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.