Mr. Sunshine Episode 17 Recap
All the major players watch or move through the solar eclipse.
Excellent cinematography by Director Lee. I get spoiled watching this series and have noticed other dramas don’t have the same quality. Preproduction is part is of it. The other part is Director Lee’s skills.
Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) meets with Emperor Gojong’s wife. She’s interested in starting a school for Korea women. She queries Ae Shin on learning English and why. The talk almost turns philosophical. Their conversation ends when Ae Shin is informed Hee Na is waiting for her.
Hee Na (Kim Min Jung) admits to being high handed by summoning Ae Shin through Emperor Gojong’s wife. She explains that Dong Mae visited her Grandfather to inform him that letters he thought were sent across the country were actually confiscated and burned. Hee Na makes the point that a paper trial isn’t always prudent. Hee Na comments that the day she saw Ae Shin enter the hotel with Eugene wasn’t the same day she saw her exit. Ae Shin thanks her for giving her a brief respite from house detention. As she stands to leave, Hee Na asks about the palace visit. Ae Shin recalls passes Eugene without being able to make eye contact. She tells Hee Na she almost cried but managed to keep it together.
What was the point of that conversation?
Back in his hotel room, Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) stares at the Korean flag gifted to him by Emperor Gojong for taking the role of trainer at the royal military academy.
The royal trainees are confused by Eugene’s name and that he’s a Korean American. Eugene cuts to the chase, he’s here to teach them not to die. These clueless rich sons don’t release death is a possibility. Eugene starts with gun basics.
Rinoie isn’t happy to learn Eugene is teaching at the royal military academy. He doesn’t understand why he didn’t know about this when he has spies everywhere at the palace. Emperor Gojong’s trusted minister Lord Lee arrives with a new batch of interpreters (NOT controlled by Rinoie). Lord Lee tells the minister to lighten Rinoie’s heavy load. Rinoie says the previous batch of interpreters were fine. Lord Lee counters the new batch aren’t stagnant. Rinoie threatens Lord Lee who calls him on it. Lord Lee takes the new batch of interpreters with him. Rinoie isn’t happy.
An unhappy Rinoie makes me happy.
Rinoie visits the royal military academy and stupidly stands in front of the bull’s eye while glaring at the trainees. Eugene notices one of the trainees’ reaction to Rinoie (the young noble whose parents were framed by Rinoie) and recalls Mr. Kim’s confession that Rinoie killed Ae Shin’s parents. He aims his shotgun over Rinoie’s head and hits the target. Rinoie can’t believe Eugene’s impertinence. Eugene dismisses the trainees. Rinoie tells Eugene what he just did was attempted murder. Eugene counters that accidents happen at shooting rangers. Rinoie demands to know why Lord Lee hired him. Rinoie wonders if he’s Lord Lee’s spy. Eugene dares him to frame him. The young noble with a grudge against Rinoie, aims his shotgun at Rinoie. Eugene tells him to stop and go home. Rinoie warns that if Eugene continues to anger him, killing a Korean with an American name won’t be difficult. Eugene counters that killing a Korean with a Japanese name won’t be difficult either. Eugene comments that the foreign affairs minister position has had lots of turnover.
Things only got better in that scene!
Eugene’s interpreter Gwan Su (Jo Woo Jin) meets with Rinoie’s assistant. Recall Gwan Su is pretending to be on Rinoie’s payroll to tattle on Eugene. Gwan Su rattles about Eugene’s habits. Rinoie’s assistant wants to know if Eugene is seeing a woman. Gwan Su chides him saying he should have been clear if that’s the kind of information he wanted. Rinoie’s assistant isn’t impressed and yells at Gwan Su. He demands better information next time they meet. He tells Gwan Su to shadow Eugene.
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) opens the sliding doors and enters the room much to Gwan Su’s surprise. He then proceeds to open the sliding doors that reveal Eugene. LOL!!! Gwan Su claims he talked smack about Eugene to be convincing. Ha! Eugene quips his description of him was unflattering. Gwan Su realizes retreat is wise and leaves. Dong Mae smiles (his darling crooked smile). Dong Mae invites Eugene to eat with him. Eugene is surprised by the offer. Dong Mae reveals he knows Eugene’s lowborn backstory. Eugene quips that he kept quiet when he learned Dong Mae’s lowborn backstory. Ha! Dong Mae smiles that Eugene is polite. Eugene counters that Dong Mae need not feel bad that he’s the better man. Love it! Dong Mae admits when he returned to Korea he killed those that mistreated his family. Eugene admits he’s wanted to do the same and has settle for murder in mind. Dong Mae asks if Eugene forgave them. Eugene points out they have the luxury of choice in their actions, something their parents didn’t have. Dong Mae quips they can choose to kill by sword or gun. Eugene chuckles. He takes his leave.
That was a perfect scene. Eugene’s reveal surprised Gwan Su. The banter between Dong Mae and Eugene was enjoyable. Is there anyone that doesn’t fall Dong Mae’s smile?
Hee Sung’s mother thinks about his request to save him once more. She’s brought out of her revelry when it is announced she has a visitor. She accuses Eugene of telling Hee Sung his back story. She’s surprised to learn Eugene didn’t tell her son. Eugene says that he’ll keep the tassel she returned to him, but he won’t forgive her for her indifference in that matter. However, he won’t punish Hee Sung. Eugene doesn’t believe the child must bear the parent’s sin. The path he’s taken hasn’t been easy. Hee Sung must also find his own path to deal with the past. Eugene asks her to support Hee Sung. Tears fill her eyes. Eugene tips his hat and leaves.
Hee Sung asks the tailor to make a new suit for the measurements used for the suits sent to Japan. Recall these are the suits Ae Shin made for herself under the guise of making them for Hee Sung. In his hotel room, Hee Sung reads the formal marriage request. He thinks about moments with Ae Shin. He cries knowing that he’ll never have her in his life like he desperately wants.
I like knowing Hee Sung isn’t a complete selfish jerk.
Eugene stares at his mother’s tassel. He recalls his past and his interactions with Hee Sung’s parents. He folds the tassel in a handkerchief. He closes that chapter of his life.
Hee Na’s fencing lesson takes a turn with her instructor puts his hands on her knee (supposedly to adjust her stance). Hee Na flicks the sword under his chin and tells him their lessons are over.
Hee Na has Mrs. Kang monitored. She’s interested in her fencing lessons with her former teacher. Mrs. Kang believes she’ll move to France with the instructor. He reminds her he must have the list of traitorous officers. He tells her that list will garner the cash to leave in luxury. He must have it soon because person paying for the list will return to Korea soon.
A fresh batch of Japanese soldiers arrive. Their commanding officer watches his soldiers march into Korea.
Ae Shin’s trusted male servant recalls Eugene’s suspicion that someone in the household is betraying Ae Shin’s Grandfather. He must find out who that is and dispatch them. Eugene’s promise is to ensure no more information leaks. The suspected traitor notices he’s distracted. The trusted male servant states he can’t stop thinking about someone betraying the household.
At the royal military academy, the trainee that reacted to Rinoie doubts Eugene’s shooting skills. Eugene puts those doubts to rest with a single shot. Eugene has the trainee come to his office where he tells the boy he knows his application is forged. The boy doesn’t understand how Eugene figured it out. Eugene points out that the forged signature is his. Ha! The boy is shocked. He asks if he must quit. Eugene offers him two options – kill him or trust him. Eugene offers to support him as if he truly signed the application. The boy doesn’t understand why Eugene would do this. Eugene counters he has the latitude to do so.
Pay it forward, Eugene.
Ae Shin’s Grandfather wonders if his future will be bright or bleak.
Hee Sung sends a palanquin to bring Ae Shin to him. Her Grandfather agrees to the meeting.
Hee Na finds Hee Sung in the billiards room and tells him Ae Shin has arrived. He asks her to bring Ae Shin to him. Hee Sung suggests they play a game of billiards and the winner has a wish fulfilled by the loser. He runs the table. He tells Ae Shin she must grant his wish. She asks what it is. Hee Sung declares his wish is that they end their engagement right now. He smiles. Ae Shin is stunned. He warns her that the towns people will talk smack about her. He tells her to stay strong. With heartfelt sincerity Ae Shin thanks him and wishes him well. Hee Sung admits he once loved her. She sees truth in his pained face.
Effective scene. I felt Hee Sung’s pain and Ae Shin’s respect for him.
Hee Sung burns the formal marriage request.
Ae Shin lets the wind that the pressed flower from Hee Sung’s engagement bouquet.
Hee Sung’s mother and Ae Shin’s aunt are pragmatic about the broken engagement. Hee Sung’s mother worries that Ae Shin will be stigmatized. Ae Shin’s aunt knows Ae Shin will get through it. When Ae Shin’s aunt notices her scarf, Hee Sung’ mother removes it to reveal the scar. Recall Eugene’s mother gave it to her to give Eugene a chance to escape. Hee Sung’s mother states it is a scar she can’t escape. She says it is the reason why Ae Shin can’t marry into their family. Both women say kind things in closing and bow to each other.
Dong Mae listen to the locals talk smack about Ae Shin. Dong Mae states that Ae Shin has taken another step away from him.
You got that right, Dong Mae.
Gwan Su tells Eugene that everyone is gossiping about the broken engagement between Hee Sung and Ae Shin. No one knows the real reason. Gwan Su guesses Hee Sung has another woman on the side. Eugene disagrees stating Hee Sung will only have one woman in his heart for the rest of his life. The palace guard point their weapons at Eugene and declares he must come with him. Gwan Su keeps calm reminding him that the reverse happened in the past.
Jang Seung Goo (Choi Moo Sung) and the potter (rebel leader) catch up. The potter says something will be put over Seung Goo’s head soon. Seung Goo doesn’t understand. A bag is put over Seung Goo’s head and he’s lead away by the palace guards. The potter remembers young Seung Goo’s declaration that he wanted to become a rebel. The potter says that Seung Goo must survive this next step to make that continue to be true.
Seung Goo is lead to Lord Lee. Seung Goo can’t believe that the potter agreed to this. Lord Lee explains that Rinoie’s informers are rampant in the palace and he needs those he can trust to be head of palace security. Seung Goo scoffs at the idea. Lord Lee says other will suffer unless he agrees. Seung Goo spies Eugene and the blacksmith. Lord Lee says a rifle was stolen from the train last fall. Someone stole it (Seung Goo), someone took it apart (the blacksmith) and someone let the matter go unpunished (Eugene). The matter is closed, Eugene points out. Lord Lee wonders if the current American minister would agree if he knew the facts. Eugene quips that everyone threatens him with that. Lord Lee says he couldn’t allow the head of palace security be convicted of theft. Eugene encourages Seung Goo to accept the job offer. Seung Goo calls Eugene a coward. Eugene points out that he needs to protect Ae Shin per Seung Goo’s request. Seung Goo considers and accepts the job offer. He declares he already has enemies in the palace (Rinoie, and Emperor Gojong). Eugene recalls the night he stopped Emperor Gojong from shooting Emperor Gojong. Eugene asks what Seung Goo’s duties will be. Lord Lee states he’ll escort and protect Emperor Gojong. Seung Goo reminds Eugene he wanted him to take the job. Eugene asks that he not be near when Seung Goo does the deed.
The riverside eatery proprietress tells the potter their rebel comrade made it safely out the country. When she asks about the missing Seung Goo, the potter says that Seung Goo is doing a different role and will look like a new man when she sees him. They worry about the rebel that Dong Mae caught and banished.
The mute fortune teller is horrified when she pulls the death card for Dong Mae’s fortune. He makes a joke that fate isn’t absolute. She tries to stop him from leaving. He gently pulls away from her and says he must go.
I’ll state the obvious, Dong Mae cannot die for me to enjoy this series to the fullest.
Dong Mae nervously waits for Ae Shin to arrive. He’s surprised when she shows. He tells her the gossip around town isn’t complimentary to her. She acts unconcerned. She pays him the monthly stipend they agreed upon for Do Mi’s sister’s life. Dong Mae admits he didn’t think she’d show. Ae Shin admits she had to think about it but a promise is a promise. She thanks him for helping her Grandfather. She states she’ll see him next month and leaves. Dong Mae stares at the coin and declares the fortune was wrong. Now he hopes again.
The day isn’t done and I’m worried. But aside from that, the long of longing on Dong Mae’s face was touching. He has a heart. It belongs to Ae Shin. She has quite a fan club.
Hee Na, Mrs. Kang, and the other ladies peruse jewelry. Hee Na spies her man that tracks Mrs. Kang. She decides to purchase a bracelet guaranteed to make wishes come true. Hee Na wonders if she’ll figure out what her wishes are. She and Mrs. Kang lock eyes.
Hee Na looks at the bracelet and wishes its magic would work for her. The pawn broker brothers (Il Sik and Choon Sik) arrives with more flyers of her mother. Hee Na says she no longer needs these because she no longer believes her mother is alive. She hands them payment and asks them to burn the flyers. Il Sik guesses the woman in the flyer is Hee Na’s mother.
Ae Shin and her trusted female servant are startled when Eugene shows up at the target practice location. Ae Shin states she came to find Seung Goo but he’s not there. What’s two lovers to do? Why target practice of course. Ae Shin misses a couple of shots. She tells Eugene that was intentional. He asks if he distracts her. She denies it. Eugene admits he’s been hanging out in different locations hoping to run into her. That puts a smile on Ae Shin’s face. The smile is wiped when Eugene jokes the plum flowers are prettier than she is. She fires to quick shots to hit the remaining targets. Eugene follows her as she exits.
The scholars arrive as Ae Shin’s Grandfather’s house. He tells them he plans to petition Emperor Gojong. He asks if they’ll sign it. One man says he’ll be persecuted and the young guns should take the risk. Another says Emperor Gojong is merely a puppet controlled by Japan. They must take a stand. Ae Shin’s Grandfather tells them he’s old and his death in jail will have impact. The scholars sign the petition.
Eugene sees Ae Shin’s Grandfather and the scholars protesting outside the palace. Ae Shin’s Grandfather says first the Japanese took Korea’s assets, next they’ll take over the country. He asks why Emperor Gojong is taking the path that will destroy the country. Emperor Gojong reads the petition and hears their pleas.
The Japanese minister visits Rinoie. He’s not happy about Ae Shin’s Grandfather’s protest. He tells Rinoie to arrest him. Rinoie states if they arrest him, the commoners will riot. He counsels waiting. The Japanese minister declares he made Rinoie. That doesn’t go over well and Rinoie barks he made his own destiny. The minister points out that Rinoie is not a Japanese citizen. He orders Rinoie to arrest him. Rinoie barks that he’s Korean and knows they cannot make a rash move. The minister promises that Rinoie will pay if things go badly. He leaves. Rinoie grouses that he knows what he’s doing.
Ae Shin’s trusted female servant tells Ae Shin that her Grandfather and scholars are protesting outside the palace. Ae Shin knows this is major. Another servant rushes in and states the family elders have arrived.
Dong Mae buys the candy that Ae Shin likes. A gunshot rings out. The candy falls from Dong Mae’s hand. He puts his hand on his chest. It is covered in blood. He turns. He’s shot again. Dong Mae falls to the ground. The sniper is the rebel that Dong Mae forced into exile. He runs.
Hee Sung arrives by Dong Mae’s side. Dong Mae spits blood. He says at least the shooter wasn’t her. Hee Sung doesn’t understand. He calls for help. Dong Mae recalls Ae Shin telling him goodbye. He knows her gratitude was sincere. He passes out. Hee Sung freaks out.
I can’t do it. I can’t write that Dong Mae is dead. No, no, no!
The Japanese soldiers arrest the American teacher for being a spy. She tells the Korean teacher to get word to the American garrison.
This episode has taken a dark turn!
The elders berate Ae Shin’s aunt for letting this happen. Ae Shin watches from a distance. The Japanese solider burst through the gates. The new Japanese commander rides in on his horse. He looks at Ae Shin with insolence. He declares she must be arrested for spying. The family’s elders can’t believe Ae Shin attended school. Ae Shin rushes forward and declares she’ll make it okay. She tells the soldiers’ interpreter to speak her words. She asks if this is how the Japanese request cooperation. She declares if she’s done something wrong, she’ll be interrogated by the Korean police, not by the Japanese. She orders the soldiers to leave. The interpreter can’t believe she wants him to translate those inflammatory words. Ae Shin and the commander lock eyes. He smiles and tells his soldiers to begin. They circle Ae Shin’s family with guns. They rush into the house and begin searching. Ae Shin’s aunt tells everyone to stay calm and watch their words. Ae Shin stares at the commander. He stares back. The soldiers trash/search the house. Ae Shin struggles to hold her temper. A Japanese solider rush to the commander and declares the American soldiers have arrived.
Eugene rides in his horse. He looks at Ae Shin then turns his attention to the Japanese commander. The soldiers turn their guns on each other. The Japanese commander calls Eugene by name and smiles. We see a flashback of Eugene and the young Japanese command while he lived in New York, before he returned to Japan. Eugene says his former friend got a promotion. He says his English still sucks. The Japanese commander switches to Korean! He declares his English sucks because he was learning Korean NOT English. He declares he’s dream of the day he’d work in Korea, a colony of Japan.
It’s a face off!
Writer Kim Eun Sook took us to the dark side of this political quagmire. Team Evil Japanese just got a major bump of bad with the new Japanese commander. His desire to see Korea as a colony was disturbing. His ability to speak Korean was a surprise. His former “friendship” with Eugene adds a layer of complexity. I loved Eugene for coming to Ae Shin’s rescue. But can he save her? I guess the lazy days of flirty fun are done. Things are serious now.
Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) came face to face with a commander that wants Japan to rule Korea. I appreciated the flashback to their brief scene in New York because I didn’t recognize the commander. Evil guys with guns aren’t going to make Eugene’s life easier. Do you think that Eugene will be forced to choose to either follow American orders or his heart in a future episode? While all this is dire and puts a pall on the future, Eugene and Ae Shin had a cute moment at the training location. Is that the last moment of happiness they’ll have? Eugene and Dong Mae had a cute moment. Eugene and Gwan Su had a cute moment. I dig Eugene’s dry wit!
Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) saw her Grandfather take a bold step and formally protest Emperor Gojong’s actions. Talk about a bold move. Ae Shin does indeed get her inner fire from her Grandfather. He made that move knowing it would bring shame on his family, but it was the right thing to do. Sound familiar? Yep, just like Ae Shin. Frankly I was surprised that the American teacher was arrested for spying. That needs to be clarified. I don’t understand why that claim would be made. Next episode should reveal this. While all this is dire and puts a pall on the future, Ae Shin had moments with the three men that love her. Hee Sung set her free by breaking their engagement, Dong Mae accept her coin and heartfelt thanks, and Eugene watched her shoot targets. Ae Shin knows how to entice! I must say there are moments when Kim Tae Ri looks like a young teenager and sometimes she looks old enough to be in this series.
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) got shot. His isn’t dead. I won’t accept anything else. His happiness over Ae Shin’s thanks was cruelly cut short when the rebel he banished took him down. Dong Mae was relieved that Ae Shin didn’t shoot him. You knew and I knew it, the deaf fortune teller’s cards meant injury was imminent for our beloved bad boy.
Hee Na (Kim Min Jung) continues to suspect Mrs. Kang is a spy for her father. The symbolism of both women fencing is well done. It was a touching moment when Hee Na told the pawn broker brothers to burn the flyers of her mother because it was likely she was dead. That is a major admission from Hee Na.
Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han) showed his love for Ae Shin when he broke their engagement. It was cool when he ran the pool table to gain the favor from Ae Shin. I like this version of Hee Sung. Unfortunately, he was the one that found the injured Dong Mae on the street. It was obvious he didn’t want his friend to die.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific. My episode ranking chart is below.
The eleventh song of the OST is a remix of “See You Again” by Baek Ji Young featuring violinist Richard Yongjae O’Neill (Emmy Award winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and Avery Fisher Career Grant recipient). Check out his website for details (https://www.richard-oneill.com/bio):