Bridal Mask: Episode 28 (Final)

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Last Episode!  It was also the last episode for most of the characters in this really bloodthirsty drama.  I guess you can’t have cruel oppressors and zealots fighting for freedom without a large body count.  This finale didn’t deviate from the rest of the drama, and I guess if you’re into that kind of thing, you would not have been disappointed with seeing Gaksital’s Last Ride.

I think this was one of the worst weddings ever, even by K-drama standards.  Not only did Shunji show up uninvited, along with a whole bevy of wedding crashers, but he then shot the bride.  I think we all know that someone major had to die, in order for the previous minor demises to seem like nothing, and Mok Dan was as good a candidate as any, especially since she comes from a family which wasn’t too long-lived.  Also, in these stories the girl hardly ever lives.

All hell broke loose following that shot heard round Gyeongseong, and many other comrades fell as the independence fighters ran in different directions.  Those fighters who hadn’t been invited (I can’t believe not everyone was – there weren’t that many people in the commune, so weren’t feelings hurt?) didn’t fare much better – the imperial police and the army decimated them (except for the Circus Spy’s little brother, who might not have died, but definitely suffered a highly traumatic experience when a Dong Jin Corps member became a Corpse member as he saved the youth by covering his body with his own).  So this was obviously not a good day to have a wedding.

I don’t think making Gang To a widower is no big deal, but this whole Mok Dan romance never really meant much to me in this drama.  Not only are these kinds of stories never about romance, but Mok Dan herself was never that interesting.  And it didn’t really help matters that Gang To managed to subdue his grief in record time, since there were lots of other things to be done.  I know that Mok Dan wouldn’t have held this against him, and would have encouraged him even, but it just doesn’t really sit right with me.

Shunji went through the typical stages of grief following his terrible action.  First he blamed Gang To for Mok Dan’s death, then he failed to do basic math in front of his superiors, and also sobbed over the wedding photos.  There wasn’t much for him to do after this, so I think everyone was waiting for him to kill himself, or for Gang To to “make a decision” about him.

The bodyguard was all for killing him, though I wonder why he didn’t do it himself.  I guess Gang To got dibs, or else that neck chop thing is the only thing he’ll ever do.  We’ll never know what Gang To was prepared to do, since Shunji took matters into his own hands and committed suicide.  Gang To shed a tear for his best friend, but once again he had a lot of work to do in a limited time.  I assume he does most of his grieving offscreen.

One assignment was getting rid of President Ueno, which turned out to be surprisingly easy, even though it was supposed to be such an impossible task early on.  His timing was impeccable, since he arrived just as Rie was about to get executed.  But once again this wasn’t Gaksital’s moment, but Katsuyama’s.  He isn’t just all talk, since when the moment came, he drew his sword against Ginpei in order to protect his ladylove.  President Ueno just looked exasperated, as if Katsuyama had just done something really embarrassing, and that annoyance did not subside once Gaksital got some flying daggers into Ginpei.  Katsuyama knew not to waste such a good opportunity, and gave him the final death-blow.  All that was left for Gaksital to do was to give his usual speech, and then kill the president, who looked like he was laughing at Gaksital’s horrible delivery.  If that skeeze hadn’t had the nerve to call to Rie for help, I would have laughed with him.

For someone so willing to die, Rie had no problems with living, and rushed after Gaksital.  Always looking out for her Joseon man, she asked him to spare Shunji’s life, so that Gang To would not have to live with that pain and regret.  Gaksital just looked at her, and then left her life forever.  She even had more of a goodbye with Shunji when she called to warn him about a visit from Gaksital, and realized that he was about to do something pretty drastic.  She was not as desperate, and her ending was not death, but striking out all on her own.  It was painful to hear Katsuyama ask to come along, just as her shadow, but I thought her answer was pretty good.  She obviously cared about him a lot since she wanted him to have a better life than just being with someone who didn’t love him.  She left him with her “real” name – Chae Hong Ju – which was kind of nice, and even brought a rare smile to his face as he said he would remember her name forever.  Or as nice as anything could be in this drama.  I still don’t think her situation was entirely resolved, but that’s obviously all we gonna git for Rie/Chae Hong Ju.

With most of the cast thinned out now, what else was there to do but rope everyone up for one last big stand?  We got scenes of the remaining independence fighters making flags and bridal masks, and these were for an important cause, and not just Gang To exploiting everyone as costume makers.

For at the end we didn’t get just one Gaksital, but a whole horde of them, men, women, and children, all marching behind Dong Jin Corps members towards the Jongno Station, where Koiso (those types always live – that’s what Emperor of the Sea taught me) waited for a fight.  Even though everyone became Gaksital, we got a final shot of our favorite, heading towards the never-ending fight.  The end.

I wouldn’t call this ending lame, and it fits with the overall message of the drama of continuing to fight no matter what, but it didn’t move me the way it obviously wanted do.  I had kind of enjoyed this drama early on, but once it veered to some pretty disturbing places, and the writing became really inconsistent and lazy, I just kind of checked out.  I also couldn’t think about actual history as I watched this drama, or else I might not have been able to get through it.  Because you know there can be no real happy ending for anyone, and that it’s all going to be an endless downer that makes you uncomfortable.  These are things everyone should know, but not necessarily watch a drama about.  I thought that since the drama already introduced crazy things like a guy who wears a bridal mask to kill people with a blunt object, it would be a more stylized depiction of the past.  But no – Bridal Mask couldn’t even get the period clothes right.

Joo Won is pretty likable, and he needed all of that goodwill for me to still tolerate him after the last quarter of the drama, when he turned into a total teacher’s pet.  These earnest roles are hard to do, and it gets really boring when the hero is so one-dimensional.  He has not made it to my list of actors and actresses who I’d watch in anything, though I am mildly curious about his next drama, which is the drama version of the 2009 Kang Ji Hwan and Kim Ha Neul movie, My Girlfriend Is an Agent (I think it’s slated for next year on MBC).  I don’t really buy Joo Won as an action star, though I admit that he did look a little better when he wasn’t in that mask.  I still wonder who had the great idea to wear that particular one.

I was probably the most disappointed in Park Ki Woong, since I expected so much more scariness from him.  His histrionics were just embarrassing – for him, and I can’t help but look at him askance after seeing how good he was at playing someone who was really bad to women, especially the one he loved.  I guess he’s the type who’s better in small doses.  Jin Se Yun was just a non-entity, and the most I can say is that it was funny watching her be so enthusiastic in her scenes with Gang To.  I’m not surprised she’s sticking to the serious route with her current drama, Five Fingers, since she didn’t really strike me as the bust-a-gut funny type.

I felt the worst for Rie at the end, since she was just kind of shunted to the side as her story became too at odds with the unalloyed celebration of Yang Baek and Co.  Was it sloppy the way the drama never went more into her horrifying backstory, or was that deliberate given how her treatment at the hands of independence fighters added too many problems?  She was seriously wronged by the people who killed her family because they wouldn’t donate money, and even had to become a gisaeng, and she doesn’t get more of a resolution?  I guess just not mentioning it is still better than doing something really stupid, like making the Kishokai the actual ones behind her downfall.

But when pretty much every person who wasn’t a Joseon person was black hat evil, I get that a more ambiguous character like Rie will have to fall to the wayside.  I still didn’t find her that compelling, and I wonder if a stronger actress could have brought something more to the character.  I mean, I like Han Chae Ah, but you know.  She’s currently in the drama Ooh La La Couple as the second lead, and I wish it wasn’t semi-incestuous – she’s opposite Shin Hyun Joon, who played Gang To’s hyung.  I think she’s having an affair with him in this drama, which must still be a step above playing someone who had to give massages to the man who later tried to kill you.  But that was Bridal Mask.

Bridal Mask: Episode 27

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The end is seriously nigh for Bridal Mask, I can feel it!  It’s always so exciting when a drama you don’t love ends, especially when you’re getting kind of disgusted with its hero.  This wasn’t even a bad penultimate episode, since stuff actually happened, and there was even kind of a cliffhanger ending, but still.  Come on Gaksital – let’s do this.

I know that Gaksital has killed, and will kill again before this drama is over, but I was a little surprised by how abruptly he sent Kimura into the next world.  Since this guy was more of the mastermind behind his father’s betrayal and murder, you’d think he would have gotten more self-righteous about the whole thing.  And I know there’s only one episode left, but you’d think that a semi-major player would get more of a send-off.  And points off to Gang To for insisting on using that stupid “disguised” voice even though everyone knows who he is now – that’s just embarrassing.  If his voice had been better, I would have applauded his dedication for staying in character, but no.  Or maybe that mask affects his speech, I can’t say.  Anyways, in a sick case of déjà vu, Shunji rushes in just after Gaksital has delivered his death-blow, no doubt reminding Shunji of his brother’s death.  The drawn out bout of fisticuffs they engaged in afterwards was inevitable, as was Gang To’s inability to kill his former best friend.  Will this prove his salvation, or bite him in the butt in the end?  We’ll have to wait for the next episode to find out.

After a busy day of killing inherited family enemies, Gang To returned to Camp Dong Jin where a beaming Mok Dan fed him just like a little wifey.  This whole Dong Jin camp thing is really bizarre, and not one of my more favorite storylines.  I’ve seen these kinds of pitched tent communes in tons of period pieces, but in this more modern-day context it’s just vaguely off-putting.  But weird living conditions weren’t going to stop true love – for Gang To still found time for kissy moments, and a proposal to Mok Dan with a flower ring.  I don’t hold it against Gang To for nearly ruining the moment by making sure that she said yes – I wasn’t too sure meself when she just stood there, smiling at him.  The preceding moment was much more entertaining, the one in which Gang To showed us that he was still the biggest playboy in Gyeongseong as he asked a giggling Seon Hwa to teach him how to make a flower ring.  The bad Joseon guy couldn’t take that scene, which goes to show that hero-worship has its limits.

But not everything was fun times, especially for Shunji and Rie who didn’t have the good fortune to live in that idyllic camp.  Shunji’s lost some of his steam, I think, though he’s as vocal as ever about stopping Gaksital, and getting Mok Dan – no, Esther back (it’s not just that this ship has sailed, but this ship was never there to begin with).  President Ueno had been worried that Shunji wouldn’t know how to deal with this death, so he said Shunji could kill his daughter as a way to relieve some of Shunji’s anger.  That’s just a sick combination of really twisted things.  Shunji “takes” Rie’s life, but not to kill her – he promises that he will let her run away.  I guess each of them has only one true love, so they would never get together, but they’ve been giving off a strong brother-sister vibe for a while, especially with how competitive they get with each other.  She is such a damaged and lost little girl that she actually goes back to her father, preferring to die by his hands.

And then there was a scene that was way more shocking than Kimura’s murder, or Gang To’s proposal.  Katsuyama hasn’t been getting much sleep, since he’s been focusing on watching out for Rie, so that might explain why he all of a sudden confessed his love for her.  When he asked her how could she not see his heart, I actually didn’t know where to look for a few seconds – just anywhere but at him, and his bleeding heart.

And she did know how he felt, but she told him that growing up stepped on by men since she was 9 made her crave a powerful man.  Gang To was a mistake, but whatever.  Why couldn’t Katsuyama tell her that by going after powerful men, she had gotten just as used, or even more so, than before?  I guess he saves up his speech quota for romantic things.  I wouldn’t mind if she ran away with Katsuyama, but I wonder if she’ll end up sacrificing herself for Gang To somehow, instead.  She’s already freaked out that Shunji wants to kill him and take Mok Dan, so who knows what she’ll do now.  I hope she’ll sign off doing something really awesome instead of just being killed by her father.

The rest of the episode headed towards the final showdown, once the Dong Jin Corp received an influx of student-soldier recruits – so now they have money, weapons, and people ready to die.  I had thought that Yang Baek objected to students being forced to fight at all instead of studying, but he seems totally fine with it so long as these kids are fighting for Joseon.  This was another instance of really sloppy storytelling, or else just really stupid characters.

Mr. Song of the strange pama went into Gyeongseong in order to learn when those kids would be shipped off, and had to flee once the police caught sight of him.  Did he not think to mention this little run-in to anyone else?  And is no one keeping tabs in Gyeongseong anymore, who maybe could have told them that Tasha and Mr. Noh were interrogated?  I am so disappointed in Tasha for not telling someone that the police now knew what the Dong Jin Corp’s next target was.  Mr. Noh spilling after two or three measly whips was more understandable.  Not everyone is Gang To.  Or Mok Dan.

I also look down on Gaksital and Co. for not wondering why the extraction was so easy.  Hubris.  Wasn’t anyone even a little bit suspicious?  Especially since there were two police spies in their midst, looking all shifty-eyed, and refusing to partake in the communal bibimbap, which is always a sure sign of an evil person.  They deserved to have Shunji follow that trail of obvious breadcrumbs all the way to the hideout, just in time for him to crash the wedding.  It’s fitting that the drama ends with a wedding, though I wish Gang To and Mok Dan didn’t look so much like a couple going to prom.  That was really a dress you could only find in Shanghai?  I don’t think Shunji is going to be ok with this.  Not only will he definitely speak now, but also for-never hold his peace.

I’m also surprised they went for a Western wedding, since this drama has been all about Joseon pride.  I guess when the groom wears a bridal mask for a living, it’s best to distance the ceremony from those kinds of clothes – confusing!

Bridal Mask: Episode 26

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Another Bridal Mask episode, another dead body (or a few).  Will there be anyone left in Gyeongseong once this show is over?  I am so ready for this downer of a drama to end, but I suppose we have to wait while Dong Jin prepares his little army.  It helps that he now has Gang To living at the camp, the rescue mission having gone very successfully.  With Gaksital safe, the main action in the episode centered around figuring out how to get Yang Baek out of Gyeongseong, even though the city was in major lockdown mode following Gaksital’s great escape.  I like to think that there would have been a better way of getting everyone out, but for some reason Damsari felt the need to volunteer for a suicide mission.  Is this him trying to prove himself after Lady Comrade dissed him for not being an elite agent?

He and Martial Arts Comrade used the tried and true decoy trick, luring Shunji and Co. away while the real Yang Baek fled with the Circus Man, Lady Comrade, and a dolled up Mok Dan.  Damsari didn’t make much of an effort to survive, and you start to wonder whether staying holed up in that basement room with Yang Baek as his constant companion addled his brains somewhat.  Because instead of trying to stay alive, he just messed with Shunji, calling him his poor friend, and saying that he was a waste of a man since his attempts at quashing the revolution were fruitless (no fruit for Shunji), before shooting himself, à la Hae Suk.  Having just tortured the tailor to death earlier, I don’t think Shunji was that shocked by the suicide, but those petty last words did get to him.

This was the first episode that felt kind of like filler to me, and I don’t know if this is just supposed to be the calm before the storm, or if the drama’s extension hurt the plotting.  Whatever the reason, Damsari’s death didn’t really have that much of an emotional impact, and it just seemed like the drama thought that it would get insta-cred by killing off a whole bunch of semi-major characters.  Mok Dan’s grieving period was truncated (there’s a battle approaching, after all), so maybe that’s another reason it didn’t feel like a really profound moment.

In fact, I’m not really liking the direction the show has taken over the past few episodes – pretty much since Gang To started taking up with the movement, and wearing sleazy unbuttoned shirts.  Gaksital has ceased to be a cool superhero, and is just another expendable part in a bigger game, and that’s never very fun.  Gang To is pretty one-dimensional right now, and a kiss-butt to boot.  And I really don’t like his new “playful” relationship with that awful Joseon man.  Why are they beefing up his storyline at all?  I doubt there were droves of people clamoring for more of the likes of him.  I’m disappointed in Seon Hwa for going there.

Maybe it’s because Gang To has become increasingly lame, but Shunji and Rie have become the more interesting characters in the past few episodes.  It’s poignant how Rie has grown kind of attached to Shunji, in that same unhealthy way she seems to latch onto most people who hurt her.  She was pretty impressed by how he was able to hold his own against President Ueno, no begging for Shunji, and so now there are no secrets between the two of them.  She pretty much told him everything regarding her dealings with Gang To and Mok Dan, but he didn’t even appreciate that touching confession since he was still going over Damsari’s words in his head.  He told himself that there could still be lots of fruit for him, and that catching Yang Baek, Dong Jin, and Gaksital will solve all of his problems.  I don’t think that Damsari ever got that this whole Gaksital thing was personal, so he was kind of wrong about Shunji.

I don’t like how the drama is inconsistent with how smart Shunji and Gang To are.  I know that everyone has their off-days, but Shunji’s off-days are really off.  It doesn’t make much sense why he wouldn’t investigate the tailor’s shop until the tailor died (I doubt he cares about things like warrants), and it’s ridiculous that Murayama would have figured out that Dong Jin was building an army before he did.  And as glad as I am that Shunji wasn’t able to catch Gang To’s bodyguard (he of the magic herbal medicine), that was also kind of beneath him – the man had jumped out a window only a second before Shunji burst in.  I think it’s a sloppy drama that asks the viewer to take a lot on faith.

Anyways, Shunji’s trip to Gang To’s quaint country estate resulted in him bringing back Gang To’s serial killer-esque collage of the Kishokai folks.  He showed this to his father, and the drama tried to bring the focus away from the larger independence movement, back to the original revenge plot.  Gaksital even paid the Kimura house a visit to that end, just like old times, but it wasn’t the same – the thrill is definitely gone.   I know that Iljimae and Hong Gil Dong (is it embarrassing to lump Chilwu and his band of assassins with this company?) also got roped into larger revolutionary movements, but I didn’t really like those plot developments, either.  Is a simple revenge story really that hard to do?

Bridal Mask: Episode 25

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It actually wasn’t that difficult to sit through this episode, the one in which Gang To finally gets tortured.  It was even nice to get it over with, since I had been dreading it for the past few episodes.  And now that everything is out in the open, I hope that Gang To will stop wearing that blindingly white uniform, and get a real haircut.

For some reason, Katsuyama and Ginpei both had off days, since Gaksital and his two new sidekicks/allies managed to beat them and run off with the money.  The fighting hasn’t been that great, but I guess I was foolish for expecting something like Ip Man.  Still, I held my breath as Martial Arts Comrade almost left without the briefcase full of “donations” – so you see that Bridal Mask remains suspenseful until the very end.  The plans of the independence movement aren’t really making sense any more.  See, first they got the money, which they apparently needed to get weapons.  But then it looks like they planned on getting most of their weapons from the police armory, so what is that money going to be used for?  More weapons?  If so, they were just being a little greedy.

Everyone, myself included, thought that Gang To was insane for going back to work the next day.  The comrades had spirited Mok Dan away to the Bridal Cave, away from Shunji’s hug-happy clutches, so what more did he have to do?  But Gang To was determined to push his luck, all for the sake of weapons.  Was anyone really surprised when Shunji greeted him with a beating at the station?  Seeing it from his perspective, I guess there is something particularly shameless about Gang To showing up and meekly handing out papers after just having humiliated Shunji, and stolen a whole bunch of money.  And Shunji didn’t even hear Gang To’s voiceover, in which he tells Shunji to be fooled one more time.

But Shunji isn’t one to be fooled twice.  He guessed that weapons were next on Yang Baek’s Wish List, and so he set a little trap for Gaksital – and his little friends, too.  Shunji took the officers all out to the Angel Club as a morale booster, where the girls were less than thrilled to see them, and Tasha was mourning for Hae Suk (had she loved him, after all, even if just a little bit?).  Gang To has been so out of it that he only just heard about his friend’s suicide, and was rather alarmingly unconcerned with this.  His thoughts instead turned to robbing the armory blind, now that most of the officers were drunk.  Or were they?  After Gang To made a call and left, Shunji stood up, and all of the other officers followed suite – I don’t think anyone had been drunk at all.  Except Tasha.

Gang To should have realized that it was a trap, but even then he probably would have stolen the weapons for the cause.  He’s kind of reckless and a crazy zealot that way.  He made sure the others got away, leaving him alone as Shunji and his boys surrounded him, and he was finally unmasked for all to see.  I don’t know which was worse – Koiso whipping him with glee (Koiso had to tie him up to beat him – there’s a word for people like him: loser), or Old Man Kimura rocking him around the nail box.  If Gang To hadn’t had his self-righteousness or zealotry, I don’t think he could have survived everything he went through.  I wonder why he bothered telling Shunji the truth about everything – how his brother had been the first Gaksital, and how he was glad that he wouldn’t have to be the one to kill Shunji.  We haven’t seen evidence of their love for each other in a while, and this was as painful a time as any to remind everyone that these two guys used to be best friends.

As Gang To was getting tortured and stuffed in meat lockers, in lieu of actual bedding, his comrades were mostly sitting around that same old tailor’s shop (a hidey-hole which has seriously been compromised), not really doing anything.  I see why superheroes usually work alone, since even when they’re supposed to have allies, these people do nothing for them.  At least Mok Dan tried to do something, even if that something was just begging Rie to save Gang To.

How can she think Rie isn’t on Gang To’s side after seeing her face fall once she had heard the news?  Whether it’s just the whole Gang To thing, or something about being a Joseon person, Rie is getting sick of this whole Kishokai business.

She was present at the execution of the count and countess (the body count is really piling up in this drama, isn’t it?), and there was just something about the way she wiped the blood off her face that made me think that she wasn’t feeling this lifestyle anymore.  Am I reading too much into her look of disgust?

I worry about what her creepy father is going to do to her.  I actually think ordering her death would be better than asking her to give him a massage again – so gross.  I don’t know what she’s going to do for the remainder of the series, but I hope that she isn’t the next one to follow Hae Suk’s example.

After what felt like forever, the comrades decided to rescue Gaksital.  Who is he to them?  Their mascot?  The one they always leave behind to get nearly killed?  It was poignant seeing Damsari volunteer to rescue him, only to be shot down by the Lady Comrade, who just wanted elite people for the mission.  Ouch, that had to hurt.  What’s the deal with her?  Does she have something going on with Martial Arts Comrade?

Anyways, they made breaking into the station look easy, especially considering that they were trying to spring a high-profile prisoner.  It had been almost impossible for Gaksital to rescue Damsari, but look how simple it was for others to rescue Gaksital – some blows to the head, a few smoke bombs, and you’re done.  It was kind of cute how Lady Comrade made sure to grab the bridal mask on their way out – it’s like his Indiana Jones hat.  But I wonder what Gang To’s last look at a knocked out Shunji meant – goodbye?  I’m sorry?  Or, I’m totally going to get you back for the nail box thing, and for hugging Mok Dan all of those times?  I hope it’s the last one.

Bridal Mask: Episode 24

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I knew this drama wasn’t going to be a fluffy rom-com, but I didn’t know I had signed up for something so grim.  This episode flirted with some pretty twisted things (I mean twisty for the generally wholesome Korean drama), mostly courtesy of Shunji, who is terrifying me, but not in the ways I had expected.  Psychotic killer I would have been prepared for, but not creepy misogynist.  At least Gang To isn’t completely useless as he finally figures out that his cover may be blown, but he better step it up if he wants to take down Crazy Shunji and the rest of the Kishokai.

The Fake Gaksitals didn’t really help Gang To much, since Shunji has already witnessed this kind of thing before (see the Kaboom Episode), and Gang To’s “Bad Cop” routine with the captured Dongjin soldier only convinced Shunji that Gang To was still in the dark about Shunji’s newly acquired knowledge.  Poor Gang To, I really hate seeing Shunji make a fool out of you like this.  I would have already cringed as Gang To pretended that this Joseon man (I refuse to call him by his name since I dislike him so much) was the one who killed his mother and brother, but knowing that Shunji could tell that this was just really bad acting made it ten times more painful.  And I got a little confused – the Joseon man claimed that he didn’t kill anyone.  Is he lying, or did the screenwriters try and make him more likable by having him know that he was burning corpses?  I hate these kinds of inconsistencies.

Whatever, Gang To revealed his true identity to this man, who must have had a heart attack as he found out that his enemy was also his idol, and they then proceeded to conduct their own “counterattack” on the imperial forces, which was just code for acting like asses and lucking out when Shunji believed the man’s story about Yang Baek’s plan to blow up the governor-general’s building with Dong Jin.  He “confessed” this under torture – maybe the drama thought that he deserved a little torture for his behavior earlier in the drama.  Anyways, it was as he tortured him that Shunji had his first Really Scary Moment of the episode.  He imagined that it was really Gang To he was torturing, which only made him enjoy it all the more.  Shunji might want to pick up a hobby (stamps, maybe) instead of letting his mind go to pieces like this.

Shunji’s next Really Scary Moment was when he summoned the Circus Spy to pump her for more information.  She somehow developed a conscience since we last saw her, and tried lying to Shunji, which only brought some torture her way.  I’m sure she’d be glad to know that it wasn’t personal – Shunji wasn’t even thinking of her, really.  The two people the closest to him, and the most loved/hated, are Joseon people (Gang To and Mok Dan), so now he sees them in any Joseon person, and loses it accordingly.  He got so angry that he let slip an important clue – he told the girl he had enough of “those two” lying to him, so how dare she try to make a third.  I’m impressed that the girl remembered this tidbit of information as she was getting dunked, and then leered at by Koiso.  I really think it was the creepy Koiso bit more than anything that made her cry and confess everything to Mok Dan.  I guess Mok Dan did the right thing in just guilt-tripping the girl, instead of exposing her to everyone else.

I still think Mok Dan went too far when she actually went to the police station to confront Shunji about his horrid treatment of the spies in his employ (but maybe she wanted to catch a glimpse of Gang To).  This led us to the Creepiest and Scariest Shunji Moment, to me at least.  They were alone in the office and she told him that she would even try to let him into her heart, so long as he left her and the others alone.  So he took her up on that offer, and tried to hug her then and there, as Gang To watched from the outside.  Mok Dan took a step back and asked him to close the blinds first.  Ok, eww – what the hell was she expecting him to do?  Whatever, I won’t go into that.

Shunji closed the blinds, and didn’t touch her again, but told her that he was having a really hard time right now, and that only the thought of seeing her face after he had taken the most precious thing from her was keeping him going.  He really seemed so dangerous and unhinged at that moment, that I wondered why Mok Dan didn’t bolt from that room right away, as any other sane person would have.  Honestly, the way Shunji treats women is so frightening, and I think it’s one of the scariest things about him.  It’s not just Mok Dan, though being the object of his obsession does earn her the most skin-crawling moments, but Rie, too.  What’s sick is that I think he’s into Rie a little more now that he knows she’s a Joseon person, telling her to come to him if she needs help.  Exactly what kind of help is he expecting to give her?

As Shunji was descending further into madness, the independence movement (I hope they come up with a really cool name soon) was getting ready for its next mission, which involved stealing money from the empire.  I know that they had their lofty reasons about it, but in the end their mission wasn’t one of the better ones since they were just after some funds for their army.  So it made that scene of Gang To “donating” to the cause in front of the other officers doubly wily since he was planning on stealing it back all along.  Anyways, the “counterattack” worked, since the police concentrated their protection on the governor-general building, leaving the gisaeng house, where the money was getting transferred, wide open.  Following a tipoff from Mok Dan, Gang To also realizes that Shunji might know, and was all, like, Bring it!  And so in came Gaksital with his two new allies – so nice to see that the female comrade isn’t just for show.

But this was the first mission in which Gaksital was totally upstaged by something that happened offstage.  Hae Suk went through his own identity crisis, and instead of emerging on the other end with a mask, he went the more permanent route.  He had learned that Tasha had been using him to get information about his father for ages, and he then decided to do his part for the cause, on purpose this time.  He let Tasha know when the transfer was going to happen, and then went and got inducted into the Kishokai.  But that same night, he sent a letter to his father, telling him that even though he had been ashamed, he still loved him.  And then I think he killed himself.  There was a gunshot, and even though I’m hoping that Tasha stopped him just in time, I’m pretty sure that’s the end of the weak-willed Hae Suk.  Whoa, the drama made him über pathetic over the past few episodes only to lead up to this?  That’s a little blacker than I like my dramas.

So it seemed almost anti-climactic as Katsuyama fought the Martial Arts Comrade, and Rie fought the Lady Comrade, while Gaksital ran off for another round with Ginpei.  This would be a good time for the Lee family bodyguard to show up, I think.  How is he earning his keep at this point?  Since unless Gaksital developed some awesome new skills during the past few days, this fight doesn’t look good for our hero.