‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 24 – The Finale | TV Recap

September 30, 2018
Daniel Hart 15
TV, TV Recaps


The finale of Mr. Sunshine tied up all of the characters’ stories, providing moments of tragedy and reflection.

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The finale of Mr. Sunshine tied up all of the characters’ stories, providing moments of tragedy and reflection.

Mr. Sunshine episode 24 was the calm after many aggressive storms, tying up all of the characters’ journeys after an exhausting timeline of distress in Joseon. The finale leaves you to feel heartbroken but reflective at the same time – not all stories have happy endings.

Before I digress and discuss the key moments, it has to be noted that Mr. Sunshine has been directed to a phenomenal level. Since episode one, the cinematography, camera work, costumes, settings and the rich writing has shined through, even in the episodes that did not deliver as much as we’d like. Credit has to go to Eung-bok Lee and the crew for articulating fictional events in an important time in Joseon history.

And you could feel the significance of the history in the finale. Episode 24 opens up with all the traitors standing by proudly waiting for their photo to be taken by Hui-seong, who pretends that the camera flash is a gun trigger, knowing full well their faces in history will forever be remembered for backstabbing their own country.

The early phases of the finale show the resilience of the Joseon people when facing death. As Lady Ae-sin kneels in tears to hold the woman that has looked after her since childhood, soaking in blood, the Japanese army runs around the corner to be blocked by masses of people in the street. Considering the brutality the Japanese army have shown in the later episodesI was shocked yet relieved that the bravery paid off, as the army decided to turn around.

Mr. Sunshine episode 24 was mostly about The Righteous Army trying to secure a safe location, travelling deep in the mountains to ensure the safety of the women and children. Despite the direction of the episode, it always felt hopeless from the start, as the true weight of Japanese dominance looked too heavy to overcome.

Before the heartbreaking moments, Mr. Sunshine episode 24 provided a rare enjoyable interlude; Eugene, Hui-seong and Gu Dong-mae are sat at a bar drinking away in jest. In a number of episodes, the three men have met each other at the bar for bitter conversations and empty, nonsensical death threats. This scene was highly significant and paramount to the rest of the episode; how common goals have turned enemies into friends, in the face of a looming danger. It signified how the finale was going to end; three men who all love the same woman, who have all dedicated their time to protect her and Joseon, which ultimately leads to their deadly fate. Gu Dong-mae was first.

His time had come. To be fair, Gu Dong-mae has slaughtered hundreds of men from The Musin Society with ease, and he nearly killed a whole other group whilst clearly injured. His death was a noble one, knowing full well he had done all he could to protect Lady Ae-sin and Joseon. As he lays on the road, he has an odd smile across his face. Gu Dong-mae was always going to die but it was always about how and when. Mr. Sunshine episode 24 made sure he died taking down as many men as possible. He couldn’t die any other way.

Hui-seong was next to fall. After spending a few episodes creating his own nameless newspaper company, the Japanese army had become disgruntled by the content of the material due to giving their organisation a terrible name. The army was tasked with finding out who was printing the paper, and it did not take them long to find out who it was. The Joseon man is bludgeoned over and over again, forced to confess the whereabouts of Lady Ae-sin. I felt a little bit subdued during his interrogation because in the earlier episodes I discredited Hui-seong as a non-character, however, from then on he grew into the story. Hui-seong was the second major character to die, and also with grace, as he revealed nothing to the Japanese.

The rest of the finale put together a situation where The Righteous Army had to secure 12 of their members on a train out of Joseon, tasking Eugene to purchase the tickets. It was a tense ending, as the Japanese army scoured the train looking for Lady Ae-sin, and also set off a series of events that spurred the most heart-wrenching moment. Since the start of Mr. Sunshine, Eugene has shown the utmost loyalty and love to Lady Ae-sin at a level that is sometimes difficult to comprehend. In his final moments, he sacrificed himself to save Lady Ae-sin, detaching his train carriage, leaving him with the Japanese army. The pain and anguish shown on Lady Ae-sin’s face were difficult to take in – there was no happy ending. They were never destined to be together, not in the flesh anyway.

The end of Mr. Sunshine episode 24 did give a brief respite, showing how the Joseon people tried to rebuild. Lady Ae-sin continued to develop The Righteous Army in the mountains but by this point, you are reflecting on Eugene’s heroic, romantic sacrifice to stamp an ending on the show.

The ex-Joseon man was a victim of the horrifying slave culture in the country he was born in. At the start of the series, he did not care so much for Joseon, even declaring that he would not mind if the country was destroyed. But his love for Lady Ae-sin developed his character in such a way that he became the shining light of Joseon, protecting them from violence and doing all he can to delay the Japanese takeover. Mr. Sunshine was a tale of love and sacrifice by giving up a piece of yourself for the greater good. The finale had no other choice but to end the way it did, sealing off a sublime piece of television.

Eugene Choi was the man Joseon needed but not the one they deserved.

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14 thoughts on “‘Mr. Sunshine’ (‘Miseuteo Shunshain’) Episode 24 – The Finale | TV Recap

  • September 30, 2018 at 10:59 pm

    Excellent yoyr interpretation, however since july i wanted a happy ending and i was fearing an ending like: French,turkish,russian ,british ,middle eastern films. Well i felt that not even in films some families can have a happy ending

    • September 30, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      I dont think i will start watching any other series , perhaps the ending was to real for me. I wanted to believe everyone deserves a happy ending !

  • October 1, 2018 at 12:58 am

    For 24 episodes I waited anxiously for a happy ending of this beautifully filmed series only to be depressed as how the writers did everything in their power to kill off all of the main characters with such bloody deaths. I waited hoping that at some point Eugene & Ae-shin would have a meaniful embrace other than just looking at leach other & never touching except for an occasional hug or hand holding. People in love want to feel & touch one another, unrealistic for this couple. I felt the time I spent invested in this series was a waste of my time and expectations. If I knew how to write my comments to these writers, I would do so.

  • October 1, 2018 at 5:44 am

    “Eugene Choi was the man Joseon needed but not the one they deserved”

    I could not digress

  • October 1, 2018 at 6:56 pm

    I have watched the finale for 4 times now, I can say that this is the only k-drama that has touched me so deeply that I can’t still get over the pain in my heart coz of the death of all the characters I have learned to love since the beginning. I can still feel the anguish and pain that Ae Sin felt when Eugene sacrificed himself for her to live. He is indeed the GREATEST and NOBLE ONE! Such great Love! Both of them deserve to win the beast actor and best actress in next year’s awards. same with Hina and Dong Mae. they deserve the best supporting titles too!

    • October 4, 2018 at 10:04 pm

      Wonderfully drawn out story of the process of true love. No greater lover has a person than to give one’s life for a friend.

  • October 24, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    A wonderful show! While I also looked forward to some happiness in the end, I knew just enough Korean history to accept that it might not be possible for many of the characters, or for Joseon as a whole.

    For me, there was nothing lacking about this production … I agree with you, Daniel, that “the cinematography, camera work, costumes, settings and the rich writing has shined through”

    I was also struck by the attention to historical detail. One example… the image of the three american soldiers standing before the Joseon flag, following the Shinmiyangyo conflict (Episode 1), and the image of the Righteous Army soldiers captured by the British journalist (Episode 24), are both near-exact reproductions of actual photographs taken during those times.

    I wish Netflix still used their older rating system for streaming television … I very much wanted to give “Mr. Sunshine” more than a single “thumb’s-up.”

    NOW … A QUESTION FOR ALL OF YOU … can someone please explain to me the show’s title? 🙂

  • November 13, 2018 at 5:37 am

    For those who is looking for an happy ending of «Mr. Sunshine» up there. Remember which 3 English words Lady Ae-shin first learned?

    “Guns, Glory, Sad Ending.”

    it is also the first 3 words of the series’ Korean trailer: https://youtu.be/fTratSPhnzo
    The scriptwriter did told you in advance. As a result, I am not hoping for a happy ending.

    (3 note on South Korean TV Drama production: 1. The scriptwriter is not a nobody, she is in fact Eun-sook Kim, who is famous for her «The Lonely and Great God: Guardian» and «Descendants of the Sun», both also directed by Eung-bok Lee;
    2. Unlike US TV dramas like «House of Cards», in Korean TV Dramas, the scriptwriter even has the power to choose the lead characters, in this case, 2016 «The Magnificent Seven»’s Lee Byung-han [Eugene Choi] and Kim Tae-ri [Ae-shin Go] from «The Handmaiden»;
    3. The budget for this series is KRW43B/USD$37M, the most expensive Korean TV series [Double the past record holder, which is IRIS’ KRW20B/USD$17.6M])

    I’ve watched the whole series 4 times, and it is the sadness that flooded me with thoughts, even long after I stop watching it. It is a hack of a good show.

    Have to admit, I don’t think this is the best recap I read online (I keep on searching all recap to read, to heal my sadness), because you keep on missing the cultural note.

    (for example: 1. Ae-shin’s grandfather is not just some scholar, he is the chief professor of the court, thus teacher of the emperor, so his partition means a lot more than just kneeing before the palace, it is a teacher scolding his student;
    2. The ultimate villain in the final part of the series is in fact It? Hirobumi, a real historical figure, 3-time Prime minister of Japan, and [at the time he shows up in the series] the Resident-General representing Japan’s interest in Joseon, thus control Korean’s internal and foreign policy; and
    3. in Episode 16, as Ae-shin runs toward Eugene to say goodbye, Eugene picks up her shoe left behind and help her wear it, it can only be done by slave)

    However, emotionally, this is the best recap. Just want to say: Thank you very much for doing the best job you can.

    • November 16, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      Thank you for your insight. You are correct I did miss the cultural note, mostly because I know little about the actual history. Great comment and thank you for reading my recaps.

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  • February 15, 2021 at 3:51 am

    Mr Sunshine the name is given by Ae Shin when she learns the “S” letter. Later, when they gaze each other in the street at night, she thinks of him as Mr Sunshine. I think episode 13 or 14.

  • April 26, 2021 at 1:23 pm

    I would not watch this show again and do not recommend it. I simply don’t like horribly depressing endings, no matter how well written a show may be. Is the show well written, well acted, moving, and well produced? Absolutely. But, not watchable. So, if you really enjoy lousy endings, go for it. Not me, I want uplift, which could have been provided. I could have happily never seen Romeo and Juliet, either.

  • February 12, 2022 at 8:23 pm

    I loved this show. Happy endings are for romance novels and Hollywood. This film is, though fictional, about historical events. Didn’t an American legend say, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.” In this country -the US, every soldier who had died in foreign wars, is considered a hero. Mr Sunshine is about heroes, culture– social classes, privileges, etc. Is that fiction? There have been women heroes throughout history but have never given the same treatment given to men.. Ask a former Marine I would follow an Ae Shin leader to the end of the world. Semper Fi.

  • October 21, 2022 at 5:24 am

    I would love a happy ending too, but this ending, while sad, is probably pretty realistic. If you look at the history of that period, and the mission of the characters, it is hard to craft many happy endings.
    I had the privilege of visiting South Korea just before COVID and I was struck by how humble, even the emperor or privilege class, lived (just based on historical sites/museums) compared to opulence of other nearby countries. It really hits me that over hundreds of years, this poor little country was constantly ravaged by neighbouring powers …
    Makes me think of the Ukrainian people’s struggle at this moment in time.

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