Gaksital was never meant to have a happy ending. Too many lives were lost – too much of the real history was mirrored in its stories. It ended the way it was always meant to – with a beginning. The Koreans in this story were fueled by their grief to take action, forsaking everything else like just quietly surviving day to day. After the rebellion dies down, they will look around and see who is left alive to start planning all over again for the next one. That was their reality and this drama honored it.
Written before it aired: No matter what the outcome is tonight – I think it’s safe to say, all of us who have been fans of this show or JW ever since OB can collectively breathe a sigh of relief with JW cuz he did the impossible. He came out on three dramas in a row that were a ratings hit. This one was particularly difficult cuz it got fans like me who never go near this genre to stick it out for 28 episodes. I don’t know who to credit more, his great cast who gave him all the love and support he needed by bringing their A game, his devotion to his craft and undeniable talent, or this part of history that touched an audience to become devoted viewers. Thank you everyone for making this drama more exciting than I originally thought. Your participation by leaving comments and encouragement helped me get here. Hope to see you again on another drama recap soon.
Special thanks to Semi-fly for diligently leaving torrents here for us each week cuz it shaved hours off my translation time. I have no idea how you found the energy to keep it up, but I want you to know that each time I wrote my thanks on top, I meant every word. You have been a lifesaver cuz I would be lost without your torrents. Thank you so much for each and every one.
My gratitude goes out to Sparkskey for sharing her Korean reading ability to drop off the quickest translation she could on each recap. Sorry you had trouble with some words and had to look them up, but bless you for being a perfectionist. We really appreciated all your effort.
Dear sweet Yanna, sorry to hear about your current situation and your cousin. I hope with your love and care, she recuperates quickly from her surgery. My prayers go out to her, but I think God already took great care of her by having you as a relative. Thank you so much for leaving video links for all those people who couldn’t stream live or download these past months. You are an angel in more ways than one
Thanks to SS for stepping in for Yanna and leaving video links recently. I especially want to thank you for everything else you do for us by sharing all those precious bits of translations you do yourself, your great fan fics, and all the leg work to research and track down info about this drama or JW. I really hope you continue to keep us company and feed us more info about JW even though this drama ends cuz if you don’t post about him, I seriously will go into withdrawal for OB all over again. You don’t want to see me regress back to that slump do you? Thanks for leaving us so much to enjoy.
That same request applies to bbblue73, nonski, flo, umi, tigger, bird, Loverz, sammi, and everyone who has been sharing their love for this drama, 1n2d, and JW by leaving links, photos, and translations. Please continue to share your love and I promise to do my part and help out with video translations as often as I can.
Some more pics from last night I didn’t get to post. I don’t know if anyone has ever gone into withdrawal over an actor, but I might be the first one after tonight. 1n2d is just not enough of this guy, but at least we have his new CFs to tide us over till he rests and picks his next project. You did well JW and made your family and fans proud. p.s. please get a haircut soon. I beg you.
You had big shoes to fill after Uee on OB so I was pretty indifferent about you in the beginning as JW’s new drama partner, but for a girl so young, you proved that the director did well to cast you. No matter what others might say about your acting, for someone your age, you are off to a great start. You brought this role to life and made her likeable, but your off camera real life persona really endeared me to you. Watching how attentive and considerate you were to all the cast, staff, and extras made me see why you were so well liked by everyone. You made JW’s job easier by being a great female lead so thank you for everything. Good luck with your new drama even though I won’t be watching. Don’t take that personally cuz the preview put me to sleep a month ago even before you signed on. One more thing, please don’t let your character die tonight.
Thank you again for all your contributions here. Now let’s go and enjoy this finale. Gaksital fighting!
There is a message posted on the screen-they give you like two seconds to read it
Starts from the wedding when D walks down the aisle and K smiles at her. they bow to yang as the army and officers run over there. yang says seeing young people who are this loving and beautiful my heart is happy. from here on while living no matter what terrible things happen -with the strength of your burning love -i hope you overcome it. also with the strength of that love, have about ten sons and daughters one right after another. it makes everyone giggle
S arrives and that mole comes over. S asks where is K. the mole says K and D are getting married now. S: what? where? The mole points to the direction saying go up that way and you can see them. S tells the guy in charge of the army – I will take a few of my men and go that way so you take charge of the attack on the camp. S tells the mole to tell the army guy the way. The mole takes the army with him
S tells his men to follow
Yang tells K and D to bow to family and friends so they do. The wedding is over. Sunwha says congratulations and D gives her bouquet to sunwha. Kim is happy.
S runs over and sees K and D happy. S points his gun and aims at K. D sees him and hugs K just as S shoots. K thought she was hugging him but he realizes what’s happened. D falls to the ground. S is in shock and lowers his gun. K carries her away. S gives chase. Ahn takes yang away telling him to escape. officers open fire. Jin pulls out her gun and starts shooting back. Jo stops S from going after K and D. S says let go and tries to get Jo off him. S shoots Jo but Jo still wont let go. He beats him to let go and shoots again so Jo dies. Kim takes sunhwa away. Jin gets shot and dies. yang calls out for Jin but DJ takes yang away. S tells the lackey to chase them
S runs through the woods and sees the trail of blood. He follows it. K is still running and carrying D. she says put me down. He says to endure a little longer. She begs him to put her down -it’s too hard on me. They look at each other. D: don’t cry. Today is our wedding day. He keeps crying. S follows the trail. D says you said you fight cuz of me- what to do cuz this happened to me. I wanted to cook a warm meal for you every day. I wanted to put the flower rings on every day. Have strength even though your wife is not here. promise me you will have strength. He cries and nods. S looks for the blood trail. He looks around frustrated. He must have lost the trail.
D cries and touches K’s face. She closes her eyes and dies. K yells and hugs her tighter. S hears him and makes his way towards K. K is there over her body crying. S arrives and sees that. he yells out K’s name. S: it’s cuz of you. baek knocks S out before he shoots K. baek goes over and tells K to run away. K carries her and goes with baek
Back at camp, DJ’s group and the army are fighting and shooting. The army and officers won. They walk through the camp and abe looks at the dead bodies of students. Spy girl’s brother wakes up so one of DJ’s men covers him with his body and gets shot instead of the boy. The boy cries
S wakes up and looks at the bloody ground. He kneels and touches the blood. He is crying. he remembers how happy she was after her wedding. He just kneels and cries in the wood
Yang and DJ are at his cliff hideout. Yang asks ahn about who died. Ahn says I will bury Jin when it gets dark. Yang asks him to take care of Jo too. And also Kangto. Ahn says I will look for him.
S goes to see the governor. S says how many were killed-DJ’s men 100 and additional 200. Yoshi corrects him and says it was 300 not 100. Governor compliments S. he asks did you find the armory. S says we are going through their lair so we will find it soon. Governor asks why they didn’t catch yang, dj, and gaksital. Yoshi says don’t worry cuz S will take care of it cuz he is after gaksital his father’s killer
S goes to his office and sits in the dark. His phone rings and he ignores it.
Jun and H go there to see S. she tells Jun to wait outside.
H goes in and sits across from S. H: do you know how much I looked for you. why didn’t you pick up if you were in your office. She says I heard DJ’s lair was attacked. What happened to K and mokdan. you don’t have to reply – it’s better if I don’t know. S: mokdan died. I killed her. I was going to shoot the guy that killed my father but mokdan shielded him and died in his place. Right after she married K. It was the first time I saw her so happy. the one who killed mokdan was K -not me. I was going to kill K. just wait and see I will chase him till the end and kill him.
K leans against D’s grave. It’s like life has gone out of him. He remembers how she said I wont ever let you go alone – I will follow you till the end and cheer you on. whether it’s to a thousand fathoms deep ocean or a fiery pit, I will always go with you. then how she said gaksital has to stay alive for the korean people. K says to himself – have some strength. You promised you would have strength. Baek goes over to him. K is still crying silently. Baek says think of Boon and please get up. They killed everyone who was going to participate in the revolt. K asks what did you say ajussi? Baek: they all died. K: what do you mean all of them. those I promised to save-you are saying they are all dead? Baek says the river is full of all those young people’s blood. K asks about yang. Baek says yang escaped with DJ to his hideout. K says to Boon – I will get up. I will have strength. He stands up.
K goes to see DJ and yang. He bows to them. He goes over but they stand and walk over to him. K: I came. Yang welcomes him and DH says it’s good you came. K says thank goodness you two are safe. Yang thanks him for living. Yang asks about D and K tells her where he buried her – i laid her to rest where it’s sunny. yang says too many young lives lost their lives today – what a waste. he says how sad he is but let’s stop being sad cuz this isnt the time. DJ says we have to get our country back for the blood shed by our fallen comrades. we cant let the blood that has been shed be for nothing
S and yoshi are getting lectured by UH for not catching the leaders. cuz all they did was cut off the tail of a snake and not the head. S disagrees and says they were preparing an armed rebellion -even though the heads are important, without their men, they cant have that rebellion. to catch a lot of mice I tossed another trap and they will bite soon. I put in the papers that DJ’s men are all dead and so is DJ. they will believe that so to block that from happening DJ will come out of his lair. UH says has it been just once or twice when you tossed a trap where no one is passing by. H listens to all that
DJ and song are dressed as priests. Yang as a monk. Ahn as those guys who pulls cabs. K wants to take yang to the station but yang says they know your face cuz your posters are up around the city. plus they said gaksital died so if they discover you, it’s obvious what will happen. K tells him to go carefully and be healthy. Yang says dont worry and let’s meet again for sure. K: I will wait teacher. they hug. Ahn says let’s go.
gyesoon spy girl’s brother is bleeding and runs into DJ asking for help. you are teacher DJ. a few days ago I was one of the students who joined you. DJ hugs hum and thanks him for staying alive.
S is driving and remembers how happy D was right when he shot her. he pulls over.
S misses seeing ahn run past pulling a carriage with yang inside
Spy girl is crying and hears her brother’s voice. Her brother brought DJ and song here saying the food is great – it’s cheap and they give a lot. they hug. she says my dongsang is alive. he says I promised you I would come back alive. He introduces DJ and she says so you are alive. the news articles werent true. DJ and song ask her to spread the word he is alive so she promises to do that.
S goes back to the office. The guy says I found the pictures. S says you did well.
S goes to his office. He looks through K and D’s wedding pictures and his eyes fill with ears. He stops at a photo of D. tears stream down his face. he is overcome with emotion and cant stop crying
Baek says I confirmed yang getting on the train safely. K says you did well – I was so worried he would be discovered by S. baek asks how much longer K is going to just stand by and watch S –isnt it time to give your decision. (meaning kill S) but K says before I go to S, there is somewhere i need to go first. that guy is the one who killed all of DJ’s men and students. baek: who is he? K says the man who dragged all the korean students off to war and made this korean land a prison and exploited them. (UH)
UH asks why did you come back cuz you could have run off when S didn’t kill you. she says how there is only one thing I can trust in this world and that’s power. you taught me that so how could I leave your side father. UH:father? you loved gaksital, wasnt able to kill him, and you dare to call me father. H says K saved my life when I was a young gisaeng. I just hesitated cuz he saved me without any reason. I didn’t know K was gaksital. UH says: you are trying to trick me till the end. I think this is the end for us. he orders his samurai to draw his sword. He goes over to kill H. Jun stands there and then fights him. UH orders Jun to stand down but Jun doesn’t listen.
Gaksital shows up. samurai gets killed when gaksital throws his knife at him and then when Jun slashes him from the back to finish him off. UH yells out to H to help, but gaksital goes up to UH and says your greed to take over the far east took away my family and S’s. UH says that’s the price of war and for making an honorable history. K says your history is ignoble and a crime that will never fade. I came to punish you for your crimes. He hits UH and kills him. K looks over at H and walks out.
Jun watches her chase after K
Before he leaves she chases after him and says wait a minute. I heard the news about D. I was always concerened about how much your heart would be hurting, but there was nothing i could do. to tell you the truth S is in pain too. like I saved you couldn’t you forgive S just once. even if you kill him your anguish wont disappear. I don’t want you to have anguish anymore. He walks away without a word
S is in front of his father’s picture. He remembers DS saying there wont be an end no matter how much you try – why do you live your life wasting your effort. There is a call. H called him and said gaksital killed the chairman. S: he did. then he will come for me soon. She asks couldn’t you avoid K even just for tonight. He says avoid him? when I can finally capture K. H: you aren’t thinking of doing anything foolish right. S: you really dont know me. are you going to leave now? H: yes. S: alone? H: if I am alone will you hold onto me saying dont leave? S: go well and live well. H: you too. She hangs up
S takes out a gun from a drawer and gets it ready to shoot and closes the drawer again
Jun drove H to a street. He asks where are you leaving. I will take you to just where you are going. She says no it would be better to part here. Jun: I will ask one more time. couldn’t I just stay next to your side like a shadow. she says living your whole life looking at someone who doesn’t love you is painful. Thank you for everything you did all this time. she walks away and turns and says my name is Choi H.J. Jun: I will remember your name for the rest of my life. she walks away
K goes and looks at taro’s memorial. He takes off his mask. He walks to S’s room. S is sitting and waiting just like his dad did. K opens the door and comes in. S pours two drinks. K closes the door. S: did you come. Sit. K goes over and sits across from him. S gives him a drink. S: kangto cant we at least have one glass of alcohol? Since it will be the last anyway. K drinks and then S drinks. S: did you send mokdan off well? K: did I send her off well? S takes out the wedding pic and shows it to K. K looks at it and closes his eyes to hold back his tears. K looks at S staring at the photo. S: this is the first time I saw her smile like this. even though she was smiling cuz of you. if only she was alive. K: you must be tormented too cuz you didn’t mean to kill mokdan. cuz at least you would never have thought to kill mokdan. S: I kept this to give you when you came. cuz it’s yours. K takes the picture and puts it away. K: you are letting go of mokdan now? after you killed mokdan with your own hands? S: don’t do that too much – I sent her off without seeing her face closely even once. K: do you think I came cuz of one person Mokdan? did only Mokdan die by your hands? He lists all the comrades S killed. staring with comrade park, the comrade who bit down on her own tongue and died in front of you, comrade who held the dynamite to him and blew up, comrade yoon who died by your gun, tailor park, leader jo, and also leader DS too. are those all? S looks down in guilt or shame with tears in his eyes as he realizes just how many people died cuz of him. K: All those young kids of DJ’s, someone’s sons, husbands, younger siblings, fighters who gathered to get their country back, they all died by your hands (S and his army). not killing you back then – I had no idea I would regret it this much. S: I know how that feels too. when you killed my father, I didnt kill you and chose to put my mask back on - I regret that.
K: shouldn’t we see the end now? between you and me– one of us has to die for this to end doesnt it? Are you ready? S smiles and says yes. I’m ready. See you out in the yard. I will go quickly. K walks out.
S told him to meet out in the yard so K would think they will fight till one of them dies. But this is how S planned to end things. He had no intention of fighting K. S takes his gun out and holds it to his head and smiles one last time.
K walks away and hears the gunshot. he stops and tears drop so he closes his eyes. The nanny runs in and cries over S’s body. K opens his eyes and keeps walking.
She is cradling S’s head on her lap and crying over him. He looks at peace
Back at camp. Everyone is making gaksital masks and Korean flags. They pass it out at the market and tells them where to bring it. spy girl gyesoon tells people DJ is alive. sunwha meets up with her
K and DJ and the rest meet about the revolt. K says how they have to succeed so they all swear to get this done
There is a banquet with the governor. He makes some speech about the war. Yoshi gets up and makes a speech japan will be the best. They all stand and say banzai.
DJ’s men are marching down the street armed. Officers come out. Lackey says what are they. Koreans show up with bridal masks on and holding flags following behind DJ’s men. They cheer -manseh (long live) korean independence. Officers aim their guns at the crowd. DJ’s men attack. Bombs go off at the precinct. Gaksital walks among the crowd. He stops in front of the camera.
Previous scene clips come out like a movie reel with the slow instrumental –ends with cast photo of S, K, D, and H.
I cried during scenes I didnt expect to - I cried when one of DJ’s men threw his body over the kid to keep him alive and took the bullet for the kid. that sort of sacrifice was so unexpected for someone who just met the kid yesterday. I bet to him he was protecting Korea’s future. that sacrifice changed the boy. now he wants to do his part and do it twice as well – for the guy who lost his life to give him this chance to make a difference.
then i cried when S’s nanny cradled S in her lap. he was like her child and grandson. she didnt love the S we knew – the crazed guy who went around killing – she only grieved for the sweet boy she raised. she got to mourn the old S who was nice and gentle – the boy who was K’s best friend. I bet that’s why K stopped and cried for a second. he was mourning his friend’s death too and not the man who took the life of the woman he loved.