Mr. Sunshine Episode 3 Recap
Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) and Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) face off in his office. 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. Eugene lowers his hand first. Ae Shin lowers her hand. Eugene asks who she is. Ae Shin retorts that is none of his concern. She asks if he’s a righteous bandit from the army. Eugene asks if he is, are they allies? Taken aback Ae Shin retreats into the “I’m just a girl who paints” claim of cluelessness. Eugene tells her she can go. Ae Shin leaves.
The backlighting in that scene made Lee Byung Hun utterly handsome.
Eugene watches Ae Shin get into her palanquin and go. He asks his interpreter Gwan Su (Jo Woo Jin) why everyone protects her. Gwan Su explains that she’s the only daughter of the Family Go. Her grandfather was the emperor’s mentor. Ae Shin feed the town during the famine, so the townspeople are indebted to her. Gwan Su declares she’s a delicate ignorant young lady. Eugene stares at him in shock and walks away.
The palanquin halts and Ae Shin watches the trolley car clatter through the center of town. They go to the French baker and enjoy the delicacies.
Ae Shin’s cousin goes to the former bounty hunters now pawn shop owners (Il Sik and Choon Sik) to buy back items she’s pawned. She doesn’t have enough cash. She’s not happy.
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) watches Ae Shin.
Flashback…Dong Mae recalls as a child he and his mother called butchers and having to kneel before commoners. Dong Mae yelled at his father (a butcher) that being used and abused was terrible. His mother ordered him to leave and never return. She even cut his face to prove she was serious. Dong Mae left declaring he’d never come back. Little did he know that his mother sobbed after he left.
Dong Mae says he told everyone he was the son of a butcher when he returned to Korea. Dong Mae had the power when he returned with his gang of men.
Flashback…Dong Mae and his gang killed or maimed those that had disrespected his family when he was a child.
Now that’s revenge!
Dong Mae watches Ae Shin. He overhears two men disrespect her. He jumps to the street and kills the men with his sword as everyone watches. Ae Shin’s servants recognize Dong Mae as the boy she saved. Ae Shin stares and remembers.
Flashback…A young Ae Shin saves the runaway Dong Mae.
The flashbacks were woven into the scenes full of long languid looks. This is NOT a fast and furious series.
Eugene flashes back to his mother tossing the tassel to him before she killed herself to save him. He recalls Ae Shin wearing a tassel yesterday. Gwan Su finds him. Eugene says he’ll either pursue the bad part of his past or the good, and he can’t decide which to do first. Gwan Su doesn’t understand what he’s talking about. Eugene shakes himself out of his revelry and says they should go get something to eat.
As they eat, Gwan Su offers his theory that’s there more to the death of Logan Taylor, the American diplomatic adviser who was pro Japanese, than they realize. Gwan Su wonders if the assassin was American or Japanese. Eugene stares but says nothing. Gwan Su shares the Dong Mae’s black dragon gang searched Taylor’s house while everyone was at the funeral. Just as he mentions the black dragons Gwan Su is surrounded and ordered to come and interpret. Gwan Su looks imploringly at Eugene but he waves them away. Gwan Su calls to him as the black dragons pulls Gwan Su away.
Gwan Su protests to the black dragons. He notices Eugene following. The black dragons notice too. The lead black dragon draws his sword. Eugene draws his gun. The black dragons release Gwan Su. The lead promises Eugene they’ll meet again.
Gwan Su is grateful. Eugene wants to follow the black dragons. Gwan Su isn’t happy. Eugene tells him they are following them. Gwan Su offers to lead from behind.
Ha! Good bits of banter between Eugene and Gwan Su.
Gwan Su and Eugene in up in a shady part of town. The black dragon lead approaches them. Gwan Su suggests they lead. The black dragon lead is surprised when Eugene understand what he’s saying. He’s startled when Eugene shots the threatening sword out of his hands. Eugene asks to speak with Dong Mae. Gwan Su states they are dead men because the odds are not in their favor. Eugene counters he shot first so the police would hear and come. Eugene asks if it was an impressive shot. Gwan Su doesn’t like their odds. Eugene suggests revealing he is American. Dong Mae arrives and says hanging in this part of town will earn them a funeral. Eugene introduces himself as the acting American consul. Dong Mae says he needed Gwan Su services to garner payment for the body guard service his men earned protecting Logan Taylor. Dong Mae asks if Eugene will help him. Eugene says Gwan Su is the right man for the job. He walks away leaving a sputtering Gwan Su in the hands of the black dragons. The lead asks Dong Mae what action he should take. Dong Mae tells him to leave Eugene alone…for now.
Eugene burns Logan Taylor’s picture knowing the man lead a busy life to be hated so well. Eugene says he’ll stay out of the mess Logan Taylor made.
Emperor Gojong isn’t happy “the document” Logan Taylor had hasn’t been found. His minister is concerned. Emperor Gojong says that the Japanese power is increasing. They must find the document.
The minister is nonplussed when Eugene says he has more urgent business than dealing with a command from Emperor Gojong. Gwan Su’s excuses don’t fly.
Ae Shin is nonplussed to find Eugene standing on the boat dock in front of the boat she’s here to take. She accuses Eugene of following her. He retorts he got here first. He explains to the boat pilot that he’s looking for the potter. She tells him Hwang Eun San won’t be interested. Ae Shin asks if Eugene can pilot a boat. He confirms this. Eugene thanks her. Ae Shin won’t answer why she is visiting the potter.
Could this episode have any more “golden light” scenes? That lighting makes everyone look terrific.
The potter recognizes Ae Shin but doesn’t know Eugene. He claims he’s the boat pilot that came to meet the famous potter who doesn’t seem to be around. Both men laugh at the audacious statement. Ae Shin sends her greetings. Eugene jokes he’ll even buy pottery with cracks. The potter orders his assistant to package up the pottery and heads to his cabin. Eugene realizes not much has changed from when he was a boy. He stares at the pottery box he hid in. Ae Shin watches him stare at the box transfixed.
Eugene pilots the boat back to shore. Eugene guesses that Ae Shin purchased the broken pottery for target practice. She denies it. He “accidently” splashes her. She “accidently” rocks the boat. Eugene admits he knew the potter but he’s forgotten him. He offers Ae Shin advice on rifles. She won’t take it. Eugene sees her tassel and asks how much it would purchase 30 years ago. Ae Shin estimates a bag a rice. Eugene tells himself his own mother didn’t know the tassel’s value. Ae Shin asks why Eugene asks about the tassel. Eugene counters that Ae Shin never answers his questions so he won’t answer hers. Ae Shin shares that while many like imported goods, the only ones that interest her are rifles. She wonders if how they met was the romantic moment between them. She offers a small smile. He stares into her eyes. He jokes she shouldn’t say such things. She laughs.
Nice moment between our leading couple. The scene felt generous and willing to linger on their respective beauty and attraction.
A husband and wife bicker about the need for their son to return home to produce an heir to continue the family line. The scar on the wife’s throat shows us it is the son’s wife of the master that killed Eugene’s mother and father.
Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han) reads the telegram from his parents commanding him to return to Korea. He tells his girlfriend he’s likely expected to marry the girl (Ae Shin?). She comments that everyone wants to sell of parts of Korea.
While visiting a tailor Ae Shin learns her cousin bought western things on her credit. Ae Shin decides to cover the costs, retrieve the goods, and get them tailored to fit her. Ae Shin is excited about the opportunity to ride a train to the store. The servant is excited too. She reports to her husband they will all ride the train together. He’s not impressed. He’s not interested in western wear. Ae Shin gets fitted for western shoes. Eugene is surprised to see her when he steps in the room to continue the fitting of his suit. She’s embarrassed that her feet are revealed. The tailor leaves to get her purchases. Eugene states he didn’t bring many clothes and must supplement his wardrobe. Ae Shin wonders how long he’s staying in Korea. Eugene says he’ll be there for a while. Ae Shin tells him the suit looks good on him. She jokes dark blue makes him look like a hedgehog. Ha!
She asks him what “love” is. Eugene says love isn’t’ a solo venture. Ae Shin suggests they might be well suited to try it. Eugene says passion is needed. Ae Shin declares they are comrades. Eugene asks why she thinks that. Ae Shin counters they both know why men died recently. Eugene asks why she shot at Logan Taylor. Ae Shin asks why he killed Logan Taylor. Eugene says the man dishonored America. Ae Shin says the man dishonored Korea and helped the Japanese enslave her people. Eugene doesn’t care about those details which Ae Shin doesn’t understand. He concludes the man had to be killed and he was the right man to do the job.
Eugene dresses in his uniform.
Ae Shin and her servants board the train. It is crowded. Ae Shin goes to the next compartment. Two Japanese soldiers are disrespectful. Ae Shin doesn’t flinch when one of them aims his shotgun at her. Impressed he offers her the shotgun assuming she won’t know what to do with it. Ae Shin takes the gun and aims it at the soldier. It’s a tense moment. Gwan Su intervenes and snatches the shotgun from Ae Shin and returns it to the solider with apologies. He exits out the compartment. American soldiers enter the compartment. Ae Shin wonders why American soldiers have come to Korea.
At the end of the journey Ae Shin and her servant get off the train. American soldiers are there to search all the Korean passengers. Ae Shin can’t believe her eyes. The soldiers order them to be searched.
Eugene appears in his uniform. Ae Shin can’t believe her eyes. Eugene explains that a rifle went missing and so all the passengers are being searched. Ae Shin asks how a Korean man is wearing an American uniform. Eugene clarifies that he is Eugene Choi, Captain in the US Marines. Ae Shin realizes that assassinating Logan Taylor was only an assignment for Eugene for a larger purpose. She orders her servants to give them a moment of privacy. She asks Eugene if Logan Taylor’s death was the excuse to bring American soldiers to Korea. She doubts a rifle was stolen on the train. She steps towards Eugene. The other soldiers aim their shotguns at her. Eugene confirms a rifle was stolen from the weapons room. He warns her that American’s don’t see a difference between Korean nobility and slaves. He declares democracy is blind to that. Ae Shin stares at Eugene thinks “the man I thought was a comrade is a foreigner. Is he friend or foe?”
Subtle slow-moving episode. Director Lee Eung Bok’s bathed every scene he could in the “golden light” that illuminates actors and shows every one of us to our best advantage. I think of it as nature’s candle light. Writer Kim Eun Sook built the relationship between our leads in slow measured moments. No scene seemed rushed this episode. The pace of the episode was almost languid. But yet plenty happened.
Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) has an agenda. Looking more handsome in each scene where the golden light baths his face, Lee Byung Hun portrayed humor, strength, and evasiveness as Eugene navigated the need to investigate his past. Eugene went back to the lake and visited the potter acting as Ae Shin’s pilot. The potter didn’t recognize him but Eugene teased him in a manner that made the potter smile. The scenes with our leads demonstrated the pull between them. Eugene was taken aback when Ae Shin asked about love and suggested they might be well suited to give it a go. It’s fair to say he didn’t reject the idea but has higher priorities. But even when being a solider was the priority after Ae Shin exited the train, Eugene offered the explanation why the passengers were being searched and why Ae Shin needed to cooperate. He offered his mantra that he’s an American first. Besides Ae Shin, Eugene has good banter chemistry with Gwan Su.
Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) bought the clue that Eugene isn’t the comrade she imagined. Her love for her country and the indignation of two countries’ soldiers (Japanese and American) having free reign resonates. Her desire to see Eugene as a man that could be her ally makes sense. Her willingness to let down her guard in the boat and share her thoughts made her more relatable. Her bold offer to partner with Eugene in love was on target. There IS a pull between them. Will she be able to deal with the fact that Eugene is an American solider first and foremost? I look forward to Ae Shin having more to do than interact with Eugene. That may sound odd but I want Ae Shin to have her own path not just be part of his Eugene’s path. I liked that she realized Eugene’s assassination of the American wasn’t for Korea’s benefit but to further the American agenda of influence and control in her country.
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) humble beginnings naturally made him harbor ill will towards the country of his birth. The butcher back story left a bitter taste in Dong Mae’s mouth (with good reason). When he returned to Korea from Japan with his gang of men, Dong Mae effectively made those that mistreated him and his mother pay. I don’t have issues with Dong Mae’s hardline approach. His path is similar but different from Eugene’s. Both men were born in Korea but fled and went to foreign countries and assimilated. Now they are both back to get a piece of the country of their birth.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as very good. My episode ranking chart is below.
The second song of the OST is “Sad March” by Elaine :