeed, we just saw a suicide-bomber in Episode 18. But I was expressing my discomfort by the similarity. I was not judging them one way or the other. Episode 18 addresses this issue by featuring both armed- and unarmed-resistance against occupiers.

    On July 19th, 2012 at 9:13 pm, SS queried: “Tell me what you suppose the Koreans should do.” I hope you have been answered. Episode 18 shows one thing that the occupied Chosun people actually did do.

    As for SS’s comment, “Nothing gets me more than logic like this or rather the lack of it,” here is why I consider Damsari’s eggs-rock allegory false. Against the gigantic rock which is Japan, Damsari likens himself and his comrades as eggs. No, it is the unarmed Chosun people who break into spontaneous protest in Episode 18 who are the eggs. Damsari and his comrades are pebbles (i.e., smaller and lighter version of a rock). It is logical to say that throwing a million pebbles at a rock will someday break it apart, but not if you throw a billion eggs. And more than laws of physics are at stake here. Considering themselves to be eggs when they are not is what I consider claiming moral high ground. I don’t know why this logical fallacy does not jump at you, SS. As well, history tells us one inconvenient truth, which is that, in the end, liberation of Korean peninsula from Japan was not done by the Korean freedom fighters’ victory. It was the United States, and to be more precise, its twin atomic bombs, that brought Emperor Hirohito to his knees. More violence, escalating at each turn. I cannot accept one group’s violence as justified while condemning another’s as unjustifiable. Violence is violence, and in my book, two wrongs do not make one right.

    Finally, dear SS, I may be playing Cordelia to King Lear when I bring up anything less than adulatory about Korea, but that does not mean I love Korea any less. I may be guilty of tough love, but not blind love.

    • 8.1 Nonni


      I have a question for you. I’m only asking because I’m curious, not trying to start an argument. You said that “I cannot accept one group’s violence as justified while condemning another’s as unjustifiable. Violence is violence, and in my book, two wrongs do not make one right.” You’re right violence is violence however I have to disagree with you about justifiable vs. unjustifiable violence. I don’t agree with the actions the United States took to have Japan yield to it, but how is that unjustifiable violence? Again, I’m asking because the facts are:

      1. Democide-Years between 1937-1945 Japanese murdered 3-10 million people.
      2. Human experimentation in unit 731
      3. Cannibalism
      4. Forced Labor
      5. Raping of women
      6. Pearl Harbor

      My point is the United States had every right to fight back and help out Chinese, Indonesians, Koreans, Filipinos, and Indochinese, among others, including Western prisoners of war. I don’t understand how you could group one group’s violence and another’s when the intentions are different. I think the U.S should have only gone after the Japanese officials and soldiers, not killing the civilians by bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki, in that sense their violence was unjustifiable. But the Japanese lost….again awful way for it to happen. What if the U.S didn’t use the atomic bomb method, do you honestly think the Japanese would have stopped their brutal killings of so many people? I get what you’re saying, but dude it’s not all black and white.

    • 8.2 정남

      I really think you are seeing this way too one dimensionally. Do you feel the same about World War II and the violence that war brought with it? Violence is never right but it is also fool to think that everything can be solved without bloodshed. I don’t see how you can’t see how the occupation and total control of a people is completely unjust.

    • 8.3 Penguin


    • 8.4 Vanessa


      I don’t hate you for saying that the Korean media is fawning too much over Park Tae Hwan but I am a little miffed. He is a great swimmer regardless of whether or not he won a gold medal. His silver medals symbolize his strong ability as a swimmer; they mean he’s second fastest in the world at this moment! What’s not to fawn for that feat? Honestly, all the athletes who get to the Olympics are awesome and deserve media attention, including Park Tae Hwan.

  9. DarknessEyes

    Hm… I think that Kang-to should have pretended to be kidnapped byt the independence force or whatever and then have “escaped” on the day that Dam Sa-ri was getting executed cuz security was lax or something. All he needs is someone from the movement to beat him up a little more(tho that would be sad) and then it would be a perfect cover! They would never expect a thing!

    • 9.1 Elizabeth Tai

      My thoughts exactly! I do hope they go that way but that would mean that he reveals his identity to them. Still, the writers have surprised me at each turn. I so did not expect the suicide bomber!

  10. 10 MhsC

    Thank you for the Recap !!! 😀
    Gosh , the first scene of the episode was Creepy -__- Shunji -__-

    • 10.1 Jellybeans


  11. 11 Hanna

    Completely honestly, I watched the 10 first minutes (until he kissed her), but then I had to pause and fangirl for a while before I could get back.

    Too many emotions.

    Anyway, this drama is going to KILL me.

  12. 12 chichiri

    Augh. Shunji is just breaking my heart. Noooo Shunji! BANG!


  13. 13 HK

    So worth the wait! While watching this I was giddy as ever.

  14. 14 Jennifer

    Such a good episode.

  15. 15 aoiaheen

    I loved the gaksital-identity reveal scene because there were no words between them. It seemed all the more powerful.

    But I don’t understand Mok Dan. Her father is being executed and she isn’d doing much. She could have atleast tried to save him. It would have been good to see her wear white and stand at the execution site along with her friends from the circus.

    But the final scene was so good. I’m not even korean but I could feel my hair stand on ends. I was feeling so much in awe of the people – the actual real freedom fighters who would done stuff like this.

    Can’t wait for next week.

    • 15.1 mojobobo

      it would be too cruel for her to be there to witness the death and if Gaksital appears, that’s 2 potential deaths she would be witnesssing =X

      • 15.1.1 aoiaheen

        Cruel yes. But I’d have liked to see her do it; to show her strength of character and the same courage she showed when she decided to walk into the iron cage without aid.

        I think it was a lost opportunity for the mokdan character…unless of course her being away is integral to the plot. which we’ll see next week…if i don’t collapse because of the withdrawal symptoms.

        arghhhh! Is there a dislike button for the olympics ?

        • mojobobo

          ahaha after episode 17 where shestood around while Gaksital was getting hurt, not a good idea for her to be there in case he needs to save her again XD

    • 15.2 Jellybeaniebaby

      I’ve noticed that Joo Won is exceptional in harnessing the power of silence. Many actors try to avoid it. He capitalizes on it. It’s one of his strengths.

  16. 16 Cindy

    Am I the only one who thought MD’s feelings for KT changed too fast?

    I mean, yes you find out Gaksital was KT but does it make your hate disappear like this?

    The kissing scene was not needed and I think it felt forced. It would be better only a hug…….

    If they kissed after he explained her all his story… but before everything else – hel the injuries? Go hide? Treat KT’s injury or hear his story first? They kiss ??

    Oh well.

    • 16.1 mojobobo

      no dear you are not alone but I think it boil down to a lack of screen time and writing

    • 16.2 Jellybeaniebaby

      Personally, I feel that when the guy you loved completely as a kid nearly sacrifices his life taking on some serious wounds to save you, it becomes much easier to let go and go back to state of the original relationship.

      Notice that she doesn’t call him KT. She calls him Gaksital and Young Master. She only discusses him as KT. He now just calls her BY. I think that now knowing his back story, too… as well as his heroic acts as Gaksital allows him to be redeemed in her eyes and to return to being the Young Master.

      Don’t forget that they have always loved each other. And now MD is seeing the tightrope game KT has been playing.

      • 16.2.1 Ohnofandesu

        SO AGREE WITH YOU ON THIS ONE!! As I watch back eps 10-17, esp 17… no, the skinship and change of heart was not too sudden. I even like that it’s still a ‘stiff’ kiss.. but yay for Gaksital, he has a girlfriend-confidante!! yay!! can’t wait for ep 19! this drama is gonna be the death of me!!

  17. 17 Arhazivory

    When even Koiso is shocked, you know that Shunji has descended into the pits of hell.

    I recognize the bottom half of that face….that’s the freedom fighter, I believe. That look his comrade gave him when they said they’ll change plans was a look of resignation. Yup….it’s him.

    Wow….watched it raw then with subs. When will my mind stop being blown by this. Gaksitaaaaaaaaal is killing me. I love it~!

    • 17.1 Jellybeaniebaby

      I noticed lines on fake BM’s neck. Freedom fighter had them too. KT doesn’t.

    • 17.2 Jessica

      Is freedom fighter that flubby?

  18. 18 green tea

    Javabeans, what are your thoughts on Mok Dan’s acceptance of Kang To being Gaksital? I was a little surprised that she didn’t need him to apologize for what pre-Gaksital Kang To did before she accepted that Kang To was her Young Master and that’s okay because he’s also Gaksital.

    • 18.1 Saa

      I’m no Javabeans, but I reallyyyyy want to respond to this, so…

      The guy is mourning over killing his brother for trying to avenge their brother (even though he didn’t MEAN to kill his BROTHER…just Gaksital). I think even strong-willed Mok Dan will have a hard time beating him over with it any more.
      Also, from the dialogues in episode 1, I think it’s understood that he’s regretful and is having a change of heart from his pre-Gaksital days. More reason for Mok Dan to have an “easier” time accepting him and not asking for an apology. Besides, I don’t think she could anyway after seeing him practically on the verge of death (or at least wayyyy freakin’ bloodied up) from wanting to save her.

      • 18.1.1 Saa

        *avenge their mother

  19. 19 xaba

    Randomly found a video of park ki woong (shunji) with blonde hair doing an awesomely weird head-bobbing dance so hilarious LOL:

    (starts at 6:43 and 7:40)

    and then from 9:55 to 10:10 he gets drenched with water guns xD

    • 19.1 DarknessEyes

      haha thank you~

    • 19.2 Brandi

      The dance is from the Sky CF: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y4xXwQgisro

      I don’t know but this CF makes me smile every single time. Why is Park Ki-woong so awesome?

      • 19.2.1 JoAnne

        I remember that commercial! I had NO idea that was him, LOL. SO AWESOME.

      • 19.2.2 Awe

        thanks for the link!!

        so hilarious. that’s the PKW we love.

    • 19.3 Penguin

      I’m liking Shunji better and better now! 😀

  20. 20 Maru

    This episode. So quiet in the beginning… and it ended with a bang. The last five minutes of the last two episodes have been great. Keep them coming, Gaksitaaaaaaaal!

    I don’t have words for this, it was amaizing in so many levels. ANOTHER WEEK, AGAIN?!?!?!?! Why, Olympics, WHY?!?!?!

    Tamao is also attracting my attention. I hope they develop his character. Looking foward to it!

  21. 21 Star

    maybe kang-to puts on a wig … for faster transformation? haha do they have wigs back then…?

  22. 22 Star

    because only 1 episode aired last week, it felt like i waited a month for today’s episode.

    anyways …. i thought i read somewhere that Rie is going to figure out kang-to is gaksital. is that ever going to happen? i’m getting impatient ><

  23. 23 missat

    KIMURA SEIJUN anyone?! BOE? TAMHEE? SOLANGEL? am I the only LOVE BUGGED fan here? Lol I’ve been wanting to say KIMURA SEIJUN for a while now and decided to wait for this episode to come out first lol anyways back to Gaksital!

    Omomomo love it! Don’t really get the hate Mak Don is getting but oh wells…

  24. 24 ajj

    Such an amazing episode..

  25. 25 Jo

    The entire recap kept me squealing (at the Mok Dan/Kang-to thing FINALLY going on), holding my breath, and clapping like a mad baby seal at all the developments, but none of that could come close to my reaction to one simple word:

    Notsital. /dead =)))

    Thanks for the recap! Now to figure out how to stay sane till the next episode..

  26. 26 Elizabeth Tai

    Anyone noticed how Horsital moved aside to give our couple a private moment in the kissing scene. Not only does it have an internal Kang to GPS it has manners too! What a horse!

    • 26.1 mojobobo

      kekeke, didn’t you know? Hosital is actually a magic flying unicorn hahaha!

    • 26.2 Maya

      My thoughts exactly! The horse definitely has manners! 😀
      Now I want a horsital too..

      • 26.2.1 Ivoire

        Now I want a horsital too..

        Ha, ha, ha, Maya, LOL!!!!

  27. 27 UJ

    How will i survive for a whole week without gaksital!! Damn you Olympics!!!!!
    And what an amazing ending to the episode!! shit i was at the edge of my seat!!!
    And shuji is just dead for me forever!! There is no way now that he can redeem himself in my eyes…
    Oh and i gotta say it felt really good to see the circus rat being slapped by shunji huhuhhu..boy can you kick her too please 😀
    Oh btw the Guy who plays the role of Rie’s bodyguard does not know how to act! He has this dead expression in his eyes…
    P.s. Joo Won looked really hot in this epi ♡

  28. 28 gummimochi

    WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK (cries in a corner).

    • 28.1 Ivoire

      Hello Gummi, because waiting and anticipating, make the heart grow fonder? :-)…

    • 28.2 Stardust

      may I join you in the corner? *cries*

    • 28.3 Heidi

      Gummimochi u are watching this too? 😀 I’m so curious about how u feel about Shunji’s or Kang-to’s changes and about Mok-dan accepting Kang-to easily and well, everything 😀

      • 28.3.1 gummimochi

        Consider this a resounding YES. I’m totally Park Ki-woong biased though you’ll now see me put up links about Joo Won …and the fact that he can sing.

        I’ll keep my own comments brief since these fantastic ladies reflect a lot of my own opinions to this drama.

        My mind. is blown (up).

        (Park Ki-woong = dark = thumbs up. Kang-to = accepting his Gaksitalness with Horsital = thumbs up. Mok Dan = is FINALLY badass = thumbs up).

    • 28.4 Awe

      do you have room in that corner for me too?
      i have my own box of tissues…i’ll share.

  29. 29 Aquila


  30. 30 Ana

    Ok. Most important Q of all… Does anyone believe that Shunji died at end of ep18?????

    Pls say no… I don’t want park kiwoong to go…!!!

    • 30.1 mojobobo

      No they won’t kill him off so early in the show with 10 more episodes!

      • 30.1.1 Ana

        Yeah, seriously. I need a sanity check. I”m sure the show would only kill off Shunji if they intentionally want to tank their viewership ratings. It’s starting to look like Park Ki-Woong carries this show



        Oh, yeah — poor Dong-Hyun 🙁 I want her to live, too…

        *faints again*

        • Jellybeaniebaby

          Did you see spy girl’s shocked face? I wonder if she will have regrets.

  31. 31 Yue

    That’s 18 down and 10 to go. I must say the show knows to pull all the right string, even when I concinved myself to drop it because the number of episodes, it kept pulling me back. It was like, I want to know – No, I must kow how this story will unfold. Be it for Gastikal or Kang-to, I want to know. I don’t know ow he would get out of this alive. Can the people accept him if they know that Kang-to is Gastikal? Would they hate him? Does he even have a place in thr world anymore? Aside from Mok Dan, how will his life be? And Shunji, what will happen to him? Too much questions…

  32. 32 picklemonster



    Wow this episode had SO MUCH FAN SERVICE!!! ME LIKEY!! I seriously squealed everytime Kang-to and MokDan had an intimate scene. I love how the sexual tension from before turned out to be this inseparable bond between the two; as if they were lovers all along. The way MokDan snuck out in the middle of the night, risking everything, just to check up on Kang-to’s condition was super sweet. I have to admit that I love our heroine so much more now that she’s on the same side as Kang-to.

    Now it’s back to replaying episode 18 until next Wednesday comes. DAMN IT!!! Episode 19 preview, please come faster!!!!!!!!!

  33. 33 diw

    I’m moved with the unexpected solidarity of the joseon people especially those who wore white clothes *cries*….
    I don’t know why but it just moves me.

    Also, Damsari’s farewell facial expression was uhmm *cries* classic. Well, I guess that is the best expression you could have when your ideals of democracy have spread through your people. He face his death (though thwarted, thank God) beautifully.

  34. 34 Arisa

    Mok Dan loves Bridal Mask who she thinks is the Young Master. She despised Kang To because of what he used to stand for. However, because she loves Bridal and the Young Master, who is also Kang To, it makes sense that she would automatically love Kang To as well. All three men are one in the same and she cannot choose which aspects to love — she has to love them all. So I buy that aspect of the story.

    What I do not buy is that Shunji has had so many clues indicating that Kang To is Bridal Mask but he keeps playing light with the dude. By now he should have COMPETENT guys watching Kang To, even following him home (he has to sleep somewhere) and watching him from a distance day and night. The writers are saying that Shunji strongly suspects Kang To yet he’s playing checkers with the guy instead of chess. This is what happens when you add more episodes to a series that doesn’t need it.

    The ending was great, but I want to see Shunji acting like he wants to catch Bridal Mask as much the writers say he does.

    • 34.1 mojobobo

      i think Shunji half wnats kangto to NOT be gaksital. denial mode. Park Ki Woong is such an amazing actor!

      • 34.1.1 Ivoire

        Hi Mojobobo, I agree with you about PKW. It is my 1st time seeing him act, and I think he rocks!!!!! He is owning that role!

      • 34.1.2 kgeek

        I’m believing the same. He is in denial mode because he does not WANT to believe he is Gaksital.

        And well, I guess, he believed that all to be true last time. Remember in episode 16/17 (Can’t remember) he told Rie that they were able to PROVE that LKT IS NOT Gaksital through the MD trap.

        So, that’s it I guess.

    • 34.2 Penguin

      He probably actually knows deep in his heart, he just doesn’t want to admit it. Cuz Kangto was like his only real friend, and you saw how he was all “Why can’t I love a Joseon women??! I think he’s wavering a little, and there’s this leeeetle piece of hope.

  35. 35 rhia

    Thank you, Javabeans!

    Notsital–hah! Couldn’t stop the snort that erupted after reading that. But I think that they would know that it wasn’t Gaksital, Shunji’s too smart for that. He would realize it.

    But where is Kang-to, then? Was he somehow stopped by Baek Gun?

    • 35.1 Jellybeaniebaby

      Or does he manage to sneak in and save DS in the ensuing chaos and belief that BM is dead?

  36. 36 mojobobo

    Thank you JB 🙂 Always looking forward to your recaps hehehe

  37. 37 muhloy

    “although surely it’s not too obvious to ask: Is anybody going to notice that Kang-to and Gaksital simultaneously got new ‘dos?”

    hahahahahah awesome!

  38. 38 Elizabeth Tai

    I am wondering what Mok Dan told the rebels when the rebels threatened to kill Kang to. Did she tell them who he was?

    • 38.1 Maya

      I think that was a fake out. It’s too risky to have his cover blown to too many people, and I hope Mok Dan is smart enough to realize that. She might said that Kang To is on their good side as he helped his dad to escape or she might say that her dad think that he can be trusted.

      • 38.1.1 Maya

        *helped HER dad escape

    • 38.2 Penguin

      She didn’t. She was like, “Don’t you know who he is?” But the cover wife and comrade were only, “Mok Dan, are you right in your mind?” They didn’t question.

      • 38.2.1 Jennifer

        But they didn’t really say “Are you right in your mind” they were looking at her weirdly

  39. 39 trixicopper

    I must love this show! I actually get up at O’dark 30 to watch it live. I work nights. The only time I’m up that early is if I haven’t been to bed yet.

    Thanks JB! Awesome recap as always!

    Is it next Wednesday yet? Damn you Olympics! (just kidding…sort of) 🙂

    • 39.1 Awe

      ah…you must be a FAN-sital!!! to be up at O’dark thirty. bravo.

  40. 40 Qwerty

    Oh. My. Land. I started reading this and decided that I would never want to watch this drama. To much sadness, pain, and dying. And tears. Lots and lots of tears. However, as it has gone on I have liked it more and more and this episode just about took the cake. I officially really want to watch it now. This was EPIC! Thanks for the recap. 🙂

  41. 41 Arawn

    Oh for crying out loud! The guy saved her and not only is he her long lost Young master but also her beloved Gaksital and what not. So the least she could do is to kiss him properly and not just stand there like a wooden stick! Geeeeesh.

    But ok, in other aspects, good scene. And him laying on her lap was pretty damn romantic. (More romantic than that kiss.)

    • 41.1 aoiaheen

      I know right? I would have been all tongue if i were her. life threatening injuries be damned.

    • 41.2 CupCake

      If I get to kiss a HOT guy like Kang To, tongue all the way.

      • 41.2.1 *mari*


  42. 42 melonhead

    My guess is that Tamao may become Gaksital in the future. One of those passing on the mantle things. Or maybe not, cause that would mean Kang-to would have died.

  43. 43 gem

    oh, park ki-woong, how i love your acting! you were the only reason i kept watching the musicale last time! haha
    i thought the kiss should have come after their conversation under the sunlight. I mean, they were barely adults the last time they actually were together. but i’m so willing to let it slide just because the succeeding conversations were just so meaningful.
    oh, and that cliffhanger! a v for vendetta-esque moment!
    why make us wait another week, drama?!

  44. 44 crazedlu

    be awesome, eps 19 and 20. ^^

  45. 45 Byul

    This was. The freaking BEST EPISODE EVER. hands down. I was silently screaming and fangirling as well as crying throught the entire episode. It’s been quite a while since a drama has done this to me, I think the last one was king two hearts, something that I think I’ll never be able to rewatch without sobbing. But back to this. It was just perfect. I lobe it, the defiance against the japanese, the hope that gaksital brings. It’s just so perfect.

    • 45.1 york

      Ditto RE: TK2H. It’s become another Damo for me. Stopped my re-watch at Ep1. Seeing Ah-Ha got me all teary-eyed! Mayhap years down the line I can re-watch without bawling my eyes out. Here’s to hoping!! 😀

      • 45.1.1 Ivoire

        Hi York,

        “Seeing Ah-Ha got me all teary-eyed! Mayhap years down the line I can re-watch without bawling my eyes out. Here’s to hoping!! :D”
        Awww… at that comment, and I understand the feeling. You do sound like a softie :-). Sounds like the K2Hs has got your heart as well :-)…

  46. 46 dany

    Ok, so the “Gaksital” at the end that went boom was that Comrade guy, that accompanied Damsari’s girlfriend.
    Then, what was with that kiss, I mean she was like a wall, maybe they should take some lessons from the protagonists in Operation Proposal. On the other hand it was too rushed and maybe she was in shock??
    Anyway great episode, thanks for the recap!

  47. 47 Eun

    What an episode. This drama surely knows how to make their viewers feel each and every scene. I am glad that Mok Dan didnt react negatively upon seeing the face underneath the bridal mask, instead she tend to Kangto. I eefffinng hate Shunji down to the very small part of his anatomy! Shunji seems to be a schizo! He is really not protecting Mok Dan but is only after his personal interest. Man, d’ya think you could win the girl if youre one hell of an a**hole?! And how could he make a promise to Mok Dan that he will block the execution of Damsari when he knows that he wont fulfill it. argh! But what sends me shivering is when Gaksital appeared and was shot by Shunji in the leg, oh double crap! and felt relieved when it is not Kangto at all, but then my heart jump out of my chest again when the Notsital had bomb in his body and it went kaboom!

    What a cliffhanger again! This show really left me craving for it. And I have to wait again, patiently wait again. 🙁

    Joo Won had achieve so much more than I can imagine since his acting stint in Baker King, Kim Tak Gu.

  48. 48 b1

    did i die..??

    waaaah …. i cant watch the epsiode cos im in the office and i was reading the recap while i was in the elevator and i everybody was looking at meeeeee .. waaah — biting my nails and holding breath with eyes bulging while reading kang to is not something to be done in public … waaaahh..

    this joo won happiness is enough to lift my spirit from yoochun leaving the twitterverse

    and gaksital — you deliver. something awesome.. waaay more awesome than anything i could predict ..and i already thought i was a good psychic from the previous dramas that i watched.. but this .. oh!! i died and im back alive and died again ..

    i dont make sense./. hahahah . and i love mokdan ~~ finally .. didnt hate her before but she was just an appliance in the corner before .. but she’s alive now .. and shunjiiii !! ~~ creeps .. i.die.again

  49. 49 jool

    So. GOOD.


  50. 50 becca_boo

    And the countdown to Wednesday begins all over again.

    Six more days to Gaksital….

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