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Mr. Sunshine: Episode 2

Rampant change in Joseon is met with both excitement and resistance, and this clash is where we meet our main characters. We learn more about Ae-shin’s story, which is truly a story paved by her stubborn commitment to what she wants. And what she wants is often a bold challenge that embraces the change and all the risks that accompany it. As the timeline catches up, we’re introduced to our remaining characters, seeing how some fates are intertwined and how some just brush by as a hint of what’s to come.

 
EPISODE 2 RECAP

We begin with nobleman’s granddaughter Ae-shin narrating as she reads through the newspaper hidden behind her book: “It was a turbulent time, when yesterday was far, today was unfamiliar, and tomorrow was feared. We all, in our own ways, were experiencing a turbulent Joseon.”

Ae-shin’s older cousin carelessly searches through Ae-shin’s room, urgently looking for accessories. She’s frustrated that she can’t find a single piece of jewelry, considering how often Ae-shin meets with the peddler. Cousin searches through the blankets and hits the jackpot: Ae-shin’s newspaper collection. She excitedly runs off to tattletale to her grandfather.

Just as Ae-shin returns to her ransacked room, her maid comes to relay Grandfather’s summoning. Ae-shin looks at her maid sheepishly and speculates that she’s in trouble for her newspapers, and her maid makes a fuss.

Sure enough, Grandfather scolds Ae-shin for being curious about the world, and her spiteful cousin fans the flames by asking what a girl would possibly do with such newspapers. Ae-shin’s aunt tries to ameliorate the situation and orders Ae-shin to apologize.

But when Ae-shin apologizes, Grandfather doesn’t accept it. He doesn’t believe that she’s truly repenting, so as punishment, he prohibits all outside visitors and orders Ae-shin to read and inscribe all of the Confucian texts. Ae-shin’s eyes well with anger and annoyance, but she doesn’t fight back.

All day and all night, Ae-shin scribes the text while her maid grounds the inkstick. As Ae-shin stubbornly continues writing, sheets are spread all over her room and hung like laundry to dry. The next morning, Ae-shin is visibly annoyed, and her complaints about Confucius having too much to say wakes up her loyal maid, who unknowingly smears ink all over her face. Ae-shin finally finishes and heads over to Grandfather for her morning greeting.

Ae-shin delivers her pile of inscribed text to Grandfather, who’s incredulous that Ae-shin won’t back down once. He warns her by attributing Queen Min’s (King Gojong’s first wife) premature death to her involvement in state affairs and the king’s business. Ae-shin interprets that example to convey how Joseon is changing, but Grandfather’s convinced that Joseon is collapsing.

Headstrong Ae-shin asserts that she will only read the newspaper once a month, as even the lower class is learning new knowledge nowadays. She wants to be a woman of use, but Grandfather won’t allow it. Still, Ae-shin defies Grandfather’s orders and argues that she will read the newspaper.

Ae-shin explains that she must know the happenings in the outside world because the Western world is infiltrating Joseon, but Grandfather argues that those affairs are for the king and the government. Even if there was no government, he won’t allow Ae-shin to get involved in the fate of Joseon, especially after losing his sons (Ae-shin’s father and uncle) to the cause.

Grandfather wants Ae-shin to marry off and live a beautifully ignorant life, but Ae-shin says that she would rather die than do that. Grandfather is taken aback by her response, but standing his ground, he says, “Then go die.”

For the next four days Ae-shin refuses to eat anything and lies in her bed in defiance while her maid throws a tantrum in worry. Another servant reports this to Grandfather, but he remains unfazed and requests that he go buy meat for dinner that night. The servant blurts out that meat shouldn’t even be on his mind, but he catches himself and reluctantly follows orders.

That night, a humble man visits Grandfather. Over dinner, Grandfather laments that Joseon has become the target of impudence, the statesmen are no different than traitors, and the scholars have lost their way. He knows that Ae-shin, like her father, may respond to this turbulence by becoming a resistance fighter. He’s tried to steer her away from that path, but if it becomes an inevitable fate, he wonders… mustn’t they teach her how to live? Aw, Gramps is caving.

Grandfather has already lost two children, and he’s not willing to lose his granddaughter. He requests, “I won’t ask you to protect her. But please teach her to protect herself.” The humble man agrees to do this, and he accepts a drink from Grandfather. As he reaches out with the cup, we see a scar on his right hand. And through a flashback, we discover that this humble man is Jang Seung-gu (Choi Moo-sung), the adolescent boy who lost his father in the battle against the Americans.

Seung-gu leads Ae-shin up a treacherous mountain path, and Ae-shin is out of breath by the time they reach their basecamp. She presumes that Grandfather hired Seung-gu to kill her (ha), but Seung-gu clarifies that Grandfather asked him to teach her how to shoot a gun. He introduces himself as her teacher from now on and sternly suggests that she use honorifics when addressing him. He’s hilariously serious about the honorifics, as Ae-shin struggles to add proper endings to her sentences.

Ae-shin’s training starts with climbing the mountain, which goes from her crawling up and down completely out of breath to her running up without breaking a sweat. She gets so good that she eventually reaches the peak before Seung-gu, and she asks when all this mountain climbing will end. Seung-gu explains that once you shoot a gun, your location is exposed, and you need to run. And now that she’s mastered the climb, he throws her the gun for shooting lessons.

Ae-shin isn’t a natural at shooting, but over time, she’s able to hit the hanging pottery with her shots. One day, as she’s practicing, she hears a sound from behind and immediately turns around with her gun aimed at the source.

It’s just Seung-gu, but he’s returned with a nasty injury on his arm. As she tends to his wound, he explains that it was from a large boar, but Ae-shin doesn’t quite believe him because he’s already used that excuse when he came back with a twisted ankle. Seung-gu looks around sheepishly, but Ae-shin doesn’t care what he’s doing to acquire these injuries — she just tells him to not die. She adds that if he asks her to join whatever he’s doing, she’s ready to accept. That’s why she’s been practicing relentlessly and points to her progess with shooting the hanging pots.

Seung-gu suggests alternative methods, like spreading information through the newspaper or medicine, but Ae-shin describes the urgency of the situation: “The queen was assassinated, and the king has fled to the Russian legation, where he pleads to other countries for help. This prompts Western countries to meddle in Joseon affairs. Words have no power. I want to become a gunner.” Seung-gu tells her to practice more and that she must be able to hit five of the five pots. She nods and accepts the challenge.

A boy runs through the streets with a special edition of the newspaper. Choon-shik, the more intelligent one of the slave-hunter-turned pawnshop-owner duo, takes the newspaper from Il-shik and turns it right side up to read. It’s news of the Spanish-American war.

Ae-shin continues to practice her shooting, and she’s nearly able to hit all five pots from a further distance. She’s focused and determined to improve her skills to join the ranks.

It’s 1898, and the Battle of El Caney ensues in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. The Americans surge into Spanish territory, and our Joseon-American naval officer Eugene is among the American forces. He aggressively shoots at the enemy and saves Kyle, his superior, from a ditch and helps him limp back from the battle.

We’re now all caught up to where we were first introduced to Eugene, at the naval academy and at the meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt. Afterward, Eugene does some research on Joseon, looking at a picture of Wan-ik with the Americans and then a map of the peninsula. Kyle joins him and comments on how Eugene will probably feel more ordinary around people who look like him in Joseon. Eugene politely disagrees, claiming that he somehow always draws attention.

Kyle hands Eugene a picture of Logan Taylor, who formerly worked in Japan and now works as a foreign affairs advisor in Joseon. But he’s selling intel on Joseon to Japan and tarnishing America’s reputation. It dawns on Eugene that if they succeed with this operation, America will receive the credit, but if they fail, Joseon will be to blame. That’s why he was picked for this task, he realizes.

As Eugene packs his bags, he pauses for a moment at the sight of the ornament, the one that cost his mother her life. He’s interrupted by a Japanese friend, who first attempts to speak English but soon resorts to Japanese. Conversing about the Joseon people in New York, the friend wonders if Joseon is better off now, but Eugene thinks that those people may despise Joseon. The friend invites Eugene to visit Tokyo, which he claims has much more luxuries than Joseon. Eugene suggests that the friend bring these luxuries on his visit to Joseon, but the friend presumes that he won’t be welcome there.

Bag in hand and top hat on head, we watch the dramatic transition from Eugene walking in New York to him stepping foot in Joseon in 1902, now in its 6th year of the Gwangmu Reforms, an attempt by King Gojong to modernize Joseon.

Ae-shin has returned to her grandfather’s home, and as she steps out for an outing, she’s greeted by an old friend she doesn’t remember. Luckily, the maid remembers her, and they awkwardly exchange greetings. The friend is accompanied by an American woman who is her English teacher, and Ae-shin politely asks why one learns English. She wonders if her friend perhaps wants to join public service.

Her friend bashfully admits that she has no interest in public service — rather, she’s interested in “love,” which she says in English. Ae-shin looks at her blankly, clearly not understanding what the word “love” is. And before she can ask, the friend and the English teacher need to head on their way.

In her room, Ae-shin wonders what this “love” is — she knows it’s good because it’s somehow better than public service. Her maid tells her that she can have this “love” or anything she wants — just don’t ask to go to school. But she’s fixated on this curious “love” that her friend ranks higher than public service.

Eugene arrives at the Glory Hotel, where Logan Taylor (the dishonorable American who is Eugene’s target) and the Joseon minister (formerly seen in the royal court as Daewongun’s right-hand man) discuss in Japanese how the American technical skills in installing street lamps have greatly advanced Joseon. The Joseon minister offers to express his gratitude that night at a renowned geisha house. Eugene eavesdrops on the conversation and makes note of this location.

Logan and the Joseon minister arrive at the geisha house, where Logan continues to boast about the American technology surrounding them. A geisha opens the window to let the smoke out, and across the way, Ae-shin aims her gun on her target. She waits for the right moment, and then a bullet pierces Logan’s head. But it wasn’t from Ae-shin’s gun.

She looks around and sees a cloaked figure running from the scene across rooftops. The enemies begin to shoot in the direction of the shooter, and Ae-shin shoots back at them before fleeing the scene. The other cloaked figure, Eugene, notices his company, and they chase each other, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

Then, Eugene stops and points his gun toward Ae-shin, who does the same. Their faces are covered, but they stare at each other, wondering, “One target, two shooters. Could this be a comrade?” Before they can engage, they hear their pursuers nearby and run off in opposite directions.

Meanwhile, a group of people wait on a bridge, shivering in the cold. One man asks his friend if he heard the gunshots, but the friend just assumes that it’s the sound of electricity. They’re all waiting to watch the street lamp light up as the pursuers push through the crowd, searching for the shooters.

Eugene and Ae-shin have changed back into their normal clothes, and they pass by each other on the street. But they both stop a few steps after passing each other at the smell of gunpowder. “That man,” she thinks. “That woman… woman?” he wonders. Then they turn around to face the other at the same time, their faces exposed in the night, which soon illuminates with light from the street lamps.

They continue to watch each other as a train rolls by between them, but once the train passes, Eugene disappears. Ae-shin looks around confused for a moment before walking through the crowds. She reaches an empty area, just past the crowds, and Eugene appears again.

He asks if she was looking for him, and she denies this. But Eugene’s keen instincts say otherwise. He shares that he believes they both discovered each other’s secret and asks where she lives so that he can also head in that direction. Ae-shin once again denies his claim and calls him a foreigner. He seems offended by this title and asks why she would perceive him as such. She points out his uncommon attire, his manner of speaking, and most importantly, his unfamiliar gaze towards her.

She explains that locals know her, and to prove her point, a group of passersby immediately recognize her and ask with deference what she’s doing alone this late at night. She claims that she’s waiting on her servants to finish their errands. Confirming this, her servants and her carriage arrive right then.

As she boards her carriage, she asks a passerby to help this lost man get home. The kind strangers ask Eugene where he’s headed to, and he responds in English to get them off his tail. The men are frazzled by this foreign language and run away.

In the carriage, Ae-shin wonders about the identity of this man. She thinks to the brief face-off on the rooftop. If he were a comrade, he would be running away from the scene, and if he were an enemy, he would be running faster. And why would he ask to walk home in her direction? Is he bold or reckless?

The next morning from his hotel, Eugene thinks back to his confrontation with Ae-shin. He remembers the ornament hanging from her dress, and associates that with his ornament that cost his mother her life.

Eugene arrives at the U.S. embassy, and he’s approached by IM GWAN-SOO (Jo Woo-jin), who’s skeptical of Eugene. Gwan-soo doesn’t believe that Eugene is an American emissary until Eugene takes out his passport as evidence. Gwan-soo is surprised that a Joseon person is representing America, but Eugene makes it a point to correct him — he’s American.

Eugene asks to meet with the U.S. ambassador, but he’s at Logan Taylor’s funeral. He asks to be taken to the funeral, where he watches from afar. Gwan-soo points out all the ambassadors by country and name, as well as the two Joseon ministers of external affairs. Eugene asks how many foreigners outside of the Japanese are in Joseon, and Gwan-soo lists the number from Germany, France, Russia, Britain, and the United States — a total of 227. Eugene subtracts one to account for the newly deceased and corrects that number to 226.

A group of armed Japanese men rummage through Logan’s house, and a young servant carries the crying baby outside, where a man casually leans against a wooden beam. The young girl asks who he is, and he answers that he’s the leader of the men searching the house. With a tone of entitlement, he explains that as the leader, he gets to stay outside and do nothing while the other men do everything. This is GU DONG-MAE (we’ve been waiting for you, Yoo Yeon-seok).

Dong-mae asks the girl if the men are doing a good job searching, and she answers that everything is broken. He reminds her that those things don’t belong to her, but that doesn’t ease her worries. The men rush out and report to Dong-mae that they didn’t find the document. They’ve sent a few men to follow the widow at the funeral, and now they’re heading over to join them.

After the men leave, Dong-mae asks if the girl is sad that her noble died, and the baby on her back begins to cry. He’s amused that the baby is crying like it understood what he just said, and the girl explains that the baby must be scared. Dong-mae assures her not to be scared, since he only kills people that he can profit from.

As Eugene and Gwan-soo watch the U.S. ambassador comforting the widow at the funeral, Gwan-soo directs Eugene to his next duty, which is an investigation of the murder. Eugene will be in charge of this, since the ambassador has his hands full.

The ambassador expresses his exasperation for the death of foreigners by Joseon mobs and requests for the approval of American troops to be deployed in the interest of restoring peace to Joseon. Both ministers of foreign affairs disagree with this plea — one suggests Japan as their means of defense while the other argues for Russia. But the king has grown wiser with age and asks if anyone has confirmed that the killer was actually a Joseon person. There is no confirmation, and the king chides the two ministers for remaining silent at the claim that all Joseon people are mobsters.

The king expresses his condolences for the deceased American and asks the ambassador about the funeral. The ambassador is a bit too peppy in his response about coming from the funeral, and the king notices this. He dismisses everyone and heads to his quarters.

Eugene rides through the village on horseback while Gwan-soo explains the celebration of the street lamps from the night before. The light show of 600 street lamps attracted a crowd, and there’s sure to be witnesses of the shooting. Eugene orders for all the witnesses to gather at the embassy, and Gwan-soo predicts that they’ll get plenty of witnesses hoping to get a tour of the embassy. With that, Eugene calls it a day and rides off.

Eugene stares out at the serene waterfront, where a boat floats against the dock. He remembers his desperate chase from his youth, when he jumped into a similar boat and hid under a straw mat, crying.

He sits at a small inn nearby and stares at his food. Seung-gu arrives at the same place with his hunted game, and he’s clearly a regular. The server joins him and asks Eugene if he knew the chicken in his soup, since all he’s been doing is staring at it, not eating it. Eugene responds that he’s never had this food before, but the server doesn’t believe him because he looks like he could afford much more. Eugene watches curiously as Seung-gu devours his chicken — looking and feeling like a foreigner.

Back on the mountains to practice shooting, Ae-shin tells Seung-gu about the person she encountered on her mission to assassinate Logan. She assumes that this person is a comrade from a different area, but Seung-gu warns her not to trust so easily. “A comrade today may not be one tomorrow, so don’t trust anyone. Including me.”

Ae-shin responds that it’s been a while since she’s stopped trusting Seung-gu. She explains, “How can I trust someone who doesn’t have a house or servants?” Ae-shin’s honesty negates the nobility in Seung-gu’s statement, and an awkward silence ensues. He tells her to go home and fakes a yawn to convince her that he’s tired. She happily agrees and prances away.

Eugene begins his investigation by interviewing all the witnesses, but no significant stories or information arise. One servant mentions that Ae-shin was there along with Eugene, and Gwan-soo suggests that they bring her in for an investigation, though he doesn’t suspect her involvement in the least. Eugene seems nervous about this idea but agrees to it.

Gwan-soo visits Ae-shin’s home to very apologetically request her compliance with the investigation, since she was spotted at the street lamp lighting. Her servant is offended that they would ask Ae-shin to do such thing, but Ae-shin offers to visit the embassy. She wonders who would have reported seeing her, and her mind immediately goes to her encounter with Eugene that night — it must have been him.

At the Glory Hotel restaurant, a man grabs a passing waitress and asks how much she costs for the night. The waitress tries to pull away and declares that she’s a waitress, not a prostitute, but the man finds those two things synonymous. Another figure intervenes and orders the man to let go. The man looks at this intervening woman and agrees that she’s much more desirable. The woman isn’t fazed by this scumbag and tells him that he won’t be able to have either woman. Then, she breaks a plate and scratches his wrist, drawing blood, to make him let go of the waitress.

The scumbag is infuriated to be disrespected by a woman, but his friend tries to shut him up because this woman, KUDO HINA (Kim Min-jung), is the owner of the hotel. Hina expresses disappointment in the scumbag’s friend and his choice of friends, and they quickly exit the hotel.

The waitress apologizes and worries about the expensive broken plate, but Hina says that the waitress is more precious to her. She tells the waitress to respond more aggressively if this happens again. Addressing the crowd in Japanese and then in English, Hina apologizes for the commotion.

Eugene watches the scene unfold, and Hina notices him watching from afar. She approaches him and apologizes in Korean. She hadn’t met him yet and asks what room he’s staying in. When he tells her, she’s a bit confused because she was told that an American was staying there. Eugene reciprocates the confusion by saying that he was told that a Japanese person owned the hotel.

She’s amused by his wit and offers to send a free drink to make up for all the commotion. Then, she reaches out her hand as a greeting between two foreigners, but he hands her a handkerchief instead, seeing that she’s bleeding from breaking the plate. He says that he’ll take the handshake later and heads out.

As Eugene leaves, Dong-mae enters the lobby and watches the new face with some suspicion. Dong-mae notices that Hina is hurt, and she suggests that they head up to the room. As she cleans her wound, Dong-mae asks if she got hurt or if she hurt someone. She says she hurt herself trying to help a girl, so he walks over to her saying, “Then, looks like I’ll have to help this girl.” He proceeds to tend to her wound, and I proceed to swoon.

She asks if he’s found the document he’s looking for, and Dong-mae is impressed that Hina knows everything. He asks if she knows anything else, since he’s come up empty, but she has nothing to offer. Dong-mae asks if Logan’s widow is a secret guest at this hotel, but Hina refuses to share her guests’ information. Empty-handed, Dong-mae heads out and tells Hina to tend to her wound well, since a scar doesn’t match that hand of hers.

Ae-shin arrives at the embassy, and Eugene looks a bit uneasy at the sight of her carriage. As Gwan-soo escorts Ae-shin to the office, she notices Eugene looking out the window. She asks if he’s also been called in for questioning, but Gwan-soo clarifies that he works there — he’s an American consul. Ae-shin’s maid thinks that he’s just an interpreter, but Ae-shin looks determined to find out.

When they enter the office, Ae-shin sits down in Eugene’s chair at his desk, ready to be questioned. Eugene asks if she noticed anything and anyone strange on the night of the street lamp lighting. She responds that there are many strange things in Joseon right now and requests that he ask more specifically what she could have seen.

Her maid intervenes and says that Ae-shin isn’t one to notice anything strange. She’ll pass right by it without a glance and doesn’t know anything. Her maid claims that Ae-shin is just an innocent child. Ae-shin adopts this persona and apologizes to Eugene for not knowing anything.

Eugene speaks in English to Gwan-soo and orders him to take the two servants out of the room for some tea while he speaks to Ae-shin alone. When Gwan-soo tries to escort the servants out, the maid worries that Ae-shin can’t understand a word of English. But Ae-shin throws her a look, and they obediently exit the room.

Now that they’re alone, Eugene cuts to the chase and outlines in great detail the circumstances of that night: It was the street lamp lighting ceremony, so the sound of the electricity would hide the sound of gunshots and the crowds would hide their traces. He asks if that’s why that day was chosen, and Ae-shin feigns ignorance. Eugene continues that gunshots were traced to two different locations and asks if Ae-shin saw anything. Once again, Ae-shin denies knowing or seeing anything.

Eugene walks around the desk and stops right in front of Ae-shin. He slowly lifts his hand to cover the bottom half of her face, and then says that he thinks he may have seen her. Ae-shin lifts her hand to do the same, staring right into his eyes, and says, “If that’s suspicion, then I think I saw you as well.”

 
COMMENTS

This cat and mouse chase is progressing quickly, and the unspoken acknowledgement of each other is a secret bursting at the seams. It seems like Eugene is more keen on revealing their secrets than Ae-shin is, which may be because he’s searching for a deeper connection to his homeland. Although he claims to be an American, I sense that he’s just waiting for an invitation to reconcile his past trauma in order to find his home in Joseon. I’m definitely liking Ae-shin’s character more than Eugene, which is what I totally expected. Her spunk and tenacity are charming, and I love that she’s still slightly less street smart during the day than she is at night as a resistance fighter. She’s proud and flawed, and I’m ready to see more of her.

This episode definitely moved a bit slower for me, but it’s starting to feel a little more Kim Eun-sook to me, with its witty banter along with the lengthy emotional beats full of dramatic cinematography that we got a lot of in the first episode. The English jokes are a fun distraction from the real plot on hand, but I’m hoping the lighthearted comedy will be balanced so that we don’t get whiplash. It’s been a common thing, so I’m not holding my breath. But one can hope.

Grandfather is a man of tough love and practicality. His sorrow for his lost children definitely manifests in his overprotective nature of Ae-shin, but he knows how the cookie crumbles. Ae-shin is her mother and father’s daughter, and there may be no way for him to stop the resolve and obstinate force that is Ae-shin. The tension between the two is a relatable one between a guardian and a child, and it’s clear that Ae-shin gets her stubbornness from Grandfather. I love that he actively sought out Seung-gu to be Ae-shin’s teacher, and even though he openly believes that the reforms are ruining Joseon, I think Grandfather may secretly believe in his granddaughter’s potential.

Ugh, Yoo Yeon-seok really is just the perfect tragic second lead. We saw him for maybe two minutes in this episode, but his character is already screaming tragic second lead. He’s got that smolder and charm that is just irresistible, so it’s going to be difficult to believe that he’s the one getting overlooked. Our other charming new character, Kudo Hina, had the strongest introduction of the bunch through her calm yet defiant confrontation with the scumbag. She’s outspoken, commanding, and seemingly coy about her intel. This show’s women so far are distinctly strong and brave, and I hope this trend continues throughout. The changes and reforms in Joseon may make it unstable politically, but the few moments that showcase the growing equality in society is fascinating and hopeful to watch. Give us more of the good stuff, show! I believe in you!

 
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Yoo yeonseokas character is gonna be in love with Kim minjung Right? So he's not gonna be the tragic second lead...

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No. He is in love with Ae Shin since they were young. The way he looks at Hina is not love but friendship.

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He actually IS gonna be the tragic second lead...

In his character profile, it reads,
"...The only woman that recognized him- in her eyes, there were neither contempt nor despair, nor even fear. That woman was the Miss of Joseon's best scholar-official family: Ae Shin. As he started to act more human-like, he only craved for one name, Go Ae Shin. Even though he wasn't supposed to feel this way, he started to think that it wouldn't matter if the whole world was his enemy.

And now, he feels displeased because of the so-called American man that keeps on appearing in front of Ae Shin. He feels like he had been cut in line, even if he was never in hold of Ae Shin. Dong Mae is a man like that, a man who only loves Ae Shin, who is crazy in love because of her."

I just roughly translated it and it's so heartbreaking already aghhh

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Where did you get this description from because it's not on their wiki page.

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It is from the drama's official website http://program.m.tving.com/tvn/mrsunshine/3/Contents/Html

Here's the translated official description of Dong Mae~ https://twitter.com/Yeonseok411_IFC/status/1007922835925291009

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Yes he will be in love with kim minjung and yes he will die. If you see the long preview you'll notice in that he has admiration for ae shin but he hugs kim minjung with affection.

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Thank you for the recap. I have not watched the drama yet & I'm not sure I'll even start anytime soon. I'm not too fond of political stories with conspiracies, which is why I steer clear of sageuks. However I'll read the recaps to see where it's going !

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I feel your pain .I'm watching this. Also don't like political dramas too much but I'm drawn to this.

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I haven’t watched this episode yet but I was curious about what this episode would have in store. The females in this show shine again and I’m looking forward to more badassery from them as well as more Yoo Yeon seok 💕

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Very nice recap, thanks @dramallama ! Despite my nit-picking of some of the historical elements portrayed, overall I am being wildly entertained with this great story and interesting characters. I'm definitely hooked for the long haul.

This episode hinted that Russia will begin to enter the story in a more prominent role, and kudos to that because it aligns with actual history.

I look forward to seeing the story of Ae-Shin's friend who is learning English, out of love. Who might her intended be? Probably too much for me to hope it could be Kyle (David McInnes), but I will be ecstatic if it turns out to be him.

Finally, my thoughts turn to Eugene. As a guy, I am strongly drawn to his character - and moreso than the other male actors. I was quite impressed to hear LBH speak in 3 different languages in this episode. I'm impressed with his acting skill. I believe he can do justice to portraying the inner conflict that we all can sense brewing under Eugene's calm exterior. How LBH conveys this conflict in the episodes ahead should be quite interesting.

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Thanks for your comment. I might really try harder to love this drama. It has such possibilities.

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I'm quite confused, I thought it was Ae-shin who shot the dude and not Eugene. Ha. (At least I wanted her to shoot the guy).

This episode was a wee bit of a slow-burner for me, but I'm glad for the he knows-she knows (or I know that you know) deal between the two was not dragged on. Whew. Also, I want to know more about Ae-shin—surely she's not the only young noble lady out there during those times, but everyone seems to know her, and everyone seems to act like she's some sort of saint. Is it her grandfather's standing? Does she do charity work etc.? This is killing me! :)

Overall, the first two episodes were good.

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Yeah, she almost seems like the last of a dying breed. Surely there are more noble ladies out there?

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The others were probably sent off overseas by their parents (dunno). Or, the other rich people at that time have already started getting modernised, wearing Western dresses, and she's the only one who still wears the hanbok, that's why she's the one being noticed. She does seem somewhat out of place. What somehow confuses me is that people treat her with so much deference, despite her having that wee bit of a snobbish air about her. Heh.

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I like Ae Shin is a badass female lead. I'm actually confuse now, so the shooter is not Ae Shin and Eugene? I thought Ae Shin is the one who shot the guy. There were 4 people on the rooftop?

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Based on what I saw, it was Eugene who actually shot Taylor.

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It was Eugene who shot Taylor and Aeshin shot those Japanese men whose after Eugene

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Both of them shot him since he is their shared target (iirc there is a part when they talk something about the bullets hitting the guy came from two sources?).

The Taylor guy became Ae Shin's target because he sold Joseon's intel to Japan, and he is Eugene's target since Eugene was tasked by America to secretly assassinate him since his act smeared the ~good name of America (but lol look at how they were still pretending to conduct an investigation on a murder they did on their own and use it as a mean to force the King to approve for the US troops to be stationed in Joseon to ~restore public order. Classic American MO, hah.)

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@dramallama you are a star! When you proceeded to swoon over Yoo Yeun-Seok I had to smile, but I think many beanies identified. I'm actually waiting for Byun Yo Han, who has tragic second/third lead written all over him. Andwe!

Grandpa: I was confused about this change of heart until I read your recap. It seemed strange that he was so insistent that she should remain blissfully ignorant of the world, but then he got her a shooting sabu. Perhaps this was his final resistance in a losing battle against his grand-daughter. He must have known that she wouldn't use those skills just to "protect" herself, so this in effect was giving her permission to become a rebel, right?

Ae Shin: wow, Kim Tae Ri has got the noble lady act down. She can be so proud and haughty, especially around Eugene. I can see how it cuts him deeply because it reminds him of his slave past. It was interesting to see how she wants to fight for a reformed Joseon, yet she still struggled to use honorifics with the lowly gunner... it's easier to change your mind than your habits. Interestingly, her noble status makes HER the odd one in a modernising society. She is the only one walking around her head covered. Even maids are studying English. Pfft, she will learn the meaning of 'LURVE' soon enough.

Eugene: I am invested in his search for home. As someone who has traveled between cultures a lot, his statement that he always feels like a foreigner rings true. I was hoping his misfit status would be addressed, and of course it was Ae Shin-who pointed out that he dressed differently, spoke differently (accent?!) and looked at her differently, without the deference of other people towards nobles.

Historians corner: At first when the US ambassador used the word TERRORIST I rolled my eyes, because that term could haven't possibly been used in that sense back then right? Well, I did a bit of research, and apparently it was used in the 1870s by Russians revolutionaries, who aimed to kill 'leaders of the oppression'. I don't know if this was a stroke of luck by the writer. In my view the term in English evokes modern attacks (say, after 1970) more than 19th century events.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/recent/sept_11/changing_faces_02.shtml

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Great research on "terrorist", I was actually thinking it was just one of those weird translations decided upon by the subtitlist. Nice to know it could have been accurate for that time. ;)

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It could have been accurate if used by Russians... but the ambassador used the English term (minute 45), and the interpreter repeated it in transliterated form (pronounced 'teror'). The Anglicism would not have existed in Korean at the time, so I think it's a modern slip.

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Great insights @wishfultoki! I'm going to need to read the review/recap and comments before I attempt each episode!

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I liked the episode. We could see some interactions between the characters.

KES went trough the historic events a little to fast for me because I don't really know this part of the history, like the death of the wife of the emperor/king.

We just had a glimpse of Yoo Yeon-seok but yeah... he will suffer :p

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It was also too fast for me, and makes me wonder if she will really go into history in depth. Reforms, abolition of slavery, death of a queen who intervened in government (!) - these are all things that historical dramas usually spend at least an episode on. I really hope KES isn't just setting up a backdrop for a love story, because it would be a waste of that historical material (but also typical for KES, which is my greatest fear for this drama, yikes).

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I think for KES the historic context is more a historic landscape for the characters, a place where they can show off. She's not a writter who wants to show reality of events or life like a sageuk or slice of life. So I'm not expecting about that but I'm still curious :p

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She is known for her cheesy love stories after all. That's what I'm expecting. But if the historical perspective is shallow, doesn't it just make us want to go wiki to learn more? Then we can share here.
If they only had shown these dramas in history class and then made us students go do some research, learning history would have been a lot more interesting!

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Well, the Korean audience knows the history well and here they want to concentrate on telling the story that comes after Queen Min's assassination by the Japanese, is my guess. It's such a shocking story, it does seem like a natural for video and probably has been told in at least movie form I bet.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Myeongseong

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Yes, there is a drama on Empress Myeongseong (124 episodes *groan* Otherwise I'd watch it) I had no idea she was assassinated by the Japanese... Mr. Sunshine didn't even elaborate that much.

I understand that these are well-known events among Koreans, but I wish the drama didn't just casually mention BIG historical moments if they really wanted to reach international audiences. I don't have time to read up on everything!
#kdramaaddictproblems

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Was some of this alluded to in Gunman of Joseon? Or was that a bit earlier?

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@linda-palapala Yes, Joseon Gunman takes place under the reign of King Gojong and all these modernising reforms. I tried watching it but could never get past ep. 1.

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😳124??? Looks like that Wikipedia page is as much as I'll ever know about Queen Min. I'll link it again here

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empress_Myeongseong

Jeez, I watched at least half of Joseon Gunman and don't even remember that it took place during the Gojong era.

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@wishfultoki: Re Joseon Gunman. I've watched it 3 or 4 times - overlooking all the little annoying things of course. What struck me is how the lead female loved all new, modern inventions like photgraphy and telescopes (my passion) and had such a curiosity and wanted to accomplish things and travel the world, but because of the times and all that happened to Koreans she couldn't live to see her dreams realized.

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omg, sorry to link the same thing like that! I thought I'd posted it on a comment elsewhere 🙄

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@bbstl No problem! I guess I have homework for next week: Read up on the Gojong era. :)

Joseon Gunman takes place a bit earlier, 1870s apparently... as I said, I couldn't get past ep. 1. I may give it another try.

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This drama is 24 epis long with each epi being 70-80 mins I think there will be enough time to go through each character eventually.

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OMG, Yoo Yeon-seok is so dazzling in a red kimono :)

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He's a mystery because we haven't seen his backstory. His name is Korean but he seems pro-Japanese... that's all I got. Oh, also that he's super handsome, but that doesn't need to be explained.

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This man is an enigma. I want to know so many things about him, important things that will drive the plot forward, like,

How long does he take to dress his hair?
Does the long fringe obscure his vision?
Is that little patch of hair beneath his lower lip real?
If that little patch of hair is real, how often does he have to trim it to keep it from becoming bigger than a little patch of hair?
What brand of shampoo does he use to keep that hair so silky smooth?
What kind of band does he use to tie his hair?
Why does he wear red? Why doesn't he wear pink?
Does he wear sandals or slippers?
Can he speak English?

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Essential questions, all of them! 😂 Who knows how much work goes into these Manes of Glory!

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i'm a bit sad that Byun Yo Han won't be sporting a Mane of Glory and facial hair also...
: (

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Wouldn't it be nice if he eventually succumbs?

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Yes, why did Byun Yo Han have to be part of a family that embraced the short hair edict? *sigh* #ImportantThings

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So do you think he'll stay "American" or do you think he'll eventually join the Cause of Independence?

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let's hope he joins the Independence movement!!!

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No worries, I am confident that by the end of the drama, all the hot guys would have donned red kimonos and would be strutting around with wild, untamed manes of glory, and sporting at least one week's growth of wild, untamed facial hair. Oh, and spitting out three different languages through clenched jaws and gritted, pearly- white, revolutionary teeth.

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@yyishere,
juuuuust on the off chance that your prediction does not come to pass, I'll go on record right now as wanting to see the drama where that does happen.

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Who is tailoring YYS those really very offbeat red (not pink) outfits (kimono?) No one else wears red, that fabric must be brought in just for him. 😒 What does it all mean?

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I couldn't sleep all night thinking and thinking about #ImportantThings, and when dawn broke, it came to me: The Big Reveal.

The red kimono is actually bright red with black smudges.

Red is the colour of blood. He's going to die. Sorry, guys...*CRIES*

Bright red is fresh blood. He dies, but his death brings renewed hope, a fresh beginning. A new dawn.

Black smudges on the red kimono foretell his dark fate, and the shadows of death approaching, and staining 0the brightness of his beauty and the radiance of his aura.

The day he releases his hair from the fetters of that tight band and swings it slow-mo left, right, up, down, round and round, will be the day he joins The Revolution, and embraces Freedom.

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I too believe his kimono is the red of blood, with one black smudge for each life he has taken for dirty Japanese money. As the smudges accumulate, he will eventually one day be completely garbed in black, the color of his soul!
Sorry but I'm pretty invested in YYS being a bad guy here! Why can't he be a bad guy, he's such a good bad guy? 🙁

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Then he'd be reduced to a hot shadow....that is so so sad *cries*

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Finally, a thread that I can get into! (Heehee.🤭😊)

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Maybe he's a double agent.

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I really liked this episode. I also really liked the introduction of Yoo Yeon-seok and Kim Min-jung's characters. These two have "tragic" written all over them. For an epic sageuk like this, it's more than likely we're going to lose a few key players by the end. I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of them.

So far I'm intrigued. Mr. Sunshine could be really great. Here's to hoping the story gets even more interesting and the characters remain badass. I have faith! Just please no dumpster-fire halfway through. :)

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When the narrative is shallow and the subtitle is quite poor, thank dramabeans 😂😂 Been a while KES! Thank you for bringing back the vibe of your classics I really love even today.... with good cast too and a genre of my type: period drama romance. Let me enjoy the ride. ❤

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This episode was definitely slow and, personally, a little disappointing in terms of character. I know it's only the second episode but at this point i expect to have a feel for the main characters and they both leave me cold.

BUT I am dearly hoping for a deeper look into the class divide and whether the old Joseon is truly worth saving. Ae Shin is almost thoughtlessly priveleged while Eugene is a former slave who literally fought to get where he is. I'm really interested to see this conflict arise.

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Well said. I want to know what Ae-Shin is fighting for too. Old Joseon or new Joseon?

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It's intriguing because a lot of the wealthy, upper class people seem to be perfectly fine with adapting (like Eugene's evil ex-owner). I wonder if Ae Shin is just romanticizing her parents' cause or if she truly champions it out of love for her countrymen.

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I'm sure that Ignoble will be seen to be a major Japanese sympathizer and enabler.

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I don't know that Gramps ever told Ae Shin about her parents because if she knew, I feel like she's be more gung-ho about the revolution than she is now.
@wishfultoki I don't think she's fighting for either era of Joseon but if I had to pick I'd say she's fighting for new Joseon. I think she just want self governance for her people. She hates the fact that the King is bringing in foreigners but I don't think she is opposed to modernization.

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You just reminded me of Joo Won in Bridal Mask. "What has Joseon ever done for me?"

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I think that's the question of Eugene, Dong Mae, and Hina! And I'm dying to see the latter's conclusions.

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Thank you, Dramallama! This must be a beast of a drama to recap!

I am very happy with Mr. SUNSHINE so far; I am eager to learn more about this period in Korean history (and most probably because I make an effort to see it fresh and not let her other earlier works influence me)

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Go Ae-shin is very precious. I definitely can listen to her voice all day long. The last time I felt like this is when I heard Jo Seung-woo voice in Forest of Secrets. I also like her subtle comedic antics like when she decides to sit on the chair like it was meant for her. Wish that both episodes were 90 minutes long so that all main characters' stories could settle in by the premier week.

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I LOVE her voice and the way she speaks (don't know how to describe, like she speaks from her stomach, not from throat). It's one of the reasons I love The Handmaiden. Sometimes I would listen to the movie while I do work just to hear her voice 😅

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You just reminded me to watch The Handmaiden. I'm very fond of Mother which is penned by the same screenwriter. So I projected that I'll be invested in that film and of course Kim Tae-ri's moksori as well. Tq.

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This episode had a lot of development in our characters but I dont feel anything for ae shin or even lbh. Like it feels like the writer should have spent more time telling us why ae shin has this passion to fight for whatever she’s fighting for. Just because her parents were freedom fighters doesnt mean we’ll suddenly understand why she wants to be one too. The learning how to shoot a gun training just felt emotionless because I couldnt figure out why she was fighting in the first place. We all want a badass woman but in order to cheer for her, we need more. I think the disconnection am having with lbh is probably because of how fast and unsettling the first ep went for me. I didnt get enough time to feel anything for his childhood because the writer kept trying to cover as many characters as possible in the first ep.
For me, this show shines more when its not really focusing on the serious plot surrounding the story. Which is sad because i am interested in the part of history, kes is trying to potray. But its pretty obvious that this writer is better at writting less serious plots than serious ones.( i’ll give her some credit for trying to leave her comfort zone tho)

As a side note: yys was so tragic nd fine in his 5 minutes appearance😍

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I agree. I don't understand what she is fighting for.. Is she acting alone or is she part of an organisation? Questions, questions.

Btw, those 5 minutes were awesome. Also, I admit I didn't like Kim Min Jung in Man To Man, but she might just become my girl crush in this drama.

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My thoughts about this episode:

Ae shin's training under Seung gu, her chin jutting out in stubborn determination and the lithe way she bounded over the rocks and cliffs, even her hair, tied up with wisps showing, bore a striking resemblance to Rey in The Last Jedi. I was a bit scared of Seung Go, because the actor played a ruthless gangster in Cruel City and gave me nightmares but, heck, he's a lamb here, and the weirdest thing is, the more I saw of him here, the more I liked him, and at the end of her training, I swear he looked the spitting image of Han Solo.

2. Yoo Yeun - Seuk is my new crush. Please God, don't let him die. The first scene he appears, leaning nonchalantly against the wall, lifts his eyes smoulderingly - is there such a word? - I passed out for like 5 seconds. I would willingly sandpaper my hand if I could get him to hold it like that, looking at me so meltingly...*swoons*

3. The Mystery of the Disembodied Hands in the funny poster is finally explained. I broke into a fit of giggles when they kept showing the two of them "manhanding" each other in deadly seriousness, from all angles, at the end of the episode. Which kind of spoiled the scene for me.

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Ugh! You mentioned Han Solo! *Tim goes back into mourning.*

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So glad you’ve joined the YYS fan club! He’s a lovely actor and emotes well just through his eyes. (I love that type of actor.) He made me feel more by his staring in 10 seconds than anyone else by their talking in 10 minutes. He’s going to break me like he always does, and I’m going to love him more for it.

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y'know, that hand-over-mouth scene reminds me of Chicago Typewriter scene when Hwi-young and Soo-hyun when they were running from Japanese soldiers. Of course that was one of the most romantic and sizzling hot scene I came across in k-drama, I wonder if we would get to see that chemistry here in Mr. Sunshine.

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you are not alone, gurl :D.

But the chemistry in Mr. Sunshine isn't as hot as the Chicago Typewriter.

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I think it is interesting that Ae-Shin is still classist, or has some old-fashioned thoughts on the class system, when as others have noted, she almost seems like a relic despite her more feminist ideas regarding her role as a woman (as far as we know). I am not familiar with American fighting for women to vote, but I remember I read somewhere about how most white women fought mostly for their own rights to vote and ignored black and other coloured women suffering, believing the issues to be completely separated. Again, I am not sure, but it sort of made me think about Ae-Shin; she fights for HER rights, for convenient equality for herself, but still believes in the class system because that is completely different (despite both largely coming from Confusius(?))

At the same time, I was also reminded of the Mandate of Heaven, and the English Queen's role as the protector of the church. From what I understand of the Mandate of Heaven, it means that the emperor had a duty to perform, and if he did not follow those duties and the people suffered, then he was not worthy of being emperor. With that in mind, despite Ae-Shin's old-fashioned thinking, she might believe it is exactly BECAUSE she is a noble and has the privileges she has that she must fight for Joseon, or the system that supports her privileges. If she does not, if all she does it uselessly being ignorant while the peasants, the people the ministers and nobles are supposed to protect, then she is not worthy to even breathe. Only problem is that not enough nobles view their status as a duty, instead they think of it as a right.

But we might see more of her flaws and thinking later. Currently I just give off some thoughts.

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Oh dear. I love the way you think, that Ae-Shin

"...with that in mind, despite Ae-Shin's old-fashioned thinking, she might believe it is exactly BECAUSE she is a noble and has the privileges she has that she must fight for Joseon, or the system that supports her privileges."

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I love your take on Ae-Shin's motivations!

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That ending scene was epic. The writing, the directing, the lighting, the acting, the music, everything. It was just dripping with meaning, not only what was said, but what wasn't said. Loved it.

And Kudo Hina, never have I seen such a fierce character. Can't wait to see more of her. And the yummy Yoo Yeon-seok who had me drooling in about 10 seconds.

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Oh needed 10? I was done as soon as he graced my screen.

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I like this conversation :)

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I think you meant 10 milliseconds.

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Subtle yet hilarious
At the riverside inn.
Eugene comparing his chicken to that of Seung Gu's

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Dramallama, thank you for the recap. Looks like all of the key players have been introduced. Looking forward to this week’s episodes.
I foresee Hina amorously pursuing Eugene. Ae-shin will be experiencing many new and foreign ideas, partially through Eugene and probably the English teacher . So far so good !

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I had a wicked thought that the English teacher might be one of the "back door guests" at the Glory Hotel. I wouldn't put it past KES to write that.

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LOL, is she teaching her charges about "love" on the side? Perhaps she's accumulating experience for writing racy novels that she sells them to help speed their English learning ☺️

So, do we think Logan Taylor's wife is back-dooring at the hotel with the US ambassador?

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Or she may be back-dooring with one of the other foreign ambassadors. Yikes, memories of that old novel/movie Taipan just popped into my mind.

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Is Taipan worth reading?

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@linda-palapala Taipan is a thick book with many characters but I liked it.

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I had to laugh - what kind of answer is that? A thick book with many characters?? Ha, ha. W/o looking it up I don't remember if it's Michener or Uris. But I do have Exodus and Hawaii.

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@linda-palapala,@tim
Oh my gosh, "Taipan"! That is a great description HAHAHA. It's James Clavell, who apparently specialized in Asian-ish things. It's the olde tyme story of the English claiming HK and "Noble House" is the "modern" (70s?) followup on their descendants and those of the folks who were there all along as well. They're written in a very best-seller mode, lots of swashbuckling business derring-do, handsome genius men, beautiful women, glamorous places, money, skullduggery, sex and all of it. I loved both books. I actually learned a lot about Asia from them, having known nothing before reading them and his book "Shogun". Wooo, what a blast from the past.

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Anyway, what about this made you think of Taipan?
And I just thought Mrs Dead Guy was a bit too touchy-feely with the ambassador at her husband's funeral, if you catch my drift 😉

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@linda-palapala Yes, any James Clavell is worth reading- start with Shogun!! I inhaled them; you might too if you've read Michener, Uris, etc. .....though I think he's a little deeper.

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@bbstl There are only 24 yours in a day and they're spent watching kdramas and wuxia. How do I find time to read big thick books?
I do seem to remember a movie Shogun?

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@tacourtn, @linda-palapala, @beantown
Here's what I learned at IMDb:

Shogun had a mini-series made in 1980 starring Richard Chamberlain

Taipan had a film made in 1986 starring Bryan Brown as Dirk Struan (just love that name LOL)

Noble House had a mini-series made in 1988 starring Pierce Brosnan, which gave great views of the HK of the time, btw.

The books are (as always) much better! For example, I don't think the Chinese staff at the HK hotel (The Peninsula) in the Noble House mini-series refer to the blonde Western love interest as "Golden Pubics" as they do in the book. Just sayin', depends on how much detail you like 🤣🤣🤣

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@bbstl Yes - you nailed those 3 books/TV/movie adaptations of Clavell. I read all 3 books and once-upon-a-time I actually had all 3 on VHS tapes, lol. Taipan was my favorite book and film of them, but I have fondness for the other two as well.

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@bbstl Now that I'm more interested in Asia, these sound like a must read! Especially Taipan and Noble House.

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Asian series by order of chronology (not publication date): Sounds so interesting and intertwined.
Shōgun: set in feudal Japan, 1600.
Tai-Pan: set in Hong Kong, 1841.
Gai-Jin: set in Japan, 1862.
King Rat: set in a Japanese POW camp, Singapore, 1945.
Noble House: set in Hong Kong, 1963.
Whirlwind: set in Iran, 1979.

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The hotel will be hopping ! Lots of intrigue and romance ?!

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I started this drama for Yoo Yeon Suk, but I am really loving Ae-shin. She’s got spunk and I love strong female leads. I don’t care much for Eugene though I didn’t think I would.

I am hoping this keeps its momentum. Hoping that our two leads don’t have anything romantic. Hopefully just comrades. Looking forward to seeing how this goes! (and more Yoo Yeon Suk please)

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Did I ever enjoy and appreciate your recap today! I haven't watched the episode but could imagine every scene in my mind because you describe so very well. And I like your asides that give either background info or who the actor is, and reminding us of any scenes they were in previously. Thank you!
Now to watch the visuals...

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Is anyone else getting major Gaskital vibes from this drama? Since it takes place before the time period of Gaskital, it could kinda be considered a prequel??? I just find the tone, sentiments, and themes very similar. Not sure if it's the setting or if it's just the writing. Anyways, I am enjoying this. I do want to know why Eugene and Ae-Shin are fighting for their causes. What is their allegiance? Why is Eugene involved if he keeps claiming that he's only American? All of these answers needs to be answered but I'm not in a rush. I've noticed that many of the other commenters are trying to figure out Ae-Shin's motives. I'm curious too, but there's still 22 episodes left after all. I'm excited to see how this all turns out.

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I'm also getting major Gaksital vibes but I'm trying to not compare hem too much, because I fear Mr. Sunshine will come out losing. The historical context was perfectly clear in Gaksital: Japanese occupation. Characters were either for or against independence of Korea.

Mr. Sunshine is like a prequel but it's about the messy time-period leading up to Japanese occupation... and I'm very lost. This is one drama where having a short text or voice-over narration at the beginning introducing the events would help.

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Yes, it's feeling like we really need a crash history course for the non-Koreans to get us to the right starting point here 😬 Maybe a nice Korean professor will take pity and do an English language video 🙏🏼 *sends plea out into the Hallyu Universe*

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I second the Gaksital sentiment, or third. Anyone else?

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Is it ok that I have Second Lead Syndrome already? Granted, I'm pretty sure I contracted it when casting was announced but it's not helped by the fact that I'm having a lot of trouble caring for Lee Byun-Hyun as a hero. Maybe his story will deepen (I have faith in you, writer!) but until it does, I'm firmly on Team Hot Yoo Yeon-Seok.

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No problem. I'm having Third Lead Syndrome and he only showed up for 10 seconds in the first episode!

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Oooooh, who is it?

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Ignobleman's grandson, Kim Hee Sung (Byun-Yo Han).

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Aaaah. I knew he looked familiar :)

Say what you want about KES, she casts pretty, pretty people :)

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Yep, here for #️⃣3️⃣ all the way. @silentbeluga, it's Byun Yo Han. The grandson with the pocket watch.

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Yes! I am mainly watching for him anyway. I have no feelings toward the first lead. Which is rare for me. Like I know everything will go down in typical K-drama fashion, but I want Dong Mae to have a resolution.

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To people who may not know and just entered KDrama Land and just know Goblin and DOTS, Kim Eun Sook is bringing back the romance vibe of her classic dramas (Lovers Trilogy-yes there is but I only saw two hehe and even The Heirs - she wrote it). So expect a love triangle....or pentagon rather. Three men will fall in love with Ae Shin and Ae Shin and Hina will vie for Eugene's affections.. Also, she writes strong second leads, so either Yoo Yeon Seok or Byun Yo Han will steal the hearts of the audience.

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Thank you for the recap! I really enjoyed this episode in regards to the strong female leads. It was nice to see women standing up for themselves and not immediately needing a man or anyone to actually save them. If anything I feel this is an opportunity to just accept help from anyone and not pitch a fit. So I am hoping the Hina and Ae Shin can help each other in the future. I'm also glad that the romance wasn't really pushed. I think for this drama, I am hoping it relies on telling the history, rather than a love story.

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I found it on Netflix (thanks for the help back on the comment in episode 1.) And I liked episode 2 even better than 1. I'm in it for the long haul--unless we get a horse drawn milk truck of doom--or noble idiocy.

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And did anyone else think that the paper GU DONG-MAE was looking for was in the baby's blankets? I kept waiting for him to search the baby and find it.

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Yes, I thought he was going to do a little papoose slicing.

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That completely creeped me out, I was sure the baby was a goner 😬

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I'm sure you noticed that it was a Caucasian baby. Good authenticity, but it did add a level of creepiness.

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No, it just made sense that it was a Caucasian baby, right? Since the parents were Caucasian. He was ripping their house apart openly and the father had just been assassinated. I assumed it was a family in trouble with somebody pretty big. But I take your point, I think, that we don't expect to see a white baby harmed the way we do the Korean children?

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@bbstl no, a threat to a baby of any nationality disturbs me equally, I just felt creepy by this scene because the white baby seemed extra vulnerable because it was such a fish out of water, far from America, yet totally oblivious to its danger. I think KES probably intended that feeling.

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@tacourtn
I was so creeped out that the show was already going to go that brutal and that the YYS character was already going to be shown as that brutal (whew!) as killing a baby.
So, interesting that he didn't look for the papers in the baby's clothes. He's not smart enough, or he doesn't think the white guy is smart enough to hide them there? Or is the young Korean servant complicit somehow (with whom?) and did she slip them into the baby blankets? Hmmmm, so interesting!

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@bbstl my hunch is that YYS knows the servant has the documents but he wants to spy on her and see who she takes them to. He can still "make money off her", as he said, so he won't kill her just yet.

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@tacourtn
Ah. He won't kill her. He will follow her, to discover how she can be useful to him. And she will fall in love with him. Or she will be his long-lost sister. Either way, he will use her. 😉

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I like it. So far so good, although I have never enjoyed war themes, or whatever related to it, I am a peace maker person.

But well, if it keeps on being historically correct (at least relatively correct), it will be interesting, for history always teaches us something.
Sadly, usually, it always make us cry as well 😖

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I love Ae Shin and Seung Gu's relationship. "I won't ask what you were doing. Just don't die." Aww. How does Eugene still speak Korean? Did the American man who took him in speak Korean to him? Because if you don't use it, you lose it. Eugene even thinks in Korean.

Hina is my favorite character. "You are more important to me." I also love Dong Mae. As soon as I saw him, I knew he knew Japanese. Holy crap at their Unresolved Sexual Tension. I can see myself watching this show for them, so I hope there's no third leg between the two of them.

Thanks for the fast recap, @dramallama!

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There were several scenes Ae-shin shot the rifle with both her eyes open. Is this normal? Just wondering.

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Most modern experts now advocate keeping both eyes open when shooting, but it really depends on alot of factors. Each person's eyes work a little differently. In my opinion it is ok to either keep both eyes open, or close one. Bottom line is whatever works to make the person's accuracy improve.

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Thanks!

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Kudo Hina and Dong Mae are my fav characters so far, and the two of them have been on screen for less than 15 minutes combined!

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I just read that episode 2 got a 9.7% nationwide viewership rating, which was even higher than the 8.8% of episode 1, so it seems this show is a hit. Wonder if it can sustain these numbers for the long haul?

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Probably, if for no other reason than her reputation. Personally, after watching episode 2, I find it very sterile and I can't figure out why. Most of the time I'm emotionally invested in kdrama characters from the very first scene. But not here. It's as if the context of the time period, the focus on cinematography is making it impersonal. I noticed the camera work either focuses and places more importance on crowds and the event, for example of lamps turning on night light. When there's a close up of a person it's usually a shoulder shot instead of a tighter head shot with eye movement and micro-expressions of a person's face. It's like they're robotic (wait, Are You Human's robot is more human-like...) instead of real emotional people.

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i have to agree @linda-palapala. I enjoyed eps 1 & 2, but I'm not feeling any emotional connection and that DOES make it a bit sterile. [Except with the two mothers in ep 1 - they were fantastic.]

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And I felt very attached to the two boy child actors.

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True!

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Happy birthday Lee Byung-heon!
I think he has smoldering eyes.

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Same sentiments. Have to say he still looks hot.

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What I love about this show is that we're talking in three languages here. It's fun, and brings an international, if historical and fictional, perspective to the events in Joseon - which I personally think is a clever touch by the writer. Course, they need money to do this.

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I’m in trouble, like major I-may-have-a-stroke-or-heart-attack-while-watching-this drama trouble. And Yoo Yeon Seok will be to blame. I actually enjoyed this episode more than the first, and no, it wasn’t just because of YYS. The two heroines really impressed me this episode. Kim Tae-ri has these eyes that I can stop staring at, and Kim Min-jung is SO much better in this character than her previous one in Man to Man that I really can’t believe she’s the same actress. And I love the interpreter for Eugene. He’s the Secretary turned CEO in Goblin is he not? He steals every scene he’s in from LBH. If they’re on screen together I don’t notice LBH at all. Strong start and if I’m still alive by the end, it’ll be no small miracle.

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Greetings, Ally... long time. I read your email although I didn't answer. You're doing better???
Take care! Enjoy the summer!!!!😀

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this might just be the first KES drama I'd genuinely like.. maybe

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I really hope this drama is not only "making noise", and it will be the great masterpiece of writer-nim Kim Eun Sook.
I want to believe it, although, coming from the creator of Goblin, Descendants of the Sun, The Heirs, Secret Garden, I cannot be so sure. The heirs was particularly awful and nonsensical (and that from only scamming through the recaps🙄)!!!!
I have heard DOTS and Goblin were kind of meh at the end, and Secret garden was kind of a mess, wasn't it??? 😂😂😂😂
But since the cinematography is so beautiful, I will give it a try...

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Looks like the Korean people had criticised the way the drama is portraying the character of Dong Mae for being pro Japanese. The production company had acknowledged the criticism and will make changes to his character including reshooting some scenes.

Oh, no, it is only 2 episodes and controversy had started. Hope it will not affect the storyline and the drama or the actor.

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I'm finding this fascinating so far -- almost like theatre rather than film.

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Thank you for your recap and comments, dramallama!

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