Here’s everything that happened in Mr. Sunshine Season 1

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 7, 2018 (Last updated: 3 weeks ago)
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K-Drama Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Recap Guide (Episodes 1-24)
Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Image (Credit - Netflix)

It is probably useful to understand the general premise of this K-Drama series, which is difficult to realise from the first episode. Mr. Sunshine tells the story of a young boy who was born into a house servant’s family and travels to the U.S during the 1871 Shinmiyangyo (U.S. expedition to Korea). He later returns to his homeland as a U.S Marine Officer and falls in love with an aristocrat’s daughter. That young boy is Choi Yoo-jin, who markets himself as Eugene to help work within the cogs of the U.S. Eugene clearly evolves as an “American”.

Anyway, now that we are done with the general premise, there’s plenty to dissect in this story. Here is a full guide and recap I’ve put together for Mr. Sunshine season 1.

Episode 1

The first episode opens up with a series of exposition to demonstrate the lead character’s ultimate journey. I was taken back slightly by the ruthlessness of the story that bore some resemblance to the movie Silence, with scenarios playing out in slave camps, with leaders giving zero mercy to those who oppose them. Mr. Sunshine is a show that clearly wants to give the viewer a sense of reality for these characters, in a world that is very much fragmented, with characters blindly doing what they think is right.

The first episode of this K-Drama spends much of its budget playing out battle scenes, during the Shinmiyangyo, with the people of Joseon standing firm against the U.S. Incursion. It was a damning sight to see many people fight against the U.S despite the narration articulating the hopelessness of it all.

Mr. Sunshine clearly shows a government unwilling to negotiate a diplomatic resolution, leading to the death of many of their own loyal people.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 1

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 1 (Credit – Netflix)

As the episode progresses, with Eugene clearly evolving as a character, with many supporting storylines playing out a key moment in history, it has to be said that the pilot is an incredible piece of technical work.

I was not expecting to be bowled over by such great landscape shots, whilst the characters unfold a despairing story. As the episode draws to an end you see glimpses of Eugene as a complete version of himself and the Aristocrat’s daughter living in a new Joseon. It is an easy assumption that Mr. Sunshine will offer a tale of love and politics, with Eugene discovering a plot by foreign forces to colonize Korea so it will be interesting how this pans out, and if it will ultimately jeopardise his newfound romance.

My only criticism of Mr. Sunshine episode 1 is its choppy exposition. The episode is over an hour long and it spends much of its time slicing many different stories together and ends on a jaded ending merging with the credits. However, with its technical brilliance and a hard-hitting storyline coupled with violence, romance and drama, we could be in for a ride.

Episode 2

Episode 2 is another fine piece of technical work, with the two lead characters taking the throne of the story. There is more focus on the present, bringing insight into the Aristrocat’s daughter Ae-sin. It turns out that Ae-sin has more fight in her than initially revealed, and is the cornerstone of what Mr. Sunshine is about.

Episode 2 reveals that she is erred by the growing presence of foreigners entering Joseon land and she yearns to learn how to fight and involve herself in political matters. She forces the hand of the authority and gets a mentor, who teaches her the ropes of how to use a gun and scale different landscapes.

These scenes were all very interesting, however, I did scoff slightly at the speed she learnt how to become a militant person that I almost resorted to the mentality of fanboys who believe Rey is a Mary Sue.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 2 (Credit – Netflix)

Meanwhile, Eugene, who has made himself 100% American, is carrying out his duties in Joseon, dealing with political matters and scoping the towns.

There was a quick montage to detail the pain he went through in a battle between the Americans and the Spanish, which I felt was slightly unnecessary after the number of war scenes in episode 1, but with the technical brilliance achieved each time Mr. Sunshine decides to portray war, I will not complain.

Episode 2 makes strides with a vital development for both Ae-sin and Eugene when an American is assassinated by a hidden sniper. Before this sniper shot the bullet, another sniper was nearby with the same intentions and is shellshocked that someone has beaten them to it. It was blatantly obvious who the two snipers were, snaking and commanding the roofs of Joseon.

As I originally explained in the previous episode, Eugene is suspicious of foreign powers trying to colonize Korea and now he has returned to Joseon, he is willing to take matters in his own hands. Ae-sin has similar ideas.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 2

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 2 (Credit – Netflix)

Almost like Batman and Catwoman, both characters try and sniff each other out as they roam the streets as normal citizens. Mr. Sunshine finally brings to the fold the tension that sits between both Ae-sin and Eugene, with the pair talking to each other in almost code, recognising the unspoken secret between them.

Episode 2 decides to take the journey of both pretending that neither of them knows their secret.

The most absorbing moments of Mr. Sunshine episode 2 is Eugene trying to strangle with his own identity. Due to suffering at the hands of foreign powers when he was a young boy and vowed to become an American to prevent further anguish, he struggles to maintain that culture as he is constantly reminded of his origin when he returns to Joseon.

There is a moment in particular when Ae-sin refers to him as a foreigner and he looks offended, but unfortunately, the character cannot have it both ways. At the end of the episode, Eugene and Ae-sin both seem to have a common understanding that they have a similar goal, leaving a tantalising week’s wait to see how this all unfolds.

Episode 3

Ae-sin and Eugene are pretty much declaring a romance between each other in Mr. Sunshine episode 3, without actually putting their words into actions. At first hand, you witness both cultures collide as Eugene is much more forthcoming whilst Ae-sin withholds any signals, even her body language.

At this point, Mr. Sunshine has willingly left the past of Joseon behind, subjecting itself to the present and only using the flashbacks to remind the audience of the importance of certain acquaintances.

Eugene meets the man that ultimately saved him when he was at the end of his days in Joseon; the pottery maker who told Eugene to go to America and make a life there. The show toyed with the idea that the pottery maker doesn’t remember Eugene due to his foreign attire and mannerisms, which is a piece of writing I cannot buy considering that every character appears to remember everyone in this show so far, regardless of differences in age.

Episode 3 takes an abrupt halt for the two leading characters, who are slowly but surely getting politically and romantically entangled. Their scenes only develop the tension between them but the progress in the story itself remains dormant, waiting for an event of some sort to happen.

The one predictable development that occurred is that Ae-sin and Eugene did openly admit that it was they that resided on the roofs that night to assassinate the American, but all this did is lead to words of an unspoken romance and a lot of nonsense riddles. Both characters act like it is a filler episode, with no suspecting direction taking place.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 3 (Credit – Netflix)

Episode 3 did provide background to a more sinister character roaming the streets of Joseon; the extremely violent Gu Dong-mae who kills people at will. His past is revealed as someone who was a child of a butcher, which is someone that is classed as the remnants of Joseon society, expected to work for their owners and butcher meat.

His mother asked him to run away when he was younger in hope that she was doing it for the greater good, so he saved himself from becoming a butcher. Unfortunately, this experience traumatized Gu Dong-mae and now, in the present day, he rules the streets ironically butchering people. He has taken a curious liking to Ae-sin because she saved him when he was a child, which makes me wonder if this will cause exciting implications between him and Eugene.

Episode 4

Episode 4 begins with Ae-sin withdrawn by the fact that Eugene does not appear to be on her side, as he sidetracks her into an investigation. Eugene appears to be playing a cool game, where he keeps the aura of his authority but at the same time can use his power to keep having these riddle-infected conversations with Ae-sin.

He once again vaguely hints that he is on her side, but she appears dismayed and understandably confused by his intentions. I understand the obvious display of politics and due consideration of the era this resides in, but I do wish these two characters stated what they actually want to say.

Mr. Sunshine episode 4 takes a weird curveball in introducing another character – the owner of Glory Hotel. She has taken a fancy to Eugene and she spends most of the time trying to undermine his connection with Ae-sin. Mr. Sunshine appears to pride itself on throwing every scenario at these characters, to see how they handle the pressure situations.

By introducing this hotel, you understand where Eugene lives whilst he is based in Joseon. The men he surrounds himself with smoke, drink and entertain themselves with women. Ae-sin is clearly emotionally moved by the events that occur in this hotel for blatant reasons, however, the most important story arc is seeing a window into Eugene’s life, where he has had to dilute his culture almost entirely to fit into the American way.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 4

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 4 (Credit – Netflix)

The love triangle deepens with Gu Dong-mae still sniffing around. He appears to have softened slightly, buying sweets at the market and conveniently trying out the exact same ones Ae-sin was trying in episode 3.

I am still unsure where his character is heading, but you can sense that he will end up in a verbal and physical battle with Eugene soon. In the context of the story, Gu Dong-mae is the opposite of Eugene, who after suffering has manifested himself into a cold-blooded killer to adjust.

Whereas, Eugene has enabled himself to grow into a useful citizen of the United States and returns to Joseon with an element of respect. Episode 4 shows the parallels clearly, with Ae-sin feeling curious about both men.

Eugene does spend some time away from Ae-sin in episode 4, finding himself face to face with his former slave owners with an opportunity to point a gun in their face, however, in the same moment Mr. Sunshine provides complexity to the story, with Ae-sin’s fiance returning from Japan to everyone’s surprise.

Until now, the series did not reveal the arranged marriage. There are clearly many story threads building which will meet in the middle by the end of the season. Episode 4 could be criticised for trying to manage many elements but it somehow pulls it off to deliver another appealing and well-made addition to season 1.

Episode 5

We were surprised with Lady Ae-sin’s fiance, who after 10 years appeared out of nowhere and returned to Joseon. Hui-Seong has one of those smug faces that you would just like to punch.

However, he still fancies himself to marry Ae-sin, who is transparently horrified at the prospect. Mr. Sunshine episode 5 provides a memorable moment from Ae-sin, where she describes him in a few words and ends the sentence with “weakling”.

I found it hilarious, and if it was me I would have accepted the loss and walked away. Not Hui-Seong, though, no. He is determined to remain in Joseon and flash around in his fancier attire. It is not that I do not like the character, but he made the love triangle a square, and within the context of the story he feels the least impactful. There is an issue, though, and that is his family.

Mr. Sunshine confirmed that he is the son of the slave owners that ruined Eugene’s childhood. Awkward. I expect this story to be explosive once it comes to fruition. The series is handling all these problems at a slow rate, allowing them to circle endlessly like spinning plates, ready to smash at any moment.

Meanwhile, Eugene is quite calm in episode 5. Up until now, he has wandered around Joseon almost panicked and not daring to break down his American persona. This episode was the character’s strongest test; the Japanese army comes knocking on his door for a battle. Oh, how they scoffed.

This scene showed the real strength of the Americans when Eugene coolly asks the Japanese if they are declaring war on the US, which resulted in them marching back to their own base with their pants down.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 5 (Credit – Netflix)

Eugene is conflicted, which shows when he finally speaks to Lady Ae-sin whilst she is partaking in shooting practice. His entire character is built upon the pain he suffered as a child from Joseon, which inherits a community that does not look after their own.

Politically, he returns to Joseon with American intentions, which is to colonize the kingdom. Japan also has similar intentions, creating a political conundrum for all involved. As a character, you fully expect Eugene to carry out the American objectives because Joseon has only ever caused him terror.

Mr. Sunshine episode 5 sees his conflict revealed, as he openly admits to Ae-sin why he is protecting her, but at the same time asks why she is so determined to protect Joseon. It is love and politics entwined and battling in his mind, coupled with the depressing objective, which is to find his family’s dead corpses by threatening the ex-slave owners. Despite all this unrest, it feels obvious who Eugene will eventually ally with.

Gu Dong-mae shows the differences between both men in episode 5. After learning that Lady Ae-sin’s fiance has returned, he spends most of the episode taking it out on unsuspecting citizens and even his own people.

Despite Lady Ae-sin seemingly being the center of all these characters’ intentions, it is the politics that will be the driver for them to collide, and this well-balanced episode kind of gave us a flavor of what is to come. Gu Dong-mae appears to trade threats with just violence, whilst Eugene shows intelligence in all his confrontations. We are yet to be treated with a heated confrontation between the two men.

As all this unfolds Lady Ae-sin continues to mind her own business, whilst continuing to maintain the image of the aristocrat’s daughter. She must have realized by now that she has three men fighting over her at three different ends of the spectrum. It is impressive how well she is handling it all, especially as her supporting acquaintances seem very unaware, despite it looking glaringly obvious.

Episode 6

Episode 6 provided the groundbreaking moment we have been politely waiting for. Eugene, Hui-Seong and Gu Dong-mae are put in the same room with each other. Episode 6 rewards patience, allowing all three men to calculate the missing piece of the puzzle – Ae-sin. Many questions were raised.

The most important question to be asked, which Mr. Sunshine lays out in front of us, is what are Hui-Seong and Gu Dong-mae going to do about Eugene. Episode 6 provided scenes of foreign dislike, with Eugene on the receiving end of been named American on a few occasions. Eugene clearly cannot resist his roots, with memories flooding back on every corner.

Episode 6 provided the warm up to the main event, where all three men are polite as they can be; drinking at bars together whilst each set of eyes figures each other out. The body language on display was a thing of great performance by all the actors, along with some fine editing to switch the dialogue with movements.

Mr. Sunshine does well to heighten the tensions and question the viability of Joseon, which is barely hanging on by a thread from foreign powers. Americans seem the most civil, however, Eugene finally comes across the dreaded elusive fund deposit certificate, which puts himself in danger for having it in his possession.

Episode 6 demonstrates how the brewing romance and the lingering romance will most probably reach its pinnacle at the same time, with hard decisions to be made from all involved characters.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 6

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 6 (Credit – Netflix)

You would think by now Lady Ae-sin would sense the growing danger around her; three men, a colonisation brewing and foreign powers becoming more suspecting each day. Episode 6 gives the audience what we want from this character which she showed all the way back in episode 2 – courage.

It appears that since we got a glimpse of her night missions that she has just blundered around the markets eating sweets and figuring out what to do with Eugene, but we find ourselves watching her scoping the streets at night with Joseon yet again.

This time it is to return the dreaded gun, which initiated a more accepting romantic scene; Eugene, who should have really arrested her by now, decided to walk her back to a sensible place rather than investigating her for the stolen weapon. This was a telling scene, as both characters enjoyed each other’s company openly for the first time.

I was beginning to wonder if Mr. Sunshine episode 6 was going to give us a revealing moment to bring a complete instalment. That moment came in the form of Eugene figuring out that Hui-Seong is the son of the authoritative family that enslaved him many years ago. I expected violence, but it is apparent that Eugene is not the aggressor type.

To be fair to Hui-Seong, he appeared relaxed about it, wondering if it was his father or grandfather who had wronged Eugene.

As episode 6 came to a close, I got thinking about the slavery aspect of this show, which pesters Eugene’s entire being. There is an obvious sense in this community that, “once you are a slave, you are always a slave here”. This forced me to feel more sympathetic to the character after a horrifying pilot.

Even after years of moulding himself into a grand American, he cannot really release himself from the shackles of slavery, which higher authorities of Joseon always reiterate. I hope there is some kind of closure on this, yet it appears this theme will be one of the deciding factors of how this series ends.

Episode 7

At one point during episode 7, Lady Ae-sin is seen learning the English alphabet, using that rhyme that we became accustomed to at school. There is a blatant attempt by Ae-sin to impress Eugene by being able to understand the letters at the beginning of each word.

What a purposeful contrast this forms; in previous episodes, we have seen the same character hop roofs late at night in Joseon and use old pots for target practice. Learning each letter serves a purpose because then she begins to understand that the world love begins with “L”, which gives her some kind of breakdown when she considers what the word actually means.

At the end of episode 6 and the start of 7, Eugene takes Lady Ae-sin’s offer to do “love”. Saying that out loud sounds absurdly childish, however, in the cultural landscape we are witnessing, an American courting a noblewoman is a dangerous scenario – especially with the surrounding politics that Joseon is strangled with.

The definition of love causes Ae-sin to have a sudden fluttery moment, and she begins to understand that love is more difficult than using a weapon. The contrast begins to make sense.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 7 (Credit – Netflix)

Mr. Sunshine episode 7 continues to account for the many elements the story possesses. Joseon continues to be held by forces trying to colonise, with America sitting at the side looking arrogantly pretty.

The hotel owner continues to observe, gossip and plot her own story and the three men (Eugene, Hui-Seong and Gu Dong-mae) spend most of their moments thinking about the woman they love. Despite movements being made on all three, with little progress, it turns out that episode 7 is the best episode in the series so far, with the most significant moments.

Remember in episode 5 when the Japanese army came knocking on Eugene’s base to potentially start a battle? The leading instigator of this small revolution is overwhelmingly bitter and decides to go on a shooting rampage after finding out that a young lady at an expensive bar is not Japanese, and is actually from Joseon, giving the young Japanese soldier an excuse to accuse her of being a spy and dragging her out by her hair onto the streets whilst shooting dead anyone who decides to defend her.

Meanwhile, Eugene and Ae-sin are arguing about what love means, which becomes sidetracked by the commotion out in the streets. These two moments form the benchmark scene of Mr. Sunshine so far, as Lady Ae-sin quickly reverts back to her vigilante attire and stops the Japanese man with two bullets.

Eugene then shoots himself and approaches the shooter. By doing this, he created a political situation whereby a Japanese soldier shot an American, which falls into his hands.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 7

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 7 (Credit – Netflix)

This moment serves a turning point stronger than any other moment in the series so far, as it succeeds in politically and romantically tying Eugene and Lady Ae-sin together. Up until this point, both characters subjected themselves to leading, riddled questions, but no actions were demonstrated to prove their point.

These scenes were brought together with such a precise flow that it gave the entire episode meaningful context.

The ending to episode 7 provided a stand-off, where Eugene, Hui-Seong and Gu Dong-mae happen to stand near each other in the streets. If there is one directorial element Mr. Sunshine is obsessed with, it is shots of characters standing apart from each other and remaining still for a long period of time.

Hui-Seong figures out why all three men hate each other based on one anomaly – Lady Ae-sin, his fiance. He then arrogantly threatens both of them. At this point, anything could happen; the tensions are reaching boiling point and Joseon is slowly coming under more threat as the series progresses. Episode 7 offered an explosive episode, showing us there is much more to come.

Episode 8

Episode 8 kicks off proceedings with the stand-off between the three warring men. What was once formal is now out in the open, with Eugene not accepting any threats with Lady Ae-sin in the middle. Hui-seong looks conflicted, given his family’s past of wronging Eugene.

Meanwhile, Gu-Dong Mae continues his usual formality of being the aggressor on the streets, adhering to Japanese problems.

Episode 8 serves as a unique turning point for Eugene. The Emporer of Korea becomes interested in the Acting Consul of the American Legation and invites him to his palace to seek an understanding of America’s position on the Korean empire. This is solely because he is ex-Korean, thus a likely foe.

Unfortunately, for Eugene, this opens up old wounds and he distances himself from the politics and tells the Emporer that he is an ex-slave of Joseon. This could possibly answer that fate of Eugene, who will now be suspected to not sympathise with Joseon. This moment also highlights Eugene’s persistence in this situation and the level of his personal aggravation against his place of birth.

Eugene will have to make a decision that will involve his love for Lady Ae-sin, who becomes slightly sidetracked in Mr. Sunshine episode 8, with her Noble family concerned about her wellbeing because of the skills she is learning, which usually involves a gun. Ae-sin looks just as conflicted as her romantic counterpart, mulling over the details that happened with the violent ending of episode 7.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 8 (Credit – Netflix)

All remaining outcomes outside of the love square seem to hang on the balance of the bank deposit certificate, which could bring demise to Joseon. Only Eugene knows where this certificate is which he dirtily hid away in a pawn shop.

Episode 8 doesn’t improve the position on this “missing” certificate, but paranoia seems to be growing with all those involved. One of Eugene’s flaws is that he repeats on various occasions that his help is only, “delaying Joseon’s demise” – displaying the flagrantly obvious dilemma he faces.

Episode 8 ends with thrilling action scenes like the previous, allowing it to be an acceptable extension of the best episode so far. Lady Ae-sin is adamant that she should aid the efforts to help the woman who was ragged by her hair in the last episode by the Japanese soldier. She mounts the streets of Joseon again, with similarities to Assassin’s Creed.

Her continued involvement in violent activities leaves her continuously at risk to be exposed as Gu-Dong Mae gets a slight glimpse of her, but not a good enough view to accuse her of being essentially a caped hero, scouring the streets of Joseon. By the end, Ae-sin ends up in the same room as Eugene, both recognising the violent risks their partnership is enduring.

Episode 9

Mr. Sunshine episode 9 is a soppy version of the series itself, opening up with the first ever hug between Lady Ae-sin and Eugene from the last episode. The former Joseon man looked relieved, after weeks of sneaking around her, he finally understood where he stood with someone he looked incredibly nervous around.

Eugene does not just experience a hug, he finally confirms he stands behind her in the unspoken revolution. Her comrades immediately threaten Eugene so he knows where he stands. The Righteous Army are not trusting people, but he can take comfort that their association is direct with Ae-sin.

With both leading characters finally embracing each other, episode 9 went full romantic, with saccharine music taking control for the most part, however, as always in Joseon there is always something brewing with the threat of foreigners still raging.

Gu-Dong Mae is not a man that the audience can trust, as with each episode he tends to do what he is instructed with his violent methods. He is probably Joseon’s most feared man on the streets, yet I cannot quite place his role in the whole of this.

It’s abundantly obvious that he is in love with Lady Ae-sin but his actual agenda lacks. What’s worrying but intriguing is that he finally infiltrating the Righteous Army, after he suspects Lady Ae-sin is roaming the roofs shooting at undesirables.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 9

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 9 (Credit – Netflix)

The Glory Hotel took centre stage again in episode 9, with the owner doing her customary job of spying on the guests. Lady Ae-sin bravely goes to Eugene’s room, draped in her cloak attire so the hotel does not suspect anything.

Meanwhile, Hui-Seong appears to be gambling away his money, serving not much use to the plot apart from the fact that he is from the slave owner’s family that wronged Eugene’s parents. Hui-Seong predictably resists Lady Ae-sin’s advances to break off the engagement but the theme of power continues, with the smug Joseon man giving every intention that he will resist.

Episode 9 ends with an incredible turn of events, showing the strategic flair that Eugene possesses. For a few episodes now he has allowed the motive of revenge to burn on his mind, and that revenge came in a brutal sense.

The man that wronged his family is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Eugene cleverly plants the bank deposit certificate that should be in the hands of the Joseon government in his house.

Hiding the deposit certificate that shows the intentions of foreign powers is a traitorous act in Joseon, leaving the minister executed on his doorstep. Episode 9 offered a significant movement by Eugene, allowing him to succeed in his revenge.

But Eugene’s moments did not end. In fact, it got more personal for the former Joseon man. He finally confesses to Lady Ae-sin that he used to be from Joseon and in fact, a slave. Lady Ae-sin will now truly understand why Eugene does not leave much of his heart for Joseon.

Episode 10

Mr. Sunshine episode 10 was surprisingly downbeat. After the last episode with Eugene explaining his past to Lady Ae-sin, I was expecting more drama. Instead, Ae-sin looks wounded and somberly walks back on the ice, resembling someone whose heart is punctured. Eugene looked equally depressed; he played a risky card – confessing that he has delayed his destruction of Joseon because he met a woman that caught him by surprise.

Revealing that he used to be a slave is highly significant. As a viewer it dismantles the character slightly, making his authoritative American clothes look less important. He dons quite a role at the American legation, but like Rick in The Walking Dead, once a lead character faces true reality, it is difficult for the audience to view them as before.

It’s all about social ranking in episode 10, which is what contributes to such a gloomy episode. Lady Ae-sin has to consider her rank, and with Eugene bearing the past of slavery, she has an important choice to make.

Devastatingly, she chooses the easy but heartbreaking option, which is to call off “love” with Eugene. Her fear of causing heartache causes her heartache, creating quite an emotionally impactful episode.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 10 (Credit – Netflix)

Episode 10 does try to continue the politics, mostly surrounding the famous deposit certificate that has had everyone running amock since the earlier episodes. There is also a Minister of Foreign Affairs to fill, which is the decision of the Emporer after the thrilling execution we witnessed in episode 9.

For the first time, the politics feel second rate, with their importance overshadowed by the desolate feeling left by the two lead characters. However, there is an almighty moment where Gu-Dong Mae gets a hard slap from Lady Ae-sin for bullying a maid on the streets in an embarrassing fashion – Ae-sin has offered to pay the money lost by the maid for Gu-Dong Mae, who now feels he has a chance to resurface a romance with her that was not even there previously.

The end of episode 10 continued to be dispirited, with Eugene taking the decision to move to another station outside of Joseon. Even the Emporer asking for his help did not sway him. I guess episode 10 does have some relevance in explaining to the audience the meaning of “Mr. Sunshine”, which is romantically set by Ae-sin during her English lessons, who sees Eugene as Mr. Sunshine, as I assume he brightens up her day.

Episode 11

Originally, I was going to criticise this entire episode due to the number of lazy, unnecessary rehashed scenes, but then Mr. Sunshine episode 11 ended in the best fight scene so far in the series with the Glory Hotel owner Kudo Hina donning a freaky mask.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 11

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 11 (Credit – Netflix)

Kudo Hina was fighting Lady Ae-sin, who was in her usual nighttime attire. Both women were searching the hotel room of Eugene, looking for a significant letter that would put Eugene’s position in Joseon in jeopardy. Watching the two warring women fight, one with a rifle and the other with a fencing sword, brought a thrilling climax to an almost boring episode.

Episode 11 continued the heartbreaking situation that Lady Ae-sin and Eugene face. It’s clear that the departing Eugene is taking his sweet ass time to leave for obvious reasons, despite a pending transfer incoming.

Lady Ae-sin spends much of the episode pondering about her many confrontations with Eugene, which usually ended in tears streaming down her face. Their relationship made little progress in what felt like a filler episode for the most part.

Mr. Sunshine did take a slight swerve involving Gu-Dong Mae, who seemingly got surprisingly romantic with the Glory Hotel owner. Both characters have an aggressive approach to every scenario; both spoke strongly to each other with piercing eyes, but it was apparent that something warm is blossoming.

It was an enlightening moment when Kudo Hina referred to Lady Ae-sin as a bitch, which I thought would have angered Gu-Dong Mae but instead, he appeared relaxed, exchanging a complimenting but reminding her that such ugly words should never leave her mouth.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 11

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 11 (Credit – Netflix)

The new Minister of Foreign Affairs was assassinated, making that role feel cursed, but now all eyes are on Eugene, who caught someone searching his room.

The man he caught is a drug addict so Eugene has the task to find out why he is being searched and more importantly, how can he get out of an increasingly dangerous situation; especially since he is an ex- Joseon slave turned American being involved with a nobleman’s daughter.

Meanwhile, the almost empty Hui-seong is still trying to save his dead engagement with Lady Ae-sin by trying to initiate plans and buying her grand gifts. To be fair, he does become useful when Gu-Dong Mae threatens her regarding the debts she needs to repay, reminding the street assassin that he is the richest man in Joseon.

We did learn in the end that Eugene wishes for Lady Ae-sin’s objectives to be achieved, which is for Joseon to be saved. However, episode 11 was a bit of a waste of time until the end.

Episode 12

“There is no future where we can be together”. Those were the painful words delivered by Lady Ae-sin to Eugene in one of their usual secret hot spots. Those kinds of words would typically provide a dull end to an episode, but it somehow brought back their romance. It’s almost as if both characters felt the possibility of not spending time with each other again, which spurred them to act more romantically than ever before.

Mr. Sunshine Episode 12 ends with a montage of both characters hand-writing letters to each other, having secret lessons on sniper rifles, and horse riding into the distance to watch the sunset over the ocean. It’s all very sweet, but you cannot help but feel that it is definitely going to end badly.

This instalment was not all soppy, in fact, the episode began with American and Japanese delegates enjoying a drink together, which descended into chaos as the political intentions merged within the fumes of the alcohol. Since the death of the second Minister of Foreign Affairs, foreign affairs have become even more intense.

As the season progresses, it seems Lee Wan-Ik is the man that looks to become pivotal in the destiny of Joseon. It’s abundantly clear that he does not have Joseon in his best interest; there is a tie into Eugene of course, who had one of Lee Wan-Ik’s men captured.

Eugene reluctantly lets him go, and he is still not sure why his room was searched, or how he fits into the bigger picture. Episode 12 confirms that there is a destination, but it wants to spend a lot of time conclusively getting there.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 12

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 12 (Credit – Netflix)

After the thrilling end to the last episode with Lady Ae-sin and the Glory Hotel owner Kudo Hina fighting, Mr. Sunshine Episode 12 offers a resolution. The two women decided to call it quits and both exchange what they are both battling over; Kudo Hina wants the autopsy report regarding her husband and Lady Ae-sin wants the letter addressed to Eugene.

Later in the episode, both women decide to meet in a civilised location – a cafe where they serve delicious cakes, which was rather odd. It was confidently confirmed that Hina is the daughter of Lee Wan-Ik, which kind of makes sense, as she suspects that her father is responsible for her husband’s murder and the atmosphere between both characters is glaringly obvious. Lee Wan-Ik visits Hina in Episode 12, talking to her like an aggressive bulldog, stating that she needs another husband quickly.

But the best moment in episode 12 is the revelation of Eugene finding out that Lady Ae-sin has a letter addressed to him. Lady Ae-sin demands that he reads it out loud because it is written in English

. Strangely enough, the letter is from his lifelong friend Josef, the missionary that guided Eugene’s life. He mumbled the letter but ended on, “how it is going with you and the woman”. Of course, Lady Ae-sin knew immediately what the letter was referring to.

Regardless of the good moments, there does not seem to be much recognisable progress in the series. Gu-Dong Mae is doing his usual sinister smile, getting involved with all the politicians.

What is clear is that the Emporer of Joseon is slowly losing his grip; there was mention of the pressure to relieve the Joseon currency and allowing Japenese money to run the country’s finances – the Emporer looked against the idea but did not dismiss it completely, despite the attack to their sovereignty.

Episode 13

As we cross the halfway point of Mr. Sunshine, I feel like I have a real connection with the characters. I mean, with each episode accounting for a feature-length film, and episode 13 being a whole seventy-eight minutes, I guess it is rather difficult to not treat these characters as if they were my friends.

That’s not to say I have enjoyed the entire experience; some episodes have felt long and cumbersome and having little knowledge of the history of Joseon means I have spent most episodes googling references alongside the character’s cloddish ways of explaining complex events.

Episode 13 almost feels symbolic; with the series signalling a metaphoric congratulation for making it this far. The characters appear to blend together more in Episode 13 and the first thirty minutes are quite upbeat relative to the rest of the series so far. That is, until the end.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 13

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 13 (Credit – Netflix)

The episode started off how the previous one ended, with Eugene and Lady Ae-sin taking a spontaneous horse ride down to the sea, to witness the sun and enjoy each other’s company. I found it profoundly odd that nobody questioned their brief disappearance, however; witnessing both characters actually have something recognisable as a date felt like a milestone achieved, as it has taken a tiresome amount of time to get here.

Both characters were relaxed for once, ignoring the pressures of Joseon, politics and night vigilante talk, and instead enjoyed tinned food which, can I add, looked like the sort of sealed meal product you serve to a cat. In fact, I am wholly convinced that the costumes and prop team gave Eugene a Felix tin for the purpose of the scene.

The rest of Episode 13 subjected itself to an almost settled Joseon, with no dramas to savour or to report on initially. Even the Glory Hotel owner Kudo Hina appeared less sinister, though she did decide to consume an entire bottle of some strong alcoholic beverage as she continues to struggle with her journey to avenge her Husband’s death.

Gu-Dong Mae is the man to help, carrying her home, rubberstamping into the story that both characters are in an unspoken relationship. Well, that may be a stretch, but it does seem likely.

Meanwhile, Lady Ae-sin is glowing from her romance, improving her English and becoming more openly involved with Eugene in public. It feels like a dangerous game because by exposing themselves they become a target.

She does manage to unconvincingly settle her debts with Gu-Dong Mae by agreeing to a payback scheme with the street assassin – a situation forced onto her by Kudo Hina, who refused to assist Ae-sin with her debt. I believe we will be seeing a fight between these two again soon.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 13

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 13 (Credit – Netflix)

As for Joseon itself, you can almost feel the choke that is consuming the community as Japan is slowly getting a grip on the economy, with the authoritarian people of Joseon resisting the use of Japanese currency due to it potentially damaging sovereignty.

The politics brought Go Sa-Hong back into the fold, the nobleman and grandfather of Lady Ae-sin who is angered by the Japanese influence and writes a scathing letter asking for Joseon not to consider using their currency. In the same moment, he asks Hui-seong to not call off the engagement with Lady Ae-sin. It seems that no matter what happens, Hui-seong cannot distance himself from his situation with Ae-sin, and he will have to find a solution soon.

Episode 13 ended on gloomier terms, but it was also a great turning point to witness for Eugene halfway through the season. His old lifelong American friend Joseph, who embodies a father figure, has been planning to visit Eugene this whole time since he sent the letter.

The episode ends tragically as Joseph arrives at Joseon murdered, with Eugene not having the chance to meet him. As the episode ends with Eugene sobbing uncontrollably, I wondered how this will pan out for the lead character. For all the pain he has suffered in Joseon, another one has arrived at his feet, in the same place he was brutally treated as a slave.

Episode 14

Mr. Sunshine has now entered a phase where the powers of Joseon need to enact their chess plays. Episode 14 signified a dark and twisted turn of events, with the consequences of the death of American Missionary Joseph taking its toll. This series has had its great moments but this was perhaps the most complete episode so far, with all characters coming together, some with a common goal and others with a less desirable intention.

Episode 14 showed the Eugene I wanted to see. An angry one. After thirteen episodes of the lead character barely lifting a finger or striking a more aggressive emotion, the death of his lifelong friend finally brought him to a level we can respect him on. Rather than being calculated, he became reckless instead, allowing his emotions to get the better of him; he wanted answers, and he wanted them quick.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 14

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 14 (Credit – Netflix)

But the surprise moments in this episode came from Gu-Dong Mae, who became the first suspect of the Joseon police. They were of course, for corrupt reasons, wrong to arrest him, with the real plotting coming from Lee Wan-Ik, who is as desperate as ever to tighten his grip on the Emporer so he can become the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The reasoning behind Joseph’s death was because of the letter he was delivering, which put Joseon at risk; highlighting that Joseph was bringing it to Joseon to protect them. Gu-Dong Mae was tortured viciously but showed his loyalty and refused to give into the politics, providing a depth of character I was not expecting.

The real suspect is Kim Yong-Ju; if you remember previously he tried to search Eugene’s hotel, which ended in a shoot-out. Due to Eugene’s willingness to bring Kim Yong-Ju to justice, he does everything in his power to send Joseon a message, and frees Gu-Dong Mae but immediately puts him under American custody.

Again, seeing Eugene form into a character that lays down his political shackles is one that we need to see more often.

The murder of Joseph is not resolved because all of the characters are so worried about each other that in the end, it became a dark and twisted episode with everyone paranoid.

Lee Wan-Ik wants to lay the blame on Go-Sa Hong, the grandfather of Lady Ae-sin, who wrote that scathing letter last episode regarding the collapse of Joseon sovereignty. Every episode before us appears to be culminating into a controlled war, with everyone waiting for it to explode. If you have patience with Mr. Sunshine, then you have been truly rewarded here.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 14

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 14 (Credit – Netflix)

As the episode came to an end, Eugene is helped by no other than Hui-seong whilst in an altercation with Gu-Dong Mae’s men who desperately want their boss to be free. Episode 14 showed that the three men (Eugene, Gu-Dong Mae and Hui-seong) may not like each other but there is a level of respect; the series is not just about Lady Ae-sin anymore, it’s about loyalty, respect and mortality.

The ending provided a twist as an assassination attempt is placed on Eugene in his own hotel room whilst in the company of Lady Ae-sin during an intimate moment. Both managed to escape the room due to the hotel owner Kudo Hina, much to the relief of Ae-sin.

As the episode closes, Eugene learns that The Righteous Army, the group of people Ae-sin is involved with to protect Joseon, tried to assassinate him. It’s because of his strong involvement with the letters that have put him at risk, and The Righteous Army believe he is putting Joseon in danger.

Lady Ae-sin is asked to kill the man who is crossing the icy lake, knowing full well that man is Eugene, leaving a worthy cliffhanger.

Episode 15

I paused briefly during episode 15 wondering why I feel like I never understand where I stand with the drama. This series manages an equilibrium of opposing tones such that you never know what to expect. That theory was realised in this episode, dealing with the aftermath of the attempted assassination in the first act, but by the middle, Mr. Sunshines becomes a soft romance. The series always sets this period of calm after the storm, and you are never sure when the storm will clear or begin again.

The opening was decisively intense; Eugene went to visit The Righteous Army following on from the conclusion of episode 14. It was pretty obvious that Lady Ae-sin was not going to pull the trigger on Eugene, despite the harsh request from The Righteous Army to do so.

Eugene appeared exhausted, but with Lee Wan-Ik tightening his grip on Joseon, it seemed to relax The Righteous Army’s mind about the American and they decided to respectfully lay down their arms. With the capture of Kim Yong-Ju, the murderer of the American Missionary, faith was restored back to the Americans, and the rolling effect meant Gu-Dong Mae was freed from captivity.

Episode 15 revealed an interesting moment for the Emporer; since the pilot, we have seen Japanese presence grow in Joseon – with Lee Wan-Ik playing his cards to position himself to Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Politically, the Emporer had no choice, but as he uttered his announcement to Lee Wan-Ik, he became dazed; he saw the presence of the Japanese grow under his leadership – it’s clear since episode one that Mr. Sunshine is dealing with a leader of Joseon who is failing to see how everything is mounting up against him.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 15

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 15 (Credit – Netflix)

Gu- Dong Mae had his usual Gu-Dong Mae moment in Mr. Sunshine Episode 15, slashing the throat of someone from the police bureau as instant revenge. The character has grown in stature since his early villainous days; Gu Dong-Mae offers much more depth to his character than first realised. As he walked around Joseon, with his own blood and the blood of his victim on his face, you could truly feel the fear he radiates to those he passes.

Eugene had to deal with his past once more, with Hui-seong’s mother giving him a personal visit. He refused forgiveness – a moment that felt brutal but understandable from a character point of view.

Eugene showed little remorse, even allowing the mother to kneel in embarrassing fashion; it would be difficult to feel any sympathy for the mother, after witnessing the murder of his parents and getting tortured as a slave, it is believable to think that Eugene would struggle to consider an easy act of forgiveness – on the flipside, slaves are never offered mercy in most cases.

The same episode provided a U-turn for Hui-seong, as he learns of Eugene’s past at the hands of his family, changing the dynamic between these two characters completely. Surely he will not use this news against Eugene, but rather he utilises it as a way of forming a stronger bond.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 15

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 15 (Credit – Netflix)

The episode ended with moments to ponder, leading the audience to question how all this mess can truly end. Eugene is requested to be the Drill Leader again to help prevent Lee Wan-Ik’s plotting and to protect The Righteous Army.

I believed this was to be the moment that secures his protection, but then Lady Ae-sin is asked to finally marry Hui-seong, which provided an awkward moment where she had to confess to her grandfather that she wishes to stand with another man.

In a strange ending, Hui-seong shows a wrapped-up letter from his father, formally requesting that he now marries Lady Ae-sin, stating that he is going to do something bad. The problem is he wasn’t clear what he actually meant, but Lady Ae-sin looked terrified. The patience with this story is truly paying off, making me wonder if there will be some heartaches when we reach the finale.

Episode 15 was a period of reflection for all the characters after two episodes of tragedy and fighting, however, it leaves you knowing that an even larger war is brewing.

Episode 16

Episode 16 had its moments, but it was a fitting example of why the series could be much shorter. There were scenes that could have easily fit into the other overlong episodes, showing how the Korean melodrama does enjoy overindulging in its own story.

Hui-seong decides to make the ultimate and noble sacrifice and break off the engagement. It appears that Hui-seong is feeling guilt-ridden of his family’s past, especially with the treatment of Eugene, and knowing full well that the American is in an unspoken romance with Lady Ae-sin, he at least provides that gift almost as an apology.

This was a defining moment because for many episodes I have complained that Hui-seong offered very little to the story but his breakthrough came, in a moment that gained respect.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 16

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 16 (Credit – Netflix)

Lady Ae-sin was transparently grateful; she knows that for the man to break off the engagement saves her face, however, her grandfather, Lord Go, is still absolutely fuming that she stands by another man and demands that this person she speaks of faces him.

For an episode that was a little dull and uneventful, this was the highlight of Episode 16. Witnessing Eugene and Lady Ae-sin take an earful for their romance is the kind of moment we were expecting since the start. Episode 16 at least provided a sensible continuation of the repercussions of calling off the wedding.

The repercussions felt severe, but then I immediately reminded myself that even in today’s society families are precious over arranged weddings. When Lord Go uttered something along the lines of, “If I had known that my granddaughter would do this, I would have taken my life a long time ago,” that moment hit me, as both characters knew that their romance cannot continue.

I felt like Lord Go’s words were exaggerated but he was probably serious, which shows the severity and the risk of both character’s actions to enter into this romance.

Episode 16 then took an unusual turn, subjecting itself to absolute soppiness to a point that I could not abide. Lady Ae-sin runs after Eugene to say goodbye and acknowledge that this cannot continue.

I completely understood the need for this scene but then it went into a dream state, with both characters reminiscing about their moments on the beach together, imagining a life that could have been. It faltered the flow of the episode.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 16 (Credit - Netflix)

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 16

The rest of Episode 16 focused on the slow demise of Joseon; Japan has shown a strong hand and decided to issue their currency anyway – Foreign minister Lee Wan-ik threatens there will be war if they are not used, highlighting that Japan have war ships ready, with the army on alert if Joseon does not accept this advancement of currency.

The Emporer gives in almost immediately. It’s been abundantly obvious for a while that Lee Wan-ik has little interest in Joseon, and is essentially Japan’s puppet. His war rhetoric was feeble and exaggerated at best, making me wonder why the Emporer would concede so weakly.

Gu Dong-mae also pays Lord Go a visit, making him aware that the letters he sent to scholars regarding the attack to Joseon sovereignty were never delivered, forcing Lady Ae-sin’s grandfather to send out a task team in the middle of the night. Mr. Sunshine Episode 16 may have been a bit of a non-episode, but it still indicated that we are going to get more fireworks.

As Episode 16 closes, Hui-seong is seen building his own newspaper company. It made me think how bizarre all these characters are. Mr. Sunshine almost prides itself on its own weirdness at times.

Episode 17

Episode 17, you witness Japanese troops arriving off a boat, with tense music; as the leader of the troops moves forward, the music intensifies, signalling to the audience that this colonel, who was not originally named, will be very important once he arrives in Joseon. It’s understood that he will reveal himself further at some point in the episode. What is clear is that Japan is ready to be aggressive.

And the politics are at an all-time high in Mr. Sunshine, with the lead characters more concerned with the fragility of Joseon. Eugene lives up to his word, becoming drill instructor for Joseon troops as requested by the Emperor. What was meant to be a routine training drill turns into a war of words; Lee Wan-ik decides to show up at the training course, concerned that Eugene now leads the drill training.

This scene showed further confidence from Eugene in his American skin, aiming a gun at Lee Wan-ik and purposefully aiming past him. The troops felt the tension, and so could the audience. They exchanged such heated words; it seems that Eugene has chosen a side – he is most certainly against the destruction of Joseon, and he will happily get in the way of Lee Wan-ik to prevent that from happening.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 17

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 17 (Credit – Netflix)

Mr. Sunshine Episode 17 offered a period of sadness for Hui-seong. After sacrificing his pride last episode, he spent a decent amount of screen time reminiscing encounters with Lady Ae-sin; the words traded, pondering what could have been.

In previous episodes, I felt that he wanted the arranged marriage for the family reputation and his diminishing pride, but it does seem that he did, in fact, love her. My respect increased furthermore in this episode, where he cutely offered Lady Ae-sin a game of pool, with the winner getting a wish; he beat her in one run.

Lady Ae-sin looked nervous but his wish was to offer an end to the engagement, whilst wishing her luck. She could not thank him enough. In this episode, it is suggested that Hui-seong wants to rid the family plague that is attached to his character. He’s made an important step.

Tensions heightened in the third act – Lord Go leads an urgent appeal, gathering a number of men to sign a pledge of dissatisfaction against the Joseon government at the increased presence of the Japanese. His points are justified, the Japanese are taking stronghold over the 500-year-old Joseon dynasty and he bravely sits in front of the Emperor’s door demanding that he comes outside to hear his dissatisfaction, with his men behind him. I am not sure if this is regarded as treason? I suspect it is and it would not surprise me if this ended badly for him.

I did expect Lee Wan-ik to use his powers to force an arrest on Lord Go, considering he can utilise his powers as one of the ministers. For some reason, he hesitated and considered it not to be a strategic move at this time to show his presence and demand an arrest. This decision was delivered much to the disagreement of the Japanese minister.

Episode 17 showed for the first time that Lee Wan-ik is not invincible in his position, and he does have people questioning his decisions, even in his own quarters.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 17

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 17 (Credit – Netflix)

Whilst all this madness occurred, Gu Dong-mae was randomly shot whilst purchasing sweets; for a character that is usually soaked in his victim’s blood, this was an unusual scene to take in. Hui-seong attempts to aid him. It’s not clear if Gu Dong-mae is going to survive, as he did not officially die in that scene but it did look rather grim.

Lady Ae-sin faces Japanese Troops at the end. They turn up at their residency with the same type of authority at the start of the episode. There is a certain arrogance about them. I assume they turned up due to Lord Go’s voice of concern about Japan, and that news has reached them.

As Mr. Sunshine Episode 17 closes, Lady Ae-sin tries to command the colonel to exit her residency and leave her people alone. The colonel completely ignores her, at which point Eugene turns up like a knight in shining armour with his American men. The colonel, who is still not named, knows Eugene and cockily tells him that his English is poor because he needed to understand Korean for days like this.

Episode 18

After the drama unfolding in the previous episode, episode 18 relieved the tension rather quickly. I was disappointed. The Japanese colonel allowed Eugene to take Lady Ae-sin to the American Legation, which was Eugene’s only way to protect her. At least we now have a name – Takashi Mori. It was a frustratingly long wait to hear his name.

And thankfully, the series has more edge as this guy is a nasty piece of work. He’s clearly a warmonger with a lack of empathy. As an example, Takashi Mori invites Hui-seong for a meal, requesting that he starts a pro-Japanese newspaper.

Hui-seong being his usual self, flamboyantly enjoyed his meal and acted jovially regarding the situation, knowing that this man is a threat to the future of Joseon. Takashi Mori spoke cruel words about the people of Joseon, declaring that he is going to destroy their spirit in order to defeat them. He is a probably the show’s first proper villain; cold and calculated – he clearly has a plan in mind. Episode 18 does a marvellous job in allowing his presence to be felt. It is just what the series needed for its final run.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 18

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 18 (Credit – Netflix)

Hui-seong has proudly released his first newspaper, which he claimed to be a special edition; I kind of raised my eyebrows a little when he gave it the “special” label because it is his first issue. Nevertheless, he reported on Lord Go’s arrest in front of the castle, as ordered by the Emporer.

Again, the Joseon King ordered the arrest to protect Lord Go from the Japanese. At present, it feels like the people of Joseon are doing everything they can to delay the Japanese as much as possible.

The tide is turning ever so slightly, with the people of Joseon on the back foot constantly. Mr. Sunshine episode 18 has all the main characters aimlessly guessing how to handle an impending war, with the Japanese antagonising them as much as they possibly can.

It was a lacklustre episode for the most part. With the finale a couple of weeks away, you can sense that something special is lined up, you just cannot tell what moves are going to be made.

Gu Dong-mae survived his attempted assassination, even though he had to contend with Japanese involvement whilst in hospital. The doctor involved works under the wing of Lee Wan-ik, so his comrades had to make sure that he saved his life.

After he was discharged, Gu Dong-mae decided to give Lady Ae-sin a visit, stopping her entourage, asking her to stop her usual day to day routines in order to remain safe. The character seems angrier than ever since he was nearly killed, claiming that he will be the enemy if it means achieving his mission. He then wildly uses his sword to cut off Lady Ae-sin’s ponytail. I am not absolutely certain what this signifies but it did assert his dominance, whilst onlookers gasped.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 18

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 18 (Credit – Netflix)

Hui-seong apologised to Eugene. He has saved it for a few episodes now but he finally had to reveal his sadness that his family caused so much pain and tragedy. Eugene did not look bothered by the apology, and I felt the same; so much has happened since the beginning of the series that an apology at this stage was less impactful.

It did confirm an allegiance – I forecasted that Eugene, Gu Dong-mae and Hui-seong were going to be great enemies battling it out by the end of the series; how wrong was I. Episode 18 tied up a few loose ends at least.

As the episode drew to a close, I felt a little distant from the story. At this stage, it’s easy to be familiar with the characters but everything felt ceremonial, with drama leading to dead ends. The series tends to follow dramatic episodes with periods of calm – which can be frustrating. What is clear is Lee Wan-ik wants to be the leading man to take over Joseon but he has Takashi Mori to contend with.

Episode 19

Mr. Sunshine episode 19 had all the elements of a groundbreaking finale, stringing together several scenarios that have been brewing for weeks; I was not expecting it to come to a head so early. Hold tight, we have a lot to discuss.

It’s important to wind back to the last episode to understand the events that ensued here. Gu Dong-mae infamously cut off Lady Ae-sin’s ponytail, embarrassing her publically. According to a few of our readers, Gu Dong-mae’s act of aggression was highly disrespectful, belittling Lady Ae-sin’s wellbeing and reducing her to a lower form of a citizen in front of onlookers. Cutting the ponytail is an act of symbolism; and according to one reader, the head/hair represents honour in many cultures, even in the present day.

For Gu Dong-mae, this act asserted dominance at first glance but for Lady Ae-sin, this was a huge blow to her reputation, and she felt it too – she initially threatened Gu Dong-mae and then resorted to gloominess for most of the episode.

However, when Eugene confronted Gu Dong-mae regarding his audacious act, he explained that Lee Wan-ik was attempting to get information on her, placing him in an awkward position; in reality, Gu Dong-mae was protecting Lady Ae-sin in a slightly odd way – by trying to threaten her, he believed she would hide away and keep out of trouble.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 19

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 19 (Credit – Netflix)

Episode 19 swiftly draws its attention away from that situation, focusing instead on Eugene and the romantic music box that he shares with Lady Ae-sin. At the end of the last episode, Takashi Mori suggests there is more to Eugene’s relationship with Lady Ae-sin than meets the eye and uses the music box to try and prove his point.

Eugene, as always, blags the situation, stating that the box could have been purchased anywhere. Takashi Mori does not buy it, but more to the point, Eugene kept his cool during times of rising tension, searching Takashi Mori’s hotel room to find his top targets in Joseon. The character is trying to stay one step ahead.

Takashi Mori pays Gu Dong-mae a visit and embarrassingly lands on the floor after a brief altercation between the two. It is clear that Takashi Mori has the brains but in this scenario, he was no match for the swordsman, with his gun instantly disarmed and thrown to the ground.

I suggested in Episode 18 that Joseon does not appear ready for the growing Japanese aggression. I was thinking at this point that I maybe I was wrong.

It turns out I was probably right. After Takashi Mori’s remarks that he will destroy the spirit of the Joseon people, that intention came to fruition but in the form of Lee Wan-ik, who decides to pay Lord Go a visit.

Lee Wan-ik displays a railway map to the respected man, pinpointing that his house will need to be destroyed for the purpose of transport lines in case there is a war with Russia. Lee Wan-Ik cackles like a madman as his men start destroying the outer walls and the infrastructure of Lord Go’s residence.

Lord Go holds his chest and collapses, ordering his people to lock Lady Ae-sin away so she does not get hurt. Lee Wan-ik at this stage is clearly feeling the pressure of Takashi Mori about his unwillingness to destroy Joseon. The Foreign Minister clearly took it to heart.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 19 (Credit – Netflix)

Takashi Mori takes matters further, hanging a dead Joseon woman from a bridge in the middle of the village. I had to take a mental step back at this point and take it in. Mr. Sunshine was slowly concocting the demise of the Joseon people in such horrific and unexpected circumstances, using dead people as a tool for war.

Eugene turns up on horseback but looks powerless at this point – not only had Takashi Mori broken the spirit of a respected elder nobleman, but he had used Lee Wan-ik as a pawn to spread his desires.

The latter end of episode 19 shows Takashi Mori’s plan go full circle. Lord Go dies due to the stress of his situation paying a price on his old heart, leaving the Joseon people to start many days of mourning.

The Emperor shows up, much to the surprise of Lee Wan-ik, who decided to mock the king for kneeling to the dead man. The mourning of Lord Go drove an emotionally-fuelled ending, showing the effect this man had, not only on Lady Ae-sin but the wider community. The pain did not end though, as Lee Wan-ik ruthlessly drives his men at the mourners as they try and pass Lord Go’s coffin through the village, brutally beating them all to a pulp. Episode 19 highlighted war, inflicted with no mercy.

And just when I thought I could not take any more, the Japanese soldiers walk through the villages, high in confidence, showing the true nature of their rise in Joseon. The primary aim is to capture Lady Ae-sin. Episode 19 ends in violent consequences, as the Japanese army start an onslaught on Lord Go’s residence workers in the hope they can find Lady Ae-sin.

Hui-seong heroically tries to save the situation but more bodies keep falling. At this point, I felt this was the end of Hui-seong, but as all the guns pointed at him, The Righteous Army responded, killing the Japanese soldiers.

As Hui-seong looks up at the roof, he sees Lady Ae-sin perched at the top with a rifle in her vigilante attire, giving the audience a brief moment of elation.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 19

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 19 (Credit – Netflix)

Despite the heroic ending, Mr. Sunshine bravely showed many casualties; the Japanese army finally showed their violent hand in their quest to destroy Joseon and take it for themselves.

Episode 20

Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 can be forgiven for taking a breather after the emotionally fuelled predecessor, however, before the calm, the series decides to continue the violent rollercoaster, as Joseon responds to the Japanese onslaught.

As the woman hangs from the bridge, Eugene sprints and punches Takashi Mori multiple times in absolute fury. Shots are fired to stop the opposing men, both clearly injected with rage after the saddening events that have taken place.

What I enjoyed about this particular scene is the need for necessary calm, to recognise a dead woman hanging below the bridge, to recognise that mourning needs to take place, not thrown fists and gunshots. Eugene places the principle on Takashi Mori, stating that soldiers die but the people of Joseon are not a weapon of war.

The woman hanging is Jang Seung-gu’s wife. As he stares into the distance recognising the death of his other half, his eyes tell a story; he is in denial at first – such disbelief was displayed within his body language, and then he broke down, prompting Eugene to force Takashi Mori to lower the body. The problem is, and as episode 20 demonstrates, the Colonel does not care. He is a raging psychopath.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 20 (Credit – Netflix)

Japan’s reasons to send Takashi Mori is clear – he has zero empathy, zero reliance on other people; he relies solely on his own dominating thought process. In Episode 20, you witness the Colonel execute his own men; he chooses the ones weakened in battle as he does not want Japan to show a frail hand as they continue the war.

Takashi Mori has a habit of getting blood splatted across his face, and a part of me believes he enjoys it like an afternoon supper. The Colonel spends time trying to break the spirit of The Righteous Army, torturing captured prisoners in an attempt for one of them to break and tell him where Lady Ae-sin is. Episode 20 does highlight a weakness in Takashi Mori: he cannot close off a historic revolutionary group due to their resolute behaviour.

Joseon does respond; we witness the end of Lee Wan-ik. It was a long time coming to be fair. The traitorous man was way too comfortable in his own self-entitled shoes. He clearly had none of Joseon’s interests at heart. Lady Ae-sin gets her revenge, shooting him a few times until he bleeds out.

Glory Hotel owner Kudo Hina looks slightly moved by the news, to hear her father has been finally murdered. She uses his death to get the whereabouts of her mother. Lord Lee Jeong-mun breaks the news to her that her mother is, in fact, dead, closing that chapter in her traumatic life. I felt sorry for Kudo Hina at this moment. She has played every chess piece possible to reach this conclusion and it was a devastating blow.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 20

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 20 (Credit – Netflix)

And to add to Joseon’s reply, Eugene and Jang Seung-gu play a blinder on the Japanese army, hanging Takashi Mori below the same bridge to embarrass him, prompting his soldiers to save him as a distraction, whilst the few men held as prisoners from The Righteous Army are let free.

No matter how hard Takashi Mori hits his hammer on Joseon, there always seems to be a reply, even if it is a blip in comparison. None of this prevents Japan’s plans, as word gets out that the war has started with Russia, meaning Joseon will be left in the middle to rot.

Episode 20 did show some progress between Lady Ae-sin and Eugene. Both characters have been suspiciously quiet with each other for a few episodes now. It’s no surprise; Lady Ae-sin has lost a lot and her dedication with The Righteous Army is paramount to her wellbeing. She tells Eugene that he should no longer wait for her and he responds with the most emotion I have seen since the season started.

What is clear from this scene is that Lady Ae-sin is everything to Eugene, resulting in a sobering fact that he will sacrifice anything for her. He used to be a slave after all, and he probably never envisioned finding love back in the days when he used to be tortured.

Despite her despondent response to his emotional appeal, months later she turns up asking him to take her to America. Maybe the two characters will have a happy ending after all?

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 20 (Credit – Netflix)

As The Righteous Army set out plans to save Lord Lee Jeong-mun, the Emporer stays in his castle waiting for the inevitable and The Musin Society curtail Gu Dong-mae’s power within their own organisation. Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 was the perfect calm before another storm.

Episode 21

I’ll be frank, I left the previous episode thinking that Lady Ae-sin does not deserve Eugene in almost all respects. The American man has determined every decision based on his love for the noblewoman, and in return, all he has received is a flurry of empty, cold rejections.

As he uttered his ineffective resentment, I could feel the pain quivering in his voice, the strain in the eyes. He has put his life on the line for Lady Ae-sin. And don’t get me wrong, I get why she is choosing Joseon over the ex-slave but there is a certain way of stating her choices. Her way of managing the situation has been uncomfortably cruel.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21 (Credit – Netflix)

Eugene continues to trust his large heart and offers to take her to Japan. If you could describe Eugene in one specific word, it would be resourceful. Due to his association with the American legation, he can organise official marriage certificates, and he makes Lady Ae-sin his wife, officially named Ae-sin Choi; in the same moment of offering engagement, he reveals the certificates.

Initially, I thought this approach was intensely invasive, however, at the same time, it is the easiest way she can get into Japan to try to save Lord Lee Jeong-mun. Episode 21 leaves no pages unturned for the leading characters, setting out the agendas clearly.

Despite Eugene’s painful past, he is still willing to help Joseon but under his American allegiance. Since episode 1, the US Corporal has always made it clear that his actions are repeatedly under American citizenship.

It’s clear he does it for his associated protection, and why wouldn’t he. Seizing an American dream provides more security than being an ex-slave from Joseon, though apart of me still thinks he has a small slither of respect left for his birthplace.

In episode 21, he spends a number of scenes saying goodbye to everyone before he embarks to Japan. His speech to his drill team was a leadership statement, telling them they are the best soldiers and they should be prepared for battle. Mr. Sunshine episode 21 confirmed that Joseon is now a ghost town, whilst it waits for the inevitable.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21 (Credit – Netflix)

The train journey to Japan was the first time in this episode that Eugene and Lady Ae-sin acknowledged the true weight of their marriage; Ae-sin offering a ring to Eugene to complete the Western way of commitment was wonderfully symbolic – the noblewoman is willing to accept other cultural ways to recognise their marriage.

When she uttered her love to him directly, you could sense the relief on the carriage; Eugene deserves it to be fair, and Mr. Sunshine has tentatively built every scene leading to this pivotal moment. This is not just marriage to help with the war; it is real.

The scene quickly swerved to heartbreaking as both accepted that they had to part ways with Eugene begging Lady Ae-sin to forget her allegiances and join him in America; the looks on both of their faces were telling and heart-rending. I did choke up slightly – despite knowing that it was not obviously the end, it was an important moment for both of them and you could see it.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21 (Credit – Netflix)

The rest of episode 21 turns into war as The Righteous Army puts their plans into place to save Lord Lee Jeoung- mun and they did it with such precision and strategy that I was slightly overwhelmed with the thought process behind it.

Lady Ae-sin shows that her marksmanship training has paid off as she manages to snipe as many enemies as possible whilst the rest of her group flee with Lord Lee Jeoung-mun. After countless scenes witnessing the noblewoman mull over different weapons and target practices, it was good to finally see her skills come to fruition.

Episode 21 shows Eugene living up to his promise to the now deceased Lord Go – to kill Takashi Mori. Regardless of the nobleman’s request, I also wished to see Eugene slaying the Japanese Colonel.

And the character did it in style, making Takashi Mori panic, shooting his arms and legs so he was physically disarmed; he was an excellent villain but it was equally refreshing to see Eugene perform the cold-blooded assassination, ending it with, “you are wrong, I am American”.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 21 (Credit – Netflix)

As the episode draws to a close Gu Dong-mae learns from his mute acquaintance that she has been blackmailed by The Musin Society and she intends to kill Lady Ae-sin in order to save him. His loyalties are clear as he tells one of his men that he is off to Japan.

Meanwhile, Lady Ae-sin and Eugene have a romantic photoshoot after “bumping” into each other again before the American has to set off on the ship back home. More drama was afoot as The Musin Society spot Ae-sin and chase her.

Of course, Eugene comes to her rescue and sprints to the American Legation in the hope that the soldiers defend them against the group of swordsmen. As the episode closes, you can see the soldiers lining up outside, and a swordsman about to unleash his sword on Lady Ae-sin.

Episode 22

Mr. Sunshine episode 22 leaves no time to reflect, moving at a pace through vital moments and significant periods of time. There is no time to ponder the many bridges we crossed previously. You can feel the end is near. Each character is beginning to learn their ultimate fate, as the fall of Joseon comes near.

It turns out that Eugene’s plan worked, which confines the married couple to a prison cell in the American Legation. Their near-death experience leads to a short romantic moment. Lady Ae-sin leans on Eugene to sleep – “I won’t move an inch,” he says almost instantly.

Can someone give this man a medal? Ironically, their first ever night together is in a prison cell, providing context to the entire series: an ex-slave and a noblewoman of Joseon arrested by choice; their entire journey was motivated by choice, and their sweet moment comes from escaping swordsmen.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 22

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 22 (Credit – Netflix)

When they leave prison it is likely the last time, at least for a few years. You could feel the weights of heavy hearts in this scene. Lady Ae-sin lets out a loud exhale, bringing floods of tears. For the first time, Mr. Sunshine provides a scene where it presents how much it means to both characters, and the moment ends with Lady Ae-sin mumbling, “let’s not say goodbye”.

We can only wish that both these characters get a happy ending after all this. Eugene heads back to America and Ae-sin hides away in Japan.

Gu Dong-mae does come to the rescue, slashing all of the swordsmen who found Lady Ae-sin in her hideout. In reality, Gu Dong-mae has made a life-changing sacrifice due to these heroics, highlighting the amount of care he has for her.

Being a saviour leads to the Musin Society sending groups of swordsmen after him in waves, showing just how much respect they have for him, requiring him to defend with his sword skills countless of times. His apparent death, in the end, was a noble one. The character always recognises himself as a villain in the wider story, yet all his actions of late speak of a man that is willing to do what is right, rather than think with just his sword.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 22 (Credit – Netflix)

Meanwhile, in Joseon, the Emporer concedes to Japan, requesting that they have a warm welcome and gratitude. In his other hand, he is trying to secure the safety of Lady Ae-sin from Japan. It is clear at this point that the Emporer is a feeble pawn in the entire context of the situation, whilst his ministers have all become traitors, helping Japan’s cause. Mr. Sunshine has excelled at tentatively portraying the demise of this nation.

Eugene had to face US court for his actions, with an accusation of treason, landing him in prison for a few years, episode 22 moves over the formalities, moving the story back to Joseon, and fast forwarding to three years later so the story can conveniently not mull over finer details.

Joseon has Japanese flags spread over the village; even the Emporer’s temple is coated with Japanese symbols. The Emporer is forced to dethrone himself, or otherwise kill himself, showing the true nature of those who have betrayed him.

The Righteous Army is causing mayhem in Joseon but Japan has better ideas, disbanding the Joseon army and taking away their weapons, which starts a brief but brutal war leading to the death of many soldiers. The loyal Gunner Jang sacrifices himself to help the disbanded army, which leads to him in a position where he has to take the blast of some explosives.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 22

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 22 (Credit – Netflix)

Mr. Sunshine episode 22 draws to a close with the Japanese army drinking copious amounts of alcohol and celebrating the demise of Joseon. Kudo Hina asks her waiters to serve them as much alcohol as possible. The ending provides one of the best moments of the series;

Eugene returns, and so does Gu Dong-mae. As they both hear gunshots, they run towards the Glory Hotel, which explodes in catastrophic style.

Episode 23

Putting aside the characters we have grown fond of, Mr. Sunshine episode 23 confirmed what we knew all along – Joseon is a minor state in the political landscape, and war is judged to be a higher priority.

Despite the efforts to keep sovereignty intact and the Emporer desperately trying to cling on to the little power he has, this week we were reminded that Japan has the real power, and despite the small outburst from the Joseon people, the Japanese army showed their response with cold-hearted, impressive violence.

Episode 23 showed us a glimpse of what happened before the Glory Hotel was destroyed by the owner Kudo Hina. You get to witness in the end where her real loyalties lie, and I believe in her last moments her love for her friends gave her allegiance to Joseon.

The explosion damaged her, leaving Gu Dong-mae to carry her to the beach for one last serenade amongst the waves, as she confesses her feelings. Gu Dong-mae looked woefully wounded. Mr. Sunshine did not prepare for his emotional breakdown as she died whilst he carried her.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 23 (Credit – Netflix)

This episode demonstrated the pinnacle; tensions were extinguished and Japan’s response to the Glory Hotel explosion was bordering genocide. There were horrifying, shocking events as soldiers entered hospitals and cleared floors by killing Joseon citizens that needed aid in order to give their own army medical attention.

When it led to children getting murdered in cold blood, you sense the extent that this war had caused; war crimes were evident.

Episode 23 does not give you moments to breathe amongst the self-made slaughter created by the Japanese Army. It was heartwarming to witness all the characters we have seen before enduring personal conflicts, band together for a common cause. Joseon’s response to the growing Japanese presence was a vengeful once, but their short, dull victory resulted in an epidemic that outlives hotel explosions. In moments of chaos, Mr. Sunshine drives the characters together; survival is more important than squabbles over love and political opinions.

Eugene, who has fled America romantically to help Lady Ae-sin, carries the wounded noblewoman to a hospital taken over by Japanese, showing his accurate eye with a weapon, and gathers supplies to help her overcome the injuries.

In times of pain comes love, as Lady Ae-sin believes she is in a dream as Eugene helps relieve her pain with drugs and bandages. The scene was comical in a sense, as Eugene still wanted to know if she still missed him – it did not feel that important at that moment.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 23

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 23 (Credit – Netflix)

Whilst this is near the end, Mr. Sunshine still felt it was important to understand the relationships between the characters. The Righteous Army still have a sense of companionship, even in difficult times, reminding us of their fight for honour in episode one. What is clear is that despite the personal anguish suffered by Eugene in Joseon, in the end, his story comes full circle.

He is no longer a soldier but his love for Lady Ae-sin has allowed him to form a connection with his birthplace, and without the words being spoken, he is now a member of The Righteous Army.

You walk away from Mr. Sunshine episode 23 feeling a weight on your chest, and sadness overcomes you with each death taking a heavy thud. The Japanese army manages to get hold of a list of The Righteous Army members, putting the entire group at risk.

Lady Ae-sin’s house workers place a diversion, whilst the others flee the land. At this point, I get the sense that the next episode will be centred around the survival for the remaining members.

Episode 24

Mr. Sunshine episode 24 was the calm after many aggressive storms, tying up all of the characters’ journeys after an exhausting timeline of distress in Joseon. The finale leaves you to feel heartbroken but reflective at the same time – not all stories have happy endings.

Before I digress and discuss the key moments, it has to be noted that Mr. Sunshine has been directed to a phenomenal level. Since episode one, the cinematography, camera work, costumes, settings and the rich writing has shined through, even in the episodes that did not deliver as much as we’d like. Credit has to go to Eung-bok Lee and the crew for articulating fictional events in an important time in Joseon history.

And you could feel the significance of the history in the finale. Episode 24 opens up with all the traitors standing by proudly waiting for their photo to be taken by Hui-seong, who pretends that the camera flash is a gun trigger, knowing full well their faces in history will forever be remembered for backstabbing their own country.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 24 (Credit – Netflix)

The early phases of the finale show the resilience of the Joseon people when facing death. As Lady Ae-sin kneels in tears to hold the woman that has looked after her since childhood, soaking in blood, the Japanese army runs around the corner to be blocked by masses of people in the street.

Considering the brutality the Japanese army have shown in the later episodesI was shocked yet relieved that the bravery paid off, as the army decided to turn around.

Episode 24 was mostly about The Righteous Army trying to secure a safe location, travelling deep in the mountains to ensure the safety of the women and children. Despite the direction of the episode, it always felt hopeless from the start, as the true weight of Japanese dominance looked too heavy to overcome.

Before the heartbreaking moments, episode 24 provided a rare enjoyable interlude; Eugene, Hui-seong and Gu Dong-mae are sat at a bar drinking away in jest. In a number of episodes, the three men have met each other at the bar for bitter conversations and empty, nonsensical death threats.

This scene was highly significant and paramount to the rest of the episode; how common goals have turned enemies into friends, in the face of a looming danger. It signified how the finale was going to end; three men who all love the same woman, who have all dedicated their time to protect her and Joseon, which ultimately leads to their deadly fate. Gu Dong-mae was first.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 24

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 24 (Credit – Netflix)

His time had come. To be fair, Gu Dong-mae has slaughtered hundreds of men from The Musin Society with ease, and he nearly killed a whole other group whilst clearly injured. His death was a noble one, knowing full well he had done all he could to protect Lady Ae-sin and Joseon. As he lays on the road, he has an odd smile across his face. Gu Dong-mae was always going to die but it was always about how and when. Mr. Sunshine episode 24 made sure he died taking down as many men as possible. He couldn’t die any other way.

Hui-seong was next to fall. After spending a few episodes creating his own nameless newspaper company, the Japanese army had become disgruntled by the content of the material due to giving their organisation a terrible name.

The army was tasked with finding out who was printing the paper, and it did not take them long to find out who it was. The Joseon man is bludgeoned over and over again, forced to confess the whereabouts of Lady Ae-sin. I felt a little bit subdued during his interrogation because in the earlier episodes I discredited Hui-seong as a non-character, however, from then on he grew into the story. Hui-seong was the second major character to die, and also with grace, as he revealed nothing to the Japanese.

The rest of the finale put together a situation where The Righteous Army had to secure 12 of their members on a train out of Joseon, tasking Eugene to purchase the tickets. It was a tense ending, as the Japanese army scoured the train looking for Lady Ae-sin, and also set off a series of events that spurred the most heart-wrenching moment.

Since the start of Mr. Sunshine, Eugene has shown the utmost loyalty and love to Lady Ae-sin at a level that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. In his final moments, he sacrificed himself to save Lady Ae-sin, detaching his train carriage, leaving him with the Japanese army. The pain and anguish shown on Lady Ae-sin’s face were difficult to take in – there was no happy ending. They were never destined to be together, not in the flesh anyway.

Mr. Sunshine Season 1 Episode 24 (Credit – Netflix)

The end of Mr. Sunshine episode 24 did give a brief respite, showing how the Joseon people tried to rebuild. Lady Ae-sin continued to develop The Righteous Army in the mountains but by this point, you are reflecting on Eugene’s heroic, romantic sacrifice to stamp an ending on the show.

The ex-Joseon man was a victim of the horrifying slave culture in the country he was born in. At the start of the series, he did not care so much for Joseon, even declaring that he would not mind if the country was destroyed.

But his love for Lady Ae-sin developed his character in such a way that he became the shining light of Joseon, protecting them from violence and doing all he can to delay the Japanese takeover. Mr. Sunshine was a tale of love and sacrifice by giving up a piece of yourself for the greater good. The finale had no other choice but to end the way it did, sealing off a sublime piece of television.

Eugene Choi was the man Joseon needed but not the one they deserved.

What was your favourite episode of Mr. Sunshine? Comment below. 

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