Episode 15 was a period of reflection for the characters, laying the grounds for another war brewing in Joseon.
I paused briefly during Mr. Sunshine 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 when the next one is slotted on to Netflix. 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.
Mr. Sunshine 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.
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.
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.
Mr. Sunshine 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, and this time I suspect it will not end as well for Eugene.