Drama Recaps
Gaksital: Episode 20
by | August 9, 2012 | 200 Comments

There are no words to describe the awesome. Scratch that—there are expletives, most of which I probably use. I love that Gaksital doesn’t shy away from the dark moments in history and the dark side of human nature, both in hero and villain alike. It’s a jaw-dropping, terror-filling hour, but I promise you’ll come out the other side cheering. Also crying. But cheering still.


As his first order of business as the new station chief, Murayama fires Kang-to for his no-shows, his inability to catch Gaksital (um, then you’d have to fire everybody), and the kicker: because he’s Korean.

Kang-to stands his ground and argues that he can’t accept the orders and asks that he change his mind. He can’t be fired for being Korean.

But Murayama is not your average, shall we say sane, bear. He rips into Kang-to with a crazy fury, kicking and punching him bloody for daring to defy his orders. He screams that a Joseon person cannot be trusted and points Kang-to’s own gun at his forehead.

Alarmed, Shunji intervenes and holds Murayama back and tells the others to drag Kang-to out. They toss him to the curb. Murayama now understands why Kimura said Kang-to couldn’t be tamed, and gives the order that Kang-to is not to step one foot inside the station.

Koiso happily follows Kang-to out to taunt and gloat, and says he can’t ever come back here… which Kang-to ignores by coming right back in here. Ha.

He comes in with officers hanging off his limbs trying to hold him back, and screams for Shunji to repeal the order. Shunji just turns his back and shuts the door. Ouch. And a poor blubbering Abe cries, clutching Kang-to’s hat. What will the puppy do without his master?

Koiso comes in to share his happy moment with Shunji, finally admitting how much he hated Kang-to. I don’t think that’s quite the confession you think it is. He says that he’s only telling Shunji now because Kang-to is out: “Kenji killed Kang-to’s mother.” Eep! Why are you telling him that?

Shunji can’t believe it and asks why. Koiso says Kenji thought Kang-san was Gaksital, but that would be ridiculous. Yes! Ridiculous! Stop barking up that tree!

And then the bastard laughs that the locals lit their house on fire and conveniently covered up Kenji’s crime, leaving Kang-to none the wiser. Shunji gapes and asks if Koiso is sure Kang-to doesn’t know.

Koiso: “Of course he doesn’t. With that temper of his, would he have left it alone? He’d have stormed in here and killed Kenji twelve times over.” That immediately flashes Shunji back to the moment he saw Gaksital murder his brother.

Oh. Crap. Is there never a day of rest for the secret identity? I know, it’s a good thing. But my heart can’t take it!

Shunji makes the connection right away and thinks to himself: “It can’t be… the Gaksital who killed Hyung… was Lee Kang-to?” He gets up with alarm and thinks: if Kang-to knew about Kenji and then pretended he didn’t all this time…

Double crap. He tells Koiso to capture Kang-to at once, and goes tearing out of the room. Thankfully by now, Kang-to is nowhere to be found.

He’s knocking on Rie’s door, where he’s greeted by a non-hostile Katsuyama today. (Okay, so his nice face is the same as his mean face, but any exchange without swords is a successful one.)

Kang-to tells Rie that he was fired today by the new station chief, and she fumes to realize this was Kimura’s retaliation for wanting to bring Kang-to in. She tells him it won’t matter because she’s on her way to ask the chairman for his entry into Kishokai.

Kang-to thinks to himself, “Kishokai. So that’s the name of your organization.” It’s nice when the baddies feed you clues. He wonders what he can do as an unemployed nobody, and Rie asks where all that ambition went to.

He says he’s got plenty of that, if nothing else, and she says that’s the one thing the chairman wants. Kang-to asks what kind of man he is, and Rie says he’s someone who values desire more than ability—he’s sure to like Kang-to.

He asks when he can meet the man, and Rie runs her hand down his chest, “Soon.” Rawr.

He walks her out and she invites him to dinner at the gisaeng house to hear how her meeting went. I just love the hairy eyeball from Katsuyama while the two lovebirds are exchanging pleasantries. It’s kind of making my day.

He’s so wrapped up in it that he forgets to close the car door for a second, eliciting an annoyed look from Rie. I would love a Zeppo episode for Katsuyama—him pining for Rie while he has to pick up her dry cleaning and assassinate the people he’s told to, with Gaksital running past in the background to save another day.

Kang-to leans in to give Rie a smooth smile as he sends her off.

Shunji tells Dad what he found out, and Dad reels—if Kang-to knew about Kenji killing his mother this whole time but pretended not to, it’s likely he’s Gaksital. Shunji says he’s not sure, but that’s why they can’t kick Kang-to out of the police force now, because he has to keep him close to find out.

Kimura and Murayama get called in by Chairman Ueno, where Rie takes them to task for firing Kang-to as soon as she mentioned bringing him into Kishokai. But Kimura says there’s a distinct possibility that Kang-to is Gaksital, which enrages Rie.

She totally DOES have a blind spot for Kang-to. Love it. She argues that Shunji himself swore that it wasn’t possible. Murayama of course argues that he can’t abide a Joseon person being an imperial officer or a member of Kishokai.

Ueno quickly dismisses Kang-to’s entry into Kishokai, leaving Rie fuming in silence. He turns his attention to the war in China and the importance of not failing the empire at this crucial time. He charges the police with the task of fulfilling the empire’s request… for comfort women. Oh. My. God. We went there. I’m impressed.

Rie goes straight to Shunji to ask for his help in getting Kang-to into Kishokai. But Shunji shuts her down right away, which surprises her—isn’t Kang-to his friend? She reminds him that he’s the one who insisted Kang-to couldn’t be Gaksital.

He says he’s found out some new things that put him back in suspicious territory, and wonders why she’s so intent on making Kang-to part of Kishokai. What, you’re the only one who gets to have an inappropriately controlling one-sided crush?

She asks what the new evidence is, but he condescends: “You don’t need to know.” She warns that she wants to kill Gaksital as much as he does and wonders what he’ll do if she catches him first. Well I don’t like the sound of that.

Kang-to gets his wounds treated by Baek Gun, who says getting fired is a good thing, but Kang-to just makes him worry even more by saying he needs to get into Kishokai to get to the chairman.

Baek Gun worries that he can’t take on all those people alone—what could he possibly gain by joining Kishokai? Kang-to says he’s got to get into the lair to cut off the head of the beast, which he does mean literally. He sighs. The poor Alfreds of the world. Always cleaning up after your superheroes.

Rie ponders Shunji’s words, and then asks Katsuyama: when he fought Gaksital at the gisaeng house, where did he injure him? “Right arm and right thigh.” She repeats the words. I can’t be the only one thinking this: is she planning to get him nekkid to check? *sits up straight in chair*

She dopes up his drink to speed along the process and waits for him to arrive at dinner. He gets escorted in by Masako, the gisaeng he romanced to get to bank president Jo, and she adorably pouts at him for going to meet Rie. He just smiles at her, and I’m kind of amazed that he’s working two angles at once.

She breaks the news right away that Kishokai isn’t prepared to accept him with open arms just yet, and he sighs in disappointment. She tells him to wait a little longer while she convinces the chairman, and he guesses that the man who adopted her is the chairman of Kishokai—how else could she be in such a position of power?

She’s taken aback and gets defensive, wondering if it’s her Kang-to is curious about, or Kishokai. He answers that it’s both, and she asks disbelievingly how he could be curious about her when he didn’t remember who she was. Besides, his heart is filled with Mok Dan and Mok Dan alone.

He suppresses his surprise and says nothing.

Rie: I’m a woman who lost her parents at the age of nine and walked in to become a gisaeng on my own two feet. I can know what a man is thinking by the look in his eye. I know you approached me because of Kishokai. But that you want to know me, that you’re curious about me—don’t tell me those lies.

Augh I love her. It’s that amazing duality of a woman so sharp and jaded that she knows it’s a lie… but the delivery tells me she wants to believe it. So. Good.

And Kang-to matches her line for line, with those sincere eyes. He apologizes for ever making her think that way, and says he really was curious about how that gisaeng became Lala.

Kang-to: “If the same circumstance five years ago happened today, I would save you again. Whether you were Lala or that gisaeng.”

That’s it. That’s the thing that breaks her, and you can see it in her eyes. Her lip starts to quiver ever so slightly, and her eyes brim with tears.

But she swallows it back with a breath and then holds up her glass for a toast. He downs his shot (No!) and she sips hers just barely holding back a tear.

He gets droopy-eyed in no time and slumps over in a happy sleep. She takes a breath and then walks over to him. As she pauses over his unconscious body, she says aloud:

Rie: If you are Gaksital, you would have seen me try to kill the woman you love. If the same thing five years ago happened today, you’d save me again? That obvious lie… why do I want to believe it so?

She braces herself and starts to unbutton his jacket…

I’m so nervous! Where’s the interruption fairy when you need her? She pulls up his shirt sleeve…

And reels to see the bloody bandage on his arm.

HOLY. Omg she knows! Aaaaaaaah! AAAAAAAAAH!

Tellingly, her first instinct is to cover it back up in a panic. She stumbles outside and tells herself to get it together—Kang-to is Gaksital, so what is she waiting for? She can’t hesitate now!

She calls Katsuyama over… Oh no! Ohgodohgod…

He waits for the word. She balls up her fists. “Bring Masako over.” Oh phew. That means Kang-to’s safe, right? No kill order means she’s going to keep the secret, right? It’s still making me a giant nervous wreck, but I think we’re in the clear for now at least.

General Wada calls the police officials in to tell them the latest turn in the war is going badly, and that the biggest problem for the Japanese army isn’t the attacks of guerilla warfare, but venereal disease.

Kimura says what they need to do is round up “clean and healthy” Joseon girls to send to the troops as comfort women.


Wow, there are no words. Appalling doesn’t do this scene justice. I’m seriously about to lose my lunch. Why do I always get the episodes where I need twenty showers after?

Murayama actually smiles as he says that he’ll task the police with rounding up the women. Wada reminds them that the great empire can in no way have used government officials in the act of supplying comfort women, and Kimura assures him that no one will ever find evidence that the government was responsible.

Wada tells them to make sure there are no traces, and Murayama says that he’ll be sure to find poor and healthy girls. My skin is crawling so badly right now.

They laugh. And smile. And clap. I’m feeling violent.

A man and woman come by the circus to recruit young women to be nurses to tend to the troops. They show the announcement in the paper saying that the government will pay a monthly salary to anyone who signs their name to the roster.

The girls look up with hopeful smiles at the promise of regular wages for what sounds like an easy job. Don’t do it! Boss Jo ushers them out, insisting that they will not be nurses to Japanese soldiers, but the girls eye the newspaper announcement with excitement.

Kang-to finally wakes up in the gisaeng house and asks Masako what happened last night. She says Lala left as soon as Kang-to fell asleep and left him in her care. He only remembers having the one drink and can’t figure out what happened.

He storms over to the hotel and pounds on Lala’s door, calling out her name over and over. She sits inside, sipping her tea and not moving a muscle. Katsuyama tells her about the time Kang-to followed him here, and warns that he’s clearly got an ulterior motive in getting close to her.

She assures him that she knows, but doesn’t betray any more than that. She calls Shunji to ask him to remove Lee Kang-to from the hotel.

Kang-to finally gives up and heads outside, where Shunji catches up to him on the street. He plays the concerned friend SO WELL it creeps me out—he tells Kang-to he’s been looking everywhere for him and that it took some doing, but he got him reinstated. Kang-to looks surprised and they head to the station.

Boss Jo worries that with the nurse recruitment offering such a hefty salary, they’ll lose all the girls. Mok Dan (having actually been trained as a young nurse) says it’s weird that they’d be offering untrained girls so much money—it’s more than professional men in that field make.

They decide it’s weird (OHTHANKGOD) and agree to look into it.

Kang-to comes back to the station and puts on his uniform, though he’s on his guard—there’s something weird going on here too, and I’m just glad our good guys are getting the suspicious bug when it matters.

The score is going to a creepier place too, and I like it—it fits my creeped-out mood.

He gets a call at his desk from Mok Dan, who tells him about the nurse recruitment. She asks him to look into it to see if it’s legit, and he promises that he will.

Shunji calls everyone to attention as Murayama addresses them. That little sneer he gives at Kang-to’s reinstatement is very satisfying.

He announces that they’ll be tasked with the mission to recruit young Korean girls to be sent as comfort women to the troops, and that the police’s involvement must be kept a secret at all costs.

Kang-to and even Shunji betray looks of surprise. Well, I guess you didn’t need to look into that nursing thing after all. On the other hand, welcome to the skin-crawl club.

For good measure, Murayama gives the announcement on Director Kimura’s orders that Koiso be promoted, and Kang-to (he pointedly doesn’t use Sato Hiroshi as his name, choosing to call him Lee Kang-to) has been demoted. He yanks off Kang-to’s stars.

Everyone congratulates Koiso except for Abe, and Shunji puts a reassuring hand on Kang-to’s shoulder and invites him into his office.

Shunji then plays good cop, saying that Murayama is a man who won’t listen to reason, and that he had to play along yesterday, and pulled strings above his head to get Kang-to reinstated. Damn, you’re getting way too good at this.

Kang-to thanks him, and then Shunji takes a call from Mok Dan. Kang-to makes a move to leave but Shunji tells him to stay. So he can watch you and be heartbroken? He ends the call and says that Mok Dan wants to see him. “You drive.” Urg, you bastid!

In the car, Kang-to and Shunji play nice, all the while on red alert in their heads. Kang-to knows Shunji had him demoted so he could stick to his side—why? Is he suspecting him again?

Shunji in turn thinks to himself, “Lee Kang-to, if you’re really Gaksital, wait and see… I will make you take that mask off.”

They pass a pair of girls from the circus signing up to be nurses. Kang-to pauses, knowing what they’re really in for. When they get to the circus, Shunji’s shocked to find his sentries pointing all their rifles at Mok Dan. Is this going to be her recurring Bugs Bunny gag? It consistently cracks me up how much firepower is required to keep this girl in check.

The officers argue that the circus keeps trying to put on a show, while Mok Dan argues that they have to put on a show to eat and live—how long is he going to keep them on watch like this?

Shunji tells the men to stand down and says he won’t guard them anymore. He asks to speak to Mok Dan alone. He walks out and she follows, passing by Kang-to ever so slowly, and he uses that split second to whisper that she needs to stop them: they’re not being sent as nurses, but as comfort women.

Her eyes grow wide and she nods. She understands.

Shunji walks with her a while, as Kang-to trails behind them. Then he purposely looks back at Kang-to and grabs Mok Dan in a hug. Evil! But brilliant.

Kang-to looks away and Shunji holds on as Mok Dan squirms uncomfortably. He tells her that he trusts her and won’t keep her under watch anymore. “But in return you have to give me some of your heart.”


She’s just as creeped out as I am and tells him to stop, struggling to free herself from his grasp. Kang-to actually has to close his eyes to keep from blowing a gasket.

Shunji just grabs her tighter and all the while looking straight at Kang-to, growls in her ear, “Is there anything you’re keeping from me?” Her eyes dart in fear and she stops struggling.

He tells her that if she is hiding something, he’ll find out whatever it is and snuff it out. He finally lets her go.

Okay, I’m officially scared. That crazy look in his eye, at just the thought that Kang-to and Mok Dan might be hiding a love affair (not to mention the secret identity part) is so intense.

He calls out for Kang-to to follow him and walks off, leaving both of them scarred in his wake. Kang-to walks up and pauses next to Mok Dan for just a moment, and grabs her hand in his.

He lingers there, just as long as humanly possible, and doesn’t even turn to face her. And then he pulls away from her grasp as she sheds a tear.

Aw, okay. That was bee-yoo-tee-ful. I could really do with an entire love story for them that’s all about the secret and what cannot be. The stolen glances and secret handholds are heart-wrenching and lovely.

On the drive back, Shunji decides to poke the bear a little and asks Kang-to why he hasn’t sought out his mother’s killer yet—if it were him, he’d have stopped everything to do that first. He vowed to kill Gaksital because he killed Kenji, so why isn’t Kang-to doing the same?

Kang-to screeches the car to a halt and pulls Shunji out of the car by the collar. He screams at Shunji to tell him what he knows—does he know who killed his mother? Shunji calmly tells him that he doesn’t know anything, and that he’d have told him right away if that were the case.

He apologizes for stirring up old wounds and gets back in the car. Kang-to stands there, catching up with increasing alarm.

He thinks to himself: “Kimura Shunji, have you found out that your hyung killed my mother? Fine. Let’s go.” Oh hell yeah. *fistpump*

Chairman Ueno tells Rie that his right-hand assassin recognized Kang-to as the man who saved her life five years ago. Oh, you mean the samurai who makes my blood curdle? He’s so frightening.

Rie quickly says that’s not the reason why she nominated him for Kishokai, but he doesn’t look convinced. He puts her in charge of the comfort women to be sent overseas. Okay, now this I love. Because there’s just no friggin’ way she’s going to carry out this task without facing some massive questions about herself, right?

The count and countess do their part to recruit girls, meeting with the couple that runs the girls’ school. No, you wouldn’t. They tell them it’ll be a great opportunity for the students and they agree to send as many as they can. You are! Horror.

They cheer and have a drink, as one such student tells her grandmother that only the smartest students were chosen, and it’s a great opportunity to study abroad. She says that she’s going to study medicine one day. Grandma gives her a hug, and then they get up as a car arrives…

It’s Kimura. Oh wait, Grandma is Shunji’s nanny? Dude. She introduces her granddaughter and says that she’s been chosen to join the nursing program. She asks Kimura if she should send her.

He pauses and looks at the sweet innocent girl who can’t be more than fifteen… and tells Grandma that she can rest assured and send her.

*GASP* You sir, are the devil. HOLY FRAK!

The circus troop waits on pins and needles and Mok Dan arrives to say she’s found a way to get the girls to safety. They have to leave town now. But as soon as they get up to go, officers (dressed in plain clothes) come to take the two girls who signed up.

Mok Dan stands between them and says they were duped into signing up and taking them by force is the same as kidnapping. But they’re not here to reason, and simply brute-force their way into the room to grab the girls.

They put up a fight and in the fray, they grab Sun-hwa too. NO! They head down the hall with the three girls and Mok Dan runs after them to fight back, earning her a severe beating.

Nanny says goodbye to her granddaughter, who gets into a truck. Somebody stop her! Nanny comes running after her to wave a tearful goodbye and she waves back with a happy, hopeful smile. Ohgod. I’m a blubbering mess right now.

Rie and Katsuyama wait at the checkpoint where the trucks will convene. She orders the recruiter to check the names. Sun-hwa’s truck arrives and the girls look at each other worriedly.

More and more trucks head down the road in droves.

And then! Gaksitaaaaaaaaaal! I have never been happier to see you. WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?

He stops truck after truck, beating the officers down with one amazingly satisfying blow after another. Gunfire alarms everyone at the checkpoint and everyone scrambles.

Kang-to gets to Sun-hwa’s truck and beats the officers down, and as one reaches for his gun, she bites his arm and screams for the girls to run, telling them where they’re really headed.

Kang-to sees the head recruiter weasel hiding in the car and drags him out. He delivers two blows to break his arms and then another right at his neck, and he falls dead instantly.

But then a shot rings out, missing Kang-to and hitting a tree behind him. Uh-oh.

He looks up… at Rie, pointing a gun straight at his chest. Holy smokes!

She thinks to herself: “Please, don’t make me regret letting you live.”


Oh man, how much do I love where we’re going with Rie? Her Kang-to/Gaksital conflict is the perfect mirror-opposite of Mok Dan’s (it’s the man she loves and the mask she hates). And still there’s so much more to explore. I can’t believe she found out, but I love that she knows, because it throws her into a much more precarious position: Does she follow her heart and protect Kang-to? Or does she follow her orders to kill him? Mok Dan finding out the secret identity is very different in that it ends the conflict for her—she just chooses Kang-to, which introduces a fraught secrecy to their romance, but loving him was never a question for her. Rie, on the other hand, gets turned upside-down by knowing the truth, and it’s great to watch.

I really hope we take her conscience for a ride, because no matter how much she says she’s cut her ties to her roots, how can she stand by and watch as Joseon women, girls who know nothing of the world, get carted off as comfort women? There’s SO MUCH for her to identify with, as the girl who walked into a gisaeng house at the age of nine. It’s a fantastic setup for her character, and I really hope this isn’t the last of the comfort women storyline, because more than Kang-to, there’s a redemption arc for her in this story thread. Just as she knows Kang-to’s words to her are lies that she wants to believe, there’s an entire identity that she’s shaped in the same way, and I think loving him despite all that will start to wear her down and make her question fundamental things.

I feel like they’ve finally figured out the perfect hero-villain balance when it comes to Kang-to and Shunji outsmarting each other and catching on to the other’s suspicions faster. Kang-to was frustratingly trusting before, but now he’s meeting Shunji lie-for-lie and it makes every interaction between them charged with murderous tension. When Shunji hugged Mok Dan entirely as a show for Kang-to just to see his reaction, knowing what he knows? That was sick and kind of genius. Now I look forward to their cat-and-mouse games, because it’s more like cat-and-cat, and someone’s going to lose an eye.

I figured they’d find a way to back out of Kang-to losing his job, because I can’t fathom his character out of uniform. It would have been nice to have a couple of episodes with him floating about jobless like Kimura, and a little more desperate, a little less connected. There could be a lot gained from breaking out of the formula, but it doesn’t look like they’re confident enough to go there. At least the demotion is another obstacle for him, though really the big one is Murayama, who I have to hand it to, is worlds better as a big bad than the blustering men of so-called power before him. He’s great for the story, not so much for my blood pressure.

I do think the show took a misstep in wasting a huge opportunity with Damsari. When they closed that arc I was waiting for the big official reveal—when either Damsari would know for certain that Kang-to was Gaksital, or when he’d say that he’s known all along since so-and-so. The moment Damsari sees Kang-to fighting on his side was so epic and I was chomping at the bit for them to show me the big one, but they skipped it, which boggles my mind. Admittedly, this show consistently drops my jaw and delivers in ways I didn’t expect. But once in a while there are key hero moments that are left by the wayside, and at times I just wonder why that ball was dropped. If they were going to put Damsari in hiding and bring him back later, I would rather he not know, to save the big moment for the end. Sigh. I know; you give me a feast and I’m complaining that I didn’t get a cherry on my sundae. It’s just… I want you to be perfect! It’s only because I love you!


200 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Natalie

    loved this ep!

    • 1.1 Natalie

      I am more interested in Rara/Rie’s storyline than Mok Dan’s at this point.

      • 1.1.1 DarknessEyes

        Totally yeah! Mok Dan is just boring…

        • Arhazivory

          I wouldn’t say that. Their forbidden love is sweet and that hand holding scene was sweet too.

          • texashot

            Me too. I cried every time I watch the holding hands scene.

          • Awe

            kang-to/mok-dan allows us moments of ‘feel-good’ admist the all bad in this drama. we need that.

            however, all eyes are on RaRa. do us women proud, RaRa! stand up to the man and show us your true colors. /cheers for RaRa!!!!

      • 1.1.2 Shin Haido

        yeahhh!!! we need something new to ignite more passion to watch this drama too. lol

      • 1.1.3 hawaiianseoul

        Gosh, I’m loving her character!

        I love these 2 main girls for being so feisty.

      • 1.1.4 anabella


    • 1.2 redfox

      me too
      did somebody notice Kang-to has red cheeks ( from being beaten by the Moron-hama or whatever, so that he looks like a bridal mask naturally?

      Shunji is becoming a lex luthor now. evil mastermind in friendly disguise.

      • 1.2.1 MsB

        Moron-hama? Lex Luther? Love it!

      • 1.2.2 Awe

        me too
        good one, redfox

        Moron-hama … isn’t he (wait for it) Kyun-Tak’s idiot brother from Dr.Jin? all the more reason to not like him.

        dr jin is gonna be the death of everyone this summer….

  2. Ivoire

    Thank you!

  3. Birthday Girl

    This episode was so hard for me. I visited comfort women when I was last in Korea and their stories still haunt me. I wonder how citizens are taking this episode.

    • 3.1 Birthday Girl

      Oh and just correcting myself ‘comfort women’ are called 할머니/Grandmothers/hal-muh-nee

    • 3.2 mrs_d_4281

      Well, ratings for this episode rose to 19+. *Brings out the mirror ball* It’s party time! Woohoo!

      Wow, this drama really knows how to handle it’s story. It’s really not afraid to go to the deepest darkest part of their history. Never mind the minor mistakes or inconsistencies. I.LOVE.IT!!!!

    • 3.3 Airyn

      Same here, this storyline is very painful to watch. I’m not Korean, though, but our women experienced the same thing during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines. :((

      • 3.3.1 zodd

        Sucks that the Japanese got away we so many war crimes during WWII.

        • ...

          that’s why it was so appalling that a Japanese President would worship and pay respects at a shrine that housed war criminals!!!! What is so upsetting is the fact that many Japanese people today do not know what their country has done to their neighbours. I’m not anti-Japanese, and in fact I do admire them a lot. But, when it comes down to 20th Century history, I do believe that the government or state should acknowledge and make public apologies as the Germans have done. Imagine the uproar if Angela Merkel went to pay respects to Hitler and praise him for what he did?

          • Awe

            i think it’s important to understand that each country has gobbbbbs of negative karma and that all of us are alive because our ancestors survived “some war”…meaning our ancestors killed so we could be alive. and that is the reason for paying respect to all war veterans…we are alive because of their sacrifice AND wrong deeds.

            war is not ok. so lets all work together now so that there are no more wars. its gonna mean that we learn to treat the planet better and lessen our desire for money, power and lust. can you do that?

          • someone

            In 1995, prime minister of Japan Murayama publicly apologized for Japan’s crimes during WWII. You can check for yourself the Murayama statement. The relationship between the 2 coutriese is very complex, the resentment is deep from both sides and although that declaration was a big and unexpected step, it didn’t have much of any kind of consequence.

      • 3.3.2 Reena

        yeah… stirs up the pain that our grandmothers went through under Japanese occupation. My grandfather was a Filipino soldier during that time and he told of stories where the Japanese would just brutally rape the wives in front of their husbands.

        Really painful to watch, this episode… 🙁

      • 3.3.3 h311ybean

        I agree! I was thinking of the Philippine comfort women from the moment the plotline was brought up. I don’t know much about how comfort women were rounded up in the Philippines, but if the Japanese did it the way it was done in this episode, that totally crushing. The idea of being lured with the promise of a good life, only to find out it was a lie (and how!), just guts me.

        I have to applaud the show’s writers for “going there.” This drama is proving to be very raw and visceral, probably because it explores a relatively modern era, and the whole comfort women issue was part of that. It’s keeping me absorbed this late in the game, that’s for sure!

        • DB5K

          I don’t think the show’s writers are “going there” if the recruited girls are going to be rescued by Gaksital. Because the truth is that tens of thousands, if not over a hundred thousand, women were forced into sexual slavery under horrific situations.

          Gaksital is rooted in history, but it’s also based on a comic. I wouldn’t say it’s historically accurate.

          • Maya

            Although the history is not accurate, I have to disagree though. I would say that the writers are “going there” by giving us the backdrop story to it. How the women are tricked into it, how the government worked together with local agencies to “recruit” the women and the propaganda (I think that part is historically accurate, at least according to Wikipedia). And I think it was mentioned in the episode that the recruitment will be carried out in 13 provinces. So even though we see Gaksital rescued them at the end, he probably only saved a small fraction of the women.

          • MsB

            The simple fact of mentioning the practice is ‘going there’. As an American, I never even heard of this practice! Now when I hear ‘comfort women’, this episode along will help me to never forget! Camp women volunteered, this was not volunteering but kidnapping and rape! Scary shit! Sorry for cussing! This episode, though good, not sure I’m going to watch again. It totally creeped me out!

          • Laica

            In a world where even today, in the year 2012, the Japanese government is still denying their crimes during WWII, and when Japanese schools are teaching a sanitized version of history so that many Japanese citizens have no idea what kind of horrors their nation carried out, I do think this is considered “going there”. Especially in today’s Hallyu market where dramas are produced often solely with an eye to the massive profits they can get in the lucrative and large Japanese market. I think it’s brave of the producers of Gaksital.

            Besides, even though Gaksital saves this bunch, there are no illusions, IMO, that many others have already gone and this is a longstanding practice. He can’t save them all. And I felt that young girl waving goodbye to her grandmother was an homage to the many girls and women who went off excitedly, full of dreams and the hope for a better life, and never returned. Regardless of whether her character actually gets saved, the symbolism remains. That scene was beautifully done and had me in tears.

          • Cary

            I have to agree with you, the subject of comfort women is a sensitive one that I would rather discuss in a more serious tone and setting. To be fair, it is impossible for any drama that is first and foremost created to entertain, to give justice to this topic, and it is brave of the show’s writers to try going there.

          • news

            Sure, Gaksital is based on a comic and as a drama, one of its purposes is to “entertain”, but why shouldn’t those two mediums be taken seriously? Simply because the story isn’t based on a non-fiction book or presented as a documentary doesn’t negate the power of its message.

            I definitely didn’t expect a weekday drama to take on such a serious and tragic topic, and I’m so glad it did. The scene where the grandma was waving to her granddaughter was so heart wrenching I couldn’t even cry. It was to that point.

            I’m all for anything that moves the heart and opens the mind.

          • Cheryl

            Not all the girls were rescued. The truck the nanny’s granddaughter was on wasn’t, and that truck represented all the girls who were sent off into sexual slavery under false pretenses. This storyline was the hardest for me.

            I applaud the writers for not shying away from the truth of ‘comfort women’. I will never, ever understand how people like the Count and Countess could feel no shame about spouting the party line about the need for nurses in order to lure Korean women to the front. As a student of history, I understand how the Japanese were able to sleep easy, but I have a much harder time grasping how Koreans could be at peace with that.

    • 3.4 Annis

      In my country we call Jugun Ianfu, really heartbreaking hearing their story.
      I love that this drama come up about Jugun Ianfu, even just little bit … cause many people just considered them as prostitute only. without looking to the history behind …..

      Thank you GAKSITAL………..for bring in this horrible experience for some women from those era, so we can more understanding and caring about them … And i hope one day they can find their justice…

    • 3.5 queencircles

      Yeah it’s so horrifying. I’m glad they went there, but the scene with the grandmother broght tears to my eyes. Disturbing. Love this show. I agree with you about Damsari though. I would’ve liked to see the reaction.

    • 3.6 Maya

      I’m not Korean, but my country also went through this dark phase during the Japanese occupation. That’s why I’m surprised (in a good way) that Gaksital doesn’t shy away from addressing the sensitive issue.  It’s an issue that has been brushed under the carpet, not only by government officials, but also by many surrounding cultures. In my country, for example, little has been done to compensate the surviving women and their families; to the contrary, their stories have been suppressed by the society at large. However, the fate of comfort women forms an integral part of the national history and the issues related to comfort women are also still relevant today. So thank you Gaksital for breaking the silence.

      • 3.6.1 maja

        I strongly agree, here in my country all of those surviving comfort women died down not having been compensated or even apologized to… my grandparents lived trough that time in history and I could not imagine the horrors of what they have experienced and seen whenever they tell me those stories… Thank You Gaksital, however little, for going there…

  4. Wynn

    WooTs!!! Thanks!

  5. lordj

    Thank you so much gf. Off to read!

  6. Maya

    Thanks for recap GF! Now off to read it first…

    • 6.1 Maya

      Gaksital continues to exceed my expectation, esp with the topic in today’s episode. I remember that someone mentioned the topic in previous recap (a couple of weeks back), but most of us never thought that the show would ever go there and it proved that it will go there.
      Anyway I would never have thought that Rara would find out about Kang To’s secret identity with 8 episodes left! But I think the revelation and the story arc are fitting. once Rara finds out about Kang To, she will then see that Kang To was sincere when she said that he will do the same thing like 5 years ago even if she’s Rara. Because the situation at the end resembles her situation at the gisaeng house. And despite her hating the mask, it’s the Kang To 5 years ago who dons that mask right now. Not the ruthless Kang To we see in earlier episodes. And I think Rara is actually in love with the idealistic, brave Kang To from 5 years ago (who is returning to his old self after donning the mask).
      And Shunji, my sympathy for you has run dry. Your brother clearly killed your ex-best friend’s mom and you really don’t feel at least a pang of guilt for him?! I always thought that if he ever find out about this, it will at least shake him and force him to question his act up to this point. But I guess he just went way too far to the dark side that it’s hopeless now.

  7. Laica

    Your description makes me a bit scared to watch the episode. Also excited.

    *girds loins*

    • 7.1 Laica

      Finally watched it. School, I curse you for interfering with my drama watching.

      I was impressed – and totally nauseated – by them introducing this “comfort women” arc. Props, Show, for going there. Especially considering that Japan is the biggest “hallyu” market for kdramas right now, and so many dramas are pitched specifically for that market. It’s brave to tackle such a sensitive topic, when the Japanese government is still denying what happened, to the point of omitting it from their history textbooks. Many Japanese people don’t even know what happened during WWII.

      I wonder hoe the Korean actors portraying the baddies felt in this episode, when even I’m feeling like I’m going to puke just watching it.

      That scene with the girl waving goodbye to her grandma had me in tears.

      Also, La La knows! OMG! I can’t believe she didn’t kill him. And Shunji knows that Kenji killed Kang-to’s mom. It strikes me that his reaction to this news would have been way different say, ten episodes ago. That one decision by Koiso to delay telling him changed a lot of things in the story.

      Now that Kang-to knows that he knows, I can’t wait to see what will happen.

      Thanks for the awesome recap, girlfriday. I was totally with you in all your capslock exclamations.

    • 7.2 Laica

      I want to see the reaction of the Count’s son to his parents’ involvement in recruiting ‘comfort women’. He’s such a fascinating character, I wish we saw of more of him.

  8. Maru

    Whoaaaaaaaa… My heart and nails can’t take it anymore!!!

    I was so surprised (in a good way) that Rie discovered the identity of Gaksital this fast. I don’t know what’s gonna happen from now on.

    Shunji, keep your steady path to the psycopath territory, you are doing great! Today I was thinking how it’s not hate what Shunji makes me feel, but fear and chills. He is crazy.

    I like how this drama touches sensitive topics again and again. The show is not afraid to embrace its dark territories. I know the ‘comfort women’ topic is still a very sensitive one, and not just in Korea, so it is great that they are not afraid to put it out there.

    • 8.1 Peridot

      I agree with your comment about the show exploring sensitive topics. I have been wondering for a while if this show would explore the threat of sexual violence (in its many shapes and forms).

      • 8.1.1 Maru

        It was horrible. I’m not Korean and not familiar with that part of their history, but I am a woman and, like Girlfriday, I felt sick when they were talking about women like they where war supplies. WAR SUPPLIES?! I stoped the show for a couple of minutes right there. I needed to get some air.

        • Jesse

          Minutes, hmm. I stopped watching this subbed episode for half a day before finishing it. This is how horrying this story arc is for me. I’m a guy and apparently empathise (too) well.

          I applaud the writers though for including comfort women in Gaksital.

  9. Arhazivory

    That’s such a sensitive issue that they tackled. I felt like throwing up as they sat in the office and talked about it so nonchalantly. This is that aspect of war that always gets to me and so it was hard to not be emotionally invested in this episode. *sighs* I watched the episode while imagining the true reality of what those women went through, especially because there was no ‘hero’ to rescue them.


  10. 10 HeadsNo2

    Loved this episode. They’re not afraid to go dark, which totally blows my mind. In a good way.

  11. 11 ck1Oz

    Oh man. I really wanted to come see what you wrote today GF. This whole episode left me churning. And not in a good way. I know it’s history and it happened but it still doesn’t even make it better.

    On a side note, the viki translating team translate what is said on screen so if it’s comfort woman it stays comfort women. It is not there to push any political agenda. Someone just told us to sub it as ‘sex slaves’ instead. That is not the word used and I don’t see why we have to change what the writer wrote to push a point. Just putting it out there.

    • 11.1 ck1Oz

      And oh yeah. I have gone beyond just rooting for the OTP to just going along with the vast scope of history this drama is galloping along with.

      At the end of the day, this drama is an experience I’ll never forget. You guys you better end this RIGHT!! But
      * whimper * I did NOT like any of the ending spoilers.

    • 11.2 Arhazivory

      I wondered why it was subbed as sex slave = and not comfort women. The former leaves an even more awful taste in my mouth. *sighs*

      • 11.2.1 Reena

        In my country, we also used the term “comfort women” for girls that were used by the Japanese. It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth… it stirs up the pain that our grandmothers went through under Japanese occupation. My grandfather was a Filipino soldier during that time and he told of stories of the brutality that was WWII.

        Really painful to watch, this episode… 🙁

    • 11.3 javabeans

      I understand the compulsion to use the horrible word and get out just how atrocious the act was… but translating it (mistranslating, one might argue) as sex slave rather misses the point, I think. Which is that the Japanese took some effort to pointedly use a term that means, literally, comfort woman. It makes it more awful, imo, to gloss over what they were doing, to make the order with those cavalier smirks as they did in the drama, and justify it as an act of care by the almighty empire. I think it’s important to call it by the term, to stand by the use of the term “comfort woman” because of the very baggage it carries. Sex slaves is more generic, less specific to this particular atrocity, and perhaps in that sense more clinical a word.

      • 11.3.1 Arawn

        I agree with Javabeans. If people in the show talk about “comfort women”, that’s how it should be translated. Not only because what Javabeans said but also because that’s how translating stuff works. It’s not translators job to start making interpretations of words unless it’s absolutely necessary (sometimes imagination is necessary if somewhat literal translation would mean something complitely else).

        Those women are called “comfort women” in every history book or article I’ve every read about the topic. Of course their situation is fully explained so that reader can understand what was really happening but so is the case in Gaksital, too. I don’t think even a person who doesn’t know about this part of Korean history would make a mistake and think that these women are really sent as nurses. And as this is shown in Korea, EVERYBODY knows.

        • msim

          By using the term “comfort women”; the Japanese knew very well what they were doing.

          It was pure mockery – the idea of comfort, home, solace.
          But the reality was rape, exploitation, and despair.

          It was really a way to mock these girls and women.
          It was adding insult to injury.
          The term should still be used; to show its full cruelty and hypocrisy.

          I still cannot believe Gaksital went there.
          And Rie’s story (and perhaps redemption) is parallel, and as compelling, as Kang-to.
          Let’s not forget she might be a hard-faced gal now but she was once a 9-year old orphan left at the mercy of society and men.

          Amazing!!! A drama with a brain, a soul, and a heart.

      • 11.3.2 dewaannifordrama

        I couldn’t agree more! I am also impressed with the show for bringing this period of history up because even though entertainment is there to entertain, I think that entertainment also plays a really important role in describing humanity. And Gaksital is not afraid to show the dark side of humanity – and sometimes we need a wake up call that makes us go and google things like “comfort women”. If we don’t learn about history, we are most definitely doomed to repeat it. And well, with sex slavery, we actually are.

    • 11.4 Laica

      I think you guys made the right decision to translate what they said but put quotes around it. Thus showing shat a false and misleading (and evil) term it is.

  12. 12 Rashell

    “Is there never a day of rest for the secret identity? ” HA! I love that line.

    Thanks for the re-cap. This episode was AWESOME which is something I’ve become used to typing about Gaksital. I love that all the characters are fleshed out and interesting. All of them are not completely black and white. Especially Kang To and Rie, which could be why they are my two favorites. Shunji, at this point I just love to hate. And Mok Dan is the one true white character. So while I do love her dedication to the cause it makes her less interesting then Kang To and Rie who both have more conflicted pasts.

    I loved the exchanges between Kang To and Shunji as well. They’re using the knowledge of years of friendship against eachother now, and its fabulous if a bit nail biting to watch. They’re both so smart and now so suspicious of each other.

    I can’t even fathom the idea of sending innocent girls as sex slaves for the soldiers. Boggles the mind it does. But it was brave of the drama to go there. And I agree that it may be the thing that pushes Rie to the good side, along with her devotion and love for Kang To.

  13. 13 Maggie

    Wow, they actually went there. The writers are proving time and time again that they aren’t unwilling to pull out all the punches in the storyline. I’m so glad they’re not just making the story really good, but also putting in bits and pieces of historical accuracy!

  14. 14 Mary

    Omg there is only eight left and so much story to tell i can’t wait it’s getting do good!!

  15. 15 Jess

    Gosh, what an intense episode! I felt skin-crawly all the way through, what with the comfort women arc and Shunji being all possessive and manipulative with that hug. Thank goodness for sweet hand-holding moments to get me through all the ick.

    One of my favourite characters is Abe, just because he’s so darn loyal and adorable. I kinda wish he could go back and hang with the circus… I though maybe he had a thing going on with one of the girls a while back. I wish he had more screen time. I hope that an episode will come along where he finds out about Kang-to and goes to join him, instead of sticking with the police force.

    Or, at the very least, brings down Koiso. His expression when everyone was congratulating Koiso on his promotion launched me into a daydream about Abe popping a cap in Koiso’s ass. It was very satisfying!

    • 15.1 Peridot

      Your daydream would make for an awesome scenario. Let’s hope that the show goes there!

      • 15.1.1 Jess

        Wouldn’t it, though? This drama is not complete for me until it happens.

  16. 16 Peridot

    This was an awesome, nerve-wracking episode. I too, however, was a little disappointed with the Damsari and Gaksital/Lee Kangto revelation (or lack of a revelation). I felt that Damsari’s discovery of Gaksital’s identity was such an important moment that should not have been left behind the scenes or to the viewers’ imaginations. I am excited to see where this show goes in the remaining eight episodes 🙂

    • 16.1 Jess

      I guess on the bright side, we got an awesome Damsari/Gaksital hug. 🙂

      • 16.1.1 Peridot

        That’s true!

  17. 17 nuri

    I really want Kang-To ends up with Lala/Rie. They’re chemistry is so palpable that it is hard to see Kang-To with Mok Dan.

  18. 18 Mima

    Thank you Koala, OMG those amazing writers  this is so intense and we’re looking at what? 8 episodes to go… How do we say farewell to this drama…(how will I ever get over Joo Won-Kang To feverish thrill  for that matter). This whole hands holding deal is so hot  it’s more than words for promises between lovers. Oh Wednesday…where for ar thou Wednesday….

  19. 19 crazedlu

    mok dan and i are not on good terms at the moment. but i am loving rie. she’s exactly where i want her to be. i kind of imagined mok dan to experience the same turmoil rie felt discovering kangto was gaksital. i totally get what you said about mok dan, but it didn’t sit well with me. i’m still recovering from mok dan’s acceptance of lee kangto. i hope kangto and mok dan keep their distance until it means something in the end.

    kind of just riding the wave right now.

    still loving, LOVING gaksital, it’s CRAZY. ha. i just feel less of a punch in these last few episodes. i know they’re gearing up for that glorious finale, now only eight episodes away. excited!

    • 19.1 msim

      It’s the major flaw in my great admiration for this drama.

      Mok-dan probably has scars all over her body inflicted by the very hands of Kang-to. Yet within 1 episode she promises her undying love.

      I believe they could become instant allies, once she knew he is Gaksital, but not instant lovey-dovey-lovers.

      It’s not Mok-dan’s fault though, she surely isn’t writing this stuff.

      • 19.1.1 Aparna

        I felt pretty much the same way about the Mok Dan and Kangto revelation. I agree with Girlfriday on the fact that MokDan-Kangto is opposite of Rie-Kangto revelation. This show would have been awesome if Mok Dan had been attracted to Kangto despite hating him and if they had been given more time in the circus together. That would make sense because Kangto is essentially her young master-Gaksital. So unconsciously she shud have been attracted to him. That would have been brilliant and made Mok Dan conflicted. I am enjoying the Rie conflict though. Mok Dan’s acceptance of Kangto being Gaksital is too easy and distasteful to me. But like GF says, if we are complaining about the show not being perfect, its only we because we love the show! And sometimes, I feel like this show exposes City Hunter’s faults. City Hunter teased us with the possibilities but Gaksital delves right into the impossible and takes us on a horrifying and exhilarating ride.

        • crazedlu

          omgosh. i love you both. ha.

  20. 20 ilikemangos

    im so glad you agree with me GF about damsari and the big reveal with gaksital/kang-to.
    but this show gives us so much else that i’m willing to stop being so selfish. ha

  21. 21 Jeena

    First of all,
    And I loved the holding hands part~
    And the Shunji hugging Mok Dan felt like he was raping her o.O it was that freaky.
    He was like looking RIGHT at Kangto to make him feel jeeeeeaaaaaaaaaalous! But FAT CHANCE, Shunji.
    all those girls being sent away is sad. and they kidnapped sun-hwa and the other circus girls…
    First Kyesoon, now the other circus girls. Are they gonna become traitors too??
    DAMN RIE. I thought she was gonna strip Kangto, too.
    Great episode.

    • 21.1 tapioca pearl

      I never knew a hug could look like sexual harassment. Jeepers!

      • 21.1.1 Airyn

        Kudos, writers and Park Ki-woong! 😉

      • 21.1.2 Ella Zala

        ikr. this is the first time ever in my life to watch a forced hug scene that makes my skin crawl so much…its so disgusting i imagine myself pushing him away from mok dan. So DISTURBING!

    • 21.2 MsB

      You’re right! I felt like Mok Dan was being sexually violated! This is why I’m so scared for her! And yes, kudos to PKW for making me feel icky!

    • 21.3 Kim

      Interesting you should said it that way (about Shunji hugging Mok Dan), because I felt like the whole scene was just a microcosm or symbolic representation of what was going on in the big picture with the comfort women. You have Shunji using Mok Dan for his own ends, although in some twisted way “caring” about her. Mok Dan has to go along it and Kang-to has to stand by and watch even though it is eating him alive. I’m sure historically there were Koreans who knew exactly where those women were headed but were powerless to help. As so many have said, this scene was so good it made my skin crawl.

  22. 22 Arisa

    The ending boggled my mind. The way Shunji has Kang-To under lock and key right now, how the heck did Kang-To get away to go save the girls? This happened in broad daylight so how is he gonna explain his disappearance (again)? With suspicion running at alarming highs about him being Bridal Mask why leave him alone for so long so he has time to rescue those girls?

    I can see Shunji wanting Kang-To close so he can keep an eye on him so I get why Kang-To is back on the force. But it makes no sense that Kang-To is given all that leeway to save those girls at a time like this. The only way this would make sense to me is if that wasn’t Kang-To under the mask.

  23. 23 Lise

    Ok is that the normal reaction people usually have when told their brother killed their bestie’s mother? Shunji u disappoint me, ur wee students would hang their heads in shame! And i kinda missed the 2 joseon turned japanese guys from Angel Club, pls drama more development for their characters. Then thank u for mentioning Damsari, i felt totally robbed yesterday when suddenly hes sitting with Kangto acting like him being Gaksital had all along been quite the probability, total fail drama ; (

  24. 24 정남

    I knew that going in this Drama was going to push some nationalistic buttons and while I love the Drama I really wouldn’t mind Shunji being boiled alive in hot oil or most the advanced guard. It is a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel that there have been more steps by individuals for the comfort women issue which Japan has never truly repented for to be brought to light. While any apology would not wipe that terrible stain away hiding it is even worse.

  25. 25 Stardust

    Thanks so much for making it through the recap girlfriday! you made my friday! haha…

    I was so shocked that Rie now knows Kangto is Gaksital! With 8 more eps to go! But since she still went with her big softie heart ( I LOVE ) she has not given him up yet. I have hopes for her, since Shunji seems a goner. I wonder how he will take it when his beloved nanny tells him happily how her grandchild is going overseas to ‘ study’. Will that bring him back? The old Shunji would have been broken if he knew his brother killed Kangto’s mum, but now he is just.. A monster. Can a man change so much in such a short time? He seemed peaceloving and kind enough, that it is scary how he has descended into what he is now.

    LOL once again, someone points a gun at Gaksital at the end. At least Rie’s pretty.

  26. 26 SandrOu

    I love rie/lee kang to.it’s way more interesting, can’t wait to see where it goes

  27. 27 rara

    Wow! This drama really cracks me up! They keep putting unpredictable plot in every episode… So damn good! I love the part of the secret affair between Mok Dan and Kang To… I love their new level of romance eventhou it’s kind a sad… I think this the first time I see lovers exchanging message through telepathy in Korean drama… And what makes it more exciting because they’re doing it consciusly for safety reason.. not because of wanting to make their partner get jealous or anything… It’s kind of a forbidden love… hahaha… Eventhough I don’t think it’s necessary.. because Mok Dan could just hide in Gaksital’s burrow and waiting for Kang To go home every night and serve him food just like a good wifey.. (that something I would do if I were her)… But I think that wouldn’t be good for the storyline… Thank you girlfriday for your hardwork! 🙂 Gaksital rocks!

    • 27.1 tapioca pearl

      Totally love the hand-holding moment. Stolen moments, stolen glances, the waiting and hoping, the lingering touch–it’s so old-fashioned and breathtaking. The Jane Austen fangirl in me loves it! Better than awkward, motionless kisses.

      Great, now I’ll be squeeing over Captain Wentworth…

  28. 28 hoochie

    How could you not pounce on a unconscious Kang-to? lols But on a more serious note: Who else gets a feeling that Rie might just end up sacrificing herself? I hope she doesn’t though because I really like the chemistry between the two.

  29. 29 Stephanie

    I wonder how well this drama will be received in Japan?

    • 29.1 Maru

      I was going to ask the same thing. I don’t think they will try to sell it. But who knows.

    • 29.2 ajj

      Theres just no way this drama could end up in Japanese television. And Joo Won wont have some Japanese lovin in the near future, I think he’s kind of brave he picked this role.
      This drama is impressive for everything. From the hero to the non hero to the whole story. I love it.

      • 29.2.1 Arhazivory

        He mentioned that, the fact that other actors said they’d never do it but to its a show he wanted to do.

      • 29.2.2 MsB

        Might be why none wanted the role! But have no fear, he will be popular everywhere else!!!

  30. 30 Star

    this show is just brilliant :))

    my only hope now is that this show ties things off well in the last 8 episodes. For me, it’s not about who dies or not. I just want the ending to make sense. Please no sloppy, quick ending >< This is my biggest fear. With 8 episodes left there are still so many baddies. But my guess is that end the few big baddies, the minions will flee in fear (ex: count & countess).

  31. 31 Jaylee

    SO. GOOD.

  32. 32 QQ

    OMG! OMG! OMG! Cannot type properly. Too awesome of an ep to comprehend! Aaaaahh!!!!!

  33. 33 sophia

    Omg, I absolutely love the Rie loveline with Lee Gangto. It’s just such an amazing conflict and she’s able to convey so much emotion through her eyes alone. It’s like she speaks to the audience through her eyes. And the contrast that the writer creates with Rie and Mok Dan and the similarities of Lee Gangto and Kimura Shuunji are just absolutely genius. I loveeee this episode. I LOVE THIS DRAMA.

  34. 34 maeye86

    First and foremost, I gotta say that I’m thanking the producer and writer for bringing up the comfort women issue. Why, cause I’ve been telling myself over and over again that this is only a drama. I should not immense in it. I should just view it as it is. Nothing more, nothing beyond. But as more episodes revealed, when I watched the struggle and determination of Joseon people against the Japanese Imperialim, I could not stop thinking.. This things are real. This happened in my country too. People were tortured, decapitated publicly (as told by my grandma). Yes, my country was also occupied by Japanese.

    But I kept saying, it’s just a drama. All these are part of history and we’ve moved on.

    But when the drama ignites this issue, I went on searching about comfort women in the internet and to my shock, I feel sorry, disgusted about this even more. No, I’m not anti japan. Things have changed but I think I should be grateful with what I have today. All the human rights (even tho not all) are at place but we should remember and be thankful that not everyone enjoys the life that we have now.

    And for that, I’m hating the war even more. War; where power comes first, humanity ranked last.

    And thank you show, for increasing awareness on this issue. Thank you!

    • 34.1 tapioca pearl

      I love what you said about war, how power outranks humanity, and that is just the sad truth. I’m glad the drama is giving you insight into this topic.

      I wrote a paper about comfort women, and I didn’t know much about them. But reading articles about how much these brave women suffered and how it was all hushed up made me loathe mankind for a bit. One woman said she would have to be with men hundreds of times a day, and many women would die from diseases. It’s just not right.

      I read an article recently. There was supposed to be an exhibition of photos of them in Tokyo, but it got cancelled, which led to accusations of Japan wanting to sweep the issue under the rug. It is taboo, so bravo Gaksital for facing it head on.

      That’s what I love about Gaksital, it never seemed to be the drama that tried to get everyone to love it. It does what it wants to do, trusting that the audience will have faith in it no matter what.

      • 34.1.1 bishbash

        That photo exhibition, it was by a Korean photographer.

        It makes me sick that the Japanese government just wouldn’t admit to their war atrocities (so unlike the Germans), the Japanese citizens do not really give a damn and are generally ignorant about what their ancestors did to all the neighbouring countries.

        I do get into an occassional emotional struggle because I’m currently residing in Japan, receiving the government’s scholarship, I’m grateful, but it makes my skin crawl when I come across the Japanese Occupation related issues.

        • simon

          It’s a question of how you’re raised, I think. Germans are fed with this idea that they are inhuman monsters from (at least) the time they enter elementary school. Japanese children aren’t even told what happened. They usually don’t even learn what happened to their own (there were of course plenty of victimized people in Japan, ne)… soooo

          I really really hope they show this thing in Japan. About time somebody stirred up some major sh** over there!

          And lucky you. I also want a gov’t scholarship and live in Japan for free. ^^;

          • Jessica

            That’s a very good point. I also feel that many white Americans were raised similarly to the Germans in terms of slavery.

            It’s something they internalize and ultimately they cherish the changes that were made for equality.

            So when they see the actions of their past, they understand it. Whereas the Japanese, because they never learned about their past, will often feel embarrassed and shame the first time they see it.

          • simon

            That is expressing what I was trying to say but in better words. 🙂 Thank you! Enjoy your stay! (Hey, you now have a project: how about fighting against the “historical revisionism” that’s responsible for Japanese kids not knowing about this. That’s bound to be more interesting than just sitting in class. 😉 ) Have fun.

  35. 35 tapioca pearl

    Wonderful episode today. I appreciate the drama addressing the topic of comfort women especially since it didn’t have to. But I’m glad for the plot development it provides, although it leaves me heartbroken. I just wanted to reach into the screen and hug all those poor girls and the halmoni. Thank god Gaksital is there. And thank god our Mok Dan is smart enough to be suspicious.

    I’m loving where Rie is going, and I agree about her own redemption arc. I secretly hope she kills her father figure dude and sever her ties from him and Kishokai. He creeps me out, and I’m quite ambivalent about his feelings towards Rie. I am worried that the fact that Kang-to doesn’t lover her will keep her from ever being on his side. Cross my fingers!

    With only eight episodes left, I’m getting super-anxious about what will happen. I have this big fear that Kang-to will die. In my gut, I just feel like that’s how the drama’s going to end. It’s gone to that dark place before (just like in this episode!), so I don’t know why it won’t go as far as killing our hero in the end. Uggghhhh! I never wanted a drama to finish for my nerves’ sake and yet continue on for thirty episodes before!

    Joo Won’s eyes, how I love thee.

  36. 36 Byul

    I was sobbing when that poor adorable girl was saying goodbye to her grandmother..it hurts even more because I’m taking U.S history right now and my teacher said that they had to “comfort” 70-80 men in ONE FREAKING DAY. it’s the most horrible thing I’ve ever heard about, and I even wanted that one rat girl who tells on everyone not to go because even though I hate her, that punishment is not acceptable for anyone, no matter how much I hate the character. It’s just atrocious and disgusting and makes me want to stick my hand in the screen and choke those officials to death. No offense.

    • 36.1 Byul

      Adding to that, some of the women can’t even talk to their families about it today. Which is why I’m thankful that Gaksital was brave enough to bring it up because it needs to be said, no matrer how brutal it is. Thank you, Gaksital. As well as dramabeans:)

  37. 37 muhloy

    man, Kang to’s hair is SO BIG!

    • 37.1 Hanna


    • 37.2 Maya

      This is the first time I heard someone saying (or writing) that. LOL!

  38. 38 bishbash

    As someone from a country that was once occupied by Japan during WWII, I certainly felt the same as GF, and everyone else here when the comfort women issue came up in Gaksital. Yesterday August 9th, Nagasaki held the memorial for those killed when the atomic bomb was dropped, but for me, it was a day to celebrate because it also meant the beginning of liberation for all the Japanese occupied countries.

    Kudos to the entire Gaksital cast and crew for delivering every week!

    PS: I have a VERY nagging feeling that Kang-to will die in the end. I’m seriously hoping it wouldn’t happen, but… =X

  39. 39 tonbotomoe

    oh my god oh my god oh my god!!!! This is the very first time (since discovering dramabeans) that I actually skip out on the recaps just so I don’t encounter any spoilers because I really want to watch this show when it finishes, but this site is just a siren’s call…

  40. 40 dany

    Thank you for the recap!
    The scene where Rie checked on Lee Kang-to’s wounds was just so…….. she started undressing him and I thought: Check the wound on his leg, too, lady, just take his pants off! 😀

    • 40.1 redfox

      I bet they filmed it but the actress refused to share with us!

    • 40.2 jin


  41. 41 h311ybean

    Thanks for the recap! I’m loving the dynamics between Kang-to and Shunji, and Kang-to and Rie – so many yummy layers. Hoping the last several episodes will be just as good!

  42. 42 christy

    This episode and it’s recap (thank you girlfriday!) highlight a HUGE reason why I love dramabeans. I had no idea about this time in Korean history until I started watching this drama, and I get so much more understanding out of the stories from watching and then reading what you guys have to say in the recap. I appreciated javabean’s comment a lot too. I totally prefer it when the translations are as literal as possible to the actual words used and their meanings. Reading “comfort women”, I knew EXACTLY what they were talking about and felt ill. Had it read “sex slave”, yeah it would have been blunt but I honestly think it would have had less impact for me because as horrible as it may sound, it’s also simply a more common term. Similar things are still happening in the world today, and there’s a certain amount of desensitization that phrases like “sex trade, sex slave, child bride” have simply because I’ve heard them often enough before. “Comfort women” was new and sickening. and then the “war supplies” scene came along!!!! I just….. *horrified*

    Ugh, I feel wrung out after that! Thoughts-

    1- Shunji. Even tho I’ve watched it happen, I’m still a little incredulous as to how far gone he is. I don’t think he’s coming back. It makes me so sad for him, and who he used to be, but there’s no excuse. He may have been surprised several times in this ep, but he goes right to calculating. There wasn’t even the slightest pang of empathy for Kang-to losing his mother by Kenji’s hand. And then the thinly veiled stunts with Mok Dan and provoking Kang-to during the car ride… Shunji seriously squicks me out now.

    2-Kioso. His laugh and smirk just grate on me. I can’t WAIT to see him get his comeuppance. Taro too, for consenting to his servant’s granddaughter to be a “nurse.” I literally gaped.

    3- Rie. I find her so interesting! I love how gf pointed out she’s the exact mirror of Mok Dan. Rie loves the man, hates the mask, which is a whole other dynamic from hating the man and loving the mask! Can’t wait to see how she plays out, esp with Kang-to. (And where’s that kind of smolder with his main girl, huh? Though the hand-holding brush pass was so very poignant. I fear for this couple.)

    4- Katsuyama. Still hate that I love him. Sigh.

    5- Tamao? Tamae? Kang-to’s friend from the club. I know he wasn’t in this ep, but I keep thinking about all the little scenes he’s been in so far, and I wonder… now that the Shunji/Kang-to bromance is a complete failure, can’t Kang-to end up with a new BFF?

    Whew. I’m just really glad there is this place to come let out all my thoughts after watching such an intense and amazing episode!!! I think I’m going to be jittery all week waiting for more. *holdme*

  43. 43 fogetdeadlines

    I just realized that this ‘comfort women’ issue still happens today… Filipinas are promised jobs like being a waitress abroad only to find out later that they will be working in clubs or something… well history repeats itself… 🙁

    • 43.1 h311ybean

      Just clarifying, though, that this phenomenon is not limited to Filipinas applying for work in Japan. It’s possible that this also happens to those who apply to work elsewhere. Further, in some cases it is a Filipino illegal recruiter/human trafficker who sells his/her own countrywomen into that kind of life.

      (I don’t mean to veer off-topic, I just wanted to point out that this isn’t something that necessarily involves only the Japanese.)

      • 43.1.1 fogetdeadlines

        i didn’t say that it’s still the Japanese’s doing but I understand what you mean…

        • h311ybean

          No, you definitely did not say that it was just a Japanese thing 🙂 I just wanted to point that out in case anyone got that idea.

      • 43.1.2 jin

        Yepo, we still have sex-slaves today.

        “Eden” -> movie on current sex slavery, at the top of my head

  44. 44 Link

    I was bored today so I decided to research more about Korea under Japanese rule during this time period and… the things I read were just plain dirty. I love how Gaksital is not afraid to bring up this topic and I hope it won’t be the last we hear of it because from what I’ve read, the use of comfort women lasted til the 40s and we’re only in 1930s right now. After reading about the history and then diving into episode 20, it seems as if Gaksital just KNEW what I was doing 6 hours ago. O_O

    On another note, Shunji is GOOOOOD… I mean.. Good as in BADDD… He scares the heeby-jeebies outta me. He’s so good at pretending to be good it’s…. scary! I really hope the guy gets his redemption because killing him off will not be enough for me. No. I need to see him PAY FOR WHAT HE’S DONE AND WHAT HE’LL DO.

    It was so satisfying to see more of Rie this week. We haven’t dived into her character yet and it’s great to see Kang to as her weakness. LOL I was half-hoping for her to rape him too xD **viki commenters**: Why don’t you check his right thigh tooooo just to make sureee~


    • 44.1 girlfriday

      Please refrain from the use of “rape” as anything other than a word to describe the horrible act of rape itself. I know you mean it in jest but it’s not kosher here.

  45. 45 Itoshi

    I am liking Rie more and more cuz now we see her as a person with all her vulnerabilities. And when she smiles oh ever so sweetly, drunk in the attention from KT, i couldn’t help but be happy for her. The oh-so-powerful Rie is boring to me but these layers peeled off of her makes her more interesting. I’m a sucker for redemption theme and if Rie’s getting there, i’m glad.

    And Shunji!! cut it out with your mind games man. And how could you not even feel sorry for KT who loses his mom becuz of your brother?

    And KT is helluva strong guy, i mean, all the saving-the-day and then the mind games from Shunji and using Rie to get into Kishokai, i’m so glaaad i’m not living a double identity..

    And bravo, drama, for tackling on the issue of ‘comfort women’. Calling a spade a spade is fine to me..

    And the comment on KT-MD stolen glances and hidden touches with allusion to Austen’s Persuasion is so apt. And every time KT holds MD’s hands, i always hope it was longer, and tighter…oh my *sigh*

  46. 46 Ella Zala

    thanks gf! you’re as awesome as the show! ^^

    off to watch =D

  47. 47 pohonphee

    I will get my heart break for Rie. Her love life is just doomed. T.T

  48. 48 graceface

    Omona, gaksital never gives us a break… I’m still feeling the horror from this episode. Gaksital identity no longer secret? The men laughing over comfort women? The grandma unknowingly sending off her precious granddaughter to hell? Goodness, this is the definition of a skin crawling episode. Ughhhh… Good thing gaksital came to the rescue. Nice to have some sweet revenge after the bitter aftertaste of this episode. Just gotta mention the great acting from Rie in this episode! Love her more bc she expresses her conflict so well!!


  49. 49 strawberrycube

    Thank you for the recap! I seriously love this drama. With only 8 episodes left I’m excited to see what happens next.

    And the ending was sad in many ways. That girl, Nanny’s granddaughter, who gets in to a truck. She wasn’t in any of the trucks that Gaksital attacked since she was already at the checkpoint. Does that mean she wasn’t saved!? Ohgod, I feel sick. Have to wait what happens next week.

  50. 50 FeKimi

    I don’t know, maybe this is just my thought, but I think Shunji’s face expression is becoming more like KangTo’s, especially when the eyebrows frown.

    As for today episode, it is heartbreaking to see Kang To’s position is getting weaker. Thank God he still has MokDan.
    The evil Japanese is making me angry, I can imagine how dark era they had back there since Japanese also did the same things when they occupied my country.

    I think until now Gaksital embrace the history very well

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