Tensions gathered pace in Mr. Sunshine Episode 17, as the Japanese presence becomes more aggressive in Joseon.
At the start of Mr. Sunshine 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 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. Mr. Sunshine 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.
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. I wonder how Eugene will handle this situation, especially with Lady Ae-sin watching?
I’ve seen the preview for the next episode and it looks like more drama is afoot. Tune back in tomorrow.