Mr. Sunshine Episode 18 Recap
Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) and the Japanese commander know each other. 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. Eugene tells the commander they’ll catch up later. He tells Ae Shin and her trusted female servant to come with him. Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) demands details. Eugene notes the American teacher was taken by the Japanese and he is investigating. In English, Ae Shin states she will come alone. She orders the soldiers not to touch her. Switching back to Korean, she tells her trusted female servant to bring the palanquin. The commander isn’t happy to have Ae Shin taken.
Hee Na (Kim Min Jung) helps Do Mi’s sister enunciate “Welcome to the Korean Empire” Ha! The maid doesn’t understand why they don’t welcome in Japanese. Hee Na smiles stating this is her smidge of a rebellion. One of the card playing ladies tells Hee Na that Dong Mae was shot. Her eyes widen in shock.
Dong Mae’s second in command bursts into the hospital with Dong Mae supported by other members. He demands the doctor pronto. When the doctor enters Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han) says he tried stem the bleeding but it has been 30 minutes since Dong Mae was shot. Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) struggles to keep it together. He remembers Hee Na telling him the Japanese doctor works for Rinoie. When the doctor orders Dong Mae anesthetized, Dong Mae refuses fearing the doctor will kill him. He tells his second in command not to leave his side nor let the doctor inject him. Dong Mae says if he dies, the doctor will die.
The second in command is hot! Dong Mae is wise to not trust the doctor. Anyone associated with Rinoie shouldn’t be trusted.
The doctor performs the operation on Dong Mae without drugs. He extracts the bullet. Dong Mae passes out from the pain.
In Eugene’s office, Ae Shin wants to know if the American teacher was really taken. Eugene tells her not be afraid. Ae Shin states she’s not afraid. Eugene worries the Japanese will take her hostage because of her Grandfather’s protest. He assures her the American teacher will be fine. Ae Shin asks about Eugene’s relationship with the Japanese commander. Eugene says they knew each other in New York, though Eugene sees now he didn’t really know him. Ae Shin shares her room was searched by the Japanese soldiers. She’s worried about her stitched notebook. Eugene doesn’t know what that is. Ae Shin’s trusted servant produces the stitched notebook from under her skirts. Ae Shin is thrilled and thanks her. Her servant says she couldn’t let anyone else see Eugene’s name which is all over the notebook. Ha! That gets Eugene’s attention. He tries to take the notebook. Ae Shin smacks his hand. The trusted servant won’t stop talking about Ae Shin saying Eugene’s name every time she wrote it. Eugene grins. Kyle (David McInnis) enters. Eugene tells Ae Shin and her servant to stay and rest. Ae Shin tries not to look completely embarrassed by the situation. Eugene leaves with a smile on his face.
Kyle tells Eugene the American teacher is holding up well and the American minister has lodged a formal protest. Kyle asks why the Japanese want Ae Shin. Eugene states that Ae Shin’s Grandfather is formally protesting Emperor Gojong’s susceptibility to Japan’s influence.
Hee Na arrives at the doctor’s office. Hee Sung states Dong Mae is still unconscious. Hee Na sees the mute future teller by Dong Mae’s side. The doctor presses a note for Rinoie in his nurse’s hands. He tells her to deliver it. Hee Na sweeps into the room. The doctor reports Dong Mae survived. Hee Na asks if the letter in his nurse’s hands is to Rinoie and asks if Dong Mae should be killed. The doctor retorts that is none of Hee Na’s business. Hee Na begs to differ and shows him that she has the autopsy report that Rinoie has blackmailed the doctor with. The doctor snatches from her hands and declares he has it now. Hee Na chuckles that the forged report fooled him. Hee Na’s tone to deadly serious – make sure Dong Mae lives or else. She sweeps out of the room. The doctor freaks that someone else has power over him.
Hee Na – you are awesome!
Hee Sung and Eugene arrive at the hotel at the same time. Hee Sung reports Dong Mae’s injury and that he’s on the road to recovery. Hee Sung knows that Eugene went to see his parents. He apologizes for the past – what his family did the Eugene’s family, how his parents treated him, etc. Eugene states he knows Hee Sung broke the engagement to Ae Shin. But he won’t apologize. Hee Sung states that Ae Shin broke their engagement so she could have freedom of choice, not because of Eugene. Hee Sung recalls Ae Shin telling him she was willing to risk it all for Eugene. He asks how far Eugene will go to protect Ae Shin. Eugene states he’s an American soldier first and foremost and that’s the best protection he can offer Ae Shin. Both men hear the raucous cries of the Japanese soldiers celebrating inside the hotel.
Eugene didn’t pledge his support for Ae Shin in a showy manner. But he’s right. His American status gives him power in dealing with Japan and Korea. That power, which he used to whisk Ae Shin from the Japanese, proved beneficial.
The Japanese soldiers aren’t the polite to women. Hee Na tells the female staff that the male staff will serve tonight. She brings drink to the Japanese officer who suggests she sit on his lap while pouring. He jerks her into his lap. Hee Na suggests he’s drunk and should go to bed. He proposes a private party in his room. Hee Na counters that she doesn’t drink with morons. That doesn’t go over well. He pushes her out of the chair. She draws his sword and points it at him. She offers to sleep with him IF he can best her in a sword match. He decides to take her up on the offer. He insults women by stating they should stay in the kitchen. He tells Hee Na her boldness won’t protect her.
The match takes place. Hee Na gets the first shot and strips buttons from his jacket. The Japanese soldiers call strategy. Hee Sung and Eugene walk into the lobby and see the situation. She beats the man. The other soldiers draw their swords. The commander tells his men to stand down. He walks into the fray and chastises his officer for dueling a woman. The commander apologizes to Hee Na. She states winning was fun. He notices that she’s Korean. She’s surprised he speaks Korean. He says he gets that all the time. The commander lifts a glass to his soldiers and declares no defeat is acceptable. They roar allegiance to Japan. Hee Sung and Eugene watch the soldiers work themselves into a frenzy.
The commander is unnerving in his absolute allegiance to the dominance of Japan.
Ae Shin’s trusted male servant tells the traitor any more information leaks and he’ll kill him. If he skulks around the house, he’ll kill him. They throw him out.
Back at the palace protest, Ae Shin’s Grandfather calls to Emperor Gojong to consider their request. The Japanese minister arrives and stares at Ae Shin’s Grandfather. He tells him to leave because he throws a shadow on Emperor Gojong and Korea.
The Japanese minister request that Emperor Gojong punish the protestors. Emperor Gojong’s trusted minister defends them. Emperor Gojong declares the protesters must be locked up.
The Korean solider tells the protestors they will be locked up. They grab them and take them away. Ae Shin’s Grandfather is grateful for the choice. Hee Sung and the citizens are shocked.
Hee Sung dashes to his newspaper office to write what he witnessed. He tells the pawn broker brothers (Il Sik and Choon Sik) the first edition of his newspaper will be a special addition. Hee Sung writes the protestors against the Japanese currency were locked up per Emperor Gojong’s order.
The paper is circulated. The royal academy trainees read the paper. The trainee that originally forged Eugene’s name on his application declares they must support the people. They decide to watch Rinoie and train harder for their moment will come.
Jang Seung Goo (Choi Moo Sung) goes to the jail as the new head of security. Ae Shin’s grandfather can’t believe his eyes, seeing Seung Goo in a palace uniform. Seung Goo says the position will open doors. He admits due to the situation he doesn’t know whether he should protect or harm Emperor Gojong. Seung Goo tells Ae Shin’s Grandfather Japanese soldiers went to his house and caused a ruckus. Upset, he asks how Ae Shin is. Seung Goo assures him that Ae Shin is in a safe place.
Ae Shin stares at the world map and realizes Korea is only a tiny country in the big world.
Eugene arrives at preps Ae Shin for bad news. He tells her about her Grandfather. She wants to go to him. Eugene says her Grandfather would want her to stay safe. Eugene says Seung Goo is visiting her Grandfather. He notes Seung Goo is safe too. Ae Shin asks what that means.
Lord Lee introduces Seung Goo to Emperor Gojong who immediately sees that Seung Goo isn’t a fan. Lord Lee explains that Seung Goo supports Ae Shin’s Grandfather and isn’t happy about the situation. Seung Goo says the protest is within their rights. Emperor Gojong agrees. Emperor Gojong didn’t want the protestors to continue in the open where the Japanese could strike. Emperor Gojong hopes the people will rise up. He says they have more power than he does.
Korean merchants refuse to accept the Japanese currency. The Japanese commander (Col Takashi Mori) arrives. He says it is time to interrogate the American teacher.
Eugene sees the commander speaking with the American teacher at the hotel. Eugene asks if this was a call for attention. He asks the teacher if she’s okay. The commander declares Japan would never hurt the innocent. Eugene chuckles and notes the sword fight with Hee Na. He declares the American teacher has stirred up anti-Japanese sentiment. The teacher begs to differ. She notes Korean’s right to rule lies within Korea and Japan has no right to interfere. The commander barks those words are anti-Japanese. The commander asks why their god allows this to happen. Eugene quips the commander won’t go to heaven now. The commander laughs. He tells the teacher she’s free to go as America is a Japanese ally. He invites Eugene for a drink. Eugene declines and escorts the teacher away. That doesn’t go over well.
Eugene brings food to Ae Shin and reports that her Grandfather is doing well in jail. Eugene shares his belief that Emperor Gojong put the protestors in jail to protect them. Ae Shin smiles that she and her Grandfather are both being protected. She tells Eugene his office has fascinating objects. She points out the globe and that America is far away. Eugene says he can return quickly. Eugene delights Ae Shin with the stacking Russian dolls Joseph gave him. He quips he wants her to look at him with that much delight. He tells her she can return home tomorrow but he’ll be working at the royal academy.
When Eugene arrives at the royal academy he finds stones on the ground in front of the targets.
He asks a soldier if the trainees practiced shooting. The soldier confirms this. Eugene asks if they were given the key to the ammunition. The soldier confirms this. Eugene asks for the key. He inspects the key. He sighs.
Dong Mae’s men watch over him while he sleeps. The mute fortune teller reads his fortune. Dong Mae puts his hand over hers. She rings the bell in relief. His second in command rushes in. He calls for the doctor. Dong Mae opens his eyes and says the A-frame carrier. The second in command understands and send his men to find the rebel that shot Dong Mae.
Did I mention the second in command has his own level of hotness?
An officer rings the curfew bell. He tells another man dressed in the uniform that he can leave and the uniform will offer cover.
Hey, that officer is played by Lee Soon Won, Agent So (aka my honey) in the series K2.
Eugene and Hee Sung look at the sign for his paper with the flower. Hee Sung declares it is the only flower on his path. Eugene asks Hee Sung about the Japanese commander Col Takashi Mori. Does he know anything about him? Does he gamble? Hee Sung says the Mori family is second only to the royal family. Eugene understands the commander’s statement that he was high born while Eugene was low born. Hee Sung says the Mori family believes (like others) the enslaving Korea will restore Japan’s power. Eugene states the commander feels that way and believes war is a more likely option.
The commander meets the Japanese minister who charges him to keep things in order while he goes to Japan to get the Japan-Korea Treaty. The commander assures the minister that Korea will sign the treaty with the blood of its people.
Rinoie dines with the commander hoping to pull him into his control. The commander surprises Rinoie with his ability to speak Korean, and his stance that Koreans that are traitors have to work harder than pure blood Japanese. The commander declares the rebels historically have saved Korea and this generation must be wiped out. Rinoie scoffs the rebels are powerless and that he’s alive is proof. The commander scoffs that killing Rinoie isn’t worth the trouble. He won’t be embarrassed by the rebels like previous generations were. The commander declares when the minister returns he’ll bring the Japan-Korea Treaty for signature. The commander stares into Rinoie’s eyes and states they must break the rebels’ spirit and the spirit of the Korean people. He warns Rinoie to never to get in his way and never be rude to him. He calls Rinoie a low born Korean.
Wow! The commander is the worst kind of enemy. Fanatical and powerful.
Rinoie realizes that Ae Shin’s Grandfather is key to destroying the spirit. He goes to the palace and tells Emperor Gojong to release Ae Shin’s Grandfather from jail. He claims concern for the elderly man and the people’s opinion of Emperor Gojong. Emperor Gojong agrees and order Seung Goo to release Ae Shin’s Grandfather. Rinoie can’t help but smile.
Rinoie tells his cohort that Ae Shin’s Grandfather can’t die under the palace’s protection. He must die by Rinoie’s hands. Rinoie declares Korea must fear him more than Japan. He eyes Seung Goo and wonders who he is. Rinoie is told that Seung Goo used to be a rebel and was installed by Lord Lee. Rinoie scoffs that Lord Lee’s moves are meaningless.
Rinoie is a true enemy of Korea. His ego is huge.
Ae Shin’s Grandfather returns home. He declares he’s tired. Ae Shin cries to see him back home. Seung Goo bows to her. Ae Shin’s trusted servants cry over the situation. Ae Shin tells Seung Goo he looks different in uniform. Seung Goo says the job to protect Emperor Gojong weighs on him. Ae Shin misses his tutoring. Seung Goo tells Ae Shin to remove any traces of her from their training area. He tells her not to go back. He tells her training is no longer needed. Ae Shin balks at losing him. Seung Goo says he has another job to do now. He asks for her blessing. Ae Shin wishes him safety and thanks him. She cries and bows to him. He bows to her.
The commander reads Hee Sung’s newspaper. He asks Hee Na about the local newspapers. He’s interested in the one Hee Sung runs. He insults Hee Na’s traceless status. He states her cushy life is due to her wealthy dead husband and a benefactor. Hee Na asks if that irks him.
Those two won’t be friends anytime soon. Hee Na is more transparent as the threats to Korea become more powerful.
Hee Na considers poisoning the commander.
Ae Shin and her trusted female servant go to the training area to eliminate remaining items. They are startled to find Japanese soldiers there. Rinoie and his assistant are there. Rinoie takes the liberty of introducing himself to Ae Shin. She ignores his greeting asks her servant to state she’s there to find boar meat for her weak Grandfather. Rinoie demands to know if she’s ignoring him because he’s a man or low born. Ae Shin tells her servant she doesn’t look down on men Emperor Gojong has by his side. Rinoie laughs at her proper complete slam of him. He says she’s just like her Grandfather. He notes this was a valuable jaunt. He leaves. Ae Shin stares daggers at his retreating back.
Rinoie wonders if Ae Shin is a current generation member of the rebels. He recalls the background he knows about Ae Shin – 28, born an orphan in Japan, returned to Korea, etc. He wonders if Ae Shin is related to the rebels he killed in Japan. With a start he realizes Mr. Kim could have provided false names of the rebels in Japan. He orders the Korean police chief to get a list of Korean people who lived or died in a specified location in Japan in 1875. Rinoie knows he’s on the trail of rebels.
Dong Mae asks his second in command if they’ve found the rebel that shot him. The second in command reports they are still searching. Dong Mae doesn’t like the wait. He directs that rumors should be spread that he’s coming home soon. He also wants the mute fortune teller to get a break and a meal.
Hee Sung arrives as the second in command leaves. Hee Sung declares he’s happy to see him alive. Dong Mae scoffs. Hee Sung asks about the woman that just left. Dong Mae states he lives with her. Hee Sung’s eyes widen and ask if they are married. Dong Mae retorts he likes another. Hee Sung counters bring that up is rude considering he just ended an engagement with Ae Shin. Hee Sung reminds Dong Mae he saved his life. He says Dong Mae is nicer when he’s asleep. He pats Dong Mae on the shoulder and leaves.
Hee Sung meets the commander for a meal. The commander says his research indicates Hee Sung speaks fluent Japanese. Hee Sung counters that his research indicates Hee Sung speaks decent Korean and that’s his language of preference. The commander asks Hee Sung to print pro-Japanese articles. He offers funding. Hee Sung chuckles that he’s the second richest man in Korea after Emperor Gojong. The commander offers the standing of aristocrat. Hee Sung says that is meaningless to him. The commander puts his pistol on the table and offers to let Hee Sung live. Hee Sung puts his glasses on to see the pistol. He laughs and states they both need to research more because killing him won’t accomplish anything. He asks when the girls are coming. He calls them himself.
Wow, terrific scene for Hee Sung. He played his pretty but not so dumb card well. I’m proud of him.
I was curious about the difference between nobility and aristocrats – “Nobility is a social class that may or may not have political power. Privilege and high social class do not necessarily infer power. Aristocracy in the loose metaphorical sense means, often in the negative sense, the ‘privileged well-connected chosen ones’ who are in power to rule us”.
Ae Shin searches but can’t find what she’s looking for. The Japanese interpreter comes to the house and says if Ae Shin will agree to meet the commander, he’ll return the stolen item from when the house was searched. Ae Shin makes the point the person that stole the items should come to her not vice versa. The interpreter skulks away. Ae Shin declares she’s going to the apothecary.
The police chief and postmaster give Dong Mae a first look at the report of Korean people who lived or died in a specified location in Japan in 1875. Ae Shin’s father’s and mother’s names are on the list. Dong Mae recalls the names from his visit to the temple with a memorial plaque for Ae Shin’s parents. Dong Mae confirms they should come to him first from now on. He reminds them of the document he has. Recall Dong Mae had them both sign a blank document. They quickly agree.
Did you catch the fierce look Dong Mae’s second in command gave the police chief?
At the royal academy the trainee that Eugene decided to sponsor is the only one that can keep the stone on the rifle while firing. Eugene states their midnight practice paid off. A trainee ask how a Korean man is in the American army. Eugene says he’s low born. The trainee nobles don’t get it but then realize what he means as they glance at the servants waiting for them to complete their training. Eugene points out the military is divided by rank not social status. He tells them if they don’t like it, they can quit.
The Japanese commander pays an unexpected visit to the royal academy. Eugene dismisses his trainees. The commander calls them worthless. He tells Eugene it is time they share that cup of coffee.
At the hotel dining room, Eugene says his trainees aren’t as worthless as he thinks. Eugene claims to be tired and starts to head to his room. The commander opens the music box Eugene gave Ae Shin and plays it. That gets Eugene’s attention. He turns and sees the music box on the commander’s table. The commander brings it to him and admits one of his soldiers stole it from Ae Shin’s house. The commander points out this music box used to belong to Eugene.
Ae Shin and her entourage are blocked by Dong Mae and his men. Ae Shin sees Dong Mae. She states she’ll talk to him. Dong Mae tells his men to give him privacy. Surprisingly Dong Mae’s men pulls Ae Shin’s entourage away. He opens the palanquin and offers his hand. She ignores his hand and gets out. Dong Mae asks where she’s going. She counters it is none of his business. Irked Dong Mae points out she make choices that put her in jeopardy – becoming a gunner, breaking her engagement, etc. He asks her not to study English and not to become involved in the political quagmire around them. Ae Shin declares she has no regrets about any of her choices such as letting him live and being shot by him. She asks if he feels more manly knowing her secret identity. Dong Mae says he’ll be more useful to her going forward. He vows it doesn’t matter who he alienates. He steps forward, reaches around Ae Shin’s head, grabs her braid and cuts it off! Ae Shin stares at him in shock.
Writer Kim Eun Sook amped up the Japanese menace with the new commander. Team Evil Japanese’ new commander is fanatical about Japan’s right to rule Korea. His opinion that Japan is the superior race is not good. He reamed Rinoie about respecting him and following his orders. When was the last time anyone talked to Rinoie like that? Things aren’t sunshine and roses anymore. Characters we like will be dying. You know and I know it.
Eugene Choi (Lee Byung Hun) won’t be able to protect Ae Shin as easily as he thinks. Eugene protected Ae Shin in the garrison from the Japanese but he opened himself to scrutiny as to why he did this. The commander knowing the stolen music box was once Eugene’s isn’t good. Every enemy wants to know his opponent’s weakness. Ae Shin is Eugene’s Achilles heel. Thankfully Eugene and Ae Shin had a darling moment when her servant revealed she’d written his name in her stich book. Eugene LOVED IT!
Go Ae Shin (Kim Tae Ri) is the object of scrutiny, and not in a good way. Unfortunately, Rinoie and the commander zeroed in on Ae Shin for different reasons. Rinoie guessed that Ae Shin might be a rebel and that her parents might be rebels he killed in Japan. The commander realized that Ae Shin has a personal connection to Eugene through the stolen music box. Let’s all admit it; Ae Shin has lived a charmed life as a rebel but that is over now. She was adorably embarrassed over her servant’s admission that she wrote Eugene’s name her stich book. The showstopper moment was when Dong Mae cut her braid without warning or her consent.
Goo Dong Mae (Yoo Yeon Seok) survived. He was right to not trust the doctor; the man is in Rinoie’s hip pocket. Anyone else digging his second in command? The flowing locks, the intense stares, the loyalty, yep, I’m digging him as bad boy II. The loyalty Dong Mae’s men and mute fortune teller give him, reveals that he’s a solid leader and we know he’s kind and protective of the fortune teller. The showstopper moment was when he took it upon himself to lecture Ae Shin not to endanger herself anymore. She didn’t appreciate it. Desperate, Dong Mae was willing to damn himself and her cutting her braid off. What does that mean? Soompi posters offered these comments “A noble woman cutting off her hair symbolizes also cutting her relationship with her parents… Hair length is also representing the person’s inner strength. In Joseon period, it is forbidden to cut hair since it is viewed as a legacy from their parents and thus something has to be preserved… all body parts are from your parents and you may not damage it. This is considered as a filial duty. Along with being loyal to the king, filial duty is considered the one of the 2 major virtues in the Joseon Society…” The longing on Dong Mae’s face was palpable. Dong Mae practically steamed up the camera lens!
Hee Na (Kim Min Jung) defeated the Japanese officer in a sword match. I was impressed she took him down and managed to be gracious about it. Her timing was perfect when she blackmailed the Japanese doctor NOT to kill Dong Mae or communicate with Rinoie. Hee Na has moxy!
Kim Hee Sung (Byun Yo Han) refused to be a propaganda newspaper for the Japanese. I LOVED that scene. Hee Sung played the fool but revealed his inner strength when he refused the commander’s request. The moment between Dong Mae and Hee Sung was a terrific frenemy moment.
I rank this episode (on a scale from 1-10) as almost terrific. My episode ranking chart is below.
A teaser for the twelfth song of the OST “You’re The Sunlight” by Hwang Chi Yeul is available. I LOVE this OST! Rich OSTs can be a bonus of a preproduced drama.