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.