Mr. Sunshine episode 22 sees Japan’s control of Joseon take a further step, and the main characters learning their ultimate fate.
Mr. Sunshine episode 22 leaves no time to reflect, moving at a pace through vital moments and significant periods of time. There is no time to ponder the many bridges we crossed previously. You can feel the end is near. Each character is beginning to learn their ultimate fate, as the fall of Joseon comes near.
It turns out that Eugene’s plan worked, which confines the married couple to a prison cell in the American Legation. Their near-death experience leads to a short romantic moment. Lady Ae-sin leans on Eugene to sleep – “I won’t move an inch,” he says almost instantly. Can someone give this man a medal? Ironically, their first ever night together is in a prison cell, providing context to the entire series: an ex-slave and a noblewoman of Joseon arrested by choice; their entire journey was motivated by choice, and their sweet moment comes from escaping swordsmen.
When they leave prison it is likely the last time, at least for a few years. You could feel the weights of heavy hearts in this scene. Lady Ae-sin lets out a loud exhale, bringing floods of tears. For the first time, Mr. Sunshine provides a scene where it presents how much it means to both characters, and the moment ends with Lady Ae-sin mumbling, “let’s not say goodbye”. We can only wish that both these characters get a happy ending after all this. Eugene heads back to America and Ae-sin hides away in Japan.
Gu Dong-mae does come to the rescue, slashing all of the swordsmen who found Lady Ae-sin in her hideout. In reality, Gu Dong-mae has made a life-changing sacrifice due to these heroics, highlighting the amount of care he has for her. Being a saviour leads to the Musin Society sending groups of swordsmen after him in waves, showing just how much respect they have for him, requiring him to defend with his sword skills countless of times. His apparent death, in the end, was a noble one. The character always recognises himself as a villain in the wider story, yet all his actions of late speak of a man that is willing to do what is right, rather than think with just his sword.
Meanwhile, in Joseon, the Emporer concedes to Japan, requesting that they have a warm welcome and gratitude. In his other hand, he is trying to secure the safety of Lady Ae-sin from Japan. It is clear at this point that the Emporer is a feeble pawn in the entire context of the situation, whilst his ministers have all become traitors, helping Japan’s cause. Mr. Sunshine has excelled at tentatively portraying the demise of this nation.
Eugene had to face US court for his actions, with an accusation of treason, landing him in prison for a few years, but Mr. Sunshine episode 22 moves over the formalities, moving the story back to Joseon, and fast forwarding to three years later so the story can conveniently not mull over finer details. Joseon has Japanese flags spread over the village; even the Emporer’s temple is coated with Japanese symbols. The Emporer is forced to dethrone himself, or otherwise kill himself, showing the true nature of those who have betrayed him.
The Righteous Army is causing mayhem in Joseon but Japan has better ideas, disbanding the Joseon army and taking away their weapons, which starts a brief but brutal war leading to the death of many soldiers. The loyal Gunner Jang sacrifices himself to help the disbanded army, which leads to him in a position where he has to take the blast of some explosives.
Mr. Sunshine episode 22 draws to a close with the Japanese army drinking copious amounts of alcohol and celebrating the demise of Joseon. Kudo Hina asks her waiters to serve them as much alcohol as possible. The ending provides one of the best moments of the series; Eugene returns, and so does Gu Dong-mae. As they both hear gunshots, they run towards the Glory Hotel, which explodes in catastrophic style; was Lady Ae-sin and Kudo Hina killed by the blast? Now that would be a cruel move.
As we head to the final weekend, and this time, it is the final weekend, I must say that this has been a fine piece of television. We can only hope now that it ends with as much momentum as the previous two episodes. See you in two weeks time, apparently, there is a week’s break according to my Netflix dashboard?