Mr. Sunshine Episode 2 Recap
Granddaughter, Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri), reads the newspaper. We hear her voiceover “Yesterday was a distant past, today is unfamiliar, tomorrow is terrifying. This is a time of turbulence. Each of us were living with the rapidly changing Korea.”
A jealous and petty woman outs Ae Shin’s newspaper collection to Grandfather who scolds her, confines her to the house, and forces her to study and transcribe what he deems appropriate. Page after page of Confucius teachings are written by Ae Shin.
She presents a stack to her Grandfather. She promises to read the newspaper only once a month and become a woman that matters in the evolving country. That’s not what her Grandfather wants to hear. He forbids the newspapers and orders her to find a husband that will treat her like a rare flower. Ae Shin declares she’s rather die. Her Grandfather tells her to die.
Ae Shin’s devoted servant wails her dismay and declares she’ll end her life if Ae Shin does by not eating or drinking. The Grandfather learns of Ae Shin’s stance. Admitting defeat, he calls Jang Seung Goo (Choi Moo-Sung) to teach Ae Shin how to fight and protect herself. The Grandfather already lost his son. He can’t lose his Granddaughter. Seung Goo vows to teach her well. He flashes back to the village battle and the burn on his hand.
Seung Goo and Ae Shin hike to a remote campground. She thinks he’s going to kill her. Instead he hands her a water container and tells her he will be her mentor. He declares she’ll learn how to shoot a gun. He requires that she address him properly. She tests that and his glare has her backing down. Dressed in pants and her hair up, she learns how to traverse the rocky terrain like a mountain goat. She asks when she’ll learn how to shoot a gun. She’s thrilled when Seung Goo tosses a rifle to her. No surprise but she’s not a good shot initially. But patience and perseverance greatly improve her skills. When Seung Goo returns wounded, she tends his wound without believing his lame excuse. She promises to help him in whatever he does when he leaves, he need only ask. She’s adamant that she wants to fight. Seung Goo tells her when she hits all the targets, they’ll talk again.
I like the soft spoken Seung Goo. I like the determination of Ae Shin.
The former bounty hunters (Il Sik and Choon Sik) now shop owners of the “anything you want” read the newspaper that declares the Spanish and American are close to war.
Ae Shin hits all the targets.
America, 1902. The Spanish and Americans battle. Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) takes the direct approach and charges the Spanish troops. He’s a fierce fighter. He saves his friend’s life (Kyle (David McInnis)). Teddy Roosevelt assigns them to head to Korea. Kyle shows him a picture of Logan Taylor, a foreign agent operating in Korea. Eugene knows he was picked for the assignment because of his heritage. He also knows if he fails, Korea will suffer. Kyle tells him it’s time to pack. He stares at the tassel his mother gave him all those years ago. A Japanese counterpart tells Eugene he’s being sent to Japan. Packed bag in hand, Eugene is ready to leave New York.
Korea, 1902. Ae Shin meets a former friend who is learning English at a school. The friend declares she’s doing it for love (using the English word) which is more important than a title. At home, Ae Shin wonders what love is.
This is a transition nitpick. Why is Ae Shin back home? Is she done training?
Eugene arrives in Korea.
The American agent, Logan Taylor, brags to a man that America technology brings light to Korea. Eugene eavesdrops on their conversation.
Logan Taylor and the man arrive at the Geisha house Hawawollu. They position in right by the window so the assassin (it looks like Ae Shin) has a clear shot. She shoots. Eugene is there too for the same assignment. He chases Ae Shin. They nimbly cross the rooftops. Ae Shin and Eugene face off. They realize they both were there to kill Logan. Ae Shin wonders if they are on the same side. They hear the authorities and flee.
Dressed in the “street clothes” Ae Shin and Eugene pass each other on the street. Ae Shin immediately smells the gun powder and realizes he is the assassin she faced off with. Eugene realizes the woman is the assassin he faced off with. They turn and stare at each other. The street lights coming on and flooding the street with light doesn’t affect their regard of each other. When a street car comes between them, Eugene disappears to Ae Shin’s surprise. Ae Shin walks through the streets but doesn’t see him. As she exits the town, Eugene makes himself known. She claims she wasn’t looking for him. He doesn’t believe her. He offers to escort her home. She reveals that she’s noble but Eugene doesn’t realize it. Ae Shin calls him a foreigner citing his ignorance of who she is. When her servants find her, she is escorted away. Eugene stares after his.
I LOVE that introduction of our leads. She’s bad ass. He’s bad ass. They should challenge each other.
Ae Shin considers Eugene. She decides he’s not a foe but not a friend either. She wonders why he offered to escort her.
Back in the hotel, Eugene considers the evening’s events. The next morning, he considers more as he walks the streets.
Doesn’t Lee Byung Hun look handsome in period costume?
Eugene’s interpreter Gwan Su (Jo Woo Jin) is surprised when he arrives unannounced and is Korean. Eugene corrects him that he’s American. When he learns the ambassador is at the funeral of the slain Logan Taylor, he goes there.
Eugene explains who is at the funeral. Gwan Su informs Eugene there are 227 foreigners living in the city from American, Germany, France, etc. Eugene points out with Logan Taylor dead there are 226. Ha!
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) sends his men to ransack Logan Taylor’s household while the family attends the funeral. He asks the servant girl that finds him outside if his men are doing a through job. She tells him the place is trashed. He asks why she cares, those aren’t her possessions. His men report they couldn’t find the document. They leave for the funeral. Dong Mae tells the servant girl he only kills if he can make money. He swaggers away.
Dong Mae has an evil presence with a kick of humor. I like it!
The American Ambassador Allen requests American troops be sanctioned. The minister disagree whose troops should help – Japanese or Russian are suggested. Emperor Gojong isn’t impressed by the suggestions. He sends Ambassador Allen away.
Eugene tells Gwan Su to go to the police and get things organized. He trots away.
Eugene recalls his flight years ago as a child where he hid in the boat by this lake. As Eugene eats his meal at an eatery by the lake, Seung Goo arrives with game to sell. Eugene watches Seung Goo devour his meal.
During target practice Ae Shin tells Seung Goo there were two assassins last night. She wonders if the other assassin was an ally. Seung Goo warns her to trust no one, even him. Ae Shin quips she stopped trusting him long ago. Ha!
Eugene questions locals. Everyone claims they know nothing. When an older woman says she saw Ae Shin and Eugene, Gwan Su is surprised. He wonders if they dare summon Ae Shin. Gwan Su declares he’ll bring the noble woman in for questions. Eugene doesn’t try and stop him.
Gwan Su gets push back when he requests to bring Ae Shin in for questioning. Ae Shin interrupts their conversation and agrees to come in a day. She tells the servant not to mention this to her Grandfather. Ae Shin wonders who said she was there. She decides Eugene identified her and she’s none too happy.
At the hotel, when a Japanese man rudely asks a server how much she costs at night, she protests. He grabs her wrist. Hee Na (Kim Min Jung) orders him to drop the girl’s wrist. When he gets fresh with her, Hee Na breaks a dish and slices his hand. He drops the girl’s wrist. He’s livid. His companion declares Hee Na owns the hotel. He drags his companion away. The server is sorry Hee Na had to break the dish. Hee Na declares the server is more important than a dish.
Eugene has watched this from the dining room entrance. When Hee Na exits she apologizes for the commotion. She’s surprised that he’s an American. He’s surprised that she is Japanese. He offers his handkerchief for the wound from the dish incident. Dong Mae arrives as Eugene leaves. He asks Hee Na how the man is and if everything is okay. She tells him to come to her room.
Dong Mae helps tend her cut. He says he didn’t find the document. Dong Mae wonders if the widow has a lover. Hee Na declares she’d never rat on a guest. Dong Mae strides out.
Eugene is riveted when he sees Ae Shin’s carrier arrive. Gwan Su preens that he can be counted on. Ae Shin exits the carrier. Eugene can’t take his eyes off her. Gwan Su rushes to greet her. She sees Eugene in the window. Gwan Su explains that Eugene is the acting American console. Eugene and Ae Shin lock eyes.
Gwan Su shows Ae Shin into Eugene’s office. She sits in Eugene’s chair. Ha! Eugene directly addresses her and asks if she saw anything on the night in question. Ae Shin retorts the street are filled with oddities like him. She asks what he wants to know. Her servants come to her defense that their lady wouldn’t notice common happenings on the street. Ae Shin says she knows nothing. Eugene tells Gwan Su (in English) to take the servants out of the room. Ae Shin and her servants are taken aback and don’t understand what he said. Ae Shin agrees to speak with Eugene privately.
Eugene asks if Ae Shin chose that evening because of the crowds that would distract from her purpose. Ae Shin refuses to help. Eugene says the bullets came from two different directions. He asks if she saw either sniper. Ae Shin claims she saw no one. Eugene steps to Ae Shin. He puts his hand over so he only sees her eyes. He declares he might have seen one of the snipers. She puts her hand over so she only sees his eyes. She declares she might have seen one of the snipers. They stare at each other.
Excellent second episode. Director Lee Eung Bok’s camera angles ensure the landscape, the battles, the face to face conversations, etc. are all perfectly captured. Writer Kim Eun Sook introduced the leads so each had a solo moment before they began to interact with each other.
What I liked:
* Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun). Looking stellar in the period suits, Lee Byung Hun’s age makes him more powerful. He handles the foreign languages well. His portrayal is spot on. But let’s talk about our leads. Eugene was surprised to find a fellow sniper. I LOVED that Writer Kim didn’t waste time with our leads wondering who the other was. She recognized him. He recognized her. He was surprised but fully believed she was the sniper. I enjoyed every interaction our leads have. They are off to a good start. I like the chemistry between Eugene and Gwan Su. His visit to the lake and the flashback to hiding in the boat was a nice addition that we did not see on the first episode’s back story.
* Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri). I loved her hunger strike to force her Grandfather to capitulate. I loved her chemistry with mentor Gwan Su. Writer Kim has a flair for banter and we got a taste of it. I loved that she wasn’t cowed by Eugene. She’s a strong woman and didn’t hide behind her status. She also didn’t sweep into the office furious that he identified her. Instead she kept her peace and learned that Eugene questioned her like anyone else. I like Ae Shin. I like Ae Shin’s interactions with Eugene. This could be a winning couple. They seem well matched. I look forward to more interactions between these two.
* Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok). Terrific swagger and lazy indolence. I like him.
* Hee Na (Kim Min Jung). She stood up for the female server and didn’t take guff from the rude sexist male customer. Go girl! What’s her relationship with Dong Mae?
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My episode ranking chart is below.