Bridal Mask: Episode 23

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I hate this part – those moments in stories about masked vigilantes when the hero doesn’t know that his arch nemesis knows his secret, and just walks around like a fool.  Because that’s exactly what Gang To did in this painful episode – he went about his Gyeongseong business like a fool as Shunji watched, waiting for the perfect moment to take him down.  I guess Shunji’s theatrical in his own way.  Not dress up in pajamas and a mask-theatrical, but more like, bide his time until he can take down his best friend in the most dramatic way possible-theatrical.

In accordance with this plan, Shunji prevents the bloodthirsty Ginpei from finishing Gang To off (it looks like Ginpei recognized him, but we can’t be sure since Ginpei only has two facial expressions – crazed and bloodthirsty).  Shunji then goes to report his successful school project to President Ueno, and discovers that Rara is not who she seems.  She’s not even Japanese, which shocks him to no end.  How sincere was he being when he freaked out over having asked the president to kill her?  He claims that he didn’t think it was even a possibility when he asked, but who can know what lies in Shunji’s heart?

Anyways, Rie probably isn’t planning on sticking with the Kishokai that much longer since her heart just isn’t in it.  She had one of the saddest moments in this almost uniformly depressing drama when she went to meet with Mok Dan, and offered her money and passports so that she could run away with Gang To.  I think this was a huge thing to do, but Mok Dan took it the wrong way.  She was totally offended that this Rara would even suggest running away when the Joseon people were still suffering so much.

I think Rara was being completely nice and sincere, so it was too bad Mok Dan just got all huffy.  How could Rara have known that Gang To was in love with a crazy zealot?  Rara is still so preoccupied with this Gang To business that I don’t even think she realizes how much danger she’s in.  But her faithful bodyguard knows, as evidenced by how ready he was to fight Ginpei when he noticed that President Ueno’s lackey was raring to kill Rara.  It’s comforting to know that Rara has someone completely on her side, though I wonder why Katsuyama’s loyalties lie with her rather than the organization.  Is it love, or something more?

One character who is rivaling Rara for Most Pathetic Person in the Drama is Hae Suk, the usually suave and carefree son of the count, who has recently seen his former way of life completely destroyed – Gang To is AWOL, the newspaper man’s son is thick as thieves with the Kishokai, and so he is all alone.  He’s pretty thick-skinned, though, since he’s still showing up at the Angel Club, even though this place has witnessed him getting knocked out a few times.  This time was no different – it was his unlucky day that he happened upon a pissed off Shunji.

He tried to go back to simpler times when he, Shunji, and Gang To were the It Boys of Gyeongseong, but his reminiscences were put to an end when Shunji punched him and told him that he wasn’t friends with Joseon people.  As if this wasn’t awkward enough, Tasha decided that this was the time to let Minami in on the secret by letting two comrades out of the secret chamber in the back.   I don’t know why the drama is being so hard on him, unless to show what could have happened to Gang To had he not donned the mask and developed an intense love affair with his country.  This drama does not go easy on Joseon people who do nothing for the cause.

I don’t know how much I’m liking this new side of Gang To we’ve been seeing during the Yang Baek powwows.  We’ve seen Gang To in a lot of ugly moments, but these teacher’s pet ones are really testing my tolerance for him.  He is always so eager to put forth his great ideas, and I begin to wonder how he could have kept all of this stuff in for so long.  Maybe if he spent less time thinking of plans that would get Yang Baek to smile at him, and more time looking at Shunji’s deranged face, he would realize that he had a really big problem on his hands.  Doesn’t he wonder why Ginpei didn’t come back to finish him off?  Isn’t that a more important question to ponder than why he was there in the first place?  The Kishokai is all over this town – no duh he would be there.

But I’m inclined to give Gang To a pass today since his head was probably in the clouds as he had a wonderful trolley date with Mok Dan (and because I just realized that was him singing in that song “Judgment Day” – so talented!).  Considering she’s kind of in hiding, and that he’s being tailed by the police, they really do find a lot of time to spend together.  I suppose their secret relationship is a secret no longer since they flaunt their love on the trolley, right in front of Shunji’s spy, and all of the other good townsfolk who need to get around.

Even though Gyeongseong is a Crazy Town right now, these two have managed to have a pretty good relationship.  They have similar interests, and support each other however they can.  I may like Rara better, but I will say that I’m glad that Mok Dan isn’t one of those clingy girlfriends, but instead just lets Gaksital do his thing while she prays for his safety.  In that respect I think she’s much more suited to be a superhero’s girlfriend than Rara.  But then again, I’d say that’s why these kinds of stories are never known for being romantic.

The episode ended with Gang To’s big plan to combat the collection of “volunteer” soldiers for the prolonged war – burning down administrative buildings.  And he tried to inject some of his Gaksital flair into this boring mission by saying that they should create a little chaos.  I was glad that he also took the opportunity to try and throw Shunji off of his scent by having Fake-sitals burn down a few buildings at the same time while he was busy cleaning the Jongno station.

I don’t think he fooled Shunji, but this at least really annoyed him.  So off the imperial officers went to put out the fires, and coming face-to-face with a Gaksital in the process.  I didn’t like how this fake one got his own slow-mo scene – I thought those were reserved for our true hero.  Anyways, the Fake-sital got away, but Shunji landed a decent consolation prize in the form of a slow-moving member of the Dongjin Corps, who had been present to add to the chaos of the activity – my least favorite Joseon person.  Zounds – how will the real Gaksital get out of this one?

Bridal Mask: Episode 22

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Oh no, this may be Gaksital’s bleakest moment yet!  I might have said that before, but this time I really mean it, since his secret identity is a secret no more to the one person who really shouldn’t know.  I think Gaksital was too busy stuffing potatoes into his mouth (actually a poignant scene, you know), looking up AWOL freedom fighters, and receiving love confessions from unlikely sources (Mok Dan and Rie had better watch their backs), to notice the looming Shunji threat.  Sloppy.

This was the episode in which Shunji totally played Gang To, and kind of won (this round at least).  Because Shunji’s thinking, see, and his plan is to lull Gang To into a false sense of security so that he can unmask him in the most dramatic way possible.  So to that end, he pretends to believe Gang To’s increasingly lame excuses, and lets him take over the Gaksital case from Koiso.  I think Gang To’s Bridey Senses started tingling, but he was too preoccupied with becoming Teacher Yang Baek’s favorite student (I never figured him for a genuine kiss butt – maybe his obsequiousness wasn’t an act after all) to pay closer attention.  I don’t think much of Shunji, but Gang To really shouldn’t underestimate him like that.

But before Gang To got himself into a really tight spot, he had independence movement things to do, starting with meeting this Yang Baek, who is very fond of the hugging.  It was supposed to be a very moving scene when Yang Baek fed him potatoes, which his mother had specially grown and asked him to give to our Gang To, since it recalled that earlier memory of him getting attacked with a potato by his brother (you know, the one he killed).  And once you got past Gang To spraying the table with bits of tuber in his emotion, it really was a very sad scene, seeing Gang To starting to get the sustenance he really needs.  And it was also moving to see him reunited with Damsari, since they act like the bestest friends ever, much to other people’s consternation (I’m mainly thinking of the tailor spy, who provides the swankiest digs for the comrades).

The comrades were so moved that they decided to make use of him right away, using his inside knowledge of the police force to make their plans.  Now it seems like just about everyone in Gyeongseong knows that the former enemy of all the Joseon people is really their shining hero, and they’re getting a little tacky about it.  I guess Gang To does the classy thing by not saying how scary it’s getting over there, so people just pat themselves on the back when he shows inside knowledge of the imperial police’s plans.  Some of them are especially embarrassing about it, such as the Circus Man, who made me cringe a little as he crowed about his “important connection” in the Jongno station.  And Mok Dan really has to stop treating the police station phone as Gang To’s private line.

And Gang To didn’t even need his police connections for the first task Yang Baek gave him – finding Dong Jin, this guy who is super wanted in Gyeongseong, and currently in hiding.  Since Shunji wouldn’t let him near Dong Jin’s captured right-hand man, Mr. Song, Gang To had to use Mok Dan’s network of Joseon people to find the Dong Jin Corps, who would take him to their leader.  I can’t believe that the Terrible Joseon Man who burned Gang To’s house down is becoming a “good guy,” and will probably get Seon Hwa as a love interest (I guess I was rooting for Abe).  Anyways, he agreed to help them meet with Dong Jin, and was rewarded for trusting the circus girls when his idol, Gaksital, rode up to meet him.  I think we were all shocked when the man threw himself at Gaksital (they’re really big with the hugging in this drama), and started spazzing out, asking his hero if he knew how much he liked him.  Yeah, get in line, son.

After that really awkward moment, Gaksital met Dong Jin, who is all of a sudden creating an army (it’s a small one, though).  He totally wants to help, but he needs Mr. Song first, and so this is when Gaksital went to meet his potential doom with open arms.  I kind of like him for being cool enough to face death head on for the greater good, but I also think he’s kind of dumb for it.  Is he a genius, or is he a fool?  For Shunji knew that Gaksital would appear to rescue this man, and that this would be the perfect opportunity to catch Gaksital once and for all.

Shunji was just as busy in this episode, and perhaps more effective than our hero’s team.  He’s pretty convinced that Gang To is Gaksital (as convinced as he can be without ever having actually unmasked him), and then tried to set a trap for his former best friend, who makes him the sweetest iced coffee you can imagine.  He even went to his circus spy, and heard that Gang To stops by to see Mok Dan every so often, which merely made catching Gang To even more important to him.  I was relieved to discover that Mok Dan knows about the spy, and even tried to take the moral high ground with her.  I don’t think that works on girls like that, but I get that Mok Dan has to be the classy heroine.

Shunji knew he also needed strong allies, so his first stop was the Kishokai.  Shunji gets, like, minus 5,000 points for not just trying to kill Rie, but for also going behind her back (the coward) and tattling on her to her foster-father.  Trying to turn parent and child against each other – not cool, Shunji.  He asked if he could kill Rie, since she knows who Gaksital really is, and won’t tell him.  He also “asked” to borrow his warrior, Ginpei – I wonder if he finds it degrading to be loaned out like that.  His next step was to make Gang To feel safe, using the old “I’m not feeling well, so I’m taking off for the day” trick, leaving Gang To free to rescue Mr. Song.

It seemed to go off without a hitch – especially since Gaksital had a new mega fighter ally who spirited Mr. Song to safety as Gaksital stayed behind (why did he have to stay behind?).  And that’s when Ginpei came.  It looks like Gang To’s fighting hasn’t improved that much since their last skirmish, since Ginpei had the advantage here again, wounding him so badly that he could only stagger away and pass out in the street.  Right where Shunji found him, and unmasked him.  Noooo!  For someone who was so convinced of the truth, Shunji looked a little shocked by his discovery, I think.  Maybe he just didn’t want it to be true, and can’t believe that the sly snake Gang To would lie so brazenly like that.  I shudder to think what Shunji has in store for Gang To, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something even worse than the nail box was involved.

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Bridal Mask: Episode 21

Bridal Mask: Episode 20

Bridal Mask: Episode 19

Bridal Mask: Episode 18

Bridal Mask: Episode 21

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I don’t know if my little heart can handle all of the tension on this show.  We’ve entered such a dreary, heavy phase of the Gaksital legend, that it makes Gang To’s earlier scene of beating up his brother in the market place seem like something out of a rom com.  At least Gaksital was gathering allies in this episode, although with this drama, you can’t tell if they will be helpful allies, or just more people whom Gang To has to save under dangerous circumstances.

I guess Gaksital’s rescue of the girls was one of his better fighting scenes (I’m still a little disappointed that his fighting hasn’t looked as awesome as Lee Min Ho’s in City Hunter), so I didn’t much mind that they showed it again in its entirety.  We also saw what Rie did next, after shooting wide just to get Gaksital’s attention (the things that girl does to get him to notice her).

She had one of those inner turmoil moments as she pointed the gun at him, with tears gathering in her eyes, until she finally lowered the gun, as we knew she would.  At least Gang To realizes that her little silent crisis was probably brought on by her knowing his secret identity, and so all he could do was pressure point her out, and let her rest on his chest for a little while as he processed this information.

I don’t know if it means anything that Seon Hwa noticed Rie with the gun, but I wouldn’t hold it against her if all she could think about during this moment was that she had to get everyone out of there.  So, full points to Gaksital, right?  Wrong – he is only human, and only managed to save the convoy of girls being escorted by the Jongno station police.

In case any viewer out there didn’t think this whole thing was that awful, we also got more scenes with that bright young student, the grandchild of Kimura’s servant, looking so happy and hopeful as she was driven off to her awful fate.  So this is when Bridal Mask chooses to be really realistic, and act within the constraints of historical accuracy?  I don’t like it when movies, books, or dramas try to rewrite or sugarcoat history, but it’s hard to watch difficult scenes like this, so I’m not sure what I wanted to happen with this storyline.  Which looks like it’s going to get dragged out a little longer, since Joseon has to send a lot more girls.

Things aren’t looking that much better for Gang To back in Gyeongseong.  He is still at that awful station, getting viciously beaten up by the psychotic new chief, this time because Koiso lied to get him into even more trouble.  But I guess those idealistic zealot-types don’t feel pain the way normal folk do, since Gang To was still able to “play” with Shunji after that, acting extra obsequious when Koiso made him get them drinks.  So that’s what he meant by playing with Shunji – I guess he wants to show his former best friend how playing the fool is done.  I don’t think he’s as good as Chilwu, the Mighty‘s blind and totally out there master swordsman, but Gang To was sufficiently off-putting, so it kind of worked.  Shunji dared to be creeped out by this new, more slovenly looking Gang To (is he supposed to look that rank, or is Joo Won just not getting enough sleep?), but kept his thoughts to himself.

Being such a gossip, Shunji was more interested in learning about Gang To’s relationship with Rara, which he figured must be pretty intense for Rara to try and get him inducted into the Kishokai.  Gang To just shrugged it off, which really fit in with his new, easy-going persona.  Shunji shouldn’t buy it, but since he’s so good at lying to himself and believing only what he wants to, he let it go.  I don’t think he’ll be able to let it go for long, though, after seeing Gang To sneak out of the Gyeongseong Inn, after what was probably a secret rendezvous with his Mok Dan.  Gang To lied to him about giving up on that girl?  How dare he, right?

And that is what happened – Gang To went to see Mok Dan right after Shunji had come over for tea and awkward accusations about killing her mother figure (the Knives Ahjumma).  I guess it’s cute how Mok Dan doesn’t have to be shy or embarrassed whenever Gang To comes over – she flies straight into his waiting arms, and looks like she never wants to leave.  They discussed her bruised face, the coming of new independence fighters, and other sweet nothings common to young lovers.  This quiet but happy scene contrasted with Gang To’s earlier meeting with another woman (that Gang To!), Rie, which wasn’t so happy.

They don’t really have any secrets from each other (except that it was Kenji who killed his mother – are they going to keep that from Rie until a critical moment when it causes her to renounce the Kishokai?), and so she just straight up asked him to quit being a masked superhero and wake up.  He told her he can’t stop anymore, and that the reason he has spared her is that he feels bad for her (what every girl wants to hear from the man she loves, right?) since he sees so much of himself in her – all of that greed and ambition.

He also said that he hopes that she’ll “make the right choice” in the future, which to him can only mean becoming an independence fighter.  It’s pretty sad how they both know she won’t betray him, even if that’s a testament to her love.  Poor Rie.  Work doesn’t seem to be going any better, either, especially now that her father is playing favorites with Shunji (how competitive they’ve become with each other) and ordering her to bring down Gaksital.  I don’t see that happening, but I could be wrong.  Even if she did, I don’t think Gang To would hold it against her.

Another really sad person in the drama is Minami, the count’s son, who got bitch-slapped by Tasha for reading her mail.  I think she overreacted, but I’ll give her a pass since it was one of those revolutionary letters, from friends in Shanghai.  For the other part of the episode dealt with the sudden influx into Gyeongseong of independence fighters, all potential allies or liabilities for Gang To.  Damsari was a given (I’m kind of not liking him for making Gang To stay in that awful job – tyrant), but we finally got a glimpse of the mysterious Yang Baek, the godfather of all the other comrades.  I was a little disappointed that he turned out to be just an old dude.  Given the Tasha connection, I was hoping for a super cool female fighter, but whatever.  There’s also a female, and a young man, so it’s looking like there’s going to be a party in Gyeongseong, to which Gaksital is totally invited.  I know it’s buying into the crazy fervor this drama is emitting, but I kind of hope Rie shows up, too.

I hope these people have a bigger plan than just putting on “Manse!” parades for Korean boxing champs, since Gang To looks like he’s going to need a lot more back up soon.  Having just offed the Kishokai newspaper man, he returned to the station to find Shunji waiting for him.  I think the playing begins now, Gang To.  Does Shunji know the truth?  You know, I don’t really care what happens, so long as Koiso and that awful circus spy are punished by the end of the series.

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Bridal Mask: Episode 20

Bridal Mask: Episode 19

Bridal Mask: Episode 18

Bridal Mask: Episode 17

Bridal Mask: Episode 20

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I was afraid that the drama would go to some dark places, and it happened – this episode totally reveled in all things disturbing, and I’m not sure how I feel about that.  It looks like the death of Konno also sounded the death knell for more genteel times, and things are so heavy all over Gyeongseong.  For war is looming, and with it comes all of those attendant monstrosities, which I had always hated reading about in class.  I don’t remember Gaksital playing a huge part in these events, but I probably wasn’t paying close enough attention.

And I think I was right about Murayama being one of those psychos, since he not only fired Gang To, but then pummeled him, just because Gang To gave him lip.  For not only is Gang To all about Joseon rights nowadays, he’s also an advocate for employee rights, and refused to be dismissed unjustly.  He’s such a zealot, that even having a gun pointed at his head didn’t bother him at all, he just continued to look at the new chief with those fiery, untamed eyes until Shunji intervened.

I don’t know what he would have done if Damsari hadn’t pretty much told him to stay an imperial officer at all costs, but I’m guessing it would have been something cooler than getting dragged out of the station kicking and screaming, and getting mocked by Koiso.  I loathe Koiso, sometimes even more than the bigger villains, precisely because he’s such a twerp who can still insult our hero so much.

You know, I tend to agree with Baek Geon, who told his young master, as he tended to his arm wound with those magic herbs of his, that getting the boot was better, since it’s been too dangerous ever since Shunji started suspecting him.  But Gang To is all about the danger now, and is determined to remain at the station no matter what.

For that he needed Rara, whose hotel room he ran to right after the sacking, tattling on the mean new chief.  Her first concern was his pretty face, and it was beyond poignant how upset she was on his behalf, and how pleased she was that he had come to her for help.  He took her manhandling of him in stride (the things he has to do), but Katsuyama wasn’t too pleased with this new boy toy on a number of counts, and he betrayed his inner turmoil not with facial expressions, but by forgetting to close the door for her.  It’s obvious that Rie’s star in the Kishokai world is on the wane, but unfortunately she is the only one who doesn’t see this, so blinded is she by her love for Gang To.

When her mega creepy father refused to deal with the Gang To business, she should have realized that she was losing power, but instead she went to Shunji for help.  There she learned that he suspects Gang To of being Gaksital, since he just heard from Koiso that Kenji killed Gang To’s mom, thus giving Gang To a reason to don the mask (though he didn’t tell her this).  It was painful when she wondered why he didn’t want to help out Gang To when they were supposed to be friends – girlfriend, where have you been for the last few episodes?

But Rie wasn’t done trying to help Gang To yet.  She had her own ways of finding out whether the Kishokai suspicions were true, using the sword wounds Katsuyama had given him as her main clue.  So then she did what anyone else would have done in her place: she invited him to a nice dinner, drugged him, and then started to take his clothes off.  I don’t think there was any way she could have played this that wouldn’t have made this scene look so wrong, or so funny.  Anyways, she rolls up his shirt sleeve to reveal the tell-tale wound – she’s found Gaksital.

I’m surprised that instead of double-checking by taking his pants off to look for the thigh wound (so not thorough), she just rushed out of the room, trying to give herself a pep talk into turning in her one true love.  But I think she disappointed herself by covering for him immediately.  She knows that he was just using her to get into the Kishokai, and that his heart is full of Mok Dan, but she still loves him, and has already chosen him over everything else in her life.  The drama has pretty much set up Mok Dan as the only female for Gang To, but I can’t help but root for Rara, even though it’s obviously a hopeless case.  My heart goes out to Rara, and I hope the drama gives her a dignified ending, if a happy one is completely out of the question.

And that was the only fun stuff in this episode – the rest was devoted to the really uncomfortable topic of comfort women.  I won’t go into the touchy historical aspect of this, so I’ll just say that in Bridal Mask world, this means that the imperial police were tasked with rounding up young women to send over to the front (China in this case) as forced prostitutes.  Kimura and Murayama used civilian covers to get the girls together, and it was beyond icky seeing this creepy couple tricking young and poor girls into becoming “nurses” for the army.

And they weren’t even as bad as the count and countess who tricked school girls into going – only the top students were asked.  Kimura is totally on the black hat side, not even batting an eyelash when his servant’s granddaughter told him that she was going to become a nurse.  The drama laid it on really thick, and they didn’t have that much work to do, really.  Would there have been any way to make this not completely reprehensible?

At least Gang To was back in uniform to get the inside scoop, and tip-off Mok Dan.  Of course he’s been reinstated, though also demoted, which means that now he’s pretty much just Shunji’s chauffeur.  Shunji wants to keep an eye on him, and also test his Gaksital-ness, and his supposed renunciation of Mok Dan.

I was worried that Gang To would just be completely oblivious again, but he fortunately had an awesome voiceover, with him figuring out that Shunji found out about his family’s death, and then saying that if Shunji wants to play, he’ll play.  So off they went to the circus, where Shunji hugged Mok Dan, right where Gang To could see them, threatening Mok Dan all the while.  This scene served as a warning to both Gang To and Mok Dan – if they pull any funny business, he’ll attack them with hugs.  But he can’t hurt them – no matter how many times he tries to hug her, Gang To will be there to hold her hand secretly, and make everything better.

And Gang To was also there to rescue the convoy of girls, whose transport was being overseen by Rie.  The officers totally had it coming, especially the ones who beat up Mok Dan (telling her that only Shunji was keeping her alive) and took Seol Hwa even though she hadn’t even signed up to become a nurse.  So Gaksital justice came swiftly, with Seol Hwa getting into the mix by biting people, and telling the girls to escape.  It seemed an easy victory for Gaksital, until a shot rang out, just missing him.  Ruh-roh – or, should I say, RaRa?  Of course it was Rie.  I don’t think she’ll kill him, but I wonder what he’s going to make out of her inner turmoil.  I hope he gets that she knows his secret, and doesn’t just think that the latent Joseon girl in her is coming out full force all of a sudden.

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Bridal Mask: Episode 19

Bridal Mask: Episode 18

Bridal Mask: Episode 17

Bridal Mask: Episode 16

Bridal Mask: Episode 19

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So Bridal Mask is back, after KBS America’s weird one week hiatus.  It was a good thing that Gang To got to rest for a bit, since this episode did not go easy on him.  I already think that this show has gotten pretty disturbing, but with this episode, it looks like we’re about to enter even darker times.  I guess that’s what happens when superheroes get girlfriends.

Following the kaboom from the previous episode, the crowd is pretty much frozen until the real Gaksital arrives on the scene, showing everyone how it’s done.  No rope for him as he leaps down from the roof, easily dodges bullets, and takes out a whole mess of officers.  Oh, and Gadgets Upgrade Alert: Gaksital has gotten a new weapon (just like in Sailor Moon, right?).  To show he’s not fooling anymore, he now wields a sword and flying fatality in the form of flying daggers.  No word yet on whether this is a permanent switch, or just something he needed for the Damsari rescue mission.  Comrade Jeokpa was also there, shooting at any stray enemies, while Baek Geon showed up as the getaway driver.  The cheers Gaksital received as the truck drove away, very slowly, were muted by Jeokpa getting shot, and then falling off the truck into enemy hands.  I’m still not sure how that happened, unless someone pushed her.  Come one, Gaksital, where are your lightning fast reflexes now?

So then Gang To had another rescue mission, but this one wasn’t nearly as successful.  He boldly went into the station, with an unfortunate new hairdo, and simply asked a battered Shunji to let his unaccounted for absence go.  I know Shunji is the villain, but I couldn’t help but agree with him when he yelled at Gang To for pulling something so shameless.  Gang To just blamed everything on l’amour (how he milks that lie!), and Shunji more or less bought it.  He even let Gang To go in to see the prisoner (after she had been tortured, of course).  I don’t know what Gang To had been planning, but everyone’s plans were kind of moot after the insane Jeokpa killed herself by biting her tongue.  Even though I had been wondering whether she would (especially since that whole tongue thing shows up a lot in dramas – I hope this isn’t where the phrase “bite your tongue” comes from), I was shocked by how gruesome it was.  At least she also managed to freak the others out by saying that she would help Gaksital even after she died (I wonder if the drama will go to freaky supernatural places).  So, goodbye, hardcore Comrade Jeokpa.

But hers wasn’t the only shocking death of the episode.  Konno had been planning to use the whole Damsari fiasco to shut down the Kimuras for good, but with the Kishokai looming in the background, you knew it wouldn’t happen that easily.  Shunji as good as told Gang To that his powerful backers wouldn’t let Konno get away with anything, and he was totally right.  President Ueno, in town for a holiday, sicced loyal Ginpei (the one Gang To had fought at the gisaeng house all those years ago) on poor Konno, who died calling out for his Gang To.  I can’t believe he died.  He was one of the only decent people in the drama, and they killed him!  We might never know why he liked our Gang To so much!  At least Gang To saw the killer, and has connected him with Rara, and that whole organization.  I was a little hurt that he didn’t seem personally affected by this murder, but whatever.  With Gang To’s last high-powered supporter gone, I began to get a sinking feeling over what our hero would have to endure from now on.

Where was Mok Dan during all of this madness?  Right where Shunji could see her.  She’s still under house arrest, but nevertheless had things to do, like mourn for the Knives Ahjumma.  For that, she needed Shunji’s permission, so off to the hospital she went, running into Gang To at the same time.  I laughed so hard during this whole bit, as they communicated with their eyes, and Mok Dan looked like she was going to jump on him.  L’amour, l’amour.  They could only clasp hands briefly before Shunji woke up, and then they had to become cold.  But I think Mok Dan totally loves this pretending stuff, so it wasn’t even that sad seeing them have to pretend to mean nothing to each other.

It was sad seeing Shunji so excited to see her, thanking for her coming, as if she came to see him because she was worried.  He magnanimously granted her permission to go mourn for the woman he killed, and even stopped the other officers from ruining the rites.  It took the twinkie of the circus to point out the obvious fact that Shunji had killed their beloved ahjumma, but Shunji was unfazed by this.  He’s fine so long as Mok Dan stays by his side at all costs.  He hasn’t taken into account that her heart is a million miles away – or wherever Gang To, whom she still calls her young master, happens to be.

Gang To, in the meantime, was romancing two different people of his own, so I guess he wasn’t feeling the separation that much either.  I guess since the other comrades learned his true identity, it was a gimme that Damsari would, too.  But it wasn’t as obvious that they would become best friends all of a sudden, hugging, and chilling in his Bridal Cave as they discussed their next moves.  I think it’s safe to say that Damsari totally approves of becoming family with Gang To.

But what was really wrong was how Gang To messed with Rara in this episode.  He showed up on her doorstep with flowers, and had to get into character before coming in for a drinking date with this mysterious lady (I guess it’s been awhile since we’ve seen Sleazy Gang To).  He totally exploited her crush on him, though maybe he really thinks that she doesn’t like him at all, and was just using him from the beginning.  I know that Rie is supposed to super cold, and a spy extraordinaire, but in this scene she just looked like a vulnerable young woman, who could barely contain her excitement at having the man of her dreams in her room.  She was at first insulted that he seemed to be treating her like a gisaeng (you know, that whole “pour me a drink” thing), but her love for him won out in the end.

I don’t know how much of her life story she told him, but he felt that they were close enough to ask her for a favor.  Like, a pretty big one – get him inducted into the Kishokai.  And then he kissed her.  Poor Rara is going to try to help him, having already broached the topic with the new Police Director, Kimura, who was horrified at the thought of a Joseon person who could not be tamed in the secret club.  It seems the other Joseon people in the organization are just used as human shields, and Kimura correctly guesses that Gang To wouldn’t be too keen on the idea.  Oh Rie, it was so painful seeing you so excited at the possibility of having your boyfriend on your side.  I thought Han Chae Ah did a really good job of making Rie look really sad and vulnerable in this scene, but I don’t know if that was on purpose.

Maybe since he was drinking the day away with poor Rara, he didn’t notice that a new sheriff had entered Gyeongseong.  We were introduced to Murayama Yoshio (Kim Myung Soo), one of those psychotic and cruel types (as far as I can tell – the characters here have been drawn pretty broad, right?) who’s the new police chief.  He is close with the Kishokai, having somehow been involved with the assassination of a prime minister a few years back (but it totally wasn’t him – he was even cleared!), but his hatred of the Joseon people is all his own.  For he carries out Kimura’s order to deal with Gang To with relish – he tells the Jongno station that he’s getting rid of all impurities, and that means that Gang To is fired.

Gaksital’s list of allies is thinning out at an alarming rate, and I worry for the remaining episodes, which are shaping up to be disturbing downers.  It looks like there’s going to be a lot more pain coming his way, some physical (like, torture), and also mental (like, seeing other people getting tortured).  Can’t he get any new (and preferably strong) people on his side (and I don’t count Rie)?  But I guess he has to work alone – that’s why this is called Bridal Mask, and not Bridal Party.

Related Posts:

Bridal Mask: Episode 18

Bridal Mask: Episode 17

Bridal Mask: Episode 16

Bridal Mask: Episode 15