Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 continues the Japanese onslaught, which brings a period of needed calm before more war engulfs Joseon.
Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 can be forgiven for taking a breather after the emotionally fuelled predecessor, however, before the calm, the series decides to continue the violent rollercoaster, as Joseon responds to the Japanese onslaught.
As the woman hangs from the bridge, Eugene sprints and punches Takashi Mori multiple times in absolute fury. Shots are fired to stop the opposing men, both clearly injected with rage after the saddening events that have taken place. What I enjoyed about this particular scene is the need for necessary calm, to recognise a dead woman hanging below the bridge, to recognise that mourning needs to take place, not thrown fists and gunshots. Eugene places the principle on Takashi Mori, stating that soldiers die but the people of Joseon are not a weapon of war.
The woman hanging is Jang Seung-gu’s wife. As he stares into the distance recognising the death of his other half, his eyes tell a story; he is in denial at first – such disbelief was displayed within his body language, and then he broke down, prompting Eugene to force Takashi Mori to lower the body. The problem is, and as Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 demonstrates, the Colonel does not care. He is a raging psychopath.
Japan’s reasons to send Takashi Mori is clear – he has zero empathy, zero reliance on other people; he relies solely on his own dominating thought process. In Episode 20, you witness the Colonel execute his own men; he chooses the ones weakened in battle as he does not want Japan to show a frail hand as they continue the war. Takashi Mori has a habit of getting blood splatted across his face, and a part of me believes he enjoys it like an afternoon supper. The Colonel spends time trying to break the spirit of The Righteous Army, torturing captured prisoners in an attempt for one of them to break and tell him where Lady Ae-sin is. Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 does highlight a weakness in Takashi Mori: he cannot close off a historic revolutionary group due to their resolute behaviour.
Joseon does respond; we witness the end of Lee Wan-ik. It was a long time coming to be fair. The traitorous man was way too comfortable in his own self-entitled shoes. He clearly had none of Joseon’s interests at heart. Lady Ae-sin gets her revenge, shooting him a few times until he bleeds out. Glory Hotel owner Kudo Hina looks slightly moved by the news, to hear her father has been finally murdered. She uses his death to get the whereabouts of her mother. Lord Lee Jeong-mun breaks the news to her that her mother is, in fact, dead, closing that chapter in her traumatic life. I felt sorry for Kudo Hina at this moment. She has played every chess piece possible to reach this conclusion and it was a devastating blow.
And to add to Joseon’s reply, Eugene and Jang Seung-gu play a blinder on the Japanese army, hanging Takashi Mori below the same bridge to embarrass him, prompting his soldiers to save him as a distraction, whilst the few men held as prisoners from The Righteous Army are let free. No matter how hard Takashi Mori hits his hammer on Joseon, there always seems to be a reply, even if it is a blip in comparison. None of this prevents Japan’s plans, as word gets out that the war has started with Russia, meaning Joseon will be left in the middle to rot.
Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 did show some progress between Lady Ae-sin and Eugene. Both characters have been suspiciously quiet with each other for a few episodes now. It’s no surprise; Lady Ae-sin has lost a lot and her dedication with The Righteous Army is paramount to her wellbeing. She tells Eugene that he should no longer wait for her and he responds with the most emotion I have seen since the season started.
What is clear from this scene is that Lady Ae-sin is everything to Eugene, resulting in a sobering fact that he will sacrifice anything for her. He used to be a slave after all, and he probably never envisioned finding love back in the days when he used to be tortured. Despite her despondent response to his emotional appeal, months later she turns up asking him to take her to America. Maybe the two characters will have a happy ending after all?
As The Righteous Army set out plans to save Lord Lee Jeong-mun, the Emporer stays in his castle waiting for the inevitable and The Musin Society curtail Gu Dong-mae’s power within their own organisation. Mr. Sunshine Episode 20 was the perfect calm before another storm. As we enter the final weekend for Mr. Sunshine, everything still feels in the balance, and I am excited to see how this all concludes. See you next week.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.