Sunday, July 14, 2019

“Bridal Mask” aka “Gaksital” Eps. 1-28, synopsis (no spoilers)

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“Bridal Mask” aka “Gaksital” (2012) is a hit KBS2 drama set in Seoul, Korea, during the 1930s Japanese colonial era; the story follows a man named Lee Kang-to, a Korean police officer commissioned by the Japanese Police to betray his own country. It won “Drama of the Year” in the 13th Republic of Korea National Assembly Awards. (Wikipedia)
Jump to synopsis of Episode/s 1-6; 7-8; 9-10; 11; 12; 13; 14-16; 17; 18-19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24-25; 26; 27; 28 (Finale); Historical backgrounders; Lessons in photography from “Bridal Mask”

How I wrote these episode summaries with no spoilers

1. I assumed that you will be reading these summaries and watching the videos chronologically.

2. I narrated the main actions in each episode or series of episodes, without revealing the plot’s twists and turns. (I used this same structure in my recaps of “Jumong,” “Empress Ki,” “Iron Empress,” and “Yi San.”)

3. I followed this structure all throughout, except for Episode 28 (Finale) where I included all the spoilers. Reason — because people who have not watched this drama want to know if it has a “good ending” or a “bad ending” before they invest their time in watching it.

Eps. 1-6

Note: Because of the numerous flashbacks, characters, and names that could confuse viewers, posted below are descriptions of the characters introduced in these introductory episodes.

Gaksital - the Korean people’s hero in their fight against the Japanese colonial rule; he wears a mask, rides a horse, and uses an iron flute as his weapon.

Lee Kang-to (Kang-to) - a high-ranking Korean officer in the Imperial Police Force with the adopted Japanese name Sato Hiroshi; he’s despised by the Korean people for collaborating with the Japanese and for his cruelty; in his childhood years, he belonged to a noble family and was known as Lee Young; his father, Lee Sun, died in Mongolia as a freedom fighter.

Kang-san - Kang-to’s intelligent and college-bound older brother; he became a child-like idiot after being brutally beaten by the Japanese.

Mok Dan (Dan) - known as Boon-yi during childhood, she was rescued from bandits by a young master who gave her a specially-engraved knife; known also as Esther during her childhood when she was serving as a hospital aide; at present, she’s part of the Far East Circus troupe.

Shunji Kimura - best friend of Kang-to and a popular teacher at an elementary school; the youngest son of Police Chief Taro Kimura, he met and fell in love with Esther (Mok Dan) when they met in the hospital.

Kenji Kimura - the eldest, insecure son of Police Chief Taro Kimura and the bitter rival of Kang-to in the police department

Taro Kimura - police chief who’s the leader of the Seoul branch of the secretive “Kishokai,” an ultra-nationalist right-wing organization in Japan; the Seoul branch is composed of influential men from banks, newspapers,courts, and law enforcement, who started out years ago as supporters of King Gojong.

Damsari - Mok Dan’s father who is a Korean freedom fighter

Kono Goji - director of the Imperial Police Force and the superior officer of Taro Kimura; he favors Kang-to over Kenji Kimura.

Abe Shinji - loyal subordinate of Kang-to in the police department

Baek Gun - Lee Sun’s former bodyguard and now an ally of Gaksital

Far East Circus troupe - Jo (circus manager); Shin Nan-da and Dong-nyun (senior members); Sun-hwa (Mok Dan’s friend who’s in love with Shunji Kimura); Kye-soon (Kenji Kimura’s spy inside the troupe)

Chae Hong-Joo - also known as Rie (code name Lala); formerly from a Korean noble family, she became a gisaeng and eventually an assassin under Chairman Ueno; she met Kang-to when she was a gisaeng.

Katsuyama Jun - Rie’s manservant and bodyguard

Koiso - Kenji Kimura’s right-hand man in the police station

During a grand funeral procession for someone considered a patriot by the Japanese colonial government, policemen, led by their officer Lee Kang-to, threaten the crowd into bowing as the procession passes by. But from the sidewalk, Mok Dan throws a rock that nearly topples Kang-to from his horse. As chaos erupts with Kang-to and the policemen chasing after Mok Dan, the crowd cheers when Gaksital rushes in on his horse, humiliates the policemen, vandalizes the dead man’s carriage, and then rescues Mok Dan.

Flashback .... After being arrested by Kang-to, Damsari is brought to court and sentenced to death. Mok Dan sneaks into the courthouse and frees her father Damsari, with Gaksital’s help.

Present time ....

During his investigation into Gaksital’s attack on a judge, Kang-to discovers a mysterious connection between the judge and Police Chief Taro Kimura. When his son Kenji reports that Kang-to is about to find out about their organization “Kishokai,” Chief Kimura orders him to kill Kang-to. When the assassin fails, Kenji then arrests Kang-to, despite his brother Shunji’s protests. He throws Shunji into jail and then tortures Kang-to, accusing him of secretly working with Gaksital.

After Police Director Kono Goji dismisses Chief Kimura’s claims against him, Kang-to promises to capture Gaksital in three days. With wanted posters of Mok Dan placed all over the streets, he soon gets a tip from a circus troupe member. He arrests Mok Dan, tortures her, and then sets her up as a bait on a street to capture Gaksital.

From Japan, Kishokai Chairman Ueno decides to send his protégé Rie (aka Chae Hong-Joo) to eliminate Director Kono.

Kenji’s assassin tries again to kill Kang-to, but to Kang-to’s shock, Gaksital saves him. Thinking about why Gaksital saved him, he gets an insight on who Gaksital might be.

Mok Dan and the other members of the circus troupe decide to kill Kang-to, but their ambush fails when Kang-to shoots Mok Dan. Later, Shunji rushes to the hospital where Kang-to brought Mok Dan; he reveals to Kang-to that Mok Dan is none other than Esther whom he met and fell in love with during their childhood days.

After deceiving people to place their money into his bank, the bank owner (a “Kishokai” member) decides to bankrupt and close the bank. A riot later ensues, with the policemen beating up the depositors who want to get their money back.

Kenji confronts his brother Shunji about Gaksital’s identity. Later on, together with his men, he barges into Kang-to’s house and confronts Kang-san and his mother. He pulls out his gun and threatens to shoot the mother if Kang-san doesn’t reveal who Gaksital is. When the mother orders Kang-san not to say anything and then lunges at him, he shoots her at pointblank range.

Eps. 7-8

Ep. 6 recap:

Rie orders Chief Kimura to put the blame on Gaksital for the bank robbery and the kiliing of the security guards.

Wearing his Gaksital mask, Kang-san attacks Kenji, but in turn, he’s shot by Kang-to.

Kang-to finally finds out that Kang-san is Gaksital.

With Kang-san and his mother lying dead inside their house, the men who were tortured by Kang-to firebomb the house.

While Kenji tortures Mok Dan, Kang-to (wearing Gaksital’s mask) crashes into the room; he kills Kenji, but Shunji attacks him.
While Mok Dan escapes from the police station, Shunji pursues Gaksital (Kang-to), who falls down a steep incline and into the river below. The policemen arrive and continue firing their guns into the river, but later on, despite a long search, Shunji and the policemen cannot find Gaksital’s body.

Based on Chief Kimura’s official report, the newspaper proclaims Gaksital’s death; the people mourn, but the Kishokai members rejoice. The circus troupe can’t believe that Shunji is Chief Kimura’s son; Mok Dan, however, doesn’t give up hope that Gaksital is still alive.

Shunji goes to the hospital to take care of Kenji’s body; on the corridor, he sees Kang-to walking around in a daze.

Chairman Ueno of Kishokai orders Rie to verify whether Gaksital is really dead and to find out his connection to freedom fighter Lee Sun (Kang-to’s father). Later on, Rie orders Chief Kimura to arrest all the people who received the bank’s money that Gaksital stole.

Kang-to finds Kang-san’s hit list of Kishokai members, his mask, and iron flute; later, as he visits the grave site of his mother and Kang-san, he finds Gaksital’s white horse. The next day, he reports to the police station, with his white uniform bearing his Japanese name, Sato Hiroshi.

Mok Dan meets Shunji to find out more about what happened to Gaksital. After they argue, she turns to leave, but Shunji embraces her. Unknown to them, Kang-to is watching them from afar.

In disguise as the owner of a gold mine, Damsari returns to the capital.

Kang-to (Sato Hiroshi) tells Director Kono that they must watch the flow of the stolen bank money to find out Chief Kimura’s complicity. Later on, as the bank owner panics, he takes all his money and runs.

Rie tells Chief Kimura that his son Shunji must take the place of Kenji in the Imperial Police Force. But Chief Kimura hesitates, saying that Shunji is a mere schoolteacher.

After confirming with Kang-to (Sato Hiroshi) the connection between Shunji and Esther (Mok Dan), Chief Kimura disowns Shunji. Later on, after receving a tip, Koiso arrest all the circus troupe members. Alarmed over the safety of her friends, Mok Dan decides to go the police station and surrender.

Eps. 9-10

Ep. 8 recap:

After finding her knife in the river, Mok Dan begins thinking that Gaksital is the young master who saved her from the bandits in Mongolia.

Shunji begs his father Chief Kimura to spare Mok Dan’s life; in return, he promises to become a police officer in Kenji’s place.

Shunji becomes Kang-to’s superior officer in the police department; addressing his men, he says that he will not tolerate dissension and will root out the rebels. To his surprise, however, his father Chief Kimura warns him not to trust Kang-to.

Flashback ... Kang-to begs Shunji to teach him kendo so that he can become a police officer and support his family.

Present times .... Chief Kimura promises the Governor- General that Gaksital will never reappear. But later, the bank owner is dumped on the street, half-naked and on his chest the words “retribution for wickedness” — the same warning used by Gaksital in the past. While the people chase him and Abe, Gaksital (Kang-to) appears on the rooftop.

As she performs her routine for the circus show, Mok Dan mocks the policemen watching her and the other troupe members. But as the policemen draw their weapons, they’re confronted by army soldiers who have been newly-assigned to hunt down Gaksital. The soldiers take Mok Dan and the troupe leader with them.

Because of Gaksital’s reappearance, Director Kono orders Kang-to to arrest Chief Kimura. But Shunji runs to and asks for help from the “Kishokai” members. Finding out what happened to Chief Kimura, Rie intervenes.

With Rie officiating, Shunji is initiated into the Kishokai. Later, he reassigns everyone involved in the Gaksital investigation; despite Kang-to’s protest, he assigns him and Abe to watch Mok Dan and the circus troupe. With his father Chief Kimura, he also plans to turn the bank owner into a bait for capturing Gaksital.

With Abe meeting the troupe members, Mok Dan sneaks out of the circus to warn her father Damsari, but Kang-to catches up with her on the trail.

Through a friend in the night club, Damsari gets hold of the blueprints for the layout of the police station. Later, he goes to a hotel to see if Mok Dan has convinced Gaksital for a face-to-face meeting with him.

The bank owner succeeds in deceiving all the market vendors into getting loans with the deeds to their shops as the collateral. But he’s shocked to see Kang-to in disguise as a market vendor asking for a loan; he confesses to Kang-to the plans of “Kishokai” to take over the market. But as Kang-to later leaves the frightened bank owner, he runs into Shunji.

Ep. 11

Kang-to escapes from the ambush set by Shunji and gives the deeds back to the market vendors. Later on, Chief Kimura draws his sword against Shunji and orders him to use Mok Dan as the bait for Gaksital.

While waiting at the hotel for Gaksital’s answer to his request for a meeting, Damsari sees Kang-to walking into the hotel and pinning a note to the message board.

Kang-to goes to the circus to watch Mok Dan; later on, Shunji also arrives and warns all the troupe members about collaborating with Gaksital. When Mok Dan challenges him, Shunji orders her arrested and brought to the police station.

After being tortured, Mok Dan is locked up in a cell where she meets a Roman Catholic nun. The nun comforts her and reveals that she’s secretly working for the independence movement. Meanwhile, feeling guilty over being helpless in protecting Mok Dan, Kang-to submits his resignation letter to Shunji.

Ep. 12

Ep. 11 recap:

Rie disguises herself as a nun to gain Mok Dan’s confidence.

The attack on Kang-to by Damsari’s men fails, and one of the assailants is captured and brought to the police station.
Gaksital (Kang-to) escapes from the police station after Damsari’s man sacrifices himself. Later, in the park, he meets Damsari who tells him about the plan to bomb the anniversary celebration of the Japanese annexation of Korea.

After overhearing the conversation between Mok Dan and Damsari, the spy in the circus troupe goes to the police station and reports to Shunji about Gaksital and Damsari’s plan.

Shunji outlines his plan on how to capture Gaksital and Damsari, but Chief Kimura warns him again not to trust Kang-to. Later on, after Chief Kimura updates her on what’s happening, Rie disguises herself again as a nun and goes to see Mok Dan.

Based on Rie’s information, Shunji and his men rush to the hospital. Meanwhile, Damsari disguises himself as a postman to enter the police station. But after he steals the explosives, he’s accosted on the corridor by Chief Kimura.

Ep. 13

Gaksital (Kang-to) rescues Mok Dan, and they escape on horseback, leaving Shunji screaming in blind rage.

Shunji becomes suspicious of Kang-to’s actions and absences; he goes to the nightclub to confront Kang-to, but there, he sees Kang-to being cozy with Rie (Lala).

Police Superintendent Kono Goji orders that the security for the anniversary gala be increased. later, after finding out that explosives and weapons have been stolen from the armory, Chief Kimura remembers the postman whom he accosted and realizes that it was Damsari in disguise.

Despite the possibility that their plans have been compromised, Damsari decides to continue. He orders Mok Dan and his men to escape; he then goes to the gala as the gold-mine owner named “Choi Tae-gon,” with another freedom fighter acting as his wife.

At the gala, Shunji becomes suspicious of Choi Tae-gon (Damsari). During the program, Damsari reaches for his explosive, but Shunji and his men quickly subdue him. In the confusion, Damsari’s partner sneaks away.

Eps. 14-16

Gaksital escapes when the whole city goes dark without electricity and an explosion rocks the hall.

The Governor-General fires Chief Kimura from his position. Angered by what’s happening to his father, Shunji investigates why Kang-to failed to recognize Damsari; later, he orders Kang-to to interrogate Damsari using the “box of nails.”

Shunji and his man Goiso arrest the circus troupe manager; under torture, the manager confesses where Mok Dan is hiding.

Shunji overhears Kang-to pleading with Damsari to tell him where Boon-yi (Mok Dan) is hiding so that he can protect her. In shock and disbelief, he connects the dots between Kang-to and Gaksital; after ordering Goiso to tail Kang-to, he goes to the circus to threaten the manager and the troupe members.

Rie meets ex-Chief Kimura and Shunji and tells them that “Kishokai” Chairman Ueno will soon be arriving in Korea for the next step in the organization’s goal of Pan-Asian dominance. Meanwhile, the Governor-General authorizes repressive measures against the public — outdoor gatherings are outlawed and indoor meetings require police presence. Besides imposing ID checks at all the checkpoints, he also prohibits the people from wearing white.

With wanted posters of Damsari’s comrades posted all over the city, Mok Dan is soon spotted and chased by the police.

Rie captures Mok Dan but releases her after Shunji threatens her that they will not be able to capture Gaksital without Mok Dan. Not knowing that the troupe manager has betrayed her, Mok Dan goes to the rendezvous.

Kang-to throws caution to the winds and sneaks out the police station to warn Mok Dan. But as he drags Mok Dan towards the door, Shunji confronts them with his gun. To Mok Dan’s surprise, he calls Kang-to “Gaksital!”

Shunji orders his men to arrest Kang-to and Mok Dan; he also orders his man to torture Kang-to.

Damsari’s comrades find out that the circus manager has betrayed Mok Dan and decide to kill him.

Director Kono interrogates Damsari and Mok Dan. When Damsari refuses to answer and Mok Dan remains defiant, he orders that Mok Dan be placed inside the “box of nails.”

Ep. 17

The rescue attempt fails, and Damsari is brought back to the police station. Despite Director Kono’s objection, the Governor-General orders Damsari’s public execution in four days.

Unknown to Kang-to, Shunji takes Mok Dan out of the police station and locks her up in a hotel room. After he and Rie confront each other over their actions and motivations, Shunji leaves. Meanwhile, after remembering the mysterious swordsman (Katsuyama), Kang-to goes to check Room 501 of the hotel.

With their failed rescue attempt, Damsari’s comrades begin to lose hope of ever getting him put of prison. To their surprise, however, Gaksital (Kang-to) suddenly appears in their hideout.

Enraged over Shunji’s arrogance, Rie tells ex-Chief Kimura that she will kill Mok Dan. But as her bodyguard Katsuyama is taking Mok Dan out of the hotel, Kang-to sees them.

Eps. 18-19

Ep. 17 recap

Shunji pleads with Esther (Mok Dan) to stop being a rebel so that he could return to being a schoolteacher

Kang-to finally reveals to Mok Dan that he is the young master who gave him the knife and saved her in Mongolia. But Mok Dan refuses to believe him.

After the fight on the bridge with Rie and her bodyguard, Mok Dan runs to the forest. She sees the wounded Gaksital on his horse; she takes off Gaksital’s mask and sees Kang-to.

With Mok Dan missing from the hotel room, Shunji confronts Rie and threatens to shoot her in front of his father Chief Kimura and Rie’s bodyguard. Meanwhile, Mok Dan (Boon-yi) and Kang-to (the young master) are finally reunited.

Shunji goes to the circus and threatens everyone; he orders the troupe manager to inform the rebels about the public execution set in four days. Meanwhile, Mok Dan contacts Damsari’s comrades and tells them that Gaksital is wounded and might not be able to help in their next rescue attempt.

While Shunji and his men are plotting out the details of Damsari’s execution, Rie arrives and warns him that Chairman Ueno is arriving. When Shunji brushes her off, she threatens his father ex-Chief Kimura. Their confrontation ends when Shunji finds out that Mok Dan has returned to the hotel room.

On the day of the execution, Damsari is taken to the square. But right after Shunji recites Damsari’s crimes, the crowd begin taking off their outer garments and showing their white clothes. They charge the policemen guarding Damsari, but they’re beaten back. Just then, Gaksital appears and cuts the noose. Shunji shoots Gaksital on the leg and on the arm; as Shunji and his men approach him, Gaksital shows them the explosives tied around his body and lights the fuse.

Damsari and his comrades escape on a truck, but Shunji fires at them, hitting the woman who posed as Damsari’s wife in the gala. She falls and is captured by the policemen.

Shunji interrogates the woman, who identifies herself as Jeokpa. Later on, however, Director Kono orders Shunji’s arrest because of Damsari’s escape and the injuries to dozens of policemen caused by the explosion.

Chairman Ueno of Kishokai hits back and orders Director Kono’s assassination.

Ep. 20

Police Chief Murayama fires Kang-to from his job. Later, after learning from his right-hand man Koiso about how Kang-to’s mother died, Shunji begins thinking that it was Kang-to who killed Kenji.

Rie pleads with Chairman Ueno to get Kang-to accepted into Kishokai, but Director Kimura and Chief Murayama oppose her. Later, after Shunji rebukes her, she decides to check if Kang-to is really Gaksital.

When the Governor-General worries about the Japanese soldiers being ravaged by venereal disease, Director Kimura proposes getting Joseon women as “comfort women.” Afterwards, the government puts up posters all over the city, asking for women, even those without education or experience, to become nurses in the Japanese army and enticing them with big salaries. A Kishokai member also goes to a private school to recruit the students.

After becoming suspicious of Rie for wanting Kang-to to become part of Kishokai, Chairman Ueno assigns her to take charge of the Joseon girls who will be sent abroad as comfort women.

Policemen arrive in the circus to pick up the girls who have signed up to become nurses (despite the troupe manager's warning). When the policemen also take Sunhwa, Mok Dan refuses to let the girls go and confronts the policemen. Meanwhile, from all over the city, women who have signed up as nurses are put into trucks that will deliver them to their assignments.

Ep. 21

Ep. 20 recap

Rie drugs Kang-to’s drink and finds the wound on his shoulder, just like the way her bodyguard described it.

Through Shunji, Kang-to is reinstated into the police department but demoted in rank.

Gaksital (Kang-to) attacks the trucks filled with Joseon women who have signed up as nurses but will be turned into “comfort women.”

Rie confronts Gaksital, pointing her gun at him. But Gaksital knocks her out. Later, Chief Murayama becomes enraged over Gaksital’s rescue of the women and beats up Kang-to.

Undeterred by the rescue, Chairman Ueno orders Director Kimura, Chief Murayama, Shunji, and Rie that 200,00 Joseon women must be taken as comfort women. He also tells them that Teacher Yang Baek, a famous rebel revered by the Korean people, is reportedly coming back from Manchuria and that they must capture him.

Mok Dan and the girls from the circus troupe print posters warning women against signing up as nurses or cooks for the Japanese army. She receives a coded letter from her father Damsari about her grandfather, but as she and the girls are about to distribute the posters, Shunji arrives and asks her pointblank about Teacher Yang Baek.

In the hotel, Rie confronts Kang-to about his motives towards her and his desire to join Kishokai. She warns him that he will be killed if he continues on his path.

Shunji arrests the people involved in the incident with the parade honoring the world-champion boxer, including the reporter of the newspaper that published the photo of the incident. He finds out that the group’s leader is Dong-jin, a respected man among the people. The publisher of the pro-Japanese newspaper later proposes to Shunji a plan to counter the posters warning women against signing up for jobs with the Japanese army.

Ep. 22

Ep. 21 recap

Gaksital (Kang-to) kills the newspaper publisher who tried to mislead people into thinking that Teacher Dong-jin commended the recruitment of Joseon women for the Japanese army.
Shunji pretends that he doesn’t suspect Kang-to of being Gaksital; he gives Kang-to new assignments and pulls the man who has been tailing him.

In the tailoring shop, Kang-to meets Damsari and Teacher Yang Baek. Meanwhile, in the night club, Tamao disrupts Tasha’s meeting with a man who’s trying to get in touch with Teacher Dong-jin.

At the police station, as he continues to interrogate the reporter, Shunji finds a note that connects Teacher Yang Baek and Teacher Dong-jin. Later on, he finds out that Kang-to has been secretly looking into the police records of Teacher Dong-jin.

Chairman Ueno appoints the son of the slain newspaper publisher as a new member of Kishokai, but another member resents the appointment.

Mok Dan volunteers to try and find out how to contact Teacher Dong-jin, but as she and Sun-hwa go to the marketplace, Shunji’s spy in the troupe follows them.

After Shunji tells him that Rie knows but refuses to reveal Gaksital’s true identity, Chairman Ueno calls for his bodyguard. Meanwhile, Kang-to goes deep into the mountains to meet Teacher Dong-jin and his death squads. He convinces Teacher Dong-jin to collaborate with Teacher Yang Baek’s large-scale plans; he also volunteers to rescue the reporter.

Ep. 23

Ep. 22 recap

Gaksital (Kang-to) falls for the trap set by Shunji. He loses the fight against Chairman Ueno’s bodyguard, and as he loses consciousness on the street, Shunji comes up to him and takes off his mask.
Rie meets Mok Dan and urges her to escape to Japan with Kang-to. Later, Mok Dan sneaks into the hospital to visit Kang-to.

After Shunji reports that Kang-to is indeed Gaksital, Chairman Ueno tells a stunned Rie that he will accept Kang-to into Kishokai.

To keep up with his pretense, Shunji argues with Chief Murayama in front of all the police officers about reinstating Kang-to to his former rank. But Chief Murayama tells Director Kimura about Shunji’s belligerence.

With the worsening conflict between Japan and China, the Governor-General approves Director Kimura’s plan to conscript thousands of Korean men as soldiers in the Japanese army. Later, Chief Kimura and his allies come up with other plans — to introduce Shinto, to prohibit the use of the Korean language, and to teach Japanese history in schools.

Teacher Yang Baek and Teacher Dong-jin finally meet; Teacher Yang Baek tells everyone about his plans for a general uprising all over Korea. When they discuss how Korean men can avoid being conscripted into the Japanese army, Kang-to proposes a radical plan.

Eps. 24-25

Ep. 23 recap

In coordinated actions, several men disguised as Gaksital burn the family registers and other public records in different government buildings. As Shunji leads Kang-to and his men into stopping a man from burning a government building, Teacher Dong-jin’s death squad confronts them.
Shunji and his men capture one of Dong-Jin's men, the man who burned down Kang-to’s house. Under torture, he tells Shunji that Dong-jin plans to destroy the Governor-General’s headquarters.

Teacher Yang Baek says that they need money to fund their general uprising and to warn the people against putting their names in the new registries. Kang-to tells Dong-jin about the money that the government is raising from all over the country to fund the conscription of Korean soldiers; he proposes attacking the train while the police department is tied up protecting the Governor-General's headquarters.

Shunji tortures and threatens his spy in the circus troupe to reveal what Mok Dan and Kang-to have been doing. Later on, after the spy confesses everything to her, Mok Dan goes to the police station to confront Shunji.

Tamao reveals to Tasha, the nightclub owner, the time and place when his parents will transfer to Chairman Ueno the money that has been collected for the conscription of Korean soldiers.

During the induction ceremony for two new members of Kishokai, Gaksital (Kang-to) and two comrades crash into the gisaeng house and steal the money. Chairman Ueno’s bodyguard runs after him, while Rie and her bodyguard Katsuyama face off with his comrades.

Shunji and his men raid the circus, hoping to capture Mok Dan and the troupe manager. But Mok Dan escapes and runs to Gaksital’s hideout.

Kang-to decides to go back to the police station and to plan how to steal the weapons from the armory. But unknown to him, Shunji’s right-hand man tails him as he goes to the tailoring shop to meet Teacher Yang Baek.

At the nightclub, Kang-to is shocked to hear of Tamao’s suicide. Later, when Shunji and the policemen with him have drunk themselves to sleep, Kang-to leaves and leads his comrades into raiding the police station armory.

Ep. 26

Ep. 25 recap:

Kang-to falls into Shunji’s trap, and his identity as Gaksital is finally revealed to everyone. Director Kimura tortures him using the “box of nails.”

Mok Dan pleads with Rie to save Kang-to, but Rie says that she can't do anything to help. Later, an elite squad rescues Kang-to from the police station.

Kang-to escapes from the police station.

After torturing the tailor, Shunji leads his men to the tailoring shop. But as they reach the shop, they see Damsari and his comrade escaping. As they chase Damsari and his comrade up to the mountains, Mok Dan and Teacher Yang Baek escape in disguise.

Director Kimura, Chief Murayama, and Shuji put up wanted posters of Kang-to all over the city. They spread the word that if Teacher Yang Baek and Gong-jin do not surrender, all of the blacklisted men in their custody will be executed. They also conscript the university students into the Japanese army.

Shunji gets a tip on Kang-to’s mountain hideout, and there, he finds Gaksital’s hit list and the connection between Gaksital and freedom fighter Lee Sun. After Shunji tells him about what he found, Director Kimura recognizes that he is Gaksital’s next target.

Ep. 27

Ep. 26 recap:

Rather than be captured, Damsari takes his own life.
Shunji rushes home as Gaksital (Kang-to) battles Director Kimura and his two bodyguards.

After Chairman Ueno tells him that he can kill Rie, Shunji tells Rie to meet him at his father’s house. At the house, Rie orders her bodyguard to stay outside and wait.

Shunji realizes that the nightclub is a base for the rebels; after torturing Tasha and a waiter, he finds out about when and where Gong-jin and his death squads will strike.

In the mountain hideout, Kang-to proposes to Mok Dan, and they set their wedding day.

Realizing the value of the university students to their movement, Kang-to and some elite men from Gong-jin’s death squads attack the trucks taking the students to their assignment in the Japanese army. But Shunji has planted two spies among the students.

Ep. 28 Finale (with spoilers)

Kang-to and Mok Dan get married.

But through the spies, Shunji and his men have located Dong-jin’s mountain hideout. He aims to shoot Kang-to but hits Mok Dan instead.

After Kang-to kills Chairman Ueno, Rie bids farewell to her loyal bodyguard to start a new life somewhere.

Shunji grieves over Mok Dan’s death; in his final confrontation with Kang-to, he takes his own life.

Together with Dong-jin’s death squads and dozens of people all dressed up as Gaksital, Kang-to leads the general uprising against the Japanese.

Historical backgrounders

1. This drama features several characters who are members of the “Kishokai”; this organization is the fictionalized version of the historical “Kokuryukai“ or “Black Dragon Society” (aka “Amur River Society”), a prominent Japanese paramilitary, ultra-nationalist, right-wing group founded in 1901. If you have seen “Mr. Sunshine” (2018 Netflix hit), you might remember that Goo Dong-mae was a member of this group, referred to in the drama as Musin Society.

2. “Korea as a Colony of Japan, 1910-1945” (Columbia University)

Japanese colonial rule (1910-1945) was a contradictory experience for Koreans. On the one hand, Japanese colonialism was often quite harsh. For the first ten years Japan ruled directly through the military, and any Korean dissent was ruthlessly crushed. After a nationwide protest against Japanese colonialism that began on March 1, 1919, Japanese rule relaxed somewhat, allowing a limited degree of freedom of expression for Koreans.

But the wartime mobilization of 1937-45 had reintroduced harsh measures to Japanese colonial rule, as Koreans were forced to work in Japanese factories and were sent as soldiers to the front. Tens of thousands of young Korean women were drafted as “Comfort Women” - in effect, sexual slaves - for Japanese soldiers.

In 1939, Koreans were even pressured by the colonial authorities to change their names to Japanese names, and more than 80 percent of the Koreans complied with the name-change ordinance.

3. “Japan Apologizes to South Korea for Colonial Era” (The New York Times, 2018)

The abuses by Japan during its colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula pale in comparison to its documented atrocities during World War II — including mass killings of civilians and human experimentation. Many Asians and Westerners urge Tokyo to come to terms with the past, and Japan continues to grapple with that legacy.

4. “23 Photographs of the Japanese Occupation of Korea and the Liberation“

The Japanese occupation of Korea began in 1910 and ended at the end of World War II in 1945. The Empire of Korea was stripped of its diplomatic sovereignty and declared a protectorate of Japan with the signing of the Japan-Korea Treaty of 1905. This came after the Russo-Japanese War in which Russia was forced to concede that Japan had “paramount political, military, and economic interest” in Korea. On August 22, 1910, Japan officially annexed Korea.

Lessons in photography from “Bridal Mask”

Rack focus, from Ep, 7 (GIF): one element becomes out of focus
as another element becomes in focus
Background blur, compressed perspective
Shallow depth of field, lines of direction
Cross dissolve (cinematography)
Quality and direction of light
Quality and direction of light
Quality and direction of light
High angle shot, patterns, lines
Background blur
Bokeh (aesthetic quality of blurred areas of a photograph)
Emotional / psychological effects of colors
High angle shot
Keystoning, vertical lines, scale
Leading lines
Low angle shot, converging lines
Low angle shot, Dutch angle (Dutch tilk)
Low angle shot, Dutch angle, diagonal lines
Low angle shot, Dutch angle (Dutch tilt)
Partial frame, low angle shot
Natural frames
Natural frames
Natural frames, red is a dominant color
Natural frame frames, reflection
Natural frame
Partial frame
Foreground and background blur
Shallow depth of field
Shallow depth of field
Shallow depth of field
Symmetry, converging lines
Symmetry, low angle shot
Symmetry, vertical lines
Bokeh (aesthetic quality of the blurred areas of a photograph)
Bokeh (aesthetic quality of the blurred areas of a photograph)
Conveying depth through background blur
High angle shot, Dutch angle
Lines of direction, Rule of Odds
Foreground and background blur
Sidelighting, background blur