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.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.