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‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 19 | TV Recap Destroying Joseon's spirit

4.5

Summary

Mr. Sunshine Episode 19 felt like a season finale as the Japanese show their violent hand and begin to destroy the spirit of Joseon.

Where on earth do I begin? 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 last week for most of this episode to understand the events that ensued here. Gu Dong-mae infamously cut off Lady Ae-sin’s ponytail, embarrassing her publically. I had a few comments in my last recap regarding this scenario; 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 Episode 19 - TV RECAP

Mr. Sunshine 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 Episode 19 - TV RECAP

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 Mr. Sunshine 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. Mr. Sunshine 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 Episode 19 - TV RECAP

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. With three episodes left, I do wonder how this will turn around in favour of Joseon. At this stage, I doubt Mr. Sunshine will display the end of the Joseon dynasty, as history tells us, but it will be interesting to see how they angle it as the season ends. More importantly, the relationship between Lady Ae-sin and Eugene will need to be concluded, but what is abundantly clear is that the war is here, putting together nicely the final three episodes. See you tomorrow.


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5 thoughts on “‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 19 | TV Recap

  • Sep 8, 2018 at 8:37 pm
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    Nice recap. I am hoping that Dong Mae and Ae-sin get together being that he will be her protection. I just see them as a couple more. I mean, I love Yu-Jin and her, but I need her to be the lady of the Yazuka. In retrospect, DM and AS to me is a great power couple.

    Reply
  • Sep 8, 2018 at 9:16 pm
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    Daniel, this was a captivating recap for what I thought was the best, most engaging, episode of Mr. Sunshine so far. Brilliant!

    Reply
  • Sep 9, 2018 at 1:35 am
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    I can’t help but feeing doom and gloom after watching episode 19. We know history was not on their side thus I cannot see how there can be a happy ending for any of them. Every lead character had prophesied a sad ending, with Eugene the latest one. I simply hope the writer is not preparing us for it but rather leading us to a big surprise. I hate sad ending and that is why I have stopped watching Turkish dramas as they always ended up with sad ending or at least one or two of the main character got killed off. However with trepidation I would continue to watch this series and put my faith in Korean drama which do not tended to do that (except the Bridal Mask) and fervently hope for a happy ending for at least Eugene and Lady Ae shin. It would seriously offend many people sense of justice if Eugene ended badly. He has had more share of tragedies than anyone else and totally deserves to have good thing happen to him. It is impossible for him to be with Lady Ae Shin now that she is a wanted freedom fighter and he has to be extremely careful to avoid suspicion and protect his position as an American soldier but bringing them together alive and well at the end would certainly restore humankind faith in heaven as well as keeping future audiences.

    As for Dong Mae, with the leader of the Yakuza and a large contingent of black cladded samurais arriving in Joseon to provide support to the Japanese, he would be put under a lot of pressure as no doubt they were brought in to curtail his power. It would make his task of protecting Lady Ae Shin very difficult. With regard this task, initially it seem strange for Lord Go to give this to him but thinking about it again, it in fact make sense. Lord Go gave Dong Mae the task as a pennant/punishment for what he had done to Lady Ae Shin. It is a very dangerous job for life with no possibility of reward. Lord Go knew there is no way in the world would Lady Ae Shin accept Dong Mae’s love. She hated him with a vengeance. He knew despite that and due to his fatal obsession with Lady Ae Shin, Dong Mae could not help himself but to do everything he could including giving up his life to protect her. This would also take some of the burden off Eugene. With the precarious nature of his position now, it is clear to see how Dong Mae would end up. His inability to think straight whenever it come to Lady Ae shin had caused him to make some very costly and totally unnecessary mistakes (annoying the Japanese in charge, Lee Wan Ik as well as most Joseon people by terrorising them and also by publicly humiliating Lady Ae Shin). He has put himself in a very tight squeeze. No one would be surprised if he ended badly at the end.

    Interestingly after this episode two characters are at the turning point, Hui seong and Kudo Hina. Until now they have mostly be watching on the side-line. But they have seen enough and been involved deeply now making it difficult to remain so. They are now forced to make decision to do something. It would be very interesting to see what they would do: would Kudo Hina do something to destroy her father or would she side with him despite her hatred of him? Would Hui Seong join the fight and or use his family resources to fund them or would he go abroad to Shanghai and be part of the exile Koreans who provided fund and forming the political base for the foundation of the future Korean government in exile? That could be a happy ending for him. Whilst he did start as a weakling, this episode shown that he is capable of doing something if he is forced to. Events have forced him and the mild Lady Cho to take arms. Many in Joseon would experience the same in the days to come.

    Reply
  • Pingback:‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 20 | TV Recap | RSC

  • Sep 10, 2018 at 4:27 am
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    Doesn’t it run for 24 episodes? Every website that has the number of episodes set for Mr. Sunshine say 24 episodes in total.

    Reply
    • Sep 10, 2018 at 5:35 am
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      Hi Sarah, I am not sure. On my Netflix dashboard, it only goes up to episode 22. Maybe it is a Netflix admin error.

      Reply

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