‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 18 | TV Recap

September 2, 2018
Daniel Hart 8
TV, TV Recaps
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Mr. Sunshine Episode 18 - TV RECAP


A few loose ends are tied up but Mr. Sunshine episode 18 strayed away from the drama and instilled a period of calm a little too much.

After the drama unfolding in the previous episode, Mr. Sunshine 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. Mr. Sunshine Episode 18 does a marvellous job in allowing his presence to be felt. It is just what the series needed for its final run.

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.

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. Mr. Sunshine 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. It was not a bad addition to the story by any means, but Mr. Sunshine Episode 18 lacked ambition and with 4 episodes to go, we can only hope it gives the ending that we have all been patiently waiting for.

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7 thoughts on “‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 18 | TV Recap

  • September 3, 2018 at 8:42 am

    there’s 24 epsiodes though? so there will be 6 more, though i get what you’re saying not a whole lot of time left to reach a climax

    • September 3, 2018 at 8:45 am

      There are 22 episodes, so 4 left. I’m confident everything will come together in the end, hopefully!

  • September 3, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    but do you have any idea about the ending scene?? where gu dong mae cut ae-sin’s hair.. what does it imply???
    cos i’m not quite familiar with traditional korea..
    thank you in all ways ^^

    • September 4, 2018 at 6:05 am

      I have no idea what the ending scene means. Hopefully more will become clear in the next episode.

  • September 3, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    yeah…i was wondering what did cutting her hair mean too??…the waiting for the next ep is frustrating?

  • September 4, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    Cutting Lady Ae sin’s ponytail is a huge symbolism. The head/hair represent honour in many cultures not just in the old days but even now. Even in the western cultures you do not touch someone head/hair unless you are very close to them and even then with their consent or at their least implied consent. You certainly would not simply cut someone’s hair without their consent.

    In some countries (Asian/middle eastern) it is even forbidden for younger person to touch older person’s head, it would be considered disrespectful and insulting. Older people touch younger person’s head to show love and to give blessing.

    Thus to violate someone’s head/hair violate their honour/dignity. Hair in women signify their crown of honour and to violate the hair of a woman such as cutting their hair without their consent is like dethroning them, as if you have ripped their clothes off, throwing them down in the dirt and trampling all over them to humiliate and degrading them. That was why some women had their hair cut off in the public following Paris was liberated e.g. and that to show they have lost their honour for befriending/sleeping with the enemy. In some country such action is tantamount to raping a woman.

    In this drama Dong mae’s action it is highly likely to mean his attempt of dethroning Lady Ae sin, bringing her down to his level, to intimidate and control her on the grossly mistaken belief that this could and would make her subjugated to him. This is likely what Lady Ae sin would understand his intention to be and that was why Dong mea’s said he would become her enemy, as that would be how she would view him after this. By intimidating and trying to control her he certainly incur her wrath. She values her honour and dignity as a lady and a woman and most of all she values her independent. No one could forget the scene where she kneeled down in front of her formidable grandfather and argued to keep her freedom by rejecting marriage and hiding behind a shield of a man. As she adamantly stated to her grandfather she would herself determine how she should live.

    And this represent one of the important lessons that could be learned from this drama. It is not too far fetch to say that Lady Ae sin represent Joseon itself at its final decade, at the end of a dynasty. She was vibrant, beautiful and cultured like the Her family, once a great noble line (her grandfather and father and uncle were great leaders) could only places their hope on her, a mere young girl to carry the bloodline. That was the state of Joseon itself as a country, it was weak and every countries around it wanted a piece of it. It is not surprise the love interest came in the form of 3 men representing 3 different background and influences, Dong mea’s being that of a malign Japanese’s influence, whose would use violence and intimidation to gain control of the country and its people. Thus cutting her ponytail could also be seen as signifying the violation of the Joseon’s sovereignty, honour and dignity.

    In consolation it could also be said that the spirit embodied in Lady Ae sin represented the spirit of the Joseon people, who clearly were on the brink of a total control of a brutal foreign power. While on the surface of it she appears to be weak and helpless (being a mere woman without real power), under though she was in fact a very strong person with access to gun and with the skills and abilities of a cold hearted assassin when required. Like her the patriotic spirit remained very strong in the country (as Mori himself acknowledged) with many people of all ages and backgrounds/status risking their lives for their country. They may not be able to keep the Japanese away for long as history tells us, nonetheless this spirit remained simmering long and continues even in the long dark time under occupation and which one day would burn bright again.

    It is not loss to us to see why Lady Ae sin chose to symbolised herself as a flame as the symbol when explaining her decision to be a hidden fighter to Eugene. Eugene understood this and that was why despite his fears and worries for her safety, he supported her decision including providing her with a better weapon to carry out her role. In contrast Dong mae simply did not understand that. He remained bitter, angry and purposeless, despite advancement in his status and wealth. He had not grown out of resentment and grudges born out of the society unjust treatments of his butcher parents. He bit the hand who saved him like a wild animal and he again did that when he brutally cut Lady Ae sin’s ponytail simply because she gave him a sincere greeting, for once. In its simplest form this action is the same as that of a cave man’s method of subduing a woman, brutal and stupid. As far as Lady Ae sin is concerned however, she is not a cave woman and thus it was a very big mistake on his part.

    • September 4, 2018 at 4:45 pm

      That’s brilliant insight. I did not know about the symbolism regarding the ponytail so you have educated me greatly before the next episode, thank you, Dan.

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