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Gaksital: Episode 28 (Final)

I have good news and bad. The bad: Gaksital has to end, and today’s the day. The good: It is damn good, all the way to the finish line. Brace yourselves, citizens. This show hasn’t let up for one moment, and it sure as hell isn’t going to start now. Prepare your tears and your fists, and reserve a hug from someone close for the aftermath.

The finale aired at a series high of 22.9% ratings. Here we go…

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

Boss Jo walks Mok Dan down the aisle, and Kang-to takes her hand. Teacher Yang Baek presides over the small wedding in front of friends and family, and tells them to face any hardship with love, and to use that love… to have ten children. They giggle.

What they don’t hear is the thundering sound of boots getting closer and closer. Perhaps it’s better this way. Shunji leads the imperial army and his own policemen, prepared to ambush the camp. His mole meets them to report on everyone’s whereabouts.

Shunji asks where Kang-to is. Mole: “At the wedding.” Uh… his wedding to be exact. To the one girl you’ve decided is your only saving grace. Oh crap doesn’t really do the moment justice.

Shunji’s face contorts in shock and anger, and demands to know where. He sends the army to hit the camp, while he takes a small group of men to the wedding.

Kang-to and Mok Dan actually get to finish the ceremony and walk down the aisle as husband and wife. It’s making me So. Nervous.

Shunji runs and runs, as they walk down the aisle and their friends clap. Mok Dan gives her bouquet to Sun-hwa, and Deuk-soo cheers like an adorable spaz.

And then… Shunji arrives. Everything turns to slow motion, as he sees Mok Dan smiling and happy, standing there in her wedding dress next to Kang-to. Oof. That moment, no matter what Shunji’s done up till now, cuts deep.

He just stands there, frozen, watching them smile blissfully. Slowly Mok Dan’s eyes start to change… she sees him first. Shunji raises his gun. No.

He fires. Mok Dan is faster. Ohgodohgod.

By the time the bullet reaches Kang-to, she’s already standing in front of him, to block the shot. Blood pours down her white dress.

Fuck. Fuck, I knew it. I knew the moment you got that wedding dress you’d die in it. Gaaaaaaaaah. Why did you tempt the fates? WHY?

Kang-to only realizes what’s happened as she falls into his arms. He catches her, trembling in horror, and looks up to see Shunji. He’s reeling just as badly.

Shunji stands there numb, watching everything happen in slow motion. Kang-to picks her up and runs, as the wedding party scrambles to get everyone to safety. The rest of the officers arrive, and Boss Jo lunges at Shunji to keep him from Mok Dan.

Shunji shoots him through the chest, but Boss Jo grabs his leg and holds on for dear life, buying Kang-to and Mok Dan precious seconds to get away. Augh, it’s horrifying but so moving. Shunji breaks into a rage and beats him to a pulp, and then shoots him again. He finally lets go.

Comrade Jo does the same, staying behind to shoot so that her leaders can get away. They have to drag Teacher Yang Baek away from her, as they watch her fall to her death.

Shunji tears through the woods, looking for Kang-to, and picks up a trail of blood. Mok Dan’s blood. Augh.

Kang-to runs and runs, carrying her. He trips and they falter, and she pleads with him to put her down. He says just a little longer.

Mok Dan: “Please, put me down.” *TEARS*

She’s asking him to let her go. I can’t take this. He starts to cry, understanding what she means. Mok Dan: “Don’t cry. Today is our wedding day.”

She starts to cry as she worries for HIM: “You said you fight because of me… but I ended up like this… and I wanted to make you dinner every day… I wanted to wear the flower rings… Be strong. Promise me that you’ll be strong, even without your wife. Promise me.”

He just nods, his whole body shaking with tears.

Shunji reaches the end of his blood trail, but no Kang-to. He fumes.

Mok Dan reaches out to caress Kang-to’s face one last time, and then she dies in his arms. He clutches her and lets out a piercing cry. Auuuuuugh. I don’t know if I can handle any more pain for Kang-to. It’s too much. I feel broken.

It’s his cry that Shunji hears, and he runs toward the sound. CAN’T YOU LET HIM MOURN IN PEACE?

Kang-to sobs as he holds his bride’s lifeless body, on their freaking wedding day. I hate the universe today. But Show, I kind of love.

Shunji finds them and falters again, as he sees Mok Dan. What, did you expect that she’d survive?? He tells her to put her down, screaming, “It’s because of you! It’s because of you!”

Oh wow. That is some powerful denial. You pulled the trigger, but it’s Kang-to’s fault? He raises his gun, shaking in fury, and Kang-to doesn’t even move. He just glares in stone-cold anger.

But thankfully Baek Gun arrives and knocks Shunji out from behind to buy them time. They run. Thank goodness, because I’m pretty sure Kang-to would’ve fought gun-to-fist back there.

Meanwhile, it’s a massacre at the camp. The death squad fights to the end, but they’ve been ambushed and outnumbered, and they go down bloody.

Abe is among the troops, and as he surveys the bodies of people he knew lying on the ground, he takes off his hat.

Kye-soon’s little brother Min-kyu lies on the ground after an explosion, but wakes up just as troops are walking through to make sure everyone’s dead. A member of the death squad wakes up next to him to see him stir, and quickly lies on top of him to keep him from being found alive.

He gets shot the second he moves, and his blood pours down Min-kyu’s face, after having saved his life.

Shunji wakes up in the woods, dazed. But then he sees the pool of blood where Mok Dan died, and falls to his knees. He reaches his hands out, trembling, as if he can touch her there, and breaks down.

It’s telling that he cries just as hard as Kang-to. And it’s just as gut-wrenching, but in a totally different way. Shunji is such a tragic figure, having turned Mok Dan into his sole salvation, only to kill her. He wails, his hands drenched in her blood.

Dong-jin and Yang Baek relocate safely to Dong-jin’s hideout. Comrade Ahn reports on the deaths, his voice breaking as he says he’ll take care to bury Comrade Jo when it’s dark. Yang Baek asks him to find Kang-to as well.

Shunji reports to governor Wada that all 300 death squad fighters were killed. He’s pleased at the numbers, but asks how the key three leaders escaped. Shunji says they’re scouring the mountains right now in search of them, along with the weapons stash that they weren’t able to find.

He returns to his darkened office alone, and there’s just a really nice, tense moment where he sits in the dark, and the phone rings. He doesn’t move to answer it, and every ring sounds more ominous than the last, like it’s sounding the alarm for the unleashing of something terrifying.

The calls must’ve been from Rie, because she comes running into his office in a panic. She asks what happened with Kang-to and Mok Dan in the raid, but then takes it back immediately—she doesn’t want to know.

After a long pause, Shunji: “Mok Dan is dead. I killed her.” He says he was shooting at the man who killed his father, but she ran into the line of fire. “It was the first time I had ever seen her smile that way…”

But just as I’m about to note that he admits to killing her, his dark expression returns, “The one who killed Mok Dan was Kang-to. Not me!” Rie’s looks at him in horror. He swears he’ll kill Kang-to, and Rie’s eyes dart back and forth in panic.

Kang-to lies on Mok Dan’s grave. That alone just kills me—the way he lies there, still holding on, face to the dirt. The tears just keep falling, as he remembers her promise to follow him into the heart of the fire, anywhere.

And then her insistence that Gaksital needed to live, to be a light for the Joseon people. He tells himself, “Be strong, Lee Kang-to. Let’s be strong. You promised you’d be strong.”

Baek Gun pleads with him to get up now. He says for Boon-yi’s sake, he has to get up, and tells him about the massacre. He finally manages to lift his head from the dirt a few inches, as he shakes, “Ajusshi, what did you say?” Baek Gun: “They’re all dead!”

Still a little out of it, Kang-to asks, “The soldiers I saved… are all dead?” Baek Gun: “The entire river is stained with the blood of the youth.”

That finally wakes Kang-to up and he asks where Teacher Yang Baek is. Baek Gun sighs in relief and tells him they’re at the hideout. Kang-to turns to the grave and thinks to himself, “Boon-yi-ya… I’ll get up. I’ll be strong.”

And then he stands.

He meets Dong-jin and Yang Baek who thank him for returning alive. Yang Baek asks haltingly after Mok Dan. Kang-to: “I laid her down in sunny spot.” I’m crying all over again.

Yang Baek laments the death of so many of their young, and says that they must fight. Dong-jin says that they will fight to reclaim their land, so that the blood of their comrades will not have been in vain.

Chairman Ueno is disgruntled at Shunji’s performance, thinking it pointless to have cut off the snake’s tail while leaving the head intact. But Shunji argues that an armed attack is improbable without foot soldiers, and that they’ve found a way to draw the leaders out.

They’ve spread the rumor that Dong-jin died in the attack, making his other death squads separate and lose focus. In order to keep them intact, Dong-jin has to show his face eventually.

Meanwhile, the good guys prepare to go into town. Haha, I just love that one’s dressed as a monk and the other’s a priest. There’s a bar joke in there somewhere. Yang Baek is headed out of Kyungsung, and he and Kang-to hug each other goodbye, promising to meet again someday.

On his way down the mountain, Little Bro Min-kyu stumbles into Dong-jin, having survived for days alone in the woods. Aw. Dong-jin hugs him and thanks the boy for staying alive, and Min-kyu cries in his arms.

Shunji drives through town and reels at the sight of a woman in a white dress. He replays the moment he shot Mok Dan again and again. I love the sick twist of that—it’s Shunji who’s more haunted by Mok Dan’s death than anyone.

Comrade Ahn pedicabs Yang Baek into town, and right past Shunji… but he’s too blinded by his Mok Dan trauma to notice. Whew.

Newssheets announce the attack on the death squads, and the deaths of Dong-jin and Gaksital. Kye-soon cries as she reads it, only to have her little brother walk right into the restaurant behind her, along with Dong-jin.

She hugs Min-kyu tearfully, and gets introduced to Dong-jin. She’s surprised that he’s alive as well, and he asks that she spread the word that he’s alive and that the death squads continue to fight. She promises to spread the word. Did we actually find a good use for the snitch? That’s hilarious.

Shunji returns to the station, where his officers nervously hand him an envelope of the pictures he ordered. He takes them into his office. They can’t be… He wouldn’t…

He braces himself and takes them out… Oh man, he did. They’re the wedding pictures that Reporter Song took. He shakes as he looks at the pictures of Mok Dan and Kang-to smiling in bliss.

He lingers on a shot of Mok Dan and cries, and then goes through the pictures all over again, torturing himself.

Baek Gun reports that Teacher Yang Baek successfully boarded the train out of town. He asks Kang-to how long he’s going to let Shunji live, and Kang-to says it’s time to deal with him. But there’s someone else he has to eliminate first.

The man who killed the death squad and the student soldiers, the one who turned Joseon into a prison and exploited its people…

Cut to: Chairman Ueno. Awwwww yeah.

He calls Rie in to ask why she didn’t run when Shunji spared her life. She says Father taught her that power was everything in this world, so where else would she go? He sneers in disgust that she’d have Kang-to in her heart and still dare to call him Father.

He says this is the end of their union, and nods at Kinpei. Oh crap. Katsuyama watches as Kinpei draws his sword and aims for Rie’s neck…

She doesn’t move, doesn’t run. Kinpei raises his sword for the strike… and Katsuyama attacks. YESSSSS! Go, Katsuyama, go!

Now it’s samurai against samurai, with Rie in between them, and Chairman Ueno yelling at them to follow orders. Kinpei quickly gains the upper hand, but then, a dagger!

Gaksital bursts in, and throws a punishment dagger at Ueno’s desk. Kinpei fights back even with the dagger in his chest, and Kang-to levels another one, while Katsuyama gets up and slices Kinpei open. Whoa. They’re… fighting on the same side? Just for a moment, but whoa.

Kang-to walks past Rie and levels his killin’ flute at Ueno. Kang-to: “Your greed to consume the Far East, the Pacific Ocean… has taken my family, and Shunji’s, away from us.” It kills me that he includes Shunji here.

Ueno says that’s the cost of war, in making an honorable history. Kang-to: “Yours is not a noble history, but a crime that will not fade!”

He points his cane at Ueno’s throat as the Gakistal theme rises up. He gives that familiar speech: “I have come to punish you for your wrongs!” and strikes Ueno dead.

He walks out, and Rie runs after him. She says she heard about Mok Dan, and was worried about him. And then… she says that Shunji is hurting too. She asks, “Just as I let you live, can’t you let him go, just once? Killing him won’t make your pain disappear. I don’t want you to be in pain anymore.”

But he doesn’t reply. He steels himself and walks past her, without a word.

Shunji sits before his father, as Damsari’s words that he’d wasted his life come back to haunt him. He answers a call—it’s Rie, who says that Gaksital killed Ueno.

Shunji just smiles at the news, “So he’ll come for me then.” She asks if he can’t just avoid Kang-to tonight, and worries that he’s planning to do something stupid. He laughs, “You don’t know me very well, do you?”

He asks if she’ll leave now. She finally says yes. “Alone?” She says, knowing it’s an empty request: “If I say I go alone, will you hold me back and tell me not to go?”

He smiles on the other end of the line and shakes his head. “Go well. And live well.” She tells him to do the same. It’s a lovely moment between two tragic characters. Not love, but understanding.

Shunji takes out his gun, cocks it, and puts it back in the drawer. He waits.

Katsuyama drops Rie off with her suitcase. He asks where she’s going, if he can’t go with her. She says it’s best to say goodbye here. He pleads one last time if he can’t remain by her side like a shadow.

Rie: “Katsuyama, looking into the eyes of someone who will never love you back is a life of despair.” She thanks him and turns to go. It’s a beautiful scene—not just emotionally, but visually stunning.

She turns back to add, “My name… is Choi Hong-joo.” Wow, the first time we hear her claim her true identity.

Katsuyama smiles, maybe for the first time ever, and calls out after her, “I will never forget your name.” She smiles and walks away.

Kang-to stealths into the Kimura house and takes off his mask in front of Dad’s memorial. Shunji is waiting, and pours him a drink. He asks casually, “You came?” Kang-to shuts the door behind him.

Shunji says they can at least have a drink together right? “Since this is the end.” Don’t remind me! Kang-to sits across from him and downs his drink, and Shunji does too. Shunji: “Did you send Mok Dan well?”

Kang-to can’t believe the casual words, “Did I send her well?

Shunji opens a drawer and takes out a wedding photo and passes it over. Kang-to’s eyes well up, but he shuts them to drown out the pain. Shunji says it’s the first time he’s seen her smile that way, “even though it was for another.”

He says he had the photo printed to give to him, “Because it’s yours.” Kang-to tucks it into his shirt, “You’re letting her go now? After you killed her by your own hand?”

Shunji tries to tell him not to be too harsh—he had to let her go from afar. Kang-to: “Do you think I’m here for Mok Dan alone? Is Mok Dan the only person who died at your hand?”

He names them all—every single comrade who died while he tortured them, Dong-nyun, Boss Jo, Damsari… Boon-yi, the young soldiers.

Kang-to: “The youth, who were someone’s son, someone’s husband, someone’s brother—the young people who gathered to reclaim their land! … I didn’t realize how much I’d come to regret not killing you that day.”

Shunji says he knows that feeling—the day his father died, and he regretted choosing not to kill him and put his mask back on. Kang-to asks if it isn’t time now to end it. “You or me… one of us must die for it to end, doesn’t it?”

They look into each other’s eyes, and Kang-to whispers, “Are you ready?” Shunji nods with a smile. He tells Kang-to to meet him in the yard, “I’ll be right there.” What? No, don’t turn your back. Don’t turn your back. DON’T DO IT.

Kang-to gets up and walks out, and Shunji takes out his gun…

And then he raises it to his temple. Oh. Fuck. SHUNJI!!!!

He winces and holds back tears, and shoots. Kang-to stops in his tracks, knowing what it means. A tear trickles down his face, and then he forges ahead, without turning back.

Nanny runs in to find Shunji dead, and cries with his head in her lap, his eyes still wet from tears.

The movement works tirelessly to prepare for the armed demonstration. Sun-hwa and her brother paint Korean flags, while Kang-to makes masks—gaksitals, each carved by hand.

Deuk-soo and Sun-hwa pass out flags at the marketplace, and Dong-jin and his very small group of men who remain gather their hands, “Solidarity.”

Governor Wada presides over the anniversary of the Japan-Korea union, and leads the room in a round of “Bansai!” to the Empire.

And outside, the sound of boots hitting the pavement, in perfect step…

The death squad members march in the rain, steeled with purpose. They go right through the center of town… and straight for the police station. Koiso and his men scramble out to meet them.

And then two by two, citizens come pouring out from alleyways, every single one of them dressed as Gaksital.

Oh my god. This is so moving.

Soon the entire street is filled with them, waving flags. I can’t see through my tears. They begin to chant:

“Korean Independence, manseh!” [They’re using manseh “long live,” the one word that embodies the entire independence movement, as a rebellion against the Japanese banzai.]

It’s the fighting cry of the people to reclaim their nation. The roar of their cheer echoes through the streets, and they march ahead, led in front by the death squad. Koiso and his men ready themselves against the mob.

Hands and flags go up in the air, as they walk straight into certain death. It’s unbelievably awe-inspiring.

From the front line, Reporter Song screams the cue, and they charge at full speed. The officers train their guns, and then explosions go off behind them.

As the crowd runs to attack, there’s Kang-to, walking amongst them in the center of the mob. He marches straight ahead, now surrounded by countless Gaksitals all sounding the cry for their country.

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

A.MA.ZING.

That is perhaps the best ending I could have asked for. That it doesn’t end in victory, but an uprising, the start of a movement to keep fighting, against all odds? That a hero gives the people the means to fight for what’s theirs and walks as just one, among them? It’s beyond moving, and beyond fiction. I can’t stop crying. It felt like a glimpse into history—not the event, but the emotion, and the fervor that drove people to do exactly what Damsari described. It’s the egg against the rock—they face death, and yet they march ahead anyway. That average people rise up, willing to die for their country, knowing the uphill climb ahead… it just doesn’t get more powerful than that. Acting upon that metaphor was the perfect way to end the series. I expected as much, and yet it still moved me beyond what I could have imagined.

And what a perfect ending for Gaksital the symbol. It’s the best of heroic ideals: Kang-to doesn’t wield his strength or his power for himself, but shares it with the people. Rather than standing above them as a figurehead and a leader, he literally gives the identity of the gaksital over to them, to empower them to fight. You share your power, and you keep fighting, even in the face of certain death.

So rarely do I come across a show where each main character’s ending leaves me satisfied. It’s sad how rare that is. And there were certainly hiccups for other characters along the way in this series. But I loved every sendoff we got in this finale. Mok Dan’s death was the perfect final knife twist. Painful, but such good dramatic pain. Let’s face it—she was doomed the second she put on that white dress. That much, we knew. What’s crucial from a story standpoint is how she changes both the hero and the villain, even this late in the game. It’s searing, heartrending pain for both of them, but Kang-to lays her down, and continues to gather his will to fight from her, even when she’s gone. While Shunji, who more tragically never knew her love, is broken by her death past the point of recovery.

He wasn’t kidding when he called her his salvation—he let himself believe that if there was a chance he could be with her, he could return to his former self. That quite literally dies with her, and the tragic twist is, it dies by his own hand. It’s the perfect ending for his character, because I found myself feeling sorry for him just in time to feel the sock to the gut when he killed himself. I didn’t want Kang-to to have to kill him, because his breakdown and his choice to show mercy in the last episode was so moving. And even as Mok Dan died, I didn’t regret that choice he made. I loved that Rie tried to stop him, not for Shunji’s sake, but his own—Kang-to would never be the same if he had to kill Shunji. I think it would’ve broken him the way Mok Dan’s death broke Shunji. Shunji’s was, in some ways, the most poetic ending. Yunno… the dark, twisted tragic kind. But poetic nonetheless.

Rie’s sendoff was fantastic as well. I thought it so clever that we were in the same boat as she was—just waiting for the day she’d die, like it was inevitable. She had given up, we had given up; there was seemingly no hope for her. But I LOVE that she gets a second chance, and that once she really loses everything, she reclaims her Korean name and her painful past. I actually find the choice to give her a future, no matter how uncertain, the most hopeful of all the endings. She comes out of the rubble having found herself.

There were certainly some glaring faults with the series, like the repetition of one conflict, namely the secret identity, or the constant repetition of setups: guns drawn, no one gets hurt, whose turn is it in the torture chains today, the good guys get backed into a corner so easily it makes you tear out your hair, etc. etc. I do think the fault was namely with the writing on a plot-maneuvering level. The big epic heroic speeches, the larger movement, the huge shifts in character from the beginning of the series to the end? Awesome. The secret agent spy stuff? So simplistic a child could’ve thought it up. There was so little cloak in the cloak and dagger. Everything was so direct and obvious that you mostly wanted to sit the good guys down and make them watch a spy movie for inspiration and tips. But I do think that the directing was a standout—it smoothed over the seams between the moments of good writing and lazy writing. It took very simple written material and elevated everything to something incredibly visceral. The tension made my blood curdle, it was so good. And I thought it so fitting that a drama adapted from a comic book had such a strong visual flair. Every frame really looked like a cell out of a comic.

The cast was stellar, though Mok Dan was the weak link—she wasn’t bad, but she didn’t quite have the same range as the rest, which was a shame. I loved her as a character though, so I don’t think Jin Sae-yeon did wrong by the character. She just lacked layers—the stuff underneath the obvious emotion and written words. Joo-won and Park Ki-woong have to be hands-down the best hero-villain pair I’ve seen in a long time. Their friendship-to-bitter-enemies story was the heart of the series, and they really carried every moment of that emotion, whether it was rage, betrayal, longing, or heartbreak. Theirs is the relationship that hooked me, and the one that broke me in the end. I still find myself agape that a show would stick to its guns and go as dark as it did with both of these characters, from beginning to end. Standing ovation, Show. Standing O.

JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

Tears.

Ohhh man, am I spent. This drama does powerful like nobody’s business.

The show deals with some pretty immense issues and draws on true events in history, so naturally some of that gravitas is built right into the premise. But we can’t overlook the talents of the crew on this one, for bringing it to life with such pathos and immediacy. There have been so many dramas and movies about equally dire historical events that don’t achieve this, as we know.

The show made me feel like these characters were real people living out these daily horrors. True, they’re based on real people, but I mean realism in an emotional, gut-level sense—the characters went beyond what they symbolized. They had their own agendas and weaknesses, and varying levels of loyalty to one cause or another. I’ve been impressed not only with the heroism of these characters, but also the drama’s depiction of those less brave. Just as a one-note villain wears thin, white-haloed good guys don’t offer as much depth either.

Thus the construction of the richness of its world is something the drama achieved particularly well. Which is really the best way to honor the complexity of real life. I think an overly simplified depiction of the conflict would have killed me, because I loved the blur of black and white, of love and hate, of cause and country. This drama so easily could have fallen back on the same old, same old, and I’m so grateful that it didn’t take the easy route. It may have gutted me emotionally, but man, did I love it.

I figured Mok Dan was doomed, and even felt her death would make a fitting turn on a narrative level. Let’s be honest, she was always most interesting in what she meant to everyone around her, and less so as a character in her own right. The question for me was always what the question of her life-death scenario would signify: Would it mark Shunji’s last shred of humanity to spare her (or rescue her, or let her go), or signal his complete ruin?

Alas, we know which side he fell on. As to the final showdown: I knew one of them had to die, and never was there a question that I wanted it to be Shunji, because, well, Kang-to just means too much. And if that had to be the standoff, then Shunji finding a shred of doubt—harking back to Damsari’s words that he’s lived his life wrong—and feeling remorse is the best way I could have hoped it would resolve. I don’t see redemption in Shunji’s death, but I do find it powerful that his final killing was one that relieved Kang-to’s burden, not added to it. For that I’m actually grateful.

So Mok Dan dies and it’s tragic, but I absolutely love Kang-to finding that will inside him to stand up and be strong anyway—honoring her dying wish. That encapsulates the drama’s whole point, doesn’t it?, about the spirit of the Korean people. You live out these daily horrors and you’re treated like a prisoner in your own native land, but you can choose to lie down and give up, or you can find that strength and carry on. As Tasha said previously, “in pain if you must, in longing if you must.”

History tells us that Korea didn’t find independence for another decade, but the people living in that time don’t know that—you fight for what you believe, not for assured victory. That’s something Mok Dan noted recently, and it bespeaks the spirit of the drama.

The fight goes on. And ultimately, what’s important isn’t who Gaksital is, as the drama’s final, powerful scene shows us. You’re all Gaksital, you’re all living in oppression, and you’re all fighting together. I love that: Unity, solidarity, independence.

 
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OMGGG IS THE END!! I M SO FREAKING HAPOY THAT MOKDAN DIED!!! AFTER WATCHING FOR SO LONG, I STILL CANNOT FIND MYSELF TO LIKE MOKDAN...

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I was so afraid that Gaksital would end crappily and I'm so glad it didn't. Let me just be honest and say I never liked Mok dan (mostly due to the actress who was bad imho) but me and my mom had to give each other pep-talks after she died. *sobs*
... and omg this show managed to even make me cry for Shunji, whom I also never liked, even when he was a smiley school teacher (Park Ki Woong was awesome though). *sobs*
Rara and Katsuyama... *sobs*
T^T
Joo Won-ah, get some rest but don't stay away for too long. Please do a rom-com next.

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I know, right? Even though I thought Mok Dan was the show's weak link, and her supposed romance scenes with Kangto were always so bland, I found myself overwhelmed by my sorrow when she died. Maybe it's mostly because of what she meant to Kangto though, and what he would have to go through without her. But still, I was impressed by the show's ability to make me feel what it wanted me to.

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I feel very satisfy with the finale despite the fact that many of my favourite characters died (I came prepared watching this just like the time when I read book 7 of Harry Potter). I didn’t think I would feel sad if Shuji died but I was in tears when he took his life. I always thought he deserve to have a sad ending but I was really sad. It’s like I want him to be good again and a chance to redeem himself despite the fact that he did too many horrible things. *sigh* Mok Dan’s death I kind of saw coming (I do wonder whether they kill her off a little early?? Was it because she is also filming “Five Fingers”?!). Anyway I really like the ending.it was the best place to finish because their fight for Korea is just the beginning! I never would have thought I would stick to this show until the end. I am totally in love with Joo-won and hope to see more of him!! Thankyou so much for all the recaps! This show is one of the best I have seen!!!

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Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh~~ the tears won't stop... Gaksitaaaaaaaaalllll to the end!! The BEST!I'll miss this show...

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Just reading this recap already made me cry all over my keyboard. But I won't be watching this yet, I think I couldn't stand the pain!

Thanks for the recap!

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That moving final scene with its V for Vendetta style march really underscored the similarities to Buffy, in taking one superhero figure and alchemizing it into an abstract that the people could claim for themselves....

Such a pitch-perfect ending, right down to the beautifully vignetted flickering shots in the closing credits. Thank you Javabeans and Girlfriday for illuminating this intense journey for all of us! ^^

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Ooh, two good and fitting allusions! I noticed the V for Vendetta one right off, but the Buffy one didn't occur to me until you pointed it out. Yes, the scene was reminiscent of those two epic conclusions that I loved so much. But I liked this ending better than V.

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once again having made the mistake of watching this in a public place-- and reading your recap and comments straight afterwards-- today's gaksital tally is:

public cussing: waaay too many
tears: buckets. BUCKETS.
confused baristas: 3
persons who've asked me if i am fine: 5
people who've given me tissues: 2
friends who've publicly disowned me: 2
emotional wrecks: 1 (me)

amazing. deeply moving. inspiring, chilling masterclass.

thank you, gaksital!!!!

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LOL xD

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Oh Boon yi yah... I really wanted a happy ending!

But by gosh what a moving ending.

Being born and raised away from Korea and having little interest in the history of the motherland - this drama brought tears of pride and the sacrifice my ancestors went through to get to where we are now. And I'm so glad.

I understood that the scriptwriters could not give Shunji a great ending. I mean with what all the anger building up and trying to control his rage and obsession in trying to catch Gaksital, losing his family, losing Esther and his bromance Lee Kang To - It'd be an injustice to write Shunji off with a happy/peaceful ending.

I particularly loved the exchange between Shunji and Lee Kang To while they sat down for a drink before the supposedly final match. Their expressions said all.

Thank you so much to JB and GF for the recaps!

Thank you to the script writers, directors and the ACTORS for a superfantasticallyawesome product.
I don't think I will come across a drama this well made for a while... maybe...

Now to go tissue shopping - My house has been completely depleted from the last two episodes...

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One Word. Amazing!

I find it fitting that Shunji has to died this way. It help lessen the burden on Kang To's shoulder. I don't think Kang To could live with himself if he kill Shunji by his own hand.

Show, you were amazing. I hope PKW and JW both get amazing awards at the end of this year for this show. They are wonderful in both their respective characters. You could see that both of them work really hard and nailed their characters down really well. BRAVO to you both. Can't wait for your next drama. Hopefully, it will be less heavy on the emotional side and more of the fluffy one.

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The ending reminded me of V for Vendetta ...a great though twisted movie.

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Hello Gaksital writers!

You do read these comments, don't you? I suspect that you do because so many of our hopes were realized in your show.

Seriously, we talked about moving away from the grey and you move right back. We talked about forgetting about the revenge aspect and you bring it right back. I even remember talking about wanting to know Rie's Korean name and you gave us that.

Well...if you really do read Dramabean reviews and comments, smart move.

Seriously though, this is my favorite drama - ever. Thanks GF and DB for your insight, your passion, and, well...everything. Reading your reviews is like attending Lit classes all over again. Perhaps you should start a kdrama appreciation course :-)

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ohhhhmyyyyyyyygoshhhhhhhhhhi i cried literally a bucket of tears TT__TT I have to agree, mok dan didn't have much depth as a character, but she was such an useful catalyst to shunji's death, which was played so well. Honestly, I was sort of thinking he'd kill himself, since he didn't really have a reason to live anymore with his family and mok dan dead. And I really don't think Kang-to could bear killing his friend. They are seriously the best freaking hero-villain duo i've seen. All that love and hate at the same time tugged all my heartstrings. The ending is also so perfect. What damsari said was true: even if gaksital was dead, there are still many more gaksitals living and fighting for freedom. The last scene, where everybody-- young and old, women and men-- dressed as gaksital to fight for a world they deserved simply moved me so much. To what extent does it take for one to risk their own lives? This drama gave me so many perspectives, questions, and characters to love. It deserves so much more credit for what it is. I will always love this drama <3<3<3

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YAAAAAAY! It's finally over! I'm off to marathon the entire series now. See you all in like 78+ hours!

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Loved the ending so so much. I was struck by the parallel to the ending scene of V for Vendetta.

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what happened to Boon Yi's father?
(Sorry, I forgot and I was just a bit curious)

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Damsari disguised himself as Yang Baek in order to distract Shunji and his crew. This allowed the real Yang Baek to escape. Unfortunately, Damsari was shot in the leg and eventually shoots himself in the head but not before giving his speech about there being an endless number of Yang Baeks, Dong-jins, and Gaksitals to Shunji.

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Oh drama, you broke my heart to pieces and then some. I knew, I knew from the very, beginning that Mok Dan is doomed. This is not your typical 'boy meets girl, they fall in love and lived happily ever after', it was something else. I knew I'd bee knee deep in tears, but, I still watch it.

I am satisfied with the ending, seriously, I never was with any other dramas, not really. There was always something that I wish could have been different, but, not Gaksital. From Mok Dan's departure to Kang-to finding his strenght, it was epicly done that it ripped my heart out from my chest, does a little crazy dance and then shove it back in.

I love the sent off that Rie got. It's not a happy ending for her, but, she reclaimed her identity. It was like telling me she had made peace with her fate and the world that where ever the road leads her, she would be fine. I have a feeling she would never stop loving Kang-to, but, I don't see their paths crossing again. It's one thing to reclaim her indentity, it's another to join the movement.

I never liked Katsuyama before, I thought he was a pain in the arse that was just making Kang-to's life misrable, but, his love for Rie, no matter where she's from, who she was and whatever she will be, I find that moving. For some reason, I find myself hoping, hoping his path will cross with Rie again.

Shunji's sent off... Oh my, I cried. For that bit, they give him that time to acknowledge it... I just... It felt like he was the old Shunji again then. I kept wondering whether he pulled the trigger because of the fact that he killed Mok Dan or was he looking for salvation as well for he should have known, if he lets Kang-to kill him, Kang-to will have to live with it and if I was Shunji, I would have pulled the trigger to save a friend's soul knowing mine was beyond saving...

At then end, watching Kang-to kept going, I did cry. I find it endearing how he kept his promise, for Mok Dan, he kept his promise and go on...

Couls have not asked for a better ending than this!

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O..MY..GOD...i wanna cry.............:(
thx for the recap!!
can't wait another joo woon' drama series!!!

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I knew that Kang-to would end up regretting not killing Shunji but it was interesting to find out that Shunji felt the same about him. Ack Shunji ended killing himself anyway and Mok Dan would probably still be alive had he been killed by Kang-to. But I agree it would never be the same for Kang-to if he had to kill Shunji himself. Also, was it wrong of me to have had hope that Kang-to and Rie would have gotten together at the end after Mok Dan's death? lols

Shunji was a really tragic character. All he wanted was love that he was never able to receive. His father always favored his brother over him. A one-sided love for a girl. A friend turned enemy with a personal vendetta against his family. In the end, he and Kang-to were alike in that they both lost family members and loved ones.

Haha I cheered during the scene with Katsuyama helping out his love rival even if it was only for a brief moment. It was nice that they addressed Ueno and Kinpei's end but did they totally forget about the doctor member of the Kishokai? Did I miss an episode? I rewatched some of the episodes and I think he was last seen in episode 18. Maybe he was spared by Gaksital because technically he saved Gaksital once although inadvertently.

When I first started watching Gaksital, it reminded me of Iljimae and V for Vendetta. All three of them about masked vigilantes. The final scene of masked Gaksitals was much like the masked Guy Fawkes in V for Vendetta. Both visually stunning with powerful symbolism. But luckily in Gaksital the main protagonist survives =)

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The last I remember of the doctor, he was hanging out of a window. I assume he was killed off at some point.

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Yes, I loved V for Vendetta in spite of its ending, so I guess with the similar ending in Gaksital, I'm actually more satisfied with this than V. People have been upset at the writers, but hey, would we have wanted Kangto to die, and Mok Dan to take up the Bridal Mask in his stead at the end? I don't think so. This ending is more satisfying.

I talked to my Korean co-teacher about the ending today at school and she said that one of the manhwa series Gaksital is based on ends with the Korean townspeople stoning Kangto to death because they don't realize it was him behind the mask. Ack!

It seemed like a lot of little plot threads sort of went by the wayside in an effort to finish the big picture. Kinda hope someone compiles a list. :)

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me too! i was imagining that kangto and rie would bump into each other somewhere like in shanghai or some angel club and start another love story. haha

guess we're the minorities..

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I protest. I protest the fact Boss Jo and so many freedom fighters died. But they could not kill the movement itself, is the point?
I protest ...Shunjis death. And yet, I agree it had to come. But even though the character was a crazy maniac by the end, he was still human, And he was still a Lost Friend to Kang To. Park Ki Woong played him in a way that he was a villain, but a torn apart one. We saw his saw soul and mind, and all his emotions and calculations.... what a brilliant role. That broke my heart. The last thing Shunji took away from Kang To was himself.

I protest the many Gaksitals. Cause why make all those masks by hand if you probably end up as bullet meat? ah I dont want to be a pessimist.

I protest Rie, no, dont be so cruel, let him stay by your side. Grr I know he´ll never be mine anyway. Katsuyama just please dont become a monk. That would really make me sad.

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!

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"We saw his saw soul and mind, and all his emotions and calculations…. what a brilliant role. That broke my heart. The last thing Shunji took away from Kang To was himself."

yeah, you're totally right. The last thing that Shunji took wasn't even Mok Dan, it was himself. That's pretty depressing. By killing himself, he tries to save Kang-to the guilt of doing the deed but still hurts him anyway... yeah, i really feel like Kang-to's never going to be the same without Shunji.... There were times where I didn't like his character, and times where all i wanted him to do was like, calm the f*ck down. But at the same time, I feel like there were many more times where I loved Shunji's character, and even though I knew his death was coming, it sure was hard to face.

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I don't think that Shunji kills himself to save Kang To from having to do the deed. Rather, I think that Shunji can't bear to be responsible for another death, particularly Kang To's, and therefore kills himself. If he was actually in mortal combat with Kang To, could he refrain from fighting back?

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WOW.

I've never cried so much over a drama before, especially not the "bawling-my-eyes-out-screaming-like-a-walrus" kind. But alas, Gaksital has done it again.

I've always vowed to stay away from dramas with tragic endings. And I'm pretty sure that if I had come across this drama after it's completed, I would've never watched it knowing that Mok Dan dies. But I guess it just depends on how you look at it. If you're someone who watched this drama for the romance only, the ending could not have been sadder. However, if you're watching it for the plot/action/the war between Korea and Japan, then this kind of ending is an ABSOLUTE EPIC MASTERPIECE!!!

I'm very thankful for Bridal Mask, because it's so much more than the typical romance-comedies that I usually watch for the sake of escaping school work. This drama taught me how strong unity is between people of the same heart. It's good to love and do anything in your power to protect your family, but there are also other things that are worth fighting for. In short, this drama changed me. And I'm grateful that the time I've invested in it proved to be worthwhile.

P.S. I'm still mad that Kang-To and Mok Dan weren't able to even consummate their marriage.... Seriously, they don't even get ONE night together as husband and wife before one of them gets killed?! *sigh* My heart is broken. It'll take at least a few weeks for me to stop cringing everytime I imagine them together.

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The show has come to an end. Everything that I've wanted to say has been said through the re-cap and also the comments so my final farewell for this show is a big THANK YOU to the actors/actresses, the crew, production company, the horse Gakistal rode on etc for making such an amazing show that for all its flaws has shown us all the beauty of first loves, new friendships, broken friendships, family moments and most of all the power of unity in a common goal in demanding the freedom and respect that shouldn't have ever been taken away from the people in the first place.
Gosh this show is just beautiful !! *tears*.

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i was holding back since last night but reading this recap took its toll on me, finally releasing all that waterworks bottling up inside.

i really love that you, gf and jb, have kept your commentaries on this episode to the minimum, really heightened the poignancy i'm feeling at this moment, for the story's ending and for it has finally ended.

i never knew what was in store for me when i joined on this Gaksital wagon. now that it's ended i'm just glad i did. i wonder if i'll ever come across another story of this kind. whatever the answer, this definitely already holds a special in my heart and memory.

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OH MY GOD I AM CRYING. FORGIVE ME FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO POST A DECENT COMMENT.

ASDKLDJASDOEIDFJOUEHFIOASHDAJLSDLASDJADLKSJDASLDASkDJALSKDJOUKDFHLASKJDASLDKJAASDASD

im sorry this was too good. i cried. really.

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this drama really....... I don't have energy after watching this episode........

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I don't know what I cried more through, the entire episode, or this recap. What a GREAT show. I don't think I've been more saddened by a series ending than this. I don't know how to put in words how much I loved Gaksital...

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Auuugh! And wooooow! I'm just cring,it was soooo sad,the moment mak don died in kang-to's arms:-( and then the other one was when shunji killed himself,:'( but tough the ending was sad and teary,but soooo amazing,one of the best endings ever! Thank you so much JB and GF for your recaps,:-*

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SIGH. I'm in the minority here it seems but really, I was rather pissed at the ending. Hahah. Ok ok I admit it was a logical ending and it fits the story well but my heart does want it!!! DOES NOT COMPUTE!

I'm still crying even today :((

And now, it's time for all the acting awards out there to line up for Park Ki Woong and Joo Won.

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ohoh!1 Thank you girlfriday and Jb for your very very awesome recaps and comments. Always a joy to read :)

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Best final for a series i've seen in ages :3 Best fraking series i've seen in ages also!!!

Thank you both so very much for the recaps every week <3

Someone get on that petition for Park Ki-woong going on 1N2D! :< I wanna see him and Joo Won be all dorky and cute!!!

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Have not read the recap yet but I just wanted to give my opinion on the finale.
I really, really, really wished that Mok Dan had survived the gunshot because at the end I wanted to believe that whilst Gaksital fights for his nation, behind that mask there would be the man Lee Kangto who fights for his love and family but I do get why she had to die especially since that was the only way for shunji to finally realise there's no turning back and give up.

When Mok Dan died there's a part of me that expected an epic fight with Kangto and shunji. Something mirroring their friendly fight in the first episode, with both evenly matched and both ending up killing each other this time. I mean they used to be friends that saw ach other as brothers, they have each contributed in some way in how the other turned out, they have each lost everyone in their life that really mattered and all they have left is each other. Except that have walked so far on opposite paths that there is no way of reconnecting them. It sort of flt like it would be the perfect ending to that relationship.

Having said that, the ending was a simply amazing and perfect ending to what is now one of my favourite dramas. I was so glued to the screen, crying and screaming and biting my nails, and praying and I even felt really devastated when shunji died, just giving up on life and his beloved nanny cradling him. Just so sad.
And th end with all those people dressed as Gaksital showing that he no longer fights alone but alongside everyone, just one of many fighting for freedom. It was all so beautiful but also a little sad for Kangto who fights for his nation and his people now but once had a lot more to fight for since he was a son, a brother, a friend, and a lover (and a husband for about 5 seconds).

Anyway I loved this drama and I was able to enjoy it even more thanks to DB. even though I'm mostly a silent reader I'm really thankful for your recaps.

Ah what to do now without you GAKSITAAAAAAAAAAAAL!

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Love the ending great drama

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Great series!

I never quite understood why Kishokai was so strong? Ueno is just a leader of a group, he's not the emperor of Japan. Yet it seemed he could control the police, recruit troops, send comfort women, kill anyone he wanted.. like he was king! Didn't make sense.

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um, i think it was cuz he was rich. He had the money to bribe all the top police officials that ruled over Korea at that time, I think that power is quite considerable, seeing as you've got a nation's police force at your beck and calling.

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So many people said they couldn't say if the series was good or bad until they saw the final episode. I believe nobody can say it isn't a great show. I loved it, it moved me even if I am not Korean and I can not feel their political and historical situations as my own.
Perfect ending, I will miss you, show1 I will miss you, Kang-to!

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And that's a wrap!

See if you can spot everyone in this picture :)

http://twitpic.com/arug6k/full

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I spot Katsuyama sans beard!

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*sob* thankyou GF and JB *sob*

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guys, a found a really depressing Vid for all of us that are depressed over the doomed bromance... seriously. This is the best song to drama video i've ever seen in my life. This just made me me cry my heart out. It's like Rihanna's Love the Way you lie is made for Gaksital, no joke.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPZR_t_yQuY
and this..... it's the flashback of how Kang-to first met Shunji.... i forgot about this because Shunji had become so different. But seriously, I took one look at this and cried my eyes out.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m4HIoDRWng
well besides that... my god Gaksital..... is over. I can't believe that. This show did have it's weak moments(like the awful spying and police work. if the police were that stupid, how on earth did they conquer Korea in the first place lol???) but still.

The things it did right were just amazing. Is it just me, or was a main reason you kept on watching was for the KT/Shunji? I feel like that relationship far outweighed the main couple. But in a good way. The way Shunji died was sad... but that's what I would have done as a writer. Shunji deserved to die, but KT did deserve having to kill him.
Oddly, I feel like the only thing/relationship that stayed constant throughout this whole drama was the one between Shunji and KT. Now, im not saying that they didn't change from the outside, but rather they stayed the same on the inside. At the end, Kang-to cannot kill Shunji. And then Shunji dies rather than fighting Kang-to. Their friendship is no way similar to what they had before, but it shows that they never stopped loving each other. Sometimes along the way, I did lose faith in Shunji, but I think that in his suicide, he shows his final resolve.....

And to think, all of this could have been stopped if KT never killed Kenji. In some ways, I regret that he died, because while he was an asswhole, the effect it had on Shunji was devastating. It's what propelled him into becoming what he was at the end. Though of course, it's not like Shunji's not to blame for the monster he is at the end, I can't help but pity him.

At the scene where Koiso hands the wedding pictures to Shunji, you can just see the pity/contempt for Shunji he has. It's just really pathetic, if even Koiso thinks that you're pathetic.

Yeah, Kenji's death was definitely my favorite scene in the whole of Gaksital. And then my second favorite is when Shunji says goodbye to Shunji. The moment of understanding they have brought me to tears. I was so happy that Hong-joo finally found her identity at the end, tho it still kinda broke my heart when she asks him to come with her, even when she knows it's useless. This was also the first moment where I knew that Shunji was going to commit suicide for sure... The look in his eyes and expression on face when he says farewell spoke volumes.

Park Ki Woong really outdid himself and Joo Won as well. I didn't like JSY's acting as much, but i feel like she finished strong. And HCA was amazing. At the end, where she was talking to Katsuyama she was just so... amazing.

really... i feel like all i've done is to just rant and rant.... What am I going to do without Gaksital? Its definitely the best drama I've ever seen, I've never had a drama make me cry like this before. If I was going to sum Gaksital in word, it would be Amazing. Just... Amazing.

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* KT Didn't deserve

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lol my use of names is all over the place....

* Yeah, Shunji's death was definitely my favorite
*my second favorite is when Shunji says goodbye to Hong-joo.

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I'm teaching English in Korea and got roped into singing "My Heart Will Go On" at the school festival. As I've been singing the song over and over, and reflecting on Gaksital, I think that this show is far more worthy of the song than Titanic is. Mok Dan--here in Kangto's heart and his heart will go on and on!

...Okay, I realize how sappy that sounds. :P I'll stop there. Anyway... Thanks for posting the links.

This is the best drama I've seen too. I'm not sure how I'll watch another one without having to take a cut in quality. I wish I had watched City Hunter first. Even as good as people says that is I'm not sure if it could be better than Gaksital.

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I watched city hunter in marathon while waiting for another gaksital episode..because i like kimura taro haha..and to see whether i can get to like lee minho or park minyoung after watching the drama but meh in the end i didn't..and there's not much of kimura taro either *lol forgot that ahjusshi's name*

ah but please go on and enjoy the drama..there's one character that has so big of an aura you can get chills just by the glimpse of his shadow..his name is steve lee *sorry i forgot the name of the actor but he's just featured on running man the chaser ep.*

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yes, Shunji was Kang Tos´ teacher and friend. but I disagree that all could have rpevented if Kenji hadnt died - Shunji made the choice to turn into a monster and hurt many more people than just ones connected to Gaksital. He crossed the line, no - he trampled on it.

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and to think in the beginning their friendship was the ideal of the japanese-korean coexistence fantasy only to be blown to pieces by that very same system

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Man, I had a mini war within myself over whether or not I would be able to wait for the episode to come out or to read the recap first.

I'm glad I caved though. I had a small seed of hope that Mok Dan wouldn't die, but the not knowing was eating away at me.

Incredible ending to an overall incredible series. Thank you Girlfriday and Javabeans for your hard work and tears.

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It's official I'm am all out of tears. I cried tears of pain, sorrow and joy. I HAVE NOTHING LEFT!!!! and just when I didn't think I could cry anymore...here comes the ENDING...OMG the ending Awesome ending the writers did not let me down in this one. And you guys rock for the recaps.

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It's finally over! I have to say that I enjoyed this drama a lot more than I thought I would. I particularly liked the secondary characters very much (Rie, Katsuyama, Shunji) and I also liked the development of Kangto from villain to national hero.

I was expecting death in this episode but I have to say Mokdan's death did shock me a little bit. I was thinking Kangto would be the one to die as a martyr or something along those lines. BTW one jarring scene to me was when Mokdan got shot and Kangto picked her up bridal style and the only thing I could notice was that she was wearing Louboutins lolol. XD

Anyways, I enjoyed reading your recaps very much. Thank you for your hard work!

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OMG....!!!!!
I can say a word....!!!! I cry..cry...cry..!
But, finnally its has t end here...
Thank you so much for the good drama ever....
Thanks JB and GF for the recaps....
Thank you everyone for all your good comments and analisis..
Thank you..thank you...thank you...

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First thank you for the great recaps
Second loved the the show but my only grip is they didn't do any thing different then say Batman. Mok Dan's death at the end followed the tragic hero cliche . The character started out strong and finished with her wanting to cook for him. Mok Dan fighting along with him at end would have been perfect and more true to the character in the first half of series.

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True to the character yes.
True to cruel fate no. We can't always wish for someone to live just because it will be true to her character. Who says a woman can't cook breakfast for him and then help in him plan his next fight. Or harbour resistance fighters?

Marriage encompasses a whole scope of things. Cooking for a start because it was something so simple. Like any other Asian culture- the need to feed your love one and to make sure they have food to eat. The trials may have made her reduce her wishes to something as basic as cooking for her loved one. One can't go " I want to fight with you, I want to resist the Japanese with you" when you can't even be with your man and cook him some food.

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not followed gaksital
but followed jb & gf recaps on it ^^
so thank you so much or your effort.
the ending is dramatic... !!!
the acting and story is so good.

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I love bridal mask!!It is a drama that I will remember forever.It is so weird that a teenage girl like me love this kind of drama.I usually watched rom-com or idol dramas.I was never able to watch action dramas before.

The drama taught a good lesson to me.'DO not GIVE UP,no matter what".I was crying when Kang to was still able to stand tall and walk together with his fellow countrymen,discarding all his painful memories he had.I feel so sad that this drama has ended.However,I feel really proud for actors and the crews.

The directors chose the actors well.I was JKS fan for 2 years and honestly,I did not like any actors other than him.When I first saw Joo Won in first episode on TV,He was totally a jerk for me.(well,Kang to was really mean in earlier episodes).I continued to watch this drama because it was interesting and nothing else.But Joo Won acting was so real that I can't help fall for him.His acting was so convincing that I can't help crying together with him most of the time.I hope to see Joo Won more in future.AND I LOVE JOO WON!!!He is one true actor.

And PKW,I did not know him either.However,His acting was powerful.When I loved him,I really loved him,when he turned evil,I was cursing him!He is a good actor!!

Mok Dan,I like her.She will be a good actress in future.That's all I can say.

and I hope Both JW and PKW will get awards for their roles.They must!

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ohhhhh my god just reading this recap made me want to cry, and i dont cry easily at all. T___________T GAKSITAAAAAAAAL! i'm going to miss you so much!!!!!!!! don't leave ):
joowon and park ki woong did such a great job, i love them! i will be looking out for them.

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i watched the finale.....it broke my heart into a million pieces. i didn't cry until the end, when they showed the pictures of kangto and shunji happy together. that was just...OOF. and i even felt sorry for shunji in this episode, even though he's done so many bad things. drama, what have you done?? after i finished the episode i literally felt weak for several hours. gaksital was amazing. it will always be amazing. JB and GF, thank you once again for making it that much more awesome.

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i start to cry right the moment Mok Dan get SHOT

why being a Hero always ended as a loner????
DAMN my heart so HURT bcoz of PAIN
T____________T

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Kang-To and Iljimae should just hook up and have a "lost-everyone-I-loved" pity party....T^T

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Thank you for the recap.
* fanning myself * God. The tears. I already watched it so this recap shouldn't be a surprise.
What I loved about this show besides the brilliant acting and directing. Plus writing. It's the fact that it manages to convey a sense of history. It's telling a nation's story.

So yeah, although I didn't expect a happy ending I felt that the drama delivered to the end. Are there any more emotions left in me? Awe and sadness mixed.

Rie telling him to call her by her Korean name.
Kang To lying on the grave telling himself to be strong.
The last moment of remembered friendship before they agreed one of them must die.

F*** can't even write without crying. :-( :-(

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The goodbye scene with rie and katsuyama was so visually gorgeous. And it was so bittersweet. I know rie will never love katsuyama but ughjkdjfksd I just feel so sad for him.

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it was! like Midnight in Paris or something!

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Aaand it ends. Wow. I can't believe it ended with me just reading through all your recaps (Shame, but yes, I've only relied on the recaps not because I'm lazy to watch it but I don't know where I'm gonna squeeze watching tv into work, classes, church services and sleep. -_- You don't know how much you mean to me, Dramabeans, really. it's rare that I send comments and I commend you guys for catering a fantastic dose of kdrama addiction)

Anyway, I'm not even Korean, but I felt like one. The pride of one's country was weaved brilliantly through every episode. It was just so...moving. I can't really say its melodramatic because frankly, this drama is different. It was just soooo real to me. I loved the character developments, the twists, and the epic finale. It was just so perfect, I really love it.

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;__; I watched this drama with my 2 roomies, ending so good, so glad it ended strongly!

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Now I can finally breathe. Great great drama.
I'd like to think Katsuyama and Choi Hong-joo met again and have beautiful babies together. It's kind of mean to say that Shunji's suicide is the perfect ending for him because it really is.When he pulled that trigger himself I fell sorry for him and had to think back on when he was still perfectly sane and loved Kang to like a brother,I'm glad they had a moment together like that before he died.

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What I loved was that Kangto actually turned when they agreed to meet in the yard, the amount of trust he still had in his friend was just so touching. Loved the ending and I wouldn't have it any other way

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